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July 17th, 2022

What Is An Asshole?

Well, if we’re only talking about our physical bodies, then it’s obviously the part known medically as the anus…the opening at the end of the alimentary canal through which solid waste matter leaves the body. But context is important here. Our dictionaries also define the word as, a stupid, irritating, or contemptible person. You know…the kind of stupid, irritating or contemptible person who asks What is a woman while trash talking transgendered folk.

They’ll tell you it’s a simple question, but no, it’s merely a short one. Just four words. What is a woman? But it’s also an ambiguous question, and you can see the ambiguity clearly when you turn it around and ask What is a man? Especially when arguing it with one of those toxically masculine pea brained homophobic nitwits, because to them being a Real Man is more than just having the Y chromosome and dangly bits.

But a woman is just a body. 

And there’s the problem with this ostensibly simple question. It is neither simple nor a question. It’s what comes out of assholes. 

You can appreciate that the male of this particular species regard women as bodies that exist simply to serve men, with no inner lives, feelings or desires of their own, especially since the end of Roe. From that perspective the only thing you need to know about a women would be is she fuckable. So to them it is a simple question. What is a woman? A woman is what a real man fucks. End of story.

As for TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists), well, you may have assumed all these years that feminist equals liberal, but sadly no. No more than liberal equals gay or trans friendly. No more than gay equals liberal or trans friendly…alas. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that a bigot’s mind is like an eye: the more light you shine on it the tighter it closes. Never mind the political labels…watch for the closing eye.

Usually followed by the opening sphincter…

 

by Bruce | Link | React!

January 2nd, 2022

It’s Morning In America…Again…

Who is “Lead America” I ask myself.

I’m insomnia flipping through the Facebook posts and for the third or fourth time this ad comes up again, for what appears to be a new political action committee. They say they want to bring the country back together. They say they want to reinvigorate the American Dream. Sounds vaguely familiar…

LEAD is a new initiative born out of a time-tested idea: that America is good and that the pursuit of the American Dream is as essential today as it has been at each critical juncture in the development of our nation. Oh really? I take note of the carefully curated images of middle class black families. See how inclusive we are? A flag waves on the banner. I dig a little deeper…

“Why am I seeing this ad”? is a function you can get to by clicking on the dots next to a Facebook ad. Occasionally it’s useful. This time it tells me that the advertiser was looking for viewers who had expressed an interest in the CIA and the FBI. Huh? When did I do that? Somewhere deep in my posts over the years and Facebook’s algorithm I suppose. But that’s interesting. I dig a little deeper…

A Google search turns up only their website. That in itself is significant. My browser protectors tell me it’s safe, but with the caveat that there are tracking cookies and I should proceed with caution. Fine. I take a look. I have two questions. Who are these people, and where is their money coming from.

The CIA/FBI links quickly become clear. The leads on this group are Mike Rogers, republican, a former FBI Agent based in Chicago, then a congressman and chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. So there’s that. He’s the chairman of the board. His wife is president of the group. “Kristi Rogers finds those homegrown values driving her work. Family, faith, and freedom are her cornerstones, and they have driven her to spend her life in the service of others and of her country.” Family, faith, and freedom. Yes, the checkboxes are all being ticked.

So I browse the rest of the cast of characters. Board member Laurie Michel “…is retired from a career as a senior government relations professional and advocate. She most recently worked as Director of Federal Affairs for The Port Authority of NY & NJ…” The port authority link tweaks a memory somewhere but I can’t place it now. A Google search turns up thousands in political contributions to republicans in Virginia. So that’s another checkbox checked. The Virginia republican party went off the deep end years ago.

Also on board is Allan Filip, who once served as Roger’s chief of staff. This seems to be a Mike Rogers house party.

It’s the Secretary of the board who is the Most interesting. “Thomas DiNanno is currently an adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington…” Oooohhh The Hudson Institute! Hudson was founded by Herman Kahn and other Rand Corp disaffected when Kahn’s book “On Thermonuclear War” caused some…controversy. Controversy? Think Dr. Strangelove…

Hudson Institute was founded in 1961 by Herman Kahn, Max Singer, and Oscar M. Ruebhausen. In 1960, while employed at the RAND Corporation, Kahn had given a series of lectures at Princeton University on scenarios related to nuclear war. In 1960, Princeton University Press published On Thermonuclear War, a book-length expansion of Kahn’s lecture notes. Major controversies ensued, and in the end, Kahn and RAND had a parting of ways. (From Wikipedia)

Seriously…so I’m told, some of Kahn’s book on nuclear war made it into the dialogue of Dr. Strangelove.

Hudson is like a whos who of presentable establishment rightwing nutcases (as opposed to the MAGA variety). And they make big money contributions to the cause. So now both my questions are answered, at least enough that I can see what’s going on here.

The backlash against the overflowing human cesspool that is Trump and company is worrying the establishment right. It’s turning off all the wrong voters. The well educated middle class white suburbia voters they depend on to keep their gerrymandered districts safely republican. So this is the soft sell response. It’s Reagan’s “Morning In America” all over again. We are good people, who just want the best for our country…

I told Facebook I didn’t want to see any of their ads. But this is instructive. This is an election year and they really want their congress back, especially to keep hold of the Supreme Court while a democrat is in the White House. They can’t control the MAGA, they know those babbling kooks will be out there all year long waving hysterical paranoid fantasies at everyone in earshot. They know that too much of that and they’ll lose congress again. So the right wing establishment will drug us with Morning In America. In Virginia Glen Youngkin showed them it can still work. One of the posts on their website referenced that election. It is very slick…

In the Virginia gubernatorial race, for example, we saw traditional kitchen table issues trump the D.C. narrative, which is becoming increasingly more important to voters. Terry McAuliffe leaned heavily on national messaging, largely reminiscent of the negative contrasts employed during the 2020 presidential election. The campaign focused more on drawing on hate on the other party than it did on what real changes will happen upon their victory. Glenn Youngkin’s message, on the other hand, centered largely on middle-of-the-road issues, which both political parties have often attempted to own for themselves. His voters and supporters were in search of a full and balanced education for their kids, a strong and stable economy, safe communities, and protections for their individual freedoms and choices. Rather than pushing trending topics and federal issues, Youngkin discussed problems that every Virginian family was dealing with, reinforcing his platform and campaign as the solution.

And just never you mind all that stuff about Critical Race Theory. See how neatly Youngkin’s racist appeal to white fright is tucked under a soft blanket of “…a full and balanced education for their kids, a strong and stable economy, safe communities“? It’s not racist to just want a Balanced education for your kids and Safe communities. Voting for the republican doesn’t make you a bad person… 

This is how the game is played. Ask those of us who fought them on Proposition 8.

 

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on It’s Morning In America…Again…

November 24th, 2021

“No Stream Rises Higher Than Its Source…”

The title of this post is a quote of Frank Lloyd Wright’s that I particularly like. You find it really applies to a lot of political and religious movements. The Southern Baptists being one I’m most familiar with, having grown up in a Baptist (Yankee) household. But once upon a time I had one of those adolescent flings with something I’d become convinced held the answer to, well, Everything.

You hear the word spoken a lot in certain circles: Libertarian. This Salon article is worth a read about that…

Here’s why economist Brad DeLong believes libertarianism is essentially a form of white supremacy

Libertarianism “is a Frankenstein’s monster” that got its power from resistance to the Civil Rights Movement…

From the article…

In 2014 poll, Pew Research found that 14 percent of Americans said they identified as libertarians, but only 11 percent identified as libertarians and correctly identified what the term means, that is, “someone whose political views emphasize individual freedom by limiting the role of government.”

Even among this group, though, “true” libertarians seem hard to find…

Like looking for genuine collectible coins in a Franklin Mint store. 

I considered myself a libertarian back in the late ‘70s. I worked the petition drives to get candidates on the ballot. I went to meetings. I subscribed to all the periodicals…Inquiry…Reason…Libertarian Review. And I can tell you that the number of people who say they’re libertarian is much Much larger than the number of people who actually are. Also, that a lot of John Birchers glommed onto it as a way to advocate the dismantling of minority rights without looking like a bunch of angry old racists.

It was Reagan giving me a taste of what a libertarian society would really look like, and seeing how many of my fellow libertarians were more about states rights than individual rights (there was much joy in the ranks when the Supreme Court upheld the sodomy laws) that opened my eyes to what the party was really about, and that idealistic kids like me were just their useful tools, that drove me out. DeLong has it absolutely right here. I was there. I saw it.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on “No Stream Rises Higher Than Its Source…”

August 9th, 2021

The End Game

Atrios this morning:

Lots of talk about white guy confidence and entitlement these days, but the amazing thing, to me, is the kind of entitlement that leads people to believe that when they throw out democracy and institute their preferred theocratic fascist dictatorship (Rod Dreher’s vision, which he will admit, Ross Douthat’s, which he won’t), that the illiberal forces they’ve unleashed won’t quickly bayonet them in the gut.

A reasonable thing for the billionaires to believe. Not their lickspittles who will have to keep pleasing their fickle insane masters.

Lots of talk about theocratic fascist dictatorships these days too which, yes, Dreher especially would dearly love to see happen here. But the genuine fascists among us are making the same mistake the fascists of the 1930s made about American white supremacists. Hitler’s people, so I’m told, tried to cultivated them, and were surprised at how rapidly they turned on the Nazis once the war actually broke out.

The American far right definitely approved of Hitler’s social policies naturally, but they had zero interest in living in a fascist dictatorship. Especially one obliged to a foreign dictator. What they wanted was a white democracy.

There are models for them in other countries, but the absolute dictatorships aren’t it. Viktor Orban’s Hungary, a democracy in name only, is closest. Which is what makes Tucker Carlson and Fox News sucking up to Orban so troubling. But remember how enthusiastically they used to love South African apartheid? It was a police state for everyone but elite and middle class white people. That’s the model they want here.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The End Game

March 31st, 2021

The Trick Is Not To Mind That You’re Dead

 

From The Washington Post: Mr. Liddy’s combination of can-do ruthlessness, loyalty to Nixon and ends-justify-the-means philosophy made him a natural fit in a White House determined to get even with its political enemies.

At the same time, he was viewed by his superiors as “a little nuts,” in Nixon’s phrase. “I mean, he just isn’t well screwed on, is he?”

On Twitter, David Rothkopf tweets: The juxtaposition of the Matt Gaetz story with the death of G. Gordon Liddy story reminds us yet again that the lunatic, criminal loyalists around Donald Trump are of a much lower caliber than were the lunatic, criminal loyalists around Richard Nixon. A coworker replied to my comment on this, that it was strange to think of Nixon’s reputation being redeemed. But the fact is that no matter how far you’ve fallen, even hitting rock bottom, give it time and eventually someone else will dig the abyss a bit deeper.

You see? There’s hope for everyone!

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Trick Is Not To Mind That You’re Dead

January 13th, 2021

You Have No Poetry In Your Soul Is The Problem

A friend linked me to this today…

Parler’s amateur coding could come back to haunt Capitol Hill rioters

By now, you may have heard of the hacker who says she scraped 99 percent of posts from Parler, the Twitter-wannabe site used by Trump supporters to help organize last Wednesday’s violent insurrection on Capitol Hill. What you may not know yet is the abysmal coding and security that made the scraping so easy…

People who know how to code are not all that difficult to find, though it is a specialized skill set. People who can do it well, as it turns out, are. And the problem for managers is you almost have to be as good at it as they are to know which from which when you’re hiring. But then these people would probably not have hired mostly on the basis of IT skills, but political affinity.

Call the above an example of Sturgeon’s Law. But also, if the last four years have taught us anything, it’s the kind of logical, clear headed thinking that makes a good coder is not a skill set very many right wingers have.

My personal experience working on code others have left behind tells me it’s not a matter of education…some of the most brick brained idiotic code I’ve ever seen came from people with their BS in Computer Science. It’s how well you can think logically and above all, clearly. There’s a limit to how well schools can teach that. It’s in a way, an art. And to paraphrase Marx (Groucho) right wing art is to art, as military music is to music.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on You Have No Poetry In Your Soul Is The Problem

August 20th, 2020

Thief

 

There is not an honest person among them. But we knew this. Because racism takes that from you. It has to. If you can take the black man’s humanity from him, then taking someone’s, anyone’s money, regardless of race, becomes trivial. The Rubicon has already been crossed. You became a thief the moment you refused to see a human, a neighbor, in the Other.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Thief

May 5th, 2020

Jesus Died For Our Sins, Now You Must Die For Mine

This came across my Facebook news stream this morning. Of course Maryland couldn’t avoid being targeted by the right wing death cult…

Maryland governor sued by state lawmakers, pastors and businesses over stay-at-home orders

In the complaint (there’s a PDF link to it in the article) are two actual businesses, both recreational: Antietam Battlefield KOA and Adventure Park LLC. They have at least a plausible claim to economic damage. The others are preachers, one church member, a couple delegates, and one of those shadowy astroturfing groups that’s probably behind it all. The right wing billionaires behind it could probably afford to pay the preachers for missing their tithing plate money but would rather attack the idea that government has anything to do with securing the safety and welfare of the common man and woman. Government is for securing their prerogative to use the rest of us as they see fit.

The preachers have zero concern for their flocks and don’t seem to care at all if a percentage of them, particularly the older sicker ones die horribly.  That really says it all for their ersatz Christianity. Perhaps they need their collection plate money. But more likely it really is just simple tribal hatred of science and knowledge and those of us able to cope with this pandemic by using our brains. That is after all, the unforgivable sin.

I never really started paying attention to this reflex in the kook pews until I was older and more invested in the gay civil rights struggle. The science that said we were as normal as anyone else was the enemy. They built entire massive artifices of junk science to wave back at us. It took me a while to realize that providing a counter argument, even if it was completely nuts, wasn’t the point. Propaganda doesn’t merely serve to make people question what the facts really are, it exists to make people stop believing in facts altogether. The point was to erase the notion that any of us in the pews let alone the outside world could decide for ourselves what is and is not factual and true. It wasn’t just about Teh Gay, it was everything that challenged their authority over the hearts and minds of the people. This is appalling in any religious denomination, but especially so when it’s coming from a Baptist pulpit. But I suppose, not a Southern Baptist pulpit. If I saw this when I was a teenage boy I’d have turned atheist a lot quicker than I did.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Jesus Died For Our Sins, Now You Must Die For Mine

December 28th, 2019

Deathstyle by Dick Hafer – A Review

 

Possibly the most homophobic comic ever published, apart from Jack Chick’s little tracts. Now a part of the Casa del Garrett library of homophobia. I collect antigay pamphlets, tracts and assorted publications, even or especially when such like appear in the mainstream magazines I grew up with. It isn’t all fringe like this from religious right cartoonist Dick Hafer. Back in the day Everyone threw garbage at us. That was the pop culture environment this gay guy grew up in.

So why would a gay guy want to collect this awful stuff…I hear you asking. Many years ago I read an article about a collection of racist artifacts from the U.S. civil rights struggle gathered by a black gentleman over the years of his life. He kept it all he said, so people would remember what it was like fighting for equality in the days of separate but equal, and to insure that the hatred black Americans faced would not be erased.

That’s one good reason. I have another more personal one. Back in the days when I had my first Internet account, I followed a USENET newsgroup that was basically an unmoderated forum for gays and homophobes to argue with each other. I joined to better learn the methods of the enemy, and test myself against them. What I discovered, like those who would later follow the Proposition 8 trial, is there is no There there. They would lie shamelessly, then deny having lied. They would throw out this or that latest piece of junk science, which was pretty much the old junk science given a fresh coat of paint, demand our respect, then after it was debunked, throw something else equally vapid out…wash rinse repeat…over and over. They would thump the bible, then thump some junk science, then back to the bible. You came to understand pretty quickly that the argument was just an excuse to spit in our faces and remind us that we’re hated.

And yet…and yet…you could also see the gay bystanders being encouraged by the sight of gay people standing up to the bigots. If the bigots were arguing just to spit in our faces, we could call out their myths, lies and superstitions not because we had any hope of changing their minds, but to tell others that these lying conniving runts were nothing to be afraid of…and show them that the moral high ground is ours, and always was.

Why dig up old wounds? Why keep revisiting an unpleasant past? Well for one thing it’s not all in the past. Yes, gay folk have made great progress. But if bigotry and hate have anything going for them it’s persistence. The old beliefs haven’t declined, they’ve dug in for the long war. Resentfully. Bitterly. What’s changed, and it’s only this, is anyone open to the evidence of our lives can see the haters for what they are now. But that’s only because now we’re able to live our lives openly. Thank Lawrence v Texas for that. And because of that, because we can live openly without the sodomy laws hanging over us, people can see the joy and beauty, the honor and the dignity of our love. The Proposition 8 trial, where we fought for the right to marry, all the way to the Supreme Court, opened a lot of eyes; not only to the depth of our commitments, but much more importantly to the utter vacuum of the case hate made against us. There was no there, there. It opened a lot of eyes. But not every eye will be opened.

If you’ve ever wondered how the xenophobic religious right could embrace Putin and his russia screwing with our democratic institutions take a long look at his gay propaganda law. It effectively locks Russian gay people in the closet…but not the voices of prejudice and hate. Now in Russia those voices are free, free at last to throw every filthy lie they can think of at us, at our families, friends, neighbors, while we cannot speak our truths for ourselves without risking prosecution. The Franklin Grahams and Tony Perkins here at home would love to have such a law on the books here. Only that pesky first amendment and the Federal courts stand between their dream and our lives. And given what Trump and McConnell have done to the courts, they may get their wish after all.

The comic book above would be my exhibit 1 in the category of filthy lies about homosexuals…more so than the Chick tracts since, so I’m told, the Hafer comic has been widely passed around among the kook pews. And its essential hate is more polished than Chick’s. Hafer wraps the open sewer of his prejudices with a technique that allows him to present it as though it were the living waters. There’s the usual junk science, but also he employs two foils he can work against…a low class fag baiting bigot and a scarecrow militant homosexual. Between these two he can present what is essentially the same blind hostility toward gay people as the low class bigot as reasoned and measured…and then ultimately as godly and righteous.

Soon after this arrived in the mail, I began flipping through its pages. I’d already seen many of them posted here and there in the Internet tubes, but I was unprepared for the unabridged wholeness of its contempt and hate. If Orson Scott Card was a cartoonist this would probably have been the comic book he’d have produced on homosexuals and homosexuality. It’s deeper in the dark night of the soul than even R. Crumb or S. Clay Wilson ever went. All the feelings of growing up gay while hearing this crap thrown at me over and over and over again came rushing out as I began reading it.

So in the interests of my own sanity, because I just can’t let this crap slide without speaking out about it, and because debunking this stuff is a never-ending chore, and in tribute to Fred Clark’s amazing series review of the Left Behind books, I’m going to do a chapter by chapter series review of this piece of shit comic. 

Fasten your seatbelts and remember…there is no bottom to the human gutter. None.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Deathstyle by Dick Hafer – A Review

December 19th, 2019

Knowledge Or Certainty

There are those who believe that knowledge is something that is received, and others that it is something that is discovered. You can see which are which here…

 

 

The above graphic comes from a Brookings Institution essay I was reading back in 2016. I’m posting it here because it cannot be said too much that it pretty much sums up why democrats have exactly zero chance of winning over republican voters, even if they do throw minority rights under the bus like the concern trolls suggest. The information cocoon they’re in…and it’s not just a Fox News cocoon…simply won’t allow it. But there’s more here to understand.

What this is showing us is that the well educated elite, and by that I don’t mean, and neither do the republicans, Ivy Leaguers, but simply well enough educated that one’s curiosity is nurtured, allowed to function normally instead of suppressed, won’t cluster around single sources like moths to a streetlight. The reason is simple: Our minds, that inner spirit of curiosity and the adventure life is, just won’t let us stay put in one place for very long. Not when there’s another horizon to explore. Even if that horizon is only a book that looks interesting, or an article by someone we’ve never read before.

You find us in all walks of life. And getting us organized is like herding cats. We get an allergic reaction to too much organization. Which is why a state of freedom is such a fragile thing. Everyone benefits from it, but not everyone desires it, and the ones who need it most are the ones constitutionally least equipped to defend it from a well organized and determined aggressor. This despite the fact that we are often the very first to recognize the danger.
 
 
 
 
 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Knowledge Or Certainty

November 14th, 2019

Fascists: Even Crazier Than You Thought

Wow…this is just stunning. I was following this post by Fred Clark on his Pathos “Slacktivist” blog…

Erik Loomis visited the American grave of Wernher von Braun, thereby sending me down a Google hole…

And Fred’s post eventually sent me down into Nietzsche’s Abyss.

Fred’s post was Wernher von Braun and his alleged conversion to Christianity, American style. In it Fred notes a passage where von Braun seems to be a supporter of creationism, which has made him a recent favorite of the creationist kook pews. I commented that the fascists of the period had really strange and screwy ideas about nature and physics and noted something I’d read about Himmler and his proposed academy that would teach that the stars are made of ice, which suggested to me that he was a believer in an earth centric universe.

Then another commenter linked me to this Wikipedia article. Wow. It was even crazier than that…

Welteislehre (WEL; “World Ice Theory” or “World Ice Doctrine”), also known as Glazial-Kosmogonie (Glacial Cosmogony), is a discredited cosmological concept proposed by Hanns Hörbiger, an Austrian engineer and inventor.

Hörbiger did not arrive at his ideas through research, but said that he had received it in a “vision” in 1894. According to his ideas, ice was the basic substance of all cosmic processes, and ice moons, ice planets, and the “global ether” (also made of ice) had determined the entire development of the universe.

Oh lord have mercy…

By his own account, Hörbiger was observing the Moon when he was struck by the notion that the brightness and roughness of its surface was due to ice.

Sounds logical…

Shortly after, he experienced a dream in which he was floating in space watching the swinging of a pendulum which grew longer and longer until it broke. “I knew that Newton had been wrong and that the sun’s gravitational pull ceases to exist at three times the distance of Neptune,” he concluded.

Being an efficiently well organized and hardworking German doesn’t automatically mean you are right in the head. But then the entire 1930s is proof of that.

According to the idea, the solar system had its origin in a gigantic star into which a smaller, dead, waterlogged star fell. 

A smaller, dead, waterlogged star. A smaller, dead, waterlogged star. A smaller, dead, waterlogged star. Reading this Wikipedia article makes me want to put a fork in my brain. Apparently the Fascists, including Hitler and Himmler, embraced this intellectual lobotomy because it stood against Jewish influences in science and astronomy. Not to mention everything humanity had accomplished since our line began walking upright. And how did Hanns take criticism of his master work? Pretty much as you would expect…

Hörbiger had various responses to the criticism that he received. If it was pointed out to him that his assertions did not work mathematically, he responded: “Calculation can only lead you astray.” If it was pointed out that there existed photographic evidence that the Milky Way was composed of millions of stars, he responded that the pictures had been faked by “reactionary” astronomers. He responded in a similar way when it was pointed out that the surface temperature of the Moon had been measured in excess of 100 °C in the daytime, writing to rocket expert Willy Ley: “Either you believe in me and learn, or you will be treated as the enemy.”

Calculation can only lead you astray. Yes. Quite. Bronowski was spot on when he said (paraphrasing), When we discard the test of fact in what a star is, we discard it in what a human is. But that is exactly what the fascist mindset demands. It wasn’t so much the Jewish influence in the sciences that the Nazi’s wanted to erase but the human identity, and not just in the sciences but throughout German culture. So they wouldn’t have to see anymore the empty void they’d made of their own souls staring back at them every morning in the bathroom mirror.

The fascists threatening civilization today are much the same as the ones our grandparents faced back then. Same mindset. Same bottomless hatred of the human identity, trying desperately to protect the void inside themselves where a person could have been.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Fascists: Even Crazier Than You Thought

March 2nd, 2019

This Didn’t Just Happen Overnight

GOP’s anti-Muslim display likening Rep. Omar to a terrorist rocks W. Virginia capitol

Angry arguments broke out in the West Virginia statehouse on Friday after the state Republican Party allegedly set up an anti-Muslim display in the rotunda linking the 9/11 terror attacks to a freshman congresswoman from Minnesota.

One staff member was physically injured during the morning’s confrontations, and another official resigned after being accused of making anti-Muslim comments.

The display featured a picture of the World Trade Center in New York City as a fireball exploded from the one of the Twin Towers, set above a picture of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim.

“‘Never forget’ – you said. . .” read a caption on the first picture. “I am the proof – you have forgotten,” read the caption under the picture of Omar, who is wearing a hijab.

The article is about how some West Virginian republicans put up a poster in their statehouse with a picture of one of the Twin Towers being hit on 9/11 and below it a picture of Omar with the caption that she is proof we’ve forgotten 9/11. Something else at the end of the article caught my eye…

Another Republican delegate, Eric Porterfield, was hit with calls to resign last month after he called LGBTQ groups “the closest thing to political terrorism in America” and “a modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan.”

“Let me (be) very clear with my statement,” Porterfield told NBC News then. “The LGBTQ — not homosexuals — are the modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan.”

Well I’m glad he cleared that up.

All this has been a long time coming. And don’t just be blaming talk radio and Fox/Sinclair and all the open sewers deep in the dark corners of the Internet. It is still fresh in my memory how Jimmy Carter called out the Reagan campaign’s racist dog whistles and our liberal news media nearly crucified him for being so rude. And even now they’re still hanging on to their he said/she said both sides boilerplate. The republican speaker of the West Virginia house said We have allowed national level politics to become a cancer on our state . . to invade our chamber in a way that makes me ashamed.” Cancer…maybe. Or a cesspool that nobody cared to shine a light on when it might have made a difference, because that would have been rude.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on This Didn’t Just Happen Overnight

April 21st, 2018

How To Incite Religious Passions For Votes And Get Gay People Killed

In California, the current republican candidate for governor is telling people lies he hopes will energize the only voters California republicans have anymore…

Would a Proposed Law ‘Ban the Bible’ in California?

A Republican politician and a right-wing television station grossly misrepresented California legislation that would amplify restrictions on “gay conversion therapy.”

Link goes to the Snopes article, which goes on to say…

n April 2018, the right-wing One America News Network (OAN) interviewed California State Assembly member Travis Allen, who is running for governor as a Republican, about Assembly Bill 2943, a proposed law currently before state legislators.

The bill relates to “gay conversion therapy,” but according to Allen and “Tipping Point” host Liz Wheeler, it would effectively ban the sale of Christian books, including the Bible.

You can read the entire exchange at the Snopes link. Note that it was the right wing media employee who suggested to Allen that the bill in question would ban the Bible, and then Allen happily went along with the talking point. This seems to be the new republican campaign paradigm: run for office and let the right wing billionaire funded media tell you why you’re running and what to say. Rupert Murdoch perfected it, but others like Sinclair and One America (sic) News Network are buying in.

Rhetoric like this does more than energize a fearful and resentful base, it gets gay people beaten on the streets and it gets us killed. Which is more than okay with the people funding and promoting people like Allen. Laws like the one in California banning conversion therapy on minors are sweeping through the nation because gay people have a voice now in the public sphere, and we’re telling our stories…

Gay conversion therapy survivors share painful legacy of ‘ex-gay’ treatments

“It’s wrong… it’s totally unacceptable. I’m an example of the enormous damage that it can do to people.”

That was Ron Smith’s reaction to Health Minister Greg Hunt’s refusal to condemn a controversial plan by a section of Victoria’s Liberal Party to debate gay conversion therapy.

The 71-year-old former Baptist minister is a survivor of electroshock therapy, a now discredited practice once believed to rid patients of their same-sex attraction.

“They … put a wiring on my private parts that measured temperature changes, and showed me about a thousand pictures of men and a thousand pictures of women over about a 10-day period,” Mr Smith recalls.

“When my body temperature rose when I saw the guys, which is natural for me, they delivered high voltages of electricity through wires that were attached to punish me for being gay and try to make me straight.

The linked article is to a story in an Australian newspaper, and the context is the motion filed last week by an anti-gay politician there for state legislation to allow health practitioners “to offer counselling out of same sex attraction or gender transitioning to patients who request it’‘. Bigots like to frame this as simply giving parents and kids a choice. Note the formulation “same sex attraction”. The dogma is that nobody is actually homosexual, but rather that people suffer from broken heterosexuality which can be repaired. Well, people who have been through the repair have something to say about that…

“Electroshock therapy — giving people drugs while they showed them gay porn so they’d throw up. Not giving them drugs while they showed them heterosexual porn so they wouldn’t throw up.

“It was all behavioural modifications.”

These practices were prevalent in the 1950s and 60s, but in some dark corners of the world are still in use today. They accomplish nothing other than pain and suffering for the patient, and a lifetime of nightmares and fear of their own emotional needs. More often now the so called therapy amounts to religious and pseudo psychiatric counselling to make a person so deeply ashamed and fearful of their sexual desires they wall off everything inside of themselves that might give them joy. We have to die inside, for the sins of bigots.

After embracing his sexuality at the age of 22, Mr Webb is now an active member of his Uniting Church community, and a leader of The Reformation Project, a bible-based support group for LGBTIQ Christians.

But he admits the shame he carried for so many years is still part of his life.

“Carrying that around I understand why I ended up getting an anxiety disorder, why I’ve struggled with co-dependency for so long … it does damage you for life in a lot of ways.

“I’m better now but sometimes those scars are soft to touch.

This is what opposition to ex gay therapy bans is all about. After decades of alleged therapy that has manifestly accomplished nothing other than making gay people hurt, and yet they insist they have some god given right to keep doing it to us, you have to conclude that making us hurt is the point. And if ex-gay therapy is outlawed they are fine with inciting the mob to go after us. It’s not after all, about fixing us, it is about breaking us. Either the clinic or the mob will do. But no, you do not have a right to make your neighbor hurt. No matter how much you hate them.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on How To Incite Religious Passions For Votes And Get Gay People Killed

November 20th, 2016

Ruling Out Decency

This is rich…follow along for fun and games…

First NBC News PR tweets this:

reince_muslim_registry

And cue the boilerplate right wing outrage! The tweet is misleading! They left out the Important Part!

reince_muslim_registry-full

Well that clarifies it. The effortless way Reince doublespeaks that is. But one supposes that’s a requirement for the job of Chairman of the Republican Party. So which part of that statement he gave was incorrect…the part where he says he’s not going to rule out anything, or the part where he rules out something?

But that’s not even close to the totality of the mendacity going on here. The statement is even more sinister when you consider how many of them on the white nationalist right have been saying for years that Islam isn’t a religion, it’s a political movement. A good follow up question would have been “Is Islam a religion?”

But it was Chuck Todd asking the questions…so…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Ruling Out Decency

September 13th, 2016

The Man With No Conscience Rides Into Town…

I see the new Clint Eastwood movie is getting its first reviews beyond the right wing swamp

eastwood_sullies

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 | Link | Comments Off on The Man With No Conscience Rides Into Town…

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