Archives – July, 2010
(Many folks did not receive their usual e-mail alert when this went up late yesterday, so re-posting it -Adam)
By Adam Bink
This is a must-see video I had to highlight for you from this afternoon’s event in Rochester, MN. In fact, given the #NOMTurnoutFAIL in yet another parking lot, one could argue it’s the highlight:
In the video, Arisha puts forward several of the questions you asked in today’s open question thread and other places, including the role of religion in our government, what people say when they mean “a Christian nation”, and on whether Brown agrees with other speakers that gay people are “perverted”, “diseased”, “unfit parents”, have propensity to be pedophiles, or other such distasteful comments. Watch his response- he clearly gets uncomfortable with the latter question from Sagesse in today’s thread, and by the fact that speakers at his rally are saying such things.
Keep those questions coming, everyone, and we’ll continue to put Brian on the hot seat.
By Rick Jacobs
(Cross-posted at Huffington Post)
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is halfway through its 20-state “One Man, One Woman” tour at which approximately one man and one woman seem to show up for them at each stop. But what NOM lacks in popular, grassroots support, it more than makes up for in apparently laundered money. Wednesday, NOM announced that it would spend untold sums to advertise in Spanish in California in support of Carly Fiorina, the failed CEO who wants to buy a Senate seat.
Not to be outdone, a few miles south of here in San Diego, a year-old right wing group called GOProud has carved out a niche for itself as the NOM of the gay right wing. GOProud, a so-called 527 organization that exists to influence the outcome of federal elections, is the first “gay” organization to accept funds from Doug Manchester and his Hyatt Hotel in San Diego that has been under boycott for two years. Mr. Manchester denies workers their rights and put $125,000 into the Prop. 8 campaign just as it qualified for the ballot.
What do these two organizations have in common? Quite a lot, it turns out.
NOM is under investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for failure to disclose contributors to the 2008 campaign to take marriage away from Americans. It is also under court order in Maine to disclose its contributors to the ballot measure there last November that took marriage away from more Americans. Both of these governmental investigations and actions are largely due to Fred Karger, the intrepid co-founder of the boycott against Manchester and now a candidate for the Republican nomination for president.
NOM is accused of laundering large sums of money directed to it by the Catholic and Mormon Churches into campaigns, ads and even tours. As Courage Campaign and our friends at Freedom to Marry have seen on our NOM Tour Tracker, the money is not used to get out crowds; it is used instead for fancy buses, staff and most importantly for raw politics. NOM is the classic, if well-heeled sock puppet.
But what of GOProud? It received at least $16,000 from Mr. Manchester’s entities which constitutes 86% of its total reported budget. That’s right. GOProud seems proud to go right to a sugar daddy who happily wrote checks to another front organization, apparently so Mr. Manchester and his Hyatt could say, “We’re okay now. Even though we paid to take marriage away from potentially millions of people, we’ve just given money to a right-wing gay organization, the purpose of which is to raise and spend money to support candidates who oppose marriage and equality for all.”
Are you following this? It’s complicated, but it’s in the tradition of Andrew Breitbart and right-wing dirty tricks. For two solid years, UNITE HERE, the hotel and restaurant workers union, has stood firm with groups like Courage Campaign and the entire LGBT community in San Diego to boycott Mr. Manchester’s property. UNITE HERE fought diligently against Prop. 8 and has continued to demand equality at every opportunity. For two years, Mr. Manchester has suffered a huge loss in revenue. And for nearly two years, Mr. Manchester has retained the services of people like gay PR man Howard Bragman, who makes money by advising stars on coming out of the closet and donors to Prop. 8 in gay-washing their dirty money. (Mr. Bragman wrote here on HuffPo that he supports boycotts, but that seemed to change when Mr. Manchester started to pay him to break the boycott that he said he supported.)
The irony of it all is that Mr. Manchester and his advisors seem to have found their ideal fake solution to their anti-American, anti-equality money machine. They can give money to GOProud so that GOProud can be a gay voice in support of anti-gay and regressive candidates such as Mary Bono Mack, Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn and Carly Fiorina. Indeed, GOProud advertised against Tom Campbell, the only Republican in the Senate race who supports full equality for LGBT people. GOProud proves that self-loathing knows no bounds.
Courage and our allies at UNITE HERE and virtually the entire LGBT community will proudly continue to honor the boycott of Manchester hotels as we all become increasingly wary of Hyatt itself. We’ll also continue to track NOM on its tour and its money hose so that the true movement for equality and American progress can prevail.
Sock puppets and sugar daddies. It could be the title of a book about the end of right wing, anti-family, fear mongers. In fact, it’s a sad commentary on desperate people who realize that they stand at the fringes of America and history itself. Until progress prevails, we’ll hold them all accountable.
By Adam Bink
We’ve gone several weeks here at NOMTourTracker.com covering NOM and all their crazy #FAIL. You’ve seen the video interviews with everyone from Larry Adams and Brian Brown to Monica Meyer and equality supporters across the country.
But what you (and I!) don’t know a whole lot about is who is bringing you that coverage. Where do those videos come from, anyway?
They come from this man:
But wait, you say: who is that man behind the camera? Where is he from? And what awesome product keeps his hair so upright, anyway?
We will answer that question today in a new series I’ve started called “Meet the Trackers”- an introduction between you and our tracking team on the road. Below is a series of questions I put together to help us meet our intrepid trackers and learn a little bit more about who they are, what they do, what makes them tick, and the crucial question, what occupation they think Maggie Gallagher would hold if she wasn’t with NOM.
Today’s interview is with Anthony Ash, the current NOMTourTracker.com videographer.
Where do you hail from?
From the bible belt of California, Fresno.
What brings you to Courage Campaign and the pro-equality movement?
I got my start at Camp Courage and I was so moved by the experience that I knew that Courage and this movement was where I belonged.
With the Courage Campaign, you’re the Central California Field Organizer. How long have you been with Courage, and what does that role look like?
I have been with Courage since May of 2009. As the Central California Field Organizer I find myself being a bit of a chameleon. The Central California region is very diverse with areas that are very developed and very rural. My organizing also takes many different forms from organizing a Prop 8 decision day rally to organizing voter actions for local and statewide elections.
Got any favorite California propositions you’re pulling for election or defeat of?
Well, I hope Meg Whitman goes back to eBay and leaves California politics alone. I am also rooting for the passage of Prop. 19 [to legalize and regulate certain marijuana-related activities].
Any predictions for what Ahnold will do upon leaving the governor’s mansion?
Lord willing RETIRE from EVERYTHING!
Tell us what a day in the life on the road with NOM looks like, from eye-open to eye-shut.
I don’t think I’ve gotten to close my eyes yet.
Best and worst meals you’ve had on the road during the NOM tour. Go.
Best- at a restaurant in Madison called “old fashioned.” REALLY good burger! But still not quite sure what a cheese curd is.
Worst- Indianapolis, Peppy’s grill. The only place that we could find on Yelp that was open late. I had to wring my French fries out and my burger was made the complete opposite of what I wanted, it included ONLY the things I ask to have taken off.
Tell us where you think the pro-marriage equality movement is going.
Well, regardless of where this movement is going, it is definitely going to be a marathon rather than a sprint. One thing that I have observed from being on the road with the opposition, is they are always looking for a new spin or new angle that they could use to strike fear and hate into people. As we learned with the Bush administration, fear and hate can be very motivating.
When you’re not working on winning marriage equality for same-sex couples and exposing NOM’s failures and falsehoods, what issues most interest you?
HIV prevention and advocacy- I have some very close friends and loved ones that is affected by this issue.
The NOM tour stopped in Lima, Ohio, where the hit TV show Glee is fictionally set. If you could quote Sue Sylvester to Brian Brown, what would you say?
“I’m going to ask you to smell your armpits. That’s the smell of failure, and it’s stinking up my office.”
Okay, you’ve wrestled control of the stereo from your fellow NOM Tour Trackers for the drive to the next stop. What’s on tap for the next couple of hours?
Well, I am a musical floozy and listen to all types of music. BUT on long road trips there is nothing that can make the time go by faster than my FAV Kelly Clarkson! If you see three Californians driving by and the guy is rocking out, that’s ME and I’m probably rocking out to Kelly (sorry gays that I didn’t say Gaga).
We all know Courage Campaign’s Eden James is a fountain of wisdom for organizers. My favorite nugget of wisdom: “On conference calls, silence equals consent.” Yours?
“Can someone mute themselves?” or “If it’s not written down, it never happened”.
Finish this sentence: When this tour ends, the first thing I’m going to do when I get home is…
Finish this sentence: If Maggie Gallagher had any other occupation, she would…
A telemarketer- she’s used to rejection.
Last question: if you could have any three dinner guests, who would they be and what would you serve?
All I’m asking for is a one on one dinner with Ricky Martin, can someone out there make that happen?!
Got any closing message for our readers here at NOMTourTracker.com?Keep fighting for equality! As we make these stops across the country following NOM, it makes me so proud to be doing what I am doing out here on the road when I see so many people fighting for equality show up to these events. In Madison, when I saw nearly 500 equality supporters coming down the road, I had a hard time filming because the tears wouldn’t stop coming.