Tag Archives: heterosexism

We still have no real national leader on stopping the use of killer drones

This video frame grab provided by Senate Television shows Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Senate Democrats pushed Wednesday for speedy confirmation of John Brennan's nomination to be CIA director but ran into a snag after a Paul began a lengthy speech over the legality of potential drone strikes on U.S. soil. But Paul stalled the chamber to start what he called a filibuster of Brennan's nomination. Paul's remarks were centered on what he said was the Obama administration's refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes inside the United States against American citizens.  (AP Photo/Senate Television)

Associated Press image

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has aligned himself with the Repugnican Party, the “tea party” and the libertarians, filibustered on the topic of the use of killer drones from yesterday afternoon until early this morning. Unfortunately, Paul’s concerns about the use of killer drones apparently is limited only to their use on “non-combatant” American citizens on American soil, and it seems to me that the upstart Paul’s goal is to promote and position himself as a future president at least as much as it is to tackle the problem of killer drones.

It was a breath of fresh air to see Repugnican Tea Party U.S. Sen. Rand Paul filibuster on the topic of the use of killer drones, a topic that the spineless, useless Democrats in D.C. (who are only about protecting the brand name and who have no sense of right and wrong) have refused to touch, since Papa Obama wuvs his drones, and Papa Obama must not be crossed.

The first slaughter of a human being by a U.S. drone occurred in Afghanistan in November 2001, during the reign of the unelected Bush regime. Pretty much nothing but evil came from the unelected Bush regime, yet DINO President Barack Obama decided to continue with the use of drones as remote-controlled killing machines.*

Most of the the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in D.C. want to preserve the use of human-snuffing drones for use by future Repugnican Tea Party presidents, and while many if not most of the DINOs in D.C. probably have a problem with the use of drones to kill human beings, none of them has the balls to stand up to Obama in a public and meaningful way.

So it was great to see Rand Paul buck both party establishments and speak out against at least one of the obvious problems that the use of human-killing drones poses. (I might say that that problem is their “abuse,” but since I believe that they should not be used at all, I won’t say “abuse,” because that connotes that their use at all might be OK.)

Don’t get me wrong. I could never cast a vote for Rand Paul.

Among other things, he opposes a woman’s right to an abortion even in cases of rape and incest, but would leave it to each state to determine whether or not to allow legal abortion, Roe v. Wade be damned.

At least at one time he held the view that Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits private businesses from engaging in race-based discrimination, is unconsitutional, because a private business should be allowed to discriminate by race if it so wishes.

Although Rand Paul claims to be a strict constitutionalist, he doesn’t like the fact that the 14th Amendment makes anyone who is born on American a soil a U.S. citizen, regardless of the child’s parents’ citizenship status, and so he wants so-called “birthright citizenship” to end (he supports a constitutional amendment to end “birthright citizenship” if it can’t be ended otherwise).

Rand Paul apparently wants to pick and choose among the constitutional amendments, because he vehemently supports the Second Amendment, opposing all gun control. (As I’ve noted before, no civilian needs an assault rifle, and when the so-called founding fathers crafted the Second Amendment, no such weapons 0f mass destruction existed, so to claim that of course the Second Amendment extends to them is quite a fucking stretch.)

Rand Paul personally opposes same-sex marriage but is OK with allowing each state to decide the matter. (I have a personal problem with his personal opposition to it, with his ignorance and his bigotry on the matter, his heterosexism and homophobia, and I also disagree vehemently that any state should be able to decide whether or not to honor any U.S. citizen’s constitutionally guaranteed equal human and civil rights.)

All in all, although the term “libertarian,” which Rand Paul uses to describe himself, implies a love of liberties and freedoms, with the libertarians (most of whom are right-wing white males), it is the same-old, same-old: These liberties and freedoms belong only to white, right-wing, “Christian,” heterosexual men (especially those who have power and money). They were the only ones who (regardless of what the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents proclaimed) had liberties and freedoms at the nation’s founding, and it should be that way forever, right? Just like the rich, white founding fathers intended!

That’s where Rand Paul is coming from. Indeed, he is considered a member of the “tea party” also. (I suspect that he just jumped on to the “tea party” bandwagon because the “libertarian” bandwagon wasn’t going to get him into the U.S. Senate, but if he says that he’s a member of the so-called “tea party,” and he does, then I’m going to hold him to that.)

While there is nothing that the “tea party” traitors believe that I also believe — far from being “revolutionaries” who are fighting for “freedom,” the “tea-party” dipshits support our corporate oppressors, which makes them treasonous fascists, not revolutionaries, and their belief system, if fully implemented, would bring about the even further enslavement of the American people, not our further freedom — the so-called “libertarians” are right on a few issues.

Rand Paul’s libertarian daddy, Ron Paul, for instance, although a patriarchal, misogynist homophobe also, opposed the Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust Vietraq War, a rarity for someone aligned with the Repugnican Party.

Of course, Ron Paul’s reasoning for his opposition to the Vietraq War wasn’t the same as mine. My main problem with the Vietraq War was the carnage — thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians as well as more than 4,000 U.S. military personnel died pointlessly in the bogus war — carnage that benefitted only Big Oil and Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and the other subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp.

From what I can discern, Ron Paul’s biggest problem with the war was not the cost in human lives, but was that the war, he argued in October 2002, was unconstitutional**; the U.S. Congress just giving the U.S. president carte blanche approval to declare war was akin to monarchism, he declared. I agree with that, but it was the foreseeable death and destruction, not the constitutional arguments, that were my biggest concern during the Bush regime’s run-up to its Vietraq War in 2002 and early 2003.

It also has been the gargantuan fiscal cost of the Vietraq War to the American taxpayers that has concerned Ron Paul and other libertarians — and that has been a huge problem, too, as the cost of the Vietraq War is a nice chunk of our federal budget deficit — but it troubles me that Ron Paul and his fellow libertarians haven’t focused on the human costs of such bogus warfare.

Still, I suppose, although we did our calculations very differently, at least Ron Paul came to the same, correct answer: The United States never should go to war unless it absolutely, absolutely is necessary, and, as the U.S. Constitution mandates, the U.S. Congress must keep the U.S. president in check when it comes to waging war, and must never abdicate its sole constitutional authority to declare war to the president, under any circumstances.

And wars of choice for war profiteering — robbing the U.S. treasury via bogus warfare — are intolerable. And they are treasonous. Knowingly taking the nation to war with another nation based upon lies cannot be anything other than treason, except, of course, also war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On the topic of the use of drones to slaughter human beings, Rand Paul, much like his daddy, at least partially comes to the right answer, but with calculations that are too cold.

In his nearly 13-hour filibuster, Rand Paul’s main or even only concern about the use of drones, I understand from the media coverage of his filibuster, is that killer drones might one day be used on “non-combatant” American citizens on American soil, in blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee that no U.S. citizen shall be deprived of his or her life or liberty as punishment for an accused crime or crimes without first having been granted a fair trial.

That’s way too narrow a problem to have with the use of killer drones.

Why should only American citizens be granted such fairness, decency and justice? Is not every human being on the planet worthy of such fairness, decency and justice, or are Americans superior to other human beings? Are only American lives valuable?

Further: Drones are a cowardly, lazy and sloppy way to kill, and their use quite foreseeably could explode to the point that innocent people all over the world (including in the U.S., of course) are being maimed and slaughtered by drones, like something out of one of the “Terminator” movies.

Therefore, the use of drones to slaughter human beings should be prohibited worldwide. Their use should not be prohibited only against American citizens, whether on American soil or whether on foreign soil, whether they are deemed “combatant” or “non-combatant,” but should be prohibited against any human being. You can’t trust the average adult with the “proper” use of a killer drone any more than you can trust the average child with the proper use of a shotgun.

Sadly, however, even Rand Paul’s public stance on killer drones is to the left of the public stance taken by the DINOs (which mostly is an eery silence).

DINO Nancy Pelosi, for instance, on the subject of the use of drones to slaughter human beings, to my knowledge only has offered a reassurance that of course Barack Obama never would use a drone to kill a “non-combatant” American citizen on American soil.

That’s not nearly good enough, Nancy.

Maybe Obama would not, but what if another election-stealing would-be war criminal like George W. Bush got into the White House? That could happen in less than four full years.

It would be wonderful if our “representatives” in Washington would actually lead, which means having an eye on the future — fuck, even the near future.

As Rand Paul stated himself during his filibuster, it’s not about Barack Obama (whose handlers constantly are asking us if we have his back when it sure would be nice if he had ours). It’s about the principle of the use of drones to slaughter human beings becoming so widespread and so out of control that we Americans or we human beings anywhere on the planet can’t fucking leave our own homes without worrying about whether or not a fucking drone might maim or kill us that day, accidentally or intentionally.

Neither Rand Paul nor any other member of U.S. Congress, to my knowledge, has stated publicly that that is the issue here.

And I’m still very leery of Rand Paul. I have no idea how much his filibuster actually was about the use of killer drones against “non-combatant” Americans on American soil and how much it was showboating because he has presidential aspirations.

It fairly clearly was such showboating when he remarked during a hearing in January to then-Secretary of State Billary Clinton on the subject of the September attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya: “Had I been president and found you did not read the cables from Benghazi and from Ambassador Stevens, I  would have relieved you of your post.”

He came off as a major prick because, well, he apparently is a major prick.

Although he’s only in his third year in the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul already was talking about his being president one day while he was attacking a woman who has been in national politics far longer than he has been. Would he have talked like that to a white male secretary of state? I doubt it. It was a sickening, nauseating display of that stupid-white-male sense of entitlement again.

While I’m glad that someone finally spoke out against the use of killer drones in some meaningful way in D.C., the patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic and apparently racist/white-supremacist Rand Paul would make as awful a president as his daddy would have, and, because he limited his argument against killer drones to the protection of only “non-combatant” American citizens on American soil — and, of course, whether or not someone targeted for slaughter by drone is a “combatant” or a “non-combatant” in many cases could be up for interpretation, and thus is wide open to abuse — we still have no real leadership in Washington, D.C., on the subject of drones used to slaughter human beings.

*DINO Barack Obama’s having continued the use of drones to slaughter human beings is one of the many reasons that I could not cast a second vote for him in November 2012. Obama is an immoral man, perhaps not immoral as most of the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are, but still immoral. The lesser of two evils is still an evil.

**In his October 2002 speech in which he stated his opposition to the U.S. Congress giving then-“President” Bush the power to declare war on Iraq, Ron Paul also stated, “There is no convincing evidence that Iraq is capable of threatening the security of this country, and, therefore, very little reason, if any, to pursue a war.”

That is common knowledge now, and during the build-up to the Vietraq War it was clear to me, also, as just a consumer of the news, that Iraq posed no threat to the U.S. and that the treasonous members of the unelected Bush regime were lying through their teeth (“aluminum tubes,” “yellowcake from Niger,” “mushroom clouds,” “anthrax,” etc.) and were dead-set upon invading Iraq no matter what.

In his speech Ron Paul also interestingly stated that the impending Vietraq War did not pass the “Christian” litmus test for a “just war.” He said:

First, it [the “Christian” litmus test for a just war] says that there has to be an act of aggression; and there has not been an act of aggression against the United States. We are 6,000 miles from [Iraq’s] shores.

Also, it says that all efforts at negotiations must be exhausted. I do not believe that is the case. It seems to me like the opposition, the enemy, right now is begging for more negotiations.

Also, the Christian doctrine says that the proper authority must be responsible for initiating the war. I do not believe that proper authority can be transferred to the president nor to the United Nations.

In his speech Ron Paul also, besides engaging in the usual libertarian United Nations-bashing (the U.S. should call the global shots, not the UN, you see), attacked the Bush regime’s neo-conservative concept of “pre-emptive war,” stating, “No matter what the arguments may be, this policy is new; and it will have ramifications for our future, and it will have ramifications for the future of the world because other countries will adopt this same philosophy.”

It’s too bad no one is that far-sighted when it comes to the use of human-slaughtering drones!

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On Jodie Foster and ‘privacy’ vs. shame

This image released by NBC shows Jodie Foster, recipient of the Cecil B. Demille Award, during the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 13, 2013, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater)

NBC/Associated Press photo

Actress Jodie Foster kind of officially, publicly came out of the closet the other night when she accepted an award at the Golden Globe Awards. Thankfully, the 50-year-old Foster’s apparent shame over her sexual orientation is rarer in our youthful non-heterosexuals today — no thanks to Foster, of course.

I don’t want this to be a repeat of what I wrote about lesbian astronaut Sally Ride’s posthumous outing in July, so I’ll quote what others have said about actress Jodie Foster’s recent quasi-coming out.

Matthew Breen, the probably-too-pretty editor of The Advocate, wrote this about Foster:

… Everyone should come out in her own time, but Foster was angry last night. One reason could be embarrassment at not having come out publicly (at least in her own estimation) until 2013. Last night’s speech clearly took a lot of guts for Foster to undertake. But too much anger was directed at a straw man of her own creation.

“But now apparently I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show. You guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo child. No, I’m sorry, that’s just not me, never was, and it never will be,” she said.

There’s where she’s got it wrong. By referencing Honey Boo Boo, a stand-in for all that is shamelessly confessional about celebrity in 2013, Foster’s implication was that the choices she faces as a public figure are few: (1) stay closeted, never acknowledge your sexual orientation in public, or (2) tell the world every sordid detail of your intimate life.

That’s a bogus comparison, and it’s one that reinforces the idea that being LGBT is shameful, worthy of being hidden, and that saying you’re LGBT is an invitation to the whole world to come into your bedroom. That’s patently wrong. There are numerous out celebrities who guard their personal lives: David Hyde Pierce, Anna Paquin, Zachary Quinto, Amber Heard, Anderson Cooper, just to name a few. … [Emphasis is all mine.]

Breen states in his piece on Foster that The Advocate’s policy on outing is this: “While we encourage everyone who doesn’t risk his or her own safety by coming out to do so, The Advocate has a policy of not outing people who are not actively doing harm to LGBTs through word or deed.”

That’s pretty much my personal view on outing, too. Those who can be out should be out, in my book. You can’t assert that someone who might face real physical danger and/or who might be tossed out of his or her home (or maybe even his or her job) should come out if you’re not the one who would have to face the consequences — but often closeted individuals exaggerate how awful it might be should they come out.

Still, that said, even if I strongly think that an individual should be out, in the end, in many if not most cases it’s up to the individual as to whether or not he or she should be out (assuming that everyone doesn’t already know or strongly surmise the individual’s orientation anyway — there are so many closet cases whose self-awareness is so low that they seem to think that no one knows that they’re not heterosexual when pretty much everyone does).

In my book, the individual deserves the “protection” of the closet until and unless he or she does not deserve it, such as if it’s a closeted guy who is not keeping to himself but is sexually harassing others at the workplace (as happened to me) or, of course, if it’s a closet case who actively is working against the “LGBT community,” such as a “Christo”fascist “leader” or a politician. No traitor deserves the “protection” of the closet.

Most people agree on that point, but there remains a sticking point — that of “privacy.”

I like what LGBT writer Nathaniel Frank has to say on this:

… It’s true that hiding [one’s sexual orientation] hurts. Research shows mental health consequences to holding major secrets over time. And yes, it’s absolutely a wasted opportunity for powerful, visible people who probably could come out unscathed to deny young LGBT people the nurturance of knowing that an admired public figure is gay.

Privacy and shame are closely connected. Adam and Eve covered their “privates” the moment they gained moral consciousness, an awareness of good and evil, setting the tone for a truism ever since: You don’t cover up stuff if there ain’t something wrong with it.

Any step a gay person takes to hide their identity that they wouldn’t take to hide the fact that they’re, say, Irish, vegetarian or left-handed is probably not a neutral quest for privacy but reflects their own doubt about just how OK it is to be gay. Foster’s reluctance to just pull an Ellen (“Yep, I’m gay”), and her tortured speech, with its resentful tone and its ultimate avoidance of the “L” word, made being gay and coming out seem tortured things in themselves. … [Emphasis mine.]

And that’s the deep and profound problem that I have with the widespread argument that one’s sexual orientation (if it is not heterosexual, and only if it is not heterosexual, of course) is “private”: The vast majority of heterosexuals don’t go around asserting that their attraction to members of the opposite sex is “private,” do they? And why is that? Because they’re not fucking ashamed of their sexual orientation, that’s why.

So to assert that one’s non-heterosexuality — not one’s specific sex acts, but one’s basic sexual orientation — is “private” is to keep alive the toxic, ignorant, bigoted, harmful belief that to be attracted to members of one’s own sex is shameful, abnormal, “sinful,” etc.

And to contribute to that toxic, heterosexist and homophobic environment — and yes, all of us are responsible for the environment, since all of us make up the environment — is only to add to the number of non-heterosexual people who become addicted to drugs and alcohol, who contemplate or commit suicide, who don’t protect themselves from STDs because (in their low self-esteem) they don’t find themselves to be worth protecting, and who are the victims of hate crimes, since they exist in such a heterosexist, homophobic environment that encourages such hate crimes.

You are contributing to the problem or you are contributing to the solution.

Lying that your basic sexual orientation is a matter of “privacy” — and lying that what others really want to know are the “dirty” details of your sex life when, in fact, no one is inquiring as to such details — is to try to excuse yourself for your own laziness, selfishness and cowardice for which there is no fucking excuse.

That is the problem that I have with Jodie Foster and with others like her who toss out the red herring of “privacy” instead of manning the fuck up already and working to make things better for everyone.

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Immoral scumbag Scalia lectures the rest of us on the topic of ‘morality’

Scalia Reveals His Current Thinking on Gay Marriage (and Murder)

Atlantic Wire/Yahoo! News image

U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Antonin Scalia yesterday publicly compared homosexuality to murder and then claimed that he didn’t do what he just did.

How in the fuck did Antonin Scalia get into law school? Didn’t he have to pass an exam on logic and reason? How did he pass the bar exam? How in the hell did he end up on the U.S. Supreme Court?

Of his opposition to homosexuality and same-sex marriage, Scalia yesterday asked his Princeton University audience, “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

So having sexual relations that others (theofascists, usually) consider to be “immoral” is in the same ballpark as taking a human life. (Scalia reportedly said that he wasn’t equating homosexuality and murder, oh, but wasn’t he?)

To answer Scalia’s deeply philosophical question — the kind of question that stoned, C-average college freshmen might ask each other — yes, one may have “moral feelings” for or against anyfuckingthing he or she chooses. That is his or her right, as sane or insane as he or she may be.

However, when it comes to imposing one’s own “moral feelings” upon others, that’s another fucking story altogether.

The long-standing general idea of FREEDOM in the United States of America — and the U.S. Constitution, which Scalia is supposed to be upholding, is supposed to guarantee us FREEDOM — is that one may do as he or she pleases as long as it does not cause actual harm anyone else.

And no, someone whose irrational (often religion-based) sensibilities are offended (gasp!) has not been harmed. Nor does the U.S. Constitution guarantee that the precious wingnuts shall never be offended (gasp!) in the course of civic life, although the wingnuts apparently believe that they possess that constitutional right.

This view of FREEDOM, indeed, is the libertarian view, and the libertarians tend to bend to the right, like Scalia, not to the left.

So, is it enough that some find homosexuality to be immoral — that is, icky, if not “sinful” — to deprive adults of the right to associate with whomever they please, including having consensual relations, sexual and/or affectional and/or matrimonial, with other adults of either sex?

Our nation is governed by the U.S. Constitution, not by the Old Testament, no matter what “Christo”fascists like Scalia assert.

I find “Christo”fascists to be immoral — they don’t even know the teachings of Jesus Christ, much more follow them — and I find the damage that these evil hypocrites do to society to be much, much closer to murder than is homosexuality, but would it be constitutional to outlaw the practice of their religion?

No, that would be a blatant violation of their freedom, right?

What about the rest of us who disagree with the “Christo”fascists? What about our freedoms?

Scalia and his ilk are doing their best to murder them.

Before we restrict another’s freedoms, we need to demonstrate that such a restriction is necessary to prevent actual harm.

Murder is illegal because the actual harm that it causes is amply desmonstrable. Those who oppose same-sex marriage and who support other forms of legalized discrimination against non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals, however, have failed miserably to make such a demonstration of actual harm. They only can fall back upon their backasswards religious beliefs and/or their personal sensibilities and predilections — not upon logic and reason, certainly not upon science (which is why they detest science so much).

In the meantime, there is plenty that is demonstrably harmful that remains perfectly legal in the United States.

Despite human-caused climate change, pollution, poverty and overcrowding and overpopulation in the United States, it is held in the United States that heterosexuals have the right to reproduce irresponsibly, and that to limit the number of children that heterosexuals may bring into the world is a violation of their rights.

Corporations cause untold damage to the planet and to human beings — perfectly legal, because to the right wing, obscene profits are lord and savior, certainly not Jesus Christ. Indeed, the right wing tells us, corporations are people with the same constitutional rights of people (even though the right wing hates the fact that anyone outside of the right wing should have any constitutional rights).

Speaking of corporations, cigarettes and alcohol quite demonstrably are quite harmful. Many even find them to be immoral. Is Antonin Scalia willing to add the sales of harmful, addictive substances to his little list of what’s immoral — and what thus can be deemed illegal?

Of course not.

He just wants to bash the gays.

It has nothing to do with logic and reason, and nothing to do with constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, and the wingnutty scumbag Antonin Scalia does not belong on the U.S. Supreme Court.

He is an ugly, oily stain on the nation, a stain that should be removed.

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Chick-fil-A yet another battle in the unfinished Civil War

I’m a bit sick and fucking tired of the whole Chik-fil-A thing, which is why I haven’t written anything about it until now.

I’ve known for years now that the chicken franchise is owned and operated by “Christo”fascist homophobes, and so for years now I have refused to give the place a fucking penny. So why and how this has become a “new” controversy eludes me.

That said, I will note that of course boycotts violate no one’s “rights.” The wingtards who tout the capitalistic system that has destroyed the United States of America can’t talk up enough the concept of “free enterprise,” yet at the same time they apparently have this underlying belief that we American serfs have to give our business to our corporate feudal overlords.

No, we fucking don’t. “Free enterprise” means that the consumer has the freedom to decide how to spend his or her money. The consumer is free to support or to oppose a boycott.

Yes, the “Christo”fascists who own and operate Chick-fil-A may be homophobes. They may hate whomever they wish in the names of “God” and “Jesus.” The overlords at Chick-fil-A may give monetary donations to all kinds of awful “causes.”

And we, the American public, have the right to decide, in light of what a corporation supports (or does not support), whether or not we wish to support that corporation. And the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives us the right to be vocal about which corporations we support and which ones we oppose.

It’s interesting, though, to see the geography of homophobia in the United States.

Via Joe. My. God., there is this map:

States where Chick-fil-A can legally fire gay employees.

and then there is the map of which states, prior to the Civil War, were slave states and which were free states:

Very apparently, freedom is still big in the free states, and slavery, at least in spirit, is still big in the “former” slave states. The overlap between the “former” slave states and those states where a business legally may fire an employee solely for not being heterosexual is too much to be a coinky-dink. Ditto for the overlap betweent the free states and those states where a business may not legally fire an employee solely for not being heterosexual. (And it’s too bad that most of the former territories went with the “former” slave states than went with the free states.)

As I have noted many times before, the Civil War never ended.

We pretend that it did, but it did not, and the “new” Chick-fil-A controversy is just another flare-up of essentially the same old battle between mindsets, the truly American mindset of freedom, liberty and justice for all, not just for some, and the truly un-American mindset of freedom, liberty and justice for only some. 

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I am Barack Obama’s ex, too!

Fire and ice!

You come on like a flame,

Then you turn a cold shoulder!

Fire and ice!

I want to give you my love,

But you’ll just take a little piece of my heart…

— from Pat Benatar’s “Fire and Ice”

A younger Barack Obama and his former girlfriend, Genevieve Cook, the daughter of an Australian diplomat, are shown in a photo from the 1980s, when they were a couple.

It was interesting to read the remarks of one of Barack Obama’s pre-Michelle girlfriends about her experience of him in the 1980s. While I didn’t see that anyone else made the overt comparison, it certainly struck me that Barack’s modus operandi in love is the same fucking one that we’ve seen in his politics.

“His warmth can be deceptive,” Obama’s ex-girlfriend, Australian Genevieve Cook, wrote of Barack in her diary years ago, adding, “[Though] he speaks sweet words and can be open and trusting, there is also that coolness. …” AFP reports that Cook’s diary chronicles “how [Cook and Obama’s] romance grew and then cooled when the couple moved in together.”

Fuck. I’ve had the same damned experience with Barack Obama. He courted me madly but then became a cold fucking fish. Does that make me one of his exes, too?

I remember one of my first exposures, if not my very first exposure, to Barack Obama’s first campaign for the White House. When I was visiting San Francisco for the Castro Street Fair (no, that’s not a sex fair [not that there’s anything wrong with that…]) in October 2007, an Obama campaign operative gave me an Obama campaign sticker that had the rainbow morphed into the ubiquitous “O” logo:

I was happy to see a Democratic presidential candidate courting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and non-gender-conforming vote.

But I also remember that the campaign sticker fucking ruined my faux-sueded shirt. (Seriously — the adhesive never came off completely.)

Maybe that was a sign of what was to come.

Barack Obama, you see, despite his rather unequivical embrace of same-sex marriage in 1996, today claims that on the topic of same-sex marriage he still is “evolving.” Today, he refuses to advocate for legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, even though that is the right thing to do. Apparently he believes that to do so will cost him too many “swing votes.”

This issue has an awful lot of relevance to me. Let me give you a fresh example of how I have been relegated to a different drinking fountain because I am gay.

My same-sex partner and I are in our fifth year together. We consider ourselves to be, for all intents and purposes, married. We do maintain separate apartments (largely because both of us hate moving, and also largely because he doesn’t want to move to my city and because I don’t want to move to his suburb), but we are together on weekends and on holidays and on other days that we have off in common, and we speak on the phone every day that we are not together in person. And certainly, there are heterosexually married couples who, for whatever reasons (such as having jobs in different cities, states or even in different nations), see each other in person much less often than my partner and I do, but the validity of their marriages is never called into question — because they enjoy heterosexist favoritism.

Whether or not my partner and I have legal or social recognition of the fact that we consider ourselves, for all intents and purposes, to be married, this fact is our reality, is our truth, and as such, while recognition of our relationship from others is nice — and while such recognition, at least from our local, state and federal governments, is our pathetically and sickeningly unfulfilled constitutionally guaranteed equal human and civil right — it’s not essential for us to have others’ approval or recognition for us to know what we have together. We know that we are, for all intents and purposes, married; anyone who disagrees is a mean-spirited, fucking heterosexist, homophobic bigot who can go fuck him- or herself.

Recently, I claimed some “family” sick leave (time off for caring for an ill family member; in this case, for my partner) in my California state job. Whether I claim sick time for myself or for a family member, it doesn’t really matter, as it comes out of the same sick leave bank. There is not a separate sick leave bank for myself and for my family members.

My employer — the state of California, which should know much, much better — this past week mind-blowingly questioned whether or not my partner really is a family member. After all, my employer essentially stated to me, my partner and I do not have a domestic partnership. (The only legal protection that same-sex couples in California have, outside of such legally protective documents as wills and living wills, is the domestic partnership. [The marriages of those same-sex couples who married when same-sex marriage briefly was legal in California* remain legal, but today, all that same-sex couples in California have in terms of seeking state recognition of their partnership is the domestic partnership.])

My employer also, unethically if not also illegally, asked whether my partner and I live together full-time, and suggested (or at least implied) that because we don’t, my partner is not actually my family. Of course, California’s domestic partnerships, one of which my employer at least semi-faulted me for not having, don’t require that the two individuals share the same residence all of the time, and allows them to have two residences yet still be registered as domestic partners, so the invasively personal question was way out of bounds. And again, whether or not two heterosexually married individuals share the same residence all of the time never is used to determined whether or not their marriage is valid.

Sure, I told my heterosexist employer, my same-sex partner and I could get a domestic partnership, but to do so, of course, is to give tacit support to something akin to having to drink from a different drinking fountain or having to swim in a different swimming pool.

Real marriage, you see, is reserved for heterosexual couples. Non-heterosexual couples in the United States are lucky to get even second-class, separate-but-unequal marriage, such as a civil union or domestic partnership.

This bullshit is blatantly unjust and unfair in a nation that promises “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and “liberty and justice for all.”

If I were heterosexually married and stated that my wife were ill, or even if I just claimed to be heterosexually married and claimed that my “wife” were ill, would my employer have asked to see the marriage certificate? Would my employer have questioned the validity of my heterosexual relationship/marriage?

Fuck no, because of widespread heterosexism, even within the supposedly “progressive” and “liberal” California state government.

(My employer advised me, by the way, in the future to claim sick time for myself only, whether or not the reason for my use of sick leave was for me or for my partner. In other words, my partner, according to my employer, the state of California, is not my family because we have not bought into the separate-but-unequal institution of the domestic partnership. I have a real fucking problem with my employer dictating to me who is and who is not my family. Especially when California state government explicitly prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation.)

I still am torn on the subject of getting a domestic partnership. The legal protections that come with it are good, and all couples deserve such legal protections, but it still rankles me that in the supposedly “liberal” and “progressive” state of California, my partner and I, if we want those legal protections, are forced to drink from a different drinking fountain than the fountain from which heterosexual couples drink. It’s unfair, it’s un-American and it’s fucking wrong.

To bring all of this back home: Does Barack Obama give a flying fuck about any of this?

Hell fucking no.

He is, indeed, as Genevieve Cook described him to be: a cold calculator. He says what he figures he should say in order to get what he wants from you.

He lures you in with pretty promises, such as of “hope” and of “change.” He gives you a pretty rainbow sticker. Then, once he has your money and your vote, he leaves you high and dry.

Instead of delivering upon his relentless, ubiquitous campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” Barry for the most part has maintained the status quo and has told us dreamers of full equality for all that our dream must be deferred.

No, it doesn’t have to be deferred. It’s that Barack Obama lacks the character, the courage and the moral conviction to deliver upon what he promised (explicitly and implicitly, and it goes beyond much more than just same-sex marriage; it goes into such other areas as combatting poverty and the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots, and combatting the corporate thievery that is responsible for this growing gap, and ceasing the bogus warfare for the military-industrial complex, which is looting the U.S. Treasury while Americans go without adequate health care, higher education, environmental protections, etc.).

Barack Obama has found going along to get along to be the easier, more politically expedient route. He is a moral sluggard. He can trumpet what the right thing to do is — like a trumpeter on crack. He just can’t bring himself to actually do the right thing.

Which is why, like Genevieve Cook, I broke up with Barack Obama a long time ago.

I gave him hundreds of dollars in Round One. His sweet talk swayed me that he’d be a significantly more progressive president than would Billary Clinton, but he turned out to be just another Clintonista, a Repugnican-ass-kissing Democrat in name only. I’m giving him not a single fucking penny in Round Two.

I also gave Barry my vote in Round One. He made me regret that vote, so in Round Two I most likely will cast my vote for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

I don’t care that she can’t win the White House. I would much rather vote for the person I actually would like to see in the Oval Office than be punk’d by Barack Obama, the sweet-talking cold calculator, once again.

*The California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on May 15, 2008, that the state’s Constitution as it was written at that time guaranteed legalized same-sex marriage to residents of the state, so Proposition 8, in response to the state’s highest court’s ruling, wrote the prohibition of same-sex marriage into the state’s Constitution after the proposition passed narrowly on November 5, 2008, and became effective the very next day.

The window period during which same-sex couples could legally marry in California in 2008 — after the California Supreme Court’s ruling until the passage of Prop H8 — was less than six months.

My partner and I had been together for just over a year when the window for same-sex marriage in California slammed shut on November 6, 2008. While we consider ourselves essentially married today, it was too early for us to get legally married then. We wanted to know each other for longer than just a year before making such a serious commitment, a commitment that we take much more seriously than do many heterosexual couples who marry and divorce willy-nilly — and whose marriages’ validity is never questioned simply because they are heterosexual.

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Clint Eastwood’s ‘J. Edgar’ is not your father’s gangster movie

Film review

Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer J. Edgar

Clyde Tolson (played by the Adonis Armie Hammer) and J. Edgar Hoover (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) have a lovers’ quarrel in Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar.”

Woe to the heterosexists who don’t bother to research the movies that they see who stumble into Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar” thinking that they’re going to see an action-packed gangsta movie (he-man Clint Eastwood is directing, after all) but who instead get “Brokeback Mountain” meets “Bonnie and Clyde” — in which “Bonnie” is the late long-time FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

As others have noted, “J. Edgar” isn’t going to wholly please either side. The heterosexists don’t want the slightest flowery whiff of male homosexuality contaminating their gangster movies, as evidenced by the male homophobe behind me in the audience who twice uttered “faggot!” (and who once uttered “AIDS!”) during the movie and the female homophobe behind me who vocalized her disapproval during the scene in which a distraught J. Edgar Hoover dons his recently deceased mother’s dress.

And gay men like me are going to feel, as I do, that screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (who won an Oscar for his screenplay of “Milk”) and/or director Eastwood wussed out by having portrayed the very apparent real-life same-sex relationship between Hoover and his long-time “assistant” Clyde Tolson as essentially sexless.

No, I didn’t need a steamy sex scene, although I can’t say that I would have minded one; Armie Hammer, who plays Clyde Tolson in “J. Edgar” (and who played the “Winklevi” twins in “The Social Network”) is achingly beautiful, and much more handsome than was the real-life Tolson, just as the real-life J. Edgar never looked anything like Leonardo DiCaprio, even with all of that makeup piled atop his baby face.

But are we really to believe that although the real-life Hoover and Tolson were inseparable and never heterosexually married — and that although Tolson inherited Hoover’s estate after Hoover’s death and later was buried near Hoover — that the two of them never did more than hold hands and share just one (bloody, very conflicted) kiss?

“J. Edgar” apparently would have us believe so, and while many movies about gay characters have a closeted feel to them, this closeted feel can be artful if it is intentional and thus helps us to understand the characters and their sufferings better, but if this closeted feel is a result of the filmmakers’ own cowardice and/or discomfort with the material, then it diminishes the film, and this appears to be the case with “J. Edgar.”

“J. Edgar,” as others have noted, also tries to do too much. Hoover’s time as head of the FBI, which spanned from 1935 to 1972, can’t be captured in one film. Not that it has to be; “J. Edgar” is a fictionalized film, after all, not a documentary, but because “J. Edgar” portrays so many of the historical events during Hoover’s decades-long tenure at the FBI, it has lent itself to be criticized for what it leaves out — such as the “Lavender Scare” of the 1950s, which surely was relevant to the real-life Hoover and Tolson.

And because “J. Edgar” tries to capture so many historical events, the examination of Hoover’s psyche gets short shrift.

Judi Dench is good as Hoover’s mother, even if she is portrayed as a textbook case of the overbearing mother who lives through her son so that of course he turns out gay.

Perhaps the most memorable scene in the film is the one in which Hoover’s homophobic mother tells him the story of another young man who turned out to be gay and who killed himself, which was a good thing, in her eyes. Many of us gay men (my husband included) have been told by a homophobic parent that he or she could never accept a gay son, as Hoover is told by his mother in “J. Edgar,” so I expect that scene to resonate with millions of gay men.

Still, “J. Edgar” doesn’t go far enough with the examination of J. Edgar Hoover’s homosexuality. My guess is that that is a result of the combination of Dustin Lance Black’s upbringing as a Mormon, which, I surmise, keeps him on the “safe,” conservative side, and of the generation of Clint Eastwood (he’s 81 years old), who, while he reportedly is pro-gay, on other issues leans to the right (he reportedly can recall having voted for a Democrat only once, and that was former California Gov. Gray Davis in 1998), and who might be one of those individuals who is much more intellectually accepting of homosexuality (that is, in theory) than he is viscerally accepting of it (that is, in practice) — you know, the kind of person who says that he’s OK with gays as long as he doesn’t ever actually have to see two men kissing. (Thus, we could see Tolson and Hoover kiss in “J. Edgar” only if violence was involved. [The scene, by the way, is fairly reminiscent of a similar scene in “Brokeback Mountain” in which our two conflicted lovebirds who live in a homophobic place and time pummel each other.])

“J. Edgar” probably should have picked one path and stuck with it: the documentarian path or the psychoanalytical path. Hoover’s professional life alone was interesting enough to carry a film. It was because of Hoover’s gross abuse of power, including his notoriously illegal monitoring of prominent individuals, that directors of the FBI need the Senate’s approval to serve more than 10 years, indicates Wikipedia.

But also interesting are the psychological dynamics in which those who have something to hide — such as homosexuality in a society in which homosexuality is stigmatized — react to their inner conflict and their self-loathing by becoming anal retentive and relentless moralists who viciously attack others in order to ease their own self-hatred. We saw this not only in J. Edgar Hoover, but in Roy Cohn, the gay assistant to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who isn’t portrayed in “J. Edgar.” (I’ve wondered about the sexual orientation of McCarthy, too, since he was an alcoholic who viciously attacked others and since he picked Cohn to be his assistant, but that’s purely conjecture on my part.)

If I had made “J. Edgar” and were focusing on Hoover’s personal life, I’d have left out all of the Lindbergh baby stuff and focused more on the relationship between Hoover and Tolson, and I especially would have focused on the “Lavender Scare,” which bizarrely gets no real mention in “J. Edgar.”

And I would have left out the scene in which Hoover tries on his dead mother’s dress. The account that the real-life Hoover was seen in a dress is dubious, and in any event, it wasn’t as it is portrayed in “J. Edgar,” and we gay men have enough problems as it is for Black and Eastwood to give homophobes the idea that all gay men like to wear women’s clothing (not that there is anything wrong with that; it’s just that it’s a tiresome stereotype, and Black’s screenplay shows keen gay sensibility except for this fairly unfortunate scene).

Still, despite its flaws — which include the fact that it tries to do too much and that Armie Hammer’s old-man makeup is bad (maybe there’s just no way to make such an Adonis look unattractive) — and despite the fact that it doesn’t belong in the pantheon that includes “Brokeback Mountain” and “Milk,” “J. Edgar” is worth seeing.

My grade: B

Update:I don’t think that I’ve been unfair here to Dustin Lance Black. In a recent interview with the Advocate, he remarked, “I grew up in a military family, which was also Mormon and conservative, so he [J. Edgar Hoover] was seen as a bit of a hero.” Again, Black’s conservative upbringing seems to have greatly colored his portrayal of Hoover in his screenplay. And of the historical Hoover and Clyde Tolson’s relationship, Black stated:

I don’t know how much sex they were having. I couldn’t anchor that in anything provable. I also didn’t need it for what I was trying to say. They may or may not have [had a sexual relationship], but frankly, I wouldn’t want to see it. What’s important to me is they were not straight. They were two gay guys, in my opinion.

What is it with this phenomenon of de-sexing gay men, of stripping them of human sexuality? We don’t do that to heterosexual people! I can’t say that I would have wanted to watch the historical J. Edgar Hoover (who, again, was not an attractive man) getting it on with anyone, either, but was the only alternative to making “J. Edgar: The Gay Porn” making a film that portrays him as a celibate, frustrated closet case?

True, we cannot “anchor” the assertion that Tolson and Hoover had a sexual relationship “in anything provable” — we have only the very strong circumstantial evidence that they had a decades-long sexual relationship — yet the scene in which Hoover puts on his deceased mother’s dress very apparently was fabricated from whole cloth. Why was that liberty OK, but we couldn’t take the liberty of having the two of them ever do anything more than occasionally hold hands and share only one frustrated kiss? 

Critic Roger Ebert also apparently has jumped on the no-sex-for-gay-men bandwagon, proclaiming in his review of the film:

Eastwood’s film is firm in its refusal to cheapen and tarnish by inventing salacious scenes. I don’t get the impression from “J. Edgar” that Eastwood particularly respected Hoover, but I do believe he respected his unyielding public facade.

So to have made the two men sexually active human beings, I suppose, would have been “cheapening,” “tarnishing” and “salacious.” Since they were gay, much better to make them celibate! And apparently “[respecting Hoover’s] unyielding public facade” means going along with Hoover’s having been in the closet, because to do otherwise would have been “disrespectful.” (Fuck the truth!)

Ebert also notes in his review:

In my reading of the film, they were both repressed homosexuals, Hoover more than Tolson, but after love at first sight and a short but heady early courtship, they veered away from sex and began their lives as Longtime Companions. The rewards for arguably not being gay were too tempting for both men, who were wined and dined by Hollywood, Broadway, Washington and Wall Street. It was Hoover’s militant anti-gay position that served as their beard.

That reading of the film is correct, because indeed “J. Edgar” intended to keep the two lovers celibate, since gay sex is so dirty, you know, and while we can posit that Hoover was gay, we just can’t go so far as to assert that he ever actually had gay sex (ick!).

Again, the real film in the story of Hoover and Tolson’s relationship is the one indicated by Ebert’s assertion that “It was Hoover’s militant anti-gay position that served as their beard,” and I still find it rather stunning that the film glosses over the Lavender Scare of the 1950s. Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn should be in any film about the very-most-likely-gay relationship between Hoover and Tolson, it seems to me.

And speaking of McCarthy, I’m not the only one who has wondered about his sexual orientation. David K. Johnson, author of The Lavender Scare (The University of Chicago Press, 2004), notes (on page 3) that although McCarthy in early 1950 first raised the specter of Communists and gay men having “infiltrated” the U.S. government, McCarthy went on to pursue only the Communist angle, having “mysteriously recused himself” from the witch hunt against gay men. Johnson goes on:

A knowledgeable observer at the time suggested that [McCarthy] did not pursue the “homosexual angle” more aggressively because he was afraid of a boomerang. As an unmarried, middle-aged man, he was subject to gossip and rumor about his own sexuality.

I find the parallels between Hoover and Tolson and McCarthy and Cohn to be striking. Maybe Dustin Lance Black can redeem himself somewhat for his wussy “J. Edgar” screenplay and pen a movie with balls about Joseph McCarthy and his relationship with Roy Cohn, the latter of whom we know for sure was gay. I’ll even give Dustin a highly creative working title: “McCarthy.”

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Bill would make LGBT individuals visible in California public schools

The California state Legislature has passed a bill that requires the state’s public schools to teach about the contributions that non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming Americans have made to the nation — and the wingnuts, predictably, are agog.

Funny, though, how it’s perfectly OK for the Repugnican-Tea-Party-majority members of the Texas Board of Education to dictate that state’s public school curricula — among many other things, the Texas board last year voted to replace all references to “capitalism” with “free-enterprise system” (since capitalism, in which the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer, is growing more and more unpopular these days) and to rewrite history to reflect that the alcoholic, self-aggrandizing witch hunter Joseph McCarthy wasn’t such a bad guy after all — but it’s “socialist” “tyranny” or the like (indeed, the McCarthy-loving Ann Cunter would call it downright “demonic”) for the Democratic majority in the California Legislature to dictate California’s public school curricula.

It’s only “brainwashing” when the Democrats do it, you see.

One Repugnican Tea Party California Assemblyman said of the pro-LGBT education legislation, “As a Christian, I am deeply offended” that the “homosexual agenda” would be taught in the state’s public schools.

As a non-Christian, I am offended that the so-called “Christians” — the “Christo”fascists — believe that it’s appropriate for our public schools to be conducted like “Christian” schools. What if the Muslims or the Jews wanted Islam or Judaism pushed in our public schools? How would the so-called “Christians” like that?

And the “homosexual agenda”? First of all, we don’t call ourselves “homosexuals” — only the homo-haters call us “homosexuals” — and secondly, our agenda is that of equal human and civil rights. (The “homosexual agenda” to the right-wing fascists, I do believe, is that we “homosexuals” have the goal of “making” everyone homosexual. [Of course, the actual heterosexual agenda is to “make” everyone heterosexual, but I digress…])

Gay Democratic California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco stated of the pro-LGBT education legislation, “I don’t want to be invisible in a textbook,” echoing the words of a (wise) Latina Texas Board of Education member who reportedly last year stormed out of a board meeting after the white-majority board refused to include more Latinos in the curricula, even though Texas is second only to California in the number of Latinos who live there: “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”  

The Democratic view of public education is that public education should reflect our nation’s diversity. Our children, after all, need to be taught how their world is, not how some wingnutty ideologues believe the world should be.

On that note, the Repugnican Tea Party view of public education is that public education should perpetuate, as long as is possible, the unjust, oppressive domination of the entire nation by the minority of those who are right wing, white, (presumably) heterosexual and gender-conforming, and “Christian.”

Determining what should and what should not be taught in our public schools inherently is a politically charged process, but if I had children, I sure the hell wouldn’t cripple them, possibly for life, by sending them to schools that don’t teach how the world is, but that teach how some ignorant and bigoted, white supremacist, patriarchal and misogynist, heterosexist “Christo”fascists — who, thankfully, are a dying breed — would like the world to be.

I hope that California’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, signs the bill to require that the contributions of us non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming Americans are taught in our public schools. It’s the right thing to do.

P.S. For more context, this is from The Associated Press:

California law already requires [public] schools to teach about women, African Americans, Mexican Americans, entrepreneurs, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians and labor. The Legislature over the years also has prescribed specific lessons about the Irish potato famine and the Holocaust, among other topics.

SB48 [the LGBT education bill] would require, as soon as the 2013-2014 school year, the California Board of Education and local school districts to adopt textbooks and other teaching materials that cover the contributions and roles of sexual minorities.

The legislation leaves it to local school boards to decide how to implement the requirement. It does not specify a grade level for the instruction to begin.

So all that the LGBT education legislation does is add LGBT individuals to a curricula of diversity that already is mandated by state law.

I love living in California, where diversity is honored, not shit and pissed upon.

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