Friday, February 25, 2011

DOMA - The WingNut Freak Out Continues...

In the wake of  the Obama Administration's announcement that  it would no longer defend  in court section three of  the  Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the collective hysteria by  the 'Social Conservative' residents of  Teabagistan continues.



Over on the PoliFi Network er.. I mean  FOX News,  they  managed a  hit a double.  Not only did they get the facts wrong, (the Obama Administration will still enforce DOMA,  they just won't defend it in court). But they also managed  to tie the DOMA decision to their whole "Obama is a secret Muslim" narrative. Wow...



Then there is  the sad, pathetic spectacle of  former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee.    Sigh... where to even begin with this.   I actually had a bit of a soft spot for Rev. Mike.    During the 2008 Republican primaries  he was one of the few candidates who would speak in complete coherant sentences.  Granted,  the stuff he said  was bat-sh*t crazy, but  he said it with charm.  Even when he said stuff like, he  "wasn't sure" about  the earth being older than  6000 years.



Mike Huckabee,  like former Republican Senator Rick Santorum,  and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, desperately wants to be  President.   To win the  GOP Nomination  you have to basically out-crazy everybody else who is running.   So  this past week,  Huckabee along with  his fellow 2012 hopefuls  went berserk  over  President Obama's decision  not to defend DOMA.   Huckabee went on FOX News  saying he opposes gay marriage on the grounds that, according to him, it destroys traditional families.

"There is a quantified impact of broken families," Huckabee said. "[There is a] $300 billion dad deficit in America every year...that's the amount of money that we spend as taxpayers to pick up the pieces because dads are derelict in their duties."  

Of course Mike didn't give any evidence, of exactly how traditional families are destroyed, nor did the talking bobble heads on FOX ask him how America's crisis of deadbeat heterosexual dads, is the result of same sex marriage.  Because why would you want to ruin a talking point by bringing facts or, gee.. I dunno, reality into the discussion.

Rev. Mike wasn't the only member of the WingNuttia   who was desperately  trying to show  how much he "hates the homos" this week.    Tony Perkins over at the  certified hate-group the "Family Research Council"  has all but  lost his mind over the past two days.  Ranting hysterically how this is an all out  "assault" on marriage and the family, that  President Obama was in cahoots with  Ted Olsen and David Boies.  The lawyers in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the pending lawsuit to overturn Proposition 8 in California.   
One interesting side bar to Perkins' reaction is his claim that GOP leaders have assured him that; "DOMA is safe on their watch". Which raises in interesting question. What if the hysteria on the Right is exactly what President Obama wanted?
 
The fact is,   the American Conservative Movement  is obsessed with  Homosexuality.   From same sex marriage, to Gays serving in the military, to same sex parents raising children. The Right Wing in American just can't help themselves. Any thing 'Gay', drives them into a bible thumping, scripture misquoting,  frenzy.

Congressional Republicans, many of them with one eye on the 2012 GOP Presidential primaries, won't be able to resist. Wave the rainbow flag in front of these people, and they'll charge like a bull in Pamplona. Completely ignoring all the other issues they claim they were sent to Washington to address, and it's starting too look like President Obama knows it.

Linda Hirshman over at Salon.com has a very interesting op-ed this week on exactly this topic.  In a piece entititled;  Obama sets a marriage trap -- for Republicans,  Hirshman examines  the risks  to the GOP should they not be able to control themselves and  rush into the DOMA issue, by mounting a Congressional  defense of DOMA in court. 
"Republicans and their lawyers will have to step into federal court and prove -- subject to cross-examination -- how the republic would be damaged if same sex spouses can get, say, federal railroad retirement benefits. As Boies said after dismantling that disqualified expert in the Proposition 8 trial, "the witness stand is a very lonely place."

Tony Perkins got a small taste of this, when he tried to use his usual talking points against David Boies when discussing the Perry case.
Hirshman  also points out in her Salon piece,  that having to defending DOMA  in court, would be very different from just braying about it on talk radio, or on FOX News where nobody cross examines you, and you never have to provide any evidence or proof.

It's very easy to go on Sean Hanity's TV show and say same sex couples are "attacking families". It's quite another thing to have to prove that  ridiculous claim in a court of law, where lying under oath has real consequences.
Given that  in 2010, when voters were polled to list  the issues they cared most about,  Same Sex Marriage came in dead last,  you have to wonder if Hirshman might be on to something.   The GOP led House of Representatives  already has shown their "laser focus on  economy",  is easily abandoned in favor of hot button social issues like abortion. 

So pop some popcorn kids!  It should be interesting to see if  the GOP can resist the  siren call of Gay bashing long enough to keep  all their  2010 promises of  "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs".     If the past 48 hours are any indication,  I'm guessing probably not.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reaction to Today's DOJ Announcement re: DOMA

From the Huffington Post:
------------------------------------------------
WASHINGTON -- In a major policy reversal, the Obama administration said Wednesday it will no longer defend the constitutionality of a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.

Attorney General Eric Holder said President Barack Obama has concluded that the administration cannot defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. He noted that the congressional debate during passage of the Defense of Marriage Act "contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships - precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus the (Constitution's) Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against."

The Justice Department had defended the act in court until now.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said Obama himself is still "grappling" with his personal view of gay marriage but has always personally opposed the Defense of Marriage Act as "unnecessary and unfair."  On Wednesday, Holder said the president has concluded that, given a documented history of discrimination against gays, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny than the department had been applying in legal challenges to the act up to now.

The attorney general said the department will immediately bring the policy change to the attention of two federal courts now hearing separate lawsuits targeting the Defense of Marriage Act.
----------------------------------------------
Predictably.. right on cue,  the  American Taliban immediately went berserk..
House Speaker John Boehner, apparently not remembering that the first two weeks of a GOP led Congress dealt almost exclusively with Republican efforts to take away American Women's reproductive rights; issued this terse little belch of hypocrisy.
"While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation," 
Yeah, because introducing  three separate bills to try to inject Government between a woman and her doctor is such a uniter.
In typical fashion,   the homophobic wing nuts  across the American Political Right,  stomped their widdle teabagger feet  and shrieked  hysterically  that the world is now coming to an end.  Noted pornography consumer and hate group spokes-bigot,  Peter LaBarbera  twittered  with rage...
Maggie Gallagher from the hate group "National Organization for (some people's) Marriage" Was all over Fox News spluttering  with indignation about how this means the end of the democracy as we know it.    Across the internet,  the whole sad little island of misfit bigots all had their  certified hate groups vomiting out  press releases,  screaming how DARE  President Obama not defend bigotry and discrimination. 
I can't help  but notice, that the day after I post an extensive blog entry, outlining my personal experience with the real life consequences of DOMA , the White House issues this statement. Now, I'm not taking credit mind you, but one does wonder who might be reading this blog. (*smirk*)   Ok, back to reality...   
What if anything does this mean for  the  thousands of bi-national same sex couples currently forced to choose between their spouse and their country?
The  Immigration Equality Action Fund, is current having its lawyers go over today's announcement  and  will be issuing a press release later today.  But  in the broader scheme of the fight to repeal DOMA,  today's decision by the Obama Administration  is nothing short of a legal earthquake.   It means that the current pending lawsuits against  DOMA  have  a much clearer path to eventually reaching the  United States Supreme Court.  
 Yet as welcome news as today's announcement is,  DOMA is still very much the law of the land, and  the process to undo it  will most likely  stretch on for at least the next two to three  years.   One side effect of  today's announcement is, that it may,  (as Slaggie Gillamonster so desperately hopes..) prompt the teabagging wing nuts in Congress to jump into the fray.  In her temper tantrum press release she spewed:
The good news is this now clears the way for the House to intervene and to get lawyers in the court room who actually want to defend the law, and not please their powerful political special interests.”
Apparently millions of tax paying Americans  are  what Maggie considers to be a "special interest".
Someone should have told  Maggie to be careful what she wished for.  The good folks over at  JoeMyGod are reporting at this hour that California Democratic Senator,  Diane Feinstein  has announced she plans to introduce a bill to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.
"My own belief is that when two people love each other and enter the contract of marriage, the Federal government should honor that. I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It was the wrong law then; it is the wrong law now; and it should be repealed," the California lawmaker said in an e-mailed press statement.
Of course,  the chances such a bill has for passing the GOP/Teabagger/Loony-Toon controlled  House of Representatives is very slim to none. So as with Lawrence v. Texas,  the issue of same sex marriage, will most likely end up in the lap of the United States Supreme Court.
I am very happy to see the  Obama Administration finally  "walk the walk and not just  talk the talk"  on DOMA.    It does give Eric and I hope that someday we may actually be able move back the United States.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Cost of Inequality... Our Story.

It was back in the last week of October, 2008.   I was in the UK visting Eric.  It was yet another of the many many trips I was taking back and forth from San Francisco to London.  Being in a long-distance relationship  has its own unique challenges under the best of conditions. For us,  being half a world away from each other meant we tried very hard to maximize what little time we did get to spend together.

So on this particular trip,  we had taken a long weekend getaway to Cornwall. It was a brilliantly sunny late afternoon at Land's End.  Land's End, if you have never been there,  is the extreme south-westerly point of the British mainland, and the extreme westerly point of the mainland of England.  We had just spent the day driving around the coast.  (We even found time to see the wonderfully cheezy Doctor Who exhibit that was going on there.)

Afterwards,  we hiked over to an incredibly scenic point on the cliffs overlooking the  North Atlantic. The sun was just  starting to set, and the  light  was perfect to take pictures.   So  I told Eric to stand there  against the panoramic view,  and I took this photo of him.  --->

It took me a couple of seconds to  adjust my camera to capture the light, and afterwards  I was looking at the photo in the view screen, when Eric asked me; "What are you doing?  Did it turn out ok?"

I  smiled  at him, and showed him the photo,  he  agreed  that with the light  and the view,   the photo was a good one.   I then turned to face him, and with the setting sun  shining in my eyes,  I asked him to marry me. He blinked a couple of times,  and  didn't say anything,  and  frankly my heart stopped for a moment.  A split second later,   he smiled  in that particular way he does, that  makes my knees go weak.  Then looked at me and said.  "I already said yes a long time ago."   What followed  was a  PDA (public display of affection)  that, while relatively mild,  would most likely  cause the bigots over at Focus on the Family's heads to explode.

I returned  to the United States  a few days later.  While sitting on the long eleven hour flight, I looked out  at the Atlantic Ocean 36,000 feet below and one thought kept ringing through my head like a trumpet blast. We were engaged!

On election night 2008,  Eric and I were hopeful for  two things.  The first, was that  Barack Obama would be elected President.   While campaigning  for  President,  Senator Obama had indicated  that  while he was not in favor of  "marriage"  for  same sex couples,  he firmly believed in Civil Unions that couples like Eric and myself should have the same legal rights  as any other American couple.


The other thing we hoped for that night, was  that Proposition 8 in California  would be defeated.   Prop 8 is the  ballot initiative  that  banned  same sex  marriage in California.   At the end of the night  we were disappointed by the passage of  legalized hatred with Prop 8,  but hopeful that  the new American President would live up to his word and work to pass the  Uniting American Families Act.  A law that would allow same sex couples to sponsor their spouse / partner/ whatever- you want to call it,  to come to the United States, just as opposite sex couples can.

We even added our voice to the lobbying effort on this issue.  Creating a  YouTube video that  was shown to lawmakers as part of the push to get a vote on the UAFA.


Yet as 2009 moved into 2010 it was clear that there would be no movement by the Obama Administration on the issue of marriage equality. The Republicans in Congress were consumed with their desire to prevent President Obama from getting ANYthing done, let alone addressing a hot button social issue like LGBT rights.

Faced with this reality we had to make a choice. We could continue the back and forth, long distance relationship we were in now, or we could pursue "plan b". Where Eric would instead sponsor me, to move to the United Kingdom. The UK, like most of Western Europe, grants same sex couples equal rights in terms of spousal immigration. The United States, because of the "Defense of Marriage Act", refuses to recognize Eric as my spouse, but the United Kingdom would recognize me as his.

So in the spring of 2010, we applied for a Civil Partner Visa for me. This visa would allow us to register as Civil Partners. This would be the first step in a two step process. Step 1: Register as Civil Partners and Step 2: Eric sponsors me as his spouse to settle in the UK.

The first visa, (the CP Visa) took about nine months to apply for . The documentation required, was very daunting. You basically had to prove everything about your life, your job history, financial history and prove that your relationship was legitimate. On top of that,  this process is certainly,  not cheap. Trying to do this on your own is a lot like trying to perform surgery on yourself.  It's possible you could do it, but all it takes  is one error to effectively make a huge mess of the whole thing.

So like many couples we used an agency to represent us. Which of course is really expensive. But the end result was, we got the Civil Partnership Visa in October 2010, nearly two years to the week, that we got engaged.

The next step was to actually get registered as Civil Partners. Which you think, would be the easy part. Guess again.  Because I am not currently living in the UK, the process is almost comically complicated. The UK like many other European countries has sensibly drawn a wall of serparation between "Civil Marriage" and the religious sacrament of marriage.  To get married or  registered as Civil Partners in the UK, you must first  "give notice" in your particular locale at the local  registry office.  To do that, you must first have been in the UK for  at least 7 days and 7 nights.

THEN after giving your notice, your names go up in a board.  Literally on a notice board.  Where  it must stay for  15 days and 15 nights.  The traditional  term for this  is  "positing the band" and is to give the good people who live your town,  a chance to voice their objections to your marriage or partnership.  If nobody objects,  then,   and only then can you go ahead and register or get married.

Since I was not in a position to  sit in the UK For 22 days while this whole waiting process ticked by,  it meant  making  two trips to the UK within  a one month period, One trip over the  Holidays to give our notice, and a second trip 16 days later to actually register as Civil Partners.   The end result being,  I would then be Eric's spouse and we could apply for  a Spousal Settlement Visa that  would allow me  to live and work in the UK.

On Monday January 17th, 2011, in the  Lewisham Registry Office,   Eric and I  became legal spouses in the United Kingdom .  It was an amazing  day, with friends and family from as nearby as just down the street, and as far away as  New York City, Dallas Texas, and  Omaha, Nebraska.

As we celebrated, we also  were busy putting together all the documents and material we would need for the last step in this long, long process.  Our application for  my Spousal Visa to settle permanently in the UK.

As we poured over all the required documents, we both had nightmarish visions of  forgetting something, and going through this  whole process, only to have to start all over again.   It was a stressful  two weeks after our ceremony,  as we  tried to go over everything via skype and webcam to make sure we had not forgotten  anything.

On February 8th, we sent all our supporting documents, including my passport, and the completed final visa application to the UK General Consulate in Los Angeles. Along with the $1,200.00 application fee. The final document weighed more than seven pounds.

The confirmation email from the British Consulate said that processing times for Settlement Visas is at least 50 days from the date they receive the application. So we were resigned to waiting at least until March 30th before we heard anything back from the UK Home Office on if or when my visa would be approved.

So when my blackberry buzzed last Friday to alert me I had just received an email from the  British Consulate in Los Angeles,   my first thought  was not a happy one.  As only two weeks had gone by, I figured the email must be to inform us that  our application had been rejected.  We had forgotten to include some document, some piece of paper that  now would doom us to  go back to square one,  and start this long agonizing,  and ridiculously expensive process  all over again.

It was with a sense of dread I opened the email.  I had to read the email through three times before  it finally registered in my brain what  it actually said:

From: LOANGVisaInfo@fco.gov.uk
To: My Office
Subject: Your Visa Application @ Los Angeles  (Ref: 369884)
Sent: Feb 18, 2011 10:06 AM
Your application has been approved and the visa has been issued.
Please check your visa immediately on receipt to ensure that we have completed your visa correctly. Please send details of any errors or omissions to complaintslavisa@fco.gov.uk ASAP.


The rest of the day last Friday is actually a bit of a blur. I immediately called Eric in London, He was startled when he saw my cell number on his caller ID, I rarely called him in the middle of the workday, and he also assumed it must be to deliver bad news. Both of us spent the rest of the day in a slight state of shock, that this long journey we have been on to finally be together , was about to be completed.

Today, Monday, February 21st, 2011 at 10:28am Pacific Standard Time, a brown UPS truck pulled up outside my building here in San Francisco. A rather harried overworked looking UPS Driver handed me a large box and asked for my signature. Inside it was the seven plus pounds of documents minus the visa application paperwork, and on top of the pile was my US Passport. On page 14, I found this... --->

Three years, thousands of dollars in legal fees, government application fees,  and more than 20 Trips across the Atlantic and two trips across the Pacific Ocean later; We finally have the legal authorization to live together, work and build our life together in the UK.  In two weeks I have a final interview for an amazing job opportunity in London, should that all go well, very soon, I will leave my job here in San Francisco, pack up my apartment and go home. To our new home in London.

So why am am I telling you this whole long, drawn out story? That's a real good question. And the answer is not an easy one. We had no choice, but to go through all this stress and expense for the simple reason that, the Government of the United States of America, MY government, is determined still, to treat me and my Spouse as 2nd class citizens

The Right Wing of American politics, has a vested deep-seeded interest in the preservation of homophobia and discrimination against Gay and Lesbian Americans. The GOP in the USA has realized the only way it can win elections is by making people afraid, In 2004 it was Muslims and Gays. In 2010 it was "Socialists". 2012 is shaping up to once again, to be the year the GOP screams hysterically of the "Gay Attack" on families and marriage.

When I hear clueless ignorant wingnuts, in their opposition to marriage equality say; "Same sex couples can daft contracts that give them the same rights as everybody else. We don't need to pass same sex marriage laws.", it's hard not to throw things at the t.v. The truth is same sex couples in the U.S. are anything BUT equal.

So after waiting for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party to keep all those wonderful promises about equality they made back in 2008, It became clear the United States Government is not going to treat its citizens equally under the law anytime soon. And the Republican Party, along with the Tea Party lunatics they spawned, are just fine with that.

In 1776 it was Great Britain that treated the original "tea party patriots" as second class citizens. How ironic that in 2011, it is the new "tea party" that will fight with all it has, to keep the United States LESS free than Great Britain, whose citizens are treated far more equally under their laws, than Americans are treated here under ours.

So as we celebrate the ending of one journey and the beginning of another, our life together. Eric and I do hope that someday The United States will grow up. But in the meantime, to our friends, and our family, we look forward to you visiting us at home, in London.

Dave and  Eric












Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Maybe there is Hope for Iowa After All...

An update of my previous posting about  the Same Sex Marriage debate currently going on in Iowa.   With  folks like Grandma Jean standing up for their children and grandchildren,  there just may be hope for civil rights in Iowa after all..

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You know what Conservatives? I Really Don't Care...

Ok...   When I sat down to write this blog post,  I was  all set  to give example after example of how the modern day GOP/TeaParty/Social/Fiscal/Fill-in-the blank/ Conservative moment,  has completely lost its mind and gone  totally insane.   What prompted  that original intention?  Well  everyone's favorite bouncing adam's apple of  bigotry,  Ann Coulter. Seen here, on Sean Insanity's  show  with   her traditional post-CPAC rant,  of how anyone who doesn't agree with her, is out to "destroy the family".    If you have a strong stomach,  feel free to watch the video.  For me, after a couple of seconds,   I find I've reached my quota of crazy...



I was all set to cite example upon example of how it is  lunatics like Coulter  who have been "attacking the Family" non-stop since the Reagan Era. I had  scores of sound bytes, video clips, and quote after quote showing as clear as clear can be, just how hateful, stupid,  anti family, anti American and just plain mentally deranged,  people like Ann Coulter really are.

But.. you know what? I don't care. For over five years now I have blogged about the lies, the hypocrisy the bigotry and greed on the American Right. Frankly, I'm tired.

I'm tired of the same people who are on their third and fourth marriages, serial adulterers who have no problem cheating on their spouses, who pray the loudest on Sundays after hiring sex workers on Saturday night, who sexually harass their subordinates, and feel they have the right to use the power of their elected offices to hide all of it; Telling me that I'm the sinner, and therefore discrimination against me is a civil imperative to "protect marriage, and the family".

I am tired of being told by draft dodgers, that war profiteers are somehow more patriotic and "support the troops" more than people who actually served our nation in war. I'm tired of being told that the American President who tripled our national debt, more than doubled the size of the Government and had a family life so dysfunctional,   you could have roped them off, and charged admission to view it;  somehow is now the model for fiscal conservatism, smaller government and "family values".

So this is what America has come to; Republicans who only serve the wealthiest of the wealthy, TeaBaggers who wave the Constitution like a banner, but understand none of it.  American Talibangelicals, who scream hysterically about the threat of "Sharia Law", but want to impose their own fundamentalist extremist beliefs on the rest of us. Cartoonish TV nutjobs ranting about birth certificates and some mysterious coming Muslim Caliphate.



Add to this sad cast of mentally misfit toys, a failed half-term Governor who can't express a coherent thought, unless excessively coached, and when caught out for that, hams up her accent and blames the "lame stream gotcha media". THIS is what passes for public discourse in the United States in 2011.

So I say go ahead, shut down the government. Refuse to raise the debt ceiling. Let the good faith and credit of the United States collapse. Destroy what is left of the middle class. To hell with the long-term unemployed. Eliminate Social Security and Medicare. Drag the United States of America into a new gilded age of the super rich, and the super poor and nothing else. Make us into a country doesn't build, doesn't invent, doesn't achieve. Turn the United States into a country that says sacrifice is for suckers, and greed is God.

The rest of the World may, for a little while,  lament our demise.  But soon,  they will  move on,  quite content without us. China, Russia, India, and many others will smile and applaud,  as the GOP completely destroys what is left of the American Manufacturing sector.  Mexico, Japan and South Korea must have quietly cheered this past week,  when the talking heads on FOX News frothed at the mouth with outrage over Chrysler giving hourly workers a bonus this year. While at the same time, insisting that multi million dollar bonuses (at taxpayer expense) for AIG executives were necessary to "keep America moving forward".

In 2012,   I say elect Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin . Create a new congressional committee to investigate anyone in government who isn't a white, (supposedly ) heterosexual, evangelical Christian. Hand over the National Parks to Oil Companies, Timber Companies and Mining Corporations. Eliminate science from public schools. Teach American kids, that the Earth is only 6,000 years old,  and the human race began with two fully formed people, who rode around a garden on dinosaurs, chatting it up with talking snakes.

In short, turn the United States of America into Teabagistan. Then when Mexico and Canada put troops on their borders to stop the influx of illegal immigrants from the U.S., you can beat your chest proudly and talk of "American Exceptional-ism'.  All while waiting in the breadline at your local soup kitchen, trying not to wonder out loud  why the rapture hasn't beamed you up yet.

There is no point in trying to reason with the American Right . Reason involves facts and reality. Two things the American Right Wing has learned to be quite comfortable living without. So I say to my Conservative and Libertarian friends,  good luck. The rest of the world thanks you,  for all you have done to eliminate their competition.

Well done indeed...     I'm sure the mythical Ronald Reagan you worship were he ever to have existed, would have been very proud.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

WingNut Cat Fight!!

Ah..  CPAC !   The annual  "Conservative Political Action Conference".   The  Cirque du Silly  of  American politics,   kicked off today in Washington D.C.  But not before  the  "eating their own"  purge-fest, that is the modern "conservative movement" managed to bang its own head  into the wall a few times.

First, as always,   it was  the Gays.   A gay GOP group called  "GoProud"   is one of the groups sponsoring  CPAC this year.  For  everyone's  favorite  American Taliban spokesbigot  Tony Perkins,  that  was a bridge too far...



Then there was Sarah Palin.  Or, more accurately there WASN'T  Sarah Palin.   She was invited to deliver the coveted end of conference  keynote address, but declined  citing scheduling conflicts.   Which prompted this little teabagger tantrum  from  WingNut Presidential Wanna-be   Rick Santorum:



Not one to take any criticism  lying down. "Caribou Barbie"  was  quick to  pop up on  Sean Insanity's  show  to respond to  defend  "Palin, Inc."  in true "mama grizzly" fashion:



I have often said that nobody  excels  at  turning victory into defeat  quite like liberals,  but  when it comes to  in-house cat fights, and attacking your own,  you gotta love  the  Conservatives,  they  are  masters  at  self-annihilation.

Earlier today,  Santorum was uh... 'frothing"  it up at the podium  espousing  his beliefs that  all Americans are  in fact not equal in the eyes of the law but only  (his)  God  can say who is equal.

Then in true  American Taliban style, Santorum  went on to say he wants Government (the judiciary) to get out of our lives  by  ..(wait for it...)  having the Government  (the executive and legislative) totally control our lives!  In Santorum's America,   the Federal Government has no business regulating  Banks,  but  every right to control what a woman can go to the doctor for.

Because after all, America  actually belongs to (his) God.



If this year's  CPAC is  any indication of the  state of the  modern "conservative movement",  the  Obama's  really  don't  need to worry about  moving  out of the  White House  come  January, 2013.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Thank You Ed...

MSNBC;s  Ed Shultz, has had enough of  the Republican Party's criminal neglect of  the long term unemployed in the United States.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

What Republicans SAY and What Republicans MEAN...

Like most Democratic and Progressive voters, I was deeply disappointed by the results of the 2010 midterm elections. It was like the American people, having just spent the last two years fixing a car that their irresponsible teenager and his friends had totaled. Decided to turn around and hand the keys back to the kid and say; "Here! Have another go!"

In the days leading up to the GOP takeover of the House of Representatives, I was slightly encouraged by the message coming out of the House GOP leadership, who said to anyone with a microphone that their NUMBER ONE priority was "JOBS, JOBS, JOBS."

Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner: “When are we going to address the number one issue on the minds of our fellow citizens? When are we going to focus on the economy and getting people back to work, instead of all of the job-killing policies that we're seeing move through this Congress? When are we going to begin to listen once again to the American people who sent us here to do their work?”

The GOP rode back into power waving the JOBS banner on high. It would be their FIRST priority. We could expect to see a Republican House majority that would walk the walk on jobs, not just talk the talk right?

Weeeeeeeeellll... Turns out, not really.   The truth is, when Republicans say they will work on "Jobs" they really mean they will be working on anything and everything BUT jobs.   Rachel Maddow breaks it down for us...



You see,  the Republican Party  really isn't  interested in Jobs.  Actually that isn't true.  What I should say is,  the Republican Party really isn't interested in  American Jobs.   Republicans  are  great  supporters of  creating  jobs  overseas by  sending  American jobs to other countries.



So the  new  GOP-led Congress  will now roll  up it's  sleeves and...  work  on their  suntans, I guess.  Oh, that and  the elimination women's reproductive rights  and the continued  outsourcing of America's dwindling manufacturing infrastructure to China, Mexico and India.  Oh,  that and,  making sure in the District of Columbia, all those icky Gays and Lesbians can't get married.

It's probably a good thing  that Republicans don't have a better work ethic.

On that same note  when  Republicans say they want  "Limited Government" or  "Small Government'  or any of the countless other GOP/Tea Party variations  on a theme  that  we have heard  coming from the Conservatives in recent  years,  that ISN'T  what they really mean.  

What Conservatives really mean,  is limited regulations on business,  and small taxes on the wealthiest of the wealthy and  HUGE  intrusive controlling, Orwellian government  to regulate American  women's bodies, and all American's bedrooms.  Cue Rachel..


The GOP knows  that  their economic "plan" is a scam.  It is  designed  solely to direct  opportunity  and wealth to  the top one tenth of one percent  of this country.   It is a "smash and grab" on a national economic level.   The holy grail  for these crooks, is Social Security.   Their ultimate dream is to finally be able to stick it to FDR and every other Democratic President since,  while at the same time  taking  America's greatest safety net, and turning it into  Wall Street's personal stack of  casino chips.

Yet even the  wingnuttiest  of the Wingnuts  over at the Heritage Foundation,  know  they aren't there yet.  The Social Security Piggy Bank is still  out of reach.  So  with their  real  number one goal  still  unattainable, you  have to do something to pass the time.

The GOP  knows they  can't do anything that might  actually HELP the rest of economy, because that would be  good  for  President Obama politically.  And the cranky, loony toon  birther/teabagger  base that  elected them,  is not going  behave itself for much  longer.   You have to throw that  rabid dog a bone.

So the Culture War is back,  in a big way.   If you have forgotten where that beloved Right Wing concept originated, let's  set the wayback machine  to  1992.  Cue everyone's favorite anti-Semite and holocaust revisionist,  Patrick J. Buchanan.

video

I mentioned  in the previous blog entry about  Ronald Reagan,  that I used to be  a Republican.  It was that speech in 1992 that  made me a Democrat.   It  became all too clear  then,  and  is  vividly clear now,  the Republican Party has lost its mind, and sold its soul.   It is now beholden to a rabidly angry base, that  really doesn't care about about  empty talking points of Fiscal Responsibility and Limited Government .  What the Republican Base wants, is for  the power of the Federal Government  to be used primarily,  to punish and marginalize other Americans, who they don't like.
The only  constituency left to the GOP  is  the  Tea Party monster it  spawned.  A movement created  in a  lab of violent racist, blasphemous  and homophobic rhetoric.   A mob  that talks of   "Second Amendment Remedies",  and targets opponents  on maps using  the cross hairs of a rife scope.     
To borrow a line from President Reagan.  The best thing for our Democracy would be for  the GOP and it's Tea Party  offspring,  to end up on the political ash heap of history.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Ronald Reagan's 100th Birthday...

I will confess my relationship with Ronald Reagan is (as facebook might say...)  "complicated."

Like so many of my  friends who are still  Republicans,  I grew up in the Reagan Era. As both a Young Republican and as a College Republican I enthusiastically supported Ronald Reagan.  (Yes,... I was a member of both the YR's and a CR's .... We all do foolish things in our youth.  Some of you smoked pot, I supported Republicans.  Both probably  amounted to the same strange trip down a rabbit hole of  un-reality.... Moving on...)

Like a lot of people, I found Reagan's  unwaivering faith in  the  greatness of America  very  appealing.  His hard line stance against the (portrayed) threat of  Soviet aggression was comforting.   And his carefully crafted messages of "Morning In America"  were both inspiring and reassuring.



I  actually met  President Reagan, twice.   Both times were during his second term.  Both times were amazing  experiences.   I also saw him speak in person on at least 5 different occasions.  Including his now famous speech at the Berlin Wall.  I was a teenager  at the time,  and remember  being filled with pride.   My President was standing up to the  Soviets and demanding they take down the wall they had erected  through the middle of a city, and by extension, the Iron Curtain they had built through half of Europe.

Now as an adult, I find the rose color has largely come off the lenses through which I view our 40th President.  This past week has seen conservative  media  proclaiming the greatness of the "Reagan Legacy" at full volume, and agressively attacking anyone who dares  disagree.  Even going so far as to attack Ronald Reagan Jr., who last month voiced his belief that  his Father's Alzheimer's  disease  did not develop after he left office,  but   instead, was something that affected President Reagan while still in office.    The right wing blogosphere literally exploded with vitriol  against  the Son of the man they idolize.

 Now as someone older, who  works in Health Care,  I sadly have met far too many people who have a family member struggling with Alzheimer's.  Looking back,  Many other close observers of President Reagan during those years have concurred.  It is now sadly clear that Alzheimer's was an issue  then, and was not something that developed AFTER he left the White House, as Fox News loves to claim.

The thing that struck me most, on  those two occasions where I briefly spoke with President Reagan;  was how he really wasn't "there".   Now looking back it is clear why.   It was as if, he saw an American that nobody else did.  He was in his own world,   one that he truly  thought was real.    Alzheimer's caregivers will often tell you how patients exist in a world that is a mix,  of their own hopes and memories.  The warm fuzzy Norman Rockwell image of America where horrors like AIDS, Homelessness and Poverty didn't exist, was the "World" in which Reagan mentally lived.

The deliberate inaction by the Reagan Administration in the early days of the AIDS epidemic was nothing less than criminal.  The Reagan White House  was content to sit idly by as many in the Administration and the larger GOP/Conservative Right, actively lobbied  to; " let the faggots die.".



The first time White House Press Secretary  Larry Speakes  was asked about AIDS, his glib,  joking response, is horrific and sickening when read now,  in the aftermath of the death of  Millions of people world wide.

















The anger towards President Reagan in the HIV/AIDS community is real, and completely justified.  Yet  looking back now,  hindsight  is always  20/20 isn't it?   So no,  I do not feel  that Ronald Reagan should be on Mount Rushmore. Nor do feel he should be burned in effigy either.   The emotional impact Ronald Reagan had on a post-Watergate, post-Vietnam America,   was real.    Yet at the same time,  any monument to his legacy must  also include the facts that more officials  from his administration  have been indicted than any other in modern history,  even more than the  Nixon Administration.

The fact is Ronald Reagan was not mentally fit to be president.  I dont say this to excuse or affix blame  for the damage his Presidency did, but simply  to give some context to the debate now going on over the Reagan legacy.
Yet  I can't help feeling,  that the greater crimes against America were committed by the larger GOP.  Those around President Reagan  in his Administration.  Men and women,  who were all too happy to use the Neurological disability of an old man to justify their greed, bigotry, arrogance and willful ignorance.


Thursday, February 03, 2011

gōng xǐ fā cái !




















Happy Year of the Rabbit Everyone!

The Right Wing in the US Has Officially Gone Completely Nutty...

The current civil unrest in Egypt has finally pushed  the  American Conservative  WingNuttocracy  over the edge. The current situation in Egypt is the result of  everything from Barack Obama's secret pact with the Muslim Brotherhood,  to  a Chinese plot to take over New Zealand.   


Seriously,  the folks over on FOX News  have finally decided that  sanity was just too limiting I guess.  The other night, Chris Matthews, over  on MSNBC  took Glenn Beck to task for this, on his program  "Hardball"...



Rachel Maddow  then took a look at the  collective opportunistic freak out happing on the American WingNut Right...


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Iowa Legislature Votes to Add Bigotry to its Constitution

Being from Wisconsin,   I often have made my share of  ""Iowa Jokes".   But  have always felt a quiet grudging affection for  my fellow Midwesterners on the other side of the Mississippi  River.   Their characteristics  brilliantly cataloged  in one of the opening numbers from Meridith Wilson's  "The Music Man"...



Sadly now I find myself thinking  that  it is the crude jokes  about Iowa that may have been closer to the truth;

From oneiowa

DES MOINES – The Iowa House today, by a vote of 62-37, passed an amendment (House Joint Resolution 6) that would deny any form of legal recognition for gay couples. The amendment seeks to prohibit not only the freedom to marry for gay couples, but also civil unions or domestic partnerships.

The bill now moves on to the Iowa Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has vowed to fight attempts to pass the amendment. If passed through both legislative bodies in two consecutive General Assemblies, the issue could be on the ballot as soon as 2013.
“The proposed amendment devalues families and divides Iowans,” said One Iowa Executive Director Carolyn Jenison. “The Constitution is meant to protect the freedoms and liberties of all Iowans. It is inappropriate to use the political process to single out and deny a group of Iowans of their constitutional protections.”

“This goes beyond politics,” said Iowa City resident Katie Imborek. “This is about our family and the ability for Paula and me to care for one another and our two children. At a time when so many Iowans are struggling just to make ends meet, I don’t understand why legislators would choose to take up this issue.”
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The vote came after 19 year old Zach Wahls  spoke against  the measure,  do yourself a favor and watch what this remarkable young man had to say...