I Wish I Were In Paris

From war to peace and politics to gossip, if we have an opinion on something we'll share it here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thompson: "Not Particularly Interested"

What exactly is little old Freddy Boy not particularly interested in you may ask? Why, that would be RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!!

Thompson: 'Not particularly interested in running for president'

(CNN) – Republican Fred Thompson has long faced criticism he lacks motivation to be President of the United States, and the former Tennessee senator's latest comments Saturday may spark new criticism on that front.

"I'm not particularly interested in running for president," the former senator told voters at a campaign event in Burlington, Iowa when challenged by a an audience member over his desire to be commander-in-chief.

"But I think I'd make a good president," Thompson continued. "I have the background, capability, and concern to do this and I'm doing it for the right reasons."

Thompson took heat for not jumping into the White House race until September — significantly later than every other candidate — and has since been criticized for his laid-back campaign style and often-times light schedule.

But the former actor has criticized his rivals for launching their presidential bids months ahead of his, and continually touts the fact he hasn't harbored presidential ambitions his whole career.

"I am not consumed by personal ambition," Thompson also said Saturday. "I'm offering myself up."

"I'm only consumed by a few things and politics is not one of them."

But Thompson added the sacrifices he has made to run for president proves he wants the top job.

To be clean, I had to cut everything off," he said. "I was doing speaking engagements and I had a contract to do a TV show, I had a contract with ABC Radio, like I was talking about earlier, and so forth. I guess a man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family which is not a joyful thing at all if he didn't want to do it."

Why in the hell would someone run for anything if they weren't interested? Oh that's right!! He's running because HE thinks he would be a good President. I guess that's what he meant when he said that he was running for the right reasons!!

Call me stupid, but if I wasn't interested in something I wouldn't be doing it. If he's not "particularly interested" in running for President, he needs to go back to Law & Order.

P.S. Freddy Boy is never going to be PRESIDENT!! EVER!!

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Anything To Win

Growing up, my mother taught me many things. One of them was certainly NOT to win by any means necessary. Apparently this mother was taught the opposite.

Hannah Montana essay winner a fake

GARLAND, Texas - An essay that won a 6-year-old girl four tickets to a Hannah Montana concert began with the powerful line: "My daddy died this year in Iraq."

While gripping, it wasn't true — and now the girl may lose her tickets after her mom acknowledged to contest organizers it was all a lie.

The sponsor of the contest was Club Libby Lu, a Chicago-based store that sells clothes, accessories and games intended for young girls.

The saga began Friday with company officials surprising the girl at a Club Libby Lu at a mall in suburban Garland, about 20 miles northeast of Dallas. The girl won a makeover that included a blonde Hannah Montana wig, as well as the grand prize: airfare for four to Albany, N.Y., and four tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana concert on Jan. 9.

The mother had told company officials that the girl's father died April 17 in a roadside bombing in Iraq, company spokeswoman Robyn Caulfield said.

"We did the essay and that's what we did to win," Priscilla Ceballos, the mother, said in an interview with Dallas TV station KDFW. "We did whatever we could do to win."

She had identified the soldier as Sgt. Jonathon Menjivar, but the Department of Defense has no record of anyone with that name dying in Iraq. Caulfield said the mother has admitted to the deception.

"We regret that the original intent of the contest, which was to make a little girl's holiday extra special, has not been realized in the way we anticipated," said Mary Drolet, the CEO of Club Libby Lu.

Drolet said the company is reviewing the matter, and is considering taking away the girl's tickets.

When I read this story, I had a different take on it than many of the bloggers out there did. While many of the bloggers out there believe that the child wrote the essay, I do not. I believe that this mother wrote the essay but made it look and sound like a child did. There are several reasons why I believe that it was the mother and not the child.

* This mother has clearly stated that THEY wrote the essay the way THEY did so that THEY could win. However, I don't believe for one second that the child wrote it. If the child was supposed to write the essay, why was the mother involved at all?

* What child would lie about their parent being dead, even if it was for concert tickets? I find it very hard to picture a child writing an essay about how her father was killed in Iraq when he wasn't. The only way that I could see that happening is if the father has never been in the picture, and this mother has talked trash about him to her daughter for her entire life.

* This mother strikes me as the kind of parent who attempts to live out THEIR dreams and desires through their child or children. Thus, it makes perfect sense that she would write the essay because she would do anything to get what SHE wanted. Have you ever watched a parent at a sporting event or a pageant? It's not about the kid. It's about the parent!! This is no different!!

Regardless of who wrote the essay, this mother should be charged with fraud because that's exactly what she did. If her daughter wrote the essay, she allowed her daughter to commit fraud. Since the child is only six, the mother is responsible. But since I believe that the mother wrote the essay, she knowingly and willingly committed fraud.

What I would really like to know is where is the father? Is he in the picture? Is he married or dating this woman? Is he really in the military? What does he think about this? If it were me, she would be kicked to the curb faster than she could say "I'm sorry!!". If I were the father, that mother would no longer have custody of that child. This fraud was committed in order to get concert tickets. Imagine what else she has or would teach that child. Better yet, don't imagine!! Just make sure she doesn't ever get the chance to again!!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

"Al-Qaeda" Claims Responsibility

Supposedly, Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for Bhutto's assassination.

First of all, Al-Qaeda can claim whatever they want. It doesn't make it so. They could claim responsibility for JFK's assassination. It still wouldn't make it so. They could claim responsibility for the sun rising and setting. IT DOESN'T MAKE IT SO!!

Think about it!! What does Al-Qaeda have to gain with Bhutto being dead? In all honesty, nothing!! In the grand scheme of things, it's really not a big deal to them if a woman who vowed to fight the terrorists is dead. Despite what the news media is telling you, Al-Qaeda DIDN'T have the most to gain with her assassination. I'll tell you who did though, Musharraf!! Musharraf has everything to gain with her being dead, and nothing to lose!! She was the obstacle in his way to maintaining his dictatorship. She was a thorn in his side. She was the only one who could beat him. Because of that, she was eliminated. Now, there's nothing standing in his way.

I'm not saying that he did it, but I do have my opinions. Let's say for a second that he didn't. Even if he didn't order her assassination, he let it happen. He made it easy for someone to kill her. He didn't provide her the security that she was entitled to. Thus, he's just as guilty as the one who pulled the trigger!!

Ponder this thought for a moment. When has Al-Qaeda ever been known to shoot someone? Of all the stories about Al-Qaeda that have been shoved down our throats in the past few years, what have you heard? Al-Qaeda beheads people. They use swords. They use boxcutters. They don't shoot people!! So why in the hell would they change their tactics simply to assassinate this woman? They wouldn't. Whoever killed her shot her. Then they blew themselves up. Ask yourself why that is. Why wouldn't they stick around to brag that they were responsible for her assassination? Why wouldn't they want to "bask in their glory"? They blew themselves up for a reason. That reason is because they can't tie this person to anyone now because the person isn't alive to spill the beans!!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto Murdered!!

Gee, I can't guess who murdered Bhutto!! Anyone who seriously thinks that Al-Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden was behind this is clearly naive, and pretty delusional!!

This smells to high hell, and the stench is coming from the ass of Pervez Musharraf for starters!! Think about it!! There's no better way to continue the DICTATORSHIP than to eliminate the one person who could boot Musharraf's ass out of office!! That was Bhutto!!

Mark my words!! This wasn't Al-Qaeda. This wasn't Osama Bin Laden. The media won't tell you because they want people to remain ignorant to reality. They want to continue this sham. They think that everyone is stupid. But anyone with half a brain knows exactly who was behind this!!

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Monday, December 10, 2007


Imagine, just imagine a state that doesn't have the DEATH PENALTY!! Oh my God, it's so horrible to even ponder the idea. NOT!! New Jersey is about to do just that!!

N.J. Senate Moves to Ban Death Penalty

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey took a major step Monday toward becoming the first state to abolish the death penalty in more than 40 years, a change that is expect to become law within a month.

The state Senate approved a measure to replace the death sentence with life without parole, which would spare the life of a sex offender whose crimes sparked Megan's Law. The bill has the support of the Democrat-controlled Assembly and the Democratic governor.

New Jersey has eight men on death row and hasn't executed anyone since 1963. It reinstated the death penalty in 1982, six years after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to resume executions.

The last states to abolish the death penalty were Iowa and West Virginia in 1965, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Thirteen states currently don't have the death penalty.

Among the death row inmates who would be spared is Jesse Timmendequas, a sex offender convicted of murdering 7-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994. That case sparked a Megan's Law, which requires law enforcement agencies to notify the public about convicted sex offenders living in their communities.

Megan's parents, Richard and Maureen Kanka, have sent a letter to legislators urging them to retain the death penalty.

"The inmates currently on death row are the worst of the worst in our society, and to offer them the opportunity of life is a disgrace to their victims, the jurors that deliberated their fate and the majority of New Jersey residents who still support the death penalty," they wrote.

The effort to abolish capital punishment in New Jersey stems from a January report by a special state commission. It found the death penalty was a more expensive sentence than life in prison and has not deterred murder.

"The death penalty is barbaric and fatally flawed beyond repair," said Sen. Shirley Turner, a Democrat who sponsored the bill.

The Kankas, though, said the commission was biased.

"If there is any individual that deserves the death penalty, it's the animal that did this to Megan," they wrote. "To abolish this would be an injustice to our family."

However, the bill has been supported by clergy and family members of murder victims who contend New Jersey's death penalty law has proven meaningless.

The vote by the Democrat-controlled Senate was 21-16. Republicans had sought to retain the death penalty for those who murder law enforcement officials, rape and murder children, and terrorists, but the Senate rejected the idea.

A vote by the full Assembly was scheduled for Thursday. If approved, the bill goes to Gov. Jon S. Corzine, a death penalty opponent, for his signature. Corzine has until Jan. 8 to sign the bill.

The Supreme Court in 1972 struck down 40 state death penalty laws but did not ban capital punishment as cruel and unusual. Some justices at the time thought their decision would end the practice.

By 1976, though, officials in 35 states had adopted laws to comply with the ruling. A more conservative court upheld some of those laws, and a half-year later executions resumed.

Megan's Law sparked a national notification movement. In 1996, Congress passed a law requiring all states to notify the public when a sex offender moves into their community.

According to the group Parents for Megan's Law, 614,000 sex offenders are registered nationwide.

I will never understand the pro-death penalty argument, and I don't care to. Sure, you want revenge. You want these monsters to die. But, what purpose does it serve other than the fact that they're dead? If you really want to make them pay, let them rot in prison for the rest of their miserable lives on THEIR DIME!! Let them sit there and think about what they've done, not that all of them will care. Make them have to look at pictures of their victims each and every single day.

The death penalty serves absolutely no purpose. It doesn't deter crime. Do you honestly think that the death penalty deters crime? Do you honestly think that someone who is bound and determined to kill, kidnap, or rape someone is going to cancel their plans because they could face the death penalty if they go through with them? It deters NOTHING!! You could abolish the death penalty. You could keep the death penalty. It doesn't matter!! There will always be some kind of crime taking place no matter what the maximum punishment is!!

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Torturing And Murdering Children, All In The Name Of Christianity

I'm just going to let this story speak for itself.

Children are targets of Nigerian witch hunt

Evangelical pastors are helping to create a terrible new campaign of violence against young Nigerians. Children and babies branded as evil are being abused, abandoned and even murdered while the preachers make money out of the fear of their parents and their communities.

The rainy season is over and the Niger Delta is lush and humid. This southern edge of West Africa, where Nigeria's wealth pumps out of oil and gas fields to bypass millions of its poorest people, is a restless place. In the small delta state of Akwa Ibom, the tension and the poverty has delivered an opportunity for a new and terrible phenomenon that is leading to the abuse and the murder of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children. And it is being done in the name of Christianity.

Almost everyone goes to church here. Driving through the town of Esit Eket, the rust-streaked signs, tarpaulins hung between trees and posters on boulders, advertise a church for every third or fourth house along the road. Such names as New Testament Assembly, Church of God Mission, Mount Zion Gospel, Glory of God, Brotherhood of the Cross, Redeemed, Apostalistic. Behind the smartly painted doors pastors make a living by 'deliverances' - exorcisms - for people beset by witchcraft, something seen to cause anything from divorce, disease, accidents or job losses. With so many churches it's a competitive market, but by local standards a lucrative one.

But an exploitative situation has now grown into something much more sinister as preachers are turning their attentions to children - naming them as witches. In a maddened state of terror, parents and whole villages turn on the child. They are burnt, poisoned, slashed, chained to trees, buried alive or simply beaten and chased off into the bush.

Some parents scrape together sums needed to pay for a deliverance - sometimes as much as three or four months' salary for the average working man - although the pastor will explain that the witch might return and a second deliverance will be needed. Even if the parent wants to keep the child, their neighbours may attack it in the street.

This is not just a few cases. This is becoming commonplace. In Esit Eket, up a nameless, puddled-and-potholed path is a concrete shack stuffed to its fetid rafters with roughly made bunk beds. Here, three to a bed like battery chickens, sleep victims of the besuited Christian pastors and their hours-long, late-night services. Ostracised and abandoned, these are the children a whole community believes fervently are witches.

Sam Ikpe-Itauma is one of the few people in this area who does not believe what the evangelical 'prophets' are preaching. He opened his house to a few homeless waifs he came across, and now he tries his best to look after 131.

'The neighbours were not happy with me and tell me "you are supporting witches". This project was an accident, I saw children being abandoned and it was very worrying. I started with three children, then every day it increased up to 15, so we had to open this new place,' he says. 'For every maybe five children we see on the streets, we believe one has been killed, although it could be more as neighbours turn a blind eye when a witch child disappears.

'It is good we have this shelter, but it is under constant attack.' As he speaks two villagers walk past, at the end of the yard, pulling scarfs across their eyes to hide the 'witches' from their sight.

Ikpe-Itauma's wife, Elizabeth, acts as nurse to the injured children and they have called this place the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network, a big name for a small refuge. It has found support from a charity running a school in the area, Stepping Stones Nigeria, which is trying to help with money to feed the children, but the numbers turning up here are a huge challenge.

Mary Sudnad, 10, grimaces as her hair is pulled into corn rows by Agnes, 11, but the scalp just above her forehead is bald and blistered. Mary tells her story fast, in staccato, staring fixedly at the ground.

'My youngest brother died. The pastor told my mother it was because I was a witch. Three men came to my house. I didn't know these men. My mother left the house. Left these men. They beat me.' She pushes her fists under her chin to show how her father lay, stretched out on his stomach on the floor of their hut, watching. After the beating there was a trip to the church for 'a deliverance'.

A day later there was a walk in the bush with her mother. They picked poisonous 'asiri' berries that were made into a draught and forced down Mary's throat. If that didn't kill her, her mother warned her, then it would be a barbed-wire hanging. Finally her mother threw boiling water and caustic soda over her head and body, and her father dumped his screaming daughter in a field. Drifting in and out of consciousness, she stayed near the house for a long time before finally slinking off into the bush.Mary was seven. She says she still doesn't feel safe. She says: 'My mother doesn't love me.' And, finally, a tear streaks down her beautiful face.

Gerry was picked out by a 'prophetess' at a prayer night and named as a witch. His mother cursed him, his father siphoned petrol from his motorbike tank and spat it over his eight-year-old face. Gerry's facial blistering is as visible as the trauma in his dull eyes. He asks every adult he sees if they will take him home to his parents: 'It's not them, it's the prophetess, I am scared of her.'

Nwaeka is about 16. She sits by herself in the mud, her eyes rolling, scratching at her stick-thin arms. The other children are surprisingly patient with her. The wound on her head where a nail was driven in looks to be healing well. Nine- year-old Etido had nails, too, five of them across the crown of his downy head. Its hard to tell what damage has been done. Udo, now 12, was beaten and abandoned by his mother. He nearly lost his arm after villagers, finding him foraging for food by the roadside, saw him as a witch and hacked at him with machetes.

Magrose is seven. Her mother dug a pit in the wood and tried to bury her alive. Michael was found by a farmer clearing a ditch, starving and unable to stand on legs that had been flogged raw.

Ekemini Abia has the look of someone in a deep state of shock. Both ankles are circled with gruesome wounds and she moves at a painful hobble. Named as a witch, her father and elders from the church tied her to a tree, the rope cutting her to the bone, and left the 13-year-old there alone for more than a week.

There are sibling groups such as Prince, four, and Rita, nine. Rita told her mum she had dreamt of a lovely party where there was lots to eat and to drink. The belief is that a witch flies away to the coven at night while the body sleeps, so Rita's sweet dream was proof enough: she was a witch and because she had shared food with her sibling - the way witchcraft is spread - both were abandoned. Victoria, cheeky and funny, aged four, and her seven-year-old sister Helen, a serene little girl. Left by their parents in the shell of an old shack, the girls didn't dare move from where they had been abandoned and ate leaves and grass.

The youngest here is a baby. The older girls take it in turn to sling her on their skinny hips and Ikpe-Itauma has named her Amelia, after his grandmother. He estimates around 5,000 children have been abandoned in this area since 1998 and says many bodies have turned up in the rivers or in the forest. Many more are never found. 'The more children the pastor declares witches, the more famous he gets and the more money he can make,' he says. 'The parents are asked for so much money that they will pay in instalments or perhaps sell their property. This is not what churches should be doing.'

Although old tribal beliefs in witch doctors are not so deeply buried in people's memories, and although there had been indigenous Christians in Nigeria since the 19th century, it is American and Scottish Pentecostal and evangelical missionaries of the past 50 years who have shaped these fanatical beliefs. Evil spirits, satanic possessions and miracles can be found aplenty in the Bible, references to killing witches turn up in Exodus, Deuteronomy and Galatians, and literal interpretation of scriptures is a popular crowd-pleaser.

Pastor Joe Ita is the preacher at Liberty Gospel Church in nearby Eket. 'We base our faith on the Bible, we are led by the holy spirit and we have a programme of exposing false religion and sorcery.' Soft of voice and in his smart suit and tie, his church is being painted and he apologises for having to sit outside near his shiny new Audi to talk. There are nearly 60 branches of Liberty Gospel across the Niger Delta. It was started by a local woman, mother-of-two Helen Ukpabio, whose luxurious house and expensive white Humvee are much admired in the city of Calabar where she now lives. Many people in this area credit the popular evangelical DVDs she produces and stars in with helping to spread the child witch belief.

Ita denies charging for exorcisms but acknowledges his congregation is poor and has to work hard to scrape up the donations the church expects. 'To give more than you can afford is blessed. We are the only ones who really know the secrets of witches. Parents don't come here with the intention of abandoning their children, but when a child is a witch then you have to say "what is that there? Not your child." The parents come to us when they see manifestations. But the secret is that, even if you abandon your child, the curse is still upon you, even if you kill your child the curse stays. So you have to come here to be delivered afterwards as well,' he explains patiently.

'We know how they operate. A witch will put a spell on its mother's bra and the mother will get breast cancer. But we cannot attribute all things to witches, they work on inclinations too, so they don't create HIV, but if you are promiscuous then the witch will give you HIV.'

As the light fades, he presents a pile of Ukpabio's DVDs. Mistakenly thinking they are a gift, I am firmly put right.

Later that night, in another part of town, the hands of the clock edge towards midnight. The humidity of the day is sealed into the windowless church and drums pound along with the screeching of the sweat-drenched preacher. 'No witches, oh Lord,' he screams into the microphone. 'As this hour approaches, save us, oh Lord!'

His congregation is dancing, palms aloft, women writhe and yell in tongues. A group moves forward shepherding five children, one a baby, and kneel on the concrete floor and the pastor comes among them, pressing his hands down on each child's head in turn, as they try to hide in the skirts of the woman. This is deliverance night at the Church of the True Redeemer, and while the service will carry on for some hours, the main event - for which the parents will have paid cash - is over.

Walking out into the night, the drums and singing from other churches ring out as such scenes are being repeated across the village.

It is hard to find people to speak out against the brutality. Chief Victor Ikot is one. He not only speaks out against the 'tinpot' churches, but has also done the unthinkable and taken in a witch to his own home. The chief's niece, Mbet, was declared a witch when she was eight. Her mother, Ekaete, made her drink olive oil, then poison berries, then invited local men to beat her with sticks. The pastor padlocked her to a tree but unlocked her when her mother could not find the money for a deliverance. Mbet fled. Mbet, now 11, says she has not seen the woman since, adding: 'My mother is a wicked mother.'

The Observer tracked down Mbet's mother to her roadside clothing stall where she nervously fiddled with her mobile phone and told us how her daughter had given her what sounded very much like all the symptoms of malaria. 'I had internal heat,' she says, indicating her stomach. 'It was my daughter who had caused this, she drew all the water from my body. I could do nothing. She was stubborn, very stubborn.' And if her daughter had died in the bush? She shrugged: 'That is God's will. It is in God's hands.'

Chief Victor has no time for his sister-in-law. 'Nowadays when a child becomes stubborn, then everyone calls them witches. But it is usually from the age of 10 down, I have never seen anyone try to throw a macho adult into the street. This child becomes a nuisance, so they give a dog a bad name and they can hang it.

'It is alarming because no household is untouched. But it is the greed of the pastors, driving around in Mercedes, that makes them choose the vulnerable.'

In a nearby village The Observer came across five-year-old twins, Itohowo and Kufre. They are still hanging around close to their mother's shack, but are obviously malnourished and in filthy rags. Approaching the boys brings a crowd of villagers who stand around and shout: 'Take them away from us, they are witches.' 'Take them away before they kill us all.' 'Witches'.

The woman who gave birth to these sorry scraps of humanity stands slightly apart from the crowd, arms crossed. Iambong Etim Otoyo has no intention of taking any responsibility for her sons. 'They are witches,' she says firmly and walks away.

And by nightfall there are 133 children in the chicken coop concrete house at Esit Eket.

And people say that Christians aren't evil, or don't do horrible things. Yeah right!!

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Learning By Watching The News

As I was watching CNN this afternoon, I learned something that I apparently didn't know. I learned that the new meaning of the words SHOT DEAD, at least according to CNN and other news networks, is DETAINED.

You see, I learned this as I was watching news coverage of the latest shootings in this country. If you haven't already heard by now, there were at least two shootings today in Colorado. The first one was in Arvada, Colorado at a missionary center. The second one was in Colorado Springs, Colorado at New Life Church, a "mega-church" founded by Ted Haggard.

According to eye witnesses at the church and the local hospital, the shooter was shot dead. All the news networks were reporting that a suspect was "detained". Funny, I didn't realize that being shot DEAD meant that you were actually in police custody being questioned and thrown in the slammer to await your arraignment.

And they say that television teaches you nothing!!

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Oops, They Did It Again!!

How do you teach children about sexual abuse? The ideal thing would be to sit down and talk to your kids about it. But the Catholic Church's idea is to hand your kid a comic or coloring book about it.

Catholic comic books warn kids of abuse

NEW YORK - The Archdiocese of New York is handing out coloring and comic books that warn children about sex predators, the first such effort by a Roman Catholic diocese in the United States.

In the coloring book, a perky guardian angel tells children not to keep secrets from their parents, not to meet anyone from an Internet chat room and to allow only "certain people" like a doctor or parent to see "where your bathing suit would be."

In a comic book version for children over 10, a teenager turns to St. Michael the Archangel for strength to report that two schoolmates are being sexually abused.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said the have been distributed to about 300 schools and 400 religious education programs to use as a resource. They are also free online.

"It's to help young people to know situations they should not get into," he said. "How to be safe — but to try to do it in an age-appropriate and sensitive way."

Some critics, while applauding the intent, say the books should say explicitly that trusted adults — including priests — may be the abusers.

Zwilling said that as far as he knows, the coloring book is the first of its kind to be produced by church officials. David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he, too, was unaware of any such effort.

Clohessy said that while he welcomes any attempt to teach children how to stay safe, he believes the coloring book should state more clearly that the predator is more likely to be a trusted adult than a stranger.

"There continues to be a bit of an overemphasis on stranger danger," Clohessy said. "I think it would be most effective if it would say, 'Not only strangers molest kids. Even adults you like and your parents respect — teachers, doctors, priests — can hurt kids.'"

But Zwilling said the vast majority of priests are "good and holy men," and he said it would have been inappropriate for the coloring book to single out priests as potential abusers. "You don't want to frighten children," he said. "You also don't want to stigmatize any group."

The closest the coloring book comes to directly addressing the 2002 church abuse scandal is a picture of a second angel — not the guardian angel — grinning at a priest and an altar boy through a wide open door.

"For safety's sake, a child and an adult shouldn't be alone in a closed room together," the text reads. "If a child and an adult happen to be alone, someone should know where they are and the door should be open or have a big window in it."

You know, this would be hilarious if it weren't ridiculous and we weren't dealing with such a serious subject. First of all, sexual abuse is not a laughing matter. To use a comic book or a coloring book to address it is like throwing something at kids to entertain them. They don't need to be entertained. They need to know the facts so that if they unfortunately find themselves in a situation like that, they know what to do.

It doesn't surprise me one bit that they refused to address the whole "a priest can be an abuser too" issue. After all, this is the Catholic Church we're talking about. They have never really wanted to address the issue. Their idea of addressing the sexual abuse scandals is to flash HUSH MONEY in the faces of victims, to protect the abuser, and to pass the abuser on from parish to parish. To not address this issue with children is like saying it's impossible for a priest or a nun to be an abuser. They may have taken vows. They may have pledged their obedience to GOD. But that doesn't mean that they can't or don't sexually abuse people.

The most ridiculous comment in the story was, "It's to help young people to know situations they should not get into." Really? I don't know of any person who "gets into" a situation where he or she is going to be or is sexually abused. Who would knowingly and purposely do that?

I'm certainly not implying that only priests and nuns are abusers. What I am saying is by refusing to address the issue, the Catholic Church is giving children a false sense of safety. Yes there are abusers everywhere, be they strangers or relatives. But there are also abusers at Church. By not pointing this out, one could argue that they are potentially placing children in danger.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

American Hypocrisy Rears Its Ugly Head Yet Again

American hypocrisy has reared its ugly little head yet again.

Observers question Russian vote

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- International electoral monitors Monday questioned the fairness of the Russian parliamentary elections, in which President Vladimir Putin's party claimed a sweeping mandate that could let him wield power beyond the end of his presidential term.

With nearly 92 percent of precincts reporting, Putin's United Russia Party had 63.2 percent of Sunday's vote, according to the Central Election Commission.

That margin would be enough to form a majority in the Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, party leader Boris Gryzlov said at a news conference.

Putin held the top spot on United Russia's list of candidates, which guarantees him a seat in parliament. The showing by United Russia is likely to allow the president to extend his influence over Russian affairs when his presidential term ends in 2008 -- perhaps as prime minister.

But the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) questioned the fairness of the polls.

"We can not say there were fair elections," said Luc van den Brande, head of the OSCE delegation, Monday.

Independent election monitors said their work had been hampered, and reports abound of state employees being ordered to support the government.

Van den Brande called the ballot a "managed election," saying the president's office had an "overwhelming influence." "It was not first and foremost an election of the state Duma members, but it was rather a referendum to the president," according to van den Brande. The Duma is the name for the lower house of Russia's parliament.

And in Washington, the White House called on Russian authorities to investigate complaints of election irregularities. U.S. officials had expressed concern ahead of the vote about the intimidation of opposition figures and the effect of "state-owned or -influenced" media in favor of Putin's party, National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

The UK's Foreign Office urged Russia to investigate all claims of electoral irregularities in a statement reported by The Associated Press, adding that such claims "if proven correct, would suggest that the Russian elections were neither free nor fair.

"It is deeply disappointing that Russia prevented the Office for Democracy and the Institute for Human Rights (part of the OSCE) from observing the elections which would have provided expert, independent election monitoring," the statement added.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov told journalists that his party questioned the initial results, and said the party planned to conduct a vote count of its own. He said Communists would rally across the country for days in protest of what they believe is biased counting.

Opposition leader Garry Kasparov, the chess grand master who was sentenced to five days in jail for leading an unsanctioned demonstration in November, said Putin and his allies were "raping the democratic system."

"The campaign was completely dominated by all the authority that all belonged to United Russia," said Kasparov, whose Other Russia party was disqualified by election officials. "More or less, Russia now has moved to a soft version of one-party dictatorship."

But Gryzlov said: "The election is vindication that Vladimir Putin is the country's national leader, and that the Russian voters support the political course he has taken in the last eight years."

And Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov dismissed the complaints, arguing that even "marginal" parties had been allowed to take part in the campaign.

"What we faced here was a free and democratic election campaign," Peskov told CNN. "And the fact that we now, according to preliminary results, are expecting a three- or four-party parliament shows that this was really a race. The unique characteristic of that race was the leadership of one party, the front-runner, United Russia."

Three other parties are expected to hold seats in the new Duma. As of Monday, the opposition Communist Party had received 11.7 percent of the vote; the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, 8.4 percent; and the pro-Putin Fair Russian Party 8 percent.

The remaining seven parties on the ballot, including several pro-Western liberal parties, failed to meet the 7 percent threshold for representation in the Duma.

Among those elected to the Duma were Andrei Lugovoi, chief suspect in the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko in London last year.

The newly-elected Liberal Democratic Party of Russia lawmaker is now immune from legal proceedings in Russia -- the U.K. authorities had previously requested his extradition to London to face trial.

Putin, whom critics accuse of undermining political and media freedoms while president, has said he would consider taking the post of prime minister if his party were to win a landslide victory. He has already held that office, in 1999, before then-President Boris Yeltsin named the former KGB officer Russia's acting president.

He was elected to succeed Yeltsin in 2000 and won a second term in 2004.

During the campaign, Putin described his opponents as "foreign-fed jackals" and said Russia would not tolerate meddling from abroad.

Far-right leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, said he was satisfied with the initial results. He expected his party's share of the vote to rise as high as 13 percent once all the votes are counted.

And the leader of the Fair Russian Party, Sergei Mironov, said his party was planning to issue a bill in parliament to extend the presidential term. But changing the length of the presidential term would require a change to Russia's constitution, something Gryzlov said United Russia would not support.

This time, the White House is demanding investigations into voter irregularities in Russia. What part of that sentence sounds hypocritical? All of it!! This is coming from an administration who did everything in its power to prevent voter irregularities from being investigated in THIS COUNTRY many times!! This is coming from an administration who got the Supreme Court to ILLEGALLY intervene on its behalf to crown the Boy King President in 2000. But these jackasses seriously want investigations into the Russian vote? Please bitches!! They have no moral leg to stand on here!!

This is the business of the people of Russia, who by the way, are telling the rest of the world to keep the hell out of their business!! It is up to the people of Russia to decide who they want. They did!! It is also up to the people of Russia to deal with Putin if they don't want him in power. It is not the business of the United States. It is not the business of the rest of the world.
The hypocrisy smells!! Before the United States starts calling FOUL in Russia, look at Pakistan. The thug in charge there threw out the Supreme Court and handpicked a new one so that he could be declared the winner of the election. Hmm, it seems he took a page from the Bush thugs!! No wonder why they have nothing to say about him. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!!

Stay out of Russia's business!! Stop acting like our shit doesn't stink here because it does!!

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