Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dogemperor on Dominionism

DailyKos diarist Dogemperor, whom I have cited several times in the past, has a new series up on Dominionists and their "parallel economy."

Dominionism is a movement through which conservative Christians are attempting to influence and control the government, resulting in a nation under a fundamentalist Christian theocratic regime. Dominionists include such well-known folks as Richard DeVos (AmWay founder and former Michigan gubernatorial candidate), former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Tom Monaghan (founder of Domino's Pizza and the ultra-conservative Ave Maria School of Law, now creating a fundamentalist community in Florida), and Truett Cathy (head of restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A, which distributes Focus on the Family materials in their kids' meals). Other corporations under the Dominionist umbrella include Hobby Lobby, Paxson Communications (PaxTV) and US Plastics.

Dogemperor's current series examines each aspect of the Dominionists economy in detail, including a sobering look at "Christian Yellow Pages", Dominionist business directories which allow the fundamentalist Christians to deal only with those of like mind; corporate sponsors of Dominionism; Dominionist health care systems (the vast majority of which have no valid certifications in their respective fields); and Dominionist social services , again with no valid certification process.

To me, the scariest part is the social and medical aspects. Dominionists often practice what could be termed "spiritual abuse" or "religious abuse", including exorcisms, ritual child abuse, and "deliverance ministry." Of course, as ultra-conservative fundies, they also believe that sexual orientation is freely chosen (and hence, someone can be "de-gayed"). One of the most notorious "behavior modification" -- e.g., degaying -- groups, Staright, Inc., has particularly close ties to two Southern states... Florida and Texas. As Dogemperor points out:

Florida has a particularly infamous history here; the state actually has certified an alternate accreditation board for "faith-based" groups, and its head of Department of Children and Families and Department of Human Services heads are both former Straight, Inc. leaders.

It furthermore doesn't help when one of the main people partnering with the President on "faith-based issues" is the former head of Straight, Inc. himself. (Of note, Sembler and Bush set up an agency similar to Florida's FACCCA as an alternative licensing board for faith-based "behaviour mod" facilities; after five years of multiple incidents of abuse at these facilities exempted from licensing (including a facility where two attempted escapees were forced into a pit in a manner more resembling something out of Gitmo than a rehab facility) Texas finally discontinued the program--but not before people were forced into "faith-based coercion". George W. Bush has since attempted to use the failed Texas model as a nationwide model for "faith-based services".

Dogemperor points out that, because these abusive tactics are explicitly approved by the Dominionist community, "medical" and "social services" may not report child abuse to other authorities, leaving abused children in Dominionist families with no recourse, and no safety.

Dogemperor also looks at the influence these people have on one george w. bush. Ashcroft, of course, had considerable influence on the idiot king, but Dominionist organizations have also been integral parts of CommanderGuy's base: Coalition for National Policy, Focus on the Family, Traditional Values Coalition, Foundation for Traditional Values, Campus Crusade for Christ, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Gospel Communications, Salem Communications, Assemblies of God, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services (a dominionist-run "mental health" facility), and Coral Ridge Ministries.

This sobering series -- and all of Dogemperor's work -- should be carefully studied by those who fear the direction in which the fundies are dragging us.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Skeletor and Homeland (In)Security

The Chicago Tribune had an article the other day on Skeletor's warnings of new al-Qaeda attacks against the US.

"I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk," Chertoff told the Chicago Tribune's editorial board in an unusually blunt and frank assessment of America's terror threat level. [snip] And he indicated that his remarks were based on "a gut feeling" formed by past seasonal patterns of terrorist attacks, recent al-Qaeda statements, and intelligence he did not disclose.

First of all, believing that the bush cabal has any understanding whatsoever of "intelligence" gives them much more credit than they deserve.

There have been reports already that suggest intelligence warnings at a similar level to the summer before Sept. 11, 2001 and that al-Qaeda may be mobilizing.
Oh, goody. Now the busheviks can ignore the upcoming PDB, "bin Laden Vows To "Do It Again," just as they ignored the first one.

"What do you think is going to happen to your business when a guy comes across the border with a phony document and blows up a target in Buffalo or Detroit?" he asked. "Do you think the American public is then going to allow the border to remain open?"
As opposed to when nineteen guys came across the border and blew up the WTC? Oh, right, those guys were all Saudis, and hence friends of Bandar Bush and dumbya. Besides, what the hell kind of terrist targets are they going to find in Detroit or Buffalo?!? They going to blow up the Joe Louis Arena? The Cheektowaga Wal-Mart?

"We have done a lot to degrade the enemy's capability," he said. "But the enemy has also done a lot to retool its capability...It leads me to feel we ought to be more vigilant."

These MO-rons couldn't be vigilant about anything (except stealing elections) if their very lives depended on it.

And to drive the point home, even the Christian Science Monitor thinks it's silly:

Beat That (Sirius) Dog!

Corpus Juris, who is one of the many talented bloggers at Watching Those We Chose, has a post up on Sirius radio, describing Rick Perlstein's interview on Sirius, and the fact that their political channels are called "Sirius Patriot" and "Sirius Left"; Patriot is described (by Sirius) thusly:
Coast-to-coast conservative -- SIRIUS Patriot celebrates the red, white and blue with patriotic conservatives who aren’t afraid to tell you what they think.

... while "Left" has this description:
Liberal talk radio at SIRIUS. Liberal radio with entertaining hosts only on SIRIUS.

CJ makes the point abundantly clear:
They might as well have said that only manly men are tough enough to listen to SIRIUS PATRIOT, but SIRIUS LEFT is carefully designed for latte drinking sissies.

CJ and others -- including KagroX at the Great Orange Satan (Kos) and Blue Girl -- urge readers to let Sirius Radio know what they think of Sirius' dissing us.

Here's my letter.

Dear Ms. Schupf:

I had been considering Sirius Radio, both for my three vehicles, and for two owned by my parents. I HAD been. After reading about Rick Perlstein's interview on Mike Feder's program, with its clear implication that Sirius believes liberals are not patriotic, and its emphasis on "patriotic conservatives" versus "entertaining [liberal] hosts", I changed my mind.

Liberals are, in many ways, MORE patriotic than the flag-waving conservatives and neocons, who cower at home sporting "support Our Troops" stickers on their SUV's. For instance, we think that providing our troops with the training, equipment, armor, medical treatments and time off they need is more supportive than some silly sticker.

We insist on doing our own thinking, instead of letting the administration think for us. We approach life with an open mind. We are willing to consider the other side of an argument, without lapsing immediately into hysterical shrieking of "the 'terrists' will win", "you hate 'Murka" and "you hate the sweet baby Jesus." We do not believe that gay marriage, abortion, or gun control will destroy the very fabric of our society. We do not cry piously about the morality of others while we ourselves visit prostitutes who dress us up in diapers. Nor, for that matter, do we smoke meth while patronizing gay male prostitutes.

If behaviors like those are what Sirius considers "patriotic", I see no need to purchase your products or services, and I will urge those I know to do the same (note I said "urge", not demand, as your "patriot" buddies would).

As the blogger Corpus Juris put it at Watching Those We Chose:

They might as well have said that only manly men are tough enough to listen to SIRIUS PATRIOT, but SIRIUS LEFT is carefully designed for latte drinking sissies.

Since I am neither an oil billionaire nor a war profiteer -- I work for my money -- I think I'll go with another provider.

Obviously, the only other realistic alternative to Sirius is XM Satellite. Just to sweeten the pot, XM has a dedicated emergency channel -- XM 247 -- that is available 24-7 (hence the channel number) to provide emergency information in a disaster.

Been A While....

As my "Cat'lic" friends in the old hometown of NYC might say, "Bless me, fadda, for I have sinned. It's been six weeks since my last post."

Since I'm like CommanderGuy in that things are never, ever my fault, I can only throw myself on the mercy of my readers, with an explanation. It's been quite busy at work (which, from the bosses' point of view, is A Good Thing), plus I'm trying to get another business off the ground, plus we're still stuck with dial-up at the spacious yet luxurious 618Rants Galactic Headquarters.

Obviously, time to play some catch-up.

Part I - Pet Blogging... or, the Ministry of Homeland Security strikes again

Most important things first. As previously noted, the Ministry of Homeland Security strictly enforces the Federal Pet Blogging and Associated Silliness Act of 2002. I just received a threat-o-gram from them, pointing out that my last pet blogging occurred on January 14. They... implied... that I'd better get my poop in a group before they disappear me to Club Fed - Gitmo.

Emily, our Lab, has a slight problem. She has a severe case of OCD -- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder -- about chasing her tennis ball. She'd be out there 24-7 if she could. We found a gadget called a Chuck-It, which launches a ball further than my tired old arm ever could. Anywho, she's coming back from about her 83rd full-speed dash into the back yard, when Joey pounced on her. Yup, that big mean 12-pound catbeast terrorized my poor little 65-pound dog.

Joey, in a typical "Dreaded Wild Kitty of Borneo" pose

Speaking of Joey (the cat), he's pissed at me because Mr Bailey (a local feral cat) decided to de-feralize himself and moved in with us. Bailer, as he's not so affectionately known, thinks he's maintaining his feral street cred by only snuggling with Mommy when I'm not around. But Mommy finks him out. Bailster sneaks into the house underneath Emily, jumps on the bed, grabs the wife's hand in all four paws, curls around the hand like a lobster, and purrs contentedly for 3-4 hours of belly-skritching.

Mr. Bailey, on the porch, expressing his disdain for becoming a house-cat

Politics and Other Less-Fun Stuff

The always-talented, always informative Red Girl, Blue State has a whole slew of posts up, all of which are worth reading. Topics range from Sirius Radio (which I had thought about getting till I read this), and the hypocritical mouth-breathin', Bible-thumpin', hooker-humpin', sister-marryin', rifle-rack-in-the-pickmup neocon wingnut idjits, to CommanderGuy and a pat on the back for a handful of Rethugs (Hagel, Coleman, Sununu, Smith, Warner, Collins and Snowe for voting for Webb's amendment to the Defense Authorizations Bill, and Bond for voting to suspend the Pentagon's use of a sleaze tactic to cheat injured vets out of benefits they earned).

Disaster Preparedness and Other Stuff We Wish We Didn't Have to Worry About

Been a lot of articles, both in the Tubes and in the dead-tree sector, on disaster preparedness. As I get through them, I'll do additional posts on items of interest.

And, In Parting, A Sign of My Deep Admiration for CommanderGuy Decider