NewsReal Blog, Now with More Jenn Q. Public (and a little S.E. Cupp)

As a refugee from blue state academia, I have a lot of admiration for David Horowitz and his relentless campaign to awaken Americans to the truth about social justice, campus indoctrination, and the intolerant Left.  That’s why I’m excited to announce I’ve been invited to contribute to David Horowitz’s NewsReal Blog.

A Feminist Girl Crush on S.E. Cupp? is my first NewsReal post.  Here’s a taste:

What could possibly make conservative commentator S.E. Cupp palatable to the feminist Left? After all, the feminist playbook is pretty clear: women who appear on Fox News are gender traitors. End of story.

And yet, sandwiched between a primer on the festive art of “vajazzling” and an ode to “populist hero” Scott Ritter, Salon’s Broadsheet blog offers up a Google-fueled profile of S.E. Cupp that manages to be only mildly contemptuous.

Please visit NewsReal Blog to read the whole thing, and if you have a moment, leave a comment so they don’t kick me to the curb on my first day.

Ugandans, American Evangelicals, & the Soft Bigotry of Liberal Expectations

Homosexuality is a serious crime in Uganda, and has been for more than 100 years.  Gay Ugandans are subjected to unfathomable atrocities ranging from beatings to jail time to the horrifying practice of correctional rape. Public outings are a popular political weapon, leading not just to shame, but to violence, discrimination, and imprisonment.

And now, members of the Ugandan parliament are considering a draconian piece of legislation known as the Anti Homosexuality Bill of 2009 (PDF). Written by freshman MP David Bahati, the proposed law could institute the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” including acts that involve HIV-positive individuals and repeat offenders.  The penalty for other homosexual acts would increase from 14 years to life in prison.  In addition, friends, neighbors, and even clergy would be deputized as informants, and imprisoned for “aiding and abetting” homosexuality.

Who is to blame for this inhumane proposal?  Surely not the Ugandan people, all of whom are pure in thought, word, and deed.  And certainly not the beneficent legislators, eager to do what’s best for the people.  So who bears the blood of Ugandan gays on their hands?

American evangelical Christians, of course!

You see, not one, not two, but three American evangelicals visited Uganda last March to speak at a conference about “the gay agenda – that whole hidden and dark agenda.”  When these evangelical serpents arrived in Uganda, the noble savages fell from gay-loving grace upon tasting the forbidden fruit of homophobia and hatred.  And as the sweet, sweet juices of Western exported Christian fundamentalism ran down their chins, the epiphany set in:  death to Sodomites!

At least, that’s the implication of the meme that’s been sliming its way through the liberal smear machine, culminating last week with the publication of “Americans’ Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push” in the New York Times:

For three days, according to participants and audio recordings,thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”

Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive, saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.

NYT writer Jeffrey Gettleman eventually gets around to a grudging admission that anti-homosexual bigotry existed in Uganda before three American nobodies showed up to enrapture thousands. But the intended takeaway is clear: it is not Ugandans, but American evangelicals who are to blame for the Anti Homosexuality Bill.  And untainted by the nefarious influence of three Americans you’ve probably never heard of – Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge, and Don Schmierer -  the good people of Uganda would have maintained their anti-gay status quo.

Western homophobia: it’s magically delicious!

Without a doubt, the trio of American anti-gay activists are among the rankest of human garbage, and the Ugandan event was permeated by the unmistakable stench of hatred and bigotry.  There is even video evidence of Scott Lively at the Ugandan conference describing gays as serial killers, child molesters, and sociopaths.

These are the same falsehoods spread by anti-gay groups in the United States. Are we to believe the average Ugandan is far more susceptible to hateful rhetoric than the average American?

Sounds like the soft bigotry of low expectations to me.

And it’s precisely those low expectations of the poor, unwitting Africans that we hear echoing throughout the liberal mediasphere.

The Seattle Times editorial board makes it clear the Ugandans aren’t to blame for the anti-gay extremism in their government:

Gays and lesbians are a frequent target for those who preach a theology of exclusion and holier-than-thou dividing lines. Familiar language at home, but now it is a vile export.

Homosexuals in Uganda are literally in fear for their lives after three American evangelists traveled to Africa to find far-flung converts for the rhetoric of the U.S. culture wars.

Shakesville blogger Melissa McEwan theorizes (conspiracy-style) that “the extreme anti-gay legislation under consideration in Uganda was underwritten by the secretive American evangelical organization known as ‘The Family.'”  In her defense, McEwan didn’t expel this steaming pile of crazy on her own – she picked it up on MSNBC.

Professional moby turned liberal lapdog Charles Johnson writes:

What a shock — preaching hatred leads to hatred. Who could ever have guessed?

Just appalling. This is where the rhetoric of the religious right leads, and don’t fool yourself — there are many people on the right who support Uganda’s persecution of gays, and would like to see the US do the same thing.

True to sycophantic smear formula, Johnson then attempts to tar the entire right based on anonymous comments of unknown origin at Free Republic.

PZ Myers calls the three evangelicals who attended the Ugandan conference “the people responsible for inciting hatred of gays in Africa.”  He continues, “The only reason they are running from it now is that it happened far faster in Uganda than they expected, and they’re suddenly standing their with a smoking gun and blood on their hands, rather than at a safe remove with the apparatus of the state peeling away the rights from people, one by one.”

And Jill at Feministe relieves the Ugandans of culpability like this: “This is a tried-and-true pattern among religious radicals. They set a fire, fan the flames and then feign shock when something burns down.”

Sure thing. In a matter of hours, an entire country of Africans was radicalized by a trio of inconsequential Westerners.  These evangelicals must be to Uganda what David Hasselhoff is to Germany!

The thing is, anti-gay sentiment is rampant in Africa, much more so than in the United States.  While American gays are fighting for the right to marry, many of their African counterparts are fighting against imminent execution.  Are we to assume that the same three idiots from America been running amok in Africa, filling innocent, impressionable minds with Christianist hatred and bigotry?

And here’s a question: if even “Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has linked gay practices to Western influences,” why would the country’s leaders turn to the imperialist West to pile on with more advice?  Couldn’t it be that the Ugandan conference organizers were using Lively and company as pawns to promote their anti-gay agenda?

“When you demonize lgbts as predators, just what do you think would happen?” asks a blogger at Pam’s House Blend.

What do I think? I think the Ugandan people aren’t unruly teens succumbing to peer pressure at a kegger. And they aren’t smooth wax tablets awaiting the stylus of their Christianist overlords.  Ugandans are just as capable as Americans of shrugging off outrageously bigoted rhetoric, but the fact is, the bigotry was already there.

So let’s put an end to fetishizing the Ugandan people as noble savages sullied by the West. And let’s stop infantilizing Africans by relieving them of their moral responsibility and capacity for self-determination.  If Fred Phelps and the Westboro bigots haven’t managed to Pied Piper the vast majority of Americans into the river of hate, three self-important American evangelicals aren’t responsible for pervasive bigotry in Uganda.

Unless, of course, you don’t think Ugandans are capable of thinking for themselves.

Republicans for Rape (Now With Push Polls!)

Why did Republicans vote to deny rape victims their day in court?  Why do they want women to be raped?

Oh, you haven’t heard?  Republicans are pro-rape.  At least, that’s the latest sensational charge levied by liberals, and they’re hoping it will stick when voters go to the polls in 2010.

That’s why they’ve started push polling the smear.  Here’s a question asked of likely North Carolina voters during a poll commissioned by Change Congress, an organization working against the reelection of Sen. Burr (R-NC).

Jamie Leigh Jones is an American woman who was gang raped by her co-workers while working for a defense contractor in Iraq. Her employer tried to cover up the rape and prevented her from filing charges in court – instead forcing her to use a private arbitrator chosen by the employer. I’m going to ask you a few questions about this.

Congress is considering legislation that would allow victims of rape to bring their case to court instead of being forced by their employers to use private arbitrators. Some businesses oppose this legislation because arbitration costs less money than going to court. Do you favor or oppose this type of legislation?

Subsequent questions focused on how voters would feel about Sen. Burr opposing the legislation. (He and 29 other Republicans voted against the measure.)  The poll also implied that the defense industry was buying congressional opposition to the bill at the expense of protections for rape victims.

Understandably, 73 percent of those polled said they would disapprove if Burr voted against the legislation and 74 percent said they favored the legislation. Considering the wording, one wonders what the other 26 percent were thinking.

Why, it’s almost as if they knew they were being hoodwinked by a deceitful push poll.

This current smear campaign began when Sen. Al Franken (D-SNL) proposed S. Amdt. 2588, a measure ostensibly inspired by the horrific gang rape reported by Jamie Leigh Jones while she worked in Baghdad for defense contractor KBR, then a subsidiary of Halliburton.  Franken contended that “her KBR contract banned her from taking her case to court, instead forcing her into an ‘arbitration’ process.”

It was a lie.

No employment contract can be used to force criminal complaints into arbitration. Not in America. But that didn’t stop the disingenuous left from immediately seizing upon the talking point that Republican opponents of the amendment want to deny rape survivors their day in court.  Commentators pretended to be mystified as to how any rational human being could vote against rape victims.

“We’re still waiting for the screaming-Fox-News-headline: Republican Senators Support Gang-Rape by Three to One Margin,” wrote an ill-informed Huffington Post contributor. “Arbitration for gang-rape?  Surely the Republican Party has earned the right to die.”

Daily Show host Jon Stewart called it “the old ‘it’s ok if you get raped’ clause in government contracts” and wondered how anyone could possibly reject the amendment.

And of course, no smear campaign would be complete without its very own Web site: Republicans for Rape.

Hundreds of scathing attacks on Republicans have appeared in major newspapers and blogs.  Dependable foot soldiers that they are, the netroots are gleefully promoting the laughable idea that Republicans voted to prevent rape victims from having their criminal cases heard in court.  And just this week, video surfaced of a rape survivor accusing Sen. Vitter (R-LA) of trying to silence victims.

In actuality, Jones’ contract required employment disputes, not criminal cases, to be resolved through arbitration, an effective form of alternative dispute resolution that is cheaper, faster, and offers individuals greater access to justice than litigation.  The contract she signed limits her litigation options in matters of civil law related to the workplace, but it does not impact her ability to seek redress against her assailants through the criminal courts.

It is the foot dragging of the United States Department of Justice that is keeping Jamie Leigh Jones from facing her attackers in court, not her KBR employment contract and not Republican legislators. Republicans must do a better job articulating the true motivation behind Franken’s amendment.

Franken’s primary objective was not to ensure justice for rape victims, but to strike a blow at the company that sits at the top of every rank and file liberal’s hit list: Halliburton. The legislation is an overly broad political sledgehammer designed to ban the disbursement of federal funds to Halliburton when narrow wording addressing arbitration in assault cases would have received bipartisan support. Franken makes his intentions clear by calling Halliburton out by name in the amendment’s stated purpose:

To prohibit the use of funds for any Federal contract with Halliburton Company, KBR, Inc., any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other contracting party if such contractor or a subcontractor at any tier under such contract requires that employees or independent contractors sign mandatory arbitration clauses regarding certain claims.

Even the Obama administration objected to the amendment as worded, characterizing it as unenforceable.

Franken’s second objective was to assist the trial lawyer lobbyists in their relentless campaign to do away with arbitration, thus lining their pockets with the spoils of litigation.  Remember, trial lawyers and their lobbying groups are among the biggest contributors to Democratic Party, and even former DNC chairman and presidential candidate Howard Dean has explicitly said that Democrats are not willing to rub trial lawyers the wrong way.

If Franken’s primary concern was rape victims, why did he risk opposition to his legislation by weighing it down with a hefty gift to trial lawyers?  Why does the amendment cover disputes totally unrelated to rape?

Finally, this legislation is Franken’s attempt to curry favor with his fellow Democrats by handing them a giftwrapped smear of Republicans just in time for the 2010 election season.  Hence, the propaganda masquerading as an unbiased poll in North Carolina and the absurd allegations nationwide that voting for the falsely labeled anti-rape amendment is a vote in favor of rape.

It is the Democrats who are using an unspeakably atrocious gang rape as a political bludgeon, and Republican senatorial candidates are already feeling the impact.  Of course, no one spreading these liberal distortions has addressed why Republicans would invite the nasty political fallout following a vote against an “anti-rape” amendment.  Just gluttons for punishment, I guess?

Expect the following senators to be targeted during their 2010 reelection campaigns:

Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John McCain (R-AZ)
John Thune (R-SD)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Richard Burr (R-NC)

Must we play politics with rape?  Instead of using sexual assault as partisan political ammunition, let’s do something that will really help rape survivors.  We need a cooperative effort to find out what’s preventing the DOJ from aggressively pursuing cases of sexual violence among military contractors.  Only then will Jamie Leigh Jones’ rapists be brought to justice.

An Insulting Question and a Pointed Reply

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked the following question by a Congolese student during a town hall event in Kinshasa yesterday:

Mrs Clinton, we’ve all heard about the Chinese contracts in this country. The interference is from the World Bank against this contract. What does Mr. Clinton think through the mouth of Mrs. Clinton and what does Mr. Mutombo think on this situation? Thank you very much

Responding to what turned out to be an unfortunate mistranslation of the student’s question, our nation’s lead diplomat replied:

You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. You ask my opinion I will tell you my opinion, I’m not going to channel my husband.

Watch the exchange here:

YouTube Preview Image

These remarks were followed almost immediately by a blogospheric uproar about Clinton’s “unprofessional” “temper tantrum.”  But I’ve watched the video more than once and I don’t see a “hissy fit” or “meltdown.” I see the highest ranking cabinet member demanding respect for her office and expertise.

The question, as translated, was entirely inappropriate and while the answer was not conventional enough for some armchair diplomats to swallow, it was not out of line.  If she had submissively accepted the insult or politely laughed it off, the same critics attacking her for “showing her true colors” wouldn’t be praising her for her tact, they’d be calling her an impotent pushover lacking the political chops to emerge from beneath Bill Clinton’s shadow.

Like it or not, Hillary Clinton is a cabinet member.  She is no longer the first lady and should not be expected to play that role.

And if you want to know what my husband thinks about all this, you can ask him yourself.

Four Essential Stops in the Righty Blogosphere

Some of the most incisive political analysis and cultural criticism on the right side of the blogosphere can be found on blogs that aren’t getting the attention they merit.  These sites are the B-side of my blogospheric desert island disc.  While they may not pull in the traffic of The Corner or Instapundit, they deserve a place in your feed reader (right below, of course.)

Autographed Letter Signed is an intensely personal and passionately political blog written by Afrocity, a Democrat turned PUMA turned conservative.  You’re as likely to read stories about her childhood and conflicted relationship with her mother as you are her “Irritable Obama Syndrome” and “Diversity Fatigue.” Somehow she frequently manages to weave these subjects together seamlessly into the same post.  From her reflections on a recent trip to Thomas Jefferson’s estate:

Collective life demeans and stifles freedom. People who rely upon the government are slaves. Forgive my proselytizing but my rant is simply my shocked reaction to Americans who feel that it is the job of government to be our master and guide. When I see the slave quarters at Monticello, I intuitively respond with anger and strong justification to be proud of my life’s accomplishments- post poverty, post welfare.

Monticello is a gorgeous home. Thomas Jefferson was a great man, a scholar, a man of books. Despite his faults he is a founding father of my country. He may not have wanted me, an African American woman to stand before his great home a free woman. I walked through his dining room as a guest, not a servant. I did not use the slave entrance and when I was finished with my visit, I did something that Jefferson’s slaves could not do…I left on my own.

The Skepticians is written by James Richardson, a former RNC staffer who doesn’t always swim with the RNC tide.   He’s an equal opportunity critic, and I always look forward to getting an email about how much hate mail his latest post is likely to generate.  James doesn’t post very often, but when he does, it’s always something I wish I’d written.  From his latest post on LGBT anger at Obama:

The exact number of “gay” persons living in the U.S. is quite subjective—some studies arguing one in ten, while others, more accurately, note one in twenty. Gays are, ultimately, an insignificant political group, at least in terms of sheer voting numbers.

The collision of Obama’s shallow campaign promises with gays’ limited ability to affect elections suggests but one thing: Gay outreach and token appeasement will always be subordinate to Obama’s determined outreach to larger identity groups—namely, African Americans, Hispanics, and Evangelicals.

Red Alerts covers the many ways in which politics, crime, and religion intersect in American society, all from the perspective of the “Web’s most popular Bi-racial Republican Pagan,” Rob Taylor.  He has little patience for the liberals who often show up at his blog to call him a race traitor, and you’ll thoroughly enjoy his talent for dressing them down in his comments section.  His opinions on news and culture are also worthwhile, as are the over-the-top titles of many of his posts.   Here’s a portion of his commentary on the recent news that the Holocaust Memorial shooter’s computer was swimming in child pornography:

Shocking? Not so much.  Neo-Nazism and sexual degeneracy go together like Progressives and racially-tinged misogyny. A Neo-Nazi is someone who has already decided they will not respect societal boundaries or common decency, which is exactly the attitude those who exploit children sexually adopt. Why should it shock anyone that there would be a crossover in the two groups’ memberships?

No Bull Mom is the blog of Suzanne Venker, an author, speaker, and former teacher who opines on culture war issues without ever devolving into distracting, inflammatory rhetoric.  She’s a tough critic of mainstream media bias after having experienced it firsthand following the release of her first book.  Her commentary is informed by a right of center, libertarian/conservative philosophy. Here’s a taste of Suzanne’s recent post on baby boomers and guilt:

The boomer philosophy is simple: Thou shalt not make anyone, women in particular, feel guilty about their life choices.

How did this happen? Simple. The boomer philosophy I discussed in the last post — the ethic of being “true to oneself” as opposed to adhering to a universal moral order that makes demands on us — eradicates any semblance of guilt. Think about it. If every decision we make is ultimately the right one because at the time we made it we felt good about it and were simply being true to ourselves, then no one can ever be blamed for making a bad decision. If, on the other hand, we admit we made a bad decision and that the decision was wrong, then we must take responsibility for it. But modern liberals don’t believe in personal responsibility. They don’t want people to ever feel bad about themselves; to them this is the hallmark of a bad society.

Please see the links in the sidebar for many other excellent blogs.

And Speaking of Liberal Bigotry …

Kathryn Jean Lopez announced this week she is stepping aside as editor of National Review Online.

I’ll still be contributing to NRO with ideas and content, and if you are an author or reader you might not notice much of a change. I’ll probably still be bugging you for pieces if you’re an author and I’ll still be traffic-copping the Corner. But I will be moving my primary base of operation in the fall from New York to D.C., and will no longer honcho NRO on a day-by-day basis.

Unable to contain their nasty barbs for long, two liberal bloggers offered prime examples of the assumption that liberalism offers a sure-fire defense against accusations of bigotry.

Exhibit A: The Ethnic Slur

In response to K-Lo’s statement that she will “no longer honcho NRO on a day-by-day basis,” Firedoglake blogger TBogg wrote:

Since “honcho” is not a verb, we consulted the Urban Dictionary to see what crazee ways kidz are using “honcho” these days, but to no avail. We did find “hincho“:

a person of latin american descent with poor taste in fashion, music and speaks with a heavy accent

….so, we’re thinking typo.

Exhibit B: The Sexist Photo Manipulation

The Sadly, No blog is keeping feminism alive by portraying Lopez as an out of work prostitute:

What strength and courage it must take to use gender and ethnicity to attack your ideological foes.  Are you as blown away as I am?

Hat tip: Ann Athouse

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