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Monday, May 28, 2007

Yoga, the refresh button.

Yoga, the Refresh button of our life.
Mike Ghouse, May 27, 2007


Finally research has provided hard evidence of the benefits of practicing Yoga, which our Rishis and practitioners had discovered thousands of years ago.

When you are on your computer, and working several programs at one time, it slows down the processing ability. After you type words you may have to actually wait 1/10th of a second to see the letters on the screen. You keep struggling and dragging with your work with immense frustration…. Finally, it may dawn on you that there is a thing called refresh button, it may take a minute, but when it is refreshed, it is productive and you can get a lot done in the time left.

Similarly, when you are over loaded with several issues and tasks that you have to deal in the same breath, it drives you nuts. You can be nutty and continue to struggle, take the frustration out on others, or hype yourselves and keep losing the ability to get thing done efficiently. Or you can choose to do a short prayer, take a nap, meditate or do the yoga. All of them have the same ability to refresh you and make you more productive.

Prayers have the ability to un-scatter one’s unconcentrated mind and heart. For those who do not believe in prayers, can find answers in prayer like situations. Take for example, a public or civic event, prior to it’s beginning, people form smaller group and carry on their own conversations, they are all over in the lobby, hallways and each one is in their own world. It will take some time, effort and cajoling to get them into the hall to begin the program. However, playing the national anthem or some form of prayer will bring all the bodies and minds to a pause, refresh them with sentiments, and possibly bring them live into the program. A transformation of mind from one realm to the other occurs.

The practice of Yoga not only refreshes you, but energies you. It does not have to be elaborated twisting or stretching of the body; it could simply be sitting in an upright position and breathing properly.

The Hindus and Muslims have contributed to the science of refreshing oneself through the practice of Yoga and the Salat (Namaz). If you follow the Yoga practice, whatever it is, it is sure to give you the relief from stress. Try the Muslim prayer format, and put your own thoughts and your own words of goodness during the rituals, you may find amazing results with the timing of each physical action including the sitting position. The whole body is reactivated in 3 to 4 minutes of prayers.

There are fanatics who believe that doing Yoga or chanting some words will make them Hindus or Muslims. Similar thoughts prevailed in the previous century, when some people refused to take medicine, as they considered it to be anti-God or western if it was in the east, but today, all Medicine is welcome in just about every quarter of human society.

Prayers, meditation and Yoga are powerful tools for one’s spiritual growth and physical well being. It does not have religion; the practices are for humanity just as medicine is for the entire mankind.

Different practices do different things. Yoga is certainly a “refresh button in our lives”, practice it.

Mike Ghouse
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Yoga
Health benefits of yoga
By Janet Cromley, Times Staff Writer
May 28, 2007

Although yoga has been associated with a reduction in depression and anxiety, the study is one of the first to provide hard evidence. "This is a behavioral intervention that you can use to augment treatment," says Streeter. "I would recommend it."

Practicing yoga may boost a neurotransmitter associated with regulating depression and anxiety disorders, according to a new report in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., used magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging to measure levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, levels in the brains of eight regular yoga practitioners. They found that the yoga group experienced a 27% increase in GABA levels after an hour of yoga, while 11 control subjects, who read for an hour, received no such benefits.

"The study shows that there's a neurochemical response to the practice of yoga that's similar to neurochemical responses we see when people are treated with antidepressants," says lead author Dr. Chris Streeter, an assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine.


http://www.healthywomen.org/healthtopics/yoga

Yoga is a physical and mental practice that involves the body, mind and spirit. The practice -- which originated in India -- is designed to enhance awareness, create a mind-body-spirit balance, cleanse, heal and strengthen the body, liberate the true "S"elf and (as practiced today) improve fitness. The most common form practiced in the U.S. is Hatha yoga, which includes specific movements or postures (Asana), various breathing techniques (Pranayama) and is often complimented with, meditation (Dhyana).

Yoga's gentle, mindful and controlled movements can provide a non- or low-impact workout for people in almost any physical condition. Yogic exercises -- and there are many -- can ease tense muscles, improve flexibility and enhance strength, balance and endurance.

No one seems quite sure when yoga began, but it goes back millennia. Stone carvings in the Indus Valley depicting yoga positions date back 5,000-plus years.

Traditionally, yoga was a spiritual practice, its goal being union with the absolute or the divine; the various exercises we associate with Hatha yoga were performed to prepare the body for long periods of meditation. The word "yoga" means to join or bind together, and the practice joins together the body, mind and spirit. (On a spiritual level, it can refer to the union of the individual with the absolute truth or true Self (Atman).) It's often associated with Hinduism, but yoga predates the religion. As have other religions, Hinduism has incorporated elements of yoga into its practices.

As it's typically practiced here in the West, the focus is more on the physical fitness aspects. (Of course, it can be a spiritual experience, if you choose to use it as such.)

Yoga is now practiced around the world for its psychological, physical and spiritual benefits. Americans have practiced it for at least 150 years, but it gained popularity in the 1960s as young people developed a taste for all things Eastern. According to results of a study sponsored by the Yoga Journal and released in June 2003, 15 million Americans, or over seven percent of U.S. adults, are believed to practice yoga, an increase of 28.5 percent from the year before.

Although this report focuses on Hatha, here are some other types of yoga:

• Raja:
Called the "royal road," its focus is primarily on meditation; it incorporates exercise and breathing practice with meditation and study.

• Jnana:
Called the path of knowledge or wisdom, it involves the study of sacred texts.

• Bhakti:
The path of love and devotion focuses on devotion to and concentration on the guru or chosen deity, and often includes chanting.

• Karma:
In the yogic system of action and service, everything (including the yoga postures) is done with the mind centered on the divine; activities are done selflessly for the greater good.

• Tantra:
The path of ritual, it's based on the principle of consciously embracing the whole of life in order to unite with Deity. It uses the energies of the body -- including sexual -- to transcend worldly attachments.

Is It Right For You?
Yoga is gentle enough to be practiced by almost anyone. The beauty of yoga is that you don't have to be able to do all the positions; you can work within your own limitations, and tailor your practice to your specific needs.

If you decide to try yoga, finding a teacher won't be hard -- classes are available through recreation centers, senior centers, YMCAs, YWCAs, hospitals, health centers, community centers and meditation centers. Most of these classes are relatively inexpensive -- they may even be free with your membership at a gym, community center, etc. And check your health plan: Some insurance companies cover the cost of class.
Ask your regular health care professional for suggestions. He or she may know of a yoga class that meets your particular needs.

There are also several resources on the web for finding classes; two of them are www.yogafinder.com and www.citysearch.com.

You can take individual lessons, too, but they will be a bit more costly. Whether you decide to learn in a class or one-on-one, try to do so in person. Books and videos abound, but ideally, they should supplement what you learn from class -- and they can help you as you establish your practice at home.

Before your first class, consider sitting in on a session. Would you be comfortable in the class with this teacher? Is the pacing right for you? There are many classes and teachers from which to choose, so make sure you find one that feels right. If you have a particular medical condition, make sure the instructor has experience dealing with other folks in your same situation. And once you do find a teacher you like, be sure you tell him or her about any health problems.

Be advised, however, that there's no licensing requirement to teach yoga, and many teachers may have done little more than complete a weekend training or correspondence course. According to an article that appeared in the Jan. 8, 2003 issue of the Boston Globe newspaper, a growing number of untrained teachers may be to blame for a surge in yoga-associated injuries. A teacher-organized group called the Yoga Alliance recommends at least 200 hours of expert training, and nearly 8,000 instructors nationwide reportedly have satisfied that standard.

Health Benefits
Yoga's most obvious benefits relate to stress reduction, flexibility and relaxation. But as more studies are conducted, there is evidence of other tangible health benefits. While it's no cure, yoga can be an effective adjunct therapy for a variety of conditions, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, depression, fibromyalgia and migraines. Even if you are in perfect health, you can benefit from yoga. It helps improve strength, flexibility, coordination and range of motion. And since yoga promotes relaxation, improves circulation and reduces stress and anxiety, it enhances cardiovascular health and benefits the respiratory and nervous systems. Because it promotes relaxation, yoga also aids sleep and digestion.
Yoga can make you more aware of your own body -- more conscious of its strengths, weaknesses and needs.
Medical experts aren't exactly sure why yoga offers so many health benefits, but more studies are underway.

Some of its physiological effects can be attributed to stress reduction and relaxation; since many health problems are triggered or aggravated by stress, stress-reduction can only help. And when you do yoga, especially meditation and breathing exercises, you often induce what is known as the relaxation-response, a stress-neutralizing physiological state that boasts a wide-range of physical and mental benefits.
Yoga requires no special equipment or clothes, though an inexpensive yoga mat may help provide cushion and grip. You can do the exercises at home or at the office. If you have limited mobility, you can even do them from a chair or bed.

Here's a look at how yoga can affect some specific conditions affecting women. As always, consult with your health care professional before beginning any new exercise program:

Arthritis/fibromyalgia.
Yoga may ease the pain associated with these conditions, and there are classes designed specifically for people with arthritis or fibromyalgia. Few studies have been done, but anecdotal evidence indicates that arthritis sufferers find relief from yoga. For instance, a Stanford University study suggests that mind-body techniques (including yoga) are effective complementary therapies for musculoskeletal disorders, including osteoarthritis. For both arthritis and fibromyalgia, the stretching can temporarily relieve stiff joints, improve flexibility and circulation and stimulate the release of endorphins. The deep breathing and meditative aspects can help you deal with the stress of illness, especially something as frustrating as fibromyalgia.

Asthma.
The breathing exercises that are an integral part of yoga seem to give some people an element of control over their breathing, thus reducing the symptoms of asthma. It also strengthens the respiratory system.

Back pain.
Yoga can provide temporary relief from back pain. It can also help you avoid certain kinds of back pain by making your back and abdominal muscles stronger. Yoga stretches and strengthens back muscles -- some of the movements are like those used in physical therapy. Some postures strengthen abdominal muscles, which help support the back. Moreover, through regular practice, yoga will help you learn to spot potential trouble spots. For instance, you may be able to identify tense muscles and relax them before they become tight and sore.

Carpal tunnel syndrome.
Research indicates that yoga is an effective treatment for this repetitive stress injury. One study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that carpal tunnel sufferers who regularly attended yoga classes experienced less pain, greater flexibility and a stronger grip than those who used the usual treatment -- a wrist splint.

Endometriosis.
Yoga, like some other relaxation and meditative techniques, seems to provide some women with relief from the pain associated with endometriosis.

Epilepsy.
Preliminary studies reported in the Indian Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology suggest that yoga may help patients manage epilepsy. It may come down to stress reduction; stress can be a precipitating factor for some seizures, and yoga promotes relaxation and stress reduction. But researchers haven't drawn any conclusions yet, contending that more studies are needed.

Chronic pain.
Yoga and other relaxation techniques have been shown to help reduce chronic pain. They are especially effective for chronic headache and muscle tension.

Diabetes.
Yoga is well suited for diabetics in that it improves circulation and promotes a regular exercise regimen.
Heart/coronary artery disease.

Yoga improves circulation and, as a stress-reducing or stress-management technique, it may play a role in halting or reversing heart disease. Health care professionals often recommend yoga or something similar for their heart patients.

High blood pressure.
Evidence suggests that yoga reduces stress and increases relaxation, which may have a favorable effect on blood pressure rates. And there are studies suggesting that yoga may be effective in controlling hypertension, but more research needs to be done.

Menopause.
Yogic breathing techniques seem to help some women reduce hot flashes and other symptoms. And according to the American Yoga Association, some yogic exercises stimulate the glandular and reproductive systems, helping balance body chemistry.

Insomnia.
According to the National Institutes of Health, relaxation therapies and physical exercise, including yoga, can help alleviate insomnia.

Multiple sclerosis.
Yoga may help women with MS to increase physical functioning. Some chapters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society offer yoga classes.

Osteoporosis.
Since yoga is a low-to-no-impact exercise, some of the gentler postures may be appropriate even if you already have the condition; yoga may help lessen the pain associated with osteoporosis. Certain poses that position part of the body's weight on the hands may also aid in retaining bone density in the upper extremities and spine.

Premenstrual syndrome and menstrual cramps.
Yoga, when practiced regularly, can reduce symptoms of severe PMS, including anxiety and depression in some women. Some postures can reduce pressure on the uterus, relieving cramps, and yoga's gentle stretching can ease stiffness and tension in the lower back. According to the American Yoga Association, irritability, depression and moodiness can be eased by regular meditation, which is a part of many yogic practices. The association also explains that some yogic exercises stimulate the glandular and reproductive systems, helping balance body chemistry. And, of course, a regular exercise program of any sort helps lessen the severity of cramps for many women.

Pregnancy.
Prenatal yoga classes are generally more gentle than regular classes, and there's a greater focus on breathing and relaxation. Mild-to-moderate exercise during pregnancy is important for both you and your baby, and yoga's gentle, relaxing movements are ideal. And it can help you deal better with the stress associated with pregnancy. Consider looking for a course designed for pregnant women. View References

Friday, May 25, 2007

Patriotism - Ron Paul

There are ver few Republicans who have the courage to speak up, most of them are sycophants or chickens. I believe they do know the truth, but are afraid to speak up. I have written a similar piece on Patriotism, it is our duty to speak and prevent the nation from getting abused. Our first loyalty should be to our nation and the values it stands for, and not the blind allegiance to the party.

See Ron Paul talk about on video, by clicking the link below

Mike Ghouse
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On Patriotism
by Rep. Ron Paul
http://www.antiwar.com/paul/?articleid=11015

For some, patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. For others, it means dissent against a government's abuse of the people's rights.

I have never met a politician in Washington or any American, for that matter, who chose to be called unpatriotic. Nor have I met anyone who did not believe he wholeheartedly supported our troops, wherever they may be.

What I have heard all too frequently from various individuals are sharp accusations that, because their political opponents disagree with them on the need for foreign military entanglements, they were unpatriotic, un-American evildoers deserving contempt.

The original American patriots were those individuals brave enough to resist with force the oppressive power of King George. I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power.

The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self-interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state.
Resistance need not be violent, but the civil disobedience that might be required involves confrontation with the state and invites possible imprisonment.

Peaceful, nonviolent revolutions against tyranny have been every bit as successful as those involving military confrontation. Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., achieved great political successes by practicing nonviolence, and yet they suffered physically at the hands of the state. But whether the resistance against government tyrants is nonviolent or physically violent, the effort to overthrow state oppression qualifies as true patriotism.

True patriotism today has gotten a bad name, at least from the government and the press. Those who now challenge the unconstitutional methods of imposing an income tax on us, or force us to use a monetary system designed to serve the rich at the expense of the poor are routinely condemned. These American patriots are sadly looked down upon by many. They are never praised as champions of liberty as Gandhi and Martin Luther King have been.

Liberals, who withhold their taxes as a protest against war, are vilified as well, especially by conservatives. Unquestioned loyalty to the state is especially demanded in times of war. Lack of support for a war policy is said to be unpatriotic. Arguments against a particular policy that endorses a war, once it is started, are always said to be endangering the troops in the field. This, they blatantly claim, is unpatriotic, and all dissent must stop. Yet, it is dissent from government policies that defines the true patriot and champion of liberty.

It is conveniently ignored that the only authentic way to best support the troops is to keep them out of dangerous undeclared no-win wars that are politically inspired. Sending troops off to war for reasons that are not truly related to national security and, for that matter, may even damage our security, is hardly a way to patriotically support the troops.

Who are the true patriots, those who conform or those who protest against wars without purpose? How can it be said that blind support for a war, no matter how misdirected the policy, is the duty of a patriot?

Randolph Bourne said that, "War is the health of the state.'' With war, he argued, the state thrives. Those who believe in the powerful state see war as an opportunity. Those who mistrust the people and the market for solving problems have no trouble promoting a "war psychology'' to justify the expansive role of the state. This includes the role the Federal Government plays in our lives, as well as in our economic transactions.

Certainly, the neoconservative belief that we have a moral obligation to spread American values worldwide through force justifies the conditions of war in order to rally support at home for the heavy hand of government. It is through this policy, it should surprise no one, that our liberties are undermined. The economy becomes overextended, and our involvement worldwide becomes prohibited. Out of fear of being labeled unpatriotic, most of the citizens become compliant and accept the argument that some loss of liberty is required to fight the war in order to remain safe.
This is a bad trade-off, in my estimation, especially when done in the name of patriotism. Loyalty to the state and to autocratic leaders is substituted for true patriotism; that is, a willingness to challenge the state and defend the country, the people and the culture. The more difficult the times, the stronger the admonition comes that the leaders be not criticized.

Because the crisis atmosphere of war supports the growth of the state, any problem invites an answer by declaring war, even on social and economic issues. This elicits patriotism in support of various government solutions, while enhancing the power of the state. Faith in government coercion and a lack of understanding of how free societies operate encourages big-government liberals and big-government conservatives to manufacture a war psychology to demand political loyalty for domestic policy just as is required in foreign affairs.

The long-term cost in dollars spent and liberties lost is neglected as immediate needs are emphasized. It is for this reason that we have multiple perpetual wars going on simultaneously. Thus, the war on drugs, the war against gun ownership, the war against poverty, the war against illiteracy, the war against terrorism, as well as our foreign military entanglements are endless.

All this effort promotes the growth of statism at the expense of liberty. A government designed for a free society should do the opposite, prevent the growth of statism and preserve liberty.

Once a war of any sort is declared, the message is sent out not to object or you will be declared unpatriotic. Yet, we must not forget that the true patriot is the one who protests in spite of the consequences. Condemnation or ostracism or even imprisonment may result.

Nonviolent protesters of the Tax Code are frequently imprisoned, whether they are protesting the code's unconstitutionality or the war that the tax revenues are funding. Resisters to the military draft or even to Selective Service registration are threatened and imprisoned for challenging this threat to liberty.

Statism depends on the idea that the government owns us and citizens must obey. Confiscating the fruits of our labor through the income tax is crucial to the health of the state. The draft, or even the mere existence of the Selective Service, emphasizes that we will march off to war at the state's pleasure.

A free society rejects all notions of involuntary servitude, whether by draft or the confiscation of the fruits of our labor through the personal income tax. A more sophisticated and less well-known technique for enhancing the state is the manipulation and transfer of wealth through the fiat monetary system operated by the secretive Federal Reserve.

Protesters against this unconstitutional system of paper money are considered unpatriotic criminals and at times are imprisoned for their beliefs. The fact that, according to the Constitution, only gold and silver are legal tender and paper money outlawed matters little. The principle of patriotism is turned on its head. Whether it's with regard to the defense of welfare spending at home, confiscatory income tax, or an immoral monetary system or support for a war fought under false pretense without a legal declaration, the defenders of liberty and the Constitution are portrayed as unpatriotic, while those who support these programs are seen as the patriots.

If there is a war going on, supporting the state's effort to win the war is expected at all costs, no dissent. The real problem is that those who love the state too often advocate policies that lead to military action. At home, they are quite willing to produce a crisis atmosphere and claim a war is needed to solve the problem. Under these conditions, the people are more willing to bear the burden of paying for the war and to carelessly sacrifice liberties, which they are told is necessary.

The last 6 years have been quite beneficial to the health of the state, which comes at the expense of personal liberty. Every enhanced unconstitutional power of the state can only be achieved at the expense of individual liberty. Even though in every war in which we have been engaged civil liberties have suffered, some have been restored after the war ended, but never completely. That has resulted in a steady erosion of our liberties over the past 200 years. Our government was originally designed to protect our liberties, but it has now, instead, become the usurper of those liberties.

We currently live in the most difficult of times for guarding against an expanding central government with a steady erosion of our freedoms. We are continually being reminded that 9/11 has changed everything.

Unfortunately, the policy that needed most to be changed, that is, our policy of foreign interventionism, has only been expanded. There is no pretense any longer that a policy of humility in foreign affairs, without being the world's policemen and engaging in nation building, is worthy of consideration.

We now live in a post-9/11 America where our government is going to make us safe no matter what it takes. We are expected to grin and bear it and adjust to every loss of our liberties in the name of patriotism and security.

Though the majority of Americans initially welcomed the declared effort to make us safe, and we are willing to sacrifice for the cause, more and more Americans are now becoming concerned about civil liberties being needlessly and dangerously sacrificed.


The problem is that the Iraq war continues to drag on, and a real danger of it spreading exists. There is no evidence that a truce will soon be signed in Iraq or in the war on terror or the war on drugs. Victory is not even definable. If Congress is incapable of declaring an official war, it is impossible to know when it will end. We have been fully forewarned that the world conflict in which we are now engaged will last a long, long time.

The war mentality and the pervasive fear of an unidentified enemy allows for a steady erosion of our liberties, and, with this, our respect for self-reliance and confidence is lost. Just think of the self-sacrifice and the humiliation we go through at the airport screening process on a routine basis. Though there is no scientific evidence of any likelihood of liquids and gels being mixed on an airplane to make a bomb, billions of dollars are wasted throwing away toothpaste and hair spray, and searching old women in wheelchairs.

Our enemies say boo, and we jump, we panic, and then we punish ourselves. We are worse than a child being afraid of the dark. But in a way, the fear of indefinable terrorism is based on our inability to admit the truth about why there is a desire by a small number of angry radical Islamists to kill Americans. It is certainly not because they are jealous of our wealth and freedoms.

We fail to realize that the extremists, willing to sacrifice their own lives to kill their enemies, do so out of a sense of weakness and desperation over real and perceived attacks on their way of life, their religion, their country, and their natural resources. Without the conventional diplomatic or military means to retaliate against these attacks, and an unwillingness of their own government to address the issue, they resort to the desperation tactic of suicide terrorism. Their anger toward their own governments, which they believe are coconspirators with the American Government, is equal to or greater than that directed toward us.

These errors in judgment in understanding the motive of the enemy and the constant fear that is generated have brought us to this crisis where our civil liberties and privacy are being steadily eroded in the name of preserving national security.
We may be the economic and the military giant of the world, but the effort to stop this war on our liberties here at home in the name of patriotism is being lost.

The erosion of our personal liberties started long before 9/11, but 9/11 accelerated the process. There are many things that motivate those who pursue this course, both well-intentioned and malevolent, but it would not happen if the people remained vigilant, understood the importance of individual rights, and were unpersuaded that a need for security justifies the sacrifice for liberty, even if it is just now and then.

The true patriot challenges the state when the state embarks on enhancing its power at the expense of the individual. Without a better understanding and a greater determination to rein in the state, the rights of Americans that resulted from the revolutionary break from the British and the writing of the Constitution will disappear.

The record since September 11th is dismal. Respect for liberty has rapidly deteriorated. Many of the new laws passed after 9/11 had, in fact, been proposed long before that attack. The political atmosphere after that attack simply made it more possible to pass such legislation. The fear generated by 9/11 became an opportunity for those seeking to promote the power of the state domestically, just as it served to falsely justify the long-planned invasion of Iraq.

The war mentality was generated by the Iraq war in combination with the constant drumbeat of fear at home. Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, who is now likely residing in Pakistan, our supposed ally, are ignored, as our troops fight and die in Iraq and are made easier targets for the terrorists in their backyard. While our leaders constantly use the mess we created to further justify the erosion of our constitutional rights here at home, we forget about our own borders and support the inexorable move toward global government, hardly a good plan for America.

The accelerated attacks on liberty started quickly after 9/11. Within weeks, the PATRIOT Act was overwhelmingly passed by Congress. Though the final version was unavailable up to a few hours before the vote, no Member had sufficient time to study it. Political fear of not doing something, even something harmful, drove the Members of Congress to not question the contents, and just voted for it. A little less freedom for a little more perceived safety was considered a fair trade-off, and the majority of Americans applauded.

The PATRIOT Act, though, severely eroded the system of checks and balances by giving the government the power to spy on law-abiding citizens without judicial supervision. The several provisions that undermine the liberties of all Americans include sneak-and-peek searches, a broadened and more vague definition of domestic terrorism, allowing the FBI access to library and bookstore records without search warrants or probable cause, easier FBI initiation of wiretaps and searches, as well as roving wiretaps, easier access to information on American citizens' use of the Internet, and easier access to e-mail and financial records of all American citizens.

The attack on privacy has not relented over the past 6 years. The Military Commissions Act is a particularly egregious piece of legislation and, if not repealed, will change America for the worse as the powers unconstitutionally granted to the executive branch are used and abused. This act grants excessive authority to use secretive military commissions outside of places where active hostilities are going on. The Military Commissions Act permits torture, arbitrary detention of American citizens as unlawful enemy combatants at the full discretion of the President and without the right of habeas corpus, and warrantless searches by the NSA. It also gives to the President the power to imprison individuals based on secret testimony.

Since 9/11, Presidential signing statements designating portions of legislation that the President does not intend to follow, though not legal under the Constitution, have enormously multiplied. Unconstitutional Executive Orders are numerous and mischievous and need to be curtailed.

Extraordinary rendition to secret prisons around the world have been widely engaged in, though obviously extralegal.

A growing concern in the post-9/11 environment is the Federal Government's list of potential terrorists based on secret evidence. Mistakes are made, and sometimes it is virtually impossible to get one's name removed even though the accused is totally innocent of any wrongdoing.

A national ID card is now in the process of being implemented. It is called the REAL ID card, and it is tied to our Social Security numbers and our State driver's license. If REAL ID is not stopped, it will become a national driver's license ID for all Americans. We will be required to carry our papers.

Some of the least-noticed and least-discussed changes in the law were the changes made to the Insurrection Act of 1807 and to posse comitatus by the Defense Authorization Act of 2007. These changes pose a threat to the survival of our Republic by giving the President the power to declare martial law for as little reason as to restore public order. The 1807 act severely restricted the President in his use of the military within the United States borders, and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 strengthened these restrictions with strict oversight by Congress. The new law allows the President to circumvent the restrictions of both laws. The Insurrection Act has now become the "Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act.'' This is hardly a title that suggests that the authors cared about or understood the nature of a constitutional Republic.

Now, martial law can be declared not just for insurrection, but also for natural disasters, public health reasons, terrorist attacks or incidents, or for the vague reason called "other conditions.'' The President can call up the National Guard without congressional approval or the Governors' approval, and even send these State Guard troops into other States.

The American Republic is in remnant status. The stage is set for our country eventually devolving into a military dictatorship, and few seem to care. These precedent-setting changes in the law are extremely dangerous and will change American jurisprudence forever if not revised. The beneficial results of our revolt against the King's abuses are about to be eliminated, and few Members of Congress and few Americans are aware of the seriousness of the situation. Complacency and fear drive our legislation without any serious objection by our elected leaders. Sadly, though, those few who do object to this self-evident trend away from personal liberty and empire-building overseas are portrayed as unpatriotic and uncaring.

Though welfare and socialism always fails, opponents of them are said to lack compassion. Though opposition to totally unnecessary war should be the only moral position, the rhetoric is twisted to claim that patriots who oppose the war are not supporting the troops. The cliché "Support the Troops'' is incessantly used as a substitute for the unacceptable notion of supporting the policy, no matter how flawed it may be.

Unsound policy can never help the troops. Keeping the troops out of harm's way and out of wars unrelated to our national security is the only real way of protecting the troops. With this understanding, just who can claim the title of "patriot''?
Before the war in the Middle East spreads and becomes a world conflict for which we will be held responsible, or the liberties of all Americans become so suppressed we can no longer resist, much has to be done. Time is short, but our course of action should be clear. Resistance to illegal and unconstitutional usurpation of our rights is required. Each of us must choose which course of action we should take: education, conventional political action, or even peaceful civil disobedience to bring about necessary changes.

But let it not be said that we did nothing. Let not those who love the power of the welfare/warfare state label the dissenters of authoritarianism as unpatriotic or uncaring. Patriotism is more closely linked to dissent than it is to conformity and a blind desire for safety and security. Understanding the magnificent rewards of a free society makes us unbashful in its promotion, fully realizing that maximum wealth is created and the greatest chance for peace comes from a society respectful of individual liberty.

Ron Paul for President 2008

It is unfortunate that our news agencies are reduced to PBS and NPR, all others are corporate businesses, with a propaganda and the plan to execute it. They find stooges who can scream the loudest and deliver to the base sentiments of the people. Watch Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity and others and ask why should you believe in their rants? Where is the substance and source of their propaganda?

Mike Ghouse


How Will They Destroy Ron Paul?
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17764.htm
By Mike Whitney

“Whether the resistance against government tyrants is nonviolent or physically violent, the effort to overthrow state oppression qualifies as true patriotism”. Rep. Ron Paul “On Patriotism”

05/24/07 "ICH" -- -- How will the media destroy Ron Paul?

We all know the drill by now. Whenever a politician with character and principles throws his hat in the ring the media descends on him like feral hounds on a pork chop. It’ll be no different with Paul. The only difference is that we should all be aware of what’s really going on.

Did you see the Republican debates?

Paul won hands-down. He stood out in a crowd of colorless toadies and became an overnight sensation on the internet. In fact, an ABC survey showed that Paul won the first debate with an 85% majority; while C-SPAN showed him at 70%. Maybe the stats are just a fluke of internet voting, but it’s sure made the boys in the boardrooms nervous.

You see, it doesn’t matter if Paul wins or not. What matters is that he is delivering a message that is damaging to America’s biggest powerbrokers---and they don’t like it. They would rather he just shut up and go away. They’ve heard enough about the Military Commissions Act, and martial law, and the fraudulent war on terror. They’ve put a lot of energy into the new American police state and they aren’t about to let some “no account” libertarian destroy all their hard work.

Right now, the right wing think tanks are probably buzzing like a hornets nest. They have their work cut out for them. The sleeves are rolled up, the ash trays are full, and America’s best propagandists are working out the details for a full-blown assault on Ron Paul. They want to take him down now, before he can cause any more trouble.

My guess is that they will use a similar strategy to what they used on John Kerry, that is---keep it simple---attack on 3 fronts and repeat the charges from every soapbox in America. In Kerry’s case, the mantra was as follows:

1. Kerry “flip-flops”

2 He’s a Massachusetts liberal.

3 He faked his war injuries to look like a hero.

The effectiveness of this strategy depends on how often the charges are repeated and from how many outlets. The media will have to devise a saturation-campaign similar to the full-blown attack on Howard Dean in the 2004 Democratic primary. The infamous “Dean Scream” appeared over 900 times in the major media in the first 72 hours. Technicians isolated Dean’s holler from the background noise of a crowded convention hall, which made him look like he was emotionally unstable.

It worked like a charm. Dean’s star sunk overnight and the country was “spared” the prospect of an antiwar candidate.

Isn’t that what media is for---to obliterate the enemies of the corporate chieftains who enrich themselves through foreign wars?

My guess is that, sometime in the next 2 weeks, we’ll see a big push by to derail the Paul campaign. Already Sean Hannity, Glen Beck and FOX News have taken a few swipes at him, but they proved they are not up to the task. Its time to wheel out the heavy artillery and pound Paul into rubble.

But what is Paul saying that makes him such a threat to the corporate powerbrokers? Is it just because he stands out in a crowd of plaster-hair phonies--or is it because his campaign is focused on the traditional American values of liberty and non-intervention rather than demagoguery and torture?

This is how Paul summarized 9-11 and our misguided war in Iraq:

“They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East [for years]. I think Reagan was right. We don't understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. Right now, we're building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? Would we be objecting?

Or this:

“I believe the CIA is correct when it warns us about blowback. We overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 and their taking the hostages was the reaction. This dynamic persists and we ignore it at our risk. They’re not attacking us because we’re rich and free, they’re attacking us because we’re over there.”

The rest of the Republican candidates support the “official narrative” that Iraq is just a battleground in a larger war against Islamic fanaticism---the prevailing myth which is fueled by the media and assures decades of conflict.

Clearly, the bankers, neocons and weapons manufacturers are not sympathetic to Paul’s analysis nor do they want to pollute the public air-waves with his common sense alternatives.

Here’s what Paul has to say about the maneuverings of the Federal Reserve, the secretive cabal that controls our money:

“Congress created the Federal Reserve System in 1913. Between then and 1971 the principle of sound money was systematically undermined. Between 1913 and 1971, the Federal Reserve found it much easier to expand the money supply at will for financing war or manipulating the economy with little resistance from Congress-- while benefiting the special interests that influence government.

Since printing paper money is nothing short of counterfeiting, the issuer of the international currency must always be the country with the military might to guarantee control over the system. This magnificent scheme seems the perfect system for obtaining perpetual wealth for the country that issues the de facto world currency. The one problem, however, is that such a system destroys the character of the counterfeiting nation’s people-- just as was the case when gold was the currency and it was obtained by conquering other nations. And this destroys the incentive to save and produce, while encouraging debt and runaway welfare.”

Do you really think that the board-members of the privately-owned Central Bank want the American people to know about the extortionist racket they’ve been running for the last 90 years in contravention of the US Constitution?

And, what do you think they’ll do to stop further embarrassing exposure?

Paul’s demand that we abolish the Federal Reserve is no different than his ideological ancestor Thomas Jefferson, who said:

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of our currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations that will grow up will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing of power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

Isn’t that what is happening right now? Doesn’t the Fed inflate one massive equity bubble after the other so that working class people are lured in by low-interest rates and then lose their shirts when the bubble collapses? This is how the banking elites shift wealth from one class to another. It’s an old scam, but it never fails.

Paul is right. Free people cannot control their own destiny unless they control their own currency. The Federal Reserve must be abolished. And, as Paul says, “The sooner the better”.

He’s also right about deficits when he says:

The greatest threat facing America today is not terrorism, or foreign economic competition, or illegal immigration. The greatest threat facing America today is the disastrous fiscal policies of our own government, marked by shameless deficit spending and Federal Reserve currency devaluation. It is this one-two punch – Congress spending more than it can tax or borrow, and the Fed printing money to make up the difference – that threatens to impoverish us by further destroying the value of our dollars”.

The men who own the media don’t want this type of populism on the air-waves. After all, they love deficits. The trade deficits provide cheap capital for the stock market while the budget deficit borrows money from future generations for lavish tax cuts for Bush’s wealthy buddies.

No wonder they hate Paul!

Most of all, Paul is reviled for his defense of liberty and his rejection of Bush’s sweeping changes to the Constitution. He’s been an outspoken critic of the Military Commissions Act, which permits torture and arbitrary detention of American citizens or foreign nationals on the orders of the executive. He has also condemned warrantless wiretaps, presidential signings, extraordinary rendition, the Real ID Act, and the Orwellian-sounding "Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act'' which allows Bush to declare martial law at his own discretion.

Ron Paul is a friend of personal freedom which makes him the de facto enemy of the White House brown-shirts. He has watched as our country has continued to slide towards military dictatorship. He has put himself on the firing-line to defend our way of life.

His candidacy is an act of patriotism which is why the Bush Throng will try to destroy him.

In a recent speech on the floor of the House Paul said:

“Patriotism is more closely linked to dissent than it is to conformity and a blind desire for safety and security. Understanding the magnificent rewards of a free society makes us unbashful in its promotion, fully realizing that maximum wealth is created and the greatest chance for peace comes from a society respectful of individual liberty”.

Thanks for that, Mr. Paul. And, good luck.

Dangers of Global domination

Republicans may consider reading the following piece written by a democrat. It is time for Republicans to wake up from their blindness to long term recklessness this administration has embarked on. Democrats are talking sense... and may dominate in the next elections, if we chase our own tails.

On April 13, Front page published a symposium on Islam, where I participated ending my presentation with this comment “The first step to peace on earth is to rejuvenate the United Nations, where all of us need to join together to create a Just World. All aggression ought to be fought jointly and justly by the entire community of Nations. For short term gains, the big nations have acted un-justly, each one has taken their turn to be wrong, this has got to go. The big brothers have to demonstrate a sense of justice and fairness in dealing with different nations, when there is justice, peace is bound to come.” http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/04/symposium-one-islam.html

Mike Ghouse
--------------------------

A drive for global domination has put us in greater danger

Moral authority, which is our greatest source of strength, has been recklessly put at risk by this wilful president

By Al Gore

05/24/07 "The Guardian" -- -- The pursuit of "dominance" in foreign policy led the Bush administration to ignore the UN, to do serious damage to our most important alliances, to violate international law, and to cultivate the hatred and contempt of many in the rest of the world. The seductive appeal of exercising unconstrained unilateral power led this president to interpret his powers under the constitution in a way that brought to life the worst nightmare of the founders. Any policy based on domination of the rest of the world not only creates enemies for the US and recruits for al-Qaida, but also undermines the international cooperation that is essential to defeating terrorists who wish to harm and intimidate America. Instead of "dominance", we should be seeking pre-eminence in a world where nations respect us and seek to follow our leadership and adopt our values.

With the blatant failure by the government to respect the rule of law, we face a great challenge in restoring America's moral authority in the world. Our moral authority is our greatest source of strength. It is our moral authority that has been recklessly put at risk by the cheap calculations of this wilful president.

The Bush administration's objective of attempting to establish US domination over any potential adversary was what led to the hubristic, tragic miscalculation of the Iraq war - a painful misadventure marked by one disaster after another, based on one mistaken assumption after another. But the people who paid the price have been the American men and women in uniform trapped over there, and the Iraqis themselves. At the level of our relations with the rest of the world, the administration has willingly traded respect for the US in favour of fear. That was the real meaning of "shock and awe". This administration has coupled its theory of US dominance with a doctrine of pre-emptive strikes, regardless of whether the threat to be pre-empted is imminent or not.

The doctrine is presented in open-ended terms, which means that Iraq is not necessarily the last application. In fact, the very logic of the concept suggests a string of military engagements against a succession of sovereign states - Syria, Libya, North Korea, Iran - but the implication is that wherever the combination exists of an interest in weapons of mass destruction together with an ongoing role as host to, or participant in, terrorist operations, the doctrine will apply. It also means that the Iraq resolution created the precedent for pre-emptive action anywhere, whenever this or any future president decides that it is time. The risks of this doctrine stretch far beyond the disaster in Iraq. The policy affects the basic relationship between the US and the rest of the world. Article 51 of the UN charter recognises the right of any nation to defend itself, including the right to take pre-emptive action in order to deal with imminent threats.

By now, the administration may have begun to realise that national and international cohesion are indeed strategic assets. But it is a lesson long delayed and clearly not uniformly and consistently accepted by senior members of the cabinet. From the outset, the administration has operated in a manner calculated to please the portion of its base that occupies the far right, at the expense of solidarity among all Americans and between our country and our allies. The gross violations of human rights authorised by Bush at Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay and dozens of other locations around the world, have seriously damaged US moral authority and delegitimised US efforts to continue promoting human rights.

President Bush offered a brief and halfhearted apology to the Arab world, but he should make amends to the American people for abandoning the Geneva conventions, and to the US forces for sending troops into harm's way while ignoring the best advice of their commanders. Perhaps most importantly, he owes an explanation to all those men and women throughout our world who have held high the ideal of the US as a shining goal to inspire their own efforts to bring about justice and the rule of law.

Most Americans have tended to give the Bush-Cheney administration the benefit of the doubt when it comes to its failure to take action in advance of 9/11 to guard against an attack. Hindsight casts a harsh light on mistakes that should have been visible at the time they were made. But now, years later, with the benefit of investigations that have been made public, it is no longer clear that the administration deserves this act of political grace from the American people. It is useful and important to examine the warnings the administration ignored - not to point the finger of blame, but to better determine how our country can avoid such mistakes in the future. When leaders are not held accountable for serious mistakes, they and their successors are more likely to repeat those mistakes.

Part of the explanation for the increased difficulty in gaining cooperation in fighting terrorism is Bush's attitude of contempt for any person, institution or nation that disagrees with him. He has exposed Americans abroad and in the US to a greater danger of attack because of his arrogance and wilfulness, in particular his insistence upon stirring up a hornet's nest in Iraq. Compounding the problem, he has regularly insulted the religion, the culture and the tradition of people in countries throughout the Muslim world.

The unpleasant truth is that Bush's failed policies in both Iraq and Afghanistan have made the world a far more dangerous place. Our friends in the Middle East, including most prominently Israel, have been placed in greater danger because of the policy blunders and sheer incompetence with which the civilian Pentagon officials have conducted this war.

We as Americans should have "known then what we know now"- not only about the invasion of Iraq but also about the climate crisis; what would happen if the levees failed to protect New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina; and about many other fateful choices that have been made on the basis of flawed, and even outright false, information. We could and should have known, because the information was readily available. We should have known years ago about the potential for a global HIV/Aids pandemic. But the larger explanation for this crisis in American decision-making is that reason itself is playing a diminished, less respected, role in our national conversation.

Al Gore is a former US vice-president; this is an edited extract from his new book, The Assault on Reason, published this week by Bloomsbury
© Al Gore

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Islam, Sword & Propaganda

Two stories follow my comments; http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/05/islam-sword-propoganda.html

  1. Don't be fooled by the Propaganda
  2. Mohammad's sword


We owe allegiance to the peace of the world, as peace brings prosperity to all. Peace comes to us when peace surrounds us.

When the kings of Europe were losing to the Arab Kings, they figured, the only way to stop this onslaught was to color it with religion. They could not tell their citizenry to sacrifice their lives to save the king, instead they worked with the Pope and had a religious decree issued by him to go and fight the infidel Muslims and Jews, they said, it was the duty of every Christian to defeat the infidels.

To reiterate their propaganda, they had planned translating Qur'aan wrongly to appease their kings and fool the public, and they did as cunningly as our president did with WMD's and death and destruction of Iraq.

  1. The first Qur'an translation was into Latin by Robert of Ketton in 1143. It was made at the request of the Abbot of the monastery of Cluny. (abounds in inaccuracies)
  2. Another Latin translation by Ludovicus Marracci was published in 1698. It was supplemented with quotes from Qur'an commentaries "carefully juxtaposed and sufficiently garbled so as to portray Islam in the worst possible light" (Colin Turner,1997 p. xii). The title of the introductory volume of such translation was A Refutation of the Qur'an. Such translations formed the foundation for a number of subsequent translations into English, French, Italian, German, etc.
  3. The first English translation was that of Alexander Ross published in 1649. In his introduction, Ross says "I thought good to bring it to their colours, that so viewing thine enemies in their full body, thou must the better prepare to encounter … his Alcoran" (p. A3).
  4. Similarly, H. Reckendorf (1857) says in his Hebrew translation of the Qur'an, "I can now stop writing and ask God's pardon for the sin I committed when I profaned our sacred language and transferred to it the talk of lies and falsehood" (as cited in Abdul Aal, January 29, 2006, p. 78).
  5. In 1734, George Sale’s translation came out based on Marracci’s earlier notorious work.
  6. In 1861, J. M. Rodwell’s work provided a further example of a writer "gunning for
    Islam" (Turner, 1997, p. xii).

Huntington and several of his likes are grounded in the above history, false history. Whatever they spew now, is based on a false premise.


It is in our interest to seek peace.

Mike Ghouse
____________________________________________

Don't Be Fooled by Propaganda
by Charley Reese

There is an ongoing slander campaign against Islam, claiming that it is a religion that promotes violence and hinting that it seeks world conquest.

Before you buy the malarkey that is being produced by people with their own agendas or prejudices or who are just plain ignoramuses, follow these few suggestions:

Compare the history of Islam with the history of Europe, which for centuries was called Christendom. An objective look will show you that Christendom wins by a landslide when it comes to violence and wars. After all, Europe and its offspring did not come to dominate the world, including the Islamic countries, because they practiced the gentle virtues of Jesus.

As for the common practice of cherry-picking Scripture from holy writings and presenting it out of context, just check out what Christians call the Old Testament. There you will find God advocating a double standard of morality, condoning slavery, ordering the Israelites to commit genocide and committing infanticide himself on a mass scale. I don't believe you will find anything comparable in the Quran.

The word "jihad," which is so over-used these days, has, like a lot of words, more than one meaning. It means basically to struggle, but this can be personal or spiritual, or a peaceful political struggle. Only if Islam is attacked are Muslims required to defend it. As for that obnoxious propaganda term "Islamo-fascist," just recall that fascism is a European invention by
nominal Christians. To my knowledge, the only fascist governments ever to exist on this planet were all European and nominally Christian.

Another canard is that Islam promotes forced conversion. Not so. Even when the Arab empire was expanding, rarely were any of the conquered people forced to convert. The Quran even forbids it, as I recall. Naturally, once Muslims were in charge, a lot of people decided it was in their own self-interest to convert, but this is just one of the sleazy aspects of human nature.

I remember when Florida elected its first Republican governor of the 20th century. I saw plenty of people crawl out from under their rocks and convert to the Republican Party, drawn by the smell of patronage. With some rare exceptions, human beings always act in what they perceive, rightly or wrongly, to be in their self-interest.

It was Christian Europe that slaughtered the Jews, and nothing remotely resembling the Holocaust is to be found in the history of Islam. In fact, during the past, when Jews were being persecuted by Christian Europe, they frequently fled to and found sanctuary in the Muslim countries. Until Israel was established, practically every Muslim country had sizable Jewish
populations dating back centuries. And there are still Jews and Christians in some Muslim countries.

A final suggestion is that when you hear some individual radical Muslim being quoted, just remember he is one of a billion people and speaks only for himself and his small following. And be wary of the quotations he uses, for they are often deliberately fabricated or distorted.

If Muslims really desired to conquer the world, don't you think it's strange that we've been living in peace with them for nearly a millennium and a half, except for those times when we attacked them (the Crusades, the European colonial movement and our invasion of Iraq)? Don't forget either that some of the countries the Bush administration calls allies are themselves Muslim – Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc.

You have nothing to fear from Islam. The al-Qaida movement is a tiny percentage of Muslims and wouldn't be the force it is except for the fact that the Bush administration has gone out of its way to make all of Osama bin Laden's propaganda become true.

May 5, 2007

____________________________________________

Muhammad's Sword.
by Uri Avnery


GUSH SHALOM
http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1159094813
23-09-2006

Since the days when Roman Emperors threw Christians to the lions, the relations between the emperors and the heads of the church have undergone many changes.

Constantine the Great, who became Emperor in the year 306 - exactly 1700 years ago - encouraged the practice of Christianity in the empire, which included Palestine. Centuries later, the church split into an Eastern (Orthodox) and a Western (Catholic) part. In the West, the Bishop of Rome, who acquired the title of Pope, demanded that the Emperor accept his superiority.

The struggle between the Emperors and the Popes played a central role in European history and divided the peoples. It knew ups and downs. Some Emperors dismissed or expelled a Pope, some Popes dismissed or excommunicated an Emperor. One of the Emperors, Henry IV, "walked to Canossa", standing for three days barefoot in the snow in front of the Pope's castle, until the Pope deigned to annul his excommunication.

But there were times when Emperors and Popes lived in peace with each other. We are witnessing such a period today. Between the present Pope, Benedict XVI, and the present Emperor, George Bush II, there exists a wonderful harmony. Last week's speech by the Pope, which aroused a world-wide storm, went well with Bush's crusade against "Islamofascism", in the context of the "Clash of Civilizations".

IN HIS lecture at a German university, the 265th Pope described what he sees as a huge difference between Christianity and Islam: while Christianity is based on reason, Islam denies it. While Christians see the logic of God's actions, Muslims deny that there is any such logic in the actions of Allah.

As a Jewish atheist, I do not intend to enter the fray of this debate. It is much beyond my humble abilities to understand the logic of the Pope. But I cannot overlook one passage, which concerns me too, as an Israeli living near the fault-line of this "war of civilizations".

In order to prove the lack of reason in Islam, the Pope asserts that the prophet Muhammad ordered his followers to spread their religion by the sword. According to the Pope, that is unreasonable, because faith is born of the soul, not of the body. How can the sword influence the soul?

To support his case, the Pope quoted - of all people - a Byzantine Emperor, who belonged, of course, to the competing Eastern Church. At the end of the 14th century, the Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus told of a debate he had - or so he said (its occurrence is in doubt) - with an unnamed Persian Muslim scholar. In the heat of the argument, the Emperor (according to himself) flung the following words at his adversary:

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".

These words give rise to three questions:

(a) Why did the Emperor say them?
(b) Are they true?
(c) Why did the present Pope quote them?

WHEN MANUEL II wrote his treatise, he was the head of a dying empire. He assumed power in 1391, when only a few provinces of the once illustrious empire remained. These, too, were already under Turkish threat.

At that point in time, the Ottoman Turks had reached the banks of the Danube. They had conquered Bulgaria and the north of Greece, and had twice defeated relieving armies sent by Europe to save the Eastern Empire. On May 29, 1453, only a few years after Manuel's death, his capital, Constantinople (the present Istanbul) fell to the Turks, putting an end to the Empire that had lasted for more than a thousand years.

During his reign, Manuel made the rounds of the capitals of Europe in an attempt to drum up support. He promised to reunite the church. There is no doubt that he wrote his religious treatise in order to incite the Christian countries against the Turks and convince them to start a new crusade. The aim was practical, theology was serving politics.

In this sense, the quote serves exactly the requirements of the present Emperor, George Bush II. He, too, wants to unite the Christian world against the mainly Muslim "Axis of Evil". Moreover, the Turks are again knocking on the doors of Europe, this time peacefully. It is well known that the Pope supports the forces that object to the entry of Turkey into the European Union.

IS THERE any truth in Manuel's argument?

The pope himself threw in a word of caution. As a serious and renowned theologian, he could not afford to falsify written texts. Therefore, he admitted that the Qur'an specifically forbade the spreading of the faith by force. He quoted the second Sura, verse 256 (strangely fallible, for a pope, he meant verse 257) which says: "There must be no coercion in matters of faith".

How can one ignore such an unequivocal statement? The Pope simply argues that this commandment was laid down by the prophet when he was at the beginning of his career, still weak and powerless, but that later on he ordered the use of the sword in the service of the faith. Such an order does not exist in the Qur'an. True, Muhammad called for the use of the sword in his war against opposing tribes - Christian, Jewish and others - in Arabia, when he was building his state. But that was a political act, not a religious one; basically a fight for territory, not for the spreading of the faith.

Jesus said: "You will recognize them by their fruits." The treatment of other religions by Islam must be judged by a simple test: How did the Muslim rulers behave for more than a thousand years, when they had the power to "spread the faith by the sword"?

Well, they just did not.

For many centuries, the Muslims ruled Greece. Did the Greeks become Muslims? Did anyone even try to Islamize them? On the contrary, Christian Greeks held the highest positions in the Ottoman administration. The Bulgarians, Serbs, Romanians, Hungarians and other European nations lived at one time or another under Ottoman rule and clung to their Christian faith. Nobody compelled them to become Muslims and all of them remained devoutly Christian.

True, the Albanians did convert to Islam, and so did the Bosniaks. But nobody argues that they did this under duress. They adopted Islam in order to become favorites of the government and enjoy the fruits.

In 1099, the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and massacred its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants indiscriminately, in the name of the gentle Jesus. At that time, 400 years into the occupation of Palestine by the Muslims, Christians were still the majority in the country. Throughout this long period, no effort was made to impose Islam on them. Only after the expulsion of the Crusaders from the country, did the majority of the inhabitants start to adopt the Arabic language and the Muslim faith - and they were the forefathers of most of today's Palestinians.

THERE IS no evidence whatsoever of any attempt to impose Islam on the Jews. As is well known, under Muslim rule the Jews of Spain enjoyed a bloom the like of which the Jews did not enjoy anywhere else until almost our time. Poets like Yehuda Halevy wrote in Arabic, as did the great Maimonides. In Muslim Spain, Jews were ministers, poets, scientists. In Muslim Toledo, Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars worked together and translated the ancient Greek philosophical and scientific texts. That was, indeed, the Golden Age. How would this have been possible, had the Prophet decreed the "spreading of the faith by the sword"?

What happened afterwards is even more telling. When the Catholics re-conquered Spain from the Muslims, they instituted a reign of religious terror. The Jews and the Muslims were presented with a cruel choice: to become Christians, to be massacred or to leave. And where did the hundreds of thousand of Jews, who refused to abandon their faith, escape? Almost all of them were received with open arms in the Muslim countries. The Sephardi ("Spanish") Jews settled all over the Muslim world, from Morocco in the west to Iraq in the east, from Bulgaria (then part of the Ottoman Empire) in the north to Sudan in the south. Nowhere were they persecuted. They knew nothing like the tortures of the Inquisition, the flames of the auto-da-fe, the pogroms, the terrible mass-expulsions that took place in almost all Christian countries, up to the Holocaust.

WHY? Because Islam expressly prohibited any persecution of the "peoples of the book". In Islamic society, a special place was reserved for Jews and Christians. They did not enjoy completely equal rights, but almost. They had to pay a special poll-tax, but were exempted from military service - a trade-off that was quite welcome to many Jews. It has been said that Muslim rulers frowned upon any attempt to convert Jews to Islam even by gentle persuasion - because it entailed the loss of taxes.

Every honest Jew who knows the history of his people cannot but feel a deep sense of gratitude to Islam, which has protected the Jews for fifty generations, while the Christian world persecuted the Jews and tried many times "by the sword" to get them to abandon their faith.

THE STORY about "spreading the faith by the sword" is an evil legend, one of the myths that grew up in Europe during the great wars against the Muslims - the reconquista of Spain by the Christians, the Crusades and the repulsion of the Turks, who almost conquered Vienna. I suspect that the German Pope, too, honestly believes in these fables. That means that the leader of the Catholic world, who is a Christian theologian in his own right, did not make the effort to study the history of other religions.

Why did he utter these words in public? And why now?

There is no escape from viewing them against the background of the new Crusade of Bush and his evangelist supporters, with his slogans of "Islamofascism" and the "Global War on Terrorism" - when "terrorism" has become a synonym for Muslims. For Bush's handlers, this is a cynical attempt to justify the domination of the world's oil resources. Not for the first time in history, a religious robe is spread to cover the nakedness of economic interests; not for the first time, a robbers' expedition becomes a Crusade.

The speech of the Pope blends into this effort. Who can foretell the dire consequences?

Republicans are screwed

Republicans are screwed
Mike Ghouse, May 19, 2007


As long as we are blindly loyal to our President; even when we know he is wrong and his policies are failing, we keep losing the public trust in us. Why should the public trust us, the Republicans?

Who will take the responsibility for the death of 3,404 of our sons and daughters? And 655,000 + Iraqi’s? Had we not gone in to Iraq, none of this would have happened. Who will take the responsibility of destroying their civil society and creating rift between the Shia’s and Sunnis? Had we not gone there, we would not have witnessed this. Who will take the responsibility for giving life to Al-Qaeda in Iraq? Had we not messed with Iraq, we would not have seen it.

We should not be counting on Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Beck and their ilk for egging on and re-affirming our President’s wrong policies. They feast on mayhem and destruction and come alive when such events happen. Ultimately, you and I are responsible for our acts and our support for the wrong things we are doing. We have to answer our conscience. Killing and destruction is simply not justifiable.

I appeal to my Republican friends to take a principled stand and tell the President he is wrong, have the guts to speak the truth, it will turn things around. Are there any congressman and Senator who would dare this? He or she will be my hero, an American Hero and hero of democracy. The Republicans will save America and it's stature, if they speak up, if not they should be responsible for letting us fall.

Dick Armey wrote a year ago to wake up, it is time we do that. If not the public will bulldoze our party – as they did during the November 2006 elections. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush
http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/03/republicans-paid-price-for-neglect.html

President Carter is speaking out, he cares about our nation and I am proud of him for speaking out; speaking out is the essence of our democracy and freedom. We cannot be blind to his call. Let our party loyalty not blind us. Let’s wake up and do the right thing. For speaking the truth, and you the congressperson or the Senator, our president will not throw you out, if you don’t the public will throw you out of your seat for your gutlessness and willingness to do the wrong thing. November 2008 is not far.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his blogs: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/ and http://mikeghouse.sulekha.com/ . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since 1980.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070519/ap_on_re_us/carter_bush;_ylt=Aib8psrMs8RVa9Qq8lBQHMxH2ocA

Carter: Bush 'worst' in world relations

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Former President Carter says
President Bush's administration is "the worst in history" in international relations, taking aim at the White House's policy of pre-emptive war and its Middle East diplomacy.

The criticism from Carter, which a biographer says is unprecedented for the 39th president, also took aim at Bush's environmental policies and the administration's "quite disturbing" faith-based initiative funding.

"I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history," Carter told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper's Saturday editions. "The overt reversal of America's basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and

Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me."

Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo confirmed his comments to The Associated Press on Saturday and declined to elaborate. He spoke while promoting his new audiobook series, "Sunday Mornings in Plains," a collection of weekly Bible lessons from his hometown of Plains, Ga.

"Apparently, Sunday mornings in Plains for former President Carter includes hurling reckless accusations at your fellow man," said Amber Wilkerson,

Republican National Committee spokeswoman. She said it was hard to take Carter seriously because he also "challenged Ronald Reagan's strategy for the Cold War."

Carter came down hard on the Iraq war.

"We now have endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the future our security might be endangered," he said. "But that's been a radical departure from all previous administration policies."

Carter, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, criticized Bush for having "zero peace talks" in

Israel. Carter also said the administration "abandoned or directly refuted" every negotiated nuclear arms agreement, as well as environmental efforts by other presidents.

Carter also offered a harsh assessment for the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which helped religious charities receive $2.15 billion in federal grants in fiscal year 2005 alone.

"The policy from the White House has been to allocate funds to religious institutions, even those that channel those funds exclusively to their own particular group of believers in a particular religion," Carter said. "As a traditional Baptist, I've always believed in separation of church and state and honored that premise when I was president, and so have all other presidents, I might say, except this one."

Douglas Brinkley, a Tulane University presidential historian and Carter biographer, described Carter's comments as unprecedented.

"This is the most forceful denunciation President Carter has ever made about an American president," Brinkley said. "When you call somebody the worst president, that's volatile. Those are fighting words."

Carter also lashed out Saturday at British prime minister Tony Blair. Asked how he would judge Blair's support of Bush, the former president said: "Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient."

"And I think the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world," Carter told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Farewell to Falwell.

Farewell to Falwell.
Mike Ghouse, May 15, 2007
http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/05/farewell-to-falwell.html

(Other columns are added following this piece)

Well, he is dead and gone. It is time for America to forgive. The wisdom of forgiving brings healing to individual souls and the groups that were offended by him. It is in our interest to forgive the man, as it brings salvation to our own souls, and we should not forget the essence of all religions. [Matthew 7:120] "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." The Internet is spewing out a lot of hitherto contained anger; just a few sites were enough for me to stop at it.

Falwell's biggest sin was invoking hate in his followers against other people in the name of Jesus. He abused the pulpit, his speeches rattled people with hate. After his sermons, every now and then, people did not go home with a serene mind filled with love and goodwill; instead they went home with tensions, perhaps thinking about bombing the abortion clinics, sacking the pro-lifers, cursing the gay and Lesbians. He was a hate loader.

It appears that he welcomed the crises, as it gave him opportunities to stir up hate and fear, the hallmark of the neo-cons to ascertain the support of the gullible. The irony of it was that, he propagated hate in the name of Jesus and there were people who paid him for delivering it. It was totally against the teachings of Jesus Christ, the symbol of love, forgiveness and non-violence. As with all majorities, Christians did not condemn his hate speeches, enough. All I remember about Falwell was, he was perhaps one of the top hate mongers of our nation, he was full of it, he was in our face after every crises.

He was malicious not only to gays, lesbians, civil rights leaders (ACLU) and liberals but also to Hindus, Jews, Muslims and everyone else that was not his brand of Christian. A majority of Christians may agree that he was a symbol of hate that which Jesus came to eradicate. He is gone and we have to forgive him and uphold higher moral values that he breached.


His legacy would be his hate speeches against all other people, and shamelessly labeling it as Christian teachings.
May God release us all from hate and endow us with goodwill, benevolence and goodness, let the hate be buried with the man.


In the spirit of Jesus, please forgive the man; it is the right thing to do. May God bless him and us all.

--- ----
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since 1980.
_________________________________________

Two of the many items I have recieved since yesterday, the pieces are first come, first report. I did not read all the other hate mail. Please forgive the man.

My take on All TV evangelists
http://www.alternet.org/bloggers//51937/

No Tears For Falwell
By Guest Blogger



Jerry Falwell hasn't been dead for more than a few hours. Yet, I've been inundated by emails and text messages touting the news. I've got mixed feelings on how to perceive the death of someone who would probably have celebrated my own death. So, I've decided to call a spade a spade, even in death.

He was a hateful person who did not serve to inspire the better nature of America. Instead, he used religion to propagate hate and discrimination for as long we anyone can remember. Forgive me if I don't cry.

The Carpetbagger Report has a compilation of Jerry Falwell's most famous digressions from morality, ethics, and the law. Here is a classic from 2001: Falwell blames Americans for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the Pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"

I remember, in the wake of great tragedy, Falwell making this statement. I'm happy to call attention to it today so people who give commentary on his life see that it was filled with hate. Forgive me if I don't cry.

Howie Klein, at Down With Tyranny goes a little farther than I would, but shows he is well versed in literature. Howie's post actually reminds me of the book "The Dante Club" by Matthew Pearl. You can read about it here. If you're already familiar with the book, then you'll know that a "man of God" who does not follow the spirit of the Word is reserved a particularly painful punishment in Dante's Inferno. Forgive me if I don't cry.

American for Separation of Church and State show how Falwell illegally transferred money from tax exempt institutions to pay for partisan political activities. This was $6.7 million dollars that regular people gave to him for his Ministry. Instead, he transferred it to political committees. He showed no regard for the law or the spirit in which that money was given. Forgive me if I don't cry.

So, he hated women, blacks, gays, jews, liberals, progressives, atheists, agnostics, foreigners, and anybody else who disagreed with him. He broke the law. He established a university that institutionalized everything he was about. I hope it all goes with him. The brand of conservative hate he represented has no place in what this country should stand for. Forgive me if I don't cry.
Lane Hudson started blogging in July of 2006. By the end of September, he posted the emails from Mark Foley to a 16 year old page. Thus began the scandal known as Foley-gate.

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/bloggers//51937/

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http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/gate/a/2007/05/18/notes051807.DTL
The Sad, Quotable Jerry Falwell
It's bad form to speak ill of the dead. Good thing this man's own vile words speak for themselves
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

sfgate_get_fprefs();
You can eulogize. You can mourn and ponder and do a lengthy retrospective, a political analysis, a sociocultural examination of a career and a legacy and a rather remarkable life. When remembering the dead, the journalistic options are legion.
But in the case of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, the grandfather of the fundamentalist religious right and the foremost champion of the creation of a brutally homophobic, mysogynistic Christian theocracy in America, perhaps it's better to let the man's most insidiously famous quotes speak for themselves, and let time and karma be the judge of whether Falwell left the world a better place than when he found it. (All citations are available at wikiquote.org and elsewhere.)
"AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."
"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for [the attacks of Sept. 11] because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"
"If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being."
"Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."
"I listen to feminists and all these radical gals -- most of them are failures. They've blown it. Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they're mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They hate men -- that's their problem."
"When you have a godly husband, a godly wife, children who respect their parents and who are loved by their parents, who provide for those children their physical and spiritual and material needs, lovingly, you have the ideal unit."
"The ACLU is to Christians what the American Nazi party is to Jews."
"I am saying pornography hurts anyone who reads it -- garbage in, garbage out."
"I am such a strong admirer and supporter of George W. Bush that if he suggested eliminating the income tax or doubling it, I would vote yes on first blush."
"I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I'm going to buy a Suburban next time."
"It is God's planet -- and he's taking care of it. And I don't believe that anything we do will raise or lower the temperature one point."
"I truly cannot imagine men with men, women with women, doing what they were not physically created to do, without abnormal stress and misbehavior."
"It appears that America's anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men's movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening."
"There's been a concerted effort to steal Christmas."
"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"
"The First Amendment is not without limits."
"Someone must not be afraid to say, 'moral perversion is wrong.' If we do not act now, homosexuals will 'own' America! If you and I do not speak up now, this homosexual steamroller will literally crush all decent men, women, and children who get in its way ... and our nation will pay a terrible price!"
"If he's going to be the counterfeit of Christ, [the Antichrist] has to be Jewish. The only thing we know is he must be male and Jewish."
"The argument that making contraceptives available to young people would prevent teen pregnancies is ridiculous. That's like offering a cookbook as a cure to people who are trying to lose weight."
"The whole global warming thing is created to destroy America's free enterprise system and our economic stability."
"You'll be riding along in an automobile. You'll be the driver perhaps. You're a Christian. There'll be several people in the automobile with you, maybe someone who is not a Christian. When the trumpet sounds you and the other born-again believers in that automobile will be instantly caught away -- you will disappear, leaving behind only your clothes and physical things that cannot inherit eternal life. That unsaved person or persons in the automobile will suddenly be startled to find the car suddenly somewhere crashes. ... Other cars on the highway driven by believers will suddenly be out of control and stark pandemonium will occur on ... every highway in the world where Christians are caught away from the drivers wheel." (from Falwell's pamphlet "Nuclear War and the Second Coming of Christ")
"God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve."
"You know when I see somebody burning the flag, I'm a Baptist preacher I'm not a Mennonite, I feel it's my obligation to whip him. In the name of the Lord, of course. I feel it's my obligation to whip him, and if I can't do it then I look up some of my athletes to help me. But, as long as at 72 I can handle most of the jobs I do it myself, and I don't think it's un-spiritual. When I, when I, when I hear somebody talking about our military and ridiculing and saying terrible things about our President, I'm thinking you know just a little bit of that and I believe the Lord would forgive me if I popped him."
"The Bible is the inerrant ... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etcetera."
"The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the National Order of Witches."
"God doesn't listen to Jews."
"Tinky Winky is gay."

_________________________________________

http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/10806.html
Jerry Falwell dies at age 73
May 15, 2007

One of the nation’s most notorious TV preachers, Jerry Falwell, died today in Lynchburg, Va.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell — founder of the Moral Majority and the face of the religious right in the 1980s — died Tuesday after being found unconscious in his office, a Liberty University executive said.

Ron Godwin, Liberty’s executive vice president, said Falwell, 73, had been found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital.

Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but noted that Falwell had “a history of heart challenges.”

More soon.

Update: I have to admit, writing about Falwell’s death poses an awkward challenge for me. When I worked at Americans United for Separation of Church and State for several years, I read Falwell’s materials, I listened to his speeches, I watched his interviews, and got a real sense for who this man was and what he devoted his life to.

In literally every instance, I was repelled and appalled. But is it not callous to bash a man just hours after his death?

I have another idea — I’ll document Jerry Falwell’s professional life and let his record speak for itself.

March 1980: Falwell tells an Anchorage rally about a conversation with President Carter at the White House. Commenting on a January breakfast meeting, Falwell claimed to have asked Carter why he had “practicing homosexuals” on the senior staff at the White House. According to Falwell, Carter replied, “Well, I am president of all the American people, and I believe I should represent everyone.” When others who attended the White House event insisted that the exchange never happened, Falwell responded that his account “was not intended to be a verbatim report,” but rather an “honest portrayal” of Carter’s position.

August 1980: After Southern Baptist Convention President Bailey Smith tells a Dallas Religious Right gathering that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew,” Falwell gives a similar view. “I do not believe,” he told reporters, “that God answers the prayer of any unredeemed Gentile or Jew.” After a meeting with an American Jewish Committee rabbi, he changed course, telling an interviewer on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “God hears the prayers of all persons…. God hears everything.”

July 1984: Falwell is forced to pay gay activist Jerry Sloan $5,000 after losing a court battle. During a TV debate in Sacramento, Falwell denied calling the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches “brute beasts” and “a vile and Satanic system” that will “one day be utterly annihilated and there will be a celebration in heaven.” When Sloan insisted he had a tape, Falwell promised $5,000 if he could produce it. Sloan did so, Falwell refused to pay and Sloan successfully sued. Falwell appealed, with his attorney charging that the Jewish judge in the case was prejudiced. He lost again and was forced to pay an additional $2,875 in sanctions and court fees.

October 1987: The Federal Election Commission fines Falwell for transferring $6.7 million in funds intended for his ministry to political committees.

February 1988: The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a $200,000 jury award to Falwell for “emotional distress” he suffered because of a Hustler magazine parody. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, usually a Falwell favorite, wrote the unanimous opinion in Hustler v. Falwell, ruling that the First Amendment protects free speech.

February 1993: The Internal Revenue Service determines that funds from Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour program were illegally funneled to a political action committee. The IRS forced Falwell to pay $50,000 and retroactively revoked the Old Time Gospel Hour’s tax-exempt status for 1986-87.

March 1993: Despite his promise to Jewish groups to stop referring to America as a “Christian nation,” Falwell gives a sermon saying, “We must never allow our children to forget that this is a Christian nation. We must take back what is rightfully ours.”

1994-1995: Falwell is criticized for using his “Old Time Gospel Hour” to hawk a scurrilous video called “The Clinton Chronicles” that makes a number of unsubstantiated charges against President Bill Clinton — among them that he is a drug addict and that he arranged the murders of political enemies in Arkansas. Despite claims he had no ties to the project, evidence surfaced that Falwell helped bankroll the venture with $200,000 paid to a group called Citizens for Honest Government (CHG). CHG’s Pat Matrisciana later admitted that Falwell and he staged an infomercial interview promoting the video in which a silhouetted reporter said his life was in danger for investigating Clinton. (Matrisciana himself posed as the reporter.) “That was Jerry’s idea to do that,” Matrisciana recalled. “He thought that would be dramatic.”

November 1997: Falwell accepts $3.5 million from a front group representing controversial Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon to ease Liberty University’s financial woes.

April 1998: Confronted on national television with a controversial quote from America Can Be Saved!, a published collection of his sermons, Falwell denies having written the book or had anything to do with it. In the 1979 work, Falwell wrote, “I hope to live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!” Despite Falwell’s denial, Sword of the Lord Publishing, which produced the book, confirms that Falwell wrote it.

January 1999: Falwell tells a pastors’ conference in Kingsport, Tenn., that the Antichrist prophesied in the Bible is alive today and “of course he’ll be Jewish.”

February 1999: Falwell becomes the object of nationwide ridicule after his National Liberty Journal newspaper issues a “parents alert” warning that Tinky Winky, a character on the popular PBS children’s show “Teletubbies,” might be gay.

September 2001: Falwell blames Americans for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the Pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’”

November 2005: Falwell spearheads campaign to resist “war on Christmas.”

February 2007: Falwell describes global warming as a conspiracy orchestrated by Satan, liberals, and The Weather Channel.

Say what you will about the man and his life, but he leaves behind a colorful background.