Wednesday, December 08, 2010

President Obama on Bullying Deaths from Suicide

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ghost of the Liberal Lion Visits Senator Scott Brown

One can imagine our beloved departed Ted Kennedy in the form of the Ghost of Christmas Future from Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" must have visited Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown and shown him what it is like for GLBT people to live under the tyranny of state sanctioned discrimination. Brown has stated that he will vote to repeal the military policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", a move that is bound to incur the wrath of local anti-gay group leader Kris Mineau from Massachusetts Family Institute as well as from other hate groups across our country.

UPDATED: As expected Kris Mineau has asked his fellow haters to bombard Sen. Brown with phone calls to try and intimidate Brown into changing his mind:

"Last Friday, we received some disturbing news from the office of U.S. Senator Scott Brown. Despite pledging to uphold the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy during his campaign last winter...Senator Brown announced on Friday that he had changed his mind and had decided to support the repeal that would allow open homosexuality in the military."
 CLICK HERE to email Senator Brown

Feel free to use the link here, it has been changed to go directly to Brown's official government website. We should add our voices to their prattle to make sure reason triumphs over cowardice and fear mongering

I am sure Kris Mineau will try to deflect accusations of intimidation, so here is proof; one of his past efforts to intimidate during his failed attempt to end marriage equality in Massachusetts:

Here is the link to Kris Mineau's group that shows this shamefully overt act of intimidation still proudly displayed on one of the website's he is affiliated with.


Brown had previously not announced a position on the repeal, saying in May that he wanted to wait on a Pentagon study of how such a repeal would be implemented. That study came out this week, and found that ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy would not harm long-term military effectiveness.
In Brown's own words:
“I have been in the military for 31 years and counting, and have served as a subordinate and as an officer. As a legislator, I have spent a significant amount of time on military issues. During my time of service, I have visited our injured troops at Walter Reed and have attended funerals of our fallen heroes. When a soldier answers the call to serve, and risks life or limb, it has never mattered to me whether they are gay or straight."
Special thanks go to our friends at and their Tweet Alert of this breaking news.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Announcing Transgender Awareness Week 2010: Nov 13 – 20th

 Be sure to keep a lookout for new articles relating to Transgender Awareness Week:

Announcing Transgender Awareness Week 2010: Nov 13 – 20th

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Exodus, Focus on the Family Defend Violent Status-Quo in Schools

From Truth Wins Out:

Eight religious-right organizations — three of them, identified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center — are escalating a war of words against antibullying programs in U.S. schools.
Exodus International, Focus on the Family, Americans for Truth, Liberty Counsel, Mission: America, MassResistance, Illinois Family Institute, and Abiding Truth Ministries are leading three campaigns to smear the Day of Silence, which is an April 17 event planned at 8,000 U.S. schools to “just say no” to verbal, sexual, and physical assault.
All eight organizations oppose antibullying programs unless they exclude gay youths. Instead, these organizations want same-sex-attracted youths to be compelled by abusive peers and school faculty to be admitted — or worse, involuntarily detained — in amateur-operated and unsuccessful ex-gay boot camps.
Because of these organizations’ callous indifference to violence, youths are dying and parents are suing school districts for negligence, reckless endangerment, and complicity in violence committed by the children of antigay parents.
Exodus this year has assumed responsibility for a Day of (Un)Truth which encourages antigay students to ignorantly and mistakenly assert that anyone can change their sexual orientation and therefore — Exodus reasons — no antiviolence programs are necessary in schools. Exodus defines organized opposition to antigay violence as a sinister promotion of the “homosexual agenda.” Exodus claims that its event, scheduled for April 20, aims to promote conversation in schools. But in fact Exodus refuses to engage in discussion of antigay violence either in North America or in Uganda, where Exodus continues to be complicit in a campaign to promote vigilantism, involuntary ex-gay detention, and imprisonment against gay Ugandans.
Focus on the Family, meanwhile, is collaborating with Exodus to espouse one-way tolerance of antigay students in a “True Tolerance” campaign which redefines tolerance to permit 1) privileges for antigay evangelical bullies to relentlessly insult and threaten classmates during school hours on school property, combined with 2) character assassination and official efforts to silence those who oppose antigay violence and who, therefore, are accused of promoting a supposed “homosexual agenda.”
Six other far-right organizations are, if nothing else, honest about opposing conversation in schools: They support a “walkout” — a pseudo-Christian excuse for antigay students and misinformed or negligent parents to play hooky on the day when their peers are taking positive steps to stop on-campus violence. Scott Lively’s “Abiding Truth Ministries” headlines the recent Uganda ex-gay conference which launched a campaign of antigay vigilantism in that nation. Americans for Truth is a nameplate for antigay activist Peter LaBarbera, whose sexually graphic website produces offensive homoerotic pornography for consumption by antigay donors and antigay private-school assemblies.
Box Turtle Bulletin offers a detailed analysis of each campaign by self-styled Christians to defend antigay violence and oppose positive steps to restore safe learning in schools.

Posted April 15th, 2009 by Michael Airhart

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the former Dutch politician who made her own way from Somalia, escaping outrageous circumstances as well as her arranged marriage to a cousin and is the author of Infidel, a book I've just finished and strongly recommend to others as worthwhile reading to better understand some of the pitfalls in the Muslim religion. She is also the co-creator of the film short Submission Part 1 that caused so much controversy and resulted in the murder of Dutch director Theo van Gogh. The similarities I find in our lives, as well as the conclusions we both reach fascinate me; I hope you find this informative and inspiring.

Friday, June 11, 2010

DA Early, Is THIS The Office You Run?!

Some people will argue that Ben LaGuer is guilty as convicted, but I doubt anyone would argue that the errors made from the time of the investigation right up through this year begs the question: what's going on at the Worcester DA's office? 

During LaGuer's last parole board hearing ADA Sandra Hautanen claimed LaGuer was lying about having been offered a plea bargain in 1983, yet the evidence proves LaGuer was telling the truth.

We can add this newest error to a long list of errors already known in just this case:
  • Why did a knife found at the scene of the crime that a police lieutenant mentioned in his police report and which he testified to on direct and cross examination at trial disappear from the evidence?


  • Why did the late Leominster detectives Ronald Carrignan and Keith LaPrade lie about the way in which they executed a search warrant for Ben’s apartment attesting that they took "nothing" when in fact 8 socks and a pair of underwear turned up in subsequent inventories?

  • Why did police surreptitiously and illegally take socks and underwear from LaGuer’s apartment?

  • Why was the jury kept from knowing about victim’s history of severe mental illness?

  • How might the jury have responded had they known the extent of the victim’s mental illness and that she exhibited symptoms at the time of the crime, both before she was attacked and in period leading up to the trial?

  • Why was no physical evidence whatsoever introduced at LaGuer’s trial leaving the jury to convict him exclusively on the power of the victim’s courtroom identification of him?
  • Why didn’t police investigate a likelier suspect by the name of Jose Gomez whose mother had lived in the building, who had a documented history of sexual misconduct, who was acquainted with the victim and who resembled LaGuer?

  • If the evidence against LaGuer was so strong then why did the commonwealth offer him a plea bargain under which he would have been free in 1985?

  • Why did police and prosecutors hide a fingerprint report generated the day LaGuer was arrested showing that four prints found on the base of the telephone, the cord of which was used to bind the victim’s wrist, were not his?

  • Why did the images of a set of four latent fingerprints retrieved from the crime scene disappear from the evidence?

  • Why was a key piece of evidence, underwear marked as belonging to the suspect, removed from the evidence just before a 1989 hearing on a motion for a new trial?

  • Why did the late Judge Robert Mulkern deny a motion for a new trial in spite of a sworn affidavit that members of the all-white male jury had repeatedly uttered prejudicial and ethnically derogatory remarks before the trial began and extending into the deliberations?

  • Why did someone write “also Benjie’s underwear” on a copy of the State Police forensic report that was faxed from the Worcester District Attorney’s office to the Leominster Police on July 8, 1998?

  • Why was then assistant district attorney Sandra Wysocki inquiring about the whereabouts of biological evidence related to the victim in a letter dated July 8, 1998?

  • Why, in an April 2001 press release, did then District Attorney John Conte make a demonstrably false claim in an attempt to explain Wysocki’s seemingly illegal foray into the evidence?

  • Why didn’t authorities look into possible links between Jose Gomez and this crime after Gomez was charged with a similar rape involving a different victim in 1998?

  • Why was a seal Judge Mulkern had placed on the box in 1989 found to be broken when a private investigator discovered the evidence on October 2, 1999?

  • Why, if the case allegedly involved a prolonged attack involving multiple episodes of vaginal and anal rape, did a 2002 DNA test reveal only a trace reading of male DNA which experts have since determined is of a level significantly more consistent with contamination than with the description of the crime?

  • Why have recent rulings against LaGuer included references to blood type evidence in the 1983 forensic report that has been proven to be incorrect?

  • Why has nobody been called to account for the litany of lies, irregularities, and misrepresentations associated with this case since the day LaGuer was arrested?

I have one question for District Attorney Joseph Early; is this the sort of justice the citizens of Worcester can expect from you? 

Monday, June 07, 2010

Gallup Poll Shows Majority of Americans Approve of Gay/Lesbian Relations


Results of Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey have been released and the data shows a milestone has been reached in the acceptance of gay and lesbian people in America. For the first time in the poll's ten year history, "the moral acceptability of gay and lesbian relations" has crossed the 50 percent threshold with 52 percent of respondents finding gay relationships morally acceptable while only 43 percent took issue, a new low. Perhaps even more noteworthy, the Gallup poll suggests that the largest change in attitudes over the last four years has come from men, and in particular younger men. 

Conducted each May, the survey has also documented a slight decrease in opposition to gay marriage this year, though a 53 percent majority are still opposed, while support for the legality of gay consensual relations has again gone up this year but still hovers at a slightly depressing 58 percent. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

UPDATE: George Rekers Resigns From NARTH

"I am immediately resigning my membership in NARTH to allow myself the time necessary to fight the false media reports that have been made against me. With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight these false reports because I have not engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever. I am not gay and never have been."   --George A. Rekers, Ph.D.
NARTH responds:

NARTH has accepted Dr. Rekers' resignation and would hope that the legal process will sufficiently clarify the questions that have arisen in this unfortunate situation. We express our sincere sympathy to all individuals, regardless of their perspective, who have been injured by these events. We also wish to reiterate our traditional position that these personal controversies do not change the scientific data, nor do they detract from the important work of NARTH. NARTH continues to support scientific research, and to value client autonomy, client self-determination and client diversity.

This all coming on the heels of the still breaking story that this anti-gay activist who is co-founder of the Family Research Council hired a 20 year old male escort to accompany him to Europe.  The escort in question has since been outed and is talking to the media:

The new revelations were reported by the Miami New Times in a May 6 article. The escort, dubbed "Lucien" by the Miami New Times, reportedly told the press that Rekers favored a technique called the "long stroke," which the young man said involved contact "across his penis, thigh... and his anus over the butt cheeks." Added Lucien, "Rekers liked to be rubbed down there."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Senator Tisei: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

In the Boston Herald:

State Sen. Richard Tisei says the gay community can thank Republicans for gay marriage. “The margin of victory was provided by Republicans,” Tisei told Boston Spirit Magazine, a gay publication.
The comment was in reference to four GOP state senators who voted to keep same-sex from going to a public vote.
 Let me be among the first to throw up the red flag and scream "Foul!" This is about as true as saying Mitt Romney is pro-abortion. Let no one forget that it was the Democratic Party that overwhelmingly supported marriage equality, and it was the Republican Party's public policy that GLBT people are undeserving of that equality. No Senator Tisei, we don't thank the Republicans for "gay marriage" as you call it. We thank those strong few individuals who had the courage and fortitude to stand against bigotry and vote against their party's policy for the betterment of our society and the future of our children. From the 2008 National Republican Platform we find the following:
"Because our children’s future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage, we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it."
From page 13 of the 2010 Massachusetts Republican Platform we find the following:
"We consider discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran status, or national origin to be immoral, and we reject hatred, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance."
Notice how sexual orientation is missing from the list of things the Republican platform considers discrimination even though it is state law? From the Boston Spirit Magazine we find more ugly truths:
"But during the recent GOP state convention, after social conservatives circulated a transgender-baiting flier—smearing a pending civil-rights and hate-crimes bill by labeling it “bathroom bill”—it’s going to be a tough sell.  Apparently, the Baker committee approved the tactic.

The flier read: “Charlie Baker opposes the ‘bathroom bill.’ And if it came to his desk, he would veto it.—Paid for by the Baker committee.”
Tisei is running alongside Charlie Baker as his Lt. Governor against the incumbent Governor Deval Patrick with the campaign platform that they can do a better job. Senator Tisei, you can start with telling the truth about your position on GLBT rights and how you differ from all the self-hating republican legislators out there who do harm to the GLBT community with their votes. Tisei may be openly gay now, however he is unmarried even after 16 years with the same "partner", and he still runs with a "pac" that is actively anti-GLBT, and at this moment I find these facts irreconcilable, for what it's worth.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Leading Ex-Gay Activist Caught On Vacation With ‘Rent Boy’

A major anti-gay figure that used to work at University of South Carolina, Rekers is a founder of the Family Research Council, a board rekersmember of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, and testified as an expert witness in favor of gay adoption bans in both Arkansas and Florida. He has also published several anti-gay books.

Behind the Scenes, George Rekers Is A Major Anti-Gay Figure Who Has Caused A Great Deal of Harm, Says TWO 

NEW YORK – Truth Wins Out called on anti-gay activist Dr. George A. Rekers to resign from the board of a leading “ex-gay” therapy group and apologize to the LGBT community after the Miami New Times discovered that he took a male prostitute that he met on to Europe. According to the sex worker, Rekers “likes younger guys to hang out with.”
“This is a bombshell that completely discredits the ex-gay industry and proves that the movement is a fraud,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “While Rekers keeps a low public profile, his fingerprints are on almost every anti-gay effort to demean and dehumanize LGBT people. Lobby groups that work to deny equality to LGBT Americans ubiquitously cite his work. Rekers has caused a great deal of harm to gay and lesbian individuals.”

Both the sex worker and Rekers deny having sex on the trip, and emails exchanged between the two prior to their escapade are carefully worded. Reached by New Times reporters Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp, who broke the story, before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned that the man in question was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. “I had surgery,” Rekers said, “and I can’t lift luggage. That’s why I hired him.” (Though medical problems didn’t stop him from pushing the large baggage cart through Miami International Airport, according to the New Times.)
“It is clear that Rekers has baggage and certainly needs help,” said Besen. “At least he did not say he was walking the Appalachian Trail. Given the sordid and tawdry facts, he should immediately step down from NARTH’s Board and apologize to the LGBT community for his extreme hypocrisy and self-loathing. As of today, his entire body of work on LGBT issues is rendered meaningless.”
This is the second NARTH board member to be exposed as a fraud in the past three months. In February, Arthur Abba Goldberg was unmasked as a con artist who had served prison time for bond fraud. Goldberg was also the co-fonder of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH). Goldberg resigned from NARTH’s board in shame.

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community against anti-gay misinformation, counters the so-called “ex-gay” industry and educates America about the lives of LGBT people. Our goal is to fight for a world where LGBT individuals can live openly, honestly, free of discrimination and be true to themselves.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ben LaGuer Seeks Parole After 26 Years

Ben LaGuer's story reads like a sequel of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird". He begins his early adulthood as a typical well liked "good kid" who was never in any sort of trouble. LaGuer was a member of the drama club who quit school and joined the Army. After being honorably discharged he comes home to Leominster, MA from Germany shortly after his 20th birthday, and in the midst of making plans to attend college he finds himself the suspect of an horrific attack on his neighbor, Lennice Plante, age 59.What happens next is a series of events so strange that they defy belief.

It now seems evident that because LaGuer matched a physical description of the attacker given by the victim he was pulled in and the case was built around him. Detective Ronald N. Carignan must have been sure this was a slam dunk case, at least until the fingerprints came back as not a match. It would have been nice to have a better look at those prints, but they were lost and there existence was never actually shared with the defense council. Other items have "gone missing" or been mislabeled, like the shirt LaGuer is wearing in his mug shot and how it is now listed as evidence found at the scene. What is even more disturbing is pondering the motive Det. Carignan could have had to give false details on a warrant to search LaGuer's apartment and how items where taken that where not documented. Carignan also gave false details at the grand jury indictment hearing, some of which the victim herself contradicted.

Somewhere along the line someone in law enforcement must have realized what was going on here and decided it would be best to keep the public feeling safe by sticking to the idea that police had caught the culprit rather than allow fear to spread and have panic ensue. An all white all male jury was presented no physical evidence and only the sole testimony of a frail old victim who we now know was insane at the time she was on the witness stand; her medical records sealed prior to trial. One of the jurors reported that he heard another juror say "Look at the Spic, he's guilty just sitting there. Why should we even bother having a trial? LaGuer was convicted anyway, and instead of taking the plea bargain he was offered for two years if he confessed he got a life sentence.

After 15 years served LaGuer was denied parole because he refuses to admit to a crime he claims he did not commit. The same has happened after 20 years in spite of the fact that he has earned a degree from Boston University Magna Cum Laude as well as a PEN award. Now LaGuer has served 26 years on a very questionable conviction and has proven himself rehabilitated if one wanted to assume his guilt. Does it really serve our public good to continue to deny him freedom solely because he refuses to admit guilt to a crime he adamantly denies being guilty of?

I have a bit more insight since I have personally known Ben LaGuer since 2006 when I wrote an article questioning Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey's usage of LaGuer's case to besmirch Gov. Deval Patrick. He contacted me to thank me for writing about him and our interactions became common. The more time I invested into knowing who LaGuer was and the details of this case the more I came to my opinion that he is innocent. No guilty man keeps himself in jail when all he would have to do to be free is tell the truth. Only an innocent person would refuse to admit guilt even at the cost of their own freedom. We have examples of this right here in Massachusetts that are irrefutable; the Salem Witch Trials. Let's hope that both common sense and justice prevail on April 22, only days before his May 1st birthday. He has spent more than half his life in prison, 24 years longer than if he had plead out.

If you wish to share your opinions with the board the phone number is  (508) 650-4500.

UPDATED: From the website it has been made public that LaGuer may be seriously ill.

In other news Dr. Benjamin Smith of Lemuel Shattuck hospital
reported that an area of my liver has a lesion "highly worrisome
for hepatocellular carcinoma given the size of the lesion and in
light of the patient's history of elevated alpha-fetoprotein."
(2/3/10) I am concerned that if I am released from prison
needing treatments, I'll no longer enjoy the healthcare that the
prison currently affords me.

Also, here is a link to the information on the other more likely culprit as mentioned on this blog by a commentator. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Catholic Church's Troubles Continue

 Written by Wayne Besen, director or

In my column this week I wrote:
Whether it’s groping by priests or greed on Wall Street – institutions that don’t change in the face of crisis and public indignation will eventually become irrelevant. If history has shown one truism, it is that nothing is too big to fail.
It seems the disintegration of the church is happening faster than I had imagined. Consider the following stories in the past two days:

The Associated Press
A German man who says a priest sexually abused him as an altar boy is demanding an apology from Pope Benedict XVI and compensation “even if the church goes bankrupt.”
Wilfried Fesselmann said then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is ultimately to blame for allowing the priest to continue in his pastoral duties.
“It is an insolence that the Catholic Church was only busy with covering-up and moving the priest around for years instead of dismissing him,” Fesselmann said in an interview this week with The Associated Press.
Fesselmann claims a chaplain, the Rev. Peter Hullermann, forced him to sleep with him and practice oral sex when he was an 11-year-old boy in the western city of Essen.
The New York Times
The priest, convicted of tying up and abusing two young boys in a California church rectory, wanted to leave the ministry. But in 1985, four years after the priest and his bishop first asked that he be defrocked, the future Pope Benedict XVI, then a top Vatican official, signed a letter saying that the case needed more time and that “the good of the Universal Church” had to be considered in the final decision, according to church documents released through lawsuits.
What is important to consider is that these are not isolated incidents. The unrelenting faucet of facts keeps dripping and shows no signs of slowing. The more people speak out – the more other victims are emboldened to do so.

The Papacy of Benedict XVI is essentially over. He has lost his moral authority and the trust of Catholics and others worldwide. Each day he remains, the Pope strains the credibility of the Catholic Church and exacerbates the public relations nightmare. If Pope Benedict XVI loves his church, he will step down.
This is the type of disaster that can happen when hard-headed social conservatives run a church. They are so unwilling to compromise, change their ways or accept reality – that they continue to repeat the same devastating mistakes – even as they go through contortions to play the victim or blame others for their own personal failures.

Not even finger pointing at innocent gay people will work this time. The Pope is left swimming on his own in the middle of the ocean without a life-vest. As the sordid and tawdry headlines continue unabated, this most uninspiring pontiff is headed towards inglorious infamy. ~End

For more reading on this subject here are some of the many pertinent links:
New York Times Coverage of Roman Catholic Sex Abuse

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Time We Address the "Tea Klux Klan" -TransGroit

Enough is enough! Where did the courage Americans are famous for go? When was it replaced by goose stepping conspiratorialists Hell bent on dividing our populace who seem all too hungry to accept those lies unchallenged? For a nation that claims to be Judeo-Christian based is seems ironic how often the primary principles of these religions can be forgone, like the Ten Commandments for example, where we swear not to bear false witness against one another. How can such blatant lies against our own President go unchallenged? Because America has gotten soft and cowardly and no longer has the courage it had once to stand up against what's wrong and accept what it costs us. Our forefathers did it for us, their descendants, are our prosperities less deserving of the same?! Perhaps all we need is a good kick in the pants and a dose of reality. Please read this letter from our friends at TransGriot and take action:

Dear friends,

It's time to hold the Republican Party accountable. You've probably heard about Tea Party members shouting "Nigger!" at Black Congressmen during a protest in Washington, D.C. last weekend. One of the protesters spat on Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, while another called openly gay Representative Barney Frank a "faggot" as the laughing crowd imitated his lisp.[1]
But Saturday was just the most recent example of the intolerance and hate coming from right-wing extremists this past year. At times it's been instigated by Republican leaders. When not, it's usually condoned and seen as part of a strategy to score politically. Either way, it's completely unacceptable and has to stop.

It's time to confront Republican leadership and force them to take responsibility for the atmosphere they've helped create. Please join me in signing ColorOfChange's petition confronting Republican leaders about hate and fear-mongering in their party, and ask your friends and family to do the same:

We're calling on RNC Chair Michael Steele, House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to publicly do two simple things:

- Unequivocally condemn bigotry and hate among their supporters, and make clear that those who embrace it have no place in their party.

- Make clear that they will not tolerate fear-mongering and coded appeals to racism from officials in the Republican party, at any level.

Republican leaders publicly denounced Saturday's ugly scene, but they failed to acknowledge that this is only the latest incident in a pattern of violent rhetoric, racially charged imagery, and paranoid conspiracy theories at Tea Party rallies.[2] Many Tea Partiers aren't simply about dissent -- they use fear and hatred to assault the very legitimacy of our elected leaders. It's the worst America has to offer. Despite this, Republican leaders court the Tea Party movement while methodically supporting, exacerbating and exploiting their fear and anger for cynical political ends.[3] This is nothing less than a betrayal of American values, and it's up to us to force the Republicans to stop aiding and abetting this enterprise:

The Tea Party movement has been marked by racially inflammatory and violent outbursts since its inception a year ago. GOP leaders are trying to pass off this weekend's assaults on Congressmen Lewis, Cleaver, Clyburn and Frank as isolated incidents. But when so-called "isolated incidents" crop up again and again, a pattern starts to emerge. The examples are numerous.

At rallies held to protest tax day last year, Tea Partiers carried signs that announced "Obama's Plan: White Slavery," "The American Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama's Oven," and "Guns Tomorrow!"[4] The Republican National Committee had endorsed the rallies, and RNC Chairman Michael Steele encouraged Tea Partiers to send a "virtual tea bag" to President Obama and Democratic Congressional leadership.[5] After reports of the fear-mongering signs surfaced, Steele did nothing to distance his party from the lunatic fringe. He has even gone so far as to say that if he didn't have his current position, he'd be "out there with the tea partiers."[6]
The Tea Party's venomous rhetoric picked up steam over the summer, when angry mobs flooded town hall meetings legislators had organized as sites for rational, civil debate on health care reform. After one meeting in Atlanta, a swastika was painted on the office of Congressman David Scott (D-GA), who had also received a flier addressed to "nigga David Scott."[7] Some protesters showed up at town hall meetings carrying guns, including at least one man who was armed at an event where the President was speaking.[8] Again, Republicans responded to these tactics with silence, doing nothing to denounce them.

Our country deserves better than this. No matter what party one supports, we should all take strong action to support civil, honest, and respectful public debate. Please join me in calling on Republican leaders to denounce racist rhetoric and fear-mongering, and reject it from their party. And when you do, please ask your family and friends to do the same:

Monica Roberts

4. See Reference 2

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wayne Besen's Take on Teabaggers in Washington Protesting Health Care Reform

From Wayne Besen's excellent blog we find the following, which is shared with his permission:

Teabaggers Storm Washington, Hurl Anti-Gay and Racist Epithets

Posted March 20th, 2010 by Evan Hurst

Yeah, these people have grievances, but they don’t have a damn thing to do with the healthcare reform bill they claim to oppose. Most of them don’t even know what’s in the bill in the first place.

Via John Aravosis, first we have the anti-gay bigotry:

Things are getting pretty heated in the Capitol with crowds of anti-Reform/Tea Party activists going through the halls shouting slogans and epithets at Democratic members of Congress.

As our Brian Beutler reports, a few moments ago in the Longworth office building, a group swarmed a very calm looking Henry Waxman, as he got on the elevator, with shouts of “Kill the bill!” “You liar! You crook!”

Not long before, Rep. Barney Frank got an uglier version of the treatment. Just after Frank rounded a corner to leave the building, an older protestor yelled “Barney, you faggot.” The surrounding crowd of protestors then erupted in laughter.

And then the outright racism:

Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) claimed Saturday that healthcare protesters at the Capitol directed racial epithets at Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) as he walked outside.

Carson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus along with Lewis, told The Hill that protesters called Lewis the N-word.

Tea Party protesters held a rally outside the Capitol on Saturday, which included speeches by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and actor Jon Voight, and then proceeded into the halls to lobby members at the 11th hour.

Teabaggers always whine when people suggest that their movement is, at its core, a racist movement. I’d go further. They’re not just garden variety racists, they’re straight up white supremacists. This sycophantic white trash doesn’t deserve a place in our national discourse.

In case you missed it the other day, watch this video. Look at these stupid people who can’t even answer elementary questions about why they hate the health bill so much. They can’t answer them because they don’t know. They haven’t read the bill. They couldn’t read it if they wanted to. All they know is that they’ve been activated by their corporate overlords like the useful, racist, hateful morons they are.

A Letter From President Obama About Our Health Care Victory

John --

For the first time in our nation's history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.

Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:

Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.

Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.

And we'll finally start reducing the cost of care -- creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.

But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.

It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.

It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.

And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.

This is what change looks like.

My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you.

This day is not the end of this journey. Much hard work remains, and we have a solemn responsibility to do it right. But we can face that work together with the confidence of those who have moved mountains.

Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that fundamental change is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.

We have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we've faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could still rally together when the cause was right -- and actually create the change we believe in.

Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yes We Can!

I am inspired by the latest rash of GLBT activism and wanted to share this video:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Hampshire, The "Live Free or Die! (Unless You're Gay)" State

Earlier in 2009 I went to the state house in Concord New Hampshire and filmed some of the most vitriolic testimony I've ever witnessed against the equal rights of GLBT people. Some statements were so backwards that in one instance a man told the legislative panel consisting of several women legislators that we should go back to a time when women wore dresses instead of pants. Chillingly, this elicited applause rather than the disapproval it should have, making me wonder what the hell happened to the "Live Free or Die!" state.

As most people know New Hampshire legislators voted to extend marriage equality to same sex couples, that change taking place January 1, 2010 only weeks ago. This came after several very heated public meetings in which it became very clear that religious beliefs are being openly used to justify the majority's call to deny equality to those lifestyles they don't approve of regardless of the fact that they have not proven any benefit to doing so.

Associated Press - February 15, 2010 8:15 AM ET
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire's House votes Wednesday whether to repeal the state's six-week-old law legalizing gay marriage. The House also will vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The Judiciary Committee is recommending that the House kill both measures. Gay marriage supporters said gay couples have gotten married without any detrimental impact on society. They also said it would be wrong to enshrine discrimination in the Constitution. Opponents said the consummation of gay unions can't be spoken of in polite society. They also said voters should decide, not lawmakers if the marriages should be allowed.

This leaves me wanting to ask the public; do we have a right to restrict our neighbors liberties simply because we disagree with their choices? My instinct is to say no since one of the inalienable rights listed in the Bill of Rights is the pursuit of happiness. My second point is one based on religious freedom. I'm well versed in Catholicism and once had the notion I'd be a Catholic priest, and it is my opinion that the Church's official stance against GLBT equality is not Christ's will, but rather the will of those who know how turn hate and fear into a money making business. If we truly had religious freedom in our country and in the state of New Hampshire how is it that I cannot live by the terms I believe in? I am again looking at the threat that my government is going to side with another religion against me without a stitch of proof  of harm needed. So much for the seperation of church and state.

Another thing that really gets under my skin are all the bald faced lies said to scare conservative bigots into believing their children are at risk someone because GLBT people now have marriage equality. Here's a fine example of this attempt from N.H. state Rep. Nancy Elliot of Merrimack:

During a judiciary committee hearing last week in Concord for a bill that would repeal same-sex marriage, Elliott, R-Merrimack, said a parent called her and told her that fifth-grade students in Nashua were being shown naked pictures of men and taught how to engage in anal sex. Elliott did not name the parent but blamed the state’s passage of same-sex marriage for the graphic subject matter being introduced to elementary schoolchildren.

“Because we have made a marriage of same sex, they are now teaching it in public school. They are showing our fifth-graders how they can actually perform this kind of sex,” Elliott said.

Since this outrageous statement was made some of the moderate middle have come forward to finally question this claim and hold Rep. Elliot accountable for her allegations:

“Either turn in the name of the ‘mother’ whose child was subjected to this alleged display of pornography to the Nashua Police Department, as required by law to protect the children, or recant and apologize publicly,” Ward 3 Alderman Diane Sheehan wrote in an e-mail she sent to Elliott on Sunday afternoon.
“If neither of those two actions take place in the next 48 hours, I will begin exploring action to prosecute for false statement, and your removal from office,” Sheehan wrote.

Tomorrow marks the next time American equality will be up for a vote; Lurleen, over on Pam's House Blend has more to this story as well as links to those who wish to contact N.H. legislators prior to their vote. A big thank you should be sent to Alderman Sheehan for her courageous stand for truthfulness in this and all matters. America needs more people interested in standing up for what's right regardless of what they personally believe in the matter.

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -Evelyn Beatrice Hall 
Hall's quote is often cited to describe the principle of free speech; the essence of liberty. New Hampshire had it's own version of such a liberal; General John Stark who coined the term:

"Live Free or Die!" which was shortened from "Live Free or Die! There are worse things than death!"

He was talking about oppression of both freedom and religion.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Why All Homosexuals Are Loosely Moraled Pediphiles Who Don't Deserve Equality

I draw your attention to the picture I have chosen for this article, one of the character Dr. Smith in the 1960's series "Lost in Space" who was portrayed as a cowardly villain overtly, and subliminally as a homosexual. The two independent ideas seemed to be intermingled by society and fueled by both religion and media. This character and image is part of a misconception that needs to be addressed, and one that even in our time today is hard to shake off.

Last week's post here on Live, Love, and Learn elicited an anonymous responder who left no comment of their own other than two hyperlinks for us to visit and draw our own conclusions from. Clearly the person leaving these links thinks along the lines that bring us the character of Dr. Smith.

The first link belongs to an article by Scott James in the New York Times titled "Many Successful Gay Marriages Share an Open Secret". The article goes on to give the argument that new research shows same sex couples have open relationships, and this seems one ground by which people should disapprove of same sex marriage. The underlying message becomes more clear with this portion of the article:

"As the trial phase of the constitutional battle to overturn the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage concludes in federal court, gay nuptials are portrayed by opponents as an effort to rewrite the traditional rules of matrimony. Quietly, outside of the news media and courtroom spotlight, many gay couples are doing just that, according to groundbreaking new research."

The flaw in this statement is that heterosexual couples pioneered open marriages, not gay couples, coining the term "swingers" to refer to it. Gay couples obviously cannot be responsible for a condition that existed before their marriages were legal, so couples who decide to open their marriages are far from rewriting what has already been rewritten.

Those who wish to have open relationships, married or not, face the ire society has for them as their penalty, but it is not grounds for dismissing their freedom to marry. In no way does the decision of swingers effect an outside party's beliefs, or lessen the ability of people who disapprove to enjoy their own marriages.

James' article when read fully does attempt to deliver evenness (while still incorrectly assigning swinging as a new creation from gay couples) to the the argument quoting benefits to swinging:

"And while that may sound counter-intuitive, some experts say boundary-challenging gay relationships represent an evolution in marriage — one that might point the way for the survival of the institution."

The second link that was shared anonymously with us was to an article written by Mary Ann Bragg of the Cape Cod Times titled "Cape Activists Support Child Pornographer". The article is about John Perry Ryan, 62, of Braintree, Vt. who was once a gay rights activist in Cape Cod and who is now convicted of disseminating child pornography.

While the facts against Ryan are compelling you need look no further than the title of Bragg's article to see an anti-gay inflammatory statement that encourages the stereotyping of GLBT Americans. I'm on the Cape and I'm also a gay rights activist. I most certainly don't approve of child pornography, and I resent being impugned by Bragg's blanket statement "cape activists support child pornographer" which might as well say "Gays are Pedophiles" since that seems the subliminal value of the title when read at a glance. All the people I know, gay or otherwise, openly and loudly denounce any form of child abuse including child pornography. 

Interestingly, and for reasons unclear Bragg publishes the names of seven of the more prominent people who came to Ryan's defense by writing letters on his behalf asking for leniency based on his former accomplishments as an activist. Bragg does this not once, but two days in a row while reporting on Ryan. While these letters may be part of a publicly heard case and therefore public information it begs the question; doesn't posting their names encourage intimidation and therefore wrong? Isn't this akin to the same argument that has kept from publishing the names of petition signers in Washington state who signed an unsuccessful anti-equality effort? Is it different when the shoe is on the other foot?

Ms. Bragg's article is irresponsible and beneath her ability as well as Cape Cod Times' standards of fair and ethical unbiased journalism because of the article's title. As in the first article cited by our anonymous contributor the title seemingly baits the reader into thinking along bigoted stereotypical lines.

A fundamental ethical principle we can all live by is that we should be viewed as individuals afforded the dignity our own actions and intents deserve. This is an ethic America, in all its diversity needs in order to grow in healthy unity. We as a nation need courage, wisdom, and determination to look carefully at each situation and be sure that we are not hastily judging others and unnecessarily restricting someone rights based on their differences from ourselves. Might does not make right, not in America, not anywhere. The recent voting away of GLBT equality in several states only serves as an example of our discriminatory past and how we will eventually look back at these mistakes with the appropriate shame we do our other hard learned lessons.

My question for the moderate middle is such; When is it ethical to suspend the fairness of equality and view a group of people with only one common bond as a stereotyped threat based on unsubstantiated fears? The answer is never, and more by the day stand with me United.

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people." Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ethics, Law and Equality

Note to readers: 

Please forgive me if this article seems a bit of a rant. I've made a commitment to start writing again and to be honest I'm still a little bit overwhelmed by our recent failures. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

From the first laws in the Code of Hammurabi we find the reasoning for their existance:

"To bring about righteousness in the land so that the strong will not harm the weak."

Indeed fairness seems to be a priority when making laws, and even 4,000 years ago there was special consideration for minorities, aka "the weak". In the formation of our country we see similar thinking by some of our founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson:

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
Another great leader and founding father Benjamin Franklin had these words of wisdom for us:

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.

There is no measure that proves GLBT equality harms society, otherwise the argument would be over and conscientious people like myself would sacrifice their needs for the betterment of society . If we are to believe there is harm then it must come from the example of their freedoms alone. How can the example of two men or two women living together in peaceful harmony with their community be so overpowering that it could dislodge the beliefs of opponents? Is this harm so powerful that we must step in and interfere via government restriction? Is the harm so prevalent that all people in this minority class should be stripped of their inherent right to Due Process regardless of the obvious discrimination that action creates? 

 Several errors seem to perpetuate the discrimination of GLBT citizens. First and foremost the bulk of the blame seems to rest directly with the GLBT community. It is not the responsibility of the wealthy few to wage our battles for us, we all need to be directly involved in fighting for our equality. If you are the type of person that complains about the current state of affairs and isn't involved in the solution then you might want to look in the mirror so you can get a better look at the problem.

Those who wish to have an opinion in matters should make sure it is an informed one, but in my years as an activist I've come to conclude the reverse is true. The moderate middle fails in its responsibility to dole fairness in government because they allow themselves to be easily fooled by untruths swaddled in fear. Time and time again, in state after state we see the same old tired lies work like miracles, and now we may see this happen in New Hampshire as well, all because people don't bother to question what they hear. We get the government we deserve via our participation, and in this instance we fail ourselves.

Most of those who bare false witness against their neighbors do so out of innocent ignorance and simple bigotry. I reserve my full ire for those few who use fear as a political tool to energize their base stating that the old ways are best, and I'd like to ask them how far back should we look in our history to find their comfort. Here's a final quote from the Code of Hammurabi for your consideration of how people in the good old days would treat those who bear false witness:

If anyone brings an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if a capital offense is charged, be put to death.
Perhaps in the world of  "an eye for an eye" we'd see bigots rights taken away instead? The irony would be amusing.

I still have no doubt that justice and equality will eventually prevail in matters of GLBT equality, it just seems that we should know better and do better than what I see today.