Sully is, in theory, based on Sullenberger’s 2009 memoir Highest Duty (co-authored with Jeffrey Zaslow). “Until I read the script, I didn’t know the investigative board was trying to paint the picture that he had done the wrong thing. They were kind of railroading him,” says Eastwood in one promotional trailer. It’s not surprising Eastwood was ignorant of any railroading by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), since it’s a narrative absent from Highest Duty, or anything actually said or written by the NTSB.
Go read the whole thing to see the takedown of the movie’s central lie. This movie laughs in your face and lies to you. There’s just no other way to put it. Its central fact, that the National Traffic Safety Board tried to railroad pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles, is a lie. A damnable lie.
But a lie you could see coming in the first trailer released for it. This is Talks To An Empty Chair Eastwood telling the audience in the Fox News cocoon everything they want to hear about how evil the federal government is. In the process he’s turned people who lived these events into stick figures in an antigovernment morality play, meant not to tell the story of an American hero but to encourage Americans to fear and mistrust their own government. Eastwood spits in the faces good people who work diligently every day to make travel safer for all of us. Because in the libertarian mindset, a government that can require corporations to care about anything other than profit, such as customer safety, can only be evil.
It’s a damnable lie, easily seen for what it is with even a cursory fact checking of the sources. But Eastwood knows his audience. They don’t want facts, they want their bigotries validated. Even if it means that someday the aircraft they’re on crashes and burns because CEO compensation mattered more than their lives, and lawsuit settlements were seen to be less costly than fixing a potential life threatening problem.
by Bruce |
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Anti-equality organizations are enthusiastically promoting a new study on sexual orientation and gender, hoping it will be new culture war ammunition.
The study by Dr. Lawrence Mayer and Dr. Paul McHugh appears in “The New Atlantis,” a journal co-published by the right-wing Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Center for the Study of Technology and Science, which shares an address with EPPC. The New Atlantis is not a peer-reviewed journal, and has critiqued peer review, widely considered the gold standard in scientific publishing.
I first caught wind of this from a headline on a religious right website that appeared in my Google news page. I did a search to see what I could find out about it. There wasn’t much at that point, and I got less than a page of hits back. But Every Single One was to a religious right website, or a political website deeply aligned with the religious right.
That’s telling. A real science paper will appear first in the science journals and then percolate out from there into the commercial press depending on the popular interest in its topic. But for some time now what we’ve seen is that junk science from the anti-gay industrial complex first hits some right wing vanity publication with a sciencey sounding name, or a small journal easily compromised by a big right wing foundation with buckets of money, and at the same exact time it also hits one or more of the big players in the religious right echo chamber, and from there it spreads; first via the usual suspects like World News Daily, and talk radio, and then into the commercial press when it smells a controversy. That was the pattern with the Mark Regnerus paper on children (allegedly but actually not) raised by same sex couples. What this is telling you is that the paper is part of an orchestrated campaign. Real science doesn’t work like that. Religious right junk science only works like that.
I haven’t read the paper yet, but the press releases say it makes two basic points. You need to understand that both of these points are actually long standing religious right anti-gay tropes: First, that there is no evidence that a homosexual orientation is innate at birth…Second, that social stigma does not account for how mentally unstable homosexuals are. These have both been a part of the homophobe chorus since at least the 1970s.
The first simply digs in its heels and refuses to accept any of the mountains of evidence that sexual orientation is innate, at least in part if not wholly genetically determined, and cannot be changed through any kind of therapy. And that, as I read the first wave of reviews, is what this paper does, although it seems to acknowledge that the twins study does indicate a genetic “predisposition”, but that is homophobe doublespeak. The dogma is homosexuality is a perverse sexual addiction that people are either lured into or fall into through godlessness, bad habits and low morals, and which they can always choose to not act on. These arguments quickly start sounding like arguments about creationism versus evolution, and that is no coincidence. It is the same exact mindset.
The second point the paper makes neatly dovetails with the idea that homosexuality is a mental illness and removing it from the list of known mental illnesses only happened because militant homosexuals pressured the psychiatric profession into it. This knife in the back mythology as to how the understanding of homosexuality and sexual orientation evolved and changed among social scientists and professionals has a long, long history, and it is a foundational belief among the few still practicing reparative therapy like Joseph Nicolosi and his organization NARTH.
Which makes the smarmy dedication Lawrence Mayer places at the beginning of the paper he co-authored all the more loathsome…
In his preface, co-author Mayer dedicates his work to the LGBT community, “which bears a disproportionate rate of mental health problems compared the population as a whole,” and to “scholars doing impartial research on topics of public controversy.” He declares himself a supporter of equality and opponent of anti-LGBT discrimination.
You have never had spit flung in your face so sweetly. This bullshit about being an LGBT supporter is also one with a long pedigree, going back to every 1950s movie with a sick and pathetic faggot character and a plea for sympathy for the mentally ill…
“And here I was and I couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t stop. I thought if I could have just one night, I could get it out of my system. Just one more time…”
We should not be cruel to these poor sick creatures, they can’t help themselves… But to say you disagree with abusing the mentally ill is not to say you are supportive of LGBT people, let alone our civil rights, let alone the pursuit of science. There is nothing wrong with us. The science has been demonstrating that for decades now. If you can’t see that it’s because you are not interested in the science.
Which the two men who wrote this paper manifestly are not. They did not publish in a respected peer reviewed journal but in a right wing vanity publication in tandem with what was clearly a prepublication publicity campaign in the religious right echo chamber. That is not how science works.
But it’s how the kultar kampf is waged in the kook pews. There is a pattern to this that is becoming routine. A new paper is published in some science publication nobody has ever heard of before, that refutes the last 50 years of research on homosexuality and sexual orientation. The echo chamber picks up on it and next thing you know the entire religious right is trumpeting this new research that proves homosexuality is a cancer on society, or at the very least a tragic mental illness a civilized society should find a cure for, but certainly not grant special rights to. From there it moves into the popular press, and suddenly it’s in all the papers and news broadcasts.
Now it starts getting the critical attention it had been avoiding in the vanity press. But no matter that: critical attention always lags behind that first exuberant wave of publicity. Debunking takes time, and usually demands the attention of the reader more than the initial sound bite headlines the paper has already generated. So several news cycles, maybe even a year can go by before the debunking takes hold. In the meantime the homophobes have the stage practically all to themselves. This is what happened with the Regnerus study.
And then…it stops. The sails lose their wind. The curtain is drawn back. The lies are exposed. The commercial press moves on. Gay folk and our allies learn how to debunk the latest round of religious right junk science. The public conversation turns away from the latest faux controversy…
…and the haters duck back into the shadows…back into the echo chamber…repeating the same lies to themselves over and over…embellishing them even…holding onto them as long established truths that no amount of fact checking can touch…because in the gutter the only facts that matter are the ones prejudice and hate tell them that matter…
Soon there will be a new study…another paper…another round of it to go with the human gutter. Ask the Jews how long they’ve been dealing with it. Ask your black neighbors. Ask any hated minority. They say love always wins. Perhaps. But hate never gives up. Because it has nothing else.
This is par for the course, whenever an act of violence against gay people makes national, let alone international headlines. The pushback to erase the motivation of anti-gay hate from the crime, divert attention onto something else, real or fabricated, comes quickly after from all the usual suspects, and is forceful. And when challenged on it, they just dig their heels in. In a few months to a year there will be articles from right wing “think tanks”, and documentaries purporting to prove that homophobic animus had nothing to do with it at all, and that those of us who kept pointing it out are ourselves guilty of politicising a terrible tragedy to support the Gay Agenda. It is all so predictable. Because to acknowledge the hate that motivated it, might lead to questions about the climate of hate, and those who cultivated it for votes, and money.
And ratings. Perhaps in a few years ABC 20/20 will do a documentary explaining how it was all really a drug deal gone bad…
by Bruce |
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May 13th, 2015
That Old Time Sales Pitch
This came across my Facebook stream this morning. It clarified something I’d wondered about the relationship between American fundamentalism and its veneration of brutal survival of the fittest capitalism. How do you get from the sermon on the mount to Jesus would want us to take food stamps away from poor families?
Henry Parsons Crowell was a purveyor of oatmeal. He is best known by business historians as the president and founder of Quaker Oats, one of the pioneers of the branding revolution. He used a combination of packaging, trademark and massive promotional campaigns and transformed oatmeal from a commodity into a trademarked product.
Crowell took oatmeal that used to be sold out of large barrels in your general store, put it into a sealed package, slapped a picture of a Quaker on it and guaranteed it pure. Now it no longer mattered who you bought your oatmeal from, only what brand you chose.
A company’s reputation was once rooted in its owner, but the trademark created this virtual relationship with consumers that was pure fiction. The trust that is engendered by a Quaker has no relationship to the company itself. There are no Quakers involved in that. Crowell was a Presbyterian.
He was also a purveyor of religion. And he did to American Evangelicalism what he did to oatmeal: he packaged and trademarked his brand of Christianity into a form that engendered a wholly fictional trust in its purity. It was that old time religion.
I mean…if you were raised in that culture like I was, doesn’t just reading that phrase make you hear it now…that song you heard over and over…
Give me that old time religion, Give me that old time religion, Give me that old time religion, It’s good enough for me.
Admit it. You’re hearing it right now. You’ll have that ear worm in your head all day. But it wasn’t just a church song…it was an advertising jingle.
I grew up hearing the phrase “that old-time religion” so often it became something you just accepted as fact without knowing how it came to be that in your mind. It wasn’t until much later in life I began to understand that American Evangelical Protestantism was “old” only in the sense that a Ford Model ‘T’ is an old automobile. Yes, yes…the tin lizzy is about as old as they come alright. But the automobile itself isn’t exactly old transportation technology (let’s give a nod of grateful thanks to Mr. Horse), and American Evangelical Christianity isn’t exactly old if you’re measuring back to the time of Jesus. Actually it’s a pretty new thing.
Generously, I just assumed that phrase “old time religion” harkened back to that first generation Americans born after the revolutionary war. That was the time of the “Great Awakening” and it would have been, so I thought, from grandparents and great-grandparents telling their stories to their grandchildren that the phrase “that old time religion” came from. But no…it was pure advertising technique, from the man who convinced people they could trust a brand name more than the local merchant they actually knew, by putting a smiling Quaker’s face and the word “pure” on the package. His oatmeal had no more to do with Quakers than his “Fundamentals of Christianity” were “old time religion”. But he knew how to sell a product.
And it was when Evangelicalism became a product that it became about money. All those megachurches and TV ministries with their leadership living in lavish luxury can trace their roots back to the moment in history when Evangelicalism became a product rich men sold, and people bought. It’s old time religion like Quaker Oats is Quaker and Country Time Lemonade Flavored Drink Mix is country lemonade.
by Bruce |
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April 8th, 2015
Now Where Have I Heard This Before…
In my newstream just now…
Tom Cotton: Bombing Iran Would Take “Several Days,” Be Nothing Like Iraq War
“It would be something more along the lines of what President Clinton did in December 1998 during Operation Desert Fox. Several days air and naval bombing against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities for exactly the same kind of behavior. For interfering with weapons inspectors and for disobeying Security Council resolutions. All we’re asking is that the president simply be as tough as in the protection of America’s national security interest as Bill Clinton was.”
Yeah…yeah… But as I recall that wasn’t the end of it. And the next step was advertised as being another several days thing. If that. And…it wasn’t…
Tuesday afternoon. I am attending a conference on open source software in government being held at George Washington University. I am here because my project manager is investigating the possibility of moving the system I’ve been working on for the past several years to open source software. Work on the Hubble Space Telescope will go into maintenance mode shortly, and the thinking is that the Institute doesn’t want to spend a lot of money it won’t have on software upgrades, simply because a certain vendor has a business cycle that requires you to do that. At least with open source we would have the option of making any small fixes we absolutely needed to have before the end of the mission ourselves, without breaking our systems that depend on it. The alternative is to stick to the vendor’s upgrade cycle, and pray the new versions don’t break anything in our software, or introduce new bugs and security holes.
Between conference sessions, I wander around the Foggy Bottom area, and back and forth to my hotel, which I paid for out of my own pocket, rather then hassle with Washington traffic, which is a nightmare. The hotel has a nice little kitchenette, which allows me to eat reasonably well without further damaging my budget for the month. Around noon I begin the walk back to my hotel for lunch, stopping to examine a decrepit building right next to the conference hall, that I assume is one of the student dorms. It is, and I see by the bronze plaque by the door that this one is named Lafayette Hall. I read the inscription, which briefly describes the history of Marquis de Lafayette, who fought beside George Washington, taking a bullet in the process, for the freedom of a nation that was not his own, and who later attended the first commencement ceremonies of the university that bore his friend’s name, shaking the hand of each of those first graduates. While I am reading, a snarky voice in the back of my mind is saying Freedom Fries…Freedom Toast… An old friend of mine I’d had breakfast with that morning, told me a joke he’d heard about a man who, while visiting France recently, asked a random Frenchman, “Sir, can you speak German?” When the Frenchman replied that he couldn’t, the American said, “You’re welcome.” I told my friend the Frenchman could just as easily have asked the American, “Sir, do you have a king?”
My hotel is somewhat oldish. My room is on the sixth floor and the elevators are small and slow. I press the button and when one finally appears, I see that there are already two businessmen inside. It’s a tight fit for three. As we go up I feel the hair on the back of my neck rise. There are some who you would never know from the look of them, to be of the right wing thuggish persuasion, and there are others who hit you with it in waves, in the cut of the clothes, the bullying posture that is as second nature as breathing, and the coldness of the face, particularly when smiling at nothing in particular. I tune them both out, pulling out from a space within me I’d almost forgotten about, a “Yes I’m a longhair, yes I know you hate my guts, and no mister establishment person sir, I really don’t give a flying fuck” attitude, close my eyes, and listen to the elevator floor counter click off the floors to mine. I toy briefly about writing a book, “Everything I know about living under Bush II, I learned from Nixon”. The old elevator rises slowly. I hear one of my companions say, “I hope they don’t cancel our flight out Thursday.” The other chuckles and says, “The war will be over by then.”
by Bruce |
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November 3rd, 2014
Feeling Persecuted Are We…?
Serendipity in my Twitter feed just now…
by Bruce |
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The update [to the documentary film The Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition], which is now available free online, is centered on their influence in (and outpouring of money since) the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. While researching and producing it with his small staff at Brave New Films, Greenwald says he was “surprised by not just the sheer numbers, but the extraordinary lengths they go to legally to hide the amounts they’re giving.”
The Rolling Stone article goes on to document three areas where the Kochs are surreptitiously funding “Think Tanks”, lobbyists and astroturf groups to achieve their political goals. This is the problem with the argument that even billionaires and corporations have free speech rights too. Yes they do, but they also have a power that the rest of us do not: they can drown out the national dialogue in their own manufactured noise and make it seem like it’s the sound of Americans talking to each other when it isn’t.
by Bruce |
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July 23rd, 2014
This Article On Soil Conservation In Oklahoma Proves That Same Sex Unions Are Unstable…
Mark Regnerus has gotten a lot of flack lately for publicly criticizing a positive Australian report on same-sex parenting, a classic example of the pot calling the kettle incompetent. Hidden in his critique, though, is a little nugget that deserves more attention.
Regnerus writes that
On the one hand, we know that same-sex relationships in general—across multiple datasets—remain more fragile than opposite-sex ones (and to be fair, no group is performing all that well).
…and the link there goes to a study whose author actually says…
In this paper I show that while same-sex couples in the US are more likely to break up than heterosexual couples (Hypothesis 1), the difference in couple longevity is explained by the lower rate of marriage among same-sex couples. Once marriage (and marriage-like unions) are controlled for, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples have statistically indistinguishable rates of break-up…
So…dig it…he uses a study to boost his claim that same sex unions are instable, that itself concludes they are just as stable as heterosexual unions when they can legally marry. The study he cites actually makes a strong case For same-sex marriage, and that instability is due to discrimination, not anything innate about being homosexual.
Citing studies that actually prove the opposite of what they claim is such common behavior now in the kook pews that it’s tempting not to even bother following the links. But this example shows how it’s always a good idea to follow the links. Yet you watch people scratching their heads over it. Did he not read what he just linked to?? Understand…it isn’t stupidity, as the commenters of this post suggest, and it isn’t intellectual laziness. Eric Hoffer said propaganda doesn’t fool anyone, it allows people to fool themselves. Regnerus knows his audience isn’t going to follow the links because cites don’t matter, cites never matter, cites have never mattered. What his audience wants from him isn’t facts, what they want is an excuse to keep hating homosexuals. He could have linked to a Consumer Reports article on washing machines and they’d all be nodding their heads in agreement that it proves same sex unions are unstable.
by Bruce |
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Conservative health-care-policy ideas reside in an uncertain state of quasi-existence. You can describe the policies in the abstract, sometimes even in detail, but any attempt to reproduce them in physical form will cause such proposals to disappear instantly… It’s not so much an issue of “hypocrisy,” as Klein frames it, as a deeper metaphysical question of whether conservative health-care policies actually exist.
The question should be posed to better-trained philosophical minds than my own. I would posit that conservative health-care policies do not exist in any real form. Call it the “Heritage Uncertainty Principle.”
I take the name of this principle from the emblematic example, the Heritage Foundation’s health-care plan, which formed the primary intellectual basis for conservative opposition to Democratic health-care plans. In 1993, Republican minority leader Bob Dole supported a version of it to demonstrate that Republicans did not endorse the status quo, until Democrats, facing the demise of their own plan, tried to bring up Dole’s plan, at which point Dole renounced his own plan…
In my profession we have a name for this: Vaporware. How it works is, startup company ‘A’ introduces an amazingly inventive software product that instantly attracts the attention of consumers and investors. Established company ‘B’ sees a loss of marketshare ahead, so it announces its own new product…not quite ready for the market just yet…but Real Soon Now…that will be Even Better than company ‘A’s product. This announcement has the effect of making consumers hold off buying startup company ‘A’s product while they wait for the release of company ‘B’s product at which point they will decide between them. But company ‘B’s product does not actually exist, even in alpha form, let alone pre-release beta. So startup company ‘A’ is unable to sell its product and it loses money and investors go away and eventually it goes out of business. And thus, established company ‘B’ has driven a potential threat to its dominance out of business without ever having to produce something of its own.
Eventually established company ‘B’ releases a product vastly inferior to what the now bankrupt startup would have produced, and which exists not to serve a customer need, but only to further preserve company ‘B’s market share.
Understand this: Most republican ideas exist only to prevent enactment of policies that threaten the status quo. They put these proposals out there as a way to get people to stop talking about things that actually stand a chance of being enacted and actually helping improve life for most Americans. Now…you might ask yourself why they don’t just debate the democrat’s policy initiatives seriously, in good faith, honestly, from their own political perspective. If they think Big Government is so bad, if further empowering the state over the lives of Americans is such a dangerous threat to American’s liberty, why not try to convince the voters of this in an honest, straightforward way, instead of offering up deceptive tactical proposals they don’t seriously mean? So what if their policies aren’t popular with the voters? You can’t change their minds of you don’t give them a reason to, and you think your reasons are better than the democrat’s…right? And better for the country to have an honest debate about the role of government than a dishonest one.
You might be asking yourself this, because you still think republicans seriously believe in Small Government, and give a good goddamn about the country. But no…small government and patriotism are just more republican political vaporware. A party that enthusiastically believes in the right of the state to regulate the private sexual conduct of consenting adults isn’t exactly interested in getting government off the backs of the people. A party that keeps coming close to bringing the nation into default on its bonds like it doesn’t give a crap about what would happen if that happened isn’t exactly interested in putting the welfare of the nation first. No. For them to have had an honest debate over healthcare would have meant them telling the voters straight up that they are the party of plutocracy and employer based healthcare is a good way of trapping workers into into dead end low paying jobs and the poor had better die and decrease the surplus population.
Think of republican healthcare proposals not as actual proposals to improve the healthcare of Americans, but as spikes scattered across the road to better healthcare for Americans. This is actually why a lot of libertarian policies get talked up a lot too by the way. Right wingers have found a treasure trove of useful idiots in Libertarianville and it’s why you see Tea Partiers talking up a lot of libertarian ideas about small government and “free market solutions”. Take for example the counter proposal to same-sex marriage, that government get out of the business of marriage altogether. It isn’t seriously offered, it’ll never happen, it’s vaporware designed to derail talk about same-sex marriage and discrimination against gays and get the conversation bogged down in something else.
Yes Actually, Religious Freedom Means You Have To Treat All Your Customers Equally
Another day, another Fox News martyr in the homosexual war on Christians…
The first civil rights laws, so I hear, were passed not to protect black people or red or yellow people, but to protect Irish Catholics in New York from the religious passions of their protestant neighbors. And in point of fact, religious freedom is only possible where government does not take sides in religious disputes and where the rule of law protects minorities from the hostility of others, whether or not that hostility is motivated by religious passions.
Jack Phillips is not a martyr, he is a bigot attacking the rule of law because it grants people he loathes a little human dignity. Okay…fine…but in the eyes of the law he can be no different from a bar owner who would like very much to keep selling beer to teenagers because it makes him money, and who regards laws against selling alcohol to minors as an infringement on his freedom to do business as he pleases without regard to the consequences to the rest of the community. The law does not, can not, care what the religious beliefs of Jack Phillips are, only whether as a businessman he’s abiding by the same rules everyone else has to live by, or whether he’s a greedy predator, caring not whether he tears his community apart in the process of making a buck, just so he can pick through and live quite nicely off the wreckage.
by Bruce |
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November 5th, 2013
Spitting Into The Mirror
From Politico today, which I will not link to because…Politico…
Reince Priebus: President Obama’s ‘culture of hatred’
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus ripped President Barack Obama for creating a “culture of hatred” in which Democrats are likening the GOP to the Ku Klux Klan.
“It’s the culture that the president’s cultivated here. A culture of dishonesty, a culture of hatred,” Priebus said Monday on Fox News’s “Hannity.”
You don’t say… A culture of hatred…
like the ku klux klan…
And your problem with cultivating hatred for votes is…what exactly?
by Bruce |
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October 2nd, 2013
Pistol Whipping A Dead Gay Kid Because They Can
Debunking Stephen Jimenez isn’t hard…he was involved in the ABC 20/20 whitewash of Matthew Shepard’s murder and makes the same claims here that 20/20 did years ago. But it is necessary, not only to defend a kid who can no longer speak for himself, but because it is a trope of the anti-gay industrial complex that hate crimes against gay people are nothing the nation need concern itself with. Nothing to see here folks…the homosexuals bring it on themselves…and even like it. There is no pattern of violence. Homosexuals are not being targeted. Nothing to see. Nothing to see…
Journalist Stephen Jimenez’s The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard makes the bombshell claim that illicit drug use, not homophobia, was the central factor in the gay University of Wyoming student’s brutal 1998 murder. Shepard truthers in the right-wing media have pounced on the book to assail hate crime legislation and the larger push for LGBT rights. But Jimenez’s argument is tainted by its reliance on wild extrapolation, the use of highly questionable and often inconsistent sources, paranoia that critics of his work are engaged in a “cover-up” of politically sensitive truths, and the cavalier dismissal of any evidence that runs contrary to his central thesis.
Go read the whole thing…you are going to be hearing more about it soon. His book comes out on the anniversary of the murder because that is the perfect time to spit in the faces of people who are still appalled at what happened that night, and determined to put an end to the hatred that fueled it. Jimenez and his soul brother Andrew Sullivan need everyone to stop making such a big deal out of one little gay kid because, perhaps for different reasons, perhaps not, they think it ridiculous.There’s a nugget in this article that I hadn’t understood before, which might explain Sullivan’s need to whitewash Shepard’s murder…
For an author trying to make the case that homophobia played no role in Shepard’s murder, his killer’s use of crude, anti-gay language would seem to pose a significant problem. Not so, Jimenez assures us. McKinney – who described himself as a “drunk homofobick [sic]” in a letter written from prison – was merely trying to imitate the thug image of the gangsta rappers he admired, according to Jimenez. This explanation is just as implausible as Jimenez’s bizarre speculation that President Bill Clinton spoke out on Shepard’s murder and championed hate crime legislation in order to divert public attention from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
(Emphasis mine). So it’s about Sullivan’s Clinton hatred again. Or back when the 20/20 episode was production it was, and now he’s just sticking to it because it’s out there, and anyway, isn’t all this outrage about what happened to a little twink a bit overwrought? Sullivan has always been an outspoken critic of hate crime laws, and the narrative that hate played any role that night in Laramie had to be debunked. Because…liberals.
There is nothing mysterious or hidden about the murder of Matthew Shepard. The trial transcripts themselves show clearly, convincingly and overwhelmingly that Shepard not only did not know his killers, but that they beat the 112 pound Shepard mercilessly to the brink of death precisely because he was gay. Some have said, a tad more plausibly, it was merely a robbery gone bad. But they targeted him because he was gay, and I have been to Laramie, I have driven the route that McKinney and Henderson took as they drove Shepard out of town to the isolated place where they tied him to a deer fence and beat him…I drove it at night around the same time…and I promise you that if you do the same you will, if you are even slightly open to the evidence, come to the only possible conclusion: that they had more than robbery on their minds on their way to the killing place.
Who can say why some people prefer their comfortable conceits to reality. Stephen Jimenez may simply be a publicity seeking asswipe. Or he and Andrew Sullivan may really believe that the facts in front of one’s nose are merely a veneer behind which the hidden conspiracies and plots that really move human events lurk. Perhaps they find the idea that the beating death of a pretty gay boy might genuinely shock anyone ridiculous, the thinking being Shepard was a little twink who went looking for rough trade and got what was coming to him. He’d already allowed himself to be raped once didn’t he? Whatever the motivation, ask yourself who is deeper in the human gutter, the knuckle-dragging killers who hated or the respectable upright whitewashers of hate.
by Bruce |
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In response to the recent news reports about the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, President Barack Obama said today, “When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls.” Instead, the government was just “sifting through this so-called metadata.” The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made a similar comment last night: “The program does not allow the Government to listen in on anyone’s phone calls. The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the identity of any subscriber.”
What they are trying to say is that disclosure of metadata—the details about phone calls, without the actual voice—isn’t a big deal, not something for Americans to get upset about if the government knows. Let’s take a closer look at what they are saying:
They know you rang a phone sex service at 2:24 am and spoke for 18 minutes. But they don’t know what you talked about.
They know you called the suicide prevention hotline from the Golden Gate Bridge. But the topic of the call remains a secret.
They know you spoke with an HIV testing service, then your doctor, then your health insurance company in the same hour. But they don’t know what was discussed.
“In theory, you could add the check of exposing the system to the light of day, but that means wrecking much of its intelligence value”, they’re saying over at Volokh, exposing to the light of day the usual contempt wingers have for democracy. That would be the Voters you’re talking about there Baker, and why goodness gracious the system Was exposed to the light of day, otherwise known as the Voters, we’re all arguing about it now aren’t we, and if they ever catch the whistleblower who let the voters know what their government was doing to them that person will think Bradley Manning had it easy.
But I am just a computer geek who just happens to be working on a space science program which will itself fling a fucking torrent of data back at planet earth for astronomers to make sense of. Every now and then I get a bit worried when I see the disconnect between my understanding of how electronic information systems work and everyone else’s. Then I see articles like that Forbes Magazine one where they described how Target figured out a teenage girl was pregnant before her parents did and sent her helpful offerings of child care products and I feel a little better. Then I see this. Oh they’re not listening to our phone calls, just capturing the metadata…nothing to worry about citizen.
But never mind the metadata. If the deep secrecy going on here, where not just court orders are secret but the government’s interpretation of the laws its supposed to be following are secret too isn’t scaring the hell out of you then I have to wonder why you even bother following the news or taking the trouble to vote.
I am not an anti-government crank. I am a liberal FDR democrat. I believe in democracy. But for democracy to work you need elections, and for those to work you need voters who know what the fuck is going on. Oliver Willis stupid shit reductio ad absurdums notwithstanding. Nobody is demanding Geraldo Rivera follow CIA agents around with a TV camera while Jerry Springer provides a running commentary. But when oversight itself becomes a state secret, when the governments own interpretations of the laws binding it are kept from the voters, then it’s a catastrophe waiting to happen. I am not an anti-government crank, I am a liberal FDR democrat, and I believe in democratic government. And one reason I believe in democratic government is power corrupts. The light of day is a good thing.
by Bruce |
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November 20th, 2012
Adding More Bullshit To Disguise The Stench Of Bullshit
Social Science Research editor James Wright published the Regnerus study without benefit of valid peer review, for which reason many scholars are calling for the Regnerus study to be retracted and for James Wright to be removed from his position. (To read some of the calls for retraction of the Regnerus study, see here, here and here).In response to the criticism for having published Regnerus without valid peer review, editor James Wright published — in his November issue — a non-peer-reviewed defense of Regnerus by Walter Schumm, a Kansas State University sociologist who was a paid consultant on the Regnerus study…
And what credentials does Schumm bring to the table…?
Schumm has a long association with the discredited anti-gay pseudoscientist Paul Cameron. He is on the editorial board of Cameron’s fatuously-named Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior.
Well there’s an authoritative voice if ever there was one! I have a question. How does a legitimate, self-respecting, peer reviewed journal of science look at the resumé of someone who sits on the editorial board of a Paul Cameron journal and conclude that person’s scientific judgement makes them fit to print in its pages?
Perhaps Social Science Research should ask Paul Cameron to sit on Its board…
by Bruce |
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