Thoughts on Life, Love, Politics, Hypocrisy and Coming Out in Mid-Life
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Kathleen Parker: The Pope Is Right
While I reserve any approval of Pope Francis until he conducts a meaningful house cleaning of bishops and cardinals who participated in the global conspiracy to aid, abet and protect predator priests, it has proved to be enjoyable entertainment to watch the far right go into faints and near convulsions over some of Francis' comments that run against their true gods: money and unfetter capitalism and gay bashing (I'd also add fetus worship since children only matter while they remain unborn). Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker - who seems to be putting a bulls eye on her back of late - has a piece in the Washington Post that condemns the hysteria of the far right over the Pope's remarks. The column underscores the hypocrisy of so many on the right. Here are excerpts:
We have reached a new level of political absurdity when the right is mad at the pope and the left wants to anoint his head with oil.
Everyone seems to have his own special version of Pope Francis. Liberals have declared him a crusader for social justice, especially regarding his comments about global inequality. Conservatives fear he just might be a commie.
To briefly recap, Pope Francis has hit two hot buttons: He has questioned the efficacy of “unfettered” free markets and has encouraged de-emphasizing the church’s positions on such divisive issues as gays and abortion.
The latter message, while loving and refreshing, is more complex than an “I’m okay, you’re okay” platitude. The pope never proposes changing church teachings but merely suggests that the church should be open to all. You can’t minister to people if you won’t let them in the door. And no one follows a wagging finger.
The message relating to the financial world similarly targeted the collateral human damage of “unfettered” markets. This is by-the-book Christianity, hardly the moorings of heresy. Yet these Christian sentiments have sent some conservatives reeling to the fainting couch.
Upon reading the pope’s words about greed and inequality, Rush Limbaugh threw down the word “Marxist” like an overcooked rib-eye. The pontiff’s words, said the man of many words, was “just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.”
Next comes Adam Shaw, news editor for FoxNews.com and a Catholic, who wrote that the pope is like Obama — the worst invective a good conservative can hurl this side of “You’re a tool of Satan!”
“Just like President Obama loved apologizing for America, Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church, thinking that the Church is at its best when it is passive and not offending anyone’s sensibilities,” Shaw wrote. Both men, he implies, “pander to enemies ” and are “professional grievance mongers.” And so on.
[I]t would appear that Francis is quite willing to offend sensibilities. It is useful to remember that Jesus wasn’t only a carpenter’s son but also a radical who turned the tables on the status quo. Likewise Francis — a Christian right down to his sensible black leather shoes, the better to walk the walk and sneak out at night to minister to Rome’s homeless.
[T]he pope never mentions redistribution. He is challenging our idolatry of money and obsession with things (I confess!), a cultural fascination that distracts us from the needy. What is the successor to St. Peter supposed to do when he sees so much suffering even in free-market societies? Quote Ayn Rand?
No one, Christian or otherwise, can escape the mirror he holds up, his eyes doubtless twinkling in anticipation of his next moonlight adventure, searching for souls in need.
I love the reference to Ayn Rand - did Parker have Paul Ryan in mind?
Judge Rules Against Bakery That Refused Wedding Cake To Same-Sex Couple
|Anti-gay bigot Jack Phillips, owner of the bakery|
Brace yourself!! The shrieks of Christian persecution (and associated flying spittle) are bound to erupt in the wake of a court ruling in Colorado that found that a bakery that refused to sell a wedding cake to a same sex couple broke unlawfully discriminated and violated Colorado's public accommodations law. The bigoted owners of the bakery had claimed as a defense that their right to religious liberty had excused them from compliance with the law. This bogus defense is yet another example of Christofascists believing that they deserve special rights and that they are above the laws that govern everyone else. The ACLU has details on the ruling here. Think Progress looks at some of the analysis behind the judge's rejection of the false defense of "religious liberty":
Here are some of the arguments from ADJ Spencer’s ruling as to why “religious freedom” did not justify Phillips’ violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law protecting sexual orientation:
It Doesn’t Matter If The Bakery Otherwise Serves Gay PeopleOne of the bakery’s arguments was that it still served gay clients — the owner only objected to a wedding cake that would celebrate a same-sex marriage. Spencer argued that since only gay couples would participate in same-sex marriage, it’s a “distinction without a difference”
This Case Has Nothing To Do With Whether Same-Sex Marriage Is LegalConservatives often argue that cases like these that allegedly impose on “religious liberty” are the consequence of marriage equality passing, but Colorado doesn’t have marriage equality. The judge notes that this actually proves that the discrimination is based on the couple’s identity:
Nor is the ALJ persuaded by Respondents’ argument that they should be compelled to recognize same-sex marriages because Colorado does not do so. Although Respondents are correct that Colorado does not recognize same-sex marriage, that fact does not excuse discrimination based upon sexual orientation. . . . Because Respondents’ objection goes beyond just the act of “marriage,” and extends to any union of a same-sex couple, it is apparent that Respondents’ real objection is to the couple’s sexual orientation and not simply their marriage.
Cakes Do Not Constitute “Speech”Though the judge was sympathetic that cakes require artistry, he dismissed the idea that they constituted speech. In this case, the bakery refused to provide the cake before the couple could even specify what would or would not be on the cake, thus there is not even any speech to consider.
The Act Of Selling Cakes Also Does Not Constitute “Speech”Regardless of what the cake itself might communicate or not, the act of selling cakes is also not a form of speech; thus, forcing a bakery to sell to a same-sex couple is not compelled speech.
Baking Cakes Is Not Religious ConductThough Phillips objected to providing the cake on religious grounds, the ALJ pointed out that baking a cake is not actually conduct that is part of his religion. Thus, it does not qualify for exemption from regulation.
Self-centeredness, hatred of others, and bigotry. These are the hallmarks of today's conservative "Christians." They are not nice or decent people.
Wingnuts Go Berserk Over Positive GOP Comments on Mandela
The toxicity of the fetid swamp that is now the base of the Republican Party has been highlighted by the GOP base's reaction to positive comments made by Republican elected officials in response to the death of Nelson Mandela. As noted many times on this blog, a key element of what motivates today's GOP base is blatant racism and a yearning for white supremacy. Blue Virginia has compiled some of the blow back against Republicans - even the ever despicable Eric Cantor chose not to speak ill of Mandela - who had anything decent to say about Mandela. Here's a sampling:
It's amazing, it truly is: as far right wing as many elected Republican are these days, it never seems to be far right wing enough for their most rabid, teahadist supporters. For instance, a number of elected Republicans have shown class in their responses to the death of Nelson Mandela. That, in spite of the fact that Mandela was proudly a man of the left . . .
Virginia Republican politicians - including Bob McDonnell, Eric Cantor, and even E.W. Jackson - had nice things to say about Mandela upon the news of his death yesterday. For instance, Jackson wrote that Mandela was "courageous," a "great man," and "exactly the leader South Africa needed - even if he didn't start out that way." For his part, Gov. McDonnell wrote that Mandela was "one of the true giants of history," a man who "lived a life that broke down barriers, tore down walls, and lifted up a nation, a people, and a world." McDonnell added, "This is a better world for the long and uplifting life of Nelson Mandela." Finally, Eric Cantor commented, "The world has lost an exceptional leader who made the world a better place."
Many of the responses to these comments, to put it mildly, didn't match the class of E.W. Jackson, McDonnell and Cantor in this case. For instance, Cantor has now received 400+ responses, the overwhelming majority of which are negative - even viciously so. For instance: "Mandela was a communist and a terrorist!;" "he and his animal of a wife were mass murderers and torturers;" "You've got to be kidding...he was responsible for the murder of over 20,000 people;" and "The world has lost a Marxist/Communist dictator! Mr. Cantor, are you falling in line with Obama's minions??"; and "I'm saddened and disappointed to see such a post."
A few examples: "This man was a straight up communist;" "And he gave all South Africans the right to abortion on demand;" "Hope he knew Christ as his savior;" and "You, Mr. Jackson, have bought into the communist/Marxist/liberal ideology of rewriting history and eliminating history by making Mandela into a saint."
Bob McDonnell appears to have deleted the entire thread, as there are now no comments at all. I can just imagine how bad it must have been for them to do that...
I'd also point out that many leading Republicans - Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney, Jack Kemp - opposed sanctions against the white, apartheid regime in South Africa.
[A] great man just died, and THIS is what spews out from right wingers on their "leaders'" Facebook pages, just for saying a few appropriate words at the death of a major 20th century historical figure . . .
P.S. Ken Cuccinelli hasn't said a word about Mandela's death on his Facebook page. Nor has Mark Obenshain.
Between positive statements about Mandela and the National Republican Congressional Committee's plan to fund openly gay Republican candidates, things are not sweetness and light in Christofacists circles and Teabagistan.
National Republican Congressional Committee Likely to Fund Gay Candidates Over Forbes Objections
Perhaps change is coming to the Republican Party after all - at least to those in the Party who do not continue to over dose on Kool-Aid. And, of course, there are the few pragmatists who understand that the GOP's anti-gay jihad is killing the party's brand with younger voters who will become crucial as the elderly angry white Christofascists die off. Why do I say this? Because despite the efforts of the ever homophobic Rep. J. Randy Forbes, it appears that the National Republican Congressional Committee will fund and support openly gay Republican candidates. Even the horrid John Boehner has found enough spine to speak out in support of such funding. The spittle will be flying at The Family Foundation, Family Research Council and other hate groups. The Oregonian reports that Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is ignoring Randy Forbes' homophobic whining. Here are highlights:
Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, who heads the National Republican Congressional Committee, is making it clear that he won't be following the lead of a Virginia GOP congressman who wants Walden's committee to deny funding for openly gay congressional candidates.
Walden told Politico in a statement that the congressional committee -- which plays a key role in providing campaign money to candidates in highly contested races -- won't discriminate against gay candidates.
“Our decisions on the Republican nominees we support will not be based on race, gender or sexual orientation," Walden said, "but will be based on the strength of their candidacy and their ability to defeat Democrats.”
The latest kerfuffle in the culture wars erupted after Politico reported Thursday that Rep. Randy Forbes, a senior GOP congressman from Virginia, was working behind the scenes to deny funding by House Republicans to gay candidates.
Forbes, who has reportedly been angling to become the next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has been a staunch opponent of expanding gay rights. He supports a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage throughout the country and has opposed legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
With Forbes' district more frequently voting for Democrats in other races, Forbes really needs to get his nose out of the foul asses of folks like Victoria Cobb, Tony Perkins and Don Wildmon. As noted above, even spinelss John Boehner has found a voice on this issue as reported by KLPR TV-11:
House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he believes the GOP should support the party’s openly gay candidates. “I do,” he said when asked by CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash if he backs such House hopefuls.
His answer comes as a GOP congressman from Virginia is pressuring a national Republican campaign group to withhold financial support for the party’s gay candidates.
In next year’s midterm elections, there are two openly gay GOP candidates who are well positioned to challenge Democratic incumbents. Richard Tisei, a former state lawmaker who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2012, is running again for a Massachusetts seat.
Both candidates would have to face primaries before being guaranteed a spot on the November general election ballot. But if they do win their respective primaries, they’ve been widely praised as potential pick-ups for the GOP in the House. Rep. Patrick McHenry, who serves as the NRCC’s top recruiter, has touted both as top-tier candidates.
In a statement, Forbes said “the definition of marriage is an issue with widely divergent opinions passionately held by both sides.”
“This is true of the Republican Party, as it is of society as a whole,” he continued. “Our goal is to make certain every individual has the right to express his or her belief, while no one is compelled to support financially or otherwise, those who disagree with them. It is my belief that we are trying to strike this balance and we will continue to work to accomplish this goal.”
Asked about Forbes opposition to NRCC money for gay candidates, McHenry–the GOP group’s top recruiter–disagreed with his colleague.
“If you are a top notch candidate you deserve the support of our party infrastructure and what we need to do is get the best candidates to return Republican seats back to Republican hands,” he said Thursday. “My agenda is to field Republican candidates who can beat Democrats, who can be good members of Congress and help solve the nation’s problems.”
My message to Forbes: Randy, come out of the Middle Ages and join the 21st century. With thousands and thousands of gays serving in the military in Hampton Roads, your bigotry and Homophobia are inappropriate. I'd also comment that Forbes "doth protest too much." What happened to the nice guy I once knew? Any time you'd like to talk, you know where to find me.
Friday, December 06, 2013
New Study: Anti-Gay Laws Harm LGBT Individuals
New research out of the School of Public Health breathes urgency to the polarizing issue of gay marriage, by highlighting the depressive and psychosocial impact of such restrictive legislation on young gay men, especially in regard to their fatherhood aspirations.
The study was conducted by Assistant Public Health Prof. José Bauermeister and was published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The report builds upon a growing body of research on the psychological effects of government policy.
Bauermeister analyzed the survey results against state-specific LGB policies, including bans on marriage equality, same-sex joint parenting and second parent adoption. He stressed the importance of including policies not just limited to marriage equality saying less frequently discussed policies are also restrictive.
“You stick another layer into it and you start seeing a lot of parenting laws and bans in place that prohibit either a single gay or lesbian man or woman to adopt or to have a child and then have a second same-sex parent added as a guardian of that child, or to adopt jointly,” Bauermeister said.
The results confirmed Bauermeister’s hypothesis that men who plan on raising children had higher levels of depression and lower levels of self-esteem in states with LGB restrictive policies than men with the same aspirations in states without the bans.
Public Health Prof. Gary Harper said politicians that propose such restrictive policies are often more concerned with getting reelected than with the consequences the policies produce.
“(Politicians) need to realize that those restrictions do have real-world influences on individuals, especially adolescents who are developing their sense of self and sense of who they are,” Harper said. “That’s a really critical time and these restrictive and oppressive laws can have an extremely damaging impact on the adolescent.”
“If from very early on you were told that you are not as good as everybody else, then you are not going to develop a healthy sense of self-esteem because at every turn you are told you’re not as good as other people,” Harper said. “When we have marriage restriction laws, we are basically saying to a young gay person, ‘Your love for another person is not recognized by the state, so that means it’s not as good as heterosexual love.’ ”
Hawaii and Illinois recently became the most recent states to pass legislation legalizing gay marriage. Harper is happy with the progress, but said that there is a fundamental problem.
“If we live in a country where we say that all people are created equal and we have protection on almost every other identity characteristic under the sun," Harper said. “Why is it this one factor is the only factor that we federally, legally discriminate?”
The answer to the last question is easy: we give far too much deference to conservative Christianity and have allowed it to become a de facto established religion in America. This needs to end.
GOP/Conservative Groups Plan US-wide Assault on Education, Health and Public Sector
The hypocrisy of Republicans and self-professed Bible worshiping conservatives continues to soar to new levels. As The Guardian reports, plans are underway for a 34 state campaign to "release residents from government dependency," which of course, really means that the poor and those without health care will be cast into the gutter to hopefully die while education spending is gutted. Helping to fund this effort to bring back the worse aspects of the Gilded Age are not surprisingly the greed driven billionaire Koch brothers. Shockingly, another major supporter is food giant Kraft and multinational drugs company GlaxoSmithKline (yes, the boyfriend and I will be changing our shopping patterns). The article also highlights the pressing need to halt the political activities of alleged charities that are nothing more than funding funnels Here are story highlights:for the far right.
Conservative groups across the US are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers' compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.
The strategy for the state-level organisations, which describe themselves as "free-market thinktanks", includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. . . . The documents contain 40 funding proposals from 34 states, providing a blueprint for the conservative agenda in 2014.
In partnership with the Texas Observer and the Portland Press Herald in Maine, the Guardian is publishing SPN's summary of all the proposals to give readers and news outlets full and fair access to state-by-state conservative plans that could have significant impact throughout the US, and to allow the public to reach its own conclusions about whether these activities comply with the spirit of non-profit tax-exempt charities.Details of the co-ordinated approach come amid growing federal scrutiny of the political activities of tax-exempt charities.
Most of the "thinktanks" involved in the proposals gathered by the State Policy Network are constituted as 501(c)(3) charities that are exempt from tax by the Internal Revenue Service. Though the groups are not involved in election campaigns, they are subject to strict restrictions on the amount of lobbying they are allowed to perform. Several of the grant bids contained in the Guardian documents propose the launch of "media campaigns" aimed at changing state laws and policies, or refer to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings", in ways that arguably cross the line into lobbying.
The documents also cast light on the nexus of funding arrangements behind radical rightwing campaigns. The State Policy Network (SPN) has members in each of the 50 states and an annual warchest of $83m drawn from major corporate donors that include the energy tycoons the Koch brothers, the tobacco company Philip Morris, food giant Kraft and the multinational drugs company GlaxoSmithKline.
The proposals in the grant bids contained in the Guardian documents go beyond a commitment to free enterprise, however. They include:
• "reforms" to public employee pensions raised by SPN thinktanks in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania;
• tax elimination or reduction schemes in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska and New York;
• an education voucher system to promote private and home schooling in Florida;
• campaigns against worker and union rights in Delaware and Nevada;
• opposition to Medicaid in Georgia, North Carolina and Utah.
Medicaid is the target of a grant proposal coming from the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), an influential thinktank funded largely by rightwing foundations and corporations including the energy tycoons the Koch brothers, tobacco company Altria and the telecoms giant Verizon. The Texas Observer has investigated the contents of the document and points out that in its request for $40,000 from Searle, TPPF claims credit for blocking Medicaid expansion in the state.
Virginia Disingenuously Redesigns Standard License Plates
In a move that is the height of hypocrisy, Bob McDonnell - variously known as "Taliban Bob" and "Governor Ultrasound" - unveiled a redesign of Virginia's standard vehicle license plate to add the slogan "Virginia is for Lovers" along the bottom edge of the plates. Virginia is for lovers if the lovers are not gay or lesbian or preferably not an interracial couple (thanks to Loving v. Virginia, such interracial couples can marry although not with much approval from the Virginia GOP and its toxic party base). Now anyone getting new license plates will have to pay extra to avoid getting plates that bear this false slogan. I for one will not be rushing out to replace my plates that display Virginia's great seal with ones that bear an out right lie on them. The Richmond Times Dispatch looks at this disingenuous bull shit:
The Department of Motor Vehicles has redesigned the state's standard license plate to incorporate the “Virginia is for lovers" slogan.
Gov. Bob McDonnell unveiled the new plate during remarks yesterday at the Governor's Transportation Conference at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.The new plates display the tourism slogan near the bottom of the plate in black letters with a red heart in place of the “v” in “lovers.” Underneath, in smaller print, is “Virginia.org.”The new plate otherwise appears the same as the basic blue and white plates that have been the standard for decades.
Will someone please pass me a vomit bag?
Dick Cheney: Nelson Mandela Was a Terrorist
Many around the globe are morning the passing of South Africa's Nelson Mandela who suffered 27 years in prison because of his struggle to end Apartheid and then went on to be South Africa's first black president, preaching a message of forgiveness as he tried to move his country forward. But not all hold Mandela or his memory in high regard. Take Dick Cheney - a man guilty of war crimes under the Geneva Conventions and usually referred to as Emperor Palpatine on this blog - who didn't regret his 1986 vote against freeing Mandela from prison. Cheney, the war criminal in all but formal charges, maintained that Mandela was a terrorist and deserved to remain in prison. Sadly, I suspect that many in the increasingly white supremacist dominated Republican Party share Cheney's revolting views. Here are highlights from Huffington Post:
In 1986, Nelson Mandela -- the former president of South Africa who died Thursday at the age of 95 -- was serving the 23rd year of what would ultimately be a 27-year prison sentence. The Western world was finally acknowledging the true horrors of Apartheid, a system of racial segregation that denied basic rights to blacks -- including citizenship and the right to vote -- and brutally oppressed a generation of South Africans fighting for equality.
In the U.S. Congress, lawmakers were ready to show their opposition to the South African regime with the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, a bill that called for tough sanctions and travel restrictions on the nation and its leaders, and for the repeal of apartheid laws and release of political prisoners like Mandela, then leader of the African National Congress (ANC).
The measure passed with bipartisan support, despite strong and largely Republican opposition. President Ronald Reagan was among those most opposed to the bill, and when he finally vetoed the measure over its support of the ANC, which he maintained was a "terrorist organization," it took another vote by Congress to override it. Among the Republicans who repeatedly voted against the measure was future Vice President Dick Cheney, then a Republican congressman from Wyoming.
[T]he Wyoming Republican has never said he regretted voting the way he did. In fact, in 2000, he maintained that he'd made the right decision. “The ANC was then viewed as a terrorist organization," Cheney said on ABC's "This Week." "I don't have any problems at all with the vote I cast 20 years ago.''
Try as I might, I cannot avoid the conclusion that Cheney is a despicable human being. As are many of his racist cohorts in today's GOP. R.I.P. Nelson Mandela..
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Anti-Gay Rep. Randy Forbes Slammed from Right and Left
This morning I wrote about my increasingly homophobic former classmate, Congressman Randy Forbes, who appears to be attempting to block campaign funding for gay Republican candidates from the National Republican Congressional Committee. Forbes motivation? Obviously, kissing the large bigoted asses of the Christofascist. And perhaps, in my view, reprising the behavior of former Congressman Ed Schrock. Since Politico's story hit, Forbes has been getting slammed by both pundits of the right and the left. On the right, a piece in Bearing Drift, perhaps the leading conservative political blog in Virginia, this statement appeared:
The left has been equally brutal. Here are highlights from a statement by the Southern Poverty Law Center:Forbes did himself no favors with his statements: . . . .Notice anything missing? Like say a statement making it abundantly clear that using sexual orientation to disqualify a candidate is a no-no? Me neither, and that’s the problem.Has the Republican Party of Virginia fallen so far that opposing Bob McDonnell’s tax hike is considered “extreme,” but backroom homophobia is just fine?Memo to my Congressman: the clock is ticking; I think 24 hours to be sufficient for a much needed clarification. Likewise for the newfound “moderates” who make up the Bolling faction (as it were) of the the RPV: you have 24 hours to practice what you preach, condemn this behavior (if you don’t think Forbes actually did it, you can feel free to blast the concept without touching him), and show me this is about more than giving yourselves cover for tax increases.
Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes is back in the news. We last wrote about Forbes in October when he was set to fundraise for an anti-gay hate group, the American Family Association (AFA). Now he’s pushing to deny money to gay Republican candidates for Congress – because they’re gay. Unfortunately for Forbes, his anti-gay bigotry is undercutting his effort to become chair of the powerful House Armed Services Committee.
We were hopeful that his decision to skip the hate group event signaled a shift away from anti-gay bigotry. We were wrong.
Forbes, sadly, has a long track record of bigotry, and his latest efforts fit nicely into a career of denying civil rights to LGBT Americans. As Zack Ford points out at ThinkProgress, he argued in 2007 that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prevent LGBT Americans from being fired for their sexual orientation, would “destroy the institution of marriage.” He also supports a constitutional amendment to overturn state laws allowing same-sex marriage and introduced legislation that would allow businesses with a religious affiliation to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
As we’ve noted in the past, Forbes has worked closely with the AFA and appeared numerous times on its radio shows, including with Tony Perkins and homophobe-in-chief Bryan Fischer. One of the first videos on his official YouTube channel, posted in 2008, is an AFA special called the “War on God.”
Forbes’ close relationship with the AFA renders him unfit to chair the committee that oversees America’s modern military. After all, this is a group whose chief spokesperson and head of public policy – Bryan Fischer – argues that we must “bring to an end the practice of putting women in the military” and “stop the practice of allowing Muslims to serve in the U.S. military.”
Forbes can’t be held responsible for every bigoted thing that comes out of Fischer’s mouth, but he has gone out of his way to work with the AFA – more than perhaps any other member of Congress. He has made it clear that he will use every bit of leverage he has to undermine equal rights. He has no place dictating policy for our military.
Sex Abuse: When Will Pope Francis Make the Catholic Church Accountable
In a number of posts I have posed the question of when will Pope Francis begin to hold those in the Catholic Church responsible for the world wide conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse of children and youths accountable for the horrors they aided and abetted. The National Secular Society has asked the same questions. Here are highlights from a recent lengthy post on the organization's blog:
As the propaganda piles up, Pope Francis basks in the adulation of the uncritical masses.But wait. What's this? The sex abuse scandal that so tormented his predecessor seems to be emerging again after being swept under the rug during Francis's honeymoon period.The Holy See (the political wing of the Vatican) has at last responded to questions put to it by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about the global issue of child rape by priests.Or, more accurately, it has not responded. It says that it has nothing to do with what goes on in the dioceses and parishes of its churches. Therefore it cannot be held responsible in any way for the unspeakable things that some of its priests do to defenceless children.And just when the Vatican thought it had distracted us from the horrors that thousands of its priests have perpetrated, it all starts slithering back again.The Los Angeles Times has carried out an investigation into Cardinal Roger Mahoney and his decades-long cover-up of child rape by priests. The exposé is based on "nearly 23,000 pages of internal documents from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and various religious orders that were made public this year in compliance with court orders". And even then, only in the face of bitter opposition from the Church.The paper revealed in an editorial that, following the investigation, it had received an unprecedented number of letters from readers condemning the Church.Meanwhile, more cases emerge all round the world. So many in fact, that news of them hardly gets any further than local newspapers any more.And sometimes the sheer spitefulness and cynicism employed to evade paying compensation to victims is breath-taking, especially from an institution that purports to dictate morality to the rest of us. In Australia a man who is terminally ill and who was sodomised repeatedly by a number of priests has won compensation, but a year later he has not seen a penny of it. Why is the church delaying?In Minnesota, a court has ordered a diocese to hand over the names of 33 priests who are suspected of abusing and raping children. It has only taken 30 years to get to this stage – and the names haven't been handed over yet.It's not that the Vatican is unaware of the problem – as its chief prosecutor of paedophile priests has made clear. Father Robert Oliver says, "Rome is 'well aware' of how frustrated many people are with perceived confusion about how to hold bishops accountable when they're accused of failing to make a 'zero tolerance' policy stick and hopes a solution will emerge from debates over curial reform under Pope Francis".Haven't we been here before? Didn't Benedict promise that reform would come if we were patient? Well, we were patient (in some cases, 30 years patient) and nothing much happened. Ineffective "zero tolerance" policies were supposedly introduced, but still the cover-ups continue.Is Francis going to be any different? Last week he had an opportunity to at least apologise for the disgusting record of his Church. At a meeting with Dutch bishops he was supposed to say (according to notes handed out before the meeting) "I wish to express my compassion and to ensure my closeness in prayer to every victim of sexual abuse, and to their families; I ask you to continue to support them along the painful path of healing, that they have undertaken with courage".In the event, he didn't say it and preferred instead to just talk generally with the bishops who represent a country with its own major abuse scandal. A public inquiry recently showed that tens of thousands of children had been raped by Dutch priests, and now the church is paying out millions in compensation.And so, as we are regaled with tales of Francis's marvellous humanity, his love of the poor and suffering, the tens of thousands – maybe even millions - of victims around the globe wait and hope that something will change. Francis seems too busy being adored at present to be bothered with them.That is the scale of Francis's problem and if he isn't careful, his glorious honeymoon is going to end in ignominy, just like his predecessor.
Brutal? Yes. Accurate? Again, yes. Worse yet, directives from the Vatican dating to the 1960's document that the Vatican orchestrated the cover up worldwide conspiracy. Thus, the Vatican statement made to the United Nations disclaiming responsibility for what goes on in the dioceses and parishes of its churches was a lie. Today Pope Francis set up a committee to fight child sex abuse in the Catholic Church and give pastoral care to victims following a recommendation from a council of cardinals he has asked to advise him. Sadly, until bishops and cardinals who aided and abetted predator priests and engaged in cover ups are sacked in significant numbers, this committee is just another piece of window dressing aimed at distracting attention from the fact that absolutely nothing has really changed.
NSA Tracking Cell Phones Worldwide
Think you have privacy when talking on your cell phone? Think again. The police state surveillance of the NSA is tracking your phone and your whereabouts daily. No wonder America ranks up at the top with Russia and China as a nation where its citizens have little or no privacy rights. I find it disturbing to say the least. Obviously, in the wrong hands such massive spying on citizens could be very dangerous. I for one do not subscribe to the "just trust us" justification put out by the NSA and its supporters. What the Nazis did in Germany pales in comparison to what the NSA is now doing. Here are some highlights from a Washington Post article (Note the bullshit excuse that Americans are being spied on only "incidentally"):
The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.
The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.
The NSA does not target Americans’ location data by design, but the agency acquires a substantial amount of information on the whereabouts of domestic cellphones “incidentally,” a legal term that connotes a foreseeable but not deliberate result.
In scale, scope and potential impact on privacy, the efforts to collect and analyze location data may be unsurpassed among the NSA surveillance programs that have been disclosed since June. Analysts can find cellphones anywhere in the world, retrace their movements and expose hidden relationships among the people using them.
[L]ocation data, especially when aggregated over time, are widely regarded among privacy advocates as uniquely sensitive. Sophisticated mathematical techniques enable NSA analysts to map cellphone owners’ relationships by correlating their patterns of movement over time with thousands or millions of other phone users who cross their paths. Cellphones broadcast their locations even when they are not being used to place a call or send a text message.
“One of the key components of location data, and why it’s so sensitive, is that the laws of physics don’t let you keep it private,” said Chris Soghoian, principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. People who value their privacy can encrypt their e-mails and disguise their online identities, but “the only way to hide your location is to disconnect from our modern communication system and live in a cave.”
The possibility that the intelligence community has been collecting location data, particularly of Americans, has long concerned privacy advocates and some lawmakers. Three Democratic senators — Ron Wyden (Ore.), Mark Udall (Colo.) and Barbara A. Mikulski (Md.) — have introduced an amendment to the 2014 defense spending bill that would require U.S. intelligence agencies to say whether they have ever collected or made plans to collect location data for “a large number of United States persons with no known connection to suspicious activity.”
The number of Americans whose locations are tracked as part of the NSA’s collection of data overseas is impossible to determine from the Snowden documents alone, and senior intelligence officials declined to offer an estimate.
The NSA’s capabilities to track location are staggering, based on the Snowden documents, and indicate that the agency is able to render most efforts at communications security effectively futile.
Railroads to Offer Health Care Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses
While those living in the past - and perhaps wrestling with their own demos - like Randy Forbes and similar anti-gay bigots in the GOP continue to seek to marginalize gays, the nation's largest railroad carriers have announced that they will begin offering health care benefits to legally married same sex couples starting January 1, 2014. One of the carriers is Virginia based Norfolk Southern (based in Norfolk). Also included is CSX Corporation which has major operations in Virginia, including in Norfolk, Newport News, Portsmouth, and Richmond. The Virginian Pilot reports on the move by the railroad industry. Here are highlights:
A day after being sued by legally married, gay engineers, the nation's largest freight rail carriers announced they will provide health care benefits to the same-sex spouses of their employees.
Gus Melonas, a spokesman for BNSF Railway Co., read the statement Wednesday from the National Railway Labor Conference to The Associated Press. The conference represents the railroad companies in dealings with labor groups, lawmakers and courts.
[T]he railroads agreed with labor to provide the benefit in light of recent changes allowing same sex couples to access same federal tax benefits provided to other married couples," the conference said.
Two BNSF engineers in Washington state, one man and one woman, sued the company Tuesday over its refusal to provide benefits to their spouses. The federal lawsuit, which alleges violations of the federal Equal Pay Act, seeks class-action status on behalf of any other BNSF employees who may have been denied benefits for their same-sex spouses in a legally recognized marriage. It says the same-sex spouses have been denied benefits provided routinely to those of opposite sex.
Same-sex spouses will be eligible for dependent health care coverage starting Jan. 1, the statement said.
The rail conference represents the largest freight carriers in the nation — including units of Norfolk Southern Corp., Union Pacific Corp., CSX Corp. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s BNSF — as well as some smaller railroads. Its statement, reported earlier Wednesday by the Omaha World Herald's Omaha.com, said employees would receive more information about the same-sex spouse health benefits in the coming weeks.
While private industry continues to move forward, Virginia's anti-gay laws make the state increasingly non-competitive when it comes to attracting top talent and employees. All so that Christofascists can feel superior about themselves and look down on gays. It's sick, but then so is conservative Christianity.
Randy Forbes Pushing National Republican Congressional Committee to Deny Support to Gay Candidates
As I have noted before, I was in law school with now Congressman Randy Forbes. You might say that I even counted him as a friend. I honestly cannot determine what the Hell has happened to the man to make him such a homophobe and such a tool of the Christofascists. It's as if a "Stepford Wife" transformation was done to him. Now, Forbes has ratcheted up his batshitery and attacks on gays by pushing the National Republican Congressional Committee to deny any assistance to promising gay Republican candidates. Given that Forbes is in a safe, gerrymandered district, it's not as if he needs to be pandering so blatantly to the Christofascists at The Family Foundation. One can only wonder if Forbes is another Ed Schrock - stridently anti-gay to hide the real story. Politico looks at Forbes quest against gay Republicans. Here are excerpts:
Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes, a senior House Republican eyeing a powerful committee chairmanship, is causing friction with some of his colleagues by pushing the House GOP campaign arm to deny support for some of the party’s gay congressional candidates.
Forbes has waged a lengthy crusade to convince his colleagues and the National Republican Congressional Committee brass they shouldn’t back some gay candidates. His efforts on Capitol Hill were described to POLITICO by more than a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of the talks.
The issue is particularly acute because House Republicans have two promising openly gay candidates in 2014 vying for seats held by Democrats. Richard Tisei, who narrowly lost to Democratic Rep. John Tierney in 2012, is running again in northeastern Massachusetts. And in San Diego, Carl DeMaio, a former city councilman, is trying to knock off Democratic Rep. Scott Peters.
Many senior House Republicans haven’t shied away from giving money to Tisei or DeMaio. The NRCC supported Tisei in 2012, and many top Republicans contributed to his campaign. The political arm of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) gave DeMaio $10,000 in June. And Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) chipped in $5,000 the same month.
On Wednesday, Forbes told POLITICO he thinks “GOP leaders can do whatever they want to do,” in terms of giving money to gay candidates. He said he is more concerned about members being asked to contribute to the campaigns. The NRCC is partially funded by collecting tens of millions of dollars from House Republicans, who pay dues to the organization.
In an emailed statement to POLITICO in response to this story, NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon said, “Our decisions on the Republican nominees we support will not be based on race, gender or sexual orientation but will be based on the strength of their candidacy and their ability to defeat Democrats.”
Many Republicans seem willing to back DeMaio. Rep. Darrell Issa, a senior California Republican who has endorsed him, said that “he will be supported by the NRCC when he wins the primary.”
“I will see to that,” said Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Although Forbes has been lobbying on this issue for some time, it is becoming public now, as his name is being mentioned for the committee chairmanship. Although he hasn’t announced his retirement, many GOP insiders expect current Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) to forgo another bid for election.
We do not need Forbes in a position such as chairman of the Armed Services Committee. His anti-gay jihad may warm the icy cold heart of Victoria Cobb at The Family Foundation, but it certainly does jibe with a political party's goal of winning elections.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Could McAuliffe Save Bob McDonnell's Sorry Ass?
The circus of Giftgate - and the possible criminal prosecution of outgoing governor, Bob McDonnell - continues. Personally, having known McDonnell for almost 20 years, I continue to believe that Maureen McDonnell is the one that started this train wreck hurling down the tracks. Bob McDonnell's fault was not controlling his wife and doing too little too late to fix the damage. With Terry McAuliffe taking over as Governor of Virginia next month, a column in the Richmond Times Dispatch suggests that McAuliffe could come to McDonnell's aid in a display of bi-partisanship that might win good will from Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly. Personally, I think the imagined GOP good will is a fantasy. The Virginia GOP is too subservient to the Christofascists and Tea Party Neanderthals to ever stray for the far right's extremist marching orders. Here are column excerpts - make your own judgment call:
Terry McAuliffe has enough to worry about without the distraction of his predecessor possibly being led off in leg irons.
In year one of the McAuliffe governorship, Bob McDonnell’s continuing nightmare — the Giftgate ethics scandal — could play out on two fronts: a possible public corruption trial in federal court, and a misdemeanor case in state court over alleged omissions in his compulsory conflict-of-interest statement.
And, of course, he may not be charged at all.
Republican McDonnell’s problems may be an opportunity for Democrat McAuliffe, a chance to be seen as the bipartisan he claims to be.
It would require McAuliffe to intervene on McDonnell’s behalf, employing the transactional politics that lifted him to fame and fortune in Washington and which his critics in both parties say render him unfit for the highest office in Virginia.For that reason, McAuliffe might hesitate.[T]he sooner McDonnell’s problems are solved — and that includes a legal bill that has cost taxpayers more than $500,000 — the more manageable McAuliffe’s problems become.
McAuliffe is enough of a carnival barker. He does not need the sideshow of a high-profile trial to divert the public’s and the politicians’ attention from Virginia’s serious problems.
In McAuliffe’s first legislative session, beginning in January, these include a new state budget, patching holes in the mental health safety net, modernizing the election machinery, and tightening the ethics laws that Giftgate has shown to be uncomfortably porous.
By helping McDonnell — whether it’s lobbying President Barack Obama for a pardon or for Justice Department prosecutors to back off, or issuing a gubernatorial pardon for McDonnell on a state conviction — McAuliffe could help himself.
It would be a rare expression of statesmanship, easing the toxic partisanship at the state Capitol to which McDonnell contributed by consenting in 2011 to legislative districts that are barely compact, somewhat contiguous and anything but competitive.
Because of this redistricting, McAuliffe faces a Republican-dominated General Assembly instinctively and structurally disinclined to cooperate with him.
The GOP’s Toxic Messaging
Once again conservative columnist Kathleen Parker has gone a muck and strayed from the GOP
insane asylum reservation and is slamming the GOP for its negativity and obstructionism. The root cause to the GOP's toxicity? Obamacare, of course, one of the few things the House GOP has voted on during an otherwise do nothing session of Congress. Parker is especially brutal in highlighting the fact that the GOP has nothing as a proposed alternative to Obamacare other than going back to a thoroughly broken system. Needless to say, Parker's criticisms will not sit well among the knuckle dragging ranks of the Christofascists/Tea Party base of the GOP. Here are excerpts from her Washington Post column:
As the government health-care Web site chugs along, the Obama administration has begun a counter-initiative to combat Republican naysaying — and its weapons are of superior grade.
The bunker buster is positive messaging and a return to hope and change. For Republicans, it’s whatever the opposite is. Despair and stagnation? Gloating and gloom?
“Obamacare” may be fraught with potentially lethal problems, including the bungling of information as people sign up without any guarantee of privacy, but nothing is more toxic than “this is going to be a disaster.” Every time Republicans slam on the brakes, Obama tosses coins and candy into the crowds.
Even if the president at times resembles Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi spokesman who said everything’s fine here as U.S. bombs exploded in the background, Republicans are the shock-and-awe gang with no plan for the day after.
Democrats have targeted the GOP’s soft spot, which is a hard line on social services. Thus, when Republicans want to drastically cut food stamps, it is a piece of cake (and not the moldy sort Marie Antoinette suggested the peasants eat) to designate conservatives as cruel and heartless.
When Republicans say the health-care plan is doomed, a train wreck, a disaster, etc. — and offer no hopeful options — they appear to be rooting only for failure.
This approach is a blessing for Democrats, who have responded by shining a light on success stories: the 25-year-old who gets to stay on his parents’ insurance plan another year, the child or elderly parent with a preexisting condition who now can get insurance, the family who never could afford insurance and now can
What Democrats know keenly — and Republicans seem never to learn — is that positive beats negative every time. Thus, we see MSNBC’s clever montage of Republican negativity: A series of unfriendly faces decrying the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with apocalyptic language. Which would any everyday American prefer? The healer or the doomsayer? The elves or the orcs?
This is not precisely reality, but perception drives policy as much as reality does. The key for Republicans is to drop the negative attacks and refocus energies on the positives of their plans. They have some, right?
What alternative solutions are Republicans hiding behind their backs? Frank Macchiarola, former Republican staff director of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (and my patient guide through the ACA) proposes in a commentary , co-written with Republican former senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, that the GOP lead with solutions rather than piling on criticism. The authors agree with Democrats’ goal to expand access to care, including to those with preexisting conditions. But the cure, they suggest, is in targeted policy solutions rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
“No” gets you nothing but nothing — and gloating floats no boats.
Judge Who Thinks Being Gay Is a "Choice" to Help Preside Over AG Recount
As long time readers know, my divorce after coming out was a nightmare. Frighteningly, one of the judge in my case - who opined that being gay is a "choice" - has been tapped by the Virginia Supreme Court to be part of the three judge panel that will oversee the recount in the Virginia Attorney General race recount. I for one, will NOT be sleeping better at night while this recount remains unfinished knowing that this judge is involved. The judge in question was first appointed by George Allen and has handed down some questionable rulings (see No.6) - see here as well - in the past. Here are details from the Virginian Pilot on this, to me, troubling selection:
Circuit Judge Junius P. Fulton III was selected by the Virginia Supreme Court to oversee a fresh tally this month in a contest where Democrat Mark Herring leads Republican Mark Obenshain by 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast.
Serving with Fulton are Danville Circuit Court Chief Judge Joseph W. Milam Jr. and Richmond Circuit Judge Beverly W. Snukals, who will sit as chief judge for the recount.
All three were named in an order from Supreme Court Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for today in Richmond ahead of a likely mid-December recount, according to the Obenshain campaign.
By law, a three-judge panel, including the Richmond Circuit Court chief judge and two others appointed by the Supreme Court, supervise a recount when candidates for state office are separated by no more than 1 percent of the votes cast for them.
So-called undervotes and overvotes - ballots where voters didn't select a candidate for each available office or selected more than one in a single contest - will be of particular interest to the candidates' attorneys.
Fulton is a former Norfolk School Board member who, like Kinser, was appointed to the bench by Gov. George Allen.
Justice Kinser - a former law school classmate - was also appointed by George Allen who was a darling of the far right. When I argued before the Virginia Supreme Court on behalf of Michael Moore who was fired by the Virginia Museum of Natural History, Justice Kinser struck me as incensed that I described what had happened to Michael Moore as religious based discrimination. To be candid, I will not feel comfortable with Judge Fulton on the recount panel.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Who Is Tom Daley's Boyfrend?
I try not to be a gossip columnist but this is too good to pass up. E! News is claiming that Tom Daley's as yet unnamed boyfriend is Dustin Lance Black. Having met and talked with Black three different times, I can say this: he's nice as can be and very easy on the eyes. Mr. Daley, of course, is very easy on the eyes. If the report is true, I wish them both much happiness. Here are snippets from E! News:
Sources exclusively tell E! News that Daley has been dating Dustin Lance Black, the 39-year-old writer who won an Academy Award for his screenplay for Milk, the 2008 biopic about gay rights activist legend Harvey Milk (Sean Penn also won an Oscar for playing Milk in the flick).
Back in October, Daley and Black were spotted together for the first time, grabbing a snack at The Coffee Bean in Hollywood.
Rush Limbaugh Attacks Pope Francis
I will not try to pretend that I like Rush Limbaugh - not even remotely. The man is a loud mouth bully, a hypocrite, and he preaches a message that is generally the antithesis of the Gospel message. Ironically, Limbaugh was thrilled by Pope Francis at first because of Francis' anti-abortion positions and affirmation of marriage as being only for heterosexuals. The honeymoon, if you will, proved to be short lived. Once Francis released his new exhortation that condemned unfettered capitalism and wealth inequalities, Limbaugh went into attack mode. Here's a sampling via Daily Kos:
I mentioned, last night -- I was doing show prep last night -- usual routine. And I ran across this -- I don't actually know what it's called -- the latest papal offering, statement from Pope Francis. Now, up until this -- I'm not Catholic. Up until this, I have to tell you, I was admiring the man.
"Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as 'a new tyranny.' He beseeched global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality, in a document on Tuesday setting out a platform for his papacy and calling for a renewal of the Catholic Church. In it, Pope Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the 'idolatry of money.' "
I've gotta be very caref-- I have been numerous times to the Vatican. It wouldn't exist without tons of money. But, regardless, what this is -- somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. There's no such -- "unfettered capitalism"? That doesn't exist anywhere.
This batshitery from the thrice divorced Limbaugh was more than Andrew Sullivan could stomach and Sullivan sliced and diced the rantings of Limbaugh. Here are excerpts:
The Pope of the Catholic Church really is offering a rebuttal to the Pope of the Republican party, which is what Limbaugh has largely become. In daily encyclicals, Rush is infallible in doctrine and not to be questioned in public. When he speaks on the airwaves, it is always ex cathedra. Callers can get an audience from him, but rarely a hearing. Dissent from his eternal doctrines means excommunication from the GOP and the designation of heretic. His is always the last word.Despite the Republican Party's feigned fealty to Christian values, neither today's GOP nor the far right Christians are Christian in any way other than lip service. They are a foul pestilence on America.
And in the Church of Limbaugh, market capitalism is an unqualified, eternal good. It is the ever-lasting truth about human beings. It is inextricable from any concept of human freedom. The fewer restrictions on it, the better. In that cocooned, infallible context, of course, Pope Francis is indeed a commie:
Really? Limbaugh specifically invokes the great anti-Communist Pope, John Paul II, as an alleged contrast with this leftist gobbledegook. So let us look at John Paul II’s discussion of capitalism and communism in his 1987 Encyclical, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis:Listen to this. This is an actual quote from what he wrote. “The culture of prosperity deadens us. We are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime, all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle. They fail to move us.” I mean, that’s pretty profound. That’s going way beyond matters that are ethical. This is almost a statement about who should control financial markets. He says that the global economy needs government control. I’m telling you, I’m not Catholic, but I know enough to know that this would have been unthinkable for a pope to believe or say just a few years ago.
My italics. The church has long opposed market capitalism as the core measure of human well-being. Aquinas even taught that interest-bearing loans were inherently unjust in the most influential theological document in church history.The tension between East and West is an opposition … between two concepts of the development of individuals and peoples, both concepts being imperfect and in need of radical correction … This is one of the reasons why the Church’s social doctrine adopts a critical attitude towards both liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism.
Jesus radically taught us to give up all our possessions, to renounce everything except our “daily bread”, to spend our lives serving the poverty-stricken takers rather than aspiring to be the wealthy and powerful makers. He told the Mark Zuckerberg of his day to give everything away to the poor, if he really wanted to be happy.
Limbaugh has obviously never read the Gospels. He has never read the parables. His ideology is so extreme it even trashes, because it does not begin to understand, the core principles of capitalism, as laid out by Adam Smith. Market capitalism is and always has been a regulated construction of government, not some kind of state of nature without it.
But let us return to Limbaugh’s hero, John Paul II, this time in Centesimus Annus, written in the wake of Soviet Communism’s demise:
My italics again. Could anyone have offered a more potent critique of current Republican ideology than John Paul II? Could anything better illustrate John Paul II’s critique of radical capitalist ideology than the GOP’s refusal to be concerned in any way about a fundamental question like access to basic healthcare for millions of citizens in the richest country on earth?The Marxist solution has failed, but the realities of marginalization and exploitation remain in the world, especially the Third World, as does the reality of human alienation, especially in the more advanced countries. . . . there is a risk that a radical capitalistic ideology could spread which refuses even to consider these problems, in the a priori belief that any attempt to solve them is doomed to failure and which blindly entrusts their solution to the free development of market forces.
Sorry, Rush, but if you think this critique of capitalism is something dreamed up by the current Pope alone, you know nothing about Catholicism, nothing about John Paul II, and nothing about Christianity.
Nothing better demonstrates the antipathy of the current Republican right to Christianity – indeed its constant, relentless war on Christianity – than the following refreshingly candid confession of spiritual barrenness from Limbaugh:
Limbaugh’s only recourse when faced with actual Christianity is to conspiracy theories about translations of the Pope’s words. Perhaps it’s the commies who have perpetrated a massive lie through their control of the media. That was Sarah Palin’s response to, when confronted with, you know, Christianity for apparently the first time. But you sense that even Rush is beginning to realize there is something more to this, something that could be very destructive to his sealed, cocooned, materialist ideology of one.I want to go back to this quote from the pope again, from his — there’s the name for the document. I can’t think of it and I don’t have it in front of me. “The culture of prosperity deadens us. We are thrilled in the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime, all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle. They fail to move us.” I’m not even sure what the connection there is.
"Godly Christian" Batshitery: Gays Want to Outlaw Christianity
I often get accused of being too harsh on Christians. I beg to differ. First of all, there are two categories: (i) the "good Christians" who too often yield the field to the second category and act much like the "good Germans" did as Hitler and the Nazis rose to power, and (ii) the Christofascist who are best defined by their hatred of others and behavior that is totally inconsistent with the true Gospel message. With respect to the Christofascists, it is beneficial to remember (A) how much they hate LGBT individuals and (B) how batshit insane they are. A piece at Reclaim America provides a good glimpse of the hatred and loathing - and insanity - that motivate the "godly Christian" folks. The author describes herself as "a native of Texas and current resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is a conservative Christian political writer and radio/television voice professional." Here are some excepts from her spittle fleck rantings that pass for intelligent discourse among the religious extremists/godly folk (and, in my view, obviously mentally ill):
For years now, many of us have been warning America that freedoms of religion, speech, conscience and association and homosexual "rights" cannot coexist; they are by nature mutually exclusive. This is becoming clearer by the minute, as the radical homosexual movement has taken super flight under the ever-darkening reign of the pro-homosexual Barack Obama (or whatever his name is).
The homosexual movement is part of a larger push toward tyranny that has its roots in the spirit realm. Ephesians 6:12 clearly spells out the real battle:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
While we certainly have human enemies aligned against us, our true enemies are Satan, his demons and the spiritual wickedness of those in places of great power.The Godless communists (or fascists, if you prefer) are using the homosexual agenda to work toward eradicating Christian opposition to their plans, which are Satan's plans. If you know your Bible, then you know that Christianity is destined to be outlawed. We are moving steadily toward a time when Christians here in America will be in danger of state-sanctioned murder for their beliefs.Peter LaBarbera, a former journalist for the Washington Times and founder and President of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), has an outstanding column at WorldNetDaily that plainly illustrates the fact that Christian liberty and homosexual "rights" cannot coexist. In the column, titled, "'Gay' Power vs. Religious Liberty," he also compiles a long, sickening list of examples of Christian persecution at the hands of homosexualists, leftist courts and outrageous state laws that protect homosexual behavior while robbing the freedoms of those who conscientiously object.Even so, we are losing this battle, and there are numerous reasons why. Brian Camenker, of MassResistance, wrote a report titled, "Lessons Learned from the Hawaii 'Gay Marriage' Fight." Homosexual "marriage" was forced on the people of Hawaii by a group of leftist politicians, despite massive opposition by the residents of the state who demanded that the issue be put to a vote by the people, instead of rammed through legislatively. This is another important column that you should take a few moments to read.
The prince of the power of the air, Satan, is successfully crafting a deceptively pro-homosexual atmosphere in our nation, from the media, to entertainment, to corporations and all major institutions. This causes many people to fear standing in opposition to the militant homosexual agenda and its activists, because of their track record of hostility, even violence, toward those who oppose them. Many conservative groups and churches fear the vicious vitriol of homosexuals and their supporters in our twisted culture, and that's really a shame.
A couple of parting thoughts. First, both organizations this reality challenged author quotes are Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate groups - yes, the same SPLC that tracks Neo-Nazi and white supremacy groups. Second, the author claims that Christians are being subjected to hostility and violence yet, the media is silent on such alleged attacks. Meanwhile, LGBT individuals continue to be subjected to violence and even murder at the hands of those who believe the drivel peddled by this author and others like her. The take away message? Far right Christians are not nice and decent - or sane - people and they deserve no deference from those who are decent and moral individuals.
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