Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blue Thread

This is the blue thread.


Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

This STORY makes my blood boil. The extent of the deception and lies in Washington is unfathomable and the mainstream press remains silent. You should also read the second post.

Cheryl V said...

That is truly pathetic.

Cheryl V said...

Did you see Bush announcing the resignation of Andy Card? Can't he talk about anything without mentioning 9/11?

dan said...

I share your outrage. Inserting "imaginary dialogue" into the congressional record to deceive the public is unconscionable. To present it in Supreme Court testimony seems criminal.
I read the rest of the posts and they were all terrific. I especially liked "A Game Without Referees" and particularly this paragraph:

"Journalists today are more like play-by-play announcers than referees. They no longer see it as their job to step in and call fouls, i.e., to call a lie a lie. As a result, modern politics operates more or less on the honor system, which, needless to say, only invites the dishonest and unscrupulous to make a mockery of our political discourse. When all that readers are presented with is dueling narratives, suddenly even the facts are up for grabs; the very concept of objective truth becomes increasingly elusive."

The "Anonymous Liberal" is a terrific site and I just book marked it for future reference.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I have been reading the Anonymous Liberal for about 9 months now, starting with the Plamegate deal. If we ever get a Congress and Administration that will follow and enforce the law all they will have to do is check his archives to find out who and how to prosecute the law breakers.

deb said...

Government in secret talks about strike against Iran
The United States government is hopeful that the military operation will be a multinational mission, but defence chiefs believe that the Bush administration is prepared to launch the attack on its own or with the assistance of Israel, if there is little international support. British military chiefs believe an attack would be limited to a series of air strikes against nuclear plants - a land assault is not being considered at the moment.

This is from a British newspaper. Does this administration have any solutions that don't include war, killing and destruction?

deb said...

Another article on attacking Iran: Attacking Iran May Trigger Terrorism

dan said...

Thanks for two infomative links Debbie. This is a paragraph from the second one.

"Because Iran's nuclear facilities are scattered around the country, some military specialists doubt a strike could effectively end the program and would require hundreds of strikes beforehand to disable Iran's vast air defenses. They say airstrikes would most likely inflame the Muslim world, alienate reformers within Iran and could serve to unite Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, which have only limited contact currently."

And your question: "Does this administration have any solutions that don't include war, killing and destruction?"

They don't believe in diplomacy. They inflame with labeling(eg. axis of evil) and threats, show disdain for international solutions through the United Nations and then proclaim the miltary option is their last resort.

There's a spreading worldwide wildfire of terrorism and this Administration thinks it can douce it with gasoline.

deb said...

More on Iran:

"But there is a chance that the U.S. will use bombs or missiles against several sites in Iran," he was quoted by Norwegian news agency NTB as saying. "Then, the reactions would be strong, and would contribute to increased terrorism."

Blix: Iran Years Away From Nuclear Bomb

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Holy Crap! It may have been Bush himself who authorized the leak of Valerie Plames name. Please let this be the end of him cause they are wanting to bomb Iran next.

Plame leak and Libby

Richard Yarnell said...

Legally, I doubt if this will be the end of Bush; politically, it might be.

My experience with classified material is that it muss be formally de-classified before it legally can be divulged to anyone with out clearance and a "need to know." (Just because I have a "Top Secret" clearance doesn't give me the right to know everything classified at that level.)

While the President has the over-riding authority to declassify anything he wants to, there is a procedure. I don't think he can casually talk about something classified - he has to go through the procedure first: long ago, that gave the classifying authority a chance to argue why it shouldn't be de-classified.

Certainly, giving Libby the green light to leak still classified material doesn't cut it. If Libby jumped the gun, divulged the material before it was declassified, he would still be guilty of a felony but, if he could prove a verbal instruction, there would be serious mitigating circumstances when it comes time to sentence him.

With respect to the Plame case: I don't see anything in the news accounts that instructed Libby to divulge her name. Frankly, I hope it turns out there is a specific reference - that's a serious breach of national security and may well have caused the death of agents and certainly the destruction of an undercover network.


Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Richard your points seem correct and it really isn't about was it legal or not, classified or not, a leak or an authorization to release information. It is about perception. This is just one more time of Bush being caught in a bald faced lie to the American public.

I am reminded of Clinton saying he did not have sex with that women. Is this where the what is the definition of "is" came in, as in what "is" sex? I never followed that. So what is "leaking" and does it even have to be classified info to be a leak. I don't think so.

Then there is the point that only the parts of the report that supported their side were leaked. It was designed to mislead by omitting parts of the doubt contained in the report, another lie.

Even without authorization to leak Plames name, that authorization led to that result and as such he is an accomplish in outing a covert agent.

The Republican spin has begun. Let's watch them justify lying to the American people.

Richard Yarnell said...

I think they're already doing it and, unfortunately, true to form, the Dems don't understand the game.

The same thing is happening with the immigration dust-up. The Democrats have set themselves up for being the fall guys when they didn't have to.

It must be wonderful to know you're right all the time; to see things in shades of black and white; and to believe that the end justifies the means.


deb said...



deb said...

If you are having wonderful Sunday and don't wish to be depressed skip this link until you are already so angry at the current administration that adding another log to the fire won't matter....Iran Attack Report

deb said...


Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Stolen from an undisclosed website.

What you need to believe to be a republican this year.

Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born, who will be born or who might be born( in perpetuity.)

What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

dan said...

Re: War with Iran

Those links certainly were depressing Debbie. The maniacs in charge are determined to find an excuse not just for war but to use neuclear weapons. Our only hope is to have Congress get some backbone and stop this Administrations madness.

dan said...

Christopher, unfortunatly thats a pretty accurate list of Republican beliefs.

dan said...

This is a link to a Bob Cesca column about this Administrations war plans in Iran.

Dear Mr President

deb said...

Christopher, Thanks for that list of how to believe Republican...since you stole it I don't suppose I need to ask permission to e-mail it around the net, do I;))

Dan, The threat to bomb Iran is certainly scaring the daylights out of me.

My ponderings...Many articles mention "nuclear", the administration specifically has said that they aren't currently planning to use nuclear weapons against Iran...does this mean that they ARE currently planning to use non-nuclear weapons against Iran?

I am keenly aware of the doublespeak. It was very apparent to me that the administration and mainstream media NEVER came out and said "Hussein was in on the planning of 9/11" or "Hussein helped fund 9/11". If Hussein had done either of these, they WOULD have said that.

Since they are now saying that they don't plan to use nuclear, I believe that they do plan to use those kazillion ton bunker busters, my question is how soon? And I think they believe that they have the "go ahead" from the Congressional Act that gave them the "go ahead" to invade Iraq.

I am spending as much time as possible writing Senators and Congresspeople to encourage them to present a bill to stop this madness.

deb said...

A friend of mine told me that he thought he had the pug mentality figured out...

He said that when he was 13 he was:

Obsessed by sex, had a strong lean towards learning about sex, but was completely disgusted by any sexual relationships that didn't fit his idea of normal.

Believed that when he became an adult that he would be extremely powerful.

Believed that he would be a millionaire.

Wanted to build huge, noisy, powerful machines.

Really wanted to blow sh*t up (his word).

His theory is that the pugs just NEVER matured.

deb said...

Petitionto stop the war on Iran.

dan said...

Thanks for the petition Debbie. I signed it this morning and since then signed a protest letter from Move On.
You've got every reason to be scared. I think Bush/Cheney feel in some demented way their legacy will be enhanced by their willingness to use force (even nuclear) against their endless list of "bad guys". The fact that Iraq is going badly makes them even more dangerous. You and your friend have them figured out.

Cheryl V said...

First Barbara Bush, now Dick Cheney making money on Katrina relief:

It appears that the VP is a major beneficiary of the Hurricane Katrina tax relief act. In particular, he claimed $6.8 million of charitable deductions, which is 77% of his AGI -- well in excess of the 50% limitation that would have applied absent the Katrina legislation.
Despite the importance of the Katrina legislation to his tax return, it looks like none of the charitable contributions actually went to Katrina-related charities.

Cheryl V said...

Bush is really in trouble now, he's got Field & Stream magazine upset about the new definition of wetlands. With the new definition, the administration can claim a net increase in wetlands. Build more golf courses!

From the Field & Stream editorial:

"Researchers long ago established that natural wetlands such as marshes, swamps and prairie potholes are far more productive than even the best-designed artificial wetlands. And sharp-edged water bodies like water hazards, farm ponds, and even reservoirs offer very little for wildlife. Putting man-made ponds in the same class as natural wetlands is like ranking pen-raised quail with wild coveys."

dan said...

Thanks Cheryl. Those were both interesting stories that we'll probably be hearing more about.

deb said...

Two great articles Cheryl. I posted the links at several blogs. The veep's taxes didn't take long to hit the democrat blogs, but NOBODY had seen the link to the Field and Stream article, it was really a hit. I'm supposing that the progressive bloggers aren't typically searching Field and Stream for news on what this administration is up to.

It is so refreshing to see that even mainstream conservative magazines are paying attention to the stupidity of what is passing as legislation.

I've been a bit busy this week, but next week I will make sure that dem candidates know about the golf course water hazards being considered as "wetlands".

Good One!!!

Cheryl V said...

I don't remember where I found the Field & Stream reference. There seems to be a slowly growing movement within the hunting & fishing crowd.

I found the comment section on the Field & Stream site. There are a number of good comments posted. Couple of my favorites:

"Why should the current administration care about national wilderness reserves, they own there own reserves for hunting, much like the King of England once did.
Somehow we have a choice between having guns with no game [R] or game with no guns [D].
I say we let the sportsman hunt on the greens, I am sure that would clear things up quickly."

"Orwell in "1984" wrote:
War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength

Now we can add:
Ketchup is a veggie
Water trap is a wetland

Vote out the jerks!"

deb said...

Mary McCarthy's Choice


"But what about her secrecy agreement? I have not spoken with Mary McCarthy in 10 years, but it seems clear to me she realized that she was confronted by an unwelcome choice between her oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and the secrecy agreement. Her entire record shows that she did not take such restrictions lightly. None of us did; none of us do.

But agency alumnae, at least those of my vintage, believe we must always give priority to the Constitution. Mary chose well and, in so doing, offers an example to emulate."

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Related post to Mary McCarthy from AL.
Mary McCarthy

I learned this the hard way, when you make a link to a blog you have to be sure to use the permanent link which is the unique page for that particular post, otherwise the main page and the latest post comes up. The permanent link can be found at the bottom of each post. On AL it is the time stamp that opens the permanent link and then you can copy from the address bar.

dan said...

Christopher, Once again the AL writes a very thoughtful column. Thanks for the information about permanent links. I was unaware of how they worked and I'm sure I linked incorectly in the past.

deb said...

GOP Blocks Measures Boosting Taxes on Oil Companies' Profits


"In January, Exxon Mobil Corp. alone reported the highest corporate profit in U.S. history: $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter of 2005 and $36.13 billion for the entire year."

dan said...

As usual, everything the GOP does is behind closed doors. Once again the public will pay dearly for the lack of transperancy in government.

deb said...

Iran's oil stock exchange, next week

dan said...

Debbie, the Dailykos explains it all.

Oil Slick?

deb said...

Wonder who'll get "outed" to keep stories like this under the radar?

IAEA Finds no Proof of Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program

christin m p in massachusetts said...

So the plan to attack Iran really is all about the oil bourse?

Cheryl V said...

Anybody care to speculate on what this year's October surprise will be? I can't decide between my top three picks:

1. Attack Iran.
2. Find Osama.
3. Attack Venezula.

dan said...

I'm not sure it'll be a surprise to most of us, but I'll pick 1 AND 3.

dan said...

Yes Christin, it's about the oil bourse and also fueled by a basic testosterone driven compulsion to shoot something.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I pick #1.

Finding Osama now is a bit late sorry, all he'll get is a big whoop de do. Most people know that won't fix the problem of radical Islam. The bombings in Spain, England and Bali, the unrest in France and the Scandinavian countries prove it is bigger than Osama.

Not enough people even know where Venezuela is or anything about it, except maybe what Pat Robertson said and they will think the president is on drugs and has lost his mind.

Iran will be attacked unless the Congress stands up and puts a halt to it.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I swear I'm not trying to be contrary, but my bet's still on "finding" Osama & Company in mid to late October.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I just can't see how attacking yet another country without provocation could possibly help Republicans get more votes in November, when so many voters have come to hate them for the first unprovoked attack.

dan said...

Even if this Congress gets some backbone and takes a stand against war with Iran, it may not be enough to stop this President.

By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | April 30, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

America's Imperial President

dan said...

I'll try again.

America's Imperial President

deb said...

This is such madness. How can "they" believe that destruction will solve problems?

Divine Strake

dan said...

What other creatures destroys their own habitat? Is man the dumbest of all animals?

dan said...

From "Why Are We Going To War?
by Hooman Majd (Huff. Post)

"...And yet the Bush administration refuses to rule out military action against Iran, and more ominously, still refuses to rule out a preemptive nuclear attack. The media has taken note, as have some members of Congress, but there is a surprising calm in the air given that the U.S. doctrine of “no first strike” has (like a few other wise American doctrines) been supplanted by the “anything goes because I’m the decider” policies of President Bush...."

Cheryl V said...

Everything's fine. We've turned the corner in Iraq. Has anyone kept count how many corners Iraq has?

My son had an interesting idea for a project. He would like to see a time line for Iraq, with a 90 degree bend for everytime we turned the corner. Wonder what you might see in the picture.

dan said...

"Time to stop feeling guilty and start really bombing" by Glenn Greenwald

Right thinking

deb said...

Right Thinking: Read your Bible; Install Christianity as the National Religion; Put the 10 Commandments on courthouse lawns; Completely destroy Iraq (and maybe Iran) with carpet bombs. Ya think maybe we could offer them LOGIC courses?

I found this article by Lt. Gen Odom. I believe that, while nothing can undo the atrocity of the invasion, that Odom's plan has much merit.

Lt. Gen. William E. Odom (Ret.) is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and professor at Yale University. He was director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988.

dan said...

"Cut and run? You bet" is by far the best article I've read dealing point by point with the arguments about why we have to "stay the course" in Iraq. For Democracts struggling with the withdrawl issue, Lt. Gen. Odom article provides them with the answers they need to justify leaving now.

deb said...

"Beware the leader who beats the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into patriotic fervor, for patriotism is a double-edged sword. It emboldens the blood and narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need to seize the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."

deb said...

This is quite long, but worth the read:

The US's geopolitical nightmare By F William Engdahl


The SCO and Iran events
The latest developments surrounding the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Iran further underscore the dramatic change in the geopolitical position of the United States.
Today the SCO, which has to date been blacked out almost entirely in US mainstream media, is defining a new political counterweight to US hegemony and its "unipolar" world. At the next SCO meeting on June 15, Iran will be invited to become a full SCO member.

dan said...

Great article Debbie. It's a shame that we have to rely on the "Asia Times" for our information.

Judy B. said...

On China and currency manipulation see:{135BFA40-51E1-4508-8761-0AC3CF2FFD74}&dist=bnb

dan said...

Good article Judy. This Administration won't challenge China on the value of the Yuan. They've gotten the country in so much debt, they're totally dependent on China bailing us out every day. Besides, all the job losses don't affect the Bush/Cheney crowd, they're all doing just fine.

Cheryl V said...


HUD Secretary Turns Down Contractor Who Criticized Bush
Meanwhile, Housing and Urban Development Department Secretary Alphonso Jackson is coming under scrutiny after he revealed he cancelled a proposed deal with a government contractor who made critical comments of President Bush. According to the Dallas Business Journal, Jackson said the contractor had been selected for a government advertising contract. But the contractor was ultimately not selected after he told Jackson he didn’t like President Bush. Jackson said: "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe." In response, Democratic Congressmembers Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Henry Waxman of California called for a full investigation of Jackson’s contract decisions. In a letter to Jackson, the Congressmemembers wrote: "If this account is accurate, your comments and actions were improper and most likely illegal. Federal contracts should be awarded based on merit, not on whether a contractor likes or dislikes President Bush."

dan said...

What's next Cheryl? Will the S.S. Administrator require a loyalty oath before retirees can get their check?

Cheryl V said...

Who knows? Now the Secretary is claiming that the story wasn't about an actual incident. Either way, he's promoting illegal activity. If our Judicial System was working, he would be in jail awaiting trial right now.

Cheryl V said...

The Alabama races are really shaping up to be some winners.

On the Republican side, the current govenor is being challenged by former Chief Justice Roy Moore (the ten commandments judge).

The current Chief Justice says he should be re-elected because he wrote a book about the importance of bibical morals.

On the Democratic side, the govenor's race is between the current lt. govenor, and a former govenor who is now on trial for fraud.

Then we have Larry Darby running for Attorney General by denying that the Holocaust occurred. He wants to "reawaken white racial awareness". Thank goodness there is another candidate in the primary, but I'm afraid to find out how many votes this ***** will get.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Deb, you said before to keep in mind that a governor may run for president some day -- and that Republicans will be beholden to corporations. Now I'm leaning toward Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Gabrieli, but mostly because I think he'll focus entirely on our state. I don't want another governor like our present one with his eyes on the Oval Office -- it feels like our state's been orphaned all this time. I have a feeling that Democrat Deval Patrick wants to run for President some day. He has never said anything along those lines, but that is my gut feeling.

Do you have any inside information about those two candidates?

Cheryl V said...

Yesterday's diplomatic news:
We have banned arms sales to Venezuela because they don't support our "War on Terror".

Not to worry though, we have resumed diplomatic relations with Libya to reward them for renouncing terrorism. (Or maybe because we need their oil now.)

dan said...

According to a BBC report:
Venezuela has hinted it could price its oil exports in euros rather than US dollars, further weakening its links to the US.
President Hugo Chavez said he was considering taking the step following a similar declaration by Iran.

Iran--2nd largest exporter of oil in OPEC

Venezuela--5th largest exporter of oil in the world

You'd think that this Administration would try to get along with those countries. But no, it's more macho to talk tough and threaten war.

deb said...

Christin, About the gubernatorial candidates: There was a debate tonight among the 3 dem candidates and 1 independent on NECN and WBUR-FM (90.9). Perhaps it will be replayed, or you might could listen online. I searched a bit but nothing really jumped out. Try to see what others are saying about the candidates, and of course their websites will give plenty of info, their bio and achievements.

Cheryl V said...

How's this for a Democratic Platform?
Land of the free, Home of the brave
This is the country where we can live where we like, travel where we like, say what we like, and to whomever we like without being monitored by Big Brother. We are adults who don't need Daddy watching our every movement to keep us safe from the big bad terrorists.

deb said...

Yep, Cheryl, big brother watching and the Supreme Court providing Justice:(

Cheryl V said...

Just too funny. Delay is using a clip from the Colbert Report to support himself.

Cheryl V said...

Will Durst quote:

Republicans are complaining about the FBI raiding Democrat William Jefferson's Congressional office. Apparently they hold their privacy to be a bit more important than our privacy.

dan said...

Hi Cheryl, Can the far right be so mentally challenged that they don't know Colbert is mocking them? Apparently so. The Durst quote is probably over their heads also.

Cheryl V said...

I've seen references to them thinking that Colbert is serious, and how great he is. Satire seems to be beyond them.

Pretty scary comentary on the intelligence of this country.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I've still been wondering a lot lately about what it would be like to live in a more progressive country. One of the links at Christopher's blog -- called Whistlestop Caboose -- takes you to a blog by a woman named Ellen who grew up in the U.S., but has lived for many years in Switzerland. I spend a lot of time at that site, and tonight while I was clicking on some of the links in her posts, I found an article which I thought might be of interest to some of you. Here is an excerpt:

...But Switzerland ranks consistently among the top countries in every survey of (self-) perceived and (tentatively) measured happiness. Why so? Maybe because of the chocolate, but most likely - that's in any case the analysis that is more often put forth - because of direct democracy. The Swiss can have a direct say in the political process through initiatives and referendums and vote often (at least four times a year) on subjects of local and national importance - from city planning issues to, say, joining the UN or abolishing the army - and this participation gives them a sense of being in control of their destiny that other people may lack.

The full article can be found at:

deb said...

That government sounds like it may be the truest form of democracy.

Wouldn't it be great to develop a way so that citizens' voices can effectively be heard on every bill before Congress? A way to get people involved in the process, to make people aware of the legislation and to encourage them to tell their Reps what they think.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

What timing... Check out the May 30th piece at the following address. It's written by the woman from Switzerland that I just told you guys about the other day. Sorry, I don't have the html code memorized for links, and I don't have enough time to search for it right now:


dan said...

Hey Christin, I'm glad you brought "Whistlestop Caboose" to our attention (what a great name!). I spent some time there and at "Tropical Embellishments". Both Christopher and Ellen have a passon for life that's infectuous.
I see you've been doing some posting there. Time well spent!

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Here is where Ellen explained how she came up with the name of her blog (it was her first post on it):

A bad case of wanderlust has me spending a good chunk of my free time at those blogs. But I'm going to have to start setting time limits for myself on both blogging and googling. I googled to find out if there was a Googlers Anonymous in existence. Isn't that ironic?

I've always been obsessive-compulsive about keeping my surroundings very neat. I still keep everything clean, but now that I spend so much time on the internet, my paper clutter is multiplying exponentially. I want to make sure I read through all of it thoroughly before I shred it or put it in the recycle bin.

Also, I usually lose the ten pounds of winter weight every year before May. But I've replaced a lot of physical activity with sitting at the computer, so the ten pounds is hanging on like grim death. Thank goodness my job is physical. I'm still in the normal range at 115 lbs., but I notice a big difference in energy and agility even with a slight weight change.

It's awful -- I just can't resist the pull of the computer.

Richard Yarnell said...

If anyone feels as strongly as I do that all couples should have access to civil rights afforded to heterosexual couples, I urge you to use this link to write to Senator Frist.

We have already employ a system in which either a civil servant (mayor, justice of the peace, judge, or clerk,) or a clergyman performs the civil service. If a clergyman is involved, in addition to acting on behalf of the government in administering the civil ceremony, he also presides over the religious ceremony.

The Federal Defense of Marriage Amendment that Frist and the Conservative Republicans are pushing in order to energize their disaffected "base," is homophobic and, in spirit, contrary to the mantra that "All men are created equal."

I cannot fathom the fear that these so called god fearing christians have against gay men and women. (I've had the distinct pleasure, having established rapport with a person who turned out to be either homophobic or racially prejudiced, to tell them that I was either gay or black when they railed against either condition. I came close to killing an obnoxious baptist preacher who was my seat mate on a flight from DC to LA. When I told him my grandmother was black (I lied) after he'd denigrated blacks, he turned purple, stumbled into the aisle and up to the first class section and demanded a seat there. To their credit, the people who were within range of our heated conversation, cheered as he departed.) But it's real and has no place in our system.

FWIW, I have many close friends and even more acquaintances who are in long term, devoted, caring, loving same-sex relationships. (Normally, it doesn't occur to me to insert that adjective.) Some of them are the most stable and healthy relationships I know. I hope you'll help defend their right to be happy.



christin m p in massachusetts said...

Richard, I just looked at the site at the address you posted earlier. This part took me by surprise:

And to drive the message home, President Bush will host a Rose Garden event that same day, to reiterate his support for this divisive, unnecessary and diversionary attack on LGBT Americans and on our Constitution-even though his own Vice President opposes the amendment and his own wife says it's wrong to use this issue as a campaign tool.

Guess I'd better retract the Stepford wives statement I made in another thread, as I was picturing Laura when I wrote it.

I don't really have a strong opinion on that issue -- probably because the majority of heterosexual people in Massachusetts couldn't care less about a person's sexual orientation. Of course there are prejudiced people here, just as there are everywhere. But they seem to be in the minority here.

I have sometimes feared that I myself might be subconciously prejudiced, because all my close friends are white, and anyone I've ever been attracted to happens to be white, male, and very close to my age and family background. It's not something deliberate, though. I think some people are just drawn to familiarity. I certainly enjoy working with people from different cultures, and for a few years I lived quite happily in an apartment complex where a lot of the residents were immigrants. I have complete respect for good people from all backgrounds.

After reading a lot of the rants about gay marriage in some of the other forums, I've come to the conclusion that most people who are against gay marriage, wrongly think that it somehow lessens the value of their own marriages. Having grown up in the 1960's and 70's, I saw marriage/singlehood from two very different perspectives: In the 1960's, children were still socialized to think of marriage as an elevation in social status; whereas in the 1970's, singlehood was suddenly being promoted as an attractive option.

The people who are anti-gay marriage don't generally come across as being pious. Rather, they speak of their own marriages as an elevation in social status -- and come right out and say that they see the legalization of gay marriage as devaluing their own marriages. To quote another poster from one of the forums: ...The point is that heterosexual marriage is not threatened in any way as claimed by those who oppose it. Heterosexuals have pretty much made a total mess and travesty of the institution all by themselves.

Please know that I'm not thinking of any of you as part of that group. But I know it's true of a lot of people, since a good number of "invitations" I receive would entail becoming a homewrecker. To borrow a phrase from Dan, "not exactly a fairy tale..." And those very same men take so much pride in being viewed as "family men" -- further proof that perceived social status is what's really at stake.

Richard Yarnell said...

No, what's at stake is a deliberate reduction in the civil rights of a certain class of folks.

To be clear, I think the Gay Rights position against being granted equal rights under civil contracts is wrong.
That's what those of us who are "married" get from the State now. Those of us who were married by clergy got both a civil and a religious certificate.

So what the Amendment is proposing, and what all those State Constitutional Amendments have done, is to insert religion squarely in the Constitution where it doesn't belong.

From personal experience, I know that committed gay couples will take care of each other through illness, hard times, right up to death, just as solid hetero couples do. Those gay couples who take the time to become parents, a lot tougher than the roll in the hay it took me to become a parent, by the way, are as devoted to their kids as any other parent.

On top of that, gays who would be "married" whether civilly or in a religious ceremony, are being denied equal treatment under the law: they are treated differently by Social Security, IRS, Health care, inheritance, even the right to visit their partners in hospital.

What's at stake is not an unrelated third party's attitude, it's very real descrimination that hurts emotionally and economically.


Cheryl V said...

Richard & Christin,
I agree with you about the "Marriage Protection" movement. It doesn't make a bit of difference to my marriage.

However, it brings out a very emotional, knee-jerk, reaction in a lot of people. There are plenty of bumper stickers & political ads promoting it. It's on the ballot Tuesday in Alabama. I expect it to win by a landslide. If it only gets a majority, there's hope yet.

deb said...

I've had conversations with more than a few people about gay marriage. What I have found out is that it is the word "marriage" that bothers the small minded. When discussing the actual civil rights, even some of the most opposed to gay marriage are for equal rights.

So it comes down to a word...marriage. One guy told me that he never wanted to have to answer whether he was married to a woman or a man, he had a real problem with it.

Even though it shows bias I believe that the gay community should be working toward legislation that provides for "civil unions" that would give the same civil rights as "marriage" does with strait couples. I believe that would be more acceptable at this point in history.

It is really a sorry state of affairs that the media and the Republicans have decided to condemn gay people...their plan of declaring enemies that are out to destroy democracy, the family and the American way of life is what keeps people afraid enough to support them.

I signed the petition as it is important, however, Frist seems to have made up his mind about the issue and doesn't seem the type to care even if a huge majority of Americans are for gay marriage. Frist is horribly narrow minded and appears to believe that legislating morality will solve problems. If it doesn't solve problems then at least we can make women and perhaps gays wear a scarlet "A" on their clothes.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

As you all probably already know, gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, but a very vocal minority wants the issue to be put to a vote. If it came to that, the outcome would probably be close to 50/50 -- not because half the voters are against it, but because I think the general population just wouldn't be motivated enough to bother voting on it at all. It would come down mostly to gay voters and their families and friends vs. the minority of people who feel threatened by gay marriage. As I said before, the majority of people here are pretty nonchalant about that issue.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I realized that this thread has now found its way back to its own beginning.

Like a circle, the end shall be at the beginning.

The link that Christopher posted at the top is all about the MPA. The article backs up what I wrote about earlier. The majority of people born from the late 1960's and beyond have an entirely different attitude about sexual orientation and marriage. Their early childhood impressions were quite different from those of us born in earlier years. Even the ones who grew up in nuclear families were exposed to alternative family arrangements, whether they saw them out in their communities or through television and movies. I'm guessing that most of the younger generations wonder what all the fuss is about.

Richard Yarnell said...

Unfortunately, I have a different experience to report.

For several years, I've taken a shift or two at the State and County fairs, registering voters and working the Democrats booth.

For the last three or four years, packs of kids come by and pick fights with us, noisy fights. I won't dignify them with either "dialogue" or "conversation." The kids don't listen. Nor are they informed of facts either.

[One notable exchange in 2004:

"Kerry's not a Christian!"

"He's a Catholic."

"Catholics are Christian."

"Do you know what the trinity is? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Who do you think 'Son' refers to?"

"He's not Christian."

These kids are attending conservative, evangelical churches with their parents and they are not about to accept gays as people. The hatred is palpable. The anger is directed at anyone who does not share the beliefs they've learned by rote.

I did a pretty good catechism with one bunch about taxes and what they pay for. When the kids realized they'd been had, I was spit on for my trouble.

It's a jungle out there and it's not pretty.


christin m p in massachusetts said...

Sorry Rich,
Although I'm aware that attitudes are different from one part of the country to another, I guess I didn't realize just how different they are.

My nephew (my sister's son) is a student at Harding University -- a Christian liberal arts university in Searcy, Arkansas. He still seems to be pretty open-minded, possibly because he grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where these issues didn't exist.

Since it's very rare in the general population for traditional-aged undergraduate students to be married, I was very surprised to learn that a good number of Harding's young students are already married. My nephew met his wife there -- they're both still attending full-time. He told us that any students who have sex before marriage risk being expelled. (Hmmm... I wonder how this "transgression" is verified?) Of course, human nature being what it is, most people aren't able to wait that long, so what other choice do they have but to get married -- ready or not?

My nephew seems to have taken after my father -- his grandfather, of course. He hadn't even turned four years old when my Dad passed away, but he still remembers him.

Back when the Catholic church was still excommunicating people for being divorced, my devoutly Christian Dad joined a non-denominational Christian church out in Saratoga Springs. I don't remember ever having heard my Dad speak ill of any group or individual. Some of the members, including himself, spent several months doing relief work in Mexico. They stayed in El Paso, and would cross the border every day to help the very poor families in an area they nicknamed "the dump", because of the wretched living conditions there. My Dad never flaunted that he was a Christian -- he just lived it.

In the Saratoga Springs area, there are still a lot of true Christians. I know that because my stepmother still lives there and teaches at a Christian school there. But a lot of so-called Christians I hear about these days seem to be more about discrimination than charitable works.

dan said...

Richard, I was happy to sign the online petition opposed to Sen. Frist's legislation. I'm afraid the battle for "gay rights" is going to be long and bitter. Think of the following phrase from the Equall Rights Amendment:

"Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

Women's rights groups have been battleing to have that sentence become part of our constitution since 1923. The ERA came within 3 states of being ratified, then conservative opponents raised so much fear that they even had women afraid to vote for it. The GOP have made fear mongering an art form.

My 3 granddaughters just arrived. I'll have to get back to this later. Just so you know, I think the world of my friends at "Breadcrusts".

Richard Yarnell said...

Back in either 1977 or 1980, I wrote a non-descrimination clause for the Actors' Equity contract with the Broadway League. There had been a lot of discussion about including any non-descrimination language in past contracts because casting is, by nature, a subjective exercise. I was able to make the argument that, with respect to race, I'd had the pleasure of appearing in the NYShakespeare production of Hamlet in which Jimmy Jones had taken a traditionally white part without detriment to the production. I'd also been using the identical language in individually negotiated agreements off-off Broadway and in letters of agreement with small theatres around the country.

The new language added "sexual preference" to the list of traits not to be considered. "Why bother" was the question, since both the union and employers freely hired and embraced its gay actors. The argument that won the day was the opportunity to set the precedent.

Not long after the contract was approved, gay men in NY began to die of what turned out to be aids. Equity, and then the League, were among the first to contribute funds to the early research carried on at Columbia before the Feds would contribute anything at all.

Having lived with, worked with, fought for, and mourned over so many people who were/are gay and knowing that they bleed when we prick them just as we do, I hope you're wrong.

That amendment is such anathema to the long history of our Constitution that the people who are proposing it deserve to be punished. It's not enough to just turn the amendment down - they have to be punished for their inhumanity.

By the way, not long after that language was inserted into the contract, there was a period of several years when many productions were cast "color blind." Other entertainment unions picked up the language and added "age" to the list. It's no accident that the face of the movies and TV, to say nothing of the theatre, has changed over the last 20 years.


Cheryl V said...

I think I went to college with the parents of the kids you mentioned. In Baton Rouge around 1980, the fundamentalist movement was getting started. We had a number of traveling speakers that showed up about once a semeter. There was "Holy Hubert", "Brother Jeb" (the personal cousin of Jimmy Carter), and "Sister Cindy" (who was a whore, but is now a virgin).

They would show up, spout a lot of nonsense, and call passers-by whores & whoremongers. Most students considered them free entertainment. A few took them seriously.

One student liked to yell bits of wisdom while he ate in the cafeteria. My favorite was "Repent religious Catholics". He came from a nice normal Catholic family.

A friend heard another good one in a history class. A student took offense to something the professor said, and replied "If the King James Bible is good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me."

The city of Baton Rouge was starting to go nuts too. Ossie Brown, the born-again DA was more concerned about saving souls that saving lives. His biggest accomplishment was banning "Life of Brian". The next time I went home to New Orleans, I had to see it to find out what the fuss was about.

I never would have thought that this bologna would have lasted this long, let alone get worse.

dan said...

Playing at your local political theatre: Divide and Conquer II
(from this mornings NYT's)

"President Bush devoted his Saturday radio speech to a cynical boost for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. It was depressing in the extreme to hear the chief executive trying to pretend, at this moment in American history, that this was a critical priority.

Mr. Bush's central point was that the nation is under siege from "activist judges" who are striking down anti-gay-marriage laws that conflict with their own state constitutions. That's their job, just as it is the job of state legislators to either fix the laws or change their constitutions.

If there's anything the country should have learned over the past five years, it is that Mr. Bush and his supporters have no problem with judicial decisions, no matter how cutting edge, that endorse their political positions. They trot out the "activist judge" threat only when they're worried about getting out their base on Election Day.

The aim of the president's radio address — which darkly warned that Massachusetts and San Francisco (nudge, nudge) are going to destroy marriage — is the same as the Republican leadership's plans to trot out one cultural hot button after another in the coming weeks. After gay marriage comes the push for a constitutional ban on flag burning, a solution in search of a problem if there ever was one.

All this effort to divert the nation's attention to issues that divide and distract would be bad enough if the country were not facing real, disastrous problems at home and abroad. But then, if that weren't the case, Mr. Bush probably wouldn't feel moved to stoop so low."

Richard Yarnell said...

Does anyone know what format the "Moby" video that MoveOn forwarded (in re Net Neutrality) uses? The Firefox plugin finder came up empty.

If anyone watched it, is it worth the trouble.

This Net Neutrality issue is real. Too many of the congresscritters don't understand either the technology or the implications.


dan said...

I watched "Toby" using Int. Expl. then I pasted the address on Firefox and it worked fine there also. I have no idea what format they used. Here's a link:

Net Neutrality

deb said...

I got this today in an e-mail from Common Cause:

The House of Representatives could vote as soon as this Friday to turn control of the Internet over to a few powerful corporations.

We can stop them. Tell your member of Congress to support strong net neutrality provisions.

Under the COPE Act, we'll lose the Internet as our "town square" - where we talk to one another, exchange views, find information from many diverse sources of news and opinion, blog, contact candidates and engage in our democracy. We will be left with an Internet that is mostly about selling things - entertainment, TV, films, games and other goods - and that is no longer about citizen engagement.

deb said...

What our legislators are being told about net neutrality

deb said...

...uh oh...

Defeat for net neutrality backers

What is Net neutrality, and why should you care?

No Tolls on the Internet

If you believe the same as I do that net neutrality is VERY VERY important then please encourage everyone that you know to bombard their Senators with e-mail, letters, faxes and phone calls to save the net.

deb said...

Amy Goodman on Mainstream Media

And good media news by Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga

Use the Tools

dan said...

Debbie, Amy Goodman asks a great question, "..If this were state media, how would it be any different?.." While I agree with her assessment of the performance of MSM, I'm not as confident as Markos that in a few years the internet will make them irrelavent. Corporate interests and their allies in govt. have a virtual monopoly on the spread of information and they're not going to give that up without a major battle.