Saturday, October 12, 2013

More Saturday Male Beauty

Los Angeles Tmes Bans Letters from Climate Change Deniers

In a move that hopefully will spread to other media outlets, the Los Angeles Times has announced that it will no longer publish letters to the editor authored by climate change deniers.  The policy needs to also extend to anti-gay bigots who knowingly spout lies and untruths to support their religious based bigotry.  Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but that does not mean that media outlets have to provide a platform for such lies and bigotry, especially when modern knowledge and science makes it clear that the claims of such people is not only false, but often deliberately false.  Here are highlights from the Times' editorial announcing the new policy:

A piece this weekend debunking the claim that Congress and the president are exempted from Obamacare has drawn a harsh reaction from some readers and conservative bloggers. But their umbrage wasn't with the piece's explanation of why letters making this claim do not get published.

Rather, they were upset by the statement that letters "[saying] there's no sign humans have caused climate change" do not get printed. Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters blogged about it over the weekend:

"It's one thing for a news outlet to advance the as yet unproven theory of anthropogenic global warming; it's quite another to admit that you won't publish views that oppose it.
"As amazing as it may seem, that's exactly what the Los Angeles Times did Saturday in an article by editorial writer Jon Healey....

"So letters to the editor 'that say there's no sign humans have caused climate change ... do not get printed.'

As for letters on climate change, we do get plenty from those who deny global warming. And to say they "deny" it might be an understatement: Many say climate change is a hoax, a scheme by liberals to curtail personal freedom.

[W]hen deciding which letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I must rely on the experts -- in other words, those scientists with advanced degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review.

And those scientists have provided ample evidence that human activity is indeed linked to climate change. Just last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- a body made up of the world's top climate scientists -- said it was 95% certain that we fossil-fuel-burning humans are driving global warming. The debate right now isn't whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what this evidence means for us.

Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published. Saying "there's no sign humans have caused climate change" is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy.
Memo to MSNBC and CNN:  Pleas stop giving Tony Perkins and other hate group mouth pieces a forum.  They are not stating opinions.  They are stating outright lies and factual inaccuracies (and they know that they are) and you need to stop giving them any semblance of legitimacy by allowing them on the air.  If they want to dissemiate their groups' lies and hate base prejudice, let them pay for airtime.  Or appear only on Fox News, a/k/a "Faux News" on this blog.  Providing them a form only diminishes your own legitimacy and claims to legitimate journalism!  Yes, they provide sensationalism.  But so do mindless reality shows.


A Successful Event for Mark Herring - Moving Virginia Foreward

L to R: Yours truly, Mark Herring and the Vice President of on Democrat Party of Virginia

Today was an extreme busy day, the highlight of which was an event that the boyfriend and I hosted at our home for Democrat Attorney General Candidate Mark Herring.  No matter what the issue, Mark Herring is on the future facing side of the issue while his opponent Mark Obenshain wants to drag Virginia back to a mythical 1950's era that never really existed.  And to the extent that Obenshain's vision of the 1950's did exist, it was a time of subjugation and inferiority for far too many people, particularly gays, women and non-whites.

Once the crowd left the event, it was a quick dinner with friends visiting from out of town at the Hampton Yacht Club and then back home to finish the clean up from the political event,  Tomorrow we leave on a cruise to the Bahamas and neither of us has packed the first piece of clothing!  As always, I will be paying for satellite Internet to tend to things at the law firm and to post as often as possible on this blog.

Saturday Male Beauty

Steve R. McQueen - yes, THAT Steve Mcqueen's grandson.

Today's GOP is a Train Wreck

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker has apparently strayed off the reservation and missed the de rigueur imbibing of of Kool-Aid mandated by the Tea Party  and Christofascists who now control the Republican Party.  Would that she would finally jump ship and side with sanity and rational though once and for all.  In a column Parker rightly describes today's GOP as a train wreck and endorses throwing some of the lunatic faction - think Ted Cruz, et al - overboard in order to save the GOP ship.  Here are some column highlights:

In trying to understand the Republican Party’s internal battles, it helps to think of Michael and Sonny.  Corleone, that is.

On one side we have Sonny, the hotheaded, impulsive, shoot-now-take-names-later son of Don Corleone. On Capitol Hill, he personifies the tea party followers who would rather die on principle than live to win a later day.

On the other side, we have Michael, the cooler-headed son and intellectual strategist. On the Hill, Michael represents the so-called establishment legislators who understand the way forward but thus far have been reluctant to pull the trigger.

Before action, however, there should be a plan, which has been demonstrably missing in recent weeks.

Remember the “train wreck” that Republicans kept promising? Well, guess what. It’s happening.

[A]lmost two weeks after the government shutdown, polls are showing a shift in Democrats’ favor. Not only do fewer Americans view Republicans in a positive light (28 percent, according to Gallup) but they’re becoming more , not less, approving of Obamacare. While Republicans were nudging the can up the road on the debt ceiling, approval for Obamacare leapt up 7 points, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll .

Great job, Teddy!  That would be Ted Cruz, the Texas senator . . . . Cruz is neither Michael nor Sonny but the star of his own movie. He’s Ted bin Laden — the guy who hands out suicide vests and then goes to lunch. 

What needs to happen is for certain parties to become wiser and to absorb this simple truth: You cannot govern if you cannot win.

Tea party warriors may prefer to perish on principle, but perish they will. And, if something doesn’t change fast and soon, the fear is that they’ll take down GOP control of the House with them. Forget the Senate in 2014. And forget the White House for the foreseeable future. 

Unless, that is, the hard-right suicide flame-throwers can be neutralized or converted. The latter isn’t likely when the echo chamber cheers them on, and while organizations such as Heritage Action are grading legislators on their “conservative” performance. The threat of facing a primary challenge in their districts from someone even loonier keeps many in lockstep with Sonny.

Thus, the only alternative is a systematic, strategic purge of the GOP’s Sonny side. (Sonny Side Down?) Rational conservatives who understand that governing requires compromise, not just “winning,” need to form their own groups to first protect their reasonable legislators and then actively recruit and elect strong, likable candidates who can win general elections. They need to create their own scorecards to grade the obstructionists.

Storming the barricades may be fine at times, but it’s helpful also to have a plan. Remember the day after shock and awe? Now what? This is essentially where the GOP finds itself today. It shut down the government — and now what? It tried to defund the un-defundable (Obamacare was already funded), and now people are gravitating toward the train wreck.  

Now what? Painful though it may be to witness, it may be time for Sonny to take a drive through the toll plaza. Maybe he could give Ted bin Laden a lift. (That’s a metaphor, too.)

What Parker says is largely on point.  Will anyone in the GOP listen?  Probably not.  Meanwhile, I hope  Parker has a flak jacket and isn't easily worried by death threats which will likely come from the "godly Christian" base of the GOP.

Mark Obenshain: a Self-Described Successor to Cuccinelli; Vote for Mark Herring

GOP attorney general candidate Mark Obenshain has continued to run extremely disingenuous folksy and family focused ads seeking to foll Virginians into falsely believing that he's a nice guy.  What Virginians really need to know is that Obenshain has himself said he would be a successor to Ken Cuccinelli's extreme ideological agenda if elected to the office of attorney general.  Like Cuccinelli, Obenshain supports a personhood amendment and introduced a bill to criminalize women having miscarriages who failed to notify police within 24 hours.  It doesn't get much more extreme.  If gays, women,  minorities and non-climate change deniers want more of Cuccinelli's lunacy and efforts to police their bedrooms, then Obenshain is their man.  On the other hand, if you support individual freedoms, modernity and rational though as opposed to religious extremism, then you need to get out and vote for Mark Herring.  Moreover, you need to encourage everyone you know to vote for Herring as well.  The Washington Post looks at the real Obenshain, which ought to make sane individuald run screaming away from him.  Here are highlights:

The race to succeed Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II pits a Republican who has been philosophically in step with the incumbent against a Democrat who says he’d head in the opposite direction.

State Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) faces Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) in the low-profile but consequential contest.

The attorney general’s race is always overshadowed by the one for governor, and this year’s slugfest between the departing Cuccinelli (R) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe (D) has had no trouble dominating the Virginia political scene. 

But the attorney general’s race will decide who serves as the commonwealth’s top lawyer, presiding over a 400-employee public law firm that reviews, interprets and defends Virginia law. The contest also could help determine who’s at the top of the ticket four years from now, given that the last six attorneys general have run for governor . . .

On the campaign trail, as in the ornate Senate chamber, they have had sharp philosophical disagreements on matters ranging from Medicaid expansion to gay rights. 

Herring, also a lawyer in private practice, has sought to make the campaign largely about Cuccinelli, a social conservative who developed a national reputation for his battles against the federal government, a university climate scientist and a public colleges with policies that protect gay people from discrimination. Herring has said that Obenshain is likely to take the attorney general’s office further down that activist path, one that he says has made Virginia a less appealing place to do business.

“Time and again, he has bent and twisted the law and misused and abused the power of the office in order to advance personal ambition and an extreme ideological agenda,” Herring said of Cuccinelli in the debate. “Senator Obenshain would be a continuation of what we’ve got.”

When it comes to his own record, Herring has highlighted his sponsorship of legislation to strengthen penalties in domestic violence cases . . . . . He has also stressed his support for a $1.4 billion-a-year transportation funding overhaul passed this year, which Obenshain opposed.
Those in Hampton Roads and Noerhtern Virginia should be most concerned about Obenshain's anti-transportation mind set.  As in the gubernatorial race, the choice could not be more stark.  Obenshain's base consists of  those motivated by reaction against modernity, reaction against racial demographic change, reaction against the larger population’s rejection of a fear- and hate-based version of Christianity, and reaction against the decline of white privilege.  We need Mark Herring, not Mark Obenshain to be the next attorney general of Virginia.

Friday, October 11, 2013

More Friday Male Beauty

Click image to enlarge

GOP Voters and Business Interests Abandoning Congressional Republicans

I am asked at times why, if I write an LGBT blog, I concentrate on trashing the Republican Party so often.   The answer is simple.  The GOP has aligned itself with the most vicious and nasty of the anti-gay far right and heinous Christofascist hate groups - e.g., check out the parade of GOP members of Congress through the Values Voter Summit in D.C. this weekend - with the result that exposing the lies and hypocrisy is part and parcel with exposing the lies and hypocrisy of the enemies of LGBT rights and equality.  And, therefore, the lower the GOP falls, the better the prospects for advances in LGBT rights and equality.  But I digress.  It seems that the cretins rocket scientists not in the Tea Party never factored in the reality that they and their agenda might be radioactive with normal (translate sane) GOP voters and the business interests that have historically helped bankroll the Republican Party.  You know things are bad when even Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is dishing the Congressional GOP. As Think Progress reports, the fever ridden swamp that is today's GOP base is driving away GOP voters and business interests.  Here are excepts:

As the government shutdown enters its eleventh day and the nation races towards a possible default, a growing number of Republican lawmakers, leaders, and voters are publicly blaming Congressional Republicans for the budget impasse. Though they fault President Obama for failing to negotiate with Congress, as the public mood sours, some within the GOP are hurriedly distancing themselves from the mess in Washington.

“It’s time for someone to act like a grown-up in this process,” former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) told the Associated Press. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) agreed, remarking on Monday that “This is not how we should operate. It shouldn’t be about people fighting and yelling.’ “The bottom line is we need that money in our economy to save rural hospitals and jobs in the rural areas,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) told the Arizona Daily Star on Thursday, criticizing the GOP’e effort to defund the Affordable Care Act. 

The criticism comes as an Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday showed that “three-quarters of Republicans nationally said their party in Congress deserves a moderate degree or most of the blame for the shutdown” and a NBC/Wall Street Journal survey reported that just 24 percent of Americans now have a favorable view of Republicans — the lowest figure in the poll’s history.
In yet another sign of trouble for the GOP, business interests are also showing signs of discontent, signaling a possible rift with Republicans ahead of the 2014 mid-term elections. 

Iowa Republicans “are recruiting a pro-business Republican to challenge six-term conservative Rep. Steve King (R), a leader in the push to defund the health care law,” the Associated Press reports and party establishment leaders in Michigan are threatening to recruit and fund challengers to Rep. Justin Amash (R) and other Tea Party aligned candidates.

A report released earlier this week found that the shutdown is disproportionately affecting Republican-leaning states like Virginia, Alaska, and Alabama, which have higher concentrations of federal employees and federal contracts. 

I continue to urge Virginia voters to send a resounding message to the Congressional Republicans by voting a straight Democrat ticket on November 5, 2013 and send the GOP statewide slate down in a landslide defeat.

Cuccinelli Continues to Bring In Lunatic Extremists for Campaign Events

One of Ken Cuccinelli's big problem is that his extreme record both in the Virginia Senate and as Attorney General has been viewed increasingly negative by Virginia voters.  The Terry McAuliffe campaign has, in my view, properly done all they can to educate the public about the real Ken Cuccinelli.  The result?  56% of likely voters view Cuccinelli negatively.  So what does Cuccinelli do?  He brings in far right lunatics and theocrats to campaign for him, thus confirming everything the McAuliffe campaign has disseminated to voters.  Cuccinelli's list of imported nutcases which ranges from the baby factory Duggar family to Ted Cruz to now, Mike Huckabee.  That's right, the same Mike Huckabee who stated on Morning Joe back in 2008 that he wanted the Bible to replace the United States Constitution as the governing template for the American government.  That's right, he advocated for the overthrow of the Constitution.  And this is who Cuccinelli imports to prove he's "mainstream."  Blue Virginia looks at this delusional effort by Cuccinelli.  Here are highlights:
Just when you think there aren't any more extremist freaks left to campaign for Ken Cuccinelli - Mark Levin, Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, the Duggars, etc. - another one pops up. Now, it's Mike Huckabee. Why do I call Mike Huckabee an extremist freak? Let us count the ways.

*"Mike Huckabee is strongly opposed to abortion, including in cases of rape or incest

*"Huckabee stated in 1992, 'I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk'...Huckabee said that legalizing same-sex marriage would 'be like saying, well, there are a lot of people who like to use drugs so let's go ahead and accommodate those who want to use drugs. There are some people who believe in incest, so we should accommodate them. There are people who believe in polygamy, should we accommodate them?'"
*"Huckabee has voiced his support of intelligent design and he has stated that he does not accept the validity of Darwin's theory of evolution." 

*Last but not least, Huckabee is climate science denier, for instance falsely (and bizarrely) claiming that "[t]he volcano that erupted over in Northern Europe actually poured more CO2 into the air in that single act of nature than all of humans have in something like the past 100 years." 

 In sum, Mike Huckabee is a right-wing extremist and stark-raving mad. Which, come to think of it, means he will get along superbly well with Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson and Mark Obenshain. 
My late mother used to tell me as a child that I needed to be judicious about who I had as friends because I would be judged by the company you keep.  In Cuccinelli's case, the company he keeps underscores that he's both batshit crazy and a religious fanatic. He is, in fact, everything negative that the McAuliffe campaign says he is.  My advice to Cuccinelli (besides coming out of the closet) is that he needs to step outside of the Fox News/Christofasict bubble and touch base with objective reality.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Four Legal Battles that May Cost Cuccinelli the Governorship

Ken Cuccinelli is running hard - from his own record both in the Virginia Senate and as Attorney General.  He is trying to fool the gullible into believing that he's actually a moderate concerned about "all Virginians" rather than an extremist ideologue who has always pandered to the most extreme and ugly elements in Virginia.  Four of his delusional lawsuits as Attorney General make this task of hiding his record harder.  One, of course, is his failed quest to reinstate Virginia's sodomy laws which has garnered news coverage across Virginia and America.  But it's not the only lawsuit effort that underscores Cuccinelli's extremism.  A piece in Talking Points Memo looks at the lawsuits that may ultimately come back to bite him and help sink Cuccinelli's gubernatorial run.  Here are highlights:

Abortion Clinic Regulations: On Wednesday, a Virginia judge ruled that a lawsuit, brought by the Falls Church Healthcare Center over Virginia's strict new abortion clinic regulations, could go forward. The laws (often referred to as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP, laws) require clinics to meet some of the same standards as some hospitals. Though the bill was signed into law by current Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), Cuccinelli was instrumental in its strict implementation.

The case is unlikely to help Cuccinelli with women voters, where he has a double-digit deficit. McAuliffe's campaign has aggressively sought to portray the attorney general as "anti-woman." The lawsuit is likely to only aid that depiction.

Anti-Sodomy Law: On Monday, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling on Virginia's anti-sodomy law. Cuccinelli's office claimed that its pursuit of the case was about "using current law to protect a 17 year-old girl from a 47 year-old sexual predator," but they failed to mention that as a state legislator, he had opposed efforts in 2004 to reform the state's Crimes Against Nature law to only apply to "public sex, sex with minors, and prostitution."

When when the case was taken up in court, the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the law was unconstitutional, citing the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision.

The ruling reminded voters of his previous anti-LGBT polices, including arguing that colleges and universities in the state didn't have the legal authority to enact anti-discrimination policies for LGBT students. This is particularly bad timing for Cuccinelli since a July poll found that a majority of Virginians support same-sex marriage. 

Voter Suppression: Last week, Virginia's Democratic Party filed a legal complaint against the Virginia state elections board, arguing that Cuccinelli and McDonnell have wrongfully purged as many 50,000 registered voters from state rolls prior in advance of the November gubernatorial election.

Climate Change: Though climate change and the environment have flown a bit under the radar in the gubernatorial campaign, Cuccinelli is also on the defensive on these issues. He has been haunted by an investigation over a climate scientist at the University of Virginia.

McAullife's campaign has also campaigned against Cuccinelli on this. The campaign released an attack ad titled "Witch Hunt" that says Cuccinelli used taxpayer funds to conduct the investigation. The McAuliffe campaign is using the investigation to paint Cuccinelli as a partisan bully and eccentric climate denier.

Virginians need to be aware of Cuccinelli's extremism and bad judgment.  Cuccinelli has been all too happy to take up the cause of religious fanatics and white supremacists and I for one hope it all comes back to bite him in the ass big time.

The Republican Party Is Out of Control

In follow up to the theme of the last post, a column in the Washington Post asks the question of how America got to the point of one of its major political parties threatening to destroy not only America's economy, but to also throw the entire globe into a possible economic depression.  The column looks at the extreme ideology of the new GOP base but only indirectly lays the blame properly at the feet of the Christofascists, white supremacists, and obscenely greed such as the Koch brothers who hide their real identities under the Tea Party label (85% of the Tea Party consists of "conservative" Christians = Christofascists).  What's most frightening is that the GOP's extremism will be hard to cure since we are not talking about dealing with rational individuals.  Here are excerpts:

In trying to explain how Washington got into its current mess, some have focused on ideology. Pundits and politicians note that the country has become more polarized, as have the political parties, particularly the GOP. That diagnosis is accurate, but another distinctive cause of today’s crisis might have even more long-lasting effects: the collapse of authority, especially within the Republican Party, which means threats and crises might be the new normal for American politics.

Speaker John Boehner, by contrast, is following rather than leading. In the 1990s, the crisis proved easier to resolve because Gingrich had the power to speak for his side. Boehner, by contrast, worries that, were he to make a deal, he would lose his job. And he is right to be worried: Tea party members repeatedly warn Boehner not to cut a deal on Obamacare, the budget or immigration.

The tea party is a grass-roots movement of people deeply dissatisfied with the United States’ social, cultural and economic evolution over several decades.

They see themselves as insurgents within the GOP, not loyal members. The breakdown of party discipline coupled with the rise of an extreme ideology are the twin forces propelling the current crisis. 

This explains why the Republican Party has seemed so unresponsive to its traditional power bases, such as big business. Part of the problem is that businesses have been slow to recognize just how extreme the tea party is.  (They remain stuck in an older narrative, in which their great fear is Democrats with ties to unions.)

The GOP used to be a party that believed in hierarchy. . . .  today, the Republicans are dominated by the tea party, which has no organized structure, no platform, no hierarchy and no leader.

At some point — probably after electoral defeat — Republicans might come to their senses.  . . . The design of the American political system allows many opportunities for gridlock and paralysis, and these will only multiply unless there is a dramatic change.

Unfortunately, I am not counting on the GOP base to easily change.  The issues that are fueling the Tea Party - reaction against modernity,  reaction against racial demographic change, reaction against the larger population's rejection of a fear and hate based version of Christianity, and reaction against the decline of white privilege - are only going to intensify.  The solution?  We may have to wait for many of the Tea Party members (who tend to be older) die off or decline to a smaller and smaller percentage of the population.  The question then becomes, how much damage and destruction these people can cause in the interim.

What Happens if the Debt Limit Isn't Increased? Nothing Good

The reality deniers in the Republican Party- i.e., the same people who get their news from Fox News and think Michele Bachmann is brilliant -  are now trying to argue that there will be no serious consequences if America's debt limit is not increased and the nation defaults on its debts.  Yes, it is lunacy, but that is what passes as intelligent thought in today's GOP where mental illness or a lobotomy are increasingly prerequisites for party membership.  Nobel Prize winning columnist Paul Krugman has a piece in the New York Times that looks at what the REAL consequences would be as opposed to the opinions issuing from the GOP fantasy world.  Here are column highlights:

So what are the choices if we do hit the ceiling? As you might guess, they’re all bad, so the question is which bad choice would do the least harm. . . . . What would a general default look like?

A report last year from the Treasury Department suggested that hitting the debt ceiling would lead to a “delayed payment regime”: bills, including bills for interest due on federal debt, would be paid in the order received, as cash became available. Since the bills coming in each day would exceed cash receipts, this would mean falling further and further behind. And this could create an immediate financial crisis, because U.S. debt — heretofore considered the ultimate safe asset — would be reclassified as an asset in default, possibly forcing financial institutions to sell off their U.S. bonds and seek other forms of collateral. 

[M]any people — especially, but not only, Republican-leaning economists — have suggested that the Treasury Department could instead “prioritize”: It could pay off bonds in full, so that the whole burden of the cash shortage fell on other things. And by “other things,” we largely mean Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which account for the majority of federal spending other than defense and interest. 

Some advocates of prioritization seem to believe that everything will be O.K. as long as we keep making our interest payments. Let me give four reasons they’re wrong. 

First, the U.S. government would still be going into default, failing to meet its legal obligations to pay.

Second, prioritizing interest payments would reinforce the terrible precedent we set after the 2008 crisis, when Wall Street was bailed out but distressed workers and homeowners got little or nothing. We would, once again, be signaling that the financial industry gets special treatment because it can threaten to shut down the economy if it doesn’t. 

Third, the spending cuts would create great hardship if they go on for any length of time. Think Medicare recipients turned away from hospitals because the government isn’t paying claims. 

Finally, while prioritizing might avoid an immediate financial crisis, it would still have devastating economic effects. We’d be looking at an immediate spending cut roughly comparable to the plunge in housing investment after the bubble burst, a plunge that was the most important cause of the Great Recession of 2007-9. That by itself would surely be enough to push us into recession.
And it wouldn’t end there. As the U.S. economy went into recession, tax receipts would fall sharply, and the government, unable to borrow, would be forced into a second round of spending cuts, . . . . we could still be looking at a slump worse than the Great Recession. 

Many legal experts think there is another option: One way or another, the president could simply choose to defy Congress and ignore the debt ceiling. 

Wouldn’t this be breaking the law? Maybe, maybe not — opinions differ. But not making good on federal obligations is also breaking the law. And if House Republicans are pushing the president into a situation where he must break the law no matter what he does, why not choose the version that hurts America least? 

There would, of course, be an uproar, and probably many legal challenges — although if I were a Republican, I’d worry about, in effect, filing suit to stop the government from paying seniors’ hospital bills. Still, as I said, there are no good choices here.
How did the GOP become so insane?  The Christofascists.  These people live truly in a mythical fantasy world and deny objective reality, reject knowledge and science, etc. And now they control the base of the GOP.  Barry Goldwater was right:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

More Thursday Male Beauty

How Racism Caused The Government Shutdown

I grew up through high school in Central New York State (Syracuse area) and did not come to Virginia until I started going to college at the University of Virginia literally only a few years after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Loving v. Virginia.  At the time, in many ways I felt like I had moved to a foreign land, especially on issues of race and how blacks were treated.  Thankfully, over the last 40+ years, things have changed in many parts of Virginia and other parts of the Deep South.  But in other areas of the South, things have changed very little.  Visit Martinsville, Virginia and many parts of Southern states ranging from Alabama to Kentucky, and the mindset has changed little from that evidenced by far too many whites displayed in the book and movie, The Help.  What does this have to do with the GOP's forcing of the federal government shutdown?  A lengthy piece in Think Progress (it is worth a full read) lays out the case that racism - and not just against Barack Obama - that underlies the behavior of today's GOP which has become a party dominated by reactionary Southerners.  Here are highlights:
This isn’t an article about how Republicans shut down the government because they hate that the President is black. This is an article about how racism caused the government to shut down and the U.S. to teeter on the brink of an unprecedented and catastrophic default.

I understand if you’re confused. A lot of people think the only way that racism “causes” anything is when one person intentionally discriminates against another because of their color of their skin. But that’s wrong. And understanding the history of the forces that produced the current crisis will lay plain the more subtle, but fundamental, ways in which race and racism formed the scaffolding that structures American politics — even as explicit battles over race receded from our daily politics.

The roots of the current crisis began with the New Deal — but not in the way you might think. They grew gradually, with two big bursts in the 1960s and the 1980s reflecting decades of more graduated change. And the tree that grew out of them, the Tea Party and a radically polarized Republican Party, bore the shutdown as its fruits.

In 1938, Sen. Josiah W. Bailey (D-NC) filibustered his own party’s bill. Well, part of his party — Northern Democrats, together with Northern Republicans, were pushing an federal anti-lynching bill. Bailey promised that Southern Democrats would teach “a lesson which no political party will ever again forget” to their Northern co-partisans if they “come down to North Carolina and try to impose your will upon us about the Negro:”
Just as when the Republicans in the [1860s] undertook to impose the national will upon us with respect to the Negro, we resented it and hated that party with a hatred that has outlasted generations; we hated it beyond measure; we hated it more than was right for us and more than was just; we hated it because of what it had done to us, because of the wrong it undertook to put upon us; and just as that same policy destroyed the hope of the Republican party in the South, that same policy adopted by the Democratic party will destroy the Democratic party in the South.
Bailey’s rage at the affront to white supremacy was born of surprise. Until 1932, the South had dominated the Democratic Party, which had consistently stood for the South’s key regional regional interest — keeping blacks in literal or figurative fetters — since before the Civil War.

But the Depression-caused backlash against Republican incumbents that swept New Yorker Franklin Roosevelt into the White House and a vast Democratic majority into Congress also made Southerners a minority in the party for the first time in its history.
[T]he New Deal not only benefited blacks, but brought them to a position of power in the Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, “the GOP’s ties with chambers of commerce, manufacturers’ associations, real estate groups, farm lobbies, and other organizations opposed to the increased government oversight of private enterprise that would come with fair employment and other civil rights legislation encouraged the GOP’s drift toward racial conservatism.”

Republican economic libertarianism, together with its gradual embrace of traditionally Southern “states rights” arguments to as weapons in the war on the New Deal, set the stage for the eventual white flight from the Democratic Party.

And Southern Democrats, without whose votes the New Deal never could have happened, were willing to sacrifice their commitment to economic liberalism on the altar of white supremacy.
Hence the famous Dixiecrat revolt of 1948, when Strom Thurmond and likeminded Southerners temporarily seceded from the Democratic Party over Harry Truman and the Democratic platform’s support for civil rights. The tacit bargain that Katznelson documents during the Roosevelt Administration, in which the Northern Democrats would get their New Deal if the Southern Democrats got their white supremacy, became untenable.

But the Dixiecrats weren’t ready to migrate en masse to Party of Lincoln just yet. Something needed to happen to make the Republican Party shed its commitment to leading on civil rights wholesale. That “something” was the rise of the modern conservative movement.

[I]t wasn’t until Barry Goldwater and the rise of the modern conservative movement that this marriage was formally consummated. Goldwater lost all but six states — Arizona, his home, and five Deep South states. It was the first time the GOP had prevailed at the presidential level in the South in the party’s history. Republicans have held the South since..

By the Johnson-Goldwater election, it had become clear that overt racism and segregationism was politically doomed. Brown v. Board of Education and LBJ’s support for the 1964 Civil Rights Act saw to that. As this scary recognition dawned on Southern whites, they began searching for a new vehicle through which to shield themselves and their communities from the consequences of integration. The young conservative movement’s ringing endorsement of a minimalist federal government did the trick  . . . 

These “rights” included “the ‘right’ to select their neighbors, their employees, and their children’s classmates, the ‘right’ to do as they pleased with their private property and personal businesses, and, perhaps, most important, the ‘right’ to remain free from what they saw as dangerous encroachments by the federal government.”

Kruse traces this language through white resistance to desegregation from the 40s through the 60s, using a detailed examination of “white flight” in Atlanta as a synecdoche. In the end, he finds, “the struggle over segregation thoroughly reshaped southern conservatism…segregationist resistance inspired the creation of new conservative causes, such as tuition vouchers, the tax revolt, and the privatization of public services.” The concomitant rise of the modern conservative movement and the civil rights movements’ victories conspired to make Southern whites into economic, and not just racial, conservatives.

The more politically active blacks became, their data suggest, the more whites flocked to conservative Republicans as a counter. So from 1964 on, conservative white Southerners voted against Democrats at the presidential level. But the en masse formal switch in party identification until Reagan.

We all know what happens next. The Southern conservative takeover of the Republican Party pushes out moderates, cementing the party’s conservative spiral. This trend produces the Tea Party, whose leading contemporary avatar — Ted Cruz — engineers the 2013 shutdown and risk of catastrophic default.

So we can draw a tentatively straight line between the last 80 years of racial politics and this week’s political crisis. Aside from being an interesting point of history, what does that tell us?
First, that the shutdown crisis isn’t the product of passing Republican insanity or, as President Obama put it, a “fever” that needs to be broken. Rather, the sharp conservative turn of the Republican Party is the product of deep, long-running structural forces in American history.
Second, and more importantly, the battle over civil rights produced a rigidly homogenous and disproportionately Southern Republican party, fertile grounds for the sort of purity contest you see consuming the South today.

One 2005 study that measured racial animus found that Southern whites were “more racially conservative than whites elsewhere on every measure of racial attitudes ordinarily used in national surveys.” And Obamacare is a racially polarized issue. Brown University’s Michael Tesler found, in 2010, that there was an astonishing 20 point higher racial gap on health policy in 2009 than there was in the early 90s. In Tesler’s experiments, subjects’ responses to statements about health policy were “significantly more racialized” when the statement was attributed to President Obama than President Clinton. So it’d be implausible, to put it mildly, to say that modern racism has nothing to do with the shutdown fight.
As someone  who has lived in the South for 40+ years and who spent close to a decade involved in the Republican Party, I believe this analysis is 100% on point.  Racism and religious extremism - these folks STILL use the Bible to justify segregation - are indeed the under currents that have driven the GOP to its current insane state.  Having a black man in the White House has only made the extremism and racism bubble to open view more fully.

A Desperate Cuccinelli Seeks to Block Sarvis from Final debate

Fearing that he could not win a primary contest against Bill Bolling where not Christofascists and Tea Party lunatics would not be able to out number the declining sane members of the Republican Party, Ken Cuccinelli mounted a coup earlier in the year to shift the nominating process to a state convention that guaranteed an extremist/Cuccinelli victory.  Now, with the final gubernatorial debate close at hand, Cuccinelli is trying to torpedo participation by Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis.  Why?  Because, Cuccinelli has rightly determined that the better Sarvis does on November 5, 2013, the worse Cuccinelli will do.  Actually, Cuccinelli's tactics mirror those of the GOP as a whole: If you can't win voters with your ideas and proposals, then try to disenfranchise them.  It all goes part and parcel with Cuccinelli's lie filled campaign.  A column in the Richmond Times Dispatch takes Cuccinelli to task.  Here are highlights:

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli could have won a primary contest for this year’s Republican gubernatorial nomination, but he didn’t want to take that chance. Instead, he benefited from behind-the-scenes machinations that changed the party’s selection process to a convention — whose participants came from the most conservative cantons of the state GOP.

Now Cuccinelli seems to be trying to tilt the playing field in his favor once again. He and his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, will debate for the last time a week before Halloween. Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate, might participate — if he meets a polling threshold of 10 percent. Sarvis has done so in some polls, but has fallen short in others.
Experts in political horse-racing think Sarvis will take more votes from Cuccinelli than from McAuliffe. Cuccinelli’s campaign manager seems to think so, too: Chris LaCivita says voting for Sarvis amounts to throwing your vote away. (We explained why LaCivita is wrong in a previous editorial, “Unwasted.”)

Unfortunately, the Cuccinelli camp might be going beyond rhetoric. The Washington Post reports that “people involved in the (debate) talks said Cuccinelli’s campaign has consistently sought to make it harder for Sarvis to get in,” in particular by seeking to raise the polling bar Sarvis must clear.

[T]this story says more about Cuccinelli than it does about Sarvis. It suggests once again that the Republican is willing to win by any means necessary — and that he will take the low road even when he could win on the high one. 

Sadly, Cuccinelli is the all too typical Christofascist Republican.    To win and secure personal power, Cuccinelli is willing to lie, cheat and engage in any and all kinds of unethical activities.  His claims to allegiance to Christian values is a smoke screen to sucker the ignorant and gullible.  As I have long maintained, if a candidate is willing to lie and cheat to win your vote, do you think he/she will be honest and ethical if elected.  Of course they won't.  It's all about their ego and sick quest for power.  Lies and untruths will be the norm.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Catholic Bishops Wanted Government Shutdown, Asked House Republicans To Hold Nation Hostage

America’s Catholic Bishops wrote a letter urging House Republicans to shut down the government, unless Obamacare denies birth control coverage to women. Photo of Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan from Wikipedia.
It is not just the evangelical Christians organizations mentioned in a post yesterday who have had a hand it forcing the federal government shutdown and pushing the nation towards a catastrophic debt default.   Other religious extremists have also been involved: the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops.  Pope Francis may want the Church to get over its obsession with gays, abortion, and contraception, but the message hasn't been received by the U.S. Catholic bishops, many of whom have sheltered and protected sexual predators while kicking abuse victims to the curb and hiding Church assets.  As reported here, the bishops have urged the GOP to shutdown the government:

When House Republicans shut down the government last Tuesday, they did so with the blessing of Catholic bishops. One week prior to the shutdown, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote a letter to the GOP House. The letter asked them to hold America hostage until Democrats kill birth control rules set by the White House. The rules require insurance companies to include birth control coverage for all employees, regardless of the religious beliefs of employers.

This didn’t sit well with Catholic bishops and conservative Christians, who want the right to deny their female employees contraception. So as part of their ongoing temper tantrum over women having access to birth control, the bishops sent a letter  to House Republicans urging them to shut the government down until they get their way on contraception coverage.
“[W]e have already urged you to enact the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940/S. 1204), the letter declared. “As Congress considers a Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling bill in the days to come, we reaffirm the vital importance of incorporating the policy of this bill into such ‘must-pass’ legislation.”
The Conference of Catholic Bishops wants the government shutdown to continue, and for the US to default on its debt … Unless they get special treatment in regards to birth control access. To deny women contraception, they’re willing to deny families critical food assistance, take childcare away from working parents, and threaten the financial well-being of millions of Americans. It totally outrageous.

According to ThinkProgress,
“The “Health Care Conscience Rights Act” permits religious employers to exclude any “item or service to which [they have] a moral or religious objection” from the health insurance package offered to employees.”
If this piece of conservative legislation were to become law, any employer in America could deny female employees the contraception they need. All they have to do is claim that they have a religious objection. It means women will have less access to contraception. It also lets religious conservatives achieve their main goal to control women’s reproductive decisions.

This letter proves Catholic bishops played a role in the government shutdown. They cheered for House Republicans to pull the trigger and shoot America in the foot. They also want Republicans to shoot America in the head, and refuse to raise the debt ceiling … Unless Democrats allow religious employers to discriminate against women. The fact is, the contraception mandate applies to everyone. That’s why it’s constitutional. 

House Republicans are now not the only ones to blame for the government shutdown. Americans can now blame Catholic bishops as well. The bishops are clearly not interested in alleviating the suffering of those affected most by the government shutdown as they are in making sure they can have a say in what reproductive decisions women make.

As I have argued before, the Catholic Church needs to stay out of politics or lose its tax-exempt status.  Period.  These men participated in a world wide criminal conspiracy involving the sexual abuse of children and youths and now they want to destroy America's economy to further their sick, extremist goals.

More Good News: Cuccinelli's Growing Money Woes

The main groups that have heretofore catapulted Ken Cuccinelli into politics have been far right religious extremists best exemplified by The Family Foundation, a sinister organization with ties to hate groups and anti-contraception extremists, and the ignorant and racist Tea Party elements in Virginia.  But Cuccinelli's slavish obedience to the frightening agenda of these factions has alienated business interest that recognize that giving Virginia of a state that wants to institute a modern day Inquisition is not good for business (Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms seemingly recognizes that tourists avoid destinations deemed too extreme).  The result has been business leaders either jumping aboard the Terry McAuliffe campaign or at minimum, not giving money to Cuccinelli who has had to rely on out of state money.  But that hasn't been enough.  A piece in Politico looks at Cuccinelli's worsening money woes.  Here are excerpts:

Ken Cuccinelli is getting crushed on the Virginia airwaves, and it’s probably only going to get worse – a major factor thwarting the Republican’s hopes of a comeback in a governor’s race that’s been slipping away.

The left has spent $7.5 million more on television than the right up to this point, according to sources tracking the air war. The totals are $20.2 million from Democrats and affiliated outside groups to $12.7 million from the Republicans and their allies.
The attorney general is himself a relatively weak fundraiser who never adequately cultivated the major donors he needed in the business community. He’s also running against former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, one of the most prolific fundraisers in modern political history.

A string of polls showing Cuccinelli trailing — including a POLITICO poll conducted over the weekend that had him down by 9 points — has only made it harder to raise cash, while deterring some outside groups from spending as much as they might have in the year’s marquee contest.
The result is that Cuccinelli’s campaign has been making smaller and smaller ad buys over the past three weeks.

McAuliffe has already reserved about $2 million in airtime over the final four weeks, while Cuccinelli has not reserved any time past this week. The Democrats, for instance, claimed $700,000 of choice broadcast airtime for the final week of the race in the state’s four largest markets, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Cuccinelli operatives note that they have placed their buys on a week-to-week basis since April.
The disparity doesn’t mean the race is over for Cuccinelli, but it’s an enormous obstacle in a race that’s already tilted heavily against him. The simple reality is that TV ads matter a lot in a big state, where a limited number of voters get to see the candidates in person and with broadcast media that many Republicans see as predisposed to favor Democrats.

This helps explain why 56 percent of likely voters hold an unfavorable view of Cuccinelli in the POLITICO poll, compared to 34 percent who view him favorably.
I personally hope that (i) Cuccinelli goes down to a crushing defeat that ends his political career and (ii) that post election he comes out of the closet - no one is so hysterically anti-gay unless they are a serious self-loathing closet case.

Quinnipiac Poll: Cuccinelli "Too Conservative"

Last night I referenced Ken Cuccinelli's unwarranted attacks on Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms and suggested that Cuccinelli needed to look in the mirror if he wanted to see the real reason his campaign is falling behind terry McAuliffe.  The findings of a new Quinnipiac poll seem to underscore the accuracy of this analysis.  Nearly half of Virginians see Cuccinelli as too insane conservative while about the same number see Terry McAuliffe's positions :about right."  Cuccinelli can try to run from his extremists record, but thankfully, many of Virginians are not being fooled,.  The moral?  That constantly pandering to the lunatic religious fanatics at the Family Foundation and their hate fueled agenda may not be good for one's political future.  Here are highlights of the poll findings:

Almost half of Virginia likely voters say State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is "too conservative," as the Republican trails Democrat Terry McAuliffe 47 - 39 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis has 8 percent. 

In today's survey, McAuliffe leads 95 - 3 percent among Democrats, while Cuccinelli leads 83 - 7 among Republicans, with 7 percent for Sarvis. Independent voters go 40 percent for McAuliffe, 38 percent for Cuccinelli and 13 percent for Sarvis.

Women back the Democrat 53 - 34 percent, with 7 percent for Sarvis. Men go Republican 45 - 41 percent, with 9 percent for Sarvis.

Cuccinelli is too conservative, 46 percent of Virginia likely voters say, while 7 percent say he is too liberal and 37 percent say he is "about right."

McAuliffe is too liberal, 38 percent of voters say, while 2 percent say he is too conservative and 48 percent say he is "about right."

"Terry McAuliffe's strategy has been to paint Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as too conservative to be Virginia's next governor. Today, almost half of Virginia voters agree, more than the 38 percent who say McAuliffe is too liberal

Voters say McAuliffe would do a better job than Cuccinelli handling most issues:
  • 55 - 30 percent on women's issues;
  • 50 - 34 percent on abortion;
  • 48 - 35 percent on energy and the environment;
  • 47 - 38 percent on health care;
  • 46 - 38 percent on education;
  • 43 - 39 percent on ethics in government;
Voters oppose 71 - 24 percent shutting down the federal government to block the health care law. Opposition is 98 - 1 percent among Democrats and 70 - 25 percent among independent voters, while Republicans are divided with 48 percent supporting the shutdown and 45 percent opposed. 
The job over the next few weeks will be to keep telling the truth about Cuccinelli's extremism and to educate voters to the fact that E.W. Jackson and Mark Obenshain are as bad or worse than Cuccinelli when it comes to extremism and not representing the views of mainstream Virginians.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Meet the Evangelical Cabal Orchestrating the Government Shutdown

This blog has taken the position on numerous occasions that far right evangelical Christians - those I refer to as the Christofascist - present a clear and present danger to America's constitutional form of government.  They want to destroy the United States Constitution and the structure of government it created and they most certainly want to deprive all but themselves of the right to freedom of religion.  They want a Inquisition like theocracy to replace the federal and state governments with, of course, themselves in control.  These people wrap themselves in the American flag, but by trying to subvert the Constitution and our constitutional form of government, they are little better than traitors and anarchists.  A piece in The Nation looks at some of the foul elements of the evangelical Christian far right (not surprisingly, anti-gay hate groups are among them) who are playing a role in try to subvert the United States Constitution and destroy both America's and the world's economy in the process.  Here are excerpts:

At Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse, a small shop next to Union Station and around the corner from the Heritage Foundation, “fair trade” coffee is dispensed and Christian books are available for customers to read.
A group of political operatives and evangelical firebrands behind the strategy to shut down the government over healthcare reform couldn’t have picked a more unassuming meeting place. Though the more famous “Wednesday meeting” is across town at the offices of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the shutdown plotters often meet at a weekly lunch held on Wednesday at the event space of Ebenezer’s. (The group also meets regularly on Wednesday mornings at the offices of the Family Research Council.)
This other Wednesday group is a convening of the Conservative Action Project, an ad hoc coalition created in the early years of the Obama administration to reorganize the conservative movement.
The coalition is managed by Heritage and the Council for National Policy. The latter organization, dubbed once as “the most powerful conservative group you’ve never heard of,” is a thirty-year-old nonprofit dedicated to transforming the country into a more right-wing Christian society. Founded by Tim LaHaye, the Rapture-obsessed author of the “Left Behind” series, CNP is now run by Christian-right luminaries such as Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins and Kenneth Blackwell.
Yesterday, The New York Times revealed in great detail how the Conservative Action Project has orchestrated the current showdown.
- See more at:
At Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse, a small shop next to Union Station and around the corner from the Heritage Foundation, “fair trade” coffee is dispensed and Christian books are available for customers to read.

A group of political operatives and evangelical firebrands behind the strategy to shut down the government over healthcare reform couldn’t have picked a more unassuming meeting place.

Though the more famous “Wednesday meeting” is across town at the offices of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the shutdown plotters often meet at a weekly lunch held on Wednesday at the event space of Ebenezer’s. (The group also meets regularly on Wednesday mornings at the offices of the Family Research Council.)

This other Wednesday group is a convening of the Conservative Action Project, an ad hoc coalition created in the early years of the Obama administration to reorganize the conservative movement.

The coalition is managed by Heritage and the Council for National Policy. The latter organization, dubbed once as “the most powerful conservative group you’ve never heard of,” is a thirty-year-old nonprofit dedicated to transforming the country into a more right-wing Christian society. Founded by Tim LaHaye, the Rapture-obsessed author of the “Left Behind” series, CNP is now run by Christian-right luminaries such as Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins and Kenneth Blackwell.

Yesterday, The New York Times revealed in great detail how the Conservative Action Project has orchestrated the current showdown.

The group has played a background role in several high-profile political debates.  It was this rival Wednesday group that gave rise to the farcical “Ground Zero Mosque” conspiracy in 2010. The Conservative Action Project also played a consequential role in whipping up opposition to a number of key Obama judicial nominees, including judges David Hamilton and Goodwin Liu. Through rapid-fire memos and coalition advocacy, the Conservative Action Project can claim large responsibility for the fact that Obama has been deprived more than any modern American president of appointing judges of his choice for the federal bench.

But like the quagmire that GOP leaders find themselves in today, the hard-charging Conservative Action Project has bristled at establishment criticism in the past. Notably, it was the Conservative Action Project that first courted controversial Senate candidates like Christine O’Donnell and Joe Miller.

Many of the leaders involved in this effort are well-known Christian conservative icons, including “Christian Zionist” and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, an activist famous for his over-the-top attacks on the gay community.

The group has engaged in clashes with libertarian-leaning GOP leaders, particularly Norquist. That is not to say the group is not well connected with well-heeled interest groups.

Kevin Gentry, a key employee of Koch Industries’s lobbying subsidiary Koch Public Sector, has served on the board of CNP. Gentry now helped to run the new $250 million fund for conservative advocacy groups called Freedom Partners and manages the twice-annual secret gatherings for Charles Koch’s cohorts. (It was at a CNP gathering that Charles Koch once compared himself to the theologian Martin Luther.)
At Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse, a small shop next to Union Station and around the corner from the Heritage Foundation, “fair trade” coffee is dispensed and Christian books are available for customers to read.
A group of political operatives and evangelical firebrands behind the strategy to shut down the government over healthcare reform couldn’t have picked a more unassuming meeting place. Though the more famous “Wednesday meeting” is across town at the offices of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the shutdown plotters often meet at a weekly lunch held on Wednesday at the event space of Ebenezer’s. (The group also meets regularly on Wednesday mornings at the offices of the Family Research Council.)
This other Wednesday group is a convening of the Conservative Action Project, an ad hoc coalition created in the early years of the Obama administration to reorganize the conservative movement.
The coalition is managed by Heritage and the Council for National Policy. The latter organization, dubbed once as “the most powerful conservative group you’ve never heard of,” is a thirty-year-old nonprofit dedicated to transforming the country into a more right-wing Christian society. Founded by Tim LaHaye, the Rapture-obsessed author of the “Left Behind” series, CNP is now run by Christian-right luminaries such as Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins and Kenneth Blackwell.
Yesterday, The New York Times revealed in great detail how the Conservative Action Project has orchestrated the current showdown.
- See more at:
Let's be clear about something.  These are not nice people or nice organizations. They are motivated by religious extremism and unlimited greed and a lust for power.  They deserve no respect or deference and the general public needs to be educated about their toxic goals which ought to scare the daylights out of women, gays, non-Christians of all faiths, and anyone who believes in science and knowledge.  Those who prostitute themselves to these people - like Congressman Randy Forbes - need to be challenged and forced to end their alliegance to these forces of hate, racism and greed.