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LGBTQ Leadership: Gone The Way Of America’s Automakers



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.  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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Reporters Reveal Some Republicans Don’t Understand What a Default Means – and Don’t Believe the Debt Ceiling Is Real



CNN’s Jim Acosta and John Avlon compared notes on Republicans speaking on raising the debt ceiling over the weekend only to realize that the far-right members refuse to support the deal between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden.

Acosta cited an interview he conducted Saturday with Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), who said he’s voted for shutdowns and would vote again this week.

After ranting about cutting spending, Acosta said, “Well, you can have the argument about cutting spending during the budget and appropriations process, but as you know, Congressman, the U.S. has never missed making payments on its bills before. In the last 45 years, Congress has raised the debt ceiling 65 times. So, again, I go back to the question: is it responsible — I understand what you’re saying about how much your daughter spends, but we’re not talking about $15. We’re talking about the American economy. Is it responsible to be the deciding vote to send the country into default?”

Burchett claimed that the country wasn’t going to be sent into default. He crafted a conspiracy that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen kept changing the date the U.S. default would happen.

“Nobody is, as the young people say, nobody has provided the receipts. Nobody has called her into Washington and said, ‘Show us the math on this,'” he said.

Yellen works at the Treasury Department, which is in Washington.

Burchett also had his own math, saying that if they cut the budget spending to the 2022 levels, the country would be in a surplus. The House passed a massive defense spending package that would have required cuts from other places.

“All they’re doin’ right now is scarin’ people,” Burchett claimed. “They’re talkin’ about cutting programs that have no need other than political cronyism, we’re tellin’ our seniors — and the Democrats will, and I get it — they’re tellin’ the seniors they’re gonna be cut. Veterans are gonna be cut. And nothing can be farther (sic) from the truth. And that’s just the reality of politics.”

The reason Democrats were citing cuts to seniors and veterans goes back to the Republican Party budget bill that required cuts to seniors and veterans. That’s because returning to the 2022 budget levels means making cuts to increases already passed by Congress.

Acosta turned back to Burchett to ask if he believed the debt ceiling wasn’t real.

“I think the debt ceiling is — it’s just a creative thing to hold us into responsible — into check,” said Burchett.

Avlon cited Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), who claimed he refused to sign a bill that would bankrupt the economy.

“Well, hold it right there,” said Avlon. “I mean, if you let the country default on its debt, that’s functionally the same thing.”

An annoyed Avlon was frustrated the process was even something allowed to happen.

“It’s a fact, Congress has to control the pursestrings. So, frankly, someone should figure out the 14th Amendment side of this because I think this is not the way we’re supposed to play ball, the greatest nation in the world constantly every couple of years when there’s a Democratic president flirting with defaulting on our debt because it’s fiscal policy by extortion,” said Avlon. “This is a win to the extent that we came up to a bipartisan agreement, but this is not the way the greatest nation in the world should conduct its fiscal policy. It’s ridiculous. And it didn’t happen when Donald Trump was president because Democrats worked with Republicans to ensure the debt ceiling was raised three times.”

See the discussion below or at the link here.

Image: GOP Rep. Tim Burchett


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‘Start the Kevin McCarthy Death-Clock’ After Biden Wins Debt Ceiling Battle: Rick Wilson



Appearing late Saturday night on MSNBC after it was announced that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had reached an agreement “in principle’ on a budget deal, former GOP strategist Rick Wilson claimed this could be the beginning of the end for McCathy’s speakership.

Sitting in on a panel with guest host Michael Steele, Wilson suggested that McCarthy’s decision to compromise with the president to avoid a default that would spin the economy into chaos will not go over well with far-right members of his House caucus who could make a motion to “vacate the chair” to express their displeasure.

Asked by host Steel about what comes next, Wilson stated it was a win for the White House which will not make conservatives happy.

RELATED: ‘Crazy cuckoo MAGA people’ could sink debt ceiling deal: Dem strategist

“Great night for Joe Biden, great night for the White House even though I think their messaging has been kind of tentative the past few weeks” the Lincoln Project founder began. “I think though we are now going to start the Kevin McCarthy death-clock. He has certainly got a very angry part of his caucus tonight who probably burning up his phone no matter how good it is for the country not to default.”

“It’s not going to please the chaos caucus in the GOP,” he added.

Watch below or at the link:


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Debt Ceiling: McCarthy Faces ‘Lingering Anger’ and a Possible Revolt as Far-Right House Members Start Issuing Threats



As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to negotiate a deal to avoid a debt crisis, members of the far-right Freedom Caucus are growing furious with him over broken promises he made to them.

According to MSNBC political analyst Steve Benen, with a slim GOP majority in the House, McCarthy is walking a tightrope to get a budget deal passed and may need help from House Democrats if members of his caucus refuse to go along with him.

As Benen points out, in order to win the speakership McCarthy agreed to an easier path for a motion to “vacate the chair” which could end his tenure as Speaker. That could come into play if the Freedom Caucus stages a revolt.

“… as the negotiations approach an apparent finish line, the House Republicans’ most radical faction is learning that it isn’t likely to get everything its members demanded — and for the Freedom Caucus, that’s not going to work,” he wrote in his MSNBC column.

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Citing a Washington Times report that stated, “[Freedom Caucus members] want everything from the debt limit bill passed by the House last month plus several new concessions from the White House,” Benen suggested far-right House Republicans are now issuing veiled threats.

In an interview, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) stated, “I am going to have to go have some blunt conversations with my colleagues and the leadership team. I don’t like the direction they are headed.”

With Politico reporting, “The [House Freedom Caucus] was already unlikely to support a final bipartisan deal, but lingering anger with Kevin McCarthy could have lasting implications on his speakership,” Benen added, “If this is simply a matter of lingering ill-will from members who come to believe that GOP leaders ‘caved,’ the practical consequences might be limited. But let’s also not forget that McCarthy, while begging his own members for their support during his protracted fight for the speaker’s gavel, agreed to tweak the motion-to-vacate-the-chair rules, which at least in theory, would make it easier for angry House Republicans to try to oust McCarthy from his leadership position.”

Adding the caveat that he is not predicting an imminent McCarthy ouster he added, “But if the scope of the Freedom Caucus’ discontent reaches a fever pitch, a hypothetical deal clears thanks to significant Democratic support, don’t be surprised if we all start hearing the phrase ‘vacate the chair” a lot more frequently.”

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