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San Francisco To Lower Flags For IDAHO



This Thursday, May 17, San Francisco will honor the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) with an official recognition of the day by the city, and the lowering of both the United Nations and American flags at United Nations Plaza.

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is designated as a mechanism to draw attention to homophobia which, deliberately, can be expressed in different ways.
President Obama’s historic articulation of support for marriage equality along with North Carolina’s vicious enshrining of hatred and bigotry into their constitution is indicative of how far we have come and how far we have still to go when it comes to civil rights in the United States.

San Francisco’s recognition of IDAHO and flag lowering resulted in concerted efforts by Gays Without Borders (of which I am a member), whose primary focus over the last four years is shining a spotlight on both the setbacks and advances of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across our planet.

Our network spans Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America. Our work, which involves raising awareness and driving action, includes cross-communication with embassies and governments, (goading them, if necessary), to issue public proclamations condemning or condoning actions occurring within their borders and beyond, and of circulating solidarity letters, staging street visibility actions and other awareness raising campaigns using social media.

The resolution was introduced by Supervisors Capos, Olague and Kim, following a meeting with their representatives Hillary Ronen and Chris Durazo, along with Mohammed Nuru from the Department of Public Works (DPW), John Updike of the SF Dept. of Real Estate and Greg Crump of DPW, the Mayor’s Office, Michael Petrelis and me.

From L to right: Hillary Ronen, Chris Durazo, Clinton Fein, Mohammed Nuru, Michael Petrelis, and John Updike. Photo courtesy Michael Petrelis.

Following its introduction, the lowering of the flag along with official recognition of IDAHO was voted unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. It is an important and powerful gesture for which we are very grateful.

Efforts by Gays Without Borders also resulted in DPW waiving a hefty $1,467.90 fee to lower the flags.

The resolution is especially poignant this year, given recent verifiable reports of dozens of gay, emo and goth youth being targeted on lists and violently killed by having their skulls crushed with concrete blocks. And just this week, reports of the death sentence being given to four gay men come from Iran.

Our original request to lower the flags was not intended to mourn our own community, but rather to demonstrate solidarity with a broader, global gay community, many of whom are being tortured or killed this very moment for expressing who they are.

We believe lowering the flag sends a powerful and important message, portraying San Francisco as the inspirational city it is, in which diversity of its citizens is not only tolerated, but respected, celebrated and nurtured. A city where, with the blessing of our leaders, is able to demonstrate its solidarity.

Unfortunately, Harvey Milk Plaza will be excluded from participating on this important day. Attempts to lower the flag at Harvey Milk Plaza over the last couple of years have proven to be more of a battle with the control queens from Merchants of Upper Market and Castro (MUMC) as well as Supervisor Scott Weiner, who appears too inexperienced to mediate a dispute over a flagpole or too beholden to business interest to lead. (Hopefully he doesn’t have any higher political ambitions.)

Gays Without Borders wanted to ensure a successful outcome, and thus resolved early on that working with a slew of bureaucracies including the Board of Supervisors to get a unanimous resolution, the DPW, the Mayor’s Office and the San Francisco Department of Real Estate, represented a more likely chance of success than navigating the backstabbing, bitching and stonewalling we’ve encountered with MUMC and Scott Wiener. It was a smart decision.

This is not about the city mourning on the day of this important victory for the LGBT community – indeed, the removal of homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses on a May 17 by the World Health Organization (WHO) finally set the stage to end over a century of homophobia in the medical field, and simply inspired the date, which has been taking place since 2006.

IDAHO is a rallying event taking place across the world, offering an opportunity for people, regardless of their sexual orientation, to counter homophobia and demonstrate solidarity — particularly with individuals unable to live their sexual orientation in the face of unspeakable violence, and frequently death, if they do.

On May 17 at noon, San Francisco will stage a ceremony at UN Plaza explaining why the flags are being lowered for 24-hours, with guest speakers still to be announced.The UN and US flags will fly at half staff to honor and remember all of the LGBT people murdered and maimed globally in the past year.

Gary Virginia of Gays Without Borders will serve as the emcee. Here are the names of confirmed speakers:

– Brendan Behan, Executive Director of SF Pride
– David Campos, Member of the Board of Supervisors
– Clinton Fein, Political artist and activist
– Veronika Cauley Fimbres, African-American trans advocate
– Michael Petrelis, Person living with AIDS
– Melanie Nathan, Lesbian blogger and activist
– Amy Whelan, Attorney for National Center for Lesbian Rights

In addition, community video documentarian will be taping the event and Heidi Beeler of the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom Band will play “Taps” as the flags descend.


Clinton Fein is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and First Amendment activist, best-​known for his 1997 First Amendment Supreme Court victory against United States Attorney General Janet Reno. Fein has also gained international recognition for his Annoy​.com site, and for his work as a political artist. Fein is on the Board of Directors of the First Amendment Project, “a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition.” Fein’s political and privacy activism have been widely covered around the world. His work also led him to be nominated for a 2001 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award.

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Trump Team’s Efforts to Rein Him ‘Wilted’ in Waco as He Invoked ‘Retribution and Violence’: Report



Any hope that Donald Trump’s new re-election team may have had that they could steer him into running a more conventional campaign appears to have been swept aside as he used his first major rally to whip up the crowd with a litany of grievances and personal attacks.

According to the Guardian’s David Smith, during Trump’s appearance in Waco late Saturday, the former president used his speech to “invoke retribution and violence” at his perceived enemies, with attacks on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) who might possibly challenge him for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.

As Smith wrote, “Efforts by Trump’s team to steer a more conventional, disciplined candidacy have wilted in recent days as the 76-year-old unleashed words and images that – even by his provocative standards – are unusually dehumanising, menacing and dangerous,” before adding nothing the past week Trump used “increasingly racist rhetoric as he launched ever more personal attacks against Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, raising fears that supporters could try to lash out on his behalf. Trump even shared an image of himself holding a baseball bat next to a picture of Bragg.”

RELATED: Trump is giving his ‘violent followers’ time to get organized: former FBI official

According to the Guardian report, “Wearing a dark jacket, white shirt and no tie, he said: ‘I got bad publicity and my poll numbers have gone through the roof – would you explain this to me … It gets so much publicity that the case actually gets adjudicated in the press and people see it’s bullshit.'”

The former president also, once again, called his 2024 run the “final battle.”

“Our opponents have done everything they can to crush our spirit and to break our will. But they failed. They’ve only made us stronger. And 2024 is the final battle, it’s going to be the big one. You put me back in the White House, their reign will be over and America will be a free nation once again,” he told the crowd.

You can read more here.

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Trump Desperate to Keep Any Possible Criminal Evidence From Supreme Court: Legal Expert



Donald Trump’s decision to allow one of his lawyers to speak before a grand jury on Friday morning, instead of appealing all the way to the Supreme Court, may have been made out of fear of what the justices on the nation’s highest court might see if they reviewed the case.

According to MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin, under normal circumstances, the former president would have dragged out a legal fight over attorney-client privilege that would have kept attorney Evan Corcoran from testifying under oath about Trump’s possession of government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort that led to the FBI showing up with a warrant.

As Rubin notes, the fact that Trump let Corcoran testify over three hours raised eyebrows.

“For one, yes, it is indeed unusual, if not unheard of, for a lawyer to be litigating against a party one day and then testifying under court-ordered examination by that same party the next one,” she wrote before suggesting Trump and his legal team were looking at the long game when he might need the predominantly conservative Supreme Court to lend him a helping hand.

RELATED: Revealed: Emails show how Trump lawyers drove Michael Cohen to turn on the president

Writing, “Trump has made clear he believes this Supreme Court — controlled by conservative justices, three of whom he appointed — owes him one,” she added, “My hunch is that Trump’s team let Corcoran’s testimony happen because of what’s likely involved in any request to pause, much less, review a crime-fraud-related ruling: the evidence.”

“Put another way, if Trump had petitioned the Supreme Court to stay Corcoran’s testimony and document production, the justices would have seen some, if not all, of what Judge Howell and the three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit have already reviewed: proof that Trump misled Corcoran and engaged in criminal conduct,” she elaborated.

Rubin went on to note that Trump would likely appeal any conviction to the Supreme Court, writing, “And for someone whose one last hope, if he is ultimately charged or tried by any of the multiple entities now investigating him, is that same Supreme Court, letting the justices see evidence of his alleged crimes now would be a bridge too far.”

“Trump can’t afford to lose the Supreme Court yet,” she suggested.

You can read more here.

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No TX Congressional Republican Will Say If They’re Attending Trump’s Rally in Waco – Will He Have Trouble Filling Seats?



Donald Trump‘s Saturday campaign rally in Waco, Texas, falls during the 30th anniversary of the 51-day siege that community is known for, when 86 people died after a failed ATF raid on an anti-government religious cult suspected of illegally stockpiling firearms amid allegations of sexual abuse, statutory rape, and polygamy.

Experts have been warning for a week that Trump’s choice of Waco, synonymous with violent anti-government extremism, was no accident. His rhetoric this week, including most recently Friday when he warned of “potential death & destruction” should he be indicted, has been seen as encouraging violence.

NCRM was among the first news outlets to report experts’ concerns over Trump’s choice to hold a rally in Waco during the 30th anniversary of the deadly siege.

Not a single congressional Republican from Texas will say they are attending, nor has the town’s GOP mayor, according to a report from Insider, which contacted over two dozen Republican lawmakers and other elected officials.

“None of the 30 Texas Republicans Insider contacted about the event said they were going,” Insider reveals.

“Most of the 30 GOP members contacted about Donald Trump’s inaugural visit to the site of a 30-year-old standoff between cult leader David Koresh and federal authorities did not respond to requests for comment about whether they intended to rally with the scandal-plagued candidate and perhaps say a few kind words,” Insider reports.

“Rep. Pete Sessions, a Waco native who now represents the surrounding 17th congressional district, praised Trump for shining a light on his hometown but said he’d have to miss the spectacle,” Insider adds. “Aides to Rep. Troy Nehls, one of the four House Republicans from Texas who have formally backed Trump’s 2024 run, told Insider he wouldn’t be heading to Waco because of a prior commitment in Washington, DC, this weekend.”

READ MORE: ‘Utter Cowardice’: Jim Jordan Blasted for Telling Reporter He Can’t Read Trump’s Violence-Threatening Post Without Glasses

Meanwhile, in addition to guest list challenges – the campaign refused to tell Insider who the guest speakers will be – Trump may have trouble filling seats.

Mary Trump, the ex-president’s niece who opposes him, has been running a campaign to get anti-Trump Americans to “sign up” for tickets to the Saturday rally, in the hopes of being able to turn away supporters.

“Donald has a rally in Waco this Saturday,” she also said via Twitter. “It’s a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI. Scores of people died. He wants the same violent chaos to rescue him from justice.”

“But we can stop him. If we book the 50,000+ venue, we can make sure most of the seats are empty when the traitor takes the stage,” she said. “We can no longer fail to hold powerful men accountable for their crimes against our country.”

Image via Shutterstock

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