Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hulabaloo: Lumping Racial Issues and Grievances Together

Responding to a post I read over at Hulabaloo, who I usually find spot on with things, I can't help but be disappointed in how his original post and the resulting comments take the smallest grain of what happened in Cambridge with the Henry Gates arrest and then apply it to a whole host of racial and police grievances. We have to look specifically at what happened here to see if the police either abused their authority or elements of racism entered the proceedings. The biggest solution to racism is stepping away from assumptions, stereotypes and subjective anecdotes. The post and comments seem to reply heavily on these for support.

From what's been reported the police followed proper procedure to respond to a reported break in at a private residence. Gates front door was stuck and he and his driver were literally forcing his front door open when police arrived. I think it's reasonable for a passerby to see that as needing a police response.

Secondly, I think it's reasonable for the police when they arrived to ask Gates to identify himself, explain why he was forcing the door open and prove he owned the property and had legal right to be there. They don't and can't know any more than what they witness. Forcing his way in could have been for any number of reasons and the police have no idea who he is, why he's there or his intent. They need to know for their own assurance exactly what the circumstances are so that they can leave the scene secure both for the safety of those involved and potential allegations of negligence after the fact. At this point it seems that Gates was already becoming agitated in having to actually explain himself and his actions to the police.

But it wasn't until the police were leaving when things truly got out of hand. The police were wrapping up, leaving the property and Gates was even further agitated and belligerent toward the officer screaming things about how he wouldn't be treated that way if he weren't a black man. More on that later. But the police perceived it as an aggressive and threatening move and so they cuffed him and charge him with disorderly conduct. Again this seems like appropriate procedure.

Gates is absolutely right he wouldn't be treated like that if he weren't black. I think if he were white he would have had less racial chip on his shoulder, he would have quickly complied with some humility for the perception of what was happening and the police would have been on their way. I think it would have been very different if the responding officer were black as well. Gates would have no racial bargaining chip to not comply with their requests. I've seen no evidence that if the tables were turned, if Gates were white, the police would (or should) have acted differently. It was Gates' reaction and seriously subordinate behavior that led to his arrest. When the call came in the police were obligated to respond. Gates in turn should have felt as obligated to quickly and clearly resolve the matter.

The Gates matter is not a racial issue. It's an issue of privilege. I think the true nature of Gates' behavior stems from thinking himself above the law, a nationally prominent ivy-league professor, wealthy, living in a posh neighborhood - someone who knows the President of the United States personally. His behavior stems from the mindset of "how dare he" about a more common person questioning his actions. It's how anyone in a position of power, who thinks them better than someone else based on status, wealth, class or actually race might act. It was only convenient that Gates was black and the officer white that Gates had the opportunity to blame the situation on racism.

There are obviously times when police and other authority figures abuse their power. There are obvious and regular examples of mistreatment by police because of racial elements. This however, does not seem to be the case and it frustrates and sickens me as more and more people pose him as some hero crusading against white authority. I truly respect Gates, having watched his PBS television show, but this is an ugly example of using perceived bias to one's own advantage.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sotomayor Hearings: Parade of the Random

I’m listening to testimony of the third party witnesses and it is such a collection of random contributions.

Some are very pointed, friends or work colleagues of the judge, with personal character statements. There have been litigants whose cases Sotomayor has ruled on. I understand including these. But there’s this whole list of other people of whom I have no idea why they’re testifying.

One fellow’s brother was brutally killed but other than that I’m not sure what his qualifications are to give testimony about a judge, especially regarding criminal prosecution. He’s apparently on the boards of several large companies.

Then there was the baby J.D. from George Mason who prattled on about some abstract something or other. I see she has qualifications that are more applicable than the businessman for offering testimony about a judge, but what the hell was she even saying?

Then there was the mystical coke-bottle glasses imitation of Barney Fife. I was just waiting for him to say something about Andy and Aunt Bea in between these obtuse thoughts about relying on the Koran or the Bible for judicial reasoning.

They’re going on and on. In theory, I understand the importance of regular people being able to offer testimony either for or against the nomination. But this side show has offered mostly subjective observations or abstract concepts they attempt to link to the judge outside of her professional record.

And it’s pronounced Soh-toh-mah-yohr. Not SotomaJOHR. Not SOOtermayEHr. Not SOHDermayor.

Oy.

Sotomayor Hearings: Can you live on that salary?

What was that weirdness with Sessions and the comment and question about judge’s salaries. That was weird.

And now he’s pontification in the abstract. Give it a rest already.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

GayPatriot: Misrepresenting the Timing of the Sotomayor Hearings

This is the first time I’ve ever heard that Senator Leahy scheduled the hearings for summer because “fewer Americans are focused on the news and thus less likely to follow the debate over her nomination.” The Republican meme before was that there simply wasn’t enough time to review Sotomayor’s past in the time allotted before the hearings (which has been soundly rebutted). But now GayPatriotWest / Dan Blatt complains the hearings should have been held later to accommodate people’s summer vacations or something?

Frankly Americans have a huge freedom to pay attention to or not pay attention to the goings on of their elected officials. Why would summer, with no school, vacation time and constant reruns on television make it harder for people to pay attention to the hearing of Sotomayor?

Or is it yet another strawman argument from GayPatriotWest?

GayPatriot: Misrepresenting Sotomayor Hearings

Interesting that GayPatriotWest / Dan Blatt is attempting to compare Judge Sotomayor’s comment regarding Roe v. Wade as “settled law” to  Plessy V. Ferguson.

If he had been listening to the hearings in the full context of her answer, rather than the talking points of some Right-wing blog that he regularly relies on, he would realize that the representation he’s portraying is wrong.

When asked about the Roe v. Wade decision, Sotomayor characterized the decision as “settled law” in the context that the Supreme court has not chosen to review cases that challenge the ruling in whole or in part. It is therefore “settled law” in that regard. She made it clear in numerous other cases in her previous judicial roles required her to abide by standing precedent unless some aspect of law required her to challenge that. For her, in her roles, Roe v. Wade was “settled law.” For the Supreme Court until they choose to review rulings related to Roe v. wade, it is “settled law.” Until the Congress chooses to change rules regarding abortion, it is “settled law.” Roe v. Wade is “settled law” just like every other unchallenged law set by the Congress of the United States.

Wouldn’t challenging the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade without legal reasoning against “settled law” be a perfect example of the “judicial activisim” that Republicans and conservatives are so noisily worried about in judicial nominees?

The Brown v. Board of Education case put forth a question that the Supreme Court felt necessary to address and answer regarding “settled law” of Plessy v. Ferguson. If a case is raised that would put some aspect of Roe v. Wade in question in the context of law, or Congress changed laws regarding abortion, Judge Sotomayor’s answers have made it clear that she would be compelled to review those issues similar to the SCOTUS hearing Brown v. Board of Education. Anyone who has listened to the hearings or is familiar with her 17-year record as a judge would fully understand that of Sotomayor.

Dan has a J.D. from Georgetown. I think his professors would be mightily disappointed in his post today.

Cornyn Statement at Mid-day Hearings Today

What exactly is “Puerto Rican extraction?” Is that some cooking flavoring I’m not familiar with?

Sotomayor Hearings: She’s Over the Republicans

I’m one of those weirdos listening to the hearings the last few days. I’ve been amused to hear her interactions with the Republicans.

Day one everyone was nicey-nicey, Judge Sotomayor was eminently gracious with the Republican senators in their opening statements. Day two, she was indulgent in conscientiously and thoughtfully attempting to answer some of their more leading questions.

But this morning with Senator John Cornyn, who ostentatiously preceded some of his questions with, “because I was a judge,” I was happy to finally see some of Sotomayor’s rumored feistiness come out in how she soundly schooled him on issues that, as a judge, he should already know and should know better in asking. She seems much less polite and more to the point with these ridiculous questions today.

I think she may get a larger Republican vote than anyone imagines.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Peggy Noonan: Over Palin Already

It’s so nice to hear an articulate conservative say what the Left has known about Palin since she was tapped for the VP nomination.

"She makes the Republican Party look inclusive." She makes the party look stupid, a party of the easily manipulated.

Peggy is my hero for the day, and that is saying something!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Young Republicans: Teach ‘Em Well

Looks like corruption training starts early in the Republican party.

http://foodforblog.webs.com/

GayPatriot: Don’t Criticize the “Good Governor” or You’re a Misogynist

You know it’s one thing if GayPatriotWest /Dan Blatt were able to support real critiques of the criticism of soon-to-be-ex Governor Palin, but the speculative nature of two recent posts accusing gay male critics of the “good Governor” of being misogynistic are disgusting – a red herring in the survey of her abilities and leadership.

Dan neither pinpoints who these “gay men” he speculates are obsessed with misogynistic sentiments toward Palin. In fact the first post is mainly about ethics complaints against Palin and only in the last paragraph mentions anything about supposed misogynistic mistreatment by gay men. The odd thing is he asserts these people are those who attacked Hillary Clinton with the same vitriol. Is he making the case that gay men in general show misogynistic sentiment toward women politicians? He doesn’t note who these people are, what they’re saying or why it should be considered misogynistic.

The second post starts with Dan first complimenting himself on his brilliance. It then moves on to stereotype man-hating lesbians and gay male heroine fetish. Then he drives along the winding path of his thought process considering if Hillary Clinton criticism was actually misogynistic and therefore the same people now criticizing Sarah Palin are guilty of that as well. Now again we never find out who the misogynistic critics are, nor what they’re saying to even consider if what they’re doing and saying might be misogynistic, but Dan in lay psychologist modes assures us that Palin is “a godsend to their neurosis” for those determined to act out their inner misogyny.

Could it be that these critics really have reason to criticize the Governor? Dan asserts that national media speculation should have faded away after the failed vice-presidential bid. But the Governor has never dismissed ongoing speculation for a presidential run in 2012, and often puts herself in the middle of national Republican interests – fundraisers, national media events, etc. Frankly there’s a lot to criticize the Governor for (that has nothing to do with misogyny). She has a history of lying to the media. She’s not shown herself to be either well-informed or well-spoken especially on topics of national importance. And while the number of ethics complaints she cites as a main reason for quitting were uncommon, they were brought by a variety of individuals from the spectrum of political affiliations. Several were frivolous but it’s part of Alaska laws. Doesn’t ethics have something to do with following rules or something? And actually sometimes it’s the only means for regular individuals to address potential violations when the legislative branch of a state government is unwilling or unable. It was by ethics inquiry that revealed Governor Taft of Ohio’s connection to corruption and a larger state scandal for example. And for a governor who made her state political name by revealing what she saw as unacceptable ethics violations, it should seem she’d welcome the opportunity to clear up any concern of impropriety. Noting her behavior on the campaign trail though, regarding clothing costs to the GOP and money to transport and house her family as women’s issues, is it misogynistic to criticize them when we also saw criticism of male politicians’ haircut and suit costs? I don’t see where Dan’s assumption of supposed misogynistic criticism comes from.

In any case, I will heartily revel when we’re not talking about Palin anymore. As was my surprise when GayPatriotWest so vehemently (and lengthily) defended Carrie Prejean, I still don’t fathom why they rush to the defense of know-nothing conservatives with curious personal ethics while not recognizing and acknowledging their hypocrisy towards those similarly on the other side of the political fence. Worthy leaders take their punches, it’s part of the role of a leader, but as usual I think the Governor is thinking of herself first and foremost. And if you really want to tie Hillary into this, after her husband was essentially impeached as President, she still found it in her to run for a senate seat, fulfill those obligations, run for President and then graciously take on the role of Secretary of State under the man she traded harsh criticisms of in the election. She has faced more political and personal ill-will, criticism and controversy than Palin might expect in several lifetimes, more outside her party but certainly within her party as well. Dan acknowledges not being able to dismiss Hillary’s supposed ethical lapses, but then later criticized her withdrawal speech for focusing too much on her gender – how does misogyny fit in this ambivalent regard?

Once Dan finally addresses that without the strawman speculation that critics of Palin do so because they hate women, he might actually come to realize and appreciate the criticism himself. But until he does, since he’s usually guilty of practicing the opposite in feminine hero worship himself, I’ll offer him the same advice I offer Governor Palin – grow a pair!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Crooks & Liars: Sarah Palin's Greatest Hits

Please to enjoy!

Sarah Palin's Greatest Hits

The Recent Uighur Riots

You’d think with 140 protestors dead and 300 injured there would be an uproar in the Republican party about the Uighur protests in Western China. If we equate it to the proposed responses the Republicans advocated, especially gay Republicans like you find on GayPatriot and GOPRoud, shouldn’t they be advocating we invade the country, dismantle their communist society and replace it with democracy in a 2-3 month time span?

When Republicans are more interested in imprisoning ethnic minorities despite no evidence or cause to hold them, while not criticizing another government for doing the same, who’s worse? The government that makes no pretense about it, or the political party that is blind to their hypocrisy on the issue?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

GayPatriot: The Primary Difference Between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama

As GayPatriotWest / Dan Blatt mentions, there are many. He suggest though the primary one is “six months of briefing books and town halls.”

I tried not to laugh, and I’m not even sure why GayPatriot is bringing this up as a post topic, but I’ve decided to post my own “difference between Palin and Obama.”

Sarah Palin Barack Obama
Youth Born in Idaho and raised in Wasilla, AK, attending local schools; parents were a school secretary and teacher Born in Honolulu, his father a Kenyan national, grew up in Indonesia and Honolulu, went to private prep schools; mother was an anthropologist
Education Four undergraduate colleges finally resulting in a journalism degree from the University of Idaho Columbia University majoring in poli-sci specializing in international relations; Harvard Law school J.D. Magna cum laude, editor and first black president of the Harvard Law Review
Early Career Winner of the Miss Alaska pageant, sports reporter for a local TV station Director of Developing Communities Project for the Catholic church; significantly increased the budget and staff, instructor for other community organizations, traveled to Europe and Kenya
Later Career Mayor of Wasilla, appointed to Alaska Oil & Gas Commission, director of Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.; governor of Alaska University of Chicago Law constitutional law professor; board member and director for several community development organizations; attorney for firm specializing in civil rights litigation, state senator, United States senator; President of the United States
Family Eloped with husband Todd, an oil field production operator and commercial fisherman, in 1988, four children and one grandchild Married wife Michelle, a lawyer and community organization leader, in 1992, two daughters

So yes, I do see some significant differences between the two.

But the biggest one I see? He won, and she lost.

GayPatriot: Who is promoting what in the gay marriage debate?

GayPatriotWest / Dan Blatt today posts that we should be promoting gay marriage instead of demonizing Mormons for their role in the Prop 8 decision.

The ideas underpinning that statement are a matter of perspective to say the least. To a wide majority of gay men and women, the very notion that you somehow have to promote why you should enjoy the same basic civil right as your heterosexual counterparts is offensive. And it’s very easy to see why Dan doesn’t get that when he’s “ambivalent about gay marriage” with history not having more instances of same-sex unions. Does that mean he would have had a hard time endorsing abolition or suffrage because history defined those institutions similarly? His arguments, even being a minority opinion of the larger gay Republican / conservative sentiment just don’t hold water. When did tradition always equate to the right thing to do?

And as per usual, he leaves out why gay men and women in California are upset about the Mormon church’s involvement in the Prop 8 issue in the first place. First of all, the Mormon church is based in Utah, not California. The church involved itself in the sovereign matters of another state. Secondly, the church spent millions of dollars and likely church resources to advocate for Prop 8, a civil law issue. They meddled in matters of politics, a fundamental issue to separation of church and state likely violating rules regarding their tax exempt status. Dan wholly leaves out why there is such angst from the gay community specifically toward the Mormon church.

The whole supposition that gay men and women would “rather demonize Mormons than promote gay marriage” is frankly offensive. Again supposing that the anecdotal interactions with friends he posts about somehow represent the majority feeling, why doesn’t Dan realize from those discussions we’d rather the Mormon church mind their own business? Where does the interpretation that we prefer demonizing the Mormon church rather than enjoying the same civil rights as heterosexuals come from?

And why does Dan not see how the Mormon church has demonized gay men and women in the effort? So many of the advertisements from efforts funded by the church portray gross and negative stereotypes of gay men and women. The church hardly promoted the positives of heterosexual unions in turn in these efforts as well. The Mormon church demonizes gay men and women instead of promoting heterosexual marriage, but we’re supposed to do just the opposite? There are benefits to keeping the conversation above petty bigotry  but shouldn’t more of that burden fall on a religious organization first and foremost?

It’s not to say that the fundamental idea of having the positives of same sex marriage at the forefront is a bad idea. Except that it’s generally already the case. Dan, as usual speaking up for the oppressed majority, would have you assume anything but. If not, how about we raise millions of dollars, infiltrate the Mormon church and change their doctrine? What’s good for the goose and all that, right Dan?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

GayPatriotWest: Trickier Than an Alaskan Br'er Rabbit?

GayPatriotWest / Dan Blatt has posted this ridiculous challenge on GayPatriot. You're supposed to explain this touching little story of how an average housewife overcame corrupt government figures to your "feminist" friends and have them agree with you how noble that sounds. And then just when they think you're going to tell them it's the little known beginnings of Gloria Steinem or someone, AHA! You sting them with the fact it's really about Sarah Palin.

GOTCHA you so-called feminist socialist commie maoists! GayPatriotWest will show you! So suck it!

Lord, things are getting pretty surreal there in gay Republican land. I suppose this is a reaction to the Vanity Fair piece about Sarah Palin that documents and quotes campaign insiders who finally came to the conclusion most on the Left recognized early - Sarah Palin was an ambitious know-nothing with little record to support her ambition that doomed the campaign in the long run, both from her well-publicized media flops to the concern of McCain choosing her in the first place.

It was just earlier this week where GayPatriotWest issued a similar challenge, that his Left-leaning commenters find instances of where President Bush criticized Democrats in a similar way to how GayPatriotWest portrays President Obama criticizing Republicans. It was a relatively easy challenge and a few of his regular Left-leaning commenters were naive enough to take up the cause. But once they provided such examples they were dismissed by the other regular commenters because they didn't fit ever-evolving hurdles of criteria and it eventually just boiled down to a "I know you are but what am I" contest of verbal feces throwing.

I assume the Sarah Palin thread, if anyone is dumb enough to debate it, will end similarly.

It's an inherent failing in GayPatriot and all those who post there. Any contribution to reasoned and intelligent debate is completely overshadowed by the conviction to the stories of nobility and heroism with which they surround themselves and demonize the Left. Poor little Sarah Palin like David standing up to Goliath. They enmesh what little they know with the stories they want to believe to create the convictions that they take to heart. Rather than recognize her political aspirations just previously coming in second in the state leuitenant governor's race completely enmeshed in the state's Republican machinery, she's supposed to be some meek little crusading housewife. Like President Bush was a humble rancher from Texas (who as a privileged rich kid went to Harvard and whose family are multimillionaires from oil) or that Ronald Regan was a tough western cowboy (who grew up in a suburban Illinois city, who only donned the cowboy persona for politcal reasons, learning to ride horses for the movies, his wealthy doners having bought him a ranch - even his son acknowledged his preference for suits over chaps).

The scenario GayPatriotWest paints is easy enough to recognize as a fortuitous windfall for an ambitious and embittered politician looking to move up quickly in the state's political machinery. The feminist heroines I'm familiar with surrounded themselves with knowledge, intellectuals of their day, and they stood up for feminist causes, humble in their personal ambitions, fierce in their desire to champion women's rights. Alice Paul was repeatedly jailed for her activities for sufferage. Sojourner Truth was born a slave before championing minority and women's rights. Elizabeth Blackwell was admitted to medical school as a joke before graduating top of her class to become a doctor before there really were women doctors; refused being hired at any hospital, she opened a private clinic with her sisters.

The scenario GayPatriotWest would have you consider has nothing to do with promoting women's causes, nor is it an objective example of Palin's commitment to ethics (neither highlighted before this controversy, nor taken to heart afterwards). He would do himself a favor in proposing reasonable, grounded and reasoned commentary when asking others to consider people like Palin. When he only listens to and speaks to people that talk and hear just like him, he's actually harming the exact people he wishes to promote. Palin looks like a bigger flop the more the Right tries to portray her heroine persona. President Obama looks even more reasoned the more they script him as a hyperpartisan boogeyman. And yet all the while they excuse their own failings and hyper-partisanship. Just this week GayPatriotWest queried "is it adultery if the unfaithful partner is separated" as if that were the case for Governor Sanford but two posts later labels President Obama as a "promise breaker."

Is it partisan when regularly portraying your party's politicians as heros and the opposition as wrong without any substantiation whatsoever? What say you GayPatriotWest?

Friday, June 26, 2009

GayPatriot: Does GayPatriotWest Ever Start a Post Without a Strawman?

I’m just wondering because so many of his articles seems to start with some abstract supposition or random question.

Like today’s post “Wonder if Young People Are Beginning to Regret their Enthusiasm for Obama.” GayPatriotWest / Dan Blatt questions if recent graduates are regretting their general enthusiasm for overwhelmingly supporting the President in the general election last year. You see, because of the hard job market due to the poor economy, GayPatriotWest just happens to be curious if young people who supported the President now blame him for the situation.

Now mind you, nothing has prompted this question from recent news or surveys of which I’m aware. I’ve not noticed any news outlets running stories about it. I’ve not even seen the concern raised in passing that somehow recent grads fault the President for the current market. But, you know, GayPatriotWest is just curious about it.

So why might it be that no news outlets are not noting any of the concerns that GayPatriotWest just '”wonders” about? Oh that’s right. It’s a partisan talking point, a strawman argument that has made GayPatriotWest “wonder” about such things. Republicans and conservatives have finally latched on to the one and only talking point that seems to have some traction – deficit spending. Not that it concerned them much when we were spending well beyond our means for an elective military conflict. Despite their reputation as being the party of fiscal conservatism, it hasn’t seemed to bothered them for decades if you review the numbers. But they realize if people don’t pay attention to why we’re engaged in deficit spending, they can gain a little political opportunity. Being so far out of power there’s no reason for them to govern responsibly, so why not make some political hay if it’s possible?

If that weren’t the case I’m thinking GayPatriotWest’s musings would be slightly different. I see he hasn’t wondered if the situation could actually be worse now than it is if the President’s plan wasn’t adopted. He hasn’t wondered if recent college grads are truly relieved, despite the job market, that things are actually better than they imagined. He hasn’t wondered what the situation would be if the President’s opponent, who acknowledged a general lack of understanding about economics, had been elected instead.

See in GayPatriot land it’s not about good government, or even balanced government. It’s simply about political opportunism – the tuxedo you dress the strawman in.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

GayPatriot: Double standard on cheating government leaders

According to GayPatriotWest / Dan Blatt we should ignore the Sanford scandal because it “detracts from issues of greater relevance.” He goes on to support another blogger’s assertion that “the media are lying in wait” for politicians on the Right. Paranoid much? Especially since all these scandals, despite party affiliation, were fully hung out by the mainstream media? Clinton, Spitzer, McGreevey, etc. were not given the same treatment as conservative/Republican leaders?

However, when the shoe was on the other foot, they regularly  denounced and mocked the immorality of liberal/Democratic leaders who have been caught up in such scandals. The site regularly offered excuses/waffling/misdirection on the Foley affair, the Craig stance, the Vitters assignations… heck they didn’t even comment on John Ensign at all.

Double standard? As the party of family values, don’t conservatives and Republicans have more a vested interest in actually living up to those values they expect the rest of the country to follow? As the party that regularly tries to institute morality for the rest of the country through actual legislation, why shouldn’t the media highlight the hypocrisy of their bad behavior?

Bias against conservatives and Republicans seems to be only in the minds of conservatives and Republicans.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

GayPatriotWest: Gay Organizations Should Speak Up Already

I’m having a little tit for tat with the commenters at GayPatriot* at the post “Gay Groups Maintain Silence on Iran Protests” where GayPatriotWest / Dan Blatt is upset that gay advocacy groups haven’t issued some sort of statement supporting the protests in Iran.

As I’ve maintained in the thread, HRC, IGLHRC and many other groups have been vocal and supported specific activism to better the lives of gay men and women in Iran and many other countries for years; not issuing imprudent and hasty statements from these groups are absolutely not an indication of the commitment these groups have to the issue.

But in the post GayPatriotWest points out three specific gay rights organizations for their supposed failing. I think it’s important to note that these are general, national advocacy groups not specifically affiliated with any political organization. They are not international organizations, nor are they political organizations, rather national organizations that advocate to politicians and political organizations. However, GayPatriotWest didn’t point out that that two national gay political organizations didn’t post specific statements of advocacy for the protests either, namely Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud. Why not call them out as well?

I think Peggy Noonan** says it best with her comments on Republicans impatiently jumping in with criticism of the President similarly:

To refuse to see all this as progress, or potential progress, is perverse to the point of wicked. To insist the American president, in the first days of the rebellion, insert the American government into the drama was shortsighted and mischievous. The ayatollahs were only too eager to demonize the demonstrators as mindless lackeys of the Great Satan Cowboy Uncle Sam, or whatever they call us this week. John McCain and others went quite crazy insisting President Obama declare whose side America was on, as if the world doesn't know whose side America is on. "In the cause of freedom, America cannot be neutral," said Rep. Mike Pence. Who says it's neutral?

This was Aggressive Political Solipsism at work: Always exploit events to show you love freedom more than the other guy, always make someone else's delicate drama your excuse for a thumping curtain speech.

Mr. Obama was restrained, balanced and helpful in the crucial first days, keeping the government out of it but having his State Department ask a primary conduit of information…

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Update: Joe Klein makes the same critique of John McCain and friends and their warmongering to make political hay here.

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* I’m surprised I’m not still banned at GayPatriot. I’ll be more surprised if I’m not banned again once they realize I’m posting there.

** I can’t believe I’m both a) quoting Peggy Noonan in support of one of my posts and b) that I actually agree with what she has to say on the issue

Monday, June 22, 2009

GayPatriotWest: Exactly Who is “Flaunting” Their Ignorance (and Bias)?

Poor Dan Blatt must not have been able to avoid an actual face-to-face conversation with a real unapologetic lefty this weekend. In his post “Flaunting Ignorance as Evidence of Intellectual Superiority” he mentions having a conversation with a “left-wing liberal” who had a strong opinion about Republicans and their anti-gay sentiments. Well Danny-boy of course took the opportunity to expound in the post on how he felt the Left was just ignorant about conservative Republicans, how of course they were not anti-gay, and how liberals who offer comments on his blog indiscriminately “demonize” the GOP without cause. Dan was sure this person was “ignorant” getting most of his news from “MSNBC and the coverage on leftist blogs.”

You’ll have to excuse me if I find this highly ironic and comical. Here we have a post on GayPatriot attacking a critic for being ignorant, selective in their information sources and intellectually dishonest in their rhetoric. Isn’t this exactly what GayPatriotWest / Dan Blatt does regularly?

As I’ve pointed out numerous times, whenever Dan feels actually inclined to support his editorial posts, he often only cites himself in his other editorialized posts. If not referencing himself, he’ll reference blogs found from searches on Pajamas Media that no one has ever heard of written by people with credentials as dubious as he. These individuals often cite other similarly dubious blogs and resources only eventually getting back to a real mainstream news posting.

If not biased, shifty bloggers, GayPatriotWest then uses other biased Right-wing outlets like National Review, The Weekly Standard, Commentary Magazine, Newsbusters, et al. For someone criticizing “left-wing liberals” for watching MSNBC and reading leftist blogs, he doesn’t really represent a mainstream alternative when cheerleading Fox News’ ratings and limiting his online references to exclusively right-wing conservative outlets. His blogroll can give you a fairly obvious picture of the bias, his references even more so.

But what really sticks in my craw is GayPatriotWest’s intellectual dishonesty. Especially with his references to other blogs, the eventual news item at the heart of the argument is often misreported or misrepresented in the first place. He himself never takes the time to look at the actual news, just the highly diluted and politicized version of it. These blogs will take mainstream items and selectively quote, editorialize, or flat-out misrepresent the content. I’ve had to wade through layer after layer of commentary, like a rotten onion, to get to any real grain of news when reviewing the references on GayPatriot.

More often than not though, he just extemporaneously makes up the reality of his commentary from his world view, nothing more.

This man was convinced that anti-gay attitudes would end if the Republican Party stopped promoting them. I hated to tell him this, while, the GOP may from time to time appeal to social conservatives by opposing policies popular among the gay left (and even the gay middle and right), our party is not the source of such attitudes.

Well last time I checked, the GOP does a little more than a “time to time appeal” to social conservatives. Whether by the Republican revolution in the early 1990s or electing George Bush (twice) with the coalition of “values voters,” the GOP is beholden to these conservatives as their base. And it’s for that reason the GOP’s party platform for 2008 specifically supported DOMA, DADT, and a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage while pointedly not including language about gay men and women in their statement on “Equal Treatment for All.” These are all issues that received the opposite treatment in the Democratic platform.

If the GOP includes very specific anti-gay bias in their party platform, how can Dan say with a straight face, “our party is not the source of such attitudes?” The GOP doesn’t acknowledge gay men and women as a minority morally deserving of anti-discrimination laws, they definitely don’t want us to get married and will change the constitution to keep it that way and they sure as hell do not want to get ass-raped by us in an army shower… The GOP fundamentally embraces anti-gay sentiments and policies, but it’s not the “source” of it, so somehow that makes it OK?

That’s why GayPatriotWest is once again completely disingenuous and intellectually dishonest in this argument. If he’s truly not aware of his own party’s sentiment on these issues, he’s obviously turning a blind eye. How is possible to trust Dan’s judgment at all in the editorial format of GayPatriot when it’s obvious that he’s flaunting his own ignorance (and bias)?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

GayPatriot: Hawkish Iran Military Stance Despite Historical Record

Playing on the sympathies of the ignorant, GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt today made the assertion that our President was detrimentally apathetic and/or naive on the situation in Iran and that we should take action to institute regime change. For someone working on a Master’s in mythology, a supposed student of history, it’s almost jaw-dropping to see him take this position, until you factor in the know-nothing certitude of being a neoconservative.

To simply look at the history of the United States and Iran it’s easy to see how our meddling in the affairs of the country have not only changed policies to the detriment of the Iranian people but have spoiled diplomatic relations between us. In 1953 with the Eisenhower administration, we established a course of odious events still unfolding today. We put our own interests ahead of the interests of a sovereign nation, methodically instituting a regime change in the country, arsenic in the well of United States/Iran relations.

But looking at the situation of today, not only is the opposition to the government in Iran not asking for our support, most experts familiar with the situation flat-out acknowledge how detrimental taking that step would be. Consider the potential fall-out. If we were to support the resistance and they not succeed in their efforts, we have an even angrier, suspicious and vengeful government in Iran with which to deal. If we support the resistance and they were to succeed, we still have a very large and destabilizing force within a newly unstable Iran itself and negative sentiment that would proliferate through the whole of the Middle East. As I noted before, we still don’t have a clear indication that Ahmedinejad’s opponent is significantly different and more progressive to put our own national security at risk on this gamble. More importantly, and what GayPatriotWest blithely ignores, is that we are generally not a welcome presence in Iran by any faction, though young people have been more receptive than in the past.

But it still leaves me gob-smacked to see people like GayPatriotWest cheerleading this kind of pre-emptive regime change effort. You’d think that after eight years of similar policy that has left us with the mess of Afghanistan and Iraq, conservatives would at least think twice before advocating meddling in Iran’s sovereign affairs. It should be clear to anyone who stopped to consider the forces at work that a slow and steady approach to the conflict there will lead to more long-term positive results, both for US interests and the Iranian people. Reform has to be initiated by the people of a country first and foremost for it to be fundamental and lasting. GayPatriotWest though would have us be the democracy police of the world when we have no authority and the results more likely than not would cause further harm to the country we’d like to help and our own interest as well. GayPatriotWest’s advice seems wholly unpatriotic, putting a slavish neoconservative devotion to “democracy” in the abstract above our national interests. It’s simply another opportunity for politicking the neoconservative cause at the expense of America.

John Cole on the Letterman Protest

John Cole totally has it right:

The most amazing thing about it is that this could just as easily have been a McCain/Palin rally, a tea party, or an anti-abortion protest. Same wingnuts, different signs.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where are gay Republicans on LGBT Hate Crimes?

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, it seems gay Republicans are more interested in championing bubble-headed conservative icons like Carrie Prejean and Governor Sarah Palin from supposed bias than in highlighting the hatred and actual physical assaults gay men and women regularly encounter.

That's why this story at Towleroad is disturbing noting the rise in gay hate crime in recent years. Does it follow the increasing trend of Right-wing violence we see in anti-choice, anti-liberal, white supremacist, pro-gun violence that was reported in the DHS report earlier in the year and as chronicled recently on Rachel Maddow?

GayPatriot: Criticizing HRC Before Having Anything to Criticize

Despite the outcome in the Iranian elections not even close to being settled, despite the secondary candidate being conservative and unlikely to differ from Ahmedinejad on gay issues, despite the ongoing advocacy by the HRC and their sister organization IGLHRC on these issues, GayPatriotWest still criticizes HRC for not issuing a press release on the issue. What exactly are they supposed to issue a press release about?

“[Solomonses] didn’t even issue a statement in solidarity with the Iranian people protesting their anti-gay regime.” Last time I checked the Iranian people aren’t protesting their “anti-gay regime,” but rather protesting what they feel is an unfair and rigged election. There’s no guarantee that the opposition is likely to change policy on gay issues, Mousavi considered a conservative though not as conservative as Ahmedinejad. I find no press or statements that indicate the intention of Mousavi to better the situation of gay men and women in Iran. Why the hyperventilation by Dan Blatt? Politicizing the situation of course.

Apparently its better when you issue a press release immediately and do nothing after like GOProud, than when you actually work on an issue but don’t immediately comment on evolving circumstances. I think Dan should take some of his own advice here.

GayPatriot: Defending the Ridiculous

What is it about verbal slights to Carrie Prejean and Governor Sarah Palin that garner post after hyperventilating post by GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt, but actual physical attacks against gay men and women for their sexuality, where many individuals are severely beaten and sometimes killed, get no notice? David Letterman makes a tasteless joke and he should be fired, but gay men and women who die at the hands of gay bashers were asking for it since they didn’t strap on a concealed weapons?

Seriously, what does it take to interest gay Republicans in wanting to protect gay men and women as much as beloved, privileged Republican/conservative icons?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gays In Iraq

It was just days ago when GayPatriotWest was INDIGNANT that President Obama specifically did not speak about the treatment of gay men and women who were suffering in Iraq and other Muslim countries. He and GOProud took the opportunity to soundly criticize the President for something they felt was a SIGNIFICANT oversight.

As I point out though, it’s only GOPround and  GayPatriot that have ever advocated this issue on the Right where numerous organizations on the Left had done this kind of work for years before GOProud and GayPatriot decided it was good fodder for political points.

Now with a story at Queerty, we see how the previous administration barely even threw a bone to the issue. How' is it that GayPatriot et al suddenly criticizes the Obama administration when they regularly ignored the same kind of criticism during the Bush administration?

Or is it just politics as usually for the GayPatriot/GOProud crowd?

GayPatriotWest: Don’t Demonize Social Conservatives in the Gay Marriage Debate

Let’s try an experiment and see just how ridiculous GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt sounds. Today he posted on GayPatriot:

“Make the case for gay marriage, not against social conservatives.”

Now let’s turn that around some to see how it sounds:

“Make the case for interracial marriage, not against bigots.”

“Make the case for women’s right to vote, not against advocates of the suppression of women.”

“Make the case for animal welfare, not against the owners of puppy mills.”

Essentially, “make the case for tolerance, not against people who are intolerant.”

It’s the same theme they always go back to. GayPatriot always advocates tolerance for the intolerance they support. We’re never supposed to expect knuckle draggers catch up with the rest of the world, but rather be accommodating of their backward thinking. We’re not supposed to expect people to do the right thing but rather accommodate tradition and the way things are.

This is the mentality of Republicans and conservatives. Do what we’ve always done, unquestioned, because it’s comfortable and familiar instead of what’s right because it’s new and scary.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Does GayPatriotWest Recognize His Own Double Standards

So GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt has himself all in a tizzy about just how mean David Letterman was to Governor Sarah Palin. “How dare he!” as he clutches the string of pearls given to him by Peggy Noonan. Today’s post about the controversy is about a supposed mainstream media double standard in not being more critical of Letterman.

Just to get it out there, I’m definitely not a fan of the governor, I think she deserves most of the criticism she receives, but I also felt Letterman missed the mark – the governor strives for a naughty librarian look, not a slutty air stewardess, and he’s assuming Palin’s daughter isn’t already knocked up and just not showing yet.

Ba-dump-dump!

Seriously though, Letterman was a little over the top but I think it’s clear to anyone who watches him even a little that there is no love lost between him and the Bush administration and other Republicans/conservatives of that ilk. “He’s joking about statutory rape!” the Republican/conservatives bemoan. Well a) it was a joke and b) we’re talking about a family with an unwed teenage daughter who got pregnant at 16 so…

But what strikes me most about GayPatriotWest’s vehement accusation of double standards is his failure at recognizing his own double standard.

When the Carrie Prejean controversy was happening, and GayPatriotWest was about the only one still writing about it (endlessly), he was VERY UPSET that poor Ms. Prejean was being attacked for her opinion on gay marriage. He failed to comment however on the main reason the leaders of the California pageant were asking Donald Trump to dismiss her, that she was violating terms of her contractual agreement. As most mainstream comments on the controversy noted, it was contractual issues and not the controversy on gay marriage at the heart at the consideration of removing her from her appointment. So finally when Mr. Trump sees the extent of the interactions (or rather non-interactions) between Prejean and the pageant directors recently, after he expressly gave her a second chance to redeem herself on those issues, he’d had enough. As documented in email posted on the Fox News website, it was evident that Prejean was determined to do whatever she decided, regardless of her obligations and the contract she had with the pageant. The pageant director himself on Larry King mentioned how they now only contact her through lawyers and vice-versa, hers of course also the counsel for NOM.

So I’m still waiting to see, which I’m sure will not happen, if GayPatriotWest will reconsider his views on the matter to recognize his own double standards on the Prejean matter, and how they relate to his accusation of a mainstream media double standard. If the mainstream media underreports a story about a comedian making a tasteless joke about a conservative Republican politician, it’s a double standard. But if GayPatriotWest only assumes persecution on Ms. Prejean’s behalf due to her views on gay marriage, it’s completely unbiased.

Mainstream media cares less about tasteless joke about conservative= MEDIA BIAS!

Gay blogger proposes bigoted beauty queen being fired for personal views on gay marriage (e.g. “the wrath of the left”) = UNBIASED!

His double standard on the bounced bimbo goes further to suppose that pageant directors were the bad guys all along. He’s refused to consider her answer, while biased, was inarticulate and with so little grace to relegate her to runner-up despite the content of the answer. He also fails to note how it was Prejean herself, unprompted, the very next morning claiming she was runner-up because of the content of her answer with absolutely no basis for her claim.

If GayPatriotWest wanted to be truthful about double standards, rather than further his political philosophies, he needs to start with himself unless now maybe the party of Reagan is all about moronic beauty queens – with or without a title.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

GayPatriot – Don’t Politicize the Holocaust Shooting Because It Would Implicate Right-Wing

GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt pleads that we shouldn’t politicize the recent shooting at the Holocaust Museum in DC because the shooter in question wasn’t tied to any specific organization; he was an individual acting alone. It seems his words are to exonerate the Right-wing more than anything else.

What fallacies in his completely editorial post. It’s most certainly a growing movement and the shooter was representative of extremist Right-wing thought and propaganda. Dan objects that if you’re not specifically associated with a Right-wing organization you can’t be considered a Right-wing terrorist, just a one-off kind of non-partisan terrorist. It’s incorrect to think this individual was not part of racist Right-wing organizations. He has a 40 year history of participation in activities and writings with a number of racist groups.

The Tennessee church shooter, the murderer of Dr. George Tiller, the cop killer in Pittsburgh and now this recent violent act at the Holocaust Museum are following a worrying trend reported on at the Rachel Maddow show, that Right-wing violence is on the rise. She recently explored how anti-choice activists are becoming more bold in their actions and how statistically Right-wing violence increases with Democratic presidents. This combined with the frenzy of gun and ammunition buying by the paranoid Right-wing and the recent denunciation of the DHS report on Right-wing extremism can only lead to one conclusion, that the Right-wing is implicitly associated with these kinds of actions. It may be an individual or small group of people carrying out such actions, but it’s the whole of a larger group, with conservative rhetoric and writings priming the violence, that absolutely are at fault.

What we must refrain from is ignoring the words and rhetoric of the Right-wing that lead to this kind of violence. The Southern Poverty Law center notes 60 Right-wing terrorist plots from the 1990s to today, and how they did or were intended to kill individuals. They also note that while Left-wing plots have also been conceived and carried out, causing much property damage, they’ve never incurred a fatality. Left-wing domestic terrorism is in the distinct minority both regarding actual plots and the threat to the lives of others. To be sure, this is a Right-wing problem and we should address it as such, not try to whitewash it like GayPatriotWest suggests.

GayPatriot Promotes Violence Instead of Laws

So a recent post by GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt supports a strawman argument once again. Similar to how they approach gay marriage, continually churning up new hurdles they feel necessary to support gay marriage, now they do the same with hate crimes legislation. He posts support for Chris Barrone of GOProud’s assertion that relaxing restrictions on carry concealed weapons (CCW) should be part of the new hate crimes legislation as proposed as an amendment by Senators Thune and Vitters. Here’s a few thoughts:

  • Contrary to the Republican “state’s rights” ideology, they’re supporting federal legislation to relax restrictions on CCW, superseding the law of individual states
  • There are only 2 states altogether that do not allow for CCW, Wisconsin and Illinois
  • Of the remaining states that do allow CCW, only 1/3 have some kind of specific restriction on CCW
  • Barrone’s statistical support is a report covering the years 1977-1992
  • From current statistics, there seems to be no correlation between open access to CCW and hate crimes incidences

“This amendment is not a poison pill” he disingenuously writes, but rather for the good of all gay men and women. So essentially, even though you can apply for and receive a permit to carry concealed in 48 states if you’re a law abiding citizen, GOProud still wants to further relax those restrictions by forcing a federal provision into the hates crimes pill. Because, you know, carrying a piece 24/7 is so much more practical than instituting laws to help deter violence specifically against gay men and women.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What do you get when you only reference yourself? GayPatriot!

So I’m amused today by GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt’s faux hyperventilation about the lack of response by mainstream gay rights groups to President Obama’s Cairo speech.

See apparently they were supposed to be outraged, OUTRAGED!, by what he didn’t say in the speech. Specifically the President was to call on Islamic countries to stop persecuting gay men and women for their sexuality in the speech. And because he didn’t, and the mainstream gay rights groups didn’t call him on it, Dan can continue to rest easy in his boy-in-a-bubble conservatism, as always knowing he’s right about the world – conservatives are the caring ones, progressives are just intellectual phonies.

And how does he support his supposition in the post? Well he’s got lots of references… to his own posts. Literally only to his own posts. Four of them. To his own rambling musings. In the post itself, he doesn’t even acknowledge outside sources of information. And then when you go to his own posts he cites to support his original post, those links are to similar conservative editorial outlets of the “I’ve never heard of them” variety.  Here’s a list of the outlets he cites:

  • The Fairfacts Media Show/No Minister Blog (a blogger named “Darren”); both blogs are based in New Zealand
  • Political Vindication (to a post from two years ago)
  • GOProud - duh
  • Dr. Melissa Coulthier (a chiropractor)

Now of the “we’ve actually heard of them” variety:

  • Instapundit, but only because it refers to a posting on…
  • Politico; the same article is referenced twice through different outlets

The Politico article, about the only thing to take seriously from the Dan’s ridiculous editorials, mentions a growing concern – that the gay community is not seeing action on a variety of issues they expected to get resolved by the new administration. I’m not sure how that specifically relates to the persecution of gays in Iraq…

But back to the heart of Dan’s post, that mainstream gay organizations are failing those they represent by not taking the President to task for not calling out Islamic countries on their treatment of gay men and women.

Like conservative organizations - GOPRoud and… and…

Well there was progressive blogger Wayne Besen recently and a host of other organizations that protested at the Iraqi consulate here in NY a few weeks back. But gosh, I don’t remember seeing any conservative groups there. Oh and I guess there was HRC’s involvement in Council for Global Equality and advocacy to the State Department and the Embassy in Baghdad.

And then of course there is IGLHRC, the international organization that advocates for gay rights around the world. They are an incredibly conservative organization, right?

But the President said nothing. It’s not like he signed a UN declaration endorsing gay rights like the Bush administration refused to sign, right? And President Bush and other Republicans were much better leaders on this even though they never mentioned anything about the treatment of gay men and women in Iraq either during Bush’s entire presidency. And it’s not like an elected, openly gay Democratic representative went to Iraq on a fact finding mission that investigated these issues, right?

I mean surely conservatives are leading the way on this issue. It’s not like the mainstream media, advocacy groups or other gay blogs ever report on it, right? I would totally find advocacy and specific efforts from conservative and Republican groups on this issue beyond a press release from GOProud, right?

Sadly no. I would only find that kind of advocacy in the self-referencing imagination of a gay conservative blogger who insulates himself from the rest of the world to protect his ideals from criticism.

Monday, May 11, 2009

We’re Over Carrie “Opposite Sex” Prejean Already; Why Isn’t GayPatriot?

I didn’t want to talk about this. The controversy is as weak as reused tea bags (pun intended) but GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt has been harping day after day about the injurious campaign against Ms. Prejean. Oh those mean, unreasonable liberals. They are being vicious and trying to hurt her for just speaking her mind!

First, let’s clarify something in that there is no particular campaign against Prejean. There’s no organized response to her statement at the Miss USA pageant. There’s no advocacy group against her, no ban, no organized letter writing effort…there’s no campaign. The media continue to hype the story, as is the case in modern times with any celebrity scandal. True to her notoriously dumb answer though, Prejean continues to ride the media wave of this attention further aligning herself with anti-gay marriage advocacy groups. Most, if not all, of her current problems are with the pageant organization, not liberal or gay groups. We may think she’s a dense bigot but we don’t have a work contract with her nor do we think enough of her to think she’s worth doing anything about. It’s companies like Fox News and TMZ that are getting anything out of this, and frankly the pageant itself too. The only bad PR is no PR right?

And while it’s not too hard of a stretch to see the release of her topless photos as retribution for her comments at the pageant, Miss Prejean did sign an agreement that covered such scenarios and spelled out the actions she could face. She lied to the organizers when she signed that agreement. She further has violated that agreement by entering into a relationship with NOM, her pageant contract specifically prohibiting alliances and advocacy with groups beyond the arm of the pageant organization.

It says more about NOM, conservatives and the anti-gay marriage movement when they embrace and encourage Miss Prejean, then when they hyperventilate about the supposed treatment she’s received. Her response to the question at the pageant was ugly, rambling, ill-conceived and inconsiderate. And from what I understand she was aware that this particular question very well might be asked. There were innumerable ways Prejean could have chosen to answer the question so it fully calls her character into question. When you learn she posed for sexually suggestive photos, while her church’s website has very specific anti-gay commentary what are you to take from that? The bible tells her to hate gays but it’s OK to pose topless for Jesus and get money for being objectified through beauty pageants? What exactly is there to respect about her opportunistic ways? NOM is trying to take advantage of the situation like every other character in this charade of stagecraft.

Whatever.

So GayPatriot, like Carrie Prejean, is milking it for all the PR they can. It’s probably about the only recent issue to get much attention beyond the scope of their regulars. It’s something they can unequivocally be right about since it’s all opinion. And it’s not surprising they would choose to defend bigotry under the guise of free speech. How long can you draw out this particular string of bull though? Cause it seems the only one not over it is GayPatriotWest.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dear GayPatriot

Your tiny violin is out of tune and the song is repetitive and discordant.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wayne Besen: Take Action Now on Iraqi Gays

Wayne Besen says we should take action now to stop the anti-gay gang squads and execution of gay men and women in Iraq for homosexuality.

So in his article what does he suggest we do? Something very akin to what you’d normally hear from GayPatriot.net or the newly formed GOProud.org. which is “not much” except criticize current activist groups for not doing more.

I think Wayne is commendable for all his hard stances regarding gay rights and especially the ridiculous views of the Right on gay rights issues, but this latest post is incredibly lacking. It’s always easier to criticize than take action. And while he’s hardly one to take fault with on that, especially on projects where Right-wing gay groups talk out of one side of their mouths but do nothing on the other, I’m not sure what anyone is supposed to take away from this piece.

There’s this concept of constructive criticism that Right and Left wing groups are just not getting. Simply criticizing for criticism’s sake does nothing to motivate and engage those being criticized. We do not support gay rights groups when all we have to offer is a sideline negative critique. Especially given that we’re talking about is occurring a world away, it must be especially demotivating to international groups being heckled by privileged American activists.

So here’s an idea and I’m taking my own advice. This is an opportunity where two streams of thought cross. Rather than criticize international groups, How about Wayne Besen and GOProud.org coming together to institute new activism on this front. He could temper their “military intervention is the only answer” proposals into real activism and they could support his efforts through their grassroots network of communications.

A win-win no?

Private Buffoon: Hilarious Letter to the CIA

swordfish1543 over at Private Buffoon has a hilarious response to former Vice President’s request that the CIA declassify more memos related to the efficacy of their torture program.

Please to enjoy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Because of the Tea Bag Parties, the Left’s “Anger Reaches Fever Pitch?”

Am I missing something? Where is this “fever pitched anger?”

I’ve seen an incredible amount of mocking for the concept of tea bagging. I’ve seen a number of articles investigating real motives behind the protest and how irrelevant the purported motives were.

But I don’t see the anger, especially not “fever pitched anger.” I watched the Keith Olbermann interview of Janeane Garofalo Byron York (of the Washington Examiner*) cites as an example of the “anger” of the left. Garofalo and Olbermann were both pretty snide. They were very serious. They laid it out flat. It’s what’s known on the Right as straight talk. And Garofalo’s argument was more a rambling statement of belief than proffering facts for basis of her sentiment. But I’m hard pressed to see how they were “angry” when they were laughing at the end of the article about the absurdity of the protests.

The only other article GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt offers as proof of this “fever pitched anger” is a link to a blog called Protein Wisdom (insert your own joke here). And Protein Wisdom also only references the Byron York article. So GayPatriot basis his entire thesis of “fever pitched anger” on one article in the biased Washington Examiner about one MSNBC television interview.

You can view the video below and judge for yourself instead of using GayPatriotWest’s biased prism for comparison. York’s article is as much rambling and unfounded hypothesis as Garofalo’s.

Projecting much?

* when I went to the Washington Examiner website, a full length ad just below the main masthead was for Ann Coulter. Surely not much bias there.

Surely GOProud Will Be All Over This Story

So a lot of left-leaning blogs and news outlets are covering stories of the treatment of gay men and women in Muslim countries recently. We’ve seen several highlighting the horrible treatment and swift execution of gay men and women accused of homosexuality in the span of a few days. So it was particularly distressing to hear of a story of gangs in Iraq that go around, abduct men accused of homosexual behavior, superglue their anuses shut and then force them to drink diarrhea-inducing substances that cause their slow and painful death.

GOProud, the conservative splinter group from Log Cabin Republicans, claims one of their platform items is to “fight global extremists” especially in the persecution of gay men and women in Muslim countries.

Now I’ve written that this is basically an excuse for hawkish military policy and has little to do with human rights advocacy for gay men and women. But will this newly formed group join with other left-leaning organizations like International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), who first reported the story, to address issues like this?

IGLHRC is sending letters to top Iraqi officials and advocating to the United Nations for intervention. But with GOProud, their only answer seems to be military intervention. The problem is how can you more militarily intervene when your previous military intervention installed a government that ignores these atrocities?

You Can’t Tell Me That Bullying Is Not A Problem

The sad story of another child, too young at 10 years old to even know what sexuality is about, is another example of the thousands of adolescents each year that commit suicide from the bullying they receive that includes taunts about homosexuality.

As I noted before, gay youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers. This is a very serious problem of which the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) advocates awareness and intervention. Their program, Day of Silence, was designed to highlight the problem of bullying in school. You’ll remember I noted that GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt on the gaypatriot.net site called the program “a silly stunt.”

To find out more about what you can do about this problem, visit the GLSEN website or another gay teen advocacy group, The Trevor Project.

 

(hattip to Joe.My.God.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

GayPatriotWest: Tolerate Our Intolerance, But We're Not Playing the Victim Card

I can't tell you how tired I am of this canard at GayPatriot.net that a) liberals should tolerate the intolerance of gay Republicans/conservatives and b) that gay Republicans/conservatives don't further play the victim when they complain about it. This article, which claims to not complain about being criticize, does just that and then attempts to discredit the the source.

I've written article after article how they use this effect of victimization to insert themselves into the larger conversation. They challenge that liberals, as proponents of tolerance, are obligated to consider the views, normally intolerant views, of Republicans, of conservatives, and especially gay conservatives. Current Republican and conservative philosophy is of privatized privilege, protection of the civil liberties of a privileged few, protectionism of the wealthy, hawkish and over-extended military world policing, devolution of government... I could go on and on but essentially they advocate anything we've found to either not work or essentially make issues worse in politics and government.

Republicans and conservatives, and gay Republicans and conservatives, have not shown a shred of evidence why we should listen to them. If anything they've shown exactly why we shouldn't listen to them. And I'm tired of being baited by them, accused of being intolerant, just so they can still participate in damaging public policy to the benefit of their personal political philosophy.

"In the ocean of baseness, the deeper we get, the easier the sinking." - James Russell Lowell

Gay Republicans and conservatives pull the debate to the bottom, guilt the Left into allowing them help save the ship, and their solution is to pour more water into the boat.

And we're not talking about normal, everyday gay men and women who happen to have conservative natures. These are people that have to form a splinter group, GOProud, because Log Cabin Republicans are just not conservative enough. They regularly advocate public policy that would devolve the progress gay activists have made for the public tolerance of gay men and women. They want to protect the privacy of closeted gay politicians who advocate blocking or rescinding gay rights policy. These individuals at GayPatriot and similar websites are at the core neoconservatives and as such they do the opposite of what they're complaining about - they are intolerant of the Left's tolerance.

Like the religious Right, they use a similar canard with other conservatives and Republicans. They guilt other conservatives and Republicans into taking hard line stances by playing the RINO card. A minority of a minority, they wield power within their own party by guilting others of not being conservative enough.

It has to stop. Like I mentioned in another article on the number of people participating in the tea bag rallies, gay conservatives and Republicans represent the most minor of minorities and yet still have power to control the conversation through their manipulations. The progressive Left have wised up and do not tolerate their intolerance. One can only hope that other sensible conservatives and Republicans will grasp this as well and return the party to more moderate stances that are common to the majority of their membership. GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt advocates that we should be tolerant of inmates running the asylum. Can this be anymore disturbing from someone who sounds like a gay conservative Miss Havisham, watching Clint Eastwood movies on end during the week, relaying an "if only" story about a marriage proposal gone sour because he "came out" as a conservative to obviously intolerant suitor?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Inflating Tea Bag Party Numbers

Conservative, Republicans, but especially gay Republicans in the form of GayPatriot.net are inflating the numbers of individuals attending the recent Tea Bag Party rallies.

Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com, the eminent statistician/blogger who correctly predicts anything from presidential races to the Final Four has sourced the number to just over 300,000. Why should you trust this? Well he's tracked down specific numbers from non-partisan sources and actually linked to those sources to review.

However, on the Right they hypothetically post anywhere from 500,000 to unrealistically 800,000. No sources. And on GayPatriot.net they pose it really should count as a million using some illogical reasoning of comparing it to a recent Democratic signature drive supporting the President's economic recovery effort.

And just to keep things in perspective? The current US population is just over 300,000,000 making the attendance of the tea bag party rallies at about 0.1%. That's 0.1% of the entire population trying to change the entire conversation about United States economics. Fox News is trumpeting their alliance to an event encompassing 0.1% of the population pretending this is statistically significant. Republican and conservative blogs are trashing essentially anyone they don't agree with with 0.1% participation in this tea bag rally.

Really?

GayPatriot - GOProud Making Up Excuses for Hawkish Military Philosophy

GayPatriot/GOProud/Bruce Carroll is a chicken hawk dressed in sheep's clothing. He uses a noble sentiment to further very ignoble gay Republican advocacy. Let me explain.

Part of the new platform of the newly formed GOProud, the righter than Right, ultra-conservative political advocacy group* is a concept of advocating hawkish military action against "islamofascism." This is nothing new for conservatives, especially the neocon philosophy which GayPatriot.net finds itself aligned with. It's not new for Republicans, who were enablers through the entire Bush presidency. So it's absolutely not unusual to find it promoted by gay Republicans that make up GayPatriot.net and GOProud.

What is interesting is how they dress up their advocacy for hawkish military action. See, in the case of GOProud, they say their advocacy stems from the treatment of gay men and women in Muslim countries that are arrested and sentenced to death for homosexual behavior. A noble sentiment and one which most people can agree - we should be proactive in protecting gay men and women from such persecution. But in the case of GayPatriot, it's really not about protecting these people as much as military aggression and nation building in Muslim countries.

Do gay Republicans advocate laws that would protect gay men and women from religious persecution in Muslim countries? They advocate against non-discrimination laws for gay men and women in the US without advocating to rescind similar non-discrimination laws for religion. The answer would be no.

Do gay Republicans advocate international resolutions that would protect gay men and women from religious persecution in Muslim countries? They heartily advocated John Bolton as United Nations ambassador and promoted his effort to pull down the United Nations from the inside. It included blocking two pro-gay advocacy groups from receiving official non-governmental organization status in the United Nations. This was a move that was specifically advocated by GayPatriot.net and aligned the United States in this vote with China, Egypt and Iran. They mock President Obama signing a U.N. resolution advocating tolerance for gay men and women, the one President Bush refused to sign. The answer would be no.

The only answer they have to resolve the issue of persecution of gay men and women is military aggression. However, their priority first and foremost is military aggression against Muslim countries over protecting gay men and women in those countries. To be fair, they have faithfully reported instances of the execution of gay men and women in these countries. So have a host of left-leaning blogs and news outlets. However, for gay Republicans it's used as propaganda to help further their objective of military aggression.

They don't report or advocate the same kinds of policies within the United States. GayPatriot.net specifically does not post or comment on hate crimes of gay men and women in the United States except as an excuse to advocate against hate crimes legislation. They do not report instances of discrimination except to advocate against anti-discrimination laws. They call efforts like GLSEN's Day of Silence campaign "silly" and protect the closeted status of lawmakers that advocate laws to lessen then protections of gay men and women in this country.

Do not be fooled by the sheep's clothing. GayPatriot.net, its writers, GOProud and gay Republicans are first and foremost reactionary, hawkish neocons. It was this deception of intention that helped lead us into the Iraq occupation and would lead us into further unnecessary military aggression under the guise of aid to gay men and women in Islamic countries.

* I will not describe GOProud as a gay organization since it's clear their objectives are to further Republican policy without regard to gay issues.

GayPatriotWest: Day of Silence - Quit Your Whining Already!

For someone who grew up in a progressive New England household, went to an uber-progressive undergraduate and a sophisticated urban graduate school, and whiles away his time on another degree in mythology in West Hollywood, I can understand why GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt could be so out of touch regarding the issue of bullying in public schools. I'm not sure if he's aware of recent cases where a boy of 11 committed suicide because of anti-gay slurs and other bullying in his public school. 11! That's why his rant today about GLSEN and the Day of Silence was so disgusting.

As usual, he misses the thrust of the movement characterizing it as a "silly gimmick" from people who "go out of their way to advertise their difference." It's not about promoting gay issues in school or promoting difference. It's about the harassment students receive in school based on perceptions about sexuality and how to make schools safer.

While Grandpa Blatt thinks all the gay kids in school march down the middle of the hall waving rainbow flags, the reality couldn't be further from that perception. The little boy who committed suicide was 11. What could he have know about sexuality to even be considered gay except for the taunting and harassment he received and how miserable he was made to feel from others?

Just as any kid during adolescence, most gay kids in public school do all they can to blend in and not be noticed. But there are blatant examples that issues with gay youth are not being addressed. Here in New York City there's a horrible problem with the number of gay homeless youth turned out from their families or simply avoiding schools for the harassment they receive.

This national protest is about changing behavior, not about trying to change thought. School administrators regularly ignore harassment issues. And while I pity the effect of having to resolve parenting issues in school settings, school administrators have a duty to nip bad behavior in the bud. Ignoring the issue isn't good enough. It's easy to connect this negligence to the fact that gay youth are four times as likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. I doubt this is from the tolerant and inclusive atmosphere promoted by people like GayPatriotWest calling GLSEN's campaign a "silly gimmick."

Maybe Dan just thinks gay youth should just butch it up more, stay in the closet and carry concealed weapons to resolve these sorts of problems. For Republicans and conservatives it's always a double standard of requesting you tolerate their intolerance. Amazing, simply amazing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

GayPatriot Friday Roundup – Don’t Criticize Us for Criticizing!

It all starts out with an amazingly un-self-aware post called “Why Do Those Who So Readily Revile Us Devote So Much of their Day to this Object of thier[sic] Revulsion?”

It’s a rambling essay, full the folksy anecdotal style of which GayPatriotWest/Dan Blatt is so fond. It’s like a little stream of thought that thins until reaching a leech bed of confused summation. I’m not sure if he’s upset that people criticize GayPatriot, or why he’s confused people sometimes have such a strong negative reaction to the site, or if he thinks liberals are secretly hot for conservatives and mask it through criticism. What I do get out of it is how clueless he seems to be about his own blog and the tone it takes. “Now, I welcome criticism…” he says. But as one banned from the site and knowing of a host of others, it’s simply not true. And if not banned, those that remain to post on the blog are attacked by the regular commentors like a pack of hyenas against a lone lion. Surely most critics have walked away from the trying effort to reason with the unassailable belief presented on the site.

“It’s just that I wonder why those who are ever ready to make assumptions about us, criticize us, sometimes in the most mean-spirited of language, spend so much time on our blog.” It’s a clutch the pearls moment for Mr. Peggy Noonan. First, I notice most of the critics in the comments know plenty about the site and the site’s philosophy, but it’s the denial by GayPatriotWest of that presentation that would lead him to assume critics speak from assumptions. And regarding “mean-spirited language,” the regular commentors are experts at the verbal slice and dice. I’d say the mean-spirited language starts there to protect their little den of incestuous conservative think. GayPatriot has always ignored such goings on when it was to their benefit. That lack of oversight makes them absolutely complicit in the devolution of commentary on their site.

Their commentors go on to summarily find that things like insecurity, fetish objects, and the “cruel and tragic” nature at the expense of their “cheeky and fun shenanigans” as motivation for their observations about critics.

The rest of today’s post follow with more intellectual dishonesty. They try to counter criticism they were not critical of Republican deficit spending during the Bush presidency. However, none of their criticism began until 2006, when it was clear the tide had turned with midterm elections. They were apparently OK with it for the six years they were in power but not when they started losing power. Also there’s no mention of criticism from late 2006 to late 2008, a two-year span where you’d think to find criticism of the additional complicities of Democratic majorities in deficit spending they use now as reasoning to castigate the economic stimulus.

GayPatriotWest then assert false observations about the projected deficit. He ignores how it came to be, rather taking the opportunity for pot shots against Democratic leaders who had little to no power during the Bush presidency. He ignores how much worse it could have been if Republicans (“I know nothing about the economy” McCain and the rest of those who relaxed oversight) had retained majority. He then rounds it out with hyperbolic question of how to fix the deficit, when the obvious answer – don’t elect Republicans – is clear.

Then another article asserts CNN “flops” in the ratings over tea bagging parties citing ratings news that finally sees Fox news besting CNN for overall viewership. It’s funny that Dan has to rely on the more critical analysis of his 20+ years younger nephew to fill the void of reasoning on his part. But the Blatt clan fails to consider beyond hypothesis for the one-day spike and the increasing viewership of Fox News over other cable news networks. They also fail to note that WWE wrestling, a kid’s show iCarly.com on Nickelodeon, reruns of NCIS and Spongebob Squarepants all regularly receive better ratings that the O’Reilly Factor in cable ratings, Fox’s highest rated show.

Again what GayPatriotWest, as usual, fails to recognize throughout his posts is that the blog advocates certain public policy philosophy. Those that persuade one way or the other have a huge stake in the outcome of that persuasion. If GayPatriotWest was ruler of the country of GayPatriotland, it would be more than acceptable for him to espouse and advocate the particular philosophies for all that chose to live there. But his words have resonance well beyond the boundaries of his blog. What he says and what he advocates affects far more than himself via this vehicle. So it’s both a right and an obligation for those that disagree to make themselves and their ideas known. GayPatriotWest doesn’t seem to like America as it is, and advocates for changes to philosophies of the Right. And when he insulates himself and those of similar mindset essentially telling critics to mind their own business, even about subjects that affect them, it’s more than time to call them on their BS.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

As Expected, Tea Bag Rallies Are A Monumental Disappointment

Literally the last post to GayPatriot.net today was at 2:45 this afternoon, and none since. Nothing celebrating the amazing turnout or obviously good character of the protesters. Why might that be?

It would be because the numbers were sad, 112,000 overall by general estimates and as one outlet notes about the same as the single Obama campaign rally in Portland, Oregon last year. Another noted that in Boston, the original Boston Tea Party counted around 5,000 protestors or 46% of its population. Today's event at 500(!) made up 0.08% of Boston's population. Impressive? Or does it highlight the temper tantrum motivation of a disaffected right-wing minority?

But then again surely the protestors' admirable intentions and good behavior would show how meaningful and important these rallies were. But again the answer would be no. From signage I noted before, now I see images of President Obama represented as Hitler and threats of violence insinuated by slogans referring to the second amendment. There was a dust-up with a CNN reporter (which to be fair she was being provocative, but the responses were hardly appropriate yet still utterly innane - "I think [President Obama] is a fascist!" "Why?" "Because he is!"). And what should have been high profile rallies like Washington, DC were poorly planned and the speakers talked about every conspirist theory currently floated besides issues dealing with taxes.

Not surprising at all, but I guarantee that GayPatriot will still celebrate the results like John Galt "stopping the motor of the world."

Lies from Lying Liars

Every conservative blog reporting about the Tea Bag protests has posted counter arguments to criticisms about the protests as being nothing more than hissy-fits. Well all you have to do is read the signage at such events to know it’s not true.

Conservatives pose these rallies are not anti-tax rallies. And yet I clearly see signs that say “T.E.A. – Taxed Enough Already.” Am I to get some other meaning out of that when we’ve just seen a reduction in taxes for working class people? They seem to want to eliminate the IRS, the SEC and Federal Treasury. This is also acknowledging that the United States has one of the lowest total tax revenues as a percentage of GDP of most large industrialized countries.

“We the people don’t want bigger governments” and yet the Republican majorities supported a 45% increase in federal spending the first five years of President Bush’s administration with little protest.

They say the protests are not anti-Obama and do not seek to demonize him and yet there’s a sign that says “Insatiable, Insidious, Unsustainable – Diminish the Beast” with I think a picture of President Obama. Further I see postings about rantings of “secret societies” like the “Masons” and they still think the President is not the president because they’ve not personally validated his birth certificate.

They goes on and on about how “our” [read conservatives/Republicans] country is becoming like France [filled with delicious chocolate, cheese and wine?], a socialist state, a fascist state, and that Washington, D.C. stands for “District of Communism.”

They just want to throw the “bumbs” – yes you read that right – out of office.

These protests are ridiculous, the sentiments totally self-serving and out of touch and we’re stupid to pay them any bit of serious attention or consideration.

P.S. The morons didn’t get permits for some of the planned activities today in Washington, D.C. even attempting to illegally dump their tea bags before city police stopped them. One protestor threw a box of tea over the White House fence prompting a full lockdown of the area.