Do They Actually Let Patriots Serve Anymore?

August 9, 2006

First came the ideological litmus test for the Pentagon brass (not to mention the State Department).

Then came the graft and corruption test, imposed by the smirking chimp himself (you had to be a devotee graft and corruption to keep your stars).

And what trifecta would be complete without a religious litmus test for cadets at the various military academies?

Meanwhile the military lowered the bar and started taking in Nazis, high school drop-outs, and people with “personality disorders” who are all about the signing bonus and “kill[ing] ’em all.”

Thank God they’re keeping the queers out, though!

Openly gay people are prohibited from serving in the U.S. military under a 1993 policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The military can’t ask if a service member is gay, but those who say they are gay are discharged.

The U.S. military argues that barring gays from the military is critical to maintaining a unit’s “cohesion,” the trust among service members crucial to combat effectiveness.

Harassment of gays, however, is prohibited. The
Pentagon, in a 2000 memo to the armed services and commanders, said “mistreatment, harassment, and inappropriate comments or gestures” based on sexual orientation were not acceptable.

On the Navy’s USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, for example, anti-gay statements and jokes are on display and have been incorporated into a video about the F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft, recently shown to reporters on the carrier.

Pilots on the Roosevelt sported T-shirts, also shown to reporters including a Reuters correspondent, that said, “I’m a Tomcat guy and you’re a homo.” The commander of the fighter squadron, in fact, wore the shirt.


The Star Chamber, American-Style

August 2, 2006

According to today’s Washington Post:

A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such “commissions” to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court’s jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

So what’s the problem?  Won’t this make Americans safer?  Well, maybe if “safer” means living in a state of terror imposed by our own government rather than by foreign terrorists:

Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.

Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the police state has already arrived in America.  The question before We, the People is not whether we will allow it to come, but how long will we tolerate its presence in our midst.


Which Constitutional Provision Would Jesus Undermine?

July 19, 2006

The House of Representatives, in an all-to-common fit of facist lunacy, passed a bill intended to strip the Federal courts – the co-equal third branch of our government – of jurisdiction over the Pledge of Allegiance.

“We should not and cannot rewrite history to ignore our spiritual heritage,” said Rep. Zach Wamp (voting record), R-Tenn. “It surrounds us. It cries out for our country to honor God.”

Is that a fact? It might come as a surprise to Rep. Wamp that Jesus had some very clear instructions on how to go about honoring God*:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense, make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. – Matthew 23:14

Rep. Wamp voted for the bankruptcy reform bill, which makes no exception for debts incurred obtaining medical treatment or from “acts of God.” It should be noted that while a college student, Rep. Wamp was accused of writing “hot checks.” Perhaps this was a way of supporting his cocaine habit (see below)?

“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – John 8:7

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” – Matthew 23:15

Rep. Wamp – an admitted alcoholic and cocaine addict – consistently votes against bills adovacting rehabilitation over incarceration, voted NO on maintaining right of habeus corpus in Death Penalty Appeals, and voted YES on making federal death penalty appeals harder.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” – Luke 18:15-17

Rep. Wamp consistently votes in favor of legislation that will increase the prosecution and length of incarceration for juvenile offenders.

“Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:45-46

Rep. Wamp has consistently voted against strengthening the Social Security “lock box” and the financing of numerous government social programs. On the other hand, he has been a consistent supporter of tax breaks and credits for large corporations and America’s wealthiest 1%.

“Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers? The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” – Luke 10:36-37

Rep. Wamp, who as a Congressman gets traditional medical care for free, voted YES on denying non-emergency treatment for Medicare subscribers who can’t meet their co-pay. He also voted YES on a bill that would require hospitals to report patients who cannot prove their citizenship to be reported to the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Finally, despite the fact that Jesus said absolutely nothing about gays and lesbians, Rep. Wamp is an outspoken opponent of recognizing gay marriage and proponent of banning adoption by gay families.

I think if Jesus were around to speak for himself, he’d ask for a more representative spokesperson than Rep. Wamp. In any event, he certainly wouldn’t want this nutcase.

* I realize that there are other spokespersons for God besides Jesus of Nazareth, but Rep. Wamp is a Southern Baptist; I’m sure that he not only believes that only Jesus has the straight poop on what is pleasing to God, but that Jesus is God. So I’m limiting this post accordingly.


Happy 230th Birthday, USA!

July 4, 2006

My birthday wish for the United States is that its citizens will remember and once again cherish the liberal and democratic principles upon which our republic was established, as so eloquently expressed by Thomas Jefferson:

We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In these troubled times, those who support the undemocratic, unconstitutional rape of our body politic by the smirking chimp and his cronies would do well to remember the words of another great American statesman, Ben Franklin:

Those who would sacrifice essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Make no mistake, loyalty oaths, “free speech zones,” domestic spying programs, presidential signing statements, the creation of “special tribunals” to try “enemy combatants,” ad nauseum, aren’t just the first step towards fascism, they’re emblematic of a functioning fascist state. It’s no longer a question of stopping America from becoming a police state; it’s a question of restoring America to the democratic republic where the civil liberties of the individual once again trump the power of the state that it was just a few short years ago.

I’m the commander, see. I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.

Mr. Bush, please keep in mind that you are the Commander-in-Chief of the military, you are not Commander-in-Chief of country; the U.S. Constitution is not just a “goddamned piece of paper.” You owe nearly 300,000,000 people an explanation for every lie you utter, every war you start, and for every drop of blood that’s been shed as a result of your arrogance, stupidity, and tyranny.

God can’t save America, but We the People can.


Prominent Arizona Bigot Dies; Now is the Time for Reflection, Not Celebration

July 4, 2006

From AZCentral.com:

The head of the ballot effort to prohibit gay marriage and define traditional unions in Arizona was killed in a car wreck early Monday.

Lynn Stanley, chairwoman of the Protect Marriage Arizona Coalition, died in a crash on Interstate 40 while returning to Phoenix from Las Vegas, where she was visiting two sisters.

Stanley’s death cast a pall over what was to be a joyous time for the Protect Marriage coalition. The group collected roughly 300,000 signatures to place its measure on the November ballot, said Nathan Sproul, a political consultant for the effort. Amending the state Constitution, as the Protect Marriage coalition intends, requires at least 183,917 valid signatures.

Stanley, a Scottsdale wife and mother of two, wasn’t active in politics before the anti-gay marriage amendment.

“She was passionate on behalf of the family,” Herrod said.

“We in the pro-family, pro-marriage movement have lost a true friend and champion. She’ll be terribly missed.”

While I didn’t know about this woman before today, I am certain that I would have found her as personally repellant as I find her politics. Lynn Stanley was a lot of things, but passionate about “the family” wasn’t one of them.

People who are passionate about “the family” spend their time strengthening the ties that bind them to the people that they love, not hacking away at the bonds between others. As clearly mean-spirited Lynn Stanley was, I don’t believe that spearheading an effort to deny others the right to express their committment to one another brought her any closer to her spouse, her children, or her siblings, nor do I believe that they will miss her for the role she played as a self-righteous moral crusader in the last few months of her life.

Nevertheless, Lynn Stanley’s death is a tragedy. It is a tragedy for her family, who will no doubt miss the wife and mother that she was. It is a tragedy for her church, where she will be missed as an active congregant and teacher.

It is also an opportunity, however. In the wake of this woman’s passing, men and women who truly believe in “the family” need to step up and let Mrs. Stanley’s family know that however much they might disagree with what she stood for in life, they recognize and sypathize with the pain and loss those closest to her are experiencing because of her death. That’s what “the family” is all about, and I mean it when I say that while its totally appropriate to celebrate the setback her death has caused for the awful movement she lead, it is totally inappropriate to celebrate her death itself. With Mrs. Stanley’s passing, a man has lost his wife and lover; children have lost their mother and teacher. People who are truly passionate about “the family” will understand and relate to this.

I firmly believe in the weeks and months ahead, those who love and miss this woman the most will wish that she had spent a lot more time sharing whatever love and affection she was capable of with them, and a lot less time working to make sure that a select group of people are denied their right to do the same. I believe that if Mrs. Stanley were given the chance to relive the last year of her life, she’d realize what real passion about “the family” is, and come to the same conclusion.


Self-Loathing Mary Cheney Puts the “Bull” in Bulldyke

May 17, 2006

Mary Cheney, whose father is the puppet master of an administration that has only harmed men and women in uniform more than gay people over the past five-and-a-half years, recently published her memoirs. Therein, she calls John Kerry a "son of a bitch," and John Edwards "total slime" for doing more for her during the 2004 election than either of her parents ever did up until that point: acknowledging that she is, in fact, a lesbian.

A potty-mouth may well be the best thing Mary Cheney's ever going to get from her old man. With the Republicans tanking in the polls generally, and Mr. Cheney himself trailing rectal warts and ghonorrhea in terms of popularity, the "God, guns, and gays" gears of the Republican spin machine have been put into high gear as the mid-terms loom. As if that weren't a sad enough commentary on how expendable Mary Cheney is in her father's eyes, it bears pointing out that prior to being "outed" by the Kerry-Edwards ticket, Mary Cheney's lesbianism wasn't even acknowledged by those who knew better.

As much as I hate to admit it I find myself in total agreement with Andrew Sullivan, who rightly pointed out:

"The Cheneys didn't respond to . . . [Republican senatorial candidate] Alan Keyes' direct insult of their own daughter in Illinois. They have not voiced objections to a single right-wing piece of homophobia in [the 2004] campaign."

Even worse, I find myself in total agreement with Alan Keyes himself. Mary Cheney, you are a selfish hedonist.

Shame on you.


Defending the Indefensible Against All Enemies

April 26, 2006

Isn't great to know that you can be arrested and charged with a federal offense for exercising your First Amendment Rights on government (i.e.: public) property?

No, I am not referring to shouting-down a Communist strongman on the lawn of the White House. I am referring to to protesting the military's scientifically invalidated, nonsensical, fiscally irresponsible, politically unsupported, and downright un-American "don't-ask-don't-tell" policy of institutionalized bigotry on the grounds of West Point.

Personally, I think that the queer boogeyman is a lot less damaging to morale and unit cohesion than Tailhook-esque sexual assaults or chaplains who like to play Grand Inquisitor.

But that's just me. And as a liberal Democrat, God knows I couldn't possibly be patriotic or pro-military. And neither can John Kerry, John Murtha, Max Cleland, Wesley Clark, Paul Hackett, Tammy Duckworth, Eric Massa