Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cry Babies Trump and Pence Can Dish It Out But Can't Take It

Donald Trump has a well documented history of saying whatever he wants, often in the most vulgar of ways.  For eight years Trump felt free to say any and all kinds of lies about Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Mike Pence has waged a decades long war against those who do not accept his hate and fear and fairy tale based religious beliefs. Now, they want everyone to give them respect and deference.  They can dish it out and mistreat others, but as demonstrated last night and today, they sure can't take it when other Americans exercise their right of freedom of speech and call out Pence for the nasty bigot that he is.  Neither Trump nor Pence has even been sworn into office yet and already the cry baby temper tantrums and conniption fits are on display.   What prompted Trump and Pence's rage is that the cast of the hit Broadway show, Hamilton, addressed Pence's documented bigotry and homophobia.  Many in the audience booed Pence and made their contempt for the man known.  Here's what the cast said:

“We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” . . . “But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us,” Dixon [who plays Aaron Burr] added, while gesturing to the musical’s diverse cast and to the audience. 

Trump - and Pence - needs to get his head out of his narcissistic and ego mad ass and understand that for as long as he is in office many of us will never respect him and will speak out loudly voicing our displeasure with him as a man and condemning his policies when they are deemed misguided.  If he can't take the heat and criticism of the presidency, he needs to resign now and do all of us and the world a favor.  Ditto for Mr. Pence.

A piece in the Washington Post reminds of Pence's horrible treatment of LGBT Americans.  Here are article highlights:
Although the Broadway cast’s message was directed broadly at what would be an administration under Trump’s presidency, Pence himself has a political track record that has been excoriated by the LGBT community. Last year, as governor of Indiana, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act after the federal courts ruled that same-sex marriage bans in states were unconstitutional. Under the new state law, Indiana business owners could cite their religious beliefs if they didn’t want to participate in same-sex weddings. Opponents said it amounted to allowing discrimination based on sexual orientation. A week later, after facing boycotts and widespread condemnation from rights groups, Pence signed an amendment clarifying that the law could not be used to discriminate against the LGBT community.
He has a “0%” rating from the Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit group that calls Pence “notoriously anti-LGBTQ” when he was chosen to be Trump’s running mate. Republican Chrys Kefalas outlined Pence’s anti-LGBT record in a guest column for The Washington Post:
During his public career, Pence has been an outspoken opponent of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. In Congress, he opposed efforts to encourage foreign governments to decriminalize homosexuality and sought to block the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. As a governor, he stood against not only marriage equality, but civil unions as well. He also opposed a law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace and signed one opening the door to wide-ranging discrimination against these residents of his own state under the guise of religious liberty.
None of this was lost on the audience, who greeted Pence’s arrival to his prime orchestra seat with a mix of cheers and boos, according to the AP.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 2

What It Means to Be a "Christian" In Trump's America

While Donald Trump received the votes of a little more than 25% of registered voters and lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, don't tell that to Trump and his giddy supporters, especially the 81% or so of evangelical Christians who voted for a trice married, serial adulterer, sexual predator who also happens to be a pathological liar.  If there is any silver lining to be found in the dire situation America now finds itself, it may be that the hideousness of fundamentalist Christianity has been laid bare for the world to see.  In its own way, it is just as toxic and poisonous as fundamentalist Islam, and Donald Trump seems only too happy in helping construct a Christian version of Sharia law here in America.  A column in the Washington Post looks at what a "Christian" - or a least one that voted for Trump - now means.  Here are column excerpts:
“What is a Christian?” grows out of an article this week by The Post’s Julie Zauzmer, which described jubilation among some Christians over Donald Trump’s victory — a win supported by more than 80 percent of white evangelicals.
“It really makes you feel great to be a Christian,” one person told The Post. “I think Christians took a big stand this time and said we’re going to stand up for our faith,” said a second. Referring to Trump, a third said, “I feel like we actually have an advocate now in the White House.”
Those attitudes are reflected in a Pew Research Center analysis of exit poll results, which show that high numbers of white, born-again evangelical Christians, as well as a majority of Catholics, went for Trump.
That notwithstanding, CNN exit polls also showed that 59 percent of nonwhite evangelical Protestants, 45 percent of Catholics and 71 percent of Jewish voters backed Hillary Clinton.
Their embrace of Trump isn’t, however, what prompts the “What is a Christian?” question.
It is raised because of A Declaration by American Evangelicals Concerning Donald Trump,” a statement posted on that has been signed by more than 22,000 evangelical leaders and their supporters. . . . Trump, they declare, “fueled white American nationalism with xenophobic appeals and religious intolerance at the expense of gospel values [and] democratic principles.”
They charge him with mocking women and the sanctity of marriage vows, disregarding facts, worshiping “wealth and shameful materialism,” and taking an already-weakened “culture of civility to nearly unprecedented” depths with his vulgarity and ugly personal attacks.
Hence the conundrum: A racially diverse community of evangelical Christian denominations and their supporters puts down Trump, beloved by a majority of white evangelical Christians, as “morally unacceptable.”  What is a Christian? What does it mean to be one?
[Martin Luther] King expressed disappointment at seeing white church leaders, in the midst of blatant racial and economic injustices, “stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities.”
King, . . .  saw segregation as morally wrong and sinful. Why didn’t his white co-religionists in the South see segregation statutes the same way?
In truth, some of the white Christians who professed belief in the authority of the Scriptures and the “good news” of the gospel were the backbone of racial segregation. They elected and reelected to public office some of the country’s most sexist, racist and religious bigots.
[L]ooking back at the election night outcome, a different, haunting question recurs: What is a Christian?
I have an answer that Christians of all stripes will not like.  On the one hand, the "Christians" who backed Trump are in truth bigots and racists of a modern day Pharisee mold that make the Pharisees of the Bible look upstanding and decent in comparison.  They make a mockery of the Gospel message and are defined by the hypocrisy and hatred of others, meaning anyone who isn't a white fundamentalist Christian.  On the other side, we see a group of timid, hand wringing folk who actually follow some of the Gospel message tenants but rarely do so outside of their churches and church halls which serve more as social clubs than messengers of what Christ allegedly preached.   They talk a good game, but shrink in fear in the face of hate and bigotry and act akin to the "good Germans" who stayed silent, sat on their hands, and allowed the rise of Hitler.  Neither form of "Christian" is a social positive.  Hopefully, more and more of the younger generations will recognize this reality and simply walk away from Christianity entirely.  The sooner Christianity is a dead religion in America, the better off the nation will be.

Trump Is Building Team of Racists

Bannon, Sessions and Flynn
As the last post noted, white rage and racism swept Donald Trump to power and now he is setting about building a team of racists in his administration to deliver on his promises that America will be a whites first nation.   Just as they helped normalize the toxicity of Trump's campaign rhetoric and appeals to the ugliest elements in American society, now much of the media is fast at work trying to normalize the team of open racists and misogynists being assembled by Trump to lead his fascist like administration.  We are seeing euphemisms like "conservative" and variations thereof as a smoke screen to shield racists, bigots and homophobes that are rapidly gaining Trump's nod with the help of Mike Pence, an alarming extremist himself.  A piece in New York Magazine looks at the slate of foul individuals who, if they have their way, will take the nation back decades and erase much societal progress.  Here are highlights:
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign bludgeoned modern norms about the acceptability of racism. The candidate proposed a religious test for immigrants, and called a federal judge unfit on the grounds of his heritage. Trump could have decided to put the racial demagoguery of the campaign behind him, and it could have been remembered as a divisive ploy to win that did not define his administration, like George Bush’s manipulation of white racial panic to defeat Michael Dukakis in 1988. But Trump, perhaps predictably, is making a different choice. His early staffing choices are redefining the boundaries of acceptable racial discourse in Republican politics.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s new national security adviser, would be disqualified from a normal administration on multiple grounds. He is paid by authoritarian regimes in Turkey and Russia, as well as Russia’s propaganda apparatus. Multiple figures who worked with him in the military describe him as “unhinged,” a highly negative quality for a primary foreign-policy adviser.
The singular belief that lies at the core of Flynn’s worldview is indiscriminate hatred of Islam. . . . He openly endorses indiscriminate fear of the entire religion . . .
Jeff Sessions, Trump’s new attorney general, originally had the political profile of a white reactionary Alabama politician in the Old South mode. The Senate rejected his bid for a federal judgeship in 1986 over a series of racist remarks he’d made, some of which he confirmed. Sessions called the NAACP “un-American” and accused it of “forcing civil rights down the throats of people,” and he allegedly called a black lawyer “boy” and warned him to be careful how he addressed white people.
Despite his rejection by the Senate, Sessions won election in the state, and his racial repertoire has since expanded beyond the traditional Deep South mode. He has enthusiastically embraced arch-restrictionist stances on immigration. He objected to the National Endowment for the Humanities distributing books about Islam to public libraries. He is obsessed with a shadowy globalist media-business conspiracy in general, and the role of George Soros in particular.
Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, has attracted perhaps the most controversy. That Bannon’s ex-wife has testified to his hatred of Jews has attracted a great deal of attention, but this fact both over- and understates the racial nature of his beliefs. Bannon’s journalistic work is centrally dedicated to the task of refashioning conservatism along white-identity lines. His publication, Breitbart News, has promoted the “alt-right.” Breitbart itself defines the alt-right as a more intelligent version of skinheads. . . 
The theme connecting Bannon’s ideology with Flynn and Sessions is an intensified and narrow nationalism. The Bannonites see a “real” America as under threat by demographic transformation, and the waves of immigrants eating away at its culture from below are in alliance with a global and disproportionately Jewish media and business elite from above. Their project is to preserve white Christian American identity, and wage a civilizational war against Islam in alliance with other white Christian powers, especially Russia.
This ideology is often portrayed as a frontal attack on traditional conservatism. It is not quite that. . .  [T]he main points of emphasis in traditional conservatism lie elsewhere. It is primarily concerned with opposing redistribution from rich to poor.
Bannon is less obsessed with cutting the top tax rate, deregulating Wall Street, and reducing social spending than the traditional GOP is, but he does not oppose these policies, either. That generalized agreement, or lack of disagreement, is the reason it is possible for white-identity conservatives and libertarian conservatives to work together under unified Republican government. Paul Ryan may not like racism . . . but he is willing to work with racists to gut the welfare and regulatory states.
If Trump had lost, the GOP would probably have reverted to its traditional anti-government identity very quickly. Now Trump is reshaping it before our eyes. 
With the holiday season here, if you want to get a gift for your friends and acquaintances who voted for Trump, Klan robes are probably the most appropriate.  And be sure to say "Merry Christmas" to them as you hand them their gift. 

Trump Is the Result of White Rage, Not Economic Anxiety

One of the myths promoted by the much of the mainstream media throughout the just past election is that whites rallied to Donald Trump due to economic anxiety and frustration.  Any, apparently, was more palatable to "journalists" than admitting that a majority of whites who voted for Trump and Republican candidates were motivated by racial hatred and resentment.  Pretending that something isn't so and lacking the spine to call out ugliness in the populace is one of the great betrayals of the media and is yet another example of how the media has enabled bad things to happen to this country, the unchallenged lies that took the nation into the Iraq War being another example.  An article in Time looks at the real reason we are now facing four years of the least competent and most reactionary (to the delight of the Christofascists) administration in the nation's history.  Here are excerpts:
White rage got us here. While the economic anxiety of Trump supporters is often touted as the driving force behind the mogul’s electoral college victory, that rationale is just a ruse, a clever red herring. The median income of a Trump supporter is more than $70,000 per year, which is well above the national average, and a 2016 study noted that it would take African Americans 228 years to equal the wealth of whites in the U.S. Clearly, Trump’s pathway into the Oval Office is not really about white economic angst. Rather, Barack Obama’s election — and its powerful symbolism of black advancement — was the major trigger for the policy backlash that led to Donald Trump, and which has now put America’s national security at risk.
Republicans carved out this trench shortly after Obama’s 2008 victory. The GOP pushed through a number of laws at the state level to block as many of his voters, primarily African Americans, from the polls as possible. North Carolina targeted black voters with nearly “surgical precision.” Wisconsin Republicans were “giddy” about disfranchising African Americans, especially in Milwaukee. Florida’s GOP cut particular days of early voting to nullify the political participation of black churchgoers. Texas required certain types of government-issued photo IDs to vote and then ensured that nearly 1.6 million black and Latino citizens would have very limited access. Ohio skewed its early voting laws to diminish the turnout in the cities while also implementing a literacy test that officials applied only to those in urban counties.
The end result was that the Republicans had effectively shattered the black and Latino demographic firewall that could have prevented a Trump presidency. A Trump presidency, to be clear, that many in the Republican establishment rightfully feared because of the mogul’s demonstrated unfitness for office.
But they didn’t fear it enough. Because even in the wake of federal court orders striking down many of the most odious, discriminatory features of voter suppression, the GOP resisted, stalled and defied the judiciary until confusion and resignation reigned at the polls. It was too late.
In a horrific Faustian calculation, these Republican patriots put the nation at risk so that Trump could fulfill his dominant campaign promise. And, to be clear, it was not to make America great again, but to make access to America’s resources “whites only” again. The Klan recognized it, as did the white nationalists who gave Trump their full-throttled support. But, this wasn’t just a fantasy of the far right. The allure of a revived Jim Crow nation that proudly, willfully excludes and debases millions of nonwhites was so reaffirming and reassuring that everything else became secondary or tertiary. Everything else, including national security.
Patriots cheered on as Trump asked the Russian government to hack an American citizen who had led a national-security agency. Patriots acquiesced to a foreign policy that encouraged nuclear proliferation, oozed profound ignoranceabout the basic fundamentals of U.S. nuclear capability, and kept in play use of the ultimate weapon by a man who has difficulty even maintaining control on Twitter.
In other words, in January 2017, a man will be at the helm of the U.S. military, intelligence and foreign policy bureaucracies, who actually encouraged foreign intervention in an American election and advocated for dismantling the alliances that will aid Russian expansionism and weaken U.S. influence and power. Yet, the patriots bet that the trade-off will be well worth it.  Clearly, white rage has brought us here.
The take away?  The next time some "friend" or acquaintance begins to give some bull shit excuse for their vote for Trump, call them out and let them know that they are a racist, homophobe, anti-immigrant zealot or other form of bigot.  Tell them that there is no need for pretense on their part. Tell them that you see them for who and what they really are and that you will guide your future interactions with them accordingly.  They may want to avoid looking in the mirror, but we will hold it up to their faces nonetheless.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 1

Friday, November 18, 2016

More Friday Male Beauty

The GOP’s Anti-LGBT, Anti-Women ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

One of the constant excuses that I keep hearing from those who voted for Donald Trump is either that (i) they did not know of the promised anti-gay agenda of Trump/Pence or (ii) well, "I don't feel that way."  The first excuse is an admission that these folks were so swept up in Trump's racism and anti-immigrant rants that they never bothered to do even a small amount of basic homework.  The second is utterly worthless since their feelings have no control over the forces they have unleashed.  With the GOP controlling the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and the presidency, these measures will be enacted over the belated whining of Trump voters.  Candidly, if one is so ill-informed as to what a candidate fully stands for, then they should do the rest of us a favor and stay home on election day and not vote.   They would do less harm.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at the anti-LGBT and anti-woman legislation that is likely to be signed very early on in the Trump dictatorship regime. Here are article highlights:
The First Amendment Defense Act is the nuclear version of the so-called “religious freedom” laws that have appeared across the country, most infamously in Mike Pence’s Indiana The Republican House will surely pass it, the Senate will pass it unless it’s filibustered by Democrats, and President-elect Trump has promised to sign it.
If it becomes law, FADA will be the worst thing to happen to women and LGBT people in a generation.
Like state “religious freedom restoration acts,” FADA’s basic principle is that it’s not discrimination when businesses discriminate against LGBT people if they have a religious reason for doing so.  The most famous situations have to do with marriage: wedding cake bakers who say that if they bake a cake, they’re violating their religion; Kim Davis, the government clerk who said that signing a secular marriage certificate was a religious act that she could not perform.
But those stories are a red herring.  The more important cases are ones like hospitals refusing to treat LGBT people (or their children), pharmacies refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, businesses refusing to offer health benefits to a same-sex partner, and state-funded adoption agencies refusing to place kids with gay families.  Underneath the rhetorical BS, that’s what FADA is all about.
First, the bill applies to any corporation, organization, or person who “believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” . . . Old-age homes and hospices that turn away gay people – yes, this has actually happened – are covered. Hospitals that refuse a same-sex partner visitation rights – covered. National hotel chains that refuse to rent rooms to gay couples (or unmarried straight ones) – covered.  
And notice that it applies not just to religious beliefs about same-sex marriage, but also to sexual conduct in general. Translation: contraception, sex education, treatment of STDs – all of these are part of the bill. 
And finally, since “moral conviction” is added in there, it doesn’t matter that Jesus never mentioned health insurance coverage. No actual religious grounds are necessary; just some moral conviction that the only allowable sex is sex within a heterosexual marriage.
For example:
- The current government policy requiring federal contractors – 20% of the entire U.S. workforce – not to discriminate against LGBT people will be immediately revoked. Contractors can legally fire people for being gay (or transgender).
- A governor can order that, in his state, no clerk anywhere may certify a same-sex marriage, and the federal government could do nothing about it.
- If a restaurant or hotel posts a sign saying “NO FAGGOTS ALLOWED,” FADA prohibits the government from “discriminating” against it by initiating an enforcement action under public accommodations laws. Gay couples may be refused hotel rooms anywhere in the country.
- If a company refuses to let a person take time off to take care of her same-sex partner in the hospital, the government cannot pursue any action under relevant employment laws.
- If a state-funded adoption agency refuses to place children with legally married same-sex couples, the government cannot withdraw its contracts with that agency. (This was a key request by Catholic adoption agencies, which receive the bulk of their funding from the government.)
- An employee at the Department of Veterans Affairs could refuse to process a claim for survivor benefits for the same-sex spouse of a servicemember.
- All schools and universities can discriminate against LGBT people, regardless of Title IX (as long as they link that discrimination to a view about marriage, which is quite easy to do). Universities may turn away gay applicants, deny LGBT clubs, and fire all gay faculty and staff members, with no penalties from the federal government.
- Any hospital may refuse to provide contraception, reproductive health care (including consultations of any kind), or health care of any kind to unmarried people or gay people, and not lose accreditation.
In other words, if a state has a non-discrimination law against gay people, FADA supercedes it, prohibiting any federal action based on that law. But if a state has a law that protects the religious party more, FADA doesn’t supersede it.
Overall, FADA makes LGBTs officially second-class citizens of the United States – more like those in anti-gay countries like Putin’s Russia. We may be fired, barred from entry, denied services, denied health care, denied education, and denied legitimacy in ways that straight married people (and probably most straight unmarried people) do not.
FADA effectively overturns Obergefell without anyone having to file a lawsuit, because it creates a loophole as large as the right to marry itself. Any governor, mayor, or clerk could proffer a “moral objection” to same-sex marriage, and stop all employees under his or her authority from registering gay couples or certifying gay weddings. And even absent such action, any employer or business can act as though the marriage simply does not exist.
But FADA goes much further than marriage. It attacks unmarried women, who may be denied health care by state hospitals, employers, and insurance companies. It makes it impossible for the federal government to do anything in a host of discriminatory situations. It turns back the clock not just two years, to before Obergefell, but twenty years, to a time when simply being gay was criminal.
And it has the support of the House, the Senate, and the President-Elect.
When individual voted for Trump, this is what they voted for, knowingly or not.  To now say "I'm sorry" to those who are LGBT just doesn't cut it.  With friends like these, seriously, who needs an enemy?  

Jeff Sessions’ Disturbing Record on Civil Rights, LGBT Equality

As I note frequently, I lived in Alabama years ago and among other things had the opportunity as a young lawyer to meet then Gov. George Wallace (and Bear Bryant).  While Wallace repented for his racist, many in Alabama have not.  Indeed, Alabama today is far more racist and reactionary that it was during my years of residence.   And when it comes to politics, the state has sunk into the misogynist swamp that goes hand in hand with the rise of the Christofascists.  Politicians who could never have been elected 35-40 years ago because they were too backward and reactionary now fill a majority of seats in the state legislature.  All of which brings me to Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's pick for United States Attorney General, a man with a well documented racist and anti-LGBT history.  Civil rights organizations have good reason to be upset with Sessions' selection.  Lest people forget, he was too extreme even back in the days of Ronald Reagan and could not win Senate confirmation. Gay City News has put together a compilation of just how unfit Sessions is for this office.  Here are highlights:  
Jeff Sessions, the four-term Republican US senator from Alabama who has been tapped by President-elect Donald Trump as the nation’s next attorney general, has a stridently anti-LGBT record, along with a troubling history on racial issues.
Much of the recent attention on Sessions, who this week had been discussed as a possible choice for a number of Cabinet slots, including secretary of defense, focused on his incendiary comments about race – a key factor in the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee’s rejection of his 1986 nomination to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan.
Sessions also has a uniform record in opposing LGBT rights advances.
“It is deeply disturbing that Jeff Sessions, who has such clear animus against so many Americans – including the LGBTQ community, women, and people of color – could be charged with running the very system of justice designed to protect them,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a written statement today.
In HRC Congressional Scorecards dating back more than a decade, Sessions received scores of zero for every two-year session, except for the 112th Congress in 2011 and 2012, when he received a 15 percent rating. In that Congress, he voted in favor of President Barack Obama’s nomination of J. Paul Oetken to the Southern District of New York federal bench, making him the first out gay man to win confirmation as an Article III judge.
In that same Congress, however, Sessions voted to deny confirmation to Alison J. Nathan, an out lesbian who was another Obama nomination, also recommended by Schumer, to the Southern District. He also voted in favor of an unsuccessful amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) that would have stripped nondiscrimination protections for domestic violence victims based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and Native American and immigrant status.
In other years, Sessions voted in favor of a Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He consistently voted against VAWA Reauthorization . . .
Sessions also opposed the end of the ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants to the US and supported a measure that would have required the District of Columbia to hold a referendum on its 2009 municipal ordinance legalizing marriage by same-sex couples. During the past two years, he opposed measures ensuring that legally married same-sex couples have access to Social Security and veterans benefits, that runaway and homeless youth programs funded by the federal government have explicit LGBT nondiscrimination policies, and that public schools be barred from discriminating against youth based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
[I]n the days after the US Supreme Court issued its 2015 Obergefell marriage equality ruling, Sessions told an Alabama Chamber of Commerce meeting, “If a court can do that on a question of marriage then it can do it on almost any other issue. What this court did was unconstitutional, what this court did – they can’t do, nothing in the Constitution for such a result, no mention of marriage in the Constitution.
Since the Obergefell ruling, Sessions has signed on to the First Amendment Defense Act, which would provide an out for those claiming a religious objection to same-sex marriage or to sex outside of different-sex marriage from any federal prosecution or penalties for discrimination. The measure would shield recalcitrant county clerks like Kim Davis in Kentucky who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but could also provide exemptions for all kinds of other businesses and individuals to discriminate.
During the George W. Bush administration, Sessions was the senator behind to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals nomination of William H. Pryor, Jr., whom Lambda Legal termed “the most demonstrably anti-gay judicial nominee in recent memory.” As Alabama’s attorney general, Pryor had written a friend-of-the-court brief defending the Texas sodomy law when it went before the Supreme Court – and was struck down – in 2003. In that brief, he compared gay rights claims to protections for “prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia.”
An opponent of the Voting Rights Act and immigration reform, Sessions also faces harsh criticism from progressive groups working on those issues, with the American Civil Liberties Union terming his record anti-civil rights.
During hearings for his failed federal bench nomination in 1986, Thomas Figures, an African-American former assistant attorney who worked under him when Sessions was the US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, testified that Sessions had called him “boy” and warned him to be careful what he said to “white folks.” Sessions denied using the word “boy” and said he merely urged caution in talking to “folks.”
Gerry Hebert, who as a Justice Department official also worked with Sessions while he was a US attorney in the 1980s, recalled that Sessions had once agreed with another person’s comment that a white civil rights attorney was “a disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases.  “I filed all these things away thinking, ‘God, what a racist this guy is,’” Hebert told the AP.
The man is horrible.  As for his judicial nominee, there seems to be evidence that he is a closeted, self-loathing gay man much like Rick Santorum and Ken Cuccinelli.  He's a tad too hysterical on the issue of gays for something more to be going on.  

Friday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 2

The Right Way to Resist Trump

Like many, I feel physically sickened at the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency and the parade of horrors likely to be unleashed on the country and which will be disproportionately targeted at minorities, including the LGBT community.  So how does one resist other than simply adhering to the mantra of #NotMyPresident?  An op-ed in the New York Times suggests that non-stop obstruction by Democrats could well prove counter productive and looks at the experience of Italy and Silvio Berlusconi, a man cut out of the same cloth as Mr. Trump.  The piece suggest that Democrats need to work where possible with Trump - e.g., rebuilding infrastructure and/or Wall Street regulation - while opposing toxic policies based on principled positions rather than merely attacking Trump personally.  Like Berlusconi, Trump will quickly provide all kinds of scandals for the media to pounce on, but by making arguments on policies that will harm the working and middle classes is how to win over voters.  Here are column highlights:
Five years ago, I warned about the risk of a Donald J. Trump presidency. Most people laughed. They thought it inconceivable.
I was not particularly prescient; I come from Italy, and I had already seen this movie, starring Silvio Berlusconi, who led the Italian government as prime minister for a total of nine years between 1994 and 2011. I knew how it could unfold.
Now that Mr. Trump has been elected president, the Berlusconi parallel could offer an important lesson in how to avoid transforming a razor-thin victory into a two-decade affair. If you think presidential term limits and Mr. Trump’s age could save the country from that fate, think again. His tenure could easily turn into a Trump dynasty.
Mr. Berlusconi was able to govern Italy for as long as he did mostly thanks to the incompetence of his opposition. It was so rabidly obsessed with his personality that any substantive political debate disappeared; it focused only on personal attacks, the effect of which was to increase Mr. Berlusconi’s popularity. His secret was an ability to set off a Pavlovian reaction among his leftist opponents, which engendered instantaneous sympathy in most moderate voters. Mr. Trump is no different.
Unfortunately, the dynamic has not ended with the election. Shortly after Mr. Trump gave his acceptance speech, protests sprang up all over America. What are these people protesting against? Whether we like it or not, Mr. Trump won legitimately.
These protests are also counterproductive. There will be plenty of reasons to complain during the Trump presidency, when really awful decisions are made. Why complain now, when no decision has been made? It delegitimizes the future protests and exposes the bias of the opposition.
Even the petition calling for members of the Electoral College to violate their mandate and not vote for Mr. Trump could play into the president-elect’s hands.
The Italian experience provides a blueprint for how to defeat Mr. Trump. Only two men in Italy have won an electoral competition against Mr. Berlusconi: Romano Prodi and the current prime minister, Matteo Renzi (albeit only in a 2014 European election). Both of them treated Mr. Berlusconi as an ordinary opponent. They focused on the issues, not on his character. In different ways, both of them are seen as outsiders, not as members of what in Italy is defined as the political caste.
The Democratic Party should learn this lesson. It should not do as the Republicans did after President Obama was elected. Their preconceived opposition to any of his initiatives poisoned the Washington well, fueling the anti-establishment reaction (even if it was a successful electoral strategy for the party). There are plenty of Trump proposals that Democrats can agree with, like new infrastructure investments.  . . . . Some details might be different from a Republican plan, but it will add credibility to the Democratic opposition if it tries to find the points in common, not just differences.
And an opposition focused on personality would crown Mr. Trump as the people’s leader of the fight against the Washington caste.
Democrats should also offer Mr. Trump help against the Republican establishment, an offer that would reveal whether his populism is empty language or a real position. For example, with Mr. Trump’s encouragement, the Republican platform called for reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, which would separate investment and commercial banking. The Democrats should declare their support of this separation, a policy that many Republicans oppose.
Finally, the Democratic Party should also find a credible candidate among young leaders, one outside the party’s Brahmins. The news that Chelsea Clinton is considering running for office is the worst possible. If the Democratic Party is turning into a monarchy, how can it fight the autocratic tendencies in Mr. Trump?

Trump, Evangelicals and Moral Bankruptcy Spotlighted

As a previous post has noted, what breached the "blue wall" of Hillary Clinton in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin was the vote of angry white evangelicals driven by what they viewed as their last chance to force their toxic religious views on all of society.  Rather than face modernity, the need to think for themselves, and the untruth of many of their cherished beliefs, these selfish, hate-filled people voted for a thrice married, serial adulterer, sexual predator and pathological liar, thus displaying the true nature of the "Biblical values" that they desperately cling to.  The question now is whether the media and the rest of society will finally cease giving deference to their feign piety and posturing and recognize them for the toxic hypocrites that they are in fact.  Sadly, my faith in the media to wake up and expose the rancid and toxic nature of these people is almost non-existent.  A piece in Daily Kos looks at what these evangelical "Christians" have revealed about themselves.  Here are excerpts:
Evangelicals don't care who they vote for—however morally repugnant or vengeful. That person can grab pussy and brag about it. That person can incite violence against the tired and downtrodden. He can even cheat the poor.
None of that matters. All evangelicals really care about: Imposing their tunnel-vision version of morality on others. Whatever it takes. Even if that vehicle hasn't exhibited a shred of moral decency or integrity in his interactions with others his entire life. Even if that person has used his position of power and wealth to manipulate others, to step on the little guy. Even if that person would ogle their daughters or wives and freely assault them without compunction. Yep, 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for that candidate—Donald Trump—and they're pretty proud of themselves, writes Julie Zauzmer:
And then on Wednesday, evangelicals woke up remembering what it’s like to feel victorious again in American politics.
Their deepest desires may be enacted into laws – or hated laws repealed. Their prayers were answered – by electing a rude, crude and morally unacceptable nonbeliever,” Hartford Seminary professor Scott Thumma, who studies megachurches and nondenominational evangelical churches, wrote in an email. “I have interacted with a few evangelicals since the election … and every one of them were proud and happy to have had a part in Trump’s election – not exactly because of who Trump is, but what he stood for.”
Anything or anyone to make them feel like their antiquated views and fantastically twisted version of moral probity are not only defensible but right.
And with that, white evangelicals lost any claim to morality this election. Never again can they claim the high ground or say a candidate is unfit for office because of their personal beliefs or actions. They have sullied themselves by jumping into bed with Trump. It's satisfying to see how proud they are after having spent the last several decades of the culture wars casting judgment on others for their behavior and "lifestyle" choices. No more, evangelicals. Your moral credibility is zero. When you elevate someone like Trump as your salvation, you’ve sacrificed your integrity. In totality. There’s just no recovering from that. But hey, keep on basking in that glow—we’re glad to see that you’ve finally revealed your true selves. 
And the next time you claim something is immoral, all we’ll have to say is: Trump.
 For close to 20 years now I have said that evangelical, fundamentalist Christians are not only not nice or decent people, but also that they threaten constitutional government in America.  With Trump's election, our republic may have died and it is all thanks to these foul and horrible people. They deserve nothing but utter contempt from the rest of society.