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Homo-Hatred Has A New Face

Saturday, April 11, 2009

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Oh, What a Lovely Class War!

By Michael Winship
Consortium News


Editor’s Note: Whenever anyone takes note of the growing concentration of wealth in the hands of America's super-rich or suggests rolling back some of George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, the American Right starts complaining about "class warfare."

In this guest essay, Michael Winship examines exactly who has been waging class warfare against whom:


My goodness, how they howl when the proverbial shoe is on the proverbial other foot. You'd think the Red Army had just left Moscow and was preparing a frontal assault on the Federal Reserve.

So what are conservatives, Wall Street and financial television commentators shouting? Socialists!

That's right. Spread the word: Socialists are swarming over our nation's Capitol, and making off with the means of production, otherwise known as campaign contributions and the federal budget. You got trouble, my friends.

The hysteria started during the campaign, retreated a bit but was back full throttle by the day after the inauguration.

President Obama's left hand was barely off Abraham Lincoln's Bible as South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint told the Jan. 21 edition of The Wall Street Journal, "What I'm looking to do as a conservative leader in the Senate is to identify those Republicans, and even some Democrats, and put together a consensus of people who can help stop this slide toward socialism."

Newt Gingrich, resurrected yet again, proclaims his Contract on America has been cancelled and replaced by Barack Obama's "European socialism."

Josh Bolin, founder of the conservative Web site Reagan.org is quoted in The New York Times, saying, "Socialism is something new for us to hit Obama over the head with," and a panel at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference was titled, "Bailing Out Big Business: Are We All Socialists Now?"...(Click for remainder.)

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Weekly Address: Nations Must Unite To Overcome Global Challenges


THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
__________________________________________________________________________
EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 AM ET                                   SATURDAY, April 11, 2009

WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Says Nations Must Unite To Overcome Global Challenges
 

WASHINGTON – In his weekly address, President Barack Obama extended his best wishes to everyone celebrating this week’s Passover and Easter holidays and called on nations around the world to come together to solve the current trials facing the world.  On the heels of his weeklong trip overseas, the President said he believes it is important to acknowledge no single nation can solve global problems like a recession, international terrorism, climate change, or nuclear proliferation.  But, working with other nations, the United States can lead the way in overcoming these challenges.

The full audio of the address is HERE. The video can also be viewed online at www.whitehouse.gov.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Saturday, April 11, 2009


I speak to you today during a time that is holy and filled with meaning for believers around the world. Earlier this week, Jewish people gathered with family and friends to recite the stories of their ancestors’ struggle and ultimate liberation. Tomorrow, Christians of all denominations will come together to rejoice and remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

These are two very different holidays with their own very different traditions. But it seems fitting that we mark them both during the same week. For in a larger sense, they are both moments of reflection and renewal. They are both occasions to think more deeply about the obligations we have to ourselves and the obligations we have to one another, no matter who we are, where we come from, or what faith we practice.

This idea – that we are all bound up, as Martin Luther King once said, in "a single garment of destiny"– is a lesson of all the world’s great religions. And never has it been more important for us to reaffirm that lesson than it is today – at a time when we face tests and trials unlike any we have seen in our time. An economic crisis that recognizes no borders. Violent extremism that’s claimed the lives of innocent men, women, and children from Manhattan to Mumbai. An unsustainable dependence on foreign oil and other sources of energy that pollute our air and water and threaten our planet. The proliferation of the world’s most dangerous weapons, the persistence of deadly disease, and the recurrence of age-old conflicts.

These are challenges that no single nation, no matter how powerful, can confront alone. The United States must lead the way. But our best chance to solve these unprecedented problems comes from acting in concert with other nations. That is why I met with leaders of the G-20 nations to ensure that the world’s largest economies take strong and unified action in the face of the global economic crisis. Together, we’ve taken steps to stimulate growth, restore the flow of credit, open markets, and dramatically reform our financial regulatory system to prevent such crises from occurring again – steps that will lead to job creation at home.

It is only by working together that we will finally defeat 21st century security threats like al Qaeda. So it was heartening that our NATO allies united in Strasbourg behind our strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and contributed important resources to support our effort there.

It is only by coordinating with countries around the world that we will stop the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons. That is why I laid out a strategy in Prague for us to work with Russia and other nations to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons; to secure nuclear materials from terrorists; and, ultimately, to free the world from the menace of a nuclear nightmare.

And it is only by building a new foundation of mutual trust that we will tackle some of our most entrenched problems. That is why, in Turkey, I spoke to members of Parliament and university students about rising above the barriers of race, region, and religion that too often divide us.

With all that is at stake today, we cannot afford to talk past one another. We can’t afford to allow old differences to prevent us from making progress in areas of common concern. We can’t afford to let walls of mistrust stand. Instead, we have to find – and build on – our mutual interests. For it is only when people come together, and seek common ground, that some of that mistrust can begin to fade. And that is where progress begins.

Make no mistake: we live in a dangerous world, and we must be strong and vigilant in the face of these threats. But let us not allow whatever differences we have with other nations to stop us from coming together around those solutions that are essential to our survival and success.

As we celebrate Passover, Easter, and this time of renewal, let’s find strength in our shared resolve and purpose in our common aspirations. And if we can do that, then not only will we fulfill the sacred meaning of these holy days, but we will fulfill the promise of our country as a leader around the world.

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Professor Picked for Indian Affairs

By The Associated Press
Via The Washington Post


A Native American who served as the attorney general of Idaho was nominated yesterday to become the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

President Obama nominated Larry EchoHawk, a law professor at Brigham Young University in Utah and a member of the Pawnee tribe, to the post. As well as being a former attorney general, EchoHawk ran for Idaho governor in 1994, losing to Republican Phil Batt by fewer than 35,000 votes. Had he been elected, he would have been the nation's first Native American governor.

He became the first American Indian elected to a constitutional statewide office when he assumed the post of attorney general in the early 1990s, the White House said.

The embattled bureau has been without a leader since the resignation of Carl Artman last year. Artman took the post in 2007, and before that it had been vacant for two years....(Click for remainder.)

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Republican & Democratic Strategist Agree Rove Is Hurting The GOP

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America's 20 Percent Unemployment Rate

By Carlton Meyer
Truthout


Measuring unemployment is an art that can result in widely varied rates. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Government uses a method that excludes millions of Americans seeking employment. This lower rate is used to prove that America's economic system is superior to those in Europe. Their higher unemployment rates are blamed on unions and socialism, which guarantee workers health care and paid vacations. The implication is that while many American workers lack such benefits, at least they have jobs. This argument is faulty since unemployment is measured differently.

In the USA, 35% of healthy Americans ages 16-64 are unemployed, but what does that word mean? Millions of women are unemployed as they choose to stay home to raise families. Nevertheless, 25% of healthy American men ages 16-64 are unemployed, yet the U.S. Government reports an unemployment rate of just 8.1%.[1]

The 25% rate is from an annual federal survey last conducted in June 2008, well before the current economic slump added millions to the "official" unemployment rate of 8.1% for March 6, 2009. The 25% rate is the ratio of healthy American men ages 16-64 not working. This is misleading because it includes the two million Americans behind bars, while most 16 and 17-year olds remain in school. It also includes millions of Americans who voluntarily retire before age 65 and house-husbands who care for children while their wife works....(Click for remainder.)

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Keep On Talking, Karl

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly


Three of the least respected, least admired figures in contemporary American politics are Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove. If Democratic leaders had their way, these three would be up front and center as much as possible. Especially as far as the White House is concerned, the more three on the attack, the better President Obama and his team look.

And wouldn't you know it, in these early months of the Obama presidency, it's working out pretty well.

Limbaugh has strengthened his reputation as the de facto leader of the party; Dick Cheney is annoying Republicans by making so many public appearances and taking cheap shots at the nation's leadership; and Karl Rove is arguably an even more rabid attack dog now than he was when he helped run the White House.
For eight years, George W. Bush had a White House political and public relations machine to defend his legacy and lash his rivals. Now that Bush is out of office, the same man is still leading the charge: Karl Rove.

The onetime chief political adviser to the 43rd president has emerged as the most frequent critic of the 44th. In a weekly newspaper column and appearances as a Fox News analyst, Rove offers sometimes-caustic assessments of President Obama and his administration.
"Caustic" is an understatement. Rove has been doing exactly what one would expect him to do -- attacking Democrats without regard for facts, decency, or reality. Rove, after years of practicing the art of character assassination, has a singular focus: destroy....(Click for remainder.)

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Ancient Sumerian Origins of the Easter Story

By Valerie Tarico
The Huffington Post


Evangelicals across the political spectrum, from Pat Robertson to Jim Wallis, seek to shape our government and life-ways by appealing to the authority of the Christian Bible. It is virtually impossible to understand American politics without understanding the book that drives their priorities. Given that three quarters of Americans are Christians, I would argue that it is virtually impossible to move forward as a people without growing our understanding of the Book.

The Christian Bible culminates in a death and resurrection story. What is this story, and where did it come from? In this post, Valerie Tarico, author of The Dark Side, interviews Dr. Tony Nugent, scholar of world religions and mythology. Dr. Nugent is a symbologist, an expert in ancient symbols. He taught at Seattle University for fifteen years in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and is a Presbyterian minister.


Easter is coming. Some people are saying that the crucifixion and resurrection narratives simply retell the cycle of seasons, the death and return of the Sun. Others say that these stories are literal histories. But you say the reality is more complicated than either of these. You argue that the Easter stories - the death and resurrection of Jesus have very specific mythic origins.

I view the story of Christ in the Gospels of the New Testament as a powerful and spiritually wise sacred story. While the story is told as if it happened, it is a theologically and mythically constructed history. The conclusion of the story, the account of Christ's crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to heaven, has many layers. But at its core I would say it is an historicized version of a very ancient myth from Mesopotamia, the Cradle of Civilization, the land we today call Iraq....(Click for remainder.)

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Defeating The Forces Of Fear

By Todd Beeton
MyDD


After a week where the number of states in which same sex marriage is legal doubled, the forces of inequality are afraid...very afraid.
Even opponents of same-sex marriage recognized the week's developments as a potential watershed moment that could subdue the effect of their Election Day victory in California. Voters there narrowly approved Proposition 8, which amended the state's Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, effectively reversing a decision by the state's Supreme Court that had legalized it.

"It's a bad day for the country," said Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, a group established to fight same-sex marriage. "There is a palpable sense that something has changed and people need to get active."
And afraid they should be.
Gay-rights groups say that momentum from back-to-back victories on same-sex marriage in Vermont and Iowa could spill into other states, particularly since at least nine other legislatures are considering measures this year to allow marriage between gay couples.
So what are they doing to push back against the fact that the arc of history is bending toward justice right before their eyes? Why, lie and fear-monger, of course:
The National Organization for Marriage, a prominent backer of the successful campaign against same-sex marriage in California, is launching a $1.5 million ad campaign this morning aimed at forestalling same-sex marriage support in other key states.

The campaign...seeks to energize the opponents of gay marriage by making the case that it will impinge directly on their own lives. The ads will air in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Iowa.
(Click for remainder.)

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What Do Americans Think About Gay Rights and Discrimination?

By Andrew Gelman
FiveThirtyEight.com


It appears to be gay rights week here on 538, so I thought I'd do my part and post something that I wrote with my Columbia colleagues Jeff Lax and Justin Phillips on public opinion and policy on gay rights:

In his address at the Democratic convention, Barack Obama said, “surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.”

What was he thinking, saying this to the nation? California was on the way to a contentious battle over same-sex marriage and the issue has arisen in other states as well. Isn’t gay rights a wedge issue that Democrats should try to avoid?

Yes, Americans are conflicted about same-sex marriage, but one thing they mostly agree on is support for antidiscrimination laws.

In surveys, 72% of Americans support laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. An even greater number answer yes when asked, "Do you think homosexuals should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities?" This consensus is remarkably widespread: in all states a majority support antidiscrimination laws protecting gays and lesbians, and in all but 10 states this support is 70% or higher....(Click for remainder.)

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A New Form Of Currency Could Help Us In Economic Crisis

How a complementary currency helped save Switzerland from economic ruin in the 1940s—and could do the same for us today

By Bernard Lietaer
Ode Magazing


The travails of the banking crisis have been front-page news for months, and the biggest bailout in human history is underway. However, the real economy—the one in which businesses manufacture and sell goods and services—is turning out to be the next victim. Whatever governments do for the banks, credit will be a lot harder for businesses to obtain for many years to come.

The trickiest part of the situation is the simultaneous nature of the crisis. When one bank—or an entire country’s banks—gets into serious trouble, healthy companies can find credit from other banks or countries. But when the meltdown happens across the global financial system, another dynamic comes into play. The world economy predictably veers toward a simultaneous recession, which in turn worsens the banks’ balance sheets, motivating financiers to reduce credit further. When all banks cut back on their loan portfolios simultaneously, it deepens the hole being collectively dug for the world economy.

Under these circumstances, businesses can take two strategies: they can try to get help from governments when their individual problems become unmanageable, or take the initiative to save themselves cooperatively. The first option isn’t new. But governments the world over have just bled themselves dry to save the banking system. So depending on them to save even important businesses could resemble waiting for Godot. Therefore, the second option is clearly better. And there is a very successful precedent, even if it’s surprisingly little-known....(Click for remainder.)

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The Law Prevents Discrimination Against Gays -- Even By Those Who Purport To Base Their Hatred On Religion

By Joe Sudbay
AMERICAblog


Turns out that religious groups are having a rough time implementing their homophobic policies these days. The Washington Post reports:
Faith organizations and individuals who view homosexuality as sinful and refuse to provide services to gay people are losing a growing number of legal battles that they say are costing them their religious freedom.

The lawsuits have resulted from states and communities that have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. Those laws have created a clash between the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of religion, religious groups said, with faith losing.
Wow. That sucks for them, doesn't it? Really awful when religious groups and licensed professionals aren't allowed to practice hate. That's so un-Christian. Oh, wait. It's supposed to be hate that is un-Christian.

Our society is changing rapidly. The right wingers know it and it's freaking them out. Their days of controlling the social issues agenda will soon be over once and for all. Winning on Prop. 8, with that huge infusion of Mormon money, is going to turn out to be one of their last gasps.'...(Click for remainder.)

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Bachmann Can't Keep Her Erroneous Cap-And-Trade Numbers Straight

By Brian Beutler and Eric Kleefeld
Talking Points Memo


Recess is a time when members of Congress go home and say the darndest things to their constituents. Take Michelle Bachmann. Please.

"The concern is that this energy tax will hike up the cost, not only of our energy bills by an average of more than $2,500 for the typical family of four in Minnesota according to one study, but of everything else that we buy."

This is peculiar. First of all, there's no study that says anything like this. Second of all, there is a study that Republicans are citing as a source for their claim that a cap and trade bill will cost the average household $3,128 a year--but the study doesn't say that either. It says that a cap-and-trade program will raise a certain amount of revenue (over $350 billion at the outset) and Republicans have divided that by the number of households they claim are in America. Of course, the authors of the study say this is all terribly, terribly wrong.

But back to Bachmann. In their "analysis", Republicans assumed that the average household has 2.56 people in it. Not four. Four average people use more energy than 2.56 average people. Using this ridiculous construction, one would assume that a family of four would pay more, not less, than the mean $3,128 they cite....(Click for remainder.)

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If Your Main Issue Isn't Hate Crimes or Federal Anti-Discrimination Legislation or Marriage, You're Probably Not Gay

By John Aravosis
AMERICAblog


A group of "gay" Republicans have now formed a new gay organization to push for private health care and private savings accounts. Okay. The gay group says that it won't be working on gay issues because gay groups that work on gay issues are "probably not Republican." Never a truer word was spoken. Republicans nowadays aren't interested in civil rights. In helping their fellow man. And gay Republicans? They're the worst. Most gay Republicans I've ever met have been seriously messed up in the head about being gay. Don't get me wrong, a lot of them are nice people. They're just nice people in need of years of therapy. So when I hear that a new gay Republican group is forming, but it not only won't work on gay civil rights issues, it looks with disdain on those who do, I know that this is a true gay REPUBLICAN group. Little g, big R, and traumatized to its core....(Click for original.)

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An Open Letter to National Organization for [Hate-mongering] Marriage

By Nicole Belle
Crooks and Liars


Dear Maggie Gallagher, President and Brian Brown, Exec. Director, NOM:

I admit, this is something that I normally would not do, seeing as I find that your values are completely abhorrent to me.

That's right, I am a long-time married heterosexual with children, and I find your stance akin to those bigots who protested for miscegenation during the Loving v. Virginia battle that finally decreed that in this country, we had no right to deny marriage rights to people because they were not of the same race. You, Ms. Gallagher and Mr. Brown, are the bigots that fight to hold on to notions that should have been put away long ago to deny human beings equal rights because of their sexuality.

You see, my sexuality is quite secure and I feel no threat to it by homosexuality. I hold no fear for the strength of my marriage by allowing gays and lesbians to marry. My ability to procreate has not been adversely affected even with my fellow San Francisco residents having the right to marry. My job is not--nor my spouse's job, nor my children's education--in danger from us being around committed homosexuals. I'm curious if you could even outline how any of that could be threatened, because I've taken a good look through your website and I can't find one single way that you've been able to show a threat...unless of course, your marriage is simply not as strong as mine and having others commit would suddenly inspire you or your spouse to up and leave. Personally, I find the ease that divorces are available far more destructive to the institution of marriage. You know, if you looked at the number of marriages of all the GOP presidential candidates in 2008, you would have more divorces than candidates...add Newt Gingrich in there, and whaddya know? You'd have divorces in the double digits. From the "Party of Family Values?" Now, that's a threat....(Click for remainder.)




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Grow Up America

By Charles Lemos
My DD


I am less than bemused by Glenn Beck and his ever more insane antics. Yesterday while perusing Free Republic as I do nearly daily, I came across the clip courtesy of Instapundit, home of the gay American conservative, of Mr. Beck pretending to douse an actor (a very bad one at that) and then setting him afire. The cause for this insanity on the part of Mr. Beck was the President's decision to tackle immigration reform that will include a path to citizenship for most but not all of the nation's twelve million plus illegal immigrants. Grow up, Mr. Beck. If you're opposed to moving forward on immigration reform then state your case. Spare us the antics. (Dave Neiwert over at Crooks and Liars has the whole sad episode with a transcript)

This past Fall, a European friend of mine went to a Sarah Palin rally in Colorado Springs. I asked him about it. He told me "Charles, you can see the fear in their eyes. They have lost their country and they know it." My friend is right. Conservative America is not unlike the Afrikaner of 1990. The writing is on the wall. They have lost the battle of ideas and just as important they have lost the demographic battle. They talk of a silent majority by pointing to the electoral results by county that still show a wide swath of America as "red" but those are the empty spaces, the rural part of the country that may cover 85% of the country in terms of acreage but accounts for about 40% of its GDP. The America that is coming is going to be more diverse and more liberal and open-minded. This development seems to frighten the closed, self-centered, conservative mind. They talk of going Galt, we talk about moving forward to solve energy issues, providing healthcare for all and narrowing the growing social inequality that threatens to tear the nation apart. Like petulant children, conservatives wail incessantly about non-existent threats and bizarre world government conspiracies. Grow up and get real.

Yesterday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a Baptist preacher by the name of Eric Schumacher said that gay marriage in Iowa was more destructive than a 500 year old flood.
Last June, a "500-year flood" ushered millions of gallons of water through eastern Iowa. In Cedar Rapids alone, more than 25,000 individuals were displaced in one day. Hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage was done.

The Flood of 2008 is arguably the most destructive disaster that the state of Iowa has seen -- at least, that is, until last Friday.

On April 3, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a state law limiting marriage to one man and one woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. Licenses will be issued to homosexual couples April 27.

It is not hyperbole to say that this ruling has the potential to be the worst disaster to strike the state of Iowa.

Flood waters destroy houses, ruin offices buildings and displace families. Yet, recovery happens. Houses are rebuilt. Businesses relocate. Families eventually find housing.

Legalized "homosexual marriage," on the other hand, does far more pervasive and irrecoverable damage. Civilization itself is eroded as marriage, the central building block of culture and society, is redefined. Soon, our sons and daughters are confused about what it means to be male and female, as "homosexual marriage" gains both legal status and visibility in neighborhoods and the classroom.

Far worse, the Gospel message is confused. Marriage is established by God to be a living picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the husband representing Christ and the wife representing his church. "Homosexual marriage" presents a distorted picture, a false Gospel, promoting a blasphemous message.

Flood waters erode the soil. "Gay marriage" erodes the soul. A flood impacts for a decade. "Same-sex marriage" destroys generations. A flood draws a community together. "Homosexual marriage" tears the family apart. Communities recover from floods. The promotion of un-natural unions has an eternal consequence.
(Click for remainder.)

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