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The LGBT March on DC Is Happening: Five Post-Election Reasons This Is Important

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The Women’s March ‘Set the Tone With Their Leadership and It Is Our Intention as a Community to Follow Their Lead and Play Our Part’

Drawing inspiration from last week’s Women’s March on the capital – and in hundreds of cities around the world – activist David Bruinooge has begun planning The National Pride March, an LGBT march of solidarity on Washington, D.C. Coinciding with D.C.’s Pride event the march is scheduled for June 11, 2017.

“I thought the gay community should be doing something like [the Women’s March] to follow up on the momentum,” Bruinooge, an openly gay New York resident told the Washington Blade. He cited that he was inspired by the country’s women who “[took] to the street [to get] their voices heard.” D.C.’s Women’s March in particular, which was echoed in 60 countries and on seven continents, became the largest inauguration-related demonstration in U.S. history and easily exceeded the attendance of Donald Trump’s inauguration.

“They set the tone with their leadership and it is our intention as a community to follow their lead and play our part,” The National Pride March Facebook event page reads, advising that the event is all-inclusive and peaceful. Bruinooge said that he chose June 11 for the event as it coincides with D.C.’s Capital Pride Festival, which reportedly had an estimated 275,000 in attendance in 2016.

Bruinooge contacted Ryan Bos, the executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, who expects the march and the D.C. Pride events to complement one another, with the intent that the march begin in the morning and end at the site of the Pride festival. “[Capital Pride Alliance] obviously [has] the infrastructure and the mass support to help this become a reality,” Bruinooge said.

The LGBT community is no stranger to marching on the nation’s capital. The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the first major LGBT march on D.C., took place on October 14, 1979, partly in response to the assassination of openly gay politician Harvey Milk. The last, the National Equality March in 2009, took place on October 11 of that year and coincided with National Coming Out Day.

The Trump Administration is already no stranger to protests and demonstrations, and many members of the LGBT community joined the Women’s March, in D.C. and across the world. So why now, and why should the LGBT community take the lead on visible opposition to the current administration?

Setting aside Mike Pence, arguably the most anti-LGBT politician in modern U.S. history, and even the twelve bills that have been filed across nine states targeting transgender people, one need only look to this small sampling of post-election examples to find the answer:

1. Potential Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Donald Trump nominated Jeff Sessions for the role of Attorney General. Sessions, whose past racially-charged comments kept him from being confirmed to the federal bench, has voted for a Constitutional ban on marriage equality, against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, spoke in opposition to SCOTUS’ ruling on marriage equality, voted against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and even voted against the Violence Against Women Act and against expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation, gender and disability. If confirmed, Sessions would lead the U.S. Department of Justice, which is tasked with the fair and impartial administration of justice.

2. Potential Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Donald Trump nominated Tom Price for the role of Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price falsely said that “promoting the homosexual agenda” has a “tremendous medical health impact and economic impact.” He also voted against repealing the ban on LGB people serving openly in the military, against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and called SCOTUS’ ruling on marriage equality “not only a sad day for marriage, but a further judicial destruction of our entire system of checks and balances.” If confirmed, Price would be responsible for overseeing nearly 80,000 employees, and be responsible for policy across the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

3. LGBT Youth are experiencing a spike in bullying and harassment.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released the results of its post-election survey of 50,000 people, ages 13-18, which is believed to be the largest survey conducted of its kind. The survey found that 70% of respondents have witnessed bullying, hate messages or harassment since the election. Over the last 30 days, 50% of transgender youth reported feeling worthless most of the time, with 36% having personally been bullied or harassed and 56% percent having changed their self-expression or future plans due to the election. Almost 50% of LGBT youth said that they’d taken steps to hide their sexual orientation or delay their coming out.

Donald Trump nominated Betsy DeVos for the role of Secretary of Education, who donated $200,000 to Michigan’s ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage, and whose family donated more than $800,000 in funding to Focus on the Family, an anti-LGBT organization which supports conversion therapy to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

4. Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Gore.

Donald Trump selected John Gore for the key role in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Gore defended the University of North Carolina in its legal challenge to the state’s anti-LGBT law HB2. “HB2 places transgender North Carolinians in harm’s way and bans cities from passing non-discrimination protections, which has cost the state more than $600 million,” HRC’s Legal Director Sarah Warbelow released in a statement. “President Trump appears to be assembling an anti-LGBTQ team to lead the very agency charged with ensuring every American is protected from discrimination.”

5. This:

Donald Trump announced (unsurprisingly) via Twitter that he will name his nominee for the Supreme Court next week. While Trump said he is “fine” with same-sex marriage because it’s “settled law,” moments later he spoke in opposition to “settled law” in Roe v. Wade. He’s previously vowed to nominate a justice “in the mold” of the late, vehemently anti-LGBT Justice Antonin Scalia, and last week met with a judge believed to be one of his top candidates for the position: a man who has likened same-sex sex to “prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia.”

Given that the State Department website has removed John Kerry’s historic apology to former State Department employees who were fired for being perceived as LGBT, and given that at the time of this publication, the Trump Administration has yet to replace any mention of the LGBT community that it removed from the White House website, it’s clear that the LGBT community must stand together in solidarity.

And march.

“We urge all supporters, friends, and family to descend on D.C. for the Pride 2017 weekend (June 8-11th) to make sure our voices are heard,” The National Pride March’s event page reads. “If you cannot attend the March in Washington… we urge you to reach out to your local Pride organizations to assist in creating solidarity through your existing Pride events. Let’s make this truly a ‘National Pride March’ that spreads from coast to coast and shows solidarity through our Pride movement.”

At the date of this publication, the National Pride March event page lists that 17,000 people will be attending, with 70,000 interested in the event. Additional event details can be found at their event page, here.

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Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’

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If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.

“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.

But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”

“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.

READ MORE: Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report

It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”

The allegations continue.

“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”

“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”

READ MORE: ‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories

The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”

The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”

The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.

You can read The Beast’s full report here.

 

 

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Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report

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When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.

The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.

Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”

READ MORE: George Santos Says Man Interviewed for Staff Position ‘Violated’ His Trust After Secretly Recording Conversation

It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticket via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”

“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”

CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”

Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.

READ MORE: ‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories

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‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories

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House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer is pushing baseless conspiracy theories about the Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon floating over the United States – currently, over Montana – that the Pentagon is tracking, and he’s being widely mocked for his unfounded fear-mongering.

Fox News host Harris Faulkner set the stage perfectly for the far-right Republican from Kentucky, declaring the balloon is “the size of three buses” and that “China says was taken by wind – wind that we can’t substantiate.”

The Kentucky congressman who has falsely described President Biden as “compromised,” and stated he is going to target and investigate him, told Faulkner, “I have concern this is going to be another example of the Biden administration’s weakness on the national scale.”

READ MORE: ‘Ran a Bribery Center Blocks From the White House’: Comer Mocked for Claiming No Evidence of Trump Influence Peddling

Comer, 50, a former agriculture commissioner, lamented about Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming it hurt the reputation of America’s military and Commander in Chief.

The balloon, he said, should “never have been allowed” to cross over into the United States.

“My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” he asked, pushing unfounded theories while echoing the far-right’s false claims the COVID-19 virus was developed as a bioweapon and escaped the lab in Wuhan, China.

After suggesting it might have bioweapons, he then said it was “very concerning” the balloon was not shot down before reaching the U.S. – which could have spread the alleged bioweapon.

Faulkner, seen by some as a propagandist, then jumped in to exhibit her surprise that “people on Capitol Hill were not briefed” about the balloon.

READ MORE: Trump Spent 2020 Attacking Ballot Drop Boxes – but Now He’s Demanding They Be Deployed in Churches

“Calling for the president to ‘shoot down’ the craft,” The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona adds, “some in the GOP called the president ‘Beijing Biden’ while claiming this is further proof that ‘Communist China’ doesn’t ‘fear or respect’ Biden.”

“Honestly,” communications strategist Doug Gordon noted, “just surprised he didn’t find a way to include Hunter’s laptop into that conspiracy theory.”

“Actually, he did later on,” Baragona replied.

National security expert Denver Riggleman, the Republican former U.S. Congressman from Virginia who assisted the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, tweeted: “Bioweapons? FFS”

Referring to Comer’s unfounded bioweapons claim, one Twitter user observed, “Isn’t that more reason not to shoot at it? I’m not saying I know what to do, but logic would dictate ‘don’t shoot at balloons full of bioweapons.’ Right?”

Another noted that the Oversight Chairman should have been listening to the Pentagon’s briefing “taking place now instead of running to get on Fox to talk about something he has no expertise in.”

READ MORE: ‘When Was Your Most Recent Period?’: Student Athletes in Florida May Be Required to Share Menstrual History

And yet another, wholly mocking Comer, who holds far-right anti-LGBTQ beliefs, said: “Or worse, what if it has woke trans undocumented drag queen athletes?”

Another, mocking Comer, noted: “If they were sending a bio weapon, why would they park it over sparsely populated Montana? *rolls eyes*”

Watch the video above or at this link.

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