with Noam Chomsky
Tj Armand·Mar 7, 2013
Noam Chomsky talks to TJ Armand about the mixed legacy of Hugo Chavez, freedom of speech violations in Turkey, religious fundamentalism and gay marriage in the U.S.
The sentencing of Dharun Ravi for the hateful abuse that may have driven his gay roommate at Rutgers, Tyler Clementi, to commit suicide, or Barack Obama’s public acceptance of gay marriage, prevents many of us from seeing that life for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people is getting worse—much worse.
No one understands this better than the gay activist and pastor Mel White. White, along with his husband and partner of 30 years, Gary Nixon, founded Soulforce, an organization committed to using nonviolent resistance to end religion-based oppression.
In the week Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he ordered bombing attacks on Yemen, killing a reported 63 people, 28 of them children. When Obama recently announced he supported same-sex marriage, American planes had not long blown 14 Afghan civilians to bits. In both cases, the mass murder was barely news. What mattered were the cynical vacuities of a political celebrity, the product of a zeitgeist driven by the forces of consumerism and the media with the aim of diverting the struggle for social and economic justice.
UpTakeVideo on May 25, 2011
Governor Mark Dayton holds a press conference to announce a symbolic veto of the recently passed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. Dayton acknowledges his veto will not prevent the amendment from going on the 2012 general election ballot, but since it was sent to him in the form of a bill he has the option of signing or vetoing it. He is joined by Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner-Salon, Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) and Representative Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis) who are leading the charge to defeat the amendment on the ballot.
Homophobia has been around for a long time. It turns up in the Old Testament of the Bible as well as in the New. The Republican Religious Right relies on that view in support of its homophobia, and cites chapters and verses in support of it. (Not every religious scholar agrees with that interpretation of the Bible. Indeed, Minister Peter Gomes, the well-known gay [and African-American] Baptist long-time director of the Harvard Divinity School, strongly disagrees with it [see Gomes, P.J., “Homophobic? Re-read Your Bible,” New York Times, August 17, 1992, and Westminster, J., The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022, East Setauket, NY, Thomas Jefferson Press, 1996, pp.155-56]). In modern times it was used by the Nazis to promote their ideology once Hitler’s dictatorship had been established. Indeed, despite the fact that the head of the Sturmabteilung, the SA, the most prominent pre-1933 Nazi armed force, Ernst Roehm, was himself homosexual and Hermann Goering was a cross-dresser, the Nazis went after the gays as their identity group of choice for demonization before they went after the Jews full force.
For most of its existence since the end of Reconstruction following the election of 1876, the Republican Party has been the party of reaction in the United States. In fact, the only reason that Rutherford B. Hayes, the GOP candidate in that disputed election, won was that he agreed to end Reconstruction, essentially turning over the Southern states to the former slaveholders and the Ku Klux Klan. There was one bright exception to this rule, Theodore Roosevelt. There were two other exceptions, although not on the scale of the great reformer (and imperialist too). One was Dwight D. Eisenhower, who, at the end of World War II did not know to which party he belonged. In fact, Harry S. Truman tried to recruit him to be the Democratic nominee in 1952. “Ike” chose the Republicans and defeated Robert Taft for the nomination.
Bill Moyers Journal
February 26, 2010
Once adversaries in 2000’s Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case, now two of the nation’s premier lawyers – one conservative and one liberal – have teamed up to make the constitutional case for same-sex marriage.
Oct. 30, 2009
Leading Political, Legal Blogger Glenn Greenwald on Afghanistan, State Secrets, Healthcare and the Media
One of the leading political and legal bloggers in the country, Glenn Greenwald, joins us to talk about about the war in Afghanistan, the Obama administration’s use of state secrets, the healthcare debate, the renewed military commissions at Guantanamo, and the coverage of it all by the corporate media. Greenwald is a constitutional law attorney who writes for Salon.com and is the author of three books. [includes rush transcript]
On January 31, 2009 a New York Times editorial (“Listening to Ms. Gillibrand) tore up the newly appointed Senator from New York. “She has 100% support from the NRA,” they roared. And as for her position on illegal immigration, well, oh my!
Well, my usual knee-jerk reaction to such a writing would be “well, we’ll get her in 2010.” But even before I saw that editorial I had received two other communications. One, from the Planned Parenthood Federation cheered New York Governor Patterson’s appointment (clumsily handled though it was). The PPFA had already given her a 100% as a Congressperson. And then I heard from the Lesbian and Gay (political) Alliance: she is in favor gay marriage! You read that right. Not just “domestic partnership” (otherwise known as second class citizenship status) for gay couples. But full marriage rights? The Times, stretching the definition of what a “liberal Democrat” is, claimed that “gay marriage is a non-starter even among liberal Democrats like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer,” but tossed off Sen. Gillibrand’s endorsement of it by saying words to the effect of she’s only for it because Gov. Patterson is.
January 2, 2009
Right-wing commentators such as the sometimes hard-to-categorize Pat Buchanan, comedian Bill Kristol, still-trying-to-shake-her “Reagan Hagiographer” label Peggy Noonan, and so-called “even-handed” cable news personalities such as “Morning Joe and Mika” are all het-up about why the “left” (these folks wouldn’t know a real Left if they saw one) is so het up about Obama’s choice of Rick Warren for the Inauguration Invocation. “It’s a free country,” they say. “There’s a wide range of views on gay marriage” (which happens to be Rick Warren’s least odious on-the-gay-question position), they say. “Obama is showing himself to be tolerant,” they say. Obama is looking for “common ground,” they say.
Walking home from seeing “Milk,” I found myself humming a song about another great American leader of people, Joe Hill. He was an organizer for the International Workers of the World who was framed on a murder charge and killed in Utah in 1915. A song by Earl Robinson that was famous when I was a boy (frequently performed by Pete Seeger) goes in part: Continue reading