30 May 2009
Scientology Fraud Trial begins in France
The Cult of Scientology has European issues again. Having been banned in Germany as a dangerous unlawful Cult that defrauds its membership of large sums of money, it now faces a potentially similar fate in France. VeraLynn pointed out to me that Dr. Jonathan Turley blogged about this story in the UK Independent. This case, which started in the late 1990s, is finally going to trial. This has been drug out this long because the CoS lost two fraud cases in France in the 90s, and were convicted of violating privacy laws in 2002. A third fraud conviction could get them shut down in France just as they are in Germany. The case has been delayed because of the CoS's unlimited ability to hire unlimited numbers of attorneys to make anything take forever. Battling the CoS in a courtroom is like fighting IBM in court over intellectual property ownership. Even if you are right, it will cost an enormous amount to prove it, and if you are wrong, it will cost even more.
I hope that justice is done. The CoS spends very large sums to impede justice. No one in the U.S. has dared to sue them for a very long time. The media ignores them because everyone that's ever done a story on them has been sued. The CoS is just one of those things the MSM completely ignores even when they get caught red handed killing members (google Lisa McPherson).
Don't ask, Don't Tell
This is a topic I've been meaning to blog about, but Annette beat me to it with an outstanding, must read, post at her blog.
Transfer of Wealth
The conservatives are always railing against the transfer of wealth. Well not really always. When the transfer of wealth is from the poor to the rich they are actually quite happy with the transfer of wealth. Apparently it's all about who winds up with the wealth. I ran across this very excellent article at SMU called Reagan: The great American Socialist. So transfer of wealth is fine when it is being transfered from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. Keep that in mind when they start bitching again about the transfer of wealth. We've had lots of transfer, but its been in the wrong direction.
Talibangelicals goose-stepping with the Brotherhood of Christ to the tune of Hatred
What do they hate? Anything not like them. Sierradrinker pointed out this interesting collection of Quotes from the The American Taliban. This should explain why I call them Christofascists. Their own words show them to be hateful fascist bigots much better than my descriptions can. Their definition of freedom is "You have the freedom to think exactly like us or else." Authoritarians just don't grok freedom. They know the word, but its meaning escapes them.
The offense: Blatant Racism. The offenders: Tom Tancredo and Pat Buchanan.
The announcement of Her Honor Judge Sonia Sotomayor as President Obama's pick to be the next Supreme Court Justice has all of the racist pricks in the GOP hopping mad. Their knickers obviously twisted tight enough to cut all blood flow to their brains (which are in their scrota), they have been shouting all manner of accusations, distortions, and outright lies. Of course, there is nothing unusual about this since this is their normal behavior these days since the minority haters have become a minority. What makes this unusual is their normally carefully concealed racism has been peeking out, leaking all over the floor making a stench and a noticeable puddle of vile corruption.
Check out Pat Buchanan on MSNBC on Friday.
When he said "that woman" it sounded like he really wanted to say "that spic bitch." No, I don't think I believe him when he says he's all for civil rights. He should be required to wear a tag labeled RACIST. At YouTube you can find a video of his racist performance after the Holder appointment. Pat is finding it harder and harder to hide his hatred of anyone not a white male. His hatred of women includes them all apparently or maybe it's just white woman who are Democrats that he hates. He is no longer fit to breath our air. His head should be removed and placed on a pike as a warning to all racists that racism is unacceptable in a civilized society.
We now move to this equally odious performance by Tom Tancredo on Hardball with David Shuster on Friday.
Laffy at the Political Carnival posted this article, 'Exec. Director Of Tancredo's PAC Guilty Of "Karate Chop" Assault On African-American Woman', which contains a few links to more examples of Tom Tancredo's racism. This racist pals around with racists. I am a white caucasian male that thinks that Tancredo is a nasty racist whose head should be ripped off and placed on a pike.
The one bright spot in all of this nastiness is that the GOP is not winning any minority friends with this behavior. They already have the Klan and neonazi vote. It's looking like shrinking the party down to the hardcore fascists and only the hardcore fascists is their goal. I think it is working. I don't think they'll get a single hispanic vote until 2029 at the earliest. It will take some time for people to forget this nastiness.
25 May 2009
To get the entire story, this link will take you to a page at WriteChic Press that lists all of the stories about Eric with the oldest story on the bottom. To read the story in chronological oreder read the stories from bottom to top.
The next time you hear someone say how wonderful our health care system is working and how awful a single payer system would be show them Eric De La Cruz's story and ask them if that's what they call a properly functioning health care system. The really sad reality is that Eric's story is pretty par for the course in our current system.
23 May 2009
Liberty University, the brainchild of that outstanding paragon of tolerance, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, demonstrates that Christofascism is alive and well in Virginia which will be changing its vacation visitors slogan from "Virginia is for lovers" to "Virginia is for Talibangelicals". From the complete story at CBS News:
Liberty University in Lynchbyrg, Va., has revoked its recognition of the campus Democratic Party club because, according to a university official, the club's "parent organization stands against the moral principles held by Liberty."Constraint University has had a College Republicanastycals club for years. The College Democrats club formed last year to support Barack Obama in his presidential campaign. The club wishes to continue for students who are members of the Democratic Party.
In a May 15 e-mail to the student group, Liberty Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Hine said the club must end its affiliation with University. The group can no longer use Liberty's name, logo, or seal for its publications, Web sites, Facebook page, Twitter account or anything else.
"The Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of LU and to Christian doctrine (supports abortion, federal funding of abortion, advocates repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, promotes the 'LGBT' agenda, Hate Crimes, which include sexual orientation and gender identity, socialism, etc)," Hine wrote in the e-mail to the LU College Democrats.
So the Talibangelicals at Constraint University have decided that the student Democrats club can not be associated with the University because the Democratic Party supports a woman's right to make her own decisions about her own body, supports the notion that everyone deserves equal protection under the law, and thinks that hate crimes should be treated as the crime against society that they are.. The Talibangelicals demand the right to continue committing hate crimes against all who refuse to conform to their superior way of life.
This is not really surprising since Jesus Christ taught that one should hate anyone who doesn't agree with you on every little detail of existence. He also taught that anyone even slightly different from yourself should be beaten with extreme prejudice. [What? He didn't teach that? He taught the opposite of that? So you're saying they are actually violating Christ's teachings? They are hypocrites? Oh.] Nevermind.
It seems the Talibangelical hypocrites at Constraint University need a reminder of what Liberty actually means.
Definition (abridged) of Liberty:
- freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
- freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
- freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
21 May 2009
The man has spent the last twenty years living under the rule of any publicity is good publicity. He says many things specifically so that he will get free publicity from other outlets. He suddenly wants this to stop? What's up with that?
I think what he really means is that he wants Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Dave Shuster, and Ed Schultz to ignore him for 30 days. He got used to the media just quoting his bullshit with no critical analysis. That was free publicity. When Keith, Rachel, Dave and Ed quote him, they then proceed to eviscerate his chicanery. This is not good publicity when people are showing what a lying sack of shit you are.
Keith is not going to ignore the fat, bouncing, bloviating, beachball of bastardry. And that makes me smile.
The Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups are:
- The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
- Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
- Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
- The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
- The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
- The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
- The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
- The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
- The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
- Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
- The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
- The group is preoccupied with making money.
- Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
- Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
- The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
I am not an expert on cults by any stretch, but I have spent some time investigating organizations that I believed to be cults out of general curiosity and because I was cyber stalked by some for criticizing their cult. These fifteen criteria agree well with a list of ten that I developed for my own use. In my opinion, the Lalich and Langone criteria are an excellent tool for judging whether an organization is a cult.
So now that we have a tool we should try using it. The first target will be the Church of Scientology (CoS). I could type thousands of words explaining in great detail how the CoS meets every single criterion. In fact, if you ignore all other cults one would think that this list was created just to describe the behavior of the Cult of Scientology. The list of characteristics describes them exactly.
Note that calling Scientology a Cult is not intended as an insult. It is simply a useful description of the behavior of individuals associated with the organization. Scientologists (Scienos) do not tolerate their 'church' being called a cult. In fact they react very belligerently whenever anyone refers to Scientology as a cult. When it comes to their belief system they have zero tolerance for criticism or dissenting opinion (see item 2). People that are not Scienos are considered vastly inferior to Scienos and are referred to as wogs and raw meat (see item 5).
One could write an entire book describing in great detail all of the ways that Scientology meets all fifteen criteria. If no one else does, I may do that some day. The evidence is readily available on the web for anyone interested. The place to start is Operation Clambake. This site provides links to all, or nearly all, of the documentation of the actions and studies of Scientology that have been gathered by critics. Operation Clambake has been maintained by Andreas Heldal-Lund since the 1990s and by all accounts he is an outstanding fellow. He has personally helped scientologists to leave the cult when they asked for assistance.
Operation Clambake also offers the complete text to many books written about Scientology. For people wanting to learn about Scientology there are three I consider essential reading. The first is Paulette Cooper's The Scandal of Scientology which was the first exposè on Scientology written in the 70s. The CoS nearly destroyed Paulette's life trying to prevent this book from being published. Next is Jon Atack's book on Scientology and biography of L. Ron Hubbard titled A Piece of Blue Sky. Last is Russell Miller's excellent L. Ron Hubbard biography The Bare-Faced Messiah. If you read these three books you will know far more about Scientology than most people and you will know things that even scienos don't know because cult members have a disturbingly cleaned up and fictionalized version of Mr. Hubbard's biography and there are many aspects of the CoS that are hidden from members.
Mark Bunker maintains Xenu TV where he has gathered hundreds of hours of videos that he has produced of interviews of ex-scientologists such as Tory Christman and Jason Beghe as well as videos he has taken at anti-scientology protests and public Scientology events where you can see scienos being scienos up close and personal. They like to ask what your crimes are a lot. The Christman and Beghe interviews are highly recommended.
Steven Fishman wrote a book, Lonesome Squirrel, describing his life in the Church of Scientology from beginning to end. The entire book is available to read on the web at the link given. It is a fascinating story.
The next target for our tool shall be the Republican party also known as the Grand Old Party or the Greedy Obstructionist Pricks. On 9 May 2009 CNN's Bill Schneider said "The Republicans aren't a party, they're a cult." This prompted Kevin Drum at Mother Jones to observe:
Well, today's GOP does seem to check most of the boxes in the International Cultic Studies Association's "Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups." Except for this one: "The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members." That doesn't seem to be much of a priority for them these days.
I very much appreciate the snark of Kevin's observation and I did literally laugh out loud when I read it. What really shocked me was I hadn't thought to apply this tool to the GOP sooner and how many of the criteria they really do meet. I don't agree that all but one are met, but I don't think Kevin was serious. When I consider the criteria seriously, I check 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15 which is nine of the fifteen. This is more than I would have expected. Maybe it isn't just a good joke. Maybe the GOP really is a cult. Let's hope they don't find a leader to replace their dead leader St. Ronald.
19 May 2009
First up is How to Be a Right-Wing Troll in Ten Easy Steps by ryking at schizokultura. I don't remember who pointed this one out, it may have been Annette, but I'm glad they did because this describes wrong-wing trolls to a T.
I have always pointed out that if one compares the ideology of neoconservatives as documented by Richard Perle with the ideologies of more familiar political ideologies one discovers that neoconservatism is nothing more than fascism with some minor tweaks. VeraLynn pointed out a link to the Project for an Old American Century's (POAC) 14 Points of fascism: The warning signs. They have gathered a tremendous amount of evidence that supports the conclusion that the Bush administration was a fascist regime. I had already concluded that myself, but now I have a pointer to a site that has it all documented. Good job POAC.
Another link from VeraLynn is Physicians for a National Health Program which is a non-profit research and education organization of 16,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance. The Republicans are trying to keep a single payer system from being discussed at all. I'm sure I'll be blogging on this subject many times. It's good to know that a Physicians organization exists to promote a Single Payer Health program.
Finally, here's one I dug up when I was arguing with some scientologists and referred to the Cult of Scientology (they really don't like the C-word), here are the fifteen Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups. The CoS meets all fifteen, in spades. These will be used again in a post very soon.
18 May 2009
The MSM has ignored important stories such as the California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's Top To Bottom Review of Election Machinery (TTBR) and the Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's Project EVEREST (Evaluation and Validation of Election Related Equipment, Standards and Testing). When you consider the following quote from the EVEREST final report, it is hard to understand why these were not huge news stories.
The computer-based voting systems (all three of them) used in Ohio transmit ballot definition and votes for tabulation on memory cards (and in some cases on peripheral coding devices). These cards and devices are insecure and operated in environments where there are many levels of access to these devices (voters, poll workers, election officials, contractors and vendor representatives). These devices are used in multiple ports of entry to the system and shared between various components of the system, whose shared data travels to the ultimate destination of the server software used for present and future elections. Accordingly, the prudent course of action is to remove insecure ports of entry to the system from less secure environments such as polling locations.
Between the California TTBR and the Ohio EVEREST every voting machine used throughout the entire country was tested by computer and security experts. The bottom line of both reports was that our election machines are insecure, unreliable, error prone, not transparent, and unfit for purpose. Yet, this was not newsworthy. Completely ignored by the MSM.
This is the favorite technique used by the MSM to control the framing of the news. No lies are required, just ignore stories. The protesters that threw eggs at Bush's limousine were only seen by those that saw Michael Moore's documentary because it was never shown on any Main Stream News outlet. Likewise, the Iraq war protests were ignored. The protests at the Republican National Convention in 2008 were ignored. The Tea Tantrums, on the other hand were not ignored even though none of them had even one tenth the number of protesters as the Iraq war protests.
Ignoring stories isn't really lying. There is always a lame excuse for why it was igored. It only becomes apparent that there is an agenda when you watch what gets ignored over a period of time. Ignoring the voting machines problem hides the problem from most of the public. Ignoring the war protests allows them to portray the war as being more popular than it really is as well as being able to portray elected officials such as Rep. Kucinich (opponent of the Iraq war) as isolated lunatics who are not representing their constituents.
Another favorite technique is the careful cherry-picking of which set of facts to include in a story. In a sound bite world, which bites get used can completely change the story. This is, in fact, the favorite propaganda technique employed by Rush Limbaugh. Media Matters documents a recent example of this behavior. ABC News ignores the facts in order to prop up the Pelosi story.
Here's how ABC reported it today: [15 May 2009]Pelosi yesterday accused the CIA of giving her “inaccurate and incomplete information” on the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics by the Bush administration, saying that CIA officials are guilty of “misleading the Congress of the United States.” Her recollection is contradicted by an intelligence report sent to Congress last week, which said Pelosi was briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques “that had been employed” in September 2002.
Yikes, Pelosi was caught red-handed telling a fib; unmasked by a CIA intelligence report which totally undercut her claim that she was never told about torture techniques. Busted!
But what did ABC dutifully leave out of its explanation about how Pelosi's recollection was "contradicted" by a CIA intel report? Just the fact that the head of the CIA warned Congress that that intel report may not be accurate or reliable.
Leaving out details of a story may not be lying, but it can mislead just a much as a lie can. There is a name for this sort of thing. It is called propaganda.
The conclusion I have reached is that if you want accurate news you have to use multiple sources and the best sources are on the internet. Regional blogs provide a more accurate picture of what goes on in a region than most other sources will. Newspapers are good for regional information particularly if you can find a high quality blog to double check against. In Alaska there are many very good blogs on political news. The best source of information on Teh Palinator™ is Mudflats. For national and international news you need to sample stories from as many outlets as you have time for. European news sources appear less biased than U.S. sources. The British Newspapers owned by Murdoch are somewhat sensationalist and distort British stories but their international coverage isn't bad. Most news outlets in countries in Europe publish stories in English. Australian and New Zealand newspapers are good fact check targets.
With the current state of journalism, one has to do more work to be certain that you are getting the real facts. Fortunately, there are not that many stories that are important enough to require large amounts of effort. It's a shame this is necessary, but it certainly appears that it is.
17 May 2009
Laffy at The Political Carnival pointed out the 10 Steps to Right Wing Trolling written by ryking. These look correct to me. I've seen these behaviors many, many times.
Also from Laffy at TPC is Little Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama at AlterNet. More reasons that they don't want us to see too many pictures. We might become outraged and demand Rumsfeld's head on a pike.
Since the Republicans and the corporatist media are doing everything they can to suppress any notion of investigation of criminal acts by the Bush Administration, I think we need a reminder of the facts that were known last September when Rep. Kucinich read Thirty-Five Articles of Impeachment on the House Floor.
Here are some extracts that seem all the more important based on what we have learned recently.
ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
Resolved, that President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:
Articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against President George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors.In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed the following abuses of power.
The full document containing the Articles of Impeachment is available from
Dennis Kucinich's web site [PDF]. There is too much detail in each article to be posted here as one post, so I will list only the Article titles that have renewed significance based on recent information.
Creating a Secret Propaganda Campaign to Manufacture a False Case for War Against Iraq.
Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression.
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Manufacture a False Case for War.
Misleading the American People and Members of Congress to Believe Iraq Posed an Imminent Threat to the United States.
Invading Iraq in Violation of the Requirements of HJRes114.
Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.
Invading Iraq, A Sovereign Nation, in Violation of the UN Charter.
Failing to Provide Troops With Body Armor and Vehicle Armor
Falsifying Accounts of US Troop Deaths and Injuries for Political Purposes
Initiating a War Against Iraq for Control of That Nation's Natural Resources
Creating a Secret Task Force to Develop Energy and Military Policies With Respect to Iraq and Other Countries
Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency
Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq
Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors
Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives
Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy
Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to "Black Sites" Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture
Failing to Comply with Congressional Subpoenas and Instructing Former Employees Not to Comply
Tampering with Free and Fair Elections, Corruption of the Administration of Justice
Conspiracy to Violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Repeatedly Ignored and Failed to Respond to High Level Intelligence Warnings of Planned Terrorist Attacks in the US, Prior to 911.
Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001
Endangering the Health of 911 First Responders
Thank you Representative Kucinich for being the only member of congress to fulfill your constitutional duty as you swore to do when you became a Representative. The rest of Congress are a bunch of oath breakers.
This partial list of articles portrays the Bush Administration as a criminal conspiracy. There is adaquate evidence to support each article to more than justify a criminal investigation. That is even more true now. The MSM did not ever mention the Articles of Impeachment having been read by Rep. Kucinich. It was another of those ignore events for the corporatist controlled media. The few outlets that mentioned the reading of the Articles used it as an opportunity to ridicule Rep. Kucinich.
Tonight's Award winners are Richard 'little Dicky' Cheney and Donald 'Unknown Unknowns' Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld can best be described as a arrogant prick asshole. He always knows more about any topic even when he knows nothing about the topic. Experts are to be ignored. Thinks beating prisoners to death is an acceptable policy. This man is a war criminal and his head belongs on a pike.Cheney shoots his friends in the face for recreation. Cheney lies at every opportunity and goes way out of his way to create more opportunities to lie. He tells us that he thinks that torture is a valid interrogation technique while he knows that torture was used to extract false testimony from the unfortunates that fell into his clutches. This man is completely reprehensible, is a war criminal, and his head belongs on a pike.