Tag Archives: Gay rights

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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2020 is going to look a lot like 2016

Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced Bernie Sanders in Boston.

Boston Globe photo

Progressives U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared together in Boston last week, as pictured above. Far from having gone away quietly, Sanders is fighting for such progressive goals as single-payer health care and free tuition at public colleges and universities. Unfortunately, there’s no reason to think that the 2020 presidential election won’t devolve into another fight between real Democrats (that is, actual progressives) and corporate, sellout Democrats who think that craven identity politics is a political cover for the establishmentarian, pro-corporate, anti-populist, ultimately treasonous Democratic Party to continue to ignore income inequality and to continue to support the socioeconomic status quo.

Bernie Sanders is, I think, going to run for the presidency again in 2020.

He hasn’t ruled it out, and he has remained in the public eye since the preventably disastrous November 2016 presidential election.

He put a book out in November (and his progressive comrade Elizabeth Warren has another book due out later this month), and while the establishment Democrats’ “plan” remains to just sit back and watch the Repugnican Tea Party, under the “leadership” of “President” Pussygrabber, implode (or explode, I suppose), Bernie is out there advocating for a progressive agenda that would improve millions of lives (as is Elizabeth).

Bernie will introduce legislation for single-payer health care, totally bypassing the bogus argument of corporate-friendly Obamacare vs. corporate-friendly Trumpcare (and necessarily so), and he and Warren have introduced legislation for free in-state community college and public four-year college tuition.

Oh, that shit can’t pass, I hear even so-called Democrats mutter.

Um, leadership is about leading — not following. Leadership is about convincing people to go in a new, better direction. Leadership isn’t about watching and waiting for your inept political opponents to hang themselves, and then to continue to stick with the status quo. Nor is leadership about jumping on board something that is progressive only after it’s clearly politically safe to do so, since the majority of the electorate already has gone in that direction (Billary Clinton, for instance, didn’t jump on board the same-sex-marriage bandwagon until after it was safe to do so, after the majority of Americans had already gotten there first [to be fair, ditto for Barack Obama]).

Actual leadership is selfless, it’s hard, and it can be risky — which is why the worthless, sellout, do-nothing establishment “Democrats” don’t lead, but follow.

Unfortunately, Bernie 2020 probably would run into what Bernie 2016 ran into: anti-white racism.*

Yup. I said it.

Bernie was rejected by many, many so-called Democrats primarily if not solely because of his demographics — they wrote him off as just another old white man. He was, yes, racially profiled.

How else to explain that Billary Clinton won the support of 76 percent of black Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers, while Bernie won the support of only 23 percent of them?

Bernie was less well known than Billary, that’s why, you might argue, but then there is this contrasting (and inconvenient) fact: among white Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers, it was much more evenly split — 48.9 percent supported Billary, while 49.1 percent supported Bernie, a difference of only 0.2 percent.

Clearly, there was something racial going on.

And it’s interesting that black Americans supported Billary Clinton to the degree that they did; the Clintons brought us “welfare reform,” a crime bill that filled our prisons disproportionately with non-whites, the job-killing NAFTA, etc.

Maybe blacks still struggle at least in part because they tend to vote against their own best interests. Just sayin’. (And I’m not picking on blacks — many, many Americans routinely vote against their own best interests, such as the poor and working-class white people who voted for Pussygrabber for president.)

Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, wrote this of Billary Clinton in February 2016:

Hillary Clinton loves black people. And black people love Hillary — or so it seems. Black politicians have lined up in droves to endorse her, eager to prove their loyalty to the Clintons in the hopes that their faithfulness will be remembered and rewarded.

Black pastors are opening their church doors, and the Clintons are making themselves comfortably at home once again, engaging effortlessly in all the usual rituals associated with “courting the black vote,” a pursuit that typically begins and ends with Democratic politicians making black people feel liked and taken seriously.

Doing something concrete to improve the conditions under which most black people live is generally not required.

Hillary is looking to gain momentum on the campaign trail as the primaries move out of Iowa and New Hampshire and into states like South Carolina, where large pockets of black voters can be found. According to some polls, she leads Bernie Sanders by as much as 60 percent among African Americans. It seems that we — black people — are her winning card, one that Hillary is eager to play.

And it seems we’re eager to get played. Again.

The love affair between black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. He threw on some shades and played the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show.

It seems silly in retrospect, but many of us fell for that. At a time when a popular slogan was “It’s a black thing, you wouldn’t understand,” Bill Clinton seemed to get us. When Toni Morrison dubbed him our first black president, we nodded our heads. We had our boy in the White House. Or at least we thought we did.

Black voters have been remarkably loyal to the Clintons for more than 25 years. It’s true that we eventually lined up behind Barack Obama in 2008, but it’s a measure of the Clinton allure that Hillary led Obama among black voters until he started winning caucuses and primaries.

Now Hillary is running again. This time she’s facing a democratic socialist who promises a political revolution that will bring universal healthcare, a living wage, an end to rampant Wall Street greed, and the dismantling of the vast prison state — many of the same goals that Martin Luther King Jr. championed at the end of his life.

Even so, black folks are sticking with the Clinton brand.

What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization, and the disappearance of work?

No. Quite the opposite. …

Read Alexander’s article, and fuck, just Google “What did the Clintons do for black Americans?” (While you’re at it, Google “What did Obama do for black Americans?”)

Clearly, black Americans had no logical reason to vote for Billary over Bernie, certainly not at the rate of 76 percent to 23 percent.

Still, myths die hard. Blacks understood that they were “supposed” to vote for Billary, and so they did.

And the race-based Bernie bashing continues. There were those black-supremacist idiots who called a crowd gathered for Bernie Sanders “white supremacist liberals” while they shut down Bernie’s planned speech in Seattle in August 2015. They had no coherent anti-Bernie argument; indeed, I’m sure that they were mostly if not wholly unaware of his record (including the NAACP’s having given him a score of 100 percent on their agenda [and former NAACP head Ben Jealous went on to endorse Bernie]). Bernie’s record didn’t matter to these black supremacists, you see, because Bernie’s sin was that of having been born while white.

Similarly, in a recent piece for Salon.com, Chauncey DeVega takes two sentences from recent remarks by Bernie (at the rally in Boston pictured above) and then runs with it.

Bernie said, as DeVega reported: “Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folks. I don’t agree, because I’ve been there.” (“Been there” as in he has met and spoken with these people, I presume he meant.)

Bernie immediately followed that up with, “Let me tell you something else some of you might not agree with: It wasn’t that Donald Trump won the election, it was that the Democratic Party lost the election.”

That apparently wasn’t convenient to DeVega’s argument, though, so he left it out of his article, which he had begun with:

In the United States, white liberals and progressives have historically shown a serious inability to grapple with the realities of the color line and the enduring power of white supremacy. Many of them are either unable or unwilling to understand that fighting against class inequality does not necessarily remedy the specific harms done to African-Americans and other people of color by white racism.

That’s just a more academic, “nicer” way of calling Bernie Sanders and his supporters “white supremacist liberals,” methinks.

Bernie also had said: “We need a Democratic Party that is not a party of the liberal elite but of the working class of this country; we need a party that is a grassroots party, where candidates are talking to working people, not spending their time raising money for the wealthy and the powerful.”

DeVega didn’t quote that, either. Better to simply paint Bernie as a denier of racism, because it appears that the same black Americans who stupidly supported corporate whore Billary Clinton primarily out of black identity than even for their own best fucking interests are going to try to shove corporate whore U.S. Sen. Cory Booker down our throats as the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate.

Booker is black, you see, and for years he cravenly has promoted himself as the next Barack Obama, and it’s supposed to be enough that he’s black.

Booker, whose most recent big act was to vote in the U.S. Senate to deny Americans access to cheaper pharmaceuticals because he takes a lot of money from Big Pharma — I don’t call someone a “corporate whore” for nothing — very much appears to me to be the next one to take the mantle of being Best for Blacks (this mantle was passed from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama to Billary Clinton and, I surmise, now goes to Booker; the mantle keeps getting passed, even though no one who wears it actually does anything significant for black Americans).

If I’m “racist” for being a while male who has called Cory Booker a corporate whore, know that the managing editor of the Black Agenda Report, a Bruce A. Dixon, earlier this year called Booker a “corporate hooker” and a “corporate whore.” He wrote (the links are his):

After losing the White House to the most unpopular president in history, Democrats have lots to say, but even more to avoid saying, lest they expose themselves as every bit as much corporate tools as their Republican foes.

New Jersey [U.S.] Senator Cory Booker is their ideal spokesperson, a cynical, photogenic and utterly dependable corporate whore who can be counted on to keep the anti-Trump rabble safely inside the Democrats’ big stinky tent. …

The Democrats leading the charge against Trump must meet exacting qualifications. They have to be loyal servants of the one percenters, of banksters, hedge funds, charter-school sugar daddies and privatizers of all kinds. They must be dependable supporters of apartheid Israel, of military contractors, drone warfare and U.S. military interventions of all kinds around the world.

To boost their party’s fortunes in this new era, Democratic Party spokespeople need to be gifted hypocrites willing to pose as advocates of immigrants and champions of civil liberties going forward, even though they unflinchingly supported the biggest deportation and mass-surveillance regimes in history implemented by the Democrat who just left the White House.

They must focus narrowly on the handful of issues on which corporate Dems actually disagree with Republicans, like abortion rights [and, I’ll add, LGBT rights — and other identity politics], and not stray to areas which might indict their own party along with Republicans.

And they must absolve their party of responsibility for running an incompetent campaign by blaming the Russians. Hillary is history, but her big stinking tent is still there, and Democrats are crying for a “united front” against Trump, led by spokespeople who can stick to the corporate script.

Cory Booker is a great fit. As Glen Ford, who has followed his career in Black Agenda Report and Black Commentator since 2002, notes, charter-school sugar daddies from the Olin, Bradley and Walton Family Foundations and the Manhattan Institute funded his early career. Cory’s wealthy friends bankrolled and promoted a slick Hollywood documentary, “Street Fight,” to ensure his 2006 election to Newark’s City Hall. …

In 2010 on the Oprah show, Booker announced a $100 million “gift” from Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg to Newark’s public schools, whose budget was still controlled by statehouse Republicans, to implement the latest “run-the-school-like-a-business” nostrums of Cory’s old friends. Three years later, when Booker left Newark for the U.S. Senate, there was little to show for the money.

The one percenters take good care of their guy Cory, giving him three times the cash raised for all his opponents together in the 2013 Democratic primary, and he takes good care of them.

When the anti-Romney rhetoric in 2012 strayed to touch on how the hedge fund Republican actually made those millions, it was Obama surrogate Cory Booker who stepped up on “Meet The Press” to defend the predatory economics of hedge funds, calling outrage against disaster capitalism “useless rhetoric.”

After all, Goldman Sachs was and still is one of Booker’s major contributors. Cory hit the Senate just in time to vote for a major school voucher bill in 2014. …

Cory’s a whore, but a loyal one. If he did for passing motorists what he does for charter-school sugar daddies, hedge funds, Israeli apartheid and Big Pharma, he could be arrested for prostitution.

But Cory’s in the big time, and he’s a leading Democratic spokeshead against Trump. If you’re a Democrat, he’s one of your leaders.

He’s Cory Booker, corporate hooker.

The battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party continues. Ain’t nothin’ changed but the date.

To be clear, I wholly agree with Chauncey DeVega’s assertion that “fighting against class inequality does not necessarily remedy the specific harms done to African-Americans and other people of color by white racism.” It is a mistake to ignore racism (and other forms of discrimination) and to focus only on class and income inequality.

However, nor should identity politics supplant the battle against income inequality, and that’s what we saw happen with Billary Clinton’s awful presidential campaign, and that’s what has happened with the establishmentarian Democratic Party, because the establishmentarian Democratic Party’s corporate sugar daddies are OK with identity politics, since for the most part identity politics doesn’t threaten their obscene profiteering (indeed, they even have found that in many instances, they can profit from identity politics).

Significantly addressing income inequality, however, does threaten the establishmentarian Democratic Party’s corporate sugar daddies’ profiteering, and that’s why the establishmentarian Democratic Party has refused to significantly address income inequality for decades.

And further to be clear, a huge chunk of those who voted for Pussygrabber indeed were motivated, at least unconsciously if not always consciously, by racism. I believe that and so I wouldn’t have gone as far as Bernie Sanders did in his remarks (specifically I refer to his remark that “Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folks. I don’t agree, because I’ve been there”).

Or I at least would have said it differently; I surmise that Bernie’s meaning, which he did not express well, was that not all of the people who voted for Pussygrabber are racists and sexists and homophobes and otherwise deplorables.

I think that that’s most likely what Bernie meant and I think that that’s probably the truth; I think that there are some incredibly stupid white people who voted for Pussygrabber against their own best interests, incredibly stupidly truly believing that (billionaire!) Pussygrabber magically was going to “make America great again,” that he’d bring all of the jobs back, and with those jobs, the 1950s-era national prosperity. For those people, it seems to me, identity politics wasn’t their No. 1 concern; the economy and their own dismal personal experience of it was.

What Bernie is trying to do, I surmise, is get back some of those white voters in the Rust-Belt states who voted for Pussygrabber instead of for Billary and who thus threw the Electoral College to Pussygrabber. No, I don’t think that Bernie wants the racists and the sexists and the homophobes, but that he wants those whose No. 1 concern is the economy. But they probably won’t vote for a Democrat as long as the Democratic Party keeps calling them “deplorables,” as deplorable as many (if not even most) of them actually are.

White Americans still make up more than 60 percent of the nation’s population (per the U.S. Census Bureau), and calling them deplorable probably isn’t a great strategy to win a presidential election. Just sayin’. It’s the numbers, folks; whites remain the racial majority in the United States of America.

And as deplorable as many if not even most Pussygrabber voters are, I still put the onus for Pussygrabber’s “win” of the White House on Billary Clinton. She took the Rust-Belt states for granted because they’d gone to the Democratic presidential candidates since the 1980s, and so she’d thought that she already had them sewn up. She and her team of Billarybots in their bubble fucked up big time, Russia or no Russia.

I agree wholeheartedly with Bernie’s assertion that “It wasn’t that Donald Trump won the election, it was that the Democratic Party lost the election.”

If the Democratic Party fronts yet another corporate whore in 2020 — like Cory Booker — then the result will be the same. (Don’t even make me get into the cliche of the definition of “insanity.”)

The fight for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination will be much like the 2016 fight, I think, except that while the 2016 racial battle (Bernie was the “white” candidate and Billary the “black” candidate) for the most part wasn’t very openly, frequently nationally discussed, the racial battle will be quite openly and frequently nationally discussed in 2020 (well, starting no later than in 2019).

It really comes down to this: Which candidate is the most progressive? Which candidate is most likely to carry out policies that would benefit the highest number of Americans possible?

Would that candidate be yet another corporate whore, who has a long record of doing only what’s best for his or her corporate sponsors (and thus his or her corporate overlords)? Would that candidate be a corporate whore who only cravenly can run only on identity politics, since his or her actual record only shows what a corporate whore he or she actually is?

Or would the candidate most likely to carry out policies that would benefit the highest number of Americans possible (which is my non-negotiable litmus test) be an actual progressive, such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, who has a long actual record of opposing corporate malfeasance and standing up for the average American?

For those of us who oppose the illegitimate Pussygrabber regime, that’s our choice in 2020, as it was in 2016.

I’m sure that if the pro-corporate Democratic Party establishment fronts corporate hooker Cory Booker, it and the Bookerbots (Hookerbots?) will call those of us actual Democrats (that is, we true progressives) who oppose Booker “racist,” just as the Billarybots called those of us who rejected her for the very same reasons “sexist” and “misogynist.”

Calling those of us who rejected corporate whore Billary Clinton (because she is a corporate whore) “Bernie bros” didn’t win her the White House, did it?

Craven identity politics (including slandering one’s actually progressive political opponents as “racist” or “sexist” or whatever) won’t put Cory Booker or any other corporate whore who uses the label of “Democrat” into the White House in 2020, either.

We progressives can — and we will — keep on playing this game.

I and millions of other progressives simply won’t budge. We won’t rest until the Democratic Party is progressive again (or until it has been replaced by another actually progressive party).

Call us “sexist,” “racist,” “crazy,” “Communist,” “radical,” “extreme,” “hippie,” whatever slanderous bullshit you want to call us to lamely try to get us to acquiesce to your center-right, sellout, self-serving, pro-corporate, treasonous bullshit. Our days of supporting the sellout Democratic Party, which is just a hollow husk of what it once was, are long gone.

P.S. To be clear, I don’t want to understate the importance of the Democratic Party (or a new, truly progressive party) standing up for the civil rights of racial and other minorities. It’s that we must walk and chew gum at the same time. Engaging in identity politics (in the good, non-toxic way) or battling income inequality is a false choice. We must do both.

And of course Bernie Sanders can’t know what it’s like to be black. (Or Latino. Or a woman. Or gay. Or…) He can know only what it’s like to be Bernie Sanders. And the state that he has represented in Congress since the early 1990s, Vermont, is overwhelmingly white, which is what it is.

I believe that Bernie’s heart is in the right place, and that as president he’d do the right thing for the highest number of people possible, and that with continued dialogue, he would get even better in terms of understanding and representing minority groups’ concerns.

Sadly and pathetically, though, I sense that blacks’ biggest problem with Bernie hasn’t actually been that he has been deficient on black issues, but that he isn’t black. Under these black supremacists’ “logic,” a U.S. president (at least a Democratic U.S. president) from here on out must always be black, then, even though blacks are only 13 percent of Americans. (Gee, that’s fair! And so democratic!)

I’m gay, but I’m not going to demand that a presidential candidate be gay, even though we have yet to have our first out non-heterosexual president.

I’m going to demand only that a presidential candidate be progressive, and I’m always going to support the most progressive (yet still viable) presidential candidate, regardless of that candidate’s sex, race, sexual orientation or age (as long as he or she can still do the job, I’m not worried about a candidate’s age). Unlike it is for too many so-called Democrats, for me it’s not all about me and my own identity group. It’s about what’s best for the highest number of people.

The Democratic Party shouldn’t be the vehicle through which any minority group tries to gain political control of the majority. I will put that fact out there, because that’s what identity politics, in its most toxic forms, actually aims for: the tyranny of the minority over the majority.

That’s not progressive and that’s not democratic.

Finally, for the record, I’m fine with Elizabeth Warren as the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee if Bernie doesn’t run, but I’m concerned that her nationwide favorability ratings aren’t nearly as high as Bernie’s.

That disparity is due, I’m sure, because he already has conducted a presidential campaign, and thus is better known to the national electorate, and I surmise that Warren has been a victim of actual misogyny (recall that Yertle McConnell infamously said of Warren, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted”) more than Billary Clinton ever has been. (People just don’t like Billary, regardless of her sex. It’s her personality, her character and her record, not her XX chromosomes. [Nor is it Russia.])

What I hope happens is that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren keep working together as a dynamic duo. A Sanders-Warren ticket for 2020 would be incredible.

*To be fair, plenty of faux feminists also discriminated against Bernie because he is a man, and supported Billary for no other apparent reason than that she is a woman.

To support one person over another primarily because of his or her sex is to be sexist.

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For gun massacres, it takes a village

<p>Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club, where as many as 20 people have been injured after a gunman opened fire, in Orlando, June 12, 2016. (REUTERS/Steve Nesius) </p>

Reuters photo

Distraught individuals comfort each other at the Orlando Police Department headquarters after the United States’ worst gun massacre in history at a gay nightclub early this morning in Orlando, Florida. Because most of the victims were gay men, whose lives are expendable, this latest gun massacre won’t be in the national discussion for very long, though, and this latest American massacre demonstrates that although same-sex couples’ constitutional right to marry finally was recognized a year ago this month, plenty of ignorance surrounding and hatred toward non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals remains.

What a quandary for American wingnuts and other homophobes! The largest slaughter of innocent Americans on American soil since 9/11 — perpetrated by a Muslim man, of course* — must be condemned, but at the same time, most if not all of the Muslim’s victims were queers!

Seriously — this is a conundrum, since most American haters of Muslims hate non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals, too; homophobia is something that fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and Jews all have in common.

I say this with confidence: Even though early this morning we saw the largest shooting massacre in American history (50 fatalities [including the gunman] at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida), we won’t talk about this gun massacre for nearly as long as we talked about the last gun massacre, the one in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 people were slaughtered by a Muslim man and his Muslim wife in December.**

And that’s because heterosexual (and gender-conforming) lives still are valued much more than are non-heterosexual (and non-gender-conforming) lives in the United States of America.

I’m confident that just as millions of Americans (most of them self-identified “Christians”) believe that fags deserved to die of AIDS, millions of Americans (most of them self-identified “Christians”) believe that fags deserved to die in Orlando this morning. (These individuals of course would take issue with my use of the word “innocent” in the first paragraph.)

You know, though, even though I’m a gay man, I don’t feel a bunch of hatred toward the perpetrator, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan and a U.S. citizen (and who was shot dead by police after he’d committed his carnage).

Nor do I feel a generalized hatred toward Muslims, although I believe that their belief system, along with Christians’ and Jews’, is bullshit (with their “God” essentially being a Santa Claus figure 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!]), and although I recognize that a relatively tiny percentage of them are capable of great evil (as is the case with all human beings).

I do, however, blame toxic, backasswards, patriarchal, misogynist and homophobic religion, with its hocus-pocus, bullshit beliefs, and I blame the fact that Omar Mateen was born and raised in a nation whose highest court not even a full year ago finally ruled that under the U.S. Constitution, non-heterosexual individuals have the same human and civil rights that heterosexuals do.

When it comes to massacres, it takes a village to make them happen, people.

We need to examine the village much more than we need to examine the perpetrators.*** They are the symptoms of the village that creates them.

*Actually, of course, it remains that case that a typical American is significantly more likely to be shot and killed in a mass shooting by a white person who considers himself to be a Christian than by a Muslim.

Um, yeah.

**The Los Angeles Times put out this graphic of past gun massacres in the United States:

Note that this latest gun massacre took a real leap in the body count from the previous record. The L.A. Times grimly keeps a growing, running roundup of gun massacres in the United States here.

***That said, I’m confident that Mateen was mentally ill (his ex-wife has said that he was) — you can’t massacre people unless you are mentally ill (and the mentally ill widely don’t get the help that they need in the United States) — spurred on by the ignorance and hatred within his environment (including, of course, the ignorance and hatred that routinely is spewed within religion in the name of “God”), and, of course, I have to wonder if he was battling with homosexual urges himself.

I mean, reportedly he went ballistic when he saw two men kissing in public in Miami recently.

Why? Why would that drive you to shoot up a gay nightclub, if you were heterosexual and comfortable with your heterosexuality?

It seems to me quite possible that the sick and twisted Mateen, by killing gay men who unabashedly were being who they are in public (at least in the nightclub), was trying to kill the homosexuality within himself.

Finally, I don’t wish to exclude lesbians from mention, but the official list of victims in the Orlando massacre that has been released thus far indicates that most of the victims were male and Latino. I don’t know if any lesbians were killed, too. I see one female name on the list, and I don’t know what her sexual orientation was, and of course not all of the males slaughtered there necessarily were gay, but, it being a gay nightclub, I’m guessing (safely, methinks) that most if not all of them were.

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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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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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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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