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Wisconsin Tourism Federation???

Posted by libhom Wednesday, September 30, 2009 3 comments

From the Milwakee Journal Sentinal 9/30/09:

The folks at the Wisconsin Tourism Federation, a 30-year-old tourism lobbying coalition based in Sun Prairie, couldn't possibly have predicted how the Internet would change the lingo.

While its abbreviation, WTF, was fairly innocuous a few decades ago, it means something entirely different these days.

That meaning - a phrase that can't be printed in a family newspaper, even though kids all over the country are texting it on a regular basis - isn't what anyone in tourism wants potential visitors to associate with Wisconsin.

So the name has been changed to protect our innocence. It's now the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin - an easy acronym switch that avoids any uncomfortable, ambiguous meanings. However, the URL www.witourismfederation.org, remains the same.

When I heard about this, and saw their logo on TV, it made me think about my natural reaction to the idea of tourism in Wisconsin: WTF? Sure, I want to spend my vacations in Wisconsin. Uh, huh. Yeah, right.

I'm sure Wisconsin is a nice enough place to live, but it isn't a major travel destination.

 

I couldn't believe those shitheads dared to drop a mailing scheduled to arrive the same time that Senate Democrats were eviscerating healthcare reform. Even worse, the letter came from a corrupt, racist, sexist, and viciously homophobic Republican: Bill Clinton. At least those jackasses will have to pay the postage since they enclosed a Business Reply Mail envelope.

Take Me Off of Your Mailing Lists!

I can't believe I got a fundraising letter from you scumbags on today of all days, the day that ultracorrupt and unpatriotic Sen. Max Baucus (a “Democrat”) eviscerated healthcare reform and told middle class and poor Democratic voters to shut up and die without medical treatment.

The fact that the Democrats couldn't even pass a watered down approach like a public option is reprehensible. You pieces of walking garbage should have already pushed through single payer with budget reconciliation, but you won't even do the public option. The idea that a dime of mine could ever go to a politician like Max Baucus who might as well have “For Sale” tattooed on his forehead is absolutely sickening.

Even worse, the fundraising letter came from Bill Clinton, a corrupt, racist, sexist, and homophobic Republican who is guilty of murdering hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians through his illegal sanctions. This is the same corrupt Bill Clinton that pushed through financial derugulation, NAFTA, and the WTO. All of those three things were major causes of the financial meltdown and the bailouts.

The thing that is most personally offensive about receiving any kind of correspondence from Bill Clinton is that he is one of the most notorious and vicious homophobes of 20th Century America. I haven't forgotten how he pushed through an even more draconian and vicious version of the military ban than the one that was there before. I haven't forgotten how he discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Cabinet level appointments. I haven't forgotten how he refused to lift a finger on behalf of ENDA and hate crimes legislation.

Sending a fundraising letter from Bill Clinton to a gay man like myself is the equivalent of spitting in my face. I won't forget this, and I won't forgive you for it either.

Shame on you bigots!

In a previous posting calling for his resignation from the Senate, I went into detail on how Max Baucus is a bought politician and how his corruption was effecting efforts to pass genuine healthcare reform.

 

So, a rightist jackass goes from ACORN office to ACORN office to find corrupt employees. He finds them in only one office, and he finds another office where an employee thought it was a joke and foolishly played along.

Big Deal!

The typical large bank or brokerage has way more corruption than ACORN does, even in the vivid imaginations of the racist right. The people who work for ACORN are way too busy helping people to have time to do the evil shit that banksters do. Yet, you don't see irate Goppers demanding that all the banksters and brokesters be run out of business.

There are two real reasons the Goppers are lying through their teeth about ACORN:

1) They don't want poor people and people of color to be registered and vote.

2) They don't want middle class and poor people to have access to programs that explain how their mortgages work. They want the banksters to be able to rob people blind indefinitely. (Is this the real reason why Bank of America cut off ties with ACORN? hrrrrmmmmmmm....)

If you believe the hype in the corporate media and the rightist blogs about ACORN, then I've got shares in a business which will clone Sarah Palin from one of her nose hairs.

 

Racism As the Pickpocket's Diversion

Posted by libhom Saturday, September 26, 2009 4 comments

If you wonder why corporate media outlets give so much time and attention to the nuttiest of racists these days, you have to remember this is part of a larger historical phenomenon.

clowning around with a wallet with a pickpocketing warning on itMost people in this country are aware that the South is less unionized than the rest of the country, but most have no idea why or think it results from the general wingnuttery of that region. In fact, racism has been one of the favorite tools of bosses in the South to divide and defeat union organizing. Getting white workers to resent their black colleagues has been hugely effective in creating distractions which prevent organizing that is in all the workers' economic interests.

confederate flagThis actually goes farther back. During the Civil War, whites too poor to own slaves were persuaded to fight on behalf of the treasonous Confederacy while the whites with large estates and numerous slaves generally stayed home and had mint juleps. How did they manage this trick? They conned the poor whites into believing that their self worth was based on feeling superior to the black slaves based on a white racial identity.

This tactic has been the most effective in the South, but it is used throughout the country, with various degrees of success. Middle class whites are diverted by scapegoating of affirmative action so that they don't see that children of alumni in elite universities and anyone whose parents are willing to give enough money get accepted in droves, regardless of their academic qualifications. (How do you think George W. Bush got into Yale?) Students from elite private schools also are given favoritism in getting into college. Racism is used to distract the middle class from realizing that past academic performance is nowhere near as important as wealth and connections for admissions at elite universities.

When FDR pushed for government programs to benefit middle class and poor people, the wealthy elites thought government was supposed to exclusively serve them. So, they financed and pushed racist hysteria in the media to try to create so much animosity and resentment towards blacks that nothing would get done on New Deal programs. FDR was strong enough and a skillful enough politician to get those programs through anyway, but he was the strongest and most skillful politician to ever serve in the White House. (Other Presidents were as strong as Roosevelt, such as Lincoln, but never has that level of strength been matched by that level of political acumen.)

map of middle eastDuring the push for the war on Iraq, the corporate media played on racial profiling and anti Arab hatred to build support for the war. Never mind that there were no Iraqi hijackers on 911. Never mind that Saddam Hussein's Arab nationalist Baath Party and Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda were mortal enemies. In the mass racist hysteria created by the politicians and the corporate media, Iraqis were Arabs and that was enough to trick a lot of gullible Americans into thinking that Iraq was responsible for 911 and that we should subjugate and slaughter them.

Big Oil, the mercenary corporations, and the arms merchants have made shitloads of money off of that racist scam.

Now, there is a push for government provided healthcare, which is the birthright of every person in a country as wealthy as the United States of America. As expected, we are seeing the corrupt elites using the same racist diversionary tactics they have loved for at least a couple of centuries. Whether it is the overt racism of the birthers, Glenn Beck, or Joe Wilson or the less transparent racism that permeates the corporate media, all of it is being financed and promoted by the rich to try to keep government funding from being used to provide life saving healthcare to the middle class and the poor.

The owners of our major media want all government funding to go to profitable wars and government subsidies for them and the wealthy people who own their advertisers. They certainly don't want to pay anywhere near their fair share in taxes. The corporate media's love affair with racism is all about the money.

people play acting the pickpockets diversionIf you have lived in a major city, you probably have been warned about a common pickpocket's trick. They get an accomplice to bump into you, annoy you, and or ask you for directions while the pickpocket takes you wallet. This is a very good reason to keep your wallet in your front pocket, not the back.

When you look at the exploitation and promotion of racist hysteria by the wealthy elites in this country, it is easy to see it for what it is: a diversion by wealthy pickpockets to let them keep steeling from the rest of us.

Photos/Images: Archie McPhee
erjkprunczyk
OpenDemocracy
Spanner Dan

 



One of the few checks to the disproportionate power of corporations and their wealthy owners is a strong labor movement. Labor law in this country is biased against unions, something that needs to change.

Wealthy and corporate interests a spending millions of dollars to fight the Employee Free Choice Act because they know that unions would improve wages and benefits for working people while reducing abusive behavior by managers.

 

Don't Stop Fighting for ENDA

Posted by libhom Thursday, September 24, 2009 0 comments

Employment discrimination is the lgbt issue that affects the broadest spectrum of the queer community and the largest number of people. There are a lot of important queer issues, but we can't take our eyes off the most important one: the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA). In most states, it still is legal to fire people for being queer. Given that many people in states where they have protections may need to move elsewhere because of the terrible economy, this is an issue that effects all of us, regardless of what state we live in.

Also, given the heterosexism and dishonesty of Republican Governors and most Republican appointed judges, we cannot rely on states alone to protect our rights even when they are written into state laws. Layers of civil rights protection is an important concept for every oppressed group.

From the National Center for Lesbian Rights' 8/5/09 Action Alert:

This bill, which would extend existing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination to protect people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, is much needed and long overdue.

...

We have a good chance of passing this bill, but we need your help! President Obama has said that he is ready to sign this bill. All we need now is for the Senate to act.

It is essential that you contact your Senators and urge them to support ENDA and ask them to become a co-sponsor. Becoming a co-sponsor shows other members of Congress that your Senator will stand in solidarity with our community, which helps build momentum for the bill’s passage.

Take Action Now! Email your Senators the message below and ask them to co-sponsor ENDA! Email your Senators now!

Passage of employment discrimination is at least 30 years overdue. The Democrats owe us ENDA big time. If they have brains in their heads, they won't betray us again.

Rainbow Flag button on Mac keyboardPlease Email Your Senators Now!

(I would suggest rewriting the default text, which is a good practice in general. Personally, I think pointing out how important the bill is to you would be a very good idea.)

It is important to point out that ENDA needs to include gender identity as well as sexual orientation. This is a simple matter of justice for our transgender brothers and sisters. It also closes a loophole that sleazy corporate lawyers can use to try to defeat sexual orientation discrimination cases.

Photo: ntr23

 

Jimmy Carter Tells Truth, Faces Tantrums

Posted by libhom Monday, September 21, 2009 5 comments

On CQ Politics 9/17/09:

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,” Carter told NBC News.

No reasonable person can honestly and factually dispute what Jimmy Carter said. Now that he no longer wants to run for office, former President Carter has been refreshingly honest on this issue and on Israel's reprehensible treatment of the Palestinians. Once again, the right has decided that tantrums are superior to introspection when their sacred cattle get skewered in public.

Uncle Mike Steele showed his desperate desire to pander to the white supremacists who dominate the GOP by ranting on the MSNBC website.
"President Carter is flat out wrong. This isn't about race. It is about policy. This is a pathetic distraction by Democrats to shift attention away from the president's wildly unpopular government-run health care plan that the American people simply oppose. Injecting race into the debate over critical issues facing American families doesn't create jobs, reform our health care system or reduce the growing deficit. It only divides Americans rather than uniting us to find solutions to challenges facing our nation.

This exercise in hypocrisy and plain old butt kissing is obviously humiliating for Steele, but it certainly is a necessary form of humiliation for him if he wants to keep his job at the Repugnant Neocon Carnival. If you want to see why the frightened Steele bent over for the white supremacists, just read their rantings.

A pundit on WDAM spews hateful, bigoted, and highly misleading filth:
To make criticism of the president about playing the race card is condescending to our president and many other black elected officials. It is a cheap shot that can have a chilling effect on free flowing exchange. All presidents and politicians have there supporters and detractors. We have a two party system. Mr. Carter has had a number of other disturbing points of view that he has felt compelled to foist open the American people and the world. For example, his book on Palestine was widely praised by none other than Osama bin Laden of all people.

Here are some comments on a New York Times blog posting on the controversy which show the nature of the GOP base.
- Demoracism is the new McCarthyism. You don’t like President Obama’s policy? You’re a racist. You don’t like affirmative action? You’re a racist. You don’t like having a welfare state? You’re a racist. The Dems would have you believe there’s a racist behind every rock, under every tree, and in every office. It SMACKS of McCarthyism.

- Jimmy Carter was the worst president this country has ever had. He should go into obscurity and keep his opinions to himself. His rhetoric is based on trying to repair his image that he himself ruined. As a single white working man I feel I am the victim of racism…figure that out.

- I can’t stand Obama. Not because of his color, but because of the policies and intentions he is pursuing, and the dishonest disguise of them. If your paper would have done its job during the campaign, the whole country would have seen that the real racist is Obama: the man who sat in Reverend Wrights church for 20 years listening to white hate-spewing sermons. Why does he get a free pass? Because he is of color? Whether you like it or not, your message is that if you are a minority, you can’t be a racist. Not a good message from a once great newspaper.

- Certainly there is racism — just look at Jeremiah Wright and Van Jones — two despicable racists.

Those angriest at Carter seem determined to prove his point.

The favorite talking point of the lunatic fringe has been that Jimmy Carter "played the race card." Speaking about an important issue is not playing card games; it is a courageous and important step that more people should take. This rhetoric displays the complete lack of intellectual and moral integrity so common with the American right.

The rightists would be ashamed of themselves if they had any shame.

 

George Carlin and Religious Bullshit

Posted by libhom Saturday, September 19, 2009 3 comments

He dared to say things most public figures were too afraid to say. (Hat Tip to My Thoughts Are Free)



I love how Carlin mocks "god" for always needing money.

 

Joe Wilson Is Unpatriotic

Posted by libhom Friday, September 18, 2009 3 comments

From the Institute of Southern Studies:

Rep. Joe Wilson is getting his 15 minutes of national fame after bellowing "you lie!" during President Obama's health care address last night. But Wilson earned notoriety in his home state of South Carolina in the late 1990s when, as a state legislator, he was one of the staunchest defenders of flying the Confederate battle flag over the state capitol.

The Confederacy was treason against the United States of America, no ifs, no ands, no buts, and no excuses. Anyone who condones, much less endorses the Confederacy, is anti American. Anyone who is a US citizen who does this is unpatriotic.

Wilson's complete and long lasting disloyalty to our country needs a lot more media coverage.

 

Poll on Crappy Commenting Systems

Posted by libhom Wednesday, September 16, 2009 2 comments

There are a lot of wonderful blogs using crappy commenting systems. Here's my way of venting.



 

Boycotting Glenn Beck Is Not Enough

Posted by libhom Monday, September 14, 2009 4 comments

It's not uncommon for liberals and progressives to boycott a Faux News propagandist or the entire network. There's nothing wrong with doing this, but Faux News is part of a larger propaganda empire owned mostly by Australian fascist Rupert Murdoch. News Corp includes multiple cable networks, print publications, and websites. It all is part of a cohesive whole. The less overtly political parts of the conglomerate are used to subsidize the overt propaganda outlets.

Murdoch's hateful media empire is experiencing difficulties. News Corp is closing down The London Paper, a free tabloid which has lost money for a long time. This is part of broader problems in the house that hate built. Earlier this year, News Corp reported a $6.4 billion quarterly loss.

Every time you patronize any of the businesses in Murdoch's megacorporation, you are feeding the beast. Why do we finance someone who relentlessly propagandizes for extreme right causes? It is way past time for us to take our business elsewhere. I've included some of the higher profile News Corp media properties here in the US. If you are tired of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, or the relentless sleaze and hate in the New York Post, why are you helping to pay for that nonsense?

Liberals and progressives should do our part to turn News Corp into News Corpse.

All of these are wholly owned or majority owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp media empire. There are plenty of other smaller properties as well as media outlets outside of the US. In the interests of keeping the post from getting excruciatingly long, they are omitted. You can find them on Wikipedia or other websites.

Major Newspapers:

- New York Post
- Wall Street Journal
- Barron's

Movie Studios:

- 20th Century Fox (and related studios)

Websites:

- AmericanIdol.com
- AskMen
- Beliefnet
- Marketwatch
- MySpace
- Rotten Tomatoes
- Scout
- Spring Widgets


Broadcast TV Networks:

- My Network TV
- Fox Network

Cable TV Networks:

- Fox Business Network
- Fox Classics
- Fox Movie Channel
- Fox News Channel
- Fox Sports Net
- Fox Reality
- Fox College Sports
- Fox Sports International
- Fox Soccer Channel
- FX Networks.
- SPEED Channel
- FUEL TV
- Big Ten Network
- National Geographic Channels
- Real Estate TV
- BabyTV


Local FoxTV Stations (owned by News Corp):

WNYW-5 New York, WWOR-TV-9 New Jersey, KTTV-11-5 Los Angeles, KCOP-13 Los Angeles, WFLD-32 Chicago, WPWR-TV-50 Chicago, WTXF-TV-29 Philadelphia, WFXT-25 Boston, KDFW-4 Dallas, KDFI-27 Dallas, WTTG-5 Washington D.C., WDCA-20 Washington D.C., KMSP-TV-9 Minneapolis, WFTC-29 Minneapolis, WJBK-2 Detroit, WAGA-5 Atlanta, WUTB-24 Baltimore, KRIV-26 Houston, KTXH-20 Houston, WTVT-13 Tampa Bay, WRBW-65 Orlando, WOFL-35 Orlando, KSAZ-TV-10 Phoenix, KUTP-45 Phoenix, WHBQ-TV-13 Memphis, KTBC-7 Austin, WOGX-51 Ocala

 

Sometimes the most important parts of news stories get buried far down in the text by the corporate media, and the tragic killing of anti-choice extremist James Pouillon is no exception. Take for instance, these paragraphs buried in the 9/11/09 Detroit News article on the killing.

"We believe Mr. Drake was not happy with the way Mr. Pouillon was protesting," said Chief Shiawassee County Assistant Prosecutor Sara Edwards.

"Mr. Drake did not believe children should view the graphic material on the signs Mr. Pouillon carried," said Police Chief Michael Compeau.

Sound familiar?

It should. This is the same ideology expressed by Christian Right hate groups like the so called "Parents Television Council" in order to justify their censorship campaigns. They routinely say that TV shows should be censored in order to keep children from seeing violent and sexually suggestive materials.

Censorship as a way of child proofing the world is one of the favorite fundamentalist talking points. It gets repeated constantly by Christian Taliban.

In other words, Pouillon was killed because a nutjob bought into the censorship ideology promoted by the Christian Right, not because Pouillon opposed abortion.

The militant, anti American fundamentalists and some of their enablers in the corporate media are already trying to blame people who support the inalienable right of women to decide on abortion for this killing, even though the facts prove otherwise.

The killing of Pouillon also brings up another question. Will the rightist nutjobs finally realize that gun control is necessary when some of their own get killed with guns?

 

Homophobic Posting on Ars Technica

Posted by libhom Sunday, September 13, 2009 2 comments

The technology blog Ars Technica had a homophobic posting last month. I know it happened a little while ago, but it illustrates an important point.

From that 8/3/09 posting:

Hidden gay slur, search terms, get campaign site blacklisted

US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is running for governor of Texas, but her new campaign website has already managed to get itself blocked from Yahoo and Google. Stuffing a site with 2,000+ hidden search terms, including "rick perry gay," is a good way to get the wrong kind of attention.

The idea that saying someone is gay is a "slur" is based on the homophobic notion that there is something wrong with being gay, which is absolutely ridiculous.

There may be some limited tolerance for lgbt people in this society, but this shows how casual heterosexism permeates the media, even in the disproportionately queer tech field.

We still have a long way to go before we are equal in this society.

 

I checked my Google Analytics, and my blog had 609 unique visitors last week. The viewership for my blog keeps going up. It shows that if you are honest and don't pull punches, there is an audience for that.

Keep reading, and if you have a blog, keep writing. If you look at your stats, you will be surprised how big your audience is. Don't assume your audience size is anywhere near as small as the number of people writing comments.

 

This 8/19/09 Career Builder press release shows a relatively new and growing area of corporate misconduct.

Forty-five Percent of Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Research Job Candidates, CareerBuilder Survey Finds
Career Expert Provides DOs and DON'Ts for Job Seekers on Social Networking

Forty-five Percent of Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Research Job Candidates, CareerBuilder Survey Finds

CHICAGO, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- As social networking grows increasingly pervasive, more employers are utilizing these sites to screen potential employees. Forty-five percent of employers reported in a recent CareerBuilder survey that they use social networking sites to research job candidates, a big jump from 22 percent last year. Another 11 percent plan to start using social networking sites for screening. More than 2,600 hiring managers participated in the survey, which was completed in June 2009.

Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 29 percent use Facebook, 26 percent use LinkedIn and 21 percent use MySpace. One-in-ten (11 percent) search blogs while 7 percent follow candidates on Twitter.

The top industries most likely to screen job candidates via social networking sites or online search engines include those that specialize in technology and sensitive information: Information Technology (63 percent) and Professional & Business Services (53 percent).

The press release is written in neutral language, but this is really disturbing. Career Builder is focused more on helping job seekers cope with this environment, but civil liberties supporters should work to change that environment. Corporations seem to think they have more and more of an entitlement to snoop into employees' private lives. Now, they extend that to new hires. Privacy is eroding in an era of growing corporate power. Here's more:
Why Employers Disregarded Candidates After Screening Online

Job seekers are cautioned to be mindful of the information they post online and how they communicate directly with employers. Thirty-five percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate. The top examples cited include:

* Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information - 53 percent
* Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs - 44 percent
* Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients - 35 percent
* Candidate showed poor communication skills - 29 percent
* Candidate made discriminatory comments - 26 percent
* Candidate lied about qualifications - 24 percent
* Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer - 20 percent

The first three are incredibly disturbing. Now, corporations feel entitled to have control over what people say to their friends. The fourth is bizarre. Why should someone supposed to devote a lot of effort to highly skilled communication in an informal medium that is for people who are close to them?

There need to be much stronger privacy laws in the online era. Employers and interviewers should be prohibited by law from doing any of the following:

1) Making friends requests, either overtly or covertly.

2) Googling current or potential employees.

3) Asking for any social networking information not available to the general public.

Also, any hiring, promotional, and firing decisions based on these privacy violations should be subject to wrongful termination and invasion of privacy suits.

I've heard that young people are leaving Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace in droves. I'm beginning to see why.

 

A Message And a Call to Action on Single Payer

Posted by libhom Friday, September 11, 2009 0 comments

The Pagan Sphinx has been fighting hard for healthcare reform, and her recent posting with a brief message supporting single payer is one of many examples of the efforts she is making. Here's the video:



The organization that produced the video, 1Payer.net, has a lot of resources and action items on its website. Please call their toll free number, 1-800-578-4171. It will reach the White House comment line when that office is open. Otherwise, you can leave a message that will be transcribed and sent to the White House and to the people who are supposed to be representing us in the House and the Senate.

There also is a section of the site with videos you can snag for your blog and/or email to your friends. Getting single payer may be a long struggle, but it's worth it to keep fighting, no matter who is in Congress or the White House. Here's a clip from a speech by Barack Obama in 2003. He makes a lot more sense than he's making now.



If all your news comes from the corporate media, you may not be that familiar with single payer healthcare. Healthcare Now has a description of HR 676, the single payer legislation in the House. This legislation is often referred to as "Medicare for All," which gives an accurate label of what it sets up.

 

Let's look at the official explanation of 911. 19 hijackers conspired to take over four planes on the same day and conspired to take them down. Al Qaeda engineered and financed the hijackings in a conspiracy to attack the United States of America.

Can you imagine such an attack without a conspiracy? Could you even take seriously 18 Muslims coincidentally deciding to attack the US on a day that holds little significance in Islam or the Middle East? When they saw each other on the planes, they then randomly took actions in concert to bring the planes down, independently deciding to use the plane as weapons?

The fact is that if you accept the official explanation of 911, you are a conspiracy theorist.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

The 911 Attacks were horrible for us and our country. However, that's no excuse for completely turning our brains off. With a subject this important, rational analysis is even more important.

 

Global Warming Censored on Weather Channel Since GE Bought It

Posted by libhom Thursday, September 10, 2009 1 comments

Since GE led a corporate takeover of the Weather Channel (TWC) a while back, I've noticed the following changes.

1) Older meteorologists have been replaced by younger ones.

2) The background music for the local forecast has gotten a little better.

3) There is a morning show with Al Roker that has a lot of content that has nothing to do with weather.

4) Global Warming has become a taboo topic.

5) Forecast Earth was canceled.

TWC used to be at the forefront of educating people about Global Warming. Yet, now that GE, a company that makes turbines, light bulbs and electrical appliances, owns TWC, it has been erased from mention. This was particularly glaring given that the coverage of the California wildfires didn't mention climate change despite the fact that computer models predicted that global warming would increase the intensities of fire seasons in Mediterranean climates, predictions that have been shown accurate by fires in California, Australia, Spain, and Greece.

This is a rather blatant example of why progressives care so much about media ownership.

 

Civil Liberties Don't Always Do That Well in Canada Either

Posted by libhom Wednesday, September 09, 2009 2 comments

So much for press freedom in Canada...(From Green Is the New Red 9/3/09)

Last year, Canadian police arrested Sea Shepherd’s First Officer, Peter Hammarstedt, and Captain, Alex Cornelissen. In Canada, it is illegal to witness or document the slaughter of the seals. They were charged with approaching, witnessing and documenting the killing.

This law is a tacit admission by the Canadian government that the practice of clubbing baby seals is something that repulses reasonable people. The fact that Canada uses government funds to subsidize this brutal and senseless way of killing the seals is breathtaking.

I also wonder if the particularly violent way of killing the seals affects the people involved. Are they more likely to get involved in domestic violence?

 

If my Phonycrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand votes for a fake "healthcare reform" plan without at least a public option, I will make a donation to her primary challenger, Jonathan Tasini in honor of the occasion. I know how to fight back against politicians that tell me to shut up and die without healthcare by not insisting on an opportunity for myself and others to get away from the deadly HMOs and health insurers.

You can't be on the same side of middle class and poor Americans and still be on the side of the HMOs. Every politician will have to show where her or his loyalties lie.

 

"Exorcism of gays in the UK"

Posted by libhom Tuesday, September 08, 2009 3 comments

We don't have a monopoly an batshit crazy Christian extremists here in the US, even though it seems like it at times. From a 9/23/09 press release on noted UK queer activist Peter Tatchell's website:

Fundamentalist Christian churches in Britain are performing exorcisms on lesbian and gay people in a bid to purge them of their homosexuality.

“The exorcism rituals involve the casting out of alleged demons and witches that supposedly possess a gay person’s soul and turn them away from heterosexuality,” said LGBT human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

“There are claims that gay teenagers and young adults are being subjected to exorcisms at the insistence of their parents and pastors, in an attempt to rid them of same-sex attraction.

“The exorcisms can include traumatic emotional scenes where the victims are surrounded by a group of church elders who scream at them to drive out the evil spirits and who sometimes shake their bodies.

“When this is done to youngsters under 18, it is a form of child abuse and the police should intervene to stop it

“Some gay adults have been pressured into exorcisms by their family members or faith communities. Other victims are people with learning difficulties or mental health problems. They have been preyed upon when they are in a vulnerable state and are not capable of giving fully informed consent.

“There needs to be a thorough police investigation of all the churches that are doing these exorcisms,” said Mr Tatchell.

One London church admits it does exorcisms on four or five gay people every year. This church, United Pentecostal Ministry in Harrow north London, was exposed by The Metro newspaper late last month:

Link to The Metro Article

The church pastor, Rev John Ogbe-Ogbeide, said he did the ritual to cast out the demons and evil spirits that he believes are responsible for homosexuality. Sometimes people were calm during the process but sometimes their body convulsed, he conceded.

Exorcisms can be performed on gay children or on those who are suspected to be gay. There is no minimum age for the exorcism ceremony because a demon could possess a person at any age in life and could incline them to “wrong” sexual thoughts and behaviour, said Rev Ogbe-Ogbeide.

“United Pentecostal Ministry says it performs four or five exorcisms on gay people each year. It is just one of hundreds of fundamentalist churches in Britain. Gay exorcisms are likely to be performed in many of them. It is possible that dozens or even hundreds of LGBT people could be subjected to exorcism abuse in the UK. Because it takes place behind closed church doors and is kept secret, it is impossible to give an accurate assessment of the numbers involved,” added Mr Tatchell.

Christian religious extremism is dangerous and vicious wherever it is found. Christian supremacist bigots are proselytizing all over the world. As the AWOL Rapture is reducing their numbers in the US, the rest of the world is being colonized by the fungus of militant Christianity.

If you live in the UK, the full press release has information on actions you can take.

 

When the Goppers say that private insurers can't compete with a public insurance option, what they are really admitting to is that private insurance and HMOs are so costly, are so inefficient, and provide such lousy care that no sane person would choose them.

Thank about it.

 

That Commie Van Johnson???

Posted by libhom Monday, September 07, 2009 3 comments

Van Jones:

photo of van jones
Van Johnson publicity photo from The Last Time I Saw ParisIn a sign of how stupid the rightist sheep are, I've been following comments on the Van Jones resignation, and it is quite common for the nuts to call him "Van Johnson" and then spout off like self proclaimed experts on him, his life, and his political views.

As is often the case these days, some of them are calling him more than one of the following:

- A liberal

- A communist

- A fascist

- A progressive

In actuality, each of those is a category which is mutually exclusive to the other three, yet the rightists don't have a clue. I have to admit that even some people elsewhere on the political spectrum mix up liberals and progressives. Progressive is a broad political term in American discourse which encompasses people to the left of liberals and to the right of Marxists.

Van Johnson died last year, so he won't get a chance to take advantage from the publicity generated by the mistaken identity. He was pretty cute in his day. Jones would be cute too if he would just get rid of the pesky mustache.

One related note: rightist imbeciles are referring to presense of "Czars" in the Obama administration as "communism." If they had taken the trouble to read a European history book, they would know that the communists in the Soviet Union overthrew the Czar and killed every member of his family to make sure that Russian would never have a Czar again. If they want to use over the top rhetoric to butcher their points, they could at least call it "monarchism."

Oops!

 

"Ex Gay" ministries and conventions are notorious in the gay men's community for lots of sex going on between the "ex gay" men. However, I didn't know that there may be sexual harassment going on.

Truth Wins Out has put up a video on YouTube with former "ex gay" Patrick McAlvey who talks about the futile and painful nature of these ministries. Most queers already know about this part, but there are other aspects of them that McAlvey reveals that are disturbing in a whole new way.



Genocide for Jesus has the transcript of this former "ex gay" which is really disturbing. First, lets look at the desperate psychological situation that McAlvey was in.

Well I distanced myself from Mike sometime in early high school, and really had very minimal contact, he sent a couple letters, but I had very minimal contact until I was 19. And so when I was 19 I was kicked out of a missionary training school and forced to move back home with my family, and I was kicked out because of my attraction to men, and so in that time, I was sort of in a crisis mode and was very low, very depressed and just trying to make sense of my life and mostly of my attraction, so I contacted Mike again, and we started meeting regularly.

Look at the "therapy" McAlvey was exposed to.
That night he suggested we go over to his friend’s house so that we could do “holding therapy.” So we drove together to his friend’s house and had an hour where I was instructed to lay in his arms, chest to chest, and not talk, it was just an hour of silent holding and he told me to feel the strength of another man, smell the smell of another man, feel the security of another man’s arms. And it was supposed to replace, or fill a void that I had from some unmet childhood need.

I thought the holding therapy was very strange, and it made me uncomfortable, but I was willing to try anything, and trusted Mike.

The "holding therapy" part sounds really suspicious, to put it mildly. It gets worse.
As part of the therapy, he asked how large my penis was. He asked if I shaved my pubic hair. He asked about the type of underwear that I wore. On one occasion he asked me to take my shirt off and show him how many push-ups I could do, which I did not do, and he wanted me to describe my sexual fantasies to him, and the type of men I’m attracted to. And one time he asked me to rate my own attractiveness, on a scale of 1-10, with separate scores for my face, my hair, my body, and then an overall score. And then after I scored myself, he assigned scores for my attractiveness, each category, and I remember that my hair got the best score and my face got the worst score.

As part of the therapy, he had me come over to his house, and he rented the movie of the play Equus, and he had us watch it together, in his home. In the movie there was full frontal male nudity, and it made me rather uncomfortable to be watching it with him, but it was his idea, and afterwards he wanted to talk about some the dynamics of the play and then also how I felt about seeing the naked actor.

If not for the religious aspect of these "ex gay" ministries, I've long thought that they might have been prosecuted for fraud and practicing medicine without a license. Now, I wonder how many sexual harassment are just waiting to be filed.

Our society needs to stop treating religion as if it is above scrutiny. Religious groups should be held to the same legal standards as the rest of our society.

 

Republicans Are Assholes and the Politics of Corruption

Posted by libhom Sunday, September 06, 2009 3 comments

By the time you have read this, you probably know that Van Jones, one of the few members of the Obama administration worth a damn, has resigned. Let's look at what was used to bring him down.

First, he said once that Republicans are assholes. Let's think about this for a minute. It is a fact that the GOP is just as much of a racist, sexist, heterosexist, AIDSphobic, and Christian supremacist hate group as the Ku Klux Klan. The GOP also is an organized crime syndicate. The GOP has stolen presidential elections, started illegal wars, and looted the Treasury on behalf of wealthy donors, and that's just in the past ten years. Is it really that unreasonable to refer to people who belong to the Republican Party as assholes? It seems pretty generous to me.

As for the 911 criticisms, Jones didn't embrace the theories of people who question the official narrative. He called for an independent investigation, which every reasonable and patriotic person supports.

Is this grounds for a rightist jihad against him?

The reality is that the pundits and politicians behind this career lynching were financially dependent on Big Oil, Big Coal, and other corporations responsible for high CO2 emissions. The people behind the anti Jones crusade are completely corrupt and couldn't care less about the future of this country. All they care about is that their palms keep getting greased.

In the meantime, politicians in both major parties are doing way too little to fight global warming. People whose property will be flooded by rising oceans should have the legal right to sue the people who went after Van Jones and all the others who have blocked stronger action on global warming.

 

From the Left 9/4/09:

The Catholic church is up to it’s old queer-hating tricks again. This time, Washington, DC Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl has increased the church’s involvement in opposition to marriage equality in the nation’s capital.

Wuerl addressed 300 Catholic priests in the area, reminding them in a letter about the church’s antigay marriage stance. He also gave interviews to several news sources to further vocalize the church’s view in the debate.

Wuerl has joined forces with Baptists, mainly African-American preachers, in pressuring D.C. officials to allow public voting on the legalization of same-sex marriage.

It turns out there is a major news story developing on the Catholic Clergy exporting Irish child molesters to Catholic residential institutions here in the US. I don't know if the corporate media will pick this one up, but I do predict that Catholic clergy here in the US will engage in nasty political meddling to keep the cameras and reporters elsewhere.

Can you imagine the day when Catholic clerics devote the time and effort they are illegitimately using for interference in politics to taking strong action to rid their church of child molesting priests?

It's a nice thought, but I can't either.

 

I Can Never Trust Michael Pollan Again After This

Posted by libhom Saturday, September 05, 2009 2 comments

If you aren't aware of the reasons why Whole Foods richly deserves to be boycotted, please refer to my previous post on the subject.

Michael Pollan may seem like this warm and fuzzy progressive type, especially in radio interviews for his book, In Defense of Food. However, there is a sinister and classist side to him that is just bubbling to the surface. Writing in newmajority, an extreme right blog run by militant fundamentalist, former Bush regime official David Frum, Pollan opposed the Whole Foods boycott, putting corporate profits ahead of the needs of Americans to have real healthcare.

By opposing the Whole Foods Boycott, Pollan is telling middle class and poor Americans to shut up and die!

Pollan's unconscionable behavior is sadly typical of far too many in the alternative foods movement who see health as a commodity you buy with expensive foods and who lecture people who can't afford to pay the price. The classism within the alternative foods and medicine movement always has been a problem, but Pollan is taking things to extremes by defending a union busting corporation whose CEO attacks government health insurance and brags about cutting his employees' healthcare benefits.

Even Pollan's claims about supporting farmers are dead wrong. Whole Foods is notorious for screwing over local, small, organic farmers in favor of big organic agribusiness that steals land from indigenous peoples thousands of miles away and promotes global warming by shipping produce thousands of miles.

Now, I'm boycotting Pollan's books and radio appearances in addition to Whole Foods. I am sick and tired of being screwed over by classist, elitist snobs like Pollan who are more loyal to evil corporations like Whole Foods than they are to the middle class and poor.

Good News:
The Whole Foods Boycott is growing in support in spite of this attack by a corporate shill on an extreme right blog. The Boycott Whole Foods Facebook group now has over 33,000 members. The Whole Foods Boycott now has a website, which I'm adding to my right navigation menu.

Excellent News:
The CtW Investment Group wants Mackey out as Whole Foods CEO. Let's hope other investors in Whole Foods follow.

Related Blog Posting:
We Know the Lies has an interesting posting showing the similarities between Wal-Mart and Whole Paycheck. It's a valid and interesting angle on the story that hadn't occured to me.

 

The corporate media love misogyny for many of the same reasons they have racism and sexism. If people can be divided along lines created by prejudice, they have much less energy left to stand up for their economic interests. The owners and advertisers of the corporate media definitely don't want the middle class and the poor informed and energized.

The easiest way to use sexism to get poorly educated people agitated and distracted from their interests is to repeat the militant fundamentalists' lies about abortion. No reasonable person with an IQ over 60 sincerely believes that fetuses and embryos have human lives. That is as outlandish as saying 2 + 2 = 643. However, misogyny can make people incredibly irrational, especially when it is whipped up by religious fervor.

The great American hero Dr. Tiller was killed by this insanity. Don't think that the corporate media didn't play a role. Tiller was personally demonized by the far right babblers. However, even the supposedly mainstream newscasts slant the abortion issue to the anti choice side, treating their "pro life" spin as if it were fact, never mind the fact that every major anti abortion organization opposes life saving AIDS education and condom distribution programs.

Rachel Maddow recently did an excellent job of exposing the violent and harassing nature of the Christian Right's jihad against the basic human right of women to have abortions. (Hat Tip to Blog for Choice)


Discussing the cold, hard facts of the Christian Taliban's misogynistic efforts against abortion is very important. Discussing abortion in human terms with personal stories is of tremendous value too. Words for Choice is a dramatic production which explores the views of doctors and women who have performed or had abortions, and the vicious they face from militant, Christian fundamentalists.

I have seen the anti choice clinic harassers, and I have seen the Iranian fundamentalists who took the US Embassy hostage years ago. They had the same religious fervor and bloodlust in their eyes. People need to take it seriously.

 

Military Suicides May Far Outnumber Official Iraq Casualties

Posted by libhom Thursday, September 03, 2009 1 comments

In a previous posting, I mentioned that almost 1400 mercenaries had been killed in Iraq. There's another underreported story mentioned in the same Swift Economics article I referenced previously.

In 2007, CBS News investigated suicide among U.S. military veterans and determined that in 2005 alone, 6256 committed suicide! (15) The war has now been going for almost six and half years; if that number were held constant, (something we cannot assume), the total would now be over 40,000. Overall, the investigation showed the suicide rate for veterans, adjusted for age and gender, (young men are the most likely to commit suicide), was about twice as high as for non-veterans. A study by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health corroborated these findings. (16)

It is important to recognize that these studies involved all military veterans, not just those of Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, correlation does not equal causation. Other factors, such as gun availability, may be involved. Needless to say, given the high rates of PTSD among veterans and the despicably poor care veterans have received at military hospitals, such as Walter Reed, it is highly probable that many of these suicides can trace their way back to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even if only one in five of the 40,000 military suicides mentioned (as of 2007) were the result of the Iraq War, that would be 8,000, far more than the 4,337 count of US troops killed in Iraq as of 8/30/09.

Government officials and corporate media enablers don't just omit many of the financial costs of the Iraq War, they are lowballing the human costs of this illegal conflict that violates this nation's values.

What have Bush, the Congress, and Obama done to our country?

 

From a 9/2/09 email from the Tasini for Senate Campaign in New York:

I just had a meeting with some very brave and energized citizens who are trying to save their communities in the Finger Lakes region in New York from something called “hydrofracking.”

Sounds obscene, doesn’t it?

Well, it is: hydrofracking is a process in which water is injected at high pressure to break up rocks and release gas for commercial exploitation.

Did you know that hydrofracking uses 2 to 9 million gallons of water EACH TIME a “frack” is done and that the process injects 140,000 pounds of toxic substances into our groundwater and leaves communities with air and water pollution?

Did you know that the oil and gas corporate interests are pushing to create 40,000 ponds to hold the waste from hydrofracking all across New York, which means that the health of tens of thousands of New Yorkers will be at risk, for the sake of Big Oil and Big Gas profits?

Did you know that Dick Cheney pushed through, with bi-partisan support, an exemption that allows hydrofracking to happen without any of the protections of our clean water laws? And that our state politicians, in league with corporate special interests, took away the rights of local communities to regulate hydrofracking?

I wonder how many other parts of the country will have their water contaminated with deadly chemicals when they get "fracked." Being downstream from Upstate, I will be one of the "lucky" people who will get to shower in this toxic water and drink from it if I can't find an uncontaminated source of bottled water.

WBAI had a show on this kind of environmental degradation. I hope more people learn about it.

Jonathon Tasini is a liberal Democrat who is running a primary challenge to far right "Democrat" Kristen Gillibrand, who is part of the same Republican political machine as indicted former NY Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. Tasini got 17% of the vote in his 2006 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton, despite being enormously outspent by Ms. Clinton and despite Ms. Clinton's huge name recognition.

 

Here's the text:

You have betrayed middle class and poor Americans already by not supporting single payer healthcare. Now, you want to betray us completely by dropping the public option in your healthcare (actually wealthcare) plan.

You really hate anyone who isn't rich enough to write big checks.

The main reason why you are losing so much support in your poll numbers is that liberals and progressives are thoroughly disgusted with your policies. Turning even farther to the nutty, GOP/Clinton right will only cost you more support.

This administration is as politically inept as it is corrupted by corporate interests.

You can contact the White House with your own message.

 

Gail Collins, in her latest New York Times Op-Ed piece, decided to trash Levi Johnston for daring to stand up to Sarah Palin by telling the truth about the former GOP Vice Presidential candidate after the abusive behavior he has experienced from Palin for some time now.

I won't dignify the trashy, snarky, tone of Ms. Collins' rant by repeating what she said. You can follow the link above if you want to read her reprehensible and unprofessional nonsense. Instead, I'll focus on the social implications. Siding with a wealthy and powerful Republican like Sarah Palin against a middle class teenager without power or connections should raise alarm bells. Considering how terrible Sarah Palin has been to Johnston and to her own daughter, using them as props for her doomed and bizarre political ambitions and acting like they have no minds or rights of their own, Collins' defense of Palin is even more disturbing.

To the Palins and the Collins of the world, middle class Americans should just happily go along with whatever the rich want, however badly they treat us. We are little more than peasants in this world view.

Sadly, Collins editorial equivalent of a middle finger to the middle class is nothing terrible shocking or unusual coming from the New York Times. That paper wages class warfare against the middle class and the poor every day. I find it ironic when the far right complains about "class warfare," as if the only people practicing it are populist liberals. The overwhelming majority of class warfare is by the rich people the far right is shilling for.

Gail Collins may not be to the extreme right, but she shares their agenda of defending wealth, privilege, and power. In that, she is the epitome of the mainstream conservative New York Times. Liberal media bias my ass.

 

Simple Animation Explaining Single Payer Healthcare

Posted by libhom Tuesday, September 01, 2009 2 comments



This is one of the simplest and clearest explanations of the issue I've seen.

 

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