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American Observances Of IDAHO Focus Inward



From NYC to San Francisco, America’s LGBT community marked the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) in a far different fashion than our international brothers and sisters.

May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) and once again was observed across the globe this year. IDAHO is an annual event marking the day the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its classification of diseases in 1990.

In years past the occasion has been used as a vehicle to demonstrate solidarity for those in countries where discrimination is rife, or where being gay or transgendered is punishable by death. From the murder of gays in Iraq to the murder of activists like David Kato in Uganda, IDAHO is not a celebration. It’s about creating awareness.

In a well-rounded overview on TNCRM, Vincent Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), revisits the hate being exported to places like Uganda, reminding those of us in the U.S. committed to the full civil and human rights of all people, including LGBTQ people, that we have a particular obligation in this situation.

This year, to mark the occasion, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton issued a statement reaffirming the European Union’s “commitment to equality and nondiscrimination,” while EU Justice and Fundamental Rights Commissioner Viviane Reding stated that homophobia and transphobia are “violations of human dignity.”

As expected, in places like Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital at least 17 people were injured by a violent outbreak before the start of a rally to mark IDAHO there. According to Radio Free Europe, “thousands of antigay demonstrators led by Orthodox priests broke through police lines and attacked gay-rights demonstrators, who had to be evacuated by police.” Yep, you read that right – lead by Orthodox priests. Men of God. Apparently.

But here in the United States, while unprecedented successes in marriage equality; the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; and the relaxing of attitudes in general suggest all is rosy, the situation is a lot more complicated. And not just in the typical bastions of red-State hate.

In New York, a rally was staged on May 16th by the organizations Queer Rising, GLAAD, and New York’s Anti-Violence Project, which although had nothing to do with IDAHO, (and which perhaps should have,) was an urgent response to an unusually violent spate of anti-gay hate in Manhattan.

And yes, even though a steady spate of transgender violence has not precipitated the kind of reaction we’re seeing in New York, the community response is nonetheless an important and necessary step. There is legitimate cause for concern, and New Yorkers are not taking these developments lying down.

In San Francisco, IDAHO seems to have taken on a very different meaning than in years past. And while San Francisco has also seen an alarming increase in anti-gay violence, this year, Gays Without Borders teamed with the Bradley Manning Support Network to observe IDAHO.

A simmering feud which erupted over SF Pride’s decision to rescind the selection of Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal of the June parade by former Grand Marshals, has raged on for weeks, galvanizing activists to form a coalition to get Manning reinstated, and resulting in a series of embarrassing missteps by SF Pride in their attempts to stem the hemorrhaging.

A group of activists, including David Waggoner, former President of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and former Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild; Gary Virginia, Community Grand Marshal for 2012, and one of the Members of the Pride Electoral College that voted for Manning, filed a discrimination complaint against SF Pride with the City’s Human Rights Commission.

Manning is the army private accused of the greatest security breach in US history by giving hundreds of thousands of classified war and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks. Manning is currently in custody awaiting a Court Martial and facing 22 charges, ranging from the improper use of government computers, to the capital offense of aiding the enemy, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917. He pled guilty to the ten lesser offenses. Reports of unusually harsh interrogation techniques – the very type of abuse he sought to whistle blow over – have been cruelly justified as part of a suicide watch, and many, including the President, and many media outlets, have prematurely convicted him.

SF Pride’s decision has bitterly divided San Francisco’s community, and politicians who typically weigh in on any given opportunity have remained uncharacteristically mute. One SF Supervisor, David Campos weighed in about two weeks into the controversy, as mounting public distaste, the Human Rights Commission Complaint, staged protests outside SF Pride offices and widespread media interest has made it all but impossible to sit on the sidelines.

But it has also breathed life into an increasingly disenchanted segment of the community who are frustrated by the co-opting of the movement by an elite few, claiming to represent and speak for a community they apparently view with disdain. An attempt to shelve the issue until Gay Pride was over, and cancel a public meeting scheduled for May 12, 2013 resulted in a mock meeting outside their offices, where a crowd of protestors did a symbolic reinstatement of Manning as Grand Marshal in their absence. SF Pride’s admission in an exclusive interview with their virtual mouthpiece — the Bay Area Reporter — that they had “fired” a staffer for what was, by their own admission, the systemic failure of their own procedures, did as much to quell the community as President Obama’s firing of the acting IRS commissioner did to end the recent IRS scandal.

On Friday afteroon, the tone-deaf SF Pride CEO, Earl Plante announced the selection of Bebe Sweetbriar as Grand Marshal, stating that Sweetbriar “is a shining exemplar of how the power of local community talent can so positively impact the lives of so many near and far.”

The San Francisco rally in Harvey Milk Plaza, was additionally symbolic. The bitter battle over control over the rainbow flag under which the protest will be held remains unresolved three years later. Attempts to lower the rainbow flag for previous IDAHO solidarity actions were unsuccessful, and the furor that arose last November when Veronika Fimbres had her request to fly the Transgender Pride flag for Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th refused.

With the support of Supervisor Scott Weiner, Merchants of Upper Market and Castro (MUMC) snubbed community requests to set up a transparent system to govern the process of dealing with requests related to the flag, instead killing the option altogether.

Last night’s IDAHO protest to reinstate Bradley Manning took place under the rainbow flag in all its glory.

Disclaimer. I am one of the signatories to the complaint filed with San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission against SF Pride. I am also part of the coalition of activists that has loosely formed in response to the events surrounding SF Pride and Bradley Manning. I have also met with city officials in San Francisco, including the Human Rights Commission, in relation to the legitimacy of MUMC’s claim of ownership of a flag on city property.

Image: Former Community Grand Marshal, Gary Virginia, expressing support for Manning on May 17’s IDAHO Rally in San Francisco. By Clinton Fein.

Clinton Fein is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and First Amendment activist, best-known for his 1997 First Amendment Supreme Court victory against United States Attorney General Janet Reno. Fein has also gained international recognition for his site, and for his work as a political artist. Fein is on the Board of Directors of the First Amendment Project, “a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition.” Fein’s political and privacy activism have been widely covered around the world. His work also led him to be nominated for a 2001 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award.

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Trump Desperate to Keep Any Possible Criminal Evidence From Supreme Court: Legal Expert



Donald Trump’s decision to allow one of his lawyers to speak before a grand jury on Friday morning, instead of appealing all the way to the Supreme Court, may have been made out of fear of what the justices on the nation’s highest court might see if they reviewed the case.

According to MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin, under normal circumstances, the former president would have dragged out a legal fight over attorney-client privilege that would have kept attorney Evan Corcoran from testifying under oath about Trump’s possession of government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort that led to the FBI showing up with a warrant.

As Rubin notes, the fact that Trump let Corcoran testify over three hours raised eyebrows.

“For one, yes, it is indeed unusual, if not unheard of, for a lawyer to be litigating against a party one day and then testifying under court-ordered examination by that same party the next one,” she wrote before suggesting Trump and his legal team were looking at the long game when he might need the predominantly conservative Supreme Court to lend him a helping hand.

RELATED: Revealed: Emails show how Trump lawyers drove Michael Cohen to turn on the president

Writing, “Trump has made clear he believes this Supreme Court — controlled by conservative justices, three of whom he appointed — owes him one,” she added, “My hunch is that Trump’s team let Corcoran’s testimony happen because of what’s likely involved in any request to pause, much less, review a crime-fraud-related ruling: the evidence.”

“Put another way, if Trump had petitioned the Supreme Court to stay Corcoran’s testimony and document production, the justices would have seen some, if not all, of what Judge Howell and the three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit have already reviewed: proof that Trump misled Corcoran and engaged in criminal conduct,” she elaborated.

Rubin went on to note that Trump would likely appeal any conviction to the Supreme Court, writing, “And for someone whose one last hope, if he is ultimately charged or tried by any of the multiple entities now investigating him, is that same Supreme Court, letting the justices see evidence of his alleged crimes now would be a bridge too far.”

“Trump can’t afford to lose the Supreme Court yet,” she suggested.

You can read more here.

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No TX Congressional Republican Will Say If They’re Attending Trump’s Rally in Waco – Will He Have Trouble Filling Seats?



Donald Trump‘s Saturday campaign rally in Waco, Texas, falls during the 30th anniversary of the 51-day siege that community is known for, when 86 people died after a failed ATF raid on an anti-government religious cult suspected of illegally stockpiling firearms amid allegations of sexual abuse, statutory rape, and polygamy.

Experts have been warning for a week that Trump’s choice of Waco, synonymous with violent anti-government extremism, was no accident. His rhetoric this week, including most recently Friday when he warned of “potential death & destruction” should he be indicted, has been seen as encouraging violence.

NCRM was among the first news outlets to report experts’ concerns over Trump’s choice to hold a rally in Waco during the 30th anniversary of the deadly siege.

Not a single congressional Republican from Texas will say they are attending, nor has the town’s GOP mayor, according to a report from Insider, which contacted over two dozen Republican lawmakers and other elected officials.

“None of the 30 Texas Republicans Insider contacted about the event said they were going,” Insider reveals.

“Most of the 30 GOP members contacted about Donald Trump’s inaugural visit to the site of a 30-year-old standoff between cult leader David Koresh and federal authorities did not respond to requests for comment about whether they intended to rally with the scandal-plagued candidate and perhaps say a few kind words,” Insider reports.

“Rep. Pete Sessions, a Waco native who now represents the surrounding 17th congressional district, praised Trump for shining a light on his hometown but said he’d have to miss the spectacle,” Insider adds. “Aides to Rep. Troy Nehls, one of the four House Republicans from Texas who have formally backed Trump’s 2024 run, told Insider he wouldn’t be heading to Waco because of a prior commitment in Washington, DC, this weekend.”

READ MORE: ‘Utter Cowardice’: Jim Jordan Blasted for Telling Reporter He Can’t Read Trump’s Violence-Threatening Post Without Glasses

Meanwhile, in addition to guest list challenges – the campaign refused to tell Insider who the guest speakers will be – Trump may have trouble filling seats.

Mary Trump, the ex-president’s niece who opposes him, has been running a campaign to get anti-Trump Americans to “sign up” for tickets to the Saturday rally, in the hopes of being able to turn away supporters.

“Donald has a rally in Waco this Saturday,” she also said via Twitter. “It’s a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI. Scores of people died. He wants the same violent chaos to rescue him from justice.”

“But we can stop him. If we book the 50,000+ venue, we can make sure most of the seats are empty when the traitor takes the stage,” she said. “We can no longer fail to hold powerful men accountable for their crimes against our country.”

Image via Shutterstock

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‘Utter Cowardice’: Jim Jordan Blasted for Telling Reporter He Can’t Read Trump’s Violence-Threatening Post Without Glasses



Countless GOP lawmakers over the years have professed ignorance over Donald Trump’s tweets as reporters ask them to respond, often claiming they hadn’t read them, but House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan took that performance to a whole new level Friday afternoon.

NBC News senior national political reporter Sahil Kapur asked the Ohio Republican congressman to weigh in on Trump’s social media post threatening “potential death & destruction” if he gets indicted.

“Jordan said he hasn’t seen Trump’s post,” Kapur said via Twitter. “When I showed [it] to him on my phone, he said he can’t read well without his glasses.”

“He added he’s reviewing DA Bragg’s letter,” Kapur added.

READ MORE: ‘Big Shoe Drops’: Bad Day for Trump on Multiple Fronts in Special Counsel’s Grand Jury Probes

Jordan, who didn’t need glasses to appear on Fox Business just two days ago (photo) is getting blowback.

VICE News Deputy DC Bureau Chief Todd Zwillich explained the progression.

“The stages of ignoring incitement,” he tweeted. “2016: I don’t respond to tweets —> 2018: I havent seen the tweet —-> 2023: I literally can’t see the tweet.”

“Utter cowardice,” declared former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh. “Not at all the @Jim_Jordan I knew & served with in Congress 10 yrs ago. Or…maybe it is.”

“The sheer dishonesty and cowardice of these people,” lamented MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan, echoing Walsh’s remarks.

Government watchdog group Citizens for Ethics said the “extent to which Trump’s backers in Congress are going to not condemn [his] calls for violence are ludicrous.”

RELATED: Ninth Wrestler Comes Forward to Say Jordan ‘Snickered’ When He Complained of Sexual Abuse: Report

Some tied Jordan’s inability to see the post to his apparent inability to see or remember all the Ohio State wrestlers who say they complained to Jordan when he was their assistant coach, about being sexually harassed or assaulted by the team doctor. To this day despite numerous reports and people publicly coming forward, Jordan denied it ever happened.

“Apparently, Jim Jordan is unable to see wrestlers being sexually abused or Donald Trump social media posts,” attorney and Republican turned Democrat Ron Filipkowski tweeted.

“Well, @Jim_Jordan has shown before that he has trouble seeing threats right in front of his nose, so this checks out,” tweeted historian Kevin M. Kruse.

But Jordan’s Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee may have served up the best response: “Why do you need your glasses to condemn violence @Jim_Jordan?”

READ MORE: ‘Pits Parents Against Parents’: House Republicans Pass Anti-LGBTQ Florida-Style K-12 ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’




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