Posts from June 2002

Take Action! Reproductive Rights Issue on Vote.com

We need your help to raise a voice for women’s reproductive rights!

Vote.com recently put a vote online on whether Congress should pass a federal ban on partial-birth abortion, a key component of the Right’s strategy to chip away at and destroy women’s reproductive freedom and doctor’s ability to provide abortions. Similar bills at the state level have already been struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (you can read more here on phoney "partial-birth abortion" bans).

The vote is online at Vote.com. To defend reproductive choice, vote NO! Such medical decisions should be left in the hands of women.

Right-wingers typically dominate the issues at Vote.com, and the results go directly to the President and Congress. We need to mobilize as many people as we can to tell Congress NOT to pass another bad partial-birth abortion bill. Please vote today, and forward this alert to everyone you know who cares about protecting reproductive choice!

Remembering Stonewall

photo: Gay liberationists storm the streets

Andrew Sullivan’s worst nightmare: the GLF on the march, New York City

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Stonewall uprising (well, perhaps: some date Stonewall on June 28, since much of what occurred was after midnight) in New York City, the foundational event of the modern gay liberation movement. But it seems to have slipped many gay rights organizations’ minds.

Stonewall marked the first spectacular uprising of a radical, agitating gay movement which would no longer settle for the daily denigration and terrorism inflicted against LGBT people, and would not accept compromise, appeasement, or a ghettoized underground gay community as the solution.

Although the Stonewall Inn remains a powerful marker to gay liberation activists outside of the US, many in America have forgotten it, or wish we would. Today, there is a feel-good liberal gay rights movement which (sometimes) pays lip service to Stonewall, but rarely remembers the power of that moment. And there is a gay Right movement which loathes Stoneall and everything it stands for. They both work, with only slightly different priorities, for appeasement, tolerance, and assimilation into the mainstream of American culture. But at Stonewall they were not pleading for justice in return for assimilation. Butch dykes, fairies, drag queens, street kids, and every other spectre haunting homophobic American culture stormed through the streets, fighting back against the police who had victimized them for so long. Stonewall’s lasting legacy rests in groups such as the Gay Liberation Front, Radicalesbians, ACT-UP, and others, which confronted our culture with an uncompromising demand for justice, an end to oppression rather than an end to difference. This is what has marked the past three decades with unparalleled success, compared to the relative stagnation of the era of reformist groups such as the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis and ghettoized underground bars.

The feel-good liberals and the conservatives play into each other’s hands to write the radicals out of history. I looked for a good story on the anniversary, and found nothing at all on:

  1. The Advocate magazine and news updates
  2. Out
  3. Gay.com News
  4. Human Rights Campaign
  5. PFLAG

But in spite of the blackout, the radicals have been here all along. They were instrumental to the triumphs of the past thirty years, as gay liberation has made stellar progress on every front. They were here to suffer the horrors, with the Reagan backlash, the AIDS holocaust, and the rise in anti-gay murders. And all significant progress toward gay liberation depends on the ability of radical views and solutions to remain within the LGBT community and LGBT activism.

I hope that everyone will take some time today to remember and thank those who have gone before us in the struggle for justice. Happy anniversary, everyone.

Wallace Fugate is Guilty As Hell

Once again, some people on the Left are mounting a confused campaign in defense of a man who stalked his ex-wife, battered her, and finally broke into her house and murdered her. As Tina Trent points out in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the evidence of the case shows Fugate is a brutal murderer. We must oppose his execution and the slipshod court system by which he was convicted, but we should not repeat the all-too-long history of the left trying to exonerate men who committed brutal acts of violence against women.

Nearly all of those seeking to defend Fugate (as in the AJC letters and in the Atlanta IMC) are sticking with Fugate’s defense, that public defenders inadequately presented his case and that the killing was accidental in the process of an altercation (in fact, either a vicious beating or a heavy fight, depending on whether you accept the prosecution or the defense’s version) and refer to his slaying of his wife as a tragic loss of life (converting a killing into a tragedy, as if it were not committed by anyone in particular). Nevertheless, the evidence doesn’t bear out such a facile explanation.

  • Fugate’s defenders claim that the gun Fugate carried was subject to a design defect which made it prone to accidental firing. But the defect was only that it was slightly easier to cock than most guns; in single action mode it still required 4.2 pounds of pressure exerted on the trigger to fire. Fugate claims that the accidental firing came from his finger slipping somehow over the trigger when he threw his arms up against the van.

  • Fugate’s defenders claim that the autopsy report does not show any signs of beating. Yet the autopsy report found a 1 inch gash on the back of Pattie’s head, a 3 inch circular bruise on the top of her head, and bruising on her face and shoulders.

  • Fugate had already been accused of threatening Pattie’s life and harassing her, and had had a restraining order sworn out against him. (Fugate’s defense was to call his wife a lying bitch.)

  • What the hell was Fugate doing breaking into his ex-wife’s house, with a gun, in violation of the same restraining order?

  • Why did Fugate (according to his own testimony) spy on his wife by pressing redial on her phone and rifling through her mail? (According to Fugate, But, people are curious. … And, I am very curious.)

  • When he went up to have a conversation with his wife (he claims he was trying to defuse a potentially ugly situation), why did he continue to hold the gun in his hand and mash the phone to hang up the call she was making?

  • Why did he continue to hold out the gun after it had accidentally fired once in the fight?

  • Why did he physically restrain her and drag her out to the van, once she had already made it clear that she had no intention of going anywhere with him?

The death penalty is State-sanctioned murder, and we must oppose the State of Georgia’s attempt to kill Wallace Fugate. Furthermore, as his defenders have pointed out [AJC], Fugate’s rapid and slipshod trial provides many example of heavy-handed prosecution, inadequate public defense, and the institutionalized skew of the courts, and the death penalty in particular, against poor defendants. However, none of this eliminates the fact that Wallace Fugate is just another batterer who ended up murdering his ex-wife. Being the victim of a broken criminal justice system is not the same thing as being innocent of the crimes of which you are charged. Nor does one have to be innocent to deserve a reprieve from the death penalty: the death penalty is wrong for Wallace Fugate; it was wrong for Ted Bundy and Timothy McVeigh; it’s always wrong and must be abolished.

Wallace Fugate is guilty as hell. He murdered his wife and he deserves to pay for it. But there’s no justice in murdering murderers, and the sentence of death in this case—as in all other cases—must be opposed.

For further reading:

On the road again…

As of this morning I will be on the road to visit the family in Texas (partially because I haven’t seen them in ages, partially as a maneuver to get the car back in time to pick up a guest from Atlanta), so GT and The Daily Linkroll may be sporadic for a little while. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In the meantime, have a ball reading T. Phoebe Reilly’s review and critique of Ghost World from Bitch. I recently saw the film and enjoyed it a great deal; the review does a pretty good job of summing up both what I liked and what worried me throughout.

An Important Update from the War Information Council

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense of the United States

Hello, I’m here to defend your freedoms!

John Ashcroft, Attorney General of the United States

It vill not be difficult, mein Führer… excuse me… Mr. President.

Today, Mr. Padilla was being held in a high security jail at the Charleston Naval Weapons Station in South Carolina. Bush administration officials said Mr. Padilla had been declared an enemy combatant, a status that makes it easier for the government to detain him without having to bring a criminal charge that would force it disclose sensitive intelligence sources.

There was also some question as to whether there was enough evidence, absent information gathered from intelligence sources, to bring a traditional criminal prosecution that could be won in court. That meant, officials said, that the best and perhaps only realistic alternative was to turn him over to military custody in which he could be held indefinitely.

When I heard the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense cooperated effectively to place an American citizen under indefinite detention without charges in complete violation of the Constitution, I felt much safer from those who hate our freedom. God Bless America.

For further reading: