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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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‘Aiding and Abetting’: Speaker Johnson Blasted for Blurring Faces of J6 Participants



Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is once again under fire, this time for intentionally blurring the faces of people caught on camera in the massive 40,000 hours of January 6 videos he ordered to be released to the public.

Speaker Johnson “said Republicans are blurring out the faces of people on the Jan. 6 tapes ‘because we don’t want them to be retaliated against and be charged the DOJ,'” Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman first reported Tuesday (video below).

Federal law enforcement agencies have used those videos to identify, arrest, charge, prosecute, and convict hundreds of criminals who acted unlawfully during the January 6, 2021 insurrection. The FBI set up a public tip line specifically for their Capitol investigation. While not everyone who was on Capitol grounds acted illegally, the videos provided evidence of wrongdoing. Countless social media users worked together to help identify some of the participants, as was detailed in NBC News’ justice reporter Ryan J. Reilly’s book, “Sedition Hunters.”

During his remarks Tuesday Johnson also claimed the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack was “a partisan exercise” that produced a “biased report” and “hid some of the important evidence.”

READ MORE: Florida GOP Chair Could Face ‘Censure or Discipline’ After Rape Allegation and Three-Way Sex Claim

The Speaker’s comments are in direct conflict with his recent statement defending his march toward an impeachment investigation of President Joe Biden.

Johnson, who frequently reminds reporters he is “a constitutional attorney,” was labeled by The New York Times recently as “a key architect of his party’s objections to certifying President Biden’s victory” in the 2020 election.

Last week, in promoting what some critics – and the White House – say are House Republicans’ baseless allegations against the President, Johnson also told reporters Republicans are “the rule of law team.”

The Speaker was quickly criticized for, as former GOP congressman Joe Walsh said, “aiding and abetting.”

“The party of the police; the party of law and order,” mocked MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan. Top national security attorney Brad Moss similarly wrote, “Party of ‘law and order.'”

“The House Republican Speaker doesn’t want people who broke the law on January 6 to be charged with a crime … and he said this publicly,” notes MSNBC columnist Michael A. Cohen.

READ MORE: RNC Chair Falsely Claims ‘Biden White House’ Killed Hunter Laptop Story in 2020

“Wait. I thought the GOP said they were just tourists? Show their faces or admit they weren’t orderly tourists,” wrote former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).

Watch the videos of Johnson above or at this link.


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Florida GOP Chair Could Face ‘Censure or Discipline’ After Rape Allegation and Three-Way Sex Claim



Christian Ziegler, the Donald Trump-endorsed Florida Republican Party chair who is reportedly under criminal investigation for alleged rape, and had a consensual three-way sexual relationship with his wife and the woman who is now accusing him, could face some form of discipline from party leadership if he does not resign.

Florida Republican Party Vice Chair Evan Power is calling for a special meeting to consider Ziegler’s future, according to Florida Politics.

Ziegler, who is opposed to the special meeting which could decide his fate with the party, wants to wait until the board’s scheduled meeting in February to discuss the allegations against him. He has refused to resign.

“In an act of respect for the Chairman, this evening, I phoned him to request he call an executive board meeting,” Power wrote in an email to board members. “He declined and said the matters could be taken up in February. It is the opinion of the many members that it is not an acceptable timetable.”

READ MORE: ‘Given My Experience’: Gaetz Waiting to ‘Render Judgment’ on Florida GOP Chair Accused of Rape

“Because of my role as Vice Chairman, I now offer the following call for a Special Meeting with an option for each of you to sign on to,” Power added. “I hope that we are able to move the Party forward in a positive manner as the 2024 elections are the most important elections we face in my lifetime. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or give me a call or text.”

Ziegler’s wife Bridget Ziegler is an an elected school board member and a co-founder of the anti-LGBTQ Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as an anti-government extremist group. She told police “that she and her husband had previously engaged in a ‘sexual encounter’ with the woman. The following day, [Christian] Ziegler was interviewed by police with his attorney present. He told them the encounter with the woman was consensual and said he’d taken a video of it,” according to the Florida Center for Government Accountability’s Trident news site.

Power has “as laid out an agenda for a meeting” that “includes potential censure or discipline for Ziegler following party rules. That includes determining if Ziegler must be deemed unfit for office and whether his actions have hurt the ‘good name of the RPOF,'” Florida Politics adds. He also wants the board to discuss suspending Ziegler’s responsibilities, pay, and holding a no-confidence vote.

READ MORE: ‘Authoritarianism’: Florida Says Its Public Schools Exist to ‘Convey Government’s Message’

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‘He Can Warp Time or Something’: Morning Joe Mocks GOP’s Biden Impeachment Probe After Latest Flop



MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski needled House Republicans for overhyping their latest revelation in the impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden.

House Oversight chairman James Comer (R-KY) obtained bank records showing Hunter Biden’s law firm had made monthly payments to his father in late 2018, but those three checks were reimbursement for a pickup truck the elder Biden had purchased and allowed him to use.

“What kind of car was it?” Scarborough asked. “It could have been a hot rod Lincoln. I don’t know, do you ride around in it in Tennessee, go through the Smoky Mountains? More smoking guns.”

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also on Monday accused Biden of suppressing media coverage of his son’s laptop ahead of the 2020 presidential election, which would have been before he was president, and the “Morning Joe” co-hosts called out the bad-faith coverage by conservative media of her outlandish allegations.

“Obsessed,” Brzezinski said.

“The fact that Joe Biden was so corrupt, so evil, so powerful that he could suppress this information, his White House could suppress this information, even when he was not in the White House,” Scarborough said sarcastically. “It means he has, like, some X-Men/Avengers, I think it’s more X-Men. He has these X-Men powers where he can warp time or something. Maybe it is more, like, an Avengers multiverse thing – he’s not really present, but he is. I don’t think Ronna knows that. I’m wondering why she said the Biden White House did it when Biden wasn’t in the White House, and nobody corrected her.”

Watch the video below or at this link.


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