Sunday, May 31, 2009

GayKK: The Mormons are Coming! The Mormons are Coming

Drop that Appletini and put on your white hoods because the Mormons are coming! The Mormons are coming!

This just about sums up the latest call to arms by the newest entrant to the GayKK, Californians Against Hate, who recently purchased ads in three east-coast newspapers warning of Mormon influence in the gay-marriage debate. The ads featured a Paul Revere-esque warning followed by an amateurish caution against Mormon influence in the marriage debate. Consider this abomination of rhyme and meter contained within the ad:

Listen my friends and you shall hear
Of Mormons coming, inciting fear
From Utah to Seven Northeast States
Gay marriage rights, they hop to eliminate

This whole advertisement, including the poem, is about as ironic as an insomniac slumber party. First, consider that this blatantly hostile, ignorant and inflammatory ad was created by a group entitled Californians Against Hate. That's like Hitler calling his propaganda machine Friends of the Jews. Also, you can't help but laugh at an ad that incites fear by warning about Mormons inciting fear. Apparently this whole organization was sick that day in English class when rhyme, meter and irony were discussed. One of the major complaints during the Prop 8 debate was about the Utah based church inserting itself into California politics. Yet here we have a California based group inserting itself into East Coast politics. Remember, the GayKK mantra is simple: It is good for me, but not for thee.

Luckily, three other newspapers in the east coast saw right through the GayKK propaganda and refused to run the ad stating "it borders on insulting and denigrating a whole set of people based on their religion." This of course is the modus operandi of the entire GayKK movement.

The Washington Post recently ran an article pointing out that the advertisements are just another salvo in the GayKK's fight to demonize the Mormons. This strategy is built around the fact that more people have Gay friends than Mormon friends. If the GayKK can play on people's fears and ignorance enough, they feel they can win the battle of public opinion, especially as it relates to gay marriage. As the founder of Californians Against hate stated in the article, "People will vote for someone because they like so and so, or because they don't like the other guy." In the case of the GayKK, they are trying to turn Mormons into the other guy.

Rick Jacobs, founding father of the GayKK and creator of the Kalifornia Kourage Kampaign (an organization I already discussed here) goes on to tell the Washington Post that Mormons "exist and flourish in this country because of the concept of equal protection. I find it just an irreconcilable hypocrisy that a group that rightly thrives within the essence of the American system would seek to repress and deny rights to another." Newsflash Ricky: gay marriage is not a right. While it may be perceived as such in some states and you may personally believe it is, nationally there is no federally protected right to same sex marriage. Hence the existence of the Federal Defense of Marriage act (signed by Bill Clinton) that allows states to refuse to recognize same sex marriage.

You know what is a right Ricky? Freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Those are real rights, and Rick Jacobs and the other Knights of the GayKK seek to deny Mormons their constitutionally protected rights because Mormons fail to support their perceived right to gay marriage.

Gathering angry mobs to protest Mormon churches and temples, spray painting our places of worship, boycotting our businesses and publicly flogging anyone who dares vote their conscience are all methods used by the GayKK to deny Mormons their constitutionally protected freedom to worship.

Juxtapose the GayKK's hostile methods with those used by Mormons in support of Proposition 8. We simply voiced our opinion in public and in private and allowed people to vote. We did not spray paint the doors of gay activists. We did not mail envelopes containing a suspicious white powder to gay bars. We did not stand outside a business and shout down everyone inside because the owner had the audacity to make a $100 contribution to the other side. The GayKK may claim they are right, but they can no longer claim to have the moral high ground. They seceded that territory the minute they decided to demonize a minority religion simply for voting their beliefs.

One of the most insulting aspects of the GayKK movement comes from their inability to appreciate the sincerity and deep felt belief of the religious. As Rick Jacobs stated, "I certainly didn't choose to be gay. People make choices to be Mormons, or any other religion." Here Rick insults Mormons and all religious people alike by equating theological preference to ordering off the menu at Chili's.

I could no more deny the Mormon Church than I could deny that the earth is round or the sky is blue. For me to deny my religion would require that I deny the countless existential experiences that make me who I am today. It would require that I deny the answers to prayers I have received and the miracles I have witnessed. More importantly, it would require that I deny the whisperings of the Holy Ghost who tells me with a surety that the Church is right. I do not simply believe the Mormon Church is true. I know it is true. I am not Mormon because of genetic pre-disposition or choice. I am Mormon because of Divine compulsion and I do not believe the religious feelings of those aligned against gay-marriage are any less sincere.

I do not oppose gay marriage because I hate homosexuals. I oppose gay marriage because of my belief in the divine nature of marriage and the importance of family to our eternal salvation. Mormons are not the enemy and the GayKK would see that much more clearly if they simply would remove their white hoods.

To view the Washington Post Article click here

To see the ad for yourself click here

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Intellectual Ball and Cheney

True Story: the police officer assigned to patrol my high school was named Officer Richard Head. Needless to say, being bestowed with a phallic insinuation as a name is not the best way to win the respect of teenage boys. His badge and gun were about the only thing protecting him from a lifetime of wedgies and swirlies.

This sophomoric treatment of Officer Head can explain, at least in part, the hatred and loathing American-liberals hold for former Vice President Dick Cheney. They just can't respect the opinions of a man whose name induces more sniggers, chuckles and guffahs than Ima Hogg.

Beyond his name, what reason is there, really, to hate Dick Cheney? I'm not saying he is on my Christmas card list, but what reason was given before anointing him Public Enemy Number One? Based on the way he is treated in the public and in the media at large, you would think Dick Cheney marinates his steak with dead puppies.

Consider what Maureen Dowd, New York Times Columnist and Plagiarist-at-large, recently wrote about the former Vice President:

"He left our ports unsecured, our food supply unsafe, the Taliban rising and Osama on the loose. No matter if or when terrorists attack here — and they're on their own timetable, not a partisan red/blue state timetable — Cheney will be deemed the primary one who made America more vulnerable."

The fact that such a specious, illogical rant could make its way onto the pages of the New York Times proves that Maureen Dowd is not the only one suffering from acute intellectual deficiency. In the school of ideas, Mrs. Dowd and her ilk clearly ride the short bus.

Blaming Dick Cheney for any and all future terrorist attacks is like blaming global warming on the Thundercats. There is simple no rational justification for such a broad accusation. Using that same logic, can we blame the Oklahoma City Bombing on Dan Quayle? Additionally, how is ferreting Osama Bin Laden out of a hole while at the same time assuring that no one spits in your Big Mac the responsibility of the Vice President?

The Vice President has one job: Don't die. That's it. His responsibility is to live in case the President doesn't. There is no more emasculated and neutered political position in the United States government. One former Vice President famously said that the office "was not worth a bucket of warm piss."

Dick Cheney never wrote, voted on or debated legislation. His only votes came as a tie breaker. He passed no executive order, commanded no troops and issued no official policy. Dick Cheney had less power and influence than the First Lady, yet we are supposed to believe that all past, present and future terrorist attacks are his fault.

Sadly enough, the Obama administration is applying the same twisted, baseless reasoning that turned Dick Cheney into a villain to its own national security policy. Say what you want about the Bush administration policies on the war on terror, they worked. For almost eight years we have not had a single significant attack on the US homeland or any of her over seas assets. Despite this success, Barack Obama, in the height of arrogance, is hoping to get the same or better results by doing less. He is betting that a pre-9-11 national security policy will have post 9-11 results. He is wrong.

Luckily, the same Dick Cheney whom the liberals so despise, has taken time away from crushing rainbows and oppressing widows, to publicly point out the numerous flaws in Obama's myopic national security policy. By simply opening his mouth, he has the entire Democratic establishment back stepping faster than bar full of line- dancing cowboys.

Consider all that has happened since Dick Cheney started to issue a voice of warning only a few weeks ago. On two key issues of national security, military tribunals and the release of the water boarding photos, Dick Cheney has played a part in getting Barack Obama to completely, and pathetically reverse himself.

He has gotten Barack Obama's own intelligence appointees to reveal the fact that waterboarding helped prevent a 9-11 type of attack on Los Angeles thereby saving countless thousands of lives.

By keeping the focus on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, he has managed to catch Nancy Pelosi in a blatant and all-too-public lie. There is even now murmuring that she might be forced to resign because of her I-didn't-know-then-I-did-know-then-I-was-lied-to-then-I-was-briefed-but-I-wasn't-fully-briefed web of deception.

The attention Dick Cheney has brought to the declassified memos also shows that Barack Obama released these memos against the advice of his own intelligence officials and every intelligence official who preceded them. Dick Cheney has continually asked that the information gleaned from enhanced interrogation be released to the public. The fact that President Obama has been so reluctant to do so shows his fear that the court of public opinion will decide that the answers we got from our interrogations were worth whatever methods we used to ask the question.

Additionally, on the issue of Gitmo, Barack Obama is now facing push back from his own party who voted 90-6 to refuse funding for the closure of the prison. Mysteriously, the national media has even begun to recognize Dick Cheney's credibility on the issue of national security as shown by their willingness to televise his live rebuttal to Barack Obama's security speech offered in the National Archives.

In a world drowning in a cacophony of opinion from all sides, Dick Cheney is emerging as an inconvenient, powerful and articulate voice. As conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt stated "Cheney scares the appeasers of the new millennium, even as Churchill scared the appeasers of the '30s, and for the same reason. Cheney knows the enemy, and he knows the new government isn't taking that enemy seriously… Every time he speaks, millions will listen closely as hundreds within the Beltway scowl." Sorry President Obama, but when people (even conservative talk show hosts) stop comparing Dick Cheney to Darth Vader and start comparing him to Winston Churchill, you've got problems.

Recent polling also shows public opinion of Dick Cheney is starting to improve. In fact, after Dick Cheney's rebuttal, an informal poll on MSNBC found that 61% of the voters agreed with his viewpoint on national security while only 31% agreed with Obama . Now if this were a Fox News poll, it would not be worth a pitcher of warm anything. The fact that is comes from MSNBC, whose litany of liberal talking heads still could not convince a majority of its listeners that Obama is right, is very telling.

For the Obama Administration, Dick Cheney is suddenly becoming an intellectual ball and chain, keeping their flights into fantasy and fiction firmly grounded in reality. Dick Cheney doesn't need a badge and gun to protect himself from Beltway Bullies. He just needs that truth.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An Opology for the Masses

"Love means never having to say your sorry." These words from the 1970's classic romance A Love Story constitute the second dumbest words ever uttered on the big screen. The dumbest words ever uttered, of course, belong to Top Gun with the climactic You-could-be-my-wingman-any-day-No-you-could-be-mine repartee between Maverick and Iceman. A true cinematic nadir.

Back to the original point, anyone who has been married knows that love means saying your sorry no less than 10 times a day. Sorry I left my socks in the middle of the floor. Sorry for not putting my shoes in the basket. Sorry I allowed my body to produce two eggs thereby making it possible for us to have twins.(I am still waiting to hear that last apology from my wife).

However, with President Obama, it appears the love story he has with his supporters, particularly those in the media, bears far more in common with the sycophantic 70's romance than with actual love. No matter what he does, no matter how egregious the error, his supporters just won't say they are sorry.

Over the first few months of the Obama administration, he has committed blunders that are simply inexcusable. Yet his defenders in the media continue to deflect blame and minimize criticism. No matter how large a deficit he creates, no matter how desperately he clings to his teleprompter, no matter how many special education kids he insults, the Opologists will always be there, willing to turn the other cheek. For many of the Opologists, their willingness to forgive is about their only Christian virtue. In real Christianity, it is the Messiah who asks us to forgive others, but in the Church of Opology, it is others who ask us to forgive the Messiah.

The distinctions between Christianity and Opology go even deeper. After all, what is the biggest difference between President Obama and Jesus?

Jesus knew how to build a cabinet.

Barack Obama's difficulties putting together a cabinet really are the punch line of a joke. In the history of the United States, we have had only 20 total nominees for a cabinet position not end up getting the job. That makes the fact the Tom Daschle, Nancy Killifer, Bill Richardson, Judd Gregg, Hilda Solis were all nominated but never took office even more embarrassing. Even the ones Barack Obama managed to get through, like Timothy Geithner and Hillary Clinton, were not without their own bit of controversy. In fact, the only nominee Barack Obama has nominated without raising an eyebrow is Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under former President Bush. When you least controversial pick is a former Bush appointee, you've got problems.

President Obama ran under the notion of Hope and Change, yet mere weeks into his tenure and he was using fear and panic to push his agenda. Even as a candidate, he was calling the U.S. economy the "worst since the great depression", a dubious claim at best. Then, as debate over his massive porkulus bill ensued, he warned that a failure to act would turn a "crisis into a catastrophe." Yet once the bill is passed, Barack Obama starts stating that, economically speaking, things aren't as bad as we think they are. Huh? Where is Al Gore screaming "He betrayed us! He played on our fears!" when you need him?

Concerning the state of the economy, Barack Obama is proving he intends to back up the words of his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, and not let a "good crisis go to waste." Barack Obama is using this current financial crisis as the largest bait-and-switch ever foisted upon the American people. Everyone, including Barack Obama, knows that we got into this mess because of a banking collapse caused by the toxic mortgage debt of people who bought more home than they can afford. So, with the banks in collapse and homes in foreclosure, President Obama proposes to solve the crisis by reforming our energy policy, fixing our healthcare system and improving education. To be sure, energy, healthcare and education are important priorities but they are not the cause nor the solution to our economic woes. Our financial system is bleeding to death and President Obama's only cure is to take more vitamins. So while President Obama doubles the national debt in order to fix the economy, he has yet to lay out a solution to the banking crisis that got us here in the first place.

President Obama said there were no earmarks in the stimulus bill despite the billions of dollars of earmarks written all over the document. Obama then said he would eliminate pork in the federal budget, but when the budget stop-gap needed to complete the fiscal year came out with more pork than a Hawaiian BBQ, he blamed it on Bush and promised that he would get rid of the pork next time. There is a word for that type of double speak; it is called lying.

Obama's hypocritical inconsistencies are legion despite the media Opologists insistence on turning the other cheek. He claims to support the troops while at the same time slashing defense spending and considering an idea that would force soldiers, including those wounded in war, to pay for their own healthcare. He ended military tribunals in Guantanamo bay only to re-instate them 100 days later. He lectures against deficit spending and run away government despite having created the largest deficit in American history.

While the Opologist's in the media will never bring themselves to utter those infamous words, it is only a matter of time before we all say we are sorry.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Lunchbox List

I turned 30 years old this past week which makes it official: I am no longer a teenager.

Thirty is an interesting age. It puts you half way between toilet papering someone's house and yelling at the kids to get off your lawn. Half way between baggy jeans, and pants up to your nipples.

The best part about being 30 is that I can officially stop pretending to care, or even understand, all things "teenager." I can accept the fact that every time I attempt to write a text message I look as nimble and dexterous as the Stay Puff Marshmallow man trying to pick up a penny. I can accept the fact that every time I touch an Xbox controller, some ten year old kid eating Twizzlers in his mom's basement is going to beat me. You know what? That is okay; because today, I am officially grown up.

All your life you are asked this one ominous question: what are you going to be when you grow up? Well here I am all grown up. I have a wife, a house, a mortgage, a retirement plan, a career, an education and children. So, so many children. So what am I?

I am the sum of my experiences. I am someone who has repelled Australian-style down the side of a cliff. I am someone who speaks two languages and can impersonate virtually every character on Sesame Street. I am someone who has stood on the heights of the Great Wall of China and the depths of the Cambodian Killing Fields. I am someone who has ridden down the slope of the Andean mountains in a Colombian-jungle bus driven by a 14-year old kid. I am someone who has carried a coffin and rocked a cradle. I am someone who has fallen madly in love with a woman and helped bring three (soon to be five) children into this world. I am someone who has cried tears of pain and fear, but mostly joy. Above all, I am someone who every time I come home at night hears three scampering voices shout the best word in the English language, "Daddy!"

Recently, my oldest son turned six and this has been as much an epiphany for me as my turning 30. My children are finally getting to the point in their lives where they will start having the experiences that will form the building blocks of their future identity. As their father, I feel it is important that they have as many beneficial experiences as possible.

Which got me thinking, what are the experiences each person should have before they grow up? We have bucket lists of things to do before you die, so I think it is time we started a Lunchbox list: things to do before you grow up. For example:

Run a lemonade stand selling .25 cent cups of sweet delicious capitalism

Sleep outside on a trampoline

Catch a lizard and/or frog then beg your mother to let you keep it

Eat ice cream until you throw up. Then eat some more.

Spend a warm summer evening playing tag with a wet sock.

Get grounded for doing something your parents are secretly proud of

Toilet paper your neighbors yard

Catch your parents praying together

Speak in front of a large crowd

Hike into the woods for no reason

Read a whole novel in one sitting

Take apart a household appliance just to see how it works

Dig a hole just to for the sake of digging

This is just the start to what I hope becomes a great little parenting tool. Don't know what to do on a Saturday afternoon? Pull out the Lunchbox List. If you have any suggestions for what you think every kid should do before he grows up, I would love to hear it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fry Mumia: Part Two

Besides being a cop killer and all around jerk-face, Mumia Abu-Jamal still believes he is a victim of racist oppression. Despite the fact that a) he is guilty and b) two of the jury members and one of the key witnesses who convicted him are black, Mumia and his Legion of the Duped have managed to use his supposed victim status to turn him into an icon. On this point, however, I have to agree with them. Mumia Abu-Jamal is a victim of racism, except the only racists in his sad life have not been his oppressors. They are his supporters.

The question each of us should ask in this case is: why Mumia? If it is truly about his innocence, then surely the progressive left that has propped Mumia up as an icon could have found a more worthy recipient of their time and energy. Surely, right now, there is someone sitting on death row who didn't have the murder weapon right next to him with the bullet from the murdered cop in his belly?

So why Mumia? Mumia Abu-Jamal is an intelligent man, an eloquent poet and a powerful speaker. In short, he is everything progressive liberals expect black men not to be.

George W. Bush said it best (for the record that is the first time "George W. Bush" and "said it best" have ever been used in the same sentence) when he described the liberal racism that props up Mumia as "the soft bigotry of low expectations."

Mumia Abu-Jamal has been made into an icon, not because of racial oppression, but because he defies racist expectations.

While this soft bigotry may help Mumia, for other minorities, I cannot see it as anything less than destructive. Soft-bigotry may not display the overt harm of Jim-Crow era racism, but they are both cut from the same cloth. You cannot believe an entire race of people needs your help with out also believing they are inferior to you.

In the public arena, soft-bigotry goes by many different euphemisms, most common among them are "diversity" and "affirmative action." These hall marks of soft-bigotry have become so ingrained in society you can see their hand at action in every corporate board room and every university lecture hall. But do they actually help?

Empirically, we are starting to see the evidence of how soft-bigotry hurts the very people it is supposed to help. In an academic setting , researchers Stephen Cole and Elinor Barber have found that race-based preferences at Ivy-league schools resulted in less minorities wishing to pursue academic careers. Researcher Richard Sander also found that race-based admission standards in law schools results in less black and Hispanic lawyers, not more.

Affirmative Action, especially as it is practiced by Universities in the form of race-based preferences, cannot survive even the most surface level analysis without showing its racist roots. If race-based preferences are about providing opportunities to poor, lower class groups, why not use parental education achievement or parental income instead of race when handing out preference? As it is now, the daughter of a black CEO has a better chance of going to an Ivy League school the son of a white farmer.

If affirmative action is about helping historically oppressed groups, why are Asians not also given preferential treatment? Over the last 100 years, perhaps no other groups has had to suffer as much as Asians. The same Jim-Crow laws that applied to blacks, applied to Asians. During WWII, Asians all across the country were rounded up and placed into internment camps simply because of their race. The large in-flux of Asian immigrants to the US during the 60's and 70's also means many Asians have had to overcome language barriers that African Americans have never faced.

Despite their historic oppression, Asians do not receive preferential treatment from colleges because, as a group, they have already exceeded what ever racist low-expectations school administrators have for the other minority groups. In other words, it is not enough to be from a historically oppressed minority group, you have to be from a historically oppressed minority group with low expectations.

Because of the Orwellian world we live in-where night is day and good is bad- saying that all races are equal and should be treated equally, without preference for one or the other, makes you a racist. Saying Blacks and Hispanics are equal to me in every way and therefore do not need my help, makes me a bigot.

In reality, there is only one difference between me and the Pro-Affirmitive-Action-Free-Mumia crowd. When I say men should "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" I actually mean it.