Saturday, August 04, 2012

Romney Refuses To Condemn Bachmann’s Islamophobic Witch Hunt

Mitt Romney continues to prove that he is willing to pander shamelessly to the vilest and most lunatic elements of the GOP in his quest for the White House.  The latest example of Romney's amoral pandering is his refusal to condemn Michele Bachmann's anti-Islamic witch hunt that sees an Islamic conspiracy under ever bush.  Apparently, Bachmann thinks Muslims hide under bushes while spying on "real Americans" like she did while hiding under bushes to watch gays.  The woman is a lunatic.  Think Progress looks at Romney's effort to appease the conspiracy theorists.  Here are highlights:

Mitt Romney refused to condemn Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and four other Republicans who have alleged that Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is part of a Muslim Brotherhood campaign to infiltrate the American government. During an event in Reno, Nevada Romney dodged a question about the allegations, saying simply, “I’m not going to tell other people what things to talk about. Those are not things that are part of my campaign.” A growing number of Republicans, including House Speaker John Beohner (R-OH) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have condemned Bachmann. 

This isn’t the first time the former Massachusetts candidate has failed to speak out against extremists in his own party. Romney refused to directly repudiate Donald Trump’s claims that President Obama was born in Kenya just hours before he is scheduled to appear with the reality T.V. star for a fund raiser in Las Vegas, NV. He also wouldn’t decry Rush Limbaugh for calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” or speak out against social conservatives who opposed his decision to hire an openly-gay national security spokesperson. 

Romney’s foreign policy adviser John Bolton, however, has defended Bachmann’s call for the government to investigate the alleged Muslim Brotherhood plot.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Climate Change is Here — and Worse Than We Thought

Living on the water in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia - one rated almost as bad as New Orleans for storm flooding potential - the boyfriend and I are well aware of the problems being brought on by global warming and rising sea levels.  To deal with increased flooding problems (our home - pictured above in November 2009 - cannot be raised in a financially feasible manner) we have installed a whole house generator and will have three high capacity industrial sump pumps installed next week so that when the next hurricane comes we can aoid having standing water in the house.  Others in the area are also taking steps" e.g., the U. S. Navy which plans on spending many millions of dollars at the Norfolk Naval base where water levels have increased some 14+ inches since the middle of the last century.  Meanwhile, the Neanderthals and flat earth crowd in the Republican Party of Virginia in the General Assembly deny the problem even exists. James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has a telling column in the Washington Post that looks at the reality that Republican refuse to exist.  Here are excerpts:

When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988 , I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.  But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.

In a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which will be published Monday, my colleagues and I have revealed a stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers, with deeply troubling ramifications for not only our future but also for our present.

This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened.  .   .   .   .   our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.

The deadly European heat wave of 2003, the fiery Russian heat wave of 2010 and catastrophic droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year can each be attributed to climate change. And once the data are gathered in a few weeks’ time, it’s likely that the same will be true for the extremely hot summer the United States is suffering through right now.

These weather events are not simply an example of what climate change could bring. They are caused by climate change. The odds that natural variability created these extremes are minuscule, vanishingly small. To count on those odds would be like quitting your job and playing the lottery every morning to pay the bills.

Our new peer-reviewed study, published by the National Academy of Sciences, makes clear that while average global temperature has been steadily rising due to a warming climate (up about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century), the extremes are actually becoming much more frequent and more intense worldwide.

Such events used to be exceedingly rare. Extremely hot temperatures covered about 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent of the globe in the base period of our study, from 1951 to 1980. In the last three decades, while the average temperature has slowly risen, the extremes have soared and now cover about 10 percent of the globe.  .   .   .   .   Such events, our data show, will become even more frequent and more severe.

There is still time to act and avoid a worsening climate, but we are wasting precious time. We can solve the challenge of climate change with a gradually rising fee on carbon collected from fossil-fuel companies, with 100 percent of the money rebated to all legal residents on a per capita basis. This would stimulate innovations and create a robust clean-energy economy with millions of new jobs. It is a simple, honest and effective solution.  The future is now. And it is hot.

Despite all the evidence, neither Virginia nor the USA has any plan to deal with what is happening.  In Hampton Roads there are 1.6 million people, many of who will be increasingly impacted by rising sea levels.  How bad do things need to become before the GOP pulls its head out of its ass?

Opposition to Gay Marriage From Evangelical Christians is Rooted in Homophobia

The vicious rhetoric that one hears from the "godly Christian" crowd against gas and same sex marriage seems to know few limits.  While we hear constant blather about "through history marriage has always been one man and one woman" the truth is that historically that claim is a bald faced lie be it from the lips of Mitt Romney who conveniently forgets his own family history and ancestors who had a half dozen wives (not to mention Brigham Young's 55 wives) to those who claim a "biblical basis" for monogamous marriage even thought in the Old Testament polygamy was the norm be it King David - when he wasn't lusting for Jonathan - to Solomon.  A column in The Guardian to me sums up well the real anti-gay motivations.  Here are some excerpts:

When Chris Sugden and Philip Giddings of Anglican Mainstream released their letter to the prime minister last week they cannot have understood just how foul-spirited and Pharisaical it makes them appear. They have been taken seriously for so long within the power structures of the Church of England that they have quite lost touch with the sanity of the outside world. They founded their pressure group to oppose the appointment of a celibate gay man as a bishop. Yet they claim in their letter that "those who experience the attraction" – they won't talk about "love" – "have always been fully welcomed".

Condescending and pompous to the end – they finish with the assurance to the prime minister of their continued prayers – this letter discredits all opposition to gay marriage. It's obvious that what they really want is for gay people to feel ashamed and to exist on sufferance. The only thing tending to acquit them of a rather unpleasant prejudice is that their smug condescension isn't only directed at homosexuals. Evangelicals of that sort want everyone who's not like them to feel ashamed of their existence. "We are all sinners", they say, but they think they know they and their friends are saved.

Catholic bishops, too, suffer a terrible disconnect from the ordinary moral sense of the world outside. When Philip Tartaglia's claim that a Scots MP (and former Catholic priest) who died of pancreatitis at the age of 44 did so as a result of being gay surfaced to general outrage last week, few people noticed that he was speaking at a conference on religious freedom."I can say with a concerned and fearful realism that the loss of religious freedom is now arguably the most serious threat that the Catholic church and all people of faith in this country are facing," he had said.

What's crazy about this "concerned and fearful realism" is that he gives every appearance of believing his own propaganda. He confuses losing an argument with losing the right to argue. There are actually genuine issues of religious freedom and toleration raised by some recent administrative decisions against opponents of gay marriage. But they have arisen because the argument about equality is already lost.
The argument about civil partnerships and fairness can't convincingly be put by people who have been unfair whenever they thought they could get away with it.

Pompous, condescending, mean spirited, Pharisaical, dishonest, bigoted - these are the words that sadly best define much of Christianity today.  It's little wonder that the so-called millennial generation is leaving Christianity in droves.  What truly moral person would want to be affiliated with such hatefulness and obscene self-congratulation?

Friday, August 03, 2012

Hilarious Unwanted Focus on Mormon History

One thing to be said about Mitt Romney's run for the presidency is that it is bringing out some unusual - and at times hilarious - tidbits about Mormon history.  A case in point: the above photo of Brigham Morris Young, son of Mormon leader Brigham Young.  Kevin Sessums post as follows:

For your visual edification here is a photograph of Brigham Morris Young, son of Brigham Young, in drag as Italian opera diva “Madam Pattirini,” circa 1901. It is a photographic placard which advertised “her: appearance at the Sugar House Ward, a Mormon “meeting house” in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by C. R. Savage.  No comment. I leave that up to you folks.
Andy Towle has these additional informational tidbits about one of the leaders of Mitt "I support 3000 years of history that marriage is between one man and one woman" Romney:

Brigham Young had 55 wives and fathered 56 children by 16 of them . Brigham Morris Young was his 35th son and founded the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA), the predecessor to the Young Men program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). You can't make this stuff up. He performed as Pattirini in north and central Utah venues from 1885 to the 1900s. He could produce a convincing falsetto, and many in the audience did not realize that Pattirini was Young.  He did marry one wife and had children of his own
Wikipedia also reports on Young's cross dressing performing.  For more interesting reading on Mormon sexual foibles and sexual nonconformity check this out.  It's pretty eye opening.  Why do I think of the word hypocrisy when I think of Mitt Romney and Mormons who now support "the sanctity of marriage"?

States Where It Is Legal for Chick Fil-A to Fire Gay Employees

As the above image indicates, Dan Cathy and the anti-gay forces at Chick Fil-A are free to fire LGBT employees at will in the majority of states in America.  It should also be noted that groups funded by Chick Fil-A and the Cathy family work very hard in these states to defeat any and all attempts to win LGBT citizens employment nondiscrimination protections.  Virginia is a case in point:  Family Research Council's  Virginia affiliate, The Family Foundation ("TFF"), has an anti-gay rights agenda 100% of the time disseminates the lie that gays are pedophiles.  TFF played a major role in the passage of legislation and administrative regulations that allow agencies receiving state funds to discriminate against would be LGBT foster parents and adoptive parents.  As I've said Chick Fil-A is financing much more than "protecting marriage."

Friday Morning Male Beauty

New Tax Policy Center S Confirms Romney is Out to Screw the Middle Classtudy

From the get go simple math has exposed the ridiculousness of Mitt Romney's plan to increase defense spending, give massive tax cuts to the wealthy and cut the federal budget deficit.  Even an eight year old should be able to figure this out yet it's apparently too advance a level of math for the GOP base.   A new Tax Policy Center study - yes, the same group Romney cited when deriding Rick Perry - has analyzed Romney's tax policy proposals and found them to be a massive transfer of benefits from the working and middle classes to the very wealthy.  Oh, and for added measure, the plan would increase government revenue short falls.  In short, Romney's policy is smoke and mirrors for the cretins in the GOP base and a promise of massive benefits for the greedy wealthy.  Here are highlights from the report:  


This paper examines the tradeoffs among three competing goals that are inherent in a revenue-neutral income tax reform—maintaining tax revenues, ensuring a progressive tax system, and lowering marginal tax rates—drawing on the example of the tax policies advanced in presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax plan. Our major conclusion is that any revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.

This is true even when we bias our assumptions about which and whose tax expenditures are reduced to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible. For instance, even when we assume that tax breaks – like the charitable deduction, mortgage interest deduction, and the exclusion for health insurance – are completely eliminated for higher-income households first, and only then reduced as necessary for other households to achieve overall revenue-neutrality– the net effect of the plan would be a tax cut for high-income households coupled with a tax increase for middle-income households.

Absent any base broadening, the proposed reductions in individual and estate taxes specified in Governor Romney’s plan would decrease federal tax revenues by $360 billion in 2015. These tax cuts predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers: Taxpayers with incomes over $1 million would see their after-tax income increased by 8.3 percent (an average tax cut of about $175,000), taxpayers with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 would see somewhat smaller increases of about 2.4 percent (an average tax cut of $1,800), while the after-tax income of taxpayers earning less than $30,000 would actually decrease by about 0.9 percent (an average tax increase of about $130) due to the expiration of the temporary tax cuts enacted in 2009 and extended at the end of 2010.

Offsetting the $360 billion in revenue losses necessitates a reduction of roughly 65 percent of available tax expenditures. Such a reduction by itself would be unprecedented, and would require deep reductions in many popular tax benefits ranging from the mortgage interest deduction, the exclusion for employer-provided health insurance, the deduction for charitable contributions, and benefits for low- and middle-income families and children like the EITC and child tax credit.

And as the Washington Post notes, people like Romney are already paying a lower effective tax rate than most middle class families:

Romney certainly made a lot of money in 2010 — $21.7 million, according to his tax return — and yet his tax rate was about 13.9 percent. As we have noted before, he achieves this rate because much of his income is treated as capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at a preferential rate of 15 percent, and because he donates about 14 percent of his income to charity. (Reuters wrote an interesting article showing that Romney’s donations of appreciated stock to the Mormon church further shielded him from possible capital gains taxes.)
And who knows what ticking time bombs may be in the tax returns that Romney refuses to release.  The man is all about greed and hoarding even more obscene wealth.  Meanwhile, Romney expects the rest of us to subsist on dry dog food purchased in bulk at BJ's or Sam's Club.

Chick Fil-A's Anti-Gay Animus: It's Not About Free Speech

One of the newest lies of the Christianinists and the child rapist enablers in the Roman Catholic hierarchy is that their undisguised animus towards LGBT individuals is all about their right of "free speech" and/or exercising their right to "religious liberty."  In fact, of course, it's not about either of those issues.  Instead, it's all about forcing their beliefs on all of society and punishing those who refuse to bend to the will of the theocrats and Christianist hate merchants.  EVERY single anti-gay law has at its root the desire to punish and stigmatize LGBT people because we are "sinners" under the fear and hate based dogma of the Christianists and Catholic Church.  Take away this religious basis and the purpose of these laws - Proposition 8 and DOMA are prime examples - and no rational basis for the laws exist.  A column in The Advocate looks at this real agenda that is being aggressively pushed by far right religious extremists including those in the Cathy family that dictate Chick Fil-A policy.  Their goal is nothing less than to control and ruin the lives of those who reject their religious beliefs.  Marriage is only the most visible tip of the iceberg.  Here are some column excerpts:

 Mike Huckabee wanted thousands of people to buy some Chick-fil-A on Wednesday in the name of "free speech" — but he seems to think it's only OK for customers to wield their buying power to say something he agrees with.

Surely the former Arkansas governor and Baptist preacher wasn't complaining that his views and those of other Christians are being censored. Because I can hear them loud and clear — whether it's from Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy, who called marriage equality "twisted," or from Huckabee himself, who said the Boy Scouts should be allowed to ban gay scouts and leaders because they might be pedophiles.
Instead, it sure seems like Huckabee prefers that anyone who disagrees with his view of Christianity stop being so angered by its offensive message.

This is a relatively new trick in the playbook of homophobes. It's not them who are being intolerant, they claim, it's the gays. Chick-fil-A is actually the victim, which Huckabee says is "being smeared by vicious hate speech and intolerant bigotry from the left."

This new line of argument from the homophobes pretends that what Santorum says is merely a "political view." But my life is much more than that.

Chick-fil-A has used the money its customers spend to then make huge donations ($5 million and counting) to antigay groups, including those that try to turn people from gay to straight. These groups claim my love for my husband is a sin, a lifestyle choice, or a mental disorder I am suffering — usually all three.   It's wrong for anyone to ask me to "tolerate" that view. That's what the mayors of Boston, Chicago, Washington, and San Francisco all understand   .   .   .   .   they don't want Chick-fil-A in their cities, where the company would only raise money to fund its antigay donations. 

We now are parents to twin foster daughters who we love — and who we probably loved at first sight. Chick-fil-A funds people who say those children should be taken away from us because we are gay.  I can't tolerate that belief. That belief is a danger to my family. And people who agree with that view eventually start to wonder if they should do something about it. 

[T]his isn't about "political beliefs," and it's not about religion. It's about the government's duty to stop discrimination, in all of its forms.  The government is failing in that job in numerous cases. Congress hasn't passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal for an employer to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And that's at least partly why Chick-fil-A, in its defense, has repeatedly sworn it does not discriminate against LGBT people in hiring — because that's actually still legal in a lot of places.

One day it won't be. And when that day comes, there will be no tolerance remaining for Huckabee's present-day and misguided interpretation of Christianity. Every time someone says my husband should be forcibly divorced from me, and my children taken away, and my employer allowed to fire me, all just because I'm gay, those people are rightfully labeled "homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant."

The other thing that I believe is motivating the Christianists is that they are terrified that if people truly come to believe that the Bible is wrong about homosexuality, then what else is it wrong about.  The human genome studies have already shown that Adam and Eve of the Bible never existed.  As the house of cards fictional world of the Christianists increasing collapses under the weight of scientific knowledge and medical and mental health discoveries, we can expect the hate and animus - and lies of the "godly Christians" - to intensify.  

Thursday, August 02, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Multiple Human Rights Act Complaints Filed Against Chick Fil-A in Illinois

Chick Fil-A COO Dan Cathy may yet come to rue the day that he shot off his mouth and admitted that his company is homophobic.  As the New Civil Rights Movement is reporting, multiple complaints against Chick-fil-A were filed with The Illinois Department of Human Rights by The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) - Illinois' largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization - on behalf of as yet unnamed claimants.  The thrust of the complaints is that Chick Fil-A's homophobic policies and pronouncements violates Illinois law, specifically Section 5-102(B) of the Human Rights Act, which prohibits a ‘public accommodation’ from making protected classes ‘unwelcome, objectionable or unacceptable.’  While it is hard at this point to know where the filings will go, they nonetheless guarantee more negative publicity for Chick Fil-A.  I continue to believe that as more people come to realize just how nasty the groups are that Chick Fil-A funds are in fact, more people will join boycott efforts against the company.  Or at least those who are not Kool-Aid drinking Christianist cretins will avoid the company.  Here are excerpts from the New Civil Rights Movement story:

Today, multiple complaints against Chick-fil-A were filed with The Illinois Department of Human Rights by The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) on behalf of unnamed claimants. The complaints, according to a press release, quoted below, and official documents released to The New Civil Rights Movement, “allege that Chick-fil-A’s ‘intolerant corporate culture’ violates Illinois law, specifically Section 5-102(B) of the Human Rights Act, which prohibits a ‘public accommodation’ from making protected classes ‘unwelcome, objectionable or unacceptable’.”

Chick-Fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy has repeatedly made disparaging remarks about same-sex marriage. Chick-Fil-A CEO S. Truett Cathy is quoted in a 2007 Forbes profile stating he would probably fire someone who has been sinning.

The claimant, who quotes Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy’s widely-puiblicized anti-gay comments, adds:
“Although I would like to be treated equally and with dignity and respect at Chick-fil-A restaurants, the company’s widely published corporate philosophy, culture and policies make clear to me that as an unmarried homosexual in a “non-traditional” family unit, I am inferior to married heterosexuals and therefore, unwelcome, objectionable and unacceptable to Chick-fil-A.”
The complaint notes that Chick-Fil-A licensees ”have contractually agreed to follow, comply with and refrain from rejecting the statements of corporate policy and ‘values’ as stated by Chick-fil-A’s COO, Dan Cathy,” and “have contractually agreed to be part of the Chick-fil-A ‘brand’ and ‘values’ as determined and dictated by the Chick-fil-A licensor.”

 Chick-fil-A has announced and caused to be published, to hundreds of millions of people, that LGBT people are unacceptable and objectionable,” said Jacob Meister, Governing Board President of The Civil Rights Agenda and the attorney who filed the complaint, a press release, continued below, states. “They have made it clear the lives of LGBT individuals are unacceptable to them and that same-gender families are unwelcome at Chick-fil-A.”

The Civil Rights Agenda is quick to point out that this is not a First Amendment Issue. “This has nothing to do with freedom of speech or religious liberty as some might suggest,” insists Martinez. “This is about Chick-fil-A having a policy, a corporate culture, which promotes discrimination. The COO in his personal capacity can say or think whatever he wants, it may be hateful, but it is his right. But when he speaks on behalf of the company, and the company starts implementing policy that reflects that hatred it is against the law in Illinois.”

One can only hope that Chick Fil-A's bigotry ends up carrying a high price.   As for Chick Fil-A franchisees, they need to either rise up in revolt or live with the regime that they bought into when they purchased their franchises.

Ann Romney's Horse Fails to Win But Avoids Offending British

One has to love the British sense of humor - especially when the British press is castigating Mitt Romney.  The Guardian ran a story today under the headline "Ann Romney's horse fails to win dressage but avoids offending British" - would that Mitt had the political skills of Rafalca.  And I suspect that Rafalca is for less snooty and full of herself than her owners.  One can only how many tax write offs the Romneys have taken relating to Rafalca.  Here's a sampling of the Guardian story:

Short of mocking Shetland ponies over their lack of stature or laying into zebras for their failure to make a significant contribution to the world of equine culture, Ann Romney's horse Rafalca was always going to struggle to match the sheer incredulity that her husband managed to provoke on his recent overseas trip.

And in the event – the event in question being the individual dressage – the 15-year-old bay Oldenburg mare acquitted herself rather well. True, she and her rider, Jan Ebeling, may have been left well behind by Britain's Carl Hester, Germany's Dorothee Schneider and Denmark's Anna Kasprzak but, by Romney standards, her performance was a positive triumph.
Never for a second during her seven-minute performance did a hoof stray dangerously mouthwards, nor did she do anything at all to offend or upset the host nation. From the moment she entered the Greenwich Park equestrian arena at 12.15 on Thursday afternoon, the most famous political horse since Caligula toyed with making a consul of Incitatus seemed in her element.

She bowed her neatly plaited head on cue, trotted diagonally across the sand, did the jogging-on-the-spot thing, the skipping thing, the rhythmic boogying thing, the controlled trotting thing: in short, Rafalca did everything that the occasion and the peculiar rules of the dressage demanded of her.

While he chose not to impart any information about Rafalca's voting intentions, the 53-year-old US rider did confirm that Ann Romney had given him "many words of encouragement" before the Olympics.

She had not been in touch on Thursday morning, he added, but her last message had been full of good counsel: "Do what you know to do and do what you do best. Just ride like it's a normal day." Fine advice indeed. If only her husband had heeded it.

Mitt Romney is an arrogant ass.  I suspect that Rafalca has far more personality and is probably far less self-absorbed. 

The Larger Question About Romney’s Taxes Returns: Why?

I have long held the view that one doesn't act as if they have something to hide unless they actually DO have something to hide.  That approach would certainly seem to be the case with Mitt Romney's refusal to release additional years of tax returns.  Yes, it's possible that Romney's refusal is merely due to his overall pompousness and attitude that he doesn't have to account to anyone, but as a piece in The New Republic ponders, that just doesn't seem to add up.  Thus, again the question becomes that of what is Romney trying to hide?  The second related question is why, since Romney has been running for president for roughly six years, didn't he clean up his finances for public viewing knowing that it had to be coming?  Greed may be the reason.  A desire to save every dollar possible and avoid every tax possible.  Here are some column highlights:

Mitt Romney arrives back stateside and just like that, his refusal to release more than a year or two of tax returns is back in the news. Harry Reid is telling people that a big Bain Capital investor told him that Romney told him that he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years. OK, that sounds like something out of a junior-high cafeteria, but then again there’s also an easy way for Romney to knock it down. Which again raises the question: What can possibly be in the returns to make them so dicey to release? 

Why in the world did someone who has been running for president since late 2006 not years ago rid his personal finances of anything that could cause problems in a campaign—Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Island shelters, questionable IRAs, and whichever even more troublesome features lurk in the unreleased returns?   .   .   .   .  Why would he not have fixed his finances as carefully as his coiffure before venturing out onto the stage?

Well, one plausible theory was offered me recently by someone who served alongside Romney in Massachusetts government: Romney may be cautious, but he is also, famously, a penny-pincher. Consider the story that got him in some hot water when he returned from running the Salt Lake City Olympics to run for governor in Massachusetts  .   .  .   .   his assertion of having kept Massachusetts as his primary home even while running the Olympics was undermined by the revelation that Romney had claimed a property tax break for his Utah home that was reserved for people who make Utah their primary residence. 

Why would someone as ambitious as Romney was—who had made clear his intention to follow his father into politics—risk trouble over basic residency questions just for the sake of a tax break on a second home? But consider what else was going on around the same time‚ as the Globe reported in a fine bit of recent digging that was somewhat overlooked on the day of the Aurora, Colo. shootings: Romney was also risking some goodwill and some future political troubles in his handling of his departure from Bain, all for the sake of collecting as big an exit payout as possible.

Romney stayed on as Bain’s CEO and sole shareholder in the years he was running the Olympics in order to retain the leverage for his big payout—even though it would mean potentially problematic association with Bain deals from those years, down the line. And now the taxes. In today’s New York Times, Michael Graetz, a veteran of George H. W. Bush's administration, helpfully lays out some of the gray-area tax-avoidance that someone in Romney’s position may well have engaged in over the past decade or two, such as skirting gift taxes on the $100 million trust Romney has set up for his sons.
Titled “Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior,” it showed through quizzes, online games, questionnaires, in-lab manipulations, and field studies that living high on the socioeconomic ladder can, colloquially speaking, dehumanize people. It can make them less ethical, more selfish, more insular, and less compassionate than other people. It can make them more likely, as Piff demonstrated in one of his experiments, to take candy from a bowl of sweets designated for children. “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,” Piff says, “the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people. It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.”

Sounds like Piff was thinking of Romney.

Chick Fil-A Funded FRC Wants Sodomy Laws Reinstated

The above image via Daily Kos blogger and activist Scott Wooledge and Joe Jervis at Joe My God illustrates the ongoing effort to link Chick Fil-A to some of the truly nasty organizations that the company and the members of the Cathy family  help to financially underwrite.  For new readers, Family Research Council has been registered as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center – the same organization that monitors KKK activities and Neo-Nazi groups.   

Dan Cathy has disingenuously tried to claim that his remarks only deal with "protecting marriage" but the hate and outright animus that Chick Fil-A and the Cathy family are funding goes much, much further.  They literally want to criminalize being gay.   If a company funds a known hate group, what does that make the company?  I would argue, it becomes a hate group as well.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Mitt Romney's Cultural Illiteracy

I have to admit it: I love seeing Mitt Romney continually pummeled for his asinine statements made during his failed overseas charm offensive.  Rather than showing himself as remotely competent on foreign policy issues, Romney mainly showed himself to be offensive and out of touch.  Fareed Zakaria has a column in the Washington Post that looks at Romney's cluelessness and cultural insensitivity - even prejudice if you will - and ignorance about larger economic issues.  Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Romney just doesn't understand what makes most people - or most countries - tick.   As I have noted before, the more I see of the man, the more contempt I have for him.  Here are some column excerpts:

“Culture makes all the difference,” Romney said at a fundraiser in Israel, comparing the country’s economic vitality to Palestinian poverty. Certainly there is a pedigree for this idea. Romney cited David Landes, an economics historian. He could have cited Max Weber, the great German scholar who first made this claim 100 years ago in his book “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” which argued that Protestant values were the most important fuel for economic progress.
The problem is that Weber singled out two cultures as being particularly prone to poverty and stagnation, those of China and Japan. But these have been the world’s fastest-growing large economies over the past five decades. Over the past two decades, the other powerhouse has been India, which was also described for years as having a culture incompatible with economic success — hence the phrase “the Hindu rate of growth,” to describe the country’s once-moribund state.

Had Romney spent more time reading Milton Friedman, he would have realized that historically the key driver for economic growth has been the adoption of capitalism and its related institutions and policies across diverse cultures.

The link between economic policies and performance can be seen even in the country on which Romney was lavishing praise. Israel had many admirable traits in its early decades, but no one would have called it an economic miracle.  .  .  .  .  The miracle Romney was praising had to do with new policies rather than deep culture.

Despite all this evidence, most people still believe that two cultures in particular, African and Islamic, inhibit economic development. But the two countries that will next achieve a gross domestic product of $1 trillion are both Muslim democracies — Turkey and Indonesia. Of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world today, seven are African. The world is changing, and holding on to fixed views of culture means you will miss its changing dynamics.

GOP and Christofascists Continue Effort to Terrorize Judiciary

Iowa religious extremists who would fit in well with the Taliban together with their political prostitutes in the Republican Party are continuing their efforts to terrorize and intimidate Iowa's judiciary as part of their effort to undermine the United States Constitution and enshrine their hate and ignorance based religious dogmas on all Iowans.   These people truly ought to move to Iran or Saudi Arabia or the hinterland of Pakistan's northwest regions where the self-styled godly folk openly kill and terrorize those who don't subscribe to their religious beliefs.  The mind set is truly the same.  But back to Iowa.  The latest target of the Christofascist lynch mob mentality is Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins who was part of the Court that unanimously struck Iowa's ban against same sex marriage.  As the Des Moines Register reports, the foul forces of the far right are seeking to remove Wiggins from the Court in this November's elections.  Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker (pictured at left - and who probably secretly yearns for some hot man on man action from the looks of him) is leading the charge.  I find the effort frightening and like something one would expect in either an Islamic extremist nation or in Nazi Germany.   These people are a clear and present danger to constitutional government in this nation.  Here are story highlights:

The Republican Party of Iowa’s chairman is pushing for the ouster of one of the authors of a court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa.  Gay marriage instantly became a political hot button in Iowa after the ruling three years ago, but there has been little urgency behind the issue this year.

Chairman A.J. Spiker, in a statement emailed across Iowa this morning, called for Iowans to vote against Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins to “help end the bullying of activist judges once and for all.”  The Nov. 6 general election ballots will ask whether Wiggins should retain his seat on the bench. He is the fourth justice to come up for a retention vote since the court’s unanimous ruling in spring 2009. The first three justices, Marsha Ternus, David Baker and Michael Streit, were ousted by Iowa voters in fall 2010.

Several factors have taken some of the shine off the issue, including the passage of time, according to Iowa political insiders.  Iowans have been targeted with an avalanche of political advertising this summer, but marriage isn’t one of the messages they’re being bombarded with via TV commercials.

The three previous justices thought it was unseemly to campaign for themselves, but Wiggins appears more willing to advocate for his own retention.

Conservatives have unsuccessfully pushed for the Iowa Legislature to allow the public to vote on a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. A majority of Iowans oppose such a ban, a Des Moines Register Iowa Poll in February found.

One can only hope that the effort to remove Wiggins is unsuccessful.  As for Spiker, maybe if he goes to some really dark gay bar and finds someone really, really intoxicated, then he might have a chance to deal with the underlying cause of his homophobia.

Why California - And All States - Must Ban Reparative Therapy

As the title of this blog indicates, I came out in mid-life after literally decades of self-loathing, self-hate and in many ways a yearning to die since death is the only way one ceases to be gay.  Indeed, along my journey toward self-acceptance and coming to terms with my sexual orientation and all the upheaval and pain that involved I tried to take my own life twice and ended up hospitalized on two occasions.  What causes so much pain and misery?  The short answer is religion.  The longer answer is the pernicious myth perpetrated by the Christian Right and now the Roman Catholic Church that gays can "change" and that being gay is a "choice" and that if one tries hard enough, one can be "normal" and straight.  It's all a lie motivated by bigotry, political calculation, and the money to be made by preying on tortured gays and their families.  This myth best symbolized by so-call reparative therapy which has been condemned by every legitimate medical and mental health association in the country.  Sadly, only California is seeking to restrict reparative therapy and even that legislation is woefully watered down and would only truly protect those under the age of 18.  An op-ed in The Advocate that hit a nerve with me and in many ways describes the closeted portion of my life makes the case for banning reparative therapy.  Here are some highlights: 

I’ve known since I was 13 that I was attracted to men, but I buried these feelings after becoming a born-again Christian at 19. For the many years that followed, I lived a faithful straight life – getting married to a wonderful woman, having two beautiful children, and immersing myself in my church.

But, I was fighting a slow, losing battle with my sexual orientation. I was always faithful in my marriage, but I was not able to validate myself for who I really was. In mid-life, as my depression deepened, I turned to a dangerous form of “therapy” that offered to make me straight, but only made me sink deeper into depression and shame. At my lowest point, I considered taking my own life, blaming myself when this “therapy” did not work.

My story is far from unique, and in sharing it I hope to spare others – especially younger people – from the harm caused by so-called “reparative therapy” or "conversion therapy,” which is based on the false belief that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender can be "cured" or “controlled.” Part of this idea is that you can “pray your way” out of being gay.

Calif. Senator Ted Lieu recently introduced a bill – which passed the full Senate on May 30 and will soon move before the full Assembly – that would prohibit mental health practitioners from subjecting young people to any practices to try to change their sexual orientation. I testified in support of the bill, in hopes that my story would show legislators the terrible harm these practices can cause.

In many church communities in large cities and small towns, teenage youth are still being coerced into these harmful practices by well-meaning parents who love their children, but wrongly believe that being LGBT means their child cannot have a happy, productive life. These “reparative therapists” falsely claim they can “reprogram” a young person away from growing up to be LGBT. These are ill-advised, ineffective, and dangerous practices. It is wrong to put this pressure on a young person, who is being “counseled” that such a core aspect of his or her identity is unacceptable and can be changed.

That’s why I have to speak out. These practices amount to medical abuse, attempting to fix a God-given part of who some of us are.  .  .  .  .   Each week, my depression and shame worsened as there was no change in my core orientation, and my therapist offered no other way out, leaving me feeling like a failure.

Completely discouraged, and contemplating taking my own life, I moved on to another therapist for help. Slowly, my new therapist helped me accept myself as a gay man, and helped me free myself to live an emotionally, spiritually, and physically integrated life.

We must all be celebrated for who we were created to be, and I pray that our youth will not be exposed to the disheartening, potentially devastating idea that their sexual orientation can be changed.
I hope the California legislation becomes law.  The bigger question is one of when will Virginia and other states likewise move to ban this insidious and potentially deadly "therapy"?  Given the Virginia GOP's willing prostitution of itself to the hate merchants at The Family Foundation who support reparative therapy, the answer in Virginia is no time soon.  One can only wonder how many suicides will result until this needed ban is implemented.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Is the Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal About to Expolde in Australia?

Thanks to a Google search agent I use, I get daily digests of news stories from around the world.  And the sad reality is that there are stories about the molestation of children and youths - and the ever present efforts by the Church hierarchy to cover up for predator priests - somewhere in the world virtually every single day.  However, things appear about to explode to a new level in Australia where news reports indicate that three of that nation's top Catholic prelates have been exposed for covering up acts of sexual abuse of children and minors.  And contrary to the Church's efforts to always blame the gays for problem, many of the victims are girls.  Personally, as noted before on this blog, I believe the systemic sex abuse problem stems from (i) the Church's bizarre celibacy requirement which originated solely to keep property from being lost from the Church to the families of priests, and (ii) the equally bizarre obsession of the hierarchy and priesthood with all things sexual.   The Sydney Morning Herald looks at the growing calls for a government investigation of the Catholic Church.  Here are highlights:

PRECISELY six months after the paedophile priest Denis McAlinden was reprimanded but not reported by the church over allegations of child sex abuse, Father Brian Lucas told the Wood Royal Commission that ''to engage in a cover-up … is the very worst way of approaching it''.

Now Father Lucas, the general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, is one of three senior Catholic officials being investigated by police detectives over the concealment of McAlinden's offences in the 1990s.  Strike Force Lantle is due to deliver a brief of evidence to prosecutors in the next few weeks.

 Despite an ''admission'' he made to Father Lucas, McAlinden was sent a letter as part of the censure process promising that ''your good name will be protected by the confidential nature of this process''. Archbishop Wilson has declined to undergo a police interview.

''A royal commission must now be urgently established to uncover the full extent of the church's systemic failure to deal with decades of child sexual abuse committed by priests in dioceses in NSW,'' the Greens MP David Shoebridge said.

Hunter man Lou Pirona, whose son John was sexually assaulted by a priest as a child and died last week after leaving a letter saying he was in ''too much pain'', said: ''Any inquiry that unearths the people who did these things to children, and those who hid it, is not only desirable but necessary.''

The Australian Broad Casting Corporation identifies the clerics at the center of the cover up controversy and sketches the scope of the problem as follows:

The priest at the centre of the allegations, Father McAlinden, died in 2005. The three senior leaders facing possible legal action are Father Brian Lucas, retired Bishop Michael Malone, and the Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson. 
SUZANNE SMITH, REPORTER: Strikeforce Lantle has been investigating how the senior leaders in the Church dealt with this priest, Father Dennis McAlinden.  He arrived in Australia in 1949, and for 40 years was transferred from parish to parish as complaints emerged about his behaviour.
 DAVID SHOEBRIDGE, GREENS MLC: Well, we've seen today that there are senior members of the Church who are not talking to police. We now also know this is a systemic failing. It's not just one priest, it's not just one diocese - but there is a systemic failing by the church, and until we have a Royal Commission that uncovers the real truth, then those victims and their families will never have a sense of completion, will never have justice.

Yes, it is the same pattern that has been seen all over the world as the Vatican directed a worldwide criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice and protect vile predators from justice.  And the toll of damages lives of victims likely runs into the hundreds of thousands.  There are few institutions more foul than the Roman catholic Church.  Yet we continue to see politicians - here in America, typically Republicans - kissing the asses of the Catholic bishops rather than calling for investigations, criminal prosecutions, and jail sentences for the horrible morally bankrupt "princes of the Church."

Chick Fil-A Sponsored FRC Lobbied Congress to Support Uganda Kill the Gays Bill

As Joe Jervis at Joe My God correctly observes, Chick Fil-A's funding of anti-gay organizations involves much more than simply opposing same sex marriage.  Beneficiaries of the Chick Fil-A/Cathy family donations like Family Research Council ("FRC") spend significant efforts seeking to stigmatize gays, label all of us as would be pedophiles, and fanning the mindset that all gays are diseased and basically mentally ill.  Patrons of Chick Fil-A - and the voters in the City of Norfolk who helped pay for the $300,000 gift the City made to Chick Fil-A - need to know that a portion of every dollar they spend supports this kind of horrific bigotry and outright dishonesty.  No one is more dishonest and foul than the :godly Christian" crowd.

Democrats: Romney's Foreign Trip Played Horribly In Swing States

Following up on the Washington Post's dishing of Romney's foreign policy exhibition trip, the Democratic National Committee has collected brutal local news reports to prove that the trip played very badly in critical swing states.  Here's a video clip via You Tube:

As a reader on my earlier Romney post stated, Romney's world view is troubling:

In effect they are a version of "blaming the victim."   .   .   .  there are a lot more important reasons for poverty -- and few of them can be overcome by rejecting one's own culture.    .   .   .   .  But Romney [does] understand this? That takes empathy, sensitivity to others, and other traits he lacks to the same extent he lacks tact and the 'common touch.'  

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Mitt Romney: The Superficial America

The criticism of Mitt Romney's less than successful trip abroad to dupe voters into thinking the man has a clue when it comes to foreign policy issues continues.  The Washington Post today blasts Romney in its main editorial.  Personally, the only things the trip did is to prove (i) Romney will pander and say whatever non-substantive platitudes he thinks any particular audience wants to hear, and (ii) Romney is an arrogant ass who thinks his money and privileged life exempt him from having to answer questions like any other candidate should.  Worse yet, he has no serious policy proposals beyond sound bites.  It's as if he's a rewarmed version of Chimperator George W. Bush.  Here are highlights from the Post's editorial:  

What has Mr. Romney revealed about his world view? Not nearly enough.  In broad terms, Mr. Romney has sought to distinguish himself from President Obama by suggesting he would be more muscular in projecting U.S. leadership and power, in what he often depicts as a titanic struggle of good vs. evil. But how would Mr. Romney translate his vision into action? So far, his assertions have been superficial, and sometimes maladroit.

On several issues, Mr. Romney sketched out ambitious goals but said nothing about how he would achieve them. In the VFW address, he vowed to avoid deep cuts in the military budget but offered no clue about the trade-offs or difficult decisions required, while blithely skipping over his own party’s role in the nation’s fiscal train wreck. In Jerusalem, he renewed his pledge to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons — “We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option” — but by what means?  

Mr. Romney sounded the klaxon about China’s violations of human rights and other concerns but offered not a single constructive idea for managing the deeply intertwined relationship with Beijing. He was vague on how he would respond to the upheavals of the Arab Spring.

In London, Mr. Romney expressed doubt about Britain’s readiness to host the Olympic Games, a comment that was bush league but not very consequential. More serious was Mr. Romney’s suggestion that “culture” explains the economic disparity between Israelis and Palestinians, and (for good measure) between Mexico and the United States. His comparison left out restrictions on Palestinian trade, workers and goods imposed by Israel over many years, and, more to the point, he reflected an alarmingly simplistic view of complex questions.

Mr. Romney’s trip ended on an unfortunate note in Warsaw. For days, frustrated journalists have not been permitted to question Mr. Romney. When they shouted questions at a wreath-laying ceremony, a testy spokesman rudely told them to get lost. The spokesman apologized, but the questions were left hanging. With fewer than 100 days until the election, we hope Mr. Romney will come up with serious answers on foreign policy.

Pat Robertson Once Again Denigrates Gays and Democrats

Local loon and snake oil huckster Pat Robertson has once again shot off his bigoted and hate-filled mouth.  This time he's denigrating gays and accusing the Democratic Party of having a "death wish" following a Party committee vote to add marriage equality to the party platform.  Robertson is a long time advocate of special rights and privileges for Christianists and never misses an opportunity to stir up anti-gay animus.  Meanwhile, he's laughed all the way to the bank as he continues to shake down the ignorant and simple minded for money.  Right Wing Watch looks at the latest verbal diarrhea eruption form Robertson. Here are excerpts:

[T]he Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a poll finding that more Americans favor than oppose legalizing same-sex marriage, confirming other polls which show rising support for marriage equality, and the Democratic Party is likely to endorse marriage equality in its party platform. But Pat Robertson today on the 700 Club derided the Democratic Party for having a “death wish” if they decide to back same-sex marriage since they will be “further alienating themselves from the mainstream of America.”

Robertson: About 2% of the population are homosexual, 1% of the population is lesbian. That’s a tiny group and every time this initiative has been brought to the ballot where the people have a chance to vote they vote overwhelmingly in favor of traditional marriage. For the Democrats to go out on that limb, it just seems like to me that they are further alienating themselves from the mainstream of America. If that’s what they want to do, fine, but it will mean the death knell of their party, it seems like to me, and of course that’s what they’re doing but maybe they have a death wish. 

Robertson not surprisingly is an advocate of the "ex-gay" myth and and has been known to repeat the false claim that gays die early because of their "unhealthy lifestyle."   In my book, Robertson has a reserved seat in Hell if such a place exists

Why Did Norfolk Give Chick Fil-A A Secret Sweetheart Deal?

With the controversy over Chick Fil-A and the Cathy family's funding of anti-gay hate groups showing no signs of abating one has to wonder why the City of Norfolk in a secret sweetheart deal gave the anti-gay company a $300,000 taxpayer paid gift.  As the Virginian Pilot reported, the sale was never advertised by the City of Norfolk and involves a sales price that is $1.2 million less than the city paid for the property and at least $300,000 less than investors with a proven track record would have paid for the property.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that there are troubling questions about Chick Fil-A's employment practices: the company is being sued by a woman who says she was fired so that she could "be a stay at home mom" - apparently in good submissive Christian wife fashion; a lawsuit has been confidentially settled by a Muslim employee who says he was fired for refusing to join in pray sessions, and then there are issues of franchises and how they are expected to utilize their Sundays by going to church and spending time with their families, and that those who don’t go along with the Cathy family rule risk having their contracts terminated.  So far, no one for the City has explained why the taxpayer gift to a discriminatory company.  Here are article highlights:

The fast-food chain Chick-fil-A is set to buy a 1.2-acre parcel from the city of Norfolk for $800,000 - less than its assessed value and far less than what the city paid for the property five years ago.  Norfolk purchased the property from the Union Mission Ministries for $2.05 million. It is assessed at $1.01 million.

The proposed sale price is troubling to some, said Henry Conde, president of the Ghent Neighborhood League. There is a fear that the transaction could hurt property values on the next round of assessments.

Ghent businessman Richard Levin said after he learned of the Chick-fil-A deal, he offered the city $1.1 million for the property. He said he did so in part to make a point - that the city should have required that Chick-fil-A "pay market value."  Levin said the sale will depress land values in Ghent.
No council members expressed opposition when the proposal was presented to the City Council three weeks ago. The council at that meeting authorized City Manager Marcus Jones to make a deal with Chick-fil-A, which is based in Atlanta.  "Marcus did that," Councilman Barclay C. Winn said. "Now we have a handshake deal. Not until seven or eight days after he'd given his word did we hear about opposition."

Alice Allen-Grimes, president of the Norfolk Preservation Alliance, said she is concerned that no one knew the property was for sale. It was not listed on the city's website, and no request for proposal was issued for the site.  "There should have been some effort made to ask for proposals," she said. "Who knows who might have come forward if people knew the property was available?"
The whole deal stinks and still there's no explanation from City Council as to who was responsible.  One can only hope that the public becomes educated about the deal and Chick Fil-A's bigotry and boycott the restaurant.

Meanwhile Governor Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell's comment on the Chick Fil-A controversy comes down to a statement that : "I love chicken."  When pressed, McDonnell stated:

Following a pause, the governor continued: "If we start having governments issue permits or zoning changes, or withholding those because of someone's political or religious beliefs, we are going down a very bad road." 

Funny how McDonnell has no problem passing discriminatory laws in Virginia based on religious belief.  But I guess that's OK in McDonnell's book because the Christianists believe they are entitled to special right not available to the rest of us.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More Tuesday Male Beauty

New Pew Survey: 65% of Democrats Support Gay Marriage

Sometimes I feel as if I do nothing but talk about gay marriage related issues.  But the views on gay marriage are in many ways a litmus test on a number of issues be they religious, political and even economic.  The Neanderthals and those yearning for a Middle Ages society - and self-loathing gays such as those at the Vatican - oppose it while moderates and liberals and those not terrified by change and/or the future support it.  A new Pew Survey found that 65% of Democrats support marriage equality in contrast to only 24% of Republicans who are supportive.  Here are highlights from Politico:

A new poll shows that the partisan gap over same-sex marriage continues to widen, with 65 percent of Democrats now supporting it compared to 24 percent of Republicans.

The Pew Research Center poll found an increase in support among Democrats after President Barack Obama's announcement in May that he favored same-sex marriage. A poll taken in April found 59 percent of Democrats in support.

The latest poll was released a day after Democratic Party leaders said they intended to add support for gay marriage to the party platform at the Democratic National Convention in early September.

At the time of the previous convention, in 2008, 50 percent of Democrats favored legalizing gay marriage, while 42 percent were opposed.  In the new poll, only 29 percent of Democrats were opposed.
The Pew Research Center also had some other findings of interest:

Those who believe homosexuality is something people are born with have consistently been the most supportive of gay marriage, and that support has risen substantially in recent years, to 76% in the new poll. By comparison, there has been little change among those who say homosexuality is the way that some people prefer to live; 63% of this group opposes gay marriage.

A large portion of the growth in acceptance of gay marriage over the past two decades is the result of generational replacement -- the arrival of younger, more supportive generations making up a larger share of the population. But the pace of change in support for gay marriage has increased in recent years across generational lines. Millennials have consistently been the most supportive of gay marriage, but even here the share in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to marry has jumped from 54% to 63% since 2008. Similarly, support is up from 44% to 52% in Generation X.

These findings demonstrate why the Christian Right continues to desperately keep the fraudulent "ex-gay" lie alive.  They also once again suggest that long term opposition to same sex marriage may be a slow form of suicide for the GOP as the older gay hating generations literally die off.

Connecticut Federal Judge Rules DOMA Is Unconstitutional

Today was another bad day for the Christofascists and their political prostitutes in the GOP who continue to support DOMA as part of their agenda to keep LGBT relationships stigmatized and subject to legal discrimination solely because we dare to refuse to conform to Christianists religious beliefs.  Yet another federal judge - this time in Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management - has ruled that DOMA violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.  The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are pictured above.  No doubt folks like Maggie Gallagher and Tony Perkins are whining once again about "activist judges" when it is they themselves who seek to subvert the Constitution.  The Advocate has details.  Here are some excerpts:

A federal judge in Connecticut has ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act in a challenge brought by married same-sex couples.

Judge Vanessa Bryant ruled in the case, Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, that the 1996 law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages violates the Equal Protection Clause found in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The plaintiffs are being represented by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, while the House Republican-controlled Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) has intervened to defend DOMA.

In the ruling that ran more than 100 pages, Judge Bryant, a George W. Bush appointee, concluded that, “having considered the purported rational bases proffered by both BLAG and Congress and concluded that such objectives bear no rational relationship to Section 3 of DOMA as a legislative scheme, the Court finds that no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision.  The provision therefore violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
As I have said many times before the only thing that supports DOMA is religious based discrimination - something that is illegal and unconstitutional.  The special rights granted to conservative Christianity need to end.