Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Monday, August 07, 2006

LOBBYING FOR ARMAGEDDON



In a perfect world, a reporter at last week's press conference with George Bush and Tony Blair would have asked Bush, in the presence of his prinicipal European ally, if he believes the Eurpean Union is the Antichrist.

AlterNet
By: Sarah Posner
August 3, 2006

Although it sounds like the Pat Robertson lunacy that makes even the wingnuts run for the nearest exit, it's a question Bush should be forced to answer. Bush and other leading Republicans have lined up behind a growing movement of Christian Zionists for whom a European Antichrist figures prominently in an end-times scenario. So they should be forced to explain to the rest of us why they're courting the votes of people who believe our allies are evil incarnate. Could it be that the central requirement for their breathlessly anticipated Armageddon---that the United States confront Iran---happens to dovetail so nicely with the neoconservative war agenda?

At the center of it all is Pastor John Hagee, a popular televangelist who leads the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. While Hagee has long prophesized about the end times, he ratcheted up his rhetoric this year with the publication of his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," in which he argues that a confrontation with Iran is a necessary precondition for Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. In his best-selling book, Hagee insists that the United States must join Israel in a preemptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West. Shortly after the book's publication, he launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which, as the Christian version of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, he said would cause "a political earthquake."

At CUFI's kick-off banquet at the Washington Hilton, attended by over 3,500 members, Republican support for both Hagee's effort and his drumbeat for war with Iran were on full view. Republican National Committee Chief Chair Ken Mehlman told the group the "no regime is more central to the global jihad" than Iran. Just two days before, Newt Gingrich and John McCain made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to sound the same message, leading Benny Elon, a member of the Israeli Knesset, to comment to the Jerusalem Post that their remarks originated with Hagee. Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback also addressed the group, and Bush sent words of support to the gathering. Republicans, and even some Democrats, spoke at CUFI events to show their "support for Israel." But while public and media attention was on the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, Hagee's focus continued to be on Iran.

***All of us are not followers of this religion! Supposedly, people in the U.S. have a choice of religions. So, remember the names of these politicians because they are very dangerous to have in our government! They talk about the religious fundamentalists in the Arab world but yet, at the same time, they are religious fundamentalists looking for the "end days" in this country!

While the crisis at the Israel-Lebanon border drew more mainstream media attention to CUFI's activities, Hagee's supporters have long known that leading Republicans are listening. Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a prominent Jewish ally of the evangelical right (and friend of Jack Abramoff) has said Hagee "without question, yes, absolutely" has the ear of the White House. Hagee's annual Night to Honor Israel at his church has drawn prominent Republicans, including Tom DeLay, who was the keynote speaker in 2002.

Although Republicans would never admit it---they claim their support for Christian Zionists like Hagee is based on their own support for Israel---it is clear that they know they need the votes of this constituency to win. In the same way that Karl Rove courted conservative evangelists in 2004 appealing to their homophobia, Republican campaign rhetoric for 2006 and 2008 has already shown signs of playing to voters who have been hearing hype for a war with Iran for months---at church.

While Washington insiders wonder what it means when Republicans like Mehlman and presidential aspirants Gingrich and McCain finger Iran as the central player in an epic clash of civilizations, Hagee already has spent months mobilizing the shock troops in support of another war. As diplomats, experts and pundits debate how many years Iran will need to develop a viable nuclear weapon, Hagee says the mullahs already possess the means to destroy Israel and America. And although Bush insists that diplomatic options are still on the table, Hagee has dismissed pussyfooting diplomacy and primed his followers for a conflagration.

Hagee wields "a very large megaphone" that reaches "a very large group of people," said Rabbi James Rudin of the American Jewish Committee, who had studied the Christian right for 30 years. With CUFI, the pastor has exponentially expanded the reach of his megaphone beyond his television audience. Thanks to the viral marketing made possible by the hundreds of evangelical leaders who have signed on to his new organization, his warmongering has rippled through megachurches across America for months. Hagee calls pastors "the spiritual generals of America," an appropriate phrase given his reliance on them to rally their troops behind his message.

The CUFI board of directors include Rev. Jerry Falwell, former Republican presidential candidate and religious activist Gary Bauer, and George Morrison, pastor of the 8,000-member Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colo., and chairman of the board of Promise Keepers. Rod Parsley, the Ohio televangelist who is rapidly becoming a major political player in the Christian right, signed on to be a regional director.

For Hagee's new project, his influence in Washington is probably less important than his influence over his audience. With the clout of his listeners, he can serve Bush administration hawks by firing up grassroots support for a military strike against Iran. Over 700,000 people purchased his book, "Jerusalem Countdown," and countless more have heard him promote it on Christian radio and television programming. Dramatic, doomsday advertising has been heard by listeners of Christian media as well as on Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly's radio programs. The pages of "Jerusalem Countdown" provide a peculiar mix of biblical prophecy, purported inside information from Israeli government officials and a mixed-up, pared-down lesson in nuclear physics.

***Sounds like a bunch of freaks!

"I wrote this book in April 2005, and when people read it, they will think I wrote it late last night after the FIX News report," says the author without a trace of irony. "It's that close to where we are and beyond."

***Come on! Bush has been wanting to got to Iran for how long already? It's part of the axis of evil, remember? It doesn't take a few days to plan a strategy like this. It takes years and Hagee has been involved with the first Bush administration, so all of this inside info he is getting was very predictable! They need to grow up and get a life. If they want the end days to come, then go into a room, on your own, and end "your" days! I guarantee you that a majority of them wouldn't do it!

Hagee speaks simultaneously to two audiences about Iran's nuclear capabilities: one that fears a terrorist attack by Iran and another that embraces a biblically mandated apocalypse. To impress the fearful, he mimics Bush's deceptions about Iraq's capacity to attack the United States with weapons of mass destruction, Condoleeza Rice's warnings of mushroom clouds, and Dick Cheney's dissembling about an alliance between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. Comparing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hitler, Hagee argues that Iran's development of nuclear weapons must be stopped to protect America and Israel from a nuclear attack. Preying on legitimate worries about terrorism, and invoking 9/11, he vividly describes a supposed Iranian-led plan to simultaneously explode nuclear suitcase bombs in seven American cities, or to use an electromagnetic pulse device to create "an American Hiroshima."

***It appears to me that Hagee doesn't have too much faith in the Republicans being able to protect this country. So what does that tell you?

When addressing audiences receptive to Scriptual prophecy, however, Hagee welcomes the coming confrontation. He argues that a strike against Iran will cause Arab nations to unite under Russia's leadership, as outlined in chapters 38 and 39 of the Book of Ezekiel, leading to an "inferno [that] will explode across the Middle East, plunging the world toward Armageddon." In Hagee's telling, Israel has no choice but to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities, with or without America's help. The strike will provoke Russia---which wants Persian Gulf oil---to lead an army of Arab nations against Israel. Then God will wipe out all but one-sixth of the Russian-led army, as the world watches "with shock and awe," he says, lending either a divine quality to the Bush administration phrase or a Bush-like quality to God's wrath.

***Is this guy whacked or what? All religions don't say this in their gospels, so why should we believe his that was rewritten by a King who just wanted to be able to get a divorce?

But Hagee doesn't stop there. He adds that Ezekiel predicts fire "upon those who live in security in the coastlands." From this sentence, he concludes that there will be judgement upon all who stood by while the Russian-led force invaded Israel, and issues a stark warning to the United States to intervene: "Could it be that America, who refuses to defend Israel from the Russian invasion, will experience nuclear warfare on our east and west coasts?" He says yes, citing Gensis 12:3, in which God said to Israel: "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you."

Well, I feel pretty safe going by what "my" religion tells me.

To fill the power vacuum left by God's decimation of the Russian army, the Antichrist---the head of the EU---will rule "a one-world government, a one-world currency and a one-world religion" for three and a half years. (Hagee adds that "one need only be a casual observer of current events to see that all three of these things are coming into reality." The "demonic world leader: will then be confronted by a false prophet, identified by Hagee as China, at Armageddon, the Mount of Megiddo in Israel. As they prepare for the final battle, Jesus will return on a white horse and cast both villains---and presumeably any nonbelievers---into a "lake of fire burning with brimstone," thus making the beginning of his milleneal reign.

Hagee says that "one need only be a casual observer to see that these things are happening now." IT'S HAPPENING BECAUSE BUSH IS ALLOWING HIS RELIGIOUS BELIEFS TO 'LET IT HAPPEN!' BUSH IS A VERY DANGEROUS MAN AND SO ARE THE REPUBLICANS THAT HAVE BEEN SPEAKING AT HAGEE'S MEETINGS. THESE TYPE OF PEOPLE DON'T BELONG IN ANY GOVERNMENT! THEY ARE TOO WEAK MINDED OR THEY WOULDN'T BELIEVE IN THIS CRAP!

Hagee doesn't fear a nuclear conflagaration, but rather God's wrath for standing by as Iran executes its supposed plot to destroy Israel. A nuclear confrontation between America and Iran, which he says is foretold in the Book of Jeremiah, will not lead to the end of the world, but rather to God's renewal of the Garden of Eden. But Hagee is ultimately less concerned with the fate of Israel or Jews than with a theocratic Christian right agenda. When Jesus returns for his milennial reign, he tells his television audience, "the righteous are going to rule the nations of the earth when Jesus Christ comes back, he's not going to ask the ACLU if it's all right to pray, he's not going to ask churches if they can ordain pedophile bishops and priests, he's not going to ask if it's all right to put the Ten Commandments in the statehouses. He's not going to endorse abortions, he's going to run the world by the word of God. The world will never end. It's going to become a Garden of Eden, and Christ is going to rule it."

***It'll be better than the Bush administration running the world because the only thing Bush is doing is running this world into oblivion!!!

ILLINOIS POLITICS: "STATE TREASURER TOPINKA IS A HYPOCRITE"

Banks among Topinka's biggest campaign donors

Blagojevich says state treasurer is a "hypocrite"

Bellevile dot com
Associated Press
August 6, 2006

SPRINGFIELD---The key message of Republican Judy Baar Topinka's campaign for governor is that the Democratic incumbent has allowed political money to corrupt his administration and dictate who gets jobs and contracts.

But while she spreads that message to voters, Topinka is accepting political money from banks and other financial institutions doing business with the state treasurer's office that she has run for three terms.

Although Topinka insists donors get no special treatment from her office, Gov. Rod Blagojevich's re-election campaign accuses her of hypocrisy.

A government watchdog group said Topinka, like Blagojevich, is fueling the public perception of Illinois as a state with no real seperation between government and politics.

"When I go out and talk to people, They think we're living in a state of total shakedowns," said Cynthia Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

During the first six months of this year, for instance, Topinka took in at least $120,000 from banks, credit unions and their executives, according to records her campaign filed last week. She also got thousands of dollars from investment funds, as well as payday loan companies and other short-term lenders.

Some of those donors have received multi-million dollar contracts from the treasury's office over the years. Others have been the recipients of millions of dollars in state deposits.

Topinka says there is no connection between the donations and her office's activities.
***Yeah, right! And she backs that liar from Washington, Bush and visa-versa!

Contracts to do work for her office are awarded through a competitive bidding process to identify the best company for the job, she says, and that bank gets the work, whether it has donated to her campaign or not.

"There is no correlation," Topinka said Thursday. "There is absolutely no correlation."

Not all contracts are competitively bid, however.

Topinka extended a lease and rented a larger space in a Springfield building without getting bids from competitors. Her aides said it would have been impractical to consider moving to a new space, but the decision benefited a businessman who has given Topinka $41,000 since she became treasurer.

Despite Topinka's claim that "absolutely everything" is done through competitive bidding, the Blaojevich campaign pointed to a variety of other contracts from the late 1990's where Topinka's office did not get bids. The office was not required by law to solicit bids but could have been done so voluntarily.

Some of those contracts were worth millions of dollars and went to Topinka campaign contributors, such as the Bank of America and LaSalle Bank.

Blagojevish aides argue there is nothing inherently wrong with awarding contracts to campaign donors or even doing it without going through competitive bidding. They say Topinka is wrong to criticize Blagojevich's practices while doing similar things herself.

"She goes on and on about 'pay-to-play' politics. The point is that she again is demonstrating dishonesty and hypocrisy," said Blagojevich campaign spokeswoman Sheila Nix. "If she's going to criticize that, then she's got to be held to the same standards."

The treasurer's office also deposits state money in banks for short periods, ranging from 30 days to a year. The banks, and sometimes credit unions, pay the state interest on the money, but they also benefit from having the money available to use in other financial transactions.

Topinka's aides say the treasurer's office has no discretion to decide which banks will get state money and which won't. Any banks that want to take state deposits and meet general criteria for financial solvency must get a share of the money, they say.

Spokesman John McGovern rejected the accusation of hyprocrisy in Topinka's criticism of Blagojevich and her heavy emphasis in the federal investigation of his administration.

***They don't tell you about what is going on behind the scenes in her life though, do they? She's also being probed!

Blagojevich has overseen "an explosion" of no-bid contracts being awarded to donors, McGovern said. In contrast, Topinka's office awards only a handful of contracts, uses a competitive building process that often selects banks that haven't given money and is not accused of any wrongdoing.

***That's what you say!

Canary, from the Campaign for Political Reform, agreed that the treasurer's office operates on a far smaller scale than the Blagojevich administration when it comes to contracts. There is far less state resources being misused to reward campaign donors, she said.

***What the heck do you think will happen if she ever became Governor. Let's face it, she's backed by that "no-mind" GW!

But Canary said it's still bad policy for Topinka to take donations from banks.

"It is so corrosive to the public confidence," Canary said. "It doesn't matter whether it's really true or not because they're still losing confidence in state government. It's creating disillusionment."

Topinka's donors give a variety of reasons for their support that have nothing to do with contracts.

Short-term lenders, such as payday loan businesses, object to Blagojevich's efforts to impose stricter limits on how much they can lend and for how long.

***Why? Because Blagojevich knows that places like these rip off the people and wants to put a limit on that. It's bad for the citizens of the state in the long-run! Topinka wants to allow the loan businesses the right to be able to rip people off. You're usually borrowing money that you don't have in the first place. And with the Republicans running this country, people don't know if they are going to have a job tomorrow and yet, they still have to pay back these loan companies that rip you off royally!

The Illinois Credit Union League said Topinka has promised to roll back some of the fee increases Blagojevich has imposed and to end Blagojevish's policy of dipping into government funds that had been set aside for financial services.

It's impossible to tally the exact amount Topinka is getting from banking interests because her campaign finance reports generally do not list a donor's occupation, although that is supposed to be included. That makes it difficult to tell whether a contributor is a banking executive.

***Right there she is being deceptive. Why won't she include the occupation's that are supposed to be included? If she's not trying to hide something, than why aren't they being listed?

What worries me most about Topinka is that she thinks this country is going in the right direction just as Bush does. If we allow her to become Governor, which she won't be, she'll take this sate in the same direction that the rest of the country is going to being led by Bush and his deceptive administration. If Bush likes her, than she is a kiss ass and has sold herself out to him. That means doing whatever it is he wants her do to! THE PEOPLE OF THIS STATE DO NOT WANT TO BE RUN BY WASHINGTON!

THE GATHERING STORM

Time is running out for Republicans. Unless something dramatic happens before Election Day, Democrats will take control of the House. And the chances that they'll seize the Senate are rising toward 50-50.

By: Charlie Cook
National Journal
August 5, 2006

The electoral hurricane bearing down on the GOP looks likely to be a Category 4 or 5, strong enough to destroy at least one of the party's majorities. The political climate feels much as it did before previous elections that produced sizable upheavals, such as in 1994, when Democrats lost 52 House seats , 8 Senate seats, and control of both chambers. In the past 2 weeks, polling by CBS News/New York Times, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, and The Cook Political Report/RT Strategies found that just 27 to 28% of voters think the country is headed in the right direction. Between 60 and 66% say we are "on the wrong track." These are the kinds of "time for a change" numbers associated with tidal-wave elections.

In those same three polls, approval ratings for Congress ranged from 25 to 28%, with disapproval ratings of 57 to 60%. Keep in mind the Gallup Polls rule of thumb: When Congress's job-approval rating is 40% or higher, the average midterm election net change in the House is just five seats; when its approval is below 40%, the average net change is 29 seats. And significantly, in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, just 38% of voters said their representative "deserves re-election;" 48% said it is "time to give a new person a chance." These numbers don't indicate a status quo election.

Consider also the venerable "generic congressional ballot test" question. Those same three polls show Democrats holding an advantage of 10 to 13 points. Other polls peg Democratic advantage as low as 8 points or as high as 16. Looking at all 8 July pools, the Democrats' average lead was 11 points.

Since the midterm elections is typically a referendum on the party in power and, more specifically, on the president, George W. Bush's approval ratings are a factor in how the Republicans are likely to fare this fall. In the most recent polls by CBS/New York Times, NBC/Wall Street Journal, Cook Political Report/RT, Gallup, and Fox News, Bush's approval ratings range from 36 to 40%. His July average in all major national polls covered by Polling Report dot com was 38%, exactly the same as the trend estimate computed by the University of Wisconsin's Charles Franklin on his Web site called Political Arithmetik dot blogspot dot com. President Clinton's lowest job-approval in the Gallup Poll at any point in 1994 was 39%. Again, Bush's numbers are consistent with a tidal wave.

What about voter turnout? In both the Cook/RT and the NBC/WSJ surveys, when voters were asked to rank, on a scale of 1 to 10, how interested they were in the upcoming election, Democrats were much more interested. Voters ranking themselves as most engaged (10) favored Democrats by 14 points in one poll and 18 points in the other. As RT Strategies pollster Thom Riehle puts it, "We are approaching the point where most Democrats can't wait to vote, and some Republicans are embarrassed about voting. The effect of the lopsided partisan political interest in voting is magnified in low-turnout midterms, such as in 1974 and 1994."

Finally, money counts. When you add up the June 30 cash-on-hand figures for the two parties' House and Senate campaign committees, Republicans have only an $11M edge---$91M compared with $80M. During the past 9 election cycles, the GOP generally spent 50 to 100% more than the Democrats. That's not happening this year.

Looking at the House race by race, we rate 15 Republican-held seats and no Democratic ones as "toss-ups." House Democrats need a 15-seat gain, and it wouldn't take much of a wave for them to get it. Even without a big wave, Democrats could add five of the six seats they need to take over the Senate. And it's important to remember the typical domino effect in Senate elections---the closest races tend to break overwhelmingly in the same direction.

The bottom line: Unless something happens to interrupt current patterns, the House will turn over and the GOP will hang on to the Senate by a thread.



BRITISH IRAQ VETERANS SUFFER MENTAL ILLNESS

Defense Ministry warned families of returning veterans to be aware of possible aftereffects.

VA Watchdog dot Org
August 7, 2006

British Iraq vets suffer mental illness

LONDON, (UPI)---More than 1,500 British soldiers who served in Iraq now suffer from psychiatric illnesses, Britain's Defense Ministry says.

More than 800 soldiers have been admitted to clinics since the war began, Britain's Independent newspaper reports.

The Defense Ministry also warned families of returning veterans to be aware of "possible aftereffects" from the battlefield.

Many soldiers returning from Iraq have suffered trauma after seeing friends killed in action and civilians hit by suicide bombs.

Others have become withdrawn, erratic or depressed, the ministry says.

These symptoms are sometimes associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, which results from exposure to, or confrontation with, stressful experiences that a person experiences as highly traumatic.

They can also include nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, memory loss and loss of appetite.

A seperate study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last week, showed U.S. veterans returning from the Iraq war were more likely than other U.S. soldiers to suffer memory and attention lapses.

Larry Scott


***This makes you wonder about what we don't know about Iraq yet! Is this a result from our troops' point of view that this war is hopeless and they'd rather be home? I'm sure that they would all rather be home, but if they feel like they are fighting a losing battle, then what the hell is the sense of them being there?

THROWING IN THE TOWEL ON IRAQ

Finally, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has thrown in the towel on the Iraq War.

Published on The Progressive
Bay Matthew Rothschild
August 4, 2006


"It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are baby-sitting a civil war," he wrote in his Times column on August 4.

Long the war's leading liberal defender, Friedman came late and reluctantly to the realizations that the jig is up.

"We can't throw more good lives after good lives," he wrote.

Beyond the human costs of the quagmire, which the peace movement has long tallied, Friedman also recognized what we in the peace movement have been saying about the security ramifications: "The longer we maintain a unilateral failing strategy in Iraq...the stronger the enemies of freedom will become," Friedman concluded.

This marks quite a journey for Friedman.

In his columns leading up to the war, Friedman supported the effort to take Saddam out, though not in the unilateralists fashion favored by the Bush Administration.

Nevertheless, in his final column on March 21, just as Bush was launching the war, Friedman wrote: "Bush's view is that in the absence of a UN endorsement, this war will become 'self-legitimating' when the world sees most Iraqis greet U.S. troops as liberators. I think there is a good chance that will play out."

He also said that defeating Saddam was necessary but not sufficient to achieve "a more progressive Iraq and a world with fewer terrorist suppliers dedicated to destroying the U.S."

Even at that moment, he understood that the Bush team's bullying approach had to change. "It needs to get off its high horse and start engaging people on the World Street, listening to what's bothering them," he wrote, saying that the Bush folks need an "attitude lobotomy."

But that was wishful thinking. And he should have known better.

We still have the same lazy, arrogant Bush, the same creepy Dick Cheney, and the same obtuse Donald Rumsfeld running the show, just as they always have. They weren't about to let themselves be strapped onto a gurney for brain surgery.

Sometimes, Friedman seemed to suspend his skepticism about the Bush folks and to impute to them the loftiest of motives.

Consider his column of October 30, 2003, entitled "It's No Vietnam:"

"U.S. power is not being used in Iraq for oil, or imperialism, or to shore up a corrupt status quo, as it was in Vietnam and elsewhere in the Arab world during the cold war," he wrote. "This is the most radical-liberal revolutionary war the U.S. has ever launched---a war of choice to install some democracy in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world."

Oddly, in a column for months previously, he wasn't so naive. On June 4, 2003, in a column entitled "Because We Could," Friedman wrote. "The 'real reason' for this war, which was never stated, was that after 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world. Afghanastan wasn't enough."

As you can see, Friedman has oscillated back and forth on the Iraq War.

He ridiculed the Rumsfeld Doctrine as "just enough troops to lose," but he never could quite get off the war bandwagon.

On January 12, 2004, in Slate, he was waxing enthusiastic. "I feel even more strongly today than I did the day after the war started that, while the Bush team has made an utter mess of the diplomacy and postwar planning, it was still the right war and still has a decent chance to produce a decent outcome."

THAT CHANCE HAS NOW VANISHED.

THAT OUTCOME IS NOW UNATTAINABLE.

At least Friedman finally realizes all that.

But he should have listened to his wife more. As he has noted in several of his columns, she was against the war from day one.