Anti-Gay Activists Are Running Out Of Places To Shop, Pundit Argues

 | Huffington Post | November 26, 2015

Black Friday is almost upon us, but one right-wing pundit isn’t feeling the holiday spirit this year.

In a Nov. 24 article for WNDMission: America‘s Linda Harvey, whose opposition to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is well-established, argued that the number of “family-friendly, Christian-affirming” shops and restaurants she’ll allow herself to frequent during the holiday shopping season is “growing shorter all the time.”

She didn’t mince words when it came to Target, General Mills, Mattel and JCPenney, which she deemed “reliable supporters of sexual depravity” for their recent pro-LGBT efforts. In Harvey’s view, online retailers aren’t much better: Amazon, Google and Facebook should be avoided for their support of the LGBT community, too.

“No one is born homosexual; the Bible is clear about this sin, and God hasn’t changed His mind. Think about the grave harm homosexuality is doing to American culture, to our schools, to our freedoms, to our churches,” she wrote. “Let’s do what we can to honor the standards of Christ during the celebration of His birthday.”

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Provocateurs and Political Opportunists in the Age of Terrorism


Glendon Scott Crawford had an idea about how to deal with Muslims in America; build a weapon that would irradiate as many of them as possible. Pamela Geller is a professional anti-Muslim provocateur who in the spring, held a cartoon competition in Garland, Texas, to award the best cartoon mocking the Prophet Muhammad. While most conservatives aren’t talking in “final solution” terms, and are not looking to intentionally provoke violence, the mindlessness of the marginalized is seeping into the mainstream. Ideas once thought of as unsuitable for serious discussion, anti-democratic and decidedly un-American are starting to take hold with the Republican Party.

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Months ago, Donald Trump kicked off his campaign with slanderous comments about Mexican immigrants. Those comments played well with the base, and they became standard fare at his campaign events. However, since the horrific Paris murders, Trump has seized upon new actionable targets; Muslim Americans and Muslim refugees. Now, Trump is voicing support for shuttering mosques, creating a database for monitoring all Muslims, and re-instituting waterboarding. Ben Carson has declared no Muslim is worthy of being in his cabinet, let alone being elected president. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush have advocated accepting only Christian refugees from Syria. And, just about every Republican Party presidential candidate, more than 30 governors (the vast majority from the GOP), and key sectors of the religious right are espousing their versions of keep the Syrian refugees out of the United States.

Ideas that were thought of as fringe, anti-American and anti-democratic are leading today’s political debate within the Republican Party and, they seem to be gaining traction within the body politic.

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The Facts About Terrorism

A woman walks past soldiers at a checkpoint in Gwoza, Nigeria, in April, 2015, shortly after the town was liberated from Boko Haram. (photo: Lekan Oyekanmi/AP)
A woman walks past soldiers at a checkpoint in Gwoza, Nigeria, in April, 2015, shortly after the town was liberated from Boko Haram. (photo: Lekan Oyekanmi/AP)


John Cassidy | The New Yorker | Reader Supported News | November 25, 2015

n Monday, I posted a long piece about how we perceive acts of terrorism in the age of social media. Today, prompted by the publication of a new report by the London-based Institute for Economics and Peace (and by a post on the report by Richard Florida), I’d like to focus on the facts about global terrorism.

If you have a sense that the problem is growing, you’re right. Last year, the number of people killed by terrorist attacks rose by about eighty per cent, reaching an all-time high of close to thirty-three thousand. Since 2000, the annual death toll from terrorism has increased ninefold. Not only that, but terrorist attacks are becoming more focussed on civilians and less focussed on military, political, and religious targets. Thanks largely to the deadly activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham and of Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group based in northeastern Nigeria, the number of civilians killed in terrorist attacks jumped a hundred and seventy-two per cent in 2014, to more than fifteen thousand.

Relative to other causes of premature death, terrorism is still a minor phenomenon. For every person killed in a terrorist attack, roughly forty people die in traffic accidents and roughly eighty die of alcoholism. Still, violent attacks on civilians have great salience, psychologically, and, according to the I.E.P. report, they are getting more common, especially in non-Western parts of the world. In 2014, five countries—Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Syria—accounted for almost eighty per cent of the deaths caused by terrorists. Twelve years after the U.S. invasion, Iraq remains at the top of list, with close to ten thousand lives lost. Nigeria was the second most affected country, with more than seven thousand five hundred deaths.

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What the Hell Is Going on With Ben Carson?

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaking at a luncheon at the National Press Club. (photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaking at a luncheon at the National Press Club. (photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)


Jeb Lund | Rolling Stone | Reader Supported News | November 25, 2015

Carson has kept his hand at the controls of the sort of brute animal hatred driving the Republican primary


hen you meet new people and tell them your job, there’s always one response you know you’ll eventually get. Doctors wait for a shoe to drop and someone to say, “Can you tell me what this thing on my foot is?” Lawyers expect people to try to weasel free legal advice. Journalists get lectures about issues people think are covered incorrectly. So it was weird to find myself at a wedding two weeks ago and instead have almost everyone ask me a question: “Is Ben Carson out of his goddamn mind?”

For once, the correct answer might come from actor Troy McClure: He’s not crazy, just ignorant!

After all, Thursday Carson denied that longtime friend Armstrong Williams has anything to do with his campaign, despite the fact that Williams is his business manager and has spoken as a representative for his campaign many times. In fact, just this week Williams downplayed former Iran-Contra ghoul Duane Clarridge’s role in advising Carson after Clarridge told the New York Times that “nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East.” And on Tuesday his campaign tweeted out his anti-refugee vow, “I am standing with the 31 Governors who are fighting to keep our nation safe,” along with a map of the United States that looks like someone played Tetris with New England, blocked it up on the right side of New York somehow, then lost the game.

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Marriage Equality Must Be Truly Equal

Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll |  | Huffington Post | November 25, 2015

We were at a Mexican restaurant having lunch after doing some Christmas shopping at the mall when we decided to get married. It was December 2012, and Washington voters had just made marriage legal for same-sex couples. We had been together since 2004 and were living in the first home we had purchased together. It felt like everything had been building to this moment where we were ready and able to honor our lifelong commitment to each other.

We wanted a romantic location for our wedding, so we reserved a lush garden setting for the ceremony, which was to be held Sept. 19, our ninth anniversary as a couple. We planned to have around a hundred of our closest friends and family join us for this special occasion. In March 2013, we contacted our favorite floral shop, Arlene’s Flowers in Richland.

We were shocked when the shop’s owner refused to sell us an arrangement for our ceremony. We weren’t seeking her blessing, only an elegant display that would complement the beachy theme we wanted for our wedding.

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GOP Wants to Block $3 Billion Global Climate Aid

Climate change. (photo: Getty Images)
Climate change. (photo: Getty Images)


Timothy Cama | The Hill | Reader Supported News | November 24, 2015

ore than 100 House Republicans are joining dozens in the Senate pushing to block President Obama from giving billions of dollars to foreign countries for climate change aid.

The Republicans are taking aim at the $3 billion Obama wants to contribute to the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations-backed effort that’s part of a plan to give poor nations $100 billion annually by 2020 to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

“We are concerned about making any commitments to support new funding through the Green Climate Fund, given the U.S. government’s already significant climate change related spending to date,” the lawmakers, led by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), wrote to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee late Monday.

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The National Security State’s Incestuous Relationship With Islamic State

    U.S. Marines fire a mortar during a live-fire training mission at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, in October. (U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos / Public Domain Mark Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch | Truthdig | November 24, 2015 1.0)

Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch | Truthdig | November 24, 2015

Honestly, I don’t know whether to rant or weep, neither of which are usual impulses for me.  In the wake of the slaughter in Paris, I have the urge to write one of two sentences here: Paris changed everything; Paris changes nothing.  Each is, in its own way, undoubtedly true.  And here’s a third sentence I know to be true: This can’t end well.

Other than my hometown, New York, Paris is perhaps the city where I’ve felt most at ease.  I’ve never been to Baghdad (where Paris-style Islamic State terror events are relatively commonplace); or Beirut, where they just began; or Syria’s ravaged Aleppo (thank you, Bashar al-Assad of barrel-bomb terror fame); or Mumbai (which experienced an early version of such a terror attack); or Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, now partly destroyed by the U.S.-backed Saudi air force; or Kabul, where Taliban attacks on restaurants have become the norm; or Turkey’s capital, Ankara, where Islamic State suicide bombers recently killed 97 demonstrators at a peace rally.  But I have spent time in Paris.  And so, as with my own burning, acrid city on September 11, 2001, I find myself particularly repulsed by the barbaric acts of civilian slaughter carried out by three well-trained, well-organized, well-armed suicide teams evidently organized as a first strike force from the hell of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

The Paris attacks should not, however, be seen primarily as acts of revenge from a distinctly twisted crew, even though one of the murderers reportedly shouted, “You killed our brothers in Syria and now we are here.”  Instead, they were clearly acts of calculated provocation meant to reshape our world in grim ways.  Worse yet, their effectiveness was pre-guaranteed because, as has been true since 9/11, the leaders of such terror groups, starting with Osama bin Laden, have grasped the dynamics of our world, of what makes us tick and especially what provokes us into our own barbarous acts, so much better than our leaders, our militaries, or our national security states have understood them (or, for that matter, themselves).

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The Difference Between Super PACs and Dark Money Groups

Melissa Yeager | Sunlight Foundation | Trutthout | November 24, 2015

After an investigative report by The Washington Post revealed several super PACs acting in support of his campaign, Donald Trump acted swiftly, condemning the activities of the super PACs and ordering his attorneys to send cease and desist letters to several groups.

This action, as well as the placement of television ads by a dark money group supporting Marco Rubio, has triggered a debate within the Republican party about the impact of money in the election, with both Trump and fellow GOP hopeful Jeb Bush  taking swings at each other about the influence of dark money in the election.

We were glad to hear candidates having a spirited discussion about the role of money in the 2016 election cycle. However, a lot of the headlines mentioned Trump rejecting “dark money” in particular. (Probably because the title of his press release was “Donald J. Trump Calls On All Presidential Candidates to Return Dark Money Sent to Super PACs.”)

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Calling Out the Republican Party as a Hate Group

Donald Trump speaks at the First in the Nation Leadership Summit in Nashua, NH, on April 18, 2015. (Photo via Shutterstock)Donald Trump speaks at the First in the Nation Leadership Summit in Nashua, New Hampshire, on April 18, 2015. (Photo: Andrew Cline /


Michael I. Niman | Truthout | November 24, 2015

In October, about a week before Election Day, a Republican candidate running for a city council seat rang my doorbell in Buffalo, New York, with the hope of securing my vote. Despite a very well-funded campaign coordinated by a seasoned Republican strategist, the candidate, Peter Rouff, was still a long shot. The last time a registered Republican was elected to the Buffalo City Council was over a generation earlier, in 1981.

Rouff seemed like an affable guy. He was a dinosaur, cut from a mold that his party threw away decades earlier, who suddenly found himself transported into the future. He was a liberal New York Republican, a species no one younger than a baby boomer could recognize or fathom, the ghost of John Lindsey or Jacob Javits.

But this is 2015. So, after shaking hands and hearing him out on his concerns for our community, I asked him, “How’d you get associated with a hate group?” The local Republican Party, despite having no power in local government, still maintained an official Facebook page, where they posted Donald-Trump-grade drivel, joking about putting a coal facsimile of President Obama’s head on Mount Rushmore, promoted notions of an epidemic of Black-on-white “hate crimes,” and so on. Rouff countered that I was using harsh language. It only took a few days for his Republican handlers to prove the accuracy of my language, sending out two racially coded mailers.

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The War on Terror Is a War on Youth: Paris and the Impoverishment of the Future

Muslim demonstrators gather in Milan, Italy, on November 21, 2015, in opposition to the terrorist attacks happened in Paris on November 13, 2015. (Photo via Shutterstock)Muslim demonstrators gather in Milan, Italy, on November 21, 2015, in opposition to the terrorist attacks that happened in Paris on November 13, 2015. (Photo: Eugenio Marongiu /


Henry A. Giroux and Brad Evans | Truthout | November 24, 2015

“There’s a nagging sense of emptiness. So people look for anything; they believe in any extreme – any extremist nonsense is better than nothing.” – JG Ballad

There is a revealing similarity between the attacks on September 11, 2001 – when airplanes were flown into the twin towers, killing thousands of people – and the attacks in Paris, in which over 130 people were killed and hundreds wounded. Yet, what they have in common has been largely overlooked in the mainstream and alternative media’s coverage of the more recent terrorist attacks. While both assaults have been rightly viewed as desperate acts of alarming terrorism, what has been missed is that both acts of violence were committed by young men. This is not a minor issue because unraveling this similarity provides the possibility for addressing the conditions that made such attacks possible.

ISIS capitalizes on the desperation, humiliation and loss of hope that many young Muslims experience in the West.

While French President François Hollande did say soon after the Paris assault that “youth in all its diversity” was targeted, he did not address the implications of the attacks’ heinous and wanton violence. Instead, he embraced the not-so-exceptional discourse of militarism, vengeance and ideological certainty, a discourse that turned 9/11 into an unending war, a tragic mistake that cost millions of lives and ensured that the war on terrorism would benefit and play into the very hands of those at which it was aimed. The call for war, retribution and revenge extended the violent landscape of everyday oppressions by shutting down any possibility for understanding the conditions that gave birth to the violence committed by young people against innocent youthful civilians.

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