Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Myth of Bernie Sanders’s White Working-Class Support

As the 2020 Democrat primary begins, one issue that will be critical, in my view, for Democrats to keep sight to the reality that politics is all about having your team – flawed or not – in control of the executive branch of government, especially if you do not hold complete control of the legislature.  One cannot wait for the perfect candidate.  The bottom line is to win elections and field the candidate best positioned to win.  Who that candidate will be is as yet unknown,  That said, I see two as un-electable: one is Elizabeth Warren who despite some good ideas, has far too much baggage.  The other is Bernie Sanders, who in my view, should not even be allowed into the Democrat race given his jettisoning of the party immediately after 2016. Sadly, this reality is lost on Bernie Sanders supporters who, in my view, delude themselves into thinking that Sanders has broader support than he has in fact, especially among working class whites, and without factoring in some of Sanders' extreme positions of the past.  A piece in New York Magazine looks at the myth of Sanders' working class support.  Here are highlights:

The Sanders campaign has circulated a strategy memo proclaiming their candidate would compete with Trump not only in Michigan and Ohio but even in states like West Virginia, Kansas, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Montana. Sanders “is popular with traditional, working-class, industrial workers in those places,” asserts his adviser, Jeff Weaver. “Bernie Sanders,” raves Bhaskar Sunkara, “is the only one capable of reaching millions of working Americans with the message that politics can indeed improve their lives.”
Their evidence is the persistent support Sanders amassed during his struggle against Clinton. But there is something eerily familiar about the pattern of Sanders’s support in 2016. Nate Silver, diving into the numbers, finds that about a quarter of Sanders voters were what he calls “Never Hillary” voters. They leaned conservative, and many of them voted for Donald Trump in the general election.
 How big a factor was the Never Hillary vote for Sanders?  Pretty big. They made the difference in eight of the states he won, finds Silver. Without that protest vote, the entire narrative of Sanders as the rising voice of the party’s authentic base would never have taken hold. And that basic misreading of the data created the foundation for a flourishing socialist dream that the American white working class is poised to turn against neoliberalism if only presented with a pure and sharp enough critique.
 Ironically, Sanders supporters have made the same analytic error the Clinton fans made after 2008. They looked at their growing strength among the white working class and saw a future base they could pry away from the GOP, never realizing that the only reason those voters had ever supported them was that they had already lost.
It is absolutely critical that Trump, should he run, or Mike Pence, be defeated in 2020.  Sanders simply is not the one to do that.

More Saturday Male Beauty

The Corruption of the Vatican’s Elite Has Been Exposed

A previous post looked at a new book, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, that looked at some of the moral rot and rank hypocrisy that is the Vatican.  The picture wasn't pretty, but Andrew Sullivan's new review gives a much more detailed picture that is utterly shocking and makes me wonder how decent, moral Catholics will remain in the Church.  Yes, there are some who will always blindly follow the Church hierarchy since the seemingly need someone to tell them what to think and what to do so they can avoid making moral decisions on their own (we see the same in the Southern Baptist Convention where many will ignore the sex abuse bombshell that went off two weekends ago), but many Catholics have drifted far from the blind obedience that was more the norm in my childhood and teens. Given the immense damage the Church and its 12th century dogma on sexuality and the subordination of women has done over the centuries and today's 24/7 access to information, hopefully will find itself faced with fury over the widespread hypocrisy that seemingly is the norm and an inability to hide its very, very dirty laundry.  Some, such as a piece in National Review have  sought to dismiss the book:
The book is trash. The supposed justice meted to McCarrick amounts to a cover-up. The pope’s summit is trash and a coverup. These men do not fear the justice of God or men. All their training in theology, and their great insight about man’s depravity, is the schoolyard taunt “Whoever smelt it, dealt it.” To hell with them all. 
Yet, the book appears to be consistent with stories of a blogger friend who was once a priest stationed at the Vatican.  Power with no accountability of any kind in most instances is corrupting and here, the corruption is off the charts. When I think of the 37 years of self-hate and trying to "pray away the gay" because of what these hypocrites preached, it enrages me.  Even more maddening is knowing that young lives continue to be harmed by these foul individuals all across the globe through the toxic dogma of the Church. Here are excerpts from Sullivan's lengthy piece in New York Magazine:

It’s a bewildering and vast piece of reporting — Martel interviewed no fewer than “41 cardinals, 52 bishops and monsignori, 45 apostolic nuncios, secretaries of nunciatures or foreign ambassadors, 11 Swiss Guards and over 200 Catholic priests and seminarians.” He conducted more than 1,500 interviews over four years, is quite clear about his sources, and helps the reader weigh their credibility. He keeps the identity of many of the most egregiously hypocritical cardinals confidential, but is unsparing about the dead.
The picture Martel draws is jaw-dropping. Many of the Vatican gays — especially the most homophobic — treat their vows of celibacy with an insouciant contempt. Martel argues that many of these cardinals and officials have lively sex lives, operate within a “don’t ask, don’t tell” culture, constantly hit on young men, hire prostitutes, throw chem-sex parties, and even pay for sex with church money. How do we know this? Because, astonishingly, they tell us.
So much of the information in the book comes from sources deep within the Holy See. Named and unnamed, they expose their fellow cardinals and bishops and nuncios as hypocrites, without perhaps realizing that their very targets are doing the same to them.
Among the named sources: Francesco Lepore, a brilliant young gay Latin translator and priest. He soared through the ranks, directly serving Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, until, as a gay man, he found a way to quit his post because he couldn’t abide the double life he was forced to lead, or the rancid hypocrisy of the whole system.
I’m no naïf when it comes to the gayness of the church. I’ve lived in it as a gay man for all my adult life, and my eyes are open. And so the book did not surprise me, as such, but it still stunned, shocked, and disgusted me. You simply cannot unread it, or banish what is quite obviously true from your mind.
[A]s Martel probes deeper and deeper, one theme emerges very powerfully: “Homosexuality spreads the closer one gets to the holy of holies; there are more and more homosexuals as one rises through the Catholic hierarchy. The more vehemently opposed a cleric is to gays, the stronger his homophobic obsession, the more likely it is that he is insincere, and that his vehemence conceals something.” It’s a lesson I learned reporting my own recent essay on gay priests.
And so it’s not that huge a surprise to see how influenced Paul VI was by gay Catholic writers of the time. And it’s highly predictable that John Paul II’s pontificate, which launched a new war on homosexuals, turns out to be the gayest of them all — and the one most resistant to any inquiry into stories of sex abuse. His right-hand man and successor, Joseph Ratzinger, (the future Pope Benedict XVI) personally received notification of every claim of sex abuse in the church under John Paul II, ignoring most, and made the stigmatization and persecution of sane, adjusted non-abusive gay people across the globe his mission instead.
As for America, Martel notes what is already in the public record:
“Cardinal Wakefield Baum of Washington, recently deceased, lived for many years with his personal assistant … Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, … was well known for his ‘sleeping arrangements’ with seminarians and young priests whom he called his ‘nephews’ … Archbishop Rembert Weakland was ‘outed’ by a former boyfriend … One American cardinal has been banned from the Vatican and sent back to the United States for his improper conduct with a Swiss Guard. Another American cardinal, the bishop of a large city in the United States, ‘has lived for years with his boyfriend, a former priest’, while an archbishop of another city, a devotee of the Latin mass and a man much given to cruising, ‘lives surrounded by a flock of young seminarians’, a fact confirmed to me by Robert Carl Mickens, an American Vaticanologist familiar with the gay lifestyle of the senior Catholic hierarchy in the United States.”
Some of the most conservative clerics concede the truth of the book on the record. Or take Martel’s interaction with the Swiss Guards, one of whom vents: “The harassment is so insistent that I said to myself that I was going straight home. Many of us are exasperated by the usually rather indiscreet advances of the cardinals and bishops.” Or the prostitutes who keep elaborate records of their clients, and have already caused huge scandals in Italy.
 But critics of the book — and the defensive dismissals of it as mere salacious gossip are already out there — have to argue that Martel is a liar, a fabulist, a con artist, who faked these remarkable interviews. I don’t buy it.
 I’ve offered just a glimpse of the revelations in the book. I urge every Catholic to read it, however difficult that may be. It will also be fascinating to see how the various factions within Catholicism will respond to it. . . . . But if the Catholic right wants to weaponize the book, they’ll have to take on their own icons, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and a whole range of their closest allies in the church. And the core thesis of the book — which is that it is the hypocrisy of the closet that is the real problem — is not one the right will be able easily to absorb.
 There can be no meaningful reform until this closet is ended, and the whole sick, twisted syndrome is unwound.
How do you do that? The crisis is so profound, the corruption so deep, the duplicity so brazen that only a radical change will help. Ending mandatory celibacy is no longer an option. It’s a necessity. Women need to be brought in to the full sacramental life of the church. Gay men need to be embraced not as some manifestation of “intrinsic moral evil” but as human beings made in the image of God and capable of mutual love, care, and support.
As for me, someone who has wrestled with the question of homosexuality and Catholicism for much of my adult life, this book has, to be honest, been gutting. All the painful, wounding Vatican documents on my “objective disorder” that I have tried to parse and sincerely engage … I find out they were written, in part, by tormented gay men, partly to deflect from their own nature. Everything I was taught growing up — to respect the priests and hierarchs, to trust them, to accept their moral authority — is in tatters.
 [I]n my view, the last drops of moral authority the Vatican might hope to have evaporate with this book. It is difficult to express the heartbroken rage so many of us in the pews now feel.
Unlike Sullivan who has remained Catholic - a form of masochism in my view - I left the Church when I came out and even had my name stricken from the membership rolls for the Diocese of Richmond. The remainder of my siblings and nieces and nephews have left the church.  Any who remain Catholic in my extended family will likely find it difficult to remain in the Church with the revelations of this book. 

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Threat of White Supremacy and Far-Right Extremism

White supremacists on the University of Virginia grounds in August, 2017.

If one were to believe the Trump/Pence regime and Republicans eager to give Trump politico fellatio, all violent, extremist motivated crimes in the USA are committed by Islamic extremists and undocumented Hispanics.  Truth be told, these allegations are all lies - like almost everything that comes out of Trump's mouth - inasmuch as the vast majority of ideologically/religiously based murders are committed by white supremacists and other far right groups. An op-ed in the New York Times authored by Thomas T. Cullen, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, looks at this reality and the need for both law enforcement and the media to face this reality.   In addition, it stresses the need for new legislation to enable law enforcement to address this growing threat of domestic terror.  Here are op-ed excerpts:
Last week, federal agents in Maryland arrested a United States Coast Guard officer and said he was plotting to assassinate Democratic members of Congress, prominent television journalists and others. The officer, Lt. Christopher Hasson, apparently was inspired by a right-wing Norwegian terrorist who slaughtered 77 people in 2011, stockpiled firearms and ammunition and researched locations around Washington to launch his attacks, according to investigators. Fortunately, the F.B.I. arrested him before he could act.

This frightening case is just one of several recent reminders that white supremacy and far-right extremism are among the greatest domestic-security threats facing the United States.
Regrettably, over the past 25 years, law enforcement, at both the federal and state levels, has been slow to respond. . . . But there are steps that can be taken to help the police and prosecutors address this growing threat — including, on the federal level, a domestic terrorism law.
In 2017, hate crimes, generally defined as criminal acts motivated by the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, or gender, increased by about 17 percent nationally, to 7,175 from 6,121 (the number of police agencies reporting crimes also rose, by about 6 percent); in my state, Virginia, they were up by nearly 50 percent, to 202 from 137.
Killings committed by individuals and groups associated with far-right extremist groups have risen significantly. Seventy-one percent of the 387 “extremist related fatalities in the United States” from 2008 to 2017 were committed by members of far-right and white-supremacist groups . . . Islamic extremists were responsible for 26 percent.
Virginia, too, has experienced extremist violence. In August 2017, several hundred people — mainly young white men heavily influenced by white-nationalist propaganda — converged on Charlottesville, ostensibly to protest the possible removal of Confederate monuments from public parks. Among other odious acts, these “Unite the Right” protesters marched with lighted torches on the campus of the University of Virginia. They chanted “Jews will not replace us!” before attacking a small group of students and counterprotesters at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson.
The following day, some of these Unite the Right enthusiasts attacked and injured counterprotesters in Charlottesville. Their violence culminated when a white supremacist from Ohio drove his car into a crowd of people, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring about 30 others.
In 2009, Congress took an important step in arming federal investigators to deal with hate crimes by passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This law makes it possible to prosecute as hate crimes violent acts committed against victims because of their race, color, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity or disability.
But the hate crime law has its limitations. First, it requires proof that an individual acted because of a specific proscribed animus enumerated in the statute. That means investigators must uncover concrete evidence that the defendant was primarily motivated by, for example, racist or anti-Semitic views. Although this evidence exists in many hate crimes, it proves elusive in others.
Second, because it is a federal statute, prosecutors must prove a “jurisdictional” element, such as travel by the defendant across state lines. For those hate crimes that do not involve interstate travel or communication, the law can’t be invoked.
State officials can update and strengthen existing hate-crime laws, many of which do not include protections for some of the categories of people listed in the federal hate crimes law. Although many states have expanded these protections, the Indiana State Senate this week moved to weaken a proposed hate crime bill. In addition, states can authorize localities to place reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on demonstrations that will likely result in widespread violence and other criminal activity, like the rally in Charlottesville.
At both the federal and state levels, immediate steps are required to curtail the alarming rise of hate crimes and extremist violence in this country.

With family members living in Charlottesville, I know how disturbing this growing menace is for even those who are not the direct victims of extremist violence.  Sadly, expect Republicans to deny the reality of where the threat truly lies and block much needed legislation.

Democrats for True Family Values

We hear incessantly about "family values" from the Christofascists and their political whores in the Republican Party, but when analyzed, their so-called family values boil down to being "pro-life" and anti-abortion, anti-gay, and whining about abstinence only sex-education.  None of the policy positions, however, include supporting children once they are born or supporting real families, particularly if those families are headed by single women or women of color. They idealize the mythical nuclear family with a working father/husband and a stay at home mother, ignoring that most families need BOTH parents working to simply survive financially.  In contrast, Democrats are advancing policy proposals that help to support and maintain real families. A column in the New York Times looks at one proposal by Elizabeth Warren - who I deem un-electable (she has burned many bridges already in Virginia in her attacks on Gov. Northam) - which would help real families. Hopefully, other electable Democrats will back similar proposals to exhibit true family values.  Here are column highlights:

For millions of Americans with children, life is a constant, desperate balancing act. They must work during the day, either because they’re single parents or because decades of wage stagnation mean that both parents must take jobs to make ends meet. Yet quality child care is unavailable or unaffordable.
And the thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Other wealthy countries either have national child care systems or subsidize care to put it in everyone’s reach. It doesn’t even cost all that much. While other advanced countries spend, on average, about three times as much as we do helping families — so much for our vaunted “family values” — it’s still a relatively small part of their budgets. In particular, taking care of children is much cheaper than providing health care and retirement income to seniors, which even America does.
Furthermore, caring for children doesn’t just help them grow up to be productive adults. It also has immediate economic benefits, making it easier for parents to stay in the work force.
So child care really should be an important part of the progressive agenda. Hillary Clinton had a serious plan back in 2016, but the news media was too busy obsessing over emails to pay attention.
[U]nlike purist visions of replacing private health insurance with “Medicare for all,” providing child care wouldn’t require imposing big new taxes on the middle class. The sums of money involved are small enough that new taxes on great wealth and high incomes, which are desirable on other grounds, could easily raise sufficient revenue.
 Child care would be regulated to ensure that basic quality was maintained and subsidized to make it affordable. The size of the subsidy would depend on parents’ incomes: lower-income parents would get free care, higher-income parents would have to pay something, but nobody would have to pay more than 7 percent of income.
So what are the objections to this plan?  I’m hearing from a few people on the left who complain that the plan doesn’t go far enough — that it should involve free, direct public provision of child care, not subsidies to private provision. There’s certainly a case for a more expansive policy. There’s also no chance that it will happen anytime soon.  The perfect here is the enemy of the good.
Meanwhile, on the right there are the usual cries of “socialism,”  . . . .  More interestingly, I’m seeing at least some commentary on the right that doesn’t just push back against the whole idea of making it easier for mothers to work, it wants us to go back to the days when families could “live on one income.”
Realistically, of course, that’s not going to happen, and not just because 30 percent of U.S. children live in single-parent households.  And bear in mind that even as conservatives bemoan the decline of the traditional male breadwinner, they’re pushing policies like Medicaid work requirements that basically force mothers out of the home.
Right now, all of the real contenders for the Democratic nomination are solidly progressive, but so far some seem either under briefed on policy issues — there’s been far too much fumbling over Medicare for all — or too committed to sweeping, maximalist policy visions to think seriously about what they might truly be able to do if their party takes the White House and Senate next year.
Visions and values are great, but Democrats also need to be ready to hit the ground running with plans that might actually turn into legislation.
Wit two working  daughters with young children, I know first hand just how expensive decent child care is and how it can make stay home unemployed seem the better option.  Why give over the raising of your children to others if you final net pay after child care costs is negligible or non-existent.  More Democrats need to get onboard with rational and attainable plains to demonstrate true family values for working class families. 

Can America Ever Be Great Again After Trump?

Donald Trump campaigned under the slogan "make America great again."  The slogan was a lie because what he really meant was that he would bring back right wing white privilege and put "those people" - i.e., blacks, gays, Hispanics, non-Christians - back in their place and as in the imaginary good old days. Sadly, many Republicans who should have know better, understood Trump's real meaning and voted for him anyway, shedding any claim to moral decency in the process. Now, two years into the Trump nightmare, America finds itself the most isolated perhaps since the 1920's or perhaps even prior to WWI.  Europeans still like American tourists,. but view our leadership with justified contempt.  Meanwhile, the nation's social fabric is being torn apart and the nation's institutions are under daily attack by the demagogue in the White House and his Republican enablers and sycophants.  A column by a Washington Post columnist provides a review of Trump's damage to the nation.  It's an indictment of Trump, but also of those who continue to support him. Although not specifically mentioned, perhaps the most morally bankrupt are the evangelicals whose support of Trump has stripped them of moral authority on any topic.  Here are column excerpts:

There will be no Mount Rushmore for Donald Trump. But, if there's a presidential library, it should contain a Hall of Tweets, a Hall of Lies, a Hall of Insults and, with the "Marines' Hymn" softly playing, a Hall of Montezuma, with a section of his border wall. Finally, there should be a Hall of Consequences, the grandest in the place. No president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has mattered as much.
Trump has remade the Republican Party. It is no longer the party of Lincoln or Reagan, but increasingly a snarling, sneering collection of score-settlers, white nationalists, immigrant bashers, homophobes, science-deniers and religious reactionaries who praise a president who has lived a squalid personal life but who promised them a Supreme Court in their own image. Trump's GOP may not endure, but for the foreseeable future it reigns supreme.
Trump's dominance of his party is personified by Mitch McConnell. . . . . Trump has personally berated McConnell, but -- unburdened by either pride or principle -- McConnell does what the president wants. He faces re-election next year in a state, Kentucky, whose heart throbs for Trump. Understandably, McConnell fears vilification as a moderate.
In foreign affairs, the Trump presidency has had a huge impact. By fiat, by insult and by a dazzling display of historical ignorance, Trump has diminished the Atlantic alliance which every president since Roosevelt has supported and nourished. The lessons of World War II and of the implosion of the Soviet communist empire -- signal achievements of American involvement and leadership in the affairs of Europe -- are being discarded. . . . . . America may not yet be isolationist, but it is isolated.
Under Trump, the judiciary is being transformed. His judges not only are bitterly conservative but have been deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association at an unprecedented rate. He has vitiated Cabinet and other offices dealing with the environment and natural resources, turning over the grandeur of America to despoilers. Only his appointees' ineptness or sense of grandiosity -- EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's $25,000 phone booth, for instance -- has slowed the onslaught. Pruitt did manage to get Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement before he resigned.
But maybe the most damaging is how he has soiled the presidency itself. His incessant lying -- The Washington Post counted 8,459 false or misleading statements as of Feb 3 -- has turned the presidency into a gong show. He sits at the desk of presidents who took the truth seriously, who may have lied on occasion but never routinely. Trump, though, spouts lies like a drunken parrot, with, approximately, similar plumage. He has diminished the importance of truth, making it indistinguishable from lies -- just more noise.
Trump's attacks on the press are vividly demagogic. He has weakened its ability to be believed, to uncover scandal, to hold accountable the otherwise unaccountable. He applies the prefix "fake" to any news he does not like.
He has weakened the FBI, denigrated the CIA, praised Russia's Vladimir Putin and shrugged at the murder of a Post columnist by the Saudis. He is a president out of Orwell, a creature out of Kafka, a nightmare out of the Electoral College.
Will America recover from the Trump era? Not soon, maybe never. The wounds to the environment may never heal. Inept judges serve for life. Our erstwhile European allies will move on, finding their own way, which, we must pray, will not be the old way. The planet will cook and despots will thrive. Bad days are coming.
But maybe the most terrible consequence of all is the growing realization that Trump mined a vein of meanness in the American electorate. We are not the country we once were. . . . . He has not made America greater. Instead, he may have put greatness out of reach.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Trump's Actions and Christofascist Rants Undercut Alleged Push to Decriminalize Homosexuality

Trump and homo-con, Richard Grenell who
announced the alleged decriminalization effort.
Not to sound like a broken record, but evidence continues to suggest that the alleged Trump/Pence regime to decriminalize homosexuality is little more than a charade aimed at harassing Iran on human rights issues, yet ignore the murder of gays in Saudi Arabia.  A piece in OutinJersey reminds us of the Trump/Pence regime's anti-LGBT agenda, an agenda seemingly at odds with the effort first reported earlier this week.  Meanwhile, the Christofascists are beginning to rant against the alleged effort to decriminalize homosexuality which they are maligning as "cultural imperialism" even though the very same Christofascists groups have worked diligently to foster anti-LGBT attitudes in Africa and elsewhere.  First, this reminder of Trump's anti-gay agenda:
Two years into the presidency of Donald Trump [regime], one thing has become abundantly clear: his statement declaring that he would be a friend to the LGBT community was categorically and undeniably false. In 2018, Trump did plenty to stack the deck against members of the LGBT community. He pushed to ban transgender soldiers and sailors from serving in the military and created a Religious Freedom task force, Trump wasted little time in dismantling the rights earned by the LGBT community in order to appease his most ardent followers.
The biggest 2018 effort from Trump has been the banning of transgender men and women from serving in the military. . . . .Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis rolled out an implementation plan in March. It would have forcefully discharged those who were diagnosed with either “gender dysphoria” or had undergone a “gender transition,” including received hormones or gender confirmation therapy.
On the religious liberty front, anti-LGBT activists have stepped up their attacks on LGBT rights, seemingly emboldened by the Supreme Court decision that sided with Masterpiece Bake Shop in denying a same-sex couple a wedding cake. The rallying cry for these anti-LGBT activists is that religious “freedoms” are being infringed upon or imperiled by having to treat members of the LGBT community as equals, especially when it comes to supplying services or goods.
On July 30th, former Attorney Jeff Sessions, an outspoken opponent of LGBT rights, announced the task force’s formation. The task force would enforce a 2017 Department of Justice memo that ordered federal agencies to take the broadest interpretation of “religious liberty” when enforcing federal law. This would include prohibiting the IRS from taking away the tax-exempt status of any religious organization that lobbied on behalf of a political candidate, something not allowed by the Johnson Amendment. Sessions said the task force was necessary to stop secularism.
Though the task force will only enforce the memo’s guidelines, Session used his moment at the podium to paint a picture of America as a Christian nation under attack. The message was clear, and a continuation of the perverse rhetoric of the Trump campaign, using the federal government as a way to preserve and protect Christian America.
As for the Christofascists' conniption fit over any effort to decriminalize homosexuality, a press release issued by Family Research Council, a leading anti-gay, extremist "Christian" hate group sums up the push back very well.  Here are excerpts:
An “exclusive report” from NBC News said, “The Trump administration is launching a global campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality.” There’s just one problem – besides the ambassador, it doesn’t seem that President Trump – or anyone else in the administration – authorized this “campaign.”
For the last eight years, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bludgeoned foreign capitals with “diplomacy” designed to advance an LGBT agenda around the world and in the United Nations — doing damage to our relations with many countries as a result. The Trump administration should be ending such efforts, not making them a priority.
As our own Travis Weber points out, some may try to argue that protecting LGBT rights is a way of protecting human rights. Yet this misleadingly implies “that same-sex-attracted and transgendered persons do not currently enjoy human rights protections.”
According to NBC, there are eight countries which permit the death penalty for homosexuality — most of them also known as abusers of religious freedom and other rights, and supporters of terrorism.
An end to those laws, and other physical punishments such as flogging, is a legitimate goal. Let’s find common ground in calling for an end to all forms of physical violence against homosexuals — but refrain from imposing the values of the sexual revolution on the rest of the world.
The hypocrisy of FRC is stunning.  It pushes to for a license Christofascists to openly discriminate against LGBT individuals, including firing them from their jobs, denying housing and accommodations, and, of course, baking them a cake.  FRC may not be advocating for our murder, but he and his organization want to make our lives a living hell. 

More Thursday Male Beauty

Hate Groups On the Rise, White Supremacist Terror Attack Averted

Since he launched his campaign in 2015, Donald Trump has been singing a welcomed song to racists and white supremacists of every ilk.  By doing so, he has made out right racism acceptable in the eyes of his followers and has increasingly normalized the reprehensible. Worse yet, he has emboldened hate groups which have increased 30% over four years and some, such as would be terrorist,  Christopher Paul Hasson, have seen Trump's rhetoric as a green light to attack Democrats and journalists.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at Hasson's thwarted terror attacks while a piece in New York Magazine looks at the increase in the number of far right hate groups.  First, highlights from the Post:

A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-identified white nationalist was arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in his Maryland home that authorities say he stockpiled to launch a widespread domestic terrorist attack targeting politicians and journalists.
Christopher Paul Hasson called for “focused violence” to “establish a white homeland” . . . Though court documents do not detail a specific planned date for an attack, the government said he had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and searched the Internet using phrases such as “best place in dc to see congress people” and “are supreme court justices protected.”
“The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” the government said in court documents filed this week, arguing that Hasson should stay in jail awaiting trial.
“Please send me your violence that I may unleash it onto their heads,” Hasson wrote in a letter that prosecutors said was found in his email drafts. “Guide my hate to make a lasting impression on this world.”
Court documents do not detail what prompted federal law enforcement to begin investigating Hasson but contend that Hasson had been studying the 1,500-page manifesto of right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who unleashed two attacks in 2011 that killed 77 people in Norway, and echoed Breivik’s attack preparations.
[A]ccording to the court filings, Hasson developed a spreadsheet of targets that included top Democratic congressional leaders and media personalities. The list includes “JOEY,” what prosecutors say is a reference to former congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.), now of MSNBC; “cortez,” an alleged reference to freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.); and “Sen blumen jew,” presumably about Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
One individual like Hasson is frightening enough, but as the New York Magazine article reports, there has been a sharp increase in the number of active hate groups.  Here are article excerpts:

There are at least 1,020 hate groups now active in the U.S., the Southern Poverty Law Center announced on Wednesday. The civil rights group, which has tracked extremist activity since the 1980s, says it’s documented a 30 percent increase in hate group activity over the last four years, a time period it says “roughly” coincides with end of Barack Obama’s presidency and the rise of Donald Trump as a political figure.
The SPLC doesn’t just track white supremacists – it also tracks the Nation of Islam – but white extremists engaged directly in promoting nativism and myths about racial superiority make up the bulk of activity included in the organization’s annual hate report. SPLC researchers documented 112 active neo-Nazi groups, 148 white nationalist groups, and 63 racist skinhead groups, in addition to 36 neo-Confederate organizations.
SPLC argues that [Trump’s] the president’s vitriolic anti-immigrant rhetoric and soft-pedaling of white supremacist violence have emboldened hate groups.
 [I]t’s undeniable that members of the far-right have been responsible for an escalating number of high-profile violent incidents over the last several years. It’s also true that Trump, and some of his surrogates in the conservative press, have helped mainstream certain white nationalist myths. Both Trump and Fox’s Tucker Carlson briefly became fixated on the alleged persecution of white South African farmers, though there’s no evidence of a white genocide unfolding in South Africa or anywhere else, and Trump frequently amplifies myths about the disproportionate criminality of immigrants. Since Trump took office, white nationalists have beaten left-wing activists and murdered one protester . . . .
 This radicalization shows no signs of abating. Hours after the SPLC released its report, Seamus Hughes of the the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism broke the news that a lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard will go on trial for domestic terrorism charges. The lieutenant, Christopher Hasson, identified as a white supremacist, possessed around 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and created a hit list of liberal politicians and media figures ranging from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.
 Trump hasn’t explicitly called for people like Hasson to do violence in his name. But the SPLC’s report reinforces a disturbing trend. However frustrated white supremacists may be over the border wall, others seem galvanized by the Trump presidency.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Pharmaceutical Company Greed Impedes Fight Against HIV

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention describes PrEP as follows:

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.

When used consistently, PrEP has a very high success rate of preventing HIV infection. So why aren't many more Americans on PrEP if it works so well.  The answer is simple: the cost. In the USA, the cost can be over $20,000.00 per year. In other parts of the world, the cost is $100.00 per year.  Why do Americans pay 200 times what those in other countries?  Simply put, because American's utterly screwed up health care system allows it. Typically, pharmaceutical companies justify shockingly high costs by citing the cost of developing new drugs.  That argument does not work with PeEP because the federal government and charities funded the development costs. So again, why the exorbitantly high cost?  I offer a few other possible factors: (i) the current Trump/Pence regime caters to allowing large corporations to act as the robber barons of old, and (ii) gays and increasingly blacks, including black women, are disliked by the Trump/Pence regime and its extremist supporters.  As reported by the New York Daily News, in New York State, some are beginning to demand that federal government use its existing authority to make PeEP available to the masses, not just the rich.  Here are article highlights:
As the number of people in New York City living with HIV or AIDS continues to rise, local advocates are calling for the federal government to take steps to make the life-saving prevention drug PrEP more affordable.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson joined other politicians and activists at the city’s AIDS Memorial on Monday to demand that the National Institute of Health “break the patent” on the drug, which dramatically reduces the spread of the HIV virus.
“It’s life or death for people who do not get access to this live-saving medication that they need,” said Johnson, who is HIV-positive. “Other countries pay $100 year for PrEP. Americans end up paying more than $20,000 a year for the same medication.”
Advocates say a major barrier between patients and PrEP is the cost of the drug, which is patented by Gilead Sciences and was approved for use by the FDA in 2012.
“Gilead Sciences charged over $2,000 a month for a drug that costs them less than $6 a month to make, and whose research was funded entirely by the fed govt and other charities,” Christian Urrutia, co-founder of the PrEP4All Collaboration, said on Monday.
Because the U.S. government funded the research for PrEP, federal law allows the NIH to exercise “march-in” rights to break its patent and allow other manufacturers to produce it at generic costs.
The legal maneuver dates back to 1980 and the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act, which requires patent holders of federally-backed drugs to allow third party companies to produce the drug when requested by the government.
The advocates are calling on the feds to make such a request for PrEP.  If the price of the drug plummets for New Yorkers, advocates believe the rate of new HIV infections would follow.

Trump Unaware of Effort to Legalize Homosexuality Abroad

In a recent post I conjectured that the reported Trump/Pence regime effort to decriminalize homosexuality in foreign nations where being gay is illegal (if not the basis for receiving the death penalty) could all be a charade.  Some thought the true goal of the purported initiative was to woo European Union nations into joining in sanctions against Iran, others simply found it lacking in credibility give the Trump/Pence regime's anti-LGBT record since assuming office.  Now, it is being reported that when asked about the effort, Der Trumpenführer knew nothing about it.  As for Pence, he quickly turned the conversation to Iran thereby adding justification for those who saw this as an anti-Iran stunt from the start.  Here are excerpts from the Washington Examiner:
President Trump drew a blank Wednesday when told about his own administration's push to legalize homosexuality across the globe.
A reporter asked Trump in the Oval Office about "your push to decriminalize homosexuality around the world," asking, "Are you doing that and why?"
Trump said, however, "I don't know which report you're talking about. We have many reports."
White House representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Trump was aware of his administration's push to repeal anti-homosexuality laws in 71 countries.
On Tuesday, NBC News reported that the Trump administration was preparing for a global effort to decriminalize homosexuality, which is banned in many African, Caribbean, and Muslim countries.
The push is spearheaded by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the most prominent gay official in the Trump administration. Grenell's effort began Tuesday with a gathering in Berlin. 
A piece in the Washington Blade looks at Pence's response for comment.  As noted, Pence quickly turned the conversation to Iran.  As for Pence's true feelings towards gays, his past shows that he is no ally.  I cannot believe the Trump/Pence regime's supporters among the Christofascist are the least bit happy about any effort to decriminalize homosexuality.  Here are highlights from the Blade:
Vice President Mike Pence backs the newly announced Trump administration global initiative calling on nation’s to decriminalize homosexuality, a spokesperson for his office told the Washington Blade on Wednesday.
The global initiative seems aimed at highlighting the human rights record of Iran, a country that punishes homosexual acts with death. Highlighting Iran’s record is an independent goal Pence has made for himself, as evidenced by a speech he delivered earlier this month in Warsaw, Poland.
“The authoritarian regime in Tehran represses the freedom of speech and assembly, it persecutes religious minorities, brutalizes women, executes gay people, and openly advocates the destruction of the State of Israel,” Pence said. “The Ayatollah Khamenei himself has said, ‘It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map.’”
Pence’s support for an initiative to decriminalize homosexuality stands in contrast to his long anti-LGBT record as both a U.S. House member and Indiana governor.
As a U.S. House member, Pence voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
As Indiana governor, Pence signed into law a “religious freedom” measure widely criticized for allowing individuals and businesses to refuse service to LGBT people. . . . . After an outcry from LGBT rights supporters and the business community, Pence was forced to sign a “fix” limiting the ability to discriminate under the Indiana law.
All in all, I remain a major skeptic about this alleged effort to decriminalize homosexuality across the globe.  I'd love to see it happen, but this effort is diametrically opposite of everything Trump and Pence have done over the past. 

More Wednesday Male Beauty

The Catholic Church's Continued Viciousness and Hypocrisy

As most readers know, I was raised Catholic and it took years of therapy to undo the psychological damage that a Catholic upbringing did to me. Thankfully, the media is finally publicizing the hypocrisy and moral cesspool that is the Church hierarchy with stories that expose things ranging from the sexual abuse of nuns by priest, special policies for priests who father children, to the global cover up of an immense sexual abuse problem that has targeted children and youths likely for seven decades, if not centuries.   A recent piece in the New York Times looked at the plight of gay priests and the hypocrisy of their treatment by the Church hierarchy.  One can perhaps find little sympathy for them given that one can argue that they knew what they were getting into, yet the mental and emotional anguish they describe in many ways describes what everyday LGBT people unfortunate to be born into the Church experience.  The fear of discovery, self-loathing, and fear of rejection are only too real and can be soul killing.  What is perhaps more instructive to the masses of the Church laity about the moral bankruptcy of the Church leadership is the viciousness that the Church directs towards non-clergy individuals who rightly or wrongly worked for the Church's institutions to help others.  A column in the New York Times looks at the witch hunt for LGBT Catholics within the Church.  Here are excerpts:
Pat Fitzgerald, 67, has long loved being a Catholic, and the part he loved maybe most of all, for the past quarter-century, was his role as a spiritual mentor at retreats for students at a church-affiliated high school in Indianapolis, where he lives.
But he has been told that he’s not wanted anymore. His crime? He publicly supported his daughter, a guidance counselor at the school, after its administrators moved to get rid of her because she’s married to a woman.
The school’s treatment of Shelly Fitzgerald, 45, was a big local story last summer that went national; she ended up on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in September. It was one of many examples of Catholic institutions deciding almost whimsically to exile longtime employees — not priests or nuns but coaches, teachers, counselors — who had long been known to be gay but were suddenly regarded as liabilities.
That’s what happened to Shelly Fitzgerald, and her 14 years of fine work at Roncalli High School no longer mattered. Only her 2015 marriage to her longtime partner did. She was told that she could stay on if she dissolved the union. She said no thanks and was kicked off school grounds in August.
 The aftershocks still complicate the lives — and faith — of people around her: her students, their parents, her dad.
 But there’s no peace for the Catholic Church here. It’s too mired in its own hypocrisy. The tension between its official teaching and unofficial practice — between the ignorance of the past and the illumination of the present — grows tauter all the time.
Most Catholics support same-sex marriage, in defiance of the church’s formal position, and many parishes fully welcome L.G.B.T. people. Yet there are places, and times, when the hammer comes down.
Church leaders know full well that the priesthood would be decimated if closeted gay men were exposed and expelled. Yet the church as a matter of policy bars men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” and considers gay people “objectively disordered.”
Catholics are supposed to show compassion. Yet Shelly and her dad were shown anything but.
There is, by many accounts, profound anger and hurt at Roncalli. As it happens, Shelly was one of two directors of counseling there; the other, Lynn Starkey, 62, is in a same-sex civil union and in November filed her own charge of discrimination with the E.E.O.C., claiming a “hostile work environment” in the aftermath of Shelly’s departure. For now she remains on the job.
Many students started an L.G.B.T. advocacy group, Shelly’s Voice, that also attracted parents and other adults in the community. A related Facebook page, Time to Be a Rebel, has more than 4,500 members.
But one parent told me that students who question Shelly’s dismissal fear repercussions. “Seniors are being told that if they speak out, they take the chance of not being able to graduate,” the parent, who spoke with me on condition of anonymity, said.
 [A] small cluster of Roncalli students were invited last month to a lunch with Archbishop Charles C. Thompson of Indianapolis, only to have him stress that homosexuality is a disorder and its expression sinful. One student called it an ambush.
 Shelly pointed out that the Catholic Church isn’t generally going after teachers who flout its rules by using birth control or divorcing or having sexual relations outside marriage. “They’re going after L.G.B.T. people,” she said. “They’re going to die on this hill.”
And they’re going to hurt people — like Shawn Aldrich, who attended Roncalli, just as his parents and his wife and her parents did. He has two children there now. What has happened to Shelly astounds him.
He and his wife plan to end their family tradition. They won’t send their third child, now in seventh grade, to Roncalli. “And that breaks our hearts,” he said. “That absolutely breaks our hearts.”
Shawn Aldrich has made the only decision that perhaps over time will force change and the end of rank hypocrisy within the Church leadership: walking away.  If enough decent and moral Catholics walk away, schools such as Roncalli will close as will parishes and the toxic hierarchy will have to decide between allowing the Church to wither away (at least outside of ignorant and uneducated parts of the world) or leaving its 12th century dogma.  For me, walking away was one of the most positive things I have ever done. 

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Trump’s Plan to Decriminalize Homosexuality May be a Charade

The Trump/Pence regime is claiming that it is about to launch an initiative to push for decriminalization of homosexuality in the world's nations where being gay remains a crime, often punishable by imprisonment or death. Given (i) Trump's record of lying and not fulfilling promises, (ii) the regime's abysmal record on LGBT issues and Trump's promises to LGBT hating Christofascists and evangelicals, and (iii) Mike Pence's (and "Mother's") own open animus towards gays, it is hard to put much trust in the alleged initiative. Moreover, the effort appears targeted towards Iran in particular and may be a hard, if not impossible, sell to Trump's malignant buddies in Saudi Arabia, another nation where gays face the death penalty. Even further doubt stems from the seeming lack of organization in the effort which will need to encompass Africa, the Middle East and much of the Caribbean.  A piece in Out Magazine makes the case why Trump's initiative may be a charade aimed at rallying European nations to act against Iran.  Perhaps I am too cynical, but I doubt it, especially since many in Trump's evangelical base are deeply involved in whipping up anti-gay hatred in Africa and continue to push back against gay rights in the USA. Here are article highlights: 
The Trump administration [allegedly] is set to launch a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality in dozens of nations where anti-gay laws are still on the books, NBC News reported Monday. While on its surface, the move looks like an atypically benevolent decision by the Trump administration, the details of the campaign belie a different story. Rather than actually being about helping queer people around the world, the campaign looks more like another instance of the right using queer people as a pawn to amass power and enact its own agenda.
It almost goes without saying but the Trump administration does not have a great human rights record at home when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues. Advocacy group GLAAD has kept a record of the many times the administration has harmed LGBTQ+ people, from its transgender military ban to the reversal of plans to include LGBTQ people on the 2020 US census. And prior to his ill-conceived plan to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Trump’s administration had an abysmal record on addressing the virus.  
The most telling detail of NBC News’ report is that his plan centers homophobic violence in Iran, who NBC News calls the administration’s “top geopolitical foe.” The plan has reportedly been spearheaded by the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who is also the administration’s top-ranked gay official, in response to news that a young gay man was hanged in Iran recently. Grenell has had his eyes on Iran for some time and just a week ago, he was trying to get several European nations to pass sanctions on Iran, unrelated to the country’s stance on homosexuality, to no avail.  
Homosexuality has been illegal in Iran since the theocratic 1979 Islamic Revolution. By at least one Guardian account, since the exit of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2013, enforcement of anti-gay laws has softened somewhat. Homosexuality, according to the writer, is an “open secret” and most queer people fear homophobic reaction from fellow citizens more than the authorities.
Grennell’s sudden interest in Iran’s anti-gay laws is strikingly similar to Trump’s rhetoric after the 2016 Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida. After the deadly shooting, Trump used the 49 deaths as a way to galvanize support for an anti-Muslim agenda rather than find a way to support LGBTQ+ people. In pushing for immigration restrictions and a Muslim ban, Trump argued, he was the true pro-LGBTQ+ candidate. Rather than honor those who died, Trump used the tragedy as a way to stoke fear among the American people, and Grennell is taking similar actions with Iran — trying to reach an economic goal by painting the administration’s opponent as anti-gay.
“We know Trump is very focused on Iran and is looking for ways to demonize it in the public opinion and this is one area where you know the US and European countries see eye to eye on Iran,” Josh Lederman, who reported the original NBC News story, told Out in a phone interview. “So it makes for them to focus strategically on that rather than sanctions, where there’s been a big gulf between the U.S. and its allies.”
The truth is, this is part of an old colonialist handbook. In her essay, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” postcolonial theorist Gayatri Spivak coined the term “White men saving brown women from brown men” to describe the racist, paternalistic process by which colonizing powers would decry the way men in power treated oppressed groups, like women, to justify attacking them. Spivak was referencing the British colonial agenda in India. But Grennell’s attack might be a case of white men trying to save brown gay men from brown straight men, to the same end.
Lederman says that the sentiment on the ground is that the initiative is “very much a work in progress” and that they made the announcement while “there’s still a lot of strategy being worked out.” However, Lederman did confirm that as of right now, activists from countries in the regions being discussed — from Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean — are not currently being brought to the discussion table.
Though plans may or may not exist to invite local LGBTQ+ advocacy groups to the table, that they are not there at the plan’s inception is dangerous. Inviting European activists to solve problems in the Middle East, African or the Caribbean — which, once again, are not monolithic in the slightest — is a toothless effort, more PR than progressive.
Again, I'd like to be wrong, but I predict that I will not be wrong. As with rebuilding America's infrastructure and addressing the opiod crisis, Trump makes promises but never keeps them.  Indeed, the only promises he has consistently kept has been to Christofascist extremist who want homosexuality re-criminalized right here in America,  I cannot believe these folks support the alleged decriminalization plan, particularly in Africa where they have invested large sums to push anti-gay laws.  

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Alabama Newspaper Editor Wants to Bring Back Lynching

Alabama is one of the states where Donald Trump is the most popular.  Therefore, it should be no surprise that one small Alabama newspaper in Linden, Alabama (I actually drove through this town years ago when traveling from Mobile to Tuscaloosa for law firm business) in that state's "Black Belt," has run an editorial urging for the return of lynchings and the night riders of the KKK.  It speaks to (i) the deep seated racism that still persists, especially in rural areas of the South, and (ii) the manor in which Trump has given open racists the nod to spew their hatred in public.  Perhaps Alabama has always remained racist, but at least 40 years ago when I lived in that state, people at least put a veneer of decency over their true selves.  Now, Trump has made open racism acceptable - at least among his toxic base.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at the batshitery that now passes as journalism in rural Alabama.  Here are excerpts:
Goodloe Sutton is back in the news again — this time because he recently called for mass lynchings and suggested that the Ku Klux Klan should return to “clean out” Washington.
“Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again,” began a Feb. 14 editorial in the paper [the Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden, Alabama], which went on to claim that Democrats, along with some Republicans, were planning to raise taxes in Alabama. It concluded, “Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there.”
Sutton, who is also the paper’s publisher, could not immediately be reached for comment. He told the Montgomery Advertiser on Monday that he had written the editorial, which ran without a byline, and stood by it.
“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off,” he told the paper, explaining, “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”
During the same conversation, Sutton argued that the KKK “didn’t kill but a few people” and “wasn’t violent until they needed to be,” the Advertiser reported on Monday. He further suggested that the Klan, a white supremacist hate group, was comparable to the NAACP. Sutton also added that people could call him, write him a letter or boycott the paper if they disagreed with his views.
When the Advertiser’s Melissa Brown asked him whether it was appropriate for a newspaper publisher to suggest that Americans should be lynched, Sutton replied, “It’s not calling for the lynchings of Americans. These are socialist-communists we’re talking about. Do you know what socialism and communism is?”
The editorial — which, like the rest of the paper, was not published online — first started getting attention on Monday afternoon when two student-journalists at Auburn University posted photographs on Twitter. On Monday night, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who prosecuted two members of the Klan for their role in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four young girls, called the editorial “disgusting” and demanded Sutton’s immediate resignation. “I have seen what happens when we stand by while people-especially those with influence- publish racist, hateful views,” he wrote.
Echoing the call for Sutton’s resignation was Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.), who wrote, “For the millions of people of color who have been terrorized by white supremacy, this kind of ‘editorializing’ about lynching is not a joke — it is a threat."
When Sutton’s comments on the Klan began getting attention on Monday, longtime readers pointed out that it wasn’t the first time that the paper’s editorial page had endorsed extreme or openly racist views. In May 2015, an editorial stated that the mayor of a city “up north” had “displayed her African heritage by not enforcing civilized law.” Another, published in June of that year, called for drug dealers, kidnappers, rapists, thieves, and murderers to be hung “on the courthouse lawn where the public can watch.”
 Barack Obama was described by the paper as a “Kenyan orphan president” who was elected because Americans thought “it would be cool to have a colored man” in the White House. Later, amid the national controversy over football players kneeling during the national anthem, the Democrat-Reporter declared, “That’s what black folks were taught to do two hundred years ago, kneel before a white man.”
Since the editorials are run without a byline, it’s unclear which, if any, were written by Sutton. Archived editions of the Democrat-Reporter from 2012 to 2017 indicate that he was responsible for overseeing editorial content, and that the paper’s two or three other staff members were in charge of tasks like layout and production. A since-deleted post on a journalism forum indicates that as recently as December, Sutton had been trying to sell the paper, which he inherited from his father in the 1980s.
To some local lawmakers, the news that the Democrat-Reporter’s publisher was wishing for the return of the most notorious hate group in American history came as no surprise.
"That kind of ignorance is the reason I don’t even subscribe to the paper,” A.J. McCampbell, a Democratic state representative, told
This kind of explicit racism will do nothing to aid progressives in Alabama in their efforts to attract new and innovative businesses and drag the state out of  the 1950's that is so pervasive in rural parts of the state.  Frighteningly, the same mindset is alive and well in rural areas of Virginia, especially Southwest Virginia.