Good News — If We Can Keep It

According to the Washington Post:

The White House said late Monday night that it will keep the Obama administration protections extended to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers, responding to reports that the orders would be reversed.

“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just as he was throughout the election,” the White House said in a statement. “The president is proud to have been the first ever G.O.P. nominee to mention the L.G.B.T.Q. community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.”…

The executive order Obama signed in 2014 had two parts. It expanded protections in federal hiring, which already barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, to also include gender identity. And it required all companies doing business with the federal government to have explicit policies barring discrimination against gay and transgender workers.

The move was significant because it applied to 24,000 companies that collectively employed about 28 million workers — representing about a fifth of the U.S. workforce…

Status will probably change — possibly more than once! — before most of you get to read this, but I’m kinda hoping Trump’s angry enough at his Talibangelical allies-of-convenience for falsely assuring him that everybody would lurve his #MuslimBan that he’ll refuse to grant them their dearest domestic-sadism wish out of pure spite. Trump seems to have no more animus towards LGBTQ people than he does the rest of us humans; as long as they’ve got something he wants (like Peter Thiel’s money) he’s a universalist. And with the ongoing normalisation of “unChristian” gender values — the Boy Scouts now allow transgender children to join their local troops! — there’s just not sufficient positive publicity for the President-Asterisk to risk any more popularity points just to make Mike Pence shut up for a few days.



And Now for the Gay Bashing

We’ll see. Part of me is wondering if this is a mole hunt inside the WH and this leak is just a chance for Bannon to find the source of leaks, because this would be so unpopular and cause such a shitstorm that it would be mind blowing. Not to mention, Trump was not openly an anti-gay bigot, not that his word amounts to anything.

Then again, another theory is that Trump really does have Alzheimers or mental issues and the Pence/Sessions bible thumper section is just pushing as much through as they can while Trump is still in office.

Fuck these motherfuckers either way.



Jeff Sessions: Not A Good Man, or An Honest Legislator

Nor are his fellow Republicans, no matter how “nice” they may appear to the Media Village Idiots. Per the Washington Post:

Sen. Cory Booker testified Wednesday that Sen. Jeff Sessions is the wrong man to lead the Justice Department, saying the Alabama Republican’s lengthy record in Congress exposed views that are inconsistent with the venerated job he is seeking.

“If confirmed, Senator Sessions will be required to pursue justice for women, but his record indicates that he won’t,” Booker said. “He will be expected to defend the equal rights of gay and lesbian and transgender Americans, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend voting rights, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend the rights of immigrants and affirm their human dignity, but the record indicates that he won’t.”

The remarks marked the first time a sitting senator has testified against a colleague’s nomination for a Cabinet post, and they were among the most notable in Sessions’s two-day confirmation hearing.

In total, legislators heard testimony from 15 supporters and detractors, and Sessions answered questions over more than 101/2 hours. Nothing that was said was likely to stop the Republican-controlled Senate from confirming him, with Democrats failing to land anything close to a fatal blow during the hearing…

Sessions is generally well liked in the Senate, despite views that draw polarized responses. To those in law enforcement and conservative legal circles, he is an honorable man, dedicated to enforcing the law no matter his personal feelings. To civil rights advocates, immigrant advocates and others, his record makes him a troubling selection to lead the Justice Department…

Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire:

As far as a political tactic for attaining a government job that makes sensible people blanch at the very thought of your assuming it, unremitting banality in the face of questioning, harsh or otherwise, has served people very, very well. This was why, on the first day of the hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee as to his nomination to be Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions wielded unremitting banality so masterfully that butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth and, even if it did, he would be polite and not mention in polite society that he had a mouthful of melted butter, nor spit it into the ashtrays, either. I’m not kidding. If you bought what he was selling, Sessions made Atticus Finch sound like James K. Vardaman.

You know all that really bad stuff he said when he was a senator, and when he was out on the stump pitching for El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago? Forget about all of that, because he’s going to be the Attorney General now, so none of that counts, no backsies. When he called the NAACP and the ACLU “un-American” organizations back during the 1980s, he only meant in the context of their opposition to the various excellent Reagan Administration adventures in Central America, and then only because he thought their opposition to our proxy death squads would damage the “historic” record of achievement enjoyed by both organizations…

The “good” news, FWIW, is that Sessions and his defenders at least feel themselves compelled to lie about his history and his beliefs. Dave Weigel got assigned to look for the pony in the pile:

Noteworthy, too, is the way Sessions and the Trump transition team decided to handle his confirmation hearing. Sessions didn’t mention Trump in his opening statement other than to thank him for the nomination. And even before senators questioned him about the allegations of racism that led the GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee to reject his nomination to the federal bench in 1986, Sessions preemptively defended himself against “damnably false charges.”

The guest seats were filled by the likes of Al Sharpton, Khizr Khan, members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), now the top Democrat on the panel, noted that “there is so much fear in this country . . . particularly in the African American community.”

Sessions said the “caricature of me in 1986” was wrong. “I did not harbor the kind of animosities and race-based discrimination ideas that I was accused of. I did not.”…

Sessions said it was “very painful” to be identified as a racist. He said he saw “systematic and powerful” racism in the South. “I know we need to do better,” Sessions said. “We can never go back.”

Does he believe that? We’ll see…

Much more below the fold — including a few quotes from Sessions’ defenders, at the very end.

From Politico, “Sessions faces decision on politicizing Justice Department“:

Donald Trump suggested on the campaign trail that he could use the Justice Department to fulfill his political agenda, taunting Hillary Clinton by threatening to throw her in jail over her email scandal.

Now, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, will have to decide whether to follow his predecessors by vowing to not let politics drive the DOJ’s decision-making.

The idea that the Justice Department should be free from political interference is not rooted in any statute or explicit constitutional provision. Instead, it evolved through a series of internal policy memos and letters issued by past Justice Department officials from both parties, according to a POLITICO review of historical records.

Sessions, as attorney general, could decide to abandon or overhaul those policies, a concern heightened by Trump’s suggestions during the campaign that he could pursue politically motivated prosecutions.

Notably, Sessions’ nomination is now in the hands of some of the same Republicans who pushed for tougher firewalls between the White House and the Justice Department during the Clinton administration. Those senators, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah, have not raised the issue in throwing their support behind Sessions, who faces his first day of confirmation hearings on Tuesday.

“This is the biggest question Jeff Sessions has to answer,” said Matt Miller, a former spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder, who left office in 2015. “Attorneys general have always established it’s not appropriate for the White House to influence prosecutorial or investigative decisions. But there’s no law or regulation. If they want to change it, they can change it.”…

***********



If Only Democrats Would Stop It with the Identity Politics

Hate merchants:

Earlier this month, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, through his spokesperson, told Buzzfeed they plan to reintroduce an embattled bill that barely gained a House hearing in 2015. But this time around, they said, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) was likely to succeed due to a Republican-controlled House and the backing of President-elect Donald Trump.

FADA would prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: “(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

Ironically, the language of the bill positions the right to discriminate against one class of Americans as a “first amendment” right, and bans the government from taking any form of action to curb such discrimination—including withholding federal funds from institutions that discriminate. FADA allows individuals and businesses to sue the federal government for interfering in their right to discriminate against LGBTQ people and would mandate the Attorney General defend the businesses.

On December 9, Sen. Lee’s spokesperson, Conn Carroll, told Buzzfeed the election of Trump had cleared a path for the passage of FADA.

“Hopefully November’s results will give us the momentum we need to get this done next year,” Carroll said. “We do plan to reintroduce FADA next Congress and we welcome Trump’s positive words about the bill.”

It’s time for us to revisit something.



Friday Evening Open Thread: Canvassing Social Notes


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Apart from GOTV, what’s on the agenda as we start the weekend?
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takei-democrats-abroad

Join Democrats Abroad for our fifth Global Town Hall of 2016 with special guest George Takei

Monday, October 24,

8:00 AM EDT (Washington DC time) by video-conference

Our very own Martha McDevitt-Pugh, DNC Member, Vice-Chair in the Netherlands, and Chair of the LGBT Caucus, will start things off by discussing the Democrats Abroad LGBT Caucus and Advocacy Work.

George Takei will be sharing his thoughts with DA about what really makes America great, why he supports Hillary for President — and why we must win the White House and Take Back Congress.



Just a Gentle Reminder that Mike Pence is a Fucking Bigot Himself

If I see one more story like this I am going to blow a gasket:

On Monday evening, Pence refused to use the term during an interview with CNN host Wolf Blizer.

“There are some supporters of Donald Trump and Mike Pence who ― David Duke, for example, some other white nationalists ― who would fit into that category of deplorables. Right?” Blitzer asked.

“Donald Trump has denounced David Duke repeatedly. We don’t want his support and we don’t want the support of people who think like him,” Pence said.

When Blitzer pushed Pence on if he’d call Duke, who is running for the Senate in Louisiana, a “deplorable,” Pence answered, “No I’m not in the name calling business…” He added, “What Hillary Clinton did Friday night was shocking. I mean, the millions of people who support Donald Trump around this country are not a basket of anything.”

Beyond the fact that Mike Pence will engage in all sorts of name-calling if it involves calling Democrats a name, Mike Pence if god damned bigot, so why would we give a shit if he calls a Klansman deplorable. Remember, we’re talking about this fucking guy:

pencesmullahs

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) quietly signed legislation Thursday that could legalize discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act would allow any individual or corporation to cite its religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party. But many opponents of the bill, which included business leaders, argued that it could open the door to widespread discrimination. Business owners who don’t want to serve same-sex couples, for example, could now have legal protections to discriminate.

“Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith,” Pence said in a statement Thursday. “The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.”

Mike Pence is a bigot. Yes, arguably, Trump might be worse. But let’s go full Godwin, because fuck it:

Der "Fhrer" und der "Duce" stellen sich dem FotografenAufnahmedatum: 1938Aufnahmeort: RomSystematik: Geschichte / Deutschland / 20. Jh. / NS-Zeit / Auáenpolitik / Reisen ins Ausland / Italien / Hitler

Der “Fhrer” und der “Duce” stellen sich dem Fotografen
Aufnahmedatum: 1938
Aufnahmeort: Rom
Systematik:
Geschichte / Deutschland / 20. Jh. / NS-Zeit / Auáenpolitik / Reisen ins Ausland / Italien / Hitler

Just because the guy on the right is worse doesn’t mean the guy on the left is any fucking better. So why won’t Trump or Pence call Duke deplorable? It’s like the old joke- “Why don’t sharks attack lawyers?”

“Professional courtesy.”

The end.



A Timely Demonstration That There Isn’t Much Difference Between Nazis, the Klan, the “Alt- Right,” and Good Old Fashioned Conservative Hate Groups

This is a skosh embarassing for WV’s Attorney General:

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey fired a spokeswoman Thursday, after it was revealed that she took part in a video called “The Stop White Genocide Video” that recites slogans of white supremacists.

Carrie Bowe, who was Morrisey’s assistant communications director, appears throughout the video, speaking about white genocide, a white nationalist conspiracy theory that alleges immigration and integration will cause whites to become extinct.

The YouTube video, first uploaded in December 2012 by someone with the screen name of “Johnny Mantraseed,” boasts that it was banned in 18 countries and was once removed from YouTube. It was re-posted to YouTube in 2013 and has been viewed more than 260,000 times.

Throughout the video, Bowe, who started working for Morrisey in January 2015, repeatedly states, “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white,” a phrase coined by well-known white supremacist Bob Whitaker, who lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

She has since taken to facebook (of course) to say she had no idea what the final video would look like, as if that somehow excuses her for saying the following on video:

“If I tell you the ongoing truth about genocide against my race, the white race, liberals and ‘respectable conservatives’ agree that I’m a Nazi that wants to kill 6 million Jews,” Bowe says.

Bowe also says white children in schools are being misled.

“Throughout elementary school, junior high, high school and college, I was told that my race, the white race, was the cause of all the world’s problems,” Bowe says in the video. “Now, many of you have jobs where minorities say things that would get you as a white person instantly fired.”

The four women ask viewers to “recite The Mantra,” a series of phrases embraced by segregationists.

“Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Africans, white countries for everybody,” another women in the video says, the first phrase of “The Mantra.”

Here’s my favorite part:

Bowe, who made $40,000 as a Morrisey aide, served as his acting press secretary in September 2015. She also helped manage his field office staff members.

Before Morrisey hired her, she was member relations director with the conservative Family Policy Council of West Virginia.

That’s the state level version of the Family Research Council, who just recently have been up this bullshit a few miles down the road from me:

The conservative Family Policy Council of West Virginia is asking Wheeling leaders to release any and all documentation of the proposed protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents with a Freedom of Information Act request.

The request states that any such ordinance would elevate “changeable” sexual behavior to a special level of legal protection. The Charleston-based council’s president, Allen Whitt, said this ordinance has already likely been drafted under residents’ noses, despite Mayor Glenn Elliott assuring no such legislation is anywhere near a draft, let alone fully realized.

“That is misinformation. It is untruth,” Whitt said. “Their position is to pass a city ordinance. We’ve seen this multiple times. That’s a straight up lie.”

The council describes itself as a “leading conservative policy group championing social issues,” such as religious freedom.

You ask me, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between alt-right, the klan, and good old fashioned “family values” conservatism.