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three_sixty
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« on: May 24, 2005, 03:26:30 PM »

http://www.nwowatcher.com/ebooks/The%20Best%20Democracy%20Money%20Can%20Buy%20-%20By%20Greg%20Palast.pdf

Pat Robertson, General Pinochet, Pepsi-Cola and the Anti-Christ:

Special Investigative Reports Papers fly out of filing cabinets and land on my desk. Voices whisper phone numbers of corporate, government, even church, insiders. People talk and my tape recorder happens to be rolling. I guess I’m a lucky guy. I’ve tried to carry over to journalism the techniques of in-depth investigation I used in gathering intelligence for government racketeering cases. While there’s the cloak-and-dagger fun stuff (setting up false front organizations as I did for the Observer in the Lobbygate sting), most of it involves hours, days and weeks lost in piles of technical and financial papers. Glamorous it ain’t. It is expensive and time-consuming—not exactly attractive to editors for whom Quick and Cheap are matters of principle, both professional and personal. Bless those editors who’ve tolerated my deviant journalistic behaviour. Almost all the stuff in this book is “investigative”, that is, revealing information the subjects of the stories assumed and hoped had been well hidden. These reports were a bit more difficult to tease out, especially when the subject of one, through divine communication, learned that I was a correspondent for a newspaper, the Observer, founded by an agent of Lucifer. But I knew that already.

Sympathy for the Banker: Anti-Christ Inc. and the Last Temptation of Pat Robertson In May 1999, the oldest financial enterprise in the English-speaking world, the Bank of Scotland, decided to launch into the cyber-future with the largest-ever telephone and Internet bank operation, to be based in the US. Their choice of partner and chairman for the enterprise, US televangelist ‘Reverend’ Pat Robertson, scandalized a few Britons. The United Kingdom’s business elite could dismiss objections with a knowing condescension.

To them, Robertson was just another Southern-ftled Elmer Gantry bigot with a slick line of LordyJesus hoodoo who could hypnotize a couple of million American goobers into turning over their bank accounts to the savvy Scots. I had a different view of the Reverend Pat. For years, I’d kept tabs on the demi-billionaire media mogul who had chosen one president of the United States and would choose another... and who left a scent of sulphur on each of his little-known investments from China to the Congo.

The Feds were already on his case, but I could speak to insiders in the born-again Christian community once high in Reverend Pat’s billiondollar religious-commercialpolitical empire, who would never talk to officialdom. Most difficult was convincing the Reverend’s protectors to let me speak directly to The ‘Doctor” (as they call him) at his compound in Virginia; and once there, getting my wire through the metal detector. (‘Officer, could you please hold my cigarette lighter?”) While some Britons could not fathom why the Bank of Scotland chose Robertson, I was more surprised that Robertson chose the Scots. He had, in fact, written a great deal about that Presbyterian-run finance house. In Robertson’s darkly woven universe, the Bank of Scotland was the manifestation on earth of the Spirit of the Anti-Christ. It’s time someone told you the truth. There is an Invisible Cord easily traced from the European bankers who ordered the assassination of President Lincoln to German Illuminati and the “communist rabbi” who is the precise connecting link to Karl Marx, the Trilateral Commission, the House of Morgan and the British bankers who, in turn, funded the Soviet KGB. This is the “tightly knit cabal whose goal is nothing less than a new order for the human race under the domination of Lucifer”.

If you don’t know about the Invisible Cord, then you have not read New World Order by Dr Marion “Pat” Robertson, chairman of the Bank of Scotland’s new American consumer bank holding company. Interestingly, the Scottish bank’s biography of Robertson failed to mention New World Order, the 1991 bestseller which a Wall Street Journal review uncharitably described as written by “a paranoid pinhead with a deep distrust of democracy”. There is so much the Bank of Scotland forgot to include in their profile of Dr Robertson that it is left to the Observer to properly introduce this man of wealth and taste. The bank, for example, failed to note that Dr Robertson is best known to Americans as the leader of the 1.2 million-strong ultra-right political front, Christian Coalition. It may seem a bit odd for the Bank of Scotland to choose as their spokesman a man widely feared by many in the target market as America’s own Ian Paisley. But the Bank of Scotland says it is not concerned with Dr Robertson’s religious beliefs. Nor, apparently, is Dr Robertson concerned with theirs. He has called Presbyterians, members of Scotland’s established Church, “the spirit of the Anti-Christ”. What would entice the Bank of Scotland to join up with a figure described by one unkind civil liberties organization as “the most dangerous man in America”? Someone more cynical than me might suspect that the Bank of Scotland covets Dr Robertson’s fiercely loyal following of two million conspiracy wonks and Charismatic Evangelicals. A former business partner of Robertson’s explained The Reverend’s hypnotic pull on their wallets: “These people believe he has a hot-line to God. They will hand him their life savings.” Robertson drew believers to his other commercial ventures. “People remortgaged their homes to invest in his businesses,” the insider told me. If he did use his ministry to promote his business, this would cross several legal boundaries. In an exclusive interview with the Observer, Dr Robertson swore to me he will keep bank commerce, Christianity and the Coalition completely separate. But our look into the Robertson empire, including interviews with his former and current business associates, reveals a hidden history of mixing God, gain and Republican campaign. Not all has been well concealed. Tax and regulatory authorities have tangled for decades with his supposedly non-partisan operations.

The combination of Christianity and cash has made Dr Robertson a man whose net worth is estimated at somewhere between $200 million and $1 billion. He himself would not confirm his wealth except to tell me that his share in the reported $50 million start-up investment in the bank deal is too small for him to have taken note of the sum. Neil Volder, president of Robertson’s financial business and future CEO of the bank venture, emphasizes Robertson’s selflessly donating to his church 65-75 per cent of his salary as head of International Family Entertainment. I was surprised: that amounted to only a few hundred thousand dollars yearly, pocket change for a man of Dr Robertson’s means. There was also, says Volder, the $7 million he gave to “Operation Blessing” to help alleviate the woes of refugees fleeing genocide in Rwanda. Or did he? Robertson’s press operation puts the sum at only $1.2 million—and even that amount could not be corroborated. More interesting is how 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” purchased planes to shuttle medical supplies in and out of the refugee camp in Goma, Congo (then Zaire). However, investigative reporter Bill Sizemore of the Virginian-Pilot discovered that, except for one medical flight, the planes were used to haul heavy equipment for something called the African Development Corporation, a diamond mining operation distant from Goma. African Development is owned by Pat Robertson. Did Robertson know about the diversion of the relief planes? According to the pilots’ records, he himself flew on one plane ferrying equipment to his mines. One of Robertson’s former business partners speaking on condition of confidentiality told me that, although he often flew with Dr Robertson in the minister’s jet, he never saw Robertson crack open a Bible or seek private time for prayer. “He always had the Wall Street Journal open and Investors’ Daily.” But on the Congo flight, Robertson did pray. The pilot’s diary notes, “Prayer for diamonds”. Volder told me that Robertson’s diverting the planes for diamond mining was actually carrying out God’s work. The planes, he asserts, proved unfit for hauling medicine, so Robertson salvaged them for the diamond hunt which, if successful, would have “freed the people of the Congo from lives of starvation and poverty”. None the less, the Virginia State Attorney General opened an investigation of “Operation Blessing”.

Volder asserts that Robertson was “not trying to earn a profit, but to help people”. As it turned out, he did neither. The diamond safari went bust, as did Robertson’s ventures in vitamin sales and multi-level marketing. These disastrous investments added to his losses in oil refining, the money pit of the Founders Inn Hotel, his jet leasing fiasco and one of England’s classier ways of burning money, his buying into Laura Ashley Holdings (he was named a director). One cannot term a demi-billionaire a poor businessman but, excepting the media operations handed him by his non-profit organization, Robertson the “entrepreneur” seems to have trouble keeping enterprises off the rocks. Outside the media, Robertson could not cite for me any commercial success. Undeniably, Dr Robertson is a master salesman. To this I can attest after joining the live audience in Virginia Beach for 700 Club, his daily television broadcast. That week, he was selling miracles. Following a mildly bizarre “news” segment, Dr Robertson shut his eyes and went into a deep trance. After praying for divine assistance for his visions, he announced, “There is somebody who has cancer of the intestines... God is healing that right now and you will live!... Somebody called Michael has a deep chest cough... God is healing you right now! “ It is not clear why the Lord needs the intervention of an expensive cable TV operation to communicate to Michael. But more intriguing theological issues are raised by the program hosts’ linking miracles to donations made to Robertson’s organization, In a taped segment, a woman’s facial scars healed after her sister joined the 700 Club (for the required donation of $20 per month).

“She didn’t realize how close to her contribution a miracle would arrive.” It ended, “Carol was so grateful God healed her sister, she increased her pledge from the 700 Club to the 1000 Club.” The miracles add up. In 1997, Christian Broadcast Network, Robertson’s “ministry”, took in $164 million in donations plus an additional $34 million in other income. Earlier tidal waves of tax-deductible cash generated by this daily dose of holiness and hostility paid for the cable television network which was sold in 1990 to Rupert Murdoch, along with the old sit-coms that filled the nonreligious broadcast hours, for $1.82 billion. Seven years prior to the sale of this media bonanza, the tax-exempt group “spun it off” to a for-profit corporation whose controlling interest was held by Dr Robertson. Lucky Pat. Robertson donated hundreds of millions of dollars from the Murdoch deal to both Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) and CBN (now Regent) University. That still left Robertson burdened with heavy load of cash to carry through the eye of the needle. In his younger days, Robertson gave up worldly wealth to work in the Black ghettos of New York, But, says a former Coalition executive, “Pat’s changed.” She noted that he gave up his ordination as a Baptist minister in 1988. (He is still called, incorrectly, “Reverend” by the media.) His change in 1988 was accelerated when, says another associate, his former TV co-host Danuta Soderman Pfeiffer, “he was ensnared by the idea that God called him to run for president of the United States”.
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three_sixty
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2005, 03:28:32 PM »

continued . . .

The 1988 run for the Oval Office began with Robertson’s announcing his endorsement by Highest Authority. It was not some quixotic adventure. The losing race generated a mailing list of three million sullen Americans of the heartland whose rage was given voice by Robertson forming, out of defeat, the Christian Coalition. Some say he ran just to generate the list, and Volder offers that this may have been, in fact, the Lord’s stratagem. These mailing lists, like the CBN lists, are worth their weight in gold. Robertson swore they would not be used in for the banking business. To dip into the Christian lists uncompensated to promote the new bank would breach the law.

But abuse of these lists lies at the heart of charges by ex-partners with whom I spoke. The IRS opened an investigation of the doctor’s use of lists, but had not been able to obtain statements from some witnesses willing to speak with the Observer.

Two former top executives in the for-profit operations who have never previously spoken to the media state that Robertson personally directed use of both the tax-exempt religious group’s lists and the “educational” Christian Coalition lists to build what became Kalo-Vita, the pyramid sales enterprise which sold vitamins and other products. (Kalo-Vita collapsed in 1992 due to poor management amid lawsuits charging deception.)

A former officer of the company alleges some operations were funded, without compensation, including offices, phones and secretarial help, by the ministry. When insiders questioned Robertson’s using viewers’ donations for a personal enterprise, Robertson produced minutes of Board meetings that characterized as “loans” the start-up capital obtained from CBN. According to insiders not all Board members were made aware of these meetings until months after they were supposedly held. Dr Robertson’s spokesman responds that they are unfamiliar with the facts of the allegation.
The executives were also alarmed about Dr Robertson’s preparing to use the 20,000-strong and growing Kalo-Vita sales force as “an organizational structure to back his political agenda”-and partisan ambitions. (US federal investigators never got wind of this alleged maneuver.)

The US Federal Election Commission had already charged Dr Robertson’s groups with misusing the Christian Coalition lists. Federal courts are reviewing internal documents including a September 15, 1992, memo from the Coalition’s then president, Ralph Reed. The Observer obtained a copy of the memo from Reed to the coordinator of President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign which says Pat Robertson “is prepared to assist... [by] the distribution of 40 million voter guides... This is a virtually unprecedented level of cooperation and assistance... from Christian leaders.” Unprecedented and illegal, says the FEC, which sued the Christian Coalition, technically a tax exempt educational corporation, for channelling campaign support worth tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates. The action is extraordinary because it was brought by unanimous vote of the bipartisan commission which cited, among other things, the Coalition’s favoring Colonel Ollie North with copies of its lists for North’s failed run for the US Senate.

Records subpoenaed from the Christian Coalition contain a set of questions and answers concocted by the Coalition and the Republican Party for a staged 1992 “interview” with Bush broadcast on the 700 Club. This caught my eye first, because it appears to constitute a prohibited campaign commercial and second, because Robertson months earlier claimed Bush was “unwittingly carrying out the mission of Lucifer”. With Bush running behind Bill Clinton, Robertson must have decided to stick with the devil he knew.

But the government will never see the most incriminating documents. Judy Liebert, formerly Chief Financial Officer for the Christian Coalition, told me she was present when Coalition President Reed personally destroyed documents subpoenaed by the government. Also, when Liebert learned that the Coalition had printed Republican campaign literature (illegal if true), she discovered that the evidence, contained in the hard drive of her computer, had been removed. Indeed, the entire hard drive had been mysteriously pulled from her machine-but not before she had made copies of the files.
When Liebert complained to Robertson about financial shenanigans at the Coalition, “Pat told me I was ‘unsophisticated’. Well, that is a strange thing for a Christian person to say to me.”

The Coalition has attacked Liebert as a disgruntled ex-employee whom they fired. She responded that she was sacked only after she went to government authorities-and after she refused an $80,000 severance fee that would have required her to remain silent about the Coalition and Robertson. The Feds, notes the Coalition, have never acted on Liebert’s charge of evidence tampering.

Little of this information has been reported in the press. Why? The three hour dog and pony show I was put through at the CBN-Robertson financial headquarters in Virginia Beach culminated in an hour-long diatribe by his CEO Voider about how Robertson was certain to sue any paper that did not provide what he called a “balanced” view. He boasted that by threatening use of Britain’s draconian libel laws and Robertson’s bottomless financial treasure chest, one of his lawyers “virtually wrote” a laudatory profile of Robertson in a UK newspaper. As in the days when the Inquisition required recalcitrants to view instruments of torture, I was made to understand in detail the devastation that would befall me if my paper did not report what was “expected” of me. This was said, like all the Robertson team’s damning anthems, in a sweet, soft Virginia accent.

Would Dr Robertson use his ministry’s following to promote the Bank of Scotland venture? Despite Robertson’s protests to the contrary, his banking chief Voider laid out a plan to reach the faithful, including appearances of bank members of the 700 Club, mailings to lists coincident with their own, and “infomercials” just after the religious broadcasts. This is just the type of mixing that has so upset the election commission and the Internal Revenue Service, which in 1998 retroactively stripped Christian Broadcasting of its tax-exempt status for 1986 and 1987.

I met Dr Robertson in his dressing room following his televised verbal intercourse with God. Robertson, though three hours under the spotlight, didn’t break a sweat. He peeled off his make-up while we talked international finance. Here was no hayseed huckster, but a worldly man of wealth and taste.
And, despite grimacing and grunts from Voider, Dr Robertson told me he could imagine tying his Chinese Internet firm (“The Yahoo of China,” he calls it) into the banking operation. Picking up Voider’s body shakes, Dr Robertson added, “Though I’m not supposed to talk about Internet banking.”
And he wasn’t supposed to mention China. His fellow evangelists are none too happy about his palling around with Zhu Rongi, the communist dictator who gleefully jails Christian ministers. Voider defends Dr Robertson’s friendship with Zhu (and association with deposed Congo strongman Mobutu) on the grounds that “Pat would meet with the Devil if that is only way to help suffering people.” The fact that the political connections assisted in obtaining diamond (Congo) and Internet concessions (China) is secondary.

The Bank of Scotland will be launched in the US through Dr Robertson’s accustomed routes: phone and mail solicitations. But once he hits the Net, with or without the Chinese, this bank deal will make Pat Robertson the biggest financial spider on the world wide web. Yet, his choosing the Bank of Scotland as his partner is surprising because, until this year, Dr Robertson boasted of his English, not Scottish, heritage. Moreover, in New World Order, he singled out one institution in particular as the apotheosis of Satan’s plan for world domination, the British chartered central banks conceived by Scottish banker William Paterson: the Bank of England and Bank of Scotland.

Dr Robertson explains that Rothschild interests carried on the Paterson plan, financing diamond mines in Africa which, in turn, funded the satanic secret English Round Table directed by Lord Milner, editor of the Observer (Ah-Ha!) a century ago. Furthermore, the Scottish banker’s charter became the pattern for the US Federal Reserve Board, a diabolic agency created and nurtured by the US Senate Finance Committee whose chairman was the evil Money Trust’s dependable friend, Senator A. Willis Robertson-Pat Robertson’s father.
That’s right. Pat is the scion of the New World Order, who gave up its boundless privileges to denounce it.
Or did he?

I had done some research on the Anti-Christ. How would we recognize him? How would the Great Deceiver win over Godfearing Christians? What name would he use? As I drove away from the chapel-TV studio-university-ministry banking complex, I realized I’d forgotten to ask a key question. Why does the ex-Reverend go by the name “Pat”-not his Christian name, Marion? It struck me that “Pat Robertson” is an obvious anagram for the Devil’s agent, Paterson of the Scottish bank. My silly thoughts piled higher, fuelled by staying up all night to finish New World Order. Suddenly, like Robertson, I too had a vision of an Invisible Cord that went from Lucifer to Illuminati to Scottish bankers to African diamonds to the Senate Finance Committee to Communist Dictators to the world wide web... Ridiculous, I know, but strangely, though I thought I’d turned off the radio, it continued to play that damned Rolling Stones song,

Pleased to meet you!
Hope you’ve guessed my name...

from : http://www.nwowatcher.com/ebooks/The%20Best%20Democracy%20Money%20Can%20Buy%20-%20By%20Greg%20Palast.pdf
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starshyne
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2005, 07:41:39 PM »

A Chicken in Every Plot
Eternally linked: Lynndie England, chicken-stomping, human-stomping, predatory lending, Bush campaign cash, the Dobsons, and the National Day of Prayer


Pilgrim's Pride

God-fearin': Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim (left) and one of the many creatures he kills for Christ

Lynndie England's life has degenerated into little more than a double-wide soap opera. But before you wash your hands of her, feast on this link between her and last week's holier-than-thou National Day of Prayer—and to the Bush campaign chest and predatory lending. Connect the dots and you'll see there's a chicken in every plot:

• Before enlisting in the Army, the Abu Ghraib poster girl worked in a chicken-processing plant an hour's drive from her Fort Ashby, West Virginia, trailer, according to USA Today.

• The most popular such plant for Fort Ashby residents—it's exactly 59 minutes away, according to MapQuest—is the huge Pilgrim's Pride chicken-processing complex in Moorefield, West Virginia.

• In July 2004, PETA released a video— secretly shot inside the Pilgrim's Pride plant in Moorefield—that showed murder most fowl:

Workers were caught on video stomping on chickens, kicking them, and violently slamming them against floors and walls. Workers also ripped the animals’ beaks off, twisted their heads off, spat tobacco into their eyes and mouths, spray-painted their faces, and squeezed their bodies so hard that the birds expelled feces—all while the chickens were still alive.
This stomach-turning stuff—and its link to England's home state—was noted at the time by several bloggers, including those on Digestible News.

Say, that "stomping" sounds familiar. I wrote about that technique last summer in "You Flinched!"—an item about testimony from an Abu Ghraib soldier.

Also last summer, Princeton ethicist Peter Singer made the connection between the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the torture of chickens at Moorefield. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece he co-wrote (and that was re-posted by Dangerous Citizen), Singer noted:

The sickening images echo the snapshots and videotapes that found their way out of another inhumane facility: Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

In both Baghdad and Moorefield, W.Va., a simple cruel dynamic was at work. When humans have unchecked power over those they see as inferior, they may abuse it. Slaughterhouse workers do not expect to be chastised for hurting animals. And the American soldiers at Abu Ghraib clearly did not expect punishment, or they would not have posed for photographs. In both instances, laws or treaties that should have protected against the abuses were unknown or ignored. That is not surprising: Where much abuse is allowed, the protections that do exist are unlikely to be taken seriously.

The Department of Justice has considered in detail when prisoners in the war on terror may be exempt from the humane protections of the Geneva Convention. The government has long since made that leap with animals. Chickens, for example, are exempt from the U.S. Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
Singer didn't mention Lynndie England, but I'll bet she didn't treat chickens any better than she treated Iraqis.

• Pilgrim's Pride is the second largest chicken producer in the country. Here's how Reuters (through Yahoo's page on the company) puts it:

During fiscal year ended October 2, 2004 (fiscal 2004), the company sold 5.3 billion pounds of dressed chicken and 310.2 million pounds of dressed turkey and generated net sales of $5.4 billion.
Its profit margins were gross:

For the 26 weeks ended 4/2/05, revenues rose 13% to $2.74 billion. Net income totaled $104.9 million, up from $43.2 million. Revenues reflect an increase in chicken sales. Net income also reflects an increase in gross profit margins.
• Operating out of the Pilgrim's Pride home office in Pittsburg, Texas, the company's owner, Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim (see photo), is one of the country's major individual donors to George W. Bush and the Republican Party. He was a "Minor League Pioneer" for Bush in 2000 and a "Major League Pioneer" for Bush in 2004, according to Texans for Public Justice.

Recall the company's history: In 2002, TPJ reminds us, Pilgrim's Pride recalled 27 million pounds of meat after one of its plants was thought to be the source of "a listeria outbreak that killed eight people, caused three miscarriages, and hospitalized dozens of victims." Heavily fined by environmental regulators for illegally discharging massive amounts of chicken shit and other filth, Pilgrim's Pride was at the same time "the 10th largest recipient of federal agricultural subsidies from 1995 through 2002," adds TPJ.

• Bo Pilgrim wears his fundamentalist Christianity on his sleeve and on his butcher's apron. As Marv Knox of the Baptist Standard quoted him as saying in 2002:

There's no doubt that God wanted me to exemplify being a Christian businessman. I have that feeling, and I am forever conscious of that. I'll go out and make lots of talks around the country. There's where I give Jesus credit for everything I am.
Start of digression: Knox tried to get Pilgrim to solve an age-old puzzle. Here's the exchange:

Knox: With all your history in chickens, do you know why the chicken crossed the road?

Pilgrim: I wish I could give you the answer. I guess everybody has a different answer, but I never really coined an answer for why the chicken crossed the road.
End of digression.

• Last year, Bo Pilgrim, who controls more than 60 percent of his huge, publicly traded company, put Keith W. Hughes on its board of directors.

Hughes was the CEO of Associates First Capital, a subprime lender accused of predatory lending.

Associates First was so notorious that in 2000, the giant company's last year of independent existence, the United Methodist Church's pension fund, the Priests of Sacred Heart, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word brought a shareholders resolution to try to get the company to investigate itself for predatory lending and clean up its act. The resolution failed.

The government's case against Associates First was settled only after Citigroup swallowed Hughes's company and coughed up $215 million to the Federal Trade Commission to pay off 2 million former customers. At the time of the 2002 settlement, it was the largest in FTC history.

• Last Thursday (May 5), George W. Bush hosted the annual National Day of Prayer ceremony in the East Room of the White House. The first speaker was Shirley Dobson, wife of right-wing radio evangelist James Dobson. Shirley Dobson is also chairman of the National Day of Prayer—yes, she calls herself "chairman" and "Mrs. Shirley Dobson."

After the choir stopped singing, Shirley Dobson stepped to the microphone in the White House, fawned over the Bushes for a little bit and officially launched the National Day of Prayer. (You can watch her performance, and Bush's speech, on the White House site.)

Millions of Americans, she said, "will seek the grace of God" today. She added:

For example, Pilgrim's Pride, one of America's largest producers of chicken products, is holding prayer observances in 56 of its facilities in 17 countries.
It was the only company she mentioned. (She did say that 150,000 people were supposed to gather at Daytona Beach Speedway to try to crash the pearly gates. Yee-haw!)

With the saccharine tone and sing-song cadence of a beauty pageant contestant's spiel, she praised Pilgrim's Pride but scolded the rest of us.



White House

Deserving of God's wrath: Shirley Dobson and Bush at the 2001 National Day of Prayer service


That scolding stuff is a familiar rap by the right-wing Christians—it's all explained by Shirley Dobson on her "Prayerfully Yours" page of the National Day of Prayer website:

As sinners saved by grace we must realize not only that we don't deserve God's favor, but that we do deserve His wrath! The miracle of God's grace is that He extends mercy to us in spite of our wickedness and rebellion against Him. Put another way, "mercy" is not getting what we deserve, and "grace" is getting what we don't deserve.

We need not look very far to see that our country stands in desperate need of God's healing touch. We have killed over 40 million babies since 1973, and saturated ourselves and our children with pornography and filth. We have numbed ourselves with drugs and alcohol, and taught our kids that premarital sex is a good thing if it is simply done right. We have pursued materialism and false security, while ignoring the Architect of our souls.

As a nation, we have rebelled against the Creator. Our culture is steeped in immorality and self-sufficiency and is growing increasingly hostile toward religious expression.
Self-sufficiency? Have we fallen that far?

I know some chickens that could use "God's healing touch." But anyway, back to the White House. To her audience in the East Room, Mrs. Shirley Dobson toned it down a little bit, saying that her dictionary defines "grace" as something that's "undeserved," and adding:

Almighty God continues to bless America despite the fact that we corporately and individually have turned our backs on Him in many ways.

But our Creator is patient with us, granting His favor and forbearance even though we don't deserve it.
Speak for yourself, Mrs. America.

The president, of course, is a key part of any Christian puppet show. When Bush took the microphone, he smiled at the Dobsons and said:

I want to thank Shirley Dobson, the chairman of the National Day of Prayer. Thank you for organizing this event and thank you for your wonderful comments.
Why did the chicken cross the road? To escape from these religious nuts. The rest of us humans could also use a wing and a prayer.

Posted by Harkavy at 06:27 PM, May 10, 2005

http://villagevoice.com/blogs/bushbeat/archive/000923.php
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three_sixty
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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2005, 01:14:38 PM »

from an interview with Scott Ritter:

http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/21631/

"So you believe the neocons are elitist parasites?

Yes, elitism is the perfect term.

Do you consider it localized or global elitism?

The neocons believe in what they think is a noble truth, power of the few, the select few. These are godless people who want power, nothing more. They do not have a country or an allegiance, they have an agenda. These people might hold American passports, but they are not Americans because they do not believe in the Constitution. They believe in the power of the few, not a government for or by the people. They are a few and their agenda is global.

. . .

[The Patriot Act] is simply the neocons putting their judicial agenda in place by other means.

The neocons have no interest in a responsible society; they simply used the conservatives as a vehicle to push an agenda to assault individual civil liberties.


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three_sixty
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2005, 01:17:04 PM »

http://alternet.org/story/15935

Second Principle: Power of Religion

According to Drury, Strauss had a "huge contempt" for secular democracy. Nazism, he believed, was a nihilistic reaction to the irreligious and liberal nature of the Weimar Republic. Among other neoconservatives, Irving Kristol has long argued for a much greater role for religion in the public sphere, even suggesting that the Founding Fathers of the American Republic made a major mistake by insisting on the separation of church and state. And why? Because Strauss viewed religion as absolutely essential in order to impose moral law on the masses who otherwise would be out of control.

At the same time, he stressed that religion was for the masses alone; the rulers need not be bound by it. Indeed, it would be absurd if they were, since the truths proclaimed by religion were "a pious fraud." As Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for Reason magazine points out, "Neoconservatives are pro-religion even though they themselves may not be believers."

"Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing,'' Drury says, because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that may promote dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. Bailey argues that it is this firm belief in the political utility of religion as an "opiate of the masses" that helps explain why secular Jews like Kristol in 'Commentary' magazine and other neoconservative journals have allied themselves with the Christian Right and even taken on Darwin's theory of evolution.
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2005, 01:27:59 PM »

I am trying to point out the fact that Christian fundamentalism is being USED by the ones in power, not so much because they BELIEVE in it, but more for its powerful sway on the minds of the people. I think it is VERY important to realize this differentiation. The neo-con philosophy's power is based on the fact that people will accept things at first based on their passionate beliefs - which for many with conservative values is based around the trappings of religion. An agenda wrapped up in the cloak of strategically created "moral" issues - as long as the SHELL corresponds with your constituency's cherished beliefs, you can tag along whatever draconian measures along with it and the people will accept it.

The way passionate beliefs are manipulated is exemplified with the Patriot Act which was passed on the heels of a dramatic event which altered the political climate to the point where the passionate beliefs of the people allowed for centralized control under the belief that it would protect them.

Similarly, right wing judges will be acceptable based on a cloak of "moral issues" - but their real purpose is to create a judicial system which allows private corporate interests a green light for anything they wish to accomplish.  

I feel many of the regular folk who voted for Bush on his "moral agenda" are simply being used for their ignorance, much the same way that the regular folk who were traumatized by Sept. 11 were used to pass measures which centralized power in the hands of a few people.

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three_sixty
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2005, 04:41:40 PM »

""An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda is less inclined to put up a fight -- ask questions and be skeptical. . . "

- Bill Moyers
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starshyne
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« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2005, 05:49:26 PM »

Three sixty, I agree with what you are saying about the ones in power not necessarily believing it, but pushing it more so for its powerful influence. They know that at the core “gods chosen people” care to keep hold of their elevated status, and that means being reverent about ethical issues , a chance to stand the higher ground with peacock feathers in array.  Not that it is necessarily that important in the whole scheme of things, but who do you mean when you say “They”? It seems that Bush very much believes it, like he is fighting the Armageddon along with getting paid big time for being one of the three horsemen. The spiel by Dobson on grace and mercy…..no matter how wicked….America is still the apple of God’s eye. This is the basis and justification of American action at home and abroad. This directly is talking of white privilege which is the underlying vibe of religious zeal; religion is a tool and symbol of the quest of white superiority. “God’s frozen people” in the Pilgrim chicken plant are a prime example, an outlet for the gnawing feeling of worthlessness….disconnectedness, is acted out through arrogance and brutal domination fueled by their days of prayer. Religion is not only a cloak for the neo-cons, but also for the participants in the neo-cons game. I am growing to have no sympathy for the thoughts of an indoctrinated people, a supposed unconscious people….white people are not necessarily all dumb. I feel that many people are conscious of what is going on, but choose to put it to side, because to admit to the atrocities and fallacies would be mean to confront the stark reality of white privilege.  Instead it is easier to go with the fast food version of reality, they get a better deal that way and it fills up the belly for the moment. I don’t feel the “fed only and made” vibe, for that dismisses responsibility and sets up a sort of victim vibe for those who have benefited. The powers that be no longer fear a Bacon’s Rebellion, the gap between the rich and poor can now take on the form they have always planned because of the ingrained vibe of white privilege will keep the masses from getting together. They have been most recently making big moves with furthering the gap between the rich and poor, privatizing public education, welfare reform, displaced jobs, etc….I feel a vibe that they are banking on a total collapse of the American dollar, and “poor” white people steeped in their arrogance and superiority complexes(justified by religion) are having the rug pulled out from beneath them, and only then may they the “indoctrinated and unconscious people”  listen to the voice that they have heard but intentionally put to the side, and its too late.
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three_sixty
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2005, 06:04:19 PM »

Quote
that they are banking on a total collapse of the American dollar


* it seems you have answered your own question as to who is "they"

"The idea that the United States and similar societies are dominated by a decadent, postbourgeois "new class" was developed by thinkers in the Trotskyist tradition like James Burnham and Max Schachtman, who influenced an older generation of neocons. The concept of the "global democratic revolution" has its origins in the Trotskyist Fourth International's vision of permanent revolution. The economic determinist idea that liberal democracy is an epiphenomenon of capitalism, promoted by neocons like Michael Novak, is simply Marxism with entrepreneurs substituted for proletarians as the heroic subjects of history."

- http://www.cardinalcollective.com/blog/archives/2004/02/000754.html

* I think that is who we are talking about when we say "they." An uber class of ultra-wealthy who have gained a position at the apex through international finance and capital with the ability to "wag the dog."  

A parallel perhaps from history:

http://alandpeters.tripod.com/knightstemplarera1188to1312/id8.html
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