It Is Time For The American People To Determine The Priorities Of Our Nation.
One would have be an Ostrich with their head stuck in the sand not to realize that the Governing powers, elected and corporate, do not have the best interests of the average citizen on their agendas. The time is coming when we will surrender to a being a growing under class living a third world existence, or we will rise up and take matters into our hands and fashion anew a nation that can believe in. We must not become a nation “Of the Corporations, for the Corporations and by the Corporations”.
The choice is ours!
"The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation's income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent.
"Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent."
So I discover in a piece by Joseph E. Stiglitz in the new issue of Vanity Fair. These facts confirm my impression that greed is now seen as a virtue in America. I'm not surprised by the greed of the One-Percenters. I'm mystified by the lack of indignation from so many of the rest of us.
Day after day I read stories that make me angry. Wanton consumption is glorified. Corruption is rewarded. Ordinary people see their real income dropping, their houses sold out from under them, their pensions plundered, their unions legislated against, their health care still under attack. Yes, people in Wisconsin and Ohio have risen up to protest these realities, but why has there not been more outrage?
The most visible centers of these crimes against the population are Wall Street and the financial industry in general. Although there are still many honest bankers, some seem to regard banking and trading as a license to steal. Outrageous acts are committed and go unpunished. Consider this case of money laundering by Wachovia Bank, now part of Wells Fargo. This Guardian article reports: "The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveler's checks and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts."
The bank paid fines of less than 2% of its $12.2 billion profit in 2009. No individual was ever charged with a crime. We need not doubt that Wachovia executives received bonuses over the period of time when they were overseeing these illegal activities. Permit me to quote one more paragraph:
"More shocking, and more important, the bank was sanctioned for failing to apply the proper anti-laundering strictures to the transfer of $378.4 billion -- a sum equivalent to one-third of Mexico's gross national product -- into dollar accounts from so-called casas de cambio (CDCs) in Mexico, currency exchange houses with which the bank did business."
If a third of the Mexican GNP passes through your bank and you don't ask the questions required by law, you are either (1) a criminal, or (2) incompetent. I can't think of another possibility.
Stories like this have become commonplace. Two of the most common types of news stories about banks recently have involved their losses, and the size of their executive bonuses. Bloomberg News reports: "JPMorgan Chase & Co. gave Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon a 51 percent raise in 2010 as the bank resumed paying cash bonuses following two years of pressure from regulators and lawmakers to curb compensation."
And here's more, from the Wall Street journal: "$57,031. That's about what the average U.S. archaeologist made last year. It's also what J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon made every day of last year -- $20.8 million total, according to the firm's proxy filing this week. Anyone who has doubts about the resiliency of Wall Street banks and brokerages should ponder that figure for awhile. The J.P. Morgan board also spent about $421,500 to sell Dimon's Chicago home. And they brought back the big cash bonus, doling out $30.2 million in greenbacks to Dimon and his top six lieutenants."
The CEOs of the venerable trading firms that were forced into bankruptcy were all paid bonuses. In a small recent case, executives ofBorders intended to pay themselves $8 million in bonuses until a U. S. Trustee objected. A company spokesperson said, "The proposed programs were designed to retain key executives at Borders as we proceed through the Chapter 11 reorganization process." In short, retain those whose management bankrupted the corporation.
Corporations in theory are managed to benefit their shareholders. The more money Wal-Mart can make by busting unions and allegedly discriminating in its hiring practices, the happier its shareholders become. Yet obscene bonuses penalize even the shareholders. Isn't that, in theory, their money? Wouldn't it be decent for the occasional corporation to put a cap on bonuses and distribute the funds as dividends?
I have no objection to financial success. I've had a lot of it myself. All of my income came from paychecks from jobs I held and books I published. I have the quaint idea that wealth should be obtained by legal and conventional means--by working, in other words--and not through the manipulation of financial scams. You're familiar with the ways bad mortgages were urged upon people who couldn't afford them, by banks who didn't care that the loans were bad. The banks made the loans and turned a profit by selling them to investors while at the same time betting against them on their own account. While Wall Street was knowingly trading the worthless paper that led to the financial collapse of 2008, executives were being paid huge bonuses.
Wasn't that fraud? Wasn't it theft? The largest financial crime in American history took place and resulted in no criminal charges. Then the money industries and their lobbyists fought tooth and nail against financial regulation. The Republicans resisted it, but so did many Democrats. Partially because of the Supreme Court decision allowing secret campaign contributions, our political system is largely financed by vested interests.
We know that Bernie Madoff went to jail. Fine. No Wall Street or bank executive has been charged with anything. It will never happen. The financial industries are locked an unholy alliance with politicians and regulators, all choreographed by lobbyists. You know all that.
What puzzles me is why there isn't more indignation. The Tea Party is the most indignant domestic political movement since Norman Thomas's Socialist Party, but its wrath is turned in the wrong direction. It favors policies that are favorable to corporations and unfavorable to individuals. Its opposition to Obamacare is a textbook example. Insurance companies and the health care industry finance a "populist" movement that is manipulated to oppose its own interests. The billionaire Koch brothers payroll right wing front organizations that oppose labor unions and financial reform. The patriots wave their flags and don't realize they're being duped.
Consider taxes. Do you know we could eliminate half the predicted shortfall in the national budget by simply failing to renew the Bush tax cuts? Do you know that if corporations were taxed at a fair rate, much of the rest could be found? General Electric recently reported it paid no current taxes. Why do you think that was? Why do middle and lower class Tea Party members not understand that they bear an unfair burden of taxes that should be more fairly distributed? Why do they support those who campaign against unions and a higher minimum wage? What do they think is in it for them?
If it is "socialist" to believe in a more equal distribution of income, what is the word for the system we now live under? A system under which the very rich have doubled their share of the nation's income in 25 years? I believe in a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. Isn't that an American credo? How did it get twisted around into an obscene wage for shameless plunder?
One of the challenges facing the One-Percenters these days is finding ways to spend their money. Private residences grow as large as hotels, and are fitted out with the amenities of luxury resorts. Fleets of cars and private airplanes are at their owners' disposal. At work, they sink absurd mountains of money into show-off corporate headquarters that have less to do with work than with a pissing contest among rival executives. Private toilets grow as large as small condos, outfitted with Italian marbles and rare antiques. This is all paid for by the shareholders. One area of equality between the One-Percenters and the rest of us is that we sit on toilets of about the same size. What's different is the size of our throne rooms.
I find this extravagance unseemly in a democracy. Many of today's One-Percenters feel no more constraint than Louis XIV. A culture of celebrity has grown up around these conspicuous consumers, celebrating their excesses. I believe rewards are appropriate for those who have been successful. I also believe a certain modesty and humility are virtuous. I find it unbecoming that those who fight most against social welfare are those most devoted to their own welfare.
In America there is an ingrained populist suspicion of fats cats and robber barons. This feeling rises up from time to time. Theodore Roosevelt, who was elected as a Trust Buster, would be appalled by the excesses of our current economy. Many of the rich have a conscience. Andrew Carnegie built libraries all over America. The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations do great good. Bill Gates lists his occupation as "philanthropist."
Yet the most visible plutocrat in America is Donald Trump, a man who has made a fetish of his power. What kind of sick mind conceives of a television show built on suspense about which "contestant" he will "fire" next? What sort of masochism builds his viewership? Sadly, I suspect it is based on viewers who identify with Trump, and envy his power over his victims. Don't viewers understand they are the ones being fired in today's America?
This is what matters and why Israel must pay a price for murdering Palestinians:
The US worked behind the scenes to help Israel contain United Nations probes into possible war crimes committed during the 2008/’09 Gaza war, Foreign Policy reported today.
The online foreign affairs magazine cited exclusive WikiLeaks cables, detailing moves by Washington’s UN ambassador Susan Rice to prevent a more thorough UN investigation of alleged abuses in the conflict.
Some 1400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the three-week Israeli offensive in December 2008 and January 2009, which was aimed at halting Palestinian rocket attacks.
According to one cable, Rice spoke with UN chief Ban Ki-moon three times on May 4, 2009 to urge him to remove recommendations for a wider investigation from a board of inquiry report into attacks on UN sites in Gaza.
Rice “underscored the importance of having a strong cover letter that made clear that no further action was needed and would close out this issue,” the US diplomatic cable said.
Ban said his staff was working with the Israeli delegation and “called her after the letter had been finalized to report that he believed they had arrived at a satisfactory cover letter”.
Later that year, Israel and the US pushed back against a similar effort to investigate the war by the UN Human Rights Council, which appointed a team led by the South African jurist Richard Goldstone.
The release of the Goldstone probe coincided with US efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and, in another cable, Rice linked the two during a meeting with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
Rice told Ayalon that Washington “is still studying the report, remains concerned about the fact-finding mission’s mandate and many of the recommendations in the report”, according to the cable.
She then urged him to “help us help them with progress on the peace process, saying that the report can be more easily managed if there is progress”.
The Goldstone report said there was evidence that both Israel and Palestinian militant groups had committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, urging independent probes on both sides.
Two weeks ago, Goldstone stepped back from the report, saying new information about Israel’s military actions led him to believe he had erred in concluding that Israel targeted civilians during the 22-day conflict.
He cited a UN committee of independent experts that followed up on the report and found Israel “has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza”.
In contrast, Hamas, the Islamist militant group ruling Gaza, “have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel” that triggered the offensive, Goldstone wrote.
Israel, which bitterly opposed the investigation from the beginning, had since demanded that the UN rescind the report.
But last week, three report co-authors – Pakistani human rights’ lawyer Hina Jilani; Christine Chinvin, a professor of international law at the London School of Economics; and former Irish peacekeeper Desmond Travers – rejected calls to retract it.
In its path towards becoming a regional and international superpower, Iran is achieving remarkable breakthroughs in science and technology which have started to flabbergast the rivals around the world, from the United States as a self-proclaimed absolute superpower in economy and science to the neighboring countries in the Persian Gulf region which are years from reaching self-sufficiency in meeting their domestic needs.
Historically, Iran has been known as a cradle of civilization and home to a number of leading scientists and scholars in various fields of knowledge and academic endeavor. Many of the world’s prominent scientific accomplishments and discoveries were first brainstormed, proposed and realized in Iran and the international community owes to the Iranian scientists its familiarity and acquaintance with a number of outstanding scientific achievements.
In the contemporary age and since the victory of Islamic Revolution in 1979, a growing tendency towards scientific activities and scholarly research began to appear in Iran and the country’s scientific developments attracted international attention ever more. Since the victory of Islamic Revolution, a number of high-ranking, prestigious universities were established in Iran and the number of university students increased dramatically. According to the statistics, the number of university students in the year 1978 would not exceed 150,000; however, as of 2009, there are more than 2.5 million students studying in the universities of Iran.
The statistics released by the researchers who investigated Iran’s scientific developments over the past 30 years also indicate that the country has seen an unbelievable advancement in terms of producing knowledge and scientific data. The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) has announced that Iranian scholars and researchers have published a total of 60,979 scientific papers in major international journals during the past 19 years.
Mohammad-Hassan Aboutorabi Fard, the First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Iran has announced that the total number of scientific articles published by the Iranian scientists in the international journals during the first 50 days of the current Iranian year (starting March 21, 2010) outnumbers the total scientific articles published in Iran over the years leading up to the Islamic Revolution.
Iran’s advancements in science and technology have been so notable and outstanding that even the most hostile enemies of the Islamic Republic have admitted the country’s prominent position as a scientific hub in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region.
In terms of motor vehicle production and nationalized automobile industry, the statistic of the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers indicate that Iran is currently the 12th largest automaker in the world, surpassing powerful economic and industrial powers such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, Russia and Australia. This simply shows that Iran is currently the largest automaker among 57 Islamic countries.
In terms of aeronautic capabilities, Iran is among the world’s 9 countries which are scientifically capable of placing satellites into orbit and have the independent capacity to produce the necessary launching vehicle for it. Powerful economies such as Germany, Canada, Italy and Australia are not among these 9 countries.
In terms of scientific knowledge production, Iran has made dazzling breakthroughs in the recent years and in some cases, surpassed its most powerful rivals to the surprise of international community.
According to Ja’far Mehrad, the President of the Islamic World Science Citation Center, Iran is among the world’s top 25 countries in term of science production. According to Mehrad, Iran qualified to the 22nd rank in the year 2009 and surpassed countries such as Scotland, Austria, Denmark, Greece, Finland, Mexico and Norway and snatched the first berth among the Islamic countries in term of scientific papers published in the international journals.
As to the production of medicines and drugs for the chronic diseases, Iran ranks the first among the Middle Eastern countries, the Minister of Health and Medical Education says.
Overall, Iran is currently competing with the world’s most powerful countries in terms of scientific activities and is not far from becoming an incontestable scientific hub in Asia.
Iran’s nuclear program is in line with the country’s long-term objectives for becoming a scientific superpower in the world and this is what the Western countries cannot tolerate. Nuclear energy is the only arena in which the bullying powers can employ political leverages to pressure an independent nation such as Iran to hinder its scientific progress. If Iran achieves the complete cycle of nuclear energy production, it can meet its needs in electricity, medicine and agriculture and then will be needless of Western states, so this self-sufficiency will be harmful to the long-run interests of the West and that’s why they try restlessly to prevent Iran from fulfilling its nuclear program.
However and so forth, the world should accept that Iran is a new scientific power which has the capability to stand on its own feet and even help the other independent nations of the world in their scientific projects. Nuclear energy, Information and Communication Technology, nanotechnology and all of these areas of scientific endeavor are today dominated by the Iranian researchers and scientists and nobody can put a barricade on this path toward progression and supremacy.
As I’ve done for more than four months, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times are ET. Contact me at email@example.com. Read about or order my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.
12:10 Wash Post on Manning's transfer, includes news that trial would be held in Washington.
12:05 @WLLegal tweets: " Fox News spin on Bradley Manning: Gets "prison upgrade" http://fxn.ws/dMkeZ4."
@Asher_Wolf tweets: "Manning being moved to Fort Leavenworth prison; WikiLeaks published this prison's operating procedures manual (orig released in 2008!)."
@Asher_Wolf tweets: "Manning being moved to Fort Leavenworth prison; WikiLeaks published this prison's operating procedures manual (orig released in 2008!)."
From late Tuesday
Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs just out with blog poston what he calls real reason his client being moved to Leavenworth. It seems the defense was in process of filing write of habeas corpus and decision to move Manning came so quickly Coombs only learned about it via the AP dispatch this afternoon. He closes, "While the defense hopes that the move to Fort Leavenworth will result in the improvement of PFC Manning’s conditions of confinement, it nonetheless intends to pursue redress at the appropriate time for the flagrant violations of his constitutional rights by the Quantico confinement facility." See my Manning book for full background.
Just back from doing Cenk's show on MSNBC re: Manning. While I was gone, Pentagon briefing explained that he was moved to bigger quarters (although had plenty of that at Quantico), visits will still be monitored at all times, he will get to interact with other prisoners more, they admit that attention on conditions led to move, and more. Here's AP update on military's statement including amazing claim the move is so Manning (who had been in near-solitary for 9 months) can get better mental and "emotional" care.
As noted below, Bradley Manning is being moved from Quantico, Va., brig to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas after worldwide protests. A few facts about Leavenworth: The complex, formally known as the Disciplinary Barracsk, houses the only maximum security military prison. Also, the only death row for military prisoners. But a medium security unit as well. The old “castle” (remember the Redford/Gandolfini flick?) was replaced by newer facility in 2002—so there’s that. Hasan Akbar is on death row there. Lt. William Calley was there at one point.
AP has scoop: “U.S. officials say the Army private suspected of giving classified data to WikiLeaks is being moved to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas in the wake of international criticism about his treatment during his detention at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va. The officials say an announcement that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning will be moved is expected Wednesday at the Pentagon. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the move has not yet been made public.
“Amnesty International has said Manning’s treatment may violate his human rights. A committee of Germany’s parliament has also protested about his treatment to the White House. Manning is being held in maximum security in a single-occupancy cell at Quantico, and he is allowed to wear only a suicide-proof smock to bed each night.”
New low prices for my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.
Alan Dershowitz, as usual, strongly backs Israel but in doing so asks why no war crimes tribunals or major probes of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan caused by US and Brits have ever been carried out, especially in light of WikiLeaks revelations.
Andy Greenberg at Forbes reveals one reason the NYT didn’t get any traction for its WikiLeaks coverage with the Pulitzer board for a prize: It didn’t even submit any of it. “It’s not clear just why the Times decided not to seek a Pulitzer for its groundbreaking WikiLeaks coverage. When I asked executive editor Bill Keller about the decision by email, he responded that ‘We don’t talk generally talk about what we enter or don’t enter, or why.’ ” Greenberg speculates that Keller may not have wanted to give any boost to Assange. -Greg Mitchell-
Hbgary's Open Letter: Full Of Denials That Don't Hold Water - Arstechnica.Com
HBGary, the security firm that saw its servers hacked and its e-mails released after its HBGary Federal offshoot angered the Anonymous hive, published a rather peculiar open letter this past Friday in an effort to address the "large amount of misinformation reported in the press." But the letter makes some questionable claims of its own.
The unsigned letter outlines the basics of the attack and asserts that HBGary's internal systems remained safe and uncompromised. To ward off future attacks, the letter also claimed that HBGary's website, which was hacked using a basic security flaw, and its e-mail system, which fell victim to weak, re-used passwords, were now back in operation with "even stronger cyber defense mechanisms."
HBGary says that the company's concern in the immediate aftermath was to determine if customers had been affected by the intrusion. On receipt of legal advice, the company's policy was to refrain from commenting on the e-mails, though it acknowledges that this may have led to the amount of "misinformation" floating around.
The main thrust of the letter is an effort to distance HBGary from the entire hack and its subsequent aftermath. Five specific claims are made: that HBGary and HBGary Federal are distinct, with separate "management, employees, and missions"; that HBGary was not involved in the research performed by then-HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr and was merely caught in the crossfire; that HBGary did not develop Stuxnet; that HBGary does indeed sell software to the US government and is proud of that fact; and finally, that HBGary's rootkit research is solely to help improve its own security products. (More,,,)
There is no depth to which Fox "News" will not sink in order to placate the bigotry of its conservative, Christian base. Yesterday, in a "tease" which previewed an upcoming discussion about a proposed change to the California social studies curriculum, Brian Kilmeade teased the segment with the question, "Should public school teachers be ordered to tell their students why it's OK to be gay?"
in The show, right wing Tucker Carlson presented right wing propaganda in claiming that a proposed California curriculum, which includes teaching about gay historical figures and gay issues, was propaganda for a politcally powerful group. (Oh, the irony!) Kilmeade's comment set the stage by communicating what is a right wing lie about a curriculum which adds gays to women, minorities, religious, and ethnic groups as worthy of mention in the context of history. A teacher would be allowed to tell their students that Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes were gay.
(Side Note - isn't it a hoot that Rick Santorum wasn't aware that his campaign slogan was a line from a Langston Hughes poem!). They might mention that gays were forced to wear pink triangles as they were marched off to the gas chamber in Nazi Germany. In other words, this is about facts - not value judgments about sexual orientation. But Kilmeade was doing his duty in distorting the issue as one of the educational system giving its approval to homosexuality - something that the Christian right is really, really scared about given that they think that anti-bullying programs are "homosexualizing" students. Fox "News' - America's homophobic newsroom!
Fox & Friends, as the mouthpiece for the Christian right, is always happy to oblige whenever nice, conservative, Christians are threatened by satanic secularism. During the "Texas texbook Wars, when the Texas Board of Education successfully fought for a more dominionist Christian view of history to be incorporated into Texas texts, Fox & Friends provided a week of propaganda promoting this world view. The Christian right hates, really really hates, anything related to the LGBT community and God forbid that this community be shown any amount of tolerance in the public schools. They think (I'm not kidding) that anti-bullying programs are part of "gay indoctrination." And now that a bill has been proposed, in California, to require social science curriculums to teach "the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, as well as Pacific Islanders and those with disabilities," groups like the California Catholic Conference, California Concerned Women for America, the Conservative Party (California) and the Traditional Values Coalition, have their nice, clean, heterosexual panties in a wad. While this merely requires that the curriculum add the roles of the LBGT community to the roles played by women, ethnic, and, religious, and racial groups, one of Fox's key demographics isn't happy. Thus, it was no surprise that today's Fox & Friends featured famous "dick," Tucker Carlson who claimed that this curriculum was a propagandistic lie. But in promoting Christian right propaganda, Tucker Carlson also told some propagandistic lies being promoted by the Christian right. Ironic, don't ya think!
Steve Doocy, a good conservative Christian heterosexual, reported on the bill. He asked their only guest, Tucker Carlson, "I get where history books should, mmm, be about people who have impacted our history but now they've got to find find mm people from this particular demographic to fullfill the bill?" Tucker Carlson cited two problems. "First that it's frivolous. California public schools are failing." He asked what percentage of California high school seniors can identify the Magna Carta and Leon Trotsky.
He added that while Leon Trotsky's "sex life may be interesting; but not central to why he's a historical figure..." Tucker, whose comments did seem to reflect an obsession about evil gay sex, asserted that "you're not preparing kids for life by dwelling on the sex lives of people to the exclusion of understanding why the world is the way it is today." He claimed that he wasn't "against learning about gay people, of course not, many of them have affected history" but added that "most of the time" their "sexual preference isn't at the center of why they're important, so it's telling kids stuff that isn't central to understanding the world." Irony Alert - Tucker said - are ya ready for it- "it's propaganda, it's lying.
Whenever a school system is mandated by law to teach happy news, non controversial ,complimentary facts about a group of people, they are excluding the unhappy facts and they are therefore lying." (Uh, so teaching about the assassination of Harvey Milk, by a crazed, homophobe is "happy news?" Really?)
Gretchen Carlson read a statement from the bill's sponser in which he comments that if we expect youth to treat their peers with dignity, they shouldn't be denied accurate, historical contributions of Americans who are LGBT. Gretch wanted to know how old the kids would be when they are first exposed to this material.
Tucker obviously hasn't done all his homework because he said that "it doesn't matter because at any age, teaching propaganda is wrong." Fact Check: "School districts would have flexibility in deciding what to include in the lessons and at what grades students would receive them." He did his little "I am not a homophobe dance" when he said that nobody has ever said that gays should be excluded from history. He claimed that the bill would "teach kids politically charged facts that are not the whole story. You would lie to kids. It would prevent schools from teaching kids things that reflected poorly on a group that has political power." Doocy said sure.
Doocy said that this bill prohibits the adoption of any materials that "reflect adversely on gays or particular religions" and "that doesn't sound good." (Aww, no materials that say that gays are going to hell?) Tucker said that this was an attempt to prevent material "critical to Islam from reaching students." (Is that so, Tucker!) Doocy said "yeah," when Tucker said it's propaganda. When Tucker said that this will be mandatory, Doocy, who sent his kids to Catholic schools, said "home school."
Comment: While the purpose of this curriculum is, in part, to counteract bullying, this wasn't mentioned as that would have taken away from the "be scared" of the gay agenda message that was being communicated. It's obvious that Tucker Carlson has either no clue about the curriculum or is deliberately lying for the sake of the propaganda.
He didn't mention that other CA school districts already have this curriculum and the world is still safe from the "gay agenda." Why is it a "lie" to teach that discrimination towards gays is part of our history and that it was only been remedied, in some areas of the country, in the last 20 years. Why is it a "lie" to teach that the Stone Walls riots, when the gays fought NY City police, were in response to police harassment of gays?
Why is it a "lie" to teach that gays in the military were ordered to keep their identity a secret? Why is it a "lie" to teach that a person's feelings about their sexual identity informed their art and literature? This isn't about sex but a community that has been left out of history. Jon Stewart was so right. Tucker Carlson is such a "dick." And Stewart's description of Tucker also applies to Steve Doocy who recommends home-schooling rather than have your kids learn about gays. Pathetic. But this is Fox & Friends.
Eight years after Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum compared homosexuality to incest, a phrase from a poem by Langston Hughes, an author widely believed to be gay, has somehow ended up as his campaign slogan.
Emblazoned on Santorum's website is the phrase "Fighting to make America America again", a line that bears a striking similarity to Hughes's well-known poem "Let America be America again". But, asked by left-wing website ThinkProgress if he borrowed the line "from the pro-union poem by the gay poet", Santorum backed away from the phrase.
"I had nothing to do with that," he told ThinkProgress, which asked him if the similarity was just a coincidence. "I didn't know that. The folks who worked on that slogan for me didn't inform me that that's where it came from, if in fact it came from that," he said. "I've read some of [Hughes's] poems. I'm not a big poetry guy so I can't say I have a favourite poet, sorry."
In 2003, Santorum told the Associated Press that "if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything ... Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family."
Although Hughes remained closeted during his life, he is widely thought to have been homosexual, and the 1989 film Looking for Langston sees him evoked as a black gay cultural icon. His 1938 poem "Let America be America again" continues: "O, let my land be a land where Liberty / Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, / But opportunity is real, and life is free, / Equality is in the air we breathe. / (There's never been equality for me, / Nor freedom in this 'homeland of the free'.)"
In 2004, the Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry also adopted the poem's title as his official campaign trail slogan, telling a Pittsburgh rally that "Langston Hughes was a poet, a black man and a poor man. And he wrote in the 1930s powerful words that apply to all of us today. He said 'Let America be America again. Let it be the dream that it used to be for those whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain, for those whose hand at the foundry – something Pittsburgh knows about – for those whose plough in the rain must bring back our mighty dream again.'"
But Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator much loved by America's religious right, is far less keen to associate himself with Hughes. Asked again what the campaign slogan "Fighting to make America America again" meant to him, he said "well, I'm not too sure that's my campaign slogan, I think it's on a website".
The slogan remains on his site