‘Undeniable’: Journalist Warns LGBT Civil Rights ‘Are Already Being Stripped Away Right Before Our Eyes’
‘It Often Doesnâ€™t Matter What the Majority of Americans Believe’
Michelangelo Signorile is a veteran journalist who for many years has hosted his own show on SiriusXM radio. He’s also the editor-at-large for HuffPost’s Queer Voices. And he’s out with an eight-point alert for LGBT people: our civil rights are in danger. In fact, our rights “are already being stripped away right before our eyes,” heÂ warns in a postÂ atÂ HuffPostÂ titled, “Itâ€™s Now Undeniable That LGBTQ Rights Are In Danger Of Being Rolled Back.”
Signorile says it’s “naive and enormously dangerous” for LGBT people to think our “rights are secured â€• while not seeing the perils ahead.”
By way of example, SignorileÂ says “some recent exchanges and interactions Iâ€™ve had lead me to believe that many people, queer and straight, still believe that LGBTQ rights are secure and advancing. They point to public opinion polls, to cultural changes and to progress even in the most conservative corners of the country.”
“One person, educated in the history of the LGBTQ movement, told me that he couldnâ€™t believe that the Supreme Court would undo something that the majority of Americans now supported â€• marriage equality â€• and implied a lot of the sounding of the alarm was for the conspiracy-minded.”
Many people think that.
One highly-respected LGBT civil rights legal group, after Trump was elected, published an FAQ saying marriage was not in immediate danger. But they noted related equality rights for gay people certainly could be.
(Since then, several have noted just how easy it could be to effectivelyÂ take marriage away from same-sex couples. Or even overturn Obergefell. And some states are working to revoke marital benefits from same-sex couples.)
“Even though the Court is extremely unlikely to take away your marriage, there are ways short of reversing a marriage decision in which the new administration could make life harder for same-sex spouses and their children, such as by permitting discrimination against these families in some contexts,” Lambda Legal wrote in December last year. “It is also possible that the new administration could reduce the respect given by federal government agencies to the marriages of same-sex spouses.”
We’re seeing that, and similar actions against LGBT people being taken already. Betsy DeVos’ Dept. of Education offers several Â examples, as does Jeff Sessions’ DOJ.
Here’s the crux of Signorile’s very valid argument:
“It often doesnâ€™t matter what the majority of Americans believe â€• over 90 percent support universal background checks on gun purchases, after all, but we canâ€™t get the legislation passed. The Supreme Court has handed down ruling after ruling that reversed precedents and defied the majority of Americansâ€™ beliefs on voting rights, corporate money in politics, immigration and so many other issues. What is happening in our country right now is clear: a powerful minority is in control and is trying to get the fix in so that it can rule from the minority for a long time to come. “
And to prove it, he offers these eight events:
- “Donald Trumpâ€™s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch”
- “Mississippi last year passed the most far-reaching anti-LGBTQ law”
- “Texas joined Michigan, South Dakota and Mississippi in allowing bans on adoption to same-sex couples by state-funded adoption agencies”
- North Carolina’s newly-elected Democratic governor signed a so-called repeal of HB2 that “still bans local LGBT rights ordinances statewide and regulates transgender people until some time in the future â€• when it will surely be extended.”
- “The Trump administration has thrown transgender students overboard”
- “Trump has essentially made LGBTQ people invisible,” by not issuing an LGBT Pride month declaration and removing questionsÂ about sexual orientation and “refusing to collect vital data”
- “Some Democratic strategists are advising that the party move away from â€œ’identify politics,’ and that means steering clear of LGBTQ rights”
- And this vital observation: “Trumpâ€™s cabinet and undersecretaries include some of the most ardent foes of LGBT rights, from Housing Secretary Ben Carson and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price and his director of the Office of Civil Rights at HHS, Roger Severino, an anti-LGBTQ advocate who last year accused the Obama administration of attempting to ‘coerce everyone, including children, into pledging allegiance to a radical new gender ideology.’ Already, weâ€™re seeing important programs that affect LGBT people in jeopardy.”
“None of us can believe any of the rights weâ€™ve fought for are safe,” Signorile rightly warns. “But more importantly, we need to wake up and see that they are already being stripped away right before our eyes.”
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Image byÂ Ted EytanÂ via Flickr and a CC licenseÂ
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Former GOP Lawmaker Trashes Rep. Clay Higgins for ‘Cosplay Ridiculousness That Actually Could Spark Violence’
Appearing on MSNBC early Saturday morning, former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) lashed out at a fellow Republican who responded to Donald Trump’s latest indictment with what appears to be a call for another insurrection.
After the announcement that the former president will be formally indicted by the Department of Justice in Florida next week, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) fired off a tweet stating: “President Trump said he has been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM. This is a perimeter probe from the oppressors. Hold. rPOTUS has this. Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.”
Agreeing with militia expert Jeff Sharlet, who wrote, “This isn’t a metaphor. This isn’t slow civil war. This is a congressman calling for the real thing. I think this is scary as hell,” Riggleman piled on.
Speaking with MSNBC host Katie Phang, he stated, “I know Clay, I’ve served with him back in 2019 to 2021. This is so irresponsible.”
“But it’s also almost a cosplay ridiculousness that actually could spark violence with people that maybe are too ignorant to understand, or absolutely understand what a Clay Higgins is putting out there,” he suggested.
“I think at this point, he probably needs to retract that or delete it, and to apologize for such ridiculous language,” he continued. “Because it makes real military individuals almost cringe. It’s so cringeworthy that I do believe that we have to have a point in this country where their saying rise up against this hyperbolic bulls–t.”
“I think, for me as a former military person, it’s embarrassing to see somebody, especially an elected representative, it’s just embarrassing to see somebody tweet something like that, ” he added.
Watch below or at the link:
‘We Are Not Going to Stand for It’: McCarthy Defends Trump – Vows to Use Jim Jordan’s Committee to Target Attorney General
The Republican Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, barely hours after the U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed a 49-page, 37-felony count criminal indictment charging Donald Trump with violations of seven federal laws, decided to double-down on his defense of the ex-president by threatening to target the Attorney General of the United States and declaring House Republicans “are not going to stand for” the criminal prosecution of the ex-president.
McCarthy went on Fox News Friday afternoon, saying “this judgment is wrong by this DOJ. That they treated President Trump differently than they treat others. And it didn’t have to be this way. This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all – which is not being seen today and we are not going to stand for it.”
McCarthy: This is going to disrupt this nation because it goes to the core of equal justice for all which is not being seen today and we are not going to stand for it. pic.twitter.com/B0Z1c81yOn
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 9, 2023
McCarthy, a California Republican who cobbled together a tenuous pact with far-right extremists to win his speakership on the 15th try, is incorrect on the facts.
RELATED: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
The Dept. of Justice does not pass judgment, the courts – in this case a jury, does. The Dept. of Justice did not treat Trump “differently,” except to give him multiple opportunities over an approximately two-year period to return national secrets he allegedly unlawfully removed, retained, and refused to return, even after being served with a subpoena and a search warrant.
What McCarthy does not do is claim Trump’s actions were legal or reasonable, because the damning indictment makes clear they are not.
Later, McCarthy took to Twitter to effectively declare he would target the Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland, who – for nearly a quarter century – served as a federal appeals court judge and chief judge before being nominated to serve at Main Justice.
(Garland was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow the confirmation to move process forward.)
“Many officials, from Secretary Hillary Clinton to then-Senator Joe Biden, handled classified info after their time in office & were never charged,” tweeted the Speaker, not just wrongly, but grossly and dishonestly characterizing the allegations against Trump.
“Now Biden’s leading political opponent is indicted—a double standard that must be investigated,” he again dishonestly declared.
READ MORE: ‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
President Joe Biden had nothing to do with the decision of the Special Counsel to ask a Florida grand jury for an indictment. Nor was the President even told before Trump was indicted – like every American, President Biden learned of the Trump indictment through news reports. Attorney General Garland did not sign off on the decision to ask a grand jury for an indictment.
McCarthy, meanwhile, vowed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and the House Republicans “will get answers.”
“Merrick Garland: the American people elected us to conduct oversight of you. We will fulfill that obligation,” he declared.
McCarthy made those remarks atop a Friday letter from Jordan to Garland that begins: “The Biden Department of Justice is reportedly about to indict a former president and President Biden’s chief rival in the upcoming presidential election.”
“According to reports, the Department will indict President Donald Trump, despite declining to indict former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information and failing to indict President Biden for his mishandling of classified information.” (The letter does not mention former Vice President Mike Pence, who is not being charged for his mishandling of classified information.”
On Thursday a defiant and angry McCarthy, after Trump was indicted, wrote: “Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America.”
“It is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him,” he said, which is egregiously false – Biden did not indict Trump, nor did his Attorney General or even Special Counsel; a grand jury of Florida citizens did.
“Joe Biden kept classified documents for decades,” McCarthy charged, which is a legitimate claim and there is a current federal investigation underway. The difference is Biden did not take the documents, did not know they were among his papers, and immediately upon learning they were, contacted the National Archives to arrange their return.
Donald Trump, we now know, according to the indictment, packed some of the boxes himself, not only refused to return the documents but hid them from the Dept. of Justice and National Archives, lied about them, and kept them at times in public areas of his Florida resort and residence.
“I, and every American who believes in the rule of law,” McCarthy wrong declared, “stand with President Trump against this grave injustice. House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
In response to McCarthy’s remarks, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) posted a photo from the DOJ’s indictment of Trump.
“These are the secrets that protect our troops. And Kevin McCarthy thinks it’s perfectly OK that Donald Trump stole and stored them like this,” he charged.
These are the secrets that protect our troops. And Kevin McCarthy thinks it’s perfectly OK that Donald Trump stole and stored them like this. pic.twitter.com/oFid5ViCdr
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) June 9, 2023
Watch the video and see Rep. Swalwell’s tweet above or at this link.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, is under fire after remarks he made Friday morning defending Donald Trump after the ex-president was indicted on what has now been revealed to be 37 federal felony counts related to the Dept. of Justice’s criminal probe into his handling of hundreds of classified and top secret documents.
Youngkin Friday suggested that the prosecution of Donald Trump, which includes Espionage Act charges, conspiracy charges, and obstruction of justice charges among others, was just like the alleged prosecution of parents.
Gov. Youngkin, often wrongly portrayed in the media as a moderate Republican, may have been attempting to invoke the false yet viral far-right claim that Attorney General Merrick Garland was investigating and prosecuting parents for merely speaking at school board meetings. That claim came about after Garland issued a letter asking the Bureau to come up with strategies to address violence and violent threats directed at school board members. Some who have promoted that erroneous claim, including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, have falsely claimed Garland called ordinary parents “terrorists.”
On Friday, Youngkin tweeted about the Trump indictment, saying, “These charges are unprecedented and it’s a sad day for our country, especially in light of what clearly appears to be a two-tiered justice system where some are selectively prosecuted, and others are not.”
“Parents in Virginia know firsthand what it’s like to be targeted by politically motivated actions,” he added.
“Regardless of your party, this undermines faith in our judicial system at exactly the time when we should be working to restore that trust,” Youngkin concluded, remarks that themselves could undermine faith in our judicial system.
Days before his election, Youngkin also promoted the false Garland claim, even after the Attorney General that same day explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee his letter directed the FBI to investigate not ordinary parents, but people who were organizing attacks on school board members.
Candidate Youngkin appeared on Fox News in October 0f 2021 (video below) and falsely told Tucker Carlson, “What happened today was, of course, Merrick Garland doubled down. He said, ‘No, I’m absolutely maintaining my position that the DOJ and the FBI should be investigating parents.’ Parents who are trying to stand up for their children when there’s been a sexual assault in a school bathroom. We have a board of education and in Loudoun County that tried to hide it from parents, hide it from hiding from the public, and they move this child into another school and then that child again committed another sexual assault.”
READ MORE: DOJ Unseals 37-Count Trump Criminal Indictment – Legal Expert Calls It ‘Egregious’ and ‘Devastating’ (Full Text)
Youngkin made education and “parents’ rights” a campaign issue when he ran in 2021. His opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, during a debate said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” While experts claim it didn’t swing the election for Youngkin, it at least established him nationally as focused on education and “parental rights,” a mantle Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly co-opted.
The Washington Post, alternatively, on Friday focused on Youngkin’s “two-tiered justice” remarks, reporting: “Youngkin’s suggestion that a rich White man — he didn’t actually name Trump — had been victimized by a ‘two-tiered justice system’ drew fierce pushback, with many critics noting the governor’s opposition to the notion that racial and ethnic minorities face systemic racism. The Republican won the governorship on a promise to purge ‘critical race theory’ from K-12 classrooms, though it was not part of any curriculum. Once in office, Youngkin launched a tip line for parents to report on teachers discussing ‘inherently divisive’ concepts in schools.”
Youngkin, who technically is a “populist conservative” but swings far-right on social issues, was quickly chastised for his tweet.
“You know what you are saying is wrong and incendiary. Shame on you,” declared former CIA officer John Sipher. “These charges stemmed from a grand [jury] of Florida citizens. Trump will have access to a Fair process. But instead you spread information to anger and confuse people. You are stoking misinformation and violence.”
READ MORE: SCOTUS ‘Surprise’ Voting Rights Decision Could – and Did – Have Big Implications for Democrats, Legal Experts Say
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes took a different approach, mocking the Virginia Republican.
“It’s the pivot to ‘Parents in Virginia…’ in the third sentence that elevates this to art,” he wrote.
“The moderate, genial suburban dad in a fleece vest suggests that the only way to restore confidence in the justice system is to place Trump above the law,” wrote The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, also mocking Youngkin.
“Youngkin is pro-Trump, as usual–even though Virginia voted heavily AGAINST Trump in both 2016 and 2020. When it comes to Donald Trump, Liz Cheney has more courage in her pinky than Youngkin does in his whole body,” observed Larry Sabato, the well-known professor of politics, political analyst, and founder and director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
The vice president of research for the liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, Liz Charboneau, called Youngkin’s tweet an “especially stupid statement when a large portion of your state has a security clearance, handles classified documents, and has never been charged under the espionage act.”
Conservative Mona Charen, a syndicated columnist and Policy Editor at The Bulwark: “So here’s our answer as to whether Youngkin is a man of character. Fail.”
The Lincoln Project’s Michelle Kinney tweeted, “Youngkin twisting himself into pretzel to weave a vaguebook repudiation of Trump indictment and his weirdo anti vaxx anti trans ‘parents rights’ obsession into one tweet. It reads like Veep dialogue.”
Historian, professor, Holocaust expert Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn tweeted, “Hey dude, the Pentagon is literally in your state. Maybe stop in and have a chat…”
Watch the video above or at this link.
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