National Prayer Breakfast Draws Controversy

From The New York Times:

Published: February 3, 2010

For more than 50 years, the National Prayer Breakfast has served as a prime networking event in Washington, bringing together the president, members of Congress, foreign diplomats and thousands of religious, business and military leaders for scrambled eggs and supplication.

Usually, the annual event passes with little notice. But this year, an ethics group in Washington has asked President Obama and Congressional leaders to stay away from the breakfast, on Thursday. Religious and gay rights groups have organized competing prayer events in 17 cities, and protesters are picketing in Washington and Boston.

The objections are focused on the sponsor of the breakfast, a secretive evangelical Christian network called The Fellowship, also known as The Family, and accusations that it has ties to legislation in Uganda that calls for the imprisonment and execution of homosexuals.

The Family has always stayed intentionally in the background, according to those who have written about it. In the last year, however, it was identified as the sponsor of a residence on Capitol Hill that has served as a dormitory and meeting place for a cluster of politicians who ran into ethics problems, including Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, and Gov. Mark Sanford, Republican of South Carolina, both of whom have admitted to adultery.

More recently, it became public that the Family also has close ties to the Ugandan politician who has sponsored the proposed anti-gay legislation.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group, sent a letter this week to the president and Congressional leaders urging them to skip the prayer breakfast. They have also called on C-Span not to televise it this year.

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Study concludes Homophobia bad for health

Bullying boosts gay and lesbian suicide rates

Homophobia bad for health, study concludes

From The Montreal Gazette:

By MAX HARROLD, The Gazette February 3, 2011

Being bullied for being gay or lesbian can lead to a hormonal disruption that can boost suicide rates, memory loss, cardiovascular problems and bone density depletion, a study by a Concordia University graduate shows.

“This shows that homophobia is bad for your health,” said the study’s author, Michael Benibgui. The newly released study is the first to prove a biological link between homophobic bullying and long-lasting physical and psychological conditions, he said.

The study involved 63 Montrealers between the ages of 18 and 25 who answered questionnaires and provided saliva samples in 2003 and 2004, said Benibgui, who was doing his doctoral thesis at the time. Part of the study was made public in 2005, but Benibgui didn’t get around to releasing the rest until now.

The results showed that victims of homophobia had disruptions in their output of cortisol, a hormone released in the brain as a response to stress. Normally, cortisol levels are highest in the morning and lowest in the evening, but those facing homophobic bullying consistently produced higher levels throughout the day, Benibgui said.

While the study did not directly gauge participants’ physical side effects, it is well-known that cortisol disruptions can lead to physical ailments. Besides measuring cortisol, the study’s main focus was on whether participants were more depressed or had more thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.

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New Bill, New Problems for anti-Choice Politicians

NARAL Press release:

Attempt to modify rape-related provision in one anti-choice bill now allows hospitals to refuse to provide life-saving abortion care for women

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the anti-choice House leadership’s decision to modify a provision that would redefine what constitutes rape will create even more problems for Speaker John Boehner and other anti-choice members supporting this agenda.

Even as they attempted to modify this rape-related provision found in two pieces of legislation, H.R. 3 and H.R. 358, these lawmakers inserted a new provision on page six of H.R.358, sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), that would allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care when necessary to save a woman’s life.

“Anti-choice politicians have gone from redefining rape to denying abortion care to women who will die without it,” Keenan said. “When it comes to attacking women’s freedom and privacy, these politicians know no bounds. This debate is just getting started. Any member of Congress who has signed his or her name to this agenda must be held accountable for such extreme attacks against women’s reproductive-health services.”

Ted Miller, 202.973.3032

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Is this secretive Christian group a threat to US church/state division?

The short answer is yes.  This organization is  the core of Christo- Fascism/Nazism.  It’s actual beliefs have little relationship to anything mainstream Protestantism would consider actual Christianity.

According to Jeff Sharlet it is basically a hate group that has a Nazi agenda or at least a history of supporting the Nazis during World War II.

From The Guardian UK:

The Family, which has links with senior politicians including Barack Obama, has been dogged by controversy in recent years

Becky Garrison

February 3, 2011

More than 3,000 religious leaders, US politicians and representatives from foreign governments will convene in Washington DC today for the annual National Prayer Breakfast. This event, which began in 1953, marks the only publicised function for The Family [or The Fellowship], a private Christian organisation that has been described by religion scholar Jeff Sharlet in his book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power as one of the most powerful Christian fundamentalist movements in the United States.

Keynote speakers who have addressed this breakfast include Tony Blair, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Bono. Beneath this public display of civil religion, Sharlet reported that internal documents describe this as a gathering “where anything could happen … The Koran could be read, but JESUS is there. He is infiltrating the world.”

Unlike populist Christian conservative organisations whose members make frequent appearances on the cable news networks, The Family prefers to function mostly under the radar, away from the glare of the national spotlight. Sharlet wrote: “The Family maintains a closely guarded database of its associates, but it issues no cards, collects no official dues. Members are asked not to speak about the group or its activities.”

Most people were unaware of The Family until 2009, when the news broke that high-ranking US politicians including a senator, John Ensign, a governor, Mark Sanford, and a representative, Charles Pickering Jr, conducted extramarital affairs while living in a town house called C Street that was owned by The Family. Further controversy followed when news reports connected The Family to David Bahati and the anti-gay legislative efforts in Uganda. The Family denied playing an active role in supporting this legislation and rescinded Bahati’s invitation to attend the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast. However, when Bahati came to the United States in December 2010, Rachel Maddow’s interview with him on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show demonstrated a clear link between The Family and Uganda’s anti-gay legislation.

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Hundreds of progressive activists pledge to oppose Obama in 2012

I was never all that enthusiastic regarding Obama.  I supported his election because I remembered the disaster of not supporting Humphrey in 1968, which was the start of the decline into the mess we are presently in.

I never saw Obama as liberal or progressive.  I though his campaign slogans of “Hope” and “Change you can believe in” were as empty and meaningless as a fast food ad.  I was put off by his embracing of Rick Warren, his failure to support women’s rights to control their own bodies via access to safe and legal abortion.  I never saw him as a champion of LGBT/T civil rights and equality.

I believed him when he claimed to admire Reagan, one of the worst ultra right wing morons we have ever had as acting president.

I made sure the bumper sticker of support I stuck on our car was magnetic and not a stick-on so I could take it off and throw it away as soon as he betrayed those of us who elected him.  I didn’t have long to wait.  The day after he claimed victory he threw LGBT/T folks under the bus by letting us know our issues were not important. (He barely mentioned Prop 8 and how it took away marriage equality in California during his campaign).

He threw ACORN under the bus.  His friends turned out to be the same free market pirates and money manipulating scum of the earth that got us into the global financial mess and created the rule by wealthy oligarchy that is the New World Order.

We are still in the endless war.  We still spend more than all other nations combined on our war budget, which we refer to by the Orwellian term “Defense Budget” while fighting wars of naked aggression to enlarge our pool of available resources like oil and cheap labor.

Obama should face a primary challenger and progressives need to form a real party and not some fringe group that is running on Republican money like the Green Party.

This nation has two political parties that support the interests of the ultra rich oligarch and the corporations and none that represent the bottom 90% of people who work living rather than living off the work of others.

The Republicans and Democrats are the ultra right wing and the slightly less right wing of the Corporate Party.  We need a party for the majority of people who make up the middle and lower classes.

From Raw Story:

By Sahil Kapur
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

WASHINGTON – Hundreds of liberal organizers and anti-war activists have signed a petition pledging to oppose President Barack Obama’s renomination in 2012 unless he reverses course in Afghanistan and pushes for significant cuts to military spending.

“We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them,” the pledge reads.

From former high-ticket lawmakers to ex-intelligence officials to veterans advocates, the petition (available here) has garnered the support of a multitude noted figures, including Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, retired FBI agent Coleen Rowley, and 2006 US Senate candidate Jean Hay Bright.

“We wanted to express our willingness to take a stand,” said seasoned anti-war activist David Swanson, the creator of the pledge, in an interview with Raw Story. The signatories, he added, declared their “absolute unwillingness to support Obama” unless he “takes on the war machine.”

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IMF Warns That Likelihood of Civil Wars is Increasing

From The Daily Reckoning:

By Rocky Vega


Stockholm, Sweden – The International Monetary Fund’s managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has pointed out that the global is economy is built upon a destabilizing and dangerous combination: emerging economies, where brisk growth has created two-tiered societies with rich and poor* on hugely unequal footings, and developed nations, that are still wracked with high unemployment and have little relief in sight.

He suggests these imbalances are igniting the breed of deep-seated animosity that can lead to civil wars, especially in those countries with the largest wealth disparities and highest unemployment.


According to the Telegraph:

“‘Global unemployment remains at record highs, with widening income inequality adding to social strains,’ he said, citing turmoil in North Africa as a prelude to what may happen as 400m youths join the workforce over the next decade. ‘We could see rising social and political instability within nations – even war,’ he said.

“The IMF has published a paper entitled Inequality, Leverage and Crisis arguing that the extreme gap between rich and poor – with echoes of the US in the late 1920s – was an underlying cause of the Great Recession from 2008-2009. The paper, by the Fund’s modelling unit, warned of ‘disastrous consequences’ for the world economy unless workers regain their ‘bargaining power’ against rentiers. It suggests radical changes to the tax system and debt relief for workers.”

* The deindustrialization of the United States with the ever increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of the money changers and corporate owners has created the same sort of two tiered society in the US with the same sort of inchoate rage building  among those of the lower 80% of people who are having the 20% of wealth they control stripped from them by a government that no longer even gives lip service to the idea of fairness.
What happens when people become so alienated from their government that they no longer feel their government speaks to their needs and exists only to exploit them?  What happens as in the case of the US where that majority is not only finding themselves reduced to being the new underclass but are armed to the teeth with the same sort of small arms that give our armies so many problems in places like Vietnam?
What happens when the misery becomes so great that the spectacles like the Stupor Bowl no longer distract these people from their misery?

S. Dakota: No License for Lesbian Wives

I wish that for one year all heterosexuals  had to put up with the petty meanness and hurdles that make the lives of  LGBT/T people have to put our entire lives.  Everything from the enduring the constant stream of hate and bigotry from the Christo-Fascists to the little things like having to argue you really are a family in order to get the same rates given straight families.

From The Advocate:

By Editors

February 2, 2011

Two Sioux Falls women are being denied drivers’ licenses due to laws in South Dakota’s prohibition on recognizing same-sex marriage, reports The women, Amy (left) and Ashley Stabe, were legally married in Iowa, but were refused licenses in their married names by the Department of Public Safety. They are petitioning the Minnehaha County court for name changes, with the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota.

The rejection arises from the 2006 voter-passed constitutional amendment that rejects recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions. Chris Hupke, executive director of the anti-equality group South Dakota Family Policy Council that pushed for the constitutional amendment in 2006, views a name change as a legitimization of a union rejected by voters. “Everyone did their job,” Hupke said of the government’s refusal to issue the requested licenses. “The system worked.”

But equality advocated view the denial as an attempt to drive LGBT people from the state. “This is an emerging issue for states that have passed these constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage,” said Robert Doody, executive director of the South Dakota ACLU. “They’re being used to deny people really basic rights.”

Exclusive: Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan Spoke At The Koch Strategy Meeting

From Think Progress:

By Lee Fang

Feb 2nd, 2011

Last October, ThinkProgress helped break the story about secret political strategy meetings, convened by polluter billionaires Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries, to coordinate the funding and direction of the conservative movement. Previous meetings have included Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, top hedge fund managers like Cliff Asness, business executives, Republican strategists, and various other political operatives. Following the revelation of these meetings, a group of progressive organizations protested the most recent meeting in Rancho Mirage, California last weekend. ThinkProgress revealed a partial list of the attendees, including GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, Americans for Prosperity officials like Alan Cobb, political consultant Michael Goldfarb, longtime lobbyist Nancy Pfotenhauer, and a number of donors, including Home Depot founder Ken Langone and billionaire heiress Diane Hendricks.

Complete article at:  ttp://

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A Food Manifesto for the Future

From The New York Times:


February 1, 2011

For decades, Americans believed that we had the world’s healthiest and safest diet. We worried little about this diet’s effect on the environment or on the lives of the animals (or even the workers) it relies upon. Nor did we worry about its ability to endure — that is, its sustainability.

That didn’t mean all was well. And we’ve come to recognize that our diet is unhealthful and unsafe. Many food production workers labor in difficult, even deplorable, conditions, and animals are produced as if they were widgets. It would be hard to devise a more wasteful, damaging, unsustainable system.

Here are some ideas — frequently discussed, but sadly not yet implemented — that would make the growing, preparation and consumption of food healthier, saner, more productive, less damaging and more enduring. In no particular order:

  • End government subsidies to processed food. We grow more corn for livestock and cars than for humans, and it’s subsidized by more than $3 billion annually; most of it is processed beyond recognition. The story is similar for other crops, including soy: 98 percent of soybean meal becomes livestock feed, while most soybean oil is used in processed foods. Meanwhile, the marketers of the junk food made from these crops receive tax write-offs for the costs of promoting their wares. Total agricultural subsidies in 2009 were around $16 billion, which would pay for a great many of the ideas that follow.

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