The MOST Persecuted Frank Turek

 Gay Issues, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on The MOST Persecuted Frank Turek
Oct 132011
This entry is part 33 of 35 in the series Gay Marriage

So now we come to the end of our little journey through the latest creation of Maggie Gallagher. Maggie is the former Board Chair and President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), but she recently left those posts to create an off-shoot group called the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, because you know, the good Christians like Maggie are being persecuted because they slowing losing their right to discriminate against whole classes of people under the civil laws of this country. Maggie started this group up with a guy named Frank Turek. Frank’s story was one of the first NOM started trotting out to try to show that people who believe in unequal treatment were being treated unequally.

Turek’s the author of several books, the most recent being a book about how gay marriage is bad. It was cited (eventually) by N.C. Senator James Forrester  as the basis for introducing the anti-equality marriage amendment in the North Carolina legislature (You read about that craziness here).

So Turek’s complaint is that someone “Googled him,” (damn those inter-tubes), and was “outed”, and he was “fired” for being, “somebody who has a traditional marriage view-point.” With that setup, we launch into the scary music theme.

First, we need to start clearing something up for Frank. Frank, you weren’t “fired.” You had been hired as a consultant. Consultant’s don’t get fired, the company just ends their contract with you, or elects to not sign another contract for more work. As a consultant myself, it happens all the time.

But Frank’s got a good story to go along with it. However, his story doesn’t follow a very linear story line, and my experience is that this is usually caused when a person is being less than honest. Especially about something this important.

First, Frankly starts out saying that he done some training for Cisco, “for many years.” Well, all of this happened in late 2010 or early 2011, and Frank goes on to qualify his statement saying, “since about 2008.” Well Frank old buddy, let me explain something to you…in the world of consulting, two years does not qualify as “many years.” My company has contracts we’ve been on for as much as 15 years. You might call that “many,” two…not so much

And here’s where his story starts getting even more inconsistent. He says that during 2010, when he was doing his second training class for Cisco (so, one class in 2008 and another in 2010 does not “many years” make), someone in the class went to HR during the class and said, “Frank’s class is great, but he’s written this book, Correct, Not Politically Correct; How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone, and since Frank doesn’t live up to Cisco values, he’s against same sex marriage, he can’t work here.” Then there’s a “cutaway and we come back to Frank claiming, “He said I’m gonna call HR and try to get Frank fired.” So Frank, you went from someone calling HR during a break, to apparently hearing from someone who he heard someone say this about you. Which is it?

So now Frank apparently knows this is about to happen (not that it happened during a break), and he calls his buddy who had hired him, and clues him in. The buddy tells him to not worry about it, that he’ll take care of it. Then Frank gets a call from his buddy later that day during another break, and the guy has to come over to talk to him when the class is over. The guy comes over, and after having a woman in the class tell him it was the best class ever at Cisco, he has to take Frank into another room, and tearfully fires him. Frank goes on to claim that even the liberals at Cisco thought it was an injustice, but doesn’t explain how he knows this.

Frank then goes into a lecture about the reason THEY decided to go public with this, as if the people at Cisco support him in doing this video. I wonder how they’d feel about this? Frank says “it’s just un-American to have to have a certain political view in order to work.” Frank, you don’t have to have a certain political view to work, but companies get to hire contractors especially based on the contractor’s compatibility with their culture. They’re not obligated to hire you or not hire you based on anything they want.

But that’s not the end of the story. It gets worse for Frank. His wife starts worrying it may happen with other clients, as Frank tells us.

Well, it has happened with other client’s, but Frank says not as a result of going public about what happened at Cisco. Even though he mentions his wife being worried about it happening AFTER his contract ended at Cisco, he claims it happened with Bank of America also. He does presentations at Bank of America and been hired over and over because his presentations are always so well received. But suddenly, and coincidentally, just two days before he went public with the big news about what happened with Cisco, he gets a call from Bank of America. Like at Cisco, it was the HR director telling him that because he’s against Same Sex Marriage, he can’t work at BofA again.

So, in all my experiences as a consultant, including security clearances, I have never had any interaction with a client’s HR director. When you are a consultant, you’re hired by the person responsible for the project on which you are working, but suddenly, at these huge multi-national companies, the HR Directors are involved with this one single consultant. Frank, I’m just buying the story. There are inconsistencies, things that just don’t follow with my experiences, and most of all you have spent way too much time and energy telling us how great you did, and how much everyone at these companies loved your presentations.

As we get toward the end of the video Frank gets all fired up as is claiming that the problem is, if you don’t believe that same-sex marriage should be legal, “you’re a homophobe, a bigot, and you need to be fired.” Then it gets interesting. He blames on the silent Christians, then starts comparing his situation to that of the founders, and talks about how many of them died for religious freedom, but we’re all afraid to speak up because we might not get or promotion, or not get that job we want…”puhhff,” puhleaze.” Ah, so frank, the founders fought and died for their beliefs. You partner up with one of the biggest bigots in the country, and whine about a company putting into practice their beliefs.

Again, they never realize this whole freedom thing always cuts two ways. They have the freedom of their beliefs. Companies have the freedom to decide who they want to do business with based on whatever criteria they want. Frank, you don’t get it both ways. You seem to expect that you should have the freedom to write and say whatever you want, but companies should have to hire you, and make judgements about whether you are a good fit with their culture. I suspect Frank wouldn’t do a training program for the Human Rights Campaign, so he gets to choose, but the HRC would have the right to not hire him.

What a tool.

Jul 042008

Today is a day or ironies. George Bush is visiting Thomas Jefferson’s beloved Monticello on this the 232nd anniversary of our declaration of independence from a king named George. As Jefferson warned that Americans would have to be ever on their guard against those who might turn the presidency into the tool of their “elected despotism,” I doubt he would be greeting Bush.

We live in a time where the very freedoms bought at so great a price by the founding fathers are being left in shreds. Dick Cheney has successfully convinced Americans they are safer with a “unitary executive.” How have American’s bought into this lie? This is the thing the founders were most interested in guarding against.

We have become a country comfortable with torture, willing to accept indefinite detention of both Citizens and non-citizens without benefit of habeas corpus, and we have come to believe we can trade our freedoms for security. We now have neither.

In another ironic twist, Jesse Helms, 86 year old retired Senator from North Carolina died today. All the pundits will take to the airwaves to talk of how Jesse Helms was a great American…a real patriot. Jesse Helms was neither, and will be someday acknowledged as the father of divisive politics in America. It is from Helms that political operatives learned how to use scapegoats and fear mongering to turn Americans against some enemy (even themselves) in order to further their own political aims.

Karl Rove perfected the technique, but Jesse Helms is the man who developed it. When the Soviet Union fell and Helms lost his primary enemy, he learned he could create an inside threat. First, it was gay people in general, then, as manna from God came AIDS, and Jesse could attack Gays as public health enemies who deserved what they got. Despite what you will read and hear, on this 4th of July, America lost not a patriot, but one of it’s greatest enemies.

Some find hope in the Obama candidacy. I hope it sparks a renewal of the American Spirit, but great damage has been done, and it will take much to reverse the decline of the great American Experiment. I hope he can inspire an American renewal, but my enthusiasm is tempered.

On this day when we pause to consider Patriotism, I find it being attacked on all sides. The first great precept of Patriotism is the right and obligation to question the leaders of government. The current government insists that to question them is to be unpatriotic. We squabble over what a person wears on his lapel, but I tell you that those who demand these superfluous shows are usually the least patriotic, but we take up their cause with enthusiasm.

Patriotism, true patriotism, is not found in a lapel pin, but in the soul. I find patriotism in the trembling hands of an American Veteran wearing his American Legion hat and proudly raising his hand in salute during the Presentation of The Colors. I know patriotism when I feel that chill run up my spine as I look at the flag flying in the mountain breeze against a brilliantly blue North Carolina sky while the ASU Marching Band plays the National Anthem. I see patriotism in the people who write their representatives and demand better from them.

On this day when we celebrate patriotism, I try to maintain hope, knowing it’s easier for me than for those founders 230 years ago as they took those tentative steps towards a brave new form of self-government. But we have traveled a long way from those innovative thoughts. Perhaps this generation doesn’t have the courage or strength for self-government, but I will continue to hope, I will continue to do what little I can, and I invite you to demand a return to the found ideals of America. The served us well for the first 200 years.

The Keys To The Kingdom

 Congress, Constitution, Politics, Presidency, The Courts, War  Comments Off on The Keys To The Kingdom
Oct 032006

I wrote a long article yesterday about the detainee law, passed by our Republican Senators (except for Chafee of Rhode Island) and Republican Congress people and by 12 Democrats.

These…. people… crazy people… very, very scared people?… voted to dump the Magna Carta protections of being able to confront your accuser, and said it’s okay to lock up “suspected terrorists” FOR LIFE without trial or anyway of protestng their innocence, you know sort of like in The Man in the Iron Mask.

I mean, they’re SUSPECTED, we don’t know they were picked up and identified correctly. We’ve already heard about the innocent Canadian man, picked up at an airport, sent off to Syria where he was tortured, and then years later was returned to Canada, without so much as a “thank you for your time, sorry to have bothered you.”

Read this blog by H. Constance Gorman, a lawyer who is donating her time to represent a detainee at Guantanamo.

She has been representing a man “swept up” in Afghanistan and falsely accused by “bounty hunters” who were paid by the US for pointing out terrorists — now that’s an idea that has no chance of getting false i.d.’s, doesn’t it? Pay informants in a scary country, for sure there won’t be any mistakes made, will there?

And this man has been in Guantanamo for 5 years. His daughter was 6 months when he was taken. And of course he’s just been there, uncharged, left to rot. And he’s ill as well.

So to people like this, the Congress has said to President Bush: yes, you have our permission, go do more of this.

Don’t worry if you make some errors. We prefer that innocent people be locked up for life with no recourse, as long as we can feel safe. And so we can tell the scared people in America – we are protecting you! Because that’s the kind of America we love! Safety first, to hell with laws, they’re inconvenient, they’re for mushy liberals who don’t know the value of shock and awe. Who cares if innocent people are harmed? Not us! Not John McCain or Lindsay Graham or John Warner, our maverick moderate Republicans. They turn out to be Mickey Mouse mavericks.

AND the Congress and the Mickey Mouse mavericks have allowed the Cheney-inspired rewriting of the term “enemy combatatant” so it has been broadened beyond people “found on the battlefield,” and it now includes people who “aid and abet” the terrorists… and this open-to-interpretation phrase could probably be applied to American citizens — it doesn’t preclude that — and it is all to be determined SOLELY by President Bush. That makes me feel safe!

Not only is Bush infallible like the Popes used to be, but he is so stable. Do you notice how frayed and angry he is all the time, repeating his few sentences about why we must stay fighting in Iraq until the cows come home, or even if only Laura and the dog are the only ones who agree with him?

Such resolute sticking to his beliefs! No matter what else anyone else thinks, he will continue saying “I am right, I am right, I am right.” Whew!

Thank you, everyone who voted for him. Twice. Thank you, to those in Ohio who helped steal that particular state for Mr. Bush in the last election. Kisses to you, Mr. Blackwell, in particular. (Kenneth Blackwell was the blatantly unfair Secretary of State in Ohio at the time, and like Katherine Harris was also the head of the Bush re-election campaign. No conflict of interest there. And like Ms. Harris, impeccable in his fairness to the sanctity of the vote.)

But back to the detainee bill — who might these more broadly defined “aiders” to the enemy be?

Well, Senator Patrick Leahy in his speech on the Senate floor, speaking against the passing of this bill, gave as an example someone who maybe gave to lots of charities, and gave unknowingly to one that happened to funnel money to, say, Hamas….well, with the wording of this law, Mr. Bush could lock that person up and keep them from seeing a lawyer and just never hold a trial or even accuse them. Forever. I’m told Senator Graham said that sort of thing wouldn’t happen… but is it wise to ever put that in a law, so it’s possible?

(This broadening of the definiton of “enemy combatant” happened AFTER the compromise bill was agreed on, the rewriting came from Cheney’s office the weekend before the vote, and I’m sure Graham-McCain-Warner wanted to be good Republicans and not upset the “united Republican front” so as to hurt the election. So they capitulated. They did stop Bush from literally rewriting the Geneva Conventions. And they got any accused the right to see classified information against them … though edited, who can say how much. But they didn’t fight hard enough,they caved in without fixing this bad bill; and the President is still given ENORMOUS, crushing power by the bill. But who cares as long as we all feel “safe”? Who cares as long as it’s not us who is arrested falsely?)

Who else could be accused by Mr. Bush of “aiding and abetting” and be locked away for good without a trial? Maybe editorial writers who criticize the war? Huffington Post bloggers? Maybe… instead of paying bounty hunters for tips, neighbors could be encouraged to anonymously accuse other neighbors of aiding and abetting.

With the detainee law, the Republican Senators and Congressmen (with the help of 12 Democrats) basically said to Bush, “Here are the tools to be a dictator, go forth and …have fun with it.” It is the worst legislation ever passed in my lifetime, and I am in my late 40s.

Here is another explanation of the dangers of this bill in a cogent post by Aziz Hug on “junking checks and balances.”

As has been said before, facism does not arrive in long black coats and jackboots, but quietly it sneaks in during the night.

This detainee bill is really bad. No President, and especially not President Bush, should be given such power. To lock people up without any recourse, for as long as the War on Terror lasts, which could be forever. Are they kidding? How could they pass such a law?

Our Republican Hamlet, Senator Arlen Specter, bravely put forth an amendment that would have reinstated the Magna Carta habeaus corpus protections of being guaranteed a court hearing to proclaim one’s innocence and know what one was accused of. But it lost – 48 to 51. Then Mr. Specter, after saying the lack of such protection set the rule of law back 900 years, went ahead and voted for the whole bill anyway. Why?

I don’t understand Republicans. Even the moderates who stand up to Bush for a few moments ultimately cave in to this dangerous adminstration, and to the fear-based atmosphere that has overtaken our country. I truly fear for the soul of this country.

Call or write your representatives and demand better.