Tag Archives: abuse of power

Bigot of the Week Award: April 26, Steve Kush

26 Apr
Bigot of the Week

Bigot of the Week

I get many nominations for Bigot of the Week and have grown accustomed to the ugliness that is included in the stories I read. This week’s winner — courtesy of my friend Jennifer Carey — was so odious, however, that I had to stop reading until I could contain my rage.

Steve Kush executive director of the Bernalillo County Republican Party in New Mexico showed his true colors after a public hearing on raising the minimum wage in the county. When a 19-year-old woman representing Working America testified in favor of the higher wage, Kush tweeted

Nice hat Working America chick but damn you are a radical bitch.

Really?! Where do I even start to unpack all the hate, misogyny (a very big word for our Steve), classism, and ageism? Simply stating her concern for those barely earning a living wage at a public hearing makes her a radical? Using the word “chick” (not to mention his other language)?  Are we back in the 1950s?  Clearly, Kush attended the Clarence Thomas School Charm School, or would that be Charm Free School? As of April 26, Kush has offered no apology and remains isolated in his white, heterosexist, male, privilege — further pulling the GOP down into an abysmal time machine of shame.

Dishonorable mention this week goes to the Boy Scouts of America for adding “clueless” to “homophobic” on their list of Demerit Badges.

no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.

This plan would retain the ban on gay adults serving in any capacity. That means gay youth are being told they’ll be tolerated as long as it’s just a phase. If they don’t grow out of it, out the door they go. The word “alone” at the end of this tepid mini-reversal is also troubling. It would clearly allow individual troops to punish out scouts for “being disruptive” simply for being who they are. In an attempt to look accepting (are they using the GOP’s rebranding experts?), the BSA has crafted a meaningless compromise that makes Don’t Ask Don’t Tell look like civil rights genius. I do wonder when all of these straight scouts, both adult and youth, made the decision to be straight?

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Bigot of the Week Award: October 12, Rep. Scott DesJarlais

12 Oct

Bigot of the Week

Even in the great gathering of hypocrites that lurk in the BWA, this week’s winner is a titan. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R – TN) has managed to abuse his power on every level while demonstrating an amazing “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. DesJarlais is a licensed physician and a “family values” tea partier; he’s dedicated to oppressing gays and women and radically opposed to freedom of choice. He certainly plays the prefect stereotypical white hetero privileged male Republican. How does he live up to those “principles”?

It turns out that he practices family values by cheating on his wife (repeatedly). That includes one mistress who was one of his patients! So much for medical ethics… When this woman became pregnant during one of their dalliances (perhaps they got over-excited reading Ayn Rand?), how did DesJarlais respond? According to excerpts from phone conversations provided to the Huffington Post, he puts his convenience above his principles.

  1. If we need to go to Atlanta, or whatever, to get this solved and get it over with so we can get on with our lives, then let’s do it.
  2. We’ve got to do something soon. And you’ve even got to admit that because the clock is ticking right?
  3. You told me you’d have an abortion, and now we’re getting too far along without one!
  4. Well, I didn’t want to be in your life either, but you lied to me about something that caused us to be in this situation, and that’s not my fault, that’s yours.

My he is charm free! What a despicable creature. It looks like he will face a disciplinary hearing regarding his medical license. Sadly, his bright red district will likely reward his misdeeds with re-election.

Thanks go to my friend Jennifer Carey for this week’s dishonorable mention. David Siegel, the owner of Westgate Resorts, sent a surprising email to his employees Monday. It said that if President Barack Obama wins re-election and raises Siegel’s taxes, he will have to lay off workers and downsize his company — or even shut it down. Siegel used similar intimidation tactics in 2008. When confronted this week, he responded:

I wanted to inform my employees of what their future would hold if they make the wrong decision. I wasn’t threatening any of the employees.

No, just promising that their jobs were at stake while violating federal laws regarding voter intimidation. Abuse of power seems to be the theme of the week.

Starting Fresh in 2012: Emerging from the Winter of Our Discontent

1 Jan

A bumpy night? How about a year?!

I began this very personal post yesterday as I reflected on the very bumpy road that was 2011 for my family; in many unfortunate ways our lives reflected the woes of too many Americans who now find themselves without income and in despair.  Despair is an all too easy place for me to go, for I suffer from depression. After taking the time to exorcise some of what had happened, I decided to recast things as a wish for our new year–I hope my story will inspire others that suffer from depression and are currently unemployed due to no fault of their own to focus on the resources and love we have and to work hard to make 2012 a far better year than 2011.

The first week of December, shortly before my birthday, I was having coffee with some very dear friends of mine here in Portland,  Mary and Tamara. They asked if I still wanted to return to Atlanta; my transition here to the Northwest has been fraught with many obstacles and culture shock. As progressive as Portland can be, it is not particularly diverse, and subtle forms of racism and homophobia lurk behind many corners as even well-meaning people overlook their privilege in this bubble of liberalism.

To my great relief and surprise, however, I was able to answer my friends with a resounding NO. I love living here in Portland.  Our lives finally make sense here.  I love social work school and my husband loves his job. We also have legal protections here in Oregon that we will never have in Georgia.

This was eleven months into a tumultuous year. I went through the major process of applying to graduate school and began the adjustment of returning to the other side of the classroom. This came on the heels of months of being rejected for jobs because of my age and experience– painfully ironic.  My husband had a crazy year with major career ups and downs.

Sadly, right after my revelation, things turned upside down. We are now a fully unemployed household in a still perilous economy–a very frightening place to be indeed!  All the uncertainty and trauma I’ve faced in the past two years resurfaced as my husband now begins his job search. I worry about the challenges he will face and how we can be supportive of each other as we emerge from one of the most challenging years of our life together.

I am exceedingly ready for 2011 to come to an end!  As awful as things are right now, I know we are still fortunate!  We have food, we have people who love us, and my husband and I have each other.  We have survived being robbed repeatedly, a transcontinental move, my falling off our roof, and abominable discrimination–we will survive this setback as well.  My New Year’s wish for all those that don’t have equal access to resources, for all those that are oppressed due to race, gender, sexual orientation, and age is that 2012 will bring good energy and change for the better.  I still believe we can make the world better, but we must change the system of a white heterosexual power structure.  My family knows all too well how easy it is to lose your job because of sexual orientation.

My husband and I are dedicated to a happy, successful 2012, we are fortunate enough to have the support of friends and we have an education; with that love, support, and education we hope to overcome the barriers of white heterosexual abuse of power and emerge stronger and better equipped to help others that are disenfranchised. Let’s all look forward to a year of progress and success.  As someone who has battled depression for a lifetime, I hope is that anyone struggling with depression will seek help, be it medical, family, friends–get the support you need.

Bigot of the Week Award, July 1

1 Jul

Here to discriminate not protect!

Thank you to my friend Bonnie for inspiring this story.  Bonnie is not only my wonderful granddaughter butt she is a fierce and tremendous gay ally. If the census data are to be believed, Atlanta has the third largest LGBT population in the United States. Given the numbers of LGBT people, one would think there would be a modicum of equality extended. The article in this week’s Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), would prove other wise.  The AJC exposed the homophobic and unethical behavior of the Atlanta Police Department (APD) when they raided the Eagle, a gay bar, for no reason last year. All of the subterfuge and lies on behalf of the APD earn them the BWA.  Here are just a few of the unethical and homophobic efforts of the APD:

At least 10 police officers lied and then many of them deleted data on their  cellphones in an attempt to hide their actions the night of a raid on a Midtown Atlanta gay bar… top police officials gave misleading information to the public when they answered reporters’ questions about the controversial raid at the Atlanta Eagle bar on Sept. 10, 2009…The reports conclude that most of the officers involved in the operation did not conform to the APD’s standard operating procedures.

What I find particularly disgusting and profoundly sad is that the very people charged with the task of protecting the citizens of Atlanta have abused their power to discriminate against an already marginalized population.  Shame on you APD!

In a somewhat optimistic note, Mayor Kasim Reed said, “the resolution of this matter a top priority.”

When I first read this article, I thought I was reading an article from the early 1970s.  This horrific incident shows how much work has yet to be done in the area of civil rights for LGBT people.  Again, it  is imperative that we be OUT and VISIBLE.  Click here to read more.

Walker and Koch Brothers: Pollute Wisconsin

14 Apr

Walker and Koch: Polluting Wisconsin

Just when you think you can not despise Scott Walker and his bed fellows: the Koch brothers and David Prosser anymore than you already do, we continue to find out information that makes them even more nefarious. At this point, most people are painfully aware of the deals Walker made with the Koch Brothers to crush public employee unions, but now we also know that Prosser and Walker worked to allow Koch’s  Georgia Pacific paper plants to pollute Wisconsin by pouring thousands of pounds of phosphorus into the water.  A report by the state government showed that Georgia Pacific is responsible for about 9% of total phosphorus pollution in the Lower Fox River near Green Bay. People of Wisconsin, let us all hope you can recall Walker.  Click here to see the full article.

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