background on bananaland

Religious freedom is as American as apple pie, isn’t it?
How could anyone oppose it?

To recover America’s biblical foundation, Christians had to “do battle on the entire front:” not just in church, but in the courts, classrooms, outside abortion clinics and everywhere else….

The emerging Christian right asserted that this was the true meaning of “religious freedom” in America: freedom to institutionalize Christian dogma in American society and law.

Freedom of religion — a phrase that sounds at first blush like a bipartisan nod to our common political heritage — is a weapon of culture war.

fundamentalist insider speaks

Frank Schaeffer: 
How could they believe this stuff?
Trying To Understand the Republican Base

Let’s be blunt: science has rendered a literal interpretation of any scripture, be it Bible, Koran, whatever, as impossible.

For many religious people this means that they have sought out deeper meanings in a spirituality that depends on a more intuitive sense of meaning and purpose than a slavish attempt to follow texts that have been simply disproven.

But for another group – the fundamentalists of all religions – modernity has been ‘answered’ by opting out or attacking facts as lies.

Enter Madrassas of all kinds, literal — as in Pakistan — or virtual — as in the Evangelical home school movement and private school movement.

Enter Evangelical TV and radio and publishing industry and mega churches as personality cults.

Enter the ‘conservative’ Roman Catholic bishops cut off from their own far more tolerant (and liberal) flocks.

The rise of the religious right within religion is designed intentionally to isolate, indoctrinate and ‘protect’ from challenging ideas.

the fella is phoney

As the Bloomberg.com points out, Romney claims that his business experience is the primary reason that Americans should want to see him in the White House. Contrary to his claim, it seems to me that the more we hear about his business experience the less I think he is suited to the White House.

At Bain Capital, as at most private equity firms, Romney was willing to reap millions from taking a stable, operating company and turning it into a bankrupt by leveraging it up, firing employees, and otherwise destroying the stable business.

your rulers not known

…variables such as wealth, education and occupation are in the 0.7 — 0.8 range over the last 200 years, the same as found in India with its caste system !

Well?

Let’s think about this too:

How the Stinking Rich Ate the Economy

“If a $100,000-a-year household thinks itself to be middle class,” the neoconservative writer Irving Kristol once wrote, “then it is middle class.” This sentiment is widely held, but it makes no mathematical sense.

Any family whose income exceeds that of 90 percent of all other families cannot sensibly be called anything but rich.

To believe otherwise would oblige you to judge your child mediocre when his teacher gives him an A.

And think about this:

The .0000063% Election
How American politics became the politics of the superrich.

red, white and p.u.

The first round of Super PAC filings came in January 30. Most of the donors are individuals, but corporations are playing a big role.

90 people account for 79% of all donations to SuperPACs. Almost half (48%) has come from just 22 individuals.

via Angry Bear:

…the Supreme Court has pronounced corporations “persons” for purposes of First Amendment speech rights. Constitutional rights, I explained, apply only to persons. In order to accord corporations First Amendment rights, the Court had to declare them persons—not mere legal entities in a statutory sense (as in say, corporations can own property), but persons—in a constitutional sense. This, I said, is a really important distinction.

And it is. A really important distinction.

Corporations Are Not People !

A possible silver lining: Now that the candidates and both major parties have accepted the reality that they are owned by corporations and the wealthy, is fundamental reform at last possible?

arguing is wasting us

Austerity will worsen economic recovery.

The Romneys gave $100 million to their sons and paid not one penny of tax – the inheritance itself is blissfully tax free.

Nine percent approval of Congress is likely too high.

by Jane Brodie:

…homes and shopping malls far from city centers…[have created] creating vehicle-dependent environments that foster obesity, poor health, social isolation, excessive stress and depression…Physical activity has been disappearing from the lives of young and old, and many communities are virtual “food deserts,” serviced only by convenience stores that stock nutrient-poor prepared foods and drinks…people in the current generation (born since 1980) will be the first in America to live shorter lives than their parents do.

In a healthy environment…people who are young, elderly, sick or poor can meet their life needs without getting in a car, which means creating places where it is safe and enjoyable to walk, bike, take in nature and socialize…People who walk more weigh less and live longer…People who are fit live longer… People who have friends and remain socially active live longer…In 1974, 66 percent of all children walked or biked to school By 2000, that number had dropped to 13 percent…We’ve engineered physical activity out of children’s lives…two in seven volunteers for the military can’t get in because they’re not in good enough physical condition…Not only are Americans of all ages fatter than ever, but also growing numbers of children are developing diseases once seen only in adults: Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and fatty livers.

Infrastructure Problems In U.S. Go Far Beyond Dollars

purchasing the presidency

While other rivals to Romney struggle for cash, Gingrich does not.

Sheldon Adelson, America’s eighth richest man, is pumping millions of dollars into Newt Gingrich.

The donations are among the largest from individuals in US political history.

Sheldon Adelson, a man who has given scores of millions of dollars to Republican and Jewish causes over the years but who only now – by backing Gingrich – is becoming known to the wider public. [shame on our media!]

“It is an arms race of money. You can imagine a world where you can’t get elected without the backing of a billionaire.”

 

against lies

From the original statement of purpose of The Alaska Advocate, a weekly newspaper published in Anchorage, AK from 1976—1979.

“We are against all lies, and their more vicious step-children, the half-truths.

We are against shadow in the conduct of public business, secure in our belief that there is no public affair best handled in the dark.

We are against that which is dull or stifling. We oppose any limit or barrier to the exercise of talent.

We believe that in the honest, unimpeded exchange of ideas the best course is to be found. We believe we can play a part in that process.”

Go see Howard Weaver.

conflict, sometimes falsely

Esquire’s lengthy interview with Bill Clinton.

One of the real dilemmas we have in our country and around the world is that what works in politics is organization and conflict. That is, drawing the sharp distinctions. But in real life, what works is networks and cooperation. And we need victories in real life, so we’ve got to get back to networks and cooperation, not just conflict.

More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat

More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat… More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat… More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat… More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat… More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat… More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat… More US Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat

rooting his image

From the New York Times:

Nobody has a more complicated and intimate relationship with Mr. Romney’s hair than the man who has styled it for more than two decades, a barrel-chested, bald Italian immigrant named Leon de Magistris.

For years, Mr. de Magistris said in an interview, he has tried to persuade Mr. Romney, 64, to loosen up his look by tousling his meticulous mane.

“I will tell him to mess it up a little bit,” said Mr. de Magistris, 69. “I said to him, ‘Let it be more natural.’ ”

The suggestion has not gone over well.

“He wants a look that is very controlled,” Mr. de Magistris said.

“He is a very controlled man. The hair goes with the man.”

our second Bill of Rights

Second Bill of Rights by Franklin Delano Roosevelt

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.

‘Necessitous men are not free men.’

People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights underwhich a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being. ”

it’s a clique, stupid

It’s media doing media. Shaking hands. Dinner. Drinks. Profits.

“The Iowa Caucuses are presented as a news event, a mini-election with an informational outcome, a winner. But what they really are is a ritual, the gathering of a tribe, which affirms itself and its place in our political system by staging this thing every four years.”

Journalists are reporting on an event they have largely created…

At the zoo that is the Iowa Caucus, the bar in the downtown Des Moines Marriott is like a communal watering hole where roving packs of reporters, political hacks, and even candidates assemble nightly to drain drinks and exchange political gossip.”

“They SAY they are bringing you news of what happened in Iowa. But what they’re really doing is maintaining their little society of insiders across yet another election cycle.”

clean up the swamp

The rich pay on avg around 19% of income in fed income taxes. Plenty left over! Worry for yourself, not them !

:::click the pics:::

 
Boston Globe says make room for Buddy Roemer.

Roemer is capable of bringing fresh energy to the long-running GOP show.

It’s even possible to imagine him catching fire for at least a moment…

This is a necessary task, but the unusual roster of candidates this year has made it especially difficult – some heavily credentialed but inert, others capable of juicing up a crowd but poorly prepared to be president.

we elect deal brokers

Jack Abramoff interviewed via Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig.

horse trading

“…merits are interesting but they don’t usually win.

“Contributions to parties with an interest in the political system are nothing but bribes.”

extortion

“Most members of Congress are very subtle. They’ll agree to support your bill …and you better come up with some money.

“It’s extortion. They’re soliciting bribes. Unfortunately it’s spread throughout the system.”

“To stop the corruption, we’ve got to remove the money.”