Americans must account for the natives here when they came and the blacks they dragged over here kicking and screaming there will be no peace until this is settled…not because these groups will demand it, but you set the game up with your rules; law, accounting, finance: the energy in place once these rules have been implemented will demand it in order for their credence to have merit and continue or they will cease to exist of their own accord…there are no vacuums
© 2014, agentleman.
A GENTLEMAN’S VIEW CHALLENGE TO PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT: A Platform for 2016 Presidential election;
If we continue to do things the same way, they most certainly won’t change… Safe and secure don’t work for the warrior activist. Standing on the sidelines watching the bully smack another kid, countless men beat, belittle, humiliate women to no end, or just looking out your window from a 5 story walkup and seeing 6 kids trying to stomp a young cat to death for the fun of it just doesn’t work for some people in life. You don’t get an invite to this way of life, you can’t train for it, you see wrong hurt and automatically step up as life calls upon you from somewhere within your soul and the rough ride stays with you until your last breath feeling that with all you gave it still wasn’t enough to stop the pain and wishing for one more moment to step and say; Hey, What The Fuck Are You Doing, Stop That! You can’t do that to…
This is the National Agenda Of The Progressive Party.
- Economic Justice: Prosperity should be accessible to everyone, not merely the few.
- Civil Rights: Every individual’s civil rights must be protected; discrimination and harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical and developmental ability should be banned.
- Health Care: Every individual should have affordable, quality health care.
- Education: It is essential that we invest in quality public education for all.
- Environment: We must commit to restoring and protecting our environment.
- Reproductive Freedom: Women and men – not politicians – deserve the right to make personal decisions about their reproductive health in accordance with their own personal and moral beliefs.
These are some specifics that address the issues of today’s reality and the stated Progressive agenda:
1. This country pays American taxpaying dollars subsidizing Fortune Five Hundred Companies during the last year to the tune of 63 Billion dollars. My understanding of the whole purpose of being one of elite prestigious companies on this list besides policies that make Wall Street happy is the ability to a) pay all employees a wage good enough to afford one wager earner per family as to allow real child rearing to take place in America and to do this without having United States subsidizing your employees with food stamps, to pay their fair share of corporate taxes if they have enough money to pay obscene bonuses to their CEO’s, to bring jobs home to America instead of utilizing sub standardly supported employees overseas. Meet those requirements and make them the standard then maybe some relief can be considered but during the last ten years of war in which much profit was made, very little was paid to support the patriotic work of our military much less the support the infrastructure updates needed all around this great nation by those companies making ever so much more profit. These savings will be the foundation funding education discussed below in item #8.
2. Immediate shutdown of all corporate subsides for foreign companies and any American Companies or business entities making profit during this support, manufacturing/operating overseas for avoidance of tax responsibilities (i.e. Apple). This should be about being an American citizen first an recognized American Business entity, proudly willing to participate in forwarding the American cause and Ideals. 50% of this savings should directly be put to education in addition to the savings from item #1 and would not be an added tax on any corporation or individuals to fund.This is simple, show profit, pay huge bonuses you don’t need United States government financial tax payer subsidized support for those benefits to the business or individuals. THIS ARGUMENT WILL NO LONGER BE ACCEPTABLE WITH PROGRESS: ‘Removal of subsidies equals tax increase’.
3. Refinance all outstanding mortgages at 3% and forgive related debt underwater and otherwise to include interest and penalties, give all financial institutions impacted an one time charge off without addition subsides for those outstanding balances. The point here is not to reward those who shouldn’t have taken part in the bad mortgage programs, but give a chance to homeowners who can afford to and not punish them as we did not the bankers. Let us be honest; many people will gain advantage from these saving including some responsible for causing this damage in the first place, so be it.
4. Forgive all student debt to include all interest and penalties, Banks were paid to stay in business while all others suffered, so no charge off for this loss period! The idea is to use avenues of revenue in place today and free up personal household debt. Take the government out of the business of profiting from educating its citizens which America should gladly welcome. See item #8.
5. Mandatory solar on all federal buildings by end of first term (2021). This is a no brainer when it comes to directly setting the tone for Uncle Sam’s responsible and representative behavior and policy about climate. The United States government has a mandate as a national security issue to take any action necessary to reduce this governments carbon footprint production, this and the next item starts us in that direction.
6. Electric government motor pool by 2025 for passenger vehicles, seeking full electronic transportation motor pool by 2040. Again making a statement that Uncle Sugar will take a conscience effort to a much smaller carbon footprint with the government’s motor pool and impact on climate.
7. Single payer modification made to the Affordable Care Act, Complete medical coverage for women’s health that allows for full range and control of choices. This would be the right thing to do to a system stolen from the opposition with the mission of giving to the client (health care patient) as little as possible for their money as put together by the Heritage Foundation in opposition to the Hillary Clinton Health Care plan.
8. Free full academic/vocational college education for all naturalized citizens who desire such education; vocational education and/for advancement can stand in its stead 10 year time limit to completion. See #2 for cost for implementing this educational national push.
9. Minimum wage standard at federal of 22 dollars an hour. $10.10 is not a ‘real living wage’ and an insult that doesn’t address family’s ability to have one parent at home, or childcare costs for single parents. If we claim to be about family we need to invest in the reality of what it takes to have and run a family today.
10. Fully subsidize purchases of electric personal passenger automobiles for 10 years . (Vehicles must meet standard of fully electric operational capability and can not be hybrid) This would be like the homes for vets after world war 2, with the intent of moving as many people as desired to convert to green mobility to be able to do so.
All of this he/she could do by executive order, two for each of Her/His first week in office. These executive orders would directly impact the financial status of the middle and lower strata Americans across a broad spectrum of households in a way that would immediately stimulate economic growth and activity for continued expansion by freeing up money that was being paid to continue to be buried under all this debt. Wall street was taken care of without begging Congress to get off their asses and do what they were elected to do and that is legislate instead of the traitorous behavior this country has witnessed to date. This would adjust the playing field for awhile, there is still much work to achieve a level one. This is where I fail to see the boldness of today’s Progressive Movement…
Pick a point, the economy, make a stand, suggest practical solutions, then put people on the spot, arguing with a fool only proves there are two, we have five years of two parties of fools arguing… Any of my followers who can suggest an even stronger platform, I will post their suggestions, I just thought we should at least attempt to care about and take care of the home front first. These suggestions attempts to address the financial difficulties everyone but the people who cause the catastrophe in the first place are experiencing. If we are not doing anything to give back/restore/build some trust with those who been devastated by the impact of this recession then the rest is straight bullshit! These 10 items address actions that can be taken presently and will positively impact many Americans across the spectrum no matter the party and that would be a good thing for America not just for Wall Streets Billionaires…
A Lesson From Ecuador: “Health is a right guaranteed by the state and whose fulfilment is linked to the exercise of other rights, including the right to water, food, education, sport, work, social security, a healthy environment and everything that promotes well-being. The state shall guarantee this right by implementing economic social, cultural, educational and environmental policies. It shall guarantee permanent, timely and non-exclusive access to programmes, actions and services promoting and providing comprehensive healthcare and reproductive health. The provision of healthcare services shall be governed by the principles of equity, universality, solidarity, interculturalism, quality, efficiency, effectiveness, prevention, and bioethics with a fair gender and generational approach.” President of Ecuador statement about the citizens of his country which we could learn from…A Third World Country like that.
© 2013 – 2014, agentleman.
Former Fundamentalist Exposes Christian Right’s Bizarre PR Sham By Edwin Lyngar
Just watching their films shows their vile, heavy-handed tactics.
“Millions of believers will suddenly vanish into thin air,” Willie Robertson, best known for his work on Duck Dynasty, exclaimed recently. He was promoting the new Christian movie ”Left Behind,” where he has an executive producer credit. “It’s a warning to those, if it happened today, would be left behind. And I believe that people are going to make the life-changing decision to follow Christ on the way home from the theater … opening the door to unbelievers has never been this fun.”
I’m sorry to inform Mr. Robertson, but I watched “Left Behind” and spent my entire ride home only contemplating the two hours of my life that I will never get back. The film proves that conservative American Christians have not learned an important childhood lesson: You can’t threaten, vilify or bully someone into liking you. In simpler times, stories of persecution and Christian supremacy were delivered in sermons and badly written books, but a recent batch of films has hit theaters with the net effect of corralling American fundamentalists into an ever-shrinking intellectual ghetto. I watched not only “Left Behind,” but also a sampling of some other recent Christian films in an attempt to understand what messages they convey to this ever-more-insular community.
By way of background, I have lived both irrational religion and right-wing politics. To “find myself” and salvage a crumbling marriage, I converted to fundamentalist Christianity in my early twenties. Both my religion and marriage ended up failing, but I remained supportive of right-wing social politics for several years after, because “religious values” were part of my political identity. I opposed gay marriage long after I left the church (I am very, very sorry), even though without religious motives there is no logic behind such discrimination. As years passed, I grew uncomfortable with the theocratic right and became a libertarian, but even that wasn’t far enough from the religious right for me. Today it is impossible to separate religion from right-wing politics, creating a community rooted in dueling fantasies of persecution and righteousness with a pasty, white Jesus at the helm. Christianity expressed in culture and in religious movies has nothing to do with faith, decency or alleviating suffering. It’s a bizarre American offshoot best expressed by second-amendment Jesus and cutting food stamps for hungry children.
You can’t judge Christian films like other movies. Any casual examination shows them to be conventionally terrible without exception. But they are not meant to be good, but rather they are designed to deliver pointed messages, spurring audiences to promote and support established political and religious powers. They are vehicles that carry naked threats for people who believe differently and are threatening reminders to keep believers in line. For those opposed to reactionary religion and coercion, it’s important to examine these films to understand the stories this slice of America is telling itself and foisting on the rest of us.
“Left Behind” is the most ambitious and mainstream of recent Christian film offerings. The plot is simple: All “good Christians” and young children (but not teens) are whisked up to Heaven, leaving the vast majority of the planet to riot, panic and self destruct. The movie focuses on a small group of people on an airplane, led by a pilot played by “A-list actor Nicolas Cage” (feel free to substitute your own characterization here). Cage must pilot and land the plane through a series of unrealistic complications, while simultaneously grappling with religious skepticism. There is a subplot with his daughter but the implausible plane ride is the scaffolding of the film.
Like so much of white America, the film comically fumbles with American diversity. There is an African American woman, a journalist, a junkie, a little person and a devout Muslim. It’s a juvenile and clumsy attempt to reflect real America that only serves to highlight the insular, monochromatic and artificial makeup of conservative America.
The mechanics of the movie work as an apocalyptic suspense film, a well worn Hollywood trope. Stories about disasters, plagues or environmental calamity will always be popular, but the difference between “Left Behind” and other disaster films is that no one (of right mind) craves the end of the world through asteroid or zombie attack, while many Christian film goers honestly crave the end of the world. They are waiting, predicting and reading signs, because they think themselves immune to the suffering that they fervently believe awaits their fellow humans. Christians make up 2.5 billion out of a total of just over 7 billion of the earth’s population at this moment (estimates vary). This emphasis on mass punishment of non-Christians makes “Left Behind” nothing more than a planetary-sized snuff film.
The most offensive part of the show by far is the Muslim who is “left behind” despite his faith and love for god. The character is the kind of moderate Muslim that even American Christians could accept. He has all the right traits to join the rapture, but he must pay for the unforgivable crime of being born into the wrong culture. I can give “Left Behind” a pass for condemning heathens like me, but the treatment of this otherwise religious and devout character exposes the fundamental, uncompromising and fatal flaw of extreme sectarian religion.
The golden age of Christian film began (arguably) with the global success of “The Passion of the Christ” made by notable anti-semite and widely acknowledged lunatic, Mel Gibson. The message of this granddaddy of religious films is of course that “Jews killed Christ.” The message behind the film is offensive enough, but it spawned imitators that are still racing to find their lowest point.
In “God’s Not Dead” released in March, the core message is that education is both evil and dangerous and that all answers are contained in the Bible. This is a common theme for fundamentalists, one that does a great deal to keep people uninformed and afraid. I found God’s Not Dead to be the most unbelievable, two-dimensional and downright offensive of all the films I reviewed, descending to the level of self-parody by the second act.
Many of the films I reviewed shared troubling traits. Liberals are comically stereotyped as vegetarians or “god-hating” college professors. Serious journalism is suspect, and secular people are all outlandish cardboard cutouts, less human than disembodied twirling mustaches of absolute evil. When religionists reduce critics to banal caricature in order to defeat them on film, it betrays a lack of confidence in their own arguments.
Every single film I reviewed features some variation of the Christian persecution complex. No serious person can argue Christians are really persecuted in America. It is anti-factual. Every president has been a Christian as is 95% of congress. Religious denominations pay no taxes and are over-exalted (I argue) in our society. There are religious wars waged across the globe, no question, but Christians sit atop of the pig pile in America. The “war on Christianity narrative” is a wholesale fabrication that injects religious strife into a country founded on actual religious freedom.
The danger with this recurring and false persecution narrative is that it takes away from the real suffering of actual people. An excellent (but depressing) essay by Alex Morris in Rolling Stone details the suffering of homeless gay youths who, because of their sexuality, are shunned and cast out of religious families. Morris quotes:
“People ask me all the time if I hate my parents for everything they’ve put me through, but I really don’t. If anything, I just feel sad for them because I’m sure it hurts so bad to have chosen their religious values over their child.” – Jackie
Discarding your children over sexuality is what persecution really looks like. I have never heard a case of a liberal family throwing a born-again Christian teenager into the street.
It is important to note that not all Christians believe the warped ideology or hostility expressed in Christian moviemaking. My father-in-law, David Ashton, is a retired professor of religion and a current Christian pastor. He often calls me out when I try to lump all Christians together.
“We don’t believe that billions of people are going to be tortured in hell,” David told me recently. His is a mature faith, based on reason, self examination and even doubt. He seems as exasperated with the religious right as I am. For me they are a never-ending source of essay fodder but for my father in law, they have hijacked and twisted his deepest beliefs. Religion and non-religion can only live together if we acknowledge each other’s fundamental humanity and right to exist. Even though I’m an atheist, I can see a place in society for faith communities built on kindness and mutual understanding. This kind of community is not the face of American Christianity nor do you ever see this message in any Christian film.
The people who create and consume Christian film are neither mature nor reflective. They are at their core superstitious, afraid and tribal. They self-identify overwhelmingly Republican and shout about “moochers” while vilifying the poor. They violate the teachings and very essence of their own “savior” while deriving almost sexual pleasure from the fictional suffering of atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans, Hindus, and even liberal Christians. To top it all off, the stories they tell themselves are borderline psychotic.
The fundamentalist community will continue to shrink until they start telling themselves—and those they hope to win over—more honest and humane stories. The Pew Forum on Religious Identification shows fundamentalism profoundly losing ground with the next generation. Christian film with its cardboard characters and heavy-handed messages will only drive an increasingly diverse and media-savvy populace away. Failing a profound change of heart, the best this community can hope for are films so bad no one will bother to watch them.
© 2014, agentleman.
Do Democrats Want to Fix Inequality? Or Just Complain About It? By Alexis Goldstein
Before the midterms, progressives need to focus on dramatic solutions for young and minority voters – before it’s too late.
On Friday, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen warned that “income and wealth inequality are near their highest levels in the past hundred years”. On Saturday, Senator Elizabeth Warren called for federal student loan refinancing, and declared: “The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it.” On Sunday, along with a secret memo that threatened “crushing” defeats, there was the headline on the front page of the New York Times: “Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate”.
Inequality: it’s all anybody can talk about … except Democrats on the campaign trail who, with two weeks before Election Day, desperately need to turn out the very people so disproportionately affected by it – young and minority voters.
Sure, the teacher-backed Super-Pacs are hitting Republicans fromArkansas and North Carolina to Hawaii and back again for wanting to“shut down” public education. Yes, ignoring affordable housing is the stuffattack ads are made of.
But housing and education are issues of inequality that have solutions, not just stump-speech lines or YouTube-ready complaints. And if Democrats have any hope left in the midterms, they cannot be this shamefully muted on bold progressive policies that could dramatically improve the lives of voters who just happen to hold the keys to a majority of the United States Senate.
Barack Obama’s neglect on foreclosure has been well-documented. The housing crisis turned countless former homeowners into renters and, now, into would-be voters in dire straits. More than four in 10 of very low-income US households have no access to subsidized housing, and are instead paying more than 50% of their income in rent, living in horrific conditions or both. We have about as much public housing today as we did in the mid-1970s, losing 10,000 units per year, even though the US population is now 47% bigger.
An easy fix would be to simply expand the stock of affordable housing, especially units available to low- and moderate-income households. And believe it or not, the Obama administration has the unilateral authority to do so, without Congress. The National Housing Trust Fund, a program created during the second Bush administration, was never actually funded. But the National Low Income Housing Coalition believes we couldend homelessness in America in 10 years if it was funded now. So what are Democrats so afraid of?
Money for the fund is supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but their regulator – the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) – has been preventing the cash from flowing. Now Fannie and Freddie are profitable, and putting all of those profits towards deficit reduction, instead of setting aside a small portion for people who need somewhere to live.
If Democrats were serious about giving minority voters a reason to turn out in November, they would push Obama to work with the new head of the FHFA to fund affordable housing, or talk about affordable housing solutions at all. Republicans who’d inevitably oppose such a move arealready planning to vote against them anyway, but minority voters who would stand the greatest benefit from these solutions apparently aren’t hearing the message.
And if liberal candidates are so afraid to align themselves with Obama, why not speak out against one of his biggest failures?
Like the housing crisis, which decimated minority wealth, the failure to tackle spiraling student debt is another blight on Obama’s already terrible economic legacy. Over 7m student loan borrowers are now in default. Over a lifetime, 17.5% of an individual’s wealth is lost to college loans. And it’s worse for black students, who leave college with an average of $28,000 in student loan debt, $4,000 more than the average graduate.
While education is billed by everyone from Yellen to Obama as a salve to economic inequality, their proposed solutions address only the margins of the problem, and still hinge on students owing more debt to Wall Street. Even Warren merely calls for lower interest rates, rather than something that would address the crushing need to take on debt in the first place. Indeed, if we want to truly address inequality in education and student debt, we need to make public higher education … free.
Free school may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s far more achievable than it sounds. The group Strike Debt has estimated that free public higher education would cost $61.8bn a year. But if you cut current education subsidies, including eliminating the $8.4bn in Pell Grants and GI bill money that for-profit schools receive, that number drops down to only $15bn a year.
Warren – the most progressive senator in America the most unequal nation on Earth – stumped for Democrats in tight races in Iowa and Colorado and Minnesota, pushing her debt refinancing plan and “a giant pipeline of ideas”. The crowds roared. Now imagine how they’d respond to tuition-free college, to a home they could actually afford. Imagine that instead of an attack ad. Imagine how they’d vote.
“The fight comes to you,” Elizabeth Warren told the swing voters. Democrats are fighting, alright. Now they just can’t forget who and what they’re fighting for.
© 2014, agentleman.
Here Are 5 Takeaways From The Harper’s Anti-Clinton Story
By Sam Levine
In the November issue of Harper’s magazine, Doug Henwood argues that Hillary Clinton, if elected president, would do little to assuage liberals’ disappointment in President Barack Obama. This is how Henwood sums up the case for Hillary’s candidacy in 2016: “She has experience, she’s a woman, and it’s her turn.” But, he says, “it’s hard to find any political substance in her favor.”
Tracing Clinton’s life from her upbringing to her time at the State Department, Henwood portrays her as a pragmatic politician motivated more by ambition than by principle. Here are five key takeaways from Henwood’s piece:
1. Hillary Clinton didn’t do much during her time in the U.S. Senate.
Relying on records collected by former Clinton adviser Dick Morris, Henwood argues that the legislation Clinton passed during her first five years in the Senate had little substance. The vast majority of bills, according to Henwood, were purely symbolic or would have passed without Clinton’s support. Clinton did work to extend unemployment benefits for 9/11 responders, but Haywood cites Steven Brill’s book, The Rebuilding and Defending of America in the September 12 Era, to make the case that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was actually responsible for pushing the legislation through.
Even though she didn’t have much of a legislative impact in the Senate, Clinton did spend a lot of time befriending Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who could potentially support her in a presidential campaign, Henwood says.
Clinton’s most substantial legislative accomplishment, Henwood says, is her support for the Iraq War. The rest of her accomplishments in the Senate “were the legislative equivalent of being against breast cancer.”
2. Hillary Clinton is a hawk.
In addition to her support for the Iraq War, Henwood notes, Clinton also linked Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Such an accusation “was closer to the Bush line than even many pro-war Democrats were willing to go,” he writes.
The article goes on to say that during her time at the State Department, Clinton had a “macho eagerness” to call in the U.S. cavalry in foreign affairs. Quoting Time writer Michael Crowley, Henwood writes that, “On at least three crucial issues — Afghanistan, Libya, and the bin Laden raid — Clinton took a more aggressive line than [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates, a Bush-appointed Republican.”
3. Hillary Clinton is ambitious.
Shortly after Bill Clinton graduated Yale Law School, Hillary was already telling colleagues that he was going to be president. Henwood also says Clinton’s private slogan for her and her husband was “eight years of Bill, eight years of Hill.”
4. Hillary Clinton is not idealistic.
At Wellesley College, Clinton wrote her senior thesis on Saul Alinsky’s community organizing tactics, but later found them to be “too idealistic and simplistic,” according to Bill Clinton’s biographer David Maraniss. In her thesis, Clinton doubted the effectiveness of welfare programs, writing that they “neither redeveloped poverty areas nor even catalyzed the poor into helping themselves.” When Clinton turned down a job offer from Alinsky after college, Alinsky reportedly told her that she wouldn’t change the world by going to law school. Clinton told him that she disagreed.
5. Hillary Clinton has no problem representing the rich.
When she worked for the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, she represented business owners who were upset over a ballot measure in Little Rock pushed by community organizers that would have raised electricity rates on businesses and lowered them on residents. Clinton played a crucial part in developing the legal argument that the higher electricity rates would be an “unconstitutional taking of property,” Henwood says, noting that similar arguments are now frequently used against regulation.
© 2014, agentleman.
Catholic Bishops Scrap Welcome To Gays
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Catholic bishops scrapped their landmark welcome to gays Saturday, showing deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Pope Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to Catholic families.
The bishops failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to homosexuals that stripped away the welcoming tone of acceptance contained in a draft document earlier in the week.
Rather than considering gays as individuals who had gifts to offer the church, the revised paragraph referred to homosexuality as one of the problems Catholic families have to confront. It said “people with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy,” but repeated church teaching that marriage is only between man and woman. The paragraph failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
Two other paragraphs concerning the other hot-button issue at the synod of bishops – whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion – also failed to pass.
The outcome showed a deeply divided church on some of the most pressing issues facing Catholic families.
It appeared that the 118-62 vote on the gay section might have been a protest vote by progressive bishops who refused to back the watered-down wording. The original draft had said gays had gifts to offer the church and that their partnerships, while morally problematic, provided gay couples with “precious” support.
New Ways Ministry, a Catholic gay rights group, said it was “very disappointing” that the final report had backtracked from the welcoming words contained in the draft. Nevertheless, it said the synod’s process “and openness to discussion provides hope for further development down the road, particularly at next year’s synod, where the makeup of the participants will be larger and more diverse, including many more pastorally-oriented bishops.”
The draft had been written by a Francis appointee, Monsignor Bruno Forte, a theologian known for pushing the pastoral envelope on ministering to people in “irregular” unions. The draft was supposed to have been a synopsis of the bishops’ interventions, but many conservatives complained that it reflected a minority and overly progressive view.
Francis insisted in the name of transparency that the full document – including the paragraphs that failed to pass – be published along with the voting tally. The document will serve as the basis for future debate leading up to another meeting of bishops next October that will produce a final report to be sent to Francis.
“Personally I would have been very worried and saddened if there hadn’t been these … animated discussions … or if everyone had been in agreement or silent in a false and acquiescent peace,” Francis told the synod hall after the vote.
Conservatives had harshly criticized the draft and proposed extensive revisions to restate church doctrine, which holds that gay sex is “intrinsically disordered,” but that gays themselves are to be respected, and that marriage is only between a man and woman.
“We could see that there were different viewpoints,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracis of India, when asked about the most contentious sections of the report on homosexuals and divorced and remarried Catholics.
German Cardinal Walter Kasper, the leader of the progressive camp, said he was “realistic” about the outcome.
In an unexpected gesture after the voting, Francis approached a group of journalists waiting outside the synod hall to thank them for their work covering the synod.
“Thanks to you and your colleagues for the work you have done,” he said. “Grazie tante.” Conservative bishops had harshly criticized journalists for reporting on the dramatic shift in tone in the draft, even though the media reports merely reflected the document’s content.
Francis’ gesture, and his words inside the synod hall chastising bishops who were overly wed to doctrine and were guided by “hostile rigidity,” as well as those bishops who showed a “destructive goody-goodiness,” indicated that he was well aware of the divisions the debate had sparked. His speech received a four-minute standing ovation, participants said.
Over the past week, the bishops split themselves up into working groups to draft amendments to the text. They were nearly unanimous in insisting that church doctrine on family life be more fully asserted and that faithful Catholic families should be held up as models and encouraged rather than focus on family problems and “irregular” unions.
The bishops signaled a similar tone in a separate message directed at Christian families released Saturday. There was no mention whatsoever of families with gay children, much less gay parents, and it spoke of the “complex and problematic” issues that arise when marriages fail and new relationships begin.
“Christ wanted his church to be a house with the door always open to welcome everyone, without excluding anyone,” the message read. (Oddly, the English translation was less welcoming than the official Italian, ending the sentence after `everyone.’)
Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of South Africa, who helped draft the revised final report, told Vatican Radio the final document showed a “common vision” that was lacking in the draft.
He said the key areas for concern were “presenting homosexual unions as if they were a very positive thing” and the suggestion that divorced and remarried Catholics should be able to receive Communion without an annulment.
He complained that the draft was presented as the opinion of the whole synod, when it was “one or two people.”
“And that made people very angry,” he said.
Annalisa Camilli contributed to this report.
© 2014, agentleman.
6 Idiotic Right-Wing Statements This Week: O’Reilly Goes Off the Deep End Edition
Even his fellow Fox Newsians can’t take the stupidity anymore.
1. Fox’s Eric Bolling demonstrates that if ever there was a “boob on the ground” he is it.
President Obama saluted the troops with a latte in his right hand this week, thus launching a flurry of some of the most inane commentary about patriotism the world has yet witnessed. A round of golf and a tan suit have nothing on latte. On Fox, it was all-latte-all-the-time, they were so hopped up on the stuff. This incredibly minor incident is all the right-wing needs to prove that the president has “no respect for the men and women in uniform.” And Fox’s Eric Bolling, co-host of “The Five,” is just the man to set the president right on that. But first, he just has to tell everybody this really funny line he thought of about the first female fighter pilot for the UAE, who is helping drop bombs on ISIS targets. “Would that be called ‘boobs on the ground?’” Bolling quipped Oh, good one, Eric. Hahahahahaha.
Even his co-hosts, and other Fox Newsians, like Greta van Susteren, collectively groaned. They wanted to know, Eric, how are we going to score points against Obama disrespecting the military when you make jokes like that?
Later, after his wife apparently gave him a dirty look when he arrived home that night, Bolling apologized on the air twice. So you know how heartfelt it must have been. Wifey’s reaction is likely the only reason he apologized. It is also likely that he has many other boob jokes ready to go, because he just loves using that word.
2. All of Bill O’Reilly’s Fox co-workers say his plan for a huge mercenary “strike force” to fight Islamic extremists is beyond absurd.
Bill O’Reilly was so pleased with himself this week. He had come up with a solution to the problem of violent Islamic jihadist extremists, and it was brilliant. All we need is a 25,000-person, well-paid, mercenary “world-wide strike force,” he told viewers. “You wouldn’t believe how many military people who have called me and gone, ‘that’s a great idea.’
He was right. No one believed him.
Charles Krauthammer said: “You’ve gone from out of the box to off the wall. Do you really want to be running around the world responsible for a band of desperadoes?”
A guest military expert said: “It’s a terrible idea. We’re not going to solve this problem by creating a band of Marvel’s Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy.”
It seems that no one is taking O’Reilly seriously any more.
Back to the drawing board, Bill. Time for another cartoonish plan.
3. Sarah Palin no longer seems to recognize or care that her words make absolutely no sense.
“Don’t retreat: You reload with truth, which I know is an endangered species at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue. Anyway, truth,” Sarah Palin told the crowd at the intellectually scintillating Value Voter Summit this week.
Of course, 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue is the famous address of, uhh, the plaza in front of the Willard Hotel? But you get her drift, don’tcha?
Another excerpt: “Bush’s war was bad, but Barack’s bombs, oh baby those red lines, the strategery [sic] there that was thought up on the back nine, Barack’s bombs, oh they’re the bomb.” Palin seems to have reached the point where she mimics speech by stringing random thoughts and right-wing memes together, and it sounds to her like language. How she got this way is unclear. Too many family brawls, a blow on the head during a moose-hunting expedition, too much Fox News, having been given a national platform before her brain was fully formed? Those are some of the theories kicking around. The audience looked a bit bewildered, so she topped it all off with her version of the now infamous latte salute.
Everyone laughed and laughed. At last a recognizable joke.
And yes, that’s right. She used the word “strategery.”
4. Michele Bachmann: Declare war on Islam; bet no one’s ever tried that before, and it worked out great.
Palin was not the only looney tunes speaker at the Values Voter Summit. Her pal Michele Bachmann managed to take our breath away with her stunningly ignorant, bigoted speech suggesting we “declare war” on Islam. In his speech to the nation, President Obama had the audacity to say that the airstrike war he was launching against ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. That is just not acceptable to xenophobes and Islamophobes like Bachmann, who is just dandy with the idea of a modern-da crusade. Perhaps someone should gently inform her that this is precisely the narrative ISIS would like to disseminate.
“Yes, Mr. President, it is about Islam!” Bachmann bellowed to the conservative crowd. “And I believe if you have an evil of an order of this magnitude, you take it seriously. You declare war on it, you don’t dance around it. Just like the Islamic State has declared war on the United States of America.”
She then said Obama should be more Reagan-like, and that he should practice “Peace through strength,” as Reagan did with the Soviet Union under Gorbachev. Confusing, because we could have sworn that peace is precisely the opposite of what she had just suggested.
Neither historical accuracy, nor logical consistency shall dim her wild-eyed passion.
5. Laura Ingraham says fighting ebola is all about redistributing wealth. (Yes, she said that.)
Laura Ingraham perseveres in her role as one of the wickedest witches on the right-wing fringe. Her preferred target of unaccompanied minors and illegal immigrants of all ages has now become intertwined with her hysteria and meanspiritedness about ebola. She just resents the hell out of the fact that American troops are being deployed to help fight the worst ebola outbreak in history. Can’t we just lock the doors, close the gates, put a pillow over our heads and wait for it to kill off a bunch of Africans? she wonders.
The above is not much of an exaggeration of Ingraham’s actual words on her radio show this week, which were:
“If we are really serious about ebola being a threat to the United States of America, we have to shut down our border because you never know who could come across–probably not people with ebola, but who knows. We gotta be much tougher on who we allow to come into this country legally on planes….”
Of course, this is all Obama’s fault. He’s the one who sent our troops to help fight the outbreak, which just makes her hopping mad, in both senses of the word. Also, up to this point, she’s acutally been holding back from being as deeply offensive as she really wants to be. But like the ebola virus, her virulence is hard to restrain. (Warning: protective clothing recommended for the following.)
“The military is just another tool in his arsenal to level the playing field, right?” Ingraham argued. “I mean, in other words, Africa really deserves more of America’s money because we’re people of privilege. We’re people of great privilege, so we should do what we can, we the American taxpayers, to transfer wealth over to Africa. It’s his father’s rage against colonialism, as Dinesh D’Souza wrote about, and maybe this is a way to continue to atone for that… If a few American military personnel have to be exposed to the ebola virus to carry out this redistribution of the privileged’s wealth, then so be it.”
Again, nobody beats Ingraham, not even relatively tepid and tame Ann Coulter, for sheer green venom issuing from her mouth.
6. MIT frat president Bill Frezza gets all mixed up about the purpose of “drunk female guests” at frat parties.
A number of things seem screwy about the op-ed from the president of the Beta Foundation, a person you’ve likely never heard of until now, named Bill Frezza. In a column published briefly in Forbes this week, the MIT genius alum argued that “drunk female guests are the gravest threat to fraternities.” Wait, has ISIS heard about this grave threat to our way of life?
And also, where is he getting this notion? Drunk female guests are essential at fraternity parties. Who else are you going to have sex with when they pass out?
The trouble is that drunk female guests lie, Frezza believes, and not in a good way, which would be to lie still.
This human mix of lint and phlegm really argued this, which can only mean that he really thinks it, which does elevate his woman-hatred to the level of Rush, “No means yes if you know how to spot it” Limbaugh.
Like Limbaugh, Frezza knows full well that the feminazis will unfairly attack him for, well, blaming women for everything including being raped.
“Before feminist web vigilantes call for my defenestration, I single out female guests for one simple reason,” he wrote. “Fraternity alumni boards, working with chapter officers, employ a variety of policies designed to guide and police member behavior. Our own risk management manual exceeds 22 pages.”
Wow, 22 whole pages! That’s tough, we had no idea MIT students had to do all that reading.
“But we have very little control over women who walk in the door carrying enough pre-gaming booze in their bellies to render them unconscious before the night is through.”
Fear not, Frezza has a plan to deal with the Greek life-threatening enemy: “Identify drunks at the door.” Bar the door. Keep them out. Drunk women, that is. Because fraternity brothers never get drunk.
He said all this and more. And Forbes published it. Then they took it down and fired him, because apparently, they had to be told that this screed was utterly offensive.
© 2014, agentleman.
8 Heartbreaking Cases Where Land Was Stolen From Black Americans Through Racism, Violence and Murder
In his 2007 documentary Banished, filmmaker Marco Williams examined four examples of primarily white communities violently rising up to force their African-American neighbors to flee town. This became one of the techniques used to sabotage Black land ownership, a devastating trend in the 19th and 20th centuries that robbed Blacks of millions in generational wealth.
In 2001, results from an 18-month investigation of Black land loss in America were published by The Associated Press. It turned up 107 of these land takings, 57 of which were violent, the other cases involved trickery and legal manipulations. Here are eight of these heartbreaking stories.
Today, the town of Birmingham, Kentucky, lies under a floodway created in the 1940s. But at the start of the 20th century, it was a thriving tobacco town with a predominantly Black population. It also was a battleground during a five-year siege by white marauders called Night Riders. On the night of March 8, 1908, about 100 armed whites on horseback raided the Black part of the town, shooting seven people, three of them fatally. The AP documented 14 cases where Black landowners were driven from Birmingham. Together, they lost more than 60 acres of farmland and 21 city lots to whites – many at sheriff’s sales, all for extremely low prices.
In Pierce City, Missouri, 1,000 armed whites burned down five Black-owned houses and killed four blacks on Aug. 18, 1901. Within four days, all of the town’s 129 African-Americans fled, never to return, according to a contemporary report in The Lawrence Chieftain newspaper. The AP documented the cases of nine Pierce City Blacks who lost a total of 30 acres of farmland and 10 city lots. Whites bought it all at bargain prices.
A total of 330 acres plus 48 city lots owned by 18 Black families living in Ocoee, Florida, were lost after a violent Election Day attack on the Black community in 1920, known as the Ocoee Massacre. Some were able to sell their land at a fair price, but most were not. In 2001, the land lost by the 18 Ocoee families, not including buildings now on it, is assessed by tax officials at more than $4.2 million, according to the AP report. The true market value is probably a lot more.
After midnight on Oct. 4, 1908, 50 hooded white men surrounded the home of a Black farmer in Hickman, Kentucky, named David Walker. The mob burned his house down after Walker shot at them and refused their orders to come out, according to contemporary newspaper accounts. Walker ran out of the burning house with four young children and his wife, who was carrying a baby in her arms. The mob shot them all, wounding three children and killing the others. Walker’s oldest son died in the flames. No one was ever charged with the killings, and the surviving children were denied access to the land their father died defending. Land records show that Walker’s 2 1/2-acre farm was added to the property of their white neighbor. The neighbor soon sold it to another man, whose daughter owns the undeveloped land today.
According to county residents, during the 1950s and 1960s, Holmes County, Mississippi, Chevy dealer, Norman Weathersby, then the only dealer in the area, required Black farmers to put up their land as security for small loans for farm equipment and pickup trucks. Weathersby’s accomplice, William E. Strider, ran the local Farmers Home Administration – the credit lifeline for many Southern farmers. Area residents told the AP that Strider, now dead, often delayed releasing the operating loans to Blacks. When cash-poor farmers missed payments owed to Weathersby, he took their land. The AP documented eight cases in which Weathersby acquired Black-owned farms this way. He died in 1973, leaving more than 700 acres of this land to his family, according to estate papers, deeds and court records retrieved by the AP.
In 1964, the state of Alabama sued Lemon Williams and Lawrence Hudson, claiming the cousins did not rightfully own two 40-acre farms their family had worked in Sweet Water, Alabama, for nearly a century. The land, officials contended, belonged to the state. Circuit Judge Emmett F. Hildreth urged the state to drop its suit, declaring it would result in ”a severe injustice.” But when the state refused, saying it wanted income from timber on the land, the judge ruled in favor of the state. The state’s internal memos and letters on the case are peppered with references to the family’s race. In the same courthouse where the case was heard, the AP located deeds and tax records documenting that the family had owned the land since an ancestor bought the property on Jan. 3, 1874. Surviving records also show the family paid property taxes on the farms from the mid-1950s until the land was taken.
White farmers known as White Caps, angered by the prosperity experienced by successful Black farmers, often used violence and intimidation to force African-Americans off their land. The Brookhaven Leader newspaper reported at the time that Eli Hilson of Lincoln County, Mississippi, got a warning on Nov. 18, 1903, when White Caps shot up his house just hours after his new baby was born. Hilson ignored the warning. A month later, the 39-year-old farmer was shot in the head as he drove his buggy toward his farm, the newspaper said. The horse trotted home, delivering Hilson body to his wife, Hannah. She struggled unsuccessfully without her husband to raise their 11 children and work the 74-acre farm, losing the property through a mortgage foreclosure in 1905. According to land records, the farm went for $439 to S.P. Oliver, a member of the county board of supervisors. Today, the property is assessed at $61,642.
In Jasper County, Mississippi, according to historical accounts, the Ku Klux Klan, resentful that African-Americans were buying and profiting from land, regularly attacked Black-owned farms, burned houses, lynched Black farmers and chased Black landowners away. On the night of Sept. 10, 1932, 15 whites torched the courthouse in Paulding, where property records for the eastern half of Jasper County, then predominantly Black, were stored. Records for the predominantly white western half of the county were safe in another courthouse miles away. The door to the Paulding courthouse safe, which protected the records, usually locked, was found open with most of the records reduced to ashes. Suddenly, it conveniently became unclear who owned a big piece of eastern Jasper County. In December 1937, the Masonite Corp., a wood products company and one of the largest landowners in the area, was granted a clear title for 9,581 acres of land, which has since yielded millions of dollars in natural gas, timber and oil, according to state records. From the few property records that remain, the AP was able to document that at least 204.5 of those acres were acquired by Masonite after Black owners were driven off by the KKK. At least 850,000 barrels of oil have been pumped from this property, according to state oil and gas board records and figures from the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council, an industry group. Today, the land is owned by International Paper Corp., which acquired Masonite in 1988.
© 2014, agentleman.