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Op-Ed: Human Rights Campaign Once Again Proves Itself a Clueless Wealthy White Privileged Gay and Lesbian Club



HRC’s Refusal to Revoke Its Endorsement of a Republican Senator Who This Week Mocked His Female Democratic Opponent’s Biracial Heritage Again Proves Its White Privilege Runs Deep

If you, the reader, are a member or supporter of the Human Rights Campaign, then I, the writer, will advise you to quit reading as I am about to cause you great offense. That said, now comes the organization’s latest act of political clumsiness and entitled rich white privileged gay and lesbian attitude.

HRC previously published a list of politicians that it had endorsed and given a percentage rating for this election cycle, based on their overall treatment of public policy issues that concerned the greater LGBTQI community. This list included Illinois Republican, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (photo), who received a rating of 78% and received the HRC’s blessings this past Spring. Conversely, his Democratic opponent, Illinois Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, has a 100% rating from the HRC. A spokesperson for the organization told me that Kirk’s rating and the subsequent March 2016 endorsement, (to paraphrase), were “for the Senator’s assistance and support for LGBT issues and that the HRC was making every effort to be non-partisan in its selections.”

An objective critical review of the Senator’s “support” would reveal that he was “lukewarm,” if that, in his total support for full LGBTQI equality across the board whereas Congresswoman Duckworth’s support has been unwavering and complete on all aspects of full equality for LGBTQI persons.

This brings me to the events that transpired Thursday evening during an Illinois Senatorial race debate. David Badash, the Editor at The New Civil Rights Movement wrote:

On Thursday at a town hall debate between the two candidates, Duckworth, a veteran who lost both her legs and damaged her right arm in the Iraqi war, spoke about her and her family’s long history of military service to the United States. 

“My family has served this nation in uniform, going back to the Revolution,” Duckworth told voters Thursday. “But I still want to be there in the Senate when the drums of war sound. Because people are quick to sound the drums of war, and I want to be there to say this is what it costs, this is what you’re asking us to do,” she continued. “Families like mine are the ones that bleed first.”

Sen. Kirk’s response has become headline news.

“I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington,” Kirk said, mocking Duckworth’s biracial heritage.

On Friday, as the day wore on, I made several calls to sources I’ve cultivated over the years in the progressive community of activists and leaders in Washington and across the United States, including some within HRC staff at their headquarters building on Rhode Island Avenue in Northwest D.C., and virtually every one with whom I spoke to said the same thing, “HRC will not back down.”

As this op-ed is being composed late Friday evening, HRC is still refusing to rescind its endorsement, even after Kirk’s blatantly xenophobic and racist remarks, for which he apologized Friday afternoon – via a tweet.

Now mind you, this election cycle has definitely brought out the absolute worst in the American body politic, especially on the right side of the political spectrum. The candidacy of Donald Trump has made a mockery of the so-called values of bipartisan and issue driven politics. Instead, the American public has been treated to crass, xenophobic and racist driven hate speech that has filtered its way even into the local, state, and Congressional races.

Still, there absolutely must be limits, a proverbial or metaphorical “line that is drawn and should not be crossed.” It is incumbent then that organizations like HRC must enforce and uphold values that reflect a greater good, an all encompassing view that takes in and protects “the least of these.” 

In full transparency, I have never been a great fan of HRC. During my travels and my thirty-five years worth of professional work experience as an accredited journalist, particularly in the nearly six years I served as the Washington D.C. bureau chief for LGBTQ Nation magazine, I found the HRC organization to be self-serving, self-promoting, somewhat misogynistic, transphobic, and overall ineffective in the very areas of public policy that affect the LGBTQI community it claims to serve.

More annoying were that in several instances on issues that I covered as a reporter, HRC was guilty taking a lion’s share of the credit for other LGBTQI advocacy group’s efforts having joined at the last minute or spending minimum effort on the high profile issue at hand. (The efforts to end the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and Marriage Equality being the two most significant examples of HRC poaching.) 

The other impression I received was that it was an organization that seemed to function like a “white privileged” country club for wealthy white elite gays and lesbians, especially on issues say that dealt directly with trans persons of color. HRC seems to be adept at paying lip service or funneling limited efforts into the issues that affect the trans community of color, making an appearance that its a leader in advocacy for that under-served and marginalised group, when reality is quite different.

That said, I did find that the one thing that HRC is extremely effective at accomplishing, is raising money through lavish Black-Tie celebrity attended galas with a who’s who of Washington political elite, and also pushing the ongoing promotional fund-raising campaigns which include paying professional fund raising organizations or companies, who use young college age persons, to directly canvass for monies out on the streets of major U.S. cities on HRC’s behalf.

I note that I later researched and discovered that virtually very little of those monies raised, ended back up assisting the very communities where the canvassers were working the streets.

Instead, apparently the monies raised by HRC seem to be mainly spent on the lavish six-figure salaries of its top executives and the endless media buys, oft times on matters that other LGBTQI groups have pioneered in leading the way on only to have HRC swoop in and grab the credit – or at least attempt to do so.

It has become the same old tired litany of claims that the organization is accomplishing all these great things but the tangible benefits overall quite frankly seem nil.

One last thought: it is a political reality that any progressive agenda which essentially includes accomplishing the list of priorities to further advance towards full and equitable treatment of LGBTQI citizens, which HRC claims it desires and is working hard towards, means that Congress, or at least the Senate, must be in the hands of the Democrats. In fact Democrats just like Congresswoman Duckworth. So I ask? Of what value is HRC support of a xenophobic, racist, and quite frankly nasty politician? Is there a net gain here or is this yet another example of the deaf cluelessness of HRC?


Images of Mark Kirk, HRC, via Facebook

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‘Vulgar and Lewd’: Trump Judge Cites Extremist Group to Allow Drag Show Ban



A federal judge in Texas known for a ruling that attempted to ban a widely-used abortion drug is citing an extremist anti-LGBTQ group in his ruling allowing a ban on drag shows to stay in place.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a former attorney for an anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian legal organization, and a member of the Federalist Society, in his 26-page ruling dated Thursday cited the “About” page of Gays Against Groomers to claim, “it’s unclear how drag shows unmistakably communicate advocacy for LGBT rights.”

Judge Kacsmaryk, appointed by Donald Trump twice before finally assuming office in 2019, suggests the First Amendment does not provide for freedom of expression for drag shows, calls drag “sexualized conduct,” and says it is “more regulable” because “children are in the audience.”

READ MORE: ‘The Public Deserves to Know’: Abortion Pill Banning Judge Redacted Details About Millions of Dollars in His Stock Portfolio

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern adds, “Kacsmaryk’s conclusion that drag is probably NOT protected by the First Amendment conflicts with decisions from Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Montana which held that drag is constitutionally protected expression. It also bristles with undisguised hostility toward LGBTQ people.”

Calling the judge “a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs,” Stern at Slate writes that Kacsmaryk ruled drag “may be outlawed to protect ‘the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.’ In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.”

Stern does not let Kacsmaryk off the hook there.

“From almost any other judge, the ruling in Spectrum WT v. Wendler would be a shocking rejection of basic free speech principles; from Kacsmaryk, it’s par for the course. This is, after all, the judge who sought to ban medication abortion nationwide, restricted minors’ access to birth control, seize control over border policy to exclude asylum-seekers, and flouted recent precedent protecting LGBTQ+ equality,” Stern says.

READ MORE: Far-Right Judge Under Fire for Failing to Disclose Interviews on Civil Rights – but LGBTQ Community Had Warned Senators

“He is also poised to bankrupt Planned Parenthood by compelling them to pay a $1.8 billion penalty on truly ludicrous grounds. And he is not the only Trump-appointed judge substituting his reactionary beliefs for legal analysis. We have reached a point where these lawless decisions are not only predictable but inevitable, and they show no sign of stopping: Their authors are still just settling into a decadeslong service in the federal judiciary.”

West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler penned the letter that sparked the lawsuit.

Titled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing,” Wendler wrote: “I believe every human being is created in the image of God and, therefore, a person of dignity. Being created in God’s image is the basis of Natural Law. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, prisoners of the culture of their time as are we, declared the Creator’s origin as the foundational fiber in the fabric of our nation as they breathed life into it. Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not.”

Journalist Chris Geidner concludes, “It’s an extremely biased ruling by a judge who has established that he does not care about being overturned — even by the most conservative appeals court in the nation.”

READ MORE: ‘Corruption of the Highest Order’: Experts ‘Sickened’ at ‘Definitely Bought’ Clarence Thomas and His ‘Pay to Play’ Lifestyle



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Gaetz Praises GOP Congressman Who Echoes His Call for Change ‘Through Force’



U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL). largely seen as pushing Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s Republican-majority House of Representatives toward shutting down the federal government, is praising and promoting remarks made by a freshman GOP lawmaker that appear to suggest the use of violence. U.S. Rep. Eli Crane‘s comments, posted Friday (below), call for change “through force,” remarks echoing Congressman Gaetz’s recent comments which were denounced by an expert on authoritarianism as fascistic.

“The only way we’re going to see meaningful change in this town is through force,” wrote Congressman Crane, Republican of Arizona atop a three-minute video in which he frames what is now an almost guaranteed government shutdown as a “spending fight.” In his video he says, “the only way you’re gonna get any change in this town is through force.” Gaetz in August had said, “we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C.”

Congressman Crane is a former Navy SEAL. He has promoted the false “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that there was massive fraud in the election President Joe Biden won, and called “on the state legislature to decertify the 2020 election.” He is one of six House Republicans who voted against McCarthy’s speakership all 15 times in January.

READ MORE: White House Mocks GOP With ‘Worst Person You Know’ Meme After Matt Gaetz Blames McCarthy for Shutdown

“Congressman Eli Crane is a fountainhead of political courage,” said Rep. Gaetz Friday afternoon. “He holds the line.”

Crane recently came under fire for calling Black people “colored,” during debate on his legislation that would force the U.S. Armed Forces to not use any diversity requirements in its hiring practices.

READ MORE: ‘Corruption of the Highest Order’: Experts ‘Sickened’ at ‘Definitely Bought’ Clarence Thomas and His ‘Pay to Play’ Lifestyle

Just days before he won his House seat last year, The Washington Post reported Crane had urged an “audience to look up an antisemitic sermon at a recent campaign stop.”

“Crane said that he was motivated to run because of ‘radical ideologies that are destroying this country’ and that he was most concerned about ‘Cultural Marxism,’ which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an antisemitic baseless claim gaining traction on the American right.”

“He encouraged the audience to watch a speech by a right-wing pastor who blamed cultural change on a group of German Jewish philosophers and condemned Barack Obama for having a ‘homosexual agenda.'”

“If we don’t wake up,” Crane said, according to the Post, “if we don’t study what they’re doing, and if we don’t put people in influential positions that understand what this war is all about, what they’re trying to do and have and have the courage to call it out, we’re going to lose this country.”

In August, while standing next to Donald Trump at a campaign rally, Congressman Gaetz said, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should.”

“But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”

At the time, Raw Story reported, “historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.”

READ MORE: Pete Buttigieg Just Testified Before Congress. It Did Not Go Well for Republicans.

“What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence,” she warned.

“And that’s how fascists talk,” Ben-Ghiat added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”


Image via Shutterstock


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‘See How Easy That Is to Say?’: GOP Mocked for ‘Weaponization’ of DOJ Claims as Democratic Senator Gets Indicted



The U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed an indictment against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez late Friday morning, accusing the New Jersey Democratic lawmaker of bribery as prosecutors showed photos of gold bars and nearly half-a-million dollars in cash stuffed into a jacket that bears his name and the seal of the U.S. Senate.

Many on the left immediately demanded Senator Menendez resign, a demand he is refusing. He will step down as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, which Senate Democrats require when a chair is criminally charged.

It took little time for liberals to mock Republicans who have been claiming President Joe Biden and Democrats in general, along with the “deep state,” have “weaponized” the Dept. of Justice against conservatives, especially after Donald Trump’s four indictments on a total of 91 criminal felonies.

“Let me get this straight,” wrote journalist and progressive SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah. “To the GOP, when DOJ indicts President Biden’s son and a senior Democratic US Senator that is great. But when DOJ indicts Donald Trump for attempting a coup and for 32 counts of Espionage that is DOJ’s ‘weaponization’ of criminal justice?!”

READ MORE: Pete Buttigieg Just Testified Before Congress. It Did Not Go Well for Republicans.

“This is the second time that Sen. Bob Menendez has been indicted for corruption. He needs to resign and allow Gov. Murphy to fill that vacancy with someone who does right by the people of New Jersey,” wrote former Human Rights Campaign press secretary Charlotte Clymer. “See how easy that is to say, GOP?”

Journalist, author, and former Clinton White House aide Keith Boykin posted video of the prosecutor announcing the indictment.

Boykin later sarcastically commented, “There goes Biden again weaponizing the Justice Department to prosecute political leaders in his own party.”

“President Joe Biden’s weaponized Department of Justice has now indicted Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and *checks notes* Joe Biden’s son,” observed veteran intelligence officer, activist, and social media personality Travis Akers.

Attorney and former Republican George Conway quickly responded, saying, “senile sleepy Joe is playing 65-dimensional chess again.”

READ MORE: ‘Sexy’: Comer Obtains Unredacted Emails to VP Biden Revealing Women ‘Privately Mused’ They Found Him Attractive

“Menendez should resign. Today,” demanded historian and author Kevin M. Kruse.

“One of the nice things about rule of law is that truly believing in it ensures that you don’t end up as a partisan hypocrite,” observed The Atlantic’s Brian Klaas, an associate professor in global politics at University College London. “If Menendez is guilty, he should go to prison as anyone else would. (And it would be prudent to resign swiftly).”

Meanwhile, some used Friday’s indictment of Sen. Menendez to focus on other political figures.

Foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf, warned, “The Memendez case should have Jared [Kushner] and Clarence [Thomas] ordering extra strength Tums today.”

Rachel Bitecofer, the political strategist and analyst also appeared to point the finger at Justice Thomas and his wife, Ginni.

READ MORE: ‘Total Breakdown’: House Sends Members Home – Experts Warn ‘Republicans Can’t Govern’ And Have No ‘Working Majority’


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