Tag Archives: equal rights

Why this statue of Lincoln should go

Associated Press photo

The Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., portrays President Abraham Lincoln, holding his Emancipation Proclamation, with a freshly freed slave at his feet. The statue was erected in 1876 — and certainly is a product of its time.

We have bigger fish to fry than to worry about our public statues, I hear you whine.

You probably maybe are right. COVID-19 continues to ravage the nation because we are a nation of adolescents and thus couldn’t remain locked down for even three full months and so we reopened way prematurely, just collectively pretending that it was all clear; unemployment due to the novel coronavirus pandemic remains a huge problem; the cops, most of them white, keep killing black Americans (men, mostly) when a non- or less-lethal response was possible; and our long-standing problems, such as climate change, insane income inequality and the over-militarization of our nation, of course remain untouched under the “leadership” of the unelected and thus illegitimate “President” Pussygrabber.

But statues are part of the American culture, and it’s not only that Americans create the national culture, but that the national culture also forms Americans.

Generally speaking, a public statue is erected because someone and/or some event is not only to be commemorated, but is to be venerated. Most statues are not, of course, neutral, but are statements of that society’s highest values.

Therefore, it’s entirely appropriate that all public commemorations of the fucking Confederacy, including statues, be removed from public view. Treason, white-supremacist racism and slavery are not to be venerated.

I don’t maintain that all of the offensive and oppressive statues have to be destroyed, but they should be removed from public view. I’m OK with them being warehoused or placed in museums if they’re part of the history that the museum is telling.

But they don’t belong in the public square. All of us have the right to be out and about in public without our senses, our psyches and our souls being assaulted by symbols of tyranny, ignorance and hatred.

True, we could go pretty far with this exercise. George Washington owned slaves. So did Thomas Jefferson. So did even Benjamin Franklin. Ditto for John Hancock and Patrick Henry. I’m not advocating that we raze the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial. Indeed, these monuments were not raised in praise of slavery, but some of the background history there nonetheless is pretty fucking ugly.

Abraham Lincoln, my favorite president, of course never owned a slave, but then again, he also grew up in poverty, and I’d like to think that he’d never have been a slave holder even if he had grown up in wealth and if his formative years had been spent in a slave state instead of mostly in Indiana and Illinois. (He was born in Kentucky, but his family moved to Indiana when he was a young boy and then to Illinois when he was a young man.)

And while Lincoln opposed slavery, he did not believe that whites and blacks were social equals (almost no white person in his day and age did) — something about Lincoln that we don’t routinely teach our young children in school.

Still, looking at Lincoln’s presidency, I think that on balance, given the steep challenges that faced him and how he fared with them, he is the best president that we’ve had.

(For the most part I agree with Wikipedia’s rather glowing assessment of Lincoln that he “led the nation through its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis in the American Civil War. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.”)

But that doesn’t mean that I have to like every statue or other public depiction of Lincoln, and the statue of Lincoln at the Emancipation Memorial (pictured above) — which, unshockingly, was paid for by donations from former slaves but was designed and sculpted by one or more white people — is problematic.

First and foremost, it portrays a white man as the slaves’ savior. Apparently, the white man never can lose; even though he enslaved abducted Africans in the first fucking place, he is to get kudos, too, for finally having set them free. Just: No.

I have a black co-worker who once blithely opined that Barack Obama was a great president because, among other things, she claimed, he “gave us gay marriage.”

No, not true. Not only was it the U.S. Supreme Court, not Obama, that ruled five years ago yesterday that same-sex marriage legally cannot be prohibited anywhere on U.S. soil, but even the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t “give” us non-heterosexuals equal marriage rights.

Those equal human rights already always were there; they were just being denied to us LGBT individuals by an oppressive, heterosexist majority. Ditto for the slaves, of course: Their right to be free always had existed; it was just being denied to them by the tyrannical white majority.

In Obergefell vs. Hodges, the Supreme Court simply acknowledged where the majority of the American people already were — that it was past the time to stop shitting and pissing upon LGBT individuals — and codified it.

Before and behind that was generations of fighting for equality by non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals, who often were brutalized and murdered.

Ditto in the case of Abraham Lincoln. Many, many others, obviously blacks as well as whites (and others), fought for — and died for — the abolition of slavery. That fight culminated in the Emancipation Proclamation, but to act as though the Emancipation Proclamation came out of thin air — or even from one person — is to ignore blatantly the actual history.

(Yet another parallel: Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but did he “give” black Americans equal human and civil rights that even the Emancipation Proclamation hadn’t gained them? No. Again, many, many people had fought for — and died for — civil-rights advancements before Johnson signed any legislation. And these rights weren’t created, as they always already had existed.)

The statue at the Emancipation Memorial keeps the white man above the black man — figuratively as well as literally. The spirit of it is that the white man freed the black man — as though an act of nature, instead of white people, had created slavery — and the shadow aspect of that is that because the white man retains the upper hand over the black man, he could reverse himself and reinstitute the slavery of the black man at any time.

Note that Frederick Douglass, who justifiably had some issues with Lincoln, disliked the statue at the Emancipation Memorial, and note that, of course, since the statue commemorated the 11th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, we have no way of knowing what he himself would have thought of such a depiction of himself. (My best guess is that Lincoln would have thought the statue to be gauche, even for 1876.)

I surmise that the statue at the Emancipation Memorial will remain there for a time to come, as the issue of its continued existence is hashed out, but I’m perfectly OK with its removal. (It’s now being protected by a barrier because activists have targeted it to be removed.)

A statue that’s in the public square should represent the better angels of our nature.

I think that’s what Lincoln would have wanted.

P.S. This is a wonderful recent Washington Post news photo of the usual suspect arguing for the Emancipation Memorial to remain intact while an activist who supports its removal has to suffer his presence:

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Transgender is the new Jew

His approval ratings perpetually mired below 40 percent, mega-coward “President” Pussygrabber now must resort to attacking the least of us: the comparatively tiny minority of Americans who are transgender.

Pussygrabber announced today (via the very presidential Twitter, of course) that “After consultation with my Generals [sic] and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government [sic] will not accept or allow … [t]ransgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military [sic].”

Reuters notes that there are “thousands” of transgender individuals in the U.S. military and that “Trump spokeswoman Sarah [Huckabee] Sanders said the administration has not yet decided whether transgender service members already in the military would be immediately thrown out, saying the White House and Pentagon would have to work that out.”

I’d joke that Pussygrabber’s biggest concern is that when he goes to grab another pussy, he wants to make sure that it’s the real deal, but this really isn’t very fucking funny.

The New York Times reports:

… The sweeping policy decision was met with surprise at the Pentagon, outrage from advocacy groups and praise from social conservatives.

It reverses the gradual transformation of the military under President Barack Obama, whose administration announced last year that transgender people could serve openly in the military. Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, also opened all combat roles to women and appointed the first openly gay Army secretary.

Mr. Trump’s decision to announce a substantial policy change on Twitter raised immediate questions about how the shift would be put into effect and what would happen to openly transgender people on active duty.

The Pentagon referred questions to the White House, where several officials did not immediately respond to questions about the reasoning and timing behind Mr. Trump’s decision. …

The “reasoning” is to create a distraction from everything else that has been keeping the lame Pussygrabber regime mired in the political muck for months now, and to make a cheap appeal to the ignorance, bigotry and hatred of Pussygrabber’s base of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging troglodytes, which, thankfully, is not even 40 percent of the American people.

And the “timing” is that more than six months into his presidency, the wholly presidentially unfit Pussygrabber continues to flounder spectacularly with no end in sight, so Why not attack transgender people? Everyone hates them, right? So it’s safe, isn’t it?

Except perhaps to a self-professed groper of genitalia like the “president,” it does not matter what is between someone’s legs. Character matters, and what matters in the workplace is whether or not one can do and does do his or her (or, in the common non-gender-binary parlance, their) job. (Clearly, that’s a test that Pussygrabber, probably the worst “president” in my lifetime, fails miserably. He does everything bigly, and so yes, he is a colossal fucking failure.)

To make employment decisions based on anything other than the individual’s qualifications and abilities is to discriminate against that individual.

I am confident that in the future, perhaps sooner rather than later, the federal courts overwhelmingly will rule that discrimination against transgender individuals (as well as non-heterosexual and otherwise non-gender-conforming individuals) constitutes illegal and unconstitutional sex discrimination, because it is sex discrimination — or, Congress will act to expand existing federal non-discrimination law to protect, explicitly, these groups of individuals (such as with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act). Or both will happen.

Ironically, “President” Pussygrabber very well might have sped up the inevitability of federal anti-discrimination laws being expanded to include non-heterosexuals, non-gender-conforming individuals and transgender individuals.

In the meantime, though, thousands of transgender individuals who already are serving in the U.S. military have just been told by “our” illegitimate “president” (yes, losing the popular vote by millions makes you illegitimate) that they no longer may serve in the U.S. military.

This – to tell a whole class of individuals who already are serving in the U.S. military that they no longer may do so – is unprecedented, and again, I expect it to go to the federal courts, and I expect the “president,” who doesn’t know his baby-boomer billionaire asshole from the U.S. Constitution, to once again lose in the federal courts.

This hateful message that transgender individuals may not serve in the U.S. military, coming from the “president,” also gives the potentially soul-crushing message to the many thousands of transgender individuals in the United States that it’s wide-open season on them.

This is ignorance, bigotry and hatred – and since this is meant for political gain, this is, in my book, a form of terrorism – that starts at the top.

This is Nazi-like bullshit: to pick out an already politically weak group of individuals for special persecution for political gain. Hitler did this.

Der Fuhrer Pussygrabber has to goas soon as is possible.

At this point, I don’t fucking care how that happens.

We have a neo-Nazi in the White House, this is intolerable, and this cannot go on.

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The ‘new’ pride flag: Oh, HELL no!

Updated below (on Monday, June 26, 2017)

New Pride Flag

Misguided, overzealous people from within their safe spaces in Philadelphia recently decided to add two new stripes to the traditional pride flag in order to represent brown and black people who are non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming.

As “President” Pussygrabber might say: SAD!

The “new” pride flag, which I reject and hope is widely rejected, is wrong on many levels. Let me count the ways.

Anyone who has been to a left-of-center protest or demonstration knows the problem of too many groups trying to be seen and heard. It’s fucking selfish and rude and disrespectful for, say, a marijuana-rights group to show up at an anti-war protest, but I’ve seen shit like that. You don’t piggyback onto someone else’s cause in order to promote your own. That is lacking in all class and tact.

There are many good causes and righteous crusades out there, and of course intersectionality is very important. (It is so important that if you don’t know what it is, you should click on that link to find out.) You’ll get no argument otherwise from me.

But how cluttered — and how co-opted — are we going to let the pride flag become?

How are Asian or biracial LGBT people represented by the “new” pride flag? What about the deaf or the blind or the physically and/or mentally disabled or the mentally ill? Where are their stripes? Do the poor get a stripe? The elderly? Jews? Muslims? Atheists? I consider myself to be a socialist; where is the stripe for socialists? (“The red stripe,” I hear you say. Or maybe, “Add a pink stripe!” Shut the fuck up.)

The pride flag always has meant, or at least its significance always has included, diversity, including racial diversity. Remember Jesse Jackson’s National Rainbow Coalition from the 1980s? It exists today as the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and here is its logo:

Shit, not only does it not include a black or a brown stripe, but it doesn’t even have the green or orange stripe of the traditional rainbow! It is very pared down! No black or brown stripe! (Did I mention Jesse Jackson? And no black or brown stripe?)

And I remember the first pride-flag bumper stickers of the more homophobic 1990s: “Celebrate diversity,” they proclaimed, because apparently celebrating a vague, gauzy “diversity” was much more acceptable than was celebrating much more specific “gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.” We had to water it down for the homophobes and heterosexists, you see; we didn’t want our cars to be vandalized or to be the victims of violence.

The “new” pride flag as proposed by our Philadelphian sisters and brothers is too busy and unattractive.* Aesthetically (and we gay men are supposed to be all about great aesthetics!), brown and black don’t belong with the colors of the rainbow any more than does gray or even white (of course, black, white and gray aren’t colors).

And, of course, actual rainbows and prisms don’t display brown or black, for fuck’s sake, but display violet/purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. And that’s it.

More colors than those basic six are fabulous — but go get yourself a big ol’ fucking box of crayons and leave the fucking pride flag alone. It has stood the test of time and it doesn’t need your Johnny-come-lately tweaks.

The “new” pride flag is too busy and too unattractive, and I have a real problem with the co-option of the LGBT movement by race-based movements, especially when race-based movements so often in the past have shown nothing but contempt and disrespect for those of us who are LGBT.

Black Americans have been notoriously homophobic, and many Latinos, with their culture of Catholicism and machismo, have been, too. (I’m not saying that Asians have been all that much better, but the black and brown stripes of the “new and improved” pride flag apparently primarily symbolize blacks and Latinos.)

So often have I heard, especially from black Americans, that gay rights are not civil rights. (I once even had one black homophobe venomously tell me, “You can’t compare race to sin!” Another black homophobe once wonderfully lovingly to me referred to being non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming as a possible “birth defect.”) Now, these very same people want on my flag? Oh, fuck no!

These homophobes would have a fucking stroke if the LGBT movement tried to elbow its way into their movements, so why the fuck is it OK for them to encroach upon the LGBT movement? Are we gay people supposed to just bend over and take it up the ass? (Isn’t that what the homophobes and heterosexists always have thought of us? That we’re passive pushovers who are easily steamrolled?)

Again, intersectionality is important. Many of us within the LGBT community not only are non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming, but we’re also not white or we have a disability or some other trait (a physical trait, membership in a minority religion, we’re not a U.S. citizen, etc.) that puts us into another minority group or groups as well. But we can’t put all of the possible permutations of minority status on one fucking flag, each minority group with its own specific, distinctive element.

So: Leave the fucking pride flag alone. It’s fine the way that it is. It doesn’t need your “improvements.”

And: We non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals have fought for decades for equal human and civil rights. It was just two years ago later this month that our right to marry whom we love finally was recognized. (No, that constitutional and human right was not “given” to us by generous heterosexuals. Not only did we fight like hell for it, but it always existed, but the homophobes and heterosexists had refused to recognize it — and many of them still do!) And it was just a year ago this month that the largest gun massacre in modern U.S. history was perpetrated — on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

And: We non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals have the additional obstacle and burden of the fact that many of us are discriminated against and rejected by even members of our own fucking families. Most other members of other minority groups at least have the support of their own fucking families.

And: The LGBT movement still has a long way to go; it didn’t end with the long-overdue legal recognition of same-sex marriage in all 50 states two years ago. For example, being non-heterosexual still isn’t a federally protected class. Nor is being non-gender-conforming (although the federal courts in their rulings are starting to view discrimination against the non-gender-conforming and/or the non-heterosexual as a form of sex discrimination, which it is).

So: Perhaps those who are chomping at the bit to co-opt the LGBT movement — I have to surmise that their goal is to minimize it and to push it back into the shadows so that more attention is put on their own special-interest groups — at the very least can wait until we non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming individuals have the same federally protected status that they do before they even think about desecrating our flag.

Update (Monday, June 26, 2017): Today is the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the U.S. Constitution prohibits banning same-sex marriage anywhere in the United States, yet, according to a Pew Research Center survey taken earlier this month, only 51 percent of black Americans support same-sex marriage.

That’s only a few percent more than Repugnicans who support same-sex marriage (47 percent of them).

Among all Americans, 62 percent support same-sex marriage.

Yeah, I’m thinking that the Only Black Lives Matter set really needs to stop lecturing us LGBTs on the topic of equal human and civil rights.

And I’ll really go out on a limb and pronounce that they really, really need to give a fuck about us before they expect us to give a fuck about them.

That barely half of black Americans support same-sex marriage two years after it was made the law of the land indicates that black homophobia is alive and well. We LGBTs should be demanding to be on their flags, not vice-fucking-versa.

*The original gay pride flag, which debuted in San Francisco (appropriately) in June 1978, looked like this:

I’m glad that the flag later was altered to delete the pink and the turquoise stripes. I have nothing against pink or turquoise — or brown or black — but the original, eight-striped pride flag was too busy, and the natural spectrum doesn’t have pink (arguably, I suppose, it does have turquoise).

The traditional pride flag is much simpler and cleaner:

This version of the pride flag has been in use since 1979, and again, I, for one, won’t accept its desecration. There is a lot of history and a lot of human pain and suffering behind it, too much history and too much pain and suffering for those who weren’t even alive during all of that to then come along and blithely fucking ruin it in their coddled ignorance and self-centeredness.

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The unelected Pussygrabber regime is now attacking schoolchildren. Sick!

The small-mindedness and the mean-spiritedness of the unelected Pussygrabber regime won’t stop.

Today, the fascist regime targeted schoolchildren.

Reports The Washington Post:

The Trump administration [today] revoked federal guidelines specifying that transgender students have the right to use public school restrooms that match their gender identity, taking a stand on a contentious issue that has become the central battle over LGBT rights.

Officials with the federal Education and Justice departments notified the U.S. Supreme Court late [today] that the administration is ordering the nation’s schools to disregard memos the Obama administration issued during the past two years regarding transgender student rights. Those memos said that prohibiting transgender students from using facilities that align with their gender identity violates federal anti-discrimination laws.

The two-page “dear colleague” letter from the Trump administration, which is set to go to the nation’s public schools, does not offer any new guidance, instead saying that the earlier directive needed to be withdrawn because it lacked extensive legal analysis, did not go through a public vetting process, sowed confusion and drew legal challenges.

The administration said that it would not rely on the prior interpretation of the law in the future.

The departments wrote that the Trump administration wants to “further and more completely consider the legal issues involved,” and said that there must be “due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts in establishing educational policy.” Although it offered no clarity or direction to schools that have transgender students, the letter added that “schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.” [Wink, wink!]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that his department “has a duty to enforce the law” and criticized the Obama administration’s guidance as lacking sufficient legal basis. Sessions wrote that the Department of Justice remains committed to the “proper interpretation” of the anti-discrimination law known as Title IX but said deference should be given to lawmakers and localities.

“Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue,” Sessions said.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos echoed that sentiment, saying that this is an issue “best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities, and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students.”

DeVos also gave assurances that the department’s Office for Civil Rights “remains committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools,” and she noted that she considers “protecting all students, including LGBTQ students, not only a key priority for the Department, but for every school in America.” [Wink, wink, wink, wink,wink, wink, wink!]

The decision — delayed in part because DeVos and Sessions hit stalemates regarding timing and specific language — drew immediate condemnation from gay and transgender rights advocates, who accused President Trump of violating past promises to support gay and transgender protections. Advocates said the withdrawal of the federal guidance will create another layer of confusion for schools and will make transgender students, who are already vulnerable, more so. …

Wow.

The fact that the old, bullshit “states’ rights” “argument” has been used to justify slavery and all kinds of other civil-rights violations aside, it’s awfully interesting that the Pussygrabber administration, replete with a member of the KKK as U.S. attorney general and a U.S. education secretary who has never worked a day in a public school, are screaming “States’ rights!” to advocate for the discrimination against school students but would argue, only when it suits them, of course, that states don’t actually have rights, such as the right to declare a jurisdiction a “sanctuary” jurisdiction or to legalize the use of marijuana.

But worst in all of this is that transgender students, who already have plenty of problems in a backasswards society in which those who don’t conform are hammered down like the proverbial nail that is sticking out, now have been told, by the Pussygrabber administration, that their civil rights are so negotiable that we’ll leave it up to the states to decide.

Transgender school students hear this message loudly and clearly: The Pussygrabber regime doesn’t give a flying fuck about them and their welfare.

Expect youth suicides and instances of violence and other abuse against transgender students to go up now. Count on it.

The scrapping of equal human and civil rights for transgender students in all 50 states now means that transgender students living in enlightened states, such as my state of California, which by state law has protected transgender students’ civil rights since 2014 (the first state to do so, I’ll add), are going to have a very different experience than are those students living in the unenlightened states, the states that have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into this millennium.

Of course history will show that the Repugnican Party was wrong on the issue of transgender rights as it has been dead wrong about the rights of non-whites, of women and of non-heterosexuals, among others. History regularly looks back upon the Repugnican Party in shame, but, of course, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are entirely without shame.

The 2018 midterms will be quite interesting. The slice of the American electorate that the unelected, fascist, white supremacist, patriarchal, misogynist, LGBT-phobic, xenophobic, all-around bigoted and retrograde Pussygrabber regime hasn’t offended and alienated is shrinking by the day.

And rather than “making America great again,” the unelected, fascist Pussygrabber regime is only looking for all of the ways in which it can try to drag the nation back to the Dark Ages (which it calls “the good old days”).

I’m not transgender and I am not close to anyone who is, but this bullshit — attacking and refusing to protect schoolchildren, for fuck’s sake — pisses me off to no end nonetheless, because this is some fucking sick and twisted, wrong, wrong, wrong bullshit, and the unelected Pussygrabber regime and the Repugnican Tea Party must pay for their mean-spirited, cold-hearted, ironically absolutely anti-Christian attacks on the well-being of millions of human beings.

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Throw ‘Christian’ ‘martyr’ Kim Davis to the lions! (Or, A Modest Proposal)

Kim Davis, meet Cecil’s cousin! Cecil’s cousin, meet Kim Davis!

Kim Davis, the insane Kentucky county clerk and shameless attention whore who has made a name for herself by staunchly refusing (in the name of “God”) to do her job of granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples, has achieved the “martyrdom” that she had been seeking; for having violated the will of even the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal judge today finally put her treasonous, theocratic ass in jail, where she belongs.

I have a better idea: Let’s really make Davis a “Christian” “martyr” and throw her to African lions!

After all, an American wingnut killed Cecil the African lion; we Americans owe it to the African lions to feed them an American wingnut, do we not?

But seriously, I have zero sympathy for Davis, who, in typical “Christian” fashion, claims victimhood for herself while she victimizes others.

The Bible – which was written centuries ago by ignorant people – might be against same-sex marriage, but who ever was trying to force Davis (who infamously has been heterosexually married herself four times) into a same-sex marriage?

Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land, but the haters still get to hate non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals (in the name of “God” or not), and they still get to shun same-sex marriage for themselves. The U.S. Supreme Court’s quite-correct ruling in June that prohibitions against same-sex marriage violate the equal human and civil rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution doesn’t violate anyone’s religious beliefs – it only prevents theocratic haters like Davis from discriminating against those of us who don’t share their knuckle-dragging, backasswards religious beliefs.

And it is our First-Amendment right not to share their antiquated and dangerous religious beliefs and to not have their antiquated and dangerous religious beliefs shoved down our throats.

This is the central problem: So-called “Christians” believe that the rest of us must follow their beliefs. It’s not enough for them that they believe their bullshit; the rest of us must, too. They must expand their Bible-based lunacy, these lunatics believe.

This is theocracy, and it is no more acceptable for “Christians” to attempt a theocratic takeover of the United States of America than it would be for theocrats like those of the Taliban, al Qaeda or ISIS to do so.

Kim Davis does not work for a church. She works for a county government, and county governments (as well as all state and local governments) are bound by the U.S. Constitution, by U.S. Supreme Court case law (the U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter on the U.S. Constitution), and by federal laws.

Kim Davis is no martyr, no victim, and she does have a choice: Do her job or quit her job — or remain in jail for her refusal to do her job.

This is justice.

God bless America!

Update: It’s being reported that five of the six of Davis’ deputies will begin to issue same-sex marriage licenses starting tomorrow. (The lone holdout is her son; the Podunk County clerk’s office reeks of nepotism, among other things.)

The federal judge who put Davis behind bars for her blatant contempt of court has indicated that he intends to keep her behind bars for a while to prevent her from trying to stop the issuing of the licenses.

Indeed, the constitutional rights of the many are far more important than is Davis’ bullshit claim that she’s simply defending her right to her religious beliefs by imposing them on others.

She can rot in jail for all that I care.

Or be thrown to the lions.

Either one.

Here’s her booking photo, by the way:

As others have noted, it’s ironic that she’s so homophobic, because she really could use some gay men to update her look to this millennium.

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Still waiting for the national backlash

As apparently at least one editorial cartoonist (see above) and political commentator Bill Maher have noted, this past week the Confederate flag has been lowered and the rainbow flag has been raised. (Which, as Maher quipped, must have made for a very weird week for U.S. senator and presidential Repugnican Party presidential aspirant Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, whom pretty much everyone knows is a closet case.)

It’s a cute visual — one flag going down and another going up — but it’s not quite as simple as that.

We still have a long way to go in achieving equal human and civil rights for blacks and other racial minorities in the United States of America, and the image of the rainbow flag replacing the Confederate flag could send the message that we’re done with the racial thing, and so now we can celebrate the fact that we’re done with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender thing. But we’re not done with that, either, as I have just noted.

I am happy that the Confederate flag is imploding. Don’t get me wrong. Earlier this month I wrote that the public display of the flag should be banned legally throughout the United States, as Germany bans the Nazi flag, and I still believe that no one should have to see the flag, which I still liken to the Nazi flag, in public. The flag deeply unsettles me, and I’m a white man (albeit a gay white man), so I can only imagine how many if not most blacks feel when they see the Confederate flag — the flag of racist, white supremacist traitors and terrorists — displayed in public as a terrorist warning/threat in the guise of “heritage” or “history” or “culture.”

No, because the First Amendment is used as justification for continued hate speech (which in my book is not protected by the First Amendment since hate speech so often ends in violence against and harm to weaker, historically oppressed individuals), I don’t expect the public display of the Confederate flag to be made illegal throughout the United States any year soon — although it should be made illegal for the federal government or any of the state governments to display the flag in public (except in museums and the like), including, of course, on state-issued license plates — but public and political pressure is bringing the flag down everywhere.

Yes, Mississippi’s flag, which incorporates the Confederate flag in it, as a state-government-sanctioned image has got to go and be redesigned, but while we wait for that — and the illegality of all state-issued license plates bearing the Confederate flag — it’s heartening that in the meantime Walmart, Amazon, Sears, eBay and countless other businesses have decided that they will not sell anything with the Confederate flag on it (with the exception, of course, of such things as history books and DVDs of “Gone with the Wind”).

I can’t remember the last time that I saw any merchandise emblazoned with the Confederate flag here in California — where the Confederate flag does not fly — but it’s nice to know that it now is harder for white supremacists to buy their freak flags online now, and I’m guessing that Walmart’s Southern-state stores have offered merchandise containing the flag of the white-supremacist traitor, if not even the flag itself.

And let’s face it, since the United States is so hyper-capitalist and consumerist, when Big Business decides to do something, such as to ban the Confederate flag, it’s almost as good as the state legislatures and the U.S. Congress actually doing their job, and certainly the elected cowards who fill our chambers of power won’t be as scared now to follow what Big Business has started to do.*

I also was delighted to learn that a black woman in South Carolina yesterday skillfully scaled the flagpole on the state’s capitol grounds and temporarily took down the Confederate flag that mind-blowingly still flies there. Of course law enforcement was waiting for her at the bottom of the flagpole and the flag quickly was raised again. But the woman had made her point; she quite understandably doesn’t want to wait for the state’s legislature to take the matter up, because the time to do the right thing is always right now.

It’s a little complicated, though, I think, as she was spouting the whole time that “God” is on her side.

I’m on her side, but I have a problem with the “God” thing, since “God” is used to justify one’s actions and desires, whether they’re righteous or whether they’re evil. “God” always very conveniently wants whatever it is that the individual who is invoking “God,” the individual who is claiming to know the will of “God” (which to me, an atheist, is like claiming to know the will of Santa Claus), wants.

The religious right, for example, of course, tells us that the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, in declaring that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, violated the will of “God,” and that This! Will! Not! Stand!

Oh! Except that It! Will!

The right-wing haters always pitch a fit when the U.S. Supreme Court or the U.S. Congress advances equal human and civil rights, such as with Brown vs. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Loving vs. Virginia, and now, the newly minted Obergefell vs. Hodges.

Of course the hatred of and the discrimination and persecution against us non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals will continue, but we continue to achieve full legal equality — equal human and civil rights.

The vast majority of us non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals don’t give a flying fuck what heterosexuals and gender-conforming individuals think of us; we only care when heterosexuals persecute us, when heterosexuals make their own ignorance, bigotry and hatred our problem, when they stand in the way of our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

And this persistent, pernicious, pathetic right-wing “argument” that the haters’ rights actually are violated when they don’t get to continue to oppress others — similarly, the slave owners’ “rights” were violated when the slaves were freed, you see — isn’t working outside of the wingnuts’ echo chamber. The U.S. Supreme Court certainly didn’t buy it, and neither did the many federal and state courts below it when the haters tried to demonstrate any actual harm to themselves or to society at large by same-sex marriage. That was the haters’ legal task in the courtrooms — to demonstrate actual harm, because you can’t deny a group of people a right unless you can demonstrate that the granting of that right would cause actual harm — and because same-sex marriage harms no one, they failed miserably repeatedly.

As Bill Maher quipped to the haters’ (especially the Repugnican Tea Party presidential aspirants’) response to same-sex marriage now being the law of the land: “Fellas, you do realize that this is not mandatory? You don’t have to have sex with another man — it’s just an option now. OK, I just wanted to make that clear,” he said, hilariously adding after a pause: “They’re such drama queens, aren’t they?”

Indeed, the haters have been acting as though Obergefell vs. Hodges makes same-sex marriage mandatory for everyone, which even they, as insane as they are, know is a fucking lie (because they’re telling the lie in order to scare others to try to get their way politically [which is called terrorism]).

It’s quite simple: As I have noted before, if you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex (even if you’re gay or lesbian), or if you don’t want to get an abortion, then don’t get an abortion or don’t marry someone of the same sex. You have the freedom to follow your own religious convictions, as backasswards as they are, as long as you aren’t acting like the Islamofascists who comprise ISIS, trying to force others to follow your bullshit, troglodytic religion.

Because then, you’re just a “Christo”fascist, and I am governed not by the Koran or the Old Testament or the New Testament, but by the U.S. Constitution (and by other founding documents and by the laws of land, including U.S. statutes and U.S. Supreme Court caselaw, including, of course, the delicious Obergefell vs. Hodges). And I would battle an attempted takeover of the nation by “Christo”fascists just as I would an attempted takeover by Islamofascists.

Haters, you still get to hate; Obergefell vs. Hodges did not strip you of your right to hate others based upon your non-existent “God,” who is like a Santa Claus on crack. But leave the rest of us the fuck alone to pursue our life, liberty and happiness as is guaranteed to us, as is our birthright.

There will be no big national backlash because of Obergefell vs. Hodges. The terrorists who comprised the right wing risibly tried to raise this specter to spook the U.S. Supreme Court from doing the right thing, but with around 60 percent of all Americans supporting same-sex marriage, of course the U.S. Supreme Court was perfectly safe in doing the right, long-overdue thing. (Indeed, as I noted, the court wouldn’t have done the right thing unless it had felt quite safe in doing so. As independent from public opinion as the nation’s court [or, arguably, any court] is supposed to be, at least on paper, the political reality as to how far a court safely can stray from public opinion is different.)

Oh, there might be a nutjob (or two or three) like a Dylann Storm Roof who goes off and commits domestic terrorism against actual and/or perceived non-heterosexual or non-gender-conforming victims — this can happen at any time anyway, and it does — but we won’t see a national backlash to Obergefell vs. Hodges because the nation already is significantly segregated into political blocs anyway, replete with blue states and red states and with blue areas and red regions within the red states and blue states. To a large degree, those on the left and on the right mix as little as is possible anyway.

And before Friday, 36 states had had same-sex marriage anyway; before Friday there were only 14 holdout states. So it’s not like there wasn’t same-sex marriage anywhere in the nation, but that the U.S. Supreme Court just up and in one fell swoop went from zero percent same-sex marriage to 100 percent same-sex marriage in the United States. (That said, things did go fairly quickly, I suppose; Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to start issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples in May 2004, and just a little more than 11 years later, all states must now do so.)

So again, no, there will be no national backlash. Talk of such a backlash is just what the self-serving, treasonous, backasswards wingnuts want, since their Bible-based worldview increasingly is being rejected and relegated to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.

Life will go on much as it has before. The years will pass. The old haters will die and take most of their hatred, bigotry and ignorance with them to their graves (and they have to have graves because they love unsustainability); fewer and fewer of us will be raised to be haters, and even those who do have some hatred in their hearts and minds will, because of the stigma attached to such hatred, for the most part keep their hatred to themselves.

The right-wing haters do their best to prevent progress, do their best to keep humankind bound in the rusted chains of the past, but with each passing day, their hatred is more and more unsustainable.

We progressives must continue to fight, as gains won can be threatened or lost later (look at voting rights and reproductive rights, for example), but, while we fight, we must keep in mind that, as Taylor Swift might put it, while the haters are gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, we must persevere and just shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off, shake it off.

(If you’ve actually read this far, you kind of deserve a reference to Taylor Swift. Just sayin’.)

*Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that Big Business suddenly wuvs us. No, Big Business has calculated that the intangible and tangible costs of continuing to sell the Confederate flag outweigh any profits that they’ve been getting from selling it.

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We are the champions, my friends!

Supporters of gay marriage rally after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry

Reuters photo

Jubilant supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court today. (The huge red flag in front of them is marked with a pink equality sign.) In a landmark decision (Obergefell vs. Hodges), the nation’s highest court ruled 5-4 today that no state may outlaw same-sex marriage.

It was only in 2004 that former “President” George W. Bush – whose campaign manager at that time is a gay manused same-sex marriage as a wedge issue to help him “win” “re”-election. And it was only in 2008 that while the nation historically elected its first non-white president on November 4, the anti-same-sex-marriage Proposition H8 passed, 52 percent to 48 percent, here in California, the most populous state and one of the bluest states in the nation.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a long-overdue landmark decision, ruled that all 50 states must allow same-sex couples to marry. The decision isn’t exactly a shocker, as only 14 backasswards states before today’s decision had been holdouts on same-sex marriage. Indeed, apparently the nation’s highest court, which almost always is behind the curve, with 36 states already ahead of it on the legalization of same-sex marriage, had found it politically safe to rule, correctly, that the U.S. Constitution (specifically, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [and also the amendment’s Due Process Clause]) forbids any of the states from forbidding any two adults (who are consenting and who aren’t closely related to each other, of course…) from marrying each other.

I wish that today’s landmark decision had been greater than 5-4, but, of course, the wingnutty haters would argue that any decision by the U.S. Supreme Court affirming the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, even a unanimous one, somehow is tyrannical or undemocratic or oppressive or blah blah blah. (Just as elections are valid only when they go the wingnuts’ way, judges are “activist” only when they rule in a way that displeases the wingnuts, you see.)

However, recent nationwide polls unanimously show that a solid majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, with support anywhere from the upper 50s to low 60s.

I have no doubt that were the issue of same-sex marriage put up to a national vote – but let me emphasize that no one’s constitutionally guaranteed equal human and civil rights ever should be put up for a vote – a solid majority of Americans would vote “yes.” The U.S. Supreme Court today has not violated the will of the American people; it has only pissed off a minority of mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging fucktards.

My same-sex partner of more than seven years and I have yet to marry, even though legalized same-sex marriage was restored in California in late June 2013. I’d like to say that we have been waiting for same-sex marriage to be the law of the land before we get married, that we haven’t wanted to wed until everyone in the United States may wed, but it’s probably closer to the truth that we can be slow to act on things on which we don’t absolutely have to act immediately.

That said, today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a milestone, right up there with Loving vs. Virginia, the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made it illegal for any of the states to outlaw mixed-race marriage.

And today’s Supreme Court decision probably will speed up my marriage to my partner. So maybe we more or less were waiting for this day after all.

P.S. While we’ve had a big victory today, the fight for equal human and civil rights for everyone continues, of course; there are no federal protections for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals in the the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for instance, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would protect non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals from being fired for being who they (we) are, repeatedly has been introduced in Congress since the 1990s but has yet to be passed.

But we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.

P.P.S. Chief “Justice” John Roberts, in his dissent in Obergefell vs. Hodges, remarked, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. … Just who do we think we are? It can be tempting for judges to confuse our own preferences with the requirements of the law. …”

Funny. Roberts wasn’t on the court at the time, but his remarks (especially “Just who do we [U.S. Supreme Court justices/“justices”] think we are?”) make me think of Bush vs. Gore, the 5-4 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision that put George W. Bush into the White House instead of the vote of the people.

(Al Gore won the popular vote by more than a half-million votes, and I’m confident that he won the pivotal state of Florida, where George W. Bush had a lot of help from his brother, then-Gov. Jeb Bush, and the state’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who wrongfully had purged likely Democratic voters from the state’s voter rolls.)

So legally flawed was Bush vs. Gore that the right-wing “justices” who elected George W. Bush to the White House explicitly stated in the ruling that the ruling applied only to the 2000 presidential election.

Again: A justice or judge is only “activist” if one disagrees with his or her ruling. Otherwise, the ruling was quite legally sound. Not that this is sore-loserism or anything.

And I find it awfully interesting that to the right wing it’s perfectly OK for the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court to do such things as pick a Repugnican as president, allow corporations and plutocrats to buy elections, and gut the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Yet should the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court actually do good instead of evil — such as by expanding freedom and civil rights to include everyone, which is in perfect line with such founding sentiments and declarations that “all men* are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (from the U.S. Declaration of Independence) and that we should “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” (from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution**) — the treasonous right wing cries bloody fucking murder.

P.P.P.S. Roberts also hatefully scribbled in his dissent that “however heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause. And they lose this just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.”

Wow. What a colossal asshole. First of all, Roberts parrots the fascistic belief that we non-heterosexuals (and, to a greater extent, non-gender-conforming individuals) must beg and supplicate heterosexuals for our equal human and civil rights (which is our “cause” of which he speaks). Equal human and civil rights aren’t our birthright, you see; no, we are to be at the mercy of the heterosexual majority to deem us worthy or not.

This is sick, evil shit. Roberts is not fit to practice law as an ambulance chaser, much more sit as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Moreover, as I noted, before today’s ruling, 36 states already had legalized same-sex marriage (without the nation subsequently imploding!), and nationwide polls consistently have shown solid-majority support for same-sex marriage.

Yet in Robert’s sick and fucking twisted, right-wing universe, we non-heterosexuals can’t win. Even when we actually are winning — actually, we already have won in the court of public opinion — he declares, against mountain ranges of reality, that we are losing public support just when we were on the cusp of winning it!

And when would Roberts ever have declared that we’d finally won this precious critical mass of support from the heterosexual majority? Never. It would have been a dream indefinitely deferred, of course.

It’s not the American public that is behind; it’s Roberts and his evil, fascistic ilk who are far, far behind.

*If the founders didn’t include women in their use of the word “men,” we include women now. That’s called progress, which, of course, is anathema to the retrogrades who comprise the right wing.

**Roberts concluded his mean-spirited dissent with this:

… If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

I respectfully dissent. [What a fucking lie — his entire dissent is incredibly disrespectful.]

Again, not only does the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibit outlawing same-sex marriage because one finds it to be against the crap that is in the Bible (we’re not actually a fucking theocracy) or icky or whatever — rights can be denied only if actual harm can be demonstrated by the exercise of those rights (in which case they’re no longer actually rights, really), and the haters repeatedly have been unable in the courts of law to demonstrate any actual harm caused by same-sex marriage — but the preamble to the Constitution sets the tone and the intent of the entire document, methinks. And again, the preamble is this:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Key words there include “establish Justice,” “promote the general Welfare,” and “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and Posterity.” (Mention of concern for “Posterity” seems to indicate that the authors of the Constitution did have an eye to the future, that they didn’t intend for the Constitution to be Frozen In Time.) And, of course, “a more perfect Union” means that you continue to improvenot that you advocate that the U.S. remain stuck where it was at its founding.

The wingnuts on the U.S. Supreme Court and those who love them claim that the U.S. Constitution says nothing about expanding freedom and justice for all, yet isn’t it there in the opening of the Constitution? Doesn’t the idea and the ideal of continual progress actually foreshadow the entire fucking document? And where does the Constitution say that only heterosexual, white, conservative, “Christian” men are to have equal human and civil rights, while the rest of us are to grovel at their feet for our equal human and civil rights, as Roberts very apparently believes?

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With Ireland, yet another pink domino topples; next up, the United States

. Dublin (Ireland), 23/05/2015.- People reacting to results coming in from constituencies around Ireland suggesting an overwhelming majority in favour of the referendum on same-sex marriage, in Dublin, Ireland, 23 May 2015. The first results were declared in Ireland's historic vote on same-sex marriage, with every indication that the Yes side has won, as opponents of the measure conceded defeat. Sligo-North Leitrim in the north-west was the first of 43 constituencies to declare with a 53.6-per-cent vote in favour, followed by Waterford in the south-east with 60.3 per cent voting Yes. (Irlanda) EFE/EPA/AIDAN CRAWLEY

EFE/EPA/Aidan Crawley photo

People in Dublin celebrate the passage of same-sex marriage in the widely-considered conservative nation of Ireland yesterday by more than 60 percent of the vote. Of course, this isn’t all about the Catholick church; it’s about human rights and freedom.

The news story headline from today “Church reels after Ireland’s huge ‘Yes’ to gay marriage” made me giddily happy, but the news story misses so much. It begins:

Dublin (AFP) — The once-dominant Catholic Church in Ireland was trying to come to terms [today] with an overwhelming vote in favour of gay marriage, saying it needed a “new language” with which to speak to people.

As jubilant “Yes” supporters nursed their hangovers after partying late into the night following [yesterday’s] referendum result, the faithful attended mass to hear their priests reflect on the new social landscape in Ireland.

“The Church has to find a new language which will be understood and heard by people,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, one of the Church’s most senior figures, told reporters after mass at the city’s St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral.

“We have to see how is it that the Church’s teaching on marriage and family is not being received even within its own flock.”

He added: “There’s a growing gap between Irish young people and the Church and there’s a growing gap between the culture of Ireland that’s developing and the Church.”

The majority of Irish people still identify themselves as Catholic but the Church’s influence has waned in recent years amid growing secularisation [gotta love the British spelling] and after a wave of clerical child sex abuse scandals.

During the campaign, bishops spoke against changing the law, while older and rural voters were thought to have accounted for much of the “No” vote.

Final results showed 62 percent in favour and 38 percent against introducing gay marriage in a country where being homosexual was a crime until 1993. …

Many things strike me. Where to begin?

As much as I’d love to celebrate the death of the Catholick church, it’s not dead yet. For decades Europeans, Americans, Latin Americans and others throughout the world have been calling themselves Catholicks but have doing what they want to do anyway. They disagree with the church on many issues, such as birth control, abortion and same-sex relationships, but go about living their lives as they wish to live them anyway, but still giving at least lip service to having some fealty to the Catholick church. They have been living compartmentalized lives, and this doesn’t seem to bother them much, if they even think about it much at all.

This phenomenon of compartmentalization (in order to avoid cognitive dissonance, apparently) is quite old, and while of course Ireland being the first nation in the world to establish same-sex marriage at the ballot box (rather via a legislature or court of law) is a milestone in equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals — probably especially because Ireland is considered to be a conservative nation — the Catholick church will continue to sputter on until its eventual demise.

Remember that 10 years ago in the heavily Catholick nation of  Spain, the parliament passed same-sex marriage, which was favored by more than 60 percent of the nation’s people10 years ago. (“The ratification of [same-sex marriage in Spain] was not devoid of conflict, despite support from 66 percent of the population,” notes Wikipedia, adding, “Roman Catholic authorities in particular were adamantly opposed, criticizing what they regarded as the weakening of the meaning of marriage.“)

Spain was the third nation to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium, and was quickly followed by Canada, which became the fourth nation to adopt same-sex marriage.

Since Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and parts of the very heavily Catholic Mexico — Mexico City and the Mexican states of  of Quintana Roo and Coahuila — have followed with same-sex marriage. (And it’s important to note that any same-sex marriage that legally was performed anywhere in Mexico must be recognized throughout the nation’s 31 states.)

And following Mexico with same-sex marriage have been Denmark, Brazil, France, Uruguay, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Finland, England, Scotland and Wales, and now, Ireland.

A lot of Catholicks in the Western world live in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal. Wikipedia, for instance, puts the populations of Ireland, Mexico and Portugal all at more than 80 percent Catholick, Argentina at more than 75 percent, Spain and Luxembourg at around 70 percent, Brazil and France at more than 60 percent, Belgium approaching 60 percent, and Slovenia and Uruguay around 50 percent.

So Ireland’s having joined the same-sex marriage fold yesterday can’t have been a huge shock; it’s not like it was unprecedented.

But I’ll take this latest win for love and for freedom, the freedom to live one’s life the way he or she wishes to, as long as he or she does not harm others — and no, violating some tyrannical, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging theofascist’s backasswards beliefs on how we, the rest of us, may and may not live our lives (whether we even believe in a “God” or not) is not harming anyone else. Quite to the contrary, it’s the theofascists who always have been causing the harm (in the names of “God” and “Jesus” and “love”), to which the masses have been waking up and realizing, and thus the march of same-sex marriage rights continues throughout the globe. (A lot of work remains to be done, especially in the African, Middle Eastern, Asian and Muslim nations, as well as in Russia.)

Speaking of which, I find it interesting that it’s reported that the final tally from the vote in Ireland yesterday is expected to exceed 60 percent, since earlier this month the polling organization Gallup reported that a record number of Americans polled — 60 percent — now support same-sex marriage. That’s fairly fast growth, considering that Americans didn’t reach the 50-percent mark in Gallup’s polling on same-sex marriage until 2011.

True, not even a full quarter of Americans call themselves Catholick (thank God), and of course we can’t blame only the Catholicks for their opposition to same-sex marriage in the United States, since there are plenty of other hateful, ignorant, right-wing “Christian” churches in the United States, such as the Southern Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Methodists, and, of course, the Pentacostalists, who probably are the scariest of the theofascist “Christians” (whom I commonly call “Christofascists,” after “Islamofascists,” as though the fundamentalist Muslims had a monopoly on “God”-based fascism).

And, of course, the Catholicks aren’t monolithic; many if not even most of them personally are OK with same-sex marriage, despite the church’s official stance on the matter. Still, though, I can’t understand how anyone can support such an evil, harmful institution, even peripherally, such as by even still calling oneself a “Catholic,” knowing the damage that the Catholick Church has been wreaking upon humanity for centuries. (Ditto for the Protestant churches, too; even the more liberal Protestant churches still push a belief in “God,” which to me is only a Santa Claus on crack. [He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!] The opiate of the masses, indeed.)

Of course, of what the Catholick Church and other “Christian” churches are most terrified is continuing to lose their grip on the masses’ minds, genitalia and wallets and pocketbooks. Virtually all organized religions, small or huge, are all about those in the upper echelons of the hierarchy, be they the petty pastors of puny Pentecostal churches or Il Papa himself.

These theofascist tyrants never have cared about anyone’s true freedom — only about their own power and wealth, the sustenance of which requires that others be enthralled to them through ignorance and fear, via “God,” “Jesus,” “heaven,” “hell,” “sin,” “eternal damnation,” etc.

The gaining of equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals is only one front in the continuing throwing off of the theofascists’ centuries-long tyranny. Science, technology (including, of course, the communications revolution that the Internet has been), logic, reason, true democracy (which necessitates secularism) — in a word, modernity — is what poses the largest threat to the continued existence of the infantilezed organized religions that refuse to let go of their desire to infantilize and enthrall all of us.

Next up, I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to rule next month that no state in the U.S. may prohibit same-sex marriage, as such a prohibition violates the equal human and civil rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The about-40 percent of Americans who still oppose same-sex marriage will, of course, quite predictably whine that a pro-same-sex marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is an anti-democratic fiat by “activists” judges (of course, if the U.S. Supreme Court actually were to rule against same-sex marriage [which I find unlikely], to the wingnuts this would be wholly democratic and the judges would not be “activist” at all, but simply would have done their job to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, you see).

Of course, in the United States we never have had any national referenda, such as Ireland just did on the topic of same-sex marriage. In the U.S. there is no mechanism in place for the entire nation to vote on any matter other than who will be U.S. president and U.S. vice president, and given that the members of the U.S. Supreme Court are appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, we Americans, who elect the president and our U.S. senators, of course have some voice in the make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, so to call the court’s rulings (the ones that we disagree with, mostly) entirely anti-democratic is, of course, largely if not mostly bullshit.

And I’m quite confident that were same-sex marriage put to a national referendum in the U.S., it would pass.

Gallup polling this month found 60 percent support for same-sex marriage in the U.S., but a CBS News/New York Times poll taken just before the Gallup poll found 57 percent support, and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken right before that one found 58 percent support. A Quinnipiac University poll taken right before that one also found 58 percent support, and an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken at the same time as the Quinnipiac University poll found 61 percent support.

So Gallup’s finding of 60 percent seems to be no more than within a percentage point of two of the actual level of support for same-sex marriage within the United States. (The average of the five nationwide polls cited above, which were taken this month and last month, is 58.8 percent.)

Again, were same-sex marriage put to a national referendum in the United States of America, it would pass. It’s safe for the mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging haters to argue otherwise, since we never have national referenda here in the U.S., but the timid, behind-the-curve, right-of-center U.S. Supreme Court (which did, after all, decide the 2000 presidential election even though Al Gore had won more than a half-million more votes than did George W. Bush and decide that bazillionaires may have unlimited spending in elections) would not rule in favor of same-sex marriage if it weren’t confident that a solid majority of Americans are on board with it.

Because a solid majority of Americans are on board with same-sex marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps further emboldened by the latest example of Ireland, most likely will rule in favor of same-sex marriage throughout the land.

And the land will not erupt in chaos and violent upheaval, as the theofascist terrorists warn us will happen (it’s just yet another terrorist threat meant to get them their way over the majority, even though they are in the solid minority), because where same-sex marriage is concerned, the U.S. democracy, such as it is, and as slow as it always has been to bring about equal human and civil rights for all, at least in the area of the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, is working.

Not quickly enough, but it is working, and next month we truly freedom-loving and love-loving Americans most likely will be celebrating in the streets like they have been celebrating in the streets of Ireland this weekend.

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The pink-triangle bullshit continues

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. arrives to pose for photographers in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. The rookie Republican senator leading the effort to torpedo an agreement with Iran is an Army veteran with a Harvard law degree who has a full record of tough rhetoric against President Barack Obama's foreign policy.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Associated Press photo

Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas (he looks like such a nice guy, doesn’t he?) recently took time out from his important task of treasonously sending letters to the leaders of other nations meant to undercut the foreign policy of the twice-democratically-elected U.S. President Barack Obama to essentially tell us non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming Americans that we should sit down and shut the fuck up already and just be grateful that we aren’t executed, like non-heterosexuals are in Iran, and that speaking of which, A nuclear-armed Iran! is all that we Americans should be thinking about anyway! After all, we need to get our priorities in order!

Same-sex marriage now is the law in 36 states and in other jurisdictions, covering more than 70 percent of the American population. Not that same-sex marriage is the be-all and end-all for equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, but it’s not a bad start.

So, of course, the heterosexist and homophobic “Christo”fascists are agog and apoplectic.

Losing the battle of same-sex marriage — for which I expect the U.S. Supreme Court to rule for all 50 states this summer (arguments in the matter of the constitutionality of denying same-sex marriage are to begin in the court late this month) — the wingnutty haters now are focused on trying to legally allow businesses that serve the public to deny service to non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming individuals on the basis that the business owners’ religious belief is, in a nutshell, that God hates fags. And surely the most important right that we Americans possess is the right to hate and to discriminate against certain groups of people. It’s apple pie, man!

I’m not a lawyer (I probably should have been), but, as I have noted, my reading of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that businesses serving the general public legally may not refuse to serve customers based upon those customers’ race, color, religion or national origin, is that the act does not expressly prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender expression, because those minority statuses are not listed in the act as protected classes. (Indeed, in 1964, which was more than 50 years ago, non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals were considered so lowly, so subhuman, that their protection by the Civil Rights Act was not even a possibility.)

While it’s beyond pathetic that an historically oppressed minority group should have to be listed expressly on a do-not-discriminate list in order to be treated with dignity, respect and equality — you know, as Jesus Christ taught that we should treat everyone else — federal law does need to be updated in order to add non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals to the list of protected classes. (That won’t happen as long as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors control both houses of Congress, but they won’t be in control forever.)

The “Christo”fascists also are losing the battle (at least in the court of national public opinion, if not in the courts of law) to enable businesses serving the general public to discriminate against non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, but never fear, “Christo”fascists! We have Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas on the front lines of the battle!

Apparently the new “argument” against equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals in the United States of America is that everything up to the point of their execution for their “crime” of not being heterosexual and gender-conforming should be tolerated.*

After all, Tom Cotton, a U.S. senator, defending states’ “right” to enact “religious-freedom” laws that are meant to allow business owners to discriminate against non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, proclaimed on CNN on Wednesday:

“I think it’s important that we have a sense of perspective about our priorities. In Iran, they hang you for the crime of being gay. They’re currently imprisoning an American preacher for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in Iran. We should focus on the most important priorities that our country faces right now.”

Cotton went on to say that “a nuclear-armed Iran” is “the most important thing that we be focused on.”

There is a lot in there, so let’s unpack it:

We Americans have priorities, and we have to have a sense of perspective about our priorities. Equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals — equal human and civil rights for all Americans, which are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution — is not one of our priorities. (Duh!) We have to have perspective!

After all, it’s a crime to be non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming, and in Iran, they hang you for that crime! Non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming Americans should sit down and shut the fuck up already, and just be thankful that here in the U.S., we’re not executing them for their crime of being non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming (yet)!

Besides, an American preacher is imprisoned in Iran, and his rights are far more important than are the “rights” of all of the millions of sodomites in the United States of America combined! (We have, after all, established that they are criminals!)

And besides all of that, a nuclear-armed Iran is all that we really should be focused on anyway! For the love of God, why are you just sitting there, reading this? Why aren’t you doing something right now to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran?

That is, more or less, the propagandistic spirit of Cotton’s remarks. What a fucking neo-Nazi Tom Cotton is. (Recall that the Nazis put tens of thousands of gay men into their concentration camps.)

The attitude that an historically oppressed minority group’s equal human and civil rights aren’t at all one of our national “priorities” is the slippery slope that leads to slapping inverted pink triangles (or the yellow Star of David) on us and putting us into concentration camps. And even executing us, because it’s well-established fact that God hates fags (as well as Jews).

When Cotton referred to “the crime of being gay” on CNN, I don’t believe that he was referring only to the Iranian perspective that being non-heterosexual is a crime. I believe that Tom Cotton and his ilk — being as theofascist as any Iranian could be — also hold that being non-heterosexual and/or non-gender-conforming is a crime (indeed, for years and years it wasyou know, in the good old days), and I’d call Cotton’s wording on CNN a dog whistle to his fellow “Christo”fascists except that every mammal could hear his message loudly and clearly.

Besides trying to advance the “Christo”fascist agenda, which includes the persecution of non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals (because that’s what God wants), Tom Cotton, whose letter to Iranian leaders of last month already has demonstrated that he is an anti-democratic traitor (the majority of the American people twice elected Barack Obama, not Tom Cotton, to represent us and our interests on the world stage), also is trying to advance the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party’s tactic of having Americans so terrified over Iran that the Repugnican Tea Party can do whatever it wishes, just like the good old days when the unelected, treasonous regime of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney used 9/11 and Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” (replete with the “threat” of “mushroom clouds” here at home) as political cover with which to ram their treasonous, right-wing agenda down distracted, terrified Americans’ throats.

It’s classic George Orwell: The fascistic oligarchy always has an enemy nation with which to terrify and distract the masses. The designated enemy nation sure changes a lot over time (such as, here in the U.S., first Russia, then Iraq, now Iran), but that’s not the point; the point is that there perpetually is an enemy nation that (we, the masses, are told by the oligarchs) threatens the very existence of our home nation. This is critical to the oligarchic fascists’ grip on power.

And it’s funny that the likes of Tom Cotton (who, pathetically, very well might be a closet case himself) should try to spook us Americans with the bogeymen of the Iranians, when Cotton and his Repugnican Tea Party ilk are just jealous that they can’t get away with executing non-heterosexuals for the “crime” of being non-heterosexual.

Iran? No, I’m much more concerned about the enemies here at home, such as the “Christo”fascists who comprise the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party. They’re a far bigger threat to our national security than those evil Iranians ever could dream of being.

*Not to pick on just Tom Cotton, of course, it’s important to note that the intention of the proponent of the widely-reported-upon “Sodomite Suppression Act” of California, on which I blogged here, also might have been (at least in part) to raise the specter of the mass execution of non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals because once that specter has been injected into the public consciousness, then anything else short of execution that is done to non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals will seem, by comparison, to be no big deal at all. (After all, we have to have our priorities!)

And I want to provide this update on the “Sodomite Suppression Act”:

Last month California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked a superior court to kill the “Sodomite Suppression Act” by relieving her of the obligation to issue it a title and summary, after which the proponent of the “act,” a right-wing, bat-shit insane and evil lawyer who should be disbarred, could begin to gather the signatures of registered California voters who want the proposition to appear on the ballot. (I rather doubt that the proponent ever has had any actual intention to significantly try to gather the required amount of signatures [365,880 of them], by the way.)

In a March 25 press release, Harris proclaimed:

“As Attorney General of California, it is my sworn duty to uphold the California and United States Constitutions and to protect the rights of all Californians. This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society. Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the Court seeking judicial authorization for relief from the duty to prepare and issue the title and summary for the ‘Sodomite Suppression Act.’ If the Court does not grant this relief, my office will be forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism.”

On that note, I neglected to note in my original piece on the “Sodomite Suppression Act” that one of its lovely provisions does indeed call for vigilantism. It reads that:

The state has an affirmative duty to defend and enforce this law as written, and every member of the public has standing to seek its enforcement and obtain reimbursement for all costs and attorney’s fees in so doing, and further, should the state persist in inaction over 1 year after due notice, the general public is empowered and deputized to execute all the provisions hereunder extra-judicially, immune from any charge and indemnified by the state against any and all liability.

I know of no other way to interpret that language other than that should the “Sodomite Suppression Act” be passed by the voters (it would not be, even if it actually makes it to the statewide ballot), and the state of California does not start executing non-heterosexuals as the “act” requires, after one year Californians may take it into their own hands to execute non-heterosexuals on their own (the “act” calls for non-heterosexuals to “be put to death [by the state of California] by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method”) — with impunity.

Again, the lawyer who explicitly wrote in a ballot proposition that the extrajudicial execution of an already oppressed group of persons in California should be allowed should be disbarred. Not only has the lawyer, a Matthew McLaughlin, advocated for the patently unconstitutional and thus patently illegal (and, indeed, reprehensible) execution of a whole class of persons, but he has advocated for extrajudicial actions (a.k.a. vigilantism), demonstrating his contempt for the legal system of California and of the nation. (Yes, the U.S. Constitution prohibits vigilantism/extrajudicial “remedies.”)

McLaughlin has demonstrated that he has no place within the legal system of the state of California — or, indeed, of any state in the nation. He doesn’t get to hide behind “free speech.” Lawyers are admitted to the bar only on the condition that they uphold the respectability of the legal profession as well as the state constitution and federal constitution under which they practice law.

You can, and if you haven’t yet you should, sign the petition to the California State Bar to disbar McLaughlin here.

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Brendan Eich(mann) got what he deserved

Outgoing Mozilla chief executive Brendan Eich

Former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich gave a hate group $1,000, paid a price for it, and this poetic justice is deemed to be a “violation” of “free speech” in the fascistic United States of America. (Yes, the fascistic Nazis persecuted non-heterosexuals, too.)

Most discussion of whether or not the “free-speech rights” of Mozilla co-founder and short-lived CEO Brendan Eich — who stepped down as CEO Thursday after a firestorm had raged over his having donated $1,000 to the 2008 Proposition Hate effort — have been trampled upon wholly ignores or glosses over one simple historical and legal fact: a federal court in 2010 found Prop H8 to be unconstitutional — and thus illegal.

As Wikipedia recounts it, “In August 2010,  [United States District Court for the Northern District of California] Chief Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the [anti-same-sex-marriage California constitutional] amendment was unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, since it purported to re-remove rights from a disfavored class only, with no rational basis.”

So, before we blather ourselves into a lather about “free speech,” let’s take a good, long, hard look at exactly the kind of speech that we’re actually defending here — and in this case, it is hate speech.

Yes, it is.

To have supported Prop H8 was to have supported the continued mindless oppression of a minority group picked out for such continued mindless oppression. “Mindless” oppression because, as Vaughn Walker (whose original ruling still holds as the law of California, since the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legally upheld it) correctly ruled, there is no rational basis to prohibit same-sex marriage.

To have supported Prop H8 was to have supported something that was and that remains unconstitutional and thus illegal.

Whether or not hate speech should have First-Amendment protection — especially when hate speech (yes, even “just” giving $1,000 to a “cause” meant to continue to oppress a certain minority group) so often results in very real harm to many very real people — is another discussion, but for the time being, let’s not pretend that Brendan Eich was just trying to do something nice for someone and that he paid a price for it, that no good deed goes unpunished.

Let’s also not pretend that if Eich (whom I really want to call Eichmann) had a “free-speech right” to donate money to an unconstitutionally and thus illegally oppressive “cause,” that those who wanted his head on a silver platter for his donation didn’t also have a free-speech right to call for his head on a silver platter (so to speak [of course]). They did. They do. We do.

And let’s not pretend that Eich was fired for having given a $1K donation to a hate group. He was not fired. He resigned.

He resigned, apparently, because in his high-level job, his very apparently being a homophobe tarnished the public reputation of the entire organization. Most large organizations wouldn’t have well-known white supremacists as their CEOs, either.

Let’s not pretend that a CEO, a very public person, having given $1K to Prop H8 and then having been fairly forced, socioeconomicopolitically, to resign because of that donation is just like! you or I, a very private person, having given $1K to Prop H8 and actually having been terminated from our much-lower-level employment because of it. Let’s not do that, because context, including the level of the power of the players involved, is everything.

Brendan Eichmann — er, Eich — got what he deserved for having financially supported a hate group. If he believes that his constitutional (such as his First-Amendment) rights have been violated by anyone, then he may sue to his hating heart’s content. Presumably, he has plenty of cash with which to do so. (But he won’t sue, because he has no fucking case.)

There is nothing more to discuss.

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