Very interesting question in the NY Times on defining marriage and why the state has a role in determining who can and cannot marry.
WHY do people — gay or straight — need the state’s permission to marry? For most of Western history, they didn’t, because marriage was a private contract between two families. The parents’ agreement to the match, not the approval of church or state, was what confirmed its validity.
For 16 centuries, Christianity also defined the validity of a marriage on the basis of a couple’s wishes. If two people claimed they had exchanged marital vows — even out alone by the haystack — the Catholic Church accepted that they were validly married.
Guess what, it’s the taxes stupid!
In the mid-20th century, governments began to get out of the business of deciding which couples were “fit” to marry. Courts invalidated laws against interracial marriage, struck down other barriers and even extended marriage rights to prisoners.
But governments began relying on marriage licenses for a new purpose: as a way of distributing resources to dependents. The Social Security Act provided survivors’ benefits with proof of marriage. Employers used marital status to determine whether they would provide health insurance or pension benefits to employees’ dependents. Courts and hospitals required a marriage license before granting couples the privilege of inheriting from each other or receiving medical information.
In the 1950s, using the marriage license as a shorthand way to distribute benefits and legal privileges made some sense because almost all adults were married. Cohabitation and single parenthood by choice were very rare.
Can we really blame social security and redistribution of wealth and taxes as the reason marriage is bound by the state? Christians today use the State as morality police, if you aren’t in line with their values, you are shit out of luck.
Today, however, possession of a marriage license tells us little about people’s interpersonal responsibilities. Half of all Americans aged 25 to 29 are unmarried, and many of them already have incurred obligations as partners, parents or both. Almost 40 percent of America’s children are born to unmarried parents. Meanwhile, many legally married people are in remarriages where their obligations are spread among several households.
Using the existence of a marriage license to determine when the state should protect interpersonal relationships is increasingly impractical. Society has already recognized this when it comes to children, who can no longer be denied inheritance rights, parental support or legal standing because their parents are not married.
Impracticality is our government’s middle name! I love the enthusiasm and motivation behind the author’s commentary, but government and religion are so deeply intertwined that it’ll be next to impossible to change.
As Nancy Polikoff, an American University law professor, argues, the marriage license no longer draws reasonable dividing lines regarding which adult obligations and rights merit state protection. A woman married to a man for just nine months gets Social Security survivor’s benefits when he dies. But a woman living for 19 years with a man to whom she isn’t married is left without government support, even if her presence helped him hold down a full-time job and pay Social Security taxes. A newly married wife or husband can take leave from work to care for a spouse, or sue for a partner’s wrongful death. But unmarried couples typically cannot, no matter how long they have pooled their resources and how faithfully they have kept their commitments.
Possession of a marriage license is no longer the chief determinant of which obligations a couple must keep, either to their children or to each other. But it still determines which obligations a couple can keep — who gets hospital visitation rights, family leave, health care and survivor’s benefits. This may serve the purpose of some moralists. But it doesn’t serve the public interest of helping individuals meet their care-giving commitments.
Perhaps it’s time to revert to a much older marital tradition. Let churches decide which marriages they deem “licit.” But let couples — gay or straight — decide if they want the legal protections and obligations of a committed relationship.
Welcome to America, what this author is proposing is politically sound, even fair, but because religion is in bed with government, I could never imagine the problem of gay marriage being dismantled so effortlessly. It’ll take some liberal activism and impartial justice to win on this issue, but best of luck on this issue. Maybe Ron Paul’s movement and libertarian infiltration of government ranks will help correct the dysfunctional and awkward American policy.
Beautiful, just beautiful! The video below is of an autistic young man who sings the national anthem prior to a Red Sox game. He struggles with his disorder, giggles, and the crowd helps him out. It really is heart-warming to see that U.S. isn’t this evil empire that everyone outside our borders thinks we are.
Sometimes, the “patriots” have a difficult time distinguishing between dissent and love of country. I don’t blame the politicos for being led in that direction by their political leaders and strategists, but it does suck that we can’t all love America and respect each others differences. The polarization of American politics is really hard on our citizens, even though it’s not an entirely obvious at times.
Lets face it, sites like this site (unAmerican Revolution) stem directly from the polarization, manipulation and coercion of Americans by various political and corporate interests. This site doesn’t represent a group of anti-Americans, but instead… it’s people who really love America and just want things back to how they were before all of this exploitation of God and Country started happening. We all want to be a part, to belong, and have a say in the direction of the country.
Some people have taken it upon themselves to deny that right to certain Americans with points of view they don’t particularly care for. It’s endangering our nation and the tension and growing rift between the left and right is tearing at America’s core.
There are few candidates that I can appreciate on the level that I do Dennis Kucinich. He makes me want to be a better man, his politics are sound, his heart is in the right place and his wife.. man his wife is hot!
I’d probably vote for the guy because he’s just an all around all-star, but would anyone hold it against me if I voted for him because of his hot babe of a wife? Who wouldn’t want her beautiful mug on the cover of magazines and in the TV all the time? The best part is she went to grad school, educated, has a ‘save the world’ good heart mentality and is well spoken and a great accent to boot!
[Video] Kucinich smacks reporter down for asking about his lady’s tongue ring:
“That’s my privilege, not yours!”
Fox News continues to surprise me. Yesterday morning I watched in awe as a segment on Fox News was dedicated to discussing the ramifications of the terribly drafted Patriot Act. Along with millions of Democrats and Libertarians, I’ve been bitching non-stop about the patriot act due to multiple illegal provisions, some of which have been struck down. The government has been treading in dangerous territory with the way they’ve governed the United States throughout President Bush’s terms in office.
I am elated to share, at least one segment, where Fox News has aired a video that is not built on conservative propaganda, but concerned with the rights of American citizens.
I love Fox News for the moment, it’s unfortunate that this guy will probably get fired for saying what most Americans believe is the truth.
Calling President Bush a Nazi is pretty boring, but it’s ‘out there’. There are many Americans who aren’t very knowledgeable about history, nor do they understand why it is a bit awkward to refer to Adolf Hitler vs. George W. Bush as one and the same. Aside from the unsophisticated level of the attack, you may as well call Bush a girl or gay, nazi? Seriously lacking in the creativity department.
The simplicity of the attack aside, it’s interesting how far Americans and citizens of the world have come in hating the American President. President Clinton was loved everywhere outside partisan circles. When he traveled throughout the world, everyone wanted to be a part of history, to just capture a single moment that they’d cherish for life. Americans would fall over themselves to see Clinton or shake his hand. President Bush on the other hand, is very unpopular! People see the fascism creeping into American democracy, they blame him for our loss of rights. They also see the Iraq War, failures, costs, dead soldiers, as strongly representing what this administration is all about. Pair that with fear-driven policy and you have “Fuhrer” George W. Bush.
This shoot first and ask questions later philosophy has gotten us into a lot of trouble and if we don’t learn to practice restraint, we are going to be at war permanently. The fact is, we have more enemies now than we ever did pre-Bush. Our own allies seem to have a hard time stomaching “the arrogant Americans” and it’s really sad when we can’t rally our own allies / friendly nations to help us fight injustice in the world.
Below is an excerpt from a very interesting article about American imperialism. The article outlines the real reason that American tax dollars are so high.
As distinct from other peoples, most Americans do not recognize — or do not want to recognize — that the United States dominates the world through its military power. Due to government secrecy, our citizens are often ignorant of the fact that our garrisons encircle the planet. This vast network of American bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire — an empire of bases with its own geography not likely to be taught in any high school geography class. Without grasping the dimensions of this globe-girdling Baseworld, one can’t begin to understand the size and nature of our imperial aspirations or the degree to which a new kind of militarism is undermining our constitutional order.
Our military deploys well over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents, and civilian contractors in other nations. To dominate the oceans and seas of the world, we are creating some thirteen naval task forces built around aircraft carriers whose names sum up our martial heritage — Kitty Hawk, Constellation, Enterprise, John F. Kennedy, Nimitz, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Carl Vinson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John C. Stennis, Harry S. Truman, and Ronald Reagan. We operate numerous secret bases outside our territory to monitor what the people of the world, including our own citizens, are saying, faxing, or e-mailing to one another.
You can catch more of the article here: “America’s Empire of Bases.”
Amusingly enough, I stumbled upon the article off of a headline that read, “ever wonder why your taxes are so high?” I guess I never really think of war in terms of how much it is going to cost the American tax payer. My motivation for wanting to shake up American foreign policy thinking has to do with justice, American soldier’s lives, and honest political efforts overseas. The way I see it, the American people have been lied to by their president. It wasn’t just any ole’ lie, and it certainly wasn’t something as personal and seemingly trivial (now) as infidelity in the White House.
No, the President has deceived Americans, he tricked us into supporting his war. It wasn’t all 9/11 and the media either. His administration cherry picked evidence (much of which was false intelligence) and wrapped it up in a beautiful package to deliver to Americans and the world. Now, we have this war that will cost trillions. If you are worried about taxes, it isn’t just going to lay on the current generation, our children and maybe their children will be paying for President Bush’s war. What’s more, and of course the most important issue, is our fathers, brothers, cousins, uncles –aunts and mothers even– are dying in Iraq.
If it were entirely about American security, that would be one thing, but nothing could be further from the truth. September 11th is the consequence of poorly functioning government, agencies, and a history of meddling in the affairs of the middle east. Muslim fundamentalists hate us, it’s true, but they don’t hate us because we are free. These radicals can’t stand America because they believe we have been killing their children, family members, that we’ve been hurting their cultural and political interests with our excessive and overreaching policies.
Do I blame America for 9/11? Hell NO, I am still angry at what has transpired, I am angry that our friends and family died at home, but two wrongs doesn’t make a right. Will diplomacy diffuse the increasing tension between Americans and people of the middle east? My guess is no, it may never happen, but if we don’t try diplomacy and stick by international law on rules of engagement, we are no different from the people we’ve learned to hate. How are we any less of terrorists if we are engaging in first strikes and “preemptive” measures? This is especially true when we have little evidence of wrongdoing on the part of our adversaries overseas.
An honest and thoughtful president would have been much wiser about how s/he’d approach war. As for President Bush, well lets just be glad that his time is almost up. May our next President be everything that America needs right now, and more.
If it’s not some Senator waving pictures of America’s children to pass SCHIP, it’s another waving the American flag with one hand and holding a child in the other. Children are great pieces of propaganda when used properly, and it looks like the manipulation doesn’t stop inside our borders. Below is an image of a muslim child holding an American flag.
It could be that this picture was taken by the little girl’s parents to show their support for the United States efforts overseas. Or, it could be that some reporter wanted a photograph that would impress the boss. Maybe, it was taken by CIA agents hoping to keep the political war away from the fire.
Whatever the reasons for the visual, it does send a strong message. Children will forever be exploited as long as mankind continues along this path of hatred, intolerance, violence and war. Does anyone know the origin of the picture? Better yet, feel free to contribute your own theories or opinions on this political artwork.
This summer everyone was raving about Hillary Clinton’s “new look”. Her wardrobe has had somewhat of a makeover and for the most part I think she looks pretty sharp.
Is Hillary’s fashion sense really such a big deal? Our nation that is stuck with a multi trillion dollar war, struggling social and racial classes, religious tension, near bankruptcy, a weakened dollar and economy, a terrible educational system, and the list goes on.. yet our news media found time (I’m talking days) to harp on Hillary Clinton’s “makeover”. If you subscribe to any conservative literature, especially the stuff that comes from the Human Events group, you likely receive the e-mail that says “Hillary Clinton’s EXTREME makeover…”
What a joke, our Democracy is crippled and our Constitution is on life support and we’re bullshitting over fashion, Hillary’s cleavage and whether or not she is “fake”. What I know about Clinton — although she is not my top choice– is that she is very intelligent. She actually represents Yale University well, unlike President Bush who doesn’t even seem fit for trade school, much less one of the most prestigious universities in the world!
Judge Brinkema made a statement recently that implied a lack of faith in government to handle certain cases. The CIA intentionally withheld information that was critical to the issue of justice and the judge is concerned.
At a post-trial hearing Tuesday for Ali al-Timimi, a Muslim cleric from Virginia sentenced to life in prison in 2004 for soliciting treason, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said she can no longer trust the CIA and other government agencies on how they represent classified evidence in terror cases. Attorneys for al-Timimi have been seeking access to documents. They also want to depose government witnesses to determine whether the government improperly failed to disclose the existence of certain evidence. The prosecutors have asked her to dismiss the defense request.
The government has denied the allegations but has done so in secret pleadings to the judge that defense lawyers are not allowed to see. Even the lead prosecutors in the al-Timimi case have not had access to the information; they have relied on the representations of other government lawyers. After the hearing, the judge issued an order that said she would not rule on the prosecutors’ motion until the government grants needed security clearances to al-Timimi’s defense lawyer, Jonathan Turley, and the lead trial prosecutor so they can review the secret pleadings.
Brinkema said she no longer feels confident relying on the government briefs, particularly since prosecutors admitted last week that similar representations made in the Moussaoui case were false. In a letter made public Nov. 13, prosecutors in the Moussaoui case admitted to Brinkema that the CIA had wrongly assured her that no videotapes or audiotapes existed of interrogations of certain high-profile terrorism detainees.
As a kid, I was always a big fan of the CIA. The idea of a rogue-like organization that works for the United States government. The CIA have always been depicted as shadow warriors if-you-will that become heroes of all growing young men. I always fantasized about being one of these shadows, going out into the world and knocking off the bad guys. In my dreams, I was invisible, I was licensed to kill and serve in a highly exciting world of good guys and bad guys.
Even today, I’m still into flicks like those that center around Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt, but I am concerned that the U.S. government has gone beyond the rogue justice into an all out assault on civil rights. The big issue today is where do you draw the line? Should the government have access to the records of all citizens, even those that are innocent of any and all wrongdoing? Proponents of a more fascist State often argue that “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” That’s a cop out of the argument though, because the truth is that we’ve always lived in an “Innocent until proven Guilty” system of government. The new rules pushed by proponents of the “Patriot” Act and other such garbage policies are continuing to blur the legal lines.
The problem isn’t just with the issue of justice and civil rights, but the fact that Americans are losing faith in government. If we don’t believe in our government to do this ‘dirty’ work, then we have a problem. I’m not of the school of though that suggests “trust the government at all costs”, obviously! So, what I suggest is that government needs to do a better job of regulating its thugs. I don’t accept that we need to do away with all rogue agencies that do the bidding of the U.S. government, it’s just not a realistic approach to governing. At the same time, there should be a proper balance between the rights of citizens and security and right now that balance is way off.
AP Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Bilal Hussein, denied Constitutional rights
This is why so many Americans are frightened at the denial of Habeas Corpus to “enemy combatants”. The military, under the direction of overzealous leaders can abuse the power and deny an American his constitutional protected rights.
The Pentagon says additional evidence has come to light proving Bilal Hussein is a “terrorist media operative” who infiltrated the news agency. The case will be passed to Iraqi judges who will decide if he should be tried. AP says its own investigation has found no evidence that he was anything but an Iraqi journalist working in a war zone. The agency’s lawyers say they have been denied access to Mr Hussein and the evidence against him, making it impossible to build a defense.
This man, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist, has been under custody for providing shelter to random strangers. The Pentagon calls this a security threat and danger to our military and they’ve promised evidence of the threat. This kind of reminds me of the slam dunk evidence that President Bush had that sent us to war,.. and didn’t exist?
p.s. In case you’re an idiot, there was no slam dunk evidence, it was a lie.