Saturday, May 12, 2012

More Saturday Male Beauty

Anti-Gay Leaders Want California Senate to Vote No on Ban On "Ex-Gay" Therapy

As regular readers know, I view few things as being more fraudulent and harmful than "ex-gay" therapy a/k/a reparative therapy.  It doesn't work - as even the head of Exodus International has more or less admitted - and causes emotional and psychological harm for gays who are striving to change something unchangeable. The truth, of course, means nothing to the "godly Christian" crowd who view "ex-gay ministries" as (i) cash cows (some programs charge thousands of dollars for the worthless "therapy") and, more importantly (ii) useful political tools to further the myth that gays change "change" and, therefore deserve absolutely no legal anti-discrimination protections, not to mention same sex marriage rights.   California is the first state poised to potentially ban "ex-gay" therapy for those under the age of 18 and require older patients - victims is a better term - to be provided with disclaimers that basically advise them that the "ex-gay" therapies do not work.  Needless to say, the Christofascists are having conniption fits and the spittle is flying by the bucket full.  The Advocate has a piece that looks at the full bore hysteria gripping the "ex-gay" proponents as they seek to thwart a law that would largely shut them down in the nation's most populous state and perhaps trigger similar laws in other states.  Here are excerpts:

Now that California's Senate bill 1172 has passed the judiciary committee, it now goes to vote in front of the full Senate. The bill, introduced by Sen. Ted W. Lieu, would be first in nation to regulate so-called conversion therapy. Lieu called the bill a "patient-protection plan," wrote on his own website, that the bill will "help raise public awareness of bogus and unethical therapies by mental-health providers who promise to help change a person’s sexual orientation."

The bill will ban children under 18 from being subjected to ex-gay, conversion, or reparitive therapy treatments and would require adults who seek those treatments to sign a consent form indicating that they understand that the therapy has no proven medical basis and that there are potential dangers of reparitive therapy (including raised risk of suicide and depression).

“Under the guise of a California license, some therapists are taking advantage of vulnerable people by pushing dangerous sexual orientation-change efforts,” said Lieu. “These bogus efforts have led in some cases to patients later committing suicide, as well as severe mental and physical anguish. This is junk science and it must stop. Being lesbian or gay is not a disease or mental disorder for the same reason that being a heterosexual is not a disease or a mental disorder. The medical community is unanimous in stating that homosexuality is not a medical condition.”

Anti-gay religious leaders including NARTH and Family Research Council have come out full force urging state legislators to vote against the bill when the Senate takes it to vote.

I know those who have undergone "ex-gay" therapy and there is no doubt in my mind that it seriously f*cked them up.  One has become an alcoholic over is inability to "change," another suffers from serious emotional issues, and I  know of at least one young man who committed suicideIn my book, anyone advocating "ex-gay" therapy is an outright liar and, if they claim to be "ex-gay" themselves, they are seriously delusional and/or "ex-gay for pay" since most ex-gays strike me as being losers who have stumbled upon an easy way to make a buck and care nothing about the damage they do to others.

Virginia's Long Saga of Being on the Wrong Side of History

The image above was shared on Facebook by one of my daughters and it prompted to ponder Virginia's sometimes illustrious but more often embarrassing history.  Living in Virginia it is difficult not to be aware of the brilliance and intelligence of Virginia's leaders in the early days of the Commonwealth and America.  By the same token, it is difficult to not be aware of the fact that since those early days of the United States of America, Virginia has generally been on the wrong side of history.  Not once, but time and time again.  The intellectual brilliance and Enlightenment inspired minds of Jefferson, Monroe, Madison, and other of their time pretty much died out with them.   Yes, Virginia produced brilliant military commanders during the Civil War - or War Between the States as it is sometimes referred to in Virginia but rather than liberty and freedom, especially religious freedom, here's a short list of what Virginia has backed since Thomas Jefferson's death:  support for slavery, segregation, separate but equal, Jim Crow laws, bans on interracial marriage, bans on gay marriage (Virginia's anti-gay marriage amendment is nearly identical to the one just adopted in North Carolina) and most recently, a war on the health care decision rights of women.  And not coincidentally, typically the Bible was cited as justification and the main proponents of bigotry were the "godly Christian" folk.

Virginia has much of which it should be deeply ashamed.  Unfortunately, the Republican Party of Virginia - and its Christianist puppet masters at The Family Foundation - continue to look to the worse elements of Virginia's history in plotting their course.  The concepts - such as freedom of religion for ALL - and brilliance of the nations founders are instead thrown on the dung heap.   One would think that the infamy associated with Loving v. Virginia alone would make Virginians open their eyes.  But such is not the case with the Virginia GOP or the hate merchants at The Family Foundation. I hope that future generations will view these individuals and organizations with the horror and disgust that they so rightly deserve.

I'm nothing short of deeply embarrassed to be a Virginian.  I cannot in good conscience recommend the state to anyone and, as I've noted before, were circumstances different, I'd leave in a heart beat and shake the dust from my shoes.

Romney Prostitutes Himself to Extremists at Liberty University

Demonstrating that he will stoop to any lengths to endear himself to Christofascist extremists, Mitt Romney spoke at the commencement at Liberty University - the late Jerry Falwell's lasting stain on Virginia  today.  Appearing at Liberty was part of Romney's pandering campaign to endear himself to the Christianist base of the Republican Party.   As the Richmond Times Dispatch reports, during his speech, Romney endeavored to stress his shared values of family and service.  The service part, of course, is aimed solely at those who are willing to submit to Mormon beliefs.  And as for family values, Romney glossed over his family history that makes a mockery of the Christianist claims that throughout history marriage has been "one man and one woman."  Truth be told - and telling the truth is not something Romney likes to engage in - Romney's ancestors were champions of alternate "lifestyles to use the terminology the Christofascists like to direct against gays.  This tidbit from Wikipedia tells it all:

Miles Park Romney (1843-1904) was born in Nauvoo, Illinois, the son of Miles Romney.[1][2] He was the president of the St. George Social Hall Company and the St. George Dramatic Association, and also served as a chief of police, attorney-at-law, newspaper editor, and architect.[3] Romney's son was Gaskell Romney, his grandson was George W. Romney and his great-grandson is Mitt Romney.

 [Miles Park] Romney, on April 7, 1885, joined a party leaving Arizona to find land outside the U.S., in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, on which his family could settle, free from fear of his arrest.[8] Romney died on February 26, 1904, in Colonia Dublan, Mexico.

[Miles Park]Romney's five wives, in order of marriage, were Hannah Hood Hill, Caroline "Carrie" Lambourne, Catharine Jane Cottam, Alice Marie "Annie" Woodbury and Emily "Millie" Henrietta Eyring Snow.  

If that this equates to "one man one woman," Mitt Romney is very seriously math challenged.  But it gets worse.  Even Fox News - typically a/k/a "Faux New"s on this blog - has more details on Mitt "Etch A Sketch" Romney's family background that show the lie of his comments at Liberty University today.  Her e are some highlights:
Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, married his fifth wife in 1897. That was more than six years after Mormon leaders banned polygamy and more than three decades after a federal law barred the practice.

Romney's great-grandmother, Hannah Hood Hill, was the daughter of polygamists. She wrote vividly in her autobiography about how she "used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow" over her own husband's multiple marriages.

Romney's great-great grandfather, Parley Pratt, an apostle in the church, had 12 wives. In an 1852 sermon, Parley Pratt's brother and fellow apostle, Orson Pratt, became the first church official to publicly proclaim and defend polygamy as a direct revelation from God.

Romney's father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, where Mormons fled in the 1800s to escape religious persecution and U.S. laws forbidding polygamy. He and his family did not return to the United States until 1912, more than two decades after the church issued "The Manifesto" banning polygamy.

"When you read the family's history, you realize how important polygamy was to them," said Todd Compton, a Mormon and independent historian who wrote a book about the polygamous life of the church's founder, Joseph Smith. "They left America and started again as pioneers, after they had done it over and over again previously."  . Carmon Hardy, a polygamy expert and retired history professor at California State University-Fullerton, said polygamy was "a very important part of Miles Park Romney's family."

While it's true that one doesn't get to pick their family, one DOES get to choose whether they will knowingly tell lies for political expedience.  The truth is that Mitt Romney's family tree makes monogamous same sex marriage look pretty run of the mill compared the the generations of polygamous m2012arriage that were the norm in Romney's family tree for nearly well over a century.  Whenever Romney opens his moth to bloviate about "one man one woman" marriage "throughout recorded history," his nose needs to grow like Pinocchio.  His own family proves the lie of that claim. Oh, and then there's the problem of the Old Testamant, including bit not limited to King Salomon's 700 wives and 300 concubines.   If Leviticus continues to apply to gays, then what about the Old Testament approved form of marriage - polygamy?.    

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

The True Face of the Anti-Gay Christian Right

I've always found the absolute hysteria demonstrated by anti-gay zealots to be surprising.  Yes, there are those like the men at Concerned Women for America and other anti-gay hate groups (Robert Knight springs to mind as does Peter LaBarbera) who likely are self-loathing closet cases as further evidenced by the recent study that linked homophobia to a acting out based on conscious or unconscious same sex attractions.  But other homophobes appear to be simply a bit mentally unstable.  A case in point, a woman who gave absolutely batshit crazy (and hate ladened) testimony to the Lincoln, Nebraska city council in opposition to a proposed ordinance that would add protections for LGBT citizens.  The video clip of Ms. Jane Svoboda's testimony has gone viral as it should.  She's spouting the standard craziness disseminated by anti-gay hate groups all the time, plus adding innovations of her own.  This is what these folks are really all about.  Her views are really little different the Empress of Hate, Victoria Cobb of The Family Foundation.  Cobb is merely a bit more discrete in announcing her anti-gay bigotry. In my opinion, this video should be required viewing for all voters who don't grasp the agenda of the Christianists:
  A piece in Huffington Post looks at the batshitery. Here are some highlights:

Video footage of a surprisingly graphic, homophobic rant has gone viral in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) blogosphere in the wake of this week's non-discrimination ordinance proposal hearings in Lincoln, Neb.

Originally featured on Towleroad, the clip features a woman identified as Jane Svoboda, who offers a series of bizarre observations on gay sex, HIV/AIDS, Hillary Clinton and even Judas Iscariot as she denounces the "Fairness Ordinance," a measure that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s non-discrimination law, in her testimony.

After stating that "a huge percent of gay men in school grounds molest boys, partly because they don't have AIDS yet," she adds, "Hillary Clinton's roommate four years in college was a gay woman. To avoid going gay like Clinton did, college students need single rooms and single gender dorms...A college woman is seduced with illegal Rohypnol to go gay."

And finally, she proclaims, "Jesus was kissed by Judas, a homo, who tried to sabotage Jesus' kind ideas. Do you choose!

Why Obama’s Gay Marriage Endorsement Won’t Matter Much in November

With the Christofascists seeking to benefit from Barack Obama's endorsement of gay marriage, the political pundits are all over the map as to what impact, if any, Obama's endorsement will have on the 2012 election.  While the Christofascists will seek to use the issue to generate voter turn out, the reality is that they and those inclined to listen to them already hate Obama with a passion and they would be doing the same thing regardless of Obama's action this week.  Moreover, for those not drinking deeply from the well of laced Kool-Aid, the gay marriage issue alone likely will not be decisive - poll after poll has ranked so-called social issues dead last in terms of importance to voters.  And for those who would point to what happened in North Carolina, it's important to remember that the primary vote over all was very low turn out.  Something that will not be the case in November.  A piece in The Daily Beast makes a similar argument.  Here are highlights:

Could Barack Obama be the next Patrick Murphy?

 But here’s the thing that all of these salivating GOP strategists—and Democratic worrywarts—may be overlooking: if you actually sit down and try to identify which votes (in which states) Obama is likely to lose over gay marriage, it’s tough to come up with much.
To win reelection, the president doesn’t have to replicate his 2008 blowout. He just needs 270 electoral votes—95 fewer than he racked up four years ago. Team Obama sees five ways to get there, as I reported in January. The West Path would add Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada to the Kerry states, for 272 electoral votes. The Florida Path would add just Florida, for 275. The South Path runs through North Carolina and Virginia (274 electoral votes), while the Midwest Path includes Ohio and Iowa (270 electoral votes). Finally, there’s the Expansion Path: Obama carries all the John Kerry states except blue-collar Pennsylvania and libertarian New Hampshire, then compensates with victories in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and John McCain’s home state of Arizona, which was uncontested in 2008, for obvious reasons.

Take a closer look at those paths. Which voters do they rely on? Several require the president to beat Kerry’s margins among Latinos, the fastest-growing subset of the electorate: the West Path, the Expansion Path, and to a lesser extent the South Path (both North Carolina and Virginia have experienced double-digit Hispanic growth over the last decade). The latter also hinges on increasing African-American turnout vis-à-vis 2004. To follow the Midwest Path, Obama will have to outperform Kerry among working-class Iowans and Ohioans. And Florida is ... well, Florida. It almost always reflects the larger electorate, voting for the eventual winner in every presidential contest since 1964.

So to figure out whether gay marriage will hurt Obama in the fall, you have to figure whether gay marriage alone is likely to block any of these five paths—that is, whether Obama is likely to receive fewer votes from these specific constituencies in these specific states than Kerry received in 2004. For that to occur, Obama would have to suffer a 32-point net loss in Latino support in Nevada; a 27-point net loss in Latino support in New Mexico; a 27-point net loss in Latino support in Florida; a 9-point net loss in black support in Virginia; a 19-point net loss in black support in North Carolina; a 12-point net loss in working-class support in Iowa; and a 5-point net loss in working-class support in Ohio.  
In other words, it’s unlikely.   .   .   .  It’s hard to imagine that Obama’s personal opinion about same-sex marriage—remember, he’s not pushing any kind of federal legislation—will be such a turn-off for key demographic groups in key states that their support for the president will plummet to sub-Kerry levels come November.

That said, politics does not occur in a vacuum. Outside organizations may use Obama’s announcement to mobilize evangelicals who would have otherwise been unenthusiastic about voting for Romney; if the president doesn’t match Kerry’s performance among white men, which seems likely, his cushion among minorities will shrink. And so on. But it’s just as likely that these forces will be balanced out by equal and opposite forces: young voters reinspired to volunteer and turn out on Election Day; Latinos appalled by Romney’s far-right immigration stance. The bottom line is that it’s very hard to imagine Obama shedding enough votes on gay marriage to really make a difference where it matters most.

 If Obama ends up being another Patrick Murphy—if he surrenders all 96 of his spare electoral votes—it won’t have much to do with the announcement he made on ABC earlier this week. Gay marriage might, at most, tip the scales at the margins. But the economy will have to do the rest.

The Family Foundation Attacks Gay Judicial Nominee

Not surprisingly, the gay-haters at The Family Foundation - the toxic Virginia affiliate of Focus on the Family and FRC - are absolutely beside themselves that an openly gay man has been nominated for a judgeship on Richmond, Virginia;s General District Court.  The height of the hypocrisy is that the hate merchants are alleging that the personal opinions of the nominee, Tracy Thorne-Begland, might impact his decisions on the bench.  As if the personal opinions of the husband of TFF's Empress of Hate, Victoria Cobb (pictured at left), don't impact his decisions in his position within Bob "Governor Ultrasound" McDonnell's administration.  The Washington Post looks at the spittle flying fast and furiously at TFF.  Here are excerpts:

Tracy Thorne-Begland was booted from the Navy 20 years ago, after coming out as a gay man on national TV to challenge the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  Now his activism in gay rights is complicating his efforts to land another job, this time as a state judge.

The deputy commonwealth attorney for Richmond has been nominated to serve as a judge for the city’s 13th General DistrictCourt. The Family Foundation of Virginia issued a statement Friday opposing his appointment, arguing that his outspokennesson behalf of gay rights makes him unsuitable for the impartial role of judge.

“The question is, will his personal political agenda take precedent over Virginia law and the Constitution?” the Family Foundation statement reads. “Is he going to uphold laws he clearly and very publicly disagrees with? What does he believe is the role of the courts in moving in a more ‘progressive’ direction?

“There is additional concern that, once appointed, a progressively minded judge would be fast-tracked by a Democrat Governor or President to a higher court, like the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for example,” the statement continues.

Thorne-Begland, a former board member of the gay-rights group Equality Virginia, “rose to prominence in the early 90s with an appearance on Nightline coming out as an openly gay Naval Officer,” according to the group’s Website. He has since spoken out in favor of gay marriage. He and his partner, a Richmond lawyer, are raising twins.

Again, Ms. Cobb - or the Empress of Hate as I will henceforth refer to her - has no problem whatsoever with Christofascists injecting their personal views and political opinions into the law (Attorney General Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli is but one example - as is Governor Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell), but no one else is supposed to be allowed similar rights and opinions.  Cobb ALWAYS wants special rights for Christofascists and typically the Virginia GOP is only to willing to kiss her bigoted ass. 

P.S. Interestingly enough, all FRC references have been scrubbed from TFF's website since FRC was named a registered hate group.  The Southern Poverty Law Center needs to add The Family Foundation itself to the list.

Obama Gay Marriage Endorsement Mobilizing Christofascists

Not surprisingly, Barack Obama's endorsement of same sex marriage earlier in the week is mobilizing the Christofacsists who seek to impose their warped fear and hate based version of Christianity on all Americans.  Hate merchant parasites like pathological liar Tony Perkins and his allies also see the issue as a great fundraising opportunity - God forbid he, Maggie Gallagher and others have to get real jobs.  Meanwhile most of the Gospel message of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and sheltering the homes is thrown on the trash heap by these foul individuals.  Just imagine what could be done for the poor, the sick and the needy with the vast amounts of money the Christofascists have thrown into jihads against gay rights.  But then, I forgotten myself - these anti-gay extremists care nothing about the poor, the sick or the needy.  They for the most part support Paul Ryan's budget that would treat such unfortunates as some mush trash merely to be discarded.  The Washington Post looks at the effort of these false Christians to milk the situation and disseminate hate.  Here are excerpts:

President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage is energizing Christian conservative support for Mitt Romney in a way that the likely GOP nominee has so far not been able to do on his own, according to religious leaders and activists.

Pastors in Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and other swing states are readying Sunday sermons inveighing against same-sex unions, while activist groups have begun laying plans for social media campaigns, leaflet drives and other get-out-the-vote efforts centered on the same-sex marriage issue. Romney could benefit from a strong turnout among evangelicals and other social conservatives, many of whom remain skeptical of his commitment to their causes. 

 The National Organization for Marriage, a leading anti-gay-marriage group, lashed out at Obama after his announcement and promised to campaign against him “ceaselessly” in swing states.
Romney and other establishment Republicans have treaded softly on the issue so far, but many evangelicals think that a forceful anti-gay-marriage campaign could pay huge dividends for Republicans in the fall.  

Some on the religious right also remain deeply uncertain about Romney’s convictions on cultural issues and are unhappy with his statements in recent days that he supports allowing gay couples to adopt children and that he does not view same-sex marriage as a religious issue. Many activists say they will continue to push Romney on the issue.  .  .  .  .  The sentiments underscore the continued difficulties that Romney faces in attempting to navigate thorny cultural issues while attempting to woo independent voters with an economic message.

Same-sex marriage does not appear to be the galvanizing force it once was, particularly among younger voters. A poll last year by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 44 percent of young white evangelicals favor allowing gay and lesbian people to marry, compared with 12 percent of evangelical seniors and 19 percent of evangelicals overall.

But Robert Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, said changing demographics and the struggling economy mean that same-sex marriage may not prove as central as it was eight years ago in the state. While he supports Romney’s position on the issue, he said the GOP presidential candidate would do best to focus on jobs and other economic issues.

“In Ohio, there are people on both sides of the issue who have largely made up their minds,” Bennett said. “Obviously it’s going to unite the social conservatives who maybe had some doubts about Romney, but there are other issues to unite people. This is more of a sidebar issue now.”

Let's hope the Christofascists engage in truly hateful language as they did in North Carolina (where many moderates and independents did not even go to the polls) and alienate non-religious extremists with their hatefulness.  For me, increasingly when someone tells me that they are a Christian - especially in a context where religion isn't even relevant - my first thoughts are: hateful, hypocrite, liar, mean spirited, modern day Pharisee among others.  Thankfully, the younger generation increasingly seems to be having a similar reaction.  It's the conservatives who are going to ultimately kill Christianity, not the liberals and un-churched.

Friday, May 11, 2012

More Friday Male Beauty

Click image to enlarge

Top GOP Pollster to GOP: Reverse On Gay Issues

There's more new evidence that in its quest to prostitute itself to the Christofascist elements of the GOP base by waging war on LGBT Americans and blocking full LGBT legal equality, the Republican Party is committing political suicide over the long term.  Making the message more dire is the fact that the messenger is a top GOP pollster who worked for Chimperator Bush. Andrew Sullivan has details.  Here are highlights:

Below is a remarkable document. It's a memo circulated by Jan van Lohuizen, a highly respected Republican pollster, (he polled for George W. Bush in 2004), to various leading Republican operatives, candidates and insiders. It's on the fast-shifting poll data on marriage equality and gay rights in general, and how that should affect Republican policy and language. And the pollster's conclusion is clear: if the GOP keeps up its current rhetoric and positions on gays and lesbians, it is in danger of marginalizing itself to irrelevance or worse.

[T]he Republican pollster who arguably knows more about the politics of the gay issue than anyone else (how else to explain the Ohio campaign of 2004?) is advising them in no uncertain terms that they need to evolve and fast, if they're not going to damage their brand for an entire generation:

Click images to enlarge.
I know that some readers likely think me a broken record on the need for the GOP to kick the Christianists to the curb, but merely looking at my own extended family and the near unanimous exodus from the GOP tells me that my instincts are correct.  Five or six decades of continuous GOP affiliation killed because of the pact the GOP leadership made with the Devil - i.e., the Christofascists.  Given Andrew Sullivan's past arguments that same sex marriage is a conservative approach, he notes as follows:

It's advising Republican candidates to emphasize the conservative nature of gay marriage, to say how it encourages personal responsibility, commitment, stability and family values. It uses Dick Cheney's formula (which was for a couple of years, the motto of this blog) that "freedom means freedom for everyone." And it uses David Cameron's argument that you can be for gay marriage because you are a conservative.
One can only image the flying spittle that this memo will unleash in the corridors of Family Research Council, NOM, the American Family Association, and similar hate groups.   Get out your foul weather gear!

Bible Based Bigotry Never Seems to Change

Coming across the paired photos above via Facebook, the parallels with what was happening 50+ years ago and today are striking.  And sadly, the mindset exhibited in both photos hasn't changed - only the latest targets of hate and bigotry.  Moreover, now, as back then, the Bible is being used as a basis to justify hatred towards others and the deprivation of CIVIL law rights.

Exposing Tony Perkins' and Mitt Romney's Lies About Marriage

I have vented before about the mainstream media giving anti-gay hate group leader Tony Perkins (who also has white supremacist ties) a platform from which to spout deliberate lies and falsehoods about the LGBT community and the true history of marriage.  The latest lazy news outlet to allow Perkins to spout unchallenged lies is CNN.  Fortunately, Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC let Perkins have it and laid out the falsehood that marriage has always been "one man and one woman."  He also touched on Mitt Romney's hypocrisy - Mr. Etch A Sketch conveniently forgets that his grand father had five wives.  Just like he's forgotten his past homophobic bullying.  Here's a clip of O'Donnell's smack down for those who missed it last night:

In addition, GLAAD president Herndon Graddick has a scathing piece in Huffington Post that goes after the shiftless news anchors who never challenge Perkins' lies.  Here are highlights:

 Judging by its coverage of President Obama's announcement that he now supports marriage equality, it appears CNN still has a little "evolving" of its own to do.
The bulk of the media's coverage of this issue has been focused on what this statement will mean politically for President Obama and the Democratic Party -- and what it means for the future of marriage equality, now that a solid majority of Americans and the president support it. This includes CNN, which had several thoughtful pieces and interviews on these ideas. For example, Anderson Cooper's panel of Alex Castellanos, Paul Begala and Evan Wolfson broke down the issue purposefully, in a way that would help the audience better understand the significance of this announcement.
So with a wealth of political thinkers, analysts and strategists to go to -- why has CNN turned to Tony Perkins three times in the last few days to represent the "other side?"
Here's the crux of the problem -- and the exact reason why GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project was born. Tony Perkins and others of his ilk cannot be used to exemplify those who simply oppose marriage equality. CNN is more than welcome to interview him on the issue of marriage equality, of course. His is unquestionably one of the loudest voices in the nation speaking about the issue.
But when Perkins gets interviewed, a responsible journalist needs to tell the audience exactly who Perkins is speaking for. Based on his own statements -- Tony Perkins represents people who believe supporting LGBT equality is akin to being a terrorist. Who believe marriage equality is the same as bestiality. Who say that gay people are "vile," "hateful," "spiteful" "pawns of the enemy." Tony Perkins does not represent people who oppose marriage equality. Tony Perkins represents those who oppose LGBT people -- period.
If CNN wants that side represented in this discussion, then Perkins is absolutely the right man for the job. But they need to make it clear to the audience that that's what he's there for. And by not doing so, they have not told the whole story. Wolf Blitzer's interview with Perkins is a perfect example of this.

To cable news viewers, he's just the conservative guy who comes on sometimes to talk about gay stuff from a Republican point of view. But Perkins' own statements will show you that those positions don't come from politics. They are the result of pure animus towards gay people, and a belief that they're doing the work of "the enemy."

You can expose how extreme Perkins' positions are by challenging them, like O'Brien and Morgan did. But you're still not telling the whole story, unless you tell your audience what's at the heart of those positions. We are once again asking journalists to hold anti-gay activists like Perkins accountable for their own statements against LGBT people, and to deliver that critical information to their audiences.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Catholic Bishops Attack Girl Scouts

The vicious ugliness of the Roman Catholic bishops when it comes to pushing a relentless anti-gay jihad seems to know few limits.  The latest target of the child rapist protecting monsters is the Girl Scouts of the USA.  The Girl Scouts it seems are not sufficiently homophobic and vicious towards LGBT individuals to satisfy the bishops' agenda of hate and bigotry.  It's probably no coincidence that a female related organization is in the bishops bulls eye since these bitter men in dresses cannot stand uppity females.  Just ask the American nuns.  Leading the charge is one of the minions of disgusting porcine Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.  As is always the case, dealing with the moral filth within the priesthood and Church hierarchy that protected and enabled sexual predator priest isn't on the bishops' radar screen.  A piece in Huffington Post looks at the Catholic Bishops attack on the Girl Scouts.  Here are excerpts:

Long a lightning rod for conservative criticism, the Girl Scouts of the USA are now facing their highest-level challenge yet: An official inquiry by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

At issue are concerns about program materials that some Catholics find offensive, as well as assertions that the Scouts associate with other groups espousing stances that conflict with church teaching. The Scouts, who have numerous parish-sponsored troops, deny many of the claims and defend their alliances.

The inquiry coincides with the Scouts' 100th anniversary celebrations and follows a chain of other controversies.

Earlier this year, legislators in Indiana and Alaska publicly called the Scouts into question, and the organization was berated in a series aired by a Catholic broadcast network. Last year, the Scouts angered some conservatives by accepting into a Colorado troop a 7-year-old transgender child who was born a boy but was being raised as a girl.

Some of the concerns raised by Catholic critics are recycled complaints that have been denied by the Girl Scouts' head office repeatedly and categorically. It says it has no partnership with Planned Parenthood, and does not take positions on sexuality, birth control and abortion.

The new inquiry will be conducted by the bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into the Scouts' "possible problematic relationships with other organizations" and various "problematic" program materials, according to a letter sent by the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to his fellow bishops.

[T]here's frustration within the iconic youth organization – known for its inclusiveness and cookie sales – that it has become such an ideological target, with the girls sometimes caught in the political crossfire.
"I know we're a big part of the culture wars," said the Girl Scouts' spokeswoman, Michelle Tompkins. People use our good name to advance their own agenda."

One of the long-running concerns is the Girl Scouts' membership in the 145-nation World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.  The association, known as WAGGGS, is on record as saying girls and young women "need an environment where they can freely and openly discuss issues of sex and sexuality." It also has called for increased access to condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases.  Some critics want the Girl Scouts of the USA to pull out of the world group; the scouts aren't budging.

The Girl Scouts have been entangled in the culture wars as far back as the 1970s, when some conservatives became irked by the prominence of feminists such as Betty Friedan in the organization's leadership.  In 1993, Christian conservatives were outraged when the Girl Scouts formalized a policy allowing girls to substitute another word for "God" – such as Allah or Buddha – in the Girl Scout promise that reads: "On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country."
Girl Scout controversies surfaced recently in two state legislatures.  In Indiana, Rep. Bob Morris wrote to his colleagues depicting the Girl Scouts as a radical group that promotes abortions and homosexuality. He later apologized for "reactionary and inflammatory" comments, but stood by his contention that the Scouts have links with Planned Parenthood.

In Alaska, Rep. Wes Keller – before deciding whether to support a resolution honoring the Girl Scouts – said he needed to investigate information "floating around the Internet" about the alleged Planned Parenthood link. Keller later said he was convinced the rumors were baseless; the resolution passed unanimously.

Bullied Gay Minnesota Teen Jumps to His Death

With an anti-gay marriage amendment on the November ballot, the anti-gay vitriol from the "godly Christian" crowd and child rapist protecting Catholic Church hierarchy has been high in Minnesota.  We'll never know if some of that anti-gay rhetoric encouraged Jay “Corey” Jones' tormentors in their bullying.  Bullying which Jones' father says played a major factor in the 17 year old's leap from a pedestrian bridge.  The blood on the hands of the Christianists continues unabated and what is most disturbing is that the godly folk don't even seem to give a damn.  The level of callousness and plain evil is shocking and certainly is part of what is prompting the millenial generations growing exodus from organized religion.  Here are excerpts from the Post Bulletin on this sad but all too familiar story:

Bullying because of his sexual orientation played “a big part” in the suicide of a 17-year-old Century High School student on Sunday, according to the boy's father.  Jay'Corey Jones knew he was gay from a young age and was bullied for a number of years because of it, suffering depression as a result, said to his father, JayBocka Strader of Rochester.

"He said all of his life they always picked on him," Strader said. "He'd still try to keep his head up at school, but then he'd come home and be really sad about it."

Jones, a member of Century's gay-straight alliance, had an image on his Facebook page that said, "Gay & Proud." He was open about his sexuality and occasionally wore tight, colorful tank tops and short-shorts to school, Strader said.

"He just got really depressed about it because the guys weren't accepting him," Strader said. 
Jones jumped from a pedestrian bridge near Century High School on Sunday, according to police.

In response to an inquiry from the Post-Bulletin, schools Superintendent Michael Muñoz issued a statement acknowledging there are issues related to bullying in the district. He did not directly address Jones' situation. 
The district is in the planning stages of providing training and support for students, staff and families, Muñoz said, and will continue anti-bullying collaborations with Gov. Mark Dayton’s recently formed anti-bullying task force, Rochester police and others in the community.
I hope Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins, the Catholic Church hierarchy and similar hate merchants are happy with this latest fruit of their handiwork.  


Will the GOP Evolve or Die?

Michael Gerson, a former head speech writer and a senior policy adviser to President George W. Bush, has a column in the Washington Post that looks at the GOP's long term suicide if it doesn't "evolve" on the issue of gay rights and gay marriage.  Like it or not, the aging gay-hating white Christianist base of the GOP is literally dying off (and none too soon, in my view) leaving the party increasingly at odds with the younger generations.  While they may not always vote currently, younger voters reflect the political future and the Republican Party seems Hell bent in permanently  on gay rights issues and women's issues.  Here are some column highlights:

Principled or calculating or a bit of both, President Obama’s choice on gay marriage is a bet on the political future — a wager on the views and values of the millennial generation making its long march through American institutions.    It is a group in which Obama still has broad support but which he no longer inspires as he once did. “The Obama generation,” says Brookings scholar William Galston, “lasted about five years.” Those ages 18 to 24 are less enthusiastic about Obama than are those ages 25 to 29.  .   .   .  Obama’s gay-marriage shift is not likely to change this dramatically.

But looking beyond a single election, it is undeniable that America is in the midst of a large, consequential shift in the attitudes of the rising generation. A recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Berkley Center at Georgetown University found millennials to be less religiously affiliated than their parents. A majority thinks that government “is getting too involved in the issue of morality.”

 In the 2006 data sample that informed the first edition of Robert Putnam and David Campbell’s indispensable “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us,” 25 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds described their religious preference as “none.” The result of the 2011 sample, printed in the second edition, was 33 percent. In five years, support for gay marriage in that age group went from 48 percent to 60 percent. Those describing premarital sex as “never wrong” went from 34 percent to 44 percent.

[T]he baseline of social liberalism is starting higher than in previous generations, with major political consequences as this cohort works its way through the decades. It is easy to infer that the Republican Party — as the more religious and culturally conservative party — is doomed in the long run.

Republicans and conservatives will be forced to make some adjustments over time. The millennial shift will influence the way conservatives argue. The tone of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum on social issues during the recent primary season — itself a throwback to the early days of the religious right — will not be an option.

This trend will influence the coalitions that Republicans build. It will make less and less sense to aggressively alienate groups of voters holding socially conservative values — Latinos in particular — based on other issues. Lost ground among younger, unmarried voters will need to be gained somewhere.  And the generational shift will inevitably influence the fights conservatives choose to make. Even a significant portion of millennials who regard homosexuality as immoral support gay marriage out of a commitment to pluralism.

The immediate political influence of cultural debates is overestimated. But the impact of a generational shift in cultural attitudes is only beginning.

As the shift continues, we can expect to see and hear even more hysteria and stridency from the Christianists and Tea Party crowd - a segment of society that, if we are lucky, will go the way of the dinosaurs.

Anne Hathaway - An Amazing Ally

Click image to enlarge
My oldest daughter posted this quote from Anne Hathaway that to my think states the real measure of common human decency - something lost to the Christianists and the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.  Like myself, Hathaway is a former Catholic who had had enough of the Church's anti-gay bigotry and hypocrisy.

Being Out Can Change Lives - Other Evolutions

For a long time now a number of LGBT organizations have stressed the importance of living out of the closet and through your daily lives going about the task of changing hearts and minds.  It's not always an easy thing to do, especially for those of us living in what are basically gay hating states like Virginia where official government policy seeks to denigrate our rights and dignity on a daily basis.  But over time being out and proud if you will can and does lead to others coming to the realization that they need to reevaluate past views and prejudices.  I was flattered to see these remarks by North Carolina blogger Bob Felton who like myself sees the insidious damage that is done to lives and the nation under the guise of religiosity.  Here are some excerpts:

Twenty-five years ago, for instance, I doubt that I would have thought well of same-sex couples adopting children. But after I became an adoptive father and learned how much genuine harm our child welfare system actually does to children, I became an early but cautious supporter, reasoning that an untraditional home couldn’t possibly be worse than what was (and still is) happening.

Nor did I understand how deeply and needlessly estranged gays too often are from the mainstream of civil life until I began to read Andrew Sullivan’s and Michael Hamar’s blogs.

I was raised among, and worked among, decent and well-educated people, and it wasn’t until I moved to a seminary-dominated town in North Carolina that I began to sense the squalor and inexhaustible malice that are, for too many, the daily reality — the hatred of all learning, the hatred of all ambition, the hatred of all … ‘others.’

Thank you to Bob for saying I've made some small difference through this blog.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thought on a Daughter's Upcoming Wedding

I haven't mentioned this soon to occur significant life experience event yet, but my youngest daughter - pictured above with me before the Last Dinner on the Titanic event last month - is getting married on May 26, 2012.  Moreover, the wedding will take place in the back yard of the home I share with the boyfriend in Hampton.  My oldest daughter eloped due to her now military husband's orders scheduling issues and my free spirited hippie-like son may never officially marry.  Thus, this could be the main wedding experience I get to have as the father of a member of the wedding couple.

If one listens to the lies and hate disseminated by the Christianists, one would believe that gay parents are incapable of having a profound loving parental relationship with children they raise.  Like so much of what the Christianists say about LGBT individuals, it's a lie.  I feel I have an amazing relationship with my children and my youngest daughter in particular since she works at my law office and we see each other so much each and every week.  I treasure her.

Given that this will be the first time that my former wife and her new husband (and other members of her family) will be at out home, the boyfriend - a/k/a "Martha Stewart" - has me working to have the place as immaculate as possible.  We are tenting in part of the back yard that overlooks the tidal creek that forms two sides of our yard, coordinating with a caterer and orchestrating wine, champagne, and flowers among other things for the event.

The far right can denigrate gay parents all they want, but we love our children as much or more than anyone else and I hope the event will make a statement to guests that no one makes a parent set of parents than two gay dads.  As an added bonus, my oldest daughter and her new husband are flying in from Washington State for the event.

Romney: A High School Gay-Basher

The Washington Post is unleashing an unwanted headache for Mitt Romney with it's coverage of Romney's nasty gay bashing - "pranks" as he calls - them in high school. The story hit the online version of the Post today and will be the front page story in tomorrow morning. For many of us in the LGBT community, these stories bring back a great deal of hurt an misery as we recall the bullying we withstood - and in the case of some, such as myself, actual physical violence. Romney's actions years ago might be forgivable if he genuinely apologized fore the hurt he caused others. But his apologies have been half ass at best and involved laughing in the audio tapes that I have heard. The impression one is left with is that once an insensitive bully, always a bully. Bob Felton at Civil Commotion was rather kind when he described Romney this way"|: 

It all bespeaks what looks like a lifelong inability to actually see other people — a privileged snot who is not really aware of others and, insofar as he is, regards them as obstacles to somehow be bent to his will or pushed aside. 

Sadly, Romney seems to be still unaware of others and that they are real, living, breathing, feeling humans with hopes, dreams and the ability to feel pain and anguish. Sadly, Romney is typical of the wealthy and the Christianists who seem incapable of viewing those different than themselves as fully human and worthy of the same civil rights and respect that they themselves demand.  Here are some highlights from the Washington Post's bombshell story:

Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.
 “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenage son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
 A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors. 

The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them — Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal — spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be identified.
The incident transpired in a flash, and Friedemann said Romney then led his cheering schoolmates back to his bay-windowed room in Stevens Hall. 
ABC News has a story that recounts the incident as related by one of Romney's fellow students.  Here are excerpts:

A high school classmate of presidential candidate Mitt Romney told ABC News today that he considers a particular prank the two pulled at Michigan’s Cranbrook School to be “assault and battery” and that he witnessed Romney hold the scissors to cut the hair of a student who was being physically pinned to the ground by several others.

“It’s a haunting memory. I think it was for everybody that spoke up about it… because when you see somebody who is simply different taken down that way and is terrified and you see that look in their eye you never forget it. And that was what we all walked away with,” said Phillip Maxwell, who is now an attorney and still considers Romney an old friend.

“I saw it with my own eyes,” said Maxwell, of the anecdote first reported by the Washington Post. Maxwell said Romney held the scissors helping to cut the hair of a student, John Lauber, who was presumed to be gay and who had long hair. “It was a hack job… clumps of hair taken off.”
Andrew Sullivan has these thoughts on Romney's despicable character flaws:

Romney has now apologized. He claims he didn't know the classmate was gay:

I certainly don’t believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual,” Romney told Kilmeade. “That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s.” 
 But I thought he had no memory of this incident? That was his position this morning. And there was no homophobia in the 1960s? Seriously: Etch-A-Sketch.   .   .   .   .   I conclude two things: Romney was a high school bully of gay or effeminate kids and is also a brazen liar.
I was in high school in the 1960's and believe me, we all knew about "fags," "faggots," "homos" and a host of other derogatory terms.  I certainly heard them often enough.   Romney's statements of ignorance on the terminology and the anti-gay bullying that was rampant in the 1960's are total lies.  But then again, those who profess their religiosity and who incessantly kiss the bigoted asses of the Christofascists are the biggest liars of all.

The Continued Christianist Myth of "God's Creation" of the Institution of Marriage

You have to hand one thing to the Christianists and their political whores in the Republican Party - they are some of the most consistent liars one might ever meet.  Nothing, including the truth and actual real history are never allowed to get in the way of the lies they spin to support their anti-gay marriage agenda.  Time and time again, both in North Carolina before Tuesday's horrific vote and now in the wake of Barack Obama's embrace of marriage equality yesterday, they spout the myth that "God created marriage as one man and one woman."  It's a complete lie, of course, but then again, these people think the Commandment against lying and bearing false witness doesn't apply to them.  So much for actually honoring the Bible and the Ten Commandments.  Several pieces I came across today, not to mention two old newspaper clips that my LGBT blogger compatriot Jeremy Hooper posted at Good As You underscore the grossness of  lies being disseminated by the Christianists and their pandering prostitutes in the GOP.  The first newspaper clip is at the top of this post.  The date of the article is July 29, 1937 - and note the emphasis on marriage being a CIVIL law institution first and foremost.   

Even more damning is a piece in the New York Book Review Blog that tarces the history of marriage in the first 1200 years of the Christian church.  The truth is that through the end of the Roman Empire, Roman civil law controlled marriage.  Even after the Empire fell, it was another nearly 750 years before the Church adopted a uniform marriage policy.  That's right, for the majority of Christianity's history marriage was not even a Church sacrament.  Here are some excerpts:

Why do some people who would recognize gay civil unions oppose gay marriage? Certain religious groups want to deny gays the sacredeness of what they take to be a sacrament. But marriage is no sacrament. Some of my fellow Catholics even think that “true marriage” was instituted by Christ. It wasn’t. Marriage is prescribed in Eden by YHWH (Yahweh) at Genesis 2.24: man and wife shall “become one flesh.” When Jesus is asked about marriage, he simply quotes that passage from Genesis (Mark 10.8). He nowhere claims to be laying a new foundation for a “Christian marriage” to replace the Yahwist institution. 
The early church had no specific rite for marriage. This was left up to the secular authorities of the Roman Empire, since marriage is a legal concern for the legitimacy of heirs. When the Empire became Christian under Constantine, Christian emperors continued the imperial control of marriage, as the Code of Justinian makes clear. When the Empire faltered in the West, church courts took up the role of legal adjudicator of valid marriages. But there was still no special religious meaning to the institution. As the best scholar of sacramental history, Joseph Martos, puts it: “Before the eleventh century there was no such thing as a Christian wedding ceremony in the Latin church, and throughout the Middle Ages there was no single church ritual for solemnizing marriage between Christians.” 

Only in the twelfth century was a claim made for some supernatural favor (grace) bestowed on marriage as a sacrament. By the next century marriage had been added to the biblically sacred number of seven sacraments.  .   .   .   .   And bad effects followed. This sacralizing of the natural reality led to a demoting of Yahwist marriage, the only kind Jesus recognized, as inferior to “true marriage” in a church.
Those who do not want to let gay partners have the sacredness of sacramental marriage are relying on a Scholastic fiction of the thirteenth century to play with people’s lives, as the church has done ever since the time of Aquinas. The myth of the sacrament should not let people deprive gays of the right to natural marriage, whether blessed by Yahweh or not. They surely do not need—since no one does—the blessing of Saint Thomas.  
 Also of interest is a November 11, 1915 newspaper article set out below that looks at the "evolution of marriage" via Good As You. What noteworthy is that part of the evolution is the trend from polygamous marriage - the standard in the Old Testament - and the movement from women being the property of their husbands toward equal partners.  Not surprisingly, the author, Cyrus Towsend Brady, an ordained Episcopal priest who died in 1920 was none too happy with the "evolution of marriage."  The bottom line is that marriage was never "created by God" and has always been about property rights and control of women.  Not that the truth matters to the Christianists or their GOP minions.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

British diver Chris Mears

Was Obama Sending A Message to the Supreme Court?

With several gay marriage related cases moving up the federal court hierarchy towards the U. S. Supreme Court some have conjectured that Barack Obama's gay marriage announcement yesterday was a way to message - and perhaps influence the Supreme Court justices.  Some like Scalia and Thomas will be deaf to the message, however, some others may get it and understand the arch of history that is racing towards them.  When Loving v. Virginia was decided, support for racial equality was nowhere near where it is today and the Court's decision helped tip the balance towards acceptance of interracial marriages.  Marriages that in no way threatened same race marriages - just as gay marriages in no way threaten straight marriages other than in the minds of Christofascists.  A Brookings Institute column looks at the message that Obama may have tried to send to the Court yesterday.  Here are highlights:

Count me stunned that President Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage, after years of straddling and waffling. I was among those who said he would (a) stay on the fence through the election, uncomfortable though that might be, because (b) there's more political downside than upside in bringing the issue forward and taking a stand that still alienates many swing voters.  Why, then, did he do it? And what does it mean?

As to why, various press accounts speculate that pressure from gay donors played an important role .  .  .  .  To me, those explanations sound unconvincing, or at least incomplete. Gay money knows that the choice between Obama's Democrats and Mitt Romney's Republicans is as stark on gay issues as the divide ever has been. With Republicans in control of the White House and Congress, much of the progress that gay rights made under Obama would be endangered.

Although bringing forward a divisive social issue in an "economy, stupid" year seems unlikely to help either candidate, I suspect that the Romney camp is pretty happy about Obama's announcement. I'd guess that endorsing gay marriage mostly reinforces Obama's appeal to people who were going to vote for him anyway .   .   .   . 
If counting electoral votes were all the president was doing, I'd advise him to stay away--against my own convictions as a gay-marriage proponent.

What happened? Harry Truman was fond of quoting Mark Twain: "When in doubt, do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." Now and then, politicians have a "goddammit"  moment. .  .   .  .  there was never going to be a better time to make the switch than now--at least not while he is certain to be a non-lame-duck president.  So Obama decided it's worth a roll of the dice to make history. Which is what he has done.

As of his announcement, favoring gay marriage is now fully, indisputably, and permanently a mainstream political position. All hint of weirdness or stigma is gone. It is also now the stated position of one of the two major political parties  .   .   .   .   Precisely because the issue is unlikely to decide the election this year, November's result will not revoke the issue's promotion in status even if Obama loses. Though gay couples have not achieved full legal equality, gay marriage, as an issue, has achieved full political equality. That is a landmark in the ongoing marriage debate.

The courts, as Obama, the former law professor, must be well aware, will take notice. Two big gay-rights cases--one challenging California's revocation of gay marriage, the other challenging the Defense of Marriage Act--are on their way toward the Supreme Court. With his switch from ambivalence to advocacy, Obama is sending a signal to the courts that the country is ready for gay marriage, giving them more cover to uphold it. Courts may not go by poll results, but they do like to stay within the mainstream. And Obama has just moved it.

Why Does the GOP Want to Repeat Europe's Failures?

The true goal of GOP economic policy
It's amazing how the far right and their GOP lap dogs always malign "Old Europe" yet the current GOP economic policy seeks to mirror what has not worked in Europe and in fact has led to the overthrow of conservative leaders in France, that most maligned of nation in GOP Kool-Aid drinking circles.  It doesn't make any sense unless one realizes that the GOP austerity kick is all about wrecking the U.S. economy so that Barack Obama can be beat by Mitt "Etch A Sketch" Romney in November.  Nothing else - including the millions of Americans harmed in the process - truly matters to the hyper partisan GOP.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the GOP effort to emulate failed European policies.  Here are excerpts:

Can a Republican primary in Indiana have even the remotest connection to a presidential election in France? Richard Mourdock, the tea party giant-killer who defeated Sen. Richard Lugar on Tuesday, clearly thinks so.

Don’t scoff. There is a point behind what Mourdock said. It’s just not the point he had in mind.
Mourdock’s success is decisive proof, if any more was needed, that the Republican Party has lurched far to the right of where it once was. Lugar was regularly described in the course of his reelection campaign as a “moderate.” But he is not a moderate, and never has been. He is a conservative who happens to be civil.

Being a good tea party Republican, Mourdock is all about slashing government spending without regard to the impact of the cuts on the economy or on those who need government help. He cast his campaign as a battle against “the nightmare of ever-growing government” that would turn the United States into a “Western European-style nation.”

This gets us to the irony: Right now, it’s conservatives who want to follow the Western European path of austerity that voters in France and Greece rejected last weekend. The Obama administration, by contrast, has chosen a distinctly American path that kept austerity at bay. As a result, the American economy has climbed out of the Great Recession more quickly than most of Europe. Had Obama accepted the right wing’s assertions that cutting government is the one and only route to prosperity, we would have gone the way of Britain, which is slipping toward recession again. 

What European voters are demanding, in other words, is a more moderate, American-style course. Eamon Gilmore, Ireland’s deputy prime minister and the leader of its Labour Party, nicely summarized the center-left’s middle-of-the-road approach. “You can’t have economic growth unless you also have stability,” he said, “but neither can you have stability without growth.”  France’s Francois Hollande may carry a Socialist label, but he, too, favors a balanced policy that would use public spending primarily to induce more private sector growth. 

On the other hand, the Mourdock Republicans — and they now very much include Mitt Romney, the party’s presumptive nominee, in their ranks — would have the United States embrace an even more radical program of government cutbacks at the very moment when Europe’s voters are telling us that this simply doesn’t work.  In the more reasonable Washington to which Lugar arrived in 1977, Republicans accepted the need to boost the economy during a time of recession.

Europeans are moving toward the center-left not because they are doctrinaire but precisely because they are sick of the rigid approaches the advocates of austerity have imposed upon them. Why would we now want to imitate Europe’s failures?

Michele Bachmann: Swiss Citizen Since 1978

The ever insane and modern day Pharisee Michele Bachmann likes to question Barack Obama's citizenship and eligibility to hold the office of president, yet Ms. Bachmann has some citizenship issues of her own.  Such as her own Swiss citizenship that has apparently existed for 34 years.  If she wants to hold herself out as uber-American patriot, perhaps she should relinquish her own foreign citizenship.  That, course, would mean not being a hypocrite, so don't expect to see that happen anytime soon unless Bachmann is pressured by the Kool-Aid drinking GOP base.  Politico looks at Ms. Bachmann's heretofore undisclosed Swiss citizenship.  Here are highlights: 

Rep. Michele Bachmann tried to downplay her dual U.S.-Swiss citizenship Wednesday, releasing a statement that asserts she has actually been a dual citizen since 1978.  “I automatically became a dual citizen of the United States and Switzerland in 1978 when I married my husband, Marcus. Marcus is a dual American and Swiss citizen because he is the son of Swiss immigrants. As a family, we just recently updated our documents,” the Minnesota Republican and former presidential candidate said in a statement. “This is a non-story.”

According to her version of events, Bachmann has known she was a Swiss citizen for approximately 34 years. However, she never disclosed her citizenship while running for Congress and president of the United States.  Her office said that such a disclosure was not necessary.

Her statement that she has been a citizen since 1978 is based off a technicality - at the time of her marriage, automatic citizenship was granted to those who married Swiss citizens. However, Marcus Bachmann, her husband, did not register their marriage with Swiss authorities until this year - meaning that the Swiss government was not aware of it until recently.

Bachmann, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, is now running for reelection in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.  “This is simply another distraction,” said a spokesperson for Democratic challenger Jim Graves on Wednesday. “The Graves family is not interested in dual citizenship and they are proud to be Americans.”

Republicans and Pundits Seek to Spin Obama's Gay Marriage Stance

Writers at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and other Virginia news outlets are trying to spin yesterday's announcement by Barack Obama in support of marriage equality as somehow putting Obama's chances in Virginia at risk.  Even the usually savvy Larry Sabato makes some ridiculous statements such as saying Obama's move might jeopardize votes from conservatives attending the Kool-Aid drinker convention - I mean commencement at Liberty University. Seriously, does ANYONE seriously believe that people delusional enough to attend or send their children to Liberty would ever vote Democrat anyway?  As for black voters (and black pastors in particular), if they allow Obama's stance on gay marriage to tip their vote, they might just as well sell themselves back into slavery and make their control by the white supremacist crowd at The Family Foundation complete.  Needless to say, Victoria Cobb - head bitch at The Family Foundation who is about as Christian as some of the women of GCB - has her patties in a major wad over Obama's announcement.  Here's some of the BS from the Times-Dispatch:

President Barack Obama's declaration of unequivocal support for same-sex marriage could have political ramifications in battleground Virginia.  Virginia is among a handful of states that could decide this year's presidential election and is one of 31 that have voted to ban same-sex marriage in their constitution.

The issue might also trickle down to Virginia's U.S. Senate race, where Democratic nominee and former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will face the winner of a GOP primary involving former Gov. George Allen, tea-party activist Jamie Radtke, Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson and Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William.

Some pundits believe same-sex marriage could harm the president's chances in swing states such as Virginia and North Carolina, where voters on Tuesday approved by 61 percent to 39 percent their own amendment restricting marriage to a man and woman.  Others argue the president's long-awaited decision on the issue will enliven the Democratic base and help him gain ground with independents likely to determine November's outcome.

"By November 6, the election will still be about the economy … but this could have some political impact," said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist.  Sabato said the president's position would energize youth support and help him in college towns and urban areas.  But he added that it would give presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney "a very useful weapon" for some swaths of the Republican electorate, like the ones watching when he offers the commencement address Saturday at Liberty University, an evangelical institution in Lynchburg founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

While most Virginia Republicans remained quiet on the issue Wednesday, Democrats and activists rejoiced.  "From the state whose mistakes led to the landmark case of Loving v. Virginia," the U.S. Supreme Court case that ended raced-based restrictions on legal marriage, "let me be among the first to thank the president for realizing that it needn't take the wrenching apart of couples and a Supreme Court case for us to do what is right," said state Sen. A. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico.

Virginia ACLU director Kent Willis voiced support for the president's decision, and suggested that it was a smart political calculation.  "In the future, when marriage equality is as accepted as racial and religious equality is now, the president's statement may be viewed as a political turning point in the struggle for gay rights," he said.

Victoria Cobb, president of the conservative Family Foundation of Virginia, accused the president of "pandering to his dwindling base in an election year … the sign of a desperate candidate."  She added: "It's bewildering that anyone can say with a straight face that counterfeit marriage has the momentum after the citizens of 31 states, including California, have voted to protect the definition of marriage."