Various Direct Links

15 July 2012

Praise: The DISCLOSE Act

There are a few responses to the Citizens United decision that are underway.  Some seek a constitutional amendment to declare that corporations are not persons and thus deny them the right to contribute to campaigns and PACs, but a constitutional amendment is notoriously difficult to achieve.  Legislation is much, much easier.  One of the legislative approaches I started to look at following today's e-mail from Eugene Delgaudio, who regularly lies about legislation that is usually directed at equal treatment of gays and lesbians.

Mr. Delgaudio's paranoia goes in a new direction with today's e-mail. As always, he thinks that my first name is "Some".  Here we go.
Dear Some,
There is a dangerous bill before the U.S. Senate right now.
And unlike the other legislation the Homosexual Lobby is pushing, this one is not designed to give radical homosexuals special privileges...
Of course, there is no "Homosexual Lobby" and there are no "special privileges" sought by the LGBTQ Community.  We want equality.  But that is not what has Eugene Delgaudio scared this time.
This bill, the DISCLOSE Act, will be used to attack Public Advocate directly.
Let's pause and look at what the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act of 2012, also called the DISCLOSE Act of 2012, really is.  According to the Library of Congress

Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act of 2012 or DISCLOSE 2012 Act - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to redefine the term "independent expenditure" as an expenditure by a person that, when taken as a whole, expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, or is the functional equivalent of express advocacy because it can be interpreted by a reasonable person only as advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, taking into account whether the communication involved mentions a candidacy, a political party, or a challenger to a candidate, or takes a position on a candidates, qualifications, or fitness for office.

Expands the period during which certain communications are treated as electioneering communications.

Prescribes disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, and certain other entities, including a political committee with an account established for the purpose of accepting donations or contributions that do not comply with the contribution limits or source prohibitions under FECA (but only with respect to such accounts).

Prescribes disclaimer requirements for public communications that include functional equivalent of express advocacy.

Requires any communication transmitted through radio or television to include an individual or organizational disclosure statement, together with: (1) the Top Two Funders List of the persons providing the largest and second largest aggregate payments of $10,000 or more for a radio communication, and (2) the Top Five Funders List of the five persons providing the largest aggregate payments of $10,000 or more for a television communication.

Repeals the prohibition against political contributions by individuals age 17 or younger.

So, this would force Mr. Delgaudio to disclose his donor list when he is trying to use his tax exempt, non-profit organization to influence elections.  Here is more of Mr. Delgaudio's e-mail.
The DISCLOSE Act is being disguised by the radical left as an attempt to level the playing field.
But in reality, it will force every non-profit lobby organization -- like Public Advocate -- to reveal their complete lists of donors!
My friend, the Homosexual Lobby will not hesitate to use this information to attack all the Public Advocate’s donors; pro-Family Americans who have given generously to see the Homosexual Agenda stopped.
So, this is today's paranoia.  If their names are revealed, the bigots who contribute to Eugene Delgaudio's organization, certified as an active anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, will stop giving so generously.  They won't want their bigotry to be known by others.
That’s why we have to join with millions of other conservative Americans in telling the Senate to vote no on the DISCLOSE Act.
Mr. Delgaudio goes on to beg for money as he always does. 

Regarding the DISCLOSE Act, it should be obvious that I am biased and want to have Mr. Delgaudio's group and all hate organizations exposed to more sunshine.  The League of Women Voters, usually seen as non-partisan, has published a FAQ on the DISCLOSE Act.  They even address Mr. Delgaudio's fear directly.

Q.  Won’t disclosure of large contributions expose funders to unfair retaliation by disgruntled activists? 

 A.  The Supreme Court has held that the value of disclosure to informing voters outweighs any minor or imagined retaliation against funders.  The Court has said that in real, demonstrated cases of retaliation, an exception to disclosure may be granted.

They also address the notion that this might be aimed at solely conservative organizations.

Q.  Aren’t unions given special treatment in the DISCLOSE Act so that Democrats can protect their funding sources?

A.  We don’t believe so.  Unions are covered by the DISCLOSE Act, just as for-profit and non-profit corporations and trade associations such as the Chamber of Commerce are covered.

Q.  Isn’t the DISCLOSE Act just a way to limit Republican funding sources so that Democrats will have an electoral advantage?

A.  When campaign finance loopholes are created, both political parties typically do their best to exploit the loophole.  The disclosure loophole created by the huge spending unleashed by Citizens United will be no different.  The voters are the ones who will lose because without disclosure, they can’t know who is trying to influence their votes.

While I like the idea that corporations should not be legally recognized as persons in terms of our election system, I also like sunshine.  If we don't know who is attacking us, there is a huge problem.

But I am writing anonymously.  Well, if I have full equality, including having no risk to my employment for being gay, then I will be happy to have sunshine on myself as well.

13 July 2012

Response to Anonymous Bigot

Yesterday I wrote a response to Eugene Delgaudio's lie-filled e-mail.  An anonymous user responded with a different pack of lies.  There are enough lies that I am responding in a new post.

All he is saying and informing others is that the gay movement is very strong and lethal. 
Very strong and lethal?  Neither.

First, gay movement implies that one chooses to be gay.  Sorry.  If that were true, most of the gays of my generation would be straight.  They are not.  We'll look at some of the science of this a little later in this post.

The strength of the LGBTQ Community is that we are second class citizens who are begging for equality.  If we were "strong" we would already be equal.  We are not.  If we were so strong, it would not be legal to fire a person for being gay, as is the case in most states.  As noted in the graphic, below, it is legal to fire someone based solely on their sexuality in twenty-nine states (thanks to GLAAD).  This is why ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) is so important.


What is lethal about being gay is the environment that bullies and liars create.  Most gays and lesbians who are not confronted with unnecessary challenges would live normal lives.  The myth of short lifespans was published as a now discredited set of studies by Paul Cameron.  There was also a Canadian study exploring lifestyles in Vancouver thirty years ago which has its authors asking that it not be used to spread homophobia.

Bottom line, is that the LGBTQ Community exists in a struggle for political and legal equality, not strength.  Our lifestyles are varied, but not inherently lethal.

It has, in many states, inforced homosexual lifestyle education to be taught as an alternate way of life "and should be tried and experienced by everyone to truely see if this is something that could be a way of life for you or not". They teach this from grade 1 and up. Are you kidding me. We don't teach normal sexual activity between male and female until jr high and you want to get to the kids at a younger age to twist and confuse their thinking. 
Not at all true.  First, the goal of the LGBTQ Community is acceptance, not coercion.  Even if we wanted to sway people to a different sexual orientation, it is unlikely that we would often succeed.  This is not hyperbole.  This is the belief of our major medical and psychological organization.

On Tuesday of this week the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychoanalytical Association, and several of the California chapters filed an Amicus Curiae Brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

II.  Homosexuality Is A Normal Expression of Human Sexuality, Is
Generally Not Chosen, And Is Highly Resistant To Change.


That is the title from a section that starts on page 17 of the pdf.  A little more from that section:

Current scientific and professional understanding is that the core feelings that form the basis for adult sexual orientation typically emerge between middle childhood and early adolescence, without any necessary prior sexual experience.

The Brief goes on to refute claims of reparative therapy.

Wake up. Homosexual activity is as sick and twisted and pedophillia. 
I am wide awake.  Unlike pedophilia, homosexuality is about sex between consenting adults.  Children cannot give legal consent.  Even if children appear to be consensual, one cannot assume that they understand sexuality and its benefits and consequences.  Sex with children is wrong.  Correlating adult homosexuals with pedophiles is wrong.

The most famous pedophile so far this year is Jerry Sandusky, with all of the information not yet in.  Please note that Mr. Sandusky appeared to be a heterosexual.  In fact, buried in the FBI statistics, most pedophiles are male and most of their victims are female (not that any sexual abuse of a child should be seen as heterosexual or homosexual, it is child abuse period.)

IT'S A WAY OF LIFE THAT HAS BEEN CHOSEN AND ACCEPTED BY THOSE THAT LIVE IT TO BE NORMAL and ACCEPTABLE. 
No.  Making this all caps does not make it more true, only more annoying.  Our sexuality is inherent.  Yelling that it is chosen does not change the medical and psychological facts.

I am not condeming those into those live styles, it's like a drunk.... a person who needs help. 
In fact, you are condemning me and all other gays.  What I need is not help but to be left alone to live my life without your harassment.

Dont' tell me it's natural if all the gay lobbiest do is to force it down the publics throats and try to make it legal to be force and taught to school children of all ages. 
No one is teaching children to be homosexual or heterosexual in our schools.  That is among the big lies of those who have been challenging California's SB-48 legislation, the The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act.  What is being taught is that we should tolerate and accept each other, both in what we have in common and in how we differ.

I will be damned if I would let my 4 boys be taught life and told that, that is an alternative way of life. If you want to live that lifestyle keep it to yourself. 
I don't know what you mean by "taught life".  Schools are expected to teach children to become adults and handle the variety of situations that life will throw at them.  To prepare students, we teach them about math and language, physical exercise and sports, and the complexities of society.  We don't teach children how to be sexual.  We teach life skills, not life styles.

I can only assume that you want schools to ignore parts of society that you don't like.  So, you want your sons to be taught lies.  Homosexuality is real and there are homosexuals in every culture and have been for all of recorded history.  Pretending otherwise is a lie.

There is no single "homosexual lifestyle".  Just as for heterosexuals, some attend more parties than others; some do more community service and give to charity more than others; some work to save the world while others waste the resources we have.  Stereotyping of either homosexuals or heterosexuals is not useful.

Don't pay off government officials to pass and enforce all kinds of laws that will force the 97% of the public that want nothing to do with this lifestyle for themselves or their families to be a manditory taught practice in school.
We agree that bribery is awful.  It is awful no matter who is doing so.  When the National Organization for Marriage is offering two million dollars to New York State Senators that is wrong.

Using phrases like "this lifestyle" and "a manditory taught practice in school" is lying.  Not useful for any meaningful dialogue.

Rather than continue the hyperbole, let's look at the real information about LGBTQ people and their relationships.  The following is from section III of the Amicus Brief we talked about previously.

III. Sexual Orientation and Relationships.

Like heterosexuals, gay and lesbian people want to form stable, long-lasting relationships, and many of them do: numerous studies of gay and lesbian people show that the vast majority of participants have been in a committed relationship at some point in their lives, that large proportions are currently in such a relationship (40-70% of gay men and 45-80% of lesbian women), and that many of those couples have been together 10 or more years. Recent surveys based on probability samples support these findings. Data from the 2010 US Census shows that same-sex couples headed more than 600,000 US households and more than 90,000 in California, including more than 18,000 married couples in California and more than 130,000 married couples in the United States.

Empirical research demonstrates that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners closely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples form deep emotional attachments and commitments. Heterosexual and same-sex couples alike face similar issues concerning intimacy, love, equity, loyalty, and stability, and they go through similar processes to address those issues. Empirical research also shows that gay and lesbian couples have levels of relationship satisfaction similar to or higher than those of heterosexual couples.

Perhaps I should have simply deleted the hate and lies of "Anonymous".  I was tempted to do so.  But, it is sometimes important to respond to lies with truth instead of ignoring the hate and just moving on.

12 July 2012

FollowUp 6: Eugene Delgaudio Lies About Legislation Again

Public
Advocate Banner
Dear Some,
So begins the latest lie from Eugene Delgaudio.  This time it is a lie regarding potential litigation.
Another attack came sooner than even I feared.
I have just found out the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is launching another attack on myself and Public Advocate as a whole.
No.  The Southern Poverty Law Center is not launching an attack.  They are responding, yesterday in the linked blog post, to Mr. Delgaudio's appropriation and modification of copyright materials without attribution or payment.  They are responding to Mr. Delgaudio taking that material, an engagement photograph, a shot of love, and turning it into a tool for hate.  It is Mr. Delgaudio who launched the attack.  The Southern Poverty Law Center is the defender of what is right.  The following in bold is from the linked site.

It was supposed to be a reminder of one of the most special days shared by Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere – their engagement photo.

The black-and-white photograph shows the two men kissing with the New York City skyline in the background. The picture was one of several that Edwards posted on his blog to allow friends and family unable to attend the couple’s wedding to share their joy. But what was supposed to be a symbol of the life-long commitment between two people in love was hijacked by an anti-gay hate group.

Recently, the men discovered their photo had been taken from the Internet and used in an anti-gay mailer to attack a political candidate in Colorado. The city skyline had been removed from the background and replaced with snow-covered trees one might find in Colorado. Bold words, on a red background, were added: “State Senator Jean White’s idea of ‘Family Values?’” White supported Colorado’s civil union legislation.

“This photo represented our love and commitment and the many challenges we have overcome in order to share our lives together,” Edwards said. “When I first saw how our photo had been publicly destroyed and used against gay and lesbian families, I was shocked, heartbroken and livid. I don’t want this to happen to another gay or lesbian couple.”

Neither the couple, nor the photographer, knew about the doctored photo until a friend of the couple informed them. The mailer was the work of Public Advocate of the United States, a Falls Church, Va., organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as an anti-gay hate group.

Today, the SPLC sent a cease-and-desist letter to the group and Eugene Delgaudio, its president. The letter, sent on behalf of the couple and photographer Kristina Hill, warns that the SPLC is investigating the unauthorized use of the copyrighted photo and demands that Delgaudio, Public Advocate and anyone acting on their behalf immediately stop using the photo. It asks Delgaudio to confirm within 10 days that he and Public Advocate have stopped using the photo.

The rest of the article, including the original and the doctored photographs, can be seen at the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Mr. Delgaudio's e-mail continues.
Last week I sent you several emails warning that the SPLC was determined to destroy our organization and our cause.
Together, you helped me raise a decent amount of money for the coming fight, but I must admit that we fell short of my goal...
And with the enemy so suddenly upon us, I am very worried.
So, again, Mr. Delgaudio is after money.  He enriches himself at the expense of the happiness of others.  Evil.
This attack is forming quickly -- I have not even received anything in writing, but they have already leaked it to the press.
Leaked it?  No.  Released it.  A leak implies that there is something to keep secret.
They again claim that Public Advocate is a “hate group” simply because you and I refuse to embrace the Homosexual Agenda.
No.  You don't need to embrace anything and you will not be labelled a hate group.  Mr. Delgaudio makes money by encouraging hate and working actively against equality.
And they are demanding I “cease all operations” in this fight.
Almost.  This is close to true.  The Southern Poverty Law Center's cease and desist letter calls on Mr. Delgaudio to "immediately cease and desist any further unauthorized use of Brian and Tom’s images and likenesses, and any further unauthorized use of Kristina’s copyrighted photos or other intellectual property."  It would be good if they could call upon Mr. Delgaudio to cease all operations, but that's not what's happening in this particular case.  Mr. Delgaudio chose to start this fight and the Southern Poverty Law Center is attempting to end it.  That is what a cease and desist letter is all about.
Public Advocate could soon be facing a serious legal battle for supposed “hate crimes” against the Homosexual Lobby.
The particular cease and desist letter is about intellectual property rights, not hate crimes.  Mr. Delgaudio is, again, imagining future scenarios.  (He is a liar).
My lawyers have warned me not to go into anymore details, but I can assure you this:
As long as I am able, I will continue to fight for the Family.
That is to say, he is going to continue to fight against my family, against the family of Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere, and against all other LGBTQ families.  The supposed warning from his attorneys does not make sense.  Any reasonable attorney would simply tell him to stop using the copyrighted material.
I will send you more information once I receive their letter and my legal team has a chance to review it.
He received it by e-mail before he sent his letter to everyone on his mailing list, begging for more money.
Your public advocate,
Eugene Delgaudio
President, Public Advocate of the United States
P.S. Please prayerfully consider chipping in with a donation of $10 or more to help Public Advocate fight for traditional values.
Sorry to remove the link where he begs for money.  That is Mr. Delgaudio's obvious goal.
Because Public Advocate of the U.S. is a non-profit, charitable organization that fights the radical agenda of the homosexual Lobby, contributions are not tax deductible for IRS purposes. This email was not produced or emailed at taxpayer expense. Public Advocate's phone number is (703) 845-1808, its address is 5613 Leesburg Pike, Suite 17 Falls Church, VA 22041, and its website is http://publicadvocateusa.org/.
It is obnoxious that his hate is not taxed.

19 December 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
11 January 2012, FollowUp 1.
14 January 2012, FollowUp 2.
16 February 2012, FollowUp 3.
15 March 2012, FollowUp 4.
13 June 2012, FollowUp 5.

08 July 2012

Pondering Healthcare

There have been lots of articles in the news and blogosphere lately about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as ObamaCare.  It has been controversial for some time, but I would like to take a different type of look at some of the history leading up to the ACA and then at what I consider to be significant flaws.

A Little of the History of Health Care

The idea for something like the ACA is neither new nor the product of just one political party.  One President who called for healthcare reform in a similar format to the ACA was Richard Milhouse Nixon in his budget address to the Congress in 1974:
I am once again proposing a comprehensive plan for national health insurance that would make adequate insurance against the costs of health care available to all Americans. This far-reaching reform is long overdue. I urge early congressional action on it. The budget proposes measures to prepare for this program.
President Nixon included a few more details in that address.
The national health insurance plan I am proposing represents another major step toward improving the lives of individual Americans. My proposal calls for basic reform in the financing of medical care. It would bring comprehensive insurance protection against medical expenses within reach of all Americans, including millions of people who cannot now obtain adequate insurance coverage. Costs of coverage for low-income families would be federally supported, with payments scaled according to family income.
It will take several years for this reform to become fully operational. In the interim, the 1975 budget provides $26.3 billion for existing health programs. Under this budget, the momentum of cancer, heart, and other research initiatives would be sustained, and total funding for biomedical research would exceed $2 billion in 1975, almost double the 1969 level. To support continued reform of our medical care system, the budget proposes a total of $125 million in 1974 and 1975 to demonstrate health maintenance organization concepts throughout the Nation. I am also proposing a Health Resources Planning Act to enhance State and regional capabilities and responsibilities for planning and regulating health services.
Congress did not act on Nixon's request.  Nor was there action under Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush (41), Clinton, or Bush (43).  This is despite repeated calls for health care in their various messages to Congress.  (The following are examples and should not been seen as exhaustive or complete).

President Gerald Ford
America needs to improve the way it pays for medical care. We should begin plans for a comprehensive national health insurance system. However, in view of the economic developments and the measures I have proposed to combat recession and inflation, I cannot now propose costly new programs. Once our current economic problems are behind us, the development of an adequate national medical insurance system should have high national priority. I urge the Congress to work with my Administration in order to devise a system that we will be able to afford.
President James Earl Carter
about a comprehensive national health insurance program, which can extend health care coverage to millions of needy Americans while controlling health care costs; and about the need for a human rights policy, which I believe is essential in the pursuit of our foreign policy.
President Ronald Wilson Reagan
I am asking Congress to help give Americans that last full measure of security, to provide a health insurance plan that fights the fear of catastrophic illness. My plan would provide acute care for those over 65 by restructuring the Medicare program. Under my proposal, the elderly would receive catastrophic health care coverage under Medicare, while limiting out-of-pocket expenses to $2,000. This coverage will be made available for an additional monthly Medicare premium of $4.92. The plan also aims to improve protection for the general population and for the long-term care of the elderly. For too long, many of our senior citizens have been faced with making an intolerable choice—a choice between bankruptcy and death. This proposed legislation would go a long way to help solve that dilemma.
President George Herbert Walker Bush
Infant and maternal health is an area where we must invest in the future. It is also an area where we must all be committed to improvement. I am particularly disturbed by the fact that the infant mortality rate for black infants is nearly twice that for whites.
This legislation does not do all that we want to do, but it does do what we can do at this time.
President William Jefferson Clinton
Today is an historic day. The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee has become the first full congressional committee to report out a health care reform bill. The action of Chairman Kennedy's committee gives me great confidence that Congress will pass legislation this year that meets the expectation of the American people: guaranteed private insurance for every American that can never be taken away. Once again, Chairman Kennedy has demonstrated the leadership that has made him a driving force in the fight for quality health care for the last three decades.
Under the leadership of Chairman Moynihan, the Senate Finance Committee is moving. Chairman Moynihan is committed to achieving universal coverage and bringing legislation to the American people this year.
For the first time in our history, committees in both the Senate and the House are seriously moving forward on health care reform. While much work remains, today's actions prove that the job will be done. The momentum demonstrated in the House and Senate this week is heartening to me and all Americans who want and deserve real health security.
President George Walker Bush
This bipartisan Patients' Bill of Rights reflects the principles I laid out earlier this year. It provides strong patient protections for all Americans, ensures that doctors and patients make medical decisions, and holds health plans accountable by providing patients with meaningful remedies when they have been wrongly denied medical care. The bill also protects employers and their employees from unnecessary litigation that would increase health care premiums and force too many Americans to do without health insurance.
While the details vary, all of these Presidents of the United States attempted to get some form of additional healthcare for average Americans.  They all failed.  President Obama is the first to get legislation passed, but it doesn't quite make sense.

My complaint is not with the individual mandate which the GOP and Fox News have inaccurately called the largest tax ever.  As a penalty or a tax, the concept is necessary if we are going to have private health insurers managing our health care.  That last bit is my personal biggest problem with the ACA and should be the second biggest problem for Republicans.

First Concern with the ACA

Despite the cries of fear that the government is taking over your healthcare.  Despite the silliness that the government is getting between your doctor and you.  The reality is that private companies are in charge of your healthcare and are getting between your doctor and you.  That might be reasonable, but those companies have a bottom line goal of spending as little as possible.  Their goal is not to keep you as healthy as possible.  Their goal is not to ease the hassles of getting the care you need to survive.  Their goal, as is the goal of every other private corporation, is to earn money.

The ACA is good in that someone with a preexisting condition can now get health insurance.  One cannot be thrown off of health insurance completely because one's care is starting to become expensive.  The insurers are now required to spend eighty percent of their income on health care (that part is dramatic reform).  Those are all good points.

But, that does not change the insurer's goal of making money.  Their only reason to take reasonable care of you is if there is competition and you might change insurers.  The state exchanges that have so many Republican governors concerned might help with this, but it is an idea that has not be tried yet.

Second Concern with the ACA

If a concern is cost to business, why are we perpetuating an employer based health insurance system?

Many who complain about the ACA are complaining that it will cost jobs because it will cost small businesses too much.  The reason it is costing businesses anything at all is because after World War II some businesses added health care as a benefit to attract employees.  This was not mandated by the government.  It was a business choice.

Since that time, we have gone from having a primarily domestic economy to having a global economy.  The businesses which are competition for American businesses are mostly in countries with single payer health care systems.  Businesses in Europe and Asia do not pay for health care at all (well, they do pay taxes which in turn fund the health care but that is generally in the form of income and value added taxes that are not based on the employees).  It is not a level playing field.

Before someone jumps on me for lauding single payer systems, I will note that not all single payer systems are created equally.  One of the best systems, that of Taiwan, is supposed to be in fiscal trouble.  It is not my purpose to present any panacea for health care in this blog, just to ponder what is happening.

Third Concern with the ACA

The gimmick of pushing most of the costs out ten years is as annoying when done by Democrats as when done by Republicans.  Partly because of this, the Republicans can claim that ObamaCare is a failed system when most of it has not been put into effect yet.  Both the Democratic gimmick and the Republican attacks are lies.  Disgusting politics.

Final Thoughts for This Post

Given the Republican rejection of Republican ideas, such as the individual mandate, it is likely that nothing better than the ACA could have been accomplished during President Obama's first term in office.  While political parties are always rooting for replacement of members of the other party, they usual put country first.  The Republicans stopped doing so with the goal of replacing President Obama.  Perhaps it is racism.  Perhaps it is continued fallout from the near-impeachment and resignation of President Nixon.  Whatever the reason, the loss of the GOP as a political party that places the United States first was a huge loss.  I don't know how this can be repaired.

04 July 2012

Happy 4th of July 2012

Today is the 236th Anniversary of the official date of publication of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America from England.  Since the War of 1812, England and the United States have been the closest of allies.  The goal to create a more perfect union is an ongoing effort.  Today is hot.  News started early with the Higgs Boson (sometimes called the God particle) being announced as something that was likely observed.  Much more ... it's hot.

May your celebrations be filled with cheer.

01 July 2012

FollowUp 4: Lost Drones

Technically speaking, this post is about drones that are not yet sold, so they are not exactly lost.  Let's think about what is lost when they are sold ....

The Los Angeles Times has an article today about American manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) seeking to sell them on the world market.
Despite concerns about U.S.-made drones ending up in enemy hands, American military contractors are lobbying the government to loosen export restrictions and open up foreign markets to the unmanned aircraft that have reshaped modern warfare.
Considering our most recent experience with the international release of weapons, one might hope that we would have the common sense to restrain ourselves from selling more devices around the planet.  We saw the incredible increase of nuclear weapons with "mutually assured destruction" (MAD) as the only justification for not having another nuclear war.  One can place a weapon on a drone as easily as a camera, so why on Earth would we consider selling them?
"Export restrictions are hurting this industry in America without making us any safer," Wesley G. Bush, Northrop's chief executive, said at a defense conference this year. "The U.S. is struggling to sell unmanned aircraft to our allies while other nations prepare to jump into the marketplace with both feet."
Does the "defense" industry profit trump our safety?
Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Assn., said that drone sales are problematic because the unmanned vehicles are more affordable than other military aircraft. And with no human pilot at risk, drones could make it easier to decide to go to war, he said.
"The proliferation of this technology will mark a major shift in the way wars are waged," he said. "We're talking about very sophisticated war machines here. We need to be very careful about who gets this technology. It could come back to hurt us."
The article continues to explain how the manufacturers of drones are stuck on the sidelines while other American manufacturers of weapons can see their products exported for great profits.  Not fair!  We want to profit as well!  "It could come back to hurt us."

By the way, if you Google or Bing "drones for sale", there is an amazing array of UAVs on the domestic market right now.  One can spend less than a thousand dollars for a drone that can carry a camera weighing less than two pounds to tens of thousands of dollars for your personal military-style personal surveillance drone.  E-Bay has some that appear to be real military hardware.

I'm going to side with Mr. Kimball of the Arms Control Association.  Proliferation is a big mistake.

14 December 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
1 January 2012, FollowUp 1.
4 January 2012, FollowUp 2.
12 June 2012, FollowUp 3.

28 June 2012

Praise: Montford Marines



Sergeant Joseph Ginyard enlisted in the Marine Corps during World War II, re-enlisted to serve in the Korean War, and was among the "Montford Marines" who received the Congressional Gold Medal this week.  The Montford Point Base was used for basic training (boot camp) for Blacks entering the Marine Corps between 1942 and 1949.  They broke the color barrier for the Marine Corps.  American heroes who went without recognition for far too long.  This follows the Montford Marines being honored at Temple University's Blockson Collection on Juneteenth Day (19 June).

I love the enthusiasm of Mr. Ginyard, now 87 years old, in proving to old bigots that he was a brave and proud Marine.  Fantastic!

Every time we break barriers, like welcoming Blacks into the military and more recently the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, our diversity enables our forces to be stronger and better prepared for the diversity of threats that might face the United States.

26 June 2012

FollowUp 1: Pentagon and Pride 2012



This afternoon was formal recognition of Pride Month at the Pentagon.  C-SPAN covered the event.  Most notable, may I commend to you listening to Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson, above, where he gives his inside perspective on the process of repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT).



The first person tales of the panel that follows, in the second video, are compelling.  Different military and civilian perspectives on LGBTQ service. 

If you have a full hour, please enjoy the full video at C-SPAN.

24 June 2012, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.

25 June 2012

25 June 2012: Marriage News Watch



Links:  American Foundation for Equal Rights, Marriage News Watch.

23 January 2012: Marriage News Watch.
30 January 2012: Marriage News Watch.
6 February 2012: Marriage News Watch.
13 February 2012: Marriage News Watch.
20 February 2012: Marriage News Watch.
21 February 2012: Marriage News Watch Special Episode.
27 February 2012: Marriage News Watch.
12 March 2012: Marriage News Watch.
19 March 2012: Marriage News Watch.
26 March 2012: Marriage News Watch.
2 April 2012: Marriage News Watch.
5 April 2012: Marriage News Watch, Surprise Advance.
16 April 2012: Marriage News Watch.
23 April 2012: Marriage News Watch.
30 April 2012: Marriage News Watch.
7 May 2012: Marriage News Watch.
10 May 2012: Marriage News Watch, 2012's Biggest Marriage Milestones So Far.
14 May 2012: Marriage News Watch.
21 May 2012: Marriage News Watch.
28 May 2012: Marriage News Watch.
4 June 2012: Marriage News Watch.
5 June 2012: Marriage News Watch, Prop 8 Rehearing Denied.
11 June 2012: Marriage News Watch.
18 June 2012: Marriage News Watch.

2 July 2012: Marriage News Watch.
10 July 2012: Marriage News Watch.
16 July 2012: Marriage News Watch.

Praise: Montana Stands for People



It is unusual in this divisive decade to see Democrats and Republicans on the same side of any issue. The Republican Lt. Governor and Democratic Governor of Montana are doing so.  Knock me over with a feather.
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) and Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger (R) respond to the Supreme Court's action invalidating Montana's 100-year-old Corrupt Practices Act.
ElectionsAreForUs.org makes sense to me.  Considering a corporation to be the same as a voter does not.

24 June 2012

Praise: Pentagon and Pride 2012

This weekend is seeing the Pride Parades in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere.  But this is the first year that LGBTQ military do not have to hide their nature during Pride.  When I received my Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Navy, over a quarter of a century ago, I never expected that future sailors might serve and be open about who they are.

Then, President Obama and the Congress repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  Still, problems were anticipated by many.  According to the Stars and Stripes, there have been no significant problems with the repeal.  Even the Republican Chair of the House Armed Services Committee agrees.
The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday that allowing gays to serve openly in the military is a settled issue that he won't try to reverse even if Mitt Romney wins the presidency in November and the GOP captures the Senate.
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of California said his focus is on restoring money for the military after the latest round of defense cuts - a planned reduction of $487 billion over 10 years that could nearly double if Congress fails to avert automatic, across-the-board cuts that begin in January. Pressed on the divisive issue of gay rights that roiled Congress two years ago, McKeon said he wouldn't revisit it.
"We fought that fight," McKeon told defense reporters at an hourlong breakfast interview. He said his goal is to "get the things that our war-fighters need."
"A settled issue" is strong language in the legislature.  It is also a settled issue for those who serve today.
The military advocacy group Blue Star Families based in Washington said Friday that its survey of more than 4,000 families found no significant issues arising from the recent repeal.
Respondents reported no perceived effect on morale, national security or the desire for service members to re-enlist.
Seventy-two percent of respondents said it had no effect on their service member's ability to do his or her job, 65 percent said it had no effect on the desire to re-enlist or stay in the military, and 60 percent said it had no effect on morale.
Fifty-six percent said it had no impact on mission readiness or national security, and 55 percent of spouses said it had no impact on their military support group's morale.
The full survey report is available at http://bluestarfam.org/survey.
The icing on the cake is the Pentagon's recognition of Pride Month.
The Pentagon has declined to give details of the event that it will organise as part of pride month. But it is certain to involve the saluting of gay and lesbian troops, in an echo of how African American and other ethnic groups are celebrated at different times in the annual calendar.
The event will be the latest in the rolling out of the new tolerance within the military. Don't ask, don't tell, which was introduced under President Clinton in 1993, forced the discharge of more than 13,000 men and women sacked for revealing their sexual orientation.
The impressively rapid shift in culture has been evident in other ways. OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel in which Seefried is a co-director, has grown rapidly since the repeal last September.
Equality is still a work in progress in the United States.  My partner and I are not equal to heterosexual couples.  But, today is a great day to cheer the major accomplishments of the last few years.  Happy Pride!

26 June 2012, FollowUp 1.

23 June 2012

History: Alan Turing



Today, 23 June 2012, is the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing. As indicated in the film, when Turing was 41 years old he either was murdered or committed suicide after having gone through chemical castration for the crime of being a homosexual. 

To say that Turing was a genius is perhaps an understatement.  When one thinks of modern computers, particularly of artificial intelligence, one might be thinking of what we call a Turing machine.  His one contemporary who had equivalent mathematical insights into machine "thinking" was Alonzo Church (warning, this gets into some very complex mathematical theory).  These geniuses were linked by their theories which came together in the Church-Turing thesis.

Statue of Alan Turing holding an apple
I often feature information about and write about the importance of LGBTQ equality.  We have made incredible progress over the last century.  Oscar Wilde, the great playwright, was imprisoned in the late nineteenth century and put to hard labor for the crime of being a homosexual.  The twentieth century saw Turing avoid hard labor but, like Wilde, he met an early death.

Oscar Wilde
One can only wonder what great works Mr. Wilde might have written had he been accepted as a first class citizen and lived a full life.  One can only wonder what great algorithms Mr. Turing might have developed had he been accepted as a first class citizen and lived a full life.  In recent years there has been a rash of teen suicide among young LGBTQs.  One can only wonder what they might have accomplished had they felt accepted as first class citizens.

To be fair, one is probably no more likely to be a genius if one is gay or lesbian than if one is straight.  Most LGBTQ people I know are not of genius caliber.  Most are just ordinary people  Ordinary people who long to be first class citizens.  Not special other than how every human being is special.  Wishing to not be placed on a lower tier of a caste system.

18 June 2012

16 June 2012

Praise: President Barack Obama on Pride 2012



President Obama spoke on 15 June 2012 to some of the LGBTQ Community who were invited to a reception at the White House.

13 June 2012

FollowUp 5: Eugene Delgaudio Lies About Legislation Again

Public
Advocate Banner
Some,
The Homosexual Lobby is ready to launch their next major push to seize control of the Republican Party:
Oh my. The dreaded "Homosexual Lobby". The catch is, there is no organized homosexual lobby. Yes, there are groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, but no lobby in the sense that Mr. Delgaudio means.
A "conservative" Super PAC to buy Republican legislators.
The Homosexual Lobby has been infiltrating the once-conservative party for years.
New sham groups like GOProud and Log Cabin Republicans have tried to convince Republican legislators that it is okay to be conservative and pro-radical homosexualism.
Now this is funny. Many in the LGBTQ Community have been at odds with the Log Cabin Republicans and more recently GOProud for a long time. Since the Republican Party has had denial of equality to the LGBTQ Community as a Platform Plank for years, there are many who think that these folks should not endeavor to be in bed with the enemy. Their response is that if we do not engage the GOP, joining and attempting to influence them, then we will never make inroads and eventually achieve equality.

Still, aside from the gay squabbles, GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans are fairly small organizations. Mr. Delgaudio is correct that they have been members of the Republicans (infiltrating) for years. But they cannot have been both doing so for years and be new groups. He has to choose one or the other. While many liberal gays think they are sham, the members of those two organizations are real and are quite serious about what they are doing.
And they’re doing it with their swollen bank accounts.
It’s no secret that the Homosexual Lobby has access to more funding than the pro-Family Movement.
Vast amounts more.
This exaggeration is because Mr. Delgaudio is referring to himself and his donors as if they are the entire so-called "pro-Family Movement". That the National Organization for Marriage has tens of millions of dollars in annual donations, including from the presumed Republican presidential nominee, does not count in Mr. Delgaudio's tallies. Neither do the resources of the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, and their allies like the Witherspoon Institute.
And last summer, it was this unlimited funding that persuaded four NY state senators to betray the voters who elected them by voting for homosexual “marriage.”
So, according to Mr. Delgaudio none of these four Republican state senators had a thought about being fair to all of their constituents as they claimed. The gay lobby bought and paid for these state senators just like the National Organization for Marriage has pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to those who would oppose them in the next election. But, money dedicated to bigotry is okay while money dedicated to equality is evil.
And the man who played an instrumental role in New York is leading this newest push.
Paul Singer is a billionaire who claims to be conservative, but he is fighting with his vast fortunes to institute homosexual “marriage” across this nation.
I don't know Mr. Singer so I can't speak to his individual politics other than to note that he does indeed appear to be pushing for equality among Republicans. What I do know is that there is more than one kind of conservatism. I am a fiscal conservative (albeit not one who screams socialism at any hint of new spending, just a citizen who appreciates a frugal government). Mr. Delgaudio is a "social conservative". These are hardly the same.
As part of the fight in New York last summer, Singer was responsible for more than $11 million being spent to push homosexual “marriage” through.
He openly gave each of the four Republican traitors a quarter of a million dollars for their vote!
If that were true then Mr. Singer and all four state senators would be in a state prison. I am certainly willing to believe that Mr. Singer donated generously to each of the four. But buying votes is illegal; I'm told it is still illegal even in New York.
And now he wants to repeat this strategy in the more than 30 states which outlaw homosexual “marriage.”
Singer has created a new radical pro-homosexual Super PAC specifically to infiltrate the Republican Party.
His “American Unity PAC” has only one purpose: Find conservative politicians who are weak on moral issues -- or just desperate for money -- and buy their votes.
Well, if one goes to the American Unity PAC webpage, there is only a Facebook link. Really. There is nothing there.

Slate Magazine ran a short article on this a few days ago. It does appear that Mr. Singer's goal is to sway Republicans to marriage equality.
Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer is one of the country’s most important Republican donors. The 67-year-old is also a big supporter of gay rights, giving more than $10 million of his own money to equal rights causes across the country. Now Singer tells the New York Times’ Frank Bruni that he, along with some like-minded Republicans, will be putting forward $1 million to launch a new super PAC with the sole mission of encouraging GOP candidates to back marriage equality.
Back to the letter from Eugene Delgaudio.
Singer provided $1 million out of his own pocket to start this up, but he won’t stop there.
He is guaranteeing politicians that if they support homosexual “marriage,” he will keep the money flowing.  It won’t matter if their own constituents reject them, Singer and his Super PAC will make the traitors rich.
The word traitors is entirely wrong and to be expected of Mr. Delgaudio. Supporting equality for all of one's constituents is far from being a traitor. It is being a small-c conservative. Perhaps a dictionary would help Mr. Delgaudio with that word (eleven meanings given at the link).
It is no coincidence that they announced the new radical Super PAC when they did.
Only weeks ago I had the pleasure of announcing that Public Advocate and its supporters were able to drive Sen. James Alesi from office.
Isn't it interesting that the National Organization for Marriage made the same pronouncement ... that they had driven Mr. Alesi from office.
Mr. Alesi was one of the four Republican traitors who received slush funds from Paul Singer.
But you and I still got to him.
And the pro-Homosexual “conservatives” realized that they would have to do even more to weather the pro-Family storm of fury.
So they are going to spend even more money than ever before to buy the Republican Party -- to add the Homosexual Agenda to the conservative platform.
Let's be realistic for a moment. Given that Willard "Mitt" Romney has donated to the National Organization for Marriage and signed a pledge to pass a Constitutional Amendment from the Family Leader or from the National Organization for Marriage to keep the LGBTQ Community as second class citizens. Given that the second and third and fourth place contenders for the Republican nomination, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and Ron Raul*, signed the same pledge. There is zero chance that the GOP Party Platform will be modified to include equality for all.

* I should note that Dr. Paul did not really sign the Marriage Pledge.  He signed the Personhood Amendment Pledge.  When it comes to marriage equality, Ron Paul favors letting each state decide, preferably to maintain the caste system.
My friend, this could be their most dangerous strategy.
You and I saw how they made it work in New York.
The only counter-strategy mainstream Americans have is dedicated grassroots lobbying.
Through phone calls, letters and public campaigns to expose them, you and I can fight back.
Public Advocate is the biggest threat to the Homosexual Agenda... you can be sure that this new Super PAC is going to target us in the near future.
Mr. Delgaudio should make sure that he tells this to Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Bryan Brown of the National Organization for Marriage. They each believe that they are the biggest threat.
For the Family,
Eugene Delgaudio
President, Public Advocate of the United States
And, of course, by "the Family" Mr. Delgaudio does not include my family. It is only families that meet a narrow definition of opposite gender spouses.

The letter was interesting in that it clearly demonstrates that Mr. Delgaudio, and likely many others among his fellow bigots, are scared of the impact that Paul Singer might have.  In the short run, Mr. Delgaudio's letter goes on to a post script in which he begs for money as he always does.  In the long run, equality will likely be the rule as it was for Blacks and for women.  Perhaps Mr. Singer is tightening that timeline.

19 December 2011, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.
11 January 2012, FollowUp 1.
14 January 2012, FollowUp 2.
16 February 2012, FollowUp 3.
15 March 2012, FollowUp 4.


12 July 2012, FollowUp 6.