The extreme right is lying again. I know, I know. What a shock!!!!!
Anyway, they are saying that the 5-4 Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to buy elections does not allow foreigners to influence US elections because "foreign corporations" are not allowed to pay for campaign ads.This is an obvious crock of shit if you keep two central facts in mind:
1) Most "US corporations" have major degrees of foreign ownership.
This means that the Saudi royal family, which has ties to Al Qaeda, will be able to use "US corporations" to influence US elections. It also means that the murderous, fascist dictatorship in China will be able to do the same. There is no way that any patriotic American can even condone this ruling, much less support it.
2) Many "US Corporations" Have Foreign CEOs.
This allows foreign CEOs to get around laws against making campaign contributions in US political races. All the foreign nationals in this case have to do is to have the corporation pay for "independent" ads on behalf of the preferred candidates. This loophole also allows all CEOs, foreign and domestic, a way to get around limits on the amounts on campaign contributions.
The ruling itself was based on the fictional doctrine of "corporate personhood." In fact, corporations are not persons. Therefore, it is literally impossible for those entities to have any constitutional rights whatsoever.
This is another attack on democracy from three of the five "justices" who brought the country the scam ruling, Bush v. Gore.
There definitely should be an FBI investigation into this ruling, and each judge who made this ruling should be facing impeachment.
As you have heard, CBS has accepted a propaganda ad from the misogynistic religious extremists at the so called "Focus on the Family" (FOTF) while rejecting two ads with gay content. This blatant bigotry from what Jolly Roger aptly has referred to as the Jesustan Bullshit Service is going to cost that network a lot of viewers, and it should. Christopher at From the Left is going to avoid watching the Super Bore, and lots of lgbt viewers will punt the Jesustan Bullshit Service entirely in a media landscape with so many alternatives.
Credo has put together an Action Alert asking CBS to be consistent and not accept the ad from the dangerous religious extremists at FOTF.
The broadcast networks that air the Super Bowl have historically rejected advocacy ads. Yet CBS, which is airing the Super Bowl this year, has accepted an anti-choice ad by the ultra-conservative group Focus on the Family.
Focus on the Family's "celebrate life" (read: anti-choice) ad features Heisman Trophy-winning college football star Tim Tebow. And CBS approved this anti-choice ad, even though the network has repeatedly rejected advocacy ads in past years including a 2004 MoveOn.org ad that went after then-President Bush's fiscal irresponsibility and an ad the same year from the United Church of Christ showing them welcoming a gay couple who had been turned away from another church.
Sign the petition to CBS insisting they follow their no-advocacy policy and reject the Focus on the Family ad before the Super Bowl on February 7.
More recently, on Friday CBS rejected an ad from a gay dating site showing two men discovering a mutual attraction when their hands brush in the potato chip bowl. The actors then pantomime a comical make-out session. But CBS says the ad "is not within the Network's broadcast standards for Super Bowl Sunday."
So to recap: CBS wouldn't allow a group to criticize Bush, wouldn't let a religious group promote its own tolerance of LGBT families and considers a light-hearted dating ad out of bounds. But CBS is perfectly happy to allow Focus on the Family to promote its conservative social agenda.
We must call CBS out on its hypocrisy and demand that it also reject the Focus on the Family ad. The Super Bowl is America's annual most-watched television event; more than 98 million Americans tuned in last year. And as anyone who's ever been to a Super Bowl party knows, the ads can be even more closely watched than the game, which is why CBS must not unfairly allow anti-choice commercials while rejecting those for other causes.
The consequences of the anti abortion movement's propaganda are quite clear: terrorist attacks against America like the one that ended up murdering Dr. Tiller. If CBS runs this ad, that network will have blood on its hands.
Accepting a deceptive, misogynistic ad like this sends a message that CBS despises women with an uncompromising fury. Rejecting ads with gay content is a personal attack against me as a gay man. I am so sick of this hateful and bigoted behavior from a network that has public broadcast licenses.
Tell CBS Not to Run the Anti American Ad from FOTF
Queers United also has run an action alert on this subject. Here is the call to action.
Demand to know why a religious right organization can have airtime but a progressive Church, gay dating company, and a harmless ad about an effeminate man are rejected.
Senior Vice President, Communications, CBS Television
Senior Vice President, Communications, CBS Sports
It is becoming glaringly obvious that the politicians that misrepresent me in the Senate, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, hold all poor and middle class New Yorkers in utter contempt. They showed how much more they love the HMOs than their victims by voting for a wealthcare bill masquerading as a healthcare bill which would have slashed Medicare, fined people for not being able to afford wildly overpriced health insurance, restricted abortion, and shoveled money at a set of corporations who already get enough money to provide quality healthcare to the entire US population.
Now, they have shown themselves to be economically reckless and contemptuous of the vast majority of New York voters by voting to confirm Ben Bernanke to another term of misrule at the Federal Reserve Board.
Bernanke was and is a corrupt bankster who nearly destroyed our nation's economy through his anti regulatory policy stance and his refusal to live up to the regulatory responsibilities he had at the Federal Reserve. He also botched the Fed's bailout horribly. Instead of rescuing homeowners who were the victims of fraudulent and predatory loans (which also would have indirectly rescued the banks), Bernanke made a point of rescuing the mortgage paper which was based on those fraudulent and predatory loans.
That was a great deal for Bernanke's fellow banksters who eventually will be able to sell the stolen homes at a profit, but it sucked for their victims while hurting the country in general. The length and depth of this recession are largely due to the approach that the Fed and the Treasury took to the bailout.
Ben Bernanke has been a "walking disaster," "a Demolition Man" to snatch phrases from that old Police song. Ben Bernanke is the "heck of a job Brownie" of the economy, and the two Senators from my state have joined President Obama in rewarding Bernanke's unconscionable conduct. A vote for Bernanke is an act of economic terrorism against America.
I will definitely vote for Jonathan Tasini and against Gillibrand in the primary. If she wins, I will vote Green in November. (I will vote for a Green any day over a Republican like her.)
I've asked this before, and I'll ask it again. Will somebody please, please, please run a primary challenge against the corrupt Phonycrat in the other New York Senate race, Chuck Schumer?
Media coverage of climate change and most climate change legislation tends to neglect public transportation. This is odd, given the fact that public transportation is much more energy efficient than the automobile, even an electric one. Rail and bus transportation are integral aspects of any serious effort to slow the warming of the planet.
Global Warming has become a major focus of most environmental groups, as it should. However, I haven't seen as much from the environmental movement as I would expect on public transport as a critical aspect of reducing CO2 emissions. In order to determine whether this perception is reasonable or not, I decided to check the websites of major environmental organizations, focusing on ones that include Global Warming as part of their agenda. The results were surprisingly disappointing. (Note: I'm only linking to the ones doing a good job.)
Great Organization That Makes Public Transportation a Integral Part of Fighting Global Warming:
Friends of the Earth
Good Organization That Makes a Significant Effort on Public Transportation:
Environmental Working Group
Makes Public Transit a Higher Priority, But It Gets Diffused by Corporate Interests:
Environmental Defense Fund
- suckered by Bloomberg into supporting congestion tax whose funds never were intended for use on public transportation
- their emphasis is on "partnerships with corporations" which reduces ability to advocate in favor of the environment
Some Mentions of Public Transportation, But Not a High Priority
Barely Mention Public Transportation:
Alliance for Climate Protection
Earth Day Network
National Resources Defense Council
Union of Concerned Scientists
World Wildlife Fund
After looking at this, I really need to find out more about Friends of the Earth. I've heard of them before, I haven't done a very good job of following their work in the past. At least they get the fact that the supremacy of the automobile is a major hindrance to dealing with preventing Global Warming.
The Environmental Defense Fund's "partnerships with corporations" are an extreme example of a problem for many environmental groups. They often depend on financial support from the very same wealthy and corporate interests they need to be opposing. It's a dilemma with lots of liberal advocacy organizations, actually.
I should note that there is a lobbying group for public rail transit organizations. I don't usually like industry lobbies, but the work of this one happens to coincide with the public interest completely. The American Public Transportation Association has a site geared towards advocacy by the general public.
The New York Times doesn't want you to know who this man is.
Jonathan Tasini is running a primary challenge against the de facto Republican incumbent, Kirstin Gillibrand. I'm supporting Tasini. Tasini is a Real Democrat, supporting the party's positions on most issues, which is a refreshing change from both Ms. Gillibrand and Chuck "Loves Torture" Schumer.
The New York Times has been censoring coverage of his campaign, just as they did when he ran a primary challenge against Hillary Clinton. It's difficult to tell whether the far right bias of the Times or the fact that Tasini sued the paper years ago is playing a bigger role in the Times' censorship of his campaign.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR at www.fair.org) has been calling attention to this act of media censorship. Here are two articles on their website addressing the issue.
'Considering' a Campaign More Newsworthy Than Conducting One? (1/12/10)
Corporate Media Love a Horserace--but They Love Gatekeeping Even More (1/13/10)
The first article points out that the Times is covering Harold Ford's possible run against Gillibrand, while pointedly excluding Tasini's actual campaign. The second article makes an important point on how the Times is keeping its readers from knowing even how Tasini's campaign might effect the race.
The Times has lately run two extensive stories (1/11/11, 1/13/10) on whether Harold Ford, a former representative from Tennessee, would also run against Gillibrand--both of which ignored the fact that it was already a two-person race. Tasini, a writer and labor organizer, ran once before for the same seat, and got 17 percent of the vote against Hillary Clinton--a politician with greater name recognition than either Gillibrand or Ford.
You don't have to be Nate Silver to realize that a candidate who has the possibility to get 17 percent of the vote could have a major impact in a three-person race; even if you have a crystal ball that tells you that Tasini won't get more than that this time, it's impossible to handicap the primary without having some sense of who those voters are and what they are likely to do faced with three choices.
It is so important to have media watchdogs like FAIR to remind us just how censored and unreliable corporate media outlets are. The New York Times resembles the Soviet Pravda more with each passing day, with corporations replacing commissars as the totalitarians who control people's access to information.
I've always had mixed feelings about the Super Bore. It's unwatchable television. I've also wondered about people who watch it for the commercials. Watching anything for the commercials makes no sense to me because the "best" commercials are less interesting than a mediocre website or Netflix DVD.
On the other hand, the Super Bore is really convenient. It's a great time to do stuff that otherwise would be overcrowded (e.g., the gym, shopping). Just make sure the place isn't closed during the national snoozefest. To be honest, I wish the Super Bore happened monthly.
Now, CBS has added a sinister side to the Super Bore. (Reuters)
DALLAS/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Women's groups are urging television broadcaster CBS not to air an ad during next month's Super Bowl football championship final because they say it has a strident anti-abortion rights message.
The plans to air the ad, sponsored by a conservative Christian group called Focus on the Family, could see the polarizing issue of abortion rights dropped squarely in the midst of National Football League's premier event.
It would be the first time that Focus on the Family, a politically influential evangelical group founded by James Dobson, has bought air time during the Super Bowl -- the ultimate prize of the advertising world with 30-second spots going for up to $3.2 million.
CBS certainly is showing a double standard and favoring anti American religious extremists like the ones at "Focus on the Family." From USA Today 1/27/10:
Now that CBS has a new policy allowing advocacy ads, The United Church of Christ, rebuffed when it submitted an ad in 2004 showing gay men welcome at worship, has a new question for this network and others:
Why is only one Christian viewpoint -- the Focus on the Family conservative right viewpoint (opposing gay marriage and women's reproductive rights)-- welcome on the air?
The answer, of course, is that CBS is misogynist, homophobic, and in favor of batshit crazy, religious extremism.
I ended up sending feedback to the bigots who run CBS.
Your decision to accept an ad from the militant, anti American fundamentalists who call themselves "Focus on the Family" while rejecting a previous, and far less controversial, ad from a pro gay religious group sends a vicious and unpatriotic message.
First, you shouldn't accept any funding from an anti American organization like FOTF whose ultimate goal is to destroy American's democracy and freedom and replace them with a Taliban style theocracy. Second, CBS is not applying its alleged standards consistently. Third, CBS should avoid overt expressions of misogynistic hatred, given that CBS stations have public broadcast licenses, and women make up a majority of the public.
By accepting the ad from these Taliban style extremists, CBS is sending a loud and clear message about who it doesn't want watching the Super Bowl and other CBS programming.
- LGBT people
- Non Fundamentalist religious believers
- All patriotic Americans.
The corporate media get more hateful, unprofessional, corrupt, and bigoted with each passing day.
It looks like I'm far from alone in calling for action to oppose the nomination of Bernanke to another term in charge of the Federal Reserve Board. I urged people to contact the White House and ask President Obama to withdraw the nomination.
Now, CREDO is calling on Senators to vote against this execrable nominee.
Tell the Senate: Stop Ben Bernanke
It's hard to understand why President Obama would nominate George W. Bush's Federal Reserve Chair, Ben Bernanke, for another four years in office. But now that he has been nominated, the Senate needs to stop Bernanke and refuse to confirm him.
Faced with many difficult choices since the crisis erupted, he has led the Fed in providing massive financial support to a handful of giant banks and investment firms -- literally trillions of dollars of loans, investments and guarantees -- while doing literally nothing to help the millions of homeowners facing foreclosure.
Tell your Senators it's time to end George W. Bush's legacy at the Fed by voting "no" on Ben Bernanke.
Why would we want more of the same? Bernanke was appointed by President George W. Bush, and his choices reflect the choices of the Bush administration. There are plenty of fully-qualified economists who can pursue the Fed's mandate of price stability and full employment without such a shocking bias toward "too big to fail" banks or such manifest disregard for the "full employment" part of the equation.
At every opportunity, Bernanke has given preference to banks and investors over consumers and borrowers. His performance in his first term has been unacceptable. Granting him a second term ought to be unthinkable. Yet his reappointment is being supported by the Obama administration so it's up to the Senate to stop him.
Tell the Senate to vote "no" on giving Bush's Federal Reserve Chair another four years.
I rather like the heading of the email text I got from them.
Another message from Massachusetts: Dump Ben Bernanke
There is a lot of anger in Massachusetts and nationwide in how Bernanke and his bankster buddies committed the biggest bank heist in world history. There also were a lot of disillusioned Democrats who stayed home on election day because Obama and Senate Democrats have governed way too much like Republicans.
Rewarding a proven failure like Bernanke to another term at the Fed reminds me of when Bush said "Heck of a job, Brownie" after the lack of action to help the people in New Orleans. Rewarding gross negligence and corruption is something many of us hoped would go away when Bush ended his illegal occupancy of the White House.
Did we elect Barack Obama or Barack Bush?
Please Sign the Online Petition!
A lot of Democrats and liberals are pissed off that Obama and Reid's governing like Goppers cost the Democrats Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. Instead of screaming or crying, let's take time out to laugh at the farce. Billionaires for Brown can help us. (Hat Tip: Billionaires for Wealthcare)
If Massachusetts voters had to elect an ex porn star, they at least could have chosen somebody a whole lot cuter than Scott Brown.
President Obama's pandering to the banksters has become legendary by now, but it needs to stop. I find it horrifying that Obama nominated Ben Bernanke to another term running the Federal Reserve. I emailed him letting him know my position on this issue.
Please withdraw the nomination of Ben Bernanke to disserve another term as head of the Federal Reserve.
He is incredibly corrupt and incompetent. He is one of the banksters who very nearly destroyed America's economy.
He even screwed up the Fed's bailout of the collapsing banks. If he had rescued the people with the mortgages rather than rescuing the banksters' mortgage paper, we would have been out of this terrible recession months ago.
You need to reject corrupt banksters like Bernanke and nominate someone of the highest intelligence and ethical standards.
You Can Contact the White House Too
I seldom agree with Ron Paul, but Paul is quite correct in calling for independent audits of the Federal Reserve. It's the American people's money. We have every right to know what is being done with it.
When Gov. Paterson chose Kirsten Gillibrand, of all people, to fill the Senate seat left vacant when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, I was stunned. In a previous post, I chose Ms. Gillibrand as one of the top 5 Democrats most deserving of a primary challenge. Here's the argumentation from that post:
Gillibrand "represents" one of the most liberal states in the country, yet she has provided absolutely no leadership on liberal concerns or any other matters. In fact, on lgbt issues, she has been downright vicious. She pushed for a temporary moratorium on the military ban, which may sound nice. But, look at the history. The elected Bush administration temporarily suspended most enforcement of the ban during the first US/Iraq War, only to kick out the queers who fought in the war after it was over. The Gillibrand approach is another cannon fodder approach to queers in the military. Aside from that, she mostly has been sitting on the sidelines and collecting a hefty paycheck.
But, what would you expect from Gillibrand, who is part of the same corrupt GOP political machine as Al D'Amato and convicted criminal Joe Bruno. New York deserves way, way better than this.
Here are some of my other posts illustrating my strong objections to the nomination in a Democratic primary of a gun nut Republican like Kirsten Gillibrand.
I Will Never Vote for Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand's GOP Crony Set to Face Trial in November
My Email to Democratic Party Organizations About Kirsten "Gun Nut" Gillibrand
Paterson to Gun Crime Victims: Drop Dead
Fortunately, Jonathan Tasini is running against Senator Gillibrand. He ran a primary challenge against Hillary Clinton. He got 17% of the vote despite the facts that Ms. Clinton had far more money and name recognition, a huge political machine, and a corporate media that was heavily censoring his campaign.
Tasini is the only candidate standing up to the banksters and brokesters. You can read the prepared statement of his speech at last Thursday's protest in front of the infamous Goldman Sachs or watch the YouTube video below.
Tasini also has asked Ms. Gillibrand to give back the dirty Wall St. money her campaign has received.
There are rumors that Harold Ford, a de facto Republican, is thinking of trying to win the Democratic nomination against Ms. Gillibrand. I hope he runs. He will split the money of wealthy and corporate interests and the votes of conservative Phonycrats, which increases Tasini's chances of winning. One thing is clear, though. I won't vote for Gillibrand or Ford in the general election. I always prefer Greens over Republicans like them.
Now, will somebody please, please, please launch a primary challenge against Chuck Schumer so I can vote against him in the primary too.
I used to be somewhat of a fan of Jon Stewart. After this, I will never watch him again. In a recent Daily Show, Stewart went on a hateful and unfunny rant against Keith Olbermann for speaking out against a monstrous bigot, Scott Brown.
Here are the 1/18/10 comments by Keith Olbermann which triggered Stewart's hateful and bigoted schtick.
Lost in the angst about Obama and Coakley is the little recognized real headline of this vote. You have heard Scott Brown speculating, talking out of his bare bottom, about whether or not the president of the United States was born out of wedlock. You‘ve heard Scott Brown respond to the shout from his supporter that they should stick a curling iron into Ms. Coakley‘s rectum with the answer: “we can do this.”
You may not have heard Scott Brown support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, or describing two women having a child as being, quote, “just not normal.”
You may not have heard Scott Brown associating himself with the Tea Party movement, perhaps the saddest collection of people who don‘t want to admit why they really hate since the racists of the south in the ‘60s insisted they were really just concerned about states‘ rights.
You may not have heard Scott Brown voting against funding paid leaves of absence for Massachusetts Red Cross workers, who had gone to New York to help after 9/11.
In short, in Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, Tea Bagging supporter of violence against women, and against politicians with whom he disagrees. In any other time in our history, this man would have been laughed off the stage as an unqualified and a disaster in the making by the most conservative of conservatives. Instead, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is close to sending this bad joke to the Senate of the United States.
Stewart couldn't dispute the facts that Olbermann presented, so he accused KO of "name calling." Addressing racist, sexist, and heterosexist bigotry is not "name calling." Stewart has deliberately trivialized the vicious and bigoted behavior of a person who now is in the US Senate. Can you imagine Stewart glossing over and joking about Brown's behavior if it were as viciously anti Semitic as it was racist, sexist, and heterosexist?
Stewart takes things even farther when he condones threats of rape. One of Brown's supporters threatened to brutally rape (and inevitably kill) Brown's political opponent, and Brown said "we can do this." Stewart actually defending this by saying that Brown isn't responsible for what a supporter of his says. Hello. Brown definitely is responsible for saying that he can act on what that supporter says.
In the wake of some recent Republican political victories, Jon Stewart has been going to great lengths to pander to wealthy Republican advertisers. Stewart spouted now infamous comments sliming Rachel Maddow for putting the responses of the Obama and Bush administrations to natural disasters in a historical context. A historical context? "Too soon," according to Stewart. He even went so far as to conflate Maddow's analysis with Rush Limbaugh's and Pat Robertson's vicious attacks of the Haitian people who are suffering from the worst earthquake that country has experienced in over 200 years. Ms. Maddow responded to Stewart's bullshit with far more patience than Stewart deserved.
I'm so glad I got rid of my cable last fall so that not even a penny of my money goes to pay the salary of a vicious bigot like Stewart. When someone trivializes homophobia and racism, that is a personal attack against me as a gay man and as someone with indigenous ancestors. Stewart's hateful "comedy" was a senseless personal attack against rape victims, just as it was a senseless personal attack against everyone who isn't simultaneously heterosexual, white, and male.
I will never watch anything with Jon Stewart again after this. I won't even watch anything on Comedy Central on my computer as long as he works there. I refuse to go along with Stewart's blatantly abusive behavior against myself and against the overwhelming majority of Americans.
This year's Blogswarm by Blog for Choice is focusing on the following question.
What does Trust Women mean to you?
Blog for Choice pointed out that the heroic Dr. Tiller often wore the button "Trust Women." In this society, this almost seems like a revolutionary idea. It's bad enough how we don't trust individual men, but women also get a double whammy from sexism. Misogyny makes far too many control freaks feel far too justified.
Being a man who has never wanted children, pregnancy is difficult to even conceive of on any level. Yet, I can see that it would have an effect on someone so deeply personal that no one else could ever really understand it completely. If men got pregnant, some people would still feel justified about butting in. However, I strongly suspect that religions would take a far different stance. The Florynce Kennedy quote says it much more poetically than I could.
If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
Our society trusts women to raise children. Women still are expected to do more in that department among most people in America. Yet, these same women who have the lives of children in our hands are not trusted to decide whether their pregnancies should continue to term or not.
I think women are perfectly capable to make decisions on abortion. I find it difficult to understand why that seems so hard for people to get. The first sentence of this paragraph sounds so obvious and banal, yet it is highly controversial. It's so bizarre.
I think a big part of trusting women is listening to women. The Guardian ran a piece in 2006 with nine women who had abortions without regret. I recommend listening to women who aren't guilted out by the Christian Taliban in order to find out how they felt about their abortions.
Read the Piece Now!
While most politicians are tyring to figure out how to pander to the HMOs and health insurers in the wake of the victory of a GOP ex porn star to Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat, Dennis Kucinich shows us what a Real Democrat is like.
Kucinich Continues To Fight For Single-Payer
Forty-seven million Americans are without health insurance. Why? Because they can't afford it.
And what's Washington's solution? Require people to buy private insurance with the government providing a subsidy to the health insurance companies.
What a pathetic state of affairs that our national government cannot respond to the needs of the people and must first respond to the needs of Wall Street and the health insurance industry and their stock prices.
I am going to continue to fight for single-payer. And I'm going to continue to try to get in the final legislation a provision which will protect the rights of states to be able to move forward with single-payer health care plans of their own.
It is time that we broke the chains, which the health insurance companies have on our political process. It's time that we have a government that we can call our own. And it's time that Congress respond to the needs of the American people first, and recognize that health care is a basic right in a democratic society.
Kucinich makes an excellent point. One of the reasons why we need to put the HMOs and health insurers out of business is that they have thoroughly corrupted our political process. Single payer is the most cost effective and humane healthcare policy. It also is a critical part of cleaning up Congress.
The Massachusetts Senate race shows the problem with Democrats governing like Republicans. Let's look at a key aspect of the race: turnout. Corporate media outlets focused mostly on high turnout among older, white, heterosexual males in the suburbs, who are the only people that the corporate media really think count. But, they glossed over the low turnout among Democratic voters.
Corporate outlets repeated stated that turnout was high, without saying what that turnout actually was. That immediately should make one suspicious. The few that mentioned any specifics, chose preelection estimates that were highly vague. The lack of actual facts shows that we are being lied to.
The reality is that Republicans are angry because there is a man who is half black in the White House. That will energize them to vote against Democrats no matter how much Obama, Reid, Schumer, Gillibrand, etc govern as conservatives. Independents who are not ideological are angry about the lack of jobs and will vote for whatever party is out of power for the moment, though the improving economy should change that by the time November arrives.
The big problem is that liberals are disgusted, angry, and demoralized by the Republican style governing by the Democrats. There was no Green Party candidate on the ballot, so I wouldn't have bothered to vote in the Massachusetts Senate race. Instead, I would have used my time more productively by contacting Democrats and letting them know why I didn't vote for the Democrat in the race.
I have been betrayed by the Democrats in so many ways. I have been screwed over as:
- A gay man
- An atheist
- A liberal
- A union member
- A middle class American
- An opponent of the Iraq War
- Someone who was denied needed care by a health insurer
- A gun crime victim
- Someone who opposes Christian religious extremism
If the Democrats want to win back my support and the support of many from their core constituencies who they have utterly betrayed, they better start acting like Democrats. I prefer to vote for Democrats, but I will gladly vote for Greens over Republicans pretending to be Democrats. Nobody owns my vote except me. I'm not going to be cheap and easy for corrupt, heterosexist, misogynist, war mongering, racist politicians.
Photo: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML
The Blog for Choice Blogswarm got me thinking about the great American hero, Dr. George Tiller who was murdered by a Christian extremist on 5/31/09. Some technical problems at the time kept me from running a few photos I took at vigils in NYC after he was killed in a terrorist attack. I think it might be better to run them now anyway to remind people of a wonderful person and the prices some people have paid to support freedom and equality. (I apologize in advance for the quality of some of the images. They were taken with my cell phone camera.)
You might also be interested in iamdrtiller.com.
What This Is
This website was created as both a memorial to the lifework of Dr. George Tiller and as a living testimony to the courageous lives of abortion providers.
Here you will find stories of individuals who have dedicated their lives to making abortion safe, legal, healthy, and accessible to women and girls. These people may be nurses, counselors, escorts, volunteers at abortion funds, or abortion doctors themselves. You will not see the faces of these providers to protect their safety. What you will see is the story they decide to share - how they came to abortion work, what their function is at their abortion clinic, or their personal abortion story. We want to humanize these individuals to convey the kindness, courtesy, justice, love, and respect they have for women and the health care choices women make. We share our stories in hopes of ending clinic violence, to alleviate the shame associated with the abortion experience, and as an homage to Dr. Tiller's outstanding and courageous life work.
Please respect this space as one of compassion, dignity and love. We do not cover our faces out of shame. We do so to recognize an unfortunate aspect of the lives of abortion providers -- we must always be wary of our safety. No one knew this better than Dr. Tiller.
Republican ex porn star and Massachusetts Senate candidate Scott Brown (right) looking spaced out at a news conference after the 12/22/09 Senate debate. (Photo: Dan Kennedy's Pix's)
The various Billionaires street theater groups have been great at poking fun at corrupt politicians and interests on the right. And, they discuss a subject that corporate media outlets treat as taboo: class interests. This time, Billionaires for Brown has emerged to rag on Scott Brown, the corrupt Republican running for Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat.
Brown's main claim to fame is that he did a softcore porn shoot for Cosmopolitan years ago. Yet, he is a sexphobic, homophobic Republican now. His hypocrisy and absurdity make him an excellent target for satire in general, though the Billionaires have focused on his pandering to the banksters and the brokesters. Here's their 1/17/10 Press Release:
TODAY: Bank CEOs Stand With Scott Brown for Standing With Wall Street
“Billionaires For Brown” Rally in Support of GOP Senate Candidate
Worcester, MA – A spirited crowd of the super wealthy called “Billionaires for Brown” toured the state today to support GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown for his staunch stand against Obama’s initiative to recover bailout funds from Wall Street. The Billionaires lauded Brown for standing with Wall Street and against Main Street.
“Of course Scott Brown stands with Wall Street. Why should he be beholden to special interests like the Middle Class or the people of Massachusetts?” said Frida Market.
Brown recently announced that he opposes a plan to repay money paid out to Wall Street Banks during the bailout. The plan would return the 100 billion dollars left outstanding from TARP and other government programs.
“People act like we should return the bailout money just because it’s theirs,” said Billie O. Nair. “Just because we CAUSED the crisis doesn’t mean we should be RESPONSIBLE for it”
Billionaires for Brown noted Scott Brown’s strong support from America’s super-wealthy, and defended him from charges of elitism.
“Scott Brown understands what it’s like to suffer in this crisis. Owning five separate properties is not cheap!” said Clay M. Denied.
The Billionaires also took a stance alongside Brown against social spending to offset the impact of the recession. Dee Regulation summed up the GOP’s position: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what your country can do for your bank executive.”
WHO: Billionaires For Brown
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, January 17, 2010
WHERE: 2:30 PM: Scott Brown’s Campaign Office – Corner of Main and Walnut St., Across from Mechanics Hall, Worcester.
3:30 PM Rally at Mechanics hall – 321 Main Street Worcester
About the Billionaires for Brown: A collection of investment bankers, CEOs and super-wealthy debuttantes backing Republican Scott Brown for his pro-Billionaire agenda. The Billionaires for Brown are a wholly-ownded subsidiary of the Billionaires for Wealthcare. www.BillionairesForWealthcare.com
I bet standup comics will be tempted to cast a vote for Brown out of naked self interest.
Stop Global Warming has a list of personal actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Here are a few which I think are particularly interesting and relatively painless.
Use Recycled Paper
Make sure your printer paper is 100% post consumer recycled paper. Save 5 lbs. of carbon dioxide per ream of paper.
Fill the Dishwasher
Run your dishwasher only with a full load. Save 100 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $40 per year.
Buy Products Locally
Buy locally and reduce the amount of energy required to drive your products to your store.
Plant a Tree
Trees suck up carbon dioxide and make clean air for us to breathe. Save 2,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year.
Air Dry Your Clothes
Line-dry your clothes in the spring and summer instead of using the dryer. Save 700 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $75 per year.
Buy Organic Food
The chemicals used in modern agriculture pollute the water supply, and require energy to produce.
Be a Meat Reducer
The average American diet contributes an extra 1.5 tons of greenhouse gases per year compared with a vegetarian diet. Eliminating meat and dairy intake one day a week can make a big difference.
If you plant a fruit tree, you are cutting the carbon footprint of transporting some of your food down to zero.
You can partially dry clothes in the dryer, and then hang them up on hangers indoors year around. You get some of the energy savings, and you get fewer wrinkles.
Eating some tofu and texturized soy protein (TSP) instead of meat also adds variety to your diet. Diversifying diet is generally a health boost in addition to a flavor boost.
If you haven't been following lgbt issues that long, you might not even have heard of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). GLAAD is the main organization in the queer community that is supposed to be challenging heterosexism in the media. It has lost its way.
Michael Rogers, on Blog Active, complained about GLAAD's decision not to nominate his movie Outrage for one of their awards. GLAAD's reasoning for the decision was as muddled as a typical George Will or Andrew Sullivan commentary. But, what really struck me is just how angry the commenters were at GLAAD, and most of the anger was not related to that specific award decision.
NG Blog recently used sarcasm to bring up some of the deeper issues that the controversy over the award decision is bringing to the surface.
Recent examples of GLAAD fighting homophobia include defending ABC against Adam Lambert, attacking Perez Hilton when he was the victim of a gay bashing (and that came from the then negative feedback from Perez calling out Carrie Prejean) because he dropped a slur, and their pick and choose agenda over homophobia and transphobia in the media.
I had been rather perplexed and upset by GLAAD's decision to violate the lgbt Utah Boycott by participating in Sundance, despite the fact that there is no way to participate in any major event in Utah without financing the heterosexism, racism, and misogyny of the Mormon Church/Hate Group. There are times when I seriously wonder whose side GLAAD is on. They seem to put the whims of the entertainment industry over the liberation of queers every time.
In a recent commentary on the Advocate.com, Michelangelo Signorile followed the money trail and discussed conflicts of interest in the organization.
At the heart of the controversy is a simple fact: GLAAD solicits money from networks and entertainment companies and then hands them awards for what the organization deems positive media representation of the LGBT community. (In 2009, ABC actually led rival networks with its number of nominees.) Media companies receiving the awards—many of which often engage in or perpetuate the very bias and defamation that GLAAD crusades against—sponsor the celebrity-strewn benefits and underwrite the performances in return for branding opportunities and choice tables. This fund-raising dynamic developed over time and, according to former staffers, accounts for a large percentage of the group’s money—sort of like a drug habit it just can’t shake. And also like a drug habit, this setup enormously compromises the group: What kind of effective watchdog takes money from the industry it polices? Imagine the ineffectiveness of a congressional watchdog group taking money from House and Senate members.
The last sentence doesn't appear to be an intentional dig at the HRC, but that organization is dependent on the same wealthy donors that finance those very politicians.
Money doesn't just talk. Money can silence too.
Signorile has reached the point of frustration that he is suggesting that another or a new organization may need to take over the role of GLAAD in fighting media heterosexism.
If GLAAD wants to be a real leader in quashing gay bias in the media, it must stop taking money from the companies whose programming it scrutinizes and must speak out quickly and forcefully when incidents occur. If GLAAD is unwilling to do that, a new group needs to take its place, one that is Web-based and one that will galvanize people to aggressively complain to these companies. In many ways that’s already happening: Numerous LGBT blogs, from Joe.My.God. and Towleroad to Pam’s House Blend, often respond faster than GLAAD, generating pressure on news outlets and entertainment companies. But an organized, focused effort is necessary. Media and entertainment companies will respond to whoever generates sufficient pressure, and if that means an entity other than GLAAD, then so be it.
This is so upsetting to me, and not just because the issues are so important. I'll swipe a comment I put up on Blog Active. (I edited the second paragraph to make it easier to follow.)
It's not true that GLAAD always was as useless as it is today. At one time, it was a network of grassroots chapters that got a lot done. The SF Chapter did more in a month than the now national, professionalized GLAAD accomplishes in five years. (Note: I lived in L.A. at the time, not SF.)
The destruction of the grassroots a long time ago was bad enough. But, things have gotten worse. GLAAD had been run for a few years by a homophobic Republican until the past few months.
The frustrating thing about GLAAD is just how far they have fallen. The GLAAD of old would have never assailed Perez Hilton (regardless of whether you like him or not) in order to give a free pass to his queer bashers. The GLAAD of old would be fighting Hollywood heterosexism, which is worse now than it was ten years ago.
It's so sad.
You may wonder what I meant by saying that Hollywood Heterosexism is worse now than it was. Yes, it's true that more openly queer performers have become visible. But, that usually has been in spite of the entertainment industry. (They came out after becoming successful.) I finally gave up on cable a few months ago for a variety of reasons, but I noticed at the time that homophobic jokes, storylines, and attitudes were more prevalent in 2009 than they had been for years.
I just checked and confirmed Signorile's report that GLAAD has redesigned its website. It now looks more like the Internet home of an activist organization and less like a website for wannabee starfuckers. Now, GLAAD needs to walk the walk.
Two other recent blog postings critical of GLAAD:
Jarrett Barrios' Sloppy Defense of GLAAD's Obvious Conflicts of Interests (Is Bad for Him, GLAAD + The Gays) (Queerty)
GLAAD's Media Awards: The Saddest Showing Yet (The Awl)
NARAL is promoting a pro choice blogswarm via it's Blog for Choice.
Blog for Choice Day 2010
Join us on Friday, January 22, 2010 – the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade – for the fifth annual Blog for Choice Day!
What is Blog for Choice Day?
Each year, NARAL Pro-Choice America poses a question to pro-choice bloggers before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and then asks them to blog their answer on January 22.
Blog for Choice Day provides us with an opportunity to raise the profile of reproductive rights in the blogosphere, all the while celebrating Roe's 37th anniversary. Plus, it's a great way to let your readers and the mainstream media know that a woman's right to choose is a core progressive value that must be protected and advanced.
Last year more than 500 people participated in this effort. We hope you will join us this year!
If you don't have a blog, you can still participate! You can post your response in a Note on Facebook, or tweet your response on Twitter and use the hashtag #bfcd.
This year's topic
In honor of Dr. George Tiller, who often wore a button that simply read, "Trust Women," this year's Blog for Choice question is:
What does Trust Women mean to you?
As the Stupak Amendment shows us, the religious extremists are not letting up on abortion. We need to keep speaking out.
Stop Global Warming made some interesting points in a recent email I received on our gelid winter and the planetary problem of Global Warming.
COLD WEATHER DOESN'T DISPROVE GLOBAL WARMING
It might be tempting to see the recent cold snap in many parts of the US as evidence against global warming. But it's important to distinguish between short-term weather and long-term climate. Experts remind us that the cold weather doesn't disprove global warming, but is just a blip in the long-term heating trend.
"It's part of natural variability," said Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. With global warming, he said, "we'll still have record cold temperatures. We'll just have fewer of them."
As the Associated Press reported, "According to the National Climatic Data Center, 2009 will rank among the 10 warmest years for Earth since 1880, and scientists say man-made climate change does have the potential to cause more frequent and more severe weather extremes, such as heat waves, storms, floods, droughts and even cold spells."
I would like to add a point of my own:
The United States is only a small part of our entire planet. Judging a global climate phenomenon based on one winter in the US makes no logical sense, no matter how our cold weary noses and ears might make us feel like making such a snap judgement.
If you share the desire to help the Haiti relief effort, but don't want to have your donations used to promote religion, there are relief organizations which are secular and therefore inclusive. Here's some of them.
CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. We place special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives.
Direct Relief International
Direct Relief was established in 1948 and is nonsectarian, nongovernmental, and apolitical. All the programs are provided in a non-discriminatory manner, without regard to political affiliation, religious belief, or ethnic identity.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971.
Partners in Health
At its root, our mission is both medical and moral. It is based on solidarity, rather than charity alone. When a person in Peru, or Siberia, or rural Haiti falls ill, PIH uses all of the means at our disposal to make them well—from pressuring drug manufacturers, to lobbying policy makers, to providing medical care and social services. Whatever it takes. Just as we would do if a member of our own family—or we ourselves—were ill.
Yéle Haiti is a grassroots movement that builds global awareness for Haiti while helping to transform the country through programs in education, sports, the arts and environment. Yéle’s community service programs include food distribution and mobilizing emergency relief. Grammy-Award winning musician, humanitarian and Goodwill Ambassador to Haiti Wyclef Jean founded Yéle Haiti in 2005.
From the Seattle Times 1/12/10:
Prepare to find space in the overhead bins a little tighter and your wallet a little lighter the next time you fly on Delta or Continental Airlines, both of which have hiked their checked-baggage fees on flights within the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Delta, now the world's biggest airline raised after its acquisition of Northwest Airlines, raised the fee from $15 to $23 each way for the first checked bag, and from $25 to $32 each way for the second bag if paid online in advance. Fees went up to $25 and $35 if paid at the airport ticket counter, kiosk or curbside.
The fee hikes came last week after Continental announced similar increases, going from $18 to $23 ($25 if paid at the airport) for the first bag, and from $27 to $32 for the second ($35 at the airport).
Baggage fees always have been a scam. The airlines know people compare fares online, and those online fairs don't include baggage fees. So, the airlines quote falsely low fares that don't include the fees. They are getting away with misleading customers and pocketing the fees.
Life is frustrating enough without having to mentally calculate baggage fees when you are comparing fares. The federal government should launch a criminal investigation into the airlines over this. Meanwhile, one of my vacations this year will be by car instead of by airplane.
The Obama did something for trans equality, though in a low key way. They now say that discrimination based on gender identity is forbidden on a federal jobs site. A more formal announcement would have made more people aware of this change, including job applicants and people involved in hiring, but this is a good step. Here's the text of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's press release on the subject.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force welcomes the Obama administration's inclusion of language on the federal jobs Web site that explicitly bans employment discrimination based on gender identity. While calling the action a step in the right direction, the Task Force urges Congress to pass the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
"We are pleased by the administration's decision to modernize the federal jobs Web site by explicitly banning employment discrimination based on gender identity. This is an action the Task Force and other groups have been advocating for with the Office of Personnel Management, and it is certainly a welcome step toward eliminating workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in federal employment.
"However, it is unacceptable that in 60 percent of the country, it is still legal to fire someone for reasons that are unrelated to their performance, skills and talents. So, while we are pleased by the change to the federal jobs site, the Task Force will continue pressing Congress to pass a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) early this year. We need to pass ENDA and afford essential employment protections under federal law so that employers across the nation will understand that discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation will not be tolerated whether it is in the private or public sector."
This push is quite important, given that the Labor Law Center is reporting that the both House and Senate have tabled ENDA for now.
ENDA should have passed last year. Really, legislation banning employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity should have passed during 1993 or 1994 when the Democrats had control of both houses of Congress and the White House.
Sometimes, it really seems like the congressional Democrats are deliberately trying to get queer voters to go Green or stay home in 2010.
Some phone banking is going on in California to contact constituents of key politicians to get those voters to call offices for ENDA. In early December, PFLAG and a number of LGBT organizations expressed their outrage at delays in passing ENDA.
People need to keep pushing, and Democrats better start listening if they know what's good for them in 2010.
The US corporate media portray the government in Colombia as this democracy fighting against evil terrorists. Yet, the facts portray that state to be a murderous dictatorship. Ten Percent is doing an excellent job covering what is going on in that country, and it is useful to know the facts about the regime that our tax dollars are supporting. Here are a few examples:
Another Colombian Death Squad Gets Away With It
Students In Colombia Live Under The Gun
Chiquita Brands Bribes The US Govt. To Cover Up Their Terrorism
It’s Obama’s Back Yard Now
(Note: This article links to an Afro Netizen posting which exposes the fact that Eric Holder used to represent Chiquita.)
Some Labour MP’s See The Truth About Uribe
329 Extrajudicial Killings by the Colombian Authorities in ‘07
Our tax dollars are supporting violence and repression by a foreign dictatorship in order to get access to military bases we don't even need. The corporate media and the politicians keep lying about all of this too. Chiquita (formerly United Fruit) has held the US government on a tight leash for decades, yet how many people in this country have any idea what is going on?
With all the corruption, bigotry, and economic despair here in the good old USA, it is understandable that we turn inward somewhat, but we still need to know what's going on in the rest of the world. I would much rather see the money our government is sending the Colombian dictatorship go to help food pantries here in the US.
Image: Thomas Roche
Do you want content you are interested in blocked by your ISP because it is queer, atheist, liberal, feminist, or otherwise objectionable to a Republican corporate suit?
Do you want your ISP blocking content that competes with their websites or the cable channels they own?
Do you want to be forced to pay extra charges for downloads from websites your cable conglomerate or phone/FIOS company doesn't own?
Avoiding this is what Net Neutrality is about. Net Neutrality is the concept that Internet Access Providers must treat all content the same, regardless of origin. The cable and phone companies hate it, and don't want you to be able to control what you can get to when you use their services.
Credo has an Action Alert calling for the FCC to enforce Net Neutrality, and the deadline for comment is this Thursday, January 14. Here's what they have to say about it?
If you support net neutrality, now's the time to speak out.
The Federal Communications Commission has proposed net neutrality rules that will ensure that the Internet is free from blocking, censorship and discrimination by powerful telecom companies. And the FCC has opened up a public comment period to get feedback on the proposed rules -- but only until this Thursday (January 14)!
We need you to speak up because the telecoms are fighting these rules tooth-and-nail. Their pushback began even before the rules were announced. Eighteen Senators (all Republicans) sent a letter to the FCC opposing net neutrality. One Republican senator even announced an effort to prevent the FCC from spending funds to enforce the new rules once they go into effect. Separately, 72 House Democrats sent their own letter to the FCC opposing net neutrality rules.
This type of pressure from Congress hasn't go unnoticed at the FCC, so now's the time for citizens like you to speak out and fight back.
Without strong net neutrality rules, we might have to rely upon the good will of large telecoms to protect our access to the diversity of political perspectives. We might have to trust companies like Comcast, which actively and secretly interfered with users' ability to access popular video, photo and music sharing applications; AT&T, which censored anti-Bush comments made by Pearl Jam's lead singer during a concert; and Verizon Wireless, interfered with NARAL Pro-Choice America's ability to send messages to its members.
We can't let the corporate lobbyists win. What good is free speech if powerful corporations have the power to stifle communications they find objectionable?
Tell the FCC: Save net neutrality. Sign here to submit your comment before the comment period closes on January 14.
Sign the petition
The petition reads:
Net neutrality is the cornerstone of innovation, free speech and democracy on the Internet. Please propose and enact strong net neutrality rules to ensure that the Internet is free from blocking, censorship and discrimination.
Please Support Net Neutrality Now!
I knew that Bart Stupak was a woman hating, religious extremist. I knew that he was conning people by pretending to be a Democrat. Yet, I read something today that still has even someone like me shocked. (New York Times 1/6/10)
After his younger son committed suicide in 2000, using the congressman’s gun, Mr. Stupak soon resumed his predawn commute to Washington and his solid voting record with the National Rifle Association.
I have yet to find the words to describe how sickening and depraved this is. My jaw actually dropped on this one. It is impossible to conceive of how a father who really loved his son could actually do something like this. Continuing to vote with the NRA under these circumstances is the moral equivalent of dancing on his son's grave.
Religious extremists like Stupak often pretend they are so much more moral than everyone else. However, you almost always find hypocrisy and morally repugnant behavior below the surface. I really hope Stupak switches to Republican. I may not be a partisan Democrat, but I really don't like even being registered to the same party as a monster like Bart Stupak.
Image: Colin Purrington
Louisiana keeps getting crazier as many sane people were pushed out by the Katrina nonrebuilding policy, and brainwashing children always has been one of the favorite pastimes of religious nuts. From an Americans United for Separation of Church and State press release 1/5/09:
A new policy under consideration by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is slanted to favor creationism and should be revised, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Due to lobbying by the Religious Right, Louisiana legislators approved a law in 2008 that allows for “supplemental materials” to be used in public school science classes. The Board has developed a policy for reviewing these materials that is seriously flawed, says Americans United.
“It’s obvious what’s going on here,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Louisiana elected officials are once again trying to undercut the teaching of evolution and slip creationism into science classes. This effort must fail.”
In a letter sent to the Board, Americans United warns that the proposed review policy is constitutionally suspect because it appears to open the door for creationist concepts to be taught in public schools.
The Board calls for allowing challenged materials to be reviewed by a panel that could easily be stacked with people sympathetic to creationism. It would bypass the expert opinion of the Louisiana Department of Education.
“The proposed procedure for reviewing challenged supplemental material is unnecessarily complicated and appears designed to provide a forum for promoting creationism,” asserts AU’s letter.
Corruption in the South? I'm shocked, just shocked!
Religious extremists are constantly coming up with dishonest schemes to circumvent the Constitution, yet they pretend that they are more moral than the rest of us. They conflate sexual frustration and scientific illiteracy with morality instead of understanding morality as concern and compassion for others.
I always figured that if I was going to have a blog, I might as well do more than just express my views. It seems to me that I would be missing an opportunity to promote political and social action on important issues if I didn't include Action Alerts from time to time. Unless you have a much larger readership than I, making up your own with web forms isn't really worth the effort, but most of us liberal types are on multiple email lists from various worthwhile organizations. If someone is averse (understandably) to getting so much email, it isn't difficult to go to the sites of groups one agrees with and get the alerts there.
So, I am genuinely curious. Why don't more liberal and progressive bloggers include occasional calls to action in their blogs? If you don't do it, or you seldom do it, you certainly could satisfy my curiosity by saying why in the comments.
Peter LaBarbera is one of the more entertaining of Christian religious extremists. His obsession is chronicling the more fun and ribald aspects of queer life. His group, "Americans for Truth About Homosexuality" has a site with lots of hate and stupidity. I suspect, though, that the most popular page on the site is the "Public Sex in Your Neighborhood" section. I would be shocked if closeted Christian fundies didn't use that page as porno.
Anyway, LaBarbera has been given the apt nickname of "Porno Pete." There's even a song and YouTube video making fun of him.
Hat Tip: Wayne Besen
You might not know it reading this blog, but I was a Christian once. The fact that I'm an ex Christian is amusing to me, because ex Christians do exist, while the more publicized "ex gays" certainly do not. For instance, the founders of the most famous "ex gay" ministry, Exodus, fell in love, left the ministry, and had a same sex commitment ceremony. The people who run Exodus now certainly have no shame, given their organization's history.
That's why the site ExChristian.Net certainly got my attention when I first found it. I think it's great that there is an online community for people who have liberated themselves from that religion. There's one disagreement I have with them over definitions. Some people there say they are "spiritual but not religious."
I've never bought into the notion that there is any kind of spirituality that isn't religious. After all, the belief in spirits, souls, or whatever you want to call them (Scientologists call them Thetans or something like that), is a religious belief. It is entirely faith based, and it contradicts all tangible evidence we have.
But, aside from that, I generally agree with what is there, especially the blog postings. Anyway, I thought I would witness how the truth set me from Christianity.
When I was a child, I really wanted to believe in God. My parents weren't that much of church attenders, but when I wanted to go, they agreed to go with me to a mainstream Protestant church (A Baptist church would have been out of the question because Baptists had alienated one of my parents during that person's childhood by saying anyone who wasn't a Baptist will go to Hell.)
I also went to Sunday School. I was so eager to believe that I wanted to understand everything I could about Christianity. Oops!
One of the biggest questions I had was why, if God wanted us to believe in him or her, did God make him or herself completely hidden. We should be able to see God, hear God, etc. All of the answers from my poor Sunday School teachers were easily taken apart by the reasoning abilities of a small child, and they always ended up with excuses like "God works in strange and mysterious ways." Ugh.
There were other difficulties with the Bible. The story of Noah's Arch was doubly problematic. First, how would God fit all those animals onto a boat? Why didn't the boat sink? When I learned about the existence of freshwater fish, the story became even more difficult to swallow.
The other dilemma was more important, since it was a moral one. According to Christianity, an all knowing, loving, wise, and powerful God killed everyone on Earth except for one family. When you add in the notion that people are God's children made in his/her image, that becomes even more reprehensible. Later in life, I realized that the story of Noah's Ark creates the psychological underpinnings for accepting genocide as OK, but that was much later.
This process ended by the time I was eight or nine, I had figured out that there was no possibility that Christianity could be true. I was an agnostic, because I didn't know enough about other religions or the phenomenon of religion in general to generalize more broadly. It wasn't until I had studied some Anthropology in college that I understood the social, cultural, and psychological origins of religion and could say with confidence that all religions are myths. I became, and still am, an atheist.
Since then, I have heard other arguments that have reinforced my atheism. You have to have blinders on to think that this world was created by a wise, loving god. Genocide, war, murder, rape, and child molesting priests all are examples of how crazy it is to think that the world originates and is controlled by a benevolent deity. Many Jews have become atheists because of the Holocaust. In reality, Christians, Muslims, and people of many other faiths should realize that their beliefs also are invalidated by the Holocaust and other atrocities.
Do you want to blame it on...who could it possibly be...I don't know....Saaaaaataaaaaaaaaan!?!? There's one obvious problem with this. Christianity says that it's perfect god created Satan. Oops!
Many atheists point out the many contradictions in the Christian Bible to bolster their arguments. I suspect most people don't catch the inconsistencies because they are having so much trouble keeping awake while reading that book. Greek and Norse myths may be just as superstitious as Christian ones, but at least they have some entertaining stories to tell.
Something that really bothers me as an adult about Christianity is that that religion's god supposedly killed his own son for our sins. WTF? That makes no logical sense and makes the Christian deity sound batshit crazy. I know it is supposed to sound noble and make us grateful, but if you look at it with a mind cleared of religious brainwashing, it's nuts. Why would an all wise and all knowing deity make us as the flawed creatures we are, and then have a son so that son could be killed slowly and painfully so that we would be "saved from our sins"? Was does "saved from our sins" actually mean, anyway? No one has given a definition of that any clearer than the definition of "victory" used by supporters of the war without end in Iraq.
Anyway, I definitely am an ex Christian. I know I never can or want to be an "ex gay."
The South certainly doesn't have a monopoly on racism, but it is particularly venomous there. From The Guardian 1/4/10:
The US secret service is investigating an apparent effigy of Barack Obama hung from a storefront in Georgia. Local television news showed what appeared to be a black doll at the end of a noose on the main road in Plains, home of Jimmy Carter, the former Democratic president, Georgia governor and Nobel peace prize winner.
Witnesses said the doll bore a sign with Obama's name. The effigy was quickly removed by the fire department after it was discovered on Saturday.
This is sadly familiar. It isn't that uncommon for racists in the South to leave nooses hanging from trees to try to intimidate African Americans. One of those African Americans was Barack Obama before he was President.
In October 2008 two students in Kentucky hung an effigy of Obama in what they called a Halloween prank. They were arrested, but charges were later dropped.
Hanging politicians in effigy is nothing new, nor is it limited to any one region or country. But, there is a qualitative difference when the politician is not white and the location is the South. It's not just because of that region's racist past, but it also is because of the South's racist present.
If you look at substantive policy, you would think that rightists would be tremendously relieved by the Obama Administration. He has offered continuity over change at almost every turn. The only possible explanation for the rabid, unthinking hatred of President Obama by the right in this country is racism.
Photo: Pretty Poo Eater
I'm not leaving myself out of this one.
Us Americans allow ourselves to get panicked over terrorism to the point that I'm sure there are people in other countries laughing at us. What our media and politicians define as terrorism has killed fewer Americans in the last decade than automobile crashes kill in a month in our country. You would have to include de facto terrorism like opposing gun control to get numbers anywhere near the nearly 40,000 annual auto fatalities.
Here's some information from the Centers for Disease Control on the leading causes of death in the US in 2006.
Number of deaths for leading causes of death:
* Heart disease: 631,636
* Cancer: 559,888
* Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
* Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
* Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599
* Diabetes: 72,449
* Alzheimer's disease: 72,432
* Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,326
* Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,344
* Septicemia: 34,234
We have allowed the politicians and the corporate media to work our country into a frenzy over something that is highly unlikely to kill us. A major cause of many of the deaths listed above is obesity, yet we aren't pushed to be in a state of constant fear of being overweight, which threatens Americans far more than Al Qaeda.
Terrorism is a significant problem, but it isn't one of our biggest ones as a country. Whenever we read, see, or hear news on terrorism, we need to take a deep breath and restore our sense of perspective.