Tuesday Oct 6th 2009

woman voting imagesHour One: Is hate speech from the pulpit the same as hate speech from any where else? with Mikey Weinstein www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org

Hour Two: "Afghanistan: 20 years of war or 3 cups of tea?" Thom debates Frank Gaffney of the Center For Security Policy www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org

Hour Three: "Why are conservatives afraid of a world of peace? Thom confronts conservative John Derbyshire about why he thinks women shouldn't vote and other pessimistic conservative ideas  www.johnderbyshire.com

plus...Don Siegelman www.donseigelman.com with an update on his case


Mark (not verified) 13 years 25 weeks ago

On a re-run of “Law and Order” I viewed the other day, a former Black Panther-type was put on trial for shooting, in what he claimed was self-defense, a former adversary police officer (who happened to be responsible for putting his son in a wheelchair for life) during an “accidental” raid on the former black radical’s apartment. The prosecutor, played by Sam Waterston, a former “liberal” and now a pitch-man for a stock market trading company, repeated a charge that I find mendacious to say the least. The current defense against being accused of racism is calling the other guy a racist—that is to say, any minority who is angry at white people because of perceived racism, is himself guilty of racism. This is the “Racism exists, but it’s the other guy ,” line of reasoning, since there is this strange belief that stereotyping and discrimination are not technically racism; it is what right-wing enthusiast Dinesh D’Souza calls “rational discrimination” based on “rightful” prejudice.

It seems that there is a fine line between racism and basing decisions on race; there just seems to be a disagreement when that line is crossed. In this episode of “Law and Order,” the prosecutor would have us believe that fighting racism is itself an act of racism, merely for the fact that the black man felt threatened by a cop who happened to be white (as if this wasn’t to be expected). We saw this during the Rev. Jeremiah Wright brouhaha. Here was a man who was undoubtedly scarred by the experience of racism in his time, and was the about the same age as a Chicago boy, Emmitt Till, was brutally maimed and killed by Mississippi white men for the crime of whistling at a white woman; when Till's body was returned to Chicago, his mother made certain that people saw the horror, and not be allowed to pretend it didn't happen. Many people would say let bygones be bygones, the world has changed, be satisfied with patronization. So what if beneath the surface sheen of a president, successful athletes and entertainers there is a rotten foundation.

History is plain enough, despite Law and Order’s propaganda that everyone is guilty. The Black Panthers talked revolution, but J. Edgar Hoover and his law enforcement helpers made sure it was only Panthers who were killed; Fred Hampton’s blood-soaked bed sheets was testimony to that.

Mark (not verified) 13 years 25 weeks ago

This past Sunday, I was forced to watch the Indianapolis Colts whip the Seahawks; the Colts players were wearing caps with pink visors, in accordance with the NFL’s observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Some statistics: One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetimes, and it is responsible for 2.9 percent of all causes of mortality among women. A 2007 study revealed that $25,000 per death was spent on breast cancer research in 2006, while less than $2,000 per death was spent on lung cancer, the biggest killer among cancers. Since breast cancer has a 95 percent cure rate if caught early, it is money well spent. Lung cancer, although it infects fewer women than breast or skin cancer, kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer each year. Colon cancer (depending on its location), by way of comparison has a 59 to 66 percent survival rate five years after detection, which suggests a much higher mortality rate per victim.

I mention this because I was listening to Coast-to-Coast show over the weekend, where a guest was deriding the “overblown” concern about prostate cancer, since it “only” accounted for 3.6 percent of deaths among men; not that I was surprised by that, since C-to-C has a tendency to have guests who see conspiracies everywhere. This is somewhat ironic, since this death rate is higher than that of women who will die of breast cancer as a percent of all causes. Obviously, the fact that breast cancer is probably the most politicized illness in history has shielded it from such complaints. It is also, it seems to me, somewhat disturbing “advice” given that men in general seem less concerned with their health than women are; Bill Clinton, the very picture of health and vitality in his mid-fifties, succumbed to a heart attack, aided by his supposed addiction to McDonald’s burgers and fries. I'm sure many people remember how ghastly weak and shriveled he appeared after his surgery.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago


More re: "Buy American" from today's Minneapolis Star Tribune:

"A tightwad's dilemma: Rethinking buying habits"

Is it more principled to buy American furnishings, even at a premium? How much is food purity worth? In the depths of the recession, one bargain-hunter rethinks his habits.


mathboy (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Wow, I didn't know you could go to Hell for not flying a plane. I guess the Wright Bros. are bigger than Jesus.

rewinn (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Liberals pushing back against the ConservativeBible on Twitter:

This is a fun example of brainstorming AND having fun

Quark (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Again, we're dealing with cults regarding these religious crazies. (Has no one pointed out to them that if they are "living in" the Old Testament, they aren't Christians? Christianity, purely defined, reflects CHRIST and his teachings! These people don't.)

Until these cult members can be deprogrammed, this country needs to curtail and control them (or at least protect us from them.)

Quark (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Frank Schaeffer ("Crazy for God") needs to be taken seriously:


DRichards (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Re: one bargain-hunter rethinks his habits.

Just this past Sunday I was talking with a fellow small businessman who told me he & his wife forgot to bring lunch, so she went to the dollar store to pick up a couple of tv dinners. He said it tasted "funny", so he looked at the packaging, it was made in China! He took the dinners back and asked for and received a refund.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Bill Moyers said that the main ways to improve one's lot in life in the South was through politics or religion.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

D Richards,


Quark (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago


You should have Mike Malloy on to talk about the Christian Dominionists. They keep cropping up in his life (not in a good way.)

Geph (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Talibangelists or Talibangelicals is useful and concise title.

Kurt Vonnegut stated the situation well in "Cold Turkey":

"For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes.

But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that's Moses, not Jesus.

I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom?

"Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!"

DRichards (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Re: Religion & the military

Constantine knew the benefits in making Christianity the official religion. What better motivation for his military personnel; than to fight & die for "country & God"

DRichards (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Constantine's Sword
(2007) NR

Director Oren Jacoby's intriguing documentary examines the history of anti-Semitism in the Catholic Church (as exposed in James Carroll's controversial book Constantine's Sword) and the link between the U.S. military and the Christian right. From Constantine's reign in the fourth century to today's evangelical base at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jacoby's film offers a provocative look at the roots of holy war.

rewinn (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Geph - what if we DEMAND that the BEATITUDES be posted in our public places, anywhere that the 10 commandments are?

Seriously, this might be a nice push-back strategy.

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

re evangelical Christians in the military

Jeff Sharlet (author of The Family) was recently on GRITtv with Laura Flanders. One of the things he said was that mega-churches are being built on military bases and are the biggest construction projects on the bases.

One of the shocking charges he made was that bailout money (TARP?) is being used to build some of the mega-churches.

Sharlet had attended the recent Value Voters Summit and had some interesting observations. I recommend watching it at


Of course, I strongly recommend GRITtv anyway.

There’s a documentary titled “Military Evangelizing” that airs from time to time on Free Speech TV that covers much of the same ground. It’s not comforting.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago


Your KTLK 1150AM internet feed went down when you asked "What if you were going to a Catholic School in Boston?

Switched to AM620 KPOJ and still zero sound.

rak (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Newsweek article Thom saw on his trip:
"The Taliban in Their Own Words"

Loretta (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

I love what Thom is talking about right now. And I have written several letters to President Obama asking him to bring hammers not bombs to Afghanistan. There are about one million creative ways that we could empower women and their families in Afghanistan if we only worked together on this.

We need to start directing some of the energy we are putting into health care reform into stopping the war in Afghanistan by figuring out ways to get education and business loans into the hands of women who are so very motivated to care for their families and make sure their kids have secure lives.

President Obama could employ thousands and thousands of Americans and send them to Afghanistan to build schools, hospitals, roads, telecommunications. He could re-educate Americans in green-energy technology in Afghanistan, who could then in-turn teach Afghan citizens to create their own sustainable energy and green-energy businesses.

We could be training US citizens in sustainable, organic agriculture while at the same time helping Afghan farmers. President Obama could hire folks who are unemployed in the US to work on Afghan farms and help them get their country stabilized. The military could be used simply to protect us while we are working.

I so agree with what you are saying, Thom. If we simply used all of this money we are using for war to better their country, our problems would be over. What is so difficult about that!

Loretta (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Hi everyone,

I have been enjoying your posts so very much, but I have been busy writing emails to a very sweet guy, so I haven't been able to post very much. Sending lots of warm wishes, though, and I love reading and listening.

DDay (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Re: Posting of religious writings in public places.

This a bad idea. Dueling over which religious writing better pleases each interest group will only serve to escalate and proliferate divisions between people. Proper application of the letter and intent of the establishment clause in the Constitution
should have prevented the ten commandments from being displayed on public property. The principals embodied in this Constitutional teaching were intended to protect the free exercise of religions not to hinder anyone from practicing them. We have made a fair bargain; I won't tell you what specific religion to practice or whether you must practice any religion at all, and in return you won't force me to subsidize or worship your chosen personal doctrines. The arrogant disregard and disrespect for their neighbors personal choices makes those who would enthusiastically force their religion on everyone worthy of no respect by anyone. Two wrongs seldom make right.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

If the Revisionist Rapturarians were living during the “Old Testament” times, they would be idolatrous heretics . . . There would be no Old or New Testament; there would only be Torah and a god made manifest in flesh would be frowned upon like idols of gold AND sacrificing ones kid would still be un-Holy and verboten.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Given the men folk suffer from testosterone poisoning should they be allowed to vote?

Why allow human-formed bipeds be allowed to vote, I mean corporations do everything more effectively . . . Hell, why governments at all?


Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

@rewinn: What if we posted the Bill of Rights on public buildings in lieu of any religious rhetoric?

Quark (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago


I have appreciated some of your recent conversations with conservatives. At least some of their responses didn't seem as knee-jerk jingoistic as so many from people from the standard right-wing think tanks.

As someone who has written posts bemoaning the "traditional" conservative representatives' so-called conversations with you, I just want to thank you for a broader selection of voices.

rewinn (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago


Isn't the bill of rights some sort of commie rhetoric?

( joking )

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Jesus cursed a fig tree into dearth in violation of Jewish prohibitions of damaging fruit trees during war.

rewinn (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

But seriously - about posting stuff in public places.

1. Ya can't beat something with nothing. As long as the alternative to posting the Commandments is to post nothing, we have a strategic disadvantage

2. The Bill of Rights would be a great pick. We could even pick up support from the gun nuts, which is strategically interesting

3. The other approach: post MORE! When the State of Washington opened up its winter holiday displays, there were Christian, Jewish, Atheists, Festivus displays ... it got out of hand because too many people wanted to speak. That's not a bad problem to have, IMO. It ended up with the State throwing up its hands and saying, forget it! No religious stuff at all.

So, as an alternative, I would suggest trying THAT approach; whereever the Commandments are posted, post either the BoR or else a HUGE catalog of religious, philosophical and legal tracts.

mathboy (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

The closest thing to a male correlate of abortion would be child support payments made by unwed fathers. You could argue that since the father has no say in whether the mother aborts the fetus, she should have no say in whether he pays child support.

Geph (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

@rewinn - Love the beatitudes; however, it may be better to have an M25 movement that supports putting the central tenet of Matthew:25

"...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Variations on the Golden Rule would be good as it is found in most cultures and religions so would be acceptable to a broad audience and a wonderful central philosophy for all.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

About public postings:

What about graffiti laws that combine the First and Second Amendment by allowing folk to shoot taggers . . . You shoot then call it in then . . . We could legislate that the body be left for 30 days in the gutter . . . Graffiti would go away.

Richard L. Adlof (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

OR Hillel’s: That which is distasteful to you; do not do unto others. This precludes the “I torture you cuz I love you” crowd.

rewinn (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

@Geph - M25/Golden Rule sounds good to me. Let's research if anyone else is already doing it, otherwise get cranking later this week. There ought to be similar lines in most religious & philosophical texts; a collection would be pretty useful!

And congrats on winning the book: "Talibangelists" made me snort my coffee!

Quark (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

B Roll,

I just watched the GRITtv video you linked to in your previous post. Yes, that was a very informative interview with Jeff Sharlet. I was glad to hear his warning about Tim Pawlenty, too.


Gerald Socha (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

I was only able to listen to the last 10 minutes of the first hour so the other 50 minutes may not match my comment. What the religious fundamentalists must understand that by 2080 Islam will be the majority religion in the US. Christians are committing crimes against humanity in the Middle East. The Islamic religion will gain more converts than Christianity. Our Christian atrocities are turning off millions of people.

Trying to follow and listen to Gaffney is difficult because he does not make any sense. He is endless babble.

Derbyshire believes women should vote but he writes a book to make a case for women not to vote. He did this book to make money.

Here is my pet peeve. We are fighting in three wars and a fourth war is around the corner in attacking Iran. The US has commenced WW III. If we are going to fight, then we should mobilize our population like WW II and not leave Nazi Americans with the idea that war is a video game. It is important for Nazi Americans to make some sacrifices back home in Nazi America. We carry on like nothing is happening in the Middle East. We are distracted so our minds are not on our crimes against humanity in the Middle East.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Thom continues to prove a point that Americans are stupid. What is the saying that every ninety seconds is born a stupid American? Americans are notorious for wasting money. That is the American way.

Build schools and educate girls and do not make wars!!!

Gerald Socha (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Senators should give up their socialized health care plans.


brian a. hayes (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

one great problem in the world is fundamentalism in all religions authoritarian leader that dictate what they perceive as the truth. people must have total freedom to worship as they want. the goal of religion must be to empower people to a higher state of life. to me that higher state of life is one of compassion

brian a. hayes (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

the meanning of life is to live with the life condition of compassion.

brian a. hayes (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

all religions must talk about the greatness of living a life of compassion

B Roll (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago


I'm glad you watched that segment with Jeff Sharlet. Between Jeff Sharlet, Frank Schaeffer, Max Blumenthal and Christ Hedges we have a lot of information and insight into the radical right and the Christian right. The point is what we do with this information.

I thought one of his most important points was his criticism of the “left” for looking down on the followers of the Christian right leaders. The left, by not addressing their justified concerns, some of which are the same as ours but seen through a different prism have left them as easy pickings for the Christian right.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Conservatives believe that the Bible is too liberal. The Bible is a reflection of Jesus. Jesus was a liberal. In Jesus' heart was the essence of liberalism. Jesus' heart was filled with love, mercy, and forgiveness. This is the liberal's way of living his/her life.

Rick in Canadia (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

I love the Imperial Canadians scenario. If we invaded (sorry) I imagine you would take up arms (excuse us) to try to repel us.. Sorry about the White House, I see you have rebuilt it.. it's very nice..
Ok, maybe you invading us is a bit more believable.. oil, water.. doughnuts? Beer?
We sort of expect it. Of course if it was winter, you would forget to plug the tanks in overnight and they wouldn't start next day.
Point is, we would take up arms, at least in a resistance, just like you.
Once we pushed back, we would invade again, taking over the 11th to 60th provinces. When we take over Alaska we would exile Sarah Palin to Newfoundland with an english translator.

Rick in Canadia (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

A modest proposal, no yearling children involved.
You have one problem; a large number of forclosed homes that the banks or maybe now you, own.
You will have another problem when a large number of service-men-and-women return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Hopefully they will have a good modern version of the GI Bill. That would involve training, post secondary education and if I remember there was assistance in the original GI Bill for buying a home.

What about linking those; having a program where returning soldiers could reasonably buy up some of those forclosed houses? You might need some programs to renovate neglected houses.. jobs there, assistance with mortgages, especially if attending school, along with some help and attention so that people aren't just put in houses they can't afford.

Not an instant middle class but maybe a damn good start.
Advantages; a way for people, not developers, to get some bargains, a good form of 'thank-you' to the veterans, with a built-in and orderly system to determine who is entitled to the help.
Yes, there would have to be ways to qualify, but there should be lots who will.
In the neighbourhoods, empty houses get families back. Local businesses can recover somewhat and the over-all housing market would improve.

Let's see republicans fight this. Not deserving? Taking advantage? Don't 'support the troops'?

We all need to treat the veterans and troops' families better; Canada is no better; there have ben military families on food stamps etc.. shameful.
At least when one of ours is killed his name and story is the lead news item and the ramp ceremonies where they are sent home are televised, not hidden.

Gerald Socha (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Obama needs to fire McCrystal but he is too weak to be president.

We cannot win a war in Afghanistan. The terrain is a huge problem. Here are the mountains and Vietnam had the jungles.

Stupid does as stupid is!!!

nora (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

Regarding THOM's mention of his favorite sci-fi author's method of creating financial worth based on energy. Not good enough for my vision of people working happily and well at what they enjoy.

And I bristle at the economic core being "making things".

Making things. Making things. Making things.

Sorry. As a basis for an 'economy' -- how can it ever be sustainable?

Sustaining things should have worth,too!

I say 'time' as well as 'energy' should be part of remuneration too. That way the idea that a garbage collector's time is less valuable than a brain surgeon's is reached. And people pursuing a vocation on the basis primarily on money would wither. We should choose our vocations based on talent and love of doing them. Pay everyone pretty much equally for their TIME then.

nora (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago

I think THOM mentioned a phrase in passing -- about the Rightwing's reaching their success through lies and scams or something or other -- ways we on the progressive side would not choose.

I want to see all of us rethink using the words 'success/succeed' and 'win' in relation to the techniques the Rightwing uses and has used. We know their brand of 'success' is anathema to our idea of what succeeding is (like denying healthcare versus our desire to DELIVER healthcare!). So let's use a word that better describes what the Rightwing's goal is: Their goal is DOMINATION; so I say we say that from now on. To use the words 'success' and 'win' in relation to their goal is confusing. Instead we need to say clearly that the Right is 'reaching it's goal to dominate', 'they are attempting to dominate the process', and so on.

Indeed, when we speak of our own desires for success, we should describe the way that success differs as well.

Just an attempt to get clearer on what we are talking about. Because I can't describe even one thing the Right desires to concretize that I would consider a 'successful' attainment!

EDWARD CAPO BEACH (not verified) 13 years 24 weeks ago


Short-Selling Vs. Naked Short-Selling: An Explanation

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

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