Saturday, July 23, 2005

Shaken, but not stirred on Herb’s Beach and Beyond

Herb’s Beach… Just a granade toss from Sharm El Sheik

This place has this old soldier, Herb, who came on the first rotation to the Sinai in 1982 and never left. He was in original OSS/Special Forces. Killed captors and escaped in Korea and killed captors and escaped in Vietnam. Wow. Now he wanders around muttering positive affirmations all day. They named this unique beach and gym after him.

The Good Old Sharm - An American Military at It's Breaking Point
In the good old days, before 9/11, a trip to the Sinai as part of the Multinational Force & Observers (MFO) was a rotation or training assignment to “Camel Camp” for multinational units, various special operations teams and elite American such as battalions of the 82nd Airborne and the 101st Air Assault in American’s Cold War quick reaction force. Thousands of American servicemen received their first introduction to desert operations outside of CONUS on their Sinai deployments at the North Camp and South Camp (where Herb's Beach is situated) near Sharm El Sheik, Egypt the site of yet another terrorist bombing.

But times have changed. MFO units are now chiefly Army National Guard (ARNR) in the Sinai and the Balkans. Training and resource shortages due to Bush’s “GWOT” (Global War on Terror) mean that many units now deploy not fully prepared or equipped on these now secondary missions over 60,000 man force requirements beyond the 140,000 in Iraq.

These are the lucky ones that get the Sinai, but for nearly all ARNR soldiers that luck is running out as a deployment(s) to Iraq are all but certain. According to A-JCS Gen. Cody in an UNCLASSIFIED briefing in June of 2005, over "800,000 Americans now wear combat patches" indicating their deployment in combat areas in Afghanistan and Iraq. The reallocation and deployment of men and material from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) was the largest, most rapid logistics task of the American military since WWII and it went “largely unnoticed”.

Marine units are now on their 5th nine month rotations and Army units starting their 3rd twelve month redeployment to Iraq. Many service men and women will be breaking their 30-month marks on combat assignment. While our brave soldiers continue to demonstrate the necessary will and resolve, our military, particulary the Army and Marines both active and reserve, is strained past its breaking point.

In fact, in quiet corners of the defense community, some officers and experts feel that if the US force levels in Iraq are not lowered to about 80,000 by the end this winter, our armed forces, the Army and National Guard in particular, will be in very serious trouble.

The Latest Sham - A New Defense Report to Congress
This week the Department of Defense (DoD) submitted a performance metrics report to Congress called the Report to Congress - Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq. The report required by the US Congress was a week late, as it was due on July 11, 2005, and submitted on July 18, 2005. ''There is nothing to hide," said a senior Army officer who asked not to be named. ''We wanted a chance to absorb it."

The Report’s intro reads:

"This report to Congress is submitted pursuant to the section entitled 'Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq' of House Conference Report 109-72 accompanying H.R. 1268, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005, Public Law 109-13.

The report is divided into two sections corresponding to those identified in the Conference Report. The initial section of the report focuses on Stability and Security in Iraq and enumerates goals and progress regarding Iraq’s political stability, security environment, and economic progress.

The second section of the report, on Security Force Training and Performance, provides indicators of the training and development of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), including the forces of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the police and other paramilitary forces of the Ministry of Interior (MOI).

A classified annex to this report will address U.S. military requirements and various possible force rotations, and classified data concerning security force training and performance."

The Report continues:

“Through a collaborative, interagency approach, performance metrics have been developed to measure progress towards these objectives. Data relating to Iraq’s political, security, and economic spheres of activity are collected from both Iraqi and U.S. sources, including Multinational Forces-Iraq (MNF-I) and the U.S. Mission in Iraq. The Joint Staff coordinates collection and compilation of data for the security objective within its Assessment and Integration Center. U.S. Government staff from relevant agencies of the executive branch regularly review and assess trends in the data relative to the objectives and provide assessments for review by the Deputies and the Principals of the relevant executive departments and agencies and the National Security Council.”

Absorb it? Just a cursory review makes one ask who actually wrote it.

The quality of this hastily prepared paste-job is seriously lacking in the standards that would be expected for the $80 billion and other resources (lives and additional treasure) the American people spent. If you can't measure it, it can't be controlled or carried out. There is now more money unaccounted for in the Iraq operations, some $6-7 billion, more than was spent on the first Gulf War “officially”, which cost taxpayers some $5 billion.

In spite of Rumsfeld’s opposition, his staff and DoD are now being forced to measure, control and manage operations in Iraq. Such measured accountability and responsibility is long over due. However, don’t become too excited, as this document is just another reflection of the lack of strategic planning required to get Iraq, or even Afghanistan for that matter, on track. It reads like something from the book “How to Lie with Charts” and fails to pass any basic analytical review.

The Sad Fact is...
The lack of a strategic vision and the intellectual bankruptcy of the Bush Administration are breathtaking. For example, Rumfeld continually morphs his assessments of the war in Iraq. First it was to last six weeks or six months, then six or even an astonishing twelve years. On the nature of the Iraqi operations, and our future role there, as the straight forward Helen Thomas put it to the White House “did we invade” or “were we invited”. The adminstration’s fundamental logic is missing in action.

Dr. Condoleeza Rice in Promoting the National Interest Foreign Affairs, Jan/Feb 2000 wrote:

"The President must remember that the (US) military is a special instrument. It is lethal, and is meant to be. It is not a civilian police force. It is not a political referee. And it is certainly not designed to build a civilian society."

Hello. Talk about flip-flops, not of the beach sort, but of the major policy sort, the OIF is the most expensive humanitarian, nation building operation in US history.

To state the obvious, for the first time in modern history a US policy of pre-emptive war has been unleashed on the world. These neo-con contrivances were, and continue to be, "mythed" by the Dick Cheney's National Security Council (NSC) shadow organization, the PNAC and related think tanks, through their OSP doctored materials and activities, and a not so secret, amateurish form of Boltonized intelligence.

There is there is no more serious event in the history of a nation, or its leadership, than the decision and justification to make war on another nation, period.

As Joe Wilson says “This is not about me and less so about my wife. It has always been about the facts underpinning the President's statement in the state of the union speech”. It’s all about the mushroom cloud argument, for which many was a tipping point, and other failed assertions that were used to justify to the American people a predetermined decision to go to war in Iraq.

See a Neo Prose Team's analysis, Bush Moons America, of the 2005 State of the Union Speech here.

Back to Herb's Beach
The continued bombings at Sharm El Sheik have some similarities to those in the London Financial District on 7/7, they strike in places are symbolic of Western culture, the accumulation of wealth and our places of luxury and leisure, and are now centered on locations that have traditionally been deemed “secure”. Sharm El Sheik, as the location of many peace negotiations and key meetings about the Middle East is clearly meant to make the statement “there will be no peace.”

Multiple terrorists groups continue to improve and demonstrate their ability, however reduced, to strike targets where and when they choose, while the necessary resources and assets to hinder them are tragically dedicated to major nation-building activities, something the Bush Vulcans said they would never do. What's next on the flim-flamer's list?

As Herb, the retired Command Sergeant Major likes to say, “When the will is strong, everything is easy." Don’t we all wish that was so?

Sadly, all the will in the world will do us no good, against these terrorists without real leadership and vision to define the mission that we must accomplish.

The Bush Administration has been shaken, but still is not stirred into finally creating the necessary plans, processes, and strategies, including international cooperation, that are required to prevent waves of terror crashing on our shores for decades to come.

The White House refuses to accept the ground truth realities of what really is happening, the topic of discussion between military and intelligence special operators sipping cocktails at Herb’s Beach and Bar for decades.

This essay prepared by members of the Defense & Security Team @ Neo Prose.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bush as "Alfred E. Neuman"

This picture was cut from a protester's sign back on Labor Day, 2004.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Christians of Conscience Stage Insurrection at Calvin College

President Bush’s Message of Theocracy Politics and Radical-Right Extremism Muted by Protest Involving Nearly One Thousand Undergraduate and Seminary Students, Faculty, and Alumni of Calvin College

While many were focused on the fight about the “nuclear option” in the US Senate a very significant event occurred in the all-American, conservative city of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In an “Open Letter to President Bush” published in a full page ad appearing in the May 20th, 2005 edition of The Grand Rapids Press, a diverse group of 823 “alumni, students, faculty and friends of Calvin College” told President Bush he could not expect support from their part of the Christian community for his political purposes. A second letter signed by 130 “concerned faculty, staff, and emeriti of Calvin College" also appeared in The Grand Rapids Press.

President Bush was the speaker at the 2005 Calvin College and Seminary Graduation – one of only two commencement addresses to be delivered by the President this year.

The 823 signatories of the Calvinist group urged President Bush “not to use Calvin College as a platform to advance policies that violate the school’s religious principles” and went further demanding the President “repudiate the false claims of supporters who say that those who oppose your (Bush’s) policies are the enemies of religion.”

The follow-up letter published by faculty members was tougher in tone and stated specific objections to Bush policies as well as their position on the role of faith in relationship to politics:

“We seek open and honest dialogue about the Christian faith and how it is best expressed in the political sphere. While recognizing God as sovereign over individuals and institutions alike, we understand that no single political position should be identified with God's will, and we are conscious that this applies to our own views as well as those of others. At the same time we see conflicts between our understanding of what Christians are called to do and many of the policies of your administration.”
The protests were not limited to just those connected to Calvin College, hundreds, not merely “dozens” as erroneously reported by AP, included newly activated Western Michigan progressives who also turned out to demonstrate his presence. Bush, whose popularity in the polls is sinking, only now appears in very closely controlled environments. Calvin is the only occasion where the President has spoken, or is likely to speak to, this year in which the audience was not carefully-screened and selected.

“Tyrants maintained their power by isolating their citizens” Bush proclaimed, quoting Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1835 classic Democracy in America.

What could be more tyrannical that a leader afraid to face his own people, unwilling to answer unscreened questions from the press, eager to exploit the cultural differences of a diverse nation, and uninterested in the plight of the everyday citizen?

The stand and courage of these Christian Reformed few on the eve and in the wake of the failure of the live or die “nuclear option” must have Karl Rove and Bush’s handlers puzzled and embarrassed. This kind of encounter is not supposed to happen.

The stand taken by the Calvin College protesters was clear: The Rovian strategy of cultural division, the rape and pillaging by right-wing pundits that divide and conquer in an extremist campaign of hate that has left our political landscape smoldering, barren and broken is not “Christian”. Perhaps the time for fear mongering and narrow-minded partisanship in the name of God and religion is over.

When following Bush’s dream for our generation, the supposed “road of Providence” or plainly stated “God’s will”, there can be no compromises. Politicized Christian leaders from the radical religious right, like James Dobson, have already called the compromise over the Senate rules nuclear option a “betrayal” and “treason”. Bush may have reached the high water mark of his path to unquestioned political power, hidden by the noise of the right’s corporate media machine, and this dangerously deceptive “Christian” crusade. Bush’s handlers were never about religion, in their quasi-Christian heart of hearts, they seek power and homogeny.

Calvin College’s “intellectual” Christians have succeeded in calling on Bush to reexamine his faith stating, “By their deeds ye shall know them, says the Bible. Your deeds, Mr. President – neglecting the needy to coddle the rich, desecrating the environment, and misleading the country into war – do not exemplify the faith we live by.”

Why is the Insurrection at Calvin Significant

It is very important for the radical right to paint the incident at Calvin as a single, non-event, particularly to other parts of the Christian community. Calvin must be shown as being a religious school outside of their fundamentalist or evangelical “base”.

What would happen if at many other religious events, there were Christians of conscience actively voicing their objections to various Bush initiatives and his continued use of the “religion card”? Just as the president stated to the world in the State of the Union in 2002, Bush and his supporters push people of faith into his own good vs. evil, binary worldview, “Are you with us, or with the terrorists”. The discovery that one can be a good Christian or person of faith while objecting to parts of the Bush Doctrine and policy spells real disaster for the neo-conservative agenda. This reflection by individual Christians on specific, singular decisions, past actions and missteps of the administration is their worse nightmare, the collapse of a faith-based following within their political base.

Much like the Crusaders in the Middle Ages were given the Pope’s protection to cross Europe and the Eastern Orthodox Empire to fight in the Holy Land, Christian hot button issues are being used to give a number of lesser agenda items and right-wing Republican candidates “free passage” across a diverse American political landscape. As some of the Calvin alumni have pointed out in their interviews with the media, it is the “emotion and passion” of key religious fighting words such as “abortion” and “gay marriage” that are key to leveraging political support from the greater Christian community. Their arguments emphasis each issue and position demands evaluation through the eyes of the faithful under God’s grace, not dictated by politicians laying claim to knowing God’s will.

European motivations for their holy crusades were seeking penance, religious edification, papal power expansion (and later the Black Plague), as well a long string of devastating wars between kingdoms and nationalities. The call to the Crusades was to be their salvation. Today, Bush propaganda and the noise machine drum the beat responding to of the rise of fundamentalist Islam, terrorism, and a seeming unstoppable march of popular culture leading to what they view as a decline in moral values, family traditions, and the rise of secularism.

As Rev. Tom Sullivan, substituting for Rush Limbaugh on the radio while Rush was in court, said, “There is a war between secular and non-secular America”. The language of the radical right continues to climb the scale of hype and hate using the terms of “revolution”, “civil war” and “religious war” which is still out there since 1992.

However, things among conservatives may be falling apart. Pat Buchanan, in a May 17, 2005 article in the Washington Times, declared” "The conservative movement has passed into history," and "It doesn't exist anymore as a unifying force". He further stated "There are still a lot of people who are conservative, but the movement is now broken up, crumbled, dismantled.”
Just as the Crusaders of old discovered after bloody, hard fought battles with an enemy, who was more likely to negotiate a peace than were their own zealous allies, many Christians are starting to express their reservations about Iraq, the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war, tax breaks to the rich, support of corporate agendas, and forced democratization through some form of Pax Americana.

Some argue that democracy, just as in Christianity, is a personal choice and that change comes from within, and is not to be forced on people or nations from outside. They look at the profits and gains that come from contracts in Iraq and the continuing loss of the life there and ask, “What are we doing? If this is God’s plan, why is it so difficult and costly?”

Only days before at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on May 19, 2005, President Bush quoted an Army Chaplain stationed in Iraq saying “The safest place is in the center of God’s will”. Politically, among many fundamentalist support networks and communities, continuing to convince his followers that he is following “God’s will” is critical.

This is why “non-Christian” behavior by Bush and members of his administration, even such things as Dick Cheney’s “F--- Yourself” uttered in the Senate cloak room or the image of Bush flipping the bird, must be immediately suppressed and hidden from the public. Today’s would be “Crusader Kings” must be pure, and their claim to have God’s voice must be above reproach.

The message from the Calvin crowd is clear: Only God determines God’s will, and it is through His Grace that we should love one another, and it is very dangerous for politicians to drag Our Creator into the muck and mess of divisive American politics.

Many courageous Calvin supporters, students and faculty put it directly to George Bush… Mr. President, if you are thinking of using God to endorse your policies and ideology with Calvin’s commencement as a PR backdrop we’d rather that you’d do that somewhere else, or better yet not at all.

NOTE: This is the first of a four part series by Neo Prose on the events at Calvin College. Additional links and essays will be posted here as the teams complete their work.

Full Text of Letter to President Bush in The Grand Rapids Press May 20, 2005 (823 Signatures)

An Open Letter to President Bush

Dear President Bush:

We are students, alumni and friends of Calvin College who are deeply troubled that you will be the commencement speaker at Calvin on May 21st. In our view, the policies and actions of your administration, both domestically and internationally over the past four years, violate many deeply held principles of Calvin College.

Calvin is a rigorous intellectual institution, and a truly Christian one. Since its inception in 1876, Calvin has educated its students to use their minds and hearts to transform the world into a "beloved community" where no one is an outcast and all of God's children are cared for. Calvin teaches its students to work for peace and justice, and to be good stewards of God's creation.

By their deeds ye shall know them, says the Bible. Your deeds, Mr. President--neglecting the needy to coddle the rich, desecrating the environment, and misleading the country into war--do not exemplify the faith we live by.

Moreover, many of your supporters are using religion as a weapon to divide our nation and advance a narrow partisan agenda. We are deeply disappointed in your failure to renounce their inflammatory rhetoric.

We urge you not to use Calvin College as a platform to advance policies that violate the school's religious principles. Furthermore, we urge you to repudiate the false claims of supporters who say that those who oppose your policies are the enemies of religion.

Signed [List of 823 names with year of graduation that cover full page ad]

From 823 Alumni, Students, Faculty and Friends of Calvin College

Full Text of Letter to President Bush in The Grand Rapids Press May 20, 2005 (130 Signatures)

An Open Letter to the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush

On May 21, 2005, you will give the commencement address at Calvin College. We, the undersigned, respect your office, and we join the college in welcoming you to our campus. Like you, we recognize the importance of religious commitment in American political life.

We seek open and honest dialogue about the Christian faith and how it is best expressed in the political sphere. While recognizing God as sovereign over individuals and institutions alike, we understand that no single political position should be identified with God's will, and we are conscious that this applies to our own views as well as those of others. At the same time we see conflicts between our understanding of what Christians are called to do and many of the policies of your administration.

As Christians we are called to be peacemakers and to initiate war only as a last resort. We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq.

As Christians we are called to lift up the hungry and impoverished. We believe your administration has taken actions that favor the wealthy of our society and burden the poor.

As Christians we are called to actions characterized by love, gentleness, and concern for the most vulnerable among us. We believe your administration has fostered intolerance and divisiveness and has often failed to listen to those with whom it disagrees.

As Christians we are called to be caretakers of God's good creation. We believe your environmental policies have harmed creation and have not promoted long-term stewardship of our natural environment.

Our passion for these matters arises out of the Christian faith that we share with you. We ask you, Mr. President, to re-examine your policies in light of our God-given duty to pursue justice with mercy, and we pray for wisdom for you and all world leaders.

--Concerned faculty, staff, and emeriti of Calvin College

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Those American Values Part 2 - With Liberty and Religious Freedom for All

A Response to Criticism of "Those American Values"

Is it by choice or by chance that this lively argument over the historic roles of government and religion rages today?

Perhaps those who are so intent upon removing any suggestion of separation of church and state ignore, deny, or circumvent the true history of how the fundamental principle of separation came to be included in our founding documents. Pop religious beliefs taught by miseducated and unread clerics who have not studied early American history leading up to the founding of America help create an innocently ignorant religious populace.

Today shrill elements from within religious/political factions claiming to be the benefactors who gifted George W. Bush his 2005 win have become increasingly determined to erase the heritage and principle of strict separation from within the Constitution and the history of the nation. Therefore, there is ample reason to reexamine in detail what transpired prior to 1776 and during the adoption of our federal constitution. The fear of foreign domination of religious organizations should be given a closer look. One alarming example of this was the Quebec Act enacted by the British Parliament.

The period of time between the discovery of North America and the Declaration of Independence was a religiously turbulent and divisive century and a half.

“In the history of mankind religion has often been the enemy, not the ally, of liberty. Some even see the rise of liberty as a progressive emancipation from religion….The period of the American Revolution, in particular, shows the forces of religion moving sometimes in concert, some times in contradiction; crying in this quarter for force, in that for peace; here embracing liberty, there fearing it. The forces were not evenly matched, however, and through coalitions sometimes strange, often fortuitous, victory came for the friends of liberty.”
So framed Edwin Scott Gaustad the prefix for his seminal discussion of what led up to the adoption of our founding documents in his work, A Religious History of America.

“Even before the Declaration of Independence most colonies granted a measure of religious toleration and the right of worship. But the conditions under which these privileges might be enjoyed varied from place to place. The two churches enjoying legal sanction, Congregationalism in New England and Anglicanism elsewhere failed to maintain their respective monopolies---despite sometimes frantic efforts to do so. Threatened by growing dissent the Anglicans and Congregationalists jockeyed for favor and continued control. Soon, however, the intramural feuds yielded to larger,inter-colonial fears.

“In the arena of religious opinion two great anxieties haunted America’s colonials. One was the fear of episcopacy (i.e., of the coming of Anglican bishops to American shores); the other, the fear of popery (i.e., of a foreign Roman Catholic power gaining control of the North American continent). Neither was a purely religious fear. In both instances it was the conjunction of civil and spiritual power, the confluence of church and state that provoked grave concern. Legitimate political anxieties ignited the fire; religious suspicions and animosities fanned the flames.”
Outlined by Gaustad this condition had everything to do with the ferment that created the genius of our national constitution and its endurance as a superior framework for the peaceable coexistence of civil government and all forms of religion.

It was clear in the 1770’s that the colonies were about to receive Anglican bishops from England with both civil and religious authority. What was the objection? Simply put these bishops were never just spiritual overseers of the flock --they were always more. In England it was well known that bishops “were wielders of great power” in the English parliament.

“Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Quakers had in varying degrees a personal knowledge of ‘the bloudy tenent of persecution for cause of conscience.’” The colonists realized that the arrival and entrenchment of a bishopric would cause great harm to those who held heretical or dissenting religious views. The Colonists, being directly in the middle of this struggle and being better informed than we; who barely, if at all, know our own religious history, were aware that, “(i)n the turbulence of seventeenth-century England thousands had been tossed about; jailed, exiled, or put to death. The merest possibility of such power being imposed upon the dissenting churches raised immediate fears and resolute resistance” to both the Anglican bishopric and the ascendancy to power, clerical and civil, of the Roman Catholic hierarchy based in Rome.

This then was in large part the atmosphere leading up to that period of the Declaration of Independence. In point of fact, this rebellion against the establishment of religion was the revolution that led up to and produced the American Revolution commencing July 4, 1776.

Many Colonial religious leaders and patriots made notable statements and produced writings that reflected the tension and the strength of conscience that actually brought about the break with England and the beginning of the American Revolution. They were determined to break with the old and the failed and create the new; the foundations of liberty, which today still redound to their intellect and courage.

Today uninformed contemporary attacks and naive attempts to undo their work and to literally redefine and erase the founding intent and meaning can sound an alarm. Especially threatening are those developments in our present age where tenets of religious dogma and fervor are in the verbal stages of a cultural and civil war over religious values. Why do these revisionists reek with lust for civil power and precipitate rising hatred of the “other,” those seen outside that narrowly drawn circle of “true Christians”; as some notables—religious and political—would define and enforce? Once freed from those who would prescript religious doctrines and practices, “ we the people” must hold our heritage dearly. Careless clerics must be reeducated.

Gaustad writes:
“As waters of political tension between the colonists and the mother country rose, religious resentments similarly increased. In the decade of the 1760’s fear of Anglican (hieratical) encroachment was at its height, and in the 1770’s the dam burst.”
Representative of this period is New York’s William Livingston, who spoke out in anticipation of the arrival of Anglican authority on these shores. He regularly and strongly pointed out and opined against “unreasonable encroachments” of the Anglicans. “He reported every exercise of Anglican authority in New York, every case of church-state manipulation, and reported it in such as way as to aggravate all dissenters’ fears of what the future, under English bishops, might bring.” Livingston would not tolerate “all tyrants civil or ecclesiastic.”

Gaustad again:

“Dissenters confidently expected that an episcopate meant at least 1.) The loss
of their colonial charters 2.) The imposition of taxes for the support of the Anglican Church 3.) A restriction of all public offices to the members of the Church of England. A convention of delegates assembled at Yale’s commencement in 1769, having ‘reason to dread the establishment of bishop’s courts among us’ observed : ‘We have so long tasted the sweets of civil and religious liberty that we cannot be easily prevailed upon to submit to the yoke of bondage, which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear.’”
The Church of England suggested compromise. One representative reply came from Jonathan Mayhew, colonial minister, “People are not usually deprived of their liberties all at once, but gradually, by one encroachment after another, as it is found they are disposed to bear them.”

Such sentiment is a chilling truth for our present situation, a time when precious freedoms are being eroded by a strange cabal of strong forces intent upon radical changes: governmental, corporate, and churchly push for control in America.

England fused the anti-popish and anti-Anglican sentiments “by the terms of the Peace of Paris in 1763 England fell heir to the vast French territory in Canada, territory that was almost exclusively Catholic. In 1774 Parliament passed the Quebec Act, guaranteeing to Roman Catholics the free exercise of their religion, including the collections of tithes in all of Quebec as well as in the American “Old Northwest” (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin). This “establishment” of Roman Catholic religion, as Alexander Hamilton and others regarded it, touched off a violent reaction among colonial dissenters and Anglicans as well.”

Opined one dissenter, “The city of Philadelphia may yet experience the carnage of St. Bartholomew’s Day (August 23, 1572, when a council meeting in Paris ordered the slaughter of Huguenots in areas of France, thousands were slain). Leadership warned, “America’s whole religious heritage was in danger and might have to be fought for; America must not fall before the ‘tyranny under which Europe groaned for many ages.’”

“In Massachusetts, Suffolk County formally resolved in 1774 that the Quebec Act ‘is dangerous in an extreme degree to the Protestant religion, and to the civil rights of all Americans; and therefore as men and as Protestant Christians, we are indispensably obliged to take all proper measures for our security.”

The Quebec Act was one of those “Intolerable Acts” alluded to and condemned by the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia fall of 1774.

On this matter and others “Churchmen of every major persuasion joined in the battle for independence. Catholics, Anglicans, Jewish, Reformed, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Congregational volunteers. With the surrender at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, British fate was sealed and liberty had been won.”

Given the mounting attacks and acrimony about the injection of religious establishment into our government raised by those who believe they now own George W. Bush by virtue of his active acceptance and solicitation of their support--and ultimately predicated on their delivery of the necessary winning votes which certain religious activists produced on November 2, we may well ask: Will these treasured freedoms and liberty from both civil and religious tyrants and oppression prevail in our times?

With the defense of the Revolution once again in our hands, we must reexamine and doubly commit ourselves to preserve and enhance our founding liberties through a maturing understanding of their high promise and protections and a willingness to step up to the challenge mounted by the zealots and misguided, and, yes, fearful religious enthusiasts who would trade our civic birthright for a cold bowl of religious control and suppression served from their controlling hands. Current pop religious misinformation should be guarded against by a serious examination of the religious conditions at the time of the writing of the Constitution.

Quotations for this essay are from:
A Religious History of America, Edwin Scott Gaustad, Harper & Row, 1966.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The "Da Bushi" Code Cracking Project

Due to the discovery of an interesting network of sources for the "Da Bushi Code" (the use of scripture and biblical wording) used by the Bush Administration, handlers and supporters, we initiated substantial project to document and track "The Code". This project is on-going and will take several months to complete. Once the project team has completed their work, Neo Prose will post the results.

We will give you a couple hints:
Read this one - "Bush's Code Cracked" in Christianity Today
Or this one - "God-talk in the GOP" in Sojourners

If you find examples of the code, and have a solid background in theology and/or the use of scripture references, you can contact us to request being added to the team.

-- Neo Prose Management

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Bush Moons America

President Bush used the well-worn terminology of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the “road of providence” in the State of the Union Address. Why?


It is time for plain American English, language that speaks to all citizens, not just a few “chosen people” who covertly court and purchase the favor of President George II. It is time to stop using hidden messages and biblical terminology to define and express our domestic and foreign policy. This device continues to confuse our own citizens, those of other nations, and divides our civil society and political discourse.

Ironically, we find ourselves by choice of our President and his advisors invading another sovereign nation under secrecy and pretense, fighting an insurgency, providing humanitarian aid, attempting to avoid regional destabilization, and building a “free and sovereign” democratic, non- fundamentalist, secular Iraq. While at the same time they entreat a form theocracy here at home.

Our FOUNDING FATHERS knew better.

While a neo-conservative form of global freedom is purchased daily by the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters, the President and his pro-war confidants continue to plan more preemptive sorties. And where they would lead, our troops must go. Should we unquestioningly follow the “road of providence”… whatever that means.

There is no place in our free and democratic society for secret innuendo and code of “replacement theocracy” nourished by deceit which mirrors the language of those dangerous zealots who use these statements to fuel their own fundamentalist lust for legitimacy and seek to do us great harm.

Descriptions of such great purposes of an entire American generation such as professed in George Bush’s State of the Union deserve clarity and conciseness.

*The Story of “The Da Bushi Code” by George W. Bush*

From the Weekly Standard on Dec 23, 2005 just prior to the Inauguration and State of the Union:

Providence. The notion that God is in charge of all things, including the course of America, is a theological doctrine and a long-standing tenet of the nation's "civil religion." [break] “Meanwhile, even as we stipulate that we do not know all the ways of providence, we can make some decent guesses about Bush's second inaugural, on the calendar next month. Look for an allusion to the Bible or a hymn, a citing of a faith-based moment in American history, some maximal pluralism, and, last but not least, a nonpresumptuous (SIC) invocation of providence.”

And immediately after the SOTU from Charles Colson in BreakPoint Feb 4, 2005:
“He sounded it again in the speech's closing moments, when he talked about "the road of Providence" that "leads to freedom. [break] Based on what we all know about President Bush, and what I know of him personally, I can say with confidence that this is no accident. The president takes his faith very seriously.”
We take the words of our President seriously. What is the “road of Providence”? Are we to believe the President has a direct line to God and what ever God wants the President is to do? Are these expeditionary first strike wars the will of Providence? Are we to march on believing God has so ordered our nation?

These are not just mere words. This is a mission statement of a generation, outlined in a speech delivered by the Chief Executive of your Democracy, the “Leader of the Free World”. And it “is” in fact true that fewer words have changed history. Given these declarations, delivered in such a form, this appears to be a “Crusade” against Islam.

*The Alignment of Bush and Moon: Can we continue to countenance this?*

America has experienced the quiet and comfort, which results from leaving every citizen to profess freely and openly those principals of religion, which are the inductions of their own reason and serious convictions of their spiritual inquiries. Religion, spirituality and faith in its multitude of forms are a respected part of our society. There should be diversity of religious opinions among us. This is our American family, the children of Abraham, and our proud native and productive adopted cousins.

Be alert to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Unification Church and their millions in influence buying cash.

We thought the “road of providence” was a common religious expression, we were wrong. After days and days of searching and analyzing the terms “the road of providence” and its usage we found only one common source and scarcely no other in multiple digital, reference, internet or physical libraries. The “road of providence” appears almost exclusively in hundreds of Rev. Moon’s sermons, speeches and teachings.

To the public, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon tries to appear as a benevolent, conservative religious man. Few take seriously take he and his wife’s claims to be the "True Parents of mankind," a messiah of the "Return of Christ," and his goal is to unity the world in the name of his brand of Christianity. Those lost souls that live as the cult core of his Unification Church are bound in a type of modern day slavery, and have families whose loved ones have joined the church live in agony and terror.

FELLOW CITIZENS, you can look and think for yourselves. We know what you will find.

Among Rev. Moon’s usage of the “road of providence” are:

“Jesus was supposed to walk the road of the providence in front. Yet, he could not go in front. Instead, he stood behind everyone and said to each, "You go the easy way. I will walk the most difficult path." He shouldered the difficulties of the nation and the world alone.”(The Ideal Kingdom of Heaven, Our Hope, 1959);

“We know the will of God and we know God's providence clearly. Compared to any other religion in history and throughout the world today we know the will of God and God Himself more precisely than anyone.” (The Road of Religion and the Will of God, 1977);

"What is this stony path? That is the road of providence or dispensation. No one in history or in the world today readily volunteers to walk the stony path.” (Stony Path of Death, 1980); and

“I am walking the road of the providence, not the way of America. Do you understand?” (Pure Way of Truth, 1982) to list a few.

We understand. Some want to salute Rev. Moon, he’s “the man with a vision”, a messiah with loads of money.

Networked in Unification Church activities you will discover: Ceremonies for Moon arranged by US Congressmen in government facilities, tens of millions in donations to every corner of the neo-conservative world, think tanks, foundations, media services, newspapers, printing operations, television and radio stations, special events and awards for Rev. Moon at prayer breakfasts for religious-right leaders and other influence peddlers, speeches by former presidents, diplomats, lobbyists and donation laden disciples, military equipment sales, a vast and long history of corruption, scandals and graft, and to top it off, $250,000 in for the 2005 Bush Inauguration just to give you a place to start.

*Is this the Theology of a New Century of American Empire?*

“Religion is the most dangerous energy source known to humankind. The moment a person (or government or religion or organization) is convinced that God is either ordering or sanctioning a cause or project, anything goes. The history, worldwide, of religion-fueled hate, killing, and oppression is staggering.” (Eugene Peterson)

Enter the likes Elliot Abrams, Richard L. Armatage, John Bolton, Robert Kagan, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schnieder Jr., Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, Robert B. Zoellick, and William Kristol.

Kristol editor at the influential Weekly Standard and chair of the Project for the New American Century (read Empire) and this group of unilateralist, unipolar neo-conservatives admit the aspirations of empire. Kristol quipped "If people want to say we're an imperial power, fine" and "Well, what is wrong with dominance, in the service of sound principles and high ideals?” They say the “grand alliances are dead” and we should “go it alone” because “old Europe” is “corrupted by secularism”.

We too can become corrupted, by the ambition, fear and folly these men’s delusive use of “realism” and nationalism that may entangle our thoughts.

The PNAC, spurn of the signatories of the infamous “draft” Defense Advisory Board document in 1992 that called for the invasion of Iraq, claims a vision of an "American peace" based on "unquestioned U.S. military pre-eminence" and that "America's grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible." Their operatives infiltrate the Office of Special Plans (OSP) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in their abuse of defense and intelligence assets in no-oversight ventures around the world. (Quotes from “Dangerous Religion: George W. Bush’s Theology of Empire” by Jim Wallis)

Foolishly, the PNAC insisted the seizure of Iraqi oil fields would not take a large US commitment for “much more than a year”. Now they say that Iraq is a “generational commitment”.

If this is our road, we have a right to ask where it leads. We know what happens when leaders think they own the country, own our “values” and proclaim that of their version of American morals and religion superior to all others. We cannot allow them through fear to capture the power of the state, church, business, and the military in order to do their bidding unquestioned and without voice.

What do such “imperial designs” and “American soul? How can we democratize and capitalize foreign lands, while being dependant on lands that are not? How can this Nation or any other nation be made secure and free with men of deranged minds at the head of it?

Our values are found in our Constitution and there is nothing there about using offensive military force and our common life, liberty and pursuit of happiness on the entire planet. It’s our liberation from and vigilance of tyranny that is our torch of liberty.

Whether Bush’s statement that he is taking us on the road of Providence is bizarre “thank you” gesture to the Rev. Moon or a new declaration of some providential road leading to American Empire, this shall not pass. Coupling US policy to an ideology based on a dangerous religious crusade fueled by cultists and “faith-based” freedom is un-American. Now is time for the citizens to enter our temple of democracy, topple the tables and drive out the profit takers.

What is the “road of providence”? Investigate as we did. Then decide for yourself what road you should take.

*MR. PRESIDENT, We the People call Upon You…*

To clear this up. If these connections and conclusions are incorrect, tell us.

Come clean and share your source of such idealism and explain to all Americans what this “road of providence” is with unmistakable, simple English.

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
(John 3:19-21)

For God’s sake come to the light and tell us like it is.

“Those that value our own FAITH, LIBERTY and FREEDOM”

This essay prepared by the Religion & Politics Team @ Neo Prose, with the assistance of many others.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Those American Values

The claim to have the key to the exclusive right to define or establish America's moral values is the most constitutionally absurd statement a theolotician can make.

This Republic can insist on and enforce no set of moral values other than those which are woven into the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and the attending documents such as the Bill of Rights. The establishment documents of the nation are aside from and above the purview of any or all religions practiced by its citizens in the manner the Founders evolved as their intentions, putting that principle into our written Constitution with its Bill of Rights.

The true American values---the values that so ably unite and support our noble cause---are those constitutional ideals which have carried us most successfully to this time. These truths and values arise from the new concept that "the people" give to themselves the right to certain liberties and rights which are not to be infringed by their government. They do this because they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these values are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. From them arise freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right to peaceful assembly, the right to face ones accuser, the right to dissent, and many other important, authentic American values including egalitarianism which also are central to the genus of our origins as a republic.

The Constitution was framed after more that 150 years of the European colonization North America. Those 150 years witnessed an oppressive repeat of the religious atrocities, failings and prejudices that were the bane and curse of old Europe. Religion and civic freedom were at serious loggerheads in the New World.

What the Framers were able to do in the new federation was to construct a document that built on the Enlightenment and classic liberal thinking. While value of these freedoms and values may have arisen out of the milieu and influence of centuries of various religious practices, these freedoms are not identical with any one tradition or dogma. Eclectic, they chose from the best and filtered out the worst of human beliefs.

Under the Constitution the church has no power to dictate to government. The church cannot insist that the government abide by its religious mores and precepts, or co-opt the civil government's powers of enforcement to mandate its beliefs and concepts of morals as the standard for us all.

Our Constitution was ratified by "we the people" of the independent states. The Constitution is "the supreme law of the land" (Article 6., Section 2.), our laws are not based in the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence has no legal standing in any American court of law, it is, however, a very important, timely preparatory document giving us a sense of the Founders and their construct which led to the subsequent ratification of the Constitution. The Founders studied the failures of extant religious enthusiasms in their variant forms, having already tasted the moral corruption of religious intolerance and the dominant nature of religious hierarchy.

The Founders would have no church, prophet or Pope supercede or make subservient the rights and powers of government given to "the people" in order to maintain a civil society where those practicing religion cannot use the coercive powers of government to enforce or maintain particular religious notions, creeds or precepts over and against another.

Separation is clear in their written articles comprising the Constitution itself: "Church" is not a term they used in our Constitution. Their constitutional principle is "separation between religion and government" (James Madison, William and Mary Quarterly, 3:555). The principle, as delineated in the Constitution, addresses "religion," not the term "church." No "religious" test shall be required as a test for public office (Article 6). "Religion" shall not be established by law, Congress or government at any level, nor by a "church" or any religious organization. Nor shall Congress favor a religion.

The First Amendment limits the authority of Congress as relates to religion. There is no governmental, constitutional power whatsoever over the realm of "religion." At the time of ratification no state ratified any such authority for our civil government.

The free exercise of religion was not stated in any founding document to be under the control or dictates of the United States government, and likewise the religions and churchly powers were not to limit or direct the ability of this new civic government to maintain its police powers and system of governance, which are by design, well outside the theater of religious practices-except as to those religious practices that might be so physically aggressive or seditious as to endanger or enslave the populous. In America it must be clearly understood religion is not above the law.

Those who are ignorant of or disrespectful of our history and traditions--who would now declare the country a "Christian" nation and impose a set of moral values they prescribe--are endangering our rights and national values. While we may acknowledge their fears and misgivings about the quality of the march of our American experiment, what they would impose upon as us dogma would be fatal to our cherished liberties and spell an end to our noble Republic.

Those who currently use religious enthusiasm and harsh homilies entreating the nation to return to the dank and dangerous religiously run world of the "old Europe' with its sectarian bitterness and wars. These revisionists are simply wrong in their attempts. The Founding Fathers were greater in their insights and abilities to establish a lasting democratic republic than the vast majority of present leadership, which cannot speak this truth or hold to the Founding Fathers' high standards. We are being compelled by a band of know-nothings who would squander and desecrate the great principles of our revolutionary freedoms in order to cater to a powerful group of religionists-who being hostile to the principles of the Founders are reckless and dangerous in their abandonment of the very heart of the Declaration of Independence and the majesty of the Constitution: the strict separation of the powers of religion/church and state.

Certainly the Founders wanted to protect government from being hijacked by the religious. Read again, as for the first time, Thomas Jefferson's quotes on this topic. Let the church be the church and let the government be the government.

LINK provided to set of Quotes by Thomas Jefferson: