Liars for Jesus–Debunking “Wall of Separation”

Chris Rodda has refuted many of the false claims in the documentary Wall of Separation by making portions of his book, Liars for Jesus, available on line. I haven’t read through all the  selections yet, but they do appear to be valuable references for debunking many of the claims of the religious right. Of course, rather than read bits and pieces of the  book here, I just might purchase the whole thing. I have previously provided fact checking on Wall of Separation here.

An Interview with Ron Paul


With the Republican field being dominated by candidates fighting to show how much they are willing to pander to the authoritarian right and most of them showing they are totally clueless as to the nature of terrorism and the mistakes made in getting involved in Iraq, Ron Paul has attracted considerable interest.

Ron Paul’s support is far stronger on the web than is demonstrated in the polls, and he’s the most popular candidate on You Tube. The above video, which I provided for those who may be interested in hearing his views on issues beyond Iraq, shows Ron Paul answering questions from members. I suspect that most viewers will agree with him at times, and disagree at others. As, despite his popularity on the web, I don’t think he has much of a chance to win either the Republican nomination or a general election race, I’m not really concerned about elaborating on disagreements, and will continue to enjoy him providing his views as a welcome contrast to the others at Republican debates.

Moyers, Fein, and Nichols on Impeachment


The transcript of Bill Moyer’s discussion of impeachment is now available on line. Moyers discussed impeachment with Bruce Fein and John Nichols. Fein served in the Justice Department under Ronald Reagan, is affiliated with think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, and,writes a weekly column for The Washington Times and It is no surprise than John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation, backs impeachment, but Bruce Fein also agreed.

While Fein supported Clinton’s impeachment, he found Bush’s crimes more worrisome:

I think Bush’s crimes are a little bit different. I think they’re a little bit more worrisome than Clinton’s…More worrisome than Clinton’s– because he is seeking more institutionally to cripple checks and balances and the authority of Congress and the judiciary to superintend his assertions of power. He has claimed the authority to tell Congress they don’t have any right to know what he’s doing with relation to spying on American citizens, using that information in any way that he wants in contradiction to a federal statute called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He’s claimed authority to say he can kidnap people, throw them into dungeons abroad, dump them out into Siberia without any political or legal accountability. These are standards that are totally anathema to a democratic society devoted to the rule of law.

Needless to say, a discussion which begins like this is worth reading in full, and the video is available here with an extended portion posted above.

Polls Suggest Richardson May Replace Edwards As Number Three in Race

Earlier today I noted the support for Bill Richardson in a South Carolina newspaper. A couple of weeks ago I noted that the second fund quarter fund raising totals suggested that Richardson and Edwards might swap positions in the horse race. In reviewing the latest polls, The Concord Monitor also notes the changes in their relative positions.

The paper reports on the latest poll results, showing Clinton, Obama, Edwards, and Richardson remaining in the order seen in previous polls. As it is a long time before the vote, momentum currently means far more than relative numbers. They note, “In this poll and others, Richardson and Thompson are emerging as candidates on the way up, while McCain and Edwards appear to be sinking.”

Liberal talk show host Arnie Arnesen reeled off a list of this spring’s embarrassing news for Edwards – about his $400 haircuts and his work for a hedge fund that engages in business practices he decries – and predicted no good news for the former North Carolina senator.

“Edwards can only go down,” she said. “From haircuts to hedge funds, he should avoid the letter H at all costs.”

Arnesen sees considerably more hope for Richardson. “Bill Richardson is everyone’s second choice,” she said. “I think it’s a great place to be.”

More than one pundit pointed to Richardson’s humorous “job interview” commercials as having the potential to break through and catch voters’ eyes. “Richardson is really running a Bill Clinton-type campaign,” said Wayne Lesperance, an associate professor of political science at New England College. “The style of campaigning for him is really fun and novel and interesting.”

In the national race, falling in New Hampshire does not bode well for Edwards. Edwards hopes to repeat John Kerry’s path to victory by winning in Iowa, followed by New Hampshire. Iowa might be the best chance for a populist campaign such as Edwards’ but this type of campaign is also unlikely to play as well in New Hampshire. I could easily see Edwards win Iowa, although this is by no means certain, and then struggle from there, especially if Richardson continues to receive favorable media support in South Carolina.

Passing Edwards to move into third place would still leave Richardson with a lot of ground to catch up on Clinton and Obama. However, both candidates have their weaknesses, and should Richardson move into the top three his campaign will have far more credibility and many more will take a closer look at him.

Update: Richardson Receives Key Endorsements in Utah

I Disagree With Michael Moore

I disagree with Michael Moore on many issues, but that doesn’t mean I’d call him a liar or say his facts are wrong as some charge. I gave Sicko a favorable review because it succeeds in the important task of getting out the facts on the problems in our health care system. I disagree with some of his views on alternatives, but that comes from a difference in opinion as to the role of government in society and what Americans will tolerate as opposed to any disagreement over the facts.

CNN did something really surprising recently–they claimed to be fact checking Michael Moore. This is surprising as typically correspondents such as Wolfe Blitzer will repeat the administration line without question. Such fact checking is rare at CNN. Michael Moore has already debunked the claims that his facts were wrong and now writes an open letter to CNN chastising them for not admitting they were wrong.

There is plenty of room to disagree with Michael Moore without raising false claims that his facts are wrong. Moore does give what many would consider an overly rosy view of health systems elsewhere, but in doing so he makes the point that other counties do manage to provide far more comprehensive health care than we do in the United States. If Michael Moore was writing a scholarly review for a journal of health care economics he might be faulted for not providing all evidence for both sides. However he was writing a documentary to promote his position and should not be expected to provide all evidence for both sides. It would be fair to disagree with Moore’s opinions, and to discuss facts not included in Sicko, but that does not mean that there is incorrect information being presented by Moore.

During the 2004 campaign, I founded Doctors for Kerry (later merged with Nurses for Kerry) and for a while answered questions on health care for the campaign’s official forum. I found that large numbers of people who receive coverage from their employers were opposed to any system which would force them to give up their current coverage. Many Americans are fearful of placing their health care in government’s hands, even though the reality of the situation is that private companies are typically more restrictive than Medicare.

Michael Moore and I disagree on the solutions for the health care crisis, but that does not mean either of us would have to call the other a liar. While we disagree, I understand the economic arguments for Michael Moore’s position, and acknowledge there is validity to his arguments.

Conservatives tend to support the status quo and oppose any efforts to change the system. As their arguments do not hold up to close scrutiny, they rely on demonizing those who disagree with them. They cry “socialized medicine” even whey they are often the supporters of greater government restrictions on health care. This bogus fact checking by CNN is yet another example of conservative bias.

One good which may come of this is the greater realization of the conservative bias at CNN. Perhaps because of CNN being more liberal when owned by Ted Turner, the constant false claims of the right wing noise machine that the media is liberal, and because of CNN being far less conservative compared to Fox News, many have not detected CNN’s conservative bias. Moore’s open letter shows that this bias is part of a trend, and having Michael Moore devoting efforts to reporting on their biases might bring more of it to light. While there has already been one documentary exposing Fox News, maybe Moore’s next documentary should be on exposing conservative bias is much of the media.

Update: CNN has responded to Michael Moore.

Update II: Blog Like a Hurricane also suggests that Moore’s next documentary be on the mainstream media.

South Carolina Paper Calls Richardson The Best Candidate in the Race

Bill Richardson is probably the candidate who gets the best press but has the least to show for it. Of course it is early, and an editorial such as this in an early primary state might mean more than early polls. A South Carolina newspaper, The State, has called Bill Richardson the best candidate in the race:

Democrats might have the best presidential candidate in New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

“I haven’t seen anybody in either party who has the depth that this fellow has,” said Francis Marion University political scientist Neal Thigpen, a staunch Republican.

“He has got a wealth of experience.”

Just check Richardson’s resume.

He has been a member of Congress and a diplomat, represented the United States in the United Nations, was U.S. energy secretary under President Clinton and was re-elected governor of New Mexico in a landslide.

While looking realistically at Richardson’s position, I agree with the author that we shouldn’t “count Richardson out of the race for the top job either. He has the potential to surprise.” John Edwards moved from nowhere to second in Iowa in 2004 largely due to the support of The Des Moines Register. Similar media support in South Carolina might even give Richardson an early upset victory there, providing momentum for the subsequent primaries. It’s a long shot, but I won’t count him out.