Thursday, January 30, 2014

PETA, Maybe Look Into This? Pat Robertson's Swans Are Freezing (UPDATED)

Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network campus in Virginia Beach has a pair of swans on its lake because swans mate for life, making them an enduring and inspiring symbol of the Christian values of monogamy and fidelity.

Okay, I just made that up.  I'm pretty sure they're there because somebody at CBN thought swans are fancy.

Anyway, it's so cold in Virginia that the lake is frozen over.  Won't anyone think of the poor swans?  Oh thank you, Wendy Griffith:

Swans sitting by a heating vent.  Nature!


UPDATE: PETA's response:

Um, I thought I just did?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is Pat Robertson Softening on Pornography?

(Game of Thrones.  I just know it's Game of Thrones.)

It was a little over three years ago that Pat Robertson made headlines for suggesting that marijuana be decriminalized.  Even though a CBN spokesperson felt the need to walk Pat's comments back—"he was advocating that our government revisit the severity of the existing laws blah blah blah"—it was rightly considered a softening of a decades-long hard-line antidrug stance that Pat shared with pretty much everyone else on the Right.  (See, for example, this alarmist story The 700 Club ran when California and Arizona passed medical marijuana referenda in 1996, complete with Pat's unsupportive follow-up comments.)

So maybe Pat's mellowing with age, because today a viewer asked Pat if she should be concerned that her pastor watches a cable show with nudity in it, and instead of blasting the moral cesspool of popular culture and the easy availability of pornography, his answer was surprisingly reasonable:

“The human body is not essentially nasty.  I mean, God made us without clothes.  You look at that famous statue of David that's considered one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance, and…he doesn't have any clothes on at all.  The Venus de Milo and some of those others…the Sistine Chapel, Adam has got no clothes on… The body is not essentially pornographic.  I think to make it so is a mistake.  It's what's in your mind. 
“I don't know what your pastor's watching, what show it is.  Maybe it's got some redeeming qualities.  But I sure wouldn't turn him off because he's watching a few clips of nudity on TV. I don't know what show you're talking about, some of them are real nasty…
The human form per se isn't necessarily dirty.  It's what our minds make it.

Keep in mind that this is the same Pat Robertson who used to warn his audience that just a glimpse of pornography can send you spiraling into a full-blown addiction.

Well, you read it here first: Pat Robertson's okay with nudity on television now.  And apparently, drugs and violence, too: 20 minutes earlier, The 700 Club featured the story of a meth dealer who found God, and he introduced it with, "You probably saw the blockbuster cable series Breaking Bad."  Yup.  Pat expects the good Christians who tune into him every day to have also watched Breaking Bad.

So…after more than 50 years of inveighing against the depravity of our popular culture and telling his audience to tune it out, Pat Robertson's pretty much acknowledging that even the people who watch him aren't really listening to him.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pat Robertson Says His Protégé, Now-Indicted Former Governor Bob McDonnell, Is Innocent

Yesterday, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen were indicted for soliciting and accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans and gifts from the chief executive officer of the Star Scientific dietary-supplement company, in return for having McDonnell promote Star's products.  According to the indictment and various other news sources (primarily the Washington Post):

  • Gov. McDonnell set up meetings with state officials for Star Scientific CEO Jonnie R. Williams to promote his products.
  • Gov. McDonnell personally promoted Star Scientific's Anatabloc, a purported anti-inflammatory supplement, with state officials during meetings to discuss the state employee health plan (under which Star wanted Anatabloc and other products listed as covered medications).
  • Gov. McDonnell tried to persuade state university researchers to design studies into the health benefits of Star's products, and sought to have those studies paid for by the State Tobacco Commission.  (Anatabloc uses an alkaloid found in tobacco.)
  • At Star Scientific's expense, Mrs. McDonnell flew to a Florida seminar for scientists and investors where she promoted Anatabloc and specifically touted its potential to lower health-care costs in Virginia.  (The McDonnells' public support for Anatabloc would be cited by financial analysts boosting Star Scientific stock.)
  • Mrs. McDonnell hosted the launch party for Anatabloc at an Executive Mansion luncheon where Star gave out start-up research grants to two state universities.  A Star Scientific press release promoting the Anatabloc launch specifically cited interest by Virginia state medical institutions in researching the product's potentials.  It was at the Florida seminar where Mrs. McDonnell first offered, publicly, to host the luncheon at the mansion; that same day, she bought $30,000 in Star Scientific stock—from $50,000 Williams had given her a week earlier.
  • The McDonnells endeavored to hide the extent of the gifts and loans by channeling them through family members or shell corporations to avoid state disclosure requirements.
  • The McDonnells omitted mention of Williams' private loans on applications with two separate lending institutions.
  • Mrs. McDonnell lied to government investigators who questioned her about their relationship with Williams.
  • The gifts (or loans) included: a total of $135,000 in cash, $7,500 in golf rounds for the McDonnell family and staff, a $6,500 silver Rolex watch specially engraved for the governor (which Mrs. McDonnell specifically asked Williams to buy for him), a $20,000 New York City shopping spree at such tony outfits as Bergdorf Goodman and Louis Vuitton, and $15,000 in catering for daughter Cailin McDonnell's wedding reception.
  • Last summer, McDonnell said he was returning all "tangible" gifts and repaying the loans, although the indictment lists property for potential forfeiture that suggests otherwise.  (Can't return the rounds of golf or the catering, though.)

Pat Robertson and Bob McDonnell go back at least 15 years, when McDonnell began serving on the Board of Trustees of Robertson's Regent University; and really, almost 30 years, when McDonnell enrolled in the inaugural class of Regent's School of Law in 1986 after matriculating at the university's Robertson School of Government in the previous year.  (According to the Washington Post, McDonnell claims that "he and Robertson did not become well acquainted until years after he was first elected to office" in 1991.)

So what does Pat have to say about his friend's indictment?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pat Robertson Now Says Three-Strikes Laws Are Bad for Society, and It's All Bill Clinton's Fault

Yesterday, Pat Robertson railed against the "growing criminalization of people in America" and the "tough-on-crime politicians" who passed the Three Strikes, You're Out laws in the 1990s. Which was refreshing, but also curious: back in those days, Robertson gave the remarkable impression that he was on the crime! crime! crime! bandwagon, too:

Anyway, is it your recollection that it was Republican politicians, like California governor Pete Wilson (1991-1999), who led the drive to enact Three Strikes?  Mine too!  You know who else's?  This Three Strikes timeline's, which lists Pete Wilson as the first governor to sign a Three Strikes bill into law.

Yet look who Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) places the blame on:

(This is an image, not a video.  If you want to see the YouTube video, click on the link directly above this image.)

Of course.  It happened in the '90s, so it must be Clinton's fault!  That's how it works!  Just like everything going on today is entirely Obama's fault!  Oh, but the years in between Clinton and Obama? That was 9/11.  9/11 was our president for those eight years.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

God Is Working on People's Intestines and Colons

Pat Robertson has been claiming to heal people over the television airwaves for 40 years or so with something he invented called the "Word of Knowledge."  See, God sends him a "word" that someone watching him on the TV is—oh screw it, it's faith healing.  We're talking about faith healing.  Pat Robertson has the power to hear God telling him who in his audience is suffering—and miraculously, everyone who has ever co-hosted The 700 Club with Pat has been imbued with the same power.

Apparently, someone over at The Raw Story only just discovered this, because he thought this video of Pat supposedly healing a man's infected jaw was something new and hilarious enough to highlight.

Well, shit.  Practically every day Pat Robertson and The 700 Club claim that they've healed someone in their viewing audience.  And I was reluctant to say "shit" back there, but it's actually kind of literal:

“A bowel obstruction is being healed right now, that is being taken care of.  Somebody else with colitis is being healed, and somebody else with diverticulitis.  God is working on people's intestines and colons.  There are a number of people with ulcerated colitis and various nervousness… God is giving you peace, just deep settled peace, it'll come all over you…”
And other stuff.

Want more?  Here's a heretofore infertile woman who Pat impregnated over the air with his healing.  Or something like that:

Even Pat's own people know this whole thing is a scam.  As former CBN producer Gerald Straub wrote in his behind-the-scenes tell-all Salvation for Sale:
“I used to muse that if this healing and 'word of knowledge' was really happening, why was it relegated to the last few minutes of the show?… Beyond that, if this activity was legitimate, I would think we'd want to fill the entire show with it, but instead we chattered about politics, the economy, or the Supreme Court for most of the show and let God do his healing during the last few minutes.… I just assumed that someday I would understand.  I was wrong. 
“There was nothing 'mystical' to understand; it was simply 'statistical.'  Robertson's little faith-healing procedure is a charade—he simply 'calls out' an illness and predicts its cure, and with millions of viewers the statistical probabilities are that someone will have the disease named and that they will naturally recover.”

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Unemployment Insurance Is Just Obama's Socialism, Get Rid of It and the Poor Will Find Jobs

Submitted for your disapproval:
“[Unemployment benefits] don't create jobs, they just prolong joblessness for those who are on the dole.  But the president seems to think that if people sign up for some government program, that they have therefore gotten off the rolls and into a good place.  But the good place isn't government subsidy, and that's what he wants, he wants people under the control of government.  And therefore, the more people under the control of government, the better the socialist agenda turns out. 
But statistics seem to show that when you cut unemployment benefits, and people really, honest-to-goodness are faced with the stark reality of getting a job, that they find ways of getting employment in the private sector. 
It isn't being cold-hearted to say the government cannot afford to continue, month after month, year after year, keeping people on the dole of unemployment.  You can't do that.  Sooner or later, you have to say we rely on the private sector.  Then we have to create a climate in this country where people can be employed, where business is booming, where regulations are cut down, and taxes are cut and people can go to work.  That's what we need to do, but the president doesn't see it that way.”
Remember—this is coming from a man whose best advice he could muster for an unemployed viewer was, "Ask God, or consider telemarketing."

As for that last part, where we need to get the economy moving again?  Turns out extending unemployment benefits is the second-best way to stimulate the economy, right behind increasing food stamps, according to Moody's:

But then again, that Moody's is just another socialist outfit on Wall Street, what do they know.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

CBN News Reverse-Engineers an Attack on a Climate-Change Scientist to Smear Global-Warming Proponents

Today's broadcast of The 700 Club featured a segment by Pat Robertson's own CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) News on "global cooling," an extreme-minority belief (of course) that not only is global warming false, but that the Earth is actually getting colder.  I'm not going to pretend to have the scientific bona fides to thoroughly debunk this theory, so I'll just direct you to and their collection of articles on global cooling instead.

But it wasn't enough for Robertson's band of merry right-wing Christian journalists reporters to flog the latest line of b.s. from the anti-warming crowd.  CBN actually took a right-wing slur against a climate-change scientist, flipped it, and claimed it was global-warming proponents making the accusation.
“Climate-change skeptics have been…compared to Holocaust deniers, and even child molesters.
I've heard the first charge before, and yes, a couple of newspaper columnists made that comparison to drive home the point that the anti-warming crowd is denying the truth in the face of clear and overwhelming evidence.  (Let me say that as a Jew, I take no offense at this comparison.)

But child molester?  Apparently, someone said that too, about Professor Michael E. Mann of Pennsylvania State University:
”Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science.”
EXCEPT: Michael Mann is a global-warming advocate.  The child-molester comparison was not made against a climate-change skeptic, but BY a climate-change skeptic—Rand Simberg of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think-tank that refutes global warming.  The ultraconservative National Review liked the child-molester comparison so much that they devoted an article to it on their blog.  (Simberg has since wiped the quote cited above from the post on CEI's blog, but the National Review article retains the citation. Dr. Mann is currently suing both CEI and National Review for defamation.)

Did CBN deliberately flip the attack on a global-warming advocate into persecution against climate-change deniers, or just misread it?  Who knows.  Maybe a CBN reporter saw someone say something beyond the pale—and assumed it had to come from the left.  They're the ones who make such comments.  Not us on the right! We don't say such things! WE'RE THE ONES WHO ARE PERSECUTED.

Or maybe they just lied in the hopes that no one would notice.  (There's not much critical analysis of CBN, Pat Robertson, and The 700 Club that doesn't originate from Right Wing Watch or this blog no one's reading yet.)

I did also like the part of the "global cooling" story that suggested the Earth was in fact warming up through 1998, implying that global warming used to be valid.  Which was the position CBN took back then, right?  Of course not:

(Note that the person interviewed in that segment right after "science seems to indicate otherwise" is Fred L. Smith, another Competitive Enterprise Institute figure—the founder, in fact—who holds degrees in theoretical mathematics and political science.  Curious how they couldn't find, you know, an actual climate scientist to make those points.)

Finally, I like how CBN still calls them "climate-change skeptics" even though they believe the Earth is getting colder now.  Keeping that terminology just proves that they're grabbing hold of any anti-warming theory that comes down the pike.

See Also—Robertson: Climate Change Is a Myth Created by Money-Hungry Scientists (Right Wing Watch)

Graphic Credit: