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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Trump Unveils New Oddly Familiar Space Force Logo – and Star Trek’s George Takei Jokes He’s ‘Expecting Some Royalties’
President Donald Trump unveiled his new Space Force logo Friday afternoon, and many immediately noticed a strong similarity to the Star Trek logo. Even the original “Star Trek” series’ actor George Takei had a lot of fun at Trump’s expense – including demanding some royalties.
I feel like Melania must have had a hand in copyi–I mean, designing this.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 24, 2020
There is nothing sacred any more. pic.twitter.com/ubyy4OIZrp
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 24, 2020
Many others had a good time as well:
“What if we just use the Star Trek logo?”
“We could never get away with that.”
“I dunno, the President’s pretty dumb.”
“You don’t think…”
“C’mon. Let’s try.”https://t.co/2a19FgI3yN
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) January 24, 2020
Anyone know who holds the copyright to the logo from Star Trek? They might want to call their lawyers.
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) January 24, 2020
Donald Trump decided to rip off his Space Force logo from Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek, one day after everyone just watched Star Trek Picard and got reminded of what the Starfleet logo looks like.
Trump is the world’s dumbest criminal, and it’s not even close.
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) January 24, 2020
Many people are saying Trump plagiarized the Space Farce logo from Star Trek… https://t.co/8OJL4XriTO
— William LeGate 🧢 (@williamlegate) January 24, 2020
Space Force is apparently going to use the Starfleet insignia as its symbol because of course it is. https://t.co/3owXpNhWBD
— VICE (@VICE) January 24, 2020
Conservative national security commentator and analyst John Noonan weighed in enough to ruin some of the fun:
to be clear, the Air Force definitely stole the Star Trek logo. It just happened decades ago!
— John Noonan (@noonanjo) January 24, 2020
For those excitedly tweeting that Trump stole the Star Trek logo!!!!, the patch on the left was the existing Air Force Command logo.
The same one I wore as a Lieutenant in 2005. pic.twitter.com/mYb60YioBP
— John Noonan (@noonanjo) January 24, 2020
Tulsi Gabbard’s $50 Million Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton Exposes Exactly Why She Is Not the Leader America Needs
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a lower-tier presidential candidate with high aspirations, announced she is suing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for $50 million after the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee said Russia is grooming “somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary” for a third-party run, and reportedly called that person, “a favorite of the Russians” and “totally” a “Russian asset.” It does not appear Clinton ever named Gabbard directly.
“They’re also going to do third-party. I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton had said.
A Clinton spokesperson later did not deny the former Secretary of State and former U.S. Senator was referring to Gabbard.
Gabbard’s explanation for why she is suing Clinton exposes exactly why she is unfit to be president.
“This is my life that we’re talking about here,” The Hill reported Gabbard said on Fox News Thursday night to Tucker Carlson – three months after Clinton’s remarks. “When you have someone as powerful as Hillary Clinton seeking to smear my reputation and essentially implying that I’m a traitor to the country that I love, what she essentially is doing is taking my life away.”
Tulsi Gabbard appears on Tucker Carlson to discuss why she is suing Hillary Clinton pic.twitter.com/rFTWDV8N0T
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) January 24, 2020
We know that President Donald Trump would take to Twitter to attack anyone who made disparaging remarks against him, even private citizens, but most politicians would turn the other cheek and ignore the insult. Why dignify it with a response – much less a lawsuit?
What would Congresswoman Gabbard do if a Hillary Clinton, or a Vladimir Putin, or an Emmanuel Macron, or the head of the Republican Party, made similar comments about a President Gabbard? Would the nation have to witness and live through yet another thin-skinned president railing against being called a name, and turning to the courts for support? Haven’t Americans had enough of that already?
Gabbard’s thin-skin not only did not allow her to move on, she felt it appropriate to draw the U.S. Armed Forces into the controversy.
“For me as a soldier, as every service member does, I took an oath of loyalty to our country — the country that I love, willing to put my life on the line for our country — deploying twice to the Middle East to do so,” Gabbard added. She took a similar oath when she became a U.S. Congresswoman, but she had to drag our entire military into her battle.
Gabbard also told NBC News that her lawsuit “should have been for $50 billion.”
“What is your life worth to you? What is your honor and loyalty, your identity worth to you?” Gabbard asked a reporter. “What she has done has very directly attacked who I am as a person.”
Rep. Gabbard on her new $50M lawsuit against Hillary Clinton:
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 24, 2020
Again, this happens to politicians – and certainly presidents – daily.
In fact, after Clinton’s remarks became public, Gabbard attacked Clinton, calling her “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.”
Clinton did not sue Gabbard.
No one likes to be smeared, whether or not the allegations are true. When you’re a prominent elected official, it comes with the job. Turning the other cheek, moving on, and being the bigger person is the sign of a good leader, a strong leader, a leader who shows good judgment and has the perspective to focus on what’s really important to those she or he is serving. Gabbard has exposed she is not that leader.
Pentagon Triples Number of US Troops With Traumatic Brain Injury After Iran Attack – Trump Said They Were Just ‘Headaches’
The Pentagon has just announced 34 U.S. troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iran’s missile attacks on U.S. Forces at Iraqi bases where they were hosted earlier this month. That’s more than three times the number of service members initially reported, eleven, and an upgrade from “possible” traumatic brain injuries.
President Donald Trump, hours after the missiles hit two U.S. bases declared “All is well!” and insisted there had been no injuries to American forces. He later dismissed the injuries as “not very serious” and “headaches, and a couple of other things.”
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can lead to severe permanent brain damage and can be fatal.
On Wednesday the Commander-in-Chief was asked about the eleven U.S. service members who had been diagnosed with possible traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iran’s attack on U.S. Forces at Iraqi bases where they were hosted. Trump told a reporter they were just “headaches,” and became defensive quickly (video below.)
“I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things but I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious.”
“You don’t think that a potential traumatic brain injury is very serious?” the reporter asked.
“Um, they told me about it numerous days later – you’d have to ask the Dept. of Defense,” Trump replied. “No, I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen.”
That reporter was CBS News White House Correspondent Weijia Jiang. She later noted that “Trump has said many times that no Americans were hurt when Iran retaliated for the Soleimani strike, and that was a big reason he declared victory.”
That reason has been shredded, and Trump has made no effort to correct his remarks, and shown no concern for the now 34 service members.
Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance weighed in, saying, “34 with TBI, in a crisis that looked like it was manufactured by Trump to distract from impeachment.”
“Pentagon officials have said there had been no effort to minimize or delay information on concussive injuries,” Reuters reports, “but its handling of the injuries following Tehran’s attack has renewed questions over the U.S. military’s policy regarding how it deals with suspected brain injuries.”
Here’s Trump dismissing TBIs as mere “headaches” earlier this week:
When asked about the 11 U.S. servicemen injured in the Iran airstrikes, President Trump told @weijia he didn't "consider them serious injuries relative to other injuries I've seen." https://t.co/anmIdCHO6a pic.twitter.com/boSjvDujCS
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 22, 2020
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