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OPINION

Yep, Obama Is Responsible for This Week’s LGBTQ Supreme Court Victory

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This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

In a piece in Gen, I write about how, ultimately, President Obama — and the work at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during his administration — paved the way for the massive and stunning Supreme Court win on LGBTQ equality, in which the court ruled that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are protected from employment discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The deliciousness of the ruling is that Justice Neil Gorsuch — the perhaps-until-yesterday darling of the religious extremists and a man appointed by Donald Trump — wrote the majority decision, and Chief Justice John Roberts joined him and the four liberals to slam down a 6-3 ruling.

This ruling will have far-reaching implications because it deemed that the word “sex” — a protected class under Title VII — is to be interpreted to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Legal scholars believe first and foremost it will undercut Trump’s vicious rollbacks of rights for transgender people specifically.

And its broad implications for dozens of statutes that prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, from housing to education, are clear, likely will lead to many more wins for gay and transgender people.

“We must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear,” Gorsuch wrote in words that are likely to be quoted in many cases about many areas. “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

But as I write in the piece in Gen, Gorsuch is actually no friend to LGBTQ rights and is a “religious liberty” crusader who will likely try to limit these very rights with odious exceptions allowing discrimination based on religious beliefs.

To read the remainder of this article, visit Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter.

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OPINION

Sessions Joins Barr in Pleading Ignorance About Trump DOJ Spying on Dems – Is Rosenstein the Guy or Are They Setting Him Up?

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Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions late Friday afternoon announced that he too, just like former Attorney General Bill Barr, had no idea the Dept. of Justice was spying on at least two top House Democrats on the Intelligence Committee. The scandal has shaken both the DOJ and the general public so broadly the Inspector General – less than 24 hours after The New York Times bombshell dropped – announced a wide-ranging internal investigation.

The track records of both Barr and Sessions when it comes to telling the truth – even under oath – are questionable at best and subject to interpretation.

Are they setting former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein up to take the fall? Or was it Rosenstein all along? Or both – were they all in on spying on Democrats?

Many Americans will remember that Sessions lied under oath during his confirmation hearing:

And this famous video of then-Senator Kamala Harris, now Vice President Kamala Harris, grilling Barr to a crisp is legendary:

Barr on Friday also claimed Trump knew nothing about the “investigation” and did not order the spying.

At the FBI, which the DOJ oversees, it’s called “lack of candor” and it’s a fireable offense. Unless you’re the Attorney General and your boss is Donald Trump and you’re helping him.

(Sessions was fired by Trump, not directly for this lie, but as a result of it: he was was forced to recuse himself from all things Russia, including protecting Trump, which led to Trump giving him the ax.)

Legal experts have said there is no way any investigation into a sitting member of Congress could have taken place – including, especially, with subpoenas of at least a dozen staffers, family members, and a minor child signing off on those warrants – unless a very top official or officials at DOJ approved the investigations.

On Friday both Barr and Sessions claimed they knew nothing about the investigations involving members of Congress, so, if Americans are to believe them, (and there’s great reason to not,) presumably the only other person who conceivably could have approved the spying on top elected Democrats would be Rod Rosenstein.

Rosenstein is also the only top DOJ official who was there throughout the spying, which started in 2017 under Sessions, ended after nothing was found, and was started up again under Barr.  And again, came up empty.

Speaking of lack of candor, Congressman Matt Gaetz, who is under DOJ investigation and has every reason to want to take a swipe at DOJ, would like you to believe Rosenstein is the one who OK’d the spying:

So all we know is that we don’t know, but hopefully the Inspector General will find out and let the American people know who approved spying on Democrats for political retribution.

 

 

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OPINION

‘Sit This One Out Champ’: Trump Surgeon General Slammed for Being ‘Uncomfortable’ With Biden Support of Anheuser’s Beer-for-Vaccine Incentive

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After spending the first year of the pandemic generally staying quiet about President Donald Trump’s downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic, comparison to the flu, calling it the “China virus,” opposing masks and social distancing, promoting hydroxychloroquine and other fake “cures,” refusing to invoke the Defense Production Act, and using the pandemic as a way to get on TV every day while spreading false information, former Trump Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams is “uncomfortable” with the Biden administration supporting a private company’s free beer incentive, and wonders, “Are cigarettes next?”

“Do public health advocates who’ve tried to raise the alarm about the health complications of increasing alcohol consumption really not have a problem with a federally sanctioned beer giveaway?” Dr. Adams, a former Vice Admiral, asked on Twitter Tuesday.

That “federally sanctioned beer giveaway” comes courtesy of Anheuser-Busch, which has “partnered with the Biden White House to give every American a free beer if 70% of Americans are vaccinated with at least one shot by the Fourth of July,” according to Fortune.

Americans are not given a COVID-19 vaccine shot and then a beer chaser at their local CVS, Walgreen’s or hospital or health clinic.

It’s merely one way to get more people vaccinated.

Given that the Trump administration is responsible for what the media generously calls “vaccine hesitancy,” it’s stunning the top health official who sat back and said little as Trump spread falsehoods – literally creating the situation we now see, where 41% of Republicans say they will never get vaccinated – is “uncomfortable.”

“I’m all for incentives/ rewards, and I’m not against people making personal choices to drink, but even the current Surgeon General put out a report warning about the health effects of alcohol consumption. Donuts, gambling (lottery tickets)… Are cigarettes next? Just me?” Dr. Adams asked.

He then suggested he had tried to take the high road, but just could not stand by any longer.

“I’m just really starting to get uncomfortable with the public health trade offs here,” he said, which would be trying to unite America by motivating people to get their friends and family members who refuse to follow the science and get vaccinated to save their lives and the lives of those around them, vaccinated. “And the messages we’re subtly sending our youth. Is it really worth it?”

Many argue that, yes, it is. Some agreed with Adams. Some criticized him for his performance as Surgeon General.

And some asked why he didn’t have a problem with the gun giveaway.

 

Image: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen via Flickr 

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OPINION

Tucker Carlson’s Lie Biden Called White Republican Men ‘More Dangerous Than ISIS’ Backfires – How Far Off Is He?

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Fox News host Tucker Carlson Tuesday night falsely claimed that President Joe Biden called white Republican men “more dangerous than ISIS.”

During his speech commemorating and bringing attention to the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, President Biden, in Tulsa, said, “folks, we can’t — we must not give hate a safe harbor. ”

“As I said in my address to the joint session of Congress: According to the intelligence community, terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today.  Not ISIS, not al Qaeda — white supremacists. That’s not me; that’s the intelligence community under both Trump and under my administration.”

Here’s what Tucker Carlson, who has been repeatedly called a white supremacist and endorser of white supremacist rhetoric, said last night.

“You’re not surprised. It’s always the same people, isn’t it? ‘Those white Republican men’ – the very ones that just today Joe Biden warned us are more dangerous than ISIS. These are the people have been beating up elderly Asian women in our cities, you’ve seen that plague unfold. These the ones who don’t believe in science who have no decency, they’re the problem.”

Media Matters put together this video that proves how Carlson lied:

President Biden didn’t call white Republican men “more dangerous than ISIS,” nor did he suggest all white Republican men are white supremacists. He said “terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today,” and that fact, as he noted, came from the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Tucker Carlson did what he does almost nightly: try to give white nationalists and white supremacists cover.

But this time it backfired.

Not all Republicans are white nationalists or white supremacists, but the fact is that most white nationalists and white supremacists are white Republicans, and most are white conservative men.

Carlson Tuesday night just shined a spotlight on that ugly fact.

During his inaugural address, President Joe Biden told the American people, “A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.”

A cry for survival comes from the planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear.

And now, a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.

To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words.

It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy:

Unity.

Unity.

Remember how Republicans were outraged?

Some headlines from that and the following day:

Why Are Conservatives So Angry Biden Denounced White Supremacy?

Rand Paul Says Joe Biden’s Speech Was ‘Innuendo Calling Us White Supremacists’

Biden’s targeting of racist extremism is being portrayed as an attack on the right itself

Less than two months ago House Republicans were “basically starting a white supremacist caucus,” as Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin put it. They were forming an “America First Caucus” to preserve “uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

In 2019 John Nichols at The Nation wrote: “White Nationalism Is a Republican Crisis.”

That same year Carol Anderson at The Guardian wrote, “Republicans’ white supremacist problem is a threat to America.”

Tucker Carlson can pretend Biden called white Republican men “more dangerous than ISIS,” and his followers will of course believe him, but the fact is, many of them are white nationalists and white supremacists, and there’s no hiding from that – or from just how dangerous to America that hate truly is.

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