Silenced forever: An obituary for slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi

News Nation & World Jamal Khashoggi, 1958-2018: An obituary for a slain journalist Metafora Production Eiad Alhaji, a Syrian documentary film maker, grabs a cat that jumped onto Jamal Khashoggi’s lap as he speaks during an interview. Khashoggi, born in 1958, was slain inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul shortly after he arrived to pick up wedding paperwork on Oct. 2, 2018.
Eiad Alhaji, a Syrian documentary film maker, grabs a cat that jumped onto Jamal Khashoggi’s lap as he speaks during an interview. Khashoggi, born in 1958, was slain inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul shortly after he arrived to pick up wedding paperwork on Oct. 2, 2018.
(Metafora Production) Sarah El Deeb Associated Press Two days after Jamal Khashoggi vanished into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, The Washington Post published a column featuring his byline and the headline “A missing voice.” The space below it was blank.
That influential voice on Saudi affairs has been silenced forever after three decades as a writer, editor, commentator and media adviser.
Eighteen days after Khashoggi disappeared, Saudi Arabia acknowledged early Saturday that the 59-year-old writer has died in what it said was a “fistfight” inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The Saudi announcement shed little light on the mystery of Khashoggi’s disappearance and contradicted leaks from Turkish media that he was tortured, killed and dismembered.
Once close to the royal family and an adviser to the country’s former intelligence chief, Khashoggi became a sharp critic of its young and ambitious crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, for cracking down on any opposition and miring the country in a conflict in neighboring Yemen that killed thousands of people.
His disappearance and death ignited a diplomatic firestorm and shook Saudi Arabia’s alliances with its partners, brought calls for sanctions against the oil-rich kingdom and horrified free speech advocates and people around the world who never read his work.
In a final column for the Post , which the newspaper said it received from his assistant on Oct. 3 and was published Oct. 17, Khashoggi warned that governments in the Middle East “have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate.”
He noted that some Middle East leaders were blocking internet access so they could tightly control what their citizens can see.
“The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power,” Khashoggi wrote.
Born into a family of wealth and connections — he was the nephew of Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi and a cousin of Princess Diana’s boyfriend Dodi Fayed — Khashoggi was a voice of moderation in a kingdom at war with terrorism in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 , attacks in the United States.
He spent years explaining its policies to outsiders, but made himself unpopular at home, saying the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen “would validate” those who compared the kingdom’s actions to what Russia and Iran were doing in Syria. He also was critical of Riyadh’s diplomatic break with Qatar.
After Khashoggi criticized the kingdom’s celebration of Donald Trump’s election as president in 2016, a royal court official who was close to him advised him to stop tweeting and publishing stories, a sign that his opinion was no longer welcome.
Khashoggi went into a self-imposed exile, moving to Washington in 2017, writing regular columns for the Post and pursuing pro-democracy projects.
The crown prince’s crackdown intensified after Khashoggi left, reaching some of his friends and associates. A former boss, Saudi billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal, was among dozens of businessmen and royals put under house arrest in an upscale hotel in November 2017 in a crackdown on corruption that soon resembled a shakedown of the kingdom’s most powerful people.
“Saudi royals view themselves as The Party, sharing power and ruling by consent, in an arrangement that is largely opaque,” Khashoggi wrote after the crackdown, adding that the crown prince “is upending this arrangement and centralizing all power within his position.”
But he told the Economist in May that he did not agree with Saudis who were “calling for regime change and stuff like that. … I believe in the system. I just want a reform system. Actually, I want the system to give me a voice to allow me to speak.”
While he supported fighting corruption, he described what was happening in Saudi Arabia as “selective justice.” He argued that corruption was so entrenched that royals monopolize land ownership and fewer than 40 percent of Saudis can own their homes.
“The crown prince is engaging in a major economic transformation. And since there is no one to debate it, he will not see the (mistakes) of these transformations,” he told the Economist.
A British-Palestinian friend, Azzam Tamimi, said Khashoggi spoke to Westerners in a language they understand.
Prince Mohammed “spent millions on PR and wanted to present himself as a modernist savior who brings rights to women,” Tamimi said. “Jamal used to show the other face that Mohammed bin Salam didn’t want to show.”
Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi was born in Medina in 1958 and graduated from Indiana State University. He began his career as a journalist in the 1980s, covering the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and the decade-long war that followed for the English-language daily, the Saudi Gazette. He covered Algeria’s 1990s war against Islamic militants, the Balkan wars and the rise of Islamists in Sudan.
Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a dark whisper campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect President Donald Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident journalist’s alleged murder by Saudi Arabia operatives – and support Trump’s continued…
In his youth, according to one friend, Khashoggi briefly joined the Muslim Brotherhood , the strongest organization of political Islam in the region. He soon left it, wanting to remain outside organized groups, but throughout his life kept good relations with all sides.
He was editor of Medina’s Islamist-leaning paper for nine years.
While in Afghanistan, he interviewed Osama bin Laden before he became the leader of al-Qaida . They later met again in Sudan in 1995.
“He could have done much better for himself, his family and his religion if he remained moderate,” Khashoggi said after bin Laden was killed by a U.S. raid in Pakistan in 2011.
In a column for The Daily Star in Lebanon on Sept. 10, 2002, Quote: : : “Osama bin Laden’s hijacked planes not only attacked the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They also attacked Islam as a faith. They attacked the values of tolerance and coexistence that Islam preaches.”
He had a brief stint in 2003 as editor of a liberal Saudi paper, Al-Watan, founded after 9/11, and he was often Quote: : d in the West as a reformist voice and expert on Islamic radicals. But after two months, he was fired when the kingdom’s ultra-conservative clerics pushed back against his criticism of the powerful religious police.
Khashoggi served as media adviser to Turki Al-Faisal, the country’s former spy chief, who was at the time the ambassador to Britain and then the United States.
He returned to Al-Watan in 2007, where he continued his criticism of the clerics as the late King Abdullah began cautious reforms to try to shake their hold. Three years later, he was forced to resign after a series of articles critical of Salafism, the ultra-conservative Sunni movement.
In 2010, he was tapped to lead the new Bahrain-based broadcaster Al-Arab, touted as a rival to the Qatari-funded Al-Jazeera, a harsh critic of the kingdom. But it was shut down hours after its launch for hosting a Bahraini opposition figure.
After the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, he was critical of the crackdowns by various Arab governments on the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that Saudi Arabia considers an existential threat.
Friends recalled him as a devout Muslim who loved his homeland, an avid history buff and a humble man with a sense of humor, fond of video games, which he sometimes played while waiting to conduct an interview.
A first marriage that produced two sons and two daughters fell apart, and Khashoggi told friends that it failed because of pressure from the Saudi government over his criticism.
His visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 was to get documents needed for his wedding scheduled for the next day to Hatice Cengiz, who waited for him in vain to emerge from the compound.
Khashoggi said he had no plans to return to Saudi Arabia because he didn’t “want to risk losing my freedom. I really don’t like being in jail. … I just want to be a free writer. I think I am serving my people, my country.”
Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz waits in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 3, 2018, the day after Khashoggi was killed inside the building, but long before his death was confirmed by Saudi authorities.
Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz waits in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 3, 2018, the day after Khashoggi was killed inside the building, but long before his death was confirmed by Saudi authorities.
(Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images) Sherif Mansour of the Committee to Protect Journalists said Khashoggi was one of the few Saudis who helped track news of missing or detained journalists and activists.
“Saudi was always a black hole in terms of information, and now after Jamal’s case, it is even harder to get any,” Mansour said. “Those journalists depended on Khashoggi to tell their stories. It is up to us now to tell his story and make sure the risks he took on those journalists’ behalf were not in vain.”
President Trump says he’s reducing Central American aid over migrant caravan New footage appears to show Saudi suspect wearing Jamal Khashoggi’s clothing Elon Musk announces opening date for California hyperloop test tunnel Copyright © 2018, Chicago Tribune

Read More…

Comment on Sci-Fi Author J.G. Ballard Predicts the Rise of Social Media (1977) by John

in Literature , Technology | March 25th, 2016 4 Comments 2.7k Subscribe Vk Print Xing Yummly Telegram Flipboard Advertisement
Say you were a fan of Steven Spielberg’s moving coming-of-age drama Empire of the Sun , set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II and starring a young Christian Bale. Say you read the autobiographical novel on which that film is based, written by one J.G. Ballard . Say you enjoyed it so much, you decided to read more of the author’s work, like, say, 1973’s Crash , a novel about people who develop a sexual fetish around wounds sustained in staged automobile accidents. Or you pick up its predecessor, The Atrocity Exhibition , a book William S. Burroughs described as stirring “sexual depths untouched by the hardest-core illustrated porn.” Or perhaps you stumble upon Concrete Island , a warped take on Defoe that strands a wealthy architect and his Jaguar on a highway intersection.
You may experience some dissonance. Who was this Ballard? A realist chronicler of 20th century horrors; perverse explorer of—in Burroughs’ words—“the nonsexual roots of sexuality”; sci-fi satirist of the bleak post-industrial wastelands of modernity? He was all of these, and more. Ballard was a brilliant futurist and his dystopian novels and short stories anticipated the 80s cyberpunk of William Gibson, exploring with a twisted sense of humor what Jean Lyotard famously dubbed in 1979 The Postmodern Condition : a state of ideological, scientific, personal, and social disintegration under the reign of a technocratic, hypercapitalist, “computerized society.” Ballard had his own term for it: “media landscape,” and his dark visions of the future often correspond to the virtual world we inhabit today.
In addition to his fictional creations, Ballard made several disturbingly accurate predictions in interviews he gave over the decades (collected in a book titled Extreme Metaphors ). In 1987—with the film adaptation of Empire of the Sun just on the horizon and “his most extreme work Crash re-released in the USA to warmer reaction,” he gave an interview to I-D magazine in which he predicted the internet as “invisible streams of data pulsing down lines to produce an invisible loom of world commerce and information.” This may not seem especially prescient (see, for example, E.M. Forster’s 1909 “ The Machine Stops ” for a chilling futuristic scenario much further ahead of its time). But Ballard went on to describe in detail the rise of the Youtube celebrity:
Every home will be transformed into its own TV studio. We’ll all be simultaneously actor, director and screenwriter in our own soap opera. People will start screening themselves. They will become their own TV programmes.
The themes of celebrity obsession and technologically constructed realities resonate in almost all of Ballard’s work and thought, and ten years earlier, in an essay for Vogue , he described in detail the spread of social media and its totalizing effects on our lives. In the technological future, he wrote, “each of us will be both star and supporting player.”
Every one of our actions during the day, across the entire spectrum of domestic life, will be instantly recorded on video-tape. In the evening we will sit back to scan the rushes, selected by a computer trained to pick out only our best profiles, our wittiest dialogue, our most affecting expressions filmed through the kindest filters, and then stitch these together into a heightened re-enactment of the day. Regardless of our place in the family pecking order, each of us within the privacy of our own rooms will be the star in a continually unfolding domestic saga, with parents, husbands, wives and children demoted to an appropriate supporting role.
Though Ballard thought in terms of film and television—and though we ourselves play the role of the selecting computer in his scenario—this description almost perfectly captures the behavior of the average user of Facebook, Instagram, etc. (See Ballard in the interview clip above discuss further “the possibilities of genuinely interactive virtual reality” and his theory of the 50s as the “blueprint” of modern technological culture and the “suburbanization” of reality.) In addition to the Vogue essay, Ballard wrote a 1977 short story called “The Intensive Care Unit,” in which— writes the site Ballardian —“ordinances are in place to prevent people from meeting in person. All interaction is mediated through personal cameras and TV screens.”
So what did Ballard, who died in 2009, think of the post-internet world he lived to see and experience? He discussed the subject in 2003 in an interview with radical publisher V. Vale (who re-issued The Atrocity Exhibition ). “Now everybody can document themselves in a way that was inconceivable 30, 40, 50 years ago,” Ballard notes, “I think this reflects a tremendous hunger among people for ‘reality’—for ordinary reality. It’s very difficult to find the ‘real,’ because the environment is totally manufactured.” Like Jean Baudrillard , another prescient theorist of postmodernity, Ballard saw this loss of the “real” coming many decades ago. As he told I-D in 1987, “in the media landscape it’s almost impossible to separate fact from fiction.”

Read More…

The Right-Wing’s 20 Biggest Sex Hypocrites | Alternet

AlterNet
The Republican Party wasn’t always synonymous with far-right Christian fundamentalism. The late five-term Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who was considered the epitome of an arch-conservative when he ran for president against Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, had no use for the Religious Right. Goldwater famously said that “the Religious Right scares the hell out of me,” and he said of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, “All good Christians should kick him in the ass.”
It isn’t that Goldwater abandoned right-wing ideas and became passionately liberal/progressive; rather, the Republican Party moved way to the right of him on social issues. From the early 1980s on, the GOP has pushed an agenda of militant social conservatism—and the more the GOP became the party of far-right Christian fundamentalism, the more Republican politicians and the evangelists who supported them became involved in major sex scandals.Of course, the Democratic Party has had plenty of sex scandals as well. But most of the Democrats who have become involved in major sex scandals (Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Anthony Weiner, Gary Hart, among others) had not marketed themselves as extreme moralists. Post-1970s Republicans, all too often, have been self-righteous, preachy, overbearing, holier-than-thou witch hunters—and in many cases, the ones who screamed the loudest about how godly they were turned out to be the exact opposite. Below are 20 of the top socially conservative hypocrites of the Religious Right.
1. Jimmy Swaggart Pentecostal televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, who is a cousin of rock-and-roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis and country singer Mickey Gilley, was preaching fire-and-brimstone Christian fundamentalism before the 1980s; his television program started in 1975. But it was during the 1980s that Swaggart rose to prominence in right-wing politics and, along with Rev. Jerry Falwell, Rev. James Robison and Rev. Pat Robertson, greatly influenced the Christian Right’s influence on the GOP. Swaggart’s sermons are as political as they are religious, and he has never been shy about describing feminists, liberals, Democrats and rock musicians as agents of Satan who promote immorality at every turn. But in 1988, it was revealed that the adulterous Swaggart had been cheating on his wife with a New Orleans prostitute named Debra Murphree. And his association with prostitutes did not end after his famous “I have sinned” speech of 1988. In 1991, Swaggart was with prostitute Rosemary Garcia when he was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol; Garcia said Swaggart had asked her for sex. On top of all that, Swaggart has admitted to having a long history of porn consumption (even though he has often called for tougher enforcement of obscenity laws). And he appears to have dabbled in something else Christian fundamentalists condemn: BDSM. In a 1989 Penthouse interview, a woman named Catherine Campen said that when she was having an affair with Swaggart, he asked her to beat him with a riding crop. 2. Laura Schlessinger Although America’s Religious Right has been dominated by Protestant fundamentalists, not all far-right culture warriors are Pentecostals or Southern Baptists. For example, talk radio host Laura Schlessinger, a.k.a. Dr. Laura, was a convert to Orthodox Judaism (before renouncing it in 2003), and she has made a career out of railing against sex education, abortion, premarital sex, porn, feminism and homosexuality (the gay-bashing Schlessinger once said that “a huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys”). But for all her moralizing, Schlessinger hasn’t always acted like a Puritan; in the late 1990s, some nude and topless photos she had posed for in the mid-1970s were published on the Internet. The photos were taken by the late radio shock-jock Bill Balance, who sold them to an adult Web site. Schlessinger filed a lawsuit for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement, but a court ruled that the photos were not her intellectual property. Schlessinger’s “queen of family values” routine is also laughable considering that when her mother died in 2002, it was widely reported that Dr. Laura hadn’t spoken to her since 1986. 3. Newt Gingrich In 1998, President Bill Clinton was lambasted by a long list of Republicans when it was revealed that he had cheated on his wife, Hillary Clinton, with intern Monica Lewinsky. One of his loudest critics was House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich (who asserted that Clinton showed “a level of disrespect and decadence that should appall every American”). But while Gingrich was lambasting Clinton for committing adultery and trying to get him impeached, he was also cheating on his second wife, Marianne Ginther, with a woman (Callista Bisek, who became his third wife) who was 20 years younger. And that wasn’t the first time Gingrich committed adultery. In the early 1980s, Gingrich cheated on his first wife, Jackie Battley, with Ginther—and when Battley was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery, Gingrich insisted on discussing the terms of their divorce. After that, Mr. Family Values refused to pay Battley either alimony or child support (a local church took up a collection to help her out financially). Despite his history of serial adultery, Gingrich had no problem playing the “family values” card during his recent bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
4. David Vitter Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana is infamous for his extreme social conservatism and for pandering to the Christian Right. Vitter has supported a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage nationwide (although he claims to support “states rights,” Vitter makes an exception when it comes to gay marriage), promoted abstinence-only sex education, called for school board meetings in Louisiana to open with prayers, and repeatedly preached against abortion. Vitter loves to play the red state/blue state card, saying that he represents socially conservative “Louisiana values” rather than secular “Massachusetts values.” But in 2007, it was revealed that Vitter had been a client of the Washington, DC escort service operated by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, a.k.a. the DC Madam; Vitter admitted he had cheated on his wife with a prostitute, but no criminal charges were filed because of the statute of limitations. Despite his blatant hypocrisy, Vitter was re-elected to the Senate in 2010. 5. Rush Limbaugh “The Rush Limbaugh Show” has always been full of sexual contradictions. On one hand, the far-right talk radio host has a long history of supporting the Christian Right and telling his audience that the Republican Party is the true voice of morality in the United States. On the other hand, the twice-divorced Limbaugh is quite fond of off-color humor (“PMSNBC” is his name for MSNBC) and sexual innuendos. Limbaugh will use sex to boost ratings at the same time he’s preaching God, family values and morality to the GOP base. Limbaugh’s schizophrenic relationship with sex was recently exemplified by his heavily publicized attack on Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, whom he denounced as a “slut” and a “prostitute” for saying that health insurance plans should cover female contraception. Limbaugh said that if other people were going to pay for Fluke to have sex, she should film the sexual act for his viewing pleasure. In other words, he was asking Fluke to make a porn video, which is ironic in light of how much time Republicans have spent railing against the adult entertainment industry. Limbaugh’s hypocrisy doesn’t end there; previous Limbaugh scandals have ranged from his well-documented addiction to painkillers in 2003 to being detained for three hours at the Palm Beach Airport in 2006 for possessing a bottle of Viagra that wasn’t in his name.
6. Larry Craig During the many years he spent in Congress (18 years in the Senate preceded by 10 years in the House of Representatives), Republican Larry Craig of Idaho was a strident social conservative with a very anti-gay record. Craig opposed gay men serving in the U.S. military, and he favored adding an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have outlawed same-sex marriage nationwide. The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group that rates politicians’ voting records on gay issues, gave Craig a rating of 0 in 2004. But in June 2007, the married Craig was arrested for lewd conduct in a men’s room stall at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport; an undercover police officer said that Craig’s behavior indicated he was seeking a sexual encounter (Craig pled guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct). And in December 2007, no less than eight gay men alleged to the Idaho Statesman that they had either had sexual affairs with Craig or that he had made sexual advances to them. 7. Ted Haggard Evangelical minister Ted Haggard has never been known for embracing a moderate approach to Protestant Christianity. Very much a fundamentalist, Haggard was a strong supporter of George W. Bush’s presidency and did a lot to rally GOP “values voters” in 2004. Haggard has been quite the culture warrior, loudly preaching against abortion, premarital sex, adultery and gay marriage. But in 2006, a male escort named Mike Jones revealed that the married Haggard had been a client; in addition to paying for sex and committing adultery, Jones said, Haggard was fond of using crystal meth. Admitting to his followers that he was guilty of “sexual immorality,” Jones resigned from his position with the National Association of Evangelicals. 8. Henry Hyde Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, but the late Illinois Republican Henry Hyde (who spent 32 years in the House of Representatives and died in 2007) threw plenty of stones (figuratively speaking) during the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton. Clinton, Hyde insisted, had disgraced the presidency by committing adultery and lying about it under oath. But it turned out that Hyde had his own history of adultery. In the 1960s, Hyde was married with four sons when he had an affair with a woman named Cherie Snodgrass, who had three children with Fred Snodgrass, her husband at the time. In a 1998 interview with Salon.com, Fred Snodgrass denounced Hyde as a “hypocrite who broke up my family.” Hyde described his affair with Cherie as a “youthful indiscretion,” although he was 41 when the affair started. 9. Jim Bakker Jimmy Swaggart was not the first right-wing Pentecostal televangelist to be involved in a major sex scandal. In 1987, Jim Bakker (who co-hosted “The PTL Club” with his wife, Tammy Faye Bakker) was disgraced when it came out that he had cheated on his wife with church secretary Jessica Hahn and paid her $265,000 to keep quiet. In 1989, Bakker was convicted of fraud and racketeering charges in a federal court and sentenced to 45 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, but he was granted parole in 1994. Swaggart, ironically, was vehemently critical of Bakker in 1987, calling him “a cancer on the body of Christ” because of his affair with Hahn—and all the while, Swaggart was every bit the adulterer himself. 10. James West The late Republican James West, who died in 2006, was a champion of anti-gay causes during his years in Washington State politics (first in the Washington State senate, then as mayor of Spokane). West promoted, among other things, a blatantly discriminatory bill that would have prohibited gay men and women from working for schools, daycare centers and certain state agencies. But in 2004, West was caught in a sex scandal when the Spokane Spokesman-Review conducted a sting operation and alleged that West, in a gay online chat room, offered a possible City Hall internship to someone he thought was an 18-year-old man (in reality, the “18-year-old” was a private investigator hired by the Spokesman-Review ). The Spokane County Republican Party called for West’s resignation, and in 2005, he lost his position as mayor when voters opted to recall him. 11. John Ensign During the years he represented Nevada in the U.S. Senate (and before that, the House of Representatives), Republican John Ensign was held in high regard by the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family and other Christian Right theocrats. Staunchly anti-abortion, he was a Pentecostal who considered himself “born again.” He voted in favor of a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and he was active in the Promise Keepers. The Christian Coalition gave him a 100% rating in 2003, while the Human Rights Campaign gave him a rating of only 11% in 2006. Like many other Republicans, Ensign called for Bill Clinton’s resignation in 1998, saying that an adulterer was unfit to be president. But as much as Ensign liked to talk about the sanctity of marriage, he didn’t practice what he preached; Ensign ended up resigning from the Senate in 2011 because of the scandal surrounding his adulterous affair with Cynthia Hampton, the wife of Douglas Hampton, an administrative aid in Ensign’s office and a close personal friend.
12. Michael D. Duvall
As a member of the California State Assembly, Republican Michael D. Duvall had a reputation for being an outspoken social conservative. Duvall opposed abortion as much as he opposed gay marriage, and he insisted that heterosexual marriage had to be protected because it was the backbone of America. But in 2009, Duvall not only admitted to cheating on his wife, he bragged about it. During a lull in an appropriations committee meeting, Duvall told fellow California State Assembly member Jeff Miller that he had been cheating on his wife with two different women (one of them a lobbyist). Duvall didn’t realize that a microphone was picking up the conversation, and his comments, some of which were quite graphic, became a matter of public record. For someone who loved to paint himself as a staunch moralist, Duvall certainly took a great deal of pride in committing adultery. Duvall resigned from the California State Assembly the day after the story broke. 13. Bob Allen Like James West and Larry Craig, Bob Allen is among the Republican politicians who has a history of being anti-gay but ended up in a gay sex scandal. Allen supported a lot of anti-gay legislation during the seven years he spent in the Florida House of Representatives. In July 2007, Allen was arrested after offering to pay an undercover police officer $20 if he could perform oral sex on him in the public restroom where they met. Found guilty of solicitation for prostitution, Allen didn’t serve any jail time, but was sentenced to six months probation and fined $250. Allen resigned from the Florida House of Representatives shortly after that. 14. Tony Alamo In the 1970s, evangelist/cult leader Tony Alamo, a.k.a. Bernie Lazar Hoffman and his wife Susan made a name for themselves in evangelical circles preaching a far-right version of fire-and-brimstone fundamentalism. But in the ’80s, Alamo’s behavior became so bizarre that much of the Christian Right distanced itself from him. After his wife’s death from cancer in 1982, Alamo put her embalmed body on display for months and insisted that when his congregation raised her from the dead, she would tell them when Jesus Christ would return to Earth. Also around that time Alamo began publishing his conspiracy theories involving the Catholic Church (which he considered “the Great Whore of Babylon” and believed was controlling the Soviet Union, Islamic terrorists and the Reagan Administration all at the same time). Initially, Alamo was a Ronald Reagan supporter, although he turned against Reagan when he decided that his administration was pro-Vatican. The worst, however, was yet to come. In 2009, Alamo was sentenced to 175 years in prison on a long list of charges that included sexual abuse and transporting underage girls across state lines for sexual purposes. Alamo’s ex-followers testified in court that he was guilty of numerous acts of pedophilia, including taking an eight-year-old girl to be his “wife” and having sex with her. Despite a mountain of damning evidence, the sociopathic Alamo has maintained that he is innocent of all the charges he was convicted of and insists that he was framed by the Vatican. 15. Bob Livingston When numerous Republicans were attacking Bill Clinton in 1998, porn tycoon Larry Flynt was anxious to expose their hypocrisy and offered $1 million to anyone who could prove that a Republican member of Congress was committing adultery. Flynt obtained concrete proof that Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana had cheated on his wife numerous times. Livingston was among the many Republicans who had demanded Clinton’s resignation over the Lewinsky scandal, and Flynt was happy to show the public that the Louisiana congressman was very much an adulterer himself. Livingston, who probably would have replaced Gingrich as speaker of House of Representatives had it not been for that sex scandal, resigned from the House. 16. Mark Sanford These days, the Christian Right has so much influence in the Republican Party that it is next to impossible to become the Republican governor of a southern Bible Belt state if one isn’t a social conservative. Mark Sanford had a socially conservative record during his years as governor of South Carolina (he was elected in 2002) and before that, a member of the House of Representatives. He opposed abortion and gay marriage, voted to impeach Bill Clinton, and described Clinton’s actions during the Lewinsky scandal as “reprehensible.” Sanford, however, became involved in a scandal of his own when, in 2009, it was revealed that he had been cheating on his wife with a woman from Argentina named María Belén Chapur (whom he had met in Uruguay in 2001). Sanford was censured by the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee for his misuse of state travel funds. 17. Lou Beres Lou Beres is the former head of the Oregon Christian Coalition as well as the former chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Party. In 2005, when he was 70, Beres confessed to police that he had a history of sexually molesting adolescent girls, including his sister-in-law Elizabeth Jonas in the 1960s and two friends of his daughters in the 1970s. Because the crimes occurred so long ago, Beres wasn’t facing any criminal charges; Jonas was in her 50s when she came forward. But a civil lawsuit was filed against Beres, and Jonas was seeking $2 million in damages.
18. Mark Foley Florida Republican Mark Foley served in the House of Representatives from 1995-2006, during which time he had a reputation for being socially conservative even though he wasn’t quite as conservative as some of his fellow Republicans would have liked. In 2003, Foley received an 84% rating from the Christian Coalition, which was lower than the 100% rating John Ensign received that year but much higher than most Democrats typically received from that organization. And his voting record was generally anti-gay, which was ironic in view of the fact that, in 2006, he got caught up in a gay sex scandal involving teenage male congressional pages. Foley, who had been sending the pages sexually explicit emails, resigned from Congress. 19. Roy Ashburn Republican Roy Ashburn had a very anti-gay voting record when he served in the California State Senate from 2002-2010; he organized rallies opposing gay marriage, and he voted against having a day in remembrance of the slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk. In 2010, however, Ashburn was arrested for DUI after leaving a gay nightclub in Sacramento. Ashburn announced that he was gay, and gay activists pointed to his anti-gay voting record as a classic example of self-hatred. 20. Rev. Michael Hintz When George W. Bush was running for re-election in 2004, Rev. Michael Hintz (a youth counselor at the First Assembly of God Church in Des Moines, Iowa) asserted that re-electing Bush was the Christian thing to do. The United States, Hintz said, was in the middle of a major culture war, and the country needed a man of God in the White House who would fight against abortion and porn. But it was also in 2004 that Hintz (who was 35 and married with four kids at the time) was fired by the First Assembly of God Church for becoming sexually involved with a 17-year-old girl he had been counseling.

Read More…