Saturday, September 29, 2012

More Saturday Male Beauty

NEW ROMNEY VIDEO: Bain's "Harvesting" of Companies for Profits

While Mitt Romney claims on the campaign trail that he would create new jobs for American workers, while at Bain Capital he did largely the opposite as he and his fellow vulture capitalists swooped down on companies, bought them, loaded them with debt, and then dismembered them for a profit.  Sometimes for huge profit.  And what of the employees of these companies?  They were all too often left jobless, with no health insurance and pensions that evaporated.  In the mind of Romney and his compatriots, this behavior comprised "harvesting" companies.  Harvesting riches for themselves and leaving little or nothing for everyone else, especially the former employees.  Yes, Bain had a few successes where companies survived Bain - Romney points to Staples - but many more did not.  And then, of course there was the exporting of jobs by Bain and its affiliates to China and elsewhere.  Currently, Romney hopes that Americans will somehow forget how he got so wealthy and the rapaciousness with which he left many, many Americans unemployed.   But there was a time when Romney boasted about what he and Bain planned to do.  Mother Jones has unearthed a video where Romney explained his plan to "harvest companies. Here are excerpts from Mother Jones' piece on this video:

Campaigning for the presidency, Mitt Romney has pointed to his stint as the founder and manager of Bain Capital, a private equity firm, as proof he can rev up the US economy and create jobs at a faster clip than President Barack Obama. Last year, while stumping in Florida, Romney declared, "You'd have a president who has spent his life in business—small business, big business—and who knows something about how jobs are created and how we compete around the world."

But at Bain, Romney's top priority wasn't to boost employment. As the Wall Street Journal recently noted, creating jobs "wasn't the aim of Bain or other private-equity firms, which measure success by returns produced for investors."

Mother Jones has obtained a video from 1985 in which Romney, describing Bain's formation, showed how he viewed the firm's mission. He explained that its goal was to identify potential and hidden value in companies, buy significant stakes in these businesses, and then "harvest them at a significant profit" within five to eight years.

The video was included in a CD-ROM created in 1998 to mark the 25th anniversary of Bain & Company, the consulting firm that gave birth to Bain Capital. Here is the full clip, as it appeared on that CD-ROM (the editing occurred within the original):
  [T]his short clip offers a glimpse of Romney when he was at the start of his private equity career and saw businesses as targets of opportunity that could be harvested for the benefit of his investors, not as long-term job creators or participants in a larger community. His remarks were hardly surprising, but they did encapsulate the mindset of get-in/get-out private equity deal makers.

In this clip, Romney mentioned that it would routinely take up to eight years to turn around a firm—though he now slams the president for failing to revive the entire US economy in half that time.
Was there any thought or concern for those who lost their livelihoods and/or retirement funds?  Of course not.  It was all about enriching Romney and his investors.  The man is despicable and as far as one can get from the Gospel message of caring for one's neighbor.  Romney rode to riches over the shatter lives on many, many Americans.

Today's Republicans And Their Antipathy Towards Democracy

Mixed throughout much of the hate and vitriol disseminated by today's Republican Party against those who are not whites, straight, conservative Christians - and according to Mitt Romney the 47% of Americans who are parasites - is a mindset that all others are not "real Americans."  So what does one do if you are a member in today's Republican Party?   You try to disenfranchise "those people" who do not look like you, think like you or subscribe to a fear and hate based version of Christianity.  In short, you try to distort democracy so that those you don't like cannot vote.  The GOP backed voter ID laws are a prime example.  Laws that seek to address a problem that doesn't exist and the real goals of which are to disenfranchise blacks, Hispanics, the poor, etc.  The people that per the GOP aren't "real Americans" and who I suspect Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and their "family values" Christofascist view as something less than fully human. Ana Marie Cox has a piece that looks at the GOP antipathy towards democracy where all citizens get to vote.  Here are excerpts:

The Drudge Report, which I've always considered more mischievous than malicious, gave "" some link love earlier this week. The site tinkers with the poll results of major firms by re-weighting them  . . . .

At their heart, Unskewed Polls express a pseudoscientific rationalization for a pre-existing belief: the mathematical equivalent of intelligent design. But the site represents more than just modern conservatism's skepticism about science; it underscores what has become a more animating and alarming concern – conservatives' distrust of democracy as a process.

This is nothing new, of course. . . . .  Anti-Federalists. . . . pushed successfully for the US constitution to mandate election of senators by state legislatures and not voters – a quaint affectation that was superseded by the 17th amendment in 1913.  There is a growing movement among Republican elected officials to repeal that amendment; among those advocates are five Republican Senate nominees.

However, it is one thing to wonder if the mass electorate can make good decisions and quite another to back-engineer the exclusion of a specific class of voters for the sake of a specific outcome. That, of course, is what voter ID laws do.

But voter ID laws are just a specific, particularly obvious example of a generalized contempt for voters. A better reflection of the mood: Romney's careless dismissal of 47% of America. The comment wasn't just callous and strategically idiotic (Karl Rove, who masterminded the GOP's outreach to "ungettable" voters, must have hurt his head banging it against the wall when he heard); it reflected also the apparently widespread presumption among GOP supporters that democracy is a zero-sum game – and that voters are motivated out of greed.

Republicans' assault on democracy (the voter ID laws, the repeal of the 17th amendment, the creeping disempowerment of women) is probably designed to scare those exact voters they want to disenfranchise as much as it is to legally disenfranchise them. Anti-voter ID activists often say that making someone believe their vote won't count is as effective as actually barring the vote.

So, you know, bring it on. It's not the 47% that needs to worry; it's Romney.

Quote of the Day: Lady Gaga on Pope Benedict XVI

As the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy becomes increasingly reactionary and the younger generations are leaving organized religion in ever increasing numbers the long term prospect of the Church appear moribund outside of ignorant and uneducated parts of the world (Africa is principal growth area for the Church) what the Pope believes and tries to dictate through pronouncements holds less and less sway.  Especially among thinking individuals.  Benedict XVI still foolishly believes that the world as a whole cares what he and his fellow child rapist enablers/protectors think about gays and homosexuality.  Those days are fading fast.  Lady Gaga summed it up well during an interview on French radio:

On Friday Pope Benedict XVI told French bishops: “Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself.”

But the Catholic singer, a long-time defender of gay rights, hit back at his comments on French radio.  She said: “I think that gay marriage is going to happen. It must. We are not actually equal—humanity—if we are not allowed to freely love one another.

“What the Pope thinks of being gay does not matter to the world. It matters to the people who like the Pope and follow the Pope. It is not a reflection of all religious people.” 

Truth be told, Benedict and a significant number of bishops and cardinals belong behind bars - just like Monsignor Lynn of the Philadelphia archdiocese.  Thankfully, more and more Catholics seem to be grasping that reality and ignoring the Vatican's dictates at will.   Better yet, in the USA, Catholic Church membership is in decline.  Only the influx of Hispanic Catholics from other countries has temporarily masked what is actually occurring to the original core Church membership.  With Hispanic immigration down significantly, the real situation may soon become readily apparent.

Mitt Romney's Unfavorables Are Growing

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As the eve of the presidential debates nears, Mitt Romney's unfavorables are increasing to new heights (red in the chart above is unfavorable versus favorable views in black) putting even more pressure on Romney to somehow work a miracle in the debates.  Candidly, since Romney rarely comes across as genuine and may be faced with questions on his comments of the 47% of Americans he deems parasites and moochers, I'm betting he cannot pull it off. Especially, if he's asked about paying a lower rate in taxes than most secretaries.   Yes, I'm among the near 50% of American who have a negative view of the man.

Republicans Show Their True Colors With Their Open Hatred of People of Color

I have noted before the strong under current of racism that is a hallmark of today's Republican Party.  True, there are many in the GOP who have always been less than friendly to non-whites, but at least most of them outside of redneck circles could feign a modicum of decency.  Less and less such is the case and when not blaming the nations calamities on gays, the minions of the GOP blame them on people of color be they black, Hispanics or some other racial minority.  Not unsurprisingly, white Republicans from some of Virginia's most backward areas have happily joined in the open racism.  A piece in PoliticusUSA looks at this troubling phenomenon. I hope that the author is correct and that a backlash will take place in the near future.  Here are excerpts:

The Republicans have dropped all pretenses that this presidential race isn’t about race. And they’ve brought in the suit and tie set in playing the dirtiest card in the political deck. Hyperbole and unrelenting criticism are part and parcel of both parties opposition to whoever is the current occupant of the White House  .   .   .   .
But, in their desperation, the Republicans have blown by hyperbole and criticism into the disgusting world of pure, unadulterated and undisguised racism.

Being fitted for their own custom sheets befitting recent blatant racist comments are Newt Gingrich, John Sununu and that ignorant collection of redneck Obama-haters from the leadership of the Mecklenburg County Republican Party in Southern Virginia (surprise, surprise). This latter bunch photo-shopped depictions of President Obama as a witch doctor and Neanderthal cave-man…something to do with the ‘birther’ issue.

[I]n strict obedience of what is obviously a widely distributed white paper to bail Romney out his 47% comment, Gingrich added, “I suspect that he’s (Obama) pretty contemptuous of the rest of us.” Newt and company might be able to fool all of the redneck goobers all the time, but you can’t fool informed Obama supporters, ever.

Speaking of old racist fools, the 73-year-old Sununu clearly demonstrates that age and smarts are no barrier to hatred. Sununu, a former New Hampshire Governor and Pappa Bushes Chief of Staff, is supposedly possessed of a very high IQ. He used not a point of it in calling Obama lazy and detached and how he wished the president would “learn to be an American.”
In a couple of years, I believe the evangelicals are going to be just as responsible for the opposite effect, a return to control of the House by Democrats. The racist, right-wing, bible-thumping zealots and their Tea Party clones are getting so tiresome and so counterproductive as to disrupt government at every level, national, state and local.

It may not happen until 2016, but it will happen within a 2 – 4 year window. The states will follow suit, just as they did in 1994 with the possible exception of the Deep South, a region so mired in racism and abject political stupidity, that their citizens may suffer the fools of gooberville politics indefinitely. 

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Straight Spouses: The Collateral Damage of the Ex-Gay Myth - Continued

I looked at this subject a little over a week ago and also posted a similar version of the piece on The Bilerico Project.  Some of the comments and messages I received were less than kind and accused me of, among other things, hatred towards Christians.  I also received a great deal of negativity from bisexuals who blamed the Straight Spouse Network ("SSN") for leading to unnecessary divorces of straight/bisexual couples.  Not being bisexual, I cannot fully grasp what equal attraction to both genders is like, but it would in theory certainly make remaining married far more workable than a gay/straight couple situation.  No two marriages are the same and the decision of remaining together ultimately comes down to what the spouses in each marriage are willing to accept.  If the straight spouse demands total denial of the other spouse's sexual orientation, I frankly do not see staying married as a viable option and this type of situation certainly sets the stage for help from SSN for the straight spouse facing divorce. 

That said, in my view it the situation boils down to this: gays and bisexuals continue to marry straights in their quest to conform to societal and religious tradition expectations and they enter into these marriages facing vastly a increased likelihood of failure because of the mismatch of the individuals' sexual orientation.  That's the current reality.  And most of the motivation for marrying straight individuals traces back to prevailing religious beliefs that remain extremely anti-LGBT.  (The same anti-LGBT religious beliefs continue to fuel the discrimination, stigmatization and bigotry LGBT individuals continue to face especially in regressive states like Virginia.)  There simply is no way to give religion and Christians a pass on responsibility for this circumstance.  Take away anti-LGBT religious dogma and bigotry and the number of these "mixed marriages" would plummet.

As for the accusation that I hate and bear animus towards Christians, here's what I posted in a reply on the Bilerico piece I wrote:

I do not bear hatred towards all Chrstians as some would suggest. In fact, I contuinue to consider myself to be a loyal member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which I joined after I left the Roman Catholic Church after coming out 11 years ago. The ECLA has opposed anti-gay marriage initiatives in both Washington State and Minnesota. Sadly, many "good Christians" do nothing and allow the hate merchants like NOM and Family Reseach Council speak for them.

Yes, I DO have a problems with denominations and individuals who knowingly reject legitimate medical and mental health knowledge and cling to ignorance and who continue to demonize LGBT people. Too many lives are being needlessly damaged or destroyed.

Unlike Rio, my divorce was horrific - the divorce court judge who consideres himself an upstanding Christian crucified me for being gay - and my relationship with my former wife remains chilly. Since we have children together that will keep us forever connected, perhaps an uncomfortable truce might be an apt description of our relationship. If my post contained bitterness, its because I have experienced first hand what happens when a doomed gay/straight marriage falls apart. I've also seen first hand what happens to the children of such marriages. And all of this pain and misery derives from religious based bigotry. 
 Yes, some LGBT individuals "are devout Christians and have found embracing, fulfilling spiritual homes" to quote one commenter.  But that doesn't excuse religion and Christianity in particular for the damage still being done to LGBT people every single day.  I would further ask: where are these "embracing spiritual homes" when it comes to standing up to and openly condemning anti-gay denominations that continue to disseminate anti-gay hate and animus?   Most of the time they remain quiet and yield the field to the hate merchants. Oh, they may sign LGBT supportive letters that rarely see the light of day outside the LGBT media and blogosphere.  But we rarely see them on the network news and other outlets that have a massive viewership. 

I applaud the actions of the ELCA bishops in Minnesota and Washington State but the sade truth is that such actions are the exception to the rule.  Most LGBT embracing denominations contine to be afraid to speak out because they fear ruffling the feathers of the sizable minorities within their denominations who are not pleased with the national body's acceptance of LGBT church members and/or clergy.  And the result we see is equivalent to the "good Germans" who remained silent as the Nazis came to power and unleashed hatred on the world.  Silence ultimately renders one complicit in the evil done by others.

Former President of Ireland Criticizes Catholic Church View of Gays

There was a time in Ireland when no one - at least outside of Northern Ireland - in politics would ever dare take on the Roman Catholic Church or criticizes the Church for its medieval mindset.  Yet of late we've seen very harsh (and true) statements about the Church from the top of  political spectrum in the Republic of Ireland.  Now, former Irish president, Mary McAleese (pictured above), is criticizing the Church for its constant anti-gay venom and seeking to highlight the damage done to gays because of the Church's insistence of clinging to a literally medieval "natural law" construct which falls apart when faced with modern knowledge of sexual orientation.  Here are highlights from the BBC on McAleese's statements about the Church and its toxic treatment of gays and its consequences:

A former Irish President has criticised the Catholic church for its 'isolated' views on homosexuality.  Mary McAleese said she was concerned at the growing number of gay men who take their own lives. She said that when the research is broken down, it shows that young gay men are one of the most at-risk groups in Ireland.

Mrs McAleese was president of Ireland for 14 years. Her term in office ended in November 2011. 

Speaking to RTÉ Radio, Mrs McAleese said many of these young men will have gone to Catholic schools and they will have heard there their church's attitude to homosexuality.  "They will have heard words like disorder, they may even have heard the word evil used in relation to homosexual practice," she said. "And when they make the discovery, and it is a discovery and not a decision, when they make the discovery, that they are gay, when they are 14, 15 or 16, an internal conflict of absolutely appalling proportions opens up".  She said many young gay men are driven into a place that is "dark and bleak".

Mrs McAleese said she met the Papal Nuncio shortly after Easter to raise with him her concern about the growing number of suicides among young men in Ireland. .   .   .   .   she said the issue will not be tackled until the "omerta" or code of silence on the issue is broken.

She well describes the horror and self-revulsion that many gays experience when they realize that they are in fact gay. Some like myself try to deny it for decades before finally accepting reality.  Others remain closeted and miserable their entire lives.  And others decide to end the struggle: they take their own lives.

The number of gay lives severely harmed or destroyed by the Catholic Church and backward, ignorance embracing religious sects is likely beyond calculation and must number in the many millions.  As for gay suicide, for those raised in anti-gay religious settings, suicide can appear to be the only solution because "change" doesn't occurred regardless of the snake oil lies of the "ex-gay" ministries.  Indeed, for gays the only way to cease being gay is to cease living.  I've known that reality and as I've shared before, along the way during my "coming out" journey I had two serious suicide attempts that left me hospitalized.  All because bitter old men in dresses and bombastic preachers can feel special and self-righteous.  So much suffering and so much harm - thanks to religious based ignorance and bigotry.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Austin Passes Resolution Supporting Gay Marriage

Earlier in the week I noted that the City of Austin, Texas was poised to take up a resolution endorsing gay marriage.  As it turned out, the vote to pass the resolution was unanimous.  There must be some serious spittle flying among Christofascist groups like FRC.  Here are highlights from KUT News:

Today Austin became the first city in Texas to pass a resolution in support of same sex marriage.  The measure passed the City Council unanimously this morning.

Before the vote, local civil rights groups declared their support for the resolution, which was sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and co-sponsored by Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council member Laura Morrison.

At a press conference, Mayor Pro Tem Cole spoke about the evolution of rights in Texas, quoting Dr. Martin Luther King: “… Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Whatever afflicts once directly also afflicts one indirectly.”

Council member Morrison acknowledged the progress made within the Austin community, when it comes to civil rights, but said there was still a ways to go. Morrison pointed to practicality when making her point.
“Marriage equality provides important legal and economic protections including access to health care, parenting rights, property rights and other protections,” said Morrison.

The practical implications of the resolution are unlikely to be great. In 2005, Texas voters approved an amendment to the state constitution, banning same sex marriage and civil unions. Travis County was the only county in the state where a majority did not support the amendment.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Is Paul Ryan Dragging Romney Downward?

The GOP base was in near orgasm frenzy when Mitt Romney tapped Paul Ryan to be his VP running mate.  They believed that Ryan would fire up the party base and allow for a solid conservative agenda to be presented to the nation.  Well, it seems that outside of those gathered around the GOP Kool-Aid dispenser, Ryan is having a far different impact than envisioned.  In fact, there is some indication that in key swing states, Ryan and his proposals for Medicare are driving voters into the waiting arms of Barack Obama.  Personally, I'm thrilled because I see Ryan as the antithesis of what a caring Christian ought to be in terms of supporting a safety net for those less fortunate.  It may be Mitt Romney who made the infamous statement about the 47%, but Ryan seems to really, really believe exactly what Romney was dumb enough to say out loud.  Here are highlights from a Washington Post piece that looks at Ryan's likely toxicity:

Voters in three critical swing states broadly oppose the far-reaching changes to Medicare ­associated with the Republican presidential ticket and, by big margins, prefer President Obama to handle the issue, according to new state polls by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

For seniors in Florida, Ohio and Virginia, Medicare rivals the economy as a top voting issue. And by majorities topping 70 percent, seniors say they prefer to keep Medicare as a program with guaranteed benefits, rather than moving to a system in which the government gives recipients fixed payments to buy coverage from private insurers or traditional Medicare, as Romney advocates.  Generally, the more voters focus on Medicare, the more likely they are to support Obama’s bid for reelection.

The future of Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled, has become a flash point in the campaign since Romney’s selection last month of Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, as his running mate. The choice of Ryan — who wrote a proposal that would move Medicare toward vouchers as part of an overall attempt to curb the deficit — is considered a bold and politically risky move, given Medicare’s popularity.   Now, the challenges for Romney in the aftermath of the Ryan selection are becoming clear.

[V]oter distaste for a Ryan-like plan may insulate Obama from the political fallout. It appears that Medicare may have become a winning issue — for Obama.  In Virginia, Cheryl Schaffer, 64, said she will vote for Obama in part because of his differences with Romney on Medicare.  “I’m hoping to have Medicare in six months,” said Schaffer, a Richmond retiree. “I don’t like what Romney is going to do to it.”

Although seniors nationwide dislike the idea of moving away from the current system, their opposition is even more pronounced in Florida, Ohio and Virginia, where both candidates have spent weeks saturating the airwaves with Medicare attack ads.

Obama hammers the Ryan plan continually, telling supporters at a campaign event in Milwaukee last Saturday that Romney and Ryan would “turn Medicare into a voucher program in order to pay for tax cuts for the very wealthy.”

This spells trouble for Romney, said Robert Blendon, a professor at Harvard University who monitors public views on health-care issues.

Asked whom they trust to deal with the Medicare program, Ohio voters favor Obama over Romney by a margin of 19 percentage points. The president has a 15-point advantage on the issue in Florida and a 13-point lead on it in Virginia. In a separate national poll from the Kaiser Family ­Foundation, released Thursday, Obama’s 17-point lead over Romney on Medicare is larger than it has been across public polls all year. 

Perhaps the GOP leadership believed that the party's continued gay bashing and appeals to racism and anti-immigrant fervor would keep seniors in their column.  It would seem that the gamble isn't working as expected.

GOP’s Self-Delusion Syndrome

The newest meme of the far right is that all of the polls which show Barack Obama ahead of Mitt Romney are a ploy of the liberal media and liberal elite designed, if you will, to demoralize the Christofascists and Tea Party gang enough so that they will simply stay home believing the election is already lost.  It seems that accepting the reality that the vision of America being marketed by today's GOP simply is not selling well with a majority of the country is beyond their contemplation.  Leading the charge against polls and reality are demagogues like Rush Limbaugh.  Even some Republicans from my former GOP days seem to be slipping into this reality denying bubble.  A column in The Daily Beast looks at the phenomenon.  Here are excerpts:

What a fantastic last two weeks these have been. I don’t even mean Barack Obama solidifying his lead over Mitt Romney, although that’s perfectly fine. No, I mean the near-mathematically perfect joy of watching these smug and contemptible creatures of the right dodge and swerve and make excuses and, most of all, whine. There is no joy in the kingdom of man so great as the joy of seeing bullies and hucksters laid low, and watching people who have arrogantly spent years assuming they were right about the world living to see all those haughty assumptions die before their eyes. Watching them squirm is more fun than watching Romney and Paul Ryan flail away.

Well, the polls have started to come, and they portend total disaster. Americans don’t turn out to like a heartlessly cruel Social Darwinian articulation of the national condition that by the by calls half the population worthless. Huh. Go figure.
But is this a problem? Of course not! There is an explanation for this too: The polls are wrong! All of them. Except of course Rasmussen, that rock of right-minded methodological certitude jutting out from the ocean of relativist corruption.

[T]he gold medalist of this event by far is Dick Morris, who sits there on the Fox set like a betumored walrus on an ice floe assuring his viewers not to worry. His riff to Sean Hannity Monday night, a night when everyone else saw that Obama’s lead was getting comfortable-to-the-point-of-insurmountable, is worth quoting at some length: “[Romney] is at the moment in a very strong position. I believe if the election were held today Romney would win by four or five points. I believe he would carry Florida, Ohio, Virginia. I believe he would carry Nevada. I believe he would carry Pennsylvania.” Even Hannity at this point interjected, “Oh, come on.” 

[I]t’s not lies with which Limbaugh and Morris and their ilk are now coming face-to-face. It’s the truth. Americans like Barack Obama. They don’t like Mitt Romney. They really don’t like Paul Ryan. And they don’t want any part of the ideology of callousness and make-believe facts and pigheaded warmongering—and economic crisis and big deficits and all of that—that the Republicans are peddling. Of course these people will never come to terms with all that. But right now, boys, you’re running out of targets, and excuses.

I remain cautiously optimistic that the polls are accurate and that Obama is building an unassailable lead.  Nothing in my view will be better for the cause of gay rights - and the future of the country at large - than a resounding GOP defeat.   Will it be enough to cause the GOP to shake loose from the control of the Christofascists (the GOP platform is after all the wet dream of haters like Tiny Perkins and James Dobson)?  Probably not, but it could at least be the beginning of the end of the Christian Rights dominance in the GOP.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Jim Webb Verbally Eviscerates Romney During Virginia Beach Remarks

AP Photo
I haven't always been a happy supporter of Jim Webb even though I did vote for him six years ago when he ran against my former law school roommate, George "Macaca" Allen.  A case in point is when Webb was waffling on DADT repeal and I was contacted by his communications director after slamming Webb in a blog post.  Webb went a long way to wipe out any displeasure I might have had with him when he eviscerated - or perhaps castrates is a better term - Mitt Romney while speaking at Barack Obama's campaign stop in Virginia Beach today.  The thrust of Webb's remarks: castigating Romney for lobbying in support of the Vietnam War and then using a special exemption from service for Mormon missionaries and spending critical war years in Europe. I understand where Webb is coming from.  I'm 60 years old and only missed the draft because I had a high lottery number (269 as I recall).  Unlike Romney, I never sought an exemption.  And I never agitated in support of the Vietnam fiasco.  And, yes, I lost childhood friends in that fool's errand that is similar in so many ways to the ongoing disaster in the Middle East.    Politico has details on Webb's statements.  Here are highlights:

Webb’s bladework today on Mitt Romney was as unexpected as it was memorable.  From Webb’s introductory remarks before Obama’s Virginia Beach appearance:
Governor Romney and I are about the same age. Like millions of others in our generation, we came to adulthood facing the harsh realities of the Vietnam War. 2.7 million in our age group went to Vietnam, a war which eventually took the lives of 58,000 young Americans and cost another 300,000 wounded. The Marine Corps lost 100,000 killed or wounded in that war. During the year I was in Vietnam, 1969, our country lost twice as many dead as we have lost in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over the past 10 years of war. 1968 was worse. 1967 was about the same. Not a day goes by when I do not think about the young Marines I was privileged to lead.
This was a time of conscription, where every American male was eligible to be drafted. People made choices about how to deal with the draft, and about military service. I have never envied or resented any of the choices that were made as long as they were done within the law. But those among us who stepped forward to face the harsh unknowns and the lifelong changes that can come from combat did so with the belief that their service would be honored, and that our leaders would, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, care for those who had borne the battle, and for their widows and their children.
Those young Marines that I led have grown older now. They’ve lived lives of courage, both in combat and after their return, where many of them were derided by their own peers for having served. That was a long time ago. They are not bitter. They know what they did. But in receiving veterans’ benefits, they are not takers. They were givers, in the ultimate sense of that word. There is a saying among war veterans: “All gave some, some gave all.” This is not a culture of dependency. It is a part of a long tradition that gave this country its freedom and independence. They paid, some with their lives, some through wounds and disabilities, some through their emotional scars, some through the lost opportunities and delayed entry into civilian careers which had already begun for many of their peers who did not serve.
And not only did they pay. They will not say this, so I will say it for them. They are owed, if nothing else, at least a mention, some word of thanks and respect, when a presidential candidate who is their generational peer makes a speech accepting his party’s nomination to be commander-in-chief. And they are owed much more than that — a guarantee that we will never betray the commitment that we made to them and to their loved ones.
[C]oming from Webb — a voice for the white working class, a former Navy secretary and decorated Vietnam veteran whose son left college to enlist as an infantry private in the Marine Corps and fought in the Iraq War — his words carry a punch that few other Democratic surrogates can muster.
 That's right.  Military veterans receiving benefits and those on active duty do not pay income taxes on their benefits.  These individuals are part of the 47% that Mitt Romney holds in thinly veiled contempt.  The man is despicable.  
Mitt Romney in 1968 - while thousands of young Americans were dying in Vietnam

Catholics Flee Romney As Catholic Bishop States a Vote for Obama Jeopardizes One's Soul

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Watching the seemingly faltering Romney/Ryan campaign and the Roman Catholic bishops' efforts to endorse Romney is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.    I'm sure Romney believed that by selecting Paul Ryan who was parroting the anti-woman, anti-gay, and anti-contraception mantra of the Catholic bishops he would lock up the Catholic vote.  The latest polls show that the exact opposite is in fact happening.  So what do the Catholic bishops - or at least some of them - do?  They, in the person of Bishop Thomas John Paprocki (pictured below), issue a statement that a vote for Barack Obama may subject one's soul to eternal damnation.  First these thoughts from Andrew Sullivan on the flight of Catholics from the Romney/Ryan ticket:
 National Catholic Reporter finds something remarkable in a new poll from Pew:
On June 17, Obama held a slight edge over Mitt Romney among Catholics (49 percent to 47 percent), according to the Pew Research Center. Since then, Obama has surged ahead, and now leads 54 percent to 39 percent, according to a Pew poll conducted Sept. 16. Among all registered voters, Obama leads Romney 51 percent to 42 percent, according to Pew.
Obama's total Catholic vote against McCain was where he is now: 54 percent. But Romney has only 39 percent compared with McCain's 45.

A small word of thanks to Cardinal Dolan, Robert George and K-Lo for helping shift the Catholic vote massively toward Obama with their summer campaign for religious liberty. And special thanks to Paul Ryan. No actual Catholic could ever find anything but puerile cruelty in the works of Ayn Rand, or rally to the idea that home-care for the elderly should be sacrificed to reduce tax rates for the super-rich. Paul Ryan believes that the basic principles of Rand can be compatible with Catholicism. American Catholics are just not that dumb or confused about their faith.

The poll, though just released, was conducted on September 16. The polls have shifted slightly in his favor since. The 47 percent tape - about as anathema to Catholic social teaching as is possible to express in its contempt for the poor - cannot have helped.  

Catholics may not be as dumb as Romney and Ryan think they are, but the Catholic bishops continue to view their flock as complete cretins.   As noted above, faced with a flight of Catholics to Obama, the Catholic bishops apparently plan on scaring would be Obama voters by saying that they will be damned to Hell if the pull the Democrat lever.  Here are highlights from Raw Story on this insane batshitery:

A Catholic bishop from Springfield, Illinois is warning that the stakes for the 2012 election are even higher than most people think because voting for President Barack Obama could damn “you own soul” to hell.
In a column and video posted by the official newspaper of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and obtained by Right Wing Watch on Wednesday, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki called out the Democratic Party for temporarily removing God from their platform, supporting abortion and recognizing that “gay rights are human rights.” 

“There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils,” the bishop explained. “My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding ‘political’ and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues. People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins.”

“So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin,” Paprocki added. 

“Again, I am not telling you which party or which candidates to vote for or against,” he concluded, “but I am saying that you need to think and pray very carefully about your vote, because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”

I can only wonder how many sexual predator priests Paprocki has enabled or protected.  Where is the IRS?  The Catholic Church needs to lose its tax exempt status NOW.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

2nd Circuit to Hear Arguments in DOMA Case

When not trying to dictate to women what they can do with their own bodies or pressing undocumented immigrants to engage in "self-deportation" the sport du jour for the GOP is to do all in its power to stigmatize and marginalize LGBT Americans and to limit any legal recognition of our relationships.  While the Obama Justice Department has ceased defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act, GOP zealots and Christianist puppets in the House of Representatives have continued to litigate in support of the discriminatory law.  Now, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit will be hearing the GOP appeal of a lower court ruling that rightly held that DOMA was unconstitutional.  The case involves Edie Windsor (at right in the photo) who was required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes upon the death of her partner of 44 years thanks to DOMA's provisions.  The Wall Street Journal reports as follows:

NEW YORK — A New York court is set to hear arguments before deciding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.   The Manhattan federal appeals court will rule months from now whether Judge Barbara Jones properly declared the 1996 law unconstitutional in June. Jones is among five federal trial judges to strike it down, along with a federal appeals court in Boston.

Jones said a Manhattan woman shouldn't have to pay federal estate taxes after her female spouse of 44 years died in 2009.  Jones said the law's efforts to define marriage intrude on the states' business of regulating domestic relations. The law's supporters say it reaffirms how marriage has always been defined in the United States. The Justice Department says the law was motivated largely by disapproval of gays and lesbians.

Reuters has these additional details on the case:

Six states have legalized same-sex marriage, including New York in 2011. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed in 1996, federal law and government programs do not recognize those marriages.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Windsor by the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court in New York. Windsor is a former IBM computer programmer who married Thea Clara Spyer in Toronto, Canada, in 2007. The two were engaged in 1967.

Spyer died in 2009 after a decades-long battle with multiple sclerosis, leaving all of her property to Windsor. Because the marriage was not recognized under federal law, Windsor had to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes, according to her lawsuit.

Windsor's attorneys argue that the act violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law.  In June, a federal district judge in New York ruled for Windsor,
finding that a central provision of the Defense of Marriage Act discriminates against married same-sex couples.

The Obama administration said last year it considered the law unconstitutional and would no longer defend it. Instead, a group appointed by the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is defending the law in courts across the country.

The case is Windsor v. USA et al, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-2335.
As I have noted before, there is NO JUSTIFICATION for DOMA - it is an improper codification of religious based bigotry into the nation's laws and needs to be struck down.  As do all of the state anti-gay marriage laws and constitutional amendments which make a mockery of the guarantees of equal protection and religious freedom embodied in the U. S. Constitution.

Cuccinelli Approves Ultra-Restrictive Abortion Clinic Regulations

With the gender gap plaguing the Republican Party in the presidential race and other political contests - including the Virginia U.S. Senate race - one would think that perhaps is not to the time to continue the GOP's war on women here in Virginia.  That is unless one is the (in my view) utterly deranged religious extremist Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli.  Rather than moderate the GOP's image with women, Kookinelli has proceeded full bore to approve regulations he forced through Board of Health through threats and intimidation that will severely limit the availability of abortion related services to many women across the Commonwealth who may now find themselves having to travel to Washington, D.C., or elsewhere for services.  Kookinelli has taken Virginia back nearly 40 years and no doubt sent the Christofascists at The Family Foundation and in Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell's cabinet into near orgasms.  The Richmond Times Dispatch looks at this development.  Here are story highlights:

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office Wednesday gave its stamp of approval to new abortion clinic regulations that will compel existing clinics to retrofit their facilities to meet standards for new hospital construction.

Cuccinelli's certification of the regulations, approved by the state Board of Health Sept. 14, advances them to Gov. Bob McDonnell for further review. If McDonnell approves the regulations, they will be subject to a 60-day public comment period before returning to the Board of Health for final consideration, which is expected next year.

The regulations were approved over the angry objections of abortion-rights advocates, who said the new rules were a thinly veiled attempt to curtail access to abortion services by imposing construction costs on clinics that would force many to close.

"Attorney General Cuccinelli continues to use his position of power and put political ideology before the health of thousands of Virginia women," said Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.    "Today, tens of thousands of Virginia women are one step closer to losing access to critical medical care and their constitutional right to safe, legal abortion care."

Anti-abortion advocates on Monday hailed Cuccinelli's action as a victory for women's health and a "desperate attempt" to distract attention from deficiencies found at clinics.  "Fortunately, the basic safety standards adopted by the Board of Health will ultimately be put in place and Virginia's women will be safer because of them," said Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia and the wife of Deputy Health Commissioner Matt Cobb, a McDonnell appointee.

The Family Foundation's goal of forcing its religious beliefs on all Virginians is little different from the mindset of the Taliban in Afghanistan.  Under this mindset, only the Christofascists enjoy religious freedom.  As for gays, Ms. Cobb would happily see us made criminals once again and preferably forced from the state.

Mitt Romney's Real Problem: Today's GOP

The critiques of Mitt Romney continue to analyze why his campaign and the man himself continue to appear so incompetent.  While the far right continue to attack Romney the man, a growing list of pundits are starting to focus on the real problem: the insanity of today's Republican Party which limits what any party nominee is allowed to say.  Anything that might depart from the party base's mantra of no taxes, no rights for gays, no contraception, no rights for racial and ethnic minorities, and the need to destroy government is deemed heresy.  Yet the issues and problems surrounding the nation require serious thought and innovative leadership.  Fareed Zakaria - whom I'm sure the GOP deems some sort of dangerous foreigner - looks at the situation in a Washington Post column.  Here are excepts:
[T]he problem is not Romney but the new Republican Party. Given the direction in which it has moved and the pressures from its most extreme — yet most powerful — elements, any nominee would face the same challenge: Can you be a serious candidate for the general election while not outraging the Republican base? 

Fox News anchor Brit Hume got specific in his critique, saying this month that “Romney’s got the presidential bearing down. . . . What he [hasn’t done is] dwell at length on the economic policies that he would put in place.” Why won’t Romney, an intelligent man, fluent in economics, explain his economic policy? Because any sensible answer would cause a firestorm in his party.

It is obvious that, with a deficit at 8 percent of gross domestic product, any solution to our budgetary problems has to involve both spending cuts and tax increases. Ronald Reagan agreed to tax increases when the deficit hit 4 percent of GDP; George H.W. Bush did so when the deficit was 3 percent of GDP. But today’s Republican Party is organized around the proposition that, no matter the circumstances, there must never be a tax increase of any kind.

So Romney could present a serious economic plan with numbers that make sense — and then face a revolt within his own party. His solution: to be utterly vague about how he would deal with the deficit. 

This is not just a story of the rise of economic conservatives. The same pattern has emerged on immigration.  .  .  .  .  the Republican Party is now so strongly opposed to those proposals — which included a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants — that a co-sponsor of the bill, McCain, has renounced his own handiwork.
Romney has curried favor within the party by opposing the Dream Act, supporting Arizona’s harsh law under which police check people’s immigration status at will and proposing “self-deportation” as a way to get rid of undocumented immigrants.

The Republican Party has imposed a new kind of political correctness on its leaders. They cannot speak certain words (taxes) or speculate about certain ideas (immigration amnesty) because these are forbidden.  .  .   .  .   That’s a straitjacket that even Peggy Noonan’s eloquence cannot get him out of.

Zakaria doesn't even get into other social and societal issues, but the same extremism of the GOP base likewise hobbles Romney from adapting any policy or proposal that might outrageous the Bible beaters and gay haters who now predominate in the party.  American society is changing yet the GOP only wants to move backwards in time.  In my view, only continued electoral defeats can hopefully push the GOP to someday again embrace sanity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Austin Poised to Adopt Resolution in Support of Gay Marriage

This should be fun to watch!  What?  The city of Austin, Texas (i.e., the capital of Texas) is likely to pass a resolution supporting gay marriage.  Can't you see the spittle flying and the convulsions over taking Texas Christofacists?  Frankly, the city's action make sense.  The creative class has been documented to be attracted to cities with high "gay indexes."  Thus, what better way to make the city stand out as gay friendly and gay welcoming than to adopt a resolution that will send the Neanderthals in the Texas legislature and the closet case in the governor's mansion crazy.   Gay Star News has details.  Here are excerpts:

Austin, already known as the most progressive city in Texas, could become the first city in the state to officially support gay marriage.

The City Council on Thursday (27 September) will vote on a formal resolution which comes after a petition in support of the resolution posted by Equality Texas was signed by 1,700 people.

Equality Texas says in a statement that the council resolution 'recognizes that marriage is a powerful and important affirmation of love and commitment and a source of social support and recognition.'

'Passage of this resolution will send the message to state and national leaders that Austin is a community that values equality for all its citizens,' the group states. 'The resolution will also send the message that the City of Austin believes all couples in loving and committed relationships should be given the opportunity to create stronger and more successful families through civil marriage.'

Also supporting the resolution are the Human Rights Campaign, the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

I hope the resolution passes and I find it interesting that both the NAACP and Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund - which represent citizens despised by today's GOP - are backing the measure.  Don't expect any city in Virginia other than perhaps Charlottesville to even consider such a resolution anytime soon. 

Paul Ryan: America Only Values Straight Marriages

I noted this morning how Paul Ryan has renewed his attacks on contraception.  Now, he's renewed his attacks on gay marriage in particular (Ryan did surprisingly oppose a reinstatement of DADT).  I guess that's what one does to rally the Christofascists and the gay haters in the GOP base.  Meanwhile, of course, polling has shown that a slim majority of Americans favor same sex marriage.  Ryan must be focused on accelerating the GOP's death spiral in the face of large majorities of younger voters supporting gay rights.  The Advocate looks at Ryan's denigration of gays and our relationships.  Here are some excerpts:

Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan was asked about his stance on marriage equality at a rally, where he suggests that only heterosexual marriage is an American value.

"The things you talk about like traditional marriage and family and entrepreneurship -- these aren’t values that are indicative to any one person, or race, or creed, or color," Ryan said. "These are American values, these are universal human values."
I'll be blunt.  Ryan is a nasty bigoted asshole.  Oh, and let's not forget that he's the architect of the GOP plan to dismantle the social safety net and Medicare should the party win the White House and the House of Representatives.  

Quotes of the Day: Why Romney and the GOP Are Losing

In follow up to my earlier post today in which I attributed Romney's continuing drop in the polls in significant part to the American public's growing realization of what today's Republican Party and its candidates stand for.  Romney may be a horrible and incompetent candidate, but his bigger problem is the toxic brand he is selling.  First, these highlights from Andrew Sullivan on Romney's sudden effort to pretend that he cares about ordinary Americans - you know, the mooching 47%:

The trouble is: the instant transformation might make things worse. Voters could look at this and say "This is just another sales technique. He'll try anything." The ideological shape-shifter becomes a human shape-shifter. He actually underlines the difference between his snide, callow remarks about half of Americans at a big fundraiser ... and this new Mr Rogers version.

[T]he GOP base had their chance, and Jon Huntsman got nowhere. The whole thing reinforces my conviction that this is a party in a near death spiral.  They cling to bromides from 1979, trying to repeat the unrepeatable in utterly different circumstances. Both Romney and Ryan live in bubbles - among mega-money-men and life-long Rand-groupies - utterly alien to most Americans. This is a riveting moment: a party nearing the edge of what could be a psychic break. By which I mean:
Patients suffering from psychosis have impaired reality testing; that is, they are unable to distinguish personal subjective experience from the reality of the external world.
Robert Reich is equally direct in his description of the root cause of Romney's flailing campaign in a Huffington Post column.  Here are excerpts:

The Republican primaries, and then the Republican convention, have shown America a party far removed from the "compassionate conservatism" the GOP tried to sell in 2000. Instead, we have a party that's been taken over by Tea Partiers, nativists, social Darwinists, homophobes, right-wing evangelicals, and a few rich people whose only interest is to become even wealthier. 

These regressives were there in 2000, to be sure.  .   .   .   .    but never before have they held so much sway in the party, never before have they called the shots.

The second view about Romney's decline also explains the "negative coat-tail" effect -- why so many Republicans around the country in Senate and House races are falling behind. Scott Brown, for example, is well-liked in Massachusetts. But his polls have been dropping in recent weeks because he's had to carry the burden of the public's increasing dislike of the Republican Party. The same is true with regard to Republican senate races in Florida, Virginia, and every other battleground state.

And if one wants to see what rank and file Republicans are like, one can look to what took place in Cassy Zobel's yard where she had an Obama campaign sign.  The image of how she found the sign (via Joe My God) is set out below.  Oh, and when you put up a new sign, it was stolen.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

NYT/CBS Poll: Obama by 10 in Ohio, 9 in Florida

I continue to be encouraged by the latest polls which seem to indicate that Americans are increasingly rejecting the GOP vision for the nation's future: unfettered greed and special rights for the wealthy, a form of economic serfdom for everyone else, open racism and discrimination, and morality set by the Christofascists.  That said, I sincerely hope that those who reject this future do not become complacent and fail to get out and vote.  The newest poll that supports the proposition that Americans do not like what the GOP is selling is a NYT/Quinnipiac/CBS.  Politico reports on the poll results and quotes the Times in part.  Here are highlights:

A NYT/Quinnipiac/CBS poll released Wednesday found President Obama has opened up a 10-point lead in Ohio and a 9-point lead in Florida, the latest of several surveys suggesting Mitt Romney continues to lose ground just weeks before the election. Via the NYT:
In Ohio — which no Republican has won the presidency without — Mr. Obama is leading Mr. Romney 53 percent to 43 percent in the poll. In Florida, the president leads Mr. Romney 53 to 44 percent in the poll.
The surveys, which had margins of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for each candidate, also included a Pennsylvania poll, where Mr. Obama is leading Mr. Romney by 12 percentage points.
The polls were conducted as the Romney campaign grappled with fallout last week from the release of his tax returns and remarks he made at a fund-raiser in which he bluntly suggested that 47 percent of Americans saw themselves as victims who are dependent on the government. That was the latest in a string of setbacks for the campaign that appears to be sapping the optimism of some of his supporters.
The survey follows a Washington Post poll released Tuesday that found Obama up 52-44 in Ohio and and 51-47 in Florida.

Paul Ryan Again Attacks Contraception

With the Romney/Ryan ticket seemingly head towards a Titanic like disaster what does Paul Ryan focus on?  Contraception, of course, and attacks on the federal the mandate requiring insurance companies to offer contraception.  To me the phenomenon is symptomatic of the extremism and batshitery that has overtaken the Republican Party.  The good news is that as the Romney/Ryan ticket appears to be increasingly sinking in the polls, perhaps a disastrous loss will put constraints of Ryan's political future.  In many ways Ryan strikes me as a less insane version of Virginia's Ken "Kookineli" Cuccinelli.  A piece in the New York Daily News looks at Ryan's idiotic focus on contraception in an apparent effort to continue to lick the boots of the Christofascists.  Here are excerpts:

Rep. Paul Ryan must feel like the forgotten prince. The rising star in the Republican party is going down on a sinking ship, pulled by the anchor Mitt Romney, and he can’t seem to break free. Ryan has tried and failed to explain Romney’s gaffes, forced instead to stick to his own robotic messaging with tweets like, “We face a very clear choice in this election. Four more years of debt, doubt, decline or a real recovery to save the American Idea.”

When you’re forced to resort to alliteration your campaign is looking a little sad. But worse than Ryan's corny platitudes are his own public statements of late that are being overshadowed by Romney’s missteps shouldn’t be ignored.

While Romney was dismissing half the country as lazy freeloaders, Ryan was promising to end the contraception mandate included in Obamacare.

The controversy over the mandate stems from a tenuous argument that claims religious organizations, which may be morally opposed to contraception, are forced to provide insurance plans for employees that include contraception under the new rule.

Ryan’s flippant, “it will be gone,” may sound great to a rally of die-hard supporters in Florida, but birth control pills, unlike abortion, are not generally controversial.   Ryan’s comments are sure to come up in the vice presidential debates, where Vice President Joe Biden should be prepared to pounce on this remark that shows Ryan, just like his running mate, is completely out of step with mainstream America.

Affordable access to contraception is definitely not something men or women want to get rid of on day one. The rising star of the GOP should have known better.
 Ryan has happily embraced the 11th century mindset that now predominates in the GOP and I hope he meets defeat accordingly.  We need leaders who want to move the nation forward, not take us back to a time when blacks, women, Hispanics and gays were all consistently treated as less than citizens and religious based hate and bigotry ran unfettered.

France Continues Move Towards Full Gay Marriage

France continues to head towards approving full same sex marriage rights as reported in Huffington Post's Gay Voices.  In addition, since the move will likely include full adoption rights, the draft law would remove the terms "mother" and "father" from birth certificates and instead use the word "parent."  Needless to say, the Catholic extremists who want everyone to have to live according to their religious beliefs are screaming and bellowing.  Society and understanding of sexual orientation are evolving, yet the Catholic Church and its mindless sheep followers continue to cling to the same mentality that led to Galileo being condemned for heresy.  Here are article highlights:

France could very well become the next nation to legalize same-sex marriage, but lawmakers have reportedly gone a step further with a proposal that could ban the use of the words "mother" and "father" from all government documents.

The Telegraph cites the draft law as specifying that "marriage is a union of two people, of different or the same gender," and also states that all references to "mothers and fathers" in the nation's civil code will be swapped for the non-gender-specific "parents." In addition, the law would also give equal adoption rights to same-sex couples, the publication notes.

France’s Justice Minister Christiane Taubira is quoted as telling French newspaper La Croix, "Who is to say that a heterosexual couple will bring a child up better than a homosexual couple, that they will guarantee the best conditions for the child's development? What is certain is that the interest of the child is a major preoccupation for the government."

Not surprisingly, the move has incensed France's Catholic population, who last month revived a centuries-old custom with an updated national prayer that included references to both same-sex marriage and euthanasia reforms that are currently being planned by the government. Last week, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin warned followers that legalized incest and polygamy could potentially follow if same-sex couples earn the right to wed.   "Gay marriage would herald a complete breakdown in society," he is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying during a radio interview.

The draft law will be reportedly be presented to President Francois Hollande's cabinet for approval on Oct. 31. Same-sex and heterosexual civil unions, which offer limited benefits for couples, have been legal in France since 1999.

Personally, short of physical abuse, the worse kind of abuse a child can experience is to be raised in a closed minded, ignorance embracing conservative Christian (or Muslim) home setting.  Being raised in such a home inflicts all kinds of psychological harm on children and youths. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Supreme Court Declines Prop 8, DOMA Cases For Now

The speculation will apparently continue for now as to what the U.S. Supreme Court will do with the appeal of the 9th Circuit's upholding of the invalidation of Proposition 8 and the appeals from numerous rulings finding DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, unconstitutional.  The Court could still take up the cases and the next key date will be October 1, 2012 when the Court will designate additional cases that it will consider.  Here are highlights from Box Turtle Bulletin:

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its Orders List (PDF: 136KB/10 pages) following yesterday’s conference session in which it was scheduled to consider whether to hear four LGBT-related cases. Today’s Order list indicates that the Supreme Court has agreed to accept six pending case, but the appeal of Hollingsworth v. Perry — the new name for Perry v. Brown, which itself was previously Perry v. Schwarzenegger, challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 — was not on the list.   It’s not clear yet though that this means that the Prop 8 case was rejected by the court. We won’t learn that until next Monday, when the Supreme Court will issue a list of cases it has decided not to hear this term. If Hollingsworth v. Perry is on that list, then the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision striking down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional will stand and California’s same-sex couples will have their marriage rights restored. But if Hollingsworth v. Perry is not on that list, then it means that the Supreme Court is still weighing whether to accept the case. It takes four justices to agree on hearing a case before it is accepted by the court.

The court also held off accepting the appeal of Windsor v. USA, which challenges the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. This case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behal of Edie Windsor, who is required to pay $363,000 in federal estate taxes following the death of her legally-wedded wife in 2007. If she had been in an opposite-sex marriage, her estate tax bill would have been zero. Four other DOMA challenges are making their way through the Appeals courts, and the U.S. Department of Justice has asked the Supreme Court to hear three of those cases along with Windsor for a more comprehensive look at DOMA’s constitutionality.

The court has also, so far, declined to accept two other LGBT-related cases. In Diaz v. Brewer, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer cannot withdraw domestic partner benefits from state employees without violating the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause  . . . . .

Newwark Archbishop Compares Gay Marriage to Incest and Attacks Pro-Gay Catholics

I've asked this question many times before: why does anyone who has not had a lobotomy or who has an IQ over a trainable retarded individual listen to anything the members of the child rapist protecting Catholic Church hierarchy?  The sex abuse scandal continues to flame around the globe and literally EVERY DAY new stories of molestations by Catholic clergy emerge and the Church continues to fight tooth and claw to deprive victims of meaningful compensation for the trauma and emotional damage they suffered.  So what do the foul princes of the Church do?  Unleash renewed and vile attacks on LGBT individuals and, now, pro-gay Catholics as well.  The latest nasty attack comes from John Myers, the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey (who like his buddy Timothy Dolan in New York looks like he's never missed a meal and is living high on the hog).  Myers issued a 16 page tirade against gays and their allies within the Catholic Church and in the process cited discredited anti-gay "research."  Myers' full letter can be found here.  As I've said before, it is far past time that the IRS revoke the tax-exempt status of every Catholic diocese that has involved itself in influencing anti-gay legislation and/or supporting anti-gay political candidates. Here's an overview and a sampling from Meyers' diatribe via The New Civil Rights Movement:  

John Myers, the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, has written a 16-page fear-mongering letter, called a “pastoral statement,” that compares gay marriage to incest, and suggests to his one million followers that marriage equality could lead to laws outlawing religious free speech or even imprisoning priests for preaching “God’s natural laws.” Myers also quotes the discredited anti-gay parenting “study” by Mark Regnerus as so-called proof “that the best possible environment for the healthy development of children is the presence and participation of the two biological parents in an intact family.”

“Newark Archbishop John J. Myers said the statement on gay marriage was not timed to coincide with the November election, now little more than a month away, and that he was not calling on Catholics to vote for a particular candidate,” The Record/North reports. “But he said they should examine the ‘full spectrum’ of each candidate, including how they stand on abortion and ‘a proper backing of marriage’.”

Most Churches are subject to IRS regulations prohibiting them from endorsing or otherwise supporting — or opposing any political candidate, or risk their tax-exempt status, a benefit that costs the American taxpayers $71 billion annually.

Parishioners in churches across the archdiocese, which covers Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Union counties, will be handed letters at church this weekend telling them about the statement and directing them to where it can be read.”    Coincidentially, one week from this Sunday, on October 7, is the Alliance Defense Fund’s annual “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” which radical right wing “pro-family” and religious groups flout the regulations by endorsing or opposing political candidates from the pulpit, and dare the IRS to investigate them or try to revoke their tax-eempt status.

Myers acknowledged that a large number of Catholics seem to be at odds with church teaching, and that he wanted to reach out to them with his statement . . . .

The statement appeared to compare gay marriage to incest. “Even those who propose radically altering the definition of marriage would not advocate allowing two brothers or sisters or an uncle and his nephew to marry (say, for the tax benefits, or for hospital visiting privileges),” he wrote.

Myers also claims gay marriage will lead to the imprisonment of priests for anti-gay “religious” speech:  If our society enshrines in law a “civil” right to “marry” someone of one’s own sex, then any persons or groups that believe otherwise will be seriously disadvantaged in law and in fact..  .  .  .  How long would the state permit churches, schools or parents to teach their children that homosexual activity is contrary to the natural law if homosexual marriage were a civil right? Already in Canada and other democratic nations “hate speech” laws have been used to harass or even arrest clerics who preach the Biblical message about marriage.

As for pro-gay allies, Myers had this to say: It is my duty as your Archbishop to remind you that Catholics who do not accept the teaching of the Church on marriage and family (especially those who teach or act in private or public life contrary to the Church’s received tradition on marriage and family) by their own choice seriously harm their communion with Christ and His Church. I urge those not in communion with the Church regarding her teaching on marriage and family (or any other grave matter of faith) sincerely to re-examine their consciences, asking God for the grace of the Holy Spirit which “guide [us] to all truth” (John 16:13). If they continue to be unable to assent to or live the Church’s teaching in these matters, they must in all honesty and humility refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they can do so with integrity; to continue to receive Holy Communion while so dissenting would be objectively dishonest. 

I guess excommunication will be the next step in the Church's attacks on Catholics who support gay equality under the civil laws.  With those under 30 already leaving the Church in droves one can only hope that Myers' foul message will accelerate the exodus.