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Making A Fool Out Of Rick Warren--It's A Moral Imperative!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

By Paul Rosenberg
Open Left

In my earlier diary, "Christophobia??? Wait A Second, Fellah! YOU'RE The Christophobe!", a commentator got upset with me for advancing the point that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. I actually think that's a very good argument to make, simply because it puts the other side on the defensive, and disrupts their synapses. That's the underlying reason I brought it up. 

But interlude wrote:
can we try a stronger argument please?

no, Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. I remember a biblical scholar saying that in a congregation in Chicago back in the 70s and a woman responding with "I knew he was too damn liberal!" 

unfortunately it is not the best argument to make in fighting homophobia. Jesus didn't say anything about torture, nuclear weapons, or internet spam, either.
I have to admit, this "argument" didn't make much sense to me. To begin with, it's implicit premise seemed to be that I was proposing a master argument-to-end-all-argtuments, and that it was terrbly flawed. But I wasn't doing anything of the sort.

My sense of political argumentation has very little to do with disembodied master arguments. Master narratives, now, that's a different story. And this argument I presented was all about disrupting the master narrative of jokers like Warren being these great authoritative figures who can speak on behalf of Jesus, intimidate all the rest of us, and command the respect of the nation.

Quite the contrary. I think the name of the game right now is to humiliate, embarass and totally discredit Rick Warren, turn him into a public laughingstock, and make people downright embarrased to be identified with his bigoted views. Whatever Obama may have intended with his invitation, as far as I'm concerned, war is on and derisive humor is the weapon of choice. It almost always is when self-inflated bigots are the main antagonists....(Click for remainder).


Christophobia??? Wait A Second, Fellah! YOU'RE The Christophobe!

By Paul Rosenberg
Open Left

Raw Story has a pretty succinct take on the deteriorating state of Rick Warren's mental health:
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow believes that the uproar over Barack Obama's selection of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver his inaugural invocation might have been subsiding by now, except that Warren himself -- very much like Reverend Jeremiah Wright last spring -- has stirred things up again with a video address in which he accuses his critics of being "Christophobes."

"Not only it is getting worse," commented Maddow, "it's getting weirder."

In the 22 minute message to his congregation placed on his website last Sunday, Warren first denied ever "equating gay partnership with incest and pedophilia" -- which Maddow quickly disproved with a clip of him doing just that -- and then went on to attack his critics for their "false accusations, attacks, outright lies, and hateful slander, and really a lot of hate speech."

"It's what I would call 'Christophobia.'" Warren concluded. "People who are afraid of any Christian."

"Might those people possibly just be Pastor Rick-o-phobes?" Maddow asked.
But there's a deeper story than Rick's mental ticks.

You see, here's what Christ said about homosexuals:

That's right. Let me repeat that:

And that's just got to scare Pastor Rick, don'tcha think?

You betcha! In fact, it already has....(Click for remainder).


Win, Win, Win, Win, Win ...

By Thomas L. Friedman

How many times do we have to see this play before we admit that it always ends the same way?

Which play? The one where gasoline prices go up, pressure rises for more fuel-efficient cars, then gasoline prices fall and the pressure for low-mileage vehicles vanishes, consumers stop buying those cars, the oil producers celebrate, we remain addicted to oil and prices gradually go up again, petro-dictators get rich, we lose. I’ve already seen this play three times in my life. Trust me: It always ends the same way — badly.

So I could only cringe when reading this article from on Dec. 22: “After nearly a year of flagging sales, low gas prices and fat incentives are reigniting America’s taste for big vehicles. Trucks and S.U.V.’s will outsell cars in December ... something that hasn’t happened since February. Meanwhile, the forecast finds that sales of hybrid vehicles are expected to be way down.”

Have a nice day. It’s morning again — in Saudi Arabia.

Of course, it’s a blessing that people who have been hammered by the economy are getting a break at the pump. But for our long-term health, getting re-addicted to oil and gas guzzlers is one of the dumbest things we could do....(Click for remainder).


Stop Being Stupid

By Bob Herbert

I’ve got a new year’s resolution and a new slogan for the country.

The resolution may be difficult, but it’s essential. Americans must resolve to be smarter going forward than we have been for the past several years.

Look around you. We have behaved in ways that were incredibly, astonishingly and embarrassingly stupid for much too long. We’ve wrecked the economy and mortgaged the future of generations yet unborn. We don’t even know if we’ll have an automobile industry in the coming years. It’s time to stop the self-destruction.

The slogan? “Invest in the U.S.” By that I mean we should stop squandering the nation’s wealth on unnecessary warfare overseas and mindless consumption here at home and start making sensible investments in the well-being of the American people and the long-term health of the economy.

The mind-boggling stupidity that we’ve indulged in was hammered home by a comment almost casually delivered by, of all people, Bernie Madoff, the mild-mannered creator of what appears to have been a nuclear-powered Ponzi scheme. Madoff summed up his activities with devastating simplicity. He is said to have told the F.B.I. that he “paid investors with money that wasn’t there.”

Somehow, over the past few decades, that has become the American way: to pay for things — from wars to Wall Street bonuses to flat-screen TVs to video games — with money that wasn’t there....(Click for remainder).


A Reversal of Fortune

By Charles Lemos

Over the past 30 years, there has been a significant redirection of global capital flows. One of these capital flows has been the flow out of the wealthy but mostly energy resource poor OECD countries towards the energy producing states largely in the Middle East but also in Latin America and more recently Africa. The other major new capital flow is from the OECD in general but significantly more from the United States towards China. The Chinese, it turns out, have also been on a shopping spree. They have been buying, well, us. This year China surpassed Japan as our largest lender. China now holds over 10% of the US dollar denominated debt, a little more than a trillion dollars.

From the New York Times comes a must read article on China's rise and our fall:
In March 2005, a low-key Princeton economist who had become a Federal Reserve governor coined a novel theory to explain the growing tendency of Americans to borrow from foreigners, particularly the Chinese, to finance their heavy spending.
The problem, he said, was not that Americans spend too much, but that foreigners save too much. The Chinese have piled up so much excess savings that they lend money to the United States at low rates, underwriting American consumption.

This colossal credit cycle could not last forever, he said. But in a global economy, the transfer of Chinese money to America was a market phenomenon that would take years, even a decade, to work itself out. For now, he said, "we probably have little choice except to be patient."

Today, the dependence of the United States on Chinese money looks less benign. And the economist who proposed the theory, Ben S. Bernanke, is dealing with the consequences, having been promoted to chairman of the Fed in 2006, as these cross-border money flows were reaching stratospheric levels.

In the past decade, China has invested upward of $1 trillion, mostly earnings from manufacturing exports, into American government bonds and government-backed mortgage debt. That has lowered interest rates and helped fuel a historic consumption binge and housing bubble in the United States.

China, some economists say, lulled American consumers, and their leaders, into complacency about their spendthrift ways.


Where Do We Go from Here?

By Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
The Huffington Post

The next few months will be a pivotal period in the history of the United States and for much of the world. The Bush administration, perhaps the most reactionary and incompetent that our country has ever seen, is leaving office after eight disastrous years. President Barack Obama and an increased Democratic majority take power amidst the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

The decisions that are made early on will send an important signal as to whether Obama's campaign of "hope" and "change" will be seriously pursued and realized, or whether the power of the Big Money interests will persist - regardless of which president is in office or which party has the majority. Will a new president and a new and more Democratic Congress finally respond to the needs of the middle class and working families of our country, or will Wall Street, insurance and drug companies, the military-industrial-complex, the oil and coal companies, big media and the other powerful special interests continue to hold sway?

Here are just a few of the issues that President Obama, the Congress and all Americans must confront:

The middle class is continuing its steep decline with unemployment soaring, and millions of people in danger of losing their homes, savings and health insurance. The dream of a college education is fading away for many working families as college costs go up while incomes go down. This year, as a result of the economic downturn, the bailout of Wall Street, ongoing tax breaks for the very rich and the war in Iraq, our nation will have a record-breaking deficit and a huge $10.4 trillion dollar national debt. The United States continues to have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country, and the most unequal distribution of wealth and income....(Click for remainder).


Critics Accuse Pope of Stirring Anti-Gay Sentiment

Gay rights groups, politicians and a prominent German theologian have criticized remarks made earlier this week by Pope Benedict XVI. They accuse him of attacking same-sex marriages and sex change operations.

Pope Benedict XVI has drawn sharp criticism in Europe for comments made in his end of the year address critical of people who choose to have sex changes or enter into same-sex marriages.

The pope claimed that "what is often expressed and signified with the word 'gender' leads to the human auto-emancipation from creation and the Creator. The human being wants to make himself on his own and to decide always and exclusively by himself about what concerns him."

Italian transgender and former communist lawmaker Vladimir Luxuria mimics a hanging outside St. Peter's Square at the Vatican: Gay and transgender rights activists are outraged by the pope's statements.

"But in doing so, the human being lives against the truth and against the Spirit creator. Rainforests deserve, yes, our protection, but the human being -- as a creature which contains a message that is not in contradiction with his freedom but is the condition of his freedom -- does not deserve less."

"This is not out-of-date metaphysics," he said. "It comes from the faith in the Creator and from listening to the language of creation, despising which would mean self-destruction for humans and therefore a destruction of the work itself of God."

A number of gay rights groups, politicians and a famous German theologian are interpreting the pope's words as a harsh attack against homosexuals and transsexuals.

In Germany, Volker Beck, an out gay man with the Green Party, described the pope's statements as "agitating words." And Uta Ranke-Heinemann, a prominent German critic of the pope, described Benedict's words as "a threatening message to homosexuals." She said his views could not be left unchallenged, adding that the history of homosexuals in Christianity has been a "bitter one."...(Click for remainder).


You’re Likable Enough, Gay People

By Frank Rich

IN his first press conference after his re-election in 2004, President Bush memorably declared, “I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.” We all know how that turned out.

Barack Obama has little in common with George W. Bush, thank God, his obsessive workouts and message control notwithstanding. At a time when very few Americans feel very good about very much, Obama is generating huge hopes even before he takes office. So much so that his name and face, affixed to any product, may be the last commodity left in the marketplace that can still move Americans to shop.

I share these high hopes. But for the first time a faint tinge of Bush crept into my Obama reveries this month.

As we saw during primary season, our president-elect is not free of his own brand of hubris and arrogance, and sometimes it comes before a fall: “You’re likable enough, Hillary” was the prelude to his defeat in New Hampshire. He has hit this same note again by assigning the invocation at his inauguration to the Rev. Rick Warren, the Orange County, Calif., megachurch preacher who has likened committed gay relationships to incest, polygamy and “an older guy marrying a child.” Bestowing this honor on Warren was a conscious — and glib — decision by Obama to spend political capital. It was made with the certitude that a leader with a mandate can do no wrong.

In this case, the capital spent is small change. Most Americans who have an opinion about Warren like him and his best-selling self-help tome, “The Purpose Driven Life.” His good deeds are plentiful on issues like human suffering in Africa, poverty and climate change. He is opposed to same-sex marriage, but so is almost every top-tier national politician, including Obama. Unlike such family-values ayatollahs as James Dobson and Tony Perkins, Warren is not obsessed with homosexuality and abortion. He was vociferously attacked by the Phyllis Schlafly gang when he invited Obama to speak about AIDS at his Saddleback Church two years ago....(Click for remainder).


Minnesota Supremes Shoot Down Crucial Coleman Lawsuit, Making A Franken Win Nearly Certain

By Eric Kleefeld
TPM Election Central

Norm Coleman just got a Christmas present from the Minnesota Supreme Court: A giant lump of coal.

In a unanimous decision handed down just now, the state Supremes denied Coleman any relief in a lawsuit he was waging to deal with allegations of double-counted absentee ballots, which his campaign says have given an illegitimate edge to Al Franken. The Coleman campaign was seeking to switch 25 selected precincts back to their Election Night totals, which would undo all of Franken's recount gains in those areas and put Coleman back in the lead.

The court, however, sided with the Franken camp's lawyers in saying that a question like this should be reserved for a post-recount election contest proceeding, as the proper forum to discover evidence -- and which also has a burden of proof that heavily favors the certified winner.

Simply put, Coleman is in very big trouble right now. With Al Franken leading by 47 votes, this lawsuit was Coleman's best shot at coming from behind. And it just failed, making a Franken win nearly a foregone conclusion when this recount finishes up in early January.

Late Update: The Coleman campaign's lead lawyer Fritz Knaak says the court's decision today "virtually guarantees that this will be decided in an election contest." So say hello to some messy litigation. But at the point where we go into an election contest, the chances of a Coleman victory are really slim to none.


News flash: Republicans are racist wankers

So classy.

By Michael D. Shear
The Washington Post

Chip Saltsman, a candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent committee members this month a holiday music CD that included "Barack the Magic Negro," a parody song first aired in 2007 by talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

Created by conservative satirist Paul Shanklin, the song puts new lyrics to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon," and it is performed as if black activist Al Sharpton were singing it. Limbaugh played it after the Los Angeles Times ran an opinion piece with the same title.

"A guy from the LA paper said it made guilty whites feel good, they'll vote for him and not for me cuz he's not from the hood," the song goes. "Oh, Barack the magic negro lives in DC, the LA Times they called him that because he's black but not authentically."

The CD accompanied holiday greetings from Saltsman, a Tennessee resident who managed former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's campaign for president. Saltsman announced his bid to lead the Republican Party this month.

He did not return a call seeking comment last night. Saltsman had earlier told the Hill newspaper, which first reported the incident, that the song is meant as a joke. "Paul Shanklin is a longtime friend, and I think that RNC members have the good humor and good sense to recognize that his songs for 'The Rush Limbaugh Show' are light-hearted political parodies," he told the newspaper....(Click for remainder).



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