Connect with us

Annus Horribilis: The Queen Got 2017 Right 25 Years Ago

Published

on

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. 

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 behaviours—encouraging them to publicly utter horrid things and take ugly actions not so nakedly displayed in decades.

“Annus horribilis” means “horrible year” 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 public’s beloved Princess Diana.

“1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure,” said the Queen with a look of pure authenticity. “In 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.”

The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson nails down the sentiment it seems most felt about this past year: “Many of us began 2017 with the consoling thought that the Donald Trump presidency couldn’t possibly be as bad as we feared. It turned out to be worse.” 

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 magazine’s Tessa Stuart, “The decision[s] were motivated by the fact that Trump didn’t want anything – no matter how popular or uncontroversial – going through if it was endorsed by President Obama.”  

In yet just another of an ongoing number of unpresidential examples, Trump seemingly embraced Neo-Nazis and white supremacists after the Charlottesville, Virginia “alt-right” march this past August. 

“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right?” Trump said speaking to reporters in New York on August 15. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”

“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me,” he said.

“You had many people in that group other than Neo-Nazis and white nationalists,” Trump insisted. “The press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”

“You also had some very fine people on both sides,” 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 “white revolution,” 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 boy’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 Trump’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!” 

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. 

For the LGBTQI community, this past year under Trump was fraught with emotion from the 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 there’s not enough space in one article to list all the year’s noteworthy LGBTQI news, here’s a roundup of some of the year’s biggest stories via NBC OUT:

HISTORIC POLITICAL WINS

From Virginia’s House of Delegates to Seattle’s Office of the Mayor, LGBTQ Americans scored historic victories across the U.S. this year.

The year’s most notable win is perhaps that of Virginia’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.

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

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 “not accept or allow” transgender people to serve “in any capacity.” 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 Trump’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.

ANTI-LGBTQI VIOLENCE

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 LGBTQ 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 six hate crime victims. The number of victims targeted due anti-transgender bias also increased — 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.  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. 

THE COURTS

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 Trump’s judicial picks have anti-LGBTQ records.

“This burden will be hitting the people who need the protection of the courts the most,” Sharon McGowan, director of strategy at Lambda Legal told NBC News. “As unpopular as this president is, he has the opportunity to install over 100 federal judges who will serve the rest of their lives.”

There is, of course, more.

Another impacted group has been the immigrant community, with the greatest negative affects on the Dreamers.

‘Dreamers’ have grown up in this country and consider themselves to be American, but lack the documents to fully participate in society, which – in some cases – 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, pay 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. 

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, “The allegiance of Trump’s supporters is as emotional as it is economic. He’s punching at all the people who let them down for so long: ‘He’s already done enough to get my vote again, without a doubt,’” one person said. 

It means God, guns, patriotism, saying “Merry Christmas” 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. He’s punching at all the people who let them down for so long — the presidential embodiment of their own discontent.

Lecia Brooks, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Director of Outreach said, “It’s been an awful year with this administration pushing back on human/civil rights across the board It is disconcerting & frightening.” She noted that there have been bright spots such as the Woman’s March and Movement coupled with the MeToo movement, there’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 “saved the day, despite efforts to repress their vote. People get to a point that enough is enough.”

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.

“Session would have us return to the Trump law and order campaign theme,” Brooks said. “Worse 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.”

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. 

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: 

The Mueller Investigation

Greater Tensions with North Korea

The #MeToo Movement

The Massacres in Las Vegas and Texas

The Opioid Epidemic

The Devastating Hurricane Season

The End of Net Neutrality

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 Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.

Image by Michael Vadon via Flickr and a CC license

If you find NCRM valuable, would you please consider making a donation to support our independent journalism?

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

‘You Better Start Packing Now’: Trump’s Former ICE Chief at RNC Vows to Deport ‘Millions’

Published

on

As a sea of GOP delegates at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night waved pre-printed signs demanding “mass deportation now!” Tom Homan, who served as Donald Trump’s Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), promised in a second Trump administration he will deport “millions” of undocumented immigrants.

Homan, who in 2022 accepted a speaking invitation at a white supremacist conference organized by Nick Fuentes, at one point directed his remarks to the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

“I got a message to the millions of illegal aliens that Joe Biden released in our country in violation of federal law. You better start packing now,” he warned as the GOP crowded erupted into loud cheers. “You’re damn right. ‘Cause you’re going home.”

Calling Trump – who has appeared with a large bandage on his ear after an assassination attempt Saturday – a “warrior” who’s “gonna make America safe again,” Homan then declared, “I got another message. Another message to the criminal cartels in Mexico.”

READ MORE: ‘Wake Up People’: Trump ‘Elevating Criminals’ as MAGA Wants to ‘Wreck America’ Says Expert

“You’ve smuggled enough fentanyl across this country to kill 148,000 young Americans. You have killed more Americans than every terrorist organization in the world combined. and when President Trump is back in office he’s gonna designate you a terrorist organization and he’s gonna wipe you off the face of the earth.”

“You’re done. You’re done.”

The vast majority of fentanyl “overwhelmingly” is smuggled through official U.S. points of entry by U.S. citizens for U.S. citizens, according to the CATO Institute, which states clearly: “U.S. Citizens Are Fentanyl Traffickers.”

“Only two years ago,” HuffPost on Wednesday reported, “Homan was invited to speak at a much smaller event: the America First Political Action Conference, a white supremacist confab organized by Nick Fuentes, the head of the deeply racist and antisemitic ‘groyper’ movement. HuffPost first reported that Homan was scheduled to speak at the 2022 event, with Homan explaining that his assistant had arranged his appearance and that they may have confused Fuentes’ group with another right-wing group. In his telling, it was only when Homan was actually at AFPAC, sitting at a table preparing his remarks, that he decided to do a Google search for Fuentes’ name.”

READ MORE: Was Trump Hit by a Bullet or Not? Calls Mount for Campaign to Release Medical Records

After doing some research at the event, Homan “got up and left” before it began.

HuffPost spoke with Homan at the time, and reported he “reiterat[ed] that he’s not racist. But a few minutes later, he called HuffPost to make a clarification. ‘I’m not saying this is a bad group,’ he said of Fuentes and the groypers. ‘I’m saying I don’t know.’ ”

Project 2025, the Heritage Foundation’s massive 920-page blueprint, has been called “a scheme to put virtually unlimited power in the hands of an authoritarian president, with mass firings of civil servants and the elimination of an independent Justice Department. It would cement in place a far-right, Christian nationalist, ‘biblical’ worldview as the foundation for law and policy.”

It calls for mass deportations, according to The New York Times.

“Besides being cruel,” Washington Monthly reported in May, “deporting 11 million unauthorized immigrants would cause labor shortages and slash national wage and salary income, likely triggering a recession and reigniting inflation.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’: RNC’s ‘Chilling’ MAGA Chant Echoes Trump – and ‘1930’s Germany’

Continue Reading

News

‘Wake Up People’: Trump ‘Elevating Criminals’ as MAGA Wants to ‘Wreck America’ Says Expert

Published

on

Dr. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, the noted expert on authoritarianism, fascism, and propaganda is sounding the alarm on Donald Trump, MAGA, the 2024 presidential election, and events surrounding the Republican National Convention.

“Wake up people. Trump is the most skilled propagandist in history,” Ben-Ghiat, an NYU professor of history and an MSNBC opinion columnist, wrote, noting he “did not need a crisis or one-party state to get millions to believe he won the 2020 election & see Jan 6 & strongman rule as positive.”

“He built a personality cult & indoctrinated thru disinfo & mass marketing,” she added.

Ben-Ghiat, who is also an advisor to the nonprofit, nonpartisan group Protect Democracy, was responding to professor of international relations Nicholas Grossman’s remarks:

“If the United States loses its democracy, it’ll be the dumbest slide into authoritarianism in history. Others cases had mass unemployment, a major war, something. None have done it with low unemployment, rising real wages, declining crime, and no troops fighting in foreign wars,” he wrote.

READ MORE: ‘What Caused Trump’s Injury?’: Campaign Silent as Attempted Assassination Questions Mount

Grossman was replying to international affairs columnist Doug Saunders of The Globe and Mail, who had observed, “For the first time in 23 years the USA isn’t at war. It’s experiencing full employment and rising living standards not seen in decades. Crime and violence are falling to record lows. It’s energy independent. Yet its leading candidate goes on about ‘civilizational collapse.’ ”

Ben-Ghiat also weighed in on remarks by economist Anders Åslund, who had written, “Elon Musk has promised Trump $45 million a month! An extraordinary amount. Why? Because Trump wants to prolong his tax breaks for billionaires – worth circa $4 trillion (!) over a decade. This will break US public finances, but Musk & other ruthless billionaires don’t care.”

“The point of MAGA,” she responded, “is to wreck America so autocrats –Trump’s allies–can prosper. Don’t believe me? Listen to Trump in VA on 6/29: ‘If you have a smart president, they’re not enemies. You’ll make them do great.’ He was speaking about Russia, China, and North Korea.”

She also responded to attorney and SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah’s post that former top Trump White House advisor Peter Navarro is being released from prison Wednesday and just hours later will speak at the Republican National Convention. Navarro is a conspiracy theorist and fringe economist who refused two lawful congressional subpoenas, was found guilty and sentenced to four months in jail.

“Trump’s agenda, as with all autocrats, is to replace rule of law with rule by the lawless,” Ben-Ghiat replied. “Elevating criminals to positions of prominence within the party is part of that.”

In an interview published Saturday in The Guardian on the threat of authoritarianism in America, Ben-Ghiat warned: “It is a democratic emergency.”

Ben-Ghiat is the author of several book including “Strongmen: How They Rise, Why They Succeed, How They Fall,” and “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present.”

READ MORE: ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’: RNC’s ‘Chilling’ MAGA Chant Echoes Trump – and ‘1930’s Germany’

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

News

‘What Caused Trump’s Injury?’: Campaign Silent as Attempted Assassination Questions Mount

Published

on

Four days after a 20-year old registered Republican shot at Donald Trump at an outdoor campaign rally, killing one man and wounding three others including the ex-president, questions continue to grow as the Trump campaign stays silent.

Trump on Saturday appeared to touch his ear, which moments later was seen covered in blood. The Secret Service is now under investigation. Trump had enough time to mouth “fight!” and pump his fists at the crowd, giving photographers the opportunity to take what are being called “iconic” images of the shooting. Trump even repeatedly demanded agents wait for him to find his shoes before pulling him to safety.

A CNN transcript shows Trump saying four times, “Let me get my shoes.”

To date, not a single physician who treated Trump at the local hospital has addressed the press with any medical information on the 78-year old who this week officially became the Republican Party nominee for president.

The New York Times on Tuesday reported U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), the disgraced former Physician to the President, said he traveled from Texas to Bedminster, New Jersey to be with Trump at his private golf course, arriving at 4:30 AM Sunday. According to The Times, Jackson “replaced the dressing on the former president’s ear on a flight to Milwaukee for the Republican National Convention.”

Jackson told The Times, “The bullet took a little bit off the top of his ear in an area that, just by nature, bleeds like crazy.” That was the extent of his medical remarks.

RELATED: ‘Release Your Medical Records’: No Report on Trump’s Health 3 Days After Assassination Attempt

The Daily Beast adds Jackson spoke to far-right wing commentator Benny Johnson on Monday.

“Jackson was not at the rally in Pennsylvania, but previously said his nephew attended and was grazed by a stray bullet while sitting in the former president’s ‘friends and family’ section.”

“It was far enough away from his head that there was no concussive effect from the bullet, and it just took the top of his ear off,” Jackson said.

The Trump campaign has not released any medical reports, nor has it cited or directed reporters to Congressman Jackson’s remarks.

“So journalists who demanded detailed medical information about examinations of President Biden just… don’t care to hear from any actual medical personnel about the injury sustained by the former President Trump after an assassination attempt? This is insane,” declared civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill Wednesday morning. Ifill is a professor of law and the former president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund.

“I have many questions!” responded MSNBC anchor Joy Reid. “Like where are the medical reports? What caused Trump’s injury and what was the injury? Sheapnel? [sic] Glass? A bullet? Where were the three attendees who were shot seated or standing relative to Trump? Why was Trump allowed to stand and pose for photos, fist pumping for nearly ten seconds while asking about his shoe when there could easily havs [sic] been additional shooters? How did the gunman manage to get on the roof of the building WHERE THE LOCAL POLICE WERE LITERALLY INSIDE?”

Reid wasn’t done.

“More questions,” she continued, “does it make sense that a 17 year old who three year[s] later is a member of a far right gun group donated to any political organization, let alone @actblueorg??? Has the organization verified that? And where is this supposed ladder? Did he seriously bring a five foot ladder with him and his AR? Really? And why haven’t authorities released information about all three civilian victims, including a schematic of where they were standing or sitting?”

READ MORE: ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’: RNC’s ‘Chilling’ MAGA Chant Echoes Trump – and ‘1930’s Germany’

Questions have swirled about a report of a $15 donation to a progressive group on January 20, 2021 – the day Joe Biden was inaugurated President. According to Snopes, a report that that donation came from a different Thomas Crooks, a 69-year old, are false.

“Thomas Crooks, the 20-year-old man who attempted to assassinate former U.S. President Donald Trump, once donated money to a political action committee aligned with the Democratic Party,” Snopes reports the claim, deeming it true.

Political commentator Bob Cesca on Wednesday quoted from this NBC News report that reads: “A Trump adviser on Tuesday declined to answer specific questions about the former president’s injury, telling NBC News that any statements about Trump’s health, his condition and medical care related to his ear would come directly from the former president.”

Cesca asks, “What’s he concealing?”

“Exactly, replied attorney and legal analyst Jeffrey Evan Gold.

“5 days after the event
No medical briefing.
No medical reports.
No doctor has come forth to even be interviewed in any publication.
Never seen anything like it in any mass shooting.”

“It has been several days since Trump was injured,” observed national security attorney Brad Moss Wednesday morning. “No medical reports. No statements from doctors. Nothing. And the media is barely talking about it, instead discussing an imaginary ‘pivot’.”

Former Republican U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh said, “No medical reports. No doctor’s statements. No information at all on the Republican nominee for President who was shot & injured four days ago. That’s just wrong. Shitty job media. If it were the Democratic nominee who’d been shot, Hannity, et al, would be blowing a gasket.”

Dr. Nick Mark writes: “The media silence on this is deafening. Did he have a head CT? What did it show? Did he have stitches? Tetanus shot? The NYT ran nonstop stories about Biden’s health after the debate but can’t be bothered to report on the health of someone who was literally shot in the head?”

RELATED: Was Trump Hit by a Bullet or Not? Calls Mount for Campaign to Release Medical Records

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.