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Homo Sex in Colonial America

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

By Larry Kramer
The Huffington Post

No, there was no right word for it that you wanted to use for it if you were doing it. Buggery and sodomy connoted anal penetration and thus were, in many places, punishable by death.

That does not mean that men did not know they were gay (to use today's word), know what to do with their cocks, know when they were smitten with other men, know where to go to find them, know what it meant to get violently rejected, or the reverse, find a friend, in other words, the whole gestalt, to use another of today's terms. A penis has never been something that you pick up and put down and put away idly without consideration.

When both US News and the New Yorker ran pieces on the 400th anniversary of Jamestown in 2007, they were both so annoyingly ignorant of the fact that almost all of its inhabitants were men that I submitted my thoughts to both magazines. US News, which appeared first, of course said No, (they never have liked gays very much), but the New Yorker, which ran their Commemorative Piece a few months later, published the following from my letter to the editor:
"Jamestown was initially an all-male settlement. subsequent years...male colonists outnumbered women by roughly six to one in the 1620's and four to one in later decades... It is difficult to believe that a group of young and notoriously unbridled men remained celibate for an extended period of time. It seems likely that some male settlers deprived of female companionship would have turned to each other instead.

"Settlers in the seventeenth-century Chesapeake often paired off to form all-male households, living and working together. would be truly remarkable if all the male-only partnerships lacked a sexual ingredient...
IT SEEMS REASONABLE TO ASSUME, [my caps and bold], that much of the sex that took place... was sodomitical."

These words are from
Sexual Revolution in Early America, by Richard Godbeer an associate professor at UC Riverside and published by Johns Hopkins.

My own research for my book,
The American People, has revealed that not only were male-only partnerships quite in evidence, but services were often conducted to join the partners "under God," and that, of equal interest, was their adoption of Indian children to raise as their own.

I hope it will not be too much longer before scholars will be able to deal with the fact that Jamestown was in fact not only America's first colony but its first homosexual community.

(Click to remainder.)


Reform in the Age of Plastic

By Sen. Chris Dodd
The Huffington Post

"Consumers, by definition, include us all," said President Kennedy in an address to Congress in 1962. Delivered only four years after the first widely-accepted charge card was issued, he could hardly have imagined the credit card boom to come -- or how much Americans would come to rely on them.

Americans know they have a responsibility to live within their means and to pay what they owe. But they also have a right not to be deceived, misled, or ripped off by unfair and arbitrary credit card industry practices that have become commonplace. That's especially important when one considers how credit card use has expanded in the US.

Today, three-quarters of American households have at least one credit card. And where only about 16 percent of U.S. households used credit cards four decades ago, with fewer than a million merchants accepting them, purchases made with credit and debit cards now outnumber those made with cash and check.

Unfortunately, as the use of credit cards has soared, so too has the list of predatory practices, hidden fees and sudden interest rate hikes to which the industry has increasingly resorted -"any time any reason" interest rate increases, "double cycle billing" that charges interest on balances that the consumer has already paid, deceptive marketing to young people, and skyrocketing penalty interest rates, some as high as 32 percent.

The industry has profited handsomely; between 2007 and 2008, credit card companies raised interest rates on nearly one out of every four accounts -- 70 million cardholders in all who were charged $10 billion in extra interest....(Click for remainder.)


Spanish Investigation Reveals 'An Approved Systematic Plan of Torture' Under Bush

While Obama and the US Congress refuse to hold Bush-era torturers accountable, a Spanish judge fights for accountability and uncovers more US atrocities.

By Jeremy Scahill
Rebel Reports

On Friday, I wrote a piece for AlterNet on how the Obama administration is continuing to use a notorious military police unit at Guantanamo that regularly brutalizes unarmed prisoners, despite Obama’s pledge to uphold the Geneva Convention. This force officially known as the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) has been labelled the “Extreme Repression Force” by Gitmo prisoners. Its members were also characterized as the “Black Shirts of Guantanamo” by human rights lawyer Michael Ratner. The IRF force is “an extrajudicial terror squad that has regularly brutalized prisoners outside of the interrogation room, gang beating them, forcing their heads into toilets, breaking bones, gouging their eyes, squeezing their testicles, urinating on a prisoner’s head, banging their heads on concrete floors and hog-tying them — sometimes leaving prisoners tied in excruciating positions for hours on end.”

There has been very little public attention focused on this force. But, as I noted in my story, this unit could potentially be subjected to legal scrutiny, even if the Congress and Justice Department refuse to do their jobs. That’s because one of the men brutalized by this force is a primary figure in the (largely ignored by the US media) Spanish investigation—a British resident named Omar Deghayes. (See my article, “Little Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama,” for more on this story.)

Deghayes’s torture, including under the IRF Teams at Guantanamo, was highlighted in Spanish Judge Balthazar Garzon’s criminal investigation into the US torture program. A total of five Spanish citizens or residents were held by the US at Guantanamo. Testimony of four of those men is cited by the Spanish investigators. In addition to Deghayes, the men are: Hamed Abderraman Ahmed, Lahcen Ikassrien and Jamiel Abdulatif Al Banna. (An English translation of the Spanish writ was recently released by the Center for Constitutional Rights and can be accessed here.)...(Click for remainder.)


Jeremy Scahill on Democracy Now! Discussing the "Military Thug Squad"


Republicant Disaster--The (Unspoken) Anatomy of the Meltdown

By Frank Schaeffer
The Huffington Post

I was a Republican insider. For instance, the late Jack Kemp was a friend who I often advised on "connecting" with the Religious Right, until I left the Republican Party and the evangelical subculture and slammed the door behind me. During my last call with Jack he hung up on me. (I was backing McCain in 2000 and he was for W.) I want you to understand this context of my "insider's" comments here because they are going to strike you as shocking. So please let me recap some personal history.

My parents and I were the guests of the Reagans, Fords and Bush's in the White House and/or in other private meetings. Jack Kemp was so good a friend that he once interrupted a speech at a fund-raising banquet in Washington that I'd walked into late and walked from the podium to the back of the hall shook my hand introduced me to the assembled Republican leaders, then walked back to the podium and continued his speech. He did this because -- in those days -- I was an important link to the (then) powerful evangelical movement.

I was often in Jack's house with Jack and his wife Joanne who, at that time, was conducting a weekly Bible study group with other congressional wives called the "Schaeffer group," based on my father's books. In those days -- the 1970s and early 80s -- as both a staunch Republican and pro-life leader and the son of the famous evangelist, I was right in the middle of the Republican machine.

Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom -- in the 1970s my family was an integral part of bringing the Republican Party under the sway of the emerging Religious Right, particularly because of our support of the antiabortion movement. It was my father who talked Jerry Falwell into "taking a stand" on the "moral issues" of the day, which then morphed into the Moral Majority. Back in the 70s and early 80s Dad and I both appeared on the 700 Club many times, I preached from Jerry Falwell's pulpit and was the keynote speaker at the Religious Broadcasters and Christian Booksellers Association annual events several years running....(Click for remainder.)


The GOP ♥'s Dick Cheney


Alan Colmes' Spirited Defense of Nancy Pelosi

By Ellen
News Hounds

I got a tip to watch this video of Alan Colmes arguing on behalf of Nancy Pelosi on Fox & Friends over the weekend. The host (I can never tell the two male hosts apart on this show) was so steamrolled that he resorted to changing the subject and prodding Colmes into criticizing Obama's decision to stick with military commissions and withhold the torture photos. And does Colmes look happier these days or what? Video after the jump....(Click for original.)


Ann Coulter Attacks the Faith of Notre Dame Students & Faculty

By Metavirus
Library Grape

The ever-classy Coultergeist speaks out about the lying, Godless heathens at Notre Dame who listened to Obama's national call to ritual infanticide commencement speech:
I don't think he was speaking to people who have any objections to abortion. I think more interesting than watching Obama give a speech for graduation, um, they should have had the administrators of Notre Dame onstage taking a polygraph test on whether they believe in God.

Um, apparently being a professor at a chic Catholic university is a good gig, and you're respected, and you get paid well. But no,
I don't believe these people are serious, genuine, practicing Catholics.
(Click for original.)


Faithist Memes, Religious Privilege, Victimization, and Bad Arguments

By Zack Ford
Zack Ford Blogs

Lately, I have had a couple in-depth conversations with friends of mine who are believers about belief in God.  To their credit, the debates were mature, without so much of the self-victimization and underhanded straw men that believers often use.  But, some were still evident, so I thought I’d write about some of the faithist memes and myths that have been quite prevalent in society lately and my thoughts on them.  These are all “points” that are used to defend and protect religious beliefs.  (For the record, YES, these are generalizations, and if you don’t subscribe to the meme, then I’m not talking about you, and if you do, then YES, I am!)

“It’s true because I believe it.” – The “Truth” Meme.

This might sound like a simple everyday understanding, but it’s definitely a faithist meme.  It’s a suspension of reality.  It’s saying, “It doesn’t matter what else is true, this will always be true because I choose to call it truth.”  Yeah, I said choose.  Belief is a choice.  You choose what you believe, and by the power of this meme, you get to choose your truth.  You see it used as a defense over every social issue.  Fundamentalists say they know what traditional marriage is (even though marriage has changed many times over its history), they know when life begins (even though there is no actual way of objectively determining such a thing), etc.  But they don’t know, there is no truth or fact, they just believe.

What’s really scary about the power of this meme is that it can be used to justify ANYTHING that happens as God’s will.  Hemant wrote this week about the study that concluded intercessory prayer (prayer for others) has no positive effect (and may have even had some negative effect).  Christianity Today twisted this result by claiming:
God seems to have granted favor without regard to either the quantity or even the quality of the prayers…True to his character, God appears inclined to heal and bless as many as possible.
(Click for remainder.)


Insane Clown Prince of Alien Race of Lizard People Sues Blogger

By TBogg
TBogg @ Firedoglake

Stephanie of Teablogging is being sued by teabagging Less Creepy Bill Whittle for going through public records and discovering that the erstwhile teabagger doesn't like to pay his taxes until legal actions are taken against him.

You can read his complaint here (pdf).

Among other things in the complaint,  Leahy is apparently  touchy about being referred to as an "insane clown" as well as being identified as a "member of some alien race of Lizard People".

I.  Am. Not. Making. This. Shit. Up.

His blog is here.

To the best of my knowledge  Michael Patrick Leahy is neither a clown nor is he insane, additionally he is not a member of some alien race of Lizard People, nor does he enjoy letting other men dip their scrotums into his mouth in order to achieve sexual satisfaction.

He's totally going to use me as a character witness....(Click for remainder.)


Larry Wilkerson Blasts Liz Cheney

By Bob Fertik

On May 13, Colin Powell's former chief of staff Col. Larry Wilkerson dropped a bombshell when he accused Dick Cheney of ordering torture for the primary purpose of manufacturing Iraq-al Qaeda lies.

On Sunday, Liz Cheney (a.k.a. "BabyDick" as Marcy Wheeler calls her) smeared Wilkerson for making a "cottage industry" of making up "fantasy stories" about "PapaDick." But Wilkerson didn't run for cover; instead he fired back with gusto last night on Rachel Maddow's show.

If Liz had a brain (which she clearly doesn't), she wouldn't pick a fight with a man who - unlike her five-deferment father - doesn't run from the battlefield. (And former CIA officer Ray McGovern vouches for Wilkerson.)

Stay tuned - this fight could get very interesting if PapaDick chooses to engage Wilkerson (either directly or indirectly) in his speech at AEI on Thursday...

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Q. So you're saying the number 1 priority of those interrogations, of the intelligence direction of those investigations, was to get an Iraq and al-Qaeda link?

A. I'm saying by that time we had done some things that had severely limited al Qaeda's operational reach - not the least of which was to tear them a new rear end in Afghanistan. But we'd done some other very sophisticated things too that had put al Qaeda very much on the defensive. At that point, even though the chatter might have gone up at times, those of us who were really in the business of looking at this, knew the possibility of another attack had receded somewhat. So at that point, as we were building up the march to war with Iraq, it's come to my attention in a number of ways, independently corroborating one another, that our priorities at least were equal if not exceeding the priority to thwart another attack, to find out intelligence that would link al Qaeda with Baghdad, with the Mukhabarat, and give the Administration a lot more weight in its marketing of the war with Iraq when that marketing commenced....(Click for remainder.)


Gallup: Moderates & Liberals Flee GOP

By Jed Lewison
Daily Kos

Gallup is out with an interesting new survey showing where the Republican Party has lost the most ground over the past eight years, and conservatives aren't going to like what it reveals.

The narrative spun by the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys and Dick Cheneys of the world is that the GOP's problem is that it hasn't been conservative enough, and that rather than moderate its policies, the GOP should focus its rebuilding efforts on the party's conservative base.

But the Gallup survey tells a completely different story. According to Gallup, only 1 percent of self-described conservatives have left the Republican Party over the past eight years. In fact, the only group more loyal to Republicans were those who attend church weekly. Meanwhile, even as Republicans held their conservative base together, 9% of moderates and 8% of liberals left the party.

What this means is that virtually all of the GOP's losses have come from liberals and moderates fleeing the party, leaving behind a party that is even more conservative than it was before.

It may please them to hear Cheney or Limbaugh say that turning right is the way out of the political wilderness, but sooner or later, they will realize that the only way back into the political mainstream is to jettison the extreme conservatism espoused by growing numbers of Republicans.

For now, however, they are stuck on conservatism, with party leaders like Michael Steele buying into the idea that all Republicans need to do is be more conservative. They need look no further this Gallup survey to realize the foolishness of their approach.

(Click for original.)


Jesse Ventura Slams Sean Hannity, Who Actually Says America is 'Better Off' After George Bush!

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

Jesse Ventura has been going on TV a lot lately because he's promoting his new book, but he's been littering the airwaves with the carcasses of dead conservative talking points when it comes to the topic of torture and George Bush.

Elisabeth Hasslebeck had had the misfortune of trying to tackle Ventura earlier on The View, and had been exposed for the moron she is, especially on torture. So Ventura was on "Hannity" last night and much the same kind of complete and utter smackdown proceeded.

Best of all, get this: Sean Hannity thinks America is better off after George Bush instead of before. I'm serious. I'll do a Conservative/Pelosi impression on him and say that he's either a very sick man mentally a complete liar, a hairpiece hag or all three.

Hannity also did his teleprompter bit on Obama. Here's just a few of Hannity's insane ramblings (buckle up, it's a rough ride). Sean tried his best to get Jesse to bite on the "Bush inherited a rescession" bit -- which, um, didn't go very well....(Click for remainder.)


Asshat Joe Scarborough: Unhinged Torture Apologist

By Heather

Crooks and Liars

I think Joe Scarborough is attempting to make his show almost as unwatchable as Fox News. First he decides to attack Jesse Ventura for his comments on The View:
SCARBOROUGH: Perhaps Jesse should stop smoking whatever Jesse's been smoking and keep his mouth shut about things he knows absolutely nothing about. This is a guy who, by the way -- I must continue to say this -- that got paid two million dollars by this network, did one show and sucked so bad that they sent him back to Minnesota and said "we never want to see you again."

I wish I was that bad. Perhaps I am. Maybe they'll fire me and I'll take my money and go to Florida. [...] Seriously, that's the sort of stupidity -- it's just -- it should seriously be a crime to be that dumb and on TV. [mocking Jesse's voice] We only waterboard Muslims. Oh God.

Let's bring in Rudy Giuliani. Former Republican mayor of New York City, former presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani. This seems like a great place to start. [begin douchey sarcastic voice] Why is it that people like Jesse Ventura are so concerned about how we treat people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Why is that?

(Click for remainder.)


Michael "Savage" Weiner Attacks: "Rush Limbaugh is a Fraud"

By Media Matters


Ventura's Smashdown Tour Continues, With Yellow Elephant Kilmeade the Latest Victim

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Jesse Ventura's been making the rounds lately by taking on all comers on the issue of torture, which has left little quivering wingnuts like Joe Scarborough having to resort to attacking him out of his immediate presence.

Because as Brian Kilmeade of Fox and Friends found out this morning, doing so in person can be extremely unpleasant. Especially if you try pulling the lamestain right-wing crap we've gotten accustomed to, namely, accusing their interlocutors of not wanting to keep us safe, you're not patriotic enough, blah blah blah.

That's what Kilmeade tries pulling right off the bat, and it makes for possibly the best of the Ventura smackdowns yet:
Ventura: I have been waterboarded. It is torture. I can speak from experience. It was part of SERE training that I went through as a Navy SEAL.

Kilmeade: And are you OK now?

Ventura: I'm fine.

Kilmeade: So is Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He's about 60 pounds overweight, having a great time --

Ventura: It doesn't matter. If it was OK, then why don't we do it to criminals? Like, if we've got gang members in L.A., OK? We know that their gangs are gonna do bad things. When we arrest them, why don't we waterboard them so we can get information out of them? Because it's against the law.

Kilmeade: Do you want us not to be safe from attack?

Ventura: Don't come after me with that nonsense.

(Click for original.)


The Assault on Powell's Aide Wilkerson

Consortium News

Liz Cheney, Dick Cheney's daughter, has accused Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell at the State Department, of creating a "cottage industry" by making up "fantasy stories" about her father.

However, retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern said he’s interviewed Wilkerson and knows how solid the former colonel was in his criticism of how the Bush administration distorted the intelligence to justify invading Iraq.

(Click for remainder.)


Mormon Utah State Rep. Says John Huntsman Will try to Convert China to the Mormon Cult

By John Aravosis

Well this should go over well. As the Utah state representative explained in a Web posting that was quickly removed - unfortunately for him, Google lives on - soon to be US Ambassador to China, Republican governor of Utah Jon Huntsman, himself a Mormon, is under ecclesiastical mandate to proselytize to the Chinese when he goes to there to be Obama's ambassador. He has no choice.

Let Huntsman deny it. Let Obama deny it. It doesn't matter. Our next Ambassador to China will be using his post to try to convert the Chinese to Mormonism, and more generally, to let the Mormons into China where they can then run around the country and spread their ideology.

I suspect the Chinese, not know for their tolerance of dissident groups trying to indoctrinate their people, are going to flip.

Here is what the Utah state rep. wrote:

This is a big deal for the Governor, Utah, the United States, and…the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

Although the LDS church’s missionary program has an ecclesiastical presence throughout many parts of the world, the countries with the largest population bases (China and India) are not currently open to the church’s missionary efforts. Huntsman served his LDS mission as a 19 year old young man in the Taiwan Taipei Mission in the early 1980’s. He has since been back to the Far East on a number of occasions. Huntsman not only takes to China his political acumen but also a lifetime of membership in the LDS church. This should bode well for the LDS church’s mission to spread the gospel throughout the world, since all members of the LDS faith are under divine mandate to…”Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…” (Matt 28:19)

Huntsman’s ambassadorship not only puts him in an excellent position to address US-China relations, it puts him in an even better position to teach the gospel…in Mandarin.
(Click for remainder.)



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