Sunday, May 31, 2015
It seems I was wrong, however. They are all monstrous abusers of human rights!
At least that's the case according to Billy Graham's son, Franklin:
Canada began federally mandating same-sex marriage in 2005," Graham wrote on his social media page. "What’s happened since then? One result has been that freedom of speech, press, and religion have suffered greatly.I'm no expert on Canadian law, but I seriously doubt that Christians are being carted off, en masse to … very polite … concentration camps for saying something nasty about gays. But what do I know?
This, however, is what attracted me to Frankie's screed:
Graham declared that in Canada, "if you say or write anything questioning same-sex marriage, you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government," and warned that if the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage, "we will be in the same boat."Um … no! As much as I like and admire our northern neighbors, they lack a certain thing called the US Constitution. So, if you say or write anything questioning same-sex marriage in the US, you cannot face “prosecution by the government.” And, frankly, I doubt you'd do so in Canada either, but that's another matter.
Now, if you are disciplined or terminated by your employer for being a jackass in the workplace … that's another case altogether! And we have laws in place that protect people from being discriminated against merely because of their religious beliefs.
So what we have is hysteria politics. “When in danger or in doubt, Run in circles, scream and shout.”
The rest of us can and should point and laugh at the people who are risking running up their own asses.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Jeffery and the Great Reward!
Back in the day, when I was an Army JAG officer at Ft. Dix, in the early 70s, I was called out to the Area Confinement Facility (“ACF”) to represent a new client, who I will call “Jeffrey.”
When I got there, I was told by the sergeant at the desk that I couldn't see him because the Criminal Investigation Division (“CID”) were interviewing him. I insisted that the exact time I arrived was logged in and then asked if the Major in charge of the ACF, who I was friendly with, and who was a good man, was in.
The first thing I said to the Major was “You know, of course, that anything that the CID gets out of Jeffery after I arrived will not be admissible in court, right?” He chuckled and said something to the effect that if the CID got anything useful out of a suspect, it would be a first!
So we then chatted about why Jeffery was there in the first place.
Back at that time civilian courts had a habit of dealing with juvenile offenders by offering them an opportunity to join the military and have their civilian records “sealed.” One slight problem was that, even though a state might “seal” a juvenile arrest record, it wasn't sealed to the FBI. So, after an FBI background check, which would take about 30 days, such people were designated for an administrative discharge and assigned to “Company D,” awaiting that discharge. It was an unique place to visit. The officer in charge, who I was also friendly with, had an interesting set of rules. As any officer entered, bodies would suddenly fling themselves against the walls and salute … a rather disconcerting effect.
Well, the ACF major told me that Jeffery had been assigned as “barracks guard” for Company D one night and for some reason three none-too-sober drill sergeants decided to harass him .
Jeffery, who was about 6'3” and about 235 lbs., proceeded to beat the shit out of the three drill sergeants … no small feat.
Anyway, he was eventually taken to the ACF doing the “stockade shuffle” … in handcuffs, belly chain and leg irons. However, he had fought the restraints to such a point that that he had left his wrists and ankles rather significantly damaged.
At that point, the ACF decided that it might be a good idea to take him for a psychological evaluation. I was also friendly with the sergeant who escorted Jeffery there and got him to tell me about it.
The sergeant and several other MPs delivered Jeffery to a psychologist and waited around to see what would happen. The first thing the psychologist did was to say that 'you have to take all those restraints off the patient … I can't possibly treat him in that condition!' The sergeant said that he couldn't take off the restraints without his commander's permission. He called the ACF and was told by the second in command that, if that was what the doctor wanted, he should do it, So he removed the handcuffs, belly chain and leg irons but still stood guard over Jeffery. The psychologist told him he had to leave so he could “treat” Jeffrey.
Now here's the only part of the sergeant's story I doubted … he said that he went to get some coffee when, next thing he heard was 'Wapp, Wapp, Wapp” ... “Oh, My God!”
The part I have my doubts about is when he said he “rushed” backed into the doctor's office” … but, in any event, when he got there, he found Jeffery 'sitting on the psychologist's chest, punching him in the face.'
So, now, after the the CID had (fruitlessly) left, I went to see Jeffrey. He was less than responsive. I went though my usual spiel … I'm your lawyer now … don't talk to anyone but me … etc, etc, … and at the end … I asked if he has any questions, To this point he hadn't even looked at me and had been quite silent. Next thing I hear is a low, barely audible rumble … 'how long can I get?' I try to explain that the maximum penalty for striking a superior officer is 45 years but that no one is likely to get such a sentence. But I don't get beyond “45 years” before a long awful moan comes out of Jeffrey of 'Oh my God …' that ends all conversation.
Then it got truly bizarre. The psychiatrist whose chest Jeffery was sitting on and punching filed a report saying that, while Jeffery was perfectly sane while he was pummeling him, he wasn't now sane enough to be tried!
The post's JAG took one look at that and said 'Hey, we were going to send him back to the civilians anyway, so why bother?' and decided not to try him.
The psychologist, then, changed his opinion yet again and said Jeffery wasn't ever insane … lest he get a disability.
The kind of sad thing was, though I was in contact with Jeffery's family and a family minister and told them they could easily sue for such a disability and I'd happily testify on their behalf, I never heard from them again.
After the JAG decided to just administratively discharge Jeffery, I went out to the ACF to let him know the news. As such things were done, I was locked into Jeffery's 6 foot by 3 foot cell, with a solid steel door. Jeffery was seated on the steel cot attached to the wall and was no more responsive than when I first met him.
So I explained that the Army had decided to just discharge him … he wouldn't be facing 45 years in jail ... and in a couple of weeks he'd be home in Philadelphia.
Jeffery looked up at me from the bed and, with tears in his eyes, said:
Captain Pieret … can I blow you?Did I mention that Jeffery was about 6'3” and about 235 lbs? I was and am about 5'8” and maybe 160 lbs. And I was locked in a small cell with Jeffery …
I managed to babble something about how it was reward enough to help others as I sidled over to the cell door and started pounding on it for the guards to let me out, which they eventually did without any further incident.
But I will never forget Jeffrey and the great reward.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Does the Vote in Ireland Matter Here?
By an overwhelming landslide, 62% to 38%, Ireland, over the objection of the Catholic Church, approved same-sex marriage.
Why should that matter here in the US? Well, we have six Catholic Supreme Court Justices and three Jewish Justices. The three Jewish Justices are pretty safe votes for marriage equality. Justices Scalia and Thomas are pretty safely votes against.
The play ground is in between … Justice Kennedy, long assumed to be the “swing vote,” given his major contributions to gay rights, in Romer, Lawrence and Windsor, can only be assured of his place in history on the Court if gay marriage is vindicated now.
Chief Justice Roberts, who, most of all, I suspect, doesn't want to be known as the Roger B. Taney of todays' court, must surely see the handwritting on history's wall after the Irish vote.
The question I now see is whether it will be a 6-3 or 7-2 decision. Will Alito choose history or ideology?
Only time will tell.
To the Ol' Sod!
And it was a landslide! (62-to-38 percent in favor of marriage equality!)
Friday, May 22, 2015
Jade Helm 15
A large percentage of Teabaggers and Republicans are losing their minds about this and, naturally enough, Texans (though hardly alone) are ground zero for the crazy. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas State Guard (Right Wing Watch got that part wrong … it wasn't the National Guard but the State guard ... a bunch of weekend warriors who like to play dress-up) to “monitor" Operation Jade Helm 15. Louis Gohmert predictably played the buffoon. And Rick Perry practiced his patented smarminess.
The really funny thing is that not only has the military posted information on the web about the exercise, including the above map (not exactly SOP for a real military invasion) but the whole thing includes about 1,200 service members. In Texas, which has such major military bases as Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, Randolph AFB and Lackland AFB, there are already some 109,000 active duty military personnel, and another 85,000 Reserves and National Guard, for a total of some 195,000 military personnel.
So, anyway you slice it … if President Obama has full control if the military, he doesn't need Jade Helm to take over Texas; if he doesn't, the troops in Texas could sweep aside Jade Helm like a gnat.
But, then again, rationality has never been a strong point of wingnuts.
Friday, May 15, 2015
OK, Who Hit Rick Santorum With a Clue Stick?
“If he says he’s a woman, then he’s a woman,” Santorum originally said when asked about the TV star during a roundtable with reporters in South Carolina . “My responsibility as a human being is to love and accept everybody. Not to criticize people for who they are. I can criticize, and I do, for what people do, for their behavior. But as far as for who they are, you have to respect everybody, and these are obviously complex issues for businesses, for society, and I think we have to look at it in a way that is compassionate and respectful of everybody.”I want to know who has that clue stick because it is wearing off and Rick needs another whack:
“What I said was, I think you have to treat every person with dignity and respect, period. That’s the bottom line. And if Bruce Jenner says he’s woman then I’m not gonna argue with him. I know what obviously and biologically he is. That doesn’t change by himself identifying himself,” Santorum helpfully explained. ” His genetics and DNA isn’t changing, but out of respect, as you said, I’m not gonna argue if Bruce Jenner’s a woman with Bruce Jenner. I’m gonna treat him with dignity and respect and that’s what I said.”Of course, he needs to walk back the original statement to maintain support from the frothing-at-the-mouth-hater wing of the Republican party if he intends to run for president but it is still pretty good by Santorum's usual standards. But another application certainly wouldn't hurt.
On a second note (***WARNING*** Unship your irony meter, make sure to drain any residual power from it and store it at least 10 feet underground in a bunker with concrete walls at least 3 feet thick!!!), Family Research Council official Craig James said that the LGBT community needs to show more civility or America will be lost.
“It’s the one-way street that is going to kill America,” James said. “This country has had a two-lane highway forever, both sides had the freedom to believe. Civility is gone. We’re haters if we think otherwise. What’s wrong with this country?”As Right Wing Watch points out, James “works for one of the nation's most virulently anti-LGBT groups, whose leaders (including James) have described gays rights as a tool of the Devil, defended Uganda's kill-the-gays bill, called for an anti-gay revolution and urged the government to export gay people from the country ...”
But it is LGBT people who have to show civility!!!
That's some weapons-grade irony there!
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Poetry Time Again
leaps and dances
to its own music
over and around
As it grows
in stately flows
past green places
Nearing the sea
it goes haltingly
it has carried
for so long
in the delta
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Sylvia Ann Driskell has, apparently, followed the “advice” of deranged bigot, Rick Scarborough, to somehow file a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality, as when the attorneys general of many states filed a lawsuit against tobacco companies.
This is the unfortunate, handwritten, result:
Some thoughts:To United States District Court of OmahaOmaha, NebraskaPlaintiffsSylvia Ann Driskell, Ambassador for Plaintiffs God and His Son, Jesus Christvs.DefendantsHomosexuals, Their Given Name Homosexuals, Their Alis [sic] Gay
1. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell ambassador for Plaintiffs do set forth on this 30 day of 2015 [sic] in writing this Petition to the United State District Court of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska. On behalf of the Plintiffs [sic] God, and His, Son, Jesus Christ.
2. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell ambassador for the Plaintiffs: God, and His, Son, Jesus Christ: Petition Your Honor, and Court of the United State District Court of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraka [sic] , To be heard in the matter of homosexuality. Is Homosexuality a sin, or not a sin,
3. Defendant’s [sic] Homosexuals: The Homosexuals say that its not a sin to be a homosexual, An [sic] they have the right to marry, to be parents, And God doesn’t care that their homosexuals, because He loves them.
4. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell, refer Your Honor to paragraph 3, line 2 of Defendant’s [sic], Homosexuals say that its not a sin, to be a homosexual.
5. Plaintiff’s: God tells his children in Leviticus Chapter 18 verse 22. Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is abomination.
6. Plaintiff’s: God also tells his Children in Romans Chapter 1 verse 26, 27. Romans 1:26. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affection: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: Romans Chapter 1, verse 27. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; Men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
7. Ambassador I Sylvia Ann Driskell: Your Honor, I’ve heard the boasting of the Defendant: the Homosexuals on the world news; from the Young, to the Old; to the rich an [sic] famous, and to the not so rich an [sic] famous; How they were tired of hiding in the closet, and how glad they are to be coming out of the closet.
8. Plaintiff’s God, tells his Children in Romans Chapter 1, vere [sic] 28, And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.
9. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell, Contend [sic] that homosexuality is a sin, and that they the homosexuals know it is a sin to live a life of homosexuality. Why else would they have been hiding in a closet.
10. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell, refer to Webster [sic] Dictionary for the definition of sin: sin the willful breaking of religious or moral law.
11. Defendant’s [sic] Homosexuals: In regards to paragraph 3 line 2 They the homosexuals, say they have the right to marry.
12. Plaintiff’s God: God’s word tells his children in Jenesis [sic] chapter 2 verse 24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleanse unto his wife and they shall be one flesh.
13. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell refer to the Webster Dictionary for the definitions of the word marry. 1 to join as husband and wife 2 to talk as husband or wife.
14. Defendant’s [sic] Homosexuals: In regards to paragraph 3 line 3 They [sic] the homosexuals, say they have the right to be parents.
15. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell refer to Webster [sic] Dictionary for the definition for parent. 1. A father or mother. 2. Any organism in relation to its offspring.
16. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell write these words to You, Your Honor: every good Father and Mother knows that its not just being able to give life to a child that makes a parent.
17. Ambassador: I, Sylvia Ann Driskell contend a good parent is not just a father or a mother that tells their children whats right; it’s the parent that walks the walk, and that talks, the talk, who are the example of what they teach, that’s why their children know right from wrong.
18. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell, write, As [sic] well, we also know that if a child is raised in a home of liers [sic], an [sic] deceivers, and thieves that it is reasonable to believe that child will grow up to be one of the three, are [sic] all three.
19. Plaintiff’s: God tells the parents in Proverbs chapter 22 verse 6. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
20. Defendant’s [sic] Homosexuals: I [sic] regards to paragraph 3, line 3. They the homosexuals, say that God doesn’t care, that their homosexuals, because he loves them.
21. Plaintiff’s God: God tells his children in Romans chapter 1, verse 18. For the wrath of God is reveald [sic] from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
22. Plaintiff’s God: God also tells his children in Romans 1, verse 24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lust of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.
23. Plaintiff’s God: God tells his children in Romans chapter 1, verse 25. Who change the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped [sic] and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed, for ever. Amen.
24. Defendant’s Homosexuals: In regards to paragraph 3, line 4. Because God loves them.
25. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell, contend thats [sic] the only statement the defendants have right; God loves them so much that He gave his Son, and Jesus gave his life for them.
26. Plaintiff’s God: God prophecies of His, Son, Jesus Christ, in Isaiah chapter 53, verse 5. But he was wounded for Our transgression, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are heald [sic].
Isaiah chapter 53, verse 6 All we like [sic] sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah chapter 55 verse 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
27. Plaintiff’s [sic] Jesus Christ: In Luke chapter 23, verse 34. Then said Jesus, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.
28. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell, wish to address You, Your Honor, and the United State District Court of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska.
I write not in few words, So I hope you, Your Honor, and The United State District Court of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska; will indulge me, in my writing.
Never before has Our great Nation the United State of America and Our great state of Nebraska; been besiege [sic] by sin:
The way to destroy any nation, or state is to destroy its morals; look what happen to Sodom and Gomorrah two city [sic] because of the same immoral behavior thats [sic] present in our nation, in our states, and our cities; God destroy [sic] them.
If God could have found ten righteous people among them he would have spared them.
I’m sixty six years old, an I never thought that I would see the day in which our Great Nation or Our Great State of Nebraska would become so compliant to the complicity of some peoples lewd behavior.
Why are judges passing laws?, [sic] so sinners can break religious and moral laws?
Will all the judges of this Nation, judge God to be a lier [sic]?
For God has said; that all unrighteousness is sin, and that homosexuality is abomination.
29. Ambassador: I Sylvia Ann Driskell: I have written this Petition to the United State District Court of Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, and to you, Your Honor.
Because I feel its is imperative to do so. We as a nation, as States, and as Cities need to start standing up for the moral principles on which Our, [sic] Great Nation, Our, [sic] Great States, and Our, [sic] Great Cities were founded on.
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions [sic] fail not.
ambassador Sylvia Ann Driskell
It takes some chutzpah, if not outright “blasphemy,” to declare oneself as the “ambassador” of God. I thought that position was already filled by someone with the initials of J.C. Oh, wait a minute! … Sylvia is J.C.'s spokesperson too!
Sylvia also seems to think that the operative legal question concerning the rights of homosexuals is whether or not homosexuality is a “sin,” as defined by the Bible, a contention that is disputed not only by homosexuals but by many Christians.
One thing I have often wondered is where people like Sylvia get the idea that the Bible prohibits same-sex marriage. Sylvia quotes Leviticus, which says she can stone male homosexuals to death. Is Sylvia ready to cast the first stone? Otherwise, it says nothing about gay marriage.
Then there's a lot of quotations from that prig, Paul, who thinks all sex is bad, but has to be tolerated since, after all, it's only temporary, in that J.C. will be returning to do away with all that stuff any second now.
But isn't it Christian doctrine that we are all sinners? If the (surviving) gays aren't allowed to marry because they are sinners, who, then, should be allowed to marry?
And then there is this (turn off your irony meters … and put them in bunkers with concrete walls at least 3 feet thick):
... the homosexuals know it is a sin to live a life of homosexuality. Why else would they have been hiding in a closet.Oh, I don't know, Sylvia … maybe because bigots thought, and still think, it is perfectly fine to stone them to death?
Sylvia almost gets it right when she says:
... every good Father and Mother knows that its not just being able to give life to a child that makes a parent.That's right, you don't have to be a biological parent in order to be a parent. But one of the things parents should teach their children is that judging people, not by how they treat others or by the fact that they are our fellow human beings, but merely by some label, like “nigger” or “fag,” that may be popular, but says nothing about who they are, is wrong.
I, Sylvia Ann Driskell contend a good parent is not just a father or a mother that tells their children whats right; it’s the parent that walks the walk, and that talks, the talk, who are the example of what they teach, that’s why their children know right from wrong.
Sylvia asks why the courts decide “sinners can break religious and moral laws.” Well, it has to do with that Constitution doohickey we have that allows everybody to break religious laws, like “Thou shalt have no other gods before me" … otherwise known as “freedom of religion.”
As I said before, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The “lawsuit” is ridiculous and, since it is filed pro se, the court will review it on its own to determine if it has any merit … meaning it will be immediately dismissed.
But it also represents what all too many people in America think about their fellow human beings.
And that is an all too very sad thing.
Update: The case has already been dismissed. You can see the decision here.
Basically, the judge ruled that 1) Federal courts are not forums to debate or discourse on theological matters; 2) the plaintiff did not demand relief a Federal court can grant (a ruling as to sinfulness of homosexuality); 3) plaintiff did not allege a particularized injury sufficient to establish standing to sue anyone; and, most importantly, 4) the plaintiff did not allege any factual or legal basis for a federal claim under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.
Saturday, May 02, 2015
Here is Conservative commentator Robert Knight, speaking on Huntington-based talk radio host Tom Roten's program:
And here is one final thing, Tom, that was scary: that was Don Verrilli, the Solicitor General arguing on behalf of President Obama for gay marriage, and he was asked by one of the Justices 'what about the possibility that pastors will be forced ...forced … against their beliefs to perform same-sex ceremonies and he just casually said 'well, that'll probably be left up to the states, although it is already an issue in states that have gay marriage.' Now think, in the free country of ours, they're casually talking about using the power of the state to force pastors to bless something that the Bible says is an abomination.And here is Glenn Beck:
“Hear’s (sic) my prediction: If gay marriage goes through the Supreme Court and gay marriage becomes fine and they can put teeth in it – so now they can go after the churches, like the president’s lawyer says – 50% of our churches will fall away. Meaning the congregations, within five years, 50% of the congregants will fall away from their church. Because they won’t be able to take the persecution,” Glenn said. “Because the stigma of going to church will be too much.”This is a meme we're going to be seeing a lot of in the future, I suspect. What Knight said above is simply not true. You can find the transcript of the oral arguments here. The question about clergy being forced to perform same-sex marriages was asked of the main attorney for the appellants, Mary L. Bonauto, by Justice Scalia and Bonauto, with an assist by Justice Ginsberg, answered “No.” Although it wasn't raised in the oral arguments, there is the “ministerial exception” to anti-discrimination laws on hiring and the same logic would apply to anyone who brought a discrimination claim against clergy for not performing a same-sex marriage.
Verrilli was asked by Justice Roberts:
We have a concession from your friend that clergy will not be required to perform same-sex marriage, but there are going to be harder questions. Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same-sex couples?Verrilli's answer was rather convoluted and not very clear but basically he said 1) the Court would only be answering what the states have to do under the Fourteenth Amendment, not individuals; 2) the issue would depend on the civil rights laws of the states or local governments [which is where the supporters of same-sex bans and the bigots that voted for them want that decision to be made and where, in any event, the “ministerial exception” would still apply]; 3) the Federal government has no anti-discrimination law covering sexual orientation [and, given our present Congress, isn't likely to have any in the foreseeable future]; 4) such questions are going to arise even if states are allowed to ban same-sex marriages [as in the Houston anti-discrimination law flap in Texas, a state that still doesn't allow same-sex marriages].
Asked by Justice Alito:
Well, in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax-exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?… Verrilli said it could be an issue but would depend on what the particular circumstances were.
The answer to Justice Roberts' question is, assuming there is a state or local law forbidding discrimination in hiring based on sexual orientation and assuming that housing is part of the compensation for the job, does the job involve the “ministry” of the school (which can include duties constituting as little a 45 minutes a day of the person's work)? If it is, then the school is protected. If housing is given to, say, a landscaper or a cook who has no interaction with students, then the school might be in violation of the statute. Of course, many, if not most or all, such anti-discrimination laws specifically exempt religious organizations entirely.
So if you see anyone saying that the Obama administration has “declared war” on churches based on the oral arguments, put them down as low-information morons … like Beck and, apparently, Knight.