Archive for the ‘Republicans’ Category
Posted in Activism, Civil Rights, Corporations, Current Events, History, International, Justice System, Law Enforcement, LGBT, Media, Politics, Republicans, Wall Street, Writing on May 2, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Today has been crazy busy, so no posting except for my column this week, which should piss a few people off.
It’s about Pfc Bradley Manning, the former Army intelligence officer who leaked some things (actually many thing) to Wikileaks that were very bad or very good, depending on your outlook. I side with the latter viewpoint.
Manning is the U.S. Army Pfc who was arrested in May 2010 for allegedly passing classified secrets to Wikileaks, which published many of them. Manning, who was unhappy with his life in the military, was accused by prosecutors of being motivated primarily by this unhappiness. Manning and his supporters argue that he motivated by the very things I mentioned at the beginning of this piece: a desire to expose the hypocrisy of a military system that professed to be using troops to defend truth, freedom and the American way, but which instead was wasting untold military lives to wage wars which would, as we all know now, end up being next to pointless.
But Manning exposed more than just a government and military willing to kill its own for ephemeral gains. He also exposed needless deaths of Iraqi and Afghani civilians, including the May, 4, 2009 Garanal massacre, a B-1 bombing raid which is said to have killed between 86-147 Afghan civilians. This was a war crime, pure and simple.
American government and military officials say that Manning put American military lives in danger because of the anger these kinds of leaks engendered in local populations. A more critical reading of these incidents brings up more important questions, including the most important one of all: Aren’t we supposed to be the good guys? All it takes is a few mass murders by our military, and the sheen of righteousness in which they cloak themselves washed away.
Manning had issues and we may never know how pure his motivations were. But that is not relevant. The information he released showed an American government and military, which were telling the U.S. public one thing, while committing war crimes in the Middle East. The Manning leaks also show a military effort that was often haphazard and at odd with its stated goals. If you cannot work up a tear or two over civilian casualties in war, how about working some up over dead soldiers who were fighting and dying for little more than window dressing meant to sell the war to a skeptical public at home?
Sound familiar? It should if you know recent American history at all, because of a psychiatrist and private contractor with the Rand Corporation named Daniel Ellsberg who, in 1971, released the Pentagon Papers showing that the U.S. government basically had no idea what it was doing in the Vietnam War. Those papers were published by no less than the New York Times, and the incident is considered a seminal moment in free speech and newspaper publishing in America.
You can read the rest here.
This might seem like a bit of an overreach to some. But I think Sarah is dangerous, especially if the economy ever tanks worse than it did this last time, which is possible since Capitol Hill and the White House seem incapable of properly regulating bankers.
Regular readers of mine know that I have had a love-hate relationship with Andrew Sullivan that has, in many ways, been one of the longest non-familial connections I’ve had with another person in my adult life. I both respect Sullivan for his mind, and he drives me to distraction when that mind seems be stuck in neutral on some issues. Such as his remembrance of Dame Maggie Thatcher:
I was a teenage Thatcherite, an uber-politics nerd who loved her for her utter lack of apology for who she was. I sensed in her, as others did, a final rebuke to the collectivist, egalitarian oppression of the individual produced by socialism and the stultifying privileges and caste identities of the class system. And part of that identity – the part no one ever truly gave her credit for – was her gender. She came from a small grocer’s shop in a northern town and went on to educate herself in chemistry at Oxford, and then law. To put it mildly, those were not traditional decisions for a young woman with few means in the 1950s. She married a smart businessman, reared two children and forged a political career from scratch in the most male-dominated institution imaginable: the Tory party.
She relished this individualist feminism and wielded it – coining a new and very transitive verb, handbagging, to describe her evisceration of ill-prepared ministers or clueless interviewers. Perhaps in Toynbee’s defense, Thatcher was not a feminist in the left-liberal sense: she never truly reflected on her pioneering role as a female leader; she never appointed a single other woman to her cabinet over eleven years; she was contemptuous toward identity politics; and the only tears she ever deployed (unlike Hillary Clinton) were as she departed from office, ousted by an internal coup, undefeated in any election she had ever run in as party leader.
Indira Gandhi and Golda Meir preceded her; but Thatcher’s three election victories, the longest prime ministership since the 1820s, her alliance with the US in defeating the Soviet Union, and her liberation of the British economy place her above their achievements. What inspires me still is the thought of a young woman in a chemistry lab at Oxford daring to believe that she could one day be prime minister – and not just any prime minister, but the defining public figure in British post-war political history.
Once a fanboy, always a fanboy.
In some ways his hagiography makes sense. He made his political fame by being an “openly gay conservative Tory” with a love for all things Thatcher. To turn his back on her now would mean, in some ways, negating the very things which catapulted Sullivan into the public eye. It would almost be to admit, finally, that much of that which originally made him famous was a farce. Which it was.
Which is not to say Andrew has not grown and become a better person. He has. And we are all better off for it.
But notice in the piece excerpted above that nowhere does Sullivan mention Section 28, the heinous piece of British legislation championed by Thatcher that stated “the government shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”
That legislation, which the government later repealed and issued an apology about, made gay and lesbian Brits political strangers in their own country in many ways — part of Britain, but still left outside legally.
I have a theory: Thatcher was the first powerful figure to tell Sullivan that he was a nasty, naughty gay boy in need of severe discipline. On some level that ill treatment resonated with him then, as it has ever since.
As with all masochists, Sullivan had a soft spot for his tormentors. I’ve always said there are three ways to get Andrew on your side: 1) Find a argument with which he agrees, 2) Butter him up with respect for his place in the journalistic celebrity firmament, 3) Mistreat him until he can’t get enough.
Posted in Activism, Entertainment, HIV/AIDS, Lesbians, LGBT, Medical, Politics, Pop Culture, Religion, Republicans, Science, Sexuality, tagged Academy Awards, Fenway Health.Oscars, How To Survive A Plague, Ken Mayer, Peter Staley on April 3, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
There will be a screening of the 2013 Oscar-nominated documentary How To Survive A Plague, which totally should have won the Oscar last month (but did not).
The event is sponsored by the Fenway Community Health Center (FCHC) and the Harvard School of Public Health and will take place in FCHC’s ginormous 10th floor auditorium at 1350 Boylston Street in Boston, one block away from Fenway Park.
After the screening, yours truly, along with Peter Staley — one of the main characters in the documentary — and world renowned AIDS researcher Ken Mayer will discuss the film and the all-at-once frightening and enervating time in which the documentary is set.
Peter Staley is there because he’s Peter Staley. Dr. Mayer is there because he knows as much as anyone about AIDS now and then. And I will be there because I wore three hats during that awful, tragic time: first I worked at an AIDS service organization in Denver before there were any treatments — a terrible time I had managed to put out of my mind until I was recently asked to take part in this event. Then I was a journalist covering all these issues for most of my adult life. And, of course, throughout it all I was a gay man.
It should be an interesting discussion — at times sad, at times funny, at times uplifting. I hope you can make it.
The event starts at 5:30 with a reception, then the film screening at 6:00, then the three of us will try to keep you around for the discussion afterward.
And, by all means, if you come because of this blog, come up and introduce yourself to me afterward.
Now comes Mitt Romney with a Sunday interview on Fox during which he exclaims that, until nearly the last minute, he really though he was going to win the election:
The GOP nominee tells “Fox News Sunday” that he knew his campaign was in trouble when exit polls suggested a close race in Florida. Romney thought he’d win the state solidly.
Obama ended up taking Florida and won the election by a wide margin in the electoral vote.
Romney says there was “a slow recognition” at that time that President Barack Obama would win — and the race soon was over when Obama carried Ohio.
Romney says the loss hit hard and was emotional. Ann Romney says she cried.
Poor Ann. The little people just did not connect with her or her husband.
Gee, I wonder why women — many conservative women, included — are abandoning the Republican Party?
But the Tea Party is not racist, understand?
Many of us have had our own encounters with them. Mine was a roommate in college who would lecture the other three of us who rented a house together in Denver whenever he got the chance. And the tedious lectures always started with, “It’s not pronounced Ann Rand, it’s Ayn Rand.”
It was my first exposure to someone who actually believed the incredible bullshit spouted by Rand in her signature book, Atlas Shrugged. Thinking back now, my friend Marc was to be excused. He was a college student, and like all college students he was prone to dabbling aimlessly in different schools of thought, even ones which were only masquerading as coherent philosophy.
Most people grow out of the love affair with Atlas Shrugged. The others grow up to be right-wing Republicans and Tea Partiers and members of the Idaho Legislature:
Coeur d’Alene Sen. John Goedde, chairman of the Idaho Senate’s Education Committee, introduced legislation Tuesday to require every Idaho high school student to read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” and pass a test on it to graduate from high school.
When Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, asked Goedde why he chose that particular book, Goedde said to laughter, “That book made my son a Republican.”
Goedde said he doesn’t plan to press forward with the bill, but it was formally introduced in his committee Tuesday on a voice vote. He said he was sending a message to the State Board of Education, because he’s unhappy with its recent move to repeal a rule requiring two online courses to graduate from high school, and with its decision to back off on another planned rule regarding principal evaluations.
“It was a shot over their bow just to let them know that there’s another way to adopt high school graduation requirements,” Goedde said after the meeting. “I don’t intend to schedule a hearing on it.”
The 1957 novel has been embraced by libertarians and the tea party movement, in part for its opposition to “statism” and embrace of capitalism, as Rand expressed her philosophy of “objectivism,” focusing on “the morality of rational self-interest.” In recent years, the novel has been touted by conservative commentators including Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
Goedde is in the picture. Funny, he doesn’t look batshit crazy, does he? Randians can fool you that way.
The best comment I’ve ever seen about Atlas Shrugged comes from a source I cannot identify, but it is a bucketload of awesome:
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
The question is: what?
My column for this week:
The Atlantic magazine ran an article Jan. 7 purporting to sort out the reasons why LCR has decided to expend so much political capital (and huge sums of mysteriously acquired advertising funds) to oppose Hagel. Run under a headline “Why the Log Cabin Republicans Won’t Forgive Chuck Hagel,” I expected the article to — at the very least — answer questions about, you know, why LCR won’t forgive Chuck Hagel.
No such luck, however, since one passage in the article exemplifies the stupidity of ever trying to decipher LCR’s motives for doing just about anything that involves criticizing someone else’s motives around LGBT rights issues.
“So why then are the Log Cabin Republicans the outlier here?” asked reporter Ben Terris in The Atlantic. “[LCR interim director Gregory] Angelo says of course he wished more gay rights groups would align themselves with him and oppose Hagel, but their decision not to is just proof that the gay community is not monolithic in its views.”
Thanks for clearing that one up for me.
You can read the rest here.
Not only that, but God also told him Mitt would have a second term!
Must’ve had a bad connection between old Pat and God. Either that or Pat is just another money-grubbing con man.
I wonder which it is?
Yes, it’s past the election. But it’s never too late to ask the question to good Christians everywhere: isn’t there something in your commandments about not lying? Why do you people still follow this guy and guys like him?
At least that’s how every pouty-faced conservative on radio and television is spinning it.
“A-ha!” they exclaim. “This is proof Christie is a traitor.”
Conservatives were already twisted in a knot over the chumminess of Christie with the President in the wake of Sandy. Some of them incredulously blame Christie for Obama’s victory, despite all evidence to the contrary.
As for the congratulatory phone call from Obama to Christie, the truth is less likely to piss off conservatives if they would only stop listening to their masters’ voices on Fox and right-wing talk radio.
Christie really just called Obama to discuss ongoing recovery efforts in NJ and the federal government’s continued role in the clean-up and recovery. During THAT telephone call Gov. Christie congratulated Obama. He didn’t make a special phone call to Obama and then snub Romney.
Honestly, politics sometimes feels a lot like a middle school name-calling contest.
That’s the question I ask in this week’s column:
After Obama won the last election, I wanted to take the next day off to spend time with my fellow travelers reveling in what seemed to be a new day dawning — a time wherein the competent and paternal African-American president would finally prove to the trailer-park-and-Pabst-Blue-Ribbon set holding the GOP hostage that darker-skinned people, especially African American men, were not the dangerous lawless monsters they have been made out to be by two and one-half decades of the GOP’s vile Southern Strategy.
After Obama’s victory this year, I was less expansive and generous. I wanted to stay home and troll right-wing web sites with snarky exultations meant merely as the rhetorical equivalent of poking a stick in the angry animal cages.
The wingnuts are confused and hurt, and I want them to stay mad. Childish? Perhaps, on some level.
But it’s also strategic. I’m tired of people telling me that I will get more with honey than vinegar with people, because that is only true when the people to whom you are offering the honey have a functioning set of critical reasoning skills. A great many of these people are beyond reason. They are so scientifically and epistemologically deficient that they believe en masse that evolution can’t be believed because “it’s just a theory,” never stopping to consider why we don’t all just float up into space because gravity is, after all, just a theory.
Instead of ushering in a new period of racial and political harmony brought on by a Democratic president who is actually quite conservative when compared to the liberal caricature many tea partiers have made him out to be, the period encompassing Obama’s presidency thus far has, according to polls, actually seen racism get worse.
How does that happen?
You can read the rest here.
Posted in Democrats, Douchebaggery, Republicans, Writing, tagged Barack Obama, Candy Crowley, David Gregory, Elizabeth Warren, Mitt Romney, Richard Tisei, Scott Brown on October 18, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
I firmly believe that, while some national polls show Romney up over Obama, swing state polling suggests that it’s still Obama’s election to lose in the Electoral College as long as Obama’s Democratic base gets its collective ass to the polls.
That’s one reason why the Republicans, especially in places such as Massachusetts, are getting even more blatant in their comical attempts to paint themselves as Democrats in Republican clothing.
Which brings me to my column this week:
The closer we get to the November elections, the more glaringly obvious it becomes that Republicans and their supporters are becoming desperate now that it’s becoming clear that their usual bag of underhanded tricks — blatantly untrue political ads; anonymous robocalls telling minority and elderly voters they might be arrested at the polls; bogus voter disenfranchisement legislation meant to remedy nearly non-existent voter fraud problems — are not likely to be enough to hand them the election. And with desperation comes errors, forced and unforced.
Witness Tuesday’s second presidential debate on Long Island, where the most telling moment came when Mitt Romney’s habit of arrogantly making up lies out of thin air came back to bite him in the ass. I’ll bet that Candy Crowley might not have even corrected Mitt when he insisted that it took two weeks for President Obama to label the Benghazi embassy attacks as terrorism, except Mitt was actually being cocky about it, acting as if he was the one catching Obama in a falsehood.
What a tool. It offended my sensibilities regarding fair play, and I’ll bet it offended Crowley’s, too. So she stepped in and handed Romney his ass in that perfect moment from the second debate that crystallized what this election is about: our reality vs. their myths.
Mitt looked a little dazed after being called out on his fib, didn’t he? You could tell it threw off his entire sense of rhythm at the debate because, well, if he can’t lie, he might have to actually talk about what the GOP actually stands for, and there are good reasons why he can’t do that. He’s been running on everything but what that for which he truly stands. They know they can’t get elected to much of anything outside of some reliably wingnut districts if they had to run on their actual beliefs. Poll after poll bears out this simple fact: when Republicans run on what they and their base truly believe, they lose.
Pardon the one typo. That should read, of course, “He’s been running on everything but that for which he truly stands.” You can read the rest of it here.