Archive for the ‘LGBT’ category

What’s Going On?

December 18, 2016

It seems every news venue, radio or TV talk news program, or in the pages of the top newspapers, the subject, in some way, is about Donald Trump. Further, the inference questions (1) his victory as not legitimate, (2) his opinion poll numbers as terrible and getting worse, or that (3) he is hopelessly ensnared in conflict of interest situations. These reports question the wisdom of those who elected Donald Trump.  Hmmm.

There are, IMO, two important observations to remember. First, these same media outlets failed to point out the threat that the rust belt (or fire wall) States posed, and second, there are far more important matters about to impact Americans thanks to the upcoming Trump Administration.

Russian hacking and the subsequent Wikileaks disclosures were hardly earth shattering and even FBI Director Jim Comey’s totally out of place report to Congress was to a thinking person not decisive events. What the media could have reported was that despite overwhelming information on Donald Trump’s character, preparation, and natural disposition, a large group of voters could not care less. These voters cared only about their personal situation and preferred someone who offered them a life preserver, even if imaginary, to someone else who would be an adult in the room.

So it is now. Those “margin of victory” voters who decided the election thinking Trump was a great business man and was the only person who could deal with the economy and provide (good) jobs for everyone (but especially them) are still of the same mind.

This group cares little whether Donald Trump’s companies do well, even if the Trump Administration trades favors with foreign countries to boost more favorable outcomes for Trump enterprises… as long as these voters do well.

Rather than question Trump’s legitimacy, his razor thin temperament, or his near corrupt business dealings, the media would do well to inform all voters what other Trump and GOP policies are about to bring them.

Healthcare. The emphasis, the GOP says, will be on repealing Obamacare. With that, coverage of those under 26, those with pre-existing conditions, and those really sick Americans who exhaust some predetermined amount of coverage will be without coverage. In addition, Medicaid roles will be reduced and consequently hospital emergency room lines will increase while hospital balance sheets turn red. And while they are at it, Medicare will be up for improvements, read less coverage for more money. Buying the Trump line gets all this at the same price.

Social Security which these “margin of victory” voters expect to receive may look a bit different. Rather than a government managed benefit private enterprise might be called upon to offer 401K-like policies where social security taxes are invested by investment firms and the future of many Americans with no other means will ride upon the stock market.

Income inequality will become an accepted way of life. Work hard, get rich, and why worry. But for these “margin of victory” voters, there is no pot of gold waiting for them. Higher taxes on the richest or hire minimum wage levels are not going to happen. Income inequality will be transformed into what makes America Great Again (for the wealthy).

Regrettably there are other changes coming for which the “margin of victory” voters will not immediately register concern. For example, ignoring global warming, diminishing the EPA’s reach, pushing charter schools, expanding the concept of religious freedom (read making legal discrimination on the basis of deeply held religious beliefs) and reversing all sorts recent progress on inclusion will be the just reward for the “margin of victory” voters.

But the cruelest hoax will come under the flag, “cutting government spending” for the purpose of reducing the national debt.  Consider that the budget is currently unbalanced by about $600 billion or roughly the size of the defense budget.  So, there is suppose to be a massive tax cut, a massive investment in the infrastructure, and a rebuild of the military (to make it great again).  Where is the money going to come from to balance the budget?  Hmmm.  Cut baby cut.

Fasten your seat belts, the race to “Make America Great Again” is about to begin.

A Suspension Of Critical Thinking?

September 20, 2016

There should be no question that a Hillary Clinton victory will mean a dark period for those who support continued lax gun controls, or wish to turn back Roe v Wade, or seek new Federal “Religious Freedom” legislation in order to freely discriminate against the LGBT community. Vote against Hillary these Republicans think.

Clinton’s opponents also want to turn the Supreme Court back to conservative majority control. This would means more judicial support for campaign spending with dark money (Citizen United), greater religious freedom at someone else’s expense (Hobby Lobby), and much looser voting rights legislation (photo IDs). And don’t forget, Hillary will not be enacting any tax cuts. So from a GOP perspective, a Hillary victory is certainly something to worry about.

The problem at least some Republicans are having is that Donald Trump is their standard bearer. If Republicans want to achieve their social and economic goals, some how they have to accept Trump as the commander in chief and work to get him elected. Fortunately, at least some Republicans see a much greater risk in a President Trump.

There are strong bi-partisan arguments that the banking industry still can not be trusted (witness the recent Wells Fargo abuses), that corporate tax reform must be revenue neutral, and tax cuts for the wealthy do nothing for the overall economy. Simply eliminating Dodd-Frank, just cutting the corporate tax rate (and leaving corporate tax loop holes), and interpreting tax reform as cutting tax across the board, will open consumers to corporate greed.

And did I mention scrapping Obamacare, meddling with Medicare, and reducing Medicaid without sound alternatives will reinforce a two tier America.

The first question “thinking Republicans” should have if Clinton is elected, is how to avoid draconian legislation which will hamper Banks and Corporations from competing dynamically on the global stage. The second question is “how can we be sure what Donald Trump would do as President”?

The second question inevitably leads to what would a President Trump do, beyond these questions, on even more complex issues such as negotiating Trade Agreements, developing foreign policy, or handling domestic terrorist threats and acts?

It is no surprise to see single issue groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the NRA, and Pro-life organizations endorsing Donald Trump. These groups do not see much beyond their own proprietary interests.

Consider, in the current grid locked Congress, the chances of Democrats enacting any of their progressive ideas is pretty low (like zero). The chances, however, of a President Trump spontaneously acting in a manner which infringes individual freedoms, antagonizes foreign countries, and confuses financial markets seems distinctly more possible.

“Thinking Republicans” worry about these consequences.

The unanswered question may be “will too many Republicans suspend critical thinking and vote for Trump” or “will some Republicans recognize the danger and deny Trump their vote”?

Rome’s Queen Mary

September 13, 2016

Steady as she goes! Rome’s version of the Queen Mary is sailing by.

Vice President candidate Tim Kaine recently reiterated his support for gay issues including same sex marriage. Kaine said he remained strongly committed to his catholic faith. He reconciled his views and the Catholic Church’s because he believed the church would change its anti-gay marriage views some day. Hmmm.

Like the Queen Mary, its is tough to turn around.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that a 14 year old was denied enrollment to a Camden (NJ) Catholic high school even though the student had been accepted and had paid the necessary deposit. The reason for denying entry was that the 14 year old applied for admission as a female and over the summer decided to begin the transition to a man. Camden Catholic said that “Mason” did not meet our “Catholic Identity” according to the news report. Hmmm.

Pictures of Madelyn now Mason reveal a clean cut, normal 14 year old. The school’s decision and the diocese’s quick statement of support show once again that the Catholic Church is stuck in a strangulating conservative grip, apparently feeling that if it denies the reality before its eyes, in time the world will suddenly conform to catholic dogma. Hmmm.

IMO, it works the other way.

Homosexuality has existed as long as recorded history. In a room of 20 people, the odds are that at least one is gay (either publicly or privately). The American public has changed it views of homosexuality markedly over the past 20 years as more and more successful people have outed themselves. Most of the secular public now seems to be saying, live and let live. In fact same sex marriage is the “law of the land”, not by legislative mandate but by the Supreme Court reading the publics minds.

The reasons someone is gay or lesbian is not clear, they just are (they didn’t learn it). More recently the public has begun to be exposed to transgender preferences. In these situations, a person identifies with the gender opposite to their birth gender. The more people who announce their changed gender preference, the more Americans perception of what is normal is being challenged.

But not the Catholic Church. They are blessed with greater knowledge, apparently.

With a clergy that some estimate to contain a third to one half homosexuals, the irony should not be lost. For adults, a transition to the opposite gender is usually accompanied with extensive counseling. For children/young adults, there is just as much or more need for compassion and support.

What a way for the Catholic Church to lead by example.

A Sound Thrashing May Miss The Mark

August 13, 2016

In the early weeks, post nominating convention period, Democrat Hillary Clinton appears to be pulling away from Republican Donald Trump. Her lead seems a result of sound “on the ground” campaigning, well financed campaign spending, and the complete opposite for the Republicans and Donald Trump. Hmmm.

If the current situation continues, Donald Trump will receive a well deserved thrashing and be sent back to his “Mar-a-Lago Club” in West Palm Beach, Florida to explain away his defeat.

While this may sound good, Trump’s disgrace and defeat could enable voters to overlook far more important matters. What about the GOP’s behavior for the past 6 years? What about the GOP’s platform and complete disregard for the average American, the LBGT community, undocumented workers, women, and healthcare?

Ironically, a landslide Trump defeat could result in a GOP loss of control of the Senate and possibly even the House. Such an outcome could be internalized by the GOP as down ballot collateral damage, not the result of policies squarely on the wrong side of history. With such an analysis, Republicans will again be reluctant to re-invent themselves into a relevant political party.

To be sure, it would be a very courageous move for the GOP to, in essence, jettison some of its narrow and petty factions whose goals do not help all Americans, play to minority prejudices, and attempt to conceal handouts to the wealthiest Americans.

Danger also lies in a Democrat landslide victory. Progressive views must be balanced by pragmatic counter views, or progressives will spend, spend, spend.

With income inequality acting as a malignant cancer spending through out the American body, there is not much time for another just say no Congress, or one that just says yes to more spending.  We need two Parties working on a common set of goals.

Why Are Republicans Called “Conservatives” And Not “Revisionists”?

July 13, 2016

Headlines in the Philadelphia Inquirer read “GOP moves closer to conservative core”. Hmmm. I wonder what that means and what it implies?

“Conservative” in normal use describes someone who does not venture quickly from the status quo. A “conservative” is someone who does not readily take big chances. Change comes in small, measured steps.

This Inquirer article, however, spoke of the GOP’s wish to reject change and move back to the past. Issues such as abortion, gays rights, gun rights, and immigration reforms were all written into the GOP Presidential platform in a manner which would return the US to life over 40 years ago.

Gone would be woman’s right to choose, open freedom to discriminate against someone based upon their sexual orientation, eliminate most controls on gun ownership and use, and adopt immigration (largely this is about Mexican immigrants) practices which do not reflect the humanity of 11 million undocumented workers.

To be sure, a “conservative” voice in helping reduce the number of abortions (unwanted pregnancies), ending all forms of discrimination, and productively dealing with guns in the wrong hands or use in the wrong manner are all worthwhile events if “conservatives” were to wish to be other than obstructionists.

With respect to discrimination against anyone over sexual orientation, there is little ground to negotiate. The country has moved beyond the closet and is not going back.

While there should not be rules that require any “conservative” to marry anyone of the same sex, there is no place for “conservatives” to block the free choice of anyone else, be it for religious or personal beliefs.

While it is true that large numbers of Americans are pro-life, do not view homosexual life as ok, seek unfettered access to guns, and would prefer all undocumented workers deported, a majority of Americans favor a more progressive stance on these issues.

I wonder why “conservatives” are not content to hold these beliefs and living their lives without ever seeking an abortion, being content to believe what they will about gays (after all there are no thought police), support responsible gun use, and seek a humanitarian solution to having over 11 million aliens living in our Country’s shadows.  Why do they want to force their views on others?

The current crowd writing the GOP Presidential platform are once again giving “conservatism” a bad name.

Astonishing But Who Cares?

July 6, 2016

Archbishop Charles Chaput has issued a clarification (for the Philadelphia Diocese) intended to make clear what Pope Francis’ “Amoris Laetitia” actual means. The publication issued in April 2016 was intended to deal with how the church deals with divorced couples, GLBTs, and unwed cohabitants. “Amoris Laetitia” which means the Joys of Love in Latin was billed at the time as the Pope’s attempt to urge Church officials to find room to welcome those living in “non-traditional” relationships. Hmmm.

Chaput said, as if still thinking he can get the red hat with tough conservative language (which would have work well with Pope Francis’ two predecessors), in effect, “no way, no how”.

First, Chaput made clear that divorced couples, unmarried couples, and same sex couples are living in unnatural relationships. A nice way to welcome some who might otherwise believe. Second, Chaput said that these groups could only receive church blessings if they were now abstaining from sexual relations. Hmmm.

So, Chaput has said, these groups are somehow lesser persons but if they persist in wanting to practice Catholicism, there must be no sex. I wonder what part of sex the Archbishop doesn’t understand?

 

Disclaimer. The Catholic Church is a private institution and as such can have whatever discriminatory rules that it wishes, just like the Elks Club, private Golf Clubs or Professional Organizations. The only god in these matters is the “marketing god” which in time will measure whether parishioners still put enough money in the Church’s baskets. If they do, Chaput and people like him will keep their jobs if not thrive. If the money dries up, the Catholic Church will finally step back and look at what their “man-made laws” are really doing.

Feet talk on matters such as this. Shame on the Archbishop.

They Still Don’t Get It

June 15, 2016

The GOP leadership along with a dozen or so “at risk” Republican Senators had a very bad week, especially since the shootings in Orlando. While many GOP “big wigs” have squirmed on how to distance themselves from their support of Donald Trump, the majority of Republican leaders have not hinted that the Republican Party has a basic disconnect with the majority of Americans.

So many Republicans are on record supporting, with no exceptions, the NRA “on controls on guns” that avoiding some blame for the 49 Orlando dead takes a linguistic virtuoso. Expressing sympathy much less empathy for the dead gays who were at the Pulse bar last Saturday is even harder. And finding ways to side step Donald Trump’s patently un-American proposal to ban all Muslims from America has exposed many GOP candidates to the hint that they may not be so tough on terrorist, an apparent “no-no” in the Republican ranks.  Voters are seeing this too.

Mitch McConnell’s admonition, “stay on message” apparently wasn’t received by Trump, or at least understood for what it really means. McConnell was attempting to tell Trump, “believe what you will but say only what is written on paper”.

When Trump went off reservation this weekend attacking Hillary Clinton and President Obama for not saying the words “radical Islam”, Trump drew the spotlight away from the economy (read jobs) or any of the pet GOP policies like tax cuts (for the wealthy), religious freedom (legal discrimination against gays and women), and the Supreme Court (appointing conservative nominees).

As time is progressing, voters are beginning to understand the consequences a GOP Presidency will bring, even well beyond the fitness a Donald Trump might be as President.

With over 4 months until the November elections, there is plenty of time for a anti-GOP landslide to form. Not only will Trump be defeated but it is becoming more likely there will be huge GOP Congressional losses too.