Search Results for civil rights

Civil Wrongs

For a lawyer and educator, Ted Cruz is manifestly ignorant of law and ought to know better than I do:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has built his presidential campaign around defending “religious liberty.” This weekend, he hosted a “Rally for Religious Liberty,” which highlighted the many stories of wedding vendors who have faced legal consequences for refusing service to same-sex couples.

In an interview with Ed Berliner of Newsmax, Cruz suggested that he believes a gay florist should have as much right to refuse service to a Christian couple as the reverse:

CRUZ: Imagine if this were inverted. Imagine if there were a gay florist — now I know that’s hard to imagine, a gay florist — but just go with the hypo[thetical] for a second. Imagine if two evangelical Christians came to a gay florist and they wanted to get married, and the florist said, “You know what? I disagree with your faith. I have problems with your faith.” You have no entitlement to force that florist to provide flowers at the Christians’ wedding. We are a pluralistic nation that tolerates diversity.

Before I point out what’s wrong with his little scenario, I’d love for Ted Cruz to elaborate on why gay florists are “hard to imagine”. What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Comedy is not your strong suit, slick. I don’t know what his strong suit is, because he’s a fuckup and a nobody as far as Americans are concerned.

Now grasp hold of this, Ted. We have this little thing call the Civil Rights Act that covers you from being discriminated against by the business community for being religious. However, discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation is quite legal, except in cities or municipalities that have anti-discrimination laws forbidding it. I expect that to be fixed on a national level as soon as we rid ourselves from conservatives again(knock on wood).

So your premise that everyone is allowed to discriminate because it their business to serve who they wish is false. You’re trying to make it OK to do it by saying its OK for other groups to do it. Try again, Buzz.

This guy is a snake and people actually voted for him and might vote for him again. He doesn’t have a Chinaman’s chance of winning the nomination, so we can take comfort in that. But this “management reserves the right to deny service” concept writ large is fucking dangerous.

Bad Penny

Cronyismnoun, derogatory:the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.

Kakistocracy-Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.

Sycophantnoun: a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage.

Get used to seeing these words in the next few years. Well, I’ll be using them here a lot because they’re so pertinent to what will become the Trump administration.

With good reason, everybody is crapping their Pampers over Donald Trump’s nominations. He’s putting friends and donors in high places, and he’s even considering former rivals of his. Here’s a few examples. He’s nominated Betsy DeVos, a well known conservative billionaire donor and god-bothering public school hater, to head the Department Of Education. Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn was at Trump’s side as an advisor on foreign affairs during the campaign and now the paranoid, Islamophobic retread is being called up as his man on national security. Mitt Romney is groveling for a spot as Secretary of State. I’m sure you’ve all seen the picture of him and Trump at dinner, but it says so much I’ll put it up here:

trump-romney-exlarge-169

If chosen, he will probably be the smartest and least reckless hire Trump will make, much as I dislike his rich privileged ass.

There’s another former rival who is being considered for HUD.

I can’t believe I have to talk about this guy again. He’s back.

Thanks, Trump.

Yes, we need to talk about Ben Carson, Dr. Smart Stupid.

As many of you may know, I haven’t been kind to Ben in the past, for a number of reasons. He’s made me sputter curse after curse after curse against him because he’s so fucking ignorant about everything except neurosurgery. He’s about as well informed as Donald Trump-he has no facts, just opinions and eyerolling bullshit to offer on any subject you like. Maybe that’s why they will get along.

So what does Gentle Ben know about housing? Only what he thinks he knows, as usual:

In the housing sphere, a recent study on behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that black and Asian homeseekers are shown or told about 15 to 19 percent fewer homes than whites with similar credit qualifications and housing interests. During the subprime lending boom, African Americans with good credit scores were 3.5 times as likely as whites with good credit scores to receive higher-interest-rate loans, and Latinos were 3.1 times as likely to receive such loans. And the Federal Reserve found that in 2009, African Americans were twice as likely to be denied a loan, even controlling for income and other qualifying criteria.

Carson believes that, despite this continuing discrimination, the Fair Housing Act needs to be weaker. In his Washington Times op-ed, the former surgeon labeled disparate impact suits “mandated social-engineering schemes,” and dismissed them as part of a “history of failed socialist experiments in this country.” Carson also aligned himself with a dissenting opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, which would have eliminated such suits under the Fair Housing Act.

So successfully suing because you have been discriminated against due to your race is part of”mandated social engineering schemes” and the Fair Housing provisions are “failed socialist experiments”.

I know, folks. They need to invent their own dictionary since normal people don’t know what the fuck conservatives are often going on about. They have their own Wikipedia and Facebook(though that one may have failed). They talk in a code only they understand. Let me try to parse the argle-bargle.

Let’s look at the loaded scare words first- “mandated” and “schemes”. They evoke ideas of mandatory participation in a system that is trying (“scheming”) to fool you. They don’t really mean anything. As for social engineering-someone needs to get Ben a history book not from Texas and explain that his black ass wouldn’t be anywhere without mandated social engineering-one of those tools used for said engineering was the Thirteenth Amendment. It said no more owning people. Another was the Civil Rights Act. No more discrimination in businesses and much more. If those aren’t social engineering…what is? Social engineering helps promote equality-and I bet since Ben made his first million, he hasn’t given a fuck about that because money is the key to escaping the problems that social engineering was created to address. As always, the conservative mantra-“fuck you, I got mine.”

Then we have more scare words in “failed” and “experiments”. If conservatives say something is “failed” enough, people will believe it(see entire Trump campaign). And “experiments” are only done on rabbits and holocaust Jews, not ordinary upstanding citizens! And unfailingly, conservatives still do not know what “socialism” means. When and if it ever comes, Ben, you’ll know about it. Until the last capitalist deposits the last check in the Cayman Islands, we won’t have socialism. Admittedly, we employ some progressivity (or liberalism, whatever you prefer) that looks like socialism, but isn’t interested in upending the social order or changing the ownership of the means of production-it just tries to smooth out the bad outcomes for people who may be left behind. As I said, Ben Carson doesn’t have to worry about bad outcomes, since he’s in the big bucks club. He doesn’t want to pay it forward, he wants to hold every penny. His only bad outcomes are missing the tax loopholes his accountant finds.

Ben Carson hates his race, unless it helps him be a token in the Richie-Rich crowd. Yeah, I fucking said it. If you disagree, show me that he doesn’t. Because his comments about housing, which is a basic human right, don’t show it. He is out of touch as out of touch can be. He doesn’t seem to understand the real reasons why there aren’t more Ben Carsons or Barack Obamas, and doesn’t really care. As far as I know, he could care less what happens to blacks or anyone else who can’t cough up the dough for a roof over their head now that he’s respected in the white world. But if he does deign to speak to the disenfranchised and disadvantaged, I can hear him now, lecturing to them about bootstraps and library cards as they hold three jobs to sustain the mortgage that my white ass would get a discount on-if they get a mortgage at all.

 

Identification, Please

I’ve seen a lot of thinkpieces about why the Democrats were defeated last month. Where did we go wrong? Did we make bad choices? Is there something structurally unsound in our outreach?

It is natural for us to reflect like this after being stunned. But we Democrats and good liberals are beating ourselves up unnecessarily. So badly, in fact that we are considering abandoning our core mission, which is to stand up for the mistreated and misunderstood elements of our society.

In other words, we did not lose by employing what is called “identity politics”. The phrase seems to have taken on a pejorative quality. We’re afraid to say it, lest the other side use it against us.

Fact: Hillary Clinton was more popular than Donald Trump.

Fact: The nature of the Electoral College screwed us.

Fact: Donald Trump tapped into white ressentiment. Bigly.

Everyone seems to be forgetting the real causes of why we could not win this past election. Instead, many of us seem ready to tear up our coalition and retool the Democratic message.

Ahem. No.

I don’t see how you can be liberal and not want to defend the voting rights of minorities. I don’t see how you can be liberal and not defend equal pay for equal work. I don’t see how you can be liberal and not want to defend the right to love who you want to love. I don’t see how you can be liberal and not want immigrants to live in fear.

These problems, whether we like it or not, are shackled to specific identities and we’re foolish to pretend otherwise.

The beginning of the liberal revolt against identity politics here in America can be traced back to what appears to be a misreading of some quotes in a speech by Bernie Sanders two weeks after the election. He allegedly said:

“Boston Magazine reported that an audience member told Sanders that she wanted to become the second Latina elected to the U.S. Senate and asked for his advice. Sanders responded by urging the crowd to move the Democratic Party away from what he called “identity politics.”

“It is not good enough for somebody to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me.’ That is not good enough,” he said, according to WBUR. “What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industries.”

Sanders’s big finish: “One of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics.”

This caused an avalanche of editorializing about how we should stop focusing on things like race, sexual preference, sex, and culture. That’s how we lost the election, they say. This British fop exemplarizes just how far this thinking goes:

“In America, as in Europe, older, white men are the only group that liberals can abuse and exclude with impunity.

British liberals, of whatever party, have spent the past six months fleeing one trauma after another, hurling insults over their shoulders. But as John Stuart Mill said: “He who knows only his own side of a case, knows little of that.”

The apostles of identity liberalism have fallen into Mill’s trap. They see authoritarianism in others, but not in themselves. They see discrimination in others, but not their own.”

If those older white men are anti-democratic, then yes, they will be excluded and dismissed. If they are racists and homophobes, you bet we don’t need you in the tent. I don’t think that just because someone was brought up in a different “time”, he’s allowed to hold discriminatory values. There’s nothing authoritarian or discriminatory about it-I’m intolerant of intolerance and I think I can speak for most liberals when I say that.

I could dig up other examples of this backlash against identity politics, much of it penned by white males who identify as liberal. They believe that class structures need to be attacked instead. Well, I have news for them-being “working class” is an identity too. There’s really no escaping the understanding that groups have similar and often unique problems. Furthermore, there’s intersections aplenty with your class status and your “identity”.

What I’m going to say is important, at least to me: groups were not created by liberals. Groups were created when the first African American received the first lash on their back. Groups were created when men refused to allow women to vote or do what they feel is right with their body. Groups were created when the first National Guardsman fired on the first striking mine worker. Groups were created when gay people were murdered because of religious hatred. When we started treating people different because they were just that-different or lesser-that’s when we created identity politics. We’ve been divided because that is how we chose to be. And speaking directly to those myriad groups who have had negative experiences in a white/hetero/christian dominated society is no sin-it’s what makes us good. We hate the injustice. And we will beat injustice’s ass someday soon. It is our principal fight.

Fortunately, it is very likely Bernie Sanders was misunderstood . “Going beyond identity politics” means we can go deeper and still not abandon civil rights. Interweaving class struggle and identity politics is exactly where we need to go as strategies for winning. It’s unclear at this point how many poor white Christian males can be brought to our side, if of course that’s the quarry we are chasing. The propaganda has been laid on thick and they  vote against their own interests time and time again, because the right wing plays a nasty version of identity politics themselves. In the meantime, let’s stop being ashamed of what it means to be a liberal.

It’s Coach For You

Well the thing I feared that would happen in Oklahoma just happened in Virginia:

Tamar Courtney and Morgan Strong have been together for six years and will be getting married this summer in Virginia. They wanted a friend to officiate the ceremony but after facing some difficulties in obtaining his license, they figured they would just go to the county courthouse and take care of the legal paperwork.

They had some issues obtaining a public servant in their home county, so they jumped over to another. They were rebuffed:

Morgan: … am I speaking with Bud Roth?

Roth: This is he.

Morgan: How you doing. I just received a phone call. I guess my fiancee had called up looking to be wed in Franklin County?

Roth: Tamar?

Morgan: Yeah.

Roth: Okay, yeah.

Morgan: Okay… and why was she declined the service?

Roth: Because she’s Agnostic and you’re an atheist. I will not marry you. You don’t believe in God.

Morgan: I mean… but… so that’s your judgment on it, correct?

Roth: That’s my decision. I’m not judging you. I just don’t marry anyone who does not believe in God [or] believes that there is a God someplace.

This is a miscarriage of social justice and I’m utterly repulsed by this treatment of non-believers. I love how in the end, the dickheaded public servant says “I’m not judging you.”

No. You don’t get to say “I’m not judging”, and then judge the couple unworthy of simple civil rights. Typical. Your whole fucking faith is based on circular logic, you sons of bitches. I can’t wait for the lawsuits to fly.

 

Shell Game

What’s so odious about this North Carolina law everyone is talking about? As I write this, NC is suing the federal government for overreach after the Justice Department threatened to have federal education funding ixnayed for the state if they did not rescind the bill.

The Justice Department has sued back.

This has never been a “who goes to the bathroom” issue. That’s the magical squirrel everyone has their eye on. Every goddamned idiot on the right is wigging over transgender rights to use the bathroom of their gender ID. It’s such a small part of what this bill does; what it really does is prohibit the localities of North Carolina from passing laws protecting the rights of LGBT citizens because you guessed it, state’s rights. In the bill, it says that no one can or will be compelled to respect the rights of that community.

Loretta Lynch is right: we’re looking at modern day Jim Crow style laws aimed to relegate certain individuals to secondary, even tertiary status.All of these goober states can’t handle teh gay. Fuck ’em. They will lose this fight.

I don’t want to toot my own horn, but Justice thinks these bills contravene protection offerered by the Civil Rights Act. Finally, someone gets it.

 

Burning Down The House

I get the funny feeling that Republicans know they are on shaky ground right now election-wise so they’re pulling out all the stops, determined to fuck as much shit up as they can in an effort to please their radical base. Once upon a time, conservatives rarely had the courage of their convictions to curtail abortion rights and crush civil liberty.

That’s all over now. These dickless wonders are passing as much legislation as they can to ruin the lives of women and people who have fluid roles of gender and who are attracted to the same sex. That’s a fancy way of saying “whores and faggots”because of their failure to distinguish a fetus from a person and a G from a T.

There’s no excuse for it. For the first time in America’s history, it is OK to come out and say “I am not heteronormative and I’m proud of it.” But these fucking shitty-ass hypocritical Christians want to make everyone as miserable as they are. And they’re legislating the denial of the Skittle-flavored world we are now living in. Even couples who fuck outside of marriage don’t escape their sights:

The bill, which states it “protects religious liberties” of those who would usually assist with same-sex weddings, such as photographers, pastors and wedding-related businesses, garnered national attention as Bryant’s decision loomed. The law goes into effect July 1.

“This is a bill that really does not discriminate against anybody,” said Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton and co-sponsor of the bill. “Any same sex couple that wants to get married or whatever, they can do that. If you have a sincere religious objection to it, you can politely say, no I can’t do that without facing the fear of punishment by state government.”

What that means is that almost any imaginable form of discrimination against same-sex couples, people who identify as transgender, or anyone who has had non-marital sex is now protected behavior under the law, so long as the discriminating individual has a “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.” Most notably, this includes shelter provided by religious organizations, any form of pro-LGBT counseling or medical support, any employer’s dress code or bathroom regulations, and any business related to the recognition of any marriage.

Enough already. Update the Civil Rights Act. Because we need to protect people from these discriminatory fuckballs. It’s the same damn thing as stopping  blacks from being served at the lunch counter.

War Is Over

…said John Lennon, and we wanted to believe that so bad. But America sickly lurches from one conflict to another, and if we don’t send bodies, we send guns. War. War never ends.

That is for another post. One particular war is over, yet some mouth-breathing fucksticks can’t get over the fact that they were on the losing team.

Somehow, this loss nets the participants’ great-great grandchildren a badge of courage, even if they don’t have the guts or the physique to go fight in today’s wars. They may have warrior blood, but they also have shit for brains.

I’m talking about your average cracker yahoo redneck who won’t stop waving the Stars and Bars around because of something called “southern pride”. On one level, I guess I understand that people are very provincial. They do things like root for local sports teams and have a very visceral connection to the games- it’s almost as if they were the coaches and the owners, who couldn’t give a fat fuck about its fans if it weren’t for the fact that they need asses in seats or eyeballs on ads. It’s something I have never understood, perhaps because I didn’t like phys ed or sports. Sports watching consumed my father. But that’s not my point.

The point is, people are often connected to the ground they walk on. Whatever. Fine by me. Support your state, your city, whatever you like. If that is how you want to spend your time, go right ahead.

But this rebel flag thing has gone too far:

Hundreds of Virginia residents were waging a new Confederate battle this month and refusing to give up state license plates with the flag on them. They say the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ recent recall on the controversial plates violates their rights, despite being essentially approved by a federal judge in August.

“Next thing you know, they’re going to say you can’t wear blue on Monday … or you can’t wear yellow on Thursday. Where’s it going to end?” Kevin Collier, a commander with the Stonewall Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, told the local news station.

I hope this is humor. It certainly does not make an argument, so it must be an attempt to be funny.

Now, if caught on the roads with the invalid plates, drivers could be charged with a misdemeanor, MSNBC reported.

Collier told WVEC his refusal was a matter of principle and family history. “I have a great-great-great grandfather who fought and died with the 5th Georgia Infantry. And his four brothers all died with him in the name of that flag,” he said. “I will go to jail before I change those tags.”

Oh my, what a brave martyr! And a stupid one, at that. Who gives a damn if your relatives fought for slavery rights and lost? You’re on the wrong side of history, slappy. True, the men in front of the cannons may not have understood why they went to battle, or were told that the north was invading them. It’s a crying shame. All war is. And the north and the south, for better or for worse, is united again, under one waving banner.

It’s important to remember that not everybody looks at that flag the same way. Particularly, black folk. And it’s also important to remember that the rebel flag was resurrected by southern governments and radicals during the civil rights era to unite racists to their cause. It was a lot like putting “In God We Trust” on our money-we needed the people to rally against godless communism. Dog-whistle politics at its worst.

You flag enthusiasts are being duped. You’re defending nothing, nothing of importance at the least. You’re being used by invisible hands who want you to despise and be defiant. You’re not just cozying up to the TV and doing the two minutes hate-you want your “pride” to be all over your clothes, your trucks, and your seats of government. You want everyone to stick it, 24 hours a day.

In other words, you are a gullible, obnoxious dick. Congratulations.

Dude, you are not going to go to jail over the flag, unless you fail to pay the fine for continuing to display that license plate. Whine “Molon Labe” all day long. We’re trying to scrub our racist past, in the ways that we can. And you sir, are not what we would call helping.

H/T: Zandar

Clod Of The Gaps

Slowly but surely, the South is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. From my home state, again:

Effingham County High School’s mascot was the focus of a heated school board meeting held in Springfield Tuesday night.

A small group of people, led by the NAACP, want the mascot changed from the “Rebels”, usually pictured as a Confederate soldier holding a Confederate Flag.

“We have come to make a petition to right the wrong that should have been corrected 60 years ago,” said Leroy Lloyd, president of the Effingham NAACP.

The petition – made by the local NAACP – is for the school board to remove the use of all confederate symbols used by the school. This includes the Rebel mascot, the use of the Confederate flag, and the school’s “Dixie” fight song.

Some say the history and hate associated with these symbols cannot be severed.

Pastor Franklin Blanks, Jr., First Union Baptist Church, said, “We should do better. We cannot ignore this practice any longer. We ask you to do the respect of representing all citizens. Do what is fair and honest concerning this practice.”

I get it. It’s disrespectful at best and racist at worst. No student should have to go to a school whose mascots are symbols of a terroristic past. It isn’t cute nor should it be rousing. Sorry, Georgia.

Nevermind all that. We are entering the second phase of the civil rights movement and that can only be a good thing. But you can expect some pushback by the New Old racists, and if it weren’t so pernicious, it’d be downright funny:

But the overwhelming majority of people who attended Tuesday’s meeting disagreed.

Stanley Carter, resident, said, “You try to erase my heritage, you try to erase anything you think is racist. But the whole time you were up here, sir. I apologize, but everything you said was racist.”

SMH. SMH.

Translation: You’re being racist if you talk about my racism. Well, Cooter, it doesn’t work that way. Black people are allowed to discuss systemic racism without declaring superiority over white people. To take offense because someone else took offense is an asshole’s way out of a substantive debate, it’s tu quoque and it’s absurd.

Whitey runs the show everywhere you look. Complaining about having to cede some of your space to be hateful is lunacy. There’s plenty left-it just doesn’t have to take place on public grounds anymore. Put away your gray hats and flag. You lost the war and you’re going to lose this one too.

Head Of States

Recently, it became illegal for federal agencies to discriminate against LGBT folk in the workplace. That’s great. But what we really need is legislation that prohibits it everywhere. I keep saying it, but we need Title II of the Civil Rights Act to protect people from discrimination in the public as a whole. It belongs along with

Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, or national origin in certain places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants, and places of entertainment.

There is no reason whatsoever to ignore this critical oversight. The time is well past to stop the animosity toward gay people.

It is manifestly obvious by now that Jeb Bush is a schlemiel. He’s as stupid as his brother, and has no chance whatsoever of being president. But who else do the Republicans have? Donald Trump? Bah. Scott Walker? Snore. It’s over as far as I’m concerned, and I think deep down every Republican knows it. Anyway, here’s Bush flailing around on the discrimination question:

Bush was asked by a gay employee at a San Francisco tech startup he visited on Thursday about his position on legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, Time reported. Bush responded by denouncing discrimination in general, but also diminishing the need for legal protections and saying they should be only enacted at the state level.

Pressed on whether he would back new legislation to address the fact that 28 states lack laws protecting against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and 31 lack laws protecting against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, Bush suggested that this issue should not be a federal one. “I think this should be done state-by-state, I totally agree with that,” the former governor responded.

The old state’s rights gambit. So depressing. As I have said before, this is a dick’s way out of being put in a moral quandary. What about basic rights should be left to the caprice of a state legislature? Why not just say, “y’all can be motherless fucks if you like. That’s your right. Don’t bother me none”.

That’s what I call leadership.

Sad Little People

Some pigfucker in Tennessee is taking the anti-gay backlash in the wake of the marriage decision to a new level; he’s announced a no-fag policy in his shitty little business. To no one’s surprise, he invokes God to justify his homophobia:

“They gladly stand for what they believe in — why can’t I?” Amyx told WBLR. “They believe their way is right, I believe it’s wrong — but yet I’m going to take more persecution than them because I’m standing for what I believe in.”

So he placed a “no gays allowed” sign on the front door of his Washburn hardware store and said Monday that he would never take it down.

“A lot of people have called me and congratulated me,” Amyx told WATE-TV. “But other calls are on the other side of spectrum — people calling and threatening me, telling me I would regret this. No, I’ll never regret this.”

In lovely Tennessee, you see, it’s perfectly legal to refuse service based on sexual orientation. They and Arkansas are the only two states that ban nondiscrimination laws. Homosexuals have no specific rights to service at a place of business because so far we lack the courage to fold gay rights into Title II of the Civil Rights Act. It’s a shitty situation that needs attention, and it should remind us of the inherent wrongness of the lunch counter bans of the 60’s.

There is a small victory to be noted here. Even his paying customers were alarmed by the sign:

However, Amyx removed the sign Tuesday and replaced it with another one bearing a revised message at the urging of friends and customers who suggested he make it “a little nicer.”

The new sign reads: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”

Sadly, he can do that. It’s not against the law to be a horrible person in Tennessee. Until the federal government addresses this issue, there is no limit to jerkoff behavior in the smelly groin area of the United States.

Marriage equality has been achieved. But so much more remains to be done. I’m confident the side of tolerance and acceptance will win in due time. For now, we must take joy in their cries of persecution as the bigots realize that their right to religious belief stops at being able to abridge the fundamental right of any person to achieve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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