Friday, July 29, 2011

KNOW Your LGBT History - The Naked Civil Servant

Last week, I featured Partners, a hideously homophobic movie starring Ryan O'Neal and John Hurt. I remarked about how it was amazing that Hurt would agree to be in such a movie seeing that earlier in his career, he won enormous critical acclaim and awards for his portrayal of Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant.

Today, I want to talk about the latter movie. The Naked Civil Servant was a 1975 British television movie detailing the life of Crisp, a legendary figure in the gay community, and his desire to live life as a flamboyantly out gay man and on his own terms in spite of the homophobia around him. And it was a dangerous time he lived in. Homosexuality was illegal in Great Britain then.

I never met the late Quentin Crisp, but from what I've seen in interviews, he embodied a spirit of self-love and self-awareness like no other. And Hurt did him more than justice with his portrayal. As I said before, Hurt received much acclaim and a few awards. From wikipedia:

For his performance, Hurt won the BAFTA for Best Actor in 1976. The production also won the 1976 Prix Italia and in 2000 it was placed fourth in a poll by industry professionals to find the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century.

The best thing about Hurt's performance is even now, it holds up as probably one of the best portrayals of a gay man on screen:

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

GOP attacks Dan Savage and other Thursday afternoon news briefs

Editor's note - I won't be posting tomorrow morning because we are busy moving into a new apartment. I hope to resume posting by tomorrow afternoon.

GOP Denounces Dan Savage - Suddenly I feel sorry for the GOP.

NOMmers in their own words: Joe Grabowski edition - Here is some more of that "love" the National Organization for Marriage likes to claim that its supporters have.

Fox News Underreports Beginning Of New York Gay Weddings - Fox News telling a lie? We must be on planet Earth.

Rick Perry Tosses Tentherism Under The Bus To Placate Anti-Gay Hate Group
- I haven't seen someone do a moonwalk this good since the late Michael Jackson.

Kern: Real Hatred Comes From Gay Rights Advocates - Isn't Sally Kern hilarious?

Bachmann Dodges Question On Ex-Gay Therapy: My Clinics Are ‘Not Running For The Presidency’- If she thinks we are going avoid talking about her husband's lies, she is dreaming.

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Religious right not happy with Rick Perry and other Thursday midday news briefs

Bachmann Pal Bradlee Dean: Lawsuit Against Maddow Is About ‘Protecting’ Children From Homosexual Agenda - Why of course. It's his "won't someone think of the children!" defense.

Christianists Turn On Rick Perry - How dare Perry have a short (very short) moment of truth about marriage equality!

Vander Plaats Responds To ‘Faggot’ Joke Controversy: ‘We Speak The Truth And Love’ - All together now! Let's really hear it . . . BULL@!$^%!

Bryan Fischer Claims He Does Not Believe In "Imposing" His "Values" - Where the heck is that lightning.

O'Reilly: "Liberal Media" Is Attacking Christians To Promote "Secular Left Causes" Like Gay Marriage - Damn! Who told him our plans? Now we are going to have to go with Plan B.

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Anti-gay pastor Eddie Long's fifth accuser in lawsuit

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What they DID talk about during the NAACP town hall meeting on gay issues

After my post this morning about the lack of press at the NAACP's first town hall meeting on gay issues, I got a lot of responses from folks and entities - such as No More Down Low TV - saying that they will be presenting videos and transcripts about what happened.

I also got a link from a friend on twitter to an article talking about the town hall meeting.

From the article, it appears that this was a very beneficial meeting (except for the omission of the transgender and bisexual community of course). If anything, it does more to illustrate my point about what a shame it was that more press didn't cover this event.

From People's World:

In his opening, (Julian) Bond, a veteran civil rights leader, said, "We know sexual orientation is not a choice. We know homosexuality is not a mental illness. We know you can't 'pray the gay away.'"

The event was organized as a town hall-styled meeting with audience participation and a panel that included famous gay African Americans, like comedian and actress Wanda Sykes and CNN Anchor Don Lemon who publicly came out in his memoir, "Transparent."

Bond said gay rights are another component of civil rights.

"Sexual disposition parallels race. I was born black and had no choice. I could not and will not change it if I could. Like race, our sexuality isn't preference. It is immutable, unchangeable, and the constitution protects us all from prejudices and discrimination based on immutable differences."

Many panelists and audience members spoke about the role of the church in the Black community, and the conflicts that have arisen from that relationship on the issue of LGBT rights.

Bond said although one might be a member of a church that preaches against a religious same-sex marriage that viewpoint should not be extended to same-sex marriage in city halls, as a civil right.

Sykes said her church experience pressured her from being truthful with her sexuality because of the ingrained notion that gay and lesbian relationships were fundamentally wrong. Such sermonizing can be lethal, she said, because of bullying and violence against LGBT youth and the high level of suicides.

"You just suppress everything and become this other person. You start living that life that you think that you're supposed to do. I worked it so hard I got married! It just hit me, like, wait a minute. Why aren't my relationships going further? Why can't I really open up? And I realized oh, that's right. I forgot; I'm a lesbian! That's what it is. You don't have breasts!" Sykes said to an applauding and laughing audience.

The article also talked about the situation involving the passage of Prop 8 in California and how some folks blamed this on the black community. NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, as far as I am concerned, nailed the true problem of the situation:

 . . . according to Jealous-and audience members-the bigger issue was the lack of outreach to the African American community at an early stage.

Jealous criticized LGBT groups "who come to the black community late" because it sends a message of disrespect.

"If folks really wanted to win on Prop. 8, and thought the black community was so important, then they should have been organizing" outreach a lot sooner, he said.

The article also said that Bond had put together a task force designed to help the African-American community combat homophobia and transphobia.

The task force has a three part mission:

to strengthen NAACP's knowledge of LGBT issues and policies;
to build relationships among LGBT civil rights and human rights organizations;
to advance awareness of LGBT issues "as they relate to overarching programs and interest of the NAACP."

Might I suggest that the task force add a fourth goal - to increase visibility of lgbtqs of color in the black community.

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Rachel Maddow sued by homophobe for $50 million and other Wednesday midday news briefs

Maddow Sued For $50 Million By Bachmann Buddy Bradlee Dean. Allegedly. - This ought to be a fun lawsuit.

AFA lets the people vote; people don't want to - See what happens when the American Family Association doesn't slant its poll.

Nimocks: Bans on Interracial Marriage Were Wrong Because They're Discriminatory, But Bans on Same-Sex Marriage A.O.K. - Hold on to your stomach. He actually said something about "marriage uniting the great halves of humanity." Geez!
Anti-Gay Christian Groups Can No Longer Profit Off Apple - Some good news!

Conservative Columnist Dismantles NOM’s New York Campaign: A “Futile Venture” - Ouch!

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I am disappointed by NAACP gay/lesbian town hall meeting

Earlier this week, the NAACP held its first ever town hall meeting on gay issues in the African-American community. The town hall meeting had a panel with included comedian Wanda Sykes and civil rights legend Julian Bond. CNN Don Lemon also served as moderator.

It sounded like a good idea and it was. I am sure that a lot of things were said which needed to be said. And a lot of things were learned.

But as for right now, I don't know what was said nor do I know what was learned because very few entities covered the event.

The black media, of course didn't touch it. And the gay media - and I am highly disappointed by this fact - also didn't touch it.

Oh sure, everyone announced that it was going to happen in highly patronizing tones - "the NAACP is going to have their first town hall meeting" "oh that's awesome" "it's about time."

However when it actually comes to covering the event, so many seemed to have forgotten that it was taking place.

That's not to say that there was no coverage at all.

MSNBC gave it sloppy coverage, centering around the issue of marriage equality and how many African-Americans opposed it. The article didn't talk about anything specifically said at the town hall meeting.

And this was sad because a transgender activist also attended the town hall meeting and she made a very good point about the unfortunate omission of the African-American transgender community.

The omission of members of the transgender community, and the bisexual community for that matter, should have been the most covered angle.

Marriage equality is a very hot issue right now, but to many lgbtqs of color, it's not the prevailing issue in our community. We do worry about other things, such as health, self-esteem, the ability to come out, and how to function with a dual identity in communities which do not address who we are because they are so busy trying to whittle us down to what they want us to be.

Or being made invisible, as in the case of the transgender and bisexual community.

I was hoping that the NAACP's town hall meeting would be a step in a direction which finally saw lgbtqs of color being seen as people not being forced to choose between both identities but embracing both with pride.

But unfortunately, the entire situation revealed that while we are exactly that - people embracing both of our identities with pride - it also demonstrated just how quickly folks want us to be invisible.

Or even worse, tokens.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Video evidence of NOM bussing in people to NYC rally

We all know that the National Organization for Marriage's claim of 10,000 in attendance at its New York City rally against marriage equality is bogus.

But for more evidence of the group's duplicity, check out the following video. Apparently NOM couldn't get enough people from NYC to join its rally, so it bussed in the several hundred demonstrators that did attend its rally:

According the video's creator, NOM was working with several groups, such as the Hispanic Clergy Association. Just more proof that the so-called widespread opposition to marriage equality in NY is an astroturfed creation of NOM.

By the way, the video also points out some signs by participants at the rally; signs which  refutes NOM's claim of standing against marriage equality "in love."

Hat tip to Jeremy Hooper.

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NOM's NY rally figures disputed and other Tuesday midday news briefs

NY Same-Sex Marriage: Why NOM's 10,000 Protesters Lie Is So Embarrassing - It's sad when you lie so badly that everyone knows it.

Does The Marriage Suit Hold Any Merit? - Apparently the lawsuit against New York for passing marriage equality has no merit at all.

Rep. Allen West: Gay People Can “Change Their Behavior” - Why is it that pretty much every visible black Republican is a nut?

Congressman Tim Huelskamp: 85% Of Americans Oppose Marriage Equality - It's a shame the Congressman didn't go into detail as to just how long it took him to pull that figure out of his ass.

Bachmann Blacklists TV Station Over Interview About Ex-Gay Therapy - I wish I could quit Michele Bachmann but she's just too much fun to pick on.

Rick Perry: ‘Gay Marriage Will Soon Be The Policy Of The United States’
- What did they say about a stopped clock?

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Marinelli: NOM staff spent money on $500 dinners and gambling

Former National Organization for Marriage ally Louis J. Marinelli is now claiming that during last year's dismal "Summer for Marriage" tour, the organization's staff spent money on $500 dinners and gambling.

Marinelli was once affiliated with NOM where he helped to plan and served as bus driver during the organization's "Summer for Marriage" tour.

It was during this tour, according to Marinelli, that he noticed that NOM's staff were acting most un-Christian in certain ways:

. . . I noticed how money was being spent in ways that I didn’t consider to be very Christian-like, even though the face of their movement, their press releases, their highly scripted and scrutinized videos, their advertisements and their talking points are all appealing to many conservative Christians. If they were to know how NOM spends its money behind the scenes, though, I have a feeling many of them would be disappointed in the organization and feel as though their donations were being used in ways unbecoming a Christian.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice and generous gesture for the organization to treat the whole team to lunch and/or dinner everyday for our efforts on the tour. I was just uncomfortable that so much money was being spent on expensive dinners in moderately high to highly priced restaurants each putting in excess of a $500 dent into NOM’s bank account each night. Multiply that by the thirty nights we spent on the tour.

What is that, fifteen thousand dollars on food for a month? That’s a lot of money. To put it in perspective, I’m running a cross-country tour next month and the sum of my tour costs less than NOM spent on just the lobster or steak dinners we ate last year.

Marinelli also claimed that NOM staff went to casinos to gamble:

On at least two occasions during the thirty day summer tour, the Catholic NOM staff made its way to a casino to smoke some cigars and gamble away what I consider pretty significant amounts of money. I can’t remember specifically how much was gambled away but I remember feeling how poor I was because I wasn’t able to just throw that much money away at a game of blackjack.

One of these casinos was in Sioux City, Iowa and the second casino was in Mississippi. Yes, the NOM tour bus and staff made a small detour on the way to Atlanta to “stop for dinner” at Harrah’s Casino in a town called Tunica in Mississippi. We were on our way to Atlanta from St. Louis and driving there via I-55 and I-22 which took us through Memphis, Tennessee. It was about thirty miles out of the way (sixty combined) but the steak and fries dinner was real nice. I feel bad writing this because it was truly nice of them to treat us to these dinners but the reason I want to talk about it is because the money that people send NOM goes to paying for this kind of stuff, too.

It was funny at the time but Brian Brown wanted to make sure we parked the NOM bus far away from the casino. He was well-aware of how bad it would look if the NOM bus was found parked at Harrah’s Casino and someone took a picture of it. So yes, we parked the NOM bus by itself in one of the empty parking lots far away from the other cars.

Now in all honesty, this is just Marinelli's version of events and they haven't been verified. Also, there doesn't seem to be any evidence of illegality on the part of NOM.

Still, if Marinelli's claims are accurate, it does raise more questions about NOM's ethical behavior. Already, the organization has fought in six states to keep its donor list secret.

Also, according to the website NOM Exposed, there are further questions in terms of how NOM monies goes into the pockets of staff:

In its first year of operation, NOM paid nearly 14% of its budget to Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher. The subsequent year, when NOM’s budget increased significantly, Brown and Gallagher both received larger paychecks, though it represented a smaller percentage of NOM’s overall budget at just 5%. Brown is now paid over $130,000 and Gallagher nearly $27,000. As president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, Gallagher makes an additional $125,000 per year – an amount that’s over half of the organization’s total budget.

Additionally, NOM seems to be attempting to hide a $166,000 consulting payment to Common Sense America. While it appears on the version of their Form 990 available from the IRS, they have removed it from the version of the Form 990 that NOM makes available through their website. Common Sense America’s registered agent is Maggie Gallagher’s son Patrick and Brian Brown sits on the Common Sense America’s board.

Marinelli, by the way, defected from NOM and is now a proponent of marriage equality. He founded the National Organization for Marriage Equality and is now planning another tour where he intends to go to 17 states in an effort to drum up Republican and conservative support for marriage equality.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

NOM's attack on New York's legislative process is wrong

The New York publication Capital Confidential weighed in on Sunday's rally by the National Organization for Marriage. And not only does it provide some interesting details regarding the actual number of participants, but also gives us an interesting peek at NOM's audacity:

Promising wrath both earthly and divine, around 400 people marched, chanted and prayed during a Sunday afternoon rally for traditional marriage.

“All we have done is put into statute a lie,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. He traveled to Albany from Connecticut to headline demonstrations coinciding with the enactment of a law legalizing same-sex marriage. It was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month after passing the Senate 33-29.

Brown said his group, and others, should build a new coalition to push for a statewide referendum on same-sex marriage. He proposed amending New York’s constitution, which requires the approval of two successive legislatures and a popular vote. It would take until November, 2013, for such an effort to bear fruit, but legislative leaders have indicated no interest in allowing the necessary bills to floor votes.

Granted, Capitol Confidential did not say where it derived the 400 number from but it is a definite jump from 10,000 in New York City and thousands from other places which NOM claimed  were in attendance. Frankly I don't see how there could be such a discrepancy in numbers? Someone is obviously lying and since NOM has a history of doing just that (lying like a rug), it's safe to say that Capitol Confidential should be given more credibility.

But Brown's words are what I find interesting.
“We are not the kind of people that when politicians betray us, to take our rights away, go home,” Brown said.
What the hell does Brown mean by "we?"  He is not from NY nor does he indicate just which rights were taken away from New Yorkers. But yet he wants to formulate a plan to change the NY state constitution.  He claims that it is the thing to do because the NY legislators have betrayed their constituents:

But a majority of New Yorkers actually supported this bill. It was pushed through the legislature legally, voted on legally, and passed legally.

So what is the problem?

While some in NY aren't happy with the marriage equality law, it would seem to me that they should be less happy with outsiders (NOM and Brown) coming in to disrupt their laws, and their constitution.

But for NOM, it's business as usual when it comes to transference. After all, what's more of a lie? Duly elected state officials legally voting to pass a law or an outside group seeking to overturn  this law?

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Diaz wants Sunday's marriages declared illegal and other Monday midday news briefs

NY Sen. Ruben Diaz wants All Gay Marriages Annulled - Wait until you read why he claims to want them annulled. It's just basic pettiness which has NOTHING to do with love.

60 Awesome Portraits Of Gay Couples Just Married In New York State - THESE are the folks whom Diaz and NOM will hurt with impunity in pursuit of their so-called moral agenda.

Conservative group sues Senate over same-sex marriage vote - More junk.

Santorum: Perry Must Support Polygamy If He’s ‘Fine’ With New York’s Marriage Equality Law - Rick Santorum lives up the definition of his last name.

Tony Perkins: his latest horsesh*t in defense of the Bachmanns - In describing Tony Perkins, Pam Spaulding nails it.

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This is what NOM is scared of?

Yesterday marked the day that gay and lesbian couples across New York got married. According to The New York Times's Thomas Kaplan, 659 marriage licenses issued in NYC today, according to city officials. 484 marriages performed.

The National Organization for Marriage held their rallies and protests. The Associated Press claimed that thousands showed up. NOM tried to piggyback on that to claim that over 10,000 people showed up for the New York City rally and thousands attended other rallies.

However, pictures from the other rallies, like the one in Buffalo, demonstrate NOM's propensity for stretching the truth. And scenes from the rally show that the group continues to play the black and Hispanic communities against the gay community. And of course NOM won't talk about how it bussed in folks or where exactly did it get the 10,000 number.

But that's not important right now. Yesterday was the most important day for a lot of NY gay couples. And I want to present a video montage of the various couples getting married complete with their families and friends showing their support.

And I also want to ask the simple question.

Why should anyone be scared of this? How do these scenes destroy the idea of marriage?

I dare anyone to give me a good, complete answer. No hypothetical mess derived from board rooms.  No junk about "marriage being the uniting of the two halves of humanity." Give me a concrete reason as to what is wrong with these Americans getting married.

Or can you?

Go here to see the portraits of 20 couples who got married yesterday.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Black gay couple to marry after 20 year wait

I am SO SICK of how the National Organization for Marriage and other religious right groups play the black and gay community against one another.

When they do that, both communities get hurt. And like myself, who are in both communities, get hurt. The following clip of Steve Williams and Joe Pressley should be required viewing for anyone who plays NOM's ridiculous game of divide and conquer in the black and gay communities:

From the Grio article:

The Williams-Pressley marriage festivities will start when the men pick up their licenses on Monday and will conclude during a private ceremony, on Saturday, at a Italian restaurant in Harlem. The non-traditional African-American couple will host a non-traditional ceremony, witnessed by more than a hundred family and friends.

"It is not a formal affair, we want folks to be comfortable, we want them to come and have fun, its about fun and its about celebration," said Williams. "I think I am going to wear a blue blazer, a shirt and some slacks, and call it a day. It's a really simple ceremony."

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First youtube video footage of gay wedding in New York

The video is shaky but still history in the making. Congratulations to Kitty Lambert, Cheryle Ruddall and of the folks getting married in New York today:

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

REPOST: Let's all play the NOM drinking game

In tribute to all of the gay and lesbian couples getting married in New York this weekend, I am reposting this piece:

We all must recognize just how the National Organization for Marriage uses empty and repetitive talking points against marriage equality.

But let's also have a little fun with it. From various press conferences and interviews, I have gleaned a little drinking game which can be played whenever an interview is conducted NOM's Maggie Gallagher or Brian Brown, or when the organization holds a press conference. It's a minor drinking game - goodness knows that NOM has probably caused enough lgbtqs to drink as it is - so bear with me and feel free to add more categories (but no being mean).


1 Drink

When Maggie Gallagher interrupts the interviewer or the person she is debating

When either Gallagher or Brian Brown claim that marriage has meant the same things to all civilizations throughout history.

When Maggie Gallagher wears red.

When the phrase "marriage is unique and special" is used. Or when the statement "only marriage can connect parents with children" is used.

When the phrases or words  "redefine marriage, "profound consequences," or "Massachusetts" are mentioned.

When either Gallagher or Brown introduces the word "bigot" into the conversation.

When there is one African-American or Hispanic participant at a NOM press conference.

2 Drinks

Gallagher uses "jazz hands" to illustrate her point

Brown or Gallagher talks about children being "taught" homosexuality

When Brown or Gallagher sidesteps any questions asking them about same-sex households, particularly same-sex households with children.

When there are two or more African-American or Hispanic participants at a NOM press conference

When an anecdote about "religious persecution" because of marriage equality is brought up by Gallagher or Brown without any other information as to the truth of said anecdote.

When Gallagher refers to the work of "legal scholars" without mentioning that said "legal scholars" are affiliated with either NOM or the Catholic Church.

When it is mentioned that the "overwhelming majority of Americans in over 30 states voted against marriage equality."

3 Drinks

Whenever Gallagher, Brown, or anyone else mentions how marriage is the "uniting of the two great halves of humanity."

Related posts:

NOM's Brian Brown vs. Rev. Al Sharpton - it's not even a contest

NOM astroturfed 'legal scholars' in New York

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Know your LGBT History - Partners

The 1982 movie Partners is one of the single most ugly movies about the gay community I have ever seen.

There is no other way to put it. To label it as a "hot mess" would be too kind. In the immortal words of Bart Simpson - "I never thought it was possible for something to suck and blow and the same time."

Partners was supposed to be an action comedy starring Ryan O'Neal and John Hurt as two policemen who go undercover as lovers in the gay community to find a possible serial killer of gay men.

Laughs a plenty, huh?

The hook is that O'Neal is a super macho heterosexual man while Hurt is a mousy, quiet gay man afraid of his shadow. Apparently he is not only a desk clerk but also totally oblivious of the fact that everyone knows that he is gay.

Are you laughing already?

The whole point of the movie is supposed to an evolution of O'Neal's character from uncomfortable homophobia is somewhat acceptance of gays, but that falls flat because there are absolutely no positive gay characters in this movie. None whatsoever. The gay men are either spooky, oversexed, violent, so stereotypically nelly that they cry at the drop of a hat or worse - all of those characterizations at once. The only gay characters seen in a positive light is only due to the fact that they have very little screen time.

Even when the movie tries to send a message (via an absolutely nasty scene in which the police humiliate a gay man by making him walk naked to his cell), it falls flat. It's just one more indignity in a movie full of indignities.

The worst thing in the movie has to be Hurt's portrayal. He is just hideous and constantly bears an expression on his face that says "oh brother, I just have to keep thinking about my paycheck to get through this shit." And he really should have known better. In 1975, he received critical acclaim for his awesome portrayal of gay icon Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant. Why he chose to make a 360 degree turn and do this movie is one of the greatest mysterious of life. Anyhow, here is a scene from Partners:

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

NAACP to talk about gay issues and other Friday midday news briefs

NAACP Talks LGBT Issues - The NAACP will be holding a first ever town hall meeting about gay issues. Panelists will include Wanda Sykes Hall and Julian Bond. All I can say is it's about time!

Right-Wing Activist Says Homosexuality Creates "The Most Violent Societies" - Hallmarking yet again why the charges of the religious right about "in your face homosexuals" is bogus. I mean come on - what other groups of Americans have to deal with being called all of these names by someone who will hide behind religion?

NYT feature: Young New Yorkers united for marriage equality - 14 very good reasons why we are going to win this argument.

REPORT: Pentagon to Certify "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal Today? - Just in case you haven't heard THIS news.

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Maggie Gallagher's hypocritical whine about corruption

Sunday will be the day that gay couples in New York will be able to legally marry. And naturally the National Organization for Marriage isn't happy about it. The organization has planned protests across the state.

Maggie Gallagher, NOM chairwoman, conducted an interview with the American Family Association's One News Now talking about the situation. And if you ask me, based upon what she said, Gallagher is fortunate that lightning didn't strike her during interview:

She (Gallagher) reports that her group is hearing from "voters all over the state ... [who] are really upset, not only about marriage, but about the lying, the deceit, [and] the flip-flopping. It's really a symbol of the corrupt, insider politics which has dominated Albany for years and is now reaching a new height," Gallagher laments.

Is Gallagher for real? How can she whines about the "deceit" of the NY legislators while her organization are guilty of the following offenses:

sent out mailers and commercials claming that gays are using the marriage argument to corrupt children,

 unsuccessfully tried to skirt disclosure laws in six states in an attempt to hide its donor list,

cynically played the black and gay communities against one another,

gave misleading testimony during a Congressional hearing on DOMA,

knowingly faked an argument about legal scholars bothered by the NY law for marriage equality, and

is presently teaming up with the Minnesota Family Council to stop marriage equality in the state in spite of the fact that the organization claims that gays engage in bestiality, pedophilia, and the consuming of bodily wastes.

If Gallagher wants to talk about deceit, she should look to the organization she helped to start. If it weren't for deceit and corruption, NOM wouldn't have any victories to speak of.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Family Research Council is mad at Sen. Al Franken

The Family Research Council is furious at how Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) rebuked Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery during yesterday's DOMA hearing.

Franken called out Minnery for distorting a 2010 Health and Human Services study to make the case that two-parent heterosexual households are better at raising children than same-sex households:

The study in question, published by a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department in 2010, found better health outcomes among children in nuclear families – a point Minnery, senior vice president for public policy, said means children are better off with straight, married parents.

But Franken pointed out that the study’s definition of “nuclear family” does not specify the gender of the parents in such families, suggesting a lack of evidence that same-sex couples’ kids are less healthy than the children of straight couples.

In an email, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins said:

Homosexual activists are gloating over an exchange Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) had with Tom Minnery (of Focus on the Family affiliate CitizenLink) at yesterday's hearing on a bill to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Minnery had cited a December 2010 federal study which showed that children raised in a "nuclear family" have better health outcomes. Franken, however, triumphantly noted that a "nuclear family" was defined (in part) as one headed by "two parents who are married to one another"--not two opposite-sex parents. But did Franken forget the law he wants to repeal? DOMA says, "In determining the meaning of . . . any ruling, regulation, or interpretation o f the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States , the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."

Since this was a federal study published by a federal agency based on a federal survey conducted by federal (Census Bureau) employees, its definition of "married" is bound by DOMA. Even if, by chance, the interviewers or authors violated that law, the survey data was collected from 2001 to 2007. During that time (and only from mid-2004 on) there was only one state (Massachusetts) in which homosexual couples could "marry." The vast majority of homosexual couples raising children fall in the categories of "unmarried biological or adoptive family," "blended family," or "cohabiting family"--all of which have poorer outcomes for children than the traditional "nuclear family."

Seeing that the Family Research Council had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of this study, Perkins's words are moot.

The words of the lead author of the study, Debra L. Blackwell, Ph.D.,on the other hand, has more credibility. And she said Franken was right:

The survey did not exclude same-sex couples, said Debra L. Blackwell, Ph.D., nor did it exclude them from the “nuclear family” category provided their family met the study’s definition.

The study’s definition of nuclear family is: “one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adoptive parents of all the children in the family.”

That means the study does not provide evidence that straight couples’ children necessarily fare better than same-sex couples’ kids, as Minnery claimed.

Perhaps in this case it would have been better for Perkins to pretend that the exchange between Franken and Minnery never happened.

Good thing for the gay community that Perkins doesn't have that much restraint.

Related post - Tom Minnery's lies are commonplace in religious right data

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'Gay barbarians' glitterbomb Bachmann's clinic and other Thursday midday news briefs

Gay ‘Barbarians’ Demand Ex-Gay ‘Discipline’ From Bachmann Clinic - Marcus Bachmann's clinic gets glittered.

Tom Minnery, you were wrong - The author of the study that Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery distorted has issued a public statement. And guess what she said . . .
What a difference - a look at the 1996 DOMA debate on the Hill - It stings a little but it's still good to look back. They wouldn't dare say that crap now.

DOMA: Keith Olbermann Recaps Senate DOMA Debate With Evan Wolfson - And now to add perspective, a look at how things are now.

 Center For Military Readiness Criticized For Lax Oversight- An anti-gay group having tax problems. Doesn't the group know that paying your taxes is the Christian thing to do?

Latest Response Rally Endorser: The Antichrist Is Gay - Aw heck, my cover has been blown!

Lawsuit Challenging Anti-LGBT Environment in Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District - Excellent news!

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Christian Post article misses the point about 'bigots'

The Christian Post recently came out with an article asking how can Christians who stand against marriage equality not be called "haters" and "bigots."

But based on who the article chose to quote, it seems that those at The Christian Post missed the point:

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies with the Family Research Council, believes that Christians need to make it clear that they are motivated by love.

"I think that's kind of the major challenge that we face,” he commented to The Christian Post. “We in the pro-family movement ... those of us who are Christians, we know in our hearts that we are motivated by love, not hate. The definition of love is not that you let people do whatever they want.”

Bear in mind this is the same Peter Sprigg who said he would like to see gays exported from the United States.

The article conveniently did not mention that.

And Sprigg also said he thinks "homosexual behavior"  should be criminalized, which is another point the article omitted.

Lastly, Sprigg has been known, on occasion, to manipulate legitimate studies about the gay community to totally distort their meaning. Of course the article omitted that point.

The article also quoted "professional ex-gay" Greg Quinlan:

But what worries Greg Quinlan, president of the Pro-Family Network, is that many Christians aren't standing in opposition to gay marriage for the sake of getting along with those on the other side of the debate.

"I am intolerant,” he said, “but I don't hate. Yes, there is a difference ... We have to turn the definitions around."

"Christians have to understand how to tell the truth in love, but it isn't love until you tell the truth. Now, we have to not be concerned about what other people think of us. We have to stop trying to be nicer than Jesus."

Of course the article didn't talk about the following comment by Quinlan at last year's "Truth Academy," which was run by another supposed Christian, Peter LaBarbera:

“I wasn’t your flaming faggot, you know. I can say that because I’ve been there and done that. You know, the one’s whose wrists are so limp that when the wind blows they slap themselves in the face. I wasn’t one of them,” Quinlan said, as the small audience chuckled.

Maybe it's just me but if you are writing an article about why some "Christians" are considered as "haters," and then omit details about the anti-gay behavior of the "Christians"  whom you freely quote in the article, you are doing a half-assed job of addressing the issue.

This is the second article in two weeks which seems to intentionally avoid the true issue as to why some "Christians" bear the label of "haters" when it comes to gay equality. Last week, an "interfaith" website, Beliefnet, attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center for designating several religious right organizations as hate groups. Beliefnet made it seem that SPLC "unfairly labeled these groups as "haters" because they "merely" disagreed with gay equality. The site did not talk about how the organizations spread propaganda and lies about the gay community.

While the article by The Christian Post did not attack SPLC and did mention the exact reasons why it named certain religious right organizations as hate groups, it did not go into enough detail before opening the floor to representatives of these groups to ramble on about how much they "love" gay folks. And the irony is that it was printed the same day in which a supposed "pro-family" expert was busted in front of Congress for misrepresenting a study to make the case against same-sex households.

Until true Christians address those in their midst who spread lies about the gay community - i.e. we recruit children, we are diseased ridden monsters out to destroy American society, we have a short lifespan, we have lots and lots and lots of sex, we want to wreck the idea of marriage, we want to "force people to accept us" - they should expect the labels of "haters" and "bigots" to be thrown not only with frequency, but also with accuracy.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tom Minnery's lies are commonplace in religious right data

Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery
The big news today is about the DOMA hearing and how Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) called out Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery for his distortion of a study.

Minnery cited a Department of Health and Human Services study to make the case that children do better in a heterosexual household as opposed to a same-sex household. Franken, however, proved that Minnery had distorted the study's wording.

While everyone is reveling (with good reason) in this pivotal moment from the hearing, let's not forget one thing.

What Minnery did was not an anomaly. His distortion was not a one-time thing from a lazy employee of an otherwise honorable organization.

Minnery's misreading of study in order present a bad picture of same-sex households is commonplace in religious right data. Often times, religious right spokespeople will cite studies which have nothing to do with same-sex households in order to claim that these households are not the best place to raise children.

Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage committed this grievance last year by misrepresenting a study of abused children.

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council committed the same intentional faux pas earlier this year by citing two studies, neither having anything to do with same-sex households,

And we're not just talking about studies regarding households, either.When groups like Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, or the National Organization for Marriage aren't busy scaring people with how the gay community wants to "recruit children," they busy themselves distorting all sorts of legitimate data, creating conclusions that the researchers never intended or worked for.

We know this because at least 11 of these researchers complained about this. They include:

National Institute of Health director Francis Collins, who rebuked the right-wing American College of Pediatricians for falsely claiming that he stated sexual orientation is not hardwired by DNA.

Six researchers of a 1997 Canadian study (Robert S. Hogg, Stefan A. Strathdee, Kevin J.P. Craib, Michael V. Shaughnessy, Julio Montaner, and Martin T. Schehter), who complained in 2001 that religious right groups were distorting their work to claim that gay men have a short life span.

The authors of the book Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States (Professors Richard J. Wolitski, Ron Stall, and Ronald O. Valdiserri), who complained that their work was being distorted by Focus on the Family.

University College London professor Michael King, who complained that the American Family Association was distorting his work on depression and suicide in LGBT individuals

University of Utah professor Lisa Diamond, who complained that NARTH (the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality), a group which also share board members with the American College of Pediatricians, distorted her research on sexual orientation.

Dr. Carol Gilligan, Professor of Education and Law at New York University, who complained that former Focus on the Family head James Dobson misrepresented her research to attack LGBT families.

Dr. Kyle Pruett, Ph.D., a professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, who has also complained that Focus on the Family distorted his work.

Dr. Robert Spitzer, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, who has consistently complained that religious right groups distorted his study to claim that the LGBT orientation is easily changeable.

 Judith Stacey, Professor of Sociology at New York University, who has had to, on more than one occasion, cry foul over how religious right groups distorted her work on LGBT families.

Greg Remafedi, Professor  at the University of Minnesota, who has complained several times about how religious right groups such as the American College of Pediatricians and PFOX have distorted his work, all to no avail. The American College of Pediatricians refused his request to remove his work from their site.

And late last year, John Horgan, a science journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology, became the 11th researcher to complain.

These are the reasons why many of us are celebrating Franken's dressing down of Minnery. It revealed to so many what a lot of us in the gay community have known about the religious right for years - that all of their talk about "morals" and "values" and "personally held religious beliefs" are a dodge. They are a smokescreen which these organizations use to hide their deceptions.

When it comes to the gay community, the vast majority of religious right studies and data have been fallacious distortions designed to exploit fear, not educate.

It's not unintentional. These folks - Maggie Gallgher, Peter Sprigg, James Dobson, et. al. - know that when they misrepresent studies, particularly in front of Congress, they are committing fraud but they don't care as long as they can get away with it.

After today, however, it will be more difficult for them to get away with it.

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Phony family 'expert' gets grilled at DOMA hearing and other Wednesday midday news briefs

The Congressional hearing concerning DOMA is happening now (and is probably over by the time you read this entry) and from what I understand, reports are Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery had a bad time of it. First, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) made mincemeat of his bad reading of studies:

You think Sen. Franken reads this blog? Okay that was ostentatious but I couldn't help myself.

And then to make matters worse for Minnery, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) got him to admit that children in same-sex households (and there are a lot of them) are disadvantaged by a lack of protection for their families:

To read the full stories with the videos, you can go to ThinkProgress for the Franken/Minnery exchange and the Leahy/Minnery exchange.

Also check out -  Why Focus On The Family’s ‘Fatherless’ Studies Are Irrelevant To DOMA

In other news . . .

 Is Grassley Hinting That Maggie Gallagher Was Too Scared To Testify Against DOMA? - While I think that it is Maggie Gallagher he is talking about, I also think her reasoning is phony. She had no problem speaking at the DOMA hearing led by Republicans earlier this year.

Ghana Regional Minister Orders All Gays Arrested - Pray for our brothers and sisters caught in the grip of this madness.

Barber: Gays Don't Want The White Picket Fence, They Want To Burn It Down - An day old entry but I haven't picked on Matt Barber in a while.

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NOM's new mailer is full of old lies

The National Organization for Marriage has gone over the top in it's silly attack on marriage equality in New York with its new mailer. The mailer targets several NY senators who voted for marriage equality. Here is just a sample of one:

Comparing a Senator who changed his mind and voted for marriage equality to Benedict Arnold (the treacherous general who was going to turn over West Point to the British during the American Revolution) is a bit tacky and over the top, especially when one remembers who NOM flocked to the side of Maryland Rep. Sam Arora earlier this year when he decided that he was going to vote against marriage equality in that state after campaigning for the issue.

Now the second part of the mailer is the same mess we can expect from NOM - i.e. gay marriage will harm everyone's rights and will hurt children:

My apologies if you can't read this but that's not my fault. That is how the ad has been posted online, as if NOM intentionally made parts of it difficult to read. But allow me to read some of the claims to you (and refute them of course):

NOM claim - Massachusetts second graders were taught in class that boys could marry boys. They were force-fed a book called King & King about a prince who married another prince. Federal courts rule that parents had no right to object.

Truth - NOM's continued use of this claim demonstrates the organization's willingness to deceive. Originally NOM was claiming this:

"Massachusetts’ public schools teach kids as young as kindergartners about gay marriage. Parents have no legal right to object!"

But the organization was called out for lying by the site Politifact. So it seems that NOM has retooled this claim by use of clever semantics.  If we are to believe that children are "force-fed" ideas by simply having a story read to them in class, then I hate to think of what NOM thinks of  Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood.

NOM claim - California kindergartners were taken, during school hours, to a lesbian wedding. The school called it a teachable moment.

Truth - NOM conveniently omits that the students obtained their parents' permission to attend this event.

NOM claim - California schools invited a gender diversity consultant into fourth grade classes to teach children that they can choose to be a boy, girl, or be both genders!

Truth - First of all, NOM is overstating the lessons for the sake of hysteria. Secondly, again NOM omitted the fact that parents were given prior notice and had to give their permission for the students to attend the lesson.

NOM claim - Catholic charities in Massachusetts, Washington, D.C. and Illinois have been forced to close their adoption agencies because they believe that children should have both a mother and a father.

Truth - Of course NOM again is not telling the full story The fact that these agencies receive tax dollars while using discriminatory practices (not allowing gay or lesbian couples to adopt) is the problem at the crux of the issue.

All in all, NOM's mailer adds up to tacky images and gross lies created to scare folks into standing against marriage equality.

In other words, business as usual for the organization.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Obama supports overturning DOMA - It's about time

I'm sure everyone has heard the big news of the day:

A day before the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to hold hearing on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the Obama administration has endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) legislation to repeal it. Responding to a question from Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner, White House Press Briefing, Jay Carney said Obama was “proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act” to “take DOMA off the books once and for all.” “This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples,” he added.
Obama has long favored repealing the 1996 measure and has instructed the Department of Justice not to defend Section 3 of the law, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. But in backing Feinstein’s measure, Obama is also signaling his opposition to Section 2 of the statute, which stipulates that same-sex marriages — unlike heterosexual marriages — shall not be automatically recognized across state lines unless the state has legalized marriage equality or allowed for the recognition of out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples.

Feinstein’s bill currently has 27 Democratic co-sponsors. It would extend over 1,000 federal laws and protections to same-sex couples, including: the right to file joint federal income taxes and claim certain deductions, receive spousal benefits under Social Security, take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act when a loved one falls seriously ill, and obtain the protections of the estate tax when one spouse passes and wants to leave his or her possessions to another.

Unfortunately the odds of the bill passing don't look so good. But still, it's nice to see the President make a move forward. Now keep it up, Obama.

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Anti-gay leader likes a good 'fag' joke and other Tuesday midday news briefs

FAMiLY LEADER’s Bob Vander Plaats Erupts In Laughter At Faggot Joke: ‘That’s Pretty Good - More proof that the "super duper we break for Jesus" crowd is comprised of hypocrites.

70 Percent of Anti-LGBT Murder Victims Are People of Color - This is scary. Period.

Hypocritical. Just an example. - The hypocrisy of NOM's supporters defined.

BREAKING: Senate confirms first out gay male to federal bench - Just in case you haven't about this very good news.

Perry Won't Take Responsibility For Radical Attendees At His Prayer Event - Can you blame him? Assorted nuts belong in a can and not on their knees at a huge prayer event.

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What NOM really thinks about the black community

One thing I found interesting about the controversy regarding Michele Bachmann and that ridiculous Family Leader pledge (the one which said African-American families fared better under slavery rather than now) is not who weighed in with their opinion, but whose words were conspicuously absent.

The National Organization for Marriage gave no criticism about the pledge. On the contrary, the organization actually praised not only the Family Leader, but also Bachmann for signing the pledge.

In this blog entry, NOM actually brags about being partners with the Family Leader in one of its endeavors (Presidential Lecture Series).

In another one, NOM praises Bachmann for being the first person to sign the now infamous pledge.

In this linked blog entry, NOM claims that Bachmann's signature of the pledge has put her in a first place lead in the Iowa primary.

Lastly, in this entry, NOM mentions that the other Republican candidates - Romney, et. al. - has refused to sign the pledge.

Now what's missing here?

Any criticisms or mention at all about the controversy regarding how the pledge seemingly embraced slavery.  And that's a pretty conspicuous omission seeing how NOM brags about how it has teamed up with the black church on more than one occasion to stop marriage equality.

NOM seems to be a master at exploiting the race card when it can be used against the gay community. In both Maryland and New York, the group allied itself with members of the black community under the pretense that it is trying to preserve the integrity of the African-American struggle for equality  from "homosexual interlopers" out to "exploit that legacy for their own hedonistic purposes."

How ironic is it that the organization sneaks out of the room when it is shown that one of its own is exploiting that legacy.

Of course it's not an irony for those of us who haven't bought NOM's lies about being the black community's best friend.

But it's still something to bring up and repeat. NOM doesn't care about the black community. It never has and it never will.

Now what it can get from the black community is another matter.

Related posts:

Reminder - Marriage equality also affects the black community

From one black man to the black community - stop the homophobic madness!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Reminder - Marriage equality also affects the black community

Whenever you have time, please check out this very awesome episode of NoMoreDownLow.TV

It serves as a reminder that, in spite of the spin by those on the right, marriage equality is also an African-American issue.

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Churches supporting gay equality and other Monday midday news briefs

Straight Man Who ‘Appeared Gay’ Not Allowed To Give Blood - Well this is a first.

Us: 'Hey, this person said this'; Maggie: 'STOP ATTACKING US!!!!' - Maggie Gallagher of NOM shows herself to be a hypocrite . . . again.

Growing Number Of Churches Consider Allowing Same-Sex Ceremonies - Good to see more churches getting hip to gay equality.

Andrew Sullivan and Cynthia Nixon on what marriage means - Not one for making it about celebrities here, but both posts are excellent.

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Michele Bachmann bashes Whoopi Goldberg to raise money

Michele Bachmann recently accused President Obama of having chutzpah (mispronouncing the word which means lack of shame in some circles). However, based on a recent fundraising letter, perhaps she should look in the mirror.

In the email - sent to me by a friend from Pam's House Blend - Bachmann actually had the nerve to attack recent comments made by The View's Whoopi Goldberg as a way to pump her base for money:

Concerned Fellow Conservative,

Looks like the Democrats have sounded their alarms in Hollywood. Donate

The Hollywood elite have been on the attack this week, falsely berating our campaign for President and our supporters.

On Tuesday, while on The View, Whoopi Goldberg spewed senseless accusations aimed at our campaign. Her comments were not only incorrect, but wrongly attacked my stance on single parents. As the daughter of a single parent, I learned firsthand the difficulties of growing up with one parent. However, it was from my strong and independent mother I learned when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

In order to show Whoopi, we won’t stand for her attacks, I have set a goal to raise $40,000 in the next 24 hours. Please follow this link right away to chip in $25, $50 or even $100 to help me reach my goal of $40,000 by tomorrow.

I am proud of my record and I refuse to allow liberals like Whoopi Goldberg to bully our campaign. This is yet another example of how the liberal Democrat establishment has put a target on my campaign for defeat. They'll say and do anything. The comments from Whoopi Goldberg have hit a new low and I must have the resources to defend myself and fight back.

Liberals across the country believe if they defeat our campaign, the Tea Party movement will be eliminated. I need your support to defend myself and our shared constitutional values right away.

I won't back down and today, I need to know you stand with me. To accomplish my goal of $40,000 in 24 hours, I'm relying on friends and supporters like you to step up to the plate to help me today. Please follow this secure link to make your donation of $25, $35, $50 or more.

I'm reaching out to you for help because the liberal media credits me with being an undaunted conservative who routinely leads the opposition to President Obama. That's why the radical supporters of President Obama's agenda are so committed to defeating me.

The Hollywood liberals believe if they attack my campaign, they have a shot at defeating me and dismantling the Tea Party movement. Your immediate donation will send a strong message to Hollywood, that we are not going anywhere. That's why any amount you can donate to my campaign today - up to the $2,500 legal limit - is appreciated.

I look forward to your immediate response and I thank you once more for your friendship and support.


Michele Bachmann

P.S. As the big name liberals continue to come out of the woodwork to attack our campaign, I need your support. I ask that you make a generous donation of any amount you can afford to help me fight back against the millions of dollars liberals are flooding into Obama’s bank account. Can I count on your donation of $25, $50, $100 or even $250 today? Your support - no matter the size - makes a big difference. Please follow this link to make a donation today. Thank you

If that's not good enough for you, then you go to the page where you will be treated to not only the same plea but a photo of President Obama kissing Goldberg on the cheek.

Bachmann is referring to Goldberg calling into question her signing the Marriage Vow, a pledge put together by the Family Leader, an Iowa conservative group. Bachmann came under fire for signing this pledge, mostly because of an inaccurate passage which said African-American families benefited from slavery because supposedly more black children were born from two-parent households during that time.

Goldberg specifically went after the pledge for that point, calling for folks to stop bashing single-parent households and to also stop giving opinions on subjects they know nothing about.

Of course Bachmann claimed that she did not endorse the part about slavery. However, she also admitted that she never read the pledge.

Bachmann's fundraising letter, however, pushes the controversy to a new point and gives a very good clue about her ability to raise money.

The answer is quite simple.

Bachmann is a hateful monster in a skirt who will manipulate the ignorance of people to further her own political ambitions.

Or to put it another way, Bachmann is a demagogue. A demagogue is defined as a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

This is Bachmann to a tee. She doesn't challenge people to think or find solutions to their problems. She gives them excuses to either hate, fear, or egotistically put themselves above others.

And when caught in a contradiction or lie, she doesn't apologize. She parries. She points the finger of blame at others. "The liberals are out to get me," she tells her followers, "because they hate YOU."

In Bachmann-land, Goldberg attacked her not because she was dumb enough - or rather uncaring enough -  to sign some ignorant pledge which actually praised slavery, but Goldberg is a part of the "conspiracy by liberals to harm America."

And people are either criticizing or laughing at her campaign not because of her basic disregard for facts, but because it's a part of the "conspiracy by liberals to harm America."

While folks laugh at Bachmann's supposed cluelessness, she is doing some laughing herself as she goes to the bank and on the talk shows. Or as her name is mentioned in the media countless times, thereby giving her some type of leadership status.

To me, that simple fact makes Bachmann nothing to laugh about but something to cry about simply because she is a perfect example of how this folks in this country never seem to learn the hard lessons which come from enabling past demagogues.

And how easily some of us will anoint as a leader any manipulative monster who utters the phrase "my faith" or the words "Jesus" and "God" as practically every fifth word of their speech.

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