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Bill Maher nails it:

People talk a lot about third political party in America. We don’t need a third party, we need a first party. You go to the polls, and your choices are the guy who voted for the first Wall Street bailout or the guy who voted for the next ten. This week we’re hearing that a public option for healthcare is unlikely, because it doesn’t have the support of enough Democrats. Even Ted Kennedy’s plan — Ted Kennedy, yeah — leaves 37 million uninsured. This is because we don’t have a left and a right party in this country anymore; we have a center-right party and a crazy party. And over the last thirty-odd years Democrats have moved to the right and the right has moved into a mental hospital.

So what we have is one perfectly good party for hedge fund managers, credit card companies, banks, defense contractors, big agriculture, and the pharmaceutical lobby. That’s the Democrats. And they sit across the aisle from a small group of religious lunatics, flat-earthers, and Civil War re-enactors, who mostly communicate by AM radio and call themselves the Republicans, and who actually worry that Obama is a socialist.

Socialist? He’s not even a liberal. I know he’s not, because he’s on TV and while I see Democrats on television, I don’t see actual liberals. And if occasionally you do get to hear Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky or Dennis Kucinich, they’re treated like buffoons. Okay, these are not three of the world’s most charismatic men, but then, nobody’s going to confuse Newt Gingrich for Zac Efron, and I have to look at his fat face on TV more often than that Free Credit Report song.

Shouldn’t there be one party that unambiguously supports cutting the military budget? A party that is straight-up in favor of gun control, gay marriage, higher taxes on the rich, universal healthcare, legalizing pot, and steep direct taxing of polluters? These aren’t radical ideas. A majority of Americans are either already for them, or would be if they were properly argued and defended. And what we need is an actual progressive party to represent the millions of Americans who aren’t being served by the Democrats. Because bottom line: Democrats are the new Republicans.

In response to LGBT outrage over the Obama administration’s fierce advocacy of DOMA, Barney Frank issued a statement yesterday defending the administration.

Now that I have read the brief, I believe that the administration made a conscientious and largely successful effort to avoid inappropriate rhetoric. …

It was my position in that conversation with the reporter that the administration had no choice but to defend the constitutionality of the law. I think it is unwise for liberals like myself, who were consistently critical of President Bush’s refusal to abide by the law in cases where he disagreed with it to now object when President Obama refuses to follow the Bush example. …

… after rereading this brief, I do not think that the Obama administration should be subject to harsh criticism in this instance.

If you had any doubt that Barney was a party hack first and a civil rights advocate second last, you might be disappointed. Barney is upset that his big fundraising gala, featuring an appearance by Joe Biden (who voted for DOMA) is under fire. Barney would like all the queers out there to sit down, shut up, and sign a few checks. Your civil rights can wait. Barney wants your money.

The Obama administration says it will take action on LGBT equality eventually, probably, they guess. They’re thinking some time before 2016 they might have some time for that. I’m thinking that any gay, bi, or trans citizen who gives the Democrats another nickel is a damned fool.

Barney doesn’t speak for our community. Barney speaks for his party. Barney’s party has made it clear that it doesn’t give a tinker’s dam about LGBT equality.

Note to Barney: Thanks, but no thanks. We’ll speak for ourselves.

8 years.

8 years summed up in a single picture.

Barack Obama has chosen Rick Warren — a noted Evangelical preacher who has compared gay relationships to pedophilia and has been an outspoken opponent of equality for LGBTs — to give the invocation at his inauguration. Just in case you had any doubt about where the Obama administration is heading.

Obama's Big Bus

I think I’m done being a patsy for politicians. It’s time for LGBTs to quit voting for people who don’t support full legal equality for LGBTs, or who don’t match their actions to their words.

We need to quit sending them our money, quit putting up signs, quit making phone calls, quit attending fundraisers, quit putting bumper stickers on our vehicles, and above all, quit voting for the sons of bitches.

I’m not talking about Republicans.

It seems that New York Governor David Paterson and his party have conspired to do absolutely nothing about marriage equality. (Source.)

During the recent election, the Indiana Democratic State Committee paid for an anti-gay flier that was distributed by an anti-gay Democratic candidate. (Source.)

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both opposed marriage equality. Barack isn’t even in office yet, and his supporters are already making excuses for what they expect to be his lack of action on equal rights.

Starting now, I don’t support any politician who doesn’t work for full equality.

Barack Obama doesn’t support same-sex marriage? Fuck him.

Barney Frank wants to sacrifice transfolk to advance lesbian and gay rights? Fuck him, too.

The Human Rights Campaign supports a non-inclusive version of ENDA? Fuck them above all.

I don’t know why it took me so long to get it. For years now, I’ve been deriding people who say they’re working to change their homophobic churches from within. I should have seen this years ago.

If we think we’re going to change the system from within, we’re wrong. Any politician, even a gay politician, will screw over his supporters to protect his own position, and voters everywhere — our parents, our siblings, our co-workers, our friends — have shown that they will always vote to deprive us of our rights. We are tolerated but not accepted. Remember that.

If we want equal rights, politics is not the way to get there from here. I’ll still support a politician who really works for equality, but I’m not going to invest any energy in those who don’t, or those who equivocate.

I don’t think the Democrats can win without us. If we withdraw our support, they lose. That also means, by the way, that the Democratic Black and Latin Christians who hate queers lose, too. Up till now, they’ve been getting our support for free, then spitting on us every chance they get. That needs to end now. Right now. Support full legal equality for LGBTs, or we walk. Period.

“But … but … but … Then the Republicans will win!”

So what? Let them win. If the Democrats can’t move to advance equality, let the goddamned Republicans win every election in the United States. Let them drag this country down into their whirlpool of insanity. It’s a country that hates us, a country that is doggedly committed to excluding us from equality, so let them have it. If the Democrats don’t like that, they can always change it by getting serious about equal rights.

If our community could find the strength of conviction to take that position, I think we could have full equality in six years. Without that strength of conviction, we will all surely live and die as second-class citizens.

Whether we win or lose, though, let’s try a little honesty. Let’s try a little accountability, and not just for the Mormons and the Catholics and all the other low-life religious freaks who think it’s God’s will for them to kick us in the teeth. Let’s try some accountability for our so-called friends. For our “friends” above all.

Doing unto others.

In the aftermath of our stunning defeat at the hands of religious bigots, Tom Ackerman has come up with an interesting proposal: Don’t recognize their marriages either. Ackerman says:

Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend.

She says, correcting me, “He’s my husband,”
“Oh,” I say, “I no longer recognize marriage.”

The impact is obvious. I tried it on a man who has been in a relationship for years,

“How’s your longtime companion, Jill?”
“She’s my wife!”
“Yeah, well, my beliefs don’t recognize marriage.”

Fun. And instant, eyebrow-raising recognition. Suddenly the majority gets to feel what the minority feels. In a moment they feel what it’s like to have their relationship downgraded, and to have a much taken-for-granted right called into question because of another’s beliefs.

I read the piece to John, and we liked it. We talked enthusiastically about putting it into practice.

We also talked about boycotting hetero weddings. “I’m not going to any more weddings in states without equal rights,” I said. John agreed.

One thing about that, though: No matter how sarcastic we are, no matter how strident we are in making our point, the bottom line is that they’re still the first-class citizens and we’re still the second-class citizens. They still have rights and we still don’t. It might be a way of making a point, and I haven’t ruled anything out, but I have my doubts about the enlightenment of bigots. I don’t think We’re people, too, you know is the kind of point we ought to have to make. It seems degrading to have to point that out.

So. I visited my parents last night. If you’re just tuning in, my parents are right-wing Christian Evangelicals, lifelong Republicans who have been drawn more and more deeply over the years into the most extreme wing of that party. Whenever I go to their house, Fox News is on the television — even though they consider Fox News “too liberal.” There are a lot of things my parents and I just can’t talk about. Apparently, my marriage is going to be one of them. I didn’t even get to the wedding; I started with what we’re going to do about our names.

“So what are you going to do?” asked my dad. “One of you puts on a suit and the other one puts on a dress and then you prance down the aisle together?”

I resisted the impulse to tell my father to kiss my ass. I resisted the impulse to insult him, or his marriage, back.

“I’m sorry you’re disappointed about having a gay son,” I said. “But making insulting remarks isn’t going to change that.”

I stayed longer than I intended, but when I left he was still pissed off. So was I, frankly. So what do I do? Denigrate my parents’ marriage? Boycott their 50th anniversary next year?

Meanwhile, John’s nephew is getting married this month. He’s a fine young man, and his fiancée is a lovely young woman.

He was crushed when a medical problem prevented him from shipping out to Iraq with his unit. “We’re supposed to be in this together. I’m supposed to be with them, and I’m not,” he told me. It wasn’t that he wanted to go to Iraq; it wasn’t support for the war or even patriotism that made him feel so disconsolate. It was a sense of brotherhood and mutual responsibility. I don’t have to approve of this war, or any war, to respect that.

His fiancée voted for Obama and is an outspoken critic of racism. That might not sound so brave in the 21st century, but bear in mind that this is the most Republican county in South Carolina. Racism is still socially acceptable here; it’s almost expected here.

John let me make the call. Are we serious about boycotting straight weddings? Are we going or not?

Yeah, we’re going. Of course we’re going.

I resent Christianity, and Christians, for the unrelenting campaign of bigotry, hate, discrimination and lies. I don’t fucking appreciate it all. I’d like to let them know how it feels.

But I don’t think most of them are ever going to get it. Invincible ignorance isn’t just a Christian doctrine, it’s a Christian goal, and one of the rare ideals they’re pretty successful in achieving. Most Christians are never going to see their way clear to doing unto others as they would done by — not when it comes to queers. Not in my lifetime. Fine.

Don’t get me wrong: I plan to keep of criticizing Abrahamic religion and all its ignorance, bigotry, stupidity and hate. I haven’t resolved to shut up.

But when it really comes down to it, we just don’t have it in us to do unto the Christians as they do unto us.

I have three computers; one of them runs a Linux OS, and two run a Windows OS — one runs Windows 98 and the other runs Windows XP. I don’t update Windows distributions. Whatever version of Windows comes on a computer is the version that computer will be wearing when it dies. I hate Windows. I hate Microsoft. I don’t want any more Windows.

My little computer with the Linux OS is working out great. I have a Linux genealogy program that I like better than the Windows program I’ve been using for years. I’m trying to figure out how I can buy my next computer without Windows software installed, and without having to spend a lot of money or do a lot of work-arounds. I’m cheap and lazy.

Meanwhile, if you’re used to Windows, Linux seems hard. I have to look things up; I’m having to learn about computers again. I’m not interested in computers as such. A computer is just a useful tool. Since I’ve been with John, I’ve quit doing anything about computers. I don’t even resolve my own printer errors anymore. When there’s a problem, I tell John. It’s not that I can’t do it; I used to do it. It just didn’t capture my imagination. It was a chore. John loves it. John loves computers as machines, and computer science as a discipline. He loves computers the way I love history and genealogy.

The problem is, I haven’t converted him to Linux. He’s still a Windows guy. So when I have a Linux problem, I have to figure it out for myself.

Or I go to a Linux forum, where the Linux users give you helpful advice that sounds (to me) kind of like, “You just need to jidoao the acushu. Go into auspah and run musfat. Simple.” The problem isn’t that the experienced users aren’t willing to help; the problem is that in the City of Linux I’m not just a country cousin, I’m an unlettered stone-age tribesman. I just don’t have the background to communicate, or to understand.

I don’t like that. I find it frustrating. But slowly, I’m starting to get it. Slowly, I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t ask me any questions about Linux — not now, and not for a long time to come. I still know next to nothing. But now I know I can do this.

With all that in mind, I find this article very pertinent: How Windows Users are Changing Linux and What We Should Do About It.

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