Nel's New Day

November 19, 2012

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2012

Every year, supporters of the transgender community hold vigils on November 20 for those people murdered the year before because of hatred and prejudice toward their gender identities. Begun in 1998 after the murder of Rita Hester in Massachusetts, this day is now called the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The transgender community has gained more acceptance during the last 14 years but is far in gains that gays and lesbians have experienced in the same time.

There is a theory that familiarity is the primary reason that people become less prejudiced toward others. For example, as more people realize that their friends and family members are gay and lesbian, the more they think gays and lesbians deserve equal rights. The same has not happened for trans persons because fewer people know members in this community.

I remember the first person I met who I knew was transgender. After my partner and I retired to the Oregon Coast, we opened a bed and breakfast. We had an amazing diverse clientele from people who visited from other countries and couldn’t speak English to conservatives from around the United States. Because the B&B was listed in several LGBT resources, we also enjoyed meeting the gays and lesbians who stayed with us. When one woman returned to stay with us, she told us, with what must have been great fear and trepidation, that she had once been a man who owned a large business in the Northwest.

Since then I have been privileged to know other trans persons, but I still look back at that time as one of personal growth. There is a huge difference between accepting gender identity in theory and being friends with a trans person.

Currently, I am a member of a project called Over the Rainbow. Sponsored by the American Library Association, OTR annually recommends current books with significant LGBTQ content. The reading that I do for this project also extends my knowledge and understanding. I would like to recommend the following books nominated for this year’s list that have brought me greater perception. The first one is from the perspective of mothers attempting to understand their trans children; in three other books, trans women tell of their experiences; a photographer has created a stunningly elegant book; and the last one is an anthology of true stories about transgender sex and sexuality.

Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children. Ed. by Rachel Pepper. Cleis Press, $16.95. 203p. Thirty-two mothers—diverse in age, ethnic background, class, sexual orientation/gender identity, and national origin—write about their feelings and trials after they discovered that their children, varying in ages from six to sixty, are transgender. Each of these narrators makes clear that that children as young as two or three can identify with a gender that their bodies do not display, and they, like their children, experience “coming out” as they transition from denial through protecting themselves and their children to open acceptance.

Ryka Aoki. Seasonal Velocities: Poems, Stories, and Essays. Trans-Genre Press, $14.95. (138p). Beginning with the pain of “Winter,” the writer works toward a feeling of hope in the last division, “Spring.” As Elliott DeLine wrote, “It is unpretentious, beautiful, and intimate. The experience was like getting to know a wonderful new friend. Ryka Aoki is doing great things for the trans community, and she is doing it with grace and style. Seasonal Velocities is smart, compelling, honest, sometimes zany, and always full of spirit.”

Joy Ladin. Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey between Genders. University of Wisconsin Press, $26.95. 255p.  The first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution shares her journey from being a traditional male, married with three children, to her new life as a woman. Ladin uses her past experience of writing poetry to create a beautiful memoir about her losses and pain as she transitions after 40 years of gender dysphoria.

Bornstein, Kate. A Queer and Pleasant Danger. Beacon, $25.95. 258p. Subtitled “The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She Is Today,” the book uses Bornstein’s typical witty, acerbic style in her experiences from Al to Kate Bornstein to “do whatever it takes to make your life more worth living.”

 

Marcus, Jana. Transfigurations. 7 Angels Press, $35.00. 132p. “To be transgendered is to transcend gender boundaries in our society,” Marcus writes in the introduction. These gorgeous black and white photographs feature trans persons, both masculine and feminine, as they change gender identities across cultures and ethnicities to display their pride and diversity. According to the artist, “Transfigurations aims to illuminate who transgender people are, a subject which the mainstream culture has often shadowed in mystery and misunderstood.”

 

Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships beyond the Gender Binary. Ed. by Morty Diamond. Manic D Press, $14.95. 160p. “Twenty-nine transgender, transsexual, two spirit, genderqueer, and intersex writers [discuss] sex, love, and romantic relationships, and how our gender identity shapes and interacts with these parts of our lives,” wrote the book’s editor in his description of this compilation of true narratives. “This book is a love letter to the trans community and beyond, hoping to add truth to the complex trans experience.”

These books give all of us the chance to meet more trans persons.  For those interested in additional information about transgender, check out Matt Kailey’s blog. Jillian T. Weiss also has suggestions for other blogs on the subject.

I ask you to stop for a few minutes tomorrow to think about the people who died because of hatred and rejection for their identities while hoping that we can change the world into a better place.

November 18, 2012

Churches Challenged on Their Control

Good news for all the people who object to religious groups using the pulpit to get their favorite—frequently bigoted—candidates elected while still avoiding payment of taxes on their illegal acts. The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) is suing the Internal Revenue Service for not challenging the tax-exempt status of churches where pastors partisan politick in their preaching.

FFRF filed a lawsuit last Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Western Wisconsin alleging that up to 1,500 pastors participated in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” in early October and endorsed at least one or more candidates in violation of IRS rules for non-profit organizations. Wisconsin. Although FFRF has members and chapters across the US, it filed the case from Madison (WI) because the main office is based there.

Most churches and other religious institutions are classified as 501 (c) (3) non-profits giving them tax-exempt status. In exchange, these organizations cannot participate or intervene in “any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any political candidate.” Although the regulation went into effect almost 60 years ago, a federal court ruled three years that the IRS lacked staff to investigate places of worship after the federal agency re-organized.

Religious leaders know that they can break the law with impunity because not one religious organization has been challenged for electioneering since that court ruling. According to Russel Renwicks from the IRS’s Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division, the IRS is “holding any potential church audits in abeyance” until rules on electioneering could be “finalized.” There is no timeline for this “finalization.”

This lawsuit follows 27 complaints with the IRS this year, including opposition to these actions:

— Roman Catholic Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay (WI) warned voters on diocesan letterhead inserted in parish bulletins that they could “put their own soul in jeopardy” if they voted for a party or candidate that supports same-sex marriage or abortion rights.

— Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria (IL) criticized President Obama in a homily and then exhorted parishioners that “every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences.”

— Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino wrote in the local diocesan newspaper that “No Catholic may, in good conscience, vote for ‘pro-choice’ candidates (or) … for candidates who promote’ same-sex marriage.”

The Washington-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics has filed a similar complaint against the electioneering of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

While religious groups try to control the country, Congress is becoming slightly more diverse. For the first time, a Congressional member is claiming to be a “non-theist.” Unfortunately, the record does not show this: evidently the Congressional statistics does not have a “non-theist” category so Krysten Sinema is classified as “nonaffiliated”—a long way from her actual beliefs. This year ten others—all Democrats, oddly enough—described themselves as “unspecified” or refused to answer the question about religious preference.  Pew Research has created great visuals to show the variety of religions in each of the political parties within Congress.

 

 

My favorite lack of balance in the U.S. government is the Supreme Court with six Catholics, two Jews, and one Protestant.

It’s another apology! The Rev. Gary LaMoine of the Barnesville (MN) parish of Assumption Church has apologized for the actions of 17-year-old Lennon Cihak’s family. Their sin was to publicize the fact that LaMoine refused to deny Lennon religious sacrament because the adolescent supported marriage equality. LaMoine discovered that Lennon supported marriage equality when he saw this photo of the young man on his Facebook. In his letter to the parish, LaMoine referred to “a couple of candidates” who could not “enter into full communion” because they differed with the church.

The Cihaks wanted Lennon to be confirmed but not if he had to lie about his beliefs. Last year the diocese fired a teacher after she expressed concern about Bishop Michael Hoeppner preaching to children in support of the proposed amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. The diocese also donated $50,000 in an effort to pass the amendment.

The young people have the chance to change the United States. On Friday evening, Lennon tweeted: “No matter how much negative feedback I get, I will ALWAYS support the #LGBT community … Support what you believe in!” Thank you, Lennon.

November 17, 2012

Good LGBTQ News

Over 20 years ago, I moved to Oregon with my partner. At that time we had been together for 23 years but never assumed that we could ever be legally married. That was the year before the Hawaii State Supreme Court ruled in Baehr v. Lewin that refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples was discriminatory under that state’s constitution. For the past 20 years we have watched in amazement at the cultural and legal advancements of LGBTQ people. Despite the political backlash as state after state fought LGBTQ rights, little by little there have also been advances.

The year that brought Barack Obama back for his second term may be the tipping point for LGBTQ rights. For the past decade, we have mourned the votes in the states that made marriage equality illegal and celebrated the few openly-LGBTQ candidates who were elected to office. Common knowledge presented the idea that only the courts and legislatures would legalize same-sex marriage because no state had ever decided this by a popular vote. This year turned the tide.

Three states—Maine, Maryland, and Washington—approved marriage equality while a fourth state, Minnesota, refused to create a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Contests for LGBTQ candidates covered 37 states, including North Dakota and Virginia; they won seven of eight federal races, 71 of 94 state offices, and 40 of 50 local offices. This 77-percent win exceeded the 65 percent in 2010. The number of state legislatures with no openly-LGBTQ members also shrank from 17 to 10.

Tammy Baldin (D-WI) became the first openly-LGBTQ person ever elected to the U.S. Senate. Six other LGBTQ candidates were elected to the House. Teacher Mark Takano became the first openly-gay person of color in the House when he was elected in conservative Riverside (CA). Mark Pocan will replace Baldwin in her former House district, and Sean Patrick Maloney will represent a New York district.  Reps. Jared Polis (CO) and David Cicilline (RI) were re-elected.

Tina Kotek became the first openly lesbian to lead at a statehouse when she joined four gays who will lead either state houses or senates. Mark Ferrandino’s leadership of Colorado’s House is particularly ironic because his predecessor, Republican Speaker Frank McNulty, killed a civil union bill poised for passage by sending it back to committee last May after it had enough votes to pass. If openly-gay Colorado state Sen. Pat Steadman becomes president of the Colorado Senate, the state will be the first one to have gay leaders for both chambers of a state legislature. Washington state House chose openly gay state Senator Ed Murray to lead them, and two incumbent speakers will hold onto their positions: Rhode Island Speaker Gordon Fox and California Speaker John A. Perez.

Stacie Laughton (NH) is the first transperson elected to a state legislature, and Krysten Sinema is the first bisexual to be elected the U.S. House. She’s also a “non-theist”—and from Arizona, of all places. In Texas, Mary Gonzalez self-identified as a pansexual, ran unopposed in the general election to represent El Paso in the state legislature.

Bisexual Kate Brown won re-election as Oregon’s secretary of state, despite a well-funded Republican challenge and opposition by 14 state newspapers, including the somewhat progressive Register-Guard in Eugene. All the elected officials named above are Democrats: the only openly-LGBTQ Republican running for Congress, Richard Tisei, lost his Massachusetts race to Rep. John Tierney.

A younger generation of LGBTQ leaders also won their races, including Craig Cassey, who was elected to D.C.’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC). Twenty-year-old Cassey is the youngest out gay person ever elected to office. In Maine, 21-year-old Justin Chenette was also elected to Maine’s House of Representatives, becoming the youngest state legislator in the nation.

The young people will make the difference in legalizing marriage equality: two-thirds of voters under 30 support same-sex marriage. Yet pockets of marriage equality support are popping up all over. In the mid-sized Nebraska town of Grand Island, near where I was born, the city council passed an anti-discrimination policy in hiring LGBTQ employees. After the 6-4 vote was vetoed by the mayor, the council took another vote and passed the same policy by 8-2, enough to override the mayor’s veto. It appears that at least two council members didn’t take well to the mayor’s demand that the yes-voters explain their reasons.

Another victory for LGBTQ rights came in Iowa on Election Day when Justice David Wiggins kept his position. He was one of seven judges who unanimously ruled to overturn Iowa’s marriage equality ban. Conservatives unseated three of the justices, Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit, in 2010. Terms for the other three justices in Varnum v. Brien are up for retention in 2016.

Nine states, Washington, D.C., and two Native American tribes have now legalized same-sex marriage. There is hope for legislative gains in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in February. Maine opposed marriage equality by a popular vote of 53 to 47 percent three years ago, the same number that legalized same-sex marriage this year.

Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, takes comfort in the 30 states that have constitutional amendments banning marriage equality. On the other hand, Steve Schmidt, adviser for John McCain’s and George W. Bush’s campaigns said, “The die is cast on this issue. Why should we sign a suicide pact with the National Organization for Marriage?”

The biggest question for the next few months surrounds the Supreme Court.   While SCOTUS has moved back its conference to decide whether to hear any DOMA cases to November 30, the rights activists have been consistently winning same-sex marriage rights in lower courts despite the $1.5 million that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has poured into opposing these cases.  As taxpayers, you may be paying more to opposed marriage equality because House Republicans voted that the cap on legal costs can be raised. Even those who opposed marriage equality admit that they have no constitutional grounds and that the laws have been passed out of “animus.” (You can sign a White House Petition asking President Obama to oppose the discriminatory DOMA.)

Although Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, has stated the belief that the Supreme court will end marriage discrimination, he cited the long struggle before restrictions on interracial marriage were abolished almost a half century ago.

Demographics indicate that the LGBTQ voters may have given the edge to Barack Obama’s win: according to a study by Gary J. Gates of the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of law, the president carried a three-to-one edge in exit polls among the 5 percent of voters who identified themselves as LGBTQ. The president won by approximately 3 percent.

“Elections have consequences,” Tea Party members were fond of saying two years ago. Janice Daniels, the elected mayor of Detroit suburb Troy, discovered that when she was forced into a recall and then lost her position 52 to 48 percent. After New York legalized marriage equality, she wrote on her Facebook, “I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there.” Then she compared the dangers of the “homosexual lifestyle” to smoking cigarettes.

Daniels doesn’t understand that the dangers of being LGBTQ come from other people. An award for bravery goes to David Kuria Mbote, Africa’s first openly gay Black political candidate running for national office outside South Africa. The senate hopeful from Kiambu County is campaigning in a Kenya that punishes same-sex intercourse as a crime and in an Africa where, according to Gay Star News, “it is illegal to be gay in 25 out of 38 nations. In Uganda, homosexuality is punished by life imprisonment, and in Mauritania, Sudan, and northern parts of Nigeria gay people face the death penalty.”

November 15, 2012

GOP: Party in Search of a Reason

Since Mitt Romney lost the election, the Republicans are either angry or despondent. Romney told his top donors that President Obama won by providing “extraordinary financial gifts” to a targeted audience—like minorities, women, and the poor. I’m guessing that once again he didn’t know he was being recorded. Despondent and angry might fit the Florida man who killed himself because Romney lost—although there might be other descriptive words.

Another excuse emerged in Wisconsin to explain why Romney lost, at least in that state. State Sen. Alberta Darling, Romney’s state campaign co-chair, is absolutely convinced that Romney would have won in Wisconsin if the state had mandatory photo ID for voting. Romney lost by 200,000 votes, meaning that she assumes there are that many cases of voter fraud. Eight years ago, a study found of the approximately 3 million votes cast in Wisconsin, “only seven were declared invalid—all of which were cast by felons who had finished their sentences and didn’t realize they were still barred from voting. As a result, Wisconsin’s overall fraud rate came in at a whopping 0.00023 percent.”

There must be something in the Wisconsin water. Re-elected state Sen. Glenn Grothman is convinced that President Obama and Tammy Baldwin probably won their elections due to fraud and that eventually he’s “going to have to lay down the gauntlet” on the people who enforce Obamacare. He plans to “talk to some more people,” explaining that “some people are of the opinion that Democrats cheat.” He and Sen. Darling will have lots to talk about when the Wisconsin legislature goes back into session.

Another way that Republicans identify voter fraud is by skin color. Charlie Webster, the head of the Maine GOP, is positive that his state experienced voter fraud because blacks voted on Election Day. “Nobody in town knows anyone who’s black,” Webster said. Actually he does know “black people,” including “a black guy” he plays basketball with every Sunday. Webster wouldn’t tell the media which towns and the number of “black” voters. Megan Sanborn, a spokesperson for Secretary of State Charlie Summers, said that his office had not heard any complaints about voter fraud on November 6 and there was no noticeable increase in Maine’s African-American voting turnout.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is still trying to figure out how to not count legitimate ballots. It’s getting harder after federal Judge Algenon Marbley ordered him to keep certain provisional ballots and issue a new directive regarding these ballots. The judge further ruled that Husted’s directive just before Election Day violated a previous court ruling and state law. Currently Husted is waiting for direction from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. If its ruling agrees with the lower court, Husted has until the end of November to figure out how to count all the ballots.  Ohio still has about 300,000 uncounted ballots, about the same number as in Arizona.

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/11/14/1187341/mccain-hypocrisy-susan-rice/  Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is so convinced that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is “not qualified” to be Secretary of State that he said, “I will do everything in my power to block her from becoming Secretary of State.” McCain might have more credibility if he hadn’t chosen Sarah Palin for the position “a heartbeat away from the presidency.” And also if he hadn’t voted for Condoleezza Rice to be Secretary of State after she was so mistaken about the “weapons of mass destruction.”

McCain also took after a CNN reporter who asked why McCain was having a press conference about needing more discussion about Benghazi at exactly the same time that he failed to attend a classified briefing on Benghazi provided by the Senate Homeland Security committee. McCain is a ranking member of that committee.  Pressed after he said that he had no comment, McCain raised the agitation a notch: “I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?” McCain then accused the reporter, Ted Barrett, of “badgering” him. McCain is almost alone in his virulence against Rice, supported only by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC).

Republican business leaders are still threatening their customers and employees. Obamacare hasn’t gone into effect yet for employers, but John Metz, who owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings chain and is a franchisee of dozens of Denny’s and Dairy Queen restaurants, said he will reduce employees’ hours and pass a 5 percent surcharge onto his customers because Obama was re-elected. He also plans to reduce his employees’ hours.

Meanwhile, David Siegel, the CEO of Westgate Resorts who threatened to fire some of his 7,000 employees if President Obama were re-elected, has given all of them 5-percent raises. He had reason to: last year was the most profitable year in the company’s 42-year history, according to Siegel.

Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter declared that Obamacare would break them unless they raised prices for pizza. First, the cost increase is less than $.04 per pizza, and second, Papa John’s competition is delighted. But Papa John has even more problems now. A U.S. lawsuit filed in Seattle claims that the company violated state and federal law when they had the marketing company OnTime4U send 500,000 unsolicited—and illegal–text messages to Papa John’s customers across the U.S. Damages could be more than $250 million. The lawsuit caused stock to fall severely before adjusting at $.34 lower.

 

The question keeps arising, how unethical are Republicans? (When you finish laughing, you can read on.) Today the media broke the story that Karl Rove’s pet super-PAC, the same one that got a 1.39 percent return for its hundreds of millions of dollars in expenditures, never legally filed any paperwork to be a super-PAC. According to Josh Israel,

“When Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (GPS) formed in 2010, it established its official address in Warrenton (VA) and registered with the Internal Revenue Service a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) “social welfare organization.” It apparently did not, however, register as a charitable organization with the Commonwealth of Virginia, as appears was legally required. According to state code, non-profit groups that intend to solicit contributions must first register with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs. Groups must pay an annual fee ($325 for groups raising over $1 million annually), provide basic information about their operations….”

The organization registered with Virginia’s corporation commission but never registered to solicit contributions in the state. Crossroads’ tax identification was never registered with the Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs, vital to keep its contributors secret the way that the organization did. A spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stated that they will be notifying Crossroads GPS of the law. If Rove’s group ignores this order, she noted that state law told “provides for both civil and criminal penalties” if the group can be shown to have made such solicitations. I’m not holding my breath that any action will be taken against Crossroads and Rove.

Once upon a time there was a Republican U.S. representative from the South who was completely anti-abortion. Then people found out that he not only had a mistress while he was married but also tried to convince the mistress that she should have an abortion to save the man’s marriage. People in the South tend to vote for Republicans even when they don’t follow all the rules that they make for other people, so the representative was re-elected.

Now there’s another chapter in the life of Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), luckily for him after the election. His recently-released divorce proceedings show that he and his former wife made a “mutual” decision for her to have two abortions. In court, DesJarlais testified that his ex-wife’s first abortion was because she was taking an experimental drug, and the second was because they were having marital problems. On his campaign website, DesJarlais wrote, “All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life.”

Oh, and the mistress? She was a patient of Dr. DesJarlais. And she wasn’t the only patient who he had an affair with. There is proof that he wrote prescriptions for pain killers for at least one of the women, and other women with whom he had affairs claim that he did the same for them. That was while he was chief of staff at a local hospital. Both the affairs with patients and the prescriptions are in violation of the state ethics law.

Normally, I say that people’s sex lives are their own business, but this is a man who votes against women’s rights and marriage equality because he claims to be anti-abortion and pro-family. Those votes make his private life my business—and the business of everyone else in the country. And now he’s one of the House Republican majority for the next two years.

November 14, 2012

Macke Needs to Try Harder

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:33 PM
Tags: , , ,

When I was young, I learned that an apology has two parts:  the action for which I’m apologizing is wrong, and I recognize that I was wrong in doing this. Following is a statement from Tricia Macke, anchor of a news show on WXIX, a Cincinnati Fox affiliate.

“I recently posted comments on my personal Facebook page regarding cable news anchor Rachel Maddow which were insensitive and inappropriate. I apologize to Ms. Maddow and any others who may have been offended by my comments, as they do not reflect my firm beliefs in individual and equal rights, and they certainly do not represent the opinions or position of my employer WXIX-TV.”

Nowhere do I see any indication that she believed her action was wrong or that she was sorry for what she had done. There was the obligatory “I apologize to anyone who might have been offended…” which is meaningless.

The reason for Macke’s faux apology began on October 12 when Macke posted on her personal Facebook page, “Rachel Maddow is such an angry young man.” A reply compared her comment to making racist jokes, and Macke responded, “I’m sorry. I should have said antagonistic.” Another person wrote that calling Maddow a “man” was offensive, and Macke then answered, “I knew what I was saying.”

It was not until the Gay & Lesbian Alliance against Defamation (GLAAD) and Equality Ohio addressed the issue with her employer that Macke issued her “apology.” She was also suspended from work for two days last weekend although the television station refused to say whether her statement was related to this action. The station did submit the following statement with the same apology “to anyone who may have been offended”:

“We have received several expressions of concerns about a recent Facebook posting by FOX19 Anchor Tricia Macke on her personal Facebook page. Tricia’s response is provided below and is also posted on her personal Facebook page. We also apologize to anyone who may have been offended by her comments.”–WXIX Station Management

In its objection to Macke’s statement, GLAAD said “referring to Maddow as a ‘man’ because she is a gay woman is completely unacceptable for someone in the business of journalism.” The organization’s president, Herndon Graddick, said, “Macke owes an apology not only to viewers, but to young people in Ohio who are subjected to unfair bullying and harassment like this on a daily basis.”

[Left: Tricia Macke; right: Rachel Maddow]

Rachel Maddow, an internationally recognized journalist with her own show on MSNBC, will certainly not suffer because of Macke’s ignorant remarks. Always gracious, witty, funny, and charming, Maddow will move forward in her extremely successful career.  The losers from Macke’s cruel, bullying comments are, as Graddick pointed out, the young people, not just in Ohio but anywhere else that Macke’s comments and other similar ones are passed along. According to recent statistics:

  • 9 out of 10 LGBT students have experienced harassment at school.
  • LGBT teens are bullied 2 to 3 times as much as straight teens.
  • More than 1/3 of LGBTQ kids have attempted suicide.
  • LGBTQ kids are 4 times as likely to attempt suicide then our straight peers.
  • LGBTQ youth with “highly rejecting” families are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them.

Even if Macke doesn’t care about LGBTQ youth, she might want to consider the effect of her statements on straight children. For every lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth who is bullied, four straight students who are perceived to be gay or lesbian are bullied. The stigma and hostilities caused by this anti-LGBTQ bullying result in health risk behaviors, such as skipping school, smoking, alcohol and drug use, and sexual risk; these risks exist as much for heterosexual youth perceived to be lesbian or gay as for non-heterosexual youth who try to keep their sexual orientation hidden.

Macke has five children: chances are good that one of them and/or some of their friends may be part of these horrifying statistics. Her behavior will make life harder for them and for their friends. Hopefully, she will learn understanding and compassion for youth without any tragedies to those she loves. In the meantime, two days suspension is far too little consequences for her inexcusable statements. Macke is over 40 years old: she should understand that as a journalist, she is a mentor to many young people.

Her biographical page for Fox 19 states: Abraham Lincoln said, ‘whatever you are, be a good one.’  I try.” I hope that she starts to try harder after this experience.

 

November 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:15 PM
Tags: , , , ,

With all the big stories out there—especially the David Petraeus scandal—some of the other information is falling through the cracks. Here’s an attempt to pull them back out.

Bobby Jindal shows the deep schism in the GOP with this statement: “It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that. It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”

One newly elected Republican senator also understands the GOP’s serious problems. Ted Cruz, a Canadian-born Cuban-American from Texas told The New Yorker: “In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat. If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat… If Texas is bright blue, you can’t get to two-seventy electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party.” Cruz indicated that he might be aiming for the presidency. There may be a crowd in 2016.

Former VP Republican candidate Paul Ryan (doesn’t the word “former” sound wonderful!) has another reason for his loss. He had no idea that the “urban turnout” would be so huge. Is there something about vote suppression that he knew and we didn’t? Whatever it was, it didn’t seem to work. And another question for Rep. Ryan (R-WI). When he bragged that he and Mitt Romney would win, he said that could justly claim a mandate to push through his initiatives. He lost. Maybe that means that Barack Obama and Joe Biden now have a mandate to push through their initiatives. 

Wisconsin is still as crazy as ever. Refusing to accept that Obamacare is the law of the land, nine members of the state legislature serving for the next two years are backing a bill to arrest any federal officials who try to implement the health care law. Eight of these nine also want to write a law that would see Transportation Security Administration agents charged with sexual assault if they conduct pat-downs of passengers going through airport security. Other positions they support are carrying guns without permits and blocking state funding for the federal Real ID law that requires states to develop more secure driver’s licenses.

The GOP is finding less and less support for their opposition to Obamacare. The latest poll, one from the Kaiser Family Foundation poll, shows that 49 percent of Americans want this health care as compared to 33 percent for the opposition to the Affordable Care Act. The percentage of approval just keeps growing.

In their public statements since President Obama was re-elected, conservatives have been speaking about the GOP compromise for the tax problem—to follow the Romney proposal. The Republican definition of compromise is still “do exactly what we want.” They have a few days left to legislate, considering that they meet a small percentage of the time, in the less than seven weeks before the 112th Congress is finished.

There’s a good chance that Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) will chair the House Judiciary Committee, starting in January. This is the man who thinks that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. In fact, he thinks most of what the government does is unconstitutional.

Arizona still can’t decide one House and one Senate seat because over 324,000 ballots of the 1.8 million cast in the state are still not counted. Although the count must be finished by Friday, the pace is slow—only 18,000 finished today. Meanwhile Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) assumed that he had been elected for the Senate without the counts done and showed up at the freshmen orientation, one of only three new Republican senators as compared to the eight Democrats. Krysten Sinema, a bisexual woman who calls herself “non-theist,” has been declared the winner of a House seat after an extremely tight race, making four Democrats and four Republicans in the House from this traditionally red state.

The ninth House seat is up in the air, lacking counts and in court after Republican contender Martha McSally wanted some of the ballots pulled for improprieties. She seemed fine with the counting process until she started losing. A judge left the decision open this afternoon regarding McSally’s demand for a half to 130 ballots, ordering that the ballots be counted and kept separate until a later ruling.

At this time, Democrat Ron Barber, former aide to Gabby Gifford who was seriously wounded almost two years ago, has a lead of 879 votes. The number of uncounted ballots from this district, CD2, is not available, but 26,000 ballots are still not counted in Pima County where Barber has a lead of 8,700 votes. McSally is ahead by about 8,000 votes in Cochise County that still has 9,000 uncounted ballots, including 2,300 provisional ballots that must be verified.

The infamous Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio who is positive that President Obama’s birth certificate is false, who has declared a vendetta against Hispanics, and who perpetrated a large number of abuses on the prisoners of the county jail is losing his lead. In the past few days, it has gone from 53 percent to 51 percent with tens of thousands of county ballots still not counted.

Megyn Kelly may have had the best quote of Election Night when she said to Karl Rove on the Fox network as he scrambled for numbers that would prove Romney had not lost Ohio: “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?” This is the woman who complained about Candy Crowley’s moderating of the VP debate, had a hissy fit about Sandra Fluke who Rush Limbaugh had designated as “slut,” and declared pepper spray “a food product” after students at UC Davis were shot in the eyes with the high-grade commercial product.

After this one slip, Kelly is back in the fold, calling Bill O’Reilly’s racist remarks “interesting.” Her contract is up this coming summer, and Howard Kurtz guesses that she may be headed for greater things than a daytime show.

At a white supremacist rally in North Carolina, the 50 protesters from the National Socialist Movement and the KKK were outnumbered five to one by red-nosed, squeaky toyed clowns who threw white flour in the air every time that the protesters chanted “White Power.” The protest was expanded with the presence of 75 police officers.

 

November 12, 2012

What To Do about the Filibuster

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:48 PM
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Ever since President Obama took office, I’ve tried to explain to my Republican friend that he wasn’t in control of the entire Congress because of the filibuster. It’s one of those uncomfortable facts that Republicans just refuse to understand. Very simply, anyone objecting to anything in the Senate doesn’t have to stand up and talk ad infinitum as in the 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. They just need to call in from their comfortable homes far away from the state capitol and say that they are filibustering. In fact, Senate rules allow one person to anonymously obstruct any Senate action. The current process is a long way away from Sen. Strom Thurmond’s filibuster on August 27th, 1957 when he stood on the Senate floor to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1957 for a record 24 hours and 18 minutes. He brought provisions, dehydrated himself in a steam room so he wouldn’t need to urinate, and read state statutes and other government texts aloud.

When the 113th Congress took over in early 2011, there was talk in the Senate of reforming institutional rules to curtail the filibuster abuses. Nothing happened, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is now truly irritated about the Republican filibuster approach. As he pointed out, there was one filibuster during Lyndon Johnson’s entire six years; in fact, during the 55 years between 1917 and 1972, only 82 cloture motions were filed. That’s an average of one and a half each year. The past six years after the Republicans lost control of the Senate, they have filibustered almost 700 times. Just last year, the Republicans filed 109 cloture motions during a time when they weren’t present in Washington much of the time. That’s more than in 55 years. By the time that the 112th Congress finishes, there are sure to be more than the 112 of 139 motions in the the 111th  Congress.

Chart showing the growth of filibusters during the past 65 years

Right now, filibuster rules require 60 votes for the chamber to enter and exit the amendment and debate process. With the massive number of filibusters, the Senate looks dysfunctional, causing the public to have an approval rate of single digits during the past few years. A big criticism of President Obama from the right is the lack of judicial appointments. The fact is that he appoints them, and the Republicans filibuster the appointments.

There have been a number of suggestions on filibuster reform:

  • Make the filibuster a sliding scale, the older the bill, the fewer the number of people needed to overcome the filibuster. This option was originally introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) several years ago.
  • Require debate in order to filibuster, the traditional Mr. Smith Goes to Washington approach. Some political theorists believe that this approach can be abused.
  • Change the wording of the procedural filibuster from three-fifths of the Senate membership to three-fifths of those present to vote. This would eliminate the popular tactic of hiding members who would otherwise vote for a bill but have party pressure not to let it hit the floor, by making them hide in the cloak room. Other takes on the tactic include having the minority party declare its members on vacation, preventing a vote from reaching the 60 needed by not having enough people in the chamber to even vote.
  • Eliminate the filibuster entirely. This could cause issues down the line when the current majority becomes a minority, and is not considered likely.

Almost two years ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), promised that he would use procedural delays “with discretion.” Instead, the GOP prevented the Senate from even beginning to debate bills and then bogged down debate with scores of amendments that weren’t related to the proposed bill. McConnell has not appeared very conciliatory after the president won a second term: in his first statement after Election Day, he wrote, “Now it’s time for the President to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely-divided Senate.”

Reid wants to prevent filibusters on “motions to proceed” to allow the Senate to begin debating a bill. Nothing will be done about changing the rules until the beginning of January. The rules can be changed by a simple majority on just one day, January 3, 2013 for the 113th Congress.  The Senate will have a stronger Democratic presence: it picked up two more Democrats resulting in 55 out of 100 senators as well as two progressive independents, and it will be rid of weak Democrat-running, Rupublican-philosophy senators such as Ben Nelson from Nebraska.

Any change in the process would be better than the existing rule in which  Republicans only need to say “I object,” even anonymously, to stop all debate on a bill. GOP members did this almost 300 times in the 2009-2010 Senate, including blocking appointments needed to complete the implementation of the financial services reform law. That one came back to bite them. They blocked Elizabeth Warren, who will be sitting in the Senate with them as Scott Brown’s replacement from Massachusetts, the same Scott Brown who used the filibuster to bargain away key provisions of that law.

The Founding Fathers didn’t intend to require a 60 percent approval of the Senate to move forward. The first actual filibuster didn’t appear until 1837, and a solution for ending the filibuster was not in the Senate rules until 80 years later under Woodrow Wilson. The current ruling for filibusters came into being in 1975.

As might be expected, the Republicans are into heavy-duty whining about how the Democrats want to cut them out of the decision-making process. Conservatives refuse to recognize that the GOP has already worked hard to do that to Democrats.

November 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:11 PM
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It’s Sunday, and the evangelicals are preaching their venom to whomever will listen—much of it against women. American Family Association president Tim Wildmon and research director Ed Vitagliano told  WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah why President Obama was re-elected. “Researching” the opposition’s campaign strategies, Vitagliano determined “they hooked women to Obama through these Hollywood stars” like George Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker. Vitagliano figured out that women voters simply think, “‘I love George Clooney, George Clooney loves President Obama, therefore I love President Obama.’” Tim Wildmon added, “This was history made Tuesday night in this respect: a fellow won re-election for president who was by all measurements a failure, an utter and complete failure.”

I know that many of the Evangelicals refuse to believe facts about climate change and evolution, but they are going over the edge in their inability to understand that women really can think for themselves. Is it possibly that men think women evaluate situations this way because that’s the way they themselves figure out the best candidates? Bill Maher frequently states that conservatives live in a bubble; this is the Evangelical bubble about women.

Even farther out on the edge is the column from Christian Men’s Defense Network. It seems that even some of them felt a little embarrassed, or at least uncomfortable that everyone was reading their rants, because they made the site “private.” Even the copy of it that I found has disappeared. I did, however, capture the following quotes before the group went underground.

 “The ‘gender gap’ should more accurately be called the slut vote… The Democrats have won the black vote by first “empowering” single black mothers. This is now beginning to happen in white suburbia, except unlike women in the urban black community, white suburban sluts start from a place of relative wealth and privilege (daddy’s little princess).  So instead Obama appealed to rich white sluts by forcing someone else (the Catholic church, in this case) to pay for their birth control, and by scaring them about alleged threats to their ability to take advantage of Planned Parenthood’s services (Planned Parenthood being conveniently located in the minority part of town, of course, so as to provide anonymity to visiting white girls whose white girl friends never go over there–except to visit Planned Parenthood themselves).

“One thing one has to remember about women, especially slutty ones:  They usually don’t make decisions based on reason. ..  Admittedly, the desire to slut it up isn’t the only factor in the gender gap.  America has a fiscal problem primarily because women want free stuff without ever having to work.  America is over-regulated because women don’t want to have to compete in the free market.”

Leah Taylor – photo

The Evangelicals are also determined to promote their propaganda in public schools. In one case, now wandering the courts for the past five years, concerned a teacher, John Freshwater, who went far past hanging religious posters in his room, asking students about their religious beliefs, and distributing worksheets to students opposing evolution while refusing to let the students take these materials home. It was the burn marks in the shape of a cross on a 13-year-old boy’s arm that led his parents to go to the school and complain.

When Freshwater was fired, he demanded a hearing before the school board and then an administrative hearing. After both went against him, Freshwater filed a lawsuit charging that his right to free speech and academic freedom had been violated. After failing in lower courts, the Ohio Supreme Court announced in July that it will hear Freshwater’s appeal. His case is being handled by the Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based legal group that asserts in court papers that the teacher’s academic freedom rights have been violated.

“Academic freedom was once the bedrock of American education,” Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead said in a media statement.  “What we need today are more teachers and school administrators who understand that young people don’t need to be indoctrinated. Rather, they need to be taught how to think for themselves.” Two federal appeals courts and one state supreme court have ruled against teachers making this claim. In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District a federal judge declared the teaching of intelligent design to be a violation of the First Amendment.

Catholics and Fundamentalist Christian got a great deal of attention during  the last election—only five days ago—with their rationales of why abortion should be illegal under any circumstances, including rape. According to these religions, women are property. In their reading of the  Bible, a man can give his daughters in marriage, keep concubines, have sex with his wife’s servants, or claim a desirable war captive as his own sexual property after a series of rituals to purify her. But in no case, including in the New Testament, is the woman’s consent required for sexual contact.

Punishment for rape relates only to male honor, tribal purity, and the belief that a non-virgin woman is damaged goods. According to the Bible, men can kill a woman for voluntarily giving up her purity. A rapist can be forced, essentially, to buy her.

The Biblical tradition of male supremacy begins with Eve: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). The only purpose for sex is to produce male offspring. Abraham’s wife Sarah sends the slave girl Hagar to “lie with” her husband when she herself cannot conceive. In the only Biblical story about declining to produce a child, Onan refuses to father a son for his deceased brother and is killed when he spills his seed on the ground instead.

The children then become property, to be sacrificed if necessary, with God in control. God killed the first-born sons of the Egyptians in the Bible’s tale of Moses. Even in the New Testament, God gives his only son as a sacrifice.

The Catholic bishops and the Fundamentalists didn’t win this time; let’s keep it that way.

Aside (something to pray for): Florida has lost its claim as being the craziest vote-suppression state in the nation to Arizona. Because of the huge number of provisional ballots (think Hispanic vote) and non-count of early ballots uncounted, the state still has over 500,000 votes to count. In a state like Ohio or Florida, that’s not sizable; in Arizona it’s almost one-third of the vote. And the counts are close.

At 6:00 pm yesterday, Democrat Ron Barber was 289 votes ahead of his opponent for the House seat vacated when Gabby Giffords was seriously wounded by a shot in the head at a Tucson rally. In part of that district, Cochise County, 2,328 of the early ballots haven’t been counted yet. There’s also another oddness in Cochise County: 433 votes disappeared between the second and third count reports.

In Maricopa County, 322,000 ballots haven’t been counted for several House seats; in one district Democrat Kyrsten Sinema leads Vernon Parker by 4,710 votes, roughly 2.5 percent of votes counted. Richard Carmona, Democratic senate candidate, trails Jeff Flake by 75,000 votes, but Arizona has yet to tabulate over 500,000 ballots for the election.

In Arizona, Maricopa County gave out incorrect voting information to Latinos before the election, Jeff Flake’s senatorial campaign spread misinformation about polling places in robocalls, and, in 2008, the ACLU called Pima County (Tucson metropolitan area) tops in the country for voter suppression because officials threw out 18% of the provisional ballots cast.

And the Supreme Court is thinking about throwing out the Voting Rights Act. Yeah.

BTW: Louisiana is the first state to file a petition to secede from the Union.

November 10, 2012

GOP Needs to Look Back to 1956 Platform

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:25 PM
Tags: ,

The latest excuse for Mitt Romney’s loss: President Obama was too hard on him. The entire GOP has accepted Romney’s lies and gone into deep denial about the falsehoods of Romney’s advertising and his debate statements. The president should complain about Romney’s mendacity during the campaign.

Business facts for example. During the last four years, the DOW increased from 8,000 to 13,000, and the NASDAQ doubled. The president cut taxes for small businesses, including the $200 billion in tax relief. Corporate profits are at their all-time high. Federal taxes from corporations fell to 12.1 percent of profits, far below the 25.6 percent average between 1987 and 2008. Small businesses with fewer than 25 works and average wages of less than $50,000 receive tax credits to provide health coverage for workers. Mandated state health insurance exchanges starting in 2014 allow small businesses to buy coverage at a lower cost.

If the GOP wants any chance of winning, they might consider reinstating their own platform from 1956. It supports equal pay for equal work, expanded unions, trust-busting and anti-monopoly laws, the United Nations, correction of inequities in taxation, and national parks. At that time the GOP wanted to desegregate the schools, expand a “soundly financed system of transportation,” strengthen Social Security, and provide a national health care plan. In their 1956 platform, the Republicans “endorse the present policy of freedom for the Federal Reserve System to combat both inflation and deflation by wise fiscal policy.”

In the 1956 platform, Republicans wrote about Dwight Eisenhower’s re-achievements during his first term—“the highest wages and the highest standard of living ever enjoyed by any nation.” The GOP platform bragged about raising wages “substantially” during Eisenhower’s first term as well as increasing the minimum wage and extending Social Security benefits. Other virtues were to “protect the working standards of our people.” In addition, “[Since the 1952 platform] unions have grown in strength and responsibility, and have increased their membership by 2 millions.”

The GOP was so proud of these actions that the platform aimed to “stimulate improved job safety of our workers” and “improve the effectiveness of the unemployment insurance system.” A goal was to “revise and improve the Taft-Hartley Act so as to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions, management, the individual worker, and the public.” Because the Republicans of 1956 considered “that the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of the people is as important as their economic health,” it had “created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as the first new Federal department in 40 years.”

“The Republican Party supports an immigration policy which is in keeping with the traditions of America in providing a haven for oppressed peoples, and which is based on equality of treatment, freedom from implications of discrimination between racial, nationality and religious groups, and flexible enough to conform to changing needs and conditions,” according to the 1956 GOP platform. It also stressed the important of resources’ conservation across the United States.

“America does not prosper unless all Americans prosper,” and “government must have a heart as well as a head.” And finally, “we recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment providing equal rights for men and women.”

Compare these ideas to the current GOP platform that wants to make English the official language, curtail marriage equality, put more people in prison, reduce benefits to people, consider returning the dollar to the gold standard, keep the U.S.-controlled Mariana Islands from having any minimum wages, and repeal the 16th Amendment because it allows federal taxes. The current GOP platform also supports a “personhood” amendment that would convey full rights to a human fertilized egg.

Republican candidates also want to eradicate the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; diminish the area of national parks; ignore equal pay; reduce the minimum wage; and eliminate unions. If the GOP were in the majority, they would get rid of national health care, Social Security, welfare, regulations to protect workers, and any financing for the infrastructure.

The equal rights amendment isn’t even a consideration now.

As Marc Fisher wrote in The Washington Post:

“The Republican Party, viewed through its quadrennial platform documents, is consistently business-oriented and committed to a strong defense, but has morphed over the past half-century from a socially moderate, environmentally progressive and fiscally cautious group to a conservative party that is suspicious of government, allied against abortion and motivated by faith.”

Yet the “Republican’s” don’t understand why everyone doesn’t flock to their policies. Even reasonable members of their own party, such as David Frum, can’t convince them that they have lost the right to call themselves “conservatives.” The GOP destroys, not conserves.

The United States has moved so far to the right that many Democrats don’t follow the ideas of the 1956 GOP platform.

November 9, 2012

Republicans Show Themselves Jerks

Some GOP members behaving like spoiled rich kids—which, with Super-PACs, is what they are! Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is a prime example. Swept into the 112th Congress with other extremist Tea Party members, West accused the Congress of sheltering 81 Communists among the Democrats and called Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as “vile” and “despicable” after she said that West had a large number of Medicare clients in his district. He also said President Barack Obama, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and others should “get the hell out of the United States.”

Before West ran for the House, he had been relieved of his command in Iraq after he violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice laws on torture. Although his $17 million, mostly from out of state, overshadowed the $3.6 million of his opponent, Patrick Murphy, West failed by 2,456  votes, a margin of 0.8 percent. Now West is screaming ballot tampering and suing Murphy.

On another note, when President Obama telephoned House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to extend the arm of bi-partisanship and affirm his intent to move forward on addressing the looming “fiscal cliff,” the Commander-in-Chief was unceremoniously told that the pair was “asleep.” An awkward beginning for the Republicans to “work across the aisle.”

One of the major meltdowns came from Glenn Beck, former Fox host, who told people to buy guns and farmland. He added, “If you live in the East, may I recommend get the hell out of the East. Find a place where you are surrounded by like-minded people and the best way to find those people is, you should probably look at the maps on how counties voted… May I highly suggest you get grandfathered in to the second amendment today. Oh and don’t forget the ammunition.”

Huffington Post collected some of the most common GOP whines: The media selectively reported Romney’s gaffes; fact-checkers were biased (yes but against President Obama); Hurricane Isaac hit the Tampa convention; Romney was too nice in his advertising; Superstorm Sandy and NJ Gov. Chris Christie were to blame; Obama won by “suppressing the vote”; Romney wasn’t conservative enough (which Romney?); Obama was backed by the 47 percent; and  America’s white establishment is now a minority. The GOP sees the last one as a problem because, according to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, all minorities, including women, “want stuff.”

My two favorites. Americans are basically ignorant: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) may be right but if true, that whine hurt, not helped, the president. And liberals bought the election. Liberals got 20 percent—at best—of the super-PAC money, and they “bought the election”!?

Rhetoric in the past year has accelerated about racism: liberals have written about racist attitudes toward President Obama, moderates claimed it didn’t exist, and conservatives (aka Fox News) have called the president a racist. Now it’s definitely out in the open. Hundreds of students at “Ole Miss,” for example, rioted, shouting racial slurs just like 50 years ago when violent rioting followed the forced integration with James Meredith’s enrollment as the school’s first black student. Mississippi is also the state in which 46 percent of the Republicans think that interracial marriage should be illegal. Floating Sheep has analyzed locations of the racist tweets following the election. They seem to match the voting patterns of the geographical areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the GOP will never admit is that the amazing amount of gerrymandering that the Republican states accomplished after their sweeping election in 2010 is the only reason that they maintained the House. When these legislators crammed all the Dems into small areas, the rest of the states turn red, as shown by Ohio and Pennyslvania.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although House Republicans have kept a similar majority to the last Congress,  237-197 majority plus or minus four seats, more than half the people in the country voted for Democrats.  In areas where Republicans can’t control the districts—the Senate and the presidency–Democrats won outright. That’s why there’s a group of GOP legislators who want to repeal the 17th Amendment and let state legislatures determine the senators, so the GOP can take over the Senate too.

Everyone this year worried about who would vote. Democrats were concerned that people wouldn’t show up, and the GOP hoped that the people who voted in 2008 would not bother to go to the polls this year, partially because of the heavy GOP vote suppression. They were wrong. People of color comprised 28 percent of the voters, 2 percent higher than in 2008 and 5 percent more than in 2010; young voters comprised 19 percent of the vote this year, 1 percent up from four years ago and way up from only 12 percent in 2010. Some people think that the reason for the increases was the GOP’s suppression strategy. Senior turnout stayed the same, but liberals went up 3 points to 25 percent of voters in 2012. At 35 percent, conservatives were down 7 points from the 2010 vote.

Although the president went from 59-percent support of whites in 2008 to 55-percent support this year, he made up the difference among minorities, increasing among Hispanics from 67 percent in 2008 to 71 percent in 2012. One report indicated that the Hispanic support may have been greater because Spanish-dominant Latinos are undersampled because they are poorer and live in less assimilated communities. Latino Decisions pool found Latino support for Obama at 75 percent nationally and up in swing states. Asian-American support rose from 62 percent in 2008 to 73 percent this year. Those who said that the president’s marriage equality position would lose him big-time among black voters were wrong; his 93-percent support showed only a 2-point drop from 2008. The GOP appeals to none of these groups in the majority.

The GOP plans an exhaustive search into the reasons behind their loss of the presidency and Senate. Asked about the GOP’s demographic problems, Boehner said: “What Republicans need to learn is: How do we speak to all Americans? You know, not just the people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans?” Some hard-core conservatives claim the problem stems from being too far left—just move to the right. Collecting information will not do the GOP any good: Republicans will not accept these facts any more than they accepted the polls.

Charles Krauthammer, an old white man, is the classic example of the GOP’s refusal to look at the people in 21st-century United States. His take on Hispanics? Their only liberal issue is immigration. Thus Krauthammer puts 16.7 percent of the country’s 300+ million citizens into a tiny box. His solution is “Border fence plus amnesty.” He then suggests that running Marco Rubio (R-FL) is enough to win the Hispanic vote, a racist assumption that people vote for those of their own race in spite of different beliefs in policy.

According to Krauthammer, the rest of minorities, including women, are all liberal.  Again he shows his ignorance about the face that many blacks are actually conservative. Krauthammer wrote that the majority of women are anti-choice, but 60 percent of the 2012 voters want abortion legal in all or most cases.

Despite the failure of massive amounts of money for conservative causes and candidates and the open attempts at voter suppression to achieve a presidential win, Krauthammer repeats the GOP mantra: “The problem here for Republicans is not policy but delicacy–speaking about culturally sensitive and philosophically complex issues with reflection and prudence.” It appears that women’s issues such as forced transvaginal ultrasounds just need to explained with “delicacy.”

Chances are good that the GOP wants to believe Krauthammer and will continue down the same path while they  will ignore conservative columnist George Will’s succinct conclusion: “Demography is destiny.” Keep it up, GOP. I don’t want you to change your position. It’s what makes you lose.

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