Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Missouri Lieutenant Governor: We Need ‘Anglo-American’ Justice in Ferguson

If one still has any wonders about what  is wrong with Missouri, Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder (R) - naturally, he's a Republican - pictured above, has shot off his mouth to make things even more clear.  He says that the state's governor needs to reinstate the curfew in Ferguson to allow the justice system — which he said was a product of “Anglo-American civilization” — to do its job.  By "justice," however, it's not clear whether he means justice for Michael Brown or his shooter.  The cynic in me suspects it's the latter and would involve acquittal of any charges.  The Raw Story looks at this douche bag and the continued unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.  Here are some story excerpts:
Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) on Tuesday called for Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to reinstate the curfew in Ferguson to allow the justice system — which he said was a product of “Anglo-American civilization” — to do its job. 

Following Monday night’s clashes with police in the wake of the death of slain teen Michael Brown, Kindler told MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow that Nixon had been wrong to end the curfew in Ferguson.

“I don’t understand an argument for not reinstating it,” he insisted. “I don’t understand that. I’m not trying to be overtly political. I am saying, the people of Ferguson, the people of the state of Missouri are crying out for leadership.”

Kinder said there was “no question” that race was playing a role in what was happening in Ferguson.

“We do not do justice in America in the streets though,” he argued. “We have legal processes that are set in motion, that are designed after centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence tradition, they’re designed to protect the rights and liberties of everyone involved.”

“That includes the Brown family, for justice for them and for the community. It also includes the officer who has not yet been charged,” he added. “Our constitutional and our Bill of Rights protections have to be followed here, and we do not do justice in the streets.”

“That’s one of the great advances of Anglo-American civilization, is that that we do not have politicized trials. We let the justice system work it out.”
Obviously, Kinder lives in a fantasy world.  What happened to Trayvon Martin and others has proven  that justice often doesn't work out in our legal system.  Not if one is non-white.

Children Murdered After Deportation by United States

As sadly seems to always be the case with today's GOP and even more so its Christofascists/white supremacist base, objective facts, the truth and often basic decency do not matter.  Their entire agenda lies based on greed, a desire to force their sick religious beliefs on all, and a hatred of anyone who doesn't have lily white skin.  Thus, the GOP base and its elected whores deny that children flocking to America's southern borders are doing so often literally fear for their lives.  To these Republicans and the "godly Christians" the lives of these children simply do not matter why?  Because they aren't white.  Think Progress looks at the fate of some of the children deported by the United States.  Here are highlights:
Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations

San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. Last year, San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, a statistic that has given the city the gruesome distinction as the murder capital of the world. That distinction has also been backed up by an U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency infographic, which found that many Honduran children are on the run from extremely violent regions “where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.” Hugo Ramon Maldonado of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras believes that about 80 percent of Hondurans making the exodus are fleeing crime or violence. 

Politicians like Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) have been keen on expediting the legal process by demanding that immigration judges make a court decision within seven days. But that move could undermine children’s rights by denying due process to children who already don’t understand the courtroom procedures. As Vox found out, one teenage girl told a border agent that she was afraid of being forced into prostitution only after her paperwork had been filed.

According to a United Nations report, at least 58 percent of the children cited “international protection needs” as in they were seeking protection from the international community because their home governments could no longer protect them.
What is fueling the violence in Central America?  Mostly the drug trade which is fueled by America's failed "war on drugs" that makes drug trafficking so lucrative and in the process encourages lawless gangs and drug lords. Add to that corrupt and incompetent governments and the poisonous mix is complete. 

Jailing of Russian Anti-Gay Psyhco Will Not End Mistreatement of Gays

Many news outlets have reported on the conviction of Maxim Martsinkevich to five years in prison for his torture and mistreatment of gays.   While Martsinkevich was perhaps a more visible ring leader, there are all too many more like him, all egged on by Russia's anti-gay laws ushered under the regime of Adolph Hitler copy cat, dictator Vladimir Putin.  Anti-gay horrors, of course are not limited to Russian and across the Middle East and many parts of Africa gays live lives of fear and sometimes violence.  Fanning it all is religion - that pestilence to humankind - and opportunist politicians who seek to distract an ignorant populace from the true of extent of their misrule and corruption.  A column in The Daily Beast looks at the continuing anti-gay violence that is all too prevalent.  Here are excerpts:
In a year of bad news for LGBT people across the global south and east, it’s been a good couple of weeks. A court struck down Uganda’s anti-gay law, and the country’s president has backed away from it. Kenya’s parliament rejected a draconian anti-gay bill. And now one of the nastiest men in Russia, Maxim Martsinkevich, has been sentenced to five years in prison.

You may know Martsinkevich from the dozen videos posted on the Russian social networking site VKontakte showing him and his colleagues threatening, beating, stripping, torturing, urinating on, and otherwise harassing gay people. His gang, known as “Occupy Pedophilia,” would lure gay men with the promise of sexual encounters, usually with teenagers, and then humiliate them online.

The video that got Martsinkevich—nicknamed Tesak, or “The Hatchet”—into trouble was a particularly odious one, in which he stripped and beat a gay Iraqi man, shaved his head, painted Stars of David on his body and a rainbow on his forehead, and humiliated him with sex toys.

Presumably, “Iraqi” was not the most startling word in that sentence. Yet interestingly enough, it was the one that got him into trouble with the law. Tesak was jailed not for harassing gay people—that’s basically the law in Russia now—but for being racist.

The Putin regime’s attack on LGBT people has been a piece of its revanchist nationalism, and indeed the extreme right that is now Vladimir Putin’s base has as much animus against foreigners as it does against gays. Long before Tesak launched Occupy Pedophilia, he ran an ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi group called Format 18, with the same practice of making hideous torture videos—only against foreigners, not gays.

On the other hand, it’s easy to see his conviction as a cynical move by the less than fully independent Russian justice system. Tesak was becoming the public face of Russia’s anti-propaganda law. He was an embarrassment to Putin.

But how can the government object to persecuting gay people when it also persecutes gay people? Tesak’s conviction looks like a convenient way out. He’s thrown in jail, but homophobia is still OK. 

There is, of course, that nagging problem of Occupy Pedophilia’s name and its claim of having tortured more than 1,500 gay men. Perhaps Tesak’s most famous victim was the Ukrainian Alexander Bohun, a former contestant on that country’s version of The X Factor.

And don’t expect OP’s antics to end just because its leader is in jail. Tesak only appears in a fraction of OP videos. There are plenty of other vigilantes interested in torturing gay men with the winking semi-approval of the authorities.

Tesak’s sentence won’t stop the violence. To do that, more fundamental change is needed—starting with the state-sponsored homophobia that encourages such violence. Of course, that Tesak is going to jail is good news. But as long as the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian government, and Russian media spread lies about gays being pedophiles, perverts, or worse, there will surely be other executioners to take his place.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More Tuesday Male Beauty

ISIS Claims to Have Beheaded American Journalist

James Foley, in Boston, May 27, 2011. (Credit: AP/Steven Senne)
All fundamentalist religions are, in my view evil.  That said, some are more evil than others and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, a/k/a ISIS is among the most evil and barbaric.  It's stated goal is to kill or convert all in its way as evidenced by its efforts to engage in genocide against the Yazidi (I've note this in previous posts) who do not adhere to ISIS's horrific and foul religious tenants  Now ISIS claims that it has beheaded American journalist James Wright Foley (pictured above).  Salon has details on ISIS claimed brutal murder.  Here are excerpts:
A video has surfaced purporting to depict American journalist James Wright Foley being beheaded by those who claim to be ISIS rebels. James Wright Foley disappeared in northwest Syria on November 22, 2012.

The video features text saying “Obama authorizes military operations against the Islamic State effectively placing America upon a slippery slope towards a new war front against Muslims.” It then cuts to a clip of Obama announcing airstrikes against ISIS and then to Foley kneeling in orange, next to a man wearing black with his face covered. In it, Foley is forced to read a letter urging Americans to rise up against his “real killer,” the “U.S. government.” I call on my friends, family and loved ones to rise up against my real killer, the U.S. government. What will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality.”

According to Time’s Mirren Gidda:
American airstrikes began earlier this month in an attempt to help thousands of people—members of the Yazidi, an ethnic minority in the region—who were trapped on a mountain range by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). President Barack Obama formally told Congress on Sunday that he had sanctioned additional air raids, though he said they would be limited. The new strikes, requested by the Iraqi government, were intended to help Iraqi and Kurdish security forces who had been battling the militants for control of the strategic Mosul Dam. Aided by U.S. air support, these troops successfully recaptured it on Aug. 18.
The video also shows a man on his knees who is allegedly Steven Sotloff, a freelance journalist who went missing in Syria on Aug. 3, 2013. According to the video, Sotloff’s fate depends on Obama’s “next decision.”
While ISIS is particularly foul and underscores the reality that religion is a plague on mankind,  it is important to remember that the hate practiced and disseminated by ISIS varies from that of America's own Christofascists only by degree.  Hatred of others and fear of modernity and the right of others to hold differing belief underlies both ISIS and American Christofascists.

HRBOR August Third Thursday - Paradise Ocean Club, Fort Monroe, Hampton

This month's HRBOR Third Thursday business networking event breaks new ground since it is being hosted by the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.  The venue is likewise ground break - the event is at The Paradise Beach Club at historic Fort Monroe in Hampton.  There are no guest fees and the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has said that it will make a special announcement at the event.   Local readers who have yet to make it to a HRBOR Third Thursday need to take advantage of this opportunity, especially since it is a lead up to Pride Fest this Saturday.  Here are event details:

WHAT: HRBOR August Third Thursday- Paradise Ocean Club - Fort Monroe, Hampton VA
WHEN: August 21, 2014, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

FEES/ADMISSION: No guest fees this month. Members and Guests can attend for free. Register in advance for an extra chance to win a Paradise Ocean Club Cabana for a whole day for up to ten adults (valued at $250.)
Again, this August 21st Third Thursday Business Networking event is included in part of Hampton Roads Pride's Pride Week leading to Pridefest in Town Point Park on August 23rd.  I hope to see you there!

The "Libertarian Moment" Is Actually Being Engineered By The Christian Right

I have consistently maintained that the Christofascists and the Tea Party are largely one and the same.  The Tea Part label simply allows the Christofascists to hide their identity given how much they are despised by sane, decent citizens.  Less obvious, however, is the way in which the Christofascists are engineering the "libertarian moment" that Rand Paul seeks to capitalize upon.    A piece in Talk Points Memo looks behind the scenes of the libertarian movement to reveal the evil machinations of the Christofascists.  Here are some excerpts:
Unfortunately, to the extent there is something that can be called a “libertarian moment” in the Republican Party and the conservative movement, it owes less to the work of the Cato Institute than to a force genuine libertarians clutching their copies of Atlas Shrugged are typically horrified by: the Christian Right. In the emerging ideological enterprise of “constitutional conservatism,” theocrats are the senior partners, just as they have largely been in the Tea Party Movement, even though libertarians often get more attention. 

There is no universal definition of “constitutional conservatism.” The apparent coiner of the term, the Hoover Institution’s Peter Berkowitz, used it to argue for a temperate approach to political controversy that’s largely alien to those who have embraced the “brand.” Indeed, it’s most often become a sort of dog whistle scattered through speeches, slogans and bios on various campaign trails to signify that the bearer is hostile to compromise and faithful to fixed conservative principles, unlike the Republicans who have been so prone to trim and prevaricate since Barry Goldwater proudly went down in flames.

What a lot of those who instinctively think of conservative Christians as hostile to libertarian ideas of strict government persistently miss is that divinizing untrammeled capitalism has been a growing habit on the Christian Right for decades. Perhaps more importantly, the idea of the “secular-socialist government” being an oppressor of religious liberty, whether it’s by maintaining public schools that teach “relativism” and evolution, or by enforcing the “Holocaust” of legalized abortion, or by insisting on anti-discrimination rules that discomfit “Christian businesses,” has made Christian conservatives highly prone to, and actually a major participant in, the anti-government rhetoric of the Tea Party. Beyond that, the essential tea party view of America as “exceptional” in eschewing the bad political habits of the rest of the world is highly congruent with, and actually owes a lot to, the old Protestant notion of the United States as a global Redeemer Nation and a “shining city on a hill.”

So perhaps the question we should be asking is not whether the Christian Right and other “traditional” conservatives can accept a Rand Paul-led “libertarian” takeover of the conservative movement and the GOP, but whether “libertarians” are an independent factor in conservative politics to begin with. After all, most of the Republican politicians we think of as “libertarian”--whether it’s Rand Paul or Justin Amash or Mike Lee--are also paid-up culture-war opponents of legalized abortion, Common Core, and other heathenish practices. As Heather Digby Parton noted tartly earlier this week:
[T]he line between theocrats and libertarian Republicans is very, very faint. Why do you think they've bastardized the concept of "Religious Liberty" to mean the right to inflict your religion on others? It appeals to people who fashion themselves as libertarians but really only care about their taxes, guns and weed. Those are the non-negotiable items. Everything else is on offer.
And then there’s the well-known but under-reported long-term relationship of Ron and Rand Paul with the openly theocratic U.S. Constitution Party, a Con-Con inspirational font that no Republican politician is likely to embrace these days.

The more you examine the evidence, the more it seems plain that the “libertarian moment” in the GOP, even it’s real, and even if it’s advanced by Rand Paul as a presidential candidate, isn’t necessarily of a nature that’s going to be wildly popular among secular-trending millennials — or among Draper’s hipsters. To the extent it has a mass base, it’s likely as much or more among conservative Christian soldiers who despise government so long as they don’t control it as among dope-smoking free-loving free-thinking anti-interventionist Reason readers. So the latter might want to think twice before climbing onto the Rand Paul for President bus, or consigning their fate to Republican politics.

Tuesday Morning Male Beauty

Rand Paul - He's No Jack Kemp

With continued racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri - which has trickled over into protests in other areas - the issue of race and racial discrimination is front and center in the arena of public debate.  Sadly, the Republican Party has become the party of racism and white supremacy and, worse yet, that seems to be just fine with most Republicans.  In this background, Rand Paul - would be presidential candidate - is trying to remake himself as open minded and willing to reach out to black voters and citizens.  The problem, of course, is that his current talk doesn't match with his past statements and actions.  A column in the Washington Post by a conservative columnist takes Paul to task.  Here are highlights:
Why should Republicans engage in outreach to African Americans, even though the level of suspicion is so high and the yield in votes is likely to be so low? 

Even among some reform-oriented conservatives, what might be called the Kemp project — after the late congressman Jack Kemp, who spent a career engaged in minority outreach — is viewed as a secondary concern. They consistently pitch their approach toward the middle class — in part to distinguish it from previous iterations of compassionate or “bleeding heart” (Kemp’s phrase) conservatism. The cover of the reform-conservative manifesto — “Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class” — features a lawn mower on fresh-cut grass. The conservative rebirth will evidently spring from suburban yards on a lazy Saturday morning. 

But the public critique of the GOP is not merely: “They don’t care enough about the middle class.” It is, rather: “They don’t care enough about the whole.” The Republican task is not merely to shift an impression of ­interest-group allegiance away from big business and toward suburban families (though this would be an improvement). It is to demonstrate that conservative ideology is applicable to the common good.

In this effort, outreach to African Americans is actually central. A party that does not forthrightly address the largest source of division in U.S. history and American life — now dramatized in the tear gas haze of Ferguson, Mo. — is not morally or intellectually serious. And even as a political matter, women voters, Catholic voters and younger voters would prefer a chief executive who seeks the interests of all Americans, including those unlikely to vote for him or her. A commitment to national unity is an indicator of public character.

So it is notable when a Republican presidential prospect such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky attempts to address issues of concern to African Americans. 

[B]ecause this effort is so important, it is also important to point out: The Kemp project, placed in Paul’s hands, would be an utter, counterproductive failure.

Paul has his own history. He employed, as a close Senate aide, a writer who styled himself the “Southern Avenger” and who authored a column titled “John Wilkes Booth Was Right.” This personnel decision would have been impossible to imagine from Kemp. But it points out the deep affinity between certain strains of libertarianism and the Lost Cause. While running for the Senate, Paul criticized the centerpiece of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — the part desegregating public accommodations — because it conflicted with his libertarian conception of property rights.

Meanwhile, Rand Paul’s 2013 proposal for a balanced budget in five years — which would have eviscerated large portions of the federal government and weakened the social safety net — was less of a blueprint for reform than a demolition order.  

Paul has risen to prominence by employing a political trick, which is already growing old. He emphasizes the sliver of his libertarianism that gets nods of agreement (say, rolling back police excesses) while ignoring the immense, discrediting baggage of his ideology (say, discomfort with federal civil rights law or belief in a minimal state incapable of addressing poverty and stalled mobility). 

As a senator, this tactic has worked. But were Paul to become the GOP presidential nominee, the media infatuation would end, and any Democratic opponent would have a field day with Paul’s disturbing history and cramped ideology. On racial issues, the GOP needs a successor to Kemp — and an alternative to Paul.