Gay Rights

Two Different Directions: Wisconsin State Republican Party And Nevada State Republican Party

The internal battle over the future of the Republican Party is in full swing, as we come up to the 160th anniversary of the Republican Party in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854, which actually took place on March 20. with a formal organization in Jackson, Michigan, on July 6.

For a long time, the Ripon Society has existed as an organization for “liberal,” mainstream Republicans, but of course, there is no such thing anymore known as “liberal” Republicanism. Even those who might consider themselves “liberal,” avoid use of that term like a plague!

The Wisconsin GOP, which once included “Mr. Progressive” Robert La Follette, Sr., and his brilliant sons Robert La Follette, Jr. and Philip La Follette, now, however, has become an extremist group on the far right, under Governor Scott Walker and Senator Ron Johnson, and the proposal is to add to their state party documents the concept of the right of the state to promote “secession’ if felt necessary, a sign of the old, ugly language that led to the Civil War and the loss of two thirds of a million men in combat, the greatest single tragedy in the nation’s history!

At the same time, the Nevada State Republican Party has made the decision to remove from its platform for 2014 two issues that the Christian Right has been promoting since their rise in the party apparatus nationwide since the late 1970s—abortion and gay rights and marriage. No longer will the party promote government intervention in the lives of women and their personal decisions about their bodies and reproductive rights. And no longer will they get in the way of a person’s happiness, as to his or her basic human rights, including marriage, and the right to one’s sexual orientation without any discrimination by government!

In the long run, what Nevada Republicans are doing will, if pursued elsewhere, lead to a long term revival of the GOP, while if Wisconsin is followed, it is the death knell and demise of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

CPAC Convention: The Lunatic Right Displays Itself!

Watching, listening, and reading about the Conservative Political Action Conference makes anyone with a stable mind roll his eyes in wonderment at what conservatism has become!

All the losers of the past were there and ranting and raving their insanity, including Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Paul Ryan, and Mike Huckabee. The “newcomers”,” people not yet defeated but soon to be, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie, also appeared, and made fools of themselves. Of course, the ultimate lunatic and embarrassment, Donald Trump, also spewed his sick mind and constant need for attention. And to top it off, Sarah Palin is making an appearance, as if any sane, intelligent person cares! And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, desperately trying to keep his seat, showed up brandishing a rifle, a horrible image for a Senate leader to display just a year after the Sandy Hook Massacre!

Jeb Bush and Scott Walker stayed away, for both a smart move, and Jon Huntsman was also not there, and at least for Bush and Huntsman, who are the most mainstream of this group of characters, it made sense NOT to be there!

Speaker of the House John Boehner was not invited, which should really be seen as a blessing, as he has upset right wingers by being exasperated with the Tea Party Movement, for making his job absolutely impossible in the lower chamber.

It is still reality that ONLY Jeb Bush and Jon Huntsman would have ANY chance to be elected over Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Election of 2016, but not very good odds for either of them. And again, let this author repeat, that the Electoral College strongly favors ANY Democrat to win the White House, and as long as the GOP alienates African Americans, Latinos, women, and many young voters, it will not win the White House. And as long as it fights the idea of national health care coverage for all; acceptance of gay rights and same sex marriage; opposition to immigration reforms; favors the energy industry over the environment; and continues to fight against a living wage for the poor and middle class, it will lose for the long term future! And if it continues to promote religion and theocracy, it will NEVER win the White House ever again, in a nation that believes in separation of church and state!

So those of us who care about our fellow Americans can sit and observe the CPAC Conference, and feel good that the potential candidates and the Republican party are sealing their doom for 2016 and beyond!

Suddenly, Joe Biden Makes It A Race With Hillary Clinton For 2016!

Here many thought that the Democratic Presidential race for 2016 was over, and that Hillary Clinton would saunter to the nomination without opposition.

True, that former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley were hinting that they might challenge Hillary, but the thought was it could just be an attempt to gain some publicity, and hope that Hillary would not run, giving them the edge simply on intention to run.

Well, forget about that, as Vice President Joe Biden has made it clear that he does not wish to be ignored or overlooked, and that IF he decides to run, it will not be affected by what Hillary does. After all, even good friends compete in life, right? Biden does not want to be seen, certainly at this point, as a “lame duck”, still wanting to be seen as significant and in the game for the next three years as Vice President and beyond.

When one thinks about it, since Richard Nixon, it has been assumed, and often the fact, that a sitting Vice President was seen as a likely successor to the President he served, at least for the nomination. Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale, George H. W. Bush, and Al Gore all became Presidential nominees after serving under Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Nixon and Bush became President, while Humphrey, Ford, Mondale and Gore failed to win the Presidential elections after they were nominated by their party. Only Dick Cheney never considered running for the Presidency, after being Vice President under George W. Bush. Even Spiro Agnew, before he was forced to resign due to scandal, was perceived as the likely successor nominee to Richard Nixon, and the same for Dan Quayle under George H. W. Bush, who tried and failed to win the Presidential nomination in 1996.

So the idea of Biden wanting to run is not at all out of the norm, and when one looks seriously at Joe Biden’s record in public life, all one say is WOW!

The reality is that NO Vice President has EVER had the wealth of experience in public office of Joe Biden!

BIden served 36 years in the Senate, and will have had 8 years in the Vice Presidency, for a total of 44 years in public service by 2016.

Biden is a well liked, admired, gregarious, public figure, even if one does not agree with his viewpoints and record.

It is well known that Biden can build bridges with the Republican opposition, and that Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell like him, work well with him, and that Joe Biden has helped to resolve differences on many issues for the Obama Administration. Biden has been a major player and influence over policy and strategy for President Obama, and has been a loyal soldier when his viewpoints have lost out in the cabinet and national security meetings.

Joe Biden has chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his expertise in foreign policy, and his knowledge of, and relationships with foreign leaders make him invaluable in dealing with national security and defense issues. He was often thought of as a possible Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense in the past, due to his brilliance in these areas of such great importance to America’s future.

Joe Biden has also chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his knowledge and understanding of constitutional matters and the Supreme Court, make him invaluable on legal controversies, including his advocacy of gay rights and gay marriage ahead of most politicians who have served in Congress or the executive branch.

Joe Biden is a leader, who if he were President, would be able to get things done much more easily, and is a “wheeler dealer” in the mode of Lyndon B. Johnson, but with a more kind and caring edge than the former President, who could be quite brusque and crude at times.

Hillary Clinton has great background and experience, but on pure years and accomplishments, she cannot match Joe Biden, and in fact, NO ONE in public life can do so!

The major shortcomings of Joe Biden are:

His age, which will be 74 and two months if he took the oath of office in 2017, making him the oldest first term President, and in theory, the oldest President altogether, if he had two terms, and left office at age 82 and two months.

His health, the question whether it would hold up, as he had serious health issues in 1987, due to an aneurysm, which required brain surgery, and his son, Beau Biden, the Delaware Attorney General, suffered a similar health crisis a few years ago, also recovering, but making it seem to be a genetic problem, which could arise, although health issues could also arise for Hillary Clinton, and really, for any Presidential candidate or winner of either party at any age!

His tendency to say embarrassing, or sometimes, purely stupid comments, although one could argue all of us do that, but when in high office. it can have reverberations, and there are critics who keep lists of “Bidenisms”, but they do NOT match the moronic nature of comments made by Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann or Louie Gohmert in the present, or Dan Quayle in the past!

One thing is certain: If Joe Biden were to become President, we would have one of the most lively, colorful, dynamic Presidencies, with Biden being very warm, genuine, sincere, caring, and yet hard nosed enough to get things done and read the “riot act” on his own party members to get things done!

It would be nice to see such a Presidency, which would be inspiring in so many ways.

Having said all of the above, it is clear that if Hillary Clinton runs, she is likely to be the Democratic nominee.

If she chooses not to run, then Joe Biden is the odds on favorite for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

However, if Hillary does not run, or even if she does, it is likely that a “younger generation”, an idea advocated by this blogger in entries before now, are likely to enter the race and make it interesting, including the already named Schweitzer and O’Malley, and if Hillary bows out of the race, possibly Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Virginia Senator Mark Warner.

Federal District Court Judges And Same Sex Marriage Bans Collapsing!

The move toward same sex marriage churns on, with federal judges having utilized the 14th Amendment in four “Red” states in the past two months now to end the discrimination against gays marrying.

So on Valentine’s Day, it now looks more evident than ever that a national Supreme Court decision is in the offing, with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision in Lawrence V. Texas in 2003 igniting the gay civil rights movement, likely to be the fifth and decisive vote in any case that goes to the high Court!

Who would ever have thought that Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and now, newly turned “Blue” Virginia (the state of the Loving V. Virginia interracial marriage case in 1967), would see such rapid action to defy the bigots and the haters?

The federal courts have been the herald of the future in so much of modern history, as with Brown V. Board of Education on racial integration, and Roe V. Wade on abortion rights, and Lawrence V. Texas on gay rights, and the courage of federal district judges across the nation to push the Supreme Court toward a final determination of same sex marriage is an indication that often we have to leave it to appointed judges to lead us to our better side of human nature, the ending of discrimination and injustice!

Sadly, we see right wing evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons fighting a rear guard action, which only makes one realize the evils of these organized groups that have in the past been on the wrong side of many moral and ethical issues, overlooking slavery, segregation, women’s rights, and now gay rights. This is a losing battle long term, and these groups fighting against progress and human rights will pay the price in loss of membership by their willingness to fight a battle that is already lost!

The Most Despicable Act: Utah Elementary School Throws Out Lunches For Poor Children!

So many outrages occur daily in this country in the past five years, all encouraged by the hardheartedness of the Republican Party, the conservative think tanks, the conservative talk show hosts, and the Tea Party Movement!

As each outrage occurs, one cannot help but become more frustrated, angry, furious, at “man’s inhumanity to man”, whether it be the 30 death threats daily against President Barack Obama; the cutting of unemployment compensation, food stamps, and refusal to raise the minimum wage one iota; the racial and ethnic hatred that continues to fester and boil over; the constant attack on the rights of women to their own bodies and dignity; the destruction of the middle class; the attack on labor rights; the vicious attacks by religious extremists on gay rights and same sex marriage; and a slew of other hateful, divisive, mean spirited statements and actions non stop!

But now a new low has been reached, hard to imagine that is possible!

Now we have a Salt Lake City, Utah elementary school, which has students whose parents are suffering from the long range effects of the Great Recession, and are behind in basic payments for school services of some kind. So their children, young kids under 10, are denied lunch, after it had been placed on trays for them, but then suddenly, the cafeteria manager takes the food away, because their parents are in arrears, and ends up throwing the food into the garbage, a total waste of taxpayers’ money!

How can ANYONE justify such an action, and the principal and the school board of Salt Lake City has refused to apologize directly to these unfortunate children, who are being sent a message that they are “garbage”, and are not worthy of being able to eat a meal with their friends and classmates?

Does one realize the psychological effect of such action on the psyches and self image of these children, who already live a more difficult life in poverty or deprivation, because of their parents’ unfortunate situation economically? It is as if there is no regard for human dignity, and everything is simply materialism, and if you do not have adequate money, to hell with you, and then throw out food that is not to be consumed by anyone else, and instead allow a child to go hungry!

But is this any different than the move to cut food stamps, when children of poor families are at least half of the recipients?

The cafeteria manager is on paid leave, but should be fired summarily, and the principal should be fired, and the school board should resign in disgrace!

And where is the Mormon Church, which dominates Utah politics and society, standing on this issue? They have been very silent, too busy fighting against gay rights and marriage, and forgetting that they were once victims of persecution and deprivation. But of course, now, the Mormon Church is a very well financed and prosperous group, that has lost the basis of its founding, nothing new, sadly, about organized religion, claiming to follow the teachings of its prophets, but doing just the opposite!

Andrew Cuomo Alienates Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, And Other Right Wingers: Poor Boys! LOL

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has caused a stir with his statement last weekend on a radio interview, in which he said that those right wing extremists who are”pro life” (while not caring about poor children and their mothers), pro assault weapon, and anti gay, are not welcome in New York State, as the Empire State is much more tolerant, advanced, and civil than those who are intolerant of women, gays and lesbians, and have no concern about massive gun violence.

This led to a explosion of anger by the right wing, including talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.

Hannity said he was outraged by the intolerance of Governor Cuomo, and would now give up his New York citizenship and high Long Island property tax and state income tax payments, and move to either Florida or Texas, both low tax states. And he said, unfortunately, his over 100 worker staff will lose their jobs, and the state of New York can provide for them!

What a nice guy Hannity shows himself to be! He is full of intolerance toward so many groups, and flirts with the anarchistic, fascistic Tea Party Movement, and has the gall to invite people on his show on Fox News Channel to promote assassination of President Obama! And he has no concern about the welfare of his staff, as all he cares about is his own wealth, and not labor rights of his staff! This man is so selfish, greedy, a massive liar and hypocrite, and even now, suggests when he moves to either Florida or Texas, that he might seek to enter Congress, so as to spew his hate and propaganda ever further! A better suggestion for Hannity is why not leave the United States altogether, as you contribute nothing positive to political discourse, and are a true demagogue!

And lunatic Glenn Beck, the alcoholic, racist, reckless, promoter of chaos and anarchy in the name of his own advancement, now suggests, as a result of the hurt feelings he has from what Cuomo said, might leave Texas, even though it is low tax, and go to some other country, because he feels besieged and unloved by his own country, and the government which “persecutes” people such as him!

Oh poor boy Beck, as well as poor boy Hannity! You have both exploited the gullible Americans who listen to or watch your programs and buy your books, and do not understand what charlatans you both are!

Let us hope that Beck leaves the country, and that Hannity joins him, and also Rush Limbaugh, who had said when the 2012 Presidential election was on, that if Barack Obama won, he would move to Costa Rica! Well, that is a great idea, and it is important that Beck and Hannity join Limbaugh in Costa Rica (even though that wonderful democracy deserves better than them as residents, and in fact, has socialized Health Care! LOL ), and no longer grace our country with their poisonous and divisive rhetoric!

The Presidential Election Of 2016–257 Democrats, 206 Republicans, Five States (75) Swing States!

With Chris Christie, the New Jersey Governor, starting to lose public support due to the multiple scandals emerging in the past two weeks, the Republican Party is in crisis mode, as Christie was thought to have the best chance to defeat Hillary Clinton, or any other Democrat in the Presidential Election of 2016.

In actual fact, Christie had no real chance to win, and it was highly unlikely that he could have emerged from the primaries and caucuses as the nominee of his party, in the first place.

The facts have been there all along: the Democrats are a lock to win the Presidency in 2016 and beyond, with their support from Hispanics-Latinos, African Americans, women, labor, young people, educated people who believe in science, and those who believe in the promotion of gay rights, including marriage, whether they are gay or lesbian or straight in their sexual orientation!

The Electoral College is a “fait accompli” for the Democrats, with a guaranteed 257 electoral votes to 206 for the Republicans! Only five states are truly in play, and the Democrats won all five in 2008 and 2012, and are likely to win most, if not all of these five states, in 2016!

These states are:

Florida 29 electoral votes
Ohio 18 electoral votes
Virginia 13 electoral votes
Colorado 9 electoral vote
Nevada 6 electoral votes

This is a grand total of 75 electoral votes in dispute!

So If the Democrats win Florida, or Ohio, or Virginia, they win the Presidency!

If they win Colorado and Nevada together, with none of the other three, they win the Presidency!

To believe that the Democratic nominee will not win the small number of 13 electoral votes needed to win the required number of 270, requires one to be in hallucination!

Face the facts: The Democrats will win the White House in 2016, no matter who is their nominee, and since any likely candidate will be white, not African American as Barack Obama is, just makes the job of winning somewhat easier!

Of course, if the Democratic nominee wins all five of the above states in contention, then that person wins 332 electoral votes to 206 for the Republican nominee.

This is precisely the electoral vote in 2012!

And realize that Texas (38), Georgia (16). and North Carolina (15) all are moving toward the likelihood of Democrats winning their electoral vote by 2020, if not 2016, and North Carolina having gone for Barack Obama in 2008, if not in 2012!

So were these states to switch, not likely but possible in 2016, the electoral vote in 2016 could be as high as 401-137!

Proper Move For Obama, Mrs. Obama, And Biden To Boycott Sochi Winter Olympics!

It is the proper moral and strategic move for President Obama, Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden to boycott personal attendance at the Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics in February.

The move of the Russian authorities to deny basic rights to their gay population is an outrage which endangers gays individually and in families, and it is the new civil rights movement, and the United Stares rightfully must do everything required to take the proper stand on this violation of human rights.

The abuse of gays and lesbians goes on in many nations, but America must not sit on the sidelines, as it did for a long time on the issue of race, and as it did on the issue of anti semitism, which led to the Holocaust of World War II.

Just as we must speak up on the rights of women, labor, the elderly, children, and the poor, we must not allow any government or religion to think they can win the day as we ignore their violations of basic human rights.

If we only had the ability to decide not to compete in the Olympics as a protest, but Obama has decided that it would penalize athletes, both straight and gay, if we did what Jimmy Carter did regarding the Moscow Olympics in 1980, which was boycotted by the US over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

So instead, the official delegation to the Sochi Olympics will include well known gay athletes as the response to the abuses of human rights by Vladamir Putin. And if it worsens the relationship between Russia and the United States, so be it, as Russia is backing the mass slaughter in Syria, another outrage that we must oppose vehemently and with vigor!

Let us hope that gay athletes win a lot of the medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics, as that would be the ultimate triumph!

Advancements On Gay Rights, But Plenty Of Struggle Ahead

The vote of the US Senate yesterday to agree to overcome a potential filibuster, and allow a final vote on ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) is a great move forward on civil rights.

The proposed law, discussed for many years, would ban employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against workers or job applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The procedural vote was 61-30 with 54 Democrats (all but Claire McCaskill, who was not present), and 7 Republicans (Susan Collins, Kelly Ayotte, Dean Heller, Mark Kirk,. Rob Portman, Orrin Hatch, and Pat Toomey) in favor.

So the bill will pass the Senate in the next few days, but disturbing is that 30 Republicans had the nerve to vote for continued discrimination, and 8 Republicans were not recorded as voting.

It will be interesting to see if any of these 38 Republicans will vote for the final bill, particularly such Senators as John McCain and Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and John Thune, who at times have shown some moderation as compared to most in the Senate Republican caucus.

At the same time, Illinois moved today toward final acceptance of gay marriage, making that state the 15th to have gay marriage, going into effect by the summer of 2014.

At the same time, other states seem to be moving in the same direction, including Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, although at different measurements of progress.

Regarding the ENDA legislation, IF Speaker John Boehner allowed an open vote, the legislation would become law, with most Democrats and enough Republicans to make it the law of the land , but Boehner has indicated that he will not allow a vote, which, if it is pursued all the way, would stop any chance to do what is morally right to do, stop job discrimination, So pressure must be brought to convince him to change his mind, and allow a vote even without a majority of his caucus.