Saturday, August 25, 2012

More Saturday Male Beauty

Will Former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode Deliver Virginia to Obama?

Since he was voted out of office, former Congressman Virgil Goode has become a gad fly for both of the national political parties, but especially for the Republican Party.  Now, if Goode can get on the Virginia ballot as the Constitution Party's nominee for president, it is conceivable that Goode could siphon off enough votes from Mitt Romney that he would throw Virginia and its 13 electoral voted decidedly into the Obama-Biden column.  That in turn could assure Obama s re-election.  Needless to say, the GOP will do all it can to keep Goode off of the November ballot.  Here are highlights from the Virginian Pilot:

Former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode of Franklin County has submitted more than 20,000 petition signatures to get on Virginia's ballot as the Constitution Party's presidential candidate, but will have to wait until after Labor Day for certification from the state board of elections.
The board earlier this month asked Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office to investigate possible irregularities with some of Goode's petitions, but it remains unclear whether the matter will keep Goode off the ballot for the Nov. 6 election. The state board will meet Sept. 4 to certify petitions submitted by third party and independent candidates.

Goode said Republicans mounted a challenge that kept the Constitution Party off the ballot in Pennsylvania, even though more than 34,000 petition signatures were submitted.  "I'm sure they are looking not just there but in every state they can," Goode said.

Goode said that he has qualified for the ballot in about 25 states, "give or take a few," including battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Michigan and New Mexico. He also has qualified as a write-in candidate in several states, he said.

But Goode — who has been elected as a Democrat, an independent and a Republican — arguably could have the greatest impact in his home state, where President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are locked in a tight race. Goode said he doesn't buy the argument that he would draw votes from Romney and possibly tip a close race to Obama.
I hope Goode gets on the ballot and makes life most interesting for Mitt Romney and his equally out of touch and greed drive VP oick, Paul Ryan.

How Did the GOP Get So Angry and White?

I've noted many times that in my opinion, the Republican Party has become something very ugly.  Like the Christianist base of the party, the GOP is now best defined by who they hate and the list includes virtually everyone but old, white, heterosexual men - and the repressed white women whom they dominate.  One of the striking things is the thinly veiled racism with permeates the GOP with blacks and other non-white minorities seemly the favor targets of hate and derision.  LGBT citizens are no less despised by the party base.  Anyone who looks different or believes in different This is NOT the Republican Party of its early years or the years following the Civil War when minorities were welcomed and held positions in the party,  A column in The Daily Beast looks at this transformation of the GOP and the likely long term suicide that will ensue if things do not change.  Here are highlights:

"Zero Percent of Blacks for Romney”—Oh, that headline hurts. And the WSJ/NBC poll can’t just be dismissed out of hand as the work of partisan hacks.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that no African-Americans will vote for the Romney-Ryan ticket, just that it will be within the margin of error and along the lines last time, when McCain-Palin somehow managed to score 4 percent of the black vote.
But ’twas not always thus for the GOP. Dust off your history books and you will see Republicans once had a virtual lock on the minority vote—and minority elected officials. The legacy of Lincoln was alive and well until not so long ago. Which makes the retreat of recent decades both unfortunate and ill-timed.
Consider that the first popularly elected African-American senator was a Republican, Ed Brooke from Massachusetts, in 1966. Likewise the first Asian-American senator, Hawaii’s Hiram Fong, who was first elected in the Eisenhower era. The first Native-American senator, Charles Curtis—who went on to be Herbert Hoover’s vice president. The first Hispanic senator, Octaviano Larrazolo, also was a Republican. Ditto the first woman popularly elected to the Senate, Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith.

“The Republican Party was the party that gave hope and inspiration to minorities—and there was a coalition at first,” says Ed Brooke, now 92 and living with his wife, Anne, in Miami. “My father was a Republican. My mother was a Republican. They wouldn't dare be a Democrat. The Democrats were a party opposed to civil rights. The South was all Democratic conservatives. And the African-American community considered them the enemy.”  

The decline of centrist Republicans was one important reason for the decline in the GOP’s diversity over recent decades, according to Brooke. The shift of the party’s political base to the states of the former Confederacy coincided with the rise of social conservatism and states’ rights in what had been the progressive party in the era of Lincoln.

Demographics are destiny, and looking like the party of old white men is not a recipe for Republican success in the future. That’s why this forgotten legacy of diversity should be respected and celebrated, even as the Party of Lincoln has turned into the Party of Reagan. Because these forgotten figures deserve to be remembered by Republicans and all Americans as the pioneers they were.
• Sen. Charles Curtis of Kansas served in the Capitol for most of the first three decades of the 20thCentury. Native-American on his mother’s side, Curtis spent much of his childhood growing up on the Kaw reservation with his grandparents, descendants of Chief White Plume. His presence on the 1928 ticket alongside Herbert Hoover made him the first non-white on a major-party presidential ticket and the first to serve as vice president.

As Republicans gather in Tampa—Florida is a must-win swing state with a sizable minority population—the opportunity and obligation for the party to reach out beyond their white base should be clear. 

Don't hold your breath waiting for today's GOP to reach out for anyone other than white heterosexual males. most of whom will  be over 50 years of age.  The party of Lincoln has become the de facto party of the KKK and other white supremacy groups.  And in my view, it's not a coincidence that this horrific transformation of the GOP has coincided with its take over by the Christianists,

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Hurricane Issac Update - The GOP Convention Will Be Wet at Best

The cynic in me continues to hope that Hurricane Issac turns the GOP Convention in Tampa into a bust, but with no serious damage to Floridians.  No one needs to see the disingenuous propaganda that will be pumped out from that coven of lunatics, bigots, racists, and anti-democracy forces that will be assembling for the GOP gathering.  The map above shows Issac's position this morning.  With friends in Key West, my thoughts are on their safety and I hope that wonderful island is spared from any severe damage.

GOP Self Immolates With Abortion Debate

For years now the Republican Party has shamelessly pandered to the foulest elements of the Christianist elements in the country.  The result has been that slowly but surely, the extremism of the Christianist element in the GOP has caused moderates - indeed, I would argue, rational members of the Party to flee - leading to an ever downward spiral of the Party as a whole.  The end result is the dysfunctional insanity that now passes for intellect and logic in the party as a whole as best embodied by Todd Akin of Missouri, although Akin's thinking is pretty much no different than that of Paul Ryan, Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell, and similar fruitcakes who now are deemed leaders of the GOP.  Thankfully, Akin announced in a press conference yesterday that he plans on remaining in the Missouri Senate race all the way - thus guaranteeing the the GOP's extremism on abortion and contraception stays in the media headlines.  In my view, the GOP is reaping what it has sown and I don't have a single tear drop for the Party.  First, these highlights from the Washington Post on Akin's press conference:

In his first press conference since last Sunday’s disastrous interview, Rep. Todd Akin (R) told the Missouri Eagle Forum that he’s still in the race against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and plans to stay in until November.
“Apparently there are some people who are having trouble understanding our message. I’m going to be clear on that today,” he said. “We’re going to be here through the November election and I’m going to be here to win. There may be some negotiations, but they don’t include me.”

Making things even more fun is the fact that the ever sleazy and untethered Mike Huckabee is working with the leading Christofascist groups to rally Kook-Aid support Akin  in defiance of the so-called GOP establishment crowd who first allowed the Christianist loons to start running the asylum known as today's Republican Party.

Politico has an article that looks at the way in which the abortion issue is drowning out GOP efforts to change the subject out of the knowledge that the party's extreme positions on abortion and contraception are radioactive with women voters.  Here are some excerpts:

Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remark forced fellow Republicans to publicly explore the details of how they think about abortion — details that don’t serve their broader argument and that give Democrats a chance to reframe the debate, conservatives say. That’s not going away any time soon: Akin reaffirmed in a Friday press conference that he won’t be dropping out of the Missouri Senate race.

He has proved that it only takes a moment — a word — for a single player to hijack the cause. Republican officials say there’s a lesson to be learned: The message and the messenger matter.
“When we get into the details, I don’t think it’s ever more inclusive of people,” Jackie Curtiss, a 22-year-old Republican National Committee member from Alabama told POLITICO in a telephone interview from Tampa. “I’m a Republican. I’m pro-life. … [but] if I was raped or my best friend was raped, I would hope we would have a chance to make the decision of whether to keep the child. That would be our decision, not the government’s, not the party’s.”
[T]his isn’t the first time this year that an effort to limit abortion — or contraception — has become a liability for the GOP.   In May, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell retreated from a state plan to require women seeking abortions to first have invasive ultrasounds. And earlier this year, House Republican leaders fumbled away a winning religious-liberty argument on the president’s contraception rules when House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) blocked the testimony of Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke at a hearing on the matter.

I love the fact that the GOP as a whole is increasingly recognized to be just as insane as the most whacked out members of the extreme Christian Right.  A reality that even the soon to be released party platform confirms. 

A Mother Blames Herself and Her Church for Her Son's Suicide

Click image to enlarge
There has been coverage ad nausea of the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi  and the aftermath of his death, including the highly publicized trial of his former roommate.  Now, the New York Times has a piece that one can only hope that some parents of LGBT children will read and take to heart.  It's a piece in which Clementi's mother candidly looks at her own failings and how she allowed church sponsored bigotry to harm her child.  Belatedly, she seems to get what she should have grasped long ago: if the choice is between your child or your church, you need to pick your child.  I continue to be dumbstruck by the number of parents who choose their church over their children.  Here are some article highlights:

[T]heir son’s suicide has also forced changes, and new honesty, upon them. They have left the church that made Ms. Clementi so resistant to her son’s declaration. Their middle son, James, acknowledged what the family had long suspected and said that he, too, was gay. The family is devoting itself to a foundation promoting acceptance with the hope of preventing the suicides of gay teenagers.

Most of all, Ms. Clementi has had to grapple with her own role in Tyler’s death. “People talk about coming out of the closet — it’s parents coming out of the closet, too,” she said. “I wasn’t really ready for that.” 

At the time Tyler sat down to tell his parents he was gay, she believed that homosexuality was a sin, as her evangelical church taught. She said she was not ready to tell friends, protecting her son — and herself — from what would surely be the harsh judgments of others.  “It did not change the fact that I loved my son,” she said. “I did need to think about how that would fit into my thoughts on homosexuality.”

In the months after Tyler’s death, some of Ms. Clementi’s friends confided that they, too, had gay children. She blames religion for the shame surrounding it — in the conversation about coming out, Tyler told his mother he did not think he could be Christian and gay. 

“I think some people think that sexual orientation can be changed or prayed over,” she said now, in her kitchen. “But I know sexual orientation is not up for negotiation. I don’t think my children need to be changed. I think that what needed changing is attitudes, or myself, or maybe some other people I know.”
She decided she could no longer attend her church, because doing so would suggest she supported its teachings against homosexuality. And she took strength from reading the Bible as she reconsidered her views. 

“At this point I think Jesus is more about reconciliation and love,” she said. “He spoke more about divorce than homosexuality, but you can be divorced and join a church more than you can be gay and join churches.”
What has troubled her most is the thought that Tyler believed she had rejected him.

Sadly, too often parents think about themselves, and not their child, and they worry about what others will think.  I don't understand the mindset.  I guess I'm glad that I don't because it would be a sad testimony about me if I did understand it.

Facing Down Old Demons

I noted yesterday that August 24, 2012, is the 10 year anniversary of the day I moved out of the family home and began my effort to find self-acceptance and some kind of peace in my life in terms of who I was/am as a gay man.  For those who have contacted me with word of kindness in follow up to that post, please accept my sincere thanks.  As long time readers know, there were times in the past when this blog was a true lifeline for me. I'm amazed that some of you have remained loyal readers over the last 5+ years.  And again, all I can say is "thank you."

An irony about yesterday that I had not shared was that there was an "old timers" reunion/party at the neighborhood pool where I once spent so much time, served on the board of directors for over five years and served as president two years.  The pool manager/swim team coach of three decades was the motivating force behind the event.  I had real trepidation about going - some of my former "friends" had been less than supportive when I came out and moved out.   Others were wonderful and some have remained legal clients and true friends of mine to this day. 

In any event, the boyfriend and I and my youngest daughter all went to the event and much to my surprise it turned out to be a great event and virtually everyone was friendly and gracious to the boyfriend and me.  Perhaps it was out of a knowledge that I had more sweat equity if you will in the facility than many of them.  Or perhaps the former gossips in the crowd had come to rethink their past catty behavior.  In any event, I decided that I would not be kept away by my fears of possible rejection and we proudly and openly attended the event.  Not surprisingly, the boyfriend charmed everyone that he talked with.  

After the event ended, we went over to the home of one of the couples who had always remained supportive to me and before we knew it another three hours had gone by.  I am very glad I went and the lesson to me and others is to be confident with who you are and hang on to the mindset "if  you don't like me, the loss is yours."  Holding you head up high and being confident can really set the tone.


Friday, August 24, 2012

A Decade Latter - Did I Make the Right Decision?

Ten years ago today I moved out of the family home in Virginia Beach and into an apartment in the Ghent area of Norfolk in response to an ultimatum that I either go back in the closet and pretend nothing had happened or get out.  At the time, I saw my options to be (1) end my own life, most likely through a surfing "accident," or (2) try to find some sort of self-acceptance and comfort with myself as a gay man.  I decided to opt for the second alternative and moved to a sparsely furnished apartment and into a world where I knew virtually no one since despite my many past civic, political and community actives I became largely invisible to my former "friends."  Even more hurtful, some of these "friends" dragged my name through the mud and waves of gossip because of my "life style" choice.  

On the day I made the move, I experienced a mixture of anticipation and terror.  Anticipation that I might eventually actually find some kind of self-acceptance that had eluded me most of my life since realizing as a 12 year old that I was "different." That I was attracted to other guys that were "my type" - something unthinkable to someone raised in the truly f*cked up Catholic Church.  The terror came from the fact that most of the entire social world I had known was vaporized in a flash.  In its place was a black emptiness and an unknown future.  The only positive was that the weekend before the move I had come out to my parents who thankfully, did not reject me and made it clear that they would stand by me no matter what.  For this love and support I established the Hamar/HRBOR scholarship in their honor (a link is on the right side of this blog).

The ensuing decade since that August day in 2002 has been a time of great happiness on occasion.  It has also been a period of time that has contained much pain and unhappiness.  There were days where my depression was so severe I even called in to work because I could not get out of bed.  Indeed, twice the pain became so bad that I opted to end my life.  Once via a bottle of Xanax and the other via alcohol and carbon monoxide.  Obviously, since I am writing this post these attempts failed.  Do I regret failing?  Actually, I'm not sure even today.

On the positive side of things, I have a wonderful loving and caring man in my life who loves me for reasons I candidly will never understand.  I tell him that he must have suffered severe head trauma.  It's a standing joke, but I truly don't know what he sees in me.  I also have a good relationship with my youngest child.  And I feel that I have done some positive things for the local LGBT community through founding HRBOR, my activities in Hampton Roads Pride and the EV Legends effort, and my VEER column.

On the negative side, my legal career has been largely destroyed.  As an openly gay man, I am radioactive in the eyes of all of the larger local firms.  And since few firms in this area have national clients, moving away from Hampton Roads with a portable client base proved impossible.  I started my own firm largely because I had no other choice.  Adding to the financial disaster was the anti-gay bigotry and bias I experienced among members of the Virginia judiciary.  One judge even stated in writing that being gay was a choice and, therefore, I needed to be punished for my choice.  Welcome to Virginia!  Another negative is that some of the family wounds that developed in the divorce may never fully heal.

Getting back to the title of this post.  Did I make the right decision?  I candidly don't know at times.  It has been an extremely hard ten years and has included some of the most painful experiences of my life time.  Along the way I've been asked if being gay ruined my life.  My answer is a resounding "No."  There is nothing inherently wrong with being gay and the difficulties gays experience isn't because of their sexual orientation.  No, the evil comes from homophobia and the hate and intolerance preached by those who cling to ignorance and mythical Bible passages - often as a means of enriching themselves or dealing with their own f8cked up psyches. 

As for the option I did not pursue a decade ago, it still exists.  And strangely, I take comfort in that knowledge.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

What GOP Policies Mean to Upward Mobility

Republicans constantly argue that for America to prosper taxes on the wealthy need to be cut drastically and the working poor basically thrown to their own devices since the GOP would dismantle the social safety net.  And all too often, Europe is held up as the bogeyman for what might befall America if the GOP policies aren't implemented.  Truth be told, we should want to be more like Europe which now has more opportunity for upward mobility than the United States.  Moreover, with largely national health care systems, European don't need to go without preventive care or live in fear that a serious illness will drive them into bankruptcy.  Talking Points Memo looks at the reality of where we are as opposed to the disingenuous claims of greed driven Republicans and their Kool-Aid imbibing followers.  Here are some story highlights:

In his widely trumpeted speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation Wednesday, Republican budget guru and liberal bogeyman Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin rejected the notion that wealthier Americans should pay higher taxes to sustain or broaden a social safety net for poor and middle class workers and retirees.

Instead, he argued, policy should be geared toward allowing high earners to grow the economy, and to facilitate upward mobility for the working class. America, he argued, exemplifies the latter model while European economies illustrate the perils of the former.

That is what they do in class-riven Europe, he said, where “Top-heavy welfare states have replaced the traditional aristocracies, and masses of the long-term unemployed are locked into the new lower class. The United States was destined to break out of this bleak history.”  Turns out that is — not true. 

There are a lot of data available on this issue, but the clearest chart comes courtesy of the Economic Mobility Project, which looked at the correlation between parent and child income in various countries. Turns out in America, you’re more likely to stay rich if born rich, and stay poor if born poor, than you are in most European countries.

These findings are more striking when put in comparative context. There is little available evidence that the United States has more relative mobility than other advanced nations. If anything, the data seem to suggest the opposite.”

The entire report on America's declining upward mobility can be found here.   As is the case with the Christianists, if a Republican's lips are moving, nowadays the best approach is to assume that they are lying.  It's unlikely that you'll be proven wrong.

Gold, God and Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan is, in my opinion, many things.  And being an honest person is not one of them.  In addition to his efforts to now lie about his horrific anti-woman record, Ryan holds disturbing economic beliefs that show his feigned religiosity to be a lie as well.  Here's why.  Ryan claims to be a devoted Catholic yet champions a budget pan that kicks the poor and unfortunate to the curb with not even a twinge of remorse or apparently any thought of the Gospel message.  Likewise, he idolizes the writings of Ayn Rand which are in many ways 180 degrees the opposite of what he claims to believe religiously and which deny the existence of God and which uphold abortion rights.  Indeed, one has to wonder whether Ryan is schizophrenic or a dissembling liar.  As for his far right supporters, they are either ignorant morons or ultimately driven by greed and a self centered focus that is disgusting.  Paul Krugman has a column in the New York Times that looks at Ryan and his warped values.  Here are excerpts:

So far, most of the discussion of Paul Ryan, the presumptive Republican nominee for vice president, has focused on his budget proposals. But Mr. Ryan is a man of many ideas, which would ordinarily be a good thing.  In his case, however, most of those ideas appear to come from works of fiction, specifically Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.” 

For those who somehow missed it when growing up, “Atlas Shrugged” is a fantasy in which the world’s productive people — the “job creators,” if you like — withdraw their services from an ungrateful society.  .   .   .   .   True, in recent years, he has tried to downplay his Randism, calling it an “urban legend.” It’s not hard to see why: Rand’s fervent atheism — not to mention her declaration that “abortion is a moral right” — isn’t what the G.O.P. base wants to hear. 

But Mr. Ryan is being disingenuous. In 2005, he told the Atlas Society, which is devoted to promoting Rand’s ideas, that she inspired his political career: “If I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” He also declared that Rand’s work was required reading for his staff and interns. 

And the Ryan fiscal program clearly reflects Randian notions. As I documented in my last column, Mr. Ryan’s reputation for being serious about the budget deficit is completely undeserved; his policies would actually increase the deficit. But he is deadly serious about cutting taxes on the rich and slashing aid to the poor, very much in line with Rand’s worship of the successful and contempt for “moochers.”

In pushing for draconian cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and other programs that aid the needy, Mr. Ryan isn’t just looking for ways to save money. He’s also, quite explicitly, trying to make life harder for the poor — for their own good. In March, explaining his cuts in aid for the unfortunate, he declared, “We don’t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives.”  Somehow, I doubt that Americans forced to rely on unemployment benefits and food stamps in a depressed economy feel that they’re living in a comfortable hammock.

But wait, there’s more: “Atlas Shrugged” apparently shaped Mr. Ryan’s views on monetary policy, views that he clings to despite having been repeatedly, completely wrong in his predictions. 

Does any of this matter? Well, if the Republican ticket wins, Mr. Ryan will surely be an influential force in the next administration — and bear in mind, too, that he would, as the cliché goes, be a heartbeat away from the presidency. So it should worry us that Mr. Ryan holds monetary views that would, if put into practice, go a long way toward recreating the Great Depression. 

And, beyond that, consider the fact that Mr. Ryan is considered the modern G.O.P.’s big thinker. What does it say about the party when its intellectual leader evidently gets his ideas largely from deeply unrealistic fantasy novels?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Quote of the Day: Andrew Sullivan on Cardinal Dolan and the GOP

Even a casual reader of this blog must know that I find Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York morally reprehensible for many reasons, not the least of which is the man is a pathological liar and a protector of child rapists.  Now, in a blatantly political move Dolan has agreed to give a final benediction at the Republican National Convention next week (unless Hurricane Issac washes it out).  Andrew Sullivan - who was also raised as a Catholic and is equally disgusted with the Church hierarchy - has some pointed comments on Dolan's political partisanship.  Here are excerpts:

The de facto endorsement of the Romney-Ryan ticket by the Catholic hierarchy became close to authoritative yesterday, as the Cardinal Archbishop of New York accepted - in unprecedented fashion - an invitation to offer a benediction on the last day of the RNC, having gone out of his way to praise Paul Ryan as a "great public servant" whom he is "anxious to see in action." The usual practice is the local bishop for a benediction in his diocese. But the Romney-Ryan ticket persisted for obvious political reasons, argued for a big name Catholic, and Dolan, astonishingly, said yes.

The reason this is a big problem is that Dolan is in many ways the national leader of the Benedict XVI hierarchy.  .  .  .  The other problem is that he has already all but endorsed Paul Ryan:  .   .   .   . 

Ryan, an enthusiast of Ayn Rand, wants to drastically gut Medicaid and Medicare, deny 30 million people impending access to health insurance and Dolan interprets this as his "obvious solicitude for the poor." He praises a man who voted for an unfunded Medicare D entitlement, two disastrously expensive wars, and now pledges to balance the budget only over three decades is a model of accountability and restraint and a balanced budget! 

And make no mistake: Dolan is an old-school Catholic pol - a figure who approved payments to molesting priests to expedite their firing, brazenly lied about it, then ran away abroad when the press demanded an explanation. His most important issues are criminalizing abortion, stripping gay couples of any civil legal protection, and making sure that non-Catholic employees of Catholic hospitals and schools be denied access to insured contraception. That he is saying the benediction for a ticket that explicitly endorses a priority for the super-rich over the working poor and views illegal immigrants as beneath contempt also tells you a lot about Dolan's priorities. 

The Cardinal's spokesman insists it's just a prayer - but as Michael O'Loughlin of the Jesuit magazine America has noted, the leading Catholic Archbishop in the country traveling all the way to Florida to big-foot the local bishop and finish up the GOP Convention is such a staggeringly partisan act, especially given the politics around contraception and religious freedom, it's deeply reckless .  .  .  .

Romney Advisor Files Law Suit to Force Deportation of Young Illegal Immigrants

Mitt Romney is already seen as radioactive by many in the Hispanic community because of his harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy proposals that screw over all but the wealthiest Americans.  So how do you make yourself even more unpalatable?  Have your adviser file a lawsuit seeking to force the deportation of young illegal immigrants who would be given an opportunity for relief under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan.  Remember, to qualify for relief, these young people need to meet a number of criteria, not the least of which is that they have come to the country before they were 16 and be a student, high school graduate or military veteran.  What's the real offense of these young people?  It's simple: they are non-whites who are hated by the Christofascist?Tea Party Base of the GOP.  Yep, those same folks who pretend to honor the Gospel message.  Both the Virginian Pilot and Politico have coverage. Here are highlights from the Politico article:

A Mitt Romney adviser is representing 10 federal employees in a lawsuit aimed at undoing President Barack Obama’s June immigration directive.   Kris Kobach, Kansas’s secretary of state and a Romney immigration counsel, is representing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials who believe that Obama’s immigration action requires them to break federal law.

“The Directive is an extension of the DREAM Act, which was rejected by Congress, and aims to grant an amnesty to 1.7 million illegal aliens. It violates federal immigration laws that require certain aliens to be placed in removal proceedings,” Kobach said in a statement.

The directive allows young illegal immigrants who met certain criteria be allowed to stay in the country. To qualify, an individual must have come to the United States before they were 16 and be a student, high school graduate or military veteran. They must have also been in the country for five years, and not be considered a risk to national security or public safety.

The plaintiffs argue that such a decision requires legislative approval, and are asking the court to declare it unconstitutional. 

The Virginian Pilot story also adds:

Matt Chandler, a DHS spokesman, said the department uses prosecutorial discretion to focus its efforts on arresting and deporting criminal immigrants, and the newest policy is in line with that effort.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services started accepting applications for the program on Aug. 15. Immigrants have to pay a $465 paperwork fee for the program.

The GOP base truly despises anyone who isn't white, conservative Christian and heterosexual.

Five Myths About the Romney/Ryan Budget

A number of stories around the Internet have described the Romney/Ryan campaign as the most dishonest ever.  Indeed, the approach seems to be to throw out as many lies as possible and leave it to the media and voters to figure out that they are being played for fools.  One of the areas in which shameless lies are being disseminated by Romney, Ryan and the GOP supporting PAC's is on what the GOP budget proposal would do.  They claim they would cut the budget deficit, but guess what, it's a lie.  A column in the Washington Post demolishes five of the myths/lies being put forth by the disingenuous GOP.  Here are excerpts:

Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate in the presidential election, has convinced many in Washington that his budget blueprint is a serious proposal for solving our long-term fiscal problems. Unfortunately, it’s not. Let’s dig into the asterisks of Ryan’s plan and unearth the fine print.
1. Paul Ryan’s budget would reduce the deficit.  The Ryan budget is a Potemkin village: It looks good from afar but is just a facade. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the plan would cut the public debt almost in half as a share of the economy by 2040. Sounds good, right?

Take a closer look, and you’ll see that the Ryan budget rests on three pillars that rely on capping and punting — limiting spending to a certain level but providing no specifics on how to achieve that number.

First, federal Medicaid spending is currently forecast to double by 2040, from 2 percent of gross domestic product to 4 percent. Under Ryan’s budget, it is projected to be cut in half over that period. This dramatic turnaround will supposedly occur by turning Medicaid over to the states through block grants. Anyone want to bet that will work?
Second, the Wisconsin congressman has specified $4.5 trillion in tax cuts, counting on massive rollbacks of tax breaks — such as the mortgage interest deduction — to pay for them. But he offers no details as to how to achieve such reductions, and most serious tax analysts don’t think such changes are politically feasible.

Third, Ryan assumes that nondefense discretionary spending, including education and basic government services, will fall from more than 12 percent of GDP last year to less than 5 percentby 2040. Again, he provides scant details on how to get there.

If you take out everything Ryan is assuming and look at his concrete proposals, his budget is not fiscally conservative. 

2. The Ryan budget would help the middle class.  Ryan says he would cut tax rates for all families, but that doesn’t mean the middle class would be any better off. Even after the Bush tax cuts, Ryan’s reductions would amount to about $1,000 a year for families with annual incomes between $50,000 and $75,000— compared with a cut of more than $250,000 a year for those with incomes above $1 million.

Furthermore, unlike the proposal from the nonpartisan Domenici-Rivlin deficit-reduction commission, the Ryan budget does not include any provisions to create jobs immediately. 

3. Ryan’s proposal would cut health-care spending by reforming Medicare.  Ryan says his plan would reduce health-care spending by increasing competition, but reality doesn’t remotely match his rhetoric. The CBO analyzed Ryan’s 2011 budget proposal, which would over time move Medicare entirely to private plans, and found that it would significantly increase total health-care spending (that is, spending by the government and Medicare beneficiaries).

4. Ryan’s plan would provide certainty to the markets and the economy.  Ryan likes to highlight the job-killing effects of uncertainty, but his budget would exacerbate it. Corporate executives hold back on investment and hiring when they don’t know what will happen next in terms of government policy. From that perspective, uncertainty is created when specifics are unknown — just like in Ryan’s plan.

5. If Romney wins, Ryan’s budget will be his fiscal blueprint.  .   .   .   .    if the Romney-Ryan ticket wins, their administration would probably have to choose one or two of the big three items: tax reform, Medicare changes or block-granting Medicaid. Among the three, I’d bet on Medicaid, given how difficult the other two goals are. The fact that the harm from block-granting would be concentrated on the poor, and that Congress would get to leave it to governors to impose the pain, sadly makes that change more politically viable than the others.

The author of the column is  Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2009 to 2010. 

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Roanoke Auto Shop Restores Bullied Gay Student's Car

Living in Virginia, typical news coverage of gay related issues involves reports on the latest anti-gay legislation being pushed by the Republican Party of Virginia at the direction of The Family Foundation or the latest acts of anti-gay bigotry around the state.  Thus, it's a pleasant surprise to see a story where someone has done something nice to a gay Virginian.  In the case at hand, anti-gay bigotry gave rise to an act of generosity by several Roanoke area businesses that restored and upgraded a car belonging to a gay college student after the car had been vandalize in an anti-gay incident.  WDBJ TV7 has details.  Here are highlights:

A college student has a "new" car. It's all thanks to a Roanoke auto shop.  Jordan Addison is a student at Radford University. Between March and May of this year his car was vandalized four times.  Once at his home and three times on-campus.

"The first time there were some homophobic slurs keyed into the side of it," says Addison, "Then the second time I had die keyed into it."  Addison believes he was targeted because he's gay.  The homophobic slur was written across one side of this car and he tried to everything to cover it but nothing worked.

Richard Henegar, Jr. heard what happened to Addison.  "Once I saw the vandalism that was done to it I said that's uncalled for we're gonna fix your car that's the least we can do," says Henegar.  He's the manager at Quality Auto Paint and Body in Roanoke and the shop decided to help Addison out for free.

Henegar estimates they spent 100 hours in the last two weeks working on the car.  There are new tires, a new paint job, tinted windows, new security system, and new stereo. The total cost was well over $10,000.  The new and improved car was unveiled to Addison on Monday.  He was speechless.  "It looks great," says Addison, "It hasn't looked that great the entire time I've had it." "We were glad to see he was pleased with it," says Henegar.

Henegar says 10 other businesses helped out.  "We can't afford to do this ourselves," says Henegar, "We might have all the good intentions in the world but I can't finance something like this ourselves."  Those businesses include Parts Unlimited in Vinton, Advance Auto Parts, Moon's Auto Body, Rice Toyota, Val's Automotive, The Rod Shop, B&C Exterminating, Twists & Turns, AJ's Landscaping, and Sunnybrook Auto Spa.

Church Sex Scandal Bingo

Click image to enlarge
I found the above image via Joe.My.God and Stuff Fundies Like which does a great job of laying out the excuses used by the "godly Christian" folk and the Catholic Church hierarchy to excuse horrific crimes against children and youth of both genders.  If the truth hurts, I'm sorry.  Hypocrites need to be exposed.

11th Circuit Blocks Much of Alabama's Anti-Immigrant Law

Thirty plus years ago I lived in Alabama (George Wallace was governor when I first arrived) and it's frightening to see how much the state has regressed over the last three decades - principally under Republican Party rule and a mindset akin to that in the image above.  Who would have thought that the Alabama of 30 years ago would turn out to seem liberal compared to what we see today.  Racism, bigotry and the embrace of ignorance now seem to be the rule for most of the state.  The horrific anti-immigrant legislation the state passed is a case in point.  Fortunately, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal for the 11th Circuit has struck down much of Alabama's anti-immigrant law.  The New York Times opines on that welcomed ruling.  Here are highlights:

THE GOAL of attrition through law enforcement for illegal immigrants — or, to use the term Mitt Romney favors, “self-deportation” — has suffered a series of setbacks. The latest came Monday when a federal appeals court blocked major parts of Alabama’s draconian immigration law, . . . 

It is increasingly clear that Republican state lawmakers and governors have gone too far in their campaign to harass and bully the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants in the hope that they will simply disappear.

Alabama has the distinction of having enacted the nation’s only immigration law that was more aggressive — and more blatantly designed to banish illegal immigrants — than Arizona’s. The idea was to persecute a class of people who had come to the state to fill jobs most Americans don’t want, thus making life so miserable for them that they would leave.

The law’s most obnoxious provision turned public schools into immigration agents by forcing them to ask enrolling students about their and their parents’ immigration status. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit blocked that measure, saying that it violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment by singling out undocumented students, whose right to a public education was affirmed by the Supreme Court 30 years ago.

One gets the impression that if Alabama lawmakers could have devised a way to criminalize immigrants’ breathing the state’s air, they would have done so. Instead, they threw up an array of other obstacles to immigrants’ ability to live in Alabama. “Essentially, the ability to maintain even a minimal existence is no longer an option for unlawfully present aliens in Alabama,” the court wrote.

The court blocked many of these provisions. One would have criminalized the mere act of seeking or performing work by illegal immigrants. Another would have rendered all contracts with illegal immigrants, including leases and employment contracts, unenforceable in court. Still another would have created a new state crime for failing to carry an alien registration document, which is a federal violation.

A separate lawsuit brought by civil rights and Hispanic advocacy groups is attempting to show that this measure will subject minorities, including legal immigrants and native-born Americans, to racial profiling and unjustified detentions and arrests. It remains to be seen how the courts will treat that litigation. If it succeeds, the Republican efforts at the state level to make life untenable for illegal immigrants will have been for naught.

Like the Republican Party, Alabama has become something truly ugly.  And it's the "godly Christians" and their GOP puppets who have been the authors of the horrors.  Meanwhile, I suspect many progressive residents of the state have moved elsewhere while many business have shunned the state for it embrace of ignorance and bigotry.

How Mitt Romney Resembles Chick Fil-A

image via AP
When I saw a headline on The Daily Beast along the lines of the caption of this post I laughed at first.  But upon reading the article, I had to admit that it was right on target.  Mich of the same nastiness, open bigotry and false piety that are synonymous with the chicken sandwich franchise are found with striking detail in the person of Mitt Romney and his campaign.  Here are excerpts from the article:

In the modern era, presidential campaigns are very much like large corporations. And in some instances, they take on the characteristics of well-known companies. The 2008 Obama campaign, for example, was very much made in the vein of Facebook circa 2008—networked, young, tech-savvy, idealistic.
So what’s the corporate analog for the Romney campaign? How about Chick-fil-A .  .  .  . consider the following similarities.
Chick-fil-A is a well-known American brand that was founded by a charismatic, rustic entrepreneur with a hardscrabble upbringing who didn’t graduate from college.   .   .   .   .   Just so, the Romney name is a well-known American political brand that was founded by a charismatic, rustic entrepreneur with a hardscrabble upbringing who didn’t graduate from college. George Romney rose from a humble birth to become an auto executive, governor of Michigan, and Housing secretary in the Nixon administration. The Romney political brand is now firmly in the hands of the second generation leadership.
Chick-fil-A is huge in the South but doesn’t have any presence to speak of in New England, save a vestigial presence in Massachusetts and a token outpost in New Hampshire.  .  .  .  .  The Romney campaign is similarly huge in the South. Polls generally show that he is generally crushing it in the former Confederacy and is making a strong play for Florida. Romney, like Chick-fil-A, doesn’t seem interested in competing seriously in the large market east of the Hudson River. Of course, he does have a vestigial presence in Massachusetts (where the campaign is nominally headquartered) and a token presence in New Hampshire, where he owns a large lakefront house.

Chick-fil-A’s expansion plans seem to rest largely on appealing to its existing base in rural areas and ignoring the vast new customer base that lies in more diverse areas. .  .  .  .  the Romney campaign is largely focused on appealing to the Republican party’s existing base–the wealthy, the old, the white–and doesn’t seem particularly interested in the vast new customer base that lies in more diverse areas.

Chick-fil-A seeks financial privacy.  .  .  .  .  Chick-fil-A has chosen an ownership structure that lets it avoid disclosing a lot to the public. Just so, the Romney campaign has tenaciously clung to financial privacy. In an age of greater disclosure and transparency, Romney is keeping details of his finances and taxes extremely close to the vest–despite the huge pressure he faces to disclose more. His fortune remains privately held and family owned. And he has chosen a set of ownership structures–private equity, offshore accounts, blind trusts, partnerships–that let him avoid disclosing a lot to the public.

Chick-fil-A willfully embraces unhealthful consumption habits.   .  .  .  .   Chick-fil-A, in other words, is a major proponent of an oil-based strategy for fueling the body.  .   .  .  .  Romney also encourages unhealthful consumption habits. He’s been campaigning against subsidies for renewable energy, and against electric vehicles and government-mandated efficiency measures. And he has been pushing for greater use of coal and oil drilling. He’s a major proponent of an oil-based strategy for fueling the nation.

Chick-fil-A has taken a hard line against gay marriage.   .  .  .  Mitt Romney, who once proclaimed that he would be better on gay rights than Ted Kennedy, has similarly taken a hard line against gay marriage. Now he’s the standard bearer of a party whose platform is opposed to civil unions for gays.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Paul Ryan Is More Extreme On Abortion Than Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin

I never cease to be amazed at the way politicians - particularly Republican politicians - seem to think that the media and the rest of us are so stupid and moronic that we won't remember previous statements that they've made or actions that they taken.  Even when all kinds of documentation - and even better yet video clips - exist to confirm that they are lying now when they pretend that they never made such statements or took such positions.  I don't know if the phenomenon arises from arrogance, hubris or both.  Paul Ryan is a case in point: even as he tries to distances himself from Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin, the truth is that Ryan is even more extreme than Akin.  Andrew Sullivan provides a masterful expose on Ryan's extremism and blatant dishonesty.  Here are excerpts:

Ian Millhiser reviews Ryan's record:
The man Mitt Romney wants to be a heartbeat away from the presidency claimed that abortion should be illegal except for “cases in which a doctor deems an abortion necessary to save the mother’s life” as far back as his first House campaign in 1998. Throughout his career Ryan’s view has been consistent and unambiguous — rape survivors are out of luck.
Kate Sheppard says some of the legislation Ryan has supported is even more severe:
Although Ryan's anti-abortion credentials have gotten plenty of coverage since he was announced as Romney's veep choice, the full extent of the measures he's endorsed is breathtaking, and includes cosponsoring a measure that would allow hospitals to deny women access to an abortions even if their life is in immediate danger.
Buzzfeed has dug up video of Ryan railing against abortion health-of-the-mother exemptions. Jamelle Bouie says if "you live in a swing state, don’t be surprised if this video appears with a short endorsement from President Obama":
It’s almost unfair that Todd Akin is the new national symbol of anti-abortion extremism; compared to Ryan, he’s almost a squish. Akin received a 90 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee during one of his six terms. Ryan has maintained a 100 percent rating throughout the same period.
 Some may claim I'm being unduly harsh on Ryan, but I'm sorry.  I cannot tolerate deliberate liars and there's no other way to describe Ryan.  What makes it all worse is the disgusting way he tries to cloth himself in religious values.  As a Catholic, if Ryan were a truly moral person, he'd be condemning the Church hierarchy in the wake of the sex abuse scandal and calling for a thorough house cleaning.  Instead, he has his nose so far up the Catholic bishops' ponderous asses that it's a miracle he hasn't suffocated.  Ryan is an extremist and modern day Pharisee of the first order.  Oh, and did I mention the word hypocrite?

New MBC/Wall Street Journal Poll: 0 Percent of Blacks for Mitt Romney

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has yielded results that ought to have been foreseen by anyone rational and sentient: 0% of black Americans are supporting the Romney/Ryan ticket.  Frankly, the results should come as no surprise because a black American voting for any Republican candidate in today's GOP is akin to a Jew voting for Hitler and the Nazi Party or a black voting for a KKK candidate.  Only a lunatic or a complete idiot would vote that way.  And black voters are confirming that they are not the idiots that the GOP and its allies like the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") take them to be.    Here are highlights from Politico:

President Barack Obama continues to beat Mitt Romney among African American voters with a staggering 94 percent to 0 percent lead, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll — which gives Obama and Vice President Joe Biden a small lead over Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan — shows Obama has a massive lead over his Republican rival in the key political base of African-American voters, reported.

Obama also beats Romney among Latinos, voters under 35 and women, while Romney does better than Obama with whites, rural voters and seniors.

While it is heartening to see that the cited demographic groups are not falling for disingenuous GOP lies, on the other hand, it is disheartening to see how pathetic American politics have become.  A post at sums up things well:

 It may be tempting for white progressives to laugh at the fact that Romney is polling at 0% among a significant US demographic, but, for real, that shit isn't funny. It's tragic. The Republican Party has made disenfranchising African-American voters, failing to serve African-American communities via their garbage policies, and using race and class (the latter inextricably tied to the former in the US) as a wedge issue to win elections, for decades.

That virtually all African-Americans feel, and rightly so, that voting Republican is not remotely an option for them means that, in a country already gridlocked and polarized and totally fucked by an entrenched two-party system that increasingly benefits no one but the One Percent and Big Business, African-Americans aren't even left with the shitty choice between two shitty parties, but the option to vote for the one party that is slightly less shitty or not voting at all.

Maureen Dowd Eviscerates Paul Ryan and GOP

I love the way Maureen Dowd writes - when she decides to rip into someone, look out.  She has a masterful column in the New York Times that eviscerates Paul Ryan and the rest of the "American Taliban" a/k/a the Republican Party.  Frankly, I have no idea how any rational woman or any non-self loathing LGBT individual can support the religious extremism that now is one of the primary attributes of the GOP - greed and lack of compassion being two other principal attributes.  Here are some highlights:

Todd Akin is right. He shouldn’t have to get out of the United States Senate race in Missouri simply for saying what he believes. He reflects a severe stance on abortion that many in his party embrace, including the new vice presidential candidate. 

Other Republicans are trying to cover up their true identity to get elected. Even as party leaders attempted to lock the crazy uncle in the attic in Missouri, they were doing their own crazy thing down in Tampa, Fla., by reiterating language in their platform calling for a no-exceptions Constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother. 

Paul Ryan, who teamed up with Akin in the House to sponsor harsh anti-abortion bills, may look young and hip and new generation, with his iPod full of heavy metal jams and his cute kids. But he’s just a fresh face on a Taliban creed — the evermore antediluvian, anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-gay conservative core. Amiable in khakis and polo shirts, Ryan is the perfect modern leader to rally medieval Republicans who believe that Adam and Eve cavorted with dinosaurs.

In asserting that women have the superpower to repel rape sperm, Akin ratcheted up the old chauvinist argument that gals who wear miniskirts and high-heels are “asking” for rape; now women who don’t have the presence of mind to conjure up a tubal spasm, a drone hormone, a magic spermicidal secretion or mere willpower to block conception during rape are “asking” for a baby. 

Dr. Paul Blumenthal, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology who directs the Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services  .  .  .  .  is alarmed that Akin is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.  “What is very disturbing to me is that people like Mr. Akin who have postulated this secret mechanism for avoiding pregnancy have developed their own make-believe world of science based on entirely self-serving beliefs of convenience or just ignorance,” .  .  .  

“Next we’ll be trying to take away the vote from women,” lamented Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist who advised Romney in the 2008 race. “How can we be the party of cool and make the generational leap forward when we have these recidivist ideas at the very core of our base?”

Akin, Ryan et al. have made it their business to designate which rapes are legitimate, joining up to push Orwellian legislation last year to narrow the definition of rape to “forcible rape.” 

And Mitt, who was for abortion rights (except for Mormons he counseled) before he was against them, in his last presidential bid went after the endorsement of Dr. John Willke, a former president of the National Right to Life Committee and father of the inanity about rape victims being able to turn back sperm if they put their mind and muscles to it.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Gay Spas and Strip Joints Prepare for GOP Convention

The hypocrisy of today's Republicans truly knows no limit.  Even as the Party pushes the most extreme and reactionary platform ever, Tampa area strip joints and gay clubs and spas are preparing for the onslaught of the falsely pious folks from the convention.  The GOP motto is obviously "do as I say, not as I do."  My favorite promotion, however, comes from the Ybor Resort and Spa which is offering free admission to GOP convention attendees.   Joe Jervis adds this note:

For those unaware, Ybor City is a homo-heavy entertainment district famed for its riotous nightclub scene, which is often described as Tampa's version of Bourbon Street. Google tells us that the above bathhouse is riiiight around the corner from GOProud's Homocon 2012 on the same block. How convenient! 

Today's GOP: extremism and hypocrisy all rolled into one.

New York Times: What the G.O.P. Platform Represents

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I left the Republican Party years ago when conservative Christian religious views became so enmeshed in the party's positions that the concept of separation of church and state disappeared from GOP parlance.  And things have only gotten worse with time and the GOP platform in part now looks like a Christianist version of Sharia law that is to be forced on all Americans.  The irony, of course, is that the "godly Christians" in the GOP detest Muslims, yet act little better that Islamic extremists in terms of seeking to force religious beliefs on all citizens.  The GOP Party Platform being unveiled in the lead up to the GOP convention next week is a testament to how extreme a once respectable political party has become.  And not surprisingly, women and gays are two of the favored whipping boys.  The New York Times trashes the platform in a main editorial.  Here are excerpts:

Over the years, the major parties’ election-year platforms have been regarded as Kabuki theater scripts for convention week. The presidential candidates blithely ignored them or openly dismissed the most extreme planks with a knowing wink as merely a gesture to pacify the noisiest activists in the party.

That cannot be said of the draft of the Republican platform circulating ahead of the convention in Tampa, Fla. The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that the extreme is now the mainstream. The mean-spirited and intolerant platform represents the face of Republican politics in 2012. And unless he makes changes, it is the current face of the shape-shifting Mitt Romney. 

The draft document is more aggressive in its opposition to women’s reproductive rights and to gay rights than any in memory. It accuses President Obama and the federal judiciary of “an assault on the foundations of our society,” and calls for constitutional amendments banning both same-sex marriage and abortion. 

In defending one of the last vestiges of officially sanctioned discrimination — restrictions on the rights of gay men and lesbians to marry — the platform relies on the idea that marriage between one man and one woman has for thousands of years “been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.”  .  .  .  .  Studies purporting to show that children of lesbians are disadvantaged have been shown to be junk science. Marriages between people of the same gender pose no threat to marriages between men and women. 

In passages on abortion, the draft platform puts the party on the most extreme fringes of American opinion. It calls for a “human life amendment” and for legislation “to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” That would erase any right women have to make decisions about their health and their bodies. There are no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, and such laws could threaten even birth control. 

The draft platform also espouses the most extreme Republican views on taxation, national security, military spending and other issues. 

Over all, it is farther out on the party’s fringe than Mr. Romney ventured in the primaries, when he repudiated a career’s worth of centrist views on issues like abortion and gay marriage. But the planks hew closely to the views of his running mate, Paul Ryan, and the powerful right-wing.
As a one time GOP activist, I keep asking myself WTF happened.  Two words provide the answer: Christian Right.  The GOP has become an arm of the most toxic religious extremists in the nation.  As proof, one need look no further than Tony Perkins, the leader of a registered hate group, writing the portion of the platform addressing marriage.   It simply doesn't get more extreme than that.

Has God forsaken the Republican Party?

While Dana Milbank clearly has his head up his ass in terms of recognizing a hate group when he is all but beat about the head with evidence, he did get it right in a part serious party humorous column in the Washington Post that looks at some of the self-inflicted debacles that the Republican Party has wrought against itself.  Oh, and then there's the possible hurricane that might sweep over Tampa as the self-styled party of God assembles for its national convention.  I wish nothing ill on Floridians, but a direct track of Isaac - we even get a biblical name - over Tampa would be most entertaining since it would definitely be a display of God's displeasure if one subscribes to the lunacy of the party base and spokesmen like Pat Robertson and other certifiable crazies.  Here are some column highlights:

Has God forsaken the Republican Party?  Well, sit in judgment of what’s happened in the past few days:

** A report comes out that a couple dozen House Republicans engaged in an alcohol-induced frolic, in one case nude, in the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus is believed to have walked on water, calmed the storm and, nearby, turned water into wine and performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

** Rep. Todd Akin, Missouri’s Republican nominee for Senate, suggests there is such a thing as “legitimate rape” and purports that women’s bodies have mysterious ways to repel the seed of rapists. He spends the next 48 hours rejecting GOP leaders’ demands that he quit the race.

** Weather forecasts show that a storm, likely to grow into Hurricane Isaac, may be chugging toward . . . Tampa, where Republicans will open their quadrennial nominating convention on Monday.

Coincidence? Or part of some Intelligent Design?  By their own logic, Republicans and their conservative allies should be concerned that Isaac is a form of divine retribution. Last year, Rep. Michele Bachmann, then a Republican presidential candidate, said that the East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene — another “I” storm, but not an Old Testament one — were attempts by God “to get the attention of the politicians.” In remarks later termed a “joke,” she said: “It’s time for an act of God and we’re getting it.”

Even if you don’t believe God uses meteorological phenomena to express His will, it’s difficult for mere mortals to explain what is happening to the GOP just now. 

By most earthly measures, President Obama has no business being reelected.  .  .  .  . But instead of being swept into office by the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression, Republicans are in danger of losing an election that is theirs to lose. Mitt Romney, often tone-deaf, has allowed Obama to change the subject to Romney’s tax havens and tax returns. And congressional Republicans are providing all kinds of reasons for Americans to doubt their readiness to assume power.

A boozy frolic at a Christian holy site might have been a considerable embarrassment for the party, but it was eclipsed by a bigger one: Akin’s preposterous claim on a St. Louis TV program that pregnancy is rare after a “legitimate rapebecause “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

The big party people had a further complication: In Tampa on Tuesday, those drafting the GOP platform agreed to retain a plank calling for a constitutional amendment banning abortion without specifying exceptions for cases of rape. In other words, the Akin position.

For a party that should be sailing toward victory, there were all the makings of a perfect storm. And, sure enough: Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service forecast that “Tropical Depression Nine” would strengthen into a hurricane, taking a northwesterly track over Cuba on Sunday morning — just as Republicans are arriving in Florida.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Akin is the Christianist Mainstrem

As previously noted, Todd Akin is single handedly making both the media and individuals refocus on the real agenda of the Christianists and by extension the Republican Party that they now effectively control.  What's wonderful about Akin is the the real face of the Christianists and therefore, the Republican Party.  As much as Romney, Paul and others engage in contortions to distance themselves from Akin, the truth of the matter is that Akin is today's mainstream Christianist Republican.  Here are highlights from Andrew Sullivan's review of this reality:

Wonder why FRC is still backing him? Or that he sees no reason to quit? The answer is that his view of female reproduction is based on the work of one Dr. Jack C. Willke. Willke is not, as one might expect, some obscure quack, far, far away from the center of Republican and Christianist politics. He is, the LA Times notes, the founder and president of the International Right to Life Federation, president of the Life Issues Institute, and a former president of National Right to Life, the oldest and largest pro-life group in the country.

In 2007, Willke was described as "an important surrogate for Governor Romney's pro-life and pro-family agenda" in the words of the Romney campaign. "I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country," Romney said at the time. Willke, of course, has defended Akin forcefully since the uproar. Here he is, pioneering this wingnut version of female sexuality back in 1999:
First, let's define the term "rape." When pro-lifers speak of rape pregnancies, we should commonly use the phrase "forcible rape" or "assault rape," for that specifies what we're talking about. Rape can also be statutory. Depending upon your state law, statutory rape can be consensual, but we're not addressing that here.
Yes, you read that right: "statutory rape can be consensual". There's more:
How many forcible rapes result in a pregnancy? The numbers claimed have ranged the entire spectrum of possibilities. Some feminists have claimed as high as 5 to 10 percent, which is absurd. One problem has been the lack of available studies and accurate statistics. Often women do not admit to having been raped. On the other hand, it has been known that women, pregnant from consensual intercourse, have later claimed rape. Is it possible to know the actual facts?
It's important to understand that this man [Willke] is a central figure in the history of the religious right. What he is spouting is the orthodoxy you don't hear outside of Christianist circles - but it's there. And it's why Akin seems baffled, and why Ryan had no compunction in using Willke's specific term "forcible rape" as part of a bill he sponsored.