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Rick Warren, Liar! (and overview of the Fiasco) December 23, 2008

Posted by joshuachayne in Culture, media, politics, Religion, Uncategorized.
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Popular Pastor, Rick Warren is now speaking out of both sides of his mouth. In response to the controversy over his comparisons between gay marriage and incest and pedophilia, Warren has posted a video blog on his website denying that he ever made such a comparison.

More behind the fold..

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Mike Huckabee, Dangerous Theocrat December 12, 2008

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Although admired by many evangelicals, Mike Huckabee, did not get enough traction during the Republican primaries.  After all why would moderates vote for such an extremist?  However, now with his weekend show on Fox News and the release of his new book, Huckabee seems poised to re-position himself.

Yet, Huckabee isn’t going to shift towards the center.  He believes that the moderates can be sacrificed and that Republicans and Conservatives can win again by going hard core far right and reawaken the evangelical base.

Make no mistake about it, Huckabee is a hard core right winger.

In 1992 he expressed his views that the Federal Government should not fund AIDS research.  He also expressed his belief that Aids patients and gays should be round up and placed in quarantine camps. 

If you think that point of view is too radical to be shared by other Conservatives today– consider the views of Pastor Steve Kerns and his wife, State Representative of Oklahoma, Sally Kern….

    “We have to get rid of that and start curing those sinners. It’s past time that this nation stopped placating sin and start putting them in education programs. Courts can force drug offenders into treatment centers and violent people into anger management. There’s no reason our courts can’t do that with homos.”

Huckabee has also said that the Constitution should be changed to be more in line with the Bible.

The separation between Church and State be damned, one supposes, from ol’ Huckster’s point of view.

Huckabee has also stated that gay rights are not civil rights because gays have not experienced physical persecution. 

Umm, Huck, what about gays being burned at the stake during the Inquisition?  What about gay men being castrated during Colonial America?  What about some Native American tribes being exterminated because they accepted homosexuals/berdaches/Two Spirits?  What about thousands of gays being slaughtered during the Holocaust? What about gays being forced into institutions and lobotomized or recieving electro-shock therapy in recent American History?  What about the Stonewall Riots?  What about Matthew Shepard and Lawrence King?  What about many Middle Eastern and African countries that imprison and/or execute gays just for being homosexual?

Mike Huckabee v. Jon Stewart on gay marriage…

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show adeptly argues that Religion is much more of a lifestyle choice than homosexuality is yet religion is afforded many rights and protections.

Mike Huckabee is a dangerous politician who would distort the lines between Church and State, set up a Theocracy, and go all Nazi on gays in America if he could get away with it.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Racist December 5, 2008

Posted by joshuachayne in Culture, media, politics, Religion, Uncategorized.
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On the December 2nd 2008 show of The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck referred to Medical Doctor and Spiritualist, Deepak Chopra as “glitter glasses whatshisname” and said he should “go burn a bowel of incense” in a jab against his Hindu derived spiritual beliefs.

Fans from the Television Without Pity website spearheaded an effort to contact ABC and ask that Hasselbeck apologize.  On today’s Dec. 4th show, Elisabeth gave a half baked apology right before a commercial break.  She did not explain the context of the apology nor did she explain why some Indian Americans, Hindus, and others were offended by her remarks.

Elisabeth had taken a jab at Deepak after he did an interview on CNN about the Mumbai terrorist attacks.  Deepak Chopra criticized America’s foriegn policy (Iraq war, civilian casualties) for causing outrage and resentment among the Islamic world which many scholars maintain contributes to turning moderates into radicals.

The Wall Street Journal also attacked Chopra, saying that he blamed America for terrorism.

Chopra responded to the attacks with a very nuanced interview with the Huffington Post.  Deepak and his son will also have editorials published in Friday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal where they will respond to the criticisms.

Here are some excerpts from Deepak Chopra’s interview at the Huffington Post…

“I didn’t blame America,” Chopra says and then elaborates that placing blame is complex and that Pakistan is suffering because of the people that don’t want Pakistan to have a relationship with a nuclear-armed India. “The worst thing India could have done is to have a nuclear deal and to be part of a nuclear club… Why are we selectively choosing to have nuclear deals and making the rest of the world feel unsafe?”

“We have a very self-righteous attitude towards the rest of the world. We have no understanding of how these violent ideologies are born. We want to just go to war and kill the terrorists. Well, the bad news is you can kill as many terrorists as you want, but you cannot kill terrorism. In order to kill terrorism it’s gonna have to be a 50-year Marshall Plan to not build war torn cities, but to build ideas. To rebuild violence torn minds. To educate them, to help them, to cooperate with them, to create economic partnerships so that the rage disappears, and to understand them. There are very simple rules for having a dialogue. You respect your enemy. You talk to them with the attitude, ‘Yes. We understand that you also have injustice and we also feel injustice. Can we have a room here for forgiveness on both sides? Can we refrain from belligerence?’ The more belligerent we get, the more belligerent the radicals get.”

Chopra says that, according to Rabinowitz, “I’m a purveyor of aromatherapy, enemas, I say happy thoughts make people happy.” He touches on Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s comment that he should “go light some incense.” He takes personally when the media dismisses thousands of years of wisdom and traditions, and is patient in explaining that aromatherapy and incense work through neuro-associative conditioning. If anyone bothered to ask, he would mention that he is a neuro-endocrinologist and that everything he studies has a medical basis. “If you really examine this, this is racism. This is bigotry. This is hatred. This is prejudice. And this is total lack of knowledge of another person’s culture.” You can almost hear him rolling his eyes when he says, “The only time I’ve prescribed enemas is when somebody has constipation.”

Right Wing Monster, Laura Ingraham December 1, 2008

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Right Wing radio host, Laura Ingraham is either a charlaton or suffers from severe cognitive dissodence. 

As noted in a previous post, Laura Ingraham is known for her homophobia.

While working for the conservative campus paper The Dartmouth Review during the 1980s, Ingraham sent an undercover reporter to secretly tape a meeting of gay and lesbian students, under the auspices of pursuing a follow-the-money story on where a mandatory $100-per-student activities fee went. “The View’s” latest guest co-host then went on to print the names of those students, who had not been made aware a reporter was present.

The piece she then ran denounced the group as “cheerleaders for latent campus sodomites.”

Its ironic that Laura is now criticizing gays for listing individuals and companies that voted “Yes on 8” when she use to intentionally out gay people and with malicious intent.

However, Laura also has a gay brother, Curtis Ingraham.  Laura eventually did an interview for the Washington Post where she explained that her views on homosexuality had been tempered due to her brother. 

“In the ten years since I learned my brother Curtis was gay, my views and
rhetoric about homosexual have been tempered, because I have seen him and
his companion, Richard, lead their lives with dignity, fidelity and
courage.”

“My brother had to claim he was Richard’s
“caretaker” to gain full access in the hospital, “knowing what they had
been through together made it sound antiseptic, almost an insult.”

Laura stated that it was seeing her brother and his late partner living their lives and caring for each other that shifted her views and it was not due to them “prosteltizing gay rights”.  Laura and the other Right Wingers are not fans of “prosteltizing” for gay rights or any type of civil rights as they view this as “greivance mongering”.  I’m not sure why they can’t understand why a group of people who is denied equal rights and protections would actually advocate for those rights and protections.

Laura indicated that it was insulting that her brother had to say that he was his partner’s “caretaker” to get into his partner’s hospital room instead of being recognized and acknowledged as his life partner.  Yet to be officially acknowledged and to have visitation rights and rights to be party to medical decisions, Curtis and Ricky would have to have been married or in a civil union.  However, Laura Ingraham seems to be against both gay marriage and civil unions as evidenced by her diatribe in her book, Power to the People.

So it would appear that Laura would have wished that Curtis and Ricky had been treated equally to married straight couples while also expressing her desire that gay couples should not recieve equal rights and protections as married straight couples.  Which is it Laura?  You can’t have it both ways.

Finally, David Brock portrays a different side to Laura Ingraham in his book, Blinded by the Right–the Conscience of an Ex-Conservative.  David Brock was a “right wing hit man” whose job was to smear liberals and others who stood in the way of the right wing agenda.  He wrote a book blasting Anita Hill, the woman who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harrassment.  He was friends with the Right Wing darlings of the 90s– some of whom are still Right Wing darlings.  However, David was also gay.  While some of his Right Wing friends like Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter knew that he was gay, his outing to the general Conservative community and the resulting homophobic backlash, lead him on his journey to becoming a liberal and holding the Right Wing media accountable through his organization, Media Matters.

The juicier parts of his book includes descriptions of him and Laura Ingraham snorting what they believed to be cocaine (but ended up being cat tranquilizer) in a gay bar and Laura and Ann setting him up on a date with Right Wing blogger, Matt Drudge (who has sense been outed as gay by several sources) of the Drudge Report. 

He (David Brock) tells of one crazy night at a gay bar in Washington where he and Laura Ingraham sniffed up what they thought was high-grade cocaine. It was cat tranquilizer! Both of them got violently sick, and Ingraham crawled on her hands and knees through a jam-packed dance floor of gyrating men to reach him — in the men’s room where he passed out.

And he also tells about how Ingraham and Ann Coulter fixed him up on a “blind date” with another gay journalist, Matt Drudge. Brock said he wanted to keep the friendship with Drudge platonic, but that Drudge showed up in his little red compact car with a dozen roses for Brock!

They went to another gay club where Brock saw someone he found attractive and interesting, but Drudge stepped on the guy’s feet and told him to back off. Brock said Drudge was “a scary date.”
 

Brock also says in his book that Ingraham admitted to him that she doesn’t really believe all the things she says (many of us already expected that) and that it was her job to generate hateful nasty sound bites.

So who is the real Laura Ingraham?  Is she the traditionalist Cathloic who champions family values or is she the party girl drug user?  Is she affirming of gay couples or does she think that gay couples do not deserve civil unions or marriage?

Is she conflicted about cultural issues or is she simply a money grubbing charlaton who sells out her real ideas and values to cash in on a niche market based on ignorance and bigotry?

Has she made fools of the millions of consevative fans who believe that she is the real deal?

Regardless, the fact that she would continue ratcheting up fear and prejudice against gay people (including her own brother Curtis) on her radio program and during her appearances on Fox News makes her a verifiable monster.

Anti-Gay Pundits and their Gay family and Friends November 25, 2008

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Newt Gingrich recently referenced what he called “gay and secular fascists” that are ready to “use violence to impose their will on America” on the O Reilly Factor on Fox News which led to his lesbian sister, Candace Gingrich, publishing a response to her brother on the Huffington Post. Here is an excerpt of what she wrote…

This is a movement of the people that you most fear. It’s a movement of progress — and your words on FOX News only show how truly desperate you are to maintain control of a world that is changing before your very eyes.

Newt also has a gay cousin, Darrel Gingrich.  Newt is not the only Right Wing pundit with gay relatives or gay friends.

Laura Ingraham is notorious for her past homophobia.  Former college classmates of hers say that she use to out gay classmates when she was in college.  Laura also has a gay brother, whom she was estranged from for many years due to her homophobia.  She eventually saw the love and care that he had for his dying partner and now she says that her views on homosexuality have been “tempered”.  Yet, you can still hear her portray gay rights issues in negative terms on her radio show and in her appearances at Fox.

Bill O Reilly has also toned down his rhetoric on gay issues since having befriended a gay couple who has adopted children, although his program, the O Reilly Factor, still often portrays gays as “fascists” who shouldn’t be “clustered near children.”

Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter are friends with former gay porn star, Matthew Sanchez aka Rod Majors.  Yet, Malkin’s blog has many posters that refer to gay rights activists as “domestic terrorists” and “Al Gayda” and she regularly publishes anti-gay articles for Town Hall while Ann Coulter continues to use gay slurs like “faggot”.

Do these people really believe the vile that they spew and are they really homophobic?  Or do they simply cater to a niche market of uneducated bigots?

FOX: When Gays and Christians Attack! November 22, 2008

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Just when you thought you’ve had enough of the old “Fear and Smear” routine, Fox News tries to paint gays as Christian-hating anarchists.

Shortly after Prop 8 was passed, a small group of anarchists from the group Bash Back invaded a church and shouted that it was ok to be gay and threw some papers around.  In the video shown on the O Reilly Factor it looked like 4 young people were involved.  Of course the Right Wing media tried to smear the entire gay community and gay rights movement with this event.  Fox News did not even mention that these individuals were from the Bash Back group and in no way represented the mainstream gay community.

Another recent incident involved a group of Christians being chased out of the Castro area in CA by an angry gay mob.  The Christian group had gone outside of gay clubs in a gay neighborhood to pray and sing.  Of course they knew that many gays and lesbians were very upset about Prop 8 and the church’s involvement in this political issue.

One of the Christian women (who the O Reilly Factor dubbed a Christian Missionary) claims that she was hit in the head by a Bible and repeatedly kicked by a gay man.  Yet that specific incident was not caught on camera, she did not press charges, and there are no pictures of her injuries.

As Joe My God reports, the Christians in the Castro incident were affliated with Joel’s Army, a Christian dominionist group.  Dominionists wish to impose Biblical Law onto the government.  They also wish to convert gays to straight.  Of course Fox News ignored this affiliation.

Of course violence on all sides should be condemned and no one should be invading churches or vandalizing.

However, these isolated cases are just that, isolated and anectodal.

There have been many protests since Prop 8 passed and over 100,000 people have taken part in protests, marches, or vigils and the overwhelming majority of them have been peaceful.   Yet, the Right Wing Media is trying to smear an entire community and movement based on the actions of a few.  Of course its not surprising since they rely on the “smear and fear” tactic to excite their base and to incite prejudice against vulnerable minorities which they use as scapegoats.

Luckily for us, more and more people are beginning to reject these smears.

Its also hilarious how the Right Wingers are blasting gays for boycotting when this practice has been a major page in their own playbooks.  The American Family Association (AFA) has boycotted Ford and McDonalds for being pro-gay and even got a gay executive fired at McDonalds.  Bill O Reilly has called for boycotts of businesses like Pepsi when they endorsed Ludicrus and even called for a boycott of France because they did not approve of Bush’s war in Iraq.

Yet, somehow gays are anarchist and anti-democracy when they boycott businesses who are anti-gay or who gave money to Yes on 8 which helped take some of their civil rights away.

You have to love the hypocrisy of the Religious Right.

Center-Right? Christian Women have Abortions too! November 22, 2008

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The election illuminated many aspects of America’s social and cultural demographics. One of the most interesting phenomena was that in the states where anti-gay legislation were passed, ballot measures to limit aspects of abortion rights were resoundingly defeated. Many of the same Evangelical Christians that voted against gay marriage also voted against limiting abortion.

How could this be? Evangelicals are divided on abortion rights and gay rights? But I thought they were equally against both and that these were the wedge issues that they use as their battle cry to rally up the base.

Well as it turns out and I’m embarrassed that I’ve never thought about this before– there is a huge Elephant in the room when it comes to the Conservative Evangelical Community…..

Many Christian women have abortions too!

In fact there have been qualitative and quantitative studies on this.

A study in 1995 found that 18% of a sample of 1000 women who had abortions, identified themselves as Christians.

http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html

A study in 2006 suggests that out of the 1 million abortions in 2000, Christian women may have accounted for 570,000 of those 1 million.

http://truthpatrol.blogsp…as-many-abortions-as.html

I’d say the “Culture War” on Reproductive Rights is pretty much over.

We’ve got to end the “Culture War” on Gay Rights. After all there is another Elephant in the Room– Churches are full of gays! (Did you know that famous Christian Music Singer/Songwriter Ray Boltz came out in September of this year?).

Michael Savage’s outdated ideas about Autism July 28, 2008

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Conservative talk show host Michael Savage made news again recently with controversial remarks about autistic children being “brats” who just need a father to tell them to be a man and stop acting socially awkward. Before advances in genetics and neuroscience, unfortunately some doctors did blame social causes. Mothers were told that their children were autistic because they did not show them enough love when they were infants. These so called refrigerator mothers were made to blame themselves for their child’s condition. Of course through time studies have shown that there is no relationship between a mother’s affection and autism.

Autism is now generally considered a spectrum disorder with varying degrees between mild and severe. Most autistic individuals have some degree of sensory disorders. Some individuals may have exaggerated senses while others may have dulled senses. Some individuals may only be able to process input from one sense at a time. Many individuals with autism have problems with “theory of mind” in that they may not be able to generalize about what others think and feel or pick up on social cues. Many individuals with autism will also develop social anxiety disorder. Some autistics such as those with aspergers may have savant skills.

Michael Savage’s views are dangerous because they could be used to justify mistreating individuals with autism or lead parents to opt out of treatments for their children with autism. It is important for families, schools, and society at large to understand that due to variation in development and brain structures and chemistry, there are people who experience reality and social reality much differently than many of us do. We must accept and accommodate these differences. We must not blame the victim or exclude people.

Michael Savage has also been criticized in the past for homophobia. He has told a gay caller to get aids and die and he has said that gays “rape the minds” of children simply for being seen holding hands in public.

The most shocking aspect concerning Michael Weiner aka Michael Savage is that he has advanced degrees in sociology and anthropology. Its hard for me to believe that he actually believes some of the things he says. I’m inclined to believe that, like many of the other conservatives, he probably realizes that he can cash in on the niche market of fear and hate mongering.

Why is it that compassion seems to escape many of the popular conservatives in the media? Do they merely engage in hate and fear mongering for profit? Why do they seem to advocate for bullying, prejudice, and discrimination for anyone that is different from themselves?

The Joker– Super Sane? July 21, 2008

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Heath Ledger portrays a chilling Joker in the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight. This Joker is a homicidal sociopathic anarchist. He has no empathy and obeys no rules. Although he may add some whimsical and ironic elements into his schemes he is still a brutal terrorist who enjoys causing mass chaos and killing and maiming enemies, pawns, and innocents. He wants to turn society upside down and relishes putting otherwise moral people into moral dilemmas with disastrous consequences.

Is the Joker insane or so sane that he sees through the social controls and the social construction of social reality? I have read that in some of the Batman comics written by Grant Morrison that the idea was presented that the Joker may actually be “super-sane”. Even in The Dark Knight, the Joker insists that he is not insane.

Whether he is insane or super-sane, the Joker continues to be Batman’s greatest foe and one of the most recognizable comic book villains of all time. The Joker represents anarchy and absolute freedom from rules and compassion. He is an agent of chaos and thus the polar opposite of Batman who wishes to restore order to Gotham. The Joker captures our fears and imagination because he is the quintessential terrorist in the guise of an archetype that is suppose to represent happiness and joy– a clown.

Democracy Now! July 10, 2008

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Democracy Now! is an independent news program that airs on the radio (NPR, Pacifica, etc) and T.V. (Free Speech TV and Link TV). Hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, this news show gives a voice to grassroots movements, counter-cultural movements, and to communities rarely heard in the mainstream news media. Democracy Now is itself a product of independent and grassroots movements to bring the American public a news media that is not controlled by big corporations that profit from war and exploitation.

Democracy Now! covers stories related to global War and Peace that are often ignored by the mainstream media . The show seeks to speak truth to power and to hold those in power accountable for their actions. Democracy Now also allows for real discussions and debates. You will find people on their program that think in paragraphs not sound bites. They often have academics and artists on their shows who are very articulate and insightful.

It is important to support independent media. The mainstream media has become consumed with fluff and drivel and does not speak for the people.