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April 30th, 2012

The Gutter Takes Offense

They’re saying Dan Savage has stirred up a hornet’s nest…

Dan Savage Speech Controversy: ‘It Gets Better’ Creator Offends Christian Students

Dan Savage offended some Christian teens when he told them “We can learn to ignore the bull—t in the Bible about gay people.”

After many students walked out of the speech, one of whom appeared to be crying, Savage said, “It’s funny, as someone who’s on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back.”

Right on cue the usual suspects wing up the noise machine…

Fox News reports that Savage’s comments upset the executive director of GOProud, a gay conservative group.

“Dan Savage should apologize for his comments and should apologize to the high school students in attendance whom he called ‘pansy-asses,’” Jimmy LaSalvia told Fox. “It is ironic that someone whose claim to fame is fighting bullying would resort to bullying tactics in attacking high school students who were offended by his outrageous remarks.”

There is so much to unpack here.  Firstly, the headline.  This is that right wing propaganda everyone has bought into over the years, that the only authentic Christians are the right wing bigots and everyone else is just faking it.  How many of the kids who stayed to hear what Savage had to say, regardless of what they thought of it, also identified as Christian?  We don’t get that information in any of the mainstream news stories I’ve seen on this.  No, no…it was Christians, capital ‘C’ who walked out and who Savage tossed a going away insult at.  Those were the only Christians in that auditorium that day.

Secondly, Savage didn’t stir up anything…that bubbling open sewer that calls itself the moral majority needs no stirring, it is always on the boil.  This incident wouldn’t look more like the usual case of right wing manufactured outrage if those kids were wearing t-shirts that said “We Are Here To Take Offense At Anything You Have To Say”.  I am expected to believe that none of the kids in that group who walked out knew who Dan Savage was or what his positions were on sex, gay sex, and the bible am I?  Right.  Pull the other one.

Suddenly it’s We’re Not The Bullies, Dan Savage Is The Bully, Because He Insulted Us!!! Yes.  Yes he did.  And a well earned insult it was too.  In the Twitter fury that followed, LOLGOP Tweeted: “I’ve not yet met one conservative Christian who is considering suicide because of bullying as thousands of LGBT youth do every day.”  Just so.  It is grotesque to watch the right wing noise machine compare Dan Savage’s crack about the kids walking out of his talk to what gay kids deal with every day of their lives, usually at the hands of kids like the ones who walked out.  This from The Christian Post:

The 17-year-old California student, whose name was not given, told CitizenLink’s Karla Dial that Savage said people using the Bible to justify their views on homosexuality being a sin often cite Leviticus and Romans in saying that “being gay is wrong.”

“Right after that, he said we can ignore all the ‘B.S.’ in the Bible,” the student told CitizenLink, which is affiliated with faith-based organization Focus on the Family.

The student said she suddenly reacted by blurting out “That’s bull!” before storming out of the auditorium along with several other students. Savage reportedly called the students pansies upon noticing their exit.

That passage in Leviticus Savage was telling them was BS, and which the student there is righteously affirming, calls for homosexuals to be put to death, adding “Their blood is upon them”.  Yes, we can throw death threats at our classmates and we’re just quoting the bible, but if you call us pansies you’re a bully.

Look at what this tells you about the mindset here.  It was a rash of gay kids killing themselves at the beginning of the previous school year that prompted Savage to start his “It Get’s Better” campaign, which has never gotten anything but raspberries from the wingers.  Yet now they rise in a righteous howl of anger at a small group of fundamentalist kids being called pansies.  Look at it.  No…really look at it.  These are people who just can’t figure out why tormenting gay kids to death would be such a big deal with anyone other then it’s some kind of political posturing. The way they see it we’re posturing so they get to posture too. That gay kids are being made so miserable by the torrent of hatred being directed at them that they want to kill themselves just doesn’t seem like it should be such a big deal to the wingers.

And the reason for that is simple, obvious, and sickening.  The way the right wing sees it, if the kid is gay then being treated like human garbage is what they should expect.  Because they are.

Think I’m engaging in hyperbole there?  When did you ever see the kind of outrage on the right toward the tormenting of gay kids that you are seeing now being directed at Dan Savage after he called the fundamentalists who walked out of his talk “pansies”.  When have you ever heard a winger get upset at gay kids being called that?  Cut me a break.  They call gay people that and worse all the fucking time and they don’t particularly care if gay kids get called names or not.  Who is fighting tooth and nail to prevent anti-bullying campaigns from specifically protecting gay kids from being bullied?  The same people who are bellyaching about what Dan Savage said to a group of fundamentalists, that’s who.

How often do I have to see this before I’m allowed to call it what it is?  The way the right wing sees it, the way fundamentalist bigots see it, it is only natural to treat gay kids like human garbage.  Because they are.  God hates them.  My bible tells me so and if yours doesn’t you are not a Christian.  Make no mistake, the outrage here isn’t entirely manufactured, but if you think it’s out of sympathy for the kids Savage insulted you are still not getting it.  The problem isn’t that Dan Savage insulted a group of fundamentalist kids.  It’s that he told them to leave their gay peers alone, using language they routinely use against their gay peers.  He stood up for the gay kids.  There’s where the anger is coming from.

Brutalizing gay people is one of their most cherished religious sacraments.  You mess with that and you will hear the gutter scream like they are being crucified.

[Update...] “Theirs was not an act born of suffering. It was a proud show of disdain.” – Christian author John Shore.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

January 10th, 2012

You Keep Using That Word, ‘Think’…

This cracks me up

In the current issue of the center-right policy journal, National Affairs, former Bush domestic policy adviser Tevi Troy worries about the decline of Washington think tanks into partisan messaging operations.

Stop…stop…you’re killing me.  Seriously, on what planet were most beltway think tanks, and especially AEI and Heritage, ever not partisan messaging operations?

Yes, yes, liberal “think tanks” exist, but how many global corporations and multi-billionaires are going to fund a think tank that starts from an ideologically liberal economic position?  Right wing and conservative “think tanks” basically rule the beltway discourse and you always know what their conclusions will be, and which party will happily benefit from them.  Their non-partisanship is a farce.  They are think tanks like Intelligent Design is science.

There’s a rule of thumb about think tanks: If you already know what the conclusion is before you pick up the paper and read it, it is not a think tank. Rand is a think tank.  Let me explain by this example from Wiki:

In 1958, Democratic Senator Stuart Symington accused the RAND Corporation of defeatism for studying how the United States might strategically surrender to an enemy power. This led to the passage of a prohibition on the spending of tax dollars on the study of defeat or surrender of any kind. However, the senator had apparently misunderstood, as the report was a survey of past cases in which the U.S. had demanded unconditional surrender of its enemies, asking whether or not this had been a more favorable outcome to U.S. interests than an earlier, negotiated surrender would have been.

See how that works.  They asked a question they didn’t already know the answer to and set about to answer it.  No ideology, just answers. AEI and Heritage, to name two, begin with the answer in the form of an ideological position (unconditional surrender is always the most favorable outcome) and try to figure out a way to message that for the benefits of republicans.

What these organizations do is tactical rhetoric, not thinking.  Thinking is where you search for answers, not fashion attractive political battle flags.  Thinking takes you into undiscovered places.  That’s not allowed in organization like AEI, which Frum found out when he got the boot for not towing the line.  These are party instruments, nothing more nothing less.  They exist precisely to discourage thinking.  You are told what to think.  Or at any rate, what to say that you think.

Witness the decline in American governance.  We can’t confront the real problems that exist because our institutions of government are mired in ideologies which demand fealty over everything else.  Facts don’t matter, only the party matters, and free thinking is treason to the party.  And so our ability as a nation to grow and prosper into the 21st century is limited to what the ideologies in power will allow, and that isn’t much.  We were promised a shining city on a hill.  What we got were factories closed, wages devastated, pensions lost, entire neighborhoods in foreclosure and state and local governments teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.  Yet the ideologies that promised us that shining city are never held to account.  For all the think tanks in Washington, not a whole lot of thinking is actually going on.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

December 4th, 2011

Who Is John Doe?

I suppose by now you’ve seen a few of these…

Behold Atlas, holding the world upon his shoulders…beset upon by socialist moochers, second-handers and looters…

…not.  Let’s be real here…no welfare queen ever had a larger sense of entitlement then the tea partiers.

Its easy to point and laugh at signs like the one above…and this one…

But it isn’t just the crazies who’ve been taken in and lit up by the right wing noise machine.  To one degree or another, the nation as a whole has accepted a disastrously false economic construct: that the economy is driven by businesses, banks and wealthy investors.  Producers produce wealth, consumers consume it.  Producers build factories, establish businesses, engage in commerce and thereby create jobs…almost as a side effect of their economic vitality.  It’s their world, they built it, these Atlases of commerce.  The rest of us just live in it. Without the Atlases the rest of us would have nothing.

Hence the bellyaching about going Galt.  It’s like the constantly nagging and entitled parent or grandparent who keeps warning You’ll be sorry when I’m gone and after so many years of it you’ve begun planning a party to celebrate the event.  There’s a scene in Atlas Shrugged where the worthless playboy Francisco d’Anconia (secretly an agent of the Galt’s Gulch strikers) talks with industrialist Hank Rearden, owner of Rearden Steel and inventor of Rearden Metal.  They are at a party at Readen’s magnificent mansion.  They stand at a window as a storm rages in the night outside…

“It’s a terrible night for any animal caught unprotected on that plain,” said Francisco d’Anconia.  ”This is when one should appreciate the meaning of being a man.”

Rearden did not answer for a moment; then he said, as if in answer to himself, a tone of wonder in his voice, “Funny…”

“What?”

“You told me what I was thinking just a while ago…”

“You were?”

“…only I didn’t have the words for it.”

“Shall I tell you the rest of the words?”

“Go ahead.”

“You stood here and watched the storm with the greatest pride one can ever feel – because you are able to have summer flowers and half-naked women in your house on a night like this, in demonstration of your victory over that storm.  And if it weren’t for you, most of those who are here would be left helpless at the mercy of that wind in the middle of some such plain.”

…and just never you mind the people who designed and engineered that house, who mined its marble floors and brass and gold for its fixtures, who felled and milled the trees and laid the bricks and stones.  See…they don’t even exist in the right winger frame of mind, let alone the world of Ayn Rand, except as looters, moochers and second-handers, leaching off the vitality of the world’s Atlases like vampires.  But without all those looters, those second-handers, those moochers paying rents for their own modest apartments, or buying their own modest homes, purchasing their own little economy cars and appliances, patronizing various merchants, making the building of all those things economically viable, Hank Rearden’s foundries would have nothing to do and his magnificent mansion would have never been built and he’d be shit out of luck on that open plain too.

Whose, really, is the motor of the world?  Nick Hanauer, himself a venture capitalist, sees where it really is:

It is unquestionably true that without entrepreneurs and investors, you can’t have a dynamic and growing capitalist economy. But it’s equally true that without consumers, you can’t have entrepreneurs and investors. And the more we have happy customers with lots of disposable income, the better our businesses will do.

That’s why our current policies are so upside down. When the American middle class defends a tax system in which the lion’s share of benefits accrues to the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.

And that’s what has been happening in the U.S. for the last 30 years.

Since 1980, the share of the nation’s income for fat cats like me in the top 0.1 percent has increased a shocking 400 percent, while the share for the bottom 50 percent of Americans has declined 33 percent. At the same time, effective tax rates on the superwealthy fell to 16.6 percent in 2007, from 42 percent at the peak of U.S. productivity in the early 1960s, and about 30 percent during the expansion of the 1990s. In my case, that means that this year, I paid an 11 percent rate on an eight-figure income.

One reason this policy is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough superrich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the average American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff…

I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can’t buy any new clothes or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the tens of millions of middle-class families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages…

We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Middle-class consumers do, and when they thrive, U.S. businesses grow and profit…

So let’s give a break to the true job creators. Let’s tax the rich like we once did and use that money to spur growth by putting purchasing power back in the hands of the middle class. And let’s remember that capitalists without customers are out of business…

The meme, the Randian dogma, the right wing spin the nation has bought into since Reagan sold us on it, that it is the rich industrialists who create jobs.  No. Customers create jobs. The flow of money from employer to employee to employer again creates jobs.  Building factories and office space where there is no demand for goods, simply because you suddenly have tons of money to do something with, is what happens in this thing they call a Bubble. Hey…let’s build a factory because we can! No demand, no sales. No sales: bankruptcy. The factory closes, the employees loose their paychecks, the money stops flowing, the motors…were…stopping…

We’ve seen how that works, time and time again in the past thirty years, yet the right wingers keep insisting if we just give more free money to the rich they’ll build factories, or offices space or something and then the rest of us will have jobs.  But nobody sane builds a factory if it isn’t bloody likely to sell anything that it makes.

No. The super rich won’t build factories.  Not if there is no money to be made doing that.  And if they can plainly see there is an easier way to make money, they’ll do that instead.  And for them these days, there is.  It’s called Wall Street. So if the middle class is dying, how are the rich making money these days…?

A newly-released study from the Congressional Research Service bolsters claims that the nation’s largest banks profited off the Federal Reserve’s financial crisis-era programs by borrowing cash for next to nothing, then lending it back to the federal government at substantially higher rates.

The report reinforces long-held beliefs that the banking system in essence engaged in taxpayer-financed arbitrage: They got money for free, then lent it back to Uncle Sam while collecting juicy returns.

They make paper profits by moving money back and forth among each other, and then when that blows up in their faces, they take it from the taxpayers…the middle class and the poor.  Obviously they’re fine with that system and don’t want it touched.  But it is not sustainable and they are not just putting the economy at risk, but our very democracy.

You see, trickle down economics really does work…but only from the middle down.  I grew up in the world Hanauer speaks of.  I remember it well.  I was raised by a single working mother back in a day when women made maybe 60 cents on the dollar a man made for doing the same work.  I wore a lot of hand-me-down clothes mom got from the church, but I never went out the door in dirty clothes.  We ate a simple, very bland English diet, but I never went to bed hungry.  I got a decent education because back in the late 50s and early 60s we were in a cold war with the Soviet Union and public education was something the nation was keen to spend money on so we didn’t loose the technological race.  There were good jobs (at least if you were white).  And all those high paying union jobs went to families who spent that money on goods and services, not at the Wall Street casino.  And that made it possible for poorer, service sector workers, even single mothers, to still earn a living wage and raise kids.  I know this.  I am one of those kids.

Yes, when government sucks money out of the economy in the form of oppressive taxes, that will stifle economic growth and kill the middle class too.  But taxation isn’t the only worry and big government isn’t the only threat to the economy. You can kill the middle class by sucking their wages out in the form of taxes, but you can also kill it, as we are clearly seeing now, by slashing wages in order to maintain astronomical profits that do nothing more then grease the roulette wheels of Wall Street.  Big business can be every bit the threat to the economy and to democracy that big government can be.

There need to be brakes put on both.  For the sake of our cherished freedoms, and our children’s and their children’s.  Libertarianism, with its dogma of unregulated unfettered capitalism utterly removes the brakes on big business.  Anyone with eyes to see and a mind not completely corrupted by ideology can see in the decades after Reagan sold us that shining city on a hill what comes of that.  If the totalitarian police state is one side of a coin, Libertarianism is the other.  Heads, power collects in the hands of the few, the people become their slaves, the economy grinds to a halt and the country tailspins into economic collapse.  Tails: see heads.

Democracy gave the common man and woman, gave humanity as a whole, a level of prosperity that would have astonished the peasants who labored under the kings of old.  To live, it needs a robust and energetic economy.  And to have that, you need a stable and prosperous middle class.  Because those people take their money and they spend it on Things…on goods and services that other people earn money making…and that keeps the money circulating and the economy humming along.

John Galt isn’t the motor of the world.  John and Jane Doe are.

1943, Female Welder at Work in a Steel Mill by Margaret Bourke-White

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

August 23rd, 2011

When I Use A Word It Means Just What I Want You To Hate

I see from Jeremy at Good As You that NOM is doubling down on the Gay Rights = Pedophilia rhetoric.  On the NOM Blog they’re pointing to a post by Joe Carter that babbles that same claptrap about the B4U-ACT Symposium happening in Baltimore Brian Brown was a couple days ago…

Back in June I outlined how to destroy a culture in 5 easy steps.

An academic symposium in Baltimore comprised of just such a cluster of professoriate and perverts is meeting today to shift the acceptance of pedophilia from “unthinkable” to merely “radical”…

With the euphemism “minor-attracted persons” they are also including Step #2: “From Radical to Acceptable — This shift requires the creation and employment of euphemism.”… Remember when conservatives were mocked and derided for claiming that Lawrence would lead to the normalization [of] polygamy and pedophilia? Now some of those same people who sneered at us are using the decision to promote . . . polygamy and pedophilia.

It looks like they’re fixating on the use of the term “minor-attracted persons” by a group of mental health professionals, but you need to understand while you read it that they know their audience.  They are speaking to the kook pews…the ones who don’t know and don’t care what words mean so long as they help win the culture war.  Words are weapons, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.  And science is the enemy that believes words have meaning.  What Joe Carter and Brian Brown know perfectly well, is that “minor-attracted persons” is not intended to obfuscate that meaning, but clarify it.  They know this.  But they also know their audience.

There is ephebophilia, which is the sexual attraction to mid to late adolescents…teens 15 and up.  There is hebephilia, which this symposium seems to view as the sexual attraction toward teens from post puberty to 14 years (I’ve seen this defined to a higher age range elsewhere). And then there is the ever popular (to the gay haters) pedophilia, which is the sexual attraction to children below the age of puberty. All these terms are used precisely and specifically by mental health professionals, whereas your usual right wing nutcase just says PEDOPHILE for all of it. And without a doubt that’s less because they are idiots with small vocabularies, smaller brains and even smaller regard for whether the words they do know mean anything, and more because they understand that screaming PEDOPHILE at gay people rouses passions and short circuits any possibility of mutual understanding. They don’t want understanding, they just want people to hate Teh Gay.

And that means science is the hated enemy.  More even, then Teh Gay.  It is the first enemy.  The enemy that must be brought down before all others, or else the war is lost.  Because the practice of science uses words for their actual meaning, not their tactical advantage.  Because science lets the evidence speak for itself.   Because science acknowledges no higher authority then the observable facts.  Let’s take a look once more, at the part of this symposium brochure that the kook pews are screaming bloody murder about:

This day-long symposium will facilitate the exchange of ideas among researchers, scholars, mental health practitioners, and minor-attracted persons who have an interest in critical issues surrounding the entry for pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association. The symposium will address critical issues in the following areas:

  • Scientific and philosophical issues related to the DSM entry on pedophilia and/or hebephilia
  • Effects of the DSM entry on stigma, availability of mental health services, and research
  • Ways in which minor-attracted persons can be involved in the DSM 5 revision process

It is crucial that the DSM be based on the most accurate and complete scientific information available, and on careful consideration of effects on the welfare of patients and society. This is especially true for the DSM entry on pedophilia; it has an enormous impact on the beliefs and practices of mental health professionals, the criminal justice system, the media, and the public. It also has a profound effect on adults and teenagers who are emotionally and sexually attracted to children or adolescents, on the availability of mental health services for them, and on relevant research.

It is crucial that the DSM be based on the most accurate and complete scientific information available, and on careful consideration of effects on the welfare of patients and society. No shit Sherlock. The problem is anything that tells us something real and useful about the human condition is almost certain to drive the kook pews into babbling hysterical fits.  Darwin anyone?

It is staringly obvious that the term “minor-attracted persons” in the context of this symposium is clearly intended to be an all-encompassing term for pedophilia and hebephilia together. To the world outside the anti-gay industrial complex, but especially the mental health profession, using the term pedophilia to describe all adults who are sexually attracted to minors is illiterate.  And to anyone who has followed the ravings of the gay-fixated kook pews, and especially crackpot wholesale warehouses like NOM and FRC, it would be easy to assume that illiteracy is the functional norm in there.   But it isn’t.  Not at the top.  Not where the money is being collected.  Not where the votes are being counted.  When Brian Brown and Joe Carter tell their readers that the term “minor attracted adults” is a euphemism signaling a desire to normalize pedophilia they know Exactly what they are doing.  They are rousing the mob.  And not just because the mob is the only tool they have left, to win the culture war.

The mob is their kinfolk, their kingdom, their shining city on the hill; cleansed completely of the hated Other, where no one rises above the prejudices of the many to remind them of the gutter they’ve turned America into, and which they are all living in.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

May 16th, 2011

Who Knew The Wedding Altar Was Also A Sacrificial One…(continued)

Joe Jervis over at Joe.My.God posts what looks like the cover of NOM’s current mailer…

So it looks like NOM is doubling-down on their The Homosexuals Are After Your Children card that worked for them so well in California.  How…unsurprising…

When you have reduced your neighbor to the status of a scarecrow that drives voters to the polls, or a scapegoat for every failure of moral character you would rather not be held accountable for, when you cannot see the people for the homosexuals, then threats to their lives become meaningless abstractions. They’re not your neighbors, they’re not people, they’re things…and the safety of things isn’t something that often crosses the mind. It’s not hate exactly…it’s what hate does to the heart eventually.  That may look like a photo of a cute little boy with his daddy’s glasses on, reading a book about two kings who fall in love, but look closer. That is a photo of human souls in free fall.  To win elections, to prevent loving same-sex couples from having access to marriage, NOM is belly flopping into the gutter, and they know it, and they don’t care.  Not honor, not morality, not any shred of basic human decency left within them matters to them any more.  All that matters is striking out at the Homosexual Menace.  This is what hate does to the heart, eventually.

The Homosexuals Are After Your Children!!! It’s a message that gets attention and, for now, wins elections. The trump card you can play when it looks like too many voters are starting to view the homosexual as their neighbor. It also gets people killed. But for that to weigh on your conscience, you have to see gays as people, not things.  You have to be able to see the people for the homosexuals.  Bigots can’t.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

April 27th, 2011

Bullying Tactics

Ah…the predictable backlash against the backlash against the backlash has begun…

Lawyers question firm’s decision to ditch gay marriage case

Atlanta-based law firm King & Spalding won plaudits Monday from gay activists for backing out of an agreement to argue to uphold the federal ban on gay marriage. But a day later the reviews were a bit more bruising in the legal community.

Top lawyers and law professors, with some notable exceptions, called it an embarrassing blunder by the prestigious firm or a betrayal of a client and legal principles. Others think King & Spalding, whose clients include General Electric and Coca-Cola, may have backed out because the firm fears the fallout from leading an anti-gay legal fight.

You say that like it’s a bad thing…

King & Spalding’s announcement it would not represent congressional House Republicans in their quest to defend court challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the subsequent decision of Paul Clement, the lawyer in the case, to quit the firm and take it elsewhere was the talk Tuesday among Yale University Law School faculty, said Lawrence Fox, a Yale professor and expert in legal ethics. DOMA defines marriage “for federal tax, Social Security and other purposes” as only a union between a man and a woman.

“We really go down a bad road if we say law firms can’t take on (controversial) matters or people will assume you have those views,” said Fox. “I’m going to walk into my class today and I’m going to use this. I’m tearing up my lesson plan … to talk about this case.”

The nice thing about working in an ivory tower is what you do doesn’t have to have any relationship to the world outside.  Tenure.  It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who have to live there, in the world of the commoners, it’s only they who remember the panic that set in back in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could not constitutionally be denied the right to marry.  It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who remember how the party of Lincoln and Fred Phelps pushed through congress the Defense Of Marriage Act to protect American heterosexuals from the damaging effects of having to live in a world where the sordid, brief and barren sexual assignations of homosexuals had the same legal standing as their noble unions of male and female.  It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who remember how the man who stood in front of them and said “I have a vision for America and you’re part of it” signed that bill into law in the dead of night, somewhat less then three years after he folded on his promise to let gay servicemen serve openly and with dignity.  It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who watched as the new republican majority in congress, elected on campaign pledges of jobs, set about immediately to work reassuring their base that the meager gains gay Americans had made while the democrats were in control would not stand, and that they would be steadfast in opposing president Obama’s plan to impose The Gay Agenda on America.

It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who read the steady stream of news reports of same-sex couples beaten down and destroyed by this nation’s abject capitulation to bigotry, month after month, year after year.

Gay couple’s immigration plight: Ailing New Yorker may be torn from spouse over visa

A gay Long Island couple who have played by the immigration rules for more than a decade are stuck in a Catch-22 that could tear them apart just when they need each other most.

New Yorker Edwin Blesch, 70 and his South African husband, Tim Smulian, 65, have been spending six months on Long Island and six months abroad to comply with Smulian’s tourist visa.

But Blesch, who has HIV, suffered several mini-strokes and other complications and is now unable to travel safely.

Smulian is his primary caregiver – but has no way to stay here permanently.

Immigration Officials To Gay Binational Couples: Just Kidding, No Deportation Holds

It’s unclear what will happen to the couples already profiled by major news sources, like Monica Alcota and Cristina Ojeda. The one thing that is clear is that this is a sad day for binational same-sex couples, and for everyone who values America’s tradition of being a place where people can come from anywhere in the world to make a home. Like so many other things, that seems to be a privilege reserved for straight people.

It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who remember their names…names like Laurel Hester.  Not law professors in ivory towers.

Here is a law firm that proudly touted its support for gay Americans in their struggle for equality.  Suddenly it is, in a very high profile way, part of the republican party’s DOMA circus.  Suddenly every attorney, every clerk, every secretary, every intern working for this law firm is under a gag order…not simply to refrain from speaking about the case, but never to breath so much as a word against DOMA.  Imagine that instead of Teh Gay this case was about defending a congressional ban on Jewish ownership of businesses.  How many eyebrows would be raised when a law firm that touted its opposition to antisemitism, suddenly took on the congressional defense of that law, and gagged its partners and staff from ever speaking a word against the segregation of Jews?  Who would complain when the law firm withdrew and the jackass antisemitic partner who dragged them into that despicable case left to pursue it on his own, that the Jews had gone too far?

But conscience, and a sense of basic human decency wanders in a lot of people, even now, when it comes to the persecution of gay Americans.  Suddenly persecuting minorities becomes some abstract thing, less important, less real, then the right of republicans to conduct a great circus show of defending marriage against the forces of Obama and Satan, and demonize a segment of America for votes.  The constant rain of gay blood on the streets isn’t even on their moral radar…

HRC is right to fight vigorously to overturn DOMA, which deprives gays and lesbians of many of the rights enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts. But it sullies itself and its cause by resorting to bullying tactics.

So says The Washington Post.  Bullying tactics?

Details Of Brutal Hate Crime Attack On Damian Furtch Emerge

A gay man was attacked outside a West Village McDonalds for doing nothing more than wearing pink shoelaces and bright clothing, according to the victim.

Damian Furtch, 26, was pummeled early Sunday by two suspects shouting anti-gay epithets, police said.

The beating was the third bias attack in the neighborhood since October.

Bullying Tactics?

Gay Bash Benefits Gay Bashing Victim

On February 22, around 11:00 p.m., Shortell was walking home to his apartment on Kent Avenue and North Fourth Street, a walk that never felt unsafe to him before, when he was brutally attacked by a group of four teenagers. The details were fuzzy after that and as a result of the incident, Shortell suffered a fractured chin and nose; eye sockets and cheekbones, requiring ten hours of immediate surgery, several days in the hospital, and a month of recovery since.

Bullying tactics?  Bullying tactics?  Here’s the problem: the scapegoats aren’t taking it anymore.  They’re fighting back.  Where is the outrage in the corporate news media…the comfortable McMansion in the rich white suburbs corporate news media?  Once again, it’s directed at gay Americans.  For standing up for their human dignity.  For defending themselves against hate.  For fighting back.  Republicans inciting hatred for votes is just Business As Usual.  Gays asking businesses to walk the walk not just talk the talk on civil rights is front page news!  How dare they.  Don’t they know their place anymore?  What is this world coming to, when even homosexuals demand to be treated with respect?  Who told the them they had a right not to be bullied?  It certainly wasn’t us.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

May 27th, 2010

What You Need To Know About Propaganda Is Very Very Few People Are Fooled By It

Via Sullivan…who needs to be careful with his links…  Connor Friedersdorf gives Andy MaCarthy’s fan base more credit then it deserves…

The Manifold Inaccuracies of Andy McCarthy’s New Book

It is perfectly fine for Mr. McCarthy to forcefully disagree with the rhetoric President Obama uses when discussing national security. Unfortunately, this first excerpt of Mr. McCarthy’s book isn’t an argument against President Obama’s rhetoric, it is a wildly, serially misleading, factually inaccurate account of the rhetoric he uses that better resembles an alternative universe.

It is so easily shown to be false that it ought to exist only in the author’s mind. Unfortunately, this misinformation is being touted by Rush Limbaugh as piercing, Michelle Malkin is recommending it to her readers, and Mark Levin is calling it “thorough” and “cutting edge, and few of their listeners will question the facts the book presents because they foolishly if understandably underestimate the capacity for intellectual negligence perpetrated by these hosts everyday.

They’re fools, but not fooled.  At some level, nearly every one of McCarthy’s fanbase know full well he’s not to be trusted with the facts.  As we software developers will sometimes ironically say, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.”

Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.
-Eric Hoffer

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

October 2nd, 2009

And Since When Did You Care About The Sexual Abuse Of Kids Mr. Hannity?

GLSEN, The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, has struggled since 1990 to make schools safer for gay kids.  Here’s their mission statement:

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. 

They started as a local group in 1990, when there were only two Gay-Straight Alliances in the nation.  Since then they have helped nurture more then four-thousand in schools all over the county. They also sponsor the national Day of Silence, to draw attention to how anti-gay bullying shuts gay kids out of the education they need and deserve.

Predictably…all too predictably… they’ve been facing an onslaught of political attacks by the right since day one.  In a world where all children can learn in safe, nurturing environments, where does that leave people…kids and grown adults alike…who think bashing faggots is one way of telling Jesus you love him?  Worse, if kids are taught to respect their gay peers in grade school, they might also respect them in the adult world too.  That simply cannot be allowed to happen.

So GLSEN has been for many years, a major target for various right wing propaganda machines…

Behind its promotion of "tolerance" and "safety," however, are the sordid realities of what GLSEN actually supports. Just about every type of sexual practice imaginable is "celebrated" and even graphically described in first-person stories by students in GLSEN’s recommended literature. GLSEN also supports gender distortion through cross-dressing, even in books recommended for elementary school children.

Criminal, underage sexual contact between adults and minors is a frequent, casual theme in these materials…

-NARTH - GLSEN and Its Influence on Children, by Linda Harvey

Old-timers naturally recall Communist, Fascist and Nazi youth brigades as severing children from their parent’s religious traditions and beliefs.

Such American classroom indoctrination is now found in "hate" and sexual diversity training and in 3,500 nationwide Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) school clubs. Under color of a "Safe Schools Movement" battling alleged "bullying" of so-called "gay" children (K-12), some see GLSEN as a modern version of the Hitler Youth and as preparing the ground for a larger, sweeping, schoolroom Youth Brigade.  

-World Net Daily – GLSEN And The Hitler Youth, by Judith Reisman

GLSEN, which stands for Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, proudly claims that its goal is to promote safe schools for people of all sexual orientations.  Many of its programs are billed as "anti-bullying."  GLSEN presents itself as a benign organization devoted to tolerance and understanding.
 
In fact, GLSEN is anything but benign or tolerant.  What GLSEN actually opposes is "heterosexism."  In other words, GLSEN wants schools to rid children of the outrageous notion that heterosexuality is the norm, and make sure they’re clear that gender is merely a man-made construct.  They’re not really about stopping bullies.  They’re about bullying schools into adopting their radical pro-homosexual agenda.  Not only do they want to teach your kindergartener that it’s okay to be gay, they want to teach your middle-schooler how to be gay.

-One News Now – Mr. Biden Goes To GLSEN

Both GLSEN and PFLAG are activist groups that promote acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality and cross-dressing even in elementary schools. They help students organize homosexual clubs with or without parental knowledge; advocate job protection for openly homosexual teachers and ministers; and attempt to partner with schools and churches. Both groups have taken political stances in favor of "gay" marriage and against the Boy Scouts’ moral beliefs on homosexuality.

-Mission America – How You Can Help Stop P-FLAG And GLSEN

The homosexual monster has always been after your children.  That is still one of the most potent means of hate-mongering the struggle for gay equality, and it continues to make the gay community at large gun shy about reaching out to, and supporting gay youth.  GLSEN boldly and proudly stepped into the breach and not only reached out a hand to struggling gay youth, they have energetically taken up their cause.  They say you can always tell who the pioneers are…they’re the ones with the arrows sticking out of them.

Because their outreach is to youth, GLSEN is among the easiest of gay rights groups to smear with the accusation that their only purpose is to give predatory adults access to children.  It is a bedrock trope of the right that homosexuals are not born they are created.  As the slogan goes, Homosexuals don’t reproduce, they recruit.  In the context of gay youth, support, honest facts about homosexuality and sex education become a means to turn your children into homosexuals.  This is the accusation that is usually employed against GLSEN, if not outright, then as a barely concealed subtext.

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is holding its annual homosexual recruitment effort on April 9th at several hundred public schools nationwide. It bills this event as the "Day of Silence," which is an attempt to dramatize the alleged plight of "homosexual" teens who are fearful of going public about their sexual behaviors.Day of Silence, however, is nothing more than a clever propaganda campaign designed to silence opposition to the homosexual seduction of children-and to lure more sexually confused teens into a lifestyle that is fraught with physical and mental health dangers.

-Traditional Values Coalition – Homosexual Recruitment Programs May Face Legal Challenges

Radical activists foresee a time when homosexuals literally rub elbows with children in an effort to alter their views. Lesbian author Patricia Nell Warren wrote in The Advocate of “the bloody war in our high schools and colleges for the control of American youth.” Part of what was needed to win that war, Warren said, was that homosexuals “need to be mentoring, teaching, canvassing” both gay and straight kids.

Homosexuals are not fighting this “bloody war” in a haphazard manner. Instead, homosexual groups like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), are organizing and developing a national strategy to get into public schools. Based in New York City, GLSEN has been enormously effective since it was formed in 1990. Some 7,500 GLSEN members now promote their agenda in more than 80 chapters throughout the U.S., and the number of Gay-Straight Alliances in public schools registered with GLSEN now stands at 400. 

-The American Family Association – Homosexual Agenda: Targeting Children

The homosexual monster has always been after your children.  It should come as no surprise that this is the first thing the right jumped on, when President Obama nominated GLSEN founder, to head his Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools…

He wants homosexuality to be taught in American schools — in his book Always My Child, Jennings calls for a “diversity policy that mandates including LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] themes in the curriculum.”  But he wants only one side of this controversial issue to be aired, and apparently believes in locking sexually confused kids into a “gay” identity. That’s the implication of his declaration, “Ex-gay messages have no place in our nation’s public schools. A line has been drawn. There is no ‘other side’ when you’re talking about lesbian, gay and bisexual students.”

Jennings does not limit his promotion of homosexuality in schools only to high schools or middle schools. He wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education, which includes an essay declaring that “‘queerly raised’ children are agents” using “strategies of adaptation, negotiation, resistance, and subversion.”

Perhaps the most dramatic illustration, however, of Jennings’ unfitness for a “safe schools” post involves an incident when he taught at Concord Academy, a private boarding school in Massachusetts. In his book One Teacher in Ten (the title is based on the discredited myth, now abandoned even by “gay” activist groups, that ten percent of the population is homosexual), he tells about a young male sophomore, “Brewster,” who confessed to Jennings “his involvement with an older man he met in Boston.” But at a GLSEN rally in 2000, Jennings told a more explicit version of “Brewster’s” story. Jennings here quotes the boy and then comments: “‘I met someone in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him.’ High school sophomore, 15 years old. That was the only way he knew how to meet gay people.”

Did Jennings report this high-risk behavior to the authorities? To the school? To the boy’s parents? No — he just told the boy, “I hope you knew to use a condom.” Sex between an adult and a young person below the “age of consent” (which varies from state to state) is a crime known as statutory rape, and some states mandate that people in certain professions report such abuse.

-Human Events - Kevin Jennings — Unsafe for America’s Schools

This story that Jennings had looked the other way at a case of statutory rape ran like an angry mob with torches across the right  wing noise machine…

Sean Hannity: "As The Washington Times said, ‘At the very least, statutory rape occurred,’ and he didn’t report it." On the September 30 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, host Sean Hannity said: "We have the safe schools czar, a guy by the name of Kevin Jennings, OK? And he writes this book, and he gives information to a 15-year-old — ABC News and Jake Tapper write about this tonight — a 15-year-old sophomore, and his advice to him when he’s having a gay relationship is, you know, ‘Did you use a condom?’ He knew it was an older adult. Now, as The Washington Times said, ‘At the very least, statutory rape occurred,’ and he didn’t report it. Now he’s saying that he made a mistake, only because it’s been reported on. My question is, where’s the vetting process? Why was he even put in this position?" Hannity went on to call for Jennings to be "fired."

-Media Matters For America - Fox, right-wing media claim Jennings covered up "statutory rape"

But there is a problem with this.  First, Jennings now says the boy was 16, not 15, which is the age of consent in Massachusetts.  That would mean there was no statutory rape.  But that is beside the point.  The problem the right has with Jennings isn’t that he looked the other way when an older man had sex with a kid.  Here’s the problem:

In a 1994 book, he recounted his experience as an in-the-closet gay teacher at a private school, and he described a 1988 episode in which a male high school sophomore confided to him his involvement with an older man. Jennings was 24 years old then, and as he wrote, "I listened, sympathized, and offered advice. He left my office with a smile on his face that I would see every time I saw him on the campus for the next two years, until he graduated."

In a 2000 talk to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which Jennings had started, he recalled that this student had been 15 years old, had met the older man in a bus station bathroom–for that was the only way he knew how to meet gay people–and that he (Jennings) had told him, "I hope you knew to use a condom." Jennings’ best friend had died of AIDS the week before his chat with the student. According to Jennings, the student replied, "Why should I? My life isn’t worth saving anyway."

-Politics Daily - The New Right-Wing Hit Job: Kevin Jennings

Emphasis mine.  Jennings told this kid his life Was worth saving.  That’s the problem.  Make no mistake…that is Exactly why they are whipping up the standard right wing feeding frenzy over Obama picking him to head the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.  Jennings told a gay kid his life Was worth saving.  That is the wrong message to give to gay kids.

This incident happened in 1988 and both Jennings and the kid were in the closet.  Here David Corn almost grasps it:

The right is vilifying Jennings because he didn’t tell the student’s parents or the authorities that this closeted gay student was having sex with an older man. That is, he didn’t out this student, who was clearly troubled by his inability to be open about his sexual orientation.

Conservatives who oppose gay rights generally don’t display much sympathy for people who have to keep their homosexuality hidden–and don’t show much concern for how that affects their lives. But I can imagine the difficult situation both Jennings and the student were in. The student needed a confidante, and Jennings had to worry about the students well-being, which included protecting his secret. (Had there not been so much anti-gay prejudice, of course, the two would not have been in these respective positions.) It’s possible that Jennings helped save the kid’s life by encouraging him to think about condoms. It’s possible that outing the student may have led to terrible consequences. There’s no telling. But only someone blinded by ideology would refuse to recognize that Jennings was contending with thorny circumstances. Perhaps he didn’t make the right decision. It was a tough call. But the go-for-his-throat campaign being waged against Jennings is mean-spirited and fueled by an any-means-necessary partisanship.

Well…no.  Partisan it surely is, but the fuel on this fire is hate, pure and simple.  Jennings should have brought the police into it, not to look into a case of statutory rape, but to have the kid locked up for having sex in a public place, where he would likely have been raped by older inmates. The kid should have been outed to parents and family and peers and everyone he knew.  His life should have been made so miserable that the only smile to grace his face would be the one he made as he slit his wrists.  That instead the kid walked out of Jennings office with hope instead of despair was unforgivable.  That is what this is all about.

It is grotesque to take at face value the word of bigots who have opposed with scorched earth political warfare even the smallest efforts to stop the bullying of gay youth in schools, that they are appalled that Jennings looked the other way at a case of child abuse.  If they are appalled at anything, its the prospect of real work being done now at the federal level to insure that schools are actually made safer for kids…all kids…and that gay kids can get an education too, and grow up healthy and strong and walk proudly into their future.  That must never be allowed to happen.  Because our hopes and dreams are their stepping stones to heaven.  Because if we don’t bleed, they are not righteous.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

August 11th, 2009

They’re Hoping…Without A Doubt They’re Praying…For Another Dallas…

So it has led to This

Town hall disruptions around the country have led to some outbreaks of violence. Unions participating in town halls have received death threats. At an event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) last week, the threat of violence led her aides to call the police after one attendee dropped a gun

And now…Oh look…someone was found toting a gun where President Obama is scheduled to speak

MSNBC just aired footage of the crowd gathering at the Obama town hall meeting on health care that’s supposed to start later today in New Hampshire and pointed out one man in a group holding protest signs with a gun in a holster on his hip. Apparently not a law officer, but a civilian.

If some nutcase shoots the president this nation will know full well that it was Fox News and all the other tentacles of the republican party noise machine, who incited it.  They’ve been screaming for months now that President Obama wasn’t born in America, isn’t legally president of the United States, is secretly a Muslim, is a socialist-fascist tyrant who wants to shovel senior citizens into death camps.  This is hatemongering rhetoric that has been winked and nodded at by the party leadership, when they haven’t been excusing it outright.  It isn’t just that the extremist fringe has taken over.  The party leadership aren’t nutcases, just consumed with bringing down a democratic president.  If they have to bring down America in the process too, they’re fine with it.  They Know What They’re Doing.   They are republicans first and Americans second.  If this president is killed by the hysteria they have been cynically whipping up, the nation will hold them responsible.  There will Never be another republican president, let alone a republican congress, if the worst happens now.

They need to step back from the edge.  Now.  Or face the judgement of the nation, and the world, and history.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off


Jones And Yarhouse: We Will Report The Outcome No Matter How Embarrassing Our Badly Skewed Data Is To The Folks Who Are Paying Us For It

Last week the APA released its report on ex-gay therapy, to a somewhat muted response from the charlatans of the ex-gay political machine.  Oh yes…we’re so very happy that the APA acknowledges that a patient’s religious needs must be taken into account, they said, politely skimming over the overwhelming evidence that trying to force gay people into straight jackets harms them deeply.  You had to expect they wouldn’t leave it at that.

Now comes the "final" release of the Jones and Yarhouse "study" of ex-gay "therapy"…touted in that well known scientific peer reviewed publication, the Baptist Press…

Study: Ex-gay ministry has 53 percent success rate

Sure it does.  You read through the brief article for a while and, of course, you see little nuggets like this one pop out at you:

Jones expressed frustration that the APA task force didn’t take their 2007 study seriously.

"They selectively apply rigorous scientific standards," he said…

Yes.  Of course.  It’s all a consperacy of the scientists to further the militant homosexual agenda.  Oh…have I meantioned that Exodus paid Jones and Yarhouse for their labors?  Naturally that didn’t affect their scientific rigorousity I’m sure.

Or…not…

While Jones and Yarhouse’s study appears to be very well designed, it quickly falls apart on execution. The sample size was disappointingly small, too small for an effective retrospective study. They told a reporter from Christianity Today that they had hoped to recruit some three hundred participants, but they found “many Exodus ministries mysteriously uncooperative.” They only wound up with 98 at the beginning of the study (72 men and 26 women), a population they describe as “respectably large.” Yet it is half the size of Spitzer’s 2003 study.

Jones and Yarhouse wanted to limit their study’s participants to those who were in their first year of ex-gay ministry. But when they found that they were having trouble getting enough people to participate (they only found 57 subject who met this criteria), they expanded their study to include 41 subjects who had been involved in ex-gay ministries for between one to three years. The participants who had been in ex-gay ministries for less than a year are referred to as “Phase 1″ subpopulation, and the 41 who were added to increase the sample size were labeled the “Phase 2″ subpopulation.

This poses two critically important problems. First, we just saw Jones and Yarhouse explain that the whole reason they did a prospective study was to reduce the faulty memories of “change experiences that happened in their pasts” — errors which can occur when asking people to go back as far as three years to assess their beginning points on the Kinsey and Shively-DeCecco scales. This was the very problem that Jones and Yarhouse hoped to avoid in designing a prospective longitudinal study, but in the end nearly half of their results ended up being based on retrospective responses.

-Jim Burroway, Box Turtle Bulletin,  September 17th, 2007 – A Preliminary Review of Jones and Yarhouse’s "Ex-Gay? A Longitudinal Study"

[Emphasis mine] So basically their data was corrupted by the same half-assed sloppiness of the Spitzer study.  Oh but wait…it gets better.  Again from Burroway…

Whenever a longitudinal study is being conducted over a period of several years, there are always dropouts along the way. This is common and to be expected. That makes it all the more important to begin the study with a large population. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t terribly large to begin with; it started out at less than half the size of Spitzer’s 2003 study. Jones and Yarhouse report that:

Over time, our sample eroded from 98 subjects at our initial Time 1 assessment to 85 at Time 2 and 73 at Time 3, which is a Time 1 to Time 3 retention rate of 74.5%. This retention rate compares favorable to that of the best “gold standard” longitudinal studies. For example, the widely respected and amply funded National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (or Add Health study reported a retention rate from Time 1 to Time 3 of 73% for their enormous sample.

The Add Health Study Jones and Yarhouse cite began with 20,745 in 1996, ending with 15,170 during Wave 3 in 2001-2002. But this retention rate of 73% was spread over some 5-6 years, not the three to four years of Jones and Yarhouse’s study.

What’s more, the Add Health study undertook a rigorous investigation of their dropouts (PDF: 228KB/17 pages) and concluded that the dropouts affected their results by less than 1 percent. Jones and Yarhouse didn’t assess the impact of their dropouts, but they did say this:

We know from direct conversation that a few subjects decided to accept gay identity and did not believe that we would honestly report data on their experience. On the other hand, we know from direct conversations that we lost other subjects who believed themselves healed of all homosexual inclinations and who withdrew from the study because continued participation reminded them of the very negative experiences they had had as homosexuals. Generally speaking, as is typical, we lost subjects for unknown reasons.

Remember, Jones and Yarhouse described those “experiencing difficulty with change would be likely to get frustrated or discouraged early on and drop out of the change process.” And so assessing the dropouts becomes critically important, because unlike the Add Health study, the very reason for dropping out of this study may have direct bearing on both questions the study was designed to address: Do people change, and are they harmed by the process? With as much as a quarter of the initial population dropping out potentially for reasons directly related to the study’s questions, this missing analysis represents a likely critical failure, one which could potentially invalidate the study’s conclusions.

[Emphasis mine] Harm…what harm?  We didn’t speak to anyone who was harmed…

But look a tad more closely at what Jones and Yarhouse "know"…

On the other hand, we know from direct conversations that we lost other subjects who believed themselves healed of all homosexual inclinations and who withdrew from the study because continued participation reminded them of the very negative experiences they had had as homosexuals.

Healed.  Healed.  They believed themselves healed.  Not cured.  Not changed.  But…healed.  This is the language of religion, not science.  And now you know where Jones and Yarhouse were coming from, and why they were good with allowing data into their study that could only weaken it from a scientific point of view. 

It didn’t matter.  They needed bodies to get a big enough sample size that they could plausibly go on with it and give the kook pews something they could wave around and claim that scientists were conspiring against them on behalf of the godless homosexual menace.  They would have known going into it, that the APA would regard their study as flawed because they engineered the flaws into it themselves.  Anyone who was serious about it would have gone back to their funding and told them they couldn’t do it without more first year subjects (a lot more), and more participation from the drop-outs.  But they kept on with it anyway.  Because knowing whether or not ex-gay therapy works wasn’t the point.  Knowing whether or not it harms the very people it purports to help wasn’t the point.  Having something to wave back at the APA was the point.  That promise that they would report the results whether or not they embarrassed Exodus was as empty as the promise that "change is possible".   Neither one had a money back guarantee.

[Update...]  Yarhouse is identified Here, as an evangelical psychologist and graduate of Regent University.  Regent is Pat Robertson’s baby.  This man is as likely to be objective about ex-gay therapy as he is to be a flying pig.   Jones is of Wheaton College, which is described by The Princeton Review’s Best 351 Colleges thusly: "If the integration of faith and learning is what you want out of a college, Wheaton is arguably the best school in the nation with a Christ-based worldview."   Well this team really looks like a couple of objective researchers to me…

[Update again...]  Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin goes another round with this "study"…finds it not too much different from the previous round…

In short, the Jones and Yarhouse study was funded and fully supported by Exodus and conducted by two researchers who were avid supporters of ex-gay ministries. They wanted to study 300 participants, but after more than a year, they could only find 57 willing to participate. They then changed the rules for acceptance in order to increase the total to 98. After following this sample for 4 years, 25 dropped out. Of the remainder, only 11 reported “satisfactory, if not uncomplicated, heterosexual adjustment.” Another 17 decided that a lifetime of celibacy was good enough.

Good enough for the Baptist Press!

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

August 10th, 2009

The Fox Speaks For The Chicken Coop…

Via Sullivan…a handy little snapshot of the state of the Union…

As the GOP declines in popularity, Fox News gains audience. Or in other words, as reality presses closer in, that subset of the American population who never saw a fact they couldn’t look right in the face and deny, is cocooning.  Surprise, surprise.

What was once a cultural divide has become a chasm, bigger, and vastly more dangerous then anything the "generation gap" of the 1960s could have produced.  Again, from Sullivan

A reader writes:

I just want to share a sad story with you. Tonight I was at my regular Friday night AA meeting in LA that I have been attending for 18 years – I am a 48 year old woman. One of my oldest friends, a male with 30 years sobriety, is a Republican. I am a Democrat. Every week he talks politics with another like-minded friend. Tonight he arrived a bit later than usual, so as I gave him a hug, I said, "Thank goodness you arrived because I am sure Betty* (name changed) did not want to discuss politics with me!"

He then turned around and started screaming at me. I was so taken aback, I didn’t even know what he was screaming about at first. When I finally tuned in, he was yelling that Obama "sent the SEIU thugs to beat up the senior citizens" protesting at the health-care town hall meetings and that Obama had instructed the SEIU "if they come at you, you go at them twice as hard."

When I tried to reasonably protest this statement, he just spewed forth a tirade of vile invectives.

We were outside and there were about 30 people milling about. I was shocked, embarrassed and literally frozen in place. I managed to turn and walk away. This is a man I have known and respected for the entire length of my sobriety. I am fairly certain this friendship is over. Reasonable discourse is over. The lies and hate spread by the right-wing have won. As a side note, his wife, who is one of my best friends would not talk to me for over a month after the election in November. I am just heartbroken. Sorry, I know this is not the most well-written account, but I am so shaken, I can barely wrap my head around it.

I have an acquaintance…someone I used to call "friend" but simply cannot anymore…who nonetheless calls periodically.  I wrote of my frustrations about that Here.  Last time he called I ended the conversation when he started going on about how the new supreme court justice Sotomayor was a racist.  Next time he calls I’ll have a simple question ready for him…

Do you think President Obama was born here in the United States?

End of story.  Life is short.  The American Dream is still beautiful and I believe in it and you don’t anymore.  There is are lot of things Americans need to discuss with one another and hash out together and the politics of life in a democracy is you have to have those discussions and maybe even a few major arguments and in the end you compromise and you hold a vote and you get on with it.  But you’re not there anymore.  You’re somewhere on the dark side of the moon where not even light can penetrate.   We can’t talk anymore, and to have an America Americans need to be able to talk with each other and you want to shut down the talking so everyone can listen to you scream about nothing for as long as you have the breath to scream about it.  Fine.  The conversation is shut down…with you.  I’ll talk it out with anyone who has a gripe about what I think or what I believe, no matter how angry they are…but not with a Fox News crack addict.  You drag yourself out of that gutter and maybe I will.  But not before.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

August 9th, 2009

Today In “Political Cartoons I Can Reuse Forever”

I see they’re agreeing to have a "civil" campaign over same sex marriage

Gay-marriage supporters and foes on Thursday exchanged vows to take the high road in their campaigns in an anticipated referendum.

The lead organization fighting to keep the state’s gay-marriage law on the books made its request of Frank Schubert of Schubert Flint Public Affairs. Schubert Flint led the successful Proposition 8 proposal to overturn same-sex marriage in California, and it has been hired to do the same in Maine.

"Maine voters expect us to take the high road, avoid poisonous attacks, and make our case based on fact and principle. Today, NO on 1 pledged to abide by that high standard," said Jesse Connolly, campaign manager for NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality.

Reached in Washington, D.C., Frank Schubert said his firm’s campaign to toss out Maine’s gay-marriage law will be conducted in an ethical manner.

"I’m not sure what point they’re attempting to make, but every campaign we’ve run has been an ethical campaign based on factual information. We plan to run exactly that type of campaign in Maine," Schubert said Thursday.

Do I really need to explain the hopelessness of agreeing to a civil debate with the architects of the Proposition 8 campaign?  Particularly when these thugs still think that campaign of smears, lies and hatemongering hysteria Was eithical?  And…Factual?

Let’s Review some of the ethics and factuality on display in California shall we…?

The Proposition 8 Playbook Of Lies

The L.A. Times knocks down a few

The campaign promoting Proposition 8, which proposes to amend the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriages, has masterfully misdirected its audience, California voters. Look at the first-graders in San Francisco, attending their lesbian teacher’s wedding! Look at Catholic Charities, halting its adoption services in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is legal! Look at the church that lost its tax exemption over gay marriage! Look at anything except what Proposition 8 is actually about: a group of people who are trying to impose on the state their belief that homosexuality is immoral and that gays and lesbians are not entitled to be treated equally under the law.

That truth would never sell in tolerant, live-and-let-live California, and so it has been hidden behind a series of misleading half-truths. Once the sleight of hand is revealed, though, the campaign’s illusions fall away.

Take the story of Catholic Charities. The service arm of the Roman Catholic Church closed its adoption program in Massachusetts not because of the state’s gay marriage law but because of a gay anti-discrimination law passed many years earlier. In fact, the charity had voluntarily placed older foster children in gay and lesbian households — among those most willing to take hard-to-place children — until the church hierarchy was alerted and demanded that adoptions conform to the church’s religious teaching, which was in conflict with state law. The Proposition 8 campaign, funded in large part by Mormons who were urged to do so by their church, does not mention that the Mormon church’s adoption arm in Massachusetts is still operating, even though it does not place children in gay and lesbian households.

How can this be? It’s a matter of public accountability, not infringement on religion. Catholic Charities acted as a state contractor, receiving state and federal money to find homes for special-needs children who were wards of the state, and it faced the loss of public funding if it did not comply with the anti-discrimination law. In contrast, LDS (for Latter-day Saints) Family Services runs a private adoption service without public funding. Its work, and its ability to follow its religious teachings, have not been altered.

That San Francisco field trip? The children who attended the wedding had their parents’ signed permission, as law requires. A year ago, with the same permission, they could have traveled to their teacher’s domestic-partnership ceremony. Proposition 8 does not change the rules about what children are exposed to in school. The state Education Code does not allow schools to teach comprehensive sex education — which includes instruction about marriage — to children whose parents object.

Another "Yes on 8" canard is that the continuation of same-sex marriage will force churches and other religious groups to perform such marriages or face losing their tax-exempt status. Proponents point to a case in New Jersey, where a Methodist-based nonprofit owned seaside land that included a boardwalk pavilion. It obtained an exemption from state property tax for the land on the grounds that it was open for public use and access. Events such as weddings — of any religion — could be held in the pavilion by reservation. But when a lesbian couple sought to book the pavilion for a commitment ceremony, the nonprofit balked, saying this went against its religious beliefs.

The court ruled against the nonprofit, not because gay rights trump religious rights but because public land has to be open to everyone or it’s not public. The ruling does not affect churches’ religious tax exemptions or their freedom to marry whom they please on their private property, just as Catholic priests do not have to perform marriages for divorced people and Orthodox synagogues can refuse to provide space for the weddings of interfaith couples. And Proposition 8 has no bearing on the issue; note that the New Jersey case wasn’t about a wedding ceremony.

Emphasis mine.  Go read the rest of it. 

But then, asking how you can possibly have a civil debate with an opponent who lies through their teeth every chance they get is begging the larger question.  Tell me please, what exactly is civil about wanting to cut your neighbor’s ring finger off?  The very premise of the debate is about as uncivil as they come.  There is nothing else this can be, but a knife fight.  That’s exactly what our enemies not only need it to be, but want it to be.  They hate us.  They want everyone else to hate us as much as they do.  Or at least be afraid of us.  Very, very afraid.  There is no such thing as a civil debate about whether or not gay people are a danger to families and children.  There is no such thing as a civil debate about whether gay people are seeking to bring about the fall of western civilization.  There is no such thing as a civil debate about whether same-sex couples defile the very meaning of marriage.  There is nothing civil about prejudice.  There is nothing civil about hate.  There is nothing civil about mob rule.

I could change the caption on this guy representing the Massachusetts Family Institute to one of any of the dozens and dozens of anti gay crusaders out there who insist when the cameras are turned on them that they want to keep the debate civil while spreading every filthy lie about gay people they can think of to their base and just keep reusing this cartoon over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

July 12th, 2009

…And Those Inbreds In Southern Comfort Were The Healthiest Society Of All…

From our We’re Not Racists We Just Believe In Racial Purity Department…

Fox News’ Kilmeade: We "marry other species," Finns "pure"

Kilmeade and two colleagues were discussing a study that, based on research done in Finland and Sweden, showed people who stay married are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s. Kilmeade questioned the results, though, saying, "We are — we keep marrying other species and other ethnics and other …"

At this point, his co-host tried to — in that jokey morning show way — tell Kilmeade he needed to shut up, and quick, for his own sake. But he didn’t get the message, adding, "See, the problem is the Swedes have pure genes. Because they marry other Swedes …. Finns marry other Finns, so they have a pure society."

You can see the video of it on Salon.  I suppose they’ll be touting the benefits of incest on FOX News next.  It doesn’t get much purer then that…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

May 7th, 2009

Missing A Little Something In There Are We?

Fred Clark takes a wee peek into the heart of the conservative movement

"[President Barack Obama] says he wants to appoint judges who show empathy, but what does that mean?" said Wendy Long, chief counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network. "Who do you have empathy for?"

"Empathy," says Wendy Long, scornfully spitting out the word like an epithet. "What does that mean?" I wonder if it’s possible to answer that question in a way she could ever understand.

No.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers To Simple Questions…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

May 1st, 2009

Point Taken…But You Still Aren’t Paying Attention…

Andrew Sullivan updates his post on Virginia Foxx and Matthew Shepard…

I should be clear: I do not for a minute believe that the bigotry behind the Matthew Shepard murder was a hoax. I think it was murkier and more complicated – i.e. more human – than some want it to be. Of course, if you believe that his murderers deserved the maximum sentence because they brutally murdered someone, and not because they were meth-fueled bigots, it doesn’t matter. I want the same laws against the same acts enforced equally on everyone. If police don’t enforce the law equally, get on their case. But leave the laws alone.

Okay…point taken and granted.  He’s not saying hate had nothing to do with the murder, which is Exactly what the kook pews are saying.  As to his horribly misinformed attitude about anti-lynching laws hate crime laws, I’ll leave that argument for another time.  But this business that the murder of Matthew Shepard was "murkier and more complicated" then it at first appeared is a load of horseshit.

In his confession to DeBree, McKinney had denied using meth the day of the murder, and while McKinney had been arrested too late for the police to confirm this through blood testing, DeBree felt certain that McKinney had for once told the truth.  Obviously it’s unsurprising that the lead investigator would disagree with the defense, but DeBree had some compelling reasons on his side.  "There’s no way" it was a meth crime, DeBree argued, still passionate about the issue when I met him nearly six months after the trial had ended.  No evidence of recent drug use was "found in a search of their residences.  There was no evidence in the truck.  From everything we were able to investigate, the last time they would have done meth would have been two to three weeks previous to that night.  What the defense attempted to do was a bluff."  Meth crimes do have hallmarks.  One, "Overkill," certainly seems to describe what happened to Matt, but no others so seamlessly fit that night: "A meth crime is going to be a quick attack," DeBree pointed out.  "It’s going to be a manic attack…  No.  This was a sustained event.  And somebody that’s high on meth is not going to be targeting and zeroing in on a head, and deliver the blows that they did in the way that they did," with such precision.  "Consistently it was targeted, and even if you’re drunk, you’re going to have a tough time trying to keep your target.  No.  There’s absolutely no involvement with drugs."

Beth Loffreda,  Loosing Matt Shepard.  pg 133 – 134

A week after we met in his office, Rob [DeBree] took me to the crime scene.  As we drove out to the fence in a Sheriff’s Office SUV, he stopped in mid-sentence by the Wal-Mart"  "Here’s where it began," he told me and gestured in imitation of McKinney striking Matt.  We restart the conversation, but he’s made his point: the drive to the fence seems unimaginably long.  It’s not far – no more then a mile or two – but the rutted dirt road they turned on to makes for extremely slow driving.  When I say something to Rob about how long it takes, he agrees.  "They were coming here to finish him."  On that dirt track, it is hard to believe the defense attorney’s claims that the two killers had been drunk or high on drugs or crazed by homosexual panic.  It just takes too long to get to the fence…

Beth Loffreda,  Loosing Matt Shepard.  pg 155 – 156

"I have never worked a homicide with this much evidence," Rob says, all these months later a bit of wonder still bleeding into his voice.  "It was like a case of God giving it to us.  I’m not kidding.  The whole way it broke down from the beginning to the end – it was like, here it is, boys: work it.  It’s almost like it pissed off God, and he says, oh well, come here, let me walk you over here, walk you over there, pick up all this, pick up all that.  It was just a gift.

Beth Loffreda,  Loosing Matt Shepard.  pg 157

There is more.  Much, much more.  But that last paragraph I quoted pretty much sums it up.  There is absolutely nothing murky or mysterious about the death of Matthew Shepard.  It is one of the most crystal clear examples of purely venomous anti-gay murder in the record.  They spent time torturing that kid.  That is not hyperbole, it is the one overwhelming fact at the heart of what happened.  That, and that they made an effort to take him where they did.  Whatever their intent when they walked into that bar that night, when they walk out of it with that kid, they were about torturing and killing a homosexual.

The only confusion regarding this case, is what has been deliberately and maliciously injected into the national conversation about it by the religious right. And to understand why they’ve been so vehement about denying that anti-gay hate was the root of it, you have to consider not only the political context of their opposition to hate crime laws, but the context in which Shepard’s death came to light.

What happened was that Shepard’s death brought to a grinding halt, their brand new nationwide 600,000 dollar anti-gay ad campaign.  That summer, starting with a full page ad in the New York Times that proclaimed "I’m Living Proof That The Truth Can Set You Free", a group called "Truth In Love" sponsored by fifteen arch right anti-gay groups began a national campaign to roll back the gains gay activists had won, using ex-gay therapy as their ruse, not to talk about curing homosexuality, but to demonize homosexual people.  Wayne Besen in his book, Anything But Straight, documents the brutality of that campaign.  Behind the smiling faces of people who were now free, free at last from the loathsome taint of homosexuality, the campaign was peppered with lies about gay recruitment in schools, child molestation, the spread of AIDS, and how homosexuality leads to drugs, disease, and death and many biblical condemnations of homosexuality.  Don Wildmon, whose group was one of the sponsors, was busy telling people that…

Since homosexuals cannot reproduce, the only way for them to "breed" is to RECRUIT!"

In the midst of this propaganda onslaught, comes the news that a gay college student was practically crucified on a deer fence in Wyoming…that the kid who found his dying body thought a first that it was a scarecrow.  And then a couple days later, news that Fort Collins Colorado fraternity revelers during their homecoming parade, entered a float that bore a scarecrow with a sign that read "I’m gay"  And disgust swept across the nation.  The ad campaign now seemed less an outreach to homosexuals in the public mind, and more like what it really was, an attack on their lives.

Almost Immediately the religious right set about blaming Shepard for his own death.  It’s not hard to understand why.  They deliberately created the climate of hate toward gay people that made that both kid’s death and the mockery of it in Fort Collins not merely inevitable, but intentional.  Desired.  The homosexual monster must be feared.  The homosexual monster must be eliminated from our midst.  The very last thing they wanted was that the climate of hate would be held to account…that terrorizing homosexuals would be considered criminal. 

For generations the act of beating, and even murdering, homosexuals was considered less a crime and more a distasteful consequence of homosexuality in society.  Randy Shilts related how a young gay man who was raped sought medical help, telling a doctor what happened, only to have the doctor look at him and say "Well you’re a homosexual aren’t you?"  Matthew Shepard put a human face on all that…the face of anyone’s kid…and suddenly it seemed as if for once beating and killing a homosexual wouldn’t just be swept under the rug as par for the course…no more then what you got, and probably deserved if you were a homosexual.  Instead, the nation was appalled at what happened to that kid.

And that made the religious right livid.

They began Immediately to smear and slime that poor kid’s memory.  What ABC News and 20/20 did by taking that smear campaign and elevating it to the level of "respectable journalism" is unforgivable.  ABC News ground another cigarette into a dead gay kid’s body so they could get some ratings.  At least the hatred of Fred Phelps is genuine.

There is nothing murky about what happened to Matthew Shepard.  Nothing.  The evidence leaves absolutely no doubt that a 112 pound gay college student was tortured and murdered by two thugs because they thought homosexuals were human garbage and their contempt for them justified anything they did to that kid that night.  They had FunThey enjoyed themselves.  Anyone who cites that 20/20 hit piece is in about the same category as William Bennett, citing Paul Cameron on the shortened lifespan of homosexuals.  You are dispensing bullshit that even Baghdad Bob would laugh at.

"I have never worked a homicide with this much evidence," Rob says, all these months later a bit of wonder still bleeding into his voice.  "It was like a case of God giving it to us.  I’m not kidding.  The whole way it broke down from the beginning to the end – it was like, here it is, boys: work it.  It’s almost like it pissed off God, and he says, oh well, come here, let me walk you over here, walk you over there, pick up all this, pick up all that.  It was just a gift.

Take a wee stroll around that lonely prairie grass field of evidence sometime.  It’ll rip your comfortable 20/20 myths…and then your heart…to crying pieces.

The footprints and the tire tracks were perfectly etched; Matt’s watch, his student ID, and a quarter were laid out by the fence like props.  All that told DeBree a pretty clear story about what had happened there, including something I’d never heard in all the reporting of the crime – that Matt had made a run for it that night.  First, he had desperately "tried to stay in the truck," Rob believes.  Once out, he tried to escape.  "Henderson had made a statement to Chasity Pasley that she told us about, that Matt was able to break free and tried to run.  And according to what we were able to see at the crime scene, we could pretty well put that together.  His wristwatch was located twenty-three feet or so from where he was tied up, and I think that’s essentially what he was trying to do, was just to run.  He was tackled down; then he was drug over to the fence and tied by Henderson."

Beth Loffreda,  Loosing Matt Shepard.  pg 156-157

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

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