Trump Administration, Anti-LGBT groups slapped down by Federal Courts


The Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled in a 10-3 decision that discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The en-banc hearing before the entire court ruled “In the context of Title VII, the statutory prohibition extends to all discrimination ‘because of . . . sex’ and sexual orientation discrimination is an actionable subset of sex discrimination.”

With Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, the DOJ filed a Twilight Zone-worthy claim that it was not illegal discrimination if an employer was equally biased against both gay men and lesbian women. Session’s DOJ argued  “Title VII’s bar against discrimination because of sex is not violated unless men and women are treated unequally”.  The Court was not impressed with this reasoning.

On December 11, 2017, a Federal Court in Washington, D.C. maintained it’s earlier order preventing the Trump Administration from enforcing it’s ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military. The judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, refused to overturn the ruling she made in October, finding the plaintiffs would likely prevail in their suit. Several other courts have also made rulings blocking the ban.

On July 7, 2016, at the Republican National Convention, then-candidate Trump said
As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology, believe me. And I have to say as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.” We should have known he didn’t mean that to include attacks from our own government or  anti-LGBT groups. From the moment of his appointment of virulently anti-gay Mike Pence to be his Vice-President, Trump has worked steadfastly against the LGBT community.

Thankfully, rationality still reigns in the Federal Courts, even among judges appointed by past Republican Presidents. Since many conservatives, Republicans, and legislatures cannot be trusted to do the right thing, the courts have to stand ready to say “NO” to their hateful actions.

Nunes Following Trump Down Fake News Rabbit Hole

Devin_Nunes,_officialEver the eager sycophant of Donald Trump, Devin Nunes sent out an email Thursday accusing a local television station of staging protesters at a fund raising event. In it, he accused KFSN ABC30 of being “FAKE and LIBERAL NEWS” because the reporter, Gene Haagenson, dared ask him about Russia.

Here’s what Nunes said in his email:

Unfortunately, the ABC 30 news network once again sent a reporter to ask me about wild accusations and Russian conspiracy theories that precisely mimicked the talking points of numerous left-wing organizations.

Continuing a remarkable string of similar coincidences, the reporter’s appearance was quickly followed by the appearance of about half a dozen liberal protestors (sic), as if they’d been encouraged to show up to provide the right backdrop for ABC 30’s reporting.

I believe Central Valley residents deserve unbiased, straight-forward reporting from local news networks, not political spin coordinated with left-wing groups. ABC 30 should be reporting news stories, not staging them.”

It must be nice to be able to dismiss anyone who dares to ask you a question, and accuse them of staging events.  It means you can play the victim, and see conspiracies under every TV station’s van. I”m surprised he didn’t claim George Soros was somehow behind it all, paying protesters.

Once those not happy with the way Nunes has been handling his job in Congress found out where the $2,700 per plate fund raiser was being held (it’s location was secret until you RSVP’d), they quickly utilized social media to get people on the scene. No doubt Nunes was peeved about that – someone leaked his “secret memo” listing the time and place for the event. With no other target on which to vent his spleen, he lashed out at Channel 30 and reporter Haagenson.

These days Devin seems to feel at home only on Fox News, where I don’t doubt they hold his hand and tsk tsk tsk with him over the terrible way local media tries to get him to actually answer some serious questions. (did you see that soft-ball interview he did a few days ago? The interviewer even used the Republican fall-back term, “Democrat Party”, instead of the correct “Democratic Party”. They don’t even try to hide their bias, and he accuses Channel 30!) We did get a long look at him almost running from reporters at the Farm Show last week, until they found a section where they could slam the doors on the reporters trying to follow him and get him to talk to them. Must not have been a Fox News person in the group.

Trump starting foraging in the rabbit hole of ‘fake news’ a long time ago, and Devin Nunes is happy to follow him right down to the bottom. I hope Alice and the Mad Hatter can make room at the table, but the cat is not smiling, and the Queen may have harsh words for them all.

Nitpicks, just because: ABC30 is a station, not a network. The correct spelling is “protesters”. These from the head of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. And I’m still blocked on Nunes’ personal Twitter account. Maybe it was something I said?

Presidents’ Day


What a difference 13 months makes. We’ve had over a year to judge the timber of the person currently holding the office of President, and the results are not good. His latest fiasco in Florida has much of the country and the world shaking it’s head in disbelief.


Smiles and ‘thumbs up’ in the hospital visiting survivors of the Parkland massacre? Then off to Mar A Lago for a party? How insensitive can you be? Scratch that, we already know.

My first memory of anything related to the presidency is from November, 1963. I was six years old, and my parents had the television turned to the news. There, in Washington, D.C., was a plane with a service lift next to it. It was lowering a casket containing the body of President Kennedy from the cargo hold, to be placed into a hearse. That’s a snapshot memory for me. I don’t recall anything before or after that moment from that day, but that image, seen many times since, still remains vivid. I don’t know if I watched anything else of the funeral or related events. If I did, those memories are lost.

There have been ten presidents since that fateful day in 1963. Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush the first, Clinton, Bush the lesser, Obama, and now Trump. Each has made his mark on the world, some for the better, some for the worse.

The things I’ll remember about each President:

Johnson: Vietnam. He should have declared victory and pulled out our troops. Or at least not lied about what was really going on there.

Nixon: Watergate. Canceling the Apollo program. “Only Nixon could go to China”.

Ford: Amiable fellow who lost any chance to be an important (or elected) President with the pardon of Nixon.

Carter: Iran. An otherwise good man, who lucked into office at the wrong time for his leadership abilities.

Bush the first: “Read my lips”. A decent fellow, for the most part, even though I didn’t care for many of his policies. He knew government inside-out, and was a competent administrator.

Clinton: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, (and the ignored or forgotten) Don’t Pursue”.  Accusations of womanizing. Constantly having to defend himself against baseless accusations (Whitewater was his Benghazi), and finally getting caught for lying about inappropriate sexual conduct.

Bush the Lesser: His inability to speak a coherent sentence. 9/11. Afghanistan, then virtually ignoring that war to invade Iraq. Even with his incompetence as a President, I didn’t think he was out to destroy the government.

Obama: Marriage equality. It took his VP coming out in support to get him off his duff publicly about it, but better late than never. Ending DADT. His genuine pain while comforting the families of the children and teachers killed at Sandy Hook. Smartest man to hold the office in a long time. Extreme competence in governing. His most serious scandal occurred when he wore a tan suit to a news conference. The right wing echo chamber went nuts over that. If the 22nd Amendment didn’t stand in the way, he’d still be President.

Trump: A (hopefully) momentary glitch in the matrix. How anyone could or can support this con man is beyond my comprehension. His comments during the campaign, his “win” by losing to Hillary by a vote of 65 million to 63 million, his complete lack of preparation to govern (he and his team thought they were going to lose, just like most of the rest of us, so they didn’t do the work to be ready to govern on January 20), and his inability to govern since. The government is reeling, with the State Department, for example, shedding experienced high-level career statesmen who are not being replaced. Appointments to department heads who have as their stated goals the destruction and dismantling of the very offices they hold. The Russia imbroglio is coming to a head, and if Trump avoids indictment and impeachment it will be surprising. Most of his sycophants are going down, perhaps including members of his immediate family. I’ll be glad when this “long national nightmare is over” (to quote Gerald Ford after his pardon of Nixon).

We’ve had quite the collection of men who have served as president. Some have been great, some have been bad, some have been mediocre. We will find out if we are strong enough to endure the incompetence and destruction being wrought by the current occupant as he spreads his own “American carnage” through our institutions.

Soon, we’ll have a woman President. We should have had one now, but Vladimir really doesn’t like her, and we let him decide. Next time, I hope we do better.


GOP, NRA complicit in Florida school shooting


When you drive the getaway car from the scene of a liquor store robbery where the clerk was killed, you can be charged with homicide even if you never entered the store. If you supply alcohol to someone and they’re involved in a fatal DUI crash later, you can be charged with a crime. If you hide a criminal from the police, you can be arrested.

Give money to a Congressman who votes to allow mentally disturbed individuals easy access to high-power assault rifles, however, you’re off scott-free when one of those people uses that weapon to kill others.  If you lobby to take military style weapons off banned firearms lists, you’re just a patriotic American who supports the Second Amendment. Vote to make these things possible, and you’re only responsible for “thoughts and prayers”.

The United States is sick. I was holding onto the hope that this disease was not terminal, but that diminishes each time we see the news of another mass shooting. Just this year alone, we’ve had 20 fatalities at school shootings, 17 of them in the most recent incident. What have we done about it? Nothing. Well, almost nothing. We elect and re-elect people like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Devin Nunes, and Donald Trump. We let them off with issuing platitudes. Children die, the NRA remains silent and writes checks.

Dianne Feinstein has been dealing with this issue since she found San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Mascone dead in their offices, moments after being shot on November 27, 1978. “I feel a kind of anger today. The custom is don’t speak about it, just express grief the day after. Well, I’m tired of just doing that. We become culpable when we do nothing to stop it.”

I think we entered the terminal phase of our disease on December 14, 2012. That’s the date, in case you don’t recall, of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Twenty first graders were murdered by a nut with guns. We did nothing at the federal level to address the problem.

Gun nuts say “MORE GUNS!” 270 to 330 million guns in the United States, and they want more. The 2011 Small Arms Survey lists 89 guns per 100 people in the U.S. (yet only about 34% of Americans actually own a gun. Gun owners hoard.) The next on the list, at about 55 guns per 100 people, is Yemen. Canada clocks in at 31. If more guns were the key to safety, the United States should be the safest country in the western world. Tell that to the parents of the children killed in Florida yesterday.

“I’ll be able to make sure that when you walk down the street you’re not gonna be shot. Your child isn’t gonna be shot.” – Donald J. Trump 8/24/16  I guess we can congratulate him for being right. Yesterday’s victims weren’t walking down the street. He didn’t say anything about kids in school, apparently.

“I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns.” – Carly, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, scene of yesterday’s shooting, in response to the following Tweet by right-wing noise-maker Tomi Lahren: “Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic.”

“Here’s where we remember that the CDC is forbidden BY LAW from studying gun violence as a public health problem.” – Charles P. Pierce, on Twitter.

Student who survived this latest school shooting: “We need to dig out of this hole… there is something seriously wrong here. And some of our policymakers… need to look in the mirror and take some action because… without action, ideas stay ideas and children die.” CNN on Twitter.

“BREAKING: Leader of white nationalist group has confirmed suspect in Florida school shooting was member of his organization.” – Associated Press on Twitter. (So this won’t help build the wall or ban Muslims from entering the United States.)

“From Parkland, a student there: “We’re children, you guys are, like, the adults. Take action, work together, come over your politics, and get something done.” We need more than the usual “thoughts and prayers”. Act! No tension between 2nd Amendment and sane gun safety measures” – former Attorney General Eric Holder via Twitter.

The list goes on. And you know what? We still won’t do anything about it. Not as long as the NRA has a lock on the GOP, and the GOP stays in power, Until then, we’re dying. The children are dying. Our republic is dying.

The best the GOP can muster up is “thoughts and prayers”.