Saturday, September 22, 2012

Boy Scouts Lose Largest Donor Over Anti-Gay Policies

Once again anti-gay bigotry is being shown to have a price.  While the Boy Scouts maintain that they area private organization and can discriminate against gays if they so choose, they are discovering that other enterprises have a similar right to decide what organizations they will help fund and which ones they will not.  In the wake of the Boy Scouts conscious decision to remain hostile to gay scouts and gay troop leaders, Intel - heretofore the largest donor to the Boy Scouts - has announced that it will no longer be funding the Boy Scouts and that the Scouts will be taking a $700,000 hit to its finances.  I applaud Intel's action and hope than more corporate donors will follow suit.   Yes, the Boy Scouts do do some good things.  But sadly, they are also sending a message that bigotry and prejudice are acceptable attributes.  Boys and young men do not need to be receiving this insidious message.  Here are highlights from the New Civil Rights Movement:

The Boy Scouts have just lost their largest corporate donor over their unrelenting insistence to exclude — and even expel — from all levels any gay, bisexual, or transgender man, teen, or boy. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), the $54 billion multinational semiconductor chip maker that powers most computers, has announced they recently ceased funding the century-old Scouting organization, to which it donated$700,000 annually.

GLAAD announced that on Wednesday, Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, launched a campaign on supported by GLAAD and signed by more than 30,000 Americans urging Intel to pull funding from the Boy Scouts of America after an American Independent report revealed that the company gave nearly $700,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2010.”
According to the American Independent, the Intel Foundation has a policy that it will not fund “organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, veteran or disability status.”
Intel made their announcement yesterday.

“Intel joins current Boy Scouts of America Board Members, President Obama, Mitt Romney and hundreds of thousands of Americans in speaking out against the BSA’s practice of unfairly kicking out gay scouts and scout leaders simply because of who they are,” GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said in a statement. ”All of the great work that the BSA does to help young people will continue to be overshadowed by their blatant discrimination until they join other inclusive national organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA and the 4-H Club. The time is now for the BSA to side with fairness, otherwise they will continue to see sponsors and scouting families drop their support.”

Nazi Pope Again Maligns Gays and Claims Gay Marriage "Threatens Society"

Despite the fact that the sex abuse scandal involving predator priests continues unabated around the globe ad despite that he himself ought to be behind bars for his own actions in protecting sexual predators, Pope Benedict XVI continues to attack gays and gay marriage in particular.  Apparently in a snit because France appears poised to join Spain - another one time bastion of Catholicism where the Church's authority is in free fall - in providing full marriage rights to same sex couples, the Nazi Pope told visiting French bishops that gay marriage "threatens the family and society."  Would that he cared half as much about the damage done by child rapist priests and their protectors and enablers.  Gay Star News has details on Benedict XVI's latest verbal diarrhea.  Here are excerpts:

The head of the Catholic church, Pope Benedict XVI, told a group of French bishops visiting Castel Gandolfo that the introduction of gay marriage will threaten society and the family in France.  The Pope attacked yesterday (21 September) France’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage without mentioning the issue directly.
The Pope thus raised three points: Firstly saying that marriage between man and woman is a ‘fact’ of nature and ‘threatened’ by other forms of marriage which are ‘proven’ to be ‘defective’.

Secondly, he warned of that the consequences of legalising gay marriage would harm society, perhaps a critical reference to the right to adoption by same-sex couples.

Thirdly, by saying that ‘defending the family and life is propophetic’ and not ‘regressive’, he is in fact calling upon the French Catholic lobby not to shy away and take a more active stance against the government’s plans to introduce same-sex marriage.

This attack by the Pope is unprecedented in its tenacity and its direct call to interfere in the affairs of a government. His previous attack on the introduction of same-sex marriage in Spain was much more subdued and less strongly worded.

The conservative Catholic lobby in France has been very vocal in its opposition to the country’s government plans to introduce same sex marrige, although some Bishops have remained silent fearing to be portrayed as regressive.

[A]ccording to a BVA French poll published in August, 65 percent of French people support gay marriage and 53 percent support adoption by gay couples.  The full draft of the bill to introduce same-sex marriage is expected to be presented to the French cabinet on the 31 October.
As if the self-absorbed, celibate bitter old queens in the Vatican have any true concept of the family.  Or the real world that the rest of us live in for that matter.   One can only hope that if the Catholic Church continues to try to meddle in secular legal matters that it will soon find itself facing taxation on all of its assets.  The Church has been a parasite on society for far, far too long.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Peggy Noonan Continues to Slam Mitt Romney

Some are predicting a GOP civil war thanks to Mitt Romney's hapless campaign.  And the brickbats from the thinking, rational members of the GOP pundit class that haven't already fled the party continues to be relentless.  I noted recently Peggy Noon's bashing of Romney who she described as a cyborg.  Well, she's back with another column in the Wall Street Journal that continues her assault on Romney.  Here are some highlights:

[H]ere's one tough, cool-eyed report on what is happening in the presidential race. It's from veteran Republican pollster, now corporate strategist, Steve Lombardo of Edelman public relations in Washington. Mr. Lombardo worked in the 2008 Romney campaign. He's not affiliated with any candidate. This is what he wrote Thursday morning, and what he sees is pretty much what I see.

"The pendulum has swung toward Obama." Mitt Romney has "a damaged political persona." He is running behind in key states like Ohio and Virginia and, to a lesser extent, Florida. The president is reversing the decline that began with his "You didn't build that" comment. For three weeks he's been on a roll. The wind's at his back.  How did we get here? What can turn it around?

1. Mr. Romney came out of the primaries "a damaged and flawed candidate." Voters began to see him as elitist, rich, out of touch. "Here the Democrats' early advertising was crucial." Newt Gingrich hurt too, with his attacks on Bain.

2. The Democrats defined Mr. Romney "before he had a chance to define himself." His campaign failed in "not doing a substantial positive media buy to explain who Mitt Romney is and what kind of president he might be."

3. "Perceptions of the economy are improving." Unemployment is high, but the stock market has improved, bringing 401(k)s with it.

4. Obama's approval ratings are up five to six points since last year. He is now at roughly 49% approval, comparable to where President Bush was in 2004.

5. "The president had a strong convention and Romney a weak one." The RNC failed "to relaunch a rebranded Romney and create momentum."

6. Team Romney has been "reactive," partly because of the need for damage control, but it also failed to force the Obama campaign to react to its proposals and initiatives.

7. The "47%" comment didn't help, but Mr. Romney's Libya statement was a critical moment. Team Romney did not know "the most basic political tenet of a foreign crisis: when there is an international incident in which America is attacked, voters in this country will (at least in the short term) rally around the flag and the President. Always. It is stunning that Team Romney failed to recognize this." 
The Romney campaign has to get turned around. This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant "rolling calamity." A lot of people weighed in, in I suppose expected ways: "Glad you said this," "Mad you said this." But, some surprises. No one that I know of defended the campaign or argued "you're missing some of its quiet excellence." Instead there was broad agreement with the gist of the critique—from some in the midlevel of the campaign itself, from outside backers and from various party activists and officials. 

There were wistful notes from the Republicans who'd helped run previous campaigns, most of whom could be characterized as serious, moderate conservatives, all of whom want to see Mr. Romney win  .   .   .   but they're in despair at the Romney campaign.

Straight Spouses - The Collateral Damage of the "Ex-Gay" and "Change" Myths

A topic that I've addressed before but which needs much more exposure is the damage done to straight spouses who find themselves in marriages to gay/lesbian spouses who have married typically under pressure to conform to societal/family expectations and religious brainwashing that tells them that sexual orientation is changeable and that one can become "straight."   Despite the fact that all legitimate medical and mental health associations now condemn the "change myth" as I call it and hold that sexual orientation is not something that one can change, the leading Christofascist and anti-gay hate groups and many churches continue to push the myth that "gay is wrong" and that "change is possible."  Indeed, just this week Joel Osteen engaged in some of this batshitery even though he conceded that he did not "choose" to be heterosexual.  

A piece by Amity P. Buxton, (pictured above left) founder of the Straight Spouse Network, in Huffington Post looks at the plight of these men and women who find themselves in a whirlwind because their wives or husbands, as the case may be, tried to be straight, married and often had children as they deceived themselves and their spouses until the whole structure simply collapsed.  I'm one such formerly married gay with children and I've seen the collateral damage that the ex-gay charlatans and religious leaders like Pope Benedict XVI cause.   The evil they do to countless thousands of gays/lesbians and their straight spouses needs to be exposed and stopped.  Here are excerpts from the piece in Huffington Post:

Tucked in a corner of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender closet is a little-known group: straight women and men in heterosexual marriages whose husbands or wives come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender after marrying them as "the right thing to do." Finding the marriages too difficult to maintain due to their hidden sexual orientation or gender identity, they eventually say, "Honey, I'm gay," or, "I need to become the woman or man I am .  .  .  .

Though some couples work out ways to stay together, most divorce, their children now in a broken family. As divorced LGBT partners begin to live their lives with integrity, their straight ex-partners are left in shock, their own identity, integrity, and belief system shattered. The spotlight on the disclosing partners, few outsiders think about their wives or husbands. "They're straight! They're normal. No problem."

Lately, many people -- of all orientations -- say to me, "Oh, this doesn't happen nearly as often now, right?" Wrong.  While conditions are improving for same-sex relationships and transgender persons, these marriages still occur to meet heterosexist expectations, and LGBT spouses in them keep coming out.

More importantly, the larger community remains unaware of this wider range of harm caused by anti-same-sex and pro-heterosexual marriage beliefs. Straight spouses are injured by the very anti-gay or anti-trans/pro-straight factors in our society that caused their mates to marry them -- "collateral damage," some say. 

Once they know the truth, the vast majority divorce and must pick up the pieces of their fractured families to create a semblance of normalcy for their children. In addition, a number keep their ex-partners' "secret," wanting to avoid the latter's rejection by community, workplace, or place of worship, and to protect their children from taunts.  .  .  .  .  Few find the knowledgeable professional help they need.

It's time to pay attention to this invisible group. A new book does just that. Unseen-Unheard: The Journey of Straight Spouses, of which I am a co-author, opens the window onto their emotional, sexual, cognitive, psychological, relational, and spiritual trauma.

We wanted readers to see and hear straight spouses' anger at being in their mates' closet unknowingly, their disbelief that the marriage they knew was a mirage, their fear that they don't have strength to cope, their anxiety that their children will suffer, and their grief from letting go of what they thought they had. 

The good news is that most spouses gradually become triumphantly self-confident. Many gain understanding of why their mates married them, and a number, like me, become LGBT equality activists. The bad news is that the societal factors underlying these painful journeys persist, and, until we change them, painful stories like these will continue to be told.

The next time you hear some pastor, priest, televangelist snake oil merchant, Pope, or self-enriching "professional Christian" railing against gays and the homosexual agenda or claiming that gays can "change" I hope you will picture in your mind the men, women and children who are being condemned to doomed marriages  - all so that liars and hypocrites can either feel superior and good about themselves or so that they can line their pockets with money.  Tawdry whores are more virtuous than these "godly Christians." 

Romney Has His Own "Redistribution" Plan

With his campaign in such a bad mess that some are predicting a GOP civil war, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, a/k/a Mini Mitt, are grasping for anything that might breath life into the hopefully moribund campaign.   They think they found a message: the Obama is a "redistributionist" who supports European socialism on statements he made 14 years ago.  Yes, it's lame and has nothing to do with Obama's recent statements, but when one is out of touch, has alienated nearly half the population by calling them lazy moochers, one has to grab whatever twig one finds in the river as it flows towards the top of the approaching waterfall.  The irony, however, as the Washington Post points out is that Romney has his own redistribution plan: progressive taxes, maintaining social security, some form of Medicare, etc.   Of course, he has another goal too: make the poor and the middle class pay more so that he can allow the wealthy to have more - including the obscenely wealthy.  Here are some editorial highlights:

[T]he Romney campaign is accusing President Obama of being a — gasp! — redistributionist. In a rather pale replay of 2008’s Joe the Plumber spread-the-wealth debate, the GOP dredged up a 14-year-old video.

Mitt Romney and his campaign seized on the clip as ominous evidence of Mr. Obama’s European socialist tendencies. “I know there are some who believe that, if you simply take from some and give to others, then we’ll all be better off. It’s known as redistribution. It’s never been a characteristic of America,” Mr. Romney said.

The campaign apparently thinks that voters will find “redistribution” a scary word. But does Mr. Romney really disagree with the belief that part of government’s role is, in Mr. Obama’s words, to help “make sure that everybody’s got a shot”? To tax is to redistribute. To govern is to redistribute. Benefits from government spending flow in different amounts to different individuals and different states.

More to the point, Mr. Romney himself has endorsed redistributionism. He does not proposing abolishing Medicaid, Pell grants for college affordability or food stamps — all ways in which government redistributes benefits to those less well off. Indeed, Mr. Romney has proposed more redistribution. Social Security is a redistributionist program .  .  .  . 

Mr. Romney favors — brace yourselves — a progressive tax code. He has said that one of the principles of his details-to-follow tax plan is to maintain the current progressivity of the code so that the wealthiest continue to pay the same share of taxes — that is, a larger share of taxes than the less well-off pay.

It’s indisputable that Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama have diverging views about the danger posed by increasing income inequality and the degree of redistribution in which government should engage. But the Romney campaign’s desperate, clownish portrayal of Mr. Obama does this important debate a serious disservice.
 As I have noted before, I find it bizarre that a political party that wraps itself in religion and claims to worship Christ and the Bible continually maligns European governments where the Gospel message of caring for the sick and the poor is actually done through national health care systems, etc., while in America, Republicans want to callously throw the poor and sick in the gutter.  The hypocrisy is breath taking.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Tony Perkins' Spittle Flecked Comments on Anniversary of DADT Repeal

Remember how the Christofascist whined and convulsed over the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell a year ago yesterday?  Remember all the dire predictions about the collapse of the U. S. military and how it was predicted that straight males would either leave the military or refuse to enlist in the first place?  Naturally, none of the predicted horrors have occurred so hate merchants like Tony Perkins and Elaine Donnelly who used DADT repeal to shake down the ignorant and simply minded are posturing to try to save face.  Now Perkins - a pathological liar and friend to white supremacists - is saying it will take 20+ years for the damage to make itself evident.  I guess he still needs some kind of shtick to keep the money flowing in.  Here's a sample of his batshitery and lies via Joe My God:

"Has America's military completely collapsed in the first year after repeal? Of course not--our service members are too professional to let that to happen. But these challenges are only a non-story because the media won't tell the story. We need only look at no-fault divorce in the 1970s to recognize that radical shifts in public policy take decades to fully manifest.

Let's hope the same isn't true for our brave men and women in uniform."  

A year ago, Perkins indeed was predicting an immediate collapse.   I guess those straight Southern boys enlisting in the military haven't found "teh Gay" to be so terrifying after all.  As Right Wing Watch reports some of the other usual gay-haters were more circumspect in their statements since the experience in the military has not matched their hysterical dire predictions of a little more than a year ago.  Here's a sampling:

On this day last year, the military certified the repeal of the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy after Congress overturned the policy. Religious Right activists warned that the military will suffer as a result, however, their ominous predictions failed to materialize as studies show that the new policy is working and benefiting the military.

Consequently, it wasn’t a surprise that anti-gay groups were largely quiet today on the anniversary as their warnings about an exodus of soldiers, a drop in enlistments and a return of the draft were clearly wrong.

Ron Crews of the Chaplains Alliance for Religious Liberty released a statement that the “radical sexual agenda in our military” is leading to significant “negative consequences,” citing one example of possible sexual harassment, same-sex ceremonies on bases and the supposed “silencing” of chaplains and DADT supporters

Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink also said in a post quoting Crews and calling for Congress to pass a GOP-backed bill banning same-sex ceremonies on military property, which they said would preserve religious freedom by barring all chaplains from performing such ceremonies.

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, who predicted an increase in rape if the policy was repealed, pivoted away from his group’s hysterical claims to instead focus on possible same-sex marriages in the military, a result of the “radical sexual and social agenda” pushed by “homosexual activists.” Sprigg also cited a survey from the Military Times, but didn’t mention that the same poll found negative views of the repeal among service members are declining.

He also dismissed claims that the military would have “completely collapsed in the first year after repeal” since “our service members are too professional to allow that to happen,” but FRC president Tony Perkins did in fact predict the reinstitution of the draft and that congressmen who voted for the repeal will have “blood on their hands
The truth is that these individuals and organizations are premeditated liars who have but one agenda: impose their religious beliefs on all Americans like some would be Christian Taliban.

Did Mitt Romney Dye His Face to Try to Appeal to Hispanics?

Click image to enlarge
Something bizarre is going on with Mitt Romney as the images above indicate.  Some are suggesting that Mitt - who has proven himself only too willing to pander to whatever group he is a addressing at any moment in time - darkened his face before appealing to Univision viewers.  The photos definitely suggest there's been a sudden darken of Romney's face (but not his hands or apparently his ears as clearly seen above) from what it was in other recent photos.  The other hypocrisy surrounding Romney's statements is the fact that while trying to make himself sound like the son of quasi-Hispanics, he failed to mention why his grandparents were in Mexico in the first place: to escape the polygamy laws in the United States.  Of course, telling the truth about that would seriously conflict with Romney's current claim that "throughout history, marriage has always been one man and one woman."  Except, of course, in Romney's own family tree and that of most Mormons.  Gawker looks at Romney's disingenuous "brown face" appeal.  Here are highlights:

Mitt Romney currently trails President Obama among registered Latino voters by nearly 40%, and getting caught saying things like "it would be helpful to be Latino" certainly isn't helping.

But has it gotten so bad that Romney is now resorting to "brownface" in order to make himself more appealing to Univision viewers? Democratic Underground has looked at the photo above from last night's "presidential forum" and concluded that, yes, Romney definitely "dyed his face brown."

Wonkette wonders if perhaps the GOP nominee was involved in some sort of "self-tanner accident" or perhaps went out tanning with John Boehner "for a little pick-me-up."

Mitt Romney is certainly looking more crispy than usual, but is that enough to call him out for, as Gossip On This put it, trying to win "browning points"? Maybe he's just putting his Snooki love to practice.

One can only wonder what kind of fun Saturday Night Live and/or The Daily Show will have with this insanity. 

Ken Cuccinelli and The GOP's Continued War on Virginia's Women

One can only hope that women in Virginia are paying attention to what Ken Cuccinelli and his fellow Republican theocrats are doing to women as they strive to inflict their own sex and abortion obsessed religious beliefs on all women.  The latest battle - which women lost - involved new clinic rules that were voted on by the Virginia Board of Health following Ken Cuccinelli's incessant attack against clinics providing any kind of abortion services.  The Cuccinelli/GOP effort has been to force the promulgation new rules that will in many instances cause such clinics to either close or under go expensive, unnecessary renovations.  It's all part and parcel with the GOP obsession to control every aspects of women's wombs.  What should women do?  Turn out on election day in mass and vote for Barack Obama and their local Democrat Congressional candidate to send a loud message to Cuccinelli and the GOP.  The Washington Post's main editorial looks at the batshitery being done by Cuccinelli.  Here are excerpts:

IN THREE YEARS as Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli II (R) has demeaned his office by using it as a blatantly partisan bully pulpit to attack Obamacare, illegal immigrants, homosexuals and climate-change scientists. Now he has managed to bully Virginia’s Board of Health into a stance — unprecedented in state history — that could force most of the commonwealth’s 20 or so abortion clinics to close.

Mr. Cuccinelli, who was a champion of the anti-abortion movement as a legislator, has clung to his current office even as he runs for governor. In doing so, he ignores the example of former Virginia attorneys general of both parties who resigned to run rather than politicize the office. In the Cuccinelli worldview, rendering dispassionate legal advice takes a back seat to agenda-pushing. 
[H]e threatened members of the state Board of Health last week, warning that they might have to bear the cost of their own legal defense unless they toed his line on abortion regulations. That gambit bore fruit a few days later when the board, evidently intimidated, reversed a position it had taken in June and voted to impose severe new regulations on abortion clinics, where most of Virginia’s 25,000 annual abortions take place.

The opening for Mr. Cuccinelli’s war on abortion came when Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) signed GOP-sponsored legislation last year to reclassify abortion clinics so they are treated as hospitals, which are subject to exacting standards governing the width of hallways and doorways, the size of operating rooms, numbers of parking spots — even the types of sinks and water fountains. Sponsors of the legislation — which does not apply to other outpatient clinics performing plastic surgery or oral surgery, for instance — were intent on shutting down abortion clinics, many of which would be unable to afford retrofitting. 

[I]mplementation of the new regulations is the purview of the health board, which had never elected to impose new regulations on existing venues. In June, the board voted 7 to 4 to exempt existing clinics.

That prompted Mr. Cuccinelli to resort to strong-arm tactics, first by threatening he would not certify the new regulations, then by warning that his office, which acts as the lawyer for state agencies and boards, might refuse to represent members of the board of health who were sued if they failed to heed his advice.
The Board of Health buckled, voting 13 to 2 last week to reverse its position. If that decision survives a public comment period and review by Mr. McDonnell, Virginia will be known for two things — the nation’s most draconian anti-abortion regulations and its most politicized attorney general’s office.

In my view, Cuccinelli is nothing short of insane.  It's also interesting that he's obsessed with women's sexual matters since I continue to receive as yet unconfirmed reports that Mr. Cuccinelli likes to suck dick - just like so many other flaming self-loathing homophobes.  Needless to say, nothing would make me happier than to confirm such reports and take this menace to Virginia down.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Child Rapist Protecting Bishops Continue to Malign Gays and Gay Marriage

The upside down world view of the morally bankrupt Roman Catholic bishops continues to be stunning.  With nine more lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia claiming sexual abuse by priests and archdiocese cover ups, what's the greatest threat to society?  Same sex marriage.  At least in the eyes of  gay haters like Seattle Bishop Peter Sartain (at left) who says that society would be harmed “beyond repair” if Washington state voters approve Referendum 74, which would uphold a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers, and Minnesota Archbishop John Neinstadt (pictured below).  

While these despicable men rail against gays and gay rights, they are utterly silent when it comes to demanding that those who have aided and abetted sexual predator priests be held accountable or, bet yet, removed from their Church positions.  And yes, that would include calling for the resignation of the Nazi Pope, Benedict XVI who protected sexual predators himself.  To read Neinstadt's recent letter to members of his diocese, you would think that his remarks were scripted by Maggie Gallagher herself.  But then, who knows - perhaps it was since I continue to believe that the National Organization for Marriage is a Catholic Church front organization.

Neinstadt's most outrageous statement is this "What God has revealed to us for all time cannot be changed unilaterally by human beings."  I'm sorry, God did not reveal marriage to anyone.  The Bible is a man made work written largely by individuals who were totally uneducated by modern day standards.  Oh, and by the way, the Catholic Church had no official marriage rite for nearly four centuries. 

Chick Fil-A's Sham Change of Policy - NOTHING has Changed

I've often said on this blog and elsewhere that literally no one lies more than the self-anointed, self-congratulatory members of the Christian Right.  Indeed, if their lips are moving, the only safe assumption is to assume that they are lying.  Apparently, this maxim holds true with Chick Fil-A and the members of the Cathy family who in a ploy to gain city approvals lied to Chicago alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno that the company was changing its policy of funding anti-gay organization.  The truth is that NOTHING has changed and that anti-gay, bigoted organizations can continue to count on Chick Fil-A derived funds to bankroll their campaigns of hate and intolerance.  Today, Chick Fil-A released a press release that makes it clear that NOTHING has changed.  While there is mealy mouthed language about Chick Fil-A treating all customers with respect, the reality is that Chick Fil-A is funding groups that would keep LGBT customers third or fourth class citizens subjected to virulently religious based discrimination.  Frankly, I'd go hungry before I'd spend ten cents at Chick Fil-A.  Think Progress looks at this sad situation.  Here are highlights:

As a result of questions regarding a change in Chick-fil-A’s anti-gay giving — despite the fact it was supporting an anti-gay group this week — the chain has clarified in a new press release that nothing has changed:
A part of our corporate commitment is to be responsible stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Because of this commitment, Chick-fil-A’s giving heritage is focused on programs that educate youth, strengthen families and enrich marriages, and support communities. We will continue to focus our giving in those areas. Our intent is not to support political or social agendas.
As we have stated, the Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators.
It is the very organizations that “strengthen families and enrich marriages” that Chick-fil-A supports that advocate against marriage equality. The restaurant may claim it does not support “political or social agendas,” but that is how the groups it supports spend its money. As for the “honor, dignity, and respect” line, this is the exact same language it issued when the controversy first broke two months ago, and does not constitute a non-discrimination protection for employees.

The Advocate also has coverage on how Chick Fil-A has sponsored a for an anti-gay  organization yet coyly had the checks payable directly to the anti-gay group so as to avid having the funds flow through Chick Fil-A.  Chick Fil-A is using technicalities and semantics to pretend that it has changed its ways when NOTHING has changed.  In short, it is ALL A LIE.  Just as one would expect from a Christofascist controlled company.

Nicholas Kristof on Romney and Moochers: It Takes One to Know One

Yet another thinking conservative is slamming Mitt Romney for his callousness and open contempt for nearly half of the nation's citizenry.  This time it's Nicholas Kristof who has less than kind words for Romney and who intimates that Romney himself is a moocher in a column in the New York Times.  While it is hard to know what Romney really believes given his willingness to say anything to pander to whoever he's speaking to at a given moment, I suspect in his remarks to the millionaire crowd at the Boca Raton fundraiser we got a glimpse of the real Romney and it was ugly.  Here are excerpts from Kristof's column: 

As I watched a video of Mitt Romney scolding moochers suffering from a culture of dependency, I thought of American soldiers I’ve met in Afghanistan and Iraq. They don’t pay federal income tax while they’re in combat zones, and they rely on government benefits when they come back. 

Even if they return unscathed, most will never pay lofty sums in federal income taxes. No, all they offer our nation is their lives, while receiving government benefits — such as a $100,000 “death gratuity” to their wives or husbands when killed. 

Maybe I’m being unfair, for I’m sure that when Romney complained in that video about freeloaders, he didn’t mean soldiers. But the 47 percent (more accurately, 46 percent) of American families whom he scorned because they don’t pay federal income taxes includes many other modestly paid workers or retirees who have contributed far more meaningfully to America than some who can shell out $50,000 to attend a fund-raiser like the one where Romney spoke in May.

What about the underpaid kindergarten teacher in an inner-city school? What about young police officers and firefighters? What about social workers struggling to help abused children?

One lesson is the narcissism of many in today’s affluent class.  .   .   .   .    While self-pitying Republicans focus on federal income taxes (mostly paid by the rich), what’s more relevant is the overall tax bill — including state, local and federal taxes of all kinds. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, the majority of American families pay more than one-quarter of incomes in total taxes — and that may be more than Romney pays. 

The furor also reflects the central political reality today: the Republican Party has moved far, far to the right so that, on some issues, it veers into extremist territory.  Jeb Bush noted earlier this year that even conservative icons like President Ronald Reagan wouldn’t fit easily into today’s Republican Party.

The Republican shift shows up in polling.  .  .   .  .   A Dartmouth poll this year found that Republicans believe, by a ratio of more than 3 to 1, that “Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded in 2003.”  The same poll found that Republicans believe, almost by a 3-to-1 ratio, that President Obama was born in another country.  .  .  .  . today’s Republicans seem disproportionately untethered to reality. 

Another illustration of radicalizing self-delusion comes when the son of a governor and corporate chief executive says that “everything that Ann and I have, we earned the old-fashioned way, and that’s by hard work.”

Quote of the Day: Minnesota Vikings' Chris Kluwe on Gay Marriage

While many in the world of pro-sports seem to sadly still wear homophobia as some type of sick badge of honor.  But thankfully, things are beginning to change and in Minnesota where the Christofascists are seeking to pass an anti-gay marriage amendment the Minnesota Vikings' Chris Kluwe (pictured at right) has been very outspoken in his opposition to the amendment and anti-gay bigotry in general.  He has a wonderful op-ed in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that rips the Christofascist thoroughly.  Kluwe certainly understands true morality and Christ's message far better than the charlatans in far too many pulpits and bishoprics who have hate and bigotry as their sole stock in trade.  Here are highlights from the op-ed:

I would like to share some of the things I thought were important from the Vote NO Mn gathering I attended this past Friday.

1. Gay people are exactly the same as straight people. They laughed, they yelled, they congratulated me on the Vikings winning, they told me they rooted for the Saints, they spilled beer on the floor and apologized for doing so. They asked for autographs, shook my hand, posed for pictures, and introduced me to their significant others. They talked about how excited they were for the Vikings season this year, how long they’ve been season ticket holders, and if I thought that Ponder kid was going to be any good (I said yes). At no point was I excessively fondled and at no time did a bacchanal riot threaten the chastity of my pant fasteners. In short, it was American citizens doing American activities in a quintessentially American way.

2. Gay people are not treated as American citizens. The amount of individuals who came up and thanked me and Brendon for taking a stand was staggering, and frankly depressing. I use the word depressing because for that many people to thank us for showing basic empathy, to thank us for recognizing that they are human beings just like everyone else, means that so many other people have not. What that says about our society makes me ill. . . .

3. One conversation I had that will stick with me for the rest of my life involved a local high school teacher/coach. He walked up, introduced himself, shook my hand and said these exact words: “I want to thank you for speaking up. What you did will save children’s lives.”   This really hit me, in a primal way I was not expecting. A man who interacts with our youth every day, who sees their struggles, and their triumphs, and their failures, told me that my words meant a child might find hope for the future instead of despair, might dare to believe he or she could be accepted for who they are, not what someone else said they should be.

A child should never think that suicide is the only option, the only solution to the tormenting and bullying and unthinking viciousness adults so unwittingly pass along to the young. A child should never become a casualty in a war of oppression, of bigotry, of petty small mindedness.

Because make no mistake, that child is a casualty. All the hopes, all the dreams, all the wonderful potentialities life has in store are as dust before the scouring winds of intolerance (whether it be racist, sexist, or religious). Every time you propagate the message that being gay is to be less than human, that same sex marriage cannot be as filled with love and laughter and tears as heterosexual marriage, that gays don’t deserve to pass a legacy on to their family, you quicken that howling storm and sweep away a tiny bit more humanity from the world, drive one more child to contemplating the cold razor’s bite, or the yawning abyss of the overdose because they simply cannot deal with the unceasing assault upon their psyche.

Well I, for one, will not stand for it. I will not stand for a world that demeans those it finds ‘different’ or ‘gross’. I will not stand for an ideology that promotes slavish adherence to a single arbitrary standard, that sacrifices children on the altar of oppression and control.

I stand for gay marriage. I stand for the end of segregation. I stand for a woman’s right to vote. I stand for equality under the law, for treating others how I want to be treated, for the fundamental human right to live a happy life free of tyranny.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Women Are Key To Virginia Election Races

The latest polls show both Mitt Romney and Tim Kaine leading their GOP opponents.  These numbers in large part are due to the gender gap with women significantly preferring the Democrat candidate over the 11th century loving Republicans.  And both the GOP party platform and the Republican Party of Virginia's anti-woman jihad back in the spring during the last session of the Virginia General Assembly only help to push women away from the knuckle dragging Neanderthals and puppets of Christofascists at The Family Foundation who comprise today's Virginia GOP.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at the role women will play in delivering Virginia this November.  Here are highlights:

In a presidential campaign where women’s issues have taken a more prominent role than many expected, the crucial swing state of Virginia is becoming the Grand Canyon of gender gaps.

A new Washington Post survey indicates that President Obama holds a 19-percentage-point lead (58 to 39 percent) among female likely voters in the commonwealth yet is running six points behind Republican nominee Mitt Romney among men who are likely to vote (50 to 44 percent). That support from women is the reason the president now holds an eight-point advantage overall in Virginia.

This year, however, ginning up female support has become an imperative for Obama in his reelection bid. Across the electoral map, the Obama campaign is banking on women to offset an expected loss to Romney among men.

In few places, if any, does that effort appear to be succeeding as well as it is in the Old Dominion. That is in part a reaction to heavy-handed Republican moves on reproductive issues, but it also reflects an apparent affinity that women feel with Obama on economic concerns.

[T]he gender gap in Virginia is more than twice as big as the national one, according to recent polling. The current numbers mark an even starker contrast from the presidential election four years ago, when men and women in Virginia voted almost identically in favor of Obama.

Support from women is also fueling the rise of Democratic Senate candidate Timothy M. Kaine, who has moved into an eight-point lead over his fellow former governor, George Allen (R). The difference with men, however, is not as pronounced as it is in the presidential race: Kaine has a 15-point advantage over Allen with women, and he is tied with men.

So why do men and women in Virginia see this year’s election so differently?  Democrats and their allies say that it is partly the result of what has happened in Virginia since 2009, including an effort by Republicans in February to require women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound with a vaginal probe. 

Virginia legislators ultimately backed off somewhat, passing a version of the bill that mandated a less intrusive procedure. But that was not until after the controversy had produced a mother lode of material for late-night comedians — and, some believe, cost McDonnell his shot at being Romney’s running mate.

“What’s different this year is that women see all this and say, ‘Oh, my God, they are serious, and they might have the power to do this,’ ” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of public policy and advocacy of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 

In The Post’s Virginia poll, Obama leads Romney by 22 points on women’s issues — his single biggest advantage in the 10 issues tested. More than nine in 10 men and women alike say the economy will be “extremely” or “very important” in their votes, but nearly six in 10 women say social issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, will also be a factor. Fewer than four in 10 men are focused on these issues.

It will certainly be ironic if it turns out the The Family Foundation and its GOP puppets through their religious based batshitery end up delivering Virginia to Obama and Kaine.  Now that would be some Divine justice.

Right Wing Christians Dream of Holy War With Islam

One thing that seems to be getting nowhere near enough attention in the presidential contest is Mitt Romney's pandering to the ugliest elements of the Christian Right who want nothing less than a full blown war against Islam and a strike against Iran by Israel sometime prior to election day.  It is part and parcel with why I view religious extremism to be one of the biggest dangers in the world whether it be Islamic extremism or Christofascist extremism.  The far right seems to have learned absolutely nothing from the disastrous fool's errand in Iraq and the bungled mess in Afghanistan  a country that NO foreign power has tamed in over 2300 years.  I have no love for fundamentalist Islam, but another fool's errand is not the answer.  PoliticusUSA looks at the frightening dreams of American Christiofascists who are chomping at the bit to take the nation into another disastrous and non-winnable war.  Here are some excerpts:

Throughout world history, some of the worst atrocities known to mankind were committed in the name of religion going all the way back to Christian bible’s Old Testament. There are instances of ancient Israelites following god’s command to kill every man, woman, child, slave, and animal in a kingdom simply because the vanquished failed to abandon their religion and follow the Israelites’ god. 

The idea of Holy War did not end with the Old Testament, and the practice of shedding blood for the Lord became the rallying cry for the Crusades that pitted Christians against Muslims throughout the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries in several Christian military campaigns. Most Christians are aware that their religion’s namesake, Jesus Christ, taught his followers to pursue peace, and it is likely they can recite verbatim his admonition that if one “lives by the sword, they will perish be the sword,” and yet Christian religious leaders have been some of the most outspoken advocates for war.

America has avoided Holy Wars because the Founders kept a wall of separation between religion and the government, and one founder told Muslims America was not a Christian nation and had no enmity against Muslim laws or their religion. All that changed with the terror attacks of 9/11, and despite statements by George W. Bush that America was not at war with Islam in Afghanistan and Iraq, he often referred to those conflicts as Crusades.

At the Values Voter Summit last weekend, the Republican presidential ticket attached themselves to a religious hate fest that was contrived to demonize Muslims as liars and infiltrators, and called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to strike Iran before November 6 to begin a 21st Century Holy War. There is a concerted effort by Bush neo-conservatives serving as Willard Romney’s foreign policy advisors to entice Israel to strike Iran to begin what one Romney advisor calls “a very substantial war,” and their goal is not to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, but to begin a Holy War between Christianity and Islam. There has been a persistent push in America by Islamophpobes to demean the Muslim faith, and without exception it is the purview of Christian conservatives and religious leaders.

One of the speakers at the Values Voter Summit said, “Islam’s number one enemy is the truth! America’s number one virtue is the truth! Islam obliges Muslims to lie,” and that “it’s a daily thing to lie about America.” It was a classic case of projection for Christians to impugn Muslims for allegedly doing precisely what Republicans have been doing with impunity since 9/11, and at a panel entitled “Israel, Iran, and the Future of Western Civilization,” attendees were told Christians were under attack by Muslims to convince evangelical fanatics to vote out President Obama who they claim is letting it happen.

The Christian fanatics seeking global Holy War with Islam are being bolstered by Israel’s prime minister who said, “Iran is guided by a leadership with an unbelievable fanaticism. It’s the same fanaticism that you see storming your embassies today. Do you want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”    .   .   .   . 
It must be the first time in American history that a foreign leader is campaigning for a presidential candidate to drive this country into a war that will certainly engulf the entire region, if not the entire world.

Romney has been warmongering for the past six months, and as his electoral support wanes, there can be little doubt he and Netanyahu are using Middle East violence to affect the upcoming election. The neo-con warmongers and Christian conservatives could not care less about the state of Israel, because the impending Holy War is not about Israel’s existence, but about killing Muslims and bringing about end times. 

It is a 21st Century Crusade, and Americans must understand that Romney and his neo-con acolytes are not panting for war between America and Iran, but a war between Christians and Muslims to incite the battle of Armageddon and a quick rapture to heaven. 

As I have said many times, both domestically and overseas, Christianist extremist are a clear and present danger to America and the principles of the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Would that there were more media coverage of the insidious efforts of the Christofascists to take the nation into war.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beuty

Is Chick Fil-A Really Ending Contributions to Anti-Gay Organizations?

A number of blogs and news outlets are reporting that in a letter to Chicago Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno, Chick Fil-A and the company's owners, the Cathy family, have agreed that there will no more contributions or funding given to anti-gay organizations.  As yet, the company has not issued a formal press release confirming the company's supposed change of position.  Likewise, there has as yet been little reaction to the supposed action by Chick Fil-A from the hate groups and Christofacsist organizations that turned out sheeple for Chick Fil-A appreciation events.  One can only imagine that Tony Perkins and similar hate merchants will be having apoplexy if the reports prove true.  Here are highlights from the Windy City News:

Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno has struck a deal with Chick-fil-A that will allow the chain to open in his ward, after months of controversy that started with anti-gay comments made by the restaurant's chief operating officer, Dan Cathy.

According to Moreno and The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), the company will no longer donate money to anti-gay organizations and has issued a memo about respectful treatment of LGBT employees and customers.

In a statement released Sept. 18, Moreno said he met with Chick-fil-A executives last week for the second time this month. The meetings concluded 10 months of negotiations with the company focused on concerns about fair and equal hiring and serving practices within the company.

"This is a win for the LGBT community," said Moreno. "This is a win for everyone who works for the cause of equal rights, and a win for Chick- fil-A. This is a win for all."

According to TCRA, which has been working with Moreno on the Chick-fil-A negotiations, anti-gay donations were among the key issues in the controversy, but the group also wanted the corporation to adopt an anti-discrimination policy at the corporate level.
A letter signed by Chick-fil-A's senior director of real estate to Moreno states, "The WinShape Foundation is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas."

Donations will now go toward foster-care agencies and community-service groups, among other organizations—as opposed to anti-gay organizations such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.

According to Moreno, it is also the first time the company has written an internal memo to franchisees and stakeholders stating that the company will "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender," and that their "intent is not to engage in political or social debates." The statement is listed in an official company document titled "Chick-fil-A: Who We Are."
I'd like to believe that Chick Fil-A has seen the light.  But, personally, I will believe this supposed change of heart when (1) Chick Fil-A issues a press release confirming the change of policy, and (2) experience confirms that the Cathy family doesn't resort to merely funneling money through other means.  In the meantime, you will not see me darkening the door of a Chick Fil-A restaurant.

Senate Republicans Kill Veterans’ Jobs Bill

Image via Getty
With Virginia being a swing state and the 2nd Virginia Congressional District and the Virginia U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jim Webb being highly competitive we Virginians are being inundated with political ads - particularly GOP ads talking about creating jobs.  Yet when the rubber meets the road, Congressional Republicans are doing everything they can to kill pro-jib creations bills.  Even bills that would help unemployed military veterans.  One can only hope that those hearing the incessant, dishonest GOP ads are watching the GOP's actions as opposed to the party's disingenuous words and will remember the lies on election day and pull the levers for Democratic candidates.  Think Progress looks at what GOP senators did today to screw over our military veterans.  Here are excerpts:

Senate Republicans prevented a veterans’ jobs bill from coming to a vote today by forcing a budget point of order vote. Democrats came up 2 votes short of the 60 needed to defeat the GOP’s budget measure. 

The Veterans Jobs Corps bill — which is part of President Obama’s push to secure jobs for veterans — would have provided $1 billion over five years to hire 20,000 young veterans for public lands jobs and prioritize vets for first responder jobs such as police, firefighter, or EMT. The measure would have also provided young vets access to the infrastructure with which to assist in job searches, such as access to computers, internet and career services advisers. 

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a vets group that supported the legislation, called the GOP move “a huge disappointment,” adding, “Today, politics won over helping vets.” 

While only five Republicans voted with the Democrats to waive the GOP budget point of order measure, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) led the GOP opposition.

The jobless rate for Iraq and Afghanistan war vets, while steadily declining, is still higher than the national average, yet congressional Republicans remain “resolute in their commitment to deny the Democrats anything that looks like an accomplishment in an election year.” 

In an editorial last weekend referring to today’s vote, the New York Times said, “We’ll know then whether good sense prevailed, or the wheels have come completely off the Congressional machine.” It looks like the Republicans have made sure of the latter. 

As I have noted many times, today's GOP has become as dishonest as the party's Christianist base.  Indeed, if Republicans' lips are moving, the safest bet is to assume that they are lying.

Romney Apologizes To Nation's 150 Million "Starving, Filthy Beggars'"

It was only a matter of time before The Onion weighed in on Mitt Romney's amazingly stupid and callous remarks to his millionaire donors captured on the secret video released earlier this week.  Here's a sampling:

SALT LAKE CITY—Seeking to limit the fallout from a videotaped speech in which he asserts 47 percent of Americans “pay no taxes” and do not take “personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Mitt Romney hastily called a press conference today to apologize personally to the “150 million starving, filthy beggars [he] might have offended.”

Saying that he deeply regretted his choice of words at a private $50,000-a-plate fundraising function in May—during which he argued “[his] job is not to worry” about the lower-earning half of the nation’s populace—Romney personally appealed to the country’s “dirt-caked garbage pickers and toothless street urchins” for forgiveness.

“First and foremost, I would like to offer a heartfelt apology to all the whores, junkies, bums, and grime-covered derelicts out there who make up nearly half our nation,” a visibly contrite and solemn Romney said outside a campaign stop at a local high school. “Let me assure you that I in no way meant to offend any of the putrid-smelling, barefoot masses out there. My campaign is not about dividing this nation, but about bringing all sides together—the rich, elegant members of the upper class, as well as the 47 percent who are covered in flies and eat directly from back-alley dumpsters.”

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

The Plight of Gays in Iran (and the Islamic World)

WARNING; Graphic photos.  Yesterday I received an e-mail from filmmaker Wajahat Ali Abbasiwho is seeking funding on Kickstarter for a movie that will highlight the plight of gays in Iran with focus on the government backed hanging of two gay teens in 2005.  While the movie's focus is on Iran, the problem is much larger and is occurring under the U.S. Puppet government in Baghdad.  Indeed the problem of government sponsored murder of gays exists across most of the Islamic world where fundamentalists cling to the seventh century ignorance and limited knowledge of the Koran - much like fundamentalist Christians who seek to govern the world based on the writings of ignorant herders from 3,000+ years ago in Israel.  Only by exposing the problem can sufficient international pressure be brought to bear to end these cruel and senseless deaths.  Here are some highlights of what the movie seeks to accomplish:

Filmmaker Wajahat Ali Abbasi is gearing up to make the feature film “Sin”, inspired by a true incident where two boys were hanged to death because they were in love. This brutal, public killing took place In July 2005 witnessed by thousands of people in Iran. Pictures and videos of this incident were uploaded on the internet by spectators, but the Iranian government and media denied its occurrence.

Wajahat, through the cinema screen, will bring the tragic tale of these boys to life, while addressing an important question why in some societies people are denied the right to life because of their sexual orientation.

While Iran is in total denial of the existence of homosexuality like many countries in the world, it will be interesting to see the world’s reaction to this controversial movie and how it will impact global public opinion on this issue.

‘Sin’ will be shot in English with a few words of Persian. Dubbed versions in Persian, Spanish, French, Chinese, Hindi and Arabic will also be made so that this story can reach out to larger audiences worldwide.

The imagines in this post are truly horrible - as is what is being done to gays daily in far too many countries, often in African nations with the aid and incitement of American Christianists.  Just as frightening is the fact that some Christian Dominionists in America support the execution of LGBT citizens.  Religious based bigotry and extremism that rejects modernity and modern knowledge and which dehumanizes others simply because they are different is a cancer on the world.  It needs to be eradicated just like any disease or plague. 

Quote of the Day: Kathleen Parker - Romney's A Cyborg

I will admit it.  I love seen the greedy, out of touch, arrogant, empathy free  Mitt Romney getting slammed from all sides among the GOP intelligentsia - to the extent one still exists after the mass exodus of thinking conservatives from the GOP - for his callousness and downright stupidity for saying what he really thinks to a $50,000 per plate crowd of millionaires in Boca Raton.  One comment that sums up Romney well is one by Kathleen Parker in her column in the Washington Post:

Romney’s comments sounded callous and merciless, and will haunt him through the election. They also revealed something we hadn’t previously seen. Unguarded, Romney is no compassionate conservative. At his core, he is . . . a cyborg.

[H]umans, not machines, vote and win elections. For good or ill, voters want their president to be caring if not paternal. Smart politicians return in kind  .   .   .  .  Romney is not that person. Dry-eyed and awkward, he was born lucky and seems to lack the empathy born of struggle.

The issue going forth isn’t whether voters’ feelings are hurt. The question is whether the cyborg can see that the problems he’s solving actually involve people.

Ouch!!!  Sometimes the truth hurts and Romney needs to start living in the real world and start to understand that most of us don't belong to the swankest country clubs and gathers of millionaires and it is through no fault of our own.