Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Lafayette Shooter: Anger for Women, Liberals, the Government and a Changing World.

Lafayette gunman
The image of Lafayette, Louisiana mass shooter John Russell Houser that is emerging suggests that he could be the poster boy for much of the GOP base/Tea Party or the membership of The Family Foundation here in Virginia.   He apparently held anger towards women, liberals, the government and a changing world and hated gays - all standard memes in today's GOP.  And, thanks largely to GOP opposition to sane and rational gun control laws, Houser was able to get a gun and tragically end the lives of two young women and damage the lives of numerous others.   It's a story line that is frighteningly more and more common, yet nothing will likely be done to end America's gun violence carnage.  The only winners will be the gun manufacturers who bank roll the NRA.  The New York Times looks at the image that is emerging of Houser.  Here are excerpts:
[O]n Thursday night, Lafayette, which boasts of being the happiest city in the country, joined Chattanooga, Tenn.; Charleston, S.C.; Aurora, Colo.; Newtown, Conn., and so many others on the long list of cities scarred by gun violence. The gunman, John Russell Houser, became the latest figure in a gallery of angry men with weapons who walked into a movie theater, a church, a school or a workplace and shattered the lives of people there.

Accounts from acquaintances, law enforcement officials and court records portrayed Mr. Houser, 59, of Phenix City, Ala., who also took his own life, as a man with a diffuse collection of troubles and grievances — personal, political and social — who had a particular anger for women, liberals, the government and a changing world.

Because he had been accused of both domestic violence and soliciting arson, though never successfully prosecuted, he was denied a permit to carry a concealed pistol. His family repeatedly described him as violent and mentally ill; his mental health had been called into question going back decades, and he spent time in a hospital receiving psychiatric care.
Given his history, he should not have been allowed to own a gun, said Sheriff Heath D. Taylor of Russell County, where Mr. Houser lived.

Mr. Houser’s instability and fury had been evident for years, said Calvin Floyd, the former host of a television talk show in Columbus, Ga., that frequently featured Mr. Houser as a guest in the 1990s.

Mr. Houser believed that women should not work outside their homes, and “had a lot of hostility toward abortion clinics,” Mr. Floyd said. He was the sort of person who believed “that all the trouble started when they took Bibles out of school and stopped prayer.”

On Twitter, antigovernment discussion boards, and other forums online, a person using the names Rusty Houser, J. Rusty Houser, and John Russell Houser praised the Westboro Baptist Church, whose members, driven by a loathing of gays, stage protests at military funerals; Timothy J. McVeigh, who bombed a government building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168; and even Adolf Hitler. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and antigovernment groups, said the posts were all from Mr. Houser.

Mr. Houser legally bought the gun he used in the shooting from a pawnshop in Phenix City last year, law enforcement officials said. A purchase at a store requires a federal background check, and serious mental illness can be grounds for denial, but the database of prohibited buyers is imperfect.

In 1989, he was accused of trying to hire a man to start a fire at a Columbus law firm that represented pornographic theaters, which Mr. Houser opposed. A grand jury declined to indict him . .

“He was crazy,” Ms. Bone said outside the home where Mr. Houser flew the Confederate battle flag. “But I didn’t think he would kill someone.”

It is unclear what led to the shooting in Lafayette, said Colonel Edmonson, of the State Police. “To put a motive to it is just something that we simply can’t do right now,” he said.
Charleston and now Lafayette.  The common thread?  Both gunman were right wingers.  When are state and local authorities going to recognize the danger that right wing extremists pose to law abiding citizens and the need for a major overhaul of our gun control laws?

New Polling: Virginia GOP Increasingly Wrong on the Issues

The Virginia Republican Party has largely become a branch of The Family Foundation and similar far right Christian hate groups that seek to inflict their reactionary, anti-modernity, and hate based beliefs on all Virginians.  Thanks to gerrymandered districts, to date the Virginia GOP has been able to retain control of the House of Delegates, although those districts are undergoing a federal court challenge.  Meanwhile, most Virginians are moving forward and resisting efforts of the Virginia GOP to reimpose a 1950's society on the Commonwealth.  New polling by  Public Policy Polling shows that the Virginia GOP's position on its favorite issues - opposing Obamacare, gun control and discriminating against gays - is increasingly at odds with the views of a majority of Virginians.  The Augusta Free Press looks at the poll findings (Note the Virginia GOP support for the Confederate flag).  Here are highlights:
Republicans have had Obamacare, gun rights and gay marriage as go-to issues to use to rile up the base when necessary. It might be time to update the playbook.

New polling from Public Policy Polling shows surprising support in Virginia for the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, as Republicans styled it, trying to tie it like a weight around the neck of Democrats.

It’s a narrow plurality in the Old Dominion, 44 percent supporting the ACA to 42 percent who oppose it, but even tepid support shows that what was once a volatile issue is no more.

On a related issue, Medicaid expansion, a hot-button state-level issue in the past two General Assembly sessions, has the support of 56 percent of Virginians, with 30 percent opposed.

An overwhelming 86 percent support background checks on all gun purchases, including 84 percent of Republicans, making it clear that the background-check issue is a non-issue.

[N]ow with the U.S. Supreme Court nullifying state laws banning gay marriage, the issue has lost its oomph.   In Virginia, 73 percent of voters say the gay marriage ruling has either had a positive impact on their lives or no impact at all, with only 27 percent saying that they feel the ruling has had a negative impact on their lives.  Even a majority of Republicans – 58 percent – say that the ruling hasn’t had any sort of negative impact on their lives.

It’s doubtful that Republicans can fan the flames of discord over the Confederate flag to add to their base. Overall, just 35 percent of Virginians support flying the Confederate flag over government buildings, with 51 percent opposed.  On this issue, there is a bit of a partisan divide, with Democrats split 16 percent supporting/74 percent opposing, independents at 33 percent supporting/49 percent opposing and Republicans at 60 percent supporting/26 percent opposing.

With results like this, the question becomes one of whether the Virginia GOP will let go of the past and bigotry (and throwing the less fortunate into the gutter).  Sadly, I suspect not.  The Christofascists at The Family Foundation continue to be consumed by hatred towards Obama, hold the less fortunate in contempt, and think they have the special right to discriminate against others.

Anti-Gay Marriage Screed Slammed by Readers and Critics

Heritage Foundation homophobe
If one wants serious writing and journalism, don't expect to find it from some of the favored anti-gay authors of the far right who pontificate as if they were experts - most have zero actual credentials - yet rarely do anything more than regurgitate the same tired arguments and go through numerous contortions trying to hide the reality that their anti-gay animus ultimately traces back to religion and religious based bigotry.  Such seemingly is the case with Heritage Foundation hack Ryan T. Anderson whose new book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom is being slammed by critics and readers.  Nonetheless, Anderson will walk away with money from the members of the shrinking anti-gay right who by the book and then use the book to boost his supposed credentials.  Think Progress looks at the panning of Anderson and his book.  Here are highlights:
“Absolutely nothing new here.”
“Ryan T. Anderson’s Checklist of Failed Arguments”
“Nothing new. Not challenging. Not entertaining. Not enlightening.”
“Pointless debate of a settled issue”
“A Tired read full of dog whistles to Anti-Gay bigotry”
“read it if you already agree with the author and just want to read something supporting your view.”

These are all negative reviews of Ryan T. Anderson’s new book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, as found on Amazon. Anderson, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has become one of the leading voices in the movement to oppose marriage equality and LGBT rights generally, and he marketed this new book to address what comes after Obergefell, the Supreme Court’s ruling bringing marriage equality to the country. 

Heritage has been concerned about all the negative reviews the book has received from what it dismissed as dishonest “activists and ideologues,” but the reality is that the reviews are right: the book has nothing new to offer, nor is it particularly convincing.

[W]hat is interesting about Truth Overruled is what happens when all of those arguments are juxtaposed so closely. The clear contradictions between them become so much more apparent that in many ways, they debunk themselves. They also reveal the systemic rejection of gay, lesbian, and bi people that persists — however sugarcoated — among social conservatives.

Rather than being an effective manifesto of all the arguments against recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages, it serves as a guide for just how weak this already-lost case is, and why continued fights — including the ongoing struggle over using “religious liberty” to justify anti-gay discrimination — will likely not prevail either.

Anderson constructs an artificial concept of what marriage is. Instead of the familiar religious and civil definitions of marriage, he develops his own hypothetical ideal of “marriage,” an abstract, philosophical notion that supposedly borrows from both the civil and religious definitions. Under the pretense of “natural law,” Anderson assumes that the traits he lays out in his ideal will be so common-sense as to be irrefutable. He makes a point of claiming he is not relying solely on religious tenets, but he simultaneously ignores much of how marriage is actually practiced in culture and the many different ways it is important to people and the government that recognizes it. He conveniently selects concepts that serve his purpose of rejecting same-sex marriage without explicitly sounding anti-gay, but in doing so presents a vision of marriage unrecognizable to just about anybody, and the anti-gay dog whistles prevalent throughout demonstrate just how conservatives constructed it.

Wolfson explained, “with the ruling in the Lawrence v. Texas case, that moral objection or moral disapproval of gay people because of who they are is not a basis for making laws to disadvantage people.” States could no longer say of gay people, “they’re icky,” “they’re scary,” “we don’t like them,” or “we don’t approve of them.” Instead, “They actually had to come up with a neutral-sounding rationale for why states were denying marriage.  . . . . The contrast was evident in the 2013 Windsor case, when opponents of marriage equality were forced to reconcile the “moral disapproval of homosexuality” lawmakers cited as their reasoning for passing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996.

Anderson relies on slippery slope warnings about polyamory, “monogamish” and open relationships, and short-termed “wedlease” marriages to show the deterioration of his marriage ideal. Of course, none of those are uniquely relevant to the issue of same-sex marriage. They may indeed be growing in popularity, and there may even be legal questions to consider in the future concerning these other kinds of relationships, but they are entirely different issues not informed by sexual orientation.

He fails to mention that Dutch researchers have clarified, “Neither the legalization of same-sex marriage nor the introduction of registered partnership have had significant negative effects on the Dutch different-sex marriage rate in the aggregate.” He makes the same claim about marriage rates dipping in early marriage equality states like Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire, but leaves out the part about how those states’ marriage rates were declining at virtually the exact same rates before marriage equality arrived as after. Marriage equality actually had no effect.

[C]onservatives have had to find a way to talk about the issue of same-sex marriage without saying much about homosexuality. Try as he might not to, Anderson reveals several assumptions he holds about the inferiority of same-sex relationships — assumptions that might not be apparent at first glance but that are essential to his case against marriage equality. Inherent in his definition of marriage is a concept Anderson refers to at times as the “comprehensive act,” his euphemism for when a man inserts his penis into a woman’s vagina and releases sperm to fertilize her egg. . . . This suggests Anderson knows very little about sex, why anybody has it, how anybody has it, or just how deep, intimate, and meaningful it can be for any couple regardless of their chance of fertilizing an egg and regardless of their gender pairing.

Anderson is not particularly effective at hiding his irrational animus either. He dedicates a whole chapter to “why sexual orientation is not like race.” Taking existing racial and religious discrimination protections for granted, he decries adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections — what he calls “special privileges” — because he believes they will undermine the freedoms of speech and religion for those who oppose LGBT equality. He essentially believes that religious people, which apparently only includes conservatives who share his position and none of the people motivated by faith to support LGBT rights, should have a hecklers’ veto that overrides LGBT people’s basic right to not be fired, evicted, or denied service for who they are. He’s pointing that “special privileges” accusation in the wrong direction. . . . .

Apparently, falling in love with someone and wanting to commit to that person for life and build a family with them is a “selfish desire” — if you’re gay. . . Gays and lesbians should instead be content with “deep friendships,” which he calls “liberating.” . . . chastity is the only option he offers to people with same-sex orientations.

Anderson is insistent that discrimination against LGBT people be allowed to continue. Just this week he railed against the new Equality Act, a comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination bill just introduced in Congress. These protections “threaten the freedom of citizens, individually and in associations, to affirm their religious or moral convictions — convictions such as that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

There's more, but as I said, in the end ALL of Anderson's attacks on equality and non-discrimination trace back to his religious belief that same sex love is a "sin" and his inability to admit that the Catholic Church is wrong on the issue - just as throughout history it has been wrong on many, many issues.   The only thing in Anderson's defense I can say is that, having been raised Catholic, I know too well how badly it f*cks up one's mind.  But a time comes when we all need to grow up and accept logic, reason and modern knowledge over the Church's 13th century "natural law."  Anderson unfortunately refuses to grow up due I can only assume to his own psychological/sexual hang ups.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Senators Warner and Kaine Join in Introduction of LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

Despite the marriage equality Victory, LGBT Americans continue to face legalized discrimination in employment and other realms.  Indeed, in Virginia and 28 other states, gays can be fired at will and the only recourse is to launch an expensive federal lawsuit and EEOC complaint.  Now, a bill has been introduced in the United States Senate that would change this situation.  Sadly, even if it clears the Senate, the GOP controlled House of Representatives will likely kill the measure in slavish obedience to their Christofascist puppet masters. looks at the bill's introduction.  Here are highlights:
News Release from the Offices of Senators Kaine and Warner: 
 ~ The Equality Act would outlaw discrimination in the workplace, financial markets, housing, public accommodations & more ~

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) today joined 38 of their Senate colleagues and 158 House members to introduce historic, comprehensive federal legislation to ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.

“We’ve made tremendous strides in the journey towards equality, but work still remains,” said Sen. Warner, the first Virginia Governor to ban discrimination in state employment based on sexual orientation. “The Equality Act helps move us closer to true equality of all of our LGBT friends and neighbors. Discrimination has no place in our nation’s laws.”

Despite major advances in equality for LGBT Americans, including nationwide marriage equality, in the majority of states, an LGBT couple could be married in the morning and risk being fired from their jobs or evicted from their apartment in the afternoon. In Virginia, it is currently legal to fire, not hire, deny service or evict someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Equality Act of 2015 would prohibit such discrimination nationwide by adding sex, sexual orientation and gender identity to other protected classes, such as race or religion, in existing federal civil rights laws. The bill would ban discrimination in a host of areas, including employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, and federal funding. The bill would also add protections against sex discrimination in parts of anti-discrimination laws where these protections had not been included previously, including in public accommodations and federal funding.
Elections make a difference and LGBT Virginians and their allies need to get out and vote against Republicans in November.

Donald Trump Is the Poison His Party Concocted

Perhaps I sound like a broken record, but it needs to be said repeatedly that Donald Trump is no fluke or anomaly in the Republican Party.  His brand of bigotry and callousness towards the less fortunate is now main stream in the GOP and a direct result of party leadership decisions over the last 20 plus years, including the decision to allow the Christofascists (including those who masquerade under the Tea Party label) to infiltrate the party in the quest for short term electoral victories.  Now, the resulting Frankenstein monster seems impossible to kill.  An op-ed in the New York Times stresses this reality.  Here are highlights:

The adults patrolling the playpen of Republican politics are appalled that we’ve become a society where it’s O.K. to make fun of veterans, to call anyone who isn’t rich a loser, to cast an entire group of newly arrived strivers as rapists and shiftless criminals.

Somewhere, we crossed a line . . .  from respecting a base set of facts to a trumpeting of willful ignorance.

Yes, how did we get to a point where up to one-fourth of the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan now aligns itself with Donald Trump? Those same political marshals would have us believe he’s a “demagogue,” a “jackass,” a “cancer.”

But Trump is the brand, to a sizable degree. And the crazies have long flourished in the Republican media wing, where any amount of gaseous buffoonery goes unchallenged.

And now that the party can’t control him, Trump threatens to destroy its chances if he doesn’t get his way, running as an independent with unlimited wealth — a political suicide bomb.

Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so — from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief.

It was fine when all this crossing-of-the-line was directed at President Obama or other Democrats. But now that the ugliness is intramural, Trump has forced party leaders to decry something they have not only tolerated, but encouraged.

Consider Trump’s swipe against McCain’s military service, and by extension all veterans who have been involved in the fog of combat.   . . . The Republican National Committee was quick to lay down a similar principle, saying, “There is no place in our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”

No place except a presidential campaign, that being the 2004 attempt to destroy the honorable Vietnam service of candidate John Kerry. Where was Bush’s “respect and admiration” when his brother was benefiting from a multimillion-dollar smear of a Navy veteran with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart?

How can he get away with bashing combat veterans? Simple: The party he now wants to represent wrote the playbook on it.

The racism toward Mexicans that Trump has stirred up has been swooshing around the basement of the Republican Party for some time. Representative Steve King of Iowa did Trump one better in 2013 when he said undocumented immigrants had “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

But that toxic mix has been just the tonic for his party for years, including Perry’s suggestion that Texas might have to secede. President Obama was barely into his first months in office when Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted “You lie!” at him in a joint session of Congress. For hurling that insult, Wilson was widely praised in conservative media circles.

Trump also stoked the humiliating lie about President Obama’s citizenship. He began that crusade, he claimed, because so many Republicans still believe it, and have encouraged him to keep it alive.

All of this overshadowed the entry into the race of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a sensible conservative who could beat Hillary Clinton. But he won’t get any traction until Republicans destroy Donald Trump and the vulgar, nativist element in their party that they nurtured — until it became a monster.

The so-called GOP establishment  willing set the stage for the monster that their party has become.  Either they exile the extremists and crazies, or the GOP needs to die as a national or even regional party.  Today's GOP shows the downside of winning in the short term at any cost.  Yes, I put much blame on the Christofascists, but from my time in the GOP when their infiltration began, the craziness we now see writ large began with them.  

Study: Bias Against LGBT Individuals Decreasing Across All Demographic Groups

A new study out of the University of Virginia provides more bad news for Christofascists and their puppets within the GOP: anti-LGBT bias is falling across all demographic groups. Huge problems of anti-gay discrimination continue to exist but despite their efforts to fan anti-gay animus, the Christofascists are losing the larger was for equality and becoming more and more of marginalized demographic. In my view, the changes stem not only from the vastly increased visibility of gays, but also the larger decline in religion.  A decline I believe is driven by the reality that science is making it increasingly difficult to prop up the myths on which Christianity is based.  With educated people understanding that among other things (i) Adam and Eve never existed and (ii) the Bible is a much manipulated and revised work of fallible men, bias based on Bronze Age myths become increasingly unsustainable.  Here are highlights of the study findings:
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling legalizing marriage between same-sex couples in all 50 states follows on the heels of national polls showing rapid cultural changes in attitudes toward lesbian and gay people. A new University of Virginia study confirms this, showing that not only are Americans' conscious and unconscious biases against lesbian women and gay men decreasing across all demographic groups, but the trend also appears to be accelerating. 

Westgate and co-authors Rachel Riskind of Guilford College and U.Va. psychology professor Brian Nosek analyzed data collected from more than half a million people between 2006 through 2013 by Project Implicit.

Westgate's team found that implicit or "unconscious" bias against lesbian and gay people was 13 percent lower in 2013 than in 2006, suggesting that implicit bias has decreased substantially in recent years. They also found that explicit, or self-reported, bias decreased twice as much (26 percent) as implicit bias over the same seven-year period. This suggests that while many peoples' attitudes are changing at the deeper, unconscious level, some people may be less willing or able to acknowledge anti-gay bias than they were in years past. 

"Implicit biases can occur outside of conscious awareness or conscious control," Nosek said. "People may know that they have them and not be able to control them. This is the first evidence for long-term change in people's implicit attitudes on a cultural level." 

The authors also found that some people's attitudes were changing more quickly than others. Age, race and political orientation were the biggest predictors of attitude change. Unconscious bias decreased the most among women, as well as among white, Hispanic, liberal and younger people. Men - as well as black, Asian, conservative and older people - showed the smallest changes in bias. 

Most importantly, nearly all demographic groups showed decreases in unconscious and self-reported bias over the seven-year period, suggesting that across the board, people seem to be developing more positive attitudes toward lesbian and gay people in general.

"People today are genuinely more positive toward gay and lesbian people than they were just a decade ago," Westgate said. "The research shows that attitudes across the board are truly changing - it's not just a function of people feeling less comfortable admitting their bias in a culture that has become more open." 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

More Thursday Male Beauty

Donald Trump ThreatenS Third Party Run

For years now the Republican Party has sown hate, discord, racism and anti-gay bigotry as a means to dupe voters into voting against their own best interests at election time.  Now, Donald Trump is beating the GOP establishment at its own game and sending terror coursing throughout the party establishment as he continues to lead the GOP candidate pack even after his remarks slamming John McCain's POW experience.   Besides visiting the USA/Texas border to maintain his assault on illegal immigrants, Trump gave an interview to The Hill during which he threatened to run as an independent candidate if he fails to win the GOP nomination and/or feels mistreated by the GOP.   here are highlights from The Hill:
Donald Trump says the chances that he will launch a third-party White House run will “absolutely” increase if the Republican National Committee is unfair to him during the 2016 primary season.

“The RNC has not been supportive. They were always supportive when I was a contributor. I was their fair-haired boy,” the business mogul told The Hill in a 40-minute interview from his Manhattan office at Trump Tower on Wednesday. “The RNC has been, I think, very foolish.”

Trump told The Hill that the GOP establishment in Washington dislikes him because he’s not part of the political class.

“I’m not in the gang. I’m not in the group where the group does whatever it’s supposed to do,” he said. “I want to do what’s right for the country — not what’s good for special interest groups that contribute, not what’s good for the lobbyists and the donors.”

The real estate magnate has upended the Republican presidential primary, with recent national polls showing that he is leading the 16-candidate field. Many in the party’s establishment, pointing to his inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants and McCain, say that Trump is badly hurting the GOP brand.

Yet he is connecting with a significant chunk of GOP voters. 

Trump told The Hill that the GOP establishment in Washington dislikes him because he’s not part of the political class.

“I’m not in the gang. I’m not in the group where the group does whatever it’s supposed to do,” he said. “I want to do what’s right for the country — not what’s good for special interest groups that contribute, not what’s good for the lobbyists and the donors.”

The real estate magnate has upended the Republican presidential primary, with recent national polls showing that he is leading the 16-candidate field. Many in the party’s establishment, pointing to his inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants and McCain, say that Trump is badly hurting the GOP brand.

He insisted that his remarks about McCain and immigration have not and will not hurt him, and pointed to several recent polls to make his point. 

Not surprisingly, Trump is a big fan of polls now.  At one point, he whipped out a survey that he had inside his suit pocket, and later he called on an aide to print out the latest poll numbers showing him leading former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).

As I have said before, get out the popcorn.  The GOP show is going to be very entertaining - despite much exasperation over the batshitery and bigotry.

Why Progressives Shouldn’t Support Bernie Sanders - A Pragmatist View

I will admit that that I like some of the positions that Bernie Sanders is taking on economic issues and, of course America's broken American Dream.  But the former political party activist in me knows that the ultimate goal is to back a party candidate that can win come the general election. Given the swamp fever that has overcome the Republican Party it is even more important that no Republican win the White House in 2016 and thereby allow the Supreme Court to be further tilted against average Americans and needed regulations that hold robber baron like corporations in check.   It is this reality that has caused former Congressman Barney Frank to make the case why progressives should not back Bernie Sanders and in the process potentially weaken Hillary Clinton in the 2016 face off with the GOP nominee.  Here are highlights from his piece in Politico:

Republicans fear that if Hillary Clinton is nominated fairly easily, while they are locked in a bitter, lengthy, ideologically charged series of primaries with a large cast of characters of varying degrees of plausibility, she gets a head start for the real fight. . . . they believe boosting Sanders’ candidacy is their only way to prevent Clinton emerging as the nominee with broad support early in the process, strengthening her position in November.

They are correct.

I know that there is a counter-argument made by some on the Democratic left that a closely contested nomination process will help our ultimate nominee — that Clinton will somehow benefit from having to spend most of her time and campaign funds between now and next summer proving her ideological purity in an intraparty fight, like Mitt Romney in 2012 — rather than focusing on her differences with the conservative she will face in the election. But neither an analysis of the current political situation nor the history of presidential races supports this.

I believe strongly that the most effective thing liberals and progressives can do to advance our public policy goals — on health care, immigration, financial regulation, reducing income inequality, completing the fight against anti-LGBT discrimination, protecting women’s autonomy in choices about reproduction and other critical matters on which the Democratic and Republican candidates for president will be sharply divided — is to help Clinton win our nomination early in the year. That way, she can focus on what we know will be a tough job: combating the flood of post-Citizens United right-wing money, in an atmosphere in which public skepticism about the effectiveness of public policy is high.

Without any substance, some argue that she has been insufficiently committed to economic and social reform — for example, that she is too close to Wall Street, and consequently soft on financial regulation, and unwilling to support higher taxation on the super-rich. This is wholly without basis.

And as Paul Krugman documented throughout the 2008 nomination campaign, she was, on the whole, to Barack Obama’s left on domestic issues.

True, not on Iraq. Having myself voted against that terrible mistake, I agree that her position on the war is a legitimate concern for those of us on the left. The question then becomes whether this was a manifestation of a general tendency to support unwise military intervention, or the case of her joining every other Democratic senator who had serious presidential ambitions in voting for a war that the Bush-Cheney administration had successfully hyped as a necessary defense against terrorism.

I regard liberal senators’ support for the Iraq War as a response to a given fraught political situation rather than an indication of their basic policy stance — like Obama’s off-again, on-again support for same-sex marriage. . . . . Most relevantly for this discussion, she will clearly be for less military spending and intervention than the Republican nominee.

There is not only no chance — perhaps regrettably — for Sanders to win a national election. A long primary campaign will only erode the benefit Democrats are now poised to reap from the Republicans’ free-for-all.

Regrettably, I believe that Barney Frank is correct.  Therefore, we need to focus on making sure the Republicans go down to defeat in November, 2016. 

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

How LGBT Assimilation Is Hurting The LGBT Community's Most Vulnerable

While the advances in gay rights since I came out in October, 2001, have been amazing, not all in the LGBT community have benefited equally  in the advances, particularly those living in still anti-gay red states and those from minority populations and/or less affluent backgrounds.  I complain at times about life in Virginia - which remains far from the bright center of the LGBT universe in many ways - but overall, the husband and I have it far better than many others, including LGBT individuals stuck living in rural areas of Southwest Virginia or what's called "Southside" to the west of Hampton Roads.   The contrasts are huge and may be growing.  We find ourselves socially acceptable and in professions where our sexual orientation seemingly is less and less of an obstacle to success.  A mere 100 miles to the west, it's a very different world (recently visiting the Farmville, Virginia, area, my comment was that if I had to live there, razor blades might seem like an attractive option).  The same holds for those in minority communities.  Hopefully, this will change in time, but for now the divergence is growing.  A piece in Huffington Post looks at the phenomenon.  Here are excerpts:
On the evening of June 28, two very different celebrations took place to mark the most historic New York City Pride week in decades. 

The flashier of these celebrations was the iconic Dance on the Pier. . . . .  Complete with laser lights, multiple jumbotrons, fireworks and a legion of half-naked go-go dancers, the event was a brazen testament to the newfound trendiness of urban gaydom. Admission started at $80, but that didn't stop 10,000 enthusiastic fans from snatching up tickets to what organizers billed as one of the world's top-tier LGBT events.

[A]cross the Hudson to the north, they may have seen the outline of the Christopher Street Piers, where a celebration of a very different kind was taking place. Here, a motley crowd of queer homeless youths -- who definitely could not afford admission to Dance on the Pier -- decided to throw an impromptu party of their own. With the bass from the Ariana Grande concert pulsing in the background, the youths -- male, female, cisgender, transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, black and Latino -- drank, smoked, sang, vogued and played cards under the dim light of the street lamps.

Both parties paid homage to a common past by celebrating Pride and the decades of struggle it commemorates. Both parties acknowledged a common present by sharing space on the Hudson River Piers, the heart of New York's LGBT community. But the extravagant Ariana Grande concert and its upscale audience could not have seemed more out of place among the piers that have served as a safe haven for the queer community's most marginalized -- mostly queer homeless youth of color -- for decades.

While the gay rights movement in the United States has achieved a remarkable string of successes over the past several years, including the invalidation of the Defense of Marriage Act and the legalization of gay marriage, not everyone within the LGBT community is equally positioned to take advantage of these successes. 

After all, although marriage is a declaration of love, in many ways it is also an expression of interpersonal stability, economic security and social respectability -- attributes that many marginalized LGBT people do not have. So while love may have won for middle and upper class gays, many transgender people, queer people of color and queer homeless youths instead find themselves left behind by a community that has become increasingly defined by the interests of its white, cisgender, middle and upper class members.

Marriage is an institution of respectability. The fight for gay marriage suggested that the gay community had grown up, left its radical past behind and was ready to join mainstream society as a reputable partner.  . . . . It was also an assertion that the gay rights movement had reached an important milestone, transcending basic issues of health, safety, economic security and social stability.

But the problem is, it hadn't. Over 20 percent of all LGBT youth are homeless, and 40 percent of all homeless youth are LGBT. 58 percent of queer homeless youth have been sexually assaulted. 64 percent of transgender people make less than $25,000 per year. 41 percent of transgender people and 62 percent of queer homeless youth have attempted suicide. And 10 transgender women have been murdered in the U.S. so far this year. 

Is this to be the brave new gay world?  A world in which the public face of the queer community -- the gay, the white, the cisgender and the wealthy -- take their place among society's elite, leaving the transgender, the non-white, the poor and the homeless to fend for themselves?

A world where queer youths are disowned and thrown out on the street by their families
, only to find that they are also considered second-class citizens in the community they reach out to for love and acceptance?

[A]s the gay elite have become increasingly integrated into the power structure of society, many have used their newfound influence not to alleviate the inequalities within the queer community, but instead to cement their position at the pinnacle of an expanding LGBT hierarchy.

Instead of collaborating with queer homeless youth to recreate the old Village's culture of diversity and acceptance, many residents of this new Greenwich Village -- many of them gay and lesbian -- have sought to "clean" their streets

And instead of protecting queer homeless youths from harassment, the Christopher Street Patrol has increasingly hounded them for petty quality of life infractions, a strategy eerily similar to that of the anti-gay vigilantes the patrol was in part founded to combat. As one black transgender youth put it, "The damage comes from our own community. You'd think we'd be safe on our own piers."
But the worst part about this trend is that because the discrimination is perpetrated at least in part by our own community, it is given a sense of legitimacy. After all, it can't be homophobic if it's queers versus queers, right?!

With the stunning advances in gay rights and growing prosperity of America's LGB community over the past decade, it's easy to forget that the very groups we are now marginalizing are the ones who launched the queer rights movement at a time when being gay was still a crime.

If queer homeless youths, black drag queens, transgender women and gay hustlers had not risen up against oppression at Compton's Cafeteria and Stonewall over 45 years ago, we would not have gay marriage today.
So as long as LGBT youths sleep on the street, transgender people fear for their lives, and queer people of color live in poverty, my new right to marry will be diminished.The LGBT movement still has a long way to go . . .
The author is correct - there is a huge amount of work still to be done and anti-gay discrimination (much of it generated by foul religious denominations) needs to be fought and crushed at all levels of society and across America from the big cities to small rural towns.  Never ending activism is exhausting, but there is still so much to be done.  The fight must continue.

Fox News, "Conservative" Talk Radio and the Rise of Donald Trump

After the hijacking of the Republican Party base by the Christofascists - who were stupidly initially welcomed by the so-called GOP establishment - perhaps the second most important factor in the descent of the GOP into a world detached from objective reality has been the impact of Fox News (a/k/a Faux News) and conservative talk radio programing.   In this sector of the airwaves, truth and facts don't matter and extremists and hate mongers set the tone of political discussion, assuming one even graces the demagoguery and spewing of hate with that that much courtesy.    It is these outlets that have turned those who would have been shunned by the Republican Party of old into "media stars" and given platforms to countless crackpots and false "experts."  A piece in the New York Times looks at how these "news outlets" have set the stage for Donald Trump's rise in the polls.  Here are excerpts:
The Republican Party’s internal war over the rise of Donald J. Trump is playing out among candidates and campaign operatives, but nowhere is it being heard more loudly than on commuters’ car radios.

Conservative talk radio has been abuzz with chatter about Mr. Trump since he started his presidential campaign last month with a salvo against illegal immigrants from Mexico . . . Despite the blowback — some would say because of it — Mr. Trump’s poll numbers have surged. The stirring of the restive Republican base on the radio airwaves provides both evidence and an explanation for his appeal.

Laura Ingraham made the case for Mr. Trump during her radio show on Tuesday, calling on Republicans to do some soul searching about why he was resonating with voters and outpacing established politicians in the polls despite his McCain comments.

Callers like Dave from Indiana were unfazed by the dust-up with Mr. McCain, seeing it as more proof that Mr. Trump is ready to battle for his beliefs and ideas. “The simple fact of the matter is that he fights,” he said. “That’s why he’s worth supporting.”

As Mr. Trump campaigns on, the power of conservative talk radio should not be underestimated.

“A lot of the Republican establishment will say talk radio is the problem, that it gins up the base, that it drives the party too far to the right,” said Tim Graham, who analyzes conservative media for the Media Research Center. The group was founded by conservatives to bring balance to the news media.

This summer the medium has amplified Mr. Trump as both a movement and an outlet for conservative outrage toward a party that has turned to moderate candidates in the last two presidential elections.

Mr. Gallagher observed that Mr. Trump is channeling the frustration harbored by conservatives who feel rejected by the Republican establishment and are generally disgusted with politicians.

The disgust can cut both ways, though, and on talk radio it is starting to do just that. Peter Wehner, a guest on Mr. Gallagher’s morning show, said that Republicans should no longer be silent in their opposition to Mr. Trump. Open criticism is the only way to stem his rise and the damage he does to the party.

Some popular hosts who were previously supportive of Mr. Trump are turning on him. . . .
“You’ve got to think broader than the base of your party if you want to win elections,” Mr. Hannity said, urging Mr. Trump to apologize.

According to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a communications professor at the University of Pennsylvania, much of Mr. Trump’s draw lies in his bluntness, a characteristic that also draws conservative listeners to talk radio hosts. The candidate is breaking what scholars call the “spiral of silence” and is validating voters who hold views that are widely considered politically incorrect. And the fact that party elites seem to loathe him only adds to the appeal.

Praising the billionaire businessman for not apologizing, Mr. Limbaugh urged Mr. Trump to carry on and keep standing up for himself. The left, he warned, was trying to demonize a Republican candidate for daring to speak his mind.
What is unspoken in the article is that most of the "outrage" of the  is actually the result of furor over lost white privilege and the party's growing overt racism.  Plus a total lack of concern for the less fortunate notwithstanding the pretense of supporting "Christian values."