Remember the Big Four Automakers? Who are now the Big Three Automakers? Maybe soon the Big Two Automakers, now that GM has declared bankruptcy? They had their glory days, but failed to see the coming change, spent too much time and money on misguided efforts, and ultimately lost relevance, credibility and the support of their customers. They grew too big, became loath to change, and are dying a slow death. The automobile will live on, but those companies that drove it into the twenty-first century, and themselves into bankruptcy, may not.
Just as the automobile itself was truly a vehicle for social change during much of the twentieth century, so were the Big Four. Not the automakers, but the main LGBTQ activist organizations: Human Rights Campaign (HRC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). The LGBTQ community now has grown up strong, thanks to our leaders, the Big Four. And I say thank you to the The Task Force, the oldest LGBTQ activist organization. Thank you to HRC. Thank you to the ACLU. And thank you to GLAAD. I say thank you, and I say, goodbye.
Now, for the first time, the LGBTQ community is in a position of power. We are winning marriage equality, slowly but surely. Our goals are well-defined. They include passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill, repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), passage of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), as well as full marriage equality in all 50 states, all territories, and in Washington, D.C.Â We’ve won marriage equality in six states, hopefully seven (New York) before month’s end. And yet, despite a clearer path and major successes, despite increasing public attention on our issues and rising public support, despite a Democratic Congress and Democratic President, the ire and anger within our community is at a level not seen, many would say, since Stonewall. And the big difference now, the sign that we’ve achieved critical mass: the anger is directed at our allies. Why? Because, when you’re so close to achieving your goals, when you succeed despite the efforts of your leaders, and sometimes fail because of them, it’s clear you need new ones.
The Big Four did their job. They drove us to the twenty-first century. But they didn’t push themselves into it. Collectively, like the American automakers, they are old, outdated, ineffective, over-lapping behemoths whose lack of achievement demand they either declare bankruptcy, then refocus on their core competencies and truly re-create themselves, or turn over the wheel to the new leaders of our community: national grassroots organizations like Join the Impact, and local ones, like Mass Equality, Equality Maine, and One Iowa.
These are the groups that are able to mobilize hundreds of thousands, to get the attention of the media and voters, focus our energy and our message more efficiently, more effectively, without concern for the ways of the past, and without concern for their boards of directors. These groups are inter-dependent, act quickly, and can attack an issue from many different angles, because they’re down in the trenches and accessible. They aren’t thinking of themselves as leaders, but as partners, forging new ground. And they’re successful because they care more about our cause than about their corporate boards and sponsors, if they even have any.
Contrast them with the old guard, the Big Four. The Task Force’s main focus is developing and educating at the grassroots level. But they have fourteen different focuses and address too many tangential issues that have little to do with the success of our mission. For example, the murder of Dr. George Tiller. An atrocity, to be sure. But it has little to do with DADT, ENDA, DOMA, or, even, the Hate Crimes bill. And yet, the Task Force was quick to release a statement condemning it. Why? How much energy and time was spent on that issue, especially when three days earlier they had just begun their Twitter social media effort. Why has it taken them so long to begin to harness social media?
Or the Human Rights Campaign, which focuses on thirteen different issues. Which actually has had to start sending out emails that read “What has HRC done for me lately?”. Which, recently, has been forced into the position of denying a close relationship with the White House and Congress, when it should be touting its ability to access and to partner with government on planning and executing strategy.
GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has done little to attack the Right Wing or to change the tone and perception of anti-gay Conservatives. How can I say this? Their websites do not even mention extreme Right-Wing blogger Michelle Malkin, barely mention Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization For Marriage, and only once mention Michael Savage, whose views are so outrageous he was actually banned from entering Great Britain. Can you name any three people in the media who have had more to do with defamation of the LGBTQ community?
The ACLU, which is not solely an LGBTQ-focused organization, has had its share of successes and failures, but overlaps many efforts and suffers an overextended focus.
And now, we have countless LGBTQ activists and organizations. Hundreds of dedicated bloggers. All acting independently. All acting on their own agenda. Most, if not all, looking for attention and funding. Most, if not all, overlapping efforts. Our diversity, which has always been our greatest strength, is now threatening to become our greatest weakness.
Here’s what needs to happen:
Organizations like HRC, GLAAD, the ACLU, and the Task Force need to look at themselves and strip down to their most basic assets. Be the support services for legal, educational, media, and lobbying national issues. Embrace all the twenty-first century has to offer, starting with social media opportunities like Twitter and Facebook, YouTube and MeetUp. And act as background, technical support and capacity-building for the grassroots groups that are in the trenches, truly making a difference.
The ACLU should attack all our legal issues and court cases that deal with discrimination, hate crimes, the military, and marriage equality.
GLAAD should be our media arm, but partner with the Task Force, the ACLU, and the HRC. Let’s get our messaging clear and into the right media outlets.
The Task Force should focus only on educating grassroots organizations.
Finally, the HRC, with new, better leadership, should be our representatives to government. They should be lobbying and creating legislative strategy to ensure successful outcomes on DADT, ENDA, DOMA, and the Hate Crimes Bill.
The Boards of Directors and CEOs of the Big Four should be in regular contact. The CEO of The Task Force should sit on the Board of HRC. The ACLU’s CEO should sit on the Board of GLAAD, and so on.
It’s time the Big Four start working together. End whatever old animosities they harbor, for the good of the community. Step back, give their power to the grassroots. The LGBTQ movement has once again become a grassroots movement. We no longer need the old guard, the Big Four. But it would be nice to have them, if they can learn to adapt. If not, we’ll be happy to remember them fondly. Like General Motors.
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Watchdog Reports Trump ‘Credibly Accused’ of ‘Staggering’ List of 55 Criminal Offenses – Urges DOJ to Prosecute
A nonpartisan federal government watchdog has updated its list of “uncharged” criminal offenses it says Donald Trump stands “credibly accused” of committing, and is urging the Dept. of Justice to prosecute them, warning that “the rule of law is not self-enforcing.”
“As of September 2022, Donald Trump has been credibly accused of committing at least 55 criminal offenses since he launched his campaign for president in 2015,” reports Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, better known as CREW. “That total only reflects allegations relating to his time in or running for office and omits, for instance, Trump’s criminal exposure for fraudulent business dealings.”
The lengthy list includes numerous allegations of campaign finance crimes and coverup, destruction of presidential records, obstruction of the Russia and Special Counsel Investigations, attempts to steal the 2020 election, false public financial disclosure reports, attempts to get Ukraine to interfere in 2020 election, profiting off of post-election lies, and unlawful post-presidency possession of government records.
CREW says its update includes “seven offenses we have added since we published the first version of this table in March 2022,” including “three criminal offenses relating to the investigation of election fraud and related crimes in Fulton County, Georgia; one offense relating to potential wire fraud stemming from fraudulent representations made to solicit PAC contributions after the 2020 election; and three offenses relating to Trump’s unlawful possession of government records at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.”
“The updated tracker likely understates Trump’s legal exposure because the high volume of sensitive records discovered at Mar-A-Lago suggests that he could be indicted for multiple counts of willfully retaining without authorization government records containing national defense information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e)), even though it is only listed once on CREW’s tracker.”
CREW is not the only one keeping track of Trump’s misdeeds, criminal civil, or ethical.
McSweeney’s published a list of 1056 “atrocities,” it calls “horrors,” titled: “A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes.” It stopped updating on Jan. 20, 2021.
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler on Wednesday published her “Trump Document Theft Resources,” a timeline of events surrounding the former president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return classified documents, complete with numerous links.
For those who’ve missed it: I have put together a post with links to all MY posts on the Trump Espionage case, as well as the public docs, statutes, and some other key reports. Not entirely up-to-date and a work in progress, though. https://t.co/1xpy6I5ine
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) September 28, 2022
Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Doug Mastriano Calling for ‘40 Days of Fasting and Prayer’ to Help Campaign
The far-right Christian nationalist and state lawmaker who is the Republican Party’s nominee to become governor of Pennsylvania is so extreme and has been performing so poorly in the polls it took the media two days to learn of his latest plan to win election: 40 days of fasting and prayer.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who led a Zoom meeting days before the January 6 insurrection praying his fellow Trump supporters would “rise up” and overthrow the government, on Monday posted to Facebook a call for “40 Days of Fasting and Prayer.”
To date it has received little attention, a mere 10 comments, 46 shares, and 156 various likes. That’a after one news outlet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, published an article on Mastriano Wednesday afternoon.
“The Republican gubernatorial candidate is losing some support among GOP allies as his cash-strapped campaign turns to Twitter memes and, apparently, divine intervention,” the Inquirer reports.
A mere “few dozen supporters joined the Republican state senator on the steps of the Capitol building in Harrisburg — some of them members of a local militia group,” for campaign rally last weekend, adding that “Mastriano hasn’t run or booked any TV ads in response. He doesn’t do interviews with most media outlets, and won’t agree to a standard format debate.”
Mastriano recently made headlines over previously unreported remarks showing he supports criminal murder charges for women who violate a 6-week abortion ban.
It seems likely Mastriano will lose the election. FiveThirtyEight gives the far right Republican state lawmaker just seven chances in 100 to win the governorship. His opponent, Democrat Josh Shapiro, has spent millions more that Mastriano, who the Inquirer notes has spent just $6300 on TV ads.
Some are highlighting bigger, more longterm concerns, noting that Mastriano is helping to expand the Christian nationalism and fascism his ideologies represent.
Media Matters for America’s Eric Hananoki on Wednesday reveals: “Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate.”
Doug Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate, as the @splcenter has documented. https://t.co/V4xQeohozl
— Eric Hananoki (@ehananoki) September 28, 2022
“Mastriano is a QAnon conspiracy theorist and a January 6 insurrectionist,” Media Matters report adds. “He has also shared toxic commentaries about Muslims; abortion; and gun safety; along with making other inflammatory remarks.”
“He has surrounded himself with numerous extremist media figures in his campaign for Pennsylvania governor. They include: antisemitic Gab CEO Andrew Torba; QAnon and antisemitic conspiracy theorists Allen and Francine Fosdick; “prophet” Julie Green, who has promoted an antisemitic conspiracy theory; and QAnon supporter and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Toni Shuppe. Mastriano also recruited Jenna Ellis, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ remarks and election denialism, as a senior adviser.”
The New York Times last month reported Mastriano “speaks almost exclusively to far-right podcasters like Stephen K. Bannon, conservative talk radio hosts and Fox News. On a recent swing through northwest Pennsylvania, he brushed off a Pittsburgh TV station that sought to interview him, and even the small-circulation Meadville Tribune.“
Don’t Call Us ‘Fascists’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasts News Media After Criticism Over Her Feral Hog Hunting Stunt
U. S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is furious at the entire news industry, and especially HuffPost, after it published a report highlighting her latest stunt: a video portraying her as some kind of lighting-powered superhero with a helicopter and an AR-15 shooting a feral pig and criticizing Democrats.
In the video, posted to Facebook, she claims there is “skyrocketing inflation, high diesel fuel, and America last policies.”
“Democrats aren’t the only ones destroying farmers’ ability to put food on the table. We’ve got wild hogs destroying farmers’ fields,” says Greene, who has nearly no responsibilities as a Member of Congress. “So we decided to go hog hunting.”
Greene takes a large AR-15-styled assault weapon into a helicopter so she can shoot and kill a feral hog from the air. She later poses with the dead carcass on the ground.
Her stunt does nothing to help farmers, but it does help her image with the pro-gun right and serves as a fundraising stunt — she uses the video to announce a contest for supporters to join her in a helicopter hog-shooting trip.
Wednesday morning HuffPost published a story titled, “Marjorie Taylor Greene Likens Dems To Hogs, Wants Help Shooting Them Dead.”
The report notes Greene had “been stripped of her House committee assignments over her use of violent rhetoric, including toward Democrats,” and says the “extremist Republican’s announcement of a competition to hunt feral pigs did not go over well.”
Greene was outraged.
In a seven-part Twitter thread directed at HuffPost she writes, “I demand you change this headline and your lies about me immediately. Your freedom of press is not freedom to lie about me. I NEVER said anything like this and did NOT call for violence on Democrats.”
She calls for the reporter and editor to be fired, and then goes off on the entire news media.
“You don’t get to lie about me and many of my colleagues calling us Nazis, fascists, and any other nasty label you type up and get away with it,” she tweeted.
“There is not one single Republican that has ever aligned with Nazism, fascism, Marxism, socialism, communism, or any other awful political ideology,” she says in carefully-chosen rhetoric.
There are Republicans today exhibiting fascistic behaviors and promoting fascistic ideology. President Joe Biden has clearly criticized the ideology of “MAGA Republicans” as “semi-fascism.”
In late August the White House singled out Greene to defend President Biden’s “semi-fascism” criticism, saying: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green has publicly expressed support for shooting prominent democratic elected officials and suggesting physically assaulting transgender school officials.”
Greene this week celebrated Italy’s election of a new neo-fascist prime minister.
On Wednesday, in her indictment of the entire news media, across all points of view including the right, she asks: “Does America have any journalist of such high character and moral ethics that can resist the powerful temptation to lie, abusing their power of freedom of the press, in order to serve their political party?”
“Tragically, we do not,” she concludes.
Watch Greene’s video below or at this link:
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