It’s Time To Burn Bigotry

Just a short update before I delve into my main topic this morning …


Bye-bye DeJoy

In his testimony before Congress yesterday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy arrogantly said that he plans to stay in his current position, despite opposition, “… for a long time.  Get used to me.”  Well, we’ll just see about that, because on the same day that he so cockily said that, President Biden nominated three people to the USPS Board of Governors.  Those three – Ron Stroman, Anton Hajjar and Amber McReynolds – once confirmed by the Senate, would create a Democratic majority on the Board and DeJoy could easily be fired from his position.  Fingers crossed on that one, for while I don’t like to see anyone fired, this arrogant man has all but destroyed the U.S. Postal Service and has unabashedly spoken of his intent to further slow the mail and raise prices.  I shall dance on the day he is told to pack his bags!


Equality Act

The Equality Act has passed its first hurdle … it passed in the House yesterday with a vote of 224-206 and even three Republicans voted for it.  What is the Equality Act?  It is an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act to provide protections for LGBTQ individuals.  The bill would ban discrimination in various areas, including the workplace, housing and education, in addition to federally funded programs. The legislation also would expand the 1964 bill to cover public accommodations to include places like shopping malls, sports arenas, and even websites.  Pretty simple, right?  People should not be punished for being LGBT.  Period.  They are human beings just like me, just like you, and they deserve the same legal protections.

The Republicans in general, however, don’t quite see it that way.  With the exception of the three who crossed the aisle to vote for the bill, they are dead set against it.  Why?  Truth is because they are bigots, homophobes who would disown their own child if he/she told them he/she was gay.  They believe that the only people who deserve the best life has to offer are white, straight, Christian males.  But they have a remarkable excuse for their homophobia … they claim it takes away people’s religious freedom.  Yeah, really … go figure.

One portion of the Republican argument, as well as religious leaders’, is that the bill doesn’t limit “public accommodations” to exclude churches.  Religious leaders want to be able to forbid LGBT people in their churches.  Well, guess what, Mr. Bigot … I doubt any LGBT person would want to enter your “house of worship.”  Keep it filled with racists and homophobes …

Another part of the argument against the bill claims that giving equal rights to the LGBT community would “alter the country’s social fabric by blurring gender lines in women’s sports and other cultural practices.”  Bullshit!  I’ve never heard such a crappy excuse in my life!  Our society, our lives, and our culture are enhanced by the diversity, and any who cannot see that are culturally and socially blind.

The infamous Marjorie Taylor Greene crossed a line when she hung an anti-transgender sign outside her office, claiming “there are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE”.  Bad enough to say under any circumstances, but what made it even worse is that the office across the hall from hers is that of Representative Marie Newman, whose daughter is transgender.  Ms. Greene, as I have said on multiple occasions, does NOT belong in Congress.

One comment I saw to this story stirred my ire …

“This pieces [sic] of legislation is just another way for “the establishment” to keep us divided as a nation. All people are created equal, I certainly don’t need the DC establishment to pass legislation for me to understand this Fact.”

Seriously, buddy?  Don’t you think that if Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, and LGBT were all treated equally, we wouldn’t even have needed the Civil Rights Act?  Don’t you think that if everyone treated everyone equally, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation?  What keeps us divided is not that the government is trying to protect people from discrimination, but rather that there are bigots out there who would lynch a Black man, who would kill a transgender person on sight.  There are landlords who would refuse to rent housing to them, employers who would refuse them a job, and even businesses … oh, say like a bakery that specializes in wedding cakes … that would refuse them service!  Sadly, the bigots have to be forced to do the right thing and treat people right!  And they call themselves “Christians”.  Ask me again why I consider religion the source of most of what’s wrong in the world!

Next stop for the Equality Act is the Senate.  This same bill was passed by the House in 2019, but when it got to the Senate, Mitch McConnell refused to even bring it to the Senate floor, so there it died.  I think it will be different this time, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised that the legislation will get a floor vote “at exactly the right time.” But … it will need 10 Senate Republican votes in order to beat back a GOP filibuster.  Are there 10 Republicans in the Senate with any form of a conscience?  Apparently not, given the outcome of the impeachment trial.  DAMN the filibuster!  I have a brilliant idea … remember how many were calling to ‘defund the police’ last summer?  Let’s start a movement to ‘defund republicans in Congress’ until they start acting like adults!

I will be composing a letter to the republican senator for my own state in the next day or two … not that it will matter or change his mind, but … I have to try.

Two Thumbs Up For Supreme Court Today!

Score one … no wait, score two … for justice today!  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on two separate cases this morning that I’ve been watching.


The first is the case brought by District Attorney Cyrus Vance of New York, seeking access to eight years of Donald Trump’s financial and tax records.  This case has been tied up in the courts for years now, often hindered by U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, who served as Trump’s lapdog and protector.  But today, the Court denied the motion by Trump’s attorneys to keep his tax records hidden in a one-sentence order with no recorded dissents.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Music to the ears!  What this means is there are no further appeals and the accounting firm Mazar’s will turn over the subpoenaed tax records to Cyrus Vance’s office within a matter of days.  Last year, the New York Times obtained more than two decades of tax return data of Trump and his companies and published a series of articles about them.  Trump, the articles said, sustained significant losses, owes enormous debts that he is personally obligated to repay, has avoided paying federal income taxes in 11 of the 18 years the Times examined and paid just $750 in both 2016 and 2017.

The scope of Mr. Vance’s inquiry is not known. It arose partly from an investigation by his office into hush-money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump, relationships the president has denied. But court filings by prosecutors suggested that they are also investigating potential crimes like tax and insurance fraud.

Vance responded to the court decision with a three-word tweet: “The work continues.”


The second Supreme Court ruling that gets a thumbs-up is in what should be the next-to-last case challenging the 2020 election results.  This one sought to throw out a portion of the postal votes in the state of Pennsylvania, based on the fact that some were received and accepted in the three-day period after election day.  Never mind that this was Trump’s own fault, for placing Louis DeJoy in the position of Postmaster General with the sole goal of slowing the mail to a snail’s pace so that postal votes would be delayed.  The Court basically told Trump to sit down and shut up, and even Justices Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas acknowledged that the number of ballots received after Election Day would not have been enough to threaten President Biden’s victory margin over Trump.

The next and final case challenging election results will be heard on March 5th, challenging the use of ballot drop boxes in the state of Wisconsin.  I have no idea why these cases have not been dropped, for all claims of widespread voter fraud have been disproven time and time again over the past four months, and there is no case that would have changed the outcome of the election.  It’s a complete waste of both time and money when the Court has more important things to concern itself with.


And in upcoming legislation …

You may remember the Equality Act, a bill that would significantly expand LGBTQ protections.  The bill was passed by the House in 2019, but languished in the Senate where then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to even bring the bill to the floor.  Last week, Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island re-introduced the bill, which is expected to pass in the House, but may face an uphill battle in the Senate.

The bill, if passed and signed into law, would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to include LGBTQ Americans, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity for housing, education, employment and in other areas.  A no-brainer, right?  But … well, the congressional republicans claim it will interfere with religious freedom!

None other than Marjorie Taylor Greene, a freshman representative who has already stirred up trouble more than a few times since taking her oath of office last month, opposes the bill calling it “an attack on people of faith.”  BULLSHIT!  If “people of faith” are so bigoted that they would deny equal rights to people in the LGBT community, then I suggest they re-evaluate their ‘faith’.  Greene tweeted earlier today …

“Just to make myself clear, I WILL BE VOTING NO TO THE DISGUSTING, IMMORAL, AND EVIL #EqualityAct!!! It has nothing to do with stopping discrimination against the LGBT community, that could be done easily without this. It has everything to do with attacking God & believers.”

My own representative, Warren Davidson, made the same claim on Twitter just this morning.  Are all republicans homophobes, then?  Are they all bigots?  Perhaps they should have a big “B” tattooed on their foreheads, ala The Scarlet Letter.

If the Senate refuses to pass this one (it will require a 60-vote majority to avoid a filibuster), then I suggest that every single senator who votes against it be shown just what discrimination feels like.  Let them be denied service next time they go to a restaurant.  Let them be shunned in public.  Cross to the other side of the street to avoid them.  Give them just a taste of what it’s like to be discriminated against.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

It should be noted that members of Congress represent ALL the people in their district/state, not only straight, white, Christian males!

The Supreme Court Speaks … or Doesn’t

The Supreme Court made a number of decisions and non-decisions yesterday.  Let’s start with the good news first!


As I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does provide protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  About damn time!  It was a no-brainer to start with!  Nobody should be fired for anything other than poor job performance … not because of skin colour, religion or lack thereof, gender or gender identity, or any other superficial criteria.  But, in the United States of Bigotry, far too many people did not understand.

But one of the things that makes this decision by the Court so amazing is that Justice Gorsuch, a justice hand-picked by Trump, was on the side of right.  In fact, he wrote the majority opinion which in part reads …

“An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

So, who were the three Justices who thought otherwise, who are such homophobes that they cannot abide the idea of a gay person being treated fairly?  Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and predictably, Trump’s crybaby pick, Brett Kavanaugh. And what was their rationale?  I read parts of Justice Alito’s dissenting opinion, and found it to be rambling rubbish.  A few snippets …

“A more brazen abuse of our authority to interpret statutes is hard to recall. The court tries to convince readers that it is merely enforcing the terms of the statute, but that is preposterous.  After today’s decision, plaintiffs may claim that the failure to use their preferred pronoun violates one of the federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination.  For women who have been victimized by sexual assault or abuse, the experience of seeing an unclothed person with the anatomy of a male in a confined and sensitive location such as a bathroom or locker room can cause serious psychological harm.”

Bullshit!  It seems that a number of people in this nation share Alito’s, Thomas’, and Kavanaugh’s opinion and still haven’t awakened to the fact that LGBT people are … PEOPLE.  Human beings just like any other who have the right to an education, a job, and all the other rights and privileges enjoyed by others.  It’s not surprising to see which political party has the most homophobes …LGBT-caseAt any rate, this is justice as it should be, and for once, fairness won the day.


The Court sometimes speaks as loudly in the cases they don’t hear as the ones they do.  In three notable cases yesterday, such was the case.

The first notable case the Court decided against hearing was a compilation of nearly a dozen cases that gun rights groups claim violate their 2nd Amendment rights.  Among them were cases involving restrictions in Maryland and New Jersey to permits for carrying a handgun outside the home.  For now, at least, the restrictions put in place by the states are allowed to stand.  Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh, of course, disagreed, with Thomas saying …

“This Court would almost certainly review the constitutionality of a law requiring citizens to establish a justifiable need before exercising their free speech rights. And it seems highly unlikely that the Court would allow a State to enforce a law requiring a woman to provide a justifiable need before seeking an abortion.”

Sorry, Thomas … not a valid comparison.


Next, the Court declined to hear a case concerning a California state law that prohibited state authorities from assisting federal immigration agents (e.g., alerting the federal government when someone in custody was to be released or handing off an undocumented person to federal authorities). The Trump administration, in its never-ending hunt to harass and deport undocumented immigrants (regardless of the danger they pose to society and their roots in the community), sued.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed with the district court that the California law was constitutional.  Thus Trump’s lawyers took it to the Supreme Court, who has now refused to hear it.  Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito noted publicly that they would have granted the government’s petition, and I can only assume that Kavanaugh would have, also.  This is a win in that it leaves in place California’s law, which reaffirms that states cannot be dragooned into performing services for the federal government.


And now for the bad news …

The court declined to hear eight cases challenging the doctrine of qualified immunity, which acts to shield police and others acting from lawsuits.  It is this qualified immunity that has enabled so many officers to walk away without punishment after killing unarmed black men in situations that did not require the use of excess force.

In response to the Court’s decision not to hear the cases, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass, and Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Chair Steve Cohen released a statement reading, in part …

“Qualified immunity has repeatedly barred victims of police brutality from having their day in court, and it has been criticized by liberals and conservatives alike.

The Supreme Court’s failure to reconsider this flawed legal rule makes it all the more important for Congress to act. The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 does just that: it makes clear that qualified immunity cannot be used as a defense in civil rights suits against federal, state, or local law enforcement officers. It is long past time to remove this arbitrary and unlawful barrier and to ensure police are held accountable when they violate the constitutional rights of the people whom they are meant to serve.”

I fully agree … in my book, it was unconscionable for the Court to refuse to review these cases, where their review might have ruled that police are, in fact, accountable for their actions.


Well, there you have it … a summary of the most important cases, decisions and non-decisions of the Supreme Court yesterday.  The first, of course, is a huge win and should be celebrated.  I am pleased that Justice Neil Gorsuch took a stand on the side of right, as did Chief Justice Roberts.  I’m also pleased that the Court upheld California’s right to protect its immigrant population from draconian federal agencies directed by Trump.  I’m less pleased by the final non-decision, but given the current situation, the protests that have come as a result of decades of police brutality against people of colour, I think change is going to happen, despite the Supreme Court refusing to be the agent of that change.

21st Century … or Dark Ages???

“It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer … to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

— Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964

There has been considerable debate about whether Title VII extends protections against discrimination to the LGBT community, and at present, it varies by state and locality, despite the fact that the entire Civil Rights Act is a federal law.  At this time, only 21 states have outlawed discrimination against members of the LGBT community.  A bill, the Equality Act,  was introduced into the House of Representatives in March of this year by Representative David Cicilline. The bill has passed in the House and is now languishing in the Senate committee, but the odds of it becoming the law of the land seem slim at the moment, given the makeup of the current Senate, and the fact that Donald Trump spoke against it after right-wing religious organizations urged the White House to issue an opposition statement to the bill.

There are currently three cases on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court that will be heard on October 8th.  Briefly …

Zarda v Altitude Express:  Donald Zarda was fired from Altitude Express, where he worked as a skydiver. He informed a woman he was gay while they were strapped to each other because he thought it would make her feel more comfortable. She later informed his employer that she wasn’t happy with his sharing his being gay and he was subsequently fired. Zarda died in 2014 but his estate pursued the case.

Bostock v Clayton County:  Gerald Bostock, a child welfare services coordinator, was in a gay recreational softball league. He said his participation in the league and his sexual orientation became a problem with someone at work. Then he was fired for “conduct unbecoming of a county employee,” which he said was tied to his sexuality.

Harris Funeral Homes v EEOC:  Aimee Stephens, a trans woman, was fired from her job at a funeral parlor after she informed the funeral director she worked for that she was transgender. She had worked in funeral services for nearly 20 years and received positive feedback from her employer.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in all three cases on the same day, and according to Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney at Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization focused on LGBTQ people …

“This is a momentous occasion. It is a pivotal moment and the public should be paying attention.  These cases will affect the ability of LGBTQ people to be full members of society and to contribute to society by entering the workplace and be free of discrimination.”

Meanwhile, the United States Justice Department under Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General William Barr sent a brief to the Supreme Court two days ago stating that they should find in favour of the employer in the Harris Funeral Homes case, arguing that …

“In 1964, the ordinary public meaning of ‘sex’ was biological sex. It did not encompass transgender status. In the particular context of Title VII — legislation originally designed to eliminate employment discrimination against racial and other minorities — it was especially clear that the prohibition on discrimination because of ‘sex’ referred to unequal treatment of men and women in the workplace.”

Since when is it right and proper for the Department of Justice to tell the Supreme Court how to rule???  The Judiciary is an independent branch that is intended to be apolitical, not influenced by partisan politics.  However, the reality does not always match the intent.  Today, there are 5 justices who lean toward conservative opinions, 4 who are more liberal.  Chief Justice John Roberts is typically the more moderate of the conservative-leaning justices, often casting the deciding vote.  It is likely to come down to his single vote, and there are serious concerns, for he wrote a dissenting opinion in the 2014 case of Obergefell v Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage at the federal level.  And lately he has disappointed us a few times, such as his vote to give state lawmakers virtually unlimited authority to draw district lines (gerrymandering) once every 10 years, pick their voters and entrench their political power.

This is the 21st century, not the Dark Ages.  It is time we learn to accept people … ALL people … for who they are.  If the employers in these three cases are allowed to prevail, it will indeed be a dark day in the United States, and no doubt it will then be only a matter of time until we see cases coming before the court dealing with discrimination in housing, in education, in every aspect of life.  I’m convinced that it is only a matter of time until a case comes before the Supreme Court that challenges Obergefell v Hodges.  And then what?  If we strip the LGBT community of their rights, will we soon see cases attempting to strip African-Americans of their rights by challenging other aspects of the Civil Rights Act, or of the Voting Rights Act?

Keep your eyes on this one, folks, for how these three cases are decided will be the best indicator yet whether or not there is still “liberty and justice for all” in this nation.

One Year After Charlottesville …

One year ago today the nation watched … some in horror, some in glee … as the “Unite the Right” rally took place in Charlottesville, Virginia.  One year ago today … an event that took the life of a young paralegal, Heather Heyer, and left the nation reeling, finally understanding that we have not even begun to conquer racism.  One year ago today, the events of the day would ultimately lead us to realize beyond a shadow of a doubt that the president is a white supremacist, that he is a bigot and a racist.CharlottesvilleToday, there is the potential for a repeat performance, this time in the nation’s capital, only because the city of Charlottesville denied a permit to Jason Kessler, the organizer of last year’s horrible event, for a repeat performance.  It was only three days ago that the National Park approved a permit for up to 400 white supremacists to gather at Lafayette Square, directly across from the White House.  Perhaps Donald Trump will go out and mingle with them, even take them some refreshments.

As many as 1,500 counter-protestors are also expected to show up.  What could possibly go wrong?  Perhaps nothing, as DC police are better prepared than Charlottesville police were a year ago.  Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said, “We have people coming to our city for the sole purpose of spewing hate. It didn’t make sense last year, and it doesn’t make sense now.  While we are opposed adamantly to what we are going to hear, we know what our responsibility is — to protect First Amendment events, to protect Washingtonians and to protect our city.”  Let us hope they are able to do so.Charlottesville-3I really wanted to make this post a “look-how-far-we’ve-come-since-then” sort of post, pointing to lessons we have learned and actions that have been taken to stop such performances, to take violence out of the streets.  But as I reflect and ponder, I realize that not only have we not moved forward, but that we, as a nation, have actually regressed since that fateful day, 12 August 2017.  More than at any time since the 1960s, overt racism is a daily occurrence.  Police are called on African-Americans for  such things as parking on their own street, swimming in their community pool, barbecuing in the public park, and just doing their jobs, such as driving a bus or selling real estate.

Instead of looking at the events of Charlottesville and saying, “We must be better than this”, America listened to the words of Donald Trump a day or so after, when he claimed that some white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched that day were ‘very fine people’, and blamed the violence on both the radicals and those engaged in a mostly peaceful counter-protest, such as Heather Heyer, who was murdered by a white supremacist who intentionally drove his car into a crowd.  It was the legitimation, the validation that the radicals needed … it was the ‘green light’, the ‘go ahead’.

Under another administration, a more conscionable president, a more devoted Congress, it is likely that a commission would have been established, such as the Kerner Commission that was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots.  Not a word or a thought of such a commission has been heard from Washington.  Under a non-racist attorney general, racist incidents such as those I mentioned would be subject to scrutiny, guidelines established and communicated to police departments across the nation.  People who called the police because a black person was parking her vehicle on her own street, or walking in her own neighborhood, would be subject to prosecution for calling in a false alarm, or ‘crying wolf’.

The United States has a long history of racism. As recently as 1971, school districts were still trying to find ways to circumvent the 1954 Supreme Court ruling of Brown v Board of Education.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 put an end to segregation … at least legally.  Do you know the year of the last lynching in the U.S.?  1981 … just thirty-seven years ago.  Do you know when the anti-lynching bill was passed by Congress?  No?  Me neither, because it hasn’t been passed yet!  That’s right, folks … during the first half of the 20th century nearly 200 attempts to pass anti-lynching legislation failed to gain support from the Senate despite urging from seven sitting presidents.  In 2005 the Senate took up a rare resolution expressing remorse for never approving a law against lynching, but still no law.

In June, the only three African-American Senators introduced a bipartisan bill Friday to make lynching a federal crime.  Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Tim Scott drafted the legislation which defines the crime as “the willful act of murder by a collection of people assembled with the intention of committing an act of violence upon any person.” It also classifies lynching as a hate crime that would warrant enhanced sentences.  The odds of it passing?  Slim to none, in my opinion.  So far, other than Senator Tim Scott, no republicans are backing the bill.  That speaks volumes, folks.

Violent racism, not to mention other forms of bigotry such as against the LGBT community and immigrants, are becoming not only more prevalent, but more overt, more in-your-face. There is no longer any attempt to wear the mask of political correctness, for Donald Trump has told the nation to just ‘tell it like it is’, and that it’s okay to hate, it’s okay to discriminate.

So no, I cannot say that we have come a long way since the tragedy of Charlottesville one year ago today.  In fact, we have back-pedaled at a rate that should earn us naught but scorn from the rest of the world and from those of us in this nation who do not wish to return to the days of segregated schools and Jim Crow.  If there is violence in Washington today, it will not surprise me.  Two thumbs up to the city of Charlottesville for having the good sense to deny a permit to Jason Kessler and his band of thugs.  Starting a riot where people are injured and killed is not … NOT … a part of First Amendment free speech rights.  I can honestly say that I am ashamed of this nation, ashamed of our so-called leadership, and ashamed of the 40% of the people who support Donald Trump.  Those who can still support the ‘man’ who has encouraged the overt violent racism we see today … I’m sorry, but they are not ‘good people’ in my book.