31 August 2010


There is a power that destroys. There is also a power that creates. The power that creates gives life and joy and peace. It is freedom and not bondage, life and not death, transformation and not coercion. The power that creates restores relationship and gives the gift of wholeness to all. The power that creates is spiritual power, the power that proceeds from God. - Richard Foster
from Money, Sex and Power


WITH all the BS about there being a Muslim in the WH (there is a really pathetic video making it's rounds on the net called 'BREAKING NEWS! - Is Barack Obama Really A Saudi / Muslim "Plant" in the White House?' I will not post it here, if you want to see it find it on You Tube) I thought it only fair to add a page to this blog on the Bush-Saudi connection. YOU might enjoy this little video about the special relationship these two families share.....

Thursday, Aug 19, 2010 15:30 ET Heroes, villains and cowards of the so-called "ground zero mosque" 19AUG10

Who's defended religious liberty, who's been too scared to, and who truly hates our founding principles? Video

Orrin Hatch Supports Building Of Park51: 'I'd Be The First To Stand Up For Their Rights' 31AUG10

HERE is a very courageous stand by a man I have next to nothing in common with politically, and I admire him for speaking out on this issue. Sen Orrin Hatch (R UT), thank you. This is from HuffPost and you can also read the article from ThinkProgress and watch the video of the interview.

ThinkProgress's Alex Seitz-Wald has video of Hatch giving an interview to Salt Lake City's Fox 13 News, in which he offers up soft-spoken yet strong support for the Cordoba Initiative's Park51 project in Manhattan.
HATCH: Let's be honest about it, in the First Amendment, religious freedom, religious expression, that really express matters to the Constitution. So, if the Muslims own that property, that private property, and they want to build a mosque there, they should have the right to do so. The only question is are they being insensitive to those who suffered the loss of loved ones? We know there are Muslims killed on 9/11 too and we know it's a great religion. I know a lot of Muslim people who I have a very great regard for, not the least of which is Muhammad Ali. He's a great friend of mine. But as far as their right to build that mosque, they have that right.
The question is, should they? Is it insensitive not to, in the eyes of the majority of New Yorkers? It's going to come down to New York and what New York decides to do.
Hatch went on to add that as a legal scholar, "I have the tendency, when it comes to religious liberty issues, to always uphold the rights of legitimate churches... I just think that what's made this country great is we have religious freedom. That's not the only thing, but it's one of the most important things in the Constitution."
Hatch has something of a personal stake in the matter as well, and he recalls an instance in which the late Senator Ted Kennedy lent a hand to get a Mormon temple built in Massachusetts, despite some local obstruction.
Hatch also seems to have a proper grasp of geography:
There's a question of whether it's too close to the 9/11 area, but it's a few blocks away, it isn't right there. Frankly, there are a lot of people who feel, including the mayor of New York, that they should have every right to do it, and that New Yorkers should support them...And there's a huge, I think, lack of support throughout the country for Islam to build that mosque there, but that should not make a difference if they decide to do it. I'd be the first to stand up for their rights.
It's probably worth your time to revisit Alex Pareene's compendium of the "Heroes, villains, and cowards of the so-called 'ground zero mosque,'" if only to be baffled by the people who haven't the guts to join Senator Hatch in standing up for some basic freedoms.

Sen. Orrin Hatch: 'I'd Be The First To Stand Up For Their Rights' To Build A Mosque Near Ground Zero [ThinkProgress]

Sen. Orrin Hatch: ‘I’d Be The First To Stand Up For Their Rights’ To Build A Mosque Near Ground Zero

While virtually every Republican and conservative leader has come out strongly against the construction of the proposed Park 51 Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York City, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) strongly defended the organizers’ right to build the center today, saying, “what made this country great is we have religious freedom.” In an interview with Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City, Hatch — who has long been a proponent of religious liberty — said it shouldn’t “make a difference” that the majority of Americans don’t support the center’s construction, because religious freedom is too important, and noted that the proposed site is actually “a few blocks away” from Ground Zero.
And countering those on the right who have implicated Islam in terrorism, or who have tried to paint it as anything less than a legitimate religion, Hatch said that “there are Muslims killed on 9/11 too,” and said, “we know [Islam is] a great religion”:
HATCH: Let’s be honest about it, in the First Amendment, religious freedom, religious expression, that really express matters to the Constitution. So, if the Muslims own that property, that private property, and they want to build a mosque there, they should have the right to do so. The only question is are they being insensitive to those who suffered the loss of loved ones? We know there are Muslims killed on 9/11 too and we know it’s a great religion.But as far as their right to build that mosque, they have that right.
I just think what’s made this country great is we have religious freedom. That’s not the only thing, but it’s one of the most important things in the Constitution. [...]
There’s a question of whether it’s too close to the 9/11 area, but it’s a few blocks away, it isn’t right there. … And there’s a huge, I think, lack of support throughout the country for Islam to build that mosque there, but that should not make a difference if they decide to do it. I’d be the first to stand up for their rights.
Watch it:

In defending Muslims’ right to build the community center, Hatch, who is Mormon, noted that his religion has faced its own opposition the building its houses of worship. Nonetheless, fellow Mormons like Fox News host Glenn Beck, and disappointingly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have come out against the mosque in New York. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is also Mormon, has been “noticeably absent” from the mosque debate

30 August 2010


THE thought of a day of Koran burning make me sick to my stomach. I know the vast majority of Americans are better than that, but the fact that it is happening is wrong. All I can picture in my mind is the orgy of book burning in Nazi Germany, especially books by Jewish authors and about Judaism, and then books by unionist, and Christians, and foreigners.....and then I can see Kristalnackt, and then the smoking chimneys of the death camps. The increasing violence in the language against Islam, and now this planned day of violence against the Koran, a holy book.....what will be next? What will it take to stop this growing hate, this hate that has no Christian scriptural basis or backing? I fear for the religious soul of our nation.

As September 11th approaches, a wave of anti-Muslim bigotry is sweeping the country.
No More Mosques Protestor
The religion "of the Devil" ... practiced by "animals of Allah" ... worshipping a "monkey-god"...
Messages of hatred and discrimination are polluting our public discourse as we approach the anniversary of 9/11.
This Muslim-bashing follows on the heels of a debate about the "Ground Zero Mosque." Comments from fearmongers have been deeply discriminatory-and completely disregard what's really at stake: our Constitutional values, fundamental rights, and national security.
Cynically using the 9/11 anniversary to vilify Islam and Muslims trivializes the real tragedy of 9/11-the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians.
We've gotten to the point that a small group in Florida is supporting a "Burn a Koran" event on September 11th-sponsored by a church, of all places. Left unchallenged, their message of hatred is heard loud and clear across the globe.
Where is the sense in this situation?
The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville Florida has posted on its website "10 Reasons to Burn a Koran." We're making our own list. Send us your top reason NOT to burn a Koran-we'll select the top 10 answers, post them on our website, and distribute them near and far to make sure that your voice is heard in this debate.
This misguided and violent rhetoric only harms us by alienating the communities whose cooperation is essential to effectively combat terrorism. Let's show the fearmongers and the world that Americans don't support this kind of hatred!
Human Rights First has been fighting discrimination and intolerance wherever it occurs, monitoring situations all over the world where bias turns into violence and finding ways to combat it. Help us push back on those who are delivering messages of hate.
Tad Stahnke
Director of Policy and Programs

28 August 2010




ON the day celebrating the 47th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' speech here is an article from Mother Jones celebrating the fact that we are getting closer to realizing the dream.....and I have also included Rev. King's speech (and added it to the Speeches page on this blog) I still get goosebumps when I listen to him give this speech. And be sure to check out the attached stories from MOJO.

Turning Westboro Church's Hate Into Charity (VIDEO)

| Wed Aug. 18, 2010 11:29 AM PDT

"What would happen if hate came to your town?"
It's a simple question. Four Richmond, Virginia, moms faced it last March, when they learned that Fred Phelps' roadshow of hate—the anti-gay, anti-Jew, anti-America, proto-nihilist Westboro Baptist Church—was headed to their town. The abusive Westies, who are famous for celebrating the funerals of fallen soldiers and intimidating grade schoolers, planned to bring their multi-colored signs and cuss-laden chants to four area sites: the Virginia Holocaust museum, the local Jewish Community Center, a Jewish day camp called the Jerusalem Connection, and the Straight-Gay Student Alliance at Hermitage High School.
How to resist such a movement? Counter-protests? Sure. Just make sure the anger and violence is all their side, not yours.
Singing? OK, it's worked before.
Blocking their access? Lord, no. The church "elders" are all attorneys, who live to sue and counter-sue everyone who challenges them, citing their First Amendment rights.
Anyway, all of these are ephemeral responses. The Westies come, 11-year-old hate-spewing child in tow, they say their piece, they get TV coverage, then they move on and do it again. A counter-protest is for one day. Westboro's hate goes on forever.
So Sarah Allen-Short, Jessica Lucia, Sara Heifetz, and Patience Salgado decided to do more. They harnessed Richmond residents' anti-Westboro frustrations to solicit donations for the targeted Jewish and LGBT organizations. The deal: Give a dollar for every minute WBC protests.
That was how Pennies in Protest started. They figured they'd get $1,000 or so. But by the time WBC blew out of town, 500 individuals had given more than $14,000. Their Facebook page had 3,000 fans. And people across the country were asking how to do it in their own communities.

Oh yeah, and WBC got drowned out by counter-protesters at every stop, too. And GayRVA, the local LGBT publication, made the four women their "Out.Spoken" Richmonders of the year.
"We're always trying to do better things in the world and this was just a no-brainer," Allen-Short told GayRVA. "It seemed like the only thing that's not complicated. It's not political, but I think that’s what was cool about it."
Now, these ladies can't drop their lives to follow WBC's hate-speech caravan all over the globe. So they did the next best thing: They started a website,, that explains their success story and how it can be duplicated by anyone anywhere. Fourteen easy steps show how to start a charity for kindness against hate.
But the best step of all? Step 13. It probably came naturally to group co-founder Salgado, who uses her blog, Kindness Girl, to chronicle "her adventures in what she calls 'Guerrilla Goodness'—from leaving Starbucks cards all over Carytown to writing inspiring messages in sidewalk chalk to students across the city on their first day of school."
Hence, Step 13:
It was important to us to let the Westboro Baptist Church know that the organizations they hate the most benefitted directly from their visit to our city. If they had never come here and chanted their hateful messages, our local community wouldn’t have donated $14,000 to local Jewish and LGBT organizations. They came here to harm our local Jewish and LGBT people, and their visit resulted in love and support.
So we made them a beautiful thank you note, and we mailed it to them.
This morning, Allen-Short sent me a note, too, on Twitter. But it's not really for me, it's for you: "WBC is headed to CA and NE next, so maybe some MoJo readers there will take up the cause. thx!"
Any takers?

I Have a Dream Speech - Address at March on Washington 28AUG63

Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream Speech

I Have a Dream Speech

Full text (transcribed from audio)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. *We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: "For Whites Only."* We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."¹

martin luther king I have a dream speech

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."²

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

martin luther king I have a dream speech

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!³

¹ Amos 5:24 (rendered precisely in The American Standard Version of the Holy Bible)

² Isaiah 40:4-5 (King James Version of the Holy Bible). Quotation marks are excluded from part of this moment in the text because King's rendering of Isaiah 40:4 does not precisely follow the KJV version from which he quotes (e.g., "hill" and "mountain" are reversed in the KJV). King's rendering of Isaiah 40:5, however, is precisely quoted from the KJV.

³ At:

External Link:

External Link:

Glenn Beck, Imam Rauf Both Denounced Radical Islam In 2006 (VIDEO) 23AUG10

The campaign to defend the controversial Islamic cultural center in downtown Manhattan continued on Monday even as the imam behind the project remained virtually silent and the group's communication shop remains understaffed and overwhelmed.
Several prominent progressive groups came to the aid of the the Islamic community center that would be built two blocks away from Ground Zero, publishing pieces and launching campaigns aimed at undercutting the project's chief critics.
The media watchdog group Media Matters highlighted a 2006 segment from ABC's "Good Morning America" in which Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and conservative TV host Glenn Beck discussed the need to separate moderate Islam from the extremist elements of the religion. Both Beck -- who has emerged as a leading critic of the imam's Cordoba House project -- and Rauf seem to be speaking with a shared voice on the need to elevate moderate Islamic elements. At one point, Beck appears to gesture toward Imam Rauf as he discusses the "good Muslims" who make up the "vast majority" of Islam's believers.

As Media Matters notes:
One of the loudest voices in conservatives' fight against the center has been Glenn Beck, who has specifically targeted Imam Rauf with blatant falsehoods and hypocritical attacks in a desperate attempt to smear him as a radical.
Additionally, among other offensive comments, Beck has asked, "after you've killed 3,000 people you're going to now build your mosque?" He's also absurdly labeled the center an "actual danger" and suggested it is an "Allah-tells-me-to-blow-up-America mosque." Though we -- and many other outlets -- have repeatedly pointed out that Rauf is widely viewed as a moderate and has often denounced the extremists who carry out violent attacks in the name of Islam, Beck and his fellow demagogues continue to push the dishonest attack.
Later in the morning, a coalition of two-dozen prominent religious leaders launched a campaign titled "Stop the War on Prayer" defending the Islamic cultural center on broader terms. Gathering leaders of several different faiths, the group posted both a video and an "Open Letter to the Faithful," arguing that the effort to stop the construction of the Cordoba House was an affront to the notion of religious tolerance (for any religion).

"All of us are children of God, " says Rev. Jim Forbes, Director of the Healing of the Nations Foundation and former pastor of Riverside Church in Manhattan, "Anybody who has such a fear or contempt of somebody else that they would deny them the opportunity to pray, or establish a place to pray, that's a real problem I think to God and clearly it's a problem in our nation."

The Media Matters clip and the religious leaders' campaign are a telling illustration of the type arguments to which defenders of the Cordoba House have begun to turn. With the rhetoric surrounding the project already heated, various efforts have been made to not only underscore Imam Rauf's history of preaching tolerance and moderation, but also to highlight the inconsistencies of his critics. Likewise, there have been previous campaigns to align community, religious, and even political leaders behind the cultural center.

Even more telling, however, is the vacuum in which the project's backers are operating. There has been, to date, no coordinated effort to defend the mosque. Rauf, for one, has been traveling overseas, limiting his press exposure. And until Sunday none of the formal supporters of the project had much -- if any -- national television appearances to diffuse the controversy.
Progressive institutions have been left to essentially pick up the cause on their own, demonstrating both the magnetic draw of this particular debate and how great a public relations challenge the Cordoba House faces

50,000 Soldiers, 1 Million Pieces of Equipment, and $3 Trillion from MOJO 27AUG10


50,000 Soldiers, 1 Million Pieces of Equipment, and $3 Trillion

A photographic tally of what America is really leaving behind in Iraq.

Untapped Oil Money
While Iraqi oil money hasn't helped Iraqis (or American taxpayers), other oil-exporting nations have profited from the situation, which has caused spikes in oil prices. Those nations include Saudia Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela, according to Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, co-author of The $3 Trillion War. "If you asked who were the countries that we would not want to help," he says, "many of them would be on the list that we have been helping."
A US soldier refuels helicopters on the flight line of a military base outside Baghdad.
US Army photo / Creative Commons
Start the Mother Jones Iraq slideshow here.
Seven and a half years after the invasion of Iraq, the last American "combat brigade" picked up stakes and left the country in mid-August. Come September 1, Operation Iraqi Freedom will just be another campaign for the history books. In its place: Operation New Dawn. Time to break out the "Mission Accomplished" banner!
Not so fast. The United States is keeping nearly 50,000 troops in Iraq—the fewest since the war started in March 2003, but still enough to fill a stadium. What else are we leaving behind? It's more than just Humvees and huge bases. Here's a photographic tally of the human, financial, and political impacts being left in our wake in Iraq.

"Ground Zero Mosque" Foes Bankrolled By Feds from MOJO 23AUG10

OUR tax dollars at work,  doing their best to show the world that hypocritical tea-baggers and gop right-wing fanatics and even some people of faith have the right to prove to the world they are ignorant, racist, and prejudiced, all at taxpayer expense. Why would any county, accused by the U.S. of discrimination against and repression of religion feel the need to respond at all considering the actions of the government's U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF)?

The leaders of a religious freedom commission solely financed by the US government say moderate Muslims are not free to build an Islamic center in New York.
President Barack Obama has declared that a group of moderate Muslims have the right to build a community center in lower Manhattan, two blocks from the site once occupied by the World Trade Center towers. Yet representatives of a wholly US government-funded outfit have joined the vociferous opposition to the Park51 or Cordoba House project that critics have dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque." A leader of this group—which receives $4.3 million a year from the government—has even proclaimed that the community center could be a front for Islamic terrorism. That's not all: the same agency, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF), has been the subject of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint for allegedly discriminating against Muslim employees.

The commission was created by Congress in 1998 to monitor religious freedom around the world and scold countries that aren't meeting religious freedom obligations outlined by international human rights treaties. Its sole source of funding is the US government; it is empowered to make recommendations to the president about policy decisions related to issues of religious freedom. Recently, the commission has decried Vietnam for its systemic violation of religious freedom and slammed China for its repression of Uighur Muslims. But leading conservative members of the commission have supported the opposition to the Cordoba House, essentially joining those who want to deny New York Muslims the freedom to build their religious and cultural center at this particular site.
In a recent piece for National Review Online, Nina Shea, one of USCIRF's nine commissioners (who are selected by the president and congressional leaders), wrote that instead of "a cultural center for all New Yorkers," the "mosque" project could be "a potential tool for Islamists"—suggesting it would be a hotbed of jihadism that, among other things, spreads the literature and ideas of Islamic extremism. She compared the leaders of the Cordoba House project to convicted terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman (the "blind Sheikh") and accused Fort Hood and Christmas Day bombing coordinator Anwar al-Awlaki. (Shea's piece, as of Monday, was no longer showing up on the NRO site.)
Shea, long an influential figure in neoconservative circles last appointed to the commission by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), is not the only commissioner of this religious freedom organization trying to block the Cordoba House project. Leonard Leo, the chairman of the commission and a top official in the conservative Federalist Society, is director of Liberty Central, a new tea party-related rightwing group organized by Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Liberty Central has organized a petition campaign against the Cordoba House project. Moreover, Virginia Thomas is one of several conservative leaders participating in a 9/11 rally against the Cordoba House project, organized in part by anti-Islam activist/blogger Pam Geller, who runs an organization called Stop Islamization of America and who kick-started the "mosque" controversy. (Geller recently said that Obama has "sided with Islamic jihadists.") To break this down: the chairman of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (Leonard Leo) is working closely with a conservative activist (Virginia Thomas) who is a featured speaker at an event being mounted by an outright anti-Islam group. [Regarding Thomas' participation in this rally, see the update below.]
And as TPM reported, Richard Land, another USCIRF commissioner and the influential president of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has opposed the project, comparing it to a (non-existent) Shinto shrine near Pearl Harbor and a (never-built) convent near Auschwitz. (Land says that the USCIRF itself is prohibited from intervening in domestic matters, but the commission has officially criticized a Saudi-run high school in Alexandria, Virginia.)
The USCIRF also happens to have connections to former UN ambassador John Bolton, one of the fiercest critics of the Cordoba House project. Bolton served as a USCIRF commissioner in the early years of the George W. Bush administration, and Jackie Wolcott, the commission's current executive director, worked under Bolton when Bolton was in charge of nuclear nonproliferation efforts within the Bush State Department. (Bolton wrote the forward to Geller's anti-Islam book and is another scheduled speaker at her September 11 rally against the project.)
The USCIRF may have internal problems with Muslims, too. In February, the Washington Post broke the news of religious infighting at USCIRF. According to the Post, Safiya Ghori-Ahmad, a former policy analyst at the commission, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that her contract was cancelled because she was a Muslim and affiliated with the Muslim Public Affairs Counsel, an advocacy group. Another researcher at the commission, Bridget Kustin, quit in protest after Ghori-Ahmad's contract was not renewed. In her resignation letter, Kustin wrote that she did not want to "remain part of an organization that would be willing to engage in such discrimination."
In a message on the commission's website, Leonard Leo notes that the USCIRF "seeks to advance the visibility of and serious thinking about" how to best address the challenge of religious "intolerance" throughout the world. Yet Leo and the conservatives of the taxpayer-financed commission are siding with the foes of the Cordoba House and bolstering the misleading claims about the "mosque." They have not been advocating tolerance at home.
UPDATE I, 12:00 p.m. Monday: We spoke to Imam Talal Y. Eid, a Muslim USCIRF commissioner. He says the anti-Cordoba House commissioners were speaking in their personal capacities, he disagrees with them (although he respects their opinions), and he may raise the issue with them when he sees them. (He was out of the country last week.)
UPDATE II, 8:00 p.m., Monday: A publicist for Liberty Central emailed us a statement from Sarah Field, the conservative group's chief operating officer: "Mrs. Thomas was not invited, and has not agreed to attend and speak at the 9/11 Rally at Ground Zero on September 11th, 2010 in lower Manhattan, New York City. Any report of her attending is an error. However, Liberty Central does support leveraging citizens’ voices in opposition to this mosque." Geller's Stop Islamization of America did issue a press release on August 14 that noted, "The confirmed list of speakers includes 9/11 family members; former U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton; former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; the Dutch Parliamentarian and freedom fighter Geert Wilders; Gary Berntsen, a candidate for the US Senate from New York; Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, which has filed suit to stop the Ground Zero mega-mosque; Ginny Thomas, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's wife; Michael Grimm, a candidate for Congress from New York's 13th district and a 9/11 first responder; and journalist Andrew Breitbart." We have asked Geller to explain how Thomas came to be promoted as a confirmed speaker, if (as Field says) she was not even invited to participate.

LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS NAMES PAT TOOMEY TO DIRTY DOZEN 23AUG10 & Wind turbine maker plants firm foot in state 7JUN09

I am from Pennsylvania, born and raised there, about 80 miles East of Lake Erie and I still think of Scandia, PA as home. We don't need off-shore drilling in Lake Erie or any of the Great Lakes. What we do need is more development of renewable, clean energy resources like the wind turbines South of Altoona, PA (visible from I 99) and more related production facilities like the wind turbine blade factories in Ebensburg and Fairless Hills, PA. Pat Toomey has received over $120,000 from big oil, and he will represent their greed if elected to the U.S. Senate. Check out this from the League of Conservation Voters and then the article from The Tribune Review (Pittsburgh).

WATCH LCV’s New Online Video
LCV just named Pennsylvania Senate Candidate Pat Toomey to the Dirty Dozen.
Today the League of Conservation Voters is naming former Club for Growth President and Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey to the Dirty Dozen – and in doing so we’re launching a new web ad highlighting his support of oil drilling in the Great Lakes.
Watch Our Ad Here >>
In 2001, Toomey voted to allow drilling for oil and natural gas in the Great Lakes. But that’s not all -- just this past June – despite the unfolding catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico -- he reiterated his support for drilling in Lake Erie. And his zeal for drilling doesn’t just stop at the Great Lakes, he also supports drilling in protected areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Toomey has parroted Big Oil’s misinformation and lies about climate legislation and other clean energy policies for years. From his time in Congress to his stint running the ultra-conservative Club for Growth, Toomey has consistently sided with Big Oil and other dirty polluters. In fact, over his career, Toomey has received more than $294,000 from energy interests, including $123,800 from the Oil and Gas industry. His lifetime LCV score is an abysmal 11 percent.
Make no mistake: If Toomey wins in November, he will do Big Oil’s bidding in the Senate and he’ll lead the charge against sound environmental policies and EPA’s ability to reduce global warming pollution from the nation’s biggest emitters.
We need more pro-environment allies in the Senate next year, not rubber stamps for corporate polluters. If we ever want to get anything done to help our planet in 2011 and beyond, we can’t let them win in November.
That’s why this election is so important. Rep. Joe Sestak, who is running against Toomey for Pennsylvania Senate, is an environmental champion who voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act last year – a bill that would have helped to build an American clean energy economy, reduce harmful carbon pollution and curb our dangerous dependence on oil. During his two terms in Congress, Sestak has earned an outstanding 96% on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard.
We need more friends like Rep. Joe Sestak in the Senate, not more of Big Oil’s cronies. So please, take a moment to watch LCV’s video and then share the video with three friends who vote in Pennsylvania.
Thank you for all you do to protect the planet.
Gene Karpinski
League of Conservation Voters

Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee

Wind turbine maker plants firm foot in state

click to enlarge
Sanding a windmill blade
Heidi Murrin/Tribune-Review
click to enlarge
Measurements taken of a windmill blade
Heidi Murrin/Tribune-Review
About the writer
Rick Stouffer is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer and can be reached at 412-320-7853 or via e-mail.

EBENSBURG -- Larry Stupi worked as a banker for 32 years, holding a number of positions, the last one as a commercial lending officer.
Three years ago, the Johnstown, Cambria County, resident, looking for a new challenge, went from making loans to making windmill blades.
"My boss gives me what I need to do for the day, then lets me do it," said Stupi, 56. "It's less money than I was making, but also a lot less pressure -- it's super."
Stupi is one of 300 employees at a windmill blade factory operated in Ebensburg by Spain's Gamesa SA, one of the world's five largest windmill turbine makers. Its primary competitors include GE Energy, Denmark's Vestas, Germany's Siemens and India's Suzlon.
Three years ago, Gamesa opened this 142,000-square-foot plant in Cambria County as part of its entry to both Pennsylvania and the United States.
The move gave the company a leg up on competitors in a wind-energy market that experts predicted a decade ago would take off.
President Obama's backing for alternative energy projects and billions of dollars of incentives in a stimulus package passed by Congress has positioned Gamesa and others to capitalize on expanding demand for electricity generated by the wind.
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is considering legislation that would require the country to generate 11 to 15 percent of its power from renewable resources, including wind and solar, by 2021. The House is weighing similar legislation. And Obama has called for an even more ambitious goal: 25 percent by 2025. A federal standard, combined with grants and tax credits in the government stimulus package, could help draw billions of dollars in investments and spur plans for new wind farms nationwide.
"Wind companies see a strong market for renewable energy in the U.S., and we agree," said Robert LaCount, head of the Climate Change and Clean Energy Group for IHS CERA, Washington.
"Of the 14 original equipment manufacturers in the North American market today, nearly everyone followed Gamesa," said Matt Kaplan, senior analyst in Emerging Energy Research's North America Wind Energy Group, in Cambridge, Mass. "Gamesa was ahead of the curve."
"It was a smart move on Gamesa's part to come to the U.S., replicating what it learned to do well in Europe, and they are in a very good position," said Gerry Susman, director of Penn State University's Center for the Management of Technological and Organizational Change.
Gamesa's Ebensburg plant is expanding to handle larger blades as the wind-energy industry moves toward larger, more powerful windmills.
It is consolidating all blade work from another blade-making plant in Fairless Hills, Bucks County. That plant will concentrate on making nacelles, which house the turbines turned by the wind-driven giant blades to generate electricity. Gamesa's North American headquarters and a sales office are in Philadelphia.
Ebensburg Plant Manager Antonio Morente Manero projects his workers this year will produce about 400 blades, down from more than 500 in 2008, because of the production changes.
Last year was the best year ever for the wind industry in America.
More than 8,500 megawatts of wind power were brought online, increasing the nation's total wind-generating capacity to 25,300 megawatts, overtaking Germany for the top position worldwide. That's enough electricity to handle the needs of nearly seven million households. Even so, that's still a tiny part of the energy grid -- just over 1 percent of the U.S. electricity supply.
An estimated $17 billion was invested in wind power in 2008 alone, with IHS CERA projecting 2009 projects will add another 5,000 megawatts to 8,500 megawatts to the wind power capacity total.
Michael Peck, Gamesa's director of media, institutional and labor relations, said a company task force looked initially at 27 states, and in 2004 selected Pennsylvania for its operations.
"We received bipartisan support to come to Pennsylvania, and the state had just passed a standard calling for 18 percent of the state's energy to come from renewables by 2020," he said.
The state provided Gamesa with $20 million in grants and loans to build its manufacturing plants in Ebensburg and in Fairless Hills outside Philadelphia. The Ebensburg plant is tax-exempt until 2011, the Fairless Hills facility pays no state and local taxes through 2019.
Gamesa was attracted by Western Pennsylvania's fabled work force. "Workers in Ebensburg, an extension of the Pittsburgh area, have manufacturing in their blood," Peck said.
"It's been a very positive experience having Gamesa here," said P.J. Stevens, president of the Cambria County commissioners. "It brought family-sustaining jobs here, which helps grow our tax base. That's the kind of job creation we want."
Wages at the Gamesa plant, excluding benefits, range between $12.73 and $18.39 an hour.
"The biggest thing for us having Gamesa is that it establishes us in the renewables community," said Linda Thomson, president of Johnstown Area Regional Industries, a nonprofit economic development agency that promotes Cambria and Somerset counties.
Standing on the Ebensburg plant's roof, 100 of the 150-foot, six-ton blades lie end-to-end, looking like wind-made ridges in white sand. Each blade, three blades per windmill, takes 22 hours to manufacture, said manufacturing manager Joe Satkovich.
Satkovich is another worker who found a home with Gamesa. A 32-year veteran with Vanity Fair Intimates, he lost his job as operations superintendent when the company decided to close its Richland, Cambria County, factory and move operations to Alabama.
Satkovich joined Gamesa in August 2005, spent 4 1/2 months in Spain learning the Gamesa way, then returned to Ebensburg to direct operations on the shop floor.
"We make two blades a day, and can work on 10 blades at one time, on three shifts," Satkovich said. The blades are made of fiberglass impregnated with resins, plus carbon fiber that adds strength without weight.
Blades have to be nearly perfect when they leave the Gamesa factory. Ultrasound equipment is used to ensure each blade is solid throughout, and the three blades that are mounted on top of a windmill tower have to weigh within 11 pounds of each other to prevent wobbling, improper wear and expensive fixes.
Ongoing retooling at the Ebensburg plant is expected to be completed by year's end.
"We have to prepare for the future in the wind industry, and we're getting ready for new products in the Gamesa portfolio," Manero said.

RNC Committeewoman Kim Lehman Claims Obama Told Muslims That He Was A Muslim 23AUG10 & Obama Speech In Cairo: VIDEO, Full Text 4JUN09

TYPICAL of the tea-baggers and the gop right wing extremeist and fanatics, the continuing attacks on Pres. Obama show the ignorance and prejudice and racism of these people and their supporters. This is from HuffPost, and includes the segment from Pres. Obama's Cairo speech in which he states flay out he is a Christian. Those of faith who continue this controversy about the President should consider the 9th commandment on false witness against anyone.....I have also included a video of Pres. Obama's speech in Cairo, the transcripts have been added to the Speeches page on this blog.

The Republican ranks have, by and large, cautiously avoided weighing in on recent poll numbers showing that a healthy portion of the American public believes that President Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Wary of the cultural sensitivities such discussions entail, the de facto response seems to be the one offered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday: "The president says he's a Christian," McConnell said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I take him at his word. I don't think that's in dispute."
There have been a few notable exceptions. Congressional candidate Tom Ganley said last week that he did not have "a position on whether he's a Muslim" only to walk back his remarks amidst the uproar. No one in the official GOP tent, however, has fully embraced the rumor. Until now.
Last Friday, a Republican National Committee woman Kim Lehman, responding to an article about the polls in Politico, accused the publication of trying "to protect Obama" by denying his true religious heritage.
"BTW he personally told the muslims that he IS a muslim," wrote the Iowa RNC member. "Read his lips."
A few Iowa progressive blogs picked up on her remarks. But beyond that they went largely ignored. Lehman, who also works for The John Paul II Stem Cell Research Institute, appears to be the first national committee member to fully endorse the Obama-is-a-Muslim view.
Reached on the phone Monday, Lehman stood by her initial tweet, arguing that it was during his speech that Obama let the real truth slip.
"I was watching television when he was over there talking to the Muslim world and he made it, in my opinion, clear he was partially Muslim," Lehman told the Huffington Post. "The way he was approaching that speech was, 'Hey I'm one of you. I'm with you.' He didn't have to say that... but he did."
Obama's speech in Cairo did include discussion about his father's Muslim faith. But the president also made it abundantly clear, both then and many times since, that he was a practicing Christian. Asked why she didn't believe the empirical and overwhelming evidence, Lehman replied:
"Again, going back to his speech... he would have said I'm a Christian and I'm from the Christian religion and we can work together. It didn't appear to me he said Christianity was part of his religion."
For the record, here is the relevant portion of Obama's speech (emphasis ours):
Now part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I'm a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

Obama Speech In Cairo: VIDEO 4JUN09
Below, the full text of President Obama's speech in Cairo, Egypt, titled "A New Beginning."
Watch video:

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