Iâ€™ve been working a question over and over again in my head ever since U.S. District Judge James Ware ordered the release of video tapes made during the Proposition 8 trial, and afterÂ that same material was promply suppressed again thanks to the histrionic efforts of… well I don’t know who exactly, as that is sort of the point, so let’s just say it was John Lithgow from Footloose.
Anyway, something about this whole thing doesn’t make sense to me. Why would the anti-gay proponents of Prop 8 want these tapes suppressed?
It’s not that they haven’t given a reason. The prop 8 supporters have claimed that witnesses may face some kind of retaliation for their testimony. They also mention that the Supreme Court said the trial couldn’t be broadcast live, and that these tapes were made for Judge Walkerâ€™s â€œPersonal Use.” In fact, bigots across the nation seem pretty cheesed off that these recordings exist at all.
Look, I am not a lawyer. In fact, Iâ€™ve seen just enough “Law and Order” to sufficiently scramble my brains to the point where if there was something the opposite of a lawyer, I would be that. I donâ€™t know anything about the legal arguments involved in this case, or how strong they are, or what statutory basis exists to support the release or suppression of this material. I honestly donâ€™t care. I feel it should be seen, mostly because I want to see it. Plus I’m pretty sure it makes homophobic people look bad, which is always nice.
My question is one of motivation. Why wouldnâ€™t the hate spewing bile throwers that support this reprehensible amendment to Californiaâ€™s constitution want this information out there? I thought this was supposed to be their best argument for opposing gay marriage, laid out in all its legal splendor. It was their opportunity to once and for all demonstrate in a court of law the dangers of the “gay menace,” and illustrate the validity of their point of view for all to see. Not only could they win a major victory in their quest to pee in the lemonade of LGBT people everywhere, but they could also prove beyond a doubt the righteousness of their position.Â Wasn’tÂ that the premise around which their entire case was made? Why then would they fight so tirelessly to keep this grand display a secret?
I think it’s because they know their argument sounds weak, and they are too cowardly to put their names on it. No real basis for their bigotry exists, and they know it.
Also, they donâ€™t like a fair fight, because they canâ€™t win one. Their ability to market the â€œevils of homosexualityâ€ depends entirely on being able to define what being gay means. The basis for their hatred only seems plausible inside the dense atmosphere of misinformation, slander, and suppression that they must create in order to sustain their resistance. They can only exist for as long as they can convince people that gays destroy marriages, corrupt the young, and poison society. Once the pink boogeyman is revealed as simply one more type of person, no more or less dangerous than any other random stranger, the entire structure collapses. Without a full cast of society destroying villains, anti-gay activists are just nosy bigots who should probably mind their own business.
Once they have to make their case juxtaposed against actual non-threatening gay families, they are revealed as the bullies they really are. Every statement from every witness becomes its own little PR nightmare. This is the reason they donâ€™t want these tapes seen.
And let us dispense with the notion that these craven, nasty, and boundlessly vile witnesses who took the stand to support Prop 8 should enjoy any anonymity. They say they want these tapes suppressed to prevent a â€œchilling effect.” I had to look this up, so please forgive my simplistic explanation, but a chilling effect is basically this: A witness is put in a position where they are forced to speak to their beliefs on a certain matter. The nature of these beliefs are such that expounding them would hurt their reputations, and as a result of the negative consequences prompt the witness to censor themselves. I call this the â€œI hate gays, I just donâ€™t want them to know about it so I can keep getting their moneyâ€ rule. Screw you. I have a right to know who hates me, or at least who hates me enough to say so in a court of law.
There is a misunderstanding about free speech that has gotten a little out of hand, and Iâ€™d like to clear it up now. As an American citizen, you are free to say anything you want without fear of governmental sanction. This in no way protects you from other people thinking you are an asshole for what you said. Itâ€™s a sort of free speech symbiosis. Itâ€™s called taking responsibility for what you say, or to put it more plainly, integrity.
Conservatives canâ€™t have it both ways. They canâ€™t both attempt to dehumanize the LGBT community, and then strut around like they are fully inclusive people with a few differences of opinion. They canâ€™t both say bigoted things, and then claim not to be bigots. It doesnâ€™t work like that.
Mostly I’m confused about the logic involved. These people are aware enough of themselves to know that suppressing these tapes is a good idea for them. They know how they will come off. They know that the picture they have painted of gay people is a lie, which is why they are scrambling to cover it up.
Yet, if their argument is based on nothing, why make that argument in the first place? Where is this hate coming from? Nowhere? Is it because they think gay sex is icky? ItÂ doesn’tÂ make any sense. Itâ€™s a sort of impenetrable homophobic paradox.
And nobody say anything to me about religion. We need to stop pretending that religion has anything to do with it. The Bible says all kinds of crazy things about all manner of subjects. Nobody seems to have any problem with divorce for example, and that is covered at much greater length and far more exacting detail. The religion thing is just an excuse. It is a difficult to refute, faith-based dodge masking simple unrefined hate. Iâ€™m looking for the true source. The spark that caused all this hate. I honestly have no idea what it is.
But maybe if I can see those tapes I might be able to get a little closer to finding out, though if John Lithgow1 gets his way, I’ll never get that chance.
1. Apologies to Mr. Lithgow, who by all accounts gave a brilliant performance as Ted Olson in the Dustin Lance Black pennedÂ BroadwayÂ adaptationÂ of the Prop 8 trial. He is probably a really cool guy. He is clearly talented, and anyone who can convincingly play Reverend Shaw Moore, andÂ Roberta Muldoon, and that creepy guy from Dexter deserves a mantle crushing number of gold statues. Also, to be fair, Reverend Moore sort of turns it around at the end of that movie. It’s those book burners we need to be worried about. I wonder where they would come down on Prop 8? Do those people lookÂ familiarÂ to any of you “Protect Marriage” ditto heads? Do you really want to count yourselves among the book burners? There is still time to have the “I’ve been such a fool” moment. It’s not too late.
(Image: via reenactment video, not an actual Prop 8 tape image.)
Benjamin Phillips is a Humor Writer, Web Developer, Civics Nerd, and all around crank that spends entirely too much time shouting with deep exasperation at the television, especially whenever cable news is on. He lives in St. Louis, MO and spends most of his time staring at various LCD screens, occasionally taking walks in the park whenever his boyfriend becomes sufficiently convinced that Benjamin is becoming a reclusive hermit person. He is available for children’s parties, provided that those children are entertained by hearing a complete windbag talk for two hours about the importance of science education, or worse yet, poorly researched anecdotes PROVING that James Buchanan was totally gay. If civilization were to collapse due to zombie hoards or nuclear holocaust, Benjamin would be among the first to die as he has no useful skills of any kind. The post-apocalyptic hellscape has no real need for homosexual computer programmers who can name all the presidents in order, as well as the actors who have played all eleven incarnations of Doctor Who.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
‘Apparently You’ll Never Believe Us’: House Republican Melts Down After Reporter Questions His ‘Evidence’ Against Biden
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) became defensive and accusatory after repeatedly being unable to answer a reporter’s questions in a press conference Wednesday, held to announce what House Republicans claim is “evidence” against President Joe Biden.
A shortened version of the video posted by the news organization Heartland Signal went viral, garnering nearly one million views in under three hours on the social media platform X.
“Mr. Chairman, question about the timing of all of this,” began an NBC News reporter identified by Mediaite as Ryan Nobles. “You’re talking about a two-tiered system of justice. If I’m not mistaken, on August 7, 2020 Bill Barr was the attorney general and Donald Trump was the president, so explain to me where the two-tiered system of justice comes into play. And then the WhatsApp message you have, I believe, is dated June 6, 2017. Joe Biden is not vice president or even a candidate for president at that time. So where is the direct connection to some sort of criminal malfeasance within these two pieces of evidence?”
Chairman Smith could not only not answer any part of those questions, he appeared to forget a portion of them.
“Well, I think the facts speak for themselves,” Smith replied. “There’s over 700 pages of examples of, where people should be very concerned, when you’re talking about um, ah, – what was your first question?”
Smith went on to say, “It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House,” after being reminded them President at that time was Donald Trump. “We need to make sure that the Department of Justice works for all people and doesn’t treat those who are politically connected or wealthy much differently. And unfortunately, we have several examples that came forward by the two IRS whistleblowers, that proves that people are treated differently because they’re politically connected.”
“Are you suggesting that Joe Biden being the president now, is unfairly treating Donald Trump in his indictment?” Nobles asked.
Again, Smith did not answer the question.
“What I’m talking about is the 700 pages that we have before us, which is all the information that came from the IRS whistleblowers, and that’s what we’re releasing right now,” Smith replied, again not answering Nobles’ question. “And I’ll tell you, I would encourage everyone in this room to look at those 700 pages. If you think it’s okay, with what’s in it, then we live on two different planets.”
“Can you explain the timing of the August 6 WhatsApp message? Why is that evidence of some wrongdoing?” Nobles continued..
“I’m not an expert on the timeline,” Smith admitted, before pivoting to say, “I would love to have President Biden and his family to tell us about all the timelines, because it’s really, really unfortunate that we see so many meetings and so many phone calls that involved around official activity that the Vice President has been participating in, and then big sums of money follows later –”
“But he’s not the president or the vice president at that time. Where, where’s the wrongdoing? He wasn’t even a candidate for president,” Nobles pointed out.
“He was a candidate – ” Smith claimed.
“On August 6 –” Nobles began before Smith interrupted him.
“So apparently apparent – what source are you with?” Chairman Smith asked Noble.
“I’m with NBC,” the reporter replied.
“So apparently, you’ll never believe us,” Smith charged.
“I’m asking you a very direct question,” Nobles explained. “You presented a piece of evidence that you say came on August 6, 2017, that demonstrates that Joe Biden was using political influence to help his son. He wasn’t a political figure at that time. The first WhatsApp message you put up, where yo talk about the brand,” Nobles explained. “I’m completely open minded about this. I’m asking you specifically, how does that demonstrate that there was some sort of political influence being put over him, if at that time, he is not a political – he’s not an elected official?”
“I’m definitely not going to pinpoint one item,” Chairman Smith said defensively.
“You presented it!” Nobles acclaimed. “It was the first thing that you brought up.”
“So apparently, you don’t agree with that. So report that you disagree with it. I’ll take the next question. Yes?” Smith said, refusing to answer any of Nobles’ questions.
Watch below or at this link.
‘Jaw Dropping’: Democratic Senator Slams Tuberville’s ‘Open’ Talk About ‘White Supremacy’
A top Democratic Senator is blasting freshman Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville for his “jaw dropping” and open talk about white supremacy, after the Alabama Republican denigrated President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Senator Tuberville, the Alabama Republican who single-handedly has blocked well over 300 U.S. Military promotions, said the U.S. military is “not an equal opportunity employer,” appearing to imply Biden’s nomination of an accomplished officer was based on the color of his skin, not his impressive achievements and experience.
Air Force General Charles “CQ” Brown Jr., who is Black, will be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after a strong bipartisan 83-11 vote by the U.S. Senate confirming him last week. Sen. Tuberville voted against him, saying Tuesday he had “heard some things that he talked about about race and things that he wanted to mix into the military.”
General Brown is the first African American to head a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. He was one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People of 2020.”
“He is a respected warfighter who will serve America well,” wrote former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson that year, lauding General Brown in his TIME profile. “As the former commander of Pacific Air Forces, he’s highly qualified to deter China and reassure allies in the Indo-Pacific. The suppression of ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria was largely accomplished by local forces on the ground, enabled by air power CQ helped orchestrate.”
“Let me tell you something: Our military is not an equal-opportunity employer,” said Tuberville, falsely, appearing to imply it should not be.
“We’re not looking for different groups, social justice groups,” the Alabama Senator continued, in his Bloomberg News interview (video below), explaining why he voted against Brown’s nomination. “We don’t want to single-handedly destroy our military from within. We all need to be one.”
“I think he’ll do a good job,” Tuberville also said, “but I heard him say a few things that that really didn’t fit with me in terms of making our military better and better. We have things that that we need to do to make sure that that that we can uphold – and we can’t do that without a great, hard strong military.”
“Let me tell you something, our military is not an equal opportunity employer. We’re looking for the best [of] the best, to do whatever. We’re not looking for different groups, social justice groups. We don’t want to single handedly destroy our military from within.”
Asked for specific concerns, Tuberville said General Brown, “came out and said we need we need certain groups, more pilots, certain groups to have an opportunity to be pilots. Listen. I want it to be on merit. I want our military to be the best. I want the best people I don’t care who they are. Men. Women, if that makes any difference, Catholics, Protestants, I want everybody to believe in the one goal that we have in this country for our military is to protect the taxpayers, protect United States of America. Don’t give me this stuff about equal opportunity, because that’s not what this military is.”
“Our military is becoming so political that we’re going to go south when it comes to readiness,” he also warned, despite having been warned repeatedly that his military holds are negatively impacting military readiness, and are expected to do so for years to come.
But as CNBC reported, America’s military “is an equal-opportunity employer, and the Pentagon has an ‘Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.'”
Senator Tuberville has a history of making extremist remarks, so much so that in a rare move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in July delivered a speech on the Senate floor denouncing Tuberville by name, along with his “one-man mission to defend white nationalism.”
Earlier this year Tuberville insisted that white nationalists are simply “Americans,” and said, “I look at a white nationalist as a, as a Trump Republican. That’s what we’re called all the time.”
As NCRM reported in May, those remarks came immediately after an NBC News reporter told Tuberville, “A white nationalist propagates Nazism, a white nationalist could be someone who doesn’t believe that Black and Brown people are equals…”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, criticized Tuberville late Tuesday night, responding to the Alabama Republican’s interview with Bloomberg.
“The way Sen. Tuberville talks so openly about about white supremacy is just jaw dropping,” Sen. Murphy said. “I refuse to allow this to feel normal.”
Watch Tuberville’s remarks below or at this link.
Why did @SenTuberville vote against the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
“I heard some things he talked about, about race and things that he wanted to mix into the military,” he told @BloombergTV. “Our military is not an equal opportunity employer.” pic.twitter.com/avFStO79Af
— David Gura (@davidgura) September 27, 2023
McCarthy Blocks Bipartisan Bill Approved by 77 Senators to Avoid Shutdown as He Moves to Pin the Blame on Democrats
Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy is saying he will not allow the House to take up a compromise bill supported by a large and bipartisan majority of Senators that would allow the federal government to continue operating past the midnight Saturday deadline.
“I don’t see the support in the House,” for the Senate’s proposed continuing resolution, McCarthy said on Wednesday, according to Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman. He also reports that “this is the most explicit he’s been” in saying “he won’t take it up and pass it as is.”
Chad Pergram, the Senior Congressional Correspondent for Fox News reports, “McCarthy says he won’t allow the House to consider the Senate’s stopgap spending bill to avert a gov’t shutdown for 45 days. 77 bipartisan senators supported the package on a test vote last night.”
Earlier Wednesday, inside the House Republican Conference’s meeting, Sherman reported that Speaker McCarthy “said he told” Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “that he cannot take up a bill that funds Ukraine and doesn’t fix the border.”
“In other words,” Sherman adds, “if it wasn’t clear, the CR [continuing resolution] the Senate is taking up is dead on arrival in the House.”
Meanwhile, House Republicans, and especially Speaker McCarthy, are attempting to blame the likely shutdown on Democrats. House Democrats, Senate Democrats and most Senate Republicans have been working to avert a shutdown but Speaker McCarthy’s most extreme members have been pushing to shut down the federal government. Political observers say he could keep the government running by putting together a majority of House Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans to pass a continuing resolution, but would likely lose his Speakership as a result.
“A shutdown would furlough millions of federal employees, leave the military without pay, disrupt air travel and cut off vital safety net services, and it would be politically punishing to lawmakers whose job it is to fund government,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday. “The Republican McCarthy, pushed by a hard-right flank that rejects the deal he made with Biden and is demanding steep spending cuts, showed no interest in the Senate’s bipartisan effort — or the additional money for Ukraine.”
“’I think their priorities are bad,’ he said about the Senate effort.”
Political pundit and journalist Bill Kristol, a Republican who became a Democrat in 2020, Wednesday afternoon pinned the expected, coming shutdown on Speaker McCarthy.
“One man, Kevin McCarthy, is responsible for the looming government shutdown, because he won’t bring to the House floor a funding bill supported by a majority of senators from both parties, the administration, and a majority of House members. It’s the Speaker’s Shutdown.”
Wednesday morning, The Washington Post reported, “Facing a potential government shutdown in four days triggered by House Republicans’ inability to unite to pass spending bills, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is trying out a new strategy: shifting the blame.”
“McCarthy is starting to point fingers at Democrats in a bid to pin a shutdown on disagreements over border security. It’s an attempt to rewrite the record of the past several weeks, during which House Republicans have been unable to pass a short-term bill to prevent a shutdown — even one that includes the border security policies his conference overwhelmingly supports.”
Image via Shutterstock
- News2 days ago
‘Careening’ Toward ‘Risk of Political Violence’: Experts Sound Alarm After Trump Floats Executing His Former General
- News2 days ago
‘Poof’: White House Mocks Stunned Fox News Host as GOP’s Impeachment Case Evaporates on Live Air
- News1 day ago
House GOP Shutdown Demands Include Gutting Billions From Dept. of Education, Costing Over 200,000 Teachers Their Jobs
- News2 days ago
‘It Won’t Fare Well’: Legal Expert Trashes Trump’s Hopes for ‘Hail Mary’ Appeal This Week
- News2 days ago
‘Height of Irresponsibility’: Top LGBTQ Civil Rights Group Slams House Republicans Over Shutdown and ‘Politics of Hate’
- News2 days ago
Trump Appears to Think Jeb Bush Was President: ‘He Got Us Into the Middle East’
- News7 hours ago
McCarthy Blocks Bipartisan Bill Approved by 77 Senators to Avoid Shutdown as He Moves to Pin the Blame on Democrats
- News2 days ago
‘Isn’t Glock a Good Gun?’ Trump Asks Before Saying He Is Buying One – Campaign Forced to Deny He Did