Friday, September 3, 2010

Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage

The title says it all. just remember these examples the next time some bible thumper starts throwing around sound bites they heard on Beck about "Traditional Marriage"

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Just Wanna Fuckin' Dance by Manchester Pride 2010

With all the shit going on in my life right now, this video from Manchester Pride gave me a smile and I had to share.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Seperation of Church and State Under Fire

I view with increasing alarm the current attacks on the separation of Church and State as outlined in the First Amendment to The Constitution. The spiritual leader of this movement is none other than faux historian and pathalogical liar David Barton.

Barton, who founded the right wing christian group Wallbuilders, has made a career out of presenting quotes out of context or just making shit up to attempt to prove his point. His latest screed occurred on the hilarious first episode of Glenn Beck's Beck University.

One of his tricks is to hold up the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson to prove his point claiming all the wording came from church sermons given the years prior. To deduce that Thomas Jefferson really was a closeted christian who really didn't believe in the separation of church and state flies in the face of his actual quotes on religion, the bible, and it's place in society.

Jefferson's take on religion...

"I have examined all the known superstitions of the world and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth."

In a letter to William Short, Jefferson wrote...

"Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and imposters led by Paul, the first great corruptor of the teachings of Jesus."

Another Founding Father, John Adams had this to say on the subject...

"Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole cartloads of other trumpery that we find religion
encumbered with in these days?"


"The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

When John Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11 clearly states "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."

Thomas Paine wrote...

"I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to that book (the Bible)."

"Among the most detesable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses. Here is an order, attributed to 'God' to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers, and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not dare so dishonor my Creator's name by (attaching) it to this filthy book (the Bible)."

"It is the duty of every true Diest to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible."

"Accustom a people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins...and you will have sins in abundance."

And; "The Christian church has set up a religion of pomp and revenue in pretend imitation of a person (Jesus) who lived a life of poverty."

Then we have James Madison and his opinion of churches...

"What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyrrany. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy."

Madison objected to state-supported chaplains in Congress and to the exemption of churches from taxation. He wrote "Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

Religious Right activists claim the framers never intended to separate church and state. Christian Coalition president Pat Robertson says separation is a "lie of the left." The late Jerry Falwell called it "a modern fabrication."

Thomas Jefferson's own words on the subject...

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."
--Letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, January 1, 1802

Perhaps most alarming, Barton also has had a relationship with the racist and anti-Semitic fringes of the far right. According to Skipp Porteous of the Massachusetts-based Institute for First Amendment Studies, Barton was listed in promotional literature as a "new and special speaker" at a 1991 summer retreat in Colorado sponsored by Scriptures for America, a far-right ministry headed by Pastor Pete Peters. Peters' organization, which is virulently anti-Semitic and racist, spreads hysteria about Jews and homosexuals and has been linked to neo-Nazi groups. (The organization distributes a booklet called Death Penalty For Homosexuals.)

Peters' church is part of the racist "Christian Identity" movement. and three members of The Order, a violent neo-Nazi organization, formerly attended Peters' small congregation in LaPorte, Cole. After members of The Order murdered Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg in the mid 1980s, critics of Peters' ministry in Colorado charged that his hate-filled sermons had spurred the assassination.

Writing in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, (then Republican) Senator Arlen Specter stated:

Probably the best refutation of Barton's argument simply is to quote his own exegesis of the First Amendment: "Today," Barton says, "we would best understand the actual context of the First Amendment by saying, 'Congress shall make no law establishing one Christian denomination as the national denomination.' " In keeping with Barton's restated First Amendment, Congress could presumably make a law establishing all Christian denominations as the national religion, and each state could pass a law establishing a particular Christian church as its official religion.

All of this pseudoscholarship would hardly be worth discussing, let alone disproving, were it not for the fact that it is taken so very seriously by so many people.

– Arlen Specter, Defending the wall: Maintaining church/state separation in America, [

Of course the former Governor Half-Baked Alaskan Sarah Palin is on the Barton road map along with countless everyday church goers who want to believe this garbage with all their faith. Pity they are getting it from such a charlatan.

For more information on our founding fathers go read "Our Founding Fathers on Christianity."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Freedom Works & D. C. Douglas

D. C. Douglas famous as the recently fired voice announcer for Geico Insurance put together this hilarious PSA for Freedom Works. They are the classless bunch behind the Tea Bagger movement and others.

Check out the hilarious video on You Tube

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell The Dance Video

A group of soldiers in Iraq put together this dance video to poke fun of DADT. It's set to the music of Ke$ha.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And Another One Bites The Dust.......

Anti-Gay Family Research Council co-founder George Rekers was caught coming off a plane at Miami International with a male prostitute at his side. "Lucien" and Rekers shown here leaving customs, were returning from a 10 day trip to Europe. Rekers, who also sits on the board for NARTH National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (another "the Gay can be cured" cult Bullshit group) claimed he hired the lad to carry his luggage for him. When spotted, Rekers was seen pushing his own luggage and presumably that of Lucien's as well.

Rekers co-founded the Family Research Council with right-wing anti-Gay zellot James Dobson. FRC and NARTH have so far refused to comment.

"Lucien was hired from (NSFW) a graphic website to rent male prostitutes. Anybody looking at the site will have no problem knowing exactly what they are selling.

It seems like the harder they yell, the more glorious the fall.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Michelle Bachmann, a Few Fries Short

John Aravosis over at AmericaBlog has put a new slogan to Michelle Bachmann.

That's okay. We've long accused Bachmann of being a few fries short of a Happy Meal, and we mean no disrespect to Happy Meals.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fighting Prop. 8

I will let this one speak for itself. This is a chat at a New York Times diversity event featuring Ted Boies and Theodore Olsen, the two lawyers who have championed the fight against Prop 8 before the Ninth Circuit. They were previously famous as being the two lawyers who squared off in Bush v Gore.I would embed the picture, but unfortunately the NYT's won't let me. Here is the link. Be warned, the video is really good, but 52 minutes long.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Gibbons Follies

The Governor returned from DC after the Governor's Conference and wasn't ready for questions on his traveling companion.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Why HAMP Is Destined To Fail

The Presidents much vaunted HAMP program to encourage homeowners to stay in their homes and reduce the number of foreclosures is at risk of collapsing.

The program as envisioned was a way to keep the money flowing into the coffers of bankers. With a mortgage modification, banks are allowed to declare the entire amount owed as an asset on their books instead of writing down their assets if they actually had to report the current market value of the properties. Just another example of helping Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

For decades now common wisdom had homeowners doing all they could to save their homes. It was with that idea in mind that the worst of the predatory lending occurred over the past few years. Lenders threw money at people who truly had no hope of paying it back figuring if they bundled the lousy assets with good ones to offset them, they could dilute the bad loans. In a normal environment, they could have gotten away with it. Unfortunately, greed won over common sense. The banks kept lending as fast as possible to individuals who often didn't understand what they were signing, or who were lied to because of the pages and pages of fine print that allowed the lender to hide the true cost of the loan. This isn't to say there wasn't fraud on the part of borrowers as well, because there was, but the lure of easy money was incentive for lenders even when they knew the borrower was lying.

I received an offer on one of my listings a couple of years ago for $100,000 above what I knew the property was worth. The offer was accompanied with a separate Addendum for my seller to contribute $100,000 to redecorate the property. Total fraud! The buyer stated she could get an appraisal that would meet the inflated price. This was before the crack-down on appraisers and escrow companies who were in collusion and giving each other kick-backs. Needless to say, the offer was rejected.

Wall Street in the meanwhile didn't care who received the loan or how. All it cared about was generating more mortgages which were bundled into so called "Mortgage Backed Securities", blessed with AAA ratings, guaranteed by AIG and sold to investors around the world who more often than not bundled them with other securities which were sold to other investors etc. When the Sub-Prime loans started re-setting upward after two to three years and the homeowners could no longer continue to afford their payments, the whole house of cards started to unravel. Investors holding these now shitty securities went back to the sellers of the securities. They turned around and went to AIG and the major banks who created the whole mess. AIG guaranteed over $1 trillion in toxic securities while only having a few billion to actually pay off the investors. Which brings us up to big bailout at the end of 2008.

Wall Street, not Main Street gets bailed out to the tune of several hundred billion dollars. Instead of keeping lines of credit open for small businesses, the bailed out "To Big To Fail" banks shut off the credit forcing many a small business to fail, paid out ridiculous bonuses to their executives in the face of their failure, and jacked up interest rates on consumer credit cards to 30% or more. The American public are not stupid, they see what is going on.

Here in Las Vegas, home prices fell over 50% in the past year. Condos dropped even faster. Homeowners who paid $300,000 for a home during the bubble watched as their homes value dropped to $150,000 or lower. To protect the banks, congress has refused to allow cram-downs by bankruptcy courts. That's not to say ALL mortgages are exempt from cram-down. If you happen to be lucky enough to own more than one home, the second home is eligible for cram-down in a bankruptcy. As a result, a homeowner upside down on their mortgage has four options:
1. Continue to make the payments no matter how high they go.
2. Get a loan modification from their loan servicer.
3. Short-Sale the property.
4. Walk away and allow it to be foreclosed.

Few homeowners will be able to keep up payments when they adjust up. Getting a loan modification is a major hassle. Over 40% of loan modifications made over the past year are already past due. Many homeowners who start the loan modification process drop out over the hassle the banks put them through. Many a bank employee has told homeowners they need to be behind before the bank will consider a loan mod which is not true. Homeowners who did this more often than not received a loan modification with terms that dropped their interest rate or extended the payments out, but the banks tacked on the past due up front. In some cases this resulted in a new payment higher than the original unaffordable one.

Short Selling the property where the lender agrees to accept a sale for less than the property is worth is a major headache to close. Most Short Sales take a minimum of four months to get bank approval and close. The buyer often finds another property in the meantime. The banks rarely know what the left hand and right hand are doing. As a real estate agent you may get bank okay from the Loss Mitigation Dept. for the short sale only to have the bank foreclose before the property closes. Some homeowners are under the mistaken impression that a short-sale won't affect their credit the way a foreclosure will. Unfortunately, they both count the same. The big difference is banks can go after a short-sale homeowner for a deficiency judgment for the difference between sale price and the mortgage for six years after the sale, while under a foreclosure they only have six months.

The last option of course is foreclosure. Even with a loan modification 60% of the homes in Las Vegas are up-side down. In some cases by Hundreds of Thousands of dollars. If you know you won't see the value of the home rise to the purchase price for the foreseeable future, your essentially paying rent with a tax write off. Walking away looks like a pretty good option. Recently, more and more economists are saying walk away. Now I know some of you are saying "but what about your obligation to make good on the mortgage?" Well there are two sides to that question. It comes down to banks saying do as we say not as we do. As Roger Lowenstein reports in the New York Times

John Courson, president and C.E.O. of the Mortgage Bankers Association, recently told The Wall Street Journal that homeowners who default on their mortgages should think about the “message” they will send to “their family and their kids and their friends.” Courson was implying that homeowners — record numbers of whom continue to default — have a responsibility to make good. He wasn’t referring to the people who have no choice, who can’t afford their payments. He was speaking about the rising number of folks who are voluntarily choosing not to pay.

Businesses — in particular Wall Street banks — make such calculations routinely. Morgan Stanley recently decided to stop making payments on five San Francisco office buildings. A Morgan Stanley fund purchased the buildings at the height of the boom, and their value has plunged. Nobody has said Morgan Stanley is immoral — perhaps because no one assumed it was moral to begin with. But the average American, as if sprung from some Franklinesque mythology, is supposed to honor his debts, or so says the mortgage industry as well as government officials. Former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. declared that “any homeowner who can afford his mortgage payment but chooses to walk away from an underwater property is simply a speculator — and one who is not honoring his obligation.” (Paulson presumably was not so censorious of speculation during his 32-year career at Goldman Sachs.)

The moral suasion has continued under President Obama, who has urged that homeowners follow the “responsible” course. Indeed, HUD-approved housing counselors are supposed to counsel people against foreclosure. In many cases, this means counseling people to throw away money. Brent White, a University of Arizona law professor, notes that a family who bought a three-bedroom home in Salinas, Calif., at the market top in 2006, with no down payment (then a common-enough occurrence), could theoretically have to wait 60 years to recover their equity. On the other hand, if they walked, they could rent a similar house for a pittance of their monthly mortgage.

In recent weeks we have seen banks start giving out billions for bonuses like there was nothing wrong. Well there is something wrong when the only way you can pay out bonuses is by using TARP funds to do it.

In addition, the administration has been playing up the moral obligation to pay your mortgage. There is something galling and very oily having Paulson, the ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs teaching us financial morality. Also in the past week, we have learned Brad Birkenfeld, the only UBS executive charged with a crime, is going to jail. His crime, blowing the whistle on UBS and their illegal tax havens for the wealthy. You remember UBS, they are the Swiss bank that received $5 billion in bailouts from AIG. TRhe other bit of economic news had to do with then Head of the NY Fed Tim Geithner counseling AIG to hide what they were doing.

When you add it all up together, walking away IS a moral choice for many upside down homeowners. If any pundits want to rant about moral obligations, remind of what the bankers have done in the past and continue to do today. I see nothing moral in supporting a bunch of blood-sucking leaches destroy the middle class in this country. When bankers start showing the slightest morality for what they have done to the American people, you might, just might then have a leg to stand on.