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Signorile: The Trumpian Attacks on Pride Flags

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Anti-LGBTQ haters, mounting a resistance in Biden’s America, are targeting the rainbow symbol

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

I wrote a few weeks ago about several jarring incidents in which rainbow flags symbolizing queer Pride were vandalized or had triggered acts of violence against people, in addition to demands of removal from property.

Now comes this story this week out of Eastland Cove, a condo development just north of gay-friendly Fort Lauderdale, in Broward County, Florida. A gay couple, Mike Ferrari and Bob Plominski, have lived there for over 10 years, and have hung Pride flags in the past. But this year they received a letter from the Eastland Cove Homeowners Association that they must remove their flag from their mailbox or be fined $50 and $10 additionally for each day they refuse to remove it. They’re standing firm, and have taken their story nationally.

Sure, homeowners associations have wide discretion on decorations, including flags, and some are quite strict. But the key issue here is that Ferrari and Plominki have flown a rainbow flag for years. The association’s rules state that only American flags, state flags or military flags may be flown, but no one complained in the past. Now, however, one or more people lodged a complaint and the board says it was compelled to demand the couple remove the flag.

Why didn’t anyone care enough in the past to file a complaint, but now they have? It could be any of a number of reasons — including someone new moving in — but I’m betting, looking at what’s happening all over the country, that it’s more of an assertion of backlash by people who were emboldened by Donald Trump’s expressions of hate. That included his administration’s stripping LGBTQ rights and removing rainbow decorations and Pride flags from embassies around the world. The Trump White House had reversed course from the Obama White House, not marking Pride month with a proclamation, nor flying a rainbow flag or lighting the White House in rainbow colors.

But President Joe Biden, in rapid pace, reversed Trump’s horrific executive orders that harmed LGBTQ people. And now the embrace of Pride by the White House is back — and the flags are flying at embassies around the world, including at the Vatican — while the haters are lashing out now in an act of resistance in Biden’s America.

Certainly there have been hateful attacks on Pride flags since the time it was created by activist Gilbert Baker in 1978, through some of the most overtly homophobic times this country has seen, including during the escalation of the AIDS crisis. But in 2021 the attacks seem to have escalated in a way that shouldn’t be happening at this point in time. It’s like we’re gong backwards — or there is a backlash by people who feel very threatened by the current reality, in which Trump lost the election but they believe it was stolen and their rightful place was taken away. As I wrote a few weeks ago:

Sacramento church had its Pride flag burned last week. A student in Florida was brutally stomped on for bringing a Pride flag to a picnic. Boaters terrorized people in another boat on a lake in Washington state two weeks ago because they flew Pride flags on their boat (Ironically, the only harm came to the harassers, whose boat exploded, ignited by an engine fire during the altercation). Wisconsin homeowners were told by their association to remove Pride flags; they got creative and doused their home in rainbow floodlights.

Since then, a Pride flag was vandalized at a vintage shop in a town in Maine. A church outside of Cleveland reported its Pride flags were stolen two dozen times. Pride flags were stolen from the streets of Boise, Idaho. A teen at a Washington state university allegedly burned a Pride flag. A California city even refused to fly the flag at the request of residents.

 

Read the entire article and subscribe at The Signorile Report.

 

Image by Gallant’s Photography via Flickr and a CC license

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OPINION

Critics: Where’s Trump’s Hour-Long Press Conference With Policy Questions from Reporters?

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Following President Joe Biden’s 58-minute long unscripted, solo press conference without a teleprompter, fielding questions from reporters and responding with nuance and depth on a range of issues including foreign and domestic policy, some critics are calling on his opponent, ex-president Donald Trump, to do the same.

It’s been a long time since Trump has held an actual unscripted, lengthy, solo press conference, with questions from reporters, and well-over a year since he did one that wasn’t centered on his legal crises.

“When is last time Trump did an hour long press conference? Anyone know?” asked Bloomberg News’ Steven Dennis Thursday night after the President’s press conference.

“So now the media will demand that Trump hold an hour-long press conference on complex foreign policy issues — right?” snarked attorney and legal commentator Tristan Snell, who headed the successful New York State civil prosecution of Trump University.

READ MORE: ‘Dead Heat’: Biden Ahead or Tied With Trump in Two New Post-Debate Polls

“Trump is getting a free pass just like he did in 2016. No way he could do a press conference for 40 minutes after 3 long days with world leaders. He is incoherent most of time when he’s not spewing bile,” declared CNN Political Commentator Karen Finney Friday morning.

“It’s now time for the corporate media to dissect every word Trump says for the next two weeks, have debates on his mental state, amplify the small number of Republicans who want Trump to drop out and demand he hold a press conference where we can dissect him even more,” remarked attorney and SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah Friday morning.

“Per CSPAN last time Trump held a press conference that approached an hour in length at which he took questions from reporters, he was still president,” observed Aaron Fritschner, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) Friday morning.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

He adds, “Per the CSPAN archive, the last time Donald Trump took questions from reporters in a press conference was on February 8th. National and campaign reporters made an issue of the lack of press conferences with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. To date, they have not done so with Trump.”

On November 8, 2022, from Mar-a-Lago, after polls closed, Donald Trump delivered remarks discussing the midterm elections. He spoke for about four minutes to supporters and took no questions from reporters, whom he mocked. (Full C-SPAN video.)

Semafor’s David Weigel argues, “A lot of the ‘whatabout Trump’ stuff is cope, but he really is getting an easy ride with interviewers compared to 2016 or 2020.”

“Most of his interviews are softball-fests. When he did All-In the campaign had to clean up his green card/diploma answer.”

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

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OPINION

Trump Divides GOP Ahead of RNC Convention

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In 2008, as the Democratic National Convention approached, eyes were not only on the party’s presumptive nominee, but on his top challenger, Hillary Clinton, as many wondered if she would embrace Barack Obama for the good of the party and the nation. NBC News would go on to call it an “epic duel.”

She did.

In 2016, having won the Democratic nomination, the focus turned from Clinton, the presumptive nominee, to Bernie Sanders, her main challenger, to see if he would support the her. The Washington Post called it “a bruising primary season.”

He did.

At the 2008 convention, Hillary Clinton released her delegates and formally nominated Barack Obama to be the party’s nominee, saying, “let’s declare all together with one voice right here and right now that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president.”

At the 2016 convention Hillary Clinton delivered a speech designed to unite the party, telling Sanders supporters, “I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause.”

Nothing like that will happen next week at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, because those who opposed the party’s presumptive nominee have not been invited to speak. Donald Trump has made no attempt to unite the party by embracing his critics within the party – and now he will exclude them.

READ MORE: ‘Wildly Irresponsible’: NY Times Blasted Over Debunked Parkinson’s Doctor ‘Innuendo’

As “Republicans happily watch Democratic turmoil over Biden” after the President’s poor debate performance nearly two weeks ago, the GOP has many internal battles of its own that threaten party unity.

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s former UN Ambassador, was the last candidate opposing him to drop out. After having denounced the “chaos” her former boss brings, and after declaring his mental fitness was in “decline,” in May she warned: “Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me, and not assume that they’re just going to be with him.”

In January, Trump had warned he would blacklist Haley donors.

On Tuesday she released her delegates and called for “unity,” but stopped short of endorsing him.

Haley has not been invited to the Republican National Convention and will neither speak nor attend, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was once considered the best chance Republicans had to defeat Donald Trump, in January dropped out of the race and endorsed the ex-president.

He, too, has not been invited to speak at the convention next week.

“DeSantis will be in Milwaukee, but only on the periphery of the convention,” USA Today reports. “The two-term Florida governor is scheduled to participate in a Moms for Liberty panel discussion and a breakfast with his state delegation. But a source familiar with the planning said DeSantis won’t have a spot on the convention stage during the four-day affair.”

It’s not just on the national stage next week that voters will see how Trump has attempted to stomp out any dissent.

Following the release of the draft Republican Party platform, reportedly in part written by Donald Trump, which “could read like a MAGA rally,” The New York Times reported, former Trump Vice President Mike Pence denounced the document.

Claiming it “removed historic pro-life principles that have long been the foundation of the platform,” Pence said, “I urge delegates attending next week’s Republican Convention to restore language to our party’s platform recognizing the sanctity of human life and affirming that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.”

Other leaders among the Christian far-right, which is one of the largest portions of Trump’s base, have also denounced the RNC platform because it has removed some anti-abortion language, despite it actually paving the way for “fetal personhood.”

RELATED: ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ to Trump: Draft RNC Platform Spins Abortion and LGBTQ Issues

In March, Pence announced he would not support Trump’s re-election bid.

“It should come as no surprise that I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year,” Pence said.

“Pence has joined a faction of conservatives decrying the updated Republican National Committee platform rubber-stamped by former President Donald Trump for its inclusion of softened language on abortion, a marked change from past cycles,” ABC News reports. Anti-LGBTQ hate group head Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is a member of the RNC platform committee, and in an act of defiance submitted a minority report opposing the abortion language.

It’s not just GOP leaders. After the Trump-endorsed platform was pushed through the committee with little debate, one platform committee member from Utah told WISN News (video below), “they rolled us.”

“It’s never happened before,” Gail Ruzicka said as she shook her head. “There was no committees, we’ve always had subcommittees where we can go in and work on a section of the platform.”

But leaders “didn’t allow any amendments,” or discussion, she lamented.

“Everything they told us they were going to do isn’t what happened.”

“I didn’t vote for this,” she said, adding, “I’ve never been treated so badly, to have them force this vote on us.”

Ruzicka said they were given the draft language, had time just to glance at it before a motion was made and the committee voted on it. That platform will be voted on at the convention Monday.

Tony Perkins confirmed Ruzicka’s description.

In a statement he blasted the RNC:

“Unfortunately, the choreographed process — which allowed no amendments to be discussed or voted upon — was unbecoming of a party that champions free speech and due process. Delegates were given the platform this morning when they entered the convention hall with no time to review, much less the 72 hours that Republican lawmakers call for in the House of Representatives. Delegates were only given a few minutes of discussion before ‘debate’ was ended and a vote was taken.”

And on Capitol Hill, Trump’s impact is imploding the far-right House Freedom Caucus.

“The House Freedom Caucus Monday night voted to eject Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) — who supported the victorious Trump-endorsed candidate over the group’s own chair Rep. Bob Goode in his failed primary last month — spurring pro-Trump Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) to resign and sources to warn of more departures to come,” Raw Story reported Tuesday.

Watch the video above or at this link.

READ MORE: Josh Hawley: ‘I’m Advocating Christian Nationalism’

 

 

 

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OPINION

‘Wildly Irresponsible’: NY Times Blasted Over Debunked Parkinson’s Doctor ‘Innuendo’

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The New York Times is under fire after publishing a report Monday critics call “wildly irresponsible” and “not journalism,” which – at least in its headlines – implies President Biden has Parkinson’s, or might have Parkinson’s, despite the White House and the White House Physician point-blank stating he does not.

“Parkinson’s Expert Visited the White House Eight Times in Eight Months,” was The Times’ headline. The print edition, The Times noted, ran this headline: “Parkinson’s Expert Visited White House 8 Times in 8 Months, but Why Is Unclear.”

The context is important — The Times has published over two hundred stories on President Biden’s debate performance – now nearly two weeks ago – and published an editorial from the Editorial Board calling on President Biden to drop out of the race. On Tuesday The Times’ Editorial Board for a second time called on the President to end his re-election campaign.

Media critic Dan Froomkin noted Monday night that The Times was “still front-paging a story on Biden and Parkinson’s based solely on innuendo and now thoroughly debunked by the White House.” He added that the print edition headline ran after the White House denied President Biden has Parkinson’s.

READ MORE: Josh Hawley: ‘I’m Advocating Christian Nationalism’

The Times, which has a habit of re-working stories without noting changes, early on Monday had published this sub-head: “The White House has said that President Biden has no signs of the disease and that there has been no reason to update the most recent testing, conducted in February.”

But later, changed it to read: “The White House said President Biden had met with a neurologist only three times in more than three years in office, and implied that the doctor’s visits were related to treating other people.”

And later still: “The White House said President Biden had met with a neurologist only three times in more than three years in office. But it would not say whether the visiting expert was consulting with the president’s physician about his health.”

What The Times did not include in its report, as many critics have noted, is that last week President Biden signed major legislation in a public ceremony, the “National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act.”

“An expert on Parkinson’s disease from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center visited the White House eight times in eight months from last summer through this spring, including at least once for a meeting with President Biden’s physician, according to official visitor logs,” The Times report reads. “The expert, Dr. Kevin Cannard, is a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders and recently published a paper on Parkinson’s. The logs, released by the White House, document visits from July 2023 through March of this year.”

In the middle of The Times report, it acknowledges: “Records from the Obama administration, when Mr. Biden was vice president, show that Dr. Cannard made at least 10 visits in 2012 plus a family tour; four in 2013; one in 2014; four in 2015; and eight in 2016. Mr. Trump rescinded Mr. Obama’s voluntary White House visitors disclosure policy, so records are not available for his four years in office.”

As many have noted, The Times appears to have based the bulk of its report on visitor logs.

David Ryan Miller, an Assistant Professor of Government at American University, wrote: “The mistake journalists made yesterday was speculating about the *purpose* of these visits based on their *existence.*”

“COULD they have been to treat Biden? Yes. But without knowing more than their existence, reporting like this from @nytimes was wildly irresponsible.”

READ MORE: ‘Where’s Trump?’: Ex-President Hasn’t Held Any Public Events Since Day After the Debate

During Monday’s White House daily press briefing reporters attacked Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, causing tumult to a degree rarely seen in that room.

Late Monday night the White House was forced to release a two-page statement from the Physician to the President, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, stating, “Dr. Cannard has been the Neurology Consultant to the White House Medical Unit since 2012,” and, “President Biden has not seen a neurologist outside of his annual physical.”

He made clear, President Biden does not have Parkinson’s, or any “other central neurological disorder.”

“The results of this year’s exam were detailed in my February 28th letter,” Dr. O’Connor added, citing those findings: “An extremely detailed neurologic exam was again reassuring in that there were no findings which would be consistent with any cerebellar or other central neurological disorder, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or ascending lateral sclerosis, nor are there any signs of cervical myelopathy. This exam did again support a finding of peripheral neuropathy in both feet. No motor weakness was detected. He exhibits no tremor, either at rest or with activity. He demonstrates excellent fine motor dexterity.”

On CNN Monday night, attorney and political commentator Baraki Sellers, a Democratic former U.S. Congressman from South Carolina, blasted the media’s coverage and suggestions President Biden has Parkinson’s.

“I think it’s patently absurd that we’re having this discussion, to be completely honest with you,” Sellers told his CNN colleagues Monday night (video below). “I think we’re chasing this rabbit of The New York Times saying that I believe a Parkinson’s expert visited the White House eight times without even corroborating that, with whether or not the President was there or who that doctor actually saw.”

“It’s extremely clear now that he did not see the President of the United States. And to use visitor logs to simply say or deduce that someone has Parkinson’s is not journalism, it is beyond the pale,” Sellers said.

“We spend more time talking about Joe Biden’s age, then we have Project 25, than we have the Chevron ruling, than we have what the Supreme Court did about presidential immunity. And I think that’s an utter disservice to the, it’s a disservice to voters in this country.”

He added, “President Joe Biden is old, he is old. But there is an argument about policy and what he has done and the question that people have to ask themselves, and the question that the mainstream media is not asking themselves, and journalists are not asking themselves about is his ability to lead. Has he not led us from COVID? Has he not led us to a bipartisan infrastructure bill? Has he not led us to a bipartisan infrastructure Reduction Act? Has he not selected a Black woman as Vice President, has he not put a Black woman on the Supreme Court? I mean, let’s talk tangibly about the things that he has done, because he’s old. And you know, the question is, do you want someone old or do you want a sociopath? That is legitimately the question.”

“But we still we are harping on this mainly because there are a lot of journalists within the beltway who feel as if somehow they’ve been lied to or betrayed, or emotional, and that emotionalism is not journalism.”

Communications expert Susan Bordson on Monday blasted the media’s response to the Parkinson’s speculation: “The way our collective political press and our dumb American culture is acting and responding right now, how a person’s feet perform is ranked as greater in importance for executive governance than one’s critical thinking, principles, experience, wisdom, character, etc.”

Media critic Jennifer Schulze observed, “This @nytimes set off a feeding frenzy with this speculative story about a ‘Parkinson’s doctor.’ We now know the doctor saw Biden 3 times & other patients the other times. The main headline & story should be crystal clear about that right at the top.”

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell added more details Monday night.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘You Keep Talking About Donald Trump’: Exasperated Fox Host Tries to Turn Dem Against Biden

 

 

 

 

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