More on the Congress critters who voted against MLK Day

Vice President Dick Cheney

Former Vice President and MLK Day supporter Dick Cheney

A friend had a bone to pick with me at breakfast this morning.

He thought yesterday’s blog post — about the six sitting members of Congress, all Republicans, who voted against a holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. — was unfair.

“I went through the story you posted,” he said, chiding me for only mentioning 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s vote. ”Your buddy Dick Cheney voted for it!”

In my defense, I shot back, I only blogged specifically about the six remaining “nay” votes.

But he’s right. I’m a journalist. I hate everybody equally should be fair. A lot of sitting members of Congress voted for it. Many of whom are Republicans. Many Democrats voted against it as well. They all joined notorious homophobe and racist Sen. Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina, by voting “nay.”

A number of the bipartisan “yea” votes even pursued the presidency. Vice President and prospective 2016 presidential nominee Joe Biden of Delaware voted for it. Sen. Bob Dole, a Kansas Republican who ran for president against Bill Clinton in 1996, did too.

Numerous House members who have since matriculated to the Senate also voted to create the holiday. Among them were Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-California and Pat Roberts, R-Kansas. Speaking of Kansas Republicans, former Sen. Bob Dole voted “yea” too, joining fellow GOP Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

Democrats representatives who voted “nay” included the memorable Doug Applegate of Ohio and Dan Daniel of Virginia. Applegate somehow still got a post office named for him in the thriving metropolis of Steubenville. In the Senate four Democrats, including both of Nebraska’s senators, James Exon and Ed Zorinsky, voted against it.

So in the tradition of being a fair, here’s a gentle reminder: Each vote defines your legacy, and unfortunately that racist legacy looms over both parties.

—  James Russell

Video: Politics makes strange fellow-bedding bedfellows

Elected Republicans still vote against us in blocks.

GOProud loudly called for Michael Steele’s resignation.

Both Andrew Breitbart and Chris Barron have compared the “gay left™” to the Taliban and/or Al Quaeda.

Yet gay/GOP unity rules the day. Or at least ruled the night at CPAC’s “Big Party”:

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was among the notable attendees at Thursday night’s Andrew Breitbart-hosted GOProud “Big Party.” (That, despite the fact that GOProud had called for Steele’s resignation multiple times.)

The (Attendees’) Talk of the Party: Breitbart and Steele [Metro Weekly]

Good As You

—  David Taffet

Video: Brock, Socarides, Matthews talk the politics of basic decency

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David Pakman of Midweek Politics interviews AFA’s deranged homo-hater Bryan Fischer

Friend of the Blend and Midweek Politics ace interviewer David Pakman has a can’t-miss interview with homo-hater Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association —  and you won’t believe that garbage is spewing out of Fischer’s mouth. OK, you can probably imagine some of the filth, but look at the choice quotes below the videos.

Bryan Fischer, American Family Association Director of Issues Analysis and the Host of “Focal Point” on AFR Talk joins David Pakman to discuss ex-gays, quitting homosexuality, risks of gay sex, supporting gay porn stars, being on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s anti-gay hate group list, and much more.

Fischer: “The Southern Poverty Law Center belongs on its own list [of hate groups]…for peddling falsehoods about homosexuality”

“We’re the ones telling the truth about the link between homosexuality and pedophilia.”

“Active participation in the homosexual lifestyle will deprive a male of anywhere between 8 and 20 years of his life expectancy”

“There is ‘no such thing as a monogamous homosexual relationship’”

But wait, there’s more…

Fischer: “The rectal wall is one cell thick”

“We need to take our cue from gay porn actors”

“Those homosexual activists that are so intent on normalizing homosexual behavior…they must be harboring some deep seated longing to be straight”

“…homosexual activists must be latently heterosexual”

“When the American people have been able to go to the polls and vote on the definition of marriage, we are 31 and 0″

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The Practice of Plutonium Politics

If there's anyone here left wondering how politics gets more and more and more toxic, Minnesota has given us the latest example

Minnesota's campaign finance regulators ruled Friday that two conservative groups that raised money to thwart Mark Dayton's bid for governor failed to properly register with the state as political funds.

But the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board declined to fine the groups, saying it found no “intentional plan or strategy” to avoid disclosure of donors.

The ruling stems from a complaint this fall filed by watchdog group Common Cause Minnesota. It said money for TV ads critical of Gov.-elect Mark Dayton had been illegally funneled from the Republican Governors Association [RGA] through a “shell corporation,” Minnesota Future LLC, to avoid disclosing the source of donations.

“The board is sending a message to special interest groups that no one will hold them accountable for violating campaign disclosure laws,” said Common Cause Minnesota Executive Director Mike Dean, who was disappointed the groups weren't fined.

Yes, ultimately Democrat Mark Dayton won.

And, yes, there are differences in the law between murder, attempted murder and negligent homicide.  However, all are crimes.  No one gets executed for a negligent homicide conviction – even in Texas (much less Minnesota) – but there is jail time (or, at the very least, probation and the stain of a criminal conviction.)

At the other end of the spectrum…

If I know that no cop will ever issue me a speeding ticket – and that if one does, any judge who hears the case will never allow me to actually be fined – I'm not really going to give a damn about how far the needle on my speedometer drifts past 70 when I'm out on I-80.

No one is suggesting that those behind these conservative groups be executed or locked up for life – and some may not even want them locked up at all – for violating the rules in question, but who will ever make any effort to abide by any campaign rules if they know that they'll never pay any price?

And what sort of price actually matters if the illegal campaign practices have their desired effect?  In 2002, mealy-mouthed 2012 presidential aspirant Tim Pawlenty got caught, was found to have violated the rules and was actually fined.  But, eight years later he's an outgoing two-term governor and a mealy-mouthed 2012 presidential aspirant who has been legitimized in the latter role by the corporate media.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty has now accepted full responsibility for campaign practices that a state review board found illegal. The decision could represent a substantial setback for Pawlenty, who also announced he would temporarily suspend television ads while his campaign assesses its options. But Pawlenty vows he'll vigorously press the campaign until the end.

Just one day after the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ruled against the Pawlenty campaign and the state Republican Party, Pawlenty gathered supporters around him to accept the board's decision.

The board ruled that an estimated 0,000 in television ads produced by the party were incorrectly identified as the sort of soft-money independent expenditures that are subject to limited regulation. The board's order requires Pawlenty to count the ads as direct contributions, a decision that will eat deeply into the campaign's .2 million spending limit.

Pawlenty, who's run his campaign around the catch-words of accountability and trust, says accepting the board's ruling demonstrates those principles.


Admitting that what he did disqualified him from the race would have demonstrated those principles.  The ads had run when they did – bells that could not be un-rung.

And now…

He's one of the darlings of the Plutonium Politics set.

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Gay Politics: Election Results 2010

Towleroad News #gay

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‘Pro-family’ politics: Black-robed judges = bad; armed black-robed preachers = yes!

Jim-GarlowMore from anti-LGBT equality pastor Jim Garlow:

Garlow recalls how pastors before the Revolutionary War led people to godliness. “…When these pastors would complete their sermons, they would take off their black robes — they preached in vestments at those times — … [and] underneath that would be the attire of military,” he shares. “They would pick up a musket and [ask]: ‘Who’s going to go fight with me?’

“And so the revolutionary armies during that time came from pastors leading the churches. It’s known as the Blacked-Robed Regiment.”

That same kind of leadership, says the California pastor, is needed today. “And we need a black-robed regiment today,” he urges. “We need pastors who are willing to stand up. And we need persons who are in the pews to stand up with them — a black-robed regiment of laypersons — who’s going to take [a like stand]. We’re going to have to spiritually see our nation change.”

Pastor: Christians need to make a difference on Nov. 2 [ONN]

You say you want a revolution? Well, you know: We all want to change the world.

But when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out?

Good As You

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Does ‘Sharia Law’ Have A Place In American Politics?


Sharia law, or the idea of it, has been playing an increasingly important role in this year’s midterm elections, thanks in part to plans for a Muslim community center near Ground Zero. Some of the references to Sharia law have been hateful, while others illuminating, but all show that this concept moves in mysterious political ways.

Conservative leaders such as Newt Gingrich have warned that Sharia law is insinuating itself into our beloved American institutions. “We should have a federal law that says sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States,” he said last month, while discussing the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” which he called “an effort to impose Sharia law.”

Sharron Angle, the Republican Senate candidate from Nevada, also suggested last month that American towns, specifically Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas, which have large Islamic immigrant populations, had been overtaken by Sharia law.

“We’re talking about a militant terrorist situation, which I believe isn’t a widespread thing, but it is enough that we need to address, and we have been addressing it,” said Angle, after being asked about “Muslims taking over the U.S.”

“Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas are on American soil, and under Constitutional law. Not Sharia law. And I don’t know how that happened in the United States,” she opined. “It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States.”

Meanwhile, a group called “Veterans Against Jihad” recently threw itself into the crusade to “awaken American Citizens to Islam’s Jihadist religious mandate.” Clearly these views are incendiary, dangerous, and, as Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said in a letter to Angle, entirely off base.

“I am deeply distressed that you have been misled about our community and the way that we conduct our affairs,” wrote O’Reilly. “I am afraid that many share the perception that Muslims have only recently immigrated to this area and are imposing their culture on our region… Muslims have been practicing their faith in our community for almost 90 years without incident or conflict.”
But the specter of Sharia law swings both ways: Sen. Jim DeMint’s was roundly criticized earlier this month for saying that sexually active single women and gay people shouldn’t teach in schools. Opponents compared his remarks to, yes, Sharia law, and even the Washington Post described his comments as “DeMint’s Sharia Law.” Along the same lines of using Sharia law to hammer the right wing, there’s Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson’s ad comparing his opponent, Dan Webster to the Taliban.

Grayson’s commercial was panned for taking Webster’s words out of context, yes, but the message still heard loud and clear: right wing conservatives like Webster, who pals around with “gay regulating” Christian nationalist David Barton, have politics that are just as oppressive as those espoused by Islamic fundamentalists, the very same people conservatives criticize.

Sharia law has, for better or for worse, become a major player in American politics. It’s become rhetorical pawn, and can employed by either sides of the ideological divide to stoke xenophobic fear or to highlight radical, oppressive politics that single out women and gay men. And, with election day nearing, voters need to decide not whether they should be worried about encroaching ‘Sharia law,” but how the concept should be used on American political field, if at all.

Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Classless politics makes [totally predicatble] bedfellows

Briggs initiativeCongratulations, Senator DeMint (Very Far R-SC). Your shocking comments about gays being barred from teaching in public school have earned the public support of one Bryan Fischer, a man who’s claimed that “homosexuals in the military gave us…six million dead Jews,” who’s said “homosexuals should be disqualified from public office,” has called on Christian conservatives to breed gays and progressives out of existence, has declared that “Every time an HIV-infected male has sex with another male, it’s essentially the same as plunging an infected heroin needle into his arm,” who’s said only gays were savage enough for Hitler, has compared gays to heroin abusers, who has directly compared laws against gay soldiers to those that apply to bank robbers, and who once invoked a Biblical story about stabbing “sexually immoral” people with spears, saying we need this kind of action in modern day.

Take it away, Bryan:

Sen. Jim DeMint has gotten some fresh attention – and criticism from the Ministers of Propaganda in the out-of-the-mainstream media – for his statement that open homosexuals and sexually active single adults shouldn’t be in the classroom teaching and providing substandard examples for a generation of America’s youth.

I’m happy to openly, publicly and unreservedly declare that Sen. DeMint is right. We should see to it that our teachers provide the kind of examples for our youth that are worthy of imitation in every way, including sexual expression. If we love America’s students, and love America and want only the best for her, we can do no less.

Bryan Fischer: DeMint says no fornicators or homosexuals in classrooms – he’s right [American Family Association]

Well Fischer is right about one thing: In terms of things he and Senator DeMint could do for America, there are few ideas of less value than firing teachers for being gay!

But the real question: When it comes to teaching constitutional fairness, would DeMint/Fischer’s desired teachers begin the lesson with, “Yea, well — about that…,” add a line about “promoting the cultural warfare,” or suddenly exclaim, “Hey, what’s that over there?” while ripping the pertinent pages out of the pupils’ social studies books?


*NOTE: Briggs Initiative era photo courtesy of Ally Action.

Good As You

—  John Wright

Midweek Politics’ David Pakman’s Epic Anti-Gay Interview Moments

I received an email from the highly talented and entertaining David Pakman of Midweek Politics, who apparently has not yet earned the reputation of “do not return his calls” among the fundies, bigoted airheads, and crazies who take his questions on the air and proceed to make asses out of themselves to the rest of us. Peter LaBarbera is one of his “greatest hits.”

David wanted to share with Blenders his “best of” reel, called “Epic Anti-Gay Moments Highlight Reel…the Worst of the Worst.” Protect your keyboard, sit back and relax and prepare to laugh. Special guest appearance by Terry “Burn the Koran” Jones, Shirley Phelps-Roper, Paul Cameron and of course, The Peter.

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—  John Wright