Also sometimes referred to as secular, modern, or humanistic. This is an umbrella term for Protestant denominations, or churches within denominations, that view the Bible as the witness of God rather than the word of God, to be interpreted in its historical context through critical analysis. Examples include some churches within Anglican/Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ. There are more than 2,000 Protestant denominations offering a wide range of beliefs from extremely liberal to mainline to ultra-conservative and those that include characteristics on both ends.
|•||Belief in Deity |
Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty. Many believe God is incorporeal.
Beliefs vary from the literal to the symbolic belief in Jesus Christ as God's incarnation. Some believe we are all sons and daughters of God and that Christ was exemplary, but not God.
|•||Origin of Universe and Life |
The Bible's account is symbolic. God created and controls the processes that account for the universe and life (e.g. evolution), as continually revealed by modern science.
|•||After Death |
Goodness will somehow be rewarded and evil punished after death, but what is most important is how you show your faith and conduct your life on earth.
|•||Why Evil? |
Most do not believe that humanity inherited original sin from Adam and Eve or that Satan actually exists. Most believe that God is good and made people inherently good, but also with free will and imperfect nature, which leads some to immoral behavior.
Various beliefs: Some believe all will go to heaven, as God is loving and forgiving. Others believe salvation lies in doing good works and no harm to others, regardless of faith. Some believe baptism is important. Some believe the concept of salvation after death is symbolic or nonexistent.
|•||Undeserved Suffering |
Most Liberal Christians do not believe that Satan causes suffering. Some believe suffering is part of God's plan, will, or design, even if we don't immediately understand it. Some don't believe in any spiritual reasons for suffering, and most take a humanistic approach to helping those in need.
|•||Contemporary Issues |
Most churches teach that abortion is morally wrong, but many ultimately support a woman's right to choose, usually accompanied by policies to provide counseling on alternatives. Many are accepting of homosexuality and gay rights.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
John McCain in a last minute attempt to attract the lower class fundamentalist Christian hick vote has decided to allow himself to be dunked in the dunking tank of the lower class Baptist church that he attends with his beer guzzling wife, Cindy.
The baptism will be televised nationally Sunday afternoon, October 26, 2008.
Friday, October 24, 2008
McCain Communications Director Gave Reporters Incendiary Version Of "Carved B" Story Before Facts Were Known
John McCain's Pennsylvania communications director told reporters in the state an incendiary version of the hoax story about the attack on a McCain volunteer well before the facts of the case were known or established -- and even told reporters outright that the "B" carved into the victim's cheek stood for "Barack," according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.
John Verrilli, the news director for KDKA in Pittsburgh, told TPM Election Central that McCain's Pennsylvania campaign communications director gave one of his reporters a detailed version of the attack that included a claim that the alleged attacker said, "You're with the McCain campaign? I'm going to teach you a lesson."
Verrilli also told TPM that the McCain spokesperson had claimed that the "B" stood for Barack. According to Verrilli, the spokesperson also told KDKA that Sarah Palin had called the victim of the alleged attack, who has since admitted the story was a hoax.
The KDKA reporter had called McCain's campaign office for details after seeing the story -- sans details -- teased on Drudge.
The McCain spokesperson's claims -- which came in the midst of extraordinary and heated conversations late yesterday between the McCain campaign, local TV stations, and the Obama camp, as the early version of the story rocketed around the political world -- is significant because it reveals a McCain official pushing a version of the story that was far more explosive than the available or confirmed facts permitted at the time.
The claims to KDKA from the McCain campaign were included in an early story that ran late yesterday on KDKA's Web site. The paragraphs containing these assertions were quickly removed from the story after the Obama campaign privately complained that KDKA was letting the McCain campaign spin a racially-charged version of the story before the facts had been established, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.
The story with the removed grafs is still right here. We preserved the three missing grafs from yesterday:
A source familiar with what happened yesterday confirmed that the unnamed spokesperson was communications director Peter Feldman. Feldman was also quoted yesterday making virtually identical assertions on the Web site of another local TV station, WPXI. But those quotes, which we also preserved here, are also no longer available on WPXI's site, for reasons that are unclear.
This is problematic because the McCain campaign doesn't want to have been perceived as pushing an incendiary story that not only turned out to be a hoax but which police officials said today risked blowing up into a "national incident" and has local police preparing to file charges against the hoaxster.
There's no evidence that anyone from McCain national headquarters put out a version of events like this.
After the story appeared on KDKA's site and this and other pieces in the local press started flying around the political world, an Obama spokesperson in the state angrily insisted to KDKA that it was irresponsible for the station to air the McCain spokesperson's incendiary version of events before the facts were fully known, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.
After that, KDKA went back to McCain's Pennsylvania spokesperson, Feldman, and asked if he stood by the story as he'd earlier told it, but he started backing off the story, a source familiar with the talks says. That prompted KDKA to remove the grafs.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A McCain campaign volunteer made up a story of being robbed, pinned to the ground and having the letter "B" scratched on her face in a politically inspired attack, police said Friday.
Ashley Todd, 20-year-old college student from College Station, Texas, admitted Friday that the story was false and was being charged with making a false report to police, said Maurita Bryant, the assistant chief of the police department's investigations division. Police doubted her story from the start, Bryant said.
Todd, who is white, told police she was attacked by a 6-foot-4 black man Wednesday night.
She now can't explain why she invented the story, Bryant said. Todd also told police she believes she cut the backward "B" onto her own cheek, but did not provide an explanation of how or why, Bryant said.
Todd initially told investigators she was attempting to use a bank branch ATM when the man approached her from behind, put a knife with a 4- to 5-inch blade to her throat and demanded money. She told police she handed the assailant $60 and walked away.
Todd told investigators that she suspected the man then noticed a John McCain sticker on her car, became angry and punched her in the back of the head, knocking her to the ground and telling her "you are going to be a Barack supporter," police said.
She said he continued to punch and kick her while threatening "to teach her a lesson for being a McCain supporter," police said. She said he then sat on her chest, pinned her hands down with his knees and scratched a backward letter "B" into her face with a dull knife.
Todd told police she didn't seek medical attention, but instead went to a friend's apartment nearby and called police about 45 minutes later.
The Associated Press could not immediately locate Todd's family.
Bryant said somebody charged with making a false report would typically be cited and sent a summons. But because police have concerns about Todd's mental health, they are consulting with the Allegheny County District Attorney. She remained in custody and was awaiting arraignment.
Todd worked in New York for the College Republican National Committee before moving two weeks ago to Pennsylvania, where her duties included recruiting college students, the committee's executive director, Ethan Eilon, has said.
Eilon declined to comment on the investigation Friday or to help The Associated Press contact Todd.
Earlier Friday, police said they had found inconsistencies in Todd's story. They gave her a lie-detector test, but wouldn't release the polygraph results. Investigators also said bank surveillance photos did not back up the woman's initial story of being attacked at an ATM.
Police interviewed Todd after she contacted police Wednesday night and again on Thursday, Bryant said. They asked her to come back Friday, ostensibly to help police put together a sketch of the man. Instead, detectives began interviewing her.
"They just started talking to her and she just opened up and said she wanted to tell the truth," Bryant said.
Bryant said it doesn't appear that anyone else put the woman up to the false report.
Police suspected all along that Todd might not be telling the truth, starting with the fact that the "B" was backward, Bryant said.
"We have robbers here in Pittsburgh, but they don't generally mutilate someone's face like that," Bryant said. "They just take the money and run."
Thursday, October 23, 2008
My daughters Heather and Meredith on their recent field trip to Africa to study the African male penis.
I would like to introduce my two beautiful daughters, Heather and Meredith WASP. These photos were taken during their recent field trip to Africa for the purpose of studying the African male penis. Heather and Meredith are completing their PhD's in Anthropology and Woman's Studies with a specialty in structural feminism at Harvard.
The girls will be joining the Obama administration as Ambassadors to Kenya and The Congo. They are quite exicited and hope to write a book entitled, "The Definitive Guide to the African Male Penis."
By Sydney H. Schanberg
This article appeared in the October 6, 2008 edition of The Nation.
September 17, 2008
Editor's Note: Research support provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute; a longer version of this article is available at nationinstitute.org. Alternative views on this subject are found in two articles by H. Bruce Franklin in The Nation archive: "Who's Behind the M.I.A. Scam and Why," from the December 7, 1992 edition and "M.I.A.sma,", from the May 10, 1993 edition. Archive articles are free to subscribers.
John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero people would logically imagine to be a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.
Sydney H. Schanberg: A veteran newsman recalls Rupert Murdoch. Despite his promises to protect editorial integrity of the Wall Street Journal, don't expect him to get a soul transplant any time soon.
Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain's role in it, even as McCain has made his military service and POW history the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War have also turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn't talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.
The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a Special Forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington and even sworn testimony by two defense secretaries that "men were left behind." This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number--probably hundreds--of the US prisoners held in Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain.
The Pentagon had been withholding significant information from POW families for years. What's more, the Pentagon's POW/MIA operation had been publicly shamed by internal whistleblowers and POW families for holding back documents as part of a policy of "debunking" POW intelligence even when the information was obviously credible. The pressure from the families and Vietnam veterans finally produced the creation, in late 1991, of a Senate "Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs." The chair was John Kerry, but McCain, as a POW, was its most pivotal member. In the end, the committee became part of the debunking machine.
Included in the evidence that McCain and his government allies suppressed or tried to discredit is a transcript of a senior North Vietnamese general's briefing of the Hanoi Politburo, discovered in Soviet archives by an American scholar in the 1990s. The briefing took place only four months before the 1973 peace accords. The general, Tran Van Quang, told the Politburo members that Hanoi was holding 1,205 American prisoners but would keep many of them at war's end as leverage to ensure getting reparations from Washington.
Throughout the Paris negotiations, the North Vietnamese tied the prisoner issue tightly to the issue of reparations. Finally, in a February 1, 1973, formal letter to Hanoi's premier, Pham Van Dong, Nixon pledged $3.25 billion in "postwar reconstruction" aid. The North Vietnamese, though, remained skeptical about the reparations promise being honored (it never was). Hanoi thus held back prisoners--just as it had done when the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and withdrew their forces from Vietnam. France later paid ransoms for prisoners and brought them home.
Two defense secretaries who served during the Vietnam War testified to the Senate POW committee in September 1992 that prisoners were not returned. James Schlesinger and Melvin Laird, secretaries of defense under Nixon, said in a public session and under oath that they based their conclusions on strong intelligence data--letters, eyewitness reports, even direct radio contacts. Under questioning, Schlesinger chose his words carefully, understanding clearly the volatility of the issue: "I think that as of now that I can come to no other conclusion...some were left behind."
Furthermore, over the years, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) received more than 1,600 firsthand reports of sightings of live American prisoners and nearly 14,000 secondhand accounts. Many witnesses interrogated by CIA or Pentagon intelligence agents were deemed "credible" in the agents' reports. Some of the witnesses were given lie-detector tests and passed. Sources provided me with copies of these witness reports. Yet the DIA, after reviewing them all, concluded that they "do not constitute evidence" that men were still alive.
There is also evidence that in the first months of Reagan's presidency, the White House received a ransom proposal for a number of POWs being held by Hanoi. The offer, which was passed to Washington from an official of a third country, was apparently discussed at a meeting in the Roosevelt Room attended by Reagan, Vice President George H.W. Bush, CIA director William Casey and National Security Adviser Richard Allen. Allen confirmed the offer in sworn testimony to the Senate POW committee on June 23, 1992.
Allen was allowed to testify behind closed doors, and no information was released. But a San Diego Union-Tribune reporter, Robert Caldwell, obtained the portion of the testimony relating to the ransom offer and wrote about it. The ransom request was for $4 billion, Allen testified. He said he told Reagan that "it would be worth the president going along and let's have the negotiation." When his testimony appeared in the Union-Tribune, Allen quickly wrote a letter to the panel, this time not under oath, recanting the ransom story, saying his memory had played tricks on him.
But the story didn't end there. A Treasury agent on Secret Service duty in the White House, John Syphrit, came forward to say he had overheard part of the ransom conversation in the Roosevelt Room in 1981. The Senate POW committee voted not to subpoena him to testify.
On November 11, 1992, Dolores Alfond, sister of missing airman Capt. Victor Apodaca and chair of the National Alliance of Families, an organization of relatives of POW/MIAs, testified at one of the Senate committee's public hearings. She asked for information about data the government had gathered from electronic devices used in a classified program known as PAVE SPIKE.
The devices were primarily motion sensors, dropped by air, designed to pick up enemy troop movements. But they also had rescue capabilities. Someone on the ground--a downed airman or a prisoner on a labor gang--could manually enter data into the sensor, which were regularly collected electronically by US planes flying overhead. Alfond stated, without any challenge from the committee, that in 1974, a year after the supposedly complete return of prisoners, the gathered data showed that a person or people had manually entered into the sensors--as US pilots had been trained to do--"no less than 20 authenticator numbers that corresponded exactly to the classified authenticator numbers of 20 US POW/MIAs who were lost in Laos." Alfond added, says the transcript: "This PAVE SPIKE intelligence is seamless, but the committee has not discussed it or released what it knows about PAVE SPIKE."
McCain, whose POW status made him the committee's most powerful member, attended that hearing specifically to confront Alfond because of her criticism of the panel's work. He bellowed and berated her for quite a while. His face turning anger-pink, he accused her of "denigrating" his "patriotism." The bullying had its effect--she began to cry.
After a pause Alfond recovered and tried to respond to his scorching tirade, but McCain simply turned and stormed out of the room. The PAVE SPIKE file has never been declassified. We still don't know anything about those 20 POWs.
The committee's final report, issued in January 1993, began with a forty-three-page executive summary--the only section that drew the mainstream press's attention. It said that only "a small number" of POWs could have been left behind in 1973. But the document's remaining 1,180 pages were quite different. Sprinkled throughout are findings that contradict and disprove the conclusions of the whitewashed summary. This insertion of critical evidence that committee leaders had downplayed and dismissed was the work of a committee staff that had opposed and finally rebelled against the cover-up.
Pages 207-209 of the report, for example, contain major revelations of what were either massive intelligence failures or bad intentions. These pages say that until the committee brought up the subject in 1992, no branch of the intelligence community that dealt with analysis of satellite and lower-altitude photos had ever been informed of the distress signals US forces were trained to use in Vietnam--nor had they ever been tasked to look for such signals from possible prisoners on the ground.
In a personal briefing in 1992, high-level CIA officials told me privately that as it became more and more difficult for either government to admit that it knew from the start about the unacknowledged prisoners, those prisoners became not only useless as bargaining chips but also a risk to Hanoi's desire to be accepted into the international community. The CIA officials said their intelligence indicated strongly that the remaining men--those who had not died from illness or hard labor or torture--were eventually executed. My own research has convinced me that it is not likely that more than a few--if any--are alive in captivity today. (That CIA briefing was conducted "off the record," but because the evidence from my reporting since then has brought me to the same conclusion, I felt there was no longer any point in not writing about the meeting.)
For many reasons, including the absence of a constituency for the missing men other than their families and some veterans' groups, very few Americans are aware of McCain's role not only in keeping the subject out of public view but in denying the existence of abandoned POWs. That is because McCain has hardly been alone in this hide-the-scandal campaign. The Arizona senator has actually been following the lead of every White House since Richard Nixon's and thus of every CIA director, Pentagon chief and National Security Adviser, among many others (including Dick Cheney, who was George H.W. Bush's defense secretary).
An early and critical attempt by McCain to conceal evidence involved 1990 legislation called the Truth bill, which started in the House. A brief and simple document, the bill would have compelled complete transparency about prisoners and missing men. Its core sentence said that the "head of each department or agency which holds or receives any records and information, including reports, which have been correlated or possibly correlated to United States personnel listed as prisoner of war or missing in action from World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam conflict, shall make available to the public all such records held or received by that department or agency."
Bitterly opposed by the Pentagon (and thus by McCain), the bill went nowhere. Reintroduced the following year, it again disappeared. But a few months later a new measure, the McCain bill, suddenly appeared. It created a bureaucratic maze from which only a fraction of the documents could emerge--only the records that revealed no POW secrets. The McCain bill became law in 1991 and remains so today.
McCain was also instrumental in amending the Missing Service Personnel Act, which was strengthened in 1995 by POW advocates to include criminal penalties against "any government official who knowingly and willfully withholds from the file of a missing person any information relating to the disappearance or whereabouts and status of a missing person." A year later, in a closed House-Senate conference on an unrelated military bill, McCain, at the behest of the Pentagon, attached a crippling amendment to the act, stripping out its only enforcement teeth, the criminal penalties, and reducing the obligations of commanders in the field to speedily search for missing men and report the incidents to the Pentagon.
McCain argued that keeping the criminal penalties would have made it impossible for the Pentagon to find staffers willing to work on POW/MIA matters. That's an odd argument to make. Were staffers only "willing to work" if they were allowed to conceal POW records? By eviscerating the law, McCain gave his stamp of approval to the government policy of debunking the existence of live POWs.
McCain has insisted again and again that all the evidence has been woven together by unscrupulous deceivers to create an insidious and unpatriotic myth. He calls it the work of the "bizarre rantings of the MIA hobbyists." He has regularly vilified those who keep trying to pry out classified documents as "hoaxers," "charlatans," "conspiracy theorists" and "dime-store Rambos." Family members who have personally pressed McCain to end the secrecy have been treated to his legendary temper. In 1996 he roughly pushed aside a group of POW family members who had waited outside a hearing room to appeal to him, including a mother in a wheelchair.
The only explanation McCain has ever offered for his leadership on legislation that seals POW information is that he believes the release of such information would only stir up fresh grief for the families of those who were never accounted for in Vietnam. Of the scores of POW families I've met over the years, only a few have said they want the books closed without knowing what happened to their men. All the rest say that not knowing is exactly what grieves them.
It's not clear whether the taped confession McCain gave to his captors to avoid further torture has played a role in his postwar behavior. That confession was played endlessly over the prison loudspeaker system at Hoa Lo--to try to break down other prisoners--and was broadcast over Hanoi's state radio. Reportedly, he confessed to being a war criminal who had bombed a school and other civilian targets. The Pentagon has copies of the confessions but will not release them. Also, no outsider I know of has ever seen a nonredacted copy of McCain's debriefing when he returned from captivity, which is classified but can be made public by McCain.
In his bestselling 1999 autobiography, Faith of My Fathers, McCain says he felt bad throughout his captivity because he knew he was being treated more leniently than his fellow POWs, owing to his propaganda value (his high-ranking father, Rear Adm. John S. McCain II, was then the commander of US forces in the Pacific). Also in this memoir, McCain expresses guilt at having broken under torture and given the confession. "I felt faithless and couldn't control my despair," he writes, revealing that he made two "feeble" attempts at suicide. Tellingly, he says he lived in "dread" that his father would find out about the confession. "I still wince," he writes, "when I recall wondering if my father had heard of my disgrace."
McCain still didn't know the answer when his father died in 1981. He got his answer eighteen years later. In his 1999 memoir, the senator writes, "I only recently learned that the tape...had been broadcast outside the prison and had come to the attention of my father."
Does this hint at explanations for McCain's efforts to bury information about prisoners or other disturbing pieces of the Vietnam War? Does he suppress POW information because its surfacing rekindles his feelings of shame? On this subject, all I have are questions. But even without answers to what may be hidden in the recesses of someone's mind, one thing about the POW story is clear: if American prisoners were dishonored by being written off and left to die, that's something the American public ought to know about.
About Sydney H. Schanberg
Sydney H. Schanberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, has since 1959 been a reporter and columnist for the New York Times, Newsday and the Village Voice. He has reported extensively on the POW story. more...
Mike Rogers, Founder of Proud of Who We Are, Calls on Senate Minority Leader to Produce Undisclosed Documents About His Abrupt Military Departure
In response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell's opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, "Every good Christian should be concerned", Goldwater retorted: "Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass."
A few years before his death he went so far as to address the right wing, "Do not associate my name with anything you do. You are extremists, and you've hurt the Republican party much more than the Democrats have."
It is payback time for the little 5 foot 6 inch runt, John McCain. McCain is a worthless piece of Republican slime who together with George W. Bush and his ilk, sold out the Republican party to
the underclass of worthless fundamentalist Christians such as the late Jerry Falwell, who is now rotting in hell.
John McCain was a killer of innocent men, women and children during the Vietnam War. He dropped napalm on civilians and burned them alive. The North Vietnamese should have executed him, instead they set him free. Today, he should arrested and tried in the World Court in the Hague for war crimes.
John McCain is a traitor to American and the Republican party. Urinate on John McCain and Sarah Palin. Vote for Barack Obama.
"In your private conversations with Senator McCain is it your impression that he also strongly supports those views? I know that he did not oppose that platform when it was written. Do you think he will implement it?"
Good question. A lot of social conservatives worry about this.
Governor Palin responded: "I do, from the bottom of my heart. I am such a strong believer that McCain believes in those strong planks and we do have good conversations about some of the details too, about the different planks and what they represent."
The 2008 GOP platform is a bit more conservative than it was in 2004. If McCain is going to implement it - something of which Palin is convinced from the bottom of her heart - then that means that McCain will support a constitutional amendment to ban all abortion (including those cases where the mother was raped or was the victim of incest), a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and he will oppose government-sponsored embryonic stem cell research.
Either Palin trying to mislead Dobson, equivocate, or perhaps he doesn't know what her running mate believes. McCain opposes a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.... He supports embryonic stem cell research...he opposes a constitutional amendment banning all abortion. Read the platform for yourself: On abortion... on gay marriage... on stem cells.. .
Maybe McCain changed his mind?
Read the transcript after the jump.
[DOBSON]: He's got some pretty powerful things to say and I do hope that the American people are listening to the concerns being expressed. I have to admit that early on, especially during the primaries I had a hard time deciding what direction I thought we ought to go. And there are concerns, have been concerns within the Republican party that really agitated me. But I am telling you the Republican platform is the strongest pro-life, pro-family document to come out of a political party. Even more so than the platforms during the campaigns of Ronald Reagan. There are principles there that just, I've been fighting for, for 30-40 years and you are trying to articulate those same principles aren't you?
[PALIN] Absolutely. And Dr. Dobson thank you so much for recognizing that. This is a strong platform. [inaudible] around the planks in this platform that respect life and respect the entrepreneurial spirit of this great country. And those things, back to the social issues that are what Republicans at least in the past had articulated and tried to stand on. Now finally we have very solid planks in the platform that will allow us to build an even stronger foundation for our country. It is all good and it is encouraging, you would maybe have assumed people would have, that we would have gotten further away from those strong planks. But no, they are there, they are solid, we stand on them and again I believe that it is the right agenda for the country at this time. Very, very clear and contrasted tickets in this election, November 4th. People are going to see the clear contrast, just go to the planks in our platform and that is where you see them.
[DOBSON] In your private conversations with Senator McCain is it your impression that he also strongly supports those views? I know that he did not oppose that platform when it was written. Do you think he will implement it?
[PALIN] I do, from the bottom of my heart. I am such a strong believer that McCain believes in those strong planks and we do have good conversations about some of the details too, about the different planks and what they represent. And I'm very heartened that John McCain, he doesn't want a vice-president who will check the opinions of me at the door and we talk about some of these. And they are very important. It's most important though, as you are suggesting that Americans know that John McCain is solidly there on those solid planks in our platform that build the right agenda for America.
Being Barry Goldwater's granddaughter and living in Arizona, one would assume that I would be voting for our state's senator, John McCain. I am still struck by certain 'dyed in the wool' Republicans who are on the fence this election, as it seems like a no-brainer to me.
Myself, along with my siblings and a few cousins, will not be supporting the Republican presidential candidates this year. We believe strongly in what our grandfather stood for: honesty, integrity, and personal freedom, free from political maneuvering and fear tactics. I learned a lot about my grandfather while producing the documentary, Mr. Conservative Goldwater on Goldwater. Our generation of Goldwaters expects government to provide for constitutional protections. We reject the constant intrusion into our personal lives, along with other crucial policy issues of the McCain/Palin ticket.
My grandfather (Paka) would never suggest denying a woman's right to choose. My grandmother co-founded Planned Parenthood in Arizona in the 1930's, a cause my grandfather supported. I'm not sure about how he would feel about marriage rights based on same-sex orientation. I think he would feel that love and respect for ones privacy is what matters most and not the intolerance and poor judgment displayed by McCain over the years. Paka respected our civil liberties and passed on the message that that we should conduct our lives standing up for the basic freedoms we hold so dear.
For a while, there were several candidates who aligned themselves with the Goldwater version of Conservative thought. My grandfather had undying respect for the U.S. Constitution, and an understanding of its true meanings.
There always have been a glimmer of hope that someday, someone would "race through the gate" full steam in Goldwater style. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened, and the Republican brand has been tarnished in a shameless effort to gain votes and appeal to the lowest emotion, fear. Nothing about McCain, except for maybe a uniform, compares to the same ideology of what Goldwater stood for as a politician. The McCain/Palin plan is to appear diverse and inclusive, using women and minorities to push an agenda that makes us all financially vulnerable, fearful, and less safe.
When you see the candidate's in political ads, you can't help but be reminded of the 1964 presidential campaign of Johnson/Goldwater, the 'origin of spin', that twists the truth and obscures what really matters. Nothing about the Republican ticket offers the hope America needs to regain it's standing in the world, that's why we're going to support Barack Obama. I think that Obama has shown his ability and integrity.
After the last eight years, there's a lot of clean up do. Roll up your sleeves, Senators Obama and Biden, and we Goldwaters will roll ours up with you.
Since our airdate, I have had so many interviews and so many questions thrown at me that my head is spinning. The question most often asked has been: What would your grandfather have felt about the current political climate? It's hard to speak for him, but I think he would be a little sick about the invasive government we have today. Our government is in our lives, peeking into our purses, telling us what to do with our bodies, and just sticking its nose where it should not be. My grandfather was about the preservation of our own free liberties, and they are being threatened every day.
I hope the documentary makes it clear that the Republican Party has changed from what it used to be in my grandfather's day. Barry's opinion would be loud and earth shattering if he were alive today. I especially think he would have been appalled by a situation we encountered while filming "Mr. Conservative, Goldwater on Goldwater." Shooting a film about Barry Goldwater in Washington, DC was not a walk in the park.
Our team, which consisted of director Julie Anderson, producing partner Tani Cohen, the film crew, and myself, were set for a day of interviews in the Senate Russell Building. We had shot in various hearing rooms in the building that had been prearranged by the Senator media teams. Our last was in the Indian Affairs hearing room for our interviews with Senators McCain and Clinton. We had to wait four hours after our interview with Senator McCain for our scheduled interview with Senator Clinton. Three minutes into our last interview with Senator Clinton two gentlemen barged into the room screaming, "Is this HBO? Is this HBO?? You are not allowed to shoot in the building!" The men, one a member of the Ethics & Rules Committee and the other a member of the Senate Legal Counsel, informed us that we were in violation of one of the rules by filming these interviews inside the Senate building. While I went into the hallway to talk to these men, Senator Clinton did not miss a beat; she continued with the interview. In the hallway I explained to the gentlemen that I was there to interview these Republican and Democratic senators for a documentary I was doing on my grandfather, Barry Goldwater, who had served his country as a 5 term (Republican) Senator...in this very building, no less. They weren't budging. They showed me a letter addressed to HBO and "K Street" which said that we were a "commercial" film, and therefore we were in violation... so any interview we did use would cause the Senators to be brought before the Ethics & Rules subcommittee. In the end, the interviews we had completed with Senators McCain, Warner, Kennedy, and now Clinton were now unusable.
Documentary filmmakers have a slim budget, and this set us back financially. Although we lobbied the committee over and over again, they would not budge. The funny side of this story, if you can imagine, is the visual of the Senators being brought up in front of the Committee; Chairman Trent Lott (whose office coincidently was across the hall from the Indian Affairs hearing room) and others would ask Senators Clinton, McCain, Kennedy, and Warner why they were part of this film. "Well we just wanted to participate in a documentary about Senator Barry Goldwater, a five term Senator... we did not realize this would be a bad thing." I found this to be scary yet amusing. The various Senators we interviewed tried to intervene, but there was only so far they could stick their necks out. They pick their battles carefully, and I respect that. They all did their best but to no avail...we still ended up going back to DC two months later to interview Senators Warner, McCain and Clinton (thankfully they were able to fit us into their very busy schedules, even if it meant just 7 minutes with Senator Clinton) one more time in a safe zone. For scheduling reasons we did not re-interview Senator Kennedy.
Later while editing the film, we realized there was an important comment from Senator Kennedy's previous interview, so we went to Senator's Lott's office in a last-ditch effort to allow us to use some of Senator Kennedy's interview. Because we had been honorable, we were granted just 60 seconds... no more. This is a situation that would have infuriated Barry tremendously. The Senate Russell Building belongs to the people. It is a building that for years news crews and filmmakers have been able to roam at will and do interviews. Because we were there doing what they determined was a "commercial" documentary - about a man who served the Senate for 30 years- we were in deep water. It was a bit of a setback, but we did not let it stand in the way of making this film. Although it was a bit more than we wanted to deal with, both emotionally and financially, in the end, it all turned out fine.
In many ways Washington, D.C. is a different place from when my grandfather was there. With new security impositions it just feels different all the way around. I remember when my grandfather and I would walk the halls, and it was like everyone was happy and said hi. It was a cordial environment. Now it's 20 year-olds walking with blackberries, making people think they are at their desks. Times have changed, but one thing is for sure -- Memories can't be erased...Barry Goldwater will always be remembered in the Russell Building, despite the fact we don't always play by the rules.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
|San Francisco weighs decriminalizing prostitution|
|Oct 21 05:48 PM US/Eastern |
By EVELYN NIEVES
Associated Press Writer
As a Liberal Christian I endorse decriminalizing prostitution.
|SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - In this live-and-let-live town, where medical marijuana clubs do business next to grocery stores and an annual fair celebrates sadomasochism, prostitutes could soon walk the streets without fear of arrest. |
San Francisco would become the first major U.S. city to decriminalize prostitution if voters next month approve Proposition K—a measure that forbids local authorities from investigating, arresting or prosecuting anyone for selling sex.
The ballot question technically would not legalize prostitution since state law still prohibits it, but the measure would eliminate the power of local law enforcement officials to go after prostitutes.
Proponents say the measure will free up $11 million the police spend each year arresting prostitutes and allow them to form collectives.
"It will allow workers to organize for our rights and for our safety," said Patricia West, 22, who said she has been selling sex for about a year by placing ads on the Internet. She moved to San Francisco in May from Texas to work on Proposition K.
Even in tolerant San Francisco—where the sadomasochism fair draws thousands of tourists and a pornographic video company is housed in a former armory—the measure faces an uphill battle, with much of the political establishment opposing it.
Some form of prostitution is already legal in two states. Brothels are allowed in rural counties in Nevada. And Rhode Island permits the sale of sex behind closed doors between consulting adults, but it prohibits street prostitution and brothels.
In 2004, almost two-thirds of voters in nearby Berkeley rejected decriminalization. But proponents of Proposition K say their proposal has a better shot in San Francisco, which they believe is more sexually liberal than the city across the bay.
After all, the world's oldest profession has long been established here. During the Gold Rush, the neighborhood closest to the piers was a seedy pleasure center of sex, gambling and drinking known as the Barbary Coast.
These days, on certain corners, prostitutes sell their bodies day and night, ducking into doorways and alleys when police pass by. One recent afternoon in the Mission District, six prostitutes were plying their trade on a single block.
Police made 1,583 prostitution arrests in 2007 and expect to make a similar number this year. But the district attorney's office says most defendants are fined, placed in diversion programs or both. Fewer than 5 percent get prosecuted for solicitation, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.
Proposition K has been endorsed by the local Democratic Party. But the mayor, district attorney, police department and much of the business community oppose the idea, contending it would increase street prostitution, allow pimps the run of neighborhoods and hamper the fight against sex trafficking, which would remain illegal because it involves forcing people into the sex trade.
The San Francisco Chronicle editorialized against the measure, saying it could make the city a magnet for prostitution.
If the proposal passes, "we wouldn't be able to investigate prostitution, and it's going to be pretty difficult for us to locate these folks who are victims of trafficking otherwise," said Capt. Al Pardini, head of the police department's vice unit. "It's pretty rare that we get a call that says: 'I'm a victim of human trafficking' or 'I suspect human trafficking in my neighborhood.'"
The proposition would also prohibit police from accepting federal or state funds for sex trafficking investigations that involve racial profiling. Such investigations often arise from raids on brothels that advertise as Asian massage parlors.
"We feel that repressive policies don't help trafficking victims, and that human rights-based approaches, including decriminalization, are actually more effective," said Carol Leigh, co-founder of the Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network and a longtime advocate for prostitutes' rights.
But San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris said the ballot question mistakenly assumes prostitution is a victimless crime.
"The crime of prostitution does not exist by itself," Harris said. "Along with it come pimps, johns and other crimes that really impact the safety of neighborhoods."
If the measure passes, supporters say, prostitutes would not feel the need for pimps as protection. But opponents insist it would embolden pimps who trap drug addicts into prostitution by plying them with drugs.
"The proponents usually paint a fairly rosy picture of two consenting adults and a monetary exchange at the end," Pardini said. "They don't factor in the people that are being exploited and people that are being controlled, the ones manipulated both physically and chemically."
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
John McCain is a 5 foot 6 inches runt.