Libertarian Party To Gays: Leave Your Abusive Democratic “Spouse” And Join Us

The Libertarian Party has launched a campaign to lure gay voters, saying, “Like abused spouses who keep returning to their aggressors, gay voters keep handing their votes to the Democrats who abuse them.” The statement continues:

The Libertarian Party (LP) wants to break this self-destructive behavior and offers LGBT voters a better alternative. LP Chairman Mark Hinkle said, “Exit polls indicate that Democrats get over 70% of LGBT votes in federal elections. Those voters must really love the Democrats’ rhetoric, because they certainly aren’t seeing any action. “President Obama and the Democrats had almost a year of complete control of the federal government: the Presidency, the House, and a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate.

“They could have repealed ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’ They could have gotten rid of the Defense of Marriage Act. But they didn’t do either of those things. That’s a complete and total betrayal of all the promises they made to gay and lesbian voters for years. “After a carefully orchestrated failure in the Senate, the Democrats are now blaming Republicans for blocking the repeal of ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’ Of course, three Democrats just voted against it too, including Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid claims he voted for procedural reasons, but the whole situation seems calculated to look like they’re trying to help, while making sure they don’t actually help.” Unlike the Democratic and Republican Parties, the Libertarian Party believes that gays and lesbians deserve equal treatment under the law.

The statement concludes that the Libertarian Party “neither supports nor opposes gay relationships.”

Obviously the Libertarian Party seeks to capitalize on LGBT disenchantment with the Obama administration and further splinter the gay vote to the benefit of the GOP. Nothing more, nothing less. Most self-described libertarian candidates, of course, actually run on the GOP ticket. (Witness today’s post about Colorado’s Stephen Bailey.) Very few officially Libertarian candidates ever become viable candidates in general elections. Talk about throwing your vote away!

But just for the sake of argument, let’s tick off the official Libertarian agenda as posted on their website:

1. Abolish welfare.
2. Abolish Social Security.
3. Abolish the IRS.
4. Abolish the FDA.
5. Allow insurance companies to exclude any disease.
6. Dismantle the public school system.
7. Allow machine gun ownership and open-carry anywhere.
8. End foreign aid to starving nations.
9. Sell all national parks to private groups.

To be fair, the Libertarian Party does have reasonable positions on immigration reform, privacy, and the war on drugs. But the essential takeaway from reading their platform is this: “If you are impoverished, starving, desperately ill, unemployed, or uneducated…tough shit. Don’t come to the government with your lazy unpatriotic hand out. Every American for himself. Get the fuck out of here.”

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Misogynist Lawrence Summers Leave Obama Economic Advisor Post

Cross-posted at the dramatically consistent Francis L. Holland Blog.

Great news! Lawrence H. Summers, the Harvard University president who in 2005 attributed women's lack of tenured professorships in academia to innate sex differences, and who then somehow went on to become a chief economics advisor to President Obama, is leaving the Obama Administration!   (He also insinuated that Blacks, too, were held back by innate differences, after which Harvard University refused for days or weeks to produce the transcript of his speech.)

As I said at MyDD when President Obama was appointing Summers, and just before I was banned from participation at MyDD:

I suggest that readers personally read and consider Lawrence Summers' public comments for themselves and decide if he, as a member of the Obama cabinet, could treat women equally and promote their careers and opportunities in the same way that he would do for men. 

At the time of the "innate intelligence" controversy, in 2005, the New York Times said, in an article entitled, No Break in the Storm Over Harvard President's Words

At Friday's conference, Mr. Summers discussed possible reasons so few women were on the science and engineering faculties at research universities, and he said he would be provocative.  Among his hypotheses were that faculty positions at elite universities required more time and energy than married women with children were willing to accept, that innate sex differences might leave women less capable of succeeding at the most advanced mathematics and that discrimination may also play a role, participants said. There was no transcript of his remarks.

Is there a correlation between some men believing that women are inherently incompetent to be professors and those same men discovering that they, themselves, are incompent as economics advisors?  It is certainly a possibility because after hundreds of billions of dollars given to banks under Summers' authority, unemployment in America continues to rise, housing defaults continue to rise, poverty is rising, the Democratic Congress seems at risk, and Summers has never even shown a heart-felt expression that he gives a damn.

Now, Summers is losing his tenure, being forced out of his economics-advisor-to-the-President role because of what may arguably be his innate inability to fix the economy.  

Whatever the case, Lawrence H. Summers has become an increasingly heavy albatross around the neck of the Obama Administration and he should leave the White House today, when it would help Democrats at the polls, instead of waiting until December, when he may leave the President with a Republican Congress.

Good riddance!  Let's hope Obama doesn't replace Summers with Dinesh D'Souza.   If Obama brought in Robert Reich (Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration) to replace Summers, we might have some new and viable economic policies to announce before the Democrats get clobbered in November. 

Summers hoped in vain that bank bailouts would trickle down to Main Street.  To the contrary, Robert Reich says, "No Amount of Fiscal or Monetary Stimulus Will Be Enough, Given How Small A Share of Total Income the Middle Now Receives."

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Dear Senate Aides: Leave Hateful Comments On Gay Blogs From Your Home Computer

A staffer at Sen. Saxby Chambliss' office posted the comment "All fags must die" on the gay blog Joe.My.God, something that was easily traced thanks to the user's IP address and technological stupidity.


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Queerty

—  John Wright

GetEQUAL visits Senator Jim Webb. Servicemembers leave their combat boots.


Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) voted against the compromise DADT amendment in the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 27th. He’s getting a visit from GetEQUAL today, which you can follow on GetEQUAL’s Facebook page and via twitter. Servicemembers will be leaving their combat boots for Webb, which is a powerful symbol. During the 2006 campaign, Webb wore the combat boots of his son who was serving in Iraq.

We’ll have more on this soon.

Also, SLDN released its target list — and Webb is uncommitted on the filibuster:

KEY SENATORS UNCOMMITTED ON BREAKING THE FILIBUSTER:

–Susan Collins (R-ME)

–Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

–Mark Pryor (D-Ark.);

–Richard Lugar (R-IN);

–Judd Gregg (R-NH);

–Jim Webb (D-VA)

–George Voinovich (R-OH);




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Under the bus we go – WaPo: immigration overhaul could leave gay couples out

You saw it all coming, right? In a pitiful display of bigotry by groups of people who are themselves oppressed and under the legal microscope, we seen the fight for immigration reform is a coalition in turmoil.

About 24,000 gay and lesbian couples in the United States include at least one foreign partner, according to an analysis of census data by researcher Gary Gates at UCLA’s Williams Institute. Though five states and D.C. issue marriage licenses to gay couples, a large number of the 24,000 so-called binational couples in long-term relationships live in states that do not allow or recognize gay marriage.

The demand by these couples to gain the same immigration rights as heterosexuals is supported by key members of Congress, but is undermining the fractious coalition of groups needed to push through an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. Including equal treatment for gay partners of U.S. citizens, key advocates say, threatens to doom the already fragile hopes for change.

“It introduces a new controversial element to the issue which will divide the faith community and further jeopardize chances for a fair and bipartisan compromise,” said Kevin Appleby of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which last year said the inclusion of gay couples in a House bill aimed at reuniting families made it “impossible” for the group to support the measure. “Immigration is hard enough without adding same-sex marriage to the mix.”

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, a 16-million-strong group of evangelical Latinos that could play a key political role in an immigration overhaul, is similarly opposed to including provisions for gay and lesbian families. The president of the organization, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, said that including such a measure would prove to be the “death knell” for comprehensive change.

Gay and lesbian foreigners around the country who are in the same predicament as de Leon said the opposition of powerful Catholic and Latino groups was ironic because those groups often saw an immigration overhaul as a civil rights issue – and were quick to blame xenophobia and racism for anti-immigrant sentiment – while simultaneously arguing against equal rights for gays and lesbians.

Again, religion has no place in determining the civil rights of any group of people, yet here we are, watching a chance to build a coalition being splintered by ignorance and fear. How can this be solved? Why is doing the right thing — including gay and lesbian couples in reform — “the problem” as opposed to the irrational bigotry in the Catholic and Latino coaltions? No one is forcing them to marry same-sex couples in the context of immigration reform. It has nothing to do with their belief systems. It’s about entitlement to equal treatment under the law, that currently doesn’t address the myriad problems caused by inadequate laws regarding undocumented residents in this country.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Partner denied sick leave by AT&T

Bryan Dickenson, left, and Bill Sugg hold hands in Sugg’s room at a rehabilitation facility in Richardson on Wednesday, Jan. 27. (Source:John Wright/Dallas Voice)

Despite 100% rating from HRC, company won’t allow gay man time off to care for ailing spouse

JOHN WRIGHT  |  News Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

Bryan Dickenson and Bill Sugg have been together for 30 years.

For the last 12 of those years, Dickenson has worked as a communications technician for Dallas-based AT&T.

After Sugg suffered a debilitating stroke in September, Dickinson requested time off under the federal Family Medical Leave Act to care for his partner.

But AT&T is refusing to grant Dickenson the 12 weeks of leave that would be afforded to a heterosexual spouse under the act.

As a result, Dickenson is using vacation time so he can spend one afternoon a week at Sugg’s bedside at a rehabilitation facility in Richardson. But Dickenson fears that when his vacation runs out, he’ll end up being fired for requesting additional time off to care for Sugg. Dickenson’s attorney, Rob Wiley of Dallas, said he initially thought AT&T’s refusal to grant his client leave under FMLA was just a mistake on the part of the company. Wiley said he expected AT&T to quickly rectify the situation after he sent the company a friendly letter.

After all, AT&T maintains the highest score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which ranks companies according to their treatment of LGBT employees. And just this week, HRC listed AT&T as one of its “Best Places to Work.”

But AT&T has stood its ground, confirming in a statement to Dallas Voice this week that the company isn’t granting Dickenson leave under FMLA because neither federal nor state law recognizes Sugg as his domestic partner.

“I really couldn’t be more disappointed with AT&T’s response,” Wiley said. “When you scratch the surface, they clearly don’t value diversity. I just think it’s an outright lie for AT&T to claim they’re a good place for gays and lesbians to work.”

Wiley added that he’s disappointed in HRC for giving AT&T its highest score. Eric Bloem, deputy director of HRC’s workplace project, said Thursday, Jan. 28 that he was looking into the matter. Bloem said a survey for the Corporate Equality Index asks companies whether they grant FMLA leave to same-sex couples, and AT&T replied affirmatively.

“I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, so I don’t really want to make an official comment on it,” Bloem said.

Walt Sharp, a spokesman for AT&T, said the company has “a long history of inclusiveness in the workplace.”

“There are circumstances under which our administration of our benefits plans must conform with state law, and this is one of those circumstances,” Sharp said in a written statement. “In this case, neither federal nor state law recognizes Mr. Dickenson’s domestic partner with legal status as a qualifying family member for a federal benefit program. There is no basis for this lawsuit or the allegations contained in it and we will seek its dismissal.”

Sharp didn’t respond to a request for further comment.

Wiley said Sharp’s statement doesn’t make sense. No law prohibits the company from granting Dickenson an unpaid leave of absence, which is what he’s requesting. Wiley also noted that no lawsuit has been filed, because there isn’t grounds for one.

The federal FMLA applies only to heterosexual married couples, Wiley said. Some states have enacted their own versions of the FMLA, requiring companies to grant leave to gay and lesbian couples, but Texas isn’t one of them.

Wiley said the couple’s only hope is to somehow convince the company to do the right thing, which is why he contacted the media.

“At some point in time this just becomes really hateful that they wouldn’t have any compassion,” Wiley said of the company. “I think the recourse is to tell their story and let people know how AT&T really treats their employees.”

Through thick and thin

This isn’t the first time Dickenson and Sugg have endured a medical crisis.

Sugg, who’s 69 and suffers from congenital heart problems, nearly died from cardiac arrest shortly after the couple met in 1980.

At the time, Dickenson was a full-time student and didn’t have car. So he rode his bicycle from Garland to Parkland Hospital in Dallas every day to visit Sugg in the intensive care unit.

In an interview this week at the rehab facility, Sugg’s eyes welled up with tears as he recalled what a Parkland nurse said at the time – “If that isn’t love, then I don’t know what the hell love is.”

“And sure enough, it was,” Sugg said over the whirr of his oxygen machine, turning to Dickenson. “As long as I have you, I can get through anything.”

Dickenson said in addition to visiting Sugg each Wednesday afternoon, he wakes up at 7:30 on Saturday and Sunday mornings so he can spend the day with Sugg at the rehab facility.

This past Christmas, Dickenson spent the night on the floor of Sugg’s room.
“That would have been our first Christmas separated, and I just couldn’t bear that, him being alone on Christmas,” Dickenson said.

The worst part of the whole ordeal was when he had to return to work after taking 13 days off following Sugg’s stroke, Dickenson said. Sugg didn’t understand and thought his partner had abandoned him for good.

“He called me over and over every night, begging me to please come see him,” Dickenson said. “And I said, ’Honey, you don’t understand, I had to go back to work to save my job.’

“That’s what really hurts about what they’ve put me through, not my pain and anguish, but his,” Dickenson said.

Dickenson said it was 3 a.m. on Sept. 22 when he rushed Sugg to the hospital. Doctors initially said it was “the worst sinus infection they’d ever seen,” but within 48 hours Sugg had suffered a stroke affecting his cerebellum.

Sugg lost the ability to swallow and his sense of balance. He’s still unable to walk and suffers from double vision.

Because he wasn’t out as gay at work, Dickenson initially told supervisors that his father was sick.

When he returned to work after 13 days at the hospital, Dickenson explained that his domestic partner was ill and he needed more time off. His supervisor managed to get him an additional 30 days of unpaid leave.

In the meantime, Dickenson phoned the company’s human resources department and asked whether he’d be eligible for leave under FMLA, which allows 12 weeks (or about 90 days) per year. Dickenson said he was told that since he lives in Texas, he wouldn’t be eligible.

Dickenson filled out the FMLA forms anyway and sent them to the company, but he never got any response.

When Dickenson returned to work, he asked to be reclassified as part-time employee, so he could spend more time with Sugg. His supervisor refused and told him his best bet was FMLA leave, even though he’d already been denied.

That’s when Dickenson contacted Wiley.

Sugg is scheduled return to the couple’s Garland home from rehab in about a week, but he’s still on a feeding tube and will require nursing care. With any luck, he’ll someday be able to walk again.

Sugg bragged that he was able to drink his first cup of coffee last week, and he’s looking forward to getting back to his hobby of raising African violets.

Dickenson said he knows of at least seven medical appointments he’ll have to arrange for Sugg once he returns home. He said his vacation time likely will run out by April, and he fears that if he loses his job, the medical expenses will eventually cause him to go broke.

But Dickenson, who’s 51, said he’s committed to taking care of Sugg, even if it means living on the street someday.

“When it runs out, I’ll be fired, and it really hurts to be in a situation like that, because I’ve worked very hard for AT&T,” Dickenson said. “We suffer now, but maybe other people in our shoes in the future, if they work for AT&T, they won’t suffer like we do.”

—  John Wright