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‘American exceptionalism’: Americans ARE the exception, just not necessarily in a good way

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I woke up this morning and as I was waiting for the coffee to brew, I dialed up the Huffington Post and read the following headline:

Number of Americans lacking medical coverage now exceeds the population of Spain.

Ouch! How fucked up is that? It’s just so depressing. Why? How was it allowed to get this bad?

Yep, there are currently 59 million of us without healthcare here in thee greatest country on earth, whereas the EU insures 100% of its population, cradle to grave, by law, including dentistry! Every major industrialized economy in the world has universal health care… except for us. We’re the exception. I don’t think this is exactly the brand of “American exceptionalism” Sarah Palin is talking about all the time, but it’s sure the way it looks from where my ass is sitting.

What we’re getting in 2014—if the Republicans can’t repeal it in the meantime—is a step in the right direction, but it’s not great. What would have been great is a single payer system, but that would have also been too easy!

In Europe for their tax dollars, they get universal health coverage. We here in America get a bunch of weapons and give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires who don’t need ‘em. Why? Because Fox News said we should. Let’s face the cold and clammy facts: we’re a country of idiots, run by a class of amoral scoundrels and criminals.

Why there isn’t rioting in the streets over the turn for the (much) worse the quality of life has taken in America is a mystery. How is it possible that it’s gotten this bad without major social unrest? Beats me.

And then to make me even more depwessed, I read this article, “America in Decline: Why Germans Think We’re Insane: A look at our empire in decline through the eyes of the European media.

Der Spiegel has run an interesting feature called “A Superpower in Decline,” which attempts to explain to a German audience such odd phenomena as the rise of the Tea Party, without the hedging or attempts at “balance” found in mainstream U.S. media. On the Tea Parties:

Full of Hatred: “The Tea Party, that group of white, older voters who claim that they want their country back, is angry. Fox News host Glenn Beck, a recovering alcoholic who likens Obama to Adolf Hitler, is angry. Beck doesn’t quite know what he wants to be—maybe a politician, maybe president, maybe a preacher—and he doesn’t know what he wants to do, either, or least he hasn’t come up with any specific ideas or plans. But he is full of hatred.”

The piece continues with the sobering assessment that America’s actual unemployment rate isn’t really 10 percent, but close to 20 percent when we factor in the number of people who have stopped looking for work.

Sound like a country you know? The thing I keep obsessing over is “How much longer can the “smarts” and the “dumbs” co-exist in America?” We really don’t want the same things, you know? Sooner or later something’s got to give and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Read more of America in Decline: Why Germans Think We’re Insane (Alternet)
 

 
Thank you Steven Otero!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.28.2010
10:56 pm
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The fundamentalist war on Santa the psychedelic shaman

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At first, Christian fundamentalist group Repent Amarillo’s recent charming video of their firing-squad execution of a Santa piñata in the name of putting the Savior back in to the holiday seems typical.

But after reading Canadian cannabis activist Dana Larsen’s 2003 article on the apparent psychotropic and shamanic origins of Santa Claus and many other Christmas traditions, it made some deeper sense to me.

Skip down to the explanatory vid…

According to Larsen, the Lapps of modern-day Finland and the Koyak tribes of the central Russian steppes had holy men in their ranks who regularly imbibed the hallucinogenic red & white amanita muscaria mushroom (also known as “fly agaric”). These ‘shrooming shamen proved to be the model of the figure we now know as Santa Claus.

Larsen also contends that the Christmas tree was originally seen as a “World Tree”, typically a fir or evergreen, species under which the amanita muscaria mushroom thrived:

The World Tree was seen as a kind of cosmic axis, onto which the planes of the universe are fixed. The roots of the World Tree stretch down into the underworld, its trunk is the “middle earth” of everyday existence, and its branches reach upwards into the heavenly realm.

So, of course, the North Star around which all stars seemed to revolve was always aligned with the top of the tree—thus the star on top of the modern Christmas tree. These ancients also saw the magic mushroom springing up as “virgin births” seeded by the morning dew, which is symbolized by the tinsel on the tree. Trippy, eh?

Also:

  • In the highly stoned eyes of these shamen, amanita muscara-eating reindeer appeared to, well, fly.
  • Santa wears the red-and-white outfit of the original mushroom gatherers, his ruddy glow is an effect of the ‘shrooms, and like most shamen, used the central smoke hole (chimney) of his animal-skin shelter as an entrance or exit.
  • Oh and those mostly red, bulbous ornaments on the tree? Those symbolize the ‘shrooms red caps, which the ancients used to dry on the trees.

Below is the least campy video I could find that draws a bunch of the connections between Santa and the ‘shroom. Enjoy!
 


 
Thanks to Lexie T. for the heads-up!

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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12.23.2010
12:09 am
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Pat Robertson comes out for pot decriminalization

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Huh ? Rapture must be nigh because I’m pretty sure I’m not hallucinating the uber-horrible right wing Jeezer supremo making total sense on the wisdom of pot decriminaliztion in this clip which was broadcast today.
 

 
Thanks Jason Witherspoon via Cheech & Chong (natch)

Posted by Brad Laner
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12.22.2010
09:26 pm
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Bill Maher’s Christmas message on the religion of greed

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He’s a smug bastard, but he’s our smug bastard.

It’s nice to know that America’s funniest atheist activist is also part of a growing group of celebrities unafraid of the Oprah cult-mafia.

Thanks for the heads-up, Aybee Deepblak!
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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12.21.2010
11:40 pm
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The 12 Days of Winter: A conservative Christian response to ‘the war on Christmas’
12.15.2010
06:58 pm
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“The 12 Days of Winter” as heard on the radio show of Las Vegas-based conservative asshole, Heidi Harris.

Via Joe.My.God

Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.15.2010
06:58 pm
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You show ‘that Obama’ yor true colors with a Christian American CHRIST-mas Tree!

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Lately I’m more inclined than I’ve ever been—am I mellowing with age or have I just been worn down?—to feel zen about the fact that I live in a country where the stupidest people are on the ascent everywhere. It used to bother me, but now I’ve come to realize that there is not a damned thing I can do about it.

I just think it’s better for my health this way.

Full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark planned in Kentucky (USA Today)

Via Christian Nightmares/Jesus Needs New P.R.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.14.2010
06:46 pm
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I’m a god: Baby Preacher with subtitles
12.14.2010
02:40 pm
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‘Nuff said.

(via TDW)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.14.2010
02:40 pm
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Ever wonder where anti-gay activists get their ‘facts’? Wonder no more!

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Repulsive, repugnant and throughly discredited anti-gay “researcher” (and batshit crazy homophobe), “Dr.” Paul Cameron gave an incredibly distasteful, yet almost (I said almost) laughable interview to the Colorado Springs Gazette recently. Cameron—who once spread the lie that a small child had been castrated by a gay man in a public bathroom and who says DADT repeal would lead to gay rapes in the military—said the fact that his antigay organization, The Family Research Institute, was recently classified as a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center was merely a “left-wing” smear.

Here’s what the SPLC report had to say about Cameron and his non-profit, donation-supported “institute” which consists of four employees and is run out of his home in Colorado Springs on a budget of $85,000 per year (Wait a minute, who would send this fool money?):

Started in 1987 by psychologist Paul Cameron, the Family Research Institute (FRI) has become the anti-gay movement’s main source for what Cameron claims is “cutting-edge research” — but is, in fact, completely discredited junk science pushed out by a man who has been condemned by three professional organizations.

Over nearly three decades, Cameron has published “research studies” (though almost never in peer-reviewed journals) that suggest that homosexuals are predatory and diseased perverts who victimize children. Among his more recent defamations was an FRI pamphlet asserting the primary activity of the gay rights movement is “seeking to legitimize child-adult homosexual sex.” In another, he claimed that with “the rise of the gay rights movement, homosexual rape of men appears to have increased.” In yet another, he wrote, “Homosexuals were three times more likely to admit to having made an obscene phone call” and “a third more apt to report a traffic ticket or traffic accident in the past 5 years.”

Some of Cameron’s more infamous claims include the idea that homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals and that homosexuals have extremely short lives. Last February, he wrote on FRI’s website that “If homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military, they will be recruiting in showers, having sex in the barracks… . Before long, the U.S. may be defended by the sex-obsessed and those who can tolerate kowtowing to them.” After all, writes Cameron — a man who proposes that parents promote teen heterosexual activity to keep kids straight — “homosexual sex overwhelms rationality [and] overwhelms the desire to serve.”

Cameron’s colleagues have condemned him repeatedly. In 1983, he was thrown out of the American Psychological Association for ethical violations.  In 1984, the Nebraska Psychological Association disassociated itself from Cameron’s statements about sexuality. In 1985, the American Sociological Association adopted a resolution saying Cameron “has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality” and “repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men”; the following year, the same group formally condemned Cameron for that misrepresentation of research.

Despite all this — and the fact that Cameron’s propaganda is widely known to be false or misleading — many groups have continued to use his claims, though often without citing their source. They include the American Family Association, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries, the Family Research Council and, until recently, the Illinois Family Institute/ (Note: all six were also included in the report)

Yes, that’s right, the VERY SAME assholes you see on Fox News each and every time DADT, hate crime legislation and gay marriage is brought up are quoting this fool’s “research”! People like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Facts? Who cares about the facts when Perkins can just quote a statement from a “think tank” consisting of an old crackpot and a handful of his cronies? A guy who has been ostracized and rebuked by several of the most prestigious professional medical organizations in the country and who publishes his “research” in the official sounding “Psychological Reports,” a journal which will publish pretty much any old thing for the cost of $27.50 per page? Yep, that’s the guy, Paul Cameron. He’s the UR-source for nearly all this stuff when such “fact” and “studies” are cited, even if you’ve never heard of him.

And I’ll say it again, this “research” is what you hear parroted by rightwing Christians on Fox News and talk radio all day long. Paul Cameron is too crazy to be mentioned by name—even anti-gay marriage Christian activists are wary of an association with him—but his ludicrous “research,” as if it were worth anything more than $27.50 per page, has formed the pseudo-science basis of their reality tunnels. If they weren’t hateful assholes, I could feel sorry for them.

Here are a couple of nuggets from the interview:

God’s 11th Commandment is “Thou shalt not corrupt boys,”  Cameron told me. He celebrated the Ugandan anti-gay bill, in which the penalty for gay activity could be death. “Whatever they decide, I’m OK with,” he said. 

Cameron believes homosexuality should be criminalized in America. He proposes heavily taxing single American adults and homosexuals because of their failure to procreate. He would also like to see gays undergo a “public shaming,” though he offered no specifics.

During our 90-minute talk, Cameron expressed his ideas in a calm, professorial manner. He said the SPLC Hate Group list is a “left-wing deal” and he’s unconcerned about the FRI being on it. He said gays “want to shut down Christianity.”

The gay lifestyle, which he says is chosen, will lead to the destruction of the West. “Liberal minds are attracted to societal destructive things like moth to a light,” he told me. “No society can long endure that does such a thing.”

“If God has changed his mind (about homosexuality being an abomination, as written in the Bible), he must want the West to die.”

Cameron has been at this game for thirty years now. Thirty years of his fucking life on earth spent making up shit about gay people because the Bible told him this was a good thing to do! Clearly he’s a lunatic. The older he gets, the crazier he gets.

The next time you hear this kind of nonsense—only slightly watered down—being promoted on or talk radio or television by the likes of Tony Perkins (Note to CNN: STOP inviting this fucking guy on your airwaves, okay?) or oh, I dunno, say, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, remember that the “scientific” root of their belief system (or “BS” as Robert Anton Wilson liked to say) comes from this idiot, “Dr.” Paul Cameron, a man whose ideas deserve contempt and mockery.

The Fabulist: Anti-gay researcher Paul Cameron’s falsehoods are well known. The incredible thing is the people who still cite them (SPLC)

The Holy War on Gays: The Christian Right is on a new mission:  To drive homosexuality back into the closet.  Inside the war rooms of evangelical intolerance (Rolling Stone)

Springs nonprofit leader wants homosexuality criminalized (Colorado Springs Gazette)

Debunked & Disgraced Professional Anti-Gay Paul Cameron: Prop H8 Lawyers “Scared” to Use His Junk “Science” (Lavender Newswire)

Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.10.2010
03:26 pm
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Uncut version of David Wojnarowiscz’s censored video ‘A Fire In My Belly’
12.09.2010
11:22 pm
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Last week David Wojnarowiscz’s video “A Fire In My Belly” was removed from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s exhibit, ‘Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.’ The version pulled from the exhibit was actually just an excerpt from the original 21 minute film. Here’s the uncut version of “A Fire In My Belly” courtesy of the estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York.

Unlike the shorter version, the original video does not contain Diamanda Galas’s vocal track. I find the silent version more haunting.
 

 
Via TB
 
Previously on DM: Smithsonian bows to religious and conservative extremists and pulls AIDS video from exhibit.

Posted by Marc Campbell
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12.09.2010
11:22 pm
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Rush Limbaugh, watch your back: Cute kid with speech impediment, racist talk show wants your job

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Extraordinary: A cute kid with a speech impediment has his own… racist talk show! That’s right, meet ten-year-old Andrew Pendegraft, host of “The Andrew Show,” a presentation of White Pride TV, who also produce a Ku Klux Klan TV show and a show for white teenage girls. I should probably mention that all of these shows are hosted by just one family. Yup, that’s right, Andrew’s mother, Rachel Pendergraft (who produces the shows) is the daughter of Thomas Robb, the Klan’s “national director” (the term “Grand Wizard” has been retired. Too many negative connotations, I suppose!). Father and daughter host the KKK show and Rachel’s daughter (Andrew’s sister) hosts the teen girl racist show. That’s three generations of cracker white trash talent on display here!

Is it wrong to laugh at this? Is it wrong to laugh at a child’s sincere efforts to hone his hosting skills in the hopes that he’ll one day be a marquee star on Fox News? Am I heartless for posting this here for your amusement? Is it even funny in the first place?!?! What the fuck??? I mean, this kid even has his own GREEN SCREEN… and, of course, ADULT PRODUCTION HELP. Christ is this fucked up… but still oddly funny.

But the sad thing is that these videos are going to follow this poor kid around for the rest of his life. His idiot mother might as well have just tattooed a swastika on his forehead for all the help she’s giving him starting out in life.
 

 
After the jump Andrew the racist kid asks “Has Justin Bieber ever kissed a black girl?”

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.04.2010
08:11 pm
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