Sunday, November 29, 2015

U.S. Bishops: Masturbation Larger Concern than Climate Change or the Poor

While Pope Francis seems to be trying to drag the Roman Catholic Church at least somewhat out the dark ages and end the Church's obsession with all things sexual,  the U.S. Catholic Bishops are having none of it.   At their fall plenary session, they made it clear that pornography are larger concerns than climate change, wealth disparities or the need to assist the poor and less fortunate.  These bitter old men are truly psychologically disturbed and are obviously unfit to give moral guidance to anyone.  A piece in Religion Dispatches looks at the continuing bizarre obsession of the same group that has fought tooth and claw to avoid just compensation to victims of predatory priest.  Here are highlights:
In another sign of just how far the agendas of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Pope Francis have diverged, it’s worth noting that at their recently concluded fall plenary, the bishops signaled strongly about what’s on their radar when the only formal pastoral statement they issued was about what they consider a pressing pastoral crisis—pornography.

The bishops couldn’t be bothered to add either the environment or the plight of distressed peoples—whether they be refugees and immigrants or the poor—to their list of key priorities, despite the fact that they are a clear priority for Francis . . . . there was virtually no mention of growing economic inequality or the corrosive effects of unfettered capitalism. But pornography got a 22-page official pastoral statement.

Chief among the sins that pornography can lead to, according to the bishops, is masturbation, in a warning that appears to come from a 1950s anti-masturbation PSA:
While popular culture largely sees it as acceptable, masturbation is always gravely contrary to chastity and the dignity of one’s body. Like other sins against chastity, it seeks sexual pleasure outside of the mutual self-giving and fruitful intimacy of spouses in marriage, in this case, even outside of any relationship at all. In addition, engaging in masturbation has powerful neurological effects that can make it into a highly addictive behavior.
And in case that isn’t enough to scare you off porn, other potential consequences include “adultery, domestic violence, the abuse of children in child pornography, and sex trafficking,” as well as abortion and contraception, since pornography “promotes and even celebrates promiscuity and a view of sexuality devoid of love or openness to new life.”

It’s a little rich for an institution that’s still struggling to come to terms with sexual predators in its midst to warn about child pornography, which is obviously a heinous crime completely apart from the adult viewing of consensually made pornography.
These warped and bitter old men are unbelievable.  And people wonder why the younger generations are walking away from religion.

Sunday Morning Male Beauty

Richmond Times Dispatch: Spot the White Supremacist

The Richmond Times-Dispatch is perhaps the most conservative of the larger newspapers in Virginia.  Throughout its past, it has backed some pretty ugly stuff and backed right wing, reactionary politicians.  Hence my surprise at yesterday's main editorial that compares the statements of Donald Trump with statements made by the white supremacy group Stormfront.  While the editorial focuses on Trump, much of the rhetoric cited also applies to many of the Republican presidential candidates.  Read the statements in the editorial  and try to decide what was said by Trump and what came from Stormfront (the answer is at the end).  Here's the editorial in full:

Donald Trump stirs controversy every time he opens his mouth. Lately he has been criticized for stirring up fear and prejudice. Is that really fair?
Here’s a quiz to help you decide. Below is a series of statements. See if you can tell which ones were made by Trump and which ones were posted to, America’s chief Internet outlet for white supremacists and other purveyors of hatred.
  1. 81 percent of white people are killed by black people.
  2. It’s true that blacks kill whites far more than whites kill blacks. . . . Blacks are violent, and the graph shows that to be true.
  3. I’m starting to wonder myself whether (Barack Obama) was born in this country.
  4. As a matter of respect to the American Constitution, this matter needs to be fully investigated and resolved immediately. They cannot hand the Presidency to someone who is not qualified by birth, to receive it.
  5. I am being proven right about massive vaccinations. The doctors lied.
  6. I am the only person that has been against mandated immunizations.
  7. The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
  8. Oh please! The vast majority of the media has been proffering global warming and/or climate change for years and years. It’s a scam for a carbon tax and a means of control over our everyday lives.
  9. (Illegal immigrants) are bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.
  10. Illegal immigrants account for almost three-fourths of federal drug possessions sentences. . . . Illegal immigrants were 20 percent of the kidnapping/hostage taking sentences, 12 percent of the murder sentences, and 19.4 percent of national-defense related sentences.
  11. You’re going to have to watch and study the mosques, because a lot of talk is going on at the mosques.
  12. I would buy the buildings and convert them to pork breeding and processing facilities. That is how much of an insult that religion is to me. It is anti-American.
  13. Thousands and thousands of people were cheering (on 9/11) as that building went down.
  14. Witnesses saw them celebrating on a roof in Weehawken, and still more witnesses later saw them celebrating with high fives in a Jersey City parking lot.
  15. Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.
  16. The president coming out and making up excuse for the rioters and the criminals on whose behalf they are rioting will just encourage both.
  17. They’re dishonest people. The media is so dishonest.
  18. We all know how dishonest the media has become in the last few decades.
OK, you get the point. Oh, and for the record: The odd-numbered statements came from America’s chief outlet for bigotry, ignorance, small-mindedness, and fact-free delusion. The even-numbered ones came from the race-hate site Stormfront.

Quote of the Day: The Sickness of the Evangelical Right

A frightening image used to promote this year's Promise Keepers gathering
While the motives of the domestic terrorist who shot up the Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs are still not fully clear, as the Washington Post reports, Robert Lewis Dear made statements to authorities that would indicate that he may have acted based on the false and inflammatory videos released by anti-abortion extremists this past summer.  Here are details:

The gunman suspected of storming a Planned Parenthood clinic and killing a police officer and two others used the phrase “no more baby parts’’ to explain his actions, according to a law enforcement official, a comment likely to further inflame the heated rhetoric surrounding abortion.

The attack on the clinic, allegedly by Robert Lewis Dear Jr., was “definitely politically motivated,’’ said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is still underway. NBC News, which first reported the comment, said that Dear also mentioned President Obama in a range of statements to investigators that left his precise motivation unclear.

As much as politicians and the media refuse to admit the reality, far right evangelical Christians are becoming increasingly dangerous and extreme as they lose their ability to persecute others and the modern world and science prove the falsity of many of their cherished fairy tale beliefs.  Blogger friend Bob Felton sums up the situation well:

By any sane reckoning, the evangelical right has lost the culture war, and lost big. That doesn’t mean that the sickness has run its course, however. The cultural Christians are mostly gone, so there is nobody left in church but the crazies. What is more, frantic for revenue, the preachers give the crazies what they want. So every Sunday morning, all across the country, howling and bellowing pastors are denouncing abortion and preaching sedition. This is no joke; it’s really happening — and happening, incidentally, with a public subsidy in the form of tax protection.

We are nowhere near the end of it. Our godly neighbors, ever more marginalized and out-of-step with a world they are increasingly incompetent to live in, are a lot more dangerous than a few thousand Syrian refugees who want to get away from True Believers.
Sadly, I suspect we can expect increasing violence from the "godly folk" as their fantasy world is increasingly rejected by sane and rational people.  And don't forget the study that found that children raised in deeply religious homes were less generous and less kind than those raised in secular homes.  The myth that religion is a positive influence needs to die once and for all.  Think me harsh?  Check out the tweets gathered here that see the terror attack as a positive.

The Fight for Gay Rights Shifts to Jacksonville

Here in the holiday season Christians are supposed to be motivated by peace. love and good will towards all.  That is, unless one is a "conservative Christian" in which case one's motives and thoughts continue to run to hate, bigotry, and a license to mistreat others.  At least that is the image one gets from the ongoing effort of the "godly folk" in Jacksonville, Florida, to defeat a measure before that city's city council that would provide LGBT protections in housing, public accommodation and employment.  As was done in Houston, these "loving Christians" are depicting gays and especially the transgender as predators seeking to lurk in women's rooms so that they can molest women and girls.  The irony is that moderate Muslims are being told that should condemn their extremist coreligionists, yet moderate Christians are largely silent when it comes to condemning their foul fellow Christians.  Once again, Christianity in America receives an undeserved deference.  Here are highlights from the New York Times on the message of hate being promoted by the "godly folk":
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The first major gay rights showdown since Houston’s rancorous vote to repeal its anti-discrimination ordinance is shaping up here in Jacksonville, the largest city in the nation whose leaders have never enacted civil rights protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Like Houston, Jacksonville is a growing Southern city where religion plays a powerful role in public life. And, as in Houston, the battle here pits a well-organized coalition of gays and business forces against energized Christian conservatives who raise issues of religious freedom and the specter of male predators in women’s bathrooms.

For Christian conservatives, wounded from repeated losses in the courts culminating in the Supreme Court’s decision in June to make same-sex marriage legal nationwide, it is a chance to show that Houston was not an isolated victory.

“It’s a fact of life that predators attack women and children in bathrooms; it happens everywhere,” said one panelist, Roger Gannam, a lawyer and former Jacksonville resident who represents Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He drew jeers when he said an anti-discrimination law “will make that easier” by allowing male criminals to pose as transgender.

Currently, more than 200 cities and 17 states have ordinances barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, with no evidence of any increase in crime, proponents say.

If Christian conservatives are not as well organized here as they were in Houston, they soon would be, Mr. Gannam said in an interview. He helped lead the opposition that defeated a similar effort in Jacksonville in 2012, and is now working with a coalition of pastors and conservative groups, including the Florida Family Policy Council, a statewide group affiliated with Focus on the Family.

And already, others are organizing locally. Raymond Johnson, a Republican strategist who runs a ministry devoted to “biblical concepts in public policy,” has been emailing a network of pastors with fliers opposing what he calls “a Christian persecution law.”

“The business case is simple,” said Steve Halverson, the chief executive of the Haskell Company, one of the city’s largest private employers. “We are handicapped if we have a culture that is the least bit intolerant or uncomfortable for anybody.”

The hypocrisy of the "Christians" is disgusting.  They define "Christian persecution": as anything that restricts their right to persecute and mistreat others.  The Biblical Pharisees come off as nice folks in comparison.  Please NEVER call me a Christian if it puts me in the same category as these foul individuals.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

More Saturday Male Beauty

Today's GOP: America’s Largest Hate Group

Look at any hate group and you will typically find the group claiming to be engaged in a good and positive activity.  The KKK claims to be protecting white civilization and deterring violence by blacks, even though it is the KKK that engages in the violence.  "Christian" hate groups such as Family Research Council and American family Association claim to be protection "Biblical values" and tradition, yet they disseminate lies and untruths incessantly and seek to engender hatred towards gays and others.  Now, the Republican Party has morphed into a hate group that is racist, homophobic and anti-non-Christians.  A piece in Salon looks at the transformation of the GOP into the nation's largest hate group.  Here are excerpts:
It is, however, clear that leading Republicans have engaged in extraordinarily racist and xenophobic rhetoric that incites and legitimates vigilante violence. On Saturday, Trump fans allegedly attacked a Black Lives Matter protester at a Birmingham rally. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” Trump said.

It’s not that brazen racism is new to the Republican Party. In 1964, Sen. Strom Thurmond — who ran for president on the segregationist Dixiecrat ticket in 1948 — became a Republican in protest of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s passage. That year, he worked hard across the then-solidly-Democratic South to support the Republican candidacy of libertarian and militarist Barry Goldwater, a Civil Rights Act opponent.

In 1968, Richard Nixon ran a television ad stoking fear of black riot and student anti-war protests, unsubtly declaring that freedom from street violence at home was in reality the “first civil right.”

It was in 1990, that Republican Sen. Jesse Helms, as the New York Times recounts, “unveiled a nakedly racial campaign advertisement in which a pair of hands belonging to a white job-seeker crumpled a rejection slip as an announcer explained that the job had been given to an unqualified member of a minority.” And it was in 2002 that incoming Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott strongly suggested that America would have been better had de jure segregation been kept in place.

The Trump candidacy has combined fears over terrorism, crime and a coming white minority into a spectacular fever dream of dangerous refugees and a criminal threat posed by black people and Hispanic immigrants. That danger, in the right-wing view, is abetted by liberals who criticize police so harshly they are afraid to do their jobs, invite menacing foreigners to live amongst us, and restrain our military because of excessive concern for civilian casualties.

Trump, Carson and neo-McCarthyite Ted Cruz make some very conservative people seem centrist by comparison. These so-called moderate conservatives, after all, claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan, a one-time right-wing challenger to the Republican establishment. Today, mainstream Republican Jeb Bush has suggested that we should prioritize Christian refugees, and Chris Christie has stated that many Black Lives Matter activists “advocate for the murder of police officers.”

White supremacist activists, as Evan Osnos reported in the New Yorker, have cheered Trump because he is mainstreaming the sort of xenophobia that is particularly amenable to the current American brand of white supremacy. 

The explosion of brazen racism on the right is not only dangerous but distracting. Extremist politics, and the reaction to it, crowds out discussion of structural problems like poverty and mass incarceration. Every minute spent reading about Trump’s idiocy is time not taken reflecting upon the fact that 22-percent children lived below the poverty line in 2013, according to USA Today, a situation more than twice as likely to befall children who are black, Hispanic and Native American. 

Trump Drops to Third Place in Iowa Poll

While it is far too early to know if the trend will continue, a new Iowa State University and WHO-HD poll shows Donald Trump falling to third place in that state.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that GOP idiot savant Ben Carson is in first place.  The take away is that perhaps even the Republican Party base is getting cold feet over Trumps increasingly fascist rhetoric.  But with Carson polling in first places, it's obvious that Iowa Republicans are still insane and not living in touch with objective reality.  In second place is the self-prostituting Marco Rubio.   WHO-TV has details on the poll findings.  Here are highlights:

A poll released Wednesday from Iowa State University and WHO-HD shows Ben Carson in the top spot among Republicans seeking their party's nomination for president.

The poll shows 27.2 percent of Republicans likely to participate in the Iowa Caucuses would support Carson, a former neurosurgeon. With 16.7 percent, Marco Rubio comes in ahead of businessman Donald Trump, who is in third place with 14.7 percent. Ted Cruz comes in fourth with 8.9 percent.

Mack Shelley, Iowa State University professor and chair of political science and professor of statistics, said there is still an ebb and flow of support among the large field of GOP contenders. “That can make a huge difference in that fragmented electorate, where a candidate could ‘win’ the caucuses with only about 20 to 30 percent of the vote."

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, with 49.5 percent support, continues to lead in the three-way race. Bernie Sanders trails with 27.8 percent of respondents saying they would support the Vermont senator. Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley receives 2.7 percent support in the poll.

"The contest for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination delegates in Iowa seems to have settled down to being in Hillary Clinton’s favor, barring some major personal or policy issue arising between now and Feb. 1,” said Shelley.

Are More Attacks on Planned Parenthood Invevitable?

Murderer Robert Lewis Dear (L) and anti-abortion extremist, David Daleiden
Ninety-seven percent of the budget for activities at Planned Parenthood have noting to do with abortion services.   Services range from STD testing, treatment and vaccines to contraception services to sex education to cervical cancer screening; pregnancy testing, vasectomies; and LGBT related services.  Half of the Planned Parenthood facilities provide no abortion services whatsoever.  Planned Parenthood centers are known for providing services to minorities and the poor who have no other access to health care services other than hospital emergency rooms.  Of course, far right Christians oppose contraception of any form and have shown by their overwhelming support for Republican policies that providing health care services to the poor is not even on their radar screens.  Meanwhile, the Christofascists and professional Christian set continue to do all they can to spread lies and disinformation about Planned Parenthood - they spread similar lies and falsehoods about LGBT citizens - in the hope of whipping up violence against both Planned Parenthood and LGBT Americans.  With these "godly folk" the truth and honesty are unknown concepts. A piece in The Raw Story makes the case that the shootings in Colorado Springs yesterday were inevitable given the Christofascist non-stop propaganda.  Here are article highlights:

What happened at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on the Friday after Thanksgiving was inevitable. After the deceptively-named Center for Medical Progress released the equally deceptively-edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal parts, someone had to die in the end.

Of all the phony attacks and accusations made against Planned Parenthood by a new generation of anti-choice activists like James O’ Keefe and Lila Grace Rose, the videos created by former O’Keefe confederate David Daleiden raised the bar — or lowered it depending on how you view them — on over the top accusations intended to fire up Christian conservatives and embolden lawmakers to do all they can to destroy Planned Parenthood.

Where Daleiden really hit one out of the park for the anti-choice crowd was when he accused Planned Parenthood of selling  fetal tissue — used by researchers looking for cures for Alzheimer’s, among other things — and making a profit off of it.  Which turned out to be a lie.

When interviewed, Daleiden carefully parsed his words and flagrantly misinterpreted the words of the people caught on tape, thereby filling his nothing-burger of an exposé — for which he received a nice budget that allowed him to work on the project for two years — with red meat for the anti-choice crowd.

Daleiden was more than modestly successful. Republican lawmakers in conservative states were able to cut some funding for Planned Parenthood, while GOP presidential candidates had yet something else to grandstand about in order to woo the evangelical base.

With so much heat thrown off by Daleiden’s anti-abortion project, it is no surprise — and it absolutely cannot be to him — that someone somewhere would take his lies to the extreme and try and do something about it. With extreme prejudice.

According to NBC, Robert Lewis Dear — who killed three people including a cop, making him a hero to these “pro-life” folks while shooting up a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood — reportedly told investigators “no more baby parts" after he was arrested.
So it appears that Robert Lewis Dear shot up a Planned Parenthood because he was familiar with David Daleiden’s videotape lies. This is not to say that this is something that Daleiden was hoping for. But when Daleiden published his videos with great fanfare, he primed more than a few future domestic terrorists to take the law — God’s or their own — into their own hands.

David Dalieden didn’t pull the trigger — he just showed Robert Lewis Dear where he needed to aim the gun.
Rather that obsess about Islamic terrorists, perhaps the FBI and Home Land Security ought to be paying more attention to Christian extremists and their allies who create an atmosphere where murders occur.

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