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Barney Frank Doubles Down, Defends Calling Gay GOP Group ‘Uncle Tom’

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Rep. Barney Frank has just released a lengthy, scathing statement defending comments in which he called gay GOP groups, especially the Log Cabin Republicans, “Uncle Tom,” during the Democratic National Convention. The U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts, who is 72 and retiring at the end of his term, told attendees at the most attended LGBT caucus in DNC history, “I’m … inclined to think they’re called the Log Cabin Club because their role model is Uncle Tom,”

Acknowledging his words last week as “admittedly very harsh criticism,” Frank did not back down, and noted he is “offended” by the Log Cabin Republicans who are “campaigning in the name of LGBT rights.” Rep. Frank also expanded his statement, explained his reasoning, and contrasted the Democrats and Republicans on LGBT issues:

The Democratic President and platform fully embrace all of the legal issues we are seeking to resolve in favor of equality.  The Republican candidate for President and the platform on which he runs vehemently oppose us in all cases.

Congressman Frank noted, of the Log Cabin Republicans:

On the face of this, for a group of largely LGBT people to work for our strong opponent against our greatest ally is a betrayal of any supposed commitment to our legal equality.

Below, in full, is Congressman Frank’s statement:

I am not surprised that members of the Log Cabin Republicans are offended by my comparing them to Uncle Tom.  They are no more offended than I am by their campaigning in the name of LGBT rights to elect the candidate and party who diametrically oppose our rights against a President who has forcefully and effectively supported our rights.

That is the first reason for my admittedly very harsh criticism.  This election is clearly one in which there is an extremely stark contrast between the two parties on LGBT rights.  The Democratic President and platform fully embrace all of the legal issues we are seeking to resolve in favor of equality.  The Republican candidate for President and the platform on which he runs vehemently oppose us in all cases.  On the face of this, for a group of largely LGBT people to work for our strong opponent against our greatest ally is a betrayal of any supposed commitment to our legal equality.

But my use of “Uncle Tom” was based not simply on this awful fact that they have chosen to be actively on the wrong side of an election that will have an enormous impact on our right to equality, both in fact and in the public perception of the popularity of that cause.  If the Log Cabin Republicans – or their even more outlandish cousins, the oddly-named GOProud –were honestly to acknowledge that they let their own economic interests, or their opposition to strong environmental policies, or their belief that we need to be spending far more on the military or some other reason ahead of any commitment to LGBT equality, and on that ground have decided to prefer the anti-LGBT candidate to the supportive one, I would disagree with the values expressed, but would have no complaint about their logic.

The damaging aspect of the Log Cabin argument, to repeat the most important point, is that they may mislead people who do not share their view that tax cuts for the wealthy are more important than LGBT rights into thinking that they are somehow helping the latter by supporting Mitt Romney and his Rick Santorum platform.

It is a good thing for Republicans to try to influence other Republicans to be supportive of LGBT rights.  The problem is when they pretend to be successful when they haven’t been, and urge people to join them in rewarding the Republicans when they have in fact continued their anti-LGBT stance.  I have been hearing the Log Cabin Republicans proclaim for years that they were improving the view of that party towards our legal equality.  In fact, over the past 20 years, things have gotten worse, not better.  Most recently, on DOMA, when the House Republicans offered an amendment to reaffirm it, they voted 98% in favor of it, while Democrats voted more than 90% against the amendment.  And it is not surprising that they have not been successful.  Giving strong political support to people who are maintaining their anti-LGBT stance is hardly an effective strategy for getting them to change it.

The argument Mr. Cooper and the others in the Log Cabin Republicans have put forward in their defense is that they have succeeded in getting the Republicans to reduce the extent to which they denounce us, and, in Mr. Cooper’s phrase, the fact that Paul Ryan is “willing to engage” with gay Republicans.  That is where Uncle Tom comes to mind.  They are urging people to vote for the anti-LGBT candidate over the most supportive LGBT candidate and platform imaginable because the “antis” are calling us fewer names and are willing to talk to some of us.  It is this willingness to acquiesce in a subordinate status as long as the masters are kinder in tone, although in substance, that emulates Uncle Tom.

I note Mr. Cooper points to a couple of Republicans as reasons for supporting that party and helping advance its anti-LGBT crusade.  As to Representative Ryan, in addition to his “willingness to engage with them,” Mr. Cooper cites his vote for the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.  In fact, Paul Ryan has an overwhelmingly anti-LGBT voting record, including opposition to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and a transgender-inclusive hate crimes bill, and support for a constitutional amendment not just to ban future same-sex marriages but to dissolve existing ones.  It is true that on one occasion he voted for ENDA, but he did so only after voting minutes before for a Republican procedural maneuver – a motion to recommit the bill – which falsely invoked the specter that passage of ENDA would compel same-sex marriage and which, if it had passed, would have killed the bill.  In other words, Paul Ryan has always voted against us, except for one occasion when he voted for us only after first trying to make the bill he theoretically supported inoperative.

Mr. Cooper also cites Susan Collins.  She was very good on the question of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  But the argument that supporting Susan Collins advances LGBT rights ignores the fact that Senator Collins has twice defeated Democrats who were far more supportive of our issues than she was.  And an example of that is the current referendum in the state of Maine on marriage.  We have a very good chance of winning in Maine, and winning a referendum is important both for the substantive rights of the people in Maine and for the political point that it demonstrates.  Unlike the two Democratic Representatives from Maine, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, Susan Collins has been stubbornly silent.  That is, in a state where marriage is on the ballot, and in a year in which she is not up for reelection, Senator Collins is withholding her support from us, unlike any Democrat who would have run against her.  And remember, these are the best that the Log Cabin Republicans can cite.

Some have complained that in comparing the Log Cabin Republicans to Uncle Tom, I was ignoring the fact that they are nice.  I accept the fact that many of them are nice – so was Uncle Tom – but in both cases, they’ve been nice to the wrong people.

Veteran journalist Michelangelo Signorile interviewed Rep. Frank last week. You can read excerpts and listen to the full interview at The Huffington Post.

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‘Giddily Bouncing Off the Walls’: Legal Experts Predict Trump Conviction

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With the jury dismissed for the day after more than four hours of deliberations and a series of notes to Judge Juan Merchan, legal experts are predicting Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will win his case against Donald Trump, and see jurors convict the ex-president on 34 criminal counts. The ex-president is on trial for allegedly falsifying  business records as a means to cover-up a conspiracy scheme to promote his election to the Presidency by “unlawful means.”

“If I were in the DA’s office I’d be giddily bouncing off the walls right now,” attorney George Conway wrote on social media late Wednesday afternoon.

Minutes later attorney Tristan Snell, who helped secure the New York Attorney General’s $25 million settlement in the Trump University civil case, also predicted a likely Trump conviction:

“BREAKING: Trump jury asks for testimony transcripts, including 3 sections from David Pecker and 1 section from Michael Cohen. VERY bad sign for Trump that David Pecker’s testimony landed with the jury and is something they want to focus on. Jury is likely leaning toward GUILTY.”

READ MORE: ‘No Moral Compass’: Legal Experts Call for Intervention After Alito Refuses to Recuse

National security attorney Brad Moss, appearing on CNN Wednesday afternoon said, “I don’t expect a hung jury but if we get into Friday, or even next week Monday, it certainly would appear that would be more likely what’s going on. But if we have a decision tomorrow, my expectation is it will be a guilty verdict.”

Yale Law School professor of law and professor of philosophy Scott Shapiro offered this short statement:

If Donald Trump is convicted he may be the least surprised, as he appeared to predict a conviction Wednesday morning: “Mother Theresa could not beat these charges,” he told reporters.

The jury returns Thursday at 9:30 AM.

See the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Biggest Felony in American History’: Prosecutor’s Closing Argument Against Trump Praised

Image via Shutterstock

 

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‘No Moral Compass’: Legal Experts Call for Intervention After Alito Refuses to Recuse

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has formally refused to recuse from any and all cases involving indicted ex-president Donald Trump or the January 6, 2021 attack on the seat of the American government and American democracy itself. Legal experts and elected Democrats, including the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight responsibility of the nation’s highest court, have demanded the George W. Bush-appointed jurist’s recusal. Now, some legal experts say either the Chief Justice or the Senate Judiciary Committee must intervene.

Justice Alito is standing by his now thoroughly debunked story about why a flag associated with the insurrection and the “Stop the Steal” conspiracy was flying at his home just three days before Joe Biden was inaugurated president, and a different, Christian nationalist flag also associated with those efforts to overthrow the government and disenfranchise 81 million Americans was flying at another of his homes.

Responding to a letter sent to Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Alito in his own letter wrote he was “required” to reject Democrats’ request and not recuse himself, despite numerous legal experts citing both law and precedent, declaring he at least should, or must, recuse himself.

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who writes about the courts and the law, pushed back on Justice Alito’s claim.

READ MORE: ‘Biggest Felony in American History’: Prosecutor’s Closing Argument Against Trump Praised

“Alito reads the Supreme Court’s totally voluntary, non-binding ethics guidelines to impose a seemingly mandatory ‘obligation’ that he sit on any case he’s not recused from.”

Professor of law Steve Vladeck, a CNN contributor, appeared to take that one strep further: “Justice Alito’s insistence in his letters to Congress that he has an ‘obligation to sit’ in the January 6 cases *because* the Code of Conduct says so is an interesting data point for those who have insisted that the Code doesn’t impose *any* requirements on the justices.”

Journalist, author, and foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf observed, “Alito, by saying he should not recuse, demonstrates clearly why he should not be on the court in the first place.”

The New York Times’ Michael Barbaro notes, “As with his statement to the NYT, Alito in his response to Congress never disavows the meaning of the upside down flag that flew over his house for days or its link to the Jan 6th riot/Stop The Steal movement that was at its height during this period. Notably, Alito does deny that link with the Appeal To Heaven flag, but not the upside down flag.”

Saying Alito is “really is a piece of work,” attorney and former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa suggested the justice is flipping the script: “Alito does a Reverse Uno, suggesting that people calling for his recusal are trying to influence the outcome of cases before the Court.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a government watchdog, noted: “That Justice Alito responded *at all* to the demand that he recuse from these cases shows the gravity of his misconduct. But this response changes nothing about the ethical issue here. Since he will not recuse on his own, Chief Justice Roberts should intervene.”

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

Constitutional law scholar and professor of law Eric Segall served up a scathing assessment: “To be clear, if we found a love letter written to Donald Trump from Sam Alito saying, ‘Can’t wait till you’re back in office,’ Alito still would not recuse. He has no moral compass at all.”

The Atlantic’s Ronald Brownstein suggests Democrats will need to take further action: “Alito’s dismissive response, which [Chief Justice John] Roberts is unlikely to challenge in any way, has placed the ball squarely in the court of @SenatorDurbin, @SenSchumer and Senate Democrats.”

CNN’s Edward-Isaac Dovere, posting a screenshot of Donald Trump’s response to the justice’s decision to not recuse, writes: “Trump thanks Alito for not recusing himself from cases pending about Trump after Alito’s being criticized for a flag flying at his house that has been interpreted as a sign of support for Trump.”

See the social media post above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Wildly Lawless’: Judge Cannon’s Removal Predicted by Top Legal Scholar

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‘Doesn’t Know Most Basic Rule’: Conway Blasts Cannon Over ‘Perplexed’ Reaction

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U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon suffered more strong criticism, this time from attorney George Conway who blasted the Trump-appointed jurist over a New York Times report in which, he said, she appeared to not understand the basics of a criminal rule.

Judge Cannon is already under fire after likely delaying until after the 2024 presidential election one of the most important cases in American jurisprudence – an ex-president, his party’s presumptive nominee, running again for the White House, charged under the Espionage Act with unlawful removal and retention of some of the nation’s top classified documents, including nuclear secrets.

On Tuesday, a top legal scholar declared a recent Cannon ruling against Special Counsel Jack Smith’s motion to expand the limits on the ex-president’s release, “wildly lawless.” He also predicted it would result in her removal from the Trump Espionage Act case, also known as the classified documents case.

On Wednesday, attorney Conway responded to a portion of that New York Times profile of Judge Cannon.

READ MORE: ‘Liar’: Critics Question Alito’s Integrity After His Insurrection Flag Story Disintegrates

“The portrait that has emerged so far,” The Times reported, “is that of an industrious but inexperienced and often insecure judge whose reluctance to rule decisively even on minor matters has permitted one of the country’s most important criminal cases to become bogged down in a logjam of unresolved issues.”

“Regardless of her motives, Judge Cannon has effectively imperiled the future of a criminal prosecution that once seemed the most straightforward of the four Mr. Trump is facing,” The Times continued. “She has largely accomplished this by granting a serious hearing to almost every issue — no matter how far-fetched — that Mr. Trump’s lawyers have raised, playing directly into the former president’s strategy of delaying the case from reaching trial.”

Conway was responding to an exchange “that occurred last week when Judge Cannon was debating with Jay Bratt, one of the prosecutors, about a common theory of legal liability called the Pinkerton rule. The rule holds that all members of a conspiracy can be held accountable for any crimes committed by their co-conspirators.”

“Mr. Bratt said the rule would likely apply to Mr. Trump’s dealings with his two co-defendants, Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, employees of Mar-a-Lago who have been accused of conspiring with the former president to obstruct the government’s repeated efforts to retrieve the classified materials,” The Times’ story stated. “Judge Cannon seemed a bit perplexed and asked Mr. Bratt what authority he intended to rely on in applying the Pinkerton rule. Mr. Bratt seemed almost sheepish in having to lay things out for her so simply.”

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

“’So the authority is Pinkerton,’ he said, and launched into a quick explanation.”

Conway, appearing to express shock, wrote: “There are no words for this. Judge Cannon doesn’t know the most basic rule governing criminal conspiracies.”

See the social media post above or at this link.

 

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