Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trump Regime to Rescind Transgender Student Protections


It appears that today the regime of Der Trumpenführer will begin its assault on LGBT rights by first taking aim at transgender students who under the Obama administration enjoyed protection by the Department of Education and Justice Department which construed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination as a form of sex discrimination.  Enter newly confirmed Education Secretary and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, each of whom have decades long histories of being vitriolically anti-LGBT, and that supportive position is seemingly going to be flushed down the toilet.  I suspect that this will be but the first shoe to drop and that the GOP backed "First Amendment Protection Act" will take the war against the entire LGBT community.  Those "friends" and acquaintances who voted for hate and bigotry by voting for Trump/the GOP who have said "don't worry" or "you'll be OK" will obviously be shown to have been liars or utterly clueless.  The sad reality is that under the misrule of Der Trumpenführer, only white, heterosexual conservative Christians will have full civil rights.  The rest of us will be lucky if we are second or third class citizens.  Here are details on this development from the Washington Blade:
Despite pleas from parents of transgender children and LGBT employees, the Trump administration is set Tuesday to rescind Obama-era guidance to schools barring discrimination against transgender students and ensuring they have access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Washington Blade on Monday she’s heard from “reliable sources” President Trump has green-lighted the plan for the Justice Department and Education Department to send a “Dear Colleague” letter to schools rescinding the guidance.
“This is the first day of the president’s second month in office and he is now fully coming after LGBT people,” Keisling said. “I’m angry; I’m outraged. This is about kids who just want to go to school who just want to be themselves, and to hear the president a week or two ago talk about how supportive he is of LGBT people, it’s just outrageous that he go after trans kids this way.”
Removal of the guidance would fulfill a campaign promise from Trump, who pledged to rescind the guidance after it was issued, but still “protect everybody,” amid outcry from conservative-leaning states.
Jointly issued in May under the Obama administration by the Justice Department and Education Department, the guidance asserts that denying transgender students access to the restroom in accordance with their gender identity violates the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Rescinding the guidance is consistent with a legal brief the Justice Department filed earlier this month in litigation against the guidance filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on behalf of 12 states.
Transgender advocates took the change in position at the Justice Department as a signal Trump would soon fulfill his campaign promise to reverse the guidance.
A decision to withdraw the guidance could be an initial signal of the Trump administration’s position in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court known as Gloucester County Schools v. G.G., which resulted from transgender student Gavin Grimm suing his high school to use the restroom consistent with his gender identity. The questions before the court are to evaluate the guidance and whether the prohibition of sex discrimination under Title IX applies to transgender students seeking to use the restroom in school consistent with their gender identity.
The Trump administration would be rescinding the guidance weeks after the White House issued a statement declaring Trump is “respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights” and would preserve a separate order from President Obama barring anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors.
“Transgender young people face tragically high rates of discrimination and bullying, and they need a government that will stand up for them — not attack them,” Griffin said. “It’s shocking that this kind of harm would even be a subject of debate for the president.

Things are going to only get worse under this right wing homophobic regime.  I cannot help but wonder how many needless LGBT youth suicides will occur during this foul regime - much to the delight of the Christofascists.   

White Evangelic Christians Are Killing Christianity


It is no secret that I hold evangelical and fundamentalist Christians in extremely low regard.  Between their embrace of ignorance and rejection of science and their hatred towards anyone different than themselves, I view them as a cancer on American society.  They bemoan the growing secularism as they call it of society and the growing flight of the younger generations from religion and Christianity in particular.  Nearly 1/3 of the under 30 generations have walked away and now the "Nones" are the largest religious group in the nation.  Yet these modern day Pharisees remain blind to what is driving the exodus: they themselves.  Hatred, bigotry, and support for political agendas that are the antithesis of the Gospel message now most define Christianity in the public's mind's eye.  When Christianity becomes a largely dead religion in America, it will be the evangelicals and their fundamentalist brethren that will have most contributed to its demise. A piece by John Pavlovitz sums up the situation well:
Jesus cautions against the wolves who would come  in goodness to gain proximity to the sheep, only to devour them. “ 

And the saddest part about Jesus’ warnings is that they have now come to pass; the predators are here and they didn’t come from somewhere outside. They weren’t the Muslims or the gays or the Atheists, as we’ve been told by the Church they would be. They didn’t come from Hollywood or North Korea or some ISIS offshoot as FoxNews or Breitbart forecast. These wolves weren’t watching from a distance and they didn’t have to travel far to infiltrate the flock.
This slaughter has been an inside job. It’s happened at campaign rallies and in voting booths and on partisan news networks. It’s come through the evangelists and the pastors and the politicians and from proclaimed Christians, all out of blood while wearing Jesus like a sheepskin.
For all their sanctimonious preaching about morality and family values, and for all their endless warnings to the “sinners” around them, white Christians elected the worst human being to ever reside in the White House; a man completely devoid of goodness and decency—and dared to call him Christian.   
[W]hite Evangelicals let the wolves in and they’re tearing the sheep to pieces.  
And the sad part about it all is that Jesus ends up with the blood on his hands that really belongs to them. 
For many people, Evangelical Christianity here hasn’t been about Jesus in a few decades.     . . . They think this is victory.     Not long from now, these same supposed men and women of God will lament why the Church has died. 

Tuesday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 1


Monday, February 20, 2017

"Conservative Gay" Milo Yiannopoulos' Book Deal Canceled


There are many self-loathing gays who cling to conservativism.  Some are closeted like, in my view, Republicans Rick Santorum and Ken Cuccinelli who are just a tad too hysterical about gays and gay relationships.  Then you have "out" gays who nonetheless cling to the GOP - think the Log Cabin Republicans - even as conservatives trash them and work to make them third class citizens.  Then there is alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos who mainly seeks to shock, insult and denigrate the rest of the LGBT community.  In my view, all three categories of individuals require serious mental health interventions, but Yiannopoulos falls into a category all his own.  Seemingly, his never ending effort to shock and appall has at last backfired.  In the wake of newly released videos that suggest a support for pedophilia, he finds his misconceived book deal cancelled, himself dis invited from CPAC, a gathering of right wing extremists, and his job at the always sleazy Breitbart News at risk.    USA Today looks at  Yiannopoulos' self-immolation.  Here are excerpts:
Milo Yiannopoulos' book Dangerous was canceled abruptly Monday after Republican conservatives released clips of videos-with-audio in which he seemed to condone sex between men and boys.
In a terse statement released Monday afternoon, the right-wing provocateur's publisher said: "After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have canceled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos."
Minutes later, Yiannopoulos posted this on Facebook: "They canceled my book."
Yiannopoulos' provocative right-wing persona (he attacked feminists and trashed women who used birth control, to name a few of his views), helped get him a reported $250,000 book deal from Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster, which was due to release Dangerous in June.
The gay British writer, who has collected kudos in the era of Donald Trump as a self-described "dangerous" provocateur, teetered on the edge of disaster Monday after Republican conservatives released clips of videos-with-audio in which he talked about his own past as a teenager who had sex with men and suggested that some young teen boys might be old enough to give consent to such sexual relationships.
Yiannopoulos tried on Facebook to defend himself but it didn't matter. He was abruptly dis-invited from speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference starting this week in Washington, according to a tweet from the American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp.
Meanwhile, Yiannopoulos' employer, Breitbart News, was reported by Fox Business Network and Washingtonian magazine to be considering whether to fire him from his writer/editor job where he has gained fame and infamy in equal measure while gleefully aiming vitriol at liberals, gays, Jews, foreigners, Democrats, plus many others.
Yiannopoulos has so far not commented on his CPAC snub. But he fought back against his critics in a long post Monday on Facebook that he called "a note for idiots."  He denied being in favor of pedophilia, acknowledged he does believe there are relationships between "younger men" and older men that can help a young gay man, and admitted he shouldn't have used the word "boy" in discussing those relationships.
The clips, dug up after Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at CPAC, record Yiannopoulos discussing Jews, sexual consent, statutory rape, child abuse and homosexuality. He also joked — in an "edgy way," he claimed — about his own teen sexual encounter with a priest. 

Sorry, but I cannot summon an ounce of sympathy for this vile individual.  Karma can be a bitch and he royally deserves to receive what he has dished out.

More Monday Morning Male Beauty


Reality Collides with Trump's Promises


To any sane observer it ought to be increasingly obvious that Der Trumpenführer lives in a fantasy world with himself at the center of the universe.  If facts do not support the fantasy, deny them and call anyone reporting the truth a liar guilty of peddling "fake news."  The problem is that reality has a way of catching up with the most frenetic making of would be myths and sooner or later all but the most ignorant and or gullible will realize that the reality TV image is untrue.  A piece in Politico looks at the harsh reality that is colliding with Trump's fantasy view of himself and his regime.  To me, the wonder is that anyone sane could have expected anything but the failure we are already seeing after only one month.  Here are excerpts:
President Donald Trump touts “incredible progress” in his first month in office. But the frenetic period that opened with an inaugural address about “American carnage” and ended with a raucous campaign rally has brought a spotty record that falls short of his promises.
Despite dizzying sound and fury, the president failed to halt immigration from Muslim countries, to label China a currency manipulator, to deliver a serious plan for funding his border wall or to repeal Obamacare—all among his many promises during last year’s campaign.
The Muslim travel ban, Trump’s most consequential and controversial executive order, one of 23 signed so far, lies dead in the courts. He has achieved no noticeable progress on tax reform. The White House is already facing multiple investigations by a Republican-controlled Congress while the intelligence community investigates possible collusion last year between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Trump has appointed just three of the 15 required deputy secretary Cabinet positions; fewer than 40 of the 700 key administration jobs requiring Senate confirmation have been filled.
There's no precedent in the modern history of the presidency for what we've seen over “the last month,” said Republican operative Steve Schmidt. “If you combine the dishonesty, the sloppiness and incompetence, the result is deep concern and anxiety across allied capitals, glee in the capitals of foreign enemies, and an American public that regard him one month in with the lowest levels of support in the modern era. We’ve just never seen an American administration collapse from a credibility perspective as quickly as this one has.”
According to Gallup, Trump’s 40 percent approval rating after one month is 21 points below the historical average rating for new presidents in mid-February and 11 points below the lowest mid-February rating for any other new president.
“He’s beginning to understand where his power truly lies. Washington is not a safe space for Trump,” said Bruce Haynes, a GOP consultant.
If the scoreboard, aside from a healthy stock market, does not seem to reflect much winning just yet, Trump has an easy explanation — that he “inherited a mess,” a notable shift from his promise last July that “I alone can fix it.”
Trump blames the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for striking down his travel ban, which was hastily signed without thorough vetting by legal experts and the agencies directed to implement it. He blames the intelligence community for leaking damaging information about Flynn and other investigations rather than the former adviser, who admitted to misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his conversations with the Russian ambassador. He blames nameless staffers for giving him false information and, more than anything, the media for its reporting stories he has taken to dismissing as “fake news.”
Despite those attacks on the media, Trump’s own credibility has been weakened by a torrent of falsehoods coming from top surrogates, his Twitter feed and his mouth: unsupported or easily disproved assertions about the inauguration crowd size, crime statistics, claims of fraudulent voting even though he won the election, the size of his Electoral College victory and, on Saturday, a passing statement about a recent terror attack in Sweden. (There wasn’t one.)
Doubts are growing, for instance, among national security experts in both parties about the new administration’s preparedness for its first serious geopolitical test.
Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, were far more optimistic a month ago about realizing the potential of a governing moment in which they control both houses of Congress and the White House than they are now.

Again, to me the surprise is that anyone expected anything different - especially those Republicans that sold their souls to a morally bankrupt narcissist . 

NBA and NFL Warn Texas that "Bathroom Bill" Could be Costly


One would think that the example of what happened to North Carolina after passage of HB2 - a heinous anti-LGBT, anti-civil rights bill backed by Republicans prostituting themselves to Christofascists - would chasten even the most whore like Republicans, but Texas Republicans seem hell bent to suffer similar economic consequences.  Now, both the NFL - which threatened that there would be no more Super Bowls held in Texas - has been joined by the NBA in issuing warnings to the state legislature.  Rational people would heed such warnings, but rationality and Christofascists and their political whores in the Republican Party are mutually exclusive.  LGBT Nation looks at the new NBA warnings to Texas.  Here are highlights:
The NBA is warning Texas over a proposed “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people that is similar to a North Carolina law that prompted the league to move the All-Star Game out of that state.
The NBA on Friday joined the NFL in suggesting that Texas will be overlooked for future big events if lawmakers pass a bill requiring people to use bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass says an environment where people are treated “fairly and equally” weighs heavily when the league chooses host locations. Texas has three NBA teams and has hosted three All-Star Games since 2006.
Charlotte was originally supposed to host the All-Star Game on Sunday. But the NBA moved the game to New Orleans after North Carolina adopted its “bathroom bill” last year.
It’s not as if Texas has not been warned before, either.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican, has voiced his opposition to the bill, calling it unequivocally bad for business.
This is a view shared by the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, whose president Phillip Jones told lawmakers economic fallout is inevitable.  “This is not speculation. This is facts, based on what we’ve seen first-hand,” he said.

ABC Anchor Trashes Trump Lies About the Media


In my view, Der Trumpenführer is rapidly pushing America towards a crossroads where either authoritarianism and propaganda based on lies will be rejected or the nation will go down the ugly road that has overtaken other nations in the past, with Germany and Italy being but two examples. Which path is taken will depend in large part on whether or not the media relentlessly confronts a would be autocrat and his enablers and insists on reporting the truth notwithstanding attacks and lies directed at it.  On This Week, Jonathan Karl laid into Donald Trump for his tweet attacking the “fake news media” and calling it an enemy of the American people, explaining that criticism of the press has a long and storied history involving U.S. presidents. Here is Karl’s full statement (transcript):
There’s been no shortage of outrage over the president’s statements on the press. But I’d like to close with a little perspective. There is nothing new about a President of the United States criticizing or even vilifying the press. Even Thomas Jefferson, the same Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence and who, ten years after that, wrote, “Our liberty depends on freedom of the press” — even Thomas Jefferson, when he was a few years into his own presidency, was so upset about what was being written about his administration that he flatly declared, “Nothing can now be believed that is seen in a newspaper.”
Teddy Roosevelt, who now is next to Jefferson on Mt. Rushmore, once wrote, “To announce there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand with the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
I couldn’t agree more. But I also know that T.R. wrote that nearly a decade after he left office. When he was still in the White House, he coined the term “muckrakers” to denounce investigative journalists who he felt were so obsessed with the negative that they were missing the good in the world, including the good he was doing as president. Such negativity in the press, Roosevelt said, is one of the most potent forms of evil.
And that brings me to President Donald Trump, who has taken presidential criticism of the news media to yet another level. In a way, it surprised me. The Donald Trump I knew as a young reporter in New York was nothing if not media friendly. And for most of the past Republican primary, he was the most accessible major candidate. No one else was close.
At Thursday’s press conference, we saw flashes of that — seventeen reporters called on, many that he knew would ask tough questions. But now the president has declared the press the enemy of the American people.
I’ve reported in countries where leaders not only complain about a critical press, but also try to shut it down, throwing reporters in prison or worse. I’ve seen my colleagues risk their lives and, with increasing frequency, lose their lives in their pursuit of the truth. We are not about to stop doing our jobs because yet another president is unhappy with what he reads or hears or sees on TV news. There is a reason the founders put freedom of the press in the very first amendment to the Constitution.
As long as American democracy remains healthy, there will be reporters willing to pursue the truth, even if that means incurring the wrath of the most powerful person in the world. A free press isn’t the enemy of America; it’s a big part of why makes America great.
The media - or at least the honest media (which excludes Fox News, a/k/a Faux News) - MUST keep reporting on Trump and his henchmen and enablers in Congress.  The free press is in some ways all that stands between us and a dictatorship. 

Monday Morning Male Beauty