US Tea Party politician praises stoning gays


This video from the USA is called GOP Candidate Scott Esk: Let Cities Decide Whether Gays Should Be Stoned To Death.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Oklahoma Tea Party candidate claims: ‘Stoning gays was a law that came direct from God’

Facebook post quoted biblical verse sanctioning the execution of homosexuals

Tim Walker, Los Angeles

Thursday 12 June 2014

A Tea Party candidate running for office in Oklahoma has appeared to endorse the practice of stoning gay people to death.

Last year, Scott Esk, who is in the race to represent the 91st district in the State House, responded to a friend’s Facebook post about the Pope’s stance on gay people by copying and pasting Bible verses including Leviticus 20:13, which describes homosexuality as “detestable” and demands gay people be “put to death”.

When asked by another Facebook user whether he supported executing homosexuals by stoning, Mr Esk replied: “That goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realise, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss.”

This week, the Oklahoma magazine Moore Monthly uncovered the posts from 2013, and invited Mr Esk to clarify his position. Stoning gay people, Mr Esk said in a phone interview, was “done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God” he said, adding: “And in that time there it was totally just. It came directly from God.

“I have no plans to reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins.”

Mr Esk continued: “I know what was done in the Old Testament and what was done back then was what’s just… And I do stand for Biblical morality.”

While Oklahoma is a largely conservative state, Rob Morris, the publisher of Moore Monthly, said he had never met any other Oklahomans who held views comparable to Mr Esk’s.

“Even people that don’t agree with things like gay marriage… nobody wants the death penalty for gays,” Mr Moore told RawStory.com.

Oklahoma introduced a ban on same-sex marriage in 2004. The law was overturned in January 2014 by a federal judge in Tulsa, who declared the ban unconstitutional. His decision was stayed, pending an appeal. Earlier this year one Oklahoma Republican, state Representative Mike Turner, suggested the state do away with all marriages, including heterosexual marriages, saying it was the only way to keep same-sex marriage illegal while also upholding the US Constitution.

Though there is no recent polling readily available on the level of support for same-sex marriage in the state, The Atlantic magazine has estimated, based on existing data that, in 2012, 35 per cent of Oklahomans supported same-sex marriage.

See also here.

Obama-Tea Party deal is unjust


United States Republicans cut Medicare

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 4 August 2011

… THE National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare says the following about Obama’s debt deal that savages the poor and leaves the rich well alone.

‘For too long, middle-class Americans and their families have been held hostage while anti-tax crusaders threaten American default unless vital programmes, like Social Security and Medicare, are slashed.

‘Unfortunately under this debt deal, those programmes will still be under attack – this time by a newly-created ‘Super Committee’ of just 12 members of Congress tasked to cut programmes by $1.5 trillion dollars. This committee plan will be fast-tracked to force it through Congress with no amendments allowed and little time for debate.

‘Americans of all ages and political persuasions know that Social Security and Medicare have not caused this economic crisis and do not support cutting these programmes to pay down the debt. Yet, Washington continues to use these vital programmes, and the Americans they serve, as bargaining chips in a quest to balance the budget on the backs of working class Americans and their families.

‘Our work is clearly cut out for us. The House Speaker has said he will appoint only ‘Super Committee’ members opposed to revenue increases. Leaving the debate right where we started . . . 100% benefit cuts and 0% revenue . . . except this time, the proposal will bypass the normal Congressional process. That makes it even easier to force middle-class benefit cuts to pay for billionaire tax breaks and corporate loopholes. This is no way to run a country. And the over three million members and supporters of the National Committee will continue to deliver that message loud and clear . . .’

The verdict of international capital on the deal was a huge sell-off of shares, and yet another increase in the price of gold, now above $1,664 an ounce, as banks and other lenders trembled at the further weakening of the US dollar, and that its interpenetrating with the financial crisis of the eurozone, could only lead to a greater financial disaster and a worldwide slump.

The federal budget deal targets critical social programs that are already under duress at the state level: here.

Women are hurt most by debt deal cuts to Medicare, Social Security, tuition aid: here.

US job cuts hit 16-month high in July: here.

Also from News Line:

Thursday, 4 August 2011

US WORKERS TAKE ACTION

JUST one day before Democrats and Republicans were set to forge a trillion dollar debt deal that would impose savage cuts on the American working class, US workers took decisive strike action to defend their living standards.

Licensed deck and engineering officers and stewards represented by American Maritime Officers (AMO) walked off American Steamship Company (ASC) vessels on Monday.

The strike came after AMO’s contract with the company expired at midnight July 31.

‘This strike is the result of American Steamship’s Company refusal to negotiate in good faith, or even present a proposal that recognises the professionalism of the AMO officers and stewards and their value to a company that operates very profitably with AMO on board its ships,’ said AMO National President Tom Bethel.

America’s 4-D Economy: From Deficit Deals to Double Dip: here.

Interest rates were held at a record low of 0.5 per cent today amid growing fears that the world economy is heading back into recession: here.

USA: From Jesus’ socialism to capitalistic Christianity: here.

Morgan Freeman: Tea Party’s disdain for Obama rooted in racism: here.

Obama-Tea Party compromise is unjust


Martin Rowson cartoon about Obama-US Republican Party negotiations on the debt ceiling

From the USA: Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog: “Anyone who characterizes the deal between the President, Democratic, and Republican leaders as a victory for the American people over partisanship understands neither economics nor politics. The deal does not raise taxes on America’s wealthy and most fortunate – who are now taking home a larger share of total income and wealth, and whose tax rates are already lower than they have been, in eighty years”: here.

Forget Compromise: The Debt Ceiling Is Unconstitutional. Ellen Brown, Truthout: “The debt ceiling crisis can be averted by enforcing the 14th Amendment, which mandates the government to pay its debts already incurred, including pensions. That means Social Security, which IS an ‘entitlement,’ in the original sense of the word. We’re entitled to it because we’ve paid for it with taxes. The game of Russian roulette being played with the US federal debt has been called a ‘grotesque political carnival’ and political blackmail. The uproar stems from a statute that is unique to the United States and never did make much sense. First passed in 1917 and revised multiple times since, it imposes a dollar limit on the federal debt”: here.

President let right wingers take the American people hostage then gave in to hostage takers: here.

The President Surrenders, By PAUL KRUGMAN: here.

Dean Baker, Truthout: “As we get the final details of the debt ceiling deal between President Obama and Congress, we still have to wait for the verdict of the credit rating agencies. Will they give us the thumbs up or will they tell Congress that it has to take even more money from the poor, the sick and the elderly before the credit rating agencies reaffirm the top credit rating of the US government? The media have spent much of the last two weeks telling the public that the judgment of any deal by the big three credit rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch, will be the key to its success”: here.

Jack Rasmus, Truthout: “On Sunday evening, President Obama and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, announced they had reached an agreement on cutting $1 trillion in spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. House Speaker John Boehner indicated he was also in agreement, subject to voting to take place in the House on Monday. This latest ‘deal’ is essentially the same that was reached by Harry Reid in the Senate on July 29 and Boehner in the House on July 27, with two major changes – one favored by the Republicans and another by Obama”: here.

Robert Borosage, Campaign for America’s Future: “The raw deal on the budget ceiling has been cut. The Tea Party terrorists – the extremist faction willing to hold the economy hostage to get their way – have won. The Republic, common sense and decency have been trampled. With the economy deeply depressed, 25 million people in need of full time work, the raw deal will impede any recovery. It precludes any serious action on jobs from the federal government. It will cost jobs as spending is cut. Instead of getting serious about a plan to revive this economy and put people back to work, Washington will remain fixated on what and how much to cut”: here.

National Nurses United (NNU): Nurses Call on Congress to Reject Flawed Debt Ceiling Deal: here.

Where are the jobs in the budget deal? Find out how this deal hurts working families: here.

Congressional Black Caucus Chair: Debt Deal is a “Satan Sandwich”: here.

Wall Street & Pentagon Emerge Victorious on Debt Deal: See Democracy Now! Report: here.

Sen. Lieberman: Cut Social Security to prevent cuts to defense budget: here.

Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers: “The last-minute deal that Congress is considering to raise the federal debt limit probably will mean trillions of dollars in government spending reductions for most agencies. But one department stands to gain: the Pentagon. Rather than cutting $400 billion in defense spending through 2023, as President Barack Obama had proposed in April, the current debt proposal trims $350 billion through 2024, effectively giving the Pentagon $50 billion more than it had been expecting over the next decade”: here.

Obama and the Democrats drive a stake into the heart of the welfare state: here.

The bipartisan deal accepted by the White House calls for nearly $3 trillion in spending cuts, the bulk of them in domestic social spending: here.

Austerity and the Destruction of Democracy: here.

Did Bush Leave Us Bankrupt, Corrupt, Ungovernable? Here.

US Tea Party reactions to Arizona massacre, cartoon


This video from the USA says about itself:

Gabrielle Giffords talks the increasing violence back in 2010, before the Tucson Massacre

On January 8, 2011, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen others were shot during a constituent meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona, in the Tucson metropolitan area. Six people died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll; Gabe Zimmerman, one of Rep. Giffords’ staffers; and a nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green. Giffords was holding the meeting, called “Congress on Your Corner” in the parking lot of a Safeway store when prosecutors allege Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot her in the head before proceeding to fire on other people. One additional person was injured in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. News reports identified the target of the attack as Giffords, a Democrat representing Arizona’s 8th congressional district. She was shot through the head at point-blank range, and her medical condition was initially described as “critical”.

There is a cartoon on US Rightist reactions to the Arizona massacre, by Jen Sorensen.

She writes about it in her blog:

What really drives me nuts in the wake of the Giffords shooting is the chorus of voices — mostly on the right — tut-tutting that “we can’t jump to conclusions.” As though they are the source of caution and reason and all things prudent and high-minded. Well, guess what: Your candidates are anything but. I don’t really care whether Loughner is schizo, or what particular bits of tea party propaganda he swallowed or didn’t. If you don’t find the violent language of the right utterly repugnant, then it’s a sign of how far we’ve drifted away from normalcy in this country.

As any anthropologist will tell you, human behavior doesn’t happen in a vacuum; we live in a cultural stew, and by all accounts, that stew is a-bubblin‘. Tom Tomorrow linked to a depressing timeline of armed insurrection in America just since 2008. Hint: it’s long.

Sorensen update on this is here.

The Radical Right Responds to the Tucson Shootings: here.

Arizona Union Leader Says Today’s Shooting ‘Has No Place in a Democracy’: here.

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: “This is not the end of the story, but is just the beginning. The good people of the United States of America, the true patriots, have finally seen you with your media-painted masks ripped off. They have seen what comes to pass when hate, venom, ignorance and violence goes unchecked and unanswered. You have been exposed, and the fact that it took such an unimaginably horrific act for that exposure to take place only increases the fierceness with which you will be answered. You will be repudiated, not with violence, but with the scorn and rejection you so richly deserve. Spin it as you will, scramble all you like. You are found out, and you have nowhere to hide”: here.

Tony Pugh, McClatchy Newspapers: “A 22-year-old man was formally charged Sunday with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder in a shooting rampage that killed six people and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Jared Lee Loughner, of Tucson, Ariz., is in federal custody. He’ll go before a federal magistrate on Monday and could face additional state and federal charges, including domestic terrorism”: here.

Bill Quigley, Truthout: “Question: How does a mentally unstable man who was kicked out of school and had run-ins with the law buy such a serious weapon? The weapon reportedly used in the mass murders in Tucson was a serious weapon – a Glock 19, semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine. Some weapons like that were illegal to sell in the US from 1994 to 2004 under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. It is now legal to sell and own them”: here.

Steve Rendall, FAIR: “Bill O’Reilly’s recent ‘joke’ about decapitating Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was only the latest example of a demented Fox News culture that permits on-air personalities to fantasize about assassination and other forms of violence against those deemed enemies of the station, its personalities or their worldview. During the cable channel’s 2008 election coverage, in what she later called an attempt at humor, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta linked Osama bin Laden to Barack Obama as people who both should be assassinated: ‘And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. Well, both, if we could'”: here.

Michael Winship, Truthout: “The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov had a rule: if you show a gun in the first act, by the time the curtain falls, it has to go off. For weeks and months, that gun, the weapon of angry rhetoric and intemperate rabble rousing, has been cocked and loaded in plain view on the American stage; Saturday morning outside a shopping mall in Tucson, Arizona, it went off again and again and again”: here.

The Wrath of Fools: An Open Letter to the Far Right: here.

Profiles of the Arizona shooting victims: here.

Jason Leopold, Truthout: “A federal judge Monday sentenced former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to three years in prison for his role in orchestrating a scheme to illegally funnel nearly $200,000 in corporate cash to Texas political candidates in 2002”: here.

Cruise Ship Confession: Top Fox News Executive Admits Lying On-Air About Obama. Eric Hananoki, Media Matters: “In newly uncovered audio, a Fox News executive boasts that he lied repeatedly during the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign when he speculated on-air ‘about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism.’ Speaking in 2009 onboard a pricey Mediterranean cruise sponsored by a right-wing college, Fox Washington managing editor Bill Sammon described his attempts the previous year to link Obama to ‘socialism’ as ‘mischievous speculation.’ Sammon, who is also a Fox News vice president, acknowledged that ‘privately’ he had believed that the socialism allegation was ‘rather far-fetched'”: here.

United States violent Tea Party thugs


This Associated Press video from the USA says about itself:

A Rand Paul supporter stomped on the head of a woman representing the liberal organization MoveOn.org. The incident happened outside a debate between Paul and Democratic rival Jack Conway for the open Kentucky senate seat. (Oct. 26)

By Hiram Lee in the USA:

Activist assaulted by Rand Paul supporters in Kentucky

27 October 2010

A video widely distributed on the Internet documents supporters of Rand Paul, the Republican and Tea Party-backed senate candidate in Kentucky, physically assaulting a liberal activist prior to a debate held on Monday in Lexington.

The victim, Lauren Valle, 23, a member of the pro-Democratic Party group MoveOn.org, was among a crowd of Paul supporters who had gathered at the site of the final debate of the election. As the candidate made his way into the debate hall, Valle attempted to present him with a satirical “employee-of-the-month award” from a fictional company called “RepubliCorp,” used by MoveOn.org to draw attention to Republican candidates’ ties to major corporations.

Video captured a number of Paul’s supporters reacting to Valle’s presence with evident rage. They violently forced Valle, a small woman who clearly posed no threat, to the ground. At least one man in the crowd then held her on the ground against her will, while another man holding a Rand Paul campaign sign stomped on her head, shoving her face into the concrete sidewalk. The assailant was later revealed to be Tim Profitt, a Paul campaign worker.

It is clear that the force of the kick could have severely injured Valle. While Valle was able to speak with the local media following the incident, her face was left swollen and her neck and shoulders were hurt. She spent the night in a Lexington hospital with a concussion and a sprained shoulder.

The attack is another indication of the type of deranged and fascistic elements being mobilized by the Tea Party movement and its candidates as they seek to form a popular base for extreme right-wing politics in the US. The Tea Party appeals to the most backward sentiments—anti-immigrant chauvinism, militarism, racism, religious intolerance, anti-gay bigotry—with the full support of its corporate backers and the Republican Party establishment.

The vicious rhetoric espoused by leading figures in the Tea Party movement, including Rand Paul, has created a political climate that, in effect, sanctions and encourages attacks like the one carried out on Lauren Valle.

Rand Paul Head Stomper To Vicitim: ‘I Would Like For Her To Apologize To Me’: here. And here.

On Beating Uppity Liberal Women: Afghanistan and Kentucky: here.

Rand Paul head-stomper charged with assault: here.

Rand Paul Supports Some Military Bases On Foreign Soil, A Big Difference From His Dad: here.

Alaska GOPer Joe Miller admitted lying after he was busted for ethics violation and he’s a homophobe: here.

Arkansas School Board member wants GLBTQ people dead: “The only way im wearin (purple)…is if they all commit suicide”: here.

GOP hangout spot sued for racial discrimination. (via @HuffPostPol): here.

Matt Taibbi on Deluded Tea Partiers, Ayn Rand and How the U.S. Is Like the Soviet Union: here.

Bankrolling book tour, Murdoch emerges as Palin’s chief 2012 backer: here.

What do Ayn Rand, FOX Fraudcasting, and Alan Greenspan Have in Common? Here.

Fox’s Kelly Absurdly Claims Fox Personalities Do Not Invoke Nazis: here.

Ayn Rand Railed Against Govt Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them: here.

Robin Hood, from legend to movie


This video is called Erroll Flynn – Robin Hood & Friar Tuck – 1938.

From United States weekly Socialist Worker:

Not my Robin Hood

Leela Yellesetty explains why the real Robin Hood has nothing to do with Tea Partiers.

May 20, 2010

ROBIN HOOD is arguably the most enduring legendary figure in Western history. Since his first appearance in medieval English ballads as early as the 12th century, Robin Hood has enjoyed nearly uninterrupted popularity for the last 600 years. Just in the 20th century, he’s been featured in some 50 live-action films, 15 TV series and 15 cartoons.

The Robin Hood legend has undergone numerous incarnations over the years, often serving as a vehicle for contemporary social commentary. From his origins as a crude yeoman in early ballads, later renditions upgraded him to a humanitarian nobleman.

In the 19th century, Sir Walter Scott cast him as an English nationalist hero, while romantic poets like John Keats claimed him for the side of the French Revolution.

Errol Flynn’s iconic portrayal in the 1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood contained overt references to the fight against fascism, and in the 1950s, the popular British TV series of the same name provided work to U.S. screenwriters who had been blacklisted under McCarthyism.

Review: Movies

Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.

The British Guardian‘s Tom Dewe Mathews recently unearthed the story, quoting one of these writers, Ring Lardner Jr., who “explained that a TV show about an outlaw who takes from the rich to give to the poor provided him ‘with plenty of opportunities to comment on issues and institutions in Eisenhower-era America.'”

So it’s no surprise, as we face a world today of unprecedented inequality–in which the richest 1 percent own 40 percent of the wealth while the bottom 50 percent owns just 1 percent, according to a recent study–that Robin Hood should make a comeback.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

YET RIDLEY Scott’s latest blockbuster version starring Russell Crowe has been associated with a seemingly unlikely crowd: the tea baggers.

“You may have heard that Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, but that was just liberal media propaganda,” writes New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott. “This Robin is no socialist bandit practicing freelance wealth redistribution, but rather a manly libertarian rebel striking out against high taxes and a big government scheme to trample the ancient liberties of property owners and provincial nobles. Don’t tread on him!”

Fox News’ Steven Crowder gleefully concurs that Robin Hood was fighting against “the medieval equivalent of the IRS.” He adds, “Have leftists even read the story, or did they just opt to rent the Disney version instead?”

It’s not clear what “story” Crowder is referring to, since there isn’t one. Scott’s film, which sets out to the tell the origin story of how Robin became the Hood, does take some welcome departures from what has become the standard version in the 20th century, as well as some confusing ones.

In the first place, Robin Hood returns to his humble roots as a commoner, and instead of a loyal fighter in the Crusades under Richard the Lionheart, he becomes a disillusioned conscript who delivers a scathing condemnation of the army’s slaughter of innocent Muslim civilians.

Later, thanks to some historical improvisation, Robin Hood becomes central to the passage of the Magna Carta, the seminal document limiting the powers of the king and granting certain important rights such as habeas corpus.

The ensuing battle in which the northern barons unite with King John to defeat an invading French army requires an even further stretch of the historical imagination, suggesting a conception of nationality that did not yet exist. In fact, Richard the Lionheart himself barely spent time in what is now England and only spoke French, and when King John threatened to revoke the Magna Carta, northern barons invited the French to invade and replace him!

All in all, this movie stands apart more for its gritty realism and carefully orchestrated re-enactments of medieval battle scenes than for any novel political message. Russell Crowe plays a decidedly more serious Robin Hood than previous incarnations, while Cate Blanchett plays a refreshingly tough, feminist Maid Marian. The brief spells of light-heartedness come mainly from Mark Addy’s delightfully irreverent Friar Tuck.

Some parts of the story can certainly be claimed by the tea party crowd–the Magna Carta as a metaphor for the Constitution, the northern barons as small businessmen, and the hatred of all things French–but it’s hard to see them advocating stealing grain horded by the church in order to redistribute it to the peasants, which Robin Hood also does in the film.

Indeed, unlike the English barons who played a temporarily progressive role in supporting the Magna Carta, the tea baggers are a solidly reactionary force defending a rotten status quo.

To the extent that their anti-government rhetoric finds resonance today, it’s because the government is furthering the trend of Robin Hood-in-reverse, rather than enacting progressive redistribution to benefit the poor. And it is exactly in this sense that Robin Hood remains a rebel to this day, resisting the greed of those in power.

In her excellent piece on the history of Robin Hood, Judy Cox concludes:

Wherever people are oppressed and beaten down by tyrants, but without the means to fight back on their own behalf, they will dream of an avenging hero, one of the people, but with the freedom, courage, and ability to right their wrongs on their behalf. Robin’s story has endured because he represents an unquenchable desire for a better society, a desire which down the centuries has adapted in form but not in content.

See also here.