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Trump’s Supreme Court takes up gay rights


Trump and the Republican Party do not believe that gay people deserve any protection under the country’s landmark 1964 Civil Rights bill.

I think the general perception is that Trump, himself, is probably not homophobic. He may not be a supporter of gay rights, and may personally be made uncomfortable by gay people, but in his life he has shown no particular hostility to gay people—until he became president. His daughter, Ivanka, in particular, seems gay-friendly (after all, she was in the rag business), although it has to be admitted that her brand of Judaism (she converted in 2009) is the far-right, fiercely homophobic Lubavitch strain of Orthodoxy. I have known “Lubies,” as they’re affectionately known. They’re the world’s nicest, most welcoming people—unless you’re gay, in which case they may, or may not, confess to you that, when the Messiah returns (as they believe he will) and Jewish Sharia law is instituted, they will give gay people two options: convert, or be stoned to death.

But I digress. Trump’s homophobic views on gay rights will certainly be the backdrop of a case the Supreme Court took up today: Does the federal law that bans sex discrimination in hiring apply to gay people as well as to women?

The answer, from the point of view of decency and common sense, is Yes.

Clearly, Clayton County, Georgia (which, interestingly enough, went heavily Democratic in the 2018 Blue Wave election), was horribly wrong, when it fired Gerald Bostock for being gay. He had worked, for ten years, with the county courts in providing legal protections for abused and neglected children, and by all accounts did an outstanding job. “I lost my livelihood. I lost my medical insurance, and at the time I was fighting prostate cancer. It was devastating,” a distraught Bostock said.

What does the 1964 Civil Rights Act actually say? Title VII is the relevant clause:

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual…because of such individual’s…sex.”

How did the law’s authors define “sex”? Here it is: “The terms ‘because of sex’ or ‘on the basis of sex’ include, but are not limited to, because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment-­related purposes…”.

Now, it’s true that the law says nothing specific about gay people. It says a great deal about women, but is silent on the LGBT community. However, the key phrase is “but are not limited to.” That left the door open for whether or not Gerald Bostock could be fired from his job simply because he was gay. And that’s what this Supreme Court case is all about.

Obviously, the case could be decided either way. The Court could rule on a very narrow basis that Title VII says nothing about gay people, so therefore, Bostock is not protected. Or it could rule that, back in 1964 when Congress debated the Civil Rights Act, gay issues had not yet emerged as national urgency, but that gay people do fall under the protected cover of “because of sex.”

It seems clear that gay people should be protected. How can an employer feel free to fire a competent worker simply because the employer’s supposedly “Christian” religion is homophobic? That’s crazy.

But when you look at the makeup of this Supreme Court, there’s a lot of potential for craziness. The Court is dominated by religiously conservative Roman Catholics, and Catholicism, let us remember, is notoriously homophobic; the Vatican’s position remains that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered.” (This, despite the worldwide scandals of priestly pedophilia! Talk about “intrinsically disordered”!!)

Some Roman Catholics are obviously more open-minded about homosexuality than others, but several decades of appointments of justices by homophobic Republican presidents, supported by homophobic Republican Senators, have stacked the Court’s balance in favor of homophobia.

Still, sometimes this Court can surprise us. Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative Catholic, voted both to end the ban against gay people in the military, and to allow gay people to get married. Perhaps this was a difficult decision for him (although it shouldn’t have been). Perhaps he voted as he did with one eye cast on his future legacy in jurisprudential history. If he did, other rightwing Catholic justices—especially the rabid Clarence Thomas—did not feel the same way. And now, we have the unknown, but suspect, Brett Kavanaugh to deal with…another Catholic, who appears to also be a rapist, and whose anger at Democrats is unbounded.

In any sane, just and decent decision, this Court will order Bostock reinstated, and allow him to sue his former employer in civil court, for a huge amount of money to compensate—partially—for the emotional and financial damage he suffered because of somebody’s hatred of gay people. Is it too much to hope that SCOTUS will do the right thing? In this Age of Trump, yes. But we can hope…

It doesn’t matter if the Senate kills Impeachment


We’ll get the motherfuckers anyway!

Like you, I’ve been mesmerized by the Impeachment process now moving through the Congress. I’m quite sure that the House will indeed approve Impeachment. I’m also pretty sure that the Republican Senate will never vote to convict the criminal, Trump. Let’s say all this happens sometime before Christmas. Where does that leave us?

The risk for Democrats is that Trump will then claim “total exoneration.” His neo-fascist allies will proclaim that Nancy Pelosi blundered badly. And then, as the all-important year of 2020 comes, Democrats might find themselves demoralized: the Mueller Report seems to have been a dud; despite all the House committees investigating various misdeeds by Trump, nothing is getting done; and, suddenly, even Impeachment has been lost as an issue.

What then?

Well, there will remain plenty of other issues: immigration and borders, climate change, tax policy, abortion, judicial appointments, LGBT concerns, foreign policy, budget deficits and so on. But none of these really grabs the public’s attention the way The Resistance to Trump has. The Resistance to Trump (which I joined in September, 2016, even before the election) has been the most spectacular public movement I’ve seen since Vietnam days. It’s been an overwhelming success; a majority of the American people see through Trump, they know he’s a disgusting liar, and they wish to see him gone. No specific policy issue carries the weight and import of The Resistance. So the question of what happens post-Impeachment becomes, What happens to The Resistance?

It’s possible it could peter out. People already have Trump fatigue. Every day, sometimes several times every day, he does something so stupid, so dangerous, so offensive that, after a while, people start to shrug and think, “Another day, another idiotic Trump tweet.” There’s a risk that Americans will just go back to their regular lives after burning out on three years of Trump.

But I don’t think that will happen. First of all, a majority of Americans are already primed for the Republican Senate to kill Impeachment. McConnell has already stated clearly that he will bury Impeachment, when it comes to him. Democrats will be able to leverage that into a new level of outrage against the Republican Party.

Then, too, there’s no evidence Trump will stop doing stupid, outrageous things post-Impeachment. If anything, he’ll be emboldened. He’ll continue to poke sticks in the eyes of Democrats, the media, women, gays, people of color and people who still possess common sense and decency. I suspect Trump’s approval ratings—which are already in the toilet—will continue to sink lower and lower. Then what?

We won’t be able to impeach him a second time. But 2020 is a big election year: and that’s where Trump’s karma will finally catch up to him. Not only his, but the Republicans in general: they’re due for a licking because of the contemptible way they have treated our Constitution and the American people. So, ultimately, even if and when the Senate buries Impeachment, we’ll still have the elections to bring this cult of Trump to justice.

But wait! There’s more. The instant Trump is no longer president, let the indictments begin! All the stuff that Republicans claim a sitting president can’t be charged with will, once he’s lost power, then be indictable. I’ve lost count of all the crimes Trump has committed, but I know there are Democratic lawyers with lists. Once he’s private citizen Trump, the lawyers can have a field day; ditto for the district attorneys. Trump will face lawsuits from coast to coast; he won’t be able to dodge or obstruct them, the way he’s doing to the House now. If he tries, some magistrate somewhere can order him hauled off to jail. And the same goes for his co-conspirators, everyone from Jared and Ivanka to Kevin McCarthy, McConnell, Kellyanne Conway and the rest of the deplorables.

So don’t despair. It will be sad when the Senate kills Impeachment, but that will be only another chapter in a long saga that, I am sure, will end in the utter destruction of Donald J. Trump, and the historic repudiation of the Republican Party.

We need to hold Trump and ALL his accomplices accountable!


Michael Pompeo, our Secretary of State, reminds me of Hermann Goering.

They’re both big, fat men, saturated with the grease of steak and pork, and infatuated with their own power. Self-confident, smirking, and morally adrift, they revel in their power; both are propped up by sinister bosses: Hitler for Goering, Trump for Pompeo.

We all know how Goering ended up: dead, by his own hand. He swallowed a cyanide capsule he had hidden in his jaw, the night before he was to be hanged for war crimes and crimes against humanity, in Nuremberg. We do not yet know Pompeo’s fate. But when the trials occur for the Trump regime’s abuses of power, obstruction of justice and other crimes, I fully expect Pompeo to be among those brought before the Court.

Dozens of Nazis were executed following the Nuremberg and other post-war trials and hearings. Hundreds more were sent to prison, in a process the Western allies deemed “de-nazification.” The Nazi party itself was outlawed in Germany. This was a harsh but necessary process; Nazism, whatever successes it might have achieved during its early period, metastacized into a cancer that invaded, not only Germany but the entire planet; Nazism had to be eradicated, to prevent it from being a future threat.

In the same way we have got to eradicate the Republican Party. It no longer is a political party, in the sense America in which has understood “political parties” for more than 200 years. It has degenerated into a cult, and a criminal cult, at that: the Scientology of politics, or maybe Branch Davidians is a more apt metaphor. Led by a madman, followed by mindless lemmings willing to commit any crime, and undermining every decent American value, this cult has to be stopped.

And so, to trial for Pompeo. But just as Goering was not alone in that Courtroom in Nuremberg, so Pompeo will sit in the dock along with his fellow co-conspirators: Attorney-General Barr; Vice President Michael Pence; the reptilian Rudy Giuliani; Trump’s lieutenants in the Congress, the rogue Mitch McConnell and the incompetent, amoral Kevin McCarthy; the evil (there’s no other word) Stephen Miller, the regime’s Julius Streicher; and a host of others. I’ll leave it to Adam Schiff to determine the precise list of defendants.

As part of our de-Republicanization process, we must teach the school children of America to rediscover our country’s fundamental values and understand how and why Republicans sought to destroy them. The “how” is easy: seize power, take over the courts, demean and delegitimize political opposition, control the media, and stir up the masses. This was Hitler’s playbook; we’ve seen it all before.

The “why” is more curious. To amass power, surely, but to what end? The Republican Party is not united in ideology. A good part of it is evangelical, Pentecostal or Roman Catholic, wanting to turn America into Jesus-land while they await his second coming and trounce their enemies: Jews, Muslims, atheists and so on. But a good many Republicans have contempt for evangelicals (I count Trump among them, although he has to pretend to like them); they have other motives than religious ones: corporate motives, to enrich themselves. There’s also the psychological phenomenon of wanting to be a winner, which is very powerful in politics; everybody wants to be on the winning side, even if all they get from it is bragging rights.

That’s why UkraineGate is such a tipping point. Up until now Trump has held the winning hand; he’s gotten to dictate the narrative; all Democrats could do was respond. Not any more; now, Democrats control the narrative, and all Trump gets to do is respond—not very artfully, so far. He’s now threatening Civil War, a threat we should all take extremely seriously. A year or so ago he said (I paraphrase) “I have the gun owners and the cops on my side.” That may well be true. So did Hitler; well, “gun owners” weren’t a major force back in 1930s Germany, but the police were; and Hermann Goering and, later, Heinrich Himmler took them over, in Hitler’s name.

So The Resistance is getting interesting. Trump thought he’d beaten us back after the Mueller Report flopped. Ha ha. He was mistaken—badly, historically, embarrassingly mistaken. We were not beaten, we were not abashed; we stayed in the hunt. I, myself, was often annoyed because Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t sanction impeachment. Now, in retrospect, she was right. UkraineGate has made the job of impeaching Trump much, much easier. He will be impeached; and if he thinks the Republican Senate has his back, he would do well to remember that even his own Senators loathe him privately.

Why would a black man be a Republican?


This guy Shermichael Singleton was on a T.V. news show over the weekend, attacking Democrats and defending Trump’s “witch hunt” bullshit. You could almost visualize him memorizing the Trump/Fox “News” talking points: impeachment will backfire on Democrats! Nancy Pelosi really didn’t want this but her “radical left wing” pushed her into it! What the Congress should really be investigating is Hillary Clinton’s emails!

Amazing, no? This is what I’d expect from some white nationalist hack at Breitbart, or the neo-nazi-in-chief at Fox, Sean Hannity.

But Shermichael Singleton is a black man.

How does a black man—one with self-respect or the slightest notion of history—join the Republican Party and go on national T.V. to defend the most criminal president in history—a man who himself is clearly a racist, and who instigates the worst racist elements in America? Surely Singleton has to know that vast numbers of Trump’s base would love to lynch him. Surely he knows how uncomfortable he would be if he were in one of their gulags—say, rural northern Alabama, or a West Texas oil town—and tried to order a cup of coffee. He’d be met with hostile stares, sneers, or worse.

Of course, he might pre-empt an attack by wearing a MAGA hat. But he’d still be damned uncomfortable, and as he considered the possibility of getting attacked, he’d have to remind himself that his potential attackers, to a man and to a woman, are Trump Republicans. So how does Shermichael Singleton explain himself to himself?

My hunch: he’s all about pure political ambition. It showed in his smirks as he spewed his propaganda. The Republican Party, he figures, needs black people like him—craves black people, would do almost anything to get black people—even pay them money. Especially if the black person is good-looking and articulate, which Shermichael Singleton just happens to be.

So who is Shermichael Singleton?

To begin with, he’s young: 28 years old. He’s a “Republican political consultant,” in the words of this website, but the weird thing is that he was fired from his job as Deputy Chief of Staff at HUD (where his boss was another black Republican, Ben Carson). Fired? By Whom? None other than [trumpet blare] Trump himself.

Why? Because one month before the 2016 election, Singleton slammed Trump in an op-ed piece. “Trump has taken us to a new moral low,” he wrote, calling his rise as the Republican candidate for president “a hostile takeover” and warning that “the moral fiber of the Republican Party is at stake.”

No wonder Trump fired him. What I can’t understand is why Shermichael Singleton remains a Republican, out there spewing rightwing propaganda, if he actually realizes what happened to his party. If he’s a moderate, as he claims to be, then he has to realize that his Republican Party no longer exists; it has become the party of Trump—of white nationalism, of ignorance, of pathology.

And yet he apparently believes that his party can be restored to some semblance of mental health. It cannot. When you look at Shermichael’s resumé, you can’t help but be impressed. He’s clearly not mentally ill (as are so many Republicans, including Trump). I can only conclude that Shermichael is looking at the main chance: the opportunity to rise, perhaps rapidly, in the world of political entrepreneurialism. He realizes that, as an ambitious black man, he could only go so far as a pundit, consultant and T.V. commentator in the Democratic Party, which is stuffed with ambitious, young black wannabes.

But the Republican Party! Ah, that’s El Dorado for Shermichael. So little competition to be one of the official blacks in the GOP! And Shermichael parlayed that opportunity to the max. He’s now a paid consultant at CNN and advertises his services as a political consultant for “high-profile clients and political candidates”; included in his talents is being a Republican opposition researcher, which is to say he specializes in digging up dirt on Democrats.

In the end, few will care about Shermichael Singleton, and in fact I wish him well. I hope he makes a lot of money and has a nice, big house in Georgetown. But it’s important to see him, and the few other black men and women who continue to be Republican operatives, as what they are: not operating out of genuine political belief, but as career opportunists.

Trump fights back, with lies and threats


“You know what else they say about my people? The polls, they say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.”

That was a bragging Trump, campaigning in Iowa back on Jan. 23, 2016. He said, in essence, that he could commit a violent felony—first-degree murder—in full public view, with witnesses all around him, and his supporters wouldn’t give a damn. They’d let him off the hook.

Well, what we’ve been seeing with UkraineGate is the Constitutional equivalent of a serial murderer. Trump has committed numerous acts of illegality and blatant unConstitutionality, in full public view, in the presence of multiple witnesses, of whom not a single one of his supporters has been willing to step forward and say, “He did it.”

Not one Republican in the House of Representatives. Not one Republican in the Senate. Not one Republican in the executive branch of government. Not one member of Trump’s Republican Cabinet. Trump committed his diplomatic felonies, assassinating, not people, but norms and Constitutional laws, and he hasn’t lost a single Republican voter.

Yes, “it’s like incredible.”

Then Trump had the nerve to come out right after yesterday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing to lambaste Democrats for investigating his behavior. “No healthcare, no gun control, no infrastructure,” he screamed. “Democrats don’t want any of that. All they want is to harass me.”

Such a lie! Everybody in the universe knows that Democrats stand for healthcare, for gun control, for infrastructure. The Democratic House has passed bill after bill about all those things, and more—but Moscow Mitch refuses to even take them up in his Senate. No floor debate. No committee hearings. “I won’t take up any Democrat legislation in the Senate,” he fulminates, “unless I know what the president will sign.”

Well, of course, Moscow Mitch doesn’t know what Trump will sign because Trump isn’t interested in signing any legislation. He just wants his stooge, McConnell, to stall, stall, stall, so that he can blame Democrats for Congressional inaction. That’s the way things work in Trump Land: do nothing, oppose everything, and blame Democrats for not getting anything done—and continue to break the law and cover up your crimes. This is the case Democrats should, and will, make to the American people. Don’t blame us for this do-nothing Senate. Blame Moscow Mitch and his boss, Trump—who now is outrightly threatening to execute the whistleblower, when and if he or she is identified.

I think the American people get it: the danger and psychosis of this president and his co-conspirators: Giuliani, Pompeo, Pence, McConnell and the others. Once upon a time we indicted, convicted and jailed the co-conspirators of a criminal president: Watergate. We can do it again.

Have a great weekend. Stay safe.

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