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September 28th, 2008

The Rise Of The American Gutter

Your gay and lesbian neighbors have been watching this for decades.  Decades. 

Lies, half-truths and contradictions: the significance of McCain blowing off Letterman

The recap: McCain was supposed to stop by Letterman’s show Wednesday. But Dave explained to his audience that McCain "was nice enough to call me on the phone and said that he was racing back to Washington." But part of the way through his late-afternoon taping, Dave learned that Johnny Mac was still a few blocks away in New York — taping an "excloo" with Katie Couric.

Dave’s anger gradually built through the show. He got truly incensed when he showed his audience the internal CBS News feed of McCain getting his makeup dabbed on before his Couric interview. "He doesn’t seem to be racing to the airport, does he?" Letterman said. Then he shouted at the television monitor: "Hey, John, I got a question! You need a ride to the airport?"

Okay…so he blows off a late night talk show host.  Big deal…right?  On the other hand, Mr. Straight Talk Express could have given Letterman a little…you know…straight talk.  Something like, "I’m sorry to have to do this to you Dave, but with this terrible economic crisis developing I can’t really be doing late night comedy shows now.  I’m going to be talking with Couric on CBS news instead…

Straight talk.  Letterman would have accepted that.  He might not have liked it, but he would have accepted it.  But that’s not what he got, and if you think the busting he gave McCain that night was pique you are sadly mistaken. In her novel The Charioteer, Mary Renault wrote that "some events are crucial from their very slightness; because circumstances have used no force on them, they are unequivocally what they are, test-tube reactions of personality."  McCain just flat out lied to him and the casually unnecessary nature of it shocked him. 

You get the feeling that the sight of this…indifference…to telling lies…on the part of so many conservative moralists is starting, finally, to shock a lot of people…

McCain Lies: "I’ve Bought American Literally All My Life"

Yesterday, we learned that not only does McCain own thirteen cars, but that the McCain fleet includes imports, a VW from Germany and a Honda from Japan. (His wife drives a Lexus, but that car is owned by her beer distributorship.)

And now it turns out that earlier this month he lied to Michigan voters about his car purchases, telling them "I’ve bought American literally all my life" during a September 7 interview with Detroit’s WXYZ-TV. Earlier in the interview, he had told the interviewer "Cindy and I own an automobile that’s American-made" which was about best an extremely misleading statement.

McCain Lies About Social Security Privatization

In March, after ThinkProgress caught Sen. Joe Lieberman lying to cover up Sen. John McCain’s support for Social Security privatization, I posted video (with the help of reader Tom M.) from 2004 of McCain, in response to an audience question, explicitly backing Social Security privatization by name.

Q: Will privatizing Social Security be a priority for you going forward?

McCAIN: Without privatization, I don’t see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits.

Today at a Nashua town hall (his best forum!), McCain himself lied about his position, saying:

I’m not for, quote, privatizing Social Security. I never have been. I never will be.

As Nixon press secretary Ron Ziegler once tersely said, "This is the operative statement.  The others are inoperative."

Your gay and lesbian neighbors have been witnessing this behavior on the part of the kook pews for decades.  Decades.  We’ve watched them grow in power from the backwater gutters to the heights of power.  And they’ve never changed their spots.  What’s happened is that the republican party has been utterly corrupted by them, by their holy war, by their Kulturkampf.  It got them votes.  It won them elections.  But the price was their souls…

Conservative "Christians" Misrepresent Scientist’s Beliefs

Bob Sith, the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC’s) National Strategist for Gender Issues, has recently misrepresented the scientific conclusions of Dr. Francis Collins (of the Human Genome Project) in the Baptist Press‘s Did God create Ray Boltz gay?. Here’s how he described Dr. Francis Collins’ conclusions:

…For example, in 2003, the International Human Genome Consortium announced the successful completion of the Human Genome Project, which, among other things, identified each of the approximately 20,000-25,000 genes in human DNA. The press release read: "The human genome is complete and the Human Genome Project is over."

While this accomplishment was widely reported, almost no one reported the words of Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the project. Collins, arguably the nation’s most influential geneticist, said, "Homosexuality is not hardwired. There is no gay gene. We mapped the human genome. We now know there is no genetic cause for homosexuality."

Somehow the major media missed that little tidbit. Collins and others acknowledge that genetics can predispose but not predetermine. This supports other studies that clearly document the possibility of change for people who struggle with unwanted homosexual desire.

Dr. Collins apparently never actually said this; this quote is taken from a OneNewsNow article by Jim Brown — Brown quoted self-identifed former homosexual Greg Quinlan, who appears to have made up the statement whole cloth. Bob Sith apparently quoted the statement verbatim — putting quotation marks around the statement that Jim Brown hadn’t put around the statement — without checking to see if the quote had any veracity. Apparently, it didn’t have any verasity at all.

David Roberts of the Ex-Gay Watch has been following the repeated twisting of Dr. Collins’ words for awhile. As Roberts documented in his post Major Geneticist Francis Collins Responds to NARTH Article, this isn’t the first time Dr. Collins words have been twisted by conservative Christians…

It would hardly be the first time the religious right has built carefully crafted deceptions with the material provided to it by science.  Some weeks ago Jim Burroway debunked a beaut from the Family Research Council , purporting to show that statistics gathered by the CDC on domestic violence proved that same sex relationships were much more violent then heterosexual ones…

The third point the brochure is built on is this:

Intimate partner violence: homosexual and lesbian couples experience by far the highest levels of intimate partner violence compared with married couples as well as cohabiting heterosexual couples. Lesbians, for example, suffer a much higher level of violence than do married women

They base this claim on the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Violence Against Women Survey (PDF: 62 pages/1,475 KB) If you want to see how they construct this particular distortion, I encourage you to download the report yourself and we’ll go through it step by step. Believe me, it’s worth it because this is a classic example.

On page 29, you will find that when you only look at victims with a history of same-sex cohabitation and compare them with those with a history of opposite-sex cohabitation, then it’s true, gays and lesbians experience higher levels of intimate parter violence. But that’s not true for gay and lesbian couples.

To see this, go to the next page. Among women with a history of same-sex partnership:

  • 30.4% were raped, assaulted or stalked by their husband/male partner
  • 11.4% were raped, assaulted or stalked by their wife/female partner.

And among men with a history of same-sex partnership:

  • 10.8% were raped, assaulted, or stalked by their wife/female partner.
  • 15.4% were raped, assaulted, or stalked by their husband/male partner.

So here is what it all means. Many women with a history of same-sex partnership also have a history of opposite-sex partnership. Because of that, they are far more likely to report being raped, assaulted or stalked because it is the men in their lives who are doing the raping, assaulting or stalking, not the women. Same-sex cohabiting women were nearly three times more likely to report being victimized by a male partner than a female partner.

And here is where the statistic gets really interesting: 20.5% of women in opposite sex relationships were raped, assaulted or stalked by their husband or male partner. That compares to 15.4% of men who were raped, assaulted, or stalked by their male partners. In other words, gay men are safer around their same-sex partners than straight women are around their husbands or opposite-sex partner.

For decades now…decades…your gay and lesbian neighbors have watched the moralists of the religious right, in the name of virtue, in the name of fighting amoral secularism, in the name of decency and family values, in the name of the man on the cross who they claim to venerate as their holy savior, lie through their teeth every chance they get, and then lie again, and then lie again, and then lie again, Amen.  We have watched their hatred of ecumenicism, their hatred of secularism, their hatred of the American Dream of liberty and justice for all and especially their vitriolic hatred of gay and lesbian people, eat everything within them that could ever have been good and decent and noble, rot every moral fiber that was ever inside of them, that might once have kept them from looking their neighbor in the face, and lying through their teeth.  All that’s left of them now, are the slogans, and the bellicose religiosity.  And the hate.  If you ever need to know what hate will do to you, to your soul, and why you need to fight it more then any other enemy you will ever face, behold Sarah Palin.  If you ever need to know why you have to look hate in the face directly, unflinchingly, and see it for what it is, and never, Never, grant it any excuse or pity, behold John McCain and the party that is now owned by America’s multitude of Sarah Palins.

These are not moral warriors.  They say they are, but they are not.  They are runts.  Cowards.  Not even rising to the level of gangsters, because a gangster knows what he is, and embraces it with a smirk.  The culture warriors are hollow shells, who discarded virtue and morality long, long ago, at the first touch of shame.  And the last thing on earth they want now is for the rest of us to embrace morality, reach for the higher purpose, be virtue.  Because that would mean we’d have to hold them accountable for all their pathetic lies, all their squalid cheats, all the damage they’ve done to America all these years.

For decades we’ve watched this movement of cheats grow into a political powerhouse, and take the republican party down into its gutter.  And we’ve been speaking out, trying to warn the rest of America what was happening.  But in the end, people really can’t be expected to believe a betrayal of this magnitude without seeing it for themselves. 

"Hey, John, I got a question! You need a ride to the airport?"

Morality.  Values.  The soul of a nation isn’t in its leaders, but in its grassroots.  The soul is in the millions and millions of us who wake up every day and choose whether to cheat our way to tomorrow or try and make the best of it, as best as we can, as best as we can understand what the good is, and how to get ourselves there.  It’s not making the grand gesture for Truth, Justice and the American Way.  It’s not declaring your devotion to God.  It’s flinching away from the easy lie, because for better or worse you still need to look at yourself in the mirror the next day.  It’s not wearing your moral values on your sleeve, or putting a little halo around your head.  It’s keeping a little nugget of pride deep down in your heart, that simply won’t let you cheat a friend or a neighbor, because the trust in their eyes matters to you.

Picture someone for whom cheating a friend is less important then winning an election and you have what the religious right has done to the republican party in a nutshell.  They fought for the soul of the party.  They got it.  Look at what they did with it.  Look at it.  They have said for decades that they are fighting for the soul of America.  Think of what they did to John McCain, the man who wouldn’t leave Vietnam without his brother soldiers, as an example of what they think winning means.

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