Shearing the Sheep. It seems to be a proffitable business. I was inspired by a post on the blog Hello Chaos to touch on the subject of Televangelists and the Fools That Support Them. Here is a look at some of the Hucksters of Jebus doing their thing:
I was amazed in the 1980s at the amount of evangelical scandals that seemed to come out with such frequency that I thought their schtick would run stale and television evangelicism would become a thing of the past.
Some of the more memorable ones were the exposed greed and hypocrisy of Jim and Tammy Faye Baker from the PTL. They called it the Praise The Lord Club, others called it the Pass The Loot Scam. Some accounting fraud, a little let-me- hide- my- holy- lamb- in- your- manger with the innocent church member Jessica Hahn who was so traumatized by the affair that she went on to show what Rev. Jim was so hot about:
Jim went to jail, Tammy divorced him, his ministry slipped away from him and Jessica went on to find that the lord works in mysterious ways by directing her to get naked and show her heavenly body on numerous occassions. Sam Kinison had this to say about Jim Baker and the whole affair:
Now, Sam Kinison was a God. But that is another story…
We had Jimmy Swaggart and his television “ministry.” In the true Christian spirit, Swaggart took glee at pointing the finger at Jim Baker. He went on Larry King and said that Jim Baker “was a cancer on the body of Christ.” Then he was caught with his finger in some hooker while trying to get her to bring her 12 year old daughter into the “flock o’ the Lord.” And that was after he was busted for sleeping with another pastor’s wife. He went on television and told his suckers…errr congregation, “The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business.” They must have believed him because he still runs a very profitable TV ministry, ” A Study in the Word.” The word used to be, “What will you do for $20?”
I suppose proving that living in heaven with the Big Invisible Friend isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, Oral Roberts told his “flock” that if they didn’t give him $8 million within a year that “The Lord would call me home.” I was hoping Jebus would start ringing that phone, but the money flowed in and old Oral stayed with us.
Billy James Hargis of Tulsa, busted in a sex scandal. Peter Popoff when the public found that the Lord didn’t give him information about his audiences, it was really an electronic receiver. Mike Warnke. garden variety liar. Robert Tifton who threw away prayer requests without reading them and just kept the money-what a surprise. And recently we have Ted Haggard. Confidant of GW Bush and in weekly communication with him, It seems he had a weakness for crystal meth and male prostitutes. Not that I blame him, it’s just his hypocritical stance against homosexuality and his inciting hatred and intolerancece against something that he is that is…unforgivable.
And this piece by Bill Maher:
Yet with all of this, and more, the sheep keep coming to the shearers. They believe that Jebus wants them to send their money to the used car salesmen of religion coming to them live on their TVs and radio. Even today with Senate investigations into the practices of the top TV evangelists the sheep continue to step up and be sheared. The hypocrisy reaches new levels, the deviat sexual proclivities of these preachers of the word continue to be what they preach so rabidly against. Their smarmy and cheesey pleas continue to gush in shameless plugs for their “flock” to send them their money and they continue to rake it in and God…well, He/She/It must be enjoying the comedy of it all.
I will leave it all with this piece on probably the top huckster of our time. Drawing in the millions and fleecing his flock with unabashed greed and glee. And currently under investigation by the US Senate. If there is a God he will burn in eternal hellfire damnation ( I love it when Christards tell me that will happen to me so I guess it is the ultimate punishment one can wish on someone). Now, don’t forget to give till it hurts. Jebus wants your money. Heaven is a high rent district. The “Work of the Lord” seems to require a lot of shopping. Now can I get an amen? And a pledge of $20 or more…
Having watched closely and gone outstide of the US “Main Stream Media” specifically to understand what was happening in Georgia-quick sidebar:
Yes, the country, not my state, you drunken monkey.
Where was I? It was plain to any that were not getting their information from the MSM here that the Georgians were the aggressors, backed by the US, trained by Israel and full of the rhetoric of “the global war on terror,” but ultimately about…oil (note: that piece is from 2002 yet quite relevant).
The thing is…the issue is the media and democracy. In order to have a functioning democracy there needs to be an informed public. When years after the invasion of Iraq 57% of respondents to polls stated their belief that Saddam had ties to al Qaeda, which he did not, WMD, which he did not, and links to 9/11, which he did not. As mentioned in the article on the polls:
”The public is not getting a clear message about what the experts are saying about Iraqi links to al-Qaeda and its WMD program”, said Steven Kull, director of the Program” on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland, which conducted the survey.
”The analysis suggests that if the public were to more clearly perceive what the experts themselves are saying on these issues, there is a good chance this could have a significant impact on their attitudes about the war and even on how they vote in November”, he added.
Translation: Americans are so ill informed that they are too ignorant to vote intelligently (the linked article is from April 2004 before the presidential elections that put GW back in his White House Bubble). Of course, we see how that ignorance paid off for the GOP as the war rhetoric, 9/11 and the War on Tayr won over what should have been a landslide for the opposition. Of course they had a little help from the Swift Boaters, but even that should have been countered by an informed populace with information that contradicted their claims. And a candidate that didn’t let them steam roll him would have helped as well.
So, back to the events in Georgia and our media’s complicity in distorting the events to the point where anti Russian rhetoric is mandatory for all the major candidates. Stern warnings, threats and posturing to show how we will…not…stand for evil, meany-head aggression on poor fledgeling democracies. Here is a take from the fairly reliable New Zealand Herald on Russia and the US meida’s campaign of ignorance:
In the United States, it seems the mainstream media fall in line frequently with their government’s spin over international events. Most of the global news networks are owned and based in the US, and therefore tend to set the news agenda worldwide.
What is disturbing is how jingoistic and partisan the US news coverage is over the Georgia conflict. It is clearer to me now how these US news agencies were able to stir up public support after 9/11 to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq. It’s frightening how the agencies have, in many ways, become a mouthpiece for their government’s policy.
Their mainstream news stories would have us believe that the small, feisty and free democratic state of Georgia has been ruthlessly invaded by Russian thugs who are carrying out genocide and mass destruction. It’s presented simply as a fight between good and evil.
Watching the US news, it’s hard to understand that it was Georgia who started the bombing and killing in the region of South Ossetia.
And the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is coming out with a report that backs that statement:
In a report to appear in its Monday edition, it said officials of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had said acts by the Georgian government had contributed to the outbreak of the crisis with Russia.
Spiegel said OSCE military observers in the Caucasus had described preparations by Georgia to move into South Ossetia.
The onslaught had begun before Russian armoured vehicles entered a southbound tunnel under the Caucasus Mountains to South Ossetia.
It said the OSCE report also described suspected war crimes by the Georgians, including the Georgians ordering attacks on sleeping South Ossetian civilians.
Yet this narrative is not found in the US “Main Stream Media.” Nor is the following part of that narrative:
Like most wars, oil plays a major part. Saakashvili’s provocative decision to allow the West to build a pipeline through his country from the Caspian oil fields as an alternative to the present one through Russia was just another straw on the back of Russia’s camel. The West’s recent enthusiasm to also unilaterally recognise Kosovo splitting from Serbia was another. Supporting ethnic communities to break away and form new countries was always going to come back and haunt the West, for what’s good for Kosovo is also good for South Ossetia.
Ah, that old chestnut. Do as we say, not as we do. Saakashvili is a tool of the US and his actions caused the Russian response:
The Russians had warned the Americans that Saakashvili was an accident waiting to happen. They were apparently assured by the Americans that they’d keep him under control. But no one believes for a minute that the Americans hadn’t given the Georgians a wink and a nod to invade while Putin was at the Olympics.
And here he sums it up nicely:
I think the US Government and their media believe their own rhetoric and spin. How else could they have believed that the Russians wouldn’t slap Saakashvili down?
It’s reassuring to see that the media in New Zealand provides us with a range of news sources rather than just relying on the American outlets. In this case, I think the media coverage of the conflict in Georgia has made New Zealanders better informed about why the war started. The US public and politicians still seem confused. I blame their media.
And I blame the media. The politicians will do and say what the politicians will do and say. However, the media’s responsibility is to the public. But when you have a seamless merge between media and state any semblance between of a functioning democracy is just an accident. In fact, it is called Fascism.
The NaziCon is starting off with good old fashioned Gestapo raids. Guns drawn and everybody on the floor! Evil doer hippie scum preparing for protests at the Republican National Convention, aka NaziCon 2008, were raided in several locations.
On the weekend before the Republican National Convention, law enforcement agencies detained dozens of people and issued a series of search warrants aimed at groups believed to be organizing demonstrations while delegates and Republican officials are in town.
On Friday night the Ramsey County sheriff’s department, accompanied by the St. Paul police, detained people inside a building here that was being used as a headquarters to plan protests.
“They handcuffed all of us,” said Sonia Silbert, 28, from Washington. “They searched everyone.”
People who had been in the building said that officers entered shortly after 8:30 p.m. with a warrant and instructed them to lie on the ground, adding that they had been questioned and photographed before being released.
Of course, the groups were infiltrated and being spied on for some time:
“Our job is to take every dangerous item out of their hands, so they can’t utilize them. We have extensive investigative work, complete with a number of confidential reliable sources that have worked inside this area, this anarchist area,” said Fletcher. “We know these items were going to be used, because we had sources that were working inside this organization.”
Glen Greenwald, constitutional lawyer and reporter for Salon.com has a very good review of what happened:
Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff’s department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than “fire code violations,” and early this morning, the Sheriff’s department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.
Yes, “fire code violations” which is why they came in like gangbusters with automatic weapons, cuffing everybody and putting them on the ground. I suppose just in case a fire broke out:
In the house that had just been raided, those inside described how a team of roughly 25 officers had barged into their homes with masks and black swat gear, holding large semi-automatic rifles, and ordered them to lie on the floor, where they were handcuffed and ordered not to move. The officers refused to state why they were there and, until the very end, refused to show whether they had a search warrant. They were forced to remain on the floor for 45 minutes while the officers took away the laptops, computers, individual journals, and political materials kept in the house. One of the individuals renting the house, an 18-year-old woman, was extremely shaken as she and others described how the officers were deliberately making intimidating statements such as “Do you have Terminator ready?” as they lay on the floor in handcuffs. The 10 or so individuals in the house all said that though they found the experience very jarring, they still intended to protest against the GOP Convention, and several said that being subjected to raids of that sort made them more emboldened than ever to do so.
Here is some video of the events:
So it seems like the effort to chill the spirits of ordinary people to exercise their freedoms to gather and express themselves has begun. Some were arrested and charged with “conspiracy to commit a riot’ and as an attorney representing them said it is difficult to make the distinction between whether someone is planning to protest or riot. As Mr. Greenwald says:
Targeting people with automatic-weapons-carrying SWAT teams and mass raids in their homes, who are suspected of nothing more than planning dissident political protests at a political convention and who have engaged in no illegal activity whatsoever, is about as redolent of the worst tactics of a police state as can be imagined.
It seems as if the police in Minneapolis/St. Paul plan on intimidation as a tactic to discourage protests and freedom of expression. Democracy. Ain’t it grand? Looks like Minnesota doesn’t think so.
Oh look, lil’ George wants us to keep playing war. Forever.
Tucked deep into a recent proposal from the Bush administration is a provision that has received almost no public attention, yet in many ways captures one of President Bush’s defining legacies: an affirmation that the United States is still at war with Al Qaeda.
Seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Bush’s advisers assert that many Americans may have forgotten that. So they want Congress to say so and “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the taliban. and associated organizations, who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated to the slaughter of Americans.”
Of course, our “war” is one of choice. We took a criminal act and responded with a military action. If we were serious about Al Qaeda and the Taliban we would go after them in their sanctuaries, destroy their ability to recruit by striking at the roots of the terrorist breeding ground; social injustice, poverty, corrupt and brutal governments and religious fundamentalism. Instead we support puppet tyrants and impotent administrators and suppress rather than encourage freedoms and civil/human rights. We pour vast sums of money into militarization and virtually nothing into infrastucture and social programs for the people in the region.
The language, part of a proposal for hearing legal appeals from detainees at the United States naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, goes beyond political symbolism. Echoing a measure that Congress passed just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, it carries significant legal and public policy implications for Mr. Bush, and potentially his successor, to claim the imprimatur of Congress to use the tools of war, including detention, interrogation and surveillance, against the enemy, legal and political analysts say.
“Against the enemy.” But those “tools” are used here against us. Again, what part of “warrantless” is so hard to understand in the massive surveillance operations against American citizens? How does the suspension of habeus corpus help freedom’s cause? What does our willingness to secretly abduct, detain indefinitely, and torture “enemy combatants” do for democracy’s argument? How does never ending war stop terrorism?
The proposal is also the latest step that the administration, in its waning months, has taken to make permanent important aspects of its “long war” against terrorism. From a new wiretapping law approved by Congress to a rewriting of intelligence procedures and F.B.I. investigative techniques, the administration is moving to institutionalize by law, regulation or order a wide variety of antiterrorism tactics.
“This seems like a final push by the administration before they go out the door,” said Suzanne Spaulding, a former lawyer for the Central Intelligence Agency and an expert on national security law. The cumulative effect of the actions, Ms. Spaulding said, is to “put the onus on the next administration” — particularly a Barrack Obama administration — to justify undoing what Mr. Bush has done.
No lil’ George. We have had enough of you playing war and using that to trample the constitution, human rights, international treaties and the rule of law.
Negotiations, leadership by example and efforts towards true peace will do more to slow terrorism than the reckless and foolish path our Bubble Ensconced Dear Leader has taken us. Hopefully the next administration will have learned from this one’s many, many failures.
Or…why does she want the polar bears to die?
Judgement and experience. That is what McCain has been hawking. So instead of picking from a list of experienced politicians like Romney, Huckabee, Kay Bailey Hutchison, hell, even Lieberman, he goes with a woman that has virtually no political experience save being the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 6,000 and less than two years in office as governor of Alaska. And as to her legacy as mayor of the thriving metropolis of Wasilla, it appears it leaves something to be desired:
Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla from 1996 to 2002. Her record during that time can tell us a lot about her. The biggest deal during her tenure is perhaps the construction of the sports complex that was built on someone else’s land. She had to raise sales taxes to pay for it. The whole episode of incompetence, arrogance, and lack of respect for the law is exactly the style of governance that we’ve seen from Bush and co in the past seven years.
It is hard not to trust someone that doesn’t like dogs. It is harder to trust someone that would not want to protect polar bears from going extinct.
The State of Alaska will sue to challenge the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species, Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday.
She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state’s northern and northwestern coasts.
Palin argued there is not enough evidence to support a listing. Polar bears are well-managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation, she said.
Climate models that predict continued loss of sea ice, the main habitat of polar bears, during summers are unreliable, Palin said.
The announcement drew a strong response from the primary author of the listing petition.
“She’s either grossly misinformed or intentionally misleading, and both are unbecoming,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Alaska deserves better.”
Siegel said it was unconscionable for Palin to ignore overwhelming evidence of global warming’s threat to sea ice, the polar bear’s habitat.
“Even the Bush administration can’t deny the reality of global warming,” she said. “The governor is aligning herself and the state of Alaska with the most discredited, fringe, extreme viewpoints by denying this.”
So John McCain picks for a running mate a woman that is a global warming denier and wants to keep polar bears off of the endangered species list so that oil companies can have one or their remaining habitats. This report came out last week:
Government scientists reported seeing at least nine polar bears swimming in open water over a six-hour period on August 16, including one more than 50 miles offshore, World Wildlife Fund officials said.
LONGER SWIMS FOR POLAR BEARS
That represents a huge increase over previous sightings, said Margaret Williams of the fund’s Alaska office. A total of 12 polar bears were spotted in open water between 1987 and 2003, Williams said in a telephone interview.
In 2004, she said, four drowned bears were observed.
“Unfortunately it’s what we might expect to see if bears are forced to swim longer distances,” Williams said. “The Arctic is gigantic. When you have nine bears sighted in one transect (route) … one can assume that there are likely a lot more bears swimming in open water.”
Another Republican that denies reality in the interest of corporate gain. Add to this Palin’s efforts to get creationism taught in public schools and you have the makings of another far-right ideologue. Should something happen to McCain she would take his place. What type of judges would she appoint? And, what does it say about her when she doesn’t even know what the Vice President of America does?
Count Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as one of the most surprised that she was chosen as running mate for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
In an interview just a month ago, she dissed the job, saying it didn’t seem “productive.”
In fact, she said she didn’t know what the vice president does.
Larry Kudlow of CNBC’s “Kudlow & Co.” asked her about the possibility of becoming McCain’s ticket mate.
Palin replied: “As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question.”
And the list of anomalies with her has just begun. For instance this about the bizarre nature of her husband’s involvement in her position as governor of Alaska. And I wonder how the animal activists will feel about this picture:
Nice outfit. Did you kill it yourself? But seriously, she does seem to have issues with animals:
Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral today denounced the Alaska Board of Game’s recent approval of aerial wolf control for the first time since the mid-1980s.
Feral stated, “Alaskans have allowed their bureaucracy to be taken over by extremists — people who want to keep an air force to annihilate wolves and other natural predators. Alaska’s bloody spectacles are a blight on the continent.”
The game board plans to have state agents shooting wolves from helicopters before the caribou birth season in mid-May. The target area includes a handful of tiny villages (total population about 3,145) in the southern peninsula. This remote area in the Aleutian arc is also home to some 600 caribou, who may be hunted by wolves or bears, and whose newborns are sometimes eaten by eagles.
The justification for targeting the area’s few dozen wolves? To give human hunters inside and outside the community a steady number of caribou to shoot.
Despite the obvious reality that hunting itself depletes the caribou population, that’s what the state promotes.
Wolves, poalr bears, whatever the hell she is wearing in the above picture…Seems like being a good steward of nature and it’s creatures is not one of her strong points. Religious fundamentalist and oil puppet, as someone said on The Daily Kos said, what will be McCain’s platform? Drilling for Jesus?
It may seem like a bit of piling on for Ms. Palin, but the smears and slime that have been thrown Obama’s way have been fair game for the Rethuglicans. Expect an even harsher light to be cast upon this…interesting choice for VP.
Coming to you live from Minneapolis. There will be flag waving (manditory), there will be chants of nationalistic patriotism (obligatory) and there will be invocations of threats, threats and more threats (reflexively). Oh, and there will be censorship as well:
Up until Wednesday, Republican National Convention delegates could expect to see video of Guantanamo detainees, scenes from the Iraq war, and movies like “Body of War” broadcast on a pair of Jumbotron trucks from the capitol front lawn. But thanks to Minnesota’s second-highest constitutional officer, Republican Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, the project’s permit was denied.
The greatness of America and why them thar tayrist hate us will all be part of the NaziCon GOP Convention. Our freedoms of course being one of the things that really gets the evil doers ire up. For some reason GOPers sure hate it when we try to exercise our freedoms, though. The Lt. Governor cites “traffic safety” as her concern. It seems that there might be underlying and more real considerations:
“Everybody wants [the RNC] to go well. And the way this can go well is to allow everyone to have their say,” Ballou says. “How much more peaceful can you be then a huge outdoor television? But we do have pictures of people at Abu Ghraib. We will put the GOP record up. That’s what they’re trying to stop. This is a critical constitutional issue for everyone in Minnesota.”
Also, it looks like there is expected to be about 50,000 antiwar protesters at the convention. I am sure the local Gestapo will be drooling at the opportunity to…facilitate democracy. They have already begun their warm up exercises.
The people that the GOP really represent do not like expressions of freedom. And Jon Stewart appears to be welcoming them to the convention:
So get a good spot near the men’s room at the Minneapolis Airport. You might get to see some “wide stances” on display. Oh, and here is an interesting piece on the official GOP logo for the convention. I would say there is some projection going on there…
But you damn well better leave the Crucifix alone! How…Dare….They!!!
ROME (Reuters) – An Italian museum on Thursday defied Pope Benedict and refused to remove a modern art sculpture portraying a crucified green frog holding a beer mug and an egg that the Vatican had condemned as blasphemous.
The board of the Museion museum in the northern city of Bolzano decided by a majority vote that the frog was aand would stay in place for the remainder of an exhibition.
The wooden sculpture by the late German artistdepicts a frog about 1 metre 30 cm (4 feet) high nailed to brown cross and holding a beer mug in one outstretched hand and an egg in another.
Called “Zuerst die Fuesse,” (Feet First), it wears a green loin cloth and is nailed through the hands and the feet in the manner of Jesus Christ. Its green tongue hangs out of its mouth.
Oh the horror! And:
The Vatican wrote a letter of support in the pope’s name to Franz Pahl, president of the regional government who opposed the sculpture. Pahl released parts of the letter, which said the work “wounds the religious sentiments of so many people who see in the cross the symbol of God’s love”.
Pahl, whose province is heavily Catholic, was so outraged by the sculpture of the pop-eyed amphibian that he went on a hunger strike to demand its removal and had to be taken to hospital during the summer.
In Texas we call that culling the herd.
“Surely this is not abut a blasphemy and a disgusting piece of trash that upsets many people,” Pahl told Reuters by telephone.
“This decision to keep the statue there is totally unacceptable. It is a grave offence to our Catholic population,” he said.
First, don’t call me Shirley. Second, the Pedophiles R Us err…Catholic Church is a grave offense to me. And third, I believe that tens of thousands of pagans and people of many nationalities suffered crucifixion at the hands of their Roman masters. It was also a punishment meted out by many other cultures. The mythical Jesus did not have a monopoly on being hung on a cross. Read the real history of Spartacus lately?
And about the cross itself, the Catholics stole that imagery from a very old and rich history of the Cross:
And I suppose lastly, what about the frogs, man? Have you no consideration for the frogs? Frogs are cool and fun and their legs taste good. Which reminds me, what did the one lesbian frog say to the other? Hey, we do taste like chicken! So…think about the frogs, then get a life.