Saturday, February 18, 2006
One of the great fallacies in modern lore is that liberalism stands for nothing and liberals have no core beliefs. The right wing, from the Pope to the President, has impugned the left by unfairly portraying it as a valueless movement mired in moral relativism.
This could not be further from the truth. Indeed, the left is the backbone of freedom, the defender of personal liberty, the guarantor of free speech and religious worship and the nurturer of democratic movements across the globe. Far from believing in nothing, wherever liberal democratic values prevail, civilizations flourish and emancipated people thrive.
The cornerstone of liberalism is the idea that each person is endowed with the precious gift of liberty and can freely choose his or her own path - for better or worse. We believe this is crucial to greater enlightenment, personal growth, and ultimate fulfillment. It also offers the best opportunity for people to realize their dreams and achieve their spiritual promise.
Liberalism encourages exploration and education. It reveres science and celebrates the inquisitive mind. Indeed, liberal values are often superior to those held on the right, because they are tenaciously subjected to rigorous examination. Beliefs that are questioned and still prevail are the ones that stand the test of time. Far from moral relativism, liberalism searches for the ultimate value in which to build a moral foundation: Truth.
Right wing movements across the globe often seem uninterested in such truth if it contradicts their obdurate belief systems. Reality averse, they are woefully unable to adjust to new understandings, burgeoning ideas and cultural awakenings.
Liberals believe in the power of reason, while conservatives are often just plain reactionary. This is why the GOP is the party of the "southern strategy" and anti-gay subterfuge. Republican power is directly related to fertilizing fear and fomenting fanaticism.
Modern conservatives are often discomfited by the complexities of life and demand answers to the world's many unanswerable questions. They arrogantly and disingenuously claim to have absolute truth, while liberalism boldly proclaims that it does not have such ubiquitous powers of understanding. Liberalism is for those who are unafraid to fully embrace the magnificent journey of life and tackle the great mysteries of our time.
Modern conservatives will claim that liberals are sacrilegious for holding such beliefs. To the contrary, liberals are often extraordinarily religious or spiritual people. However, they diverge with conservatives in that they believe the strongest faith is one that is subject to healthy skepticism and painstaking examination. In encouraging people to explore all faiths - free of guilt, shame, coercion or fear - liberalism also offers people the greatest number of spiritual options.
Conservatives often attack gay rights because they know it is the mark of a free society that abhors authoritarian control. If a country treats gay people with dignity and respect and offers them equality, it signals that the country bases its decisions on sound education, rationalism and science. This inevitably leads towards success in all spheres of life.
Countries that ostracize and penalize homosexuals tend to be superstitious, rigid and anti-intellectual. This almost uniformly leads to poverty, war, oppression and ultimately tyranny.
A cynic might argue that the United States is not as gay friendly as other countries, yet, it is the richest country in the world. True, but nearly all of America's cities and states that are centers of profit and creativity offer increased levels of acceptance for homosexuals. States most hostile to gay people are relatively backwards, with lower levels of education and income.
In essence, gay rights is the canary in the coal mine for freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately, the bird is hacking, signaling a period of increased oppression and a dangerous erosion of freedom. It is up to us to rescue this nation from the hazardous, retrograde path it is now on.
It is time we proudly stand up for what we believe in. If we don't defend our values, our opponents will define them. Progressive does not mean passive. Our compassion does not mean that we lack passion. Our respect for other beliefs does not signify that we don't hold strong beliefs of our own that we are willing to fight for.
Indeed, our power comes from our ability to adjust to reality. We are secure in our values, yet humble enough to adapt if our viewpoints are proven obsolete. Wherever liberal democracy takes root, a strong and proud record of economic, moral, social and political achievement follows.
In this midterm election year, I hope that you will be inspired to defend your values and work to create a better society where all people can live in dignified harmony and achieve the pinnacle of their social, spiritual and human potential. In other words, create a more liberal world.
Friday, February 17, 2006
President Bush said Thursday
that Vice President Dick Cheney had handled the disclosure of an accidental shooting of a hunting partner "just fine."
...And "Brownie" did a "heckuva job" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The Bush administration
helped derail a Senate bid to investigate a warrantless eavesdropping program yesterday after signaling it would reject Congress's request to have former attorney general John D. Ashcroft and other officials testify about the program's legality
. The actions underscored a dramatic and possibly permanent drop in momentum for a congressional inquiry, which had seemed likely two months ago.
Well, there you go - the party of "limited government" has morphed into the party of unlimited government, where bureaucrats can snoop and the president is king. I'm not sure what one calls this philosophy - but it is not conservative. Once again, leading Republicans have placed party loyalty in front of American values.
What a disgrace
The amount of ice flowing into the sea from large glaciers in southern Greenland has almost doubled in the last 10 years, possibly requiring scientists to increase estimates of how much the world's oceans could rise
under the influence of global warming, according to a study being published today in the journal Science.
When sea levels rise 20 feet, the eastern seaboard is underwater and the economy crashes, remember this: The Bush family derisively calls Al Gore "Ozone Man."
(Tom Malin and 'Todd Sharpe')
The Web page touts the "hot uninhibited" services of a male escort identified as Todd Sharpe, displaying a blurry beefcake photo and listing a Dallas phone number. But the number belongs to a salesman and former actor named Tom Malin, a Dallas Democrat who is seeking election to the Texas House.
Malin acknowledged Thursday that he once worked as a prostitute, The Dallas Morning News
"I've made mistakes in my life, and I've stood before my Creator and I've accepted responsibility for my behavior," Mr. Malin said. "I've also accepted his grace and his redemption and his love and his forgiveness, and that's what important."
Web pages that have been used to advertise the sexual services of "Todd Sharpe" say he previously worked in the New York City and Los Angeles areas. His rates ranged from $200 to $600, according to graphically detailed reviews from men whom the pages described as satisfied customers.
Mr. Malin said he no longer works as a prostitute.
"I knew that if I continued on with that, I would die," Mr. Malin said. "God spoke to me, and I knew I had to make a different choice in life."
Okay, here is the truth. Malin did not find God and is not sorry. What he found was "gravity," which made his ass (and his high billing rates) sag. With declining revenue, he had to find some new skills, so he took up politics, which is essentially legal prostitution.
In politics, you sell yourself to the highest bidder, fuck people every chance you get, flirt and smile with people you detest and smoke fat cigars after you are finished screwing someone.
I don't have an issue with the fact Malin was a hustler, but this "I have sinned" crap is just a sad act that Americans (particularly on death row) use to dupe gullible people into thinking they are contrite. Spare us the conversion nonsense, and just say you got too old to work the streets and had to find a new gig.
Wouldn't honesty be refreshing? Oh, that's right, he wants to be a politician.
A recent Zogby poll suggests 47 percent of all Americans surveyed believe all people have the potential to be sexually attracted to members of both sexes. The nationwide poll, commissioned by Scientific American's Mind magazine, showed only 11 percent of those asked believe sexual orientation is a conscious choice, while 34 percent said it is determined by both choice and other factors and 6 percent weren't sure, United Press International reported.
While expressing a widespread belief that sexual orientation is not an active choice, 47 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "I believe that all people have the potential to be sexually attracted to members of both sexes." A distinct majority, 53 percent, said they believe "a straight person may occasionally experience sexual attraction to individuals of the same sex."
In my opinion, the poll is screwed up. I simply don't believe that 53 percent of people said they felt this way. It defies reason and common sense.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Vice President Dick Cheney, whose former chief of staff is reported to have testified to a grand jury that his superiors authorized him to disclose classified information, said on Wednesday that he had the power to declassify material
"There is an executive order that specifies who has classification authority and obviously focuses first and foremost on the president but also includes the vice president," Mr. Cheney said in an interview on Fox News.
This is beyond outrageous. Cheney is saying that he could never give away classified secrets because he has the right to declassify information! It seems to me that Cheney is preparing his defense for outing the spy Valerie Plame. We all know Scooter Libby did not act on his own when he gave her identity away to reporters. Instead of denying he broke the law, what Cheney is essentially saying is that he is the law
. If you break it down, it appears that Cheney is tacitly admitting guilt.
On another note - we know that Dick Cheney isn't a straight shooter, nor can he shoot straight. However, he can't get his story straight
either. His friends claim that there were no booze at the ranch where he nearly whacked his hunting bud. But now Cheney says he had one beer with lunch.
Maybe, it was one case? Perhaps, Cheney waited until he dried up and got his act together before he called the cops and alerted the press? The discrepancy in stories of how much beer was involved appears suspicious.
Illinois Family Institute Executive Director Peter LaBarbera
said today that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley "has his priorities all mixed up," after learning that Daley will not even bid for the Republican National Convention, after excitedly courting the "Gay Games
" and spending lavishly on the 1996 Democrat convention.
"To not even bid on the Republican convention after having a Howard Dean moment celebrating Chicago's landing of the 2006 'Gay Games' says a lot about the Mayor's confused priorities," LaBarbera said. "Perhaps if this were a convention of homosexual Republicans, he would be showing some interest."
Sorry, but gay athletes behave much better than Republicans, dress snazzier, tip more and don't divide society. This was an easy call to make. Pete usually prefers gays who wear leather, but don't worry Pete, the guys will look hot in tanktops and spandex too.
Let the games begin...
Three people died yesterday
as more than 70,000 demonstrators took part in Pakistan's biggest protest against cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Street demonstrators in Peshawar torched a KFC to teach the West a lesson. Although local fast-food franchises are owned and operated by Pakistanis, they have often been targeted as symbols of the West. Three cinemas were also burnt in the conservative frontier city.
Well, the Pakistanis really showed us, didn't they! Tens of millions of Americans and Europeans are sitting around today absolutely terrified. How will we sleep knowing the citizens of Peshawar will have to rent DVDs because there are no longer movie theatres? How will we go on with our lives knowing they will have to eat Taco Bell 24/7 because the other fast food joints have been set ablaze? It is all just too much to handle.
On another sad, sick note
, the Supreme Mufti of the Central Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of Russia (How does this asshole get his title on his business card?)
said that gays who participate in Moscow Pride should be thrashed
. He wasn't alone in his bigotry, as the principal rabbi of Russia joined the fray. Rabbi Berl Lazar told the Russian news agency InterFax that if the Gay Pride parade was allowed to go ahead it "would be a blow for morality."
You just have to admire the love spread by our religious leaders. Without their compassion and spiratual guidance, where would the world be?
Maybe enjoying peace...
Condi Rice was grilled
for the Bush Administration's failures in the Middle East by lawmakers of both parties on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"I don't see, Madame Secretary, how things are getting better. I think things are getting worse. I think they're getting worse in Iraq. I think they're getting worse in Iran," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.
"Opportunities missed," said Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, referring to the recent Palestinian election triumph of Hamas. "Now we have a very, very disastrous situation of a terrorist organization winning elections."
Poor Condi - it must be so difficult to continue to lie with a smile, defend abject failure and pretend things are improving when they are clearly not. I bet she can't wait to go back to Stanford and play a dirge on her piano.
New Jersey Supreme Court justices grilled lawyers on the issue of
same-sex marriage Wednesday, asking what business the state has barring such unions, but also whether lifting the ban could open the door to legalizing polygamy.
Anyone who has ever been married can tell you that one husband or wife is more than enough. Imagine having to buy all five spouses Valentine's Day gifts, but you accidentally pick up only four roses...Nothing but drama. And at least one spouse would always be in a bad mood!
But more important, in the one state that has gay marriage and in the other nations that also have it - there has been no push for polygamy. Experience
teaches us that this is nothing more than a perverse fantasy in the minds of sexually repressed conservatives. In the real world, they are the only creeps who ever talk about polygamy.
The Bush administration made an emergency request
to Congress yesterday for a seven-fold increase in funding to mount the biggest ever propaganda campaign against the Tehran government, in a further sign of the worsening crisis between Iran and the west.
Could this be the beginning of a campaign to bomb Iran? Personally, I think that such a campaign may be needed. After all, we certainly can't allow those lunatics to have nukes. The problem is, it is so difficult to believe anything our government says, these days. We have been lied to so many times that Bush's words are essentially meaningless. When Bush says that there is a crisis, how can we trust him?
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
In Alabama 10 rural churches have been torched by two white men. Witnesses say they've seen the slugs in a sport utility vehicle near a number of the fires. Now, investigators have said they believe the men responsible are probably "bosom buddies
Is this a euphemism for boyfriends? Are the police insinuating that the arsonists are gay? I certainly hope that this is not the case. But, since the Baptist churches that have been burned are both black and white congregations, this rules out racism. Perhaps, police think a disenfranchised and bitter gay couple lit the matches?
In any case, I've never before heard the police refer to suspects "bosom buddies." Any thoughts?
Questions about why Vice President Dick Cheney did not tell the public that he had accidentally shot Texas lawyer Harry Whittington during a quail hunting outing in Texas on Saturday continue to persist
Now the White House is under fire
for not releasing information on the Cheney shooting quickly enough. The tension between President Bush's staff and Mr. Cheney's has been palpable, with White House officials whispering to reporters about how they tried to handle the news of the shooting differently.
In NRA terms, this is what they call a circular firing squad. Sit back, watch them squirm and enjoy their secretive sideshow.
Far-right Christian author and American Vision president Gary DeMar was the guest on the February 2 edition
of American Family Radio's Today's Issues. In the past, DeMar has advocated the installation of a theocratic government in the United States in which homosexuals, adulterers, and abortion doctors would be executed.
So much for the AFA's claim that they "love" homosexuals.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia thinks I'm an "idiot."
I think he is an idiot too, but the difference is, he is on the High Court and I am not. I can display a bloggers temperament, while he must display judicial temperament. In this endeavor, he has failed miserably, undermined his credibility and shown he is unquestionably unfit for the job.
In a speech Monday sponsored by the ultra-conservative Federalist Society, Scalia defended his long-held belief in sticking to the plain text of the Constitution "as it was originally written and intended." Scalia criticized those who believe in what he called the "living Constitution."
"That's the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break. But you would have to be an idiot to believe that. The Constitution is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn't say other things."
Proponents of the living constitution want matters to be decided "not by the people, but by the justices of the Supreme Court," Scalia added.
"They are not looking for legal flexibility, they are looking for rigidity, whether it's the right to abortion or the right to homosexual activity, they want that right to be embedded from coast to coast and to be unchangeable," he said.
First, I have a huge issue with Scalia addressing the extraordinarily partisan Federalist Society. Last time I checked, he worked for the American people, not the conservative movement. Scalia must understand that when he pledges allegiance to a particular cause, rather than the flag, he erodes trust in the entire judicial system. I would like to see Supreme Court Justices eschew speaking engagements in front of political hack groups. It creates a real or perceived conflict of interest.
Second, on the issue of the Constitution, Scalia is flat out wrong. In my column
this week I addressed the issue of how his anachronistic judicial philosophy is patently absurd.
If one looks at modern conservatism in the United States, it is easy to see that it is a movement of intellectual and spiritual atrophy. In the political realm, conservatives essentially call for judges who are "strict constructionists," which is shorthand for saying "the Constitution is a dead document."
What a monumentally ridiculous notion to put forth, that American jurisprudence has not evolved in more than two centuries! Do strict constructionists believe that women and African Americans should have their rights restricted because the nation's founders treated women as second-class citizens and owned slaves?
When Scalia opens his mouth and spews such vitriol, he excludes a large number of Americans, such as myself, from the court system. Scalia made it clear that he thinks I'm an idiot, and the result is, I don't believe I could get a fair shake in front of the Supreme Court. Sure, I might win, but I would know going in that at least a few Justices - such as Scalia and Clarence Thomas - weren't even bothering to hear my arguments.
Third, it is comical that Scalia considers himself a conservative. What kind of true conservative believes the government has the right to regulate private sexual behavior - even inside one's own bedroom? Conservatives are supposed to stand for limited government. What Scalia propounds, is unlimited government, where there is no zone of privacy and Big Brother has the right to control even the most personal aspects of our lives. Scalia's philosophy is authoritarianism, masquerading as conservatism, under the guise of strict constructionism. Real conservatives should be wary of such "omnipotent government" judicial views.
Finally, people like to say that Scalia is smart and I do not disagree. However, he is not wise, which is a more important attribute for a Supreme Court justice. Lately, Scalia comes across as Zell Miller in a black robe, with a higher IQ. This is hardly the type of personality that is fit to serve on America's highest court. America needs a Justice with sharp judgment, not a judgmental judge with a sharp tongue. Scalia has badly failed the American people.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The financial costs
to the U.S. military for discharging and replacing gay service members under the nation's "don't ask, don't tell" policy are nearly twice what the government estimated last year, with taxpayers covering at least $364 million in associated funds over the policy's first decade, according to a University of California report scheduled for release today.
Members of a UC-Santa Barbara group examining the cost of the policy found that a Government Accountability Office study last year underestimated the costs of firing approximately 9,500 service members between 1994 and 2003 for homosexuality. The GAO, which acknowledged difficulties in coming up with its number, estimated a cost of at least $190.5 million for the same time period. The new estimate is 91 percent higher.
Only in America would we waste hundreds of millions of dollars to make the nation less safe and secure. Discrimination is a hard habit to kick.
States are rushing to limit
when and where people may protest at funerals -- all because of a small fundamentalist Kansas church whose members picket soldiers' burials, arguing that Americans are dying for a country that harbors homosexuals.
During the 1990s, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., went around picketing the funerals of AIDS victims with protest signs that read, "God Hates Fags." But politicians began paying more attention recently when church members started showing up at the burials of soldiers and Marines killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Legislation is being considered in at least 14 states, and several of the bills moving quickly, with backing from legislative leaders and governors.
Legislation against funeral protests was also introduced in West Virginia last month after a small knot of protesters from Westboro Baptist demonstrated outside a memorial for the 12 men killed in the Sago Mine disaster. The protesters held signs reading, "Thank God for Dead Miners," "God Hates Your Tears" and "Miners in Hell," arguing that the miners' deaths were a sign of God's wrath at America for tolerating gays.
First, it is disgraceful that none of these politicians gave a shit when Phelps was protesting gay funerals and those of AIDS victims.
Second, it is disgusting that we have to have this debate. What kind of sick, psychotic, sociopathic SOB would picket a funeral? Friends and family should be able to pay their last respects free from harassment.
This is an interesting challenge to absolute free speech. I'd be curious to what my readers think should be done about this dilemma. Should there be laws to bar people from picketing funerals?
Gay and lesbian civil partnerships or marriage could bring lasting health benefits to same-sex couples, Reuters
reports today. Doctors already know that marriage benefits the health of both sexes in a variety of ways. British scientists said civil partnerships for gay couples were likely to offer similar advantages.
"Marriage confers health benefits on men and women and similar benefits could arise from same-sex civil unions," said Professor Michael King, of London's Royal Free and University College Medical School, in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. "Social inclusion is a very big thing because if partnerships lead to recognition...then that stops a lot of unhealthy habits that occur and it also stops a lot of psychological issues."
Well, there you have it. The right wing is partly responsible for creating the very "gay lifestyle" they claim to abhor. The more they oppose allowing gay people equal rights, the more gay people engage in unhealthy behavior.
Of course, this does not mean that we can use this as an excuse not to take personal responsibility for our actions. Still, the cumulative effect of discrimination, social rejection and lack of protection for our families does add enormous stress to daily life and certainly does affect health.
Memo to the right wing: Stop promoting stereotypical gay lifestyles, putting our families at risk and damaging our health. The medical consequences of fundamentalism are literally killing the gay community.
A majority of members on the Board of Education
of Ohio are ready to dump "critical analysis," which is just another name for Intelligent Design, which is just another name for "Creationism." I'm always amazed at how crafty fundamentalists are at finding ways to shove their religion down the throats of normal Americans on the taxpayer's dime. When one scheme gets exposed as unconstitutional, they mutate their strategy and unveil something equally unconstitutional.
Fortunately, the whole Intelligent Design charade is imploding. Much of this has to do with a federal judge's ruling in December that teaching the theory in the public schools of Dover, Pa., was unconstitutional.The New York Times
reports that a rural school district in California last month swiftly abandoned plans for a philosophy elective on intelligent design after being challenged by lawyers involved in the Pennsylvania case. Also last month, an Indiana lawmaker who said in November that he would introduce legislation to mandate teaching of intelligent design instead offered a weaker bill requiring only "accuracy in textbooks." And just last week, two Democrats in Wisconsin proposed a ban on schools' teaching intelligent design as science, the first such proposal in the country.
All I an say is Thank God, Intelligent Design is on the ropes. However, we know it is only a matter of time before the fundamentalists come up with a new, equally disturbing plan to impose their beliefs at the expense of educational standards and sound science.
Let's be clear.
The furor over
Tricky Dick Cheney waiting nearly 24 hours to disclose the fact he nearly whacked his hunting buddy has little to do with the actual incident. This is just the straw that broke the camel's back and forced the lazy ass media to get out of their obsequious slumber.
Since Dick Cheney took office, he has pathologically pulled the shades and kept out the sunlight. Whether he eats bagels or rye bread for breakfast is probably classified information. Is there anything this man doesn't try to conceal?
The first thing he did was try to hide his lesbian daughter Mary in the closet. Her ultra-butch hairdo, combined with the fact that she used to tour seedy gay bars promoting Coors Beer with Mr. Leather made this secret hard to keep. Nevertheless, they Cheney's often kept her and her partner off the stage during key political conventions.
But this wasn't the only lesbian cover-up. Lynne Cheney wrote a tawdry novel with ribald lesbian love scenes. Tricky Dick made sure they were off the shelves as quickly as possible.
Of course, there was Cheney's ultra-secret Energy Task Force, where he furtively invited pollution and chemical lobbyists into the White House to write environmental policy.
After 9-11, there were those months in the clandestine bunker where the VP plotted the invasion of Iraq and cooked up a phony pretense for war with the stealthy Iraq Working Group.
Which led to the disastrous Vietnam...uh, Iraq quagmire. Then came the secret prisons, the torture memos - and all sorts of interesting policies that shredded the Constitution behind the backs of Congress and the American people.
The latest scandal is that the White House won't turn over e-mails that shed light on its role in letting New Orleans become Atlantis. They can usually avoid scrutiny by claiming that turning over e-mails would help the terrorists. But there were no terrorists during the Katrina debacle - just terrible management by corrupt, inept and incompetent cronies. My guess has always been that the White House allowed New Orleans to sink, because it would turn Louisiana into a reliably Republican state. Once the pesky gays and African Americans were washed out of the city, the days of Democrats winning statewide elections were over. Are they afraid their e-mails would show such a calculating and Machiavellian strategy?
Finally, the public and media know in their hearts that Dick Cheney personally ordered his aide, Scooter Libby, to "out" covert agent Valerie Plame, to get back at her husband for exposing the Iraq war as a fraud. Cheney is guilty as sin, and everybody knows it.
Which brings us full circle to the hunting accident. The media is using this as a proxy to ask tough questions and exact revenge for all the other cover-ups and lies told by Cheney over the years.
I would caution members of the media not to ask questions that are too tough - Tricky Dick, after all, might just ask you to go on a friendly little hunting trip.
True Love Is SO Beautiful...
Monday, February 13, 2006
(Cruise: 'I'm Not Into Dudes')
Tom Cruise is threatening to sue acclaimed biographer Andrew Morton after discovering he has hired a gay porn star
to shed light on his
Morton, who famously collaborated with Diana, Princess of Wales to pen an account of her life, has hired Los Angeles private investigator and former gay adult actor Paul Baressi to probe on-going speculation the Top Gun stud is gay.
I have no idea if Cruise is gay. But in my humble opinion, he is gay by association. I mean, has there ever been anyone
in the history of humanity that has been rumored to be gay as often as Cruise?
Through a spokesman, Cruise denies that he is gay. Although, he has yet to deny that he prays to aliens.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot
and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.
I know many of you will be disappointed, but it wasn't Scooter Libby or Antonin Scalia
. Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was Cheney's victim.