God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Just the Facts

posted by gp_intern

The neo-cons running this administration’s foreign policy are like most ideologues. Rather than allowing the facts to determine a course of action, they have their predetermined opinions and then shape the evidence to match.

On Sunday, a group of anonymous senior United States military officials held a press briefing in Baghdad to present their case that Iran was supplying weapons to Shiite groups in Iraq. They displayed mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades and an explosive device capable of blasting through an armored Humvee. According to The New York Times,

The officials also asserted, without providing direct evidence, that Iranian leaders had authorized smuggling those weapons into Iraq for use against the Americans. The officials said such an assertion was an inference based on general intelligence assessments.

One senior defense analyst said, The Times noted, that “direction for the operation was ‘coming from the highest levels of the Iranian government.’”

The reaction was skeptical. The British Independent wrote:

The United States is moving closer to war with Iran by accusing the “highest levels” of the Iranian government of supplying sophisticated roadside bombs that have killed 170 US troops and wounded 620. The allegations against Iran are similar in tone and credibility to those made four years ago by the US government about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the invasion of 2003.

The London Financial Times called it a “Dodgy Dossier,” and noted:

The much-postponed presentation of the case that Iran is arming opponents of the U.S. army in Iraq finally took place in Baghdad on Sunday. It was unconvincing and resembles, albeit in a minor key, Colin Powell’s misrepresentation four years ago to the United Nations Security Council on Iraq’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. The former secretary of state’s allegations were not borne out by the facts, but they did smooth the path to invasion.

And, then, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, disagreeing with his analysts, said:

We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in Iran … What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se, knows about this. … It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it’s clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit.

So which is it? It reminds me of the old television show Dragnet with Sgt. Joe Friday and his signature phrase, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Is that too much to expect from our government? Having once taken the country to war on non-existent evidence driven by their ideology, we must not allow them to do it again. I don’t want to hear “assertions” and “inferences.” Just the facts.



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Wolverine

posted February 14, 2007 at 10:11 pm


I’m sorry, but I just don’t see what Jim is saying here. He starts by quoting two press accounts that are skeptical of the claims of military intelligence. One of these is based on the apparent misstatements of the head of the State Department — a civilian agency. Wallis then quotes a military officer who concedes that he personally is unable to confirm or deny that the Iranian government is behind the attacks. Jim, when someone says “I don’t know”, that’s not the same as starting an argument. What’s the conflict here? I honestly don’t see the point of this post. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted February 14, 2007 at 10:17 pm


Meanwhile, over at National Review’s “Corner” blog, Andy MacCarthy observes: When it comes to Iraq, the Left is dizzying. Are these not the same people who said that if Lynndie England was walking a naked Iraqi prisoner around like a dog on a leash, she simply must have been acting on orders from Don Rumsfeld, if not Bush himself? Now, the mullahs’ own militia, formed for the purpose of exporting the Islamic revolution, is caught red-handed exporting the Islamic revolution to Iraq, and the Left’s response is to ask whether we can really be sure the mullahs put them up to it? Any thoughts on this, Jim? Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted February 14, 2007 at 10:36 pm


“The neo-cons running this administration s foreign policy are like most ideologues.” So is Jim.



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jesse

posted February 14, 2007 at 10:50 pm


I wonder why the facts on whether Iran is providing weapons to terrorists would really matter to Jim, because his conclusions on what should be done (talking it out) would be the same, regardless.Yeah, I don’t really see the point of this post, either.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 14, 2007 at 10:50 pm


At least Jim tries to tell the truth. In my experience, neo-conservatives couldn’t care less.



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Wolverine

posted February 14, 2007 at 11:28 pm


Rick, Do you even have a clue what a neoconservative is? Wolverine



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jesse

posted February 14, 2007 at 11:40 pm


A “neo-conservative” the way it is used by Wallis and others is simply someone who supposedly loves war and hates peace. It’s basically become a term of derision thrown at anyone who disagrees with Wallis (or others on the left) on foreign policy matters. Name-calling is all it is.



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epstew

posted February 14, 2007 at 11:58 pm


woe to me that reads these comments and decides to post! Jim,I almost always agree with the direction of your posts. I would prefer for the sake of larger conversation that the labels – ie – neo-cons, ideologues, religious right, etc. – not be used. They are convenient abreviations, but have taken on ugly undertones. Since I know you read the posts, thanks for your consideration. Regarding the commentary – I believe the concern from this side of the table is the feeling that our government is looking toward an excuse for attacking Iran. Why wouldn’t Iran supply weapons? I do not care whether it is truth or conjecture – we should not use this as a basis for launching another ill-conceived war.



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Kris Weinschenker

posted February 15, 2007 at 12:03 am


Our Courts ignore the facts when it’s convient for them , and they are supposed to be “fact-finders”. So, I don’t see why people should be so critical of this administration especially given the FACT that Iran IS supplying weapons (either “officially” or under the table) to the insurrgents in Iraq.



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Angie France

posted February 15, 2007 at 12:56 am


Why are people so fast to condemn our President and so eager to cater to terrorists? Do you hate George Bush that much that you take the side of Iran over your own country. That’s so sad. You and most of the media outlets in this country should be ashamed of your actions. It will only come back to haunt you.



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kevin s.

posted February 15, 2007 at 1:44 am


Does anyone really doubt that Iran is aiding the insurgency in Iraq? I recall a number of posts that said, essentially, that we are fighting a proxy war with Iran. In fact, some have said that this is the one of the key problems with the Iraq war.



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Mike Hayes

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:08 am


Jim, I think the effort expended in raising this issue on this blog (and then in responding to the attacks upon that by opponents of the values in “God’s Politics”) would be better invested in a “take action” opportunity to enable supporters of the values in “God’s Politics” to contact our respective members of congress about their responsibility to provide oversight of any future military action that might be taken against Iran. That would result in a coordinated effort to communicate with members of congress. This topic on this blog just waves a red flag in front of those who support the surge and who may support direct action against Iran. It also provides them with a stage upon which they have opportunity to influence voters to conclude that direct action against Iran is appropriate.



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Esther

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:10 am


I doubt it. For all we know, the US military machine wants us to buy into a conflict with Iran, and has planted ‘evidence’ to justify their declaration of war on Iran, much like they did when they geared up for attacking Afganistan and then Iraq. You can’t create peace by waging war.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:25 am


Do you even have a clue what a neoconservative is? Yeah, I do. A neo-conservative by definition is someone, usually a former liberal, who believes in using governmental power to promote conservative ideals, in this case gunboat diplomacy. The ideology has sometimes been called “national greatness conservatism.”



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moderatelad

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:45 am


So Jim Anybody else Intel is better that ours. We just need to talk with them and reason with them. Just leave them alone and everything will be fine. We can believe that the Iranians say – they are peace loving people. Any peace but Bush’s peace. You have just jumped to the top of my N. Chamberlain list – now grab a piece of paper and go outside and wave it around so that all can see and say ‘PEACE IN OUR TIME’. later – .



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 3:50 am


moderatelad — That’s not what Jim is saying. Thing is, the neo-con mentality drops the gloves anytime it can because it lives to fight and fights to live, really believing it can simply overpower its enemies with force. Well, in Iraq neo-conservatism has more than met its match.



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kevin s.

posted February 15, 2007 at 4:08 am


Esther, If we planted evidence in Iraq (and Afghanistan?) wouldn’t it have been a little easier to find it? “A neo-conservative by definition is someone, usually a former liberal, who believes in using governmental power to promote conservative ideals, in this case gunboat diplomacy.” So, the definition of neoconservativism is using gunboat diplomacy to defend gunboat diplomacy? That’s not it at all. Neoconservatism arose out of Democrats’ general indifference (and/or outright opposition to) the cold war. It is not, per se, gunboat diplomacy, but rather keeps the option of military on the table as a means of giving muscle to roundtable diplomacy.It does not “live to fight” or “fight to live”. Rick, I think you’re capable of having a more substantive discussion than that.



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Jeremy

posted February 15, 2007 at 5:35 am


“Does anyone really doubt that Iran is aiding the insurgency in Iraq? I recall a number of posts that said, essentially, that we are fighting a proxy war with Iran. ” Exactly. You have to be a wide-eyed optimist to *not* think that Iran is stirring things up on the sly and loving every minute of it. If the administration has decided on a course of action and is now creating facts to fit (which is highly unlikely, only a complete idiot would think that a third war is even remotely feasible), Jim clearly has reached conclusions that he makes the facts fit.



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Bacc

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:22 am


It seems like we christians are continuing to sould like right-left winged politicians. When we are going to stand on God word,and push for the great commission to be fulfilled. Enough of this Rush Limbaugh talk. Let talk bible.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 12:59 pm


Neoconservatism arose out of Democrats’ general indifference (and/or outright opposition to) the cold war. It is not, per se, gunboat diplomacy, but rather keeps the option of military on the table as a means of giving muscle to roundtable diplomacy. Bunk — Harry Truman, for openers, was no wimp in this area, and in fact, many liberals of that day, especially labor unions, were strongly anti-communist. It does not “live to fight” or “fight to live”. Sure seems that way to me — the neo-cons were the people Reagan canned after Iran-Contra and they’re still sore at him 20 years later.



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nickerson

posted February 15, 2007 at 1:52 pm


I Googled neoconservative and found an article in Christian Science Monitor at http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon/neocon101.html Neoconservatives were liberals that turned conservative. They believed that America should make the whole world part of a huge American empire and that American values should be thrust upon all people across the world.How liberals could make this great a shift in philosophy is beyond me? I am reminded that Jesus before Pilate said that his kingdom was not of this world. Spending billions maybe trillions for the opportunity to tell every individual in the world what kind of government he or she should have and that they should allow soft pornography on the TVs and billboards cannot be favored by those of the Christian faith.I see more value in America joining a democratic assembly of all the nations of the world and making decisions and taking actions that would be good for the common good of all the peoples of the world rather that trying to be the benevolent dictator of the whole world. It is a thinly disguised tactic to support the profits of global cooperations.



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Ellen Broadwell

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:02 pm


The really sad story in all of this is that after the run-up to the Iraq war, and after finding out that much of the evidence was “cooked,” American voters don’t trust this administration anymore. Whether or not Iran is supplying weapons to the Iraqi insurgents, the Bush administration can’t sell it because most people don’t buy it.



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Daniel

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:10 pm


For what it is worth I am a Sojo-type progressive and an adherent to nonviolence and I am relatively hawkish on Iran. Read Amadenejad’s blog – he believes the last battle is upon us and the US is Satan. Two separate internal ministries there have had leaked documents that indicate they want weapons for war with the US and wanted to derail the Israeli/Lebanon cease fire agreement in order to justify the coming conflicts. At what point do we conclude that a threat is imminent, More importantly, at what point do we conclude that they are already at war with us? All that said, I believe we have lessons to be learned from overthrowing their democracy and elevating the Shah. And it is not a good idea to repeat the mistake of Iraq in a different place. Maybe this time we’re ready to cut deals with Iran contras….



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Aaron

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:11 pm


Right on Ellen.



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George

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:27 pm


Just suppose that the best possible outcome occurs in Iraq – that is they establish a true democracy. The government will be elected by a majority (65%) Shiite population. Well, guess which branch of Islam is running Iran? So, after thousands of American lives and billions of American dollars, we will have succeeded only in establishing the same kind of extremist government in Iraq as now exists in Iran. The only thing that we will have done is to replace one prick (Sadaam) with a worse prick. Already, there are reports of Iraqi government leaders visiting their Iranian conterparts.



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Wolverine

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:33 pm


If there’s anything to be gleaned from this whole mess of a thread, it is that the word “neoconservative” has been drained of all meaning by overuse and misuse. Rick Nowlin deserves some credit for understanding that neoconservatives tended to be former liberals. (He also deserves credit for not dragging in Straussians and the whole “Noble Lie” canard.) Actually, the original neos began as marxists who broke away over Stalinism. They converted to conservatism not in the forties and fifties (when the Truman Democrats were determined to fight the cold war) but in the late sixties and seventies when McGovernite pacifism took root in the Democratic party. They brought more to the table than just being former liberals. They also brought an appreciation for social science to a conservative movement that was divided between traditionalists and libertarian economic theorists. It was the neocons who figured out that the data backed the conservative worldview in a lot of ways. In that sense they played a critical role in putting together the “fusion” conservative coalition that most people think of today as “conservatism”. Nowadays, neoconservatives are associated with a certain bloody-mindedness by their opponents on the left (“They believed that America should make the whole world part of a huge American empire and that American values should be thrust upon all people across the world” says Nickerson.) But here’s the thing: the decision to declare war was made by George Bush, who up until that point had never been considered a neo. He certainly never was a liberal, unless you consider his wild drinking days an expression of liberalism. (Which isn’t exactly fair, GWBs partying was pretty apolitical by all accounts) Nor is it completely fair to blame the neos, across the board, for supporting the ill-considered Democratization of Iraq. True, a lot of advocates for democratization were neos, but there were critics in the neo camp: Charles Krauthammer comes immediately to mind. (I was skeptical myself — I’m also a huge Krauthammer fan, btw.) While I won’t say the two groups are mutually exclusive, and they get along quite well, neocons tend not to be members of the Religious Right. Most neos at least flirted with liberalism, and their conversion to conservatism was based on their understanding of politics, not religion. There are Christian neocons: Fred Barnes is in that camp, and I think of myself as a neo too. But Fred and I are the exceptions that prove the rule: we’re both Anglicans, not typical evangelicals. Look, most conservatives supported the invasion of Iraq when it was proposed, not just the neos. Since then a lot have expressed second thoughts, but few have suggested that we pull out all at once. That goes across the conservative spectrum. Support for the war is not now nor has it ever been a neocon thing; it was and is a conservative thing. So all of you on the left would make your lives a lot easier if you just blamed it all on plain old generic conservatives. Us neos will know that you mean us too. Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted February 15, 2007 at 2:56 pm


“Bunk — Harry Truman, for openers, was no wimp in this area, and in fact, many liberals of that day, especially labor unions, were strongly anti-communist.” Harry Truman was not the impetus for the neoconservative movement.”How liberals could make this great a shift in philosophy is beyond me?” Issues of war an national defense were once not viewed in partisan terms. Many conservatives point to the fact that many issues (social views in particular) were once not “political” issues. Thus, the question of national security dominated ideology, and different members of different parties brought different opinions. Plus, neoconservative was not, at that time, taken to mean “all purpose bogeyman that everyone should hate”.



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Unsympathetic reader

posted February 15, 2007 at 3:20 pm


Angie France: “Why are people so fast to condemn our President and so eager to cater to terrorists?” Those two statements connected by the “and” can be independent. Assuming people can be categorized in binary fashion (either ‘in’ or ‘out’), there are four possible combinations. Those who… 1. Condemn the President and cater to terrorists. 2. Don’t condemn the President and cater to terrorists. 3. Condemn the President and don’t cater to terrorists. 4. Don’t condemn the President and don’t cater to terrorists. Ellen Broadwell: “ The really sad story in all of this is that after the run-up to the Iraq war, and after finding out that much of the evidence was “cooked,” American voters don’t trust this administration anymore.” It’s the ‘Chicken Little’ effect. On the whole, I think it’s a pretty good thing that voters don’t necessarily trust administrations. They should always keep their eyes open: Writing blank checks is a very hazardous business.



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Wolverine

posted February 15, 2007 at 4:05 pm


How could liberals make this shift? I recall Norman Podhoretz describing it this way: in his marxist days he saw the US as a fascist power, but as an enlisted man in World War II he saw Americans leading the fight against fascism, and he saw that it wasn’t just the liberals and marxists who were doing the fighting, opposition to Hitler went pretty much across the board. This led him to understand that for all its faults America was not a doctrinaire fascist or reactionary society, and that the marxist left was wrong for claiming that it was. This pushed him out of the ranks of the marxists and into the ranks of patriotic liberals (The “Scoop Jackson Democrats”) Then when the McGovernite wing took over Democratic party foreign policy during the sixties, Podhoretz and many other liberals (Irving Kristol, Midge Dector, and others) took exception to what they perceived as an anti-American bias in McGovernite rhetoric and thought. They founded a new magazine (Commentary) where they made the argument that American society was good or at least redeemable. As they made the case for a more nuanced, less drastic approach to reforming American society, they were seen less and less as liberals and more as a new variety of conservatives: Neoconservatives. Wolverine



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Donny

posted February 15, 2007 at 4:28 pm


The “facts” Mr Wallis, is that progressive Christians talk, act and believe in things exactly the same way as godless Secularists.Except that people like you use the word “Christian” for whatever reason urges you to do so. My old boss used to say: If it quacks like a duck, it walks like a duck, and “you know what’s” like a duck . . .It’s a duck. A Progressive and a Marxist Socialist?



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Aaron

posted February 15, 2007 at 4:32 pm


Wolv, Kevin,Thanks for the political hsitory lessons.



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Joseph Tracy

posted February 15, 2007 at 4:39 pm


I think Jim is very modest and reserved in calling these neo-cons, a word I associate with the Project for a new American Century. As far as I am concerned, both their writings and actions in Iraq reveal them to be Imperialist Criminals in the mode of the Roman Emperors, with no regard for the bounds of Constitutional Law, the US Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Geneva Conventions, the UN Charter, or common decency. Virtually all of them have personal or family investments in companies that have profited enormously from this war. They have made fools of everyone who believed them at the cost of rivers of blood, post war trauma, growing hatred for America, enormous debt, and the self respect that comes from preserving fundamental human rights. It is obvious that Bush wants to turn the anger of the American people about the catastrophe in Iraq caused by HIS NEOCON POLICIES against Iran. This is classic machiavellian strategy, but these are the boys who cried wolf too many times, and they admit that they have no credible evidence showing the Iranian government made or supplied these weapons. One thing is glaringly obvious. Iran is not arming the Sunnis who form the core and overwhelming majority of the attacks on US soldiers. Another thing is equally obvious. If we attack Iran we will soon be allied with the Sunni insurgents against the Shia populations of Iran and Iraq. Can anybody say bring the boys home now! I say lets have an all volunteer, pay your own way conservative pro family crusade to save the middle east for George, Capitalism and the American Judaeo-Christian God of your choice. A surge to end all surges. The army can sell them all the boats, planes and high tech war-poop they’ll need. We’ll all come down to the docks and airports to see them off and give them a large supply of mini-flags made in China. Carry on Generals Limbaugh and Rove. Oh, and have fun storming the castle.



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Joseph Tracy

posted February 15, 2007 at 4:47 pm


Oops. correction in first line above. should have been – calling them neocons- who apart from their promotion of war crimes also seem to have enormous talents in the quacking like ducks department.



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Joseph Tracy

posted February 15, 2007 at 5:08 pm


All of this is is incredibly hypocritical considering that we supplied Iraq under Saddam with Chemical and other weapons to use against Iran, actually selling weapons to both sides, and not turning off the supply when Saddam used them against his own. We sell weapons to virtually every dictator on the planet. What about the cluster bombs used against civilians in Lebanon and missiles fired into Lebanese ambulances which were made in America. If selling or supplying weapons to those who should not have them comprises a basis for bombing a country France Britain and the US should be first in line. Somebody stop me, I’m addicted to gun money.



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kevin s.

posted February 15, 2007 at 5:17 pm


“missiles fired into Lebanese ambulances which were made in America.” Nice to see you bought into the propoganda here. Israel is a dictatorship now?



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Insight

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:21 pm


Jim: I like you. I appreciate much of what you’ve been fighting for for the past 30 years. But you increasingly sound like an anxious, angry, reactionary democratic pundit who equally prooftexts his ranting arguments. It’s unattractive to your blog, and diminishes the larger work that you do. Your obsession with GWB and neocon power can easily become a form of idolatry in your effort for “good” causes. It’s sad to say this, but Sojourner’s can’t change the world. But they can participate in the process of ministering to it. Those who think that they shoulder more of a burden tend to become frantic and cynical when the winds don’t blow their way. Sometimes stating clear truth is all that is necessary Jim. In that way, you participate in the process of healing and ministry. Remember–we are ministers (you and I) and we are called above the political name calling and gamesmanship of “Press Parties” in our efforts for sound and lasting change. Remember: it’s ministry Jim; MINISTRY instead of favored politics and name calling. That’s the narrow road.



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Will H.

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:23 pm


Kevin, why do you always revert to unfounded accusations? What Joseph said was a fact. His stating of a fact does not mean that he thinks Israel is a dictatorship. That is ridiculous. What Jim Wallis is saying in this blog is that we should stick to the facts and not semantics. Right now the Bush administration is making claims that they can’t back up. We should question that and questioning that does not make us terrorists, or anti-American or any other negative label you decide to come up with.



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HASH(0x11970a04)

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:26 pm


I did not intend to say Israel is a dictatorship: they aren’t. The missile is a documented fact. These are separate sentences but I should have worded more carefully. Perhaps you would like to respond to the fundamental argument? Or maybe join the crusade?



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Rev. Churchmouse

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:28 pm


Hey- let’s remember where we are– Jim Wallis says “I don’t want to hear ‘assertions and inferences’. Just the facts.” Me too. Let’s be good Sojos and stop with the urban legend stuff. There were no missiles fired into Lebanese Ambulances. This one has dubious provenance too– …”the US supplying chemical weapons to use against Iran”. As long as we’re expressing concern about cluster bombs and civilians– How about the Hezbollah/Al Qaeda/et al use of civilians as cluster bombs?Maybe we could send some kind of International Police Force to arrest them for doing that?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:30 pm


While I won’t say the two groups are mutually exclusive, and they get along quite well, neocons tend not to be members of the Religious Right. Most neos at least flirted with liberalism, and their conversion to conservatism was based on their understanding of politics, not religion. This says more about the “religious right,” which was always less about religion than politics. BTW, Marvin Olasky, editor of World magazine (which is the publication furthest to the right ideologically I’ve ever seen), also would fit into the “neo-” camp, being a former Trotskyite.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:39 pm


It’s unattractive to your blog, and diminishes the larger work that you do. Your obsession with GWB and neocon power can easily become a form of idolatry in your effort for “good” causes. Except for one thing, Insight. There are times in ministry, especially prophetic ministry, that you have to call a spade a spade even if people hate you because of it. Jim has been doing this kind of thing since the 1970s; only in the last three years or so has it gained traction with a larger audience. Martin Luther King Jr. was appreciated in the black community when he was speaking up for civil rights for blacks — but those same people jumped on his case when he opposed the war in Vietnam. (Never mind that he felt they were related.) FWIW, he was “disinvited” from both the Clinton and Bush II White Houses for criticizing them on welfare policy, much like King’s rift with President Johnson because of ‘Nam.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:43 pm


Harry Truman was not the impetus for the neoconservative movement.My point exactly. If anyone, Joe McCarthy was.



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Joseph T

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:46 pm


That was me not anonymous. Hey Kevin, Wolverine, Jesse, and Donnie. How ’bout them Dixie Chicks?



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Carl Copas

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:47 pm


Harry Truman was not the impetus for the neoconservative movement.Rick Nowlin: My point exactly. If anyone, Joe McCarthy was. Rick, I’m usually on your side. But Joe McCarthy had nothing to do w/neoconservatism. McCarthy died in 1957. Neoconservatism is a philosophy that first appeared at the end of the 1960s.



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Wolverine

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:47 pm


Rick, You say Joe McCarthy was the impetus for the neoconservative movement/ Would you mind elaborating? Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted February 15, 2007 at 6:49 pm


Joseph T. Watching the Dixie Chicks do politics reminds me of the reason I don’t do music. I’m much better at something else. Wolverine



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Chet Donelly

posted February 15, 2007 at 7:09 pm


Goldwater, Nixon, Cohn and McCarthy were the start of the NeoConservative movement in America. The Dixie Chicks were thrown under the bus by such neocons for having a dissenting opinion. Does it truly suprise you that McCarthy was one of the founding fathers of that movement?



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Payshun

posted February 15, 2007 at 7:09 pm


Wolverine, I actually think they are pretty good at doing politics. They manage to piss of all the right people.(kidding) p



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kevin s.

posted February 15, 2007 at 7:23 pm


The Dixie Chicks weren’t thrown under a bus. They simply weren’t listened to. People stopped attending their shows, partly out of offense taken at their remarks, partyl because their schtick was getting old. It has nothing to do with McCarthyism.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 7:57 pm


You say Joe McCarthy was the impetus for the neoconservative movement. Specifically, it was the Army-McCarthy hearings that took place in the Senate in 1954; McCarthy, of course, made his name by seeing “red” everywhere (which was partially true). The entire modern conservative movement, which now would include neo-conservatism, began there; Bill Buckley started National Review the next year.



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Daniel

posted February 15, 2007 at 7:59 pm


Kevin, The Chicks received death threats on their children, among many other things, and their Nashville show sold out within an hour or two (a good sign for them). That said…. I am gravely concerned at a political climate that celebrates personal insults as respectable conduct – whether it is by someone I agree with otherwise or someone who is my opposite. The obstinance of the Chicks, to me, doesn’t stand for free speech, it stands for the acceptance of rage as appropriate for the civic forum (in this case on the Left). That’s unfortunate. Few things bring an end to compromise and life together as efficiently as a good insult….



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HASH(0x11980b44)

posted February 15, 2007 at 8:09 pm


I notice you guys are letting all my other assertions about neocon war crimes go uncontested. Glad at least that’s settled.



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Wolverine

posted February 15, 2007 at 8:15 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: Specifically, it was the Army-McCarthy hearings that took place in the Senate in 1954; McCarthy, of course, made his name by seeing “red” everywhere (which was partially true). The entire modern conservative movement, which now would include neo-conservatism, began there; Bill Buckley started National Review the next year. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc? Wolverine



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Joseph T

posted February 15, 2007 at 8:36 pm


On April 13 1996 an Israeli pilot fired 2 hellfire missiles into a Lebanese ambulance killing 2 women and 4 children . The Israeli govt acknowledged this the same day , but said the vehicle was “targeted” because it was owned by a member of Hizballah and that it was carrying a Hizballah guerilla. Both claims were found to be false by UN people and by Robert Fisk, but one of the missiles was intact enough for Michael Lidval of the Swedish army (UN officer)to find the missile manufacturing code which told where in the US it was made and after extensive research how it came into Israel’s possession. This was all documented in the British paper the Independent where you can be sued if you get the facts wrong.I don’t see how “targeting” the people you kill passes for proof of guilt in the American press, nor how it justifies the thousands of non-combatant civilians who have been killed using this rationale, but it is a practice which by Geneva conventions is a war crime.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 8:45 pm


Wolverine — Sorry, but I don’t speak Latin (even though I am somewhat of a linguist).



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Wolverine

posted February 15, 2007 at 8:59 pm


Rick, The Army-McCarthy hearings are considered a disaster — for McCarthy. It was during this time that McCarthy overplayed his hand and was seen as an overbearing fool. Wikipedia notes that toward the end An increasing number of Republicans and conservatives were coming to see McCarthy as a liability to the party and to anti-communism. Congressman George H. Bender (R-OH — Wolverine) noted “There is a growing impatience with the Republican Party. McCarthyism has become a synonym for witch-hunting, star chamber methods and the denial of. . . civil liberties.” Frederick Woltman, a reporter with a long-standing reputation as a staunch anti-communist, wrote a five-part series of articles criticising McCarthy in the New York World-Telegram. He stated that McCarthy “has become a major liability to the cause of anti-communism,” and accused him of “wild twisting of facts and near facts [that] repels authorities in the field.” When Buckley’s National Review appeared in November 1955, Buckley’s introductory essay noted that “We begin publishing, then, with a considerable stock of experience with the irresponsible Right.” By then everyone had a pretty good idea what he was talking about. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 9:07 pm


When Buckley’s National Review appeared in November 1955, Buckley’s introductory essay noted that “We begin publishing, then, with a considerable stock of experience with the irresponsible Right.” By then everyone had a pretty good idea what he was talking about. Perhaps this was the case — and it was played out again with Barry Goldwater, about which similar things were said. However, in both cases only the message was tweaked. With today’s neo-cons, however, the message has become the problem, and that’s what Wallis was addressing.



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Carl Copas

posted February 15, 2007 at 9:29 pm


Rick, you and Chet Donnelly are using “Neoconservatism” differently than th rest of us. You are using it to refer to the “New Right” that indeed can be traced to Buckley, Goldwater, and even to McCarthy. “Neoconservatism” refers to a specific movement by Democrats, many of them Jewish and former Trotskyites, to the right in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Irvin Kristol, a leading neocon, said that a neoconservative is “a liberal that’s been mugged by reality.” I would argue that “neoconservatism” is a component of modern American conservatism. The latter contains several strands of conservatism–including libertarianism, social conservatism, the Christian Right, hardline anticommunism (before the end of the cold war), and neoconservatism.



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Carl Copas

posted February 15, 2007 at 9:34 pm


A good reference for neoconservatism is John Ehrman, Neoconservatism: Intellectuals and Foreign Affairs, 1945-1994 (Yale University Press, 1995). See esp. Chapter 2, “Liberalism’s Split: The Neoconservatives Emerge, 1968-1975.”



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George

posted February 15, 2007 at 9:35 pm


I am personally not a big fan of the Dixie Chicks (I’m more of the Johnny Cash/Merle Haggard generation. But I was amused at the reaction of thousands of people after the Chicks spoke their mind about the war and the president. Look, if you’re looking for someone to fix your car, build a house, or operate on your body, you don’t start out by asking them about their politics. You simply select the best person for the job. So how could these music fans suddenly dislike the same music that they were previously crazy about? That is Mccarthyism carried to the extreme.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 10:18 pm


“Neoconservatism” refers to a specific movement by Democrats, many of them Jewish and former Trotskyites, to the right in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Irving Kristol, a leading neocon, said that a neoconservative is “a liberal that’s been mugged by reality.” I did mention that; Marvin Olasky, publisher of the ultra-right World magazine, comes from that perspective, and I think Jeane Kirkpatrick would as well. I would add that neo-conservative thought became American foreign policy under Reagan and both Bushes, and that’s part of the trouble.



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HASH(0x11990690)

posted February 15, 2007 at 10:36 pm


This definition”Neoconservatism” refers to a specific movement by Democrats, many of them Jewish and former Trotskyites, to the right in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Irving Kristol, a leading neocon, said that a neoconservative is “a liberal that’s been mugged by reality.” rather nicely points to the “weird factor” involved. Most liberals couldn’t tell you one thing Leon Trotsky said, and Lenin’s “all political power comes from the barrel of a gun” seems to work well for the white house neos. I personally think the whole bunch of right wing nut cakes who are in favor in the Whitehouse, but quckly losing credibility with anyone but the “faith based”, are actively trying to mug reality. Anyone remember a fella named Osama Bin Laden?



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lilou

posted February 15, 2007 at 10:44 pm


Seems like most of you saw the word neo-con and your brains seized up. Jim’s point, for those of you who missed it: “Having once taken the country to war on non-existent evidence driven by their ideology, we must not allow them to do it again.” I could quibble with the grammar but I fully endorse the message. Any intelligence that the government trots out to suggest that we need to pursue military action against Iran should be taken with a whole shaker of salt. You know, “Fool me once … shame on … You can’t get fooled again!”



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Carl Copas

posted February 15, 2007 at 10:44 pm


Anonymous: “rather nicely points to the ‘weird factor’ involved.” “Weird factor”? Maybe. Or just maybe that they grew up in a time and milieu where those things were important. I thought it was Mao Zedong who said “all political power comes from the barrel of a gun.” Whatever the source, I agree that it seems to be an article faith for the current bunch of foreign policymakers in office.



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Wolverine

posted February 15, 2007 at 10:45 pm


Post hoc ergo propter hoc. After this therefore because of this. It seemed to me that you were saying that, since National Review came out after Joe McCarthy, that Joe McCarthy was, in some sense, the real founder of the conservative movement. The problem was that Tailgunner Joe had pretty much shot his own plane down by then. Wolverine



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Mike Hayes

posted February 15, 2007 at 10:48 pm


To: Supporters of the values in “God’s Politics” Subject: House resolution about the surge http://www.workingforchange.com/activism/action.cfm?itemid=21984&afccode=n85txt is an opportunity to contact your member of the US House of Representatives about the resolution questioning the surge in Iraq.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 15, 2007 at 11:11 pm


It seemed to me that you were saying that, since National Review came out after Joe McCarthy, that Joe McCarthy was, in some sense, the real founder of the conservative movement. I probably should have said that he was the inspiration for the conservative movement.



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Wolverine

posted February 15, 2007 at 11:30 pm


Rick, Erm, no. Whatever else McCarthy might have been, he was ultimately a failure and he was a failure because of his own actions. Conservatives generally aren’t inspired by suicides. Wolverine



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glocks out

posted February 15, 2007 at 11:31 pm


It’s astounding how many people troll your blog, Jim. They just wait for you to throw them some bait for their hateful sport. It’s also interesting to see the ignorance about Iran’s government. Ahmadinejad has ZERO control of the military, it is the Supreme Leader’s jurisdiction. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa in 2005 saying the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons was forbidden under Islam. Somehow the neo-cons in power have convinced their followers that Iran is dangerous and is actively engaged in hostilities towards us. Iran has captured and imprisoned more al-Qaeda agents than any other country (including the US). How do we repay them? Include them on the “axis of evil” list in the 2003 State of the Union.



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Insight

posted February 15, 2007 at 11:49 pm


Rick: (I suspect that you don’t live in Washington, DC, Rick. ) I appreciate your pointing out (AGAIN) that Jim was “disinvited” by both Bush and Clinton, given his opposition to their policies. You seem to repeat this point anytime Jim comes under criticism by those who simply want him to stop obsessing. Presidents will always have people/groups who will support or oppose them. The credibility issue should not rest upon whether one recieves an “invitation” to the White House; that’s trivial and plays into the ideology and idolatry of White House invitations (remember–you have to be invited first in order to be dis-invited…). Jim is now in a place where he would love to get the invitation by choice, but he seems now to rely upon an invitation by “force”. This is because he now sees SJ as a strong lobby group in Washington, and this is exactly the trap that Jim and SJ continue to lay for themselves. SJ is now a Christian PAC. If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, walks like a duck, then guess what it must be….. Passion can originate from virtuous, authentic places, however, uncontrolled passion that lacks humility (e.g., Jim’s ranting and name calling of those who take certain positions that oppose his–the language he uses is purely political and carries shock value) and constant self-scrutiny (when was the last time Jim posted about admitting to his wrong assumptions and scurrilous prooftexting with Bible verses?) is dangerous. It simply breeds another version of the Moral Majority, except the democrats can now use Jim for his politically worth. Watch Pentecost 2007, and see what happens. I think you’re a really level headed guy Rick, but I disagree with you on this one. All the best to you.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 16, 2007 at 1:07 am


Conservatives generally aren’t inspired by suicides. No, but they agreed with McCarthy. The credibility issue should not rest upon whether one recieves an “invitation” to the White House; that’s trivial and plays into the ideology and idolatry of White House invitations (remember–you have to be invited first in order to be dis-invited…). Remember, poverty has finally gotten onto the radar of conservative Christians, and Jim has been addressing that for over three decades, right in Washington. It only makes sense that politicians might call upon him, in the same way that politicians in my city have called upon the pastor of my church because of its work in the inner city. Besides, given the poisonous political atmosphere over the past 25 years, it would be hard for anyone who’s down there not to think about it — and we know who’s to blame for that. Because so many conservatives are Christians, he feels it’s his duty to confront them; I’ve been doing that myself since 1980. It simply breeds another version of the Moral Majority, except the democrats can now use Jim for his politically worth. Sorry, but I think you’re off-base here. Remember the subtitle of the book “God’s Politics”: “Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get it.” Besides, when Moral Majority was founded it automatically was connected to conservative groups. Sojourners is considerably older than the Moral Majority, remember, and was never a pressure/lobby group. Then again (and I know from experience), prophetic ministry is often resented.



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Wolverine

posted February 16, 2007 at 3:06 am


Rick Nowlin wrote, …prophetic ministry is often resented. Same can be said of lies, distortions, wild accusations, and rhetorical hyperbole. Lots of people resented Joe McCarthy back in the day, and he got snubbed by a President too. (Ike famously called MacCarthyism “McCarthywasm”) Did any of that make Joe McCarthy a prophet? Wolverine



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Daniel

posted February 16, 2007 at 4:45 am


Mike Thanks for the link. It bears repeating: http://www.workingforchange.com/…&afccode=n85txt



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Daniel

posted February 16, 2007 at 4:47 am


Wolverine, While I think Buckley represents a different line of thought from McCarthy, it’s not as clean a break as you might think. It gets pretty complicated because Democrats back then were just coming around to support civil rights for all and most then still felt very strongly anti-Communism (i.e. Kennedy). Buckley’s opening essay was pretty good – he’s a razor wit, but nowadays the National Review carries articles aplenty that try to salvage McCarthy’s legacy.



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Wolverine

posted February 16, 2007 at 5:25 am


Daniel, Could you please give an example of an article in NR that salvages McCarthy’s legacy? Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 16, 2007 at 5:54 am


Same can be said of lies, distortions, wild accusations, and rhetorical hyperbole. Not quite — do those things and you can actually gain a large following (see Hitler, Rush et al). Wallis, on the other hand, has never had a large following and probably has never even really sought it; he may be “hot” right now to a certain extent, but even if he falls out of favor he will keep on doing what he’s doing. It’s called “principle.” Lots of people resented Joe McCarthy back in the day, and he got snubbed by a President too. (Ike famously called MacCarthyism “McCarthywasm”). On the othr hand, Reagan probably would consider him a “brother-in-arms” if they were here today.



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Ms. Cynthia

posted February 16, 2007 at 11:36 am


Dear Jim: Things were looking a little quiet on GP Blog. I’m glad to know you and staff were paying attention this week to the music in the air. I was afraid no one would have the courage to say something about it. The press has also clarified that perhaps the first 3 or 4 mill. refugees have now fled from Iraq to surrounding regions. This administration will process only 700 Iraqi’s? who are in danger for their lives because of their relationship with the American presence. Their excuse is because it takes too long to process these folks for security reasons. Or is it because they do not want it to appear as if the surge is already failing? More than a million refugees now overwhelm the social services of Syria and threaten to destabilize that government. Have not the arms merchants been knocking on everyone’s door with consumer items? Suni, Shiya and Kurd alike? Just to name the best known minorities in the region who could use a little more neighborhood security. Baghdad now is a place where even 10 year olds stand guard on their local streets with automatic weapons. My heart falls in my chest. Do not think that money doesn’t already flow in from ethnic organizations the world over to fund their favorite minority in the region. Not only from Iranian communities but also Suni communities in Saudi Arabia , which no one is discussing. The real question is: Is there anyone who is NOT!! investing in the local arms race in the region? And the next question is: Is this what our best and bravest signed up for? Shall they referee on the ground at the Presidents pleasure, in danger of being mistaken for the soccer ball? The Bush administration gave out funds in cash to a government in Iraq which has no over sight. Only now the Minister of Health has been charged with stealing millions of dollars, which I assume was intended for Iraqi hospitals while he smuggled guns in the ambulances. Its hard for me not to draw the conclusion that the millions this Shiya leader fleeced Mr. Bush for, went to a down payment for the very war toys that the Bush administration accuses the Madi Militia of using on American GI’s !!! With friends like that who needs enemies. Do you think the Iranians have more reason to trust these ambulance smugglers? Who would want to throw scaps to a creature that is known to bite the hand that feeds it? How long is Bush going to allow himself to be used as their self proclaimed confidence man? (The one thing he has talent at) Our president sits at the poker table and looses not just his pants but also the chair he sits on because he won’t play the royal flush which he keeps hiding in his pocket. Lets pray the Iranians or the Syrians don’t start adding up the cards that have already been played and go through his pockets for him, before the game is over. Mr. president, it drives me bezerk that you have not initiated a regional summit to get these parties talking. You only have about 650 days left to pull a rabbit out of your hat. That is to say a functioning dialogue and a system of relief for the refugees. IF you were going to leave behind a legacy shouldn’t THIS be IT? Else, I will come to the conclusion that we do need a new Gardener in the White house. Maybe his name should be Chancy. In the mean time: SEND that shipment of medicine and Doctors to that Hospital for women in Afghanistan that I saw on PBS last night and THIS TIME, name it after an Afghani woman, some one who needlessly died in child birth. I don’t care if you have to have to ship those supplies to them every month with a fleet of secret service people guarding it from the airport to the hospital. Tell the regional war lord to keep his sticky paws off of it or ELSE !! THIS TIME, Make sure the whole organization is administrated by women. And while you are at it , you provide them with best hospital security money can buy. When I saw how you treated that Doctor you sent to run that hospital I was so mad and so ashamed for my country I just wanted to go down to Texas and pull up the flowers in your garden. Its bad enough that you let stuff like that happen to people in New Orleans but then you go to a country where people don’t even know us and do it to them too. And then you put your good name on it! If I were your mother I would put you in time out for the rest of the year. No more Superbowl and pretzels till you fix this problem!! How can you rescue a country and protect it from insurgents when its women are still dying in child birth, where the infant mortality is still unacceptable and children are still suffering from malnutrition? One baby with a future and a healthy mother is worth more than a fleet of high tech bombers. That child and that mother is the best weapon you have against terrorism and is far more economical, hands down. IF you sent a dentist in to the foot hills, I’m willing to bet that even the Talliban would be lining up for services. Tell Laura you will find a hospital in New Orleans to name her after.



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Ms. Cynthia

posted February 16, 2007 at 12:13 pm


. . . and get a way with it. I refuse to hear any more wining from the President about the Iranians this and the Iranians that until he sits down with them and everybody else in the region like adult and communicates with them in a responsible way. He can not solve the problems and issues with these coutries if he does not confront them in a respectful argument or discussion. No one will take him seriously if he does not start doing that. Gosipping about the other parties behind their backs will not accomplish anything and is a waste of time (which is has less and less of each day). Keep this president on topic. The only relevant thing I want to hear from this president is about when he will start working on the political solutions to this conflict. Until then I am not interested in anything else that pops out of his mouth about the subject.



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Ms. Cynthia

posted February 16, 2007 at 12:27 pm


. . . .and get away with it. Please point out to the president that not being willing to negotiate face to face with the other parties in this conflict is cowardly and gutless. He gives the impression to others that he doesn’t have a valid argument for his issues and concerns. The clock is ticking . . .



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Ms. Cynthia

posted February 16, 2007 at 12:30 pm


Don’t change the subject . .Don’t change the subject . . . Don’t let the president change the subject . . . and get away with it. Keep him on topic, like his mother would.



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kevin s.

posted February 16, 2007 at 3:31 pm


“Buckley’s opening essay was pretty good – he’s a razor wit, but nowadays the National Review carries articles aplenty that try to salvage McCarthy’s legacy.” No it doesn’t. That’s ridiculous.



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Wolverine

posted February 16, 2007 at 4:31 pm


Rick Nowlin wrote: (on the topic of “lies, distortions, wild accusations, and rhetorical hyperbole”) do those things and you can actually gain a large following (see Hitler, Rush et al). Wallis, on the other hand, has never had a large following and probably has never even really sought it; he may be “hot” right now to a certain extent, but even if he falls out of favor he will keep on doing what he’s doing. It’s called “principle.” Yes, you can also gain a large following just by telling the truth. (example: Jesus) Why don’t we quit worrying about whether Jim Wallis was more or less popular than Joe McCarthy during his prime. The correlation between honesty and popularity isn’t exactly unbreakable, you know. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted February 16, 2007 at 4:34 pm


Rick Nowlin also wrote: On the othr hand, Reagan probably would consider him (Joe McCarthy) a “brother-in-arms” if they were here today. And your evidence for that is…? Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 16, 2007 at 5:15 pm


Yes, you can also gain a large following just by telling the truth. (example: Jesus) Not for long — of course he was eventually crucified. And BTW, Martin Luther King Jr. was not the most popular guy in the world at the time of his death. Why don’t we quit worrying about whether Jim Wallis was more or less popular than Joe McCarthy during his prime. The correlation between honesty and popularity isn’t exactly unbreakable, you know. There isn’t any, because while McCarthy personally was very unpopular in his day his ideas eventually became popular and would be today were Communism the menace it was considered at the time. Even Ann Coulter has tried to refurbish his image, and another poster mentioned that National Review is attempting the same. McCarthy’s real legacy was not about Communism per se but unfounded accusations. Wallis, on the other hand, has evidence to back up his claims. And as for Reagan and McCarthy hypothetically being “brothers-in-arms,” here’s my evidence: 1) While the civil rights movement had barely started at the time of McCarthy’s death, it’s safe to say he would have opposed it as its opposition accused it of being a Communist front. Reagan himself had considerable disdain for King, and when he signed the executive order marking the national holiday in his memory he said about such accusations, he said, “We’ll know soon enough, won’t we?” 2) The Reagan Administration also supported apartheid in South Africa in large part due to its insistence that Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress were Communists (which wasn’t exactly true). 3) If I remember correctly, Reagan also was critical of organized labor for similar reasons, even though many union leaders worked to extricate Communist infiltrators from their ranks.



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Carl Copas

posted February 16, 2007 at 6:15 pm


Has anyone read William F. Buckley and L. Brent Bozell, McCarthy and His Enemies (1954)? In this book the two defended McCarthy, though with some qualifications. Would be interesting to hear from Buckley if his opinions of McCarthy have changed in the past half-century. Wolverine, I thought McCarthy drank himself to death. I guess that could be considered a form of suicide.



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Wolverine

posted February 16, 2007 at 6:23 pm


Rick, As to Jesus popularity over the longer term, what would you call the church? It seems safe to me to say that Jesus outlasted Joe McCarthy in terms of having public supporters. Now it’s true that “another poster” claims that National Review has made attempts to refurbish Joe McCarthy’s image. So far, that poster has yet to give references to specific articles. But I’ll help you out a bit and allow that there have been some attempts to add some details to the standard “Joe McCarthy” narrative: to whit, the US government had really been infiltrated to some extent by Soviet agents. Witness: the Venona papers, documents from Soviet archives (released after the breakup of the USSR) and the conviction of Alger Hiss. Conservatives have their own reasons for being revolted by what Joe McCarthy did. McCarthy was a fool and a criminal. Some of us supported him initially because he expressed our concerns about communism. We abandoned him as it became clear that he was violating the civil rights of innocent Americans, and didn’t have a clue about where to find communists. What you think is a conservative “defense” of Joe McCarthy is more often than not an attempt to differentiate between anticommunism and McCarthyism. Believe it or not, they were not the same thing. The Reagan administration never supported apartheid in South Africa. Reagan took a different approach to South Africa from the one preferred by a lot of civil rights leaders. Reagan opposed disinvestment, preferring to allow US companies to operate there so long as they didn’t practice apartheid themselves. The US never did disinvest, but apartheid fell anyway. So maybe Reagan knew what he was doing? Naah… As for Reagan and labor unions, if you have any evidence of Reagan linking labor unions to communists, I’d love to see it. It’s true that Reagan did fire the air traffic controllers when they went on strike, but Reagan’s reason for that was that they were federal employees and it was illegal for them to go on strike. Got anything else? Wolverine



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kevin s.

posted February 16, 2007 at 6:55 pm


“Even Ann Coulter has tried to refurbish his image, and another poster mentioned that National Review is attempting the same.” Ann Coulter is, while National Review is not. This is an illustration of the difference between a flame-thrower and the thought-leadership of the conservative movement.



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Paul

posted February 16, 2007 at 7:28 pm


Joseph Tracey, For the truth about the myths you cite, see: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DineshDSouza/2007/01/22/what_they_know_that_isnt_so cheers, Paul



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 16, 2007 at 8:17 pm


As to Jesus popularity over the longer term, what would you call the church? It seems safe to me to say that Jesus outlasted Joe McCarthy in terms of having public supporters. Yeah, but in parts of the Third World Christians are running for their lives (see Darfur). The Reagan administration never supported apartheid in South Africa. Reagan took a different approach to South Africa from the one preferred by a lot of civil rights leaders. Reagan opposed disinvestment, preferring to allow US companies to operate there so long as they didn’t practice apartheid themselves. The US never did disinvest, but apartheid fell anyway. So maybe Reagan knew what he was doing? How many companies actually did it that way? As for the fall of apartheid, “Reaganism” had literally nothing to do with it — divestment, at least from other countries, did seem to work inasmuch as it influenced internal South African politics. Anyway, it was no secret that Reagan did tacitly support the National Party, which until the fall of the Berlin Wall clung to apartheid, under the excuse that the only alternative was Communism.



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Joseph T

posted February 16, 2007 at 8:35 pm


Good words from ms. cynthia.Jim: I really think the frequent flying right wingers have used up their free milage on this site. Right now you have an open invitation for agent provocateurs to take over the comments area. They have, and anyone who visits the site and opens the comments area will have to wade through bunch of Far right verbiage to find anything resembling a conversation among people who are attracted by the writings of progressive (for want of a better word) Christian thinkers. There were some lively conversations from time to time but more and more they are actively subverted by a handful of posters who use your site to spread the gospel according to Limbaugh /Dobson/Coulter and the Bush neos. It seems like time to clean house. I sometimes participate in a literary discussion site and the conversation is lively and the disagreements pronounced. But when someone came on with no respect for the tone and purpose of the site they were excluded. It was a big relief not to deal with the inevitable intrusion had this person been allowed to continue. This isn’t a matter of censorship. It’s your front porch and it’s perfectly ok to tell someone they have had their say and it is time to leave and find a more friendly audience. I have posted many times on this topic and even continue to address those who have come to dominate the comments area, with no effective change. You addressed this earlier but also without much effect.Maybe my proposals are impractical or fundamentally improper for a site committed to the open and civil exchange of ideas. My problem is not one of civility or politeness, nor of wanting to exclude any ideas. I simply do not wish to stand by and watch what should be a forum for sincere response to Sojouners messages to become a forum dominated by a completely opposite group of thinkers.Perhaps I would find myself excluded by such a rubric; this would be worth it to see the potential of this blog more fully realized. I really think it is time to address this issue.



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Paul

posted February 17, 2007 at 12:33 am


Joseph T, Interesting thought. It’s net effect would be to confirm that the Sojourners crowd has no honest intelligent responses to the points made, and that rather than responding to them in an honest and intelligent way, they have to silence them, which is an often used tactic of the left, as anyone attending a university these days can tell. What’s that they say, be careful what you wish for! cheers, Paul



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 17, 2007 at 12:51 am


Interesting thought. It’s net effect would be to confirm that the Sojourners crowd has no honest intelligent responses to the points made, and that rather than responding to them in an honest and intelligent way, they have to silence them, which is an often used tactic of the left, as anyone attending a university these days can tell. What’s that they say, be careful what you wish for! Funny you should say this, but when I was a campus newspaper columnist college in the mid-1990s right-wingers went after me. The truth is that the right has always expected everyone to kiss their heinie but now people are now kicking it, and they have the gall to complain about mistreatment or “not being heard.” Frankly, I don’t want to hear it.



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Paul

posted February 17, 2007 at 12:56 am


Rick, Thanks for showing that this is about payback rather than truth. cheers, Paul



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Wolverine

posted February 17, 2007 at 1:58 am


Rick, What do you mean the “right wingers went after you”? What exactly did they do? Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 17, 2007 at 4:13 am


Thanks for showing that this is about payback rather than truth. Oh, it’s about truth, all right — just not parroting right-wing values.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 17, 2007 at 4:17 am


What do you mean the “right wingers went after you”? What exactly did they do? A campus conservative radio host did a Bill O’ on me back in the day for rebutting a fallacious argument it published in its campus newspaper. However, he also referred to me as a former Clinton campaign worker and a radio commentator — which I had not told him or anyone else, which means he had been doing intelligence on me all along.



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Paul

posted February 17, 2007 at 5:12 am


Rick, So, let me get this right, you are mad at him for telling the truth about you??? cheers, Paul



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Rev. Churchmouse

posted February 17, 2007 at 7:50 am


On April 13 1996 an Israeli pilot fired 2 hellfire missiles into a Lebanese ambulance killing 2 women and 4 children . The Israeli govt acknowledged this the same day , but said the vehicle was “targeted” because it was owned by a member of Hizballah and that it was carrying a Hizballah guerilla. Both claims were found to be false by UN people and by Robert Fisk… Robert Fisk is one of the prime contributors to Contemporary Urban Legends, second only to John Pilger. Surely you don’t find the idea of Hezbollah terrorists using ambulances surprising or out of character? ( happens to be a war crime, too) The idea that anything printed in the Independent must be true unless someone won a lawsuit against them is kind of goofy thinking. You keep mentioning concern for war crimes–What about the use of civilians as cluster bombs?You say you’reconcernmed about collateral damage? There is no collateral damage to terorism- all the deaths of civilians are fully intentional and as maximal as possible. Cast some concern in that direction. I’m interested in this notion of Progressive Christians. I’ve noticed a number of people and groups using the phrase, and a good number of them label any disagreement with them similar to Josephs descriptions–as “subverting discussion”- calling them “agent provacateurs”, and suggesting they be banned from discussion. Is this a standard practice of Peogressive Christians, or just a fringe group among them?



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 17, 2007 at 4:49 pm


So, let me get this right, you are mad at him for telling the truth about you??? No. For openers, on the air he distorted what I believe. Second, he clearly had been doing some “intelligence” on me beforehand — which suggested that in his mind I was a target that needed to be “dealt with.”



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 17, 2007 at 4:53 pm


I’m interested in this notion of Progressive Christians. I’ve noticed a number of people and groups using the phrase, and a good number of them label any disagreement with them similar to Josephs descriptions–as “subverting discussion”, calling them “agent provacateurs”, and suggesting they be banned from discussion. You miss the point. Conservative Christians have basically locked the “progressives” out for decades; Sojourners is one of the few forums we “progressives” have to discuss issues we think are important (and I am myself an evangelical). How often do you see, for example, a Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo or Ron Sider on “Christian” radio or television? In fact, they are regularly slammed in such media and even (I would think) in some hostile pulpits.



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Wolverine

posted February 17, 2007 at 5:04 pm


Rick, If you told me they had lied, or someone had tried to silence you, it would be different. I’d have some real sympathy for you there. But I don’t, because as far as I can tell nothing happened to you that was out of bounds. Lemme guess what really happened: you wanted to pass yourself off as a neutral, unbiased observer, and they revealed that you had longstanding ties to a political party. Furthermore — and you can correct me if I’m wrong about this — what they discovered about you was on the public record, so there wasn’t any serious violation of your right to privacy. This is not oppression, this is called “an interviewer doing his homework.” Do yourself a favor, either tell me what really went wrong or quit whining. Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted February 17, 2007 at 5:08 pm


Rick, One more thing. You wrote: For openers, on the air he distorted what I believe. Welcome to the club. My political opponents never get what I’m saying straight either. Wolverine



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Paul

posted February 17, 2007 at 5:11 pm


Rick Nowlin, If you were in fact misrepresented, then that is truely unfortunate. Since there is no way of verifying you claim that you were misrepresented, will leave that issue.Your notion that his checking out your background was “intelligence” gathering, is really interesting. Any journalist worth their salt is going to check out the background of anyone they are reporting on as carefully as possible. That is called responsible journalism. The fact that you chose to cast such responsible actions in the terms you do, speaks volumes… You might want to consider that. In short, you come across as paranoid, which I am sure is not your intent, and does nothing to further your case. cheers, Paul



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kevin s.

posted February 17, 2007 at 7:00 pm


Joseph T, This blog began with a debate between Jim Wallis and Ralph Reed. The tone and purpose of this blog is, ostensbily, to find middle ground in the name of Christ. If Jim Wallis makes the decision to ban conservative viewpoints from the discussion, then this blog will become another Dailykos. If you are unable to differentiate the conservative views expressed here from those of Ann Coulter, then this shows that you lack the nuance to understand the position of those with whom you disagree. Without such nuance, why should you be the arbiter of what viewpoints are banned from a non-partisan Christian site?



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kevin s.

posted February 17, 2007 at 7:03 pm


“Welcome to the club. My political opponents never get what I’m saying straight either.” Sure they do. You want to work with Halliburton to kill Iraqis and steal their oil so that we can make more money to pollute the environment, causing hurricanes to kill all the blacks and the gays. Also, Dick Cheney is your savior. Duh…



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FundieNutjob

posted February 18, 2007 at 1:59 am


“Rick,Do you even have a clue what a neoconservative is?” Wolverine From everything I’ve seen (based on activities like starting unjustified wars, etc.) I would have to state that a neo-Con is the modern day version of the Facist Nazi. Do you agree, Wolverine?



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FundieNutjob

posted February 18, 2007 at 2:05 am


Kris Weinschenker: “Our Courts ignore the facts when it’s convient for them , and they are supposed to be “fact-finders”. So, I don’t see why people should be so critical of this administration especially given the FACT that Iran IS supplying weapons (either “officially” or under the table) to the insurrgents in Iraq.” Good logic. The same logic Hitler used before invading Poland in 1939. Maybe it’s just that great minds think alike, Kris.



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HASH(0x11b854e4)

posted February 18, 2007 at 2:15 am


revchurchmouse said On April 13 1996 an Israeli pilot fired 2 hellfire missiles into a Lebanese ambulance killing 2 women and 4 children . The Israeli govt acknowledged this the same day , but said the vehicle was “targeted” because it was owned by a member of Hizballah and that it was carrying a Hizballah guerilla. Both claims were found to be false by UN people and by Robert Fisk… Robert Fisk is one of the prime contributors to Contemporary Urban Legends, second only to John Pilger. Surely you don’t find the idea of Hezbollah terrorists using ambulances surprising or out of character? ( happens to be a war crime, too) The idea that anything printed in the Independent must be true unless someone won a lawsuit against them is kind of goofy thinking. You keep mentioning concern for war crimes–What about the use of civilians as cluster bombs? You say you’reconcernmed about collateral damage? There is no collateral damage to terorism- all the deaths of civilians are fully intentional and as maximal as possible. Cast some concern in that direction. I’m interested in this notion of Progressive Christians. I’ve noticed a number of people and groups using the phrase, and a good number of them label any disagreement with them similar to Josephs descriptions–as “subverting discussion”- calling them “agent provacateurs”, and suggesting they be banned from discussion. Is this a standard practice of Peogressive Christians, or just a fringe group among them?Okay rev churchmouse 1) If Robert Fisk is such a purveyor of urban legends it should be easy for you to supply 3 examples of disproved Robert Fisk stories. Do you make this stuff up or can you back up your words? 2) If I were to supply examples of Israeli war crimes or American weapons used in war crimes by, say, the NY Times would you accept that Israel has at times killed civilians in an irresponsible manner? What exactly would be a proper standard of evidence to establish that Israel has , in specific instances, abused Palestinians? 3) I have In discussions of middle east issues acknowledged several times the the deplorable and criminal tactic of suicide bombing and other forms of violence by Palestinians. It seems to me that you are completely unwilling to acknowledge the crimes of Israel. 4)If you shoot at unarmed children , when you kill those children, it is not collateral damage it is a war crime.500,000 Iraqi civilians is not collateral damage it is the criminally irresponsible use of aerial assaults. 5) There is no “they” suggesting that some people be banned from this blog. There is me. Also, you apparently did not read what I wrote with serious attention. It is not points of view I would like to see excluded. It is those who through sheer quantity of comments postede effectively turn the comments area into their own blog. One very uninviting to those who have heard it all a million times and were hoping for a community in which most , or at least half the commenters shared a respect for the Blog posts. Anyway I speak for myself and have had no support so far but I honestly believe that the tantrums and accusations would be worth the possibility of creating venue more welcoming supportive and focused on deliberations among those who share a similar body of core ideas. Alternative voices should be apart of that , articulate and well argued conservatism by all means, even the wackier stuff,( You probably tink my ideas are wacky, but you will ave to come up with more than name calling to change it.) but in my opinion a few dedicated commenters should not be allowed to predominate and create an unwelcoming atmosphere of contempt and disagreement with the writers of the blog. That is my opinion and I think I have stated it clearly. Agree or disagree but please don’t re-write it.



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HonestObserver

posted February 18, 2007 at 2:16 am


Kevin S: “If you are unable to differentiate the conservative views expressed here from those of Ann Coulter, then this shows that you lack the nuance to understand the position of those with whom you disagree. Without such nuance, why should you be the arbiter of what viewpoints are banned from a non-partisan Christian site?” I have been watching your posts without posting for some time now, Kevin S. You have succeeded in conveying a condescending and superior attitude. Then I looked at your blog and I can see why.



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kevin s.

posted February 18, 2007 at 2:17 am


“From everything I’ve seen (based on activities like starting unjustified wars, etc.) I would have to state that a neo-Con is the modern day version of the Facist Nazi.” See, that’s not based on what you have seen. That’s based on the unchecked opinion of those whose partisan fervor has clouded their judgment.Nazi Germany is not infamous for pre-emptive war, it is infamous for genocide and imperialism. And if you think America is imperialist and genocidal, you know the definition of neither term.



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Joseph T

posted February 18, 2007 at 2:18 am


Sorry that was me and please excuse the typos but I ‘m sure you can make out my intentions.



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FundieNutjob

posted February 18, 2007 at 2:37 am


Kevin S: “Nazi Germany is not infamous for pre-emptive war, it is infamous for genocide and imperialism. And if you think America is imperialist and genocidal, you know the definition of neither term.” I would take your post seriously had it not been for all the ridiculous things you’ve said in the past, Kevin. If you think that America has not been genocidal in the past, ask the native Americans. Genocidal today? Well maybe when you think of all the depleted uranium shells pounding Iraq and all the ensuing health problems to the population(or do you even care?). Imperialistic? Not at all! After all we went to save the Iraqi people from a mean and nasty dictator, just like we rushed into Rwanda to save them from genocide, right? We didn’t go there (meaning Iraq) for oil! Kevin, Honestobserver has gotten your number down well.



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Rick Nowlin

posted February 18, 2007 at 4:56 am


If you told me they had lied, or someone had tried to silence you, it would be different. I’d have some real sympathy for you there. But I don’t, because as far as I can tell nothing happened to you that was out of bounds. In fact, he did lie on the air that night (I found out later), and I believe his purpose was to upbraid me for challenging his version of “truth” (his paper had lied repeatedly). Lemme guess what really happened: you wanted to pass yourself off as a neutral, unbiased observer, and they revealed that you had longstanding ties to a political party. I was a columnist — heck, I wasn’t supposed to be neutral. But the truth be told, I quit partisan politics after the 1992 fall campaign because 1) I wanted to focus on my media career and 2) I couldn’t in good conscience support, say, abortion and gay rights that many Democrats stand for. I have since donated not one second or one penny to the Democratic Party or any other party — I’m trying to get beyond that. And besides, because I always was open about my Christian faith, I’m sure he was afraid of me.



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kevin s.

posted February 18, 2007 at 4:57 pm


“I have been watching your posts without posting for some time now, Kevin S. You have succeeded in conveying a condescending and superior attitude. Then I looked at your blog and I can see why.” I have engaged the arguments here on their merits. Condescencion would be saying something like “well, you just don’t know any better”. I don’t do that. You do here, though, by offering an insult and providing no basis for it. What part of my blog conveys a superior attitude. Most of it is intended humorously.



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kevin s.

posted February 18, 2007 at 5:03 pm


“I would take your post seriously had it not been for all the ridiculous things you’ve said in the past, Kevin.” I don’t think anyone who immediately made the connection between Neocons and Hitler is in any position to make this statement. “Well maybe when you think of all the depleted uranium shells pounding Iraq and all the ensuing health problems to the population(or do you even care?). ” There is no evidence that we are committing systematic genocide in Iraq. And yes, I care.”After all we went to save the Iraqi people from a mean and nasty dictator, just like we rushed into Rwanda to save them from genocide, right? We didn’t go there (meaning Iraq) for oil!” Even if I cede you argument that we went to Rwanada and Iraq simply for oil, this is not evidence of imperialism. Joseph, is this the sort of unfettered discussion you are pining for? A bunch of intellectually lazy liberals shouting at each other about how the Republicans are just like the Nazis?



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Truthteller

posted February 19, 2007 at 12:16 am


Kevin S: “Joseph, is this the sort of unfettered discussion you are pining for? A bunch of intellectually lazy liberals shouting at each other about how the Republicans are just like the Nazis?” Joseph, don’t dignify Kevin with a response. The following is a quote lifted directly from his own blog: “Anna Nicole Smith died. I know that it’s improper to speak ill of the dead, but can something so inevitable be all THAT tragic? Aren’t we shedding crocodile tears here? At what point do we bemoan the self-destructive behavior, and our society’s glorification thereof, instead of the destruction it causes?” Obviously Kevin S is a bitter, very disturbed individual. Ignoring him is probably the best way to go.



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kevin s.

posted February 19, 2007 at 5:39 am


“Obviously Kevin S is a bitter, very disturbed individual. Ignoring him is probably the best way to go.” Or you can read through my blog, cutting and pasting the bits that make me look bad, which seems quite the opposite of ignoring. With which statement I made about Anna Nicole Smith do you disagree? My point was that her death was ineivtable, and that her life was tragic. You don’t think she led a tragic life?



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Truthteller

posted February 19, 2007 at 1:32 pm


Jim, This was a great post. Looking forward to more posts like this. Peace.



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Payshun

posted February 19, 2007 at 8:52 pm


Kevin the point he is raising and I tend to agree is that we should shed tears for those that die regardless of how tragic their life was.p



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Truthteller

posted February 20, 2007 at 12:07 am


Thank you, Pashun. That’s how I interpret the message of Jesus.



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Tanika L. Poehler

posted September 25, 2014 at 3:55 am


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