31 December 2011

Ron Paul Had Accurate Conspiracy Theory: CIA Was Tied To Drug Traffickers 30DEZ11

THIS is not news, anyone who thinks the cia has been working to defend the average American has been living in a dream world. The majority of these people live and work on the dark side, employing the same tactics, embracing the same evil as their opponents, leaving one to wonder what the difference between them really is? The cia has been involved in drug trafficking at least since WW II (read 'The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade' by Alfred W McCoy) through Vietnam and the Central American insurgencies and in Afghanistan. Why? Because their activities have not been to protect American democracy and to foster democracy around the world, they have not been interested in protecting the American people from becoming enslaved under a communist government or dictatorship. NO, they have been controlled by corporate America and the military-industrial complex to protect the wealth and profits of the rich, the 1% who control our nation and it's destiny, and their actions and involvement in drug trafficking has just been one of the tools they have been allowed to use to achieve their goals. Just as they have overthrown governments and waged wars, killing those who stood in the way of American corporate profitability so too have they encouraged, facilitated, developed, enabled and facilitated drug trafficking and the drug underworld in the U.S. for the same reasons, the protection of American corporate profits and the U.S. military-industrial complex. All this, all the killing, the corruption, the government created drug addictions, all done in the name of and for the greed and lust for power of corporate America and the American military-industrial complex. And as long as the American public tolerates the cia continuing as the rogue agency it is, they commit these atrocities in our name too. From HuffPost....
WASHINGTON -- According to a former aide, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has long been drawn toward conspiracy theories. Eric Dondero, who served Paul off and on from 1987 to 2003, wrote recently that the Texas Republican suspected that George W. Bush may have had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks and that Franklin Roosevelt knew in advance about Pearl Harbor. Paul's writings and speeches spotlight a host of other plots, including the "war on Christmas."
But just because not all of Paul's theories are backed by good evidence doesn't mean none of them are.
In 1988, while running for president on the Libertarian Party ticket, he highlighted yet another conspiracy theory, and this one doesn't collapse under investigation: The CIA, Paul told a gathering of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, was involved in trafficking drugs as part of the Iran-Contra debacle.
Drug trafficking is "a gold mine for people who want to raise money in the underground government in order to finance projects that they can't get legitimately. It is very clear that the CIA has been very much involved with drug dealings," Paul said. "The CIA was very much involved in the Iran-Contra scandals. I'm not making up the stories; we saw it on television. They were hauling down weapons and drugs back. And the CIA and government officials were closing their eyes, fighting a war that was technically illegal."
Earlier this week, I looked into Paul's claim in the same speech that the war on drugs had racist origins and that the medical community played a role in lobbying for drug prohibitions. That charge was more or less accurate.
So is Paul's claim about the CIA and drug trafficking, a connection I explore in the book "This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America." (An excerpt of the chapter on the CIA appeared in The Root.) The following is drawn from my book.
Since at least the 1940s, the American government has organized and supported insurgent armies for the purpose of overthrowing some presumably hostile foreign regime. In Italy, the United States helped pit the Corsican and Sicilian mobs against the Fascists and then the Communists. In China, it aided Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang in its struggle against Mao Zedong's communist forces. In Afghanistan, it once backed the mujahedeen in their fight against the Soviet Union and today backs warlords in opposition to the mujahedeen.
All of these and other U.S.-supported groups profited, or still profit, heavily from the drug trade. One of the principal arguments made by the Drug Enforcement Administration in support of the global drug war is that the illegal drug trade funds violent, stateless organizations. The DEA refers specifically to al Qaeda and the Taliban, but the same method of fundraising has long been used by other violent, stateless actors whom the United States befriended.
Douglas Farah was in El Salvador when the San Jose Mercury News broke a major story in the summer of 1996: The Nicaraguan Contras, a confederation of paramilitary rebels sponsored by the CIA, had been funding some of their operations by exporting cocaine to the United States. One of their best customers was a man nicknamed "Freeway Rick" -- Ricky Donnell Ross, then a Southern California dealer who was running an operation the Los Angeles Times dubbed "the Wal-Mart of crack dealing."
"My first thought was, 'Holy shit!' because there'd been so many rumors in the region of this going on," said Farah 12 years later. He'd grown up in Latin America and covered it for 20 years for the Washington Post. "There had always been these stories floating around about [the Contras] and cocaine. I knew [Contra leader] Adolfo Calero and some of the other folks there, and they were all sleazebags. You wouldn't read the story and say, 'Oh my god, these guys would never do that.' It was more like, 'Oh, one more dirty thing they were doing.' So I took it seriously."
The same would not hold true of most of Farah's colleagues, either in the newspaper business in general or at the Post in particular. "If you're talking about our intelligence community tolerating -- if not promoting -- drugs to pay for black ops, it's rather an uncomfortable thing to do when you're an establishment paper like the Post," Farah told me. "If you were going to be directly rubbing up against the government, they wanted it more solid than it could probably ever be done."
In the mid to late 1980s, a number of reports had surfaced that connected the Contras to the cocaine trade. The first was by Associated Press scribes Brian Barger and Robert Parry, who published a story in December 1985 that began, "Nicaraguan rebels operating in northern Costa Rica have engaged in cocaine trafficking, in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua's leftist government, according to U.S. investigators and American volunteers who work with the rebels."
Only a few outlets followed Barger and Parry's lead, including the San Francisco Examiner and the lefty magazine In These Times, which both published similar stories in 1986, and CBS's "West 57th" TV series, which did a segment in 1987. A Nexis search of the year following Barger and Parry's revelation turned up a total of only four stories containing the terms "Contras" and "cocaine," one of them a denial of the accusation from a Contra spokesperson. Stories popped up here and there over the next decade, but many of them made only oblique reference to a couldn't-possibly-be-true conspiracy theory.
Then came the San Jose Mercury News article, a 20,000-word three-parter by Pulitzer Prize-winning staffer Gary Webb, published under the headline "Dark Alliance." "For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found," the story began.
The series initially received little attention from major media outlets, but it was eventually spread across the nation by the Internet and black talk radio. The latter put its own spin on the tale: that the U.S. government had deliberately spread crack to African-American neighborhoods to quell unruly residents. The Post newsroom was bombarded with phone calls asking why it was ignoring the story, the paper's ombudsman later reported.
In response, the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times would all weigh in with multiple articles claiming that Webb's assertions were bunk. His career was effectively ruined, and even his own paper eventually disavowed "Dark Alliance," despite having given it a cutting-edge online presentation complete with document transcriptions and audio recordings.
The big papers had been pushing their same line for years. In 1987, New York Times reporter Keith Schneider had dismissed out of hand a lawsuit filed by a liberal group charging that the Contras were funding their operations with drug money. "Other investigators, including reporters from major news organizations, have tried without success to find proof of aspects of the case," he wrote, "particularly the allegations that military supplies for the contras may have been paid for with profits from drug trafficking."
In These Times later asked Schneider why he'd rejected the Contra-coke connection. He was trying to avoid "shatter[ing] the Republic," he said. "I think it is so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story, it had better be based on the most solid evidence we could amass."
The American republic, of course, is an idea as much as it is a reality. That idea is of a nation founded on freedom and dedicated to the progress of human rights around the globe. It's most certainly not of a country that aids the underground drug trade -- even if it does.
If Webb didn't have ironclad proof that the CIA had knowingly done just that, he did, as one Senate investigator later noted, have "a strong circumstantial case that Contra officials who were paid by the CIA knew about [drug smuggling] and looked the other way." He based his series on court records and interviews with key drug-runners. One of them, Danilo Blandón, was once described by Assistant U.S. Attorney L.J. O'Neale as "the biggest Nicaraguan cocaine dealer in the United States."
Webb had been unable to persuade Blandón to talk, but the cocaine dealer testified at a trial shortly before "Dark Alliance" came out. Blandón wasn't on trial himself, wasn't facing any jail time, and was in fact being paid by the U.S. government to act as an informant. In other words, he had no obvious incentive to lie to make the United States look bad. Nevertheless, in sworn testimony, he said that in 1981 alone, his drug operation sold almost a ton of cocaine in the United States and that "whatever we were running in L.A., the profit was going to the Contra revolution."
Blandón's boss in the operation was Norwin Meneses, the head of political operations and U.S. fundraising for the Contras. Meneses was known as "Rey de la Droga" -- King of Drugs -- and had been under active investigation by the U.S. government since the early '70s as the Cali cocaine cartel's top representative in Nicaragua. The DEA considered him a major trafficker, and he had been implicated in 45 separate federal investigations, Webb discovered through government documents. Regardless, Meneses had never served any time in federal prison and lived openly in his San Francisco home.
In 1981, Blandón testified, he and Meneses had traveled to Honduras to meet Col. Enrique Bermúdez, the military leader of the Contra army and a full-time CIA employee. "While Blandon says Bermudez didn't know cocaine would be the fund-raising device they used," Webb wrote, "the presence of the mysterious Mr. Meneses strongly suggests otherwise." The reporter drew on court documents and government records to show that anyone involved in or familiar with the drug world at the time knew exactly how Meneses went about raising revenue.
Blandón sold the Contras' product to Ross for prices well below what other dealers could command, allowing him to expand his business throughout Los Angeles, then to Texas, Ohio and beyond. Ross told Webb that he owed his rise to Blandón and his cheap coke. ''I'm not saying I wouldn't have been a dope dealer without Danilo,'' Ross said. ''But I wouldn't have been Freeway Rick.''

Farah, the Washington Post reporter, said that his reporting on Webb's trail led to one of the biggest battles of his career. "There were maybe, in my 20 years at the Post, two or three stories out of however many hundreds or thousands I wrote where I had this kind of problem, and this was one of them. I wasn't in general in confrontation with my editors but ... this thing was weird and I knew it was weird," he said. "I did have a long and dispiriting fight with the editors at the Post because they wanted to say ultimately -- their basic take was that I was dealing with a bunch of liars, so it was one person's word against another person's word, and therefore you couldn't tell the truth. But it was pretty clear to me."

The official government response was provided to Post national security reporter Walter Pincus, who had at one time served in the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps. "One of my big fights on this was with Pincus," Farah remembered, "and my disadvantage was that I was in Managua and he was sitting in on the story meetings and talking directly to the editors. And we had a disagreement over the validity of what I was finding. At the time, I didn't realize he had been an agency employee for awhile. That might have helped me understand what was going on there a bit."
Pincus, who said that his involvement with the CIA several decades before is overblown, recalled the developing story differently. "To be honest, I can't remember talking to Doug at the time," he said. "To me, it was no great shock that some of the people the agency was dealing with were also drug dealers. But the idea that the agency was then running the drug program was totally different."
Pincus said that Webb's core story about the Contras and cocaine didn't resonate not because it didn't have any truth to it, but because it was obviously true. "This is a problem that came up -- it's probably a question of how long you cover these things," he said. "It came up during the Vietnam War, where the U.S. was dealing with the Hmong tribes in Laos and some of the people that were flying airplanes that the agency was using were also [running] drugs."
Through his reporting, Farah concluded, he'd confirmed the greater part of Webb's story. "The Contra-drug stuff, I think, was there," Farah said. "Largely, I think it [Webb's story] was right."
The editorial cuts and pushback, however, discouraged Farah from pursuing a further investigation into the Contras' drug-running history. "I was really sort of disappointed at how things had run there at the Post on that story, and there wasn't much incentive to go forward after that," said Farah. (The Post's top editor at the time, Leonard Downie, told me that he didn't remember the incident well enough to comment on it.)
Although Pincus said that he didn't have any role in neutering and burying Farah's story, he did say that he sympathized with his fellow reporter. "I was writing about there being no weapons in Iraq, and it was put in the back of the paper," Pincus said. "I've been through the same thing."
The Washington Post, like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, published a massive package dedicated to debunking Webb's story. When a congressional investigation later confirmed the major elements of Webb's reporting, the papers barely covered it. (I go into the media attack in more detail in the book.)
In the face of the media onslaught, Webb's editor retracted the story. Webb was demoted and sent to a dustbin bureau 150 miles from San Jose. He resigned after settling an arbitration claim and went to work for a small alt-weekly. Over the next several years, his marriage fell apart and his wages were garnished for child support. On Dec. 10, 2004, Webb was discovered dead, shot twice in the head with his father's .38. The local coroner declared the death a suicide.
Obituaries in the major papers referenced his "discredited" series. The Los Angeles Times obit recalled his "widely criticized series linking the CIA to the explosion of crack cocaine in Los Angeles," noting that "[m]ajor newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post, wrote reports discrediting elements of Webb's reporting." The New York Times ran a five-paragraph Reuters obit that began, "Gary Webb, a reporter who won national attention with a series of articles, later discredited." The obit continued, "The articles led to calls in Congress for an investigation, but major newspapers discredited parts of Mr. Webb's work." It made no mention of the fact that those calls for an investigation were heeded and that the investigation confirmed a great deal of Webb's reporting.
The headline "Web of Deception" ran atop Howard Kurtz's story in the Washington Post. "There was a time when Gary Webb was at the center of a huge, racially charged national controversy. That was eight years ago, and it turned out badly for him," Kurtz wrote. "The lesson," he concluded, "is that just because a news outlet makes sensational charges doesn't make them true, and just because the rest of the media challenge the charges doesn't make them part of some cover-up."
Reading the obituaries at the time, Farah recalled, was dispiriting. "Everybody, especially in the news business when you're working fast, makes mistakes," he said. "But I don't think that should stand as the final word on what he did."
Kurtz, however, stands by what he wrote then. "Of course it's very sad what happened to [Gary Webb] in the end, but I just did some basic reporting on him," Kurtz said. "I wasn't going out on a limb."

Mitt Romney's Marie Antoinette Charge 'Laughable' Coming From 'Quarter-Billion-Dollar Man': DNC 29DEZ11

PEOPLE need to remember mitt romney was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and is a bourgeois pig, driven by greed and lust for power. His legacy in the private sector is waging class warfare on workers to increase profit margins while protecting executive compensation. His policies as president will be the same, guided by an unholy alliance with the rich, corporate America, the wall street-banking cabal and the military-industrial complex, the 1% he has prostituted himself to in order to become leader if the world's richest plutocracy. BOHICA America, get used to that position if the gop / teabaggers win in 2012! (My safe investment tip for 2012 if the gop / tea-baggers win.....vaseline). From HuffPost.....

Barack Obama's reelection campaign and the allied Democratic National Committee swiftly responded to Mitt Romney's latest personal attack on the president with character-related attacks of their own.
In an interview with The Huffington Post's Jon Ward on Thursday, Romney charged the president with woeful insensitivity for suggesting that people were too pessimistic about current economic conditions, considering where they could have been. It was, he asserted, a line reminiscent of one of history's haughtiest figures.
"When the president's characterization of our economy was, 'It could be worse,' it reminded me of Marie Antoinette: 'Let them eat cake,'" said Romney.
Efforts to cast Barack Obama as an elitist are nothing new. But for Democrats, a particular aggravation arises when the charge comes from Romney's lips. The former Massachusetts governor, after all, is hardly a rags-to-riches figure. In pushing back against his Antoinette quip, the Obama team emptied out the proverbial closet of anecdotes that cast Romney as an elitist.
"It is actually laughable that the 'Quarter-Billion-Dollar Man' would call President Obama out of touch -- and use the example of a French monarch to make the point," DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell said in a statement to The Huffington Post on Thursday evening. "This is the same guy who joked that he was 'unemployed,' offered a $10,000 bet as casually as one might buy a cup of coffee, and said 'corporations are people.' He's also the same person who, as a former corporate buyout specialist for Bain Capital, made his fortune firing thousands of workers, cutting benefits, bankrupting American companies and outsourcing jobs overseas. He's the one who won't release his tax returns -- most likely because we would all learn that he pays a lower tax rate than middle class wage-earners. Laughable."
Tightening the screws a bit, Obama campaign Press Secretary Ben LaBolt quickly followed suit, tweeting out a link to a video of Mitt Romney speaking French for an introduction of the volunteers at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
It's worth noting that past efforts to go after the president for having an elitist worldview have had mixed success. In 2008, Sen. John McCain's campaign deemed Obama a "celebrity." This cycle, Romney spent some time accusing him of enjoying the faculty lounges of Harvard more than real Americana.
Neither of those charges stuck, largely because they didn't mesh well with the story of the president's upbringing, but also because McCain was the definition of a political celebrity and Romney holds degrees from two Harvard graduate schools.
What's been more effective has been to apply the charge of elitism to Obama's policies and, more specifically, his advisers, several of whom (especially on his economic team) came from the top perches of academia, politics and the financial sector.

30 December 2011

2011's Last Viral Lie About Health Reform 29DEZ11

MORE from the gop / tea-baggers opposed to the Affordable Care Act and anything from Pres Obama. They are consistent, continuing to fight facts with lies.....This from HuffPost
When so many good things have happened as the result of health care reform, I hate to end this year with a rebuttal to a viral lie about the Affordable Care Act. However, this one seems to come from a credible source but is so wrong that I can't resist.
This is how the email reads:
MUST LISTEN This needs to go viral. A brain surgeon called into the Mark Levin show. If you are over 70 years of age and you go to the ER and you are on government supported care, you will get comfort care instead of surgery. A government panel (a group of people that know absolutely nothing about medicine) will decide if you can have surgery and it has been decided that it will be denied if you are over 70. Patients will also be called "units" instead of "patients". Sarah Palin was correct--DEATH PANELS!
The video shows the radio host, Mark Levin, listening to this so-called brain surgeon call into his show. The surgeon claims that he has just been to a meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in Washington, D.C., where he learned something shocking! Obamacare will require only "comfort care" for people over 70. If you read the comments below the YouTube video, you are directed to the AANS site itself, where the Society blasts this person and his claim as a complete hoax. This disclaimer is on the AANS site under the "AANS news" subtitle:
On November 22, 2011, an individual claiming to be a "brain surgeon" made several statements referencing neurosurgical care on a Mark Levin radio show segment. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) reviewed this segment and found that it contained several factual inaccuracies. Please read the following statement regarding this matter. Should you have additional questions, contact Alison Dye, AANS/CNS Senior Manager of Communications, at 202-446-2028.
The statement continues:
The AANS and CNS are unaware of any federal government document directing that advanced neurosurgery for patients over 70 years of age will not be indicated and only supportive care treatment will be provided. Furthermore, in conducting our own due diligence, it appears that the caller who identified himself as a brain surgeon may not actually be a neurosurgeon, nor was there any session at the recent Congress of Neurological Surgeons' scientific meeting in Washington, DC at which a purported government document calling for the rationing of neurosurgical care was discussed.

Neurosurgeons are committed to providing timely, compassionate, and state of the art treatment for all patients -- regardless of age -- who have neurosurgical conditions. As such, we have requested that this podcast be removed from Mark Levin's website as it portrays inaccurate information which could potentially be harmful to the patients that we serve.
What motivates a person to misrepresent themselves while also blatantly lying about health care reform? Money? Anger? Ignorance? Hard to say. But as we say goodbye to 2011 and anticipate even more kooky and mean-spirited accusations about health care reform, I hope you will all bookmark and consult websites like,, or before you pass along any of these lies and distortions.
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Nullification Makes a Comeback 30DEZ11

Extremest right wingers, the gop and the tea-baggers are determined to drag this country into another recession (if you believe this one is over) or bring the current recession into a double dip (if you actually know what is going on in the country and realize we are still in a recession) to defeat Pres Obama. They will obstruct everything not benefiting the 1% and the military-industrial complex, leaving the nation wallowing in economic and electoral uncertainty. Their propaganda war on the nation will feed the fears of an electorate already on edge because of the precarious economy, and will turn communities against each other using fear of and ignorance of different ethnic and religious groups. While the economy worsens they will feed the resentment of economic inequality by manipulating and distorting "facts" and by deception and flat out lies about government plans, policies and programs. Their coordinated campaign, if not challenged forcefully by the Democrats in the House, Senate and by Pres Obama, will result in the wealthy, corporate America, the wall street-financial industry cabal and the military-industrial complex winning the elections in 2012 and consolidating their control of the American government. BOHICA America, our plutocracy is almost here! From Mother Jones....
us senate seal
In the 19th century, the theory of nullification, and the crisis it provoked, was all about states' rights. Nullification advocates argued that the constitution was a compact between sovereign states, and therefore states could choose to ignore federal laws that they considered unconstitutional.
The Civil War largely put an end to this clash, but in the 21st century there's a new theory of nullification. This one, though, isn't about a conflict between states and the federal government. It's about a conflict within the federal government. There isn't yet any modern-day John Calhoun to articulate this new theory of nullification in detail, but the nickel version is pretty simple: it says that a single senator can nullify a duly passed statute of the United States.
In one sense, this is just the latest front in the Republican war against executive branch nominees of the Obama administration. But until now, that war has been merely an escalation: more nominees are being filibustered than ever before, creating logjams in the federal court system and a shortage of leadership in the executive branch. It's a big problem, but nothing has actually been shut down because of it.
That's now changing. Republicans are refusing to allow votes on President Obama's nominee to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and on his nominees to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board. In both cases, the Republican refusal is explicity aimed at shutting down these agencies. In the case of the CFPB, it's because the law that created it gives certain powers to its director, and without a director those powers can't be exercised. In the case of the NLRB, it's because they can't function at all unless a minimum of three out of five seats are filled. When Craig Becker, already a recess appointment because of a  Republican filibuster last year, finishes his term at the end of 2011, only two seats will remain filled and the NLRB will grind to a halt.
Republicans make no bones about why they're doing this. They opposed the CFPB from the start, and they're now using the filibuster as a way of unilaterally preventing it from operating even though it was lawfully created by a vote of Congress and signed into law by the president. Likewise, they're afraid the NLRB is about to make some rulings they dislike, so they're using the filibuster as a way of shutting it down by denying it a quorum. Since, in practice, a single senator can place a hold on a nominee, this means that a single senator is now able to shut down an entire agency of the federal government simply out of dislike for what it's doing.
President Obama's options are limited. Republicans are keeping the Senate technically in session by having a few senators meet for a few minutes every couple of days, a ploy that prevents Obama from making recess appointments. So Obama has only a few choices. He can make a recess appointment anyway, arguing that these senate "sessions" are shams, and then fight it out in court. Or, as Theodore Roosevelt did in 1903, he could make a series of recess appointments in the minutes or seconds between adjournment of the current session and the opening of a new one on January 3rd.
Is Obama likely to do either of these things? Pundits and bloggers love to chew over these kinds of unconventional possibilities, but Obama himself has shown little appetite for them. There are probably two reasons for this. First, he's afraid that Republicans would become even more obstructionist than ever if he went down this road. Second, he's unsure how the public would respond to this kind of hardball. The former has probably become less salient over time, given that there's not an awful lot more obstructionist that Republicans can become at this point. But at the same time, the latter has become more salient because there's an election coming up. So although the liberal base would love to see Obama show more spine on the appointment front, he probably won't. Obama has consistently ignored his base in favor of the independents he needs to win reelection, and he's consistently demonstrated that he thinks independents are put off by partisan confrontation.
But if that's the case, it's likely that our modern-day nullifiers will win by default. John Calhoun would be proud.
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THE best ending for 2011 would be the downfall of the assad government, ending the murder, imprisonment, repression and torture suffered by the people of Syria. The Arab League should be ashamed of the performance of it's monitors so far, but really, what could we expect when the monitors leader is guilty of crimes against humanity in Darfur? It just shows the Arab League is not looking for an end of government violence in Syria but seems to be searching for a way to keep assad in power and so prevent the people's demands for freedom, democracy and human rights from appearing in their countries. I am especially disappointed in the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Jordan and Qatar for their role in this fraud, it reminds me of the Red Cross visits to the concentration camps in Europe in WW II, after which the Red Cross stated the inmates of the camps were being treated humanely. Click the header or the links to go to Al Jazeera's Syria Live Blog for updates......
People continue to take to the streets across Syria despite the government's crackdown on dissidents. The UN says more than 5,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March. Meanwhile, the government blames "armed gangs" for the unrest and says about 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed.
We bring you the latest news from various sources.
Al Jazeera is not responsible for content derived from external sites.
The UK-based Syrian Human Rights Observatory said more than half a million people turned out on Friday for the largest demonstrations in months.
Activists also reported that the death toll from clashes across Syria today have risen to 32.
Omar Hamza, a witness to the clashes between security forces and demonstrators in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Friday, said government forces shot at protesters who gathered at a mosque in the city.
More than 100 people are injured right now," he told Al Jazeera. "It is a very bad situation in Douma today."
Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Beirut in neighbouring Lebanon, said demonstrations were taking place in 18 different provinces across Syria.
"One of the biggest demonstrations is near the capital, Damascus. Activists have called on all residents to try and reach the centre of their cities. In Damascus ... they are being met by security forces who have used tear gas, according to many of the residents nearby," she said.
"We know that large demonstrations are also under way in the city of Hama, [in] Homs, as well as [in] Idlib, where we've seen images of observers themselves along with the demonstrators in the midst of it all."

At least 17 people have been reported killed during fresh protests against the Syrian government, as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flooded streets across the country.
Activists said the deaths came on Friday as protesters, emboldened by the presence of Arab League observers in the country, took to the streets after noon Muslim prayers.
Amoda protest on Friday

Tags Amoda
Kaferoma protest today banner:  "Kaferoma will not knee down to any but God"

Tags Kaferoma
The Syrian opposition on Thursday criticized the government for failing to support the on-going Arab League (AL) observer mission in the country.

Louay Hussein, leader of the Syrian opposition Building the Syrian State Movement, said in a statement on Thursday that the government' s non-cooperative manner has prevented the media from free reporting on the Syrian situation. According to the agreement with the AL mission, the media enjoys free access across Syria.

"The government failed to abide by this rule. Therefore, I criticized in my statement that the authorities had violated terms listed in the agreement," said Louay Hussein.

Syrian activists are calling for more protests across the country on Friday. They say they want Arab League monitors to take action to end the violence.

At least 38 people were killed by security forces on Thursday.

Al Jazeera's Nick Toksvig reports.

This Youtube video appears to show thousands of people in Homs, Syria, at a mass rally. The leader of the rally leads them in giving a pledge to God. Al Jazeera cannot verify the authenticity of Youtube videos. 
Opposition activists urged people to take to the streets on Friday to convince Arab League peace monitors to pay attention to their plight.
The Arab League mission to verify whether President Bashar al-Assad is keeping to a pledge to end the crackdown on a nine-month pro-democracy uprising has so far failed to bring a reduction in violence.
Government security forces shot dead 25 people on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. They opened fire on protests in cities around the country, also wounding about 100 people. [Reuters]

What Taliban Ringtones Tell Us About The Afghan War 30DEZ11

MORE proof the government is lying to us about "progress" in Afghanistan. It is time to get out of Afghanistan, to end the waste of American and NATO and Afghan lives wounded and dead. It is time to end the financial and military support of the corrupt government of harmid karzai. It is time for the Afghan people to step up and take charge of their destiny, too bad they don't have the courage of the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Maybe if we got out of Afghanistan they would find the courage to reject the extremism of the taliban and establish a government of the people. This from Mother Jones......
"Taliban ringtones."
Right off the bat it sounds like a laughable rumor, perhaps on par with urban legends involving Hello Kitty cocaine. Sadly, the reality of Taliban cellphone jingles isn't a joke at all to the people of Afghanistan—and can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Afghan shopkeeper Nasratullah Niazai has developed a brisk new business over the past year. For about $2 a pop, he uploads into customers' cellphones a collection of Taliban songs and ringtones...[T]he songs and ringtones romanticizing the insurgents' jihad against the infidel invaders serve as potentially lifesaving travel insurance for Kabulis who brave increasingly perilous countryside roads.
Sentries at improvised Taliban checkpoints, some only an hour's drive away from central Kabul, routinely check travelers' cellphones. As a result, government officials, police, soldiers, security guards, university students, translators for Western companies, construction workers and scores of others go to extraordinary lengths to scrub their phones of any evidence of links to the coalition and the Afghan government—and to masquerade as Taliban sympathizers.
The WSJ report cites the expanding industry of Taliban songs, chants, and ringtones—a Taliban spokesman claims that insurgents manage dozens of singers "each of whom produces on average of one 12-song album every month" to help "ensure that people don't turn to ungodly secular music." Much of the lyrical content focuses on lessons in Islamism and "bravery, manliness and protecting the country from the invaders," and many of the top-selling tunes are sung by kids with "beautiful and attractive voices."


THIS is why I support the PCCC and in this coming year of economic and electoral uncertainty I hope you will consider becoming a supporter too!

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

The PCCC Team!

It's been a great year. The Nation magazine just called our Draft Elizabeth Warren effort the "Most Valuable Campaign of 2011."
Before the new year begins, we wanted to send you an insider peek at our accomplishments together. (See list below.) Every day, over 850,000 of us fought hard for our progressive values -- and it shows.
Most importantly, we wanted to say thank you. Thank you for caring so deeply about our country. Thank you for taking action. And thanks for being a bold progressive!
-- The PCCC Team (Stephanie, Adam, Michael, Forrest, Keauna, Amanda, Jason, Drew, Kristiane, Conor, Jordan, Robyn, Neil, Matt, Ethan, Dheeraj, Kari, Jeff, Taylor, Andrew, Zach, Karen, TJ, Jake, and DeVeria)

Ton Ten
(Appreciate this year's activism? Chip in $3 to continue our effective activism in 2012.)
Draft Warren house party.
Draft Warren house party
1) Draft Elizabeth Warren. In 2010, we led the successful grassroots effort to have Elizabeth Warren set up the new consumer protection agency.
This year, when she wasn't appointed to permanently lead it, we launched the Draft Elizabeth Warren for Senate campaign and raised over $100,000 for Warren before she even jumped into the race. Matt from our team worked with hundreds of volunteers across Massachusetts to hold Draft Elizabeth Warren house parties, showing her large grassroots support. And it worked! Elizabeth Warren is now seven points ahead of Scott Brown -- and thousands of members like you have donated a whopping $600,000 to her campaign!
2) Wisconsin recall victories: When Gov. Scott Walker attacked workers, we had to get involved. Members like you made over 380,000 calls to Wisconsin voters during the recall elections and worked 1,743 local volunteer shifts. With our friends at Democracy for America, we made 5 powerful TV ads that aired over 18,000 times -- plus radio ads, online ads, and robo-calls. Keauna from our team moved to Madison to assist local activists while the rest of us worked with volunteers across the nation. And we won! Together, we recalled two Republican senators and took away Gov. Walker's working majority in the Senate.
(Appreciate this effective activism? Chip in $3 to continue our national program in 2012.)
3) Awesome House candidates. Elizabeth Warren will need allies in Congress. We've been busy finding, vetting, and endorsing wonderful progressive candidates around the country, particularly those in competitive primaries for open seats. So far we've endorsed Eric Griego (NM-01), Annie Kuster (NH-02), Chris Donovan (CT-05) and Ilya Sheyman (IL-10), with more to come.  

When making endorsements, we pick candidates who are bold progressives with a competent campaign and a plan to win. Stephanie and Adam interview each candidate under consideration. Jason and Kari from our team help endorsed candidates find online directors and finance directors. In October, we sponsored a full-day media training for progressive candidates -- followed by a joint petition delivery to John Boehner's office the next day, which made national news. So far, members like you have donated $175,000 to our 4 endorsed House candidates!
One of the nation's first "Move Your Money" events!
Move Your Money
4) Banxodus! We worked with Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) on a bill making it easier to move your money from big Wall Street banks. Meanwhile, Kristiane from our team organized one of the first "Move Your Money" events in the nation, and every local TV station in Portland, Oregon showed up!
But we realized there was another obstacle to moving your money -- it's hard to find a good bank. So Ethan and Michael from our tech team built, a great tool to help folks find good local banks. So far, 162,242 people have used Banxodus to search for a new bank in their area.
5) Saving Medicare. When Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) proposed ending Medicare, we worked with Ryan's Democratic opponent, Rob Zerban, to deliver over 65,000 signatures to Ryan's campaign office, creating local media pressure on Ryan. We also held other House Republicans accountable when they voted for Ryan’s plan. We launched a hard-hitting TV ad against Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH). Bass now faces huge disapproval numbers and a strong election challenge from progressive favorite Annie Kuster.
Delivering 50,000 notes directly to Sen. Reid.
Reid delivery
6) Saving Social Security. When Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called for cuts to Social Security benefits, we launched a powerful TV ad featuring one of his constituents holding him accountable. When Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) passionately defended Social Security, we rewarded him with over 50,000 thank you notes -- and two of our retired members from Nevada flew to Washington to personally present them! Sen. Reid promised at our joint press conference to keep Social Security benefits "off the table" -- and he's stuck to his word.
7) Holding Democrats accountable. When the New York Times reported that President Obama put Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts on the table in negotiations, we needed grassroots pressure. Over 200,000 members pledged not to donate or volunteer for any Democratic politician who joined Republicans in cutting these vital benefits. Chicago-area members, including our press secretary Neil, personally delivered these pledges to Obama's headquarters.

The Associated Press, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and others covered the event. MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell called us the “most effective progressive objectors” to benefit cuts and said our grassroots pressure was "actually helping the president's negotiating position" against Republicans. And we won! Social Security and Medicare benefits were not cut.
8) Fighting Wall Street immunity. Wall Street banks are pushing for a deal with the Department of Justice and state Attorneys General that would give the banks immunity -- for crimes that haven't even been investigated yet! So far, 85,000 members like you have become "citizen signers" of Rep. Tammy Baldwin's (D-WI) resolution opposing this deal. Conor and Jordan from our team worked the halls of Congress while thousands of us made phone calls. Together, these efforts increased Baldwin's co-sponsors from 27 to 70.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced his opposition to the deal on our email list! And working with our partners at CREDO Action, we delivered petitions to Attorney General Kamala Harris in California. The next day, she announced she would oppose the deal. Momentum!

9) Saving the Internet! Congress is considering a bill that would end the Internet as we know it -- giving the government and private corporations the ability to take down websites without due process. This is a threat to free speech and innovation. We sponsored a joint petition with Reddit and over 100,000 people took action. Last week, a massive grassroots outpouring scuttled a planned vote and killed this proposal for the year. (It will be back next year -- and we'll keep fighting.)
10) PCCC growth: Holy cow, we've grown! This year, we hired a Chief of Staff (Amanda), three new members of our technology team (Ethan, Dheeraj, TJ), a new press team (Neil, Matt), new grassroots organizers (Kristiane, Jake), a new team of Capitol Hill organizers (Conor, Jordan, Robyn), and some great fellows! Plus, Michael (our very first employee!) took on a new role as Chief Information Officer, overseeing projects like and other fun stuff coming in 2012!
We keep overhead costs incredibly low so member donations are used for organizing. We work out of our homes or coffee shops. When we travel, we ask local members for housing to reduce costs. (Thank you to all our wonderful hosts!)
In 2012, there are elections to win, legislation to pass, and more people to organize -- please consider chipping in $3 to continue our effective activism.
PCCC team!


A very sobering outlook for 2012 from a guest on the PBS Nightly Business Report....I hope he is wrong.
GHARIB:   Our guest tonight is bearish on the U.S. economy and the
stock market for 2012 and he`s predicting a recession in the New Year. He`s
Harry Dent, president of HS Dent.  That`s an economic research firm. And
he`s author of the new book, "The Great Crash Ahead."  Harry, welcome to
NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.  Nice to have you with us.


GHARIB:   So you heard our report. There are some economic statistics
that have been improving but I take it you don`t buy that?   Why are you so

DENT:  We look at demographics that really predict consumer trends
before they happen and not afterwards and the story has been baby boomers
would continue to spend more money in 2007 -- which they did -- they would
start to plateau in their spending, start to slow, 2008 and 11 but 2012 on
we entered a declining phase as peoples` kids are getting out of their nest
and they`re saving for retirement.  So this stimulus is not going to keep
the economy going and it`s already been struggling thus far. So, yeah, we
see, by the second quarter of 2012, the economy is going to slow again and
the stimulus back from QE2, which ended in June of 2011 is going to wear
off and we`re going to be back down to zero growth or lower.

GHARIB:   Would any kind of new stimulus from the Federal Reserve in
the New Year help?  A lot of investors on Wall Street are counting on that
to happen. Will it make a difference?

DENT:  It makes a difference immediately for the stock market. Stock
market here in QE3, they`re going to go up.   But the economy feels it
about eight to 10 months later if you look back at the past.  So if the Fed
does stimulate, let`s say in the second quarter, I think it will be that
long because the economy is stronger as we expected here, it will be too
late because it won`t hit until the end of the year after the election. So
I think the Fed is kind of trapped here. Europe is breaking down, moving
into recession. The Fed has been on hold on stimulus for now six months,
probably another two to three months. I think it could be too late by the
time they finally react.

GHARIB:   So what`s going to turn this around because you`re talking
about baby boomer demographics and a change in buying and spending habits.
That`s a real long-term trend so what can reverse this negative trajectory
that you`re talking about?

DENT:  You`re right, Susie, it is a long-term trend. We`re talking
2012 to 2020, trends slowing down an economy no matter what the Fed does.
One thing the government can do is to help restructure, encourage banks.
They only get assistance if they write down mortgages and business debt. We
have $42 trillion in private debt, three times the public debt, which most
people aren`t aware of.  If they write down that debt and get rewarded for
that, it would take a trillion, trillion and a half a year alone off of
consumers and business and that would free up purchasing power at a time
when demographics trends say we`re going to slow otherwise.

GHARIB:   Harry, let`s move on and talk about the stock market because
you`re also bearish about the outlook for 2012.  Tell us why.

DENT:  We`ve been seeing a Santa Claus rally coming here in late
December, maybe early January. We think we`re near the end of that and that
basically stocks are getting ready to crash again, like they did in late
2008, early 2009. Remember, last time we had a crash, there was a first
downturn, early 2008, a bounce, and then it fell apart. I think between
January and the summer, high chances of another stock crash. So investors
need to get out of the way, out of all the risky assets -- commodities,
gold, silver, stocks, here and around the world -- and get in the safest
investments you can.

GHARIB:   Let me get your definition of a crash over the first six
months of the year.  How bad are things going to get?   What do you mean by

DENT:  I think this is going to take another couple of years. But I
think in 2012, we could see it worse, that we retest the lows in early
2009. So that`s like 6440 on the Dow. That`s a big downturn. It may not be
that low if the government reacts sooner than later. But I do think that if
we see growth collapse again, the market`s going to lose faith. And again,
Europe is already moving into recession. Banks are dumping more
foreclosures on the market because they`re in trouble and that`s not
keeping home prices down. Again, I think you`re talking a 30, 40, 50
percent downside in the next year. This is not something to sit through.

GHARIB:   That`s a very provocative forecast. We appreciate you coming
on the program. You`ve given us a lot to think about. Thanks so much,
Harry. Happy New Year to you. We`ve been talking with Harry Dent.  He`s
economist and author of "The Great Crash Ahead."

Major Ron Paul Supporter Favors Death Penalty for Gays 29DEZ11

IT seems Rep ron paul r TX would have loved living in hitler's third reich, and would feel very comfortable in iran, saudi arabia, sudan, afghanistan, and pakistan, countries that did not and do not recognize human rights and freedom of religion. Wait, wait you might say, these countries aren't Christian so there is no way ron paul would be comfortable living there. OH HOW WRONG YOU ARE!!! These countries are basically theocracies, and sharia law isn't all that different from the laws ron paul and the reconstructionist want to impose on the rest of us. Not only are these people a greater threat to the American Republic than the taliban and al queda and home grown terrorist, they, just like Muslim radicals, are perverting Christianity. As Christ and the Apostles warned us, beware of wolves in sheep's clothing and "prophets" who will lead you astray. From Alternet.....
Paul's endorsement from a pastor who wants the death penalty for gays exposes his links to radical Christian Reconstructionists.

Photo Credit: AFP
At first it seemed like the moment of triumph for the Ron Paul for President campaign. The Texas congressman had won the endorsement of Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a prominent right-wing Nebraska pastor, just as momentum built toward a possible big win for Paul in next week's GOP caucuses in neighboring Iowa, where evangelicals comprise a majority of voters.
The campaign issued a press release lauding Kayser and trumpeting his endorsement, citing "the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul's approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs." Then came word of Kayser's "Christian belief" in applying the death penalty for gay male sex, and the Paulites got busy scrubbing their press release from the campaign Web site. (The text of the release and a screen shot can be seen on the Web site Outside the Beltway.)
What reporters Pema Levy and Benjy Sarlin of TPM uncovered when they scrolled through Kayser's writings on his Web site, Biblical Blueprints, were not simply the rantings of a random fringe preacher, but a "blueprint" for the philosophy of Christian Reconstructionism, which seeks to make manifest biblical law as the law of the land. That would include the death penalty not only for the practice of sex between men, but also for adultery and insubordination by children.
Coming on the heels of recent revelations by a former aide that Ron Paul would not use the bathroom in a gay man's home or shake the hand of a gay supporter, and the homophobic and racist utterances attributed to him in a series of newsletters published under his name in the 1980s and '90s, news of Kayser's death-to-the-gays theology was hardly a boon to the campaign.
In one of the many pamphlets authored by Kayser, the TPM reporters unearthed this from a tract on the biblical validity of the death penalty:
It is not just the sinfulness of homosexuality that is known, but also the justice of the death penalty for homosexuality. In verse 32 Paul says, "Who knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."
The mere threat of the death penalty for the sin of gay sex, Kayser wrote elsewhere, can be "restorative" to those so threatened. When questioned by reporter Sarlin and Levy, Kayser confirmed his beliefs.
Paul's Long History with Christian Reconstructionists
The campaign can scrub its embrace of the Christian Reconstructionist preacher, but it can't scrub Ron Paul's long ties to the Reconstructionist movement, from which the more broadly accepted dominionist strain in right-wing evangelical Christianity flows. As we reported, when Ron Paul exited the GOP presidential race in 2008, he chose to endorse neither Sen. John McCain, Ariz., the Republican nominee, nor former Rep. Bob Barr, Ga., the Libertarian Party nominee. No, Ron Paul threw his support to Pastor Chuck Baldwin, who ran on the ballot of the Constitution Party, sort of the political arm of the Christian Reconstructionists. (Baldwin parts company with Reconstructionists on his idea of how the end-times will go down, but is otherwise well-aligned with the Reconstructionist agenda.)
Founded in 1992 by Howard Phillips, a follower of Christian Reconstructionism founder Rousas John Rushdoony, the Constitution Party offers this in the preamble to the party platform:
The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.
Hard-core Christian Reconstructionists like Kayser and Phillips (who is also a founder of the modern religious right and a close ally of Ron Paul) aren't easy to come by, despite the profound but often undetected influence of Reconstructionist thought on right-wing evangelical churches. One area of difference between Reconstructionists and more garden-variety evangelicals is toward Israel and the vision of the end-times. The more common position among evangelicals is premillennialist, meaning that Israel must be constituted as a nation before Jesus will return to rule the righteous. As we reported last August, Reconstructionists adhere to the view expressed by Ron Paul at a "Pastor's Forum" at Chuck Baldwin's Pensacola, Fla., church -- that Christians are the new "chosen people," and the righteous must rule for 1,000 years before Jesus will return.
In his address to the segregationist John Birch Society's 50th Anniversary Gala in 2008, Ron Paul spoke in the code he knew would be understood by Christian Reconstructionists, who have long ties to the Birch Society. Reconstructionists refer to the righteous who reside in a land swept by evil as "the remnant." (A prominent Christian Reconstructionist publication is called The Remnant Review.) "The remnant holds the truth together," Paul told the Birchers, "both the religious truth and the political truth.'"
Good Reconstructionist Friends
After news of Kayser's death-wish for gays swept through the blogosphere, the pastor, in an apparent act of solidarity with the Paul campaign, removed the link to his pamphlet, "Is the Death Penalty Just?" (It remains available, at press time, in PDF form here.)
Other publications available from Kayser via his Web site include a bibliography of resources, titled Worldview Reading List, which firmly roots Kayser in the Christian Reconstructionist ideology, citing Rushdoony's seminal Reconstructionist text, the Institutes of Biblical Law, some 28 times.
In the Institutes, Rusdoony wrote that "deliberate and mature warfare against God marks the homosexual." Consequently, he continued, "God's penalty is death, and a godly order will enforce it."
In his Worldview Reading List, Kayser also cites Reconstructionist author Gary North, Rushdoony's son-in-law, seven times. In 1978, Ron Paul hired Gary North to serve as his congressional aide, though North lasted only through Paul's first term. (See Julie Ingersoll of Religion Dispatches for more on North and his relationship with Ron and Rand Paul.)
Another close associate of Ron Paul's is Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips, whose conversion to Christianity was inspired by Rushdoony himself. Rushdoony, Phillips told me in September, made the conversion of Jews his special mission. (Phillips is of Jewish heritage.)
At a 2008 rally convened by Ron Paul in Minneapolis in the shadow of the Republican National Convention, Phillips appeared as a keynote speaker. Ron Paul has appeared with Phillips at Constitution Party events, and served as the keynote speaker of the 35th anniversary gala of the Conservative Caucus, another of Phillips' groups. Together with Phillips and John Birch Society president John McManus, Paul has spun a conspiracy theory about an imminent threat to U.S. sovereignty under the non-existent North American Union, which the three contend is a European Union-style plan already under way, designed to erase America's national borders and eradicate U.S. currency. Ron Paul's demand for a return to the gold standard for U.S. currency, as well as his disdain for the Federal Reserve, align perfectly with the "biblical" monetary policy positions espoused by Rushdoony in the Institutes.
Live and Let Die
A common misconception about the Ron Paul agenda is that he is a libertarian who just wants to let all humans live as they please. But Ron Paul is no libertarian; if not a Christian Reconstructionist himself, he is truly the best enabler a Reconstructionist could hope to have.
Ron Paul seeks to shrink the federal government to minimal size not because it intrudes in the lives of individuals, but because it stands in the way of allowing the states and localities to enact laws as they see fit -- even laws that govern people's behavior in their bedrooms.
Here's what Paul published on the Web site of Lew Rockwell -- allegedly one of the authors of his racist, homophobic newsletters -- about the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas that struck down the state's anti-sodomy laws, which prohibited sex between men:
The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment "right to privacy." Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states' rights — rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas.
This plays neatly into the hands of Paul's Christian Reconstructionist friends, who seek the destruction of the federal government for the opportunity to implement "God's law" on earth. Via Warren Throckmorton's invaluable Web site, comes this quote from the Christian Reconstructionist Bojidar Marinov, who writes of why "theonomists," as Reconstructionists define themselves, should root for Ron Paul:
The theonomic solution to the problems of sodomy and abortion can not be achieved at the Federal level because at that level liberals outnumber conservatives 20 to 1. And theonomic Christians are almost non-existent at that level. It is only when the socialist state is dismantled and power returned back to the states and the counties that we will be able to successfully deal with the other social and moral issues. As long as sin is protected at the Federal level, our political job as Christians is to dismantle the Federal bureaucracy and return all power to the local communities. Therefore, the great battle is against the socialist state.
Given that, Ron Paul is the man with the best position to work for that goal on the national level.
Ron Paul's Christian soldiers march on -- perhaps straight to victory in Iowa.

2 face indecency charges after making nude run to McDonald’s drive-thru in western Illinois 30DEZ11

I have driven naked.....but at night and when I had to stop for gas I pulled over and put on shorts and a tee shirt. It was back in the late 1980's, we were having a horrible heat wave in the East and it was only "cooling" down to the 80's F. I had a Plymouth Horizon and the AC wasn't working and I had to drive from northern VA to NW PA after working 2nd shift at IAD / Dulles. It was extremely hot and humid and even with the windows down it was unbearable so I decided to drive naked the whole 365 miles! Probably the only trip I took home that I didn't drive more than 5 mph over the speed limit!!!

GALESBURG, Ill. — Two people who pulled up at a McDonald’s drive-thru in western Illinois completely naked face public indecency charges.
Police in Galesburg say a 19-year-old El Paso man and a 21-year-old Galesburg woman have been released from Knox County Jail after being ordered to appear in court to face the charges.
WGIL Radio reports that the duo was still in the McDonald’s parking lot when officers arrived just before 2 a.m. Wednesday. Police say the man was crouched over in the driver’s seat trying to pull on a pair of pants while his passenger was covering up in a blanket.
WGIL reports that the pair told officers the late night fast-food run might not have been a great idea but that they both still thought it was funny.