Saturday, May 18, 2013
A previous post looked briefly at the decision Pablo Pantoja, former GOP Hispanic Outreach Director for Florida, to not only reign from his post but register as a Democrat. Now, Pantoja is talking more about his decision and it ought to be setting off alarm bells across the GOP - especially given new reports that Hispanics have not yet begun to fully flex their voting strength. Will the GOP listen? Probably not given the reality that the grassroots of the party is controlled by the Christofascists and Tea Party, both of which groups have high levels of racism mixed in with their religious extremism. An article in The Daily Beast looks at Pantoja's defection - note that he has realized that the GOP does in fact see minorities as" lesser human beings". Here are highlights:
Conservatives should consider this a warning sign. The Republican National Committee’s former Hispanic outreach director for Florida has left the GOP and registered as a Democrat, citing a “culture of intolerance.”
Pablo Pantoja is a decorated Iraq war vet who began his brief career with the GOP by volunteering for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and serving as field director for Marco Rubio’s triumphant 2010 senate campaign. He says he was originally drawn to the GOP “because of my business-minded mentality. Fiscal issues are important for all families—Hispanics and non-Hispanics.”
But a recent anti-immigration report from the right-wing think tank Heritage Foundation sent the Puerto Rican–born Pantoja heading for bluer pastures this week. Not only did the paper tally the cost of immigration form at an absurdly high $6.3 trillion, but its author, Jason Richwine, was found to have written an overtly racist dissertation in 2009 that labeled American immigrants as having lower IQs than those of white natives.
“This report form Heritage really hit me,” Pantoja, 33, says about his decision to decamp from the party, which he first announced to friends on Facebook. “It hit me. Immigration has made America great before and it will continue to do so. But when you look at their report, you start wondering, Wait a minute, is it really about the $6.3 trillion, or is it because they believe that Hispanics have a lower IQ and they're less of a human being?”
“I was hopeful after the [RNC] autopsy report, but where was the strong condemnation? Are they afraid to stand up to Heritage?” Pantoja asks. “Those comments, that research, is just completely, completely, completely unacceptable.”
The “culture of intolerance” that concerns Pablo Pantoja does not characterize the entire party, but it has surfaced too much for him to dismiss it as a coincidence: “There was the incident with the black reporter who got some peanuts thrown at her [at the RNC convention] in Tampa. Now, you can look at it and say, ‘That was just one person.’ But then you look at what happened at CPAC with this other guy that said slaves should be thankful because they got food and shelter ... So is it really one person—or is it really the base? Is it really the culture of intolerance? That’s what I view as what's going on.”
Just as critical to Pantoja is some party leaders’ refusal to confront these voices. Even worse is when they cater to them. “You've got people who feel that they have to be, quite frankly, a little bit ‘out there’ to appeal to the base.”“Hopefully they'll renounce this kind of culture of intolerance overall,” Pantoja says. “Maybe the rhetoric will change. I don't see it happening. But somebody's got to take a stand.”
Gratuitious Cruelty: Catholic School Forcing Male Transgender Student to Wear Female Robe at Graduation
At times I find it shocking as to just how mean and petty the Catholic Church is towards LGBT individuals. It's not about religious belief. It's simple deliberate cruelty and nastiness. And there seems to be no limit as to how far Catholic officials will go to mistreat LGBT individuals. How else to explain an Albuquerque, New Mexico Catholic school which is demanding that Damian Garcia, a trans student, wear a girl's gown to graduation. Everyone accepts Damian as a male, including his parents, but not the asshole school principal who seems to be finding delight in this gratuitous cruelty. Here are highlights from KRQE News 13:
A Saint Pius senior was born a girl, but refuses to go graduate in a girl's gown. The Catholic school says too bad.
At the Saint Pius High School graduation ceremony, the girls wear white gowns and the boys wear black. It is school policy and Saint Pius insists Damian is a girl..
“I just want to walk in my black robe, nice and proud and have that memory to look back on with my family and friends,” said Damian Garcia. “I would rather not walk than to embarrass myself by wearing a female robe.”
Damian Garcia was born Brandi Garcia, but identifies as a male even having a legal name-change last year. Fellow students, teachers and faculty call Garcia "Damian" and so does Damian’s family. “I look at him and I call him my son. That's how he wishes to be acknowledged is as a male,” said father Luis Garcia.
Damian's father calls the school's decision heartbreaking. “All you want in life is to see your kids happy and healthy. You never want to see them suffer or being ridiculed or be made fun of,” Luis said.
To me, it's yet another example of the "godly folk" not really giving a damn about others. Something this simple and yet it is too much to ask from a heartless and morally bankrupt institution. Fortunately, the school is garnering negative publicity world wide and a petiton has been started to underscore the unpopularity of the school's cruelty:
Over 11,000 people have signed the petition on MoveOn.org’s petition website to St. Pius High School Principal Barbara Rothweiler, asking that the school administration allow Damian Garcia to walk in a boy’s black cap and gown for St. Pius’ graduation on Wednesday, May 22nd.I hope readers will sign the petition. I did. If you want to find true Christian conduct, don't look for it in the Catholic Church.
SIGN THE PETITION HERE: http://petitions.moveon.org/
The petition was started by Torrey Moorman’s two sons in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Torrey and her two sons, Phynneaus (8) and William (14), heard about Damien Garcia's story on the local news and refused to go to bed that night until they could get involved, citing their Quaker values. They started the petition, and have subsequently gotten in touch with the Garcia family and now the entire family is involved in the effort.
|Brunch at HYC|
One of the pernicious lies promoted by Christofascist hate groups is that gay marriage "deprives children of a mother and father." Never mind that civil law marriage rights for same sex couples has absolutely nothing to do with heterosexual parenting. Never mind that half of heterosexual marriages end in divorce and that millions of children do not have a traditional family comprised opposite sex parents happily living together. Never mind that there are large numbers of children being passed around from foster home to foster home who need a stable home with two loving parents of any gender. And never mind that - as this blog reveals from time to time - far too many heterosexual parents are unfit parents who harm their children through abuse, deprivation of medical care (often because of lunatic religious beliefs). No one cares less about the truth and honesty in my view than the Christofascists and their claim that children will be "deprived of a mother and father" is aimed merely at triggering bigotry among the most ignorant of voters. The folks at the National Organization for Marriage, Family Research Council, American Family Association, and yes, at the Vatican, and numerous anti-gay hate groups ultimately do not give a damn about children. Why else would they actively work to harm children living in families headed by same sex couples?
To counter the Christofascist lies, an effort called the "Annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day" was started to show case the reality that LGBT headed families exist, that we are just as normal and diverse as other families, and that our children deserve all of the benefits and rights that arise from having parents who are legally married and afforded full citizenship. My blogger friend and fellow LGBT Blogger Summit alumni Dana Rudolph is heading up this year's effort which will the eighth year that the effort is taking place. Here is a press release on the event this year:
On Monday, June 3, 2013, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender bloggers, their family members, and allies will celebrate the eighth annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day. The event, developed and run by the award-winning LGBT-parenting site Mombian, and sponsored by the Family Equality Council, aims to raise awareness of LGBT families, their diverse natures, and how current prejudices and laws have a negative impact on their lives and children. Hundreds of bloggers have taken part over the past years.
The event is held each year at the start of June, between Mother's Day and Father's Day, in order to honor both equally, but also to convey that not all families fit into the traditional structure of one mother and one father. June is also LGBT Pride Month, making it doubly appropriate.
"The stories shared on Blogging for LGBT Families Day are always a wonderful mix of experiences and perspectives," said Dana Rudolph, founder and publisher of Mombian. "They have included parents across the LGBT spectrum, LGBT individuals without children, and non-LGBT allies. The stories range from the personal to the political, the poignant to the humorous."
“This is a great opportunity for our community to collectively raise our voices in support of fairness for all families,” said Steve Majors, Family Equality Council Director of Communications.” “We know that our stories are changing hearts, minds and laws across this country and Blogging for LGBT Families Day will provide a great platform to share those stories with a wide audience.”
● To participate, blog at your own blog on a topic related to LGBT families on or before June 3, 2013. Then visit www.mombian.com to submit the link to your entry. Mombian will showcase the full list of participants on June 3.
● You can also create a video and upload it to YouTube or other video sharing service, tag it “lgbtfamilies,” and submit the link at Mombian.
● Additionally, tweet in support of LGBT families on June 3 and include the hashtag #lgbtfamilies. Mombian will display the tweets in a scrolling box at www.mombian.com throughout the day. You can also follow the hashtag using most popular Twitter software.
All bloggers and tweeters who support LGBT families are welcome to contribute, whether they are LGBT or not, or parents or not.
For more details and promotional banners, visit www.mombian.com and click the "Blogging for LGBT Families" banner.
This blog will be participating. I encourage readers to check out Dana's blog, Mombian and some of the stories and examples of LGBT family life that will be showcased. One of the most effective ways to counter hate group sponsored lies is to live one's life openly and share our normalcy with others who may not know that we - just like they - have loving families. On a personal note, I think the boyfriend and I have opened some eyes at the Hampton Yacht Club when were have been at the Easter and Mother's Day brunches with his dad and brother and my daughter, my son-in-law and my granddaughter. LGBT families do not fit the stereotypes that the haters seek to disseminate. Thankfully, more and more Americans seem to be realizing this truth.
Friday, May 17, 2013
As a former Republican - i.e., print captain, city committee member and state convention delegate - I continue to be appalled at what the Republican Party has become, particularly its open embrace of racism, religious extremism and now near total detachment from objective reality. Likewise, I am shocked at the way in which people I once thought rational and moderate that did not flee the party as I and many others did have now seemingly become as irrational the most ignorant members of the party base. Are they only listening to Fox News? Is their social life limited to Republican women's clubs? Do they live in a bubble. And this insanity extends to once respectable conservative pundits. Andrew Sullivan takes down Peggy Noonan for her latest batshitery that she ought to be extremely embarrassed about if she wants to retain any credibility with sane people. Here are highlights:
Her [Peggy Noonan] column today is simply unhinged from the first sentence:
We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate.Can she actually believe this? Has this president broken the law, lied under oath, or authorized war crimes? Has he traded arms for hostages with Iran? Has he knowingly sent his cabinet out to tell lies about his sex life? Has he sat by idly as an American city was destroyed by a hurricane? Has he started a war with no planning for an occupation? Has he started a war based on a lie, and destroyed the US’ credibility and moral standing while he was at it, leaving nothing but a smoldering and now rekindled civil sectarian war? So far as I can tell, this president has done nothing illegal, unethical or even wrong.
But how exactly is all this a crippling scandal for the president? He is not involved in any of these issues directly. . . . . At some very distant level, he is formally responsible – but not in the way that Reagan was directly responsible for Iran-Contra, or Clinton for lying under oath about his sex life, or Bush for making brutal torture his central strategy in the war on terror. That’s what makes a scandal a real scandal: the political involvement of a president or a key member of his administration in a cover-up or criminal offense or lie.
So what on earth is she banging on about? She cannot connect the president directly to this scandal – the first in his four and a half years in office (which must be a record). So she simply assigns blame to him because he is the president.
Yes this is no ordinary scandal, Peggy. Because, as far as the president is concerned, there is as yet no scandal at all.
Is Noonan - and the same goes for some former GOP collegues of mine - now just another angry white that cannot cope with the reality that America is changing and that the era of white privilege and dominance is ending? I don't know how else to explain such irrational conduct.
There apparently are few groups that the far right elements of the GOP will not attack, including AARP. Of course, AARP opposes the GOP push to dismantle the social safety net and to restrict Medicare funding and to dismantle Social Security. But AARP's real sin seems to be that it doesn't treat LGBT individuals as diseased vermin and supports policies that would make the senior years of LGBT Americans more secure. That is simply heresy to the knuckle dragging, spittle flecked "godly Christian" crowd at American Family Association, a SPLC designated hate group. An article in Think Progress looks at the far rights war against AARP. Here are highlights:
AARP strives to serve the interests of all people over the age of 50, and that includes members of the LGBT community. The organization has a webpage dedicated to AARP Pride, with resources related to issues like marriage equality’s legal benefits, nondiscrimination protections in nursing homes, and unique health concerns like HIV. Because of AARP’s inclusiveness, the American Family Association is specifically targeting the retirement group for contributing money to the “homosexual agenda.” AFA Executive Vice President Buddy Smith offered this warning:
SMITH: When you reach the age of a person like myself and you begin to get information from the AARP saying that they will represent you and your values and standards, you’d better be careful. This group is a very, very powerful Washington lobby, and you just may be very surprised and disappointed to see those things that they are promoting and those things they are opposing.Be very careful that you know what your fees are going for because the AARP is not on your side. If you are a Christian and believe in Biblical values, you can pretty much count on the fact that everything that you are in favor of, the AARP is opposing.LGBT older adults face many unique challenges, especially in regards to their very economic well-being. Because of discrimination and alienation throughout their lifetime, as well as their inability to claim partner benefits like Social Security, LGBT older adults are much more likely to be living in isolation and poverty. It makes perfect sense that AARP would recognize that a segment of its constituency experiences particularly troubling circumstances and could use additional support. Conservatives, like AFA’s own Bryan Fischer, have long claimed that gay men die early because of HIV and other supposed consequences of “homosexual behavior,” so perhaps Smith thinks AARP should be a straights-only organization because he believes it already is. If AARP is supporting the “homosexual agenda,” then that agenda is merely survival.
Like the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention ("SBC") regularly closes its eyes to sexual abuse by SBC pastors and, when it recognizes the massive problem at all, it is typically to disclaim responsibility and say that churches are independent of SBC control. Of course, that never stops the SBC from throwing parishes out of the SBC if they are too gay friendly. It's definitely an example of talking out of both sides of their mouths so as to take no action on the huge sex abuse problem withing the denomination. Also, like the Catholic Church, few things - other than money and controlling the lives of others - is more important than persecuting gays. A case in point? The SBC's hysteria against including same sex bi-national couples in the pending immigration reform bill. Bob Felton has a good rundown on the SBC's anti-gay bigotry at Civil Commotion. Here are highlights:
The SBC’s Richard Land has issued a strongly-worded letter promising active opposition to the pending immigration bill if it makes any provision for same-sex couples.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm has made it clear to United States senators it will “actively oppose” immigration reform legislation if it includes provisions for same-sex partners.In a Tuesday (May 14) letter, Richard Land told Judiciary Committee leaders the “issue is a deal-breaker” for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).“On this point we seek to be ‘Waterford’ crystal clear: If [any] same-sex partner reunification provision is included in an immigration reform overhaul, the [ERLC] would not merely hold a neutral position on the broader bill, but would instead actively oppose it.”Seriously? The bill is irredeemable if it treats the life-sized choices of gays with respect? There is no benefit or value in the bill which could overcome that? Hostility to gays is all or nothing?
It gets better.
“First, we have biblical concerns. As a matter of interpretation of Scripture, Southern Baptists do not condone any sexual relationship beyond the sacred bonds of marriage between a man and a woman. Most Southern Baptists, therefore, could not in good conscience support efforts by the government to aid the reunification of same-sex partners.”One wonders: Is the SBC inflexibly opposed to all legislation which contemplates a deviation from Biblical prescriptions, or is it only legislation which contemplates treating gays with ordinary human decency? I think it must be the latter, because the SBC has never gone on record demanding that adulterous wives and insolent children be stoned.
And just where does he get off insisting that the laws of a secular Republic must comport with the Bible? Does the man know nothing of his country’s history? Seriously, the haughtiness and ignorance are just breathtaking.
The sooner that conservative denominations like the SBC die off, the better off the nation will be. All they bring to the table is hate and bigotry. And let's not forget the SBC's origins: it broke off from the larger Baptist churches in the 1800's for the sole purpose of supporting slavery. It's not a history to be proud of and the mindset has change little over the past century and a half.
Despite the mixture of breathlessness and outrage among the GOP base and GOP demagogues like John Boehner, the situations being described as scandals that could topple Barack Obama have little actual substance - so concludes a piece in the Washington Post. So why the furor? Because (a) much of the racist GOP hates Obama and wants to see scandal in everything, (b) the supposed scandals are a way to distract the public from the reality that the Congressional Republicans are not doing their jobs and legislating on issues in dire need of solutions, and (c) the so-called scandals are convenient tools for GOP demagogues to fund raise and fleece their delusional party base for money. Here are highlights from the Post article that looks at why the scandals so loved by the GOP and an always lazy main stream media are likely to fall apart and evaporate out side of the Kool-Aid drinking circles:
1) The Internal Revenue Service: The IRS mess was, well, a mess. But it’s not a mess that implicates the White House, or even senior IRS leadership. If we believe the agency inspector general’s report, a group of employees in a division called the “Determinations Unit” — sounds sinister, doesn’t it? — started giving tea party groups extra scrutiny, were told by agency leadership to knock it off, started doing it again, and then were reined in a second time and told that any further changes to the screening criteria needed to be approved at the highest levels of the agency.
The White House fired the acting director of the agency on the theory that somebody had to be fired and he was about the only guy they had the power to fire. They’re also instructing the IRS to implement each and every one of the IG’s recommendations to make sure this never happens again. . . . . . so it’s hard to see where this one goes from here.
2) Benghazi: We’re long past the point where it’s obvious what the Benghazi scandal is supposed to be about. The inquiry has moved on from the events in Benghazi proper, tragic as they were, to the talking points about the events in Benghazi. And the release Wednesday night of 100 pages of internal e-mails on those talking points seems to show what my colleague Glenn Kessler suspected: This was a bureaucratic knife fight between the State Department and the CIA.
As for the White House’s role, well, the e-mails suggest there wasn’t much of one. “The internal debate did not include political interference from the White House, according to the e-mails, which were provided to congressional intelligence committees several months ago,” report The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung. As for why the talking points seemed to blame protesters rather than terrorists for the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans? Well:
According to the e-mails and initial CIA-drafted talking points, the agency believed the attack included a mix of Islamist extremists from Ansar al-Sharia, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, and angry demonstrators.White House officials did not challenge that analysis, the e-mails show, nor did they object to its inclusion in the public talking points.So far, it’s hard to see what, exactly, the scandal here is supposed to be.
But CIA deputy director Michael Morell later removed the reference to Ansar al-Sharia because the assessment was still classified and because FBI officials believed that making the information public could compromise their investigation, said senior administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the internal debate.
3) AP/Justice Department:. This is the weirdest of the three. There’s no evidence that the DoJ did anything illegal. Most people, in fact, think it was well within its rights to seize the phone records of Associated Press reporters. And if the Obama administration has been overzealous in prosecuting leakers, well, the GOP has been arguing that the White House hasn’t taken national security leaks seriously enough. The AP/DoJ fight has caused that position to flip, and now members of Congress are concerned that the DoJ is going after leaks too aggressively. But it’s hard for a political party to prosecute wrongdoing when they disagree with the potential remedies.
Insofar as there’s a “scandal” here, it’s more about what is legal than what isn’t. The DoJ simply has extraordinary power, under existing law, to spy on ordinary citizens — members of the media included.
Because there was no actual evidence of presidential involvement in these events, the line for much of this week was that the president was not involved enough in their aftermath. He was “passive.” He seemed to be a “bystander.” His was being controlled by events, rather than controlling them himself.
The smarter voices on the right are also beginning to counsel caution. ”While there’s still more information to be gathered and more investigations to be done, all indications are that these decisions – on the AP, on the IRS, on Benghazi – don’t proceed from [Obama],” wrote Ben Domenech in The Transom, his influential conservative morning newsletter. “The talk of impeachment is absurd. The queries of ‘what did the president know and when did he know it’ will probably end up finding out “’just about nothing, and right around the time everyone else found out.’”
The GOP base hates Obama - and I believe hate is the correct word - and this hatred is causing the base and the whores who comprise the GOP members of Congress to try to seize anything they can to destroy Obama and appease the lynch mob that is the base of today's GOP.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
|Ken Cuccinelli - Hypocrite Extraordinaire|
Admittedly, there is little I like about Virginia Attorney General Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli who will be crowned as the GOP nominee this coming weekend at the GOP
coven of extremists party convention. The man is a ragging homophobe (and I suspect a self-loathing closet case) and seems to be pretty much on the same page as Mitt Romney when he made his infamous statement about the "47%" disdaining nearly half of the American population. These attributes are bad enough, but where his hypocrisy is truly off the charts is when he gushes about his Catholic faith and religiosity in general. On almost ever social gospel issue Kookinelli's policy positions are the exact opposite of the espoused beliefs of the Catholic Church. Indeed, the only areas on which Kookinelli is on the same page with the Church is on abortion, the demonizing of gays, and the subjugation of women to a chattel like status. An analysis in Blue Virginia looks at Kookinelli's hypocrisy. Here are highlights:
During an address to foreign ambassadors to the Vatican, Pope Francis had VERY strong words regarding capitalism having created a "tyranny," and about the need for countries to "impose more control over their economies and not allow 'absolute autonomy, in order to provide 'for the common good'." Pope Francis added that "while the income of a minority is increasing exponentially, that of the majority is crumbling," and that "the worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal." He declared, "I encourage the financial experts and the political leaders of your countries to consider the words of St John Chrysostom 'Not to share one's goods with the poor is to rob them.'"
In sum, Pope Francis just condemned pretty much everything Republicans - aka, the "I've got mine so screw you!" party - believe in when it comes to the economy, while endorsing pretty much everything progressives believe in on economic fairness and social justice. Now, of course progressives don't agree with the Pope on issues related to sexuality and women's rights, but when it comes to economics, I'd say we're all singing from the same sheets of music. As for Roman Catholics like Ken Cuccinelli, apparently he disagrees with the Pope - and with the teachings of Jesus Christ, as well - on caring for the poor, the stranger, the naked and the hungry. I'm not sure what Cuccinelli bases that on, exactly, because it certainly couldn't be clearer in the Gospels.
By the way, while we're on the subject of Ken Cuccinelli disagreeing with his own church on fundamental issues of his faith, how about environmental protection, which Pope Benedict - the "green Pope" - made an important part of his papacy? It appears that Pope Francis is following in Benedict's tradition on "lov[ing] and car[ing] for creation." In stark contrast, Ken Cuccinelli comes from the "drill baby drill," slash-and-burn, Koch brothers wing of the Republican Party.
These criticisms of Kookinelli, of course are applicable to the Republican Party at large which wraps itself in the cloak of Christianity yet then pushes policies that make the Pharisees of the Bible look like liberal philanthropists in comparison. For me, it all translate to the reality that the members of the "godly Christian" crowd - and their puppets in the GOP - are not nice people and that hypocrisy is their most pronounced trait.
Some may say it is an issue of semantics, but sometimes words do have meaning and legal definitions have purposes and consequences. Not that this reality ever crosses the minds of the Christofascist/Tea Party base of the GOP or their political whores in the GOP Congressional caucus. Their sole focus is on trashing Barack Obama and to a slightly lesser extent Hillary Clinton. They have proposed little in the way of solid policy proposals and instead seek only obstruction and attacks on the White House. Yes, it scores points with the increasingly ignorant base of the GOP - a large portion of which has no idea where Benghazi even is - but it lends nothing towards moving the nation forward or solving pressing issues. A piece in the American Prospect lays out what calling the Beghazi attack terrorism or an act terror is not correct. Here are excerpts:
I am hereby declaring 99 Pinocchios on Barack Obama, all the people who work for him, everyone in the Republican party, and most everyone in the press who has reported on Benghazi.
This is about what has to be one of the most inane disagreements in the history of American politics, the argument about whether Obama called the Benghazi attack an "act of terror" or a "terrorist attack." Incredibly, people are still bickering over this. The other day Darrell Issa expressed his outrage that Obama had, in his diabolical attempt to cover up the incident, used the phrase "act of terror," which, let's be honest, is almost like saying, "Way to go, al Qaeda!", instead of using the far, far, far more condemnatory phrase "terrorist attack." It's like the difference between saying "steaming pile of bullshit" when you ought to say "steaming bullshit pile"—anyone who can't tell the difference between the two obviously can't be trusted to run the country.
But here's what nobody seems to get: Benghazi was not a terrorist act. Or an act of terror. Or an act of terrorism.
Before my Republican friends start getting red in the face, that doesn't mean it wasn't awful. Many awful things are not terrorism. Pearl Harbor wasn't terrorism. Jeffrey Dahmer's murders weren't terrorism. . . . . Terrorism is something quite specific: the intentional killing of civilians in order to achieve a political end. It's the "civilian" part that makes it terrorism and not something else. Perhaps some conservatives think that any violent action committed by Muslims is terrorism, but it isn't.-
As it happens, there's a nice succinct definition of terrorism in U.S. law, section 2656f(d) of Title 22 of the United States Code, which reads, "the term 'terrorism' means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents."
So why wasn't Benghazi terrorism? Because the people targeted weren't civilians. As The Wall Street Journal has reported, "The U.S. effort in Benghazi was at its heart a CIA operation, according to officials briefed on the intelligence. Of the more than 30 American officials evacuated from Benghazi following the deadly assault, only seven worked for the State Department. Nearly all the rest worked for the CIA, under diplomatic cover, which was a principal purpose of the consulate, these officials said." CIA officials are not civilians. That doesn't make their deaths any less tragic or painful for their families, but it's the truth. Nor is a CIA outpost a civilian target.
Of all the things you could say about Benghazi, why is this the one Republicans are so obsessed with? My guess is because they have so little else to work with. But they're being abetted by the Obama administration, which continues to play this game, because they've bought into the idea that if you call an attack "terrorism," that means you're really mad about it and you'll be tough and strong in your response, while if you call it something else you're not very mad and you'll be all wimpy about it.
Well said and accurate.
As noted a week or so ago, the Minnesota Vikings dumped punter and gay marriage and gay equality advocate Chris Kluwe, some speculated because of his outspokenness on gay rights. Kluwe took it with grace and class and felt his advocacy was more important than football. Now, as Fox Sports is reporting, the Oakland raiders have signed Kluwe. For his part, Kluwe says he will continue to be an outspoken LGBT ally. Here are story highlights:
Throughout their history, the Oakland Raiders have seen their share of colorful personalities. And in 2013, they’re adding another, signing punter Chris Kluwe on Wednesday. The signing will be formally announced on Thursday.
Kluwe, who was released by the Minnesota Vikings on May 6, will step in for Pro Bowler Shane Lechler, who left Oakland for the Houston Texans via free agency. Kluwe’s contract is for one year, and is for the league minimum.I wish Kluwe lots of luck. Would that there were more pro athletes willing to really speak out against bigotry and religious based discrimination.
“I’m excited to be an Oakland Raider and be playing in California,” Kluwe, who attended high school in Southern California before going to UCLA, told me on Wednesday. “Now, my family can actually come to games.”
The 31-year-old Kluwe averaged 45.0 yards on 72 punts last season as a Viking. Kluwe is the all-time Vikings leader in average yards per punt (44.4) and second all-time in total punt yards (27,683) and total punts (623). Kluwe is arguably the greatest punter in franchise history
Kluwe is known for his mind and mouth, as well as his leg. He is a vocal advocate of equality in sports (and life), and says he will continue to speak for what he believes. “I’m still going to be myself socially and continue to tweet and interact with my fans,” Kluwe said.
For now, however, Kluwe is hoping for the best. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to play for the next seven years and end my career in California,” the punter, who graduated from UCLA with a double major in political science and history, said.
|Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim|
Yesterday I wrote a follow up post on the out of control crime wave that is gripping parts of the City of Norfolk, particularly around the Old Dominion University campus near my property. The mayor and City Council are pouring many millions of dollars into a new hotel development - over the protest of existing hotels - while slashing funding for neighborhood preservation and doing nothing to address the greatly under staffed police force. I had a lengthy conversation with the head of the Third Patrol of the police force and got a lot of blather about being patient, waiting for the "process to work," etc. Meanwhile the situation is worsening although the City Attorney's office can still find time to harass small business owners, especially those of Arabic descent. It's a frightening state of affairs and as the Virginian Pilot reports, the shooting of an 11 year old boy two nights ago was "random." Yep, thugs and gang members running around with guns and firing off shots at will. That's why my family members have evacuated to Virginia Beach and why my residence is going up for sale ASAP. Here are highlights from today's Virginian Pilot article:
An 11-year-old boy who was shot in the foot while walking in a neighborhood Tuesday appears to have been a random target, police said.
The boy was walking on 31st Street near Colley Avenue about 9:20 p.m. when someone in a dark sedan with tinted windows began firing, police spokesman Chris Amos said. The boy began running and felt a sting in his foot, Amos said.
He was treated for a minor bullet injury. Officers recovered shell casings from the street.
Welcome to Mayor Paul Fraim's Norfolk. As for the perpetrators of the shooting being caught, don't hold your breath. Forensics confirm where the gunfire that hit my home came from and neither the tenant of the property nor the landlords have met with any consequence. The city is headed back to the old days where its not safe to be in some neighborhoods even in broad daylight. Thanks a lot City Council and Mayor Fraim. Norfolk desperately needs a clean sweep of City Council.
Remember how the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops would have people - especially the fools in the pews - believe that the Church has cleaned up its sex abuse problem? And that ALL of the complaints involve very old cases of abuse? News out of Belgium shows that little has changed and that the Vatican has done little to break the droit du seigneur mindset of many in the Catholic priesthood when it comes to having sex with children and minors. Expatica.com has details of the news out of Belgium:
The Belgian Roman Catholic Church said Wednesday it had received more than 300 complaints of sexual abuse of minors in 2012.
Three quarters of the 307 dossiers opened were in northern Flanders, the staunchly Catholic Dutch-speaking and larger half of Belgium.
The great majority of complainants were mature adults, having waited before coming forward after the Church fell into scandal over recent years and with compensation now an issue. Forty-six of the cases raised last year have gone forward for mediation, officials behind the abuse census said.
After similar scandals in the United States, Ireland and Germany, Belgium was rocked in April 2010 with revelations that the then bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, had abused a nephew for 13 years.
Vangheluwe's subsequent decision to quit opened a floodgate of allegations, with one report revealing almost 500 cases of abuse in Catholic institutions since the 1950s, including 13 known suicides by victims.
In September 2011 some 70 alleged victims filed joint legal action against the Belgian Church and the Holy See, the first such class action suit in Belgium and the first such suit involving the Vatican in Europe.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
It's no secret that Lt. Bill Bolling and GOP gubernatorial nominee for governor Ken Cuccinelli hold no lover for one another and that Bolling is likely still livid that Cuccinelli sabotaged Bollings aspirations by changing the nominee selection process from a primary - where Bolling might well have won - to a convention peopled by the most extreme elements of the GOP base in Virginia who salivate at the prospect of an extremist like Cuccinelli in the Governor's mansion. Now, Bolling may be counterattacking for revenge by establishing the Virginia Mainstream Project which aims to elect "mainstream" Republicans to office. No matter what lies and contortions he might engage in, Cuccinelli will never qualify as "mainstream." Not outside of the Spanish Inquisition. Blue Virginia looks at this surprise development. Here are excerpts:
I'm not sure it was Bill Bolling's intention to highlight how OUT of the mainstream Ken Cuccinelli is - just 3 days before the Republican Party of Virginia nominating convention, no less - but this sure does the trick.
Anyway, I for one am happy that Bolling will be a conservative, Republican voice out there highlighting how crazy Republicans like Cuccinelli, Mark Obenshain, Pete Snyder, and Corey Stewart truly are. As an added bonus, hopefully Bolling will suck up a little money that would otherwise go to the crazies.
Finally, perhaps (if we're lucky) Bolling might help to encourage a serious schism within the Republican Party of Virginia, between the traditional pro-business Republicans and the Pat Robertson/John Birch Society wing that we see with the Cuccinellis, Obenshains, and Snyders of the world. Can Bolling lead the Republican Party of Virginia back from tinfoil-hat extremism to sanity? Doubtful, but I'm glad to see he's going to take a shot at it.
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today announced the formation of the Virginia Mainstream Project. The Virginia Mainstream Project is a state-based political action committee that will focus on electing mainstream Republicans to public office and promote responsible policy solutions to the most important challenges facing the Commonwealth.
Lieutenant Governor Bolling stated, “I’m proud to announce the creation of the Virginia Mainstream Project. As I’ve said many times over the past several months, there is a growing need in the Republican Party in Virginia to recruit and elect mainstream, conservative candidates to state and local office and promote responsible policy solutions to the most important challenges facing Virginia. The Virginia Mainstream Project will work to address these issues while encouraging bipartisan cooperation and compromise on the major issues facing the Commonwealth. I am excited about this opportunity to continue to serve Virginia and remain actively involved in the public debate.”
The primary missions of the Virginia Mainstream Project include:
- Recruit, advise and support mainstream Republican candidates for state and local office, with particular emphasis on the House of Delegates in 2013 and the State Senate in 2015.
- Provide a platform to continue discussing the need for mainstream approaches to governing in Virginia that put policy ahead of politics and seek to promote compromise and bipartisan cooperation to solve the most important challenges facing the Commonwealth.
- Develop and promote responsible conservative policy solutions to the most important issues facing Virginia, with an emphasis on fiscal policy, economic development, tax reform, education reform, transportation and health care.
In short, Bollings organization claims to support everything that is diametrically opposite to Kookinelli's position on virtually everything. Cuccinelli wants to give control of Virginia the the Christofascists and Tea Party extremists. The man is a menace to Virginia's future.
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A new Washington Post poll spells really bad news for the gay haters at The Family Foundation not to mention Ken "Bring Back the Sodomy Laws" Cuccinelli. What am I talking about? The new poll shows that 56% of Virginia voters now support gay marriage. The question is whether or not the Republican Party of Virginia will get the message that gay bashing and opposing gay marriage are losers in a general election even if these positions remain popular with the spittle flecked knuckle draggers who make up the GOP base both in Virginia and nationally. As for The Family Foundation, one can visualize would be dominatrix of the GOP, Victoria Cobb, having convulsions on the floor surrounded by pools of spittle. Here are highlights from the Washington Post:
A clear majority of Virginia voters now support legal same-sex marriage, a sharp reversal from a 2006 vote to amend the state constitution to define marriage as for a man and woman only.
There is other bad news for the Republican Party of Virginia:
Attitudes on guns and immigration depart from positions of conservative leaders in the Commonwealth.
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The Virginia General Assembly is nothing to be proud of. But of late, the North Carolina Legislature seems to be working over time to win the prize for insanity and batshitery. It goes without saying, that this insanity directly correlates the fact that the North Carolina Legislature is now controlled by the GOP. The latest demonstration of what the GOP is doing to North Carolina's reputation and image around the country and the world comes from House Bill 695, entitled "Foreign Laws/Protect Constitutional Rights,"which seeks to cure a problem that doesn't exist. Instead, its purpose is to bash Muslims and by extension immigrants in general. The lunacy is mind boggling and yet another example of why I embarrassed to have ever been a Republican. WRAL.com has details. Here are highlights:
House Bill 695, entitled "Foreign Laws/Protect Constitutional Rights," is the most recent iteration of legislation intended to keep courts from recognizing Islamic Sharia law in North Carolina.
Similar measures have been filed or considered in more than 30 other states, but only a few states have voted them into law.
The first version of the legislation was passed by ballot initiative in Oklahoma. It specifically named Sharia and was promptly blocked by a judge who declared it unconstitutional because it singled out a religion.
Since then, newer versions of the measure in states from Arkansas to Florida have been more carefully worded. House Bill 695 makes no mention of religion at all, and it wasn't mentioned in committee.
In 2011, Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, ran the same bill. It, too, passed committee but wasn't taken up before the crossover deadline.
At that time, critics and legal experts warned that the broad language of the bill regarding contracts and foreign venues or courts could violate international treaties and admiralty laws and wreak havoc in international business relationships.
The same issues were raised again Wednesday by Kim Crouch with the North Carolina Bar Association, who said the association's Business Law and International Law committees are opposed to the bill.
The North Carolina Values Coalition spoke in favor of the bill. "We do want to protect our citizens," said Laura McGee. "This bill re-clarifies that."
After House Rules Committee Chairman Tim Moore signaled that the bill was unlikely to pass, Cleveland and co-sponsor Rep. Chris Whitmire, R-Transylvania, agreed to amend it so that it would apply only to family law and child custody issues under sections 50 and 50a of state law.
GOP Rep. Moore said he didn't know of any cases in which North Carolina courts have allowed Sharia or any other foreign laws to infringe on anyone's constitutional rights, but he said the sponsors were trying to prevent that from happening.
The danger of the encroachment of Sharia law is a popular topic on right-wing radio and blogs, but to date, there's little evidence that it's actually happening. Muslim groups say it's a scare tactic used by anti-Muslim activists.
While he was Governor of Virginia, Mark Warner - now a U.S. Senator - was perhaps the most LGBT friendly governor in the history of the Commonwealth. Among other things, he signed an Executive Order barring employment discrimination against LGBT state employees (the Executive Order was continued by Tim Kaine when he became Governor only to die undercurrent GOP Governor Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell). More recently, Warner has endorsed gay marriage and he now continues his pro-gay stance by launching a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court urging the Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") as unconstitutional. Here's what the new petition website has to say:
As noted many, many times on this blog, the Republican Party grassroots - where primaries are carried out - has been hijacked by Christofascists and their closely aligned (if not indistinguishable) cousins in the Tea Party. All of this was allowed by past party elites who saw short term advantage in getting the Bible beaters out to the polls for the GOP. Now, the problem facing GOP candidates is how to win primaries by attracting the spittle flecked, knuckle dragging GOP base yet not utterly alienating more main stream voters who view the Christofascists with distrust at best and outright revulsion at worse. The Daily Beast looks at Rand Paul's current tight rope walk as he tries to please the Christofascists yet not cause general election voters running screaming to Democrats. Here are some story highlights:
What to make of maverick Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s latest speechifying? “I’m not advocating everyone go out and run around with no clothes on and smoke pot,” Paul insisted last Friday while speaking to a group of religious Republicans in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “I’m not a libertarian. I’m a libertarian Republican. I’m a constitutional conservative.” Mindful of evangelical contempt for libertarianism—one attendee told the Washington Post, “Straight libertarianism has nothing Christian about it”—Paul came across as almost desperate to establish that he’s not endorsing state laws legalizing marijuana and allowing for gay marriages.
In a special aired on the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN), Paul talked about his willingness to devolve questions of marriage equality to the states not out of philosophical principle but out of political expediency: “We’re going to lose that battle because the country is going the other way right now,” he said. “If we’re to say each state can decide, I think a good 25 or 30 states still do believe in traditional marriage, and maybe we allow that debate to go on for another couple of decades and see if we can still win back the hearts and minds of people.”
The gap between his remarks to evangelicals and those directed at the party faithful raise the question: Is Rand Paul simply the latest in a long line of Republicans who cultivate libertarian-leaning voters—broadly speaking, people who believe in fiscal conservatism and social liberalism—as they gear up for presidential bids? And then disappoint those same voters almost immediately?
It’s far more likely that if Paul continues to send significantly different messages to different audiences, he will end up alienating all his possible supporters.
One way or another, we’ll be finding out. Paul is set to talk to libertarian-leaning New Hampshire residents later this month and then will be heading to the evangelical hotbed of South Carolina as he continues to test the waters for 2016.
If he’s serious about scraping the moss off the Republican Party, he needs to boldly defend his most contrarian, libertarian positions rather than temper his comments based on his speaking venue.
If the GOP is losing elections, it’s precisely because, as Paul put it at CPAC, the party “is encumbered by an inconsistent approach to freedom.” Independent voters are generally turned off by a party that seems fixated on yesterday’s social mores. Growing majorities of Americans are totally fine with legal pot and gay marriage; fully 80 percent of us believe that abortion should be legal under some circumstances, with 61 percent saying it should be unrestricted in the first trimester of pregnancy.
It yet another sign that the Republican Party remains firmly under the control of the Christofascists, U. S. Senators Lindsey "Palmetto Queen" Graham (pictured above), John "McSenile" McCain, and Marco Rubio have indicated that they cannot support any immigration reform that would allow legally married same sex couples the same rights afforded to non-U.S. citizens in legal heterosexual marriages. It's all about religious based discrimination and trashing the U.S. Constitution's supposed promise of religious freedom for all. As is consistently the case with the GOP, special rights for the Christofascists and the imposing Christofascist religious dogma on all citizens is the norm. The Advocate looks at the latest self-prostitution to haters by these three Senators. Here are highlights:
Three Republican U.S. senators who are part of the "Gang of Eight" have expressed concern over any form of the proposed immigration reform bill that may contain provisions to protect LGBT people.
The senators' proposed immigration reform bill does not currently include provisions to help Americans sponsor their foreign-born same-sex partners to become citizens, just as heterosexuals can do with their spouses. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont introduced amendments to the bill last week to broaden the immigration reform bill to include some provisions for same-sex couples.
"If the [Senate] Judiciary Committee tries to redefine marriage in the immigration bill they will lose me and many others," South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said in a tweet Monday.
McCain said he would do everything in his power to see that LGBT provisions are not in the bill, according to Politico.
Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has also said he would oppose LGBT protections in an immigration reform bill, according to The Huffington Post.
In the House, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York has been a sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act for several congressional sessions. The UAFA would extend immigration rights to same-sex couples and their families. Nadler said in January that it would be "madness" for immigration reform not to include protections for same-sex couples.
Earlier this month, President Obama reiterated previous statements that he would like to for the immigration reform bill to include a provision to allow Americans to sponsor immigrant same-sex partners for legal status.
As noted before, it is far past time that Graham, a/k/a the Palmetto Queen be outed. As for McCain and Rubio, their anti-gay stance provides good cover for rejecting a bill that the white supremacists in the GOP base don't want enacted in the first place.
To listen to the Christofascists one would think that all sexual assaults and illicit sexual behavior is caused by us homos. The U.S. military continues to underscore that the real problem is those nasty heterosexual males who seem to believe that they can behavior outrageously - and in a criminal manner - with impunity. How else to explain the Army's investigation of a sergeant first class responsible for handling sexual-assault cases at Fort Hood, Texas, over allegations that he has engaged in abusive sexual contact and other related matters. Funny how we don't hear any outrage from professional gay haters like Elaine Donnelly or Tony Perkins when the sexual predators are straights. The chart above highlights the magnitude of the problem. The Washington Post looks at the growing scandal. Here are highlights:
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday evening ordered the armed services to immediately “re-train, re-credential and re-screen” tens of thousands of military recruiters and sexual-assault prevention officers as the revelation of another sex-crime scandal rocked the Pentagon.
Hagel’s order came in response to the Army’s disclosure Tuesday that a sergeant first class responsible for handling sexual-assault cases at Fort Hood, Tex., had been placed under criminal investigation over allegations of abusive sexual contact and other related matters.
Investigators are also scrutinizing allegations that the sergeant may have forced a subordinate into prostitution, according to a U.S. official familiar with the case.
The Army investigation comes just 10 days after a lieutenant colonel who led the Air Force’s sexual-assault prevention programs was arrested in Arlington County on charges that he groped and battered a woman in a parking lot.
Officials said the noncommissioned officer had been suspended from duties as an “equal-opportunity adviser” and sexual-harassment and assault prevention officer at Fort Hood, one of the Army’s biggest installations. The Pentagon did not disclose when the allegations first came to light or how many victims may have been involved.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she would introduce legislation Thursday to change military law so that independent prosecutors, not commanders, would be responsible for handling sex crimes and other serious offenses. Military leaders have strenuously resisted such proposals. “It is time to get serious and get to work reforming the military justice system that clearly isn’t working,” Gillibrand said.
The Washington Post reported Monday that military recruiters across the country have been caught in a string of sexual-assault scandals over the past year. The Pentagon, however, does not have a grasp on the extent of the problem because it does not track sex crimes committed by its personnel against civilians before they enlist.
Military officials said most victims are reluctant to press charges because they fear retaliation from their superiors or ostracism from their units, or that investigators won’t take their cases seriously. Lawmakers and victim advocates also blame an unwillingness among many commanders to deal with the problem forthrightly.
Frankly, allowing the military to police itself on sexual assault matters is like leaving the Catholic Church hierarchy to police the ranks of the clergy against sexual abuse. It just does not happen and the problem goes on unabated. Gillibrand is correct that independent prosecutors need to take over sex crimes committed in the military. Meanwhile, the silence of the Christofascists is deafening.
This blog previously reported a brutal anti-gay murder in Russia (a photo of the victim is set out above). As more information comes out it becomes evident that such murders are almost encouraged by the government of Vladimir Putin - himself a former KGB officer - and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church who Putin is courting to shore up public displeasure with Putin's regime. It should be noted that the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church (like the Roman Catholic Church) have for centuries supported foul regimes in exchange for power and privileges - this seemingly has not changed. Queerty has more details. Here are excerpts:
The 23-year-old man brutally tortured and killed in the Russian town of Volgograd over the weekend has been identified as Vladislav Tornovoi. His murder has enraged gay activists who continue to struggle against their country’s blatant dismissal of their rights.
The Moscow-based Investigative Committee initially reported that Tornovoi was killed after he came out to two men he was drinking with during Victory Day celebrations.
The assailants, 22 and 27, “hit him…and then they brutally beat him, set fire to the clothes he was wearing, slashed his anal area and then stuck three bottles in there, again beat him and then threw a 20-kg stone onto his head,” said Andrei Gapchenko, a senior investigator in Volgograd. They face up to 15 years in jail on murder charges.
Just last month, President Vladimir Putin blamed Russia’s declining population on homosexuals, while a national ban on “gay propaganda” looms in the near future.
The social climate is as unfriendly as the political, according to a survey by independent pollster Levada: 50 percent of Russians believe homosexuals should be given medical or psychological treatment, while 5 percent said they should simply be ‘‘destroyed.’’
Gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev argued that investigators noted Tornovoi’s homosexuality “to portray him as someone abnormal…expendable” and downplay the gruesome nature of his murder.
It is beyond to see such hate and bigotry fanned by the Russian government. I will not be visiting Russia any time soon.
|Mayor Paul Fraim|
I previously wrote about the problems that have gone on in the neighborhood around Old Dominion University and the residence I own in Norfolk. Yesterday evening an 11 year old boy was shot - thankfully not fatally - while walking down the street not too many blocks from the ODU campus on Colley Avenue. Sadly, it is symptomatic of the lawlessness that is taking over the area. And things are not improving. The result? My family members are moving out of my house and I've decided to sell the property and invest whatever I make on the place somewhere where law abiding citizens and their receive adequate police protection. Here's coverage on yesterday's shooting incident from the Virginian Pilot:
A 11-year-old boy was taken to the hospital after being shot Tuesday night, police said.
The shooting happened at 31st Street and Colley Avenue, police said in a news release. The boy was shot while walking outside, then ran home after being shot. The boy’s mother told police about 9:10 p.m., that she was taking him to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters.
The boy’s injuries are not life-threatening, the release said. Police did not immediately have a motive or information about the shooter.
Given what has been occurring, no motive may have been involved - just random punks and/or gang members getting liquored up and firing guns (which odds on they have in their possession illegally). Unfortunately, until someone is killed - if even then - Mayor Paul Fraim (pictured above left) and his cronies on City Council will probably not take the situation. They'd rather pour millions of dollars into a new downtown hotel development rather than provide meaningful law enforcement protection to city residents and property owners. Oh, and they focus on harassing small business owners in response to what are miniscule problems compared to what I and the 11 year old boy have suffered. For city residents in other areas of the city outside of downtown, under the current City Council regime, they are on their own. Two photos of my property are set out below.
|Photo before new front railing and new front door completed|
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
We've heard a great deal of late about the Republican Party's alleged outreach to Hispanic voters even as the white supremacists in the party base seem Hell bent on torpedoing any meaningful immigration reform and only too willing to demonize Hispanics whenever possible - e.g., the Heritage Foundation's recent report on the lower IQ of Hispanic immigrants. In Florida - obviously a key state - the outreach effort seemingly is in a complete downward spiral where the State Director of Florida Hispanic Outreach for the Republican National Committee has not only resigned but also registered as a Democrat. Think Progress looks at this embarrassment for the RNC. Here are highlights:
When Republicans appointed Pablo Pantoja to State Director of Florida Hispanic Outreach for the Republican National Committee, they hoped he would be able to bridge the sizable gap that only expanded during the 2012 elections, when the state’s 4.3 million Hispanic voters supported Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a 20 percent margin.
But after months of inaction by Congressional Republicans on comprehensive immigration reform and stiff resistance by Republican-leaning groups like the Heritage Foundation, Pantoja has had enough; on Monday, he announced via email that he was leaving the party and registering as a Democrat:
Friend,Pantoja goes on to specifically cite last week’s revelation — that an author of Heritage’s false report on the cost of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill wrote a dissertation in which he suggested that Hispanics are at a permanent disadvantage because they have lower IQs — as the final straw in his political evolution.
Yes, I have changed my political affiliation to the Democratic Party.
It doesn’t take much to see the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today. I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others. Look no further; a well-known organization recently confirms the intolerance of that which seems different or strange to them.
Republicans have for months tried to find ways to make inroads with the country’s growing hispanic population, especially in the swing state of Florida. Hispanics there turned out to vote at a rate of more than 62 percent in 2012, significantly higher than the national turnout rate of 48 percent and the highest rate of Hispanic turnout in the country.
The Christofascists and white supremacists of the GOP base (which often correlate to a high degree) will yet be the death of the party. Hate and bigotry may play well with the angry elderly white crowd, but it will not win elections, especially at the national level.