Monday, March 2, 2015

Debating Bibi's Speech Is a Major Distraction | Amitai Etzioni

Debating Bibi's Speech Is a Major Distraction | Amitai Etzioni

Debating the appropriateness of the speech Israel's prime minister will deliver to Congress in response to an invitation by the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is a distraction. It diverts attention from, firstly, the endlessly more important issue of whether the deal that the Obama administration seems close to striking with Iran is one that serves the interests of the United States well, and, secondly, the question of the potential deal's effects on U.S. allies in the region and elsewhere, as well as on peace in the region and even the world.
To begin with, any deal that is negotiated between, on the one hand, a party that is known for its intransigence and adamant beliefs and, on the other, an administration that is known for its tendency to yield ground and is desperately keen to avoid another war in the Middle East deserves close scrutiny. One should also recall that the Obama administration has already ignored several developments in which Iran ran through red lines set by the United States without facing the threatened consequences.
One next notes that the deal assumes that U.S. intelligence services (and the international inspectors) will be able to determine whether Iran is abiding by its commitment to limit its development of nuclear capabilities so that it would remain about a year away from assembling a nuclear weapon. Does the record -- from Pearl Harbor to the Yom Kippur War, from the revolution in Iran that brought the current regime to power to the outbreak of the Arab Spring in Tunisia -- suggest that this is a valid assumption?
Some policy analysts suggest that even if the deal is not implemented as planned and Iran succeeds in developing nuclear weapons, it would be deterred from using them because its rulers are rational people. The leaders of Iran, the argument goes, must realize that if they use these bombs, they and their country will be subject to devastating counter-attacks. Others wonder; they point out that leaders in the Middle East often act irrationally and march to drummers we don't hear.
Also, we need to ask what U.S. allies in other regions, from Japan to Poland, would hold if Iran were allowed to command nuclear arms and use them to threaten Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Israel. Still others argue that any such developments are preferable to another American entanglement in a land war in Asia. And they hold that there is no way from preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons anyhow; such a development could be delayed by a year or two at most.
Particularly worthy of discussion are the reports that the Obama administration does not plan to submit the agreement for approval by Congress. On the one hand, agreements of such import surely deserve a full hearing and a vote by Congress. On the other, Congress has been so dysfunctional that the administration may well be correct in assuming that it will not approve the deal.
Whatever side one takes in this debate, one surely can agree that Bibi's speech is a very minor, passing side show. The focus of public attention and give and take should be on the coming deal between the U.S. and Iran. Its effects are going to be with us long after both the Israeli prime minister and President Obama are retired from office.
Amitai Etzioni is a professor of international relations at The George Washington University. His latest book, The New Normal: Finding a Balance Between Individual Rights and the Common Good, was recently published by Transaction Publishers. You can follow him on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube. Send an email to subscribe to his monthly newsletter.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mississippi pushing Southern Super Primary

Mississippi pushing Southern Super Primary

Hose Mans proposal. from clarion ledger  2-22-2015.

use to debunk journal article on same subject.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Moore the Ayatollah of Alabama, Wildmon the Ayatollah of Mississippi

Moore, the Ayatollah of Alabama!, Wildmon the Ayatolla of Mississippi!

Al Bratton-- My favorite comment from this article: 

"Back in 2011, Moore told me in a lengthy interview that the Supreme Court cannot supersede God, simply because the United States is a Christian nation"

From his statements about 'british common law' it's clear he considers intent of the founders and history not specifically written into the constitution when determining his decisions (rather, when trying to justify his own personal hatred, but that's neither here nor there). Therefore, I presume he'll take into account the history and origins of separation of church and state -- where some argue that the original intent was that the US was a Christian nation, but would not allow any single denomination to rule. 

Well. While I personally believe separation of church and state should apply to all religions, It's pretty clear from the above that Moore would only agree with the 'christians only' version.

And there are christian denominations that accept gay marriage. He can try to excuse his prejudice with the claim that 'god's law' / christian law should trump legal law, but they don't hold under their own weight, because he's imposing his own denomination's belief about what 'god's law' is and trampling the rights of other Christians who disagree.

Read the original post here>


Monday, December 29, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Old Time Revisionism—Southern Baptists Seek to Redefine Separation of Church and State | Political Research Associates

Old Time Revisionism—Southern Baptists Seek to Redefine Separation of Church and State | Political Research Associates

The War On Religion, Political Research Associates

THE WAR ON RELIGION--Pra 12-27-14, 837 words excerpted by al bratton, al's liberal blog. re-posted 12-27-14 by Al bratton ms liberal secularist. 

"Since the 1970s, conservative evangelical Christians have adopted the earlier Catholic narrative that there is a determined secularist campaign to destroy religion and replace it with “humanism.”83 Francis Schaeffer, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, and Adrian Rogers (the leader of the Southern Baptist Convention following the conservative ‘coup’ of 1979), and many others drew on what historian Richard Hofstadter would call “paranoid” themes in right-wing American anticommunism, dislocations in traditional life brought on by post-1960s flights to the suburbs,84 and changes wrought by the civil rights, women’s, and gay liberation movements to depict an overall war on religion itself. Secularism has become the new socialism85—though in the racist way President Obama is depicted in some of this literature, it seems the themes are reunited".
"To some, this battle is literally the battle between God and Satan. Tim LaHaye, for example, demands that Christians “resist the devil and… put on the whole armor of God.”86Beverly LaHaye wrote in 1984 that secularists are “priests of religious humanism and are evangelizing our children for Satan.”87 Donald Wildmon’s outrageous tome Speechless is of the same ilk. These formulations seem unlikely to appeal to more moderate Christians, and on the contrary are likely to turn them off. Yet they have a strong appeal among evangelicals. In a 1990 survey reported by Sarah Barringer Gordon, more than 90 percent of those who self-identified as evangelicals (not just conservative evangelicals but evangelicals in general) agreed with the statement that “Christian values are under serious attack in the United States today.”88
This rhetoric, even in its extreme form, is not simply propaganda but reflects a sincere sense, justified by opinion polls, that show the country moving away from traditional religion89—that an old Christian order is waning. Rather than ascribe this trend to socioeconomic, scientific, psychological, or other factors, the Christian Right narrative9looks for an enemy: Satan, socialism, communism, liberals, the War on Christmas, secularists, Barack Hussein Obama, feminists, homosexuals, evolution, abortionists, socialists, humanists—or, best, a hodgepodge of all of the above. “Religious liberty” rhetoric is part of this narrative. Christianity is not losing its power in this narrative; someone is taking it away.
Christianity is still the dominant religion in America, but its power is changing. One recurring theme in the right-wing literature is the sense of a “coming storm,” to quote from an antimarriage equality commercial by the National Organization for Marriage.91 Like the red menace, the secularist danger is imminently looming. The metaphors are appropriately biblical: soon there will be a flood of litigation, a firestorm of controversy. Indeed, these apocalyptic pronouncements resonate closely with the millennialism that one finds in conservative evangelicalism generally and Christian Reconstructionism/pre-millennialism specifically. The “coming storm” and the End Times are not distant from one another.
The theme of the “war on religion” also intersects with the conservatives’ blend of fact and falsehood in their “religious liberty” arguments as discussed in the previous section. For instance, Roman Catholic legal theorist Thomas Berg writes that “if sexual-orientation discrimination should be treated in all respects like racial discrimination— as many gay-rights advocates argue—then the precedent of withdrawing federal tax-exempt status from all racially discriminatory charities, upheld in Bob Jones University v. United States, would call for withdrawal from all schools and social service organizations that disfavor same-sex relationships.”92 Note the elisions here: from “many gay-rights advocates argue” to a position that no court has ever taken, from withdrawing tax-exempt status to overall “withdrawal,” from a racist policy to “disfavor.” The “coming storm,” is highly unlikely to come in this way.
In describing the war on religion, conservative “religious liberty” discourse taps into the martyr narrative found in Christian history.
In more intellectual circles, the “war on religion” is attributed to a false distinction liberals supposedly make between freedom of conscience, worship, or belief on the one hand and the free exercise of religion on the other.93 According to this narrative, as described in such books as Stephen Carter’s The Culture of Disbelief, liberals misunderstand religion and are seeking to circumscribe how religion can be exercised. What Carter called the privatization of religion has now become a trope in conservative “religious liberty” discourse: that the “war on Christianity” in part results from an improper circumscription of religious liberty to simply what one believes in private, or within the church walls on Sunday, rather than what one practices in all aspects of life.94 It is this theory that allows conservative “religious liberty” advocates to insist that their employment decisions and commercial life are also the “free exercise of religion,” and to project a straw man secularist who believes that religion should only happen on Sundays. Of course, this “misconception” is not actually present in progressive thought on this subject; rather, the claim is that one’s free exercise of religion is one of many civil rights, and that it may not necessarily trample on the rights of another. read more at PRA: