• I am a homo. That is a good thing. I am a liberal. That is a good thing.
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I am the epitome of evil to the Religious Right....OK, so is at least 60% of the U.S. population.


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The Real Reason Ratzi Hates LGBT People So Much

Posted by libhom Wednesday, March 31, 2010 6 comments

He hates us because we have sex with adults.


Burmese Opposition Opts Out of Rigged Elections

Posted by libhom Tuesday, March 30, 2010 0 comments

flag image with free Burma in English and Spanish
Image: Contando Estrelas

The Burmese opposition has decided not to go along with being window dressing for the dictatorship's bogus upcoming election. (The Irrawaddy 3/29/10 - Hat Tip: Ten Percent)

Burma's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), on Monday decided against registering for the general election this year, a party spokesman told The Irrawaddy.

“Without any objections, all the party leaders reached a consensus not to register the party and join the election because the junta's election laws are unjust,” said senior party official Khin Maung Swe who attended the meeting at the party's Rangoon headquarters. “We also agreed to call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners.”

Party officials said that the lawyer of detained leader Suu Kyi read out a message from Suu Kyi to the party leaders at the meeting and said that “Daw Suu could not accept the party registering under the unjust laws, but she said that neither she nor anyone else owns the party. Therefore, the party members have to make the decision by themselves democratically.”

The Obama administration has said that it is disappointed, blaming the generals, but will continue to "engage" with the military dictatorship. This policy, which even sounds a lot like Reagan's policy of "constructive engagement" with the apartheid regime in South Africa, emboldened the Burmese dictatorship to rig the elections with an election law which, among other things, would ban Suu Kyi from the party she leads in return for a chance to participate in "elections" whose outcome would be predetermined anyway.


So much of the media coverage is focused on how the rampant child molestation in the Roman Catholic clergy is affecting Ratzi and the Vatican. What about its effects on the rape victims? When anyone defends those clerical monsters, they should be forced to read and listen to the words of people who have been raped.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has a statement that should be required reading for anyone who defends Ratzinger or his evil church at this point.

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Wisconsin victim's impact statement

Statement by Kevin Dresdow

I was a typical twelve year old boy before I met Jim Blume. I had a lot of friends. I was athletic, a good student, and attended mass every Sunday. My family was very supportive and always there for me; we were an ordinary happy family. Everybody who knew Jim wanted to be his friend because of his generosity and kind nature. The racquetball games, ski trips, playing board games were all just a ploy to get me alone whenever he had the chance. I was twelve, shy and trapped inside Jim’s parent’s house in Mishawauka Indiana the first time he molested me while I was trying to sleep. I was confused, wondering what had just happened. The molesting continued for the next two years, dozens of times in five different states from right here in Wisconsin to California.

It is hard to describe in words how this has impacted my life for the last thirty-two years. I have very low self –esteem. I have lost my faith in the Catholic Church and I trust no one. I have been addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex and tobacco. I worry everyday for my three children and wonder if this might happen to them. I lied to and kept this secret from my former wife who I was with for twenty-four years. I have troubles with all of my relationships, which resulted in my divorce five years ago. I have occasional nightmares and have trouble focusing on daily tasks, which has prevented me from holding a job for a long term basis. I kept this inside of me for all of these years because I was confused, ashamed, and worried what my family and friends would think. To this day I am seeing a counselor in the hopes that someday I will be healed. There were other victims after me, and now I feel guilty for not coming forward before they became prey to this pedophile. Now my parents who are in their seventies share their own guilt for allowing me to spend so much time with Jim Blume and encouraging me to take a trip with him across the country. They even had him over for dinner on occasion; he had everyone believing he was a good man.

I need to move on with my life. I am so sorry I wasn’t able to come forward sooner and offer my deepest apologies to those who were victimized after me. For me to think that this man might still have the ability to molest another child is unbearable. The fact that he originally denied my allegations only made this process worse. Now I need to see him punished so he doesn’t have the opportunity to ruin another person’s life.


March 28 - April 3 is National LGBT Health Awareness Week. This is an issue that really hits home for me. In addition to all the problems straight people have to deal with during situations they need healthcare, I have a whole other set of issues. I try to find queer or queer friendly practitioners, but that isn't always an option. I have to figure out whether or when to come out to them and how to deal with any possible adverse reactions. When you add that to a healthcare system that keeps getting more and more devastated by the greed and corruption of the HMOs and health insurers, it's a lot.

I know that far from makes me unique. Those are issues that all queers have to deal with. That's why I think it's especially important for us to focus on it at least once a year with particular intensity.

Thanks to Queers United for publicizing this!

Learn More About the National Coalition for LGBT Health and Queer Health Issues in General!

Ratzinger looking even more evil than usualContrary to far right propaganda, the New York Times is a very conservative, Republican paper with a strong pro-Roman Catholic bias. They have been downplaying the long running story of rampant child molestation in that church's clergy for years. If the Times and other papers were more honest and less biased, the far greater coverage of the story would have prevented a lot of rapes and gotten a lot of priests thrown in prison where they belong. Yet, on those rare occasions when that paper actually does cover the clerical rape of children, Roman Catholic supremacists throw the most vile of tantrums.

If you aren't familiar with them, the "Catholic League" is a tiny racist, sexist, heterosexist, and Roman Catholic supremacist hate group run by the reprehensible Bill Donohue. In a 3/26/10 press release, they actually said the following.

Let's say Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, now the pope, did in fact learn of the transfer. So what? Wasn't that what he expected to happen? After all, we know from a March 16 Times story that when Ratzinger's subordinates recommended therapy for Hullermann, he approved it. That was the drill of the day: after being treated, the patient (I prefer the term offender) returns to work. It's still the drill of the day in many secular quarters today, particularly in the public schools. A more hard-line approach, obviously, makes more sense, but the therapeutic industry is very powerful.

In other words, there is no real news in today's news story. So why print it? To keep the flame alive. Look for the Times to run another story saying they have proof Ratzinger knew of the transfer. Did they think that after he approved the therapy that Hullermann would be sent to the Gulag?

Yesterday's Times story on the half-century old case concerning Father Lawrence Murphy will be the subject of an op-ed page ad in Tuesday's New York Times. Meanwhile, I am taking advantage of every TV opportunity to set the record straight. The pope is a great man, and the Catholic League is proud to stand by him.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I'm seldom at a loss of words for anything. However, in this case, I cannot find words strong enough to describe my revulsion at this statement. Sickening doesn't even begin to cover it.

One thing is for sure. No decent, moral human being would stand by Ratzi at this point.

Photo: eürodäna


button that says Cure GreedApologists for Obama's wealthcare plan for the HMOs and health insurance companies have been citing Mitt Romney's Republican wealthcare plan in Massachusetts as a "success." They just don't say who it is a success for.

Thanks to Romney's wealthcare system, Massachusetts has the highest premiums in the country. Last fall those greedy corporations raised premiums 7-12%.

Corporate greed has gotten so insatiable that the state of Massachusetts is considering loosening up on the fines imposed on people who can't afford insurance. (Boston Globe 3/12/10)

State regulators said yesterday that they will probably change the complex formula they use to determine how many Massachusetts residents face a tax penalty for not having health insurance, because spiraling costs are making coverage unaffordable for too many people.

Each year, the Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector Authority board updates the formula it uses to determine whether health insurance is affordable for individuals, couples, and families and whether people in each group should face a tax penalty for not having coverage.

The state’s landmark 2006 health law requires nearly everyone to have health insurance or to pay a stiff tax penalty.

The "spiraling costs" are for insurance premiums. The costs of care haven't changed much at all. Romney's wealthcare plan has been such a disaster that even he is starting to disown it.

Keep in mind that fact that HMO and health insurance premiums have very little to do with actual costs. The costs of care provided are only a fraction of the money collected by these larcenous corporations. The only restraint on premiums is what these evil corporations think they can get away with.

As I have pointed out before, if Obama's fines for people who can't afford the defective products of the HMO/health insurance industry are allowed to go into effect as scheduled in 2014, the result will by dramatic increases in insurance premiums. Sadly, the only restraint on outlandishly high premium prices is the ability for some people to opt out. Without that, the sky is the limit for these corporate thieves.

Obviously, Medicare for All or some other single payer plan is the only real solution to the lack of care and wildly exaggerated prices people are facing in our country. The only obstacles are bought politicians like Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich, John "Keating Five" McCain, and the rest of the crooks in DC.

Photo: madhavaji


This whole thing gets worse and worse and worse.

I just don't understand how anyone can defend that church at this point.


If you don't like Isreal's ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, here's something you can do about it. Ahava cosmetic products are made in Mitzpe Shalem, a Jewish only settlement in occupied Palestine. The products are made on stolen land, and the company markets their crap based on the Dead Sea location.

Ahava also is using misleading labeling, putting "Made in Israel" even though Mitzpe Shalem is not in Israel, but rather in occupied Palestine.

CODEPINK has targeted a lot of companies, requesting that they stop selling Ahava products. The latest company is Nordtrom. From their Action Alert email:

On March 30, 2010, activists around the world will mark Land Day with coordinated BDS actions. There will be Stolen Beauty (www.stolenbeauty.org) AHAVA boycott actions in NYC, D.C., Chicago, Montreal, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. This past week we moved forward with our boycott in NYC when the president of Ricky's NYC, a family-owned cosmetics & sundries chain, called in response to the 2,000 e-mails our supporters sent him for Valentine's Day. Our latest Stolen Beauty target is Nordstrom, a chain of department stores that touts itself as a socially responsible business. Join us in telling Nordstrom to stop selling AHAVA products, which are made from stolen resources in occupied Palestine.

Please Contact Nordstrom Now!

Here's a comic strip on the issue (click on images for full sized versions):

Here are some photos from a recent protest against Ahava in the UK.


Sinéad O'Connor Was Right

Posted by libhom Saturday, March 27, 2010 0 comments

At this point, it is physically impossible to criticize Ms. O'Connor's actions without deliberately endorsing the rape of children.


Ratzinger looking even more evil than usualThe Roman Catholic Church gets more evil with each passing day. From The Independent 3/27/10:

The Vatican responded to the claims in L'Osservatore Romano newspaper saying that the US press reports were part of an "ignoble attempt to attack at any cost Benedict XVI and his closest collaborators". Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference, also blasted what it called a "frenetic desire to tarnish" the Pope.

Here's more:

These tactics only make it clear that it is absolutely critical that people speak out against Ratzi and the child rapists he has worked so hard to protect. Silencing opponents is one of the tactics Ratzi's idol, Adolph Hitler, routinely used on his rise to power.

Photo: eürodäna


Canada Follows Ann Coulter's Advice

Posted by libhom Friday, March 26, 2010 8 comments

American rightists who seek to impose themselves on other countries are furious that a Canadian university canceled a speech by Osama bin Coulter in the face of overwhelming campus opposition. But what does the evil one herself think about free speech? (The Independent Florida Alligator 10/21/05 - Hat Tip: Dawg's Blog)

She also criticized the media for being liberal and Democrats for whining about their rights under the First Amendment.

"They're always accusing us of repressing their speech," she said. "I say let's do it. Let's repress them."

She later added, "Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."

The reactions by many of the right show how incredibly stupid they are. The Democratic Party doesn't even exist outside of the US, but that hasn't stopped many on the right fringe for attacking the Democrats for something they had nothing to do with. (e.g. The Lewis Crusade)
There is no secret that our own Democratic Party has a huge admiration for Canada and wants to turn the US into Canada.

Incidents like this just prove once again what the Democrats really are: Stalinists.

The title of this post was equally offensive and idiotic too, "All liberals are terrorists."


The Roman Catholic Church Must Be Banned

Posted by libhom Thursday, March 25, 2010 1 comments

The rampant rape of children among the Roman Catholic clergy is not a local problem. It's not a US problem. It's a global problem of such magnitude that it couldn't be going on at such horribly high levels without the deliberate support of the Vatican.

There is no legitimate way that anyone can defend the RCC anymore. The crimes committed by that institution over the centuries are enormous and unforgivable. The Inquisition and earlier slaughters of Pagans, the murderous wars to slaughter Protestants for not bowing before child molesting Popes, the open and brazen support of Mussolini and Hitler, and the genocide of Eastern Orthodox Serbo-Croats in the RCC's own fascist regime in Croatia during WWII are some of the best known historical examples of how vicious and murderous the RCC has been.

But, don't think this power mad and genocidal bent has eased up. Ratzi is engaging in a campaign of racist genocide by trying to stop condom use in Africa. This was a continuation of Ratzi's jihad against condom use in order to promote the spread of HIV among gay and bisexual men who have sex with adults.

Then, there's the massive obstruction of justice by the Roman Catholic clergy of the perpetual rape of children by that evil cult. It continues to this day. Pro child rape Roman Catholic extremists dare to attack Sinead O'Connor for demanding an end to this evil church. Ratzi himself keeps trying to falsely present this as a series of isolated incidents to deny culpability and protect the child rapists. Ratzi even has the nerve to try to shift blame away from himself and his sociopathic clergy.

Obviously, the Justice Department needs to prosecute Joseph Ratzinger for obstruction of justice aiding and abetting rape. There should be extradition proceedings against that monster immediately.

But, that isn't enough. If Ratzi resigns or goes to prison, he will be replaced by someone else who will protect child raping priests. We really need to amend the constitution to permanently ban and criminalize the Roman Catholic Church.

This may seem like a big step, but you have to remember that the authors of the Bill of Rights had no idea that a major religious denomination would side against this country during WWII or that they would engage in the rampant rape of children. Constitutional amendments are big steps, but they are necessary in some cases.

At this point, there is no possible way to defend the Roman Catholic Church without endorsing mass murder and the rape of children.

Roman Catholicism = Raping Children!

Stop the Church!


Cindy Sheehan at last weekend's protest. She tells the truth about Obama, the Democrats, and the Republicans, the truth that is extremely unpleasant.

I think the main reason why Sheehan is attacked so viciously is that people are shooting the messenger. It's not like anyone can rationally or factually dispute what she is saying. However, pleasant fantasies often get more traction than harsh truths.


...this is a big part of why.

(Huffington Post 3/20/10 - Hat Tip: Mark Crispin Miller)

The insurance giant Cigna last year gave compensation packages worth more than $120 million to two executives who left the company, according to a filing with the SEC on Friday.

The vast majority of that total went to former chairman and CEO H. Edward Hanway who left his post with a retirement package worth $110.9 million -- which included $18.8 million in executive compensation for 2009, as well as a healthy pension plan, deferred compensation and stock options.

This problem is hardly limited to Cigna or health insurers. 37 HMO executives grabbed $277 Million for themselves in 2007.

We need single payer so we can put these fuckers out of business for good.

fist clenching cash
Photo: Muffett


Blair looking ghoulish at the World Economic ForumRemember former UK Prime Minister, known worldwide as "Bush's Poodle" for going along with the war on Iraq and yipping in favor of it? He's been making some money (Scotsman 3/20/10 - Hat Tip Ten Percent)

It finally emerged this week that Mr Blair had been paid for advising UI Energy, a South Korean oil firm with extensive interests in the US and Iraq.


It also disclosed Mr Blair had been acting as a "governance adviser" to the Kuwaiti government since June 2008 in a deal reportedly worth £1 million.

Mr Blair's spokesman was quoted as saying the agreement with UI Energy related to a "one-off piece of advice" and was not related to Iraq.

The last paragraph from the quoted text should be worth a giggle or two.

After all, we know that the Iraq War had nothing to do with oil. It couldn't. It just couldn't. I'll let The Church Lady respond to this news.

Tony Blair is the world's wealthiest poodle.

Photo: World Economic Forum


Shame on You President Obama!

Posted by libhom Tuesday, March 23, 2010 6 comments

Well, you've done it. You've told innumerable lies, taken and spread tons of HMO and health insurance money, and you've gotten a heinous attack on the middle class, the poor, and the elderly through Congress.

Now's your chance to sadistically gloat at the millions of Americans you are getting fined for not being able to afford astronomical and rising premiums. You'll have to wait until the fines go into affect to see the skyrocketing premiums your HMO and health insurer buddies will get to increase at will. But, I doubt you will mind that as long as you keep collecting their big money campaign contributions, contributions that ultimately will be paid for by the subsidies you have placed in effect for your wealthy industry donors.

Considering that you are such a batshit crazy misogynist (and homophobe) that you involved Rick Warren in the inauguration, it's no wonder that you are getting to gloat over woman hating and unpatriotic restrictions on abortion. Just as you have shown with your efforts to expand Bush's hate based initiatives, you are in bed politically with anti American Christian fundamentalists who want to replace our form of government with a Taliban style theocracy.

Watching the Republicans pretending to be against your wealthcare bill for the rich would be comical if the consequences of this legislation weren't so deadly. They make the most bizarre and weak arguments against it when a campaign against the fines for the uninsured would have easily made passage a political impossibility. After all, they are just as bought by the HMOs and health insurers as you are, the same interests that wrote the bill. They aren't going to do anything to actually defeat this monstrosity. Politics has become as transparently fake as professional wrestling.

You are just as much of a corrupt, rightist Republican as Bush, Cheney, the Clintons, or John "Keating Five" McCain. You have proven you are just as much of a pathological liar as Karl Rove or Bill Clinton.

You have governed exactly as McCain or Hillary Clinton would have. All that talk about "change" was the same talk we got from another rightist piece of shit: Bill Clinton. You may be able to bullshit a lot of liberals who are deeply in denial about what this wealthcare legislation actually does, but you can't fool all of us. You are just as persuasive argument for the Green Party as Bill Clinton, Ben Nelson, Bart Stupak, and Blanche Lincoln.


Funny CNN Profile of Linda McMahon

Posted by libhom Monday, March 22, 2010 4 comments

There's a serious message in this profile of the former WWE CEO/Diva

The stats at the end are a bit skewed, since they focused on rich people who spent a half a million or more on their campaigns. If they focused on rich people who spend $ten million or more, the results would have been more favorable.

For pure comedy value, here's a WWE video with Linda and her freakish family.


Banned Condom Commercials

Posted by libhom Sunday, March 21, 2010 5 comments

I'm not sure this one is for real, but I do know it would work.

This one is for real.

The scumbags at CBS and Fox banned this one.

You would think HIV would be more than enough reason for condom use, but whatever it takes.


Cindy Sheehan at SF Gay PrideThis just in from Cindy Sheehan:

March 20th, 2010


On Monday, March 15th, Camp OUT NOW, a Peace Camp erected by US Citizens on the lawn of the Washington Monument, was denied by the National Park Service its legal rights (based on National Park Service regulation 7.96) to erect temporary tents.

According to case law, tents are able to be erected as long as there is no sleeping—the Park Service forced the campers to take down the tents Monday afternoon immediately after they were set-up.

“On the 7th anniversary of an illegal war that has killed over a million people and in the shadow of the government that commits crimes on a daily basis, we will claim our legal rights to establishment an anti-war camp, and we expect to do so unmolested by law enforcement,” said Cindy Sheehan, National Director of Peace of the Action.

Peace of the Action is inviting all concerned citizens to join us at Camp this evening to help us fight the arbitrary enforcement of national law.

The action will take place Saturday night, March 20th beginning at 8pm.

Our government really is trudging its way towards dictatorship.

All of Barack Obama's campaign rhetoric about "change" is starting to seem like a sarcastic performance art piece.

Photo: bastique


Seven Years of Iraqtastrophe

Posted by libhom Friday, March 19, 2010 3 comments

Today is the worst day of the year. It's the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the war on Iraq, a war that has cost the people of that country over 1.3 million lives. It's cost us hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars. Over 4000 of our troops have been killed in an effort to keep Iraq under the dominion of international oil corporations, arms merchants, and mercenary corporations.Iraq Deaths Estimator

Remember when Barack Obama was running for president. In the primaries, he made opposition to the Iraq War. When the President began his tenure in office, he announced a phased withdrawal. What's actually happened?

We have fewer regular troops in Iraq now, but the increase in the presence of mercenaries paid by "our" government more than makes up for their numbers. The killing goes on. The rigged elections go on. The profits for war profiteers go on, and on, and on.

Where are the "Democrats" on this? Why haven't they cut off funding for this illegal and unAmerican war? Does it matter who we vote for?

This war is one of the main reasons why the Great Recession has been so long and so deep. Economic deprivation is the main reason why the Democrats are doing so badly in the polls. Yet, Democrats won't do anything to stop this war.

This is insanity.


Obama looking sillyWith the heinous HMO/health insurer wealthcare bill being fought over in Congress and the court of public opinion, I've been too busy to mention one of the most dangerous decisions President Obama has made thus far.

He has decided to give billions of dollars in federal loan guarantees to build two nuclear power plants in Georgia. Nuclear power needs enormous government bailouts like this because the plants are so incredibly dangerous that no private insurer will go anywhere near them.

Aside from the financial risks to the taxpayers, there are enormous risks to human life in building the plants. Contrary to industry propaganda, all nuclear plants are vulnerable targets to terrorist attacks that could cause disasters as bad or worse than Chernobyl.

Why did Obama do this? Follow the money. From ABC News 2/24/10:

The president has had strong support from the industry. Executives at the Illinois-based utility Exelon -- a leader in the nuclear energy field -- contributed at least $227,000 to Mr. Obama's campaigns for the United States Senate and for president, according to a review by The New York Times, which noted that two top Exelon officials, Frank M. Clark, executive vice president, and John W. Rogers Jr., a director, were among Obama's largest fund-raisers.

The Greens, and anyone else with half a brain, are furious. Here's the start of their 2/18/10 press release on the subject.
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders and candidates are calling President Obama's resurrection of nuclear power with a multi-billion-dollar taxpayer-funded subsidy for a Georgia plant his "worst idea yet" and warned about serious public health threats posed by mining, waste transportation, and waste storage. The Green Party disputes the myths that nuclear power is 'green energy' or a solution to the advance of climate change.

"The twin nuclear reactors in Burke County, Georgia, would be financed with $5.4 billion in loans from the Federal Financing Bank with money of the US Treasury. According to the GAO, this investment has a 50/50 percent or worse chance of failing. President Obama wants taxpayers to assume 80% of the financial risk to turn the southeast Atlantic states into a big open-pit radioactive barbeque. This investment is a terrible idea -- President Obama's worst yet," said Lisa Green, Green candidate for California Assembly Candidate, 53rd Assembly District (http://www.votelisagreen.net).

"If built, the plant will be a financial disaster because of high construction expenses and likely cost overruns, compared with other sources of electrical power. As the first of a new generation of nuclear power plants, it'll carry huge technical risks. Even more ominous is the problem of mining, waste storage, and waste transportation through populated areas, which carry huge public health dangers," added Ms. Green.


Barack Bush strikes again!

Photo: jurvetson


WWE guys in staged combatAs regular readers of this blog know, I've had a lot of fun with former WWE CEO/Diva Linda McMahon's efforts to buy the Connecticut Senate seat up for election this year. However, I admit that her background in WWE fakery will do her well if she is able to complete that purchase in November.

An extreme example of this GOP faking is in its mock opposition to the wealthcare bill for the HMOs and health insurers. Let's look at why the Goppers love, love, love the legislation.

The Wealthcare Bill Is Epitome GOP Policy Goals
Think about what this legislation does. It takes medical care and money away from the poor and much of the middle class in order to give a ton of money to big corporations, their executives, and their shareholders. Reverse Robin Hood economics has been the main policy priority of the Republican Party for generations.

The Legislation Screws Over Core Democratic Constituencies
Think of who this legislation screws over: the poor, the middle class, the elderly, union members, liberals, moderates, progressives, and women. The GOP hates all those groups of people, and usually has to rip those people off itself. Even better from the perspective of the rogue elephants, passage of this legislation will lower turnout of all those constituencies, producing an electorate that is skewed in their favor.

This Will Hurt the Democrats Repeatedly
Passage of this legislation won't be a one time hit against the Democrats. It will bite them in the butt so often. The series of betrayals during the legislative process has hurt the party of the corrupt jackass by alienating liberals and grassroots activists. The next step will be when Democratic voters find out the predicted levels of premiums they will have to pay in order to avoid heavy fines, not that they will be able to afford the fines either. That will be a huge hit.

When union members' contracts expire, they will be zapped next with much higher premiums and copays and much less care. That will alienate people who belong to unions but who have not followed the issue very closely.

Then, there is the big hit that happens when the mandates actually go into effect. Using government coercion to force people to subsidize the HMOs and health insurers will make it possible for them to jack already astronomical premiums much higher. If the government tries to enforce the weak restrictions on increases in the wealthcare bill, the corporations will concoct a phony "insurance crisis," and those restrictions will be repealed. (This is precisely what happened when auto insurance was made mandatory in California.) It will be corporate profits galore and much more suffering for most people in our country. This is electoral and policy bliss for the Goppers.

The Charade Goes On
This is why the Goppers are making the weakest and weirdest arguments against the bill instead of focusing on the mandates. If they made the mandates the issue, they would have created so much public rage that this bill would have died its well deserved death months ago.

Instead, it's fake punches and a lot of noise from the Goppers. This is the strategy of a party that wants legislation to pass, but wants its opponents to pay for it politically.

But, if you really so partisan that you refuse to engage your critical thinking skills, go ahead and buy the metaphorical bodies going through pre sawed tables routine. If you buy the GOP's antics, you are just as naive and silly as somebody who says that the WWE isn't fake.



I Was Wrong About Dennis Kucinich

Posted by libhom Wednesday, March 17, 2010 5 comments

For the longest time, I thought the following three things were true about Dennis Kucinich.

1) Kucinich was liberal.

2) Kucinich had the highest degree of integrity.

3) Kucinich cared about the middle class and the poor.

I admit that I was completely and absolutely wrong. None of that ever had a shread of truth to it. He made that completely clear when he announced today that he would vote for the HMO/health insurer wealthcare bill. In a previous posting, I specified what this bill would actually do, which is what Kucinich is actually voting for.

1) Fines people for not being able to afford health insurance.

2) Makes it possible for the HMOs and health insurance companies to add astronomical premium hikes to already sky high rates.

3) Cuts life saving care for people on Medicare.

4) Puts into place unconscionable restrictions on abortion. (Yes, I know the Stupak restrictions are even worse, but that's still no excuse.)

5) Creates tax penalties for employers that provide mediocre health plans instead of terrible ones. (The mediocre plans are what the corporate media refer to as "Cadillac Care.")

6) Shovels a lot more of our nation's wealth in the direction of the HMOs and health insurers and away from the middle class and the poor.

I've taken the link to the Kucinich campaign off of my blog. I've unsubscribed from Kucinich's email list. Obviously, I won't be making any more campaign contributions, though Kucinich won't care. The enormous amount of HMO/health insurer money we all know Obama promised Kucinich on Air Force One will completely overshaddow the modest contributions a middle class person like myself can afford to give.

The sad reality is that Kucinich is just as much of a bought politician as Obama, Kantor, Pelosi, Reid, the Clintons, Scott Brown, or any of a number of sleazebags in Washington. He only pretends he is different in order to manipulate liberals and progressives.

Some of Kucinich's progressive critics have accused him of being a gatekeeper who blocks access to real dissent by the left against the Demopublican Party. Of course, Kucinich is acting just as much as a gatekeeper blocking dissent from centrists. The Public Option, which Kucinich betrayed is not a liberal position. It is a wishy washy moderate compromise. But, even that had to be sacrificed to grab the HMO/health insurer big bucks.

Fuck you Dennis Kucinich and the HMO powered, mechanical jackass you rode in on. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I never will be fooled by you again.


Obama looking sillyBarack Obama is a politician. Nearly all politicians lie. They do it rather often too.

One of President Obama's biggest whoppers in a December 2009 Washington Post interview when he said:

I didn't campaign on the public option.

Obama was repeating the White House spin on the subject. That talking point was already proven false on 9/10/09 by Jane Hamsher of Firedog Lake, who has been one of the most tenacious supporters for healthcare reform that actually includes reform.

Hamsher did the kind of real research that corporate media "reporters" seldom bother with. She actually looked at "Barack Obama's Plan for a Healthy America." This was part of the Obama campaign website which told us the specifics of his healthcare policies. Those of us who were trying to decide whether or not to support him in the primaries used this as a critical aspect of evaluating the candidate.

Here it is on Page 2, at the top (bolding mine to save you time).
The Obama plan both builds upon and improves our current insurance system, upon which most Americans continue to rely, and leaves Medicare intact for older and disabled Americans. The Obama plan also addresses the large gaps in coverage that leave 45 million Americans uninsured. Specifically, the Obama plan will: (1) establish a new public insurance program available to Americans who neither qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP nor have access to insurance through their employers, as well as to small businesses that want to offer insurance to their employees; (2) make available the National Health Insurance Exchange to help Americans and businesses that want to purchase private health insurance directly; (3) require all employers to contribute towards health coverage for their employees; (4) mandate all children have health carecoverage; (5) expand Medicaid and SCHIP to cover more of the least well-off among us; and (6) allow state flexibility for state health reform plans.

If you go through the document, you will find this public plan referenced in several other places.

It should also be noted that, in response to a candidate questionnaire from the Washington Post, he said that his plan included "a public health plan." (Hat Tip: Think Progress)

Why am I bothering to debunk a lie Obama told a few months ago? I keep seeing it as a talking point in blogs where people defending Obama whip it out without realizing that it already has been proven false.

When President Obama lied about not campaigning on the Public Option, he was being just as dishonest as Sarah Palin was when she made shit up about death panels.


mosaic map of FloridaThe teabagger movement is largely fake. It's mostly orchestrated by wealthy and corporate interests. One of the most powerful set of interests in that area is the Bush Family.

I've wondered why the teabaggers are so angry at a rightist nutjob like Crist. This may be the answer. From the St. Petersburg Times 3/14/10:

There's been a lot of speculation about when Jeb Bush will finally make his preference official and endorse Marco Rubio for the Senate.

But it strikes us that Rubio is better served for now with the popular ex-governor continuing with his current role: ostensibly neutral and taking increasingly tough shots at Charlie Crist from the sidelines.

Compared to the vast majority of Americans, Crist is pretty far right. However, for a Gopper, he's relatively non psycho (emphasis on "relatively"). That makes winning a Gopper Senate primary tough, but it would make him a potential GOP presidential candidate if he does.

That's the last thing Jeb Bush wants. The Bush's see the White House as their favorite vacation home, and it's Jeb's turn next. So, it's hardly surprising that he wants the next Florida Senator to be a circus sideshow, not a serious contender for nationwide office. When it comes to wingnuts, Marco Rubio sure fits the bill. As the Church Lady was famous for saying:

"How Convenient!"

The object lesson of this is never get in the way of the Bush Family. Remember what happened to John "Keating Five" McCain in 2000?

Photo: Skirsner


Kos Made a Fool Out of Himself

Posted by libhom Saturday, March 13, 2010 6 comments

Markos Moulitsas with a disturbing, if not frightening, smileIn my last posting, I took healthcare concern troll Kos to task for his bizarre attacks on Dennis Kucinich for the latter's opposition to the heinous HMO/health insurer wealthcare bill. How dare Kucinich actually act and vote like a Democrat! What a shock!

In the midst of Kos' rightist blather, he made a rather huge mistake by launching an empty threat to launch a far right primary challenge against Kucinich. (From Firedog Lake 3/10/10)

That would be the fact that Dennis Kucinich isn’t going to get a primary challenge this year.

Wanna know how I know?

Well, here’s the ballot, for one thing.

The Ohio primary takes place on May 4, and the filing deadline for candidates was February 18. Kucinich has no Democratic challenger, with three Republicans (including a guy named W. Benjamin Franklin!) vying to face him in November.

Kos also forgot that corrupt, rightist Democrats tried to run a primary challenge against Kucinich in 2008 and failed. No matter how much Kos and the DLC want to impose far right ideology on the Democratic Party, there will always be Real Democrats who resist this nonsense.

I'm amazed so many liberals actually respect Kos. He's a rightist loudmouth who despises everything Democrats stand for.

Photo: nmfbihop


Markos Moulitsas with a disturbing, if not frightening, smileMarkos Moulitsas, proprietor of the infamous Phonycrat spin factory, the Daily Kos, now has Dennis Kucinich in his crosshairs because Kucinich is committing the ultimate offense of not being bought and paid for by the HMOs and health insurers.

From Democracy Now! 3/11/10:

MARKOS MOULITSAS: [I’m going to hold] people like Dennis Kucinich responsible for the 40,000 Americans that die each year from a lack of healthcare. And I don’t care if you’re a Republican or you’re a conservative Democrat or you’re somebody like Dennis Kucinich. The fact is, this does a heck of a lot for a lot of people. And like I said, it’s not perfect, it definitely needs to be improved, but it’s a first step. And God knows, it’s taken us a long time to even get our toe in the door, given the corporate interests that are arrayed against any kind of real reform. So I think this is a first step. It’s definitely not the end of the path. It’s not the ideal solution. But we are—our foot’s in the door. And if somebody like Kucinich wants to block that, I find that completely reprehensible.

And he’s elected, not to run for president, which he seems to do every four years. He’s not elected to grandstand and to—and to give us this ideal utopian society. He’s elected to represent the people of his district, and he’s not representing the uninsured constituents in his district by pretending to take the high ground here. What he’s doing, he’s undermining this reform. He’s making common cause with the Republicans. And I think that’s a perfect excuse and a rationale for a primary challenge.

Only a true rightist nutjob would say that voting to fine uninsured people for not being able to pay astronomic premiums is "representing" them. Moulitsas isn't some naive blogger who posts a couple of times a week and doesn't have the time to find out what this wealthcare bill is actually about. That guy lives and breathes politics. He is perfectly aware of what the wealthcare bill actually does.

1) Fines people for not being able to afford health insurance.

2) Makes it possible for the HMOs and health insurance companies to add astronomical premium hikes to already sky high rates.

3) Cuts life saving care for people on Medicare.

4) Puts into place unconscionable restrictions on abortion. (Yes, I know the Stupak restrictions are even worse, but that's still no excuse.)

5) Creates tax penalties for employers that provide mediocre health plans instead of terrible ones. (The mediocre plans are what the corporate media refer to as "Cadillac Care.")

6) Shovels a lot more of our nation's wealth in the direction of the HMOs and health insurers and away from the middle class and the poor.

Contrary to the DLC/HMO spin, this wealthcare bill is not about "incrementalism." It's a gigantic plunge backward.

Moulitsas' spin on healthcare and so many other issues that liberals and progressives care about is starting to resemble that of a concern troll (Urban Dictionary).
In an argument (usually a political debate), a concern troll is someone who is on one side of the discussion, but pretends to be a supporter of the other side with "concerns". The idea behind this is that your opponents will take your arguments more seriously if they think you're an ally.

Suggestion to Liberals and Progressives with DailyKos Diaries: Start Your Own Blogs

The Daily Kos is a large site, and starting a diary there may seem like a good way to drive web traffic towards your ideas. However, if your views are to the left of Evan Bayh, good luck in getting them featured there. Lotsa luck if you ever support a Green or Independent candidate against a far right Phonycrat.

Having your own blog may seem to be more work. But, remember, it takes a lot of work to get your diary noticed in the land of Markosbots. And, its a largely hostile audience to liberal and progressive views. If you have your own blog, you get far more editorial control, and the same amount of work will get you at least as big of an audience. (Interestingly enough, the comments/viewer ratio for Kos diaries is much higher than that of blogs, which can mask the size of your blog's readership if you don't use some kind of web stats such as Google Analytics).

Blogger and WordPress both are viable platforms for hosting your blog, and they are free. I prefer Blogger for a host of reasons I will omit for now for the sake of (relative) brevity. Both are pretty user friendly, though I found Blogger easier to pick up.

You get to express yourself freely with your blog. Also, you don't have someone exploiting your labor who holds you and your views in utter contempt like Markos Moulitsas.

Photo: nmfbihop


More Racism from GOP Officials

Posted by libhom Wednesday, March 10, 2010 2 comments

This Firedog Lake post chronicles racist emails from Republican officials. I don't have the stomach to quote the crap.

The GOP is just amazingly evil.


"Go Ahead and Die"

Posted by libhom Tuesday, March 09, 2010 1 comments

That certainly is the motto of the HMOs and health insurers. Here's a little video that was found by the fabulous Mauigirl on the subject.

Any healthcare legislation that doesn't give people a chance to free themselves from the larcenous and murderous HMOs and health insurers doesn't count as reform.

By the way, here's an old 2008 video with John "Keating Five" McCain saying that people should go to clinics in Wal-Mart for their healthcare.

You just can't make this shit up.



idiot teabaggers with signs that say Obama: More Czars Than the USSR and 1600 Marxist Way under a picture of the White House

The teabagger "movement" started as an Astroturf scam. It was developed to play on rightists' fears of government healthcare and their racism by lobbying and PR people for the HMOs and the health insurers. It was designed to create the false impression that there is wide public opposition to single payer healthcare and the public option, despite the fact that both have consistently overwhelming public support in opinion polls.

The original name of the rallies and participants, "teabaggers" even has the fingerprints of that origin. It is precisely what one would expect of nerdy, out of touch DC PR people.

Yet, the poor schmoes who were sucked into the teabagging scam actually believed that it is their movement. They started forming their own organizations and websites. They stopped blindly supporting the Republican Party establishment, demanding ever more pure and publicly strident rightist lunatics over the more electable rightist lunatics that make up the vast majority of Republican politicians.

This was not to be tolerated.

teabaggers at protest, one with confederate flag Corporate and wealthy interests have cracked down on their creation on a variety of fronts. Dale Robertson, the most prominent leader of the nascent teabagger grassroots, has been disowned by the corporate owners of the Astroturf scam because Robertson's racist views were no longer deemed convenient. The same racism and racists that the corporate propagandists had stoked so opportunistically was forgotten in much the same way that Stalin made historical figures into nonpersons.

The corporate owners of Teabagging Inc. decided to hold a national teabagging conference with high fees and travel costs that locked out most of the followers of the teabagging movement. This was not accident. The conference was mostly attended by the same tired establishment rightist propagandists and rich Republicans that show up for all the Gopper hatefests.

Palin with caption saying, Bought my book?  So long, suckers.Sarah Palin chose sides in this class based power struggle. She chose the side which would pay her a six figure speaking fee. Things like this should convince middle class teabaggers that Palin is about as much of a woman of the people as Marie Antoinette, but many teabaggers are just too stupid to catch onto these things.

The Texas Republican primary for governor is another example of how Teabagging Inc. clamped down hard on its flock. Glenn Beck, who has been a leader in the effort to create the teabagging scam, turned on his own viewers by attacking teabagger candidate Debra Medina (who also is a famous Paulintologist) for saying that the 911 truth people make some good points. This was particularly ironic, given the fact that the official narrative of 911 is just as much of a conspiracy as the other narrative and that Beck is notorious for coming up with conspiracy theories so far divorced from reality that they have provided much comic relief for blogs on the left.

Wealthy and corporate interests weren't satisfied with that. They sent in that reliable hack, Sarah Palin, to campaign for Rick Perry against the teabagger candidate. They gave so much money to Perry and his other opponent, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, that Medina came in third in the race. The last thing that the wealthy owners of Teabagging Inc. want is for their sheep to start running their own candidates and winning.

Now, we have news that the GOP has chosen former Phonycrat turned Republican, Parker Griffith, to deliver the weekly GOP radio address. The teabaggers hate Griffith and are supporting other candidates in the GOP primary. Make no mistake, Griffith is a far right extremist. He just isn't nutty enough to satisfy the teabagging zombies who want to lynch everyone who isn't as deranged as they are.

The choice of Griffith for such a prominent GOP platform is meant as a deliberate slap in the face of the followers of the teabagging movement. So is the decision of House Minority Leader John Boehner to host a fundraiser for Griffith. (Hat Tip: Left In Alabama)

It will be interesting to see how the teabagging flock will respond to the very clear message that corporate interests and the GOP are sending for them to sit down and shut up.

Photos: ProgressOhio


Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com


Expanding public rail transport is a great way to address a lot of problems facing our society. Some of those problems include:

- Global Warming

- Automobile Accident Deaths

- High Unemployment

- Trade Deficits

- The Obesity Epidemic

So far, Congress and the Obama administration have been giving rail transportation and public transit in general a far lower priority than building more and more roads, which makes all the problems mentioned above worse, except high unemployment. We need budgets and stimulus plans that make trains a higher priority than cars.

One way to promote rail transport is now available on Change.org. They are now doing voting on Ideas for Change, proposals to bring real, positive changes to our government and our society. One of those ideas is to Rebuild America's Rail System. Voting for it is one way to promote rail transit. Blogging about it is another.

Here's the code you can use to put the widget for it on your blog or blog posting.


I don't know how I got on the mailing list of the "Human Rights Campaign," but I suppose somebody sold or traded my address to them. I make a point of having nothing to do with the HRC. So, I wrote the following on the slip asking me for money and returned it in the Business Reply Mail envelope.

Take me off your mailing list. You are too corrupt, too homophobic, and too bigoted against atheists.

Perhaps an explanation to those of you who don't follow queer issues is in order.

Corruption and Homophobia at the HRC:
The HRC may pretend to support the queer civil rights movement, but their actions are quite different. Here are some examples.

1) Regularly endorsing politicians who are less supportive of lgbt issues than their opponents because they are Republicans.

2) Inviting vicious and fanatical homophobes like the Clintons and Nancy Pelosi to speak at their fundraising galas.

3) Focusing on pandering to wealthy donors to the exclusion of fighting back against the heterosexism among so many politicians in both major political parties.

4) Supporting, in 2007, a phony version of ENDA that excluded transgender queers and was riddled with so many other loopholes that it was almost completely unenforceable in court.

5) Inviting Barack Obama to give a bullshit speech at one of their dinners despite the fact that he had done nothing of any real significance to support lgbt issues and had actively promoted bigotry, discrimination, and violence against us by involving the notorious misogynist and homophobe, Rick Warren, in the inauguration.

Anti Atheist Bigotry:
The HRC is so hateful and bigoted that they have devoted a huge section of their website to Religion and Faith despite the fact that neither is a legitimate area of concern for political organizations. The HRC also devotes staff time and financial resources to this discriminatory endeavor.

All efforts to impose religion on politics are, by their very nature, deliberate and vicious acts of bigotry and discrimination against atheists and agnostics. Bringing religion into politics is a deliberate effort to oppress and silence freethinkers and to treat us as second class citizens. A lot of us are no longer willing to passively go along with this.

The whole effort is politically tone deaf as well. Religion is the main reason why people are homophobic. Debating queer issues in religious terms only reminds them that their religious faiths tell them that queers should be the targets of of discrimination and violence. It always has been far more successful to argue for lgbt equality in human terms. Sadly, the HRC is so fanatical in its bigotry against atheists that they can't even see this huge elephant in their living room. Of course, effectiveness has never been particularly important to a vapid, self serving, and shallow organization like the HRC.

The bigotry doesn't stop there either. In 2000, instead of supporting a civil rights march on Washington, they supported the "Millennium March," which functioned as an effort to shove religion down the throats of queers that don't want it. It also avoided lgbt civil rights issues and focused on producing an image of queers that excluded a variety of groups. The HRC was determined to erase people of color, atheists, non Christian religious believers, the transgender community, bisexuals, the leather community, liberals, drag queens, leftists, the sexually liberated, and the poor. Obviously, the HRC's bigotry wasn't limited to atheists, but we were front and center as a target of their hate.

It's no wonder attendance was so low. There just weren't that many people left.

I am so sick of the HRC pretending to be a civil rights organization and a part of the lgbt movement when it isn't even close to being either. I am so sick of being a target of their discrimination against atheists.


Years ago, my best friend killed himself. I remember what I went through back then, and I know that the hurt never completely heals.

That's why I find any and all attempts to cynically exploit the suffering of suicide survivors to be utterly reprehensible and unforgivable.

This brings us the the case of the suicide of Marie Osmond's gay son at the age of 17. It was obvious at the time of his death that he was gay, from the general circumstances and the efforts to cover up why he killed himself. Media reports are starting to get out that he was gay, but those of us in the queer community knew this from the very day he died.

Certainly, there have been statements from his friends that he wasn't gay. They probably believe this, but no queer would take this as fact. It is excruciatingly unlikely that a gay teenager who was traumatized by being raised in such a disgustingly hostile environment as the Mormon hate church would be ready to come out to his friends at age 17. The sad thing is that his friends really don't know the real reason why he killed himself and seem unable to accept it.

Ms. Osmond has sent mixed signals about homosexuality for sure. She has gotten good publicity for statements supportive of her lesbian daughter. However, by staying in the Mormon Church, Ms. Osmond also sent a blatantly clear message that she hates her daughter and wants her dead. This is a church that still rails against homosexuality and still uses electric shock to torture queer youth.

No good parent would raise a queer child, or any child for that matter, in the cesspool of bigotry, hatred, lies, and filth that makes up Mormonism. Raising queer youth as Mormon is a form of child abuse, no ifs, no ands, no buts, and no excuses.

Marie Osmond: It's your fault your son is dead. I hope you are filled with guilt and misery for the rest of your life for what you have done to your own flesh and blood.

What I find truly astonishing and offensive is that some bigots are exploiting what I and other suicide survivors have been through in order to defend a monster like Marie Osmond. No time is like the present for speaking out against the deadly consequences of Mormonism. Don't you dare use what I've been through for such sinister and exploitative reasons.


Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Endorse Genocide

Posted by libhom Saturday, March 06, 2010 3 comments

Photo: ashnag

This photo of skulls and bones from victims of the Armenian Genocide should inject a little reality into the debate.

As you may have heard, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide. From a factual perspective, the resolution is completely uncontroversial. The genocide of the Armenians during the Ottoman Empire is well established by historians.

However, facts seldom stop politicians from behaving in completely reprehensible manners. Turkey's Islamic fundamentalist government has recalled its ambassador to the US, and religious extremists are having hate rallies there denouncing the resolution.

I would have hoped that President Obama was at least different enough from Bush to support the resolution. Instead, he is pressuring Nancy Pelosi to keep the resolution from reaching the full House floor. Barack Bush strikes again.

If you think that is disgusting enough, wait until you read the unforgivable comments by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Guardian 3/5/10):

"We do not believe that the full Congress will, or should, act upon that resolution, and we have made that clear to all the parties involved."


"I do not think it is for any other country to determine how two countries resolve matters between them, to the extent that actions that the United States might take could disrupt this process," she said.

Ms. Clinton was referring to an effort to improve relations between Armenia and Turkey. As Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton should have been aware of the fact that parliaments in both countries have completely rejected the initial steps. Maybe she was and was just lying through her teeth, as usual. There really can be no improvement in relations between Armenia and Turkey until Turkey acknowledges the genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire.

It also is physically impossible to oppose the House resolution against the Armenian Genocide without deliberately endorsing that act of genocide. There simply are no legitimate arguments against the resolution.

Some of the claims against the resolution are identical to those of Holocaust deniers. Statements that the Armenian Genocide hasn't been historically proven are as malicious as they are fraudulent.

The main excuse used to block the resolution is particularly despicable. Turkey provides staging and logistical support for the War on Iraq and has threatened to withhold that support if the House passes the resolution.

Never mind the fact that the Iraq War is illegal, racist, and violates everything America is supposed to stand for. The Bush Regime should never have started that war, and the Obama Administration should have gotten all the troops and all the mercenaries out of Iraq by now. Yet, the Obama administration is so obsessed with continuing that murderous war that they are willing to openly and brazenly endorse genocide.

I am a gay men. Queers have been the targets of genocide for centuries. There is no way I can condone politicians that endorse genocide so brazenly by opposing the House resolution. This is a truly heinous betrayal by Barack Obama. I would have expected something as monstrous from a notoriously racist Republican like George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton, but I never thought President Obama would sink this incredibly low.

Take Action

Please Participate in the Change.org Action Alert!

Please Tell President Obama to Support the Resolution and Condemn the Genocide!

Please Tell Secretary of State Clinton to Do the Same!


The European left has a lot of problems with Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Most of them are valid, some are not.

Many on the European left say that Wilders is an extreme right politician. That is an oversimplification. Wilders is pro queer, and he supports much more of the Dutch welfare state than the overwhelming majority of Democrats do here in the US and the Labor Party does in Britain. Wilders also is an atheist, which is forbidden in far right electoral politics. Wilders favors expanding democracy in the Netherlands, specifically supporting direct election of more public officials. He also bases much of his appeal to the vast majority of Dutch people who lead secular lives.

Many of Wilders' views are reprehensible and rightist. Wilders wants to create several official state religions so he can exclude Islam. He wants to reinstate childish and counterproductive restrictions on the use of drugs not patented or sold by Big Pharma. Wilders is so reckless that he actually wants to build more nuclear power plants in the Netherlands.

The most controversial of Wilders' views, at least that I'm aware of, are his efforts to ban immigration from non Western countries and to restrict the growth and practice of Islam. There are legitimate reasons to disagree with these policies, to put it mildly. However, the attacks on the policies tend to ignore the problems causing so many Dutch people to agree with these proposals. A couple of years ago, I wrote about a conversation I had with a Dutch gay man which illustrates some important points. I don't know if he agrees with Wilders' platform, but his experiences illustrate the problems that Wilders takes advantage of. Here's the beginning of that post.

A recent conversation I had with a Dutch gay man really opened my eyes to a point of view on the difficult relationship between the Dutch majority and the Muslim majority. It is different than the racist stereotype (which probably applies in some cases), the views of American Christians who hate Dutch Muslims because they aren't Christian, and the claims of many on the European left about Islam and the West.

The Dutch have managed to build a largely secular society where women are free to have abortions (with government funding too) and queers are treated as equals. The Netherlands deserves a tremendous amount of credit for this achievement.

Many Muslim immigrants have attacked abortion and advocated outlawing it. Many Muslim immigrants make bigoted statements against lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people and advocate against equality for queers under the law.

There is a sizable segment of the Dutch population that just wants to keep their basic human rights. Also, immigrants have an obligation to respect the societies they move to. Immigrants certainly have a right to their own ways, but they are obligated not to impose those ways on the countries where they are guests.

The Dutch worked long and hard to tame the beast of Christianity. Now, they are being confronted with another beast, Islam.

The behavior of many Islamic immigrants to the Netherlands is actually quite similar to many of the early European colonists in what would become the US. Those colonists often went to America to flee persecution in Europe only to advocate and practice persecution against their neighbors in the colonies.

The reality is that Islam is a homophobic and misogynistic religion. So are Christianity and Judaism. Yet, many who are otherwise left in their political leanings launch hateful and bigoted attacks against anybody who speaks out against the bigotry of these religions. What we have here is the insufficently unexplored phenomenon: religious privilege.

About.com's Agnosticism and Atheism section has a good review of religious privilege in terms of Christianity.

A more generalized description of religious privilege follows.

Religious Privilege Is:

1) The belief that, just because you see your religious beliefs as sacred, others are obligated to believe so or act as if they do.

2) The tyrannical and hypocritical notion that religious views should not be held to the same levels of scrutiny as any other views. This is very commonly asserted in regards to homophobic and misogynist religious views.

3) Insisting on any kind of state subsidy for your religious beliefs.

4) Asking for or receiving exemptions from the laws everyone else has to obey, based on religious belief.

5) Claiming that religions should be subsidized by not having to pay their fair share in taxes.

6) The claim that belonging to your religious group makes you superior to people who do not.

7) Making religious claims to support political positions or trying to involve religion in public policy in any other way, shape, or form.

8) Using any means to impose your religious tenets on anyone else.

I'm sure that other examples of religious privilege can be explored, but the pattern should be obvious by now. Religious privilege is a form of discrimination just as any other kind of status based privilege is. It's a form of bigotry and discrimination that atheists are beginning to speak out against more forcefully.

The left in Europe has made strong and bigoted statements in favor of religious privilege for Islam as a misguided and emotional response to the bigotry that targets Muslims in Europe. In the US, the left's acquiescence to religious privilege is based both on intimidation by Christian and Jewish groups and by the religious beliefs of many among the American left.

Until the European left can more forcefully speak out against the rampant misogyny and homophobia that is commonly preached in Europe, their responses to the Wilders of the world will seem bizarre and irrational — largely because they are. The idea of some European leftists defending a misogynistic and fascistic practice like the Burqa only becomes more painfully disturbing when one remembers that most women who wear them do so because of economic and violent intimidation. More importantly, the Burqa is based on the woman hating notion in Islam that the female body is a dangerous thing that must be covered in order to keep men from completely losing their minds and their control.

When well meaning people defend the dangerous heterosexist rhetoric that is so common among Islamic clerics in Europe, just as it is common among Christian clerics here in the US, they are not only asserting religious privilege. They also have found a new excuse for their own heterosexist attitudes and agendas. This kind of bigotry can have very real consequences, as it did for a gay man in the Netherlands who was gang assaulted by Muslim youth.

Apologists for religious bigotry claim that the Muslim youths in Europe and the Christian youths who queer bash are not very deeply involved in the religious beliefs and are "ignorant" of the views of those faiths. This is ironic because they are acting out quite consistently with the ideologies of the Bible and Koran. Even if this claim was based on an accurate accounting of the backgrounds of the assailants, it would still be wildly deceptive. The preachers of the respective faith intentionally demonize queers in the hopes that their rhetoric will result in bigotry, discrimination, and violence against us.

In that previous blog posting, I also made a point that is well worth repeating.
When some on the left attack secular values and government, they have lost their way. Religion is a reactionary force in society, and one of the most important projects of the left is to reduce the role of religion in the state and everyday life. It really doesn't matter what the religion is.

I should expand on this slightly. Part of the reason why religious belief is inherently reactionary is that it requires a kind of thoughtless, anti intellectual faith that defies all reason and evidence. All religions are completely silly to the rational mind.

Religious belief requires an enormous amount of socially approved brainwashing. The brainwashing and the social approval of that brainwashing condition people to accept other kinds of brainwashing, including that which promotes prejudices and gets people to lash out bizarrely against their own economic interests.

The European left would be far more effective if they acknowledged the very real problems of misogyny, heterosexism, and religious extremism which are far too common in Muslim communities while working to educate people that these irrational belief systems were and still are used to keep Muslim people from challenging the real systems of economic power and oppression. An acknowledgment of the enormous corruption in the Islamic Republic of Iran while simultaneously acknowledging the rampant corruption in the Roman Catholic Church as well as in most Protestant Christian churches would be a helpful as part of that process.


pile of stones

Photo: Paraflyer

Here in the US, our Christian religious extremists are determined to give the Muslim fanatics a run for their money in terms of crazy. From the blog of the Christian Taliban hate group, the "American Family Association":

If the counsel of the Judeo-Christian tradition had been followed, Tillikum would have been put out of everyone's misery back in 1991 and would not have had the opportunity to claim two more human lives.

Says the ancient civil code of Israel, "When an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner shall not be liable." (Exodus 21:28)

So, your animal kills somebody, your moral responsibility is to put that animal to death. You have no moral culpability in the death, because you didn't know the animal was going to go postal on somebody.

But, the Scripture soberly warns, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn't kill it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you die right along with your animal. To use the example from Exodus, if your ox kills a second time, "the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death." (Exodus 21:29)

I don't think the AFA nuts are being good enough biblical literalists. Oxen and whales are different kinds of animals, so the Bible passages don't apply. To be frank, I think most people who read about this will think that the Christian Talibanists are stoned, in the more modern sense of the word.

Anyway, these idiots have considerable political power in our society. Is it any wonder that things are so badly messed up when we have a political culture that actually listens to them?



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