Thousands of Norwegians in Youngstorget Square singing Pete Seeger’s “My Rainbow Race”

Pete Seeger singing it in English

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The N.C. Amendment, the Carolina, and the Holocaust

From Pam’s House Blend:

By: Scott Rose
Sunday May 6, 2012

Reposted with permission

News that the neo-Nazi group World Wide White Pride had endorsed Amendment One — the Bigot Ballot — serves as a reminder that even the Holocaust did not eliminate the worst of irrational, religion-based prejudices. The WWWP website routinely re-hashes WWII history, from a point of view sympathetic to Hitler and his aims.

It therefore is profoundly disturbing that in an anti-amendment editorial, the N.C.-based News and Observer alleged that gay-bashing bigots who use religion as an alibi for their gay-bashing “deserve respect.” What is next? Will the News and Observer editors say that the hateful views of religious anti-Semites “deserve respect”?

What are the roots of this anti-human gay-bashing justified through religion?

One root is found in the coincidentally-named Constitutio Criminalis Carolina, promulgated by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor who alleged that his power came from God.

The Carolina, as it is often called for short, was a legal code, which had this to say about homosexuals: “The punishment for fornication that goes against nature. cxvj. When a human commits fornication with a beast, a man with a man, a woman with a woman, they have also forfeited life. And they should be, according to the common custom, banished by fire from life into death.” Be it noted: the etymological roots of the anti-gay pejorative “faggot,” a word which also means “kindling wood for fires,” stems from the practice of burning gay human beings alive.

The Carolina directly influenced later German laws, including the notoriously anti-gay Section 175.  As power shifted among various of the German-speaking regions, the gay-bashing laws would get variously written.  In 1872, the penal code of the North German Federation said this: “Unnatural fornication, whether between persons of the male sex or of humans with beasts, is punished with imprisonment, with the further punishment of a prompt loss of civil rights.” Today’s religious gay-bashing bigots do not even wait for a homosexual to be found guilty before depriving her or him of civil rights.

Throughout the late 1800s, voices of enlightenment endeavored to eliminate these hateful gay-bashing laws. Yet, in 1909, the Reichstag published a “Scheme for a German Penal Code,” which said this: “The danger to family life and to youth is the same. The fact that there are more such cases in recent times is reliably testified. It lies therefore in the interest of morality as in that of the general welfare that penal provisions be expanded also to women.”

Remember that, the next time you hear NOM bigots, or Concerned Women for America bigots, or Tami Fitzgerald the bigot saying that the 1960s brought about the downfall of civilization through increased acceptance of homosexuality.  Remember that. Or if you will, NEVER FORGET.  Already in 1909, there were gay-bashing bigots, acting on the hateful religio-legal inheritance of the Carolina, saying that “The fact that there are more such cases in recent times is reliably testified.”

I am going to presume that readers understand where Section 175 led in the period of the Holocaust, and that they understand the religious justifications used for homo-hate during the Nazi period. However, if any of the editors of the News and Observer who outrageously think — in this day and age — that religion-based homo-hate “deserves respect” — I say, should any of those editors happen to be interested in learning the least thing about the historical basis for religiously-justified persecutions of gay human beings, they should feel free to contact me for a topic bibliography.

By saying that these hate-mongering religious justifications for political gay-bashing “deserve respect,” the News and Observer editors are enabling monsters like Pastor Sean Harris, who instructs parishioners to “crack” the wrists of their non-gender conforming sons, and the neo-Nazi supporters of Amendment One, who think that a gay-bashing version of Christianity goes hand-in-hand with their notions of white supremacy.

The News and Observer titled its op-ed “Just Say No.”  We must not only “Just say no” to approvals of religion-based gay bashing, wherever they occur; we must also look at where religion-based gay-bashing led in the Holocaust, and say NEVER AGAIN! There is no legitimacy to any claim that God has authorized somebody to hate homosexuals and/or to treat them as second-class citizens. Shame on the editors of the News and Observer.

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Lou Engle’s Civil War Metaphor on Gay Rights

I’m a yankee, my part of the country wasn’t filled with treasonous racist bastards who so hated America that they tried to destroy it just so they could own African American people as slaves.

Any time I see someone with a Confederate flag on their car or clothes I think there goes some one who hate America and everything it stands for.

When some scumbag embraces Lee or Stonewall Jackson I think they are the sort of people who would embrace Hitler.

This makes Lou Engle one sorry piece off shit in my estimation.

You can’t love America and embrace the Confederacy.

From The Advocate:

BY Editors
May 05 2012

Lou Engle, the conservative Christian minister and leader of prayer extravaganza The Call, urged supporters this week to A: show up to his next rally in Virginia, and B: to “restrain” the “homosexual agenda” across the Potomac as confederate military generals fought against the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C.

Right Wing Watch reports:

During his speech at the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Week of Prayer” yesterday, Lou Engle asked for support of his upcoming The Call: Virginia prayer rally, saying that Virginia should fight back against Washington D.C., just as Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson did during the Civil War. General Lee “had an anointing or something,” Engle said, “he was able to restrain Washington, he took his stand and held back those force.” Engle also pointed to Stonewall Jackson for “rallying the Virginians” against the Union as a model to fight the “homosexual agenda” and the demonic “principalities and powers” behind homosexuality. Engle said, “Raise up a stonewall to restrain the agenda that is coming out of D.C.”

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School refuses comment in dismissal of transgender student-teacher

From LGBTQ Nation:

By Gary Huffenberger
May 4, 2012

WILMINGTON, Ohio — When an area school district dismissed a Wilmington College transgender senior in January on the second day of a student-teaching placement at Hillsboro High School, the district may have broken federal law.

In a statement to the Wilmington News Journal, the Hillsboro school district superintendent based the dismissal on an alleged violation of the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators.

When on two separate occasions the newspaper requested he cite an excerpt from the code for his decision, he declined to discuss the matter in further detail.

Title IX federal law, however, “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes on the basis of failing to conform with gender stereotypes,” said a U.S. Department of Education spokesman. The federal department of education’s press policy is not to use the spokesperson’s name. That department’s Office for Civil Rights enforces several federal laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

In April, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled transgender people are protected from discrimination in the workplace, The Associated Press reported. The commission’s decision said that a refusal to hire or otherwise discriminate on the basis of gender identity is by definition sex discrimination under federal law.

The 21-year-old student teacher, who at birth was listed as female but who identifies as male and wears men’s clothing, was removed from a Hillsboro High School art classroom and told his placement was over.

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Greek voters reject austerity, turn to radical parties of left and right

From Raw Story:

By Helena Smith, The Guardian
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Governing parties backing EU-mandated austerity in Greece are on course for a major drubbing as hard-hit voters, venting their fury in elections, defected in droves, according to exit polls.

In a major upset that will not be welcomed by the crisis-plagued country’s eurozone partners, the two forces that had agreed to enact unpopular belt-tightening in return for rescue funds appeared headed for a beating, with none being able to form a government.

After nearly 40 years of dominating the Greek political scene, the centre-right New Democracy and socialist Pasok saw support drop dramatically in favour of parties that had virulently opposed the tough austerity dictated by international creditors.

The latest figures showed New Democracy leading with between 19 – 20.5% of the vote, followed by the radical leftist party, Syriza, with as much as 17% and socialist party Pasok with between 13 – 14 %. And for the first time since the collapse of military rule, ultra-nationalists were also set to enter parliament with polls showing the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) capturing as much as 8%.

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A Rising Tide Against Class-Action Suits

From The New York Times:

Published: May 5, 2012

IN 2007, Matthew Wolf returned his Nissan Infiniti about a year into his 39-month lease. For most people, that would mean a hit to the wallet, including the loss of the few hundred dollars he paid in advance to lower his monthly payment.

But Mr. Wolf was a captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the Army Reserves, and he had been called to active duty in Afghanistan. Under a provision of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, he was entitled to get back the $400 he’d paid toward future monthly installments.

That didn’t happen, and in 2010, his lawyer filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in New Jersey on behalf of Mr. Wolf and any other service member with a similar claim against Nissan.

A year later, the lawsuit hit a brick wall. In April 2011, the Supreme Court ruled in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that corporations could write consumer contracts that blocked class-action lawsuits. To do so, the corporations need only draft a contract that a.) requires unhappy customers to settle disputes through arbitration, and b.) prohibits unhappy customers from arbitrating as a collective.

When the ruling was issued, Brian T. Fitzpatrick, a law professor at Vanderbilt University, described it to The New York Times as “one of the most important and favorable cases for businesses in a very long time.” He called it “a game changer.”

A year later, we’re starting to see how much the game has changed. On April 25, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen released a report titled “Justice Denied” that said that since Concepcion, judges had cited the decision at least 76 times as a reason to prevent potential class-action lawsuits from moving ahead. In some of those cases, the judges made clear that they were ruling against the plaintiffs through gritted teeth, explaining that Concepcion basically made it impossible to come to any other decision.

Take Mr. Wolf’s case. The contract he signed with Nissan included a forced arbitration clause along with a class-action ban. His lawyer, Thomas T. Booth Jr., argued that the terms of the lease were “unconscionable,” which is legalese for “totally uncool, under the circumstances.” In his ruling, Judge Noel L. Hillman of Federal District Court in New Jersey said Mr. Wolf’s “argument and authority are persuasive,” but he ultimately tossed out the lawsuit, citing Concepcion. An appeal is pending.

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Georgia County Sheriff Evicts Four-Generation Family In Raid Resembling ‘Drug Bust’

From The Nation:

Allison Kilkenny
on May 4, 2012

One of Occupy Wall Street’s enduring legacies is the Occupy Our Homes movement that successfully managed to protect families from evictions at a time when not even the government of the United States seemed overly concerned with an epidemic of foreclosures.

In February, Helen Bailey, the 78-year-old former civil rights activist who was threatened with foreclosure by J.P. Morgan Chase while the company trumpeted its efforts to uphold Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, was able to stay in her home following a successful campaign by Occupy Nashville.

A Detroit husband and wife who spent months worrying they could be evicted from their home of twenty-two years received the news that they would be permitted to stay after an aggressive campaign that was led by members of Moratorium Now, Occupy Detroit and Homes Before Banks and included the family’s supporters blocking the contractor from placing the dumpster.

Occupy Atlanta prevented the eviction of a family when two dozen protesters encamped on the family’s lawn, and Occupy Our Homes delayed another foreclosure in Rochester, as did Occupy Cleveland in November.

And the list goes on.

These kinds of Occupy victories used to receive a fair amount of news coverage, though never at the same level as the more dramatic aspects of the movement, such as violent camp evictions and mass arrests. However, as of late, the work done by Occupy Our Homes has almost entirely dropped off the media radar.

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A Ban on Kissing? The Right-Wing Sexual Fears in New Abstinence Bills

From Alternet:

Attempts to ban talk of birth control and homosexuality from classrooms reveal conservatives’ deepest sexual fears.

By Tracy Clark-Flory
May 6, 2012

Imagine a high school teacher having to separate a smooching pair outside the classroom door to protect herself from being sued for condoning “gateway sexual activity.” Envision a sex education class where the mention of homosexuality is forbidden by law and discussion of contraception, or even puberty, is deemed unnecessary.

That’s the world that would be created by a recent raft of abstinence education bills in Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. These initiatives are frightening — but, viewed the right way, they shine light on extreme conservatives’ deepest, darkest fears about sex. They’re veritable inkblot tests for right-wing sexual pathos.

This week saw the passage of a Tennessee bill that has the usual aim of abstinence initiatives — to “exclusively and emphatically” promote abstinence until marriage. But the bill ultimately goes above and beyond the usual. It allows parents to seek damages in court if a teacher “promotes gateway sexual activity” to their child. It’s unclear what exactly “gateway sexual activity” is because the measure defines it vaguely as “sexual contact encouraging an individual to engage in a non-abstinent behavior.” Critics of the bill have suggested that this could include everything from hand holding to french kissing. The bill also proscribes “implicitly” promoting or “condoning” gateway sexual activity (the latter could mean simply turning a blind eye to it, hence the example above).

The potential legal implications here are what’s most important, but understanding the philosophy behind this view of “gateway” sexual activity is crucial, too. The thinking here is transparent: Premarital or extramarital sex, even physical affection, is like a drug — all-consuming, addictive and life-destroying. Sen. Margaret Dayton, a co-sponsor of the bill, actually said, as the Salt Lake Tribune paraphrased, “Teaching children about contraception is comparable to telling kids not to do drugs, then showing them how to ‘mainline’ heroin.” Here we have that fundamental fear of sex, of the power it holds over us, and of the possibility of losing ourselves (or our kids) to it.

Shortly before the “gateway” bill, Tennessee lawmakers advancedSenate Bill 49, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” which stipulated that “no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.” The measure managed to get Senate approval but, after intense public and legislative outcry, it was yanked by one of its sponsors before it faced a final vote in the House. An abstinence bill in Utah, which breezed through the state legislature but was ultimately vetoed last month by the governor, similarly banned any discussion of the gays. Wisconsin’s abstinence bill doesn’t prohibit the mention of homosexuality, but it does overwrite a current law requiring that teachers “use instructional methods and materials that do not promote bias against pupils of any race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnic or cultural background.”

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Poison in America

From Huffington Post:


The growth in hate groups and the use of their divisive and negative language in the mainstream political and media arena is cause for national alarm. Already this year several horrendous hate crimes, possible hate crimes, and crimes committed by people with ties to hate groups have received national attention.

In the first week of May a sixteen-month-old girl was shot and killed along with her mother, grandmother, and her mother’s boyfriend allegedly by Arizona white supremacist, border vigilante and longtime neo-Nazi J.T. Ready. The murders were the apparent result of domestic violence but were tragically little surprise from a man the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok called “a violent thug who typifies the very worst element in the American nativist movement.” In Tulsa, Oklahoma, hate crime charges were filed in April against two white men who went on a Good Friday shooting spree in a black neighborhood randomly targeting and killing three black victims and injuring two more. In Jackson, Mississippi, three white men pled guilty to federal hate crime charges in March after admitting to a pattern of harassing and assaulting black people that ended with one of the men killing James C. Anderson in June 2011 by driving over him with a pickup truck. And in Sanford, Florida, federal investigators considered whether hate crime charges might apply to the February killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin who was followed and killed by self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

For forty years, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s mission has been to fight hate and bigotry and seek justice for the most vulnerable members of society. In its latest “Intelligence Report for Spring 2012,” the news on hate groups in America was frightening. There were 1,018 hate groups in the United States in 2011 continuing a trend of significant growth that has lasted more than ten years. The Southern Poverty Law Center notes

[t]he radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.

The report continues:

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Viewpoint with Eliot … : Paul Krugman: ‘We need a counterweight to the power of big money in this

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Vice President Joe Biden Tells ‘Meet The Press’ He’s ‘Comfortable’ With Marriage Equality

From Huffington Post:


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Vice President Joe Biden became the highest-ranking official in the Obama administration to signal support for same-sex marriage on Sunday during an interview with “Meet The Press.”

Biden stopped just a touch short from outright saying that he backs marriage equality. But the implication was beyond clear that he has completed the so-called evolution on gay marriage that President Obama has yet to finish.

“And you’re comfortable with same-sex marriage now?” “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked.

“I am vice president of the United States of America,” Biden replied. “The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction– beyond that.”

There is a distinction between civil unions and gay marriage, of course, and the transcript of the Biden interview doesn’t make it clear if he distinguishing between the two or blurring those lines. He would go on to duck a question about whether the president would come out for same-sex marriage during the second term in office, offering only the following when asked if he’d like to see that happen.

The president continues to fight, whether it’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or whether it is making sure, across the board that you cannot discriminate. Look [at] the executive orders he’s put in place: Any hospital that gets federal funding, which is almost all of them, they can’t deny a partner from being able to have access to their partner who’s ill or making the call on whether or not they — you know — it’s just — this is evolving.

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French president François Hollande promises ‘a new start’ for Europe

From The Guardian UK:

After victory over Nicolas Sarkozy, Socialist says he will fight back against German-led austerity measures

in Paris, Sunday 6 May 2012

François Hollande has won the presidency of France, turning the tide on a rightward and xenophobic lurch in European politics and vowing to transform Europe‘s handling of the economic crisis by fighting back against German-led austerity measures.

The 57-year-old rural MP and self-styled Mr Normal, a moderate social democrat from the centre of the Socialist party, is France’s first leftwing president for 17 years. Projections from early counts, released by French television, put him on 51.9% and Nicolas Sarkozy on 48.1%.

His victory is a boost to the left in a continent that has gradually swung right since the economic crisis broke four years ago.

From the town of Tulle in his rural heartland of Corrèze in southwest France, Hollande declared victory. “May 6 should be a great date for our country, a new start for Europe, a new hope for the world,” he said. “I’m sure in a lot of European countries there is relief, hope that at last austerity is no longer inevitable.”

He said his mission was to go to European leaders to demand measures for “growth, jobs and prosperity”. Hollande’s first move as president will be to push Germany to renegotiate Europe’s budget discipline pact to include a clause on growth.

Hollande said France had voted for change, but he had a heavy responsibility to drag the country out of economic crisis. Vowing that France would no longer be fractured, divided or riven by discrimination, or those in the poor high-rise suburbs and abandoned rural areas cast aside, he said: “No child of the republic will be abandoned.”

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