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It Gets Worse, Mr. President

By: Becca Tuesday November 16, 2010 2:31 pm

The other night, Jon Stewart and crew did a segment riffing off the “It Gets Better” campaign — directed at John McCain, and letting the Senator know that he was standing in the way of progress.  Inevitable progress.

I offer my variant, directed to the man in the White House:

“It gets worse, President Obama.”

“In the years to come, nobody is going to remember all the positive things you said about gays and lesbians during your campaign.”

“They’re going to remember the broken promises.”

“Your name isn’t going to be remembered alongside Harvey Milk, Boies and Olson, Martin and Lyon, Dan Savage, Victor Fehrenbach and Dan Choi as icons fighting for LGBT civil rights.”

“You will be remembered for Reverend Rick Warren, Mary Mary, and Donnie McClurkin–”

“–and for ‘God is in the mix.”

“It gets worse, Mr. President.”

“In the years to come, you won’t be remembered for signing the gay and disabled black people hate crimes legislation, given to you on a silver platter, because you did nothing to help get it passed but took credit anyway.”

“–and which was rarely if ever invoked for actual criminal prosecutions.”

“Or for the new rule to ensure equal access for the legally unrecognized family members and friends of gay people and dying priests in hospital rooms.”

“Or for your bold initiative to grant fully taxable benefits to a few thousand executive branch employees, many of whom were getting these benefits already.”

“No Mr. President. We’ll all remember your OPM defying a court order to give access to health insurance to a Federal employee’s family in California — because she was legally married to her wife.”

“It gets worse.”

“People won’t remember just that you promised to repeal DADT and DOMA. They’ll remember that you reneged on those promises.”

“They’ll won’t remember that you finally lifted the HIV travel ban, affecting heterosexuals in far greater numbers than homosexuals at this point–”

“You’ll be remembered for failing to do anything at all to help pass UAFA, to stop forcing bi-national same-sex couples to choose between–”

“–their families or for one of them to live in America.”

“They’ll remember that you allowed your Department of Justice to insist that gays and lesbians serving in the military were a threat to the security of the country.”

“They’ll remember you failed to issue a stop-loss order or to set a deadline for stopping the discharges.”

“They’ll remember your unrelenting implication that allowing open non-discriminated service for gays and lesbians was…”

“Risky, at best.”

“Mr. President, it gets worse.”

“They’ll remember your claims that failing to let gays and lesbians serve openly harms our armed forces — and how you purposefully chose to allow that harm to continue–”

“–during two wars–”

“–despite having the power to stop or suspend the discharges at any time.”

“And how when a few of your generals indulged their anti-gay bigotry, you remained silent.”

“How you refused to accept favorable court rulings to overturn DADT, and fought unrelentingly against them.”

“How your administration insisted it not be required to stop discharges, or be bound by law not to discriminate against gay and lesbian servicemembers in a post-DADT world.”

“How you and your entire administration carefully and deliberately refused ever to say that LGBT civil rights rose to the level of Constitutional protection.”

“It gets worse, sir.”

“You won’t be remembered for ending discrimination against LGBT Americans–”

“Because measures such as ENDA, AUFA, and repeals of DADT and DOMA–”

“–have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing due to your administration’s malign neglect or outright opposition.”

“You’ll be remembered, sir, for spending the day of the compromise sort-of DADT defense bill repeal calling members of a women’s basketball team.”

“And for failing to lobby at all for the passage of ENDA.”

“Never mentioning AUFA, except in a few campaign speeches.”

“And for never once trying to get anything done about DOMA–”

“Other than to defend it with utmost vigor in every court in the land–”

“–by equating same-sex marriages with incest and pedophilia.”

“It gets worse, President Obama.”

“With statements like ‘God is in the mix’ on marriage, people will know you put your personal religious beliefs above those of others.”

“That you actually admitted to violating the Constitution, in having the government favor one set of religious beliefs over others.”

“How by implication you essentially invalidated the marriages of atheists and agnostics everywhere.”

“And that you think your God does not approve of gays and lesbians being married and having families.”

“It gets worse.”

“You’ll be remembered not for being a man of principles, but of passive homophobia.”

“For trading LGBT civil rights away…usually for nothing at all.”

“For standing in the way of progress, and for what was right and fair.”

“For failing to remember that your parents’ marriage was illegal, too, once, for the simple fact there were bigots out there who didn’t think God wanted it to be allowed, for a black man to marry a white woman.”

“No, you will be remembered for your fecklessness, your obstinacy–”

“–your failure to stand up for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender presentation–”

“–your failure to lead–”

“–your failure to keep your promises–”

“–your dishonesty.”

“It gets worse, Mr. President.”


DADT is the Policy — not the Law

By: Becca Wednesday October 13, 2010 8:18 pm

Congress actually gave the President a great deal of power in 1993 with the bill everybody is calling DADT. The law itself does not in any way spell out the "we don’t ask, you don’t tell" principles which were later enacted as official DoD policy.

Okay, so the bill out of congress says essentially that gays, lesbians, and bisexuals shouldn’t be in the military because homosexuality is bad, evil, icky, and makes our armies lose wars. The bill then goes on to say the President, through his SecDef and DoD should come up with a policy and set of rules that discharges known LGBs, and describes some conditions under which this is supposed happen.

Then comes the interesting bit: "Rule of Construction.— Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed to require that a member of the armed forces be processed for separation from the armed forces when a determination is made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense that— (1) the member engaged in conduct or made statements for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service; and (2) separation of the member would not be in the best interest of the armed forces. (emphasis added)


So there you have it: Two ways they don’t have to kick out someone who says they’re gay or is known to be gay. One is when the claim –whether true or not — is for the purpose of getting out of the armed forces. The other is if the person’s discharge is not in the best interest of the armed forces.  . . .

The Foreclosure Crisis Explained – as Sausage Making

By: Becca Friday October 8, 2010 9:10 pm
Innocent-looking fixings for sausage (photo: Joel Johnson-Flickr)

Let’s pretend mortgages are meat.

No, no — bear with me, this will make sense in a moment.

In the olden days (circa 1990s), banks and other financial institutions would write mortgages, which were backed by the asset — known as the house and/or property. A single piece of meat — say a porterhouse steak. Sometimes that steak would be sold to another entity, and along with it all the paperwork showing where that steak came from, who was responsible for it, and so on. If there was a problem with the steak, you’d just go back to the farm where it came from, deal with it there. If the product was no good, the farm would go out of business (be foreclosed), but otherwise it was a nice situation, and although not hugely profitable, it still made money. Simple, huh?

Then the banks and financial behemoths got a bright idea: Let’s turn all this meat into tasty sausage. We’ll just chuck it into the grinder, mix it all up, and let people buy pieces (shares) of the sausage. On average, it’ll be even better than meat because we can average everything — and we can throw in the nasty bits (the lousy properties, the poor risks), spice it up (give it AAA+ ratings) and it’ll all be the same. As long as our supply of meat is plentiful and keeps getting better and better, we’ll get filthy stinking rich.

Suddenly there was huge demand for more and more meat — and the sausage makers were so eager to get more, they stopped asking where it came from or whether it was any good. People who were in no position financially or situationally to become farmers (homeowners) were cozened into doing so, so as to produce more and more meat for the sausage grinders. Existing farmers were encouraged to buy farms far, far bigger than they could reasonably operate and maintain. The price of farmland skyrocketed. Cost per acre began to far exceed the value of the meat which could be produced on it.   . . .

When Is a “Right” Not a Right?

By: Becca Saturday September 11, 2010 7:55 pm

Consider a little deeper on the Obama Administration’s weird actions (and inactions) on GLBT civil rights issues. I’ll even set aside my own inferred conclusion that we’re dealing with overt homophobia here.

Obama (and his Administration) insists that discrimination against GLBTs is bad and wrong. He speaks of repealing DADT and DOMA as if that is the only way to get rid of these laws — which he claims to be against. Meanwhile, his DOJ fights with utmost vigor and (dare I say it?) fierceness asserting the Constitutionality of having such laws. To them a judicial overturning of either one is inconceivable — and to be resisted at all costs.

Thus even if, in the world of magical unicorn mayonnaise, both laws were repealed, it would remain completely legal for a future Congress and/or President to reinstate bans on gays and lesbians serving in the military, and legal also for the U.S. Federal government to ban and possibly even nullify existing same-sex marriages. Individual states would remain free to deem same-sex marriages null and void, or even reclassify an out-of-state same-sex marriage as a felony (shades of pre-Loving v. Virginia, huh?) if they chose to do so.

Remember, repeals of DADT and DOMA would result only in the absence of specific bans — not a guarantee in either case there would result an established civil right to protect. Obama’s Administration even demanded to be allowed to discriminate against gays and lesbians in the theoretical outcome of a DADT repeal. What do you bet that any DOMA repeal ‘compromise’ would include the right of individual states to continue to outlaw same-sex marriages?

Note again the implications of Obama’s position: It’s wrong to discriminate against GLBTs, but it is in no way unconstitutional or illegal to do so.

In other words, according to this President, GLBT civil rights are not inalienable, fundamental rights at all, but something the government, the citizenry, and society can choose to give to or to withhold as they like. Even if these "rights" to marry, to serve, or not to be fired or discriminated against are granted, the government is free to take them away again, whenever it wants to.

Many of us have inferred — possibly correctly — that this President and his top advisors are bigots and/or homophobes. But I think we have actual proof of a reality far more insidious.

Assuming we take them completely at their word, their utter insistence on legislative solutions to gay rights issues, when combined with their insistence on the constitutionality of anti-gay measures, means that we are not dealing with political leaders who believe that GLBT citizens even have fundamental rights which can be violated.

To them, we’re not a group of people who have been denied actual civil rights as citizens and human beings — but merely a special interest group asking for particular politically inconvenient favors. Not only do our supposed Democratic allies and President fail to take us seriously, it is not even a priority for them to ensure that our hard-won "rights" cannot be taken away arbitrarily and capriciously the next time the government changes hands.

In short, what are fundamental rights to us… to them are evidently not, but merely special privileges.

Ken Mehlman and the Politics of Hate

By: Becca Saturday August 28, 2010 1:37 pm

He often wondered why gay voters never formed common cause with Republican opponents of Islamic jihad, which he called “the greatest anti-gay force in the world right now.”

(quote in Ken’s coming-out interview in The Atlantic)

In this single sentence, Ken Mehlman demonstrates he has learned nothing about the moral evil in deliberately fomenting division and hatred.

As a Republican party leader, and indeed as George W Bush’s 2004 campaign manager, he actively helped enact the worst anti-gay platform planks, including advocating a U.S. Constitutional amendment against same sex marriage, urging states to enact bans, and explicitly stating that “homosexuality was incompatible with military service.” His party fought against hate crimes legislation, passage of ENDA, and against the repeals of DADT and DOMA. At no point in the last 6 or 7 years has the GOP budged or moderated one iota off that position. They love anti-gay initiatives as their go-to wedge issue, and they’re not afraid to gay-bait openly with vile claims such as “It’s to protect the children!”

He has never apologized for his active role in it; he asserts (without any proof whatsoever) he kept them from being worse. I guess he’s now claiming the alternative Republican platform was “Kill the gays and take their kids.”

Now he asks that gays join with Republicans because we all need to hate Muslims together?

We’re supposed to do this, when his former President and his party members did absolutely nothing to stop the post-invasion anti-gay violence in Iraq or Afghanistan? When at best they were silent or, more often, actively in agreement with radical Christians in the U.S. who called for gays to be put to death in African countries such as Uganda?

“Vote Republican or the Muslims will get you.” This is all he has to say? This is his great revelation?

Ken Mehlman doesn’t even begin to comprehend the pathetic irony of him, as a newly self-declared gay person, calling upon the GLBT community to unite in common cause with the Republicans. Unite with them not because his party will now fight for GLBT civil rights — no, that would actually make sense (and is as likely as aerial porcine weather phenomena).

No, we’re supposed to form common cause with the Republicans so we can hate Muslims together. This is so effing twisted, I keep looking to see if these quotes and statements are some kind of hoax.

This sick bastard has learned nothing about the poison of hatred, intolerance, bigotry and xenophobia. He’s only switched targets, and for the most selfish of reasons.

Everyone but the Roman Catholic Church Itself – The Blame-Shifting Continues

By: Becca Friday April 16, 2010 9:40 pm

Recently, I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in the variety — and sheer lunacy factor — in the groups being blamed by the Catholic Church hierarchy, the Vatican, and its spokesmen (and they are always men, let us never forget that) for priests and bishops molesting, sexually abusing, and raping children. Ofttimes the abuse went on for decades while the Church concerned itself more about appearances and not losing a single cleric no matter how vile his behavior.

Some of those being blamed are frequently mentioned, such as "homosexuals" or "loose sexual morals of modern society."

Over the last few weeks, I began compiling a list of those blamed, especially as the Church spokesmen began really going wild with their allegations. Earlier this week, I posted a comment in Eli’s Seminal diary, "Another Day, Another Scapegoat" with the list. A few kind comments later and some encouragement, here’s my first FDL diary ever, including not only the list but links to the sources I was able to scare up with a few hours of Google searches. They may not always be the best web citation and a few are repeats, but I tried the best I could.

Without further adieu, here’s everyone blamed for the Church’s pedophile problem, in no particular order (although the most recent one blaming porn was just reported today):

That’s everything. If you have others, please feel free to post ‘em in the comments.