The truth about the latest ‘fake news’

By The Associated Press

 

Vice President Mike Pence

A roundup of some of the most popular, but completely untrue, headlines of the week. None of these stories are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:

NOT REAL: Whataburger files for bankruptcy; all locations to close by August 1.

THE FACTS: The Texas-based fast food chain has taken to social media to quash a series of false stories claiming it was going out of business. When clicked, the stories inform the reader that the headline is a prank. Nevertheless, Whataburger posted messages on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday saying the article “is a hoax’’ and “we aren’t going anywhere.’’

NOT REAL: UNREAL: A Drastic INCREASE Of Monthly Payments — Social Security Recipients Delighted

THE FACTS: Stories posted by several conservative-leaning sites credit President Donald Trump with boosting Social Security payments earlier this year. A cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security payouts with a 0.3 percent increase did go into effect in January, but it was announced in October, weeks before Trump was elected.

NOT REAL: Italian Investigators Confirmed: Obama Used Fake Birth Certificate

THE FACTS: A story based on former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s conclusion that former President Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate is a forgery has been shared by several conservative-leaning websites. The account doesn’t elaborate on the supposed Italian investigation. Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama’s citizenship. In 2012, they said Arpaio’s allegations are “untrue, misinformed, and misconstrue Hawaii law.’’

NOT REAL: Pence Calls Gays To Voluntarily Quit Jobs With God-Fearing Employers “So We Can Avoid Laws That Reject Them’’

THE FACTS: This article from the Newslo group of admitted satire sites first published in November claims that during an interview with Fox News, then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence called on gays to quit working so they won’t get fired by conservative employers. There’s no evidence such an interview exists. Newslo bills itself as “the first hybrid News/Satire platform on the web.’’

NOT REAL: A Man Just Caught A Giant Great White On the Great Lakes!

THE FACTS: This story about a fisherman catching a massive great white shark in Lake Michigan has been floating around in online circles for more than a year. It claims the U.S. Coast Guard commented that the fish could explain the disappearance of hundreds of people. Coast Guard spokesman Chris Yaw tells the AP the agency never said such a thing and the story is a work of fiction.

This weekly fixture is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing efforts to fact-check claims in suspected false news stories.

—  Tammye Nash

Trump signs order creating loophole for anti-LGBT discrimination

Lisa Keen | Keen News Service
lisakeen@mac.com

President Trump on Monday, March 27, signed what Lambda Legal calls a “very disturbing” order giving federal contractors a large loophole through which to discriminate against LGBT people.

The White House released a copy of the executive order, signed by Trump, on Monday afternoon. The order revokes all or part of three previous executive orders concerning federal contracting.

Of greatest concern to LGBT people, Trump’s executive order revoked President Obama’s 2014 Executive Order 13673, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order, that required that companies receiving large federal contracts be able to demonstrate that they have complied for at least three years with 14 federal laws, several of which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender stereotyping or gender identity.

By taking away the requirement that federal contractors be able to demonstrate that they have not violated these federal laws, according to Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Camilla Taylor, “this administration has made it extremely difficult to enforce these federal laws as applied to federal contractors.”

“It’s sending a message to these companies…that the federal government simply doesn’t care whether or not they violate the law,” Taylor said.

Among those 14 laws implicated are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sex in employment. Under the Obama administration, the Department of Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission argued that discrimination based on “sex” included discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The ADA and Rehabilitation Act prohibit discrimination based on HIV infection and other disabilities. And the Family and Medical Leave Act, under the Obama Department of Labor, was held to include employees caring for a same-sex spouse, even if the employee lived in a state that did not recognize marriage of same-sex couples.

The 14 affected federal laws and regulations affected by the new Trump executive order also includes Executive Order 11246, signed in 1965 by President Johnson, which prohibited federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Four years later, President Nixon added discrimination based on disability and age.

In 1998, President Clinton added sexual orientation. And in 2014, President Obama added gender identity, plus prohibited federal contractors, too, from discriminating against their employees based on these categories.

President Obama’s signing of what was called Executive Order 13672 was hailed by many LGBT activists as protecting “millions” of LGBT workers from discrimination. It applied to companies who sought federal contracts in excess of $500,000.

Taylor said that companies seeking such contracts had to demonstrate that they had not violated the federal laws listed in the previous three years. And federal agencies could not award contracts to such companies unless the companies were able to “explain mitigating factors.”

Taylor said “the substance of the laws are still there” and Lambda would do everything it can to “make sure companies understand their obligation not to discriminate.”

© 2017 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

 

 

—  Tammye Nash

Monday is the bigliest holiday of the year

Monday is President’s Day. Trump’s still in office. Obama’s still out of the country. How the fuck are we supposed to celebrate that?

Mr. Trump has been working hard. Yuge hard. So hard that he’s taking his third Palm Beach vacation of his presidency.

So hard, I’m taking my first vacation of the year and going to Palm Beach myself. No, really. I have relatives there and it was planned even before this Trump fiasco began. Believe me. I need that vacation. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.

Chicago is celebrating what they’re calling Not My President’s Day. Maybe by Monday, we’ll have our own Not My President’s Day planned in Dallas.

On the bright side, Trump’s already solved the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the immigration problem (you know, the one where people come to this country to work), the refugee problem (where victims of oppressive governments and war try to find a place to not be killed) and issued an Amber Alert for every child in the country as his choice for Education Secretary got sworn in.

The one issue that seems to be at the center of a lot of really bad policy and really confuses me is immigration. People here know they’re all immigrants, right? My grandparents and great-grandparents first arrived in the 1860s and were all in this country by 1905 and came from places like the Netherlands, Hungary, Alsace and Romania — and that makes me from an immigrant family.

Or am I unusual in knowing anything about my family history?

And my grandparents and great-grandparents all arrived with exactly the same documentation as a six-year-old who floats across the Rio Grande on a tire — absolutely none. That’s because passports and visas weren’t invented until later. And neither they nor more recent immigrants are rapists, terrorists or any other pejoratives being hurled at them. They just decided to come to the U.S. for a better life and they stayed.

Well, except my father’s father.

His brothers were already here and sent back stories of the streets being paved with gold. But when he arrived, no gold.

So he went back to Austria-Hungary.

Before his first trip to America, my grandfather had already served in the Kaiser’s army and, when he got back to Europe, the Kaiser was talking war. Sxo my grandfather high-tailed it back to New York. The Lower East Side was pretty slummy, but by then his brothers had moved to New Jersey and started small, downtown department stores. He met my grandmother and they opened Taffet’s Department Store in Nutley, N.J.

So this immigration issue that I’m just not understanding — I’m not arguing doing away with documentation. I am saying I simply understand. I don’t have this raging hatred that I’m seeing all around me for people with or without documentation. I don’t understand the cruelty with which immigrants are being treated.

All that leads me to believe that most people in this country don’t know their own family histories, and that’s sad. Or they honestly don’t understand that they are immigrants, too. If you see other people through your own family’s story, you have to understand we’re all much more similar than different.

So Monday is President’s Day. It’s meant to honor all past U.S. presidents. Slave-owning presidents. Presidents who established the National Parks System and fought for civil rights legislation and Social Security and Medicare. Presidents who dragged us into the Great Depression as well as those who dragged us out. Presidents who declared war and presidents who ended wars. Those who welcomed immigrants and those who didn’t.

And even for a recent president who is still on vacation out of the country and is beginning to piss me off just a little bit even though I’m not sure what he could do even if he were back. So this year, I think I’m just going to pass on Presidents Day.

—  David Taffet

UPDATED: Trump won’t revoke LGBT protections

Lisa Keen | Keen News Service
lisakeen@mac.com
trump-pence

Donald Trump, right, says he will not revoke President Obama’s 2014 executive order protecting LGBT federal employees and LGBT people working for federal contractors from discrimination. However, his vice president, Mike Pence, left, is notoriously anti-gay.

The news today (Tuesday, Jan. 31) that President Donald Trump said he would not rescind an existing executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees should have left LGBT activists feeling relieved. But it didn’t.

Most reacted with a mixture of concern that his reassuring “words” aren’t matching up with his troubling “actions” of nominating people who are hostile to LGBT to key federal positions in health care, civil rights, and education. Most fear Trump will be inclined to act on his campaign promise that religious liberty will be “cherished, protected, defended, like you have never seen before.”

In a four-sentence statement released Tuesday morning, the White House said:

President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The president is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”

“That is a fine statement, but actions are far more important,” said Rachel Tiven, chief executive officer for Lambda Legal. “President Trump is assembling a cabinet of people who have undermined the rights of LGBT people and everyone with HIV. Last week, he invoked pretend concern for LGBT people as a justification for his rejection of refugee. … Actions speak louder than words.”

Tivlen was referring to statements Trump made about violence against LGBT people as part of his justification for signing an executive order Friday afternoon, Jan, 27, that at least temporarily bars people from several Muslim-dominated countries from entering the U.S. He also cited the mass shooting at the Orlando nightclub Pulse last June by a gunman claiming he was inspired by ISIS to explain why he was having the Defense Department create a plan for defeating ISIS.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin also issued a statement in response to the White House press release on the non-discrimination order.

“Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar,” Griffin said. “LGBTQ refugees, immigrants, Muslims and women are scared today, and with good reason. Donald Trump has done nothing but undermine equality since he set foot in the White House.”

And Kate Kendall, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, noted that the White House statement is “not a step forward.”

“Today’s statement says only that Trump does not intend to take the extreme step of abolishing existing protections,” said Minter. “That is not a step forward. We remain extremely concerned that he intends to issue an order creating new religious exemptions that will harm LGBT people and others.”

Tuesday’s statement from the White House caught some people by surprise. Rumors were circulating just before the White House statement was released, claiming that President Trump was getting ready to sign an executive order rescinding the LGBT protections. Publicity for the statement that did emerge was largely lost among mainstream reporting of the increasingly dramatic backlash against Trump’s executive order restricting immigration by people from certain majority-Muslim nations and reporting of Trump’s scheduled announcement tonight of his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kendall suggested this morning’s statement could be an effort to mitigate any LGBT fallout over that Supreme Court nominee, what Minter said is “the most important issue for our community.”

“We need everyone who cares about LGBT people to insist that the Senate must reject any nominee who is not fully committed to enforcing [the] Obergefell [decision which struck down state bans on marriage for same-sex couples] and other decisions affirming the equality and freedom of LGBT people.”

HRC’s Griffin also noted that Trump has not committed to “opposing any executive actions that allow government employees, taxpayer-funded organizations or even companies to discriminate.”

Currently, regulations at several federal agencies, including Health and Human Services and the departments of Justice and Education, provide protections for LGBT people. The new incoming leadership at these agencies could issue new regulations that could take those protections away.

Those nominations — such as Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Betsy DeVos confirmed today as Secretary of Education, and Rep. Tom Price at HHS — had many in the LGBT community bracing for the Trump administration to reverse many of the gains of the Obama administration.

But Log Cabin national President Gregory Angelo said Jan. 18 that the Trump transition team’s Office of National Engagement invited Log Cabin to draft and submit the white paper on the LGBT non-discrimination executive order. Angelo said he considered that a “strong signal” that Trump’s promise to be a “real friend” to the LGBT community was “genuine.”

Log Cabin urged “preserving the LGBT non-discrimination executive order. …” LCR said the paper it submitted presented the “common-sense conservative case for LGBT non-discrimination in federal contractors to the Trump transition team.” It also noted that the last Republican president, George W. Bush, left intact the original executive order prohibiting discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation.

After the White House issued President Trump’s statement this morning, Angelo said, “President Trump is delivering” on his campaign commitment to be a “real friend” of the LGBT community.

“Log Cabin Republicans is proud to have directly advocated for this important preservation of LGBT equality in the federal workforce, and heartened to see that the recommendations prescribed in our white paper on this subject have been reflected in the decision to maintain the LGBT non-discrimination executive order.”

© 2017 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—  Tammye Nash

Cakegate 2017: Baker admits she replicated 2013 Obama cake at ‘client’s’ request, then donated the profit to HRC

On the left is a photo of the cake commissioned for Trump’s “Salute to Our Troops” Inaugural Ball on Friday night. It appears nearly identical to the cake Duff Goldman made for Obama’s 2013 inaugural ball, pictured on the right.

After the TV news stations started showing video of Trump’s inaugural balls on Friday, Jan. 20, I heard someone say that celebrity baker Duff Goldman, executive chef at Charm City Cakes in Baltimore and star of numerous Food Network shows, was claiming that whoever had baked the cake for Trump’s inauguration had stolen the design from the cake he made for President Obama’s 2013 inauguration.

He tweeted: “The cake on the left is the one I made for President Obama’s inauguration 4 years ago. The one on the right is Trumps. I didn’t make it,” and included an image (above) with side-by-side photos of the two cakes.

My first thought was, well, how many different ways can you design a cake for an inauguration? There will always be SOME similarities, right? But then I saw the side-by-side comparison with a photo of Duff’s cake for Obama and the cake for Trump, and … . Um, yeah. It looks pretty much like an exact replica.

New York Daily News posted this story about CakeGate on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 21.

What a shitty thing for a baker to do, right?

Then more of the story came out.

Tiffany MacIsaac, owner of Buttercream Bakeshop in Washington, D.C., explained that “a client” — who she refused to name — had commissioned her bakery to replicate Goldman’s 2013 Obama cake for Trump’s 2017 “Salute to Our Troops” inaugural ball. She said, according to the UK’s Daily Mail, that her employees tried to convince the client to go with a cake inspired by Goldman’s creation, but the client insisted that they replicate Goldman’s cake because it was perfect.

MacIsaac said Saturday via Twitter: “While we most love creating original designs, when we are asked to replicate someone else’s work we are thrilled when it is a masterpiece like this one. @duff_goldman originally created this for Obama’s inauguration 4 years ago and this years committee commissioned us to re-create it.”

And then came the “best part”: MacIsaac said via Twitter that the profits from making the cake are being donated to the D.C.-based LGBT rights organization Human Rights Campaign: “Best part is all the profits are being donated to @humanrightscampaign, one of our favorite charities who we have loved working with over the years. Because basic human rights are something every man, woman and child~ straight, gay or the rainbow in between~ deserve!”

 

—  Tammye Nash

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

Rabbi Paley: Notes from the memorial for fallen officers

Paley.Andrew

Rabbi Andrew Paley, right, speaking at the Meyerson

Rabbi Andrew Paley, senior rabbi at Temple Shalom in North Dallas, described the experience of participating in the memorial at the Meyerson Symphony Center to the five police officers killed in an ambush on July 7, as “powerful, exciting, overwhelming.”

Paley was one of three clergy who offered a prayer during the tribute, and he sat on stage directly behind First Lady Michelle Obama.

The dignitaries on the stage whispered to one another several times throughout the event. But it seems what the audience most noticed was when former President George W. Bush whispered some comment to the First Lady and her reaction to him.

Micki Rawlings leaned over to say something to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price commented to DART Police Chief James Spiller. The Bidens interacted. But the current first lady and former president were cutting up like old friends.

Bush.Obama

Michelle Obama seems to be trying not to laugh at a comment former President George Bush made to her while their spouses look on.

Paley said the comments he heard were mostly innocuous. Commenting on one soloist from the interfaith choir that performed, Bush leaned over and said, “Man, can she sing.”

But other comments got more of a reaction when Bush said something to the first lady and both his wife and her husband laughed at Michelle’s response.

Paley said the Bushes arrived at the Meyerson about 40 minutes before the Obamas and Bidens, who had been visiting injured officers at Parkland Hospital before the service. He said while they were waiting backstage, Bush put everyone at ease, asking, “How’s it going everybody?” as he walked in.

“I understood why people like him,” Paley said.

Paley described Mrs. Bush as “classy, composed and refined,” but as they waited for the Obamas, the other memorial participants sat in a circle talking.

“Bush tried to connect with everyone,” Paley said. He didn’t want any formality. “You know, I’m not the president,” Bush told them and sat in the circle with them. To make those participating on the world stage for the first time, along with others who were old hands at it, the former president told some stories as they waited backstage for what would be a very solemn and moving event.

Bush told the group about meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin. When Putin came to the White House, he met Bush’s Scottish terrier Barney. When Bush was in Moscow, he visited Putin’s residence. The Russian leader brought out his dog, Konni, a black Labrador retriever, and said, “My dog’s bigger.”

As they waited for the Obamas and Bidens, the choir sang on stage, but backstage, the group chatted. Paley asked Bush if he was still painting. “Like a madman,” Bush said. Paley told the former president he had seen his series of portraits of world leaders at the Bush Library. “Not my finest work,” Bush told him.

Before going on stage, Paley asked Bush if he’d ever been to Temple Shalom. “Not yet,” Bush told him. Paley invited him, saying, “We’d love to have you.” Bush said jokingly, “I don’t get that far north.” Temple Shalom is just north of LBJ Freeway on Hillcrest at Alpha Road.

Paley described Vice President Joe Biden as very likable. “He’s just like on TV — warm and approachable.”

As they lined up to go on stage, Biden was behind Paley. The rabbi said something about being ahead of the Vice President and Biden joked, “I’m Catholic, but I’d follow the Jews anywhere.”

He called the President and First Lady “genuinely nice people,” and said he left feeling the Obamas were “real humans who were really heartbroken” after all efforts to do anything about gun violence had been thwarted. After the memorial, Paley said, Obama spent about an hour with the families of the slain officers.

—  David Taffet

Obama, Bush address DPD officers at Meyerson event

Obama

President Barack Obama addresses Dallas Police officers at the Meyerson (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush spoke to Dallas police officers and the families of the victims of the ambush that took place on July 7 at the Meyerson Symphony Center this afternoon (Tuesday, July 12).

The Arlington Police Department filled in for Dallas police to provide security around the Meyerson to allow DPD officers to attend.

The Dallas Police Choir was joined on stage by choirs from six church choirs from around the city. They began with a powerful rendition of “Love is Stronger than Hate.”

In addition to state and local officials, governors Jay Nixon of Missouri and Suzanna Martinez of New Mexico attended. Mayors from New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Lewisville and Columbia also flew in for the event.

Mayor Mike Rawlings welcomed the crowd and said they were there to comfort the families of the victims and “to honor those who were wounded, not only in body but soul,” acknowledging how hurt everyone on the police force is.

Police Chief David Brown said earlier today he may require his officers to go through counseling, so that they don’t have to request it.

The Rev. Sheron Patterson of the United Methodist Church of North Texas, Rabbi Andrew Paley of Temple Shalom and Imam Omar Suleiman on Valley Ranch Islamic Center offered a prayer for unity, healing and peace.

Sen. John Cornyn thanked Rawlings and Brown for the strength they’ve shown since the ambush, calling them men of uncommon courage.

He said Dallas police officers ran toward the bullets, shielded citizens and sacrificed their own lives.

“They put the people of Dallas before themselves,” Cornyn said.

After receiving a standing ovation, Bush said, “Today our nation grieves. Those of us who call Dallas home lost five members of our family.”

He said the Dallas Police Department has been an inspiration for the rest of the country.

“We are grief stricken, heartbroken and forever grateful,” Bush said.

Rawlings introduced DART police chief James Spiller saying, “Leadership is hard. Great leadership is unique. We experienced that leadership from James Spiller.”

As he introduced Brown, whom he called “a rock” and “my friend,” police gave an ovation with whistles and cheers.

When the president stood at the podium, he began with a tribute to each of the officers. Before the event, he met with the wounded and he talked about the son of Shetamia Taylor, who brought her children to the demonstration. Her 12-year-old son told the president he wants to become a Dallas police officer.

“Despite the fact police conduct was the subject of the protest, the men and women of the Dallas Police Department did their jobs,” Obama said.

They posted photos of themselves with demonstrators on social media, he said.

Throughout his speech, the president expressed frustration that he “hugged too many families.”

But he praised the Dallas police who “didn’t flinch and didn’t act recklessly,” and because of their actions, “saved more lives than we will ever know.”

He praised Brown for being at the forefront of improving relations between police and the city and called DPD a national model for the way a police department should be run. But he enumerated the shortcomings.

“We ask police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves,” Obama said, echoing frustrations Brown expressed yesterday.

“We refuse to fund drug treatment,” he said. “We flood communities with guns.”

The event closed with the choirs singing “Glory Hallelujah.” When Michelle Obama took Bush’s hand and both began singing along with the choir, the others on stage held hands. That included Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, in whose district the shooting took place, who held hands with Sen. Ted Cruz. Then the entire audience stood, held hands and joined the singing.

Outside, we encountered one protester, a white woman, whose scribbled sign read, “Obama’s a racist.” We weren’t sure if she actually knows what the word means.

More details in Friday’s Dallas Voice.

—  David Taffet

President Obama officially endorses Hillary Clinton for president

Screen shot 2016-06-09 at 1.30.46 PM

In a video released today by the Clinton campaign, President Barack Obama endorses Hillary Clinton for president.

President Barack Obama today (Thursday, June 9) issued a ringing endorsement, via video released by the Clinton campaign, of former Secretary of State (former Senator, former First Lady) Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency. He also added praise for her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and called on voters to take a stand for “the values that make America great” and “win a brighter future for this country that we love.”

“Look, I know how hard this job can be. That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it,” Obama said in the video. “In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office. She’s got the courage, the compassion and the heart to get the job done.

“I’m with her,” the president continued, echoing Clinton supporters’ “I’m With Hillary” slogan. “I’m fired up, and I cannot wait to get out there and campaign for Hillary.”

Obama praised Sanders for waging a hard-fought campaign, for bringing to light important issues like economic justice and for bringing thousands of young people into the democratic process. Both Clinton and Sanders, he said “are patriots who love this country.”

Watch the complete video below.

—  Tammye Nash

Obama issues LGBT Pride Month declaration

 THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 31, 2016

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2016

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

President Barack ObamaSince our founding, America has advanced on an unending path toward becoming a more perfect Union. This journey, led by forward-thinking individuals who have set their sights on reaching for a brighter tomorrow, has never been easy or smooth. The fight for dignity and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is reflected in the tireless dedication of advocates and allies who strive to forge a more inclusive society. They have spurred sweeping progress by changing hearts and minds and by demanding equal treatment — under our laws, from our courts, and in our politics. This month, we recognize all they have done to bring us to this point, and we recommit to bending the arc of our Nation toward justice.

Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 States was a historic victory for LGBT Americans, ensuring dignity for same-sex couples and greater equality across State lines. For every partnership that was not previously recognized under the law and for every American who was denied their basic civil rights, this monumental ruling instilled newfound hope, affirming the belief that we are all more free when we are treated as equals.

LGBT individuals deserve to know their country stands beside them. That is why my Administration is striving to better understand the needs of LGBT adults and to provide affordable, welcoming, and supportive housing to aging LGBT Americans. It is also why we oppose subjecting minors to the harmful practice of conversion therapy, and why we are continuing to promote equality and foster safe and supportive learning environments for all students. We remain committed to addressing health disparities in the LGBT community — gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color are at a particularly high risk for HIV, and we have worked to strengthen our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce new infections, increase access to care, and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

Despite the extraordinary progress of the past few years, LGBT Americans still face discrimination simply for being who they are. I signed an Executive Order in 2014 that prohibits discrimination against Federal employees and contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I urge the Congress to enact legislation that builds upon the progress we have made, because no one should live in fear of losing their job simply because of who they are or who they love. And our commitment to combatting discrimination against the LGBT community does not stop at our borders: Advancing the fair

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treatment of all people has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and we have made defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT individuals a priority in our engagement across the globe. In line with America’s commitment to the notion that all people should be treated fairly and with respect, champions of this cause at home and abroad are upholding the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights.

There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts — that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, as Americans wave their flags of pride high and march boldly forward in parades and demonstrations, let us celebrate how far we have come and reaffirm our steadfast belief in the equal dignity of all Americans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

BARACK OBAMA

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—  David Taffet