Tag Archives: human rights

Transgender is the new Jew

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

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

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

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

The New York Times reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Der Fuhrer Pussygrabber has to goas soon as is possible.

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

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

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The ‘new’ pride flag: Oh, HELL no!

Updated below (on Monday, June 26, 2017)

New Pride Flag

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

As “President” Pussygrabber might say: SAD!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The traditional pride flag is much simpler and cleaner:

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

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The unelected Pussygrabber regime is now attacking schoolchildren. Sick!

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

Today, the fascist regime targeted schoolchildren.

Reports The Washington Post:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Please sign my anti-robocop petition on WhiteHouse.gov right now!

So disturbed am I over the police use of a robot to kill an American civilian on American soil for the first time in American history that I have created a petition on WhiteHouse.gov in order to hopefully get enough signatures for President Barack Obama to address the issue (100,000 signatures in 30 days are necessary).

If you feel as strongly as I do that we should not allow “Robocop” to become a reality, please sign on to the petition by clicking here.

The petition reads:

Title: “We must not allow law enforcement to use robotic devices (including drones) in order to kill civilians on American soil!”

Text:

On July 7, 2016, for the first time in American history, police officers in Dallas, Texas, affixed an explosive device to a robotic device in order to kill a suspected perpetrator. (If a bomb can be affixed to a robot, so can a tranquilizer dart or a canister of knock-out gas! We MUST use NON-LETHAL ways of neutralizing suspected perpetrators wherever possible!)

The Dallas police, on July 7, 2016, in violation of the protections guaranteed by the United States Constitution, acted as prosecutors, judges, juries — and executioners.

This serious abuse of police power must be made illegal by executive order or an act of Congress.

No state-sanctioned use of robotic devices (including drones) in order to kill civilians on American soil!

Thank you in advance! We become a totalitarian state goose step by goose step!

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88 years for a U.S. president to travel 90 miles; Cubans still have more to lose

President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as first lady Michelle Obama stands behind, right, upon arrival to the airport in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Obama's trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro's ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries. (Cubadebate/Ismael Francisco via AP)

Associated Press photo

The caption for the AP news photo above reads: “President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez as first lady Michelle Obama stands behind, right, upon arrival to the airport in Havana, Cuba, [today]. Obama’s trip is a crowning moment in his and Cuban President Raul Castro’s ambitious effort to restore normal relations between their countries.”

The caption for the AP news photo below reads: “A poster features portraits of Cuba’s President Raul Castro, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama and reads in Spanish, ‘Welcome to Cuba’ outside a restaurant in Havana, Cuba, [on Thursday]. Obama is scheduled to travel to the island [today], the first U.S. presidential trip to Havana in nearly 90 years.”

Steps Obama has taken to ease US restrictions on Cuba

Associated Press photo

If I can’t say much that’s positive about the Obama years — and I can’t* we at least can note that today Barack Obama historically became the first sitting U.S. president in 88 years to visit our island neighbor of Cuba. (Before today, Calvin Coolidge last visited Cuba, in 1928...)

It is pathetic that the United States remains so largely inimical to a nation only 90 miles away from it, but the history of Cuba and the United States (and Spain, too) is, um, complicated.

In its report on Cuba for 2015, Human Rights Watch noted:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

There are elections in Cuba, in which those 16 years and older may vote, but as only the Communist Party is allowed to exist, these elections are fairly bullshit; Cubans are allowed to chose only from those who pay fealty to the Communist Party (again, the only party that there is).

That said, here in the United States of America we have elections, but since the corporations give most of our elected officials obscene amounts of campaign cash and other monetary rewards to do their bidding instead of to act in the public good, and since this treasonous bullshit has been going on at least since the first (and hopefully the last) President Clinton, our corporately owned and controlled parties have become pretty indistinguishable — the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party, I think of them lovingly — and so our so-called democracy is pretty fucking hollow, too.

For all intents and purposes, we Americans pretty much have one-party rule, as do the Cubans.

How else to explain that the lives of us American commoners never get better? If we had an actual democracy — a socialist democracy — instead of a corporatocracy/kleptocracy, our lives would actually improve.

Wingnuts, who want to turn Cuba into a wage-slave capitalist nation like the United States is (and who also, of course, want to turn Cuba into an island resort for wealthier Americans, as it used to be), routinely uber-hyperbolically claim that the Castro regime routinely executes its political opponents, but I see no mention in the Human Rights Watch report on Cuba linked to above that executions continue there.

(And, of course, our buddy Saudi Arabia continues to execute people — by public beheading, no less — and we Americans are perfectly fine with that, because we want fuel for our gas-guzzlers.

Also, I should add, the Cuban government since 2001 has had a moratorium on capital punishment, from which it made one exception in 2003, when it executed three people. The United States executed 22 people alone in 2015. [Texas is the most bloodthirsty state, having executed more than 525 people since 1976, whereas since 1976, 16 states have executed fewer than eight people each.])

Wikipedia does report that in the early years of the Castro regime there apparently were executions, with estimates ranging from around 220 executions from 1959 to 1987 (per Amnesty International) to many thousands (most of these latter accusers are anti-Castro wingnuts with an ax to grind, I surmise).

Wikipedia notes that

The Cuban government justified such measures on the grounds that the application of the death penalty in Cuba against war criminals and others followed the same procedure as that seen in the trials by the Allies in the Nuremberg trials.

Some Cuban scholars maintain that had the government not applied severe legislation against the torturers, terrorists, and other criminals employed by the Batista regime, the people themselves would have taken justice into their own hands.

and that

The vast majority of those executed following the 1959 [Castro] revolution were policemen, politicians and informers of the [Fulgencio] Batista regime accused of crimes such as torture and murder, and their public trials and executions had widespread popular support among the Cuban population.

Scholars generally agree that those executed were probably guilty as accused, but that the trials did not follow due process.

Fulgencio Batista, the U.S.-backed, right-wing dictator whom Fidel Castro and crew overthrew in 1959, is credited with having executed anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 of his political opponents, but because he was right-wing, the right wing doesn’t talk about that.

Besides, to the wingnuts, right-wing dictators aren’t really dictators, since they are right-wing — as long as they obey American capitalists, that is (usually, this means handing over their nations’ natural resources [and human resources, in terms of very cheap labor] to American corporations for their profiteering, no matter how much this harms the host [“host” as in the victim of a parasite] nations) — and surely the left-wing rabble whom right-wing dictators have slaughtered had it coming.

So Cuba has a long way to go in terms of human rights — it must move to allow freer speech and political dissent, including allowing the existence of opposition parties and holding real, meaningful elections — but I understand, I believe, why the Cuban government is so closed off and so authoritarian: It knows that if the capitalists from the north can get their greedy fingers on the island and turn it into a wage-slave nation in which only a few prosper while the working-poor masses suffer from the obscene profiteering of the few, they will.

For this reason, as I have written**, while I welcome at least some opening up of Cuba (where I’d like to visit one day), I fear for the people of Cuba, too, lest the virulent pestilence that is anti-democratic wage-slave capitalism (masquerading as “democracy” and “freedom”) infect their sovereign island nation from the north.

The Cuban people would fare worse as wage slaves to American (and other) corporations than they fare now. 

Capitalistic oppression is no better, in terms of what it does to the human spirit, than is (big-“C”) Communist oppression.

*As I’ve noted here a million times, he had the opportunity and the political capital in 2009 and 2010 to push through a progressive agenda, and he spectacularly declined to do so, and once the Repugnican Tea Party traitors took back the House in 2010, that meant gridlock for the remainder of Obama’s presidency (and “Obamacare,” his “signature” “achievement,” contains virtually nothing that the for-profit health-insurance industry didn’t want it to contain).

**I wrote back in December 2014:

One of U.S. President Barack Obama’s best moves is his decision to open diplomatic relations with the government of Cuba after more than 50 years of a pointless cold war with the island nation.

For all of the selfish whining of the tiny but loud minority of Cuban-American wingnuts — who always have been a bunch of fucking ingrates who believe that they should control U.S. foreign policy — ironically, Cubans have a lot more to lose than do Americans should the United States and Cuba ever become super-cozy.

The typical Cuban, after all, has better access to higher education and health care than does the average American. The typical Cuban’s life expectancy is close behind the typical American’s and Cubans’ life expectancy ranks No. 1 among the Latin American nations.

Cuba has universal health care (yes, health care is a human right, and shouldn’tbe an opportunity for profiteering) and Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent beats the United States’ rate of 99 percent.

Not that Cuba is perfect, perhaps especially on the measure of freedom of speech, but, of course, the United States, which, among other things, calls torture “enhanced interrogation” (someone recently remarked that that’s like calling rape “enhanced dating”) and slaughters scores of innocent civilians by drones in the name of “democracy,” isn’t exactly a paragon of human rights itself, is it?

However, would it benefit most Cubans for American corporations to muscle back into the nation and turn most Cubans into wage slaves, like most Americans are? (Capitalism is, after all, wage slavery that of course creates insane socioeconomic inequality.) Are Cubans really just itching for such wonderful imported American “freedoms” as crushing student-loan debt, wage slavery and bankruptcy from insane health-care costs?

You’d think the rabidly wingnutty Cuban Americans would salivate over the idea of turning Cuba into a cash cow for the corporations again, as it was when darling-of-the-right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista, who couldn’t sell out the people of Cuba enough to American corporations for his own benefit and the benefit of his fellow elites, was in power.

But what’s up the right-wing Cuban-American ingrates’ asses is that they expect the U.S. government to maintain a cold war with Cuba on their behalf for eternity. They believe that their bitterness against Fidel Castro, who overthrew dictator Batista in the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s, should be reflected by U.S. governmental policy toward Cuba in perpetuity.

(Batista, by the way, fled Cuba on January 1, 1959, with hundreds of millions of dollars he’d taken through obscene corruption and after having slaughtered as many as 20,000 of his political opponents. This is the kind of man, like murderous Chilean dictator Agosto Pinochet, who gets the support of the right wing.

If you think that I’m full of shit, know that President John Kennedy said of Batista that his was “one of the most bloody and repressive dictatorships in the long history of Latin American repression” and that Kennedy wrote this:

I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime.

I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption.

I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins.

In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.

Um, yeah.)

To open diplomatic relations with another nation is not to agree with everything that nation does and has done. Certainly the U.S. government and the governments of China and Russia don’t agree on everything, but they maintain diplomatic relations nonetheless.

The teeny-tiny minority of right-wing Cuban-Americans and their supporters (including, of course, the craven politicians who want right-wing Cuban-Americans’ money and votes, such as right-wing Cuban-American scumbags U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida) need to shut the fuck up and put the greater good of the American people and the Cuban people above their own selfish political agendas, and they need to wake the fuck up and stop expecting the rest of us, the vast majority, to maintain their insane cold war of more than five decades.

I support diplomatic relations with Cuba because Cuba has much to teach the United States, which, of course, just might be just what the Cuban-American wingnuts fear most.

But, again, it is Cubans, not Americans, who have the most to lose in significantly close ties between the two nations.

The specter of Cubans once again being oppressed by the craven corporate America is, in fact, the only reason that I would or could oppose diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is justice.

God bless America!

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

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

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

She can rot in jail for all that I care.

Or be thrown to the lions.

Either one.

Here’s her booking photo, by the way:

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

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Still waiting for the national backlash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh! Except that It! Will!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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