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Remembering “The Homosexuals”

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Editor’s note: This guest post by Scott Wooledge was originally published at Daily Kos and is published here with his permission. Scott Wooledge writes at the Daily Kos under the handle Clarknt67.

44 years ago this week, March 7, 1967, CBS News aired a Special Report hosted by Mike Wallace titled simply, “The Homosexuals.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=-AXAOT_swIE%3Ffs%3D1%26hl%3Den_US

Wallace begins quoting a 1967 CBS-commissioned opinion poll that showed “most Americans are repelled by the mere notion of homosexuality” and “two out of three look upon homosexuals with disgust, discomfort or fear. One out of ten says hatred.” He goes on to say:

The majority of Americans favor legal punishment even for homosexual acts performed in private between consenting adults. The homosexual, bitterly aware of his rejection, responds by going underground, they frequent their own clubs, bars and coffee houses where they can act out in the fashion that they want to.

Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out calls this “the single most destructive hour of antigay propaganda in our nation’s history.”

It is definitely painful but important look into a bygone era, but one that is not so very far in our past (I was, myself, merely 21 days away from coming into this world).

Dave White took a fresh look at this documentary in an article for The Advocate last year. Describing his review process, he says:

I took notes. And when I was done my pad of paper was a laundry list of every horrible thing you’ve ever heard about the gays: smothering mothers, mental illness, animalistic sexual gratification, society’s repulsion, promiscuity, recruitment, etc.

Some quotes, some from Wallace, some from clergy and other “experts” on the subject:

“They frequent their own bars … where they can act out…”

“The average homosexual isn’t capable of love.”

“Homosexuality is, in fact, a mental illness.”

“The church has a great deal of sympathy for those who are handicapped in this way.”

“[Being a homosexual] automatically rules out that [the man in question] will remain happy.”

But what I find interesting is not so much the archaic, offensive language but the insight into how the law played into a culture of oppression. Wallace reminds us in 1967, Illinois was the only state that did not outlaw homosexual acts. (Most sodomy laws would live on until the Supreme Court struck them down in 6-3 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.)

We’re now living in a time when finally the paradigm is shifting. But 1967, it was unquestioned that it was the appropriate place of government to manage, control, and contain the homosexuals and protect good society from them. In the clip below you will hear a police chief explain the importance of maintaining the “moral aptness here in the community” (which, at that time, would mean endless sting arrests, bar raids, in some places, even home invasions.) The government, top to bottom, was an enthusiastic participant and propagator of LGBT oppression.

But it seems, gratefully, that ship is turning around. But also it seems too that movement may have confused some people. I see people pointing to landmarks, like the passage of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 1993 or Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, as somehow a marker of the beginning of the LGBT struggle for equality.

In fact, those moments in time only serve to illustrate that the LGBT community’s call for equality became too strident, too effective, too threatening and hence, legislative roadblocks had to be constructed to slow or stop it.

Below, I’ve share a six minute clip I found particularly heartbreaking and disturbing. The intro starts off, with seeming benevolent condescension, then takes a turn:

Most homosexuals do not consider themselves ill, and they are able to live with their condition fairly comfortably.

On the other hand, there are those whose compulsive behavior becomes a problem for the police. This is such an example.

Wallace then accompanies the police on a ride along where a 19-year old serviceman is picked up for trolling for sex in a public park bathroom. He is heard, but not shown, pleading and begging to deaf ears that his life will be over. And he’s probably right.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=Pa7OwUOur1M%3Ffs%3D1%26hl%3Den_US

What might have become of this young man after his arrest? Well, his name and picture would probably have been run in the local paper. He was a servicemember, so it was likely the police contacted his CO and he was dishonorably discharged.

But he was only 19, he might still be saved. His parents might have committed him to an asylum, for reparative therapy, that might have included electroshock, chemical or actual castration, and yes, even lobotomies.

But why would someone risk such consequences? There were no other options, of course. It was another time, there was no Craigslist, Grindr, or Facebook.

But much more significantly, municipalities across the country gave not a second thought to violating LGBT Americans’ First Amendment right to free association. Gay bars were illegal in much of the country. Even hosting a gathering of “known homosexuals” in the privacy of your home was often an arrestable offense. We see the circuitous nature of the oppression, where gay people are granted no space to exist in private, and are declared a public menace, which becomes a convenient excuse to hunt them down in private… And round and round we go.

In the clip, the police chief brags of the 3,000 arrests he’s made, and warns the problem is growing:

I’m concerned with the moral aptness here in the community and I’m opposed as a matter of principle to making anything which is improper or immoral conspicuous and by this conspicuousness making it easy for a person to engage in this kind of activity.

I can’t help thinking how similar these concerns of “conspicuousness” are like many current objections to marriage equality, which conservatives fear it will “make it easier for people to engage in this kind of activity.” We must keep them “less conspicuous” for the children! Or objections to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” confirmed it was best for everyone if gay people were kept as inconspicuous as possible (for the sake of “troop morale.”)

The police chief adds in a rueful tone:

The law is itself is much that, really, there isn’t a great deal we can do about those things that occur in private places.

A morality police’s lament: they can’t just knock down the doors of our bedrooms and put an end to our depravity once and for all. Thankfully, the Supreme Court definitively closed the door on that option in 2003.

To clarify, gay establishments existed, but they were most often clandestine operations. To even enter one was to risk arrest. Forbidding them opened the door to exploitation. They usually operated only by the grace of pay-offs to both police and the Mafia. Gays were subjected to an endless vicious cycle of exploitation from the law and the lawless alike. This pressure-cooker of corruption was, in part, what fed the critical mass that culminated in the famous Stonewall Riots of 1969.

By the 1980s the worst of this police harassment was a thing of the past. Although not entirely, the raids continue to this day, under dubious pretext from Texas to Atlanta to New York City. And the arrival of the AIDS crisis served as a bitter reminder we were still a disposable population, unworthy of attention or care.

After the special aired, Jack Nichols of the of the nascent LGBT rights organization, the Mattachine Society (founded in 1955) shared this anecdote of his encounter with Wallace:

[A]fter we finished and the camera was turned off, Mike Wallace sat down with me and talked for about half an hour. He said, “You know, you answered all of my questions capably, but I have a feeling that you don’t really believe that homosexuality is as acceptable as you make it sound.” I asked him why he would say that. “Because,” he said, “in your heart I think you know it’s wrong.” It was infuriating. I told him I thought being gay was just fine, but that in his heart he thought it was wrong.

From Wikipedia, (a very interesting read):

For his part, anchor Mike Wallace came to regret his participation in the episode. “I should have known better,” he said in 1992.

Speaking in 1996, Wallace stated, “That is — God help us — what our understanding was of the homosexual lifestyle a mere twenty-five years ago because nobody was out of the closet and because that’s what we heard from doctors — that’s what Socarides told us, it was a matter of shame.”

The Socarides he references would be Charles Socarides, a prominent Columbia University psychiatrist. He is featured in the documentary and was very active at the time, fighting the movement to remove homosexuality from the DSM as a mental illness. He also penned a book Homosexuality: A Freedom Too Far (a collection of anti-gay nonsense pseudo-science, still popular with anti-gay hate groups like Family Research Council). Sort of an East coast, elite Anita Bryant.

Today’s youth may associate the name Socarides with his son, Richard, who currently serves as President of Equality Matters and has served as LGBT liaison to the Clinton Administration, and has long been an outspoken voice for the LGBT equality movement.

Clearly we’ve come a long way, apparently you can now endure a sting operation like the serviceman’s and not only avoid jail and commitment but keep your Senate seat.

And LGBT images in the media aren’t this awful, by any means. But they still need a lot of work, 44 years later. It was less than a year ago, CNN’s Kyra Phillips wanted to address the issue of “Can homosexuality be cured?” “NO!” is already a long-held consensus opinion of the following leading professional organizations:

  • The American Psychiatric Association
  • The American Psychological Association
  • The American Psychoanalytical Association
  • The American Academy Of Pediatrics
  • The National Association of Social Workers

And these organizations would object to the question frame of “cure.” They think it’s definitely not an illness, and there’s no sound evidence orientation can be changed.

But apparently, those scientists and respected professionals don’t know what they’re talking about. No, Ms. Phillips of CNN—the one network committed to “Moving Truth Forward”—looked far and wide, until she found a discredited former-psychologist under a rock who would come on the air and tell her what she wanted to hear: “Yes.” That man was Richard Cohen. If his name is familiar you may remember his meltdown on the Rachel Maddow Show (when he had the misfortune of encountering a real journalist).

https://youtube.com/watch?v=TLlVDSfbzpE%3Ffs%3D1%26hl%3Den_US

Among the endorsers of Richard Cohen’s book, Coming out Straight?, Dr. Laura C. Schlessinger and Charles Socarides, who wrote before his death in 2005:

“This book is a testament to a heroic and successful struggle to regain one’s heterosexual destiny. It gives hope to many.”

–Charles W. Socarides, M.D., Author,

Homosexuality: A Freedom Too Far

How far we’ve come. How far we still have to go to marginalizing the voices of hate and ignorance that are featured in our media as credible sources.

The full hour video may be viewed via this link.


FYI: Wallace makes not a single reference to lesbians in the special. A very telling non-commentary comment on attitudes toward women’s sexuality, indeed.

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‘I Have a Bucket of Water’: Dems to Save Johnson’s Job Over GOPer Who Wants ‘World to Burn’

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Mike Johnson can count on at least some Democrats to save his job after a second Republican announced he supports U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene‘s efforts to remove the embattled GOP Speaker of the House. Weeks ago Greene filed a motion to “vacate the chair,” which she can call up at any time to force a vote that could lead to Johnson losing his gavel.

“I just told Mike Johnson in conference that I’m cosponsoring the Motion to Vacate,” U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) declared late Tuesday morning. “He should pre-announce his resignation (as Boehner did), so we can pick a new Speaker without ever being without a GOP Speaker.”

“You’re not going to be the speaker much longer,” Massie directly told Speaker Johnson, Politico reports, citing two lawmakers in the room.

Asked by a social media user, “What was the straw that broke the Camel’s Back? FISA? Foreign War Funding? Spending more than Nancy Pelosi? All of the above?” Massie replied: “All of the above. This camel has a pallet of bricks.”

Like many far-right House Republicans, Massie is furious Speaker Johnson plans to put on the floor foreign aid and national security legislation to support Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan this week, only after Iran’s attack on Israel over the weekend forced his hand.

“Friday, we have one less Republican in the majority as Rep Gallagher leaves instead of finishing his term,” Massie wrote earlier Tuesday morning, referring to exiting U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI). “As a going away gift, Speaker Johnson plans to force the senate to take up Gallagher’s bill to ban tiktok and give Presidential power to ban websites.”

READ MORE: ‘Something’s Fishy Here’: Trump’s Latest $175 Million Bond Filings Questioned by Experts

“But still no border,” Massie lamented, referring to Republicans’ top priority after Donald Trump made clear he will campaign on an anti-immigrant platform and urged Republicans to block bipartisan legislation to fund additional border security.

(President Joe Biden and Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer supported the Senate’s bipartisan bill, which would have provided aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, humanitarian assistance to Gaza, and a massive increase in border security. It was killed in the Senate after Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled his support in response to Trump’s remarks.)

Congresswoman Greene, who was accused by U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz last week of not having enough votes to “rename a post office,” much less unseat Speaker Johnson, responded to Massie’s remarks:

“Johnson is the Deep State Speaker of the House funding the Democrat’s agenda in an omnibus, blocking warrant requirements for FISA, this week ramming through billions for Ukraine, and now this after allowing Gallagher to leave his district without representation. Can’t continue.”

She also posted Massie’s signature signing onto her Motion to Vacate.

In a show of support for Johnson, last week Donald Trump held a joint press conference with the embattled Speaker, during which both attacked immigrants and Johnson vowed legislation to ban non-citizens from voting. It is already a federal felony for non-citizens to vote.

CNN’s Manu Raju reports, “after Gallagher resigns — Johnson would almost certainly need Democrats to save his job if the motion to oust him comes up for a vote. Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz says he would save Mike Johnson’s job if MTG [Marjorie Taylor Greene] brings motion to oust him.  Others like Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi also said they would vote to save Johnson  ‘Democrats don’t even let her rename post offices, I’m not gonna let her make a motion to vacate,’ Moskowitz told me.”

Moskowitz responded, saying: “My position hasn’t changed. Massie wants the world to burn, I won’t stand by and watch. I have a bucket of water.”

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

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‘Something’s Fishy Here’: Trump’s Latest $175 Million Bond Filings Questioned by Experts

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Attorneys for Donald Trump waited until less than two hours before midnight Monday to file revisions to the ex-president’s $175 million bond for the judgment in his civil fraud case after New York State Attorney General Letitia James questioned the validity of his first bond. Legal experts are now questioning details of the new bond filings. Some suggest a portion of the $175 million might also currently be in use to secure other debts or obligations.

After Trump was found liable for manipulation of his net worth in the civil business fraud case and ordered to pay a $354.9 million penalty plus interest, he was required to post bond to ensure the people of the State of New York would receive $454.2 million if his appeal is unsuccessful.

“The judge said that the former president’s ‘complete lack of contrition’ bordered on pathological,” The New York Times reported two months ago.

Trump’s attorneys later declared it impossible for him to come up with a bond of that amount, and an appeals court drastically reduced the required bond amount to $175 million.

READ MORE: ‘Your Client Is a Criminal Defendant’: Judge Denies Trump Request to Skip Trial for SCOTUS

After 10 PM Monday night, ahead of the midnight deadline, attorneys for Donald Trump in court filings said the $175 million bond is secured, and is tied to a Trump account at Charles Schwab that has over $175 million in cash, CNN reports. The filing states the California company securing the bond, Knight Specialty Insurance Company (KSIC),  has administrative access to it and can pay out the $175 million if needed.

Trump’s attorneys “asked the judge to set aside the attorney general’s challenge to the bond and award him costs and fees.”

Professor of law Andrew Weissmann, a frequent MSNBC legal analyst and former Dept. of Justice official, is raising questions.

“Something’s fishy here,” he wrote late Monday night. “If Trump has $175M free and clear, why not just directly post it and not pay a fee for a surety bond? And the agreement does not give Knight a lien on the account as collateral and seems to afford Trump a two-day window to dissipate the account.”

A screenshot of a portion of the filing, posted by MSNBC’s Lisa Rubin, states, “Schwab, as custodian of the account, has acknowledged KSIC’s right to exercise control over the account within two business days of receiving notice from KSIC of KSIC’s intent to activate the control.”

Attorney and journalist Seth Abramson in a series of posts on social media claimed, “so this is looking very bad for Donald Trump. He says in his Monday night filing that the Schwab account has $175.3 million *in total*, so *if* Axos Bank is depending on that same account for a (semi-)liquid $100M in collateral on another loan, this bond filing is DOA.”

After asking, “Is Trump double-dipping?” Abramson posted more details.

NCRM has not verified those claims.

Attorney Lupe B. Luppen adds, “it took about ten seconds from opening the account security agreement to find a significant drafting error, which makes the signature page look like it belongs to a different agreement (DJT Jr’s attestation identifies the wrong secured party—a Chubb co.).”

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Late Monday night on MSNBC Weissmann “expressed incredulity,” as Mediaite reported, saying of Trump and his bond: “It is just so remarkable. This is somebody who has been found by two juries to have defamed somebody, who has been found to have sexually assaulted somebody – the company of which has been found criminally liable for a decade-long tax conspiracy, criminally, and has been found to have committed fraud, has to post a bond of $175 million, is on trial starting today for a criminal case involving 34 felonies.”

“And he can’t find a frigging company that is registered in New York? Meaning, that they are licensed to do business here, which it appears they are not, and that has the wherewithal to pay the money because remember, the whole point is that you either have to put up the money now or you have to find a bond company that is sufficiently liquid that the plaintiff can look to that bond company if at the end of the day the judgment is affirmed.”

Attorney General Letitia James earlier had alleged KSIC, the company that secured the bond, was not registered to do so in New York. Experts questioned the language of that filing, claiming it did not require the company that secured the bond to actually pay out $175 million should Trump lose his appeal and be ordered to pay the full amount.

Calling it a “bizarre contract,” earlier this month The Daily Beast reported, “the legal document from Knight Specialty Insurance Company doesn’t actually promise it will pay the money if the former president loses his $464 million bank fraud case on appeal. Instead, it says Trump will pay, negating the whole point of an insurance company guarantee.”

READ MORE: ‘Not a Good Start’: Judge Slams Trump’s ‘Offensive’ Recusal Claims as a ‘Loose End’

 

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‘Your Client Is a Criminal Defendant’: Judge Denies Trump Request to Skip Trial for SCOTUS

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Barely hours after New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan gave Donald Trump the same set of rules requiring him to appear in court as all other criminal defendants, the ex-president’s attorney requested his client be allowed to skip trial next Thursday to attend the U.S. Supreme Court arguments on his immunity claim.

“If you do not show up there will be an arrest,” Judge Merchan had told Trump Monday at the start of his criminal trial, according to MSNBC’s Jesse Rodriguez. Trump is facing 34 felony charges for falsification of business records related to his alleged attempts to cover up hush money payments in an effort to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.

Judge Merchan had read from the same rules that apply to all defendants, but right at the end of day one of trial Trump attorney Todd Blanche made his request.

MSNBC’s Lisa Rubin reports, “after the potential jurors are gone, the fireworks start after Blanche asks Merchan to allow Trump to attend the SCOTUS argument on presidential immunity next Thursday, 4/25.”

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“The Manhattan DA’s office opposes the request, saying they have accommodated Trump enough,” MSNBC’s Katie Phang adds, citing Rubin’s reporting.

Judge Merchan “acknowledges a Supreme Court argument is a ‘big deal,’ but says that the jury’s time is a big deal too. Blanche says they don’t think they should be here at all, suggesting that the trial never should have been scheduled during campaign season.”

“That comment appeared to trigger Merchan, who asked, voice dripping with incredulity, ‘You don’t think you should be here at all?'” Rubin writes.

“He then softly asks Blanche to move along from that objection, on which he has already ruled. Merchan then got stern, ruling that Trump is not required to be at SCOTUS but is required, by law, to attend his criminal trial here.”

“Your client is a criminal defendant in New York. He is required to be here. He is not required to be in the Supreme Court. I will see him here next week,” Judge Merchan told Blanche, CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane reported.

That was not the only request Trump’s attorneys made to have their client excused from the criminal proceedings.

Lawfare managing editor Tyler McBrien reports, “Blanche says that the campaign has taken pains to schedule events on Wednesdays and asks Merchan if Trump be excused from any hearings that take place on Wednesdays, when the jury is in recess. Merchan says he will take this into consideration.”

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

Blanche also asked Judge Merchan to allow Trump to skip trial to attend his son Barron’s high school graduation. While the judge has yet to rule, Trump told reporters at the end of day one of trial, “it looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation.”

The judge told Trump, “I cannot rule on those dates at this time.”

But Trump told reporters, “It looks like the judge isn’t going to allow me to escape this scam, it’s a scam trial.”

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