Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christian Reich's War on Gays

The Christian Reich continues to expand its war on LGBT people. In the United States, evangelical and fundamentalist Christians have united to make their anti-gay Manhattan Declaration against women's right to abortion and marriage for gays and lesbians.

The Declaration, released last week and signed by over 150 Christian leaders and social conservatives, identifies abortion, gay marriage, and religious liberty as the three most important issues facing modern Christians, and pleads with both believers and non-believers to stand up against the first two and in defense of the third.

Nathaniel Frank does a great job of deconstructing their hypocritical and irrational defense of "traditional marriage" from the civil unions of gays and lesbians: Christian Leaders Scapegoat Gays on Marriage

The religious war against gay people is an international endeavor. In Uganda a bill is being proposed by the parliament that would call for the execution of gays.

Britain and Canada today led Commonwealth protests against a law proposed by the Ugandan parliament which would introduce the death penalty by hanging for "aggravated homosexuality".

The suggested legislation would apply to sex between gay men or lesbian women in which one person has HIV.

The bill also proposes the introduction of a three-year prison sentence for anyone who knows of the existence of a gay man or lesbian woman and fails to inform authorities in Uganda within 24 hours.

Fury at Uganda Proposal for Gay Executions

Furthermore, the Anti-Homosexuality bill in Uganda is supported by U.S. conservative Christians known as "The Family." According to Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family, the Family has been very active in supporting Uganda's right-wing government and the anti-gay legislation.

Rachel Maddow on Uganda and the Family

Rick Warren Can't "Take Sides" on Gay Executions in Uganda

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Remembering Harvey Milk

Jim Sanders, Vice Chair of the Socialist Party USA, and chair of the SPUSA Queer Commission has a great tribute to Harvey Milk on the SPUSA's Socialist Webzine

Here's a YouTube link to view the excellent documentary The Times of Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Gay Teen Murdered

Black Gay Teen Murdered in Baltimore
Jason Mattison Jr., 15, an openly gay high schooler, was found dead last week in his aunt’s home; the suspect charged, Dante Parrish, 35, was a family friend. Mattison was raped, gagged with a pillowcase, stabbed repeatedly in the head and throat and shoved in a closet.

Vigils will be held on Sunday across the country to honor the lives of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado of Puerto Rico and Jason “Jaysen” Mattison Jr.

Both teens were brutally slain in separate instances last week.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Queer Anarchists Defend Destruction of Memphis Gay Solider Billboard

"Bash Back," a group of Queer Anarchists, Takes Credit for Destruction of Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center Billboard

The group mocks the MGLCC and Memphis gay community rallies against the vandalism as a "hate crime," and claim that the billboard was destroyed for promoting militarism. The Billboard featured a gay soldier saying "I am Gay and I Defended Your Freedom."

Bash Back: Memphis Anti-Gay Hate or Call Out Against Gay Militarism

On MySpace, Bash Back Memphis states:

We'll tear your heteronormative wet dream of corporate pride, gender roles, state militarism and marriage to shreds, and sew a fucking dress out of it. We are those trannies and queers your mother warned you about... We are Bash Back! Memphis.

Points of Unity:
1) I will fight for absolute liberation. Nothing more, nothing less.
2) I will reject capitalism, imperialism, and all other forms of state power.
3) I will actively oppose oppression both in and out of the “movement.”
4) I will respect a diversity of tactics in the struggle for liberation. I will not solely condemn an action on the grounds that the State deems it to be illegal.


OK, I have some problems with the mainstream "gay assimilationist" movement, but this going too far, and is counter-productive. I'm not convinced this group committed the act of vandalism, they may just be taking credit for it, like some terrorist groups like to do. And dressing up like Al-qaeda terrorists is not going to win support for "gay liberation" within or outside the "gay community."

UPDATE: Queer Anarchists Deny Destroying MGLCC Billboard

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Arkansas 10 Year Old Refuses to Cite Pledge Until Gays Can Marry

Well there's some hope for the future... even in Arkansas

Ten-Year Old Refuses to Cite Pledge of Allegiance Until Gays Can Marry

Arkansas 10 year old refuses to say Pledge of Allegiance because there is no "liberty and justice for all" as long as gay people do not have equal rights.

He puts a lot of older politicians to shame...

Anyway... Is The Pledge of Allegiance Un-American?

19 Year Old Gay Youth Brutally Murdered in Puerto Rico

A Suspect has Been Arrested in the Brutal Murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado in Puerto Rico

(CNN) -- A suspect has been arrested in the slaying of a 19-year-old Puerto Rican man found Friday decapitated, dismembered and partially burned, police said Tuesday.
Members of the U.S. gay community are asking authorities to investigate whether the slaying was a hate crime because the victim, Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, was gay, said Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The suspect, John A. Martinez (26) claims that he picked the victim up because he was dressed as a female prostitute. When he got him home and discovered he was a male, he killed him for making sexual advances. His defense will be "temporary insanity" because of homosexual panic. We've heard that before...

365gay: Suspect Arrested in horrific PR hate crime

Urge Attorney General & FBI To Investigate Hate Crime

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Arrests in Attempt to Burn Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center Flag

Man Arrested for Attempting to Burn MGLCC Pride Flag
Memphis Police arrested 23-year-old Ross Burton early Wednesday morning after he attempted to burn the gay pride flag at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC).

A MGLCC billboard depicting gay local former Marine Tim Smith was destroyed in September. The billboard, located at Poplar and High, read, "I'm gay and I protected your freedom."

Update: Attempted Flag Burner Has Military Ties
Memphis Flyer is reporting that Ross Burton is a member of the Memphis-based 164th airlift wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard.

WMCTV: Second Arrest in MGLCC Vandalism

Towerland: Military Ties to MGLCC Arson, Second Man Arrested

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Ex-Gay" Homophobe Donnie McClurkin Attacks Gay Youth

Donnie McClurkin Picks on Gay Youth

From the Advocate:
Donnie McClurkin, the "ex-gay" gospel star who sang for the Barack Obama presidential campaign last year, returns to controversial form with remarks he made about “broken and feminine” gay youths at the Church of God in Christ convention in Memphis on Saturday.

Watch the Video of this sick Man

This is what religious fundamentalism can do to you! I'm so glad the COGIC is moving their annual hate fest out of Memphis! Audios Bigots!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On Veteran's Day

Some things to think about for Veteran's Day:

Lack of Health Care Killed 2,266 U.S. Veteran's Last Year
The number of US veterans who died in 2008 because they lacked health insurance was 14 times higher than the US military death toll in Afghanistan that year, according to a new study.

US soldiers attend a "Veterans Day" ceremony at Camp Eggers in Kabul. The number of US veterans who died in 2008 because they lacked health insurance was 14 times higher than the US military death toll in Afghanistan that year, according to a new study.
(AFP/Massoud Hossaini)The analysis produced by two Harvard medical researchers estimates that 2,266 US military veterans under the age of 65 died in 2008 because they lacked health coverage and had reduced access to medical care.

That figure is more than 14 times higher than the 155 US troop deaths in Afghanistan in 2008, the study says.

AMA: Repeal "Don't Ask,Don't Tell"
The nation's largest doctors' group has agreed to join efforts to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and rebuffed dissident members who sought to turn the doctors' group from supporting any health care reform legislation that included a government-back health insurance plan.

The American Medical Association also voted to declare that gay marriage bans contribute to health disparities for gay couples and their children.

Both gay-rights policies were adopted Tuesday at the AMA's 2009 Interim Meeting of House Delegates in Houston.

The AMA says the "don't ask, don't tell" law creates an ethical dilemma for gay service members and the doctors who treat them.

The other measure declares that marriage bans leave gays vulnerable to being excluded from health care benefits, including health insurance and family and medical leave rights.

New Survey Raises Doubts on Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy

The Obama administration received more research yesterday to help make its case for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces.

A survey of troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan concluded that having gay or lesbian soldiers in fighting units has no significant impact on unit cohesion or readiness.

The data raise new doubts about the underlying assumption of the congressional ban, namely that military discipline will fall apart if gays and lesbians are permitted to serve openly.

Vets to Obama: Do Not Escalate Afghanistan

Monday, November 09, 2009

Don't Ask, Don't Give--DNC Boycott

The guys over at AmericaBlog have launched a boycott of the DNC until the Democrats do more for LGBT civil rights:

"President Obama promised to be a "fierce advocate" for LGBT Americans. But while making modest progress on a scant few issues, on the major campaign promises made to our community, the President and the Democratic party have failed to keep their commitments.

There has been little, if any, pressure from the White House for votes on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The administration continues to send mixed signals on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). And we've been told not to expect the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to even be considered until President Obama's second term. In the last two weeks alone, we were angered that the Obama administration continued to defend DOMA in the courts -- last June, the administration's lawyers even compared loving gay relationships to incest and pedophilia -- and we were saddened that the White House and the Democratic party refused to help us defeat anti-gay ballot initiatives in Maine and Washington state. LGBT Americans, our families, and our friends kept our promise at the ballot box, we now expect President Obama to keep his in the White House.

Until the Democratic Congress passes, and President Obama signs, legislation enacting ENDA, repealing DADT, and repealing DOMA, we ask you to join us in pledging to postpone contributions to the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, and the Obama campaign. This temporary (we hope) boycott is sponsored by AMERICAblog, and cosponsored by Daily Kos, Michelangelo Signorile, and Paul Sousa, among others.

This isn't forever, the Democrats have it in their power to end this today -- all it takes is choosing to keep their promise."

Take the Pledge: Don't Ask, Don't Give

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Democrats Give Up on Single-Payer Universal Health Insurance

The few remaining Democrats who were pushing for at least a vote on "single-payer" (Medicare for All) universal health insurance have given up and called off votes on their amendments:

Rep. Weiner Gives Up Single-Payer Amendment to Back House Party Leaders

Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers: Time is Not Right for Vote on Single-Payer

The House of Representatives is expected to pass a healthcare bill today which will include a weak "public option" which will only cover about 2% of the American people. While it may increase healthcare insurance to millions more, it also includes big give-a-ways to the insurance and drug companies. So I'm not sure that Socialists, and those who support REAL universal healthcare, should support it or not. It certainly NOT guarantee healthcare to all Americans.

Socialists must step up our attack on the "for-profit" healthcare industry and keep making the case for Medicare For All, or even better, socialized medicine. It may be a long fight, but the current capitalist system, especially when it comes to healthcare, is in crisis and will not stand. It is up to us to fight for a better future, and universal healthcare that is not rationed based on ability to pay and does not enrich a few at the expense of the many.

UPDATE: U.S. House Passes Watered-Down Healthcare Bill (220-215)

Dennis Kucinich: Why I voted NO

Thursday, November 05, 2009

SPUSA Response to Nov. 3 LGBT Election Results

Response to the November 3, 2009 LGBTQ Referendum Results
by Jim Sanders, Chair SPUSA Queer Commission

Referendums effecting the lives of LGBTQ people were on ballots all over the country this week. A few
of the higher profiled ballot questions included:

Voters in Maine overturned by approximately 53 to 47 percent, a law passed by the Maine legislature that established same-sex marriages in order to end marriage inequality in Maine. The failure to attain marriage equality in Maine is particularly disheartening, but the fact that 47 percent of the voters in Maine supported marriage equality is significant.

Voters in Washington approved by a scant margin of approximately 51 to 49 percent, a law that would give
domestic partners some of the legal rights previously only available to married couples (only heterosexuals can marry in Washington state). The fact that 49 percent of the voters in Washington would oppose recognition of domestic partnerships is troubling.

Voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan approved by approximately 65 to 35 percent, an ordinance that grants
anti-discrimination protections to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals. The rare inclusion of transgender individuals is cause for celebration.

Jim Crow style localized oppression is no more acceptable for queers than for any other group. It's a shame
that human rights can still be held hostage to human prejudices.

Socialists will always fight beside those struggling to improve conditions in their daily lives. But, under the oppression of a capitalist system, reforms will always be necessary, and they will never be sufficient. Socialists need to constantly make clear that we fight for the power to create and maintain justice in our own lives, and not for fleeting opportunities to occasionally wrest concessions from the state.

Lasting freedom for LGBTQ people will only come about in a society concerned with, and conscientiously
working for, the liberation of all people.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday Election Roundup

Tuesday's elections were a mixed bag for gays and liberal democrats.

Maine voters rejected marriage equality Obama and the Democratic party were AWOL in Maine, LGBT activists are partly blaming Obama who did not speak out forcefully in support of Maine's marriage law.

But, Washington state voters approved domestic partnership benefits for gay couples
and Kalamazoo, MI voters approved a non-discrimination ordinance that covers LGBT people.

Anti-gay Republicans won the Gov. races in Virginia and NJ

The lesson for the Democrats is that if you run a moderate/conservative Democrat who runs AGAINST progressive values you will lose to a conservative Republican. Young, progressive Obama voters, and the progressive base of the Democratic Party, stayed home. The Democratic Party better pay more attention to its base, or they will loose big in 2010 (and 2012!)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Maine Repeals Marriage Equality

Maine Set to Vote on Gay Marriage

Will Maine be the first state where VOTERS decide to keep gay marriages legal?

Doesn't look like it..
Poll: 51% yes on 1, 47% No

AmericaBlog: Obama's "Organizing for America" Silent on Maine's Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

Mixner: Obama Zero Help in Maine

UPDATE: Maine Repeals Gay Marriage Rights

It's another upset for the LGBT civil rights movement. Gay marriage has lost in all 31 states where it has been put up to a popular vote. Voters still do not want us to have equal rights. Should civil rights be an issue for popular vote??

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Memphis Socialist Blog

I've created a new Memphis Socialist Blog  to help organize socialists in Memphis, Tennessee.  Specifically, I'm working with the Democratic Socialists of America and the Socialist Party USA, the two remaining groups left from the Socialist Party of Eugene Debbs and Norman Thomas.  
I hope we can work together to build a larger socialist movement/party in the future.  We need to work within the broader "Democratic Left" AND build a distinct Socialist Party in the U.S.  Let's work together to do both!

The Beginning of the End of Capitalism?

From Thom Hartman, Black Tuesday:
"80 years ago today, on October 29th, 1929, Wall Street saw the worst day in its history. The shock of “Black Tuesday” came to an end, but the misery of the Republican Great Depression was just beginning. As a result of the disaster that followed three successive Republican administrations – and their cutting regulations and dropping taxes on the most wealthy from over 70 percent to under 30 percent – the Roosevelt administration through most of the 1930s re-regulated the economy and raised taxes on the very rich back up to 91 percent. That led to fifty years of growth and prosperity, which came to an end with Ronald Reagan re-introducing the Harding/Cooledge/Hoover tax cuts and supply-side economics. Hopefully the Obama Administration will soon learn the lesson of the last Republican Great Depression and follow in FDR’s footsteps."

Doesn't look like it Thom!

Thousands Protest Bank Power and Abuse in Chicago

Geithner Defends Collapsing Banking System 115 Banks Fail This Year. "Recovery will be choppy"

Inside the Bank Bailouts

Obama Goes Wobbly Over More Stimulus
Unemployment swelled to 9.8 percent, "with nearly nearly 26 million workers—17 percent of the workforce—unemployed or underemployed," according to economist Mark Zandi. The economy remains extremely weak and is expected to lapse back into recession if the Obama administration fails to provide a second-round of stimulus.

Propping Up a Broken Capitalist System

Mat Taibbi (Rolling Stone), Wall Street's Naked Swindle

Related: McClatchy series on How Goldman Secretly Bet on Housing Crash