Not in my America!

 

The Republicans just spent a week trying to build a winning hand, but proved that the only card they have left to play is Trump-ed up fear

 

Haberman-Hardy-I admit it. I watched the Republican National Convention.

It left me very confused, because speech after speech by second-tier GOP luminaries played the only card left in the Republican hand: fear.

We should be afraid of the crime wave sweeping America! We should be afraid of all the criminal illegal Mexicans pouring across our borders! We should be afraid of the terrorists that are slaughtering more people now in America than ever! We should be afraid of the economic disaster the Obama presidency has wrought on America! We should be afraid of the weakened state of defense! We should be afraid of Obamacare! We should be afraid of transgender people invading our son’s and daughter’s bathrooms! We should be afraid of the massive unemployment that this administration has caused and even more fearful of Hillary Clinton continuing on the same trajectory! We should be afraid of the elitism! We are a country in a crisis!

I think I ran out of exclamation points.

What amazes me is that every speaker — with the possible exception of Mrs. Trump — gave the same speech.

More amazing is the country these people are describing. It is an America largely based on fiction, an America that exists only on Fox News and in the minds of the huddled “preppers” who sit in their shelters awaiting the end times.

It is a completely different America than the one in which I live.

In my America, crime statistics show a steady decline in violent crime. In fact, a report from the Brookings Institute shows violent crime has fallen 51 percent since 1991, and is at one of the lowest rates since 1970.

In my America, the rate of illegal immigration has stabilized not increased, and in the case of Mexican immigrants it is actually declining.

And by the way, those illegal immigrants pay taxes. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, in 2013 they paid $7 billion in sales taxes, $1.1 billion in income taxes and $3.6 billion in property taxes.

And as far as their “criminal” behavior — well, of the 14,196 murders committed in 2013, a frightening total of eight were committed by illegal immigrants.

In my America, the economic disaster is the one we are still recovering from — and it started during the Bush administration. Stocks are at all-time highs, and the last report shows unemployment has fallen from close to 10 percent when Obama took office in 2008 to the current rate of 4.9 percent.

Sounds like an economic recovery to me.

In my America, our military spending is higher than the next six countries’ spending combined, including China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and India. If anything, we need to cut back on that spending.

In my America, the Affordable Care Act has resulted in fewer people being uninsured. The number dropped from 41.8 million uninsured in 2013 to 33.0 million 2014 (last year available so far). Not everyone, but a pretty good success in a short time, and this in spite of the fact that many states declined to expand Medicaid to help their citizens afford insurance.

In my America, transgender people just want to use the toilet when they go to a public restroom, just like everyone else. In fact, the number of transgender people lurking in bathrooms to prey on unsuspecting people is exactly ZERO. The alleged “cases” that have been reported have all proven to be hoaxes generated by right-wing blogs.

In my America, the elitism I see is a presidential candidate giving interviews sitting in a golden chair in a penthouse apartment of a building with his name emblazoned in gold on the side. That qualifies as elite in my book, as does his private jet and helicopter.

In my America, I am not as afraid of terrorists sneaking into the country as I am of home-grown terrorists staging standoffs with government agents and bombing abortion clinics and shooting up gay nightclubs. And statistically, I am more likely to be killed by my own furniture falling on me than a terrorist.

So all this fear-mongering about our country in crisis? Well, the crisis I see is the very real possibility that the fearmongers will gain the White House. And that would be a big problem in my book.

Take a look at the GOP platform and if you are anyone but a straight, white Protestant you will find something to give you shivers.

The week-long fear fest of the Republican National Convention comes down to one thing: They offer our country a single item. They have come to the end of their deck and all they have left is their “Trump” card: It’s called Fear.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and board member for the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at DungeonDiary.blogspot.com.

—  Tammye Nash

Trump celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Here he is ladies and gentlemen, the presumptive GOP nominee for president of the United States, Donald Trump. Aren’t we all just so proud?!

(But seriously, after the party nominated Sarah Palin for VP, are we surprised that it’s come to this?)

Screen shot 2016-05-05 at 3.16.58 PM

—  Tammye Nash

Secret Service will not allow firearms at GOP convention

GunsThe Secret Service announced today (Monday, March 28) the open carry of firearms will not be permitted at this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, according to the Washington Post.

“Title 18 United States Code Sections 3056 and 1752 provides the Secret Service authority to preclude firearms from entering sites visited by our protectees, including those located in open-carry states,” Secret Service spokesman Robert K. Hoback said in a statement. “Only authorized law enforcement personnel working in conjunction with the Secret Service for a particular event may carry a firearm inside of the protected site.”

Last week the Voice and other outlets reported that an anonymous petition allowing open carry of firearms at the Republican National Convention was gaining steam.

The Republican Convention will be held in Columbus, Ohio on July 18-21. Ohio is an open carry state, but the host venue, Quicken Loans Arena, doesn’t allow guns.

The petition has received nearly 46,000 signatures.

—  James Russell

TrusTed? Google ‘trus’

Screen shot 2016-02-05 at 10.17.34 AMSo Ted Cruz wants everybody to trust him. He is building his presidential campaign around that idea — the idea he is totally trustworthy, the idea that we can all “Trust Ted.” His oh-so-clever advertising folks even came up with an oh-so-clever campaign slogan: TrusTed, with the first four letters in white, and the last three in red

But maybe his advertising folks and whomever in his campaign staff approved that slogan/logo should do a little research before launching such slogans/logos. Why? Just Google “trus”:

transrectal ultrasound

Abbreviation: TRUS

Imaging of the prostate gland and periprostatic tissues with an ultrasound transducer inserted into the anus and directed toward the anterior rectum. It is used to identify malignant tumors, guide biopsies, and provide assessments of tumor staging.

Synonym: endorectal ultrasound (2)

Ummm, yeah. One more reason not to vote for Ted Cruz. And here’s a campaign video that will help reinforce reasons not to vote for him.

—  Tammye Nash

Even Ted Cruz’s daughter doesn’t like him …..

This video of Ted Cruz and his daughter, who is 7 years old, was taken recently after a political rally in Iowa. I don’t blame the kid!

—  Tammye Nash

Jeffress says he can’t endorse Trump — as he endorses him

Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas

First Baptist Church Pastor Robert Jeffress

Churches and their pastors can’t endorse political candidates without risking losing their tax exempt status. But that didn’t stop the So-Called-Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of Dallas megachurch First Baptist, from making sure that everyone knows Donald Trump is his man. (See video below.)

Jeffress, who wasted no time making a name for himself as an anti-gay crusader when he moved to Dallas from Wichita Falls in 2008, flew to Iowa over the weekend to introduce the GOP’s leading presidential contender at an appearance at Dordt College. (This is at least the second time Jeffress has introduced Trump; he also did so at a rally in September at the American Airlines Center. And as the Dallas Morning News reported here, later in September, Jeffress joined Kenneth Copeland and some other right-wing hatemongers at a gathering at Trump Tower in New York City to lay hands on The Donald “in prayer.”)

In Iowa, Jeffress acknowledged the limitations placed on pastors when it comes to politics, but then continued on with what basically amounted to a “screw that, I am endorsing Trump anyway” moment: “Although as a pastor I cannot officially endorse a candidate, I want you to know I would not be here this morning if I were not absolutely convinced that Donald Trump would make a great president of the United States,” Jeffress said.

He also warned that only Trump could save the U.S. from its current “death spiral,” and that the country would not survive “another third term of Barack Obama in the form of” Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

He wound up the intro by describing Trump as “a great leader, a great visionary and a great American.”

Now, I am not endorsing any candidate for president. But I will say this, if the idea of a candidate that gets Robert Jeffress’ backing scares you — and it should — then you need to make sure you are registered, and you need to MAKE SURE YOU VOTE.

—  Tammye Nash

Carson says Constitution protects ‘everybody regardless of their sexual orientation’

Current GOP frontrunner says in debate that even though he opposes marriage equality he is not a homophobe

Lisa Keen  |  Keen News Service

lisakeen@mac.com

bencarson

Dr. Ben Carson

The Republican presidential field’s current frontrunner Ben Carson said Wednesday night, Oct. 28, he is not a homophobe and believes “our Constitution protects everybody regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Carson made the remark in response to a question from a CNBC debate questioner Wednesday night, during the third Republican presidential debate.

CNBC moderator Carl Quintanilla noted that the national warehouse chain Costco has been identified as one of the most gay friendly employers in the country. Carson had served on the Costco board of directors for more than 16 years when he stepped down in May of this year, when he announced his campaign for president.

Quintanilla asked Carson whether his being on the Costco board ran counter to his views on homosexuality.

“Well, obviously, you don’t understand my views on homosexuality,” said Carson. “I believe our Constitution protects everybody, regardless of their sexual orientation or any other aspect. I also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. And there is no reason you can’t be perfectly fair to the gay community.

“They shouldn’t automatically assume that because you believe marriage is one man and one woman that that you are a homophobe,” he continued. “This is one of the myths that the left perpetuates on our society. This is how they frighten people and get people to shut up. That’s what the PC culture is all about. And it’s destroying this nation. The fact of the matter is we the American people are not each other’s enemies. It’s those people who are trying to divide us that are the enemies.”

Rich Tafel, a longtime Republican gay activist and former head of the national Log Cabin Republican group, said he thinks Carson’s response “might mark the end of the culture war against gays in politics.”

“Given the opportunity to distance himself from Costco or corporations that have been champions for gay rights, he mumbled that he believed that marriage is between a man and women, but then went onto an impassioned defense of gay people deserving freedom and that he’s not a homophobe,” said Tafel. “When you consider he’s probably the most far right candidate on social issues who early in the campaign made a comment about gay being a choice (prison as proof) he’s come a long way.

Essentially,” Tafel said, “it marks the moment where in a race for everyone to get to the far right, gay issues aren’t the ones you grab onto (unlike the 1990s). Also, the fact that he shares the lead with Trump who has gone out of his way to be gay supportive despite running a populist campaign. Bottom line, we win!”

The question to Carson was the only question of the evening that touched on any LGBT-specific issue. The rest of the prime-time debate and an earlier debate with low-polling candidates were focused on a wide range of issues and on exploring the viability of certain candidates and their comments against each other.

Carson has in recent days begun polling in first place in at least some polls asking how Republican primary votes nationwide are leaning. A CBS/New York Times poll taken Oct. 21-25 found 26 percent of 575 Republican primary voters support Carson, 22 percent support Donald Trump, and single-digits support the other 13 GOP candidates still hoping to win the nomination.

At the beginning of October, Trump was in the lead with 27 percent, followed by Carson with 21.

Over the years, Carson has made a number of statements that question his commitment to fairness for the gay community. He has equated marriage for same-sex couples with bestiality, said prison proves sexual orientation is a choice, and said he believes allowing same-sex couples to marry is equivalent to tossing the “word of God … into the garbage.”

In his closing remarks, Carson reiterated this theme of rejecting “political correctness,” a buzzword Carson uses to refer to criticisms of candidates who oppose equal protection for LGBT people and other minorities.

© 2015 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

—  Tammye Nash

TFN: Travis County GOP ‘dives into the deep end of the crazy pool’

Screen shot 2015-09-23 at 11.16.42 AMThe Travis County Republication “dived into the deep end of the crazy pool” this week, according to the Texas Freedom Network, which called out the Austin-based GOP group for a Monday night tweet promoting a right-wing blog that labeled Islam as a “satanic cult of murder.”

The Tweet — removed from the group’s Twitter feed late Tuesday morning, but not before TFN got a screen capture — linked to the blog that starts with the slam on Islam and goes on to call former President George W. Bush a traitor and a coward.

While the Travis County Republicans are wrong for tweeting such crap out to a larger audience, at least that group had the good sense to remove the tweet. ConservativeDailyNews.com has left the post written by Bob Russell up on its page.

Russell’s post starts out, “Christianity is a religion but Islam is merely a satanic cult of rape, torture, murder, bestiality, and satan worship!!!!!” That’s the part Travis County GOP tweeted out on Monday night, Sept. 21. And it’s “all downhill from there, with the writer demonstrating … an almost unhinged hatred for Muslim,” TFN notes.

Russell George W. Bush and goes after other Christians, notably the Roman Catholic Church.

Here’s one section on “moslems” and Bush: “I remember an instance in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein where a group of ‘jihadists’ fired on American soldiers then hid in a mosque. The Americans returned fire, causing minor damage. The ‘outrage’ of the worldwide islamic cult and the Bush hating ‘American’ media was vociferous. The American government led by the coward and traitor George Bush immediately dispatched millions of dollars to the islamist terrorists to pay homage to allah/satan but before any repairs were made the other sect of the satanic cult blew it up with a truck bomb. The total destruction of the house of satan was met with silence from moslems and the ‘American’ media.”

Then there’s this declaration: “The catholic church is very prominent in the importation of members of the satanic cult of islam while ignoring middle east Christians who are being slaughtered by islamic satanists.”

Liberals, who “stand with the Godless islamic cult against Christianity,” also came in for their fair share of abuse: “Those who constantly scream ‘separation of church and state’ in regards to the legitimate religion of Christianity ( the religion this nation is based on) have no issue with the satanic cult of islam being taught to their children in the public schools.”

Then Russell falls back on the usual “God’s gonna get you” warnings: “I wonder how long it will be until God destroys this nation (as He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) for the cruelty to the innocent, and its promotion of immorality and satan worship.”

Lump this in with the fact that crazy-ass Donald Trump — whose idea of foreign policy and immigration reform is to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it —  is the frontrunner in the GOP presidential primary race (closely followed by the possibly-even-crazier Ben Carson) and the idea of the GOP winning in 2016 gets even scarier than before.

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Majority of House GOP support bill against issuance of same sex marriage licenses

Capitol

This post has been updated throughout to reflect additional co-authors.

A majority of the House GOP have signed onto a bill that would bar the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses, more than any other piece of legislation explicitly targeting the LGBT community.

A vote is scheduled today (Tuesday, May 12) for HB 4105, known as “The Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act,” by Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia. It would preempt an anticipated summer Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality.

37 co-authors and a joint author have signed on since Monday, April 27. Recent coauthors include last minute hold outs Reps. Rodney Anderson of Irving, a co-author as of yesterday (Monday, May 11) and J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville, a co-author as of Friday, May 8. Additionally Reps. Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake, Byron Cook of Corsicana, Charlie Geren of Fort Worth and Brooks Landgraf of Odessa, who have earned the ire of arch-conservative groups, have signed onto the bill.

University of North Texas Associate Professor of Political Science Matthew Eshbaugh–Soha said legislators could have any number of reasons to sign onto the bill.

In general, “I suspect this was a deal, either pushed by the sponsors of the bill (please support this and I will support you later) or interest groups (who have found the time and resources to attract support),” he wrote via e-mail. “Knowing the facts behind which bills can help to tell which particular story is the right one.”

Of the eight remaining Republican legislators whose names are absent, there is no single ideological reason; they range from Tea Party Republicans to the more traditional business-friendly Republicans – the latter of whom are more likely to steer clear of discriminatory legislation.

For instance, Empower Texans and others back Rep. Craig Goldman of Fort Worth, while other legislators have earned their ire. They include Dallas County Reps. Jason Villalba and Linda Koop, both of Dallas, and Morgan Meyer of Highland Park. Other missing signatories include Reps. Sarah Davis of West University Place, Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi and John Smithee of Amarillo. The final Republican, House Speaker Joe Straus, neither authors nor sponsors legislation and also abstains from voting.

HB 3567 by Rep. Scott Sanford comes in a near second with 83 signatories, including three Democrats. That bill is also scheduled for a vote today. Reps. Goldman and Smithee are among its co-authors.

Its companion SB 2065 by Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, reasserts a clergy member’s right to refuse to perform a marriage that is against their religious beliefs.  It passed the Senate yesterday, on a 21-10 vote with Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, joining all Republicans. It is scheduled for a final procedural vote today.

—  James Russell

Everybody is running for the GOP presidential nomination

Operation_Upshot-Knothole_-_Badger_001Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced her presidential campaign for the 2016 GOP nomination this morning (Monday, April 4). Yesterday (Sunday, April 3) retired neurosurgeon and Obamacare critic Ben Carson also announced his campaign. Meanwhile former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee plans to announce his campaign tomorrow (Tuesday, April 5).

They join an already packed tent that includes three senators (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio).

Huckabee is a perennial candidate for office who moonlights as a Fox News host when not mulling a presidential run; he’s the most likely to appeal to the socially conservative grassroots. Carson meanwhile has never run for office, giving him outsider appeal.

Carson and Huckabee regularly spew anti-LGBT venom; venom that likely packs their campaign coffers too.

Both have used colorful language to describe the LGBT community. Carson in 2013 was forced to withdraw as commencement speaker at John Hopkins University in Baltimore for comparing same-sex marriage to pedophilia.

Of course Huckabee’s choice words and metaphors are the most widely known. A Southern Baptist minister trained at Fort Worth’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has repeatedly denounced same-sex marriage in particular, comparing it to alcoholism.

Along with fellow Republican presidential candidates Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, he appeared in a documentary claiming the push for marriage equality threatens traditional Christianity.

But Fiorina has approached LGBT issues more delicately in comparison. The former corporate executive was the 2010 Republican nominee for the Senate in California, running against pro-LGBT stalwart incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer. Though she largely dodged details in 2010, she stated her belief that marriage is an institution between a man and woman. But she also acknowledged the changing views on same-sex marriage at the time. She supported civil unions and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Despite the historic Republican wave, she still lost to Boxer by 10 points.

But don’t worry, more straight white men are expected to announce their GOP bids soon, including former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. So start popping the popcorn folks, this election season’s gonna be fun.

—  James Russell