Friday, July 16, 2004

Sad Time for True Progressives, Democrat and Otherwise 

Progressive Democrat Dennis Kucinich has all but ceded the point that John Effin' Kerry will win the party's presidential nomination. But Kucinich supporters within that party are still hard at work to try and inject some progressivism into the woefully inadequate Democratic platform and at the upcoming party convention, which will be held in Boston from July 26-29. (Good luck with that, gang.)

The latest news is that party progs have given up their quest to change the party's official position on the Iraqi invasion -- Kerry and his ilk will continue to support the "war." Kucinich supporters did negotiate this bit, however: The platform retains a sentence that antiwar delegates originally found lacking -- "People of good will disagree about whether America should have gone to war in Iraq."

Caleb Ewing, a contributor to Antiwar.com, is more blunt:

Progressives and peace lovers – mostly Kucinich and Dean supporters – didn't get much at all. Not only does the platform not call for the U.S. to leave Iraq ASAP, it is also loaded with militarism and calls for the U.S. to advance democracy abroad through force.

It was a sad outcome for progressives. This wholesale rejection of our cause and values stung deeply. We were shocked, in fact, and many of us cried when we realized that not only did our amendments lack the support necessary for passage, but we also lacked even the minimum support required to debate the amendments.

Pitiful. This proves it -- the Democratic Party is no place for progressives and pacifists. More and more, I come to the conclusion that the same is true for the US.

There is lots more -- read it.

from all facts and opinions

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Constitution Spared -- For Now 

Anti-gay Republicans failed in their attempt to pass the "unnecessary, unconstitutional and unwise" proposed Federal Marriage Amendment in the US Senate July 14. The news doesn't surprise, but it does inspire a grateful sigh of relief.

Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques reminds us that the battle for equality is far from over:

Our ultra-conservative opponents are determined to spread their discriminatory agenda across the country. Fasten your seatbelts, my friends, because the months ahead are going to be challenging indeed:

  • Next week, the House will take up the issue of marriage equality as well. Expect a fight. Expect vicious words and fierce debate. And expect to speak up, loud and clear, once more.

  • During the next three months, no fewer than 11 states - and possibly 13 - are facing ballot initiatives to write discrimination into their state constitutions. HRC will fight these initiatives shoulder to shoulder with state and local GLBT leaders. We'll let you know how you can help.

  • And of course - like you, we will be actively working to stop discrimination at the source by electing equality-minded legislators around the country. We're glad to know you will be with us in that battle, too.

ABC News reports that anti-justice GOPsters are champing at the bit to push their agenda forward.

"When federal judges step out of line, Congress has the responsibility to drop the red flag," Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said Wednesday as the court-stripping measure cleared the House Judiciary Committee on a near party-line vote of 21-13. ...

GOP officials said the measure likely would be on the House floor next week, and they expressed confidence it would pass.

If so, it would mark a clear victory for gay marriage opponents, who suffered a decisive setback Wednesday in the Senate when the constitutional amendment fell a dozen votes shy of the 60 needed to advance.

Within hours of the vote in which 48 senators voted to advance the measure and 50 to block it, President Bush issued a statement saying he was "deeply disappointed" by the outcome but calling it a temporary setback.

"Activist judges and local officials in some parts of the country are not letting up in their efforts to redefine marriage for the rest of America and neither should defenders of traditional marriage flag in their efforts," he added.

"It is important for our country to continue the debate on this important issue, and I urge the House of Representatives to pass this amendment," the president said.

Bush wasn't the only one who seemed eager to extend an election-year debate over the issue.

"We know now which senators are for traditional marriage and which ones are not, and by November so will voters in every state," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "This fight has just begun."

Yeah, Perkins has that right. (For those wondering, FRC is one of the nation's most outspoken right-wing groups.) We have only started to stand up against writing discrimination into the US Constitution and speak out to speak up for equality, that most elusive of all supposedly American values.

AF&O's thanks go out to the 42 Democrats and six Republicans who voted in favor of justice for all -- and to all of you who took the Equality Challenge. I challenge you to step up your efforts -- because though the House is unlikely to come up with two two-thirds majority needed to pass the FMA, the fight is only going to get uglier as those who need to discriminate become more desperate and dangerous.

As if they weren't already: Dig this, from Chris Adamo, who offers his opinion on OpinionEditorials.com, a project of the frighteningly right-wing (and mendaciously titled) Frontiers of Freedom.

Once again Republican "Trojan Horses" in the US Senate showed their true allegiances by collaborating with liberal Democrats. In defeating the Federal Marriage Amendment, they displayed their unwillingness to uphold basic conservative principle. Thus, they not only allowed the forces of the counterculture to press forward with their assault on traditional morality, but also simultaneously squandered a golden opportunity to elevate the standing of their party in they [sic] eyes of the electorate.

It bears noting that "basic conservative principle" calls for keeping the government out of people's private affairs. This guy Adamo is about codifying his religious beliefs under law -- he is no more a true conservative than is Dubya Bush.

At any rate, this is the mentality of those who support this amendment and oppose freedom and justice for all under law. My advice to you: Don't become complacent. Stay vigilant and stay active.

from all facts and opinions

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Thoughts on The Election Freeze 

I go on vacation for a few days and come back to find out that Bush is playing Dictator again, this time by tossing around the idea of postponing the presidential elections in case of a terrorist attack (or if it looks like Kerry might actually win). Oh, but there I go, getting all paranoid. What will Kevin Drum think?

I still don't think this is part of any nefarious plot to turn America into Amerika, but there's not really much point in arguing about it. If you believe this, nothing I say is going to change your mind.

What's intriguing, though, is that the paranoia is so thick that no one is bothering to talk about whether this is a good idea on a substantive level.

I don't mean to single out Mr Drum, who is a fine blogger, if a little blinkered at times by his own success as a moderate commentator. There are others, I'm sure, who aren't bothered by the fact that all that stands between our struggling democracy and a dictatorship is a four member pannel with executive powers, appointed by a President who has publicly stated that it'd be a whole lot easier to run things if this were a dictatorship. So here's some substantive level talk for you, Mr. Drum, et. al.: This is a fucking stupid idea. Allow me to elaborate.

Read the rest at The Invisible Library.

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Next Step Towards Dictatorship 

From SoonerThought:

Postpone elections? And so it ends this way: Bush is seeking to cement his power. Postpone election, declare martial law, and then never rescind martial law because of shadowy "threats."

Folks, if we let this happen, it is quite simply all over for our democracy, our nation, and us. God help us--a nation held in thrall by a moron, surrounded by villains.

Morality and Politics 

The Republican Party's Religous Wrong-inspired crusade to push the hideous Federal Marriage Amendment strikes fear into my heart. Not because I believe the Shrub, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and their heterosexist henchpersons will succeed in their evil quest. It certainly is possible that they will be victorious in codifying homo-hatred via the US Constitution, but odds are they will fail. A two-thirds majority is required to pass a constitutional amendment in the Senate -- at the time of this writing, the GOP is far short of that figure.

But right-wing legislators and organizations are appealing to the hearts and souls of obedient anti-gay Bible literalists -- and that emotional approach, which brings up God and "morality," could lead so-called traditional Christians to plead with and threaten their lawmakers to do their ungodly bidding.

This terrifies me.

It infuriates too. Those on the left argue that the FMA is a divisive issue that serves no real purpose for the US. They are correct. They argue that equality is the American way, that gay and lesbian-headed families bear the same responsities and deserve the same benefits as those headed by "one man and one woman." They are correct here as well. But while these points must be argued, and good on the libs who do, most left-wingers cede the sphere of morality to the GOP.

Truth is, neither side is a good advertisement for morality. Right-wingers in office and the corporate fatcats who support them (hey, Kenny Lay) put greed ahead of people -- the same is true for leftist lawmakers. Right-wingers ignore the separation of church and state in order to force all Americans to follow their religious beliefs or else. Mainstream leftists belittle progressives into putting morality aside during elections for the purpose of expediency, elevating ends over means. Many rightists and leftists support the immorality that is state-sanctioned murder, whether it be in the form of capital punishment or war. The last president lied about his sex life; the present White House squatter's mendacities continue to cause death and destruction. To me, it is obvious: Both sides of the political divide are populated with members whose hands and souls are stained.

But on the issue of justice, it is clear which side stands on the side of doing what is moral and right -- and it ain't the party of the Religious Right.

That's right: In this instance, it is the Liberal Left that is morally correct. So why do so many libs pay fealty to the erroneous notion that the Republican religionistas hold a monopoly on morality?

Read more about it.

from all facts and opinions