Saturday, October 08, 2016

More Saturday Male Beauty

Pat McCory's Defeat Could Be a Watershed Moment for Gay Rights

Admittedly, today's Republican Party offers a cavalcade of douche bags and assholes, starting with Donald Trump.  But Trump is merely a symptom of the larger cancer infecting the GOP.   Here in Virginia, a glance southward to North Carolina offers a look at another GOP Governor Pat McCrory, a foul Republican who has staked his political career on the denigration of LGBT Americans, and the transgender individuals in particular.  If current polls prove accurate, McCory may be headed to defeat largely because of his anti-gay bigotry and willingness to prostitute himself to Christofascists.   Should he creash and burn and go down to defeat, McCrory's demise may be a much needed wake up call to the GOP that anti-gay bigotry is now a guaranteed loser at the polls.  Here are excerpts from the Washington Post that looks at McCrory's much hoped for defeat:
Not since Larry Craig widened his stance has a bathroom caused so much trouble for a politician.
North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, was a good bet for reelection earlier this year. But then he signed HB2 into law in March, eliminating municipal nondiscrimination ordinances and requiring transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificates.
Since then, McCrory’s fortunes have been, well, in the toilet.
Last fall, the conservative group North Carolina Civitas had a poll showing the governor with a favorable rating of 54 percent. But in late April, a month after McCrory signed the bathroom bill, the same group found his favorable rating had dropped to 39 percent. Polling shows McCrory trailing his Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, by four percentage points. And there’s little doubt HB2 is a major cause. A plurality of North Carolinians disapprove of McCrory’s handling of the issue and say it makes them less likely to support him.
Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights organization, puts the law’s cost for North Carolina at nearly half a billion dollars. Whatever the figure, the reaction has been severe: The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, while the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference took their championships from the state. PayPal — one of about 200 corporations calling for repeal — canceledplans to bring 400 jobs to Charlotte. Bruce Springsteen, Maroon 5 and others have canceled performances in the state. , the James Beard Foundation canceled its meeting in the state because of HB2.
[A] defeat of McCrory because of the bathroom bill would be a watershed (or, if you will, a water closet) moment for gay rights. Stigmatizing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans has already lost its potency as a political weapon. But this would be the first case of a prominent official being voted out of office because his anti-gay actions backfired.
Maggie Gallagher, founder of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage,wrote in National Review in August that “the future of religious liberty for traditional religious believers hangs on” McCrory’s reelection. If he loses, she wrote, “the GOP will concede whatever the Left demands on gay rights.”
There’s no realistic prospect of reversing the legalization of same-sex marriage, so opponents are instead pursuing scores of state initiatives restricting gay rights in the name of “religious freedom,” bathroom bills and more.
But while 202 such bills were introduced in 2016, only five were enacted, according to the Human Rights Campaign. GOP governors in South Dakotaand Georgia vetoed such bills to avoid backlash — and both are considerably more popular than McCrory, who finds himself increasingly lonely. Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, in a tight reelection race, distanced himself from HB2. Half a dozen Republican state legislators who voted for the bill have said they want a do-over.
Confident that public opinion continues to shift in their favor, gay-rights advocates, with Hillary Clinton’s backing, are aiming for a federal “Equality Act,” which would bar anti-LGBT discrimination in employment.
The legislation faces long odds in Congress. But that could change — if North Carolinians flush Pat McCrory next month.
 Personally, I hope that McCrory - and others in the North Carolina GOP - go down to defeat.  Until the laws change and the GOP becomes a permanent minority in North Carolina, the husband and I will not visit the state if we can find a way to avoid it. 

GOP In Panic Mode As Outrage with Trump Soars

My youngest daughter - a Millennial voter - shared this photo on Facebook.  Thankfully, some Millenniasl "get it."

Part of me cannot help but laugh as many in the GOP go into complete panic mode as Friday's release of a tape of Donald Trump's misogynist comments on women goes viral.  I mean, WTF did they think they were getting with Trump?  The man has a decades long history of bigotry and anti-women misogyny. Why the feigned surprise?  Why are Republican woman just now waking up to the reality of who and what Donald Trump is and will always be?  As a former Republican who resigned from the party over the party's refusal to recognize the concept of the separation of church and state not to mention the racism always just under the surface with many Republicans, I relish that the GOP's chickens are coming home to roost.  A piece in Politico look at the panic gripping the GOP.  Here are excerpts:
The Republican Party was in a state of turmoil on Friday night over revelations that Donald Trump once bragged in explicit terms about sexually harassing women, driving GOP leaders to denounce their nominee and even prompting calls that he leave the presidential ticket.
But while Trump and his senior aides huddled to strategize next steps, many Republicans felt paralyzed -- stuck with a candidate few ever wholeheartedly embraced with only 31 days left until Election Day.
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz withdrew his endorsement, saying: "I’m out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine."
Even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who has emerged as a trusted Trump ally and adviser, scolded in scorching terms: "No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.”
The party's past nominees were unflinching in their condemnation.
“Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America's face to the world,” Mitt Romney, the party’s last GOP presidential nominee, wrote on Twitter. And Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 nominee, said Trump could have no excuse: "No woman should ever be victimized by this kind of inappropriate behavior. He alone bears the burden of his conduct and alone should suffer the consequences.”
Even within Trump’s own campaign, there was an overriding sense of doom. One aide expressed doubt that the GOP nominee, who has successfully weathered a number of scandals, would be able to ride the current firestorm.
There's "absolutely no excuse to ever talk about women in such a crude and demeaning way," Trump’s Texas chair, Dan Patrick, was quoted as saying.
As the hours passed, some Republicans began to call for Trump to step aside, leaving the presidential race to vice presidential nominee Mike Pence. Rob Engstrom, the Chamber of Commerce’s national political director, was the first to call for Trump to quit, followed by Rep. Mike Coffman, former N.Y. Gov. George Pataki, Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee said: “You are the distraction... I respectfully ask you, with all due respect, to step aside.”
At least one of the party’s top fundraisers declared that major GOP donors were “looking to fund an effort to back someone else as the Republican nominee”, and there were vague suggestions that the party brass might be looking into its options “in case” Trump isn’t the nominee.
But the party’s officials swiftly and aggressively rejected those suggestions. And one of its elite election lawyers argued convincingly that the logistical hurdles to replacing Trump made it next to impossible. 

Again, why the shock and surprise?  They have known who Trump is for years.  All of these vapors and conniption fits are the height of hypocrisy.  As for Republican women, another piece in Politico looks at those who are belatedly pulled their heads from out of their asses.  Here are highlights:
Republican women are abandoning Donald Trump in an historic repudiation of their party’s nominee, a devastating development for the GOP candidate's chances one month before Election Day.
Trump’s lewd, sexually aggressive comments about women, revealed in a 2005 audio recording that became public Friday, have prompted large-scale defections, from female Republican senators to conservative activists in the swing states. That dynamic further jeopardizes his chances with women voters, including white, married voters who typically back Republicans. After nearly two years of listening to Trump denigrate women — including Fox News host Megyn Kelly, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, Heidi Cruz and former Miss Universe Alicia Machado — Republican women have had enough.
A mass desertion by white, married women would effectively torpedo Trump’s chances of defeating Hillary Clinton. That demographic has been a core part of every Republican nominee’s constituency this century — Mitt Romney and John McCain won 53 percent of married women, and still lost the election — meaning that Trump, who struggles far more with party unity than previous nominees have, has even less room for error. But he is already losing badly with women overall, and Friday’s bombshell threatens to set him back further with women of all marital statuses.
High-profile Republican women over the weekend made clear that they have zero interest in helping Trump regain his footing, instead offering cover to other lawmakers looking to abandon Trump.
“I wanted to be able to support my party’s nominee, chosen by the people, because I feel strongly that we need a change in direction for our country,” said New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is in a competitive re-election fight in a key swing state. “However, I’m a mom and an American first, and I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women.”

One particularly notable defection: Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who is perhaps Trump's most prominent female defender in the Senate.
"The comments made by Mr. Trump were disgusting and totally unacceptable under any circumstance," she tweeted. "It would be wise for him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to serve as our party's nominee."
Condoleezza Rice, who served as secretary of state under George W. Bush, posted on Facebook, "Enough! Donald Trump should not be President. He should withdraw."
And Fiorina, once a target of Trump’s trash talk — “look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” he mocked during the primary — released a statement Saturday asking the Republican National Committee to replace Trump with Pence.

Again, why the shock and feigned horror?  The Donald Trump revealed in the tape on Friday id the same Donald Trump who has always existed.  Closing your eyes to the real Trump doesn't makr thr real Trump any different.  Thankfully, this revelation of the true Trump came out before the election and not afterwards.   

Quote of the Day: Michelangelo Signorile on Trump

In a Facebook post, writer and radio host Michelangelo Signorile sums up the reality of Donald Trump and his supporters - and by extension today's Republican Party in its entirety.  He thankfully hits on the moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy of the evangelical "Christians" who are supporting a thrice married, serial adulterer.  Here's the quote:
So now we have a GOP presidential candidate who admits to, promotes sexual assault of women and then gives a bullshit video non-apology mostly focused on the Clintons and how they're supposedly worse.
Billy Bush's involvement partially explains how we got here. Many in the media indulged, encouraged and excused #Trump, their fun rich pal.
The hypocrisy is astounding as well. Trump supporters have claimed Hillary was wrong to stick with Bill after he had affairs. (Of course, this is a private matter between them and none of us know how they work it out). So I'm sure they're calling for Melania to leave Trump now, right?
And yes, the evangelicals -- voting for him anyway and already putting out the "everyone's a sinner" crap. In a way it’s not inconsistent for evangelicals to support Trump because they, too, want to grab vaginas/whole bodies of women via the next Supreme Court pick.
And GOP leaders are "sickened" but still supporting this corrupt, racist monster, who even yesterday said he still believed the Central Park 5 are guilty, despite being exonerated by DNA evidence.
Let's hope this destroys not the just Trump but the entire Republican Party.
 Well said!!

Saturday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 2

Hillary-Hatred Derangement Syndrome

The Wall Street Journal has become so right wing on its editorial page that at times it sounds like Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.  Thus, it was shocking to see an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that points out the phenomenon that drives me crazy when it comes to those who claim they hate Hillary Clinton.  I will be the first to say that Clinton has her faults, but compared to Donald Trump she's a combination of Mother Teresa and Joan of Arc.  The op-ed should be a must read for every American.  Trump poses an existential danger and I continue to be dismayed at the refusal of many Republicans to see how unfit the man is for elected office. Here is the money quote from the op-ed: Her election alone is what stands between the American nation and the reign of the most unstable, proudly uninformed, psychologically unfit president ever to enter the White House. Here are other op-ed highlights:
The NeverHillary forces are another matter entirely—citizens well aware of the darker aspects of Donald Trump’s character but who have nonetheless concluded that they should give him their vote. They are aware of his casual disregard for truth, his self-obsession, his ignorance, his ingrained vindictiveness. Not even the first presidential debate, which saw him erupt into a snarling aside about Rosie O’Donnell, could loosen his hold on that visceral drive to inflict payback, in this case over a feud 10 years old.
The NeverHillary forces are aware, too, of his grandiosity—his announcement that he knows more about Islamic State than any of America’s generals will long be remembered—his impulse-driven character, his insatiable need for applause, the head-turning effect on him of an approving word from Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader’s compliment late last year was of the mildest kind—he referred to Mr. Trump as “talented” and “colorful”—but it was enough to make the candidate’s heart go pitter-patter with gratitude and engender instant expressions of his faith in Mr. Putin’s integrity and leadership.
Such are the values that drive the Republican candidate’s judgment—a fact interesting to contemplate as one imagines a President Trump dealing with international conflict and rogue heads of state. Still Mr. Trump is now the choice of voters who have concluded that of the two flawed contenders running, he would be far preferable.
Yes, he may be rough around the edges, but he’s a fresh force, the argument goes, unlike the establishment war horse, Mrs. Clinton, with her history of scandal and rumors thereof, and her decades in politics. Mr. Trump is the dynamo who will blow up the old order. He’s authentic, a man with the courage of his convictions.
Mr. Trump has not, of course, shown himself notably reliable as regards the courage of his convictions. It’s by now impossible to count the number of times and ways in which he’s sidled away from his grand plans on immigration, that promise to deport everyone here illegally, not to mention his proposal to institute a total block on Muslim immigration “till we figure things out.”
Still, it was the view of Donald Trump as a fearless foe of liberal piety, that image of him as an outsider, untainted by experience in government—itself one of the more remarkable boasts of any presidential campaign in memory—that persuaded so many Americans he is the leader the country needs. As opposed, that is, to Mrs. Clinton—the educated former secretary of state, with lengthy experience in government.
Equally remarkable, even for a change election, that experience, those years of education in national security somehow rank high on the list of defects the anti-Hillary brigades find so objectionable. Here is a flaw apparently even more rankling than her email server history, the questions about Benghazi, or the Clinton Foundation: She offers nothing of Mr. Trump’s aura of free-swinging dynamism, not to mention a mind blissfully uncluttered by facts, knowledge of geopolitical realities, and the like.
Even so, such proclivities pale next to the occasion for cringing that would come with a Trump presidency. No one witnessing Mr. Trump’s primary race—his accumulation of Alt-Right cheerleaders, white supremacists and swastika devotees—could fail to notice the menacing tone and the bitterness that came with it.
Not for nothing did the Democrats bring off a triumph of a convention, alive with cheer, not to mention its two visitors whose story would lift countless American hearts. They were, of course, the Muslim couple Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son, Capt. Humayun Khan—brought here as a child—died in Iraq in 2004, saving his men from an explosive-rigged car.
His countrymen now go streaming to his grave at Arlington National Cemetery to leave notes and flowers. He reminded us of who we are—the nation that takes its newcomers and transforms them into Americans.
Some among the anti-Hillary brigades have decided, in deference to their exquisite sensibilities, to stay at home on Election Day, rather than vote for Mrs. Clinton. But most Americans will soon make their choice. It will be either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton—experienced, forward-looking, indomitably determined and eminently sane. Her election alone is what stands between the American nation and the reign of the most unstable, proudly uninformed, psychologically unfit president ever to enter the White House.

At times I truly feel that what I am watching happen must be akin to what sane, thinking, and decent Germans felt as they watched Hitler come to power.  I hope that America does not make a similar mistake for the sake of the nation and the world.  

Trump's Lewd Conversation About Women in 2005

As readers have no doubt gathered by now, I find nothing redeeming in Donald Trump who in many ways symbolizes what is wrong with far too many American males: he is a totally self-absorbed sexist pig who cares for no one and nothing other than himself.  What I find startling as  the father of two daughters myself is how little he values women (does this include his own daughters?) and sees them merely as objects to be pursued sexually, provided, of course, they meet his standards of beauty. Some had speculated that Trump might seek to bring up Bill Clinton's infidelities in tomorrow night's debate, but a newly released tape that shows Trump seeking to have sex with a married woman just months after his marriage to his current wife may chasten him on that front.  It also ought to convince women that Trump, despite his unusual and disingenuous apology, is the last man any self-respecting woman should vote for.  As for those Republicans who delude themselves that Trump is/will be capable of self-control, that myth should be totally put to rest.  The Washington Post looks at the bomb shell.  Here are article highlights:
Donald Trump bragged in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 conversation caught on a hot microphone, saying that “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” according to a video obtained by The Washington Post.
The video captures Trump talking with Billy Bush, then of “Access Hollywood,”on a bus with the show’s name written across the side. They were arriving on the set of “Days of Our Lives” to tape a segment about Trump’s cameo on the soap opera.
Late Friday night, following sharp criticism by Republican leaders, Trump issued a short video statement saying, “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.” But he also called the revelation “a distraction from the issues we are facing today.” He said that his “foolish” words are much different than the words and actions of Bill Clinton, whom he accused of abusing women, and Hillary Clinton, whom he accused of having “bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims.”
In that audio, Trump discusses a failed attempt to seduce a woman, whose full name is not given in the video.
“I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it,” Trump is heard saying. It was unclear when the events he was describing took place. The tape was recorded several months after he married his third wife, Melania.
“Whoa,” another voice said.  “I did try and f--- her. She was married,” Trump says.
Trump continues: “And I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.’”
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s. “Grab them by the p---y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
Trump was also criticized by members of his own party. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who said he is “sickened” by Trump’s comments, said the Republican presidential candidate will no longer appear with him at a campaign event in Wisconsin on Saturday.
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Trump critic, said in a statement: “Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.”

Paul Ryan may be distancing himself from Trump for the moment, but the man has totally prostituted himself from Trump and made me have an even lower opinion of hi, if that is possible. Can you imagine what Trump would see himself free to do as president?   That thought is frightening. 

Saturday Morning Male Beauty -Pt 1

Friday, October 07, 2016

Friday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 2

The Catastrophic Damage a President Trump Could Bring

As a long time student of history, I am aware of the damage that bad leaders can inflict on nations - e.g., Russia has suffered for nearly a century under failed Communist leaders and now Vladimir Putin - often without the populace comprehending the impending disaster.  With the prospect of Donald Trump possibly winning the presidential election, it is timely to look at what a horrific president could do to America and the civil rights of its citizens.  Many Republicans foolishly believe that the courts and Congress would be able to rein in Trump's worse excesses, much as too many Germans believed could be done with Hitler.  We all know how wrong the latter proved to be and the terrible consequences for Germany and the world.  An editorial in the Washington Post looks at the dangers of a Trump presidency.  Here are highlights:
 A PRESIDENT TRUMP could alter the face of this country and its role in the world, in many cases with Congress and the courts having little power to check him. In a series of editorials over the past several days, we have described the vast reach of executive power in areas where Mr. Trump has made his intentions clear. He could, in fact, unilaterally order mass deportations, resume torturing detainees, undo the preservation of natural treasures and tear up long-standing trade agreements.
But we should be clear: The scope of the damage a President Trump could do cannot be fully predicted or imagined. His candidacy forces us to confront the extent to which democracy depends on leaders adhering to a set of norms and traditions — civic virtues, to be old-fashioned about it. Mr. Trump has made clear his contempt for those virtues, norms and traditions: He despises the press, threatens his enemies, bullies the judiciary, disparages entire religions and nations, makes no distinction between his personal interest and the public good, hides information that should be revealed and routinely trades in falsehoods. Handed the immense powers of the presidency, what could such a man do? The honest answer: No one can be sure.
[T]he Brookings Institution’s Benjamin Wittes explained why checks and balances cannot be counted on to protect the nation from an elected leader with contempt for democracy. “Ultimately, the entire executive branch is corruptible by one person because constitutionally, the executive branch is one person,” Mr. Wittes wrote on the Lawfare blog. “Everyone else is just his arms, hands, and fingers. That means that over time, the executive branch under Donald Trump becomes Donald Trump.”
Given Mr. Trump’s quickness to take offense and lack of impulse control, it is natural to focus on the most extreme possibilities; the president, after all, has authority to order everything from drone strikes to changes in U.S. surveillance policy to nuclear attack.
But more prosaic powers also present grave dangers. U.S. prosecutors have enormous discretion to investigate, or not investigate, and Mr. Trump would appoint his attorney general and a raft of new U.S. attorneys. These have to be confirmed by the Senate; but if you take comfort in that, simply imagine a Gov. Chris “Bridgegate” Christie at the Justice Department, or a Newt Gingrich — who, in Mr. Trump’s thrall, has advocated expelling any American who believes in sharia law — as homeland security secretary.
When he learned during primary season that a wealthy Chicago family was contributing to his opponent, he tweeted, “They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!” While many people remember Mr. Trump’s disparaging the Mexican heritage of the federal judge overseeing a Trump University fraud case, how many recall the implicit threat against him? “I’ll be seeing you in November,” Mr. Trump said in May.
Yes, Congress has the power to remove a president who ignores the law. But given the easy GOP capitulation to such an obviously unfit candidate, how far would Mr. Trump have to go for a likely Republican House to impeach him? How much damage would he have to do?
The nation should not subject itself to such a risk.

Changing America's Insane Marijuana Laws

While west coast states seem to finally recognize that the so-called "war on drugs" has been a farce and an utter failure, states like Virginia lag behind.  The result is a swelling prison population and the disproportionate criminalization of black males in particular and often strips them of their voting rights.  This later effect likely delights the Virginia Republican Party which, candidly, would disenfranchise all blacks and minorities if it could devise a way to do so. In the city of Norfolk a movement has sprung up to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana, motivated by (i) a recognition of the havoc the current draconian laws are having on minority populations, and (ii) the hypocrisy of demonizing marijuana when the death toll and societal damage from alcohol is much worse.  A column in the New York Times looks at the long over due move to change marijuana laws which should never have been enacted in the first place.  Here are highlights:
The budtenders of the Rose City are relentlessly helpful with tips pairing a marijuana strain that is “equal parts fruity and musky” with a stimulating Sichuan dish. As Oregon, the place where empires once clashed over the global trade of beaver furs, glides into a second year of legalized recreational pot, the state is determined to show the world that a certain kind of drug prohibition belongs in history’s Dumpster.
Soon, with the likely passage of legal pot in California next month, all of the West Coast — from the tundra of Alaska to the sun-washed suburbs of San Diego — will be a confederacy of state-regulated marijuana use.
Across the Pacific, a completely a different view of drug use is playing out in the horror of the Philippines. That country is ruled by Rodrigo Duterte, a crude and brutal strongman known as the Donald Trump of the Philippines. Under his watch, more than 3,500 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed. Many of those murders are “extrajudicial,” as the State Department calls them.

Heroin is the drug of choice in small towns in New England and wide-open rural areas across the country. Blacks and Latinos use and sell drugs at roughly the same rate as whites, but 57 percent of the people locked up for a drug offense in 2014 were nonwhite.
Perhaps because so many addicts are white and suburban, or white and rural, there is now a rare bipartisan consensus emerging for wholesale reform of the drug laws.
We can start, nationwide, with marijuana. Though legalization is not without its problems — a spike in emergency room visits attributed to edible pot, persistent black market dealers — it’s mostly been no big deal. Across the legalized West, consumers frequent their corner pot shop to talk varietals and buzz strength. Homegrown gardeners pass on suggestions to avoid bud rot as harvest nears. Tax revenue from sales — though not a panacea — flows to schools and roads and treatment programs.
It all works, for the most part. And when California, now the world’s sixth largest economy, passes its legal pot measure in November as expected, it will truly be game over for this absurd form of prohibition.
So why are nearly 600,000 people arrested in the United States for simple possession of marijuana every year? And why is pot still illegal on the federal level? People in the loop of this policing circle know it is an absurd and Sisyphean use of law enforcement.
A clear majority of Americans now favor pot legalization. The problem is the federal government, which still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, alongside heroin and L.S.D. If pot was legalized nationwide, with a tax on every sale designated for treatment, it would free up the police to get at serious crimes, while ensuring that no addict would be denied treatment for lack of funds. As with most social reforms, it only seems impossible until it’s obvious.

Friday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 1

Thursday, October 06, 2016

More Thursday Male Beauty

Climate Change Deniers Dispute Danger of Hurricane Matthew

Once again I find it hard to believe the idiocy and embrace of ignorance that motivates far too many on the far right.  With Hurricane Matthew poses a dangerous threat to much of the east coast of Florida, some climate change deniers are downplaying the danger and suggesting that the news media is working with the Obama administration to exaggerate the danger in order to hype the danger of climate change.  Among those starting the meme is self-loathing closet case, Matt Drudge, and Oxycontin loving Rush Limbaugh.  To describe these individuals as despicable - not to mention down right crazy, in my opinion - is an understatement.  Talking Points Memo looks at the foul batshitery. Here are excerpts:
Hours ahead of Hurricane Matthews’ landfall on Florida’s Atlantic coast, some climate change skeptics downplayed the danger of what meteorologists say could be the worst such storm since Hurricane Katrina.
Public officials and meteorologists have repeatedly stressed the strength of the storm, especially to those living in the evacuation zones on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Yet in the face of those pleas conservative aggregator Matt Drudge, who has a house in Florida, tweeted that “The deplorables are starting to wonder if govt has been lying to them about Hurricane Matthew intensity to make exaggerated point on climate,” and“Hurricane Center has monopoly on data. No way of verifying claims. Nassau ground observations DID NOT match statements! 165mph gusts? WHERE?”
Drudge later posted the web address of a NOAA buoy and encouraged readers to monitor the storm on their own, to see if “observations match the Hurricane Center’s claimed 140 mph sustained winds."
On Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh expressed a similar sentiment on his radio show, saying that government scientists might be “playing games” with storm data in order to “sell” the role climate change has played in making hurricanes stronger.
Rather than downplay the storm, though, the libertarian news site Heat Street inexplicably went after President Barack Obama for "refusing" to protect GOP nominee Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort from the hurricane's wrath.
I fear for the children of such right wing lunatics who might be placed in danger by a refusal to take the hurricane seriously.  On the other hand, allowing the adults to put themselves where they will be washed away might be a positive.  It would be a modern day example of evolution where the stupid perish.  

Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship USA to Purge Gay-Friendly Staff

We hear the Christofascists constantly rail against Islam and, of course, ISIS.  Yet, but for the level of violence they employ, these same "godly Christians"are just as intolerant and driven by contempt of those who believe differently as are Islamic extremists.  Hatred of others and discrimination against "non-believers" are a common theme and characteristic.  A case in point is Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship USA which has announced that it will purge all staff who do not adhere to the organization's virulent opposition to gay rights and, same sex marriage in particular. Since the organization has chapters on some 667 college campuses, one can only hope that its discriminatory views will lead to loss of university funding and/or qualification for use of college/university facilities.  Time magazine looks at the new jihad against those who support same sex CIVIL marriage.  Here are highlights:
One of the largest evangelical organizations on college campuses nationwide has told its 1,300 staff members they will be fired if they personally support gay marriage or otherwise disagree with its newly detailed positions on sexuality starting on Nov. 11.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA says that it will start a process for “involuntary terminations” for any staffer who comes forward to disagree with its positions on human sexuality, which holds that any sexual activity outside of a husband and wife is immoral.
“We internally categorize these as involuntary terminations due to misalignment with InterVarsity ministry principles, which is a category we use for people who leave for theological and philosophy of ministry disagreements,” Greg Jao, an InterVarsity vice president and director of campus engagement, told TIME in an email.
InterVarsity has also said that staffers should only share views publicly that are consistent with its positions, though it’s unclear if that means someone could be fired for posting on Facebook, for example. Outlined in an internal 20-page paper, the positions include injunctions against divorce and sex before marriage, though critics say the biggest effect will be among younger staffers who support gay marriage—in essence, making it something of a theological purge.
Bianca Louie, 26, led the InterVarsity campus fellowship at Mills College, a women’s liberal arts school in Oakland and her alma mater. When it became clear several months ago that the policy would go into effect, Louie realized she had to leave, after four years of working with the group. She is not sure what will happen to the outreach she and others worked to create at Mills. “I don’t know how InterVarsity can do ministry on campus with integrity anymore,” she says. “Mills is a women’s college with inclusive trans policies, and higher ed is overall making more efforts to be inclusive and safe for LGBTQ students. … I could see us getting kicked off campus because of this.”
Louie and about ten other InterVarsity staff formed an anonymous Queer Collective earlier this year to organize on behalf of staff, students, and alumni who felt unsafe under the new policy.
InterVarsity has more than 1,000 chapters on 667 college campuses around the country. More than 41,000 students and faculty were actively involved in organization in the last school year, and donations topped $80 million last fiscal year.
In its description of sexual attraction, identity, and behavior, the paper states, “Scripture is very clear that God’s intention for sexual expression is to be between a husband and wife in marriage. Every other sexual practice is outside of God’s plan and therefore is a distortion of God’s loving design for humanity.”
The position paper also outlined theological positions against divorce, sex before marriage, pornography, cohabitation and sexual abuse, but the practical application of the study focused on implications for the LGBTQ community. The July letter states: “We expect that all staff will ‘believe and behave in a manner consonant with our “Theological Summary of Human Sexuality” paper,’ as described by the Code of Conduct.
InterVarsity’s decision reaches beyond just its campus ministry. InterVarsity Press, a division of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, is a prominent evangelical publisher that has published bestsellers like J.I. Packer’s Knowing God, John Stott’s Basic Christianity, and many theological commentaries and biblical reference books used at evangelical colleges. “InterVarsity employment policies are for all employees, including employees of InterVarsity Press,” . . .
Evangelicals are increasingly divided over gay marriage, and support is rising, especially in the younger generations. One in four white evangelicals support gay marriage, according to the Pew Research Center, more than double the support from ten years ago, and nearly half of millennial evangelicals favor or strongly favor gay marriage.
The move is also another sign of a trend in evangelical circles for stricter orthodoxy.

For Ginny Prince, 32, the consequences of the new policy are very difficult to discuss. Until last week, she was an assistant area director near Oakland, and had worked for InterVarsity for seven years. She is an LGBTQ ally—and she has a transgender child. Already, she says, her husband has walked away from the faith largely because of how the church has dealt with the LGBTQ community. She knew she had to tell her supervisor she did not support the new policy. “This was very painful for everybody,” Prince says. “I got fired … I sent an email and said, I cannot align, and I think that this policy is discriminatory, and I cannot align. That was it. We cried, we cried really hard my last day.”
As noted, I hope the organization finds itself kicked off of many campuses.  The other irony is that among the under 30 generations, young adults are leaving religion in droves with anti-LGBT bigotry being a commonly cited reason for walking away from Christianity.  This bigoted move will likely accelerate this trend an, with luck, will hasten the death of conservative Christianity in America. 

Thursday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 2

Did Pence "Win" His Debate by Lying

Perhaps I am prejudiced since I have met and spoken with Tim Kaine, or perhaps I know too much about Mike Pence's virulently anti-LGBT track record and his desire to make right wing Christianity the de facto established religion in both Indiana and America as a whole.  Whatever, the thought process, I find it bot frightening and ironic that many have dubbed Pence the winner of vice presidential debate based on his composed demeanor while giving little weight to the fact that the man lied almost incessantly and denied Trump statements and actions that all have been documented on video.  Perhaps Pence's lying comes from having little option given the vulgarity and unfitness of his running mate.  Or perhaps it stems from his conservative religious beliefs that seeming motivate Christofascists to lie more than nearly anyone else.  Kaine's style may have been lacking, but what he said was 95% or more true.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at Pence's supposed "win" that was won by lies and a denial of objective facts.  Here are highlights:
The Indiana governor’s background as a talk radio host helped. Bigly, one might say. He was a smooth and amiable happy warrior. Tim Kaine, embracing the attack-dog role that a running mate traditionally plays, came across poorly as he repeatedly interrupted and trained his fire on Donald Trump.
He acted incredulous when Kaine correctly pointed out that Trump has called Mexicans “rapists,” NATO “obsolete” and said women who get abortions should be punished somehow. Pence pointedly declined to defend Trump’s offensive statements about women or his racial attacks on a U.S.-born federal judge of Mexican descent, opting to change the subject.
Amber Phillips writes that “Pence spent most of the debate defending a Trump that doesn’t exist.”
National Review Executive Editor Rich Lowry argues that he won but with this caveat: “Pence evidently decided to pretend that he is on a ticket with an utterly conventional Republican … [and his] sidestepping of Trump is the big asterisk on his night.”
 And in a case of the pot calling the kettle black, Pence repeatedly attacked Kaine and Clinton for running “an insult-driven campaign.” But he did it with a smile.
On foreign policy especially, Pence’s talking points underscored just how far outside the GOP mainstream Trump remains. Pence said the United States should be willing to attack the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and he called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a small and bullying leader.”
As David Gergen put it on CNN, “Pence will not fare well with fact checkers, but his poise and polish played well with voters,” For better or worse, style counts a lot in these debates.”
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni might capture the zeitgeist best: “It wasn’t exactly a vivid performance, but it was an eerily consistent one, and it answered the question of how a man who supposedly prides himself on his virtue defends a running mate who is often bereft of it. He sets his jaw. He slows his pulse. He practices a bemused chuckle, perfects deafness to anything he prefers not to hear and purges from his memory anything he doesn’t want to own. That included the whole grotesque cornucopia of Trump’s slurs and bad behavior, which [Kaine] had studied up on exhaustively, knew by heart and kept throwing at Pence, pressing for the barest glimmer of shame or the slightest hint of apology. It was pointless — a point that Kaine himself made about an hour into this exercise in futility. Substantively, it was galling. Strategically, it may well have worked.”

In his own way, Pence is as morally bankrupt as Trump himself.

The Atlantic Endorses Hillary Clinton

The Atlantic has been around for a long, long time.  The publication has been around for 156 years and has endorsed a presidential candidate only three (3) times in its entire history.  Its first endorsement went to Abraham Lincoln and was largely motivated by the moral issue of that day: slavery.  The second and third endorsements of Lyndon Johnson and now, Hillary Clinton, noted the experience and capability of the endorsee, but were most motivated by the unfitness of their opponents,  In the case of Donald Trump, the publication's condemnation is scathing and ought to sway sane, thinking Americans to vote against Trump without hesitation despite Clinton's shortcomings.  Indeed, I would argue that Trump is the most unfit and dangerous presidential candidate in the history of the nation.  Here are some column excerpts (read the entire piece):
In october of 1860, James Russell Lowell, the founding editor of The Atlantic, warned in these pages about the perishability of the great American democratic experiment if citizens (at the time, white, male citizens) were to cease taking seriously their franchise:
In a society like ours, where every man may transmute his private thought into history and destiny by dropping it into the ballot-box, a peculiar responsibility rests upon the individual … For, though during its term of office the government be practically as independent of the popular will as that of Russia, yet every fourth year the people are called upon to pronounce upon the conduct of their affairs. Theoretically, at least, to give democracy any standing-ground for an argument with despotism or oligarchy, a majority of the men composing it should be statesmen and thinkers.
One of the animating causes of this magazine at its founding, in 1857, was the abolition of slavery, and Lowell argued that the Republican Party, and the man who was its standard-bearer in 1860, represented the only reasonable pathway out of the existential crisis then facing the country. In his endorsement of Abraham Lincoln for president, Lowell wrote, on behalf of the magazine, “It is in a moral aversion to slavery as a great wrong that the chief strength of the Republican party lies.” He went on to declare that Abraham Lincoln “had experience enough in public affairs to make him a statesman, and not enough to make him a politician.”
[I]t would be 104 years before The Atlantic would again make a presidential endorsement. In October of 1964, Edward Weeks, writing on behalf of the magazine, cited Lowell’s words before making an argument for the election of Lyndon B. Johnson. “We admire the President for the continuity with which he has maintained our foreign policy, a policy which became a worldwide responsibility at the time of the Marshall Plan,” the endorsement read. Johnson, The Atlantic believed, would bring “to the vexed problem of civil rights a power of conciliation which will prevent us from stumbling down the road taken by South Africa.”
But The Atlantic’s endorsement of Johnson was focused less on his positive attributes than on the flaws of his opponent, Barry Goldwater, the junior senator from Arizona. Of Goldwater, Weeks wrote, “His proposal to let field commanders have their choice of the smaller nuclear weapons would rupture a fundamental belief that has existed from Abraham Lincoln to today: the belief that in times of crisis the civilian authority must have control over the military.” And the magazine noted that Goldwater’s “preference to let states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia enforce civil rights within their own borders has attracted the allegiance of Governor George Wallace, the Ku Klux Klan, and the John Birchers.” Goldwater’s limited capacity for prudence and reasonableness was what particularly worried The Atlantic.
Today, our position is similar to the one in which The Atlantic’s editors found themselves in 1964. We are impressed by many of the qualities of the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, even as we are exasperated by others, but we are mainly concerned with the Republican Party’s nominee, Donald J. Trump, who might be the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency.
These concerns compel us, for the third time since the magazine’s founding, to endorse a candidate for president. Hillary Rodham Clinton has more than earned, through her service to the country as first lady, as a senator from New York, and as secretary of state, the right to be taken seriously as a White House contender. She has flaws (some legitimately troubling, some exaggerated by her opponents), but she is among the most prepared candidates ever to seek the presidency. 
Donald Trump, on the other hand, has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.
Our endorsement of Clinton, and rejection of Trump, is not a blanket dismissal of the many Trump supporters who are motivated by legitimate anxieties about their future and their place in the American economy. But Trump has seized on these anxieties and inflamed and racialized them, without proposing realistic policies to address them.
Trump is not a man of ideas. He is a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar. He is spectacularly unfit for office, and voters—the statesmen and thinkers of the ballot box—should act in defense of American democracy and elect his opponent.

I concur completely.  What at is stake is potentially American democracy itself.  Voting based on past party affiliation or reflexive prejudice and bigotry could bring with it a terrible cost.  Weimar Germany and its fall to fascism ought to be a frightening reminder of what can all too easily happen.   

Thursday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 1

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 2

Mike Pence’s Fantasy Running Mate

click image to enlarge

As noted in the previous post, one of the take aways from last night's vice presidential debate is the willingness that GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence has shown to lie and disclaim reality and behavior of his running mate that is captured on video.  In my view, it should surprise no one since Christofascists like Pence can generally be assumed to be lying if their lips are moving.  The New York Times editorial board correctly takes Pence to task on his dishonesty.  Here are excerpts:
We’ve seen presidential candidates in the past try to defend an unlikely choice of running mate. But we’ve never before seen a vice-presidential candidate try to defend a bizarre choice of nominee.
Yet that was the daunting task that Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana faced on Tuesday night, as he labored to defend Donald Trump, a nominee with contempt for many of the principles, much of the policy agenda and all of the dignity of the Republican Party that Mr. Pence cherishes.
Mr. Pence simply ignored the Donald Trump we have seen on the trail for more than a year — the one who would build a wall against Mexico, the one who would disregard our security treaties and tear up our trade agreements, the one with a crush on Vladimir Putin — and instead dreamed up a more conventional, right-wing Republican, a Republican, that is, very like Mike Pence.
Mr. Pence has his own political aspirations and abandoned his re-election bid for governor to sign on with Mr. Trump when he was surging.
Since then, Mr. Pence has been engaged in the same compromising maneuvers that Republican leaders like Paul Ryan, the House speaker, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, have been performing almost daily since they reluctantly embraced their party’s standard-bearer.
On Tuesday night, Mr. Pence resorted at times to repeating some of Mr. Trump’s own thin claims, including his preposterous justification for not releasing his tax returns. And he simply ducked rather than try to address questions about Mr. Trump’s egregious attacks on women and minorities; instead, he accused the Democrats of unleashing “an avalanche of insults” on his running mate.