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Hillary Clinton Congratulates GLIFAA On Its Historic 20th Anniversary

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a thoughtful and heartfelt speech at the 20th anniversary celebration for the State Department’s Gay and Lesbian Affinity group

Secretary Clinton’s complete remarks:

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all, very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Laughter.) Thank you, all. Thank you.

Yeah, that’s good. (Laughter.) Wow. Well, welcome to the Ben Franklin Room. (Laughter.) And congratulations on your 20th anniversary. I am so pleased to be here and to have this chance to join this celebration. Ken, thank you for your kind words and your efforts here to make this day possible. I am extremely pleased that Cheryl Mills, my friend as well as Chief of Staff and Counselor is here, so that those of you who may not have met her or even seen her, given how shy and retiring she is – (laughter) – can express your appreciation to her for her tireless efforts.

I’m delighted that Deputy Secretary Tom Nides is here. Tom, who some of you know, who you’ve had a chance to work with him, has been just an extraordinary deputy. Also let me recognize USAID Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg. He’s been an unyielding advocate for the LGBT community at USAID. We also have a number of ambassadors and deputy chiefs of mission, both past and present, some of whom have literally traveled from the other side of the world to be here. David, I’m talking about you. And we have Michael Guest with us, our country’s first out ambassador to be confirmed by the Senate and someone who’s remained an outspoken champion for LGBT rights, despite having to endure countless attacks and threats. Michael, why don’t you stand up so that you can be recognized? (Applause.)

Also let me thank the GLIFAA board and members. I just had a chance to meet the board and former presidents. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a room with so many former presidents. (Laughter.) The last count was maybe five. (Laughter.) But it’s really due to their leadership over 20 years that GLIFAA has reached this milestone, and it will be up to all of you and those who come after you to keep the work going for the next 20 and the 20 after that.

Now, it wasn’t really that long ago since this organization was created, but in many ways it was a completely different world. As we heard, in 1992 you could be fired for being gay. Just think about all of the exceptional public servants, the brilliant strategists, the linguists, the experts fired for no reason other than their sexual orientation. Think of what our country lost because we were unable to take advantage of their hard work, expertise, and experience. And the policy forced people to make terrible choices, to hide who they were from friends and colleagues, to lie or mislead, to give up their dreams of serving their country altogether.

That began to change, in part because of the brave employees here at State, who decided that it was time for the bigotry, the ignorance, the lying, and discrimination to end. The LGBT community deserve the same chance as anyone else to serve. And indeed, as we all know, many had for many years, just without acknowledgment of who they were. So enough was enough, and that’s how GLIFAA was formed. And thank goodness it was.

We’ve come a long way since then, and we have seen milestones along that journey over the last 20 years. I remember that I think on my husband’s first day in office back in ’93, he announced that gays and lesbians working in the Federal Government would receive equal treatment under the Civil Service Reform Act. Two years later, Secretary Warren Christopher made clear those rules would be enforced within the halls of the State Department when he issued a statement that explicitly prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Now over the past four years, we’ve built on those and other steps to really acknowledge and welcome LGBT people into the State Department family and other agencies. We’ve extended benefits to same-sex domestic partners of State and USAID employees, Foreign Service officers, personal service contractors, third country nationals at missions overseas. We’ve institutionalized these changes by creating a classification for same-sex domestic partners in the Foreign Affairs manual. We’ve also made it clear in our Equal Opportunity Employment statement that the Department doesn’t discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression.

We’ve helped to make it easier for transgender Americans to change the gender listed on their passports, because our mission is not only to protect the rights and dignity of our colleagues, but also of the American people we serve.

And we’ve taken this message all over the world, including the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where we worked to pass the first ever UN resolution affirming the human rights of LGBT people.

Now, together we have worked to make something very simple and right come true. Our people should not have to choose between serving the country they love and sharing a life with the people they love. And I want to say a few words about why this work is so important.

Now, leaders of all kinds will stand in front of audiences like this and tell you that our most important asset is our people. And of course, that’s especially true in diplomacy, where we try to be very diplomatic all the time. But what our success truly depends on is our ability to forge strong relationships and relate to people of all backgrounds. And what that means for me, as your Secretary, is that creating an LGBT-welcoming workplace is not just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do.

In part, that’s because the nature of diplomacy has changed, and we should and need to keep up. Today we expect our diplomats to build relationships not just with their counterparts in foreign governments, but with people from every continent and every walk of life. And in order to do that, we need a diplomatic corps that is as diverse as the world we work in.

It’s also smart because it makes us better advocates for the values that we hold dear. Because when anyone is persecuted anywhere, and that includes when LGBT people are persecuted or kept from fully participating in their societies, they suffer, but so do we. We’re not only robbed of their talents and ideas, we are diminished, because our commitment to the human rights of all people has to be a continuing obligation and mission of everyone who serves in the Government of the United States. So this is a mission that I gladly assume. We have to set the example and we have to live up to our own values.

And finally, we are simply more effective when we create an environment that encourages people to bring their whole selves to work, when they don’t have to hide a core part of who they are, when we recognize and reward people for the quality of their work instead of dismissing their contributions because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

So really, I’m here today to say thank you to all of you. Thank you for your courage and resolve, for your willingness to keep going despite the obstacles – and for many of you, there were and are many. Thank you for pushing your government to do what you know was right, not just for yourselves but for all who come after you.

I want to mention one person in particular who was a key part of this fight, Tom Gallagher. I met Tom earlier. Where is Tom? There you are, Tom. Tom joined the Foreign Service in 1965 and in the early 1970s he risked his career when he came out and became the first openly gay Foreign Service officer. He served in the face of criticism and threats, but that did not stop him from serving. I wanted to take this moment just to recognize him, but also to put into context what this journey has meant for people of Tom’s and my vintage, because I don’t want any of you who are a lot younger ever to take for granted what it took for people like Tom Gallagher to pave the way for all of you. It’s not a moment for us to be nostalgic. It is a moment for us to remember and to know that all of the employees who sacrificed their right to be who they were were really defending your rights and the rights and freedoms of others at home and abroad.

And I want to say a special word about why we are working so hard to protect the rights of LGBT people around the world. And Dan Baer, who works on this along with Mike Posner and Maria Otero, have been great champions of standing up for the rights of LGBT communities and individuals.

We have come such a long way in the United States. Tom Gallagher is living proof of that. And think about what it now means to be a member of a community in this country that is finally being recognized and accepted far beyond what anyone could have imagined just 20 years ago. And remind yourself, as I do every day, what it must be like for a young boy or a young girl in some other part of the world who could literally be killed, and often has been and still will be, who will be shunned, who will be put in danger every day of his or her life.

And so when I gave that speech in Geneva and said that we were going to make this a priority of American foreign policy, I didn’t see it as something special, something that was added on to everything else we do, but something that was integral to who we are and what we stand for. And so those who serve today in the State Department have a new challenge to do everything you can at State and AID and the other foreign affairs agencies to help keep widening that circle of opportunity and acceptance for all those millions of men and women who may never know your name or mine, but who because of our work together will live lives of not only greater safety but integrity.

So this is not the end of the story. There’s always more we can do to live our values and tap the talents of our people. It’s going to be an ongoing task for future Secretaries of State and Administrators at AID and for people at every level of our government. So even as we celebrate 20 years with Ben Franklin looking down at us, I want you to leave this celebration thinking about what more each and every one of you can do – those who are currently serving in our government, those who have served in the past, and those who I hope will decide to serve – to make not only the agencies of our government but our world more just and free for all people.

Thank you very much.

Tanya L. Domi is the Deputy Editor of the New Civil Rights Movement. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia.  Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi has also worked internationally in a dozen countries on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights and gender issues.  She is chair of the board of directors for GetEQUAL. Domi is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.

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News

‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

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Amid Republicans – including Donald Trump – claiming over the weekend Iran would never have attacked Israel if Donald Trump were president, and saying Trump never got America into a war, Republican former U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger blasted the ex-president and his allies while serving up a series of damning facts and urging them to stop “rewriting history.”

“It’s really easy not to get in a war, if you just surrender everything,” Kinzinger said Sunday evening in what he called an “emergency” video (below). He called the ex-president now on day one of the first criminal trial of any former U.S. president, “the worst foreign policy president of my generation,” and “a week, small, tiny man who was scared to death.”

Kinzinger has strong bona fides to back up his remarks. He is a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, where he has served since 2003. (He reportedly is no longer on active duty, but is a member of the Air National Guard.) He fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Congress, he served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on the Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism, and was the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment.

He praised Trump for killing Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian commander who was deemed “Iran’s second most powerful man.”

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“That was a good hit,” he said, before reminding Americans what happened after that.

“Iran responded by launching a whole bunch of missiles at a U.S. base in Iraq. A hundred soldiers were injured with traumatic brain injuries. Remember, Donald Trump said, ‘Oh, they’re just some headaches?’ Yeah, not to those people. It’s serious.”

“How did we respond to that missile barrage against our base? We did nothing,” Kinzinger lamented.

“Do you remember when they shot down a 100 million something dollar drone, which by the way, is not like a little drone? It’s about the size of an airliner. And we responded by – oh, that’s right: Trump did nothing. Do you remember when they attacked the Saudi oil field with a massive barrage? Trump responded by, that’s right: he didn’t do anything.”

“Do you remember when he said we were going to leave the Kurds behind? Remember when he kept talking about leaving Syria and leaving Syria to Iran? Yeah, let’s be clear about Donald Trump. I have my disagreements with this administration. But let’s quit pretending Donald Trump was anything but the worst foreign policy president of my generation, because he was.”

READ MORE: ‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

“He gave Russia everything they needed. He gave Iran everything they needed, And basically was just absolutely surrendering American interests around the world.”

“Yeah, it’s really easy not to get in a war, if you just surrender everything, so let’s quit rewriting history on Donald Trump became he was not some master of foreign policy, he was a week, small, tiny man who was scared to death.”

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Spoiler’ Questions Swirl as Trump Says He Would Vote for RFK Jr. ‘If I Were a Democrat’

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OPINION

‘By Design’: Johnson Falsely Claims Democrats Are Trying to Turn ‘Illegals’ Into Voters

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Embattled Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson traveled nearly 1000 miles on Friday afternoon to appear with Donald Trump in a live joint press conference at Mar-a-Lago to promote legislation banning non-U.S. citizens from voting, which has been a federal law, and a felony, since 1997.

But Johnson used the event to attack Democrats, falsely accusing them of a conspiracy to increase the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. for the direct and distinct purpose of pushing them to vote illegally in U.S. elections.

The Speaker offered no proof of the existence of this conspiracy.

“We only want U.S. citizens to vote in U.S. elections,” Johnson said, standing next to Trump (video below), “but there are some Democrats who don’t want to do that. We believe that one of their designs, one of the reasons for this open border, which everybody asked all around the country, why would they do this? Why would they allow all this chaos? Why the violence? Because they want to turn these people into voters.”

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Non-citizens voting in a U.S. election is punishable by deportation, massive fines, and/or numerous years in prison.

“Right now the administration is encouraging illegals to go to their local welfare office to sign up for benefits,” Johnson, one of the top election deniers in the country, claimed as he explained his conspiracy theory. He did not state how the Biden Administration is communicating with undocumented immigrants, nor did he offer proof of these communications.

He also did not state that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are ineligible for any government welfare program.

“Well, guess what? When you go to a welfare office, they also ask you if you would like to register to vote, and so many people, we think are going to do that.”

Again, Johnson offered no proof of undocumented immigrants doing that, and in fact, as the Brennan Center for Justice reported just this week, that is not happening.

“States have multiple systems in place to deter noncitizen voting. Those who violate the law face prison time and deportation,” the Brennan Center reported.

If you were undocumented, the Brennan Center asked, “Would you risk everything — your freedom, your life in the United States, your ability to be near your family — just to cast a single ballot?”

Johnson went on to state, “there’s so many millions of illegals in the country, that if only one out of 100 voted, they would cast potentially hundreds of thousands of votes in the election. That could turn an election.”

It could, but it isn’t happening.

RELATED: Johnson Moves for Trump Protection Against Greene With Mar-a-Lago Joint Press Conference

“President Biden has created a catastrophe and he did it by design,” Johnson alleged. “Why invite everybody from around the world to come here, including hardened criminals and dangerous persons?”

Neither President Biden nor his administration invited “everybody from around the world to come here,” but what if he did? Why shouldn’t he, if America is the greatest country on earth, why shouldn’t the President invite, urge people from other countries to lawfully come to America, the land of opportunity, the land of the free, the home of the brave, where immigrants have been called the “backbone” of the nation.

Federal laws can help keep “hardened criminals and dangerous persons” out, and federal border agents could do a better job if Donald Trump had allowed a vote on the Senate bipartisan border bill.

Johnson also claimed that immigration “has all sorts of terrible effects on the American people. We know that fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 49.”

Most of the fentanyl flooding the country is smuggled in by Americans, not “across the border” but through U.S. ports of entry. Nearly nine out of ten fentanyl smugglers are U.S. citizens, according to the right wing Cato Institute.

Watch a portion of Speaker Johnson’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Bless Those Who Persecute You’: Johnson Invokes Bible Amid Greene’s Ouster Threat

 

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OPINION

‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

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As Donald Trump continues to try to make inroads with Black voters, his allegedly spontaneous viral visit to an Atlanta Chick-fil-A on Wednesday came at just the right time for the indicted ex-president as the patrons and staff, mostly young Black women, appeared to gush over him.

Fox News went wild over the encounter, calling it a “surprise visit.

Video showed Trump casually declaring in the middle of the restaurant, with his arms opened wide, “Let me give you a hug,” and a young woman running over into his arms.

“Fox & Friends” co-host Lawrence Jones the next morning called it, “such an organic moment because you had all these people that obviously knew the president was there but were Trump supporters as well. Minorities.”

Jones then painted the stark “contrast” between President Joe Biden’s State Dinner with the Prime Minister of Japan on Wednesday evening, and the ex-president who just happened to walk into a Chick-fil-A and ordered 30 milkshakes. Jones appeared agitated by the Biden State Dinner, saying, “You got the current president, the ‘smoozing,’ State Dinner, you got the Clinton – why does another former president have to do a State Dinner with the current president? I think that’s strange.”

But it had not taken long for some to say it seemed staged.

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“The odds of Trump walking into a Chick-Fil-A in a big city like Atlanta, and every single customer in there just happening to be a supporter, are infinitesimally small. The whole thing was obviously staged to ensure that only his supporters were inside,” observed the social media account for The Palmer Report just hours after the Chick-fil-A visit took place.

MeidasTouch Network on Friday reports, “Trump’s Viral Hug At Chick-fil-A Was With a MAGA Operative,” and notes the woman Trump supposedly spontaneously hugged, Michaelah Montgomery “is a ‘political consultant’ and former Georgia GOP intern.”

Former CNN commentator Keith Boykin, the co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, wrote: “I knew it! Trump’s Chick-fil-A stop was a staged photo op with Black Republican supporters. Michaelah Montgomery, the Black woman who told Trump that ‘we support you,’ actually runs a conservative group and worked with Candace Owens’s Blexit Foundation.”

Ron Filipkowski, editor-in-chief of MeidasTouch, explained, “Just like his fake union rally & lie about calling Ruby Garcia’s family, the Trump excursion to Chick-fil-A was a staged op with a political consultant who has done work with the GOP, Charlie Kirk & Candace Owens’ orgs.” Linking to their report, Filipkowski, an attorney and former Republican calls it a “pattern of fraud.”

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The liberal PAC PatriotTakes reposted a Trump campaign video, added screenshots, and wrote, “These Trump photo ops are pre-staged with supporters prior to his arrival.”

Despite all this evidence, Friday afternoon Fox News continued to hype the two-day old “viral” event, with host John Roberts telling viewers, “That was a true retail politics moment there. Biden goes in to get ice cream, he grabs himself a double scoop and walks out. Trump goes in and buys everyone lunch.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump-Johnson Mar-a-Lago Meet to Push Ban on ‘Non-Citizen’ Voting – Which Is Already a Felony

 

 

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