Tuesday, September 16, 2014
By now many readers may have heard about the brawl that took place at a house party in South Anchorage, Alaska, involving Sarah Palin and her white trash family. Yes, white trash. Decent, quality, educated people don't engage in drunken physical brawls. How anyone with half a brain can deem Sarah Palin as a role model or a candidate for even a job as dog catcher is mind numbing. Yet, many in the GOP base continue to idolize this foul, self-aggrandizing nut case. Some of these fools even thinks she's attractive (God knows why based on the photo above!). A piece in The Daily Mail looks at the real Sarah Palin and her latest exhibition of her lunacy. Here are excerpts:
Sarah Palin was photographed sweaty and make-up free [and wedding ring free] as she ran errands around Anchorage, Alaska on Monday - marking the first time she's been seen in public since a violent family fight this weekend.A fight allegedly broke out at a house party most of the Palin family was attending on Saturday night in south Anchorage, when daughter Willow's ex-boyfriend Connor Cleary tried to get in a Hummer limousine after engaging in some unspecified 'questionable behavior'.Sarah's eldest son Track left the fight with four broken ribs and husband Todd suffered a bloody nose.
One of the very first post I wrote on this blog addressed what I see as a form of child abuse: LGBT youth being raised in conservative Christian homes (the same, of course, holds true for conservative Muslim and Jewish homes). The enemies of LGBT rights and equality time and time again claim that gays make unfit parents when the truth is that it is they, the Christofascists and other religious fundamentalists who are unfit. Sadly, even as gays are find increased societal acceptance, religious conservatives continue to disown their gay children and throw them out literally on the streets. Indeed, some reports indicate that the number of homeless LGBT youth is growing. For children under age 18, I believe that such parental behavior ought to result in criminal prosecution of the parents, but unfortunately this almost never happens. A piece in Rolling Stone looks at the moral bankruptcy of religious conservatives and the toll it is taking on literally hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth. Here are highlights:
[Jackie] she got a call from her older brother. "He said, 'Mom and Dad don't want to talk to you, but I'm supposed to tell you what's going to happen,'" Jackie recalls. "And he's like, 'All your cards are going to be shut off, and Mom and Dad want you to take the car and drop it off at this specific location. Your phone's going to last for this much longer. They don't want you coming to the house, and you're not to contact them. You're not going to get any money from them. Nothing. And if you don't return the car, they're going to report it stolen.'
Jackie's story may be distinctive in its particulars, but across America, it is hardly unique. Research done by San Francisco State University's Family Acceptance Project, which studies and works to prevent health and mentalhealth risks facing LGBT youth, empirically confirms what common sense would imply to be true: Highly religious parents are significantly more likely than their less-religious counterparts to reject their children for being gay – a finding that social-service workers believe goes a long way toward explaining why LGBT people make up roughly five percent of the youth population overall, but an estimated 40 percent of the homeless-youth population. The Center for American Progress has reported that there are between 320,000 and 400,000 homeless LGBT youths in the United States. Meanwhile, as societal advancements have made being gay less stigmatized and gay people more visible – and as the Internet now allows kids to reach beyond their circumscribed social groups for acceptance and support – the average coming-out age has dropped from post-college age in the 1990s to around 16 today, which means that more and more kids are coming out while they're still economically reliant on their families. The resulting flood of kids who end up on the street, kicked out by parents whose religious beliefs often make them feel compelled to cast out their own offspring (one study estimates that up to 40 percent of LGBT homeless youth leave home due to family rejection), has been called a "hidden epidemic." Tragically, every step forward for the gay-rights movement creates a false hope of acceptance for certain youth, and therefore a swelling of the homeless-youth population.
Later this month the U.S. Supreme Court will have its first opportunity to decide whether it will take up a gay marriage case appeal and, if it does, which one or collection of appeals. With every federal court to have considered the issue of state gay marriage bans except one striking such bans down, one would hope that Justice Kennedy will decide to finish the work that was started and join the liberals on the Court to invalidate state gay marriage bans once and for all. A piece in The Advocate looks at the upcoming decisions to be made by the Court. Here are excerpts:
There are just two weeks left until the U.S. Supreme Court meets to decide which marriage cases it will take up in its next session, but the marriage equality landscape could still shift significantly between now and then.
At the moment, there are seven cases from five states ready for the Justices to consider. In all seven cases, gay and lesbian plaintiffs have been unanimously victorious, with a series of strongly worded rulings from multiple courts finding that bans on same-sex marriage violate the U.S. Constitution.
But it's possible that nine more states could see progress in marriage litigation before the Supreme Court's first conference on September 29. Rulings are due in the Ninth and Sixth Circuits, which include Nevada, Ohio, Michigan and more. A ruling in any of those cases could complicate the Supreme Court's plans.
If a decision came from either the Ninth or Sixth Circuits, the Court might decide to put off a decision on which cases to take. That would be particularly likely if the decision was at odds with the previous victories for the plaintiffs. The Ninth Circuit gave hints during oral argument that its ruling would be generally similar to the victories that have come before, but the Sixth Circuit judges are harder to read.
And of course, the Supreme Court could always opt not to take any case at all. Meanwhile, litigation continues unabated in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana, with courts so far unwilling to pause lawsuits while they wait for the Supreme Court to return from break.
Thus, we continue to find ourselves in a waiting game. It goes without saying that the husband and I await the day that Virginia's anti-gay animus inspired Marshall-Newman is struck down definitively once and for all.
A phenomenon that has long been absent in political circles and campaigns is now beginning to appear and hopefully will continue: Democrats using the culture wars to attack Republican hate mongers and those who would drag the nation back to the 1950's or earlier. With demographic changes that are shrinking the GOP base of far right whites and more and more younger voters walking away from religion entirely, the GOP's constant self-prostitution to the Christofascists may finally be a liability at the ballot box. Yes, the fanatics of the far right continue to turn out in high numbers on election day, but a critical point may be nearing where opposition to the hate, racism and religious extremism of the GOP base will motivate even more voters to go to the polls. A piece in the New York Times looks at the trend, including events taking place in Virginia's 2014 senate election campaign where the GOP's Ed Gillespie continues to whore himself out to the ugliest elements of the Christofascists/Tea Party. Here are highlights:
After a generation of campaigns in which Republicans exploited wedge issues to win close elections, Democrats are now on the offensive in the culture wars.
Democrats see social issues as potent for the same reasons Republicans once did, using them as a tool to both stoke concerns among moderate voters, especially women, and motivate their base.In few places has the change been as notable as in Virginia, where Democrats for decades practiced defensive politics to assure voters they were in the state’s cultural mainstream.Now it is Republican candidates who are in a crouch. When Senator Mark Warner, a first-term Democrat, and his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, met for their first debate this summer, it was Mr. Gillespie who had to summon a creative way to rebut the suggestion that he was extreme.[T]he Republicans’ attempts to parry attacks reveal how the ground has shifted. Their candidates in the three states have fought back with proposals to sell birth control pills over the counter, a shift that not long ago might have enraged religious conservatives. But there is little indication so far that the Democrats’ push on social issues is motivating cultural conservatives to respond.Equally striking is what is not being highlighted: same-sex marriage. Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican, simply changed the subject to the economy when pressed about a federal judge’s decision striking down his state’s ban on same-sex unions. Even in more conservative Arkansas and Louisiana, Republican candidates are not raising the topic. . . . . the most notable advertisement on the topic comes from Monica Wehby, a Republican Senate candidate in Oregon who supports same-sex marriage and is trying to break through.Some Republicans believe that the Democrats’ reliance on cultural issues in politically moderate states underlines the structural challenges that Republicans face with voters.“Just as Democrats had to accept or pretend to accept what was viewed as the cultural center of the country, Republicans are going to have to accept or pretend to accept that the center has shifted,” said Ben Domenech, a conservative writer. “They can respond by pretending it isn’t happening or isn’t a problem. But they have tried that in recent cycles, and it hasn’t really worked. Or they can reorganize around an agenda that favors individual liberty.”
An electorate reshaped by a growing presence of liberal millennials, minorities, and a secular, unmarried and educated white voting bloc will most likely force Republicans to recalibrate.The willingness of Mr. Warner, a cautious politician, to challenge his opponent over same-sex marriage, abortion rights, contraception and climate change illustrates the Democrats’ new boldness. “The public has moved,” Mr. Warner said after a campaign forum with technology executives in Northern Virginia, exactly the sort of voters who have reshaped politics in the state.A new generation of Democratic strategists believe that using cultural attacks as a turnout lever is essential to success in swing states. “When we polled and focus-grouped, it was so evident you weren’t going to motivate our base unless you were vocal and clear on these issues,” said Robby Mook, Mr. McAuliffe’s campaign manager.[Colorado] Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat who succeeded Mr. Allard in 2009, is running a campaign courting female voters by emphasizing the culture wars. Along with an array of outside liberal groups, Mr. Udall has pounded his Republican challenger, Representative Cory Gardner, on abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage, including at their first debate recently.Colorado Republicans say that if Mr. Udall’s cultural assault is successful, it will represent an ominous sign about their party’s ability to win statewide.Like other important Senate elections this year, the North Carolina race could ultimately be decided by the size of Ms. Hagan’s margin among women. “That is who is absolutely now deciding elections,” said Stephanie Schriock, the head of Emily’s List, which backs female candidates who support abortion rights. “And they will decide this year by going or not going to the polls.”
Women, gays and minorities need to understand that the GOP is an open enemy to their/our rights. Complacency and staying home on election day will be disastrous. It is time to truly rally, go to the polls and use the ugliness of the GOP's Christofascist backed agenda to kill the power of the far right.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Even after a GOP internal study concluded that the Republican Party confirmed that women find the GOP to be largely radioactive and favor Democrats by a large margin, Senate Republicans blocked the Equal Pay Bill which would have banned salary secrecy and tighten rules to try to narrow the gender wage gap. Sadly, this move is part and parcel with the GOP's view that women are inferior and not worthy of equal pay for equal work. It's basically an extension of the GOP view that when not participating in a Republican women group, women should basically be at home barefoot and pregnant. One can only hope that women will pay attention and cast their vote against the GOP come November. A piece in Think Progress looks at this latest "flipping the bird" to women. Here are excerpts:
After allowing the Paycheck Fairness Act to move forward last week, Senate Republicans turned around on Monday evening and unanimously voted to block the bill, which would ban salary secrecy and tighten rules to try to narrow the gender wage gap.
The vote came weeks after the Republican National Committee claimed that “All Republicans support equal pay.” Senate Republicans have unanimously shot the bill down multiple times over the past four years.
The bill includes a number of provisions aimed at preventing the gender wage gap in the first place, which currently means a woman who works full time, year round makes 77 percent of what a similar man makes and hasn’t budged in a decade.
It would ban salary secrecy, in which employers prohibit or strongly discourage employees from discussing pay with each other, thus making it difficult for women to discover unequal practices.
While it’s illegal to tell workers they can’t talk about wages with each other without a business justification, since it infringes on the right to engage in concerted activities for mutual aid, it’s still widespread: about half of private sector workers say they can’t talk about pay at work.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would also narrow the definitions of what is considered a legitimate business-related justification for pay disparities between a man and a woman with the same skills, responsibilities, and working conditions, while increasing penalties for those who are found to have no reason for gaps. It’s meant to discourage unequal pay scales so that women don’t have to remedy situations by bringing lawsuits, which are time consuming, costly, and increasingly difficult to win.
Republicans say they are in favor of equal pay for women’s work, but they haven’t articulated their alternatives to the Democrats’ bill. Instead they say women are already protected and argue that the gap isn’t as big as the statistics say.
|Brian Brown in Russia conspiring with anti-gay forces|
I have often maintained that the Christofascists ultimately seek to establish a theocracy in America and rewrite - if not overthrow - the U.S. Constitution, they are technically guilty of sedition and/or treason. Equally disturbing is the willingness of some "godly Christians" to conspire with foreign governments and/or legislators to push for foreign laws at odds with the rights guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. Sadly, too many in the media fail to call out the mouth pieces of the Christian Right who would overthrow the First Amendment, if not the entire Constitution, and who willingly deal with foreign governments to further their theocratic agenda. A case in point (and exception to the rule) is when Mike Huckabee said some years ago on Morning Joe, that he thought the U.S. Constitution should be replaced with the Bible as the nation's governing document. Thankfully, Joe Scarborough challenged Huckabee, but too many "journalists" and news anchors don't do so. Another example is NOM's Brian Brown working with the Putin regime to pass anti-equality laws. Now, Congressman Adam Schiff has called these foul individuals out for what they are. FrontiersLA.com has details. Here are highlights:
It is far past time that Christofascist be held to compliance with this nation's laws and that it be made very clear that they are not above the law.[O]n Sunday, he [Congressman Adam Schiff] went so far as to question the patriotism of anti-gay religious leaders such as Brian Brown, the President of the National Organization for Marriage, who seem to place their own ideology over the best interests of America.Told that Brown had attended a forum in Moscow despite forum sponsors (billionaire Vladimir Yakunin, a senior advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the forum’s funder and parliament member Elena Mizulina) being on the Treasury Department’s list of sanctioned individuals, Schiff said:“I think it’s awful and whether it’s people going to Russia to help propagate these discriminatory laws that are increasing in places like Russia and East Europe and Africa or whether it’s some of our captains of industry that are going to Moscow and trying to seize of business opportunities like this. It really calls into question their commitment to our country and its ideals. So I think it’s horribly counter-productive and only a further incentive to the belligerent, dangerous, backward policies of Putin and his cronies.”Schiff’s comments come a day before the Human Rights Campaign released a major expose entitled “Global Advocacy of American Anti-LGBT Extremists Exposed,” HRC opens the report saying:There is a network of American extremists who work tirelessly to undercut LGBT people around the world at every turn. They spew venomous rhetoric, outrageous theories, and discredited science. Some claim that LGBT people are responsible for the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Others argue that LGBT people are luring away children, and that acceptance of LGBT people will lead to the destruction of families around the world. Some even suggest that the death penalty could be an appropriate punishment for simply being LGBT.Last October, Fred Karger of “Rights Equal Rights” wrote Sec. of State John Kerry and Attorney General Eric Holder asking that they investigate whether Brown violated the Logan Act, a “federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments” against US interests. Karger notes that Brown testified before Russian Duma officials—including a subcommittee chaired by Mizulina, who then helped write the anti-gay propaganda and adoption laws—and asks in Brown did so without prior authorization of the US government.Schiff thinks the criteria for American investment in other countries should include non-discrimination laws. He said:I definitely think it should be a factor and if you look at the Millennium Challenge Corporation—it evaluates levels of corruption and whatnot in terms of whether a country is a suitable candidate for investment. I think we also ought to look at their progress towards equality and if they’re moving backward, to me, they’re not a great place for investment. And that might be a good and powerful and yet subtle way to say we’re prioritizing non-discrimination and we’re going to take into consideration anywhere we put our money.