Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I often say that if the lips of a Christofascist are moving, it's a pretty safe bet that they are lying. Few individuals prove this truth more than Tony Perkins, president of hate group Family Research Council ("FRC") who seemingly would not be able to tell the truth if his life depended on it. That's not to say that Perkins doesn't have competition from the likes of Bryan Fischer or Don Wildmon or Mat Staver (or Victoria Cobb here in Virginia). But Perkins seems the most able to know that he's lying and simply doesn't care what harm he does. It's all about staying in the right wing news and, more importantly, to keep simpletons sending checks to FRC. Huffington Post looks at Perkins' latest anti-gay screed. Here are highlights:
At the Values Voters Summit over the weekend, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, had two words for LGBT and progressive groups who took out an ad in The Washington Post which stated that his organization’s “groundless demonization of LGBT people,” linking homosexuality with pedophilia, is contrary to the “highest ideals” of the nation: “They’re wrong.”[T]he LGBT and progressive groups stated in the ad. “These groups engage in repeated, groundless demonization of LGBT people -- portraying them as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation. The Family Research Council, the summit’s host, is vigorously opposed to extending equal rights to the LGBT community. Its president, Tony Perkins, has repeatedly claimed that pedophilia is a 'homosexual problem.'"To the specific criticism that FRC’s linking of gays with pedophiles is extreme and out-of-step with the political establishment, Perkins responded, “Well, they’re wrong.”
According to every legitimate medical and mental health association in America, Perkins is the one who is wrong. Worse yet, he knows he is wrong and like so many of the "godly Christian" crowd has nothing but contempt for the truth if it gets in the way of his theocratic agenda. Perkins and FRC underscore why more people are walking away from institutional religion. Oh, and did I mention Perkins' ties to white supremacy groups?
With election day a little over a month away in the 2014 mid-term elections, the pundit class is tamping up its predictions of whether or not the Republicans can win control of the U.S. Senate - a frightening prospect to anyone not driven by greed, religious extremism, and/or a white supremacy agenda - just as the political ads on television begin to dominate the air waves. Some pundits are acting as if they are modern day Cassandra's for the Democrats while others huff and puff as GOP partisans. Amongst all of this noise and hot air, Nate Silver, gay wonder kid (pictured above), says that the Democrats need not necessarily panic yet. A piece in Salon looks at Silver's reasoning. Here are excerpts:
Last week brought a spate of bad news for Democrats hoping to retain control of the U.S. Senate, with polls showing their candidates falling behind in Colorado, Alaska and Iowa. But statistics whiz Nate Silver says it’s too early for the party to panic just yet.In his latest Senate forecast, the FiveThirtyEight founder writes that the GOP remains a slight favorite to win Senate control, pegging the party’s chances at 60 percent. According to FiveThirtyEight’s model, Democratic seats in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia are likely to flip Republican. With Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., forecast to lose to independent Greg Orman – whom Democrats hope caucuses with their party – that means Republicans need to pick up just one additional seat to take over the Senate. And given the extremely tight races in Iowa and Colorado, the party stands a decent chance of doing just that.But don’t panic, Silver tells Democrats – at least not yet. The narrative that the GOP is now a lock to win the Senate, he cautions, “conceals too much of the uncertainty in the outlook.” There are still five weeks to go until Election Day – plenty of time for the conditions to change in key races.[T]he next five weeks could witness states like Colorado and Alaska swinging back in the Democratic direction. Or, Silver warns, we could see the ground begin to shift underneath candidates like North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. Despite a barrage of Koch-backed attacks early in the 2014 cycle, Hagan has held a steady lead in recent polls. But given the narrowness of her lead – 3.5 points in RealClearPolitics’ average – it would take only a small shift to see things start to turn the other way.In short, the GOP is much better positioned going into the home stretch – even Princeton neuroscientist and election prognosticator Sam Wang, once among the most bullish analysts on Democrats’ prospects, is starting to have his doubts – but there’s a lot we still don’t know, even this late in the midterm cycle.For all the talk of a resurgent GOP establishment, we’re likely to see a new crop of inflammatory Tea Party types sworn in to the House in January. Today’s New York Times looks at how many House GOPers who are either retiring or seeking higher office are likely to be replaced by even more conservative Republicans – suggesting that Speaker John Boehner is unlikely to be any more successful reining in the more unruly factions of his party once the new Congress begins.
In other midterm news:
Monday, September 29, 2014
Reads scoff at me when I equate the Christofascists and some of America's antiquated laws with milder version of ISIS and other nations where blasphemy statutes can lead to prison terms or far worse. But a pending case in Pennsylvania underscores that my comparison of Christofascists and some of America's laws with something out of the Middle East is more on point than many Americans care to admit. What makes the situation even more outrageous is that the owner of the religious object involved did not want to prosecute. Rather, the jihad is being driven by a prosecutor who obviously is anxious to prostitute himself to far right voters. KRON TV4 has details on the initial story:
Pennsylvania (KRON) — A Pennsylvania teenager is facing criminal charges after posting pictures to Facebook of him simulating a sex act with a statue of Jesus.
The young man posted that he took the pictures in late July at the statue of a kneeling Jesus in front of the “Love in the Name of Christ” Christian organization in his hometown of Everett.
The criminal charge, which will be heard in family court, consists of “Desecration of a Venerated Object.”
Pennsylvania law defines desecration as “Defacing, damaging, polluting or otherwise, physically mistreating in a way that the actor knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the action.”
The teen, whose name has not been released, could face up to two years in a juvenile jail if convicted.
Remember the teenager in Pennsylvania who faces two years in juvenile detention for posing on a statue of Jesus? This happened this weekend:What is truly disturbing is that no damage was done to the Jesus statute and, again, the owners did not want to press charges. One has to wonder if next Pennsylvania will legalize the stoning of adulterers or those using curse words involving the Trinity? Meanwhile, of course, the Christofascists are free to lie and spread hate and division without any accountability. The prosecution needs to be dropped and the statute repealed. Far too much deference has been given to individuals like this one:
A successful protest, where several dozen people rallied in favor of free speech, was marred on Saturday, when a belligerent group of counter protesters, including two from what appeared to be a motorcycle gang, crashed the demonstration and threatened those in attendance, including a 14-year old boy arrested for “desecrating” a Jesus statue and Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. Incredibly, there was not a single police officer on-hand to prevent potential violence and this left the protesters vulnerable to thugs and forced them to fend for themselves. “The Bedford police placed us directly in harms way and their inaction nearly caused a full-blown melee,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “This is the first time in two decades of protesting that I’ve been put directly in harm’s way by town officials. We call on Bedford to immediately review its policies for protecting the free speech rights of those who demonstrate in their town.”
Today the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court met in a private closed door session to consider which which cases to take and decide from the thousands of petitions for certiorari that have been filed with the Court. Among those petitions for certiorari are a number of gay marriage case on appeal from various U. S. Courts of Appeal all of which to date have invalidated state bans on same sex marriage. Numerous bloggers and pundits have been speculating and "reading the tea leaves" as to what cases, if any the justices will pick to decide. The justices have numerous options before them and at this point, no one can say with absolute assurance what will occur. However, should the Court decline to take any of the marriage case appeals, it will have to by default affirm the decisions of the Courts of Appeal and, if that is the result, release the current stays of the lower court rulings. Doing absolutely nothing is, in effect, not an option. They either take the appeal or they by default affirm the lower court ruling. This latter course would as a result make gay marriage legal in the states within the applicable Court of Appeals districts. A piece in The New Yorker has as good of an examination of the situation as any. Here are highlights:
Legal shifts, especially in constitutional rights, often develop in the Supreme Court at a glacial pace, the magnitude of change perceptible only in hindsight. That is no longer true of marriage equality. On Monday, the Court considers whether to hear one or more cases during its upcoming term that would determine the issue in all fifty states. History is in motion.The court’s first preliminary conference of the term is a closed-door session at which only the Justices are present, and during which they choose which cases to decide of the thousands of petitions for certiorari, or consideration, they receive each year. The Justices will field requests by parties in five gay-marriage cases from states in three of the nation’s thirteen circuits. In the order in which they were filed (and the timing may be significant), the cases are from Utah (Herbert v. Kitchen), Oklahoma (Smith v. Bishop), Virginia (Rainey v. Bostic;, Indiana (Bogan v. Baskin), and Wisconsin (Walker v. Wolf). If the Court decides on Monday to begin the process of hearing a case this term, we may know about it this week, and a decision would almost certainly come by early next summer, or sooner.For now, there is intense focus on whether the court will take a case, and which one will it be.The case from Utah was filed first, and that could give it precedence. The District Court ruling was also the first to rely heavily on Windsor. A number of prominent lawyers have recently joined the plaintiff’s legal team . . . .In the case from Virginia, the plaintiffs have a number of prominent lawyers on their side, too. They include, most consequentially, Ted Olson and David Boies, who led the case against Prop 8. Their fifty-state strategy in the Prop 8 case was much criticized by the gay-rights legal establishment at the time. That such a victory is now within reach may, without a grant of certiorari in their Virginia case, be cold comfort for the pair. Olson is also a former Republican solicitor general and has a number of friends among the Justices, who know his commitment to the issue. There is another point of resonance: the Supreme Court case that ended laws banning interracial marriage was Loving v. Virginia, and another case from the same state may be seen as an appropriate bookend. Other prominent gay-rights attorneys have also entered the Virginia case, including a number who have filed their own petitions. Among them are Paul M. Smith, who argued Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down anti-gay sodomy laws and laid the theoretical ground for Windsor, and lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal.Or they may wait for a ruling against same-sex marriage from an appellate court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaking recently at the University of Minnesota Law School, suggested that without a ruling against same-sex marriage there was “no need for us to rush to step in.” (But she added, “Sooner or later, yes, the question will come to the Court.”) Such a ruling may soon come from the Sixth Circuit, which has heard arguments in, but not yet decided, a group of same-sex marriage cases from Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.The veteran Supreme Court observer Linda Greenhouse recently commented, “It would come as no great surprise if the Supreme Court takes a pass this term. All my court-watching experience tells me that. But still, it’s hard to resist the sense that there is a moment at hand.”The hope this week is that the Supreme Court will be tempted not to wait.
For those of us in Virginia, if the court rejects the appeal of Rainey v. Bostic, and by default affirms the ruling of the 4th Circuit, then marriage in Virginia could become legal even sooner than next summer. On the other hand, should the Court take up the appeal from the 4th Circuit, then hopefully by next summer the Marshall-Newman Amendment will be on the trash heap of history where it belongs.
Other than perhaps Ken Cuccinelli, no one in the Republican Party better demonstrates the insanity of self-loathing closeted gay men who cannot over come their poisonous religious upbringing. Having been raised Catholic myself and of a not too much older generation that Cuccinelli and Santorum, I see the same pattern in both men that haunted me for years, except I never sought to harm other gays as a way of expiating my inner conflict. As I jokingly say, I figured out after three children that fathering children would not miraculously make me straight. With seven children each, neither Cuccinelli or Santorum have gotten the message. While Cuccinelli is hopefully sliding into obscurity, Santorum is still being driven my his egomania and efforts to do some type of penance for his inner desires. Thus, rather than seeking the mental help intervention that he so desperately needs, Santorum is moving to mount another presidential primary run - something that ought to terrify the few sane Republicans who remain while thrilling Democrats. Politico looks at Santorums delusional activities to date. Here are excerpts:
Rick Santorum helped drag out the 2012 Republican primary, sending Mitt Romney limping into the general election. Santorum’s lesson: Get in even earlier in 2016.His big money benefactor, Foster Friess, still adores him. He’s headed to Iowa in October to meet with key conservative activists. And he is growing his grass-roots network beyond early primary states.Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus earlier this year called the primary process a “complete disaster,” promising to slash the number of debates to prevent “the traveling circus” from hijacking the race as Santorum, Newt Gingrich and others did in 2012. The primary season pushed Romney further and further to the right as he burned through cash, instead of answering the Obama machine’s attacks on him.But Santorum has no apologies. So while the field of social conservatives is expected to be stronger in 2016, the Pennsylvania Republican’s early moves could still put him in a better position in the next go-round, setting up the threat of an even bigger problem for establishment Republicans if they don’t prepare for another onslaught of outsiders eager to beat up the party’s eventual nominee.Even if there are fewer debates, some Republicans fear candidates like Santorum could hurt their chances in the general.“It’s going to be another crowded field of candidates, all scrambling for the most conservative title. By the time we get a candidate, everyone will be bloodied,” said Lisa Camooso Miller, a GOP consultant and former RNC spokeswoman. “I find myself hoping that a unifying candidate will emerge from the sidelines, but that doesn’t seem likely. Without a unified field, we stand to witness a near-identical result in 2016. It’ll be especially disappointing if the GOP is going head to head with the Clinton operation.”Santorum’s return to the national stage isn’t welcomed by some establishment Republicans who have tried to limit candidates’ exposure on social issues because they want to take back the White House. . . . . But Santorum’s not planning on shying away from his conservative Christian platform — and thinks party officials who do are making a mistake.
Personally, while I think Santorum is batshit crazy, I look forward to him continuing to make the Christian Right Frankenstein monster a continued problem for the GOP.
Here in Virginia and in other states - especially "red states" - across the country, the Republican Party continues to shamelessly prostitute itself to the ugliest and most extreme elements of the "Christian Right." Perhaps this is the expected result of a political party that has allowed itself to become a sectarian party dominated by "Christian" extremists who, if the truth be told, want a far theocracy which would throw the U.S. Constitution on the trash heap. But, in Virginia and elsewhere, this self-prostitution is becoming more and more of a long term liability as urban areas and younger voters reject the toxic message of those not so far distant from ISIS in terms of their desire to force their religion on all. As the New York Times notes, Democrats are finally waking up to the fact that calling out GOP extremists can be a winning approach. Here are column highlights:
Not long ago, it would have been unusual for a Democratic senatorial candidate in Iowa to run a powerful abortion-rights television ad like the one recently broadcast by Representative Bruce Braley.
[P]ersonhood ideas, shared by at least five other Republican candidates for United States Senate this year, have been radical for years. What’s new is that Democrats are increasingly willing to say so. For years they were cowed by the religious right into changing the subject when abortion or birth control or same-sex marriage came up. But now, increasingly assured that public opinion supports their positions, Democrats have become more aggressive in challenging Republicans about their beliefs.
The decision to go on the offensive is in part designed to incite the anger of women and draw support in the November elections, particularly that of single women, who tend to vote in small numbers in midterms. But it is also a reflection of the growing obsolescence of traditional Republican wedge issues in state after state. For a younger generation of voters, the old right-wing nostrums about the “sanctity of life” and the “sanctity of marriage” have lost their power, revealed as intrusions on human freedom. Democrats “did win the culture war,” Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist, admitted to The New York Times recently.
One of the most telling signs of the cultural change is the number of Republicans who are bucking conservative activists and trying to soft-pedal or even retreat from their ideology. . . . . Several other Republican candidates are trumpeting their support for over-the-counter birth control pills, though they remain opposed to the insurance coverage of contraception required by the Affordable Care Act.
In Oregon, the Republican candidate for the Senate, Monica Wehby, is running an ad promoting her support of same-sex marriage.
The shift in public opinion might not be enough for Democrats to keep the Senate this year. But over time, it may help spell an end to the politics of cultural division.
I look forward to the day when Christofascists are not welcome within the GOP - or in decent society. They need to become cultural piranhas.