Bachmann renounces her Swiss citizenship.In all seriousness, I find it stunning that someone could have run for president only months ago and did not disclose this or think it would be a problem. [...]
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The unsolved 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is such a good story that it deserves a great ending -- and it just might be getting one. [...]
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Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
It?s surely no surprise that my response to whether Occupy should or shouldn?t ?be the left?s tea party? is the latter. That?s my Two Party Front for the Oligarchy perspective. The status quo-ed corporate Duopoly system is working just fine for those for whom it?s designed to work just fine. Serious challenges and changes require efforts from within and without that system. Occupy is creating ?outside? space.
Last week Josh Harkinson, at Mother Jones, wrote Why Occupy Should Be the Left?s Tea Party. Harkinson has reported on the Occupy movement for months, but in this piece writes as a ?pundit.?
A few days later, Max Berger ? an ?Occupy organizer? ? wrote at OWS, Why Occupy Can?t and Shouldn?t Become the Progressive Tea Party.
… if the movement is going to sustain the kind of momentum that captured the nation?s attention six months ago, it must begin to evolve in a different direction. …
I have the utmost respect for original OWS organizers … who took the art of calling bullshit on the political system way further than the chattering classes thought it could go. …
In the early days … Occupy Wall Street seemed poised to grow in any number of directions. There were people who wanted to make concrete political demands or get involved in electoral politics, and people who didn?t. … (M)any of them were happy to collaborate with more mainstream groups, such as labor unions, on protests against common enemies like Wall Street.
For a while I believed that this kind of limited partnership could be enough to keep the Occupy movement relevant. … This has certainly happened to a degree … .
Though politicians don?t always fulfill their promises, history shows that social movements tend to advance when they help elect people who at least feel compelled to listen to them. …
Since the Occupy movement probably can?t stomach campaigning for Obama, it could instead loan its 99 percent message to MoveOn.org and the unions and progressive PACs … . But while occupiers are justifiably skeptical of Obama, they?re also unjustifiably paranoid about being co-opted by Obama supporters … .
Occupy activists … seem to think that MoveOn is taking its orders from the White House. In reality, MoveOn polls its 7 million members on which candidates to support … . What Occupy really ought to do … is plunge directly into electoral politics on the local, state, and congressional level. It ought to co-opt the Democratic Party.
Though Occupy could support many sympathetic candidates in Democratic primaries, some pundits haven?t pushed the idea because they worry about a tea party effect on the left, with liberal Democrats losing to Republicans in the general election. …
… Occupy has drawn attention to the rigging of the political system by boycotting it. Now it can campaign against that political system … by working to elect people who will unrig it.
From Max Berger:
As long as there has been a thing called Occupy Wall Street, there have been people who?ve suggested it should become the left?s version of the Tea Party. Josh Harkinson?s piece is a notable contribution to the conversation … suggest(ing) that Occupy should recruit and run candidates … . According to this logic, it doesn?t matter if Occupy does this itself or essentially outsources the job to our progressive allies … .
(Before Occupy) … I didn?t see how the left could create real change in America without taking control of the Democratic Party. Now I think it?s important to recognize that the problems we face … can?t be solved … even by electing more good Democrats. A progressive Tea Party would be a welcome addition, but it wouldn?t be nearly enough to create the kind of change we need. …
… Starting a progressive Tea Party is a completely legitimate, useful goal?but it?s something for the progressive institutions to take on. …
… the unfortunate reality is that our political system as presently constructed is simply incapable of responding to people?s needs. … The Democrats? inaction (following 2008) proved that our political system was designed to serve the whims of the market … .
My generation doesn?t … hate the player, so much as we hate the game. … The system is fundamentally incapable of healing itself. …
Occupy transformed the public debate by naming the problem ?gross inequality of wealth and power?and the cause: the power of Wall Street. …
…The Occupy Movement would be derelict if we focused on the electoral at the expense of systemic change. The entirety of civic life cannot be reduced to a get-out-the-vote campaign. …
… Like the civil rights, women?s rights, environmental movements before us, we can?t afford to ignore the electoral realm, but we also shouldn?t expect to succeed by voting alone. …
For all those who think it?s essential to work within the progressive established ways and methods of doing things, do that. For all who think it?s essential to work outside that system, do that. Harkinson and Berger show it?s possible to disagree without attacking the other, and to see merit in the other?s perspective. Expecting Occupy to do your progressive electoral work for you would make no more sense than Occupy expecting the progressive establishment to do its non-electoral focused work for them.
IT’S THE 1% of the 1% tonight at a $40,000-a-plate dinner catered personally by Wolfgang Puck.
Get a load of this from TMZ:
We’re told the LAPD is even planning to bring in its special Counter Terrorist Unit — Jack Bauer style.
Los Angeles is a target rich environment for the Secret Service, so what I want to know is who’ll be watching them?
Click here to view this media
After the passage of the dreadful North Carolina Amendment One this Tuesday, CNN's Piers Morgan brought in the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins to discuss it. Why we can't seem to have a discussion in our corporate media on the topic of gay marriage or gay rights without someone giving this bigot some air time is beyond me, but if they're going to do it, they should be pointing out that his group has been designated as a hate group and why.
The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as ?the leading voice for the family in our nation?s halls of power,? but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military?s ?Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell? policy.
To make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society, FRC employs a number of ?policy experts? whose ?research? has allowed FRC to be extremely active politically in shaping public debate. Its research fellows and leaders often testify before Congress and appear in the mainstream media. It also works at the grassroots level, conducting outreach to pastors in an effort to ?transform the culture.? [...]
The FRC also strongly promotes the ?ex-gay? movement as a way to combat LGBT civil rights measures, though professional organizations have repeatedly called so-called ?reparative therapy? (which seeks to turn gays and lesbians into heterosexuals) into question and issued statements that don?t support it. For instance, the American Psychological Association issued a report in 2009 reviewing studies of ?ex-gay? therapy. The report found that, ?contrary to the claims of practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions,? according to Dr. Judith Glassgold, the lead author.
There's a lot more in their report and all of it ought to be hung around their necks for all to be made aware of any time someone from Perkins' organization comes on the air. Transcript below the fold where Perkins was again spreading the dangerous lie that people can choose their sexuality or that it's a result of the environment they've been brought up in.
PIERS MORGAN: Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council. He's opposed to gay marriage and he joins me now.
Mr. Perkins, tell me why are you so implacably opposed to two loving people getting married?
TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, Piers, it's not just me, but North Carolina, as it looks like 60 percent of the voters there are poised to adopt the state amendment. That will make 30 states that have adopted amendments that preserve the state of marriage as being between the union of one man and one woman.
MORGAN: Why do you personally care so much? I mean the example I throw you is, if you look at heterosexual marriage, look at Kim Kardashian's marriage, which lasted, what was it, 72 hours? Isn't it ridiculous? Day like I remember.
When you look at a marriage of 72 days, look at a marriage that lasts that long, where clearly the respect for the sanctity of marriage is absurd.
MORGAN: And then you have a gay couple who've been together 20 years, who love each other, who actually really want to get married and who want to observe and respect the sanctity of marriage, isn't it better for society that we let people who are in the second category take precedence over those in the first category? You treat it as a celebrity bag extension?
PERKINS: You know, Piers, I think that's a really question and I think a lot of people will ask that question of themselves, because quite frankly, marriage from -- among heterosexuals has not been good, when we see a divorce rate around 50 percent. Of course my beginnings in public policy as an elected official was to do just that, to strengthen marriage, I authored the nation's first covenant marriage law. I've been working on marriage law for over 15 years.
And the reason it's important, Piers, quite frankly is because public policy shapes the culture. And when we're talking about -- what we're talking about here is not shaping policy or creating policy based upon an individual here or an individual there, but what the social science tells us is best for society as a whole. And it's very clear that children --
MORGAN: Let me -- let me ask you about the social -- let me ask you about the social science aspect.
How much more damage can a gay couple do if they're married to the damage they can do to civilization if they're unmarried?
PERKINS: Yes, again, Piers, you're asking great questions because I think those are the questions that are going through people's minds. I think what we have to do, though, is look at the --
MORGAN: Yes, but I'm asking you because you're so opposed to it.
PERKINS: But I'm -- and I'm going answer.
MORGAN: Answer the question. Rather than telling me how great all my questions are, answer some of them.
PERKINS: Well, no -- I am if you'll give me just a second. We've got 40 years of public -- of social science research based upon public policy change. No fault divorce was a public policy adoption, and what that created was a spike in divorce which is leveled off in the early '90s and then created cohabitation. That was the result of a public policy adoption no fault divorce. We can't think that we can tinker with the definition of marriage and say, it's no longer between a man and a woman which 5,000 years of human history has shown.
MORGAN: Right, but just -- but just to --
PERKINS: I'm going to effect even further. It's going to -- it's going to results in more children growing up without moms and dad.
MORGAN: You personally -- I hear you. Yes, but not really answer. Just to press you on the question, what more damage could a gay couple do to civilization --
PERKINS: It's the gay --
MORGAN: -- and society if they're married.
PERKINS: It's the policy, Piers. It's the policy.
MORGAN: To if they're just living together.
PERKINS: Further redefining marriage, the reason we have cohabitation at skyrocketing rates is because we have redefine marriage in a way through no fault divorce making it almost meaningless to many, but to the further step of redefining it completely and saying marriage is whatever you want to make it to be. If you're two people and you love each other, that's all that counts.
The reason society has recognized marriage with certain benefits is because marriage between a man and a woman that creates children or raise his children, in most cases that benefits society. That's why society --
MORGAN: You have -- Mr. Perkins, you have -- (CROSSTALK)
PERKINS: -- automatic benefits of marriage.
MORGAN: You have five kids, right?
PERKINS: Yes, I do.
MORGAN: What would you do if one of them came home and said, dad, I'm gay?
PERKINS: Well, we would have a conversation about it. I doubt that would happen with my children as we are teaching them the right ways that they are to interact as human beings, we're not allowing them to be indoctrinated by the education system.
MORGAN: So you -- so you would imagine it would be -- right. So just to clarify, you would imagine it would be a personal choice they would suddenly make, they would wake up one day and decide they were going to be gay.
PERKINS: No, I didn't say that. I think it's -- I wouldn't say --
MORGAN: You implied it because you said it was -- you said that they have been brought up in a way that meant -- it was unlikely they would be gay.
PERKINS: That's right. The environment. The environment in which I'm raised --
MORGAN: My argument to you -- my argument to you as somebody who supports gay marriage, is being gay is not a choice? Being gay is not something you suddenly wake up and decide to be. So one of your children could be gay. It's not only a question of the way you brought them up. It's just --
PERKINS: Yes, it is, it is environment, it is environment, Piers. I would agree with you that I don't believe most people choose to be homosexual, lesbian, gay or whatever you want to call it. I don't believe that's a choice they wake up one morning and make. I don't think that it's genetic, I don't think = the evidence is there to support that. I do think that it's a product or a happening of environment and events, things that they're exposed to.
So I don't think it's a choice. I don't think somebody who wakes up and says I want to be this way. I think in most cases it's the result of the environment.
MORGAN: OK, well, Tony Perkins, we will agree to disagree. Thank you very much.
This story seems to have more legs than I'd hoped for. Romney is even reportedly asking other former prep school classmates to come forward to defend him. Would those be some of Romney's best friends that are gay?
We're still in the posturing phase of the fiscal cliff situation, and now we have another data point. Harry Reid has come out and said pretty forcefully that he will not roll back the trigger, the automatic cuts to defense and discretionary spending due[...]
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Looking back, superhero movies and a boom in Middle Eastern terrorists on television and film were probably the inevitable pop culture responses the September 11 attacks, the former a fantasy of stopping the worst before it happens without loss of life and treasure, the latter an attempt to personify an enemy most Americans hadn’t even considered. But while most of these cultural references have been more allusion than direct reference, the Joker’s demented drag as a substitute for Osama bin Laden, Oded Fehr in Sleeper Cell instead of Mohammad Atta, The Avengers and The Dictator both seem to me to be addressing September 11 and its aftermath with unusual directness, if to very different effect.
The Avengers is hardly the first post-9/11 movie to have superheroes rampage through New York, causing property damage and loss of life along the way. But I was struck, in the moment when Thor, doing battle with his brother Loki atop Stark Tower, forces him to look out at the city Loki’s forces were laying waste to, trying to force him to recognize the stupid, destructive futility of his attack. The crash of alien invaders into skyscrapers was one of the most striking visual allusions to the September 11 attacks I’ve seen in an action movie, flowers of fire blooming from pillars of steel in an eruption of violence hugely more widespread than the terror accomplished by 19 angry men in three hijacked planes.
The buildings didn’t fall. We didn’t have to go to war, because we could shut the border between our world and the one from which our enemies came. We didn’t even have to conduct a mop-up operation or interrogate detainees because when that portal closed, the invaders collapsed like toys (interestingly, while in Avengers captivity, Loki assumes he’ll be tortured and Nick Fury certainly seems prepared to do so, but it’s Black Widow who talks information out of the mad god without touching him). This isn’t just a fantasy of an easy dynamic, of revenge on the bad guys as Adam Serwer has written at Mother Jones. It’s a dream of resilience and clean war, where we can suffer greater losses and survive; where we can solve our problem without putting as many men and women at risk of death, deformity, or traumatic brain injury; where we can end the war in a day; where we can avoid doing grievous harm to ourselves and our values in the process.
The Dictator doesn’t perform alchemy on our post-9/11 fears, it mocks them. Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming comedy about a Middle Eastern dictator adrift in New York City takes on issues ranging from anti-Arab sentiment. But it also features an extended joke, which appears at the end of this red band trailer, that derives its humor from the idea that a pair of tourists in a helicopter are stupid to think that they might be the victims of a 9/11 style attack again:
It’s a poor choice of target. Publications like The Onion and Modern Humorist dived in immediately after 9/11 to start making fun of the hijackers themselves, and the Taliban and al Qaeda more broadly, turning them into small, delusional, murderous, isolated men rather than giving them the deference of treating them like an existential threat to the United States. It’s that kind of thinking that leads to raids to take out Osama bin Laden directly, rather than grinding wars that have accomplished little more than giving the sense that the country responding with force equal to the trauma we felt on September 11 itself. If you want to make fun of that trauma, it makes more sense to mock the things that it’s made us do to ourselves, be it the threat level system, invasive TSA searches, or watch lists. For all the movie’s other fantasies, Bruce Banner’s indignant request to know why “Captain America’s on a threat list?” in The Avengers says a lot more about the idiocies of post-9/11 vigilance than mocking the terror of two middle-aged tourists who think they’re about to die.
by Dominique Browning, via Moms Clean Air Force
At a recent reception held by Environmental Defense Fund in Washington D.C?. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave a speech in which he connected the dots between climate change, energy and security issues. He became the highest-ranking official in the Obama administration to do so.
Panetta explained that his Department of Defense is facing a budget shortfall of more than $3 billion because of unexpected fuel costs. ?I have a deep interest in more sustainable and efficient energy options,? he said. Secretary Panetta went on to describe how the U. S. military will be called on for humanitarian assistance in the face of rising seas, longer droughts, and more frequent and the severe natural disasters that are a result of global warming.
Secretary Panetta was followed on the podium by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who has served since May 2009. In 1987, the Harvard-trained lawyer became the youngest governor in the nation when he won office in Mississippi. Mabus declared, in an inimitably rich Southern drawl: ?We buy too much fossil fuel from the most volatile places on earth.?
He emphasized that ?drilling alone will never solve our national security concerns over foreign oil.? Mabus went on to announce that the Navy has made a commitment to get 50% of its energy from renewable sources, like biofuels, solar and wind, by 2025. That?s the most ambitious goal for renewable energy in the country?higher even than California?s!
Mabus pointed out that the Navy has always led in pioneering new sources of fuel, whether it was from moving from sail to coal in the 1850s, to oil in the 20th century, and nuclear energy in the 1950s. ?Every time, there were doubters and naysayers,? he said forcefully. ?Every time. And every single time, they were wrong and they will be wrong again this time.?
Mabus vigorously countered the argument that renewable energy is more expensive. ?Well of course it is! Every new technology is more expensive. What if we hadn?t started using computers because they were more expensive than typewriters? What if we hadn?t started using cell phones because they were more expensive than land lines? Where would we be??
Both Panetta and Mabus are on the front lines again?in a battle that will help us curb carbon emissions and lead us to energy independence. Anyone want to join the notoriously craven science deniers at the Heartland Institute in their claim that any leader who fights global warming is no better than tyrants and killers like Charles Manson, Osama bin Laden and Unabomber Kacyznski?
Go ahead. Make Secretary Mabus? day.
Dominique Browning is the co-founder of Moms Clean Air Force and its lead blogger. She is a writer and editor ? and the mother of two sons. She blogs at Slow Love Life and writes a column called Personal Nature for the Environmental Defense Fund.
This piece was originally published at Moms Clean Air Force and was re-printed with permission.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said during a press conference on Thursday that a new report has found that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is proceeding “very well,” but refused to give their personal opinions about same-sex marriage.
“No, I have not found any negative effect on good order or discipline,” Dempsey said in response to a question about the DADT policy, before noting that the armed forces had been hesitant to lift the ban on open service because of the uncertainty that accompanied the change. “It’s not impacting on moral, it’s not impacting on unit cohesion, it is not impacting on readiness” Panetta added. “It’s become part and parcel of what they’ve accepted within the military.”
The Secretary also addressed the military’s policy on marriage, reiterating that gay and lesbian servicemembers can wed in states that recognize their relationships:
REPORTER: As a military officer and the idea that everyone in the service is to be treated equally, does it concern you that some service members are allowed to get married, say on military bases, other service members do not have that right? [...]
PANETTA: And with regards to you know, the question on marriage. In that instance it’s very clear that state law controls in that situation. So you know, where state law provides for that, then obviously, that kind of marriage can take place. And if the law prohibits that, then it cannot take place on a military base.
The Pentagon announced that it will allow military chaplains to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies in September and ruled that ?Defense Department property may be used for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies such as same-sex unions, as long as it?s not prohibited by state or local laws.? Republicans have repeatedly sought to change the policy and have attached an amendment to the defense authorization bill outlawing same-sex unions on Pentagon property.
Panetta also noted that the Defense Department is reviewing which benefits gay couples can qualify for in light of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex relationships.