Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Kwanzaa & New Year

Hey Everybody - Let's give a big applause for 2011, who couldn't get here soon enough!

As we move into the New Year, we will be letting go of the past and welcoming the new. One thing that I hope we do not easily let go is the way we all came together to show love and support for teenagers who feel our nation's pain at their very core.

In the spirit of Christmas:

"I have shown you all things, how in your work you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of Jesus, when he said it is more blessed to give than to receive. The most sorrowful words that he spoke were that we should see his face no more." Acts 20:35-38

In the spirit of Kwanzaa:

Ubuntu, or Umoja (Unity - the first principle of Kwanzaa) is not, 'I think therefore I am.' It says rather: 'I am a human because I belong. I participate. I share'... In essence, I am because you are." - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
It is in this spirit of unity that I hope we can reflect on what it means for Lesbians, Gay Men and the Transgendered to be left out of the dialogue on Human Rights at the Global level by the United Nations. We have only one weapon in the fight to protect children from another holocaust beginning in Uganda or Lithuania because of misguided prophets of doom like Scott Lively. Our weapon is 'obuntu bulamu'.

On SFGN - I listed "11 People Who Rocked Me Into Next Year" as a tip-of-the-hat to those whom have been fighting the good the fight lately. Please join me in appreciating your community and the people who work to tear the walls down between us.

11 People Who Rocked Me Into The New Year - #03: Asher Brown – There were as many as 12 gay kids who committed suicide in rapid succession and it was to be expected that the mainstream media would collect the easy ratings and move on as soon as any other news story emerged. This is of course part of the larger problem that these troubled kids face. Asher Brown, age 13, was one of the most perplexing of the cases and he was the boy that touched my heart and finally brought me to tears. His adorable smiling photo does not easily connect with the story of poverty, out-casting, bullying and reckless disregard that stole this child from his parents and the nation at large. I don’t easily make heroes out of victims, but in this case, I gladly accept this kid as a hero because he inspired me to make the rights of kids a priority in my life.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tomorrow - World AIDS Day

Click On Graphic To Make Larger - See Next Post To Read About Florida's Cuts To ADAP

Monday, November 29, 2010

Inside Florida’s Republican Death Panel

How Florida Conspired To Set Up an ADAP “Drop Dead List”

Florida’s mostly Republican leadership has conspired with private conservative advocacy groups like AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to defund and demoralize people receiving their HIV medications through a Federal/State program called ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program).

People who receive ADAP medication are generally low-income members of the workforce. The ADAP programs were originally set up as a partnership between the Federal Government and States to address the problem of HIV drugs being too expensive for the average person to afford out-of-pocket coupled with the “pre-existing conditions” clause in most health insurance programs which would deny coverage for HIV drugs.

Over the past decade, it has been customary for the Federal Government to increase ADAP funds by about 13.33% per year. Both George W.
Bush and Barack Obama have done that (although Bush only increased ADAP funding to appropriate “catch-up” levels when a Democratic Congress took over during the latter part of his Presidency as he had previously cut domestic HIV spending in favor of global HIV spending). But according to Michael Weinstein, President of AHF “Obama has done very little to support domestic HIV/AIDS funding” and “he’s only good at making nice speeches on the subject” which don’t solve the funding problem.*

This is the message being transmitted to the mostly gay and African American communities affected by HIV/AIDS in South Florida. Both Weinstein and Joey Wynn of
The Broward House (another state-funded HIV care and advocacy organization) snarl Obama’s name through pursed lips as if they are speaking about a fascist dictator and their message isn’t any kinder when it comes to parting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.**

In fact, Michael Weinstein and his highly paid employees at AHF routinely protest the Federal Government with picket lines and chants like “Hey Feds, Give Us Back Our Meds”. One such stunt had them all carrying faux coffins and crosses and dressed like Grim Reapers while
walking in circles around Nancy Pelosi’s California office.

But what AHF and the Broward House absolutely will NOT tell you, is that Obama and the Congress have done business as usual on ADAP and that it’s actually Florida’s Republican legislature that has made the cuts to the program which resulted in the infamous “ADAP waiting list” and ultimately, the far worse
“ADAP drop list” which FL Health Department officials like Tom Liberti swore just a couple of months ago would not occur…

When AHF protests outside of Pelosi’s office (invariably at the peak of her re-election campaign) with signs and displays indicating that people are dying because of her actions, a subtle lie is being communicated to passers-by. California has no “waiting list” for ADAP medications and is better-funded than South Carolina where
at least three people have already died waiting for medication. California is better funded because their Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger eventually stepped up to the plate and delivered the $27 million in funds. So it’s intellectually dishonest for Weinstein and his merry crew of tea-party style “deathers” to imply that this is a Nancy Pelosi problem. South Carolina’s Republican government completely de-funded its own contributions to ADAP voluntarily. That is what killed people – not Pelosi.

Weinstein does not seem to care that his message is based on a false notion of the Obama Administration supposedly “cutting funds”*** for HIV. He is working with the State of Florida on a
number of proposals which would elevate his organization’s stature and authority in the United States. One such proposal would allow him to police the pornography industry for safer sex practices and allow him access to confidential medical information which he is currently not given access to.

Another proposal is one by where AHF works with Pharmaceutical companies to negotiate prices and “freebies” called PAP’s (Patient Assistance Programs) so that the “free market” can step in and take care of what the big, bad Federal Government supposedly would not.

Weinstein’s Republican favoritism shows itself quite readily when you look at his supposed solution to the ADAP crisis. His protests are meant to draw negative attention to Democrats while drawing positive attention to
a bill drawn up by far-right Republican Senators called the “Access ADAP Act” (S. 3401).

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Richard Burr R-NC (whose last campaign was
funded by BlueCross/BlueSheild), aims to take a huge chunk of Obama’s stimulus package and divert it toward ADAP. In essence, the withdrawn funds would damage the effectiveness of the stimulus (sending them into a category which does not produce a return on the investment) but it would also alleviate Republican-controlled states from their fair share of a national burden.

Incidentally, 3 of the co-signing Republican Senators on the bill (which has already died in committee and was never expected to be plausible) have anti-gay legislation languishing in various committees too. In fact, all 5 of the Senators who co-sponsored the legislation that AHF’s Michael Weinstein is urging his followers to support
were also co-sponsors on a Senate Bill last year which would have outlawed individual states from making their own marriage laws – in direct conflict with the United States Constitution.

The sunshine state is not exactly forthcoming with information on exactly which aspects of healthcare funding were cut and by whom specifically. Florida has a set of what are called “Sunshine Laws” (transparency laws that make legislation available and accessible online) which sound just brilliant but are not very effective at all in this situation. Browsing the budget reports from over the last 10 years, it shows that decisions like this are made in sub-committees. Sub-committees in Florida are allowed to, for whatever reason; block their procedures and committee notes on “certain items” from view by the public. This is of course what has happened with the specific itemized budget cuts that resulted in the ADAP Drop List.

Mysteriously, not a single high-ranking Florida official has addressed this issue to the public or responded to media inquiries on the subject. Governor Charlie Crist (R) and his Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) have talked about every issue under the sun during their expensive political campaigns for higher office this year. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent by Crist, Sink, Rick Scott and Allen West in the last election cycle and even a small fraction of that would solve the problem that HIV positive persons face in being dropped from the program. Even according to AHF, the amount that is needed is only 17 million dollars.

Even some Democratic State legislators who claim to care deeply about the crisis have been unwilling to go to the Republican legislature in Florida and either ask or demand an increase in state level funding for HIV care.
Frederica Wilson, a State Senator at the time, scoffed at the idea and pretended that it was simply impossible. This was after she told her audience that she and Health Department official Tom Liberti had gone to Washington “way back during the AIDS crisis” and tearfully pleaded with congress for funds and concern. Evidently to Florida Democrats, mountains are moveable but not molehills.

* These are actually sentiments from Michael Weinstein who I interviewed and audio-recorded with his permission. The statements about Obama’s supposed uselessness were made two days after Obama released the comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy which is meant to coincide with healthcare reform. The strategy is the culmination of years of research and studies conducted nationwide and abroad and was hailed by many activists as a trailblazing and enlightened approach to the care of persons with HIV/AIDS and prevention for those whom are not yet affected.

** According to Joey Wynn from The Broward House at an AHF-sponsored town hall meeting, he told a bystander that Obama had actually “not increased” funding for ADAP, that he had “kept it the same”. That is untrue as well. The concept that Wynn was twisting around was the fact that Obama had not increased funding by any more than he did the previous year or the last year that Bush was in office. But Obama did, in fact, increase funding for ADAP to the tune of +13.33% in his last 3 annual budgets which are available to browse at the Kaiser Institute website.

*** In my work as a journalist covering the ADAP crisis in Florida, I’ve encountered many concerned people with HIV who have been misled by AHF and Joey Wynn at the Broward House to believe that Barack Obama has personally slashed the budget on their ADAP funds… This is NOT true. However, these organizations buy plenty of advertising in every newspaper, magazine, charity event and venue in South Florida. This is not done because they need to advertise; it’s done in order to harness the media and overpower any voice of dissent that dares to disagree with their rhetoric.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Personal Endorsements for South Florida's Election in 2010

Jarrett Terrill is the News Editor at SFGN (South Florida Gay News) and a registered Democrat.

I limited myself to making endorsements in the races that I am very familiar with. If a campaign that you are a part of has not received an endorsement from me, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything other than that I don’t want to mislead people by making endorsements without all the facts. Now, with that being said…

For the US Senate, I endorse Kendrick Meek because of his solid Democratic platform, his refusal to put special interests ahead of his fellow Floridians and his unwavering support for LGBT Equality.

For US Representative District 23, I endorse Alcee Hastings. Hastings has also routinely gone to bat for equal rights and he has never let me down. He dares to bring much needed legislation to the floor where others might fear how it will affect their campaigns.

For US Representative District 20, I endorse Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has without a doubt been a trailblazer for civil rights and equality in the House of Representatives. Schultz is a family woman who values safety for children and economic security for their families. Her constant advocacy and media appearances played a huge role in garnering support for passing the Mathew Shepard Act and keeping the repeal of unconstitutional laws like the Defense of Marriage Act on the table.

For Governor of Florida I endorse Michael E. Arth, an Independent candidate. While I break with my party on this endorsement, and while Alex Sink is a great candidate with many of my closest friends supporting her, I just really like Michael E. Arth that much better. He has brilliant ideas and isn’t afraid to be truly liberal in a time when other politicians are becoming rather fascist in their conservatism. Arth has written books, made documentary films, traveled Florida, and run a clean, honest campaign. Unlike his opponents, he supports FULL equality for all people – regardless of gender or orientation. He is an artist and an entrepreneur and he is also the only candidate who has addressed our state’s homeless population. While it’s very important to beat Rick Scott (possibly the worst candidate for governor we’ve ever had) and I believe that Alex Sink CAN beat him – I must support Michael E. Arth because he more strongly represents my personal beliefs and ideals.

For Attorney General, I endorse Dan Gelber.

For Broward County Commission District 4, I endorse Ken Keechl. He has a reputation for keeping a balanced budget, he is concerned about environmental affairs and emergency preparation and he most certainly will do everything he can to make sure that Broward County stays inclusive for ALL types of families and individuals. With this endorsement, it’s all about Keechl’s experience on the commission and the various boards, committees and associations he has worked with. His opponents just can’t duplicate his working knowledge of Broward County.

Most importantly in this election, I endorse Amendments 5 & 6. Both of these Amendments arose from grassroots campaigning for better re-districting in Florida and discussions nationwide about the fact that voters should be picking their candidates and not the other way around. If you don’t know what Gerrymandering is, let it just suffice to say that Florida is full of it… When career politicians get to re-draw the districts in their favor, it breeds corruption. Please, if you go to the polls for only one reason, make it to vote YES on 5 & 6.

Photo above: Congressman Kendrick Meek with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz /Photo by Jarrett Terrill

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Let Us Not Be Nuts."

"Here is a grand old party frozen, suspended, mesmerized, in thrall to a gaggle of showboats and radio entertainers and small mobs of fist-shakers standing staunch for unreality, and no Republican elected official dares say, 'Let us not be nuts'."
- Garrison Keillor

John Boehner (R-OH) - I Don't think women should be paid as much as men for doing the exact same work. That's why I voted against The Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1338). I also voted against protecting credit card holders from sudden interest rate increases surprise changes in terms of agreement (H.R. 5244).

Michele Bachmann (R-MN) - I don't want small businesses to get a tax-cut as a hiring incentive to create jobs. That's why I voted against the Small Business Lending Act (H.R. 5297). However, I did make firearms exempt from repossession during bankrupcy, but that was only for businesses - not individuals like you (H.R. 5827)

John McCain (R-AZ) - I think companies like Halliburton/KBR should be allowed to lock rape victims in shipping containers for days - even weeks - to keep them from testifying in court against the company. This happened to a young woman named Jamie Leigh Jones and she's my daughter's age. That's why I voted against Amendment 2588 to the Defense Appropriations Bill H.R. 3326. I also voted against repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', a pay increase for soldiers and a program to treat PTSD.

Carly Fiorina (R-CA) - I want to give all of America's jobs to China and India. I use the term "globalization" rather than "outsourcing" because we've added yet another way to take away American jobs. You see, by successfully promoting H1-B Visa programs, we can actually ship immigrants into the USA and give them your job for much cheaper than what you'd work for. You can call that "insourcing". When I was queen bee at Hewlett Packard, I laid off 18,000 American workers and made decisions which led to 30,000 more being laid off when I was gone.

Charlie Crist (R-FL) - I like to tell everyone that I'm concerned about the environment, but under my governorship, Pensacola FL became the American city with the absolute most polluted water. That was before the oil spill in our gulf. When the BP disaster happened, I thought it was more important to collect $25 Million from the oil company for tourism advertisements telling everyone to come to our beaches before I even knew whether or not that was safe. I have been suspected of being in the closet as a homosexual for quite some time now, but I think dashed those myths by signing a few anti-gay laws including one that forbids gays from even getting civil union in Florida, let alone marriage. And just to rub it in, I got married the week after I passed the no gay marriage bill.

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) - I really hate homosexuals. In fact, my Senate staff likes to send death threats to gay bloggers in their spare time. I tried to pass a law that would effectively open up all of our Federal land including National Parks to hunting. This would probably result in children being shot, but I don't care. Even John McCain says I'm "reprehensible" because I attacked the patriotism of my veteran opponent to get my first seat in the Senate. I want to privatize social security, eliminate the IRS and get warrantless wiretaps on US citizens. I want to make it a felony just to drive a woman to an abortion clinic.

Monday, August 2, 2010

How Liberal Bloggers Are Helping Republicans

You think you are exposing a scandal, but what you're actually doing is promoting someone you hate to a better rank on Google.

On June 9th, while supposedly waiting to be interviewed by KXTV in Sacramento, Carly Fiorina (a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate) said something VERY scandalous... She called Barbara Boxer's hairstyle "so yesterday". What she (supposedly) didn't know is that her mic was on and the video of her catty comment would be "leaked".

Sounds like the perfect chance to give her a gut-punch on your blog, right? I mean, you could really spin that. You could call her a "gossip" or a "catty elitist who cares more about fashion than substance"... This could be the end of her, right?


This is what strategists call a "manufactured scandal". It's something that's "leaked" by the campaign itself to trigger a surge in Google searches but doesn't really do all that much to damage the reputation of the candidate in question.

Fiorina also made sure to mention that her buddy Meg Whitman decided to be interviewed by Sean Hannity. So when Politics Daily and the Huffington Post did their part and made mountains out of molehills with this "caught on open mic" scenario, this is what the results looked like:

Google Searching "Carly Fiorina Hair":
You get a story about Fiorina's Courageous Battle With Cancer.

Google Searching "Carly Fiorina Hair Barbara Boxer":
You get her wikipedia page, which presents a sanitized version of her corporate legacy summed up with another quote about Boxer: "After losing all my hair, Barbara Boxer just isn't so scary anymore." (Another reference to her cancer survivor status.)

Google Searching "Carly Fiorina Whitman Hannity Comment":
You get Carly Fiorina and Sean Hannity in a mutual admiration love-fest with eachother where Fiorina expresses profusely that she is friends with Whitman and that she was afraid Hannity would be "too tough" on her.

You see what this all adds up to?

There were THOUSANDS of
liberal bloggers doing their part to advertise Carly Fiorina's spin campaign for a week after the manufactured scandal was "leaked".

The biggest mistake a Liberal Blogger can make is to assume that Republicans are all ignorant people with misspelled signs at a Tea Party or an NRA rally. In reality, if this were a game of chess, they'd already have you in check-mate.

Obama's poll numbers are in the tank, healthcare reform is a win-win situation for the Insurance Lobby (mandatory Insurance with no public option), the war rages on, Gitmo is still open for business, faith-based initiatives are funneling millions of your tax dollars into the right-wing think tanks, billionaires have that antsy-dancey feeling in their pants again and millions of dollars are being dumped into any campaign against a democratic incumbent or gay candidate.

Republicans have convinced America that there is an all-powerful "liberal media" out there, hellbent on denying the "truth" and that somehow, the most watched News channel in the world (FOX NEWS) is just not a part of this grand conspiracy. Meanwhile, "our side", MSNBC, has chosen to legitimize the Tea Party as a "grassroots movement that became a real political party" and they've completely forgotten that it is actually just
tightly controlled Republican atro-turf.

You must never forget that Republicans are masters in the art of deception and propaganda - and especially today's Republicans who hail from the corporate dotcom revolution and have learned how to use facebook and adwords to their advantage.

Here are some of my suggestions for liberal bloggers to avoid unwittingly helping Republicans to spin the media in their favor:

1) Never blog about Sarah Palin. She is the media center of Right-Wing talking points and any exposure you give her is always a "freebie" to the GOP. Everything that relates to Palin is a carefully crafted device to get you to do exactly what you're thinking of doing. Remember that.

2) Find some politicians you actually like and blog about their success. Far too many liberals are going down the path of defensiveness and it gives the Republicans quite an edge. The President himself just can't seem to score a few kind words from the mainstream media even though conservatives maintain that we are talking about a "liberal media".

3) Decide what your values are and start from there. Conservatives are able to follow eachother blindly without ever worrying about back-stabbing or sabotage because they all share the exact same values. A Liberal without a clear understanding of his own values will find himself struggling to explain exactly what he is so concerned about and it does more harm to his position than good.

4) Attack someone in your own party on occasion. Decide who the bad apple is in your bunch and expose them as a "wolf in sheep's clothing". This is a great way to draw in some readers from that highly coveted "independent/moderate" group.

5) Do NOT rely on the mainstream media for all your news. Networks like CNN, FOX, MSNBC and CBS are good for an occassional glance, but you should be using the internet to its fullest capability and really digging for information that YOU have decided that YOU care about. Any first-hand information or interviews you can get are far better than recycling whatever the latest talking point is.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Alex Sink Cites "Religious" Reasons For Not Supporting Gay Marriage

On Thursday June 10, speaking to a group in St. Petersburg, Gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink contradicted her pro-equality image by saying “I don’t support gay marriage. I think that is entirely a religious decision that individuals can make. I do support civil unions.”

“That’s not good news for gay marriage proponents hopeful that a new governor would make changes,” writes Christina Silva who broke the story for the St. Petersburg Times.

This is in contrast to what the LGBT community might expect from the winner of Equality Florida’s esteemed “Voice of Equality” award for the year 2009. At the reception gala she garnered standing applause from about 200 of South Florida’s gay community leaders. She spent approximately 10 minutes giving a stump speech about how “every American deserves to be treated equally” but mostly she gave the audience her resume from her days at Bank of America. She did not, however, talk about Florida’s controversial ‘Amendment 2’ which bans LGBT persons from participating in both marriage and civil unions.

At the beginning of that November 2009 gala, director Nadine Smith introduced Alex Sink by saying “when you look around at these galas… you see the backbone of the gay community.” Alex Sink took to the podium soon after where she made a total of eight pleas for campaign money while saying nothing about specific actions she would take as Governor in favor of the LGBT community

“I know that together, we can make equality for ALL Floridians a reality,” Sink said to the guests at the 2009 Equality Florida event, “that is - with the right officers in place."

“Tonight I stand before you as a candidate for Governor – a position for which no woman has ever been elected. And in 2010, with all your support and encouragement, and maybe some of your money, I intend to put Florida under new management.”

Update: Director of Equality Florida, Nadine Smith issued the following statement: "I disagree with all candidates of both parties who do not respect full legal equality for LGBT families including equal protection under our country'smarriage laws. "

Darrin McGillis, also a candidate in the Democratic Primary has expressed that his position is for FULL Marriage Equality. His campaign website is

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Arizona’s Immigration Policy Would Not Have Stopped the 9/11 Hijackers

There has been a lot of blabber from the right-wing lately about how THEIR style of immigration reform is needed “in a post-9/11 world”.

That phrase, “post-9/11 world” is meant to imply that we now live in a more dangerous society than we did before. Thereby, right-wing pundits assert that new, tougher and more radical immigration reforms are needed – including Governor Jan Brewer’s controversial reform in Arizona.

The debate over Arizona’s new immigration policy can be framed in one of two ways. The right wing of American politics contends that we are losing jobs, security and quality of life due to excessive immigration (mainly from Mexico but not limited to that border).

The left wing argues that we lose more jobs from corporate outsourcing and that our immigration policies pose no particular threat to our security or quality of life – that those are false perceptions based in racism and classism. Furthermore, those on the left believe that better national security will arise from a uniform Federal immigration reform, as opposed to each state choosing their own immigration policies as Arizona has done.

So let’s take a quick look at this phrase that has become popularized within the right-wing media and see if it holds water… Sorry to spoil the surprise, but the answer is NO.

According to the 9/11 Commission Report and numerous Congressional Inquiries, all 19 hijackers who are commonly known to have been the perpetrators of 9/11 were in possession of the required documentation in Arizona’s new code.

None of the 9/11 Hijackers were known to have crossed the Mexican/United States border by foot and few of them even spoke broken English. They had even taken classes with large numbers of other foreigners on how to speak with American dialects, appear more American and blend into American society.

All the hijackers had visas, passports, and photo ID’s. All the 9/11 hijackers’ information was verified by the Concordance system prior to boarding their flights.
The Arizona Immigration Bill (SB1070) does not include any provisions which would require additional scrutiny in obtaining work visas or immigration status. It does not require any additional checks or procedures for national or state security in the process of obtaining citizenship or an identification document.

The Arizona Bill is primarily a set of laws which restrict LEGAL citizens from having any contact or collusion with illegal or undocumented workers. For instance, an Arizona citizen can be charged with a misdemeanor for knowingly or unknowingly giving an undocumented worker a ride in their car. The language of the bill encourages regular citizens to be “watchdogs” or “vigilantes” in the sense that it stiffens penalties for citizens who are found to have “reckless disregard” for another person’s immigration status.

The bill is very poorly written and unconstitutional at best and does absolutely NOTHING to prevent terrorism or to strengthen national security. SB1070 serves only to encourage distrust and skepticism amongst Arizonans based on race, class, employment and income.

Photo: Jan Brewer (R-AZ) and Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R-AZ) celebrating Pakistani Day 2006 with Arif Kazmi. Joe Arpaio is one of the most controversial characters in law enforcement. He has created prison camps in Arizona which are softly referred to as “tent cities” in which prisoners suffer in 120 degree heat and has been scolded by human rights advocates for digitally recording the daily activities of prisoners and putting these images on the internet for all to see – without knowledge or consent from the prisoners.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Right Wing Has Now Self-Imploded...

Has the "liberal media" been unkind to the right wing lately? Perhaps... Or maybe we are just witnessing the end of an era.

First up, the Hutaree Militia has skyrocketed on search engines and now we have a group of half-assed unibombers to hold up in infamy.

Just a few weeks before that, the story broke that the Republican National Committee had plans to use "fear", "self-centeredness" and "tchotchkes" to solicit donations from party faithfuls. A painfully embarrassing slideshow demonstration which fully illustrated their lack of respect for their own GOP donors was left in a hotel room where some underpaid Democrat was sure to find it... Ooops!

Around the same time, lifelong Republican gone Democrat, Eric Massa was explaining to a sympathetic Rush Limbaugh that he had been ousted from his NEW party, not for tickling male interns, but for being a turncoat...

Then this week, after healthcare reform became a done deal, we had bailout supporters Sarah Palin and John McCain claiming ownership of the Tea Party Patriots. This is ironic considering that the Tea Party Patriots were "forced down our throats" by Fox News 24/7 as a "grassroots uprising" that was supposedly not just more Republican astroturf... In the same fell swoop, the co-mavericks decided to co-opt the phrase "hell no" to be their new party slogan.

Following that, umpteen reports came in that Teabaggers had been acting out in outrage over their new healthcare benefits by throwing bricks through windows, calling congressmen "fa**ots" and "ni**ers" and putting crosshairs on the offices of elected officials who voted to give them extended healthcare.

Then, just yesterday, the father of a US Soldier finally stood up to the Westboro Baptist Church and it looks like the "God Hates Fags" church will finally get their day in court... The Supreme Court. But wait, it gets better... Bill O'Reilly of Fox News declared that he would give $16,000 to the hate group... just to help out.

Speaking of court appearances, just today the anti-abortion activist who shot a doctor in church was sentenced to life in prison.

John McCain, now on the campaign trail again, has been clumsily trying to avoid answering any questions as to why he voted for Corporate Rape.

Speaking of rape, apparently The Vatican has sexually abused everyone in the world at some point while the Pope did his best to hide the dirty deeds...

Moving right along, McCain's "naughty librarian" sidekick, Sarah Palin has decided that she would pay for her new reality show on the discovery channel using old kickbacks from Alaskan state money that she installed before she quit her job as Governor there.

And finally, RNC Chair Michael Steele has joined the ranks of hypocritical Republicans with naughty sexy things going on, using tax payer money in an effort to "seduce donations".

Have you ever seen those videos of animals still running around after their heads have been chopped off, simply because they don't understand that they're already dead?

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Genesis of the "Tea Party Patriots"

The Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks are the two main "think tanks" associated with protesting healthcare reform. The differences between them are as follows:

Heritage Foundation is much larger and ingrained in US Government and Media than FreedomWorks. They specialize in media manipulation and dissemination of propaganda but they also help to organize protests and faux townhall-style activism.

FreedomWorks has more control over the actual protesters and activists than Heritage Foundation does because they specialize in rallies, robo-calls and ground-level training.

Read more on the Heritage Foundation here and here and especially here.

Another anti-healthcare reform advocacy group that works closely with the Heritage Foundation and in much the same manner is FreedomWorks which you can read about here and here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lady GaGa will Not Save You from the Religious Right

In October of 2009, Stephanie Germanotta (better known by her stage name - Lady GaGa) stood at a podium in front of our nation’s capitol and vowed that she would "refuse to accept any homophobic or misogynistic actions in the music industry". For this largely vague and unenforceable promise, she recieved standing ovation and cheering from more than 200,000 people at a rally that was supposed to be focused on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act. To make matters worse, she broke that little promise a few months later by standing idly by as Adam Lambert was castigated and censored for his performance on the American Music Awards. She went on to do business as usual with Dick Clark Productions and ABC as they cancelled Adam's appearances and edited a "gay kiss" out of his performance, all the while keeping his simulated oral sex and other raunchy bits intact.

This solemn oath on her part was given at the National Equality March. There were, as I figure it (from my perch to the left of the capitol steps), 3 types of people who came together for that event. The first type of people were a small collection of rag-tag activists (such as myself) who were frustrated that gay rights were being put on the back burner once again, despite our efforts to get Obama into office and our constant campaigning for socially liberal candidates and causes. The next, slightly larger, group of people who were in attendance were the garden variety "MoveOn" Democrats who are motivated by their support of astroturf human rights campaigns and other sorts of organizational shuffleboarding. But the largest group of people who attended the National Equality March was Lady GaGa's "little monsters" as she likes to call them.

Who are these "little monsters" and what do they mean to a political movement?

Statistically speaking, they are gay boys between the ages of 16 and 25 who have a lot of expendable income in the form of allowance money from their parents. Their hobbies include Lady GaGa, Lady GaGa and Lady GaGa. They range from slightly materialistic to downright vapid and their political prowess is best expressed in their capacity to choose Fox's next American Idol via their iPhones.

Do you think I'm being harsh? Talk to them.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't hate this diva or her fans. But at the end of the day, she's a distraction from what's really important. Therefore, I would suggest that gay men leave her to be a distraction for the right-wingers as opposed to themselves. Take that $50 you would spend on her show and instead, spend it on condoms and a nice wallet to hold your new voters registration card. Instead of downloading her latest MP3, download a podcast of NPR's Teri Gross interviewing Jeff Sharlet about the Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. Educate yourself. Motivate yourself... and as Madonna once said, "Express yourself".

As a product of Reagan/Clinton era politics, I saw Madonna Rock The Vote but then subsequently, I saw her become a parody of herself. This always happens to pop stars who venture into politics and GaGa will be no exception. This we know because she has already done everything she can to mimic Madonna's shtick.

There is an important distinction to be made also between Madonna and GaGa... Madonna's loyal and dedicated gay following was largely an accidental byproduct of what she aimed for. It was Madonna's honesty and fierce advocacy of her personal beliefs that inspired gay men to draw to her like moths to the flame. But with GaGa, it's manufactured. There are marketing techniques in place to re-create the Madonna effect but she has not walked through the fire or done anything that landed her in jail or caused international controversy.

GaGa has got Madonna's bag down to a science but we already have a Madonna (and a Sean Penn) and these celebrities, as much as they care, have yet to pass any legislation in our favor. We just have too many cheerleaders and not enough linebackers in the gay community.

If we are going to achieve long-lasting and meaningful equality in American society, we're going to need more than a good poker face. We need to know, for starters, the three branches of American government and the differences between them. We need to know how to stage a successful protest and how to determine what we should get all up in arms about and what we shouldn't. Furthermore, we need to know who our enemies are before we go to battle. A serious overhaul in our psychology is in order. For instance, in Florida, why do we stand around clapping for silly little half-measures like anti-bullying legislation when we are the only state in the USA that outlaws gay adoptions and civil unions?

Our Gay Agenda as per YouTube:
The Proposition 8 trial - 1,986 views
Lady GaGa's Bad Romance Video - 134,209,139 views
(Is she really Sixty Eight Thousand Times more important than our civil rights?)

I'm aware that these gay kids get their feelings hurt so easily when you attack their idols, but that's exactly the point. Your feelings should be hurt by what the religious right is doing to our country and to you personally. Lady GaGa can defend herself... but she doesn't even know who you are. She'll never really have your back because she's too busy doing commercials for Wal-Mart and re-making "Truth or Dare".

Now, before you start flaming me in the comments section, I want you to consider this question:

Who would you rather idolize? Someone who wears Halloween costumes and sings about not being able to find her keys when she's drunk? Or a gay black socialist who organized 500,000 people in one of the most important civil rights movements in American history and stayed devoted to his life partner until the day he died?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No Meaning Behind 'NoH8' Appearance

No Meaning Behind NoH8 Appearance
Republicans Use McCain Family As Distraction
This Viewpoint Column was published on February 11,2010 in The Florida Agenda Newspaper

When Cindy McCain, the wife of Senator John McCain, recently participated in the highly publicized photo shoot for the “NoH8” campaign against California's Proposition 8, I was so proud of her. I emblazoned my Facebook page with Mrs. McCain's glamourous photo and hailed her as the "true Maverick" in their family, for supporting the leglization of gay marriage.

Then, just a week later, her husband reversed his position on the controversial Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. He was previously for repealing the antiquated anti-gay military policy, but now he's suddenly and voraciously supportive of keeping it in place.

Their daughter, Meghan McCain (who also supports gay marriage and repealing DADT) recently appeared as a guest on “The View.” I was hopeful that the mystery of John McCain's flip-floppy opinions would finally be put to rest. Quite the opposite—now I fear that little Meghan might have put herself in the precarious position of having to defend the politically indefensible: her father.

Cindy McCain had been an unfortunate target of mine when I was campaigning for Barack Obama in '08. The Obama campaign officials urged those of us at ground level to "avoid attacks on family members" and to "run a clean campaign." We obviously didn't listen. It was just too easy to point out the hypocrisy of McCain/Palin "family values" when it came to subjects like pill-popping (Cindy was addicted to prescription painkillers) and teen pregnancy (Sarah’s teenage daughter had a baby). But when Cindy McCain boldly posed for the “NOH8” campaign and announced her support of overturning Proposition 8, I hoped for an opportunity to give the gal a pat on the back and say "job well done... I really like you, Cindy!" But the fact of the matter is Cindy McCain, and her camera-friendly daughter Meghan, are just a distraction from what's really happening on Capitol Hill.

John McCain is the one who gets to vote on our rights, regardless of petty things like his family's opinion (and for that matter, the opinion of 74% of the military). The McCain women are being trotted out by the Republican party to present a more moderate image, separate from the Tea Party movement. Repubicans know Sarah Palin and her angry extremist views are bad for the party; so in an attempt to separate from Palin, Republican officials created various media campaigns around Meghan and Cindy McCain to make the Republicans appear more mainstream.

These “mainstream McCain campaigns” paint a false picture of the Republicans’ true motives. In reality, gay marriage in California is being handled by the Supreme Court, and the McCains have very little influence on that, if any at all. So Cindy and Meghan’s support of the issue is merely a token gesture. The real issue involving the McCain family is only DADT, and only one member of their family has a stake in that: John. And on that issue, John is sticking to the traditional Republican party policy of discriminating against the gays. So much for progress.

Enter young Meghan McCain, on the ever-popular women's perspective show “The View.” Does she have a perspective on her mother's recent pro-gay advocacy?

Meghan McCain: "I almost started crying during the photo shoot,
I've never been more proud of my mom. She's um... very... she doesn't like to rock the boat and I'm very proud of her for taking a stand."

Ok, very good. But John McCain is not a Supreme Court judge in California, so let’s move on. Does she have an opinion on her father's support of keeping DADT in place?

Meghan McCain: "My personal take on it is that my father
thought it was Admiral Mullen's personal account [that gays should be allowed to join] and my father wants more of a military research kind of thing to present to the Senate, and obviously I disagree with my father but it's a complicated issue [...] but let's look at the current President who made a lot of promises to the gay community in the last election that he hasn't necessarily fulfilled... so let's not just look at my father because it's not just him in this case."

FAIL. Sorry, Meghan, but your father has a vote on this issue, and Barack Obama does not. DADT must be repealed in the Senate, because that is where it was birthed... and John McCain was certainly one of the Senators who made it happen in the first place.

If Meghan McCain cannot understand the basic legislative process that her father is a part of, then perhaps she should not offer an opinion.

So basically, what we have here is a family of Republicans who pretend to be strong advocates for only the issues which they have no control over, but hide behind the party on the issues where they get to vote.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Supreme Court Ruling on Contributions is Outrageous

This opinion by Jarrett Terrill appeared in the The Florida Agenda newspaper on February 4, 2010.

On January 21, The Supreme Court of the United States did something unthinkable. (Well, at least the 5 who had been appointed by one of the Bush's did...) They overturned campaign finance laws in a decision known as "Citizens United V. Federal Elections Commission".

When a Supreme Court decision is reached, it sets a precedent, which becomes "the law" as we know it. The plaintiffs in this case, Citizens United, were a rag-tag group of Republican propaganda artists who wanted to make a negative documentary about Hillary Clinton and play it on TV before the primary election in 2008. They said the US Government had denied them their "freedom of speech" by not allowing their corporation to fund their smear film without forming a political action committee, known as a PAC.

PACs are necessary to fund campaign ads because they ensure that only those members of a corporation who wish to donate will do so and that the general funds of a corporation or publicly traded company are not used against the wishes of the stockholders, employees or union members. Citizens United wanted to fund the film and its broadcast out of pocket, ignoring maximum donations allowed to a political campaign.

Here's what's wrong with the way the Supreme Court handled this case:

Citizens United was not even trying to overturn campaign finance laws, they were only trying to claim that the laws did not apply to their propaganda film which they were referring to as a "documentary" instead of a campaign ad. This means that the conservative members of the Supreme Court used the case of Citizens United as a catalyst to legislate campaign financing from the bench, which is not in the enumerated powers of the judicial branch of government.

Secondly, the ruling and opinions of the conservative justices who blatantly thumbed their noses at the Constitution did not even match up with the subject at hand. For instance, Clarence Thomas gave a lengthy opinion in which was arguing for the rights of anti-gay marriage petitioners to to sheild their names from public record in order to avoid social outcasting and retribution. The transparency of state legislative initiatives has nothing to do with campaign finance laws at all, and Clarence Thomas clearly has no business sitting on the Supreme Court of the USA if he is unable to tell the difference.

Thirdly, the case is not a "freedom of speech" issue, as the conservative justices claim. The First Amendment only applies to citizens of the United States; corporations are not people. By allowing a corporation the right of unlimited campaign financing and not placing the limits of maximum allowed donations on the corporation, the Supremes are trying to ensure that Blackwater, Halliburton, Wal-Mart and MSNBC can stock all 3 branches of Government with their own appointees because independently funded persons cannot afford to compete in terms of campaign spending.

But at last, the most disturbing and glaringly obvious problem with this new law that the Supreme Court has audaciously written from the Bench is that it allows foreigners to have more influence over the candidates who run for office in America than her own citizens do. Because the largest, wealthiest corporations are multi-national conglomerates, the Supreme Court is trying to ensure that China, India, Iran and Saudi Arabia all get a vote in our government.

This Supreme Court decision goes against the very concept of Democracy, against the Constitution and obliterates any chances of an elected official being a voice for anyone except the corporation which hired them.

Monday, February 1, 2010


The trouble with these really big boats is that to make them profitable a lot of attention has to be paid to the passenger class that can really pay. After all, it’s all about business.

In order to make First Class comfortable, for instance, a good number of life boats, were not installed on the Titanic. This was to give the passengers at that level more room.
Having not foreseen a difficulty with that omission- until this rather awkward and unexpected disaster, some scrambling to right the situation is being made.

Having hastened to take care of the obviously important issues, we watched from the lilting deck as the first life boat- a motorized launch, was lowered into the choppy sea.
It was rumored that the chairman of Goldman Sachs and his family were on board; the plan was to quickly get them in motion so that they could rally outside support in the world and, ostensibly, save the rest of the passengers- who faced with the small number of life boats aboard, were facing a rather dire evening ahead.
The orchestra had come onto the deck and was doing it’s best to sooth the classes below First. Their “tip jar“ was rather low, just now; Maestro Pelosi was cranking out the 110th Overture in a vain attempt to offer a distraction. (A rather old dowager just swept by w/ two furs- one presumably for her legs should they get wet when she gets into her launch.)

The ship’s management was able to provide some comfort to those in Third Class and Steerage, in addition to giving them some music.

Hot tea and pastries are being passed around First class while passengers wait for the plan to unfold for lowering the boats, to remove them from this most uncomfortable situation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hillary to Museveni: You Need To Settle Down!

In all the buzz about the Uganda's anti-homosexuality genocide bill, some interesting American political connections surfaced. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow brought our attention to James Inhoffe, a GOP Senator, and Pastor Rick Warren who had both been traveling to Uganda and frequently advising Ugandan leaders on the subjects of HIV, Homosexuality and Birth Control.

Harper's magazine and
NPR turned their attention to "The Family" - a clandestine group of government and business leaders who gather in secrecy and have some very strange views on Jesus and capitalism. Two of the people mentioned in connection with "The Family" who are most relevant to the situation in Uganda were the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni and US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. According to most sources, Museveni is a known member of "The Family" while Clinton was merely a close friend to the group's leader, Douglas Coe.

Museveni is mostly described as favoring the anti-gay genocide bill and is widely distrusted among human rights activists who disagree with his handling of the Lord's Resistance Army by supposedly mimicking their grotesque human rights abuses which included mutilation, torture, murder and rape. Another blemish on Museveni's record is his fondness of "storing" victimized people in what amounts to concentration camps.

When the
controversy over the deadly bill reached its boiling point in the blogosphere, people began speculating as to whether or not "The Family" was using Uganda as testing grounds for a new holocaust and if that was the case, whether or not Clinton was implicated. Speculation is all that comes from these discussions, since the group is, by nature, secretive.

On World AIDS Day, Clinton affirmed that “We have to stand against any efforts to marginalize and criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT community worldwide. It is an unacceptable step backwards on behalf of human rights.” That statement, however, was too general to be applied specifically to Uganda. Nevertheless, Clinton did eventually respond to the Uganda controversy directly, albeit in a cryptic way by saying that she and the Obama administration have addressed the problem to Uganda's leaders in both "direct ways and indirect ways" and that she viewed the pending legislation to be a "potential" threat to Human Rights.

But Hillary Clinton must be a woman of her word, because Museveni has now affirmed to the Ugandan Parlaiment that "foreign policy issues" are at stake and the parlaiment must "slow down" on their legislative persecution of homosexuals. According to the Global Post, Museveni confessed that he had been urged against the bill by Hillary Clinton (USA) and Gordon Brown (UK).

So, it seems that if Hillary Clinton does indeed have any connection to "The Family" she is putting it to good use at effective diplomacy. But lest you think she's merely catching flies with honey in Uganda, let me remind you who Yoweri Museveni is dealing with:

Raw Hillary Power Unleashed

As per usual, one nation has gone much further toward protecting human rights in Uganda than the United States has, and that would be Sweden.
Sweden directly and publicly threatened to cut off all aid to Uganda if the bill becomes law. President Obama could withhold PEPFAR funding from Uganda under the same conditions but a smarter approach might be to first restrict Uganda from using the funds for anything except direct medical care. As of right now, the loosely regulated millions go toward everything from infrastructure and religious education to law enforcement.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Seven False Gods of the Right Wing

7. Nationalism - Throughout history, Nationalism has usually been the driving motivator for war, fascism and all sorts of other reactionary misdeeds. Nationalism is a hyper-idealized view of one's country in which the nationalist ascribes their own sense of morality to the foundation of the entire nation. Usually dressing itself as ordinary patriotism, Nationalism is far more feverish and irrational than simply being a fan of the government. It is the result of mass propaganda, fear and an erasure of the lines that usually separate business, media, religion and government.

6. Charity - It has been said that Republicans give more to "charity" than Democrats do and I'm inclined to believe it. In fact, our charitable donation system in America seems specifically designed for the purpose of justifying that statement. The fact is, things get much worse when you indiscriminately throw money at your television screen. Religious charitable funds are some of the biggest and most unregulated industries in the world and many of them do as much harm as good. Mormon adoptions of underprivileged children from over seas are largely a justified version of human trafficking< and just recently, CBN (the Christian Broadcasting Network) told their donors that Haiti had caused its own earthquake destruction by signing a pact with the Devil. The network drew in millions of dollars in one week and much of that funding will go toward furthering their own presence and infrastructure in the small, underprivileged nation. Very little (if any) of the donations will actually help the people of Haiti.

5. Racialism - Racialism is the thought process that skirts around racism and disguises itself as harmless observation of racial differences. The most important thing to understand about racialism is that even when the racialist appears to be only pointing out racism in others, they are obsessed with it. Their first instinct is always to discuss race. Their hypersensitivity and bizarre misunderstandings generally give them away as outright racists in the end. A classic example of this was when a young John McCain campaigner named Ashley Todd cooked up false accusations about a ficticious black male Obama campaign worker who supposedly assaulted her by cutting a letter "B" into her face. The story was immediately picked up by Fox News and celebrated within Republican ranks as a sure-fire win for McCain in the 2008 election. The idea was that voters would react in a racist manner by associating Miss Todd's "attacker" with the skin tone and gender of Barack Obama. So while Miss Todd could simply indicate that the man who "savagely" attacked her was black, that unto itself would not be perceived as racist... except for the fact that she made it all up.

4. Public Opinion - Republicans and Conservatives are married to the idea that a majority of Americans agree with them. They love to indicate polls and percentages of "true Americans" who think exactly as they do. Truthfully, the general public can manipulated to believe just about anything. Certain people in the media have developed an intimate understanding of how propaganda can be used to create the illusion that mob rule is the law in America. The most glaring example of this is CNN's Nancy Grace. Nancy Grace runs a gossip show on CNN where she focuses on muders, rapes and abductions. She leads her viewers down a path of mob rule in which they feel as though they can investigate these matters from the comfort of their living rooms. The problem with Nancy Grace's style of entertainment is that her viewers rarely suspect that her show is simply entertainment. Nancy Grace fans feel as though they are actually doing the work of judge, jury and executioner and they hand down a guilty verdict every single time. The result of an actual trial matters very little to these people. It is the court of public opinion that they aim to try cases in. It's basically a mass-media form of public flogging and shunning without a trial, evidence or proof. Guilty until proven innocent, every single time.

3. Oil - One of the most shocking revelations of the 2008 election season was when video was leaked on to YouTube of Alaska's then-governor leading her hometown in prayer for a gas pipeline. To many right-wingers, there was nothing wrong with this scene and it all seemed quite normal to them. They even chanted "drill baby drill" as a campaign slogan of sorts. What resulted was a shockwave in the larger community of educated persons - the sudden realization that Republicans had created a new religion in which God & Oil had been merged into one holy concept. This also includes, of course, Global Warming Denialism and a celebration of private ownership over natural resources. Incidentally, that brings us to the 2nd False God of the Right Wing...

2. The Corporation - What can be said for a situation where Republican traders at an energy company laugh at elderly Bush voters and say they can go fuck themselves because their electricity has inexplicably gone out but the company got what it wanted? Well, this is exactly the situation shown with shocking clarity in the documentary calledEnron: The Smartest Guys in The Room. Republicans used to openly argue for what's called "deregulation" - a process of removing government restraints and safety nets on corporations. These days, they disguise deregulation as Independent Regulation which is not really regulation at all. To put it in simpler terms - they appoint the fox to guard the henhouse. Another interesting Republican tool is to disguise large multi-national conglomerates in terms that sound less severe, making the public think that they are protecting "small businesses" and somehow deregulating in favor of Ma & Pa shops in the American countryside. Nothing could be further from the truth.

1. Sexual Purity - This is the number 1 false God of the Right Wing because it is the most powerful. Everywhere you go in America, you are met with people who confuse virginity with innocence and religion with heterosexism. But there are contradictions to be found in this view of reality. For instance, Salt Lake City Utah, the epicenter of Mormonism, is the capitol of online pornography consumerism in the United States. Furthermore, those who protest sexual impurity the loudest are invariably caught with their pants down at any given moment. Two of the most devastating examples can be found in the cases of Ted Haggard (the disgraced President of the National Association of Evangelicals) and Carrie Prejean (the disgraced leader of the "opposite marriage" movement). But the real reason that Sexual Purity is number 1 on the list is because the consequences of worshiping this false god are the most deadly. In recent news, the Republic of Uganda has decided to implement the death penalty for persons who are charged with what they call "aggravated homosexuality" and prison sentences for anyone who refuses to testify against the behavior.

As a Buddhist myself, I cannot tell you which God to follow. I have no desire to influence your religious or spiritual life other than to indicate what I know does NOT work. The Seven False Gods of the Right Wing have shown themselves to be nothing more than snake oil and should be viewed with heightened skepticism in America. Namaste.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Bizarre Self-Abusing Psyche of Michael Steele

In this photo: Michael Steele strikes his best The Mainstream Media was all a flux with the latest diversion from the Proposition 8 trial at the beginning of this week: Another non-scandal dreamt up by Karl Rove - The Harry Reid talking point.
The GOP had hoped that it would turn into something big enough that they could call "Negro-gate".

Alas, as usual with the Republican Party, it blew up in their faces when Michael Steele was interviewed by Face To Face with John Ralston. Steele did his best to perpetuate the latest accusation against the Democratic Party but what resulted was a stunning revelation that Steele himself is an anti-black racist who just happens to be black. Furthermore, he seems to hold a significant amount of jealousy against the President for a perceived ability to "pass" as white.

Many liberals have regarded Steele's entire chairmanship to be a desperate attempt by the Republican Party to prove a lack of racism within their ranks. Although history and commentary illustrates otherwise, Steele's participation in the GOP must still at least represent some modicum of acceptance, right?

Let's go straight to the interview:

Ralston: "You didn't think Trent Lott should step down for his remarks? You think he used a poor choice of words? But you think Harry Reid should step down?"

Steele: "Yes. When THEY [The Democrats] get caught, it's a quick apology, everyone pats eachother on the back, they roll out a few African Americans to defend them,and everything's good. But if a Republican says something like Trent Lott, he's gotta be drummed out of office [...]
I know Trent Lott, I don't know Harry Reid.
I don't think anybody in leadership in 2010 should refer to an African American as "light-skinned" and with a "negro" dialect that they can turn off and on."

Ralston: But isn't what Lott said [in 2002] that essentially if Strom Thurmond, who ran on a segregationist agenda, had been elected President that this country would be better off?

Steele: "I don't know what would have happened in 1948 but [Lott and Senate Republicans] were at a Birthday Party and the leader of the Senate was only saying nice things about the honoree [Strom Thurmond]. And all they do in Washington is pat eachother on the back and give eachother nice platitudes. [Lott] just got caught between his happy talk and the reality. So, I think [Democrats] are absolutely being hypocritical because this isn't 1948 or 2005. This is a different mindset and a different time. You have an African American running for President and all you can say about him is that he's light-skinned... You know, in the context that he could pass. You know... that's what [Reid] is really saying, he could pass..."

Now, as any gay person can tell you, there is always a small segment of any minority who tries to "play it straight" and identify themselves with the majority while ignoring their own minority status. In the gay world, we call this "being in the closet". In the black world, it's called "being an Uncle Tom". What Steele is doing here falls so far beyond the pale (excuse my pun) that he actually becomes racist against his own race.

Let's review:

Steele: The Democrats "roll out a few African Americans" to defend themselves.
(So he thinks that blacks cannot decide for themselves what to say or whom to defend.)

Steele: But when someone "says something like Trent Lott", they have to be drummed out of office. (So he thinks Segregation is defensible and that Trent Lott's comment was just fine.)

Steele: "This isn't 1948 or 2005" - it's a "different time".
(So 1948 and 2005 are in the same era as far as Steele is concerned, time moves much slower for him. And the age of a black President represents a drastically different era in his world.)

Steele: "I don't think anybody should say that he's light-skinned", "All you can say about him is that he's Light-Skinned."
(So the operative phrase that bothers Steele so much here is not the word "Negro" but rather "light-skinned". Evidently, Steele doesn't remember that our President is half white and chooses to focus only on the tone of his skin. It really bothers him. He's jealous.)

Steele: "You know... He could pass."
(This is the final analysis. Barack Obama (in Steele's view) could pass as white. According to Steele's messed up mindset, it's all about fitting in with white people. Steele believes that Obama has an edge in this strange competition that he's imagined. He feels robbed. After all, if you are willing to (as a black man) chair the Republican Party and defend segregation, that must count for something, right?)