Remember, Remember the 5th of November: Anonymous Gets Things Done

When Anonymous erupted on the streets some five and half years ago to protest Scientology, their branding is what caught everyone’s eyes: The majority of protestors wore the Guy Fawkes mask from the movie V for Vendetta, in part because of the movie’s message and in part from EFG, Epic Fail Guy, a meme on 4Chan, the board where members can post images anonymously.

Anonymous is real a cool guy and doesn’t afraid of nothing.

As thousands of people who had never met joined in the protests and on the online discussion board WhyWeProtest.net,  Anonymous grew and developed . The concept was that anyone is anonymous (though tracing ISPs eventually proved otherwise in arrests for DDOS attacks), and anyone could protest anonymously.

Since that fateful day in February 2008, Anons have gone on to kick some pretty serious butt, and occasionally get theirs handed to them by law enforcement (careful with that Low Orbit Ionizing Cannon, kids!). Anonymous provided tech aid in the Arab Spring, reported on uprisings in Iran, took on San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), supported rape victims and made their accused rapists pretty uncomfortable, supported Bradly Manning and Julian Assange, and have ordered a lot of pizzas delivered. EFG masks could be seen at Occupy, are  at rallies and protests, and at just about any public semi-political gathering. Since anyone can be anonymous, and there is no central organizing committee, sometimes groups of Anons act in apparent cross-purposes. Don’t try to figure out exactly what they stand for except freedom on the intertubes and beyond–that’s the cornerstone of their ideology.

Anonymous’ original goal when we, they crept out of  notoriously Cheeto scented basements was to expose Scientology and have some lulz. It worked. In 2008 a group of Anons marched in the San Diego Pride Parade. A member of Scientology then signed the Church of Scientology on as a supporter of Prop 8. Screenwriter Paul Haggis, a Scientologist and a supporter of LGBT rights saw this and spoke up to the Scientology powers that be. He then very publicly left the organization, Lawrence Wright published an article in the New Yorker about Haggis’ defection, and well, now books have been written, more than ever people are leaving Scientology, the cult is facing court battles, and no one is afraid of them anymore. Well played. >9000 FTW.

Today, November 5th was the Million Mask March where Anons participated in

mass demonstrations in 477 locations around the world this Tuesday. The Million Mask March’s Facebook page states that followers should “remember who your enemies are: billionaires who own banks and corporations who corrupt politicians who enslave the people in injustice.”

Remember, remember this 5th of November:

We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive, we do not forget. Expect us.

 

Raven-Symonè Comes Out–via Twitter, No Plans to Marry

Teen star Raven-Symonè, who starred as Bill Cosby’s youngest daughter, Olivia Huxtable on The Cosby Show, and later as the title character on Disney’s That’s So Raven, came out today exclaiming on Twitter:

That’s So Raven, which ran from 2003 to 2007 on the  Disney Channel is still in syndication. The plot centers around Raven Baxter, a teen with supernatural powers who is also a fashion designer. In 2006 she starred in her first dramatic role as Briana McCallister, in the Lifetime Movie For One Night. The made-for-TV drama  was inspired by the true story of an African American teenager who shook up a small town where high school proms had been racially segregated for decades. She has since recorded albums, starred in a short-lived TV comedy series, State of Georgia. She also appeared as the lead in the Broadway version of Sister Act.

Last year Symonè tweeted:

Now Symonè is happy about repeal of DOMA and the SCOTUS ruling on Prop 8–happy enough to pretty much say she’s gay. But don’t rush out get her a wedding present yet. In an exclusive statement to E! News, the actress says:

I am very happy that gay marriage is opening up around the country and is being accepted. I was excited to hear today that more states legalized gay marriage. I, however am not currently getting married, but it is great to know I can now, should I wish to.

 

Brad and Angelina Can Now Get Married! Ding Dong, DOMA’s Dead!

Several years ago Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie announced they would not get married until everyone could marry. Thank goodness the Supreme Court listened, and perhaps persuaded by the cute faces of the couples six or seven kids and the size of Angelina’s engagement ring DID THE RIGHT THING!

DOMA is dead, gone! And Prop 8? SCOTUS said, in legalese

Not our pig, not our farm.

Now 626 is more than the area code for Pasadena. It’s the day that marriage became a federal right!

PS:  While marriage equality is now a reality, there is still more work ahead. And part of that includes working to eradicate HIV. Tomorrow is National HIV Testing Day. Won’t you participate by tweeting #testme and #June27 @testmejune27 and encourage everyone to get tested. Early detection saves lives!

Late Night: Some Random Thoughts on Edward Snowden

 

Hong Kong wanted him gone, and Putin clearly feels Edward Snowden–who celebrated his 30th birthday by placing everyone’s cellphones in the fridge–has outstayed his welcome in the pod hotel at the not-really-Russia airport.

Meanwhile tomorrow we have the potential of DOMA and Prop 8, which is pretty exciting!

 

Late Night: Marriage Rights Rally in DC and the Spanish Inquisition

 

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Surprise! Its supporters are in Washington DC, marching with NOM in protest  of marriage equality.

Tradition, Family & Property, a far-right Catholic organization whose founder cited the Spanish Inquisition as “a glorious moment” for the church. The Inquisition burned more than 1,000 Jews at the stake, confiscated the property of tens of thousands, and ultimately led to the expulsion of all Jews from Spain in 1492…

TFP is an all-male organization that finds its recruits among adolescent boys, whom it trains in the use of the combat regalia of the Middle Ages — maces, crossbows, and the like…

Adele M. Stan, who also covered TFP in 2010, writing for AlterNet, reports:

In South America, TFP is known for backing authoritarian regimes; it was involved in the 1964 military coup in Brazil, according to researcher  Richard Bartholomew, who also notes that after the coup against Allende in Chile, “[t]he editor of TFP’s Chilean magazine, Jaime Guzmán, became chief ideologist for General Pinochet’s regime.”

 

Washington is awash in pride as proud families and couples, gay and straight, march and rally outside the Supreme Court. Meanwhile inside Scalia says he has a

Longstanding and profound fear of homosexuals

so should he just recuse himself? I have friends who are afraid of clowns, cats, dogs, spiders, avocados…but teh gays? Like, why?

I wish he would look at this video from Mark S. King’s blog My Fabulous Disease. How can anyone be afraid of people who love and just want the option of marrying, to have the same rights as straight folks if they do marry?   And why do I think that the issue is more about money than religion–so for decades same-sex couples have been paying higher taxes (single payer filing) and their domestic partner insurance is taxed.  CNN Money explains:

A same-sex couple with combined income of $100,000, in which one person earns $70,000 and the other makes $30,000, currently pays an extra $1,625 a year by filing separately rather than jointly, according to an analysis H&R Block conducted for CNNMoney. The calculations assume a standard deduction, no children and no tax credits.

The extra tax liability jumps to nearly $8,000 when one spouse earns all $100,000 and the other reports no income. In this case, couples filing jointly owe tax of $11,858, while a same-sex couple filing separately owes $19,585 — a 65 percent difference….
Another major tax issue at stake in the DOMA case is the estate tax. Currently, surviving spouses in federally-recognized marriages don’t have to pay taxes on their deceased spouse’s estate, while same-sex widows pay a 35 percent estate tax on anything in excess of a $5 million exemption.

But it’s pointed out that some couples could end up paying more:

Other couples would end up owing more by filing jointly, especially if they miss out on deductions or credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit because, when combined, their income is no longer low enough to qualify or receive the full benefit.

 

Brad Pitt as Judge Walker, Plus Clooney, Sheen in “8″ Livestreams Saturday

You read FDL’s liveblogging of Prop 8 trial, now see the play!

“8″ Dustin Lance Black’s play about the Proposition 8 California Supreme Court trial directed by Rob Reiner will feature Brad Pitt as Judge Walker, George Clooney as David Boies and Martin Sheen as Theodore B. Olson, and will be livestreamed on YouTube from its reading at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles.The ticketed performance is a benefit for Americans for Equal Rights. AFER was responsible for putting together the plaintiffs’ team of  Boies and Olsen, the renowned attorneys who  faced-off in Bush v. Gore.

As Karen Ocamb points out in LGBTPOV/Frontiers:

With the 9th Circuit’s decision not to release the District Court tapes of the Perry v Brown trial – after which Judge Vaughn Walker declared Prop 8 unconstitutional – this becomes a critical vehicle to get the word out about what actually happened during the trial, apart from the spin from Protect Marriage

From AFER’s press release:

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact are pleased to announce the addition of Golden Globe-winner and Academy and Emmy Award-nominee Brad Pitt to the cast of the West Coast premiere reading of the play “8.” The reading is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry.

AFER and Broadway Impact are also pleased to announce that the performance will be streamed live on YouTube, beginning at 7:45 p.m. PST.  A pre-show will begin on YouTube at 7:30 p.m. PST.  Rob Reiner, director of Saturday’s performance, recorded a video explaining the reading of the play and inviting people to watch the live stream.  The live stream of the West Coast premiere reading of “8” and Rob Reiner’s video can both be viewed at www.youtube.com/AmericanEqualRights….

Morgan Freeman, Marisa Tomei, Christine Lahti Do “8″

Academy Award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black’s play 8 covering the Proposition 8 hearings and starring Morgan Freeman, Anthony Edwards, Cheyenne Jackson, Christine Lahti, Rob Reiner, Yeardley Smith and Marisa Tomei hits Broadway on September 19th in a one-time staged reading at the Eugene O’Neil Theater to benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Tickets start at $500.

AFER was formed specifically to fund the legal challenge against Proposition 8. A previous fundraiser, featuring a full length concert with Elton John was held earlier this year in Los Angeles.

8 is based on the California Supreme Court trial transcripts, and Milk screenwriter Black, who spent six months writing the play, told the New York Times:

I mined the best arguments on both sides, trying to capture everything on their side that was a winning point and anything on our side that was a winning point.

Luckily Black didn’t have to deal with these kind of arguments found on Facebook.

Wow, what’s next, blaming gays for hurricanes? Oh wait the heterosexual Rick Perry’s buddy/partner in Jesuspalooza, James Hagee has already done that.

8 will also be staged at Carnegie Mellon University, Northwest, and the University of Michigan.

[Thanks, Pam Spaulding for FB tip; h/t OnTopMagazine]

photo: creative commons, Mary McTavish

Sir Elton John and David Furnish Adopt Son, Sir Elton Fundraising for CA Marriage Equality

Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish have a adopted a baby, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, the couple told Us magazine exclusively. ZJLF-J was born via surrogate December 25. The couple’s bid to adopt a Ukranian baby was rejected last year.

Sit Elton and Furnish have been together since 1993 and were joined in a civil partnership December 21, 2005  the first day civil partnerships became legal in the United Kingdom. While the media has often referred to the UK unions as gay marriage, they are technically/semantically not marriage.*

The media is currently reporting that Sir Elton and his partner are “married,” and have used that language in the past.

During the 2008 Prop 8 election Sir Elton famously said:

I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. The word “marriage,” I think, puts a lot of people off. You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.

At the time, Sir Elton seemed unclear in the difference between the U.S. and UK civil unions. His words were used by Yes on Proposition 8 as part of their anti-marriage campaign in California.

But since then Sir Elton appears more aware of lthe difference between the limited (states’) rights granted same-sex unions in the US — in which over 1,000 federal rights are denied to couples — and UK same-sex unions which accord couples equal rights across the board. Equal rights — both state and federal — are what the piece of paper should provide, here in this land where all were created equal.

And now in a show of support for marriage equality in California, Sir Elton is performing a fund raising concert January 19 to benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights. AFER is The sole sponsor of the landmark federal case against Proposition 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger (Teddy Partridge has been liveblogging the court cases including the anti-equal righters’ appeal for Firedoglake.com)

There’s a Facebook sweepstakes (entry is free) to win tickets to the Elton John AFER concert concert plus airfare and hotel, but I have poor impulse control and never win contests anyway — so full disclosure –I bought a ticket weeks ago. It’s a cause I support, and a once in a lifetime experience. OMG, Elton John! At a private home! I am soooo excited!

I hope AFER expands their efforts beyond California into other states and turns up the heat on repealing DOMA.

On Christmas Eve day, Vice President Joe Biden told ABC News that

I think the country is evolving. There is a inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage

in America. Biden also said that President Obama’s attitude towards same-sex marriage is evolving. Well, this clergy-gal can dream (and prays daily) that she’ll be able to officiate at the marriages of her same-sex friends, and that those marriages will grant federal rights.

Sir Elton, thank you for supporting the effort for equal rights. And now that you’re a dad, I hope in addition to working for civil marriage equality, you’ll turn your attention to adoption laws in order to insure that LGBT adoption is legal in every state.

*UK Civil partnerships provide the legal consequences of marriage, including the the same property rights as married opposite-sex couples, the same exemption as married couples on inheritance tax, social security and pension benefits, and also the ability to get parental responsibility for a partner’s children. Civil partnership also incurs responsibility for reasonable maintenance of one’s partner and their children, tenancy rights, as well as granting full life insurance recognition, and next-of-kin rights in hospitals, and other rights. There is a formal process for dissolving partnerships akin to divorce.

Prop 8 decision globalized

People in Stockholm know about Prop 8, and the staff at American Apparel told me that the “Legalize Gay Overturn Prop 8″ tees have been big sellers with locals and tourists alike. They congratulated California on Judge Walker’s decision, saying they were happy about It.


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