Saturday, November 17, 2012

Afghanistan: A Betrayal of Our Troops - Family Update

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From the latest reports, my son-in-law is now in Germany and should be back in the USA within a day or two to continue his lengthy recovery from his combat related injuries in Kandahar Province on Tuesday.  Beyond that, I cannot say too much about the incident in which he was wounded.  Needless to say, I am relieved that he is out of Afghanistan.   And while he is badly injured, at least he's alive.  Many, including one of his compatriots, have not been so lucky.  

A roster of squandered lives in the continuing fools errand in Afghanistan can be found here.   That's right, 2,155 wasted American lives (3,229wasted lives if coalition nation casualties are included).  If one includes the number of wounded, the number increases by another 17674 through the end of September.  And for what?  I suspect as we saw after the fall of Vietnam, the deaths and squandered billions of dollars will end up having changed nothing other than enriching defense contractors and corrupt Afghan officials.

For those not as knowledgeable about the history of Afghanistan, here are highlights from a CNN piece from December 2009 that we should reflect upon three years later:

Known as the "graveyard of empires," Afghanistan has a reputation for undoing ambitious military ventures and humiliating would-be conquerors, a fate his [Obama's]  opponents at home say is not worth risking more American lives for.

In the past two centuries, both Soviet and British invaders have been forced to beat bloody retreats from Afghanistan, deprived of victories that, on paper, looked easy, but ultimately proved futile.

And can it only be coincidence that in the wake of their Afghan disasters both the British and Soviet empires -- like that of Alexander the Great's, which extended over the region more than two millennia earlier -- crumbled? Almost immediately, in the case of the Soviets, a century later for Britain.

"The geography is very hard: It is a country of mountains and deserts, of quite severe winters and that makes it difficult not only to fight in, but also to operate logistically. It limits your mobility and it is difficult to project power."

 This, say some, is the inevitable Afghan experience. Isolated, poverty-stricken and brutalized by interminable conflict that technological advances in warfare fail to end, the country apparently remains as impervious to today's military adventurers as it was to yesterday's.

"It's a hard place to fight, to conquer and rule," says Patrick Porter, a lecturer in defense studies at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Kings College London.

"It is possible in wars against guerrillas to flood cities with troops. It is much harder to flood mountains. And Afghanistan is a country not of very powerful cities but of thousands of isolated villages cut off in severe winters, allowing guerrillas and insurgents to melt away and return."

For Gen. Victor Yermakov, a former Soviet commander in Afghanistan, the situation is more clear cut. Summed up by what he says are the words of Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty that ruled much of central Asia in the 1500s: "Afghanistan has not been and never will be conquered, and will never surrender to anyone."

The article goes on to quote naysayers who say the past history of military failures by outside armies are not determinative.  I wonder if some of those windbags would say the same things three years later with the situation no better and perhaps deteriorating.  As the saying goes, "he who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it."  Our senior military leaders (perhaps some of those most guilty of American hubris) have obviously learned absolutely nothing from history and civilian officials - including Barack Obama - have stupidly listened to the generals.  Worse yet, some of these generals, as we now know, seemed to focus more on affairs and flirtations than running the war effort.

Those in Congress and the White House who say that they "support our troops" need to do so by ending the Afghanistan fiasco NOW.  Bring the troops home now.

More Saturday Male Beauty

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In Response to Catholic Church Scandal Autralia Launches Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse

As I have noted in a number of previous posts, Australia is the latest country in which the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal has been exploding.  Now, in a move that more countries need to emulate, Australia is launching a royal commission to investigate child sex abuse.  While not confined to the Roman Catholic Church, the Church will obviously receive much scrutiny, particularly since the sex abuse scandals and cover ups by the Church hierarchy did much to fuel demands for a national inquiry.   Perhaps most critical is the fact that the commission will not only investigate those who sexually abused children, but also those who engaged in cover ups for predators.  The Sydney Morning Herald has coverage.  Here are highlights:

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has announced a sweeping royal commission into child sex abuse that will probe organisations ranging from the Catholic Church and state authorities to the boy scouts and sports groups.

The inquiry into institutional responses to abuse will not just look at perpetrators. It will also cover those who were ''complicit'' - for example, in alleged offenders being moved around - or who by ''averting their eyes'' committed acts of omission.

Ms Gillard said the allegations that had come to light recently were heartbreaking. ''These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject,'' she said.
The victims deserved the ''most thorough of investigations'', she said. The royal commission was not to impede police investigations or compensation claims.   Ms Gillard said the inquiry would provide victims with the opportunity to speak out if they chose. ''I understand that for some people it can be healing to get the opportunity to tell their story.''

The Prime Minister spoke to Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell, who have state inquiries under way - both offered co-operation.

After a swathe of allegations of abuse in Catholic institutions in particular, Ms Gillard was under cross-party pressure to act. Chief government whip Joel Fitzgibbon urged a royal commission, as did Labor backbenchers Doug Cameron, Melissa Parke and Stephen Jones. Crossbenchers Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Nick Xenophon and the Greens also called for action.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox of the NSW police, who has been involved in investigating abuse and has alleged cover-ups, said he was stunned that the commission had been called so quickly and was delighted for the victims.

Similar inquiries in Ireland have resulted in a public repudiation of the Catholic Church and the Church is currently in a free fall in Ireland.  One can only hope the Australian inquiry is as detailed and rigorous.  I suspect that it will expose a veritable cesspool of cover ups by Church clerics.

NOM's Tax Return: Two Major Anonymous Donors and a Self-Enriching Leadership

The National organization for Marriage ("NOM") continues to falsely describes itself as a broad based grass roots organization.  It's 2011 tax return - conveniently file with the IRS just AFTER the 2012 election - shows that two anonymous donors provided 75% of NOM's income in 2011 which was down overall from the year before.  It also reveals that in 20011 NOM's four salaried employees collectively took home a whopping $625,663.00, with Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher drawing the largest amounts of money.  Who says that there isn't money to be made peddling hatred and lies.  Brian and Maggie have a gig that pays them more than most working class families can only dream of and yet they act constantly as if they are martyrs.  Paid whores and hat merchants might be a more apt description.  

As for the identities of the mystery donors, I know that many of us suspect that NOM is a Vatican/Catholic bishops front organization so it is an interesting question as to whether or not NOM may be using foreign funds to try to influence elections in America.  Personally, I believe that it is far past time that NOM be forced to reveal its donors.  Obviously, as was the case with Mitt Romney's tax returns, you do not hide things - in this case, the identity of donors - unless you know the blow back from full disclosure would be extremely negative.

Here are highlights from HRC's anaylsis of the NOM tax return:

Washington – The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) saw a steep decline in the amount of money it raised in 2011 – dropping to $6.2 million from the $9.1 million it raised the previous year. Just two donors were responsible for funding 75 percent of the anti-gay group – the organization reported two donations of approximately $2.4 million each. The information is available in NOM’s 2011 990, which NOM made available this evening after HRC requested the documents in-person at their Washington, D.C. office earlier this morning.

“The National Organization for Marriage continues to push the notion that there is some sort of grassroots support for their discriminatory anti-gay agenda,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “Last week, that notion was soundly rejected by voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State. Now, NOM’s own financial records are serving as the latest proof that support for LGBT equality is common-sense and mainstream. NOM is nothing more than a conduit channeling the anti-gay agenda of a few secretive, wealthy donors.”

 In addition to illustrating that more than $4.7 million of NOM’s total $6.2 million reported came from just two mysterious mega-donors, the documents also reveal some interesting information about NOM’s closest affiliates. For example, NOM paid $870,000 to CC Advertising – a group HRC recently filed an FCC complaint against for spamming unsuspecting cell phone users with anti-gay, anti-Obama text messages. The organization also paid nearly $375,000 to Frank Schubert, their ad guru who makes his living largely off of promoting anti-LGBT propaganda.

More background on NOM, including information on the organization’s leadership and details on its close financial ties to religious institutions such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus and the Church of Latter Day Saints, is available via HRC’s NOM Exposed project at

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Why Virginia is Starting to Look Blue

For the second time in decades a Democrat carried Virginia, once a reliably red state.  This blog has noted before that Virginia's demographics are changing and that the backward facing elements in rural parts of the state are finally being out voted by the state's urban areas.  In addition, the younger voters are less beholden to the toxic propaganda of the Christofascists at The Family Foundation and similar faux "family values" groups.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the transformation.  Here are some excerpts:

A dozen years ago, Fairfax County was the partisan battle line in Virginia. Republicans won the more distant suburbs to the west and south, and Democrats generated huge margins in Arlington and Alexandria. But in 2008 and again in 2012, that line shifted to Prince William and Loudoun counties, with Barack Obama winning both each time.

Now Stafford and Spotsylvania counties, more distant parts of the ever-expanding Washington suburbs, seem destined to be the next frontier.

This has to be a deeply troubling trend for Virginia Republicans: The party is losing its once-large margins in many suburban counties around the commonwealth. With huge Democratic electorates in the state’s population centers, Republicans have historically relied on sizable suburban victories — coupled with large majorities in the state’s rural areas — to win statewide. But the GOP margins in the suburbs are eroding.

The counties are following a familiar pattern: As these distant suburbs have become less rural in character, they have become less Republican. The early round of suburbanization, including many ranch homes on large tracts, has given way to large townhouse complexes near major highways and clustered around Virginia Railway Express stops.

These two waves of suburban settlers tend to have different politics. The first migrants generally are older and more politically conservative, often seeking a more bucolic lifestyle. They are followed by younger migrants who are less likely to be able to afford a single-family home on an acre or more. Many do not even want such a spread. These later arrivals mainly want to live closer to work and are younger, more ethnically diverse and more Democratic in their partisan loyalties.

These changing suburban voting and residential patterns are not limited to the Washington area. Democrats used to struggle to get 45 percent of the vote in Henrico County, which surrounds Richmond. This year, Obama won Henrico with 55 percent of the vote. Obama did about as well in Albemarle County, which surrounds Charlottesville and was also once reliably Republican.
Virginia Beach also went for Romney, but Obama’s 48 percent showing there was well above Gore’s 41.6 percent.

Indeed, the majority of the counties in the eastern half of the state have become less Republican over the past dozen years. Even though Republicans continue to carry many of these suburban and rural jurisdictions, the narrower margins are swamped by Democratic votes in the cities and close-in suburbs.

Nearly a year ago, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell warned his GOP colleagues in Richmond against legislative extremism. They ignored his advice and spent time last winter talking about transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, thus irritating many suburban voters.  .   .   .   If they don’t want Virginia to change from purple to blue, Republicans need to develop far more effective strategies to connect with these newer, younger outer-ring suburban dwellers. Another round of socially conservative lawmaking in Richmond this winter will not help the GOP win the governor’s race in 2013 or return the state’s electoral votes to the GOP in 2016.

Sadly, I do not anticipate any moderation on the part of Republicans in the General Assembly.  They are far too beholden - and terrified of - the extremists at The Family Foundation and will likely continue to allow Victoria Cobb to rule them like a foul dominatrix.  

Afghanistan: A Fool's Errand and A Gross Betrayal of Our Troops - Part 2

NOTE: The opinions in this post are mine alone and should not be attributed to anyone else.

Earlier this week I wrote here about how, in my opinion, both America's senior military leadership and and too many politicians have betrayed our troops in Afghanistan by placing them in a situation that is impossible to win in the longer term and simply throwing away young lives needlessly.  Any half-witted student of history should have been able to see the handwriting on the wall as the USA ventured into an arid climate version of Vietnam under the leadership of a cretin, George W. Bush, and a megalomaniac, Dick "Emperor Palpatine" Cheney, both of whom approved torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions.  

As regular readers know, I have long been a strong critic of the fools errand missions put into motion by Bush/Cheney.  But what set me off this week was that now my family has been directly impacted.  My son-in-law has been seriously wounded under circumstances it would seem the U.S. Army hasn't fully disclosed.  But my son-in-law was luckier than some because while badly injured, he is still alive.  There's this in today's Seattle Times:

Staff Sgt. Rayvon Battle, a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier from Rocky Mount, N.C., died Nov. 13 in Afghanistan.

Battle, 25, served with the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division in Kandahar province. He arrived in Afghanistan earlier this month, and the cause of his death is under investigation, according to a base official.

Battle joined the Army in June, 2005, and came to Lewis-McChord in November of that year. He deployed twice to Iraq before serving in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 38th Engineer Company, and deployed to Afghanistan as a squad leader.

Battle was the first soldier from the 4th Stryker Brigade to die during the unit’s deployment to Afghanistan, according to a base official. Since the start of this year, 33 Lewis-McChord soldiers have died in Afghanistan.

I don't know if this needless death arose out of the same incident in which my son-in-law was wounded or not, but I suspect that it was.  The cynic in me believes the statement "under investigation" really means, determining how to best spin this horrible circumstance.   Like Battle, my son-in-law was on his third deployment, having arrived back in Afghanistan just last month.  My sincerest sympathy goes out to the family of Staff Sgt. Rayvon Battle and all other families who have lost loved ones because of the hubris of politicians and disingenuous generals who forget that they are playing with the lives of real people and real families.  

I've noted before that Afghanistan has been an uncontrollable hell hole for at least two thousand years - a fact that should have been obvious to anyone who isn't a cretin and recovering alcoholic like George W. Bush and which should have been obvious to a senior military leadership that, in my opinion, likes to play at making war regardless of the consequences to our troops.  Here are highlights from how one South Asian analyst (his website is here) describes the current situation:

The publication Defence News comments expertly on military topics and recently described the performance of the US Air Force in supplying troops in Afghanistan with vital stores. It noted that last year “43 forward operating bases were supplied solely by air, with 27,000 troops receiving all of their food, water, ammunition and fuel from the sky, dropped primarily by the US Air Force... The necessity to resupply troops by air comes from several factors, not the least of which is the skyrocketing number of roadside bombs US, Nato and Afghan troops face, making travel by road a risky bet.”

This is a factual, down to earth (literally) record of proficiency. It is admirable that the US Air Force is capable of such expertise. But it is also an admission of total strategic and tactical failure, because the very reliance on airdrop resupply shows that the vast hi-tech military machines of the west are incapable of controlling roads in a country where they have been fighting a futile war for ten wretched years, in which so many thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed or wounded.

Yet the Secretary General of Nato Anders Fogh Rasmussen, declared in October that “The enemy is being pushed further back from the population.” Heaven knows what briefings he was given during his visit to Afghanistan, but for anyone to claim that “We saw Afghan security forces that are growing more capable and more confident” is misleading to the point of downright dishonesty.

And the International Force spokesperson fluttered even further into cloud cuckoo land last week when he declared that “Clearly, the security situation is improving, the number of enemy initiated attacks is decreasing and the vast majority of the Afghan population lives in areas where peace and stability has already been established.” In the week following his absurd assertion there were five Nato soldiers killed, an appalling slaughter of Afghan civilians, and a rocket attack on Kabul.

With very few exceptions, units of the Afghan army and police are a shambles. Of course there are some capable Afghans in uniform – but they are few and far between and are consistently let down by their corrupt and bungling government. Their logistic supply system is a bizarre disgrace and they rely entirely on foreign forces for air support.

It is far beyond time that our military leadership stop lying and admit to elected officials in Washington and the American people that Afghanistan is an utter failure and that American forces needs to be withdrawn IMMEDIATELY.

The Vatican's Complete Moral Bankruptcy

I often speak out against the Roman Catholic Church and the utter hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy that now seems to totally permeate the entire Church hierarchy from the lowest bishop to the current throne of St. Peter.  I'm outraged that for the most part that these participants in a world wide criminal conspiracy to protect child rapist have escaped being put behind bars where they belong, often because prosecutors continue to give undeserved deference to religious figures.  In addition, it sickens me to see young people, gay and straight, being harmed psychologically by the bizarre and warped sexual hang ups of bitter men, many of whom are self-loathing closeted gays who seem obsessed with denigrating all things sexual so as to deprive others of the love and normal sexuality that they themselves have at least in theory sworn off.  As Andrew Sullivan - who was also raised Catholic as I was but who has not formally rejected Catholicism as I have - notes, a new documentary, "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God"has been released.  By Andrew's account, it sounds like it should be required that every Catholic who continues to fawn over or even give a shred of respect to the Church hierarchy view this film.  They need to understand the evil they help financially underwrite with every dollar they give to their local parish.  Here are highlights from Andrew's commentary on the Church that is right on target (note the punishment dolled out by the Church to a 17 year old who dared to believe that gays should be equal under the CIVIL laws):

It's about the Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis - and the criminal conspiracy reaching right to the current Pope that will one day surely bring the whole house of cards down, so that the church can be rebuilt amid the ruins created by deeply sick and psychologically crippled men at its core. No one is more implicated in covering up this institutionalization of sexual abuse and secrecy than the man who controlled and oversaw every single case of clerical sex abuse in the world from 2001 onwards: Pope Benedict XVI, who knows more than anyone else on the planet about the horrifying psycho-sexual truth beneath the ermined, bejewelled veneer.

One feature of this last election was the complete failure of the Vatican hierarchs to dictate the vote to the flock. American Catholics voted for Obama over Romney. The docile fools in dresses - from Dolan to Chaput - were ignored as they now routinely are, and should be. They actually think they still have moral authority. But moral authority has to be earned with each generation, and the corruption in the Vatican is so deep and so rotten and so incapable of self-reflection it has effectively created two Catholic churches in America: those few in the pews who still listen to the bishops and those who exist almost in a parallel church

In Minnesota, where a third of the population is Catholic, the hierarchy insisted that the state amend its constitution to keep gay couples out of civil society and civil marriage. The hierarchy failed - as miserably as they failed in their trumped up "war on religion" nonsense. The Amendment didn't pass. You cannot be exposed as an institution that is responsible for covering up the rape and torture of thousands of children and have any moral authority when it comes to the constitutional equality of gay citizens or the contraceptives that 99 percent of Catholic American women use at some point.

And so in Minnesota, a 17-year-old Catholic, Lennon Cihack, who goes to mass weekly, and who was diligently preparing for his confirmation, posted on his Facebook page a picture of himself and a poster opposing the Amendment. His mother is then called into the rectory by the local priest and told that the confirmation cannot occur. Then she is told that the entire family is now barred from communion. She appeals to the bishop. He tells her that if Lennon stands in front of the whole congregation and denounces marriage equality, he can be confirmed.

This is where we are. It feels like the last days of the Soviet Union. And I believe the mother, not the priest. Given what we now know about the hierarchy's corruption, isn't that the default position?

One can only hope that the Cihack family walks away from Catholicism - it is the only truly moral thing to do until the hierarchy is removed in total.  I'd recommend they check out their local ELCA parish.  As for those putting money in the collection plate, they need to remember that under the Church's feudal structure, part of each dollar ends up at the Vatican supporting a man who ought to be behind bars.

Friday, November 16, 2012

HRBOR's November Event Is Over the Top

One of the things that I am most proud of in my post-coming out life is helping to found Hampton Roads Business OutReach ("HRBOR") the only National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce affiliated LGBT chamber in Virginia.  I remain a board member and believe that HRBOR is steadily change the perspective of the larger business community towards embracing the LGBT community and recognizing the important role that members of the LGBT community play in both the local economy and the cultural aspects of the community.  

Last night's Third Thursday networking event hosted by Tysinger Mercedes-Benz, Malvin Riggins and Company and fellow HRBOR board member Geneva Perry was the largest event in HRBOR's history  - roughly 300 attendees - and attracted an amazingly diverse cross section of the business community, not to memtion a majority of the Hampton City Council.  Between the display of beautiful cars, gorgeous flowers, fabulous food and desserts and the amazing bar carved out of a huge block of ice (see photo below), it was a most impressive event and wowed many of the first time attendees, several of whom joined HRBOR on the spot.

My special thanks go out to Mark and Denise Tysinger, John Caldwell of Malvin Riggins, and to Geneva Perry for hosting a spectacular event.  HRBOR exemplifies what a small group of dedicated individuals can achieve and also how neighborhood by neighborhood and city by city LGBT support can be achieved.  All of us need to be involved and make a difference.  Change doesn't happen in a vacuum.  And if successes such as HRBOR's can happen in all too typically backward Virginia, it can be done anywhere. 

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Was Abraham Lincoln Gay?

With the release of Steven Spielberg biopic, "Lincoln," speculation has again been set off about whether or not America's perhaps greatest president was a "friend of Dorothy."  It's an issue addressed before on this blog here, here and here, as well as on The Bilerico Project, and it has a particularly fun quality about it because it makes the far right veritably foam at the mouth - they simply cannot countenance the reality that great figures in history weren't heterosexual.  As these past posts indicated, there IS ample evidence to suggest that Lincoln had a" touch of lavender" as Tony Kushner describes it.  The new movie - which I hope to see this weekend - unfortunately does not delve into this question for reasons that Kushner recently explained.   That is not to say that Kushner rejects the speculation that Lincoln played for our team.  A piece in Huffington Post looks at the movie and the speculation about Lincoln's sexual orientation.  Here are highlights:

Abraham Lincoln's sexual proclivities have long been the subject of titillating rumors and historical debate, but Lincoln's alleged "lavender side" is conspicuously absent from Tony Kushner's Steven Spielberg biopic, "Lincoln."

The outspoken activist and writer first began writing the script six years ago, according to Gold Derby, but the final version, while meticulously detailed, is also sexless.

Kushner sat down with Gold Derby for an interview about the writing process. He addressed the absence of homosexual undertones in the film, despite his personal belief that there is reason to speculate Lincoln might have been gay or bisexual.

"I wanted to write about a very specific moment and I chose this moment and I don’t feel that there’s any evidence at this particular moment that Lincoln was having sex with anybody," Kushner said in the interview. "He seems to have not slept and taken no time off and during this period I think he was beginning to feel ground to a pulp by the war and by the pressures of his job. I find it difficult to believe that Lincoln was banging anybody."

Lincoln's close relationships with male friends is well documented.  Following his move in 1837 to Springfield, Ill., a young Lincoln shared a bed for several years with Joshua Speed, and he continued a lifelong correspondence with him after, according to Slate.

Then there was the former president's relationship with his bodyguard, Captain David Derickson, with whom he also occasionally shared a bed, according to Gold Derby.
Lincoln once answered a knock at his bedroom door while wearing Derickson's nightshirt as the captain slumbered in his sack. Gossipmeisters buzzed about them. The wife of a navy aide wrote, "Oh, there is a Bucktail soldier here devoted to the president, drives with him, and when Mrs. L is not home, sleeps with him. What stuff!"
The main problem for Kushner, as it has been for Lincoln's past historians and biographers, is a serious lack of solid evidence showing these hints and relationships ever moved out of the realm of speculation and rumor and became sexually intimate.  "There are, unfortunately, no memoirs, no diaries, nothing to say for sure," Kushner explains.

And of course, there is Mary Todd Lincoln, with whom Lincoln bore several children during a union that lasted for more than two decades.     "I absolutely believe that the Lincoln’s marriage was a real marriage. These two people loved each other," Kushner said. "It wouldn’t be the first time that a gay man and a straight woman hooked up and had a great marriage. But I don’t know. I really don’t know.
We may never know for certain, but the possibility that Lincoln was gay or bisexual should continue to be explored and make a case for not judging individuals solely by prudish heterosexual standards.

The Republican Insane Asylum

As I felt sure would be the case, watching the near civil war between the few rational, sentient folks in the Republican Party and the far right of the party personified by "Christian conservatives" is proving to be entertaining.  Not surprisingly, the knuckle dragging elements in the Christianist ranks refuse to admit that the theocratic agenda played a major part in sinking GOP hopes in the 2012 elections.  Instead in their beyond the looking glass alternate reality, they blame the Romney/Ryan loss to a lack of true conservative credentials - read extremism - on the part of the party standard bearer.  Never mind that he and the GOP endorsed perhaps the most far right extremist party platform in more recent memory.  The GOP sold its soul to these unhinged, backward thinking folks and now it needs an exorcism to rid itself of the demon that continues to harm the future of the party.  A column in the Washington Post summarizes the opposing camps in the struggle and recommends compromise before reverting right into the Christianist mindset problem that haunts the GOP.  Simply put, compromise isn't something religious extremists who seek to destroy freedom of religion for all except themselves understand or want.  Here are column excerpts:

Just as the war between the states is playing out anew on movie screens across America, Republicans have commenced their own civil war in the aftermath of Mitt Romney’s defeat. Some blame party “extremists” for pulling Romney so far to the right that he was unelectable. They attack evangelical Christians (personified by Senate candidates Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana) for clinging to pro-life and traditional-marriage positions that “turned off independent voters” and “cost Republicans the election.”

Unless evangelicals are willing to soften, they warn, Republicans may never win another presidential contest. And if evangelical Christians want to leave the party, so be it, they say — the GOP might be off, better given Americans’ general shift toward more liberal social views.

Meanwhile, evangelical Christians, who overwhelmingly vote Republican (if they feel inspired to vote at all), blame the party establishment for once again selecting a nominee whose conservative credentials — especially on social issues — were questionable at best. They point out that three of the past four Republican presidential nominees were establishment picks who engendered little enthusiasm among evangelicals, had no genuine commitment to conservative social issues — and lost.

So, should evangelicals cease fighting a culture war that many believe they have already lost — a war that threatens to send the GOP to the political ash heap occupied by the Whigs? Or should establishment Republicans concede their inability to win without evangelicals and swear off their addiction to social moderates who promise to deliver independents?

Establishment Republicans and evangelicals should realize they are incapable of electing a president without the enthusiastic support of the other. Both have to change their thinking if they hope to capture the White House again.

Here is what establishment Republicans need to understand about those of us with the evangelical Christian mind-set: Winning is not everything. Most of the time, we will choose principle over pragmatism, especially when it comes to issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

Yet evangelicals need to remember that we are a diminishing minority in America. If we care about winning elections with candidates who will push back against abortion and immorality, then we have to be willing to compromise on some secondary issues to form a winning coalition with other Republicans.

Unfortunately, evangelicals tend to resist “compromise” because of our propensity to label every issue a “spiritual conviction.”  .  .  .  .  My message to fellow evangelical Christians is this: We must differentiate between biblical absolutes and political preferences.

I have a proposal for all Republicans. Instead of nominating a candidate who is mute or malleable on social issues but intransigent on political issues, let’s try the reverse. Let’s find a candidate who has a history of consistently and courageously embracing the social views of the majority of the Republican Party,  .  .  .  

As the establishment and evangelical camps of the GOP engage in some soul-searching about their future, they should remember the lesson of the porcupines huddled together to keep warm in sub-freezing temperatures: They needed one another, even though they needled one another. 

In the end, the author fails to see the larger picture - that more and more, the American public doesn't want the Christofascist agenda that the Christian Right is selling.  Hatred of others, racism, religious based bigotry and discrimination, rank hypocrisy and modern day Pharisee behavior just do not sell the way they used to.  Until the GOP learns this as a whole, we will hopefully see more and more GOP debacles at the polls.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

GOP Rep. Scott "Sanctity Of Marriage" DesJarlais Exposed As Serial Adulterer

As I have pondered before, why is it almost always the "family values" Republicans who loudly proclaim their support for the "sanctity of marriage" who are the ones caught having adulterous affairs?  Yes, once in a while a Democrat will be caught in inappropriate relationships, but for each of those there seem to be a dozen or some married Republicans caught either having adulterous affairs or soliciting gay sex.  Tennessee Congressman Scott DesJarlais (pictured above), a Republican, who was swept into office in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave, has again proved the phenomenon.  Here are highlights from Times Free Press:

Obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the couple’s 2001 trial transcript also confirms DesJarlais had sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn. During one affair with a female patient, DesJarlais prescribed her drugs, gave her an $875 watch and bought her a plane ticket to Las Vegas, records show.

DesJarlais spokesman Robert Jameson did not respond to requests for comment. The attorney for the congressman's ex-wife said that at this point she does not have any comments to issue on her ex-husband's testimony.

The transcript corroborates accounts given to the Times Free Press in October by one of the patients who had a sexual relationship with DesJarlais. The newspaper continues to grant her anonymity, along with all the women due to the nature of the testimony.

DesJarlais, a family-values conservative who rode 2010’s tea party wave to Washington, testified his ex-wife’s earlier abortion stemmed from medical concerns.

The Tennessee Democratic Party had attempted to obtain the transcript before the Nov. 6 election, but the court delayed the process because the document was not typed up in its complete form.
But the party shrugged off the political tardiness of the revelations, saying the transcript rightly jeopardizes DesJarlais’ still-active medical license and congressional future.

There is much more in the story which seems to prove that no one lies more and is guilty of as much hypocrisy than a "family values" Republican.   I might also add that straight men like DesJarlais REALLY need to take better care of themselves.  He's 12 years younger than me and he looks like Hell.  I shudder to think what his paramours may have looked like.

Coming Out: Being Able to Say "I Am Who I Was Born To Be"

Many readers have been followers of this blog from the early days toward mid-2007 when it began in earnest and I was still struggling to come to terms with being gay, the end of my marriage, a horrible divorce, being forced from a law firm for being gay, and rebuilding my entire social world.  There was plenty of deep depression along the way and two serious suicide attempts for good measure.  But now, a full ten years after I moved out and began my journey to self acceptance, I feel that I have reached a place where lines from a song I sometimes listen to on the commute to work have special meaning:
Though I may not know the answers, I can finally say I am free. And if the questions led me here, then I am who I was born to be. I am who I was born to be.
Obviously, the Christofascists and professional Christian set would greatly dispute this reality.  Truth be told, it is they, not us in the LGBT community who have serious problems.  
For those damaged by religious and societal bigotry who are still in the coming out process, I have two messages based on my own experience.  First, it does get better.  Moreover, I truly believe that God, the creator, nature or whatever power one may want to cite  made some of us LGBT.  As in the song lyrics, we may never know the answer as to why, but we are who we were born to be when live out and proud.  No one among us can allow our enemies - and yes, they are enemies, in my view - to ever take this truth away from us.

And my second message for those still struggling to achieve self-acceptance is to get involved in the LGBT community.  It is what saved me.  And it can lead to good things.  Tonight, Hampton Roads Business OutReach ("HRBOR")- a gay and gay friendly chamber of commerce that I helped found - is holding a gala networking event that could well have 200 people in attendance, including the mayor and most of city council for a local cities and prominent members of the business community, both LGBT and straight.  Involvement brought me friends and colleagues and ultimately the boyfriend who I first seriously got to know through HRBOR. 
 Get involved and make a difference while making your own life more fulfilling.

Caption This: John McCain Batshitery

I once held John McCain in high respect.  His selection of the lunatic from Wasilla as his running mate in 2008 ended that.  Now, having selected one of the most unqualified candidates ever, McCain has the nerve to criticize Susan Rice.  Oh, and if we are talking about dropped balls and incompetence in the foreign affairs realm, McCain has amnesia when it comes to Condolezza ice's major failings that (1) allowed 9-11 to happen and (2) allowed the USA to be taken to war in Iraq based on lies.

How Significant Was GOP Gerrymandering in Congressional Seats?

The answer, as shown by the chart above, was that GOP retention of House seats was significantly enhanced through gerrymandering.  As debate over budget issues progress, it is important that Americans realize that the GOP held the house not because of significant support of GOP ideas or policies but solely because of gerrymandering - or cheating in my view.  A case in point is Virginia where the popular vote went slightly in favor of Democrats yet the GOP holds nearly 75% of the seats.  The GOP is morally and ethically bankrupt at this point and they need to be continually exposed.  Here are highlights from Andrew Sullivan's blog: 

After Republicans swept into power in state legislatures in 2010, the GOP gerrymandered key states, redrawing House district boundaries to favor Republicans. In Pennsylvania, Democratic candidates received half of the votes in House contests, but Republicans will claim about three quarters of the congressional seats. The same is true in North Carolina. More than half the voters in that state voted for Democratic representation, yet Republicans will fill about 70 percent of the seats. Democrats drew more votes in Michigan than Republicans, but they'll take only 5 out of the state's 14 congressional seats.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

The Inconvenient Political Truths of 2012

With yesterday's press conference Barack Obama began the post-election agenda in earnest and one can only hope that both political parties, but especially the Republican Party and its members, will put the best interests of the nation ahead of partisan bickering and efforts to score points with their bases.  As noted before, I am not optimistic about the GOP given the alternate universe too many party leaders and members seem to inhabit.  A column in the Washington Post looks at where we find ourselves as a nation politically and, in my view correctly speculates where it all will lead to.  Here are excerpts:

Human nature and politics being what they are, Republicans will underestimate the trouble they’re in and Democrats will be eager to overestimate the strength of their post-2012 position.
Begin with the GOP: As Republicans dig out from a defeat that their poll-deniers said was impossible, they need to acknowledge many large failures. 

Their attempts to demonize President Obama and undercut him by obstructing his agenda didn’t work. Their assumption that the conservative side would vote in larger numbers than Democrats was wrong. The tea party was less the wave of the future than a remnant of the past. Blocking immigration reform and standing by silently while nativist voices offered nasty thoughts about newcomers were bad ideas. Latino voters heard it all and drew the sensible electoral conclusion.

Democrats are entitled to a few weeks of reveling because their victory really was substantial. Obama won all but one of the swing states and a clear popular-vote majority. The Democrats added to their Senate majority in a year that began with almost everyone predicting they’d lose seats. They even won a plurality of the vote in House races; Republicans held on because of gerrymandering

Just as important, the voters repudiated the very worst aspects of post-Bush conservatism: its harsh tone toward those in need, its doctrinaire inflexibility on taxes, its inclination toward extreme pronouncements on social issues, and its hard anti-government rhetoric that ignored the pragmatic attitude of the electorate’s great middle about what the public sector can and can’t do.

Yet Obama and his party need to understand that running a majority coalition is difficult.  .   .  .  .  
Obama needs to think about economic policies that deliver benefits across this wide spectrum of less well-to-do Americans. A longing for balanced budgets is not what drove these voters to the polls.

At the same time, there was a substantial middle- and upper-middle-class suburban component of the Democratic coalition that is moderate or liberal on social issues and sees the GOP as backward-looking.  .  .  .   But they are certainly not classic New Deal or Great Society Democrats.

Such voters are central to what has become known as the “Colorado strategy.” It’s a view that the Democrats’ long-term future depends on moderate, younger and suburban voters, especially women, combined with the growing Latino electorate. And in Colorado itself, this strategy worked exactly as advertised.

Democrats need to recognize that some of their core constituencies — young people, African Americans and Latinos — typically vote in lower numbers in off-year elections. The party requires a strategy for 2014. 

But these are happy problems compared with what the GOP and the conservative movement confront.  .  .  .  Many conservatives seem to hope that a more open attitude toward immigration will solve the Republicans’ Latino problem and make everything else better. It’s not that simple.  .  .  .  .  weaknesses among both Latinos and women owe not simply to immigration or to social issues, respectively, but also to the fact that both groups are more sympathetic to government’s role in the economy and in promoting upward mobility than current conservative doctrine allows.

Afghanistan: A Fool's Errand and A Gross Betrayal of Our Troops

I am of an age where I remember seeing the nightly news that reported daily on the carnage in Vietnam.  Indeed, that ill begotten war dominated most of my later teen age years and the first years of my early 20's.  I lost friends in that debacle that as the documentary The Fog of War reveals was never winnable from the outset had one learned anything from history and truly understood the local culture and societal dynamics.  Over 58,000 Americans dead, many more maimed and wounded and for what?  America has diplomatic relations again with Vietnam and the country is increasingly a tourist destination.  Did the military leadership learn anything from Vietnam?  Apparently not when one looks at the ongoing disaster in Afghanistan where the very same mistakes that were made in Vietnam have been repeated for many of the same reasons, not the least of which are an utter disregard for history, utter ignorance of the local culture and society, and the hubris and dishonesty of senior military leaders who claim that with more men, more money and more time they can "get the job done."

So what is really being accomplished?  Nothing other than the waste of lives and billions of dollars.  One special report in today's Virginian Pilot describes the disaster thusly, in part: 

More than 1,200 U.S. troops killed. $300 billion spent. Deadlier than ever. .  .  .  .  American muscle proves futile in land of extremes.

And this says nothing of the thousands permanently maimed. Three other short stories perhaps sum things up even better since such stories occur with far too much frequency:

Soldier from Virginia killed in battle in Afghanistan . . . . A soldier from Clarksville, Va., has died in battle in Afghanistan.  Sgt. Robert J. Billings, 30, died Saturday in Spin Boldak, according to a Department of Defense news release. He died of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a homemade bomb.  . . . . Spc. Brittany B. Gordon, 24, of St. Petersburg, Fla., also died in the attack.

Fort Bragg-based soldier killed in Afghanistan  .  .  .  . A soldier based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina has died while serving in Afghanistan.  Chief Warrant Officer Michael S. Duskin, 42, of Orange Park, Fla., died Tuesday, in Chak District of Wardak Province, according to a Department of Defense news release. He died from small-arms fire while on patrol during combat operations.

Camp Lejeune-based Marine dies in Afghanistan .   .  .  .  A Marine based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina has died while serving in Afghanistan.  Cpl. Alex F. Domion, 21, of Richfield Springs, N.Y., died Wednesday. . . . 

And the needless deaths and serious injury continue daily.  Whatever the initial merits for American intervention in Afghanistan existed, they ceased to exist long ago.  The cretin like George W. Bush and dick "Emperor Palpatine" Cheney squandered the original opportunity years ago leaving Barack Obama with an unwinnable mess.   So why is America still throwing away lives in a place that no outside power has ever successfully tamed over the course of more than 2,000 years of history.  To me the answer is simple: (i) American hubris and a myth of American exceptionalism, (ii) senior military leaders who leaned nothing from the British and Soviet fiascoes in Afghanistan and who have betrayed those who serve under them (some apparently spending more time on affairs and dalliances than running the war based on recent news stories), and (iii) sabre rattling politicians who seemingly like to send others to war as if it somehow makes up for their own emasculated manhood.

In the latter regard, it is remarkable that it seems like it is always those without any family members serving in the military who are the most eager to throw away the lives of the children, husbands and wives of others.  Mitt Romney who never served a day in the military and who sees military service as beneath his own sons, is but one case in point.

We hear a lot from politicians about "we support our troops" - especially demagogic Republicans.  But if one truly supports our troops, they don't send them on a fool's errand and assign them a mission that cannot be won in the haul.  In my view, politicians who do this are guilty of what is tantamount to a form of treason.  Most of our troops enlisted for honorable reasons.  The demagogues in Congress instead throw away young lives simply to (a) pander to Christain extremists who want a crusade against non-Christians, (b) pander to macho bigots who have bought into the idea of an American empire, (c) enrich defense contractor political contributors, and (e) do the bidding of multinational oil companies.  Sadly, we no longer have the nightly news stories of shattered and ruined lives of our military on the nightly news as we did in the Vietnam era.  If we did, I suspect that the disaster in Afghanistan would have ended years earlier and politicians who lead the movement to squander American lives and treasure would be facing much more demand for accountability.

I am supportive of President Obama in many ways and realize he inherited a Middle East disaster from an administration that ought to be on trial for war crimes.  But enough is enough.  Get our troops out NOW.  IMMEDIATELY.  As for the Afghans that we have placed in an untenable position when American forces leave, I say give them visas and relocate them to the red states that most support war mongering.  Their representatives supported getting the nation into this mess, let them give homes to the refugees they helped create.

And yes, this is personal for me.  I and friends and neighbors have loved ones in Afghanistan and it infuriates me that they lives are being endangered and/or lost for what in retrospect will clearly be nothing.  BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Romney Proves That He's A Small Minded, Lying Ass Even in Defeat

How someone deals with defeat often tells a lot about them as a person.  And sadly Mitt Romney has confirmed the many negative opinions that many of us developed as the campaign season progressed: pathological liar, flip flopper extraordinaire, out of touch plutocrat, etc.   In a conference call to supporters, Romney basically claimed that Barack Obama won the election only because of the "things" - i.e., bribes - that he gave to minorities and younger voters.  The shallow Romney just cannot admit that is own moral flaws - e.g., wanting to take from the poor to give to the rich - blatant dishonesty, and his prostitution of himself to the Christofascists, not to mention his math challenged budget "plan," had anything to do with a majority of Americans rejecting the Romney/Ryan ticket.  And let's not forget the rejection of the legitimate rape crowd in the current GOP.  The New York Times looks at Romney's refusal to look in the mirror and admit his own deficiencies and I would add, moral bankruptcy.  Here are article highlights:

A week after losing the presidential election to President Obama, Mitt Romney blamed his overwhelming electoral loss on what he said were big“gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies — including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift,” he said.“Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”

The president’s health care plan, he added, was also a useful tool in mobilizing African-American and Hispanic voters. Though Mr. Romney won the white vote with 59 percent, according to exit polls, minorities coalesced around the president in overwhelming numbers — 93 percent of blacks and 71 percent of Hispanics voted to re-elect Mr. Obama
Mr. Romney also echoed a theme from the campaign trail, saying that while the Mr. Obama “made a big effort on small thing,” his message had been about “big issues.”

“Our campaign, in contrast, was talking about big issues for the whole country—military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth,” he said. “And by the way, as you’ll hear from Neil, our strategy worked well with many people, but for those who were given a specific gift, if you will, our strategy did not work terribly well.”

On the call, described as a “spin and grin” by someone who dialed in, Mr. Romney also made sure to thank his national finance team.

Fairly early on in the campaign Romney convinced me - and apparently many others -  that he is a spoiled, self-centered, narcissistic, out of touch rich brat who has no empathy with those not born into wealth and family position.  Worse yet, he continues to have an over weening sense of entitlement and, as demonstrated during his speech to millionaire donors in Boca  Raton, holds many Americans in nothing less than contempt.  Americans like my active duty son-in-law in Afghanistan who pays not income tax while deployed. 

Majority of Voters Blame GOP for "Fiscal Cliff"

Despite last week's bitch lap from voters to the GOP, the Republican House continues to play to the delusional GOP base and seems to be seriously considering more obstructionism and refusal to make a deal with the Democrats and White House to solve the nation's budget deficit problem.  Thankfully, a new Pew poll indicates that a majority of voters outside the GOP bubble know precisely who is to blame for the impasse and it's not Obama and/or the Democrats.  CNN looks at the survey results and one would think that if there were any rational adults left in the Republican Party they'd pull their heads out of their asses.  But again, that would assume there are any rational adults left in the GOP, a very dangerous assumption.  Here are story highlights:

While Republicans and Democrats have expressed confidence in their ability to negotiate a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," a new poll released Tuesday indicates the public is wary about lawmakers' ability to reach a common ground on the nation's budget.

If the two sides fail to find common ground on reducing the deficit, 53% said congressional Republicans will be to blame while 29% said the responsibility falls on President Barack Obama.

If a budget deal is not met and the U.S. economy is left to roll off the impending fiscal cliff, 85% of Democrats and 52% of independents said Republicans will be to blame while 68% of Republicans said the responsibility falls on the president.

I find it increasingly difficult to imagine what it must be like living in the alternate universe of the GOP base where white is black, up is down, and lies are truth.  

The Coming Demographic Tidal Wave Against the Christianists and GOP

The chart above based on a Washington Post survey underscores the long term political insanity of the Republican Party as it continues to pander to aging white bigots and white supremacists.  The GOP base is literally dying off and the hallmarks of the GOP on social issues and immigration is going to be the death of the party or at least as a national party.  Laughably, dim wits in the GOP think that using token Hispanics as front men and changing the "tone" of the party's demagoguery are substitutes for changing the party's toxic racist, bigoted and homophobic platform and policies.

Wednesady Morning Male Beauty

Gary Bauer Insists GOP Can Win If More Antigay

Peter Lorre look alike (at his most creepy, of course) and Joseph Goebbels like propagandist Gary  Bauer has a solution as to how the Republican Party can turn around its losing streak: become more stridently anti-gay.  One can only wonder what kind of mind altering drugs Bauer is taking or what sort of severe head trauma he has suffered to come to this conclusion in the wake of last week's vote on anti-gay initiatives in four states, all of which went down to defeat.  Oh, and let's not forget all the recent polls that indicate that outside of the South, gay marriage is approaching a tipping point of majority approval.  None of this matters in the delusional world of Bauer and his fellow modern day Pharisees.  The Advocate looks at Bauer's batshitery which I am sure the Democrats would love to see the GOP implement to hasten its death spiral.  Meanwhile Jon Huntsman - who in my view might have defeated Obama had he won the GOP nomination - politely says that Bauer is nuts.  Here are highlights:

As Republicans argue about the future of their party, Gary Bauer claims the way to lure minority voters into the fold is by amplifying their antigay policy positions. Recent data, though, seems contradictory to his advice.

Bauer led a PAC called the "Campaign for Working Families" that bought ads during the election for the likes of Missouri's failed Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin — the "legitimate rape" candidate who as congressman tried to ban same-sex weddings on military bases. Bauer said during a discussion on CNN's State of the Union that social issues supposedly unite minority voters.

But on marriage equality, Bauer's contention doesn't match with exit polling or with major polls of Latino voters conducted since President Obama offered his support for letting gays and lesbians marry.

ABC News reported on Election Night that preliminary exit polls showed Latino voters are actually more likely than other voters to back same-sex marriage, with 59% siding with equality.

That finding matched almost exactly with a poll from NBC Latino/IBOPE Zogby in October that found 60% support marriage equality.

Bauer had appeared Thursday on The Janet Mefferd Show and insisted that the reason Romney lost was his failure to talk more about social issues. It's a theme others like the National Organization for Marriage's president, Brian Brown, have also struck.

Former Utah governor and Obama administration ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, was also on the CNN panel and insisted "people don't want to be moralized to, they don't want to be lectured to" and above all they "want to be left alone."

"The Republican Party needs to decide whether it wants to win or lose going forward,"
said Huntsman, who lost the Republican primary race for president.

The GOP's Fake God Talk

I frequently bemoan the take over of the Republican Party by the knowledge rejecting, creationism embracing, modern day Pharisees of the Christian Right - the Christofascists  - who seek to impose their foul and toxic version of religion on all Americans.  Its a version of Christianity that I suspect Christ himself would view with revulsion since it is exemplified by selfishness, hatred of others, flagrant lying, self-congratulatory false piety, and greed - especially amongst the professional Christian and televangelist set whose most fervent goal is to enrich themselves.  Indeed, other than lip service, today's "conservative Christians" in the GOP are about as far from living the Gospel message as one can get.  The only positive from it all is that the younger generations are fleeing religion entirely because they want nothing to do with the hate, bigotry, and ignorance that are prerequisites to being both a Republican and a "godly Christian" of the far right mold.  A piece in Religion Dispatches looks at the falsity of all the GOP/Christofascist talk about God.  Here are highlights:

There are two Americas today. One is ecstatic about another four years of President Barack Obama. The other America is licking its wounds and coming to terms with the fact that lies don’t always make for good political campaigns.

Mitt Romney’s campaign could not decide who he wanted to be, and Romney lied at every possible turn. In the quest to court the Tea Party and the religious right for votes, Romney forged political alliances based on disdain for President Obama, and his “socialist” policies. 

Following the lead of John McCain, who jumped the shark with Sarah Palin, he capitulated to conservative religious groups. Romney actually went one better, making the marriage between the Republican Party, religiously conservative ideologues, and its chattering pundit class at Fox News complete.

Now, Rove and the RNC’s fates are linked with the hard-line religious ideologues whose power is on the wane.  From Akin’s “legitimate” rape to Richard Mourdock’s “semi-omnipotent God,” the party looks like a version of Inherit the Wind without the monkeys to provide levity. No matter how much Glenn Beck believed that Romney could win, or Billy Graham’s pretense that he never believed Mormonism was a cult, nothing will take away the demographics that are against the party, or their religious conservatives.

Fake God talk doesn’t cut it with Americans. Everyone sees through it. For Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and a host of others, the last four years have been a confidence game, a careful calculation that if they could just promote themselves, their god, their America, and Obama as a socialist just enough, the tide would turn their way and the money would flow. It didn’t. Many Americans want gay people to have the right to marry, recognize that rape is rape, and view women’s reproductive rights as important.

Americans are tired of racist remarks and the denigration of the office of the President of the United States simply because an African American with a dual heritage and a white mother cracked and decoded the American dream.

In the end, Mitt Romney was the right candidate for the Republicans. His good looks, his CEO cred, and his ability to lie at the slightest turn were tailor-made for what the Republican party and its religious operatives have become: a bunch of capitalistic prosperity grifters who have turned their backs on the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Gospel of Ayn Rand. Even his running mate, Catholic Paul Ryan, was eager to grift by proposing an untenable budget. Rather than “do unto others,” they raised millions to disenfranchise, to sow hatred, and to bask in a smug cocoon of self-reliance while Americans suffered foreclosures, job losses, and anguish. Now, they have lost. 

I hope that Mitt Romney does some deep soul searching with members of the Mormon faith. In the quest to gain the world, he clearly has lost his soul. What’s worse is that he’s taken 57 million people with him.

It is a harsh assessment, but one that seems 100% on the mark.   The world will be a better place the sooner this version of Christianity and the GOP it now controls ceases to exist.