Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007
Eritrea ranked last for first time while G8 members, except Russia, recover lost ground
Bloggers now threatened as much as journalists in traditional media
Reporters Without Borders
The United States of America ranks number 48. Freedom of the press is enshrined in the Bill of Rights, but the U.S. ranks a miserable number 48. The U.S. should be number 1 don't you think. Of course, it depends upon what Reporters Without Borders are using as criteria. I suspect their criteria are pretty reasonable.
Who Needs Regulations When You've Got a Golden Parachute?
By RALPH NADER
September 10, 2008
This is no endorsement of Ralph Nader. This is simply to help point out that the laissez-faire (let-do) people were wrong when they failed to emphasize the evils of unbridled greed. It must be said here that real laissez-faire capitalists believe that Fannie and Freddie should have been allowed to fail, meaning no bailout. They believe that survival of the fittest or the law of the jungle of the unregulated marketplace is proper.
Well, it is true that allowing Fannie and Freddie to fail would be a warning to those who use shoddy means, but it would also mean going back to the days of snake-oil salesmen where the collective people and their government choose not to have any oversight on what happens in the wider community. It's as putting on blinders. It's up to the people though to decide the degree to which and which kind of regulation they wish to put upon themselves.
There is regulation in Christianity. It's inherent in the heart. It's called a working conscience.
The difference between the laissez-faire capitalists and the Christians is the capitalists are first for self apart from God, who is the working conscience. It's a small but huge difference, depending upon how magnified the vision. Frankly, it makes all the difference in the world. It's a matter of root convictions. The difference is radical.
September 10, 2008
Here's a video from 1986 that is still relevant today. Zappa was a Libertarian. If you watch and listen, you will hear that the issue comes down to one of coercion. John Lofton of the Washington Times argues that the people should have the right to turn to their government to use its power (collective, coercive power) to censor out what the majority would prefer not be placed in the public sphere. Frank Zappa held that the Bill of Rights leans way over to allowing freedom of expression in ways that the majority may find objectionable. Nevertheless, Frank still showed his inconsistency or hypocrisy when he advocated the use of the state for coercive defense of the nation.
by Chris Floyd
Monday, 08 September 2008
...truth of the initial report: On the night August 22, American bombs killed approximately 90 people sleeping in their homes in the village of Azizabad, a village where the Taliban had no presence.
Chris covers Carlotta Gall's New York Times piece about U.S. military atrocities in Afghanistan. Chris is rightly offended by the U.S. military. He does a good job of reinforcing Gall's piece. She exposes the repeated, blatant lies and callousness of the utterly wicked U.S. military.
There is also this video of the dead women and children murdered by the U.S.
Ten ways the McCain/Palin GOP is now stealing the Ohio vote
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
The Columbus Free Press
September 9, 2008
Well, they stole the inheritance of all when they took over the Commons by force of arms. They grant themselves title to that land that does not, nor has it ever, belonged to them by rights. They steal Iraq's oil. They steal as much of the resources of the planet as possible. It's pure selfishness. Of course they steal elections. It's their root spirit that is Satan by definition.
Filmmaker Urges International Tribunal to Probe 9/11
DPA News Agency
Just in time as a reminder, since the anniversary of 9/11 is here
[Warning: Site can contain swearword. If such may cause you to stumble, don't visit.]
Princeton University Reveals How the GOP Steals Election
by Len Hart
The Existentialist Cowboy
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
This video is a good job by the people at Princeton. It amazed me when I found out that hardware and software for elections was produced by Republican-controlled, for-profit corporations. The system is impossibly corrupt.
Defend Science Project
To be clear: Many who continue to hold religious beliefs can and should rally to this call to DEFEND SCIENCE. This is not about science trying to destroy religion. It is about defending science from a specific right-wing political agenda which, coupled with a fundamentalist, Biblical-literalist religious ideology, is setting out to implement a program that will fundamentally pervert and undermine science and the scientific process itself.
The RLCC has no problem with the self-definition by those who call themselves scientists with what they call science. The RLCC though does not hold that that science can justifiably assert certainty. It can only say the outcomes and interpretations of its method based upon testing. It cannot speak beyond that. It cannot prove or disprove whether anything lies beyond that method's ability to apprehend.
The RLCC is not for teaching an altered definition of the scientific method in classes dedicated to that method. It is in favor of teaching what is the philosophy of science relative to all philosophical and religious systems. This is no threat but rather broadening.
by Nouriel Roubini
Sep 9, 2008
Nouriel Roubini's Global EconoMonitor
So now Comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke (as originally nicknamed by Willem Buiter) have now turned the USA into the USSRA (the United Socialist State Republic of America). Socialism is indeed alive and well in America; but this is socialism for the rich, the well connected and Wall Street. A socialism where profits are privatized and losses are socialized with the US tax-payer being charged the bill of $300 billion.
This biggest bailout and nationalization in human history comes from the most fanatically and ideologically zealot free-market laissez-faire administration in US history. These are the folks who for years spewed the rhetoric of free markets and cutting down government intervention in economic affairs. But they were so fanatically ideological about free markets that they did not realize that financial and other markets without proper rules, supervision and regulation are like a jungle where greed - untempered by fear of loss or of punishment - leads to credit bubbles and asset bubbles and manias and eventual bust and panics.
The truth is catching on. The speculators were not taking any risks with their own money. They were risking the taxes yet unpaid by those who are poorer than they are and who may very well be much more frugal and generous.
Hold Your Heads Up [Liberals]
By BOB HERBERT
New York Times
Published: September 8, 2008
Well, there are liberals and then there are liberals. This site is by the Real Liberal Christian Church, but it isn't for the coercive secular state or any coercive state for that matter. God's state is finally understood when one understands that coerciveness is counterproductive.
Bob Herbert is right though about where one will find more of the spirit of giving and sharing.
The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful. (Isaiah 32:5)
By Patrick Cockburn
Friday, 5 September 2008
Mr Woodward concludes that there were four factors leading to the reduction in violence in Iraq: covert operations, troop reinforcements, the decision by the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to restrain his Mehdi Army militia, and the rise of the Awakening Movement in the Sunni community opposing al-Qa'ida in Iraq.
Tell us something we didn't already know, Mr. Woodward. Money is what made the difference. The U.S. Military did not clear and is not holding anything. The Surge (troop increase) is not what made the difference. Money paid to warlords made the difference. That money has not purchased loyalty.
The fact is that the U.S. caused the sectarian fighting so that the U.S. could divide and conquer and rule. It antagonized the Sunni and then antagonized the Shia by posing as Sunni while bombing and killing. Now it is going after the Shias in Iran. It has always been so.
Ku Klux Klan member James Ford Seale has reportedly been released from prison after a year for the murder in 1964 of Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore, two black 19-year-olds. The court released him citing that the statute of limitations had run out before he was tried. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is no statute of limitations for murder. Was he not charged with murder? Was he not convicted on murder charges? Is this a technicality, because he was also charged and convicted of kidnapping? He can't be retried for murder. That would be double jeopardy. It seems strange that the court would not throw out the kidnapping portion but retain the murder conviction. Well, as a Christian, the important thing is whether or not James Ford Seale repents. If he hasn't done that, or doesn't do that, and in earnest, who can save his soul?
By Ayesha Rascoe
Wed Sep 10, 11:17 PM ET
The Democrats caving in — anti-environmentalism
By Ori Lewis
Wed Sep 10, 11:02 PM ET
Reuters is reporting the Jewish settlers are still annexing tens of thousands of acres of the West Bank. This is Palestinian land they are just taking, because they have the backing of the military superpower, the U.S. Without that backing, they wouldn't be able to get away with stealing even more land. I hate people who just take other people's land, don't you?
I'm a Christian. I'm supposed to love my enemies. Well, I do. Jesus clearly teaches that there is a love-hate relationship with our fellow human beings. He even said that anyone who doesn't hate his own family and even himself in this world can not follow him. I understand that perfectly. I agree with it completely. It's contextual.
The meaning of the term hate varies depending upon the context that is intended. It makes perfect sense. We are to hate the evil people do. People are known for what they are by their results or fruits, as Jesus says. If someone's results are evil, then that person is evil. Well, the Jews who are stealing Palestinian's lands are evil.
The Christian thing to do is to rebuke them and forgive them when they repent and atone. The Christian thing is to do that because it is loving to care enough to inform people of the right path so they won't fall further into the consequences of their evil actions. Stealing Palestinian land will catch up with all unrepentant Jews.
Even when those Jews don't repent and atone, Christians won't use coercive measures against them. Christians leave it to the spirits to handle things. It's out of the Christian's hands. We can not force anyone to do the right thing. Force is wrong in and or itself. It's no example for righteousness.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)