Then, I meet a woman who KNOWS all about my film. I mean, she knows the story like an urban myth. But it’s not a myth. It’s the sad truth.
“Oh, I know this story,” she said. Her eyes sparkling with anticipation. “I think he’s my friend on Facebook. Yes, look…” she pulls out her smart phone and there he is. I push the phone away. I shouldn’t be looking at that.
“What was he thinking?” she roars with laughter.
Women love my film. It confirms everything they think they know about men. The injustice of men.
Dead five-year olds. 20 of them.
The children are shot dead by a crazed, entitled white boy. The little bodies buried this week. Lined up against the wall and executed. You know they didn’t have a clue. You know they did as they were told.
I thought about the little dog facing the lethal injection.
A horrific pendant: ten Afghan children are splattered into the mud by a drone.
Somehow their little brown faces are missing from the media. Somehow the little white children in Connecticut are worth more.
This week has been all about mental illness and guns. The mild wet weather. The poem. The fiscal cliff. Obama. That’s PRESIDENT Obama to you.
We asked you to vote for him, now he’s letting us down all over again. Surprise, fucking surprise.
I saw a man being mugged on the 5 train. Into Manhattan, a stealthy, tall, nimble black man rips an iPhone 4s out of an asian man’s hands leaving him with his ear phones on his head. The rest of us sat amazed.
The white people urged him to call the police but he said, “I’m already late for work.”
I’m buying a parker. It’s lined with blood-red shearling. Like the monkey they found in Ikea.
Dinner in the neighborhood, dinner at the Mercer Kitchen with Courtney, dinner at the Standard Grill with Brock.
Dinner with Cristina who I have not seen for 30 years on the floor of her palatial Upper East Side home. It was as if all those 30 years just melted away. That we were friends again from last week. Funny, compelling, brilliant, beautiful Cristina.
Dinner with new gay AA friends in cheap diners.
Dinner at Mary’s Fish Camp with Benoit. We stop at Boxers (gay bar) on the way home. There’s nothing for us. Benoit peels off leaving me on the street and as I wait for the green light a handsome green eyed man says hello.
At first I wonder why. Why is this stunningly handsome 27-year-old man saying hello to me.
Then we’re in Barracuda kissing each other.
I’m wearing that huge fur hat.
I can’t kiss him any more. I can’t suck any more spit out of his mouth. I can’t look into his green eyes.
I am so overwhelmed by him I walk through the rain until I am soaked to the skin. Wondering how it happens? Wondering how it ends up like this?
All the way home I’m humming Nature Boy to myself.
On the way back to Malibu I stopped in at one of those coffee-house chains. I sat nursing a cup of hot black brew.
I sat quietly. I am wearing my black pantaloons (Miu Miu), a Stetson, raspberry colored hand knitted socks with sky blue trim.
I sat listening to a bunch of affluent white men in their 50’s and 60’s dressed in motor cycling leathers, complaining about President Obama.
They were rudely spouting one ill-informed cliché after another, rudely condemning: green solutions, ‘cripple’ access around Santa Monica, the ‘fiscal cliff’ etc.
These same men defend Israel. Even though this week Israel and the USA find themselves horribly isolated on the world stage.
The old white men are stuck in another age, another time… baffled by a changing world… still unable to comprehend how Mitt Romney lost the election they were convinced he’d win.
I wanted to ask them questions but I knew nothing they had to say would tell me anything I didn’t already know.
Their fears laid bare: Black leaders, electric cars, marriage equality.
“They’ll all cry that they voted for him.” they convinced each other.
I felt like I was on the winning side. Their Schadenfreude didn’t feel dangerous… it felt old-fashioned.
On the way home I listened to something on NPR about a group called LA Jews for Peace.
A group of Jewish Americans committed to peace in the Middle East through a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and opposition to American militarism, imperialism, and exceptionalism.
Their spokesman bemoaned America’s UN vote against Palestine.
America, like the old white men at the coffee shop, seems unable to comprehend or adapt to the changing world.
What the white men at the coffee shop don’t seem to acknowledge: they have more in common with their President than they seem to realize. I mean… Obama is only half black, raised by white folks… cup half full lads? Surely?
Obama owns his whiteness in the Whitehouse and flays his blackness on the stump.
Barry Goodman (old white jew), unfriended me on FB the day the UN recognized the Palestinians right to statehood.
Just nine nations voted against the Palestinian Authority’s upgrade to nonvoting observer state status, which passed the General Assembly 138-9, with 41 abstentions.
Voting “No” on Thursday were Israel, the United States and Canada, joined by the Czech Republic, Panama and several Pacific island nations: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. The Pacific nations typically support the U.S. and Israel at the U.N. on key General Assembly resolutions.
In the face of this terrific news self hating jews like Barry Goodman reacted like spoiled, entitled children.
In a unanimous resolution passed Sunday, Israel’s Cabinet said it would not negotiate on the basis of the General Assembly’s recognition of a state of Palestine in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.
“The unilateral step taken by the Palestinians at the United Nations violates peace agreements,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained, justifying Israel’s rejection of the U.N. vote.
Astoundingly, he bleated:
“The only way to Palestinian statehood and peace is through direct negotiations with Israel.”
Then he told the rest of the non compliant world he was going to hold onto money that was owed to the Palestinians and build all over their shit.
I don’t trust any of the gay men I meet in LA. Industry men.
I had lunch with one of Bryan’s boy toys yesterday, the second in one week. I met a technician Bryan works with, Bryan says, “I don’t want to direct movies, I want someone else to direct them and I critique their results.”
After I started defending the Palestinians during the Israeli bombardment Guy S (second rate Bryan sycophant) tells me that they all hate me. That’s like music to my ears.
I call Tom. Tom denies what I already know to be the truth.
They know, they all know that sooner or later I’m going to write everything down.
Hollywood Babylon style.
It’s just a matter of time.
December 2nd 2013. Just you wait Henry Higgins, just you wait.
As my gay friends, blindly devoted to President Obama, danced with joy at the news that gay marriage was being approved by popular vote in three states… the first of its kind, that an ‘out’ lesbian had been elected to the US senate and that ‘their guy’ was going back to the White House… I shifted uncomfortably in my bed.
In May, after years of unconvincingly claiming that his (Obama’s) view on gay marriage was “evolving”, it miraculously matured five months before an election as support from gay and lesbian voters and young people – who are far more likely to support marriage equality – appeared to be softening. A month later he halted the deportation of thousands of young undocumented immigrants with an executive order.
He could have done either one at any time.
As the results came in I watched my Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr feeds explode.
Lance Black told us that he was crying so hard with gratitude for the people of Maine, so blinded by tears he could scarcely post his thanks on Facebook.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you.” he wept.
I kept thinking: Republicans want your money, Democrats want your hope. What’s worse? All night I knew that I was witnessing something sickeningly dishonest, as ersatz as the twin towers crumbling seem to conspiracy theorists.
I wondered again and again about the relative values of my gay brethren. You see, I couldn’t stop thinking about just one gay man. I was plagued with the young face of Bradley Manning who presently sits in jail, a victim of Obama’s rarely mentioned dark side. Since July 2010 he has been kept naked and in solitary confinement. According to his family he is going slowly insane.
Manning, you may remember, had blown the whistle on American war crimes in Iraq. He posted videos, unleashed a torrent of classified information to Wikileaks… his fury knew no bounds. He had every reason to be angry. He related to the wholesale cruelty and injustice being perpetrated on the Iraqi people. Manning’s had a crippling history of emotional abuse, neglect, bullying and abandonment .
As a teenager he was taken to the UK by his British mother. At school in Wales he became the target of bullying because he was the only American. The students would imitate his accent, and they apparently abandoned him once during a camping trip. His aunt told The Washington Post: “He woke up, and all the tents around him were gone. They left while he was sleeping.” He was also targeted for being effeminate.
As an adult he had one of two choices, he could take it out on himself like so many gay men and kill himself… or he could take it out on those who gave him the most pain. He was rightly furious at how he was being personally treated by the military… facing his own demons as well as the worlds. Every day he bore witness to atrocities against the Iraqi people, (the very people he was apparently trying to protect) and the atrocity of institutionalized homophobia.
Some soldiers, driven mad by war, punish Iraqis. A soldier walks into a village on his own and kills innocent men, women and children. Some take it out on each other, a soldier rapes or damages or kills a colleague. We know these stories. They are legion.
Bradley Manning knew the truth had to be revealed.
It was the largest set of restricted documents ever leaked to the public.
The Wikipedia page for Manning has a great deal of unsubstantiated detail describing his ‘true nature’, over turning tables, punching women in the face, carving words into a chair.
Meanwhile, the heteronormative lesbian (Tammy Baldwin), looking like Laura Bush in her puce, slubbed silk jacket was on her way to the Senate. Hailed by the gays (even the ones who have no lesbian or even women friends) as the great Sappho answer to the LGBT political conundrum, applauding as she goes down on the neo-liberal pussy… rainbow bunting festoons her office. Is Tammy Baldwin our LGBT hero? Will the people of Maine win a GLAAD award like the people of Europe won the Nobel Peace Prize?
Bradley Manning is a true hero, a gay hero, a young man of conscience… yet he has been all but abandoned by the gay community. Where are his GLAAD awards? His rainbow bunting? His gay applause?
Don’t weep for the people of Maine for voting on something that shouldn’t even have been on the ballot. Weep for Bradley Manning who sits in a cell today for showing all of you the crimes being committed in your name.
According to the New York Times, preparing President Obama for his first Presidential debate against Mitt Romney proved an impossible task for even his most trusted advisors.
David Axelrod, a senior strategist, told a surly Mr. Obama that he seemed distracted, but the President shrugged him off. “I’ll be there on game day,” he said. “I’m a game day player.”
As it turned out the President was not a ‘game day player’, famously caught off guard by Romney’s meticulous debate preparation he crashed and burned leaving many of his most ardent supporters wondering why they were supporting him at all.
There’s something horribly revealing about this story. It betrays exactly who Barack Obama is. Aloof, dismissive and far more confident in his own ability than he should be.
For those who have performed on stage can confirm, no amount of rehearsal is long enough for any performance. The dress rehearsal is imperative, it is at the dress rehearsal where all catastrophic mistakes will be made, never to be made again. To have no rehearsal, no dress rehearsal, to stand on stage without any preparation whatsoever is arrogant at best, monumentally dumb at worst. Arrogance may be Obama’s defining character defect. More details reveal the President to be an even less sympathetic character.
Two startling facts:
Obama has never entertained either President Carter nor Clinton at the White House and complains frequently about being under valued.
“Stories abound of big donors who stopped giving as much or working as hard because Obama never reached out, either with a Clinton-esque warm bath of attention or Romney-esque weekend love fests and Israeli-style jaunts; of celebrities who gave concerts for his campaigns and never received thank-you notes or even his full attention during the performance; of public servants upset because they knocked themselves out at the president’s request and never got a pat on the back.”
There is an obvious lack of sophistication about the first couple that no amount of Jason Woo, Simon Doonan table settings or fancy interior decoration will ever mask.
Obama’s arrogance, his ego maniacal obsession with his own success would be worth something if he had some huge scheme, some Housman type plan, some Churchillian grandiosity, some Napoleonic zeal but all his arrogance boils down to… well, a miserable compromise. Many liberals were annoyed during the first Obama term that Bush-era strong-arm tactics (including the ubiquitous executive order) were not used… even as the President was bullied relentlessly by house Republicans after he lost control of Congress.
After the ‘shellacking’ he continue his obsequious placating of the far right of the Republican party. Rather than insist on defending his oft lauded centrist position he crawled ignominiously further right to placate his foes. The most annoying leitmotif of President Obama’s last four years, a recurring theme… must be his constant reference to himself as The President because if he didn’t remind you who he was… you might forget.
“I’m the president.” he tells anyone who will listen. “I’m the President!” he smiles, like JayZ might tell you he had sold more tracks on iTunes than any other artist since the Beatles. And if that sounds vaguely racist, I remind you again what Don Lemons told me about The President, “Obama is the kind of black man who looks scared of white people.”
There’s something to be said for this analysis.
Not wanting to prepare for the Presidential debate reveals Obama’s fear of the very men the rest of us want to see him stand up against: The Good ol’ Boys. The very same men who are at this moment witnessing the end of their white America, the very same white men who could not believe America would elect a black President twice. The man they had humiliated with obstructionist politics, like tripping the nigger on the side-walk… just because they could. His fear of white people coupled with the pitiful jokes, the self-deprecating bon mot.
“I was too polite.” he offered up after the first debate.
It caused radical friends to throw up their hands in fury. Barry Obama, against all the Republican odds, is President re-elect. It is up to him to start taking those who elected him seriously and not for granted. It is up to us to drag this weedy President firmly into the 21st Century.
Americans, it seems, are baying for a modern America. The cabal of white (Republican looking) social engineers who stand behind Obama (Tim Geithner et al) , using their half-black, amiable front man as a shield behind which they steal the money…. well, they need to wake up. There are too many vocal opponents to the wholesale compromise that defined Obama’s first term.
Those who supported Obama the second time around are delivering a firm rebuke. They want stuff. The white men who have been controlling Obama, offering false hope to the Latinos and the gays to motivate their base… have opened Pandora’s box… yet the evil in the box seems poisonous only to the Republicans… for the rest of us it is the liberal air we breath.
A Gay Poem
by Duncan Roy 2012
Don’t let climate change ruin your gay wedding.
Don’t let staff shortages due to deportation destroy your special day.
Try not to think about drone attacks on foreign shores.
Concentrate on the $160k baby you can’t really afford, grown in the woman whose name will never be known to the unborn child.
You’re spending your bonus money on Botox and patching your 25 years old lined forehead with restylane.
Thank God you’re marrying a fellow american or ICE officers might be your groomsman.
Thank God you can get married, you’ll never be turned away from the hospital as your husband lies dying of a meth overdose.
They found him in the sauna, multiply penetrated, cream pied, still dripping, swaying gently in a sling still wearing his military boots…
The more the right talk about, manifest socialism… the more the people will investigate. A self-fulfilling prophesy. The ill-judged Romney 47% remark seems to have hit a chord.
What sort of chord?
What does this random remark mean to those currently unemployed, underwater, disenfranchised?
In Europe the people are storming the palace. Austerity for what? Debt, deficit, bankers… as explosive as any Molotov cocktail to a modern European .
What is this debt? To whom do we owe the money? How did we get there in the first place? And why should we pay it back?
Unfortunately, if you rely on network nightly news programs for your information about the economy, you are likely to be misinformed about the main causes of the current deficit: in order of importance, the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Bush tax cuts dwarf all other policy changes, costing the country an estimated $375 billion this year, or 24 percent of the deficit.
Newsweek: “the tax cuts were by far the largest, adding up to $2.3 trillion over 10 years.” Forty percent of the tax cuts’ benefits went to people earning over $500,000.
With cumulative spending of over $1.2 trillion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the post-9/11 military escalation rounds out the list of top deficit culprits at 14 percent. (The cost could reach up to $4 trillion, including future veterans’ expenses.)
The news media under report or simply ignore the truth about the deficit instead concentrating on entitlements as the main culprit for the obscene debt.
The myth of the deficit is perpetuated by both parties, Republican and Democrat. It is very unlikely that the truth will ever be revealed by either Democratic incumbent or Republican Nominee.
If Obama wins in November he will have to re-calibrate his Presidency. He’ll have nothing to lose.
He may do what the loyal people of the USA have held onto both good and bad about their friendly President… that he is in fact the ultimate dog in the manger… an unchecked liberal, a gay loving entitlement loving…. muslim socialist… ready to launch the USA into the groovy 21st Century?
I’m not holding out much hope… but hey. I hope I’m wrong.
I set out at 6am for the Men’s County Jail to see my friend Jeremy who is presently residing in dorm 5200. Jeremy is a good-looking white man in his mid-thirties. A meth head with a penchant for transsexuals. He has two kids in Utah. He used to manage an ihop. He is the kind of character I couldn’t invent from a movie I couldn’t write. A charming man with anger issues. Like most inmates he is pre-occupied with his own case, another miserable drug dealer hauled off the streets. We spoke for thirty minutes, I left $50 for him to eat well and I drove home.
The deputies who processed us into the jail were very pleasant, polite.
Yesterday we drove to Redondo Beach where we met with Democratic State Senator Lieu. The second State Senator I have met this month. He has a strange constituency, ranging from progressive liberals in the Venice area to hard-core Odinists in Orange County. We sat in the sparse office with his Harvard educated interns. They were polite but they didn’t offer us water or coffee.
Our successful visit last month to Senator Calderon lead to his decision to co-sponsor the Trust Act. The bill then passed the Senate Public Safety Committee and is now headed towards the Senate Floor . The Trust Act will make what happened to me less likely to happen to others. It may liberate the 3000 un-convicted men and women currently held on ICE holds in California. The Trust Act will demand that ICE follows its own guidelines, its own rules.
It is essential that Senator Lieu support this bill.
Lieu is an interesting man. In his Redondo office there is a huge studio photograph of Lieu and his family lounging on a white, fluffy rug. He is wearing a dress shirt but no tie. He has been a vociferous supporter of the LGBT community, especially the transsexual population for whom he reserves special respect.
I sat with Kristine Chong from The Californian Immigrants Policy Center and three other Immigrant rights specialists… including a day labourer from Mexico in the Senator’s dingy ‘conference’ room. Lieu’s people wore badly cut suits. We all began to sweat in the un air-conditioned office.
Antonio, the day laborer, spoke very movingly about the catastrophic effect ICE and the Secure Communities protocol are having on the immigrant population. Families broken apart, 5000 American children made orphans, their mothers and fathers deported. Immigrants are routinely forced to sign deportation papers or threatened with months held in privately owned immigration camps, camps that are currently costing the people of California 6 million dollars a year
The situation is tantamount to ethnic cleansing.
This state has enjoyed, for many years, low-cost manual labour on which their false economy was based. Now, these undocumented migrants are being rounded up like animals. Targeted on the streets, in their cars, in their homes.
ICE have to deport 400, 000 people a year to fulfill a federal government quota. Even President Obama’s announcement last week supporting The Dream Act didn’t stop three ‘Dreamers’ being deported yesterday.
I told my story. I told them what they must have heard many times out of Latino mouths. Spanish speakers, their accents somehow devaluing what they have to say. Listen to me. Listen to my clipped British accent. Listen to me eloquently tell my story. Pay attention to the dramatic pauses.
It is always very shocking for them (especially the starched, ivy league interns) that an affluent white person could have got caught up in the immigration net. They bowed their heads in shame. After 45 minutes our meeting is over.
They tell us that Lieu’s support on the Senate floor cannot be assured, he has to pamper to the right-wing element of his constituency. They say: Lieu, in the past, has been threatened physically for supporting immigrants rights. He received death threats. Pampering to the right? I ask incredulously. Pampering to the right will keep this state poor, our children uneducated, the prisons full and gay men like me… unmarried and childless.
Be brave, I urge him, and do the right thing.
As we are leaving we pass another group of men and women patiently waiting their turn to be heard. They could have been Odinists for all I know, demanding that Lieu hunt down every illegal immigrant in California and throw away the key.
Well, I wholeheartedly support your ‘put homosexuals to death’ position…you know…kill a gay for Jesus. Yay. You’ve got my support.
However, I support you on one condition. You can kill any one of us..as long as you can look us in the eye and kill us with your bare hands. Your hands around our throats. For Jesus.
You know, like vegetarians who urge carnivores to try killing their own meat before they eat another burger.
I mean, it’s one thing to say something terrible like that Andy but it’s another doing it…isn’t it?
I’ve posted some pictures of some gay people and their friends below for you to imagine shooting or gassing.
I saw you with your kids. You’re obviously a good dad. I mean…apart from wanting to commit genocide.
Have you seen pictures of the gestapo on their days off? Holding their kids in their arms?
I noticed too that you dress your kids in army uniforms. Are you training them to kill gays?
I was in a pub once called the Admiral Duncan in London that was bombed by a man like you who wanted to kill gays. He killed as many heterosexuals as he killed homosexuals. He went to prison for a very long time.
Will it make you happy or sad when you squeeze the life out of your first gay?
Andy!!! God forbid! Have you ever thought your children might be homosexual? What will you do when your children want to come out? When your children ‘come out’ will you enjoy killing them?
How will you feel? Taking their lives for Jesus? I thought you people were pro-life?
Apparently, at the concentration camps in Germany (during the last great state sanctioned homocleansing) where large numbers of gays and lesbians were murdered…the guards tortured us before butchering us.
Could you imagine doing that?
Do you ever have thoughts like that?
How exactly do you want to kill us? I mean, there are millions of us…in God’s great plan…he sure fucked things up.
Disposing of all that gay meat and bones may very well increase the deficit you despise so much.
I’ve given your problem of eradicating us gays a great deal of thought.
It occurs to a simple-minded man like me that however many of us you kill we will return.
If, for instance, you could determine when we were fetus that we might be gay…would you offer free abortions to women…NOOOO!!!! No abortions. Nothing FREE!!! The deficit!!
OH…yes…we’re probably evidence of the devil’s work? Is that right? But, I can eat garlic and sprinkle holy water on my forehead without turning to dust or the water burning my skin.
I must admit that I’ve thought about murdering some of my exes and if you could start…when the day comes…and you get permission to murder us…can you murder my ex first? I mean, before me. So I can see it happen maybe? Then you can turn the gun on me.
Have you ever considered just murdering gay people for fun? You seem like you might enjoy it.
Thank God Jesus has people like you to help him at difficult times like this.
I thought ‘thou shalt not kill‘ was a commandment but you people seem to make this bible stuff up as you go along.
Do you think you could help me go straight, stop hankering after a mouthful of cock?
I may renounce my gayness and come join your congregation. Come and live at your house. Ex gay. I’m too old to be gay anyway.
No. I’m not doing that. I’m a butt fucking gay. Too old to be ashamed of who I am. Too old.
I live in California. If you are ever here and feel like killing me for being gay…or any other reason…just let me know.
And just in case you didn’t think it could get any worse:
Yasmin Nair: Gay marriage, as framed in the United States, is the ultimate neoliberal fantasy, in that it allows for a politics of the personal to masquerade as a necessity for policy change. In the process, it serves to distract us from the very real issues facing millions of U.S. citizens and residents.
For many gays just listening to the President say gay and lesbian and marriage and agree in the same sentence was enough to have them wildly screaming with joy. Heading to their local bar and ordering martinis and Brazilian wax jobs…
You know, I’m an old fart, I’ve heard many politicians from all manner of countries embrace their gay electorate. The ones I remember best are Paul Keating in Australia who gave an impassioned speech about anti-vilification and inclusivity (made me cry) and of course Tony Blair who charged Waheed (Ali) with his far-reaching UK gay equality bill. (did not make me cry)
It seemed to us, during the grim Thatcher years, that gay rights would never materialize…that we were not welcome in our own country…but I put my faith in activists like Peter Tatchell who steadfastly turned up outside the homes of homophobes, the offices of homophobic organizations, held incendiary Outrage! placards, got arrested and generally caused trouble where ever he could so that our enemy never felt like they could get away with discriminatory behavior.
The gay elite sneered at Peter. They hated him for his trouble making, they called him insane, they denigrated his direct action. Recently, Elton John famously said that he was scared of Peter Tatchell but now (decades later) understands how important people like Peter are.
Peter is a national treasure, brain-damaged from repeated police beatings, poor from dedicating himself to our equality…thankfully he has been embraced by the same elite who once scoffed at his anarchic antics.
He taught me: never accept anything a politician says at face value.
So, when President Obama, flagging in popularity amongst his own, wants a boost? There we are…the convenient truth.
Today, I managed to incite the ire of my friends and foes alike by sneering at President Obama’s ill-judged and badly timed personal opinion about marriage equality.
The day after the 39th state in the union denounced same sex marriage and civil unions…North Carolina…he decides to ‘bravely’ come out for the gays.
Not everyone bought the president’s evolution.
“Waiting until AFTER the vote that divested NC’s gays of their constitutional /civil rights to speak for marriage equality is cowardly NOT heroic.” Roseanne Barr
Either POTUS had been forced into sharing his opinion by VP Joe Biden who declared his support for marriage equality a day or so earlier…or the entire fiasco had been manufactured by David Axelrod so President Obama could finally reclaim and re-energize his base.
“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.” Joe Biden
Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if the scenario had been planned.
The President merely said what any intelligent, liberal, modern man in his position must have thought for some time. I doubt whether his position had ‘evolved’. All that had ‘evolved’ was the moment his pro gay position could be revealed for maximum impact.
He was described as ‘brave’ his decision as ‘risky’ and his few words as ‘historical’. The interview applauded by gay groups and liberal straights alike.
Today, yesterday, I engaged in heated debates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, famously pissing off Jesse Tyler Fergusonwho appeared last night on Piers Morgan gushing over the president like a Thai hooker.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson @jessetyler
@duncaninla change takes time. It’s impossible to please everyone. Especially those who make it impossible to please.
Within minutes of the president’s pronouncement his liberal apotheosis began.
I was bombarded with fund raising requests from organizations like the HRC who shamelessly picked over the bones of the ‘unexpected’ Presidential LGBT patronage. The Obama ‘evolution’ will net millions for his campaign from traditionally very generous LGBT donors.
The gays reacted with unbridled and unquestioning enthusiasm, as a community we seem addicted to good news and paternalistic validation.
Upon hearing the Obamamessiah’s announcement Andrew Sullivan, the gay pundit had ‘tears in his eyes’. President Obama, according to Sullivan, has ‘let go of fear’. In Sullivan’s sentimental one issue world he succumbs, finally to the President’s change he could believe in.
Sullivan guesses that Obama has owned his blackness is the same way we must own our gayness. (I had tears in my eyes when I read that)
Andrew Sullivan gushes along side our friend Jesse Ferguson: The President’s endorsement will make young gays feel better about themselves, gay parents will know their kids have a place in the USA. In Sullivan’s exciting new world of Presidential fearlessness there’s a great deal of…expectation…I hope he isn’t disappointed.
Unless…of course, you’re the parents of children killed in drone attacks in northern Afghanistan…or find yourself out of a home or a job because the President is still fearful of the banks and his own military.
I found myself wondering what young straight people were thinking. Those who have supported the abstract notion of marriage equality but now peer at it cautiously…startled by the Presidential candor…like it’s a real issue and not something they have patiently listened to their gay friends bang on about.
Straight people might agree in principle with marriage equality but when ever we find this issue on the ballot…we lose.
Black voters, led by black churches, have played key roles in blocking same-sex marriage in states like California, where 2008 exit polls indicated about 70 percent black opposition, and Maryland, where black Democrats were part of a statehouse coalition that stalled a gay marriage bill in 2011.
Which brings me to this: The nub, the thorny question of style.
I have never liked the word marriage. It is steeped in heterosexual tradition.
I have never felt like I wanted to own this non secular word. It has nothing to do with me or the language and traditions of the gay life I evolved along side other men and women if the UK.
Yasmin Nair: “The fight for gay marriage, in granting that institution so much importance, is slowly eroding the possibility that the rest of the population might get rights and benefits without marrying each other. The fight over gay marriage has emerged as a progressive cause that all progressive straights should join when, in fact, it’s a deeply conservative movement that strips our movement of any imagination. Instead of asking for one way to grant rights and benefits, we ought to be advocating for a multiplicity of options.”
It is my understanding that when Waheed Ali was given the choice…he chose (after consultation) civil union as the way forward for British Gays and Lesbians. Now, 15 years later, those words are once again being re-evaluated. British gays are demanding the word marriage. Not my choice but, thankfully, they are fighting from a position of power.
Their equal rights already assured the word marriage is merely the icing on the equality cake…nor thankfully are the LGBT community in the UK hankering for the Queen to validate their position.
Once upon a time Civil Unions were mooted then tentatively offered to the LGBT community here in the USA but…they turned them down flat.
Even George W Bush thought Civil Unions a good idea. The LGBT community said they were not prepared to be separate but equal yet in the same breath tried convincing the skeptical that incremental baby steps toward marriage equality was the only way.
Now, even Civil Unions are being outlawed for gay people. Since Bush left office the right wing has become insanely entrenched, enraged, intractable….and unbelievably…more right wing.
Later, in the ‘historic’ interview President Obama made it clear what he considered important elements of a marriage: Commitment and monogamy. I nearly choked. So many of my gay friends do not rate monogamy highly on their list of per-requisites for a good gay marriage.
We are entering uncharted moral territory.
Yesterday, my educated American friends were baffled and confused when I said: Capitalism discovered that the LGBT community was generally well educated and affluent…and could be bought.
It is indeed a very interesting time to be gay in the USA. However, I’d like to see less simpering, fewer baby steps and more activism. Less cowardice and ass bleaching and more brave souls willing to be arrested and stand up for the rights they expect others to win for them.
What we do with this presidential approval is up to us.
The only time I have ever felt proud of American gays in my life time was when prop 8 was ratified. The people took to the streets, they ensnared the traffic of Los Angeles, stormed Mormon churches and caused mayhem in the city.
It was a night to be proud to be gay and I urge you all to remember the anger you felt that night because you must feel that anger every night until you are equal in every way.
Jeanne Cordova: “At the time, selling out our radical underpinnings made me very sad. We egg-throwers had to morph into omelet makers. Unhappily, I was left with the realization that all social movements start with radical ideology, but unless they progress to a blood and guts revolution, like a socialist overthrow, movements must inevitably adopt a civil rights and assimilationist stance or die out.”
Sunday morning, Malibu. You understand don’t you that I have not been to an AA meeting, therapy or spoken with my sponsor…not properly, for a week or so? It leaves one feeling quite raw.
I should devote myself to healthy choices this week.
Joe left yesterday afternoon. Back to NYC. A friend popped over for dinner last night. I made the most delicious Italian feast. We had a cuddle. He left.
Totally forgot all about the party I was meant to be going to yesterday. Instead I hung around in Hollywood. Met a bunch of cool, young Hollywood types who shared their Obama disillusionment.
How in hells name will he turn this around?
Obama is fucked, the liberals have been fucked over.
How will he turn this around?
He can’t, it’s too late.
If only he would grow some balls, stop goofing around, stop reminding people that he is President. Tap dancing when he should be banging heads together. Somebody should remind him that he’s not a contestant on Dancing With The Stars.
Can you imagine what’s going on in the White House? Obama looks petrified. Overstretched, isolated, mocked. When he speaks I can barely listen. Continually grasping for the flayed notion that consensus politics will save him…us. Grinning inanely.
When CNN anchor Don Lemons suggested to me at dinner that “Obama was frightened of white people.” I was shocked. But, I’ve seen it in Obama’s eyes. Lemons was right. He’s frightened of everything. The most ill-equipped man ever to preside over the free world.
Who is running this country?
If you’re wondering why we are still sending drones into Afghanistan? Perhaps it’s because Obama has no control over the military. If you are wondering what happened to his inspiring oratory? Realize that even his speech writers have deserted him.
I wonder what he promised Geitner to stay by his side? A penis enlargement?
If you are a liberal who is sick of watching Obama partying and quipping when your country is falling into a fascist abyss…demand that he is replaced by Hillary.
The Clintons, after all, have already stolen the money.
What will come next? I urge you to worry. Especially my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. There is a real and present danger that we cannot, must not ignore. Perry and Bachmann have every chance of being elected.
There will be a time, very soon, when you will start taking this threat seriously. You will set aside your hook-up sites, your apple martinis, the marriage sop you take for granted, the liberal air that you breath…and remember this:
In the 1920s, homosexual people in Germany, particularly in Berlin, enjoyed a higher level of freedom and acceptance than anywhere else in the world.
Beginning in 1933, gay organizations were banned, scholarly books about homosexuality, and sexuality in general, were burned, and homosexuals within the Nazi Party itself were murdered. The Gestapo compiled lists of homosexuals, who were compelled to sexually conform to the “German norm.”
Between 1933–45, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals, of which some 50,000 were officially sentenced. Most of these men served time in regular prisons, and an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 of those sentenced were incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps.
It is unclear how many of the 5,000 to 15,000 eventually perished in the camps, but leading scholar Ruediger Lautman believes that the death rate of homosexuals in concentration camps may have been as high as 60%. Homosexuals in the camps were treated in an unusually cruel manner by their captors.
After the war, the treatment of homosexuals in concentration camps went unacknowledged by most countries, and some men were even re-arrested and imprisoned based on evidence found during the Nazi years.
It was not until the 1980s that governments began to acknowledge this episode, and not until 2002 that the German government apologized to the gay community. This period still provokes controversy, however. In 2005, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Holocaust which included the persecution of homosexuals.
On 29 May, Private Bradley Manning will have been held in USmilitary detention without trial for one year. A 23 year old openly gay man, he faces a battery of charges, including “aiding the enemy” – a crime punishable by execution under US law.Manning’s crime? It is alleged that he blew the whistle on war crimes and cover ups by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. If this is true, the man is a hero. He is a defender of democracy and human rights. His actions are based on the principle that citizens have a right to know what the government is doing in their name. Bradley should not be in prison. The charges against him should be dropped. Set him free. Instead, put on trial those who killed innocent civilians and those who protected the perpetrators.
Bradley Manning is a true patriot, not a traitor. He reveres the founding ideals of the US – an open, honest government accountable to the people, which pursues its policies by lawful means that respect human rights. At great personal risk, he sought to expose grave crimes that were perpetrated and then hidden by the US government and military. These are the characteristics of a man of conscience, motivated by altruism. Any misjudgements he made in the alleged release of certain documents are fair outweighed by the positive good overall. Thanks to Manning, we, the people, know the truth.
One aspect of Bradley Manning’s commitment to human rights is his active support for LGBT equality. He has participated in Gay Pride marches and campaigned against the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ restrictions on US gay military personnel. In 2008, he attended a rally in New York to oppose attempts to ban same-sex marriage in California.
For nearly a year, Manning was imprisoned in harsh, inhuman conditions at Quantico marine corps base in Virginia. He was subjected to long periods of solitary confinement and many extreme deprivations, which amounted to pre-conviction punishment. After worldwide protests, he was recently transferred to a standard medium security military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where his treatment has significantly improved.
Manning is being held on the as yet unproven allegation that he leaked classified US military and diplomatic documents that were subsequently released by Wikileaks. These documents exposed US war crimes, as well as US foreign policy dishonesty and duplicity.
A senior United Nations representative on torture, Juan Mendez, reprimanded the US government in April 2011 for not allowing him to meet Bradley Manning in private and in confidence. This is the kind of censure the UN normally reserves for authoritarian regimes: http://tiny.cc/nq3mq
Mendez, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said: “I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr Manning.”
My friend US congressman Dennis Kucinich and a representative from Amnesty International were likewise refused permission to visit Manning.
Also in April, more than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars signed a letter protesting against the mistreatment of Manning during the nine months he was detained in Quantico military brig, arguing that his “degrading and inhumane conditions” were illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture: http://tiny.cc/bs95c
The open letter by these scholars states:
“For nine months, Manning has been confined to his cell for twenty-three hours a day. During his one remaining hour, he can walk in circles in another room, with no other prisoners present. He is not allowed to doze off or relax during the day, but must answer the question “Are you OK?” verbally and in the affirmative every five minutes. At night, he is awakened to be asked again “Are you OK?” every time he turns his back to the cell door or covers his head with a blanket so that the guards cannot see his face. During the past week he was forced to sleep naked and stand naked for inspection in front of his cell, and for the indefinite future must remove his clothes and wear a “smock” under claims of risk to himself that he disputes.”
The letter goes on to question the US government’s motives for detaining Manning:
“The administration has provided no evidence that Manning’s treatment reflects a concern for his own safety or that of other inmates. Unless and until it does so, there is only one reasonable inference: this pattern of degrading treatment aims either to deter future whistleblowers, or to force Manning to implicate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a conspiracy, or both.”
The list of scholars who signed the letter included Barack Obama’s own constitutional law professor, Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.
You can read this Guardian report about the mistreatment Manning suffered at Quantico: http://tiny.cc/junb2
In summary, the Guardian report states that was being kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, in a windowless room 12′ x 6′, and shackled hand and foot when he was transferred to a room where was allowed only to walk around in a circle. He was fed a daily diet of antidepressant pills which disoriented him, forced to stand naked, forbidden to exercise in his cell, and woken if he attempted to sleep in the daytime. Manning was continually subject to what is called “maximum custody”, and also to a so-called “prevention of injury” order, which among other things, deprived him of his clothes at night and also of normal sheets and bedding in favour of a blanket he describes as being like the lead apron used when operating x-ray machines. He was allowed no personal possessions.
The International Criminal Court should commence legal proceedings against the head of the US government and military commander-in-chief, President Obama. He bears direct personal and legal responsibility for the mistreatment of Manning. He knew about it, publicly endorsed it and did nothing to stop it.
The transfer of Manning from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth – and the subsequent significant improvement in the conditions under which he is being detained – occurred just days after the legal scholar’s letter was publicised, and appeared designed to preempt plans by Manning’s lawyers to mount a legal challenge to the harsh conditions of his detention at Quantico. It also followed an online petition by avaaz.org which gathered half a million signatures in one week in early April.
Private Manning, a US military intelligence analyst, was arrested in Iraq following the release by Wikileaks of video footage of a US Apache helicopter attack that gunned down 11 Iraqi civilians in 2007, including two Reuters journalists and men who had gone to the aid of the wounded. Two children were also gravely injured when the US helicopter opened fire on their van. The video records US soldiers laughing and joking at the killings, and also insulting the victims.
This slaughter had previously been the subject of a cover-up by the US armed forces, which claimed dishonestly that the helicopter had been engaged in combat operations against armed enemy forces.
It is only (allegedly) thanks to Bradley Manning that we now know the truth about this slaughter of innocent civilians – and about the killings of hundreds of other civilians in unreported and undocumented incidents.
Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, which exposed US lies and criminality in Vietnam, has hailed Manning as a hero.
Manning is a humanist and a man with a conscience. When he discovered human rights violations by the US armed forces and duplicity by the US government, he was shocked and distressed. He became disillusioned with his country’s foreign and military policy; believing it was betraying the US ideals of democracy and human rights.
The abuse that first triggered Manning’s disillusionment was when he was posted to Iraq in October 2009 as an intelligence analyst. He was shocked to discover US military collusion with the repression of dissent in Iraq; in particular “watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police….for printing ‘anti-Iraqi’ literature.” The offending literature exposed corruption in the US-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. When he complained that US forces should not be assisting with the suppression of free speech and peaceful protest, he was told to shut up and that the US armed forces in Iraq should be doing more to silence opponents of the Maliki regime.
Manning is a US citizen but also a British citizen via his Welsh mother. Since he has been in detention, he has received no British consular support. Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg have failed to help him. They have never spoken publicly against his maltreatment or, as far as we know, made any private appeals to the US government and military to halt the abuse that Manning suffered at Quantico. So much for the coalition’s professed commitment to human rights and civil liberties.
Manning’s mother requested assistance from UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to ensure a British consular visit to her son. This request has been ignored: http://tiny.cc/4e732
TAKE ACTION – What you can do:
1. Write to Bradley Manning. Send him your support: PFC Bradley Manning 89289. Fort Leavenworth Military Detention Centre, 830 Sabalu Road, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, KS 66027, USA.
3. Ask your MP and MEPs to urge the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to ensure a British consular visit to Bradley Manning, and to press the US government to drop all charges and release him. You can email your MP and MEPs direct via this website: www.writetothem.com
4. Phone or write to the US Embassy in London – 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE – 0207 499 9000
5. Write to President Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC20500, USA
6. Please tweet this message:
If Bradley Manning blew the whistle on US war crimes, he’s a hero. Free him. Sign the petition: www.bradleymanning.org #bradleymanning
Osama Bin Laden is dead. We celebrate his death along with millions of other Americans. For those of us who lived through 9/11 this day will forever remain in my heart as one of the best EVER. AMERICA! Fuck Yeah!