Special Meditation Focus
Focusing Light on Kerry
This is a special Meditation Focus calling exceptionally for a prolonged meditation designed to assist presidential candidate John Kerry during his televised debate with president George Bush, this Thursday, September 30, 2004, from 9 pm to 11 pm East Coast time (see local corresponding times in the meditation time chart below), or at a time of your choosing and for a duration that best fits your schedule and availability.
FOCUSING LIGHT ON KERRY
2. Meditation times
3. More information related to this Meditation Focus
Due to the very short delay between the issuance of this call for a Special Meditation Focus and the time it is scheduled, and due also to the very important nature of this focus as explained below, we urgently request everyone's assistance to help circulate this material or at least the first 2 parts below as people can access the lengthy complementary material provided below on the webpages where this is archived as widely as possible, along with any personal comment if you feel inspired to add one.
Please note that a regular Meditation Focus will also be issued this Saturday.
Destiny and the future of this world are to meet at the crossroad of a crucial single event whose outcome will likely determine the fate of countless human lives and the very survival of all life forms on this planet. Man has to choose between two directions that will lead his civilization in two diametrically different future. One, if the current policies and military adventurism of the Bush Administration are allowed to continue, will most certainly lead into an unimaginably dark future and possibly the end of all life on Earth; the other one, if the more circumspect and balanced approach of a Kerry Administration is given a chance to take off, will most possibly lead into a brighter future of peaceful coexistence, environmental sanity and humanitarian care for all. Unfortunately, the country that can have such a determining impact on humanity's coming fortune, the United States of America, is currently under the spell of a fear-induced catharsis that prevents most of its citizens, those legally empowered to vote in the November 2 presidential election, from clearly seeing what has been happening since George W Bush and his neoconservative backers have been given the power by the US Supreme Court after an electoral debacle that has made a mockery of democracy.
The outcome of the coming election, whose legitimacy is already clouded by a number of very suspicious actions and potentialities indicating covert manipulations to tilt the results in favor of the present Republican incumbent, nevertheless rests in the hands and hearts of the people who will actually vote, especially if a clear enough majority of them express their support in favor of the candidate selected to represent the Democratic party, John Kerry. So democracy still has a chance, perhaps a last chance, to make a difference and enable the
people to elect those who will govern them. But right now, much hangs in the balance as the efforts deployed, with considerable resources at their disposal, by the corporate and Christian groups supporting George Bush to attack their opponent and create a negative image around the Democratic candidate, while more or less successfully hiding, with the cunning assistance of certain US mainstream media, the tragic realities resulting from their own political and economic decisions in the last 4 years.
One of the key moments when opinions and perceptions are to be shaped is the first televised debate that will take place tonight and which over 50 million Americans are expected to watch. If a negative impression remains after this debate in the mind of a majority of viewers, a perception that most media are sure to echo and amplify in the days ahead, thus making a reversal of voting trends and expectations almost impossible afterwards, except for an unforeseeable catastrophic mistake by either of the candidates before the November election, then the true outcome of this election will be determined during this televised debate tonight which is why this call is being sent out to recommend to all Light servers to dedicate as much time as they can before, during and after the debate scheduled from 21:00 to 23:00, Florida time, to focus Light towards John Kerry both in assistance for his participation to this debate and to help open the minds and hearts of American viewers so they may have a lasting positive opinion and perception of him and thus be favorably inclined to vote for him on November 2, thus opening the way towards a brighter future, for the highest good of all.
This whole Meditation Focus has been archived for your convenience at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/SpecialFocusKerry.htm
2. MEDITATION TIMES
These times below correspond to 21h00 East Coast time:
Honolulu Thursday 15h00 -- Anchorage Thursday 17h00 -- Los Angeles Thursday 18h00 -- San Salvador & Denver Thursday 19h00 -- Mexico City, Houston & Chicago Thursday 20h00 -- Santo Domingo, La Paz, Caracas, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Asuncion & Santiago Thursday 21h00 -- Halifax & Rio de Janeiro Thursday 22h00 -- Montevideo Thursday 23h00 -- Reykjavik & Casablanca Friday 01h00 -- Lagos, Algiers, London, Dublin & Lisbon Friday 02h00 -- Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid Friday 03h00 -- Ankara, Athens, Helsinki, Istanbul, Baghdad & Nairobi Friday 04h00 -- Tehran 04h30 -- Moscow Friday 05h00 -- Islamabad Friday 06h00 -- Calcutta & New Delhi Friday 06h30 -- Dhaka Friday 07h00 -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 08h00 -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur Friday 09h00 -- Seoul & Tokyo 10h00 -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne Friday 11h00 -- Wellington 13h00
You may also check at http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?day=30&month=9&year=2004&hour=21&min=0&sec=0&p1=179 to find your current corresponding local time if a closeby city is not listed above.
3. MORE INFORMATION RELATED TO THIS MEDITATION FOCUS
This complement of information may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to the summary description of the subject of this Meditation Focus. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mind-set, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of peace and healing. This complementary information is provided so that a greater knowledge of what needs healing and peace-nurturing vibrations may assist us to have an in-depth understanding of what is at stake and thus achieve a greater collective effectiveness.
"Stanley, their whole operation hinges on us being naïve and not recognizing evil. This is what they got with Hitler and others. People couldn't recognize evil so they continued to repeat succumbing to it. We are recognizing it this time. We are putting our lives, our treasure, our future on the line for freedom because we cannot let these blood-thirsty control freak terrorists capture us and use us and turn us into the empire and have a draft and use us as their slaves to invade the planet. And that's their PNAC plan."
- Taken from "Government Insider Says Bush Authorized 911 Attacks" (Sept 17, 2004) at http://www.sacredearth.org/save_the_earth.shtm
1. Thursday's debate the most important
2. Kerry needs strong debate to catch up nationwide
3. Stop Thinking, and See What You're Told
4. Kerry Is Widely Favored Abroad
5. Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush
6. Waiting to Bomb Iran
7. More Troops To Iraq...After the Election
8. George Bush and the Rise of Christian Fascism
This Special Meditation Focus: Focusing Light on Kerry is archived in its entirety at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/SpecialFocusKerry.htm and
also at http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2004/SpecialFocusKerry.htm
Introducing John Kerry (30 September 2004)
(...) Because of his father's government service, John Kerry saw the world, and came to know the art of diplomacy. He learned very young that there is much beyond the borders of America to value. His time abroad with his father shattered the quiet xenophobic tendencies many Americans get with mother's milk. Because of his mother's narrow escape from the Nazi armies, John Kerry learned that there is indeed evil in the world which no amount of money or privilege can deflect. Living in post-war Berlin during one of his father's diplomatic postings, Kerry saw the bombed-out buildings, the refugees who were everywhere, and the tens of thousands of people who left everything behind to flee the Soviet sector. Kerry learned that such evil must be confronted. In the experiences of his parents, John Kerry developed the nuanced, intricate and informed view of the wider world that has since defined his life. (...) From 1983 to 1985, John Kerry served as Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor, and transformed what had been a symbolic position to one with muscle. He organized Governors all across the country to combat a new and disturbing reality - acid rain caused by industrial pollution that was destroying lakes, rivers and the country's water supply. This activity began what has since become a lifetime of activism to protect our environment, a lifetime of activism that has made John Kerry perhaps the most effective fighter for environmental protection in American government. (...) Here is a man who came from a level of privilege most Americans have never known. He could have become what so many children from the upper echelons of money and power become - callow, shallow, lazy, biding his time until he got everything he thought his position granted him, leaning on powerful family friends to make up for the shortcomings that arise from an idle life and the sense that the world owes him whatever he desires, believing that making money and enjoying position are the alpha and omega of life. John Kerry went in the opposite direction. He was raised to believe that privilege has its duties, that public service is the alpha and omega of life, and has worked every day to fulfill the obligations his parents and his education and his own deeply-held beliefs instilled in him. In his fight against BCCI, he revealed himself to be a man of great purpose, of mission, who refused to bow before the altars of status quo and go-along-to-get-along that are all too worshipped in Washington. A life of service and study crafted a man of depth, of intelligence, who can see all the sides of any issue and incorporates all available data before making a decision. CLIP
Why I Will Vote for John Kerry for President - By John Eisenhower (28 September)
The Presidential election to be held this coming Nov. 2 will be one of extraordinary importance to the future of our nation. The outcome will determine whether this country will continue on the same path it has followed for the last 3Ã years or whether it will return to a set of core domestic and foreign policy values that have been at the heart of what has made this country great. Now more than ever, we voters will have to make cool judgments, unencumbered by habits of the past. Experts tell us that we tend to vote as our parents did or as we "always have." We remained loyal to party labels. We cannot afford that luxury in the election of 2004. There are times when we must break with the past, and I believe this is one of them. As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administrations decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry. CLIP
Something Rotten in the State of Florida (29 September 2004)
Pregnant chads, vanishing voters... the election fiasco of 2000 made the Sunshine State a laughing stock. More importantly, it put George Bush in the White House. You'd think they'd want to get it right this time. But no, as Andrew Gumbel discovers, the democratic process is more flawed than ever.
How Florida Republicans Keep Blacks From Voting (26 September 2004)
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-op-bardach26sep26,1,4475008.story (also available at http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/093004E.shtml)
The worst-kept secret among Florida's Republican elites is their dread of the African American vote. It is not an unfounded fear. In 2000, blacks in this crucial swing state voted for Al Gore in unprecedented numbers, a whopping 92%. Current polls indicate they are even less enamored with George W. Bush this time around. State Democrats are abuzz with suspicions about how Gov. Jeb Bush and his handpicked secretary of state, Glenda Hood, will limit the effect of black voters Nov. 2. Though the state has cultivated several voting techniques that favor Republicans - an emphasis on military and absentee ballots is one - no issue has been leveraged as successfully as its restrictive policy on ex-felons. One reason is that the Sunshine State holds the dubious honor of having one of the nation's largest felon populations, about 5% of its total. CLIP
Miscellaneous Subjects #207: The Bush Wars Against Most Everything (Sept 27)
All the details about the presidential debates: Schedule, rules and a slide show
All the news on the presidential debate
September 30, 2004
Thursday's debate the most important
By TED VAN DYK
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER COLUMNIST
The first of three Bush-Kerry televised candidate debates could make the other two redundant.
It is the only one of the scheduled debates devoted exclusively to foreign policy and homeland security, which both campaigns have made centerpiece issues. A clearcut victory by President Bush could solidify the lead he has maintained for nearly a month among likely voters and in key electoral states. Sen. John Kerry must get at least a fighting draw to rekindle his campaign.
* Context: As all campaigns with an incumbent president, this one is a yes-no referendum on Bush's incumbency. Kerry's mission is to establish himself as a credible alternative should voters give Bush a thumbs-down.
The economy and domestic issues remain a foremost concern of many undecided and independent voters. Yet, with the economy gradually improving, the Kerry campaign last week made a decision to win or lose on Iraq. It also cut back advertising in a number of states -- including, surprisingly, Missouri and Arizona -- to concentrate on big swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Ordinarily an incumbent president would be on the defensive regarding a controversial and expensive foreign intervention such as Iraq. But Kerry's shifts -- both in substance and in rhetoric -- have made the president seem strong and consistent and Kerry uncertain and inconsistent.
After an embarrassingly public debate among his campaign advisors, Kerry presented last week what was billed as his final, considered position on Iraq. It was a hard-hitting critique reminiscent of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's during the primary campaign. It heartened anti-war voters and his party's liberal base. But, because it represented yet another shift, it raised concern about Kerry's constancy if elected.
That is where tonight's debate no doubt will begin: Bush will defend his Iraq policy. Kerry will attack it. Bush will charge Kerry with inconsistency. Both will go from there.
Bush and Kerry will meet again Oct. 8 and 13. Their running mates will meet Oct. 5. But, barring some dramatic occurrence in those later debates, tonight's will matter most.
Kerry needs strong debate to catch up nationwide
September 30, 2004
By Maeve Reston, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When President Bush and Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry meet for a foreign policy debate this evening at the University of Miami, many voters will be looking for the answer to a pivotal question of the 2004 election: Can they trust Kerry to lead America at a time of war, or do they feel more comfortable sending Bush back to the White House?
The consensus among many political scientists is that tonight's debate is a crucial moment for Kerry, who is trailing Bush by some 8 points in recent national polls, and, more importantly, in a number of swing states that could tip this very close race in Bush's favor.
"The stakes couldn't be higher," said Bruce Buchanan, a government professor at the University of Texas in Austin. "This is [Kerry's] opportunity to reassert himself as a credible alternative."
But it is also an opportunity for both candidates to present their central messages of the last few weeks to an audience that Bush campaign officials expect to be as high as 50 million potential voters.
As he did at the convention, Bush will hail his decision to go into Iraq as a critical front in the war on terrorism and as a victory for democracy. Kerry will argue that America is less secure and that the invasion was a diversion from addressing more dangerous threats in other parts of the world. And the Democrat faces the additional challenge of trying to overcome the perception among many voters -- promoted by the Bush campaign -- that he vacillates too much on the issues.
Kerry aide Mike McCurry said in a conference call yesterday that the senator's most important preparation for tonight's debate was two major speeches he gave last week, in which he laid out his plan for handling the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism.
Stop Thinking, and See What You're Told
By Steve Weissman
29 September 2004
Part I: Trucking with the Terrorist Devils
Did fear do it to us? Did the horrific attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center so scare the American people that many of our fellow citizens can no longer see that the emperor has no clothes?
Only in part.
Naked in his eerie isolation, the resolute Mr. Bush clearly uses the great fear to blind us to his "catastrophic success" in Iraq, a land destined to become at best Iran-Lite, if not our very own West Bank and Gaza Strip. Watch it nightly on Arab TV: "Americans Kill Again. Blood at 6 and 11."
Mr. Bush sells himself with psychodrama, pushing us to relive the nightmare of 9/11 - and deny today's reality. He plays the wartime leader on TV, and no one breaks out laughing, at least not in public. Indeed, nearly half the country seems truly to believe that he has made them safer.
Beyond our borders, most of the world takes his "War on Terror" as American hyperbole. Europe, in particular, has known waves of terrorist attack at least since the 1880s, and has finally learned to deal with the problem without all the fanfare. European police agencies quietly warned our hapless CIA and FBI of preparations for the 9/11 attacks in good time to intervene, and have continued to break up Al-Qaeda cells with some success.
As for Mr. Bush himself, most European pundits and those who are polled tend to see him as a dangerous lightweight who lied his way into war, blundered the occupation, and now hides his eyes from the chaos he has created. Even the conservative i>Financial Times/i>, the Wall Street Journal of Europe, charged last week that Bush and his team "systematically refused to engage with what has happened in Iraq."
In the FT's opinion, the administration made too many "mistakes" and "handed the initiative to jihadi terrorists," giving them "a new base from which to challenge the west and moderate Islam."
Those who back Mr. Bush angrily reject this view as liberal rhetoric, disloyalty, or treason. They just will not face the facts.
Fear alone cannot explain such hysterical blindness. Fear got Americans going, but never told us how to view the terrorists who caused our fear. Someone had to fill in the blanks.
Who should we most fear - Osama or Saddam, Chirac or Sharon, radical rag-heads on their prayer rugs or blue-eyed, born-again fundamentalists waving the Red-White-and-Blue?
Do we rush with rockets rattling to kill or capture every terrorist we can? Or do we fight them in ways that do not encourage thousands more to join their ranks?
Do we tar Islam as the enemy, creating the clash of civilizations that Osama wants to provoke? Or do we try to understand why hundreds of millions of Muslims, if we force them to choose, will side with the terrorists rather than us?
To frame their answers, Team Bush drew heavily on conservative counter-terrorists and colonial counter-insurgents, most of whom had honed their way of thinking years before 9/11 became even a gleam in Osama's eye. Their worldview perfectly matched Mr. Bush's gut instincts - and extensive view of the world:
* Deal with terrorists primarily as a military threat, or at most a matter for the police and secret services.
* Don't take their political grievances seriously or change your own policies and practices. If you do, the terrorists will see it as a sign of weakness, a political victory, and a vindication of their terrorist methods.
* As for their potential supporters, and our winning their hearts and minds, leave that to the psychological warriors, communications specialists, and assorted shmear artists in what Washington calls public diplomacy. ("We're here to liberate you," reads the psy-war leaflet. And that's why we're bombing you and your brothers.)
To these simplistic precepts, Mr. Bush added a touch of genius. He further branded the terrorists as pure evil, the spawn of Satan, which made them anathema to most God-fearing Americans. Sound familiar? Have no truck with the devil, neither in the guise of Godless Communists, nor as Islamic Terrorists.
Faith-based anti-terrorism, as Bush and his people package it, is now bidding to replace anti-Communism as America's all-consuming political ideology. Focusing fear, it blinkers what terrified Americans see - and what they do not see - when they look at Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel and Iran, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, or at the threadbare Mr. Bush.
Caught up in a holy war against the ultimate evil, the pro-Bushies see no means too vile to defeat their foe, from torture and sexual humiliation to bombing where people live.
Forbidden the weakness of human empathy, the pro-Bushies never understand that many Iraqis are doing just what we would do if a foreign power occupied the United States - fighting for their country's independence.
Embedded in a military mindset, the pro-Bushies never realize how their winning battles recruit far more terrorists than they kill, while polarizing a huge portion of the world's Muslims against the United States.
Blinded to political realities, the pro-Bushies honestly believe their fearless leader when he tells them that our enemies hate us for who we are rather than for what we do, whether in supporting Saddam in the 1980s, forsaking the Iraqi Shiites after the first Gulf War, backing Sharon against the Palestinians, or propping up the oil-rich Saudi princes.
Anti-terrorist ideology such as this only helps the bin Ladens and Zarqawis. It also helps Mr. Bush. Without it, clear-eyed voters - Republicans as well as Democrats - would run him out of office on a rail and trash his scary, know-nothing approach to radical Islamic terror.
Kerry Is Widely Favored Abroad
By Keith B. Richburg
The Washington Post
29 September 2004
Hostility toward Bush revealed in surveys and interviews.
PARIS - From Canada to Mexico, from London and Paris to Jakarta and Beijing, President Bush is widely unpopular as a candidate for reelection, according to surveys and interviews conducted in 20 countries.
Sen. John F. Kerry appears to be the runaway favorite abroad, even though few people outside the United States know much about the Massachusetts Democrat or his positions on foreign policy questions.
"If foreigners could vote, there's no question what the result would be," said Guillaume Parmentier, director of the French Center on the United States. "Bush's image, even before the war in Iraq, was not good. The way he comports himself, the vocabulary he uses -- good versus evil, God and all that -- even his body language, most people think is not presidential." He added, "I've never seen such hostility."
Kerry's foreign fans say they like his attitude about consulting allies and respecting their views. To them, he seems worldly, with an African-born wife. He attended school in Geneva and speaks French. A first cousin of Kerry's, Brice Lalonde, is a Green Party mayor of a small town in western France.
Bush appears to have strong support in such places as Israel and Singapore for his stance against radical Islamic groups, and in some countries that are benefiting from world trade, such as India, for his free-market views. But elsewhere, a majority of people appear to be hoping he loses.
"Kerry! Kerry! Kerry!" said Eros Djarrot, a filmmaker and founder of a small political party in Indonesia, the world' s most populous Muslim nation. "Simply because Bush knows what is good for Americans, but he doesn't understand what is good for people outside America, especially people in developing countries."
Karim Raslan, a lawyer and commentator in Malaysia, another Muslim-majority country, was more blunt: "Everyone would want to see Bush out. He is loathed." He added: "The view in Asia-Pacific is, Bush is dreadful. You've got to get rid of him. But is the other guy better? I fear not."
In the Arab world, Bush is widely despised for launching the Iraq war, supporting Israel and shoring up corrupt Arab governments in exchange for their help in the region. "Bush talks about helping Egypt, but he supports Mubarak," said Ahmed Shukri, an Egyptian computer science student, referring to Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's authoritarian president. "He supports lots of dictators. We don't trust Bush and we don't know Kerry."
In the Muslim world as a whole, Bush's Middle East policies are often seen not as targeting terrorism but the Islamic faith.
Elsewhere, the American president is viewed as too quick to use force, with no concern for the consequences to others. "I don't like Bush," said Hao Zhiqiang, 42, a taxi driver in China. "He launched the Iraq war. The price of oil is getting higher because of that."
In Canada, a public opinion poll by the Globe and Mail newspaper conducted in July found that Canadians favored Kerry over Bush 60 percent to 29 percent. In Japan, an earlier opinion poll published in the Mainichi newspaper, conducted before Democrats had chosen a candidate, showed only 31 percent of respondents supporting Bush and 57 percent against him.
In Russia, an opinion poll showed Russians preferring Kerry by a ratio of almost 4 to 1, although President Vladimir Putin quipped to reporters that the Bush supporters "include a few very influential people," an apparent reference to himself.
And a survey by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, conducted June 6 through 26 in nine European countries, found that 76 percent of European respondents disapproved of Bush's handling of international affairs, up 20 percentage points from a survey in 2002. The poll also found that 80 percent of Europeans surveyed -- compared with half of Americans -- said the Iraq war was not worth the cost in human life and material loss.
The deep antipathy has produced a round of Bush-bashing magazine covers, books and television debates that many foreign policy observers say is unprecedented, stronger even than the widespread repudiation abroad of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
In Germany, Stern magazine offered this declaration on its cover: "George W. Bush, MORALLY BANKRUPT." In France, Nouvelle Observateur magazine published a cover story entitled: "Why It's Necessary To Beat Bush."
In Canada, the animosity has been running so high that the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. this month aired a program called, "Has Bush-bashing gone too far?" And in France, a popular Sunday television show, "Le Vrai Journal," has a segment devoted entirely to Bush-bashing, with Americans invited to explain to the French why they hate Bush and plan to vote against him.
At times, normally circumspect diplomats and politicians have found themselves swept up in the sentiment. A Canadian official called Bush a "moron." Britain's ambassador to Italy, Ivor Roberts, said at a conference in Tuscany last week that Bush is "the best recruiting sergeant ever for al Qaeda," according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper. And the Spanish prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, shortly after his upset victory in March, said he hoped Americans would follow Spain's electoral example and replace the incumbent president in November.
CLIP - read the rest at http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/093004Y.shtml
Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush
By George Soros
28 September 2004
Prepared text of speech delivered September 28, 2004, National Press Club, Washington, DC.
This is the most important election of my lifetime. I have never been heavily involved in partisan politics but these are not normal times. President Bush is endangering our safety, hurting our vital interests and undermining American values. That is why I am sending you this message. I have been demonized by the Bush campaign but I hope you will give me a hearing.
President Bush ran on the platform of a "humble" foreign policy in 2000. If we re-elect him now, we endorse the Bush doctrine of preemptive action and the invasion of Iraq, and we will have to live with the consequences. As I shall try to show, we are facing a vicious circle of escalating violence with no end in sight. But if we repudiate the Bush policies at the polls, we shall have a better chance to regain the respect and support of the world and to break the vicious circle.
I grew up in Hungary, lived through fascism and the Holocaust, and then had a foretaste of communism. I learned at an early age how important it is what kind of government prevails. I chose America as my home because I value freedom and democracy, civil liberties and an open society.
When I had made more money than I needed for myself and my family, I set up a foundation to promote the values and principles of a free and open society. I started in South Africa in 1979 and established a foundation in my native country, Hungary, in 1984 when it was still under communist rule. China, Poland and the Soviet Union followed in 1987. After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, I established foundations in practically all the countries of the former Soviet empire and later in other parts of the world and in the United States. These foundations today spend about 450 million dollars a year to promote democracy and open society around the world.
When George W. Bush was elected president, and particularly after September 11, I saw that the values and principles of open society needed to be defended at home. September 11 led to a suspension of the critical process so essential to a democracy - a full and fair discussion of the issues. President Bush silenced all criticism by calling it unpatriotic. When he said that "either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," I heard alarm bells ringing. I am afraid that he is leading us in a very dangerous direction. We are losing the values that have made America great.
The destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center was such a horrendous event that it required a strong response. But the President committed a fundamental error in thinking: the fact that the terrorists are manifestly evil does not make whatever counter-actions we take automatically good. What we do to combat terrorism may also be wrong. Recognizing that we may be wrong is the foundation of an open society. President Bush admits no doubt and does not base his decisions on a careful weighing of reality. For 18 months after 9/11 he managed to suppress all dissent. That is how he could lead the nation so far in the wrong direction.
President Bush inadvertently played right into the hands of bin Laden. The invasion of Afghanistan was justified: that was where bin Laden lived and al Qaeda had its training camps. The invasion of Iraq was not similarly justified. It was President Bush's unintended gift to bin Laden.
War and occupation create innocent victims. We count the body bags of American soldiers; there have been more than 1000 in Iraq. The rest of the world also looks at the Iraqis who get killed daily. There have been 20 times more. Some were trying to kill our soldiers; far too many were totally innocent, including many women and children. Every innocent death helps the terrorists' cause by stirring anger against America and bringing them potential recruits.
Immediately after 9/11 there was a spontaneous outpouring of sympathy for us worldwide. It has given way to an equally widespread resentment. There are many more people willing to risk their lives to kill Americans than there were on September 11 and our security, far from improving as President Bush claims, is deteriorating. I am afraid that we have entered a vicious circle of escalating violence where our fears and their rage feed on each other. It is not a process that is likely to end any time soon. If we re-elect President Bush we are telling the world that we approve his policies - and we shall be at war for a long time to come.
Bush's war in Iraq has done untold damage to the United States. It has impaired our military power and undermined the morale of our armed forces. Before the invasion of Iraq, we could project overwhelming power in any part of the world. We cannot do so any more because we are bogged down in Iraq. Afghanistan is slipping from our control. North Korea, Iran, Pakistan and other countries are pursuing nuclear programs with renewed vigor and many other problems remain unattended.
By invading Iraq without a second UN resolution, we violated international law. By mistreating and even torturing prisoners, we violated the Geneva conventions. President Bush has boasted that we do not need a permission slip from the international community, but our actions have endangered our security - particularly the security of our troops.
Our troops were trained to project overwhelming power. They were not trained for occupation duties. Having to fight an insurgency saps their morale. Many of our troops return from Iraq with severe trauma and other psychological disorders. Sadly, many are also physically injured. After Iraq, it will be difficult to recruit people for the armed forces and we may have to resort to conscription.
There are many other policies for which the Bush administration can be criticized but none are as important as Iraq. Iraq has cost us nearly 200 billion dollars - an enormous sum. It could have been used much better elsewhere. The costs are going to mount because it was much easier to get into Iraq than it will be to get out of there. President Bush has been taunting John Kerry to explain how he would do things differently in Iraq. John Kerry has responded that he would have done everything differently and he would be in a better position to extricate us than the man who got us in there. But it won't be easy for him either, because we are caught in a quagmire.
CLIP - Read the whole speech at http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/093004D.shtml
Originally from http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/483040.html
Waiting to Bomb Iran
By Aluf Benn - Haaretz
29 September 2004
While the debate in Israel was focused on the disengagement plan, an entirely different discussion was developing in the international media. They have become convinced in recent weeks that Israel is planning an aerial attack on Iran's nuclear installations, should it conclude that Iran is proceeding apace toward the development of an atomic bomb, and the diplomatic effort to stop it has failed.
This discussion is not taking place on remote Internet sites, but in learned analyses by the most important newspapers in the world, which are describing the anticipated Israeli bombing as a political fact that is influencing decision makers in Washington and Europe. Everyone knows that Israel considers the Iranian bomb the most serious threat to its existence and its regional status.
The newspaper articles recall the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reaction in 1981 as an example of what awaits the Iranians. They analyze the ability of the Israel Air Force to carry out such an operation, and warn that it will lead to terrible repercussions in the Middle East.
There is no question that the bombing of Iran will be much more complicated than the attack on the Iraqi reactor. The flight range is greater, the Iranian installations are scattered and protected, and Iran is capable of retaliating. But the interesting difference between Iraq and Iran is that at the time, the Iraqi operation was planned in secret and was carried out by surprise, and this time the ostensible preparations are being conducted almost in the open.
The belief that Israel's patience is running out have increased since July, when the British Sunday Times reported - based on Israeli sources - on the advanced preparations for bombing the reactor in Bushehr. The article, which was widely quoted all over the world and aroused Iranian counter-threats, seems to be Israeli psychological warfare.
The British papers are a well-known target of such deliberate leaks, but no investigation was begun in Israel about presumed revelations of operational secrets, and at the time, Iran seemed to be evading diplomatic pressure. Afterward came the tests of the Israel Arrow missile and the Iranian Shihab, and more belligerent declarations from Teheran, and additional articles about the anticipated operation.
Judging by an analysis of the articles, Israel has decided to sharpen the sense of urgency in the international community, in order to increase diplomatic pressure on Teheran to cease its enrichment of uranium. This goal has been achieved, at least in the declarations being heard from the United States and Europe, and in the decisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
It is possible that factors in the West, doubtful about the success of the diplomatic effort, prefer to have Israel act in their place. There are signs of that: Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who met with many of his colleagues at the UN General Assembly, heard a great deal of understanding from them about the Iranian danger, and serious doubts as to the chances of diplomacy. Nobody asked Israel to refrain from a belligerent act.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says that Israel is not planning a military operation in Iran, and speaks of developing improved means of defense and deterrence. But the foreign media were more interested in the threats against the Iranians by senior members of the Israel Defense Forces. "We will not rely only on others" (Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon), "We will rely on others until we have to rely on ourselves" (his deputy, Dan Halutz), "The operational capability of the air force has increased significantly since the bombing of the Iraqi reactor" (Commander of the Israel Air Force, Eliezer Shkedi).
Sharon is disturbed by the growing acceptance, particularly in Europe, of Iran's impending membership in the nuclear club. Meanwhile he is carefully walking on the edge, and is exploiting his tough-guy image to arouse international attention. But nor should we forget that the present political-military leadership - Sharon, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Ya'alon, Halutz - has few inhibitions about exercising military might. Operations that were once considered taboo, such as attacks on Damascus and assassinations of Hamas leaders, now seem self evident.
A possible attack on Iran will be much more complex and risky, and therefore we would do well not to ignore the threats, and to conduct a public debate on the question of whether this course of action is desirable for Israel.
More Troops To Iraq...After the Election
By Ray McGovern
29 September 2004
It's not an "if." It's a "when." Pentagon officials have indicated that they plan to send as many as 15,000 additional troops during the first four months of 2005, and the President George W. Bush continues to insist "we will stay the course" until Iraq is stabilized. (I do wish his advisers would provide a different vocabulary so that those of us steeped in the mistakes regarding Vietnam could be spared painful flashbacks.)
Where will the additional troops come from? The Bush administration insists there will be no draft, but its credibility has been badly tarnished. The "backdoor draft" that has kept so many from the Reserve and National Guard on active duty has backfired, as quotas for new enlistments have not been met. So plans are already advanced for fully mobilizing the Reserve and National Guard.
Senator John Kerry states the obvious in calling such steps "temporary measures" that have increased the burden on our troops and their families without addressing the basic reality that the active duty Army is too small. He proposes adding 40,000 troops to the Army and offsetting the cost by reducing expenditures on highly expensive projects like National Missile Defense. (Kerry might have added that the WMD boondoggle, for which Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and defense contractors have pushed so hard and so long, is now actually being deployed without having been adequately tested-not to mention its dubious utility in the priority struggle against terrorism.)
Let's Be Honest...Finally
But how many troops would be needed to stabilize Iraq? The well respected International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, before which the president spoke last November, says 500,000. Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki told Congress publicly before the war that "several hundred thousand" troops would be needed. It turns out he was asking for 400,000, fully aware that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was planning to attack and occupy Iraq with just a fraction of that. Rumsfeld gave him the back of his hand.
At this point, to be unaware of the requirement for additional troops while watching the burgeoning chaos in Iraq, requires a PhD in denial and a child-like, faith-based trust in the administration's PR rhetoric. Indeed, cracks can be seen within the president's own camp regarding what is happening in Iraq and what to do about it. And some truth is now peeking through those cracks.
While the president promotes the bromide of "months of steady progress" in Iraq, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) calls this a "grand illusion." And on Sunday, Secretary of State Colin Powell gave tacit, but unambiguous support to the gloomy conclusions reached in the recent National Intelligence Estimate.
President Bush says he will provide more troops if commanders ask for them. But it would mean early retirement for any general making such a request before the election. And, sadly, as was the case in Vietnam, the top military brass appear to be giving priority to their careers over their duty to support and protect the troops they send into battle.
CLIP - Read the whole article at http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/093004X.shtml
The Next Four Years
Some say that perhaps the administration's plan, if it gets four more years, is to "clean out" Fallujah and other resistance strongholds, despite the heavy casualties that would result, and then turn the fight over to Iraqi forces and withdraw.
Not a chance. If, as I believe to be the case, the actual objectives of the war on Iraq have mostly to do with achieving military dominance over that oil-rich region and eliminating any conceivable threat to the security of Israel, four more years will mean a still larger U.S. military force there for the duration. Among other things, to leave sooner would leave Israel less safe than it was before the war, something the president's advisers are very loath to do.
President Bush insists, "You can understand how hard it is, and still believe we'll succeed." No you can't-not if you really understand how hard it is and are honest about what would be required.
No matter how much the president may try to disparage as "just guessing" the more accurate intelligence estimates he is now getting, this time the experts have got it right. Even Colin Powell acknowledged on Sunday "we have seen an increase in anti-Americanism in the Muslim world" since the war began, and the insurgency in Iraq is "getting worse."
It is high time the administration explained how it is going to "win" this war with a troop force widely recognized as inadequate to the task.
George Bush and the Rise of Christian Fascism
Rev. Rich Lang
Trinity United Methodist Church Seattle - email@example.com
For the latest version (June, 2004) of Rev. Lang's essay go at http://yuricareport.com/Dominionism/GBandtheRiseOfChristianFascismJune04.pdf
(ICH) The men who wrote the Constitution of the United States knew that we human beings have a tendency to 'not get along with each other'. They knew that if power accrued into the hands of an elite the experiment of democracy (power spread out into the realm of the people) would be over. So they created a system of checks and balances which blocked access to any one person, or any one special interest or elite gaining too much power over others. Thus our executive, legislative and judicial branches of government "checked" each other. The media was yet another "check" on the accrual of too much power as was the Bill of Rights which was written into the Constitution. The system wasn't perfect but it kept alive the possibility of true democracy. It kept alive the dream that one day "we the people" could live in a peaceful commonwealth where every person has what they need to survive and thrive.
That dream died in December 2000 when the checks and balances of our Constitution collapsed and George Bush was inserted into the Presidency of the nited States. September 11, 2001 furthered the atrophying of democracy handing the country into the hands of an emerging Corporate (and I say Christian) Fascism.
Since that time we have witnessed and have been unable to prevent the emergence of an Imperial Presidency that has the unrestricted power to declare war against any country he chooses. The Imperial Presidency has brought to an end the Constitutional mandate that 'ONLY CONGRESS' has the authority to declare war. It has furthered weakened international law and has undermined the potential of the United Nations to spread democracy throughout the earth.
The President has also gained unrestricted power to round up unlimited numbers of American citizens and incarcerate them in military brigs or concentration camps for the rest of their lives. He can keep them from ever again communicating with friends, families, and attorneys, simply on the president's certification that the incarcerated are "terrorists," as he has done with Jose
Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi. The President may also now kill American citizens abroad solely on the basis of his certification that the one killed is a "terrorist". Just ask the family and friends of Ahmed Hijazi, anAmerican killed with a U.S.-fired missile in Yemen. Therefore suspending the Constitutional right: "no person shall be denied life, liberty or property without due process of law."
Ominous signs are all around us concerning the accrual of power into the hands of the Presidency. If Mr. Bush stays in office I think our future will continue to witness shrinking political rights, financial collapse and endless war. Part of the power and seduction of this administration emerges from its diabolical manipulation of Christian rhetoric. I want to flesh out the ideology of the Christian Fascism that Mr. Bush articulates. It is a form of Christianity that is the mirror opposite of what Jesus embodied. It is, indeed, the materialization of the spirit of antichrist: a perversion of Christian faith and practice.
This country, like it or not, is overwhelmingly dominated by the ideology of the Christian story. It is not so much that our founders were all Christians. Rather, they lived in an atmosphere scented throughout by Christian thought and rhetoric. Just as most of us can't imagine how to keep things cold without refrigeration; so too our founders couldn't help but think through the lens of the Christian story. And what they saw was that America had become the New Israel (the new Promised Land) of God. America has understood itself as a benevolent nation seeking only the good of all. We have understand our wealth as a blessing given to us as a sign that we are a "chosen, special people" whose larger meaning is to help the world into an era of peace, prosperity and justice. Every politician draws on this "civil religion story" which gives authority to the politicians ambition and agenda. Another way of saying this is: every nation needs sacred legitimation. It needs the authority of transcendence: of a story larger than itself . a story that connects past with present and future. An Empire needs an even broader story: one that connects with cosmic and/or historical redemption and new creation.
Martin Luther King understood this sacred American civil religion and was able to wed it brilliantly with the prophetic religious teachings of the Bible. He drew upon Biblical narratives which limited the power and authority of the elite while calling for economic redistribution of wealth. He drew upon teachings rooted in the personal morality of nonviolence and compassion. George Bush, on the other hand, also understands this sacred American 'civic gospel' and has brilliantly merged it with Biblical Holiness and Holy War traditions. These traditions call for the emergence of the Righteous Warrior who will cleanse the land of its impurity. These traditions are rooted in the personal morality of righteous zeal and obedience.
1.. Mr. Bush consistently sends signals to his right wing religious base. In last year's State of the Union he exhorted: "there's power, wonder working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people". It's a phrase from a well known Communion hymn "there's power, wonder working power in the blood of the lamb". Bush brings together the holiness zeal of Christian evangelicalism with patriotic fundamentalism. The core belief system of this 'civic gospel' goes something like this: The United States was founded as a Christian nation with free enterprise as the only economic system truly compatible with Christian beliefs. These religious values are today under attack in America. The danger is that without faith in God America will lose its blessing. Therefore, the government needs to act to protect the nation's religious heritage.
2.. Mr. Bush's teachings on terrorism: "you are with us or against us" cements for the hearer the apocalyptic world of good versus evil. There can be no neutral ground. You have to make a decision. Patriotism is now all or nothing: it is either total agreement or a slippery slope towards treason. In the Church you come to Jesus alone for salvation. In the state you obey the God-annointed leader and are thereby secured.
Renana Brooks writes (The Nation June 24, 2003: Bush Dominates A Nation of Victims):
"Bush is a master at inducing learned helplessness in the electorate. He uses pessimistic language that creates fear and disables people from feeling they can solve their problems. In his September 20, 2001 speech to Congress on the 9/11 attacks, he chose to increase people's sense of vulnerability: 'Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. . I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight . Be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.' (Subsequent terror alerts .. have maintained and expanded this fear of unknown, sinister enemies.)"
The terror threat itself can only be combated with increases in military force, domestic security and curtailment of civil rights through Patriot Acts. There are no other options nor any dialogue or debate that would create an alternative way to deal with terrorism.
3.) Mr. Bush certainly sees himself as a Messiah figure. Listen to his language after 9-11: " I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people." Or, in his 2003 State of the Union speech: "I will defend the freedom and security of the American people". He has become the nation. He is its embodiment. According to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, - Bush told him: "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the election will come and I will have to focus on them." This is Biblical language . it isn't political script. This is Bush's soul language. He understands himself as a man with a Divine mission. It also means that for him leadership is not "representing the people" rather leadership means transcending the will of the people. George Bush already knows the truth before the evidence is presented. He is guided by God and must blaze the trial even if the people are reluctant.
Iraq, for example, was a necessary war whether or not Saddam had nukes. Saddam, for Bush, was a bad guy who tried to kill "my dad". The war, for Bush, was holy and justified and necessary. Purging evil is necessary in the Holiness/Holy War tradition of the Bible. The righteous will purge evil but the unrighteous will be consumed by it. Think of an alcoholic: it's all or nothing. The whole world is all or nothing.
Like all religions the Bible has various narratives within its pages: Jesus drew on the prophetic traditions that called upon the people to change their way of life even as it critiqued and called upon the elites to decentralize their power. Jesus himself role modeled a lifestyle of service. Mr. Bush, on the other hand, draws on traditions that call for purity and cleansing. It is a language of hostility towards enemies and a strident call for obedience. It calls forth a lifestyle of the RIGHTEOUS ONE who will purge evil from the world through sacred violence.
All of this is not to say that the political world is of less importance. We know that the planning for the Iraq war was at least a decade in preparation. We know that America has had imperial designs and has intervened militarily throughout the world. And we've known for 25 years that Corporations have been savagely reducing labor rights while looting the treasury. We know that Mr. Bush is not the cause of our problems. Rather, the point I am making is that Mr. Bush is a sincere front man for an emerging fascism. His religious rhetoric is an authentic merging of Holiness Christianity with Imperial Americanism. The emphasis on security, law and order is necessary to maintain the "high calling" of the American people. The policies of fascism, in other words, are consistent with religious holiness and holy war narratives. And fascism, woven underneath Christian Holiness/Holy War traditions, is a powerful symbolic narrative that speaks to the American people as evidenced by Mr. Bush's 58% approval rating.
The coming election will not be decided because of political policy. It will not be decided in a debate over free markets versus fair markets; tax cuts or no tax cuts, Patriot Act or no Patriot Act; war with Syria or no war. None of these issues will determine the election because the candidates are all for free markets, tax cuts, domestic security and a strong global military presence. The election will be determined by the candidate who can embody the deeply felt, often unarticulated religious yearnings of the populace. Yearnings such as "who will save us, secure us, lead us??? who will connect us with a power greater than the power of others?" Bush speaks this language. Democrats are stuck in political nuance. Or, in other words, Democrats cannot speak the language of Martin Luther King who understood that social transformation requires a transcendent authority.
The problem comes down to this: Democrats, liberals, and social progressives have simply not grasped how afraid, insecure and how deeply in despair the populace is. They keep speaking as if objective analysis and idealistic vision can win the day. What Bush and Rove, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Pearls, Abrams and Bolton, DeLay and Rice etc, have clearly understood is that truth is subjectivity. Unfortunately, the inner person of America today is a hollowed out consumer who lacks the will power, stamina and imagination to do anything more than be overwhelmed. Therefore, a politics of crisis, a politics of fear will keep us locked into a state of conformity.
On the "civic side" of things America is being inundated with a rhetoric of insecurity. Most of Bush's State of the Union was taken up with war themes reminding us all of the horrible new world we live in post 9/11. We know that further increases in the military and police budgets are on the way; we know that the Patriot Act is going to be extended and strengthened; we know that Homeland Security will continue to be a growth industry. We know that this administration wants to break down the wall between church and state with faith-based initiatives. The world is in chaos and the Bush-men will fix it bringing us peace, prosperity, purity and purpose.
On the religion side of things apocalyptic theology is booming. This is also a worldview of crisis and insecurity. It is a theology rooted in the Holiness/Holy War traditions and it dominates the spirituality of this current administration. More to the point, this is the dominant theology of the mass media expression of Christian faith. It is a theology of despair that has given up on the possibilities of redemption.
One of the most popular fiction series making the rounds these days is the LEFT BEHIND series written by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins. Multiple millions of people are reading these books which fictionalize the end of life as we know it. It used to be that the Church could control people through the fear of eternal damnation. Today it is through fear of the future. The theology is basically this: The Bible is a code book that when rightly interpreted reveals that we are living at the end of history. History is scripted and is about to come to a catastrophic conclusion. The only hope is to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior so that you can be "saved" from the future apocalypse. God will "snatch you up" (Rapture) right before a seven year series of horrible events that will see the rise of Antichrist and the rebuilding of the Jewish temple. There will be world war with most of humanity dying. At that point Jesus will return to restore law and order. This theology of despair "fits" our current culture of powerlessness and fear. From SARS to weapons of mass destruction to the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, to ecological collapse, the whole world seems to be on a "no exit" slide into an end times abyss. The theology of despair is very seductive. It is shaping the spirituality of Christians which provides a strong core from which Bush draws political strength.
And it has, at least, five political implications that affect each one of us here today. FIRST: Israel is to be exalted and defended no matter what they do to the Palestinian people. They are God's chosen people and must reside in their Biblically anointed Land for the "end time clock" to tick to its final minute. Israel has a Biblical mandate to conquer and control all of the land from the Nile River to the Euphrates. Behind the politics of oil lie the religious passion to fulfill God's will: Syria must fall.
Secondly: institutions like the United Nations are not to be trusted because they are tools of the Antichrist. The Antichrist is thought of (not as a spirituality or ideology) but as an personal embodiment of evil. The Antichrist will be a living person who will come to power at the end of history and proclaim himself to be god on earth. The theory has it that his power will be generated from within a coalition of nations. Thus . America, as God's chosen nation, will need to go it alone so as not to be duped by Antichrist. Our destiny is to take the gospel to all the nations: a benevolent gospel of therapeutic salvation for all.
Thirdly: since the world is passing away the environment is not of great importance. There is no need to worry about issues of sustainability because the world is in its final countdown. Part of the unconcern towards global warming and other ecological crisis is the religious belief that we aren't going to be around in 100 years. We're in the end times now . every moment is merely preparation for eternity. Whether Bush himself believes this or not is irrelevant. This is the religious worldview of those who exalt him and the voter-bloc to which he plays. For Bush to act for sustainability would require a major shift in his religious narrative. . As an aside this past summer the National Park Service was instructed to approve the display of religious symbols and Bible verses, as well as the sale of creationist books at the Grand Canyon National Park. In December 2003 the Park Service was ordered to develop a "more balanced" version of an 8 minute video shown at the Lincoln Memorial Visitor Center. Conservative Christians wanted the removal of footage of gay rights, pro choice and anti-war demonstrations replacing it with footage of Christian rallies and pro-war demonstrations.
Fourth: the trust that Jesus died for "my sins" is far more important than the teachings of Jesus. This fosters a domesticated therapeutic religious expression that insists that "jesus in my heart" is more important than my lifestyle. It's like the Mafia don who could order his enemies killed while he himself was celebrating the baptism of his nephew. There is a disconnect between one's inner experience of God's loving grace and embodying that experience outwardly through one's politics. This leads to a discounting of following Jesus in a lifestyle of nonviolence, economic justice and compassion. Again as an aside . while Governor of Texas Mr. Bush was interviewed by Talk Magazine concerning the impending execution of fellow Christian Karla Faye Tucker. Bush imitated Tucker's appeal for him to spare her life . pursing his lips, squinting his eyes, and in a squeaky voice saying, "please don't kill me".
Fifth: a leader who loves Jesus is to be followed as God's man for the hour. The Christian leader is God's shepherd over the American flock. As stated before Bush sees himself as a Messiah figure (annointed by God for a special redemptive purpose). When he decided on running for the Presidency he called a group of evangelical Pastors together announcing to them "I have heard the call" and then receiving from them the "laying on of hands" which corresponds to divine ordination for the task ahead. On September 14, 2001 he stated: "our responsibility before history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil". He then launched the crusade Operation Infinite Freedom against Afghanistan. Yet other messainic statements from Bush:
"History has called America to action. . The great hope of our time, and the great hope of every time, now depends on us." ..
"We must also remember our calling as a blessed nation to make the world better . and confound the designs of evil men."
"Our nation has been chosen by God and commissioned by history, to be a model of justice before the world."
*** According to Vice-President Cheney: America "has the duty to act with force to construct a world in the image of the United States."
In return for this messianic leadership evangelical Christians have returned an annointing of prayer. During the Afghanistan crusade thousands of "Presidential Circles of Prayer" and "Wheels of Prayer" were organized on the Internet, running 24 hours a day.
WHEEL OF PRAYER FOR OUR SOLDIERS
Lord hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the altruistic actions they are performing
for us in our time of need. This I ask in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen
This prayer was so popular and was hit so often that the website crashed within days.
Pastor Charles Stanley distributed among Marines as they entered into combat thousands of pamphlets entitled "Duty of a Christian in Time of War". With the pamphlet went a card instructing them to sign and send directly to Mr. Bush. The card says: "I have committed to pray for you, your family and your Administration." Specific prayers for the President were included for each day.
The point I'm trying to make is that we are not dealing simply with politics when it comes to the Bush administration. The progressive left, which often pays little attention to Christianity, will be making a huge mistake if they overlook the religious ideology at the core of Mr. Bush personally and the movement he represents. And we are talking about a "movement" (a movement of 'the people' not just the elites). We are seeing today the emergence of a "fascist movement". It is bankrolled and organized by Corporations, articulated through the ideology of neo-conservativism. but is fueled by the right-wing church drawing upon Holiness/Holy War Biblical narratives.
When Dave Korten (author of When Corporations Rule the World) says that we need a "new story"; he is talking about needing a transcendent authority in which we root our political culture. Human beings cannot live in societal form without a sacred narrative. Neither anarchy nor atheism can construct a house that will hold our future. The Republicans know this well. But the Democrats seem clueless.
In Biblical language the Republicans have become Pharaoh whose house is strong because of economic exploitation of the populace and military repression of the people. The populace is being asked to make bricks without straw. We are seeking a "savior", a Moses who can rally us out of these mudpits towards the promise of a land flowing with milk and honey. Unfortunately most Democrats are simply offering Pharaoh-lite: they still will keep us in the mudpit making bricks.
What we need is a movement of spiritual justice. We need the language of those who can wed America's civil religion with Biblical prophetic narrative. We need to expand that language so that it can include the language and stories that are emerging from the antiwar, fair trade and human rights movements. Together this language can form a unique new narrative that has the power to inspire imagination and courage. A language that call forth a new coalition powerful enough to leave behind the mudpit and to enter the promise of a new beginning. A coalition that understands that "we are the ones we are looking for". Indeed, the new narrative will proclaim "God with us" not "God above us".
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