Decline of the GOP

Interesting article about it here. What’s even more interesting is its premise that the Democratic party has already fallen.


Towards Armageddon

The sad truth is that many misled evangelical Christians back Bush because they believe that things are going as planned when the world is in turmoil and disarray. War is good if it brings the Second Coming closer to fruition. God is in control, they will say, because their belief is that out of this kind of chaos a one world Christian order will emerge, led by Jesus Christ himself. They thing to themselves: the end times are near. We can feel good about ourselves. We are one of ‘the Chosen’.

This is insanity. The worst kind of prophecy is the one that is self-fulfilling. To think that mankind can create the circumstances by which the Second Coming will take place is utter hubris. It is a complete and utter misinterpretation and misapplication of scripture. In the Bible, Jesus says, “There will always be wars and rumors of wars.”

Yet a reliance on words and symbols from ancient texts is folly when current circumstances and simple morality lead to contrary actions. The United States holds no special place in ‘God’s great plan’. Jesus also said, “you will know my true follower by the fruits of their labor.” You cannot, in your intentions, bring about heaven, if instead you bring about hell.

The problem is uncertainty. Politicians gather power through preying upon people’s uncertainty. Uncertainty breeds illogical religious beliefs; illogical in that the fear itself drives people to accept any other explanation other than the unacceptable reality.

For example: rather than face death as a final end to one’s life, there are those who must invent a reality beyond death so that three things are accomplished 1) a certainty about what happens after one is unable to perceive things (i.e. die) 2) a type of control over the future – most religious beliefs are based on a need to control one’s surroundings 3) a feeling of superiority over those who are not believed to be ‘going to Heaven’ – this translates, politically, to the familiar ‘we’re right – you’re wrong’ argument. In other words, the chosen are justified in anything they do because, ultimately, they are going to heaven. Whereas, others, who are not going to heaven, are simply not justified. This sets up a permanent underclass of the ‘unsaved’ that become, in the eyes of the ‘saved’ pitied, at best, and contemptable, at worst.

Again, these beliefs are simply rubbish and devoid of ethical considerations. In this worldview: we are all created equal – equally sinful. There is no pursuit of happiness; only a pursuit of godliness (however that is defined). Liberty is only a term that defines one’s state when completely free of sin and thus utterly enmeshed in religious cultism. Up is down. Black is white. Good is evil. Evil is good. And might is right.

In reality, Bush, like many political leaders, is only using religion as a path to power. Religion causes people to act in ways they would normally not and follow people they would normally not follow. He actually may personally believe in what he’s saying when he makes religious statements. I personally could not care less about about a leader’s personal religious beliefs – unless they affect his decisions.

Religion has no place in politics because religion deals with the unseen, with issues regarding God, the esoteric, the spiritual. At best, it should fuel self-reflection and individual improvement as well as give guidance as to how to deal with others – including those who are different from us.

Politics, on the other hand, deals with the here and now. At best, it should result in compromises achieved and a more peaceful world.

However, Bush, like many others have done, are using religion to justify actions he and his administration have intended to make all along and along very narrow, unilateral lines. The Bible does not say – “give tax cuts to the wealthy for then you shall prosper.” In fact, Jesus said, “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” It is this lack of separation between religious life and political life that will be Bush’s undoing. Once you start telling people what to believe religiously, you have stepped on the wrong ground.

Letter of the Day

Satire or serious? You make the call…

Editor, Times-Dispatch: On November 2, I will go to the polls and cast my vote for President Bush. My vote not only will be a vote for Bush but a message to Democrats that I will not sit idly by and let the likes of Michael Moore, George Soros, Ted Kennedy, and Al Gore take over the management of this country.

I will turn off my four TVs, leave my $300,000 home, get into one of my three cars, drive down roads free of tanks, roadside bombs, and suicide bombers, and realize that I won’t be able to play tennis that morning and that possibly I’ll be late for bridge that afternoon. As I head to the polls my message to the Iraqi people is that I feel their pain. I know how they long for freedom and the time they can offer their children a hope for a better life. Help is on the way. As I cast my vote my main concern will not be leaving this world deficit-free for my childen but leaving them a world that is safe, that they may continue to realize the gift of freedom.

From time to time we all wonder why we are here. I hope to wake up on November 3 to find I did make a difference in the lives of 26 million Iraqi people. God bless America, and God bless our President. Betty B. Maher. richmond.

Quote of the Day (with plenty of bonus information)

“There has been a misunderstanding of what our intention was; in part because it wasn’t clear to us what our intention was.”

–Barry Faber, lawyer for media conglomerate Sinclair Broadcast Group, regarding dropped plans to air a John Kerry-bashing film called ‘Stolen Honor’.

Sinclair owns 20 FOX, 19 WB, 6 UPN, 8 ABC, 3 CBS, 4 NBC affiliates and 2 independent stations and reaches approximately 24% of all U.S. television households in about 23 states, mostly on the East Coast and Central region. Sinclair’s stock has dropped more than 15 percent since the controversy over the film erupted 10 days ago.

‘Stolen Honor’ which has had several melodramatic subtitles including: ‘John Kerry’s Record of Betrayal’ and ‘Wounds that will not Heal’ is a supposed ‘documentary’ produced by Red, White & Blue Productions, a production company which was apparently created specifically to create this anti-Kerry tripe.

A call to the number listed on the Red, White & Blue Productions website dials up a media relations company caled Quantum. To their knowledge, no other film has been produced by Red, White & Blue Productions. However, I was informed that Red, White & Blue Produtions is the brainchild of Carlton Sherwood

Carlton Sherwood is a journalist who once worked for the Washington Times as well as Tom Ridge when he was governor of Pennsylvania. He is heavily tied to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. He is also being sued for libel by Kenneth J. Campbell, a Vietnam Veteran and professor of political science and international relations at the University of Delaware over ‘Stolen Honor’.

Sherwood is a man of many hats apparently. He is also Executive Vice President and Director of Communications at an anti-terrorism and security firm called WVC3. WVC3 has provided technical support for the Department of Homeland Security’s ‚ÄúPrevention Exercise Program”.

Sonic Graffitti is Sonic Aggression (Follow-up Post)

I could not agree more with both of my guest’s comments regarding Sonic Graffitti (9/2/04 post). The thought occured to me, too, that this issue speaks to the quality of life for citizens not just as they go about their daily lives out and about, but as they work as well. I’m talking now about high levels of noise in the workplace.

OSHA has standards for industrial noise, but I’m referring to your ordinary crowded office, call center, or other type of administrative facility where chatter and noise is commonplace and detracts from anyone having the ability to concentrate on tasks that require any type of thinking.

Businesses would be wise to find ways they can reduce workplace noise so that workers can concentrate on their jobs. Since the advent of the cubicle and the step away from walled offices, this has become a huge, unexpected problem. I suppose company executives, who have their own cushy offices can’t expect to be concerned about the utter lack of privacy and constant noise levels that most cubicle dwellers must endure, despite the best efforts of Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert).

But it’s not just the average office worker that would benefit from a move towards reducing workplace noise. As productivity gains from computer technology reach a plateau, companies could gain huge levels of productivity if they would only focus on this issue, rather than working solely to raise their CEO’s salaries ever higher.

A suggested solution: give everyone a tall, sound-insulated cubicle with a door. Computer technology allows for every keystroke a worker enters to be recorded by the employer, so supervisors who feel they need to monitor their workers closely do not have to feel that they have to be constantly invading their worker’s physical personal space to accomplish this type of close supervision (not that I necessarily condone this type of micromanagement for all businesses, but for some jobs this may be appropriate).

In conjunction with this, offices could spruce up meeting rooms, break rooms, and other common areas so that workers could not only concentrate on their work but feel good about congregating with their co-workers.

But, back to the issue at hand. Music can be enjoyed at a reasonably loud level in the privacy of one’s car without the need for enormous sub-woofers and other amplifiers. High quality earphones are relatively inexpensive and eliminate the need for music buffs to feel the need to share their tastes with everyone around them.

The point of this type of automobile equipment, however, seems solely to intentionally deliver sonic aggression. It’s akin to psychological warfare and it must end. Cops have to have the balls to get out there and enforce noise ordinances by issuing tickets.

As far as Circuit City and other companies that encourage noise pollution by offering products whose sole purpose is sonic aggression, citizens need to stand up and actively boycott such stores.

But, even more important, the demand for this equipment needs to be squelched. Concerned parents and students as early as the middle school level as well as high school should organize in the model of MADD and those types of organizations and speak out against noise pollution.

In addition, Community Watch groups should look out for and report instances of sonic aggression to local police. Write down license plate numbers.

Finally, I think rap artists, rock stars, and other pop celebrities could do public service announcements speaking out against sonic aggression. If society can de-glamorize the ‘thug’ lifestyle, the problem of noise pollution could dissipate enormously.

But, it’s truly up to local communities to pay attention to this issue in order to deal with it effectively.

This has been a community service posting. Now back to the mundane political chatter more frequently found on this site…

Kerry for President

As a political independent, I don’t usually like to take a side for or against one candidate or another. I usually can find something to harp about on both the Democrat and Republican sides of the aisle. Yet political independence is not equivalent to political ambivalence.

In this Presidential Election, it is abundantly clear that a certain Republican, George W. Bush, is in need of replacement. Despite his personal charisma and his steadfastness in the face of dire circumstances, he has made too many errors in judgment. His steadfastness has proven to be stubborness. His charisma has proven to be chutzpah.

John Kerry is a man more able to gather together all of America’s strengths and focus them on the multitude of problems we have before us. He is as shrewd a politician as any and certainly has weak points. However, the difference between the two men is vast.

Bush is a man of faith and a man of ideology. Yet he is a man of action and a man who believes in strong leadership without reflection.

Kerry is a man of technical nuance and intelligence. He is a man of careful attention and believes in well-crafted leadership.

I believe that intelligence should be more important than bravado. As a result, this blog endorses John Kerry for President.

Moronic Tripe of the Day

Israel Endures Terrorist Threats

Editor, Times-Dispatch: Recent letters have implied that Israel is the source of the problems in the Middle East, and is determined to take more land in its quest for domination. These claims are ironic in that Israel contains only one-tenth of 1 percent of the land in the Middle East, while being pressured to give up even some of that. In addition, Israel has only 6 million inhabitants, 20 percent of whom are Arabs. The rest of the region is controlled by nations numbering about 200 million, many who desire that Israel be driven into the sea.

Apparently some have forgotten the bitter lessons of the atrocities of the Holocaust. Out of the Holocaust came the necessity to secure a homeland for the Jewish people. Since 1948, when it became a nation, Israel has had to constantly defend itself. By the way, the Arabs were also offered part of the land by the UN, but rejected the offer and attacked Israel.

Israel knows that the first war it loses will be its last war. Meanwhile, many place Israel under a double standard. These nations insist that Israel bear the brunt of terrorist attacks and give up land compromising its security. In short, they demand that Israel bear burdens that they themselves would not tolerate.

But there is another facet to this issue that these writers may not know of, or wish to believe. According to the Bible and its prophecies, Israel is God’s chosen people and witnesses of His working among the nations. To not support Israel is analogous to defying God. I believe that history bears this out. Paul Gaitanis. richmond.

I’m no Middle East expert, but I know that there are a lot of experts out there. So I’m sure that if the whole dilemma was as easy as simply acknowledging that the Israelis are God’s chosen people, there wouldn’t be that much of a problem and the Middle East would be one big happy place you see on TV as a great vacation getaway.

You see, the Muslim’s in that region of the world also believe that they are God’s chosen people and history has born that out as well. In fact, you could say any group of people who still exist in the present time can write their history to reflect that God was with them 100% along the way and that they should be getting special treatment. Oh, and everyone else will one day go to Hell. (It’s always so much better to be going to Heaven if you can also say that everyone else is going to eternal damnation).

You also bring up the Holocaust. In 1949, Israel became a state, at least in the eyes of the United States of America. Most Middle East states still don’t recognize its existence. While I agree with you that another Holocaust should not occur, I hardly see how criticism of Israel, the state, equates to the persecution of Jews, as a people. One can reasonably argue for or against government policies without making a statement about all people sharing the nationality or religion of those that make up the majority of the country. In other words, it’s just not the same.

Proponents of Israeli policies need to refrain from their favorite knee-jerk reaction of calling anyone who disagrees with Israel ‘anti-Semite’. Name-calling is not only immature, but it’s not likely to accomplish much and does nothing for your cause. I tend to see Israel, in their treatment of the Palestinians as a big bully. In the name of ‘self-defense’ they administer overkill. However, I am neither an ‘anti-Semite’ nor a ‘pro-Semite’. Come to think of it, I’ve never even met anyone who identifies themselves as a ‘Semite’. And my Grandmother was Jewish.*

Also, constantly referring to the holocaust whenever criticism of Israel arises is equally counterproductive. The Jews, even when they were referred to as the Hebrews (not sure when the names changed*), had similar problems througout their existence. Constant reference to their woes, however, only makes them look weak, when in fact they are not. In fact, do not be fooled into thinking that the U.S. support for Israel has something to do with our country’s belief in the Christian Bible (which, by the way, is not espoused by the Jewish faith). While some may, coincidentally, hold such beliefs, the more logical reason is that it makes sense to hold a strong ally in a region filled with people who are generally not favorable to the West. Israel is an enormous military power that holds similar cultural and economic beliefs and we are smart to make them our friend. But not because we’re afraid of being labeled ‘anti-Semite’ and not because we’re afraid of telling Israel, the state, when we think they’re making a mistake. After all, isn’t that what friends do for one another?

*Her parents fled Austria just before WWII, landing in Brooklyn where my Grandmother lived most of her early life. Some liberal Jews may even think that makes me a Jew. My father, technically, is a Jew. I, however, according to traditional Judaism, am not. My mother was not Jewish. For more on some of the questions about the Jewish ethnicity and the name see here.

Veep Debate

If you didn’t get a chance to see the big debate from Ohio Tuesday night between Dick Cheney and John Edwards, here’s a somewhat abbreviated transcript.

Edwards: You’re a liar.

Cheney: You have no credibility.

As it turns out, neither of them were completely correct on the facts, according to But, if you go to that non-partisan site (as opposed to the site that Cheney erroneously cited during the debate –, which will lead you to, a Democratic site), you’ll find that it’s Cheney that was most off the mark. Significantly.

Letter of the Day (and a Response)

Editor, Times-Dispatch: While driving through the West End, I came across a bumper sticker on a Volvo sedan that quite frankly has distressed me beyond comprehension. The bumper sticker read: “The road to Hell is paved with Republicans.” I couldn’t believe what I read. It rocked my soul to its depth.

Being in my mid-40s, I have come to dread the election process. The smear campaigns from both parties, the finger-pointing, and the retaliations have made me appreciate the mute button on the remote. I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans since I was 18. But I don’t believe I have ever been more offended by a statement made during an election. It is my constitutional right as an American citizen to vote for whomever I want. But to be condemned to Hell for making a particular choice borders on the ideas of a sadistic cult-like following. This statement also crosses the line between church and state. One has to believe in Hell to condemn people to go there. When I went to church recently, I prayed that the driver of the Volvo would see the light. Regardless of how I choose to vote, I will try to lead my life accepting those with different views and opinions. And I absolutely won’t wish them an afterlife of Purgatory. Andrea Junes Baker. richmond.

Response from our special ‘Guest Writer’…

Dear Ms. Baker,

During our routine monitoring of the Earthly realm for matters that concern the Great One, I ran across your letter to the editor published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. I regret to inform you that, despite your fervent prayers, you are, indeed, going to Hell. But, not because you recently are planning to vote Republican, but because you’ve confused Purgatory and That Place Down Below. Two different things. Actually, Vatican II rid Christianity of that Purgatory concept. Hell, however, is alive and well.

Moreover, your inability to decipher the actual meaning of the bumper sticker you saw will subtract even more points from your Heavenly Admission’s Quotient. You see, while the intended meaning of the phrase “The road to hell is paved with Republicans” may be “Republicans are going to lead us to hell,” the words themselves actually mean “The process that leads us to hell is going to involve disposing of a lot of Republicans.” I think a better way of saying it is: “The road to hell was paved by Republicans.”

Actually, I’m joking. Your lack of ecclesiastical knowledge and English usage won’t ban you from Heaven. But, unfortunately, your belief that a bumper sticker can accomplish that task might just make it happen. You see, if your faith is so weak that some sticker on the back of a car is going to shake it up, I’m just not seeing a whole lot of future for your soul. Maybe a pilgrimage to your choice of Christian Holy Site or a purchase of some relics may save you. For rates on either of these useful ideas, please say a small prayer tonight and I’ll make sure the information is sent to you via Heavenly Courier.

I hope you accept this letter in the helpful spirit that it was intended.

Yours Truly,

Fafferopides V. Lithwaitte

Second Angel for Questions of Heavenly Admission

Rinky-Dink Politics

The City of Richmond is, for the first time, allowing its citizens to elect a Mayor (well, actually, the citizens voted to allow themselves to elect a Mayor – and then the General Assembly and the Justice Department said it’s OK). Anyway, apparently they had a little-publicized debate at a local high school last night. It didn’t go so well. Check out the details here.