The Orlando Terrorist Attack

I was watching as the shooting unfolded last night on social media. Horrific and no words. This was a massacre that was targeting the LGBT community but its tentacles reach even farther. This is not the first time an attack of this nature has occurred in this country, or in the world, even if the LGBT community has not been so specifically targeted before. The shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call before the shooting and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombing in the call. He was already under investigation by the FBI previous to the shooting for possible ties to Islamic radicalism. Islamic radicalism is a scourge that must be eliminated in every and all ways possible, with strategic diligence. (and yes, all Muslims are not involved in this but it is still a huge issue WORLDWIDE) We have been under notice for some time, that ISIS cells are in this country as they have claimed to be in 17 states, this is their claim. I have no doubt that what they claim may in fact be true. I take ISIS and other Islamic radical groups at their word and have no doubt that they will try to carry out their intentions. Anything else is a denial of reality and frankly a condescension. While the LGBT world has other groups that cast aspersion on us and other individuals that dislike or hate us, this particular attacker has claimed responsibility. Trying to foist responsibility on “all religions” or on white Christians, Republicans or even just guns — is completely wrong. It is a product of Islamic radicalism and a certain horrific and anti-western ideology that committed the Paris attacks, Boston Marathon, 9/11, attacks in Kenya, Nigeria and — many others. The target is not only the LGBT world but freedom.

I mourn for all those killed and injured in this terror.

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The HHH – Hamas/Hezbollah Huggers on the Left, LGBT Rights Deniers on the Right

Between the Hamas and Hezbollah Huggers on the left and the gay haters on the right, it can get lonely.

Let’s call the Hamas/Hezbollah Huggers the “HHH”. And, then, there are the “gay haters” on the religious right? Are they merely strong “dislikers” of The Gay and LGBT in general?

OK, these gay “dislikers” claim they don’t hate, they just think the Gay is a “lifestyle” that can be cured or prayed into non-existence. Good luck with that.

I’m not always inclined to eschew hyperbole, but in political discourse a person must tread carefully, if he or she wishes to communicate and not simply engage in rhetorical grandstanding. But, it is hard having to hear nonsense about LGBT people on one hand, and on the other – to hear the most radically hateful torturers of gay and lesbian, and sometimes trans people lauded, often by LGBT people themselves.

But let’s start with the facts. The Christians who are anti-LGBT are easy targets. Which isn’t to say they aren’t dangerous or at least — very irritating, but they are sitting duck targets. Call them stupid, hateful and misinformed and you’ve won the day. Not only because you are right as per their views on LGBT rights and people, but also because they are now becoming easy pickings. Even prominent conservative Republicans are beginning to see that gay people have rights and can’t be prayed to straight salvation. I mean Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Rob Portman, and of course, the fighter for gay marriage — Ted Olson. So, it is easier now, with the tide turning, to ridicule the conservatives who cling to gay hating, and you can kick their imagined or real Hillbilly ways and government funded wheelchairs, as in this post:
When your godless Marxist president and his thuggish fascist cabinet officers and his entire godless liberty-hating socialist democrat party and sicko sycophant complicit leftist mainstream media and the god-hating, constitution-twisting black-robed socialist liberal activist judges continue conspiring to promote homosexualism and perversion as not only normal but a healthy, wholesome, desirable activity and way of life and then force it into the curriculum of even our youngest school children, that is tyranny!

You can, poke fun at their perceived inability to distinguish Hitler from Stalin, as some commenters on the above rant do. Certainly this will prove that you are very smart…right? But then, what do you do with the LGBT activists who are often unable to distinguish Hamas from the NAACP?

In the universe of left wing Hamas huggers, anyone who would chide Hamas and deign to point out that women in Gaza are being jailed for having out of wedlock babies, and that people who smoke Hashish are being executed, after a year in prison, are simply being “racist. Hamas and Hezbollah don’t want simple peace and a beneficial co-existence with Israel; they want Israel’s complete and utter destruction. You don’t even want to know how they kill gay people. Let’s leave it at that. These left wing sophisticates seem to want to ignore willfully, that Islam is not a race, and that the radical Islam of Hamas is anti-woman’s rights, and very much anti-gay rights. In fact, it is anti-human rights, and so anti-equality. The concept of “human rights” appears to be missing altogether from the Hamas charter; the idea that every last Jew on earth must be killed, is not.

But I can already hear the cries, the Hamas and Hezbollah Huggers screaming, “But, what about the horrible Christians!” It is true, of course, that there are indeed “horrible Christians” walking amongst us, or at least, Christians who are against gay marriage, or possibly — against even any semblance of gay rights. Most extremely, again, there are Christians who believe that lesbians and gays are “perverse”, and can be prayed to a “cure”, their numbers are dwindling, but they are around. I won’t deny it. These same Christians are most likely not friendly with transsexual people either, or transgender. They are a problem in my universe, don’t get me wrong, I have real issues with this particular Jesus fandom.

However, it is also true that some of these Christians while having reprehensible or just plain mistaken beliefs about LGBT people are otherwise, decent and good people. I know at least one online, and I have known a few in passing, I am related to a few.

Hamas and Hezbollah hugging (“HHH”) left-wingers may also otherwise be decent, intelligent and even – “educated”. Take for example, the well known and influential Hamas/Hezbollah hugger Judith Butler! That woman is obviously “educated”, she now teaches gender performativity at Columbia, but apparently still can’t distinguish Hamas/Hezbollah from social movements that are part of the progressive left. Here:

“Understanding Hamas/Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of a global left, is extremely important. “

Below, a nuanced and fair denouement of Butler’s views by Michael Totten. The entire statement from Butler above is quoted and put in context, and her latter statements are also considered. Totten points out that to her credit, Butler has stated she is not in favor of violence, although, as he also points out, violence is certainly being used by the most un-socially liberal Hamas and Hezbollah to accomplish their stated goal of erasing Israel. There is no other way to eradicate a country. And, how Butler can conflate Hamas or Hezbollah with social progress is an obscure point indeed.

Anti-Imperialism Fools

Butler later attempted a facile and smug de-construction of her statements with her usual rhetorical slight of hand, but I can’t help but feel cynical about her smug quibbling. To be fair, she may be denouncing violence, but she is not denouncing Hamas or Hezbollah, and she must if she is to come out on the righteous end of human history. And it is impossible to separate these two organizations from violence. Here a very good assessment of Butler’s inability to tell the good guys from the bad guys, here from writer Petra Marquardt:

“Unsurprisingly, Butler has reacted to criticism of her views regarding Hamas and Hezbollah by complaining that her remarks “have been taken out of context.” Butler mainly emphasizes now that she has “always been in favor of non-violent political action” and explicitly declares: “I do not endorse practices of violent resistance and neither do I endorse state violence, cannot, and never have.”

But it is arguably revealing that Butler chose the Mondoweiss website to publish her most recent rebuttal. Surely an academic of her standing had many other choices and did not have to turn to a site that has often been criticized for posts and as well as antisemitic cartoons? On such a site, it is somewhat strange to read Butler’s lament:

“For those of us who are descendants of European Jews who were destroyed in the Nazi genocide (my grandmother’s family was destroyed in a small village south of Budapest), it is the most painful insult and injury to be called complicitous with the hatred of Jews or to be called self-hating.”

And how come that somebody who evokes such a family history has nothing to say about the Jew-hatred espoused by Hamas and Hezbollah, and their acknowledged ideological sponsors, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime?”

Butler is not alone. There are more than a few Big Q – Queers who welcome Hamas into their bag of lefty tricks, and I regard them with as much opprobrium and bewildered angst as I regard the religious, conservative anti-LGBT right. Big Q Queers are, after all, more than simply LGBT, they regard their mission not as gay marriage or gay soldiering, but as a queer transformation of society, an in-your-face adolescent attitude that is as much uptight curmudgeon/snob and disdain of the ordinary or “normal” as it is visionary or leading edge. While I certainly believe it is important and life affirming to always be leading to the future from a place of new possibilities, the facts often lead just as often to older certainties. Sometimes Queer is a posture and a pose and not about leading us all to a better world. But again, let us distinguish between big Q Queers who wish to abolish marriage altogether, and those lesbians and gays who want the option to get married and have legal recognitions, responsibilities and rights — and who wish to lead productive lives, whether or not these lives are perceived as “in your face” or – well, normal. We can’t all be naked and polymorphous perverse in happy communes and not all of us want to be. I, for one, hate long meetings. Some of us are resigned to an LGBT normalcy that is not trend following, but often, profoundly satisfying to live. As a trans guy, I’m mostly just a normal dude. You wouldn’t think twice if you saw me on the street, and that suits me fine.

So, possibly, since they are “in your face” and hate to think of themselves as anything other than special and trendy, it is only logical that the far left Queer contingent would feign a friendly comradely relationship with the extreme and violently queer hating Hamas/Hezbollah. I mean, Hamas and Hezbollah both hate Amerikkka, and maybe, that’s enough.

Even so, I have always expected more discernment from high riding lesbians like Butler and Sarah Schulman. Schulman has been described thus by Daniel Greenfield… (she) was declaring that gay rights in Israel were part of a conspiracy to “pinkwash” the evil Zionist entity.

Sarah Schulman, a gay rights activist, had to make the confusing argument that gay rights activists should support anti-gay Islamists over Israel. And Schulman was predictably incoherent in trying to make that case. While Sarah Schulman accused pro-Israel advocates of pinkwashing Israel, Schulman was the one actually pinkwashing Hamas.

Butler, Sarah Schulman and other high visibility left wing Hamas huggers are a disappointment, a profound one. As a leftist in my not so distant past, I always had expected them to come down on the right side of human rights. But, possibly I was happily deluded. In fact, I now know for sure that I was. I mean, really now, when has the far left ever come down on the humane side of human rights? I don’t mean the moderate left of center of the Democrat party, I mean the far socialist left, and that’s why Jim from the first blog is not confabulating or confused, when he conjoins Hitler, Mussolini, Mao and Stalin – fascists and communists both in an alignment of tyrants, he’s actually absolutely correct. We can thank Jonah Goldberg’s book
Liberal Fascism for his uncovering of this similarity and conjoinment at the waist of Fascism and Communism. In hindsight, one can certain see the family resemblance.

Conflating the tyranny of National Socialism and Communism is not the sign of an uneducated, drooling rube, but of someone with more than a little common sense and possibly even, some historical acumen. If nothing else, it indicates that a person has a bedrock understanding that liberty, fascism and communism, are not bedfellows. Liberty is not aligned with communism or – fascism. Unfortunately, this simple, straightforward and utterly reasonable understanding does not extend to some of the most politically prominent if not actually astute, LGBT intellectuals. Possibly this is because ultimately, liberty is not their chief concern? It is not a core value. I think the same people who are now making positive, warm-feeling statements about Hamas would have been the same people making positive statements about Stalin. They would have declaimed Stalin as an important part of the “social movements” of the “progressive left”.

Now, this is odd, since you would think that Hamas/Hezbollah and the Christian religious right would make good bedfellows, since they are both not exactly queer friendly, however, obviously — this has not proven to be the case. I have found it confounding that the religious right hates Hamas as much as the queer left appears to embrace it. Even though Hamas and Hezbollah would happily make sure that gays are not only unmarried, but also not alive. This gave me pause; did this mean that our own religious, socially conservative right was different from what I come to believe? Well, yes, and also – no. There is a spectrum… some on that side are only critical of the use of the word “marriage” but would grant civil unions, and while not super keen on gayness or trans people are nevertheless of the understanding that LGBT people are not inherently deranged, evil or bad. Some conservatives are fine with gay people, but these cannot be understood as strict social conservatives. However, on the other hand, there are those on the religious right who don’t give two hoots about gay or trans people, make no mistake. They don’t understand us, they don’t like us, they clearly would rather we did not exist, however, they won’t join with Hamas and Hezbollah to kill us. The story is always more complicated, and in this blog I will attempt to shed the light I’ve found.

Certainly I have come to know, with some painful recognition, that the far left was different than what I had always believed. . Although there are also nuances on that side, and complications.

Complications, nuances, and deconstructions aside – the cold fact remains. Many, if not all, on the socially conservative and religious right are still in opposition to basic LGBT civil rights. The far left is infested with the HHH, Hamas/Hezbollah Huggers, who are oblivious to facts and apparently to basic human rights and liberty. Folks like me who see liberty as extending to all, and who believe in individual rights as bedrock to that fundamental liberty — have an issue. For me, neither the Hamas/Hezbollah hugging left, nor the social conservative religious right, are comfortable places to be. I remain an outlander, an outlier, and an outsider… I think both sides are nuts. And, I can’t decide which is more dangerous to my own personal mental health and peace of mind.

Chick-fil-A and Gay Marriage and — Government Overreach

Glenn Greenwald is one of those lefties I agree with on occasion, although his views on Israel are way off the mark. And, no doubt, he leans socialist. However, he is very interested in civil liberties, and in this — we at least approach agreement or sometimes even flat-out agree. Here, he brings up the recent Chick Fil-A business and how it is dangerous for a government to try and ban a business, simply because it does not agree with that business’s speech. It violates constitutionally protected free speech. And, I imagine that Greenwald, like me, is all for gay marriage. He believes that if you don’t like Chick Fil-A’s views on gay marriage, or their contributions to anti-gay marriage groups, write them a letter or don’t eat there. There are other ways to let them know you disapprove, and of course, you can ignore them and work for the side promoting gay marriage and drown their voices out with better, more articulate arguments. That works better in the long run, and — it keeps the anti-gay marriage groups from feeling, in this case justifiably, persecuted.

He writes:

“Should government officials be able to block businesses from opening or expanding due to disagreement with the political views of the business’ executives? Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel evidently believes he should have this power:

The anti-gay views openly espoused by the president of a fast food chain specializing in chicken sandwiches have run afoul of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a local alderman, who are determined to block Chick-fil-A from expanding in Chicago.

“Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values,” Emanuel said Wednesday.

“What the CEO has said as it relates to gay marriage and gay couples is not what I believe, but more importantly, it’s not what the people of Chicago believe. We just passed legislation as it relates to civil union and my goal and my hope … is that we now move on recognizing gay marriage. I do not believe that the CEO’s comments … reflects who we are as a city.”

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I know this censorship (and that’s what it is, and in the constitutional sense) — is happening in Boston as well, thanks to the Mayor of Boston.

Rahm Emanuel’s Free Speech Attack

Greenwald points out to those on the left (or supporters of gay marriage on the right) who are still obtuse on this matter, that they most likely would object if a governmental body or agency decided to ban from the city or country any corporation or small business that supported choice, or gay rights or — (on the right) supported Israel. In Europe, I hear that governments are banning Israeli businesses, and this feels ominous to me as a supporter of Israel, but more importantly, it is an overstepping of the authority of government that we should never allow in this country. Let’s not be like Europe in this case, and I do think this is unconstitutional.

We do have protected free speech and just because it is speech that I don’t like, doesn’t mean I can get the Mayor of a major American city to ban it by banning the business. Since when does a government ban businesses based on their contributions to a cause? Plus, there is nothing more galling than a bunch of anti-gay activists feeling “oppressed”. Cry me a river. But in this case, they actually have a justifiable reason for feeling that way, and that’s just no good.

Obamacare dictating FREE anything is weird — and election observations

The recent brouhaha around birth control and Catholic institutions appears to be dying down, although the “solution” that Obama has come up with strikes me as entirely insane. I mean, he is now telling insurance companies, by presidential fiat, to provide a product FREE of charge to certain types of institutions? There must be some outcry about this. Not because it is or is not birth control, but because — since when can the President of the United States determine what an insurance provider charges for anything? Anything at all?

I sense that this Obamacare, while not being out-and-out “socialized” medicine, certainly is similar to that looming behemoth. The insurance companies now appear to be mere utilities to the government. The government sets so much of the cost and risk and charges under Obamacare — that they are no longer independent, free market, competing entities. Here, from Charles Krauthammer, he says it better than me:

From – The Obamacare Trifecta
Where is the opposition’s argument against government health-care control?
By Charles Krauthammer

“Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore. The risk ratios (for age, gender, smoking, etc.) are decreed by Washington. This is nationalization in all but name. The insurer is turned into a middleman, subject to state control — and presidential whim.

Third, the assault on individual autonomy. Every citizen without insurance is ordered to buy it, again under penalty of law. This so-called individual mandate is now before the Supreme Court — because never before has the already-inflated Commerce Clause been used to compel a citizen to enter into a private contract with a private company by mere fact of his existence.

This constitutional trifecta — the state invading the autonomy of religious institutions, private companies, and the individual citizen — should not surprise. It is what happens when the state takes over one-sixth of the economy.”

Obamacare Trifecta

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And, yes, religious institutions should be allowed to not have anything to do with providing birth control or “morning after” pills to their employees. Not even “free” (and nothing is ever truly free, somewhere the price will be raised to cover the cost) birth control! Why? The first amendment keeps the government from dictating to religious institutions what they should do in matters of personal morality or belief. Unless of course, a church or temple wants to sacrifice babies to Odin, and then, we might have an issue. There are certainly restrictions on religious institutions doing criminal activities. In any event, this whole mess strikes me as being not about women’s health, but as a power grab by the government. It must be unconstitutional and I would hope that it is challenged all the way to the Supreme Court.

I support women’s perogative (not a “right” since the government strictly speaking does not give “rights” in the US, but a perogative) — to obtain birth control and even, an abortion within the first trimester — but certainly, religious institutions that provide care, often for poor women and children, or homeless men, like the Catholic church through its Catholic hospitals – deserve to have their right of conscience respected. It is in the First Amendment, it is that simple and straightforward.

The media, which is often driven by progressive or at least, Democratic party bias, keeps focusing on this controversy as a sign that the right “hates women”. Of course, Santorum, plays into this meme with his personal beliefs about birth control being unacceptable. Although I actually don’t believe that all people who think birth control is wrong, also hate women. That’s like saying that people who support abortion, hate children. What is interesting about Santorum however, is that he does support the government ponying up for birth control when it is not being done by a religious institution. He did support the Federal government providing birth control through Title X. Yes, he actually supported giving Federal money to Family planning clinics for poor people here:

Title X Family Planning
” History of Title X
The Title X Family Planning program [“Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs” (Public Law 91-572)], was enacted in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only Federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to all who want and need them. By law, priority is given to persons from low-income families.

That’s from the HHS page on Title X.
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So there is more to Santorum than meets the eye. Santorum is more of a populist, and less of a fiscal conservative than he appears. He is a stalwart social conservative yes, but as Ann Coulter observed, “Santorum is not a conservative, he’s a Catholic.” Here from her column “IOWA SHOWS REPUBLICANS DETERMINED TO BEAT OBAMA”
January 4, 2012:

“Santorum is not as conservative as his social-issues credentials suggest. He is more of a Catholic than a conservative, which means he’s good on 60 percent of the issues, but bad on others, such as big government social programs. He’d be Ted Kennedy if he didn’t believe in God.

Santorum may not be a big spender as far as professional politicians go, but he is still a professional politician. In 2005, one of his former aides described him as “a Catholic missionary who happens to be in the Senate.”

The Catholic missionary was fantastic on issues like partial-birth abortion, but more like a Catholic bishop in his support for No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug entitlement program (now costing taxpayers more than $60 billion a year), and a highway bill with a Christmas tree of earmarks, including the famous “bridge to nowhere.”

Santorum cites his father’s admonition to put any extra money in the poor box at church to explain his wanting to use the federal government to help the poor. ”

Read the whole thing here: Coulter on Santorum and Iowa Caucus
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I am not in the bag for Santorum. He is waaaay too mouthy about his social conservatism for me. I prefer those beliefs to be more understated. I certainly agree that it is preferable that people marry before they have children (how can this be controversial?) but I also am in favor of people living their lives as they see fit. In this country, we do have a measure of personal freedom and choice and I like that. In Santorum, I sense an authoritarian streak just beneath the surface. And, he exhibits a tangible disdain for gay and lesbian people. That distaste alone, which feels palpable, makes me uncomfortable. However, I will say that once I heard him through an entire speech, sat and listened all the way through — I also sensed a nearly earnest sincerity. A boyish Eagle Scout streak that felt a bit guileless in a politician, and — I realized that in spite of our very serious disagreements, Santorum is actually a good man. I believe he is strongly mistaken in some of his beliefs, but he is a good man nonetheless. In other words, when he is not exhorting homosexuals or homosexuality as inferior and sinful, Santorum is actually kind of likable. But, no. I am still in the corner for Gingrich and I will accept Romney. In fact, Romney is starting to look better all the time. He is not an extremist, he is a fiscal conservative, he is competent, he gets it on Iran (though they all appear to) and his moderation is appealing to more voters than Santorum’s bona fide social conservatism which feels, in this day and age, shrill and extreme.

I am watching everything in the election very closely now. Time will tell! My favorite, Newt, may yet pull something out of his hat. He can get things done (budget balancing, welfare reform), he’s fearless, he’s smart and — he’s sharp and angry enough to take on Obama’s smooth-talking sleight of hand, his large and hollow rhetorical flotsam. He means business. So, I do hope…

But I digress… what I really meant to write about was this strange new directive of Obamacare, telling an insurance company to provide something for FREE. Dictating a price to a private entity. So, is an insurance company then still an independent private company — or an arm of the state?

Seems like those “crazy” Tea Partiers screaming about “socialized medicine being Obamacare” were not so far off after all. I think they were downright prescient.