The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Friday, November 26, 2004

Need your help. Sign and circulate.

Sign and circulate the new Voter Bill of Rights. Our goal is to get 25,000 people to sign the Voter Bill of Rights by November 30, and then send the bill to all members of congress. For that, WE NEED YOUR HELP. Download and print the Voter Bill of Rights


From unreliable electronic voting machines and millions of uncounted ballots to partisan secretaries of state and 10-hour waits at the polls, it is clear that our electoral system is in dire need of an overhaul. To build a more just, secure and robust democracy, I support the following 10-point Voter Bill of Rights:

Provide a Voter Verified Paper Trail for Touch-Screen Voting Machines

It’s essential that every touch-screen voting machine in the U.S. be equipped to produce and store a voter-verified paper record of every vote cast. Each machine must incorporate open source coding tested by an independent agency before and during the election to guarantee optimum transparency. In addition, corporations that manufacture machines should refrain from political involvement.

Create Independent, Non-Partisan and Transparent Oversight
Officials in charge of administering, overseeing and certifying elections should not be party affiliated, running for another office, or publicly supporting any candidates. Unfortunately, partisan secretaries of state are currently able to issue rulings that favor their parties and themselves. Electoral commissions at all levels of government should be independently financed and free of control by any political party. Administrators should help increase voter confidence by inviting non-partisan observers, both domestic and international, to observe all aspects of voting procedures.

Celebrate Our Democracy: Election Day as a National Holiday!
Working people should not be forced to choose between standing in a long line to vote and being to work on time. While 30 states have laws giving workers the right to take time off to vote, many workers and employers are unaware of these laws. Holding national elections on a national holiday will increase the number of available poll workers and polling places and potentially increase overall turnout while making it much easier for working Americans to go to the polls.

Election Day is already a holiday in Puerto Rico in presidential election years, and many Puerto Ricans celebrate and make Election Day a fun and festive party with a purpose. In 2000, Puerto Rico's voter turnout was 82.6%, as compared to 51.16% in the United States – and Puerto Rico doesn’t even have any Electoral College votes.

Maximize Voter Access

Many citizens are discouraged from voting by unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and restrictions. Registration forms should be simplified, so no one is again disenfranchised for failing to check a superfluous box, as occurred this year in Florida, or for not using heavy enough paper, as occurred in Ohio. To ensure all qualified voters are able to vote, we should join states like Minnesota in allowing citizens to register to vote on Election Day itself.

Forcing people to wait up to 10 hours in line to vote is unacceptable and disenfranchises those who cannot afford to wait. To increase citizen’s options and maximize convenience, all states must provide for more early voting and election-day polling places. Resources should be allocated based upon the number of voters per precinct to ensure equal access and minimize the wait at the polls. Partisan voter challengers at the polls disrupt and undermine the voting process and should not be allowed within or near any polling location.

Count Every Vote!

To encourage more participation in the electoral process, voters must know that their vote will count and make a difference. Unfortunately millions of “spoiled”, “under-vote”, “over-vote”, provisional and absentee ballots–often times ballots cast by people of color– are not counted during each presidential election. It’s basic: Voting precincts should be adequately staffed with sufficiently trained personnel and professional supervision; old and unreliable voting machines should be replaced; absentee ballots must be sent with sufficient time; and provisional ballots should count for state and federal contests regardless of where the vote is cast.

Re-enfranchise Ex-Felons

Why should ex-felons be excluded from voting? The permanent disenfranchisement of former felons, a practice that falls outside of international or even U.S. norms, is an unreasonable restriction that creates subcategories of citizenship. There are over four million American citizens in this category, particularly African American males, who are incarcerated at a disproportionately high rate. These lifetime voting prohibitions violate citizens' constitutional voting rights and must be repealed. Those states that permanently disenfranchise felons—Florida, Virginia, Nebraska, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa, Arizona, and Alabama—should amend their laws and practices to restore full citizenship to ex-offenders.

Implement Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)

Instant Runoff Voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference (first, second, third choice) and if no candidate gets a majority of first choices, a runoff count can be conducted without the need for a second election. IRV gives voters the opportunity to vote for those candidates they like the most without worrying that their vote will help candidates they like least. Instant runoff voting has been used successfully around the world: Ireland uses IRV to elect its president, Australia to elect its House of Representatives, and San Francisco to elect its major city offices such as mayor.

Provide Public Financing for Elections and Equal Air-Time

In a system where the amount a candidate spends is directly related to the likelihood of success, it is not surprising that voters think politicians are more concerned with big campaign contributors than with individual voters. We need to establish full public financing of campaigns and free access to public airwaves. Broadcasters must carry debates and provide free time for all candidates and parties as a license requirement to use our public airwaves.

Ensure Third Party Candidates Easier Access to the Ballot and Debates

In our two-party system, third parties face a host of institutional barriers, from getting on the ballot to being included in debates to broadcasting their views. This discourages people from voting because alternative voices help enliven the political debate that is at the heart of any healthy democracy. Prohibitive ballot access requirements should be dropped and debates should be open to all ballot-qualified candidates and should be organized independently of the political parties themselves.

Abolish the Electoral College
It’s time to end the safe state/swing state dichotomy and make all votes equal, no matter the state of the voter. The President should be elected by direct, popular vote. Since a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College may prove infeasible, reformers should set their sights on amending their state laws to proportionally award their electors.

Sign the Voter Bill of Rights Petition

Our goal is to get 25,000 people to sign the Voter Bill of Rights by November 30, and then send the bill to all members of congress. Sign below and then pass it on by circulating the following link:

New Ohio voter transcripts

New Ohio voter transcripts feed floodtide of doubt about Republican election manipulation
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
November 25, 2004

COLUMBUS -- A floodtide of evidence of questionable practices in the 2004 election is mounting fast against Ohio Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell and Republican Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE) Director Matt Damschroder. New transcriptions of sworn voter testimony, presented below for the first time, confirm growing suspicions of widespread use of rigged machines. Voters experienced hostility from poll workers, refusal of Republican election officials to follow the law, and discriminatory manipulation of voting machine placement, driving significant numbers of Democrats away from the polls.

The Columbus Dispatch, central Ohio's dominant conservative daily newspaper, which endorsed Bush for the presidency, says Damschroder “has faced criticism locally and across the country from groups that contend an already short supply of voting machines were shifted from Democratic precincts in Columbus to Republican areas outside the city.”

Damschroder is the former head of the Franklin County Republican Party. He claims that the 23.4% increase in voter turnout is a success story. He admitted to the Dispatch on Tuesday, November 23, that he had not asked the Franklin County Commissioners for any additional money this year for new machines, despite a 24% increase in voter registration. “If we had 5000 machines we would have put every one of them out there,” Damschroder says. But he also defends his refusal to ask for more in the run-up to the election.

In fact, according to the Dispatch, Damschroder's own records show large numbers of voting machines were not deployed on election day despite frantic requests from inner city poll workers. According to the Dispatch, Damschroder's office received 32 calls from precinct judges requesting more machines, not one of which was filled. Only nine of those calls came from suburban precincts, while 23 came from the Inner City.

Overall the board logged 101 calls for voting machine problems this year. In 2000 the number was just 46.

Through it all, Damschroder insisted in a Dispatch interview that, “From our perspective, there are (thousands of) stories of people who stood in line and voted.”

But many voters had very different views. The Free Press offers the following sworn statements from public hearings held at the Franklin County Courthouse November 15:

Janine Smith-White, Youngstown:
“I went to my polling place approximately about 9:45 to vote. I waited, I would say, 30 minutes in a line. When I did get to my machine, I pushed John Kerry and my vote immediately jumped up to George Bush. After I started screaming about them cheating again, the aide hurried up and came over and said, oh, that's been happening a lot. Just go ahead and push John Kerry again and I'm saying, you say that's been happening a lot and it hasn't been corrected? Yes, but we can't do anything about it. So I did push John Kerry again and the vote did stay on John Kerry. Even though I completed my voting and after I went over my ballot and I pushed the vote button, I'm still not sure that I voted for John Kerry because, I mean, did my first vote that went to George Bush count or did John Kerry count.”

Steven Heyman, Pickerington:
“I noticed that one of the big problems was on Molar Road there are two different buildings that you can vote in, 1201 and 1560 Southmore Middle and Bowler School. People were sometimes confused as to which precinct they were supposed to vote in. I had a listing of all the voters for 51 A and if I could catch them before they went in and [stand] in line for two or three hours, and they were really upset if they were in the wrong precinct and had to go to the other one. We probably lost at least 75 voters during the 12 and a half hours I was there.”

Tom Pinnetello:
“I need to tell you what happened on my first experience voting in Ohio. On November 2nd, I got to my polling station early, so I got -- I wanted to get there early so I got in the car and I headed over to nearby Livingston School and I signed in and waited about 45 minutes in a line that looked to have about 60 people waiting to vote. Once in the library, we noticed that there were only three voting machines. Once it was my turn, I got inside and looked over the voting machine, and this is one of the electronic voting machines. It consisted of an array of blinking lights urging you to vote for something, and once you did vote for something, the blinking light would go out and a steady red light would appear next to your selection. On the upper left-hand part was the selection for president. I wanted to do this, I wanted to get this out of the way, that's what I came here, to vote, that was my number one priority. So I pushed the button for John Kerry for president of the United States. And the light -- the flashing light went out and the light next to John Kerry's name came on. I then mulled over the rest of the propositions and local races that were taking place, some of which I knew about, some of which I didn't. It took the better part of five minutes or so to get through them all. Some of the political players locally I don't know about so I just left them blank because I think you should be making an informed decision and not just pressing buttons. Once I was finished, I got down to the lower right-hand corner and the big green vote button was beckoning. I almost pushed it and I said, no, wait a minute, I want to -- I want to proofread what I just did. I want to look over my selections. I looked up into the upper left-hand corner and the area for president of the United States was now flashing again. My vote for John Kerry had been neutralized. It had been reset. Now, you can call this a glitch, you can call this a design flaw, you can call it a bologna sandwich if you want, but whatever you call it, that machine nearly threw out and neutralized my vote for John Kerry.”

Jen Miller:
“I went ahead and walked in because the lines at that point were four hours long. Again, this used to be my polling location, after the last presidential location it was my polling location and at that time there were two precincts and there were four booths per precinct. This year the first thing I noted that there were three and not one of the precincts had a booth down, so they were operating on two, just 50 percent the amount that they had the election before. The next thing I noted that there were more people in line, probably, at that point than I had probably had ever voted in that precinct. I had voted there for several times. It was just absolute chaos. People were wandering this way and that. The first thing someone said to me is, I don't think they want me here. This is confusing. I voted here for years and I'm leaving. And I asked him to stay, but he wouldn't.. . . So I would say at least a third of the people that were in line were elderly or had mobility challenges. A lot of those people would be standing in line for one to three hours to then come across some steep steps that would be even challenges for the average able-bodied person. One side of the steps could -- one side of the steps didn't even have a rail to hang onto and there was no one to assist people down, okay.”

Cathy Varian:
“I was a poll worker at 39B at Creeder Wood School. Quickly, the polls did not open at 7:00. They didn't open until 7:20. We did not sign our tapes like we were supposed to at the beginning. We signed everything at the end and it was very chaotic. The presiding judge was very inexperienced and lacked training. He was very judgmental against a lot of people that came into our poll, one especially that I want to speak out for today. . . . during the day he turned away several people that were in our precinct from work who said they had signed up but they weren't on our books. . . .I wanted to assist him going downtown because I was afraid he was going to open up the provisional ballots and do something with them because I fought so hard and so long all day trying to protect them. And it was a horrible, horrible experience.. . . The police were involved. The police did escort him down to the Board of Elections, but a Democratic representative could not go with the presiding Republican judge in a Democratic precinct, period. . . .Our presiding judge was Republican in a Democratic precinct and they would not let me, the Democratic poll worker accompany him downtown, . . .Only one person went with the ballots and the tapes and I begged and pleaded and called everybody I could. . . .We did not sign the tapes until the end of the evenings. Signs on how to use the machines weren't posted and people were turned away.”

Mark Dunbar, Columbus:
“I got off work about 9:30 that morning. I went down and dropped off some ballots down at the Board of Elections. Then I went to my home near Eastgate Elementary. I arrived there at 10:00. I went in. There was no signs as to how to use the voting machines. I heard one of the poll workers tell a guy in one of the booths that he had one minute because he had been in there four minutes. So they were actually rushing people in and out of the polls. The line was about three hours when I got there. There was only three voting booths and I remembered the last time I vote there, we had at least four to five voting booths, so we were down to three. They did allow the people to sit in chairs and move the chairs up and down the line. They did have an elderly woman who was in a wheelchair just sitting there for a couple hours and she was still sitting there when I left. So she didn't get to vote the kind of way she should have. She should have been taken to the front but I didn't see any accessible voting booths and I saw -- I counted at least 27 to 30 people who left while I was there, but I didn't leave. I had to vote.”

John Perry, Upper Arlington:
“For the record, I did observe, in my voting place, that there was a sticker over the ballot and spot apparently originally intended for Ralph Nader. However, in looking at the machine times from other precincts, I noticed that there were numerous machine votes, not write in votes but machine votes for Nader in other precincts. So apparently if you pushed the button for the Nader spot, it was recorded as a vote for Nader and printed out as such on the tape.”

Monica Justo, Columbus:
“I ran 6 wards for the Kerry campaign in the Clintonville corridor. At 8:00 -- my precinct location was 19H -- it is run out of the Southwick Funeral Home by Bill Good. Bill Good is a Republican. At 8:00 in the morning, he went out to the people in line. There was already over an hour wait at this time and informed them that they all needed to get out of line and move their cars because he had a funeral coming. . . . According to the Franklin County Board of Elections, it was their fault for not verifying that business was not being held on that day, that they needed to inform them of that.”

Michael Greenman, Westerville:
“I live in Westerville, voted in precinct 3B. I voted there in the elections for the last five years. When I went to the precinct this last election, I came in and looked at the list and my name was not on the list. It was a computerized list. My wife's name was on the list. I asked them how this could be. They had no explanation. They were very cooperative, gave me a provisional ballot. I was in and out right quick like. They were very efficient, it was a good precinct. But I cannot imagine how many could have been removed from the list without some active action. I'm a political activist. I'm the head of a political group called Citizens for Democracy and the corporate rule but I don't know why my name was not on the list.
MS. TRUITT: [Hearing Examiner] Had you voted within the last five years?
MR. GREENMAN: Every year, every time for the last five years at that precinct.”

Tom Kessel, Bexley:
“. . .in precincts 4 A and 4 C in Bexley. What it was is Republican challengers got there about 7:30 in the morning. Precinct 4 C was going fine, so I watched her. On three different occasions, I caught her sitting at the table with the poll workers. Each time I had to go up there and say, excuse me, you're not allowed here, you know, you're not allowed to be sitting there. She was not challenging it. She was talking and kibitzing and working with the poll workers. I don't know. One time I went outside, I came back in, she was actively going over some sort of computerized list she had with the precinct judge in precinct 4A in Bexley. One of the three machines went down and they were not able to get the tape out of it and the cartridge at the end of the day. Later on, when I got the poll -- data from Franklin County poll workers, that machine which had the lowest numbers of votes had the highest percentage of Bush votes. The other two machines were coming back 30 percent for Bush. This one came back 40 percent for Bush. I don't know. Also, they sealed up their provisional ballots before I had a chance to count them and let them know how much provisional ballots were there. Also, she signed off as an official witness at the end of the day, even though she was a Republican worker. I was met with open hostility from the workers in precinct 4 A in Bexley. They let me know in no uncertain terms that they were Bush people.”

Dr. Bob Fitrakis, JD, moderated the public hearings on voter suppression held in Columbus November 13 and 15. He is publisher of, of which Harvey Wasserman is senior editor. Their ANOTHER STOLEN ELECTION: VOICES OF THE DISENFRANCHISED, 2004 will soon be available at

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Who pays for the drugs when your child if found mentally defective?

After a citizen, child or adult, is found mentally defective and indicates medication will the citizen be required to wear an armband or something pinned to their chest? Where are the Democrats in screaming about this pogrom? MAMBO

Attempt to stop mandatory mental screening fails
Congressman pushed language requiring parental consent

Posted: November 24, 2004

© 2004

An attempt by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, to add language to the omnibus spending bill in Congress to require parental consent for any mental-health screening done to children with federal money has failed.

The language was proposed to blunt the effect of a program proposed by the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which President Bush established in 2002. The New Freedom Initiative recommends screening not only for children but eventually for every American.

As WorldNetDaily reported, in September Paul attempted to have the program removed from Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Act. His amendment failed the House of Representatives by a vote of 95-315.

The language he hoped to have added to the omnibus bill, which passed on Saturday, was:

"None of the funds made available for State Incentive Grants for Transformation should be used for any programs of mandatory or universal mental-health screening that performs mental-health screening on anyone under 18 years of age without the express, written permission of the parents or legal guardians of each individual involved."

Though Paul had support from House leadership for the language, senators who were part of the conference committee overseeing the final bill did not want it added.

"We believe the drug companies and the psychiatric establishment convinced Sens. Arlen Specter and Bill Frist to block it," said Kent Snyder, executive director of the Paul-founded Liberty Committee. "We are extremely disappointed that the conference committee ultimately rejected Dr. Paul's language and that it was not added to the omnibus spending bill."

Critics of the mental-health screening plan say it is a thinly veiled attempt by drug companies to provide a wider market for high-priced antidepressants and antipsychotic medication, and puts government in areas of Americans' lives where it does not belong.

Snyder says Paul won't give up on thwarting the screening and will take up the issue again in January when the new Congress convenes.

Election is over. Now we all need to get behind our Prezdent

We must continue the work of education reform, to bring high standards and accountability not just to our elementary and secondary schools, but to our high schools, as well.
-- Ummm... high schools are secondary schools, Dubya. Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2004

And so Prime Minister Allawi and his government, which fully understands that, are working with our generals on the ground to do just that. We will work closely with the government. It's their government, it's their country. We're there at their invitation.
-- That's sort of like saying the water invited the bathtub, Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2004

With the campaign over, Americans are expecting a bipartisan effort and results. I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals.
-- While sounding bipartisan, Dubya proposes to be the exact opposite, D.C., Nov. 4, 2004

The deficit is less than we thought because the revenues is exceeding projections. And the reason why the revenues -- the revenues are exceeding projections -- sometimes I mangle the English language. I get that.
-- You're seeing a very rare instance of self-correcting coupled with an admission of being grammatically mistaken, perhaps signalling a new awareness for his second term, Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2004

The Enemy

Falwell's Thanksgiving message: "I thank God" for Hannity, Limbaugh, FOX, NewsMax, WorldNetDaily, and The Drudge Report

During his November 21 pre-Thanksgiving sermon, Reverend Jerry Falwell, Moral Majority founder and national chairman of the Faith and Values Coalition, encouraged his audience to "praise the Lord" at Thanksgiving for "alternative news media" sources such as FOX News Channel, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh, which he said are "telling the truth."

From Falwell's November 21 televised sermon, broadcast from his Thomas Road Baptist Church:

Let me talk to you about five good things of late ... for which this week I hope you and your family around your Thanksgiving table will praise the Lord. ... No. 5: America has alternative news media and is no longer held hostage by the major print and broadcast media. I remember a day when ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN and the major print media controlled all the news flow to the American people and we found ourselves getting warped and distorted news. I thank God now in the 21st century for talk radio, that three hours a day people like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and hundreds of others are telling the truth of what really is going on. I thank God for FOX News Channel [applause]. I thank God for the Internet bloggers and the news producers like,, even The Drudge Report.

Media Matters for America has documented numerous instances of false statements made by the so-called "truth" tellers that Falwell is thankful for.

Falwell is pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a 22,000-member church in Lynchburg, Virginia, that is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Falwell's weekly services, titled "The Old Time Gospel Hour" are broadcast from the church and reach global audiences by television, radio, and Internet. Falwell is founder and chancellor of Liberty University. He operates the Liberty Channel cable and satellite network, publishes the National Liberty Journal, and writes a weekly column published by conservative news outlets such as and Falwell endorsed President George W. Bush's reelection.

— N.C.

Posted to the web on Wednesday November 24, 2004 at 11:11 AM EST

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The God Gap

Published on Monday, November 22, 2004 by the Long Island / NY Newsday
Religious Left Faces Tough Challenge
Progressives need to offer the faithful a clear moral vision worthy of broad support
by Laura Olson

In the days since the presidential election, much has been made of evangelical Protestant voters' role in the re-election of President George W. Bush. And rightfully so. Without the Bush-Cheney campaign's strategic mobilization of this reliable base constituency, particularly in rural areas of battleground states, we might be calling Sen. John Kerry president-elect today.

With so much emphasis on the political significance of religious conservatives in the wake of this election, some might be wondering whether there is (or could be) a countermovement of religious progressives in the United States. Is it possible to apply a more liberal interpretation to the relationship between religion and politics in this country?

The much-touted exit poll finding that moral values were the most important Election Day concern of 22 percent of voters highlights the fact that a sizable number of Americans expect political leaders to offer a prophetic vision. Yet this expectation is not new, nor historically the sole province of the Republican Party.

Through much of the 20th century, politically influential religious voices envisioned Jesus Christ as a champion for the poor and disadvantaged. During the civil-rights movement, thousands of white clergy and laity linked arms with African-Americans. The 1970s saw clergy-led protests against the Vietnam war and inequality in urban housing policy. And in the 1980s, religious progressives worked for nuclear disarmament and illegally sheltered refugees of war-torn Latin America.

Things changed for religious progressives in the 1980s, however, when the "New Christian Right" emerged and began reshaping the meaning of morality politics by emphasizing abortion and homosexuality instead of justice and racism. Religious progressives remained complacent as the political Zeitgeist slowly shifted to favor religious conservatives. In this sense the religious Left may have been victimized by its own success. Perhaps it assumed that a progressive witness would forever remain as the leading political voice of religious Americans.

This assumption, if it was made, was simply wrong. Today many people of faith across the board - particularly Christians - see Republicans as the only appropriate representatives of their needs, concerns and way of life. Progressive religious interest groups such as Sojourners and the Clergy Network for National Leadership Change tried very hard this year to encourage voters of faith to believe that God is not a Republican. But in many religious circles, Democrats are seen as scornful, secular, urban literati who do not understand or appreciate traditional lifestyles.

There is a substantial "God gap" in the American electorate: Nov. 2 exit polls show that fully 61 percent of voters who attend weekly religious services favored Bush. This figure includes substantial numbers of traditional Catholics, non-evangelical Protestants, and even Jews (who gave Bush one in every four of their votes). The Republican spin on moral values has appeal that reaches beyond evangelical Protestantism.

And the fact that Bush is himself an individual of visible personal faith (he made the establishment of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives one of his first priorities after being inaugurated) undoubtedly has enhanced the affection of religious Americans for the Republican Party. Religious Americans clearly accept Bush as one of them.

There are still clusters of religious progressivism evident in the United States today. Of particular note is the grassroots anti-poverty organizing done under the auspices of networking groups such as the Industrial Areas Foundation, the Gamaliel Foundation, and the Pacific Institute for Community Organization. Yet there are practical reasons to believe that religious progressives on the ground are not well connected either with each other or with the elite-level organizations that share their policy agenda. The religious Left may also be stymied by its diversity and the fact that many of its leaders endorse what might be termed "scriptural relativism."

Unlike evangelicals, religious progressives encourage a wide range of scriptural interpretations. Thus it becomes challenging for clergy and other elites on the left to be viewed as authoritative speakers on other subjects. As a result, it can be difficult for religious progressive leaders to mobilize anyone for political action. For a religious Left to be resurgent in the United States, a clear moral vision that challenges social inequality and questions the legitimacy of war needs to be forwarded at both the local and national levels.

Laura Olson is associate professor of political science at Clemson Uniersity and co-author of "Religion and Politics in America."

© 2004 Newsday, Inc.

Right-Wing Chilling Effect Makes 'Reproductive Rights' Too Hot for Public Radio

Published on Monday, November 23, 2004 by
Right-Wing Chilling Effect Makes 'Reproductive Rights' Too Hot for Public Radio
by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON -- The refusal by a North Carolina affiliate of National Public Radio (NPR) to run an underwriting announcement by a local group that carries out family-planning activities abroad is raising fears that the leadership of federal regulatory agencies may try to enforce a new kind of right-wing political correctness.

Coming in the wake of the cut-off of funds to HIV/AIDS prevention organization that discuss men who have sex with men and the investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the National Association for the Advanced of Colored People (NAACP), the action by the Chapel Hill-based WUNC radio station is being cited as evidence of a growing chilling effect on free expression.

A statement released Thursday by 22 national feminist, health and population organizations decrying WUNCs refusal to run an underwriting statement that identified the sponsor, Ipas, as a non-profit group that protects womens reproductive rights, charged that the decision threatens the very concept of free speech.

We are both outraged and saddened by WUNCs decision to cave in to the implicit threats of the Bush administration and are hopeful that they will recognize that a free press has a duty to defend the right of free speech, declared the letter, which was signed by Population Connection, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the Womens Edge Coalition, and the Population Connection, among others.

Ipas, which provided family-planning and reproductive-health training, research, advocacy, and supplies in some 40 countries on five continents, began underwriting programming at the rate of about US$1,700 a month at WUNC last February. In return, the radio station, which is based at the University of North Carolina campus, ran occasional on-air acknowledgements of Ipas support.

The original announcement read: Ipas, a Chapel Hill-based nonprofit that protects womens reproductive health and rights at home and abroad. More information available at In October, however, the station informed Ipas that the word rights would not longer be permitted.

After several weeks of negotiation over the wording, Ipas announced Friday that it would was ending its underwriting arrangement. We highly value WUNC listeners and want to inform them about our work, said Ipas president Elizabeth Maguire, but there is no alternative language. Promoting reproductive rights is half Ipas mission, and WUNCs position denies Ipas the right to describe itself accurately and completely.

WUNC general manager Joan Siefert Rose defended the decision, describing it as a precautionary measure designed to protect the station from possible action by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

As a noncommercial broadcaster, she told Associated Press, we are not allowed to broadcast donor acknowledgments that include language with political meaning. My first responsibility is to be a good steward of our FCC license.

While Rose conceded that the FCC has never defined reproductive rights as falling within the proscribed category for advertisers or underwriters, she stressed that the FCC can still punish stations retroactively if it determines that the words should not have been aired.

They dont tell you what you can and cannot do, she said, comparing the situation to ABCs decision last week against airing Saving Private Ryan for fear that the FCC might find that its graphic violence and language violated its regulations.

Reproductive rights has indeed become politically controversial under the Bush administration which has repeatedly tried usually without success to have the phrase deleted from communiqus and declarations at international conferences. Administration officials have described the phrase as implicitly asserting a womans right to have an abortion a notion with which it and its Christian Right constituency strongly disagree.

Its efforts to undermine the concept reproductive rights have also included its last-minute withdrawal of funding for a major international health conference in Washington last spring because one of the featured speakers had publicly attacked the priority given by the administration to its abstinence-only agenda and the imposition of the so-called Global Gag Rule.

The gag rule forbids foreign non-governmental agencies that receive U.S. foreign aid from engaging in any abortion-related activities - including even providing information about abortion to their medical clients or lobbying their own governments to ease anti-abortion laws -- even if they use their own money for those purposes.

Ipas, which refused to tell its overseas partners to stop abortion-related activities, forfeited some US$2 million in funding as a result of the gag rule.

In its negotiations with WUNC, the group argued that reproductive rights encompass much more than abortion. It also includes the right to information about reproductive health, infertility treatments, and contraception, according Maguire, who described the phrase as a mainstream concept based on the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court decisions, U.S. laws, and multiple international agreements signed by the U.S.

In addition to the gag rule and its efforts at international forums to delete reproductive rights from the agenda, the administration has also ordered audits against organizations that oppose the administrations abstinence-only agenda.

Each of these actions, as well as the IRS investigation of the NAACP and the cut-off of funding to groups that deal explicitly with men who have sex with men, according to the groups that wrote in support of Ipas, sends a clear message: dissent at your peril.

Under the Bush administration, regulatory agencies have been used with an appalling frequency to punish those organizations that do not conform to its narrow ideological position, the groups wrote, noting that WUNCs fear about possible FCC action were not unreasonable.

According to Ipas Maguire, the WUNCs decision feeds into an environment in which self-censorship is becoming more prominent.

That assessment was echoed in a second letter sent to the station last week by nearly 100 prominent contributors living in the WUNC listening area, including faculty at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, community groups, writers, business people, elected officials, artists and writers.

We feel that the extraordinary caution exhibited by this decision is undue and serves to perpetuate self-censorship, which is all to prevalent in the current political climate, the letter stated. We count on public radio to expose and resist such tendencies, not to reinforce them.

© Copyright 2004

The Coming Financial Implosion

The Coming Financial Implosion, What to Do?
by bink

I'm sure that everyone here has read the story in the Boston Herald (gack) via Atrios about recent remarks made in a speech by Morgan Stanley Chief Economist Stephen Roach.

If not, here is, roughly, what he said:

"An economic Armageddon is approaching and the country has a ten percent chance of passing through unscathed.

The biggest problems are absolutely apparent to any casual observer of our nation's economic predicament: 1) Government spending, 2) Government debt and 3) Consumer debt."

Debt, spending, debt, spending, debt.

Why should you listen to what Mr. Roach says? Here is why:

His company, Morgan Stanley, had about a half trillion dollars of wealth under management when I quit my job there, about five years ago, a number that has certainly risen by leaps and bounds since then. Mr. Roach and his company are in the business of generating and protecting wealth for many of the globes richest and most powerful people and institutions.

If Mr. Roach is making a statement like this about the state of our nation's finances, the peril is real and he intends for brokers and money managers at Morgan Stanley to act on this statement.

And so should all of us.

I can personally imagine all sorts of nightmare scenarios stemming from a U.S. economic "Armageddon," but the thing that worries me most as an immediate concern is the depreciation of the U.S. dollar. Currently, one hundred percent of my wages and investments are in U.S. currency. As the dollar depreciates, the real value of my wages and investments also potential decreases. That's bad. The good side is, of course, that the size of my liabilities in terms of debt can also potentially decrease.

Still, I want to know how I can maintain value when the currency that I use is plummeting in the world markets. What can I do?

The second and third concerns of mine are 1) rise in interest rates and 2) inflation. Interest rates themselves are not a huge deal for me, because I don't have a mortgage or car loan and I don't roll over much from month to month on credit cards. But higher interest rates will bring on higher rates of inflation ... and as inflation grows, it's like getting a pay cut every month.

I wish that I were a finance expert right now. I don't even know how to start to prepare for an "economic Armageddon," much less just arrange my investments and spending around the likelihood of a lower dollar, higher interest rates and inflation.

I have a feeling that for me, like most people, financial planning is just going to have to boil down to "spending less" and "stuffing the mattress." It seems like the Bush Administration wants me to spend, spend, spend like there is no tomorrow. But the coming economic crisis has me scared.

Creative Accounting

Maxspeak,a blog specializing in economics evaluates the Bush plan for privatizing social security this way:

The fraud here is founded on the tale of the so-called "unfunded liability" in Social Security -- the present value of benefits minus Trust Fund receipts (primarily payroll taxes), from here to eternity (as Bernie Wasow of the Century Fund put it). If you transform some portion of that unfunded liability into literal Federal debt, it is held to be a wash on the balance sheet.

By this logic, if the Gov borrows to pay me a billion dollars today and simultaneouly passes the Revenue 3000 tax act, which levies a wealth tax on the inhabitants of Jupiter in the year 3000 to offset the accumulated debt, everything is hunky-dory. Don't laugh. These people are running the country!

The whole sad story is here

Some Great Ideas For Energy Independence

There's another fascinating discussion that no one should miss over at This one is about concrete steps that we can start taking now to break our dependence on Middle East oil, clean up the environment, and stimulate our economy. It's right

Monday, November 22, 2004

Drinking Liberally

There's a national movement to creat liberal social clubs which will meet every week for discussion and good cheer. There is one in Springfield and one in St. Louis. Perhaps we can try it here.

You can find more details here.

My Moral

Visit this wonderful site and leave a description of your moral values. Then read the way thousands of others describe theirs.

Conservativism and the Agressive Marketing of Christian Identity

There'a fascinating discussion of the connection between conservative political clout and explosion of Christian-identity marketing at the dailykos. You can read it here.

Der Gropinator's Hydrogen Hummer

From the always-hilarious "Top Ten Conservative Idiots" column over at

Governor Groping Austrian Beefcake is promising to boost hydrogen as an alternative fuel source in California - a laudable goal. Perhaps, though, he could start by practicing what he preaches. Arnie turned up at a photo-op last week driving a hydrogen-powered Hummer, which he proceeded to fill at a special pump in front of a crowd of enthusiastic photographers.

Unfortunately the makers of the Hummer admitted later that it not been retrofitted but built specially for the occasion and, could only travel 50 miles before needing to be refueled. And, uh, no hydrogen actually came out of the pump that Arnold was photographed using, it was just a prop. Finally, after the press had put their cameras and notebooks away, the Gropenator left in a regular gasoline-powered Hummer that gets 15 miles to the gallon. Oh well, at least he looked good for the cameras.

Mathew Gross: The Politics of Victimization

The Politics of Victimization

[Mel Gilles, who has worked for many years as an advocate for victims of domestic abuse, draws some parallels between her work and the reaction of many Democrats to the election.-- Mathew Gross]

Watch Dan Rather apologize for not getting his facts straight, humiliated before the eyes of America, voluntarily undermining his credibility and career of over thirty years. Observe Donna Brazille squirm as she is ridiculed by Bay Buchanan, and pronounced irrelevant and nearly non-existent. Listen as Donna and Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer take to the airwaves saying that they have to go back to the drawing board and learn from their mistakes and try to be better, more likable, more appealing, have a stronger message, speak to morality. Watch them awkwardly quote the bible, trying to speak the new language of America. Surf the blogs, and read the comments of dismayed, discombobulated, confused individuals trying to figure out what they did wrong. Hear the cacophony of voices, crying out, “Why did they beat me?”

And then ask anyone who has ever worked in a domestic violence shelter if they have heard this before.

They will tell you, every single day.

The answer is quite simple. They beat us because they are abusers. We can call it hate. We can call it fear. We can say it is unfair. But we are looped into the cycle of violence, and we need to start calling the dominating side what they are: abusive. And we need to recognize that we are the victims of verbal, mental, and even, in the case of Iraq, physical violence.

As victims we can’t stop asking ourselves what we did wrong. We can’t seem to grasp that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating.

Listen to George Bush say that the will of God excuses his behavior. Listen, as he refuses to take responsibility, or express remorse, or even once, admit a mistake. Watch him strut, and tell us that he will only work with those who agree with him, and that each of us is only allowed one question (soon, it will be none at all; abusers hit hard when questioned; the press corps can tell you that). See him surround himself with only those who pledge oaths of allegiance. Hear him tell us that if we will only listen and do as he says and agree with his every utterance, all will go well for us (it won’t; we will never be worthy).

And watch the Democratic Party leadership walk on eggshells, try to meet him, please him, wash the windows better, get out that spot, distance themselves from gays and civil rights. See them cry for the attention and affection and approval of the President and his followers. Watch us squirm. Watch us descend into a world of crazy-making, where logic does not work and the other side tells us we are nuts when we rely on facts. A world where, worst of all, we begin to believe we are crazy.

How to break free? Again, the answer is quite simple.

First, you must admit you are a victim. Then, you must declare the state of affairs unacceptable. Next, you must promise to protect yourself and everyone around you that is being victimized. You don’t do this by responding to their demands, or becoming more like them, or engaging in logical conversation, or trying to persuade them that you are right. You also don’t do this by going catatonic and resigned, by closing up your ears and eyes and covering your head and submitting to the blows, figuring its over faster and hurts less is you don’t resist and fight back. Instead, you walk away. You find other folks like yourself, 56 million of them, who are hurting, broken, and beating themselves up. You tell them what you’ve learned, and that you aren’t going to take it anymore. You stand tall, with 56 million people at your side and behind you, and you look right into the eyes of the abuser and you tell him to go to hell. Then you walk out the door, taking the kids and gays and minorities with you, and you start a new life. The new life is hard. But it’s better than the abuse.

We have a mandate to be as radical and liberal and steadfast as we need to be. The progressive beliefs and social justice we stand for, our core, must not be altered. We are 56 million strong. We are building from the bottom up. We are meeting, on the net, in church basements, at work, in small groups, and right now, we are crying, because we are trying to break free and we don’t know how.

Any battered woman in America, any oppressed person around the globe who has defied her oppressor will tell you this: There is nothing wrong with you. You are in good company. You are safe. You are not alone. You are strong. You must change only one thing: stop responding to the abuser. Don’t let him dictate the terms or frame the debate (he’ll win, not because he’s right, but because force works). Sure, we can build a better grassroots campaign, cultivate and raise up better leaders, reform the election system to make it failproof, stick to our message, learn from the strategy of the other side. But we absolutely must dispense with the notion that we are weak, godless, cowardly, disorganized, crazy, too liberal, naive, amoral, “loose”, irrelevant, outmoded, stupid and soon to be extinct. We have the mandate of the world to back us, and the legacy of oppressed people throughout history.

Even if you do everything right, they’ll hit you anyway. Look at the poor souls who voted for this nonsense. They are working for six dollars an hour if they are working at all, their children are dying overseas and suffering from lack of health care and a depleted environment and a shoddy education. And they don’t even know they are being hit.

Howard Dean for DNC

While I supported another canidate in the primaries I still respected Howard Dean's energy and more importantly the fact that he had a political backbone. I think someone with his voice and his grass roots support would make him an excellent DNC chairman. Evidently Governor Vilsack has pulled himself out of the running for DNC chairman which means there is an excellent opportunity to get a genuine reformer that will fight for our "Values".

More information on the effort to draft Howard Dean for DNC chair can be found here.

Michael Kinsley - It Hurts, but Don't Stop It Hurts, but Don't Stop: "
It Hurts, but Don't Stop

By Michael Kinsley

Sunday, November 21, 2004; Page B07

Has there ever before been a war that so many people disapproved of but so few wanted to stop? Have the reasons for starting a war ever been so thoroughly discredited without turning into reasons for ending it?

The Vietnam-era antiwar movement had an agenda: Bring the troops home. Or, in two words -- suitable for a picket sign or a T-shirt -- 'Out now.' ('Out,' children, meant something different back then, but liberals were in favor of it just the same.) What seems to be today's antiwar position -- it was a terrible mistake and it's a terrible mess, but we can't just walk away from it -- was actually the pro-war position during the Vietnam era. In fact, it was close to official government policy for more than half the length of that war.

Today's antiwar cause doesn't even have a movement to speak of, let alone an agenda. It consists of perhaps 47 percent of the citizenry -- the ones who voted for John Kerry -- who are in some kind of existential opposition to the war but aren't doing much about it and aren't very clear about what they would like to see happen. Meanwhile, American soldiers die by the hundreds and Iraqis -- military and civilian -- by the thousands in a cause these people (and I'm one of them) believe to be a horrible mistake.

Kerry spent months untangling the knots of his Iraq position while tangling new ones even faster. He pounded George W. Bush over the phantom weapons of mass destruction and he mocked Bush's confusion of Osama bin Laden with Saddam Hussein. Kerry said that Bush's invasion of Iraq was "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." So was he in favor of ending it? No, his position was that he would try, but not promise, to bring the troops home in four years. Four years! American involvement in World War II lasted 3 1/2. Bush had a good point when he wondered how, as commander in chief, Kerry could ask American soldiers to die for the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. Of course, that problem does not vindicate Bush's belief that Iraq II is the right war in the right etc. But Bush's apparently sincere belief -- protected by his thick skull from all the winds of reality that contradict it -- does relieve him from needing to explain why he doesn't want the war to end now.

Kerry's studiously confused position was not, or not just, a politician stratagem. It was an accurate reflection of the views of his constituency. Most of them deplore the war, but only a tiny fraction favor an immediate pullout. Anyone who opposes the war but isn't ready to demand peace needs to answer the question "Why on Earth not?"

There are answers, possibly even adequate answers. But none of them shines with the kind of obvious truth that makes the question unnecessary, let alone uninteresting, which is how it is being treated. The answers fall in two categories, each associated with a secretary of state.

The Henry Kissinger answer is, in a word, credibility. A superpower that announces a goal and gives up without achieving it will not be super for long. In the end, Nixon and Kissinger added five years to the length of the Vietnam War, and we lost it anyway. Did that add to our superpower credibility? Well, maybe. In the Kissingerian world of high strategy, a reputation for pigheaded stupidity can be almost as valuable as a reputation for wise persistence. What could be more credible than a reputation for staying the course no matter how disastrous it turns out to be?

The Colin Powell answer goes by the nickname "Pottery Barn," referring to the alleged policy of that purveyor of yupware that "if you break it, you own it." In fact, Pottery Barn's breakage policy is much kinder and gentler than that. But it's certainly true that a well-brought-up foreign policy doesn't occupy a country, wreck it and move on like a rock band checking out of a hotel room. The question is whether we're actually helping to tidy up or only making a bigger mess.

The lead headline in last Monday's Los Angeles Times was "Iraqi City Lies in Ruins." That would be Fallujah, a metro area of 300,000 people that many Americans had never heard of until we felt impelled to destroy it. And our reasons were neither trivial nor contemptible. They followed with confident logic from the premise that Saddam Hussein was an intolerable danger to the United States. If so, he had to be taken down. And if that destabilized the country, we had to occupy it for a while and calm it down. And you can't run a national occupation with rebels occupying a major city, so you have to besiege the city and kill a lot of people and leave the place "in ruins."

An American general in Vietnam famously said, "We had to destroy the village to save it." This has become the definitive expression of the macabre futility of war. Last week we destroyed an entire city to save it (progress!), but our capacity to find that sort of thing ironic seems to have become shriveled and harmless.

The writer is editorial and opinion editor of the Los Angeles Times.

David Cole - Taking Liberties

Taking Liberties

Taking Liberties


[from the December 6, 2004 issue of The Nation]

Cabinet nominees are not known for going out on a limb. So when White House counsel Alberto Gonzales intoned at the press conference announcing his nomination to be Attorney General that "the American people expect and deserve a Department of Justice guided by the rule of law," observers could be forgiven for suppressing a yawn. Except that in this day and age, a Justice Department guided by the rule of law is a positively revolutionary concept. Under the leadership of John Ashcroft, the department has spent the past three years treating the rule of law as at best an inconvenient obstacle, at worst a source of nitpicking that "only aids terrorists."

So, restoring the rule of law to the halls of Justice would be a great idea. But is Alberto Gonzales really the man to do it? A review of his record suggests that he has not shown any particular fealty to the rule of law, and has, in fact, been at the forefront of Administration efforts to subvert it.

Start with the fact that in the internal Administration debates over how to try terrorists--which as White House counsel he coordinated--Gonzales makes Ashcroft look like a voice of reason. According to a detailed behind-the-scenes account by Tim Golden for the New York Times, Ashcroft advocated trying terrorists in the criminal justice system and warned that the procedures for military tribunals would be seen as "draconian." Gonzales sided with the extremists. He urged military tribunals, disfavored any civilian participation and even opposed giving defendants a presumption of innocence. Those views prompted objections within the Administration, from military and State Department lawyers, Secretary of State Colin Powell, even National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Gonzales's response? He reportedly kept them out of the loop, leaving the real decision-making to an inner core of Federalist Society conservatives.

In January 2002 Gonzales wrote a memo to the President arguing that Geneva Convention protections should not extend to the prisoners at Guantánamo. Gonzales wrote that in the war on terror, the Geneva Conventions are "obsolete" and "quaint" and would impede the interrogation of enemy combatants. It is only a few short steps down the slippery slope from that view to the torture US agents have inflicted on detainees in Iraq, Guantánamo and elsewhere.

One giant step down that slope may have been the infamous "torture memo" of August 1, 2002. Gonzales didn't write this one--it was drafted by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel--but he's the only person on the "To" line, which means he must have requested it. Its clear intent is to evade the mandates of federal criminal law and international treaties banning torture. According to the memo, detainees may be threatened with death, as long as it's not imminent death, and may be subjected to physical pain, as long as it's less than that which accompanies "serious physical injury, such as organ failure." Perhaps most troubling, it argues that the President cannot be bound by laws forbidding torture, because that would "violate the Constitution's sole vesting of the commander-in-chief authority" in him.

When the torture memo was leaked in the summer of 2004, in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal, Gonzales denounced it as "irrelevant and unnecessary." But why didn't Gonzales do so when he first received the memo nearly two years earlier? Why did it find its way almost verbatim into a Pentagon memo on interrogations six months later? And why did he request the memo in the first place? Until these questions are answered, the rule of law will not be restored.

The reasons to question Gonzales's commitment to the rule of law do not stop at his role in combating terror. Gonzales previously served as counsel to then-Governor Bush in Texas, and in that capacity had the unenviable task of advising the governor on whether to exercise his pardon power with respect to upcoming executions. During his tenure, Gonzales wrote memos and briefed the governor on fifty-seven executions. In every case, Bush let the execution go forward. Alan Berlow obtained and reviewed Gonzales's memos, which served as the basis for Bush's decisions, and wrote for The Atlantic Monthly that they "repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, even actual evidence of innocence." No decision is more important than whether to put a person to death (although whether to torture him surely comes close), yet Gonzales's memos consistently left out the best arguments for favoring life. Much as he did during the formulation of the tribunal policy, Gonzales screened out dissenting views.

Senator Charles Schumer has said that Gonzales is "a better candidate than John Ashcroft." But that's a pretty low standard. Wouldn't it be better to take Gonzales at his word, and ask whether he can restore the rule of law? Nowhere has that value suffered more than in the Administration's policies on the detention, interrogation and torture of prisoners of war. How is a man who made Ashcroft appear moderate on those issues going to restore what Ashcroft has torn asunder?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

S.P.E.A.K. to sponsor film series at MSSU


SPEAK student group will present a series of three acclaimed films about issues of war and peace. Each will be shown at 7:00 PM in Matthews Hall Auditorium on the campus of Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.

On December 2nd will be Errol Morris' Academy Award-winning documentary "The Fog of War" (2004). Morris interviews Robert McNamara, Secretary of State for the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, regarding U.S. policy toward Vietnam.

On December 9th will be classic Russian film "Ballad of a Soldier" (1960) with English subtitles. This is the fictional story of a Russian soldier in World War II who is on leave to visit his mother, but is delayed by encounters with the effects of the war on his country and people.

Finally, on December 16th will be award-winning journalist John Pilger's 2003 documentary "Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror." Pilger searches for the realities behind the rhetoric surrounding the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, through interviews with Bush administration officials and coverage on the ground in Afghanistan. The Guardian (UK) says this film "should be required viewing in every home, school and office."

The public is welcome to all showings, and there is no admission charge.

"We hope to encourage students and community members to consider different perspectives on war," says Tegan Blackwood, secretary.

SPEAK (Students for Peace Education, Action and Knowledge) is a secular, non-partisan registered student organization at Missouri Southern State University. SPEAK's mission is to promote peaceful resolution of armed conflict worldwide through means including public protest and educational activities.

For more information contact: Students for Peace Education, Action and Knowledge, Tegan Blackwood, Secretary

Guessing Game

Did Karl Rove or Adolf Hitler say the following?

Just as a man's denominational orientation is the result of upbringing, and only the religious need as such slumbers in his soul, the political opinion of the masses represents nothing but the final result of an incredibly tenacious and thorough manipulation of their mind and soul.