Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reason No. 2,145 How You Can Tell Your Party is Racist

When the backlash against your party's aspiring chairman at comparing "magic negroes" with "authentic" blacks "from the hood," and the response is to defend it as the funniest piece of satire since the invention of the joke, you have a problem.

'Magic Negro' flap might help Saltsman

by Andy Barr

The controversy surrounding a comedy CD distributed by Republican National Committee chairman candidate Chip Saltsman has not torpedoed his bid and might have inadvertently helped it.

Four days after news broke that the former Tennessee GOP chairman had sent a CD including a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” to the RNC members he is courting, some of those officials are rallying around the embattled Saltsman, with a few questioning whether the national media and his opponents are piling on.

“When I heard about the story, I had to figure out what was going on for myself,” said Mark Ellis, the chairman of the Maine Republican Party. “When I found out what this was about I had to ask, ‘Boy, what’s the big deal here?’ because there wasn’t any.”

Alabama Republican Committeeman Paul Reynolds said the fact the Saltsman sent him a CD with the song on it “didn’t bother me one bit.”

“Chip probably could have thought it through a bit more, but he was doing everyone a favor by giving us a gift,” he said. “This is just people looking for something to make an issue of.”

“I don’t think he intended it as any kind of racial slur. I think he intended it as a humor gift,” Oklahoma GOP Committeewoman Carolyn McClarty added. “I think it was innocently done by Chip.”

The song came with 40 others on an album from conservative satirist Paul Shanklin, a personal friend of Saltsman. The song is a parody of a 2007 Los Angeles Times column of the same title and is written to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

“Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.” the opening of the song goes. “The L.A. Times, they called him that ‘cause he’s not authentic like me. Yeah, the guy from the L.A. paper said he makes guilty whites feel good. They’ll vote for him, and not for me, ‘cause he’s not from the 'hood.”

The song, written shortly after the publication of the Times column, was first played on the Rush Limbaugh radio show. On Monday, Limbaugh prominently re-posted the song on the top left corner of his website above the headline, “Drive-by media misreporting of ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ song.”

The flap has generated unflattering attention at a time when the GOP is trying to rebuild its brand and reach out to new voters after an election in which GOP presidential nominee John McCain ran poorly among minority constituencies.

The day after the story was first reported by The Hill, RNC Chairman Mike Duncan issued a statement expressing disgust over the song.

“The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party,” said Duncan, who is seeking reelection to his post. “I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction.”

Duncan was joined by Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis, another RNC chairmanship aspirant who chided Saltsman for sending out the CD.

North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth said he was “disappointed” when he heard about the story and questioned Saltsman’s viability as a candidate going forward.

“There are a lot of things about Chip that would have made a good a RNC chairman, but this has definitely hurt him,” he said in an interview with Politico. “With less than a month to go, Chip needs to be talking about where he wants to lead the party, and he is not going to get that opportunity.”

Not everyone is so sure, with some RNC members contending that Anuzis and Duncan may have actually hurt their candidacies with their responses.

“Those are two guys who just eliminated themselves from this race for jumping all over Chip on this,” one committee member told Politico. “Mike Duncan is a nice guy, but he screwed up big time by pandering to the national press on this.”

While South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele have decided to stay away from the controversy, offering no comment, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who would be the party’s first black chairman, has drawn notice for his vigorous defense of Saltsman.

“Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-elect Obama being the first African-American elected president,” Blackwell said in a statement. “I don't think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them. When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people.”

As a result of his position, a source close to the race said that at least 12 uncommitted committee members have contacted Blackwell to thank him for his support for Saltsman and have expressed anger toward Duncan and Anuzis “for throwing a good Republican under the bus.”

Indeed, in a fluid race in which six candidates are vying for the votes of 168 members, both Blackwell and Saltsman stand to benefit from a backlash to the flap.

Most observers expect Duncan to lead after the first ballot, but few expect he or any other candidate will be able to secure election on a first ballot. For either Saltsman or Blackwell to win election they will likely need the votes of the other’s supporters to break in their direction, along with any other committee members who are not enamored of Duncan’s leadership.

In calls to committee members in recent days, both Saltsman and Blackwell have been reminding Republicans of how both Duncan and Anuzis reacted to the story.

“I wasn’t angered by what Mike had said; it was just revealing to me how each one responded,” said Ellis of Maine, who as an uncommitted member received calls from all six candidates Monday. “Their responses were kind of a surprise to me because I saw it as something that was not an issue, something that was manufactured from outside the committee.”


Enjoy your second party status, GOP. No one else will miss you.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Bastard Out of Wasilla

Tolerance can be a genuinely harmful force when it become a euphemism for moral exhaustion and a rigid or indifferent neutrality in response to every great moral issue--when in G.K. Chesterton's phrase, it becomes the virtue of the people who do not believe in anything....To take just one example: 70 percent of people between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four say that people who generate a baby out of wedlock should not be subject to moral reproach of any sort...judgment is not bigotry and tolerance may be just another form of indifference.--William Bennett (Death of Outrage)
Since Sarah Palin and her supporters have no problem with judging the sexual proclivities of so many of my friends when they want to get married (as consenting adults), but so happen to be gay, then they should not mind telling us what whores we are to have children out of wedlock or that we are going to be roasted in the afterlife for fornicating--that is, unless you are Bristol Palin. No better exemplar exists of the hypocrisy of the religious right than Sarah Palin's formerly knocked-up daughter, and her political prisoner beau Levi Johnston, giving birth to an out-of-wedlock child.

Palin's daughter gives birth to son named Tripp

Mon Dec 29, 10:30 pm ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has given birth to a son, a magazine reported Monday.

Bristol Palin, 18, gave birth to Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston on Saturday, People magazine reported online. He weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Colleen Jones, the sister of Bristol's grandmother, told the magazine that "the baby is fine and Bristol is doing well."

The governor's office said it would not release information because it considers the baby's birth a private, family matter. Palin family members, hospital employees and spokespeople for the governor's former running mate, John McCain, either would not confirm the birth or did not return messages from The Associated Press.

The father is Levi Johnston, a former hockey player at Alaska's Wasilla High School.

Palin announced on Sept. 1, the first day of the Republican National Convention, that her unwed daughter was pregnant. The campaign issued a statement saying Bristol "and the young man" would get married.

Levi Johnston's mother eventually disclosed that her 18-year-old son was the father. The following week, the young man attended the convention in St. Paul, Minn., when Palin accepted the vice presidential nomination.

The announcement that the unmarried Bristol Palin, 17 at the time, was pregnant immediately drew concerns that it could damage Palin's credibility as a religious conservative. But many observers noted the pregnancy served to humanize the Palins and showcase the candidate's rejection of abortion.

Sherry Johnston, Levi's mother, said in October that Bristol and her son were considering a summer wedding.

Levi Johnston told The Associated Press that month that he and Bristol loved each other and wanted to get married. Johnston, who dropped out of high school to take a job on the North Slope oil fields as an apprentice electrician, said he was a little shocked to learn that Bristol was pregnant but quickly warmed to the idea of being a father.

He said the two had planned to get married even before Bristol became pregnant.

Johnston, an avid hunter, hinted at the time that they were expecting a boy. He said he was already looking forward to taking the boy hunting and fishing.

Johnston's mother was arrested on felony drug charges this month after state troopers served a search warrant at her Wasilla home. According to authorities, she sent text messages to two police informants in which she discusses making drug transactions involving OxyContin, a strong prescription painkiller.

Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, have five children ranging in age from Trig, 7 months, to Track, 19. In between are Willow, 14; Piper, 7; and Bristol.

(This version CORRECTS the day of birth to Saturday, instead of Sunday, per the magazine.)


You have to love the names they give these kids. Tripp, Track, Trig, AK-47, etc. If I did not know any better, I would swear that these people were ingesting some of Wasilla's finest derivatives of Sudafed before naming their children. At least Tripp is supposed to be a family name of some kind, or so it has been claimed. I feel sorry for the boy. His life is already doomed and he has not even been taught to hunt from a helicopter, ride around in a snowmobile, or even to hate people different from himself.

Also notice the lack of denouncements from the pulpits over this birth. Dobson, Colson, Bennett, et al., the ones who tell us that parents who raise children that then have children out of wedlock are moral failures, they are nowhere to be found. No lectures, like when denouncing Bill Clinton for his conduct back in the '90s. If one of Obama's daughters started dating (when they are old enough), and "became pregnant" by one of their boyfriends, do you think the amateur messiahs would fail to take notice? Do you think they would care if she decided to keep the baby? You know they would not. We would never hear the end about the "godless secular humanists who are destroying our culture with premarital sex and illegitimate births," which is what they do to everyone else.

By the standards of the religious right's own method of judgmentalism, Sarah Palin is a failure of a mother. How else can we judge a person who tells her children to abstain from sex until marriage, and they end up pregnant before they are 18 to their boyfriends? If you also consider that Sarah Heath married her husband back in August 1988 and gave birth to her first child eight months later, I guess the fun time apple does not fall too far from the tree. Apparently, it is OK, so long as you do not have an abortion and promise to eventually marry the guy, to which Levi and Bristol have yet to tie the knot. Well, that and if the parents of the promiscuous youngster think women's wombs should have Bibles tied to them.

If the religious right is correct, and your children are a reflection of you and your values, as well as the values you inculcated them with (which is the entire point of Sarah Palin trying to implant the "small town" values of her Evangelical snake dancers on the rest of us), what does Bristol Palin's life experience tell us? Of course, in reality, it tells us nothing, but why is it OK for these people to judge and discriminate against gays and the single moms of people who do not think like Sarah Palin? Had Bristol Palin committed her actions in the days of the Moses, she would have been subject to stoning. Why is it that the Ten Commandments are to apply to me but not the fornicating children of right-wing Christians? Why is it OK for a 17 year old to be told she must marry the fellow who impregnated her, but two loving, consenting adults of the same gender who want to wed are accused of threatening traditional values and the institution of marriage?

These are all perfectly legitimate questions, naturally, but do not expect any real answers from the Dobsons and Colsons of the world. Their collective heads are busy tickling the tonsils of their most favored politicians.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why Republicans Are White

One of the more entertaining aspects of the Republican Party, other than watching them lose power, is the reflective manner in which the party is defending its values by assaulting everyone else. It is a fact that the demographic change in this country is making them, or will in the near future, a permanent second party (unless they decide to join the 21st century). Here is the party's response to November 4. It is not pretty.

GOP chair 'appalled' by 'Magic Negro' CD

Mike Allen

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan issued a statement Saturday distancing the party’s leadership from one of the GOP’s best-known operatives, Chip Saltsman, who distributed a CD containing “Barack the Magic Negro” as part of his campaign to be elected chairman of the Republican National Committee next month.

Duncan, who has served the campaigns of five presidents dating back to Richard Nixon, is seeking reelection as the party’s 60th chairman in a hotly contested race that includes Saltsman and several other viable candidates.

Saltsman, 40, was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s campaign manager during the Republican presidential primaries.

Saltsman sent Republican National Committee members, who will choose the next chairman, a CD by conservative political satirist Paul Shanklin, “We HATE the USA.” It contains the controversial track, which was popular on conservative radio. Shanklin’s Web site promises “absolutely the best parodies in talk radio.”

Duncan's statement, in full: "The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party. I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."

Saltsman’s candidacy for national party chair is endorsed by Huckabee and fellow Tennessean Bill Frist, the former Senate majority leader.

Saltsman defended his song selection to The Hill’s Reid Wilson, who first reported the gift.

“Paul Shanklin is a longtime friend, and I think that RNC members have the good humor and good sense to recognize that his songs for the Rush Limbaugh show are light-hearted political parodies,” Saltsman told The Hill.

Saltsman’s marketing campaign comes as Republicans grapple with ways to offer a counterpoint to President-elect Obama at a time when the country is largely supportive of his appointments and policies.

The national GOP ticket lost badly in November among many growing voter groups – including young people, Hispanics and suburbanites. Party officials says that a voter base consisting of the South plus social conservatives is not a dependable way to win elections.

In the “Republican Plan for Victory” that is Saltsman’s platform in the chairman’s race, he writes: “I believe that countering an emboldened Democratic Party, led by the Obama-Reid-Pelosi troika, requires an aggressive national strategy. This campaign’s message cannot depend upon traditional media outlets or communication methods. It will require building upon new media and developing and mastering new tactics.”

The disclosure by The Hill was met with an odd silence from Republican leaders. The story was posted at 12:10 p.m. on Friday, was quickly picked up by Talking Points Memo, and for a time was the banner headline on The Huffington Post, later replaced by Israeli’s strikes on Gaza.

Duncan issued his statement after Politico noted the party’s 22-hour silence.

Politico has exchanged e-mails with an aide to Saltsman, and will post a response when it arrives.

Saltsman is a former development director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and was elected chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party in 1998.


Here is the GOP's version of a sense of humor.

This made an appearance on the Rush Limbaugh radio show. Rush is most famous for getting himself canned from ESPN after suggesting that Eagles star QB Donovan McNabb's career was solely the product of him being black and having his job and status handed to him. He has also made remarks in the past about giving a Medal of Honor to James Earle Ray (Martin Luther King's assassin). This is in between advocating prison for all drug addicts, while he himself is a self-admitted addict of synthetic heroin. Special guy, that Rush.

The problem this presents to the Republican Party is that in the very near future, by around 2045-2050, whites will be a numerical minority in this country. If they want to get elected, it is a party that will have to get over its appeal to white resentment (thanks to Nixon's Southern strategy) and actually garner votes of people who look like what this country is becoming. There is no reversing this, the protestations of Pat Buchanan notwithstanding. The party will either change or be a marginalized second party, like the Democrats were after the Civil War.

The real question, or the bigger one, is whether the Republicans can accomplish this without compromising themselves ideologically? On immigration, probably not, as it is becoming clear that the Republicans lost almost twenty percentage points of the Latino vote due primarily to the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the party over the last few years (including the rebellion against Bush's immigration proposal and even against Senator McCain from the party's base). It is doubtful that the GOP is going to be getting the African American vote or much of anyone else outside of the Deep South anytime soon. The Latino vote is going to be vital for them to retain something close to a majority of the vote.

As for the social issues, the culture war is going to become an increasingly losing issue for the Republicans. The leading indicator of whether someone opposes gay marriage and abortion is church attendance. Half of all Americans attended church on a weekly basis in 1945. It is down to about 25% (and probably lower, depending on whose polling numbers you look at). The religious right can claim about a quarter of the electorate (30-35% of the voters in the old Confederate states). That is not a majority, or close to it, and they are operating in a cultural climate that is increasingly secular and tolerant on issues like gay marriage (that is even legal, compared to its status when the religious right began involving itself in politics is an accomplishment that secularists and gay rights supporters too often ignore). In essence, the religious right is becoming like the labor unions after the 1970s, and it is a friendly environment that will change outside of the Bible belt (which is no longer needed to win national elections).

Ultimately, this means the GOP is going to become a party of aging religious white Southerners. That is not a recipe for victory. Then again, they could give us more reasons not to vote for them. I suppose as a pinko commie, I should be happy, but actually I am not. It depresses me because my country is still being occupied by people like this.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Saying I Love You

I am hardly an expert on relationships, although I have dated women and convinced at least a few to see me on a semi-regular basis. And most my exes seemed reasonably happy, until they dumped me, of course. For what it is worth, I will throw in my 3, 8, or 10 cents (depending on valuation by the time the Federal Reserve is done with it) about the notion of declaring one's love.

Why women shouldn't say 'I love you' first

By Wendy Atterberry

(The Frisky) -- If I have a daughter one day, among the many things I'll teach her will be how to tie her shoes, to look both ways before crossing the street, to never end a sentence with a preposition, and to always let the man say "I love you" first.

I'll give her plenty of other relationship tips, too, like how it's perfectly okay to ask a guy out, to make the first move, to even propose, but when it comes to the "L" word, the ball's in the guy's court.

This issue can cause a bit of commotion. "What is this, the Victorian era?" wrote one person, "if you truly love someone, tell them. Otherwise you're just playing outdated coquettish games." Another put it more diplomatically: "I don't think I've ever said 'I love you' first, but someone has to do it. It's okay to take a few risks."

I appreciate both arguments and understand the sentiments behind them, but at the risk of having my feminist card revoked, I think it's naïve for a woman to utter those three little words before a man does.

Unlike asking a man out, making a move on him, or even proposing, there's no action-based response to the first "I love you." It's all words, it's all emotion. In that moment, he either loves you back or he doesn't -- you only hear the black or white of a 'yes' or 'no,' not the gray of "Well, I like you a whole lot and I could see myself falling in love with you, but I'm just not quite there yet."

And the truth is, it often takes men longer to get there than it does for women. Men process their emotions more slowly, they're usually more cautious about taking their feelings and relationships to the next level.

So what happens if you get there first and you say it and he's not there yet? What happens when your "I love you" is met with a "thank you," or worse, a deer-in-headlights look? Well, it stings, sure, but more than that, it can stop a perfectly happy and healthy relationship in its tracks before it's even too far from the station.

If a woman asks a man out and he says 'no,' at least she knows where she stands with him and she doesn't waste any time pining over someone who isn't interested. Same thing goes if she makes a move on him and she's rejected.

If she's in a serious relationship -- one where the expression of love has been made clearly by both partners -- and she's eager to make a deeper commitment, there's nothing wrong with proposing. At the very least, it'll start a conversation of where the relationship is headed so the woman can decide for herself if and how long she's willing to wait if the man isn't interested in getting married yet.

But an "I love you" uttered too soon, before the man has processed his feelings and reached the same level of adoration could end a relationship that just as easily could have had an eternal shelf life. As soon as those words are said, they change the dynamic. If a man isn't feeling the love quite yet, he may suddenly feel pressure to manifest that emotion. And if the woman doesn't get the response she expected, it could damage her confidence enough to derail the whole relationship entirely.

I guess my advice to my future daughter would be this: "If you love a man and want to have a long relationship with him, give him time to get there. If you think you've given him enough time and you're ready to move on if he doesn't feel the same way for you, then go ahead and tell him you love him. But only say those words if you're prepared to let him go."

Then I'd teach her how to make my famous chili and do a one-handed cartwheel.


First, why is it always the assumption that men need time to realize that we want a relationship and love? Not all men think this way. As a biological male, I can say that there are plenty of men on this earth who actually know long before the woman does. I have fallen in love before on the first date (although I was wise enough not to say it until much later).

Second, have any of the so-called relationship experts ever thought to themselves that maybe a man is already in love, but is scared to say it? I know I cannot be the only man in the world who lives in fear of saying I love you first, for the exact same reason the article states women are afraid to do so (fear of rejection). Guess what, we are humans too and have many of the same fears.

Third, if you love a man, delaying the 'I love you' may make him think that you do not love him (thereby increasing chance of him not saying it). There are many men in this world who look to the woman to make the first move, particularly shy guys (whose ranks I am amongst) and those men who are absolutely paranoid of rejection (yet another club I am a member of).

Lastly, if a woman really feels that way, there is nothing wrong with saying it. If the man does not love her, it was not meant to be. It is doubtful that a delay is going to make him think how much he is in love with the woman. As aforementioned, there are many men who fall in love first, in many cases on sight or early in the relationship, but wait for the woman to take the lead and say it. And no, I have broken down in my life on at least one occasion and said it first, so I am not just saying to relieve the male species of any responsibility in saying it. So, please, go ahead, ladies, if you feel it, say it.

Well, that is my inflated dime of perspective on this foolishness. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Profiles in Crime: Local Police in the US

Yet another cop gone bad. This one is from the Jesusland state of Utah who, when not terrorizing people behind the cover of a badge, takes to murdering motorists. Here is a mug only the FOP could love.

Former cop suspected in roadway shootings dies

(CNN) -- The former Utah state trooper suspected in a series of roadway shootings earlier this week died Wednesday, the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office said.

Police said Tuesday that Brian Smith attempted suicide after Monday's shootings. Smith was brought to a local hospital in serious condition, officials said

At 7 p.m. Wednesday Smith died at Parkland Hospital, the medical examiner's office said. An autopsy is slated for Thursday.

Two people were killed in the shootings along a three-mile stretch on and near the LBJ Freeway, about 10 miles northeast of downtown Dallas.

Police used ballistic tests to link Smith, a 12-year veteran of the Utah state police, to three of the four shootings, Dallas Police Lt. Craig Miller said Tuesday.

Miller said Smith was a suspect in both nonfatal shootings and one of the fatal shootings. He said it was unclear if Smith was a suspect in the fatal shooting that occurred first.

The first attack occurred in the city of Garland at about 5:41 p.m. Victim Jorge Lopez, 20, was sitting in his Nissan at a traffic light in Garland when a man in a pickup pulled alongside him and fired shots into his car, killing him, Officer Joe Harn of the Garland police said.

A few minutes later and two miles away on the LBJ Freeway, a gunman fired at two tractor-trailers.

While one driver escaped injuries, William Scott Miller, 42, of Frankfort, Kentucky, was shot to death behind the wheel of a United Van Lines truck, police said.

"He was going to be traveling home," Lt. Miller said. "He was about to park his rig. He was going to get on a plane to fly to be with his wife and children for the Christmas season and then come back to this location."

Miller called the truck driver a hero because he was able to control his rig before he died -- preventing other motorists from being hurt.

The fourth attack came a mile west on LBJ Freeway, where gunfire shattered the windshield of another tractor-trailer. The bullets missed the driver, but flying glass caused minor cuts, police said.

Smith, 37, left his trooper job in Utah after he was caught abusing alcohol and drugs, CNN affiliate WFAA reported, citing an official report. The sergeant began using drugs and alcohol after his patrol car was rear-ended while he was writing a ticket, according to the report by Utah Peace Officers Standards and Training.

He moved to Texas shortly afterward, the station said.

Harn told WFAA that Smith's wife had phoned police Monday to say her husband was suicidal and driving around with a gun. Police were able to locate him using cell phone transmission towers. A three-hour stand-off followed, ending when Smith shot himself in the head, Harn said.


This is nothing new, sadly. Local police fill the ranks of the wanted, from DUIs, domestic abuse (nearly epidemic in many police departments [a dirty little secret the folks at Fox 'News' and the average law enforcement-shills who write the scripts for CSI will never portray]), and numerous other violent offenses. When we in popular culture talk about crazed co-workers who "go postal," it does a disservice to postal workers. Cops are three times more likely to rape and/or murder people.

On the positive side, the police chief of my hometown is finally retiring. After 18 years as chief, a term filled with unprecedented corruption, refusing to punish a police commander (who so happens to be his best friend) that skimmed money off a prostitution ring run by the police, and who turned the other way when the deviants that populate his department's vice squad were using taxpayer's dollars to subsidize their sexual desires with hookers they were supposed to be arresting, Chief Jackson is leaving and going off to the blue yonder. May you and your prostitute money-thieving friend, Commander Burns, meet the same destiny that so many of my city's poorer citizens suffered and to whom you spent the last five decades ignoring (to the point that my hometown has become one of the unsafest large-size cities in the US). Good riddance.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Self-Victimization of a Bigot: Rick Warren

Apparently, Pastor Rick Warren does not like it when people call him out for being the dirtbag that he is.

Well, Rick, actually, I do have a life, and unlike yours mine includes paying taxes, and believe me pastor my job contributes more to the GDP and the future of this country than your imaginary skyfest ever could. And Rick, speaking of "being rude," you should take a page from yourself, seeing how you think that so many of my friends and colleagues are comparable to child rapists for merely being gay.

You want to know how rude that is, Rick? You responded to the criticism of bloggers this morning by removing all of your hate-filled views about gays and lesbians from the front of your home page (switching it to a more obscure section of your church's site). You whine about us and yet respond to it because even you, pastor, know deep down how utterly despicable your beliefs are, but hey if that it is what it takes to reel in otherwise gullible and stupid people into your tax exempt museum of make believe, who is to judge? I am sure even a fellow B.S. artist like L. Ron Hubbard would agree with you on that. Sincerely, Rick, from the bottom of my heart, may your marriage experience the evil that your friends in Cali are meting out on those whose only sin was not falling in love with a member of the opposite sex. You deserve nothing less, you dishonest hypocrite.

The Baal of Liberalism

Thanks be to the astute folk at Salon, I now realize what I have been missing for all these years as an ex-Christian. I am apparently a closet pagan, ready to murder children to some god(s). Then again, this is written from the perspective a person who is a member of a religion most recently famous for molesting altar boys, whereas the ancient liberals at least had the decency to sacrifice the little buggers by setting them afire.

The gods of liberalism
by Matt Barber

Modern-day liberals – or "progressives" as they more discreetly prefer – labor under an awkward misconception; namely, that there is anything remotely "progressive" about the fundamental canons of their blind, secular-humanist faith. In fact, today's liberalism is largely a sanitized retread of an antiquated mythology – one that significantly predates the only truly progressive movement: biblical Christianity.

While visiting the Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, Va., a few weeks back, I heard a troubling, albeit thought-provoking, sermon. Pastor John Mabray addressed the ancient Canaanite practice of Baal worship and, though he didn't reveal it by name, connected the dots to its present-day progeny: liberalism. Baal, the half-bull, half-man god of fertility, was the focal point of pagan idolatry in Semitic Israel until God revealed His monotheistic nature to Judaism's forebears.

In his sermon, Pastor Mabray illustrated that, although they've now assumed a more contemporary flair, the fundamentals of Baal worship remain alive and well today. The principal pillars of Baalism were child sacrifice, sexual immorality (both heterosexual and homosexual) and pantheism (reverence of creation over the Creator).

Ritualistic Baal worship, in sum, looked a little like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity. Amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants – men and women alike – would engage in bisexual orgies. The ritual of convenience was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of "mother earth."

The natural consequences of such behavior – pregnancy and childbirth – and the associated financial burdens of "unplanned parenthood" were easily offset. One could either choose to engage in homosexual conduct or – with child sacrifice available on demand – could simply take part in another fertility ceremony to "terminate" the unwanted child.

Modern liberalism deviates little from its ancient predecessor. While its macabre rituals have been sanitized with flowery and euphemistic terms of art, its core tenets and practices remain eerily similar. The worship of "fertility" has been replaced with worship of "reproductive freedom" or "choice." Child sacrifice via burnt offering has been updated, ever so slightly, to become child sacrifice by way of abortion. The ritualistic promotion, practice and celebration of both heterosexual and homosexual immorality and promiscuity have been carefully whitewashed – yet wholeheartedly embraced – by the cults of radical feminism, militant "gay rights" and "comprehensive sex education." And, the pantheistic worship of "mother earth" has been substituted – in name only – for radical environmentalism.

But it's not just self-styled "progressives" or secular humanists who have adopted the fundamental pillars of Baalism. In these postmodern times, we've also been graced, regrettably, by the advent of counter-biblical "emergent Christianity" or "quasi-Christianity," as I prefer to call it.

This is merely liberalism all dolled up and gratuitously stamped "Christian." It's a way for left-wing ideologues to have their "religion" cake and eat it too. Under the guise of "social justice," its adherents often support – or at least rationalize – the same pro-homosexual, pro-abortion and radical environmental policies pushed by the modern-day Baal worshiper.

Though the "Christian left" represent what is arguably a negligible minority within larger Christianity, the liberal media have, nonetheless, embraced their cause and seized upon their popularity among elites as evidence that the so-called "Christian right" (read: biblical Christianity) is losing influence – that Christianity is, somehow, "catching up with the times."

Because emergent Christianity fails the authenticity test whenever subjected to even the most perfunctory biblical scrutiny, I suspect it will eventually go – for the most part – the way of the pet rock or the Macarena. But this does not absolve leaders within the evangelical community from a duty to call leaders of this counter-biblical revolution on their heresy. It's not a matter of right versus left; it's a matter of right versus wrong – of biblical versus non-biblical.
Nonetheless, the aforementioned pillars of postmodern Baalism – abortion, sexual relativism and radical environmentalism – will almost certainly make rapid headway over the next four to eight years, with or without help from the Christian left. The gods of liberalism have a new high priest in Barack Obama, and enjoy many devout followers in the Democratic-controlled Congress, liberal media and halls of academia.

Both Obama's social agenda and that of the 111th Congress are rife with unfettered pro-abortion, freedom-chilling, pro-homosexual and power-grabbing environmentalist objectives. The same kind of "hope, action and change," I suppose, that was swallowed up by the Baalist Canaanites of old.

So, today's liberalism is really just a very old book with a shiny new cover. A philosophy rooted in ancient pagan traditions, of which there is naught to be proud.

There's "nothing new under the sun," indeed.


The problem with Barber's assertions is that he is equating ancient religious practices and beliefs to contemporary ideology predicated on non-belief in the spiritual properties of such acts. This becomes particularly problematic when contemporary non-believers in Barber's tax exempt cult are correlated with past believers whose only discernible difference from Christianity was their predilection for polytheism (which itself cannot be excluded as a charge against Christianity when one attempts to explain the convolution of the trinity). And the answer to this plague? I think we all know the logical conclusion to the purification of any religion, historically, especially as it relates to the treatment of religious minorities under Barber's version of Christianity. How else can one interpret Barber's intentions when comparing Baalism to being liberal, gay or lesbian in today's world?

Maybe Barber's barely certified universities in which he received his degrees failed to inform him, but there was never anything resembling gay rights or gay marriage in ancient Semitic polities.
Moreover, if Barber paid closer attention, he would notice that one of the biggest criticisms of gay rights/marriage, legalized abortion, feminism, etc., is that they allegedly reduce fertility rates (e.g., Julius Evola, Pat Buchanan, et al.). The practices involved in Baal worship, those in contention in Barber's column, were used expressly to increase fertility (even if they were wholly unnecessary in any biological sense of reproduction).

Of course, Barber also knows how his Judaic forebears treated these heresies. They eradicated them by force of arms, murdering en masse those fellow Semites who partook in such practices. This is not an insignificant omission from a man who was a professional boxer and ex-police officer. It is the purpose of Barber's linkage.

But sacrificing children should be of no consequence to our resident Christian scholar of modern liberalism. After all, his religion is replete with copious acts of sexualizing and murdering children. If Barber is a serious Christian, he knows how his imaginary boss treated the first born in Egypt during the time of Moses, or for that matter Job's family. And Barber's beloved Lot (oh he of avoiding the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah) did all he could to get out of having sexual relations with the men of Sodom by offering up his daughters as rape fodder in exchange for his continued marital fidelity. And the response of his sweet daughters afterward was to inebriate Lot, have sex with their father, and impregnate themselves. Such is the embodiment of Judeo-Christian family values.

Be that as it may, it is somewhat amusing to discover that my lack of belief in any god (be it some silly statue in Canaan or Barber's) transforms me into a supporter of ritualistic sodomy as a fertility offering. Indeed, I always assumed that sex for non-reproductive purposes was an act of enjoyment, not as a religious rite. As a biological male, I am certain Barber knew this feeling the first time he masturbated, regardless of how guilty he felt about committing (in his religion's interpretation) the equivalent of infanticide against those expelled swimmers that did not make it into the birth canal of his church-sanctioned spouse. Deep down, we all have a little bit of Baal in us.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Evils of Religion: Child Marriage for Pedophiles

It is at times like this I really lament that Stalin's tanks did not make it all the way to Riyadh and Mecca.

Saudi court rejects divorcing eight-year-old girl

RIYADH (AFP) — A Saudi court has rejected a plea to divorce an eight-year-old girl married off by her father to a man who is 58, saying the case should wait until the girl reaches puberty, a lawyer involved told AFP.

"The judge has dismissed the plea (filed by the mother) because she does not have the right to file such a case, and ordered that the plea should be filed by the girl herself when she reaches puberty," lawyer Abdullah Jtili told AFP in a telephone interview after Saturday's court decision.

The divorce plea was filed in August by the girl's divorced mother with a court at Unayzah, 220 kilometres (135 miles) north of Riyadh just after the marriage contract was signed by the father and the groom.

"She doesn't know yet that she has been married," Jtili said then of the girl who was about to begin her fourth year at primary school.

Relatives who did not wish to be named told AFP that the marriage had not yet been consummated, and that the girl continued to live with her mother. They said that the father had set a verbal condition by which the marriage is not consummated for another 10 years, when the girl turns 18.

The father had agreed to marry off his daughter for an advance dowry of 30,000 riyals (8,000 dollars), as he was apparently facing financial problems, they said.

The father was in court and he remained adamant in favour of the marriage, they added.

Lawyer Jtili said he was going to appeal the verdict at the court of cassation, the supreme court in the ultra-conservative kingdom which applies Islamic Sharia law in its courts.

Arranged marriages involving pre-adolescents are occasionally reported in the Arabian Peninsula, including in Saudi Arabia where the strict conservative Wahabi version of Sunni Islam holds sway and polygamy is common.

In Yemen in April, another girl aged eight was granted a divorce after her unemployed father forced her to marry a man of 28.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gay Rights in the UN

66 countries (this should keep the anti-gay Christian conspiratorialists up late) voted in favor of the first international gay rights resolution before the United Nations. And yes, dear fellow pinko supporters of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela is on the list voting with the angels, while the US refused to support the resolution, along with such democratic luminaries as Saudi Arabia and North Korea.

66 countries back UN statement on rights of sexual minorities

Yesterday a statement was read at the United Nations General Assembly in New York reiterating the universal human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.

66 nations signed the joint statement, among them all 27 EU member states.

South Africa and the United States of America did not support the initiative.

The statement, which was a French initiative, was read out by Argentina's Ambassador the UN.

It does not create new rights and is not legally binding but instead builds on similar past initiatives.

It affirms the principle of universality: that all human beings, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to equal dignity and respect.

No-one should be subject to violence, harassment, discrimination or abuse, solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Louis Georges Tin, the founder of the Inernational Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), is behind the universal decriminalisation declaration.

He met with Rama Yade, France's minister of human rights and foreign affairs, earlier this year.

In September she confirmed that she would appeal at the United Nations for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality. The statement quickly became an international effort.

A cross-regional group of states coordinated the drafting, including Brazil, Croatia, France, Gabon, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway.

The statement condemned killings, torture, arbitrary arrest, and "deprivation of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to health."

The participating countries urged all nations to "promote and protect human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity," and to end all criminal penalties against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to calculations by ILGA (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association) and other organisations, more than six dozen countries still have laws against consensual sex between adults of the same sex.

The UN Human Rights Committee, which interprets the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a core UN treaty, held in a historic 1994 decision that such laws are rights violations – and that human rights law forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In 2006 IDAHO initiated a global campaign to end the criminalisation of same-sex relationships and secured the support of dozens of international public figures, ranging from Nobel Prize winners to writers, clergy,
actors, musicans and academics.

"To decriminalise homosexuality worldwide is a battle for human rights," Mr Tin said.

"IDAHO has worked hard for two years to promote this issue. For us, the UN statement is a great achievement.

"I want to thank the many other people and organisations who have worked with us since the beginning, and more recently. I also want to remind everyone that ending the criminalisation of same-sex love will be a long, hard battle. To love is not a crime."

The 66 countries that signed the joint UN statement for LGBT human rights are:

Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

UK-based gay rights activist Peter Tatchell said:

"This was history in the making. Totally ground-breaking. It is the first time that the UN General Assembly has been presented with a statement in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights.

"Securing this statement at the UN is the result of an inspiring collective global effort by many LGBT and human rights organisations. Our collaboration, unity and solidarity have won us this success."

"As well as IDAHO, I pay tribute to the contribution and lobbying of Amnesty International; ARC International; Center for Women's Global Leadership; COC Netherlands; Global Rights; Human Rights Watch; International Committee for IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia); International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC); International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA); International Service for Human Rights; Pan Africa ILGA; and Public Services International.

"The UN statement goes much further than seeking the decriminalisation of same-sex acts.

"It condemns all human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, urges countries to protect the human rights of LGBT people and to bring to justice those who violate these rights, and calls for human rights defenders who oppose homophobic and transphobic victimisation to be allowed to carry out their advocacy and humanitarian work unimpeded."

The New York Times reports that "nearly 60 nations" backed a counter statement read by Syria that claimed the gay rights "threatened to undermine the international framework of human rights by trying to normalise pedophilia, among other acts."

LGBT rights group ARC-International said:

"The signatories overcame intense opposition from a group of governments that regularly try to block UN attention to violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"Only 57 states signed an alternative text promoted by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

"While affirming the "principles of non-discrimination and equality," they claimed that universal human rights did not include "the attempt to focus on the rights of certain persons."


By the way, here is a great site for gay rights in international politics. It is quite entertaining and informative. I love the bit on Benedict XVI.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rick Warren: Go to Hell

I really do not feel like posting too much more about Rick Warren. He embodies all that is evil in organized religion, especially the manner in which he, not unlike so many Christians, uses the Bible to justify positions that can only be described as intolerant and hateful. Because of people like him, gays and lesbians are being legally punished and targeted by the state of California, but I am supposed to be on my knees, compromising with a man who sees so many of my friends as defects and inferiors for being who they are.

I will re-post what I stated elsewhere about the man and his so-called movement, which will be defiling the presence of such worthy people like Joseph Lowery on Inauguration Day.

Rick Warren does not rank to be on the same podium with Lowery. He is a right-wing misogynist and gay-bashing bigot. The only reason he sucks up to Obama is to make more money for his tax exempt cult/mega church by snookering in those remaining non-Republicans into thinking he is one of them for recognizing that there is climate change. Why not invite Bernard Law or David Duke? I'm so sick and tired of this DLC-me tooism. Put Warren on a space shuttle with that troglodyte Lawrence Summers, along with some waste designated for a developing country, blast them to the center of the sun, and make them useful for a change.


Sounds harsh? Consider this (thanks be to lesbianacademic on Bitch PhD for bringing it up). Here is Warren on comparing being gay to incest and pedophilia.

I reject this nonsensical suckupmanship that Obama is somehow the President of all Americans, so we should accept Warren's invitation. As aforementioned, why not invite David Duke? He's an American. Hating gays is still the last frontier of accepted bigotry in our society and it says much about anyone who views putting a man of such low character as Rick Warren on his podium, seeing it as a chance to gain support or reduce criticism from this section of our society. If 25% of the country were neo-Nazis, would we put them up there, too? At what point do we say enough is enough?

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Real Reason the US Dislikes Hugo Chavez

One of the problems that democratically-elected socialists present to American conservatives and their neoliberal servants is that it violates their ethos that government is inherently evil and anti-democratic (ironic, considering how dependent on the state many of these same people are when it comes time to invade some hapless Middle Eastern country). This is why Hugo Chavez presents such a problem to the US. His rule is constitutional, regardless of what the shrills from the Manhattan Institute and AEI can conjure up about his presidency.

"How Does One Build Socialism Here?"

Postcard from Venezuela


“The construction of socialism in Venezuela is ratified, and now we will take charge of deepening it.”

-President Hugo Chavez, after learning the results of the November 23 elections.

Hugo Chavez’s PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) won 17 of 23 governorships, approximately 60-40%. But his party lost in states with large populations and much oil as well in the mayor’s race for the crowded capital of Caracas.

Consumer-dominated societies fill spiritual voids with loud sounds and pictures: “BUY BUY BUY!”

Consumerism doesn’t seem compatible with historical awareness. Young Venezuelans I met seem oblivious to their recent history. Indeed, the majority of them were barely conscious or not yet born when successive gangs of kleptocrats – calling themselves political party leaders -- stole the nation’s oil revenue. In 1989, under the second round of super thief President Carlos Andres Perez (a supposed socialist), repressive forces killed as many as 2,000 demonstrators on the streets of Caracas during an uprising (the “Caracazo”) in response to Andres Perez’s decision that poor Caraqueños, not his wealthy amigos, should shoulder the burden of the IMF’s austerity plan for Venezuela.

Rich Venezuelans and US officials shook their heads in sympathy. Poor Carlos Andres had to take desperate measures to maintain necessary order! It was unthinkable to place the burden of doing with less on those who had most.

From the early 1960s through the mid 1990s, corruption and looting characterized both Christian and Social Democratic governments. Voters, disgusted with the larcenous behavior of one regime, would elect a successive group of politicians to steal the oil wealth.

In 1998, Chavez won the presidency. He swore to end “elite” rule and redirect the country’s oil wealth to education health and welfare – to the poor.

In ten years, hundreds of thousands have received medical care, some education and primary forms of welfare. He and his allies continue to win seats in free elections, and Chavez has announced he will hold a referendum in February to ask the people to allow him to hold presidential power until 2021.

Anti-Chavez sentiment, which inspired a failed military coup in 2002, has grown smarter. Newly elected opposition governor Capriles Radonsky participated in that coup, but now he has pledged to work with Chavez’s government to confront national problems. Didn’t McCain say that to Obama?

The good opposition cop finds its antithesis on the radio. On 747 AM, the talk show host sounds like a Spanish-speaking Rush Limbaugh. “I hate Chavez,” he screamed on December 1. Sound effects followed: gun shots reverberated as if to enhance the drama of his soliloquy on the evils of Chavismo, including 30 thousand Cuban doctors who offer primary care to Venezuela’s poor.

A taxi driver in Margarita, a forty minute flight from Caracas, also despised Chavez. Assuming I was a US tourist, and thus logically against Chavez, he sneered at “Senor Presidente.”

“Imagine, he angered the mighty United States and invited the Soviet Union or whatever they call themselves these days to bring in their warplanes and ships.” Another cab driver worried about crime and expressed cynicism about the possibility Chavez could realize his socialist goals.

“Corruption in this country,” said another cabbie from Margarita, “goes deep. The cop in the street to cabinet Ministers to the President’s family (referring to rumors of close Chavez relatives getting business favors in the state of Barinas).”

I look out the window at Margarita, a tropical island, once a perfect picture postcard, with brooding mountains, flapping palm trees, warm ocean water and tropical birds. Then came the developers who must have hired an evil teenager with acne of the soul to design the architecture. The rows of high-rise condo blocks should make Frank Lloyd Wright turn in his grave. Billboards carry gaudy ads for Digitel. Posters of busty young women in skimpy bras and dental floss bottoms urge: “buy.” Those who “need” a second or third home – including foreigners – purchase condos.

“How does one go about building socialism here?” I ask my friend who lives in Caracas.

We see the obstacles dramatically on the downtown streets of Venezuela’s teeming capital (4-5 million estimated), with wall-to-wall traffic twelve hours a day, spewing pollution and noise. For $2, a Venezuelan can fill his gas tank. How does one ban cars and shopping in downtown Caracas and expect to get reelected?

From a jammed McDonald’s in Chacaito we see masses of humanity, resembling Asian cities, pushing and shoving en route to shopping. Behind downtown, situated in a long valley, lie the barrios, etched into the surrounding hills. In these slums live Venezuela’s poor majority, Chavez supporters. They received little from the oil-rich governments of the past. Chavez has put back some of the wealth in the form of medical, educational and basic welfare programs. Cuban doctors have built modular clinics and members of literacy brigades have offered basic education in the poorest areas – free of charge. In addition, the Chavez government has offered healthy meals to the most down-trodden.

Unlike his mentor in the socialist island to the north, Chavez won power through the ballot box, not guerrilla war. Fidel Castro exported his enemies, with, ironically, US cooperation. Why not? In 1960, the powerful in Washington and the wealthy exiles biding their time in Miami, believed they could dispatch Castro and the revolution without even sending in US troops. In April 1961, the new President, John F. Kennedy, discovered their mistake when the CIA’s exile force fell to Cuba’s fledgling army at the Bay of Pigs.

As W prepares his exit, Castro remains vital in his new career as a writer (La Paz en Colombia, published in November). However, Chavez cannot export his enemies. Venezuela’s elite and the US government learned that lesson after 50 frustrating years of trying to overthrow the Cuban revolution from Miami.

An organized opposition makes political noise especially through elections – charges and counter charges, TV, radio and billboard ads. Imagine if Cuba’s revolutionaries would have had to transform the island’s economic and social structure with the presence of one million vocal opponents! Fidel had to deal with an angry Washington, but not with the daily stings and bites of his own wealthy classes who would pay for newspaper, TV and radio assaults and mount an international gossip network to demonize him.

Hugo Chavez’s socialist vision has emerged amidst a collapsing environment and world economy, in a country whose outward culture reeks of the worst of consumerism: maddening sounds of car horns, traffic jams, playing to the pounding of reggaetón reverberating over car and public speakers. Caracas reeks with dangerous anarchy – vast areas of poverty amidst the unshared wealth of a small minority. Consumption has become the spiritual value of capitalism: obsession with the superficial (Venezuela supposedly leads the world in number of boob jobs per capita).

Venezuela is still very much capitalist, not socialist. Chavez has learned in 10 years as President that change does not come easily through legislatures and courts when wealthy opposition politicians also use the media to help provide a formidable obstacle course to a just distribution of wealth.

Chavez lacks a large disciplined cadre to carry out his policies, a seasoned political party of people dedicated to doing nothing in life but work to change the course of their nation’s history.

“Oil in the hands of corrupt governments has corrupted this place,” says Jesus Marrero, who in 1973 underwent brutal torture supervised by Commissar Basilio. “He was obviously a big shot in Venezuelan intelligence circles (DISIP).” Marrero belonged to the Insurrectional Revolutionary Movement (MIR). “This man [Basilio] radiating cold cynicism” supervised sessions for months in which his men applied electric shocks to Marrero’s ears, testicles and penis.

“I escaped from prison in 1975,” he said, “and rejoined my comrades in the mountains. In October 1976, we saw the newspaper report on the bombing of a Cuban airliner in mid air killing everyone on board. The newspaper photo was none other than Basilio, identified as Luis Posada Carriles.”

Marrero wants to testify against Posada “as soon as Obama realizes this man is a real terrorist, unlike the Cuban Five (referring to five Cuban intelligence agents who provided material to the FBI on Cuban exile terrorism in Miami and got arrested and sentenced to long prison terms in federal penitentiaries).”

Marrero says Venezuela faces an awesome challenge. But “Chavez has illuminated the healthy road and we must overcome the garbage that clutters our minds and on our streets and work for justice and equality in a green world.” I nod. He has maintained revolutionary zeal through decades of exile in Mexico.

In 1998, he returned to work toward the same vision that enticed him to become a revolutionary forty years earlier. He helps bring solar energy to remote rural areas, to use the sun’s heat to make potable water and other necessities. If Chavez wins the referendum to continue until 2021, thousands more could join Marrero in his attempt to bring clean energy to the needy.

Saul Landau received the Bernardo O’Higgins award from the Republic of Chile for his work on human rights. His latest book is A Bush and Botox World (AK/CounterPunch Press).


Is it any wonder why we ended up with the Shah, Pinochet, and Somoza? All market dictators, battling democratic socialist outcomes. It is alternative we are not even allowed to mention in this country. Heck, just supporting a 4% increase of the income tax on people making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year will get you labeled socialist. Imagine how the water carriers at Fox 'News' would react to genuine socialism in this country? If their past is any indicator (Batista, Francisco Franco, and Benito Mussolini), we would probably be looking at a coup.

And yet, what do we have to fear?
Another $700 billion for bankers and insurance executives? The strange truth is that we already have a heavily subsidized state capitalist economy. The state already works overtime representing the interests of private industry in this county (through contracts enforcement, copyright law, campaign finance, etc.). It is one of the ugly secrets of this country that we never have had a free market economy on our soil, even at the time of the foundation, when markets were restricted to those who were women, slaves, or poor. Our federal government consumes over $3 trillion a year, which is many times greater than the GDP of Venezuela. It would not be a stretch to take most or even half of that budget to remedy social ills like poverty, health care, and education for all of our citizens (remedies which should be every bit as much of a fundamental right to citizenship as voting itself). I can guarantee you that none of the retired faculty from the economics department at the University of Chicago are surrendering their Social Security checks.