Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Make Sarah Palin Stop! Never-ending Self-Promotion Continues With Her Very Own "News" Channel!



This channel will be the gift that keeps on giving for comedians and late night talk shows. Sarah can't help herself. As a democrat allow me to say this is some of the best news I've had in months. Palin still hasn't figured out that she peaked as mayor of Wasilla. She actually believes she has something significant to contribute to the political and cultural dialogue which is what makes her entertaining. What fun! - YouTube comment.
If you want to see the queen of self-promotion go at it again, it will cost you: Sarah Palin has announced the production of an online "news" program called Sarahpalinchannel.com. For $9.99 a month (or $99 a year), you will be able to get the news Palin's way, along with a healthy helping of Palin-style reality TV. You will see more flag-waving, more hand-shaking, more winks, more Tea Party screamers, more Obama-haters, hear more clicks, and more vapid political "thoughts". More PALIN! EVERYTHING PALIN! There will not be one digital frame without Palin!! Your laptop, tablet or phone will be oozing Sarah Palin!

In an attempt to piggy-back on her demand that we "impeach Obama", Sarah Palin has done what was expected of her: steamrolled into a new, uncharted (for her) adventure. The channel's promo piece (see below) promises to "go rogue", and keep people guessing as to her Presidential ambitions. Like her bus tour (what was it for again?), it will keep Palinmania alive...

...while the rest of the country screams "ENOUGH ALREADY!"

PPSD

That's Post Palinmania Stress Disorder and the latest poll shows it afflicts more than half of America:

The NBC/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania survey indicates that 54% of voters say they've heard enough from Palin and would prefer that the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate be less outspoken in political discourse. That includes nearly two-thirds of Democrats, a majority of independents, and nearly four in 10 Republicans.

That's right folks, even Republicans have had enough: their very own "gosh darn" darling has worn their patience with her incessant mugging and putting in her two cents worth (now reduced to half a penny). FOX News seems to keep her on tap due to a kindness that borders on pity. Yes, they have to pander to old Tea Partiers, but what price pandering to a group that became famous for its misspelled signs? The party is dying out so fast that even Palin has suggested starting one of her (very, very) own. *

But Seriously ...

There will be no "but seriously ..." until people stop laughing.

- Whats next "smoking crack with Rob Ford" channel?- I might watch it. As a part-time EMT, I always make sure to attend the scene of a bad accident.- What in the heck is a "media filter"???? You mean actual thought?- Only in America could the most ill informed individual on the planet get a news channel.- Alternative TV channel works for her bc it matches the alternate reality that she lives in. - She'll say something stupid....others will comment on it....she'll say she is being picked on....then she'll quit.
Yet there is a serious side to this part of the Palin saga: Sarah Palin is taking it seriously.

The best way to prove how viable your views are is to make the public pay for them. Andrew Sullivan has done it successfully, because his followers pay for his intelligent (sometimes conservative) take on national and world affairs. Palin is banking on viability, not liability. She honestly thinks her take on America and it's political landscape is worth something to people. Maybe it is, but after the laughter takes its toll, her subscribers may be a bit embarrassed: "watching Palin" may not be a badge of Tea Party (or any other party) honor.

So when will all the self-promotion stop? Probably when Palin's last grandchild has been voted out of Dancing With The Stars. It's tough to halt someone so hellbent on staying in the limelight. Until then, let the SNL sketches go on!

Hurry, Tina Fey, what's takin' ya so long?




*Taking a tip from comedienne Gracie Allen's own Presidential run, she might name it The Surprise Party. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Politicizing AIDS Deaths: What The Christian Right Has Done From The Very Beginning








"Let me close by making one additional comment. On board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 there were apparently near 100 researchers and advocates traveling to an international conference in Australia dedicated to combating AIDS/HIV. These were men and women who had dedicated their own lives to saving the lives of others, and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence. President Barack Obama.


"How dare pernicious researchers and activists interfere with the machinations of God! It serves them right!" Or so the sentiment will go. Perhaps not quite as pointedly tacky nor as bourgeois (ok, that's mildly redundant, but the Right lives on redundancy), but the Right has already begun to take God into the MH-17 disaster and international crisis. Ala the American Family Association:









True, Bryan Fischer is a card-carrying God's Ambulance Chaser, but when criticized for the above tweet, he absolutely insisted that it was Obama who was politicizing the death of the AIDS researchers.

This attitude, of course, is delusional, but key to people like Fischer.

THE MOTIVE

In the coming weeks/months, the question of motive for the downing of MH17 will be key to understanding the international crisis: it will beat like a heart throughout all the commentaries and articles, all the social media blasts and all the documentary preliminary discussions.

Some faction of Separatists had to make the decision to target an airliner. Why an airliner? Perhaps an inept attempt to call attention to its cause, like videotaping a beheading. It certainly could not have been an act of sheer stupidity, could it? An accidental push of a button by a Pixar-like buffoon? So MH17 was targeted?

Why? The next step is to consider who was on the plane. The positing of it being mistaken as Putin's plane is ridiculous: the Separatists shooting their biggest supporter and the supplier of all their armaments. Since most of the passengers were from the Netherlands, was it possible that Separatists thought it would make the best statement to shoot down the most liberal of European countries? Maybe.

Or did the Separatists know that one third of the passengers were going to an AIDS convention and that one of the world's chief researchers were on the plane?
"Among the many lost were two giants of the HIV research community. “Both Joep Lange and Jacqueline van Tongeren meant a lot to us, as colleagues and as friends,” an anguished Brandon O’Dell of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development told me. Lange was once the president of the International AIDS Society, which organizes the conference. Van Tongeren, his partner, was a nurse and advocate and head of communications for the AIGHD."

All right, to go any further with a hypothesis involving AIDS researchers and (possibly) Russia's homophobia would be to go all Glenn Beckian. But the presence of so many passengers on one mission (and so many from one country) put emphasis on motives too important to dismiss.

Politicizing/Trivializing

When anyone strives to politicize a crisis or disaster, many times the deaths of the people involved become trivialized as well: Bryan Fischer's comment strives to trivialize the deaths by demeaning the work the researchers and activists were trying to accomplish.

The best of the backlash can be read at Forward Progressive, Wonkette, and Salon.

To be fair, not all of the Rights' political hacks have succumbed to politicizing the tragedy: when Todd Starnes tweeted "snarky" comments about Obama, FOX News' own Greta Van Sustern had some serious words of her own:
“I was just sent a Mediaite article with these tweets on it. I don’t know Todd Starnes (he works in NYC), but I do know he works at Fox News Channel and so do I. I don’t like his tweets. They are very bad taste. This is not the time to be snarky or have some pathetic attempt at humor. Let me repeat… 295 people died.”
Unfortunately, the Right (especially the Christian Right), has developed a very hard skin when it comes to criticism about their treatment of AIDS and AIDS deaths: it's as if they've never heard the facts about AIDS not being a "gay disease" and stories about their own hard-hearted Fundamentalists and Southern Baptists. For over 30 years, the Right has used AIDS and its deaths as political tools against the poor and the LGBT community, while giving itself kudos for "tolerance" if anyone survived the epidemic.

In 2006, PBS' Frontline produced an in depth series titled The Age Of AIDS. It's long, but riveting and chronicles the hopes and dreams of researchers like Joep Lange and the quest to politicize the crisis by politicians and Christian Right groups alike (think George H.W. Bush during the Republican Convention).

Sad to say, Bryan Fischer is still not alone in his attempts to feed the righteous arrogance of himself and his supporters: if any form of AIDS-phobic or homophobic motive comes to light...

Fischer will be crowing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Busy Days For Francis: Tackling Pedophilia, Celibacy, Compassion And "Humanitarian" Rick Perry




“Whether they are traveling because of poverty, or violence, or with the hope of reuniting with relatives on the other side of the border, it is urgent to protect them and help them because their vulnerability is greater and they are defenseless against any abuse or misfortune”.

Pope Francis has hit the news several times in two days and the subjects of debate are shocking and straightforward: the Vatican admitted that at least 2% of all clergy (including bishops and cardinals) are ... pedophiles. Addressing the subject, the pontiff also questioned the efficacy of celibacy (!). And with a very quick shift in gears, Francis made pointed remarks about other juvenile victims: the refugees flooding Texas, Arizona and California borders from Central America. 



Human Earthquake



"The Diocese of West Texas released this photo Wednesday of Central American refugee children apprehended at the southern U.S. border. Tens of thousands of them have fled their homes in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, hoping to reunite with relatives in the North. It’s a humanitarian crisis, government agencies are overwhelmed, and the diocese is working with Episcopal Relief and Development and other agencies to find shelter, safety and legal protection for these refugees. It’s like a human earthquake, caused by violence and worsened by politicians; meanwhile Episcopalians and other churches are trying to focus on the kids." From The Daily Office.






Obviously, Rick Perry didn't like what the pope said. In a FOX News interview with Brit Hume, Perry said that deporting the children during the immigration crisis brewing in the south was "the most humanitarian thing we can do." Perry lambasted Obama's efforts to support border patrol, intimating that it was his "Katrina." But although he stated that the children should be humanely accommodated, his strident tone for the children's reasons for being here in the first place took over:

The former Republican presidential candidate said that he knew refugees would send the message back to their families that troops were on the border because “their conversations are being monitored with calls back to Central America, and the message is ‘Hey, come on up here, everything is great, they’re taking care of us.’ And that needs to stop.”


No, Perry could have been pleased with the Pope's plea for unconditional compassion.

And neither could Rush Limbaugh: 

There's a typical headline here about what happened in Murrieta, California. It's from Reuters: "Anti-Immigration Protesters Block Undocumented Migrants in California." That headline is a lie in several ways. One, these people were not protesting immigration. They were protesting illegal immigration and dumping, number one. And then Reuters called these kids migrants.
He also stated that many of the children probably carried communicable diseases. 

Naughty Murietta

Murietta, CA is part of affluent Riverside County. Check that: it's THE most affluent part of Riverside County. And the most Republican. And the least diverse. And the least Hispanic. It may have the only all-Rush Limbaugh and all-Sean Hannity cable channels in the country. Naturally, it hates any form of illegal immigrants, from babies to octogenarians. 



“The Town Where Immigrants Hit a Human Wall,” read a New York Times headline. “In California, an Immigration Flashpoint,” proclaimed The Washington Post. And the "flashpoint" was countered by faith-based organizations in the border states willing to help the children, taking Francis' plea to heart. 


Murietta is now a shouting match.

Leprosy In The House

For Francis, the matter of children seemed to dominate his thoughts this last week: the immigrant crisis in America came after a shocking admission:
"Many of my co-workers who struggle with me reassure me with reliable data that assess pedophilia within the church at the level of 2 percent. This finding should reassure me but I must tell you that I do not [find it] reassuring at all. I consider it very serious indeed. ... I find this situation intolerable and I intend to tackle it with the seriousness it requires," he reportedly said in an interview with Eugenio Scalfari for the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica.
He called the 2% a "leprosy in the house", just days after he met with abuse survivors and begged forgiveness. 

The Vatican officially denied parts of the interview, giving shadings to the "2%" comment. It also denied that the Pope commented on finding a solution to celibacy. 


Whatever the pending reactions to the outspoken Francis, it is clear that his devotion to children and the less fortunate is not to be diminished or demeaned by pundits like Rush Limbaugh, or negated by politicians like Rick Perry. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

When Icons Go All Commie-Pinko: Archie Goes Out With A Bang For Social Justice And Gun Control



It could be worse: Archie could be saving a single immigrant lesbian adoptive mother from Pastor Gary Cass.

All the same, expect Ann Coulter to be pissed ... and the rest of Right Wing America. The iconic Archie Andrews will end his life by saving his gay (senator) friend from a bullet.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - For the fans of Archie Andrews, his impending death marks a fitting end for the do-gooder comic book icon.
The famous 73-year-old red-headed comic book character will die in Wednesday's installment of "Life with Archie" when he intervenes in an assassination attempt on senator Kevin Keller, Archie Comics' first openly gay character who is pushing for more gun control in Riverdale. Andrews' death was first announced in April and will mark the conclusion of the series that focuses on grown-up renditions of Andrews and his pals.
It's a startling double-punch for the comic book character: the themes of social justice and gun control are so blatantly featured that the Right (Christian or otherwise) will be fuming and foaming.

The 73-year-old Archie Andrews has implanted itself on the American pop culture scene like no other comic book character: there are dozens of Archie pin-offs and franchises and the Archie website has garnered over 40 million views. The Life With Archie series has been perhaps the most dramatic, focusing on adventure stories and highlighted with social issues. It centered on an Archie beset with career and marital problems. And although it also featured a parallel universe with Archie and the gang poised as super-heroes, the underlying tenor was Archie trying to do the right thing.

Doing The Right Thing

It is ironic that perhaps Archie Andrews' moral character is the problem for Right Wing (esp. NRA) America: according to Pastor Gary Cass, as a Christian, Archie should have been carrying a gun and according to Joseph Farah (WND), Archie should have been disgusted with the Senator's lifestyle in the first place, opining that he was probably part of the "Gaystapo". For former General Jerry Boykin, it would definitely not be a WWJD moment. Certainly not HIS Rambo Jesus.

Blame Doonesbury?

Of course, comic strips/books with a particularly leftist, socialist bent are not new, the legendary Doonesbury by Gary Trudeau coming to mind. But upon further investigation, characters such as Orphan Annie ushered in a social conscience during the Roosevelt years. Bringing Up Father (main characters Jiggs and Maggie) focused on the problems of the nouveau-riche starting 1911. In lampooning Republican/patrician mores of the times, comic strips and comic books took a decidedly left-wing worldview.
Yahoo News:
Andrew Wheeler, who writes about the comic book industry at ComicsAlliance.com, praised the way that Andrews will be killed off. He wrote on Monday that "Archie's sacrifice isn't just a moment of heroism; it offers an unambiguous condemnation of America's lax gun laws" and said that it's "not surprising to see Archie Comics tackling such a serious issue" because the publisher "doesn't shy away from risky ideas."
How risky, however, may be the key to the upcoming reaction to Archie's demise. It seems that the Right has not yet indicated just how furious it is at Riverdale's permanent teenager heroism. It may just point to a diseased society and the NRA may just dismiss it as a gun control ploy.

Farah, Beck, Starnes and Bachmann may even sniff "conspiracy".

Whatever the reaction, the next days may prove to be even funnier than the "funny papers" that generated Archie.




Monday, June 30, 2014

Stupidity Has Its Loyalty: Cavuto Goes Rogue And Pays The Price





"Now some of you say you will never, ever watch me again for the way I treated a congresswoman who I otherwise very much respect. Well, then I respectfully bid you adieu because if you prefer only hearing the interviews that suit you than let me say good-bye to you now because the time's going to come again when I will probably offend you."  - Neil Cavuto of FOX News 
Michele Bachmann was, in part, created by FOX News and its supportive pundits. What FOX News anchor Neil Cavuto did last week was to remove his support for a creation he "respected" but still termed silly. What he found out almost instantly was that no one at FOX can question - let alone deride - someone like Bachmann, no matter how insipid a political stance she has.

TPM:
The negative feedback was swift and harsh. At the end of that day's broadcast, Cavuto said a "record number of emails" had arrived.
"They go pretty much like this," he said. "'Cavuto, you're a rude ass. If I were Michele Bachmann, I'd have a law against you.' Someone else said, 'Who do you think you are? [Bill] O'Reilly? You're an idiot. Quit blabbering, start thinking.'"
Bachmann Cavuto Overdrive

Even for FOX News, the exchange was testy, with Bachmann (as is always her want), repeating points endlessly, thinking that emphasis would pass for reason. But Cavuto hammered away at his original premise, that the "lawsuit" against Obama spurred on by the Republican party was totally frivolous and a needless waste of time, energy and taxpayer money. Cavuto was anchored in the here and now, while Bachmann was off in Anti-Obama Neverland. The Young Turks (see below) saw Bachmann as a robotic Frankenstein monster unleashed, with Cavuto trying desperately to restrain it, but in the end just saying "you're silly."

Now, calling a monster "silly" may seem silly in itself, especially when FOX viewers have a fondness for Bachmann's brand of "silly." It seemed to many that Cavuto was cutting off his FOX-paid nose to spite his face. But what Cavuto may have done was bring a breath of reality to FOX that was very, very unwelcome: FOX's coverage and support of Republicans on this issue was "silly." FOX's support of Republican agendas was not always right. OMG! FOX News, the ratings king, might be IN ERROR! Cavuto was being blasphemous and apostate!

In retrospect, it's amazing that the emails did not contain death threats.

Tipping Over The Tower Of Misinformation

It has long been understood that ideological news and straight news are two different species, and with FOX News the ideology of the Right is so paramount as to give its sub-banner "Fair and Balanced" a tongue-in-cheek aspect. Hosts like Glenn Beck (formerly at FOX), Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee who depend upon the "opinions" of Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter veer so much to the right, that even treatment of the national and international political scenes is non-existent: at times it just seems like an Obama bash-fest. But the ideological news of FOX also serves another purpose: it keeps the misinformed public misinformed. In a real sense, Neil Cavuto was also challenging FOX the Misinformer, telling viewers to get past the irrelevance of the Republican (FOX News) Party's actions and "move on" to fix things.

The Price Of Going Rogue

As The Young Turks put it after viewing the heated exchange: "Is this FOX News?" FOX has certainly flirted with conflict involving the Republican Party,* but Cavuto's handling of Tea Party icon Michele Bachmann as a near nitwit was certainly far from it's usual right-wing course. Will Cavuto pay the ultimate price? No. Irate emails must be constant and consistant to have any effect on viewership. Cavuto will only be sacked if it's proven that he's slipped in ratings. Or if he spars again, say, with FOX's other darling nitwit:






*Megyn Kelly once remarked to Karl Rove that his projection over the 2012 elections might just be "something you made up to make yourselves feel good."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Death By Stoning ... In Oklahoma: Facebook Post Makes A Candidate's Position Clear(ly) Stupid






"I have no plans to reinstitute that in Oklahoma law."

Not right now, maybe, but at sometime in a later date when he's elected village idiot?

Scott Esk is running for Oklahoma State Congressional District 91. He is running as a Libertarian and a moralizing moron. He thinks "ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.” And He doesn't think much of Pope Francis, either.

You see, it was all Francis' fault that this gay-stoning issue came about in the first place. With his (now famous) "who am I to judge", Francis ignited a firestorm of righteousness in Esk's mind, so when someone asked him on the MooreDaily.com (a local online newspaper) facebook page if he seriously condoned stoning for gays, Esk answered in the affirmative: "I think we would be totally in the right to do it." He did, however, qualify his remarks by saying that as a Libertarian he would leave it up to local municipalities to decide whether or not to adhere to Biblical law.

“And within a state, cities and communities may well have different policies, and I cheer that. That way, people can decide for themselves whether they want to live in a particular community based in part on how things like this are dealt with.”

Add a bit of homophobia, some thinly veiled racism, segregation, and maybe some misogyny to the worldview of Scott Esk and, well, you get the picture.

What Esk didn't realize, was by having opined his views on homosexuality and his views that Biblically-oriented laws should be enforced at a local level, he buried any chances of a political career, or of anyone thinking he was sane.

Enter Rob Morris

The whole thing might have been buried in Facebook, however, if it hadn't been for the investigation of MooreDaily's published and editor, Rob Morris.

“Even people that don’t agree with things like gay marriage, they — nobody wants the death penalty for gays,” Morris said. “I mean, that’s the most asinine thing.”

The "asinine thing" again ignited Esk's righteousness and he started calling Moore and his colleagues "liars", "miscreants", and "non-Biblical-morality-believing-liberals". Moore's response couldn't be embedded, but you can view it HERE. It's not only classic, but it reveals more about Esk than he could ever have imagined: the copy of a protective order against him by his former wife and pastor, the police report from the time Esk reported a group of Hispanics as illegal immigrants - but they were celebrating a fiesta at a mall near Esk's home.

"I never told any policemen to take them all away or shoot and ask questions later, but if it gets loud, I could see it happening and I wouldn't blame them."

Oh, now add Hispanophobia and condoning of police violence.

Wither Scott Esk?

Oklahoma doesn't need an idiot politician - it gets plenty of ambient idiocy from the state of Texas.* But Esk will undoubtedly play the persecution card. A totally dumb move from a wife-beating misogynist, homophobe and Hispanophobe.





*Rick Perry is under fire for comparing homosexuality to alcoholism at - of all places - San Francisco's Commonwealth Club. He has also hinted that after his stint as governor, he might move to California, the state he bashes the most next to gays. Dumb.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

It's Magdalene Laundry Time Again: Ireland Struggles To Identify The Bodies of 800 Discarded Children.




Writing about this on Sunday - there's definitely a dichotomy: an unholy subject on a supposedly holy day.*

Salon:
They have no headstones, no coffins. No memory boxes of toys and photographs. There are nearly eight hundred of them – and counting. They are the 796 babies and young children aged between two days and nine years whose grave, “filled to the brim with tiny bones and skulls,” was found last week in an unmarked site that once housed a septic tank near a County Galway home for unwed mothers.

The Real Shame of Ireland: The Treatment of Women

When Andrew Sullivan first broke the news about the "800", the most interesting response was from a reader:
There have been small changes in Ireland in the last 30 years, but … there is a place women must know, and it’s weird. It is far different than an American woman’s place.
Children of unwed mothers fare even worse:
However, in the year 2012, I visited relatives in rural western Ireland whose teenage daughter got pregnant. She wasn’t shipped off, she stayed home, had the baby. I came for tea. We talked of everything, but the baby. The baby sat in the room, and no one remarked about it. It was as if there was some creature making a bothersome noise, like an errant animal, and NO ONE TALKED ABOUT HOW THAT CREATURE GOT THERE.

The discarded "creatures" of scorned women. A memorial* to the innocents is already in the making. But what about their mothers?

Compromise

The treatment of women has been a focus of universal concern: from the rape-hanging in India to the kidnapping of 300 school girls in Nigeria, all misogyny seems to be imbued with religion, a patriarchy, and a masculine privilege encouraged by religion around the world. Compromising women has been a millennia-old tradition.

In Clare Booth Luce's "The Women," Mary Haines - a sophisticated woman facing the adultery of her husband - responds to her mother's plea for marital compromise: "Oh, that was alright in your day, mother, when women were chattels, but Steven and I took each other for life as equals, and I won't compromise that equality. It's wrong, shockingly wrong." But later in the play, the street-wise chorus girl, Miriam Aarons, tells Mary that "a woman's compromised the day's she's born."

Miriam's pov is still right today.

What America Has Yet To Learn

Stories from Ireland's Catholic Church and India's rape culture always elicit a "Thank God it couldn't happen here." But what many history-ignorant Americans fail to realize is that it DID happen here: the rape culture was prominent in the South among slave owners and there were actually Magdalene laundries here in the United States. By calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" for merely asking for birth control, Rush Limbaugh showed us that the misogyny of a rape culture still exists, and that women are "compromised" until proven equal.


Today's anti-abortionists have also gotten into the fray of "compromise" by insisting that rape victims give birth to children, fully knowing that those children will be treated with just as much scorn as their mothers, and may be sentenced to a life of a "creature" no one wants to talk about.


And "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson gives little attention to women over 15 as potential wives. What he thinks about unmarried, pregnant girls and their progeny has yet to be determined.

Ann Coulter has posited that most illegitimate children grow up to be criminals.

Compromised women still lead to "discarded" children.



*This author felt compelled to write about it since as many readers know, I was born in an orphanage and possibly escaped the massive Duplessis Orphan scandal of Quebec.


* "It is understood a small financial donation has now been made by the Bons Secours Sisters to help the community build a memorial." The community might react with a large donation of "BFD."