frederickclarkson.com

The blog of Frederick Clarkson

Archive for July, 2007

Song of Ourselves and Others

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If Walt Whitman were a Democrat and writing today, he might have written something like this.

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July 31st, 2007 at 11:11 pm

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Take the Bill O’Reilly Hate Tour

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Poor Bill O’Reilly.

The Yearly Kos convention has him apoplectic and he has his gofers grubbing around looking for any piece of dirt with which to smear the unrelated Daily Kos web site. But for high-profile coarsening of public discourse, there are few, maybe none who can match the bile and bullying of Bill O’Reilly. Dave Neiwert gives us a brief run down.

And it’s really worth your time to take a look at the the nasty things he said to one of his producers who sued him for sexual harrassment in 2004.

Over at Daily Kos, Hunter has a discussion of Mr. O’Reilly’s gutter standards with lots of links to sources. Here is a sample:

I’d like to point a few things out here. First, myspace.com, also owned by News Corp, just purged 29,000 convicted sex offenders from their site. That’s more rapists, pedophiles, and sexual predators on a single Rupert Murdoch site then total trolls we have ever banned from ours. And yet Bill O’Reilly says nothing — is it because, as a renowned pervert himself, he likes associating with rapists and pedophiles and sexual predators? Or is there another explanation? Bill O’Reilly’s own site contains language threatening violence against Democratic leaders and presidential candidates — and not only did he _not_ remove that language when it was pointed out, but pointing it out apparently was the far worse violation. And then he lied about it, yet again, on his own program. Is it because Bill O’Reilly is _comfortable_ with violent threats against Democrats? Perhaps he is, given his history.

O’REILLY: You know, if I’m the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, “Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you’re not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead.

And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.

O’Reilly is desperate. Everyone is standing up to him. And no one is afraid.

Written by fred

July 30th, 2007 at 2:47 pm

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Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts’ Statewide Meeting

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PDM’s 2007 Statewide Meeting will be held on Saturday September 8, 9am to 4pm (location TBA).

In the last few years, PDM’s efforts have contributed to many progressive victories, helping to elect Governor Patrick, state legislators, and local government leaders. Unfortunately, anti-government sentiments often seem to dominate public opinion.

To make our Progressive goals a reality, we must reengage the public in a positive debates about public policy that focuses on the kind of state and communities we want to have. This year’s statewide meeting will be devoted to starting and sustaining that new conversation.

Several members of our Statewide Coordinating Committee recently attended a workshop sponsored by One Massachusetts and Public Works: The Demos Center for the Public Sector. Demos has been doing extensive research to identify how to communicate more effectively about government, its purpose, and the many issues we all care about. Their approach is based on identifying enduring values, rather than developing “messages” that might poll well at one point in time.

SCC members who attended the workshop were so impressed that we have asked Demos’ to work with us to prepare our 2007 statewide meeting. So . . . Come, meet your fellow PDM members, share what you’ve been doing, and begin to develop new skills – learn how you can incorporate Demos’ approach in your every-day communications, advocacy and policy work.

Written by fred

July 28th, 2007 at 12:30 pm

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Kos vs. O’Reilly

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It all started when Fox News bloviator Bill O’Reilly claimed Daily Kos is a hate site, and that therefore, Jet Blue should pull out as a corporate sponsor of the Yearly Kos convention in Chicago, next week. Jet Blue’s contribution was in the form of in kind donation of tickets for some speakers, so they couldn’t take those back, but they did ask YK to remove their logo from the web site and conference materials. On July 16, O’Reilly said Daily Kos is “hate of the worst order.”

Well, bloviator Bill has kept up the drumbeat. So far he has compared Daily Kos to David Duke; the KKK, Benito Mussolini, Nazis and Al Capone. It is difficult to think of anyone on national television lower than Bill O’Reilly.

Well the blogosphere is fighting back and contacting O’Reilly’s advertisers about the poor standards of his program; notably the despicable lies he tells. So far, Lowe’s, the big home improvement store chain, of which there are a number here in MA, has pulled its ads — but competitor Home Depot remains an advertiser. As Markos says, two can play at this game. Click on the link for info on O’Reilly advertisers, and Fox advertisers in general

Now, the Associated Press reports that a coalition of groups is ramping-up a campaign to pressure Fox advertisers.

MoveOn.org, the Campaign for America’s Future and liberal blogs like DailyKos.com are asking thousands of supporters to monitor who is advertising on the network. Once a database is gathered, an organized phone-calling campaign will begin, said Jim Gilliam, vice president of media strategy for Brave New Films, a company that has made anti-Fox videos…

Home Depot has not had an unusual number of calls, said spokesman Jerry Shields, and the home improvement chain will not change its advertising strategy.

”We’re not in the business of censoring media,” Shields said. ”We need to reach our customer base through all mediums available.”

Groups like the Sierra Club have targeted Home Depot because they believe it’s inconsistent for the company to promote environmentally friendly products while advertising on a network that has questioned global warming.

It looks like Home Depot may be in for some surprises.

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July 28th, 2007 at 11:41 am

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Theocrat(s) of the Week

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Our Distinuished Panel of Judges faced a vexatious choice when they returned from vacation.

They found themselves deeply — albeit breifly — divided over the top two contenders for Theocrat of the Week. Agonizing seconds passed before a tie was declared between Pope Benedict XVI and fellow Catholic, U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA), perfect unanimity was restored.

Much more.

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July 25th, 2007 at 9:19 pm

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Theocrat of the Week

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A pluralist society does not recognize any one — or any religious truth at all. That’s why it is antithetical to all things theocratic. What holds a pluralist society together is the recognition and commitment — as well as constitutional and legal doctrines — that every person has the right to believe as they will; to change their minds; and to engage in spirited public debate about, well, whatever people want to talk about.  The curious position of the theocrat, is that he must navigate the pluralist maze, seeking to create conditions for a more theocratic society. Sometimes, this means making temporary alliances with other theocrats — even those whose theocratic vision is radically different! Sometimes such alliances are necessary to force governments to adopt policies against things like sexuality education and condom distribution to prevent AIDS. Fortunately, many theocrats can agree that withholding condoms from the general public is of the highest importance. Also, all good theocrats have the common goal of the demolition of the wall of separation between church and state. (One wall — thwarts them all!)

But there are also times when a good theocrat needs to be resolute; able to say exactly who’s who and what’s what. It is for just such a demonstration of this necessary prerequiste for theocratic leadership that Our Distinguished Panel of Judges now lifts up Al Mohler, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Mohler impressed everyone this week with his forthright statement that Mormons are not Christians (Mitt Romney not withstanding).

Much more.

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July 8th, 2007 at 12:53 am

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Anatomy of a Smear

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A few weeks ago in New York City, the publisher of Steeplejacking: How the Christian Right is Hijacking Mainstream Religion, held a panel discussion as part of the launch of the book. Scheduled to speak were co-authors Sheldon Culver and John Dorhauer, Michelle Goldberg, Chris Hedges (author of American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America) and me. Hedges, a divinity school graduate and former New York Times reporter who teaches at Princeton, was ultimately unable to attend — but we were joined by a young spy from the Washington, DC-based neoconservative Institute on Religion and Democracy.

This was not really a surprise. IRD uses a mix of staff and freelancers to infiltrate events of all kinds — denominational and related interest group meetings; as well as events that have no obvious connection to their purported mission of “renewal” of the mainline protestant churches in the U.S. In this case, the spy was Rebekah Sharpe, a 2005 graduate of the University of North Carolina, who has written a series of apparently freelance reports for the IRD web site.

Usually when I write about aspects of the quarter century campaign by IRD and its neoconservative and religious right allies to disrupt and divide the mainline prostestant churches — I am writing from a distance. But this time, it’s personal. The writer and/or her editors have published a piece that grossly misrepresents what I said that evening in New York.  In short, it’s a smear.

Much more.

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July 7th, 2007 at 9:50 pm

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The Honor Roll of Theocrats of the Week

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While this week bloggers around the world are engaged in the Blog Against Theocracy, we here at Theocrat of the Week wish to highlight the many fine people on whom who Our Distiguished Panel of Judges has bestowed the honor of Theocrat of the Week.

Here we unscroll the Honor Roll (so far):

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July 2nd, 2007 at 12:17 pm

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