Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stop Iran's Execution of Three Gay Teenagers

Apparently the Iranian government is preparing to execute three gay teenagers arrested while they were minors for their homosexual conduct (see the UrukNet article copied below for details.) If the Iranian government executes these youths it will be a heinous act that nobody should support even if, as I do, they think same-sex marriage is wrong and homosexuality is nothing to "celebrate."

The problem with same-sex marriage is not what the couple does in the bedroom; it is a) their use of donated egg or sperm to conceive a child in a manner that denies the child its natural bond with one of its biological parents, and b) their claiming they have the right to do this to the child because they have a marriage license, which, unlike a Civil Union certificate or any other social contract, does indeed confer formal social approval to produce a child. (See "Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage: What is at Stake?" , What is a Liberal to Do?, and "Why They Voted For Obama But Against Same-Sex Marriage". )

The Iranian government is wrong for making homosexual behavior a crime. Conceiving babies with donated egg or sperm in a way that denies them the bond with their natural mother or father should be a crime (as it is in some countries), but it should be a crime whether the couple doing it is gay or straight. I disagree with "celebrating homosexuality" in public schools, and I think "Gay Pride" marches send a bad message, but I also say these are questions for people to resolve by democratically adopting policies for our schools and by expressing one's opinions in order to sway public opinion, the way many other issues are settled, not by declaring private sexual behavior a crime, and certainly not executing people for it!

The Iranian government's attack on homosexuals has the very same purpose as the American corporate elite's promotion of homosexuality. (That the American corporate elite is promoting homosexuality is evident from the facts that a) many American TV shows now portray homosexuality as if it were just as good a basis for a family as heterosexuality, b) most of the mass media endorse same-sex marriage, and c) politicians and judges insist on legalizing same-sex marriage despite people consistently voting against it when given the chance.) Corporate America promotes the idea that same-sex marriage is fine, not because they have any concern for people who happen to be gay, but because it is a way of attacking the core idea of democracy--the idea that ordinary people are fit to rule society instead of being ruled over by an elite.

Americans are indeed unfit to rule society, says corporate America, because too many Americans are bigots, the proof being that they oppose same-sex marriage. Liberals and the Left say that ordinary Americans should not even be allowed to vote on this fundamental question because it's "too important," or, as they speciously argue, "It's wrong to vote on rights." Only judges and politicians, they say, should decide the really important questions. Like war. Should we invade this or that country? Only the President, say the elite, should decide, certainly not ordinary Americans who, by their eventual opposition to the Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan wars, have demonstrated they are unfit to call the important shots.

While the American ruling elite attacks democracy by promoting homosexuality, the Iranian ruling theocracy attacks democracy by asserting its right to kill people for homosexual behavior as minors; behavior that, I am willing to bet, the great majority of Iranians do not think is wrong enough to be punished by execution even if they think it is wrong. The theocracy argues that what ordinary Iranians may think does not count, at least not when the question is "too important." Instead of saying, "It's wrong to vote on rights," they say, "It's wrong to vote against what Allah has decreed." By executing gay teenagers, the regime warns everybody else in Iran that if they don't obey the theocracy, they risk being executed too!

It should not come as a surprise that the American and Iranian ruling classes share a common reason for their opposite views on homosexuality. They also share a common reason for their opposite views on Israel, as I discuss in How Israel Helps the Islamic Republic of Iran Control the Iranian Working Class, where I show that Iranian leaders adopt an "anti-Israel" stance to strengthen their control over their own people, and American leaders adopt a "pro-Israel" stance for exactly the same purpose.

We should condemn the Iranian regime for even considering executing these three teenagers, and in the same breath we should condemn the oh-so-gay-friendly American ruling class for attacking democracy here at home and everywhere else in the world.

Three gay teenagers are on death row in Iran: please help to try and save them
Paul Canning
November 9, 2009 - Iran is preparing once again to execute young gay men arrested while they were a minor. Guilty of 'lavat’ (i.e. sexual conduct between two men, regardless of penetration), the three teenagers do not yet have dates set for their state-sponsored murders, but according to Human Rights Watch and Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees it could happen any day with no warning. They are Mehdi P., from Tabriz; Moshen G., from Shiraz; and Nemat Safavi, from Ardebil and who has been detained for over three years. Under Iranian law lavat is "punishable by death so long as both the active and passive partners are mature, of sound mind, and have acted of free will" — something that not only conflicts with the boys’ age at the time of the alleged 'offenses’, but also a gross violation of international law, which forbids, under any circumstance, the executive of juvenile offenders...

Read the full article / Leggi l'articolo completo: http://www.uruknet.de/?p=59884

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Whither the Unraveling United States of America?

The United States of America is unraveling. The headlines about the United States make it obvious:

Suicides of Soldiers Reach High of Nearly 3 Decades (reported also here and here)

U.S. Unemployment Rate Soars (reported also here)

In Hard Times, Tent Cities Rise Across the Country (video of one in Los Angeles )

Krugman: U.S. Headed for Jobless Recovery (What's next? A "survivor-less peace?")

Income Inequality is at an All-Time High: STUDY (and this is by DESIGN!)

Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations (read more here )

The suicides by soldiers and the rising rates of unemployment, homelessness and imprisonment, are symptoms of a deeper problem in the United States: a small plutocracy controls the country. They use their power (via ownership of the mass media, control of the major political parties and the funds candidates need to wage successful election campaigns, and ownership of the corporations that decide who has a job and who doesn't) to cause the symptoms that make these headlines.

They increase an already obscene degree of economic inequality. They automate jobs out of existence or ship them overseas. And they wage unjust Orwellian wars whose main purpose is domestic social control that relies on generating a "war mentality" to get Americans to voluntarily send their youth (especially the poorest for whom military employment seems better than no job at all) to commit mass murder of innocent people in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and to respond to the deaths and suicides of American soldiers by thinking it necessary to "support our troops" and the plutocracy who sent them to kill and be killed.

Does the American plutocracy care what ordinary Americans want? Let's see.

The plutocracy knows that a robust majority of Americans want to end the notorious lack of universal health care (that distinguishes the United States from virtually all other countries) and that they support a single payer system that would accomplish this by using tax dollars to pay for everybody's health care. So how has the plutocracy responded? By ignoring what the majority of Americans want and instead defining "health care reform" to mean a law that will require all Americans to buy health insurance. Only in America!

The American plutocracy knows that a robust majority (74% according to a scientific poll conducted by the University of Maryland reported July 1, 2008) of Americans do not want their government to take the side of Israel in the Israel/Palestine conflict. But the myth--that Israel is "the only democracy in the Middle East" and that Palestinians (and Muslims and Arabs in general) attack Israel not because it commits ethnic cleansing against non-Jews but because they are hate-driven anti-Semitic crazed religious fundamentalist terrorists who also want to kill all Americans--is a crucial pillar of the Orwellian "war on terror" story line. It is so crucial that when the UN Report by Judge Richard Goldstone (a pro-Zionist Jew) concluded, with irrefutable facts and documentation, that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza against unarmed civilians, the United States House of Representatives and President Obama decided to "shoot the messenger" by denouncing the report without being able to point to a single factually incorrect statement in it. In opposition to 74% of Americans, the plutocracy insists on taking the side of Israel.

The plutocracy can read the headline, Public Opinion in U.S. Turns Against Afghan War, but that doesn't stop them from their warmongering that produces headlines like this one: Obama Approves Afghanistan Troop Increase.

The plutocracy could not care less what the American public wants. In order for the United States to reverse direction and head in the direction most Americans want it to go-- towards being more equal and democratic, not to mention getting out of the business of committing mass murder of foreign peoples-- it will be necessary to remove the plutocracy from power.

How can we do this? How can we remove the plutocracy from power? Good question! In fact, it is the single most important question that the American public needs to start talking about and coming up with an answer to, if we are going to stop the continual unraveling of our society.

The biggest problem in this task is that we have no organizations that want to talk about this question. The political parties, obviously, do not. The big labor unions don't. The churches (of any religion or denomination) apparently don't. So how can we do it?

We need to start from scratch in creating organizations that aim to engage Americans in figuring out how to remove the plutocracy from power.

Who will do this for us?

The right-wingers who blast "big government" on Rush Limbaugh's radio show won't, because they studiously avoid bashing big money.

The liberals won't because they are happy as long as the plutocracy rules with Democrats like Obama with Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense and Goldman Sachs stooges controlling the Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank, instead of Republicans like Bush with Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense and Goldman Sachs stooges controlling the Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank.

The left-wingers won't because they are more afraid of ordinary people being in power than of the plutocracy being in power. Strange but true. The Marxists among them would no doubt like to replace the plutocracy with themselves, so they could carry out their Marxist social engineering and eventually, after many generations, make "racist, homophobic, selfish, pro-imperialistic" ordinary Americans good enough to deserve having a real democratic voice in social decisions. But they know that the realistic choice today is between having our present-day "socially enlightened" corporate elite in power versus having ordinary Americans in power, and they much prefer the former because they worry that ordinary Americans, unlike today's politicians and judges and corporate directors, don't approve of same-sex marriage or the racial quotas of Affirmative Action and so forth. The left doesn't even want the American public to be allowed to vote on a question as important as same-sex marriage, speciously proclaiming, "It's wrong to vote on rights."

Who does that leave? Each of us can see the answer in our mirror each morning. Yes, we are totally unorganized and for that reason feel like there is nothing we can do that will have any real effect. Yes, the political activists from right to left are organized and, indeed, often funded by the plutocracy. Nonetheless, we are the vast majority, not them. We can prevail if we organize with the explicit intention of prevailing. Let's do that. If we do not, then imagine the terrible answer to the question-- "Whither the unraveling United States of America?"-- that lies in store for us and our children.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Why Did Only 53% of Maine Voters Say No to Same-Sex Marriage?

The recent same-sex marriage referendum in Maine saw only 53% of voters say "No" to same-sex marriage (by voting "Yes" on Proposition #1). Yes, that's a majority; but a small one. Why such a small majority?

The reason is not hard to figure out when one examines the arguments made by both sides during this election campaign over Proposition #1, which outlawed same-sex marriage. The pro-same-sex marriage argument said that if you believe in equality and fairness you should vote "No." The "vote Yes" side's strategy (judging by its leading organization's web page, Stand For Marriage Maine) was not to explain what was wrong with same-sex marriage but rather to warn those who were already opposed to it that they better take the trouble to vote in this off-year election because if Proposition #1 failed then the public schools would start teaching children that same-sex marriage was good.

The "vote Yes" side waged a terribly ineffective campaign because their message was aimed only at Catholics and others whose objection to same-sex marriage was based on a religious conviction that God does not approve of same-sex marriage. Their campaign strategy ignored the many voters who, either because their church (like many Protestant ones) supported same-sex marriage or because they were not particularly religious, did not believe that God condemned same-sex marriage.

The "vote Yes" side didn't tell these people the non-religious reason why same-sex marriage is bad: that giving a couple a marriage license means giving them formal social approval to produce a child, and in the case of a same-sex couple this is wrong because the only way a same-sex couple can produce a child is with donated sperm or egg, which necessarily inflicts on the child the psychological pain that comes from not having a normal bond with its biological mother and father.

The "vote Yes" side didn't explain the secular role of marriage and laws restricting who can marry: We don't have laws about who can be business partners, or roommates, or friends etc. because these relationships do not produce children. The only reason laws about who can marry are legitimate is because society has a legitimate interest in who it approves of producing a child. We don't approve of siblings or people infected with syphilis producing a child, so we have laws against such marriages, and everybody knows these laws have nothing to do with hatred of siblings or denying people equal rights.

The "vote Yes" strategy should have been to explain why opposing same-sex marriage is about defending the psychological welfare of children, just as opposing sibling marriage is about defending the genetic welfare of children and opposing the marriage of syphilis-infected people is about defending the health welfare of children, and that none of these restrictions on who can marry have anything to do with denying anybody equal rights.

Had the "vote Yes" side waged this kind of campaign, I am quite certain that many of the people who voted "No" would have been persuaded to vote "Yes" no matter what their beliefs were about religion and God. People who understood the psychological pain that adopted children feel because of the absence of a bond with their biological parents, and who understood that adopting parents are not the cause of this pain but that couples (same-sex or otherwise) who use donated sperm or egg to conceive ARE the cause of this pain would have voted "Yes." The ones who would still have voted "No" would have been the people who think that the bond between a child and its biological mother and father counts for nothing. Such people are a very small minority.