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Did Barack Obama Give Me Cancer?

Posted by libhom Monday, November 29, 2010 4 comments

Before we get to anything else, it is critical to address the issue of whether the risk of terrorism has anything to do with the highly carcinogenic XRay scanners in airports. (Washington Post 1/10/10)

Since the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports.

What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. The relationship drew attention after Chertoff disclosed it on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question.

An airport passengers' rights group on Thursday criticized Chertoff, who left office less than a year ago, for using his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients.

This proves, not only beyond a reasonable doubt, but beyond a shadow of a doubt that "terror risks" played absolutely no role in the decision to deploy these highly carcinogenic scanners. The decision was based exclusively on blatant political corruption.

Now, let's look at the scanners themselves.

1) They bombard innocent Americans with XRays for ten seconds each time they are used.

2) Anyone who has taken some physics knows for a fact that it is physically impossible to limit exposure of XRays to human skin without the vast majority of the XRays penetrating the body. (The human body is not a highly sophisticated XRay mirror.)

3) The reason why XRays provide such good bone scans is that soft tissue (e.g. skin) doesn't show up at the levels of radiation exposure used for medical XRays.

4) To get the highly detailed scans being shown in the media as output from these carcinogenic scanners, the levels of radiation exposure would have to be orders of magnitude higher than medical XRays.

5) Tens of millions of Americans have been exposed to the highly carcinogenic scans without any kind of informed consent.

I should also point out that the how "opt out" thing is highly deceptive too. Here's how the TSA works the scam.

First, they have an employee randomly harassing everyone in line in a manner that borders on homicidal. This is done to disorient passengers who already are busy trying to comply with all the ridiculous rules that have nothing to do with fighting terrorism and everything to do with trying to scare people needlessly.

Second, they disguise the cancer causing scanners so it isn't obvious what they are. They refuse to have any kind of descriptive signage, much less the warning signs they are morally and ethically required to have for such dangerous machines.

Third, they talk you through the process without telling you that you are being exposed to the XRay scans. By the time you figure out what they are doing to you, it's too late.

So much for "opt out."

Of course, the corporate media are parroting corporate propaganda about the scanners, which amount to resorting to bad science fiction hand waving to claim that the scanners are safe. I'm not stupid enough to believe that bullshit, and you shouldn't believe it either. I have family too far away to reasonably visit by car or train, but one way I can reduce my exposure to these carcinogenic scans is to travel by car or train for vacations. I would like to take pleasure trips to Europe and across the country, but I'm not going to take a needless risk by going through these deadly scanners more than absolutely necessary.

Anybody who doesn't cut back air travel in response to these scanners is just plain stupid.

Anyway, obviously there is no way that I could ever vote for Barack Obama after he did something so incredibly heinous and unforgivable. It will be years before I will know if I got cancer from these incredibly dangerous scanners. However, if I do get cancer, I will devote the remaining time I have left to naming and shaming Barack Obama and all the other people responsible for the scanners that gave me that cancer.

Queers the Most Targeted for Hate Crimes

Posted by libhom Friday, November 26, 2010 1 comments

Makes you think.



Heterosexist hate crimes have been incredibly common for decades. The video doesn't mention this, but trans queers are the most targeted among the most targeted.

 

Great Tom Tomorrow Cartoon on the Cat Food Commission

Posted by libhom Thursday, November 25, 2010 1 comments

Statistics don't lie, do they? (H/T: The Punk Patriot)

Here's an additional reason why rising life expectancies for some don't validate raising the retirement age. Just because people at higher income levels are living longer doesn't mean that the non-lethal health problems facing the elderly have gotten that much better.

Excerpts from a Conservative Congressional Lapdog's Diary

Posted by libhom Wednesday, November 24, 2010 3 comments

(Explanation here.)

8:00 AM · Breakfast paid for by lobbyists! My Favorite Thing!

9:00 AM · Scapegoating a minority group! My Favorite Thing!

9:30 AM · Kissing Faux News butt! My Favorite Thing!

10:00 AM · Looking for contacts for future lobbying jobs! My Favorite Thing!

10:30 AM · Denying Global Warming! My Favorite Thing!

10:45 AM · Saying outlandish things to chase after big campaign checks! My Favorite Thing!

11:00 AM · Cutting services to the middle class and the poor! My Favorite Thing!

11:30 AM · Cutting taxes for rich donors! My Favorite Thing!

11:45 AM · Paying Sarah Palin to speak for me! My Favorite Thing!

12:00 Noon · Lunch and cigars paid for by lobbyists? My Favorite Thing!

1:00 PM · Defending Big Oil and Big Coal! My Favorite Thing!

1:30 PM · Using a prostitute paid for by lobbyists? My Favorite Thing!

2:00 PM · Faking religious piety! My Favorite Thing!

2:30 PM · Sexually Harassing my staffers! My Favorite Thing!

3:00 PM · Drooling over Christian religious extremists! My Favorite Thing!

3:30 PM · Smoking Cuban cigars? My Favorite Thing!

4:00 PM · Insisting on sanctions against Cuba? My Favorite Thing!

4:30 PM · Calling middle class people elitist! My Favorite Thing!

5:00 PM · Dinner and drinks paid for by lobbyists? My Favorite Thing!

Excerpts From a Middle Class American's Diary

Day 14,724 of my captivity...

 

photo from alley with image of sarah palin with evil written belowYou may wonder how rightist books get on the bestseller lists, especially since most rightists don't read much. One way that this often happens is that a far right multimillionaire will buy thousands of books to get them on the bestseller lists. Some of the bestseller lists are on to that and ignore the mass single buyer purchases or give those books asterisks in their listings.

Well, another method is becoming common in putting books on bestseller lists: offering them free as incentives for joining an extreme right organization or subscribing to an extremist publication. A while back, I wanted to comment on a right blog, so I had to register for Townhall's bullshit emails. It can get annoying, but it gives a really instructive look on the right's noise machine.

Here's an offer I recently received in my email.

Today, former Alaska Governor and Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin released her new book America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag. You can now get this exciting new book FREE with a one year subscription to Townhall Magazine. We have a very limited number of Palin's new book so please order quickly.

Click here to get Sarah Palin's New Book FREE

We expect this offer to break records. Sarah Palin's last book was one of the decades' best sellers and in many areas was difficult to find in bookstores due to such a high demand. We have our hands on a limited number of books and we expect our supply to be depleted QUICKLY. You won't find a better offer anywhere else.

This build's up the subscriber base for a far right publication while lifting the Wasilla Grifter's book up the bestseller charts.

photo of Sarah Palin

Here are some of my ideas for titles of parody books:

America by Hand: Scribblings on Family, Faith, and ...Uh...I Can't Read That

Alaska by Heart: If You Won't Make Me President, We'll Secede

GOP by the Throat: Reflections on Politicians Kissing My Backside

America by Cash or Credit Card: Reflections on My Net Worth


Sigh.

Photos: cornexo

sloomis08

Hat Tip: Anything Adirondack



 

Sound familiar?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

- Ben Franklin

This quote has been misattributed to Einstein and Mark Twain, probably others too. However, the source isn't the really interesting part. It's the social context.

Why do people keep referencing it these days? Well, with high unemployment, massive theft from ordinary Americans and the US Treasury by the banksters, rising bigotry promoted as a tool of social control, two major political parties that are disturbingly similar and disturbingly hostile to the interests of the vast majority of Americans, corporate media that get more monolithic and propagandistic with every passing day, massive environmental disasters, and so much else going terribly wrong, it doesn't take the wit of Franklin to figure it out.

Things aren't working in this country. America is horribly fucked up. The world around us is a mess as well, and "our" government and corporations play a huge role in that. People keep trying to do the familiar things to try to fix the areas of dysfunction, and they just keep getting worse.

Obviously, we need to do somethings differently. But what? Can we mine our nation's activist history, especially from the 1930s and 1960s for strategy and tactics? Is the metaphorical road so qualitatively different that we have to reinvent a new wheel?

 

Most of the political commentary in the corporate media on the Cat Food Commision has come from men, which is typically sexist but extra bizarre because the CFC's assault on Social Security would disproportionately affect women.

photo of The Shock Doctrine in a stack of three booksTo understand what the Cat Food Commission is about, it is first instructive to understand The Shock Doctrine, a concept developed by Naomi Klein, one of the most important thinkers of our time. Excepts from the documentary film, "The Shock Doctrine" broadcasted on Democracy Now in 2007, provide a good summary of what this is all about.

NAOMI KLEIN: Remaking people, shocking them into obedience. This is a story about that powerful idea. In the 1950s, it caught the attention of the CIA. The agency funded a series of experiments. Out of them was produced a secret handbook on how to break down prisoners. The key was using shock to reduce adults to a childlike state.

TEXT: The following narration is excerpted from the CIA’s 1963 and 1983 interrogation manuals.

NARRATION: It’s a fundamental hypothesis of this handbook that these are techniques are, in essence, methods of inducing regression of the personality. There is an interval, which may be extremely brief, of suspended animation, a kind of psychological shock or paralysis. Experienced interrogators recognize this effect when it appears and know that at this moment the source is far more open to suggestion, far likelier to comply, than he was just before he experienced the shock.

NAOMI KLEIN: But these techniques don’t only work on individuals; they can work on whole societies: a collective trauma, a war, a coup, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack puts us all into a state of shock. And in the aftermath, like the prisoner in the interrogation chamber, we, too, become childlike, more inclined to follow leaders who claim to protect us.

One person who understood this phenomenon early on was the famous economist of our era, Milton Friedman. Friedman believed in a radical vision of society in which profit and the market drive every aspect of life, from schools to healthcare, even the army. He called for abolishing all trade protections, deregulating all prices and eviscerating government services.

These ideas have always been tremendously unpopular, and understandably so. They cause waves of unemployment, send prices soaring, and make life more precarious for millions. Unable to advance their agenda democratically, Friedman and his disciples were drawn to the power of shock.

NARRATION: The subject should be rudely awakened and immediately blindfolded and handcuffed. When arrested at this time, most subjects experience intense feelings of shock, insecurity and psychological stress. The idea is to prevent the subject from relaxing and recovering from shock.

NAOMI KLEIN: Friedman understood that just as prisoners are softened up for interrogation by the shock of their capture, massive disasters could serve to soften us up for his radical free-market crusade. He advised politicians that immediately after a crisis, they should push through all the painful policies at once, before people could regain their footing. He called this method "economic shock treatment." I call it "the shock doctrine."

Take a second look at the iconic events of our era, and behind many you will find its logic at work. This is the secret history of the free market. It wasn’t born in freedom and democracy; it was born in shock.

An obvious example of this being applied to the US was what has been done to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a city with increased homelessness and displaced people, perfectly livable public housing was torn down a couple of years after the hurricane as the coup de grace of exploitation of tragedy to turn the city over to wealthy and corporate interests.

Another example of the Shock Doctrine political economy is the Cat Food Commission in the US. In this case, a real Great Recession is being used in concert with phony hysteria about Social Security to try to push for a massive redistribution of income and wealth to the rich from everyone else.

Cindy Sheehan sitting in front of museumCindy Sheehan's recent blog posting, Savage Austerity, puts the issue in concrete, human terms. The entire posting is well worth reading, but I'll excerpt the part most directly related to the Cat Food Commission here.
I have been worried about Obama’s Bowles-Simpson “Cat Food Commission” (CFC) on reducing the deficit since it was announced, and it turns out my worries were well founded.

Besides suggesting raising the retirement age to an ungodly 69, savage cuts to Social Security and Medicare are proposed. Who needs Social Security and Medicare? Not the elite, but they are not forgotten in the CFC plan, the CFC also proposes to REDUCE taxes on the top earners from an already too low 35%, to an absolutely obscene 23%! Obama is following the international sport of the ruling class of forcing the least advantaged in society to pay for the crimes and excess of the One-Percent Club—those who sit at the top of the economic food chain controlling at least 50 percent of the nation’s wealth.

One thing we must understand, especially in the U.S, is that Capitalism creates these crises to be able to “capitalize” on them. The bubbles of the past were generated for gross profit on the expansion, and economic vampirism on the contraction. We who are not in the One-Percent Club may feel some temporary prosperity on the expansion, but each contraction squeezes us tighter and tighter.

In the CFC, there are also modest cuts proposed to defense, but, if any do go through, (very doubtful) it will just be a symbolic gesture meant to prove to us that the parasites really are “in it” with us.

In the commentary, Ms. Sheehan also shows that she gets it in terms of something that is taboo to discuss in corporate media: the parasitism of the rich.
Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the host. Well, the Capitalists are definitely a species of creature that benefits at the expense of its host—the workers and our prosperity. The intriguing thing about the parasitic behavior of the One Percent Club, though, is in its very name: One Percent. One percent of the economic parasites in the U.S. are benefiting off of the rest of us.

Here though, it’s almost as if we have invited our parasites to suck the life out of us, and we not only give them our comfy beds, we cook them a delicious breakfast, too, and compose a lovely Thank You note to them to add insult to injury.

Corporate propagandists act like we actually owe the rich for everything, not vice versa. In the upside down world of this propagandistic blather, rich people create jobs rather than the rest of us creating the wealth that the rich exploit. Never mind the fact that the rich in the US are shipping jobs out of the country with ruthless glee.

Why are most male commentators, even outside of the corporate media, afraid to acknowledge this parasitism?

Photos: miketually

D.C.Atty

 

Child Molestation About to Increase in Britain

Posted by libhom Sunday, November 21, 2010 1 comments

Warning! Keep your kids away from scumbag molesting priests.

Ratzi's latest power and money grab will have devastating consequences for children. (From Reuters 11/19/10)

The Roman Catholic Church will launch its first ordinariate for disaffected Anglicans in England and Wales in January and take in bishops, priests and laity over the following months, the Church announced on Friday.

Five traditionalist Church of England bishops have applied to join the ordinariate, a Church subdivision retaining some Anglican traditions, and about 30 groups of parishioners are due to cross over, Church leaders told journalists.

Ratzinger looking even more evil than usualGiven the rampant child molestation in the Roman Catholic clergy and the general level of corruption and greed in that church, it is highly suspicious that anyone would want to join it at this point. Obviously, some of the preachers who want to sign up want to molest children and are looking for a church that will protect them when they do it. Ratzi's hate church certainly has delivered in terms of protecting child rapists.

These days, no responsible parents anywhere in the world will allow their children to set foot in Ratzi's churches.

Ratzi Photo: eürodäna

 

Today Is Transgender Day of Remembrance

Posted by libhom Saturday, November 20, 2010 1 comments

What Is Transgender Day of Remembrance?
(From the Official Website)

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.

We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.

There are events in numerous countries throughout the world.

For me, this is a time to reflect on the contributions that transgender people have made to all of our lives and the senseless cruelty they experience far too often.

 

Some of the Cat Food Commission's Specific Plans

Posted by libhom Friday, November 19, 2010 3 comments

disgusting catfood in a glass dishNow that President Obama's Cat Food Commission's initial draft of draconian social service cuts has come out, it is getting a lot more attention. The goals of the Cat Food Commission seemed initially to be focused on a jihad against Social Security and Medicare. That crusade is definitely part of the agenda, but the Cat Food Commission has a broader goal.

The Cat Food Commission is a broad based attempt to transfer income and wealth from the elderly, the middle class, and the poor to the rich.

Here are some of the specific recommendations from the Commission's draft report:

From CommonDreams.org 11/10/10 (bolding mine):

• 75% of the solutions in the co-chair mark are spending reductions, 25% are tax increases.

• They want to add co-pays to the Veterans’ Administration and TRICARE, as well as pushing individuals covered by TRICARE into an employer policy. They also want to freeze noncombat military pay for three years. And, they want to end schools for families on military bases, instead reintegrating soldier’s kids into the public school system (because that’s so easy for a military family that moves every other year).

• They would cut the federal workforce by 10%, freeze all salary increases and bonuses for three years, and reduce Congressional and White House budgets by 15%. Surely this is the way to a better and more efficient federal workforce.

• They would eliminate all funding for commercial space flight, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and increase fees at national parks and the Smithsonian museums.

Increase co-pays in Medicaid and cost sharing in Medicare. In addition, the plan would cap Medicaid/Medicare growth, so that the government would have to either increase premiums and co-pays or raise the Medicare eligibility age if the cost grows above the baseline.

Massively overhaul the tax code. They have a couple different options on this. In the first, there would only be three brackets: at 8%, 14% and 23% for the top bracket. All tax expenditures – $1.1 trillion, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child tax credit, would be eliminated. The corporate tax rate would go down from 35% to 26% as well. Option 2 borrows from the Wyden-Gregg tax reform, establishing rates at 15%, 25% and 35%, increasing the standard deduction, capping the mortgage interest deduction (and eliminating it for second homes), limiting the charitable deduction, eliminating other tax expenditures, and capping the employer deduction for health care. Corporate rates would also go down, with loopholes removed.

• They would increase the gas tax by 15 cents a gallon beginning in 2013, to pay for transportation projects.

• They would pay for the “doctor’s fix” by cutting other reimbursements to hospitals and drug companies, as well as through tort reform (yeah, that’ll do it). They would also speed up a lot of the cost controls in the health care law. They also ask, if health care costs are still rising after the implementation of the exchanges, for Congress to consider a variety of options, including this:

Add a robust public option and/or all-payer system in the exchange

Reduce farm subsidies by $3 billion per year.

On Social Security, gradually increase the retirement age to 69 by 2075. They would also institute progressive price indexing to cut scheduled benefits for middle and high-income earners. They would index cost of living increases to inflation and not wages. They would also increase the payroll tax to capture 90% of wages, rather than the current 86%. Social Security savings would stay inside the program to keep it solvent, not be used for deficit reduction.

I've read from multiple sources that they also want to eliminate the home mortgage deduction for all homes.

Here are some things that are not included in the agenda of this alleged "deficit commission."

- Cutting off all funding to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

- Closing the majority of military bases abroad.

- Getting rid of the Bush tax cuts for the rich.

- Getting rid of the Clinton and Reagan tax cuts for the rich.

- Raising corporate taxes.

- Instituting luxury taxes.

- Instituting an SUV tax.

- Repealing all corporate controlled trade agreements and withdrawing from the World Trade Organization, making it possible for our government to expand revenue from tariffs, traditionally one of its major funding sources.

- Initiating a tax on all short term stock, bond, mutual fund, commodities, hedge fund, derivative, and other transactions involving financial instruments. (Call it the Bubble Prevention Tax.)

- Cut back on wasteful and unconstitutional homeland security spending

- An end to covert operations in Iran

- End of all aid to Israel

- End of aid and support for the fascist dictatorship in Colombia

- Legalization of Marijuana

- Sentencing crack like other cocaine

- Legalizing other victimless crimes such as gambling and prostitution.

- Taxing capital gains (other than primary home sales) like income actually earned by working

A "deficit commission" that proposes cutting taxes for the rich and corporations is not a deficit commission. Many have pointed out that wealthy and corporate interests are turning the same Shock Doctrine tactics that were used on non Western countries onto Europe and North America. We need to do more to fight back.

Photo: Sunfox

In theory, WBAI here in NYC is a progressive radio station which works on the mission of the Pacifica network. Yet, the current narrow majority of the Local Station Board (LSB) is a bunch of bigoted teabaggers who are gradually implementing a far right political agenda on the station. They call themselves "independent" to try to confuse voters in LSB elections, but they are a rigid political slate, as fanatical as the GOP at its worse.

The new management that has been brought in by this teabagger majority on the LSB has sunk to an incredible low. They have brought back infamous HIV denialist Gary Null. (If you have the stomach to read the linked rants, you will find a disturbing amount of homophobic bigotry in them...to put it mildly.)

In the real world, as opposed to the lalaland of Gary Null's New Age cult, HIV's causality of AIDS was a settled scientific question long before HIV drugs started dramatically prolonging peoples' lives. If it wasn't for HIV drugs, gay men would still be dying at the same horrifying rates that those of us who live on (seronegative or seropositive) witnessed for far too long.

But, HIV denialism isn't just inaccurate, it is truly vicious. It attempts to erase the lives and deaths of queer men, people of color, and women who have died as a result of HIV. There simply is no excuse for it.

As you might expect ACT UP NY and other HIV/AIDS activists are fighting back against this. A recent online petition by the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project explains their position quite well.

To whom it concerns:

We are writing as individuals and organizations who are deeply distressed by WBAI's recent restoration of supplement-entrepreneur Gary Null to the airwaves of WBAI Radio five days a week.

We are gravely concerned about this prospect and the consequences for people at risk of and living with HIV. Mr. Null and his frequent radio guests support the notions, among others, that HIV does not play a role in causing AIDS; that the disease is not transmitted sexually or via dirty needles; that HIV tests are meaningless; and that antiretroviral drugs are not only poisonous but can actually cause AIDS. Legitimate concerns and grievances about the pharmaceutical industry are eclipsed and diminished by this life-threatening stance.

The spread of false claims about HIV and AIDS is deadly, and particularly harms the poor communities of color most devastated by HIV/AIDS. Disinformation about HIV has caused the unnecessary suffering and death of an estimated 300,000 men, women and children in South Africa alone (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/26/aids-south-africa ).

Both the existence of HIV and its role in the causation of AIDS has been amply demonstrated (see, e.g., www.aidstruth.org). Among the destructive effect of spreading these falsehoods is to reduce condom use, increase infection risk and dissuade people from the use of life-saving antiretroviral therapy (among other modalities).

We respect the station's longstanding free-speech tradition, and support open debate on critical public health issues. We also deeply appreciate the fiscal difficulties facing WBAI and the Pacifica network. However, the notion that WBAI's survival is dependent on relying on Mr. Null while spreading a message of death is antithetical to the mission of the station and of the Pacifica Network to which it belongs.

We call on WBAI management to immediately reverse its decision to add Mr. Null's program to its schedule.

ACT UP NY warned people about what might happen last year. I guess it goes to show you that you can't take any institution for granted, even one that is supposed to be progressive like WBAI.

I've taken my link to WBAI off my link list. I cannot, in good conscience, link to a station whose management and board majority are behaving in such an irresponsible and bigoted fashion. It's been replaced by Democracy Now! I'm leaving the WBAIX which involves broadcasting on an occasional basis from former WBAI producers who were purged from the station by the bigoted teabagger majority on the LSB. Getting Gary Null off the air was a long, long overdue decision by former Program Director Bernard White. There is no excuse for bringing Null back.

[Anybody who detects the similarities between the HIV denialist pseudoscience and Global Warming denialist pseudoscience gets extra points for being observant and aware.]

 

stencil with a heart that says end marriageI've long agreed with the Gay Liberationists and Feminists of the 70s who opposed the institution of marriage. The critiques ranged from the anti sex nature of marriage, to the failure of marriage to nurture relationships, and to the patriarchal nature of the institution, depending on the critics. All of those claims seem valid to me.

People forget that marriage's original purpose had nothing to do with love, nurturing, or affection. Marriage was designed to codify and enforce the status of women and children as property of men. The status of children within marriage is still that of property, though that property is more jointly held between wives and husbands. Trying to turn a patriarchal, property based institution like marriage into an equal partnership between women and men has been weak and unstable at best.

That's why I find recent polling from the Pew Research Center, in association with Time Magazine, quite interesting. Here are the results on the institution of marriage.

Is Marriage Obsolete?

Yes: 39%
No: 58%
Don't Know/Refused: 3%


When the pollsters asked if people were optimistic about "the future of marriage and family," the number jumped from 58% to 67%. The most logical explanation is that there are people who are optimistic about the family who don't necessarily tie that optimism to the institution of marriage, at least in its current form.

When sodomy laws were overturned by the US Supreme Court, the Christian Right decided to make same sex marriage their highest priority LGBT issue. They did this for several reasons. First, it was the one queer issue where the overwhelming majority of the public supported them. Second, same sex marriage inflames fundamentalist Christian donors like no other issue, making it a cash cow.

However, there was another psychodrama going on. For decades, the militant fundamentalists have tried to scapegoat feminists, queers, liberals, atheists, and everyone else they don't like for the decline of marriage. This resonated with members of their flocks who were divorced or miserable in their marriages and wanted someone else to blame. Same sex marriage has become the most frequent "whipping boy" for every misery that people are too afraid to blame on the institution itself.

In another 100-200 years, marriage will be considered a bizarre relic of a backward time. It's too bad there isn't a way for people to jump start that process.

Photo: Franco Folini

 

If this library reflected what Bush actually was as a man, it would be filled with coloring books.

Bush Blog: Tempers Flare Between Bush Supporters, Protesters from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.


If the video already wasn't funny enough, there actually are far right bloggers who are posting it and praising the fool.

SMU has completely degraded itself and devalued the degress of its graduates by hosting this farce. Bush was never even president, having illegally occupied the White House for eight years due to two stolen elections. Yet, the GOP and SMU pranksters are actually calling it a "presidential library."

The wingnut in the video certainly shows the anti intellectual mentality of the far right. So does SMU.

What's next? Is SMU going to start the Dan Quayle School of Philosophy? The Glenn Beck School of Critical Thinking? The Sarah Palin School of Communications?

 

John Tyner Is an American Hero

Posted by libhom Tuesday, November 16, 2010 4 comments

Guns kill ten times more Americans every year than were killed in the 911 attacks. Cars kill even more Americans than guns. Cigarettes and fast food each kill several times as many people as guns. Yet, what are we supposed to be so frightened of that we allow ourselves to be treated as less than human every time we go to the airport? Terrorism?

Enough!

In case you haven't heard of John Tyner, here's a brief description of his act of heroism. (WLWT.com)

A man who refused a body scan and pat-down search at a San Diego airport has become an Internet sensation in the debate weighing fliers' security versus their privacy.

John Tyner posted a cell phone audio recording of his half-hour encounter Saturday at Lindbergh Field.

The software engineer couldn't board a flight after refusing a full-body scan that reveals an image of what's under his clothes. He also wouldn't allow a Transportation Security Administration worker to conduct a groin check. Tyner told the worker, "If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested."

Tyner's blog said he left the airport -- but only after being threatened with a lawsuit and fine for failing to complete security screening.

The fear of terrorism is leading to airport insanity. Remember when Bush was babbling about "they hate us for our freedom." Well, the War on Terror has been used to systematically chip away at our freedom. Airport screening is an extreme example of it.

The body scanners use either X Rays or Gamma Rays, both of which are highly carcinogenic and cause birth defects. So, if you don't want to subject yourself to this, you have to go through pat downs, which often are taken to sexually harassing extremes.

The reality is that terrorists find ways around every airport screening technique. So, even if terrorism was a major risk, this still would be a failed policy, from a security standpoint.

If this country relied more on in person intelligence than on flooding intelligence services with an overload of useless information gathered through everyone's emails, text messages, and phone calls, that would do a whole lot more to prevent terrorist attacks than humiliating and sexually harassing passengers or sending carcinogenic radiation through their bodies.

But, fighting terrorism isn't the real goal. The real goal is to make us so scared that we don't start thinking and questioning what is being done to us as Americans and as human beings. The people making money off of wars and corruption would like nothing better than for us to all snivel at the thoughts of the terrorist boogie man.

We live in a society that is so narcotized by corporate products that we seem incapable of admitting that Crappy Meals are literally more dangerous than terrorists. We doze at the real threats while scurrying like mice at the small stuff.

 

mock book cover that says My Pet Goat Revisited, Leadership Lessons from the Barnyard, by George W. Bush, MBABefore I get to this particular activist campaign, I thought I would give what appears to be the answer to the question that piqued my curiosity. Who is the ghostwriter of Shrub's book? (The Daily Beast 3/9/10)

How did 28-year-old ex-Yalie and former speechwriter Christopher Michel become the man behind Dubya's memoirs? Bryan Curtis talks to Bush chief of staff Andrew Card and former speechwriters Matt Latimer and Marc Thiessen about how Michel went from Barbara Bush’s classmate to the confidant he dubbed “Junior Bird Man.”

Now, onto the substance.

Various activists are calling for people taking Shrub's Bush, which most bookstores are misfiling, and putting it in Crime sectionsm where it belongs. From CODEPINK's 11/12/10 press release: (bolding mine)
With the release of George W. Bush's memoir Decision Points, CODEPINK activists are mobilizing throughout the country to make sure Bush is greeted by protests. They have already "greeted him" at book signings in Dallas and Milwaukee, and will be outside his events in Miami this weekend as well as at the opening of Bush's Presidential Library in Dallas next week. Activists are also descending on bookstores to move Decision Points into the Crime section at local bookstores, and are downloading special "This Book's Author is a War Criminal" bookmarks to put in each copy.

"With his book, media appearances and the opening of his library in Dallas, George Bush is being treated as a respected statesman instead of what he really is: a war criminal," said CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. "That's why we, the people, have to set the record straight."

Bill Quigley, writing on Michael Moore's website, discussed the true crime nature of the book as well. Somebody also started a Facebook Group which proposes moving the book where it belongs.

It's odd how something as innocuous as properly filing a book in a bookstore or library has become subversive in our incredibly censored and propagandized society.

As CODEPINK pointed out in their press release, there is a very serious issue behind this rather mild act of restoring correct order to book collections.
"High officials must be held accountable for criminal acts," says CODEPINK cofounder Jodie Evans. "Otherwise, it sends a clear message to future administrations--including the current one--that they are not required to uphold the basic tenets of human rights and international law."

Image: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

 

Obama speaking with the word bigotry under himBarack Bush's heterosexism is resulting in increasingly strong reactions in the queer community. From GetEqual's 11/15/10 Press Release:

Washington, DC – This afternoon, three generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans and advocates went back to the White House fence to call for the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Obama to make good on their promises to secure the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during the abbreviated, lame-duck session of Congress that started today.

During the direct action organized by GetEQUAL – a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – and local activists, 13 veterans and advocates handcuffed themselves to the White House fence in an act of non-violent, civil disobedience protesting the un-American, discriminatory law yet to be repealed by Congress — regardless of the numerous promises by President Obama, Congressional leaders and national LGBT leaders that they would do so by the end of this year.

I'm glad that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is in fright quotes. The actual policy was defined to increase witchhunts against queers in the military and it did just that. Subjects of these witchhunts do not have to say they are LGBT in order to be discharged under the policy.

I find the list of people who were arrested to be quite interesting.
The 13 veterans and repeal advocates arrested today include:

* Five veterans (Lt. Dan Choi, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, and Cadet Mara Boyd) who were arrested back in March during the GetEQUAL organized “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” act of civil disobedience at the White House fence demanding President Obama show leadership on repeal.
* Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL, and Dan Fotou, action strategist for GetEQUAL.
* Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Miriam Ben-Shalom, who was discharged in 1976 for declaring and admitting she was a lesbian. She became the first-ever LGBT servicemember reinstated to her position in the U.S. Military, by a U.S. Federal District Court. On July 30th, 1993, Miriam and 26 other protesters were arrested at the White House fence for protesting then-President Bill Clinton’s broken promise to repeal the gay ban – instead signing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” bill into law.
* Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Justin Elzie who, in 1993, became the first Marine ever investigated and discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. Elzie was also the first soldier to be discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to fight his discharge and win – resulting in his service as a Marine for four years as an openly gay man.
* Former U.S. Army Arabic Linguist Ian Finkenbinder, who was discharged from the Army in December 2004 after announcing to his superiors that he was gay. Finkenbinder is an Iraq war veteran and was about to return for a second tour of duty when he was discharged.
* U.S. Army Veteran and Repeal Advocate Rob Smith, who was deployed to both Iraq and Kuwait before being honorably discharged after deciding not to re-enlist in the U.S. Army due to the added pressure of living under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
* Father Geoff Farrow, a Catholic priest who spoke out against the church’s official stance in support of California’s Proposition 8, removing the rights of same-sex couples to marry. Because of his courageous stance against Prop 8, Father Geoff Farrow was removed as pastor of St. Paul’s by his bishop and suspended as a priest.
* Scott Wooledge, a New York-based LGBT civil rights advocate and blogger who has written extensively on the movement to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at Daily Kos and Pam’s House Blend.
* Michael Bedwell, long-time LGBT civil rights advocate, close friend of Leonard Matlovich, and administrator of the site www.leonardmatlovich.com.

So many of these people were military personnel. Farrow's presence also is intriguing. It was fascinating that he was removed as a priest for being accepting of people for having sex with adults.

I hope that the more conservative queer activist groups will face the reality that our movement cannot rely on or trust any politician. We need to fight for our rights no matter who is in power. Real progress will require a sustained, unrelenting effort.

 

Please Go to Faces of Grief

Posted by libhom Monday, November 15, 2010 2 comments

Faces of Grief is not the easiest blog to visit. The blog's statement of purpose is stark and important.

This is a blog of pictures from the news. The pictures are of Iraqis, and they show the overwhelming grief that this US made war and occupation has brought to them and their country. May God help them.

Obviously, there is no "God" to help them. We have to try to help them by working to end the War on Iraq. Obama still has 150,000 mercenaries and troops in that country. That occupation needs to end.

Please Contact the White House and Demand That Obama End the Iraq War Now!

I would also urge you to go to Faces of Grief. It doesn't just tell us what terrible things are happening now, which would be quite a significant contribution. That blog also shows us the human consequences of launching senseless wars based on greed, corruption, and Christian religious extremism.

 

Isreali flag
Photo: James Emery

Before bringing up disloyal House Member Eric Cantor (R-Israel), I should provide a summary of the Foreign Agents Registration Act from the US Justice Dept. website.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was enacted in 1938. FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities. Disclosure of the required information facilitates evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons in light of their function as foreign agents. The FARA Registration Unit of the Counterespionage Section (CES) in the National Security Division (NSD) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Act.

Now, it's time to bring up the activities by Cantor that have generated so much well deserved controversy. (Politico 11/11/10)
"Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington," the readout continued. "He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that Cantor pledged to act as an agent "of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity."

The foreign principals here are the state of Israel and its extreme right government. Unless Cantor has registered as a foreign agent, there is no reasonable explanation as to why he is not in violation of US law.

Obviously, it is time for the House Ethics Committee to launch an investigation against Cantor. I wonder if there is any Democrat or Republican with enough courage and integrity to do this.

It is equally obvious that the Justice Dept. is legally obligated to investigate Cantor for violating FARA. Of course, Justice also is legally obligated to investigate war criminals from the Bush Regime, and they have refused to do so thus far.

Every newspaper in the country should be editorializing for Cantor's resignation and for a criminal investigation to be launched against him. Every American, regardless of political ideology or affiliation should be doing the same.

It doesn't matter which foreign country Cantor is acting as a foreign agent for. If Cantor was acting as a foreign agent for Peru, Lithuania, or South Korea, people would be justly outraged. The same outrage must be expressed when US elected officials act as foreign agents for Israel.

Cantor is completely unfit for any public office. Resignation in disgrace is the absolute minimum that should happen in this case.

 

This fab video demolishes an argument for the existence of deities which is particularly narcissistic and cruel.



 

The corporate media usually don't give much coverage to stories which suggest that politicians should move towards the left. That's why this item on one of ABC News' blogs was quite refreshing. (bolding mine)

Here’s how: Current estimate is that 90 million people voted. Exit poll says 45 percent were Obama voters in 2008. That’s 40.5 million voters.

In 2008, Obama won 69.5 million votes. So about 29 million Obama voters did not show up in 2010.

Exit poll also says 45 percent of people who voted yesterday were McCain voters in 2008, again 40.5 million. That, vs. his nearly 60 million in 2008, means about 19.5 million McCain voters did not show up.

So Obama had nearly 10 million more no-shows.

Does this surprise anyone? Let's look at some things Obama did which discouraged Democrats and Democratic leaning independents from showing up to vote.

1) Continuing to practice torture at Guantanamo and throughout the world.

2) Dragging out the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

Obama speaking with the word bigotry under him3) Fighting for the military ban and for DOMA in court, even to the point of making appeals that the Administration was under no legal or ethical obligation to make.

4) Comparing homosexuality to bestiality and necrophilia in court briefs defending DOMA.

5) Making banksters a much higher priority than jobs.

6) Refusing to prosecute criminals merely because they were rich and well connected (e.g., Bush Regime war criminals, banksters, brokesters).

7) Siding with British Petroleum against the environment and the people in the Gulf Coast.

8) Pushing through the same brutal wealthcare plan that the GOP would have passed if they were in control of Congress and the White House.

9) Doing nothing to protect the right to choose on abortion.

10) Expanding Bush's unconstitutional office of hate based initiatives.

11) Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Cabinet level appointments.

12) Participating in the National Hate Breakfast and pandering to fundamentalist hate mongers like Rick Warren.

13) Sabre rattling with Iran and Venezuela.

14) Putting Global Warming on the backburner and making roads a higher priority than rail in the stimulus plan.

I could go on endlessly about the GOP policies that the President has continued or expanded on, but you get the point. Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and the rest of the DC "Democrats" did everything they could to send a message to Democratic voters and liberal independents that voting makes absolutely no difference.

Roughly 29,000,000 Obama voters got that message.

 

former McDonalds with a Sold sign on it

Photo: the_moog

I saw the movie Super Size Me, and it did a really good job of illustrating just how toxic and deadly fast food is. Even without seeing that movie, any reasonably observant person has discovered that eating fast food is highly risky behavior, especially if it is done more than once a month or two.

Yet, there actually are people objecting to San Francisco's law banning fast food "meals" which are served with toys. It's just astonishing. And, it's not just the right bloggers hoping for payoffs from a sleazy industry. The usually sensible Jonathan Turley responded with a bizarre tirade in his blog. The oddest part is where he actually tried to claim that the law is "unconstitutional." (bolding mine)

For many years, advocates attempted to use tort law to curtail fast-food as a defective product or a nuisance. Like others, I was critical of the use of tort law in those cases. Now, there seems a push to simply try to outlaw such food. Yet, it is hard to see how they can satisfy even the rational basis test under constitutional law. After all, other low nutrition food will be available in a city famous for its Ghirardelli’s chocolate. They are simply targeting those chains which give away toys.

It is incredibly easy to see that the law has a rational basis. Keeping corporations from using toys to bribe children into eating toxic garbage is highly rational.

Keeping children from become obese diabetics before they are even 15 years old seems reasonable to me. Silly me.

If parents really want their children to have toys and toxic fast food, they can always buy the two separately. So the parental choice argument evaporates upon reasonable examination. If anything, getting rid of the crappy meals will make it easier to reject demands from bratty children demanding these monstrosities.

Americans really do have way too strong of an attachment to the crap that is foisted on us by the fast food corporations. Super Size Me did mention how the fast food companies use sugar, salt, and fat to get people addicted to their swill. The level of hostility and irrationality being targeted at SF reminds me of the desperate rantings of smokers who want to block laws protecting the breathing rights of those of us who don't smoke.

 

fist clenching cash
Photo: Muffett

Chris Hedges used to be a corporate propagandist for the New York Times. Now, he writes books for the same corporate elites, pushing their agenda in snide and cynical ways.

Hedges found a novel minority group to scapegoat, a classic fascist technique, in his book I Don't Believe in Atheists. In that book, Hedges coopts the language of the peace movement to demonize everyone who abstains from participating in the single biggest cause of war, religion. Of course, the wars that Hedges promotes through his efforts to promote religion are highly profitable to his corporate overlords.

Now, Hedges' is attacking a favorite target of corporations and the extreme right, those of us who are liberal. He uses the same techniques that the right has used for far too long to try to enforce the political hegemony of corporations and the financial elites. The only significant difference between Hedges' and Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh is that he hijacks the language of the left to promote the same agenda.

What is one of Hedges' favorite techniques to demonize liberals? He parrots the right's claims of which institutions are "liberal," institutions that sometimes fail to remotely resemble anything liberal. Check out this passage from Hedges' latest propaganda tome, The Death of the Liberal Class.

The liberal class refuses to recognize the obvious because it does not want to lose its comfortable and often well-paid perch. Churches and universities—in elite schools such as Princeton, professors can earn $180,000 a year—enjoy tax-exempt status as long as they refrain from overt political critiques. Labor leaders make lavish salaries and are considered junior partners within corporate capitalism as long as they do not speak in the language of class struggle. Politicians, like generals, are loyal to the demands of the corporate state in power and retire to become millionaires as lobbyists or corporate managers. Artists who use their talents to foster the myths and illusions that bombard our society live comfortably in the Hollywood Hills.

The media, the church, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts, and labor unions—the pillars of the liberal class—have been bought off with corporate money and promises of scraps tossed to them by the narrow circles of power. Journalists, who prize access to the powerful more than they prize truth, report lies and propaganda to propel us into a war in Iraq. Many of these same journalists assured us it was prudent to entrust our life savings to a financial system run by speculators and thieves. Those life savings were gutted. The media, catering to corporate advertisers and sponsors, at the same time renders invisible whole sections of the population whose misery, poverty, and grievances should be the principal focus of journalism.

Hedges' attacks on universities remind me a lot of the attacks on universities by Pinochet and other murderous tools of the global elites. This dubious critique is rather sneaky, though. It's no big secret that university administrators are cautious and rightist in their approach. That led to the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s. However, Hedges' claims about the faculty and staffs in academia are wildly broad. Faculty and staff in colleges and universities are still major centers of resistance to the corporate hegemony. Hedges often lionizes Noam Chomsky in order to try to bolster his leftist credentials. Yet, Chomsky is a professor at an elite university.

Hedges might have a point if his critiques of academia were limited to Business Administration and Economics departments. However, Hedges isn't interested in analysis. Demonization of liberals is the tired and childish game he prefers.

Now, let's look at the other institutions that Hedges labels as "liberal," including media, the church, the Democratic Party, the arts, and labor unions." The corporate media are rightist, largely due to media concentration that squelches the competition necessary for liberals to be heard. To blame liberals for a rightist media is the height of Palinesque political burlesque.

As for the church, is Hedges joking? Religion is, by its very nature, reactionary, backwards, elitist, and corrupt. When religious individuals do social good, they inevitably go against the tenets of their religions. Religion is no more "liberal" than Hedges is "progressive" or "leftist."

Hedges also shows tremendous ignorance about the Democratic Party and its history. Most Democratic voters are liberal or progressive, but the institution itself barely can be considered a real political party. It always has functioned as a networking society for politicians, special interests, and their employees. Claiming the Democratic Party as a liberal institution would be comical if Hedges wasn't using such claims to attack people who actually are liberal.

As for the arts and organized labor, both are liberal institutions. Both do offer resistance to the wealthy elites that Hedges criticizes while doing their dirty work. Both resist the power of those elites while under a state of siege that has gone on at least since 1980. If Hedges thinks those two liberal institutions have failed or dead, how does that offer any kind of resistance to anything? Why does Hedges go out of his way to weaken those institutions even further instead of calling for improved funding and laws to make them stronger forces for democracy? For instance, issuing a clarion call for the Employee Free Choice Act would have done a lot more good over the past two years than incessant whining about organized labor not doing enough. Hedges seems completely impervious to the concept of solidarity.

Of course, Hedges' love/fear affair with the teabaggers, which he espouses on nearly every interview I hear him on, is hugely beneficial to the corporate and wealthy interests behind that scam. There is nothing that is authentic to the teabagger scam. The gullible who are fooled by it often have legitimate rage, but they have allowed themselves to be misdirected by the oldest tool in the American elites' economic playbook: racism.

Racism kept poor whites siding with slaveowners who were screwing them over, though obviously nowhere near as badly as the slaves. Racism was used, even more often in the South, to divide and conquer labor organizing. Misogyny and heterosexism have been added to the corporatist playbook in the 20th Century. Has Hedges resisted these diversionary tactics that also oppress the majority of people in this country?

Nope.

Instead of attacking racism as the central organizing tactic behind the teabagger scam, Hedges has a history of a drooling fascination with white supremacy. Here's a passage from his "Liberals Are Useless" rant. (Yes, I know, it's really Chris Hedges who is worse than useless.)
I was also at the time a member of the Greater Boston YMCA boxing team. We fought on Saturday nights for $25 in arenas in working-class neighborhoods like Charlestown. My closest friends were construction workers and pot washers. They worked hard. They believed in unions. They wanted a better life, which few of them ever got. We used to run five miles after our nightly training, passing through the Mission Main and Mission Extension Housing Projects, and they would joke, “I hope we get mugged.” They knew precisely what to do with people who abused them. They may not have been liberal, they may not have finished high school, but they were far more grounded than most of those I studied with across the Charles River. They would have felt awkward, and would have been made to feel awkward, at the little gatherings of progressive and liberal intellectuals at Harvard, but you could trust and rely on them.

Why is it that the weakest and most sniveling of men always have the silliest macho fantasies? Why does Hedges go for the most ridiculous divide and conquer tactics and pretend that people of color, who also are often working class, and liberals are the ones abusing the working class? Hedges is doing the bidding of the corporate overlords who make life far too much of an abusive, awkward, and painful experience for everyone who isn't rich.

I've already written about how Hedges goes along with the agenda of his former employer, the New York Times, to wildly exaggerate the supposed power of the teabaggers in order to try to intimidate liberals into going along with the rightist takeover of American politics. Teabagging Inc. is the real life equivalent of the apocryphal Potemkin Villages in exaggerated accounts of Russian history. Teabagging Inc is a fake village filled with just enough real idiots to make the scam appear credible. Hedges' talks about proto fascist elements in America. They certainly do exist, but they are the corporate orchestrators of the teabagger scam, not the suckers who fall for it enough to participate in the staged and inauthentic protests.

For someone who pretends to be morally superior to liberals, Hedges nihilism and defeatism make his political involvement not merely useless, but counterproductive. Calls to action would be vastly superior to Hedges' incessant whining. Exposing the scams of the right would be a productive and worthwhile stance by Hedges. Yet, Hedges chooses to act as a cog in the same corporatist machine instead.

Chris Hedges and Jon Stewart play disturbingly similar roles, with equally tedious behavior. Hedges' is corporate America's reliable "leftist" who devotes all of his time to savaging the left, while Stewart is the same elites' reliable "liberal," who ridicules and attempts to marginalize liberals and liberal points of view. Both of them spew bigoted nonsense to further the corporatist divide and conquer plan.

Neither of them are fooling me in the slightest.

 

They're Still Making More War Veterans on Veterans Day

Posted by libhom Thursday, November 11, 2010 2 comments

Now that Barack Bush is setting the groundwork to break his promise to get out of Afghanistan next year, it is becoming clear that Democratic politicians are just as pro war as Republican politicians. The people in the peace movement who trusted Obama and held back on protest made an enormous mistake.

Obama also is dragging out the Iraqtastrophe so corporations can keep making money off of it. Meanwhile, the Iraqis killed by "our" government's greed and corruption continue to add up. Meanwhile, more and more Americans in our military due to the economic draft are adding to the numbers of war veterans, facing the horrible physical and psychological scars of it.

At least the veterans who make it home have VA benefits, as weak as those are. The enormous numbers of mercenaries won't even have that. Considering that Obama has roughly 100,000 mercenaries in Iraq, that's a huge social problem for our country.

More war veterans mean increased competition for services that the GOP as well as Obama's Cat Food commission want to cut so they can cut taxes for the rich even more. Our veterans are treated in an extreme example of the shitty way the politicians treat everyone who isn't rich in this country.

Our veterans deserve better. We all do.

 

Petition to Dump Harry Reid

Posted by libhom Wednesday, November 10, 2010 1 comments

Reid looking weak and patheticPolitics Plus has taken blogging to the next logical step: starting an online petition. The petition is to get Democrats to dump Harry Reid as Majority Leader in the Senate. The good news from this year's Nevada Senate race was that Sharon Angle lost. The bad news is that the inept, bigoted, and highly corrupt Harry Reid won. Of the three most powerful Democratic Party leaders in DC, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, Harry Reid is the worst. He is the epitome of everything that is rightist and wrong about the Corpocrats. Here's the text of the petition.

Harry Reid has been such a weak majority leader that voters have come to think of Democratic as the party of spineless weakness. We need a majority leader who will fight for progressive values, not cower in fear at the first threat of Republican opposition. Please join us in petitioning your Democratic Senator(s) to replace Harry Reid with a Senator with the courage to stand fast against Republican assaults on our Constitution, our freedom, and our well being.

This sounds like a good way to discourage Democrats from acting like Republicans to me.

Please Sign the Petition!

Photo: talkradionews

 

The Punk Patriot does an excellent job of explaining much of how American politics works, for the rich at least.



This is excellent, but I would offer three corrections. Corporations have no rights, First Amendment or otherwise. The claims of "corporate personhood" and "corporate rights" are the results of corrupt judges. Also, there actually are some differences between the two major parties, but their similarities vastly outnumber their differences.

Finally, corporate money, in terms of campaign contributions and "independent" advertising, is not addressed. However, most people already know about that.

 

Fraudulent foreclosures, fraudulent mortgage paper, fraudulent everything seems to be the pattern these days. Is there anything honest about banking at all?



Nationalization of the banks should have been the first step in the aftermath of the Crash of 2008. The corrupting influence of the banksters on our political system is one of the reasons why nowhere near enough is being done to help the middle class and the poor. The US Treasury certainly should repossess all the bankster bonuses.

 

Bloomberg Actually Called Someone Else "Arrogant"

Posted by libhom Monday, November 08, 2010 2 comments

Bloomberg looking insufferably smugProviding some needed comic relief, Hizzego Michael Bloomberg has actually attacked President Obama as "arrogant"? (Times of India 11/6/10)

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had once said that a conversation with Barack Obama was "like verbal ping pong" and that the US president was the "most arrogant man" he had ever met, according to a media report.

Bloomberg had called on Obama, during the latter's vacation at Martha's Vineyard in August. He played a round of golf at the Vineyard Golf Club, along with a few other officials.

Regardless of party or ideology, anyone who lives in NYC knows that Bloomberg shouldn't have gone there. Michael Bloomberg is the most arrogant person in the history of this city, and that would be quite the accomplishment, even if this wasn't such an old city and it didn't have such an enormous population.

Giggle.

What's Next?

Is Sarah Palin going to accuse someone else of being shallow?

Is Glenn Beck going to say someone else is crazy?

Is Martha Stewart going to attack someone else for being anal?

Is John Boehner going to slam a political opponent for being elitist?

Is Linda McMahon going to accuse the UFC of being too violent?

Is Ayn Rand Paul going to call someone else "selfish"?

Is Rush Limbaugh going to start making fun of other peoples' weight problems?

Am I going to start criticizing other bloggers for having too long of postings?

Photo: Edwin Martinez1

 

Mitch McConnell Tries Really Hard to Sound Macho

Posted by libhom Sunday, November 07, 2010 3 comments

The Not-Even-Slightly-Fabulous Mitch McConnell sounds about as macho as Lada Gaga. Well, she's actually a lot tougher than he is.



That chest beating was weak, even for the Not-Even-Slightly-Fabulous Mitch McConnell. I think he is overcompensating.

Of course, the last time a Gopper tried too hard to sound tough, it had disastrous consequences. Remember when the elected Bush tried to get people to stop referring to him as a "wimp"? He started a bloody and senseless war in Iraq. (The son outdid even the father a few years later.)

 

This starts with a clear argument refuting the right's "big government" rhetoric. It then discusses the conflicts between efficiency and security. (Hat Tip: Media Crashers)



 

Bill Maher Skewers Jon Stewart's Ridiculous Rally

Posted by libhom Saturday, November 06, 2010 0 comments

I'm so glad that some people are getting how preposterous Jon Stewart's rally and rightist rhetoric are.



 

Gopper elephant on chair with world spinning on its trunkPresident Obama was incredibly stupid to renominate Bernanke to be in charge of the Federal Reserve Board. Senate Democrats were even dumber when they didn't block the nomination.

Bernanke certainly didn't deserve to keep his job. His negligence and his lobbying against reregulation of financial markets were major factors in causing the financial crisis. His misuse of the bailouts to exclusively help the banksters instead of bailing out the people is one of the reasons why the economy is so execrable.

Yet, those are not the only reasons why Darth Bernanke should not have gotten the job. He is a partisan, Republican hack. Check out this from the 11/3/10 New York Times:

The Federal Reserve, getting ahead of the battles that will dominate national politics over the next two years, moved Wednesday to jolt the economy into recovery with a bold but risky plan to pump $600 billion into the banking system.

A day earlier, Republicans swept to a majority in the House on an antideficit platform, virtually guaranteeing that they would clash with the Obama administration over the best way to nurture a fragile recovery.

The plan wasn't particularly "risky," but that's the typical rightist bias of the Times. What is so interesting is that Bernanke deliberately timed the stimulus to be the day after the election, so it wouldn't have the slightest chance of helping the Democrats. Middle class and poor Americans were used as cannon fodder in Bernanke's battles for the GOP.

It is also useful to note that the Times censored the role of partisan politics in Bernanke's decision to delay this stimulus.

Image: makelessnoise

 

The Fishy Things About the Olbermann Suspension

Posted by libhom Friday, November 05, 2010 2 comments

Here is typical corporate media coverage of MSNBC's suspension of centrist commentator, Keith Olbermann from ABC News (bolding mine).

MSNBC has suspended anchor Keith Olbermann, after it was revealed the "Countdown" host made political contributions to three Democratic candidates.

Politico reported Friday that Olbermann contributed to the candidates in the run-up to Tuesday's midterm elections, making a donation to Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva on the same day he appeared on the cable news show.

In a statement, MSNBC said its ethics policy bans journalists from making political contributions. Olbermann, perhaps the cable network's most famous face, is known as an outspoken liberal commenter. As one of the network's highest-paid personalities, he is central to the network's "Lean Forward" campaign, a rebranding effort promoting progressive points of view.

Of course, Olbermann is actually a centrist, not a liberal. Labeling centrists as liberals is common corporate media tactic to narrow the range of debate. Also, MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews is a conservative who did everything short of endorsing John "Keating Five" McCain on air in 2008, and he was part of the rebranding effort.

However, let's return to the text I bolded. The statement from GE owned NBC News was different in a very significant way. (Again, bolding mine - Hat Tip, indirectly: Mark Crispin Miller)
Like most news organizations, NBC News, parent of msnbc TV, prohibits political contributions by its journalists without prior approval of the president. (Msnbc.com, a joint venture of NBC Universal and Microsoft, also has a policy against its journalists contributing to political campaigns.)

"Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest,” the NBC News policy reads. “Such activities may include participation in or contributions to political campaigns or groups that espouse controversial positions. You should report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the president of NBC News or his designee."

Hrrrmmmmm..."without prior approval of the president." If NBC News is so concerned about "potential conflicts," then why is it OK to make those contributions with the permission of an executive beholden to General Electric, a rightist corporation that profits off of war? If the appearance of bias was the concern, the same rules would apply to all contributions, with permission or not. In fact, contributions with executive approval give an even greater appearance of bias.

Of course, the whole idea that NBC News is concerned with being "impartial" is laughable. If they were, NBC Nightly News wouldn't be so obnoxiously rightist and propagandistic that watching it is the metaphorical equivalent of being hit on the head with a 2x4. Also, why does Joe Scarborough, a former Republican member of Congress and someone on the extreme right fringe, have the morning slot on MSNBC? (By the way, when is there going to be a Special Prosecutor to investigate the murder of Lori Klausutis?)

Then, there's the Today Show. Not only is the "news coverage" slanted hugely to the extreme right, but so are the guest bookings. That program showed the extent of its right fringe bias when it hired the grotesquely unqualified daughter of George W. Bush.

When cable TV, as well as network TV, is such a cesspool of rightist propaganda, dishonesty, hypocrisy, racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should I pay to get it back? Why would I want to pay for a network owned by the war profiteering GE? Why should I care if I miss a network who brass lies about the reason they fired a politically moderate host who offended the corporate aristocracy by not being a knucklewalking rightist?

It turns out I'm not the only person who thinks this is a crock. As of the moment I'm typing this, over 95,000 people have signed an online petition to get MSNBC to end its suspension.

Cable TV deserves to be killed by the Internet.

Bullshit like this is also one of the reasons I refuse to buy GE light bulbs and appliances.

 

Let's face it. Sarah Palin had a humiliating election defeat in her own home state, Alaska. Her teabagger acolyte, Joe Miller, lost badly to write ins for incumbent Senator Murkowski, who Miller defeated in the GOP primary. There still is some chance that Miller might sneak into office on technicalities like spelling errors on write in ballots, but those will be the tricks of lawyers, not the will of the people.

Sarah Palin holding something and looking out of it

Even worse for Sarah Palin is the fact that Ms. Murkowski and the Senator's family have been political rivals of the Wasilla grifter. That must really sting for a egomaniac like Palin.

It also is pissing off her supporters.

The far right blog, Politico, had a posting on the election results in Alaska. There was nothing particularly interesting or distressing about the posting, but the comments were some of the most vicious things I've ever read about real people online. (People tend to be freer to say the most incredibly hateful things about fictional characters, especially the ones on soaps.) I ordinarily wouldn't run things like this, especially considering the misogyny of some of them, but I think it really is important to show the amazing degree of hatred and fanaticism that Sarah Palin and the teabagger scam have incited among the right fringe. (I should note that the worst comments that were there when I originally saw the article have been deleted by the administrators.)

Under normal circumstances in the real world this bitter, selfish entitled queen would be shunned. But we are talking Washington and to keep the GOP numbers up they will offer this lying nag some power position to keep her in the GOP fold. Poor Joe Miller won the primary but takes the bitter medicine in the end!
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There is strong sense that Murkowski is a traitor, a turn coat, a bad sport. She asked for Republican support, didn't get it, and lost the primary and now she demands Republican leadership? Maybe she ought o switch party.
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She is so damn UGLY who cares. She wants the power for EARMARKS, well guess what they are going to be eliminated and she is going to be very upset. I cannot wait to see how congress votes on this matter, bet she votes YEA...
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AK just cant stop sucking the federal Murkowski t i t.They have billions saved in a PDF fund they get yearly dividens from.10 billion saved in a rainy day fund and they still get the most pork per capita than any other state.What a bunch of greedy losers they are sucking the taxpayers in the lower 48 dry while hoarding billions.Meanwhile the states are hemoriging and still giving Lisa her yearly pork.Screw you AK AND YOU MURKOWSKI ! Your nothing other than porky Teddy Stevens in a long skirt to hide you vericous viened legs.Palin said your state was full of strong independent people.I guess shes wrong on that one, your just a bunch of freeloaders.Hey why dont you spend your own cash.Murkowski AKs pork queen,well AK Americas had enough of your bloodsucking greed.
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Murkowski, (with the emphasis on the "kow") is the RINO Nancy Pelosi, a lying, cheating, back-stabbing ***** who will do anything underhanded to keep her seat in Congress because she feels entitled. Entitled to what Lisa Pelosi? Thwart the will of the people? Do what you want to do and the public be damned? You'd make one hell of a good dumbocrat. Get lost.

When I just checked a story on Yahoo News, Yahoo's administrators had not deleted this comment.
Muratski, I dont see anyone paying u 100K to give a speech, so shut your ugly trap up, u Rino. Eat crap and choke on it.

The weirdest thing is that the Palinbots agree with Murkowski on at least 99% of the issues. The only issue I'm aware of where Murkowski isn't an absolute wingnut is abortion, where she is pro choice. In fact, Murkowski is Big Oil's and Big Coal's point person in the Senate in efforts to sabotage Global Warming legislation.

On a lighter note, here's a parody video I did a while back on the Wasilla Grifter.



Photo: triciaward


 

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