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June 17, 2009

Baldwin To Gays: No, But Seriously, Pay Us

Just caught openly gay legislator Tammy Baldwin on Rachel Maddow. The full blown apologia for the administration was expected. So was her continued support of Barney Frank's imploding fundraiser. Still, you have to admire the tenacious logic of loyal Democrats.

MADDOW: . . . There is a lot of discontent, as I know you're aware of. Are you still planning on attending that fundraiser, and do you feel like you understand people's anger?

BALDWIN: Not only do I understand the sense of impatience and frustration, as a lesbian I feel it myself. And I think part of my role in attending the event next week is to convey the sense of urgency and to convey the sense of impatience and frustration that I'm hearing. You know, when you lack basic equality and basic civil rights, we ought to be impatient. That's a mandate if you're an activist. And so I think that this is a very important message to convey, and really hopefully get things moving a little more quickly in Congress as well as, uh, bringing things to the President's desk to sign.

So basically, the President has no idea how angry the community is with him. However, if you toss a thousand or so bucks in his direction, he might start gathering an inkling. Cash and conveyance are synonyms to these people.

And we all know nothing evokes impatience more than a party at a palatial spa.

Edit - Whoops. This was posted by Robbie, not Matt.

The Craigslist President

The most apt comment I've read about today's tokenism:

Obama is like all the men on gay hook up sites. They all promise 8″ or more, but when you meet them it’s barely 5″, but ya go ahead and do it anyways because, well, you drove all the way over there.

And afterwards, Joe Solmonese tells all his friends it was actually nine.

Obama Administration Gets A Savaging

This seems to be snowballing. Dan Savage reacts to tonight's presidential signing:

Which brings us back to sheer insulting incompetence of this idiot maneuver. Why announce a bold plan and an Oval Office signing ceremony for a something-or-other that will "extend federal benefits" to the partners of gay employees... when that package does not include the only workplace benefit that most people can name off the tops of their fucking heads: health insurance? This is your big gesture to mollify your gay critics? This is designed to calm the waters in the wake of your DOMA betrayal? When I wrote earlier tonight that the federal benefits Obama is extending "are by no means trivial," I was naturally operating under the assumption that these benefits would include health insurance. They do not. What benefits will federal employees enjoy the day after tomorrow anyway? Discounted entrance fees to our national parks?

. . .

This is worse than insulting. This is outrageous, another slap in the face, salt in the wound left by last week's DOMA betrayal. Fuck the Obama administration. That DNC fundraiser next week has to be shut down.

The question facing this administration and the broader community is whether or not the power structure as it has been commonly understood in D.C. will hold in the face of all this anger. The professional gay overclass that has spent the past twenty years telling politicians they had the community under control seems about to fail spectacularly.

June 16, 2009

Gays Revolt, Will Not Enjoy Cocktails, But Will Remain Clueless

At least it's . . . something. The gay DNC fundraiser is splintering under increasing pressure from activists not to attend in response to last week's odious DOMA brief filed by the Department of Justice.

However, the situation is far from a devolution in gay partisanship. While being hailed as the strongest action yet by GLBTers against a Democratic administration, it seems not a single prominent blogger mentions the ridiculous submissive position they placed themselves in by spending the last twenty years being unfailingly loyal and protective of a national party that has gleefully abused their generosity while daring them to do anything about it.

To whit, the DNC fundraiser's very existence puts in a stark light the Democratic Party's usual treatment of the gay community as little more than a cash cow to be milked to the point of bruising. Imagine this, timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, during a Pride month, the DNC "celebrates" these milestones by deigning to give prominent gays the privilege of paying them to mutter nice things. Could the party any more plainly and harshly say "Hooray for you! Now pay us."

Yet revolting against this base submissive stance is being hailed as a SERIOUS ACT in the fight against a tepid, unenthusiastic administration. It seems to me that serious activism would have avoided the gay community being in this position to begin with.

To gild an ever increasing comical lily, activists are hailing this letter from Joe Solmonese as a turning point in gay submission. Adjectives include the words "scathing", "brutal", and "unprecedented." Which part, this?

As an American, a civil rights advocate, and a human being, I hold this administration to a higher standard than this brief.  In the course of your campaign, I became convinced—and I still want to believe—that you do, too.  I have seen your administration aspire and achieve.  Protecting women from employment discrimination.  Insuring millions of children.  Enabling stem cell research to go forward.  These are powerful achievements.  And they serve as evidence to me that this brief should not be good enough for you.  The question is, Mr. President—do you believe that it’s good enough for us?

While not the HRC's usual bend-over-and-take-it tone, there's still room for Solmonese to wipe his chin as he once again points out that the largest organization supposedly representing all gays is still a good liberal soldier.

One, of course, should have some pity for Solmonese. Here is a man who has spent years straddling the divide between activism and a slobbering desire for access, money, and power. The HRC is usually the very last organization to spring into action with one of the rustiest barometers for gay sentiment ever constructed. With his back recently put against a very impatient, post-Prop 8 wall, Solmonese has no choice. One could almost hear the phone calls after the release of this letter, as the HRC president furiously dialed every Democratic politician in his rolodex. "How dare you! Look, I'm really sorry. Really. I have to. This administration is wrong! Really, so sorry. Please ignore this. Homophobia! Please don't hold this against me. They're making me."

If the gay community were a fifth as serious in opposing Democratic intransigence as they were complaining about Republicans, they'd probably start outing Democratic staffers in the Department of Justice. That, of course, will never be forthcoming. As Mike Petrelis notes, the activist community is prepared to do very little at all other than vent on blogs and refuse to attend a party. Although it would've been a fabulous party. Did the DNC treasurer and uber apologist mention the 10,400 sq. ft. spa? He did!

That's what the DNC thinks of gays. It's what they've always thought of gays. Pity it took a Prop. 8 to get anyone to notice. But then, the Republicans haven't even a modicum of power in Washington at the moment. The activists have no choice, and so now they will play-activist, without the slightest clue that they put the community here by apologizing for the gross submission to party for so very, very long.

Still, it's something, even if it's an incredibly late something.

May 23, 2006

The Movement of Misfit Toys

Marycheney_letterman They are meeting. Quietly, without fanfare, roughly three dozen GLBT organizations have gathered in Washington D.C. to discuss the policies and strategies involved in advancing GLBT rights. Though they're not telling, the head of the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, Matt Foreman, has recently released press materials that should give us all an inkling of their direction.

Let's see here…Iraq is a disaster and the treasury is hemorrhaging red ink to pay for it. Gas prices are soaring. New Orleans remains a shell. Osama taunts us on videotape. Iran's going nuclear. Seven in 10 think the country's heading in the wrong direction. What do you do when you're in power and there's an election just around the corner? You trot out some old diversionary workhorse scapegoats once again.

Like the HRC, The Taskforce does not actually want to discuss gay marriage. Given a national debate and platform, their tactic is not to argue on behalf of gay families but to throw dozens of distractionary cantrips at their audience like a cheap street illusionist. Recently, Andrew Sullivan asked of the HRC, "Why do they exist? And why should any gay person care?" Foreman, the Cardinal Ratzinger of this Queer Conclave, trots out the future of the established GLBT movement:

At between 4-6 percent of the population, we are simply too small to win equality by ourselves. That means we must build alliances and relationships of trust with other communities and causes. Building these kinds of alliances requires more than words, it requires reciprocal work.

Bluntly put, the LGBT movement has a long history of asking other causes to fight for us and then not being there when those causes have been under attack.

Read the entire press release. Abortion. Anti-war activism. Now, illegal immigration. The GLBT Establishment has a long and consistent history of supporting liberal and left-wing causes unrelated to the struggle of gay families. As three dozen bodies purporting to support the movement meet, we are dishonestly told by the NGLTF that gay activists don't support enough liberal causes. The answer to the GLBT dilemma is more causes, more coalitions, more money and manpower spent on a laundry list of unrelated movements and groups who may or may not support our cause.

(More ranting and video after the jump.)

Continue reading "The Movement of Misfit Toys" »

May 19, 2006

An Oil-Fueled Torch

Malbug_17Leave it to Ex-Sen. Robert "The Torch" Torricelli (D-N.J.) to be the gift that keeps on giving.

The corruption-plagued New Jersey pol, who abruptly dropped out of his 2002 re-election bid, has now been linked to the Oil-for-Food scandal.  Torricelli, then a congressman, allegedly tried to get oil-for-food contracts at favorable terms for David Chang – the same campaign contributor whose ties to the Senator helped precipitate his downfall – and his company, Bright and Bright:

Contacted by telephone, Mr Torricelli, who now runs his own business consulting firm and remains a powerful figure in New Jersey politics and a prominent Democratic party fundraiser, admitted meeting Mr Hamdoun “many times”, “probably both” in Washington and New York “and in Baghdad”. He first denied mentioning Mr Chang or Bright and Bright during his conversations with (former Iraqi ambassador to the UN Nizar) Hamdoun. When told about the Iraqi documents that suggested there had been discussions, he said he did not remember mentioning them.

While the Torch's political career is dead and buried, this is the first indication that Saddam's corrupt influence might have reached even into the U.S. Congress.  Torricelli's history indicates that he would have been just the man to have obliged.

May 18, 2006

Dean's Pink Poodles

You would think the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights organization, would be spoiling for a fight over the upcoming reintroduction of the Federal Marriage Amendment. You'd be wrong. Instead, Joe Solomnese and others have bowed to the demands of Howard Dean, with gay families offered up on the sacrificial altar of Democratic politics. Washington Blade editor, Chris Crain, is having none of it.

Rather than actually defend gay families and make the case for gay marriage, HRC continues to argue that the American people don't — and shouldn't! — care about marriage equality for gay couples.

"Voters want candidates focused on soaring gas prices, a healthcare crisis and national security," Solmonese says in the release, "not putting discrimination in the United States Constitution."

What sort of gay rights strategy is it, when the attention of Americans is focused on our issues, to argue that our rights aren't important, and refuse to engage our opponents in the debate over our equality? [. . .]

Can you imagine Martin Luther King, Jr., responding to an attempt to rollback the gains of the Civil Rights Movement by arguing that the issue shouldn't be debated because rising gas prices are more important?

The HRC can't raise money to defeat state level amendments, and now they won't debate gay marriage when the nation and the media are focused on Congressional deliberations over the FMA. They can, however, come to the rescue of abortion activists in no uncertain terms.

What, exactly, is it these people do again? Why do we need them? Aside from the gala dinners, influence peddling, and activists enriched on donations from gay people and their families who suffer real injustices outside the glossy New York - Washington axis.

Dan has additional thoughts on how the HRC and others are pissing away the opportunity to make the case for gay marriage to an attentive national audience. I think now, more than ever, one of my first articles on this blog is becoming increasingly relevant to the movement.

Update: How much do I love Chris Crain? Let me count the ways. Mal linked this earlier article from Crain that I've just now spotted. I've always enjoyed Crain's honesty and integrity when addressing gay issues, even when I've not necessarily agreed with him. However, his recent responses to the DNC's routing of gay partisans mark his Duke of Wellington moment. Crain for President of the HRC!

May 16, 2006

Quote of the Day

Malbug_17Yes, it might be taken a bit out of context, but it's still fun:

"If I had to go male it would be (Rep.) Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) because I would just love to be with him."

— Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) on going male

The Dean of the Clueless Corps

Malbug_17DNC Chairman Howard Dean sauntered into the friendly confines of "The Daily Show" last night.  The audience dutifully applauded references to President Bush's low standing in the polls, as well as Dean's predictions of Democratic takeover of the House and/or Senate.

Dean1_1 But then host Jon Stewart had the temerity to ask just exactly how the Democrats were going to manage not to blow the opportunity before them.

Dean's plan: Let's put, say, four people in every state who will knock on as many as 5 to 6 million doors over the next few years.

"So the Dems are now as powerful as the Jehovah's Witnesses," Stewart said.

No, no, no!  See, this is where the plan gets brilliant.  If they're not home, then you hang this nifty little door-hanger on the doorknob!

Dean3 But Stewart was having none of it.  When he pressed Dean for an actual message, it was essentially, "We'll be less grafty than the other guy."

Then Dean actually angled the Democrats to the left of President Bush's centrist immigration policy.

Stewart neatly summed things up for Dean: "You are so not taking back the House and the Senate."

(Incidentally, no reference whatsoever was made to Dean's recent, humongous gaffes regarding gays.)

[Watch video – 7:38, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 7:38, WMV format, low bandwidth]

In other "Daily Show" news, Stewart took a cold, hard look at the reports of NSA-related phone shenanigans.

900gay_1 Hot on the heels of Administration denials of surveillance of domestic phone calls came a USA Today story last week stating that the National Security Agency has indeed kept a massive database regarding billions of domestic phone calls.

The government explanation has been that the database analyzes only call patterns, and not the content of all the calls themselves, to spot potential terrorists.

As Stewart points out, it's probably cold comfort to those of us whose call patterns are suspicious for any number of other reasons.

[Watch video – 6:22, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 6:22, WMV format, low bandwidth]

May 15, 2006

Howard Dean on "The Daily Show" Tonight

Malbug_17Let's hope Jon Stewart gives him the grilling he deserves.

May 11, 2006

Thanks, But No Thanks, Howie


NGLTF returns $5,000 to the DNC, blasting Chairman Howard Dean's complete ignorance of his own party's platform regarding gays:

WASHINGTON, May 8 —In a Christian Broadcasting News segment aired today on The 700 Club concerning how Democrats are reaching out to evangelicals, Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Party, said, "The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's what it says. I think where we may take exception with some religious leaders is that we believe in inclusion, that everybody deserves to live with dignity and respect, and that equal rights under the law are important."

In fact, the DNC 2004 platform says, "We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families. In our country, marriage has been defined at the state level for 200 years, and we believe it should continue to be defined there. We repudiate President Bush's divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing a 'Federal Marriage Amendment.' Our goal is to bring Americans together, not drive them apart."

Bravo to NGLTF for showing integrity.

On gays, Democrats continue to race Republicans to the bottom.  So to speak.  (Ahem.)

May 09, 2006

Land of Pink Linc

How can I not adore my home state? On the very same day Peter and crew filed petitions for a destined-to-fail advisory referendum on the November ballot to recommend a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed an executive order extending benefits to state employees with same-sex partners.

Meanwhile, the Republican candidate for governor, Judy Barr Topinka, stated, "Don't even look at me. I support civil unions." I highly recommend this website "outlining" her views. Hilarious.

Equality Illinois, apparently finding itself with way too much time on their hands because of all this bipartisan tolerance, cheered on a pointless hissy fit after a local urban magazine known for its irreverent tone offered a contest seeking the most outrageous pictures from this year's Pride Parade.

What about the most inspiring (gay student groups) or the most heartwarming or affirming (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays or various religious institutions). Why does the media continue to try to titillate the population at large with what is "outrageous" in our community?

When reached for comment, organizers replied, "This guy's been to a pride parade before, right?" They then vowed to win the contest themselves, wandering off in a flurry of whispers about sequins and rhinestones.

May 05, 2006

Kennedy Addendum


I eagerly wait to hear what kind of criminal charges Rep. Kennedy will be facing.

Surely crashing your car while intoxicated would be viewed more seriously than being stopped for going 10 MPH over the speed limit with a blood-alcohol content barely above the legal limit.  Surely a congressman wouldn't be held to a lower standard than a schlub like me.

Freddy Quimby Meets Jeff Conaway


May 5, 2006, Boston Herald:

U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy insisted yesterday that he had consumed “no alcohol” before he slammed his Mustang convertible into a concrete barrier near his office, but a hostess at a popular Capitol Hill watering hole told the Herald she saw him drinking in the hours before the crash.


Earlier in the evening, Kennedy issued a statement through his office blaming the accident and strange behavior surrounding it on prescription drugs.

Jan. 8, 2006, a drunken Jeff Conaway on "Celebrity Fit Club":

"Everybody, thank you for your concern. It was nothing to be concerned about. I took a couple of Benadryl and I got loopy. ... I am on prescription drugs, yes."

UPDATE: Not to be flip about this situation, because Kennedy now has stopped lying and is going into drug rehab.  Hey, it worked for P.O.B.

May 04, 2006

Democrats' Outreach Around

It's a circular firing squad, and for once we're not discussing bukkake.

Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean fired the party's gay outreach adviser Donald Hitchcock on May 2 less than a week after Hitchcock's domestic partner, Paul Yandura, a longtime party activist, accused Dean of failing to take adequate steps to defend gay rights.

I am frankly stunned to discover Howard Dean is a vile, petty man and the national Democratic Party enjoys ample cash infusions from the gay community without actually, you know, doing anything to earn them.

John Aravosis is rightly furious with the chairman and the state of the party, but his comments section is a seething pit to behold.

As another Washington Blade article notes, the DNC has quietly dismantled its GLBT operations as sinking Republican poll numbers bring electoral victory tantalizingly close. They'll not have the taint of gay politics mucking up their November returns, thank you very much.

However, if you'll continue to donate generously, they'd be much obliged. I recommend a bit of Boy Butter for the exercise.

Update: An excellent round-up of the kerfuffle can be found here.

April 28, 2006

Quote of the Morning

"Poor bastard took it better than a gay porn star. ... Wait, he did take it from a gay porn star."

Rep. Linda Sanchez, (D-CA) on Scott McClellan (from "DC's Funniest Celebrity" contest, as quoted by The Hotline, sub. req.)

April 19, 2006

More Gas from Mr. Global Warming

Malbug_13Gore Helpful blogger Jordy sends along a little money-grubbing missive from the most inept politician in recent history (with the possible exception of John Kerry), Al Gore.

You remember him, right? The guy who took the strongest economy ever and was still unable to ride it to the White House?  (As a pre-emptive measure, I recommend that any comments about "stolen elections" save me the trouble by appending the standard line "This commenter is an idiot" yourselves.)

Even though Gore is politically clueless, I will assume that he at least had sense enough to send this only the howlingest of the moonbat base.  Because if he thinks that his message holds even the slightest appeal for a moderate/libertarian American like me, he missed the target by several furlongs.

Al.  Sweetie.  Baby.  Repeat after me: Bush hatred in not an agenda.  Rove-mongering is not an agenda.  A little line buried at the bottom about stem cells and "global warming" is not an agenda.  And until your party develops an actual agenda, something more compelling than livid, spittle-flecked rage, you will remain deservedly in the minority.  But I'm rooting for you, Al, because I believe that genuine electoral alternatives are critical to the democratic process.  You're just not providing one right now.

Letter after the jump ...

Continue reading "More Gas from Mr. Global Warming" »

April 11, 2006

Playing on Another Field


Corey Johnson steps from the out-athlete limelight and into politics.

April 10, 2006

Surreal Time With Cynthia McKinney

CmMalbug_13 I don't know what school of PR Cynthia McKinney's lawyers and handlers went to, but one of the first things I ever learned about damage control was, "If you're in a hole, then put down the damn shovel."

In the latest stop on her you-a culpa tour, the Georgia congresswoman was on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," denying that she had asserted that her altercation with a Capitol policeman was a function of racism, and then disingenuously expounding in the same breath on the racist nature of society.

Using the royal "we," McKinney argued essentially that her liberal credentials put her personal behavior off-limits to scrutiny, even when such behavior is potentially criminal.  To his credit, Bill Maher tried to call her on her bullshit – in his own timid, left-leaning way.

[Watch video – 8:26, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 8:26, WMV format, low bandwidth]

April 07, 2006

Who Needs Laws, Anyway?

Malbug_13First Gavin Newsom thumbed his nose at California's gay-marriage ban, now he says he will flout any federal immigration law he disagrees with.

Whether you agree or disagree with either of those laws (or potential laws) is irrelevant, but Newsom is a fart-smelling nitwit – albeit a very attractive one.  (I also blame his entirely incorrect tactics on gay marriage for much of the political blowback that eventually followed, far more than I blame Massachusetts judges.)