Category Archives: Far Right Far Out

Post Massacre Mob Confab Revealed

A little over fifty years ago, NY state police broke up a large meeting in the boondocks town of Apalachin, NY, and one of the results of the ensuing publicity was that, despite years of FBI propaganda to the contrary, Americans started to believe that Our Thing, a well organized national syndicate of gangsters, really existed.  After ten years of an attempt to keep the Mafia as a whole out of narcotics, the embargo had started to completely break down.  Albert Anastasia, for one, wanted to keep out of narcotics, particularly since a recent law mandating sentences made buying judges useless.  Vito Genovese, on the other hand, wanted to plug in fully to the massive cash flow that narcotics obviously represented.  Frank Costello, like Anastasia, wanted to maintain the ban, and was almost rubbed out in May of 1957.  Anastasia wanted to hit Genovese in return, but was convinced to hold off, just long enough it turned out to get whacked himself on October 25, 1957.  The image of Albert dead on the barbershop floor is one of the iconic mobster images of the twentieth century.

Amidst the carnage and the potential all-out gang war, a meeting was called at Joseph Barbera’s “estate” in the small town of Apalachin.  It is speculated that the meeting’s purpose was to arrange the relevant truces, including a hit list minimally necessary to settle scores, and to agree a syndicate position on narcotics. Over one hundred made guys attended, from all over the country.  Unfortunately for discretion, a couple of state cops noticed an suspiciously large influx of well-dressed gents in fancy cars descending on the burg, and after making a bunch of them from their license plates, they triggered a police raid that sent scores of besuited borsalino-wearing gents rushing through the cow patties in their Florsheims.

I thought of this event today when I saw an article in the NYT about Palin’s prospects for 2012, and how the Republican party (la Loro Nostra, you might say) was starting to plan for that.

Whether the Republican presidential ticket wins or loses on Tuesday, a group of prominent conservatives are planning to meet the next day to discuss the way forward, and whatever the outcome, Gov. Sarah Palin will be high on the agenda. […]

Her prospects, in or out of government, are the subject of intensive conversations among conservative leaders, including the group that will meet next Wednesday in rural Virginia to weigh social, foreign policy and economic issues, as well as the political landscape and the next presidential election.

Of course, if they thought they were going to win, the meeting would be scheduled for Washington, D.C.  As it is, I wonder if someone in the area can take some plate numbers, and alert the police?  I think these guys are part of a syndicate that has been robbing us all blind for years now.  I know most people don’t believe that this syndicate exists.  If we can bust up this meeting, perhaps people will begin to understand what has been going on…








(Images from Ernie Santa Ana’s blog, reproduced there from an exhibit created by Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese.)

Appearing in a privately funded exhibit at the New York Public Library called Line Up are six photos that have stirred political controversy. The exhibit opened November 29, 2007 and runs until January 27, 2008.

Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese are the Brooklyn artists who digitally modified these images. At the library display, videos of each politician accompany the presentation with matching dates and times of the photos.

In the videos, when each politician makes statements about the Iraq War that the artists feel are criminal, camera flashes appear and the politicians’ appear in freeze frames, and jail bars shut in front them.

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Help for pre-adolescent proto-gays

Twisty over at I Blame the Patriarchy (acerbically well-written and very funny) gives props to Norbizness’s expository response to some Very Important Information from Focus on the Family about homosexuality and how to prevent it in children (presumably extermination is the only option for the adults).  You can click through from there to the set of linked sheets on the FoF website.

"Helping Boys Become Men and Girls Become Women" is the overall title—sounds to me like these outcomes would sorta happen anyway, but paranoia can cause us to even doubt that we evolved.  Here, for example, is "Is My Child Becoming Homosexual?" (links preserved/tighten your seatbelts):

Before puberty, children aren’t normally heterosexual or homosexual. They’re definitely gender conscious. But young children are not sexual beings yet — unless something sexual in nature has interrupted their developmental phases.

Still, it’s not uncommon
for children to experience gender confusion during the elementary
school years. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi reports, “In one study of 60
effeminate boys ages 4 to 11, 98 percent of them engaged in
cross-dressing, and 83 percent said they wished they had been born a

Evidences of gender confusion or doubt in boys ages 5 to 11 may include:

1. A strong feeling that they are “different” from other boys.

2. A tendency to cry easily, be less athletic, and dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy.

3. A persistent preference to play female roles in make-believe play.

4. A strong preference to spend time in the
company of girls
   and participate in their games and other

5. A susceptibility to be bullied by other boys, who may tease them unmercifully and call them “queer,” “fag” and “gay.”

6. A tendency to walk, talk, dress and even “think” effeminately.

7. A repeatedly stated desire to be — or insistence that he is — a girl.

If your child is experiencing several signs of gender confusion, professional
is available. It’s best to seek that help before your child reaches puberty.

“By the time the
adolescent hormones kick in during early adolescence, a full-blown
gender identity crisis threatens to overwhelm the teenager,” warns
psychologist Dr. James Dobson. To compound the problem, many of these
teens experience “great waves of guilt accompanied by secret fears of
divine retribution.”

If your child has already reached puberty, change is difficult, but it’s
not too late



Well—I’m left a little speechless.  I’m wondering, *who* exactly is it that is suffering from "great waves of guilt accompanied by secret fears of divine retribution"?

The best response is from Giblets on Fafblog, presenting expert guidelines on  "How to tell how gay your gay son is" (hat tip simonedb commenting at I Hate the Patriarchy).

And here is Tiny Tim—wearing his Budweiser jacket to get a little compensatory testosterone into his life.

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Don’t know much about history…

How often can we make productive connections between the Far Left of sexuality research and the Far Right of Kansas-style science regulation?  Not too often!

We learn from today’s NYTimes that "the Darwinian logic behind the female orgasm has remained elusive".  This is based on the observation that female orgasm is not required for conception.  (Of course, I don’t need an orgasm when I urinate, and stuff still gets output, so personally, I’m not sure about the Darwinian "logic" of male orgasm, either.) 

But what if the female orgasm is proof more of Intelligent Design?  According to this theory, "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection". 

The thought that G*d created the female orgasm is really delightful.  Think of the activities that this approach would help to classify as sacred!  In fact, to be even more ecumenical by dragging in the Dismal Science (economics) we can postulate after Adam Smith that (at least sometimes) females may be led there, "as if by an invisible hand".

Actually, I’m pretty sure that stuff that feels good to do has evolutionary value if it is directly connected with conception.  But those of you who might feel a touch of the divine during this experience (assuming you fall into the right Kinseyan cohort) may wish to consider that only an intelligent process could have produced such a result. 

Now, perhaps the Kansas school board would like to reconsider not only its position on biological science, but sex education as well…

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Pope smokes dope

I will admit that I was raised in an anti-Catholic household, for all that I lived in a heavily Catholic town and never saw my parents behave in any kind of bigotted way to any individual face-to-face.  In my father, the attitude was partly a remnant of anti-Irish UK views inherited perhaps from his Scottish father, even though my father was raised in Australia where tender concern for English sensibility has been dead as doornails since Gallipoli, or further back when the "First Australians" were carried over in HM’s prison ships.

But growing up with the British view of world history, even as seen through an Australian prism, predisposes one to a sense of Catholicism as epitomized by the reign of Bloody Mary, or by the Bloodymary03a_1Inquisition itself.  In my childhood historical fantasies, if I was not in the century of my birth, then most likely I could be found fighting the Spaniards.

To a US adolescent in the late 60’s, the Catholic church was another and one of the major institutional forms of hypocracy and oppression.  Luckily I was moved out of this sort of black-and-white view of things as a college student, when I studied Jung with a theology doctoral candiate at the Harvard Divinity School who was later able to overcome that very significant obstacle and be ordained a Catholic priest.  He taught me a lot about the complexity of personal belief in Christ, for a Christian—in some ways I think I came to appreciate the full embodiment of that complexity as it can be seen in Catholic theology, as opposed to the more rationalized versions of Christ and his teachings that have grown out of the various Reformation and Protestant movements of the last four hundred years.

Even so—I’m dismayed by the tsunami of sychophantic drivel that has washed over us as the Schiavo deathwatch has switched seamlessly to the Papal deathwatch, and now the actual death itself.  Mark Kleiman, over in his "reality-based community", dares us, despite his generally liberal point of view, to say anything critical about JPII until the grass is green on his grave.  I guess I can’t work up that level of pious suspension of belief, despite the genuine grief of some Polish friends at his passing.

As a man, there was so much to admire about Karol Wojtyla, but this is also what has always made his extraordinarily rigid interpretation of doctrine so dismaying.  Tremendously physical,Pjp2b courageously opposing two of the great fascisms of our time—Nazis and Soviet imperialists—a multilingual world traveler with special attention for neglected realms of Catholicism in Africa and Asia—he nevertheless continued to enlarge upon the most conservative of the doctrinal streams to have emerged in the Church in the wake of the Reformation.

Spanning several sessions and Popes, the Council of Trent (1545-1563) sought to establish Catholic doctrine in contrast to the emerging tenets of a "reformed" Christian Protestant church, or family tree of Protestant churches.  By virtue of its reactionary nature, the Council at most times was among other things a struggle between the Bishop of Rome and the other Bishops, and their representatives, to establish the Catholic Church on a more centralized (Roman) versus a more distributed (Episcopal) basis.  This debate is one of the reasons, for example, that Henry VIII could break with the Church at Rome and still consider himself a Catholic.

The ultramontain version of things ("a term used to denote integral and active Catholicism, because it recognizes as its spiritual head the pope") was fixed in cement by the very next Council, the First Vatican Council of 1870.  This is the point where the doctrine of Papal Infallibility becomes dogma.  Per the Wikipedia:

papal infallibility is the dogma that the Pope, when he solemnly defines a matter of
faith and morals ex cathedra
(that is, officially and as pastor of the universal Church), is always correct, and thus does not have the possibility of error.

While many catholics apparently haven’t heard about or understood the Pope’s infallibility

A recent (19891992) survey of Catholics aged fifteen to twenty-five from multiple
countries (the USA, Austria,
Canada, Ecuador, France, Ireland, Italy,
Japan, Korea, Peru, Spain and Switzerland), showed that 36.9% accepted the dogma of papal infallibility, 36.9% denied it, and 26.2% said they
didn’t know. (Source: Report on surveys of the International Marian Research Institute, by Johann G. Roten, S.M.)

it is also true that Papal infallibilty has less scope than non-canon lawyers might suppose:

The only statements of the Pope that are infallible are statements that either reiterate what has always been taught by the
Church or are ex cathedra solemn definitions (which can never contradict what has formerly been taught)

Since ex cathedra solemn definitions are very rare, it turns out that infallibility basically inheres in reiterating what has always been taught by the Church.

And here we reach the real glory and damage of the reign of Karol Wojtyla.  As Lord Buckley sayeth, in his sermon The Naz, "when He laid it, He laid it!".  It is hard to imagine a more activist Pope.  The damage is that his doctrinal instincts were so entirely reactionary.

John Paul II was also considered to have halted the progressive efforts of Vatican II, becoming a flagship for the conservative side of the Catholic Church. He continued his
staunch opposition of contraceptive methods, abortion and homosexuality.

A controversial point of the John Paul II papacy was his October 1, 1986 letter to all bishops that described homosexuality as a "tendency ordered toward an intrinsic
moral evil" and "an objective disorder". His book Memory and Identity claimed that the push for homosexual marriage may be part of a "new ideology of evil … which
attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man."

…Regarding abortion,
the Pope wrote that: "There is still, however a legal
extermination of human beings who have been conceived but not yet born.
And this time we are talking about an extermination which
has been allowed by nothing less than democratically elected
parliaments where one normally hears appeals for the civil progress
of society and all humanity."

…The Pope also criticized transsexual and transgender people, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which he supervised, banned them
from serving in church positions and denied church workers the ability to change records and otherwise accommodate them, as well
as considering them to have "mental pathologies".

And while JPII’s advocacy for the poor of the world was constant and consistent, he organizationally and doctrinally destroyed the actual adaptation of Catholic teaching to political struggles on their behalf (aka, Liberation Theology—see also Roy Edroso on this topic at alicublog, via Majikthise).

Like much else in the 60’s, Vatican II seemed to herald the dawn of a saner and more inclusive exercise of hierarchical power.  But we must have been deceiving ourselves on everything from Vatican doctrine to Kennedy’s foriegn policy, to see what has grown from these hopeful shoots.  Who would not mourn a man like this, who has the grace even to die so publically, over such a long period, with such forebearance?  But his papacy has been far too long for the good of many now excluded and anathemized Catholics and perhaps for the Church itself.


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Sodom & Gomorrah

Religious leaders met on Wednesday in Jerusalem in a united protest against a gay pride festival planned there in August. From left: Sheik Abed es- Salem Menasra, deputy mufti of Jerusalem; the Rev. Michel Sabbagh, the Latin patriarch; the Rev. Aris Shirvanian, the Armenian patriarch; Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic chief rabbi; and Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi. The man at right was not identified.

European Pressphoto Agency

Religious leaders
met on Wednesday in Jerusalem in a united protest against a gay pride
festival planned there in August. From left: Sheik Abed es- Salem
Menasra, deputy mufti of Jerusalem; the Rev. Michel Sabbagh, the Latin
patriarch; the Rev. Aris Shirvanian, the Armenian patriarch; Rabbi
Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic chief rabbi; and Rabbi Yona Metzger, the
Ashkenazi chief rabbi. The man at right was not identified.

Here they are, busy preventing the pollution of Jerusalem.  And here’s what the various denominations above had to say about the planned gay pride festival this August in the Holy City…

[first from the left, above] Sheik Abed es-Salem Menasra, deputy (Muslim) mufti of Jerusalem: "God destroyed those cities and everyone in them.  I’m warning everybody, God will destroy Jerusalem together with the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims."

[fourth from the left, above] Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Sephardic chief rabbi: "They are creating a deep and terrible sorrow that is unbearable.  It hurts all religions.  We are all against it."

[fifth from the left, above] Rabbi Yona Metzger, Ashkenazi chief rabbi: "Please do not damage the holiness of Jerusalem, preserve its character, preserve its peace…cancel your plans."

[not pictured] Sheik Abdel Aziz Bukhari, a Sufi representative: "We can’t permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty.  This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem."

[not pictured] Rabbi Yehuda Levin, of the Rabbinical Alliance of America (claiming to represent more than 1000 American Orthodox rabbis: called the festival "the spiritual rape of the Holy City…This is not the homo land, this is the Holy Land."  He’s also quoted as saying, "This is not a parade, this is a 10-day radical, militant, anti-family, anti-God celebration of sodomy and pornography.  Are we crazy that we need to provoke God again?"

[quotes are from an NYT story by Laurie Goodstein and Greg Myre, an AP dispatch, and an article from Haaretz]

Made in California

What links this post to the previous one about the Middle East roadmap and millenarian dispensationalism is the interesting figure of Pastor Leo Giovinetti.  Img_pastors_leoSeems the impetus for this highly unusual agreement amongst all the major religions of Jerusalem comes from him and his Mission Valley Christian Fellowship mission.  Pastor Leo’s ministry has a special relationship with Israel (this is from their website):

Each year a team from Mission Valley Christian Fellowship travels as ambassadors to Israel to share the blessings and hope that come from God.  The ambassor group has grown from 20 to 100 travelers and tours the country enjoying the amazing history and fellowship.  Mission Valley Christian Fellowship has been blessed with the ability to share financially with this nation in need.  Substantial donations have been given to the Ministry of Defense, the Russian Absorption Program of Ariel, and to numerous schools.  Most recently, a gift of $100,000 was presented to the Mayor of Jerusalem, to help those who have been directly affected by the campaign of terror.

On their top page, they have a graphic link to a (or perhaps the) gay pride protest site.  This site,, is designed by San Diego Web Concepts, with a number of links at the top back to Pastor Leo stuff.  It presents a narrative under the rubric "A Chosen Nation".  For example,

I’m not sure if many of you who are Jewish know who you really are and what your Grand heritage is!  It began so many years ago and so much has happened since, but if you are curious and you are sensing a call to seek out and know who you really are, please continue to read on and discover the grand pedigree of your family tree.


Is the Modern State of Israel still the same as the original Nation of Israel?

According to the Scriptures, The modern State of Israel is the continuation of all that God began to do. The Scripture foretold of the time when Israel would be scattered throughout the world and of the times when Israel would be re-gathered back into the ancient land of Israel!

Then on to the Abrahamic Covenant:

This Covenant Is So Important that all of the rest of the promises of God are tied into it!

All that God has done throughout history, that which he is doing in our generation, and most importantly, what he is about to do so that we can all finally move onto Heaven is wrapped up in this Covenant!

"what he is about to do so that we can all finally move into Heaven"…this is the critical point where we connect to millenarian dispensation.  Although nowhere on the site that I can see is Armaggedon mentioned, if you know your Apocolypse you don’t need prompting. 

Further evidence of the political orientation of Pastor Leo and his flock is available if you follow the israelblessgod site’s "articles" link.  At the top you can then go to Benny Elon’s Peace Plan site, where the Elon peace plan is outlined.  (Benny is in the Sharon Cabinet as Tourism Minister and is head of the Moledet Party.)  The main points of this plan are

  • Immediate dissolution of the Palestinian Authority
  • Uprooting of the Palestinian terror infrastructure via arms collection, dismantling of all refugee camps, and deportation of terrorists and their "direct supporters"
  • International recognition that Jordan must be the Palestinian state
  • Isreali sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, where Arab residents will become citizens of Jordan, with "their connection to the two states and the manner of administration of their communcal lives…decided in an agreement between the governments of Israel and Jordan (Palestine)"
  • Allocation of resources by Israel, the US and the international community "for the completion of the exchange of populations that began in 1948"
  • Peace and normalization between Israel and "Jordan-Palestine"

In a way that is too amazing to really be surprising, Benny introduces his plan by claiming that the current US roadmap to a two-state solution will only lead to war.  But how close to war would we be if Israel and the US immediately dissolved the PA, and attempted to collect Palestinian arms, dismantle their camps, and deport their leadership?  And that’s only covers points one and two of the Elon "peace" plan.

Just as I previously asked whether DeLay might be trying to hasten the day by blocking the Bushrovers’ funding request for the PA, I am wondering whether there is not a devious (and well-understood) confluence of agendas between the Dispensationalist Christians and rejectionist Jews in Israel.  Fascist movements don’t need to be majority movements to be dangerous if they are tightly focused and well funded.  We have seen before this the baptismal use of fire as a political organizing principle.  I cannot imagine anything good coming from war in the Middle East, but I have to consider that a mixture of American and Israeli fundamentalists seem to believe, even if for differing reasons, that something much better will emerge from that particular fire.  I’m certainly not going to be there bowing down in the Final Days—I’ll get fried with the rest of the Jews and other infidels—but are we not also running some risk from these people that we’ll be fried well before G-d has anything to do with it?

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DeLay hastens the day?

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a piece in Forward, the New York Jewish weekly, about far right obstruction of proposed US funding of the now Abbas-led Palestinian Authority.

Defying the wishes of the Bush administration, Congress approved a
foreign-aid package this week forbidding any direct assistance to the
Palestinian Authority and, in a rare snub, denying the president the
authority to waive restrictions in the interest of national security.

The legislation was approved 388-to-44 in the House of Representatives
and is expected to sail through the Senate. The House approved $200
million in aid, to be channeled to nongovernmental projects outside the
control of the P.A., as part of an $81 billion in emergency spending
bill to help pay the costs of military operations in Iraq and

…Sources also said that the driving force behind the rejection of direct
aid was House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, who at one
point threatened to cut all aid to the Palestinian territories out of
the bill.Hallindsey_me_ready_for_war_with_text_1

I don’t see where this little legislative passage of arms has been much noticed outside the US Jewish press.  As it turns out, the waiver authority is thought to be coming out of the bill in House/Senate negotiations, and Bush has other slush funds to go to if he wants to reward the P.A. and Abbas, but its still an interesting wedge on the right.  Condi testified in mid February (see the AP story carried in Ha’aretz dated 2/17) in support of the aid payments.  Nita Lowey, the Democratic congresswoman from New York’s 18th district for almost 20 years (parts of Westchester and Rockland counties for you homies), helped write the aid langauge from her position as ranking minority member of the appropriations subcommittee on foreign affairs.  Judging from her website, specifically here, she wants to appear tough on Palestinians while aligning with the Bushrover’s roadmap, including Palestinian aid:

believes strongly that the U.S. must continue to hold Palestinian
leaders accountable for their actions. She has secured provisions in
the foreign aid bill restricting U.S. funding for the Palestinian
Authority, requiring strict oversight of humanitarian assistance
provided to the Palestinian people, and condemning the Arab economic
boycott of Israel. Lowey also co-authored a provision included in the
most recent foreign aid bill specifying that there will be no financial
assistance for a future Palestinian state unless and until the
conditions included in the President’s roadmap are met.

Lowey, according to one source, was point on the intra-House negotiations on aid for the P.A.  But at some point, and operative from Aipac was brought in to try to keep DeLay at bay.

Many Jewish lawmakers with an interest in the bill relied on Lowey to
handle the negotiations, said a staffer for one Jewish lawmaker who
opposed direct aid.

According to well-positioned sources, members of the appropriations
subcommittee tapped Esther Kurz, who directs Aipac’s legislative
department, to broker compromise language that would satisfy DeLay’s
demands while allowing the administration to have the money. Aipac, up
to that point, had only been marginally involved in the Palestinian aid
package. Now it was requested to exert its authority on Israel-related
issues and to broker compromise language. The assumption, one source
said, was that DeLay would be hard pressed to oppose language that the
chief pro-Israel lobby has endorsed.

But perhaps Aipac’s involvement was not that simply motivated.  Aipac has been involved in an FBI/grand jury investigation for some time—seven months ago Pentagon Iran analyst Larry Franklin was accused of passing government documents to two members of the pro-Israel lobbying firm.  Laura Rosen has been following this story solidly in, including her most recent citation of an Ha’aretz article by Nathan Guttman yesterday.  According to Guttman,

AIPAC is considered one of the five most powerful
lobbies in Washington, alongside giants like the American Association
of Retired Persons and the National Rifle Association, whose budgets
dwarf AIPAC’s.

…Some in D.C. political circles said that AIPAC’s main
problem now was not the investigation in which it has become embroiled,
but rather the political change going on in Israel. "AIPAC is simply
lagging behind developments," said a congressional staffer close to the
issue. According to the staffer, the fact that most of the AIPAC board
is hawkish on the Israel-Palestinian conflict makes it difficult for
the lobby to accommodate itself to Israel’s new policies.

issue of AIPAC getting used to the thawing of Israeli-Palestinian
relations was put to the test last month during Congressional
deliberations on a bill submitted by President George W. Bush to give
$200 million in aid to the Palestinians to strengthen reforms and
Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas’ government. Congress approved the
bill in the end, but only after adding some serious strictures.

was behind the failure to pass the bill in its original form?
Democratic supporters of the legislation said that AIPAC tried to
torpedo it and that its lobbyists were behind the restrictions placed
on the aid. AIPAC presented a totally different picture, saying that it
was House Majority Leader Tom DeLay who had taken a hard-line on the
bill, and that AIPAC had saved the day by suggesting compromises which
had allowed the bill to pass.

Not even everyone in Congress
knows who put the restrictions in the aid bill. After the vote, someone
at a meeting of senior congressional staff asked who had been
responsible for the limitations. "I don’t feel comfortable discussing
it here," a staffer from the allocations committee is said to have
replied. Others present at the meeting said they thought he did not
want to point a figure at AIPAC.

And there is this pair of grafs from a JTA wire story carried in the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California (from the moment in 2002 when he became Speaker):

While some question DeLay’s motives, many Jewish leaders have chosen to embrace
his support. After his election as House majority leader last week, most
pro-Israel activists were celebrating.

"Tom DeLay is a true leader and has a time-tested record of being a dear and
valued friend of the pro-Israel community," said Melvin Dow, a fellow Texan and
former president and chairman of the pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee.

DeLay’s possible motivations are probably more bizzare than Aipac’s, if they can be at all seperated.  According to Ori Nir’s Forward article,

DeLay’s success in blocking direct aid has some lawmakers and Jewish
communal officials worried about the degree to which the Texas
Republican, an evangelical Christian who opposes the creation of a
Palestinian state, will go to undercut American and Israeli attempts to
achieve a two-state solution.

Non-christians like me who travel in Israel may be surprised to see large tour groups of American Evangelicals at Israeli and Jewish (as opposed to the obvious Christian) sightseeing venues.  In fact, there are people called Christian Zionists.  See this article of unknown provenance but apparent comprehension, or the Wikipedia entry.  In the latter, we read 

Christian Zionism is the belief among some denominations of Protestant Christians, mainly in the United States, that the return of the Jews to
the Holy Land, through the estabishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy, and is a necessary precondition for the return of
Jesus to reign on Earth.

This belief should be distinguished from a general political belief that the Jews have a right to a national homeland in
Israel. […] Indeed since Christian Zionists believe that the Jews must eventually accept Jesus as the Messiah for Biblical prophecy to be fulfilled, some Jews see Christian Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism.

…American Christian Zionist theology was developed by the 19th century
evangelical Cyrus Scofield (18431921), who popularised the doctrine that Jesus could not return to reign on
Earth until certain events occurred: The return of the Jews to the Holy Land and particularly to Jerusalem, where they would destroy the Islamic holy places in the city and rebuild the Temple, the battle of Armageddon, in which millions of
people would be killed, and the conversion of the Jews to Christianity.

According to Hal Lindsey, a prominent American Christian Zionist, "the
valley from Galilee to Eilat (a town in
southern Israel) will flow with blood and 144,000 Jews would bow down before Jesus and be saved". According to Lindsey, the rest
of the Jews, and presumably all non-Christians, will perish in "the mother of all Holocausts".

Christian Zionism appears to have grown out of the older vein of evangelical eschatology known as premillennial dispensationalism.  Premillennialism is the belief, long held as a basic tenet of Hallindsey_1948_with_text_1Christianity, that Jesus will return to earth before establishing and reigning over a millenial kingdom.  John Nelson Darby, an early proponent, defined periods of historical "dispensation", as milestones along the path that could be understood through the predictive power of scripture.

Again, from the Wikipedia:

Dispensationalism teaches that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will
be a physical event, by which a world-wide kingdom will be established in human history, geographically centered in Jerusalem. Many, but not all,
dispensationalists teach that the Second Coming will be a two step process. In the first step, Christ returns to resurrect the blessed dead and rapture
the living believers from the Earth. After this, a seven year period of tribulation occurs, climaxing in the Battle of Armageddon. In
the second step, Christ intervenes at the Battle of Armageddon and establishes his kingdom on earth. As such, dispensationalism
is associated with the circulation of end times prophecy, which professes to read omens of the Second Coming in current events.

Can it be that DeLay, and other pro-Israel evangelicals like him, are trying the hasten the day? 

There is no question that 9/11 and the subsequent so-called war on terrorism have greatly heighten the sense of apocalypse amongst those leaning that way, and have appeared as a milestone on the way to the End of Days.  On that roadmap, the forces of righteousness will destroy the Islamic holy places and establish the Third Temple.  This kind of "faith"-based decision making and motivation at the top of our government is not something we can look at any more as aberrant. 

In July, 2002, the "D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship" (self-described as "a spiritually based outreach to men and
women in positions of influence and authority in our
nation’s capital") awarded DeLay its Distinguished Christian Stateman award for 2002.  This interesting vignette is part of the news item on its web site.

On the day following the 9/11
attacks on America, Rep. DeLay called his Washington staff together. At
this unscheduled meeting, the Texas congressman very deliberately
shared the Gospel with his staff. He told them how he knew that he
would spend eternity with God in Heaven and how they could know that
too. “In light of what happened up this way yesterday, we all need to
be sure of that,” he said.

What I can tell is that DeLay is a Baptist.  I don’t know about his personal orientation to Christian Zionism or premillenarial dispensationism.  But his many statements on matters of Christian belief make it clear that he is pretty sure how things should go.  Americans United for Seperation of Church and State reports on a DeLay speech from a 300-person "Worldview Weekend" meeting at the First Baptist Church in Pearland, Texas, just before his ascension to the Speaker’s chair.  In his kickoff, DeLay

that he got interested in running for state office in Texas because he
was fed up with government interference in his pest extermination
business. His wife prodded him to attend a local Republican Party
meeting, where someone suggested he run for the legislature.

was the first time the Lord talked to me in very meaningful terms,"
DeLay said. He said he became "obsessed" with running for the office
and worked so hard he successfully defeated a Democrat at a time when
Republicans were weak in Texas.

a Baptist, spent six years in the Texas legislature and ran for
Congress successfully in 1984. Despite the divine intervention in his
earlier campaigns, DeLay told the crowd that he was still not a
committed believer when he went to Washington.

was into the other worldview like you wouldn’t believe," he said,
noting that in the nation’s capital he drank too much, stayed out late
and ignored his family.

to a Bible study by U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), DeLay soon "found
Christ again." […]

[God] has been walking me through an incredible journey, and it all
comes down to worldview," DeLay told the crowd. "He is using me, all
the time, everywhere, to stand up for biblical worldview in everything
that I do and everywhere I am. He is training me, He is working with

A Christian as muscular, and a politician as anti-pluralist and anti-democratic as DeLay cannot be a real friend of Israel.  There is something behind that agenda.  How could a born-again American Christian be more anti-Palestinian than Ariel Sharon, who stood by as his Lebanese Christian allies butchered Muslims in the camps of southern Lebanon during the Israeli invasion twenty years ago?  Why would an exterminator from Sugarland, Texas (want to figure out how many Jews live there?) care so much about the same things that the hard-right Gaza and West Bank settlers with the funny clothes and hairdos care about? 

I suspect it is a marriage of convenience, a means to an end (in fact, to The End).  I suspect that for a number of devout evangelicals in this administration and its legislature, the driving motivation for Middle Eastern policy is their sure knowledge that for those Jews who won’t bow down and be saved, its gonna be "the mother of all holocausts".

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Right, To, Life

I’ve been working in Israel for the last two weeks, for really long hours, so I’ve had to store up a number of blogs to come, including some reflections on what is now the "old" Yad Vashem, replaced by a spanking new museum (its Israel’s Holocaust museum); some thoughts about oppression, the oppressed, and fascism in their midst; and where some of my friends on the American Left are on or off track about Israel.

But meanwhile, having finally gotten a bit of time to dip into my favorite blogs, I can see that l’affair Schiavo is burning the wires.  I feel real kinship in view with Rude Pundit, Oliver Willis, DCMediaGirl, but I’d like to suggest a couple of points to keep in mind as this theatre of the absurd continues to unroll.

One, the salient point amidst all the congressional blather and bullshit is that 70% of the citizens think Congress is outta line, and almost as many that (think about the imputed cynicism of this) their keeping Schiavo alive is just politics:

Meantime, 70% of Americans say
Congress’s action was inappropriate and 67% thought the elected
officials were trying to keep Schiavo alive were doing so more for
political advantage than out of concern for her or the principles
involved, according to a poll conducted for ABC News. The poll was
conducted by telephone on March 20, among a random national sample of
501 adults. The results have a 4.5-point error margin. The sampling,
data collection and tabulation were done by TNS Intersearch of Horsham,

Summary: something is damaging Congressional brains (as well) but doesn’t seem to be affecting Americans too much (especially considering the single-minded fanaticism of the Right’s messaging on this case).

Two, the avatars of life until the bitter end, including the unspeakably hypocritical DeLay and the unhypocratical Frist, will be hoisted on their own petards, and sooner rather than later.  The hysteria of their moment here masks a deeper vacuum of issues, starting with the the black hole that is the Bushrover’s current social security initiative. 

I don’t mean to be mindlessly optimistic.  But guys, this case won’t destroy the constitution.  Do you think judges across the country are pleased to see 17 courts (perhaps 18 by Monday) flipped a massive bird by mere congresspunks?  These people have serious egos too, and a lot of them don’t need to be reelected.  I sympathize with the utter disgust of close observers—the torrent of bullshit from the right is truly amazing.  But this too shall pass—unlike DeLay’s ethics problems, and Iraq, and private accounts, and the deficit, and high medical costs (I guess except in extreme cases in Florida)…

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