Saturday, September 15, 2012

Eric Cantor Attacks Gay Marriage While Prostituting Himself to Anti-Semites

As noted in a blog earlier today, Eric Cantor - the only Jewish member of the Republican contingent in the House of Representatives - behaves much like the self-loathing gays who belong to the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud who continually pander and prostitute themselves to far right element in the GOP only to have their extremist Republican cohorts more or less spit in their face and kick them to the gutter.  As evidence of Cantor's willingness to debase himself, the man spoke before the hate group sponsored "Values Voter Summit" to denigrate same sex couples.  Never mind the fact that the Christianist sponsors of the coven of haters believe that Jews like Cantor are destined to Hell and could best described as anti-Semites.  Think Progress has details of Cantors attacks against gays while pandering to those who in their hearts likely support Hitler's "Final Solution."  In his quest for power, Cantor is sadly only too willing to prostitute himself in a manner that would shock the most tawdry whore.  Here are story highlights: 

In a speech today at the Family Research Council’s Value Voters Summit, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) assailed virtually every one of President Obama’s policies. He then offered a staunch defense of the economic benefits of marriage, saying, “Marriage has lifted more people out of poverty than any government program ever”:
We all know, as do most Americans in their hearts know, that the way for us to allow the pursuit of happiness is through individual effort. It is not through government program. And that is why we believe in traditional marriage, because marriage, more than any government program ever has or ever will, has lifted up people out of poverty, even those who felt there was no hope. Marriage has proven to be that formula which has been more successful at allowing for that pursuit of happiness. And that is why we stand tall and stand proud for traditional marriage.
For starters, as the Economic Policy Institute noted, when it comes to poverty, “the problem is a jobs and employment problem, not a marriage problem, as some commentators have suggested.” But this particular line of reasoning is interesting coming from Cantor, who has such a well-documented history of standing against same-sex marriage, despite its economic benefits.

When Washington state legalized same-sex marriage, conservative estimates of its potential economic effect were that it would add $88 million to the state and local economies in just three years and an additional $8 million in tax revenue. Even more impressive, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in July 2012 that same-sex marriage generated $259 million for the NYC economy in just one year.

Despite undeniable economic benefits, Cantor consistently acts against same-sex marriage, voting in favor of amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and also to define marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. The Human Rights Council gives him a 0 percent rating on support for gay rights.
Cantor sadly puts pandering to his Christofascist masters ahead of not only his own self-respect but also ahead of what is best for American families.  Cantor s truly an embarrassment to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

A Cross Section of Polls: Bad News for Romney

Click image to enlarge
The chart above via Andrew Sullivan shows that in almost every poll Barack Obama is leading Mitt Romney.  I suspect that we will see even crazier stuff from Romney and the GOP as desperation takes hold.  Of course crazy batshitery will likely only help Obama more since I suspect many folks are finally realizing that the GOP and Romney lie incessantly - just like their Christianist base.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Federal Officers Question Anti-Muslim Film Maker

It seems more and more certain that Christian extremists were behind the making and Internet promotion of the vile film "Innocence of Muslims," that denigrates Islam and the Prophet Muhammad and which has ignited violence across the Arab world.  The Virginian Pilot has coverage on the questioning of one of the principal players in the making of the anti-Muslim screed - a self described Coptic Christian and felon, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.  As seems to always be the case, "Christians" like Nakoula apparently has no problem lying, defrauding people and trashing the Gospel message in general.  It's truly a perverted example of "living one's Christian faith" and is yet another strong example why anyone truly moral would not seek to wear the Christian moniker.  Here are some story highlights:

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was interviewed at the station in his hometown of Cerritos, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Don Walker said.  Federal officials have said they were investigating the activities of Nakoula, who has been convicted of financial crimes. If the probation department determines Nakoula violated terms of his release, a judge could send him back to prison.
The probation department is reviewing the case of Nakoula, who was previously convicted on bank fraud charges and was banned from using computers or the Internet as part of his sentence. The review is aimed at learning whether Nakoula violated the terms of his five-year probation.

Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the administrative office of the U.S. courts, confirmed Friday the review is under way.

Federal authorities have identified Nakoula, a self-described Coptic Christian, as the key figure behind "Innocence of Muslims," a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Middle East. A federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday that authorities had connected Nakoula to a man using the pseudonym of Sam Bacile who claimed earlier to be writer and director of the film.

While it was unclear what might have provoked authorities' interest, the filmmaker's use of a false identity and his access to the Internet through computers could be at issue, according to experts in cyber law and the federal probation system. Nakoula, who told the AP that he was logistics manager for the film, was under requirements to provide authorities with records of all his bank and business accounts.

The probation order authorized in June 2010 warned Nakoula against using false identities. Nakoula was told not to "use, for any purpose or in any manner, any name other than his/her true legal name or names without the prior written approval of the Probation Officer."

There are indications that "Innocence of Muslims" may have already been under way as a film project when Nakoula was arrested. A casting call for actors and crew for a film called "Desert Warrior" ran in Backstage magazine, based in Los Angeles and New York, in May and June 2009. The casting call described the film project as a "historical Arabian Desert adventure" and listed a "Sam Bassiel" as producer.

One notice identified "Pharaoh Voice Inc."as the film's production company. California state records show Pharaoh Voice was incorporated in September 2007 by a "Youssef M. Basseley." The principal address for Pharaoh Voice in Hawaiian Gardens, a southern California community, is the same location where Nakoula lived until 2008, according to state records.
 Needless to say, I'd love to see this douche bag go back to prison.  People like Nakoula underscore that far right Christianity is a cancer on society and a threat to both domestic and international peace.  It's really little better than Islamic extremism.  Just less violent - at least so far.

Out of Touch Romney Calls $200,000 - $250,000 "Middle Income"

This blog has noted time and time again Mitt Romney's utter inability to grasp much less feel the slightest  empathy for the lives of most Americans  He and his wife truly are today's version of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette of the American political world.  And now Romney has underscored this reality yet again when he said during a :Good Morning America" interview that "middle income" as income of $200,000 to $250,000.  Perhaps in Mr. Romney's world of great wealth and privilege, but in low wage Hampton Roads that income bracket would put one among the wealthy. Back in the real world the U.S. Census Bureau reports that median income is $50,000 - that's right, a mere one-quarter of what Romney sees as "middle income."   The Washington Post looks a Romney's latest "sliver foot in his mouth" moment.  Here are excerpts:

Mitt Romney is promising to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans.  But how does he define “middle-income”? The Republican presidential nominee defined it Friday as income of $200,000 to $250,000 a year and less.

Romney’s comments came an interview broadcast Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“No one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is (to) keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers,” Romney told host George Stephanopoulos.

“Is $100,000 middle income?” Stephanopoulos asked.  “No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less,” Romney responded.

The Census Bureau reported this week that the median household income — the midpoint for the nation — is just over $50,000.

Obama wants to extend Bush-era tax cuts for those making less than $250,000, while Romney wants to extend the tax cuts for everyone.

Romney has not explained how he would keep his plan from growing the nation’s deficit.

National Jewish Democratic Council Rips Cantor and Ryan

I've often noted that I deem Congressman Eric Cantor to be an embarrassment to Virginia.  Apparently, so does the  National Jewish Democratic Council which condemned Cantor for attending the virulently anti-non-Christian "Values Voters Summit" sponsored by three designated hate groups.  As the sole Jewish Republican in Congress, Cantor's allegiance to groups that include a good number of white supremacists and anti-Semites - not to mention homophobes - is akin to someone of Jewish descent fraternizing with Nazis.  Cantor seems to be the equivalent of self-loathing gays who  as best I can figure exhibit their inner self-loathing by supporting those who literally hate them.  Here are portions of yesterday's press release via Joe My God:

"American Jews will feel a sense of profound disappointment that two of the most important Republicans in the country have chosen to address - and thus court and legitimize - some of America's most extreme and deeply disturbing social conservatives at today's Values Voter Summit. The Southern Poverty Law Center urged public officials to refrain from attending because of the organizers' infamous history of gay bashing, anti-Muslim and intolerant statements, including disgustingly and directly linking homosexuality to the Holocaust. But equally concerning is the history of hate-filled toxic rhetoric that flows from many of its participants year after year. This is above and beyond one of the summit's organizers' calls for Jews to be converted to Christianity.

"Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) should theoretically be working to expand the Romney campaign's appeal to mainstream voters, and rumor has it the Republican Party is attempting to attract Jewish voters as well, though it has a strange way of showing it. Instead, he is serving as the campaign's bridge to far-right extremists -- a crowd that he blends all too well with. Furthermore, the appearance by Cantor -- the only Jewish Republican in Congress -- is sending yet another message that gay bashing, intolerance and abusive Holocaust rhetoric are accepted by the House GOP caucus. The unfortunate alliance between the Values Voter Summit and today's GOP is just one more element sure to remind the vast majority of American Jews --who strongly support marriage equality -- why they firmly support the Democratic Party."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Morning Male Beauty

European Countries Consider Taxing Churches

Given the flagrant role that some churches are playing in politics here in America: think the Roman Catholic Church and a number of far right denominations, I would argue that it is time that tax payers stop indirectly underwriting these political operations and revoke the tax exempt status of politically active churches, starting with the Roman Catholic Church. As the Washington Post is reporting, some countries in Europe see this as both good policy to increase tax revenues and a recognition that churches that are playing politics should be treated no differently that any other group.  Here are some story highlights:

Cash-strapped officials in Europe are looking for a way to ease their financial burden by upending centuries of tradition and seeking to tap one of the last untouched sources of wealth: the Catholic Church. Thousands of public officials who have seen the financial crisis hit their budgets are chipping away at the various tax breaks and privileges the church has enjoyed for centuries.

Rubio, a city council member in Alcala, is leading an effort to impose a tax on all church property used for non-religious purposes. The financial impact on the Catholic Church could be devastating. As one of the largest landowners in Spain — with holdings that include schools, homes, parks, sports fields and restaurants — the church could owe up to 3 billion euros in taxes each year.

Similar efforts that target church coffers or powers are underway in neighboring countries. In Italy, Prime Minister Mario Monti has called for a tax on church properties or on those portions of properties that have a commercial purpose. In Ireland, the minister of education is fighting to end church control of many of the country’s primary schools, and the government has slashed in half the grants it gives poor families for first Communions. More than half the city councils in Britain have eliminated state subsidies for transportation to faith-based schools, leading to a precipitous drop in enrollment.

In response to the controversy, the Vatican and representatives of the church — Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco in Spain and Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco in Italy, who head the council of bishops in their respective countries — have released statements saying they intend to comply with all laws. But they have declined to comment further except to emphasize that current norms recognize the “social value” of church activities.

The net worth of the Vatican and the Catholic Church dioceses is difficult to estimate, but it is thought to be astronomical, according to Zech. The Vatican’s treasure of gold alone is thought to be worth several billion dollars. The church’s nearly 3,000 dioceses serve individual countries, regions or cities that defer to the Vatican in matters of doctrine but maintain their own finances.

With most of its assets tied up in buildings and artwork, the church has faced a cash-flow problem in recent years. Contributions have fallen dramatically in the wake of the global economic downturn. The clergy abuse scandal cost the church hundreds of millions in settlement costs, further eroding cash reserves.
 The article is lengthy but raises issues that ought to be discussed in the USA - especially as the Catholic Church and other churches flagrantly violate IRS laws that bar political activities.

New NBC/WSJ/Marist Poll of Virginia Spells Bad News for Romney

A new NBC- Wall Street Journal- Marist poll of Virginia (and Florida and Ohio as well) spells bad news for Mitt Romney.  While I will not stop holding my breath until the results are known on election day night, I suspect that the poll results are an indication that American voters have received the message put out by the GOP and Democrat conventions and that the vision of the GOP - preference for the obscenely wealthy at the expense of the middle class and special rights for racists and religious extremists - simply is not selling well.  At least not outside of those individuals motivated by greed, Christianist extremism, racism and anti-immigrant fervor.  Blue Virginia summarizes the poll results as follows:

1. Barack Obama leads Willard "Mitt" Romney by 5 points (49%-44%) among likely voters, by 7 points (49%-42%) among registered voters. 

2. Tim Kaine and George Allen are tied at 46% each among likely voters, with Kaine ahead by 1 point (46%-45%) among registered voters. I continue to find it fascinating that Obama's doing better against Romney in Virginia than Kaine's doing against Allen. Are there really Obama-Allen voters out there? It seems highly unlikely to me.

3. Obama's got a +10 favorable rating (53%-43%) in Virginia, compared to Romney's +1 favorable (46%-45%) among likely voters. Again, it's even a little better for Democrats when looking at registered voters.

4. Note that this poll does not include Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Virgil Goode (Constitution) or Jill Stein (Green). My guess is that if they were included, it would bump up Obama by another couple points.

P.S. Obama leads in Florida (49%-44%) and Ohio (50%-43%) as well. No wonder why Willard's been flailing around, lashing out, acting like a crazy man, etc. recently.
Obviously, between now and election day it remains critical that undecided voters be educated as to what the GOP vision for the nation would really mean for them once Romney/Ryan lies are stripped away.

Congressional Republicans Continue to Seek to Persecute Gays in the Military

As the first anniversary of the repeal of the religious based discrimination known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell approaches, Congressional Republicans continue their efforts to give license to anti-gay bigotry within the military and to single out LGBT servicemembers for restrictions on use of military facilities.  In a letter to Congressional Democrats, the ACLU is urging Democrats to have a spine and kill these anti-gay measures.  The sad truth is that the Republican Party and its standard bearers, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, openly seek to grant special rights to hate and bigotry filled far right Christians to the detriment of other citizens.  Actions that I would argue are in direct conflict with the U. S. Constitution which prohibits special rights for any one religious group.  Note that one of the authors of the measures is the virulently anti-woman Todd Akin.  Here are portions of the ACLU's letter via BuzzFeed:  

Using Religion to Discriminate Against Lesbian and Gay Service Members

First, in what remains of the 112th Congress, one of the most important requests of Senate Democrats is to ensure that two anti-gay provisions included in the House-passed FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 4310) are not included in the final version of this legislation that will be sent to President Obama for his signature later this year. These two provisions – Sections 536 and 537 respectively – would undermine the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and compromise open service for lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members.

Section 536, which is based on the so-called “Military Religious Freedom Protection Act” (H.R. 3828) and was offered as an amendment during markup in the House Armed Services Committee by Rep. Todd Akin (RMO), could function as a dangerous license to use religion as a cover for discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members, by stating that the beliefs of members of the Armed Forces “concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality” must be accommodated and shall not be the “basis for any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment.” This language – a solution in search of a problem – could encourage the creation of personal, social, and institutional barriers which would make the military a hostile environment for the very people who only recently won a measure of equality. It would also make it very difficult for commanders to remove such barriers when they do arise.

Section 537 would prohibit Defense Department facilities from being used for private marriage or “marriage-like” ceremonies for same-sex couples, even where state law permits such marriages. This provision ignores the fact that these facilities are already available for use by service members for a range of religious functions and ceremonies, including weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations, and other events. To deny them to gay and lesbian service members – even in those states where same-sex couples enjoy the freedom to marry – based on nothing more than the sexual orientation of those wishing to make use of the facilities is discriminatory.

The ACLU continues the pressure and also urges Democrats to push passage of legislation that would bar the open anti-gay discrimination allowed under the laws of far too many states, including Virginia. Here's the on point language:

Moving LGBT Equality Under the Law Forward – SNDA, ENDA and Respect for

The ACLU has been a longtime champion of three affirmative pieces of legislation – the Student Non-Discrimination Act (S. 555), the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 811), and the Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598) – which would, if enacted, represent tremendous strides forward for LGBT equality under the law. All are long overdue and we would like to see continued movement on each of these measures in the near future.

The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) . . . . would have a profound impact in improving the lives of LGBT students in the U.S. by ensuring that discrimination and harassment of students on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity has no place in our nation’s public elementary and secondary schools.

[T]he Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) . . . . by prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in most American workplaces, the legislation will allow American workers who stand side-by-side at the workplace and contribute with equal measure in their jobs to also stand on the same equal footing under the law.

It is far past time that special rights for Christianists and a pass on their incessant anti-gay hate and bigotry cease to be legally sanctioned under the nation's laws.  Until this happens, America's claim that it guarantees religious freedom for all remains a lie and a farce.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

The Issues Facing LGBT Americans

A report reviewing the major areas in which unfair laws and Christianist fanned stigma create extra burdens for LGBT Americans in their every day lives has been released by a coalition comprised of the Human Rights Campaign, Log Cabin Republicans, the Movement Advancement Project, Stonewall Democrats and the Victory Fund.  The report is aimed at educating straight allies Many of the findings are disturbing and underscore the reality that while life for LGBT Americans have improved in some states. in most states LGBT citizens are treated as third or fourth class citizens at best.  Unfortunately, Virginia is one of the states where there has been little improvement in the legal climate for LGBT individuals.  Indeed, during the last decade in Virginia, other than the invalidation of Virginia's sodomy laws under the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, nothing has improved.  In fact, things have gotten worse (e.g., passage of the Marshall-Newman Amendment in 2006).  Here is the report's abstract followed by some excerpts from the report which can be found in full here:

ABSTRACT: Despite historic gains in the last few years, LGBT Americans are simply still not treated equally under federal law. Contrary to popular belief, federal legislation does not protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, credit or employment—and LGBT people also lack such protections in most states. LGBT workers often cannot extend their health insurance coverage to their partners or children. Without family and marriage tax deductions, LGBT families pay additional taxes but lack access to critical protections that many Americans often take for granted, like Social Security Survivor Benefits. Due to these and myriad other inequalities, LGBT people are more likely to live in poverty and suffer from health disparities.

FAIR AND INCLUSIVE WORKPLACES:  The vast majority of Americans (73% according to the latest poll by the Center for American Progress) believe that workers should be treated fairly and equally and that no one should be fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance. Yet LGBT people continue to face pervasive discrimination in the workplace. According to an analysis of the 2008 General Social Survey by the Williams Institute, more than one in-four lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees (27%) reported experiencing employment discrimination based on their sexual orientation in the past five years.11 The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 50% of transgender employees had been harassed at work.12 There is no federal law explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

As shown in Map 1, only a minority of states have legislation that protects workers for being unfairly fired .  .  .  .

Click on image to enlarge
ACCESS TO WORKPLACE BENEFITS:  LGBT people are less likely to have health insurance coverage.  No federal law requires employers to offer health benefits to the same-sex spouses or partners of LGBT employees, and most employers do not offer such benefits.  Even when employers do offer such benefits, LGBT employees (unlike married straight employees) and employers are taxed on the value of domestic partner health insurance benefits, making health insurance more expensive for LGBT employees and their families

FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION:  Many LGBT people experience discrimination when just going about their daily activities–whether eating at a restaurant with their families or friends, trying to obtain safe, clean housing, or applying for a loan. One study found that in 27% of cases, same sex couples encountered discrimination when trying to rent or buy a home, and another study found that 19% of transgender respondents had been refused a home or apartment because of their gender identity or expression.20 Under federal law, LGBT people are not protected from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, credit or employment.

FREEDOM TO MARRY:  Many states in the U.S. have state-level laws banning same-sex couples from marriage and/or prohibiting other forms of relationship recognition. These state-level laws stand in the way of same-sex couples’ ability to take care of one another and tell them that their relationships and families don’t matter.

There much more detail, but these excerpts hopefully will help straight readers realize that there votes against anti-gay politicians are crucial to ending the daily inequality that we in the LGBT community face daily.

New CNN Poll: 57% of Registered Voters Blame Bush and GOP for Current Poor Economy

While Mitt Romney continues to get lashed for his untrue statements about the protests against U.S. embassies and the brutal assault on the Libyan consulate, more bad news was rolled out today when a new CNN poll revealed that 57% of registered voters blame Chimperator Bush and the GOP for the current poor economy.  Hence why the GOP attack ads against Barack Obama on the state of the economy may not be gaining much traction (the unrelated chart above shows where responsibility for the nation's deficit really lies).  Personally, it is encouraging to see that Americans may not be as dumb as the Republicans think they to be.  Here are highlights from Politicussua on the poll results:

A new CNN poll explains why President Obama is leading in the polls. By margin of 57%-35%, registered voters blame George W. Bush and the Republican Party for the poor condition of the economy.

The back breaker for Romney came when registered voters were asked which policies were more to blame for the country’s current economic problems, George W. Bush and the Republicans or Barack Obama and the Democrats. Fifty seven percent of registered voters said that Bush and the Republicans are responsible, compared to 35% who blamed Obama and the Democrats.

A deeper look inside the who is responsible numbers reveals that by a margin of 53%-37%, Independents think Bush and the GOP are responsible for the current state of the economy. Fifty six percent of men and fifty eight percent of women still hold Bush and the GOP responsible.

Americans under age 50 hold Bush and the Republican Party more responsible by a more than 2 to 1 margin.  

If wants to see who besides Chimperator Bush is responsible, some of the leaders of the GOP who have been willing to destroy the economy and harm countless Americans are featured in the image below.

Consultant for Anti-Muslim Film Is Also Anti-Gay and Anti-Mormon

I've already noted that the individuals behind the foul anti-Muslim film The Innocence of Muslims appear to be far right Christians.  Now, not surprisingly and as my fellow Bilerico Project contributor Karen Ocamb reports, at least one of the individuals involved in the video and the intentional fomenting of violence is also anti-gay and anti-Mormon.  As I said before, today's far right Christians are synonymous with hate, bigotry and efforts to engender violence against others.  They are a pox on the world.  Here are highlights from Karen's post:

The Riverside Press-Enterprise also reported extensively on Klein's background and the two groups he started - Courageous Christians United and Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment - which resulted in Klein being on the Southern Poverty Law Center's watch list. The newspaper reported:
But he and other members of Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment distributed leaflets on Islam in high schools across Southern California, including in Temecula, Corona, Murrieta, Norco and Menifee.
Klein said he has written on other issues as well, targeting illegal immigration, gays and lesbians serving in the military and Mormonism. But he said he has not attended or organized demonstrations on those issues.
The Southern Poverty Law Center on Wednesday put out a dossier on Klein. The center quotes him from his Facebook page in 2011 as saying Muslims "are a cancer that WILL attack us and KILL as many as they can to further the Islamic doctrine of Sharia law . . . Beware, there IS a holy war coming."
 The Southern Poverty Law Center described Klein as a Marine veteran who brags about having led a "hunter-killer" team in Vietnam.  He also is associated with the Church of Kaweah in Central California.

The Church of Kaweah, which the [SPLC] center lists as a hate group, is described as "a secretive cohort of militant Christian fundamentalists in California who are preparing for war and who believe that churches should avoid government regulation and answer only to God." It is located near the village of Three Rivers in the Sierra Nevada foothills.  The church has its own militia, the center said.

"When he's not busy spreading fear and hate among America's youth, Klein conducts outreach and encourages militancy among Christians from the Middle East and northern Africa," the center said in its online report.
Interestingly, much of the attention on his Courageous Christians United website seems directed at Mormons, as well as Muslims. "As Evangelical Christians, we also desire to convert Mormons and the state of Utah in particular to the real Jesus Christ," they say on their website

On the Courageous Christians United website, they have a list of videos, including this category:


Right Wing Christians Behind Anti-Muslim Video That Started Riots

I often remark that I view fundamentalist religion in general and fundamentalist Christianity in particular as being one of the great scourges of mankind.  Fundamentalist Islam likewise destroys lives and perpetuates hate, bigotry and intolerance.  But back to the Christofascists.  The Guardian is carrying a story that provides more information about those who are behind the production and promotion of the horrid movie "The Innocence of Muslims."   As once might have surmised, the responsible parties appear to be far right Christians and Coptic Christians who sought to destabilize post-Mubarak Egypt and inflame the U. S. political campaigns.  These people may well have the blood of four Americans on their hands and demonstrate why I have growing contempt for far right Christians who by their conduct make a mockery of the Gospel message of Christ.  Here are highlights from the Guardian story:

[E]ven though the deadly scene in Benghazi may not have resulted directly from the angry reaction to the Islamophobic video, the violence has helped realize the apocalyptic visions of the film's backers.

Produced and promoted by a strange collection of rightwing Christian evangelicals and exiled Egyptian Copts, the trailer was created with the intention of both destabilizing post-Mubarak Egypt and roiling the US presidential election. As a consultant for the film named Steve Klein said: "We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen."

After being duped by Bacile, AP traced his address to the home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a militant Coptic separatist and felon convicted of check fraud. On September 13, US law enforcement officials confirmed that "Sam Bacile" was an alias Nakoula used to advance his various scams, which apparently included the production of The Innocence of Muslims.

According to an actor in the film, the all-volunteer cast was deceived into believing they were acting in a benign biblical epic about "how things were 2,000 years ago". The script was titled Desert Warrior, and its contents made no mention of Muhammad – his name was dubbed into the film during post-production.

Before Nakoula was unmasked, the only person to publicly claim any role in the film was Klein, an insurance salesman and Vietnam veteran from Hemet, California, who emerged from the same Islamophobic movement that produced the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Styling themselves as "counter-Jihadists", anti-Muslim crusaders like Klein took their cues from top propagandists like Pamela Geller, the blogger who once suggested that Barack Obama was the lovechild of Malcolm X, and Robert Spencer, a pseudo-academic expert on Muslim radicalization who claimed that Islam was no more than "a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers". Both Geller and Spencer were labeled hate group leaders by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Klein urges a violent response to the perceived threat of Islam in the United States, posting an image to his website depicting a middle-American family with a mock tank turret strapped to the roof of their car. "Can you direct us to the nearest mosque?" read a caption Klein added to the photo.

Through his friendship with Nasrallah, Klein encountered another radical Coptic separatist named Morris Sadek. Sadek has been banned from returning to his Egypt, where he is widely hated for his outrageous anti-Muslim displays.

As soon as the film appeared on YouTube, Sadek promoted it on his website, transforming the obscure clip into a viral source of outrage in the Middle East. And like clockwork, on September 11, crowds of Muslim protesters stormed the walls of the US embassy in Cairo, demanding retribution for the insult to the prophet Muhammad. The demonstrations ricocheted into Libya, where the deadly attack that may have been only peripherally related to the film occurred.

For Sadek, the chaos was an encouraging development. He and his allies had been steadfastly opposed to the Egyptian revolution, fearing that it would usher in the Muslim Brotherhood as the country's new leaders. Now that their worst fears were realized, Coptic extremists and other pro-Mubarak dead-enders were resorting to subterfuge to undermine the ruling party, while pointing to the destabilizing impact of their efforts as proof of the government's bankruptcy.

For far-right Christian right activists like Klein, the attacks on American interests abroad seemed likely to advance their ambitions back in the US. With Americans confronted with shocking images of violent Muslims in Egypt and Libya on the evening news, their already negative attitudes toward their Muslim neighbors were likely to harden. In turn, the presidential candidates, Obama and Romney, would be forced to compete for who could take the hardest line against Islamic "terror".

A group of fringe extremists had proven that with a little bit of money and an unbelievably cynical scam, they could shape history to fit their apocalyptic vision. But in the end, they were not immune to the violence they incited. 

According to Copts Today, an Arabic news outlet focusing on Coptic affairs, Sadek was seen taking a leisurely stroll down Washington's M Street on September 11, soaking in the sun on a perfect autumn day. All of a sudden, he found himself surrounded by four angry Coptic women. Berating Sadek for fueling the flames of sectarian violence, the women took off their heels and began beating him over the head.

If these men and their supporters are the face of Christianity, the world would be a far better place if Christianity were to become a dead religion.  Likewise, fundamentalist Islam needs to find its way to the trash heap of history. 

New York Times Slams Romney

As noted before, the blow back against Mitt Romney (shown smirking after his attack on Obama) just seems to go on and on even as some of the usual shrills of the lunatic far right try to offer up tortured support for his insensitivity and rashness.  Today's New York Times main editorial slams Romney and his craven effort to make political points out of a tragedy.  The man is truly a lying, self-centered, out of touch douche bag.  Here are excerpts from the Times' editorial:

Libya and its pro-democracy revolution had no better friend than J. Christopher Stevens, the United States ambassador who was killed along with three other Americans in Tuesday’s attack on the consulate in Benghazi.

President Obama’s statement of outrage and his vow to bring the killers to justice received bipartisan support, including from politicians otherwise committed to partisan warfare, like the House speaker, John Boehner, and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who rarely misses a chance to attack Mr. Obama. 

But not from Mitt Romney, who wants Americans to believe he can be president but showed an extraordinary lack of presidential character by using the murders of the Americans in Libya as an excuse not just to attack Mr. Obama, but to do so in a way that suggested either a dangerous ignorance of the facts or an equally dangerous willingness to twist them to his narrow partisan aims. 

Mr. Romney could easily have held his fire during this crisis, if he could not summon the decency to support the United States government. Instead, he misrepresented the administration as “sympathizing” with the attackers. There was no truth in what he said. In fact, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the first official comment on the killings, a strong condemnation, before Mr. Romney released his statement. Even after having a night to reconsider his response, Mr. Romney merely doubled down on his false charges, as he is prone to do.

Libya’s shaky new government will need American support to bring the killers to justice. The origins of the video, which mocks the Prophet Muhammad, are not clear. There is considerable speculation about who even produced the film, which largely went unnoticed until it was promoted on the Internet by Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-born Coptic Christian ally of Terry Jones, a Florida pastor and hatemonger whose threats to burn a copy of the Koran inspired deadly riots in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011. 

However offensive the video is, it could never justify the violence in Benghazi and Cairo. But Mr. Jones, Mr. Sadek and whoever made the film did true damage to the interests of the United States and its core principle of respecting all faiths.

The worst thing now would be for the United States to turn away from its commitments to work with Libya and Egypt as they try to build stable new societies. A number of Libyan security guards died trying to save the Americans, and Libyan leaders have condemned the killings and promised to work to apprehend those responsible.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Reflections on the Loss of One's Mother

It's a sad day today - this morning the boyfriend received a call that his mother (pictured at left) had died in her sleep sometime in the early hours of the morning.  Since his mother has been in failing health, it's not as if it was a total surprise.  But, on the other hand over the last few days she had seemed to be doing remarkably better than a couple of weeks ago.   It had been her wish to go quietly without an extended period of pain and suffering and she got her wish. In some ways, like my own late mother, she seems to have simply decided that enough was enough and moved on to the other side in her typical quiet unassuming way.  

I will miss her and always be grateful for the way she accepted me as a part of her family.  Indeed, one of the last times I visited her in the rehab facility where she was recovering from her last hospital stay she referred to the boyfriend and me to a staff person as "her sons."  She understood - unlike Mitt Romney - that gays do indeed have families and that same sex couples count.  She was a very sweet woman.  I can still picture her at my youngest daughter's wedding where she and my father-in-law had a wonderful time.

As is always the case, the boyfriend will no doubt be a pillar of strength for his bereaved father and the rest of his family.  No one is stronger or more organized than my "Martha Stewart" when difficult things need to be organized, done and endured.  I hope readers will keep him in their thoughts and prayers if one is the praying type.

Romney to Gays: "I Didn't Know You Had Families"

I've noted repeatedly the utter lack of empathy or understanding that Mitt Romney seems to exhibit towards virtually everyone other than religious extremists and the super wealthy.  The rest of us are pure out of luck if we expect the man too grasp the fact that we are as fully human as he or his billionaire donors.   A piece in the Boston Globe that reviews Romney's actions towards the LGBT community is particularly alarming in the manner in which Romney is so utterly out of touch and unfeeling.  His perhaps classic remark was "I didn't think you had families" comment to gays while being lobbied on the issue of same sex marriage.   Here are highlights from the Globe article that ought to have LGBT voters asking themselves WTF is wrong with gays who support the GOP and Mr. Romney in particular: 

It was 2004, after the Supreme Judicial Court had cleared the way for same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in Massachusetts. Governor Mitt Romney remained a roadblock, endorsing a constitutional amendment that would ban it.  .   .   .   .  they shared their stories, pled their case, and tried to explain how equal marriage would protect them and their families. Romney sat stone-faced and almost entirely silent.  “Is there anything else?” Romney asked when they finished. With that, the meeting was over.

“It was like talking to a robot. No expression, no feeling,” recalls David Wilson, one of the plaintiffs in the case who met with Romney that day. “People were sharing touching stories, stories where you’d expect recognition in the other person’s face that they at least hear what you’re saying — that there’s empathy. He didn’t even shake his head. He was completely blank.”

Occasionally Romney would say something.   “I didn’t know you had families,” remarked Romney to the group, according to Wilson.

It was the ignorance of these facts — and Romney’s inaccurate, insensitive answer to her parting question, that pushed Julie Goodridge to her breaking point.

“I looked him in the eye as we were leaving,” recalls Goodridge. “And I said, ‘Governor Romney, tell me — what would you suggest I say to my 8 year-old daughter about why her mommy and her ma can’t get married because you, the governor of her state, are going to block our marriage?’”

His response, according to Goodridge: “I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.”

Speaking with those locally who had experience knowing, meeting with, or working with Romney, a few commonly held perceptions emerge. Perhaps the most common is that Romney seems generally disinterested in others, and has trouble connecting with anyone unlike him — whether in terms of lifestyle, economic class, or sexuality. Some share stronger words.  “He completely lacks empathy,” says Goodridge, speaking this time about her own experience meeting the governor.

 That lack of empathy plays out in Romney’s tendency to gloss over incidents that are distressing to the gay community. Take the time he tried to dismantle the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. The Commission, established in 1992 by Republican Governor William Weld, was intended to specifically address youth-related issues like anti-gay harassment and teen suicide.

Later that month, Romney’s administration attempted to squash another youth-oriented effort over inclusive language: the publication of a 120-page anti-bullying guide for public schools.

There's much more in the Globe piece but these excerpts speak volumes about Mitt Romney and none of it good.   We truly do not need this man in the White House.

GOP Dominated Missouri Legislature Passes Anti-Contraception Bill

Despite denials that it is not an anti-woman party, the Missouri GOP just over rode a veto of a bill that would grant special rights to Christianists and allow employers and perhaps insurers to deny contraception coverage under health plans.  Not surprisingly, the child rapist protecting Catholic Conference and other religious extremists backed the bill.   If women voters have any doubts as to what the Republican Party thinks of them, they need look no farther to see the 11th century mindset that the GOP holds towards women.  The alleged "religious freedom" smoke screen invoked by Republicans amounts to nothing more that granting special rights to Christianists to inflict their views on all citizens.  Here are excerpts from a Huffington Post story on yesterday's vote: 

Missouri lawmakers enacted new religious exemptions from insurance coverage of birth control Wednesday, overriding a gubernatorial veto and delivering a political rebuke to an Obama administration policy requiring insurers to cover contraception.

Although Missouri and 20 other states already had some sort of exemption from contraceptive coverage, Missouri's newly expanded law appears to be the first in the nation directly rebutting the federal contraception mandate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and supporters of the law.

Republican legislative leaders barely met the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto by Gov. Jay Nixon. 
Shortly after the vote, an attorney for the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women said it was seeking an injunction against the measure. Among other things, the suit being filed in Cole County Circuit Court claims the new Missouri law conflicts with President Barack Obama's health care law and thus should be struck down.

The Missouri measure was championed by the Missouri Catholic Conference, Missouri Right to Life and other religious and anti-abortion groups.

While vetoing the bill in July, Nixon said it was unnecessary because Missouri already has strong religious exemptions in its insurance laws. He also said the new Missouri law could allow insurers to claim a religious or moral exemption and thus deny birth control coverage to women who want it. 

The new Missouri law allows individuals, employers and insurers to cite religious or moral exemptions from mandatory insurance coverage for abortion, contraception and sterilization. It changes a "may" to a "shall" when describing an insurer's duty to provide policies without contraception coverage for those who request it. And the new law gives the state attorney general – or other individuals and entities – grounds to file lawsuits claiming an infringement of rights if they are compelled to cover contraception.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Negative Reactions Continue to Dog Romney and His Cairo Statement

To me, Mitt Romney is an arrogant man who made a fortune as a vulture capitalist and who is seemingly incapable of feeling empathy towards anyone else outside perhaps his immediate family.  His political history has demonstrated that he will do anything and say anything - and change his positions incessantly - if at any particular moment he thinks it furthers his interests.   As noted before in an earlier post, the unfeeling and out of touch Romney sought to capitalize on yesterday's sad events in Cairo and Benghazi and attacked Barack Obama and tangentially the State Department for coddling anti-American protesters.  As we all know, the facts have not borne out Romney's statement and the negative reactions continue to reverberate - even from Republicans who are in some cases ripping Romney a new one.  Here are excerpts from BuzzFeed:

Mitt Romney's sharply-worded attack on President Obama over a pair of deadly riots in Muslim countries last night has backfired badly among foreign policy hands of both parties, who cast it as hasty and off-key, released before the facts were clear at what has become a moment of tragedy.

Romney keyed his statement to the American Embassy in Cairo's condemnation of an anti-Muslim video that served as the trigger for the latest in a series of regional riots over obscure perceived slights to the faith. But his statement — initially embargoed to avoid release on September 11, then released yesterday evening anyway — came just before news that the American Ambassador to Libya had been killed and broke with a tradition of unity around national tragedies, and of avoiding hasty statements on foreign policy. It was the second time Romney has been burned by an early statement on a complex crisis: Romney denounced the Obama Administration's handling of a Chinese dissident's escape just as the Administration negotiated behind the scenes for his departure from the country.
"It’s deeply unfortunate when the circumstance of the statement becomes the story," said Rick Perry's former foreign policy adviser, Victoria Coates .   .   .   .   Other conservatives were less sympathetic.

"It's bad," said a former aide to Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. "Just on a factual level that the statement was not a response but preceding, or one could make the case precipitating. And just calling it a 'disgrace' doesn't really cut it. Not ready for prime time."

A third Republican, a former Bush State Department official, told BuzzFeed, "It wasn't presidential of Romney to go political immediately — a tragedy of this magnitude should be something the nation collectively grieves before politics enters the conversation."

Heather Hurlburt, who heads the National Security Network, a Democratic group, said the statement "shows not just poor judgment and a willingness to use tragedy for political gains, regardless of the security consequences — but also poor management. He has policy people on his team who know better. Clearly they weren't consulted."
[S]aid Steve Clemons, the founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. "An attack on an Embassy, the murder of U.S. officials including an Ambassador, is an attack on all Americans and the idea of America — and Romney gave terrorists what they want — a divided country still torn emotionally and politically by the events of 9-11. Romney talks of leadership but with his reckless commentary when events were fragile and still unfolding, he belly-flopped."

A column in Forbes - not exactly a left wing news outlet - was equally scathing in its rebuke to Romney.  Here are excerpts:

While the Romney campaign chose to turn yesterday’s events in Cairo and Benghazi into a political opportunity by criticizing the Obama Administration for a statement issued by our embassy in Cairo earlier in the day (more on that in a moment), a check of Twitter and other communications sources reveals that, as of the time of publication of this piece, Governor Romney has not yet seen fit to so much as express his condolences to the families of Ambassador Stevens and the other Americans who lost their lives in service to their country. Now, if I’ve somehow missed Romney’ issuance of condolences, I’m sure that there are many readers who will gladly point this out. I, in turn, will be more than willing to correct the record if this is the case—however a close search of all sources reveals that no such statement has been forthcoming from the Romney camp.

These words were uttered at the time when the families of our fellow countrymen were being notified of the terrible fate that had befallen their loved ones.

Is this really how leadership works?  A leader waits until all the facts are available and the impact of one’s words can be more fully assessed. In speaking out before he was fully aware of the situation on the ground, Governor Romney chose the path of the impulsive politician rather that the road taken by a measured leader—and all in the quest of political gain.

I’m sure the irony of our Ambassador’s death at the hands of such a mob is completely lost on Governor Romney who has now cashed in the decency I have always ascribed to the man in exchange for his willingness to do anything—and say anything—if it helps him capture the prize he so intensely seeks. No doubt, the Romney campaign tells itself that trading their souls is the price they must pay for the greater good. No doubt, they convince themselves of some wisdom they find in speaking first and thinking later if that is what must be done to save the American people from themselves. Yet, I think all Americans know how that storyline ends.

Ouch!!  Sometimes the truth hurts and the truth is that Mitt Romney is an unfeeling, calculating man who seems incapable of the empathy and emotions that most of us find to be an important part of ourselves.  I guess that's why he felt nothing for all of the employees who were fired and left with nothing during his vulture capitalist days at Bain Capital. 

Is Michele Bachmann in Danger of Defeat?

Without a doubt one of the most insane and untethered from reality members of the Congressional GOP is failed presidential nominee candidate Michele Bachmann who, among other things owns a "Christian counseling center" with her husband Marcus "Marcia" Bachmann that markets fraudulent and discredited "ex-gay" therapy. Perhaps because of her failed presidential campaign and other outbursts of insanity, new polls in Bachmann's home district suggest that she may be in trouble in terms of her re-election effort, with independent voters fleeing her in droves and her once commanding lead whittled down to within the margin of error.  I won't make any bones about the fact that I would LOVE to see Bachmann voted out of office.  The country does not need lunatics like Bachmann in public office.  First, these highlights from Salon:

Despite her national fan base and a massive war chest, Rep. Michele Bachmann may be in more danger than most suspect, with a new poll showing her lead diminished to just 2 points. Independent voters have swung against her by nearly 20 points in just two months, from a 4 percent advantage to a 15 point disadvantage.

Overall, the poll shows Bachmann leading Graves 48-46 percent, within the margin of error. The race has moved significantly among independents, with a 20-point net shift toward Graves, from a 41-45 percent disadvantage in June to a 52-37 percent lead now. Among independents, Bachmann’s favorability rating has slipped 4 points while her unfavorability rating has jumped 7 points. Overall, she’s viewed mostly negatively. Among all voters, 40 percent give her a positive job rating, while a sizable 57 percent give her a negative one, with a plurality of 35 percent giving the most negative answer possible — “poor.”
Politicususa has additional details.  Here are excerpts:

A new poll suggests that tea party darling Michele Bachmann is in serious danger of losing her House seat to Democrat Jim Graves.

The poll, which was first shared with Salon, found that Bachmann now leads Graves, 48%-46%. Bachmann has gone from a 45%-41% lead with Independents to now trailing 52%-37%. The biggest indicator of how much voters have soured on Bachmann is that 57% of those surveyed gave a fair/poor job approval rating.

Even though her popularity is on the wane in her district, Rep. Bachmann will be difficult to beat because of the massive war chest ($15 million) she has accumulated. Bachmann also has been heavily supported and funded by the national Republican Party. Michele Bachmann is a right wing media darling who is welcome to go on Fox News, Glenn Beck, or any other conservative media outlet and beg for dollars at any time. 

The Foul Fruits of U.S. Tax Dollars in Iraq: Anti-Gay Witch Hunts and Violence

It's ironic, but LGBT Iraqis were largely better off under the often brutal regime of Saddam Hussein than there are now under the U.S. puppet regime that now rules in Iraq.   Instead of Hussein's largely hands off approach to gays, we now see sometimes state sanctioned witch hunts and murders of LGBT Iraqi.  The BBC looks at the plight of LGBT Iraqis and one of the other legacies of Chimperator Bush's fool's errand in Iraq - which mirrors the kind of batshitery that Mitt Romney would extend into Iran.  Not, of course that Mitt Romney or his sons would face the consequences of such ill advised wars.  Here are highlights from the BBC story: 

In post-Saddam Iraq, gay men and women have been systematically targeted for death by extra-judicial militias - with the co-operation of the democratically elected government, says Ali Hilli, founder of the London-based group, Iraqi LGBT.

Even through the worst years of Saddam Hussein, sexual minorities in Iraq enjoyed a fair degree of freedom.

In the years after the invasion, the security situation deteriorated for everyone in the country. But for sexual minorities, Iraq became hell on earth.

By 2007, political and religious groups backed by militiamen launched what we believe was an organised, co-ordinated campaign to hunt, arrest, torture and kill everyone they perceived as gay.   These radical groups deny sexual minorities the right to life. They target everyone who does not conform to their religious description of family.

That is why killings of gays are similar to so-called honour killings of women said to bring shame on to the family by having extra-marital sex, even in cases when women are raped.  In the same way, gay men and women who do not adhere to traditional sexual practices within an accepted marriage framework are seen as dangerous to society.

Instead of protecting sexual minorities, the Iraqi government facilitates their murder by arresting the victims and handing them over to militias who kill them.  Iraqi LGBT sources working inside Iraq have found the militias are also getting intelligence about the identities of sexual minorities from the Ministry of the Interior.

Unless the international community steps in to help and to put pressure on the Iraqi government, many more men and women will die.

Frankly, the situation sickens me and I suspect that other than gay-hating Christofascists crowd, most Americans would not be please with this result of needlessly wasted American lives and billions of tax payer dollars.  Meanwhile, George Bush and Emperor Palpatine Cheney have faced no consequences for their years of misrule.

Quote of the Day: M. L. Mencken on Religion

In light of the tragic events in Egypt and Libya - all of which appear to have been religiously motivated both on the part of the film's makers and those who attacked the U.S. embassies and wrought violence and murder - on of the statements of the late M. L. Mencken (who was born on this date in 1880 and was a well known literary critic, editor and journalist) seemed very much on point in terms of the foul fruits of religion:

“I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind – that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.  “I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.

Be it Christian fundamentalism or Islamic fundamentalism the fruits are the same: hatred of others, the denigration of freedom and true liberty, and typically a small cadre who enrich and empower themselves through their control of others.  Pope Benedict XVI and the ayatollahs in Iran and Saudi Arabia have more in common than their followers care to admit. 

Quote is via Civil Commotion.

Romney's Pandering Statement Bites Him in The Ass

Virtually with every passing day my opinion of Mitt Romney goes lower.  The man is shameless, uncaring and willing to stoop to any lengths to try to get himself elected - something that ought to scare the hell out of rational, thinking Americans (yes, I know - that excludes the GOP base).  But seriously, even before he knew the facts and details of yesterday's sad events in Egypt and Libya, Romney was trying to score political points with no regard for the families of those at risk.  Fortunately, the reaction from all but the Kool-Aid drinker crowd seems to be uniform in its condemnation of Romney.  Here are excerpts from a piece on Politico:

The folks at First Read capture the snap consensus among the political class that Mitt Romney's statement on Egypt and Libya was a big tactical mistake:
*** Over the top Yesterday we noted that Mitt Romney, down in the polls after the convention, was throwing the kitchen sink at President Obama. Little did we know the kitchen sink would include — on the anniversary of Sept. 11 — one of the most over-the-top and (it turns out) incorrect attacks of the general election campaign. Last night after 10 .pm. ET, Romney released a statement on the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya. After saying he was “outraged” by these attacks and the death of an American consulate worker, Romney said, “It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” 
Yet after learning every piece of new information about those the attacks, the Romney statement looks worse and worse — and simply off-key. First, Romney was referring to a statement that the U.S. Embassy in Egypt issued condemning the “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” But that embassy statement, which the White House has distanced itself from, was in reference to an anti-Islam movie and anti-Islam pastor Terry Jones, and it came out BEFORE the embassy attacks began. Then this morning, we learned that the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and others died in one of the attacks.

 *** When news-cycle campaigning goes awry: Bottom line: This was news-cycle campaigning by the Romney campaign gone awry. Why didn’t the Romney campaign wait until it had all the facts?  .   .   .  .  But how much time do you give an administration to work through a diplomatic and international crisis before trying to score immediate political points? You’d expect the Sarah Palins of the world to quickly pounce on something like this, and she predictably did. But a presidential nominee running for the highest office in the land? After the facts have come out, last night’s Romney statement only feeds the narrative that his campaign is desperate.

There are a lot of problems with Romney's reaction to the U.S. consulate attacks, but the most straightforward one may be that it burns away time his campaign didn't have. We're now going to spend at least one news cycle — and probably more — analyzing and responding to Romney's incendiary statement, and the issue will surely carry through to the Sunday shows this weekend. When you're trailing in a presidential election with eight weeks to go, you can't afford to spend one of those weeks defending a provocative statement that you didn't have to make in the first place, especially when you were already on the defensive on national security.

Andrew Sullivan summed up Romney/Ryan's unfitness for office well:

These people are simply unfit for the responsibility of running the United States. The knee-jerk judgments, based on ideology not reality; the inability to back down when you have said something obviously wrong; and the attempt to argue that the president of the US actually sympathized with those who murdered his own ambassador in Benghazi: these are disqualifying instincts for someone hoping to be the president of the US. Disqualifying.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

GOP Rep. Walter Jones Appears on White Nationalist Radio Show

It seems the members of the Republican Party are going out of their way to provide further proof that the GOP is increasingly the party of racists, white supremacists and far right extremists in general.  The latest example?  North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones' appearance on a white supremacy radio show.  Now that's more than even local Hampton Roads Congressman Scott Rigell would do even though Rigell's previously been endorsed by hate group founder Lou Sheldon.  Jones' district includes northeastern North Carolina and areas not too distant from Hampton Roads.  Mother Jones looks at this batshitery on Jones' part and provides background on the group that Jones has pandered to.  Here are highlights:

A North Carolina Republican congressman appeared on a notorious white nationalist radio program on Saturday to talk up legislation he coauthored accusing President Barack Obama of committing impeachable offenses. Rep. Walter Jones, a fiercely anti-war congressman who often breaks with his party on key votes, appeared on the Political Cesspool, a Memphis-based program hosted by ardent white nationalists James Edwards and Eddie Miller. 

The show has been condemned by groups like the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center for promoting racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic beliefs. Jones is the first member of Congress to appear on the program.

An avowed white nationalist who says David Duke is "above reproach," Edwards has referred to African Americans as "heathen savages" and "subhuman" and suggested that slavery was "the greatest thing that ever happened" to blacks. The show's mission statement is blunt: "We represent a philosophy that is pro-White and are against political centralization," it declares. It then outlines a series of issues the show exists to promote. "We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races," reads one plank.

As the SPLC notes:

"The Political Cesspool" in the past two years has become the primary radio nexus of hate in America. Its sponsors include the CCC and the Institute for Historical Review, a leading Holocaust denial organization. Its guest roster for 2007 reads like a "Who's Who" of the radical racist right.

Edwards' bigotry runs the spectrum. As Media Matters has documented, Edwards has alleged that Jews "run Washington, Wall Street, and the news and entertainment media" and that they're "using pornography as a subversive tool against" Christians. He defended Mississippi voters who say that interracial marriage should be illegal. (He's called interracial sex "white genocide.")

Erik Anderson, Jones' Democratic challenger, told Mother Jones the congressman needs to clear the air about what happened. "It's unbelievable that a sitting congressman would think that's appropriate," said Anderson, a Marine Corps veteran. "I really would like to hear his reasoning for why he went on there. You just don't go on a radio show like that and not know who you're talking to. I've been on conservative radio shows, but never a white supremacist one." But he has one theory: "I've said [the impeachment resolution] was racially motivated and that's absolutely what it was for because why else would he go on that show if it wasn't?" 

UPDATE: Florida Christofascist Movie Causes Assaults on U. S. Embassies

Yesterday I looked at the violence triggered in Egypt and Libya by the foul video produced and promoted by Christofascist pastor Terry Jones and his fellow hate merchants.  This morning, it is being reported that the U. S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens (pictured above) and three others Americans were killed in yesterday's violence, so once again we see Jones' hate and hubris claiming the lives of innocents.  I in no way condone the actions of the protesters in Egypt and Libya, but on the other hand deliberate efforts to promote hate and violence should not be allowed.  There need to be serious consequences for Jones and his accomplices.  Here are highlights from the Virginian Pilot:

Libyan officials said this morning that the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi by protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

The officials say Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff. The protesters were firing gunshots and rocket propelled grenades.

The protests in both countries were sparked by outrage over a film ridiculing Muhammad produced by an American in California and being promoted by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian campaigner in the United States. Excerpts from the film dubbed into Arabic were posted on YouTube.

"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet," Clinton said in a statement released by the State Department. "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind. "

A 14-minute trailer of the movie that sparked the protests, posted on the website YouTube in an original English version and another dubbed into Egyptian Arabic, depicts Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly ridiculing way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres.

A YouTube spokesperson said the website would not take down the video at this point. The website's guidelines call for removing videos that include a threat of violence, but not those only expressing opinions. YouTube's practice is not to comment on a specific videos.

Some work for peace and tolerance in the world.  Others do not, including Christian and Islamic extremists who I view as a pervasive evil.  Meanwhile, You Tube's gutlessness is disappointing.  Meanwhile, part of me would love to see a similar video depicting Christ put up on You Tube so that the Christofascists would get a taste of their own medicine.  Somehow, I suspect that You Tube would suddenly find a reason to remove the video.  After all, far right Christians in America seem to have special rights not allowed to the rest of us.