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Losing My Religion: How Christian conservatives are forcing the young from the faith


 
On a blog post that’s been shared tens of thousands of times in the past few days, Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood writes of how Christianist haters like Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher and Bryan Fischer are forcing younger Christians to chose between their gay friends and their religion.

From “How to win a culture war and lose a generation”:

When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”)

In the book that documents these findings, titled unChristian, David Kinnaman writes: “The gay issue has become the ‘big one,’ the negative image most likely to be intertwined with Christianity’s reputation. It is also the dimensions that most clearly demonstrates the unchristian faith to young people today, surfacing in a spate of negative perceptions: judgmental, bigoted, sheltered, right-wingers, hypocritical, insincere, and uncaring. Outsiders say [Christian] hostility toward gays… has become virtually synonymous with the Christian faith.”

Later research, documented in Kinnaman’s You Lost Me, reveals that one of the top reasons 59 percent of young adults with a Christian background have left the church is because they perceive the church to be too exclusive, particularly regarding their LGBT friends. Eight million twenty-somethings have left the church, and this is one reason why.

Rachel Held Evans has closed comments on her essay, writing “I want to keep this a safe place for conversation.”

You won’t wonder why after you’ve read the responses from some of her supposedly Christian readers…
 

 
Via Dan Savage/Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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New Obama conspiracy theory causes wingnut vs. wingnut rift!


“Red diaper baby” Barack Hussein Obama II plots world domination.

I’ve already blogged here about the zany new Obama conspiracy theory documentary Dreams From My Real Father which puts forth the ludicrous “theory” that President Barack Obama’s father was not a Kenyan goat herder but rather a radical journalist nearly four decades older than his mother who was also an amateur pornographer…

Now the film is causing a rift in the wingnut ranks as “birther queen” dingbat Orly Taitz (and current GOP candidate for one the US Senate seats for California!) accuses WorldNet Daily and author Jerome Corsi (who himself has a lot—everything—riding on the “birther” fantasy) of “working for” someone else. But who?

TPM’s Michael Lester has made a “trash compactor” cut of the film’s kooky highlights (see below).  It’s a doozy. Via TPM:

“Dreams From My Real Father,” a 97-minute film narrated by an Obama impersonator, weaves the narrative that Obama’s grandfather wasn’t a furniture salesman but an undercover CIA agent who convinced Barack Obama Sr. to marry his teenage daughter to hide the fact that she was impregnated by a 55-year-old communist named Frank Marshall Davis.

The fake Obama narrator sets up the tale as the “the story I would have told if I were being honest with you.” Built through archival black and white footage, the film’s disclaimer states that it includes “re-creations of probable events, using reasoned logic, speculation, and approximated conversations in an attempt to provide a cohesive understanding of Obama’s history.”

Using that disclaimer, the filmmakers assert that Obama had a nose job ahead of his 2004 run for Senate, that his mother posed for naked photos when she was five weeks pregnant with him and that Bill Ayers nurtured Obama’s career.

The film is produced by Highway 61 Entertainment, the same company behind “Farewell Israel,” “Atomic Jihad” and the mockumentaries “Elvis Found Alive” and “Paul McCartney Really Is Dead.” Director Joel Gilbert, who has spoken at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), writes columns for FamilySecurityMatters.org, a website run by Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy.

The film has been favorably reviewed by WND’s Jerome R. Corsi, who wrote an entire book arguing that Obama’s birth certificate is a fake and that he was really born in Kenya and ineligible to be president of the United States.

But the suggestion that Obama really was born in Hawaii and that his father was an American citizen has some conspiracy theorists upset. Birther queen Orly Taitz is troubled by the film because it undermines the theory that Obama’s father had to be a U.S. citizen for him to be a “natural born citizen” (a qualification which would have eliminated several other presidents). WND and Corsi, wrote Taitz, are “trying to kill the case by making up an American citizen father for Obama.”

“Who are they working for? What incentive did they get to do so? Please, tell Corsi and Farah to stop this. Enough and enough,” she wrote.

Wingnut vs. wingnut!

Taitz later posted this on her website:

JEROME CORSI IS DESTROYING THE CASE ON WHICH I WORKED FOR 4 YEARS 24/7/365. HE IS GRATUITOUSLY MAKING UP AN AMERICAN FATHER FOR OBAMA. WHAT IS HIS MOTIVATION TO DO SO? TELL WND AND CORSI TO STOP THIS.

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Who’s your REAL daddy?’; The new Obama conspiracy theory, mind-rot at its finest

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Mitt Likes Music’: MC Romney raps


 
The Gregory Brothers auto-tune Romney soundbites and the result is…well, another pretty amusing Gregory Brothers mash-up.

The video is only linkable via the NY Times right now. Looks like The Grey Lady is attempting to give herself a BuzzFeed dye job by jumping on the auto-tuning the news thing…too bad it’s two years too late. Still, it’s fun.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Karl Marx is STILL right


 
Nobel economist Michael Spence, working at the behest of the Council on Foreign Relations, has co-authored a startling new paper with NYU’s Sandile Hlatshwayo. The two did an enormous amount of number crunching and analyzing of how the US economy has been structured for the past 20 years, and in particular, they examined employment trends. It was not a pretty picture that emerged from all of those details.

Well, I guess that would all depend upon which side of the fork you’re on, wouldn’t it?

As the output and productivity of the American worker increased—a LOT, I should add—during the past two decades, jobs still continued to be outsourced to other countries with cheaper labor pools, and fewer opportunities for economic advancement presented themselves for many Americans. All the while, the $$$ for all of that increased productivity didn’t go to the worker bees themselves, it went to the top, to the capitalists and investors class. To parasites like Mitt Romney and his buddies at Bain Capital.

The CFR report’s conclusions are particularly grim for people who have found themselves slipping out of the middle class towards precarious lives and who feel hopeless to do anything about it, but it’s Marxism 101 for the economic literate.

It’s a race to the bottom and “tag” you’re it!

From Reuters:

The take-away is this: Globalization is making U.S. companies more productive, but the benefits are mostly being enjoyed by the C-suite. The middle class is struggling to find work, and many of the jobs available are poorly paid.

Here’s how Mr. Spence and Ms. Hlatshwayo put it: “The most educated, who work in the highly compensated jobs of the tradeable and nontradeable sectors, have high and rising incomes and interesting and challenging employment opportunities, domestically and abroad. Many of the middle-income group, however, are seeing employment options narrow and incomes stagnate.”

Mr. Spence notes the benefit to consumers of globalization: “Many goods and services are less expensive than they would be if the economy were walled off from the global economy, and the benefits of lower prices are widespread.” He also points to the positive impact of globalization, particularly in China and India: “Poverty reduction has been tremendous, and more is yet to come.”

I’m sure Americans living in “right to work” states are just jumping for joy to be competing with wage-earners in China and India.
 

 
Free trade and the free flow of capital means lower prices for the consumer, true, but when someone in China or India is doing that very same computer programming job that used to be your job in the midwest—information workers will have the most precarious jobs of all moving forward—it’s not like you’ll be able to afford much more than rice and beans at the Wal-Mart anyway.

Yes, there’s a high cost to low price. The two are pretty well interconnected, as we’ve seen, but this is what the “free market” is supposed to do, silly. And don’t forget, it was Wal-Mart that put the local shops out of business to begin with.

Karl Marx predicted all of this. ALL of it.

He’s the most accurate prophet in history, with a record a helluva lot better than Nostradamus!

And to all of the naysayers who claim that a “command economy” doesn’t work, I present to you Wal-Mart itself, the most successful example of a command economy the world has ever seen!

Mr. Spence’s paper should be read alongside the work that David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been doing on the impact of the technology revolution on U.S. jobs. Mr. Autor finds that technology has had a “polarizing” impact on the U.S. work force — it has made people at the top more productive and better paid and hasn’t had much effect on the “hands-on” jobs at the bottom. But opportunities and salaries in the middle have been hollowed out.

Taken together, here’s the big story Mr. Spence and Mr. Autor tell: Globalization and the technology revolution are increasing productivity and prosperity. But those rewards are unevenly shared — they are going to the people at the top in the United States, and enriching emerging economies over all. But the American middle class is losing out.

It may seem surprising that it takes a Nobel laureate and sheaves of economic data to reach this conclusion. But the analysis and its provenance matter, because this basic truth about how the world economy is working today is being ignored by most of the politicians in the United States and denied by many of its leading business people.

Here’s where it gets much grimmer, as the article’s author, Chrystia Freeland (who has been the Global Editor-at-Large of Reuters since 2010) tells of a recent breakfast at the CFR that she moderated. The speaker that morning was Randall Stephenson, chief executive of AT&T.

If this is the mindset of the leaders of corporate America today, we’re doomed:

One of the Council of Foreign Relations members in the audience was Farooq Kathwari, the chief executive of Ethan Allen, the furniture manufacturer and retailer. Mr. Kathwari is a storybook American entrepreneur. He arrived in New York from Kashmir with $37 in his pocket and got his start in the retail trade selling goods sent to him from home by his grandfather.

He asked Mr. Stephenson: “Over the last 10 years, with the help of technology and other things, we today are doing about the same business with 50 percent less people. We’re talking of jobs. I would just like to get your perspectives on this great technology. How is it going to overall affect the job markets in the next five years?”

Mr. Stephenson said not to worry. “While technology allows companies like yours to do more with less, I don’t think that necessarily means that there is less employment opportunities available. It’s just a redeployment of those employment opportunities. And those employees you have, my expectation was, with your productivity, their standard of living has actually gotten better.”

HUH? Redeployment of employment opportunities? What the fuck IS this guy talking about?

I recently heard a radio report that indicated that there is ONE factory employing around 15 people in Japan that’s responsible for nearly 80% of the world’s output of a certain sized HD screen. Consider how many people would have worked at a Magnavox television plant in the mid-fifties. Where were those employment opportunities ultimately “redeployed?”

Cinnabon?

Bob Evans?

Starbucks?

7-Eleven?

With advanced automation, robotics and so forth, the American worker always was going to become obsolete in the long run, but the speed with which it is happening has gone from a trot to full gallop since the early 90s. Stephenson’s contention that standards of living have improved is ludicrous. Perhaps for him and for all the Cuban cigar-smoking fatcats at the country club in Westchester, but what about the rest of us?

Maybe the all-powerful, wise and benevolent free market will help us?!?!

(Sorry all of that cigar smoke is making me *cough*)

Mr. Spence’s work tells us that simply isn’t happening. “One possible response to these trends would be to assert that market outcomes, especially efficient ones, always make everyone better off in the long run,” he wrote. “That seems clearly incorrect and is supported by neither theory nor experience.”

Not to take anything away from Mr. Spence and Ms. Hlatshwayo, but there was this famous book written by a Mr. Marx and a Mr. Engels—two of the most dangerous minds in history—a hundred and fifty-some years ago that predicted all of this shit with amazing, laser-like accuracy.

Mr. Spence says that as he was doing his research, he was often asked what “market failure” was responsible for these outcomes: Where were the skewed incentives, flawed regulations or missing information that led to this poor result? That question, Mr. Spence says, misses the point. “Multinational companies,” he said, “are doing exactly what one would expect them to do. The resulting efficiency of the global system is high and rising. So there is no market failure.”

Okay, stop for a second. Read that last paragraph again, won’t you? Now read it a third time.

Mr. Spence is telling us that global capitalism is working, but that the American middle class is losing out anyway.

Yep, exactly like a certain Mr. Marx predicted would happen. What remains to be seen is how long it takes for the average American to wake up to what’s going on, when the elites are so hellbent on trying to keep them as confused as possible. Less sophisticated people can be forgiven for falling for conspiracy theories, when the REAL action is right out in the open: No one ever thinks to look there!

Mr. Spence admits he has no easy answers. American politicians are focused on a budget debate that is superficial, premature and ultimately about something pretty easy to figure out. Instead, we should all be working on the much bigger problem of how to make capitalism work for the American middle class.

Karl Marx had the answer to that, too…
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Jesus, Freddie Mercury and Gay Marriage


 
This provocative masterpiece by Mr. Fish, found via The Cagle Post, where reactions have been widely varied…

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Family Guy’ vs the Tea party: ‘If rich people aren’t looking out for us…’


 
Last night’s wickedly inspired episode of Family Guy viciously took on the Tea Party and trickled-on economics.

No punches were pulled. It’s like Matt Taibbi wrote it or something!

Predictably, it’s also fucking hilarious, but the idea that this was broadcast on FOX adds another level of “heavy meta” to the equation.

The best part is the position that Seth MacFarlane has put Fox News in. They’re almost contractually obliged to be “outraged” by this.

Hannity and O’Reilly are almost certain to weigh in tonight. Should be fun to watch.

The Tea party stuff starts here.
 

 
Part II here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The war photographs of Tim Hetherington: Calm within the storm
05.14.2012
12:16 pm

Topics:
Art
Environment
Media
Politics

Tags:
Tim Hetherington


 
Photo journalist Tim Hetherington was killed in 2011 while covering the battlegrounds of Libya. His photographs of American soldiers in Afghanistan, Libyan fighters, and the terrain of war, powerfully depict the human side of warfare, both tender and tragic. Within the devastation that modern-age conflict renders to the environment, Hetherington captures images that remind us that life goes on among the rubble. 

There is an almost meditative stillness in Hetherington’s work - as if time for a moment stops and we can see the face of war as clearly as the noonday sun.

Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City is currently presenting an exhibition of Hetherington’s photographs and video work. The exhibit runs through May 19.
 

 

 
Here’ one of the videos that will be on exhibit at Yossi Milo Gallery: Hetherington’s video Diary:
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Rupert Murdoch, Tony Blair and the River Jordan Baptismal Cult
05.14.2012
10:27 am

Topics:
Occult
Politics

Tags:


 
Here in England, as the phone hacking scandal continues to escalate, questions about Tony Blair, and the exact nature of his relationship to the Murdoch Family (as in Manson, or Addams), endure. Far from their ideological opponent, Blair seems to have been something of an adoptee (or even initiate)...

Blair’s own account of his relationship with Rupert Murdoch appears in his memoir, A Journey , where he writes that that he “came to have a grudging respect and even a liking” for the disgraced media tycoon.

He was hard, no doubt. He was rightwing. I did not share or like his attitudes on Europe, social policy or on issues like gay rights, but there were two points of connection: he was an outsider and he had balls.

In a recent Vogue interview, Mrs. Murdoch,  Wendi Deng , revealed that Blair became godfather to their daughter Grace in 2010, donning white robes for her baptism in the River Jordan, right where it’s thought John the Baptist first dunked Jesus Christ (Blair’s presence was omitted from the original 2010 Hello article).

An additional, equally curious detail, and one I think has yet to be considered alongside the above, is that Blair’s own youngest, little Leo (born in 2000), also had the mystical honour of being baptized in the same stretch of the Jordan (Something tells me the guests donned white robes then, too).

All of which invites two interpretations. What we have here is either one vulgar megalomaniac imitating another (perfectly possible), or this ceremony is something creepily and specifically religious. It might even be evidence of some sort of elitist religion, which is even weirder.

Of course to entertain such crazy thoughts you’d need to find a white-robed sect that was known for baptizing children in the Jordan. Hmmmm. How’s about… the Mandaeans (see below) a Gnostic sect that revere John the Baptist? That’s right, John the Baptist.

Now I don’t pretend to understand what all this means (or that it necessarily means anything at all), but anyone curious could doubtless do worse than refer to Christopher Knowles and his splendid parapolitical blog The Secret Sun (specifically here).

Otherwise, it’s just interesting to note what complete freaks run the show.
 

 

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
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Mitt Romney, great grandson of a polygamist, sez we should not discard ‘one-man-one-woman’ marriage


Polygamists for Romney

Mitt Romney, who added “teenage gay basher” to his distinguished resume of fucking people over yesterday, unwisely decided to speak out about President Obama’s support for marriage equality.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

“[Below], Romney says that we should not discard 3,000 years of history of one-man-one-woman marriage. Ahem. His own family were ardent polygamists only a century ago - and went to Mexican colonies to escape US federal oppression of their version of marriage (which also goes back a long, long way and still exists across the world). Romney’s great-grandparents were polygamists; one of his his great-great-grandfathers had twelve wives and was murdered by the husband of the twelfth.

For Romney to say that the definition of marriage has remained the same for 3,000 years is disproved by his own family. It’s untrue. False. A lie.

Big love, Mr. Sullivan. This hits it right squarely on the bulls-eye, doesn’t it?

Memo to Mittens: This isn’t going to be an argument that you—you IN PARTICULAR—are going to win.

What’s that epigram from Wittgenstein that’s appropriate here? Ah yes:

“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”

In other words, zip it, dumbass, before you make a fucking fool of yourself.

Again.

(Are the Republicans deliberately trying to throw the election? If so, WHY?)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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FLAMING ASSHOLE: Mitt Romney, rich teenage bully!


 
Want to like Mitt Romney even less than you already do? Read on:

Well, it looks like the rich white guy who strapped a shit-scared dog onto the roof of his car and who brags about how he likes to “fire people” has always been that way.

This may have happened when future ruler of men Mitt Romney was just a kid, true, but it’s still really fucking disturbing. If the child is the father to the man, after you read this, ask yourself how many degrees away from being a “Dexter” this Mormon Little Lord Fauntleroy was!

And if you think that’s taking it too far, at the very least, Mitt Romney is a grown-up version of the nastiest, most obnoxious snobby rich kid characters that James Spader played in the 1980s (The millionaire Republican governor’s son who bullies Duckie. Tell me that young Mittens is not straight out of a John Hughes film).

Now he wants to be the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth!

Five eye witnesses, four of them on record here. This isn’t a hit job, it’s Mitt Romney’s actual biography. Looking at how Romney’s predatory Bain Capital made its money by sucking prosperous businesses dry, firing workers and selling off the assets, I don’ think this over-privileged fuck has changed all that much.

Be prepared to fucking barf.

Via The Washington Post:

Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be named. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan. All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections.

“It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was “terrified,” he said. “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.”

“It was a hack job,” recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. “It was vicious.”

“He was just easy pickins,” said Friedemann, then the student prefect, or student authority leader of Stevens Hall, expressing remorse about his failure to stop it.

The incident transpired in a flash, and Friedemann said Romney then led his cheering schoolmates back to his bay-windowed room in Stevens Hall.

Friedemann, guilt ridden, made a point of not talking about it with his friend and waited to see what form of discipline would befall Romney at the famously strict institution. Nothing happened.

Romney is now the presumed Republican presidential nominee. His campaign spokeswoman said the former Massachusetts governor has no recollection of the incident.

I guess he’s got an Etch-A-Sketch memory, too!

Who the fuck forgets an incident like this?

Of course there’s also the matter of how the biggest homophobes often turn out to be repressed closet-cases themselves… Just sayin’.

Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, and Stephen Colbert are going to have a field day with this, to say nothing of Bill Maher. Cue the vicious SNL skits and Funny or Die videos about THIS INCIDENT and, I hope, one of those great Taiwanese computer animations, too.

This is just the first page of four. Read the rest at The Washington Post, if you can stomach more.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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