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A ‘Process’ For ENDA? Big Headlines From Democrats — But Is It For Real?

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Nothing ever really happens all of a sudden, but it seems like there is a groundswell of support for getting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) — and/or an executive order from the President — done. From the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to conversations with the White House and even last week’s controversial interruption of First Lady Michelle Obama at a fundraising event, ENDA is making headlines.

Andrew Tobias, the DNC’s Treasurer, has announced there is a “process” underway that would lead to President Barack Obama signing an executive order amounting to an ENDA for all federal employees and contractors. That conceivably could cover about 20 percent of the nation’s workforce. And Senator Harry Reid, who last month said he would like to hold a vote on ENDA after the July 4 holiday recess. Additionally, minutes ago, Reid sent a tweet confirming his intentions to vote on ENDA “soon.”

 

Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade reports Tobias “is telling LGBT donors that ‘a process’ is underway that would lead to President Obama signing an executive order banning LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors.”

In an email dated May 30 from an off-the-record listserv leaked to the Washington Blade, Andy Tobias, who’s gay, said in response to questions about the directive that he’s spoken to officials within the administration and “everyone’s for it,” but the hold up is related to “process.”

“I have spoken to people in an attempt to understand better myself what the delay is — and to lobby for its getting done,” Tobias wrote. “Those people have left me satisfied that our frustration is heard, that the hold-up is not staffers who oppose our rights but a process that is broader than just this one very important and long delayed agenda item. To which I basically respond: can I share more of the specifics? (‘Please don’t’) and can you please get a move on?! (‘we hear you brother; keep the faith’).”

Johnson, the Blade’s Chief Political & White House reporter, published an in-depth article that adds:

Shin Inouye, a White House spokesperson, reiterated that an executive order is a “hypothetical” matter for the administration.

“As we’ve said before, the White House has no updates regarding a hypothetical Executive Order on LGBT non-discrimination for federal contractors,” Inouye said.

Still, this assertion of a process is consistent with indications from the White House that some kind of study is underway — or possibly completed — on LGBT discrimination protections.

In April, Inouye alluded to an examination in a previously unpublished response to the Blade over a little-noticed year-old quote from the Center for American Progress’ Winnie Stachelberg about a study on the issue from the Council of Economic Advisers. Inouye said, “We continue to study the issue.”

Johnson also notes:

Tico Almeida, president of Freedom of Work, said he’s hopeful that the administration is in the middle of a process that will lead to Obama signing the order sometime in June in accordance with Pride, but would “bet on a signature at some point later this year.”

“I have never lost faith that President Obama is a man of his word who will fulfill his written campaign promise and sign the executive order,” Almeida said. “He will build on his unmatched record as the best president ever for advancing LGBT equality. I’m keeping faith in President Obama.”

But at the end of the day, even if Senator Reid, who revealed last month his niece is a lesbian, were able to pass the legislation that has been in Congress in some manner since 1974, for the most part, the chances of the House passing the bill are extremely low.

[View the story “A Big Social Media Push For ENDA” on Storify]

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'GOOD LUCK WITH THAT'

‘Trying to Have It Both Ways’: Ivanka ‘Flailing’ as Trump Indictment Slams Family

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While Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have taken to their social media platforms to viciously lash out at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for indicting their father on a reported 30 charges, Ivanka Trump posted a rather muted statement on her Instagram account which simply said, “I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both. I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”

According to Daily Beast conservative columnist Matt Lewis, the so-called “First Daughter,” who served in the White House with her father, is trying to stay true to her former president dad, while distancing herself from his legal problems — and it is not going to work for her.

As Lewis put it, Ivanka is “flailing” in her attempts to shed the memory of her participation in the Trump administration that reached its lowest point on Jan. 6 when supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.

“It’s hard to argue with anything Ivanka says here, but it is not a statement of moral clarity. Nor is it (conversely) a statement of strong support for her father. She’s flailing and trying to have it both ways,” Lewis wrote before adding, “Now, it’s understandable that a daughter might not want to utterly condemn her father. Further, children are not responsible for their parents’ sins. Except, of course, if you consider the fact that Ivanka served as the primary weapon in the ‘Trump’s not such a belligerent pig as his four decades as a public figure would make you think’ propaganda push.”

RELATED: Trump is so ‘unmoored from reality’ he can’t act as a defense witness: ‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter

Noting that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner — who has baggage of his own — both stuck with Trump in the White House for all four years, Lewis added, “As far as the former first daughter goes, she and her husband might be done with politics, but once you’ve been a party to an administration like Trump’s, it’s going to be a long time before politics is done with them.”

“So, Ivanka, you want to have a seat at the cool apolitical kids’ table? You want to be once again accepted by the socially liberal billionaires’ children you used to go to the Hamptons with and now have Miami Beach playdates with? You want to enjoy the privileges of being a Trump with none of the shame? Good luck with that,” he concluded.

You can read more here.

 

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Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report

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Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.

The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.

Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.

CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”

READ MORE: Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’

“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard  is as strong as any I’ve seen.”

The judge was very clear in his ruling.

“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”

READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’

Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.

Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

 

Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’

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The U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Friday jointly issued a statement warning they “anticipate” Trump protests across the country. The statement is not time-specific, and it states it has no information on “credible threats,” but some Democratic offices are allowing staffers to work from home Friday and Tuesday.

“The Sergeant at Arms and United States Capitol Police (USCP) anticipate demonstration activity across the country related to the indictment of former President Trump. While law enforcement is not tracking any specific, credible threats against the Capitol or state offices, there is potential for demonstration activity. USCP is working with law enforcement partners, so you may observe a greater law enforcement presence on Capitol Hill,” the statement reads.

“The SAA and USCP are monitoring the potential nationwide impacts to Senate state offices,” it adds.

The House Sergeant at Arms was conspicuously absent from the statement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has control over that office.

READ MORE: Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor

Additionally, Axios is reporting, “several House Democrats are allowing staffers to work from home as a safety precaution,” noting that “the memory of Trump supporters ransacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 is still fresh on the mind.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is allowing staff to work from home for safety reasons. She told Axios, “I don’t ever want to see a Jan. 6 again.”

“I’ve been in the Trump hate tunnel, Donald Trump has gone after me, and quite frankly I don’t have security. I don’t have entourages.”

She’s not the only Democrat to raise concerns.

“Much of the language from the former President and his devotees is similar to what inspired Jan. 6th,” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said. “I’m concerned about safety for my colleagues and my staff.”

READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump

Meanwhile, House Republicans are issuing full-throated support for Trump and calling for protests.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was called out by name in a six-page letter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent to Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Friday morning, announced she will be in New York on Tuesday to support Trump when he is arraigned. She has posted several tweets since Trump was indicted.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Thursday seemingly designed to gin up rage and action in the MAGA base.

“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”

 

Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license

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