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July 2008 Archives

July 2, 2008

Catholic Democrats applaud Sen Obama's support for churches and other religious groups

Catholic League defiles itself in attacks on Obama's plan to help those in need

The Catholic Democrats spoke out Wednesday in support of efforts by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to reinforce the ability of faith-based organizations to strengthen our nation's social safety net. The Catholic Church in the United States has a long tradition of addressing the needs of the poor and the underserved, and continues to provide much-needed social services in neighborhoods and communities throughout the country.

Bill Donohue and the Catholic League today attacked Senator Obama's proposed expansion of social services by church and other faith groups. Senator Obama believes that religious organizations of many faiths have a special expertise in serving the unmet needs of people across the country, particularly at a time of such widespread economic distress.

At the same time, the Catholic Democrats call on Donohue and the Catholic League to cease their relentless partisan broadsides on Senator Obama. Donohue confirmed that he had not read the details of Senator Obama's proposal to magnify the role of faith-based organizations in their critical work.

Dr Patrick Whelan, president of the Catholic Democrats, issued the following statement: "Yesterday, Senator Obama pledged to elevate faith-based organizations and strengthen the relationship between government and these critical partners who help people in need every day. Indeed, Senator Obama held out the good works of groups like Catholic Charities as model examples of successful faith-based and government partnerships. But Catholic League President Bill Donohue chose to mark the occasion by launching another installment of his near weekly partisan attacks on Barack Obama."

"Bill Donohue wants to smear Senator Obama's authentic attempts to elevate the important role of religion in public life and that's shameful," said Dr Whelan. "If he had read any portion of Senator Obama's remarks or the details of the plan, he would quickly learn that under the Obama administration, faith-based groups will receive more funding, more support, and a higher profile as government partners. How exactly is that 'gutting religion,' as Mr Donohue charges?"

Dr Whelan continued, "It appears that Donohue and other partisan operatives are scared that Senator Obama is achieving something they've never been able to do: authentically holding up the best religion has to offer society without using it to divide people."

Catholic Democrats, like so many other people of faith, are tired of religion being used as a wedge and continue to urge Mr. Donohue and his collaborators to stop launching partisan smears from a 501(c)3 non-profit, whose noble mission has been greatly tarnished by such attacks.

July 14, 2008

New Yorker: The Fall of Conservatism

The era of American politics that has been dying before our eyes was born in 1966. That January, a twenty-seven-year-old editorial writer for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat named Patrick Buchanan went to work for Richard Nixon, who was just beginning the most improbable political comeback in American history. Having served as Vice-President in the Eisenhower Administration, Nixon had lost the Presidency by a whisker to John F. Kennedy, in 1960, and had been humiliated in a 1962 bid for the California governorship. But he saw that he could propel himself back to power on the strength of a new feeling among Americans who, appalled by the chaos of the cities, the moral heedlessness of the young, and the insults to national pride in Vietnam, were ready to blame it all on the liberalism of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Right-wing populism was bubbling up from below; it needed to be guided by a leader who understood its resentments because he felt them, too.

Read the whole article here...

July 22, 2008

Judge rules that torture-tainted evidence not admissable in 1st Guantanamo war crimes trial

Boston MA--22 Jul 2008--The Bush Administration's strategy of torturing its war prisoners backfired severely yesterday when a military judge threw out large chunks of evidence against a low-level employee of Al Queda who was put on trial in the first war crimes proceeding since WW-II. Navy Captain Keith Allred ruled that Salim Hamdan had been subjected to "highly coercive" interrogation after being apprehended in Afghanistan, without benefit of counsel.

The suspect said he had been kept tied hand and foot in solitary confinement, deprived of sleep, struck in the back, and knocked to the ground with a hood over his head. His attorneys argued he was never an ideological adherent of Al Queda, but only a bottom rung employee.

Few national security experts have supported the use of torture in gathering intelligence. The New York Times reported last month that the CIA's approach to torturing suspects in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan had been derived at least in part from a study of Chinese tactics toward American troops in the Korean War. Morality issues aside, the use of torture is widely acknowledged now to be worse then useless in revealing useful intelligence information.

It is telling that the first prosecution of an adversary in the Afghanistan campaign is someone who has not been accused of directly harming anyone and had no known leadership role in the organization. Presumably Mr Hamdan's case incorporated the best evidence available against any of the Guantanamo prisoners. And now the judge has determined that even that evidence, in large part, is inadmissible due to the coercive manner in which it was obtained.

Fearing a similar fate for many of its other cases, the Administration worked furiously Monday to lobby Congress for new legislation to keep Guantanamo detainees from being brought to the US for the federal appeals proceedings mandated by the recent Supreme Court decision validating habeus corpus rights to appeal their detentions. Attorney General Michael Mukasey argued that these men posed a "grave threat" to the security of the US if brought within the country. One wonders whether the gravest threat wasn't to the reputation of the Bush Administration, which would have to contend with wider access by news photographers and day-to-day interviews with the attorneys for the tortured prisoners.

Conservative religious commentators, like Bill Donohue and Deal Hudson, have remained entirely silent about the Bush stance on torture, despite the unequivocal condemnation of the US Bishops' Conference.
Taken together, these extraordinary events make the powerful case once more that torture is always wrong, and that all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity. For more than six years, Bush officials have treated these several hundred luckless Middle Easterners like animals. 2000 years ago, Jesus was treated this way--viewed as a grave threat to the security of his country.

The American deaths on 9/11/2001 and the subsequent casualties in the occupied countries are a source of tremendous collective grief. But regardless of whether the Guantanamo prisoners are truly guilty of the crimes for which they will be held accountable, it seems likely that the prosecution of their cases will be severely limited by the stupidity of those in the Administration who decided that torturing them was consonant with American values and promoted our collective security. In the end, neither the cause of morality nor security has been served.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

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"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

First Inaugural Address, President Barack Obama

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