Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Sarah Palin - Proof of the GOP's Moral Bankruptcy and Hypocrisy

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.
RealClearPolitics spoke with a source close to the Palin family, who wanted to provide their version of the events in question. 

The source said oldest son Track, 25, soon found himself struggling against four men who had 'piled on him'.

That was when father Todd Palin - who was celebrating his 50th birthday that night, although it was not his party- became involved.

Partygoer Eric Thompson told Good Morning America: 'I heard Sarah Palin scream out, 'You know who we are, don't you?''

The former vice presidential candidate has yet to publicly comment on the brawl. 

On Monday, she left a shopping mall dressed casually, and without wearing her wedding ring.
One report suggested host Korey Klingenmeyer was allegedly punched in the face seven times by Bristol when he politely asked her to leave the party. 

Another report claimed that Willow and Bristol apparently tried to go after the mother of Willow's ex-boyfriend.

The fight involved 'roughly 20 people' and alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the incident, which took place around 11pm on Saturday night, The Anchorage Police Department said. 

'Anchorage police responded to a report of a verbal and physical altercation taking place between multiple subjects outside of a residence,' police spokesperson Jennifer Castro told Alaska Dispatch News. 
Although none of the parties wanted to press charges at the time of the incident, police confirmed that the case is still an active investigation and is being reviewed by APD and the Municipal Prosecutors Office. 

The Ugly Fruits of Conservative Religion: A Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens

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.
[N]ot only were more kids showing up, they were also disappearing. "Every couple of months one of our kids would get killed," Siciliano says. "And it would always be a gay kid." In 2002, he founded the Ali Forney Center, naming it after a homeless 22-year-old who'd been shot in the head on the street in Harlem, not far from where the organization's drop-in center currently resides. Siciliano had been close with Forney and felt that had he had a safe place to go, he might be alive today.
In one survey, approximately one in five LGBT youth were unable to secure short-term shelter, and 16 percent could not get assistance with longer-term housing – figures that were almost double those of their non-LGBT peers. However, it's clear that funding is also a problem.

Currently, Lewis tells me, "there are no legal federal protections in place to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in RHYA programs." At one residential placement facility in Michigan, LGBT teens were made to wear orange jumpsuits to "warn" other residents about their sexuality. 
Since 2002, when President George W. Bush issued an executive order that permitted faith-based organizations to receive federal support for social services, an increased amount of federal funding has gone to churches and religion­affiliated organizations where LGBT youth may not feel welcome.

In New York, a city with nearly 4,000 homeless youth, there are only around 350 spots in youth shelters, and less than a third of those spots are designated for LGBT kids, despite their disproportionate share of the homeless-youth population. (And considering that many homeless youth may not openly identify themselves as LGBT when seeking services, many providers believe that the estimate of 40 percent may be far too low.) Across the country, there are only 4,000 youth-shelter beds overall, while an estimate derived from the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children put the number of homeless minors at 1.7 million. 

For LGBT kids who remain homeless, the stakes are clearly life and death. They are seven times more likely than their straight counterparts to be the victims of a crime, often a violent one. Studies have shown they are more than three times more likely to engage in survival sex – for which shelter is the payment more often than cash. They are more likely to lack access to medical care, more likely to attempt suicide, more likely to use hard drugs and more likely to be arrested for survival crimes. According to the Equity Project, leaving home because of family­ rejection is the single greatest predictor of involvement with the juvenile-justice system for LGBT youth.
In America, we lose six queer kids a day to the street. That's every four hours a queer kid dies, whether it be from freezing to death or getting the shit beat out of them or a drug overdose. This is our next real plague."

"LGBT­advocacy groups don't want to talk about religion," says Mitchell Gold, founder of Faith in America. "One, they don't want to come across as anti-religion. And two, they just aren't familiar with it. But the number-one hurdle to LGBT equality is religious­based bigotry. The face of the gay-rights movement shouldn't be what I call '40-year-old well-moisturized couples.' The face of the gay-rights movement should be a 15-year-old kid that's been thrown out of his house and taught that he's a sinner."
There's more that will make your blood boil.  As readers know, I am not afraid to talk about religion or hide the fact that I hold open contempt for "godly Christian" parents who disown their children.  Being gay is not a choice.  Adhering to hate-filled, bigoted religious beliefs based on what is being increasingly demonstrated to be pure myth and fiction, however, IS A CHOICE. Religious conservatives truly need to become societal outcasts and subject to child abuse prosecution for mistreatment of their LGBT children.   They are NOT nice or decent people. The rest of us need to fully open our eyes to this reality.

Tuesday Morning Male Beauty

Supreme Court Could Get Over a Dozen Marriage Case Petitions

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. 

Democrats Go On the Offensive in the Culture Wars

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

More Monday Male Beauty

The GOP War on Women Continues - Senate Republicans Block Equal Pay Bill

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.

Are Anti-Gay Christofascists Unpatriotic/Guilty of Conspiring with Foreign Governments?

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:
[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.
 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. 

Adam Schiff
Adam Schiff

Monday Morning Male Beauty