Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Polls

In recent weeks Gallup has done two polls on the state of equality of rights for gay and lesbian people—which remains the major civil rights battle of the day. Looking at each poll alone is fascinating but considering them together is very enlightening.

The most recent poll on support marriage equality showed that a majority of Americans now view gay marriage as an acceptable option. Now this question is only for full-on marriage rights. The marriage-lite option, civil unions, is not included here. Numerous polls show that when that is offered into the mix then support rises to about 66% with one third firmly opposed to any legal rights for gay relationships.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gary Johnson, Drug Warriors and Gay Bullies?

We continue to post a regular column at Huffington Post regarding various issues impacting on civil liberties and personal freedom today. While we don't know the per page readership for the columns it is certainly safe to say that tens of thousands of people read them, it not hundreds of thousands. Huffington Post is one of the most widely read websites on the Net today.  Here are links to our most recent articles and a brief description of them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

At least he's honest about it.

Here is an interesting exchange on the floor of the Minnesota state senate between Senator Patricia Torres Ray and Senantor Warren Limmer. Limmer is a Republican who has sponsored legislation to "protect marriage," by which he means to continue to deny marriage rights to gay couples. Throughout this debate on equal rights before the law for gay couples I have heard anti-gay opponents pretending that they are really just "protecting marriage." They are vague and imprecise about what harm will be done and what is being protected. They want to continue to use state power to deny equality of rights to one class of people, they want to use big government to enforce a moral agenda.

They say it must be done to protect marriage. So, Senator Ray asks Limmer how his legislation will protect her marriage. His admission is enlightening.

If these pieces of legislation do NOT protect marriage in any tangible way, then what is the purpose? May I suggest the obvious answer, one that comes to mind ever time one of these people insist that they do not hate gay people. May I suggest that they do in fact hate gay people and this is how they express their hatred.

Monday, May 16, 2011

No Marriage Rights: Kill Them Instead

Religious opponents of equality of rights for gay people held a rally in New York to oppose measures that would give gay couples the same recognition that heterosexual couples currently have. The National Organization for (sic) Marriage was one of the sponsors.

One speaker invited to address the several hundred sized crowd was Rev. Ariel Torres Ortega, who preached in Spanish, with an interpreter translating into English. The two-minute video below is of that incident.

The Reverend launches into a list of all the awful sins that will follow if you allow gay men to exist, the Bible says nothing about lesbians, an oversight I'm sure. The disjointed nature of the "sermon," being translated phrase by phrase makes it a bit difficult to follow. But  it goes something like this:

Committing sexual acts between man and man. And receiving the retribution of the things that they have done....(long list of other sins)...those who practice such things are worthy to death, not only do they that do it, but those who also practice it.

So, apparently at this NOM Rally one of their prime speakers, instead allowing gay men to marry, wants to have them executed.

This isn't the first time this sentiment has been expressed at a NOM rally, though I believe it is the first time they turned the microphone over to someone who wants gay men killed. (Please note the verse in the Bible only mentions men, and that the Bible no where even acknowledges that lesbians exist.) At a rally in Indianapolis the following sign was held by one minister. It is titled: "The Solution to Gay Marriage" and shows two nooses. It then quotes Leviticus saying that gay men "shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." It then references  Cross Bearer Ministry and gives their contact details.

I fear most Americans do not understand the absolute depth of hatred that these fundamentalists have for gay people.

Below is a second video, this time from a rally for gay rights in Australia. The peaceful rally when disrupted when a group of fundamentalists literally stormed into the rally shouting at the people assembled that God hates them. I had read accounts of this but hadn't seen any video until now. It appears these fundamentalists were quite intent on disrupting the event. Who is aggressing against whom here? No doubt, the Religious Right will portray these fundamentalists as victims of hate, but the video shows the opposite.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fundamentalism and Intolerance

Today I stumbled upon Andrew Himes, as well a relative of his, Stephen Lamb. The reason I found them of interest is that both are descendants of fundamentalist power-house John R. Rice, whose publication The Sword of the Lord, was a major voice for fundamentalist intolerance in the United States. To get the relationships clear: Stephen is the great-grandson of Rice, Himes is the grandson of Rice, and uncle to Lamb.)

Above Himes talks about how black children were treated in his school in Tennessee. It is god-awful to listen to the description and I fear, had I been there, that I would have broken down emotionally as he did. It is shameful. But this is par for the course in the fundamentalist South.

Many people simply don't understand the origins of the "Christian school" movement in America. They think the inspiration was godlessness in government schools. Such secularism was a factor, but it was a minor factor. The real inspiration for the Christian schools movement in the United States was racism. Most these schools cropped up in the American South as a means to avoid having to send white children to school where black children would be allowed to attend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Newest Loans from Adam Smith Benevolent Fund

Vahobov Hamza
As believers in voluntary charity we try to practice what we preach. The purpose of the Adam Smith Benevolent Fund, through the Moorfield Storey Institute, is to make donations or loans to worthy causes. Our microlending projects are meant to encourage self-sufficiency and encourage economic development in poorer nations. We believe that this development will reduce social conflict, increase individual well-being and promote peace.

In the microlending project we look for individuals who have exhibited some ability in their field and who need a temporary loan in order to expand their business. As these loans are repaid they accumulate and are then lent out to new individuals for new projects. A portion of donations we receive, as well as income earned through our book distribution service,, are used for these charitable purposes.

The most recent loan we made is to Vahobov Hamza, who runs a business selling spare parts for cars in Kurgantyube, Tajikistan. Vahobov has been in business for 16 years and is an experience entrepreneur. His kiosk is located in a good location with lots of traffic. He started his business because he wanted independence from government and from working for someone else. He wishes to expand his business. We wish him the best in his venture and are happy to make a small loan to make this possible.

Half of this loan is new money invested by the Storey Institute and half is from previous loans that are being paid back.

We recently made a donation, not a loan, to the Master Teachers by Satellite for Afghanistan project run by our friend Carol Ruth Silver. Using the One Laptop Per Child laptop computer the program delivers education to children without schools and without teachers. In Kabul at this time Carol Ruth reports that the city is looking better but that the most exciting thing for her is "crowds of girls, in their white scarf uniform, coming from their shift at schools." We are pleased to have a small part in helping this worthy project and appreciate Carol Ruth's efforts, throughout the years, to make life better for everyone.

As a charitable, educational organization we rely entirely on donations or income earned through the sales of book at our website. Your help allows us to continue our educational efforts to insure equal rights for all Americans, to promote the concepts and values of a free and just society, and to help promote economic development in the developing world. You may make donations either by calling our toll-free at 866-254-3701 or by donating through the Fr33minds website.

The Bully Project

The video speaks for itself.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Damn the Facts. Full Speed Ahead

Here is a perfect example of how Right-wing web sites, with the flimsiest bits of evidence, make grand pronouncements that can be devastating to a person’s reputation and career. Kyle Olson is founder and CEO of something called the “Education Action Group Foundation” dedicated to “exposing those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo” and apparently at exposing Reds, Commies, Pinkos and Marxists.

He contributes to Right-wing sites such and has been cited by “Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.” In other words, he is considered a reputable source for information in Right-wing circles. Recently he exposed a college professor who he said was “explaining how to push Marxist principles in public school classrooms.”

The professor in question, according to Olson’s article on Andrew Breitbart’s site Big Government, is a “self-described  ‘Marxist educator.’” Olson claims the professor “explained in a video that Marxist teachers must show children early in their school years, before they become ‘conditioned’ capitalists.  He says this will help form the ‘cadre of revolutionaries’ that will be necessary to bring about a socialist government and economy.”

According to this well-respected “researcher,” a source for Limbaugh and Beck, this professor is peddling “poison that is filling the brains of America’s students and future leaders.”

What fringe Right groups pass off as research is so shoddy and unreliable, that they targeted a man who is not only NOT a Marxist, but a philosopher who was influenced by Ayn Rand. Dr. Stephen Hicks teaches philosophy at Rockford University, and runs the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. He was a Fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation and was Senior Fellow at The Objectivist Center. He’s also been a contributor The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.

Monday, May 2, 2011

NRA inserts itself in DOMA controversy.

One would expect the National Rifle Association to defend the rights of gun owners and not really concern itself with the rights of others. They are supposed to be a one-issue lobbying group. So, I don’t get worried when they refuse to defend the First Amendment and instead concentrate on the Second Amendment. I’m the sort of guy who likes all of the Bill of Rights, not just selective parts of it. If anything the Bill of Rights didn’t go far enough for me.

But I would not expect the NRA to actively insert itself in campaigns to deny other people their rights. But that is precisely what the NRA has done. That, in my opinions, moves them into a whole different category.

First, some background regarding the situation with the law firm King & Spalding. Unfortunately a lot of conservatives have actively been lying about the facts to twist the case into something far different than what it really is.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives recently hired King & Spalding. They wanted the firm to defend the odious Defense of Marriage Act, a measure that created a federal definition of marriage for the first time in history. Previously marriage was regulated as the state level. Republicans, in the name of states’ rights, moved the definition to the federal level so that it trumps state definitions on all federal matters.