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LGBT

Iowa has gay marriage.

 

Minnesota has gay marriage.

 

The remaining backward states in the region are being dragged into the 21st century, and real freedom and equality, in spite of the attempts by the right to create a tier of 2nd class citizens.

 

And now Whiz-sconsin and North Duh-kota have recently joined South Duh-kota in facing legal challenges that are expected to overturn their gay marriage bans.

 

Six couples on May 22, 2014 filed a lawsuit in South Dakota.  Those challenges have yet to be heard in court.  As noted in the Washington Blade, both Iowa and Minnesota same sex marriage recognition is central to those challenges.

Six same-sex couples on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit seeking marriage rights in South Dakota.

The lead plaintiffs — Nancy and Jennie Rosenbrahn of Rapid City who have been together for 27 years — exchanged vows last month in Minnesota during a ceremony that Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges officiated.

The Pennington County Register of Deeds in March refused to issue the women a marriage license. Rapid City officials earlier this month also denied their request to change their name after they tied the knot in Minnesota.

Clay Schweitzer and Jeremy Coller of Rapid City last month also tried to apply for a marriage license at the Pennington County Register of Deeds, but were denied. The couple married in Iowa on May 14.

As of the May 22nd filing, North Dakota was the only state left without a legal challenge to gay marriage. That changed on Friday when seven couples filed a challenge to the same sex marriage ban.

According to the Wa Po:


Lawsuit challenges North Dakota gay marriage ban

BISMARCK, N.D. — Seven couples filed a federal lawsuit Friday challenging the constitutional prohibition on same-sex marriage in North Dakota, making it the last state in the country with a ban to be sued by gay couples seeking the right to wed in their home state. A federal judge also struck down Wisconsin’s ban, ruling it was unconstitutional.

The North Dakota lawsuit, filed in federal court in Fargo, challenges both that state’s ban on gay marriage and its refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who legally wed in other states.

That means cases are currently pending in all 31 states with gay marriage bans. Judges have overturned several state bans since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, with Wisconsin being the latest. Many of those rulings are being appealed, and Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen quickly vowed to do so.

… A federal judge has struck down Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage Friday, June 6, 2014, ruling it unconstitutional. It wasn’t clear whether same-sex marriages could immediately begin.

North Dakota’s attorney general said he had not yet seen the lawsuit challenging the state’s 2004 ban, which claims violations on three issues that are guaranteed in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: equal protection, due process and right to travel.

“Ultimately, only the Supreme Court can determine whether North Dakota’s enactment is constitutional or not,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said in a statement.

Legal experts said because North Dakota is the last state to face a lawsuit, a federal appeals court that covers the region or even the U.S. Supreme Court could rule on another case first, making the lawsuit largely symbolic given that all states with bans have now been challenged.

“They’re not going to just wait around, because it’s inevitably coming,” Carpenter said. Rulings in the 4th and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals are expected in the coming months.

Gay couples already can wed in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

So, to recap – Minnesota was the 12th state to legislate gay marriage. Now that is the case in 7 more states, and the district of Columbia with legal rulings in some stage of advancement in 31 others. Wisconsin is only the latest in a long line of decisions overturning gay marriage. Colorado has civil unions.
From CNN:

Facts: Same-sex marriage is legal in 19 U.S states and the District of Columbia: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Same-sex marriage is banned by constitutional amendment or state law in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The laws banning same-sex marriage in Arkansas, Idaho, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Virginia have been ruled unconstitutional. Those decisions have been stayed and are awaiting appeals. Judges in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee have issued limited rulings relating to same-sex marriages, but have not ruled that bans are unconstitutional.

Worldwide, 16 other countries (and parts of Mexico) also have laws allowing same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships. Most of these are in Europe and South America.

…READ MORE

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Did ALL Conservatives FLUNK Sex Ed?

by Dog Gone on May 22, 2014 · 1 comment

We’ve recently seen new gains for the LGBT community, notably for marriage equality in Pennsylvania, Idaho and Oregon this week. I can only imagine the uproar now that the Harvey Milk stamp came out today.  There was a White House ceremony and everything.

 

So, it follows that we see greater insanity from the radical right in response.

 
In California, anti-gay groups equate Marriage equality activists with the Klu Klux Klan, in a law suit. No, not that the “Kluckers” have ever been pro-gay, they are just flailing around grasping at anything no matter how ridiculous. This follows the persistent pattern shown by conservatives of:

1. believing things which are not true; and
2. seeing themselves as victims when they are not.

 
Then we have Rep. Charles Van Zant, a Florida Republican, who has doubled down on his insistence that Common Core will turn every child in our public schools gay. As noted by Think Progress,

“I don’t believe that that has any place being introduced into Florida’s schools,” Van Zant said. He called for Florida’s curricula to only teach courses like history and civics, subjects which he seems to believe are wholly devoid of gay people.”

 
I’m particularly struck by the notion that anything in any school curriculum COULD alter someone’s sexual orientation. The very premise of that is so badly flawed and without any credible substance or factual merit.

 
While this was somewhat dealt with by Politifact.com earlier this week, which gave a pants-on-fire rating to Van Zant who had claimed [Common Core would] “attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can.”, I was struck by the notion that Van Zant appears to hold that there might be degrees of same sex orientation — which is as odd as being ‘ a little bit pregnant’ or a little bit heterosexual.

 
Meanwhile, in Houston, the radical religious right (who REALLY seem to have a warped and anti-ALL sexual bias) are back at it, pushing the false notion that gay and transgender people are all perverts and sexual predators.

In an analysis published a few weeks ago, ADF claimed that the ERO will place “women and children at risk of voyeurism, photographing and video recording, and sexual assault” because of “men in women’s” facilities. The memo also claimed that individuals and churches could be prosecuted — in both cases because they discriminated in either providing services or employment.

These same arguments are apparent in talking points that have been distributed to would-be opponents of the ERO at city council meetings. It blatantly suggests that the protections will lead to rape, “more perverted men to become bold in acting out their perversion,” “sex offenders to roam around public bathrooms,” “physical, verbal, and sexual abuse,” and the promotion of “sexual intercourse in a public setting.” This, the hand-out warns, could expose children to behavior “that should not be so” and may lead them “to start experimenting different acts or things in which they normally would never have done.”

According to Texas Values, the state’s prominent Christian conservative group (and a state affiliate of the Family Research Council), the ERO also “falsely equates race with sexual conduct,” suggesting that sexual orientation is not an “inborn, involuntary, and immutable trait” like race, national origin, sex, and — ironically — religion. The Family Research Council (FRC) chimed in this week as well, describing the bill as celebrating “a radical definition of sexuality.

FRC also highlighted how local conservatives have dubbed the ERO “Mayor Parker’s Sexual Predator Protection Act.” Jared Woodfill, Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, believes that it “provides an opportunity for sexual predators to have access to our families.” State Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R) similarly believes that the ordinance will protect “men ‘dressing up’ as women to enter and terrorize women and children.”

…READ MORE

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In 2013, Minnesota and other states legalized the recognition of same sex marriage.  Other countries legalized the recognition of same sex marriage.  In state after state, same sex marriage bans, and bans on recognizing same sex marriages from other states are being overturned by the courts.  A recent poll by KSTP,  arguably of a too few people to be very representative shows a majority of Minnesotans are pro-same-sex marriage, with a significant minority of those polled opposing.  A poll last month by Pew Research showed 61% of young Republicans (defined as under the age of 30) favor same sex marriage.  The old bigots of the Radical Right are threatening to try to reverse the progress in LGBT civil rights, in Minnesota, and nationwide.

 

In comments on same sex marriage on this blog, and in pretty much every locality where the topic has been raised, we hear from those who oppose same-sex equality of all kinds – marriage equality, as well as approving other forms of discrimination, is justified by religious belief, by citing the Bible as authority.  In comment after comment, speech after speech, we hear how SINCERELY this is believed, as if intensity or sincerity made any difference to the inherent unfairness of the opposition in making a group of Americans second class citizens for the sexual orientation with which they are born. (It does not.)  That is wrong, that is bigoted, that is engaging in hate, no matter how you try to spin it as being about loving the sinner, but not the sin.  This is LYING, and deception, which IS an actual sin.

 

I have long contended that conservatives consistently and persistently believe things which are not true or factually accurate.  The views of conservatives on same-sex marriage are just one further example.

 

Briefly, there are serious questions of accuracy and validity of both the interpretation and the translation of the texts in question.  And there are inaccuracies in the way that religious fundamentalists represent the events supposedly linked to homosexuality in the Bible that are also inaccurate.

 

For example, in the events surrounding Sodom and Gomorrah,  God is reported to have sent two angels, disguised as men, to destroy the city, not because of gay sex being rampant, but because (as recounted in Ezekiel 16:49-50)

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were full of pride and arrogance, overfed, and idle: they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”

Is there any indication that ALL strangers visiting either Sodom or Gomorrah are gay-raped? No. Clearly, the townspeople in the Bible account who show up to Lot’s house are deeply enraged that these two strangers propose to destroy their city, their families and friends, and themselves. They are seen, so to speak, as foreign terrorists. The form of anger attributed to the townspeople is they want to humiliate, hurt and demean them through rape, an act not of sex or sexual attraction, but of violence, domination and a desire to cause pain and maximum humiliation and helplessness.  Involvement of the rapist own genitalia is sometimes not even involved.

 
We see consistently, in our modern examples of same-sex rape of men in our armed forces, that these are not crimes of lust, they are crimes of revenge or intimidation. There is no indicator in those actions of sexual orientation; to believe so is to fail to understand the violent, criminal act and who commits it, and why they do so. Referring specifically to male rape in the military by other men:

The acts are rarely homosexual in nature but rather an effort to feel powerful or dominant over others.

That this was the case with Lot and his disguised angel-guests is supported by the offer by Lot of his two virgin daughters to be gang-raped by the angry men of the town; clearly his expectation with that offer was that these were heterosexual oriented men.

 

If you look at the parts of Leviticus that reference same-sex acts, which may or may not reflect primary sexual orientation, these apply exclusively to the tribe of the Levites, from whom the priestly classes were drawn, and then only in very specific religious ritual contexts.

 

Why should we care about what might otherwise seem to be splitting hairs?  Currently of the 12 milion Jews in the world, there are four divisions, or distinct groups of religious sectarian practice.  Three of the four, comprising some 85% of all Jews worldwide, permit same-sex marriage; only Orthodox Jews, of which there are roughly 2 million world-wide, and which are arguably the most restrictive and traditional, prohibit same sex marriage.  The Old Testament in Christianity reflects the adoption of the Torah, the quintessential foundational text of Judaism.

 
Israel, which clearly identifies itself as a Jewish state, is a unique democracy/theocracy hybrid, currently governed by a conservative coalition.  That conservative coalition last year proposed legally recognizing same sex marriage last year.  It is being recognized as a civil relationship, but it also acknowledge the right of  the various denominations within Judaism to perform same-sex marriage.

 

So we have scripture specific to only one of the tribes of Israel, and then only to those who held religious office, regarding Jewish religious practice, being extrapolated in a way clearly unintended in the original texts by Christians co-opting these texts – and co-opting them rather sloppily – and then applying those texts in a false and extremely draconian, hateful manner that results in the creation of an ostracized group of second-class citizens who are demeaned and even physically harmed, using a false claim of God and the Bible and sin.

 

That these sections of the book of Leviticus do NOT refer to ALL male-male relationships, or to them in any context other than relating to religious ceremonies is outlined below, from Religious Tolerance.org:

The word “homosexual” was first used in the very late in 19th century CE. There was no Hebrew word that meant “homosexual.” Thus, whenever the word is seen in an English translation of the Bible, one should be wary that the translators might be inserting their own prejudices into the text.

Many would regard “abomination,” “enormous sin”, etc. as particularly poor translations of the original Hebrew word which really means “ritually unclean” within an ancient Israelite era. The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (circa 3rd century BCE) translated “to’ebah ” into Greek as “bdelygma,” which meant ritual impurity. If the writer(s) of Leviticus had wished to refer to a moral violation, a sin, he would have used the Hebrew word “zimah.”

This passage does not refer to gay sex generally, but only to a specific form of homosexual prostitution in Pagan temples. Much of Leviticus deals with the Holiness Code which outlined ways in which the ancient Hebrews were to be set apart to God. Some fertility worship practices found in early Pagan cultures were specifically prohibited; ritual same-sex behavior in Pagan temples was one such practice. …READ MORE

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Catching up with Michele Bachmann

by Dog Gone on April 8, 2014 · 3 comments

Michele Bachmann has been very busy lately.

 

NOT usefully or productively busy, NO. Not resolving her various legal troubles busy, either, not the Congresswoman from Minnesota. She has been more her usual useless, ridiculous, drama queen extremist busy.

Although the latest word on her various ethics and campaign violations scandals are that the campaign manager for Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell may be the next victim of that Iowa bribery scandal.  From Mother Jones:

An intriguing catfight has been brewing on the right—and it could possibly affect the reelection campaign of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Republican Senate leader. A former aide to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has asked the Federal Elections Commission to investigate whether Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign violated federal law by bribing an Iowa state senator to win his endorsement. The complaint letter, sent by ex-Bachmanner Peter Waldron, charges that senior members of Paul’s campaign—including Jesse Benton, who is now McConnell’s campaign manager—were party to the bribe or knew about it. The role of specific Ron Paul aides in the scheme is unclear, but a 2013 Iowa Senate Ethics Committee report cited by Waldron states that the Paul campaign exchanged money to purchase the endorsement.

The controversy concerns the curious actions of a prominent local politician during the 2012 Republican caucuses in the Hawkeye State. Then-GOP state Sen. Kent Sorenson was an influential figure in the social-conservative wing of the state Republican Party, and he had offered his support to Bachmann’s presidential effort early in the 2012 campaign. Sorenson and Bachmann were natural allies; both were crusaders against abortion and same-sex marriage. Sorenson served as co-chairman of Bachmann’s campaign in Iowa and was a frequent surrogate speaker for her. But less than a week before caucus day, Sorenson made a surprise appearance at a Ron Paul rally in Des Moines, where he shocked Iowa political observers by switching his endorsement to the libertarian candidate.

Bat-sh*t crazy Bachmann made the cover of the New Yoker – right – where the whole country can laugh at her, portrayed as a child, which suits her level of thoughtful opinion on Obamacare.   This image is doubly appropriate, since Michele is still making specious and factually inaccurate claims about pharmaceuticals under the ACA.  From the Raw Story:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Tuesday worried that President Barack Obama and Democrats could withhold life-saving drugs from Americans because they had mandated “killer drugs” like birth control.
Following Supreme Court arguments over whether companies could practice a religion and deny contraception to employees based on those beliefs, Bachmann and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) took to the House floor to blast the Obama administration for mandating birth control coverage in the first place.

“That is government enforced coercion on religious belief,” Bachmann complained. “And it varies at caprice and whim. That’s one thing under the rule of law that has been a pillar of American exceptionalism, the fact that under the rule of law there is certainty for the American people.”

“If you looked at the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, you knew with certainty when you woke up tomorrow morning that your religious liberties were intact,” she continued. “Now, apparently today, the gentlemen was in the chamber and heard that, according to at least one Supreme Court justice, in her opinion, they aren’t so much certain anymore.”

“It is not at only the election of the court, but at the election of the unnamed bureaucrat that decides, today we will have these killer drugs that we mandate. Tomorrow, what drugs will they take off the list? Will I not get life-saving drugs that I need to get?”

Bachmann went on to suggest that “only politically-connected best friends” of President Obama’s administration would receive certain surgical procedures in the future.

(I don’t know what rock Michele has been living under, but I know how old she is; birth control has been prevalent in the U.S. her entire life.  In that sense, the nation looks the same as it always has – with women happily and safely using contraception, and without that use killing anyone.)

Michele also issued a press release, after the testimony of the CEO of MNsure before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.  No one seems to care, including Michele herself, but her knee couldn’t help jerking.  It was a very jerky think to do, and Michele is nothing, if not a great big jerk on the slightest ACA pretext – facts entirely optional, and absent.

 

 

And Michele has been busy with her assorted ill-informed, factually-deficient conspiracy theories.
For example, almost a year ago, she blamed Benghazi on GOD:

I guess she forgot that, because now she is blaming someone else; from congressional hearings on the Benghazi non-scandal -

From the Huff Po:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) added a new theory to the slew of Benghazi cover-up conspiracies on Wednesday, accusing former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell of taking “the fall” for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview with conservative news site World Net Daily.

“She couldn’t have a better person to take the fall for her because Morell was involved in rewriting the talking points and was the No. 2 at CIA,” Bachmann told WND, suggesting that Morell was clearing the path for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “So, he can come in authoritatively [and] say, ‘No, that’s not the story. The story is the fake story we tried to push.’”

Morell testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Wednesday and denied an onslaught of Republican allegations of CIA cover-ups and false messaging after the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“We did not deliberately downplay the role of terrorists in the Benghazi attack in our analysis or in the talking points,” Morell said during the hearing. …READ MORE

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So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12

I’m giving you a new commandment…to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. John 13:34

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:20

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galations 5:14

I could quote a couple of dozen or more similar bible quotes that refer to variations on the proverbial golden rule of treating others as you would be treated that is common to all of the great religions in some form.  But it is clearly a core premise, a foundational tenet, of Christianity.

 

And yet, we see over and over again that our radical right wing Christians, the same ones who like to wage culture wars, and who seek to ensure to themselves the rights to bully others and harm other through discrimination over matters of individual differences like sexual orientation, utterly trample the Golden Rule.  It is the most appalling and offensive hypocrisy.Nowhere in those Bible verses does it say – “so long as they agree with you or seem to be like you, without identifiable differences”.  Rather the right seeks to coerce and act punitively to create conformity to their beliefs, right or wrong.

 

For example, via the Daily Kos, Amanda Knief of American Atheists was denied the services of a Notary PUBLIC, who was also a member of the bank management:

 

BREAKING: An important message from American Atheists Managing Director, Amanda Knief:
—-

I was just refused service — because I am an atheist. It was embarrassing, humiliating, and pissed me off.

A notary at a local bank, where I have gone more than a dozen times to have work documents signed, asked me to explain what we were having notarized. The documents were charitable organizations registrations for American Atheists in several states. So I told her what AA is about. She looked down, then looked at me and [American Atheists President] Dave Silverman and said she couldn’t sign the documents because of “personal reasons” and went to find another notary who was eating his lunch to come do the authentications.

I have been called names, threatened, hated on and all manner of ridiculed because of my atheist activism, but I think sitting in a bank and having another professional refuse to do business with me because I am an atheist was the worst slight I have ever received.

In New Jersey, notaries are not required to abide by any code of conduct or ethics that prevents them from refusing service to people based on “personal reasons.” Even though we had a valid, legal document and valid, legal identification–she was legally able to refuse me service.

Time to write legislation that won’t let this happen to anyone else. Fuck this.

—-

The bank is question was the TD Bank in Cranford, New Jersey (where American Atheists national headquarters is located).

This is completely unacceptable, and far from over.


- Your friends at American Atheists

Can you imagine the full-throated outrage, real or fake, and the right wing hysteria if this had been reversed, and it was an atheist denying service to a conservative Christian?As with the attempted legislation in Arizona that would permit Christians to discriminate against LGBT couples in selling services they provide to everyone else, or the efforts to create a state religion, or the efforts to make it legal to provide creationist answers to science tests instead of factual answers, Christians on the radical right seek a privileged status over others who believe differently. 

But if someone fails to acknowledge their privileged status, for example by wishing Happy Holidays to those who celebrate a range of mid-winter holidays, then they claim some sort of silly war is being waged against them, and against religion generally – but they pretty clearly mean ONLY against Christians.  I have yet to hear a Christian on the religious radical right argue that any wrong is done if someone doesn’t wish someone Happy Hanukkah when that holiday coincides with the advent season.

 

This is the case as well, in a different format, where employers – like Hobby Lobby – want their beliefs to be given more importance than the beliefs of those who they employ.

 

For those on the radical right who decry the nanny state, is this not an even more egregious example of a paternalistic state? One where authorities, be it right wing legislators, or corporations, know what is best for you, whether you agree with it or not, and demand the power to force it on you – even if it is factually wrong?

…READ MORE

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Michele Bachmann lip-locking an unwilling President ‘ Dubya’ at a SOTUS where he lied to the nation. Dubya, of course, RUINED our reputation and our treasury and broke down our military, while exploding the national debt., areas of failure which rank him as one of the all-time worst presidents in our history, BOTH as regards foreign and domestic policies.

 

On Saturday Michele Bachmann was talking trash, with her foot in her mouth, at a time when her statements were particularly inappropriate in attempting to undermine coordinated U.S. and allies’ foreign policy. (This follows on her attempt to mislead people about the approval ratings for Hillary Clinton, as a woman leader and potential president, in contrast to her epic failure, with the nation and with her own party.)

 
This was well AFTER Dubya “looked into Putin’s eyes” and “found him trustworthy”, which he was not. I don’t see Obama being so foolish – something which the neocons whining failed to recognize then OR address now about the idiot Dubya. And that includes Bachmann, despite the overwhelming evidence of how wrong Bush was. Given how wrong Bachmann was about Dubya, why would anyone care what she has to say about anyone else, least of all about President Obama?

 
The static photo does not do the moment justice, back in 2007.

 

It is worth noting that the United States have gained enormously in international approval since Dubya left with his tail between his legs, and the U.S. was broadly being condemned because of his policies. One of the more recent and in-depth polls that surveyed the international approval of the U.S. was a Pew Research Study that found that overwhelmingly, countries liked and trusted the U.S. under Obama (with the caveat that they did not like our use of drones).
 

Obama appears to be succeeding in uniting the opposition in a coordinated way among foreign countries towards the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

 

Bachmann’s ability to be both wrong and stupid are legendary, but she tried her best to outdo herself with Breitbart News Saturday, which is very Breitbart, but not even remotely anything that deserves to be called news. It is hilarious. I particularly laughed at the part where she describes conservatives as towering intellects who aren’t crazy.:

 

Appearing on the debut of Breitbart News Saturday, Rep. Michele Bachmann said that President Barack Obama has done more damage to America abroad because of his clueless foreign policy than he has to the country at home.

Speaking to Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon–who, along with a rotation of Breitbart News editors and contributors, will host the weekly show on Saturdays from 10 AM EST to 1 PM EST–Bachmann said as “much damage as President Obama has done” to the country at home, “you might as well multiply that times by a hundred what he’s done to damage the United States around the world.” Obama has been resoundingly criticized for underestimating Russian President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine and his desire to piece back the Soviet empire.

Bachmann said the mainstream press likes to marginalize conservatives who oppose Obama with the same playbook by saying conservatives are either stupid or crazy.

“They apply every one of their tools to see which ones stick,” she said.

Bachmann said that the media portray her as being from crazy town because she is not afraid to oppose Obama. In fact, Bachmann mentioned that though she did not succeed in winning the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, she impacted the race by forcing the candidates to call for the repeal of Obamacare, which she fiercely opposed in Congress from the beginning.

She said it is important to know, “Who we are. What we are about. And where we’re going.” She also emphasized that conservatives should “stop listening to the media” who try to “define our leaders and who we are.”
“We are an intellectual movement based upon powerful ideas,” Bachmann said.

Her advice to conservatives was to stand up, drive forward, and not be embarrassed about championing conservative ideas and fighting for them.

 
No, conservatives, including those who supported Putin for hating on his own LGBT community of people in Russia, SHOULD be ashamed, and should probably be seeking treatment for mental illness, given their propensity for living in a fantasy world.

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1004998_788969071129152_49027631_nHere’s another of many items that it would be great to see passed into law, in the next few months, and there’s no good reason why it shouldn’t be.
 

Minnesota senators have introduced a bill that would prohibit those with professional licenses from engaging in “reparative therapy” in regard to sexual orientation and gender identity for those under the age of 18. If the bill passes, therapists who provide such therapies to youth risk losing their licenses to practice.
 
The bill was introduced by Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, and Sen. Melissa Franzen, DFL-Edina.
 
Members of the House pre-filed an identical bill in January.
(The Colu.mn)

You can read the bill, track its progress, access the companion bill in the House, all that good stuff, here.
 

Unfortunately, rural/outer suburb House DFLers in particular may be leery of this, based on the conventional political dinosaur “wisdom” of an election year, blah blah blah. Though the only voters that are freaked out on this issue are those that will vote Republican no matter what, even if the shade of Almighty Reagan himself came down and told them not to.
 

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That is an outline of the map of Kentucky, where they just celebrated a new victory for marriage equality and for the dignity of LGBT people everywhere. It is especially sweet in the state that sent both Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to obstruct the Senate.

 
Kentucky is still working through the process of making same-sex marriage legal in Kentucky for people who live there, and get married there. But they have, as of Thursday, Feb. 27th 2014, through a court decision given recognition to same-sex marriages elsewhere — which is the only fair, reasonable, and consistent possible treatment of those marriages and/or civil unions. No longer will Kentucky attempt to negate or gut the validity of marriages performed elsewhere, as they attempted to do with an earlier amendment to their state Constitution, passed back in 2004.
 
This particular ruling, unlike the ruling earlier this week that struck down a same-sex marriage ban in Texas, has not – at lest not yet – overturned the ban on same-sex marriages being performed in Kentucky; it does however give full recognition to those marriages performed outside the state.
 
No one should have to fear their lawful marriage being disputed or negated, because that violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

 
The more states where same-sex marriage is removed as a potential culture war ‘wedge-issue’, the better for the die-hard haters and bigots who are still resisting the passage of same-sex marriage in Minnesota as an issue for the 2014 election cycle. Instead those regressives should thank the legislators of Minnesota for saving the state a lot of money on a losing cause in the courts, as well as the economic and social advantages of a more fair, more compassionate and more just society, with better governance.
 
Opposing same-sex equality is not only a bad cause, it is a lost cause. The sooner they give up the bigotry, and stop fighting, he better for ALL of us, in Minnesota, and nationwide. If all, or most states, recognize same-sex marriage civil rights by November 2014, the attempts by the few religious right fringe extremists will appear to be what it is – pathetic, ugly, and futile.

 
It is worth noting that in the recent email update from the Minnesota Catholic Conference on issues relating to the MN legislative session, not one of the items listed addresses either abortion or same-sex marriage equality — a refreshing change from the campaign of terror by Nienstedt. Instead the update focuses on social justice issues like voting rights for former felons, immigration reform and aiding the poor. I was glad to see that new and improved focus and emphasis.

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Texas Same-Sex Marriage Ban Overturned by Court!

by Dog Gone on February 26, 2014 · 1 comment

Another same-sex marriage ban bite the deep red dust of Texas.

Greg Abbot, current AG and leading contender to be the TX GOP candidate for Governor, promises to appeal, claiming that states have the right to define marriage any way they want to. His likely opposition in the governor’s race, state legislator Wendy Davis, also an attorney, supports same sex marriage, even before the ban was overturned.

It is worth mentioning here that Texas AG Abbott is a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair by an accident some years ago, and that he has an adopted daughter. In 2001, during the time Jesse Ventura served as governor of this fine state, our sodomy laws were struck down by Minnesota State District Court Judge Delia Pierce.

One of the parties involved in that suit, under anonymity for privacy reasons as John Doe in Doe, et al v. Jesse Ventura, et al, who sought to have the sodomy law overturned, did so on the basis of being a quadriplegic who could only enjoy oral sexual intimacy in his marriage.  That poses the question – does AG Abbott support sodomy laws, as did for example, former VA AG Ken ‘the Cooch’ Cuccinelli?

From GLPAN.org. :

“This is a tremendous victory — because of what sodomy laws do, but also because of what they say,” said Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project, which along with the ACLU’s Minnesota state affiliate last summer filed Doe, et al. v. Jesse Ventura, et al., a lawsuit challenging the sodomy statute. “A society’s laws are its core statement of right and wrong. Sodomy laws, because they are understood to primarily apply to lesbians and gay men, marginalize gay people and their pursuit of equal citizenship.”

State District Court Judge Delila F. Pierce struck the law down, saying that the court “declares [the sodomy statute] to be unconstitutional, as applied to private, consensual, non-commercial acts of sodomy by consenting adults, because it violates the right of privacy guaranteed by the Minnesota Constitution.”

Minnesota’s sodomy law, which has been on the books since the 1800s, prohibits both oral and anal sex between any adults. Penalties include up to a year in jail and up to $3,000 in fines. In recent years, the law has been directly enforced and also has been indirectly used to deny opportunities, especially to lesbians and gay men in employment, child custody and other areas. For years, efforts to repeal the law in the state legislature were unsuccessful. Right-wing groups unsuccessfully tried to alter the law in recent years, so it would not apply to married, straight couples.

Pierce’s decision striking down the sodomy law noted that the plaintiffs in the case “represent a cross section of Minnesotans impacted by the sodomy statute.” The ruling should prevent the law from being enforced or invoked anywhere in Minnesota, according to Leslie Cooper, the ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project staff attorney handling the case.

But the ACLU is asking the court to technically certify the case as a class-action, which Cooper said will leave “absolutely no question” that the sodomy law cannot be enforced directly or indirectly. At the end of May, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura’s administration may file legal papers opposing this, and a hearing would be held June 7.

“It’s unfathomable that the Ventura Administration would want the court to limit this ruling,” Cooper said. “The sodomy law has been declared unconstitutional — and the state has no good reason to say that it should be unconstitutional for some people, but not everyone.”

The ACLU’s clients in the case are state citizens whose jobs, homes and relationships with their children were threatened by the sodomy law, including, a quadriplegic married man who lives in Minneapolis, identified for privacy reasons only as “John Doe.” Because of his disability, the only forms of intimacy he is capable of engaging in with his wife were among those criminalized under the sodomy statute. bold and italics are my emphasis added – DG

Of course, with the federal overturning of bans on mixed racial marriage, it is clear that states DO NOT have the right to violate the constitutional claims to equality of anyone, or to unduly intrude on the definition of marriage where the state has no clear and compelling interest to do so.

Texas is the latest state to have a gay marriage ban overturned, following Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia.

I’m betting by the end of the year, and possibly sooner — by the time election day rolls around — that all states and territories will have had their same sex marriage laws and amendments overturned. And another one down, and another one down…….another one bites the dust.  Besides dust, it will be interesting to see how much hypocrisy this kicks up.

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Last October, in Limburg, Germany (of the smelly cheese fame) had a different kind of stink over ‘the bishop of bling’, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, for spending lavishly, to truly remarkable excess, on renovating his living quarters.

 

So? Here is where that matters. We see the radical right attempting to cut the social safety net to ribbons, while claiming that churches and charities can and will take up the slack.

 

Except they can’t and won’t.

 

Part of it is that there are too many big spenders in the highly lucrative church hierarchies, who are quick to spend money on a lavish lifestyle for themselves, and slow to non-existent in spending it where the money SHOULD go. Likewise, it seems the richer the rich get, the cheaper and less giving they are to charity. So, NO, private sources are NOT the solution to people in poverty and need; the government IS.

 

As noted by the New York Times about a big spending American Archbishop:

A Church So Poor It Has to Close Schools, Yet So Rich It Can Build a Palace
KEARNY, N.J. — Mater Dei Academy sits shuttered, blue drapes pulled across its windows, atop a hill in this working-class city. From its steps, you can peer across the mist-shrouded expanse of the Meadowlands to the distant spires of Manhattan.

For generations, this blond brick Catholic elementary school tossed a lifeline to the immigrants who, wave upon wave, washed ashore here. The Archdiocese of Newark closed it two years ago. Church officials offered deep regrets; the church’s wallet is thin to the touch these days.

“It was a loved place, that school,” said Dorothy Gawronski, a crossing guard holding a red “Stop” sign. “But the church, I don’t think it’s rich anymore.”

All of which brings me along a winding and narrow road that switches back and forth across the wooded Capoolong Creek to a splendid 8.5-acre spread in the hamlet of Pittstown. This is rural and rather affluent Hunterdon County, 49 miles from Mater Dei.

John J. Myers, the archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, comes to this vacation home on many weekends. The 4,500-square-foot home has a handsome amoeba-shaped swimming pool out back. And as he’s 72, and retirement beckons in two years, he has renovations in mind. A small army of workers are framing a 3,000-square-foot addition. This new wing will have an indoor exercise pool, three fireplaces and an elevator. The Star-Ledger of Newark has noted that the half-million-dollar tab for this wing does not include architects’ fees or furnishings.

There’s no need to fear for the archbishop’s bank account. The Newark Archdiocese is picking up the bill.

Jim Goodness, the spokesman for the archdiocese, has the thankless job of explaining this. “The press says it’s a hot tub; it’s a whirlpool,” he says of one of the wing’s accouterments. “He’s getting older — there are therapeutic issues.”

The proceeds from the sale of other properties owned by the archdiocese, he explained, will pay for the expansion. “It is not going to cost our parishioners anything,” he said.

I felt compelled to ask: Couldn’t this half million dollars go to, oh, more meals for the homeless? “Any extra monies will go to the diocese,” he replied.So many leaders of the church have served it so badly for so many decades that it’s hard to keep track of their maledictions. Archbishop Myers provides one-stop shopping. He is known to insist on being addressed as “Your Grace.” And his self-regard is matched by his refusal to apologize for more or less anything.

It was revealed last year that a priest seemed to have broken his legally binding agreement with Bergen County prosecutors to never again work unsupervised with children or to minister to them so long as he remained a priest. When next found, he was involved with a youth ministry in the Newark Archdiocese.

Parishioners in Oradell, N.J., also discovered that the archdiocese had allowed a priest accused of sexual abuse to live in their parish’s rectory. A furor arose, and last summer the archbishop sat down and wrote an open letter to his flock. He conceded not a stumble. Those who claim, he wrote, that he and the church had not protected children were “simply evil, wrong, immoral and seemingly focused on their own self-aggrandizement.”

As to his critics, the archbishop accused the media of refusing to explore the “lifestyles” of the former or marginalized priests who criticize the church. “Lifestyle” is an intriguing kidney punch of a euphemism; presumably the archbishop meant “gay.”

 

So while the Jersey Archbishop has spent less on his additions and remodeling than did the mere bishop of bling in Germany in order to live in luxury like a Mafia Don, the Bishop of hyphens and over-spending was not associated with any misconduct relating to pedophile priests. Which makes it a bit of a wash, and numbers will probably eventually add up, if there is any justice in compensating the pedophile priests’ victims.

 

As noted by DemoNews:


Trickle Up Charity: As the Rich Get Richer, they Donate Less and Less

A group called The Chronicles of Philanthropy released their latest report this month, which takes a yearly look at the top 50 wealthy individuals in the United States, and finds out how much the group has donated to charities and other organizations. The Chronicles of Philanthropy found that, while the amount of wealth of the group rose significantly in 2013, the amount of donations was just a drop in the bucket.

In 2013, the top 50 wealthy individuals donated $7.7 billion. While this is not a small sum of money by any means, it is just 4% more than was donated in 2012, when adjusted for inflation.

 
Apparently wealth rose by much more than the 4% increase in philanthropy, which is a trend noted for a number of years now by multiple sources.  I suppose we should be grateful that the MN RC hierarchy is only involved in gay-bashing and a little obstruction of justice here and there with protecting pedophile priests (allegedly).

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