Join 3,494 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Gays and Lesbians for total AT&T World Domination
June 3, 2011 8:29 AM   Subscribe

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Explains How the AT&T/T-Mobil Merger Promotes Social Justice.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) says it "amplifies the voice of the LGBT community" by "empowering real people." It also lobbies the federal government in support of AT&T, and AT&T's never-ending efforts to swallow its competition.

AT&T is against net neutrality. AT&T was on the board of directors of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry which actively lobbied for the recent statewide Tennessee law which repealed Nashville's sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy.

GLAAD also supports gay-supportive vodka products! GLAAD vs. South Park. GLAAD vs. John Mayer (which I support, but for different reasons). Dan Savage vs. GLAAD.

<obligatory dreary GLAAD defender>"This is an immature and tasteless attack on an organization that has done so much for our community. It’s not about celebrities and parties, it’s about changing perception."</obligatory>
posted by fugitivefromchaingang (92 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yet another data point that suggests all political lobbying organizations, even the ones whose main missions align with the causes I support, is essentially and inherently skeevy.
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:33 AM on June 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


Wait, I'm reading through this letter and trying to figure this out: why the fuck is GLAAD lobbying for AT&T when it quite obviously has nothing to do with LGBT issues?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:33 AM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also see: Sprint's filing in opposition to the merger, with fun like this:
Specifically, Sprint argues that AT&T, in its April 21 filing with the FCC, makes numerous claims worthy of "Alice in Wonderland." For example, Sprint notes that AT&T claims that it doesn't compete with T-Mobile, despite listing T-Mobile as one of the five competitors consumers may choose from in an example of how "fiercely competitive" the market is.
posted by aaronbeekay at 8:34 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, this is certainly all over the place.

Also, down with AT&T!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:34 AM on June 3, 2011


So basically they're a really square gay rights group that's in the pocket of big industry?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:35 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Shock gays are just like everyone... bribe-able.
posted by KaizenSoze at 8:38 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


In short, the LGBT community is a mirror of America’s larger society and it is through that prism that we view this proposed merger.

Both prism & mirror!
Finally I understand why the pink symbol is a triangle...
posted by chavenet at 8:40 AM on June 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


This has something to do with the "National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)." Yes, Virginia, even gay capitalists can be assholes.

I don't understand, however, what the last bit of the OP has to do with the rest of it. Lots of organizations condemned Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives.
posted by muddgirl at 8:40 AM on June 3, 2011


The only reason I can think of for this is that AT&T has pretty decent employment policies for GLBT families, and they employ a SHITLOAD of people. Other than that, I got nothin'
posted by deadmessenger at 8:41 AM on June 3, 2011


Wait, I'm reading through this letter and trying to figure this out: why the fuck is GLAAD lobbying for AT&T when it quite obviously has nothing to do with LGBT issues?

Because is a corporate underwriter of the GLAAD awards and a former AT&T Vice President sits on GLAAD's board.

This is the whole point of "corporate social responsibility" - how would it ever make it past a cost/benefit analysis otherwise?
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:41 AM on June 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


Yeah, this seems super dubious. Even if AT&T has given money to the organization I think it's in GLAAD's best interest to remain neutral on issues such as telecommunications policy which only tangentially relate to the core mission of the organization.

This just seems to undermine the credibility of GLAAD as an independent organization.
posted by vuron at 8:42 AM on June 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


When the gays came for my unfiltered Internet, I said noth-

Wait, that's not how this is supposed to go, is it?
posted by Ryvar at 8:42 AM on June 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


In other news, GLAAD thinks you should try the Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity® at IHOP, as its combination of two eggs, two slices of bacon, two pork sausages and two pancakes makes it a nationwide breakfast classic.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:42 AM on June 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


why the fuck is GLAAD lobbying for AT&T when it quite obviously has nothing to do with LGBT issues?

Gays got 2 B communicatin' and shit.
posted by hermitosis at 8:43 AM on June 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


This must somehow be related to Grindr.
posted by jph at 8:44 AM on June 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Pepsi GLAAD
posted by dirigibleman at 8:53 AM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I keep looking for the "via The Onion" and not finding it. Can somebody help me?

please
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 9:01 AM on June 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


i'm confused and would love an insider explanation (like, for realz). this makes me super un-GLAAD.
posted by anya32 at 9:04 AM on June 3, 2011


Yves Smith argues this is not an isolated incident, but part of a trend:

Bribes Work: How Peterson, the Enemy of Social Security, Bought the Roosevelt Name - "AT&T gave money to GLAAD, and now the gay rights organization is supporting the AT&T-T-Mobile merger. La Raza is mouthing the talking points of the Mortgage Bankers Association on down payments. The NAACP is fighting on debit card rules. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute supported the extension of the Bush tax cuts back in December. While it seems counter-intuitive that a left-leaning organization would support illiberal extensions of corporate power, in fact, that is the role of the DC pet liberal. This dynamic of rent-a-reputation is greased with corporate cash and/or political access."
posted by rkent at 9:04 AM on June 3, 2011 [24 favorites]


You know what? No matter how much I support gay rights, I still can't get behind the AT&T - T-Mobile merger, it's going to make rich people richer and most likely adversely affect a huge number of customers who had no say in the matter, and nearly no alternatives to go to.

Sorry GLAAD, I'm not with you on this one.
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


KaizenSoze: "Shock gays are just like everyone... bribe-able"

I tire of these heterosexual shenanigans, send in the SHOCK GAYS.
posted by idiopath at 9:07 AM on June 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


Look, it's very simple. GLAAD does work to promote LGBT rights and issues. The AT&T/T-Mobile merger is resulting in AT&T paying GLAAD a lot of money to support it - money they will use to promote LGBT rights and issues. Thus, the merger itself supports the cause.
posted by kafziel at 9:08 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


(that line is to be imagined coming from a femme Bond villain, stroking a Persian cat).
posted by idiopath at 9:08 AM on June 3, 2011


I'm not familiar with GLAAD ... are or were they ever a legitimate gay-rights organization? Or are they just a political lobbying group that uses gay rights as a cover for its activities? That seems to currently be the case but I'm curious whether it's an organization that has been co-opted or whether it was created for this purpose.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:09 AM on June 3, 2011


I tire of these heterosexual shenanigans, send in the SHOCK GAYS.

Wait, am I to understand that the merger is being controlled and going to profit the Gay Mafia? I am more confused about capitalism, society and my sexuality than ever!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:13 AM on June 3, 2011


AT&Takei...
posted by chavenet at 9:18 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


People are still getting trolled by South Park?
posted by Hoopo at 9:21 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


kafziel: " The AT&T/T-Mobile merger is resulting in AT&T paying GLAAD a lot of money to support it - money they will use to promote LGBT rights and issues."

Then GLAAD needs to come out and say that instead of being dishonest and saying mergers help bring competitive pricing.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:22 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


all that effort to bust up AT&T back in the 80's and now look where we are. next thing you know we'll be putting television signals on wires and telephones on the air.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:22 AM on June 3, 2011


I tire of these heterosexual shenanigans, send in the SHOCK GAYS.

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "pink mist."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:23 AM on June 3, 2011


Oh great, like we needed another gay organization to go all HRC on us. Fuck GLAAD. I will never donate to them again.
posted by Craig at 9:24 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


My queer charity dollars goes to local AIDS groups or the ACLU. I had never noticed GLAAD doing work I cared about and HRC is a multi-million handjob for their executive director.

Send your money where it does the most good.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:27 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd guess that GLAAD thinks AT&T is the bees knees due to its support for GLBT issues, even though they are a major corporation who the fundies could attack for liking gay people and being fair to them. And they probably think that people should support businesses that do that. They could see it as the reverse of a boycott. And appending T-mobile to AT&T means more gay-friendly telecom goodness.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:30 AM on June 3, 2011


There is a huge dick in one of the ads on the side of the page of the GLAAD vs. John Mayer link. Might want to toss a NSFW tag on that puppy.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:31 AM on June 3, 2011


"Because AT&T is a corporate underwriter of the GLAAD awards and a former AT&T Vice President sits on GLAAD's board."

... and there is previous history of AT&T doing things to GLAAD's liking:

- AT&T withdraws advertising from “José Luis Sin Censura", a show that they consider offensive.

- GLAAD honors AT&T with the 'Corporate Leader Award' at the GLAAD Media Awards... which the company can reasonably be said to deserve.

There are numerous reasons that AT&T deserve to be viewed as an inclusive organization that helps the LGBT community. However, those reasons have little to do with why a merger should be approved. One hand washes the other, I suspect.

Also of note... GLAAD is upset about iPhone apps that insert colorful trannies into your photos... but I live in the Tenderloin in San Francisco. Would they also be upset if I created an iPhone app that removed colorful trannies from my pictures?!
posted by markkraft at 9:31 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess it's a sign of success for gay rights that our premier national civil rights organization is in bed with large corporate interests.
posted by Nelson at 9:32 AM on June 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


send in the SHOCK GAYS.

*wardrobe rotates to reveal Batpole*

I knew this day would come.
posted by emmtee at 9:32 AM on June 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


CSR is not supposed to work this way. Companies get to look all caring and shit by splashing a microscopic fraction of their dirty cash on charities, but they're not supposed to blackmail them in the process. It is sickening to think that GLAAD might have been pressured into this, but even worse to thun this might be part of GLAAD's business model. Fuck that, and fuck then all.
posted by londonmark at 9:36 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


* think, dammit
posted by londonmark at 9:37 AM on June 3, 2011


markkraft: "Would they also be upset if I created an iPhone app that removed colorful trannies from my pictures?!"

*feeds in family photos*

Oh no! Where did my partner go? Where did I go?! Oh no!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:39 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not familiar with GLAAD ... are or were they ever a legitimate gay-rights organization?

From GLAAD's website: Formed in New York in 1985 to protest the New York Post's grossly defamatory and sensationalized AIDS coverage, GLAAD put pressure on media organizations to end the trend of homophobic reporting. In 1987, after a meeting with GLAAD, The New York Times changed its editorial policy to use the word "gay" instead of including anti-gay rhetoric. GLAAD soon advocated that the Associated Press and other television and print news sources follow. Today, GLAAD's Announcing Equality project has resulted in more than 1,000 newspapers including gay and lesbian announcements alongside other wedding listings.

So, yeah, they once were a "legitimate gay-rights organization," though now it seems that in the absence of much to rail against in the homophobic mainstream media, they've become another version of the Human Rights Campaign -- an excuse for affluent gays to get together at fancy fundraisers at the local DoubleTree and hobnob and exchange phone numbers and room keys.

You'd think with all that special-interest $$$ they'd have a better-designed website.
posted by blucevalo at 9:39 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not only that, but I put a checkmark next to the word GAY on my iPhone bill, and AT&T sends over a beefy bit of rough to give me foot rubs. Mwah-ha-ha-haa!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:40 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


blucevalo: "You'd think with all that special-interest $$$ they'd have a better-designed website."

the GLSEN logo is an upside-down cock and balls.

I pointed that out to a high school teacher who gave us a GLSEN handout. She got quite cross and disagreed with me.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:41 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


(sorry. GLSEN Logos here.)
posted by dunkadunc at 9:42 AM on June 3, 2011


In more positive news from the gay rights/big corporation nexus...
posted by Thorzdad at 9:42 AM on June 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I just want AT&T to offer 3G in the next town from mine, where the good Mexican restaurant is.
posted by 4ster at 9:48 AM on June 3, 2011


Wow Thorzdad, thats awesome.

Also, sorry to TJ slightly, found this in the sidebar and it is stunning in its stupidity: Hartzler: Gay Marriage Is Like Incest, Letting Three-Year Old Children Drive. In ths video she talks some nonsense about lack of parameters and then flatly contradicts herself (by showing that there are parameters).

Perhaps worse are her lack of oratory skills.
posted by marienbad at 9:50 AM on June 3, 2011


The Home Depot thing is awesome news -- but also just plain common sense because, if I was the jealous type, I wouldn't let my partner go to Home Depot by himself, considering the gay-level/cruise-factor at one on a weekend around here is somewhere between "bar with a backroom" and "bathhouse" (and that's the ones in the suburbs...)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:59 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Back in the '90s I knew people who called them "Homo Depot".
posted by idiopath at 10:04 AM on June 3, 2011


Ugh, gag me.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 10:35 AM on June 3, 2011


Ugh, gag me.

The SHOCK GAYS can fix that for you.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:39 AM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Charities and PACs and advocacy organizations ought to have an expiration date, after which they have to close down.

Clearly, GLAAD has been "captured" by AT&T, and is as much an AT&T mouthpiece as anything else it purports to be.

Time for new blood, new gay rights organizations.
posted by orthogonality at 10:50 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, what's the story on the HRC? Corrupt too?
posted by orthogonality at 10:52 AM on June 3, 2011


FCC Members: Don’t Become AT&T Lobbyists After Approving Merger
posted by homunculus at 10:53 AM on June 3, 2011


"HRC is a multi-million handjob for their executive director."

In all politeness, you're basically not telling the truth here... whether it's because of lack of knowledge or just how common it is to hate on HRC in the LGBT community right now, I don't know.

In point of fact, the executive director of HRC makes about $300,000... a healthy salary, certainly, but the question is, does he deserve to make about that much money for what he does?

I would argue yes, about that, by industry standards. The Exec. Director of the ACLU makes about 30% more, while the Exec. Director of GLAAD brings in about the same.

If you look at Solmonese's previous experience, he is well-suited for what he does and how much he makes. He held top fundraising positions at the 1992 Senate campaign of Les AuCoin and in Barney Frank's 1990 Congressional campaign, and began his career as an aide in the office of Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis. He has strong links within the political establishment... which is what you want, if you want to effectively lobby the government for political change.

How much do professional, high-level fundraisers make? Plenty... and those salaries go up bigtime if you are powerful in Washington, DC, or working for a major organization. Obviously, elevating from that level to an Exec. Director is likely to lead to an even higher salary.

In short, his salary appears to be in the ballpark for his experience. But if you think it's too high, well... how high is that? Can you quantify the exact amount that you think HRC is overpaying its people? Does that overcompensation interfere with the achievement of their goals?

"they've become another version of the Human Rights Campaign -- an excuse for affluent gays to get together at fancy fundraisers at the local DoubleTree and hobnob and exchange phone numbers and room keys."

And why shouldn't affluent gays and those with money and influence who support them attend fancy fundraisers? That can be *very* important, if the bulk of the funds are spent in ways that brings about serious change. Certainly, there are some fairly well-known people out there who make this argument. Cathy Nelson, for instance, has been doing her job for about twenty years now, and gets paid about $170K for being 2nd in command over at HRC. The org also pays pretty well for other professional fundraisers, lawyers, lobbyists, etc. It's an expensive thing to lobby Washington, DC.

What I am arguing, however, is that lobbying politicians has paid off, big time, for the LGBT community... especially during the Obama administration, which is arguably the first politically receptive political administration where LGBT orgs have been able to lobby on an equal level to everyone else in Washington.

There were two main LGBT groups in Washington -- SLDN and the HRC -- which met privately with senior staff in the Obama administration, both before the election and in the days immediately following the election. The Obama Administration made it clear that in order to get a lot of the legislation passed that they would like to see passed without hurting the Democrats in general and halting future progress, it would take a bit of time and strategy as to how best to sell the changes. Legislation would have to be staggered out, possibly tacked on to Defense Spending, etc. Trying to push it all through at once would result in failure. Some of that legislation would require action by Congress first, in order to permanently cement controversial changes into law at a minimum of cost to the success of the administration as a whole... but it would all get passed.

Basically, HRC was given a timeline and a clear run down on the strategies, the backup-strategies, and the options involved... and it was good news for the LGBT community, so they supported it. However, the rest of the LGBT community wasn't in the loop... and, frankly, couldn't be, for strategic reasons that could interfere with the passage of the legislation in the first place.

And they had to wait... and they like waiting. And I can't blame them one bit... except that they were too angry and vindictive to those who were actually trying to help them, and weren't wise enough to figure it out for themselves.

There are a lot of good, grassroots LGBT orgs out there who operate on tiny budgets and do good local work, and lots of LGBT activists in general who think that it was they who somehow gave the politicians the backbone to pass a lot of the legislation that has passed thus far in the Obama administration, but reallly... they're wrong. The deal was made early on. And while you might not like the dealmakers or the way it was made, it's hard to argue too much that when it comes to LGBT-oriented legislation, the Obama administration has largely delivered on the false promises given during the Clinton Administration. The Clinton Era was very important as far as growth and equity... but not as far as actual legislative change.

Unfortunately, when it comes to politics and getting LGBT-oriented legislation passed, there is currently only one game in town in the USA... and that's the Democrats. GWB simply wasn't about to make those changes, and McCain wouldn't have been any different... and neither would the rest of their party, because they're too attached to religious conservatives. So, when you're given the only real chance in eight years to make some change... you do it. You get in on the planning early, you make backroom deals, and you get it done. That's what the HRC did. And frankly, given what they've accomplished, I think they've earned their salaries.
posted by markkraft at 11:03 AM on June 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Obama Administration made it clear that in order to get a lot of the legislation passed that they would like to see passed without hurting the Democrats in general and halting future progress,

So in other words, HRC took marching orders from the Obama administration about not advocating for gay rights in a way that would hurt the Democrats. From your mouth.

I'm sorry to be stepping into my own thread, here, but hacks like you make me really, really angry. Your long, obfuscating, full-of-lies-by-omission addition to the thread, while an excellent example of the I-work-in-public-relations mix of high-handed rhetoric and total lack of specificity, is disgusting.

However, the rest of the LGBT community wasn't in the loop... and, frankly, couldn't be, for strategic reasons that could interfere with the passage of the legislation in the first place.

Please elaborate on this. I'd love to hear it.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 11:16 AM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


(By the way, this is in no way an attempt to dismiss small, grassroots fundraising and social change... however, the fact remains that much of the actual money -- and a lot of the public's attention -- is at the higher end of the wealth/fame spectrum. And widescale support of the LGBT community by influential people does create disproportionate influence with society as a whole.

Yes, it's unfair that good, small orgs are barely scraping by -- or, in this economy, going belly-up -- while HRC brings in -- and pays themselves -- big bucks... but given how much important legislation has gotten passed in just the last three years, the question I would ask, really... is how much is left that really needs to get done -- and should be done -- at the national level? Perhaps HRC can/should start redirecting some of their fundraising efforts to worthy grassroots organizations, or fund them to perform certain tasks that the HRC would like to see accomplished, ideally at a lower cost than HRC's staff would require?

I think, strategically, a lot needs to be done in focusing on regional fights, although it can be helped out from the national level. The thing is, people can join HRC or communicate with them, and try to build the ties necessary for it to help with this. Despite healthy salaries, it's still an organization, and, as such, can be influenced and "lobbied" from the bottom up too.
posted by markkraft at 11:19 AM on June 3, 2011


orthogonality: "Charities and PACs and advocacy organizations ought to have an expiration date, after which they have to close down."

I feel that way about all non-profits.
After a while, they no longer serve their purpose and exist primarily to provide a source of income to the paid staff.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:34 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


markkraft, I admit that when I read your comment about the good HRC lobbyists have done for LGBT people I was wincing at every T, but before I launched into a hugely unhelpful diatribe I found on the google this absolutely fascinating leaked memo about HRC's Project Win Back. It seems -- if true -- that people within the HRC have realised that they burned all their bridges with the trans community and now they're trying to make amends. I may scoff, repeatedly, but if it leads to good in the end I suppose it's better than varying between obliviousness and outright hostility.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:37 AM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


"So in other words, HRC took marching orders from the Obama administration about not advocating for gay rights in a way that would hurt the Democrats."

I wouldn't say it in that way, and "my mouth" is hardly an official position from someone of great importance in politics or the LGBT community. That said, I do research the issue in a rather more in-depth way than most people, and have heard from some people who were involved in LGBT discussions with the Obama Administration which basically support my claims.

Let's just say the HRC knew the Obama administration's game plan and signed off on it because of all they were promised and the real potential for it to work, and tried to target their fight towards the issues that could be changed, when they came up. They still supported the overall position, but targeted their campaigns towards supporting the overall game plan.

(It's called strategy. Does that upset you?!)

In some cases, there are signs that HRC responded somewhat belatedly, under community pressure, to denounce things like the enforcement of DADT... but they also pulled their punches somewhat, I suspect, because they knew the game plan on getting rid of it.

"I'm sorry to be stepping into my own thread, here, but hacks like you make me really, really angry. Your long, obfuscating, full-of-lies-by-omission addition to the thread, while an excellent example of the I-work-in-public-relations mix of high-handed rhetoric and total lack of specificity, is disgusting."

Um.. I'm not a hack. I have no ties with the HRC. I'm not in PR. This issue is more complicated than you think.

What kind of specificity do you want? The HRC was in conversations as to the actual plan for passing legislation all alone... and you weren't. And they couldn't reassure you by telling you when and how the Obama Administration and the Democrats planned to pass the legislation in question, because the Republicans would've raised a stink -- and many millions of dollars -- against the LGBT community, and the legislation probably wouldn't have passed.

Do you really think all they do is fundraise to pad their paychecks? HRC buys influence in Washington, DC... and they've bought a lot over the years. In this case, they bought a seat in the smoky backroom table for the LGBT community, and, whether you like it or not, it really helped to bring about change.
posted by markkraft at 11:41 AM on June 3, 2011


And, btw, where is the "full-of-lies by omission"... If facts about the HRC are being omitted here, by all means, mention them.
posted by markkraft at 11:42 AM on June 3, 2011


I feel that way about all non-profits.
After a while, they no longer serve their purpose and exist primarily to provide a source of income to the paid staff.


Except for, you know, all of the non-profits that have continuing missions like education, healthcare, and social services...
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:45 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


However, the rest of the LGBT community wasn't in the loop... and, frankly, couldn't be, for strategic reasons that could interfere with the passage of the legislation in the first place.

You see, as Plato taught us, some of us are born with gold souls, and are suited to rule. Others are born with silver or iron sous, and frankly can't be in the loop.

I mean, those iron boys are great for the tea-room trade, and silvers are lots of fun at the bathhouse, and thank god they keep contributing to the HRC, how else would be pay 300K salaries, but well, we can't let them get their big clumsy paws on policy matters that they just aren't equipped to understand.
posted by orthogonality at 12:05 PM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Fuck GLAAD for this bullshit. It's not only an insult to anybody who bothers to actually engage their brains on telecom/economic policy, it's both depressing and risible that this is the kind of work they apparently consider social progress.

But hey, maybe by the time the pipes and airwaves are essentially owned by a small number of players who have successfully convinced everybody that not only is it their God-given right to charge for traffic by its source and destination but that it's Really The Market Working For Everybody™, gays will be sufficiently socially non-marginal and even financially empowered that they won't have to care about a rent-focused telecom regime choking innovation or connected conservatives pulling strings for message control.

'cause, you know, they'll finally have theirs, and at last be proud first-class Real Americans, who can fuck those who don't.
posted by namespan at 12:09 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's been kind of depressing to see how at least one major gay rights lobbying group (EQCA) here in California — there's a decent article about them in the Weekly here. I worked as a subcontractor for them for about a year, and I think that they have made and continue to make some real mistakes in strategy and tactics, though they haven't gone so far as GLAAD into corporate cooption.

The most striking disjunction for me has been how they've approached the Prop 8 trial — EQCA was opposed (generally) to attempting another court battle and thought that the best chance was at the ballot. I generally support maintaining both strategies simultaneously, and EQCA had an effective, if limited, ballot strategy that they promulgated (mostly face-to-face conversion canvassing).

But after the Walker decision, they realized that the public consciousness was more in tune with the legal victories, so they've switched to an Orwellian "We've always supported the court case" communication strategy — even as the Lamda folks and plaintiffs basically asked EQCA not to get involved. And while they phrase it as supporting the aims of the court case, their amicus briefs have been filed against granting the Prop 8 proponents standing, which would limit the applicability of the decision to California, basically (all of the 9th, really). Due to the 9th's liberal leanings, this is an overly conservative strategy that will likely result in a limited victory that is much more vulnerable to overturning if some other jurisdiction finds against the equal protection arguments of Walker (and they will). It also goes against the clear intent of the initiative system here in California (something that I disagree with broadly, but the voters like).

Particularly galling is their use of this as the primary fundraising engine — it's disingenuous and their fundraising materials basically rely on the fundraiser being able to obfuscate (or be ignorant of) the larger implications of their policy.

They've also discontinued their legitimate, effective persuasion canvassing efforts, which undercuts the fundraising arguments that I and others used, based on the assurances regarding that continued alternative strategy.

The basic problem for EQCA is that they have achieved a lot of their goals, but now their efforts frankly deserve much less money than they're currently collecting based on past success. In terms of utility, I'm far less interested in donating time or money to them, and find their marketing to be considerably more frivolous now than it had been in the past, which I see as a reflection of the decreased seriousness of their mission. I realize that it might be a lot of fun to hang out with a bunch of gay swimmers, but I'm not going to donate just so that you can have a party with them (if I were gay and able to go to the party, I might feel differently).

This isn't to say that they don't still do good things — they still fund youth centers, research projects and legislation. Simply that they appear to exist primarily as a fundraising apparatus, rather than as a coherent force for the kind of change that I think is necessary to ensure that LGBT folks get the same rights that I do.
posted by klangklangston at 12:12 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck you namespan, I got mine. I climbed the ladder, and I pulled it up behind me!
posted by orthogonality at 12:14 PM on June 3, 2011


"It seems -- if true -- that people within the HRC have realised that they burned all their bridges with the trans community and now they're trying to make amends. I may scoff, repeatedly, but if it leads to good in the end I suppose it's better than varying between obliviousness and outright hostility."

*nods*

The HRC have burned a lot of bridges over the past three years or so. And, strategically, I think they had to, because the one bridge they *didn't* burn was with the Obama Administration... and that's how they have influence.

But you know what makes me wince? What makes me wince is hearing Andrew Sullivan say that HRC's "real job is to get gay money to support healthcare reform" and that President Obama had "no verifiable record that he has done anything" to advance gay rights, and should "have a nice steaming cup of shut-the-fuck-up".

Considering this comes from a former Thatcherite who hailed GWB's conversion to neo-conservatism, opposed hate crimes legislation, defended Bush's policies blocking funds for Africa's anti-HIV programs if they offered condoms, and who called LGBT activism "a strange confluence of political abdication and psychological violence".. well, let's just say that my attitude towards who should STFU might be a bit different than Mr. Sullivan.

And yet, sites like Queerty or Jane Hamsher over at FireDogLake were more than glad to take Andrew Sullivan's diatribes against HRC and run with them, adding a few similarly irresponsible slurs along the way. There's been a lot of really questionable, poorly constructed arguments against HRC over the past few years in blogging circles, most of which comes down to the following few points:

1> HRC pays professional lobbyists and fundraisers too much (i.e. the going rate for professional D.C. lobbyists and fundraisers.)
2> HRC is too concerned about big, fancy fundraisers and courting politicians, and isn't grassroots enough. (They say on their website that lobbying politicians and fundraising is a big part of what they do... and last I heard, money spent lobbying politicians usually is money well spent.)
3> HRC kisses up to the POTUS and supports their policies, while they repeatedly betray and do nothing for us. (A bit of kissing up, perhaps... but a historic amount of pro-LGBT legislation has passed.)

It's good to know that HRC has been working behind the scenes to correct things between them and the transgender community. Unfortunately, one of the things that any lobbyist needs to do to be effective is keep secrets in order to stay in the loop with politicians, but I'm very glad that particular secret got out.

I actually find GLAAD's support of a mega-merger that would hurt the cause of net neutrality a far more serious offense than anything that HRC has done, frankly.

Overt corporate cronyism is corruption. Lobbyists kissing up to politicians while keeping secrets? That's just par for the course.
posted by markkraft at 12:24 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck you namespan, I got mine. I climbed the ladder, and I pulled it up behind me!

By it's boot straps?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:31 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


When has a huge corporate merger ever resulted in lower costs/more affordable options to the people who want or need the services provided? Never. What a joke.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 12:35 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Markkraft, my problem was not with Solmonese's compensation. My problem is with their ineffectiveness and disconnectedness from local groups based on my experiences over the last 12 years of working with LGBT rights groups.

I once had a HRC official tell me they would not do anything for a local group because they did not raise enough money for them. This group was involved in two NYS senate races against two individuals who consistently vote against marriage equality. (The group's work was in compliance with 501c3/4 laws).

I was working as a policy researcher trying to get domestic partner legislation passed in a large city. HRC turned down every request I made for assistance in crafting the best resolution possible. Not policy research, not education material suggestions, nothing.

You seem to have knowledge about what they do in DC, and that is good. Glad to see they are doing some good there. But in the trenches in the states I have only seen them siphon off money.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:59 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


When has a huge corporate merger ever resulted in lower costs/more affordable options to the people who want or need the services provided?

Airline mergers and acquisitions, and other effects coming from deregulation, have led to cheaper air service everywhere.

Of course, a whole host of other problems came with that. But you asked about costs, so ...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:05 PM on June 3, 2011


"we can't let them get their big clumsy paws on policy matters that they just aren't equipped to understand."

Not that. They can't let you know, because...

1> It would be very unprofessional -- and very unwise -- for a lobbyist to violate the confidence of private discussions with the POTUS and his staff.

2> Doing so would seriously embarrass and hurt the POTUS and his staff, and could cause them to withdraw the support they had offered.

3> Doing so would empower the people who want to handcuff you and throw you back in the closet, even if it meant slamming the door on your big, clumsy paws.

Politically and historically, what we are seeing now -- the anti-government anger, the anger against certain leaders, while others are seen, in the short term, as grassroots heroes is nothing new.

What a lot of the LGBT community is doing, effectively, is glorifying Malcolm X, while expressing impatient hostility towards JFK and LBJ, and railing against the lack of results they're seeing from MLK's efforts to court political favor. I've posted about this kind of impasse before, where important, intelligent well-meaning people -- great humanitarians, really -- are on the verge of great, historical change... but talk past each other violently, heatedly, emotionally... even on the verge of great success and great freedom.

I can't find the exact quote -- maybe someone else could -- but I seem to remember it being from one of the Kennedys, or perhaps LBJ, after a strategy discussion regarding how and when civil rights legislation would be enacted, saying words to the effect that it's a horrible thing to have to tell a black man that they'll have to wait a few years for their equality.

That's true... but that doesn't mean I don't have great respect for those who wrestle with these issues until their last breath, even if they couldn't achieve their goals immediately. My hopes go with Joe Solmonese and the HRC. If they have been forced to wait or to compromise, I feel quite certain that it wasn't by choice. I hope that history vindicates them.
posted by markkraft at 1:11 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


However, the rest of the LGBT community wasn't in the loop... and, frankly, couldn't be, for strategic reasons that could interfere with the passage of the legislation in the first place.

It's the new noblesse oblige for the DC lobbyist crowd.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:22 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


"My problem is with their ineffectiveness and disconnectedness from local groups based on my experiences over the last 12 years of working with LGBT rights groups...."

Those are real issues, and you're right... that's not good. HRC's concentration on lobbying Washington, DC has likely come at an expense with their organization and cooperation with local groups.

I think what might be most helpful, frankly, is for the readers of this site to send a polite email to michael.cole@hrc.org, HRC's head of Media Relations, and encourage him to read and possibly reply to some of the issues brought up in this post. MeFi gets thousands of readers, so I think it could be very helpful for them to do so.
posted by markkraft at 1:29 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


"It's the new noblesse oblige for the DC lobbyist crowd."

Theoretical, here...

Let's say that a group representing the Palestinians and the Israelis met with the POTUS and his advisors, with a goal to finally resolving the issues needed to create a Palestinian state. The POTUS had full Congressional approval to put whatever pressure he needed on either side to make it happen.

The details of the discussions would be kept private, at least in the short term, because there would invariably be elements to any treaty that would inevitably incite rejectionism -- if not violence -- from not only the Palestinian and Israeli side, but also from those in the US and around the world who might disagree with the use of US and overseas foreign aid to help rebuild Palestine, provide compensation for lost territory, move Jewish settlers into new housing, etc.

Given all that, would you claim such private negotiations would be inherently elitist, unfair, anti-democratic, and that the participants involved should be utterly rejected as sell-outs? ...or would it be a very good thing...?!

In other words, are your attitudes basically those that would be shared with Hamas and the radical right settlers in Israel? Or are you more aligned with the majority of people in both countries, and, indeed, with the majority of those in the rest of the world?!

I know that comparing this to the situation with LGBT rights isn't exactly easy, and that delay and possible compromise is hard and painful, but I would hope that, by stepping back a bit, removing some of the heat and invective, and looking at the historic possibilities, it might be of some comfort.

I just hope that members of the LBGT community will be just as dedicated -- if not quite as invectively heated -- when the day comes to defend polyamory, and the right of bisexuals to have permanent, loving, recognized marriages with partners of *both* sexes.
posted by markkraft at 3:05 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


markkraft, sorry about not being able to get back to you about this stuff for a while.

In some cases, there are signs that HRC responded somewhat belatedly, under community pressure, to denounce things like the enforcement of DADT

Whatever about "signs." This is what happened. DADT was repealed by the skin of its teeth in the lame duck session at the last possible moment. There was no strategy. You have no evidence of there being a strategy, other than "protect Obama and pretend like we'll do something," and so conveniently you claim that it was all hush-hush, you know, super top secret and behind closed doors and that's the way it had be.

You claim not to be a paid hack of either the Democratic Party or the HRC. Yet you are somehow privy to these secret strategies that you can't share with us. Honestly, it doesn't matter whether you have actual ties to them, your thinking and your arguments are pure hack.

And they couldn't reassure you by telling you when and how the Obama Administration and the Democrats planned to pass the legislation in question, because the Republicans would've raised a stink -- and many millions of dollars -- against the LGBT community, and the legislation probably wouldn't have passed.

Legislation has to be filed and debated and voted on to get passed. It doesn't happen "in secret." How many times was DADT voted on before it passed? At least three times in 2010. How exactly was that going to be kept secret?

And the near-failure of DADT repeal, plus the complete inaction on ENDA, which enjoys consistent support from over 75% of poll respondents in poll after poll, suggests that maybe this "secret strategy," if it exists, should be abandoned because the people who are "executing" it (or, not executing it) are really bad at their job.

And, strategically, I think they had to, because the one bridge they *didn't* burn was with the Obama Administration... and that's how they have influence.

No, they are a lapdog of the Obama administration. They don't "have influence" with the administration. They do its bidding.

Doing so would seriously embarrass and hurt the POTUS and his staff, and could cause them to withdraw the support they had offered.

Again, you accurately point out that HRC's decisions are motivated by protecting and promoting the Democratic Party and Obama at all costs.

What a lot of the LGBT community is doing, effectively, is glorifying Malcolm X, while expressing impatient hostility towards JFK and LBJ, and railing against the lack of results they're seeing from MLK's efforts to court political favor.

Yes, the Human Rights Campaign is just like Martin Luther King, Jr. When Joe Solmonese said, after Obama'd been elected, to the cabbie "Take me to the White House, and step on it!" I thought to myself, "I have a dream..."

There are plenty of non-radicals who rightly recognize that HRC is a useless Democratic party appendage which will never pressure the Dems to do anything more than pay lip service to gay issues. Gay people from the left (Dan Savage) to the right (GayPatriot) have criticized the organization.

important, intelligent well-meaning people -- great humanitarians, really -- are on the verge of great, historical change

"Intelligent"? Evidence?

Dan Savage put it best:

"I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. I would say I’m appalled. There are gay organizations with multi-million-dollar budgets, and none of them can seem to scrounge up an executive director who can string a few persuasive lines together and win an argument on basic cable. Why is that every time someone from the Human Rights Campaign is on TV, you just know that we already lost the fight. Whatever the argument is, whatever the question is, it’s over. Some people will say to me, “Who made you spokesperson?” You know what? Nobody. I’m a spokesperson by default."
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 3:21 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Of course, polyamory doesn't just apply to bisexuals, but also to women primarily interested in women, but who married and had kids with a great male partner who they still love... or gays who recognize their tendency towards non-monogamy, but who want safe, lasting, meaningful partnerships... or basically any fellow human being, really... many of whom have their own good reasons for doing what they do and being who they are.)

There are all sorts of people who are outside of the norm and the falsely dualistic spectrum of sexuality that people fixate on. So long as its a consensual adult relationship, they all deserve basic rights to live with the ones they love, not have their children taken away, not lose their jobs, etc.

From my perspective, rights are coming along pretty nicely for the G & L... but the B & T's rights leave something to be desired... and there are many besides that -- such as those who are poly or in the leather community -- who are just completely left twisting in the wind... and many of them are in your own community. I would *hope* you wouldn't leave them behind.)
posted by markkraft at 3:26 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"DADT was repealed by the skin of its teeth in the lame duck session at the last possible moment. There was no strategy."

I would think that those in attendance at the LGBT strategy meetings with the Obama administration would respectfully disagree.

Do you really think they just sat there for hours, without asking for details as to how his administration planned on dealing with these issues? And please note... there have several subsequent meetings since then.

There *WAS* quite definitely a plan. Perhaps you don't see just how much "to plan" it was for the Democratic politicians to take on DADT in a lame duck session at the last possible moment. That was the time when there wouldn't be a major political cost for them to do it, frankly!

Really... why would you possibly think that acting on a controversial bill in a lame duck session -- and inserting it into a defense bill -- was anything other than a carefully crafted plan?! That idea, frankly, was floated as early as Spring 2009!
posted by markkraft at 3:42 PM on June 3, 2011


It's funny that you write about Dan Savage decrying HRC's ability to make a few speeches and win the fight over LGBT rights...

Especially since he -- as someone "just slightly to the left" of Ann Coulter -- supported invading Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia... and said that "GWB George W. Bush blew it. George W. Bush failed to make the case. George W. Bush wasn't able to convince NATO--NATO!--or the United Nations of the necessity of this necessary war."

Gee fugitivefromchaingang ... do you think that Dan Savage maybe oversimplified the problem there, too?!

Last time I heard, it's hard for minorities to gain their rights -- or wars to be won -- with speeches.

No, seriously... F*ck Dan Savage. He's a negative queen.
posted by markkraft at 4:00 PM on June 3, 2011


BTW, I assume that anyone could've created a wonderful speech capable of making, well, practically everyone, free and equal, if given enough attention.. and I know that Dan Savage is someone who has written about the subject on numerous occasions, so could someone please link me to Dan Savage's freedom-winning speech?

I'm really confident that if only more people saw it, Dan Savage could win our rights, stop global warming, end all wars, and topple all dictators everywhere with his great speech!
posted by markkraft at 4:21 PM on June 3, 2011


In other words, are your attitudes basically those that would be shared with Hamas and the radical right settlers in Israel? Or are you more aligned with the majority of people in both countries, and, indeed, with the majority of those in the rest of the world?!

Your comments in this thread are generally thoughtful and interesting, and I was (re)thinking about my noblesse oblige comment as being a bit too harsh on you, but this kind of false dichotomy doesn't serve your purpose too well, especially on the bedrock of a somewhat stretched (and offensive) analogy.

Strike that: Equating me with an extremist or terrorist because I dislike the idea of a handful of people determining the path and context of my rights to existance is offensive, period.

I haven't made up my mind on the subject, but the idea that a selected elite dictates the terms and conditions of civil rights for the rest of us bothers me on a fundamental level.

This goes beyond the pragmatics of "getting things done" at the right time, to what those "things" are, on what timetable, and on whose behest I am obliged to wait to stop being treated like a subhuman.

This is a patently undemocratic and non-humanist philosophy you're arguing for, honestly.

So you'll forgive me if I get a bit brusque about being told the equivalent of shutting up until being spoken to, and being told I'm equivalent to a right-wing extremist or violent terrorist because I don't like the kind of backroom shenanigans that the HRC plays.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:18 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


One piece of advice GLAAD: take the money and run.
posted by Twang at 8:04 PM on June 3, 2011


fugitivefromchaingang: Saying that the Obama, Reid, and Pelosi didn't have a strategy for the DADT repeal -- that they were winging it -- is patently absurd. And I'm not even talking about the markkraft's behind-the-scenes secret meetings; I'm referring to Mike Mullens and Robert Gates testifying before Congress for the repeal at the beginning of 2010, the Pentagon study on military readiness and opinion, the defense authorization bill amendments, the certification guidelines within the repeal act itself, among many other things. The strategizing began long before the lame duck session in which the repeal bill actual passed.

This was all in public view, and a lot of it was intentionally laid out for the public. Specifically, the Democrats dared the GOP to filibuster the entire defense budget for an issue on which they were the wrong side of polling. The GOP, of course, did so, and suffered no political blowback for it.

You can argue that some of it was miscalculated -- the most glaring miscalculation being Harry Reid's GOP vote count for the defense authorization bill -- and that this needlessly endangered the whole endeavor. Hell, an argument could be made that the final DADT vote was an afterthought only allowed because the budget negotiations collapsed. But I don't think that was the case. If they really didn't want to deal with it, I doubt they would have brought it to a vote the multiple times they did. It speaks well of their commitment that they came back to it repeatedly despite their initial strategy blowing up in their face.

To blame the Democrats and the Obama administrations for the near-failure of DADT repeal (as opposed to crediting them the success of DADT repeal) also makes the assumption that the repeal would have been something that would be easy to do, which from all indications it never was going to be. Sure, issue polling was on the Democrat's side, but issue polling does not translate into political leverage over GOP Senators. There are a lot of reasons for why that is, but the main reason is because GOP politicians are supported by voters who are not going to punish them for voting against repeal, even if most of them would prefer DADT repealed in the abstract. You could see a similar dynamic with the Bush tax cuts and with the Ryan budget plan, though the latter is thankfully bleeding to death. Simply put, DADT was not a high salience issue for their constituencies.

There is also the fact that, justified or not, the United States military is the most trusted government institution around. It's entirely likely that, had the US military been institutionally dead-set against repeal, that public opinion would have followed. How much so we will never know, but it's entirely plausible that GOP voter public opinion would have solidified against repeal, which would have probably made it impossible to get any GOP Senator's vote, even if Lady Gaga camped outside Olympia Snowe's office for the rest of the congress.

I suppose you could ding the Democrats for not tackling the issue during the window where no GOP votes were needed, but at the time Health Care Reform was crowding out every other issue, and I'm sure that the Democratic leadership didn't expect Martha Coakley's to run such a terrible campaign.

In the end, I think it's a mistake to assume that DADT repeal was some fait accompli and that the Obama administration almost let it die of neglect. There was hard work involved, and the fact that they were able to get it through despite many opportunities to give up on it is something they should be lauded for.
posted by Weebot at 9:41 PM on June 3, 2011


One piece of advice for GLaDOS: keep testing.
posted by oxford blue at 9:42 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait, I'm reading through this letter and trying to figure this out: why the fuck is GLAAD lobbying for AT&T when it quite obviously has nothing to do with LGBT issues?

Because everyone has a price. I just thought organizations which I deemed "good" would have a higher price than say...Fox News' asking price for a 30 second commercial during Glenn Beck or whatever douchebag is preaching now.

Holy hell.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:29 AM on June 4, 2011


I have a dream. That one day gays and straights can walk hand in hand and get reamed by Ma Bell together.
posted by delmoi at 5:17 AM on June 4, 2011


But you know what makes me wince? What makes me wince is hearing Andrew Sullivan say that HRC's "real job is to get gay money to support healthcare reform" and that President Obama had "no verifiable record that he has done anything" to advance gay rights, and should "have a nice steaming cup of shut-the-fuck-up".
Well, that was mostly true when Sullivan was saying that stuff. Then Obama realized he was going to need some gay campaign money and came through on DADT and some other stuff. Would he had come through if non-HRC groups hadn't kept the pressure on continuously? Who knows? One thing I did notice was that as far as I could tell, the gays were one group that absolutly didn't support Obama and give him the 'hes our leader we have to follow' B.S that a lot of 'liberals' like to spout.
You see, as Plato taught us, some of us are born with gold souls, and are suited to rule. Others are born with silver or iron sous, and frankly can't be in the loop.
Heh.
Especially since he -- as someone "just slightly to the left" of Ann Coulter -- supported invading Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia... and said that "GWB George W. Bush blew it. George W. Bush failed to make the case. George W. Bush wasn't able to convince NATO--NATO!--or the United Nations of the necessity of this necessary war."
Okay, that's just a lie. Here's what he wrote:
As a lifelong lefty of the commie- pinko-faggot variety, I was shocked to wake up one day and find myself just slightly to the left of far-far-right raving psycho superstar Ann Coulter. In a column she wrote for National Review Online two days after the September 11 attacks
He was 'slightly to the left' of her on one issue right after 9/11. FFS.
posted by delmoi at 6:25 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


And how do you differentiate lobbying from "backroom shenanigans"?

No, you didn't get to "elect" the staff of HRC... or the SLDN... or anyone else in the LGBT community who might've been at that meeting. However, they were there because they were the largest organizations in question, with strong connections with the White House... just like MLK represented the NAACP and the SCLC. He wasn't democratically accountable, in the sense you seem to be looking for either, and some people -- such as Malcolm X -- called him a sell-out too, wanted a real revolution, and called attempts at integration and assimilation into society a bad joke.

And the thing is, information about those private meetings have come to light, which show that MLK knew a lot more about the hows and whens of passing the Civil Right Act than the general public. And he kept his mouth shut about the details of his private discussions with the White House too.

If you don't like the prior theoretical, perhaps MLK and the Civil Rights movement would be a better comparison for you... but the point being, most of the important social change we've seen out there has largely come due to patient, persistent effort from backroom deal makers / "sell outs"... and that includes people like MLK, Gandhi, Michael Collins, Sadat, etc. In many cases, such people die for "selling out", too... or simply for daring to be out in front of an issue.

But if you're looking for democracy... it's still there. Specifically, the people doing the negotiating were elected, as were the people who would ultimately have to vote on it in Congress. To tell you the truth, if you want equality for the LGBT community, well... let's face it... democracy hasn't been as much of a friend as the courts have. There's a good reason why the Democrats passed this legislation in a lame duck session and tacked it to a defense bill that would hurt many Republican's states if not passed. And despite its passage, the Republicans still want to get rid of it. (i.e. Taking people's rights away... along with a whole handful of vindictive add-ons.)

The truth is, neither democracy nor the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights really works properly for the LGBT community. It doesn't matter if they've now got slightly over 50% public support on every major issue that matters to them, when the opposition is given disproportionate control in Washington by the way the system works. So, when Democrats are able to collude with representatives of the community and sneak something through, I think that's a great thing, even if they didn't exactly want to draw attention to their underhanded tactics. All's fair, really... and if it means success, then it would be nice to see the Democrats be at underhanded and Machiavellian as the Republicans are 24/7.
posted by markkraft at 6:35 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"He was 'slightly to the left' of her on one issue right after 9/11. FFS."

I didn't say that he was slightly to the left of her on every issue. Certainly that's not the case... but I did mock him for his extreme ignorance and naivete. (If I really wanted to misrepresent Savage, I wouldn't have linked you to the full quote, Bubba Gump.)

Speaking of patent dishonesty, it's hardly honest to say that over 18 months is "right after 9/11", especially when it involves a conflict with a country that had f*ck-all to do with Osama Bin Laden. People have grieved over widows and gotten in to a loving marriage -- twice -- in that kind of time period... but we're supposed to assume that over a year and a half later, they're too hot-blooded, and can't be arsed to sit back and say "Hey... Saddam isn't Osama!"

Sorry, but as someone who marched in San Francisco with over 350,000 people against that particular war, and saw what must've been 60% of the LGBT community out on the streets that day, despite jobs and real lives, I call bullsh*t. Savage, in his reasoned analysis on a damned important subject -- war being the most important, weighty decision your country can make -- with over 18 months to reflect on things, thought it best to advocate conflicts, not just with Iraq... but also with Saudi Arabia, and Iran... and encourage the same mindset for his readers. (Never mind the fact that doing so would be an impossible feat of imperial overreach. Jihad on them! With "them" being hundreds of millions of nebulous, dehumanized human beings.)

And those are the facts. Hitchens never went that far. Even Cheney didn't do that. Only a few of the most extreme neocons went that far publicly, frankly.

Just because Savage hypes his credibility as a "lifelong lefty of the commie- pinko-faggot variety" in that article, that doesn't mean that he's either a communist, or a pinko... only a rather vanilla "married with a kid" gay male who plays upon societal stereotypes in order to establish his street cred for justifying wars and social change at the point of a gun for untold millions of people who had nothing at all to do with 9/11. At least Hitchens had the integrity to be a former Trotskyite, and yet not use that as justification for a Jihad.
posted by markkraft at 7:59 PM on June 4, 2011


"an official letter was sent to the FCC in [GLAAD President] Barrios' name that he didn't write, read, or sign. This second letter seemed to back off of the previously stated support for net neutrality principles in favor of emphasizing AT&T's priority - broadband proliferation" - GLAAD President Admits Knowledge of Mystery FCC Letter
posted by finite at 6:25 PM on June 10, 2011


The NEA released a similar statement on June 7.
posted by Apropos of Something at 12:34 PM on June 13, 2011


GLAAD president resigns
posted by homunculus at 9:28 AM on June 19, 2011


« Older NPR's Alt.Latino is a new program that started alm...  |  The Age of Imperialism is over... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments