solarbird: (widow)
1. What did you do in 2018 that you'd never done before?

Wrote a bunch of novels.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't really do that. I might this year for a change, and that's "be better at studying French."

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not really, but a former abuser did die, and I was entirely happy about it.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just the US and Canada.

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

Possible things only, I suppose... um... that leaves out a sane government... hm.

More musical inspiration, I think. And motivation.

7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The whole fucking year, or should I say the decade it took, or the year. Holy shit.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

On my own: The Armourer and the Living Weapon. I mean, it got fan art. That was new.

As one of many snowflakes in the avalanche: your new Democratic representative from the 8th District of Washington State, Kim Schrier.

I'm also fairly pleased with the amount of old stuff I ditched. More to do on that in 2019.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not yet diamond in comp. Or plat, for that matter.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Eh, I got the flu. Or just a bad cold. Not sure which.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Probably the GT1030 silent (fanless) graphics card, or possibly the monitors I'm using with that card. Honourable mention to the giant utensil storage tray I bought. Sure, laugh, but I'm telling you, a well-organised drawer makes for a much happier kitchen.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

George, our cat.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Every Republican who didn't resign and/or actively, publicly fight the neofascist white supremacist movement. Which means almost (but not quite) every Republican.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Aside from bills, see the Washington State 8th District.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I fixed and/or rebuilt a lot of things. That's always fun. And I wrote and co-wrote some novels.

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?

I can't really think of one. I've been away from music for most of the last two years. I think that's part of the ongoing reaction to the current realities; fiction writing turned on, in a big way; music mostly turned off. But... maybe Mélovin's "Under the Ladder."

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder?

Probably about the same.

ii. thinner or fatter?

Much stronger. Much more muscle. About the same weight, just ... more of it's muscle.

iii. richer or poorer?

About the same.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Anti-fascist rallies/protests/actions. I missed a couple. For reasons, but still.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

It's been overwhelming at times. Can't afford that.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

(Presumably, how did I, in this context.)

I didn't. It's not my holiday. I rather hate Christmas, honestly; I didn't, until the fundamentalists and protofascists at Fox News ginned up the "war on Christmas" horseshit, but years of that made me really hate it. Anna and I did the usual National Jews and Pagans Go To the Movies Day, and saw Ralph Breaks the Internet. It's pretty good. First 20 minutes or so spends too much time re-covering old ground from the first movie - I think because it's been a while - but then the actual film itself is pretty good.

21. Did you fall in love in 2018?


22. How many one night stands?


23. What was your favourite TV programme?

Either the new Doctor Who - isn't it nice to have actual Doctor Who back on television again? - or She-Ra. Seriously, She-Ra is kind of awesome.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Nah, the protofascists and fundamentalists have been trying to kill me my whole life. I'm used to it.

25. What was the best book you read?

Emily Wilson's new translation of The Odyssey. Get it, read it, seriously. Nothing else I read this year is close, though I also quite liked Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, from 1962, which I'd not read before.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Somehow I had missed paying much attention to Florence and the Machine, and thanks to an online friend, I have now addressed that deficiency. Maybe also Sunflower Bean too.

27. What did you want and get?

See above regarding the 1030 and monitors. ^_^

28. What did you want and not get?

I rather want a cheap slider-based mixing board - analogue - with a minimum of six microphone/XLR inputs, for some experiments for, like, $40 or $50. I'd fix it, of course; I'd probably have to. But I'm okay with that. I've been watching Craigslist et all and have come close a couple of times, but not quite there.

29. What was your favourite film this year?

Honestly, Into the Spider-Verse. Christ that was good.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Sushi dinner, and I legit don't know. I also legit don't know my actual birthday. I use one, but it's questionable. Long story, don't want to tell it.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Two deaths, not just the one.

Maybe three.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

I wore a pair of blue jeans to book club one night and everyone fruck out because "...I didn't even know you owned blue jeans." So, apparently, somewhat sharper than previous years?

33. What kept you sane?


34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Gail Godot.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Same old same old, for me, honestly.

36. Who did you miss?

Mostly, Genji. Fuck, that squirrelly little ninja can be hard to hit. Unless he's stupid and charges me directly.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

[personal profile] seaborn, who is mostly on tumblr and discord, but has an account here and might see this.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018:


39. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Oh, I hate telephones. Um... probably some repair service, if anything.

40. Quote a song that sums up your year:


41. What was your favourite moment of the year?


Okay, so. Overwatch. Competitive. Defence. Hanamura. Point one. I'm coming back from spawn. Enemy team hits some ult or other as I'm on my way back, kills everyone else on my team, and they've got five players standing, including in her mech.

I hit the point, I pop out of her mech in two shots, and she flees. The other four I take down in six shots, alone, as Widowmaker. When we win, and that bit is playing back as Play of the Game, our Reinhardt, who had been... skeptical... about me being Widowmaker... just kind of breathes, on comms:



(Second place: killing five of six enemy team on offence at Temple of Anubis, taking the point, and waving hello to the rest of my team as they finally show up. That one, I have video.)

42. What was your least favourite moment of the year?

Did you see 2018? Did you see it?

I don't know if it was a 'moment' but fuck, the fires, and the smoke. So bad.

43. Where were you when 2018 started?

Eh, just hanging out at home.

44. Who were you with?

[personal profile] annathepiper and our housemate Paul and friend Jenny. I think that's all.

45. Where will you be when 2018 ends?

Dunno yet? Might go out.

46. Who will you be with when 2018 ends?

Depends upon whether I go out. Not bringing anyone over, Anna's got a cold and we don't need to share it.

47. What was your favourite month of 2018?

Hard to say. Maybe the first charge through what became Of Gods and Monsters. That was pretty amazing.

48. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2018?

Nah. Less than usual, if anything.

49. Did you do a lot of drugs in 2018?

I don't in general. I'm anti-prohibition, but it's really not my thing.

50. What are your plans for 2019?

I think you mean 20biteen, don't you?
solarbird: (fascist sons o bitches)
The Nashville Statement - a new declaration from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a fundamentalist/evangelical working group - is about making anti-LGBT activism a core part of faith. It's explicitly about making anti-LGBT animus a required belief in order to be what they consider Christian.

Article 10 - excuse me, they want to sound all Roman on the website, so "Article X" - is key:

WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.

Now, fundamentalism/evangelism is not like Catholicism, of course, where the Pope says a thing and off y'go. This statement is more like an influential imam issuing a fatwa. It's not legally binding. But it's important to remember that fundamentalism as we know it started with a not-dissimilar declaration of tenants a little over a century ago, and I think it's pretty clear that they had that document in mind.

So - this matters. Not for the week or month or year, but for the longer term. Let's go over the key points.

First, it's about asserting that being queer is being in active opposition to God.

From Article XIII: "WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ sanctions self-conceptions that are at odds with God’s revealed will."

Secondly, it's about removing neutrality - you cannot agree to disagree and still be Christian.

They're declaring that hatred of LGBT people and opposition to the rights of LGBT people is core and key to their faith - that people who disagree with this statement, who are neutral or pro-LGBT rights, are not Christians. At all.

Third, it's about making opposition to the existence of us queers a multi-generational activity.

As they've been losing ground in younger generations, they've been struggling to find a way to continue the fight against us. This is where they've gone - making it part of the religion itself. It is a blueprint showing how they intend to renew their fight against our existence.

Finally, it's about making civil rights a zero-sum game, in explicit, foundational, and existential terms.

They are declaring that laws recognising us, recognising our relationships, recognising who we are, are direct affronts to and attacks on God, and on their religion, and on their right to be Christians. To allow civil rights for queers is to deny them their faith. (See Article XI - they're using the word "speak" there, but they talk with laws, when they can.) This isn't really new? But now it's formalised. It has moved from inchoate politics to cornerstone of faith, and that has weight.

By making anti-queer activism core and critical to their Christianity, they're saying that recognising us is a direct attack on their existence as Christians. They're making our existence antithetical to themselves. They're deciding that this is an existential fight - for them.

This statement is a forthright and deliberate statement of eternal opposition to the existence of me and mine.

This statement is a declaration of total war.
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
The news is a flood. I finished today's and I am already well behind.

Cultural War: "MISSOURI: Republican Lawmaker Declares There’s A “Distinction” Between Human Beings And Gays." Even the locals are "what." And "A New Wave of Bills Takes Aim at Science in the Classroom" - it's not that the are new in terms of what they're trying to do; they're not. But more are getting through.

Political repression: "President calls for criminal investigation of senator who criticized him for firing FBI director (also smear is BS)," "Democracy in Crisis: Inauguration Day Protesters Face Decades in Jail," and "West Virginia journalist arrested for asking HHS Secretary Tom Price a question." This is a terrible trend.

The Russian News Service in the White House, while American news services barred. "Did a Russian Photographer Smuggle a Surveillance Device Into the White House?," "Presence of Russian photographer in Oval Office raises alarms," "Why do none of the Trump-Russia leaks come from Russia?" and "Russia’s Oval Office Victory Dance" tell the story.

Relatedly: "Senate intel panel subpoenas Michael Flynn documents."

The rest is Comey. And there's a lot, and it's all bad. Possibly the worst: "In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred." This really is Trump following Hitler's path, as one of the first things Hitler did as Chancellor was require oaths of personal loyalty from everyone up and down the line. Not entirely dissimilarly: "Comey infuriated Trump with refusal to preview Senate testimony: aides." If true, that means Trump was testing his personal loyalty, and found it wanting.

Two on Rosenstein: "THREAD: The key player here is Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Rosenstein. I spent 5 yrs in the DAG’s office under Obama. Please indulge me." and "Rosenstein takes heat over role in Comey firing."

Other reports about specific triggers: "Days Before He Was Fired, Comey Asked for Money for Russia Investigation," "Behind Comey’s firing: An enraged Trump, fuming about Russia," "Comey fired for intensifying investigation of Trump, Russia ties: report," and "In interview, Trump contradicts Pence on Comey."

"Blumenthal: Comey firing 'may well produce impeachment proceedings'" doesn't matter unless the Republicans are forced to it, and, well, see the previous news post about that.

But where it matters:

"Kellyanne Conway creates alternative reality to defend Trump’s firing of Comey"

"McConnell rejects calls for special prosecutor"

I don't know if they can bring themselves to admit what they've done.

Good luck out there.

It's May 12th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
This is the second news post today. The lowkey item to pay attention to here, probably, is the departure of the Census head. Harper screwed with the census too; I'm presuming the Trumpists will do so as well, to aid in their extensive voter-suppression and gerrymandering efforts. (U.S. Census director resigns amid turmoil over funding of 2020 count, Departure of U.S. census director threatens 2020 count).

In pre-Comey Russian news, "Where are they now? The Russian bots that disrupted the 2016 election" follows the Russian botnets in the first few months of this year. And "6 Takeaways From Monday’s Senate Hearing on Russia" isn't that great, but leads well into a whole series of stories about the attempt to intimidate Sally Yeats. (That's a felony, by the way.) To wit, "And now, 6hrs before #SallyYates testifies against him & his cronies I'm pretty sure this constitutes as a POTUS intimidating a witness," and "‘The president is threatening a witness’: CNN analyst slams Trump’s ‘disturbing’ Sally Yates tweets" cover that. They also had "Per @axios, WH plans to smear Sally Yates tomorrow as a "Democratic operative." She was a nonpolitical, career DOJ attorney for two decades" queued up.

But her testimony was damning nonetheless. "Spicer: White House Didn't Act on Sally Yates' Warning Because She's a "Political Opponent"." "Trump Is So Freaked Out By Sally Yates He Changed His Goddamn Twitter Profile" and "Yates: Alarm about Russian blackmail led to warning on Flynn" are also important

Sessions's justice department is moving against Cascadian groups protecting immigrant rights, sending cease-and-deists to them. They're fighting back. ("Group sues to continue giving immigrants legal help"). We also have a first-person report from Desiree Fairooz, the woman arrested for laughing at Jeff Sessions. ("I'm facing jail time after laughing at Jeff Sessions. I regret nothing.") Sessions is also trying to revive discredited (and overtly racist) Supreme Court decisions of the past. (The racist, discredited argument Trump’s DOJ just made in a federal court). Also, Sessions continues the tradition of trying to get Julian Assange in jail, with "The government wants Julian Assange in jail. That could hurt the rest of us." Yes, he's a Russian tool, but he's not a US citizen and he's not acting on US soil, and publishing data - even curated with political intent - isn't criminal.

Have a little cultural warfare, scarecrow: "Texas Bill Could Let Agencies Bar LGBT, Atheist, Single Parents From Adopting" (another 'religious liberty' bill), "Tennessee 'Natural Meaning' Law Raises Fears in LGBT Community" (an attempt to weasel in general inefficiencies targeting LGBT couples trying to use their rights under the law), and "Alabama Governor Signs Law Allowing Adoption Agencies to Discriminate Against Gay Couples" (more 'religious liberty' horseshit).

Suppression of Science: "Interior Dept. freezes work of advisory boards." Reportedly some haven't met in years, and those are fine, but this a broad brush. And given everything else we've seen, it'd be stupid not to assume the worst.

"White House advisors called Ottawa to urge Trudeau to help talk Trump down from scrapping NAFTA." YES, REALLY. THAT IS THE STORY FROM A REAL CANADIAN NEWSPAPER. Christ.

Other Racism: "99% of students handcuffed by NYPD in public schools were black or Hispanic: report."

Other Fascism: "The Healthcare Bill Exposes Trump's Chilling Authoritarian Agenda."

Other "alt-facts," a.k.a. lies, discredited in "Noncitizen Voting: The Missing Millions."

A bit of opinion: "Yes, House Republicans, the heartless health-care vote will define you," and "Washington Loves General McMaster, But Trump Doesn't."

As always - good luck out there.

It's May 10th, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
"Alt-Right Goes 'Apoplectic' Over Trump’s Decision to Bomb Syria" It's true. I "Can personally verify that this is being pushed on fascist political boards," and did so in a Twitter thread talking about the various 4pol and 8pol meltdowns over the Syrian bombing. It's true, they're reeling, it's wonderful.

Meanwhile, Voice of America - you know, official US government news - is saying, "Airstrike carried out so it wouldn’t hurt Russia’s long-term plans in Syria: US military official." And "Trump Admits: White House Looked the Other Way During Assad’s Gas Attacks." It's like they're jumping up and down saying, "Yeah, we didn't mean it, we're just taking control of the news cycle." And now "Russia condemns U.S. missile strike on Syria, suspends key air agreement" and "Russia to help Syria beef up air defenses." Now they've got an excuse. (A few more details on that in "US air strikes in Syria: Russia suspends agreement preventing direct conflict with American forces.")

The Atlantic thinks "The Fight Against the Islamic State Just Got Harder," but still spends a lot of time calling it a good idea, because WOW YAY MISSLES. See also, "After the Airstrikes on Syria, What’s Next?" in The New York Times. Almost all of the media falls into line as soon WAR WAR WAR comes out and that's still true, and something we have to fight - somehow - if we want to get anywhere. And that was the point, after all - "U.S. defense official calls U.S. strike on Syria a 'one-off'" just shows that none of this was meant to do anything more. It's depressing when it's Rand Paul being the one going no, no, no - "Rand Paul: Trump needs Congress to authorize military action in Syria." At least Barbara Lee and Ted Lieu both jumped in similarly; "Ted Lieu: Trump Can't 'Launch Missiles Because He Sees Images That Offend Him'."

And later in the day, The Atlantic contradicted itself, with "Trump's Syria Strike Was Unconstitutional and Unwise."

Now, getting past Syria:

"Trump’s Options for North Korea Include Placing Nukes in South Korea." Oh good, that will go well.

"Ethics panel opens investigation into Nunes" is one of the smallish numbers of stories on the ongoing Trump-Russia scandal. Now that he's down, leaving Schiff, the GOP is going after Schiff - anything, really, to keep it from doing its job. ("Former House intel chair: 'Schiff should consider recusing himself'.")

As was inevitable, "Neil Gorsuch Confirmed by Senate as Supreme Court Justice." The seat is stolen; the quest to make them pay for stealing it must not be. The Hill called it, "McConnell’s shining moment." Politico writes about "Why Republicans May Regret The Nuclear Option." Daniel Burbank at The Washington Post is far pointier: "Mitch McConnell, the man who broke America."

"Steve Bannon Isn’t a Genius." No. Being free of any hint of ethical or moral restraint - willing to do anything - doesn't make you smart, even if it does make you effective, at least to a point. See also suicide bombers. Jeff Sessions continues going after civil rights, saying "Sessions: Police reform deal may make Baltimore 'less safe'." Much better to give violent racism a free hand, clearly. "How The Hate Group Alliance Defending Freedom Is Infiltrating Public Schools" is important Cultural War data, as is "One Third of Americans Uncomfortable with LGBTQ Colleagues, Study Shows." We've made progress, but this is far from over.

Finally, in building-walls-where-they-can-be-built news, we have "Trump Border Plan Calls for More Phone Searches, Includes Close Allies." No wonder tourism is declining so rapidly.

Sorry for the late.

It's April 8, 2017; this is the news )
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
Okay, so the front-line names on Initiative 1552 (the anti-LGBT initiative that puts bounties on the heads of trans students) are three women nobody's heard of being particularly active in politics before: Kaeley Triller, Kristi Meritt, and Cassandra Nelson.

But! Guess what: their domain (justwantprivacy dot org) has a non-concealed owner! And that owner is Joseph Backholm of Lynnwood.

Joseph Backholm of Lynnwood is president of the Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW), a long-time right-wing fundamentalist evangelical political group, and a legally-distinct but nonetheless listed affiliate of the Family Research Council, a decades-old anti-LGBT hate group spun off of Focus on the Family for specifically political actions. (You can find FPIW on FRC's state affiliates page here: )

FPIW were previously behind Referendum 74, which asked voters to reject our then-recently-passed marriage equality laws.

Joseph Backholm himself used to be with the similarly anti-queer and anti-woman's-rights ADF ("Alliance Defending Freedom," formerly "Alliance Defence Fund"), of Scottsdale, Arizona, which may be best known to larger audiences as supporting law making LGBT people illegal.

They also have ties to anti-LGBT/fundamentalist political groups such as the Pacific Justice Institute, the Thomas More Law Center, the Heritage Foundation, and the (dead?) "ex-gay" group Exodus International. The Heritage Foundation also supports states' rights to make LGBT people illegal.

So if, you know, you thought this was anything other than an attempt to peel off layers of the alliance to weaken the entire coalition so they can pick all of us off one layer at a time? It's not. That's exactly what it is.

Registry Registrant ID: CR212357711
Registrant Name: Joseph Backholm
Registrant Organization:
Registrant Street: 16108 Ash Way
Registrant City: Lynnwood
Registrant State/Province: Washington
Registrant Postal Code: 98036
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.4256080242
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email:
Registry Admin ID: CR212357713

(If you go to Google Maps streetview, you'll find their office, facing the parking lot in back, suite 113.)
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
I have no words for how angry I am right now, or how revolted.

So turns out Milo Yiannopoulos - who gets called a "conservative provocateur," who says women shouldn't be allowed to drive, who thinks women should be kept out of STEM, who thinks if women don't like violent harassment online that they should just log off, and who is SPECIFICALLY AND ACTUALLY A WHITE SUPREMACIST, but who is nonetheless treated like Someone Who Should Be Heard -

Turns out? He's pro-pederasty. Yeah, he thinks fucking 13-year-olds is (excuse me: can be) fine and that this "consent" nonsense is just arbitrary and oppressive. Particularly, I guess, when it comes to 13-year-olds.

YOU THINK I'M MAKING THIS UP? VIDEO. SECOND SOURCE. THIRD SOURCE (tho' I haven't listened to that version myself, the first link is the relevant section excerpted).

Can't wait 'till next next appearance on Bill Maher and Simon & Schuster extending his book contact, can you? Are you looking forward to his CPAC keynote speech this year? I SURE AM.

He's a sadist, and all of his fans are vicious, drooling monsters, and all of this was known already, but now he's also pro-pederast, in his own words.

And if that is finally enough to get him de-platformed, do not fucking forget, for one goddamn minute - not one - that being an overt white-supremacist and overtly savage misogynist and actual literal fascist...

...wasn't enough. It took this.

[Transcription mine. Some incidental anti-black racism, misogyny, and transphobia is elided intentionally]

MILO: We get hung upon on this kind of, this child abuse stuff, to the point where we're heavily policing even relationships between consenting adults... [interrupted] [aside, joking about a picture put up in the video feed]

HOST: The whole consent thing, for me, is, it's not this black and white thing that people try to paint it.

MILO: No, it isn't.

HOST: Are there some 13-year-olds out there capable of giving informed consent to have sex with an adult? Probably. But I was also a 13 year old. I hung around with 13-year-old guys when I was, you know, 13, and there were some of them that still thought girls were fuckin' icky at 13. Like not many, but they were just coming out of that phase... the reason that these age of consent laws exist, is that we have to set some kind of barometer here...

MILO: The law is probably about right... but there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age... people who are sexually active younger... I think it particularly happens in the gay world, by the way. And in many cases, actually, those relationships with older - and this is one of those, this is sort of stu-, this is why this is one of those reasons I hate the left, you know, I meant this sort of stupid, one size fits all policing of culture, this arbitrary - I'll be quick - this arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent, which totally destroys, you know, understandings that many of us have of the complexities and subtleties and complicated nature of many relationships. You know, people are messy and complex, and actually in the homosexual world particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are, and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable, sort of a rock, where they can't speak to their parents - some of those relationships are the most [interrupted]

HOST: It's funny because ... you gave me a few videos to watch to brush up on my Milo-isms, and one of the things that you said in one of these clips is that transgenderism is the new frontier of, you know, rights - my wording is bad here, but - the new frontier of social progress, and the next thing in line is going to be pedophilia, and yet here you are talkin' about how, look, some of these kids who get diddled by these priests, I mean, it's a good thing for them, they're getting this love, now they are also gettin' dick...

MILO: You're misunderstanding what pedophilia means. Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old who is sexually mature; pedophilia is attraction to children, to children who have not reached puberty. Pedophilia is attraction to people who don't have functioning sex organs yet, who have not gone through puberty, who are too young to be able to understand the way their body works. That is not what we're talking about.

That's assuming even this does it. I'm not taking bets.

ETA: MY GODS, THERE'S MORE. Completely different interview. Watch Milo insist that everybody lusts after 14, 15-year-olds. Host says no, they're kids, Milo says he's lying.

This is bog standard molester logic. (Also, not incidentally, rapist logic.) Everybody does it, or would if they could, and you're lying if you say you don't want to. Bog standard.

solarbird: (molly-determined)
At the recent arguments against California's recently-adopted ban on marriage, you get a protester holding up a sign congratulating Harvey Milk's murderer as a hero (scene shot here); the domestic-parntership expansion bill here in Washington State is prompting the fundamentalist right to air a huge series of complete-fabrication hate ads against it (if you live in a swing district or any district targeted by these, please call your legislators to support the expansion), and the Mormon political machine is gearing up for more anti-queer action across the country, like in Illinois.

In non-queer culture-war bullshit, the current Pope Benedict upheld the excommunication of a mother who authorised an abortion for the twins her nine year old daughter was carrying after she had been raped buy her stepfather, a pregnancy which was under any circumstances life-threatening. The rapist stepfather has not been excommunicated. If you need a bigger sign of absolute wretched contempt for women by the Catholic church hierarchy, I don't know what's wrong with you. (Oh, and if you forgot, Pope Benedict has also been busy revoking excommunications of pro-Hitler Holocaust deniers.)

The only good thing about all this is that it's driving people away from Christianity in starkly clear numbers. Reap the fucking whirlwind, you evil bastards. The evangelicals are showing slightly up numbers, but the Christian Science Monitor thinks US evangelism is on the verge of sudden collapse, noting:
Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.
Yeah, and you'll be seen that way because that's what you've been. All you fucks have been doing is hating on me and people like me for decades now, and the entire religion has hollowed itself out to shrieking yahoos who don't give a rat's ass about anything other than worshipping torturers and bashing on queers and women. I mean honestly, when you have your reps talking about how he hopes the children(!) of "sexual promiscuity" die of AIDS to teach their parents a lesson, how much more wretchedly, perversely, direly, hatefully, sadistically evil do you think you need to be? I'm glad at least one of you recognises, at this late date, what you've become.

(The CS Monitor author is probably looking at the dramatic collapse in Catholic identification in New England following the continued church protection of child rapists and their protectors, like Bernard Law. "Oops, I think we're in trouble." I sure fucking hope so, you deserve to be.)

You look at this and then look in contrast to things like how in the officially Christian United Kingdom, PM Gordon Brown recently stated that "this [Proposition 8] attempt to undo good that has been done is unacceptable." And in Argentina - Argentina - you have banks running advertisements containing more overt queer respect than you see anywhere in the US. (Link courtesy [ profile] cow.) And you really realise that it's the US, the Islamic fundamentalist countries, the ex-Hitler Youth pope, and a few fascists in Russia vs. everyone else in the world. It's revolting.

Don't forget to call to support SB 5688 and HB 1727, the domestic-partnership expansion bills, and, for that matter, the dead-on-arrival SB 5674 and HB 1745, which would authorise marriage outright - it only adds a few seconds to the call. The legislative hotline 1.800.562.6000.
solarbird: (Default)
Anti-marriage activists in West Virginia - working on a marriage-banning state constitutional amendment - post video with queers targeting children through rifle sights. Very nice. Also, the Catholic church is ramping up it's anti-marriage/anti-gay efforts, now working on their own version of ex-gay quackery. A couple of stations decline to run anti-gay hate ads by the American Family Association on the basis that they "did not represent positive Christianity"; Focus on the Family screams gay censorship. Oh, and I've received email from the local fundamentalists talking about their planned anti-domestic-partnership referendum, coming soon to signature-gatherers near you, for the fall ballot.

Mr. Obama's "sunshine" pledge has fallen completely by the wayside. Perhaps he should be reminded of this promise.

Army Private Brandon Neely, a former guard at Gitmo, steps forward to talk about the torture he witnessed at Guantánamo Bay. This is just part of the Bush torture regime that Mr. Obama and the complicit national Democratic leadership do not want to focus upon.

The Pakistani government has decided to allow Sharia law in the Swat valley, an area likely to be used to further destabilise the Pakistan government and to provide safe-haven for the Taliban. You all should, of course, know what I think of Sharia law.
solarbird: (dmw)
Washington State already has a fucking DOMA. Washington State doesn't perform or recognise same-sex marriage. But that's not stopping a set of fucking haters who apparently have nothing better to do than stamp "fuck you, queers" into yet another year's legislative calendar by introducing a resolution to remind faggots how much they hate us by 1) introducing redundant legislation to make marriage extra illegal, 2) to write that into the state Constitution, and 3) to have every newspaper in the state run NO FAG MARRIAGE weekly in the run-up to any amendment vote. Fuck them, and if you support any part of it, fuck you too.
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Someone got me a subscription to Foreign Affairs. That was unexpected. Thanks!

Pope Bastard the Latest calls for saving humanity from queers, comparing it in importance to saving the rainforests from destruction. Best yet, it was part of his Christmas address. Merry fucking Christmas to you, too, asshole.

Christopher Hitchens isn't pleased by the Rick Warren presence at the inauguration any more than I am, calling him a "vulgar huxter" who "is a relentless clerical businessman who raises money on the proposition that certain Americans—non-Christians, the wrong kind of Christians, homosexuals, nonbelievers—are of less worth and littler virtue than his own lovely flock of redeemed and salvaged and paid-up donors," and adding, "if we must have an officiating priest, let it be some dignified old hypocrite with no factional allegiance and not a tree-shaking huckster and publicity seeker who believes that millions of his fellow citizens are hellbound because they do not meet his own low and vulgar standards." Mr. Hitchens is particularly upset at Reverend Warren's commentary on Jewish people, but admits it generalises.

Many people (chiefly and first [ profile] flashfire) have pointed me at Melissa Etheridge's comments saying that Reverend Warren is not so bad, and that he "regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8," and so on. A lot of people have seen this article and read it and decided that this whole thing really is okay, in the end.

I don't buy it. I don't buy it because what I see is someone saying nice things on the phone to someone he wanted to work with at an event to keep them in the event. I don't buy it because he didn't just get into this gaybashing bullshit once, he's done it a lot; the fact that he hosts gay conversion ministries says everything that needs be said on that, really, but there's more. I don't buy it because he uses all the theoconservative weasel-words I'm used to hearing when they're talking to secular audiences - I hear echos of them in Ms. Etheridge's article - then follows the bog-standard practice of reverting to child-rapist smears when talking to his own. I don't buy it because I'm not surprised that someone who is in the business of charming people successfully charms Melissa Etheridge; charisma is a key part of his livelihood, of course he's going to be good at that. I don't buy that him trying to make nice with a musician, even a lesbian musician, makes all his other commentary and his works irrelevant. I don't buy that him being a "fan" of her music makes him think she's a person; the minstrel tradition is long and durable. And I don't buy it because the fundamentalist leadership doesn't buy it either - they think he's with them, with all that implies, and they're longtime experts at running stealth.

Atypically, I'm about to link to an article at TIME Magazine by John Cloud. It mentions Rev. Warren's idea that queers can and should magically change into heterosexuals, but more relevantly, talks about Mr. Obama's consistent opposition to equality - but in such a way that convinces his fans he doesn't really mean it:
Obama has proved himself repeatedly to be a very tolerant, very rational-sounding sort of bigot. He is far too careful and measured a man to say anything about body parts fitting together or marriage being reserved for the nonpedophilic, but all the same, he opposes equality for gay people when it comes to the basic recognition of their relationships.

... Obama reminds me a little bit of Richard Russell Jr., the longtime Senator from Georgia who — as historian Robert Caro has noted — cultivated a reputation as a thoughtful, tolerant politician even as he defended inequality and segregation for decades. Obama gave a wonderfully Russellian defense of Warren on Thursday at a press conference. Americans, he said, need to "come together" even when they disagree on social issues. "That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about," he said. Russell would often use the same tactic to deflect criticism of his civil rights record. It was a distraction, Russell said, from the important business of the day uniting all Americans.
I've had the argument more times than I care to recount that saying something politely doesn't make the content of what you're saying any different. Saying politely that you think all queers are going to hell, need to convert to Jesus(tm), and are equivalent to child-rapists is not better than saying it crudely - and yet, saying it in calm and measured tones somehow gets it a pass. I don't understand why; if someone came up to a dog's owner and said quite calmly, respectfully, and politely that they were going to kill and dismember their pet, that certainly wouldn't help. Personally, I think it'd be even creeper. But somehow, saying these things about queers is okay, and if said politely, it's not just okay, it's showered with praise and is worthy of the kind of honour being given here.

I guess what I'm trying to say is simple: Tone is not content. Tone is not content. Tone is not content. I don't know why this is so damned difficult for people, but I know from long personal experience trying to get people to separate them that it in fact is. But I'll say it again: it doesn't matter how politely and respectfully someone says the twisted horrible things; they're still twisted, and still horrible.

Maybe someday people will figure that out.
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They said this before - back when it passed - but Proposition 8 (or "h8") backers in California are now officially trying to have all previously and legally-issued marriages between GBLT couples nullified.

Some people seem to be surprised at this. I don't know why. They said this was the intent when the proposition was passed, they've said this was the intent every time they've passed one of these things, and they won't be happy until and unless it happens. After all, as James Dobson so famously said, queers getting hitched will destroy western civilisation. The leadership, further, won't be happy until Lawrence v. Texas (2003) is overturned so they can make queers illegal again. That's an explicit goal, and part of the "judicial tyranny" rhetoric since the decision: it's tyrannical to overturn laws making me illegal, just as their religious freedom is being impinged if they can't enact the mandates of their religion into civil law. They are being oppressed if they can't use the state to oppress me, and everyone like me.

So of course they're going to go after queers at any point they can. It's what they do, and they do it because they really do hate our existence and want to eliminate us from society, commercially, politically, and legally as best as they can, and all the polite words in the world can't erase that vicious reality.

And yet that keeps getting papered over and ignored and silently accepted and dismissed (even when demonstrated with direct quotes and complete context, as I spent years doing), which is why and how you end up with one of these people giving the invocation at Mr. Obama's inauguration. And it's how you get so many people - not on this journal, but many, many other places - supporting that decision.

So don't be surprised. Be disgusted, be angered, be whatever, But for the love of the gods, don't be surprised. Be anything but that.
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A survivor of Rick Warren's ex-gay ministry comments on the Rev. Warren's selection to deliver the invocation. There's delight and hope from the Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, who stresses Rev. Warren's involvement in Proposition 8 and his firm and unwavering opposition to faggots on every front. Rev. Warren is of course thrilled to have been invited. Some fundamentalists are pretty cranky that Rev. Warren accepted, because of Mr. Obama's support for abortion rights.

For the record; I'm not against "engaging" with people like Rev. Warren; not doing so is not an option. I object to honouring them. I object even more to boosting their position and helping them with one of their major immediate and vital goals: keeping anti-queer hate-politics "respectable," and "polite," which is to say, in the game, which is what this does.

Allow me to explain.

A few years ago when I posted about a big theoconservative confab where people from Concerned Women for America and Focus on the Family were doing things like quoting Stalin without irony, I also posted how they were talking about how they were in danger of becoming like the racists, and had to avoid that same fate. Some people saw that as kind of an awareness that they didn't have any ground to stand upon. That's part of it, but they don't care; they're anti-rationalists anyway.

This is what they actually meant: the overt racists, the segregationists, and so on, were put out of the game because it it stopped being a respectable position. Having those positions alienated you from polite political society. After that happened, nobody would defend the selection of a segregationist with the inevitable argument, "He can be engaged. He does good work in many areas." It became a disqualifying attribute in many circles. Not all, of course, but many. The fundamentalist leadership saw this happening to them, and it scared them good. It should've; you don't easily climb back out of that hole.

Mr. Obama's selection of Reverend Rick Warren helps preserve and further their respectability. It arguably adds to it, within the Democratic party. It supports and elevates the idea that you can support work to have queer people be illegal, you can argue that we're paedophiles and that our relationships will destroy free speech, and even if someone else in the political class doesn't agree, or even finds it distasteful, they won't really hold it against you. It's not important enough for that. It's still reasonable. It's still respectable. It's still accepted in polite politics. You're still in the game.

The worst part is, continuing this is exactly the point. Mr. Obama wants some of that fundamentalist evangelical segment in the Democratic party. He's trying to wedge off some of the GOP's largest remaining base group, the theoconservatives; the "inclusiveness" he wants is to include them, knowing he doesn't have to give a rat's ass about us. He wants them to know that just because they hate queers, that doesn't mean they aren't welcome in today's Democratic party. He knows they haven't gotten what they want out of the GOP, and he's telling them, "it's okay; you can have a big hate-on for the fags, and we're just fine with that. C'mon over."

Chris Crain thinks this is all bullshit; he dismisses the anger as a "unity call" falling on "PC ears." He also thinks Mr. Obama will deliver on his campaign promises, talking about his campaign positions being "the most supportive ever on LGBT civil rights." I do not share this particular faith; I remember the last time that sentiment was expressed, and I remember what actually happened. I rather suspect we're being offered as the chip in this little exchange, and I assure you, I do object.
solarbird: (molly-kill-everyone-with-sticks)
President-Elect Barack Obama has picked fundamentalist evangelical Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Rev. Warren was a big supporter of California's Proposition 8, which wrote "fuck you, queers" into the California constitution and eliminating marriage rights in that state. He says same-sex marriage is the same as paedophilia, incest, and so on. He pushed the freakish lie that civil marriage for GBLT people destroys free speech. He considers abortion rights the same as the Holocaust, and supports efforts to keep GBLT people illegal in countries in Africa. Oh, and "mainline" Christian churches preach "Marxism in Christian clothing."

Andrew Sullivan calls Rick Warren "Dobson-lite" and gets the motivation - but calls it more wedge politics and says "not on the backs of gay people." Sorry, Andrew, it's the Democratic Party. Glenn Greenwald notes:
Obama's "inclusiveness" mantra always seems to head only in one direction -- an excuse to scorn progressives and embrace the Right. Not even Bill Clinton's most extreme Dick-Morris-led "triangulation" tactics involved an attempt to court Jerry Falwell.
Of course, he's getting plaudits from places like Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. But also, sadly predictably, people like Marc Ambinder at Salon are praising the choice for its "inclusiveness." Thanks, dicks. Will be seeing a representative of the Klu Klux Klan for the Benediction? How fucking "inclusive" would that be?

So, fuck you, Barack, and by the way, Merry fucking Christmas to you too. I'd like to be more surprised, but I'm not.
solarbird: (dmw)
I tell ya, there's nothing to put you in the holiday spirit like getting some anti-gay hate literature stuffed in with your groceries. How can these people be such screaming dickheads that they can't give it a rest for even one long weekend?


Nov. 15th, 2008 11:07 pm
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Seattle Marriage Rights March, reaching Westlake

moar )


Nov. 8th, 2008 09:30 am
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A relative of a Slog blogger voted Yes on 8 to reassure herself about her faith:
You already know we believe in the Church—and, by corollary, the importance of thoughtful and considered obedience to divinely called leaders, and have made our decision to stand in that place. ... But when we look back at polygamy or the “Negro question” for example, we feel like as awful as those things are, we wouldn’t have wanted to give up on our most important feelings and beliefs because of them. I guess I feel like we were not so much supporting Prop 8 as making this small signal that we believe in a prophet.
Hey, sure, fuck millions of people to make a personal statement about your internal belief system. Go the fuck ahead, why the fuck not? It's not like queers are actual people.

More at the link above, if you can stomach it.

The Associated Press has picked up on the Utah boycott story. In case you're curious, here's the MSI, which is the Mormon Stock Index.
solarbird: (not_in_the_mood)
An anti-gay Bradley effect can be seen clearly in numbers in California with Catholic voters, who both turned out in higher numbers than polled, and much more strongly against marriage rights than polled. Mark DiCamillo (director, The Field Poll in California) notes, "polling on issues like same-sex marriage that have a direct bearing on religious doctrine can be affected in a big way in the final weekend by last minute appeals by the clergy and religious organizations."

A movement to boycott Utah based on the Church's leading and overwhelming support for Initiative 8 has started. Commentary:
The Mormon church put up four out of every five dollars spent to ban same-sex marriage in California. More than 18,000 legally married couples in California were forcibly divorced on Tuesday...

Oh, and the leaders of the Mormon church - which financed all the bigoted distortions of the “Yes on 8” campaign (gay people recruit children! they’re going to teach gay sex in schools!) - are out there calling on people to treat each the with “civility, with respect and with love.” Uh-huh.

Sorry, douchebags, but you can’t throw a punch like that and scream “play nice!” or “you can’t be mean to us—we’re a church!” You wanna play politics with peoples’ lives? Fine. But they game’s on now and remember: you started it.
TerranceDC at Pam's House Blend (African-American, and queer) is extremely unhappy about "historically black homophobia:"
And no, by the way, I no longer give a shit about defending African Americans against the notion that they're more homophobic than whites, for the same reason I no longer give a shit about defending a Black politician like Harold Ford against the racist attack ads the Republicans are running against him. Because Harold Ford is no different than the racist Republican candidate running in Virginia, and the students at Central State University are no different than the Klan or a gang of marauding skinheads. I don't defend anyone who would turn around and leave me and mine twisting in the wind. I no longer care.
[ profile] nihilistic_kid has been out in some of the protests, and has pictures. Thanks, Nick. I like the "Save Sulu's Marriage" sign.

Barack Obama on LOGO telling lesbian and gay people they should work more on ENDA than, you know, being married.

Tony Perkins says the GOP needs to move further to the social right, blaming "moderates" for losses this election:
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told CNN that conservatives need to take back control of the GOP if the party is to return to its winning ways... Pointing to measures in California, Florida and Arizona barring same-sex marriage that passed Tuesday, Perkins said President-elect Barack Obama's election did not mean the country had embraced liberal social views.
Meanwhile, in Canada, the Conservative Party is getting ready to ditch platform language against same-sex marriage, having already effectively dropped opposition after a token reconsideration vote a few years ago.
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The LA Times has a story on a protest outside a Mormon temple in response to the Church of Latter Day Saints's co-ordinated "Yes on 8" money and efforts. It doesn't include things you can see over here, on YouTube, where you can see one police officer strike a gay protester hard enough to throw him head-first into a cement retaining wall before arresting him and his partner.

This is of course a very bad situation. The millions of dollars sent by Mormons at the behest of the Church were well publicised (and not just in California; see here), and there is now an effort to file political-action complaints against the Church with the IRS, with the intent specifically to cost it its tax-free status on the basis of political activity not allowed to tax-exempt organisations. I don't think this has any chance of getting anywhere - initiatives are not considered "partisan," even when they obviously and clearly are - but the situation has become volatile. Being forcibly excluded will trigger that.

In addition to the initiative's backers, Eugene Volkoh thinks that the plain language of the amendment effectively divorces all previously-married same-sex couples. California's Attorney General has ruled that it only applies to marriages going forward, but I have seen threats (sorry, no link, I lost it) of a lawsuit to force the state to revoke those licenses. The ACLU promises to fight any such lawsuit effort.

Matt Yglesias comments on the anti-gay "backlash" narrative, disputing it.

On a personal note, my friend Thom was arranging his marriage to his partner Jeff next year before this hit. He's an Obama supporter and wanted to be part of the celebrations last night, but, as he says: the midst of those moments, though, I kept being reminded that the promises inherent in an Obama presidency were not truly mine, as a gay person in America, to fully share. And while at the time I wrote that I was happy again to be an American, the truth is that by the next morning, recognizing the passage of California's Proposition 8, I no longer felt as though I truly were even considered an American by even half my adopted home state of California, much less by anywhere near half the country as a whole... Fifty-two percent of California voters Tuesday night... amended the state's constitution to strip a civil right from one group of people only. ... That same night, 70% of California voters voted to give additional rights to farm animals raised for food.

How am I supposed to feel now that a sizable percentage of the people I see on a daily basis in my neighborhood, at work, in stores and restaurants, not only believe that my life and my relationship are worth less than theirs, but vote to back up their personal religious beliefs with the force of the state?
Thom's not the only person to note that the same California voters who stripped rights from queer couples endorsed - strongly - additional legal protections for farm animals. Which is nice and all, but the contrast really, really lets us know exactly where we stand.


Nov. 6th, 2008 11:10 am
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National Review celebrates.

I can't link to this, but one of the married gay couples I know in California reports that their daughter was harassed at school today by a child of pro-8 parents, who kept running up and chanting ADAM AND EVE, NOT ADAM AND STEVE!!! in her face until she finally slapped him.

A California legal read of Andrew Sullivan's says the lawsuit against 8 as a "revision" rather than an "amendment" isn't frivolous under California's weird Constitution, and would, in a nonpolitical context, have a good shot in the courts. But he thinks the political context is very bad.

Glenn Greenwald suggests that repealing DOMA is the appropriate response to Proposition 8, noting:
Democrats have a particular responsibility to erase the stain of DOMA. It was Bill Clinton who signed DOMA into law. It passed overwhelmingly in the Senate (85-14) with massive Democratic support, including from Democratic icons such as Paul Wellstone, Chris Dodd, Pat Leahy, Tom Daschle, Patty Murray, Harry Reid, Barbara Mikulski, and the new Vice President-elect, Joe Biden...

But are they likely to do so? The conventional Beltway wisdom has already ossified, quite predictably, that Obama and the Democrats must scorn "the Left" and, despite polling data showing widespread support for equal rights for same-sex couples, such a move would be deemed by Beltway media mavens as coming from "the Left." Nancy Pelosi is running around decreeing that "the country must be governed from the middle," while Harry Reid emphasizes that Democrats have received no mandate from the election. ....

Even as leading Democrats flamboyantly condemn Proposition 8, and even with Obama's long record of emphatically vowing that he will support DOMA's repeal, there will be very strong currents pushing Democrats to do nothing.
I'm not holding my breath. But one thing I'm waiting to hear is whether Harry Reid remains Senate Majority Leader, and whether Nancy Pelosi remains Speaker of the House. That should say a lot about the party as a whole.

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