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Pink triangle proposition won’t become law in California, but it’s the thought that counts

History repeats itself. Above are shown victims of fascist Nazi Germany’s persecution of accused gay men, tens of thousands of whom were required to wear an inverted pink triangle marking them as non-heterosexual. A theofascist California lawyer has submitted to the state’s attorney general’s office a ballot proposition to “put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method” “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification.”

An Orange County, California, lawyer has paid the $200 filing fee to start the process for his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” which would, at its most merciful, prevent any non-heterosexual from being a public school teacher, a police officer, an elected public official or any other public employee, and which would, at worst, “put [non-heterosexuals] to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

My reading of the fairly short “act” gives me the impression that the sentiment is not entirely unlike the Catholick Church’s or the Mormon cult’s: Merely having same-sex attraction is bad, but actually acting upon it is the worst, because the fuller phrasing of the “act” is: “the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

In a shout-out to Vladimir Putin, the “act” also mandates that:

No person shall distribute, perform, or transmit sodomistic propaganda directly or indirectly by any means to any person under the age of majority. Sodomistic propaganda is defined as anything aimed at creating an interest in or an acceptance of human sexual relations other than between a man and a woman. Every offender shall be fined $1 million per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 10 years, and/or expelled from the boundaries of the state of California for up to life.

Although this modest proposal first emerged weeks ago, this past week it has hit the media as “news.”

The legal consensus is that California Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose office is the first stop for any ballot initiative in the state, does not have the legal authority to shut down the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” even though it patently violates the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution. The legal consensus also is that the office of the California secretary of state, the second and final stop for a state ballot initiative, does not have the legal authority to stop the “Sodomite Suppression Act.”

Of course, the right-wing lawyer who has proposed the “act,” a Matt McLaughlin, has cleared the easiest, lowest bar in the California ballot initiative process: he paid his $200 to the state’s attorney general’s office to obtain his ballot title and ballot summary, which he first must obtain from the attorney general’s office before he may begin to collect the 365,880 valid signatures of registered voters in order to qualify his ballot initiative for its placement on the November 2016 statewide ballot.

Collecting that many signatures would require some resources; McLaughlin would have to print his own petitions in a strict format dictated by state law and would have to get the bodies to go out and gather all of those signatures, be they paid or be they volunteers or some mixture of both.

Vox.com posits that the “[California state] Supreme Court is likely to step in and stop the [ballot] measure, particularly if the proposal gets enough signatures to qualify for the ballot,” but doesn’t cite its source of this assertion.

Oddly, though, neither Vox.com nor Slate.com, in their explainers on the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” notes that even though the majority of California’s voters might adopt a ballot initiative (for which only a simple majority is required), a federal court always can rule that the ballot initiative violates the U.S. Constitution (and, to my knowledge, the state’s Supreme Court can rule that a ballot initiative violates the state’s Constitution).

There is precedent for this: The hateful, anti-immigrant California Proposition 187, passed by the state’s voters by a disturbing 59 percent to 41 percent in November 1994, was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 1997 (indeed, most of the law never even went into effect, because the same federal judge had imposed a permanent injunction on most portions of the law in December 1994).

And in November 2008, California’s voters narrowly passed (52 percent to 48 percent) the hateful, anti-non-heterosexual Proposition 8, which then was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2010. (The federal judge’s ruling was challenged legally but ultimately was left intact by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013, and same-sex marriages in California have been legal since then.)

The California Supreme Court declined to prevent the unconstitutional Proposition H8 from appearing on the ballot, so it would be interesting to see what the court would do if it were asked to prevent the “Sodomite Suppression Act” from appearing on the ballot. Indeed, while Prop H8 “only” sought to outlaw same-sex marriages, the “Sodomite Suppression Act” calls for the Nazi-style wholesale slaughter of non-heterosexuals who ever have acted upon their same-sex attraction.

But, Wikipedia notes, citing a 2006 California Supreme Court case, “As a general rule, it is improper for courts to adjudicate pre-election challenges to a measure’s substantive validity.” In other words, the state Supreme Court apparently believes that voters get to weigh in on a ballot measure first, and the constitutionality of the measure, if it is passed, is to be hashed out in the courts only after the measure’s passage.

Thank Goddess for the federal court system and its ability (indeed, its duty) to weigh in on whether laws passed by the states’ legislatures or by the states’ voters violate the U.S. Constitution, as history has shown that even the states’ highest courts are fairly toothless, by choice or by design (to my knowledge, the states’ highest courts have jurisdiction only over their states’ constitutions, and state judges don’t have the legal authority to determine whether a state law violates the U.S. Constitution*).

True, it took years for the odious and unconstitutional California Prop H8 finally to be undone by the federal court system (that said, while today same-sex marriage is legal in California and in 35 other states, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage once and for all), but, even if the “Sodomite Suppression Act” were to make it to the November 2016 California ballot (unlikely, given the amount of money that is required to get anything on the statewide ballot in the nation’s most populous state) and pass (which is highly unlikely in this blue state), a federal court (if not also the California Supreme Court) immediately would halt its implementation, of course. Not a single bullet would be fired into the head of an accused non-heterosexual (not by the state government of California, anyway).

But, you know, it’s certainly the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Apparently wingnutty lawyer Matt McLaughlin is unlikely to be disbarred by the state for his ballot proposition. While proposing a law that blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution by proposing the wholesale murder of an entire class of human beings amply demonstrates McLaughlin’s blatant moral turpitude (if not also his blatant incompetence) as a lawyer, whose duty is to uphold the state and federal constitutions, not propose to violate them, McLaughlin should, in my book, be disbarred, but apparently he will be able to hide behind his First-Amendment “right” to propose, Nazi-style, that a whole class of people be executed.

Still, if you believe, like I do, that McLaughlin should be disbarred, you can sign, as I have, an online petition calling for his disbarment by clicking here.

Even if McLaughlin were just pulling an attention-grabbing stunt, his “Sodomite Suppression Act,” whether he means it seriously or not — to be safe, I assume that he is quite serious** — is hate speech, and lawyers who practice hate speech (which does not warrant First-Amendment protection, since it so obviously so easily can result in violence, even death, or other injury against its intended targets) should be disbarred.

I might thank McLaughlin, however, for demonstrating quite publicly that his Nazi-like mentality, although a minority mentality, still exists. And shudderingly, I surmise that while many if not most homophobes wouldn’t go so far as to execute an accused non-heterosexual individual with their own hands, the worst of the homophobes, if such execution were routine even here in the United States of America, wouldn’t much care and would do little to nothing to stop it.

*Alabama state Supreme Court Chief “Justice” Roy Moore, for instance, has claimed, quite incorrectly, that he has the legal authority and ability to override and ignore a federal judge’s ruling on the federal constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the state. Moore was removed from the post of Alabama Supreme Court chief “justice” in 2003 for having ignored another federal judge’s ruling on another federal constitution issue, but he was not disbarred, as he should have been, and thus he legally was allowed to run for the post again, which, insanely, is filled by popular election in the backasswards state of Alabama.

**Not much is known of McLaughlin, but the San Francisco Chronicle notes that “McLaughlin, a lawyer since 1998, tried to qualify an initiative in 2004 that would have added the King James Bible as a literature textbook in California public schools. He was quoted at the time as saying he was promoting classroom use of the Bible for its ‘rich use of the English language’ and was not trying to indoctrinate students.”

So McLaughlin apparently has a history of toxic, theofascist fundamentalism and apparently wishes for a theocratic state, much like the members of ISIS, whose mentality is the same but whose bible is different.

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Will the Orcs in the audience hurt the Repugnicans in November 2012?

The orcs attack in New Line's The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring - 2001 

Bloodthirsty Orcs in the audiences of the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary debates scream out their demand for manflesh. Who, oh, who, will be their Saruman?

tried to watch all of the last Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary debate (which was Thursday night in Orlando, Fla.) so that I could blog on it. I really did.

But after about 10 to 15 minutes of the usual free flow of Repugnican Tea Party lies from those who would be king — we should deregulate everything, we should privatize everything, we should not raise taxes for the rich and the super-rich by a single red fucking cent, guv’mint is evil, labor unions are evil, welfare benefits are evil, etc., etc. — I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to close the live-streaming window.

I can stand to be in hell, where demonic lies reign, for only so long.

What’s interesting about the three Repugnican Tea Party debates thus far is that the biggest news that has come out of them — aside from not-ready-for-prime-time Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s lackluster performance — is the spontaneous outburts of hatred by the debates’ far-right whackjob audience members.

At the first debate, the audience burst out in raucous applaud when it was mentioned that as Texas governor, Perry holds the record as the most-executing top state executive. (Really, the cold-blooded, bloodthirsty Perry seems to take the title of “executive” waaay too literally.)

I watched that audience-reaction debacle as it happened live, but I missed the next two.

Apparently at the second debate, the audience burst into applause over the idea of letting someone without health insurance die because he or she cannot afford to pay for his or her own medical care.

Woo hoo! Survival of the fittest! It’s what Jesus would do — let the weakest among us die!

And at the third debate (after had I stopped watching it live), the audience booed Stephen Hill, a U.S. Army soldier who is stationed in Vietraq, after he asked a question (via video) regarding the U.S. military’s recently repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — and they booed him because he is gay.

(You can watch all three shameful clips here.)

So the Repugnican Tea Party’s base — aside from the minority of treasonous plutocrats and corporatocrats who don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes but who want to continue to tank our nation’s economy at our expense for their selfish benefit, and who want to see the gaping chasm between the rich and the poor widen even farther — is comprised of bloodthirsty, cold-hearted, bigoted haters who nonetheless claim to be such great fucking “Christians.”

Will these shameful audience reactions hurt the Repugnican Tea Party brand in upcoming national elections? (After all, none of the fascists who are vying for the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nomination rebuked the audiences’ sickening displays during the debates.)

Salon.com editor and writer Steve Kornacki tackles this question, noting that as it is, only about a third of Americans view the Repugnican Tea Party favorably. This percentage seems about right to me (and is in line with recent polls).

In hypothetical November 2012 matchups against Barack Obama, even Michele “Like Deer in Headlights” Bachmann pulls in around 40 percent, which indicates to me that the far-right-wing nutjobs have as much as 40 percent of the electorate’s support (that is, the support of the staunch right-wing nutjobs, who are about a third of the electorate, plus those “swing voters” whom they are able to dupe). That’s a minority, but it’s a sizeable minority, and, given the “swing voters'” ability to vote for fascists like George W. Bush (and potentially for George W. Bush II, a.k.a. Rick Perry), Obama’s re-election certainly is not certain.

(Against Obama, by the way, as of late Perry has been pulling in around 41 to 45 percent, which to me suggests that right now he has the support of at least some of the “swing voters.” The question would be how many of those who for some God-damned reason are undecided right now he could pull in between now and Election Day in November 2012.)

Kornacki concludes of the shameful Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary debate audience reactions that we’ve been seeing lately:

…[T]hese debate outbursts end up generating considerable attention and helping to establish (or to reinforce) a sense among non-Republican voters that the GOP has gone off the deep end.

[But it] could be that this won’t end up mattering in the end. If the economy is rotten enough, swing voters might end up voting straight ticket Republican next year no matter how extreme the GOP seems to them.

But when members of a Republican crowd at a nationally televised Republican event start booing [active-duty] members of the military, it’s safe to say [that] the GOP is playing with fire.

Agreed.

The Repugnican Tea Party fascists in the audience at the third debate clearly had a dilemma: Members of the U.S. military, especially those on active duty in the post-9/11 crusade in the Middle East that is bleeding the American empire to death, are considered to be heroes, and the right wing’s post-9/11 hero worship generally applies to them, but at the same time, the right-wing fascists hate non-heterosexuals like the Nazis hated the Jews (and like the Nazis also hated non-heterosexuals…), so what to do?

Clearly, for those who booed, where it came to the gay soldier, the “gay” part canceled out the “soldier” part.

But for the majority of even the dimwitted “swing voters,” it seems to me, the “soldier” part trumps the “gay” part. Nor, I surmise, are even the “swing voters” on board with just allowing those without health insurance to die.

(I surmise that most of them support the death penalty, however. The more ignorant one is, the more fearful he or she is, and the biggest fear is probaby the fear of death, and the “thinking” apparently is that executing convicted murderers will protect the rest of us from death.

That said, I surmise also that the majority of the “swing voters” aren’t on board with executing those whose guilt is questionable [as was the case with
Troy Davis, whom the state of Georgia executed this past week], which the deep-red states [like Georgia] have no problem with, especially if the executed are black or otherwise non-white [as was Davis].)

So I hope that these Repugnican Tea Party presidential primary debate audience outbursts continue.

In a roundabout way, they’re good for the country.

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On justice in the United States of America

This man was incarcerated and then executed in Georgia for allegedly having taken the life of one human being:

Troy Davis has always denied murdering Mark MacPhail in 1989

Georgia Department of Corrections/AFP image

This man has been responsible for the unnecessary, wholly preventable deaths of tens of thousands of people for the obscene profits of the corporation that he once headed and those of the other oily subsidiaries of the unelected BushCheneyCorp. He remains free. In fact, he got a book deal and has been promoting his book all around the country:

In this image released by ABC, former Vice President Dick Cheney, right, speaks with Barbara Walters  on the daytime talk show "The View," Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011, in New York. Cheney appeared to promote his book, "In My Time." (AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik)

ABC/Associated Press image

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UN looking into legality of slaughter of bin Laden

Was this past weekend’s assassination of Osama bin Laden legal?

Unsurprisingly, in the articles that I’ve read online, Americans tend to say that of course it was — he was an “enemy combatant” with whom we were “at war”; U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder actually called, quite speciously, bin Laden’s assassination “an act of national self-defense” (and not, say, a revenge killing); and besides, Barack Obama had said when he was campaigning for president that if we got bin Laden in our sights then he would order him killed (as though if you simply warn someone that you will do something illegal, such as rape her or murder him, if you get the opportunity to do so and then do so, then your actual act is not illegal because hey, you’d given him or her a warning!) — while those outside of the U.S. are much less likely to make such a certain pronouncement, expressing problems with the facts that bin Laden was unarmed and that the raid on his compound was conducted without the consent or even the prior notification of the government of the sovereign nation of Pakistan. Bin Laden should have been captured, if at all possible, and put on trial, since everyone, even the likes of bin Laden, has the right to due process, these dissenters have expressed.

One of these dissenters, Kent University international lawyer Nick Grief, called bin Laden’s killing what it apparently was: an “extrajudicial killing without due process of the law,” and he noted that even Nazi war criminals were brought to trial at the end of World War II.

Louise Doswald-Beck, former legal chief for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that bin Laden was not an enemy combatant but that “He was basically head of a terrorist criminal network, which means that you’re not really looking at the law of armed conflict but at lethal action against a dangerous criminal.”

Another British lawyer, Michael Mansfield, said, “The serious risk is that in the absence of an authoritative narrative of events played out in Abbottabad, vengeance will become synonymized with justice, and that revenge will supplant due process. … Whatever feelings of elation and relief may dominate the airwaves, they must not be allowed to submerge core questions about the legality of the exercise, nor to permit vengeance or summary execution to become substitutes for justice.” [Emphasis mine.]

And it looks as though the United Nations is investigating the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reports The Associated Press today:

Geneva – The United Nations’ independent investigator on extrajudicial killings* has called on the United States to reveal more details of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideaway to allow experts to assess the legality of his killing.

South African law professor Christof Heyns said in a statement [today] that Washington “should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards.”

Heyns says “it will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture Bin Laden.”

His statement echoed similar appeals from other UN officials, human rights groups and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

U.S. officials say the raid is legal under U.S. and international law.

Of course “U.S. officials say the raid [was] legal under U.S. and international law.” How often does the perpetrator of a crime admit it?

In any event, it’s not like the U.S. is going to respect any adverse finding by the UN anyway. The UN Security Council would not rubber-stamp George W. Bush’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, but the Bush regime went ahead and launched it anyway in March 2003. The U.S. respects the UN only when it is convenient for the U.S. to do so, which is one of the many reasons that the U.S. is so hated throughout the world: its blatant hypocrisy and double standards.

I still believe that the assassination of Osama bin Laden was meant, at least in part, for Barack Obama’s political gain. I believe that Obama wanted to show that he’s just as bad a bad-ass as George W. Bush tried to pass himself off as, and also, what’s better to counter the charges that Obama is not really an American and actually is Muslim than to snuff out Osama bin Laden, to take him dead or alive dead?

The so-called “swing voters” are susceptible to such wingnutty charges that Obama isn’t a citizen and that he’s actually a Muslim, and it’s the support of the “swing voters” (he’s screwed his progressive base) that Obama so very badly wants for his re-election.

Weirdly, though, in the White House photo of the gathering in the Situation Room during the operation to assassinate bin Laden that everyone has dissected to death —

In this image released by the White House and ...

— to me, Obama doesn’t look like the leader of all of it. To me, he looks like he’s just kind of shrinking in the corner, a bit bewildered and perhaps overwhelmed by all of it, and hell, just from this photo, Secretary of State Billary Clinton appears to be more in charge than Obama does. Obama appears in the photo to be an onlooker at most.

In any event, Osama bin Laden is dead, which even Al-Qaeda has acknowledged, and it’s not like there will be formal repercussions for the U.S. government for once again very apparently having violated international law.

But it will be interesting to see for how long the U.S. can maintain its position as the global bully. Bin Laden’s actions significantly weakened what he believed to be the “great Satan,” the American empire, costing the United States at least $3 trillion, pundits are saying. (Of course, much if not most of that $3 trillion went to greedy war profiteers, not for the actual benefit of the U.S., and much of it simply disappeared and remains unaccounted for to this day.)

And as China is poised to become the world’s No. 1 economy within the next decade, as the U.S. economy continues to teeter on the brink of collapse, how long will the U.S. be able to call the shots globally?

It is in the long-term interests of the United States of America — and any other nation’s — to follow the rule of law. It is easier and more convenient, in the short run, to circumvent the law, but to circumvent the law often bites you in the ass later, often (if not usually) costing you more than if you had just done it right the first time.

Because he was not put on trial, but was assassinated, Osama bin Laden is now, to many in the Muslim world, a martyr whose manner of death only proves his assertions about American abuse of power against Arabs and Muslims to be correct. We Americans can, and should, fully expect bin Laden’s death to be avenged. And then we’ll avenge that. This tit-for-tat bullshit bloodshed can go on for years and years and years, which is exactly what the war profiteers and the weasels of the military-industrial complex want.

And just as the United States was somewhat recovering from its reputation as the global asshole that the treasonous members of the unelected Bush regime earned it, Barack Obama, by mimicking George “W. for Wanted Dead or Alive” Bush, has taken us backasswards again.

Can we at least take away that Nobel Peace Prize that he so prematurely was awarded while the UN investigates the legality of his unilateral order to assassinate bin Laden?

P.S. Reuters reports a little more thoroughly today of the United Nations’ looking into the legality of bin Laden’s assassination. Reuters reports today:

Martin Scheinin, UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism … and Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said that in certain exceptional cases, deadly force may be used in “operations against terrorists.”

“However, the norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially-decided punishment,” the independent experts said in a joint statement.

“In respect of the recent use of deadly force against Osama bin Laden, the United States of America should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards,” they said. “It will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture bin Laden.”

Scheinin, a Finnish law professor who teaches in Florence, and Heyns, a South African human rights law professor, report to the UN Human Rights Council, whose 47 members include the United States. …

Navi Pillay, the top UN human rights official, also called this week for light to be shed on the killing, stressing that all counter-terrorism operations must respect international law.

“We’ve raised a question mark about what happened precisely, more details are needed at this point,” her spokesman Rupert Colville told a briefing in Geneva [today].

*Those Obama apologists and American jingoists who take exception to the word “assassination” (as though only, say, an American president could be assassinated) at least cannot argue that bin Laden’s killing was indeed, at the least, an extrajudicial execution.

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Iraqi journalist hurls both shoes at ‘President’ Bush; misses, unfortunately

In this image from APTN video, a man, centre throws a shoe at ...

In this image from APTN video, a man, centre throws a shoe at ...

Video frame grab of U.S. President George W. Bush (L) ducking ...

In this image from APTN video, US President George W. Bush, ...

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki tries to block US President ...

Associated Press, Reuters and AFP video grabs

An Iraqi journalist threw both of his shoes at “President” Bush during a press conference in Iraq today. Bush successfully ducked both shoes. “In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt,” The Associated Press notes. The AP also reports that the Iraqi journalist had shouted to Bush in Arabic, “This is a farewell kiss, you dog!”  before he tossed his shoes, adding, “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” (Reuters quotes the journalist as having said in Arabic, “This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog!”) In Islamic culture, dogs are considered to be dirty. I’m a dog lover, so I think of Bush as a swine, which also is considered dirty in Islamic culture, although swine are believed to be pretty smart, so that comparison doesn’t completely fit Bush, either…

So why didn’t something like this (must-see video clip) happen years ago?

Oh, well; better late than never, and anyway, this has made my day.

“President” Bush dared to show his face in Iraq, the nation that his unelected war-mongering and war-profiteering regime raped, pillaged and plundered, causing the deaths of at least tens of thousands of Iraqis. (Oh, did I mention the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors?)

Bush is damned fucking lucky that having had to duck flying shoes is all that happened to him in Iraq.

For his treason (stealing a presidential election and starting a bogus war for the war profits* of Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and the other war-profiteering subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp certainly qualify as treason in my book) and his crimes against humanity — he is responsible for the wholly unnecessary deaths of more than 4,200 members of the U.S. military in Vietraq as well as the deaths of at least tens of thousands of Iraqis — Bush deserves to be pelted to death with a whole fucking lot of shoes.

They hanged Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for his mass murder, and in Bush’s home state of Texas, if you kill just one person you are likely to be executed for murder, especially if you aren’t white.

But if you’re a white mass-murdering dictator from Texas, you’re going to get off scot-free.

*The illegal, immoral, unjust and wholly unnecessary Vietraq War has cost American taxpayers more than $575 billion. Meanwhile, our schools and infrastructure continue to crumble, millions have inadequate health care, and our economy continues to tank. The unelected Bush regime has done far more damage to our nation that our enemies, real or fabricated, ever could have done.

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