Bob Vander Plaats Tells ThinkProgress Homosexuality Is A ‘Public Health Risk’ Like Smoking

Proving once again that “Family” is Republi-Nazi/Taliban Christer newspeak for “Fascist”.  Indeed every time an ultra right wing A-hole uses the word family one should automatically change it to “Fascist”.

Damn I hate Nazis and Fascists…

From Think Progress:

By Scott Keyes
April 8, 2011

Following the ouster last year of three Iowa Supreme Court justices who legalized same-sex marriage in the state, social conservative groups are now working hard to overturn marriage equality in the Hawkeye State. One such organization is the Iowa Family Leader, led by former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats.

Vander Plaats and the Iowa Family Leader are at the forefront of a misinformation campaign to support the anti-equality effort. Vander Plaats, currently on a 99-county tour intended to solicit support for the Family Leader and rally social conservatives, regularly compares gay marriage to polygamy and incest, telling audiences, “Why not open it up! Bisexual, polygamy, multiple women? Why not?” Earlier this year, Vander Plaats was caught on video railing against “absolute tolerance” during a campaign stop.

Most outlandish, however, was the Family Leader’s comparison on its website of homosexuality to secondhand cigarette smoke. (The Family Leader later removed the link to, a website which asserts that homosexuality reduces life expectancy by up to 35 years and promotes the idea that homosexuality is a curable disease.)

ThinkProgress spoke with Vander Plaats at a recent Family Leader campaign stop in Ames and asked the Iowa kingmaker about the claim that homosexuality is a public health risk akin to secondhand smoke. Though Vander Plaats had been loathe to discuss such matters publicly in the past, in this instance he did not mince words. After declaring that homosexuality is a “risky lifestyle,” Vander Plaats argued that “If we’re teaching the kids, ‘don’t smoke, because that’s a risky health style,’ the same can be true of the homosexual lifestyle”:

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Once again demonstrating why belief in religion should be a  category in the DSM

Friday Night Fun and Culture Roots Edition

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Averting a Government Shutdown? GOP Says Over Your Dead Body. And They Mean It

From RH Reality Check:

By Jodi Jacobson, Editor-in-Chief, RH Reality Check
April 8, 2011

As of this morning, we are in a situation that could have been predicted at least two months ago when the first loud whispers of government shutdown became routine among members of the GOP/Tea Party in Congress, a situation that became a virtual certainty after a rally last week in which Tea Party members shouted like drunken frat boys to “shut it down.”

What is that situation? A government shutdown that the radical right now governing the House of Representatives says can only be averted by one thing: Accepting policies that will destroy the health and wellbeing of American citizens.

In short, the GOP/Tea Party has two words for the American people: Drop Dead.

A government shut down will occur at 12:01 am Saturday morning, April 9th, unless President Obama and Senator Reid stare down the GOP/Tea Party and win, or unless they cave to specific policy demands over which some now believe even Speaker Boehner does not have control.

What are these policy demands?

First, the GOP/Tea Party, acceding to demands of the anti-person, anti-woman, anti-choice movement in this country, which wants to deny literally millions of poor and low-income women access to basic health care.  (This is apart from their desire to deny virtually everyone else health care unless they are rich enough to pay for it privately).  And now they seek to do so by taking down Planned Parenthood, one of their favorite boogeymen, speaking the simple name of which can send Congressmen Chris Smith, Joe Pitts, Mike Pence into paroxysms of rage.

And what is it that is so offensive?  The fact that using federal funds, Planned Parenthood centers throughout the country provide birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, annual exams, and other preventive care to millions of women whose health care is covered by Medicaid and other public health coverage programs.

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‘60 Minutes’ Shills for Corporate Tax Breaks

From AFL-CIO Blog:

by Mike Hall
Apr 8, 2011

Corporate taxes–or more succinctly corporate tax avoidance–has grabbed some big headlines recently starting with The New York Times report that GE, with worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, didn’t pay a dime of U.S. tax in 2010, but got $3.2 billion tax benefit. All legit and all because of corporate tax loopholes companies like GE have lobbied hard to put in place.

(Wealthy individuals are no slouches at avoiding taxes either–see below.)

That launched a slew of stories on other hugely profitable and tax dodging corporations like Exxon Mobil, Bank of America and Citi Group (click here for a look at the Daily Beast’s gallery of  the 15 top “Tax Escape Artists”) that culminated in a “60 Minutes” segment on CBS.

But while “60 Minutes” has been known to take on corporate scofflaws, not so this time.  After describing how hundreds of billions of tax dollars have been lost through corporate tax loopholes, the rest of the segment became a platform for corporate mouthpieces to whine about how the so-called “high” U.S. tax rate forced them to move operations, jobs and taxable profits overseas.

In an open letter to CBS, Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United (NNU), called the 60 Minutes segment a “stunning disservice to all the Americans who are harmed by a national budget that is seriously distorted by the failure of so many U.S. corporations to pay their fair share.”

By uncritically promoting the Wall Street talking points that the supposedly onerous U.S. tax rate gives well-meaning CEOs no choice but to avoid paying taxes, your one-sided piece steers U.S. policy in a direction that would only make the economic crisis in this nation, and the imbalance between the haves and have-nots in our society, far worse.

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Nearly Half Of Mississippi Republicans Think Interracial Marriage Should Be Illegal

I’ve always said Conservative is the post-modern term for Nazi Racist Pig.

From Talking Points Memo:

Jon Terbush
April 7, 2011

Americans nationwide are evenly divided over the issue of same sex marriage. But Republicans in Mississippi are divided over a wholly different wedlock issue: interracial marriage.

In a PPP poll released Thursday, a 46% plurality of registered Republican voters said they thought interracial marriage was not just wrong, but that it should be illegal. 40% said interracial marriage should be legal.

Gov. Haley Barbour, with a home state advantage in Mississippi, also topped PPP’s survey of the GOP primary field at 37%, followed by Mike Huckabee at 19%, and Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich at 10%.

The poll also found that voters who thought interracial marriage should be banned liked Barbour, Palin, and Huckabee the most among the slate of potential GOP presidential candidates. Seventy-nine percent of those voters said they approved of Gov. Barbour’s job performance, while 74% said they had a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin, and 73% viewed Huckabee favorably.

In February, a Gallup poll found that Mississippi was the most conservative state in the nation. In that survey, 50.0% of adults identified themselves as conservatives.

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Rep. Slaughter: Republicans have come ‘to kill women’

From RawStory:

By Stephen C. Webster
Posted on 04.8.11

Rep. Louise Slaughter is taking a hard line on Republican-led attacks on Planned Parenthood funding, which supports crucial medical screenings for millions of poor and middle class women nation-wide.

Appearing at a pro-choice event earlier this week, she called out Republican freshmen in the House of Representatives, claiming that in 1995 they came to “kill” the National Endowment for the Arts, and today they’ve come “to kill women.”

The federal government was on the verge of shutdown Friday as funding for Planned Parenthood remained the final sticking point between Republicans and Democrats. If the government shuts down, over 800,000 workers could be left stranded without pay, including active-duty U.S. combat troops.

This video is from the Christian-conservative CSN News, published Thursday, April 7, 2011.

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Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Assault on Social Spending, Pro-Rich Tax Cuts Turning US Into Nation “Of the 1 Percent, by the 1 Percent, for the 1 Percent”

From Common Dreams:

Published on Thursday, April 7, 2011 by Democracy Now!

This week Republicans unveiled a budget proposal for 2012 that cuts more than $5.8 trillion in government spending over the next decade. The plan calls for sweeping changes to Medicaid and Medicare, while reducing the top corporate and individual tax rates to 25 percent. We speak to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who addresses the growing class divide taking place in the United States and inequality in a new Vanity Fair article titled, “Of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent.” Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and author of numerous books, most recently Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. “It is not just that the people at the top are getting richer, Stiglitz says. “Actually, they are gaining and everyone else is decreasing… Right now, we are worse than old Europe.”

Part 1

Part 2

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True or False? Europe has no real interest in protecting and empowering women

Press Release:

From VDay:

Eve Ensler

As political change spreads across the Middle East and we celebrated the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day last month, I have spent a great deal of time meditating and appreciating the heroic and crucial role of grassroots women throughout the world. I’ve thought about how they have worked tirelessly and often under attack to stand up against violence and injustice, to provide services when the government fails to do so, and to demand accountability and an end to impunity.

In Europe, as in other parts of the world, it is thanks to grassroots women that violence against women has become an issue that is recognized by governments and policy makers. With very few resources, they run shelters, provide emergency medical support to survivors fleeing their abusers, advocate for essential policies, provide legal counsel, train women and girls in self-defense, raise awareness about taboo subjects, and help women and children pick up the pieces when their lives have been shattered, both economically and emotionally. It is because of their bravery and insistence that a husband no longer has a right to rape his wife and sexual harassment is no longer legitimized office sport.

At first glance, it looks like politics in Europe have started to take those grassroots women’s demands seriously. At the Council of Europe, with its membership spanning from Ireland to Russia, the first international binding instrument specifically devoted to violence against women is being drafted. The 27-member European Union has also made a multitude of commitments on ending violence against women, including European Parliament resolutions calling for a legally binding Directive (the most recent one adopted on 5 April 2011); EU member states echoed this call, and asked the European Commission to devise a European strategy, to create an Observatory on violence against women and to improve prevention; last year, the European Commission committed to a strategy and action plan to combat violence against women. But what has all this led to?

To date, the European Commission has not followed through on most of its commitments and obligations, whilst at the Council of Europe, at the very last stages before adoption of the “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence”, some countries, including the UK and Russia, are now making last minute efforts to unravel key provisions made in the draft treaty.

Is it possible that we are still here in 2011 fighting for the most obvious and basic rights for women? Is it possible that European decision makers have no real interest in protecting and empowering women?

Some have said the ennui and lack of action comes from the belief that violence against women is not a pressing issue in Europe, or that the willingness of Member States to prioritize is simply a reflection of the fact that there are more important issues. That claim is absurd. Just look at the facts and tell me how violence against women could not be seen as a pressing issue:

• When including all forms of violence against women, it has been estimated that as many as 45% of all women in Europe have been subjected to male violence during their lifetime

• In France, one woman is killed every three days by her partner or ex-partner. In the UK, the figure is two per week.

• One in four female students on UK campuses says she had been subjected to an unwanted sexual experience at university or college.

• 40-50% of women in the EU have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

• 79% of victims of trafficking are trafficked for sexual exploitation; more than 80% of these are female.

• 500,000 girls and women in the EU live with female genital mutilation.

• For the entire Council of Europe area, the cost of domestic violence alone is estimated at an annual total of at least 33 billion euros.

The time is now for measures that would require all Member States to put their money and their time behind prevention and response measures to keep women and girls safe. If governments in Europe are serious about protecting half of their population, the adoption of a meaningful Council of Europe Convention and a legally binding EU Directive should not be so difficult. The most recent European Parliament resolution on a new EU policy framework to fight violence against women provides the framework for that. The debate leading up to the adoption of this resolution, with rather inappropriate comments by the president, proved a case in point of the urgent need for one of the measures the resolution asks for: to work against “stereotypes and socially determined beliefs which help perpetuate the conditions that generate gender based violence and acceptance of it”.

The EU will soon decide on its upcoming multi-year budget from 2013 onwards. ‘Sensible’ spending is all the “order of the day.” A recent study has shown that the cost of intimate partner violence alone, in the EU, is estimated at 16 billion Euros per year. That means 1 million Euros every half hour is wasted because nothing is done to prevent the abuse of women by their partners. The study also shows that, if the budgets for prevention of this violence were increased by 1 Euro, it could save 87 Euro in total costs. Increasing budgets for prevention would be sensible spending, wouldn’t it?

Currently, V-Day activists in over 20 European countries are organizing events in more than 100 locations to raise awareness and funds for the grassroots organizations that work to end violence against women. Commissioner Reding herself knows the power of V-Day’s grassroots activism – she herself joined V-Day activists in 2004 when she took the stage to be part of a benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues in her country, Luxembourg.

This grassroots activism fills some of the gaps that currently exist in both prevention and service provision, but political decision makers in Europe need to make ending violence against women and girls an active and real priority. Like the thousands of women and girls I have met across the 60-plus countries to which I have traveled over the past 15 years, European women know exactly what they need, and exactly how to best address their particular needs within their particular set of circumstances. It is up to political leaders to listen, and then to carefully help provide platforms and paths for them to steer their own destinies.

Eve Ensler is the founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls, which grew out of her play The Vagina Monologues. Since 1999, V-Day has spread across Europe; this year alone, hundreds of V-Day activists are raising awareness and funds for shelters, community groups and other anti-violence initiatives across 22 European countries.

Transsexual and Transgender Homophobia

I’m an old dyke.

Once upon a time I used to be transsexual but I had an operation and it must have cured it because I haven’t been unhappy about the sex I am or ever had any desire to change my sex since having that operation.  That’s why I describe myself as post-transsexual.

I wasn’t a heterosexual CD prior to coming out.  If anything I was kind of bisexual, a queen who had sex with both men and women.  Once I came out I considered myself heterosexual.  I had an old man and everything.  He wasn’t even a jail bird.  He was a deserter, because I was one of those girls who said yes to men who said no.  No to the War in Vietnam that is.

I never thought of myself as gay because every sexual encounter I had with a gay man prior to my coming out ended with them telling me, “I thought you were a gay boy but fucking you is just like fucking a girl.”

I wasn’t hostile to gay men.  I went to conferences, gave talks, was invited to social gatherings.  I was sort off a mascot as well as some one who combated ignorance about transsexualism in the gay community.

Then I went to work with the National Transsexual Counseling Center and I started to hear homophobic comments from sisters.  Now there was some basis for this as queens and transsexuals weren’t exactly welcome at many of the gay bars, in part because we had a tendency to  turn  bars we hung out in into hustle bars.  But the same sisters who made the homophobic comments went to a gay bar on Folsom St in SF called the Stud and danced at an after hours club in the Castro.

After I broke up with Jerry and moved to Los Angeles, actually after my sex change operation, I started to realize I was lesbian.  Elliott Blackstone, the SF Police Community Relations Cop, who was instrumental in assisting the establishment of the NTCU recognized it in me before I came to grips with it.  Indeed so had Dr. Fisk who screened me for surgery.  Mostly because I was so strongly feminist.

When I was coming out as lesbian I suddenly became all sorts of sisters “Lesbian Experience”.

But I also started encountering the homophobia within the transsexual community.  I had sisters ask me to my face, “Does this mean you are going to become a man again?”  I heard they said even nastier things behind my back.  For them lesbianism wasn’t an equally reasonable sexuality.  That is homophobia.

I had sisters I considered friends start giving me crap about being a lesbian.  So I became more and more part of the lesbian feminist community and less a part of the transsexual and transgender communities.

It was also the start of my antipathy toward the transgender communities.

I discovered there were a whole lot of post-transsexual lesbian sisters as well as a lot of transgender sisters who liked women.  But the homophobia among our heterosexual identified sisters created a chasm and meant we ran in quite different circles.

Around this time I had a rather unfortunate encounter with the extremely nasty Virginia Prince.  I was familiar with Prince’s writings, they were in our donated box of books at the Center.  Our copies listed Charles “Virginia” Prince as the author.  When I read them I thought what a twisted misogynistic and homophobic pig.  I also thought, gee, he really hates transsexuals.

When I met Prince, she was living as a woman and pushing the term “Transgender” but still filled with the same homophobia (which according to Docter, in a biography was driven by Prince being a closet case).

At this encounter Prince proceeded to tell me I had mad a mistake getting SRS, that I was nothing but a transvestite who had gone too far and now I had an inverted penis, but wasn’t really a woman because I was lesbian.”

Tri-Ess had a nasty history of anti-transsexualism and homophobia.  I see the whole idea of a “Transgender Community” as growing from Prince and Tri-Ess.

Fast forward to the 1990s.  All of a sudden “Transgender Inc.” wants to be part of the Gay and Lesbian Movement.  Okay… Never mind not having been there in the past.  For that matter never mind not having been there when transsexual folks were doing all the preliminary work on matters like ID change and Birth Certificate change or for that matter struggling for acceptance as legitimate members of the Lesbian community.

I didn’t have a problem with the politically oriented TG Folks wanting to be part of the L/G Communities.  I thought it was a positive change from the heterosexual CD history of the movement even if it did seem a tad opportunistic.

All of a sudden Transgender Inc is this big all inclusive umbrella making all sorts of elaborate claims of having been part of the gay and lesbian movement right from the start.  Making a saint out of Sylvia Rivera and making it sound as though Stonewall was a transgender uprising and not a predominantly young gay male event made up of the too obvious gay kids.  There is a difference between street queens and transgender people that goes beyond the vaunted “gender identity”.

At the same time people who were actually both transgender and part of establishing long time traditional transgender roles within the Gay Community are dismissed.  How much does one hear about the Imperial Courts within the transgender community?  Or the often times transsexual/transgender “drag queens” who are performers?  Or the “houses” on the East Coast?

Could it be homophobia that causes people who are actually transsexual and transgender, but live within the context of the gay communities and often gay communities of color to be erased, by the proper folks who make up “Transgender Inc.”?  So proper they are afraid of the word sex and have to come up with terms that do not include the word sex in describing an operation that literally and physically changes people’s sex.

Perhaps it isn’t homophobia.  Perhaps it is sexphobia?

Perhaps what I see as homophobia directed towards the Gay Community in general is fear of being associated with people who actually have sex with men, people who give blow jobs and let themselves be fucked in the ass.

How else can I understand how heterosexual CDs are considered by Transgender Inc to be part of the “Transgender Community” but drag queens are not.  Especially when Transgender Inc. takes upon itself the right to claim even long time post-SRS men and women as transgender, even when they do not want to be considered transgender.

Homophobia is a nasty charge, but I remember the case of Peter Oiler, a heterosexual transvestite truck driver fired from Winn-Dixie when his cross dressing came out.  Had he said, “What I do during my time is my business.”  I would have defended him.  Had he been in transition, I would have defended her right to transition.  But the first words out of his mouth were, “I ain’t no fag.”

Gee Peter, that makes me so not want to run out and sign a petition supporting your homophobic ass.

But whenever I mention it might be easier to pass non-discrimination laws if they were defined as covering TS/TG people who actually changed their assigned sex and or gender and lived 24/7/365 as a member of the sex or gender they have been reassigned to Peter Oiler’s name gets hauled up.

In the intervening years my partner Tina and I started the Women Born Transsexual mailing list where we had to deal with sisters who thought we should give priority to defending their heterosexual marriages while we did not have marriage equality.  Worse yet we had heterosexist comments made to us about how we should accept “civil unions” instead of demanding marriage equality, with the homophobic implication that only heterosexual couples were real couples and lesbian couples were second best.

Lately the wonderful folks that make up Transgender Inc have taken to attacking the Gay and Lesbian Community for focusing on Marriage equality instead of the Trans-inclusive ENDA Transgender Inc. thinks should be the focus.

Even though that harms lesbian and gay post-transsexual people.  I don’t know if this is homophobia or sheer self-centeredness.

Honestly though, I’ve been part of the Gay and Lesbian Community for some 40 years and I haven’t seen that much of a contribution by the modern Transgender Community, the one the “T” supposedly stands for, towards any general LGBT/T cause.  More often Transgender Inc seems totally self-centered.

Now I know this is less the case else where, but here in the US it seems like the only people associated with trans-prefixed words who contribute all that much to the general cause are those post-SRS folks who are either gay or lesbian.  Oh, I almost forgot there is on huge segment that does contribute far more than it gets back.  Those much maligned drag queens who perform in bars and take part in the Imperial Courts and Houses,  The ones I have often heard people who are more privileged members of Transgender Inc say were not a part of the Transgender Community.

I was going to go off on Susan Stanton for her reported homophobic rants and actions regarding a gay restaurant near where she lives but focusing on her is meaningless, she opened her mouth and said what all to often is said in the privacy of mailing lists.  The problem is systemic.

The last few months I have been hearing numerous members of the Transgender community carry on about how “Gay Inc.” isn’t putting the interests of transgender people first.  How perhaps Transgender Folks should go their own way.  Oddly these are the same people who label post-transsexual women separatists and elitist when they say the same thing.

Transgender Inc demanded to be a part of the Gay and Lesbian Movement.  I was there, I remember it wasn’t the other way around.  I also remember the roots of the Transgender Movement.

It is time for transgender folks and straight post-SRS transsexual women to drop the homophobia and often right-wing attitudes.  Support is a two way thing.  It shouldn’t be all about the gay and lesbian community supporting your interests and your never giving back the support when it comes to gay and lesbian interests.

But mostly y’all need to lose the homophobia.