Showing posts with label GOP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GOP. Show all posts

March 24, 2017

RNC Tried Hiding Payments Made to Get any Dirt on Clinton







The Republican National Committee paid a low-profile firm started by an ex-CIA officer for what it claimed was building security at the RNC’s Capitol Hill headquarters. Now the RNC acknowledges that most of its payments to the firm went to intelligence-style reports that tried to connect Hillary Clinton to any conflicts of interest from her days serving as Secretary of State, Politico reported Friday.

The RNC paid a Virginia-based firm, Hamilton Trading Group, $41,500 over the course of the campaign. The RNC is now reporting that most of the money, $34,100, went to opposition research on the Democratic presidential nominee and the Clinton Foundation.

Ben Wickham, an ex-CIA officer who started the firm, told Politico that his work was initially limited to building security. He said he could not discuss other work because he was subject to a non-disclosure agreement. 
“I’m not denying that I wasn’t totally forthcoming, but I’m telling you why,” Wickham said. “The security stuff that we did, which is legitimate, was not covered by any kind of a confidentiality agreement, so I can discuss that.”

When the RNC first reported a $3,400 payment to Hamilton Trading Group for “security services” on its campaign finance reports in June, it was flagged by political operatives, intelligence consultants and security experts, Politico reported. In part, because Hamilton Trading Group was relatively unknown in the consulting community, but also because the firm has had connections to an ex-Russian spy.

Wickham denied to Politico that any work he did on behalf of the RNC had anything to with Russia. He also added that he’s “never had any contact with . . . Trump or Manafort or their people.”

March 7, 2017

Gay Conversion Therapy Quacks Excited About GOP Win




 
Advocates of long-discredited gay conversion therapy programs say they are heartened by the election of Donald Trump and are counting on Vice President Mike Pence and congressional Republicans to help fight off efforts to make such programs illegal.
“I certainly hope that this administration will pull back from some of the aggressive activism that the Obama administration engaged in,” said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, a powerful conservative lobbying group in Washington that is active in supporting sexual reorientation efforts.
President Obama's Surgeon General Vivek Murthy publicly stated that “conversion therapy is not sound medical practice” and that such programs “are harmful and are not appropriate therapeutic practices.”
Conversion therapy has been outlawed for licensed mental health providers in California, Oregon, New Jersey, Vermont, Illinois and the District of Colombia, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group.
The Family Research Council and Sprigg have helped to fight legislative proposals in 20 other states that would make gay conversion therapy illegal.
“They certainly should not be outlawed. They certainly should not be prohibited by law,” Sprigg said in an interview to be broadcast this Friday on the ABC News program “20/20” in an investigation of gay conversion therapy programs.
“As a Christian, I believe that the Bible teaches that to choose to engage in homosexual conduct is a sin,” he said, adding that he believes therapy can cause people to make different choices.
The “20/20” report includes revelations of two programs that conducted conversion therapy in Alabama, including one in which Christian pastors overseeing dozens of teens were convicted of child abuse amid stark allegations of beatings administered to teens who resisted efforts to change their sexual orientation.
The camps practicing conversion therapy uncovered by the “20/20” investigation were not operating as licensed mental health facilities and are therefore not covered by laws prohibiting the practice.
At the Republican National Convention last year, delegates voted for a party platform that appeared to tacitly endorse the right of parents to send their teens to conversion programs, supporting the “right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.”
The party position mirrors the position of the Family Research Council, which considers sexual reorientation therapy mental health care.
“If someone is experiencing something mentally, like same-sex attractions, that is causing distress, then that’s a mental health issue,” Sprigg said.
He said that there is no place for physical abuse in therapy programs.
“The kind of therapy that we support is ordinary talk therapy like anyone would have for any type of psychological issue,” he said.
Sprigg said that his groups does not believe that “same-sex attractions are a choice” but that he also does “not believe that experiencing same-sex attractions is a normal and natural variant of human sexuality.”
He added that he believes Pence will be helpful in any battle with what he called the “gay lobby.”
As a candidate for Congress in the 1990s, Pence’s campaign website included a statement that fueled belief that he was in support of conversion therapies for gay youths.
“Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” the website said, under a header reading, “The Pence agenda.”
Asked about the campaign language, a spokesman for Pence said, after publication of this story, that Pence was calling for federal funds to “be directed to groups that promoted safe sexual practices” and said “any assertion that Vice President-elect Pence supported or advocated for conversion therapy is patently false and is a mischaracterization of language from a 16-year old campaign website." The Family Research Council is optimistic Republicans will back its position.
“I see it as unlikely that any sort of legislative – federal legislative attack upon sexual reorientation therapy will ... go anywhere," Sprigg said.
The practice however has long been discredited by respected medical and mental health institutions.
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its diagnostic manual, the field’s definitive book of mental disorders.
In 1975 the American Psychological Association said, “Homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability or general social and vocational capabilities; further, the American Psychological Association urges all mental health professionals to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientations.”
And in 1993 the American Academy of Pediatrics denounced conversion therapy, saying, "Therapy directed at specifically changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.”
Despite these unequivocal positions from the foremost U.S. mental health organizations, the “20/20” investigation found a cottage industry of so-called conversion camps operating across the country.
To learn more, and hear the harrowing story of how two gay youths escaped such camps, tune in to “20/20” on Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern time.
ABC News’ Randy Kreider, Cho Park, Alex Hosenball and Paul Blake contributed to this story.

February 13, 2017

“You Can’t Be Accepted Coming Out”-an AuntMary Gay Conservative





 

The day after the American election, my ex-boyfriend messaged me to confess that he had voted for Trump. Hillary Clinton, he thought, just wasn’t trustworthy enough, so instead he opted for a compulsive liar and megalomaniac. As a gay man, I was repulsed by the idea that someone I’d once shared a bed with could now be in bed with our oppressors.

Now, another gay man has decided to “come out” (his words) as a conservative, this time in a piece for the New York Post. Chadwick Moore is a 33-year-old journalist who wrote a fawning profile of the out alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos for Out, one of America’s premier gay men’s magazines.

Yiannopoulos’ Islamophobia, transphobia, racism, and sexism are well documented, and that an LGBT publication would give him “neutral” (as Moore claims) coverage rightfully angered many in the community. It was met with swift condemnation from within the community, with dozens of prominent LGBT journalists signing an open letter condemning the article and Out’s decision to publish. 

Moore himself took a lot of flack for writing such a flattering piece of someone who has campaigned against gay marriage and is otherwise an equally deplorable human being. He was attacked on Twitter, but to his surprise, it did not end there. “Personal friends of mine — men in their 60s who had been my long time mentors — were coming at me. They wrote on Facebook that the story was ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous’. A dozen or so people unfriended me,” he whinges.  He lost his best friend. People in gay bars wouldn’t talk to him. A guy he chatted up called him a Nazi.

Delicate little snowflake can’t take the heat, it seems.

All of this has led Moore to realise he’s not a liberal after all, but is actually a conservative. Anyone who read his piece on Yiannopoulos could’ve told you that, but apparently it took being criticised for fawning over fascists for Moore to realise his own political predilections. Now he’s standing for far-right gadfly Ann Coulter and hoping that “New Yorkers can be as open-minded and accepting of my new status as a conservative man as they’ve been about my sexual orientation.”

Girl, goodnight.

Conservatism in America has literally killed gay people. Thousands lost their lives because of Reagan’s homophobic inaction on Aids. The Vice President of the United States only two years ago signed a license-to-discriminate as governor of Indiana. The right uses religion to deny marriage equality, housing protections, job protections, and even trans peoples’ right to use a public toilet. Conservative Americans are so homophobic and transphobic that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had to issue a travel alert to LGBT Britons going to North Carolina. And unlike the British Conservative Party, the Republican Party has made no overtures towards LGBT people, no apologies for past injustices, and no attempt at including us in their vision for the country.
 
Donald Trump did say LGBT like he was trying to sound out a Welsh place name though, so these Aunt Marys (a term used to describe gay people who side with the oppressor) suddenly want all of this forgiven.

Gay conservatives aren’t welcome in gay spaces because the people they support are an existential threat to our rights and our community. After all, queer spaces (such as bars, bathhouses, community centres, and even bookstores) were founded and instrumental in radical sexual politics and political engagement. You can’t divorce that from the social aspect, because doing so would deny the history of our community and the present reality of so many vulnerable LGBT people.

Asking that the gay community embrace you and your politics is like one turkey asking another to be okay that he voted for the farmer and Thanksgiving. I don’t care if this hurts someone’s feelings; I’m more concerned with the harm their vote causes. So until American conservatism welcomes queer people, queer people shouldn’t welcome American conservatives. Even if they’re queer themselves.

Sorry, Chad. Maybe Milo will buy you a drink. 

November 14, 2016

Trump and GOP are Having Problems Getting Along





House Speaker Paul Ryan made clear Sunday that many of the policy divisions that split the Republican Party with Donald Trump continue post-election, but seemed confident GOP orthodoxy would win out. 
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Ryan departed from Trump on two of the president-elect's top priorities: Establishing a "deportation force" to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, and using tariffs to prevent companies from taking their jobs overseas. 
On the former, Ryan insisted, "that is not what our focus is" when it comes to immigration reform — rather, securing the border is. 
"We think that's first and foremost, before we get into any other immigration issue we gotta know who's coming and going in this country we gotta secure the border. So we believe an enforcement bill, a border security enforcement bill is really the first priority and that's what we're focused on," Ryan said.  Pressed on whether, in year three or four of his administration, Trump would focus on mass deportations, Ryan replied: "We are not planning on erecting a deportation force. Donald Trump's not planning on that." 
And on the latter, establishing tariffs to keep jobs in the U.S., Ryan said "I think there's a better way of dealing with that particular issue," later suggesting tariffs could cause "collateral damage on the economy." 
He pointed instead to the House GOP policy agenda that he authored — called the "Better Way" — agenda, which includes proposals to cut taxes on businesses that he said would be a better solution. 
"He's trying to make American more competitive. He's trying to make the American worker more competitive, he's trying to make it so American businesses stay in America and we believe the smartest and best way to do that is comprehensive tax reform which actually makes America much more competitive without any adverse effects, without any collateral damage to the economy," he said.  
 But versions of both of Trump's proposals were included in then-candidate Trump's "Contract With the American Voter," the outline he offered of policy priorities for his first 100 days. 
In the contract, he promises on his first day in office to "begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won't take them back," and to begin working with Congress to pass a law that would establish tariffs to "discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free." 
And Trump recommitted to deporting those immigrants during his first post-election interview, on CBS' "60 Minutes," Sunday night — excerpts from which were released early. 
Ryan's comments on CNN underscored the fact that the divisions between the two — which led to an at times fierce public conflict between the two, with Trump tweeting criticism at the speaker and Ryan refusing to say Trump's name for much of the final month of the election — remain. 
But Ryan seemed confident Trump would fall in line behind his proposals, and refused to acknowledge his past criticism of the president-elect when asked. 
“I’m not going to re-litigate the past, I'm looking for the future," said Ryan.

ALEXANDRA JAFFE
nbcnews.com

July 14, 2016

Mike Pence for Veep and Speakers on the GOP Convention



                                                                         


The Republican National Committee on Thursday unveiled the list of speakers at next week’s national convention in Cleveland, a roster the party said emphasizes “real world experience.”

Include the following visualization to highlight some of the speakers planned to speak at the Republican National Convention.

July 13, 2016

“Stop Repelling Gays” GOP Turns Deaf Ear to Emotional Plea



                                                                           


Republican officials have rejected an emotional plea to back off the GOP's opposition to same-sex marriage, renewing the party's embrace of religious conservative values as delegates prepared to welcome Donald Trump to their national convention.

Republicans who gathered Monday to shape their party platform in Cleveland this week also refused to reverse their opposition to bathroom choice for transgender people, exposing a rift with their presumptive presidential nominee — despite internal warnings that social conservative policies on gay rights alienate voters.

"All I ask today is that you include me," said Rachel Huff, a Republican delegate from Washington, D.C., who is openly gay.

"If our party wants a future ... we must evolve," she said, her voice cracking with emotion.

Asked to respond to Huff, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin later explained that opposition to same-sex marriage has "been the longtime tradition of the Republican Party."

"She's still welcome in the party. Everyone is," Fallin said.

The debate comes as anxious conservatives try to influence the direction of a party facing deep uncertainty about Trump's positions on social issues.

Delegates will adopt an updated set of policy prescriptions — known as the party platform — when the Republican National Convention begins next week. Delegates began the tedious process of updating the 62-page document this week. Changes adopted so far signaled renewed support for religious conservative values.

The New York billionaire has been reluctant to embrace social conservative positions in some cases, particularly as Republicans across the country push for new restrictions on bathroom access for transgender people.

Trump, who claims strong support from the gay community, has invited transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner to use whichever bathroom in Trump Tower she'd like. He also said North Carolina's so-called "bathroom law," which directs transgender people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificates, has caused unnecessary strife.

Yet Republicans on Monday let stand language that attacks the Obama administration for directing schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that match their gender identities. "Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities is at once illegal, dangerous and ignores privacy issues. We salute the several states which have filed suit against it," reads the platform.

Delegates also changed language that offers a warning to children of same-sex parents: "Children raised in a traditional two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, less likely to sue drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage."

Annie Dickerson, a Republican delegate from New York, said the change relied upon "outrageous, horrible evidence" and represented "another poke in the eye to the gay community."

"Stop repelling gays for God's sake," she declared.

Trump opposes same-sex marriage, but often avoids discussing conservative social issues on the campaign trail. Facing the possibility of a delegate rebellion at the convention next week, his campaign has been taking a hands-off approach to the platform debate.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who led the platform committee, said he was given Trump's blessing during a private meeting last week in Washington.

“I’ve asked him to embrace the platform and I believe he will," Barrasso said of Trump.

AP

July 12, 2016

Trump Distancing from GOP Platform but the Fight for LGBT is On



     















Same-sex marriage and transgender rights are emerging as points of serious strain between social conservatives and moderates who are trying to shape the Republican platform, reviving a festering cultural dispute as thousands of party activists and delegates prepare for their convention.

Caught in the middle is Donald Trump, who claims “tremendous support, tremendous friendship” from gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, and has gone further than most party figures to embrace them. Gays, in fact, are one of the few minority groups Trump has not singled out for criticism. But as the presumptive Republican nominee, he is also trying to assuage doubts about the convictions of his conservatism. 

The uncomfortable dynamic Trump has created for himself is perhaps best illustrated by his own calendar. He huddled last month at a Manhattan hotel with hundreds of religious conservatives, many of them — like James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council — outspoken opponents of new legal protections for gay and transgender people.

A few days later, he took what an aide described as a friendly and supportive call from Caitlyn Jenner, a former Olympic decathlete who came out as transgender last year.

One of the most contentious issues confronting delegates when they meet Monday to debate the platform will be whether to adopt a provision defending state laws that try to prevent transgender people from using the public restroom of their choice. At times Trump has criticized those laws. And he has said Jenner can use whatever bathroom she prefers at his properties.

But he has also promised not to interfere with the platform, which serves as the party’s official declaration of principles.

Even as Trump keeps his distance from the debate, other Republicans who share his more accepting view of gay and transgender issues are working aggressively to tone down some of the platform’s language. 

The existing platform, adopted in 2012, is replete with disapproval of homosexuality.It calls court decisions favoring same-sex marriage “an assault on the foundations of our society” and accuses the Obama administration of trying to impose “the homosexual rights agenda” on foreign countries.

Paul E. Singer, a billionaire Republican who has financed gay rights battles across the country, is now funding an effort to write into the platform language more inclusive of gays, lesbians and transgender people. The goal of his group, the American Unity Fund, is not to get the party to endorse same-sex marriage but to add a more open-ended statement that commits the party “to respect for all families,” though there is still fierce resistance from the right.

“We don’t have to say we’re tolerant because we are tolerant of other views,” said James Bopp Jr., a member of the platform committee from Indiana who has long supported efforts to make the platform more strongly in favor of traditional marriage. Such language promoting tolerance, he added, would be “redundant and superfluous.”

Advisers for the American Unity Fund, who say they know they are fighting a steep uphill battle, argue that the Republican Party can no longer afford to alienate people on gay rights issues. “We’ve got to make room for people with diverse views on civil marriage,” said Tyler Deaton, the group’s senior adviser. “This platform doesn’t even make room for people who support civil unions or domestic partnerships or people who support basic legal equality.”
 
The Republican platform committee has long been dominated by some of the party’s most stalwart activists. And some of them have hardly been shy about their views.

There is Cynthia Dunbar of Virginia, who has compared the gay rights movement to Nazism. Hardy Billington, a committee member from Missouri, placed an ad in a local paper asserting that homosexuality kills people at two to three times the rate of smoking. And Mary Frances Forrester of North Carolina has claimed that the “homosexual agenda is trying to change the course of Western civilization.”

Bopp of Indiana recently wrote to delegates to say that the Republican Party has always opposed threats to traditional marriage “beginning with our opposition to the ‘twin relics of barbarism’ of slavery and polygamy in our 1856 platform.”

As dominant as those conservative voices have been, delegates who want to see a more inclusive platform are gaining seats on the committee.

Many of them believe the Republican Party needs to have a serious debate this year about whittling down a platform that has grown long and become riddled with special-interest additions.

Boyd Matheson, a first-time platform committee member from Utah, noted that at 33,000 words, the 2012 platform was “six or seven times longer than the Constitution.” Recent platforms have become, he said, “these laundry lists and litmus tests of ‘thou shalts’ and ‘thou shalt nots.’”

The party’s first platform in 1856 was fewer than 1,000 words.

As an alternative this year, Matheson proposed a 1,177-word document that he said adheres to the founding principles of the party, like equal rights and economic opportunity. It contains no mention of same-sex marriage or transgender issues. “That does not elevate the discussion we need,” Matheson said.

It is not the discussion Trump is eager to have, either. Asked in a recent interview about the platform, he declined to comment, saying only that he was “looking at it.”

   

June 28, 2016

GOP Rocked by Report Indicating Their Lies and Abuses on the Benghazi Investigation


Editorial on Report

                                                                       


House Republicans were dealt a severe blow by a 339-page report from the Democrats on the Benghazi Select Committee who not only provided the evidence that Republicans have hidden but also detailed the Republican abuses and lies throughout the investigation.

House Republicans were dealt a severe blow by a 339-page report from the Democrats on the Benghazi Select Committee who not only provided the evidence that Republicans have hidden but also detailed the Republican abuses and lies throughout the investigation.

According to the report from the Benghazi Democrats:

The Democratic report also documents the grave abuses Republicans engaged in during this investigation—from A to Z. Republicans excluded Democrats from interviews, concealed exculpatory evidence, withheld interview transcripts, leaked inaccurate information, issued unilateral subpoenas, sent armed Marshals to the home of a cooperative witness, and even conducted political fundraising by exploiting the deaths of four Americans.

“In our opinion,” the Members wrote, “Chairman Gowdy has been conducting this investigation like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps.” 

“We are issuing our own report today because, after spending more than two years and $7 million in taxpayer funds in one of the longest and most partisan congressional investigations in history, it is long past time for the Select Committee to conclude its work,” they wrote. “Despite our repeated requests over the last several months, Republicans have refused to provide us with a draft of their report—or even a basic outline—making it impossible for us to provide input and obvious that we are being shut out of the process until the last possible moment.”

The Chairman of the Select Committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy, has consistently refused to release full transcripts of interviews. Gowdy has also refused to give Democrats on the committee access to information, or allowed them to help draft the final report.

Gowdy has also leaked inaccurate information in an attempt to help Republicans defeat Hillary Clinton. Rep. Gowdy illegally shifted the focus of the investigation away from Benghazi and on to Hillary Clinton’s emails. The chairman has interviewed witnesses without Democrats present and has treated the Select Committee like an arm of the Republican Party that is digging for opposition research on Hillary Clinton.

The Benghazi investigation has always been an attempt to bring down the Democratic presidential nominee. House Democrats on the Select Committee aren’t standing for it. They are popping the Benghazi conspiracy theory balloon and showing that the Republican investigation was a total sham.

Democrats aren’t going to play the GOP’s Benghazi games.

Republicans Rocked By Report Detailing GOP Lies And Abuses During Benghazi Investigation added by Jason Easley

June 18, 2016

Trump and Republicans Ban Guns from GOP Convention


                                                                          

Republicans argue that mass shootings and acts of terror can be prevented if more people have guns, but if this true why has Trump made the Republican convention less safe by banning guns?
Here is a list of items that are banned at the Republican convention:

 During a rally in Atlanta, Trump claimed that if more people would have guns, the Pulse nightclub attack would have been prevented, “If the bullets were going in the other direction, aimed at the guy who was just in open target practice, you would have had a situation folks, which would have been horrible, but nothing like the carnage that we as all people suffered this weekend.”
If America is safer when more people have guns, why did Trump ban all guns from the Republican convention? Does Trump not want convention attendees to be safe? 
If Republicans really believed in the Second Amendment, they would make their convention in Cleveland open carry.  
Actions do speak louder than words, and by not allowing guns at their convention, Republicans are admitting that their claim that more guns prevent violence is not true. Republicans know that having guns at their convention would be a security threat, and would increase the risk of violence. Therefore, if guns aren’t safe enough for Republicans to allow at their own presidential convention, then why should people who have suspected terrorism links be allowed to buy a gun legally?
Guns don’t belong at the Republican convention, just as they don’t belong in the hands of criminals and terrorists. Republicans know this is true, which is why they banned guns from their convention in Cleveland.

June 15, 2016

Has the Shootings Changed Ted Cruz,Ryan,Trump and GOP Stance on Gay Rights?


                                                                         
                                                                         
The Orlando massacre is unlikely to mean much change in how the Republican Party deals with gay rights.

The Sunday shootings gave the GOP, long struggling to erase an image of intolerance, a big stage to show its support and sympathy for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. But a day later there was little sign that the party would take the opportunity to alter its positions on key gay-rights issues.

Presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday emphasized his belief that cracking down on terrorists would be a boost for gay rights. Meanwhile, other influential party voices are expected to insist that the party take a strong stand for “religious liberty” in the Republican platform, a phrase used to describe legislation that critics charge allows religious conservatives to cite their beliefs in discriminating against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

Gay-rights advocates say such legislation merely masks opposition to same-sex marriage, something the Supreme Court ruled a constitutionally protected right one year ago.
What might be different when the party’s platform committee begins meeting July 11 is the tone. “I don’t know if it changes the arguments. Maybe it changes the tenor,” said Ed Martin, president of the Eagle Forum, the Alton, Illinois-based conservative group active on Republican platform issues.

“Religious liberty” has been an important rallying cry for conservatives. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose supporters will have a big say on the platform, made the issue a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.

Trump was cheered last week when he told the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Washington conference he would uphold “religious freedom, the right for people of faith to freely practice their faith, so important.”

Republican gay-rights activists said they were heartened Monday by at least part of Trump’s comments after the shootings.

“I refuse to allow America to become a place where gay people, Christian people, and Jewish people, are the targets of persecution and intimidation by radical Islamic preachers of hate and violence,” the New York real-estate mogul said in a speech on terrorist issues.

                                                                       
 Trump gives a show paid by gay’s blood. .A draft dodger hugs the flag, What does it mean?

OUR NATION STANDS TOGETHER IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE MEMBERS OF ORLANDO'S LGBT COMMUNITY.
Donald Trump

Trump suggested the way to assure rights for gay people and others is to get tougher on terrorism. “A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens because of their sexual orientation,” he said.

This tie to national security is expected to be a recurring Republican theme, a way of showing how the GOP aims to protect gay rights.

“The Orlando shootings are a reminder of the major issues facing the country,” said Roger Beckett, executive director of the Ashbrook Center in Ohio, a research center named for a former conservative Republican congressman that offers instructional programs on government.

Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, an organization representing gay conservatives and their allies, said he found Trump’s statements and those of other GOP candidates a “tipping point in the LGBT rights movement in the United States.”

At least, he said, they were acknowledging that gay people had been targeted for attack. And that’s better than what happened after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when televangelists blamed gays among others for the catastrophe.

The reaction after Orlando, Angelo said, shows “that people can have civil disagreements about things like marriage, but come together when Americans are attacked simply because of who they are.”
                                                                         



EVERY HUMAN BEING HAS A RIGHT TO LIVE ACCORDING TO HIS OR HER FAITH AND CONSCIENCE, AND NOBODY HAS A RIGHT TO MURDER SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T SHARE THEIR FAITH OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.
Sen. Ted Cruz, after the Orlando shootings

But none of that means any big policy or platform change is imminent.

Across the country, Republicans have backed measures in the name of religious freedom that many gay-rights activists find offensive. In Indiana last year, for example, Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation barring state and local governments from hindering people’s ability to practice their religion. Though sexual orientation wasn’t specifically mentioned in the measure, many saw it as permitting businesses to deny services to LGBT people.

After major corporations threatened to stop doing business in the state, Pence relented.

That didn’t stop others. After North Carolina passed HB2, its “bathroom law,” this spring limiting transgender people to the restrooms of their birth sex, the Obama administration issued a directive telling school systems to permit students to use the restrooms that align with their gender identity. A dozen states are challenging that action in a federal lawsuit.

61% Percentage of people in a Gallup poll last month who said same-sex marriages should be recognized by law as valid
The challenge for the Republican Party remains the same. In a report on how to expand the GOP, a high-level party study urged “We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too.”

However, no one is predicting any big breakthroughs anytime soon. “This situation is still too fluid to make any proclamations regarding the GOP platform,” said Angelo.

“Religious freedom” advocates are determined to see their principles survive, and Trump’s forces so far have sent no signals they will oppose religious liberty planks in the platform.

The Family Leader, an influential Iowa-based Christian group, “will continue to stand on the principles of the Bible in regards to God’s design for marriage and will continue to defend the unalienable right of religious liberty endowed upon us all by our Creator,” said spokesman Drew Zahn.

But thanks to Orlando, any anger will be muted. “The Orlando shootings are going to moderate that conversation,” said the Ashbrook Center’s Beckett.

BY DAVID LIGHTMAN: 202-383-6101, @lightmandavid

May 5, 2016

Many in Congress Will Still Keep away from The Donald


                                                                          

I'll Take Three



Many in Congress may keep their distance from presumed nominee
Senator Heller says he'll `vehemently oppose our nominee'
 
On a day when Republicans in Congress would normally be rallying around their new presumptive presidential nominee, there was instead mostly silence or awkward tap-dancing around Donald 

Trump’s triumph.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine told a home-state radio station on Wednesday that she’s holding out her endorsement until she sees whether the bombastic real estate tycoon can behave like a president. An aide to one of the year’s most vulnerable Republicans, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, told a local news outlet the senator plans to support the nominee, only to later send a media statement insisting that doesn’t mean that she’s endorsing him.

Senator Dean Heller of Nevada didn’t hide his scorn.
“I vehemently oppose our nominee and some of the comments and issues he brought up during the campaign,” Heller said during an interview with Nevada reporters one day after Ted Cruz suspended his campaign and hours before John Kasich did the same. “Things that he’s said about women and the Hispanic community across the West.”

Asked whether he would commit to voting for Trump, Heller responded, “No, but what I’m committing to is voting against Hillary Clinton.” He pointed out that voters in Nevada have the option of voting for “none of the above.”

The unwillingness to immediately embrace the party’s clear nominee for president is extremely unusual and reflects the torment of many lawmakers, who fear that Trump will drag down other Republicans with him. Many worry that Trump’s deep unpopularity, particularly with minorities and women, could help hand Democrats control of the Senate and create Republican losses in the House.
“Many are being very careful with their language, not throwing in their wholehearted support, which would normally be standard operating procedure,” said Ron Bonjean, who served as a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi. “They’re trying to distance themselves from Trump until he makes it a safer political climate for them.”

Burr’s Backing
The negative reaction wasn’t across the board. Soon after Kasich canceled a planned press conference in Virginia and word leaked that he would be dropping out, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina -- facing a tough re-election fight that might get more difficult with Trump at the top of the ticket -- posted a message on Twitter that he’s for Trump and for keeping Clinton out of the White House.
“I look forward to working with Mr. Trump at the top of the ticket and to maintaining a GOP Senate,” Burr wrote.
Trump made a number of gestures Tuesday night and Wednesday aimed at reaching out to the Republican establishment.
“I am confident that I can unite much of” the party, Trump said Wednesday on NBC. “Some of it I don’t want.”

Wary Establishment
Yet even as Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was quick to anoint Trump as the presumptive nominee Tuesday night, much of the establishment remained much more wary.
Neither of the two top Republicans in Congress — House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky -- had issued a public statement of congratulations by late Wednesday.

Former President George W. Bush’s office said Wednesday that Bush doesn’t plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign.
Republican Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts told reporters he questioned whether Trump has the temperament to serve as president. “I’m not going to vote for Mr. Trump and I sincerely doubt I’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton either,” he said.

In the coming weeks, more Republican lawmakers may well come to embrace Trump openly. But in the immediate hours after Trump’s victory, the response was notably tentative. 
Representative Michael Burgess of Texas issued a statement Wednesday that mentioned his earlier choice — Cruz -- three times, but referred only to an unnamed “Republican nominee” who he will support to ensure the party wins the presidency.

Trump spent most of his campaign so far harnessing Republican discontent with the establishment, something that clearly is a factor in the reluctance of many lawmakers to endorse him. 
Broadening Appeal

That anti-establishment energy could translate into votes for Republicans in House and Senate races this fall in certain regions, including parts of the South and in the Appalachian region, said Jack Pitney, a professor of political science at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California.
“But suburban Republicans and people representing more diverse constituencies are going to be a lot more wary,” he said, adding that Republicans are now worse off in Senate races in Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida and Nevada in particular.

Senators including Collins are calling on Trump to seek a tone with broader appeal.
“Donald Trump has the opportunity to unite the party, but if he’s going to build that wall that he keeps talking about, he’s going to have to mend a lot of fences,” Collins said in an interview with WGAN radio in Portland, Maine. “He’s going to have stop with gratuitous personal insults.”
She added that she will wait until the Republican convention in Cleveland to decide whether to throw her support to Trump.

Fueling Attacks
On the Democratic side, Trump’s status as the presumptive nominee will trigger a new set of efforts to tie vulnerable Republican incumbents to Trump’s controversial remarks. 
“We aren’t going to have to do a heavy lift here,” said Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “For us, the work is really just making sure that people recognize it’s not just an intention to fall in line with the party, but there are real agreements on policy that can be spotlighted.”
At least one Democratic challenger is already grabbing onto the strategy. Conner Eldridge, the Democrat taking on Republican Senator John Boozman in Arkansas, released a two-minute web ad this week that called the senator a Trump “enabler” and sought to tie the incumbent to some of Trump’s more incendiary remarks about women.

April 4, 2016

GOP Self immolation over Gay Rights


Image result for republicans against gays

                                                                          
                                                                                 

                        


  
  OUR infrastructure is inexcusable, much of our public education is miserable and one of our leading presidential candidates is a know-nothing, say-anything egomaniac who yanks harder every day at the tattered fabric of civil discourse and fundamental decency in this country.

But let’s by all means worry about the gays! Let’s make sure they know their place. Keep them in check and all else falls into line, or at least America notches one victory amid so many defeats.

That must be the thinking behind Republican efforts to push through so-called religious liberty laws and other legislation — most egregiously in North Carolina — that excuse and legitimize anti-gay discrimination. They’re cynical distractions. Politically opportunistic sideshows.

And the Republicans who are promoting them are playing a short game, not a long one, by refusing to acknowledge a clear movement in our society toward L.G.B.T. equality, a trajectory with only one shape and only one destination.

They’re also playing a provincial game, not a national one, and scoring points in their corners of the universe at the expense of the Republican Party’s image from north to south and coast to coast, a brand that needed a makeover — remember the broadly ballyhooed “autopsy” following Mitt Romney’s 2012 defeat? — and somehow didn’t get so much as a tweezed eyebrow or dab of blush.

Yes, two of the four longest-lasting candidates for the party’s presidential nomination, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, are the sons of Cuban immigrants, but much of the oratorical gunfire they exchanged revolved around who would be tougher on immigration. The autopsy didn’t recommend that.

Nor did it want Republican leaders to spotlight divisive social issues and hurtle anew into the culture wars, which is precisely what Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina, who is up for re-election in the fall, just did. He hastily signed a sweeping anti-gay and anti-transgender law that was rushed through the State Legislature as if the state’s security and economy were in immediate peril.

                                                                             



It takes forever in this country to build a new bridge, tunnel or train line, but it took no time flat for politicians in the Tar Heel State to convene a special session, formally ostracize North Carolina’s L.G.B.T. voters and wrap conservative Christians in a tight embrace. Who says America’s can-do spirit is dead?

What happened in North Carolina is a problem for Republicans atop the major trouble (Cruz, Donald Trump) that they already had. It exposes divides within the party that are ever more difficult to paper over and contradictions that aren’t easy to explain away.

While the marriage of the party’s evangelical and business wings has never been a cuddly one, it’s especially frosty now, their incompatible desires evident in the significant number of prominent corporations that have denounced the North Carolina law and that successfully pressed the Republican governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, to veto recent legislation that would have permitted the denial of services to L.G.B.T. people by Georgians citing religious convictions.

Corporations want to attract and retain the most talented workers, and that’s more difficult in states with discriminatory laws. They want to reach the widest base of customers and sow loyalty among young consumers in particular, and the best strategy for that is an L.G.B.T.-friendly one, given that eight in 10 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 support non-discrimination laws, according to a 2015 Public Religion Research Institute survey.

So they’re increasingly at loggerheads with the G.O.P., whose gay-rights advocates are still in the minority and whose socially conservative members still profit from and promote a derisive view of gays.

God is love and I’m  a loving man, I love Those that hate gays
                                                                                                                                             
 
The gay-rights front isn’t the only one on which there’s tension between the party and big business. The Republican primaries are awash in anti-immigrant sentiment and screed; corporate America generally backs immigration reform. The protectionism and nativism that have had such currency in the contest so far conflict with many corporations’ interests.

What’s more, several major companies are so concerned about the brew of misogyny, racism and xenophobia stirred up by Trump that they are debating whether to follow through with their usual sponsorship of the Republican National Convention, as The Times’s Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman reported last week.

THE party’s anti-gay efforts not only undermine its pro-business stance but also contradict conservatives’ exaltation of local decision making. The North Carolina law was drafted and passed expressly to undo and override an ordinance in the state’s most populous city, Charlotte, that extended L.G.B.T. protections against discrimination to transgender people who want to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The law went so far as to forbid any municipality from instituting its own anti-discrimination protections, lest they contradict the state’s.

Apparently conservatives love the concept of local control when the locality being given control tilts right, but they have a different view when it leans left. Rural sensibilities must be defended while cosmopolitan ones are dismissed.

North Carolina harbors both. Its tensions are America’s in miniature, and in terms of gay rights, they’re a reminder that the Supreme Court’s ruling last June to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide was hardly the finish of the fight.

That ruling was certain to prompt the kind of backlash now occurring in North Carolina, Georgia and elsewhere, because the steadily growing majority of Americans who favor gay equality is not yet overwhelming, and the climate of acceptance changes greatly from state to state and county to county.

Too many of us L.G.B.T. Americans and our allies were too busy celebrating to stay alert to that. Too few of us acknowledged the tenaciousness of opponents who will resort to whatever they must, including the hallucinated specter of male sexual predators entering women’s restrooms, to sweep aside anti-discrimination laws that include us and to turn public sentiment against us.

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, The Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.


They will lose in the end — whether that’s 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Meanwhile they’ll do undeniable harm to the Republican Party nationally and force tough, coalition-straining choices upon it.

They’ll also steal oxygen from matters more central to this country’s continued vitality and prosperity.

Look, I used to be a restaurant critic. I know dessert is important. But if you want to make America great again, you can’t waste time worrying about who’s cutting the wedding cake.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/frankbruni and join me on Facebook.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter. 


January 16, 2016

Interactive Breakdown of the Sixth GOP Presidential Debate





                                                                     




Breaking Down the Sixth Republican Presidential Debate



Posted on January 14, 2016 by Palmer Gibbs


Rainier Ehrhardt/AP Images

For the first time this year, Republican presidential hopefuls sparred in a two-and-a-half-hour debate hosted by Fox Business. The Jan. 14 debate dove into substantive issues, and also featured a handful of spats between the two top candidates: businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.


According to data collected by the InsideGov team, those two candidates — plus New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who also had a strong showing on Thursday — spoke the most during the debate.




In a twist from previous outings, moderators didn’t direct a question to Trump until the 19th minute of the debate. The query addressed Trump’s stance on Syrian refugees, which President Barack Obama referenced during his State of the Union speech Tuesday. While the moderators provided an opportunity for Trump to soften his anti-refugee position, the frontrunner doubled down, saying asylum-seekers from that part of the globe “could be the great Trojan Horse” who “are going to do great, great destruction.”


Despite the late-in-the-game start, Trump still managed to dominate the debate. In fact, it was the repeated terse exchanges between Trump and Cruz that put the two at the top of the heap when it came to speaking time on Thursday. Cruz has been climbing steadily in the polls since November, and they are now neck-and-neck in Iowa, where the first caucuses of the primary season take place in a little over two weeks. Although the two candidates have played very nice throughout the campaign — and Cruz has been largely safe from Trump’s razor-sharp attacks — that dynamic shifted dramatically on the Fox debate stage.




A few weeks ago, Trump brought up questions about Cruz’s eligibility to be president, citing the latter’s birth in Canada. Cruz, born to an American mother in Alberta, is a natural-born U.S. citizen; he was a dual citizen of both countries, but renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2014. As he has done since the concerns first came up, Cruz brushed aside the legal questions during the debate, making a not-so-veiled swipe at what he thinks is Trump’s true motivation for bringing it up. “Now, since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed. But the poll numbers have,” Cruz said to laughter and applause.


But in what has become a signature move for Trump during this campaign, he didn’t back down from his assertion. Instead, the real estate magnate said to Cruz: “There’s a big question mark on your head. And you can’t do that to the party.”







Overall, the debate focused on questions about immigration, terrorism and the economy. But, as the visualization below shows, much of the debate was dedicated to candidates defending their personal records and addressing the records of their competitors.




Toward the end of the debate, the moderators asked each of the seven candidates onstage to address Trump’s suggested ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. The original comments, made in December, kicked up quite a bit of controversy, but had relatively little impact on Trump’s all-rise and no-fall polling numbers.


Not surprisingly, Trump reiterated his support for the ban, saying it should be in place temporarily until the nation’s leadership gets to the bottom of the increased violence. In a brief back-and-forth about the ban with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Trump made two telling comments. He first name-checked political correctness as one of the primary speedbumps for American safety and security. And after Bush said he hoped Trump would “reconsider” the ban, Trump countered: “There's something going on and it's bad. And I'm saying we have to get to the bottom of it. That's all I'm saying. We need security.”


Trump’s deft ability to speak plainly about complicated policy topics, coupled with a strong anti-establishment fervor throughout the country, continues to find him a supportive audience. When Trump simply said “no” when asked if he’d reconsider the Muslim ban suggestion, the audience at the debate hall laughed — and then applauded.


More: Your Guide to the 2016 Campaign


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