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In a sign of just how corrupt and ethically bankrupt the Connecticut GOP really is, Linda McMahon, who used to be CEO and a performer (a.k.a. "Diva" in the terms of the trade), has managed to buy herself the GOP nomination for Senate in that state with her millions. (Politico 5/22/10)

Former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon won her party’s endorsement Friday night in the first round of ballots, defeating early frontrunner and longtime Connecticut GOP insider, former Rep. Rob Simmons.

...
As her vote tally began to surge, members of McMahon’s family entered the convention center, including husband Vince McMahon, her mom, son, daughter and son-in-law, Paul Levesque, better known as the professional wrestler “Triple H.” As the final votes were counted, the family stood stationary, ignoring the lights of the cameras literally surrounding them and refusing to respond when asked something.

When she took the stage to accept her victory, McMahon described it as “overwhelming.” She reminded delegates that across town Democrats had endorsed Attorney General Richard Blumenthal by acclamation.

“I’d venture to say we’re going to lay the smackdown on him in November,” she quipped, as her son Shane held up her hand in a victory gesture.

Ms. McMahon's campaign has been comedic fodder this election season, and we will get plenty more chances to laugh at her until November. If she wins, the whole country will be laughing at Connecticut.

Often, Ms. McMahon played a bland heroine (face Diva), but in this video, she played an evil Diva. She actually gets nasty physical with one of her employees, LOL.



I wonder how CT voters will react to the surreal world of elderly sexpots that give birth to adult human hands, simulated necrophilia, and faked physical elder abuse among the McMahon family that was the signature of Ms. McMahon's tenure as WWE CEO. Here's a parody video of Ms. McMahon's campaign propaganda that I ran a while before.



What the heck. Here's another one.



 

When Facts Are the Enemy

Posted by libhom Monday, May 24, 2010 2 comments

All of the following are facts that well informed, reasonable people cannot honestly dispute.

Rand Paul is racist.

Joseph Ratzinger is guilty of deliberately protecting child rapists.

Dick Cheney and other Bush regime officials deliberately sabotaged our nation's response mechanisms to terrorism until after the 911 attacks succeeded.

Legalized gun ownership kills almost 30,000 Americans every year.

All human beings have common ancestors that were apes, monkeys, and reptiles, though those ancestors were different than the apes, monkeys, and reptiles present today.

We have been losing the Afghanistan war at least starting in 2006.

Oil spills are predictable and inevitable consequences of offshore drilling.

The 2000 and 2004 presidential elections were stolen.


Yet, all of these are either forbidden or demonized in our dominant political discourse and the corporate media. For instance, openly discussing Rand Paul's racism is treated as out of bounds, not just by conservative media figures, but by liberal pundits who have been so beaten down that they are afraid to say anything that offends corporate interests and the rightist sheep who are fooled by corporate propaganda.

What happens to a society and its discourse when easily observable facts are attacked, spun at, suppressed in relentless campaigns to make reality taboo? It isn't even shocking that the facts about Global Warming, something that will do enormous damage to our country and our planet, have been so thoroughly attacked by media and politicians here.

When the prejudiced, the wealthy, and the powerful discover an inconvenient fact, they employ a wide variety of strategies to suppress it. Often, they demonize people who state it and use their power over the media to keep it from being heard by the majority of the population.

When that doesn't work, they often create a bogus opinion which contradicts the actual fact, claim that the fact is merely an opinion, then insist that both "opinions" be given equal weight or that their phony opinion be given overwhelming weight in media they own and control. When people limit their news consumption to corporate propaganda, they get left with this constant barrage of deliberately constructed bullshit.

A society that cannot face facts will eventually be doomed. If we continue to allow visceral prejudices, corporate power, and pure laziness to completely separate political discourse from reality, our society will not be able to deal with any of the problems it faces, and we face a bunch of enormous challenges.

 

Chris Hedges is not particularly well regarded among most atheists, and with good reason. His anti atheist bigotry and scapegoating have become legendary. I could discuss his fanatical bigotry at length, but there are other elements of his attitudes and ideology that deserve critique.

One of the things that I find so disturbing about Hedges is the ahistorical nature of his analysis. Let's look at his commentary on British Petroleum and the people that enable it. The opening sentence may be more literate than the rantings of Sarah Palin, but it is equally ill informed as the rankest Palin nonsense. (TruthDig 5/17/10)

Cultures that do not recognize that human life and the natural world have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, cannibalize themselves until they die.

This is even more amazing given the fact that Hedges' worked as a reporter in the former Yugoslavia. (The fact that he worked for a vapid, rightist publication like the New York Times does make it a bit less surprising, though.) In another commentary, he engages in a particularly ludicrous example of economic reductionism, claiming that the Balkan War was caused entirely by economic collapse, rather than ethnic hatreds. Hedges' conveniently neglects the fact that the most influential cause of the carnage in what once was Yugoslavia was religion. The brutal totalitarian regime under Tito was able to keep the lid on those religious hatreds, but they exploded when the Soviet Union fell and when the charismatic strongman was no longer there.

Hedges has written passionately about the death and suffering there, but he has neglected to even notice that the people inflicting the suffering did so out of their belief "that human life and the natural world have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value." Their notion of the sacred was as intense and meaningful to them as Hedges' view of the sacred is to him.

One could provide plenty of other examples of the brutal and murderous nature of belief in the sacred. Many histories of slavery in the US have conveniently failed to mention the sacred component of supporting slavery in a society that believed in a Christian Bible the endorses the monstrous practice. In every place where slavery was abolished, the vast majority of the clergy opposed abolition, and quoted the Bible to support their notion of the sacred. This was just as true during the campaigns for abolition in Northern states as it was during the treasonous Confederacy. The genocide of the vast majority of the indigenous people of this country was as sacred to the most of the killers as anything Hedges' holds sacred.

Ultimately, the word "sacred" has no basis in fact, reason, or observation. It can mean anything to anyone, and once asserted, justifies an absolutist pursuit in whatever direction it is assigned. That is incredibly dangerous.

However, Hedges' assertion of the sacred, also has another counterproductive element to it. It allows him to project a sense of superiority over the people who don't have his particular sense of the sacred. This is by no means Hedges' only effort to establish how much better he is than everyone else.

Aside from atheists, Hedges seems to assert the greatest sense of superiority over liberals, of all people. In his sermon Liberals Are useless, Hedges has this to say about liberals.
Liberals are a useless lot. They talk about peace and do nothing to challenge our permanent war economy. They claim to support the working class, and vote for candidates that glibly defend the North American Free Trade Agreement. They insist they believe in welfare, the right to organize, universal health care and a host of other socially progressive causes, and will not risk stepping out of the mainstream to fight for them. The only talent they seem to possess is the ability to write abject, cloying letters to Barack Obama—as if he reads them—asking the president to come back to his “true” self. This sterile moral posturing, which is not only useless but humiliating, has made America’s liberal class an object of public derision.

Anyone who doesn't see the irony in the last sentence hasn't read much of Hedges' work. Anyone who has actually worked with liberals who are challenging the permanent war economy can easily grasp how ludicrous this caricature is.

Even when liberals do make the mistakes Hedges criticizes us for, they do so in a system that Hedges is very much a part of. Most liberals are dissatisfied with the Democrats, but the Republicans always manage to be a little worse in their deeds and truly terrifying in their words. The corporate media that Hedges used to be very much a part of, try to narrow the possible choices down to such a narrow range that the conservative Democrats who deserve Hedges' wrath often seem to be the only reasonable alternative.

One of the most useful tools of frightening liberals into staying in line has been the largely Astroturf teabagger "movement." The National Equality March, which was hastily organized and which had a very low budget and little if any corporate support, turned out 200,000 people in DC, ten to one hundred times the turnout for the teabagger rallies in our nation's capital. Those teabagger rallies were much better funded, and an army of rightist media elites promoted the shit out of them. Yet, the corporate media has wildly exaggerated the strength of the teabagger scam, focusing on the most scary sounding fringe elements to try to make liberals witless with fear.

It certainly scared Hedges senseless. In his commentary, "Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism’?," Hedges engages in sensationalistic fear mongering that puts his former corporate media colleagues to shame. If you took what he wrote seriously, you would think that brownshirts were coming for us all within the next few months.

Hedges is quite correct that there is a lot of perfectly legitimate anger in this country, and he also is correct in noting that liberals have been too frightened to effectively speak to that anger. But, he fails to see that the Palin's and Beck's of this country have been wildly ineffective at getting their followers to do more than watch their shows and buy their products. The teabaggers are a paper tiger, one with a paper trail to corporate lobbyists and PR people. Yet, Hedges would have us believe that they are an enormous army poised to take over the country.

Hedges perpetuates so much disinformation that permeates the corporate media. Then, he sets himself up as morally superior to liberals and others who base their decisions on that very same bogus information. Hedges is worse than useless. He is a major part of the problem. Chris Hedges has unwittingly played a function surprisingly similar to that of Judith Miller, though his intent is different. Hedges functions as a cog in the same machine that keeps many liberals doing exactly what Hedges condemns them for. Sigh.

Hedges' rhetoric about liberals not being willing to step "out of the mainstream" is bizarre and counterproductive as well. On the vast majority of issues, liberal views are the mainstream. Most people are against the Iraq War, and the healthcare plan that consistently polled the highest was Medicare for All. On queer issues, which the readers of this blog are usually the most familiar, the only issue where the nation is deeply divided is same sex marriage recognition. On the rest of queer civil rights disputes, the overwhelming majority of Americans are on the liberal side of the issue.

Tricking liberals into thinking that we are isolated and marginal is one of things that corporate media do best. Yet, Hedges seems incapable of stepping out of the mindset promoted by his former employers to see this.

The aspect of Hedges' discourse that pisses me off the most is its passivity, resulting from its sterile, faux moral superiority. Instead of working to point out the actual facts and proposing useful actions that people can take, Hedges isolates himself in his little bubble and pontificates downward at the rest of us. Telling people they are useless doesn't motivate them to take action or even look for alternative points of view. Hedges really, really needs to read some Howard Zinn.
"TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

Sometimes I wonder if liberals should all bow in the direction of Hedges just once, say "we are in awe of your superiority," and feed his ego in the hopes that he would try to write or do something productive for a change.

 

picture of Rand Paul looking like a foolCorruption and arrogance are nothing new among the extreme right. However, the GOP Senate candidate in Kentucky, Ayn Rand Paul, is taking sleaze to a level that amazes even someone as jaded as myself. Paul, speaking on Good Morning America 5/21/10:

What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.' I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business," he said. "I've heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it's part of this sort of blame game society in the sense that it's always got to be someone's fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.

This is so sick and wrong on so many levels. The only legitimate criticism of the Obama Administration's approach to British Petroleum's actions is that it has been far too lenient. As Rick at Ten Percent points out, BP may be criminally liable for the specifics of this particular oil spill. However, there is a more general area of potential criminality involving any offshore drilling. Offshore drilling is an incredibly reckless and negligent practice, no matter how many precautions are put in place. Any Big Oil executive that engages in the practice is knowingly deciding to kill employees in the name of profits.

Sign with Area Closed: Oil Spill

Second, what is truly unpatriotic is sucking up to Big Oil. Big Oil has shown its utter contempt for our country and its democratic institutions by showering campaign cash on politicians in order to get massive government subsidies (including the Iraq War) and exemptions from environmental regulation. Big Oil, with help from its fundamentalist Christian enablers, has gotten us into an illegal war in Iraq that has killed more Americans than were killed in the 911 attacks. The Iraqi dead number over 1.3 million.

This rightist jackass doesn't just suck up to Big Oil. Paul ups the ante of his unpatriotic nonsense by sucking up to British Petroleum, a foreign oil company that is trashing our natural resources and our fishing and tourism industries. Big Oil companies like British Petroleum are literally terrorist enemies of America and the world. Pandering to Big Oil is about as unpatriotic as is humanly possible.

The "accidents happen" bullshit, is particularly galling. As I have pointed out before, huge oil spills are a common and easily predictable consequence of the negligent practice of offshore drilling. A common consequence of irresponsible behavior hardly qualifies as an "accident."

It's no secret why Rand Paul is gleefully throwing his legs in the air in order to be violated by the ideological equivalent of a chainsaw. Rand Paul is for sale to the highest bidder, and Big Oil owns a big piece of him. We need publicly financed campaigns to fight this rank corruption in our political system. Corporate media hacks pretend that this kind of sleaze is limited to DC. It's not. It's quite common in sleazebags like Rand Paul who want to join the pigs at the corporate trough at our nation's capital.

We already knew that Ayn Rand Paul was a bigoted piglet. Now, we know that he has zero loyalty to this country.

Photos: Rand Paul for U.S. Senate 2010 (released under the Creative Commons license)

www78

 

It's Time to Seize British Petroleum's Assets

Posted by libhom Friday, May 21, 2010 2 comments

Seize BP Petition buttonBritish Petroleum, through its unconscionable negligence, has committed an environmental atrocity whose impact cannot even be measured yet because the spill keeps on going. The idea that their assets should be seized to pay for what they have done is quite reasonable, but it is getting little play in corporate media that are against corporate accountability.

Where as the contingency planning? It's not like the disaster is even slightly surprising. It is precisely what every environmentally aware person expected to happen all along. Offshore drilling itself is an incredibly reckless and irresponsible activity which needs to be stopped. The politicians need to represent the people instead of the corporations and ban all offshore drilling while they seize BP's corporate assets to compensate people for what BP has caused.

It's no secret that Big Oil's lobbyists in DC have worked tirelessly to underfund public transportation for decades. If we had a massively expanded system of subways and commuter trains, we would have no use for all the oil that is extracted through the unconscionable practice of offshore drilling.

 

 

Draw Muhammed Day

Posted by libhom Thursday, May 20, 2010 1 comments

happy face with Muhammed written on it

Few things are more offensive than religionists attempting to shove their beliefs down the throats of those who don't share them, whether it is fascistic Christians putting crosses on government property or arrogant Muslims who actually think they have any business telling non Muslims whether or not we can draw pictures of their pedophile prophet. (In the Koran, he admits to marrying and raping a little girl.)

I bring up the point of the so called "prophet" of Islam being a pedophile because it is important to denounce and repudiate child abusers. As someone who experienced physical and emotional abuse as a child, I know all too well that adults have a responsibility to fight back against the abusers and those who condone their activities, since children have no way of defending themselves. People need to speak out just as forcefully against the founder of Islam as they do against the Roman Catholic officials who rape children and protect the rapists.

Efforts to stop people from drawing any figure from any religion are a rather extreme example of religious privilege. People actually think that religion should be put on some kind of pedestal and that it should not be subject to the same kinds of critique and ridicule as other ideas or value systems. Religious privilege is inherently bigoted and discriminatory against atheists. Those who assert it should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

So, I'm joining in with others who are participating in Draw Muhammed Day. I'm doing it to send a message to Muslims and other religious believers.

Your religious beliefs do not apply to any other person, place, or thing. They only apply to you. Any attempt on your part to impose your religious beliefs on anyone else puts you on the same immoral level as the 911 hijackers and the people who commit acts of terrorism against abortion providers.

 

It's Getting Hot...So Hot

Posted by libhom Wednesday, May 19, 2010 2 comments

stop sign with sticker that says global warming under stop
Photo: katiecampbell

The climate, that is. From Climate Progress 5/17/10:

NOAA: Hottest April and hottest Jan-April on record

...

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center has published its monthly “State of the Climate Report.” It pretty much matches the NASA data.

An emeritus physics professor writes me cautioning against the use of the word ‘anomaly’ since, “In many people’s mind, the word ‘anomaly’ means something unusual that is a temporary phenomenon.” He suggests “change,” which is probably better.

Certainly for those who are communicating to the general public, like NOAA and NASA, ‘anomaly’ is a confusing word as used in these charts. And that is especially true because the recent temperature trend is anything but an anomaly — it is in fact a prediction of basic climate science.

Indeed, besides the record April and record Jan-April, NOAA itself explain:

This was also the 34th consecutive April with global land and ocean temperatures above the 20th century average.

So, yes, that isn’t really an anomaly any more — unless of course you are in the anti-science crowd, in which case the whole thing is one big mysterious deviation from the norm.

As for the oceans, NOAA points out:

The worldwide ocean surface temperature was 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average of 16.0°C (60.9°F) and the warmest April on record. The warmth was most pronounced in the equatorial portions of the major oceans, especially the Atlantic.

One of the things I've noticed about Global Warming is that it has dramatically increased the amount of weird weather we experience. A few years ago, Brooklyn had its first tornado in decades. This year, we had one of the most intense Noreasters in at least 30 or 40 years, and it was a rain event here in NYC. Philadelphia and DC got extreme amounts of snow this winter, much more than we got here in the Big Mango. Average weather conditions have become the exception rather than the rule.

Anomalies are becoming the new normal.

 

Ultra corrupt New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faced boos when he had the nerve to accept an honorary degree from a public university when he has been on a jihad to slash funding for public education at all levels. (Newark Star Ledger 5/16/10)

Rutgers University awarded degrees to the largest class in the school’s 244-year history today in a traditional ceremony that included an honorary degree — and a smattering of boos — for Gov. Chris Christie.

Richard McCormick, Rutgers’ president, officially conferred the record 12,651 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees during the nearly four-hour ceremony beneath elm trees on Voorhees Mall at the state university’s New Brunswick campus.

Following Rutgers tradition, New Jersey’s new governor was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree in his first year in office. Christie, who has proposed cuts to higher education funding, received a few jeers and hisses from the crowd when he was introduced. Before the ceremony, members of the faculty union stood at the entrance to the green and asked those attending to sign preprinted letters calling on the governor to restore a proposed 15 percent cut in state funding to Rutgers.

Tradition or not, Rutgers' decision to award Christie with an honorary degree was highly disturbing. Throwing undeserved honors at politicians who want higher education to be limited to the very rich goes against everything a public university is supposed to stand for. Rutgers really debased itself as an institution.

Yet, one can recognize the pressure Rutgers was under. They had to be concerned that if they took the high road and refused to give Christie an honorary degree, that sleazebag would have retaliated at the first opportunity. We have allow so many institutions in our country be debased by dishonorable politicians like Christie that we all need to stop and think about what has happened.

Christie has rammed down a lot of oppressive service cuts to the middle class and poor of New Jersey on the claim that the state's budget deficits are forcing him to do so. That is absolute nonsense. Christie easily could replace deficits with surpluses by making the rich pay their fair share in taxes. He simply refuses to do so because he is bought and paid for by wealthy campaign donors. In fact, he has proposed cutting the taxes of the rich. Militant Ginger took issue with this back in March.
Because in the best tradition of Reagan Republicanism, Chris Christie has decided to top his hack and slash budget proposal with a whopping $1 billion dollar tax cut for the top 2% of New Jersey earners. Those racking in more than $400,000 a year will actually get more money; while the poor and middle class of the state eat up the meat and potatoes of Christie's so-called 'fiscal conservatism.'

None of this will be even slightly surprising to anyone who is familiar with Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine. Wealthy speculators caused this recession with their reprehensible economic misconduct, and Christie is deliberately exploiting the situation to steal money from the middle class and the poor and give it to the people guilty of causing the whole problem in the first place.

Why do Americans tolerate this kind of blatant political corruption? How much more are the people going to suffer before we hold the politicians and wealthy parasites accountable for what they are doing to us?

 

protesters with a banner that says Coal is Criminal in a Warming World
Photo: Takver

The New York Times has been a corrupt, unreliable, and batshit crazy rightist paper for decades. This recent item from the blog of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) is a discusses a rather blatant example of this.

Do you want to know what environmentalists think of the "compromise" climate bill unveiled by senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman yesterday? If so, don't read the New York Times today. Times reporter John M. Broder (5/13/10) quotes Kerry, Barack Obama (a supporter of the bill) and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (formerly a somewhat iffy supporter).

He also references the feelings of two main industry groups--the Edison Electric Institute and the American Petroleum Institute--as well as BP, ConocoPhillips and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Then, in the second-to-last graph:

Some environmental advocates were involved in drafting the bill and were highly supportive. But other environmentalists said the bill did not go far enough and offered too many concessions to win industry support.


Well, that tells you...nothing.

Assessments from environmental groups aren't hard to come by. The headline of the Public Citizen press release conveys their view: "It's a Nuclear Energy-Promoting, Oil Drilling-Championing, Coal Mining-Boosting Gift." The Institute for Public Accuracy's release refers to a " Bonanza of Corporate Giveaways." Such views would have been helpful for readers interested in assessing the bill's actual contents.

The Public Citizen press release tells you what the bill actually does on Global Warming.
Oil
Apparently oblivious to the ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the legislation expands offshore drilling. In fact, all new offshore drilling, leasing and permitting should be halted.

Section 1202 allows states to keep 37.5 percent of oil and gas royalty money. That’s like saying because more rich people live in California and New York compared to Mississippi and New Mexico, those higher-income states should be able to keep more federal dollars raised from income taxes. Royalty revenue sharing is patently unfair – especially because the disaster in Gulf shows that an oil spill does not respect state boundaries.

Coal
Section 1412 establishes a carbon tax paid by ratepayers and collected by utilities to fund carbon capture and storage (CCS) – with no money allocated to rooftop solar or energy efficiency investments. Section 1431 will provide valuable emissions allowances for free to coal utilities pursuing CCS – an untested, risky strategy that benefits the coal industry and is gobbling up a lion’s share of subsidies that otherwise could go to renewable energy development.

Merchant coal power plants (whose rates are not regulated) will get roughly 5 percent of the free allowances, which will provide opportunities for them to gouge consumers.

And while the nuclear and coal industries will receive a lot of taxpayer money and loan guarantees, Section 1604 states that “voluntary” renewable energy markets are “efficient and effective programs” and states that “the policy of the United States is to continue to support the growth of these markets.” This is backward: Renewable energy should be getting the guarantees, rather than the coal and nuclear industries.

So much for it being a "climate bill," unless you consider hastening the pace of Global Warming a "climate bill." Just like the wealthcare bill, we will see Republicans voting against extreme right legislation that falls completely within their political agenda in a display of opposition as fake as anything that has ever appeared on pro wrestling. Even a klutz like Hulk Hogan was better at faking things.

Friends of the Earth is urging people to contact Congress and get a real climate bill. Please go to their Action Alert.

 

photo of ChomskyIn order to maintain its little Middle Eastern empire, the Israeli government and society are getting so closed that they are failing to live up to the democratic ideals that country was founded on, limited as they were to Jews. So, it takes a lot to shock me these days. But, this one just blows my mind. (Haaretz 5/16/10)

Professor Noam Chomsky, an American linguist and left-wing activist, was denied entry into Israel and the West Bank on Sunday.

No reason was initially given for the decision, but the Interior Ministry later said immigration officials at the Allenby Bridge border crossing from Jordan had misunderstood Chomsky's intentions thinking initially he was also due to visit Israel.

Chomsky, who is on a speaking tour in the region, was scheduled to speak at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank on Monday.

This is so crazy, even the Israeli government is trying to reverse the decision.
Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said officials were now trying to get clearance from the Israel Defense Forces, which controls access to the West Bank to allow Chomsky to enter that territory.

"We are trying to contact the military to clear things up and if they have no objection we see no reason why he should not be allowed in," said Hadad.

The efforts by the Israeli government and Defense Forces to marginalize and dehumanize the Palestinians have gotten so fanatical that they are having more and more bizarre results. Chomsky explained what happened, as best he could.
Chomsky said inspectors had stamped the words "denied entry" onto his passport when he tried to cross from Jordan over Allenby Bridge.

When he asked an Israeli inspector why he had not received permission, he was told that an explanation would be sent in writing to the American embassy. "They apparently didn't like the fact that I was due to lecture at a Palestinian university and not in Israel," Chomsky told Reuters by telephone from Amman.

Rick over at Ten Percent, is reporting that there is another ship of supplies being sent by the Free Gaza folks, and the Israeli government is threatening a military attack if the ship doesn't turn back.

In order to maintain their occupation, Isreal is losing its mind.

Photo: Duncan Rawlinson

 

With the wave of racist bullshit flying fast and thick in Arizona, every decent human being and every patriotic American is looking for ways to avoid doing business with that anti American Hate State. What are United Airlines and Southwest doing?

Business as usual.

They have done nothing to replace Phoenix as one of their hub airports. They are too racist, too corrupt, and too unpatriotic to take action that every loyal American would.

This is so typical of racism in corporate America. The rich CEOs and the wealthy speculators who own controlling interests in big corporations love racism. It keeps white people ignorant and stupid while corporations steal peoples' money and treat them like shit. United Airlines and Southwest are showing that they are more loyal to the almighty dollar than they are to human decency, corporate responsibility, and this country.

By keeping so much of their operations in Arizona, they are personally attacking me for having Native American ancestors. I'll spend my money elsewhere.

 

During my trip to Prague, I visited the Museum of Communism. Soviet propaganda art was magnificent, but it was a facade which failed to cover the misery, oppression, and death that the system of totalitarian socialism brought on the Czech people and others under its yoke. There is a tendancy among some on the far left to romanticize Lenin, partly because the sociopathic and mass murdering Stalin followed him. However, Lenin was a brutal and murderous dictator whose crimes were bad enough, though dwarfed by Stalin's.

The irony of attending that museum was just how many parallels I saw to what is going on with the right in its ascendancy here in the US. Things haven't gotten anywhere near as bad in the US, at least not yet. But, visiting the Czech Republic, a country now much freer than the US, certainly gives one a sense of perspective.

When I discuss the American right, I'm not just talking about talk radio, the Moonie Paper (Washington Times), and Rupert Murdoch's evil media empire. I'm not just talking about the Goppers and the conservative Democrats. I'm referring to the entire corporate and political infrastructure of the right from the New York Times to the local teabagger to the Bush and Obama administrations.

Some examples of the similarities between the American right and the Soviet empire follow.

Using WMD Propaganda to Frighten the Populace
Before I went to the Museum of Communism, an American expatriate talked about how the communists used weapons of mass destruction in their propaganda to terrorize the population about the West. The museum had a display about that very propaganda.

Sound familiar? If it doesn't, you haven't been paying much attention to what's been going on for the past decade or so.

Unlawful Detention
One of the many ways that the communists stayed in power was for secret intelligence agencies to detain people without charge and hold them indefinitely. Sounds like the inspiration for Gitmo to me.

Constant Spying
In communist Czechoslovakia, every means of communication was spied upon. Phones were tapped. Houses and public places were bugged. A human spy network pervaded society looking for opponents of the state. If you added in Internet and cell phone spying, you would get what we have now in the US.

Focus on Internal "Enemies"
Communist propaganda in Czechoslovakia portrayed anyone who disagreed with government policies or foreign domination as enemies of the state and the people. The hysteria over Islamic terrorists in the US is somewhat similar, and is pervasive among the more mainstream parts of the right. In both societies, there were opponents of the governments, and they did pose threats to the public safety. However, those threats were wildly exaggerated in order to try to keep the population timid and passive.

The threat of terrorism is real, but it is relatively small. Legalized gun ownership kills almost 30,000 Americans every year. That's ten 911's every year. Yet, the same right that tries to paralyze us all in fear over terrorism insists that gun ownership not only be legal, but be utterly unregulated.

The far right takes things one step closer to Soviet era communism. They treat political liberals, opponents of war, feminists, non whites, queers, and the non religious as internal enemies that must be destroyed. Some analysts discuss the Eliminationism found on the right, yet they haven't looked at the historical parallels between the this behavior and the same kind of internal demonization that was practiced by the Soviet era communists.

Constant Propaganda, Often with Some Elements of Truth
The US is one of the most heavily propagandized societies in world history. Advertising, even for corporate products, is highly ideological, promoting the view of human beings primarily as passive purchasers whose main source of self worth is found in what they buy. Our political system is dominated by campaign ads as well.

The "news media" in this country are overwhelmingly propagandistic, resembling the old Soviet Pravda. Like the Soviet media and the media in satellite states such as Czechoslovakia, information is highly censored and distorted in the US. Most political views are either censored or ridiculed in the corporate media here in a way that is so familiar to people aware of the practices in communist societies.

Yet, both societies' media used elements of truth to produce their message. No one can reasonably dispute the fact that the US has a war mongering government, and that banks and other corporate interests abuse the people horribly. Equally accurate is that there are Islamic religious extremists at home and abroad who want to destroy the United States. Yet, in each case, the potency of the threats were exaggerated wildly in order to keep people in line.

Contempt for Environmental Protection
The reaction of the right, including President Obama and Sarah Palin, to the horrific, but easily predictable oil spill caused by offshore drilling done by British Petroleum is shockingly similar to the Soviet Union's response to the Chernobyl. This should tell people something.

The right's contempt for environmentalist and environmental concerns is one of their most hot button issues. They act as if everyone who is concerned about the environment is an atheist/Muslim/communist/liberal/terrorist/pacifist or something. Yet, if you look at the set of regimes most contemptuous of the environmental protection, those would be the former Soviet Union and its satellite states.

The American right doesn't just show a Stalinesque contempt for the planet. It also uses paranoid, Sovietesque propaganda to demonize people who care about the environment. The conspiratorial propaganda against accepting the fact of global warming is highly representative of this phenomenon.

Another Parallel: Heterosexism
This wasn't mentioned in the Museum of Communism, but heterosexism was rampant in Soviet dominated Czechoslovakia. These visceral prejudices were rationalized by saying that homosexuality was "capitalist decadence." Here in the US, visceral bigotry is rationalized by passages from a Bible that the bigots largely ignore except in those passages that involve behavior that they aren't interested in participating in.

Heterosexism also has been used by communists and American rightists to demonize opponents and frighten dissidents.

Why Doesn't the American Right See the Parallels?
The similarities have been completely censored from corporate media outlets. You have to think for yourself and get access to alternative media to recognize them.

However, media manipulation isn't the whole story. Many on the right opposed communism because it was foreign and Russian, in their rather limited world view. The actual oppression was more of an excuse. "Freedom" to the right merely means the freedom to do what the right wants. Also, much of US anticommunism has been based on picking teams similarly to how sports franchises are worshiped. The USSR and its empire were the Boston Red Sox to Yankees fans and vice versa.

 

 

Take Action to Support ENDA

Posted by libhom Saturday, May 15, 2010 2 comments

It is becoming obvious that the Democrats just aren't listening to the queer community and its supporters on the Employment Non Discrimination Act. It's time to remind them that it is their responsibility to pass this legislation ASAP.

The folks working on passing an Inclusive ENDA have put together an
Action Alert in order to keep pushing this critical issue. They also have info on where politicians stand on ENDA.

Lisa Keen, writing for Bay Windows, discusses the urgency of the situation.

Vote had been predicted to happen in April.

Supporters of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) say they have the votes to pass the bill, they are just waiting for the Democratic leadership to call the bill to the floor. But the leadership has grown quiet -- no more regular expressions of optimism and predictions for when Congress will take up the bill, and the waiting game is wearing on nerves.

"The community and the movement have done everything we’ve been asked to do," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, this week. NCTE is one of the key groups lobbying for the bill this session, taking the lead on the additional language that seeks to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, as well as sexual orientation.

"We’ve worked and worked and gotten sufficient votes to make sure gender identity stays in the bill," said Keisling, "but the bill is not being prioritized."

I don't know how the Democrats expect that queers will turn out at the polls in November for them if they keep screwing with us. In 1994, low turnout from a queer community utterly betrayed by Bill Clinton and a Democratic Congress played a role in Democratic defeats. The Democratic Party has enough problems. You'd think they would avoid alienating one of their core constituencies and pass legislation that has overwhelming public support. It makes absolutely no sense.

Please Take Action Now!

 

From UPI 5/13/10:

"We're a social institution," Selig said. "We've done everything we should do. It's our responsibility. We're privileged to do it. And we'll continue to do it.

"That's the issue and that's the answer. Like I told the clubs today, 'Be proud of what we've done.' They are. We control our own fate, and we've done very well."

But asked directly whether the 2011 all-star game would remain in Phoenix, Selig replied: "I think I adequately answered that question," MLB.com reported.

protester with sign that says Racism is not an American valueLet's see. The state of Arizona has blatantly and officially endorsed the white supremacist ideology of Hitler and the Nazis, and Selig says "We've done everything we should do." What a racist and unpatriotic piece of walking garbage! That man is as bigoted and disloyal to America as Jan Brewer and Sarah Palin.

Opposing the Arizona Boycott is the moral equivalent of urinating on the graves of Americans who died fighting the Nazis in World War II, no ifs, no ands, no buts, and no excuses.

I have ancestors who are indigenous to this country, people of the same race are targeted by the bigoted bullshit in Arizona. I take it very personally, because it is a deliberate personal attack on part of who I am as a human being.

Next time those bigots try to build a baseball stadium with government money in NYC, I will fight it tooth and nail. Baseball no longer has the right to call itself "America's Game."

Photo: Bebopsmile

 

Why Would I Want to Travel To Arizona?

Posted by libhom Thursday, May 13, 2010 4 comments

cake with WTF written on itI've read about a lot of calls for boycotts of the state of Arizona in response to the racist lunacy that keeps escalating in that Hate State. The boycott campaigns definitely raised a question in my mind.

Why would I, or any other sane person, want to travel to a place that is in the midst of a wave of batshit crazy, racist hysteria? Being surrounded by the deranged just isn't my kind of idea of a fun vacation.

First, they sign a law that will force local police to investigate deporting Latino US citizens who don't carry their birth certificates around (as if white people are expected to do that). Then, those lunatics go after ethnic studies. What's next? Are they going to add a swastika to their state flag?

When the governor and majority of the state legislature of a place are acting like they belong in straitjackets, that isn't what I have in mind for my time off. I'll travel somewhere else, thank you.

Notice to the Batshit Crazy Racists from Arizona
The comments form specifically mentions that racist comments are subject to deletion. Don't expect your hateful garbage to ever see the light of day. Asswipes like you are why I refuse to travel to the Hate State of Arizona. Keep spewing filth that reminds me of why I want nothing to do with your crazy state. That will really do a good job of changing my mind....not.

 

Queers United recently ran a post which criticized a transphobic and homophobic episode of "Family Guy." The content of the post follows.

Family Guy's Transphobic Mother's Day Episode

Family Guy an animated television series on Fox aired an extremely transphobic episode on Mother's Day. The episode called "Quagmire's Dad" was about a big life change for his father, a recognized Navy war hero veteran. The episode is filled with homophobic and transphobic language and judgment.

It starts off with the father coming to town and Quagmire's friends commenting on how "gay" the father seemed, because he exhibited gay stereotypes including an (effeminate voice, desire to entertain, drinks Cosmo's, etc). When Quagmire confronts his dad he admits he admits he is not gay but really a woman trapped inside a man's body.

Quagmire asks for support from the Griffin's, the wife Lois offers that her husband Peter will go to the hospital for the sex change operation. Lois and Peter remark that the whole thing seems "pretty gay" but that it is "obviously weird" and Lois finishes off by telling the two men that they should "enjoy the circus" referring to the hospital visitation.

In the waiting room there is the talk of "he/she" and the "penis being chopped off" an obvious disregard of using correct pronouns and propagation of the myth that transwomen remove their penis.

When Quagmire's father transitions she takes on the name Ida and is invited over to the Griffin's for dinner. She brings a pie but Lois immediately tells her daughter to throw it away. This plays on the irrational fears of interacting with trans people. Over dinner Peter asks the inappropriate question "do you miss your penis?" and asks about the legitimacy of her "knockers".

When Ida meets the Griffin's dog, they develop a relationship. The dog (Brian) is thrilled at meeting a new and wonderful woman but gets disgusted and vomits when he finds out she is transgender.

Real issues came up during the episode which explored issues such as orientation & gender identity, coming out, surgery, and family and societal acceptance of transition. Unfortunately the show misrepresented facts about the transgender experience and instead exploited trans people for a few laughs.

Fox accepts feedback on their shows, please tell them transphobic material does not belong on the air and that they should pull the show.
askfox@fox.com

This post is typical of the faboulous queer activism that is done on the blog. What wasn't typical was the response. The post get over ten times the number of comments that usually show up on the blog. The difference was a torrent of anonymous postings defending the bigoted episode. The main talking points were that Family Guy makes fun of all sorts of groups (though the show does not make fun of people for being white, heterosexual, rich, Christian, or male) and that the blog's author should "lighten up."

It's been known for some time now that corporate PR people do post on blogs, usually failing to disclose their corporate connections. This is a rather blatant example of it, where PR people freeped a queer activist blog posting. However, it is important to be conscious of the possibility of more subtle corporate trolling, especially when a new commenter's statements don't pass the smell test.

Rupert Murdoch and his fascist media empire certainly is reprehensible, not only in its ideology, but in its tactics.

 

wealth for Wall St vs health for people with AIDSIn yet another betrayal, President Obama has failed to meet his campaign commitments on Global AIDS. In fact, his proposed funding levels don't even keep up with inflation. Here's the protest press release:

AIDS Activists Demand End to White House Failures on Global AIDS, Protest at $15,000-a-plate fundraiser

Who: People with AIDS and their allies from the US and immigrants from countries affected by Obama's broken AIDS promises, including members of ACT UP Philadelphia, ACT UP/New York, Africa Action, African Services Committee, NYC AIDS Housing Network, VOCAL-NY Users Union, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project, Housing Works, Health GAP, American Medical Student association, MCCNY Charities, Rude Mechanical Orchestra and Philadelphia Global AIDS Watchdogs.

What: Outraged at President Obama's about-face on AIDS, hundreds of angry AIDS activists will demonstrate outside of his appearance at the DCCC's $15,000-to-$50,000-a-ticket fundraiser. Activists will come from New York, New England, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC to demand that Obama meet his promises to fight global AIDS and stop turning people who were promised life-saving medication away from AIDS clinics around the globe. These protests follow frightening stories in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Newsweek.

There will be many "arresting" photo opportunities!

When/Where: 5:00 PM, Thursday, May 13th, outside the St Regis Hotel, 55th St. at 5th Ave., New York City

Why: On the campaign trail, President Obama pledged "to provide at least $50 billion by 2013 for the global fight against HIV/AIDS, including our fair share of the Global Fund, in order to at least double the number of HIV-positive people on treatment and continue to provide treatments to one-third of all those who desperately need them."

This promise was ratified into law in 2008, through the "Lantos-Hyde US Global Leadership against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria Act," which authorized $48 billion over five years. Now President Obama is breaking that promise.

The reality is that since taking office, President Obama's budgets have shifted funding away from AIDS programs, and his commitments to fighting AIDS have not even kept pace with inflation, let alone increased to the level he promised. As has been highlighted by recent stories in the Boston Globe and Newsweek, a flat-funded budget means that people who were tested under US-sponsored programs and promised treatment when they got sick are now being turned away. Clinics receiving money from the US government are being instructed to enroll no new patients in life-saving treatment programs. Doctors are being instructed to ration drugs and face choices between giving their dwindling supplies to young mothers or children. People who are turned away often have nowhere else to go, and will die. "Obama's broken promises are killing people with AIDS around the world. We cannot backtrack on our commitment to saving lives," said ACT UP Philadelphia member Jose de Marco.

Barack Bush strikes again!

George W. Bush was infamous for big talk on global AIDS funding, only to stiff people who have a fatal disease when it came time to actually fund the big talk. During the campaign, Obama praised Bush's shameful record on global AIDS, which really worried me.

How many people will die needlessly of AIDS in underdeveloped countries before Barack Obama gives a shit?

Photo: Reikhavok

 

He has an interesting perspective.



 

Excellent Commentary By NGLTF Head on ENDA

Posted by libhom Monday, May 10, 2010 1 comments

protest sign with rainbow that says The Gay Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See Item 1The 4/30/10 Edition of The Hill, a publication that targets Congress and their employees, has an Op Ed piece that makes a strong case for the passage of ENDA, the Employment Non Discrimination Act. It is written by Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund. Here's a passage that I find particularly persuasive.

Last week, I heard from James in Florida, who several years earlier, had just gotten a raise for his great work as an account manager when he was seen leaving a gay bar by a coworker. His employer asked him if he was gay and he said he yes, wanting to be honest. He was fired and it took him years to find a comparable job; even with his college degree, he could only find a job as a food server.

Congress heard last fall from Vandy Beth Glenn, who landed her dream job as a copy editor with the Georgia Legislature in 2005. After four years in the U.S. Navy and reaching the rank of lieutenant, this was her chance to use her journalism degree from the University of Georgia. She was a reliable and valued employee for more than two years until the day she announced she was going to transition from male to female. She too was fired and escorted from her workplace.

This happens every day in this country, and it will continue to happen until Congress passes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

I've long thought that it was important to argue for queer issues in human terms, where we easily win. I encourage you to read the entire commentary.

The NGLTF is encouraging people to contact Congress.
We are closer than ever to getting workplace discrimination protections for all LGBT people passed in the House. Text “ENDA” to 69866 to be connected to your representative or call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121. Your phone calls will make a huge difference. Even if you think your representative is supportive or if you've called before, it's still important to call now!


The militant fundamentalists at the "American Family Association" are having their flock send emails to Congress to oppose ENDA. It is important to keep them from imposing their religious beliefs on LGBT Americans. The teabaggers are trying to stop ENDA too.

On our side, PFLAG also has an Action Alert for people who support LGBT equality to email their representatives. Please fill it out.

ENDA is the most important queer issue in terms of the number of people affected and the influence over peoples' lives. ENDA is so critical that six protesters were arrested at Nancy Pelosi's office last month, trying to get action on the bill.

Also, if you live in Alaska, please take part in Bent Alaska's Action Alert for ENDA.

Photo: afagen

 

CO2 Really Is Going Up

Posted by libhom Sunday, May 09, 2010 4 comments

Here is a widget from CO2now.org which illustrate how much CO2 us humans have been adding to the Earth's atmosphere. (I should credit It's My Right to Be Left of Center for posting another Global Warming widget from the same people.)


Current chart and data for atmospheric CO2




You can also add this widget to a blog posting of yours.


You also might want to check out their global temperature graph, which is pretty disturbing.

 

Caroline LucasThe UK election has gotten a lot of coverage here in the US, but the best news has largely been ignored by the corporate media in this country. (Guardian 5/7/10)

The Green leader, Caroline Lucas, promised today to be a radical and distinctive voice in parliament after overturning a hefty Labour majority in Brighton to become her party's first-ever MP.

Her stunning success, involving an 8.4% swing in the student and bohemian-heavy Brighton Pavilion constituency, marked the arrival of "a new political force in Westminister", Lucas said following a nail-biting eight-hour count that ended in ecstasy for her still disbelieving supporters.

However, the Greens' triumph was tempered by a slight drop in their share of the national poll, at about 1%, something the party put down to left-leaning voters switching to Labour or the Liberal Democrats to try to prevent a Tory government.

The last paragraph alludes to the undemocratic voting system that exists in Britain as well as here in the US. They call it "first past the post." It means that the candidate with the most votes in the district wins, even if that candidate is far from winning a majority. This means that parties can win a majority of seats in parliament or congress with a minority of the vote if there are more than two significant political parties. It also means that people whose views aren't represented by the main parties get partially or completely disenfranchised. For instance, Margaret Thatcher never came close to winning a majority vote in parliamentary elections.

Most European democracies (and most democracies in general) have at least some proportional representation. Proportional representation means that each party runs a slate and the voters vote for that slate, rather than running in various districts. Voter turnout tends to be much higher because there usually is a party to represent each voter, unlike the US where the Democrats and the Republicans only really represent wealthy, heterosexual, white, Christian males.

Some people like instant runoff voting, which gives the illusion of greater representation. However, with the way that peoples' second and third choices generally fall, using this system in district elections would just perpetuate the Democrats' and the Republicans' duopoly in power. I've seen instant runoff voting, in practice, on small scales in political clubs, and it does nothing to enfranchise people who are left out despite the theories behind it.

Having a Green in the British parliament will give a voice to progressive values and put pressure on the Labor and Liberal Democratic Parties to stop acting like Tory light. If only we had a Green or two in Congress here in the US.

Photo: Subterranean Tourist Board

 

From Isthmus the Daily Page 5/7/10:

The UW-Madison Atheists, Humanists & Agnostics group decided to make a statement by chalking stick figures of "Muhammad" around campus. Since the night they drew them, there has been some curious signs of tampering. Click on the "gallery" tab below the picture to see some examples. They're quite funny.

Keep in mind that in some European countries, such a simple display of religious criticism can get people in trouble for "inciting hatred." In fact, in France, some left-wing groups support re-introducing the crime of "blasphemy" for any criticism of a religion. While it is unfortunate that America is largely run by religious lunatics, we as a people have the power to mock them when they deserve it.

I do sympathize with the many Muslim students who have to put up with suspicion and prejudice that their equally superstitious Christian friends do not face. It's unfortunate that many Muslims may feel that this display is just another part of the ongoing cultural war against a religious and cultural minority. It is not. It is a principled stand against religious extremism, in all of its forms.

I think it's great that people are standing up to religious extremism.

Be sure to check out the gallery linked from the article. The religious nutjobs have been erasing the name of the pedoprophet of Islam.

 



Obama needs to stop pandering to Big Oil. Big Oil companies are literally enemies of America.

 

My Blog Turns Five on This Year's National Reason Day

Posted by libhom Thursday, May 06, 2010 5 comments

five leafed ivy

Photo: Martin LeBar

My blog has been there five years now. Guess I'm pretty stubborn.

Recently, I received an email from the American Humanist Association notifying me about National Reason Day:

Every year on the first Thursday in May, our right to religious freedom--the right to decide when, how and whether or not to pray free from government interference or compulsion--is disregarded. The National Day of Prayer, which will be observed this year on May 6, is an event in which citizens are urged by the president to "turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups and as individuals."

The government has no business directing citizens to pray. Moreover, such an observance is especially offensive to nontheists, who are made to feel as though they don't count.

This affront to our First Amendment principle of separation of church and state has been ruled as unconstitutional by a federal judge. Yet President Obama has indicated that he plans to celebrate the National Day of Prayer anyway.

You can learn more at the National Day of Reason website.

Barack Bush, showing his contempt for the Constitution and the civil rights of atheists, did indeed issue such a proclamation for the "National Day of Prayer." Remember how he talked about "change" a lot during his campaign?

Anyway, this seems to be a good time to go over the issues and concerns that motivated me to start this blog in the first place.

A national hate crimes bill passed for queer and disabled people. This was a huge deal, and it was the second most important lgbt issue, behind employment discrimination. Other queer issues have remained stalled on the national level, and the Democrats still are trying to avoid passing legislation supporting us whenever they think they can get away with it.

Racism and sexism are even worse today than they were five years ago, especially sexism. The war on Iraq continues with no end in sight. The corporate media are even more rightist and propagandistic than back then. Our tax code is still inequitable, our military is absurdly overextended throughout the world, and corporate power/corruption still runs roughshod over the middle class and the poor.

Religious extremists of a lot of faiths are still doing everything they can to shove their superstitious beliefs down the throats of people who don't share them. State/Church separation needs to do a lot better here in the US. Yet, there are a couple of good things on this front. More and more religious hypocrisy and barbarism is being exposed. More importantly, freethinkers are becoming more vocal and assertive in expressing their atheism, agnosticism, and humanism.

Having Barack Bush in the White House has created the eighth term of the Reagan administration, and Obusha has acted like almost as much of a wingnut Republican as the Clintons. Our elections are still being bought and sold by wealthy and corporate interests.

It looks like I will have a lot to write about for some time.

 

Did He Want Help With His Luggage or His Package?

Posted by libhom Wednesday, May 05, 2010 3 comments

Christian extremists protesting against queer event
Bigoted shitheads acting out on the ideology promoted by Christian Taliban leaders such as George Rekers.
Photo: Gay Liberation Network

George Rekers, a militant Christian fundamentalist who co-founded the "Family Research Council," has been caught with a rent boy from RentBoy.com. (Raw Story 5/4/10)

The escort said he had met George Rekers, professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of South Carolina, on RentBoy.com. Rekers, when confronted, didn't deny that he'd met the callboy online, but said he had hired him to help him carry his baggage and didn't learn he was generally hired for "private company" until mid-way through his European vacation.

"I had surgery," Rekers told Miami's New Times, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (The paper noted that it didn't stop him from pushing a "tottering" pile of luggage through Miami International Airport.)

I'm sure you're shocked, just shocked, to read this.

Hypocrisy among Christian religious extremists is as commonplace as weird facial expressions from Sarah Palin, but Rekers' excuse is novel. I just checked out RentBoy.com, and it is totally obvious that the guys there are sex workers, not valets.

I've wondered how much hypocrisy among Muslim religious extremists we would find if there were even marginal press freedom in predominantly Islamic societies. My suspicion is that Osama bin Laden totally goes crazy with the booze, the opium, and the hookers.

All humor aside, Rekers has worked very hard to promote bigotry, discrimination, and violence against queers. That is the true scandal, not hiring a prostitute. Yet, I bet the corporate media will make the sex, not the oppression, the scandal.

Reker's attacks on the queer community have been quite recent. (San Diego Gay and Lesbian News 5/4/10)
Rekers, a Baptist minister, is considered one of the most prominent anti-gay activists in the U.S. He frequently testifies for the Christian right in court cases involving gay rights. He was an “expert” witness for the Christian right in a 2008 case defending Florida’s ban on gay adoption and in a 2004 case in Arkansas, also on the same issue. In both cases, attorneys for the other side widely disputed his expertise.

Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out provides further background on this dangerous religious extremist.
George A. Rekers is not a household name, but if you own an anti-gay book the chances are his name is in your household, buried deep in the book’s endnotes. While Rekers keeps a low public profile, his fingerprints are on almost every anti-gay effort to demean and dehumanize LGBT people.

He is the author of numerous books including, “Shaping Your Child’s Sexual Identity” and “Growing Up Straight: What Every Family Should Know About Homosexuality.” A major anti-gay figure that used to work at University of South Carolina, Rekers is a founder of the Family Research Council, a board member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, (NARTH) and testified as an expert witness in favor of gay adoption bans in both Arkansas and Florida.

In other words, Rekers is part of the psuedointellectual infrastructure of the Christian Taliban.

 

I could use my own words, but Heaven 17 said it so much better all those years ago.



 

Warning! Keep your kids away from scumbag molesting priests.

Desperate to change the subject from the rampant rape of children (and fairly common rape of adult women) by his clergy, Vatican Dictator Joseph Ratzinger paid a visit to the infamous Shroud of Turin. Ratzi went on to make a complete ass of himself. (Independent 5/4/10)

The shroud of Turin allowed Pope Benedict XVI a rare moment of reprieve from the raging clerical child sex scandal yesterday as he prayed before the relic after performing open air Mass with some 25,000 faithful in the Italian city. "The Holy Shroud eloquently reminds us always of the one who was crucified and who has shared our suffering," the pontiff said.

Last year, an Italian scientist recreated the Shroud of Turin. (Reuters 10/5/09 - Hat Tip to Pharyngula)
Garlaschelli reproduced the full-sized shroud using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages.

They placed a linen sheet flat over a volunteer and then rubbed it with a pigment containing traces of acid. A mask was used for the face.

PIGMENT, BLOODSTAINS AND SCORCHES

The pigment was then artificially aged by heating the cloth in an oven and washing it, a process which removed it from the surface but left a fuzzy, half-tone image similar to that on the Shroud. He believes the pigment on the original Shroud faded naturally over the centuries.

They then added blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains to achieve the final effect.

The Shroud had already been proven as fake by carbon dating that placed it in the 13th or 14th century. Now that scientists have shown how it was made, the last excuse by the RCC relic industry, that it couldn't have been made by medieval people, has been disproven.

2 million easy marks are expected to visit this fraud.

It's not just that the Shroud is fake. The fact that Ratzi knows it's a fake and stages a greedy dog and pony show with it demonstrates how dishonest he is. (It's a bit late for him to need to display how completely amoral he is.) Ratzi's worship of a fake relic also makes you wonder how fake all of his supposed concern is over the unending revelations of Roman Catholic clerical rape.

 

Back on April 6th, I ran a post with three political actions people could take to fight Global Warming. The first item, with the picture I ran, follows:

Sign with Area Closed: Oil Spill

1. Tell Barack Bush You Don't Want Any More Offshore Drilling
Now that Barack Bush has announced that he will open up parts of America's coastline to Big Oil and big oil spills, people need to take action. Sarah Palin may like the idea of "drill, baby drill," but responsible people know that we need to end our habit of drilling for more oil instead of building more trains. A lot of the coverage of this focuses on the danger to the beaches and the tourism industry. Those problems are very real, but we also need to keep a focus on impacts on climate change.

People who care about the environment, unlike our President, are urging that he reverse this shocking and disgusting decision. If you aren't familiar with the issue, the Center for American Progress has ten reasons why the drilling shouldn't happen.

Sign 350.org's Petition!

Sign Firedog Lake's Petition!

Also, you can join the Facebook Group Against the Offshore Drilling. (not affiliated with Firedog Lake)

I've turned off the link to the Facebook group which no longer is there.

I could make a show of how psychic I was or how brilliant of a prognosticator I supposedly am, but honesty requires that I point out that catastrophic oil spills happen periodically. Anyone who knows the history of offshore drilling is keenly aware of this.

That isn't all. Think about this. If an earthquake in the Carribean set off a Tsunami, there could be dozens or even hundreds of oil spills from many of the platforms out there and in the Gulf of Mexico. Snark loving liberals have the real slogan down pat.

"Spill, Baby, Spill"

 

map of SpainA lot of attention is deservedly going to Greece, which is facing a fiscal crisis due to the global downturn. Greece isn't the only European country in trouble.

Spain's unemployment rate was at 20% at the end of the first quarter this year. Official unemployment figures during the beginning of the Great Depression here in the US was at 25%, to provide a sense of perspective.

Most of the corporate media reporting on Spain, like that on Greece, is focusing on demands by the bankster controlled IMF and the corrupt rightist government in Germany for the Spanish government to cut spending on social programs (though not on the military). No mention is made about making the banks and the speculators who own them pay for the damage they have done.

Coverage on the global downturn typically censors the idea of making the rich pay their fair share of taxes instead of budget cuts for the middle class and the poor. Global tax cuts for the rich have done enormous damage to the well being of the overwhelming majority of the people on the planet, yet that topic is kept off the table by the "liberal press."

 

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