Lesbian Libertarian Camille Paglia Slams ‘Fascist’ Politically Correct Culture That Punishes ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star’s Right To Free Speech

Count on Camille Paglia to turn her progressive, myopic, ivory-tower echo-chamber colleagues red with indignant rage anytime she opens her mouth to speak the simple truth.

Paglia weighed in on the sanctimony-fueled uproar that “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s “suspension” from the massively popular A&E show generated Thursday, as the openly gay professor, intellectual and pop culture critic tore into the pervasiveness of politically correct timidity throughout American culture on an appearance on the Laura Ingraham radio show.

Paglia, author of the 1991 landmark Sexual Personae (the book that made Andrew Breitbart realize what a waste his Tulane education had been), hewed to the same fierce defense of free speech that has kept progressive critics – nearly all of whom lack the academic chops to assail her thinking on the merits – throwing off-the-mark ad hominem spears at her for two decades.

“I speak with authority here, because I was openly gay before the ‘Stonewall Rebellion,’ when it cost you something to be so,” said Paglia. “And I personally feel as a libertarian that people have the right to free thought and free speech.”

It’s unlikely that you need any background, but Phil Robertson became the target of GLAAD and other one-track advocates for gay rights after his remarks in a GQ article reflecting personal views on the depravity of homosexuality and other Biblical sins went viral. A&E responded to GLAAD pressure by indefinitely banning him from appearing in future episodes of “Duck Dynasty.”

That, according to Paglia, was a “fascist,” freedom-squelching move.

In a democratic country, people have the right to be homophobic as they have the right to support homosexuality – as I 100 percent do. If people are basing their views against gays on the Bible, again they have a right to religious freedom there … to express yourself in a magazine in an interview. This is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, okay? – that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades. It’s the whole legacy of the free-speech 1960s that have been lost by my own party.”

Don’t look under any rocks for more ideological liberals to join Paglia in the Robertsons’ defense. Then again – the Duck Commander clan likely doesn’t need it. A Facebook page protesting A&E’s decision to yank Phil had received 800,000 “likes” by late Thursday – only a few hours after it first went online.

Minorities Paid Less To Work For Democrats Than For Republicans On National Campaign Trail

In spite of the Democratic Party’s co-opting of the narrative of hope and change for minorities in America, it’s actually the GOP that better compensates paid nonwhite minority staffers.

That’s according to a study from the New Organizing Institute (NOI), which reviewed expenditure information from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) for 2012. NOI employed the following method to arrive at its conclusions:

We convened a team of researchers to compile expenditure data from the Federal Elections Commission, to extract data about individuals to whom payroll or salary payments were issued, and match it to a voter file enhanced with commercial data. This allowed us to create, for the first time, an evidence-based assessment of the staff composition of federal-level American campaigns. Using this method we were able to determine with good confidence the race/ethnicity and gender of 16,241 individual campaign staffers from 2012.

The hiring demographics indicate that Democrats’ campaigns hired more female and minority staffers than their Republican opponents’. But among those minorities both parties did hire, the GOP paid more.

African American staffers on Democratic federal-level campaigns are paid 70 cents on the dollar compared to their white counterparts; Hispanics are paid 68 cents on the dollar.

Women on campaigns are also paid less than men, although at a rate not too far from parity: 95 cents on the dollar. Interestingly, although the proportions of staff are more skewed towards white men on Republican campaigns, the income disparities are more pronounced on Democratic campaigns.

Specifically, Democrat-led campaigns paid an average of $795 per paycheck to black staffers and $1,145 to whites. Republican campaign camps paid blacks an average paycheck of $1,317, while whites were paid $1,510. Democrats also paid women an average paycheck of $978, while Republicans paid women $1,448 per paycheck.

In fact, Republicans paid everybody more, including Hispanics, Asians and, of course, white men.

Live Off the Grid, Get Forced Out Of Your Home

Cape Coral, Fla., resident Robin Speronis had a pretty cool thing going. She had decided to live a resourceful life — one free from any ties that would force her dependence on a utility infrastructure to meet her basic needs.

Speronis was living off the grid. Now she’s facing eviction because she agreed to share her enthusiasm for off-grid living with a local television station, and the city government saw the story.

Widowed since 2010, when her husband died of a neuromuscular disease, Speronis decided to devote herself to resourceful living. She had devised a rainwater-collection system using rain barrels (beloved by academics and ecologists) and a colloidal silver generator disinfecting system, acquired solar batteries, learned to cook on a propane camp stove and contented herself with life in a well-maintained, modest, easy-to-care-for home.

She has no refrigerator and no oven. She uses a camping shower to bathe. When she’s ready to use the restroom, she fills her toilet tank with some of the rainwater she’s collected. Her way of living is far from derelict or destitute, and Speronis takes a lot of pride in her home and the life she’s chosen.

“My message was to create, so I created a happy place… a place where I get up, and I’m like, ‘This is beautiful,’” she told Ft. Myers-Cape Coral TV station WFTX last month.

“It was an interest in empowering myself, like we did when we got off the health care system. I wanted to look at every other part of my lifestyle and say, ‘Do I need this? Is this of value to me? If it went away tomorrow, what would I do?’ The more I got into it, the more exciting, the more of an adventure it became,” she explained.

The story aired Nov. 14. The next day, code enforcement officials posted on her door a notice that she must vacate the property. Robin reportedly owns her home outright and is not in arrears on any taxes.

A Cape Coral code compliance official told WFTX Speronis’ home was targeted because it lacks electricity and running water. But “neither is mentioned as a requirement in the code cited by the city on the notice.”

If Speronis resists the city throughout the eviction process and doesn’t meet the code department’s demands, the county sheriff could forcibly remove her from her home. But with the help of a local attorney who has stepped up to represent her pro bono and a pretty indomitable attitude, Speronis has no plans to step away from the life she chose.

“Cape Coral needs to be afraid of me. I’m not afraid of them,” she told the station in a follow-up story.

Oregon Pulls The Plug On Exorbitant, Ineffective Hipster Ads For Obamacare

After spending at least $8.3 million on a television jingle intended to extoll Obamacare’s goodness and drive residents to the State’s messed-up insurance exchange website, Cover Oregon is pulling the plug. The advertisements won’t run on television anymore, because the State can’t advertise a product it’s having tremendous difficulty delivering.

Who wouldn’t love to see that in regular TV rotation? But Bruce Goldberg, acting executive director for Cover Oregon, said Monday the ads are useless because the State’s insurance website, which hasn’t successfully enrolled a single person in a health insurance plan, is still useless.

“Cover Oregon is changing its tune when it comes to its catchy Portlandia-style TV spots, which attracted national attention — not all of it positive,” reported KATU Monday. “The problem? The spots still in circulation have been pushing people to use the unworkable online exchange.”

“We’re doing our best to get through the applications that we have and while we’re doing that, we think it’s appropriate to hold off on any further advertising,” Goldberg said at a Monday press conference.

Goldberg’s comments came on the same day he also encouraged 13,000 people who are losing their portability health coverage, which is supposed to serve as a temporary stopgap for people who’ve been laid off from a job or had their old policies canceled, not to count on obtaining coverage through the State exchange.

“Nobody has a list of who the portability people are,” Goldberg said. “Those individuals need to go directly to the market and buy a plan if they want to be assured coverage Jan. 1.”

New Colorado Law Will Treat Drivers Who Refuse Breathalyzer Tests As Criminals

Starting in 2014, Colorado drivers who refuse to submit to roadside sobriety tests will be treated by police as though they have a record of driving drunk – regardless of whether they actually do.

According to ABC 7 in Denver, “any Colorado driver who refuses a sobriety test will be branded a ‘persistent drunk driver.’”

In Colorado, people who refuse a blood or breathalyzer blood alcohol test are already treated as drunk drivers, even if they haven’t been drinking and refuse the test on principle. But the new law will allow the State to place drivers who refuse the tests on a one-year suspension, requiring them to install and use a breathalyzer machine in their cars every time they wish to start their vehicles – and that’s after a two-month waiting period during which they won’t legally be allowed to drive at all.

The new law puts sobriety test decliners in the same category as people with multiple drunk driving convictions, who also must install interlock breath-testing equipment before their cars will start.

More Americans Beginning To See Government Itself As The Nation’s Worst Enemy

Whatever Congress and President Barack Obama had in mind at the start of the President’s second term, it likely wasn’t this: A December Gallup poll reveals more Americans identify the government — not the economy, immigration, healthcare or the wealth gap, but the government itself — as the single biggest source of the Nation’s problems.

Gallup asked people a simple, open-ended question: “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?” Twenty-one percent of people indicated they were more dissatisfied with the government than with any other problem on a National scale.

That was the largest single group response, followed by the general economy (19 percent), healthcare (17 percent), unemployment (12 percent), the Federal deficit (9 percent), moral decline (7 percent), poverty (5 percent) and a slew of other 3 percent and 2 percent categories (immigration, war, a loss of civility, the court system).

The year began at a particularly polarizing time for this kind of poll, as a polarizing President fresh off a polarizing re-election victory was inaugurated into a second term in office. Yet an earlier iteration of the same Gallup poll reflected Americans’ disgust with government hadn’t yet overtaken other concerns when January started.

The general economy was the chief fretting point for people back in January, followed by the Federal deficit. Dissatisfaction with government started the year in third place and hummed along there for most of the year (with a momentary blip into second place as sequestration spending “cuts” began in March) — until the government pseudo-shutdown and the launch of Obamacare combined to launch public disgust into the stratosphere. The Oct. 1 Gallup poll showed 33 percent of respondents thought the government was the Nation’s biggest problem — far more than the 19 percent who still eyed the economy as the biggest fear.

Such a rapid and dramatic collapse in public trust isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for Obama’s campaign to shelter everyone under the umbrella of government, nor is it a pat on the back to Congress, which generated an incredible amount of news for a 11-month span in which it accomplished almost nothing (other than revolutionizing Senate procedure on Obama’s behalf).

“[T]he trend,” commented Breitbart’s Frances Martel Monday, “seems to be that Americans become increasingly worried about problems when the government announces it will try to fix them — and are they truly so wrong to think, to paraphrase a great Republican, that government might not be the solution, but the problem itself?”

Job Posting: Team Obamacare Needs A Media Handler To Avoid Appearing ‘Ignorant And Unaware’

Team Obamacare is forming its own in-house Media Matters of sorts, as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) prepares to hire a media agency that will keep its finger on the pulse of what everyone across TV, print and the Internet is saying about the Affordable Care Act.

While it’s not surprising that cabinet-level offices expend some resources to keep daily tabs on how the public feels about its performance, the idea in this case seems to go beyond that. Reading the stipulations for the contract, it looks as though the department is playing catch-up.

From a hiring notice posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website Dec. 9:

Agency officials will be able to make better decisions if they have an easier, faster, more reliable way to get all the latest information about their organization and its mission. Providing HHS officials with timely, easy-to-digest information on a daily basis keeps them in the best position to react to fast-moving events and unfolding issues of concern to the Department. Without this knowledge, HHS leaders can be left ignorant and unaware of what the public, Congress and stakeholders may be saying and reacting to, thus leaving HHS officials less than fully informed in their decision making processes.

While the Secretary, the agency heads, and senior leaders across the Department are critical customers, it is important to the Department in general that staff at all levels in all agencies be aware of how the Department and its agencies are being cast in the public eye. All HHS staff essentially are “ambassadors” to the public on the Department’s behalf.

“Ignorant and unaware” have been the order of the day at HHS, especially where its relationship with the White House is concerned. The Government Accountability Institute revealed earlier this month that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and President Barack Obama did not meet in a scheduled setting a single time during the three-year run-up to the Oct. 1 launch of Obamacare.

“Equally shocking,” noted POLITICO at the time, “over the same period, the President’s calendar lists 277 private meetings with his other Cabinet secretaries (excluding full Cabinet meetings).”

Keeping The Peace: Cops Rescue Neighborhood From Resident Who Washes Car In His Own Driveway

A Garden City, N.Y., man was trying to wash his car in the driveway of his home when the cops showed up. Apparently, his neighbor wanted to get the guy in trouble, so he (or she) called the police to report the man was violating a local ordinance by washing his car on his own property.

The police were happy to oblige:

Even though the man protests that the car is entirely on his own property, the police respond by saying that washing a vehicle in a public place is against the law — and even though the car is on private property, “It’s still in public view.”

Sting-Happy Cops Falsely Accuse Child’s Caretaker Of Sex Crime, Distribute His Photo, Get Sued For $5 Million

Charles Couch was a college student who also held a job with Cambrian Homecare of Long Beach, Calif., where he helped chaperone a boy with Prader-Willi Syndrome – a rare disorder that results in mental retardation and arrested sexual development. One day in 2012, he and the boy were at the beach in Manhattan Beach when the child needed to use the restroom at a nearby public toilet.

But Manhattan Beach cops were there ahead of them, on the prowl as part of a sting operation to target would-be sexual predators who prey on kids in public bathrooms. The cops had no prior knowledge of Couch, or that he would be visiting the beach that day with the disabled child.

After the child spent a long time in the bathroom (the product of another of Prader-Willi’s many symptoms), he came outside and whispered to Couch, “There is a man looking at me in the stall!”

Couch understandably decided it was time to put as much distance between his charge and the strange man in the bathroom as possible. So he tried to leave with the child. Instead he was tackled, cuffed and taken to jail. That “strange man,” of course, turned out to be a cop.

Under questioning, Couch was “accused of being sexually interested in other men, and asked if he would take his own little brother to a party to get ‘laid.’”

At least that’s what Couch is now alleging in a $5 million Federal lawsuit against the Manhattan Beach Police Department, its chief of police, and five detectives. The complaint alleges Couch was falsely arrested and subjected to unreasonable search and seizure and discrimination.

To top it off, the police department evidently had no compunction about disseminating Couch’s picture to the media – even though he was never charged with a crime. About a month after the incident, Couch saw his own picture, accompanied by his name, in a local newspaper with a circulation of 70,000 readers. His name and picture were on the Internet. He appeared as a sex offender to strangers who knew nothing of the truth. He quit school because the cops confiscated his laptop computer – the one he used for academics – in a fruitless search for child porn.

The suit seeks damages for violation of Couch’s 4th and 14th Amendment rights, as well as punitive damages for allegations of perjury against one of the accusing officers.

Tech Leaders Not Amused By Obama’s Veer Toward Obamacare Boosterism In Meeting To Discuss NSA Reforms

President Barack Obama met with executives and experts from major global technological companies today at the White House. The techies were there out of concern for their various companies’ roles as sometimes-unwilling middleman facilitators in the National Security Agency’s spy dragnet behemoth.

People like Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Eric Schmidt and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, along with upper-level company reps from Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, AT&T and many other tech giants all sat down at one table with Obama for two and-a-half hours to urge for government reforms to the NSA’s bulk data surveillance program, in part to rehabilitate the private tech sector’s image among customers leery of its complicity in the NSA dragnet.

Several of those in attendance were co-authors of a group letter sent to the White House last week that criticized the government for aggrandizing power at the expense of individual rights.

“The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual – rights that are enshrined in our Constitution,” that letter scolded.

But at Tuesday’s meeting, Obama wanted to devote equal time to Obamacare and Healthcare.gov – and the Technorati was having none of it.

The President’s repeated and jarring attempts to steer the conversation toward his signature “achievement” irritated the techies, who reported they did not feel comfortable talking about other aspects of Obama’s broader policy agenda when they were clearly there to talk about one thing: the tenuous intersection between government, technology and the private sector.

“That wasn’t what we came for,” one company VP told The Daily Mail. “We really didn’t care for a PR pitch about how the administration is trying to salvage its internal health care tech nightmare.”

Here’s more from that story:

One executive said that meeting participants were dead-set against straying from the principal focus of the meeting – the uncomfortable and legally untenable position they are in when the National Security Agency demands access to their digital records.

The White House said in advance that the meeting would include a discussion of Healthcare.gov, but the company executive said the only subject that mattered to the participants was the NSA.

“He basically hijacked the meeting,” the executive said. “We all told the White House that we were only there to talk about what the NSA was up to and how it affects us.”

Yet Obama, according to insiders, repeatedly peppered the discussion with reassuring words about how the Affordable Care Act’s marquee website was well on its way to becoming functional.

According to The Guardian, the tech execs were unwavering in their insistence on keeping the serious focus of the meeting on the matter at hand.

Senior executives from the companies whose bosses were present at the meeting said they were determined to keep the discussion focused on the NSA, despite the White House declaring in advance that it would focus on ways of improving the functionality of the troubled health insurance website, healthcare.gov, among other matters.

“That is not going to happen,” said an executive at one of the major tech companies represented at the meeting. “We are there to talk about the NSA,” said the executive, who was briefed on the company’s agenda before the event.

In light of the tech industry’s newly-galvanized solidarity against partnering with the Obama Administration to snoop on people, as well as a judge’s ruling Monday that the NSA has been violating 4th Amendment protections, Obama’s attempt to swerve the topic in other directions came off as especially inappropriate and self-serving.

As another unnamed executive told The Guardian afterward, “There’s only one subject that [industry] people really want to discuss right now.”

And it’s not Obamacare.