Tag Archives: HRC

SEIU sells us out

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry should be selling Mary Kay instead of selling out the members of one the nation’s largest labor unions. 

I am a dues-paying member (almost $50 a month) of Service Employees International Union, better known as SEIU.

I’m very pro-labor. Pro-SEIU? Um, not so much.

On Thursday I received an e-mail from SEIU President Mary Kay Henry with the probably hyperbolic subject line “The fight of our lives.”

The e-mail reads, in part:

Dear Robert,

You’ll probably hear about it on the news very soon, but I want you to be the first to know.

Today, with great pride and a sense of purpose, the 2.1 million members of the Service Employees International Union have endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election.

President Obama is the only candidate for president who shares our vision of America as a land of opportunity for everyone. We need a leader willing to fight for the needs of the 99 percent, and stand with hard working families to say that the world’s wealthiest corporations must pay their fair share.

Please join us in returning President Obama to the White House so he can keep fighting for more jobs and less nonsense.

You’ve probably seen how hard it is to get the concerns of working people taken seriously in our political process. Here’s why:

Our economy and democracy have been taken over by the wealthiest one percent.

These bankers and CEOs have used their wealth and excessive political influence to treat our state and federal governments like their personal cash drawer – spending lavishly on elections and then pressuring legislators to give them even more instead of creating jobs. It shows in the results. …

We know what’s really important. We know that after a decade of tax breaks for the rich and out-of-control gambling on Wall Street, things have gotten much harder for working Americans. We know that if these problems aren’t taken care of now, the next generation will have it even worse. …

President Obama is working to turn things around, but he needs help from all of us to be heard over his wealthy opponents, people who seem to believe that the only thing wrong with the economy is that they have to share it.

From now until Election Day next November, we need to dedicate ourselves to this goal. We will knock on doors, we will talk to our friends and neighbors and co-workers, and we will fight shoulder-to-shoulder alongside working families across this nation to show the one percent that they aren’t the only ones willing to fight for America’s future. …

In solidarity,
Mary Kay Henry, President, Service Employees International Union

I’m a dues-paying member of SEIU, but there’s no way in hell that I’m going to help President Hopey-Changey continue to punk those of us who put him in office. I will give Obama not one red fucking cent (I gave him hundreds of dollars for his 2008 bid) and I will not give him my vote again. Nor could I, with a straight face and a good conscience, try to convince others that they should support Barack Obama’s re-election, as SEIU would have me do.

Mysteriously missing in Henry’s propagandistic e-mail is the promise that Barack Obama made to labor on the campaign trail in November 2007 (here is video of it): “And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself; I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America, because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.”

Where were Obama’s “comfortable shoes” when the state of Wisconsin this year was a battleground for labor, for the rights of the middle class and the working class against the greedy, thieving plutocrats, represented by Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker & Co.?

Obama didn’t show his face in Wisconsin once and could be bothered to make no more than one or two weak, vague statements in support of Wisconsin. Wisconsinites have been doing it on their own.

Where is Obama speaking out against the police brutality that we are seeing against non-threatening citizens who want to voice their grievances in a meaningful way, and not in the toothless, politically ineffectual way that our treasonous and oppressive plutocratic overlords have proscribed for us (the meaningless, politically ineffectual way that Obama himself no doubt endorses)?

Mary Kay Henry’s proclamations in her propagandistic e-mail are outright lies or delusions or some combination thereof.

Indeed “We need a leader willing to fight for the needs of the 99 percent, and stand with hard working families to say that the world’s wealthiest corporations must pay their fair share.” That leader is not President Hopey-Changey, however. At best, Barack Obama is the lesser of two evils, and for millions of us, that isn’t good enough anymore — thus, the Occupy Wall Street movement.

And Henry shouldn’t even have gone here: “These bankers and CEOs have used their wealth and excessive political influence to treat our state and federal governments like their personal cash drawer – spending lavishly on elections and then pressuring legislators to give them even more instead of creating jobs. It shows in the results. …”

As Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald points out in his recent column that is critical of SEIU’s shameless and pathetic attempt to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street movement such as by using its signature phrases “1 percent” and “99 percent,” Barack Obama has done nothing but coddle the Wall Street weasels. You should read Greenwald’s entire column, but here, in my opinion, is the money shot:

… But whatever else is true, the notion — advanced by SEIU — that it’s the Democratic Party and the Obama White House working to bring about these changes and implant these values of the 99 percent is so self-evidently false as to be insulting. …

… [D]oes SEIU think that people will just ignore these key political facts? How does anyone think these protesters will be convinced that it’s exclusively the GOP — and not the Democratic Party and the Obama White House — who “protect the rich” when: Wall Street funded the Democrats far more than the GOP in the 2008 election; the Democrats’ key money man, Charles Schumer, is one of the most devoted Wall Street servants in the country; Obama empowered in key positions Wall Street servants such as Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Bill Daley, Rahm Emanuel, and an endless roster of former Goldman officials; JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has been dubbed “Obama’s favorite banker” after Obama publicly defended his post-bailout $17 million bonus; the president named the CEO of GE to head his jobs panel; the DCCC and DSCC exist to ensure the nomination of corporatist candidates and Blue Dogs whose political worldview is servitude to the lobbyist class; the Democratic president, after vocally urging an Age of Austerity, tried very hard to usher in cuts to Social Security and an increase in the age for Medicare eligibility; and the Obama administration has not only ensured virtually no accountability for the rampant Wall Street fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis, but is actively pressuring New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and others to agree to a woefully inadequate settlement to forever shield banks from the consequences of their pervasive mortgage fraud.

That’s just a fraction of the facts one could list to document the actual factions to which the Democratic Party has devoted itself. If one wants to argue that the GOP is more opposed to progressive economic policies than Democrats, that’s certainly reasonable. If one wants to argue that, on balance, voting for Democrats is more likely to bring about marginally more of those policies than abstaining, I think that, too, is reasonable.

But to try to cast the Democratic Party and the Obama administration as the vessel for the values and objectives of the Occupy movement is just dishonest in the extreme: in fact, it’s so extreme that it’s very unlikely to work. Those who believe that further empowerment of the Democratic Party is what is most urgently needed can make their case and should pursue that goal — they should try to generate as much citizen enthusiasm as possible behind them — but they should stop trying to depict and exploit the Occupy movement as an instrument for their agenda.

Exactly. As Greenwald claims, “SEIU officials have long been among Obama’s closest and most loyal allies in Washington.”

This is why I stopped financially supporting the Human Rights Campaign: Clearly the HRC elites are much more interested in hobnobbing with Washington, D.C.’s elites than to actually fight for the rights of non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals. It was clear to me where money that is donated to HRC goes: to its elites so that they can be socialites in D.C.

HRC gives Barack Obama a full pass on the fact that he still claims that he is “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage, even though in 1996, when he was running for the Illinois state Senate, he responded to a campaign questionnaire that he supports same-sex marriage. (“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” he wrote. Of course, as president he has fought efforts to prohibit same-sex marriage as much as he has put on his “comfortable shoes” to fight for labor.)

But the if the HRC elites were to actually challenge Obama on the fact that he’s a fucking liar who sells his supporters out, then the HRC elites wouldn’t get to rub shoulders with the elites in D.C. anymore.

Go ahead and give money to the HRC if you want to, but know that HRC won’t use your money to actually fight for your rights.

Similarly, I can tell you that as a dues-paying member of SEIU, I never got a voice or a vote in the union’s endorsement of Barack Obama’s re-election (which I didn’t even know was coming). Apparently only the union’s elites and insiders got such a voice. The rest of us, who got no fucking voice, are too busy actually working — so that we can pay the SEIU elites’ salaries with our dues, so that they can then sell us out.

I am pro-labor, but SEIU President Mary Kay Henry should resign. She should do something that she’s actually good at — perhaps she should be selling Mary Kay instead of selling out the members of one of the nation’s largest labor unions.

P.S. I e-mailed Mary Kay Henry that she should resign. If I get a response, I’ll share it, but I doubt that I will. To the SEIU elites I’m only good for my dues, which the SEIU elites use to sell me out.

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Assorted shit (gay pride month edition!)

Homophobes take another blow

File photo of judge Vaughn R. Walker speaking ...

Reuters photo

Former federal Judge Vaughn Walker (pictured above in April), who last year correctly ruled that to prohibit same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, came out after he retired from the federal bench in February. Homophobes  shamelessly had challenged the ability of Walker, who had been appointed by the first President George Bush, to be able to rule fairly on same-sex marriage, but today another federal judge, who also was appointed by the first President Bush, affirmed that Walker did not inappropriately rule on the case.

If I could say two words to the “Christo”fascists who still oppose legally recognized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, it might be something like this: “Surrender, Dorothy!”

Same-sex marriage in all 50 states is going to be a reality within the next decade, most likely. So for the supposedly freedom-lovin’ wingnuts to keep expending their time, money and energy trying to stop the inevitable — life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and justice for all — is a fucking waste. (If they were true Christians, they’d spend their time, money and energy helping people, as Jesus Christ instructed his followers to do, instead of trying to keep others down so that they can feel better about their miserable selves.)

Today the homophobes suffered a significant defeat when federal Judge James Ware rejected their “argument” that another federal judge, the now-retired Vaughn Walker, should have recused himself from ruling on Proposition Hate — the anti-same-sex-marriage proposition that passed narrowly in California in November 2008 — because he has been in a long-term same-sex relationship himself.

Walker — who, like Ware, was appointed by the first President George Bush — correctly ruled last year that Prop Hate violates the protections granted to all Californians by the U.S. Constitution.*

(When judges who were appointed by Repugnican presidents are ruling against the haters, the haters’ days are numbered, methinks.)

As The Associated Press notes, today’s ruling that Walker had no reason or obligation to recuse himself from ruling on the matter of same-sex marriage “does not settle the legal fight over Proposition 8. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering whether Walker properly concluded that denying gays and lesbians the right to marry violates their rights to due process and equal protection.”

But the ruling does make it much more difficult for the homophobes to try to pick and choose the judges who hear their bullshit homophobic arguments.

To the “Christo”fascists and other assorted wingnuts, only conservative, heterosexual, “Christian” white male judges should be able to rule on anyfuckingthing. Indeed, in Ware’s ruling he noted that female and non-white judges historically have been accused of not being able to rule impartially in certain cases — a right-wing “argument” that the law rejects.

“The sole fact that a federal judge shares the same circumstances or personal characteristics with other members of the general public, and that the judge could be affected by the outcome of a proceeding in the same way that other members of the general public would be affected, is not a basis for either recusal or disqualification,” Ware wrote in his ruling.

Indeed, one easily could counter-argue that a heterosexually married (or perhaps even a heterosexual but single) judge should recuse him- or herself from ruling on same-sex marriage, but how far would that argument get?

Ironically, in their homophobic attacks on Walker, the pro-Prop Hate crowd only further proved that non-heterosexuals in the U.S. routinely face bigotry, hatred and discrimination — which is going to speed up, not slow down, the eventuality of same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

But this fact apparently escaped the homophobic abject fucktards, who are capable only of stupidity, fear and hatred, not of reason.

Black homophobes still suck ass

Tracy Morgan

Associated Press photo

“Comedian” Tracy Morgan, pictured in March, has apologized for having said some hateful things that you really can’t apologize for, not credibly, anyway.

Way back in 2005 I posted a piece titled “Black Homophobes Suck.”

Among other things in that piece (which I think you should read if you have the time), I wrote about how a so-called leader in the black community actually wrote in a letter to me that being gay or lesbian might be a choice or it might be a “birth defect” and closed the letter with, “Take care of yourself health wise,” an apparent reference to her apparent belief that all gay men must have HIV or must be just about to contract HIV, since all that being a gay man means is taking cock up the ass as often as possible.

Alas, little has changed since 2005.

In the news recently has been black “comedian” Tracy Morgan’s anti-gay rant during a recent stand-up performance that you can’t just apologize for.

According to an audience member, among many other things, such as suggesting the President Barack Obama has been as pro-gay as he has been only because he is pussy-whipped, Morgan stated that being gay or lesbian is a choice and that “if his son [were] gay he better come home and talk to him like a man … or he would pull out a knife and stab that little [nigger] to death.”

Morgan also reportedly made the unfunny, already-made (by comedian Carlos Mencia, long, long ago) “joke” that if gay men can take a dick, they can take a joke — ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

The audience member further stated that

The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke. [Morgan’s] entire demeanor changed during that portion of the night. He was truly filled with some hate towards us. As far as I could see, 10 to 15 people walked out. I had to fight myself to stay seated, but I knew if I got up … he won.

I understand where this man, the audience member, is coming from: When someone tells an anti-gay joke/“joke,” you can tell what kind of space it’s coming from, whether it’s truly a joke or whether it’s coming from a space of bigotry and hatred and meanness.

The routine of Carlos Mencia that I saw on television years ago that I just made reference to did not strike me as coming from a space of actual hatred of gays, so it did not repulse me. Similarly, some years ago, the creators of “South Park” created an episode in which a classroom gerbil named Lemmiwinks must save his own life after having been inserted into a gay man’s rectum, for fuck’s sake.

On the face of it, that’s pretty fucking homophobic and stereotypical (I am one gay man who knows of no other gay man who ever inserted a small mammal into his rectum), but the way in which the episode was done does not give me the impression that the creators of “South Park” actually are homophobic. Therefore, I was able to laugh at the episode, even if at least on the face of it it’s pretty fucking homophobic. (Anyone who truly believes that gerbils are a routine part of the gay man’s sexual repertoire probably is beyond help anyway, so I can’t even really knock the “South Park” creators for having put out a negative and damaging view of gay men, even if they aren’t homophobic themselves.)

Anyway, Tracy Morgan sounds like he’s as out of control as is his character on the NBC show “30 Rock,” and after his homophobic rant, I don’t think that I can watch that show anymore (I’ve watched several of the early episodes via the Internet, mainly because I love Tina Fey and a co-worker recommended the series to me).

I hope that NBC dumps Tracy Morgan. After all, any star of any major network show who made blatantly racist (or, say, anti-Semitic) remarks in seriousness should expect to get fired, so why not Morgan?

Also in the news, it recently was reported that U.S. Rep. Allen West, a black Repugnican whose district is in Florida, recently fired an intern for having sent an unauthorized pro-gay Tweet in response to Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant. (I read the Tweet, and it seems to me that it could have been meant sarcastically, which actually would make it an anti-gay message, but whatever…)

The reportage of the firing of West’s intern notes that West has called same-sex marriage “an oxymoron.”

Gee, that’s nice. There was a time when pro-slavery white supremacists would have called the term “a free black man” an “oxymoron.” (Just as white supremacists might call being born black a “birth defect.”)

As long as your own freedoms and liberties and rights are secured, that’s all that fucking matters, right?

I wrote way back in 2005: “Black homophobes will attack injustice that affect them — racism — but fuck the rest of us minority groups. They don’t have a problem with oppression in general; they have a problem only with being oppressed themselves.”

Nothing has changed, has it?

Some have actually suggested that we non-heterosexuals visit with members of the black community to convince the homophobes within the black community that we are deserving of their approval or respect or the like.

I say: Fuck! That! Shit! We non-heterosexuals shouldn’t have to fucking grovel on our hands and knees for equal human and civil rights any more than blacks ever should have had to or should have to today.

We non-heterosexuals should boycott all black homophobes, just as we would boycott any other homophobe, regardless of his or her race. I, for one, won’t spend a penny on anything that has Tracy Morgan in it. (That won’t be hard to do, since Tina Fey, certainly not Morgan, is the creative genius behind “30 Rock,” and since Morgan isn’t, in my estimation, remarkably talented anyway.)

And I invite black homophobes to commit some introspection and to ask themselves why it’s so fucking important to them to be able to have one historically oppressed minority group that even they, also members of a historically oppressed minority group, can shit and piss upon — and whether or not this is moral.

Still not much to be proud of

It’s “gay pride” month, but the corporatization of the gay and lesbian “community” continues.

It’s interesting: While gay men and lesbians (and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals) proclaim that they won’t take it from the heterosexists and the homophobes anymore, they’ll still gladly bend over for the corporations.

Memo to the gay and lesbian “community”: The corporations don’t love us.

In October 2009 I posted on my blog “An Open Letter to Joe Solmonese,” who is the president of the Human Rights Campaign, and I e-mailed a copy of the open letter to the HRC.

In the letter (which, I think, you should read, if you have a few minutes), among other things, I criticized the HRC for accepting corporate money from corporations that, while they might have pro-gay-and-lesbian-et.-al. policies (at least on paper), are harmful to human beings and to the planet.

In the fall 2009 issue of HRC’s membership magazine (titled Equality), I noted, I saw full-page ads for Chevron, Shell Oil, American Airlines and Citigroup — corporations that, respectively, are killing the planet with the continued production of fossil fuels, drastically underpay their employees (their pilots, in the case of American Airlines), and, as Wall Street weasels, are partially responsible for the Wall Street meltdown that has tanked our nation’s economy.

I seem to remember getting some e-mail reply from HRC — not from Joe, of course, but from some lackey — stating that HRC supports those corporations that at least pay lip service to being pro-gay-and-lesbian (my words, not hers), and that if I have a problem with this, then I can have my subscription to Equality canceled.

I didn’t ask to have my subscription canceled, thinking that it would just run itself out, but I’m still getting the magazine even though I stopped giving HRC money a long time ago, disgusted by its corporate ass-licking and its selling out of the gay and lesbian community to the fucking corporations.

Nothing has fucking changed, because in the current (spring 2011) issue of HRC’s Equality is a full-page ad for — wait for it — that paragon of corporate responsibility — keep waiting for it — drum roll, please! — British Petroleum!

Yes, my non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming brethren and sistren, BP loves us!

(Along with the full-page ad for British Petroleum in the current issue of Equality are full-page ads for Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Chase, Chevron and Deloitte, all banking fraudsters, planet destroyers and Wall Street weasels. And American Airlines has another full-page ad.)

Not just to pick on HRC.

Locally, Sacramento’s annual gay pride festival earlier this month for the first time ever got rained out, which, naturally, resulted in low attendance, and the organizers of the festival subsequently actually apparently unashamedly and unabashedly sent out a fundraising e-mail asking people to just fork over $40-something because the festival didn’t recoup its costs this year (and they calculated that the average person would have spent $40-something at the festival were it not for the rain).

Well, the festival was held two weeks earlier this year than it was last year, increasing the chances of rain, it seems to me, but that aside, the fundraising e-mail actually read: “Pride 2011 was always going to be different for many reasons. Our corporate sponsorship support was the highest ever, with over two dozen sponsors this year. We invested in more marketing and promotion to hit the far reaches of our area to bring as many LGBT people and our supporters to [Sacramento] on June 4th….”

The first thing that the e-mail lists is the “highest-ever” “corporate sponsorship.”

Why has the gay and lesbian “community” become so fucking dependent upon corporate sponsorship over the years?

Can we not do anything on our own without corporate handouts, for which there are always strings attached?

Is bigger always better? Do we have to do everything huge? Is a huge amount of money necessary for every endeavor? Can nothing be home-grown? (Ironically, it seems to me, if the organizers of the rained-out Sacramento gay pride festival hadn’t focused on making the event so huge, the rain-related losses wouldn’t have been as huge. The bigger things are, the harder they fall.)

Anyway, I replied to the shameless fundraising e-mail with this: “Maybe the Rain Goddess was pissed off over that record-level corporate sponsorship, the selling out of the LGBT community to profits-over-people corporations by the same people who claim to care about and to be helping the LGBT community. Just sayin.'”**

(Unsurprisingly, I haven’t received a response to my response, and no, I don’t claim that I always play along nicely with the other kiddies in the sandbox…)

This gay pride month, if it were up to me, the gay and lesbian “community” would ponder this question: How are we of the gay and lesbian (and bisexual and transgendered and…) “community” doing ourselves a favor by fighting for equal human and civil rights for all non-heterosexuals (and for all non-gender-conforming individuals) while further enslaving ourselves and others to our corporate overlords, who have only their profits, not our best interests, at heart?

But I’m not queen just yet

*In his ruling, Walker concluded:

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis [emphasis mine] in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Indeed, that you just don’t like a whole class of people is not sufficient cause to deny this class of people equal human and civil rights as guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution.

**Not even to pick only on the gay and lesbian “community” in Sacramento — other festivals in Sacramento have been ruined by a corporate omnipresence, such as a recent festival for Asians and Pacific islanders here in Sacramento that I recently attended at which McDonald’s and Wells Fargo had prominent presences. (Indeed, McDonald’s provided the only place to sit down to eat — provided that you were eating McDonald’s, of course, because I don’t know about you, when I think of Asian and Pacific islander food, I immediately think of McDonald’s.)

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An open letter to Joe Solmonese

Joe Solmonese — here he is rubbing shoulders with pseudo-progressive Billary Clinton (the Clintons did little to nothing for gay men and lesbians but they sure have liked their money!):

— is the president of the Human Rights Campaign, probably the nation’s most powerful gay and lesbian rights lobbying group.

From what I can tell, Joe really likes himself.

Well, probably not, not really, not when you really examine it. I mean, how can you sell out your people for personal gain like he does and really like yourself?

But he “likes” himself like so many pretty and rich white gay men “like” themselves, I mean.

Dear Joe (may I call you Joe?):

I have given the Human Rights Campaign a considerable amount of money, probably especially after Proposition Hate passed here in California in November. Not only am I a member of the HRC — well, I think that I’m still a member in good standing, since I still get the quarterly HRC publication Equality in the mail– but I’ve purchased a lot of stuff from the HRC website’s shop, and I do believe that I’ve made at least a few one-time online contributions to the HRC as well.

But Joe, I’m concerned.

Looking at the fall 2009 issue of Equality, I see some things that I find disturbing.

I see all of these full-page ads for corporations. There is, on page 6, a full-page ad for American Airlines. Does American Airlines pay its pilots diddly squat, like Michael Moore exposed in his latest work, “Capitalism: A Love Story”?

On page 8 of Equality is a full-page ad for Chevron. Chevron. Didn’t Condoleezza “You Know She’s Lying When Her Lips Are Moving” Rice go directly from Chevron to the BushCheneyCorp?

I mean, Chevron, Joe? Because we all know that global warming is bullshit! Condi says so!

I don’t know much about Wall Street, Joe, being quite middle class (if, um, that), but on page 10 is a full-page ad for Deloitte, on page 14 is a full-page ad for Ernst & Young, and on page 15 is a full-page ad for Citigroup. Aren’t these all players on Wall Street, and wasn’t at least one of these Wall Street players featured in “Capitalism: A Love Story” as one of the recipients of the bullshit $700 billion taxpayer bailout of Wall Street? (Wasn’t it Citigroup that Moore was wrapping crime-scene tape around in “Capitalism”?)

Wait, there’s more. On page 18 is a full-page ad for Prudential.

Oh, and Chevron won’t be outdone, because on page 22 is a full-page ad for Shell Oil.

But hey, escape from all of this depressing talk about corporate responsibility and check out “the new Luxor” in Las Vegas, which has a full-page ad on page 24 (and features an apparent lesbian apparently using another apparent lesbian for her money — sweet!).  

Page 31 of the current issue of Equality advises us readers to “SUPPORT [the HRC’s] NATIONAL CORPORATE SPONSORS” and lists such corporate sponsors as American Airlines, Citigroup, Bank of America, Chevron, Harrah’s Entertainment, Nike, Shell, Chase and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Sure, there are some corporate sponsors of HRC that don’t strike me as too bad and some I haven’t even heard of, such as Google and Dell and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (is this a corporation or are these two rich gay men who are in love with each other and who would like the whole world to know by spelling it out that way?). But most of HRC’s corporate sponsors send shivers up my spine, Joe.

My point, Joe, is that it’s not enough for me to know that someone affectionately prefers members of his or her same sex like I do and/or that his or her corporation is willing to give the Human Rights Campaign some money. I want to know that a person or a corporation isn’t causing others harm, even if he or she or it is not overtly anti-gay.

And as a gay man, I’m sick and tired of being reduced to a target group by corporations that don’t wuv me, as they claim, but that just want my money. It’s calculated, Joe. Corporations almost never do anything that they don’t believe will help their profits. If appearing to be pro-gay-and-lesbian will bring in the profits, then the corporations will do it.

I look at the whole picture, Joe, not just my tiny place within it.

Your concerns might be very different from mine, Joe. You might make a lot of money as the president of the HRC, and thus these “corporate sponsors” might be very important for you to be able to continue to live in the way in which I’m guessing that you’ve become accustomed.

But, Joe, when I weigh your personal fortune against things like, oh, say, the future of the entire planet itself, the future which the likes of Chevron and Shell and many if not most other transnational corporations are threatening, well, um, no offense, Joe, but I’m going to have to put the well-being of the entire planet above your own personal well-being.

Joe, lots and lots of corporations give a teeny-tiny percentage of their obscene profits to groups like the Human Rights Campaign in order to make it look like they’re actually not that bad after all.   

But, Joe, they’re actually that bad after all.

Have you seen the documentary “Flag Wars,” Joe? (Please indulge me a little here…) In that documentary, gay men and lesbians (living in Ohio) are portrayed as selfish, cold-hearted money-grubbers who care only about their own personal fortunes.

There’s a rich white lesbian who, in one great scene, goes on a drunken rant about how great capitalism has been to her. (It’s funny how both the impoverished and the rich sure seem to like to get drunk a lot, but I digress…)

In another scene in “Flag Wars,” an apparently rich white gay man states that historical homes in his neighborhood have to be “saved” from the poor. These homes have to be snatched away from their impoverished long-time residents by rich gay men and lesbians, renovated, and then sold for big profits. Screw the poor and save the homes! That’s what the gay men and the lesbians in the film say, in effect, quite unabashedly: it’s profits over people.

What kind of human beings do we gay men and lesbians want to be, Joe?

I don’t know about you, but as for me, before I am a gay man, Joe, I am a human being, and you know what? I don’t want to be the kind of human being like the heartless gay men and lesbians who are portrayed in “Flag Wars,” and the Human Rights Campaign encourages gay men and lesbians to be this kind of human being by kowtowing to corporations, perhaps especially to the Wall Street players and big oil.

I don’t know that I can continue to be a member of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe. HRC’s pro-corporate values certainly don’t seem to be in alignment with my own values as a gay man who cares about others besides myself.

I think that I already know what your counter-argument will be, Joe: HRC really, really needs the money that the corporations throw its way. And that if you didn’t accept that money as HRC president, then someone else would. Yadda yadda yadda…

But you know what, Joe? I am sick and tired of being sold out by gay and lesbian “leaders.” It’s not just you — it’s almost all gay and lesbian “leaders” who, for just the right amount of money (which often isn’t really that much) and the opportunity to do such things as to be photographed with Billary Clinton, will sell their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters (and indeed, all of the rest of humankind) out.

So we see all kinds of things that are harmful to the gay and lesbian community. We see ads for alcohol and for bars in almost all of the gay and lesbian publications, and often a gay and lesbian community’s “leaders” (such as is the case here in Sacramento) are the owners of the gay and lesbian bars that encourage alcoholism and smoking and drunken hookups, which are so helpful for the gay and lesbian community!

We see the ads for the anti-HIV drugs placed by the big-pharma corporations in which healthy-looking, young, muscular models give gay men the idea that HIV is no big deal — if you catch it you can just take a pill.

(The other gay and lesbian “leaders” in Sacramento and elsewhere are the publishers of the gay and lesbian rags who personally profit from such advertising that actually harms the very same community that they claim they are helping.)

When we gay men and lesbians aren’t being encouraged by our “leaders” and their for-personal-profit businesses and publications to be drinking and smoking and sexing, we’re encouraged to buy stuff, to use materialism (including personal investments and pointless travel) as our drug of choice. (The fall 2009 issue of Equality also includes full-page ads for travel agencies, hotel chains and furniture.)  

Is there nothing more to being gay or lesbian than catering to our addictions to chemical substances, to sex and to money and things, Joe?

Can we gay men and lesbians perhaps be bold and brave leaders instead of being trembling followers, and help our fellow men and women, regardless of their sexual orientation, out of the spirit-and-soul-crushing effects of the humongous corporations that now control almost every aspect of our lives, even the groups like HRC that are supposed to be helping to make us free?

Joe, can you be part of a revolution that actually makes gay men and lesbians free, truly free, instead of keeping them enslaved to such things as materialism and alcoholism and sex addiction and other addictions?

Or are you utterly unable to part with the lifestyle that you have attained, even though your lifestyle comes at the expense of those you are supposed to be helping and freeing?

Please let me know, Joe.

But, truthfully, I’m not holding my breath for your response, because you seem to be addicted to corporate money, and it just might take an intervention, because I doubt that you can overcome your addiction on your own.

Thanks for listening.

Yours,

Robert Crook
Sacramento, California

P.S. From what I know of Harvey Milk and what he thought of Democrats who just use the members of the gay and lesbian community as ATMs — and what he thought of those members of the gay and lesbian community who support these Democrats — Milk is not just turning, but he is spinning, in his grave.

(Actually, you might know that Milk was cremated and not interred, but that fact just doesn’t lend itself to my point…)

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