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Does The LGBTQ Community Blame The Black Community For Gay Marriage Losses?



HuffPo’s David Kaufman Needs To Learn How To Play In The Civil Rights Sandbox

Let me make a few things perfectly clear:

  • No one, and I mean no one, owns the patent, trademark, or copyright on civil rights. Not blacks, not gays, not anyone.
  • No one, and I mean no one, owns the patent, trademark, or copyright on civil marriage. Not the Catholics, not the Jews, not the Christians, not the Muslims, not anyone.
  • It is unacceptable that an oppressed minority would turn tables on another oppressed minority. For blacks to not support the LGBTQ community (and vice-versa,) for the LGB community to not support trans people (and vice-versa,) is unacceptable as we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century.

Now, having laid that groundwork, let me respond to David Kaufman’s ill-considered Huffington Post piece, “Co-Opted: Marriage Equality’s Civil Rights Rip-Off.”

The very title exemplifies my three bullet points above.

You may consider the remainder an open letter to Mr. Kaufman.

* * *

Mr. Kaufman, your statement, and the basis of your piece, that “LGBT Inc. demands the right to appropriate the Civil Rights struggle wherever and whenever possible” is incorrect and offensive.

Civil rights are not owned by African-Americans. In fact, just last week, as she cast her vote for marriage equality, New Jersey Senator Nia Gill (who, herself, is African-American) had this to say on same-sex marriage:

“It is a civil rights issue – not because African-Americans own the copyright to civil rights, it is a civil rights issue in the analysis of the equal protection of the fourteenth amendment in the constitution. And maybe some in my community want to hold on to it, because it’s ours. Because our blood has been shed for the right to vote, and we jealously guard that as a re-affirmation of being American. And so we hold it, because no one can do civil rights and have civil rights better than we do. That’s emotional, but it is certainly not an analysis of the constitutional imperatives that face us. It’s a civil rights issue.”

(Senator Gill’s speech, which I recorded, was historic and beautiful, and wise. You can read it, and listen to it in its entirety, here.)

You go on to accuse “LGBTQ Inc.” (which, let me state, you neglect to define as our leadership organizations or the community as a whole — which is so fractured that getting even a plurality of us to agree on much of anything would be a strong achievement,) of “constantly blaming Black folks for every same-sex marriage set back.”

Um, in a word, “no.”

Not New York, not New Jersey, and no, not even Maine.

I don’t believe the majority of, as you so disparagingly put it, “LGBT Inc.” – be it HRC, or David Mixner (whom you quote) or the larger LGBTQ community – is blaming “Black folks for every same-sex marriage set back.” That’s just plain false.

You write,

“…somehow a mere 13.5 percent of the population is responsible for 100 percent of the problems.

“The math alone should render this philosophy farcical.”

Elections (and that anyone is actually voting on our rights is an abomination, but a conversation for another day,) aren’t won or lost on 13.5 percentage points; they’re generally won or lost on two or three or five, maybe eight percentage points. Prop 8 passed by a 4.48 percentage point margin. So yes, while no one is “blaming” African-Americans for Prop 8, 13.5 percent of the population can have an adverse – or positive – affect on a vote. But it could be any 13.5 percent of the population. Or eight percent of the population. Or, yes, 4.48 percent of the population.

That 4.48 percentage margin didn’t just come from the African-American community. And after the media dropped that slant, so did the American public.

If you have an issue with the numbers, talk to the people who designate the all-to-simplistic categories to which we are assigned.

By the way, who can we “blame” for Prop 8 passing? Aside from ourselves, here’s what I wrote the day after the election,

“Looking at exit poll data, a composite of the person who voted “yes” to ban same-sex marriage in California is someone who is married (60%), and has children (68%), attends church weekly (84%), does not work full-time (57%), is an Independent or Republican (66%), and voted for Bush in 2004 (80%). This person also is likely to live in the suburbs (59%), and is very worried about another terrorist attack (65%).

“None of these results should be surprising. Nor should these, given what we know about voting groups overall. 75% of black women, 54% of latin men, and 51% of white men voted to ban same-sex marriage. Overall, 70% of blacks supported the ban.”

Numbers don’t lie, Mr. Kaufman. BUT – and this is extremely important: How we, as journalists, explain them, how we present them, how we shape them, IS important. Equally important is doing the work to make those numbers change, in our favor.

Yes, immediately after California’s Prop 8 vote, the media unfairly focused on the narrative that black voters who came out to vote for Obama, voted for Prop 8 as well. That said, and despite your attempt to ignore the facts, there is a larger percentage of the overall Black community that is against marriage equality than is the average American. That is a fact that is undeniable, as polls show.

And that it is a fact merely means the LGBTQ community hasn’t succeeded in reaching out the the black community – just as we did not succeed in California in reaching out to the faith-based community. Yes, we all have work to do.

I’m sure, sir, you are doing your part in that regard. And I am doing mine. It’s a pity you’ve chosen to lash out at such a wide swath of the very support, the very community we both have to improve our chances of winning our common battle.

I appreciate your attempt to liberate the overlapping groups that comprise what we so easily refer to as the African-American community. Yes, as we all work to achieve equality for everyone, we see how deep centuries of oppression and inequality go.

I’ll leave you with yet another response to your own misguided missive. You write, “The most tragic element of Marriage Equality’s Civil Rights rip-off is that it’s simply so unnecessary.”

Rip-off? No. Categorized differently, perhaps as “shared commonality,” then, unnecessary? Still no. Listen to the words of none other than NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, who, like Senator Gill, spoke at the New Jersey State Senate’s Judiciary Committee to support the same sex marriage bill. His words, as well as Senator Gill’s, were historic and beautiful, and wise.

A few quotes:

“I believe gay rights are civil rights.”

“As my late neighbor and friend Coretta Scott King said in 1998, ‘homophobia is like racism and anti-semitism, and other forms of bigotry…'”

(I recorded Mr. Bond’s words also. You can listen to them here. I hope everyone does. They are inspirational.)

Bottom line, Mr. Kaufman, the LGBTQ community and our supporters are not proffering that there was a “Civil Rights movement [that] battled to allow Blacks to marry Whites.” We’re saying (if I may be so bold as to convey what I see as the feelings of many in our community) that our struggles for civil rights share an inherent commonality with the African-American struggle for civil rights. Yes, our battles are different. Yes, the injustices our communities have endured are different. But, there is commonality. And it is that commonality we need to focus on, if both our communities are to grow and grow away from our injustices.

You begin by attacking Andrew Sullivan; I’ll end by offering this: If Mr. Sullivan, for whom I have great respect, claims, as you write, “the Civil Rights movement battled to allow Blacks to marry Whites,” (and did you, Mr. Kaufman, challenge him on that point?) then your issue is with Mr. Sullivan’s understanding of American history, not with the LGBTQ community. I hope in the future, you will pick your fights where they belong.

If, as you write, “everyone loses in the battle for ‘most-oppressed’ status,” I welcome you to work with all the oppressed, not against us.

I welcome your – and everyone’s – thoughts.


Pam Spaulding has her own take on Kaufman’s piece. Here’s a taste:

Who’s the Homo-Tom? (Personally, I think that’s a bit harsh.)

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Jim Jordan Waging ‘Purely Political Attack’: Demands Bragg Testify Before Congress Over Expected Trump Indictment



In an unprecedented move House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan is demanding Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg testify before Congress over his expected indictment of Donald Trump. Bragg, officially the New York County District Attorney, is an elected official whose office was created under the New York State Constitution and does not answer to Congress.

Professor of law and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance quickly blasted Jordan’s move, saying: “what jurisdiction does Congress have over a DA elected by Manhattanites? Sure, Jordan will talk about fed’l funding, but this is a purely political attack on local gov’t.”

Earlier Monday, reacting to Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s remarks, Vance said: “It’s not up to House Republicans to review Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s conduct. It’s up to Manhattan voters. If Trump is indicted, a jury will decide whether there’s sufficient evidence to convict. The GOP continues to undercut our democratic institutions to serve Trump.”

Jordan’s letter, he writes to Bragg: “In light of the serious consequences of your actions, we expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision,” according to a Fox Corp. article. The website also says it was signed by two other Republicans: House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Comer and House Committee on Administration Chair Brian Steil. None have any oversight authority on the Office of the Manhattan District Attorney.

READ MORE: Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis

“Jordan warned Bragg that if news reports of a possible Trump indictment are accurate, Bragg’s actions ‘will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the court of the 2024 presidential election,'” Fox adds.

“The legal theory underlying your reported prosecution appears to be tenuous and untested,” Jordan wrote. He also attacked former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has testified extensively in the case before the grand jury.

Just before leaving office Trump awarded Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

According to former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who testified publicly and privately before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, Jordan discussed pardons with the White House for Republican Members of Congress, although she says he did not ask for one himself. Jordan also defied a subpoena from the January 6 Select Committee.

In a Monday morning interview with Fox Corp.’s Harris Faulkner, Jordan falsely describes Trump’s hush money payment to adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels as “some alleged bookkeeping error.” The expected charges have neither been voted on by the grand jury nor announced.

“Charges in NY are expected to involve false business records created to conceal Trump’s payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels but there are possible charges involving manipulating property values for tax, loan & insurance advantages,” Vance also  said Monday.

READ MORE: ‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime

Watch video of Jordan discussing the letter and see the letter itself below or at this link:



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Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis



Attorneys for Donald Trump Monday morning filed a sweeping 483-page legal motion asking a Georgia court to block any report from the Fulton County special grand jury and any evidence the grand jury may find, and to force District Attorney Fani Willis to recuse in the investigation into his unlawful attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in that state.

The Daily Beast’s Jose Pagliery first reported the filing. The Atlanta Journal Constitution also reports Trump’s attorneys have filed the motion.

Lawfare Blog’s Anna Bower, who has been covering the Fulton County case, calls the filing “mammoth.”

The news comes just hours after reports District Attorney Willis could be considering RICO, or conspiracy and racketeering charges against Trump.

READ MORE: ‘This Man Is a Criminal’: George Conway Busts GOP’s ‘Completely Ridiculous’ Trump Defense

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

Image via Shutterstock

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‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime



Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is reportedly considering RICO charges against Donald Trump in her probe of his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, CNN reports. RICO charges are generally used when prosecuting organized crime cases.

“The reason that I am a fan of RICO is, I think jurors are very, very intelligent,” Willis had said last year about a different case. “They want to know what happened. They want to make an accurate decision about someone’s life. And so RICO is a tool that allows a prosecutor’s office and law enforcement to tell the whole story.”

Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a law professor and an NBC News/MSNBC contributor, Monday morning on Twitter, pointing to CNN’s report, said Willis “is seriously considering a RICO charge.” She repeated that claim on MSNBC shortly after.

READ MORE: Experts Warn Trump Is Encouraging Violence One Day After He Announces Rally at Waco on 30th Anniversary of Siege

CNN reports, “Investigators have a large volume of substantial evidence related to a possible conspiracy from inside and outside the state, including recordings of phone calls, emails, text messages, documents, and testimony before a special grand jury. Their work, the source said, underscores the belief that the push to help Trump was not just a grassroots effort that originated inside the state.”

On-air Monday morning, CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, a former federal and state prosecutor, explained conspiracy, racketeering, and RICO, saying, “conspiracy” is “a loaded word. But all it really means is an agreement, a meeting of the minds between two or more people to commit a crime.”

But he added, “if we go up to racketeering, now, this is a really powerful tool the prosecutors use. What you have to do is show two things. First of all, the existence of what we call a racketeering enterprise, that can be a Mafia family, that can be a drug trafficking organization, but it could also be a corporation or a political entity, and then you have to show that they engage in what we call a pattern of racketeering activity, meaning that they committed two or more crimes in an organized fashion, which brings us to this other new piece of information. There’s a third phone call we already know about, of course, the infamous phone call to Brad Raffensperger. ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes.’ There’s also a public recording of Donald Trump talking to this investigator, Francis Watson, when he tells her, ‘when the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.'”

READ MORE: ‘Reacting to a Cult Leader’: Trump Supporters Organizing to ‘Stock Up on Weaponry’ Says GOP Adviser

“Now we know, Trump also called the former Georgia Speaker of the House asking him to convene a special session,” Honig continued. “As we know we’ve heard from some of the grand jurors special grand jurors who’ve come out, they’ve told us that they recommended indictments for more than a dozen people.”

Watch CNN’s report below or at this link.

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