Friday, October 20, 2006

Bush's Compassionate Conservatism Exposed (Yet Again).

Both NPR and the internet are abuzz with the revelations of former Bush aide David Kuo, and his new book "Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction". As Deputy Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Kuo was increasingly disillusioned by what he saw as a lack of real commitment to Christian charity on the part of the Bush Administration. The Office was set up to steer social service contracts to religious organizations. Obviously this goal attracted criticism from groups dedicated to the preservation of the separation between church and state. But now it appears (not surprisingly to this observer) that it was mostly just a PR-effort to muster the Christian Conservative base.

Basically, funding promises made by Bush (during his various political campaigns) went unfulfilled. He rolled out officials from the faith-based office in key political districts where close races were being waged, and had them speak about his commitment to "compassion". But subsequently the funding for tax relief for charitable donations was lost in the push to repeal the estate-tax (a move that only helped the wealthiest of Americans). Only $500 million of a promised $6.8 Billion ever made it into any form of new "charitable program". But evidently unfulfilled promises were better than nothing for Christian leaders who sought political influence.

This faith-based intiative was obviously concocted by Rove to underscore Dubya's "personal faith"- it was a way to get Christians to identify with Bush in a way they hadn't been able to with any previous president. And it worked. Christian conservatives formed the base for the administration... they were ultimately resposible for tipping the scales toward Bush in his presidential elections... and they overwhelmingly approved of the job he did in office. They continued to offer their support even while they received nothing but lip-service in return. There was no compassion in the neo-con agenda that ultimately directed Bush policy. With a nod and a wink, Bush promised movement in the effort to outlaw abortion. He promised to work towards a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage. But these were never the administration's priorities. They were simply wedge issues, promoted in a cynical attempt to foment political division.

David Kuo, who identifies himself as a Christian Conservative, has an interesting background. Originally he was a liberal pro-life Democrat, who was committed to working to aid the poor. His stance on abortion kept him out of Democratic party politics, and he ended up working for William Bennett and John Ashcroft in the mid-90's. Throughout his career he remained committed to helping those in greatest material need. He belived that he had found a political party that was committed to doing that in a responsible way. But Kuo's not getting much love from his former colleagues anymore. Press Secretary Tony Snow and others deny Kuo's claims. Some are accusing him of timing the release of his book in order to have an effect on the midterm congressional elections. While that may be so, it is fair to ask where Kuo might have learned such a tactic. In fact John Dilulio, the first director of the faith-based office (and Kuo's first boss), cited the politicization of the office as his reason for quitting his position in 2002.

Many suspected that the Bush administration's efforts to appeal to Christian conservatives was simply a cynical strategy to deflect attention from their actual agenda- to extend tax cuts to the wealthy, and muster support for an aggressive foreign policy. The failures of the neocon adventures in modern imperialism have largely distracted the public from holding Bush and company responsible for their neglect of previous domestic promises. While this strategy seemed obvious to many Bush critics, it has largely gone unremarked upon in evangelical circles. One wonders if Bush has made a fatal error in underestimating the expectations of his political base. Perhaps we'll find out for sure this November?


Blogger Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Merge',

David Kuo's book does nothing to dispel claims of an American theocracy as some have asserted. In fact, he has inadvertently provided stunning insights into their true nature and purpose. No leader of an empire ever truly believes the religions used to manipulate subjects. That would be like a drug dealer hooked on his product; its bad for business...

Understanding why religion is strong delusion

Christians often quote things like "know them by their fruits," yet after millennia of being duped into abetting blatantly evil scoundrels, many still don't understand the meaning or import of much of what they read. The same canon paradoxically propounds "faith," which means the complete opposite of "know them by their fruits," i.e., to discern the truth by analyzing deeds and results (works) and to weigh actions instead of merely believing what is said.

The deceptive circular logic of posing a fantasy messiah who urges both discernment of the truth and faith (belief without proof) clearly represents a skillful and purposeful effort to impose ignorance and confusion through "strong delusion." Any sage worth his salt could understand the folly of this contradictory so-called wisdom. This and mountains of evidence demonstrate that faith and religion are the opposite of truth and wisdom. It is no wonder charlatans like Rove, Bush, and others have marked Christians as dupes to be milked as long and as hard as possible. Any accomplished con artist easily recognizes religion as the ultimate scam and fervent followers as ready-made marks and dupes.

We now live in an era where science has proven so much about the vastness, rationality, mathematical preciseness, and structural orderliness throughout every level of our 11-dimension universe. Nonetheless, large percentages of people still conclude that these flawed and contradictory religious canons are the unmodified and infallible "word of God." People who can't (or won't) discern the difference between truth and belief are easily misled about the differences between good and evil, wisdom and folly, perfection and error, reason and irrationality, and right and wrong.

The fact that political leaders have always had close relationships with religious leaders while cooperating to manipulate followers to gain wealth and power is overwhelming evidence that the true purpose of religion is deception and delusion. People who are unable to effectively discern basic moral choices or to reason accurately are easily indoctrinated to follow the dictates of national and imperial leaders who wrap themselves in religious pretense. Truth and wisdom are direct threats to the existence and power of empires. That is why imperial leaders always strive to hide so-called secret knowledge and impose deception and ignorance upon their subjects.

What then is the purpose of "faith" but to prevent otherwise good people from seeking to understand truth and wisdom?



7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


On April 17, 2006, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board decided: "It's time for an unapologetic Preston to go!"

On October 13, 2006, Joe Preston continued to demonstrate a lack of remorse telling the editorial board that he, in fact, will not return the pay raise.

It's this simple: Mr. Preston is one of the lone symbols of this controversy who still believes a nod-nod, wink-wink from the Governor, local political leaders and the media can protect him from any further public ridicule.

In short, Mr. Preston has recently demonstrated unprecedented arrogance suggesting an attitude and confidence that are embarrassing.

Todd Elliott Koger For State Representative District 24

6:42 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to post the above comment, but I figure any post that elicits responses from the messiah and the office of a local candidate for the state house deserves all the garnishing available.

11:25 AM  

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