June 30, 2011

GAY ACTIVISTS BAPTIZE HRC RETAIL STORE WITH PINK PAINT

TO COMMEMORATE STONEWALL RIOTS (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)


Washington, DCEarly Wednesday morning, The Right Honorable Wicked Stepmothers' Traveling, Drinking and Debating Society and Men's Auxiliary (TRHWSTDDSMA), commemorated the seminal moment that gave birth to the modern gay rights movement, the Stonewall Riots, by baptising the HRC Retail Store in the District's Dupont Circle neighborhood, with pink paint.

In the Washington Blade news article describing this event, HRC released a statement.
Michael Cole-Schwartz, Director of Communications for the Human Rights Campaign, said in response to the vandalism, “HRC’s DC Action Center and Store was vandalized last night with paint on the front windows and an LGBT group has claimed responsibility for the crime. It’s unfortunate that after a marriage win in New York that represented an unprecedented coming together of LGBT groups, some are more interested in fostering division in the community.”

 (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

TRHWSTDDSMA posted a statement online, claiming responsibility, and outlining why they chose the HRC Retail store to be baptised.
Why, you're asking, did we specifically target the HRC, a massive national gay rights non-profit as opposed to vomiting urine on Rick Santorum or something equally fun? Put simply, they suck. What do they suck? Cash. Lots of it.
The HRC rakes in something approaching 50 million dollars a year in revenue--their executive director, Joe Salmonellamayonaisemanese pulls in a salary of several hundred grand. What have we gotten out of this bloated carcass? Not a thing worth mentioning and every now and then, they eagerly sell trans people up the river. Seriously, this is an organization that hordes money and does nothing useful. It's a sad, sick dinosaur.
Meanwhile, in Washington, DC violence against the LGBT community is on the rise; DC's only LGBT center is forced to go hat in hand to real estate developers and beg for space, only to face eviction a few years down the road; We lack a homeless shelter for queer youth and services for our community are the victims of budget cuts. Can you think of something better to do with a few million dollars?
(Photo Credit: The New Gay) 
Everyone: We know you mean well, but stop giving these idiots your money. Stop putting that equal sticker on your car. Stop going to their lame galas. And for the love of Judy Garland's Ghost and Robert Mapplethorpe's Zombie Bones, stop saying "It Gets Better" and hoping for a miracle from up on high. We don't expect you to riot (although we swear you'll love it once you get going!) but it's time for us to quit with the passivity, move to action, build community and care for each other instead of hoping the Gay Non-Profit Industrial Complex will ever get anything done.
HRC had revenue of $34.6 million dollars in 2009 (HRC, Inc. $26.9M plus HRC Foundation $7.7M), which is 30% less than TRHWSTDDSMA claim of $50M, but still significant nevertheless. HRC's revenue in 2009 was 18% less than 2008, when they reported $41.8M total revenue.

The HRC spokesman characterized the NY State Marriage Equality measure as a “marriage win” with an “unprecedented coming together of LGBT groups” and insinuates that the baptism is divisive and “fostering division.” Is HRC trying to take credit for the legislative victory in New York? Is HRC hitching their double wide onto the trailer hitch of the groups actually responsible for the passage of the marriage equality measure?

I wonder what has to happen for HRC to have a dialogue with the entire community? And how effective is HRC, founded in 1980 (30+ years), in achieving it's goals?

In the United States of America, 12 States and the District of Columbia, prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. ONLY 12 states or 23.5% have protections for taxpayers who are gay or trans-gender, which is a failing grade. There are 9 additional states that have anti-discrimination statutes that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. If we're feeling generous, and want to grade on a curve, 21 or 44% of states, and D.C., have some sort of anti-discrimination measure. HRC still gets an F!

On the Federal level, there are no protections at all. A zero grade should get them thrown off campus! HRC had revenues of $76.4 million dollars in 2008-09, and have yet to achieve any significant victory. F++

I think TRHWSTDDSMA has a pretty cogent point for everyone to consider. How long does the LGBT community continue to support HRC with donations, when they are so ineffective in what they do?

In 2008 HRC famously supported the sexual-orientation only Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. In 2009 their revenue took a hit. Is it the economy? Or are people waking up?

There is a small advocacy group in Washington, with a fraction of the resources that HRC has available to them, and yet they are hugely successful. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) took the lead on Don't Ask Don't Tell, and they succeeded! Their revenue in 2010 was $3.6 million dollars. I would give them an A + for their effectiveness. Look at the SLDN website, and note the transparency that this organization embraces. They don't hide financial information, they post everything you could possibly want to know about this charity, right on their website. You don't have to write an obscure employee for information, everything is spelled out in blue and white. Quite frankly SLDN's approach is refreshing, and this organization should be a model for HRC and GLAAD to emulate.

Are you looking for an organization to make a donation to, that's clear about it's goals, and is effective with it's message? Give to SLDN. They deserve, and appreciate our support.

There are blogs, and media outlets, describing TRHWSTDDSMA as radicals, extremists, and vandals. I think that's sanctimonious bullshit. How can we praise and celebrate rioting in New York 40+ years ago with festivals and parades, and then criticize a group looking for leadership, answers and representation? As for TRHWSTDDSMA, I say ROCK ON!





Written and posted by Haightmale on the blog "Tie-dyed Jive in the (415)"


http://haightmale.blogspot.com/

June 29, 2011

CAN GLAAD SURVIVE? $2.5 MILLION LOSS 2007 – 2009 REFLECTS BOARD MISMANAGEMENT


IS GLAAD A GOING CONCERN?
Los Angeles, CA: The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is one of the most visible charitable organizations in the gay community. GLAAD produces star-studded award ceremonies in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, annually. They monitor gay portrayals in television and film, and they call out television networks, production companies, and media publications, including newspapers and magazines, if they feel their deeds or actions slight, defame, or misrepresent the LGBT community.

Most recently GLAAD has been facilitating Tracy Morgan's introduction to members of our community, who have experienced becoming homeless due to family rejection as a result of one's sexuality, victims of gay bashing, and other transgressions, that have been caused by being LGBT.
According to IRS Form 990, filed with the IRS, GLAAD received $7 million dollars in contributions and grants in 2007, $14 million dollars in contributions and grants in 2008, and $5 million dollars in contributions and and grants in 2009. Figures for 2010 are not available. According to the audited Financial Statement for 2008, GLAAD received an $8 million dollar bequest from a donor, which is why the 2008 contributions are so large. After taking the donor's charitable trust out of the equation, GLAAD's contributions have been declining approximately $1 million dollars a year from 2007 - 2009.
GLAAD's income and expenses are recorded using the accrual method of accounting. Most organizations utilize this method, because you book transactions as they occur, which gives a more accurate income statement and balance sheet, than employing cash-basis accounting. One large drawback of accrual basis accounting exists when evaluating financial statements, because revenue is recorded when a transaction occurs, and not when the cash is collected. Therefore, you do not get a true reflection of whether you have enough cash to cover operating expenses., at any given time.
GLAAD has experienced a 29% reduction in contributions from 2007 to 2005. In 2007 GLAAD had revenue of $7M, expenses totalling $7.5, and lost $400K.
The charitable trust that bequeathed $8 million dollars to GLAAD in 2008, will be paid quarterly over an eight year period. This $8 million dollars in revenue is reflected in 2008, despite the remittances being paid over 8 years. If you subtract this income from GLAAD in 2008, add 1/8th of this income to donations and contributions of $6.1 million which totals $7.1 million in actual revenue, with expenses totalling $8.7 million, you will see how GLAAD lost $1.6 million in 2008. In 2007 and 2008 combined, GLAAD lost $2 million dollars.
In 2009 revenue was $5.1 million, while expenses totalled $6.6 million. If you add the actual revenue as outlined above (adding the $1.0M bequest), the loss was $500K. From 2007 through 2009, GLAAD has lost $2.5 million dollars.
In 2008 payroll costs were $4.2 million, or 60% of revenue. Rent, office expenses, advertising, IT, and travel, consumed another $2.7 million. For each dollar donated to GLAAD in 2008, 97% or 97 cents went to administrative costs and overhead. In 2009 payroll costs were $3.3 million, which represented 56% of revenue. Rent, office expenses, advertising, IT, and travel, consumed another $1.8 million. The $5.1 million in contributions, plus the $1 million bequest, represents 84% of income, or 84 cents of each dollar went to salaries and overhead.
There are additional expenses related to outside services, where GLAAD contracts with different vendors to supply goods and services, including the GLAAD Awards, that have not been included in the above figures. Are people comfortable making donations to a charitable organization that gobbles between 84% and 97% or more, toward administrative costs and salaries?

The real question to be answered, is GLAAD an organization that will survive current economic struggles? Does GLAAD have the ability to continue functioning as a business and charitable entity beyond the next year? Are there any factors that may put the company's status as a going concern in doubt? It is incumbent upon the accounting firm, and the GLAAD Board, to disclose in their audited financial statements for 2010, whether material uncertainties exist as to whether GLAAD can continue to operate. After examining the financial information available publicly, I would have to conclude that material uncertainties are present, particularly in light of the negative operating results over the past 3 years.
As hard as it may be, forget about the "Barrios Coronado AT&T gate" scandal right now. As troubling as that may be, the financial mismanagement of GLAAD, by the leadership and Board, over the last 4+ years, is what is destroying this once noble organization.
Whether there are 31 Board members (2008), or 36 Board members (2009), or the 22 Board members currently reflected on the GLAAD website, who should be held responsible for the mismanagement of contributions? The Board has a fiduciary responsibility which they have abrogated completely. I have to make clear, I am not accusing anyone of misappropriating funds, or doing anything illegal. I am pointing out that the Board of Directors are the only voting members assigned with the task of supervising revenues and expenditures, and they have been asleep at the wheel. If things keep going they way they are, GLAAD will cease to exist.
Raise the alarm! The current Board must resign! Find an entirely new Board immediately! Look at the organization from top to bottom, and identify a way to continue the mission of the organization. Otherwise, without drastic action, it will be adios cuidad GLAAD.
I started looking at the finances of GLAAD when the first evidence of trouble turned up. I emailed Rich Ferraro on June 15th , with a list of 24 questions, which he failed to respond to . The questions I asked were wide ranging, and primarily related to finances. I asked about the employment contract, and severance agreements, related to Jarret Barrios employment. I asked for explanations of the large expenditures related to outside services. I asked if there was a travel policy for employees of GLAAD, related to the large expenditures for travel. I asked about the AT&T donation, and subsequent merger endorsement. I asked what the conflict of interest policy contains for GLAAD Board members, and also asked how the policy is monitored and enforced.
I never received a response to my inquiry. On June 17th I sent a second request with the same questions. This was addressed to GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro, and the President Jarrett Barrios. My email was ignored again.
In order to maintain GLAAD's status as a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c) 3 status, they must make their financial statements, and financial information, and conflict of interest policies, available upon written request. Failure to comply can result in the organization being audited by the IRS, and penalized. If my emailed questions are not sufficient, and do not qualify as a written request, I can be more formal and fax, mail, email or employ a carrier pigeon, to relay my requests. I truly am not interested in hurting GLAAD, but hope that through exposing the dire finances of the organization, that positive change will occur. Remember, without drastic action, it will be adios cuidad GLAAD, and that would be very sad indeed.


Written and posted by Haightmale on the blog " Tie-dyed Jive in the (415)"
http://haightmale.blogspot.com/

June 28, 2011

GOP REP. ERIC CANTOR A CROOK AND COWARD, GOP SENATOR MC DONALD A HERO

TELL CANTOR WHAT YOU THINK!

Washington, DCI looked in the dictionary for the definition of hero and heroine respectively, and it was defined as “a man or woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities.” Where do we find our heroes and heroines today? The unforgettable 1980 victory of the USA hockey team, and defeating the USSR during the winter Olympics in Lake Placid, was heroic in my view. The first responders, the police and fire fighters, on 9/11, were heroes and heroines, I think. The young combatants representing our country, in the field of battle, in Iraq and Afghanistan are largely unsung heroes and heroines. Jackie Robinson, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martina Navratilova, and Martin Luther King, are heroic historical figures that immediately come to mind, when I think of people known for taking courageous stands to fight for what is right, in the face of adversity.


We don't hear much about bravery, or noble qualities, in the context of our daily lives. This past week Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House majority leader, made headlines when he walked out of debt-ceiling negotiations, because he allegedly would not compromise on taxes. The GOP want to make sure that there are no new taxes, and that the loopholes that exist for corporations and the wealthy to avoid paying taxes, are preserved. That's not brave or courageous, it is cowardly behavior. The Wall Street Journal reported that Cantor has a vested interest in the debt ceiling not being extended.
Mr. Cantor, who walked out of debt discussions with Vice President Joe Biden last week, owns up to 15,000 shares of the ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury ETF. Mr. Cantor has a conflict of interest in the debt negotiations. Conventional wisdom holds that letting the talks fail would roil the bond market, hurting Treasurys, which would benefit Mr. Cantor. The TBT is up 3% since Mr. Cantor walked out of debt talks.”
While gridlock in Congress is preserved, the legislature in the state of New York, took on more weighty issues. The state Assembly, and state Senate, enacted a bill to extend marriage equality to all the tax-paying citizens of the state, and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation shortly after the bill passed. While the majority of legislators in the New York State Senate are Republican, and most of them voted against equality, a little known Republican Senator from Saratoga, made this statement in the days leading up to the vote.

"This is driven by compassion. I'm tired of Republican, Democrat politics; I'm tired of blowhard radio people, blowhard television people, blowhard newspapers. You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I'm trying to do the right thing, and that's where I'm going with this.”

Senator Roy McDonald voted for marriage equality, thumbing his nose at fellow Republicans, and religious leaders, who called on him to vote against the bill. When I read about Senator Roy McDonald, I thought, this man is brave, and has courage, that we rarely see in public life or politics today. As such, I have to say that Roy McDonald is my hero!

Conversely, Eric Cantor is a crook, and a coward. Join me in emailing Mr. Cantor, as our voices must be heard. We must tell Congress what we think. Too often people stand on the sidelines and do nothing. This is what I wrote Mr. Cantor today.


eric.cantor@mail.house.gov

Dear Rep. Cantor:

Since you hold shares of ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury ETF, that should disqualify you to lead talks related to increasing the debt ceiling, since you would financially benefit from any negotiation failing to succeed. I cannot believe your crooked behavior has gone largely unnoticed.

Your stunt is also cowardly, and your constituents and the American people, are fed up with your do nothing agenda.

Get with the program Mr. Cantor, and do what is right for a change. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. We have enough crooks and cowards in Congress.

Please resign today.

Sincerely,

Haightmale

June 24, 2011

STATE OF NEW YORK SUPPORTS EQUALITY FOR ALL

Governor Cuomo Signs Historic Legislation (photo credit: Nathan Brooks NY Times)

Albany, New York: The New York State Senate passed a bill to extend the right to marry the partner of one's choice tonight, in a historic vote, becoming the sixth, and most populous state in the nation, that recognizes same sex unions. The bill will become law in 30 days, as Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the measure immediately after it's passage. Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts currently recognize equality, as well as the District of Columbia.

Wanda Sykes famously said "If you don't support same-sex marriage, then don't marry someone of the same sex."

The New York Times reported:

During a brief recess during the voting, Shirley Huntley, a Queens Democrat who had only recently come out in support of same sex marriage, strode from her seat to the back of the Senate chamber to congratulate Daniel J. O’Donnell, an openly gay Manhattan lawmaker who sponsored the legislation in the Assembly. 
They hugged, and Mr. O’Donnell, standing with his longtime partner, teared up. 
"We’re going to invite you to our wedding” Mr. O’Donnell said. “Now we have to figure out how to pay for one."

A person's sexuality is an immutable trait that cannot be changed through prayer, via surgery, or by taking any medication. While politicians and religious leaders want you to believe that sexuality is a choice, the only choice one has to make if you are gay, is whether to live in or out of the closet. Our country has thousands of laws on the books that codify discrimination towards millions of Americans, simply because they were born this way (thank you Lady GaGa!), and we all must work to change that.

CAN I BE YOUR FRIEND?

This video is genius.

June 21, 2011

GOP GUTS MEDICARE, MEDICAID, AND FOOD PROGRAMS FOR THE POOR

BOEHNER'S BONERS ARE "ANTI-LIFE" ACCORDING TO CATHOLIC CHURCH

San Francisco, CA: Today is the first day of summer, and the solstice, which happens to be the longest day of the year. Whenever I think of this day, I think of the Garden State, and how summer is the season blessed with delicious sweet corn, jersey beefsteak tomatoes, saltwater taffy, and the sun, beaches, and crashing waves, down the shore.

I was born and raised in a fairly bucolic New Jersey suburb less than 30 miles west of Manhattan. Located in a valley, with views of the Ramapo Mountains, and a rich local history that pre-dates the American Revolutionary War, this Township of 14,000 residents, is largely remarkable for how unremarkable it is.

Hemmed in by a busy state highway on one side, and mountains on the other, this small community has more churches, than it has schools. One of it's biggest assets is the all volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Squad, that reflects the good christian ethos of neighbors helping neighbors.

Like many other small towns in America, the sounds of summer I remember are punctuated by the low hum of electrical air conditioners, the swing of a bat hitting a ball, and the sizzle and smell of a steak on a backyard barbecue, accented by the smell of freshly cut grass. Long bike rides on my ten speed, hikes up the mountain, hours of hotly contested wiffle ball games, muggy nights chasing lightening bugs, and marching in the annual Memorial Day parade, with the brass section of my middle school band, will stay with me forever.

My parents were very involved in the local Republican party. They always fought for what they believed in, and instilled that ethic in their children. Their active participation in local machine party politics, helped elect Republican candidates for town council, year after year. In researching local elections over the past 40+ years, Democrats were successful locally in 1974, because of widespread dissatisfaction with Republicans, due to the Watergate scandal. Otherwise, the Democrats lost elections prior to 1974, and have failed to elect a single local candidate after 1974.

My parent's thought nothing about enlisting their kids to campaign, call registered voters, and go door to door passing out fliers, pamphlets and bumper stickers. We enthusiastically joined this local GOP army, and never questioned whether the candidates, or the party platform, contained positions consistent with our views. We really weren't encouraged to have political views of our own. If our parents strongly supported a candidate, we fell in line and felt the same way, and our unabashed energy was fully devoted to the GOP. There also was money involved, and in order for us to earn some money, all we had to do was hand deliver fliers to every house in our town! We would be paid in quarters, and as long as we did our assigned tasks, I could treat myself to a Fribble from the local Friendly's.

The Republicans I knew were fairly easy to support at this time, because they stood for things like clean air and cleaning up the environment, and they supported many libertarian views about less government and less government regulation. They supported a woman's right to choose, promoted affirmative action and civil rights for all, and they believed in taking care of senior citizens, and the poor and less fortunate. They viewed government as an entity that was good, and effective, and a force for positive change.

What I didn't know as a kid, was that there was a name for these New Jersey Republicans I knew so well. They were disparagingly called Rockefeller Republicans, by conservative party leaders. The former Vice President and Governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, was a liberal politician, and the moniker Rockefeller Republican has been used to describe moderate elements within the GOP, since the 1970's.

There were good local candidates for the town council, and good candidates for the state legislature, and many of them seemed to pass through my parent's living room. Both of my parents were like a local consigliere, freely dispensing advice and support, to these candidates. I got to know some terrific politicians, and worked hard to elect many of them. I vividly remember taking Senator Jim Wallwork, on campaign stops all over town. I took then Assemblyman Tom Kean, to a few high school football games over the years, and once stood for hours in the pouring rain with Tom, and his running mate Assemblywoman Jane Burgio, while they talked to constituents and campaigned to be re-elected outside a grocery store.

I remember hearing Episcopalian Tom, telling my Episcopalian mother, that he was going to support an Episcopal candidate for President named George Herbert Walker Bush. He said that he knew that Ronald Reagan was a candidate with a great deal of support, but that George Bush was the candidate with similar views to theirs, a more moderate voice, and asked that she do all she could to support Bush. While Bush withdrew from the race before the New Jersey primary, I know that my parents pulled the lever for George Bush that day, because of Tom's support. Tom went on to be a very popular governor, and was the Chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

The Republican party today has made a 360 degree turn away from the values and party platforms I remember as a kid. They used to be the party of Abraham Lincoln, and now they are the political party known for hating LGBT citizens and having hawkish views on war. The Republican party created the largest budget deficits in the history of our country, and have been responsible for starting culture wars, while employing inflammatory rhetoric around equal rights and marriage equality, to fan the flames of hatred to encourage evangelical voters to show up at the polls, to advance their cause. This is no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln!

While the blame for the mortgage and banking crisis can be attributed to both parties, and the multi-trillion dollar corporate welfare for wall street investment banks, sanctioned by the federal government in the Bush and Obama administrations, suggests equal blame for both political parties. The biggest travesty to me, aside from the culture wars, is the fact that Republicans want to cut taxes further, and in order to “pay” for this tax cut, and appear to reduce the federal deficit, they want to make substantive cuts in education, hospice care, student loan programs, medicaid and medicare. The GOP believes it's OK to give wall street trillions, but tells the unemployed, senior citizens, the hungry, disabled, and the impoverished, to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, because you have no clout, you don't have expensive lobbyists on capitol hill, and the Republican party doesn't care about you.

Last month the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, gave a commencement address at Catholic University. A large group of Catholic University professors wrote him a letter prior to him speaking.
Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the church’s most ancient moral teachings,” these professors wrote. “From the apostles to the present, the magisterium of the church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.”
Since Republicans passed a budget that cuts funding for the Women, Infants and Children nutritional program, Food Stamps, Medicare, and Medicaid, while giving tax cuts to wealthy Americans and corporations, they characterized the Speaker as being “anti-life.” That's the same term they use to characterize politicians who support a woman's right to choose. I don't appreciate the continual gay-bashing that Catholic leaders have been perpetuating for years, and yet I agree with the Catholic Professors, that Republicans embrace an anti-life platform that they will work overtime on, which is inconsistent with the very Christian values they claim they represent.
In the 2000 Presidential election I voted for Ralph Nader. In subsequent elections, I have voted Democratic. I fully confess, I am now a San Francisco Democrat! That's the term Republicans use to describe gay, hippie, patchouli loving, equality promoting, progressives – meant to be disparaging, and used to incite fear in the minds of voters. While the GOP continues to stumble their way around the corridors of power, extolling the virtues of extremely unpopular and inhumane positions, we wait for the chance to vote for their opponents, and throw them out on their asses.
The sounds of summer continues to punctuate the stifling humidity, and endless rhetoric, echoing in the halls of the Capitol, with the low hum of air conditioners, the swing of a GOP bat hitting a wall, while the sizzle and smell of a political party silently implodes, rejected by the people yet again. No longer welcome at backyard barbecues, and out of touch with most voters, their presence is accented by the strong smell of fossil fuels, that will carry them home after their certain defeat.

June 17, 2011

HOW MANY GAYS MUST GOD CREATE BEFORE WE ACCEPT THAT HE WANTS THEM AROUND?



Minnesota State Representative Representative Steve Simon (DFL Hopkins/St. Louis Park) says a proposed Minnesota Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, is largely about religion. Simon states "if sexual orientation is innate, as science is showing us, and not a lifestyle choice, then God created gay people. He asks how many gay people must God create before we accept that he wants them around."

June 16, 2011

Bachmann Brief: Michele Bachmann Threatens Freedom

FAVORS THEOCRATIC GOVERNMENT, LINKED TO WHITE SUPREMICISTS


Manchester, NH: The headlines screamed Bachmann wins the debate, like a pistol being fired at the start of a track meet, it was startling for me, and grabbed my attention. Michele Marie Bachmann, the Congresswoman representing the 6th Congressional district, from Stillwater, Minnesota, announced she is seeking the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Often compared with the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, both have predilections for rewriting American history, and are big supporters of the tea-party movement. Bachmann started the tea-party caucus in the House of Representatives.

Who is Michele Bachmann? A born-again culture warrior, she grew up in Waterloo, Iowa in a democratic family. She worked hard for Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign in 1976, with her husband. She became disenchanted with Carter after he voiced support for legalized abortion. She worked for Ronald Reagan's campaign in 1980, completing her transformation to a Republican.

In 2000 she ran for the Minnesota State Senate, and was elected to represent District 56. In 2003, she proposed a state constitutional amendment that would prohibit same sex marriages. The bill failed, and she reintroduced the measure in 2004 and 2005. The proposed amendments failed again.

In 2004 The Senate Minority leader appointed her an Assistant Minority leader in charge of policy. In 2005 the Republican caucus removed her from a leadership position. This action was taken after she was caught trying to hide behind bushes, in order to spy on a gay rights rally. Her excuse: she was just sitting to rest because her heels were killing her.

In 2006 she ran for Congress, and was elected to represent the 6th Congressional District, encompassing the northern suburbs of Minneapolis, and St. Cloud.

In the 110th Congress she notably opposed a higher education finance bill, which was passed and signed by President Bush, because she called it a gimmick. She introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, because fluorescent bulbs are a health risk, and are very unflattering. She said that global warming is a hoax, and stated on the House floor that carbon dioxide is a harmless gas. She also told Nacy Pelosi to give up on saving the planet, because Jesus already did that.

The single issue that Bachmann is best known for is her virulent anti-gay positions, which she expounds upon whenever possible.

In Michele Goldman's exceptional story in the Daily Beast, Goldman writes about the origins of Bachmann's political career, and notes the division within the Congresswoman's family that have been created because of her extreme views.

In 2004, Bachmann gave a speech warning that gay marriage would lead to schoolchildren being indoctrinated into homosexuality. She wanted everyone to know, though, that she doesn't hate gay people. "Any of you who have members of your family in the lifestyle, we have a member of our family that is," she said. "This is not funny. It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say that this is gay."
She was clearly talking about her 51-year-old stepsister, Helen LaFave, who had lived with her partner, Nia Wronski, for more than 15 years. As Bachmann became the public face of opposition to gay marriage, her relationship with her stepsiblings grew strained. "Helen always liked Michele, always," says Linda Cielinski, one of Bachmann's other stepsisters. "They lived together as teenage girls. They were very close at that time." Bachmann's anti-gay activism, Cielinski says, "was a hit to the gut."
 Goldman also writes that “In April 2005, Pamela Arnold wanted to talk to her state senator, Michele Bachmann, who was then running for Congress. A 46-year-old who worked at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Arnold lived with her partner, the famed Arctic explorer Ann Bancroft, on a farm in Scandia, Minnesota. Bachmann was then leading the fight against gay marriage in the state. She'd recently been in the news for hiding in the bushes to observe a gay rights rally at the Capitol. So when members of the Scandia gay community decided to attend one of Bachmann's constituent forums, Arnold, wanting to make herself visible to her representative, joined them.
A few dozen people showed up at the town hall for the April 9 event, and Bachmann greeted them warmly. But when, during the question and answer session, the topic turned to gay marriage, Bachmann ended the meeting 20 minutes early and rushed to the bathroom. Hoping to speak to her, Arnold and another middle-aged woman, a former nun, followed her. As Bachmann washed her hands and Arnold looked on, the ex-nun tried to talk to her about theology. Suddenly, after less than a minute, Bachmann let out a shriek. "Help!" she screamed. "Help! I'm being held against my will!"
Bachmann called the police, because constituents wanted to speak with her, and said lesbians were holding her against her will. Isn't filing a false police report a criminal act?
In this week's debate Bachmann said “the most eloquent words ever written were those in our Declaration of Independence, that said it's a creator who endowed us with inalienable rights, given to us from god, not from government, and the beauty of that is that government cannot take those rights away, and only god can give, and only god can take away.”

The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document, it is a notice to King George III that the colonies would not accept taxation without representation. It is the same document that religious leaders cite, in order to circumvent the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The view that Bachmann is espousing is a theocracy, which is a form of government where the people are governed by a divine guidance, and the head of state is either a clergyman, or the individuals who are deemed guided by god. That is a theocratic statement, and is completely at odds with what our country represents. A theocracy is what the government of Iran represents today.

Bachmann was the research assistant for an Oral Roberts University Professor's book entitled Christianity and the Constituion, that promoted the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian theocracy, and should become one again. The Congresswoman has credited this professor as having one of the greatest influences on her. According to Right Wing Watch, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, John Eidsmoe is colonel in the Alabama militia.

Eidsmoe has spoken before the League of the South, tagged by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group because it believes slavery was ordained by God. He's also spoken at meetings of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which opposes racial integration; has compared Michael Jackson to an ape, referred to blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity," and says America should "remain European in character," according to the SPLC. "Eidsmoe doesn't just flirt with white supremacists, he regularly speaks to them," said SPLC research director Heidi Beirich.”

How viable a candidate is Michele Bachmann? I don't think she stands a chance, and the longer that the media and extreme right wing allow her to stay in the race, the better it is for democrats. She will be exposed, and her extreme views will be scrutinized, and the American people will see that she is anti-American.

I feel that Michele Bachmann's extreme views are a threat to our country, the rule of law, and our Constitution. We must expose her lies, and theocratic view-point. Her views are subversive, and suggest that only god can give rights, and only god can take away rights, which are the antithesis of a democracy.

Bachmann belongs back home in Minnesota, where she can care for her 23 foster kids. She is the biggest threat to freedom that we know.

June 15, 2011

ARCHBISHOP TIMOTHY DOLAN REWRITES HISTORY WITH LIES


Revises History Again and Again and Again

New York, NY: The New York State Senate is on the verge of passing a historic Marriage Equality Act. It is the most exciting development, to date, in our fight for equality. In response, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, of the Archdiocese of New York, wrote a blog post today, insinuating that a state that changes marriage laws is like a communist dictator, and cites government regimes in China and North Korea.

The Archbishop also claims “Our country’s founding principles speak of rights given by God, not invented by government.” I've never seen a doument called “founding principles” and thought the US Constitution was the basis of the rule of law? If this learned Archbishop knew anything about our history, he would know that the founding fathers were primarily comprised of deists, who enshrined our secular government in the Constitution, and Bill of Rights, in order to ensure that the citizens of our country would be free from religious persecution. The same laws ensure that government doesn't interfere with religion.

Aside from him typically citing a child's right to be brought up by a mom and dad, he says that expressing these beliefs should not be viewed as “discrimination against homosexual people.” I'm sorry but a church, and a church leader, who seeks to deny a group of people equal rights, where these rights are enjoyed by some people but not all, is pure discrimination. How else could you characterize that?

If the Catholic Church wants to continue to revise history, and view it with a jaundiced eye, that is their prerogative. They have done that for years with many controversies, from the support they gave the Nazi's in World Ward II, to the Priest sexual abuse scandal. How can a Catholic in good conscience support a church that is led by a group of men who bend the truth, and lie, so readily?

I called out the Archbishop on his blog, and was happy to see that the Archdiocese of New York has visited my blog. They are welcome here any time and might learn something.

Some of the choice comments directed at the Archbishop are:

Salvatore S. : "It is so disappointing that a man that has the power to make such great change and to sway people to do what is right instead uses his pulpit to push for the continuation of bigotry, discrimination and fear."

Robert Rios: "your arguments repeating the tired rhetoric that God gives us rights, not government, make you a wonderful candidate for the first ridiculous Republican debate."

Chuck Small: "With all due respect, Archbishop, “the true meaning of marriage” has been debated and supported in wildly different ways by both church and state through the centuries. While I support the Church’s right to determine for itself the sacramental definition, I’m opposed to any one faith or one denomination attempting to impose a religious definition on a civil institution. Dismissing as a “chic cause” the desire to have my lifelong commitment to my partner to be treated equally as that of my brother or my neighbors is beneath you as a leader of the People of God, Archbishop."

Kristy L. : "As a fellow Christian, I cannot support the way you have chosen to frame this issue, particularly in the current state of our national politics. There are plenty of people using rhetoric with xenophobic overtones, and this comparison to China and North Korea harmonizes a little too nicely with the panicked voices crying “Let’s take our country back!” Losing cultural dominance is not the same as losing freedom. Giving legal recognition to gay couples is nothing like driving Christians into hiding or monitoring them in state-controlled churches. I can’t imagine what leads you to express your fears this way in such a public forum."
 Mary: "This is among the most inane things I’ve ever read. Your understanding of the American political situation, of American political history, and world affairs is embarassing to the centuries of great Catholic thinkers that have come before you. Finally, before you can lay claim to the ability to influence political affairs, pay taxes. That gives you a voice."

Lisa F: "Thank you, Archbishop Dolan, for your courage and your leadership.Someday, hopefully before it is too late, all these detractors will see that they are putting their eternal souls at risk. I pray that this “enlightened” civilization that accepts same sex marriage will see how clouded and darkened their discernment has become. This is the effect of sin which separates us from the light of God. Freedom is not the ability to do whatever we want, but the ability to choose only what you should."
We must call out religious leaders who lie and distort the truth!

AS THE WORLD TURNS - BROUGHT TO YOU BY GLAAD

HAVE REPUBLICAN OPERATIVES TAKEN OVER GLAAD?

Los Angeles, CA: Every year the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) holds award ceremonies in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, to recognize and honor the media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. I have long believed that many of these awards are deserved, and that the recipients were grateful for the recognition. 

As a result of these awards, and the advocacy work in the media, GLAAD has been our public face in the entertainment industry. 

GLAAD was in the news again over the last few days, as they are going to be facilitating rehab for Tracy Morgan, and his formal introduction to members of our community in Tennesee and New York, who have been victimized by homophobia and violence. I hope that these interactions will be private, and not played out in front of cameras, so that the images can be broadcast on Entertainment Tonight.

Individual and corporate donations play a key role in allowing GLAAD to continue it's work. According to GLAAD's website, this is their mission:

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality.”

While GLAAD holds Tracy Morgan's hands, and helps him rehabilitate his image, they continue to ignore the outcry from activists within the GLBTQ community that they no longer represent our interests, that the organization is ineffective, and the mismanagement within GLAAD is threateneing their existence. Laurie Perper, the former Co-chair of GLAAD, very publicly called for the organization to dissolve, because of mismanagement and improprieties.

Thenewcivilrightsmovement.com posted a discussion between columnists Tanya Domi and Clinton Fein, entitled Taking the Keys - And The Checkbook - Away from Gay Inc., where Domi states “They have been bleeding money since late 2008. They have lost nearly 14 board members and numerous staff members......and agreed to endorse the AT&T-T-Mobile merger, in exchange for backing by Troup Coronado, a board member and a former Vice President of Public Affairs with AT&T.”

In the same piece Fein says “The whole GLAAD AT&T-T-Mobile mess is unbelievable. Here you have an organization that is supposed to serve as a watchdog to identify and remedy negative portrayals or misrepresentations of gays in the media behaving in a way that brings shame and discredit on the very community it purports to represent. And further, gives fodder to those who have been reprimanded or called out by GLAAD, that their motives are more about self-enrichment than anything else.”

Jane Hamsher at firedoglake.com has uncovered that GLAAD Board member Troup Coronado, who was affiliated with the “Board of the Hispanic Alliance for Progress Institute (HAPI), where Coronado sat on the Policy Board. The Policy Board. According to People for the American Way, HAPI was an astroturf group that joined with other GOP outfits to form the  ”National Coalition To End Judicial Filibusters,” which supported the use of “the so-called ‘nuclear option” to eliminate Senator’s ability to filibuster against President George W. Bush’s right-wing judicial nominees.” And this successfully resulted in extremely right wing and anti-gay jurists being appointed to the federal bench.

Teddy Partridge at firedoglake.com details that the same Troup Coronado, a former Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) staffer, and Bell South lobbyist, padded expense reports – and cites that this was reported in the Washington Post in 2006.

Another Republican operative, and Bush supporter, in a prominent role at GLAAD, is current Co-Chair, Scott Miller. The same Scott Miller who was a long time Board member and chairman of the San Francisco based Academy of Friends, the charity that imploded and was unable to fulfill commitments made to bay area Aids/HIV organizations. The Bay Area Reporter said that the “Academy of Friends is backing out of paying more than $100,000 it owes to community partners. The agency appears to be broke and on the brink of collapse as it searches for a merger partner.”

Perhaps GLAAD needs a merger partner? Who does GLAAD answer to? In a letter posted on their web site last September, from the embattled President Jarret Barrios, trying to explain their financial mess, he said “we have another accountability--an accountability to you.” He says the organization had an operating deficit in 2009 of $1.200,000 – and claimed that the organization was working hard to decrease expenses. He said he cut his salary by 10% and eliminated 2 senior positions. There have been no updates recently regarding finances, and the only financial information posted on the website dates to 2009.

For an organization that purports to hold the media's feet to the fire, the heat is being turned up on GLAAD. Will they be able to put out the fire?

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