America’s Version of the Taliban

America’s Version of the Taliban

It’s tragically ironic that we, the U.S., have invaded Afghanistan, a country that has been successfully fighting off invaders for over 2,000 years, under the pretense that we’re bringing freedom to them & especially to their women who are treated as chattel. Why is this tragic? Well, it’s quite a convoluted story but I’ll start with the fact that I’ve been concerned about & have been following the actions of America’s so-called “Christian fundamentalists,” for over twenty years. I have witnessed the growing racism & overt anger directed at homosexuals, women who have abortions & the doctors who perform abortions, & the rising tide of hatred & blame directed at the poorest amongst us, the immigrants who risk everything to make their way into the U.S. because their chances of survival are next to nil in their home countries.

Thanks to the propaganda war waged by the “conservatives” ever since the excesses of the 1960s, many Americans firmly believe that gays, immigrants, & women who have abortions are at the heart of all our problems. If it weren’t so horrible, it’d be almost funny because the “logic” and their rationale is so absurd and absolutely empty. I stopped attending church when I was around fifteen years old and I know now that I was ahead of my time and so right to do so. I don’t mean to impugn all Christians but only those flagrant hypocrites who say they love God & Jesus but spew forth nothing but racism, hatred, & intolerance for all those with different perspectives, lifestyles, & values than themselves. They are so absolutely positive that they have the truth and that God speaks to them through their preachers or televangelists like Pat Robertson, that they’ll kill you if you cross their paths or challenge their “beliefs” a little too deeply. These people claim to rely on the New Testament but actually base their ideology on the vice, viciousness, murder, etc. of the Old Testament.

Generally speaking, their leaders lead them around by the nose and brainwash them into believing that their racism & dark sides are actually positive, good Christian beliefs & actions. Is it any wonder when they dull their senses with the likes of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Glenn Beck, & Rush Limbaugh? Take for example the recent earthquake in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, thanks to the U.S. & France. We have two exemplars of fear & hate mongering, Rush Limbaugh & Pat Robertson, pillars of the “conservative” & the “Christian fundamentalist” communities in America. Before I go any further, I made the statement that Haiti is poor because of the U.S. & France. A brief review of Haiti’s history substantiates this. France made the Haitian people pay an outrageous amount of money for their right to declare their independence from France & it has kept them in debt ever since. And the U.S. has sent in our military to suppress revolutions against dictators that we have supported. In recent history, a democratically elected Jean Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped by American forces and flown to Africa and once again, a dictator who colludes with our government, is in place.

As a consequence, for decades the desperately poor of Haiti have attempted to escape to America in makeshift rafts & many have drowned in their attempts. Most of the others were stopped and turned back by our coast guard. To illustrate why I label Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh the American version of the Taliban, consider Pat Robertson’s recent remarks on the earthquake in Haiti:

Pat Robertson, the evangelical Christian who once suggested God was punishing Americans with Hurricane Katrina, says a ‘pact to the devil’ brought on the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Officials fear more than 100,000 people have died as a result of Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti. Robertson, the host of the ‘700 Club,’ blamed the tragedy on something that ‘happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it.’ The Haitians ‘were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever,’ Robertson said on his broadcast Wednesday. ‘And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.’ True story. And so, the devil said, OK, it’s a deal.’ Native Haitians defeated the French colonists in 1804 and declared independence. ‘You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.’ Robertson has previously linked natural disasters and terrorist attacks to legalized abortion in the United States. Soon after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 and wreaking unprecedented devastation on New Orleans, Louisiana, Robertson weighed in with his own theory. ‘We have killed over 40 million unborn babies in America,’ Robertson said on his September 12, 2005, broadcast of ‘700 Club.’ ‘I was reading, yesterday, a book that was very interesting about what God has to say in the Old Testament about those who shed innocent blood. And he [the author] used the term that those who do this, ‘the land will vomit you out’…But have we found we are uwwnable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected in some way?’ ( www.cnn.com/2010/US/01/13/haiti.pat.robertson/index.html

Undeniably, this is a very sick & disturbed mind. And what really worries me is that I believe Pat Robertson was once on the cover of Time magazine & touted as the most powerful man in America. I think it was when he was running to become the president of the U.S. Could you imagine what his foreign policy would be like? He would undoubtedly declare war on the entire Middle East to bring on Armageddon. Furthermore, do you recall his calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, the democratically elected president of Venezuela? How is this different from Osama bin Laden’s calls for war against America and our leaders? Both Osama bin Laden & Pat Robertson represent the worst kind of extremists in that they use their fundamentalist religious beliefs & with a perverse logic whip their followers up into an emotional frenzy & send them off to kill in the name of Islam & Christianity. Religious scholars in both religions tell us that there is nothing in the Koran or the Holy Bible to substantiate these incitements to commit mass murder. But the sad & tragic truth is that these sinister religious leaders, like many political leaders, use their citizens’ ignorance to manipulate them with their emotional appeals to their dark sides. I will conclude my remarks on Pat Robertson, the wolf in sheep’s clothing, with a few tidbits that probably the vast majority of his 1.2 million-strong ultra right political front, the Christian Coalition, as well as the millions of viewers of the ‘700 Club,’ are not aware. I am paraphrasing from an article by Greg Palast “Pat Robertson: ‘I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist’ (see www.gregpalast.com)

This is the same Pat Robertson that the Bank of Scotland recently named chairman of its new American consumer-bank holding company….led one unkind civil liberties organization to describe him as ‘the most dangerous man in America’….these people believe he has, a hot-line to God….The combination of ministry and mammon has provided Robertson with a net worth estimated at between $200 million and $1 billion….There was also, says Volder, the $7m he gave to ‘Operation Blessing’ to alleviate the woes of refugees fleeing genocide in Rwanda. Robertson’s press operation puts the sum at only $1.2m. More interesting is the way the Operation Blessing funds were used in Africa. Through an emotional fundraising drive on his TV station, Robertson raised several million dollars for the tax-free charitable trust. Operation Blessing bought planes to shuttle medical supplies in and out of the refugee camp in Goma, (then Zaire). But investigative reporter Bill Sizemore of the Virginia Pilot discovered that over a six-month period-except for one medical flight-the planes were used to haul equipment for something called African Development Corporation, a diamond mining operation a long way from Goma. African Development is owned by Pat Robertson.

Ah yes, doesn’t Pat Robertson’s joyous compassion for the world’s suffering just fill your heart with love? What about those other ‘good Christians,’ such as Jimmy Swaggart, Elmer Gantry, Jim & Tammy Faye Baker, etc.? If only we were all so holy. No thank you, I think I’d prefer to remain an evil, secular humanist. And then we have Rush Limbaugh, that blowhard who loved his oxycontin, perhaps it helped/helps him to live with his disgusting self, as he instigates & insinuates that President Obama should be ‘taken out.’ What I don’t understand is how low-lifes like Robertson & Limbaugh can make such public declarations inciting others to commit crimes and not be prosecuted for doing so? I know that if I were to make such a statement, urging others to ‘take them out,’ I’d be locked up and the key thrown away.

With respect to Rush Limbaugh’s ignorant & hateful comments related to the recent tragedy in Haiti, let’s take a look at this piece from the Huffington Post for Jan. 14, 2010:

Well, it didn’t take long for conservative firebrand Rush Limbaugh to use the crisis in Haiti to attack President Obama politically. On his radio show yesterday Limbaugh said the earthquake in Haiti will play right into Obama’s hands by allowing him to play up his ‘compassionate’ and ‘humanitarian’ credentials, and that the President will use this crisis to ‘boost his credibility with the black community.’ As if that weren’t enough, Limbaugh also pivoted off a caller who complained about Obama directing the public to the White House website to find charitable organizations operating in Haiti to promote a conspiracy theory that finding these charities via the White House website puts your money at risk of not reaching Haitians. Limbaugh also seems to feel we’ve done enough already for Haiti: ‘We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax.’

I can only hazard a guess at what the “big, fat idiot’ (Al Franken’s book on Limbaugh) means by this? Perhaps he believes that our troops help in ousting a democratically elected president and support of Haitian dictators is an example of humanitarian assistance funded by our tax dollars? Or, if he’s referring to what little assistance our government has ‘given’ to Haiti, he conveniently neglects to mention that like our aid to most countries around the world always has strings attached. And they are, if your government doesn’t allow our corporations to rape, pillage, & plunder your citizens and your natural resources, we won’t give you any ‘aid.’ For an excellent and detailed account of this, check out Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine.”

Following this point further, I just watched the video of Limbaugh’s remarks regarding the earthquake in Haiti and also one of a viewer’s remarks chastising Limbaugh for discouraging Americans from donating to the Haitian relief charities. Of course, he denied it and unfortunately, the caller/viewer who challenged him on it, let him slip out of accepting responsibility for his remarks. He did discourage people from donating by saying “…the White House website puts your money at risk of not reaching Haitians.” And this brings up a critical point which another brilliant author brought out on Jan. 15th’s episode of the Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. The author’s name is Thomas Frank. In a nutshell Frank spoke of his research into the fact that conservatives have been doing everything in their power for several decades to ensure that our government is staffed by incompetent, second or third rate people. Why? Because they can then point their accusing fingers at the government and say, see, the government can’t get anything right. And every time a conservative gets in power, they put as many ineffective, fellow ideologues in positions of authority e.g. George W. Bush, “good job Brownie,” his man who obviously bungled the governments response to Hurricane Katrina victims. (my point & note that ‘Brownie’s experience was as head of something like the horse racing association?)

Moreover, Mr. Frank’s central point was that because of American’s notorious reputation for short-term memory, people don’t connect all the events that have led us to this point. And the conservative spin masters have managed to heap all the blame for eight years of Georgie boy’s giveaways to the corporate crocodiles, lies that sent us to war, etc. on Obama’s shoulders. I have long said that I guess I’m cursed because I do remember and that’s why I write these essays, I am trying to connect the dots for those who care. Frank went on to point out that the ‘conservatives,’ want a weak government because if it were allowed to work i.e. had the best & brightest employees, we would trust them more and give them more power. Now, he didn’t go deeper but I asked myself, why would conservatives not want the government to have much power? And it didn’t take long to surmise that if the government was truly powerful and staffed by the ‘best & brightest,’ and especially if we managed to remove money e.g. lobbyists, from the equation, the government could do its rightful job of keeping the greedy corporate CEOs from screwing us all.

Naturally, these so-called ‘conservatives’ (because they aren’t true conservatives) never mention the fact that if it weren’t for all the government subsidies, sweetheart contracts, tariffs, tax breaks, the public paying for the infrastructure of America without which these corporations could not operate, nor the fact that most of the major industries in this country are funded for their research & development and etc. by our tax dollars but as soon as they develop a product e.g. the Internet, and it starts to make huge profits, they privatize it and declare the profits are theirs alone. It’s a very complex & tangled web that these jackals have woven but if we’re ever to take back our rightful power as citizens of the supposedly “freest democracy” in the world, we have to turn off our television sets and do a hell of a lot more reading and talking with one another. And a good place to start empowering yourself and your friends & family is with a short, little book by George Lakoff, a professor at UC Berkeley. His book’s title is “Don’t think of an elephant! : Know your values and frame the debate.” Mr. Lakoff is a professor of linguistics and linguistics is the study of language in great detail & depth.

In conclusion, I started off by lamenting our invasion of Afghanistan and I do so because it is so obviously cruel & inhumane. Tens of thousands of innocent Afghanis are dying, being tortured, & being maimed with our occupation. We are there on illegal & immoral grounds just as we are in Iraq. The U.S. government & military is supporting drug warlords and turning a blind eye as they continue with their heroin trade. We have installed a corrupt president because he doesn’t protest our dirty deeds. We are there like in Iraq for access to oil and to establish permanent military bases which our Darth Vaders perceive as ‘strategic.’ I believe America can once again be a “bright, shining city on the hill” for the rest of the world to emulate but if we don’t change our ways, and change them drastically, we are doomed to go the way of other tyrannies. As Santayana warned, “those who don’t learn the lessons of history, are condemned to repeat the mistakes of history.”

Persevere friends! (Martin Luther King’s birthday, 1/10

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