Monday, July 27, 2009

Professor Jessie Daniels: The Complete Interview

Jessie Daniels PhotoJessie Daniels, PhD, is an author and professor at Hunter College in New York City.

Recognized as a national expert on white racism, she was featured in Elizabeth Thompson’s award-winning documentary (Nashville Film Festival, 2000) "BLINK," about a supposedly reformed white supremacist.  Dr. Daniels is a frequent contributor to the blog Racism Review.

     She is the author of two books, White Lies (Routledge, 1997) and Cyber Racism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009).

     Shortly after the horrific hate crime and execution that took place at Washington, DC's United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Crusader's Corner interviewed Dr. Daniels for the June 19, 2009, article How We Can Conquer Hate: An In-depth Analysis.

     Because of the length of that article, I had to leave out a lot of good comments from the people that I interviewed.  Here is the entire e-mail interview between Crusader's Corner and Dr. Daniels.

Crusader:  After 9/11, many Muslims and people from the Middle East fell under the law enforcement radar in the United States.  Many who had absolutely no connection to terrorism were interrogated and/or arrested. Here we have an elderly Caucasian convicted felon (von Brunn) who has clearly been espousing hate for decades, yet no one was keeping an eye on him on the day of the Holocaust Museum incident.  Your thoughts?

Dr. Daniels:  Clearly, who is - and who is not - regarded as a "terrorist" or a "threat" to national security was greatly influenced by the events of 9/11.  And the fact that 19 hijackers were from the Middle East (most were from Saudi Arabia, by the way) gave people in the U.S. a strong association.  But, it is quite simply wrong to equate "Middle Eastern with "terrorist. 

     What most people tend to forget is that prior to 9/11/2001, the largest incident of domestic terrorism was the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh - a Caucasian, and like von Brunn, a white supremacist.

     It's unfortunate that law enforcement has been distracted by the false equation of "Middle Eastern" with terrorist, but we have to remember that this shift in focus was led by the federal government under Bush with his creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

     The Bush DHS had an explicitly "Other" (read: Middle Eastern) focus when it came to addressing terrorism.

     I'm hopeful that this is changing under President Obama as indicated by the release of the DHS report from Napolitano recently, which urged a renewed focus on "domestic terrorism."  I certainly think that von Brunn qualifies as a "domestic terrorist."

Crusader:  Had you known about von Brunn prior to the museum incident?  If so, does it surprise you that no one in Law Enforcementland was watching him?

Dr. Daniels:  No, I wasn't familiar with von Brunn specifically because he was not the focus of my research (and I leave 'tracking' to the experts at ADL, Wiesenthal and SPLC).

     To your second question here, no, I'm not at all surprised to learn that Law Enforcement wasn't watching von Brunn.  As the FBI spokesperson said at one of the press conferences recently, they interpreted his website (and by extension all hate speech online) as 'protected speech' under the First Amendment so they took no action to monitor him or his website.

Crusader:   According to Time, on the day before the museum incident, Rev. Jeremiah Wright is quoted as saying, "Them Jews ain't going to let him [Obama] talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office . . . They will not let him to talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is. . . . I said from the beginning: He's a politician; I'm a pastor. He's got to do what politicians do."

     Your reaction?                               

Dr. Daniels:  A number of people in the news, primarily at FoxNews, have made a great deal out of Rev. Wright's statements. I abhor anti-Semitism in any form and think it should be condemned, even when it comes from a member of the black community.  That said, I think it's wrong to equate Rev. Wright's statements with the actions of von Brunn, which is what a lot of people are doing when they bring this up in this context.

     There are many ways that 'hate speech' is implicated in the death of the guard, Mr. Johns, at the Holocaust Museum -- von Brunn's hate speech, the hate speech of right-wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly that give space to such violence -- and this hate speech is almost exclusively generated and distributed by white people.

     Raising the issue of Rev. Wright's statements is a red herring to deflect from the Caucasian problem that connects von Brunn, McVeigh, Limbaugh and O'Reilly.

Crusader: Should websites (and pages from social networking sites) espousing racism, anti-Semitism, and other hate be banned or barred in any way shape or form, or is it better to know thy enemy?

Dr. Daniels:  In my view, any website that espouses racism, anti-Semitism or other hate should be removed (either by law enforcement or by the ISP) and the publisher of that hate speech should be held accountable.

     While I strongly believe that the U.S. should adopt laws that are more in line with other democracies that regulate hate speech, I'm realistic enough to realize that this kind of change may take long years to accomplish.

     In the meantime, most of the ISP (Internet Service Providers) and hosting services that provide the server space and Internet connections that make publishing hate online possible are actually in violation of their own TOS (Terms of Service) agreement.  If other people - other customers - get upset and demand that the hosts or ISPs no longer publish the sites, that's a step in the right direction.

Crusader:  For whatever reason, von Brunn's website is no longer active (although cache pages can be viewed via various search engines).

Dr. Daniels:  Right, not surprising. See my comment above about the ISP/hosting service.  My guess - and it's just a guess - is that whatever service was hosting his page suddenly took notice and decided that they didn't want to be in the business of publishing such hatred. 

     It could also be that his website received so much traffic over such a short period of time that it caused the server to crash.          

     Either one of these is a likely scenario for why his website is no longer active.  

     A third option could be that von Brunn failed to pay his last bill for the service. I understand he was struggling financially.

Crusader:  Have you read any portion of von Brunn's book, "Kill the Good Gentiles"?

Dr. Daniels:  No, I haven't. I might read it at some point for research, but I read the book written by Wm. Pierce, von Brunn's mentor.  That book, "The Turner Diaries," was a blueprint and inspiration for Timothy McVeigh. I don't imagine there's much that's new in von Brunn's book.

Crusader:  What are some of the best ways to educate people about hate?

Dr. Daniels:  That's a good question and one I've spent most of my adult life trying to answer.  There are the 'professional' ways - the sorts of things that I do like research and write books and articles, or teach as a college professor.  All of that work for me is in some form or another about unlearning intolerance.

     And, I think there are all sorts of ways that people can educate each other about hate that have a less 'professional' focus - blogging, for example.  Part of the reason that Joe Feagin and I started our blog was to educate people beyond our usual audience of college students and the few people that read academic articles and books.

     I also use a lot of documentary films to educate about hate, and today, it's possible to make a short film for very little money. I wish more people would do that.

     And, of course, what's perhaps most important is for everyone to use those occasions - the books, articles, classes, films - to talk to people in your daily life, in one-on-one conversations. Ultimately, it's in those conversations that people's thinking gets changed.

Follow-up Q&A:

Crusader:  If government or private web hosting services regulate what they believe to be "hate speech" from the Internet, can't that backfire and lead to other controversial or unpopular views being suppressed?

Dr. Daniels:  There's always the possibility that there will be unintended consequences for any effort to address hate or hate speech.  I don't think that our fear or concern about those unintended consequences should stop us, as a society, from addressing hate and intolerance.

Crusader:  Also, wouldn't it be a dangerous thing to push hatemongers into the closet?  Isn't it better that they be in the open so we know who they are and what they believe?

Dr. Daniels:  This is often referred to as the "light of day" argument, in other words, the most effective means of fighting hate speech and hate groups is to "expose" them to the "light of day." And, quite frankly, I'm not persuaded by this argument for a variety of reasons.

     First, the notion that exposing hate speech will stop it assumes that all the (potential) listeners are immune from hate or opposed to it. Unfortunately, this isn't the case.

     Second, there's little evidence that this is an effective strategy for combating hate speech.  In fact, "exposing" hate speech is little different than "broadcasting" and it does little to improve the public sphere or the discourse in a democratic society.

     I think it's important that we in the U.S., like those in other democracies, find a way to take seriously the right to be free from exposure to hate speech (guaranteed by the 14th Amendment - which assures equal protection under the law) and balance that with the right to free speech (guaranteed by the 1st Amendment).

     Right now, the U.S. is really out of step with other democratic nations in our approach to hate speech.  I discuss efforts to combat hate speech online in great detail in Chapter 9 of Cyber Racism.

Friday, June 19, 2009

How We Can Conquer Hate: An In-depth Analysis

Museum On Wednesday, June 10, James von Brunn allegedly shot and killed a security officer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. 

A brief news advisory online from one of the wire services that day said there was a shooting "near" the museum.  My first thought was, "That's odd, there's usually nothing like that going on in that area."

I went to Twitter where my local news channel KESQ-TV (@KESQ) had a tweet stating that the shooting was "at" the museum.  I immediately confirmed the story online at  the Washington Post and then felt it was important enough to turn on the TV and see what was going on.

Holy Western Empire Shortly after the incident, MSNBC had identified the alleged shooter as James W. von Brunn, an 88-year-old Caucasian man from Maryland.  They were reporting about the perpetrator's history of white supremacy beliefs and then the newscaster read information directly from his racist, anti-Semitic, and hateful website Holy Western Empire (, which is not active at the time of this writing.

During the initial MSNBC news report, I figured the life of von Brunn's website would be short, so I immediately  visited it and downloaded (free of charge) the first six chapters of his book, "Kill the Good Gentiles."  I have it in PDF format and am happy to email it to anyone upon request.  I've only been able to get through 15 pages or so because it is a vile book filled with very hateful writing, but definitely required reading for anyone interested in helping to combat hate.  Instructions on how one can view cached pages of von Brunn's website are located at the end of this article.

On June 11, the day after the shooting, MSNBC reported that authorities charged  von Brunn with first-degree murder in the June 10th attack and were considering additional charges relating to hate crimes.

On the day of the incident, alert and heroic museum security guards stopped von Brunn cold in his tracks on  and he was taken to an area hospital.  On June 14, according to UPI, "The suspect [von Brunn] wounded in the killing of a guard at Washington's Holocaust Memorial Museum is expected to recover, the FBI said."

Stephen Tyrone Johns Von Brunn reportedly shot and killed 39-year-old Holocaust Museum  security officer Stephen Tryone Johns during the incident.  The museum has set up the USHMM Officer Johns Family Fund for people who wish to donate in his memory to assist his family in their time of need.  Those who prefer to donate the old-fashioned way should make checks payable to USHMM Officer Johns Family Fund and mail them to USHMM, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, Washington, DC 20024.

RabbiDaveRabbi David Vorspan, Founding Rabbi of Congregation Shir Ami in the San Fernando Valley and a rabbi for conservative congregations in California for decades, is no stranger to anti-Semitic incidents. 

"I myself experienced anti-Semitism as a counselor at Camp Ramah in Ojai, when the 'Ojai Boys' and sometimes the dreaded 'Ventura Boys' would, on rare occasion, yell anti-Semitic curses from the roadside," Vorspan told "Crusader's Corner."   Vorspan was a counselor at the camp in the mid to late 1960s.

In the mid to late 1970s, I was a student at Loara High School in Anaheim and a member of Temple Beth Emet, which was located directly across the street from the high school.  At that time, Vorspan was the temple's rabbi. 

On the first day of school one year (or right after a vacation break), students arrived at school to see a huge swastika painted on the school auditorium wall facing the temple.  In addition, white supremacy newspapers were inserted through the slots of all student lockers.

Upon my arrival to school that day, I became very upset about the incident and immediately went to visit Rabbi Vorspan at the temple.  He was instrumental in consoling me and coordinating an investigation with an Anaheim Police Department detective regarding the matter. 

In the 1980s, when Vorspan was rabbi at Temple Beth Ami in Reseda, he once discovered "a paper with a swastika taped to our front door."

Jessie Daniels Photo Jessie Daniels, PhD, is currently Associate Professor of Urban Public Health at Hunter College in New York.  According to her website, "In every course I teach there is a focus on the intersections of race, class, gender and sexuality . . ."

I conducted lengthy e-mail interviews with Professor Daniels and Rabbi Vorspan for this article.  Daniels' interview with "Crusader's Corner" will be published in its entirety in my next blog post.

Was Law Enforcement Lax re von Brunn?

I seem to recall that shorty After 9/11, many Muslims and people from the Middle East fell under the law enforcement radar in the United States.  Many who had absolutely no connection to terrorism were interrogated and/or arrested. 

In the Holocaust Museum shooting, we have an elderly Caucasian convicted felon who has clearly been espousing hate for decades, but I have to wonder whether law enforcement dropped the ball by not keeping a watchful eye on him.

"From what I've read in the news, law enforcement was very much aware of this man," Vorspan said. "However, when one gets to his late 80s, people like this don't register as too threatening."

"What most people tend to forget is that prior to September 11, 2001, the largest incident of domestic terrorism was the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh - a Caucasian, and like von Brunn, a white supremacist," Daniels told "Crusader's Corner."

Rev. Wright Adds Fuel to the Fire

According to Time magazine, on the day before the museum shooting,  Rev. Jeremiah Wright is quoted as saying, "Them Jews ain't going to let him [Obama] talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of
office . . ."

I asked Vorspan and Daniels for their reaction to Wright's comments.

"My reaction is one of sadness that a man could espouse such misguided hatred, especially being a 'man of the cloth,' Vorspan said. 

"Jews do not hold sway over President Obama, any more than Rev. Wright could as his pastor.  He is very much his own man, reflected on the positions he is taking in regard to Israel and the Middle East," he added.

"I think it's wrong to equate Rev. Wright's statements with the actions of von Brunn, which is what a lot of people are doing when they bring this up in this context," Daniels said.

"There are many ways that 'hate speech' is implicated in the death of the guard, Mr. Johns, at the Holocaust Museum -- von Brunn's hate speech, the hate speech of right-wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly that give space to such violence. . ."

Should Websites Spewing Hate Speech Be Banned?

A poll at Racism Review asks:  "Do you think social networking sites (like Facebook) should remove groups with racist content?"  Results (as of this article):  "Yes" (74.0%, 221 Votes);  "No" (26.0%, 76 Votes)
Total Voters: 297.

I inquired about this very issue with both Rabbi Vorspan and Professor Daniels.

"Such web sites should be banned," said Vorspan.

"I believe it is better that they not be given any platform to spread their hatred.  One can know one's enemy without giving him license to gain additional adherents," he added.

"In my view, any website that espouses racism, anti-Semitism or other hate should be removed (either by law enforcement or by the ISP) and the publisher of that hate speech should be held accountable," said Daniels.

"While I strongly believe that the U.S. should adopt laws that are more in line with other democracies that regulate hate speech, I'm realistic enough to realize that this kind of change may take long years to accomplish."  

Best Ways to Educate People About Hate?

"I have found that such places as the Museum of Tolerance become excellent educational experiences to help people understand the power of words and hate-filled actions," said Vorspan.

"That's a good question and one I've spent most of my adult life trying to answer," said Daniels

"I think there are all sorts of ways that people can educate each other about hate that have a less 'professional' focus -  blogging, for example.  Part of the reason that Joe Feagin and I started our blog Racism Review was to educate people beyond our usual audience of college students and the few people that read academic articles and books."

twitterLogoAn interesting aside, I discovered Professor Daniels on Twitter (@JessieNYC), which despite its naysayers has become a very valuable tool for me (and millions of others) to hook up with others in Cyberspace to work on important social issues. 

I had my doubts as first, but am now beginning to see firsthand that Twitter is a beneficial conduit that can be used to educate people all over the world about hate and its consequences, which include the recent tragedy at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

Professor Jessie Daniels, the author of "Cyber Racism: White Supremacy Online and the New Attack on Civil Rights," also helps produce and maintain Racism Review, a blog which explores  racism and hate.  Racism Review is a must for any diehard activist!

As of this writing, requests for e-mail interviews from "Crusader's Corner" with spokespeople from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) have not been acknowledged.  Attempts to reach Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism were also unsuccessful.

quotation marksQuotes Worth Repeating

"I loved my father. But what he did was unforgivable . . . You know, the only bond we had was father and son.  We didn't like each other very much." - Alleged shooter's 32-year-old son, Erik von Brunn (ABC's "Good Morning America")

"I think it's important to come back because if you don't, they win . . . It's a form of terrorism," museum visitor Tammi Miller, 17, said of the facility's reopening following the June 10th incident.  - UPI

@hotlou (on Twitter):  "Holocaust Museum shooter expected to survive ... as does the opportunity for me to kick him in the fucking testicles."

Suggested Reading Suggested Reading
(if any of the links below have expired, please search for the articles via Google or similar search engine.)

"FBI: Child porn found at von Brunn's home" - MSNBC News 6/19/09

"The Internet Angle: Cyber Racism and Domestic Terrorism," blog article  posted on that site by Professor Daniels in "Racism Review."

"The ugly consequences of open hatred," commentary by "Miami Herald" columnist Leonard Pitts.

"Thoughts on the Holocaust Museum"
by Gina Acosta and Andrew Hiller, "Washington Post."

"My mother, the Jew Judge" by Lauren R. Taylor, "Washington Post."

"Where Anti-Semitism is Mainstream"  by Richard Cohen, "Washington Post."

"Elderly Criminals: Lessons from the von Brunn Case" by Raina Kelley, "Newsweek."

"Was Holocaust Museum Gunman Really a Lone Wolf?" by Eve Conant, "Newsweek."

"Von Brunn, Bad Apples, and Hegemonic Whiteness"
by Matthew W. Hughey, assistant professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Mississippi State University.

How to View Cached Pages of von Brunn Website

To view cached pages of the website, simply go to Gigablast, type in "" (without the quotes) and then click on "cached" (which will include more graphics and other info than cached pages from Google). 

I was only able to find the front page of his site cached, but people who want to spend more time searching Gigablast can probably find the other pages. 

Gigablast also has a cool feature where one can click on "older copies" from the cached page to see the history of the page and it's various revisions.  For von Brunn's site, the available history dates all the way back to August 2002!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fuck Censorship!

no-walmart I've been writing articles with this headline for decades because censorship really pisses me off, especially when it involves Wal-Mart (or other huge retailers) selling co-called "clean" versions of music CDs to consumers. They've been doing this for more than a decade, so this isn't a new issue.

These so-called "clean" albums totally fuck with the concept of artistic freedom and I hope more people (and artists) will understand the concept of censorship and take action. Consumers should stop purchasing “clean” albums and artists should stop consenting to their production! (The movie industry with their stupid MPAA rating system is also to blame for much censorship, but that's an article for another day.)

green-day-21st-century-breakdown-cover When it comes to "clean" albums, most artists look the other way because apparently they rather make money by having Wal-Mart sell censored versions of their work than not to sell their work at all. Popular music group Green Day appears to be a rare exception to the rule and has basically told Wal-Mart to fuck off. Other artists should follow their lead.

"Wal-Mart's become the biggest retail outlet in the country, but they won't carry our record [21st Century Breakdown] because they wanted us to censor it," Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said in a recent interview published in the Washington Post and other media outlets.

"They want artists to censor their records in order to be carried in there," he said. "We just said no. We've never done it before. You feel like you're in 1953 or something."

Hopefully this recent controversy will only help Green Day sell more copies of 21st Century Breakdown, their latest album, which I recently downloaded from Zune Marketplace and listened to in its entirety. It happens to be a great album that I probably would never have known about had it not been for the censorship story.

Oddly enough, Wal-Mart sells "clean" CDs of rapper Eminem? They might as well just take a blank CD-ROM, stick it in an Eminem CD cover and put that up for sale. More profits for everyone involved! A "Clean" Eminem CD is an oxymoron, the equivalent of "clean" CDs for comedy greats George Carlin, Lewis Black or Cheech & Chong. All I can say is "no fucking way!" Thank God, if there is one, for Zune Marketplace, Napster, HBO, and others who offer uncensored material for people with discriminating tastes such as me.

As far as I am concerned, Wal-Mart will be (or has been) responsible for the ruination of America as we know it, so if you are a staunch supporter of fair labor practices, civil and human rights, and other freedoms, just say no and stop shopping there! Also, please support artists who oppose censorship of any kind!

Be sure to check out Green Day's website.
and also the Wal-Mart Watch website.

book banning On a related note, U.S. librarians are facing a growing number of complaints about the books on their shelves these days, according to a recent article distributed by United Press International (UPI).

Written complaints to public and school libraries seeking the removal or restriction of materials rose from 420 in 2007 to 513 in 2008, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported recently. The challenges led to 74 books being taken off shelves.

The newspaper said the Library Association of America recently issued its list of the 10 most-challenged books of last year. Among them was "The Kite Runner," a New York Times best-seller, and the teen drama series "Gossip Girl."

These book censorship stories remind me of when I was a teen growing up in Banaheim, California, in the 1970s when the Anaheim Union High School District school board became nationally famous for book banning. At that time, books we could not read in the classroom included the likes of "Sounder," "Catcher in the Rye," and almost anything written by Mark Twain.

Several months ago, I read an article about a Corona del Mar High School school teacher (in Orange County, California, of course) who was told he couldn't have drama students perform the play "Rent" because it evidently was too gay. According to several media sources, the school principal said she needed to review the script's inclusions of "prostitution and homosexuality." In lieu of "Rent," the drama teacher had the students perform "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," which certainly no one would find offensive.

My philosophy is that books are like the radio, TV, or Internet. If you don't like a book, don't read it. Don't like what you hear or see on the radio, TV, or Internet, change the "station" or turn it OFF. But please keep your paws off the on/off switches of my radio/TV/Internet and don't ban or censors books, plays, movies, CDs or other media in stores, schools or libraries! After all, the year is now 2009, not 1984!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bumhole of the Month: Hollywood Publicist Howard Bragman

BragmanDonkey Enquiring minds want to know why openly gay Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman is representing at least one homophobic business owner, hotelier Doug Manchester. Has Howard "The Fagman" Bragman overdosed on poppers or is the recession really that bad that he has to work for his oppressors in order to pay his mortgage?

Manchester, who owns two Hyatt Hotel properties in San Diego, donated $125,000 to the successful just-say-no-to-gay-marriage Proposition 8 campaign, which was approved by California voters in November 2008. (It is important to note that the Hyatt Corporation is said to have an excellent record when it comes to the rights of sexual minorities, according to Human Rights Campaign, a leading lesbitrangay lobby group in Washington, DC.)

BoycottHyatt In July 2008, Californians Against Hate, headed by Laguna Beach activist Fred Karger, co-launched a very successful boycott of Manchester's businesses with Unite Here! Local 30, since Manchester also has a terrible record on labor issues.

The world famous El Coyote Mexican Cafe in Los Angeles was also added to the gay community's shit list after the manager gave $100 to a Yes on 8 group. Many people boycotted the restaurant and patrons were often greeted by angry protesters.

Most of the world found out about Bragman's association with homophobe Manchester in a May 8, 2009, Michael Stetz column published in the San Diego Tribune. Oddly, the only quote from Bragman in the column is: "I understand what he [Manchester] did and why he did it." Wow, could we be any more vague than that? Spoken like a true publicist!

According to information in the Stetz column, none of which has been confirmed, Manchester is offering money to LGBT groups and $100,000 in conference rooms for them to hold events. Manchester has repeatedly refused to rectify his problems with labor unions, so I cannot fathom that any deserving LGBT group (or individual) would now go to his properties and take advantage of these so-called free rooms.

Perhaps Bragman needs his meds adjusted because his current representation of gay-hater Manchester is a far cry from Bragman's own words in a November 2008 column published in The Huffington Post. At the time, Bragman wrote, "So am I really under some obligation to give El Coyote money that may eventually be given to groups that oppose my civil rights? I think not. I will guac elsewhere." [Lie #1]

In the same column, Bragman writes, "But unlike El Coyote and other 'Yes on 8' supporters, I am willing to stand by and own my political beliefs -- even when they may cause me economic harm." [Lie #2]

He ends his column with: ". . . don't expect to see me sipping a margarita at El Coyote. I will not fund my own demise and I won't go where I'm not wanted." [Lie #3; any more lies, Howard, and your nose will be bigger than Pinocchio's!]

After reading his forceful column in support of gay marriage, gay rights, but opposing those who oppress us, why on earth is Bragman now defending Manchester's actions? The $125,000 donation from the hotelier to Yes on 8 is way more than the mere $100 from the El Coyote manager. (If I scratch my head any longer trying to figure all this out, I may draw blood and won't be able to finish this column.)

I realize this is harsh, but Bragman brings the word "whoremonger" to an entirely new level! There's no better way to define the award-winning Bragman (APLA and GLAAD) who comes across as a staunch gay rights activist but then just six months later is getting a paycheck from a man who oppresses sexual minorities. "Whoremonger" can also be used to define former President Bill Clinton who refused to honour the gay rights/labor movement boycott by recently appearing at a function (for money) at one of Manchester's hotels.

Prop8 What Bragman has failed to realize, according to Karger, is that Manchester's $125,000 donation was basically seed money for Yes on 8 in the early stages of the signature process. Without that seed money from Manchester (and from Terry Caster, owner of A-1 Self Storage), "There probably would not have been a Prop 8 and same-sex marriage would still be the law in California," Karger said.

Karger told Crusader's Corner that others in the LGBT community that he has recently talked with do not want to accept Manchester's offer of money.

"It is a very sad situation that Bragman has created. On one hand you have so many LGBT organizations that are in need of money, but they do not want to cross the picket line and accept his offer of free conference rooms for events at the boycotted hotel. It's a cruel strategy to try and divide the gay community like he is doing. That's very surprising for anyone who has an ounce of self-respect."

According to Wikipedia, Bragman resides in Los Angeles with his male partner, a horse trainer, which is a very good thing now that Bragman is most certainly a horse's ass!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Will the Real Wentworth Miller Please Stand Up!

twitter Within just a short time after posting "Tripping Through Twitterland" over the Easter holiday weekend, I was inundated with comments and e-mails stating that @millerwentworth posing as actor Wentworth Miller on Twitter is a fake, as presumably are the other so-called cast members from "Prison Break" (PB) that follow (or followed) each other on Twitter, as well as the so-called "official" username for the TV show (@pbofficial).

millerwentworth Early Monday morning (April 13), I did a quick Google search for Miller's handlers and faxed a letter to his publicist at PMK/HBH. I copied the letter via fax to his attorney and emailed a copy to Twitter. In the letter, I asked the publicist for a confirmation that Wentworth Miller is actually sending Tweets with the @millerwentworth username. If not, my letter stated, then the parties should take appropriate action to end this elaborate fraud taking place as it is an insult to PB fans (including myself) throughout the world.

I asked Miller's agent Jennifer Allen for a brief statement for my blog to set the record straight, but I have had no reply from her (or Miller's attorney) as of press time.

AmauryNolasco At around 12:00 Noon PDT on April 13, I noticed that earlier posts from @AmauryNolasco, posing as PB star Amaury Nolasco, disappeared from my Twitter. I thought to myself, "Oh, maybe someone finally shut this scam down." When I clicked on his profile, I received “That page doesn’t exist!" I then tried accessing the profile for @millerwentworth and also received the same message. @pbofficial is still up, but since all of these fake people were following each other, it has to be a fake too.

DominicPurcellNeedless to say, it is also highly likely that Dominic Purcell(@DominicTweets) was also a fake since he was following and being followed by the fake "Wentworth Miller." DominicTwets' postings, however, actually had me convinced weeks ago that he was the real deal because of family photos he was posting via Twitpic. It just seemed so authentic. My thinking at the time was, if he was real, so were the co-stars.

Playing short-term practical jokes or an April Fool's prank is fine, but the ongoing stunt of one person (or maybe a group of people) impersonating several actors isn't funny. It's an outright fraud, plain and simple, and should have been shut down a lot sooner.

People in Twitterland should take responsibility for the community by sending complaints to when things just don't look right. Twitter obviously can't monitor everyone in the community 24/7, so it's up to the common folk (like me) and others to take action to keep the Twitter community as real as possible.

A shout out and thanks to those of you who contacted me on this issue.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tripping Through Twitterland

twitterLogo Disclaimer: I can't promise that the peeps mentioned in this article are still in Twitterland. The world of Twitter is very similar to Munchkinland: "My! People come and go so quickly here!"

Just because I've been inundated with media stories about Octomon doesn't give me the urge to have eight babies; however, I just had to find out what all the fuss was over Twitter, a social networking service on the Wild Weird Web.

Colleagues and friends keep asking me whether I have a Facebook or MySpace page and I tell them, "I'm not signing up for one more thing on the Internet." Shortly after that, Twitter kept appearing in my daily read of Reuters, UPI, TMZ, you name it. So I thought to myself, "What the fuck, let's see what the orgasm is all about."

Twitter has its own lingo (Twitterspeak), but as a newbie, I'm not up to speed on that yet, so forgive me if I get it wrong (or make up my own). Please see the end of this article for Twitter usernames (or Twitnames) for some of those mentioned in this article.

apluskAshton Kutcher
Kutcher, the King of Twitter (with nearly 800,000 followers as of this writing), is honouring the "Twit with the mostest" with the Platinum Twitter Award (PTA). He's taking nominations from fellow Twits (or Twitterers) through the end of April. Since Kutcher has been rather busy filming "Five Killers" in France, to make it easier for him to get through all the nominations, he asks that anyone who wants to nominate a fellow Twit to be sure to include #pta in their Tweet nomination so that he can easily keep track of the nominations. There's a brief video of Kutcher discussing the PTA which one can view by clicking here.

I had a helluva time figuring all this out, but what one does if they want to nominate someone for the PTA -- and it can be confusing to us new Twits -- in that blank space where one types a new message or replies to another Twit, simply type "@aplusk #pta" (without quotes) followed by something like "Nominate @crusader666 because his life wouldn't be the same without a small silver-coloured bird."

Kutcher's Twitter followers are growing faster than an 18-year-old boy on Viagra. When I started Tweeting just two weeks ago, his followers were "only" around 600,000. Amazing that in that short period of time, they have grown by nearly 200,000.

Some news really is learned on Twitter first. I first learned from Kutcher (via Twitter) about the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriages. He is a native Iowan and huge supporter of civil rights, so I presume he was monitoring his hometown paper online the day the decision was expected.

Also, before it was covered in the mainstream news, I was able to follow Tweets from Kutcher about his "wifey" (his word) Demi Moore helping save the life of a California women in distress. More about that later.

Kutcher publicly opposed Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative which did pass last November, barring same-sex marriages. Quite the activist, he is now raising awareness about malaria in his Tweets and asking his followers to make small donations to end this disease once and for all by visiting Malaria No More. The honorary chairs will remain nameless on my blog, but one of the board members is Timothy Shriver (Chairman, Special Olympics), so that works for me.


Sandie Guy
I am reminded of that commercial that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton aired during the presidential primaries when she was running against Obama: Who do you want answering the phone at the White House at 3:00 AM?
For a California woman suffering from depression and suicidal tendencies, she chose actress Demi Moore to cry out for help in Twitterland.

On one recent morning at around 3:00 AM PDT, Sandie Guy (whose Twitter profile showed her residing in the Silicon Valley), sent a distressful and detailed reply post (Retweet, I think is the term) to actress Moore about how Guy was going to kill herself. Moore posted it for all of her fans to see, and it was not long before some of them contacted police and Guy was found unharmed at her home and taken to a facility for evaluation.

Evidently, her mental illness wasn't too serious, because that very evening, Guy was at home and sending Tweets out to state she had been discharged from the unnamed psychiatric facility and thanked everyone who has helped her with her problems.

Out of curiosity, I followed Sandie Guy for a few days, but then on April 6, I noticed she was no longer on my "following" list. When I tried to confirm her account via a Twitter search, the results came back with "That page doesn't exist!," so I guess she had too much attention from all the news articles about her ordeal.

millerwentworthAmauryNolasco "Prison Break" Celebs
Kutcher may be the Twitking, but he definitely isn't the only game in Twitterland. I follow three stars (now down to two) of the hit TV program "Prison Break" (which sadly comes to an end this spring): Wentworth Miller (Michael Scofield), Dominic Purcell (Lincoln Burrows), and Amaury Nolasco (Fernando Sucre).

These guys have great senses of humour and their posts are generally entertaining. As a result of following their Tweets, I found a very funny and racy South Park song about tacos, burritos, and the Mexican border! You can listen to it too by clicking here.

Miller was also gracious enough to post a link to a "super cool" rap, "Prison Break Anthem," by Kaye Styles.

At one point recently, Miller teased his followers with a post asking whether he should delete his Twitter. Not long after the post (probably because of the negative replies he received), he simply posted "staying." As of this writing, Miller has more than 3,500 followers, and I imagine that should pick up considerably when "Prison Break" starts airing its remaining episodes this month after a long hiatus. Unlike Miller, though, it appears Dominic Purcell has flown the Twitter coop, because an error message is received when trying to access his profile.


"Winchester Brothers"
No, one won't find hunky "Supernatural" stars Jared Padalecki or Jensen Ackles (say that three times fast) Tweeting here, but rather Elizabeth & Katherine, two very dedicated fans of the program and, of course, die-hard fans of the very yummy actors who play brothers Dean and Sam Winchester on this hit TV show.

Lots of links for pix and other cool show-related stuff can be found by following "Winchester Brothers" (see usernames below). Elizabeth & Katherine are very cordial and friendly. They also have a "Supernatural" blog, which I haven't had a chance to read yet, but am adding it to my list of things to do.

"Winchester Brothers" on Twitter will definitely supplement the life of any "Supernatural" fan!

BenGleibBen Gleib
Call me an ignoramus (you won't be the first), but I literally don't know this guy from Adam. He started following me (on Twitter, not in the streets) a few days before this article went to press. He's some kind of comedian or something? Anywho, I will check out his web site and then search Zune Marketplace to find out whether his material is available for me to listen to on my Zune after a hectic day of proofreading legal documents for a living.

johncmayerJohn Mayer
Last (and least, I hate to admit, especially since I often fantasize about him dating my niece).

I have been a huge fan of Mayer for years because his musical talents are truly amazing (and he's easy on the eyes). Awhile back, I listened to an exclusive interview he did on XM Satellite Radio, and I was very impressed. However, his Tweets leave much to be desired.

After international publicity about him Tweeting, I started following him for about a week, but then stopped because I was bored to tears. Not sure if he was having a "bad week" or what. Sorry, John, but consider sticking with what you're great at: singing, playing the guitar, and smiling!

Evidently, Mayer's Tweets don't put everyone to sleep, as he is quickly approaching 600,000 followers at the time of this article! Maybe he will bypass Kutcher and be crowned the new Twitter King? Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest Twit of all?

To Mayer's credit, it was the publicity about him Tweeting (and his former girlfriend bitching about it) that got me to finally sign up for Twitter. So Mayer was the hook, but Ashton, Wentworth, and the "Winchester Brothers" clinched the deal for me.

It would bee cool if there were a Twitter school or Twit-tutor available to help some of us figure all this out because I often feel I am in the dark on how to best follow certain people and their followers without spending 20 hours a day in Twitterland.

The Keys to Twitterland (usernames):
(Note: To view a profile (or Twitterfile), simply insert ones username at the end of the final slash in

Ashton Kutcher (aplusk)
Wentworth Miller (millerwentworth)
Dominic Purcell (was DominicTweets)
Amaury Nolasco (AmauryNolasco)
Prison Break (Official) (pbofficial)
Winchester Brothers (_supernatural_)
Ben Gleib (bengleib)
Demi Moore (mrskutcher)
Sandie Guy (was sandieguy)
John Mayer (johncmayer)

Oh, and don't forget me:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Octomom Gets Eaten by Octopus: Film at 11!

purple octopusApril Fool's!

All kidding aside, enough is enough already. I don't think a day has gone by without the world being fed news about a woman whose greatest accomplishment is unloading 8 babies from her vagina at a time. Not sure what's worse: Incessant news stories about Octomom or the nonstop international news stories regarding the Twittering activity of celebs like music heartthrob John Mayer and singer/actress Courtney Love.

Anywho, since Octomom is a story that just won't die (unless someone carries out their threats against her), here are some of my provoking thoughts about Nadia Sudafed (or whatever her name is) that might actually make for good Twittering, but since I do not consider myself much of a twit, I'll put it on my blog instead.

Octomom now has 14 kids and Save the Children UK has the gall to bitch and moan about Madonna adopting ONE more kid from impoverished Malawi. What's up with that?

Of course, slick, butch lawyeress Gloria Allwrong manages to find her way into any event that is this huge. To her credit, however, she is on the correct side in this battle; making sure that the welfare of these 8 children is protected by the appropriate child service agencies.

Without further adieu:

Crusader's Octomom Top 10

10) Will the Octobabies have a genetic propensity to also have multiple babies in one sitting?

9) Eight is Enough, but she has 14 kids already!

8) After having 8 babies at basically the same time, Octomom's whatsit must be so stretched out that no man will ever be intimate with her again!

7) What ever happened to the one-baby-per-vagina-per-day rule?

6) Why abortion education should be mandatory in school, beginning in kindergarten!

5) This lady unloaded more fallout than the A-bomb at Hiroshima.

4) Octomom's "exit wound" of her whatsit has got to be bigger and wider than anything caused from a round of AK-47 bullets!

3) I have loggers that weigh more than any of her babies at birth.

2) Gives an entirely new meaning to Octopussy.

And, finally, No. 1:
If God wanted women to have 8 babies at one time, she would have given women 8 tits for breastfeeding and a larger vagina. Duh!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Homophobic Ex-Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Financial Crime


(Canyon Lake, CA) Former Garden Grove, California, police chief Frank Kessler (and his wife) are finally getting payback for the years of torture and hate that at least Mr. K inflicted on the Orange County lesbitrangay community while he was the top cop in Garden Grove decades ago.

Kessler, who is also a former city councilmember of Canyon Lake (a gated community near Lake Elsinore), plead guilty to one count of embezzlement on February 24, according to North County Times. The plea deal was reached after this jerk went to town with a city-issued credit card! His wife, Suzanne, only recently got out of jail pending her anticipated criminal trial for 23 criminal counts, including borrowing nearly $1 million on false promises to repay AND writing nearly $100,000 worth of checks from a phony account.

When this writer was secretary to the board of directors of the Orange County Gay and Lesbian Community Center decades ago, Kessler came to one of our board meetings after the center had become a frequent target of vandalism, fire bombs, death threats (what today would amount to terrorism). At that time, Kessler told the board something like, “Just take that damn sign down and you won’t have so many problems,” which was in reference to a large sign with the name of the center on it in front of the facility on Euclid Avenue.

I actually testified about this incident as a witness in a federal civil rights case against the City of Garden Grove brought by Mac’s Landing, a gay-friendly bar.

Click here for an in-depth 1987 Los Angeles Times article that discusses the Mac’s Landing case and documents the history of anti-gay harassment by Garden Grove police under Kessler’s watch (and with his full knowledge and support).