In Maine, Gays Now Can’t Marry

November 4, 2009

It’s time to stop pretending. Read the cards on the table.  A woman’s party, a third force capable of representing the interests of all women by throwing it’s weight behind a common goal, is a pipe dream.  At least for now.  The results of Maine’s Question1, the anti-gay marriage initiative, has nailed the coffin shut on that slender hope.

Behold-the Eagle Forum. Continue to disregard them at your peril. Eagle Forum hate-a-rama is no surprise.  Concerned Maine Families is no surprise.  How about Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition?  The usual suspects. That Linda Bean Folkers, heiress to the L.L. Bean fortune, was a contributor was a (mini) shock since it’s so about mountains and streams and such(the company distances itself from her positions). What other head slappers are there?

Reprise proposition gay H8te in California.

Reprise the demolition of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Obama and Rick Warren

helped overturn marriage equality

heiress to L.L. Bean fortune

Once again, like a clockwork money machine, the Phyllis Schlafly brigade of right wing throwbacks, bigots and belligerents marched in and snatched the ice cream cone right out of the gay baby’s hand,  leaving a shit storm of rage in their wake.  They’re pretty happy right now. And this time the voters were white.  So don’t blame just the Black bigots for hating on gays. Phyllis could whack the handful of black voters with a flyswatter.

The failure of the “fierce” gay advocate currently occupying the White House, to take a stand, was surely part of the mix.  He handed the treasury to those fu&%#@s with his asinine “faith based initiative”.  Somebody wants to move both parties rightward.  So we’re on our own.

This time there is no one to blame but the neo-conservative and fundamentalist religious movement; a stealthy coalition energized by women against women, who represent the interests of anti-feminist men. They are not our friends.  Obama, hate him or loathe him, but the enemy of my enemy is for damn sure not my friend.

Michele Bachmann

Bachmann-right wing nutjob

SO HEY, NEO-FEMINISTS OF THE NO-PARTY PARTY!  YOU WANT WOMEN TO VOTE FOR WHOM?

JUST CLOSE MY EYES AND VOTE FEMALE, you say!  Vote the nutbags.Vote the haters?

Mark the old x next to Bachmann or Palin. Riiight. It will only hurt after the morphine wears off. But wait, do they even believe in morphine?

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Why Farrah Fawcett Is A Feminist Issue

June 26, 2009
Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett

Farah Fawcett is dead.  The 1970’s blond bimbo Charlie’s Angels teevee star who transformed herself at mid career into a talented actress has died of a disease so horrible I’m almost glad I had never heard of it:  Anal cancer that spread to other vital organs.  This type of cancer has a high correlation with the human pappilloma virus, HPV.  To the Phyllis Schlafly’s of the world Farah Fawcett’s life and death must look scandalous.

That is why Ms. Fawcett’s death is a feminist issue.

For the right wing there are just two possibilities for women: Conventional man-on-top marriage or disease, disgrace and death.  Take your pick.

A couple of years ago there was talk of immunizing girls against the risks of HPV caused cervical cancer with Guardasil, a Merck product.  “Defenders” of the “family” such as Phyllis Schlafly contend that HPV can only be contracted from an unchaste, and presumably unmarried, partner.  Therefore, as expected, the religious right concealed its true anti sex education agenda with claims that Guardasil was bad for women’s health.  It put forward its usual antidote for all issues sexual.  Here’s what Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum had to add to the conversation on HPV:

A 100% effective means of protection against … diseases is freely available, and it is abstinence (emphasis mine).

This abstinence only proscription dealing with disease has also produced painful results in Africa, where religious zealots Rick Warren and Pat Robinson deliver the Gospel, dramatically increasing the HIV/AIDS rate among women, obliged to have sexual relations with their infected men.

The religious right fought convenient contraception and the post-coital drug RU 486 on health grounds as well. But their real aim is obvious.  Read the language describing the action of the drug:

That initial action causes the lining of the uterus to release the embryonic child. A second drug, known as misoprostol, is taken two days after mifepristone and causes the uterus to contract, expelling the baby, (emphasis mine).

Much of the “abortion” debate is cloaked in concern for health issues such as this alarm over FDA inspections in  China:

We do know that Shanghai is the sole supplier to the United States of the abortion pill, Mifepristone, known as RU-486. The FDA had previously concealed the source of RU-486…

Or this:

Free trade is not only bringing us contaminated drugs and foods, but soon could bring us the products of embryonic stem cell transfers (aka cloning).

Does Phyllis oppose free trade and globalization or just stem cell research?  Hard to figure.

The religious right’s argument in favor of abstinence also permeates their position against sex discrimination and animates much prejudice against public school  curricula, the teaching of evolutionary and biological science, as well as other “socialistic” subjects.

For the far right-

Marriage=sex=children=happiness=private enterprise=the controlling formula in the “choice” debate.  Here is Phyllis making the case for marriage+capitalism at all costs.  That’s why female conservatives fought and beat the ERA:

Another theory could be the increase in easy divorce and illegitimacy (now 40 percent of American births are to single moms), which means that millions of women are raising kids without a husband and therefore expect Big Brother government to substitute as provider. The 2008 election returns showed that 70 percent of unmarried women voted for Barack Obama, perhaps hoping to be beneficiaries of his “spread the wealth” policies…..

In the pre-1970 era, when surveys showed women with higher levels of happiness, most men held jobs that enabled their wives to be fulltime homemakers. The private enterprise system constantly produces goods that make household work and kiddie care easier (such as dryers, dishwashers and paper diapers).

Here’s a FOX channel video of Phyllis speaking about the defeat of the ERA:

STOP ERA rally

Wow.

I don’t know whose universe she’s living in (yes, I do) but there is no boundary here between sex and capitalism, with comfortable, stay-at-home women the consumers, and you know who running the world.

There is plenty of talk about women putting aside differences over abortion to form a neutral voting block that can simply advocate for women’s rights.  That sounds good.  But among other non-starter stumbling blocks on the road to non-partisan kumbaya (such as just about everything) is the barricade that must never be surrendered, choice.

Choice isn’t just Rove v. Wade.  Reproductive choice for women is the sine qua non of other choices: to be married or not; to have sex or not; to go to work or not; to have a career or not; to accept bad treatment within a relationship or not.  The prevalence of unmarried women in the workplace has removed much of the stigma associated with divorce, Lesbianism  and the terrible shame once known as “spinsterhood”.

What the religious right opposes is not just “choice”, it’s choices. That’s clear.

I wonder what Phyllis Schlafly would have to say about Farrah Fawcett.


Got religion? The Middle Way-Agnosticism

June 6, 2009

Somewhere in the Bible, I’ve heard, there is a story about the battle between Satan and his supporters and God and his holy host of supporters.  During or after the battle the neutral angels, those taking no part in the fight were the ones who chose the middle way, brought the Holy Grail to earth.  Of course I can’t swear to the facts on this story, as I am not a Bible scholar nor Biblical historian.  Nonetheless, the metaphor of the “middle way” is what I’m after.  The religious and scriptural battles in the world today caused me to ruminate on an old idea.

This is my point:

Islam v. Christianity

Christianity v. Islam

Judaism v. Islam

Islam v. Judaism

Christianity v. Judaism

Judaism v. Christianity

monotheists v. pantheists

heathen v. believer

theists (meaning everybody) v. atheists

shirts v. skins

As Rodney King said, after he recovered from his beating, “Can’t we all just get along?”  The answer to that question must be a resounding “NO”. The battle against reason has been joined by the multitudes and it is not going well.  The evil angels of other faiths and those of too little faith are destroying the world. OK, if you say so.

Is the antidote for fanatical religion even more of  or a different fanatical religion?  I don’t think so. Why not just chuck it all?  That’s a dangerous concept since the most hated of all of the religions, one great uniting principle of all religious maniacs is a common goal,  the suppression of reason and the non-believer.  If one stubbornly resists indoctrination in one area, he/she may reject it in others.

There is a strong argument to be made for agnosticism, atheism or secularism in the public sphere.

I don’t mean fall back rigidly on dialectical materialism or communism, at its worst worshiping statism and materialism or fascism, worshipping occultism, racism and romantic nationalism.  I mean the abandonment of “isms” as much as possible as illogical and obscuritanist.

Debates about “faith” or the lack of it, can be disturbing or amusing.  Here’s a fascinating discussion between Rick Warren (confirmed hypocrite) leader of the Saddleback evangelical church and Sam Harris, neuroscientist (don’t know if he’s a hypocrite).  And yes, for the Islamophobes in the house, the Qur’an is included in the debate, no monotheistic religion is neglected.

Let the agnostics and atheists have their say.  Good video here.

Atheism and agnosticism are like homosexuality in that one can own up to it in a fairly safe environment. But there have been some famous atheists and agnostics.  A sample:

  • Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentine writer. Borges said:
  • “Being an agnostic means all things are possible, even God, even the Holy Trinity. This world is so strange that anything may happen, or may not happen. Being an agnostic makes me live in a larger, a more fantastic kind of world, almost uncanny. It makes me more tolerant.”

Aaronovitch, Dav

David Arronovitch 1954–
Journalist
British journalist, author and broadcaster.
“Like most of the Godless (or Godfree), I have no desire to proselytise for atheism or to persuade people out of religions that may offer them comfort and companionship.” “What makes me think I “can reduce the function of religion to the provision of ‘comfort and companionship'” instead of seeing it as a “public truth”? Being an atheist, I suppose. I see religion as a cultural and psychological construct, which fulfils certain almost universal needs and which, as a consequence, I am disinclined to condemn.”

Ali, Ayaan HirsiAyaan Hirsi Ali

1969–
Activist
Dutch feminist and politician, a prominent critic of Islam, whose screenplay for the movie Submission led to death threats.
“Too much reason can reform a faith away, which would be fine with Hirsi Ali, who regards herself as an atheist.”



Obama’s Gay Problem And The Religious Right

May 29, 2009

Writer Maya Angelou famously said : “If someone tells you who he is, believe him.”

This  common sense observation is  usually ignored in the arenas of  love and politics. It applies to no one more  than political chameleon and all-around love god, Barack Obama. BHObamania

We should believe Barack Obama because he has resoundingly  informed us  of what he is: bully, cheater, liar, misogynist, homophobe, manipulator, deceiver, opportunist, cynic, torturer, war-monger, corporatist, globalist.

He also has shouted  through a bullhorn what he is not: progressive, inclusive, liberal, committed, decent, principled, honest, christian, muslim, socialist, feminist, LGBT friendly, environmental activist.

Obama and the democratic party want to break up the social issues constituencies of the fragmented 1960s and settle them into a homogenized, vaguely moderate, hopey-dopey sing-a-long chorus concerned with main stream economic issues and suburban consumerism.  Ain’t gonna happen.

No on Prop 8 protest

No on Prop 8 protest

Since the California Supreme Court upheld the marriage rights busting constitutional amendment, Proposition 8, Obama’s Obamachatter propaganda site, The Huffington Post, has rushed to defend Dear Leader from his critics, repeating the false meme that Obama and Co. are interested in championing their constituents’ rights or fulfilling their campaign promises.

Lincoln Mitchell has hurried to place the blame for Proposition 8 squarely where it doesn’t belong, on 6 of 7 of the court’s Republican gubernatorial appointees. On its face this apologia is absurd as the same court, by a simple majority, recently overturned the marriage equality restrictions of Proposition 22.  The difference in the two outcomes probably has more to do with the religious right’s vocal threat to oust the jurists if they overturned the proposition, than any ideological stand on the issue.

This week, California showed us the judicial past where courts dominated by conservatives, unrepresentative of the people for whom they are determining laws, restrict constitutional rights. Judge Sotomayor and President Obama showed us the future. The Republicans must be aware of this too, but their desperation to try to stop this progress is already showing.

Oy!

HB fundraiser

BH fundraiser

However, in the same issue, an article by Jason Linkins, revealed in New York Times coverage, the real Obama, at a Beverly Hills fundraiser, last night:

a gaggle of sign-waving protesters milled around outside The Beverly Hilton, the sprawling hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. They must have caught the president’s eye when he arrived at the hotel from an earlier stop in Las Vegas because he relayed one of their messages to the crowd.

The Obareporter seemed here to titter along with Dear Leader,

“One of them said, “Obama keep your promise,’ ” the president said. “I thought that’s fair. I don’t know which promise he was talking about.

Hehehe.  Yeah, all politicians are cynical and two-faced but the calculation and public nature of Obama’s falsehoods must be unprecedented in modern politics.

The people in the audience (“gay friendly” fauxgressives?) – who paid $30,400 per couple to attend – laughed as they ate a dinner of roasted tenderloin, grilled organic chicken and sun choke rosemary mashed potatoes.

It’s easy to forget that as recently as June 28, 2008, while campaigning for candidate Obama, his wife Michelle said this in front of a large group of enthusiastic and well off gays:

….she used the phrase, “from Selma to Stonewall,” to connect the gay and civil rights movements.

Oy! Oy! OY!

continuing with the article:

….and his call as a U.S. Senator for a complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages and relieves states of any obligation to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

If elected, Obama said that her husband would reverse laws such as DOMA, end the prohibition against gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, advance stalled legislation to protect the LGBT community against hate crimes and workplace discrimination, and work to achieve equal rights for gay and lesbian families.

“Barack has made crystal clear his commitment to ensuring full equality for LGBT couples,” she said. “That’s why he supports robust civil unions. That is why he has said that the federal government should not stand in the way of the states that want to decide for themselves how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples, whether that means domestic partnerships, civil unions or civil marriage.” She noted his opposition to the November ballot initiative in California that would overturn the recent court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

No applause now.  No need here to go into the depravity of Obama’s painfully “nuanced” sell-out  positions on choice, (abortion), women’s rights, LGBT rights, but evidently, the desire to be in Obie’s inner circle obviates all rational assessment of of his no position positions and cynical duplicity.

One must be vigilent 24/7 to keep up with the Obie cynicism machine.

It’s no secret that Obama made deals with the right wing Christian oligarchy to get elected.  It’s also no secret that he courted the same groups and placed them in positions of power and influence, appointing, James Dobson (Focus on the Family) follower Joshua DuBois to head a revitalized Bush era religious council with his new Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  He also hired John DiIulio, as second in command, and a top professional in Bush’s religious outreach.  But this ugly scheme was way worse than it seemed although the Obie religious spokesmen were gushing

“In President Obama, you have somebody who is not only religiously knowledgeable, thoughtful, open and sensitive himself,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, head of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and a critic of the Bush faith-based office. “You also have somebody who understands constitutional law….”

OK.  He knows about constitutional law, he just doesn’t care about it.

Obama and Warren

Obama and Warren

The really interesting insight into Obama’s unprincipled nature comes from Max Blumenthal (the same Blumenthal who outed Rick Warren’s Africa HIV/AIDS scam in The Daily Beast) writing July 8, 2008, this time for The Nation:

Obama has made a major effort to woo evangelicals, but at what cost to church-state separation?

On June 10, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama convened a meeting in a law office in downtown Chicago with a wide array of about thirty evangelical leaders, in an unprecedented effort to win their support. Obama insisted that the meeting remain entirely off the record, forbidding participants from disclosing his statements to the press. His campaign has kept the names of attendees a closely guarded secret. But through interviews with participants and overlooked statements in obscure publications of the Christian press, a first-hand picture of the meeting emerges, starkly at odds with the news reports that accepted the formal version at face value.

Where was the MSM on this coverage?  From the article:

Franklin Graham, son of the evangelical icon Billy Graham and head of the international Christian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, was seated next to Obama at the meeting. He peppered Obama with pointed questions, repeatedly demanding to know if the senator believed that “Jesus was the way to God or merely a way.” Graham, who once incited an international controversy by calling Islam a “very evil and wicked religion,” proceeded to inquire about the Muslim faith of Obama’s father, suggesting that Obama himself may be a Muslim.

“They focused on abortion, gay marriage, and then Franklin Graham tried to get Senator Obama saved,” said Rev. Eugene Rivers, an African-American pastor from Boston who attended the meeting. Rivers told the Religion News Service that Graham pointedly questioned Obama’s “father’s connections to Islam.” Obama reportedly said of his father, “The least of things he was was Islamic.

Stephen Strang, a right-wing Pentecostal, was among those invited to Obama’s meeting. He is the multimillionaire publisher of Charisma, an evangelical magazine, and a signatory of the World Evangelical Alliance statement urging evangelization of Jews. In naming him one of the twenty-five “most influential evangelicals in America,” Time called Strang “a Bush favorite ever since his homegrown Christian publishing house, Strang Communications, released The Faith of George W. Bush, the first spiritual biography of the President, in 2003.” “We didn’t write it to help Bush, but it no doubt helped elect him,” declares Strang. He is also a close associate of controversial End Times theology proponent Pastor John Hagee….

T.D. Jakes Church

T.D. Jakes Church

Obama also moved to convince T.D. Jakes to get the African-American fauxchristians on board.  From the article:

Besides Strang, Graham and Rivers, attendees at the meeting included conservative Christianity Today editor David Neff, Evangelical Lutheran Church President Mark Hanson, conservative legal scholar and Reagan Justice Department official Doug Kmiec — who has been denied communion for his support for Obama — and T.D. Jakes, the Dallas-based African-American Pentecostal mega-church pastor who has supplanted the black church’s traditional social justice teachings with “prosperity gospel” theology, preaching faith as the way to the promised land of wealth and status.

Billy and Franklin Graham

Billy and Franklin Graham

Another influential African-American prosperity gospel pastor, Kirbyjon Caldwell, attended the June 10 meeting with Obama…. Caldwell, a former bond dealer who founded the country’s largest Methodist congregation, the Houston-based Windsor Village, has been among George W. Bush’s most vocal and visible black backers. He introduced Bush at the 2000 Republican National Convention, delivered the benedictions at his 2001 and 2005 inaugural ceremonies and presided over the wedding ceremony of Jenna Bush. Bush has rewarded Caldwell’s good works by lavishing his missions with federal faith-based grants….

But almost as soon as Obama declared his campaign for the presidency, Caldwell broke from the GOP, delivering a roaring endorsement for the Democrat from Illinois, hailing him for his “character, confidence and courage.” …Just days after Obama delivered a speech criticizing homophobia in the black church, some gay bloggers revealed that Caldwell’s own Windsor Village church hosted a ministry that, according to its website, was “created to provide Christ centered instruction for those seeking freedom from homosexuality.”

Caldwell’s congregation scrubbed all mention of it from its website.

Mara Vanderslice has been called the “faith guru” by The Hill in Washington, DC. Her consulting firm, Common Good Strategies, recently formed a political action committee, the Matthew 25 Network, to advocate on Obama’s behalf. In the past, Vanderslice has advised her clients not only to downplay their support for abortion rights and gay rights but also never to use the phrase “separation of church and state.” Hired by Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004, she ultimately found herself sidelined.

J. Dobson Focus on the Family

J. Dobson Focus on the Family

James Dobson stepped up to say that Obama was dragging Biblical teaching through the mud. He didn’t like McCain, either.  Here’s a snippet.

Even Charles Colson, and Watergate burglar in chief, G. Gordon Liddy have gotten in on the gay hate act with their Prison Ministries.  Murphy at Pumapac.org. outed him on his issues.

Meanwhile, candidate McCain got busy flogging the chiristian imperium for votes.

Washington Post/ABC News poll taken in June is any indication, McCain has cause for confidence; he trounced Obama among white evangelical voters by a margin of 68 to 22 percent. But there remains a question of turnout for McCain .

Of course, we know now that the Christian turnout for McCain was unusually tepid and Obama was able to make great and continuing inroads into the religious community.  The question is, how far can he go in that direction before he’s of no further use to the other constituencies that elected him?

“McCain won’t have any trouble convincing evangelicals he’s on their side,” Warren Smith, the editor of Evangelical Press News Service, says. “The only reason they’re holding back their support is to see how much they can get out of him.”

We know how it turned out.  Obama must have been a better sugar daddy.


PEPFAR-Rick Warren’s HIV/AIDS Africa Program

March 9, 2009

Rick Warren is a jerk.  I don’t care what Obama says about his good pastor friend, or how many excuses Melissa Etheridge makes on the man’s behalf.  Finding a reason to respect him can be a problem and it’s not because he’s narrow and bigoted against women and the LGBT communities. It’ s becasue those qualities in a person with that much power can be and have been lethal.

Much has been said about Warren’s HIV/AIDS work in Africa.  Obama praised the pastor to the rafters for his drug treatment efforts and outreach to the vast number of AIDS related orphans

But the faith-based solution naturally brought with it skewed policies that limited prevention options and led to what Jacobson calls the “profoundly ineffective” spending of AIDS money: with $20 billion spent on treatment over the past five years, but six new infections for every person treated. “No one doesn’t want people to have access to treatment,” she says. “But my argument is about the tradeoff. You can’t treat your way out of this epidemic.”

The new faith-based arm of the AIDS movement Warren had energized asked for, and got, a number of obstacles to prevention services: a prohibition on needle exchange programs for drug users; a ban family planning services in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission clinics; and the anti-prostitution loyalty oath, which required all groups receiving PEPFAR funding, including those that work with sex workers, to condemn prostitution.

Warren’s assurances to the backers of World Net Daily, a conglomerate of wealthy, religious reactionaries intent on converting secular/governmental institutions into  those with a religious agenda

his number one priority in his AIDS work was the salvation of non-Christians.  Warren has made clear that his collaboration with non-evangelical AIDS activists wouldn’t lead him to compromise on his biblical convictions.

Efforts were made by progressives to change Warrens faith based focus to a science based criteria

The response of Warren and his fellow conservative PEPFAR supporters was cynical and swift. Staging a press conference on the day of the National Prayer Breakfast, four days before Lantos’s death, Warren joined a menagerie of stalwart anti-choice leaders, including Reps. Chris Smith, Marilyn Musgrave and Joe Pitts, and activists Wendy Wright, Chuck Colson and Day Gardner. The group declared that the Lantos revision would “pour billions into the hands of abortion providers with little or no regard for the pro-life, pro-family cultures of recipient countries,” strip abstinence programs of their funding and, by lifting the prostitution pledge, enable the sex trafficking of women. Lantos’s reauthorization bill lost every point on reproductive health, and PEPFAR was reauthorized in its flawed state.

It would be interesting to find out how this exceptionally flawed bill passed again with a majority of Democrats in the congress in 2008.

The HIV/AIDS programs instituted by Warren’s proteges included these:

offering faith-healing to disease-stricken congregants. Other PEPFAR grantees, as Jacobson’s colleagues in the global AIDS movement have witnessed, use their funds to promote fundamentalist interpretations of marital roles, advising women that if their husbands beat them, they should try harder to please them.

And this is the kicker:

Warren further entangles religion and treatment in his very own “Purpose-Driven Nation,” Rwanda. He offered to extend an undisclosed amount of aid to the country if it adopted his bestselling book as an action plan for the nation, using churches as centers for capacity building and American evangelical leaders as medical and development advisors to the Rwandan parliament.

Read the entire article here.

Obama has renewed PEPFAR with some of the same restrictions which existed in the Bush program, but Dr. Dybul, who headed the funds dispersals, and controversial in his own right resigned his post after Hillary Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State.

Dr. Dybul’s departure was both celebrated and condemned.

Jodi Jacobson, a former head of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, which wants financing for all aspects of women’s reproductive health, including abortion, wrote a blog post titled “Dybul Out: Thank You Hillary!!!” It argued that he had worked too closely with the far right, and she accused him of lobbying to please the Roman Catholic Church by letting its relief groups refrain from distributing condoms.

Michael Gerson, a former Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist, shot back that “blogging extremists” like Ms. Jacobson had lied about Dr. Dybul’s record.

At the heart of the debate was the difficult bipartisan compromise behind Mr. Bush’s AIDS plan. It is the darling of two groups that normally oppose each other: foreign policy liberals who want to help Africa and evangelical Christians who support mission hospitals there.

Dr. Dybul was straddling some personal fences too: he was one of the Bush administration’s few openly gay officials, a doctor who had treated AIDS patients in San Francisco and Africa, and he had donated to Democratic causes.