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Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

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Has The Promise Of Obama Been Broken For Now, Or Forever?

Part I: That Was Then

“They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?”

So many of us fought hard, worked hard, in our own ways. We gave our money. We gave our time. We gave what felt like our souls. All for building a dream, with peace and glory ahead. All because this honorable, poetic, honest, and at times, challenged, man embodied our dreams of a better world, a new world. We knew he could build a better America. We knew he could save us from Republican greed and dishonesty and bigotry and hate. We knew he could save us from Republican empire and class building and warfare. He told us we were building a dream, and so we followed him. He knew how to use the tools of today to bring us a smarter, better, more human tomorrow. And he promised us something no one else ever had: inclusion. He spoke to us. By name. He spoke to us as if we were (almost, at least) just as good as he was. We gave him everything we had. Some gave all they could just to ensure that, together, we would realize the promise of Obama. But now, many are wondering if his were false promises. Many are seeing promises broken. And many are answering, “NO,” to the question, “Brother, can you spare a dime?”

“Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?”

We were all kids with drums. We all felt like kids. We all felt like children of the 60’s. Standing together, singing in perfect harmony. We had a dream. His dream. Our dream. We sang our dreams to each other through emails and phone calls and heard his name grow louder and louder. We were his army. Manning phone banks. Knocking on our neighbors’ doors. Wearing his “Obama” and “Change” buttons on our khaki suits, our tee shirts, his bumper stickers on our cars, his magnets on our refrigerators. We were his half a million, hell, we were his million-man army.

“Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!”

We were successful. Obama was elected. By a strong margin. He gave us the tools and we made them work. We made our own tools. We networked like crazy. We responded to all his emails. “Please, just $25.” We gave him our money. We built his railroad. We built his shining tower. And once it was done, once he was elected, we gave him time and space to do the nation’s business, putting our needs, our hopes, on hold. We stood in line, waiting for bread. But then he took those hopes and threw them in our face. He ignored our dreams, our needs. And if that weren’t bad enough, last week he compared our relationships to those of marrying children and to incest. We have to wonder, why? Why invoke incest and marrying children to defend DOMA, a law you claim to want to repeal, Mr. President? Why? Don’t you remember us, and your promises to us? Weren’t we buddies? Weren’t we pals?

“Say, don’t you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why don’t you remember, I’m your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?
Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,”

But as another song goes, money makes the world go round. And in many respects it’s true. But money, withholding money, also makes people stand up and take notice. The gay community is strong. And rich. Very rich. Look at our demographics. Gays are more likely (thanks to the establishment we fight against) to be single, childless, with a greater disposable income, and greater say over where we invest both time and money than our married, child-raising, heterosexual counterparts. Make no mistake, many, a great many of us would like to be afforded the right to marry, many of us don’t even have the right to raise children, and we’re working for those rights, but as it stands now, stripped of that which defines many, marriage and families, we are in a sense a class of privilege: financial privilege. And President Obama and DNC Chair Tim Kaine, would do well to remember that.

Part II: This Is Now

“Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!
Say, don’t you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Say, don’t you remember, I’m your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?”*

The President’s gay agenda is all but invisible. (Click here to view what one enterprising person thinks of Obama’s plan for gay rights.) Certainly, there is no plan to bring the gay community the rights we have fought for. And many are fighting back. At the June 25 Democratic National Committee Fundraiser, several key gay Dems will be conspicuous in their absence: award-winning gay blogger Andy Towle, and author, political strategist and civil rights activist David Mixner. Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend is asking others to drop out in protest:

If you feel so inclined, please  politely contact our out LGBT representatives on the Hill to ask them why they still plan to hold the event in the wake of lack of leadership re: DADT repeal and the horrible DOMA brief and 2) do they see anything problematic about financially supporting a party that runs for cover when our issues come up on the Hill.

She then lists contact information for Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis, three openly-gay Congressmen.

But if withholding money from the DNC to highlight our power and remind people the importance of our cause isn’t enough, perhaps this is: Forbes Magazine, that bastion of capitalism, the icon of industry, today ran an article titled, “The $9.5 Billion Gay Marriage Windfall.” They write, “If half of the same-sex couples got hitched, Forbes estimates that the industry would reap nearly $10 billion in additional revenue.” And continue with,

“There are 781,267 same-sex couples living together in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau’s 2005-07 American Community Survey. The Williams Institute, a research arm of UCLA’s law school, predicts that if gay marriage were legalized nationwide–only Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Iowa and (as of earlier this month) New Hampshire allow it now–about half of those couples would tie the knot within three years.

Talk about a stimulus package.”

Our lawmakers need to understand the following:

DOMA is unconstitutional. It violates not only our Constitution but our principles of fairness and equality. And it is unacceptable.

DADT actually weakens our nation by putting at risk the tens of thousands of gay and lesbians serving in our military. Imagine trying to do a good job, putting your life and career on the line every day, only to go to sleep each night knowing tomorrow you could be fired just for being gay. Imagine sending your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend off to war, not knowing if you’ll ever see them again, and knowing if you never do, the knock on the door, the call in the dead of night, won’t be on your door, won’t be to your phone. It is unacceptable.

ENDA will protect millions and millions of gay and lesbian Americans who simply want to continue to do their jobs without harassment or fear of termination just because they are gay. That is unacceptable.

The gay community isn’t the problem. We’re the solution. Enact Hate Crimes (reportedly it will happen this week.) Enact ENDA. Repeal DADT. Repeal DOMA. Watch the economy strengthen. Watch families being formed. Watch families get stronger. Watch children being raised in loving households by two parents. And watch our military men and women grow even stronger and more secure.

Or don’t. And see what happens to the Obama Administration and to the Democratic party. Obama has the ability to change this all. We spent our political capital on him. He needs to spend his political capital on us. Not later, not in a possible second term. But soon. And, he needs to apologize. Or there may not be a second term. And that would be a shame. Because, despite his obvious blind spot for the gay community, I still believe Obama can become the greatest president in decades. We elected him for a reason. Because he is the right man for our time. But if he fails the gay community, it will be his fault, no one else’s. His fault, but the results of that failure will be our burden. We need to force his hand – he won’t do it if we do not.

Today I received a very nice message from a reader. He writes, in part,

“…how can others help you with your mission? I donate $ to HRC and GMHC already.”

Well, here’s my answer:

Times are tough. First, if you need money, stop donating to the DNC, or to the HRC. If you don’t, don’t start. If you donate to charities like GMHC, the Gay Mern’s Health Crisis, by all means, please continue to do so.

Second, money talks, but the promise of money can talk more. Take whatever money you might have donated to the DNC, to a Democratic candidate, and put it aside. then write them a letter. Email is OK, but if you really mean business, write them a letter. Maybe send thema photocopy of a check made out to them in the amount you were going to donate, and tell them that WHEN they vote to repeal DADT, WHEN they vote to repeal DOMA, WHEN they vote to enact ENDA, THEN you’ll make good on your promise. If you’ve sent them money before, remind them of that.

So, you say, you don’t have time? Well take some of the funds you were going to donate and donate them to yourself, in the form of hiring a neighbor’s son or daughter to save you time by waling your dog, cleaning your home, cutting your lawn, running some errands. Take that time and start writing your letters to the people we put in office to do the right thing. Tell them you’ve started your own stimulus program in your neighborhood. Tell them, until they cast their vote for civil rights, for a stronger nation, you can’t spare a dime.

*”Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” lyrics by Yip Harburg, music by Jay Gorney (1931)

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‘I’m Not Suicidal’: Kari Lake Pushes Hillary Clinton Murder Conspiracy Theory

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake is promoting a conspiracy theory suggesting Hillary Clinton wants to assassinate her. Her remarks came just one day before she lost her attempt to have the Supreme Court review what some have called her conspiracy-theory fueled lawsuit about electronic voting machines.

“Lake, who filed the lawsuit during her failed campaign for governor in 2022, challenged whether the state’s electronic voting machines assured ‘a fair and accurate vote.’ Two lower courts dismissed the suit, finding that Lake and former Republican state lawmaker Mark Finchem had not been harmed in a way that allowed them to sue,” CNN reported Monday.

Also on Monday Law&Crime reported that when she filed her lawsuit, a Dominion Voting Systems spokesperson “rejected Lake’s cybersecurity claim, telling Law&Crime it was ‘implausible and conspiratorial.'”

Democracy Docket, founded by top Democratic elections attorney Marc Elias, called it “the end of the road for a conspiratorial lawsuit,” and Lake and Fincham, “election deniers.”

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Lake, a far-right conspiracy theorist who has yet to concede the 2020 election, which she lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs, has a history of pushing exaggerated and baseless claims.

On Sunday, as MeidasTouch Network reported, Lake promoted an old, anti-Clinton conspiracy theory but twisted it to try to make it appear she was in danger from former U.S. Secretary of State and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Lake on Newsmax listened to a clip of Secretary Clinton calling Trump’s fondness for Russian President Vladimir Putin a “bromance,” and saying the ex-president is “just gaga over Putin, because Putin does what he would like to do: kill his opposition, imprison his opposition, drive, you know, journalists and others into exile, rule without any check or balance.”

Then Lake promoted a thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory by responding, “Oh, boy. Oh, that’s really rich coming from a woman like Hillary Clinton, who’s, how many of her friends have just like, mysteriously died or committed suicide?”

“I mean, honestly, that’s rich of her. What President Trump wants is to root out the corruption and deliver our government back to We The People and she looks very nervous. She talked about her friend Mark Elias, Mark Elias has meddled in in his and his cohorts have meddled in the elections.”

She called Democratic policies, “destructive, deadly and frankly, in some ways, diabolical,”and added, “it’s almost comical that Hillary Clinton is talking about Trump wanting to kill his opponents.”

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“I just want to say as I’m as I’m speaking about this topic, I want everyone out there to know that my brakes on my car have recently been checked and they work. I’m not suicidal. And Hillary, I don’t mean any harm to you. Please don’t send your henchmen out to me. We understand what you’re about. ”

Watch below or at this link.

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‘Old and Tired and Mad’: Trump’s Demeanor in Court Detailed by Rachel Maddow

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MSNBC top host Rachel Maddow, inside Manhattan’s Criminal Courthouse on Monday declared Donald Trump appeared “old and tired and mad,” as she delivered observations about the ex-president on trial for 34 counts of falsification of business records alleged in the alleged pursuit of election interference to protect his 2016 presidential run.

Trump “seems considerably older, and he seems annoyed. Resigned, maybe, angry. he seems like a man who’s miserable to be here,” the award-winning journalist told MSNBC viewers Monday afternoon.

“I’m no body language expert,” she conceded, “and this is just my observation. He seemed old and tired and mad.”

The New York Times’ Susanne Craig, from inside the courthouse Monday morning reported: “Trump is struggling to stay awake. His eyes were closed for a short period. He was jolted awake when Todd Blanche, his lawyer, nudged him while sliding a note in front of him.”

The Biden campaign was only too happy to pick up and report Craig’s observation, adding “feeble.”

Former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod, pointing to his piece at The Atlantic, wrote of Trump: “He has charmed & conned, schemed & marauded his way through life. He was bred that way. But the weariness & vulnerability captured in courtroom images betray a growing sense in Trump that he could wind up as the thing his old man most reviled:
A loser.”

Watch Maddow’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Election Interference’ and ‘Corruption’: Experts Explain Trump Prosecution Opening Argument

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‘Election Interference’ and ‘Corruption’: Experts Explain Trump Prosecution Opening Argument

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Prosecutors for the State of New York in their opening statement drew a direct line between the October 2016  “Access Hollywood” leaked audio and Donald Trump’s alleged “hush money” payoff to two women, including the adult film actress Stormy Daniels, telling the jury it was “election fraud, pure and simple.”

Legal experts are dissecting the prosecution’s opening argument. Professor of law, MSNBC contributor and former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann summed it up, saying New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg “squarely places the NY criminal trial in the election interference/corruption bucket– exactly what the DC and GA indictments allege, just 4 years later.”

“And the NY alleged ‘cover up’ is reminiscent of the two MAL [Mar-a-Lago] alleged obstruction schemes post-presidency, to keep prosecutors from uncovering evidence of that scheme,” Weissmann added.

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo late Monday morning in his 45-minute opening argument told jurors, “This case is about criminal conspiracy and a cover up,” according to MSNBC’s Joyce Vance.

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“The defendant, Donald Trump, orchestrated a criminal scheme to corrupt the 2016 presidential election,” Colangelo told jurors, CNN reports. “Then he covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his New York business records over and over and over again.”

“This was a planned, coordinated long-running conspiracy to influence the 2016 election, to help Donald Trump get elected through illegal expenditures,” Colangelo, a former U.S. Department of Justice Acting Associate Attorney General, told jurors.

“Another story about sexual infidelity, especially with a porn star, on the heels of the Access Hollywood tape would have been devastating to his campaign,” Colangelo added. “’So at Trump’s direction, Cohen negotiated the deal to buy Daniels’ story,’ and prevent it from becoming public before the election.”

“It was election fraud, pure and simple.”

Vance, an MSNBC legal analyst, professor of law and former U.S. Attorney, explains: “The scheme the prosecution is outlining is catch & kill to elect Trump-awful but lawful. Trump crossed the line into illegality when he created false business records to conceal his payments to Cohen to cover up the payments to Stormy Daniels.”

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“It’s always the cover up,” she adds.

Professor of law and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman adds, the prosecution told jurors “a straight election-interference story.”

Colangelo, Litman says, told jurors that Trump’s then personal attorney Micheal Cohen “then discussed the [Stormy] situation with Trump who was adamant he did not want the story to come out. Another story…on the heels of the Access Hollywood tape would have been devastating to his campaign.”

MSNBC legal contributor Katie Phang describes Colangelo’s opening argument, saying he is “working methodically and chronologically through the conspiracy, identifying the main characters and their involvement. He speaks clearly and succintly [sic].”

Trump has been criminally indicted in four separate cases and is facing a total of 88 felony charges, including 34 in his New York criminal trial for alleged falsification of business records to hide payments of hush money to an adult film actress and one other woman, in an alleged effort to suppress their stories and protect his 2016 presidential campaign, which could be deemed election interference.

Watch an MSNBC clip below or at this link.

 

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