One could credibly have the impression that the Queen twenty-five years ago could have been talking about 2017 as it too is ending with a certain air of bleakness and uncertainty.Â
The November 2016 election of Donald Trump as President of the United States set off reverberations globally across more than just the political spectrum. At home in the United States, Trump has given way to influencing, indeed, even affirming those segments of the American populace prone to racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic behavioursâ€”encouraging them to publicly utter horrid things and take ugly actions not so nakedly displayed in decades.
â€œAnnus horribilisâ€ means “horrible yearâ€ in Latin. The world got to know the phrase 25 years ago when Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II used it during her televised speech marking the 40th anniversary of her Accession to the throne. At the time most assumed she was really referring to the embarrassing public divorce and ensuing scandals between her son Prince Charles and the British publicâ€™s beloved Princess Diana.
â€œ1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure,â€ said the Queen with a look of pure authenticity. â€œIn the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis.’ I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so. Indeed, I suspect that there are very few people or institutions unaffected by these last months of worldwide turmoil and uncertainty.â€
The Washington Postâ€™s Eugene Robinson nails down the sentiment it seems most felt about this past year: â€œMany of us began 2017 with the consoling thought that the Donald Trump presidency couldnâ€™t possibly be as bad as we feared. It turned out to be worse.â€Â
There has been a never-ending parade roll-backs, repeals, or undoings of federal regulatory oversight and previous presidential executive actions. According to Rolling Stone magazineâ€™s Tessa Stuart, â€œThe decision[s] were motivated by the fact that Trump didn’t want anything â€“ no matter how popular or uncontroversial â€“ going through if it was endorsed by President Obama.â€ Â
In yet just another of an ongoing number of unpresidential examples, Trump seemingly embraced Neo-Nazis and white supremacists after the Charlottesville, Virginia â€œalt-rightâ€ march this past August.Â
â€œWhat about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right?â€ Trump said speaking to reporters in New York on August 15. â€œDo they have any semblance of guilt?â€
â€œIâ€™ve condemned neo-Nazis. Iâ€™ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me,â€ he said.
â€œYou had many people in that group other than Neo-Nazis and white nationalists,â€ Trump insisted. â€œThe press has treated them absolutely unfairly.â€
â€œYou also had some very fine people on both sides,â€ he said.
More recently though, just three days before Christmas a 17-year-old boy allegedly shot and killed the parents of his 16-year-old girlfriend in their Reston, Virginia home. Scott Fricker, and Buckley Kuhn-Fricker had forbidden their daughter to see him after they discovered a Twitter account linked to the teen. The teen retweeted tweets praising Hitler, made derogatory comments about Jews, called for â€œwhite revolution,â€ and showed an image of a man hanging from a noose beneath a slur for gays, among other objectionable content, The Washington Post reported.
Weeks before according to the Post, the boyâ€™s neighbors had been distressed to find a 40-foot wide Nazi swastika mowed into a community field with a trail leading back to the home he shared with his parents. Apparently, no actions were taken as Fairfax County Police told local reporters they were not made aware of that incident.
Was this somehow Trump-inspired owing to his refusal to condemn the vitriolic statements and discriminatory behaviors expressed by his neo-Nazi and white supremacist supporters or was this an isolated incident?
Then there have been Trumpâ€™s never ending barrage of tweets, falsehoods, and attacks on the press, private citizens, and even the government itself including those institutions and agencies who are at the very heart of protecting citizens, in particular the FBI. In many ways what exacerbates these issues are the fact that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, along with other administration officials, have launched a vigorous defense of Trump, with Sanders oft times openly engaging in a patronising way with the White House press corps and often repeating the fabricated stories from her boss.
Defying the naysayers, the critics, and the facts Trump himself tweeted, “So many things accomplished by the Trump Administration, perhaps more than any other President in first year. Sadly, will never be reported correctly by the Fake News Media!”Â
There has not been a segment of the American populace left unaffected by Trump and his policies. For minority communities and marginalised groups the effect has been more damaging.Â
For the LGBTQI community, this past year under Trump was fraught with emotion from theÂ move to ban trans service in the U.S. Armed Services, to his elimination and erasure of an LGBTQI presence on the White House website as well as across the federal government. 2017 ended with his firing the entire HIV/AIDS presidential advisory group.
But the year ended up being a mixed bag, too. While thereâ€™s not enough space in one article to list all the yearâ€™s noteworthy LGBTQI news, hereâ€™s a roundup of some of the yearâ€™s biggest stories via NBC OUT:
HISTORIC POLITICAL WINS
From Virginiaâ€™s House of Delegates to Seattleâ€™s Office of the Mayor, LGBTQ Americans scored historic victories across the U.S. this year.
The yearâ€™s most notable win is perhaps that of Virginiaâ€™s Danica Roem, whose victory over 11-term anti-LGBT Republican incumbent Bob Marshall will make her the first openly transgender person to be seated in a U.S. state legislature when she takes office in January.
From the bathroom to the battlefield, 2017 has seen a series of attempts to roll back the rights of transgender people.
In February, just one month after President Trump took office, his administration formally rescinded Obama-era guidance that helped protect the right of transgender students in public schools to use bathrooms and other facilities that correspond with their gender identity.
In a series of unexpected early morning tweets in July, President Trump attempted to reverse U.S. policy by announcing the military would â€œnot accept or allowâ€ transgender people to serve â€œin any capacity.â€ The tweets left the nation in shock and thousands of currently serving transgender people in the dark. The social media posts also set off months of lawsuits and court cases, but after four federal judges blocked Trumpâ€™s attempted ban, trans people should be able to enlist in the military starting Jan. 1.
In October, the Department of Justice, led by Trump appointee Jeff Sessions, released a memo asserting that federal civil rights law does not protect transgender people from discrimination at work. The memo refers specifically to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex. The memo directly contradicts a 2014 memo issued by former Attorney General Eric Holder, which made explicit the DOJ’s position that Title VII does protect trans employees.
The number of hate crimes committed in the U.S. rose 5 percent in 2016, compared to the year before, according to data gathered from local law enforcement agencies by the FBI. The data, which was released in November, found an increase in hate crimes against the LGBTQÂ community in 2016 compared to the previous year. Of the 7,615 known hate crime victims, 1,255 of them were targeted due to sexual-orientation bias, accounting for nearly one in sixÂ hate crime victims. The number of victims targeted due anti-transgender bias also increased â€” from 76 in 2015 to 111 in 2016.
2017 however matched the previous year, especially in the murders of trans persons, more often trans women of color. Twenty-seven homicides of transgender Americans have been reported in 2017, matching the total for 2016, which was the deadliest year on record for trans Americans.Â The numbers in fact may be higher according to the U.S. Justice Department, which notes that the differences in reporting and methodology by American law enforcement agencies can affect the actual number.Â
President Donald Trump has made considerable progress in reshaping the federal courts. After inheriting 120 federal judicial vacancies, Trump has made 59 appointments to fill the seats, and the Senate has so far approved 18 of them.
LGBTQ advocates have raised concerns over his appointees. Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ civil rights group, said roughly one third of Trumpâ€™s judicial picks have anti-LGBTQ records.
â€œThis burden will be hitting the people who need the protection of the courts the most,â€ Sharon McGowan, director of strategy at Lambda Legal told NBC News. â€œAs unpopular as this president is, he has the opportunity to install over 100 federal judges who will serve the rest of their lives.â€
There is, of course, more.
Another impacted group has been the immigrant community, with the greatest negative affects on the Dreamers.
â€˜Dreamersâ€™ have grown up in this country and consider themselves to be American, but lack the documents to fully participate in society, which â€“Â in some cases â€“Â means that they are unable to pursue college or university or enlist into the U.S. Armed Services. In many other cases it means they labor at jobs under the table or on a daily cash basis. After numerous attempts to pass the legislation even with nearly 70% of Americans in support, in 2012 then U.S. President Barack Obama announced a temporary program that allowed Dreamers to come forward, pass a criminal background check, payÂ hundreds of dollars, and apply for work permits. The program is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA for short.
In September of last year, an Executive Action by President Trump effectually squashed those hopes. Now, nearly two months after Trump officially rescinded the program and essentially dumped the burden of passing DACA legislation in the laps of the Republican majority-led Congress, there appears to be little in the way of substantive action regarding the decidedly needed legislation.Â
Congress recessed for the holidays and after passing a massive tax bill cutting taxes especially for the rich, but took no action on DACA.
Politics over this past year has also turned more toxic and polarized than ever before seen in the political spectrum, as Claire Galofaro, a senior political reporter from the Associated Press wrote. Of the president’s base the AP noted, â€œThe allegiance of Trump’s supporters is as emotional as it is economic. Heâ€™s punching at all the people who let them down for so long: ‘Heâ€™s already done enough to get my vote again, without a doubt,’â€ one person said.Â
It means God, guns, patriotism, saying â€œMerry Christmasâ€ and not Happy Holidays. It means validation of their indignation about a changing nation: gay marriage and immigration and factories moving overseas. It means tearing down the political system that neglected them again and again in favor of the big cities that feel a world away.
On those counts, they believe Trump has delivered, even if his promised blue-collar renaissance has not yet materialized. Heâ€™s punching at all the people who let them down for so long â€” the presidential embodiment of their own discontent.
Lecia Brooks, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Director of Outreach said, â€œItâ€™s been an awful year with this administration pushing back on human/civil rights across the board It is disconcerting & frightening.â€ She noted that there have been bright spots such as the Womanâ€™s March and Movement coupled with the MeToo movement, thereâ€™s still been harshness as seen by the circumstances leading to the death of peace-activist Heather D. Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia last August.
Brooks also pointed out that there continues to be a resurgence in resistance and activism, citing the example of the contentious and highly controversial Alabama special senatorial race where the Black women voters â€œsaved the day, despite efforts to repress their vote. People get to a point that enough is enough.â€
The other overriding concerns of not only the SPLC but other civil rights advocates is U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions turning back the clock on mass incarceration and sentencing guidelines.
â€œSession would have us return to the Trump law and order campaign theme,â€ Brooks said. â€œWorse though is also the fascist style ICE round ups on Immigration Sessions and his DOJ is literally moving immigrants to rural areas in an effort disappear them before families realize and then deport them.â€
But she adds that some of the events of 2017, for the first time has made it possible that maybe a real conversation about racism in the United States will be addressed.Â
There are no easy answers but Brooks is hopeful that a people movement will spur on the resistance to Trump, Sessions, and those who would hinder racial equality, LGBTQI equality, and human rights.
Other major stories that affected the American nation in 2017 also included:Â
One take away as 2017 ends, said one political pundit, is that at least with 2018 there will be a chance to redeem the failures of the administration and to put the brakes on further erosion of a functioning people oriented not corporately oriented government as the resistance grows in opposition to Trump and the GOP led Congress.
Reporting by Brody Levesque for NCRM, NBC News, CBS News, Agency France Presse, Associated Press & the New York and Los Angeles Times
Brody LevesqueÂ is the Chief Political Correspondent forÂ The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody atÂ Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com
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‘I’m Broke’: One Day Before Shutdown and With No Plan McCarthy Says He Has ‘Nothing’ in His ‘Back Pocket’
Just 30 hours before his own Republican conference likely will have succeeded in shutting down the federal government of the United States, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy candidly admitted to reporters he’s run out of ideas.
Earlier Friday in an “embarrassing failure,” 21 House Republicans killed legislation from their own party, a short-term continuing resolution, that would have kept the federal government open.
Later on Friday afternoon, swarmed by reporters, McCarthy was asked if he was going to tell them what his plans are. He sarcastically replied, “No, I’m going to keep it all a secret.”
When pressed, he said he would “keep working, and make sure we solve this problem.”
“What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?” another reporter asked, pressing him for an answer.
“Nothing right now. I’m broke,” he admitted, apparently referring to options and ideas to avoid a shutdown.
But another reporter asked Speaker McCarthy the main question: Would he partner with House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to put the Senate’s bill before the House.
He refused to answer.
After Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) failed House vote to keep the federal government open…
Reporter: “What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?”
McCarthy: “Nothing right now. I’m broke.” pic.twitter.com/pB2SWhOSVr
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2023
Just before 5 PM CNN’s Manu Raju reported on the ongoing House Republicans’ closed-door meeting with the Speaker, a meeting where the 21 Republicans who will likely be effectively responsible for the shutdown reportedly did not attend.
“McCarthy is telling [Republicans] now there aren’t many options to avoid a shutdown, according to sources in room. He says they can approve GOP’s stop-gap plan that failed, accept Senate plan, put a ‘clean’ stop-gap on floor to dare Democrats to block it — or shut down the government.”
He adds, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) largely responsible for the impending likely shutdown and the impending possible ouster of McCarthy said: “We will not pass a continuing resolution on terms that continue America’s decline.”
At midnight Saturday Republicans will likely have succeeded in furloughing 3.5 million million federal workers – two million of them service members in the U.S. Armed Forces – and countless contractors, while financially harming untold thousands of businesses that rely on income from all those workers to keep running – unless Speaker McCarthy puts a bipartisan continuing resolution approved by at least 75 U.S. Senators on the floor, legislation every House Democrat is likely to vote for.
Should he do so, many believe he will have also signed his own pink slip.
But whether or not the government shuts down, and whether or not McCarthy puts the Senate’s CR on the floor, according to The Washington Post the far right extremists in his party are already moving to oust him “as early as next week.”
The Biden campaign is making certain Americans realize the blame for the impending shutdown sits at McCarthy’s feet.
Here is Kevin McCarthy a few months ago praising the deal he made with President Biden to avert a government shutdown, which he is now reneging on pic.twitter.com/B4rVNzNXkZ
— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) September 29, 2023
At 6:23 PM Friday evening, Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman wrote on social media: “HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE NO PLAN TO KEEP GOVERNMENT OPEN.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
‘Bad News’ for Sidney Powell as First Trump Co-Defendant in Georgia RICO Case Takes Plea Deal: Legal Expert
“Under the terms of an agreement with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office, Hall pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, conspiracy to commit computer trespass, conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy, and conspiracy to defraud the state,” NBC News reports. “Under the terms of the deal, he’s being sentenced to five years probation.”
CNN previously reported “Hall, a bail bondsman and pro-Trump poll-watcher in Atlanta, spent hours inside a restricted area of the Coffee County elections office when voting systems were breached in January 2021. The breach was connected to efforts by pro-Trump conspiracy theorists to find voter fraud. Hall was captured on surveillance video at the office, on the day of the breach. He testified before the grand jury in Fulton County case and acknowledged that he gained access to a voting machine.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a professor of law and frequent MSNBC contributor, says Hall “was in the thick of things with Sidney Powell on Jan 7 for the Coffee County scheme involving voting machines. If he’s cooperating, it’s a bad sign for her.”
Hall’s plea deal “spells bad news for, among others, Sidney Powell,” says former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman, an NYU Law professor of law. Goodman posted a graphic showing the overlap in charges against Hall and Powell, which he called “alleged joint actions.”
With breakthrough for Georgia DA (@TamarHallerman reporting: “SCOTT HALL has become the first co-defendant in the Fulton election interference case to take a plea deal with prosecutors.”)
That spells bad news for, among others, Sidney Powell.
Example of alleged joint actions.👇 pic.twitter.com/odMM5C7JtX
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) September 29, 2023
See the graphic above or at this link.
Far-Right Republicans Kill GOP Bill to Keep Government Running in ‘Embarrassing Failure’ for McCarthy: Report
With a shutdown less than 36 hours away, far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives Friday afternoon voted against their party’s own legislation to kept the federal government running. Democrats opposed the content of the bill and voted against it. Just 21 far-right members of the GOP conference were able to effectively force what appears to be an all but inevitable shutdown at midnight on Saturday.
“HARDLINE HOUSE RS take down stopgap funding bill. 21 GOP no votes. 232-198,” reported Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman just before 2 PM Friday.
NBC News reported that a “band of conservative rebels on Friday revolted and blocked House Republicans’ short-term funding bill to keep the government open, delivering a political blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and likely cementing the chances of a painful government shutdown that is less than 48 hours away.”
“Twenty-one rebels, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a conservative bomb-thrower and a top Donald Trump ally, voted Friday afternoon to scuttle the 30-day funding bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, leaving Republicans without a game plan to avert a shutdown. The vote failed,” NBC added. “The embarrassing failure of the GOP measure once again highlights the dilemma for McCarthy as his hard-liners strongly oppose a short-term bill even if it includes conservative priorities. It leaves Congress on a path to a shutdown, with no apparent offramp to avoiding it — or to quickly reopen the government.”
A bipartisan group of at least 75 U.S. Senators has passed two bills this week that would keep the government running. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has refused to allow it to come to the floor for a vote.
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