This should have been the strategic position all along -- to divorce the legal status of marriage in the public mind from the sacramental status of marriage within churches. I hope Haggard has enough influence left to make an impact:
Ted Haggard, the disgraced-then-revived evangelical Colorado pastor notorious for a 2006 drug and gay sex scandal that saw him booted from the pulpit of the 14,000-member church he helped found, now believes the state should legalize same-sex marriage.
That's what Haggard argued in an online debate Monday with Rabbi Benjamin Hecht, director of Orthodox Jewish think tank Nishma. The pastor, who in 2011 started a small, inclusive church in the basement of his Colorado Springs home, made a nuanced yet affirmative argument responding to the debate prompt, "Should same-sex marriage be allowed by the state?"
"We've reached a point where human dignity and mutual respect is so important," Haggard said in the debate hosted on Deyoon.com, "If someone is dealing with same-sex attraction or homosexuality, and they want someone to be their life partner of the same gender, though we would oppose that in our churches, it should be allowed by the state."
Haggard said that he believes that God's plan for marriage is a heterosexual union between a man and a woman. But Haggard sees a distinction between biblical law and civil law, and says "we need to be careful not to inculcate [biblical law] into civil law."
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace aired a deceptively edited video of President Obama's September 12 Rose Garden address to advance the Mitt Romney lie that Obama waited 2 weeks before calling the attack on a U.S. Consulate in Libya an act of terror.
In the days since Romney falsely claimed that Obama did not immediately call the deadly September 11 attack in Benghazi at act of terror, Fox has aggressively tried to muddle the conversation and introduce false ambiguity in Obama's initial comments.
Wallace claimed he was going to show "what actually happened" when Obama first addressed the attack. He then aired a video that clearly fast forwarded through portions of the speech.
Here is Obama's September 12 speech as aired by Fox:
Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi .... We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others .... Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks .... No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.
Wallace claimed that Fox excised portions of the speech "to show that there was quite a gap between various things that he was discussing."
But what Fox edited out of the tape is critical to understanding that Obama was very clearly discussing the Consulate attack when he said that "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation." In fact, the very next sentence in Obama's speech discussed the victims of the Consulate attack, which he called "this terrible act."
This is what Obama actually said, with the portion aired by Wallace in bold:
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.
It is only possible to pretend that there is any ambiguity over whether Obama was calling the Benghazi attack an act of terror if you edit the tape.
George McGovern, a political hero of my early adult years has passed away at age 90. It was obvious from news reports early last week of McGovern being admitted to hospice and being unresponsive that this was only a matter of time. Yet there is a pain[...]
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Missouri senate candidate Todd Akin, who withstood GOP pressure to drop his bid after suggesting that women don’t become pregnant from “legitimate rape,” recently compared his opponent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to a dog. Akin made the remarks at a fundraiser in Springfield featuring supporter Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R): ?She goes to Washington, D.C., [...]
The Denver Post endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008, and Obama has earned their endorsement once again in 2012. This endorsement is particularly important because Colorado is considered a swing state. The Post says: With the nation mired in two wars and amid an economic meltdown, we endorsed a largely untested young senator from [...]Related posts:
Right-wing anti-union fanatic Peter Roskam lucked out in the Illinois redistricting. His 6th CD, which gave Obama a 56-43% victory over McCain in 2008, has new boundaries (quite a bit further east and south) that would have narrowed Obama's win to 51-47%. So, of course, the DCCC packed its tent and fled in the night. (He's the House GOP's Chief Deputy Whip and if you read DWT you already know the DCCC head prohibits even thinking about going after Republican leaders.) Roskam has raised $2,943,395 and his lonely opponent, Leslie Coolidge, has only brought in $309,434. Union PACs have given Coolidge $10,000... but union PACs have given Roskam $45,000 (slightly more than the $42,000 they gave him in 2010, though not as much as they $55,100 they shelled out for him in 2008). So this year, along with the maxxed out contributions from the Koch Bros., JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse, AT &T, Goldman Sachs are all the rot-gut corporations funding a right-wing take-over, the Painters & Allied Trades Union maxxed out too, as did the Operating Engineers Union. [The Painters Union also maxxed out to Gambinio Crime Family-affiliated Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm (R-NY), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Steve LaTourette (R-OH). The guys'n'gals in the Operating Engineers Union gave $10,000 or above pops to Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rodney Alexander (R-LA), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Judy Biggert (R-IL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chip Cravaack (R-MN), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Robert Dold (R-IL), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Mikey Suits (R-NY), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Joe Heck (R-NV), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Peter King (R-NY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Steve LaTourette (R-OH).] Nor are they the only unions who max out to anti-union Republicans. Even the NEA, the teachers union, gave max donations to Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Judy Biggert (R-IL) this year-- as well as smaller amounts to other Republicans.
Now lets go back to Roskam. In his excellent book, The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy, Joshua Holland dug up a quote from Roskam explaining why he worked so hard to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act, once the #1 political priority for organized labor. "We need to preserve free-market enterprise. Businesses around the country need the flexibility to grow and change with their markets, and employees need the freedom to negotiate their hours and salaries with their employers. This bill would harm workers and businesses by changing the unionization process so drastically that the only ones who would benefit are the labor bosses."
I guess some "labor bosses" enjoyed hearing that enough to send their members' dues to his reelection campaign... over and over again. Holland went on to talk about why unions are important to working families-- if not to wealthy right-wing congressmen.
Conservatives argue that the number of Americans working in unions has plummeted because organized labor is anachronistic-- ghosts of industries past, relics of the Golden Age of manufacturing. Yet the truth is that labor?s decline is the result of a sophisticated, decades-long assault on workers? right-- and practical ability-- to organize and on the legitimacy of labor unions more generally.Another book I just can't get enough of is Chris Hayes' Twilight of the Elites and Hayes talks about a 2005 paper by Princeton Political Scientist Larry Bartels, "Economic Inequality and Political Representation," that's worth looking at in light of the GOP War Against Unions. He looked at how senatorial voting records tracked with the positions of constituents in different parts of the income distribution.
The motive is obvious: there?s nothing more terrifying to corporate America than the prospect of dealing with its workforce on an even playing field, and nothing more alarming for its allies on the Right than people who vote their own economic interests. Labor unions help accomplish both of those things.
The benefits that workers get from organizing go way beyond the union wage premium (but who among us couldn?t stand 11 percent more in our paychecks?). Union workers are also more likely to get retirement benefits, decent health care, and family leave and are less likely to work in unsafe conditions or otherwise get screwed over by their employers than are their nonunion counterparts. According to economists Lawrence Mishel and Matthew Walters, union members make almost 30 percent more when the wages and the value of benefits are combined.
Those are the tangibles, but there are intangibles as well. When enough workers are organized and can speak with one voice, they represent a powerful influence on the political establishment-- one that?s largely missing in the United States today. Inequality, stagnant wages, out-of-reach health-care costs, bad trade policy that hurts the middle class, dwindling opportunities to get an affordable high-quality education, and a host of other issues that have a real impact on most American families-- they?re all problems that a healthy labor movement can force politicians to address.
Union members are more likely to vote their economic interests than be blinded by culture war issues. In 2004, although George Bush won the votes of white working-class men by 25 percent over John Kerry, blue-collar white guys who belonged to unions broke for Kerry by 21 percent. Charles Noble, a political scientist at IC Long Beach, commented, ?Clearly, union members had a different perspective on the election, most likely provided by the unions themselves, which poured millions into educating and mobilizing union households.? In 2008, John McCain beat Obama by 25 percent among all gun owners, but Obama won over union members who pack heat by a 12 percent margin. Guy Molyneux, a partner with Hart Research, which conducted exit polls for the AFL-CIO, told the New York Times that white male union members ?supported Mr. Obama over Mr. McCain by a margin of 18 percentage points, while for all white men, exit polls found they backed Mr. McCain by a 16 percent margin.?
...[N]o country has seen such a precipitous decline in its labor movement as the United States has during the last three decades. We now have the lowest rate of workers covered by collective bargaining anywhere in the industrial world, and... the decline has correlated with painful economic stagnation for all but the top of the economic food chain... As economists Lawrence Mishel and Ross Eisenbrey wrote, ?Wage inequality began to grow at the same time? that the decline in unionization gathered steam in the late 1970s.
"In almost every instance," Bartels found, "senators appear to be considerably more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents, while the opinions of constituents in the bottom third of the income distribution have no apparent statistical effect on their senators' roll call voters."
...When recruiting candidates for the House of Representatives, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) looks for aspirants to raise so much money, so early-- $250,000 in the first quarter the candidate has declared-- that it's almost impossible to do without a massive personal or family bank account. "They'll say to you, you gotta be hitting 250," says one former congressional candidate. "And I was struggling to hit 100,000. You have to think out the actual economics of it. If you don't have a big bank account, then raising money has o be your full-time job," which means forfeiting your actual job and the income from that, "and if it's not going to be your full-time job, you better know a huge, huge number of rich people."
The results of this funneling process is clear in the composition of the country's least-trusted institution, the United States Congress: nearly half of all members of Congress have a net worth north of a million dollars, compared to just one in twenty-two households nationwide. Between 1984 and 2009, while the median net worth of American households remained essentially unchanged, the media net worth of members of the House of Representatives rose by 260 percent. Not only did the rich get richer, so did Congress.
An angry Black man standing up to a bullyIt was painful to watch President Obama debate Mitt Romney for the first time on Oct. 3. Literally, physically, painful. The president, despite clearly having the advantage over his opponent of rhetoric, intellect, and mastery of the facts (plus some increasingly good looks), appeared to simply be phoning it in. The whole night. The most painful part was that, despite the escalating outrageousness of lies, lies, lies that Mitt Romney brought to their meeting, Obama never pushed back. Never really tried to score a rhetorical body blow in response to the attack dog Romney was playing on TV. Not once.
This left many of his most fervent supporters discouraged, disillusioned, and very frightened (no matter how much bravado some tried to show after the fact; indeed, a student of psychology could argue that the more bravado expressed, the more fear they were actually feeling.)
It didn't help calm any nerves when the polls confirmed that Romney had run away with the debate in the minds of the court of public opinion (aka the potentially voting public) rather than being jettisoned for being a lyin' liar of epic proportions willing to say anything to become President that everyone knows he is and that Romney confirmed he is that very same night (to anyone who was listening to substance and comparing it to truth, anyhow.) It went from bad to worst when Romney, who had been looking almost hopelessly out of the running before the October 3rd debate, by October 15th had closed President Obama's commanding lead in the polls.
(Continue reading below the fold.)
Cross posted from The Stars Hollow GazetteThis is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future. Find the past "On This Day in History" here.October 21 is the 294th day of the year (295th in leap[...]
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It's been a swell week, many thanks to everyone at Crooks and Liars. We'll see each other soon on the flip side! Regards, Tengrain
Naked Capitalism explains to us that it is essential that criminal bankers are prosecuted.
The Inverse Square Blog presents an object-lesson in parenting via Tommy Thompson and Mitt Romney.
Welcome Back to Pottersville gives us the debate we'd pay good Amero's to see.
Bonus Track: Little Bang Theory reminds us that it is a beautiful world.
by Tom Kenworthy Voters who tuned in to the most recent presidential debate may have come away with the impression that the country?s vast portfolio of public lands exists almost solely for oil, gas and coal development. But even though it hasn?t gotten as much attention, President Obama has recently been demonstrating the power he [...]