AMERICAblog NewsAMERICAblog News A great nation deserves the truth // One of America's top progressive sites for news and opinion Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:25:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Make Twitter Great Again — ban Donald Trump Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:13:24 +0000 Donald Trump is a menace to social media.

Please sign the petition below (or here) and tell Twitter
to permanently ban Donald Trump from its service. (this link takes you to this page).

Trump puts the “bully” in bully pulpit. Trump regularly uses his nearly 17 million Twitter followers to attack and insult people, places and things (289 by the New York Times’ count, and that’s only since Trump declared his candidacy in mid-2015).

What’s worse, Trump has a tendency to  “punch down”: Trump likes to attack a little guy, knowing full well the little guy will quickly get overwhelmed by the imminent onslaught of Trumps millions of minions.

United Steelworkers 1999 president Chuck Jones learned the hard about Trump’s cyberbullying yesterday when he criticized Trump’s Carrier deal on CNN.


Within 20 minutes, Trump was on Twitter attacking Jones.


Half an hour later, the phone calls started rolling in. “You better keep your eye on your kids,” they warned Jones. And “we know what car you drive.”

This is hardly the Trump campaign’s first run-in with Tweeting gone bad. Trump’s pick for National Security Advisers, Michael Flynn, and his eponymous son, recently tweeted fake conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, involving child sex slaves. Just such a theory sent an armed North Carolina man into a pizza parlor in Washington, DC this week.

Trump’s latest Twitter bullying led Robert Reich told CNN: “Let me just say with all due respect, Mr. Trump, you are president-elect of the United States, you are looking and acting as if you are mean and petty, thin-skinned and vindictive. Stop this.”

But Trump won’t stop this. He’s given no indication of any self-control. And in fact, he seems to relish in his Twitter tirades.

The only thing that can stop Donald Trump is Twitter itself.

While the notion of banning Trump from Twitter may at first sound extreme, Twitter’s own rules put Trump on thin ice:

Any accounts and related accounts engaging in the activities specified below may be temporarily locked and/or subject to permanent suspension.

Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
Harassment: You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Some of the factors that we may consider when evaluating abusive behavior include:
– if a primary purpose of the reported account is to harass or send abusive messages to others;
– if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats;
– if the reported account is inciting others to harass another account; and
if the reported account is sending harassing messages to an account from multiple accounts.
Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

Let’s walk through Twitter’s rules and Trump’s actions:

1. Violent threats and harassment.

And while Trump himself has not directly threatened violence on Twitter, he has threatened it offline at his rallies. So his followers know what Trump lies. And, I’d argue that Trump knows, or should know, the possible consequences of tweeting attacks on private citizens — especially after what happened with the Comet pizza parlor fiasco, where there could have been a bloodbath. Trump’s behavior is at the very least reckless.

2. Hateful conduct.

Attacking women:









Promoting fake news:

Trump is also prolific at creating and sharing “fake news.” As you know, fake-news has become a huge problem this year. So much so, the Pope this week called fake news a sin. From the fake news that led to a near mass murder at the Comet restaurant, to the fake news created and shared by the Russian government to help get Trump elected, fake news is a real problem that social media must address.

Donald Trump is one of the world’s biggest purveyors of fake news. In addition to Trump’s racist fake news tweets above about Muslims on 9/11 and President Obama’s birth certificate, there are also tweets spreading fake news about autism and global warming and the election itself:




By banning Donald Trump, Twitter can strike a major blow against fake news and bullying.

It’s time to put a stop to Donald Trump’s cyber-bully pulpit. Tell Twitter to ban Trump, and make Twitter great again.

Sign the petition below:

To: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
From: [Your Name]

Donald Trump is a menace to social media. It’s time for Twitter to permanently ban Trump from the service.

Donald Trump has repeatedly violated Twitter’s own rules prohibiting harassment and hateful conduct. By banning Donald Trump, Twitter can not only strike a major blow against bullying, but also against the increasing threat posed by “fake news,” of which Trump is a huge purveyor.

Please put an end to Donald Trump’s cyber-bully pulpit. Ban Donald Trump, and make Twitter great again.

Tell Donald Trump to take his damn intelligence briefing Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:39:50 +0000 TIME magazine just revealed that Donald Trump is still refusing to attend his highly-classified daily intelligence briefings that every President-elects receives in order to prepare him to be ready to defend the country on day one.

Please sign the petition below — or on this page — and join us in demanding that Donald Trump attend these vitally-important briefings.

The President-elect receives the same daily spy briefing that the President himself receives. It’s called the President’s Daily Brief (or PDB), and according to the Washington Post, “is designed to provide a summary of key security developments and insights from all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as an update on covert programs being run overseas by the CIA.”

Donald Trump, unlike his predecessors, is refusing to regularly attend the briefings. Trump doesn’t trust the experts, so he doesn’t want to hear from them. For example, Trump told TIME magazine that he still doesn’t think Russia interfered in the US election. Trump thinks the entire US intelligence community was rooting for Hillary Clinton, and that’s why they concluded that Russia was attempting to hack and hijack our democracy.

Enough is enough. It was one thing when Trump was playing these country-bumpkin games while running for president, but now he is going to be president. America can’t afford Donald Trump’s intellectual ennui and conspiratorial distrust of people who know a lot more about foreign policy than he does. We expect our president to be ready on day one to defend America. And Donald Trump isn’t ready, and won’t be ready, if he continues to refuse even the most basic efforts to educate him about the threats America faces.

Donald Trump needs to understand that the presidency isn’t a licensing deal where he can lend his name, then walk away with the cash. It is a full-time commitment. We need a president who takes the job seriously, and Donald Trump does not.

Please sign the petition below demanding that Donald Trump take his daily intelligence briefing and be ready to defend America on day one.

Mr. Trump, the presidency is not a licensing deal; it is a full-time commitment. We need a president who takes the job seriously, and so far you are not. You must start taking your daily intelligence briefing so that you will be ready to defend America on day one.

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Trump’s $50bn Japan investment may not be new; funded by Saudis, who Trump swore off of Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:53:11 +0000 I was watching CNN tonight, and saw Richard Quest talk about how we all have to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt, in terms of believing his claim that he personally got a Japanese telecom giant, SoftBank, to promise to invest $50 billion into the US.

And I asked, why should we take Trump at his word? Donald Trump’s entire presidential campaign was one grandiose lie after another. Why in Lord’s name should we take the man at his word, when his word is so often the opposite of the truth?

So I started doing a little digging. And right away what do I find? The deal may not be new at all.

1. Much of the money may have already been earmarked for the US — so it’s not a new deal at all. (Trump claimed SoftBank wasn’t going to invest the money unless he won — in fact, the article says otherwise).

by-default-2016-12-06-at-7-44-59-pm2. Nearly half the money in the fund comes from Saudi Arabia. You remember them. They’re the country that Trump excoriated during the campaign. Trump demanded that Hillary Clinton return Clinton Foundation donations from Saudi Arabia — donations meant to save the lives of people with AIDS — because Saudi Arabia is terrible on gay rights and women’s right.

But now, just a few months later, Donald Trump is happy to take money from Saudi Arabia. So, Saudi money for big business, a-okay. Saudi money to save people with AIDS, not so much.

There’s much more from the Washington Post:

It was not immediately clear how much of the investment was new, or how much would come directly from SoftBank itself. Son told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that the money would come from a $100 billion joint investment fund announced in October by SoftBank and the Saudi Arabian government to invest in the global technology sector.

SoftBank has said it would provide at least $25 billion for the fund in the next five years, while Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund pledged to invest up to $45 billion in the same time period. The additional $30 billion would come from outside investors. During a trip to India last week, Son said he was close to securing the remaining funds.

Although Trump claimed credit for the investment, Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, argued that much of the $50 billion may have already been destined for U.S. technology companies.

“I think it’s making hay out of something that was there already,” said Entner. “In all likelihood, this comes out of the $100 billion fund. Considering the extremely large part that the U.S. has in the high-tech economy, [Son] would have probably invested something in the neighborhood anyway.”

So, pardon me for not sharing Richard Quest’s ebullience at taking Donald Trump at his word. Trump has proven time and again exactly how much his word is worth.

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Gen. Flynn’s Alt-Right-conspiracy peddling son now has a Trump transition email Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:01:37 +0000 Gen. Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s choice to be incoming White House National Security Adviser, has a son also named Michael who appears to now be working on the Trump transition. Up until now, Flynn Jr. has been working as his dad’s chief of staff. So Flynn Jr.’s judgment goes to the judgement of Flynn Sr.

CNN reports that younger Flynn now has a .gov email address, which is only given to people working with the Trump transition. The younger Flynn’s involvement with the Trump transition is troubling, since Flynn’s son peddles “Alt Right” conspiracy theories, and retweets Alt Right leaders.

The Alt Right, you may recall, is a racist far-right extremist movement that has been recently empowered by the Trump campaign and now election-victory.

Flynn’s son let loose in an overnight Twitter storm that, by and of itself, calls into question his fitness for public service.

In the tweets, younger Flynn defends a debunked conspiracy theory, called Pizzagate, that claims Hillary Clinton is part of a child sex ring, centered around a local DC pizza restaurant called Comet Ping Pong. The elder Flynn tweeted right before the election about a second child-sex conspiracy theory involving the Clintons. Some of the first conspiracy theory’s adherents, and many people in the public and the media, took elder-Flynn’s tweets to be support for the Comet conspiracy as well.

Yes, it’s complicated. Such is the world when the incoming National Security Adviser embraces far-right conspiracy theories.

Fast forward to yesterday. It’s Sunday afternoon in Washington, DC and a man walks into the Comet restaurant brandishing an assault rifle, which he then pointed at an employee, who ran. Then the man shot his rifle, and the people in the restaurant scattered. Police were called, the neighborhood was shut down, and after nearly an hour the man gave himself up.

Why was he on the verge of a potential massacre? He heard that the restaurant was part of a pedophilia ring involving Hillary Clinton, and decided to do his own “investigation.”

Enter Flynn Jr. Last night, Gen. Flynn’s son went off on a Twitter tear, defending his father (even younger Flynn thought his father had tweeted in support of Pizzagate), defending the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, and suggesting that the Comet gunman was some kind of false flag operation (i.e., a fake). Flynn Jr. says the gunman was an actor.

And as if that weren’t enough to cast serious doubt on Flynn Jr.’s appropriateness for a job in the Trump regime, younger-Flynn then starts retweeting Alt Right leader Mike Cernovich. (Flynn has also previously retweeted employees of Alex Jones’ conspiracy empire Infowars).

One more point. Flynn Jr. knows that his dad is going to be Trump’s National Security Adviser. This is a time when a son is usually on his best behavior. And the younger Flynn’s best behavior is defending conspiracy theories that appear to have nearly led to a mass casualty shooting, endorsing a second conspiracy theory about the Comet gunman, and retweeting leaders of a racist, anti-Semitic movement. Imagine how Flynn’s son acts when the spotlight isn’t on him.

It’s questionable at this point whether Gen. Flynn should be allowed within ten miles of the Oval Office, let alone his son.

Here are Junior’s tweets from last night:

img_2236 img_2237

This is unrelated to Pizzagate, but rather is Flynn Jr. retweeting InfoWars, a lead far-right conspiracy site popular with Team Trump:


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Gen. Flynn’s son suggests DC Comet gunman was a hoax Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:08:45 +0000 The son of incoming Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who serves as Flynn’s chief of staff, went on an extended Twitter rant last night in which he seemed to suggest that a showdown yesterday in a DC restaurant, in which a far-right-inspired gunman held police at bay for nearly an hour, was a hoax.

In an angry series of Tweets, that included retweeting leaders of the racist, white supremacist “Alt Right” movement, Michael G. Flynn ripped into the media — CNN’s Jake Tapper in particular — claiming that the Comet gunman was an actor, and that the media is soft on pedophilia.

Flynn also suggested that the fake conspiracy theory that motivated the gunman, that Hillary Clinton and top aides were involved in a pedophile ring based in the Comet restaurant and pizza parlor in DC, was true until proven wrong.

Flynn’s Twitter rampage may have been motivated in part by early reports that his father, Trump’s top foreign policy aide, had tweeted about the Clinton pedophilia scandal one week before the election. In fact, it now appears that Gen. Flynn’s tweets may have been about a second fake Clinton pedophilia scandal.

In the weeks before the gunman burst into Comet last night, the restaurant has been inundated by death threats, and had to contact the FBI and local police. A simple Google search shows that some adherents to the Comet conspiracy believe that Gen. Flynn retweeted the second fake pedophilia conspiracy in solidarity with what they call the “Pizzagate” conspiracy involving the Comet. So even if Flynn didn’t tweet about the same Clinton pedophilia conspiracy, some of Flynn’s followers thought he did.

You really need to seen Flynn, Jr’s tweets in order to appreciate how over-the-top they  are. Keep in mind that this is the chief of staff to the incoming National Security Adviser — one of his most trusted aides.

Here are the tweets. Note that Mike Cernovich, who Flynn Jr. retweets several times, is an Alt-Right leader.

img_2236 img_2237

This is unrelated to Pizzagate, but rather is Flynn Jr. retweeting InfoWars, a lead far-right conspiracy site popular with Team Trump:

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Trump isn’t a republican, he’s an oligarch Sun, 04 Dec 2016 14:00:50 +0000 The Republican party has a problem that goes far beyond Donald Trump’s lack of intellectual curiosity. The GOP thought they elected a Republican president. In fact they elected an oligarch whose only allegiance is to himself.

Trump is still six weeks away from becoming president, and there’s already growing concern and outrage over the intermingling of Trump’s family business and the presidency.

And the whole thing just got a lot worse with the announcement that Trump’s son Eric is heading to Taiwan on business, not 24 hours after Trump broke nearly 40 years of US-China policy by calling the Taiwanese leader and then publicly tweeting about having spoken to the “President of Taiwan.”

Trump sucks up to Taiwan one day before we find out Trump’s son is heading to Taiwan to seal a hotel deal.

Trump taiwan

But this isn’t the first time President-elect Trump appeared to cross the line into oligarchy. Trump, who famously refused to release his tax returns during the campaign, has already been playing fast and loose with the line between his presidency and his business empire.

Trump and India

Just one week after the election, Trump met in New York with his Indian business partners. The Indians also met with Trump’s children Ivanka and Eric. Trump has already said that his children will be taking over his company while he’s president. Yet they’re all attending meetings together with foreign business partners. A clear intermingling of Trump Inc. and the White House.

Trump and Argentina

Then there’s Argentina. Here’s ThinkProgress on how Donald Trump handled his call with the Argentine president:

It wasn’t until November 14 that Trump carved out time for the South American leader. They spoke for 15 minutes. Prominent Argentine journalist Jorge Lanata reported that this call included a request from Trump that Macri help him secure the necessary permits to build a long-awaited downtown Buenos Aires Trump tower. Talking Points Memo was the first U.S. outlet to pick up the accusation, which both Macri and Trump swiftly denied.

Yet Reuters later confirmed that Ivanka Trump — who is a key player in the family business — was also on the call. The very next day, the investment group building the $100 million Trump-branded tower in Buenos Aires announced that they were moving full speed ahead, and that they “just barely need to take care of a few administrative details.”

Once again, Trump and Ivanka tag-teaming the White House and the business.

Trump and the UK

Then there was President-elect Trump urging British politicians to make a policy move that would help his help his two Scottish golf courses.

Trump and Japan

Or the time President-elect Trump met with the Japanese prime minister and brought his daughter Ivanka to the meeting.

America elected an oligarch, not a Republican

America, you didn’t elect a Republican, you elected an oligarch. Trump’s GOP bona fides were already suspect. After all, as recently as two years ago, Trump said he was a Democrat.

Now, Republican thought-leaders like the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and thoughtless grassroots leaders like Sarah Palin, have criticized Trump’s Carrier deal. Palin called it crony capitalism and socialism, whereby the government picks winners and losers.

Adding to the damage, Mike Pence said on the Sunday shows that Trump might just attack American businesses every day of his presidency.


And that’s how you should be viewing Trump’s crooked business deals. Not simply that Trump is trying to enrich himself, but rather that Trump thinks he as president now has, and should have, sway over every business in America. And in the same way Trump thinks he can tell Carrier, and now a second Indiana business, whether or not its best for them to move jobs abroad, Trump sees it as his presidential duty to ensure that Trump Inc. profits from his tenure in the White House. In Trump’s mind, he as president will be  intervening in private business decisions to the betterment of America.

Keep in mind that just last week, Trump’s economic adviser told Republicans in Congress that Ronald Reagan is for all intents and purposes dead. They’re now the party of Trump, not Reagan. That’s a pretty huge violation of GOP orthodoxy. But Trump doesn’t care, because Trump isn’t a Republican.

PEOTUS Trump is acting brazenly corrupt

As if offing Reagan, and endorsing “crony capitalism,” weren’t enough to give the GOP an aneurysm, the brazen way in which Trump is willing to flaunt the intermingling of his presidency and his business ought to give Republicans serious pause.

In America, we don’t use the presidency to line our pockets. Trump liked to claim that the Clintons did, but they really didn’t. They made their money once they left. But Trump seems to have believed his own campaign speeches. In Trump’s mind, the Clintons used the presidency to make a killing, so why shouldn’t he?

But what’s particularly bad — as if that weren’t bad enough — is that Trump sees no reason to hide the appearance of corruption. If people find out 24 hours after Trump oddly embraces Taiwan that his son is flying to Taiwan to ink a hotel deal, then so be it. Trump doesn’t care.

And Republicans ought to care. They ought to care that Trump is already turning his presidency into a personal ATM. And they ought to care about the brazen manner in which Trump is doing it. He’s going to get caught. At some point, Democrats are going to take back the House, the Senate, and/or the presidency; or Trump’s corruption will be so over the top that Republicans, or the FBI, will have no choice but to investigate. And a lot of people are going to go to end up in jail.

And none of that will help Republicans win elections in the future. At some point, the GOP establishment in Washington will figure out that Donald Trump endangers their future. And that’s the moment when Trump’s house of cards will come crashing down.

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Sarah Palin calls Trump’s Carrier deal “socialism Sat, 03 Dec 2016 02:15:00 +0000 Sarah Palin, who is reportedly up for the job of Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the incoming Trump administration, took to the Web today to criticize Trump’s deal with Carrier to keep 1,000 or so jobs in the US while moving another 1,300 or so to Mexico.

Palin called Trump’s deal “socialism” and “crony capitalism.”

Yeah, she really did.

Palin starts by saying she’s glad to hear some jobs were saved.

I am ecstatic for Carrier employees! Their bosses just decided to keep shop onshore. What a relief for hundreds of workers. Merry Christmas Indiana!

But Brutus is an honorable man, and Palin goes all in on criticizing the deal:

When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people’s free enterprise system gets amputated. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail.

Politicians picking and choosing recipients of corporate welfare is railed against by fiscal conservatives, for it’s a hallmark of corruption. And socialism.

Palin continues, under the false impression that Trump is a Reaganite:

Reaganites learned it is POLICY change that changes economic trajectory. Reagan’s successes were built on establishing a fiscal framework that invigorated our entire economy, revitalized growth and investment while decreasing spending, tax rates, over-reaching regulations, unemployment, and favoritism via individual subsidies. We need Reaganites in the new Administration.

However well meaning, burdensome federal government imposition is never the solution. Never. Not in our homes, not in our schools, not in churches, not in businesses.

Gotta’ have faith the Trump team knows all this.

In fact, one of Trump’s economic adviser went to Capital Hill last week and told House Republicans that the GOP was no longer the party of Reagan — it’s now the party of Trump.

Moore surprised some of the Republican lawmakers assembled at their closed-door whip meeting last Tuesday when he told them they should no longer think of themselves as belonging to the conservative party of Ronald Reagan.

They now belong to Trump’s populist working-class party, he said.
A source briefed on the House GOP whip meeting — which Moore attended as a guest of Majority Whip Steve Scalise — said several lawmakers told him they were taken aback by the economist’s comments.

So don’t expect Trump to be trumpeting old Ronnie any time soon. Reagan is dead, and Trump just put a stake through him. And for anyone who still doubts this, do you think Ronald Reagan would have welcomed Russia’s help in throwing our election?

Trump supporters: Tens of millions of Democratic votes in cities don’t count Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:18:22 +0000 In an effort to deflect attention from Donald Trump’s abysmal showing in the popular vote — Trump is now 1.9% behind Hillary Clinton in the popular vote, giving Clinton a 2.5 million vote lead — Trump supporters are now talking about how much “better” Trump did when you look at a map of counties across the US.

And in fact, when you look at the county map, it appears that Trump just slayed Clinton.




Here’s an enlargement of that county map that Trump supporters are sharing:


At first blush, that’s a heck of a red map. But then, when you think about it, the map doesn’t make sense. How could the map be so red when Hillary Clinton beat Trump resoundingly in the popular vote?

The answer: Counties don’t have equal populations. According to 2015 census estimates, the smallest county in America is Kalawao County, Hawaii, with a population of 89 people. The largest is Los Angeles County, California, with a population of ten million (10,170,292). LA has 100,000-times more people.

Trump supporters would have you believe that the 89 people in Hawaii have an equal aggregate vote as the 10 million people in LA. (Obviously all people in a county do not vote, but the numbers are still useful for comparison sake.)

The goal is to not only minimize Hillary’s unprecedented victory in the popular vote — no winning presidential candidate in American history has lost the popular vote by as much as Trump has — but to minimize Democratic voters overall. The suggestion is that if you’re from New York or California, or perhaps Chicago too, you don’t count. You’re not worthy. You’re not a real American. Sarah Palin started a lot of this talk back in 2008, but the Republicans have been dividing up the country between real and non-real Americans for decades. Most people forget, but before 9/11, the GOP hated New York City too. (And forget about San Francisco.)

And now that a plurality of Americans have voted AGAINST Donald Trump, and for Hillary Clinton, the Republicans are beside themselves — Donald Trump is beside himself — in an effort to legitimize a victory that isn’t.

It drives Donald Trump crazy that he lost the popular vote by historic proportions. Don’t ever let him forget it.

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Trump just told every company in America to move jobs abroad Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:26:53 +0000 Hey corporate America, if you want some quick tax breaks, announce that you’re moving some jobs abroad.

Some quid pro quo just happened with Carrier, a company that claims to be keeping 1,000 jobs here in the US after Trump allegedly “negotiated” a deal with them.

Putting aside for a moment that Trump is a documented liar, so who knows whether the Carrier deal has any substance at all, Carrier must have gotten something in exchange for claiming that it will keep 1,000 jobs in America.

And that means every other American company now has an incentive to move jobs abroad, in the hopes that Donald Trump will give them something in return for publicly claiming they’re keeping the jobs here.

That creates an awful economic incentive that threatens to do the exact opposite of what Trump promised, keep jobs at home.

How long until Ivanka threatens daddy for a tax break, or else?

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Trump considering Gen. Petraeus, who leaked classified info to mistress, for Sec. State Mon, 28 Nov 2016 19:50:00 +0000 Donald Trump is in the process of betraying nearly every single promise he made as a presidential candidate, while adding new ones to the list such as eradicating Medicare.

The latest? Trump is considering multiple former generals for his cabinet and top advisers, all of whom have sketchy records protecting classified information.

You’ll remember that Trump regularly egged his crowds on with cheers of “lock her up,” simply because Hillary Clinton had an email server.

But Trump had no problem appointing as his National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, who allegedly in one case, and actually in another, violated Defense Department rules governing the protection of classified information.

And now comes General Petraeus, who knowingly gave classified information to his mistress, who was writing a book about him. You can argue that Hillary was sloppy, or even negligent (not sure I agree on that point, but let’s say so for argument sake), but that’s a far cry from intentionally slipping classified information to your biographer mistress:

On June 30, 2011, Petraeus was unanimously confirmed as the next Director of the CIA by the U.S. Senate 94–0. Petraeus relinquished command of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan on July 18, 2011, and retired from the U.S. Army on August 31, 2011. On November 9, 2012, General Petraeus resigned from his position as Director of the CIA, citing his extramarital affair which was reportedly discovered in the course of an FBI investigation. In January 2015, officials reported the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors had recommended bringing felony charges against Petraeus for allegedly providing classified information to his biographer, Paula Broadwell (with whom he was having an affair), while serving as the director of the CIA. Eventually, Petraeus pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information.

And now, after Michael Flynn called for Hillary to be “locked up,” and Trump himself repeatedly said that Hillary’s email server was prima facie evidence that she was unfit to step foot in the White House, we have Trump appointing one man to the White House and considering the second for the State Department.

As Trump’s senior staff told the Japanese prime minister recently: Don’t believe anything Donald Trump says publicly, ever. He’s a liar. And his word means nothing.

I think the second lesson here is that Trump doesn’t really believe in anything, other than making money and stroking his own ego, so Trump changes his mind repeatedly because most things simply don’t matter to him. This is why Trump reached out to Mitt Romney, met with Romney, and supposedly considered Romney for Secretary of State, only days later to have Trump’s chief campaign strategist, Kellyanne Conway, launch a public campaign against Romney on Twitter.

Trump either lied about reaching out to Romney, or just as likely, Fickle Donald changed his mind on a whim yet again.

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Trump lashes out over losing popular vote, falsely claims millions voted illegally Mon, 28 Nov 2016 00:14:43 +0000 In an astonishing claim that could argue for a recount of the entire vote nationwide, Donald Trump claimed this afternoon that “millions” over people “voted illegally” in the presidential election.

Trump added, in an impulsive series of tweets, that he would have won the popular vote had the alleged “millions” not voted illegally.

First the tweets, then a discussion:

trump populate vote fraud

The incoming President of the United States claims that we have such massive voter fraud that millions of people voted illegally — so many in fact that they switched the winner in the popular vote. That is one heck of a claim, and on its face could argue for a nationwide recount and audit of the vote. A recount to double-check the numbers; and an audit to ensure that the numbers are correct, e.g., there was no cheating, no hacking, etc.

Trump’s “millions of votes stolen” claim is also astounding in that it shows just how bothered Trump is by the fact that Hillary Clinton is now beating Trump in the popular vote by at least 2.2 million votes, or by 1.4 points. I ran the numbers yesterday, and Trump’s is the 3rd weakest election of a president in American history. And if you look at the raw numbers, the 2.2 million loss to Hillary, Trump’s is the worst “victory” ever.

To call Trump’s popular-vote loss to Hillary a lack of a mandate is an understatement. Hillary Clinton arguably received the mandate on November 8, while the public voted in record numbers to repudiate Donald Trump.

And that is why Trump is now openly freaking out on Twitter, as many of us predicted he would — just not this soon. Only 8 hours ago I predicted that if you want to get under Trump’s skin, question his legitimacy. Today’s tweets prove that I was right.


Trump likes to come across as a paragon of strength. But like all bullies, there’s a kernel of weakness and insecurity underlying and motivating the bluster. Trump’s life has been one long attempt to be accepted into the big-boys’ club. Trump desperately wants respect from the New York Times and New York’s wealthy elite, but Trump’s Jed Clampett tastes (you know foreign dignitaries are howling after visiting Trump’s Liberace-inspired Saudi palace in Trump Tower) and boorish personality (“pussy grabbing” comes to mind) means Trump will never be more than a pathetic, vulgar joke to those he pines for the most.

And that is why losing the popular vote by such a spectacular number has so unmoored Donald Trump that he is lashing out on Twitter, even after he won the election. It’s the ultimate slap in the face in what should be Trump’s ultimate conquest. If becoming the leader of the free world isn’t enough to wipe away Trump’s stench of mediocrity, then nothing else can.

The fact that Donald Trump will be a minority president, and the fact that even in winning Trump is a loser, is finally sinking in over at Trump Tower.

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Trump is already handing the presidency to Pence Sun, 27 Nov 2016 17:54:34 +0000 Whether Donald Trump is already bored with being president, or simply overwhelmed, there are signs that Trump is already handing the presidency off to his incoming vice president Mike Pence.

Keep in mind that earlier this year Trump’s own son reportedly told the Kasich campaign that future president Trunp planned to hand off most of his presidency to his vice president.

And judging by Trump’s refusal to attend the critically-important daily intelligence briefings that the president, and incoming president, receive, it appears that Trump is on track to license the most important parts of the presidency to religious right activist Mike Pence.

Here’s the NYT, which first reported the story of Kasich being offered what amounts to as the entire presidency:

One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the presidential race just a few weeks before. As a candidate, Kasich declared in March that Trump was “really not prepared to be president of the United States,” and the following month he took the highly unusual step of coordinating with his rival Senator Ted Cruz in an effort to deny Trump the nomination. But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?

When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

“Making America great again” was the casual reply.

The Trump campaign denies the story. Kasich says his staff confirmed it. Here’s CNN:

Kasich told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he didn’t receive a call himself. But he said one of his aides confirmed to him a New York Times report last month saying Donald Trump Jr. tried to entice Kasich with a position as the most powerful vice president in history — putting him in charge of all domestic and foreign policy — was accurate.

“That’s what one of them has told me, yes,” Kasich told Tapper in an interview aired Sunday on “State of the Union.”

And in fact, what are we already seeing? Trump is handing a key aspect of his presidency, foreign policy and the national defense, to his incoming VP Mike Pence. You might have heard that Trump has refused to attend most of his daily intelligence briefings.

Trump intelligence briefings

What you may not have known is who is attending the daily briefings instead of Trump: Mike Pence.

From the NYT:

President-elect Donald Trump has received two classified intelligence briefings since his surprise election victory earlier this month, a frequency that is notably lower — at least so far — than that of his predecessors, current and former U.S. officials said.

A team of intelligence analysts has been prepared to deliver daily briefings on global developments and security threats to Trump in the two weeks since he won. Vice President-elect Mike Pence, by contrast, has set aside time for intelligence briefings almost every day since the election, officials said.

Donald Trump is handing the presidency off to Mike Pence in the biggest and most offensive licensing deal in the history of the world.

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Trump has the 3rd worst margin of victory in American history Sat, 26 Nov 2016 23:22:19 +0000 Donald Trump may have won the election, but he lost the American people. Trump comes to office with no mandate.

To date, Trump is behind Hillary Clinton in the popular vote by over 2.2 million votes: the worst absolute margin of victory in all of American history. The runner-up? George Bush losing the popular vote by over 500,000 in 2000.

And it’s just as bad for Trump where it really counts, in his percent of the total vote. Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary by 1.63 points (1.63%), and growing. Hillary currently has 47.97% of the vote, while Trump only has 46.34%.

That means Donald Trump won the presidency by the 3rd worst margin in American history. Let that sink in a moment.

Historically, only two presidents fared worse than Trump in the percent difference in the popular vote: Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 and John Quincy Adams in 1824.

Trump’s abysmal showing in the popular vote is small comfort to Democrats who fear the far-right kleptocracy that is coming to Washington in Trump’s wake. But Trump’s lack of a mandate matters, as it will severely hamper the Republican Party’s efforts to drastically change the country.

Look at the list of elections below. Note that the handful of elections in pink are those in which the winner lost the popular vote. The orange/yellow highlight is Trump v. Clinton. I have ranked the elections according to the percentage difference in the popular vote. You’ll see that in every single election, save two, the winning candidate did better than Donald Trump . (Below the image, further discussion about why this matters.)


As I noted above, our president is picked according to Electoral College rules rather than the popular vote. But, presidents like to claim mandates in order to push their agenda, and you do not win a mandate when you lose the popular vote. And you really don’t win a mandate when you have the third-weakest victory in all of American history.

Quite simply: The American people did not vote for Donald Trump; they voted for Hillary Clinton. Trump’s loss in the popular vote isn’t just indicative that Trump has no mandate, it’s a truly unprecedented rebuke of an incoming president.

Keep these numbers in mind as Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Trump’s stand-in as president, the ultra-far-right Mike Pence, try to implement their radical un-American agenda, starting with the abolishment of Medicare.

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Gen. Flynn cried “lock her up” for Hillary’s security violations — what about Flynn’s violations? Fri, 25 Nov 2016 23:00:15 +0000 At the Republican convention this summer, Donald Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser, retired General Michael Flynn, led the audience in cries of “lock her up.”

Flynn wanted Hillary jailed for violating US government cybersecurity rules.

“Lock her up, that’s right,” Flynn told the cheering convention crowd. “Yeah that’s right, lock her up…. You know why we’re saying that? We’re saying that because if I, a guy who knows this business, if I did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today. So crooked Hillary Clinton, leave this race now.”

Not so fast, general.

A recent New Yorker article alleges that Gen. Flynn himself violated some of those same cybersecurity rules by installing a forbidden Internet connection in his Pentagon office. This, I’m told, is a major security violation that could not only get you fired, but investigated for espionage.

So if Hillary didn’t deserve to step foot in the White House because she broke the cybersecurity rules, then why should Gen. Flynn?

More from the New Yorker piece by Dana Priest:

Flynn broke rules he thought were stupid. He once told me about a period he spent assigned to a C.I.A. station in Iraq, when he would sometimes sneak out of the compound without the “insane” required approval from C.I.A. headquarters, in Langley, Virginia. He had technicians secretly install an Internet connection in his Pentagon office, even though it was forbidden. There was also the time he gave classified information to NATO allies without approval, an incident which prompted an investigation, and a warning from superiors.

And as you’ll see in the piece, Gen. Flynn is alleged to have violated a number of security rules that he decided were “stupid.” Among those is the charge that he disclosed classified information without approval.

Does any of this sound familiar?

As a lawyer, and someone who worked in government with Top Secret SCI clearances, I was never briefed on the “stupid” exemption to operational security. I was told to follow the rules — and I signed a document attesting that I would, under penalty of law.

Congress and the FBI must look into these allegations before Gen. Flynn steps foot in the White House.

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Jill Stein plugs recount on Russian state TV, doesn’t mention Russians are the reason for the recount Fri, 25 Nov 2016 18:28:10 +0000 Green party presidential candidate Jill Stein has raised several million dollars for a recount in several key states in the recent presidential election.

It’s a bit odd that Stein is calling for a recount when her guy won — and make no mistake, Trump was Stein’s guy if only because Stein made clear that Hillary Clinton was a worse candidate than Donald Trump, and one of them — Hillary or Donald — was going to win.

As Stein told Democracy Now earlier this summer:

“Trump says very scary things—deporting immigrants, massive militarism and ignoring the climate. Hillary, unfortunately, has a track record for doing all of those things,” Stein says. “Hillary has supported the deportations of immigrants, opposed the refugees—women and children coming from Honduras, whose refugee crisis she was very much responsible for by giving a thumbs-up to this corporate coup in Honduras that has created the violence from which those refugees are fleeing.” Stein goes on to say, “We see these draconian things that Donald Trump is talking about, we actually see Hillary Clinton doing.”

So why is Stein pushing a recount that only benefit the very candidate who Stein didn’t want to win?

Fast forward to this week. Shortly after Stein announced her recount effort, where did she go to announce it? The Russian state propaganda network, RT. (See video below.)

Oh, but it gets better. The main reason a lot of us are concerned about the results of the election is because Russian has been trying to hack, and disinformation, its way in to getting its preferred candidate, Donald Trump, elected. And it worked.

So did Jill Stein mention any of this during her nearly 9-minute interview with Russian state propaganda? Did Jill Stein bother telling RT that the very reason many Americans are worried about the results of the election, the reason many of them want a recount, the reason they gave Jill Stein several million dollars for a recount, is because of Russia’s efforts to hack the election, including, but not limited to, the Wikileaks hacks and the “fake news” that the Russians helped create and disseminate?


Stein’s silence was reminiscent of her trip to Moscow a year ago, in which Stein celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Russia’s state propaganda effort. Stein stood on Red Square in Moscow, and talked about the lack of respect for human rights in the world. Whose human rights violations was Stein worried about? America’s. Stein didn’t say boo about Russian human rights violations, which include attacks on the LGBT community, political dissidents, journalists, and business people.

When I noted this a few month’s back, Russian state propaganda was quick to jump to Stein’s defense.

Stein’s Russia-trip fiasco was so bad that it led the Russian Green party to denounce her.

So, just keep an eye on Jill Stein. I’d be very leery about giving her one dime. The fact that Stein isn’t even mentioning Russia’s attempts to throw the election, when the #1 concern about this election is Russia’s efforts to influence it, speaks volumes.

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Gen. Flynn alleged to have committed major breach of Pentagon security Thu, 24 Nov 2016 18:20:12 +0000 The New Yorker alleges that retired General Michael Flynn, who Donald Trump has chosen to be his National Security Adviser, committed what I’m told is a huge security breach while working in the Pentagon.

The violation was so serious, experts tell me, that it would have gotten any normal Pentagon staffer fired AND subject to a criminal investigation for espionage.

But it didn’t.

Here’s the New Yorker:

Flynn broke rules he thought were stupid. He once told me about a period he spent assigned to a C.I.A. station in Iraq, when he would sometimes sneak out of the compound without the “insane” required approval from C.I.A. headquarters, in Langley, Virginia. He had technicians secretly install an Internet connection in his Pentagon office, even though it was forbidden. There was also the time he gave classified information to NATO allies without approval, an incident which prompted an investigation, and a warning from superiors.

It’s unclear from the article if Flynn allegedly did this while he was the top intelligence aide to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, or the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, or perhaps some other position (the article doesn’t make clear what position Flynn had at DOD when this allegedly happened).

Gen. Michael Flynn

Retired General Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s incoming National Security Adviser.

I had Top Secret SCI clearances while working in the US Senate on arms control negotiations in the 1990s. When I heard this, my alarm bells went off. So I went and talked to folks who know more about US intelligence than I do, and they were mortified when they read what Flynn had allegedly done.

It is illegal to tamper with or otherwise try to impair or avoid any official government security or monitoring capability. Every time you log on to a US government computer, whether it is unclassified or classified, a statement about all this comes up and you have to press a button on the screen to acknowledge that you’ve read it, understand it, and intend to comply with it, under penalty of criminal prosecution if you don’t. It’s that serious.

Flynn’s offices would likely all have been in Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs, in the vernacular). A SCIF is a super-secure location that guards against electronic surveillance and data leakage — in other words, the SCIF stops the Russians from listening in, and stops you from secretly sending the Russians classified documents (because your communications are being monitored).

President Obama in the SCIF. Photo by White House photographer Pete Souza.

President Obama in the SCIF. Photo by White House photographer Pete Souza.

The fact that Gen. Flynn is alleged to have violated the security of the SCIF would be a serious violation of Pentagon security protocols. This would have been extra-illegal due to the risk of either Flynn or his staff passing classified information out of the SCIF on a non-secure or unauthorized line, and/or Flynn introducing a virus or malware into the classified systems from the outside, whether intentional or not.

Now, let’s say, arguendo, as some Trump supporters have claimed, that maybe Flynn’s Pentagon office wasn’t inside a SCIF. In the law we call that “a nuance without a difference.” It doesn’t matter what you call the security perimeter of Flynn’s Pentagon office. What matters is that, according to the New Yorker story, it was “forbidden” to install an Internet connect in Flynn’s DOD office, and he did it anyway.

You simply are not permitted to have any channel that the tech and counter-intelligence security people can’t see or monitor for misuse both by the authorized user and by a potentially malicious outside actor like, say, Russian or Chinese cyber-espionage units.

This is a huge deal. In fact, it’s interesting to note that part of the GOP complaint about Hillary’s email server was the fact that she had an unauthorized Blackberry in her State Department Office, which was also a SCIF. And Hillary paid a dear price for her mistake — it may have cost her the election.

The charge that the incoming National Security Adviser, and former head of Defense Intelligence, would be this sloppy with information security, especially after Trump spent the entire campaign savaging Hillary Clinton in part a similar offense, is extremely troubling.

Interestingly, during the GOP convention this year, Flynn told the crowd that not only should Hillary be locked up, but that had he done one-tenth of what Hillary did, he’d have gone to jail. In fact, the allegations are out there, and Flynn hasn’t seen a prison cell.

If Hillary didn’t deserve to be in the White House, then neither does Michael Flynn.

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Oregon didn’t reject LGBT rights on Election Day Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:46:31 +0000 The national news would have you believe that Oregon voters rejected lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights on Election Day.

Don’t believe it.

Oregon’s secretary of state race doesn’t typically warrant national headlines. But national media, reeling after blowing forecasts in the presidential election, was happy to turn attention elsewhere.

“Oregon official who shut down Christian bakery loses election” – CNN.

“Oregon official who bullied Christian bakery loses election” – Fox News.

“Oregon official who destroyed Christian bakery over gay wedding cake loses election” – The Daily Caller.

“Shut down,” “bullied,” “destroyed” – It’s fascinating how editorial slant quickly escalates.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian will continue upholding LGBTQ rights.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian will continue to uphold LGBT rights.

Someone who doesn’t pay close attention to down-ballot races in the Pacific Northwest would be forgiven for believing that Oregon issued a stunning rebuke to LGBT overreach.

Indeed, that’s how Fox News reported it: “An Oregon bureaucrat who waged political jihad against the owners of a Christian bakery was given the heave-ho by voters,” their story begins.

The bakery in question entered the national zeitgeist in 2013 when the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding, citing religious objections. Democratic Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian ruled the bakery had violated the Oregon Equality Act and fined the owners $135,000. The bigoted bakers quickly became heroes of the Christian Right which raised more than half a million dollars for them.

The owners, not Avakian, closed the bakery in October.

It was but the highest-profile incidence of Avakian standing up for LGBT rights. In a case that received less national attention, he fined a Portland bar $400,000 for discriminating against a transgender women’s group.

This year, Avakian ran for secretary of state. He lost to Republican Dennis Richardson. It was the first time Oregon had elected a Republican to statewide office since 2002.

CNN’s erroneous assertion that Avakian closed the bakery notwithstanding, the basic facts of those headlines are true. Yet they are also negligently misleading.

During the campaign, the cake and the Portland bar were never serious issues. Rather, Avakian lost primarily because he planned to expand the secretary of state’s role beyond its constitutional authority. For example, he wanted to audit private companies and implement education programs.

As a result, even the progressive Willamette Week didn’t endorse him, writing, “The secretary of state is an administrator, who oversees elections, audits, the corporation division (which registers businesses) and the state archives. The secretary of state does not make or enforce laws and has nothing to do with civil rights.”

Richardson ran a smart campaign focused on the core responsibilities of the office, not social issues. That message resonated with Oregonians, at least more than Avakian’s.

Avakian will remain the labor commissioner for two more years. There was no “heave-ho.” He didn’t lose a re-election referendum on his job performance. Like Tim Kaine, he returns to his previous elected position. He still has the power to fine the next bakery that doesn’t want to make a cake for a same-sex couple.

“Oregon official who upheld the rights of same-sex couples remains on the job” apparently wasn’t an exciting enough headline.

With a healthy debate underway about how Google, Facebook and other portals handle fake news, it’s worth remembering that even CNN can run with a fake narrative.

Oregon voters didn’t reject LGBT rights. In fact, they endorsed them by becoming the first state to elect an openly LGBT governor.

Nazi-saluting “Alt Right” conference closes with attack on Jews Tue, 22 Nov 2016 00:46:15 +0000 The so-called “Alt Right” — a group of white-nationalist racists with a cultural affinity for the Nazis — just held a conference in Washington, DC to celebrate Trump’s election.

If there were any remaining doubt as to just how anti-Semitic and Nazi-friendly the Alt Right is, the reports from this conference put that discussion to bed.

Watching a video of the conference’s main speaker, below, you see numerous audience members rise and give the Nazi salute at various times. Who does that? Nazis do that.

alt right conference DC nazi salute alt right conference DC nazi salute

Then there’s the use of terminology the Nazis used to demonize their enemies, such as the press — the “Alt Right” uses that too.

And finally, the attacks on the Jews. The NYT reports from the conference:

But as the night wore on and most reporters had gone home, the language changed.

Mr. Spencer’s after-dinner speech began with a polemic against the “mainstream media,” before he briefly paused. “Perhaps we should refer to them in the original German?” he said.

The audience immediately screamed back, “Lügenpresse,” reviving a Nazi-era word that means “lying press.”

Mr. Spencer suggested that the news media had been critical of Mr. Trump throughout the campaign in order to protect Jewish interests. He mused about the political commentators who gave Mr. Trump little chance of winning.

“One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem,” he said, referring to a Jewish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rabbi brings to life to protect the Jews.

Mr. Trump’s election, Mr. Spencer said, was “the victory of will,” a phrase that echoed the title of the most famous Nazi-era propaganda film. But Mr. Spencer then mentioned, with a smile, Theodor Herzl, the Zionist leader who advocated a Jewish homeland in Israel, quoting his famous pronouncement, “If we will it, it is no dream.”

The Times goes on to report that at one point someone in the room shouted “Heil the people! Heil victory,” and the room shouted it back at them.

If it walks like a Nazi and talks like a Nazi…

Folks, this is not normal. This is a level of hatred and intolerance that I don’t recall seeing in my adult life, other than from the religious right directed at LGBT people — and even then, the religious right was still careful about openly embracing the Nazis. Donald Trump’s incoming chief strategist at the White House, Steve Bannon, bragged that his web site Breitbart is a platform for the Alt Right. In normal times, that kind of admission would make you persona non grata in any administration, Democrat or Republican. And it certainly would disqualify you from working in the White house. But in Donald Trump’s America, flirting with Nazis gets you a shrug and a promotion.

In the LGBT community, we learned long ago that two strategies were necessary for gaining and preserving our civil rights: educate people who are willing to listen, and (metaphorically) beat the bejesus out of the rest. We in the gay community took no prisoners. Whether it was the Mattachine society and others who dared protest in front of the White House 50 years ago; people with AIDS and their allies who joined ACT UP, Queer Nation and so many other people’s movements in the late 1980s and beyond; or the tech-savvy bloggers of the 1990s and 2000s who up-ended gay-, and then lgbt-, advocacy, using technology to empower the people — our movement was never shy about what we wanted and what we expected.

And it worked. A lot of people have noted that one of the most successful communities and causes of the eight years of the Obama administration was the LGBT community. And I really believe it’s because of our strategies and our tactics, our fearlessness and our tenaciousness. It’s a lesson other communities, including the Jewish community, should heed and emulate.

The Trump administration and its allies in the Alt Right have made clear that in their new America, Jews, people of color, women and the LGBT community are now all fair game. It’s our job to tell them in the strongest possible terms that they’re woefully wrong.

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Saturday Night Live does Trump, possibly best ever Mon, 21 Nov 2016 14:57:29 +0000 Saturday Night Live did Donald Trump again this week, and it was possibly their funniest yet.

Kate McKinnon, who played Hillary in the past, played an amazing(Trump campaign manager) Kellyanne Conway, who clearly understood that she was the reason Trump go elected.

For what it’s worth, Trump got upset after watching the show, and went to Twitter to express his displeasure. I can’t think of a better seal of approval.

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Mike Pence wants to cure me of being gay, but I’m uncivil Sun, 20 Nov 2016 16:30:44 +0000 Donald Trump is now tweeting about Hamilton, again.

The Republican president-elect has been on a tear about the blockbuster Broadway show ever since the show’s cast, made up mostly of gays and people of color, had the temerity to speak to incoming vice president Mike Pence about the meaning of democracy after a show on Friday night.

The cast’s statement to Pence was polite and reverential. They even admonished the audience for booing Pence. But that didn’t stop Trump from utterly freaking out.

For the past twenty-four hours, Trump has repeatedly Tweeted about the incident. Trump has claimed falsely that Pence was “harassed.” Trump has made the bizarre claim that theater is supposed to be a “safe space” for politicians. Trump has demanded repeatedly that the cast apologize to Pence. And this morning, sensing that his calls for Hamilton to apologize are getting no traction, Trump claimed in yet another tweet that the show is “overrated.

Trump tweets

There’s also this Trump tweet from last night, that Trump deleted less than an hour later.

Trump tweets Hamilton

Ivanka — and the entire world — disagrees:


Some think Trump is using the Hamilton faux-controversy to deflect attention from the $25m Trump University  fraud settlement. I don’t think that’s true. This is Trump at his core. The man is supremely insecure — thus the gold-leaf Liberace-inspired Saudi-palace that Trump calls home — and simply can’t handle criticism or dissent. Hamilton isn’t a glitch, it’s an authoritarian feature.

So, no, I don’t think we should ignore “Hamilton,” nor ignore the irony of Trump calling for the suppression of free speech in art, nor Trump’s fundamental misunderstanding of the origins, and lessons, of the American revolution.

Having said that, it’s worth discussing Trump’s abysmal record when it comes to civility. Trump wants the cast of Hamilton to apologize for politely asking the incoming VP to honor the Constitution, while Trump himself led a movement questioning the patriotism of America’s first black president simply because the man was black. And Trump has never apologized for that indignity.

Nor has Trump apologized for attacking the war record of John McCain.

Or for attacking the patriotism of the Khan family.

Or for mocking the disability of a New York Times reporter.

Or for questioning the integrity of Judge Curiel simply because he’s of Mexican origin.

Or for calling Mexican immigrants “rapists.” (While “some” are nice people.)

Or for siccing the crowds at his speeches on protesters.

Or for suggesting that Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in the Kennedy assassination.

Or for suggesting that Ted Cruz’s wife was ugly.

Or for talking about Megyn Kelly’s period.

Or for talking about the size of his manhood.

Donald Trump wants to talk about civility. Donald Trump is one the most boorish, uncivil men in America. The notion of him schooling anyone outside of the WWE on civility is laughable.

And a word about Mike Pence. Mike Pence got booed by a crowd at a show. Mike Pence once wanted to cut AIDS funding and spend the money instead on curing gay people of being gay. Mike Pence deserves a I more than a simple boo. (Cabbage comes to mind).

Donald Trump harnessed the power of racism and xenophobia, and sugar-coated it with a patina of credibility, in order to propel himself to the White House. He’s the last person to be lecturing anyone about civility. And while I suspect Trump is tweeting about Hamilton because Trump simply can’t help himself — he’s a teenage bully who never grew up; forever angry, forever insecure — it’s a fair concern to worry about the Hamilton story distracting us from the ‘real’ problem with Donald Trump.

One lesson I learned long ago is that you can’t always pick and choose which argument is going to work. You may not “like” the Hamilton story. You may think it motivates Trump’s base and therefore is counterproductive. Or you may believe that other stories have more merit and more gravitas. The thing is, that may or may not be true. No one knows which story is going to stick, which story is going to cause maximum damage. And I’ve found that the story that works isn’t usually the one you would have chosen.

As James Carville is reputed to have said long ago, you throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. It’s not a problem that everyone is throwing everything at Trump. It’s only a problem when they stop.