Friday, March 23, 2007

Libertarians Protect Right To Self-Defense From Gay Bashers

The Washington Blade has an interesting piece on CATO's Tom Palmer -- an openly gay libertarian who litigated to get Washington DC's unconstitutional gun ban overturned.

This snippet of the article is particularly instructive:

Palmer said the lofty principles of individual liberties did not enter his mind 25 years ago when he and a male companion were threatened by a group of 19 or 20 young men on a deserted street in San Jose, Calif.

“They shouted anti-gay epithets and they made death threats,” Palmer said. “We ran and they chased us.”

Seconds later, Palmer pulled out a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol he owned legally and pointed it at the youths, whom he was certain had planned to harm or kill him and his companion in a gay bashing incident.

“It stopped them in their tracks,” he said. “The leader of the group stared at the gun and said, ‘Do you have a permit for that?’ I said if they came any closer I would shoot. They backed off.”

Gun permits, bans on firearms, and other illiberal anti-victim laws are not only unconstitutional, but they're also pro-violent-criminal.

The hooligans who assailed Palmer and threatened to injure or even kill him viewed gun permits as a permit to gay-bash. Similarly, restrictions on guns around the world serve as permits to rape, murder, assault, molest, rob, lynch, and gay-bash.

Libertarians know this. Survivors of assault, who survived due to self-defense, know this. Even hooligans and criminals know this.

Democratic politicians probably even know this -- they just don't care.

And if they don't care about our basic right to defend ourselves from those who would maim or murder us, why should we trust them with any other sort of power over our lives?

And as you reflect on the preservation of the right of self-defense in this country -- a right vanishing from many other places around the world -- be sure to thank your local libertarians for their efforts to preserve your freedom and safety.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

NGLTF, ACLU, HRC: "Special Rights, Not Equal Rights"

Three of the largest organizations that claim to support LGBT equality have decided to drop the equal rights issues of marrige, adoption, and military service. Instead, they are once again pushing for laws that single out LGBT people as different from straight people. Why? Because in 2008, LGBT voters will rightly ask Democrats, "What have you done for us in the two years you've had control of Congress?" And since the Democrats have taken marriage and military service off the table, all that's left to pass are laws that treat LGBT people as victims, such as ENDA.

The list of LGBT organizations taking a principled stand against ALL laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is short:

Outright Libertarians

Unfortunately, most organizations that used to oppose such laws, such as the Log Cabin Republicans, have decided that their favorite politicians need some sort of window dressing to support in order to earn the label "moderate." Hence, their decision several years ago to reverse their position and support these "special rights" laws.

But aside from principle, Libertarians also know that there is a practical reason to oppose such laws -- it lets anti-gay politicians claim that they're gay-friendly. Case in point: Rudy vs. Hillary. Both the leading Republican and leading Democrat in the Presidential primaries oppose marriage equality, but get labeled "gay-friendly" by the press due to their support for laws like ENDA and HCPA/LLEA.

Earth to Queer Voters: when there's do difference between the Republican and the Democrat on our issues, something has gone horribly wrong. And the thing that has gone horribly wrong is that so-called LGBT advocacy organizations have decided to set up a system where any anti-gay politician can support ineffectual laws and claim to be gay-friendly.

Why are these employment nondiscrimination and hate crime laws ineffectual? Because by the time they pass, they're no longer needed. Let's face it -- the only real social change brought on by government has been via "activist" judges, not legislative bodies. The democratic process means that elected leaders don't get around to creating social change until the majority of voters are behind that change. But employment nondiscrimination and hate crime laws would only help in a society that wasn't ready for social equality. So by the time these laws pass, they're no longer needed. This is the dirty little secret of the LGBT establishment inside the beltway.

It's lonely out here in the wilderness of principled LGBT advocacy, but Outright Libertarians (and the Libertarian Party) will continue to oppose any and all laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, whether that discrimination is for or against members of our community.

(Note: After I first published this, NGLTF put out another press release on how great it is when the government discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, so I figured this post deserved a bump back up to the top. --RNP)

Rudy Guiliani, Control Freak

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan's blog for this 1994 quote from Guiliani:

We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

In other words, to Guiliani, freedom is about submission to authority. And up is down, left is right, freedom is slavery, and we've always been at war with Oceania.

And now, not 15 years later, Guiliani is here to take what he likely believes is his rightful place in authority to tell you and me "what we want," and "what we can be" -- and to cede to him a "great deal of discretion" about what what each of us do in our own lives.

Color me unenthusiastic.

I'm one of those rebellious souls who recognizes that in the sphere of our lives, there is indeed an authority who determines who we are and, who we can be. But it's not big government control-freak hack politicians like Rudy.

It's ourselves.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Americans Aren't As Dumb As Democrats Seem To Think. . .

Approval ratings for Congress are back down to their old abysmal levels already:

The modest uptick in approval of the job being done by Congress has dissipated for the most part after only two months. Congress job approval had risen over the last two months after the Democrats took over control of Congress in early January -- fueled in large part by a jump in approval among rank and file Democrats. This month, however, Congress job approval is back down to levels quite similar to where it was in 2006.

Since Democrats obviously aren't planning on delivering on their not-quite-promises to LGBT Americans, but the situation has changed, perhaps we can suggest some new memes for them to repeat when confronted on their lousy records?

Here are a few:

1) "Now is not the time, our approval rating is too low." (A new twist on a favorite standby).

2) "We have to focus on winning Congress again, we cannot allow the issues to hurt us further." (This one was popular before, look for a resurgence in popularity)

3) "The American people are counting on us to deliver on other priorities." (A useful meme, except that the Democrats' emphasis on non-binding resolutions and avoidance of issues including LGBT ones, probably contributed to the present American malaise over Congress's performance).

4) "We're too busy answering HRC's scripted softball questions behind closed doors to answer your tough questions on the issues that are most important to LGBT Americans." (Well, I suppose a blogger can dream, can't he?)

Monday, March 19, 2007

National Health Care, Housing, and Education Task Force

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is telling us all to call Congress today.

To demand marriage equality? No.
To ask them to overturn the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy? No.
To garner support for immigration rights for same sex partners? No.

"The Task Force is working with its coalition partners in the Emergency Campaign for American's Priorities as we help convince Congress that it must provide enough funding so that more people get the health care, housing, education, nutrition and other services they need."

So, it's clear that there's a strong organization representing the interests of those who wish to receive taxpayer-funded health care, housing, and other services.

Now, all we need is a strong organization representing the interests of the LGBT community. Perhaps we should start one. I wonder what we'd call it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hillary, Meet Barack

It looks like a weak spine on gay issues isn't limited to just Mrs. Clinton. Have a look at this:

Newsday caught Obama as he was leaving the firefighters convention and asked him three times if he thought homsexuality is immoral.

Answer 1: "I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters. That's probably a good tradition to follow."

Answer 2: "I think the question here is whether somebody is willing to sacrifice for their country, should they be able to if they're doing all the things that should be done."

Answer 3: Signed autograph, posed for snapshot, jumped athletically into town car.

More "leadership" from the Democrats on "our issues," obviously.

Triangulation Continues to Decompose

This news from Wyoming is intriguing:

On February 22 in Wyoming, two straight Republican state representatives stood before a legislative committee that was debating a proposed bill that would have invalidated same-sex marriages and civil unions legalized in other states. Although not committee members, Pat Childers and Dan Zwonitzer spoke in an open hearing to oppose the bill, which subsequently died in committee, 7–6.

It's not been often you've seen Republicans doing these sorts of things, but it's more common today than just three years ago, and it will become increasingly so -- because standing against anti-gay bigotry isn't just a "liberal" or "tolerant" position, but a mainstream American position.

For years, Democrats have insisted that tepid opposition to the worst anti-gay bills (and ignoring those "doomed to pass" in states like Missouri and Tennessee) was "the way forward." John Kerry even endorsed the one in Missouri during his presidential campaign.

The ancient conceit of the Democrats in response to gay criticism was "what, are you gays going to do, go to the Republicans or vote third party?!? Ha!"

Some influential Republican legislators have now staked out middle territory once inhabited only by Democrats. Which means that Democrats' lousy records on gay issues are just that much more embarrassing than they were in the past.

Consider the leading Democratic nominees in contrast to this, and their claims of "liberalism" start to look pretty threadbare. Some more interesting commentary:

“I'm a hardheaded man. What can I say?” Childers, 65, says. “I've always felt like right is right and wrong is wrong. What's right is giving people their rights.” After all, he adds, Wyoming's motto is “The Equality State.”

Well, we've been saying a similar thing for a while (though we don't think that one "gives" people their rights, but rather recognizes that those rights exist). In any event, it will be interesting to see how this plays out within the local GOP organization.

Zwonitzer? “We're not a religious conservative state. We're a libertarian state,” the 27-year-old says. “After I made my speech, I heard from Republicans throughout the state. They said that it's about time that the party gets back to what it was.”

It's not just a libertarian state, but a libertarian country. That's why a vote for the Libertarian Party is the best vote around to send a message to the GOP base (who will likely pillory these two Wyoming legislators) and the Democratic base alike -- that it's not just time to stand up against the worst predations, but to move ahead.

Democrats and Republicans ask for accolades for standing up against anti-gay bills. Libertarians ask for the opportunity to go well beyond opposing the worst anti-gay legislation -- choosing instead to level the legal playing field to deliver equal treatment under the law for all LGBT Americans.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

With "Friends" Like These. . .

What a surprise. Andrew Sullivan's blog points out that HRC's (as in Human Rights Campaign) preferred candidate HRC (as in Hillary Rodham Clinton) refused to deal with a softball question allowing her to win points by ridiculing the idea advanced by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs that "gays are immoral":

But is it immoral?

"Well I'm going to leave that to others to conclude," she said. "I'm very proud of the gays and lesbians I know who perform work that is essential to our country, who want to serve their country and I want make sure they can."

Doesn't her strong support just make you want to write a fat check to HRC the candidate, as well as HRC the organization?


Hmmmm. Perhaps you should consider other options as the election season heats up.

Meanwhile, Dan Savage points out liberal Garrison Keillor's homophobia and a couple of facts after reading a piece on Salon where the left-wing radio hero slams "stereotypical gay men" with "fussy hair" living in "over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog" :

Keillor has been married THREE TIMES. He has children from two of his marriages, children who presumably need a computer program to keep track of their step-siblings, half-siblings, and sprawling extended families, children that have to be “apportioned out on Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Okay, fine, whatever. Keillor can recognize marriage, life-long commitment, and less complicated family structures as the ideal, even if he himself has failed—failed spectacularly—to live up to that ideal himself. It might have been nice, however, if the withered old hypocrite had admitted to Salon readers that he has failed to live up to the ideals he’s espousing. How about a little full disclosure, Garrison?

The Savage article is well worth a read and further underscores just how tepid support for LGBT equality is in the so-called Democratic Party.

Kubby to Schwarzenegger: "Get off the fence."

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Steve Kubby on marriage equality:

There's no "middle ground" between equal treatment under the law and the dark agenda of hate and homophobia. Time to get off the fence, Governor Schwarzenegger. Ask the legislature to pass AB 43. Then sign it and bring an end to sexual segregation in California.

Are there any Republicans or Democrats running for President who are willing to make that kind of statement?

A Little More On The Joint Chiefs

Rob's comments in his blog post on the CJC's "gays are immoral" row are spot-on. However, I am surprised at what's missing in the maelstrom of outrage -- a critique on the "moral" bona fides of the good general himself.

General Pace is, by reports, a staunch Roman Catholic -- one of the largest denominations of Christianity. Having been raised Catholic myself, I have a fairly good recollection of the various moral codes of that religious tradition. I also understand that the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and the interpretation of the Holy See are all crucial elements of a Catholic understanding of morality.

So without further ado, let's examine General Pace's morality from a Catholic perspective.

Commandment 3: Do not swear falsely by the name of the LORD.

General Pace's bosses, including Donald Rumsfeld, took oaths to protect and uphold the Constitution, and also took oaths before testifying to Congress that Saddam Hussein had WMDs he was about to use on the country. Both of these were false oaths.

General Pace himself swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Instead, he's working for them as they move to suspend habeus corpus and authorize torture of prisoners. So he's also a direct violator of one of the Ten Commandments.

Commandment 4: Remember to keep the Sabbath holy.

That means you're not allowed to work on Sundays. Does the general work on Sundays, and does he require ongoing combat missions on Sundays? No doubt.

(Now before you point out that there's nothing wrong with this, keep in mind that I'm judging the general by the same standards that he's judging you and me with -- far from an unreasonable proposition).

Commandment 6: You shall not kill.

That one's pretty clear. There are no "ifs, ands or buts" in it.

General Pace works in the military -- perhaps a profession that represents the most egregious violation of this commandment.

Commandment 9: You shall not lie.

Oh dear. This man works in a political office for the Bush adminstration. I could list the likely hundreds of lies he's either told directly or participated in facilitating, but I suspect Blogger would cut me off aeons before that.

Now I don't know whether General Pace has committed adultery, or dishonored his parents, or committed various other violations of the decalogue. I'm assuming that he hasn't -- and he still has violated 40% of the "supreme law." (Note that the Ten Commandments says literally zero about homosexual folk. . . but condemns activities that General Pace participates in every day).

Another key arbiter of Catholic morality is the Golden Rule:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Bomb, kill, destroy, condemn? Is that what General Pace wants done to himself? Doubtful -- but he sure can dish it out can't he?

The Golden Rule is sometimes also expressed as:

Love your neighbor as yourself.

I'm really feelin' the love, general.

In terms of the Vatican's perspectives, which are also supposed to have significance in the moral judgment of every practicing Catholic, gays are condemned, it's true. But so is the war in Iraq. . . the Vatican condemned the war in some of the strongest terms its got.

When I was still a practicing Catholic, and said that I agreed with certain judgments of the Vatican but not others, I was blasted as a "cafeteria Catholic" who picked and chose what he liked.

One wonders if there's a spot in the line for General Pace.

Here is a man who was instrumental in the largest military deception of the American people, the "WMD big lie" of Iraq. . . A man who has presided the senseless loss of over 3,000 American lives and countless more Iraqi ones. . . A man who has staunchly maintained loyalty to an administration whose approach not only to Catholic morality but also humanity in general is profoundly immoral. . . who has the temerity to condemn the "morals" of people he's never even met.

If there's a need for LGBT media and institutions to discuss the issue at length (as there appears to be), perhaps more time should be focused on these simple facts rather than merely demanding that Pace recant his statement.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's not news, folks.

A Republican who is anti-gay is not news. LGBT groups beholden to the Democrats condemning an anti-gay Republican is not news. Now, show me a Republican who isn't anti-gay or an LGBT group that will be equally critical of anti-gay Democrats as they are of anti-gay Republicans, and THAT's news, folks.

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," Pace said in a wide-ranging discussion with Tribune editors and reporters in Chicago. "I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.

"As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior," Pace said.

The only people who seem genuinely shocked by Pace's comments are gay Republicans. Did they really think his opinion was anything different?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

HRC Does It Again

HRC Watch notes that yet another disappointed HRC Democratic supporter writes to relay his experience with a recent "pro-gay Democrat":

At the event, I told him how I was led to his campaign by HRC and the links to sites supporting Democrats running in close races all over the country. I also told Jerry I understood they had a lot of important things to do when he gets to Washington, and that I understood the Democrats had to play to the center until 2008. Then I said, "But I hope that when the time comes, you will not forget that my partner Juan and I are also a family," as I reached out my hand to shake his.

What happened next stopped me in my tracks. It happened in a split second; his smile faded; his eyes hardened; his grip stiffened. And he said, simply, "I'm afraid I'll have to let my conscience be my guide in those issues."

I have seen that look dozens of times from others. His implication was clear. We cannot count on Jerry McNerney to stand up for LGBT equality.

I feel like a fool for assuming that because he is a Democrat he would support us. I am so disappointed. If the time ever comes to vote on a constitutional amendment banning Juan and I from getting married in the U.S., I believe it is clear how Congressman-elect McNerney will vote.

Sadly, it's a feeling that GLBT Democrats and GLBT supporters of Democrats know only too well. . . not to mention a feeling that's a lot rarer for GLBT Libertarians and GLBT supporters of Libertarians.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Much Ado About Hypocrisy

The hilariously over-the-top Ann Coulter is no stranger to controversy. The willowy chain-smoker has earned huge sums by writing books that are largely free of useful insights or commentary, but loaded with sticky barbs levelled at left-wing politicians and luminaries.

While such an approach is not, in itself, unique, Coulter has built a brand for herself though just how over-the-top she's been. She's called for the New York Times to be bombed (because its editorial coverage is, in her view, slanted to the left), dubbed Democrats as "godless," and accused Iraq War critics of treason. Those with a brain (and a sense of humor) chuckle and note that she's quite adept at selling this over-the-top rhetoric with a wink and a nod.

I've long theorized that in another 10 years, when her books stop selling, she'll come clean and admit it was all an act.

Well, she outdid herself again, referring to Democrat John Edwards as a "faggot":

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I — so kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards," Coulter said Friday at the gathering in Washington, D.C.

Insulting to gays? Absolutely. A departure from the Coulter schtick? Not at all.

Just as typically could be expected, the old-party establishment scrambled into action to condemn Coulter's naughty word and deliver her yet another fresh dose of publicity:

[Democratic National Committee boss Howard] Dean said, "There is no place in political discourse for this kind of hate-filled and bigoted comments. While Democrats and Republicans may disagree on the issues, we should all be able to agree that this kind of vile rhetoric is out of bounds."

Of course, Dean's appearance on right-wing religious television to decry gay marriage, and his initial comment on the Vermont civil unions bill as governor ("It makes me uncomfortable") just ooze with respect -- they're downright love-filled and tolerant.

The 2008 Republican presidential front-runner, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York, who spoke to the conference just hours before Coulter, told ABC News over the weekend that Coulter's comments "were completely inappropriate and there should be no place for such name-calling in political debate."

Unless the person in question is a controversial artist, or operates certain sorts of businesses. Oh, and on gay marriage, Mr. Guiliani has underscored his resolute opposition to equal treatment under the law.

A spokesman for Sen. John McCain who was absent from the conference called Coulter's comments "offensive," adding that "political discourse ought to be more substantive."

Perhaps Senator McCain believes that his support for Arizona's failed anti-gay marriage amendment wasn't offensive, and that his reason for supporting it (some claptrap about "values" that he never could articulate) was "substantive." Thoughtful people disagree.

spokesman for former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who preceded Coulter at the conference Friday and said that he was happy to hear that the conference would hear from her, called Coulter's words "offensive."

"Gov. Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect," Romney's communications director Kevin Madden said.

But not enough dignity or respect to be treated equally under the law in Massachusetts, where the good governor declared that gays were "trying to make Massachusetts the Las Vegas of gay marriage" and urged Massachuttans to "protect marriage from homosexuals."

And what of Mr. Edwards himself? He weighed in:

Edwards, the target of Coulter's confab, wrote on his Web site that "the kind of hateful language she used has no place in political debate or our society at large."

Amazingly enough, this is literally the first time ANY gay issue received any attention on Edwards' web site at all. In fact, up to today, a search for "gay" or "faggot" on that site turned up nothing. (By the way, the former word still has no results, at least according to Google).

The media is filled with a laundry list of other politicians, organizations, etc. all demanding Coulter's head on a platter.

As the regular gaggle of Republicrat politicians weigh in to scream their outrage at Coulter's intemperate language and thereby "prove" their tolerant credentials, consider the following point:

Which would you rather have -- a world where anti-gay politicians like those listed take a break from assailing your family and your wallet to take on Ann Coulter's political incorrectness; or a world where you're treated equally under the law and Coulter's comments are chuckled off?

Ann Coulter's offense was a one-time high-school insult -- but old party politicians insult the intelligence, families and dignity of GLBT people every day of the year. That's far more deserving of condemnation, in this humble blogger's view.