Tag Archives: Roy Moore

No, you actually don’t get a medal for voting in your own best interests

Roy Moore

Reuters news photo

Democrat Doug Jones, pictured above at his victory celebration, will represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate after yesterday’s special election in the deep-red state. Black Alabama voters are being praised for their high turnout, but they’re supposed to vote in their own best interests anyway, and I easily could argue that because black American voters supported the widely despised Billary Clinton over the much more popular Bernie Sanders by a margin of three to one, they were instrumental in putting “President” Pussygrabber into the White House — so the meme that black voters are saving the nation needs to stop right about right now…

I was happy to learn last night that Democratic candidate Doug Jones (to whom I gave $20…) beat Repugnican candidate Roy Moore in the special election for the U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by Nazi elf Jeff Sessions when he became U.S. attorney general.

For a left-wing Californian like me, Doug Jones is pretty centrist, but I get it: He ran in Alabama. And the alternative was “Christo”fascist Roy “Moses” Moore.

But I was disturbed today to hear the meme that this narrow victory (Jones reportedly won by around 1.5 percentage points) was brought to us by black voters.

Let’s unpack that:

About 27 percent of Alabamans are black (whereas nationally, blacks are about 13 percent of the population).

I would hope that the voters of Alabama of all races would vote in their own best fucking interests, and it was not in their own best interests to vote for backasswards sex criminal and far-right piece of shit and nut job Roy Moore.

Is the message that white Americans sure should be thankful that black Americans voted for Doug Jones — even though he is white? Are the black voters of Alabama to be praised for not being black supremacists?

I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and I didn’t expect a fucking Brownie button for having done so because I’m white; I perceived Obama as the most progressive yet still viable candidate, and therefore I voted for him.

Obama’s being biracial wasn’t high on my list of reasons for having voted for him (and it wasn’t at all on my list of reasons for being unable to vote for him again in 2012; it was how he lost the House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-term elections by having spectacularly squandered his political capital in 2009 and 2010 that prevented me from being able to vote for him again*).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over and over again: I vote for the most progressive yet still viable candidate; that is, I vote in my own best interests, at least as how I perceive them. I don’t give a rat’s ass about a candidate’s race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Perhaps what I find most disturbing about the heaps of praise for the black voters of Alabama for simply having wisely voted in their own best interests is that it probably is going to be parlayed as a race-based quid pro quo: We black voters voted in white man Doug Jones, so now the Democratic Party had better make, say, Sen. Kamala Harris or Sen. Cory Booker its 2020 presidential candidate; if not, we black voters will bolt from the Democratic Party! You can’t win without us!

To that I say: OK, go ahead and bolt. I won’t be your fucking political hostage. Because the Democratic Party is not actually supposed to be the vehicle through which only 13 percent of the U.S. population gains political control over the entire fucking nation. That’s not democracy. That’s a race-based takeover of the entire fucking nation by a minority of Americans.

Should a black candidate be the most progressive yet still viable Democratic Party presidential candidate for 2020, he or she will have my full support. But it won’t be because he or she is black; it will be because he or she is the most progressive yet still viable candidate.

Thus far I don’t see Kamala Harris or Cory Booker as presidential material. Harris hasn’t done anything thus far — she hasn’t even been in the Senate for one full year yet, and anyway, as long as the Repugnicans control the Senate, what could she do? — and Booker is a fakey-fake, a self-serving corporate whore and a pathetic knock-off of the “Kumbaya”-singing Obama whom I find unacceptable.

(Deval Patrick, another black American whose name is bandied about as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, works for Mittens Romney’s Bain Capital; I’ll very probably pass on him, too. I rejected Billary Clinton in no tiny part because of her coziness with Wall Street, and I love Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in large part for their distaste of Wall Street and their refusal to be Clintonian corporate whores.)

Black Alabamans, I am glad that you voted en force to prevent Roy Moore from being your new U.S. senator (even though Alabama makes it as difficult as it can for you to be able to vote; you probably do deserve credit for your perseverance). But you did your civic duty, I think I’d argue. You are, after all, between a fourth and a third of the population of your state. Methinks that you probably don’t get special props for doing your civic duty and for voting in your own best interests.

I’ve voted consistently since I turned 18 — one could argue, I suppose, that voting is pointless, but I vote religiously because I know that the religious and the other assorted wingnuts vote religiously — and I expect no thanks or praise for doing what I should do anyway. (Yes, in fairness, California doesn’t put up as many roadblocks as possible to prevent Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters [or any voters] from being able to vote.)

It is sweet that Alabama’s new U.S. senator is a Democrat, but the bigger picture is that if the Democratic Party hasn’t learned what a losing game toxic identity politics is over the long run, then it will continue to — and it will deserve to — keep losing.**

Billary Clinton lost in November 2016 in no tiny part because she and her supporters basically told voters that if they didn’t vote for her, they’re sexist pieces of shit. Not only was this toxic-identity-politics message related to us “Bernie bros” relentlessly, but Team Billary even trotted out crone Madeleine Albright, a war criminal, to tell women that if they didn’t vote for Billary, they’d find themselves in “a special place in hell,” to which Billary gave one of her grating cackles.

Calling Democratic voters “racist” for rejecting a black presidential candidate who, like Billary, is a center-right Democrat in name only, will result in yet another instance of the Democratic Party snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. You can’t win a national election by catering to 13 percent of the national population. That’s just called math.

*While I didn’t vote for Obama again in 2012 because I don’t believe in rewarding an elected official who has violated his or her campaign promises by voting for him or her again, let me be clear that it was safe for me to decline to vote for Obama in 2012 because I live in California, and it was a foregone conclusion that Obama would win California and all of its electoral votes in 2012 as he did in 2008. So shut the fuck up and educate yourself about the Electoral College.

**Largely because of toxic identity politics, a while ago I switched my voter registration from Democratic to independent. I approach 50 years old and it’s the first time in my life that I’ve been registered as an independent (I’d only ever been registered with the Democratic Party and with the Green Party before I switched to independent).

After the pro-corporate, anti-populist, center-right Democratic Party establishment royally fucked over Bernie Sanders, I left the Democratic Party and I won’t ever return to it until and unless it earns my support by ceasing and desisting with the Clintonian bullshit, which includes pushing identity politics while ignoring our grave socioeconomic problems, since our corporate overlords and campaign contributors don’t much care about identity politics but sure the fuck don’t want the socioeconomic status quo to be threatened.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Et tu, Al?

Updated below (on Friday, November 17, 2017)

In the current climate, it was only a matter of time before someone I really have liked and respected was going to be outed as having acted sexually inappropriately in the past. This time, there is photographic evidence:

Franken gropes the accuser while smiling

That’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota apparently pretending* to grope a sleeping woman (radio newscaster Leeann Tweeden) during a U.S.O. (United Service Organizations) tour in the Middle East in 2006.

From his expression, he fairly clearly thinks that it’s pretty fucking funny. Of course, it isn’t, which he has acknowledged, and he has apologized for his inappropriate, immature, abusive, disrespectful act, and Tweeden has stated that she accepts his apology and that she doesn’t believe that he should step down.

To me, that’s pretty much case closed.

More disturbing to me than the frat-boy-level photo above is Tweeden’s allegation that Franken, under the guise of rehearsing a skit that he wrote that (rather conveniently) required him to kiss her, kissed her forcefully against her wishes (and gave her tongue, she adds).

Such unwanted contact constitutes sexual battery, in my book, but Franken said that “While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.”

He immediately added: “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”

So: This contact between Franken and Tweeden happened in 2006, before Franken became a U.S. senator in 2009. (And in Tweeden’s own words, “Franken had written some skits for the [U.S.O.] show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many U.S.O. shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.” That’s some context, and context matters.)

The New York Times reports that “Ms. Tweeden said that no one else witnessed the [alleged forced] kiss, and she did not tell the tour’s organizers [about it].” (Indeed, Tweeden’s own words to this effect are here.)

Franken couldn’t have been convicted of sexual battery at the time even if Tweeden had gone to the authorities, because they apparently have different versions of the same event that no one else witnessed. Legally, it seems to me, that’s pretty much that.

It seems to me that absent a felony conviction, which should disqualify anyone from becoming or remaining a U.S. senator, it’s up to the voters of Minnesota to decide Franken’s fate when he comes up for re-election in 2020, assuming that he decides to run again.

It’s probably safe to say that any hope that Franken might have had about running for president in 2020 is dashed — even though “President” Pussygrabber bragged about grabbing women by the pussy and still became “president” — but I refuse to write Franken’s political obituary today. I believe that he can come out better and stronger for this (and that yes, hell — who knows? — he still might become president one day).

No, I don’t condone sexual harassment of any kind, from non-body-contact sexual harassment, such as making unwanted sexual remarks to taking a photo of yourself pretending to grope someone sexually to exposing yourself to someone who doesn’t want to see your goods, to actual body-contact sexual harassment, such as actual groping or forceful, unwanted kissing.

But nor is it productive to take the stance that we should utterly fucking destroy anyone who has misstepped.

That self-righteous revenge-seeking goes beyond justice and becomes a crime in and of itself; that is, to assert that those who can be redeemed cannot be redeemed, but must be destroyed for the rest of their lives, is to commit yet another type of violence against the human spirit.

P.S. Two more things:

One, there seems to be a definite double standard where Democrats and Repugnicans are concerned. Again, “President” Pussygrabber in 2005 bragged, on tape, about grabbing women by the pussy and kissing them without their consent, and yet that was A-OK with enough voters to allow him to take the Oval Office.

Two (which is related to one), what U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama has been accused of, especially the under-aged shit, is much worse than what Franken has been accused of (and was photographed doing), but even for a backasswards, right-wing piece of dog shit like Moore, I would say that absent a felony conviction — that is, he had had his day in court and was found guilty by a jury — it still would be up to the voters of Alabama to decide whether or not to send him to the U.S. Senate. (And then the Senate could, I understand, refuse to seat him, although I’m not sure of all of the legalities on that.)

But let’s not compare Al Franken to Roy Moore (or to “President” Pussygrabber). Franken so far has had one accuser, who was an adult at the time. Moore thus far has had at least eight accusers, some of whom were under the age of 18 at the time of their reported events.

Update (Friday, November 17, 2017): Leeann Tweeden said this on “Good Morning America” today: “I didn’t do this [publicize Franken’s actions of 2006] to have him step down. I think Al Franken does a lot of good things in the Senate. You know, I think that’s for the people of Minnesota to decide. I’m not calling for him to step down. That was never my intention.”

She also apparently said of the bullshit comparison of “President” Pussygrabber’s actions to Franken’s, “His [Pussygrabber’s] issues — that’s a whole other thing.”

Yup. More than a dozen women thus far have accused Pussygrabber of having perpetrated sexual harassment to sexual battery.

Sadly, I’ve seen, among others, Slate.com’s otherwise thoughtful and intelligent Mark Joseph Stern and the progressive group Justice Democrats both call for Franken to step down immediately. (And in an e-mail that I received, the Justice Democrats also called for Franken to be replaced with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison by Minnesota’s governor. I admire Ellison and I supported him for the chair of the Democratic National Committee, but he should run for the U.S. Senate if he wants to be a U.S. senator. Denying Franken due process and summarily replacing him with Ellison is not what I’d call justice or democracy, Justice Democrats!)

We all need to take a deep fucking breath and not be even more outraged than the actual victims are and therefore call for even harsher punishments than they are calling for. (And no, let’s not say that part of the victims’ victimization is that they’re just not outraged enough and that they are too forgiving, so we need to “correct” that. Jesus fucking fuck.)

And yes, as both Stern and Justice Democrats and many others have argued, we who are left of center don’t want to be called hypocrites on the subject of sexual harassment and sexual assault and sexual battery.

But we also need to take each case on its own (each case can vary widely in severity) and not lump all of the cases together, or collapse the many different kinds of sexual violations into one big generic sexual violation because we don’t feel like dealing with shades of gray.

And if we claim that we care about justice, then we need to give the accused the chance to explain him- or herself — and/or to be investigated as fairly and impartially as possible — instead of immediately calling for his or her head on a silver fucking platter so that we can try to look cool by keeping ahead of the news cycle.

Nor should our No. 1 concern be what the fucking Repugnicans will think. They never fucking care what we think, which is why they “win” elections even when they lose them, such as “presidents” George W. Bush and Pussygrabber both did.

*To grope someone is to touch him or her with your hands, and while the incident in the photo widely has been described as a groping, to me it appears to be Franken pretending to be groping or pretending to be about to grope the sleeping woman. Not that even pretending to do so is OK, but it’s not as bad as actually groping. There are levels of bad, for fuck’s sake.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized