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How Religion Can Let Loose Humanity’s Most Violent Impulses

2015 January 20
by chief

Published January 16, 2015 by Valerie Tarico on her blog.

violence-religion-as-drug

Religion is just one part of the lethal cocktail, but it is a powerful intoxicant.

The year 2015 has opened to slaughter in the name of gods. In Paris, two Islamist brothers executed Charlie Hebdo cartoonists “in defense of the Prophet,” while an associate killed shoppers in a kosher grocery. In Nigeria, Islamist members of Boko Haram massacred a town to cries of Allahu Akbar — Allah is the greatest! Simultaneously, the United Nations released a report detailing the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslims in the Central African Republic by Christian militias, sometimes reciting Bible verses. On a more civilized note, Saudi Arabia began inflicting 1000 lashes on a jailed blasphemous blogger – to be doled out over 20 weeks so that he may survive to the end.

In media outlets around the world, fierce debate has erupted over who or what is responsible. Is monotheism inherently violent? Is religion an excuse or cover for other kinds of conflict? Are Western colonialism and warmongering in the root of the problem? Do blasphemers make themselves targets? Is the very concept of blasphemy a form of coercion or violence that demands resistance? Is killing in the name of gods a distortion of religion? Alternately, is it the real thing?

Each of these questions is best answered “yes, and” rather than “yes/no.”

With the possible exception of Buddhism, the world’s most powerful religions give wildly contradictory messages about violence. The Christian Bible is full of exhortations to kindness, compassion, humility, mercy and justice. It is also full of exhortations to stoning, burning, slavery, torture, and slaughter. If the Bible were law, most people you know would qualify for the death penalty. The same can be said of the Quran. The same can be said of the Torah. Believers who claim that Islam or Christianity or Judaism is a religion of peace are speaking a half-truth—and a naive falsehood.

The human inclination toward peacemaking or violence exists on a continuum. Happy, healthy people who are inherently inclined toward peacemaking focus on sacred texts and spiritual practices that encourage peace. Those who are bitter, angry, fearful or prone to self-righteousness are attracted to texts that sanction violence and teachers who encourage the same. People along the middle of this continuum can be drawn in either direction by charismatic religious leaders who selectively focus on one or the other.

Each person’s individual violence risk is shaped by a host of factors: genetics, early learning, health, culture, social networks, life circumstances, and acute triggers. To blame any act of violence on religion alone is as silly as blaming an act of violence on guns or alcohol. But to deny that religion plays a role is as silly as denying that alcohol and guns play a role. It is to pretend that religions are inert, that our deepest values and beliefs about reality and morality have no impact on our behavior.

From a psychological standpoint, religions often put a god’s name on impulses that have subconscious, pre-verbal roots. They elicit peak experiences like mystic euphoria, dominance, submission, love and joy. They claim credit for the moral emotions (e.g. shame, guilt, disgust and empathy) that incline us toward fair play and altruism, and they direct these emotions toward specific persons or activities. In a similar way, religions elicit and channel protective reactions like anger and fear, the emotions most likely to underlie violence.

A case from my own field, mental health, tells the story. On November 5, 2009, Muslim US army psychiatrist, Nidal Malik Hasan, shot and killed thirteen of his fellow soldiers on the Fort Hood military base, injuring another thirty. His case shows how religion can combine with other ingredients to produce a lethal brew. From the swirl of conjecture and hype emerged the image of a man who was lonely, who couldn’t quite seem to win at love, and who was profoundly troubled by the horror stories brought home by his soldier clients. Do therapists experience vicarious trauma? Absolutely. Does this trauma put their own mental health at risk? Absolutely. Many of them deal with this risk by seeking professional consultation, asking for support from loving family and friends, and limiting the number of post-traumatic clients that they see.

It appears that Hasan made at least tentative attempts in several of these directions. But primarily he turned to forms of Islam that only deepened his sense of alienation and anger. In what must have been an anguishing conflict of loyalties, piety helped him to resolve the conflict in favor of co-religionists over compatriots. Ultimately, rage won out — righteous, sanctified rage — which came to matter more than any value he as a healer placed on his own life or the lives of his colleagues and clients.

The perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo massacre grew up in an immigrant ghetto outside of Paris, a place steeped in patriarchy, bravado, and resentment—a place more prone to foster bitterness than hope. Any path to assimilation was obstructed by both the racism of outsiders and their own sense of cultural and religious superiority, and they instead spent time in Yemen where they absorbed the jihadist aspirations of Al Qaeda. Islam, in other words, probably contributed to their inability to merge into French culture and then sanctified and channeled their anger. But there were many reasons that the jihadi mentality found fertile ground.

I would argue that, like alcohol, religion disinhibits violence rather than causing it, and that it does so only when other factors have created conditions favorable toward aggression. I might also argue that under better circumstances religion disinhibits generosity and compassion, increasing giving and helping behaviors. Religion often is centered around authority and text worship (aka “bibliolatry”). Because of this, it has the power to lower the threshold on any behavior sanctioned by either a sacred text or a trusted religious leader and is at its most powerful when one is echoed by the other.

Despite the fact that violence is repeatedly endorsed in sacred texts, most Christians, Muslims and Jews never commit acts of violence in the service of their religion. Similarly, millions of people consume alcohol without insulting, hitting, kicking, stabbing or shooting anyone. Most of us are peaceful drinkers and peaceful believers. Yet, statistically we know that without alcohol assaults would be less common. So too, we all know that when suicide bombings happen, or blasphemers and apostates are condemned to die, or a rape victim is stoned to death, Islam is likely to be involved. And when we hear that an obstetrics doctor has been shot or a gay teen beaten and left for dead, or a U.S. president has announced a “crusade”, we know that Christianity was likely a part of the mix.

In general, as the gospel writer said, it is far easier to see the mote in our brother’s eye than the log in our own. American culture is bathed in Christianity, and even for most secular Americans, is easy to see Islam’s role in violence while missing the times when Christianity plays the same role. But the rest of the world doesn’t see us through our own rose colored glasses, and under a bare light bulb, American Christianity retains shadows of the inquisitor’s hood and implements of torture.

In recent years, the European and Australian press repeatedly have called attention to horrors being perpetrated in Africa thanks to American missionary dollars, a story that has been slow to get mainstream American press coverage. As Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity spread across Nigeria and Congo, thousands of children are being beaten or burned or disfigured with acid after being condemned by Christian ministers as “witches.” After all, the American missionaries teach that the Bible is the literally perfect word of God, and the Bible says, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18). When children are condemned by pastors and priests, exposed in the name of Jesus by the Holy Spirit himself, parents abandon them and their villages drive them out. The lucky ones find refuge in shelters. (For photos click here.)

Meanwhile in Uganda, American Evangelicals have helped to advance prison terms and death penalties for African gays. The Family, an American Christian organization with members in congress helped to convert Uganda’s president to their form of politicized Christianity. American activists attended a conference in Uganda aimed at “wiping out” homosexuality. Within months, a bill had been introduced that would allow the death penalty for gays with AIDS and institute jail time for parents who fail to turn in their homosexual teens. Unrelated? No. But horrors such as these don’t seem to have abated the flow of salvific dollars, Bibles, and earnest missionaries eager for converts any more than suicide bombings have dried up support for madrassas.

Were the Fort Hood and Charlie Hebdo murder sprees or Boko Haram massacres caused by Islam? Are the Central African murder sprees caused by Christianity? A yes answer is far too simple. But violence, tribalism, and mutually exclusive truth claims are built into in our sacred texts and traditions. As a consequence, religion around the world continues to disinhibit lethal violence at a horrendous rate. For us to vilify Muslims or Christians or any group of believers collectively is to engage in the familiar act of cowardice we call scapegoating. It means, ever and always, that we end up sacrificing innocents to appease our own fear, anger and thirst for vengeance. But for us to ignore the complicated role of religion in violence is a different kind of cowardice, one that has been indulged by peace-lovers among the faithful for far too long.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org. Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel. Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

 

Posted by Gypsy Chief


ALEC Sharpens Attack on Environmental Safeguards

2015 January 18
by chief

climate_change_carbon_dioxide_nasa

Published December 29, 2014 by Committee For Media and Democracy. This was published as a CMD guest post. Article by Elliot Negan, Senior Writer, Union of Concerned Scientists.

After being accused of “literally lying” about climate change by one of its own high-profile business members, excoriated for being a “corporate bill mill,” and losing nearly 100 company sponsors, you might expect the rabidly anti-environmental American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to tone it down a little.

Not a chance.

Emboldened by the November elections, which resulted in Republicans now controlling 31 governorships and more than two-thirds of state legislative chambers, the secretive corporate lobby group seems even more committed to its wrecking-ball agenda.

We are rapidly approaching a dangerous precipice — a precipice defined by an insatiable desire by far too many policymakers to regulate the use of fossil fuels. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.
~Craig Idso
Chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Climate Change

At the group’s most recent conference, held earlier this month in Washington, D.C., more than 400 predominantly Republican state lawmakers and industry reps formulated sample legislation that will serve as templates for statehouses across the country. During the three-day event, they put the finishing touches on bills and resolutions that would, among other things, weaken the Endangered Species Act, thwart implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed standard for existing power plant carbon emissions, and block the EPA’s new proposed standard for ground-level ozone.

If that weren’t enough, they also considered a resolution urging Congress to abolish the EPA as we know it. Corporate lobbyists reportedly shot down the idea as too extreme even for ALEC, but the group can still do plenty to stymie government efforts to protect public health and the environment.

… the [renewable energy]standards have already delivered benefits. For example, according to Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, a trade group, in just four years the energy efficiency standard saved Ohio consumers more than $1 billion. Meanwhile, filings by Ohio utilities, including American Electric Power, Duke Energy and FirstEnergy, show that the standard has saved consumers two dollars for every dollar invested.

ALEC Serves Its Legislators Corporate Spin

Per usual, ALEC’s dog and pony show also included one-sided policy tutorials by industry mouthpieces.

In one closed-door session, according to the Washington Post, an American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association official told ALEC lawmakers that the EPA’s new ozone standard would harm states’ economies and do little to protect residents’ health. Never mind the fact that ground-level ozone — the most pervasive pollutant nationwide — is linked to asthma, heart disease and premature death, and the EPA estimates the proposed standard’s public health benefits would be two to three times greater than the cost to industry.

Another session featured Jack Hubbard, vice president of the consulting firm Berman and Company, pitching his firm’s campaign to undermine the credibility of leading environmental groups and celebrity activists. Called “Big Green Radicals,” the campaign is similar to Berman and Company’s attacks on labor unions, animal rights organizations and public health advocates on behalf of its anonymous corporate clients. This time around, the firm is targeting Food and Water Watch, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, and earlier this year it placed billboard ads along the Pennsylvania Turnpike ridiculing Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono and Robert Redford for opposing hydraulic fracturing.

Finally, an ALEC conference wouldn’t be complete without a climate science denier or two. At the organization’s annual conference last July, Joe Bast, president of the fossil fuel industry-funded Heartland Institute, argued that the benefits of carbon emissions far outweigh their costs, while the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow denied that carbon dioxide is a primary cause of global warming in the first place.

The D.C. conference showcased two speakers who made similarly indefensible claims. Craig Idso, chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Climate Change, and Richard Bezdek, president of the research firm Management Information Services, were the featured speakers at a session titled “The Greening of Planet Earth.”

Idso, a Heartland Institute grantee and former environmental science director at Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal company, told the gathering, according to Al Jazeera: “We are rapidly approaching a dangerous precipice — a precipice defined by an insatiable desire by far too many policymakers to regulate the use of fossil fuels. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.”

Bezdek, meanwhile, likened climate science advocates to Nazis.

“Virtually everything that climate activists say is demonstrably false, whether it’s wildfires, whether it’s ocean climate, or whether it’s hurricanes. … That’s why it’s frustrating,” said Bezdek, who claims the benefits of carbon dioxide exceed its costs by a 50 to 1 ratio. “It’s the old Nazi theory, that if you repeat a big lie loud enough and long enough, people believe it. That’s unfortunately what’s happened. It’s very difficult to counter with a silly thing like facts.”

Psychologists would call that “projection.”

ALEC ‘Wields Considerable Influence’

ALEC boasts that its 1,800 legislator members introduce nearly 1,000 ALEC-inspired bills annually and that 20 percent of them, on average, become law. A 2013 report by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) indicates that ALEC’s numbers are pretty much on the mark.

The CMD study identified 466 ALEC bills introduced in the 2013 legislative session across the country on topics ranging from voter identification and “stand your ground” rights to energy and the environment. Eighty-four of the 466 bills passed and became law — an 18-percent success rate. That’s a stunning accomplishment, considering that the U.S. Congress passed less than 2 percent of the bills introduced in 2012.

Molly Jackman, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University, agrees that the group’s track record is impressive. “The American Legislative Exchange Council wields considerable influence in state legislatures,” Jackman concluded in her 2013 analysis of 132 ALEC-sponsored bills she conducted as a fellow at the Brookings Institution. “The bills that it writes find their way into the majority of state legislatures. Moreover, the percentage of those bills that pass is strikingly high compared to the dismal rate at which all other bills are enacted into law.”

State Legislators Vulnerable to ALEC’s Wiles

So why does ALEC have such a good track record?

State lawmakers have limited time, limited salaries and, perhaps most important, limited resources. “States are prime targets for corporations because it’s easier to get things out of state legislatures than Congress,” explained political scientist Darrell West, the Brookings Institution’s director of governance studies. “The biggest problem is state legislators are understaffed.”

Stella Rouse, a political scientist at the University of Maryland, seconded that assessment. “The legislative staff issue is huge,” she said. “They are vital. Legislators want to introduce bills, but when they don’t have a staff or it is very limited, ALEC provides them with a shortcut by providing a ready-made bill. ALEC provides the expertise that legislatures lack.”

The fact that most state legislatures are part-time and consequently don’t pay full-time salaries also strengthens the hand of groups like ALEC, added West, the author of Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust, which analyzes the growing political activism of the uber rich. “Many legislators have to have jobs on the side, so they don’t have a lot of time to put into legislating. That makes them dependent on outside sources.”

The numbers tell the story. Only 10 states have what could be considered a full-time, or nearly full-time, legislature: California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Lawmakers in those states work at least 80 percent of a full-time job on legislative work, which includes time in session, constituent services, committee work and electioneering. They currently make an average of $81,000 a year and, based on 2009 data, average nine staff members each, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan, professional-development organization that does not accept corporate money or produce sample legislation.

Lawmakers in another 24 states devote about 70 percent of a full-time job to legislative duties. On average, they make $43,000 annually and average three staff members each. Lawmakers in the remaining 16 states, meanwhile, work only 54 percent of a full-time job and make an average of only $19,000. They average one staff member each, and a number of legislators have no personal staff at all.

That’s a void ALEC is only too eager to fill.

Taking Care of ALEC Legislators at Election Time

ALEC corporate sector members do much more than feed lawmakers sample legislation and break bread with them at ALEC conferences. Most of ALEC’s funding comes from the more than 200 corporations, trade groups, corporate law firms and industry-funded think tanks that pay annual dues of $7,000 to $25,000, plus $25,000 to $40,000 to sponsor an ALEC conference session. And many of those corporations and trade groups ply ALEC lawmakers with generous campaign contributions.

An analysis of the campaign contributions ALEC energy sector members made to the organization’s board of directors, for example, found that all but one of the 21 board members received funding over the last decade from at least one ALEC energy company, utility or trade association. In most cases, they received multiple donations, which collectively amounted to more than $290,000. Top ALEC energy sector contributors included BP North America, which donated to eight board members; Conoco Phillips, Duke Energy, ExxonMobil and Koch Industries, which each funded seven board members; American Electric Power, which backed six; and Chevron, which financed five.

All that support builds loyalty. Ohio state Sen. Bill Seitz, an ALEC board member, is a case in point. A Republican lawyer from Cincinnati, Seitz received more than $70,000 from coal, oil and gas, and utility companies in the 2008 and 2012 election cycles. Half of that money came from two Ohio-based utilities that rely heavily on coal: American Electric Power, an ALEC member headquartered in Columbus, gave him $21,500, and the Akron-based FirstEnergy contributed $15,000. Ashland Oil, BP North America, Dominion, Duke Energy, Marathon Oil and Spectra Energy — all ALEC members — also donated to his campaigns.

Chairman of the Senate Public Utilities Committee, Seitz has been leading the effort to gut Ohio’s energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, which, compared to those in other states, are relatively modest. The Ohio efficiency standard set a target of reducing energy use by 22.5 percent by 2025, while the renewable standard requires Ohio utilities to generate 12.5 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by the same year.

Modest or not, the standards have already delivered benefits. For example, according to Ohio Advanced Energy Economy, a trade group, in just four years the energy efficiency standard saved Ohio consumers more than $1 billion. Meanwhile, filings by Ohio utilities, including American Electric Power, Duke Energy and FirstEnergy, show that the standard has saved consumers two dollars for every dollar invested.

Regardless, ALEC has set its sights squarely on killing these standards across the country. In this case, Seitz failed to get ALEC-sponsored bills passed that would have repealed the standards, but he was able to push through a bill last summer that stopped the mandated annual increases in their targets for two years to allow a committee to study their impact.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a former ALEC member who received more than $200,000 in campaign contributions from utility, coal, and oil and gas companies over the last two election cycles, signed the bill into law in June.

State Innovation Exchange Enters the Fray

A day before ALEC convened its Washington, D.C., conference, more than 100 national, state and grassroots organizations issued a joint letter urging ALEC state lawmakers to reject the group’s anti-environmental agenda, cancel their memberships, and encourage their colleagues to do so as well. Signatories included African American Ministers in Action, Environment America, Healthcare Without Harm, Interfaith Power and Light, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“ALEC is pushing to weaken or repeal state renewable energy and efficiency standards, to reduce financial incentives to adopt rooftop solar, and to undermine EPA’s efforts to limit carbon pollution from power plants,” the letter stated. “ALEC does not support any policies that would move toward solving the climate crisis.”

Meanwhile, a week after the ALEC conference, more than 200 state lawmakers, consultants, donors and public interest advocates gathered in the nation’s capital to mount their own challenge.

It was the first national meeting of the newly minted State Innovation Exchange (SIX), whose mission is to support progressive state lawmakers by providing training and technical support, as well as sample bills to protect voting rights, raise the minimum wage, and strengthen public health and environmental safeguards. The group hopes to raise $3 million to $5 million for SIX’s first year and eventually establish a $10-million annual budget funded by individual donors, unions, foundations and corporations.

“Progressives are looking around to figure out where to push back, and there has not been a vehicle to do that at the state level,” SIX Executive Director Nick Rathod, the White House liaison to the states during President Obama’s first term, told Politico. “It’s the biggest missing piece in the progressive infrastructure.”

SIX has a formidable task ahead, but Rathod is banking on what it lacks in funding and experience will be made up by what he sees as a distinct advantage. As Rathod puts it, SIX — unlike ALEC — is promoting a “people’s agenda,” not a corporate one.

“It’s stupid to create an organization that is mimicking something else,” Rathod said during the SIX conference’s opening session. “We’re going to be better than that. We’re different from them because we’re going to be transparent. We won’t go behind closed doors and vote with corporate America.”


Related: Our stories on Climate Deniers.

Related: The Heat Is on:NOAA, NASA Say 2014 Warmest Year On Record.

Related: Living In Denial: Big Oil and the Religious Right’s Alliance Against Our Environment.

 

Posted by Gypsy Chief


House Dems Who Should Know Better Vote Yes on GOP Proposals

2015 January 12

KeystoneDoddFrank

Story here.

 

Posted by Gypsy Chief


10 Rush Limbaugh Sponsors To Boycott | Daily Kos

2015 January 10
by chief

rush-limbaugh_540

Published December 28, 2014 in Daily Kos. Written by Leslie Salzillo.

Many of us want to do something that makes a difference, but funds are tight. One thing that is free and easy to do, is avoid buying from companies that support the hate monger, Rush Limbaugh. The vile Conservative radio talk show host who calls women ‘femi-nazis’ and ‘semen receptacles,’ is mostly known for spreading hate and outright lies, while promoting/inciting racism, lgbt hatred, bigotry, and misogyny. And for 25 years he has gotten away with it. But for the last two years, the general public has become more and more proactive against his type of commentary. Concerned consumers have contacted and petitioned Rush Limbaugh sponsors, and asked them to pull their advertising from his show. For those companies who opt to ignore consumers, they are not only boycotted by hundreds of thousands, they are permanently associating their company’s name/brand, in the minds of many, with a hate monger. Seems a pretty foolish business move, when you think about it.

Here is a list of 10 very loyal Rush Limbaugh sponsors. To support the boycott, one only needs to avoid buying from these companies, and spread the sponsor information. Even if you haven’t heard of these sponsors and/or don’t do business with them, by circulating their names to friends, family, and on social media, you will have an impact. Together, the public is sending a message to businesses and the media, that we do not support companies that support hate speech. Rush Limbaugh has lost thousands of sponsors due to this national boycott, which means he has lost millions in ad revenue.

Lifelock

Enthusiastically endorsed by former not-so-popular NY Mayor Giuliani, this so-called ‘identity theft protection’ company uses scare tactics to sell their services, and they continue to get horrid reviews, some of which are posted on the Consumer Affairs website . LifeLock blitzes free digital TV with ads that play heavily on the fears and distrust of vulnerable consumers.

Twitter URL: @LifeLock
Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/…
Phone: 1-800-440-4833

iHeart Radio

IHeart radio, has been on the sidelines supporting the Rush Limbaugh show as a ‘sister’ company owned by Clear Channel. This past year the CEO of Clear Channel, Bob Pittman, decided to rebrand the failing Clear Channel name to iHeart Media, (lipstick on a pig or something like that) so we can now attribute the airing of the Rush Limbaugh Show on approximately 600 stations nationwide – to iHeart. (A few alternatives to the iHeart music app include Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes/iTunes Radio)

Twitter URL: @iheartradio
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/…
Street Address: 32 Avenue of the Americas
City: New York
State: NY
Zip Code: 10013
Web Contact Form: http://help.iheartradio.com/…
Email1: vanessa@iheartradio.com

1800flowers

1800Flowers has been buying ads from Rush Limbaugh, pretty much nonstop, for years. Consumer Affairs just posted their TOP 800 Complaints And Reviews About 1800Flowers on December 23, 2014. One moral to this story: Whenever possible, buy from locally-owned, independent ‘mom & pop’ florists/nurseries.

Twitter URL: @1800flowers @jim1800flowers
Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/…
Phone: 1-800-716-4851
Web Contact Form: http://ww11.1800flowers.com/…
Email1: mediainquiries@1800flowers.com
Email2: invest@1800flowers.com

Stamps.com

Also listed on the Consumer Affairs site, Stamps.com has numerous complaints. Here’s the first one I read: “The same as everyone else, I’m finding it nearly impossible to keep charges away from my credit card account even past cancellation. Once they have your credit card info, it is off to the races to see how many times they can charge your account. When confronted, they act stupid as to why you’re being charged and refuse to erase your personal info from their system. I would advise against using Stamps.com as there are other services that offer the same shipping solutions for FREE.”

Gotta love the internet when it slaps back that free speech for which Limbaugh’s fans desperate fight.

Twitter URL: @stampscom
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/…
Status: Active
Phone: 310-482-5942
Web Contact Form: http://www.stamps.com/…
Email1: enash@stamps.com
Email2: social@stamps.com

Visiting Angels

The highly criticized ‘Elderly Care’ company, Visiting Angels, joined the Rush Limbaugh Show last year and has opted to stay, blatantly ignoring consumer pleas to leave. Looking at recent reviews, it seems Visiting Angels is getting desperate and scraping the bottom for help. This could be why they chose advertise on Rush Limbaugh’s show.

Twitter URL: @1visitingangels
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/…
Street Address: 28 W Eagle RD Suite 201
City: Havertown
State: PA
Zip Code: 19083
Phone: 800-365-4189
Web Contact Form: http://www.visitingangels.com/…
Email1: SocialMedia@VisitingAngels.com

ProFlowers

Another consumer complaint and review site lists 821 complaints/reviews about ProFlowers. At 16, my daughter planned to surprise me on Mother’s Day with a bouquet of flowers via ProFlowers ( a sizable expense for any teen). No delivery was made on Mother’s Day. She kept calling me to see if ‘my surprise’ had arrived, and by the end of the day she was in tears. The most she could get from ProFlowers was a stock apology and promise to send the same flowers the next day. After speaking with four reps, I finally got my daughter a full refund. This was my second bad experience with ProFlowers. Mistakes are made, and how a company handles them tells a lot. Whether they advertise on with Rush Limbaugh tells even more.

Twitter URL: @proflowers
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/…
Phone: 800.580.2913
Email1: dchaplin@providecommerce.com

Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College loves Rush Limbaugh and Rush Limbaugh loves Hillsdale – so much so that he personal endorses the Right-Wing college. In 2013, the college made headlines when the president referred to black students as ‘the dark ones’. I imagine it was then the stars aligned and a match between Hillsdale and Limbaugh was made, in hell.

Twitter URL: @Hillsdale
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/…
City: Hillsdale
State: MI
Zip Code: 49242
Phone: 517-437-7341, 517-439-8504
Fax: 517-437-3923
Web Contact Form: http://www.hillsdale.edu/…
Email1: wgray@hillsdale.edu

Lear Capital

In reading complaints about gold investment company, Lear Capitol,, one consumer says, “From beginning to the end, it was the biggest nightmare of my life.” Okay, then. Between that comment and others that followed, this company is easy to boycott.

Twitter URL: @learcapital
Facebook URL: http://www.facebook.com/…
Street Address: 1990 S. Bundy Dr.; Ste 600
City: Los Angeles
State: CA
Zip Code: 90025
Phone: 1-800-957-GOLD
Fax: 310-571-0194

PajamaGram

PajamaGram is a seasonal advertiser of the Rush Limbaugh Show. They get in during Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and quickly jump out after – figuring no one would notice. Well, consumers and activists do notice, and it shows a strong lack of integrity.

Twitter URL: @PajamaGram
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/…
Zip Code: 05482
Phone: 800-448-3757
Web Contact Form: http://www.pajamagram.com/…
Email1: customerservice@vtbear.com

IDrive

The biggest complaints found for IDrive is the ‘painfully slow’ back-up process. That said, StopRush has reported IDrive ads on the Limbaugh show over 500 times in the last two years, and the company continues to advertise almost daily. IDrive is one of Rush Limbaugh’s most loyal sponsors and for that reason alone, protestors will continue to boycott this company.

Twitter URL: @IDriveBackup
Street Address: 26115 Mureau Road, Suite A
City: Calabasas
State: California
Zip Code: 91302
Phone: (818) 878-9202 ; (866) 748-0555
Email1: publicrelations@idrive.com

Rush Limbaugh Contact Information Courtesy Of StopRush.Net

Honorable Mention:

Highly criticized Angie’s List has more than their share of bad reviews. They pulled their ads last year, but left a bad taste in the mouths of many consumers. The extreme Right-Wing company was one of the first Rush Limbaugh sponsors to return to his show, and stay there, after Limbaugh’s 3-day Sandra Fluke verbal attack (video), calling her a ‘slut’ and ‘prostitute’ while she was advocating for medicinal birth control in front of Congress. When Limbaugh attacked Fluke, she was an unknown student. That’s how he rolls. He’s a bully. Again, I need to stress Angie’s List finally pulled their ads (moving some to Sean Hannity), but they are worthy of a mention. The weakening company has also had a large share of customer complaints, as well as some bad press by Forbes.com.

For those who’d like to do more than boycott, you can sign this petition. Over 94,000 concerned consumers have signed their names. What makes this petition unique and effective, is that it is sent to the 40 sponsors listed within – with every new 500 signatures. When sponsors see that 94k people are associating their company name with Rush Limbaugh – or when they hear from consumers, it shakes many of them up, and some have pulled their adverting because of the petition as well as other organizations protesting Limbaugh. Once a company discontinues their ads on Limbaugh’s show, they are eventually removed from the petition (and the StopRush Database). Thousands of companies have left Rush Limbaugh’s show due to the public’s outrage and the hard work of StopRush, FlushRush, Boycott Rush, numerous Women’s Rights organizations, Liberal groups/sites, and petitions like the aforementioned.

Rush Limbaugh is losing on the left and right, (literally). He is also losing radio stations. Much of his downfall has to do with a national protest. And much has to do with his desperate and pathetic shock tactics that no longer work and his aging out white, male, Conservative fans who call themselves ‘Dittoheads.’ (Can’t make stuff like that up). The protestors want his disgusting, demeaning, and derogatory commentary – off public radio, and here are some easy ways to support the protest during its final stretch.

Ways You May Help

Tweet/ReTweet #StopRush and #FlushRush

Special thanks to the folks at StopRush for their continuous hard work with documenting and maintaining the Rush Limbaugh sponsor list.

Note: On again – off again Rush Limbaugh sponsor, AutoZone, has been replaced on the top ten list by IDrive, a company much more deserving of the ‘honor.’

 

Posted by Gypsy Chief


Ted Cruz Face-Palms on Net Neutrality

2015 January 2
by chief

Own supporters among the most critical

CruzNetNuetrality_tweetThu Nov 13, 2014 at 01:05 PM PST

After nonsensical comments on Net Neutrality, conservatives rage against Ted Cruz

by Jen Hayden

A clueless Ted Cruz rages against Net Neutrality
After Ted Cruz sent out the tweet above, he got some surprisingly vicious comments–from conservatives. A sample of the feedback left on his Facebook page from self-identifying Republicans.

Ed Piper: As a Republican who works in the tech industry I can say that this statement shows you either have no idea what you are talking about or you are bought and paid for by the American Cable monopoly. This is amazingly an stupid statement and is disheartening.

Keith French: Ted, I am as conservative as they come…. I want government out of just about everything… and I hate to say it, really hate to say it, but Obama is right on this one. I do not want my access and internet speed controlled by my ISP. It will be. The internet has been an open forum with little to no restrictions, that will change and not for the better. Bottom line, do not go against freedom of the net just because Obama is for it. Even an old blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.

Joey Camp: As a Republican whom also works in IT like Ed… You have no clue what you are talking about or you are company bought and paid for.

A Jinnie McManus: Goddammit, stop making my party look like morons and look up net neutrality. It doesn’t mean what you and your speechwriters think it means.

James Nelson: Have to disagree with the Senator on this one. AT&T and big cable have proven they can’t be trusted and net neutrality is necessary to keep fair competition. These big monopolies own their own competing streaming services and want nothing more than to be able to relegate competitors to an internet slow lane.

Marvin England: Ted Cruz, as a tech and fiscal conservative in Texas who generally votes Republican, I am incredibly disappointed by your completely inaccurate statement. Please read up on what Net Neutrality actually is and fire any staff you have who are advising you on technical matters.

Sam Adams: Senator Cruz, you are wrong on this one. As a conservative voter and IT professional, I can assure you that Net Neutrality is a GOOD THING. Internet providers (who are also content owners) can’t be trusted (as has already been proven) to allow consumers equal access to content from their competitors. This is why the government needs to ensure Net Neutrality as it protects the consumer from the bias of their Internet provider. This is especially true since we don’t have real competition in this space.

Adam Huzzey: Go find whatever rock you crawled out from under Ted and stay under it! Proud republican here, but not so proud to be blind like the good senator. Look how “great” our free market Internet is!!! I pay $100 a month for 15mbs / 100gb p/m capped Internet. Yep, those “free” markets really make it better lmao

David Vogelpohl: Texas employer here… This is really the wrong issue for you. Drop this quickly and move on to something else before it’s too late. You’re starting to look like a Tea Party whacko growling for his corporate masters. Move on before you embarrass the Republicans out of the next presidency. Net neutrality is about ensuring a free market. America loves a free market. But hey, be against free markets and America. It’s cool. I’m sure no one will think of you when their Netflix slows down who wouldn’t have before

Jimmy Lee: Wow. I am embarassed that I supported you Ted. Face palm. I think it’s time that I “unlike” your FB page.

Those are just a very small sample of the more than nearly 3,000 comments on his Facebook page. Of course, low information voters pepper the comments with support of the would-be presidential contender’s page. While he’s doing a great job of locking up their support, he seems to have lost the more sane part of the party. If he wanted to kick-off his bid for the White House with a bang—mission accomplished!

Originally posted to Scout Finch on Thu Nov 13, 2014 at 01:05 PM PST.

Also republished by Post HuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community and Daily Kos.


Related: from Ted Cruz to Tim Wu.

 

Posted by Gypsy Chief


eBay Joins Google and Others in Dumping ALEC Over Climate Stance

2014 December 24
Ebay is the latest tech firm to leave the right wing lobby group Alec over climate change issues. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Ebay is the latest tech firm to leave the right wing lobby group Alec over climate change issues. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Published Friday December 19, 2014 in The Guardian sustainable business. Written by Anna Codrea-Rado.

Ebay announced on Thursday [December 18, 2014 ed note] it’s severing ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) because of the lobbying group’s views on climate change. The online marketplace is the latest technology firm to part ways with the rightwing organization over environmental concerns.

“After our annual review of eBay’s memberships in trade associations and third-party organizations, we’ve decided not to renew our membership with Alec,” an eBay spokesperson said.

In September, Eric Schmidt announced Google would be leaving Alec because “they’re just literally lying” about climate change. This prompted a wave of departures from other tech companies, including Facebook and Yelp, over similar concerns. Microsoft had previously left Alec in July.

The current exodus from Alec marks a change from a previous round of departures, in which companies left Alec over concerns about its stance on “stand your ground” legislation.

Environmental activists welcomed eBay’s move. “This is a major victory for those of us who have continued to pressure eBay executives to drop Alec,” said Ryan Canney, senior campaigner from the NGO Forecast the Facts.

Nick Surgey, director of research at the Center for Media and Democracy, said: “[Nearly] Alec’s entire tech membership has abandoned them over climate denial.”

Remaining Alec members include tobacco, telecommunications and fossil fuel companies, prompting the question of whether Alec will move away from tech issues and focus on the interests of its remaining members.

Remaining Alec members include tobacco, telecommunications and fossil fuel companies, prompting the question of whether Alec will move away from tech issues and focus on the interests of its remaining members.

“You have to question whether Alec will continue to even work on tech issues,” Surgey said.

Jonah Sachs, co-founder and CEO of Free Range, said that beneath the surface of the decision to leave the conservative group might be a concern over the economics of tackling climate change. “Some of these companies are having to deal with the issue of whether completely free, unregulated markets can deal with the problem of climate change,” Sachs said.

Canney added: “With eBay out, we’re looking to AT&T, Verizon, FedEx and UPS to follow suit and distance themselves from Alec’s extreme climate denial agenda. If they choose to stay with Alec, we’ll be taking the issue to their customers, shareholders and employees.”

Alec wasn’t immediately available to respond to requests for comment as its communications team is “home for the holidays”, according to multiple automated email replies.

 

Posted by Gypsy Chief


Sen. Warren urges Republicans to oppose bailout provision in government funding bill

2014 December 15
by chief

 

Posted by Gypsy Chief


Rick Santorum: Separation of Church and State A Communist Idea, Not An American One

2014 December 10

MonHitSep

In a conference call with members of right-wing pastor E.W. Jackson’s STAND America that was posted online December 1, former senator Rick Santorum disputed the existence of the separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution, dismissing it as a Communist idea that has no place in America.

A listener on the call told Santorum that “a number of the things that the far left, a.k.a. the Democrat [sic] Party, and the president is pushing for and accomplishing actually accomplishes a number of the tenets of ‘The Communist Manifesto,’ including the amnesty, the elevation of pornography, homosexuality, gay marriage, voter fraud, open borders, mass self-importation of illegal immigrants and things of that nature.” The likely presidential candidate replied that “the words ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution, but it was in the constitution of the former Soviet Union. That’s where it very, very comfortably sat, not in ours.”

Of course, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, among others, referred to the separation of church and state when explaining the amendment which they drafted.

Later in the call, Santorum continued to lecture President Obama on race in America, telling Jackson — who once criticized a desegregation plan as “social engineering” — that Obama harmed race relations and, ironically, failed “to do something transformational.”

“When you cavort with Al Sharpton, you certainly aren’t into racial reconciliation, that sort of sums it up right there,” he said. “You surround yourself with folks who are not healers but dividers, this president has been the divider-in-chief on so many fronts. You had hoped, as you mentioned, Bishop [Jackson], you hoped that on this front it was an opportunity for the president to do something transformational, that he could’ve been that figure that could’ve made a real difference in racial reconciliation, could’ve made a real difference just within the black community and he chose to take a different path, he chose to use it as a wedge issue as opposed to an issue that was one that he said he wanted to accomplish when he was going to heal the country. He has done anything but.”


Source: Our friends at Right Wing Watch. Right Wing Watch is a project of People For The American Way.

 

Posted by Gypsy Chief


Denver Fast-Food Workers Demand $15 Per Hour Wages, Union Rights

2014 December 5
by chief

SEIU photo

SEIU photo

Story here.

Thanks to protests over no-indictment decisions by grand juries in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases (as well as claims that some East High students at a Wednesday rally chanted “Hit him again” after four Denver police officers were injured in a crash, one critically), another pair of demonstrations yesterday have received comparatively little attention. But the turnout was large and vocal on the 16th Street Mall for morning and afternoon actions in which Denver fast food workers called for a $15-per-hour wage and unionization rights — part of a nationwide event involving as many as 190 cities.

 

Posted by Gypsy Chief


Accuracy in Media editor: Obama may be a Russian spy. Radio host wants Marines to storm White House

2014 November 22
by chief

Youtube screenshot

Youtube screenshot

From Daily Kos. Published Friday November 21, 2014.

In order to fully appreciate this story, you need to know that Cliff Kincaid is editor of the conservative outfit “Accuracy in Media,” which bills itself as a respectable “watchdog” against the scary liberal media and their stupid liberalness that ruins everything because the news never reports on what’s really going on. Like, to use one actual previous example of their unskewing of the news, how forces in the Clinton White House murdered Vince Foster but the liberal media didn’t want you to know. Cliff believes that President Barack Obama is possibly a Russian spy, because Accuracy in Media.

Rick Wiles, on the other hand, is an End-Times radio show host who has conspiracy theories about everything you might wonder if someone has a conspiracy theory about, because Jesus.

Got that? Great. Here they are talking about Obama on the radio last Tuesday.

“This is the only way you deal with a hooligan, you tell him we’re coming with handcuffs, we’re going to lock you up,” Wiles said. “I don’t think you can impeach Obama because he’s not a legitimate president, you and I both know he’s a foreign plant, he’s always been a communist agent inside this country and you don’t impeach somebody who went into that office through false pretense. It’s never happened in the republic, but the way you deal with that person is you arrest them.”

Wiles elaborated that he is pulling for the Marines to raid the White House: “It’s time that they recognize that he’s an imposter who is destroying the republic. My greatest, my most wonderful dream is seeing helicopters hovering over the White House with Marines repelling down on the roof and going in there and getting that rascal.”

Marines were chosen for this scenario because they are apparently the manliest of the services, and if you’re going to have a “dream” like that you might as well Red Dawn it up as much as you can, what with helicopters and unnecessary rappelling and whatnot.

Kincaid also repeated his call for the NSA to monitor Obama as a potential spy, telling Wiles that “we need a Venona Project modern day that’s going to monitor whether from the top on down, from Obama on down, who in our government is working with the enemy.”

This is what a nontrivial chunk of America is being spoonfed every day, via radio programs and important-sounding “conservative news outlets” with names like “Accuracy in Media.” And we wonder why people with guns keep getting arrested just outside the White House fence.

Gypsy Chief comment:
I grew up with Herbert W. Armstrong on the radio, and later son Garner Ted Armstrong. They were prominent radio bible thumpers. A key element of their shtick was an appeal for money. I think that some of these wingnuts may actually believe what they peddle. For others their material is designed to seperate gullible folks from their money. There is an entire industry designed to do this.

 

Posted by Gypsy Chief