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Celebrate National Poetry Month With Great Gay Poets!

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Editor’s note:

A wonderful reader, Julia Garbowski, contacted me via Twitter to tell me that April is National Poetry Month. She wanted to know how I would be celebrating, and, after several tweets and email messages, I am happy to share with you that Julia will be guest blogging here each Friday this month.

Regular readers of this blog will remember the survey so many of you completed for me back in January. One of the overwhelming responses asked for more LGBTQ culture to be added to the blog. Julia’s work will fill that niche quite well! I hope you’ll let us know what you think.

Julia will be sharing some of her own thoughts and some of her favorite poetry from LGBTQ poets, including this, her first piece here at The New Civil Rights Movement.



April is National Poetry Month

In celebration, I looked for a gay poet or two to read and discovered that I could choose the most well known writer in English Literature (William Shakespeare), or the Father of American poetry (Walt Whitman), or the great beat poet Allen Ginsberg, or the Poet Laureate of the U.S. Kay Ryan, or Hans Christian Anderson, Lord Byron, W.H. Auden, A.E. Housman, Tennessee Williams, Gertrude Stein, etc., and they would all, among their many gifts, be identifiable as LGBT persons. Choosing a different poet for each day of the month would not reveal a pinhead in the-great-stick-pillow-of-the-world of excellent, influential, proud, out, closeted, imprisoned, chaste, revered or reviled poetic geniuses from the past or in the present.

Whether it is even useful to identify poets as gay is a whole other question of what the purposes and consequences of labeling are. But, I am reminded of the Emily Dickinson poem:

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—

Success in Circuit lies

Too bright for our infirm Delight

The Truth’s superb surprise

As Lightening to the Children eased

With explanation kind

The truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind

And so I plan to think about but not be hindered by the labeling issue, and to celebrate the rest of National Poetry Month reading and sharing on Twitter and talking to my friends about some poems by LGBT poets. I hope others will do the same.

Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) from Leaves of Grass

Calamus 11

When I heard at the close of the day how I had

been praised in the Capitol, still it was not

a happy night for me that followed,

and else when I caroused – nor when my favorite plans were

accomplished – was I really happy,

but the day when I arose at dawn from the perfect

health, electric, inhaling sweet breath

When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and

disappear in the morning light,

When I wandered alone over the beach, and undressing, bathed,

laughing with the waters, and saw the sun rise,

And when I thought how my friend, my lover, was on

his way coming, then O I was happy,

Each breath tasted sweeter – and all that day my food

Nourished me more – and the beautiful day passed well,

And next came with equal joy – and with the next,

At evening, came my friend,

And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll

Slowly continually up the shores,

I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands, as directed

To me, whispering to congratulate me,

For my friend I love lay sleeping by my side,

In the stillness his face was inclined toward me, while the

Moon’s clear beams shone

And his arm lay lightly over my breast – and that night I was happy.

Written at a time when the word Homosexual did not even exist, Whitman used the term adhesiveness to describe his relationships with men. His poetry, letters, private journals, letters written by others including Oscar Wilde (Wilde was imprisoned in 1895 for homosexuality on a charge of “indecency” in England) and also writings by Whitman’s companion Horace Traubel all confirm that he passionately loved men and believed that same sex love and attraction was innately human. For more see: “Walt Whitman: A Gay Life” by Gary Schmidgall (1997, E.P. Dutton.)

Julia Garbowski lives in Royal Oak, MI and has returned to writing after 25 years of running a farm and market in Door County WI. She grew up in Sag Harbor, NY. Her B.A. in Communications is from the University of Wisconsin. She belongs to the Michigan Literary Network and her twitter name is @driftnotes.

(Images: Top: Emily Dickinson, Bottom: Walt Whitman and Peter Doyle)

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OPINION

‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn

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Suggesting there is an actual “method to the madness,” as the saying goes, in April The New York Times published “The Method Behind Trump’s Mistruths,” implying the falsehoods and lies Donald Trump tells almost if not daily are part of some coherent and intentional plan.

The Times’ Angelo Fichera offered explanations for why Trump lies with tremendous frequency. A few excerpts: “He grossly distorts his opponents’ records and proposals to make them sound unreasonable,” “He exaggerates and twists the facts to make his record sound better than it is,” “He relies on both well-worn and fresh claims of election rigging to suggest he can lose only if his opponents cheat,” and “He makes unverifiable claims about what the world would have been like had he secured a second term.”

Tuesday night, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale, who started listening to or reading Trump’s every public statement during the 2016 election cycle, debunked 30 of the ex-president’s falsehoods and lies at his Wisconsin rally earlier that day. It took him just three minutes:

Barb McQuade, the well-known MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst, professor of law, and former U.S. Attorney responded to the CNN video: “The lies have become a tribal pose. Some Trump supporters believe his lies. Others don’t care. It is all about allegiance to the tribe over truth.”

Sarah Longwell, the executive director of the Republican Accountability Project and publisher of The Bulwark, earlier this year in The Atlantic wrote: “Trump Supporters Explain Why They Believe the Big Lie.”

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“For many of Trump’s voters, the belief that the election was stolen is not a fully formed thought. It’s more of an attitude, or a tribal pose,” she added.

John Stoehr, editor of the Editorial Board, said of Dale’s fact-checking, “What interesting here is Dan Dale isn’t just fact checking Trump’s lies. He’s fact checking his delusions. More of that would highlight his habitual incoherence.”

Trump’s public remarks, in interviews and on stage at rallies, do seem to have taken a turn. Some critics, like Stoehr, have pointed out that at times the criminally-convicted ex-president’s words aren’t just false, they don’t make sense.

Journalist Aaron Rupar, founder of Public Notice, has watched and recorded countless hours of Trump’s remarks.

In this clip from just a few weeks ago, he says Trump was “not coherent.”

This video from earlier this month got a lot of attention, with Trump talking about shark attacks, and electrocution from boats.

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump offered one reason why Trump might have injected sharks and electric-powered boats into a campaign speech, despite it being to a crowd in landlocked Nevada: Trump’s New York criminal trial was “centered on Stormy Daniels,” who “explained that one of their encounters overlapped with the Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week’ programming. As the two sat in Trump’s hotel room, he volunteered how much he hated sharks and wished they all would die.”

But that semi-logical divining still does not explain Trump’s “cognitive questions” – perhaps best exposed most recently by the author of a new book on Trump, “Apprentice in Wonderland.”

READ MORE: Republican Who Declared His State a ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’ Blocks Senate Bump Stock Ban

“Ramin Setoodeh, who interviewed Trump six times after he left office in 2021, told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that there were points during those sessions when Trump seemed to think he still had some presidential powers,” HuffPost reports.

Saying he is the “journalist who spent the most time” with Trump, post-election, Setoodeh notes, “Donald Trump had severe memory issues.”

And while the anecdotes are disturbing, Setoodeh’s summation is far worse: “there was some cognitive questions about where he was and what he was thinking and he would he would, from time to time become confused.”

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins told Setoodeh, “you talked about his memory, you wrote that, you know, on some days I have the feeling he has no idea who he’s even talking to that he actually forgot, or didn’t remember that the two of you had spoken at your first sit down interview.”

Setoodeh responded, “right.”

It’s not just telling the truth Trump has a problem with, it’s his actual speech.

On Tuesday Raw Story‘s Sarah K. Burris reported on several verbal stumbles Trump made during his Wisconsin rally.

Trump, she wrote, “struggled to remember ABC News host George Stephanopoulos’ name, making a couple of efforts to pronounce it: ‘George Stopalopodis … George Stopodiaiiee.’ ”

“Trump mispronounced citizenship by calling it ‘citizensip.’ ”

“‘Joe Biden is forming granting mass–thinkit,’ Trump meandered in a section of the speech, with an excerpt of the video quickly spreading online.”

Back in March, Salon‘s senior politics writer Chauncey DeVega wrote: “In a recent conversation with Dr. John Gartner, a prominent psychologist and contributor to the bestselling book ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,’ the former faculty member at Johns Hopkins University told me that based on Trump’s speech, memory, recall, and other behavior, he appears to be ‘hypomanic’ and cognitively deteriorating at a rapid rate.”

DeVega quotes Gartner saying, “in my opinion, Donald Trump is dangerously demented.”

“I had to speak out now because the 2024 election might turn on this issue of who is cognitively capable: Biden or Trump? It’s a major issue that will affect some people’s votes,” Gartner said. “Not enough people are sounding the alarm, that based on his behavior, and in my opinion, Donald Trump is dangerously demented. In fact, we are seeing the opposite among too many in the news media, the political leaders and among the public. There is also this focus on Biden’s gaffes or other things that are well within the normal limits of aging. By comparison, Trump appears to be showing gross signs of dementia. This is a tale of two brains. Biden’s brain is aging. Trump’s brain is dementing.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Democrats Have One Way to Correct Corruption of Justices Thomas and Alito: Expert

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News

Republican Who Declared His State a ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’ Blocks Senate Bump Stock Ban

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In 2021, as the Republican Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts signed a “largely symbolic” proclamation declaring The Cornhusker State a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.” Now, calling the legislation a “show vote,” U.S. Senator Ricketts has blocked a Democratic bill that would have restored a ban on bump stocks, like the one used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

Just four days ago, in a 6-3 decision along partisan lines, right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a bump stock, that effectively turns an AR-15 into a machine gun, cannot be regulated under current law. Justice Clarence Thomas authored the majority opinion. The device is so dramatically lethal pro-gun President Donald Trump banned it in 2018.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito made clear: if lawmakers want to ban bump stocks, they can, by passing a federal law:

“Congress can amend the law—and perhaps would have done so already if ATF had stuck with its earlier interpretation. Now that the situation is clear, Congress can act.”

On Tuesday, Senator Ricketts blocked a bipartisan bill banning bump stocks – what the Supreme Court suggested and what Donald Trump had done – which was sponsored by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

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Bump stocks increase the rate of fire from approximately 45-60 rounds per minute, to 400-800 rounds per minute.

Senator Ricketts called the vote on banning the lethal accessory that effectively increases the rate of fire by a factor of ten, “another day in the Democrat summer of show votes,” and called the legislation “a gun-grabbing overreach.”

“This bill will not pass,” Ricketts also said, as the Associated Press reported. “It won’t pass because enough people in this building still believe in the Constitution, and the Constitution affords Americans the right to own a firearm.”

Watch Ricketts’ remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Desperate Scramble to Stop Steve Bannon From Going to Prison

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Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Desperate Scramble to Stop Steve Bannon From Going to Prison

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On July 1, criminally-convicted former top Trump advisor Steve Bannon is expected to begin his four-month prison sentence for contempt of Congress after a federal appeals court in May rejected his last-ditch claim he was merely following advice of counsel by ignoring a lawful subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has a plan to make Bannon’s conviction and prison sentence disappear – and that of former top Trump adviser Peter Navarro, who is currently serving his four-month prison sentence.

“I fully support and am co-sponsoring @RepThomasMassie’s resolution to rescind the subpoenas for Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro by repudiating Nancy Pelosi’s illegitimate J6 committee,” Congresswoman Greene wrote on social media Tuesday.

“Nancy Pelosi violated House rules by refusing to accept McCarthy’s appointed Republicans on the committee. Now, our Republican-led House must nullify any actions taken by the illegitimate J6 committee,” Greene wrote, falsely.

Two federal courts have ruled the House January 6 Committee was legally constituted.

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“We must also hold the J6 Committee members accountable for the destruction of the committee’s records,” she clamored, also falsely.

The New Republic‘s Hafiz Rashid is mocking the Georgia GOP lawmaker: “MTG’s New Plot to Save Trump Allies From Jail May Be Her Stupidest Yet.”

“Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene seems to think you can just rewind time,” TNR writes. “Unfortunately for Greene and other House Republicans, rescinding the subpoenas doesn’t magically mean no crime was committed.”

Bannon, who served as Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign CEO, his Chief White House Strategist, and Senior Counselor to the President, before returning to the far-right wing website Breitbart, where he was a founding board member and later, executive chairman.

But now Bannon, a far-right provocateur, hosts the “War Room” podcast, which Media Matters last year called “the media home of Project 2025 and Trump’s retribution plans.” Last year he called for Rep. Greene to become Speaker of the House.

Project 2025 is The Heritage Foundation’s massive plan to remake the entire Executive Branch, fire thousands of civil servants, and turn the Dept. of Justice into an arm of the next Republican President.

“Bannon has continued his usual activities, such as telling a Turning Point Action convention audience Saturday who exactly will be on Donald Trump’s anticipated ‘retribution’ list and naming Justice Department officials,” TNR added. “But now, after escaping prison once thanks to a Trump pardon over a border wall fraud scheme, he will soon be behind bars, and not in a minimum-security prison camp as he wants, but in a low-security prison like Rikers since he still has an open criminal case against him.”

READ MORE: Whoopi Goldberg Mocks ‘Crook’ Trump for ‘Black Church’ Trip

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