May 29, 2008
Right-wing bloggers recently went nuts because a woman in a Dunkin Donuts ad wore a scarf that, if put on her head, might look like a Muslim woman with a scarf on her head. (No, I'm not kidding.) The called for a boycott of Dunkin Donuts.
Dunkin Donuts promptly gave in and canceled the ads. By doing so they demeaned women who wear scarves, not to mention supporting the right-wing blogger claims that a woman wearing a scarf (not even on her head) is a terrorist.
See actual photos here: skippy the bush kangaroo: time to stop buying the donuts - an action alert!,
we say, what's good for the batshit insane is good for the logical.
here's dunkin' donuts contact form. why not email them and let them know that you will no longer be buying their donuts or coffee or any product because their actions, at worst, in effect condemn all who wear scarves, and at best, are just plain looney?
March 28, 2008
We've been hearing a lot about Barack Obama's pastor, but very little about the Republican Party's pastor.
So go read about it over at Talk to Action: The King of America: A True Story of Washington Gone Mad,
When members of Congress bow down to a foreign cult leader who publishes a major newspaper, and no one seems to care, just how crazy have our politics become?At the same site, read Neil Bush, the Rev. Moon, Paraguay and the U.S. Dept. of Education,
Over the past several years, Neil Bush, the younger brother of President George W. Bush and the son of former President George H.W. Bush, has made several international trips of behalf of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's assorted enterprises. In late February, Bush called on Paraguay's president while in the country as a guest of a business federation founded by the Rev. Moon.
March 24, 2008
Please watch this video about the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his organization's political influence with the Republicans. This is an important story. Moon, for example, owns the Washington Times. Front groups set up by his organization have been receiving millions of tax dollars from the Bush Administration.
And definitely get the new book on Moon, Bad Moon Rising, by John Gorenfeld
December 24, 2007
I missed this in April ... Romney Favors Hubbard Novel,
When asked his favorite novel in an interview shown yesterday on the Fox News Channel, Mitt Romney pointed to “Battlefield Earth,” a novel by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. That book was turned into a film by John Travolta, a Scientologist.I ask this in all seriousness, is it possible to even know about this novel if you are not involved in Scientology - much less say it is your favorite novel? OK, it's possible, but is it possible for an educated person who does know about the novel to not know that it is Scientology? (Never mind that it is a candidate for worst movie ever made.)
A spokesman said later it was one of Mr. Romney’s favorite novels.
“I’m not in favor of his religion by any means,” Mr. Romney, a Mormon, said. “But he wrote a book called ‘Battlefield Earth’ that was a very fun science-fiction book.” Asked about his favorite book, Mr. Romney cited the Bible.
What is Mitt Romney doing mixed up in Scientology? It's possible that he has had the kind of life that makes a person vulnerable to their recruitment - as well as a target.
December 23, 2007
Espresso left us this year, but now she has all the muffins she could want.
Buddy still has to suffer indignities...
Happy Holidays from the Johnsons!
December 6, 2007
Through the LinkTV One Nation Many Voices contest. Go see. And if you make a film you can win a bunch of money.
October 23, 2007
This piece originally appeared at the Speak Out California blog.
"Greed is good." That line from the 1987 film Wall Street shocked the country with its blatant articulation of the 1980s-era Reagan philosophy of greed. Twenty years ago it was still a shock to civilized people to hear such a vulgar statement promoting self-interest over community. From the movie,
The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right; greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms, greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words - will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.Greed used to be considered one of the "seven deadly sins." Religions warn against its harmful effects on people and the greater community. Buddhism warns that greed is one of the three poisons. W.Jay Wood wrote in Christianity Today,
Greed is an inappropriate attitude toward things of value, built on the mistaken judgment that my well-being is tied to the sum of my possessions....Greed alienates us from God, from our neighbor, and from our true self.But twenty years after being shocked by the promotion of a "Greed is good" philosophy much of the public instead buys into the consumer culture of greed and self-interest over public-interest. How has this change come about?
It had help. For example, John Stossel, co-anchor of ABC's 20/20 and host of ABC's John Stossel Specials reports for ABC radio, and ABCNews.com wrote a 2006 opinion piece titled Greed Is Good, which he posted at the far-right Townhall site (and many other far-right sites), Stossel writes,
If pursuing profit is greed, economist Walter Williams told me, then greed is good, because it drives us to do many good things. "Those areas where people are motivated the most by greed are the areas that we're the most satisfied with: supermarkets, computers, FedEx." By contrast, areas "where people say we're motivated by 'caring'" - public education, public housing etc. - "are the areas of disaster in our country.... How much would get done," Williams wondered, "if it all depended on human love and kindness?"This Stossel piece is derived from a 1999 20/20 episode of the same name, and for years was widely promoted and distributed as a "Greed" teaching kit for classrooms by the Palmer R. Chitester Fund, Inc.
The accompanying teachers guide (PDF document), included such "educational" tidbits as,
The video argues that "the more government tries to help, the worse things get" and uses the circumstances of the Lakota Sioux tribe in South Dakota as an example. Would the Lakota Sioux tribe be more prosperous without government support? What evidence would support or refute this argument?and,
Some say that decreasing tax rates stimulates the economy by enabling workers to keep more of the money they earn. As a result, they have added ability to put money back into the economy by spending, saving and investing. Others accept high tax burdens believing that the cost of government is justified based on all of its programs and agencies. The video shows an example of the typical two earner household- Bill and Mary Thurston of St. Louis, who both work from January until May to pay their share of annual taxes. Do you think American taxpayers are getting their money's worth? Which taxes do you think are/are not justifiable?and,
Have students research reports of government waste and report the most egregious cases they can find. Have them detail specific examples of what could happen to a private company that operated in the same manner.Anti-government propaganda like that is "educational?" Of course not. But there it is, with the credibility and celebrity of both ABC and Stossel backing up the pro-greed, ideological message.
A 2000 Salon.com article titled Prime-time propagandist, said,
"Stossel in the Classroom" is a series of study aids that includes Stossel's popular ABC News special reports, accompanied by study guides written by two conservative economics instructors at George Mason University. The study guides are emblazoned with a big blue ABC News logo and Stossel's face. ABC News and Stossel had almost nothing to do with the development of "Stossel in the Classroom," but the product is deceptively packaged to look like an ABC product.Who is the Palmer R. Chitester Fund that distributed these so-called study materials? Media Transparency describes The Palmer R. Chitester Fund as follows:
The Palmer R. Chitester Fund was created by the combative Bob Chitester, with startup money from the Bradley Foundation, to create right wing "popular" media, and lately has taken to selling educational materials based on the error-prone reporting of ABC TV's arch-conservative correspondent John Stossel. It's Idea Channel distributes "intellectual" videotapes on conversations between mostly members of the right wing movement on topics ranging from political science to economics to history.The Fund is now part of Chitester Creative Associates. It's President Bob Chitester proudly declares,
"Over 80% of U.S. secondary schools are now using at least one of our teaching units."The Fund receives grants from numerous sources to help it distribute similar teaching materials. (One source, for example, is the John Templeton Foundation. John Templeton, such a radical anti-government conservative that he renounced his US citizenship in 1968. Yet, in 2007, Templeton was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People (Time 100) under the category of "Power Givers.)
The Salon article mentions some of the other sources and participants,
One contributor to the "Stossel in the Classroom" series is the John M. Olin Foundation, an organization that popped up regularly in stories detailing Hillary Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy" during the investigation and impeachment of President Clinton. For three decades, the Olin Foundation has funded many of the most influential institutions and individuals on the right. Board member and conservative columnist Walter Williams' professorship at George Mason University is also underwritten by Olin.Yes, some of this is old news - to some of us. But it is worth rehashing because it helps tell the story of disturbing changes in our culture. In the time since the statement "greed is good" shocked us our society certainly has become more greedy and self-interested. And in that time society has become much more of an on-your-own, in-it-for-yourself society as contrasted with a "we're-all-in-this-together, take-care-of-each-other" society. Certainly the "free market"-oriented one-dollar-one-vote"value" has clearly come to dominate over the humanitarian and democratic value of one-person-one-vote.
Chitester Fund is a conservative foundation, sporting John Fund of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Williams among others on its boards. Text on the Chitester Fund Web site describes the organization's mission: "We are particularly interested in illuminating the prerequisites of a free society -- (with an) emphasis on projects that examine the role of government and explain the interrelationship of economic, personal and political freedom," code for a closeted conservative group. [emphasis added]
The "economics education" effort described in one example here is just the tip of an iceberg - of a huge effort to push America's public attitudes rightward. Some have estimated that spending on the conservative movement's "message machine" is over $300 million dollars per year.
What can we learn from this? One thing we can learn is that it is possible to move America's public attitudes and change our culture. The so-called conservatives were certainly able to accomplish this. We can even see and learn from how they did it. It wasn't easy and it wasn't inexpensive, but they proved that a systematic effort to educate the public certainly can succeed.
I think it is time that progressive-minded Americans begin to put resources of our own into an effort to educate the public about the benefits to them of values like democracy (one-person-one-vote vs one-dollar-one-vote) and community (taking care of each other rather than everyone on their own and out for themselves). We must do this to restore the country that our Founding Fathers envisioned.
October 5, 2007
Rick Perlstein in Reporters: man your engines,
Rev. Sun Myung Moon is claiming a "letter of support" from Hillary Clinton. I sure hope he's lying.Does anyone know more about this?
Go read Rick's piece.
September 5, 2007
I am at the Carter Center in Atlanta to observe the 2007 Human Rights Defenders Policy Forum. The Carter Center brings together leaders of the world’s human rights effort for discussions to try to find policy solutions that can help lessen the problem of human rights violations and atrocities that occur again and again in the world. In the next couple of days former President Jimmy Carter will be speaking, as will Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Karin Ryan, Director of the Carter Center’s Human Rights Program writes,
“Why does the international community fail again and again to respond to these crises before they take on catastrophic dimensions?”The ongoing Human Rights Defenders Policy Forums attempt to answer that question and find solutions.
This year’s conference brings together human rights defenders of different faiths, to discuss ways that the common traditions of faith in the struggle for human dignity can be utilized to provide new channels for approaching these problems. Karin again,
“What might be accomplished if the reawakening of faith that is taking place throughout the globe were accompanied by a heightened commitment to put a stop to human rights violations in many places where they are ignored?”
So I find myself in Atlanta to observe and write about this conference. Today's discussions are off the record as the participants work to find common areas to discuss in the public conference of the next two days. This gives me a chance to write about what it is like to be here.
What is it like? The Carter Center is a very nice facility, with excellent conference amenities. It includes the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum. (The museum includes a replica of the Oval Office and I hope I get a chance to sneak over and see it. I'll let you know.) The conference takes place in an auditorium, with a horseshoe-shaped table for the approx. twenty international Human Rights Defender participants and ten or so organizational representatives. (There will be more over the next couple of days.) There are two rows of observer tables at the edges of the room, which is where I am. I have an earpiece for translation as people speak if needed. During the coffee break I spoke to a man who showed me the places where agents of his government cut him with a machete.
And that is what my first day as an observer is like. I flew here from California and landed in a nice airport. I am staying in a nice hotel. I am typing on a computer in the hallway of a very nice conference center. I carry in my head what is probably a widely-shared image of an ideal modern, civil life. I might not live that life (or even want to or think it is sustainable) but I feel that many of us reading this probably do share the image, because you are probably reading it on a computer in a modern society. In this Ideal Modern Life we have our jobs. We drive around in cars and go to shops. We consume and have our brand attachments. We watch TV shows and are entertained. We have houses and gardens. And somewhere else in the world these things are happening.
It is the 21st century and these things are not only happening, but the world's ability to confront such problems seems to be diminishing. The forces of racial, religious, national, ethnic, ideological, economic and environmental division seem to be gaining the upper hand. This is a conference where Human Rights Defenders struggle to find ways to help keep them from continuing to happen. The people here come from places where these things happen, but part of their message is that these things can happen when the world does not make it enough of a priority to keep them from happening.
Over the next two days I will be blogging at the Skoll Foundation's Social Edge blog, and cross-posted at the conference's own blog. I invite you to drop in. I'll post summaries here as well, when I can, but mostly I'll be posting there.
Blogging is a conversation. It is interactive. So please join this discussion and leave comments here - or better, leave them over at the Social Edge blog as the conference unfolds.
September 1, 2007
This is a great post on how people's attitudes were shaped in the last few decades. Daily Kos: My neighbor, John
Read down the comments, as well, they're a good part of understanding the thinking.
June 13, 2007
Before bloggers, there was Dr. Eugene Scott.
Gone now, though...
June 3, 2007
Frank McKenna, Canada’s former ambassador to Washington, referred to the United States on Friday as "a theocratic state" in which Christian evangelicalism plays a big role in the Republican administration.
“Right now the United States is in many ways a theocratic state, not dissimilar to some of the other religious states in the world where religion has a huge part to play in government."
May 31, 2007
The science on whether smoking tobacco causes cancer is still unsettled. The jury is still out. The science on asbestos, lead in gasoline and paint, DDT, safety of SUVs, ... etc.
And, of course, the science is still not settled on global warming. The jury is still out.
Right. Where have we heard this before?
And here we go again: Republican Presidential candidate Sam Brownback, What I Think About Evolution.
(By the way, who really wrote this?)
Near the end of the video, there was this exchange:
Bill O'Reilly: But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you're a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say you've got to cap with a number.
John McCain: In America today we've got a very strong economy and low unemployment, so we need addition farm workers, including by the way agriculture, but there may come a time where we have an economic downturn, and we don't need so many.
O'Reilly: But in this bill, you guys have got to cap it. Because estimation is 12 million, there may be 20 [million]. You don't know, I don't know. We've got to cap it.
McCain: We do, we do. I agree with you.
April 18, 2007
At Firedoglake: Don’t Reward Failure By Giving Money to NARAL,
And what did they do with all that cash? They sat it and didn't do a damn thing, didn't lift a finger to fight Samuel Alito. Worse yet, when the Gang of 14 decided to vote in favor of cloture, they said that they did not consider cloture votes "significant" and would not be considering them in their scorecard. They then went on to add insult to injury by asking their membership to thank Lincoln Chafee and Joe Lieberman for the beatings they delivered with their "aye" cloture vote by pretending that their "nay" floor votes were significant. They then poured salt into the wound by endorsing both "short ride" Lieberman and Chafee over their opponents who made it clear that they would not have voted for cloture for Alito, which gave us the 5-4 decision we have today.Go read.
Don't reward failure. Tell your friends. Don't give money to NARAL when they come knocking on your door to tell you that choice is going down the crapper unless you give them a lot of money, because what you'll be giving money for is Nancy Keenan's ability to point her little pinky over tea at Washington cocktail parties and tut-tut over the state of choice in this country at the hands of the fundamentalists. She'll take no responsibility for the fact that NARAL will not fight, will not back those that fight, and worse yet, that NARAL sucks up all the pro-choice money so nobody else can mount a meaningful fight, either.
April 4, 2007
Never mind that Laura Bush and Condoleeza Rice ALSO wore headcoverings when visiting mosques, as well as when visiting the Vatican.
So here they go: Pelosi Allows Radical Muslim Propaganda Coup,
"The anti-American propaganda this woman has given the very people who want to totally destroy us is immense."Here's a good one,
"Tired of being beheaded, hijacked, kidnapped and terrorized? Try Dhimmitude! It's 100% submissive and guaranteed to appease the enemies of freedom. Well, temporally anyway. Because that's all we have to do you know, is just be nice to them. [. . .] The left wants peace at any cost. Terrorism pays."Another, with a dose of pure anti-Muslim racism:
"I guess the Muslims will give her props for the head scarf, after all she is playing the role of a good dhimmicrat. Then again, depending on how sensitive the Syrians are feeling, she may of sparked another international “Religion of Peace” murderous rage."See also Has speaker Pelosi committed sedition by her visit to the mideast?
Go see the pics and read The Mahablog : Pelosi Wears Scarf; Righties Bark at Moon
And to really understand America's right, read the 800 comments here.
March 4, 2007
Please read slacktivist: McFaith: A dialogue (part 1)
Don't mess with my religion. Bigot.
February 22, 2007
Hoo-boy here's one to worry about. Attorney General launches religious freedom initiative at SBC meeting. (SBC means Southern Baptist Convention.)
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales met with Southern Baptist leaders Feb. 20 to unveil a new Department of Justice initiative aimed at educating Americans about their religious liberties and to ask for the Southern Baptist Convention’s help in identifying and reporting abuses of those liberties. [emphasis added]Great. The government working with the Southern Baptists to identify and report abuses of their religious liberties. And of course, the usual right-wing gibberish accompanies this new campaign,
“Why should it be permissible for an employee standing around the water cooler to declare that ‘Tiger Woods is God,’ but a firing offense for him to say ‘Jesus is Lord’?” he said to vocal affirmation from Executive Committee members. “These are the kinds of contradictions we are trying to address.”Has anyone, anywhere ever been fired for saying "Jesus is Lord?" Of course not.
So it looks like we are about to experience a massive wave of right-wing Christians screaming that they are being victimized every time a Jewish or Muslim person appears on TV or gets a job they wanted. Backed by the full resources of the government. Just great.
With the unveiling of the “First Freedom Project,” the Department of Justice is creating a department-wide Religious Freedom Task Force, the attorney general told Executive Committee members. Another component is the initiation of a program of public education to ensure that people know their rights. Gonzales said the justice department will hold a series of regional training seminars for leaders interested in religious liberty issues, starting in Kansas City, Mo., March 29.
Also, the department has launched a new website, firstfreedom.gov, with information on the laws they enforce and how to file a complaint. Justice officials will be distributing informational literature to religious organizations, civil rights groups and community leaders on how to file a complaint, Gonzales said.
Imagine if the religious right's beloved "war on Christmas" was a year-round affair. Legions of lawyers ready to pounce on school and civic administrators, the persistent neon buzz of ACLU-paranoia in the air, Pat Robertson and the Bill O'Reilly Persecution Complex (nice band name...) pressuring corporate America to replace every "gezundheit" with a "God bless you." Now, imagine if the leaders of the effort weren't just the Jerry Falwell Admiration Society, but instead the full weight and force of the Department of Justice...Watch your backs. Here it comes.
November 24, 2006
Hooray! Go see Door To Door Atheists Bother Mormons
Australian filmmaker John Safran is so fed up with mormons ringing his doorbell early in the morning that he flies to Salt Lake City Utah and tries to convert Mormons to atheism. Needless to say, the locals were not pleased."Blessed is the man who goes around banging on epople's doors at all hours of the morning for he truly is Jesus's little friend."