• I am a homo. That is a good thing. I am a liberal. That is a good thing.
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Muslim 911 Victims

Posted by libhom Tuesday, August 31, 2010 2 comments

About.com's site on Islam is the source, and they include biographical information on some of the victims.

Most people who live or work in NYC aren't the least surprised to hear or read about Muslim victims killed by the terrorists. We interact with Muslims on a daily basis. It's perfectly ordinary for us.

However, for people who know less about the city, this may be a surprise. In any case, keeping this in mind gives one a different perspective on the efforts of the far right to lump all Muslims in our country with the Islamic extremists.

Samad Afridi
Ashraf Ahmad
Shabbir Ahmad
Umar Ahmad
Azam Ahsan
Ahmed Ali
Tariq Amanullah
Touri Bolourchi
Salauddin Ahmad Chaudhury
Abdul K. Chowdhury
Mohammad S. Chowdhury
Jamal Legesse Desantis
Ramzi Attallah Douani
SaleemUllah Farooqi
Syed Fatha
Mohammad Hamdani
Salman Hamdani
Aisha Harris
Shakila Hoque
Nabid Hossain
Shahzad Hussain
Talat Hussain
Mohammad Shah Jahan
Yasmeen Jamal
Mohammed Jawarta
Arslan Khan Khakwani
Asim Khan
Ataullah Khan
Ayub Khan
Qasim Ali Khan
Sarah Khan
Taimour Khan
Yasmeen Khan
Zahida Khan
Badruddin Lakhani
Omar Malick
Nurul Hoque Miah
Mubarak Mohammad
Boyie Mohammed
Raza Mujtaba
Omar Namoos
Mujeb Qazi
Tarranum Rahim
Ehtesham U. Raja
Ameenia Rasool
Naveed Rehman
Yusuf Saad
Rahma Salie
Shoman Samad
Asad Samir
Khalid Shahid
Mohammed Shajahan
Naseema Simjee
Jamil Swaati
Sanober Syed
Robert Elias Talhami
Michael Theodoridis
W. Wahid

fist clenching cash
Photo: Muffett

A lot of liberals and progressives were outraged by the Democrats' wealthcare bill that takes care and money from poor, middle class, and elderly Americans and gives a ton of money to HMOs, health insurers, and the rich people who speculate in their stocks. The vast majority of liberals and progressives were outraged by the US Supreme Court's Citizens United decision which absurdly claims that corporations have constitutional rights and that campaign contributions are "speech."

Yet, very few people have made the connection between the two.

The US Supreme Court's attack on democracy took place on January 21, 2010 and the wealthcare bill passed that March. This is really important. Efforts to include a public option and to roll back some of the wealthcare bill's many attacks on the non rich were being fought up to the end. Nearly all of those efforts collapsed at the end, in a political landscape reshaped by the Court's decision to disenfranchise ordinary Americans.

It's become obvious to me that the Democrats decided that corporations now have absolute power in our country and that Democratic voters and grassroots activists don't matter anymore. They made a calculate decision to side with the corporations against us.

This follows a pattern of refusing to take actions (if necessary by budget reconciliation) that would improve the lives of middle class and poor Americans such jobs bills and the Employee Free Choice act. In fact, the Democrats were so leery of even allowing for the possibility of using budget reconciliation that they didn't even pass a budget this year.

The problem with the Democrats' gambit is that midterms are decided by turnout, and the GOP style policies of the Democratic Party leadership has given liberals and progressives little reason to vote at all, unless it is to vote Green.

The saddest irony is that none of the "justices" that voted for corporate meddling in elections has any legitimate right to be serving on the court at this time. Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy were involved in the theft of the 2000 election, and they should have been impeached and removed from office for it. The nominations of Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court were invalid because George W. Bush never was legally the President of the US and therefore had no legal right to make any appointments to any government body.

Corruption leads to more corruption, which leads, in turn, to more corruption. It's no wonder our country is in so much trouble.

 

I'm still waiting for her to challenge Blumenthal to a WWE style Bra and Panties Match. If the McMahon family is this dysfunctional in real life?

Will Linda McMahon act like this on the Senate floor?


Linda Will Cut Vince's Grape Fruits


WWE Stephanie McMahon Slaps her mother Linda McMahon


Linda McMahon slaps Stephanie


Linda McMahon pushes Stephanie

Who needs Jerry Springer when Linda McMahon is trying to buy a Senate seat?

 


Parody Video of Meg Whitman's Efforts to Buy California Governor's Office

Donna Smith community organizer with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, American SiCKO and is a national single-payer healthcare advocate. She has a wonderful commentary comparing the Blagojevich office selling controversy with the routine practice of the super rich buying political offices. The full commentary can be found on Michael Moore's website.

Forgive me for being a tad confused. I am finding it difficult to understand why one person goes to jail for privately selling an appointment for elected office while others have a legal right to buy their elected positions. The U.S. Supreme Court says corporations are persons in terms of exercising free speech through political contributions. Other persons who behave more like corporations than persons are spending personal fortunes buying positions of power in the public sector.
Meg Whitman is working hard to buy the governorship of California. Rick Scott is doing the same in Florida. Millions and millions of dollars of their own personal fortunes have already been spent in their primary battles and both plan to spend “whatever it takes” to win. In both states, the good that could be accomplished with what these two corporate born and bred candidates are spending to win their elections points to how insane our election process has become.

In contrast, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich faces another trial and millions in public funds will be spent trying to convict him of selling his favor in the appointment of a new U.S. Senator to Barack Obama’s seat after the 2008 Presidential election.

We call selling a political office a crime; we don’t seem to mind buying those same seats.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like what Blagojevich purportedly did. In fact, I am annoyed beyond what is probably reasonable that the former governor of my home state of Illinois makes the appointment process seem so ugly and tawdry. Illinois just doesn’t need any more corruption scandals. There are millions of wonderful, honest people in Illinois who deserve the best of governance.

Is it acceptable if a corporation contributes huge amounts of money with the intent of gaining political and policy favor? It certainly is legal. In fact, the Supreme Court said we violate the “corporate person’s” First Amendment rights to free speech if we limit their spending on campaigns and issues.

But wait. Suggest that the same political or policy favor will be granted during a private phone conversation and you may go to prison? More...

Bloomberg looking insufferably smugMs. Smith is in California, so it is hardly surprising that she is focused primarily on Meg Whitman's jihad to use her dirty EBay money to buy the governor's office there. Meg Whitman certainly is incredibly evil. However, those of us in NYC have seen the disastrous effects of Michael Bloomberg using tens of millions of dollars from his personal fortune (plus millions more in Bloomberg Financial's charitable donations) to buy the mayor's office here three times. Bloomberg is doing everything to destroy everything distinctive about a city he despises and to drive out middle class and poor residents. He sees giving money to his rich friends to be the main purpose of the city's treasury.

Our corrupt US Supreme Court, our lax and hypocritical anti corruption laws, and our complicit corporate media have completely obliterated any real democracy in America. I strongly admire Michael Moore's long standing commitment to supporting democracy in our country, and I also admire his efforts to provide a platform for others doing the same.

Photos: whiteafrican

Edwin Martinez1

 

Mock, Paper, Scissors usually is filled with delightful snark, but this time, Tengrain has expressed how I feel about Osama bin Mehlman coming out better than I could.

Go to His Blog and Check Out What He Has to Say

 

people fighting over money bags

The following press release from Americans United for Separation of Church and State brings up some important issues.

Congress Should Reject Conservative Religious Groups’ Call For Taxpayer-Funded Job Bias, Says Americans United

August 25, 2010

Amercians United's logo with Keep Church and State Separate BelowIf ‘Faith-Based’ Charities Want To Discriminate In Hiring On Religious Grounds, They Shouldn’t Get Public Funds, Says AU’s Lynn

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today urged Congress to reject an appeal for public funding of “faith-based” charities that discriminate in hiring on religious grounds.

In a letter to every member of Congress today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, World Vision and other conservative religious organizations demanded that faith-based charities get government subsidies even if they hire only job applicants who meet certain religious criteria.

Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, “I am appalled that these religious leaders are trying to undermine the civil rights protections that every American counts on. If government pays for a social work position, every qualified applicant should be considered for the job regardless of their views on religion.

“At a time when the economy is hard-hit and a lot of people are out of work, it is disgraceful that some religious leaders want to deny government-funded job opportunities on the basis of religion,” he continued. “Members of Congress must say no to this exercise in discrimination.”

Lynn said the signers of today’s letter represent only one part of the broad spectrum of religion in America. He noted that groups representing the Jewish, Baptist, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Unitarian and Quaker communities have strongly opposed government-subsidized job bias.

Leading civil rights and civil liberties groups have also opposed this kind of hiring discrimination.

Lynn noted that public opinion polls show that Americans reject publicly funded faith-based bias by a wide margin. According to a 2008 Pew Research Center poll, 73 percent of Americans say organizations that hire only people who share their religious beliefs should not receive government grants.

There are a few things I would also like to bring up on the subject.

1) Government funding of religious organizations under any circumstance violates state/church separation. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the "establishment of religion," not just the establishment of a religion. There is no possible way that the government can fund religious groups or use them to provide services without establishing religion.

2) The very act of being a religious charity is discriminatory. An inclusive charity includes people and provides services to people regardless of faith or freedom from faith.

3) The very premise behind the hate based initiatives is bigoted against freethinkers. These existence of them is based on the claim that religion makes people better, which is as fact free as it is insulting to atheists and agnostics.

stop sign modified to say stop greed4) There already are plenty of greedy and power mad corporations corrupting our government for their gain. The last thing we need to do is add churches and religious groups to the corrupting entities. Privatization has been proven itself to be a corrupting influence in every society where it has been tried, and churches already corrupt human societies enough as it is.

5) When President Obama followed through on his campaign threat to expand Bush's hate based initiatives, this was terrible news for the First Amendment and the civil rights of atheists. What did surprise me was that many in the LGBT community were actually surprised when a lot of the funded churches and people making funding decisions were viciously heterosexist. All the major religions in this society are bigoted against queers. If they have their hand in the till, queers suffer.

Illustration: HikingArtist.com

Photos:typebalance

elisfanclub

 

Refusing to go along with the corporate media's and extreme right's narrative about the proposed Tribeca mosque which would be two blocks from Ground Zero, a 911 Families group has again expressed its support for building the mosque and cultural center in that location. From Peaceful Tomorrows 8/14/10:

9/11 Families Applaud President Obama's Support of Religious Freedom
August 14th, 2010

New York, NY, Aug. 14 -- September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows applauds President Barack Obama for his statement in support of the building of a mosque near Ground Zero. On that day, members of our organization paid the ultimate price. We lost loved ones in the tragic attacks, attacks perpetrated by criminals. Our losses will never be redeemed; our wounds will never fully heal. On 9/11/2001 while many of us buried our loved ones we also took heart in our nation's principles and our rule of law. Ours is a nation that fights for religious freedom. Many of us who call ourselves Americans do so because we came to escape religious persecution in other lands.

We applaud President Obama for his leadership on this issue. Simply put:
we lost our family members on 9/11/2001, but will not lose our nation, too. America, the concept and the people and the land thrive when we chose to trust in our principles rather than cave to our basest fears.

What better place for healing, reconciliation and understanding than Ground Zero? We honor our family members by practicing American principles and moving forward from Ground Zero to a future of peaceful coexist

wall street tile mosaic sign in subway stationI remember reading about the hearings for the proposed mosque in Manhattan. 911 families spoke out on both sides of the issue. Nearly everyone from the neighborhood spoke out in favor of the mosque, regardless of whether or not they were 911 families. The original opposition came from outsiders who know nothing about New York and who hate queers, Jews, and people of color just as much as they hate Muslims.

Corporate media thugs were quick to promote the hypocritical anti mosque campaign for reasons that aren't too difficult to figure out. The last thing their corporate masters want is for middle class and poor Americans to realize that our real enemies are not the people who want to build a mosque in Tribeca. The real enemies of the American people are the people who control the financial institutions a few blocks away on Wall St.

Photo: bluesmoon

 

The corporate media is beating the drums about this being a bad year for the Democrats, yet they seldom seriously mention Republicans taking the Senate. There are a lot of reasons for this, many of which are worth discussing.

Current Senate Makeup:
57 Democrats, 41 Republicans, 2 Independents.

That's a lot of ground to make up in one election. The one thing that might help the GOP is that Joe Lieberbush is likely to switch from Independent to Republican if they can get to 51 seats. Ben Nelson is likely to switch from Democrat to Republican under those circumstances too. The problem for the rogue elephants is getting to 51 seats.

Let's look at some of the obstacles facing Republicans as they try to seize control of the Senate.

Open Seats: GOP 8 vs. Democrats 7
Now that Murkowski has lost her Alaska primary, the GOP will have a lot of open seats, one more than the Democrats. This spreads the GOP pretty thin financially.

The Teabaggers
What a problem for the GOP. First, they have gotten incredibly weak candidates nominated in Nevada, Florida, and Kentucky. The GOP just has lost its incumbent in Alaska. It's highly likely the Florida Senate seat will shift from GOP to independent because of this. The Republicans will have to spend a whole lot more money to win the other three seats, which should have been easy pickups/holds for them. The teabagger candidates also will put off moderate voters.

Probably even worse for the Republican Party is the effect that the teabaggers will have on Democratic voters. The Democratic politicians have done a lot to demoralize their voters this time, but the thought of teabaggers running the country is enough to get a lot of Democratic core constituencies off to the polls. GOP turnout would be high this time with or without the crazies, so there isn't any real benefit to them. Also, the teabaggers keep saying "vote against all incumbents" which doesn't exactly help GOP incumbents.

Fundraising Deficit
The GOP's Senate campaign committee his still way behind the Democratic one in cash on hand. The Republicans have been doing somewhat better than their opponents in recent months, but not enough to make up for the huge early money lead the Democrats have.

Bush
There may be some swing House seats where Bush is more popular than Obama, but that is the case in few, if any, Senate seats which currently are held by Democrats. Reminding voters of how the economy was in freefall under Bush will give Democrats an edge.

Two Loopy Multimillionaires
The GOP probably hoped that failed former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and former WWE CEO/Diva would help the party by self financing. However, both politicians have a tremendous amount of baggage, especially Ms. McMahon. Their primary victories also further the perception that the GOP is for sale.

Racist Hysteria
The racist hysteria in the GOP against Latinos is at a fever pitch. This will almost certainly shift many Latino voters to the Democratic Party and dramatically increase turnout among Latino Democrats. Racism is playing a role in the hysteria over a proposed mosque which would be a couple of blocks from Ground Zero. Before 911, Arab and Muslim voters trended Republican because the Democrats were perceived as being more pro Israel. The GOP is doing everything they can to push Muslim and Arab voters to vote for Democrats this time out.

Then, there's the rampant anti black hatred that permeates the GOP and their media enablers. This will give African American voters added incentive to vote this time, even though Obama's policies haven't been that much different than Bush's.

Partisan Affiliations of Current Officeholders: 18 GOP - 16 Democrats
Despite the fairly large majority of Democrats in the Senate now, a majority of seats open for election this time are held by the GOP. Having to defend a few more seats is a small disadvantage for the GOP.

Off Message Mosque Hysteria
Republican candidates should be running on the economy, in terms of standard electoral strategy. Yet, the GOP is obsessing on a Tribeca mosque a couple of blocks from Ground Zero. That mosque will have no impact on the lives of the people outside of Manhattan and has overwhelming support there.

Can They Do It?
It's possible. Obama and the Democrats on Capitol Hill are governing so much like Republicans that they may just flush their Senate majority down the toilet. The economy is in a holding pattern at the moment, which isn't exactly helping the party in power, and the Democrats seem to have little interest in pushing through the jobs programs that would get people back to work or running ads attacking Republicans as being against jobs. Dithering, conservativism, and cowardice among the Democrats are the only hopes the GOP has of grabbing the Senate.

 

Some Reasons to Keep Boycotting British Petroleum

Posted by libhom Tuesday, August 24, 2010 2 comments

Revoke BP's Corporate Charter http://bit.ly/revokebpscharter Seize BP Petition button













British Petroleum is still an incredibly evil corporation. The alleged end of the Gulf oil spill may have moved them out of many of the headlines, but their behavior hasn't improved. They still deserve to be boycotted and put out of business. Here are some examples of why.

British Petroleum Weaseling Out of Cleanup Commitment

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu had some recent comments that suggest that British Petroleum is poised to renege on what little they were doing to clean up their oil spill. (CNN 8/19/10)

Landrieu said the spill and cleanup efforts were a continuing threat to New Orleans and other Louisiana coastal areas. "BP and others are acting like this is the beginning of the end. It is not," he said.
"We have no confidence in the claims that much of the oil is gone." In fact, he said, a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released Tuesday "found 70 percent of the oil is still in the ecosystem. This is the beginning of the beginning," he said.

Remember when the Obama administration was shilling for British Petroleum, parroting their lies about most of the oil being gone? Even the Obama administration has given up on that one. If British Petroleum gets itself out of the headlines, they will take advantage of the lack of spotlight to avoid cleaning up their mess.

Much of British Petroleum's Spill Losses Will Be Subsidized by the US Treasury

If you want an example of just how corrupt our tax system can be, look at how British Petroleum plans to write off their spill costs, avoiding taxes on the taxable portion of that money. Oil companies already are some of the worst examples of corporations not paying anywhere near their fair share in taxes, even without this latest outrage. How much will British Petroleum claim on their taxes, according to Public Citizen, the figure is roughly $10 billion.

Thanks to big money campaign contributions, our government has all the money in the world for this corruption, but Social Security supposedly must be reigned in. How about reigning in the corruption instead?

British Petroleum Used Corporate Ad Money to Overtly Control and Censor the Press

Corporations have used all sorts of pressure to censor unfavorable coverage, but British Petroleum was one of the first to use ad pulling to shut down unfavorable coverage at least as early as 2005. (Advertising Age 5/24/05)
Days after financial services giant Morgan Stanley informed print publications that its ads must be automatically pulled from any edition containing "objectionable editorial coverage," global energy giant BP has adopted a similar press strategy.

Zero tolerance
According to a copy of a memo on the letterhead of BP's media-buying agency, WPP Group's MindShare, the global marketer has adopted a zero-tolerance policy toward editorial coverage it is not informed about in advance, "regardless of whether editorial is deemed positive or negative."

The memo cites a new BP policy document entitled "2005 BP Corporate-RFP" that demands that ad-accepting publications inform BP in advance of any news text or visuals they plan to publish that directly mention the company, a competitor or the oil-and-energy industry.

British Petroleum was already spending $95 million in ads in this country, showing that there has been real power behind this policy.

Not too long after knowledge of the 2010 spill become public, the corporation's multimillion dollar ad campaign featuring the irritatingly smug Tony Hayward was labeled as a failure that had backfired by many media analysts.

However, the real purpose of the ad buy wasn't to directly influence public opinion. It was to position British Petroleum as an even more important advertiser in order to influence corporate media coverage. It worked. Corporate news outlets spun spill stories much more to the oil giant's favor than they had done before.

British Petroleum's Role in Bringing About Iran's Islamic Fundamentalist Regime

British Petroleum did incredibly evil things under its original name, Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and did it with the assistance of a pliable and corrupt US government. This time it was the Eisenhower administration. First, their greed and thievery caused them problems in Iran. From LA Progressive 6/24/10:
With exclusive rights to extract, refine, export, and sell Iran’s rich oil resources, the company reaped enormous profits. Meanwhile, it shared only a tiny fraction of the proceeds with the Iranian government. Similarly, although the company’s British personnel lived in great luxury, its Iranian laborers endured lives of squalor and privation.

In 1947, as Iranian resentment grew at the giant oil company’s practices, the Iranian parliament called upon the Shah, Iran’s feudal potentate, to renegotiate the agreement with Anglo-Iranian. Four years later, Mohammed Mossadeq, riding a tide of nationalism, became the nation’s prime minister. As an enthusiastic advocate of taking control of Iran’s oil resources and using the profits from them to develop his deeply impoverished nation, Mossadeq signed legislation, passed unanimously by the country’s parliament, to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

The British government lashed out at the people getting screwed over by this corporation, imposing a trade embargo against Iran. Britain then tried to overthrow Mossadeq, but they were unable to do it because President Truman refused to cooperate. President Eisenhower's incredibly corrupt Sec. of State, John Foster Dulles, happily changed that policy.
To the delight of Anglo-Iranian, it received a much friendlier reception from the new Eisenhower administration. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had worked much of his life as a lawyer for multinational corporations, and viewed the Iranian challenge to corporate holdings as a very dangerous example to the world. Consequently, the CIA was placed in charge of an operation, including fomenting riots and other destabilizing activities, to overthrow Mossadeq and advance oil company interests in Iran.

Organized by CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt in the summer of 1953, the coup was quite successful. Mossadeq was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life, the power of the pro-Western shah was dramatically enhanced, and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was once again granted access to Iran’s vast oil resources. To be sure, thanks to the key role played in the coup by the U.S. government, the British oil company—renamed British Petroleum—henceforth had to share the lucrative oil extraction business in Iran with U.S. corporations. Even so, in the following decades, with the Iranian public kept in line by the Shah’s dictatorship and by his dreaded secret police, the SAVAK, it was a very profitable arrangement—although not for most Iranians.

If not for the brutality and thieving of the Shahs and their corporate overlords, there never would have been an Iranian Revolution against them, and the world's first militant Islamist republic wouldn't have happened. This action also discredited the US throughout the world, especially US rhetoric about supporting democracy, the effects of which were felt most acutely in the Middle East.

If a pliable US administration going along with the same reprehensible corporation that was involved in past corruption and misdeeds sounds familiar, it should.

Update:

The Punk Patriot is still speaking out forcefully on the issue.



 

Target logo with a slash through it and the word Regret
As you have probably heard, Target gave $150,000 to a corrupt PAC which was used for political ads to support the viciously hetersexist Tom Emmer, the GOP candidate for Governor in Minnesota. Queer activists have called for a boycott of Target and of Best Buy, which is guilty of making a smaller but substantial contribution for the same purpose. MoveOn.org has joined in, though they are more focused on the partisan aspect of the issue.

There are Facebook groups calling for the boycotts of Target and Best Buy. There have been protests at some Target stores. Some LGBT activists have gotten quite creative.



The boycott is getting attention in the queer press, such as this
Washington Blade article, as well as getting some coverage in the hetero press.

The Boycott Target group has the following contact information.

Customer Relations:
612-696-3400
target.communications@target.com

The HRC has refused to support the boycott, being too beholden to corporations to fight for our rights, as usual. They wasted time with a bullshit meeting with Target instead of joining the fight. The more you know about the HRC, the less likely you are to give that parasitical and corrupt organization a dime.

I've already skipped a trip to Target and did some online shopping with somebody else because of this. I don't go to Best Buy more than once or twice a year, but this will definitely cut back on my shopping there.

Target's claims about this also offend me. They say that they are exercising their free speech rights. There are two facts that neither Target nor the rightist majority on the Supreme Court recognize.

1) Campaign contributions are not speech.

2) Corporations have no constitutional rights. Only people do.

Bigotry, corruption, and lies are disturbingly common in corporations. What is new about this is seeing so many people fight back. It's about time.

 

In a previous posting on the 911 families that support the "Ground Zero Mosque," I got a comment that shows so much of what is wrong with the mentality of the far right.

trencherbone Says:

The Victory Mosque is just the visible tip of a very large iceberg. Beneath the surface of Western societies, Muslims are waging a campaign of infiltration, subversion, sedition and social sabotage, with the objective of destroying our countries and way of life from within.

First, let's look at the "Victory Mosque" phrase. It's totally made up, though not originally by the commenter. This mosque in no way was ever proposed or promoted as a "victory" anything. The first three words of the comment are an extreme example of the gullibility of people on the right. If they don't like something, they will believe anything about it.

famous anti communist propaganda poster that asks if your washroom is breeding BolsheviksIf all the stuff about "infiltration, subversion, sedition and social sabotage" sounds familiar to you, you are remembering old anti communist rhetoric from the McCarthyist era, either from personal observation or by reading about it in a history text. The right is playing on the same fears that were used during the 50s without irony, and some people actually fall for it.

There really is a copy and paste laziness in far right rhetoric these days. They can't adapt to the fall of the Soviet Union, so they project their old fears onto a new enemy, or rather a caricature of Muslims. Yes, Islam is irrational and can be dangerous, but that is true of every religion. The notion that we should be looking out for evil Muslims everywhere who are out to get us is rather paranoid, especially when you consider that many Muslims in the West immigrated here to get away from Islamic extremism.

Nostalgia is always a bit fuzzy. But, nostalgia for old fears is so bizarre. Yet, that's exactly what the right has.

Paranoia, ignorance, gullibility, and intellectual laziness are the hallmarks of the 21 Century right, and that comment was a blatant example of those problems.

Photo: cjmartin

 

cake with WTF written on itLiving in NYC, I have to laugh at some of the mistakes people make when discussing the Ground Zero Mosque controversy. I also have to laugh at some of the things people are unaware of. Here are a few examples.

1) There is no such thing as "the Ground Zero neighborhood." There are lots of neighborhoods in Manhattan. That isn't one of them. The site is in the Tribeca neighborhood.

2) Two blocks is a fairly significant distance in Manhattan, where everything is so scruntched together and one block's distance often involves going into a completely different neighborhood. If the people building the mosque had really wanted to "send a message, they would have had to build closer to Ground Zero.

3) The overwhelming majority of people in Manhattan support construction of the mosque. The farther you get from Ground Zero (outer boroughs then other states), the more opposition there is.

4) Some 911 families support construction of the mosque, as I pointed out in a previous blog posting. Yet, many on the right are saying that the mosque is insensitive to 911 families.

Few things are more tedious than people like Sarah Palin, Coward Dean, Newt Gingrich, and Harry Reid, who know nothing about NYC and who care even less, pontificating about something here. Ignorance is celebrated in this country, with really irritating consequences.

Photo: SanFranAnnie

 

Virginia Tech Survivor Calls for Closing Gun Show Loophole

Posted by libhom Thursday, August 19, 2010 1 comments

The NRA is so extreme and dangerous that they actually oppose background checks for guns at gun shows. They really don't care how many school and workplace shootings there are.



Please Take Action to Support Background Checks!

 

Excellent PSA on Employment Discrimination

Posted by libhom Wednesday, August 18, 2010 0 comments

This PSA does a great job in describing the need for employment anti discrimination laws like ENDA. I particularly like that the issue is described in personal, human terms. We generally win on queer issues when we take this approach and don't let the right change the subject to religion.



 

Regardless of your position on the mosque, the misleading tactics of the right on this issue should be troubling to you. They keep acting as if all the 911 families oppose the project. That simply isn't true. Peaceful Tomorrows, a group of 911 families, has supported the project at least since May.

9/11 Families Group Announces Support for Islamic Cultural Center in Lower Manhattan
May 20th, 2010

New York – Today, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a nationwide group founded by family members of those killed on 9/11 issued the following statement, which may be attributed to their spokesperson, Donna Marsh O’Connor:

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows strongly supports efforts to bring an Islamic Cultural Center to lower Manhattan, near the Ground Zero site. We believe that welcoming the Center, which is intended to promote interfaith tolerance and respect, is consistent with fundamental American values of freedom and justice for all.

We believe, too, that this building will serve as an emblem for the rest of the world that Americans stand against violence, intolerance and overt acts of racism and that we recognize that the evil acts of a few must never damn the innocent.

The rightists aren't honest enough to admit the varied opinions of 911 families. Politicians like Rick Lazio, Newt Gingrich, and Harry Reid don't give a flying fuck about 911 families.They just see people who lost loved ones as props to be used to advance their own prejudices and further their careers.

The same goes for the pundits who spew this kind of BS in hopes of creating so much hysteria over a small number of Muslims that their corporate overlords might get another profitable war out of the scam.

The constant barrage of deception and dishonesty from the right is absolutely sickening. They know they can not keep or hold onto power honestly, so they just keep showing a complete lack of integrity.



Video: lejoe

 

protest photo with banners that says Get U.S. Out of Iraq
Photo Page

Earlier this month, the Guardian did something US publications are avoiding, discussing the number of mercenaries left over in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the US government isn't just rebranding the occupation, it's also privatising it. There are around 100,000 private contractors working for the occupying forces, of whom more than 11,000 are armed mercenaries, mostly "third country nationals", typically from the developing world. One Peruvian and two Ugandan security contractors were killed in a rocket attack on the Green Zone only a fortnight ago.

Now, the distinction of "armed mercenaries" should be discussed. The unarmed, at least the Pentagon tells us, contractors are doing jobs that traditionally have been done by military personnel. The effect is that the combat duty (which definitely will continue after this limited withdrawal) will be concentrated among lower paid US military units in Iraq, adding to the stress and misery caused by stop loss and tour after tour in Iraq.Iraq Deaths Estimator

It also is important to keep in mind that when you add the two forces together, military and mercenary, you get an occupying force of 150,000, which is a huge occupation.

The most frustrating thing is that President Obama could have gotten us out of Iraq entirely during the first few months of his administration, but he insists on dragging out the Iraq war and occupation as long as he can. It's bad for the Democrats, worse for the US as a country, and catastrophic for the Iraqi people. Obama needs to stop the war and put an end to this endless occupation and slaughter.

 


 

"Dr." Laura's Credentials

Posted by libhom Monday, August 16, 2010 1 comments

Schlessinger looking appropriately stupid
By now, I'm sure that you have heard about "Dr." Laura Schlessinger's desperate ploy for attention, a disgusting racist diatribe on her radio show that is, at its best, completely useless. People who have followed queer issues remember how viciously heterosexist "Dr." Laura is. We also remember something else.

If you are wondering why I'm putting the "Dr." in fright quotes, it's because she is misusing her title to present herself as having far more expertise in the field of counseling than she actually has. From The Body 7/2000 (bolding mine):

Although she does have a Ph.D. in physiology, her credentials in mental health are limited to a certificate in family counseling from the state of California. When she made the transition from a local personality to a nationally known figure, her politics and views of human relationships made a dramatic turn to the right. As her show became more popular, "Dr." Laura chose to use her radio show as a platform to take pot shots at the very real problems of her callers and to promote a venomous anti-gay agenda. In the past several years she has taken to referring to gay men and lesbians as "biological errors," and has urged her listeners to fight against any effort to promote human rights and understanding for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.

Like the supposed legitimacy of so many bigots on the right fringe, the authority of Schlessinger to offer personal advice has a smoke and mirrors quality to it. Heterosexist and racist bigotry seem to be the only "qualifications" that really matter to rightists.

Photo: Pets4Dawn

 

Sam Harris Gets It Wrong on Christian Violence

Posted by libhom Sunday, August 15, 2010 3 comments

Sam Harris certainly has a blind spot when it comes to Christian and Jewish violence and religious extremism. An rather glaring example of this can be found in his comments on the "Ground Zero" mosque that most New Yorkers support, but which is the target of fury from outsiders. (Daily Beast - date not listed - Hat Tip: Why Evolution Is True):

Thus, when Allah commands his followers to slay infidels wherever they find them, until Islam reigns supreme (2:191-193; 4:76; 8:39; 9:123; 47:4; 66:9)—only to emphasize that such violent conquest is obligatory, as unpleasant as that might seem (2:216), and that death in jihad is actually the best thing that can happen to a person, given the rewards that martyrs receive in Paradise (3:140-171; 4:74; 47:5-6)—He means just that. And, being the creator of the universe, his words were meant to guide Muslims for all time. Yes, it is true that the Old Testament contains even greater barbarism—but there are obvious historical and theological reasons why it inspires far less Jewish and Christian violence today. Anyone who elides these distinctions, or who acknowledges the problem of jihad and Muslim terrorism only to swiftly mention the Crusades, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, the Tamil Tigers, and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma, is simply not thinking honestly about the problem of Islam.

This is absolute nonsense. Israel is literally guilty of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians, and land claims in Judaism form the ideological basis for it. Oops!

It gets worse. How can Sam Harris pretend that there is far less Christian violence than Islamic violence today? Is he living in an isolation chamber? While it certainly is true that corporate greed and racism played huge roles in causing the war on Iraq, Christian religious extremism has played the primary role in building the plurality of public support for that war. The war on Iraq is literally a Christian crusade that has killed at least 1.3 million people and caused millions more people to be refugees. In fact, more Americans have been killed in this war than in the 911 attacks. So much for there being less Christian violence.

Of course, Christian religious violence can be found in other forms in this country. Lying about safer sex and needle exchange; attacking AIDS prevention programs; underfunding AIDS research dramatically compared to what it would be if it primarily affected heterosexual, Christian, white males; promoting heterosexism and racism, and sabotaging sex education all are forms of quite deadly political violence.

Christianity is literally guilty of genocide against hundreds of thousands of Americans, the vast majority of whom have been queer men or have been women of color. Yet, Sam Harris hasn't even noticed this form of catastrophic violence. It just breezes by him.

Of course, Islamic violence is dangerous. However, Christian violence is far more pervasive and more deadly. Harris' efforts to single out Islam serve to make atheists in the US look ignorant and ill informed. The corporate media have made him one of "our" spokespeople because he can reliably spew absurdities that can be used to fan the flames of hysteria against Islam, flames that help continue highly profitable wars which are, in nearly all other cases, fueled by violent Christian extremists.

I'm remind of the lyrics of The Police song, "Murder by Numbers." At the end, they are quite instructive on how people in positions of power and privilege can commit acts of violence without getting their hands dirty. They are some of the most profound political thinking in the history of pop music where such things are usually strenuously avoided.
Now you can join the ranks of the illustrious
In history's great dark hall of fame
All our greatest killers were industrious
At least the ones that we all know by name

But you can reach the top of your profession
If you become the leader of the land
For murder is the sport of the elected
And you don't need to lift a finger of your hand

Because it's murder by numbers, one, two, three
It's as easy to learn as your ABC
Murder by numbers, one, two, three
It's as easy to learn as your A, B, C, D, E



Sam Harris needs to join the Reality Based Community. He is starting to sound like an atheist version of Glenn Beck.

 

Why Lamont's Primary Defeat in CT Is Bad News for Democrats

Posted by libhom Saturday, August 14, 2010 2 comments

map of ConnecticutNed Lamont's primary defeat in Connecticut is certainly a setback for him. He defeated Traitor Joe in the 2006 Senate primary, only to lose now to a lesser known candidate while running for governor. It might be tempting to think it was the result of a failure by his campaign, but any tactical failings by Lamont were minor compared to his main difficulty:

Liberal and progressive voters weren't motivated to show up at the polls.

If Obama, Reid, Pelosi, etc had been going on a two year campaign to deliberately outrage and demoralize the left of the Democratic Party, they couldn't have done a better job of it. They have governed like Bush/Cheney/Palin/Limbaugh/Gingrich/Beck Republicans, and then they act all shocked when liberal and progressive voters are thoroughly disgusted with them. The recent tantrum by Robert Gibbs is symbolic of the broader arrogance and cluelessness among Party leaders.

Midterm elections are about mobilizing a party's base, yet the Democrats have slimed organized labor, healthcare activists, queers, women, people of color, environmentalists, and peace activists. The DC Democrats have consistently put Wall St. ahead of Main St., just like the Goppers.

The only tactic the Democrats seem to have left is negative campaigning against the Republicans. The GOP's candidates certainly leave plenty of room for negative campaigning, but negative campaigning doesn't motivate voter turnout. In fact, it tends to reduce voter turnout, which historically has helped Republicans.

Will the Democrats heed the wakeup call that Lamont's defeat represents? I seriously doubt it. They are just too bigoted and too bought and paid for by corporate interests.

 

evacuation doorWhen I saw this Murdoch Street Journal column by Peggy Noonan linked on Google News, I knew it would be fab fodder for Tengrain at Mock, Paper, Scissors. He doesn't disappoint. (Distributor Cap did some fun illustrations too, I might add.)

However, when I saw the title of the babblethon, "We Pay Them to Be Rude to Us," I thought it might be fodder for political commentary. Noonan didn't disappoint either. So, I broke my rule about linking to Rupert Murdoch's media empire to dish her crap.

What I find so intriguing about Ms. Noonan's meandering prose in this case is that she complains about things that are the fault of the rightist era brought into place in this country by her idol, the execrable Ronald Reagan.

Once we were a great industrial nation. Now we are a service economy. Which means we are forced to interact with each other, every day, in person and by phone and email. And it's making us all a little mad.

Ronnie was the person who pushed a "free trade" agreement with Mexico that eventually was implemented by fellow rightist, Bill Clinton. Instead of calling for higher tariffs to keep corporations from exporting industry abroad. Ronnie was a cheerleader for deindustrialization. All the rightists who have been in the office have supported corporate controlled trade too. Yet, she doesn't see the connection between the right and our service oriented economy.

Noonan also complains about a letter she got a few years back.
I wrote of the same experience a few years ago and got a letter from a saleswoman in a big department store. She said, I paraphrase: "You misunderstand, it's not that we haven't been taught how to behave, it's that we have. We are trained to make and maintain eye contact, we are taught to intrude, we are instructed to act in a way that people used to recognize as rude behavior."

This is mainly the result of conservative policies. The primary cause is the draining of income from the poor and middle class and the diversion to the rich. That has increased shoplifting, whose prevention is the main goal of all that "friendly" but really watchful behavior by salespeople.

Peggy Noonan later complained about the tightened security in airports that is the result of the right's foreign policies and the efforts to create a terrorized populace at home. Her specific complaints about a screener are loaded with irony, given her position to the political right.
When I'd first gone through the machine and then been manhandled, a month before, I was so taken aback that I blurted "Wow, that was embarrassing." I said it softly, in a way that invited mild commiseration of the "I know, I'm sorry I have to do this" sort. Instead, with full Dead Face, the TSA woman said, "Have a nice day." As I walked away I thought: She has been taught by consultants how to "handle" people like me. Her instructions are that if anyone accepts her ministrations with anything but passive surrender, she is to show she is impervious and keep the line moving. She is probably taught this in a class given by government contractors who are paid by taxpayers to handle taxpayers. Meaning I pay her to be rude to me.

I'll have to number these.

1) Customer service oriented at shutting up consumers and getting them to take it is part and parcel of deregulation that has affected nearly every sector of our economy. Smiling while not giving a flying fuck has become a cultural norm in a society where corporations have way too much power. Why should corporations give a shit when government policy keeps the balance of power in their favor?

2) Contempt for consumers has grown as retail outlets consolidate. Much of the consolidation of that sector and others is illegal under antitrust law. But, conservative administrations refuse to engage in much beyond the most token enforcement of antitrust law. Corporations that don't need to fight for customers have created a situation where The Customer Is Serf, and that too has permeated the culture.

3) The excessive reliance on government contractors is the result of privatization of so much of our government, another rightist policy.

4) The disregard for privacy is one of the most prominent political tenets on the right. Ronnie's opposition to abortion was a prime example of it and set the stage for other violations of privacy. This all has gotten much worse after 911 where the right's politicians were more interested in using the attacks as an excuse to violate the privacy of innocent Americans than to actually improve our nation's defenses against terrorism. Anti regulatory sentiment also has kept regulations from being passed to restrict the voracious appetites of corporations for peoples' private information.

The Upshot

Ms. Noonan is pained by the effects on her person by living in a rightist society. I would be sympathetic towards her if not for how she has been one of the most obnoxious enablers of the very things she rails against. She recognizes that we all want an evacuation slide like the one taken by the heroic Steve Slater. But, she is so beholden to the very system that is making us all wish we could bail out sometimes.

Photo: WexDub

Update: Sean Fenley skewers Noonan for another recent column where she refuses to take responsibility for the rightist policies that are making most Americans justifiably outraged these days.

 

I love how many sanctimonious Republicans are supporting Linda McMahon even though what she put on TV goes against supposed Republican "family values."









Republicans really are the worst kind of hypocrites. They insist on one set of rules for themselves and and completely different one for everyone else.

 

Barack Bush's Toady Attacks Single Payer

Posted by libhom Thursday, August 12, 2010 0 comments

Robert Gibbs looking insufferably smugA lot of liberals are pissed off at Barack Bush's flunky Robert Gibbs for comments he recently made in an interview in The Hill. I'm pissed off, but at a different part than most liberals seem to be. (part that pissed me off bolded)

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

If the almighty Gibbs doesn't like liberals like me comparing President Obama to George W. Bush, then he should tell his boss to stop governing with the Bush policies the overwhelming majority of the time. The "professional left" thing sounds cool. It would be great to make a living doing this, but that's about as likely to happen as Gibbs showing any humility. Whatever.

The thing that is so disgusting to me is that Gibbs treats getting single payer healthcare as being as unreasonable as abolishing the entire military. Let's talk about why Canadian style healthcare is not a fact of life in this country.

It certainly isn't because of a lack of popularity for single payer. Medicare for all consistently polls at 65-70 % popularity in the polls. A plan with a public option generally falls in the low 60s, while Obama's Wealthcare Plan for the HMOs and health insurers doesn't even have majority support in this country. Why should a GOP style money grab for the rich at the expense of the economic wellbeing and health of the middle class, the poor, and the elderly be popular?

The failure to pass real healthcare reform (i.e. single payer or a national health system like the one in Britain) certainly isn't due to a lack of effort on the part of doctors, nurses, and activists who don't work in the industry. The effort definitely has been there.

The reasons why we don't have Medicare for all is that there are too many bought politicians like Barack Bush in DC and the corporate media propagandize too overwhelmingly on behalf of HMO/health insurer interests.

Government health insurance is the will of the people, yet Robert Gibbs and Barack Bush act like the vast majority people of this country are annoying gnats to be swatted away on behalf of wealthy donors. Robert Gibbs also recently made a splash by saying that the Democrats could lose the House. Well, failure to pass healthcare reform is one of the main reasons why.

Photo: Robert Huffstutter

 

The Truth About Social Security

Posted by libhom Wednesday, August 11, 2010 1 comments

Social Security Works has a great video countering lies about Social Security.



I love how they are actually talking about how wealthy and corporate interests are screwing over the rest of this.

The Cat Food Commission is telling some of the very lies being countered in this video. It's important to get the facts out there now, since the timing of the assault on Social Security and Medicare is set to happen during the lame duck congressional session which takes place when people are busy with the holidays and are disconnected from the news.

 

Chuck "Loves Torture" Schumer Attacks Press Freedom

Posted by libhom Monday, August 09, 2010 5 comments

stone carving that says freedom of the press

Photo: ryanjreilly

I am so sick of politicians and pundits attacking Wikileaks. As an American citizen and voter, I have an inalienable right to know about the war crimes and actual military status of the Afghanistan war. I am sick of politicians in both major political parties fraudulently classifying data that should be public in order to cover up their criminality and incompetence.

Pro torture Sen. Chuck Schumer, who represents Xe, Halliburton, and Big Oil in the Senate, really has gone off the deep end this time. He actually is going on a jihad against the courageous people at Wikileaks who are exposing the lies and the war crimes that are being committed in the Afghanistan war. Schumer's morally bankrupt and unAmerican press release includes all sorts of disturbing and unconscionable statements.

After last week’s controversial leaking of sensitive documents related to the U.S. war in Afghanistan, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) announced Wednesday that Wikileaks would never qualify for any protection under the media shield legislation that awaits action in the Senate, adding he is already drafting new language to incorporate into the bill to make that explicit.

Schumer, the Senate’s lead author of the measure, said two parts of the existing bill already ensured that Wikileaks could never assert the privilege created by the legislation. First, the site does not fit the bill’s definition of a journalist, which requires that the covered party regularly engage in legitimate newsgathering activities. Second, the bill allows a judge to waive the privilege altogether if critical national security concerns are at stake.

But Schumer said he would be working with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the Senate Intelligence Chairman, anyway on language that could serve as a further safeguard against the possibility of Wikileaks ever seeking protection from the bill.

“Neither WikiLeaks, nor its original source for these materials, should be spared in any way from the fullest prosecution possible under the law,” Schumer said. “Although the bill in no way shields anyone who broke the law from prosecution, we are going the extra mile to remove even a scintilla of doubt.”

Schumer was perfectly aware of the indisputable fact that Wikileaks was engaging in completely legitimate news gathering activities. Exposing government lies and corruption is the most important function of a free press.

Schumer's provision allowing "a judge to waive the privilege altogether if critical national security concerns are at stake" is an enormous loophole designed to promote government coverups. The Obama Administration and most members of the House and Senate already have brazenly lied and said that the Wikileaks revelations pose a threat to our national security, demonstrating that the loophole is so enormous that it effectively nullifies the shield law he is pushing.

If Schumer had the slightest integrity he would be denouncing the Obama administration's efforts to retaliate against whistleblowers on both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But, Schumer is so murderously racist, he will support any deception and misuse of the classification of government data in order to feed his bloodlust. Schumer is so beholden to moneyed interests that he won't do his job as a Senator to expose and fight corruption. I refuse to ever vote for that bought bigot again. The culture of corruption in DC is rampant among both the Democrats and the Republicans.

I am so sick of the corporate media lying and saying Schumer is a liberal when he has proven himself to be a Bush/Cheney/Obama/Clinton/Palin/Beck far right Republican. Corporate newspapers constantly whine about losing circulation. Yet, they keep expecting newspaper readers, the vast majority of whom are liberal, to pay for a constant barrage of rightist propaganda and lies.

Chuck Schumer and Feinstein should resign in disgrace. Neither of them is fit to hold public office.

 

cake with WTF written on itThere is something so incredibly creepy and inappropriate about injecting religion into every aspect of life. A truly offensive and intrusive aspect of this is the existence of "halal" and "kosher" restaurants. What is it about so many religionists that they insist on trying to impose their religion on every last aspect of life, acting like dogs that insist on pissing religion everywhere in order to mark their territory?

If people want to believe childish and irrational food superstitions, that's their choice, but in a public business, they should respect others enough not to use those superstitions as an excuse to shove their religions down everyone else's throats. When somebody discriminates against me this way, I tend to take my atheist business elsewhere.

Fundamantalist Christians and Roman Catholics are guilty of similar behavior. They insist on having "Christian" and "Catholic" businesses in order to use their businesses to mark territory for their faiths. That alone is enough reason for me to avoid those bigoted businesses. However, there is an added problem. There's a huge risk that a portion of the proceeds from purchases at those businesses end up in the hand of heterosexist and anti atheist hate groups. It would be self defeating and stupid for me to patronize these businesses.

If religionists really believe in these supposedly all powerful and all knowing gods, there should be no reason to mark the whole world as their territory. If these gods actually existed, there would be no need to do so. In any case, I'm burned out on this anti atheist discrimination and avoid feeding into it.

Photo: SanFranAnnie

 

Ms. McMahon's performances while WWE CEO/Diva are pretty funny. Somehow, they don't fit with the sweet and responsible image she is trying to project on TV.





She already has spent tens of millions of dollars in her effort to buy the Connecticut Senate seat. I hope the bad WWE publicity makes her spend even more money.

 

Google sure is breaking their "Don't Be Evil" tenet a lot lately. Check out this fab song.

FUJI MINX - The Music Made Me Do it (Official Un-Censored Version) from FUJI MINX on Vimeo.

In a previous posting, I objected to British Petroleum's effort to rebrand itself as "BP" and "Beyond Petroleum."

An excellent example of this is how the corporate media have gone along with British Petroleum's sleazy marketing ploy to call itself "BP." This marketing scam was created for two purposes.

1) British Petroleum didn't want the portion of the US populace that doesn't follow the news to know that a foreign corporation had bought major US oil companies.

2) Using "BP" allowed them to run these fraudulent "Beyond Petroleum" commercials where British Petroleum had the nerve to actually present itself as an alternative fuels company, a presentation even more offensive given the fact that British Petroleum joined with other Big Oil corporations to lobby against alternative fuels and public transportation while pushing for wars for oil here and in Britain.

This rebranding effort generated a lot of controversy at the time as a greenwashing technique for an environmentally hostile corporation.

Rebranding is an increasingly common deceptive corporate marketing practice. Rebrandings involving name changes are the most extreme, and the most extremely dishonest. However, less drastic rebranding efforts involving changes in logos and ad campaigns also can be used to try to deceive the public about a corporation whose practices are controversial.

Perhaps the most infamous examples of rebranding include Philip Morris's rebranding as "Altria" and Blackwater's rebranding as "Xe." The brand makeovers didn't change the behaviors of the corporations involved, which is exactly what one would expect.

(It should be noted that not all efforts to change logos and ad campaigns fit in the rebranding mode. Often, you will see a product that says "Same Great Product with a New Look" or something similar, though it doesn't have to be this explicit. This is an example of attempting to update and strengthen a brand, not trying to repudiate it when it starts representing things that are undesirable.)

That takes us to the Greedy Oily Pedophiles GOP and the teabaggers. The corporate lobbyists and pr people behind the teabagging scam developed it part to have an Astroturf army to intimidate liberals and Democrats. But, there was a bigger agenda. It was another corporate rebranding campaign, this time of the the right and the Republican Party. A few "establishment Republicans" have been sacrificed to the wealthy bands of teabaggers with pitchforks as part of the overall marketing strategy to put a new face on the party of Bush's colossal failure. A few of the teabagger candidates have been new to politics, but most come from the same rightist and GOP corporate elites as the "establishment Republicans" they defeated in primaries and state conventions. The teabagger bloggers are the same tired, establishment right bores that they always have been.

The "new and improved" GOP is the same as the old one. It's just like detergent.

The teabagger Astroturf "movement" also has been involved in rebranding campaigns. Teabaggers and teabagging were the original labels given to this brand by the HMO and health insurance lobbyists who created it. However, it bombed on TV when teabaggers proudly proclaimed themselves as such, while reporters and anchors were visibly uncomfortable trying to repress laughter.

The writers for the teabagger scam realized that they screwed up the script and would have to do a bit of rebranding. So, they changed the name to "tea partiers" or "tea party movement" and then made up a whopper about liberals making up the name "teabaggers." The corporate media, whose owners and advertisers were pulling the strings for this whole scam, dutifully went along with the rebranding.

One of the main organizing tools that was used by the puppet masters was white supremacy. The right flock in this country is so angry and afraid of having a half black president that they are willing to believe any rumor about President Obama without question.

This is ironic, given the fact, that Obama is supporting a similar rightist, corporate agenda as the teabagger movement. In terms of policy, the right has every reason to be thrilled with the Obama administration and the Democrats. Their "opposition" is pushing a slightly watered down version of their agenda. However, racist fear mongering always trumps reason with the sheeple on the US right.

However, the very same racism that provides much of the social glue for the people suckered into the Astroturf teabagger "movement" makes Teabagger Inc. approved candidates electable in general elections. So, it's off to the second major teabagger rebranding: pretending that their movement isn't racist.

The NAACP's condemnation of racist elements within the teabagger movement was perfectly reasonable, yet it encountered an enormous backlash. The organization violated two of the strongest taboos of our media's political culture. They criticized racism, and they refused to go along with one of corporate American's rebranding campaigns.

When given a choice between actually living up to their rebranding campaign and distancing themselves from the racists, Teabagger Inc, for the most part, went on a wild intimidation campaign. Shirley Sherrod refused to follow the usual script for people of color in the Obama Administration when the right fringe vilifies them. Should stood up for herself.

The wave of racist hysteria among the teabaggers in the midst of this showed that the need for bigotry to motivate the sheep overruled the rebranding campaign. Ms. Sherrod showed us that we can stand up to these incredibly evil people and the moneyed interests that finance them and work very hard to control their message.

There needs to be broader resistance to the right's rebranding efforts. The left needs to stop referring to the mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan as "contractors." We should stop saying that "race" is a problem in this country when racism is the real problem. We should resist all the rebranding campaigns and the bullshit that is slung during them.

 

The corporate media aren't telling us just how bad things are for the animals in the Gulf. (Hat Tip: Punk Patriot)



This video ends with a long overdue critique of corporations, corporate power, rightist ideology, and the efforts to deny the proper role of government. The speaker also calls for clean energy.

Learn more about the movement to revoke British Petroleum's corporate charter.

 

Action Against Oil Spills on a Wednesday

Posted by libhom Wednesday, August 04, 2010 1 comments

Before I get to the calls to action, I thought I would point out that the corporate media are incredibly gullible (or paid off through advertising) when they buy British Petroleum's claim that the oily muck they put into the Gulf of Mexico has disappeared. Here's an example from Democracy Now of what actually is happening.


We speak with independent journalist Anotnia Juhasz who is just back from Louisiana where she found what she calls some of BP’s "missing oil"–on the wetlands and beaches along the waterways near St. Mary’s Parish, where no one is booming, cleaning, skimming, or watching.

1. Make Sure British Petroleum Is Fully Liable for Those Killed in Its Offshore Drilling Explosion

One of the most important things to do to prevent more oil spills is to make sure that corporations that engage in the reckless and negligent practice of offshore oil drilling take full financial responsibility for the harm that is done by offshore drilling. Letting British Petroleum and other Big Oil corporations off the hook in any way gives them a financial incentive to continue drilling off of our nation's precious coasts.

Care2 and Credo Action have an Action Alert addressing this critical issue. (Note that the incredibly corrupt and evil US Chamber of Commerce is aiding and abetting British Petroleum in this case.)
BP is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest and most influential lobbying organization. Last year, the Chamber spent $144 million opposing reforms in Congress. Though it claims to represent small business, the Chamber's positions nearly always align with the priorities of its biggest, and dirtiest members, including the coal and gas, health insurance and banking industries.

This year, the Chamber has had ample opportunity to defend its member business BP. While BP sits on the sidelines, the Chamber spends millions protecting BP's interests. It continues to demand greater offshore drilling, opposes increasing liability for oil spill damages and opposes increasing liability for workers killed in off-shore accidents.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to close a loophole in maritime law that limits liability for off-shore accidents. BP has not opposed this law publicly. How could it? The bill would allow the families of the eleven dead BP workers to recover the same amount in damages as they would be able to if the accident had occurred closer to or on shore. This is simple fairness, and the bill, called the SPILL Act, is remedying decades of disparity for off- shore workers.

The U.S. Chamber vociferously opposes the bill. Don't let the Chamber do BP's dirty work. Write to your senators and ask them to vote for the SPILL Act.

Please Take Action!

The Chamber isn't just guilty of helping Big Oil in this case. They also are guilty of working to block any meaningful action to fight global warming in Congress. This is one organization that corporations should face boycott campaigns if they don't cancel their memberships.

2. Support and Blog About Campaigns to Seize British Petroleum's Assets and Revoke Its Corporate Charter

If British Petroleum gets away with its heinous crimes, other corporations will be more likely to model their behavior after the corporation that is far from "Beyond Petroleum." If corporations aren't held accountable for their behavior, that behavior will keep getting worse. It's time to make an example of British Petroleum. Please consider supporting these efforts and bringing up these critical issues in your blogs.

Revoke BP's Corporate Charter http://bit.ly/revokebpscharter Seize BP Petition button

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