Under a President Mitt Romney, there are at least 22 advances in LGBT civil rights delivered by President Barack Obama that most likely will disappear. While Nancy Pelosi and, to a far lesser extent, Harry Reid, have worked to support civil rights and protections for the gay community, Barack Obama has — sometimes with great fanfare, oftentimes in the shadows — delivered important advances.
Back in 2010, at Change.org, I wrote a somewhat controversial (at the time) article, “Obama’s Gay Rights Come With An Expiration Date,” which stated:
President Obama should know better than to incrementalize gay rights, and tie them to his presidency. And yet, that’s exactly what he’s doing.
President Obama has slowly and quietly doled out rights to the LGBTQ community. These are rights we should have by the very nature of our existence, rights that every other American has upon birth, but the president has doled them out cautiously, meekly, without pomp or circumstance, and, worse, he has tied them to his presidency.
This tactic is problematic for two reasons.
First, by expanding our civil rights by issuing executive orders and memoranda, President Obama’s gay civil rights come with an expiration date. Yes, that’s right. The rights he has decreed, without working through Congress, are tied to his presidency. Any of his successors can, simply with the stroke of a pen, wipe out all our hard-earned rights, just because he or she wants to. Do you honestly think the next Republican presidentÂ won’tÂ do that?
Today, the Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson posts a long list of 21 LGBT advances a President Romney could — with the stroke of a pen or incrementally — make disappear into a more progressive history.
Asking, “Would President Romney undo pro-LGBT advances?,” Johnson notes:
Many of the pro-LGBT advances that have happened under the Obama administration occurred through changes made by the executive branch rather than through legislation. Changes that were made without the consent of Congress could be reversed under an administration that wanted to cozy up to the religious right.
The Washington Blade has identified five regulatory changes and 16 sub-regulatory changes enacted by the Obama administration that could be reversed if Romney were elected to the White House. These changes include giving greater recognition to same-sex couples, protecting federal LGBT workers against discrimination and ensuring the federal government recognizes the correct gender of transgender people.
The one Johnson doesn’t include in his list of “five regulatory changes and 16 sub-regulatory changes” is the most-obvious: Obama’s support of same-sex marriage equality.
Here’s the list from the Blade:
The Administrative Procedures Act provides safeguards against politically motivated policy switches.Â Thus repealing the policies below would involve a multi-year process.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopted a regulation ending the ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants.
- President Obama issued Presidential Memorandum in April 2010 directing HHS to issue regulations requiring all hospitals receiving Medicaid and Medicare to prohibit discrimination in visitation against LGBT people.Â HHS issued a final regulation that went into effect in early 2011.
- HUD issued final regulations in January 2012 prohibiting discrimination in federal public housing programs and federally insured mortgage loans.Â HUD also requires its grantees to comply with LGBT-inclusive state and local housing discrimination protections.
- The Office of Personnel Management published final regulations in the Federal Register expanding the eligibility for long-term care coverage to same-sex partners and sick leave to care for a same-sex partner.
- Â The federal Prison Rape Elimination Commission proposed national standards to reduce sexual abuse in correctional facilities, including standards regarding LGBT and intersex inmates. They were later instituted as a rule finalized by the Justice Department last month.
Sub-Regulatory Guidance/Policy Announcements
These are policy advances instituted by â€” and subject to the will of â€” the administration.
- The Department of Health and Human Services revised its funding guidance around abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education programs, requiring that recipient programs are inclusive of and non-stigmatizing toward LGBT youth.
- HHS, in partnership with the Department of Education and Department of Justice, launchedÂ stopbullyingnow.com.
- The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency recently released new 2011 Performance Based National Detention Standards.Â These new standards provide guidance that aims to improve treatment of LGBT and HIV-positive people in detention facilities.
- In summer 2011, ICE published a memo and clarifying guidance providing that an individualâ€™s family relationships, including a same-sex relationship, would be considered as a factor in labeling certain deportations as low-priority deportations.
- The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol announced a proposed regulatory change expanding the meaning of â€œmembers of a family residing in one householdâ€ for the purposes of the customs declaration form, which must be completed prior to re-entry to the United States.
- The DOJ issued an opinion clarifying that the criminal provisions of the Violence Against Women Act related to stalking and abuse apply equally to same-sex partners.
- The State Department revised the standards for changing a gender marker on a passport, making the process less burdensome for transgender people.
- In September 2011, the Social Security Administration confirmed that it ended the practice of allowing gender to be matched in its Social Security Number Verification System (SSNVS). This resulted in the immediate cessation of SSA sending notifications that alert employers when the gender marker on an employeeâ€™s W-2 does not match Social Security records.
- The State Department extended numerous benefits to the partners of Foreign Service officers, including diplomatic passports and access to emergency evacuation.
- The State Department reversed a Bush administration policy that refused to use a same-sex marriage license as evidence of a name change for passports.
- The Department of Education issued guidance clarifying when student bullying may violate federal law, distributed a memo outlining key components of strong state anti-bullying laws and policies and made clear to public schools that gay-straight alliances have a right to form and meet.
- The Department of Education published guidance and, in coordination with the Department of Justice, has pursued Title IX complaints filed by LGBT students experiencing harassment based on sex or sex stereotyping.
- OPM added gender identity to the equal employment opportunity policy governing all federal jobs.
- The Department of Labor issued guidance clarifying that an employee can take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a same-sex partnerâ€™s child.
- The IRS clarified that domestic partners (and their children) can be designated beneficiaries for VEBA funding/payment purposes.
- The Census Bureau overturned the Bush administrationâ€™s interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act and agreed to release data on married same-sex couples along with other demographic information from the 2010 Census.
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‘Jurors Meet With Defendant’: Anger Grows Over Report GOP Senators Met With Trump to Map Out ‘Rigged’ Impeachment Trial
News from The Washington Post that top White House officials held a clandestine meeting Thursday with Republican Senators to map out a plan to limit the Senate impeachment trial while President Trump has been secretly “courting” Senate Republicans in an effort to gauge and gain their loyalty has many angered and alarmed.
The House is expected to pass articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, which would require the Senate to hold an impartial trial, over which the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would preside. It very much is a legal proceeding with historic consequences for the future of America’s democracy.
Republicans appear to not have grasped this fact, not the gravity of their constitutional duties.
Many Americans are growing angered as a result. Some are calling the Senate impeachment trial “rigged” before it has even begun. Others are pointing out that this is akin to jurors meeting with the “defendant to discuss how long they think they have to let the trial go on.”
“Juries don’t collude with the accused criminals they’re judging,” one person on Twitter said. “Only collusion, only obstruction,” said another.
Take a look at the responses:
Meanwhile, the fact that the target of an investigation is conspiring with the very public servants who will serve as jurors on his trial is shocking to some.
I'm no judge or lawyer, but I don't think the person on trial is supposed to have their lawyers and friends meet with the jury to decide how the trial can be made most beneficial to them……. right? https://t.co/izu0pu3t26
— Avi Bueno (@Avi_Bueno) November 21, 2019
Trump will be controlling his own impeachment trial in the Senatehttps://t.co/YbcSHauWRe
— Individual-1 (@codename_karla) November 21, 2019
I didn't know the White House has a say in designing the impeachment trial procedure. Very convenient. https://t.co/PlsLrZzBhX
— Gabriel Snyder (@gabrielsnyder) November 21, 2019
“A group of Republican senators and senior White House officials met privately … to map out a strategy.”
Well, that raises no questions whatsoever. https://t.co/9k2ObktAg9
— Greg Greene (@ggreeneva) November 21, 2019
In case you accidentally believe the lies of @senatemajldr & @SenateGOP that Senators should be impartial jurors. Juries don’t collude with the accused criminals they’re judging. #ImpeachmentHearings Cc: @SenateDems https://t.co/5VYTemmztD
— BiblioRomancer (@biblioromancer) November 21, 2019
Only collusion, only obstruction. https://t.co/F3SuUzEx9v
— Nik Shah (@NikhaarShah) November 21, 2019
Well now we know. Trump has rigged the trial even tho no impeachment trial has been recommended.https://t.co/pMmuEJVrhC
— Tina Routhier (@tynab_r) November 21, 2019
— Michael Balter (@mbalter) November 21, 2019
Republicans: [denounce entirely routine closed-door depositions]
Also Republicans: [meet behind closed doors with Trump to discuss strategy for trial in which they themselves will be the jurors]https://t.co/I8k1O0uNO8
— The Moscow Project (@moscow_project) November 21, 2019
jurors meet with defendant to discuss how long they think they have to let the trial go on before hanging the jury.
— johnbrummett (@johnbrummett) November 21, 2019
WHY does the @WhiteHouse have any say in a trial meant to hold #SCPOTUS @realdonaldtrump accountable for impeachable acts? Where’s @TheDemCoalition @IndivisibleTeam @MoveOn & other of @TheDemocrats’ organizations? #MarchOnDC https://t.co/nj3qgVoYk9
— John Zajaros (Jack) (@JohnZajaros) November 21, 2019
— BeUnshakeable (@beunshakeable) November 21, 2019
Image by The White House via Flickr
White House Secretly Meeting With Republicans to Limit Impeachment Trial as President Courts GOP Senators
The Trump White House is in secret talks with top Senate Republicans to draft a strategy on how the impeachment trial will be conducted after the House passes what are expected to be damning articles of impeachment. The president has been focused the past few weeks on sitting down with Senate Republicans individually or in small groups to take the temperature of the caucus and to woo those who have occasionally suggested they might be uncomfortable with the actions he has taken that have led to the current impeachment inquiry.
“A group of Republican senators and senior White House officials met privately Thursday to map out a strategy for a potential impeachment trial of President Trump, including proceedings in the Senate that could be limited to about two weeks,” The Washington Post reports late Thursday afternoon.
Among the Republican Senators who clandestinely met with top Trump White House advisors are: Mike Lee (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.), John Neely Kennedy (La.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Tom Cotton (Ark.). The six strong Trump supporters met, according to the Post, “with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.”
Earlier Thursday Politico reported “Trump cozies up to GOP during impeachment,”noting the President has been “aggressively courting Senate Republicans” including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, both seen as potentially dangerous to Trump should the Senate hold an impeachment trial.
In a separate Politico article Politico suggests the White House attempted to convince the majority-Republican Senate to immediately dismiss any articles of impeachment and hold no trial.
Senators “informed the White House that there simply aren’t the votes to approve a motion to dismiss the trial; it would take just three Republicans to block any impeachment vote on the Senate floor.”
The Washington Post echoed that reporting, explaining that “even a two-week trial could run counter to what Trump has expressed privately. The president is ‘miserable’ about the ongoing impeachment inquiry and has pushed to dismiss the proceedings right away.”
Watch: Nunes Stunned When State Dept. Official Knocks Down His ‘Black Ledger Isn’t Real’ Conspiracy Theory
Intelligence Committee Ranking Republican Member Devin Nunes Thursday afternoon appeared stunned when he questioned a U.S. State Dept. official during the impeachment hearings and did not get the answer he anticipated.
Rep. Nunes has been spewing far right wing conspiracy theories during each impeachment hearing over the past two weeks, including the thoroughly debunked lie that Ukraine – not Russia – attacked the U.S. 2016 election.
(Earlier one of today’s witnesses, Dr. Fiona Hill, publicly lambasted the spreading of the false Ukraine conspiracy theory as she sat just feet away from Nunes. The video is here.)
Nunes asked David Holmes, who is the State Dept.’s counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine about the “black ledger.”
That line of questioning did not go well for Nunes.
Nunes asked if Holmes had “ever heard of the black ledger.”
“I have,” Holmes replied.
“The black ledger – is that seen as ‘credible’ information?” Nunes asked.
“Yes,” Holmes responded without hesitation.
Surprised, Nunes repeated his question.
“The black ledger is credible?”
“Yes,” Holmes again replied.
Nunes did not look pleased.
“Bob Mueller did not find it credible. Do you dispute what Bob Mueller’s findings were? – They didn’t use it in the prosecution or in the report.”
“I’m not aware that Bob Mueller did not find it credible. I think it was evidence in other criminal proceedings. Its credibility was not questioned in those proceedings, but I’m not an expert on that.”
As Nunes goes back to the well of Ukraine 2016 conspiracy theories, Holmes shoots down his nonsense regarding the black ledger that exposed Manafort’s corrupt dealings in Ukraine: pic.twitter.com/JIo1mvl3Kt
— The Moscow Project (@moscow_project) November 21, 2019
Holmes is correct – it was used as evidence in prosecutions (see below).
The black ledger is a register of off-the-book payments made by the corrupt now-former ruling party of Ukraine – not today’s ruling party.
It contains details of 22 payments allegedly made to Paul Manafort, totaling $12.7 million, by his former client, the ex-President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort later became Donald Trump’s election campaign chairman. When the ledger was exposed Manafort was forced to resign from the Trump campaign. He is now in prison, serving a 90-month federal sentence.
Mueller actually did find the black ledger credible, as The Washington Post reported one week ago. It was used as evidence in Mueller’s indictment against Manafort.
Rep. Nunes appears to believe the existence of the black ledger and its authenticity are conspiracy theories. He is the one spreading conspiracy theories. The black ledger is real.
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