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Tag Archives: democrats
By Frank Schaeffer
For me reading Max Blumenthal’s Republican Gomorrah is a look into a mirror. That might be because Blumenthal extensively interviewed me and drew rather heavily on my book “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back” as a reference for his in-depth expos of what has gone so very wrong with the Republican Party. He’s on my turf so I happen to know he’s telling the truth as its not been told before. But there’s more.
Republican Gomorrah is the first book that actually “gets” what’s happened to the Republican Party and in turn what the Republicans have done to our country. The usual Democratic Party and/or progressive “take” on the Republican Party is that it’s been taken over by a far right lunatic fringe of hate and hypocrisy, combining as it does, sexual and other scandals with moralistic finger wagging. But Blumenthal explains a far deeper pathology: it isn’t so much religion as the psychosis and sadomasochism of the losers now called “Republicans” that drives the party. And the “Christianity” that shapes so much “conservative” thinking now is anything but Christian. It’s a series of deranged personality cults.
Th e Religious Right/Republicans have perfected the method of capturing people in personal crisis and turning them into far right evangelical/far right foot soldiers. This explains a great deal that otherwise, to outsiders, seems almost inexplicable–the why and wherefore of “Deathers” “Birthers” et al. Blumanthal brilliantly sums up this pathology as:
“…a culture of personal crisis lurking behind the histrionics and expressions of social resentment. This culture is the mortar that bonds leaders and followers together.
Tracing the thinking of the fathers of the Republican Party, including my dad, the late Francis Schaeffer, who I teamed up with when I was a young man to help launch the Protestant wing of the “pro-life” movement, along with other such as Rousas John Rushdoony and the philanthropist Howard Ahmanson — who used to donate generously to my far right work — Blumenthal explains where the current Republican Party came from. He also details who it’s foundational thinkers were, and just why it’s still so dangerous. (A threat proved again this summer as the gun-toting fringe derailed the health care reform debate.)
He has their number. For one thing this book — at last! — will forever put James Dobson where he belongs: onto the top of the list of the American n ational rogue’s gallery of mean-spirited, even sadistic, cranks.
Blumenthal first came to my attention when he was doing his in-depth reporting on Sarah Palin. He was a guest on a TV program I was on too. There was something accomplished and in depth about the quality of his reporting on religion that I hadn’t seen from other progressive sources. I’ve been following his work since. Blumenthal understands the philosophy, psychology and religion of Religious Right figures like Palin, Dobson, Robertson et al in a way that no other reporter (with the exception of the always amazingly perceptive Jeff Sharlet author of The Family) does.
Now, having read Blumenthal’s book I know why he seems to really understand the nuances of far right religion. No one else has ever investigated this subject with as much insight into the psychological sickness that is the basis of the Religious right’s power to delude other people who are also needy and unstable.
In another time and place the despicable (and sometimes tragic figures) Blumenthal describes would be the leaders of, or the participants in, local lynch mobs, or the followers of the Ku Klux Klan. But today figures such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson, (the late) Jerry Falwell, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin have led a resentment-driven second American revolution, not just against Democrats and progressives but against the United States of America itself. And this group of outsiders (in every sense of that word ) now control one of our major political parties.
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Dale Hansen Blogger for the Detroit News and contributor to Lefty Liberal and Blogging for Michigan Suggesting we are in a shutdown because the Democrats won’t compromise ignores the rhetoric from Republicans over the past few years threatening to shut down the government. Patrice Peyret CEO, Banking Up Digital representation of money and mathematical protocols take a lot less space than physical cash and require no brick-and-mortar security
INDIANAPOLIS – The battle over amending Indiana’s constitution to ban gay marriage is splitting pretty clearly along ideological lines, but making for some odd pairings of otherwise partisan foes.
Opponents of placing the state’s gay marriage ban in the constitution announced this week they had hired a Democratic Party field director to work underneath Republican campaign manager Megan Robertson.
Supporters of the amendment are meanwhile counting conservative and rural Democrats to bolster their already-strong support among Republicans.
Robertson said her group is reaching out to Republicans and Democrats of all stripes ahead of the coming fight. But Democratic Rep. Terry Goodin of Crothersville said he and other rural Democrats will likely be voting with Republicans in favor of the amendment.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Hawaii’s House Democrats are looking to pass a bill that would legalize gay marriage.
Hawaii’s House Democrats are set to meet this week to discuss whether they have the votes to pass a bill that would legalize gay-marriage in the islands.
If the party determines that there is sufficient support and senators can agree on a language that would withstand court challenges, Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) will be the one to call for a special session to deal with the issue.
I think we can put together something that can achieve a solid majority, that will give us the opportunity to establish marriage equity in the state of Hawaii commensurate with the recent Supreme Court decisions, and will satisfy and resolve the issues that are presently before the appeals court on the mainland, Abercrombie told a gathering of state Democrats.
Abercrombies chief of staff, Blake Oshiro, is currently working on the language with the state attorney general’s office. According to the State Senate leadership, they will in fact have the votes to pass the same-sex marriage bill.
Hawaii passed a law in 1998 giving the legislature power to define marriage as heterosexual, but the legislation was partially reversed in 2011 when civil unions between same-sex couples became legal.
Even though Democrats have an overwhelming majority in both chambers, Abercrombie needs to call a special session to pass the bill because they cant meet the two-thirds threshold to call one themselves.
A majority of Americans would support a law legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, according to the results of a new Gallup poll released on Monday.
The poll showed that 52 percent of Americans would vote for a federal law making same-sex marriage legal across the nation, while 43 percent said they would vote against such a law.
Gallup noted that support for the proposed law was strongest among self-described liberal Americans and those with no religious affiliation.
Meanwhile, weekly churchgoers, Republicans and conservatives showed the lowest levels of support for the proposed law.
The poll also found at least 60 percent support for the proposed law among Democrats, adults aged 18 to 34, those who rarely or never attend a church or other place of worship, moderates, Easterners, and Catholics.
On the other hand, less than 50 percent of Protestants, adults 55 and older, Southerners, and men expressed support for legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
Gallup said 54 percent of a separate half-sample of Americans think marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized as valid, nearly unchanged from the 53 percent that expressed the same view in a May survey.
The level of support was seemingly not impacted by the Supreme Court’s recent decisions striking down a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act and dismissing an appeal to a lower court ruling overturning California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage.
Gallup Senior Editor Lydia Saad said the poll results add “to the body of evidence in Gallup trends that public opinion on gay marriage has reached a tipping point, whereby the majority now clearly supports it.”
“Nevertheless, the issue remains highly divisive, as large majorities of left-leaning, nonreligious, and younger Americans endorse it, while right-leaning, religious, and older Americans still oppose it,” she added.
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By CURTIS TATE MCCLATCHY Washington Bureau on Jul 5, 2013, at 2:27 AMUpdated on 7/05/13 at 6:47 AM
Naomi Hendrix (right) and Rio Waller exchange their wedding vows July 1. The women, who have been together for 16 years, got engaged the day the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. GOSIA WOZNIACKA/Associated Press
The court’s twin 5-4 decisions overturned a key provision of the federal law and let stand a lower court’s decision against Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved state ban on gay marriage. Including California, gay marriage is now legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
But the justices left in place bans in at least three dozen states and did not require those states to recognize gay couples married legally elsewhere. Legal experts have said that couples who live in such states may find themselves still denied some federal benefits unless Congress changes the law. And should lawmakers fail to agree on a solution, the issue will soon be back in court.
Democrats in the Senate and the House of Representatives, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, reintroduced a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and erase any lingering uncertainty about which same-sex couples are married in the eyes of the federal government.
“It is time Congress strike this discriminatory law once and for all,” Feinstein said last week, noting that more than 1,100 federal benefits are at stake for married same-sex couples.
Meanwhile, a group of House Republicans, led by Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, reintroduced a measure to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage. Huelskamp said the court had “substituted its personal preferences on marriage for the constitutional decisions of the American people and their elected representatives.”
“Congress clearly must respond to these bad decisions,” he said.
The momentum would seem to favor gay marriage. A majority of Americans now support it, according to recent polls. And although most Republicans still oppose gay marriage, the party’s leaders would prefer to move on. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, spent $2.3 million of taxpayer money defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court and lost. He and other Republican leaders now say it’s up to the states.
“The court’s made its decision,” Boehner told reporters last week.
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Democrats repeatedly referenced, and praised, Kean’s father, former Gov. Thomas H. Kean Sr. Kean Sr. told Republicans in the 1980s to vote their conscience on the issue of prayer in schools – which Kean personally opposed – and Democrats said they wanted Christie to do the same thing with gay marriage.
They depicted an ironfisted Republican governor who has punished wayward GOP legislators. “When they’ve crossed this governor on minor issues, they’ve been punished, they’ve walked out of his office crying,” said State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D., Union).
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) said his Republican colleagues have privately told him of being punished by Christie. He said some backed away from supporting gay marriage once Christie came into office, and he hoped they developed the “intestinal fortitude” of the only two Republican senators who voted for gay marriage – Diane Allen (R., Burlington) and Jennifer Beck (R., Monmouth).
As for the two Democratic senators who voted against gay marriage, Sens. Jeff Van Drew (D., Cape May) and Ron Rice (D., Essex), “we’re talking to them, too,” Sweeney said.
Christie has rebutted the idea that he forced lawmakers to vote one way or another.
“What you’re implying through your question is that Republicans to this point have not voted their conscience,” Christie told reporters Tuesday in Seaside Park, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. “How the hell do you know that? How would you know?”
He added: “Members of the legislature in my experience do what they think is in the best interest of the state, and they often come to me for my view and my opinion, and I give it to them. But in the end, I’m not the one down there pushing the buttons. They are.”
For his part, Kean Jr. noted in a statement that Sweeney did not vote on a gay-marriage bill in 2010 that would have been signed by Gov. Jon S. Corzine.
“We do not need lectures from a senator who did not take a stand in 2010,” Kean said, “and cannot rally full support from his entire caucus for this legislation.”
He also reiterated Christie’s view that the question should be decided by voters in November. “Sen. Sweeney is exhibiting a complete lack of faith in the people to offer a permanent solution,” Kean said, “one outside the whims and politics of future courts and legislatures.”
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Proposition 8 plaintiffs Paul Katami, center, and Jeffrey Zarrillo, second left, confer with attorney Ted Olson, second right, outside the Supreme Court on Thursday, June 20, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
For all the media attention and breathless anticipation around the pending Supreme Court decisions on cases impacting gay marriage, there are two groups who are rolling their eyes and aren’t surprised at all the advocates for and against.
[PHOTOS:Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Same-Sex Marriage]
“We’ve kind of gotten a chuckle out of [the news coverage],” says John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, a group opposed to gay marriage. “It was just silly. There’s no doubt in my mind it was going to come out the last week, probably the last day.”
Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, a pro-gay marriage group, echoes Eastman’s sentiment.
“Some of this is kind of artificial anxiety in that we’ve always thought that it would go down this way, but clearly you have to show up every single day that is a decision day,” he says. “It’s all come down now to 11 decisions in one day, next Monday, unless they schedule additional decision days. That in and of itself is noteworthy, that they haven’t yet announced additional decision days for next week. So we’re waiting on pins and needles.”
The court is weighing two separate cases affecting gay marriage. One will determine whether or not the federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to gay spouses and allows states to not recognize such marriages, is constitutional. The other concerns a constitutional ban on gay marriage that was approved by voters in California after it had already been deemed legal for a short time.
[READ:GOP Now Sees Gay Marriage as 'Inevitable,' as Democrats Do]
Eastman, who served as a Supreme Court clerk, says the delay has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with logistics.
“They are frantically trying to finish the opinions,” he says. “They are proofreading them, they are dealing with justices they are going back and forth on that and trying to get out the door before the term ends at the end of next week. As soon as an opinion is ready then it gets released. There is no politicking on the timetable of that.”
SPRINGFIELD — A showdown vote on legalizing gay marriage in Illinois never materialized Friday as lawmakers adjourned, dashing the high hopes of supporters who believed that after years of disappointment they were finally on the verge of making history.
For weeks, Illinois appeared to be poised to become the 13th state to approve same-sex marriage. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn promised to sign the bill. Democrats held veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate. President Barack Obama called for its passage during a Thursday night fundraiser in his home city and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was a major backer as well.
As the House prepared to adjourn, sponsoring Rep. Greg Harris rose on the floor and gave a tearful speech to announce he would not call the bill. He was greeted by angry shouts by dozens of supporters who had gathered in the House gallery for what they thought hours before would be a history-making event.
Harris said several colleagues asked to have the summer to weigh the issue in their district, with the promise they would return in November prepared to support same-sex marriage.
Until that day, I apologize to the families who were hoping to wake up tomorrow as full and equal citizens of this state, Harris said.
The high-profile failure of gay marriage came in a session in which ruling Democrats also failed to approve public employee pension reforms and a Chicago casino.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, gave a concession speech before adjourning Friday night, while noting lawmakers will be back for a fall session.
Obviously, this is a session where we have not enjoyed a great deal of success, said Madigan, who doubles as Illinois Democratic Party chairman. Thats very obvious. However, that doesnt mean that were going to walk away from our responsibilities.
I dont think we should take a lack of success today as a reason to give up, Madigan said.
Twelve other states have approved gay marriage. In recent weeks, the governor expressed frustration as momentum lagged in Illinois while other states approved gay marriage. Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota put in place laws that take effect later this summer.
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