Saturday, July 10, 2010

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Approves Partnered Gay Clergy

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has tentatively joined the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Church in allowing partnered gay and lesbian clergy. Like the ELCA and the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterians have so far, however, reserved the term "marriage" for heterosexual couples only. As a result, the religious based anti-gay laws in the USA are increasingly giving special rights and privileges to one particular form of Christianity - the Southern Baptists and Fundamentalists - in a more and more glaring contradiction to the nations supposed guarantee of religious freedom and separation of church and state. One has to wonder when these enlightened - and general far better educated - religious denominations are going to begin to object to the legal discrimination inflicted upon their members. Frankly, it is way beyond time that religious leaders other than the gay-haters start speaking out loudly and demanding that the media present their side of the issue and not just that of the professional Christians who are Christian in name only. Here are highlights from the Kansas City Star:
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Hours after giving their blessing to ordaining noncelibate gays and lesbians, leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) declined late Thursday to change the church's definition of marriage, in effect refusing to allow same-sex marriages within their denomination.
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The gay ordination proposal, which did pass, still must be approved by the majority of the church's 173 local "presbyteries," or district governing bodies, within the next year before it can take effect.
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Only a few mainstream Christian denominations now conduct same-sex marriages, but many, like the Presbyterians, are debating the issue as uncertainty grows over churches' role in such marriages, now the law of the land in five states and Washington, D.C.
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Legalized gay marriage "puts pastors in a bind," Bolbach said. "Let's say you have gay or lesbian members of your congregation who want to get married. The law allows it. What are they supposed to do?" The Presbyterians' discussion was "a reflection of what's going on in the secular world," she said.

400 Year Anniversay of City of Hampton, Virginia


This weekend the City of Hampton celebrates it's 400th Anniversary. Wikipedia describes Hampton in part as follows:
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Hampton traces its history to [July 9,] 1610. The city's Old Point Comfort, home of Fort Monroe for almost 200 years, was named by the voyagers of 1607 led by Captain Christopher Newport on the mission which first established Jamestown as a British colony. Since 1952, Hampton has included the former Elizabeth City County and the incorporated town of Phoebus, consolidating by mutual agreement.
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After the end of the American Civil War, historic Hampton University was established here, providing an education for many of the newly freed former slaves. In the 20th century, the area became the location of Langley Air Force Base, NASA Langley Research Center, and the Virginia Air and Space Center. Hampton features many miles of waterfront and beaches.
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The photos above are of St. John's Episcopal Church, the oldest Anglican parish in the United States (the "new" church in the photos dates from the early 1700's and is actually the fourth church buiding), and a view down Queen's Way in the old downtown area of Hampton. Several restaurants that the boyfriend and I frequent are located on this stretch of Queen's Way.
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With all of the history in this area, I have always thought if marketed correctly, Hampton could be a great LGBT travel destination. Nearby Williamsburg has a number of gay and gay friendly B&B's. The Air & Space Museum is a draw in and of itself. The Mariner's Museum in Newport News is also pretty amazing.

Saturday Male Beauty

What Do Barack Obama and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams Have in Common?

Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams (pictured at right), has brought a shit storm upon himself with the decision to block the appointment of Dr Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans and a gay cleric, as bishop of Southwark. Throughout the ongoing civil war within the Church of England over gays and gay clergy, Williams - like Barack Obama - has shown himself to be devoid of leadership and instead a follower who keeps hoping that somehow the rest of the Church will solve the issues that he fails to take leadership over. Also, like when Obama assumed the presidency, there were great hopes when Williams assumed the position as Archbishop of Canterbury - hopes that have been dashed just as Obama has failed to fulfil his campaign promises. Both men demonstrate that a refusal to lead when in a leadership position can have disastrous consequences and, indeed, often creates a larger mess than would have been the case if strong leadership had been exercise. Well reasoned and well delivered speeches do not make up for lack of action and an unwillingness to do the right thing. The Guardian has coverage on the latest furor Williams has brought about by not being a strong leader. Here are highlights:
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Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, is embroiled in a new crisis within the Church of England over the decision to block the appointment of a gay cleric as bishop of Southwark.
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Liberals and mainstream Anglicans are furious that the archbishop has once more failed to exert any leadership over mutinous forces threatening to split the church over the sensitive issue of homosexuality.
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Dr Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans, was in the running for the senior position at Southwark until his name was leaked, enabling conservative clerics to stop the appointment. An embattled Williams has now launched an inquiry at Lambeth Palace to find out who divulged the name .
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The revival of the row over the place of gays in the clergy comes as Williams confronts the Church of England's next great divisive row at the start of this weekend's general synod in York: over whether female clergy can become bishops – a dispute that threatens to split the church in another direction and which he is desperately trying to head off with delaying tactics.
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John's supporters called for David Cameron to demonstrate his gay-friendly credentials by overruling the Crown Nominations Commission and insisting that John's name be considered further. They accused the archbishop of betraying his old friend a second time.
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One senior cleric said: "The time of reckoning has come for Rowan.
. . . Many are dismayed by his constant capitulation to the fringe noisemakers. "He could recover some credibility if he went mitre in hand to the PM and asked him to intervene and use his constitutional prerogative to consider the second name, whoever that is, and then to reject both if he so chooses."
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Chris Bryant, the Labour MP and former Anglican cleric, who is also gay, said: "I have long supported the election of bishops. If the clergy and people of a diocese want a gay bishop they should be able to vote for one, in which case Jeffrey John would have been archbishop of Canterbury by now. There are not many men who combine his spiritual depth and insight. The way things are conducted now does not do the church any favours." Downing Street sources suggested, however, that the prime minister was unlikely to intervene.

Biased and Inflamatory DADT Survey Made Public - Westat Contact Had Predicted Survey Would be Homophobic

I had always anticipated that the DOD survey would be rigged - especially since an insider with Westat connections had warned me that such would be the case a number of weeks ago. In fact, this individual said that DOD was calling the shots on the question content. Now that a copy of the survey (see the full survey here) has been obtained by the Palm Center and has gone viral in the LGBT blogosphere, just how obnoxious the survey is out there for the entire world to see. Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United (pictured above) with whom I collaborate at times on DADT related posts aimed at Virginia audiences in particular, had this to say about the survey:
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[I]t is simply impossible to imagine a survey with such derogatory and insulting wording, assumptions, and insinuations going out about any other minority group in the military. . . . this expensive survey stokes the fires of homophobia by its very design and will only make the Pentagon’s responsibility to subdue homophobia as part of this inevitable policy change even harder. The Defense Department just shot itself in the foot by releasing such a flawed survey to 400,000 servicemembers, and it did so at an outrageous cost to taxpayers.”
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Indeed, one would think the survey was drafted by the folks at Family Research Council or some other professional gay-hating organization. Can anyone seriously believe such a survey would be ever circulated if the word "black" or "Catholic" or Jewish" or "female" were used to replace the words gay and homosexual? Of course not. Because only gays continue to be subjected to legally sanctioned religious based discrimination - something that is, I'm sorry, UNCONSTITUTIONAL. And our President does nothing to stop it. This survey clearly indicates that more resignations need to be demanded by Obama NOW. This survey was obviously prepared at the directions very senior officers at the Pentagon and DOD and had one aim: to get a result justifying a refusal to repeal DADT. Anyone who claims otherwise is either a liar or so incredibly incompetent as to require dismissal. That includes Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell who was disseminating bullshit excuses and defenses yesterday.
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I'm sure that DOD and the Pentagon never expected this survey made public and wanted to keep it secret while claiming their unbiased and objective study justified a continuation of DADT. Frankly, if these people are so stupid that they thought the survey would not get leaked, then they are too stupid to be heading up the nation's military. No wonder we're in such a mess in the Middle East! Metro Weekly looks at some of the lame excuses being put out by the Pentagon:
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In a late Friday afternoon news conference, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell defended the 103-question survey distributed to 400,000 active-duty and reserve servicemembers about the possible end of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, including how repeal may affect morale and unit cohesion.
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Despite his defense, his only response when asked by Metro Weekly why there appeared to be no questions regarding the current impact of DADT and DADT-related discharges on troops’ morale and unit cohesion was, “I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a good explanation. We’ll try to get it for you. I don’t know."
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When asked earlier in the news conference about reports and commentary that the survey was biased, Morrell said, “Absolutely, unequivocally, I reject it as nonsense." “We’re not playing games here, guys,” he said.
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Obviously, games ARE being played and the bastards got caught with their pants down and their sorry asses hanging out in the breeze.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Hypocrisy of Christianist Claims They Are Being Persecuted

Having followed a number of Christian Right websites for over a decade, I believe that there are few bigger liars in the world than the professional Christian set. It's as if they alone are exempt from the Commandment against lying and bearing false witness. The cartoon above well summarizes the hypocrisy of Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Maggie Gallahger and similar snake oil hucksters when they whine that Christians are being "persecuted." As is all too much the norm, these folks project their own action/motivations onto their victims.

Friday Male Beauty

American Psychiatric Association Urges Hawaii Legislature to Keep Pushing for Civil Unions

The real battle underlying the issues of gay rights and the legal recognition of same sex unions in my view comes down to this: (1) a battle between modernity and ignorant embrace of a less than wonderful past, and related to that (2) a battle between often deliberately blind/wrong headed religious fundamentalism and the acceptance of new medical and scientific knowledge. Obviously the two overlap and as I have long maintained, the terror on the part of religious fundamentalists when it comes to homosexuality is the fact that if the Bible's alleged condemnation of homosexuality is not accurate, then the entire house of cards world view of the Bible beaters begins to collapse. Worse yet, these folks might have to think for themselves and analyze many of their extremely selective religious beliefs. This prospect scares the living crap out of them and, as a result, they exhibit knee jerk reactions both to gays and modern medical and mental health knowledge. By vetoing the Hawaii civil unions bill, Hawaii Governor Linda Lindle - twice divorced herself and obviously a hypocrite when it comes to living according to Biblical mandates - opted for the path of ignorance and bigotry. The American Psychiatric Association has acted promptly to condemn Lindle's action and to encourage the Hawaii Legislature to go back and enact another civil unions bill. A copy of the APA's news release is here. Here are some highlights:
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ARLINGTON, Va. (July 8, 2010) —The American Psychiatric Association strongly supports legislation recently approved by the Hawaii legislature that would have made Hawaii the 11th state, along with the District of Columbia, to recognize same-sex civil marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships.
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“We regret Gov. Lingle’s veto and pledge our ongoing support for enactment of same-sex civil marriage or civil union laws in Hawaii and throughout the United States,” said APA President Carol A. Bernstein, M.D.
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“As physicians who specialize in psychiatry, we recognize the positive influence of a stable, adult partnership on the health of all family members,” Dr. Bernstein said. “Marriage and family, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, are among the cornerstones of social relationships and other supports that help us face life’s challenges. All Americans should be able to enjoy these benefits.”
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“In the interest of maintaining and promoting mental health, the American Psychiatric Association supports the legal recognition of same-sex civil marriage with all rights, benefits, and responsibilities conferred by civil marriage, and opposes restrictions to those same rights, benefits, and responsibilities
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Mike Rogers - Portrait of a Friend and Activist Mentor

Between starting to blog in 2007 and unanticipated involvement in situations involving the exposure of hypocrites harmful to the rights of of other gay citizens in 2003 and 2004 - i.e., ex-gay fraud Michael Johnston and former Congressman Ed Schrock - I unexpectedly was fortunate enough to get to know two activists who are never ceasing in their efforts to win full legal equality for LGBT Americans. One was Mike Rogers with whom I collaborated on the Ed Schrock story. While there are those who do not agree with Mike's campaign to "out" closeted politic ans who vote against their fellow LGBT citizens even as they solicit secret trysts for gay sex. I on the other hand applaud Mike's effort. If someone wants to remain in the closet, that's their decision - UNLESS they are actively seeking to impair my rights as a citizen and the rights of other gay Americans. Metro Weekly has a profile piece on Mike Rogers that looks at the many other things Mike does for the LGBT community in our struggle. The piece also looks at how Mike has mentored budding activists and helped create an amazing network for communications between activist, journalists and others via the invitation only list-serv that he maintains. Between putting together the 2008 LGBT Blogger Summit in Washington, D.C., which I was lucky enough to attend, and inviting me to the list-serv, Mike has helped me and my desire to make things better for our community to a huge extent. I hope everyone will read the full Metro Weekly piece. Here are some highlights:
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He's not much of a grandstander. In person, he's unassuming. He can laugh heartily, but he's otherwise fairly soft-spoken. His roots are in suburban New York, where he was raised in a two-parent household with two older siblings. And this is the guy the Washington Post dubbed ''the most feared man on the Hill?''
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Blow the whistle on a few closeted gay politicians and political operatives who are working to counter LGBT equality, and the title sticks. But while some corners of Washington may hate Rogers, he in turn loves the city.
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METRO WEEKLY: What's your involvement with Netroots Nation, exactly?
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MICHAEL ROGERS: I've been involved in Netroots Nation now going on my fourth year. The short of it is it's the national convention of new media, bloggers, activists – kind of the whole progressive left has been coming together at this convention that started out as more of an online blogger kind of thing. I do a number of things related to it. I run the LGBT caucus.
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I'm the director of the [independent] National Blogger and Citizen Journalist Initiative. We raise money and send LGBT bloggers to these conferences. On this one, we're doing $16,000 in scholarships. I'm also running the first pre-convention day for the LGBT community. The 25 recipients of our scholarships will be there. Representatives of LGBT organizations are coming in – everyone from Get Equal to HRC, across the spectrum.
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In 2008, with Netroots and bloggers, I brought together 60 bloggers here in D.C. for a long weekend of training, support, education, networking. We also did some joint events with the Victory Fund conference that coincided with it. We took that and said, ''We have this whole bunch of people who've been reading each other.'' But nobody knew each other. What's key here is taking ''online'' and bringing it ''offline,'' bringing that connection.
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There's a great gain in that. Look at voices like Pam Spaulding. Where would Pam be without the blogosphere? Here's a woman in the Raleigh-Durham [N.C.] area, working at a university, and now she's a really important voice in the community.
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MW: Although the outings can get pretty nasty – McKelway's interview, for example – there's another platform you're involved with that I've also seen get pretty nasty. You manage a listserv with hundreds of LGBT activists, journalists, movement leaders, etc. Sometimes that list gets pretty contentious.
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ROGERS: The reason I created the list was because no one knew who I was. I was looked at as, ''Who the hell is this? Who is this guy, showing up and dragging people out of the closet?'' I realized that in the movement there were so many people that don't understand what they're doing, where they come from.
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[The list] is a wonderful thing for the various parts of our community. . . . When I founded the list, my goal was to bring together all of these different viewpoints and perspectives. You have some viewpoints that are more liberal, some are relatively conservative. But I'm more interested in perspectives. What makes the list really unique is not only does it have activists and leaders of professional things, but it also reaches into every state. . . . It's really a response to a need to have a rapid-fire communication system.
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MW: So you're an organizer at heart?
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ROGERS: I'm a change agent at heart. Yes, organizing is a huge piece of that, but so is reporting and telling the truth. So is fundraising.
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Mike, thanks for all you have done to help me do more to try to make things better. Keep up the great work that you do.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

More Thursday Male Beauty

Another Bad Day For Maggie Gallagher and Professional Homophobes

In addition to the defeats of Section 3 of DOMA discussed in the previous blog post, a more symbolic - as opposed substantive - defeat of marriage equality opponents occurred. The Today Show announced that it was relenting in its exclusion of same sex couples from its wedding contest. Blogger friend Jeremy Hooper at Good As You first sounded the alarm on Today's discriminatory position and after catching incredible flax, Today has opened up it contest to same sex couples who enter the contest before July 12, 2010. I can already hear the shrieks and conniptions of Maggie Gallagher and other professional anti-gay leeches, I mean activists, who live the good life off of the donations of sheeple. Maggie must have wet herself on the news and the spittle has to be flying around self-loathing closet cases Robert Knight, Matt Barber, Porno Pete LaBarbera and Peter Sprigg. No doubt the American Family Association will be rolling out a boycott of Today come the morning. Here are some highlights from GLAAD's announcement on Today's about face:
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Following a meeting between GLAAD and NBC executives NBC announced that after listening to community concerns it will open the contest to same-sex couples. In addition to opening the contest NBC is extending the application period until this Monday, July 12. Finalists will be announced later this year and the wedding takes place live on the Today Show this October.
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"We're thrilled that 'Today Show's 'Modern Wedding Contest' now recognizes what most fair-minded Americans have already concluded - a wedding celebrates love and commitment, whether the spouses are straight or gay," said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). "NBC heard GLAAD and the thousands of viewers who contacted them. And they have moved to make their contest a truly modern wedding where any couple can share their story. NBC is living up to its own high standard of fairness and for this, we applaud them. We encourage qualified same-sex couples to submit their applications to make the new contest submission deadline of Monday, July 12 and we look forward to next year when same-sex couples will have the ability to apply to the contest from the beginning."

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Here's some of Today's spin on the about face:
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Our intent was not to be discriminatory or exclusive. In 2005 when the wedding took place outside of New York, the application process was open to same-sex couples. We have listened to every voicemail and read every email. We take this feedback seriously, and we will change our application process. TODAY is a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, and GLAAD considers us an ally. We are committed to keeping those relationships strong and positive. We have opened up the application process to same-sex couples, and will extend the deadline to Monday, July 12. Moving forward, we ensure that our future wedding contests will be inclusive of all couples.

Section 3 of Federal Doma Struck Down As Unconstitutional

Obviously, I am pleased with the decisions today in the case brought in U. S. Federal District Court by GLAD, and the parallel case, Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. HHS, brought by Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley. Unless a judge or court factors in religious based bigotry, I candidly do not know how any other decision could have been reached. Marriages in five states and the District of Columbia treated differently than all other state marriage with no true justification other than writing Christianist religious beliefs into the federal law. Denial of equal protection doesn't get much more clear cut. If the Obama administration were honest about the true illegal motivation behind DOMA - and, admittedly expecting honesty from Obama & Co. at this point is a huge stretch - no appeal of the District Court ruling would be forthcoming. Unfortunately, I expect the Obama Justice Department to note an appeal. Why? Because other than meaningless statements in disingenuous speeches, I am increasingly convinced that Obama is an opponent of full LGBT equality. He'll take tiny mincing steps and reluctantly back half measures when forced to do so even though he does not believe in them only for the purpose of trying to keep the LGBT ATM in operation. It's enough to make me want to vomit. Here are some opinion highlights, first from the GLAD case:
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By premising eligibility for these benefits on marital status in the first instance, the federal government signals to this court that the relevant distinction to be drawn is between married individuals and unmarried individuals. To further divide the class of married individuals into those with spouses of the same sex and those with spouses of the opposite sex is to create a distinction without meaning. And where, as here, “there is no reason to believe that the disadvantaged class is different, in relevant respects” from a similarly situated class, this court may conclude that it is only irrational prejudice that motivates the challenged classification. As irrational prejudice plainly never constitutes a legitimate government interest, this court must hold that Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
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And from the case brought by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
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[I]t is clearly within the authority of the Commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights, and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status. The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and, in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid.
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Given these reasoned rulings and other recent cases on the issue of equal protection for LGBT Americans, if the Obama administration appeals these cases, then I will know that Obama is a liar. A very slick one, but a liar nevertheless when it comes to the issue of being a "fierce advocate" for LGBT equality. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and shame on me. I will not be fooled by Obama agin.

Virginia 2nd District Race - If You're Gay, Kenny Golden is Probably NOT Your Man

Kenny Golden, a former local Republican Party head (at left), is running as an Independent for the Virginia 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by Democrat, Glenn Nye. Vivian Paige, a Democrat blogger, did a video interview with Golden recently which Golden is now trying to use to depict himself in part as "gay friendly." This is apparently part of Golden's effort to advertise himself as an "independent candidate charting a new course for America." At first glance, the Paige interview gets one's attention - especially when compared to the GOP nominee, Scott Rigell who is an ultra-far right Christianist and Ken Cuccinelli want to be. In response to an unsolicited e-mail from Golden's campaign office, I posed a few further questions on his position on LGBT rights. While more acceptable than Rigell's position - he'd basically like to reimpose the sodomy statutes and re-criminalize being gay - Golden's response to me make it clear that Golden's "new course" still leaves LGBT citizens with an inferior form of citizenship. Here are highlights from Golden's e-mail responses back to me:
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I have a gay brother I love very much so I support Civil Unions but not Gay marriage. If that is your hot button issue, I ain't your guy. I told him if he needed a best man for a civil union, I would be there. If he called it marriage, I would not attend.
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On "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" I supported the measure instituted by President Clinton for all the years I was a Commander of Sailors. I still do, with some additional caveats, no third party notifications, ever. For the record I discharged 5 people for homosexual activities, three of who I knew weren't gay but simply wanted to gain a discharge and go home from the command in Sasebo, Japan. They subsequently asked for and received updated Honorable Discharges from the VA after three years. Don't ask Don't tell has allowed Gay American to serve in all the services with distinction and will continue if not overturned. I don't approve of openly gay people expressing their sexual preferences in our military. I don't do it, and never have why should anyone else. Unit cohesion is a delicate balance of working relations that already has enough morays to deal with, we don't need another more pervasive one.
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You and I both know if DADT is repealed there will be those that do flaunt, it's a fact of life. On the religious bit, don't buy it, some people don't like me because I'm white, 6'2" and a dumb jock. I get over it and we both move on, religion may be some folks problem but some people just don't like gays, religion, choice or otherwise, but they have to serve with them anyway DADT made that happen. Killing Third party notification gets rid of that temptation.
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On the marriage piece, same rights for gay couples with civil unions as all couples enjoy period. It's the right thing to do and I also believe in gay adoption. Watch the rights go nuts on that!!!!!
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I pointed out that 1,000+ plus state and federal rights/benefits arise off of the word "marriage," so no matter what Golden says, civil unions for same sex couples would still be separate and unequal. If the choice was just between Golden and Rigell, Golden would obviously be the far better - and far less scary - choice. However, Glenn Nye has voted for DADT repeal, been a co-sponsor of ENDA and voted for the Hate Crimes bill. While I have not yet flushed Nye out on his views on gay marriage, his position on DADT repeal alone makes him the best choice of the options available.

Thursday Male Beauty

Likely Already Stacked Survey Sent Out to Troops

UPDATE: I'm not the only one livid with Obama and this utterly botched/slanted survey. John Aravosis at America Blog basically (and rightly) rips Obama and company a new one. Seriously, it's to the point where one would almost think that some within the Democratic Party are trying to make LGBT voters stay home come the November mid-term elections.
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Despite the fact that the numerous military allies of the USA have changed their policies and allowed LGBT citizens to now openly serve in in their own military - all without any significant problems, the U.S. military is doing yet another needless survey on the issue of DADT repeal and, candidly, it looks like it's stacked to find fabricated problems so as to justify killing repeal. One question is in part as follows: "how they would react if they had to share a room, bathrooms, and open-bay showers in a war zone with other service members believed to be gay or lesbian." Can you imagine such a question being asked except with "black" or "African American" being substituted for gay or lesbian? Would Obama stand for such a question? Of course not - even though I suspect that many southern whites in the military would answer that they'd react negatively to serving with blacks.
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Reportedly the survey will be sent to service members via e-mail and asks about such issues as how unit morale or readiness might be affected if a commander is believed to be gay or lesbian; the need to maintain personal standards of conduct; and how repeal might affect willingness to serve in the military. Talk about seeking to script a self-fulfilling prophecy that repeal would cause problems. Compounding the outrageousness of the survey, there is NO guaranteed protection granted to LGBT service members that they will not be discharged if they honestly answer the survey honestly. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's recommendation to LGBT service members is to NOT answer the survey. Yes, this will tilt results even more potentially against repeal, but to do otherwise could end service members' careers. Here are highlights from SLDN's press release:
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"A number of service members have contacted SLDN to seek guidance on surveys concerning the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- the discriminatory law barring gay and lesbian service members from serving with integrity. At this time SLDN cannot recommend that lesbian, gay, or bisexual service members participate in any survey being administered by the Department of Defense, the Pentagon Working Group, or any third-party contractors. While the surveys are apparently designed to protect the individual's privacy, there is no guarantee of privacy and DOD has not agreed to provide immunity to service members whose privacy may be inadvertently violated or who inadvertently outs himself or herself. If a service member still wishes to participate, he or she should only do so in a manner that does not reveal sexual orientation."
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In response to my post about emigrating, I have received messages of support and messages to not give up and to continue to fight the good fight, etc. But when one sees deliberately biased and unnecessary crap like this survey, it's hard not to ask oneself, what's the point. I am so, so over unconstitutional religious based discrimination against gays being given a total pass in this nation.

President Obama: Answer the Question

With Barack Obama's "support" for LGBT equality limited to nice speeches but little in terms of concrete legislative enactments, Chris Geidner who writes for Metro Weekly and for the blog, Law Dork, has a piece in Huffington Post that basically demands that Obama come clean and unequivocally state his position as to what he really thinks - specifically on the issue of gay marriage. Personally, I have so lost faith in Obama's honesty that if he were to tell me it is raining out side, I'd want to look out the window and verify it before I'd believe him. As leader of the political party that alleges that it supports LGBT equality and one who has claimed to be our "fierce advocate," it is far past time for an honest and straight forward answer. Will we get one? Likely not - instead just more disingenuous bullshit which has become par for the course with this president. Here are highlights from Chris' piece:
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Unfortunately, one of the most prominent people who fails to recognize the full promise of America for LGBT Americans is President Barack Obama. At a briefing with representatives from LGBT media outlets on July 1, Obama's senior domestic policy adviser, Melody Barnes, was in the unenviable position of explaining that failure in the most palatable way.
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Barnes, who has suggested in the past a difference of opinion with the president on marriage equality, told those in attendance on Thursday that repeal of DOMA and extension of same-sex partner benefits where possible in the meantime was the "course" Obama has "identified" and "supported."
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The distinction between Kagan's status as potential justice and Obama's role as president is the key to the distinction between the level of forthrightness we should expect from each in their answers.
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The President of the United States, however, is in no such position and has no such reason to take the Fifth. Although the Justice Department may be obligated to defend validly enacted laws, its decision regarding whether there is any legitimate ground for defending the constitutionality of a law like DOMA has no bearing on whether the president personally believes the law is constitutional or not.
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Obama owes the LGBT community -- and the nation -- an answer about whether he believes DOMA unconstitutionally restricts the equal rights of same-sex couples. . . . Even if Obama wishes to avoid answering such a question, though, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker -- in one of the cases to which Kagan was referring -- is likely to force his hand in the near future.
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[S]ilence, though tempting, is not an acceptable answer from a president who promised to be a "fierce advocate" for LGBT equality. . . . This week is as good a time as any for the administration and the president to stop taking the Fifth, and put words to his -- and this nation's -- promise of equality.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Maggie Gallagher's Worse Nightmare

video

A straight friend and LGBT ally sent me this video clip which I figured represented anti-gay parasite Maggie Gallagher's worse nightmare. Assuming, of course, she even believes the anti-gay crap that she's peddling to the ignorant and gullible while naturally enriching herself in the process. Sadly, Maggie, like so many of the professional Christian set make the nastiest prostitute look virtuous in comparison.

Tell Virginia's Senators - End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” THIS YEAR!

As most readers know, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell is very high on the legislative items that I personally want to see accomplished THIS YEAR. Living in Hampton Roads with its huge closeted military service member population, I see the damage this religious based policy of discrimination inflicts daily both in terms of friends in the military and in terms of clients who are service members yet treated like vermin by this bigoted policy. A bastardized measure to repeal DADT has passed the House of Representatives and the main obstacle to passage is the U.S. Senate - with Virginia's Senators Jim Webb and to a lesser extent Mark Warner posing a portion of that obstacle. Given this reality, I was contacted today by Alex Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and asked to help promote that organization's effort to bring Senators Webb and Warner into line to support the DADT repeal legislation. To that end, I invite readers to go to the website Webb and Warner.org and sign the petition demanding that they vote for repeal of DADT. It is especially important that Senators Webb and Warner hear from LGBT Virginians who these men claim to represent on this issue. Personally, I've made it VERY clear to Senator Webb's office that this is a do or die issue for me - either Webb votes for DADT repeal or I will not support him for re-election. Moreover, I will actively work against his re-election. As pointed out in the previous post, I support David Mixner's agenda of not support/enabling those Democrats who betray me because in essence they are mealy mouthed cowards. Here are some highlights from WebbandWarner.org:
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The outdated and discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) law has already resulted in the abrupt firing of more than 14,000 capable men and women, as well as the voluntary departure of tens of thousands more. Such a policy violates the integrity of our military and diminishes our nation’s security. An amendment that is currently attached to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would responsibly repeal the DADT law in a way that is completely respectful of the ongoing comprehensive review process. The DADT law must go this year, and Senators Webb and Warner should support the current DADT repeal amendment to NDAA without modification.
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Senators Webb and Warner absolutely need to hear from Virginians about the repeal of the DADT law. Senator Webb, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted against the DADT repeal amendment in committee and is likely to vote against it again when NDAA comes to the Senate floor. Although Senator Warner has not committed to final position yet, he is under significant pressure to fall in line with Senator Webb's opposition to repealing DADT this year. Virginia has a large conservative population, even within the Democratic party, that is assumed to oppose repeal, so Senators Webb and Warner need to hear from those who want this outdated law repealed this year.
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Please sign the petition to Senators Webb and Warner here.

Five Suggestions to Force Change

Once again David Mixner has an inspired post on his blog that lays out a strategy that I believe MUST be embraced by LGBT Americans if we are ever to see full equality in this nation. I fully support David's suggestions and even forwarded them to Senator Jim Webb's communications director as a message that we are TIRED of false friends. Clearly, the LGBT community must support only those Democrats who support us and we must be prepared for some years in the wilderness if we rightly allow false "allies" to go down to electoral defeat. It seems that nothing less will get the message across to faux "friends" like Barack Obama. With me, things are basically black and white so to speak: you are either with us in more than lip service, or you're against us and you can kiss my gay ass if you think I am going to be played for a sucker any longer. Better to oppose a known foe than have the blade stuck in your back between your ribs by a false "friend." Here are highlights from David's must read post:
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This much we know: ENDA is dead for this year and if you believe Congressman Jackie Spiers, it is dead for at least five years. The repeal of DOMA has seen almost no action. We were taken out of the healthcare legislation. Most likely we will be taken out of the Immigration Reform legislation in the name of 'a greater good.' DADT is increasingly looking grim with passage of even the compromise in question. The list of bad news can go on and on.
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The only question that needs to be answered "Is this acceptable to us two years into the Obama term?" And if not, how do we change tactics or escalate our actions in order to not leave our freedom in the hands of those who have chosen not to battle for them? Here are some ideas to consider:
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1. STOP ENABLING: Anyone who has been even near a recovery program knows that the worst action a friend can take to someone who can't seem to 'get it together' is to enable them by explaining away their actions. Tough love is required from the LGBT community toward the Democratic party. No more 'understanding' why they have put us on the back burner yet one more time. No more explaining by our national organizations why with 58 Democratic Senators, a Democratic House and a liberal Democratic President we have failed after all this time to move on the 'Big Three.' No more taking a tough line rhetorically and then telling them all is forgiven by giving them money, resources and praise. We have to stop giving them permission to hurt and disappoint us time and time again.
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2. DEMAND STOP LOSS: The President has the power today to issue a 'stop-loss' order until a military report is issued and the process to officially end DADT is begun. After all, they all say it is a given that it is over so lets not destroy anyone else's lives or dreams because the political timing is not right.
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3. JUSTICE AT JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: The Department of Justice has been a hostile place for the LGBT agenda. They have spent more time fighting our rights in court than defending them. While looking for ways to intervene in Arizona, they have not even attempted to be part of the Proposition 8 case. Surely, Attorney General Eric Holder can find ways to help with the vast organization he has at his disposal. His refusing to take a stand in Maine the week before the vote was unforgivable.
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4. MAKE WAY FOR NEW WAYS: Clearly the 'pretty please lobbying' we have be doing is simply not working. Never will we have better margins in Congress than we have had the last two years and we are ending up with almost nothing. We need to embrace new groups, new ways, and new ideas. Failing institutions should be held accountable and those who are pushing for full equality should be celebrated and supported. Organizations like Get Equal and the new exciting Friend Factor offer alternative tactics to support our traditional ways of organizing and demanding full equality.
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5. PRACTICE POLITICAL TOUGH LOVE: Every two years they throw the 'we are better than the other guys' and imply that if we don't support people in the Democratic party who haven't supported us then we will be the ones responsible for any conservative victory. Bull! It is their lack of courage, inability to lead and tepid inspiration that have created their own political fate. We must no longer support anyone who is not for full equality and that includes marriage equality. No longer support political committees that give money to those who vote against us. We must seek out those candidates who do support full equality (and there are a huge number these days) and give them our support. We also must be willing to support primaries in the future against those within the Democratic party who don't support us.

Adirondack Summer

As long time readers likely know, I spent many summers in my youth at our family summer home in the Adirondack Mountains in New York State. Those summers were magical times. I have not visited the lake house in years due to scheduling and other issues. Some family members were up recently and took these - and many other - photos. The view above is sailing on Brantingham Lake. The photo below is a place we used to fish and slide down the smooth water worn rapids.
Otter Creek, Lewis County, New York

America: Less Social Mobility Than We Like to Pretend

The chart set out above via Frum Forum shows a reality that most Americans like to pretend is not the case - much of "Old Europe" now has more social mobility that the USA. The chart comes originally from Brookings Institution study, published in 2009. And with the wealth disparity growing markedly in this country, the problem will likely increase. Faux religious freedom and declining social/class mobility - not exactly what the Founders supposedly had in mind.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Early Morning Reflections - When Will It Be Time to Emigrate?

As regular readers know, I'm usually motivated to continue to fight for equality under the civil laws for LGBT Americans and others who continue to receive the short end of the stick under our less than genuine nation where the rule of law and freedom of religion are alleged to hold sway. Nonetheless, at times I truly feel that the USA is so screwed up and religious based bigotry so enshrined in the laws that it might be easier to simply get the Hell out of the USA. As more nations are voting in or having their courts mandate full equality for LGBT citizens, remaining in the USA when one is a gay American is (I know it's an extreme comparison) akin to being black and remaining in the Deep South under the Jim Crow laws rather than moving to a northern state where such laws were not on the books. Dealing with social discrimination is one thing. Being discriminated against daily by the very civil laws themselves is something far worse.
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Obviously, I and many other LGBT Americans had hoped for real change under the Obama administration - especially when combined with Democrat control of Congress. Sadly, what we got was, in my view, a spineless, lying, cynical President - yes, I know, I should have expected it - who is utterly unwilling to exercise leadership on basically any issue whatsoever. As for most Congressional Democrats, they are about as untrustworthy of "allies" as one could want to come across. On top of that, we see the main stream media - with few exceptions - never, ever taking on the talking heads of the Christian Right who could be easily shown to be lying, religious extremist, if not outright frauds. Why isn't the mainstream media going after the twice divorced Linda Lindle as a hypocrite?
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So what does one do? Stay and continue to fight the good fight like Don Quixote, or call it like it is and get the Hell out of a sick and fraudulent nation? Short term while our parents are living, the boyfriend and I will stay. After that, I really see no reason to stay in the USA. It's a sad commentary, but as I see it it is the truth. The USA seems to be on a downward spiral where religious lunacy and ignorance are insurgent and the founding principles of the country merely get lip service. The loons of the far right claim the USA is failing because of societal immorality and draw analogies to Ancient Rome. They are wrong, of course. Rome fell because it had remained militarily over extended for many, many years - sound familiar? - and exhausted itself financially. Likewise, the point came where the benefits of living under the system no longer made loyalty to Rome and its laws worth the cost and the effort. I feel that I have reached this latter point in terms of the USA.

Presbyterians Move Closer to Full Inclusion of Gays

Timothy Kincaid has a lengthy piece at Box Turtle Bulletin that looks at events transpiring at the Presbyterian Church (USA) Assembly which is meeting in Minneapolis this week. Hopefully, predictions that the Presbyterian Church will move toward accepting committed same sex couples will prove accurate. Indeed, if the Presbyterians join the United Church of Christ, the Quakers, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the case will become even stronger that anti-gay constitutional amendments and DOMA laws are enshrining one particular religious dogma on all citizens and discriminating against gay- accepting denominations. As I have argued many times, the only real reason opponents of gay marriage can fall back upon is religious belief and I'm sorry, but that does NOT cut it in a nation that alleges that it has religious freedom for all and where one's adherence - or one's non adherence - to one set of religious beliefs is not supposed to limit one's civil rights as a citizen. The time has come for the United States of America to either admit that the nation is a fraud when it comes to religious freedom or strike down religious based anti-gay laws and state constitutional provisions. Here are highlights from Kincaid's piece:
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The Presbyterian Church (USA) is meeting in Minneapolis this week and high on the agenda is how to deal with gay and lesbian Presbyterians in committed relationships. And two decisions made so far give promise that this year may result in steps towards greater inclusion. The first action was the election of gay ally Cindy Bolbach as Moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010).
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Additionally, the Committee on Civil Union and Marriage Issues seems to be making some astonishing adjustments to church language. For example,

1. Shall W-4.9001 be amended as follows: “Marriage is a gift God has given to all humankind for the well-being of the entire human family. Marriage is a civil contract between two people. For Christians marriage is a covenant through which two people are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship. In a service of Christian marriage a lifelong commitment is made by between two people, publicly witnessed and acknowledged by the community of faith.” The vote was affirmative 34 to 18 with two abstentions.
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We must keep in mind that these committee decisions do not, in themselves, place gay people on an equal standing in the Presbyterian Church; there are still a number of hurdles to clear. But they are steps towards that standing and are encouraging signs of what the future holds for gay Presbyterians and gay Christians on the whole.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Add Hawaii to the List Of States Where We Won't Spend Our Money

UPDATED: I'm working to confirm it, but it seems Linda Lindle is another true hypocrite when it comes to marriage - she's been divorced supposedly TWICE. So much for the sanctity of marriage and applying the Bible as something other than a chinese combination menu when applied to herself.
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Apparently, Hawaii GOP Governor Linda Lingle puts her own beliefs ahead of the will of the state legislature and the majority of the Hawaiian public which polls showed support civil unions for same sex couples. Lindle's hubris reminds me of that of the delusional Chimperator, George Bush, who allowed his religious lunacy and sense of "I know best" lead the USA into the continuing nightmare in Iraq. Few things are more dangerous than politicians who believe that their religious beliefs should be imposed on all. In any event, I suspect that the Hawaii tourism business will not be happy if LGBT Americans take their travel dollars to other destinations in protest (we certainly will not be booking to travel to Hawaii). Again, I wish the LGBT community would make better use of its communal purchasing power to punish states and locales that demonstrate their hostility to full civil law equality for LGBT citizens. Hawaii News Now has highlights on high priestess - I mean Governor Lindle's disturbing veto:
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle announced Tuesday afternoon that she is vetoing a bill to allow civil unions. The veto of the bill, passed by the Hawaii legislature in April, appears to make the prospects for legal civil unions dead for at least another year in Hawaii. House Speaker Calvin Say indicated on Friday that the House would not hold a special session to override Lingle's vetoes, dooming any chance of the governor's decision to be overturned.
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Lindle says she opposes same sex marriage and says that civil unions will lead to gay marriage. Ms. Lindle, you're a bigot and like so many homophobes, and, assuming there is an afterlife, I hope you have one Hell of a shock on Judgment Day when your bigotry is held up in your face. You obviously have forgotten the rule of do unto others as you would have done unto you.
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As for the LGBT community, take a moment and contact the Hawaii Tourism Authority and let the folks know that thanks to Governor Lindle, you'll be traveling elsewhere. Here is some contact information:
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Phone: 1-800-GoHawaii or 1-800-464-2924
- Email: infooff@hvcb.org
- Website: http://www.gohawaii.com/
To send a message to Ms. Lindle, go here.

Priest Used Parish Money For Hotels, Male Escorts

My, my! It seems the George "Rentboy" Rekers is not the only one who does not practice the anti-gay mantra that he preaches. Or the only closeted homophobe who likes to hire rent boys. As the Hartford Courant is reporting, Rev. Kevin J. Gray (pictured at left), an apparently well-known Roman Catholic priest, has been arrested for embezzling $1.475 million from his parish over the last 6 to 7 years. And what were some of these stolen monies used for? To hire male escorts, of course. Admittedly, I guess stealing and hiring rent boys is preferable to raping children, but the hypocrisy factor is still over the top. We have to also wonder how that much money could be misappropriated and no one noticed. It's mind boggling, but all too typical of those who make careers preaching one thing and doing something very different. Here are highlights from the Courant:
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A well-known Roman Catholic priest who stole $1.3 million from the Sacred Heart parish over seven years said he "had grown to hate being a priest" because the Archdiocese had given him the "worst church assignments" where he would "have to fix problems made by the previous priests," according to his arrest warrant.
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The Rev. Kevin J. Gray, 64, was charged with first-degree larceny. Police said he used church funds to pay for hotels, restaurant meals, clothing and male escorts. . . . Gray told police that he is gay and has a problem with the church's stance on homosexuality, the affidavit states.
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Gray said he started taking money once he was transferred to Sacred Heart in 2003 "because he felt the church owed it to him," the affidavit states. Gray wrote checks to himself, paid off his American Express bills, allowed two men to have credit cards in their names on his account and paid for various other expenses — including tuition to Harvard and rent in New York City for a man he met in Central Park — using the church's Webster Bank account, the document states.
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Gray stated that he would order male escorts from Campus Escorts in New York. He said he would have the escorts meet him in hotel rooms he had rented. Since May 24, 2003, $655,936.48 worth of checks from the church funds were cashed by American Express to pay for charges to Gray's account, the affidavit states. Charges to Gray's account between May 2003 and March 2010 included $205,679.78 to restaurants in New York, Boston and Connecticut, . . .
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Gray opened credit card accounts in the names of Manuel Paque, a man Gray met at a male strip bar, and Islagar Labrada, a man Gray met through an escort service, on Gray's own account.
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Between June 2003 and May 2010, Gray also used the American Express to rack up $80,612.24 in charges at clothing stores such as Brooks Brothers, Barney's and Armani, the affidavit states. He charged $19,450.11 to jewelry stores, including Tiffany, and spent $22,259.71 on Apple computers, furniture and electronics.
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In addition, Gray acquired more than $200,000 by signing an agreement with Wireless Capital Partners, LLC, out of Santa Monica, Calif. The warrant states that the church found out about the agreement when the company called them, asking about extending their lease
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More Gutless Christianist Attacks

This past January I took my former UVA law school classmate, Congressman Randy Forbes, to task for his shameless pandering to the lunatic Christian Right and his brief efforts to torpedo the District of Columbia's approval of a law authorizing same sex marriages which have since begun to take place. Now, albeit it belatedly, a cowardly supporter of Mr. Forbes' attempt to subvert the separation of church and state, has launched a personal attack on us and, indeed, all LGBT Americans. Did this individual disclose his identity? Of course not! He/she set up a Goggle profile and then blocked it from being viewed by the public. Therefore - as I have stated before - this coward's comments have not been published.
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Sadly, it's yet another example of the homo-haters lacking the courage to stand behind their convictions. Just like what happened in Washington State and the R-71 petition signers who took their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court only to be shot down in flames. Among the rants posted by this individual calling himself "Robert" is the demand that mob majority rule be the law of the land. I can just imagine his/her changed perspective as and when whites become a minority in the USA. I suspect that we'll see a very different song and dance when that day comes.
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The other statement that shows that this commenter is a Bible thumper is his statement that "morality standards are actually put in place by God, The Head of All principalties and power." The question is, of course, whose God are we talking about. The white, minority and gay hating God of say Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, or instead the God of Bishops Gene Robinson and John Shelby Spong? The verbal diarrhea goes on at some length and clearly indicates that "Robert" believes that the religious views of one group - not a very Christian acting one at that - are to be imposed upon all citizens.
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If Robert now typifies Randy Forbes' supporters, I can only wonder when Randy was secreted away and had a "Stepford Wife" remake done on him. As for "Robert," if you want your comments published, grow some balls and do not hide behind anonymity.

Tuesday Male Beauty

When Will Latinos Use Their Electoral Clout?

With the GOP seemingly seeking to alienate everyone other than the white, uneducated, conservative Christian vote, one has to wonder why Latinos have not made a larger effort to get out to the polls and push back against the thinly disguised racism that is increasingly a main thread of the GOP platform. Moreover, with the new GOP backed immigration law enacted in Arizona, many Latinos in that state must feel like they are living in the bad old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany where one needed to carry identification papers at all times. While immigration is not the sole issue of concern for Latinos, just maybe Arizona's racist law will be the lever to prompt more Hispanics to get involved in the political process. CNN looks at the phenomenon and provides some analysis of this voter segment that the Democrats - like every other minority group - have failed to seek to win over with real legislative action. Here are some highlights:
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Each election cycle is dubbed "the year" -- a time when Latinos will show up at the polls in droves and transform the political landscape. President Obama's renewed push last week for immigration reform has brought with it fresh expectations for the Latino vote in November's midterm elections. The issue is considered one of symbolic and substantive importance for the community. Four out of five undocumented immigrants are from Mexico or another part of Latin America, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
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While voter turnout among the Latino community has risen in recent years, the adage that there's "strength in numbers" has yet to manifest itself. "Hispanics are not punching at their weight," said Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center. "Their share of voters doesn't quite match their share in the general population."
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But if mobilization efforts change that, the group could be a key voice in November. A study from the pro-immigration reform group America's Voice suggests that Latinos could play a key role in 37 congressional races.
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"Going into 2010 and 2012, there is a big question mark on Latino behavior," he said. "Latinos have suffered so badly from the economic depression. Latinos are very angry about the immigration debate, and we're getting killed in home foreclosures." At 15.8 percent of the population, Latinos constitute the largest minority group in the United States.
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[I]n the months since Arizona passed an immigration law that critics say could lead to racial profiling, more recent surveys have indicated that the issue has risen to the top for Latinos. A survey commissioned by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials indicates that the immigration debate has made Latinos more likely to vote in November.
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[S]ources said it was politically crucial for the president to give such a speech to put pressure on Republicans and reassure angry Latino voters that Democrats haven't forgotten about this issue. . . . Gonzalez said the Obama administration is supported by Latinos, but the community also is expecting something in return for its vote.
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"Latino voters are not like independents who go back and forth. ... They don't swing Republican. They get mad and stay home," he said. And unless the party in power delivers on immigration reform, Gonzalez said that going into 2010, "If I was the Democrats, I would be very concerned."
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And there's the rub. Like the LGBT community and other groups, Latinos expect something concrete in exchange for their votes and political support. And unfortunately, that's where Obama is once again a no-starter. More than nice speeches are needed. Will Obama and the Congressional Democrats deliver before it's too late in November? I for one am not holding my breath.

Message to the GOP: Stop Punishing the Unemployed

I know a number of individuals who lost their jobs in connection with the on going economic meltdown and who after months of job seeking are still unemployed. Now they either have losted their unemployment benefits or are faced with their unemployment benefits ceasing. Why? Because the GOP has repeatedly killed the extension of unemployment benefits citing the need for fiscal responsibility and fighting the deficit. Pork for pet projects and throwing billions of dollars (and thousands of US lives) down the toilet in Iraq and Afghanistan doesn't count and isn't even on the table for discussion. Truth be told, Republicans seem to care nothing about the unemployed and seem to have a mindset that anyone unemployed is in that status through their own fault. As for the Christianists in the GOP base, they conveniently ignore the Gospel message to help the poor and feed the hungry. Instead they chant a no tax mantra and prefer to leave the unemployed to wither and die. Thus, the "party of family values" cares nothing about financially desperate families - nor do self-congratulatory, self-anointed Christians who care only about themselves. Paul Krugman has a column in Sunday's New York Times that properly takes the GOP to task for its hypocritical and heartless mindset. Here are some highlights:
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There was a time when everyone took it for granted that unemployment insurance, which normally terminates after 26 weeks, would be extended in times of persistent joblessness. It was, most people agreed, the decent thing to do.
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But that was then. Today, American workers face the worst job market since the Great Depression, with five job seekers for every job opening, with the average spell of unemployment now at 35 weeks. Yet the Senate went home for the holiday weekend without extending benefits. How was that possible?
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The answer is that we’re facing a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused. Nothing can be done about the first group, and probably not much about the second. But maybe it’s possible to clear up some of the confusion.
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By the heartless, I mean Republicans who have made the cynical calculation that blocking anything President Obama tries to do — including, or perhaps especially, anything that might alleviate the nation’s economic pain — improves their chances in the midterm elections. Don’t pretend to be shocked: you know they’re out there, and make up a large share of the G.O.P. caucus.
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By the clueless I mean people like Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, who has repeatedly insisted that the unemployed are deliberately choosing to stay jobless, so that they can keep collecting benefits. . .One doubts, however, that any amount of evidence could change Ms. Angle’s view of the world — and there are, unfortunately, a lot of people in our political class just like her.
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[A]s you may have noticed, right now the economy isn’t booming — again, there are five unemployed workers for every job opening. Cutting off benefits to the unemployed will make them even more desperate for work — but they can’t take jobs that aren’t there.
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[A]id to the unemployed creates jobs quickly — while allowing that aid to lapse, which is what is happening right now, is a recipe for even weaker job growth, not in the distant future but over the next few months.
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is there any chance that these arguments will get through? Not, I fear, to Republicans: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something,” said Upton Sinclair, “when his salary” — or, in this case, his hope of retaking Congress — “depends upon his not understanding it.” But there are also centrist Democrats who have bought into the arguments against helping the unemployed. It’s up to them to step back, realize that they have been misled — and do the right thing by passing extended benefits.