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Trump Administration Pulls Support for Historic Stonewall National Monument, Refuses to Even Attend Dedication Ceremony

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Trump’s Interior Dept. Works to Ensure Flag Is Not on Federal Land

The nation’s first national monument to honor the LGBT community and its history will be dedicated Wednesday at noon, but the Trump administration is working to ensure it has absolutely nothing to do with it.

In June of 2016 President Barack Obama issued a proclamation creating the Stonewall National Monument in New York City’s Greenwich Village. A national monument designation ceremony was held in conjunction with that proclamation on site. (In the photo above, from last year’s ceremony, the late Edie Windsor can be seen second from the left.) 

“The Stonewall Uprising is considered by many to be the catalyst that launched the modern LGBT civil rights movement,” President Obama’s 5-page proclamation reads. “From this place and time, building on the work of many before, the Nation started the march — not yet finished — toward securing equality and respect for LGBT people.”

That proclamation directs the Secretary of the Interior to “manage the monument through the National Park Service.” But under the Trump administration, the Dept. of the Interior is pulling its support.

Veteran journalist Andy Humm of Gay City News reports that when the Trump administration “saw the pre-publicity on the ceremony, the National Park Service under Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Department of the Interior worked to certify that the flagpole adjacent to Christopher Park was not technically on federal land so that no Rainbow Flag would be flying on US government property.”

Not only did the Trump administration work to ensure the Pride flag would not be flying on federal lands, the Interior Dept.’s representative who had been working on the project at the last minute has dropped out.

The National Park Service’s Barbara Applebaum, who arranged the permit for the event, dropped out as a speaker at the ceremony — her office citing a schedule conflict — and organizers of the event said in a release that the Park Service dropped its sponsorship of the event for which it had issued the permit to veteran gay activist Michael Petrelis,” Humm reports.

But there appears to be some conflict as to whether or not the flagpole is on federal land.

Maps of the monument, including those provided to Petrelis, do include the flagpole,” Humm’s reporting notes. “And whatever other status it may have, it sits within the designated monument area — though not on federal land, the Park Service is now saying.”

So desperate to divorce itself from the monument, the National Park Service’s website has taken down “the page that had the map for the Stonewall National Monument,” Humm adds.

And even though the dedication is today, the National Park Service makes no mention of it on its website. The page for the monument says it has not been updated since Sept. 7. The National Park Service’s Facebook page, which is updated daily, makes no mention of today’s dedication.

Those who have worked on the project are angered.

“This is an unbelievably petty, sleazy, transparent bit of cruelty by the Trump administration,” says Ann Northrop, who, along with Humm has been co-hosting the weekly news show “Gay USA” since 1985. Northrop is presiding over the dedication.

“Evidently,” she adds, “we are so filthy to them and their right-wing supporters that they can’t even be associated with a few yards of rainbow fabric.”

Northrop is not the only one speaking out.

Ken Kidd, a main organizer of Wednesday’s dedication ceremony, calls the Trump administration’s moves “emblematic of what’s happening in the country right now to LGBTQ Americans citizens.”

“We’re being told at every turn — including Trump’s first decision to appoint Pence — that actions will be taken to make us second-class citizens again,” Kidd told Gay City News. “The very idea that taxpayer dollars were spent researching a flagpole on a national monument when there are so many other things at stake in the country is an outrage. Some employee of the Park Service or Interior read that Newsweek preview article on this because Donald Trump’s name was mentioned by me. They are so thin-skinned and so bigoted that they were going to spite us and not let that Rainbow Flag fly on federal property.”

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Image by U.S. Dept. of the Interior via Flickr and a CC license

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

DeSantis Courts Anti-Vaxx Voters by Changing Unemployment Rules to Give Them Benefits if They Get Fired: Report

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Florida’s DeSantis administration is expanding the Republican governor’s anti-vaxx policies by altering state unemployment insurance rules to allow those fired for refusing the coronavirus vaccine to be eligible for benefits.

“Extending unemployment benefits to the unvaccinated is just the latest in a series of proposals aligning the GOP with people who won’t get a COVID shot,” Axios reports, noting that Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee have also changed their rules to favor anti-vaxxers.

“Republicans see a prime opportunity to rally their base ahead of the midterms. No matter how successful their individual efforts, the campaign is a powerful messaging weapon,” Axios adds.

Up until now being fired for cause – for refusing an employer’s requirements, including being vaccinated – has made terminated employees ineligible for unemployment benefits.

“The general proposition is that it is lawful for an employer to mandate the vaccine and so if an employee doesn’t get it, it’s a choice,” labor attorney Domenique Camacho Moran told CBS News in October.

“It’s like if your employer said, ‘Come in at 9 o’clock and you said, ‘Thanks for sharing, I’ll come in at 11.’ If you engage in deliberate misconduct like that, you won’t be entitled to unemployment benefits which are designed to be provided to those who are separated through no fault of their own,” he added.

But DeSantis and his administration have been downplaying COVID and the coronavirus vaccine, promoting expensive COVID treatments over vaccines – treatments that financially benefit one of his top political donors.

Related:

DeSantis Hires New Surgeon General: A Hydroxychloroquine-Pushing Physician Who Appeared in ‘Demon Sperm’ Doc’s Video

Revealed: Ron DeSantis Has Been Taking COVID Advice From a California Psychiatrist Pushing Ivermectin

DeSantis Says ‘Deal With’ It as Coronavirus ‘Waves’ Rage Through Florida

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THIS IS WHAT FASCISM LOOKS LIKE

Trump Supporters Have New ‘Ambitious Plan’ to Have Loyalists Oversee Elections Across America: Report

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Donald Trump and his supporters are enacting an “ambitious plan” to place loyalists in key positions overseeing elections after his unsuccessful efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which was won by Joe Biden.

“In Michigan, local GOP leaders have sought to reshape election canvassing boards by appointing members who expressed sympathy for former president Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 vote was rigged. In two Pennsylvania communities, candidates who embraced election fraud allegations won races this month to become local voting judges and inspectors,” The Washington Post reported Monday. “And in Colorado, 2020 doubters are urging their followers on conservative social media platforms to apply for jobs in election offices.”

The report comes as Trump continues to push his “Big Lie” of election fraud, releasing a Sunday statement falsely claiming the “2020 Election was rigged and stolen.”

“Citing the need to make elections more secure, Trump allies are also seeking to replace officials across the nation, including volunteer poll watchers, paid precinct judges, elected county clerks and state attorneys general, according to state and local officials, as well as rally speeches, social media posts and campaign appearances by those seeking the positions,” the newspaper reported. “If they succeed, Trump and his allies could pull down some of the guardrails that prevented him from overturning Biden’s win by creating openings to challenge the results next time, election officials and watchdog groups say.”

READ: Trump has a plan to make it easier to ‘subvert the will of the voters’ in 2024: CNN

There are QAnon-linked candidates running for secretary of state to oversee elections, including Rachel Hamm in California, Jim Marchant in Nevada, Kristina Karamo in Michigan, Mark Finchem in Arizona, and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) in Georgia.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) warned how the focus has shifted from overturning the last election to overturning future elections.

“The attacks right now are no longer about 2020,” Griswold explained. “They’re about 2022 and 2024. It’s about chipping away at confidence and chipping away at the reality of safe and secure elections. And the next time there’s a close election, it will be easier to achieve their goals. That’s what this is all about.”

Read the full report.

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News

‘Jan. 6 Wasn’t a Fantasy’: Top Missouri Paper Says It’s ‘Long Past Time’ for Senate to Investigate Josh Hawley

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On Sunday, the editorial board of the St Louis Post-Dispatch called on the U.S. Senate Ethics Panel to investigate Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) over any possible involvement he may have had in the Jan 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Hawley, whose political future will be haunted by a photo of him giving a raised fist to insurrectionists as they stormed the halls of Congress has been excoriated by the paper’s editors multiple times, but Sunday’s call for an investigation ramps up their attacks on the home state senator.

According to the board, “Ten months after a group of Senate Democrats lodged ethics complaints into the conduct of Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas regarding their roles in sparking the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the Senate Ethics Committee has shown no sign of movement.,” with the editors saying it is “long past time” to take a hard look at both Republican senators.

“Jan. 6 wasn’t a fantasy; it was real, and the culpability of these two senators must be determined,” they wrote. “Hawley and Cruz were the only two senators to object to certification of Joe Biden’s clear victory in the 2020 election results, citing (with zero evidence) supposed concerns about the election’s integrity. That was the same baseless, toxic nonsense then-President Donald Trump had been spewing since before the election. Such talk whipped up the mob of Trump loyalists to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6.”

Related: Lauren Boebert needs to be subpoenaed to explain her ‘violent revolution’ Jan 6th tweets: MSNBC contributor

Adding, “Even after the violence, he persisted in voting with just five other senators to continue promoting Trump’s big lie that Biden’s win was illegitimate,” the editors wrote, “If he had an ounce of honor, he’d have heeded our Jan. 7 call for his resignation (we certainly weren’t alone on that). But at this point, why even talk about honor?”

Writing that, “Just because there’s a mechanism in place allowing senators to object to election results doesn’t mean it’s OK for Hawley to abuse that process for crass political gain,” the editorial concluded, “Hawley and Cruz have the right to defend themselves from the allegations — but so far, they haven’t even had to. The Ethics Committee should stop sitting on this.”

You can read the whole piece here.

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