Gay Pride parades and festivals - hundreds of which occur around the country and the world in June and July - are rapidly upon us. This year a a mega-Pride is also planned, the Equality March, as gay anti-Trump activists around the country are planning a "million gay" anti-Trump march on Washington, D.C., to occur on June 11 when D.C. holds its own local Pride Festival. Such a gay march on Washington has not occurred since 2000, when there was a "Millennium March," and before that in 1993, when at least 300,000 gays did so march, addressed by David Mixner and other gay friends and appointees of President Bill Clinton and his administration. Those of us who were there will remember that streets in the then D.C. gayborhood, Dupont Circle, and the areas in downtown D.C. between Dupont and the National Mall, were impassable to vehicular traffic, including public bus service, as out of town Pride celebrants took over the streets on a sparkling, sunny day with temperatures in the mid-70s.
Gay Pride festivals and marches are usually fairly free speech, or more accurately, free expression, zones. Near nudity is common - or in San Francisco, actual nudity. In somewhat more "conservative" D.C., I was watching the parade one year with an A-list, "power lesbian" acquaintance, a trade lobbyist who sits on the board of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. (Donna Brazille was standing beside me a few months later at my friend's going away party, before she moved to California). My bright, somewhat free market-oriented, lesbian friend, and her two bright and beautiful kids, actual offspring of a donor at the famous Nobel Laureate sperm bank, watched the parade together. A woman marching in the parade beside a float was dressed as a purple caterpillar, complete with the deely bopper insect antennae novelty item popular a few years ago. I kept watching this caterpillar woman without thinking about it, finally realizing that I was trying to ascertain not just what a caterpillar had to do with the Pride march, but how her costume was constructed. Once I focused on her I realized it was not exactly the costume I had imagined. She was wearing purple deely boppers, purple body paint, a purple thong, and purple flip flops. What I had taken to be a caterpillar costume were rolls of fat and sagging breasts, naked, except for the purple body paint. I hoped the children did not notice, and luckily, I think they did not. Her painted flab was its own camoflauge.
In D.C. the gay Pride parade is one weekend day and the gay Pride festival - with music, speakers, food vendors, and outdoor booths and exhibits, is the next. The groups represented by booths include Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and gays from pretty much every religious group, and anti-religious group, you can imagine. I'm not sure that a viewpoint has ever been "rejected" at D.C. Pride (where a booth sets any group back $400 and up), though gay 2nd Amendment advocates and gay libertarians were banned in 2015 from the Olympia, Washington festival.
That is, until this year. Capitol Pride, the group that runs the D.C. Pride festival has banned a volunteer. Because of something he wrote at the conservative website RedState, Bryan Pruitt was asked to resign as a volunteer, Pruitt's offensive thoughts? He suggested in his prescient May 2016 article that Hillary and the Democrats would lose the election because the Democratic Party and the Obama Justice Department were intent on a range of allegedly "pro-LGBT" policies from bankrupting businesses that did not want to participate in gay weddings to forcing schools and other institutions to outlaw single sex facilities by giving students the right to use any locker room, shower, or bathroom they feel is appropriate to their wished-for gender. Some transsexual "queer people of color" demanded that Pruitt be banned from Pride, or at least from doing any volunteer work on it.
Rush Limbaugh was the first person (outside of the libertarian or conservative gay communities, anyway) to observe that so much of the "gay agenda" has been achieved, with gay marriage legal and gays serving in the military (the D.C. Pride festival features several booths run by gay CIA and FBI agents), that the gay political class and its lucrative fundraising engine has little reason to exist anymore. For the past year they could function as a component of the Hillary for President campaign. But for the long haul they need to find a new cause around which they can legislate, litigate, and above all, raise funds. For now, transsexuals are the answer.
No one wants transsexuals (or anyone else) to be bullied or to have their rights abrogated. But neither they, nor we gays, nor anyone else, has the right to be approved of and celebrated by everyone we meet. And transsexuals and gays don't actually have that much in common - beyond being "sexual minorities." Gay men (and maybe even lesbians) have always rather...enjoyed...single sex showers and locker rooms. And some lesbians worry that a government funded therapeutic state is now snatching up young sporty girls who were probably going to grow up to be lesbians and instead indoctrinating them with the idea that they are males trapped in female bodies, needing hormonal and surgical interventions the therapeutic state will be happy to provide - and in the process creating more tax funded jobs for Democrats with approved views about gender. Because the alternative would be school choice, where parents of a bullied child could send their little girl to an all girl's school, perhaps for athletic girls, or their little boy to an artsy school for future theater majors, where they would not come home with black eyes and suicidal thoughts, and magically no one would have to be lectured about correct thinking about sexuality. But this solution would reduce union dues to the National Education Association and thus NEA donations to Democrats.
The left has to hope it can achieve total hegemony before its nonsensical civil rights paradigm collapses. Lesbians, transgenders, and gays have only a limited amount in common, and often have competing interests, especially in winner-take-all statist systems, whether it is a gay law school professor suing to end women-only showings of Wonder Woman, or transgender "women" demanding access to the Michigan Women's Music Festival and other women-only events. It’s almost as nutty as the idea of “people of color,” where Asian-Americans, the wealthiest demographic groups (Indians having displaced Jews and Episcopalians some years ago), African-Americans, and Hispanic immigrants are lumped together as an “interest group.”
The current civil rights paradigm is papier mache virtue signaling, leaving African Americans in poverty and de facto segregated schools, while threatening to end any innovation from charter schools for inner city blacks and retirement communities for gays. But it does create jobs for - often white - middle and upper middle class lobbyists and bureaucrats. So the premise of the civil rights paradigm - that most Americans are guilty of racism etc. and so deserve to give up their freedom of association, their individual rights, and and their wealth, to an ever-expanding State in penance - must be defended by "liberals" at all cost.
The earlier Millennium March ended up the target of an FBI probe, as $750,000 collected in fees from participants disappeared. On occasion a journalist covering events for the gay press will note how often gay and AIDS events and organization end up in the red or with staffers being tried for embezzlement. It seems that the halo effect shields con artists from being perceived as such when they claim to be doing good works. So one must wonder about the "above board" members of the gay political class as well: Are they in it for the money, and is Rush correct that transsexuals are just the new produce they are selling?
And are the transsexuals and queer people of color actually offended by Mr. Pruitt's election predictions? Or are they just trying to silence other people's opinions? This year they have a list of "intersectional" demands, that "queer people of color" be given control of all gay pride events (whether they worked on them or raised funds for them or not), and that police (including the D.C. Gay and Lesbian police unit) and corporate funders like Wells Fargo bank be excluded.
There are already a growing number of separate gay pride events - black pride, latino pride, trans pride, youth pride - around the country. The people who want to take over D.C.'s annual gay pride parade and fuse it with an anti-Trump march don't want their own event. One fears they want to take over an event they didn't organize or fund, ban people who disagree with any part of their agenda, and hector (or re-educate) those who still attend.
One could easily think this is just the latest example of the Democratic Party serpent eating its own tail, as when the establishment "progressives who get things done" Clintonworld Democratic establishment alienated the left of their party by rigging the primaries against socialist Bernie Sanders.
But the queer Trotskyists of color actually have their fingers on a real issue. The gay political class, from Hillary Rosen on down, does consist of members and flunkies of the Democratic Party establishment, and they do "rig" the gay community and its political activities. For years I've videoed the D.C. Pride March and published it on YouTube. The parade line up is always the same: first is whomever is Mayor, perpetual Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton tottering on arthritic hips that should have been term limited into a recliner, and members of the City Council; second are corporate sponsors and bar floats with semi-naked boys, dancing, wearing only body oil, sunglasses, glitter, and speedos; shunted to the rear are Asian transvestites and transsexuals and black gay Baptists.
In the past I've asked about this and I was told by Capitol Pride organizers and volunteers that it had to be that way. If Congresswoman Norton etc. are not allowed to be first, they won't show up. The gay establishment has struck back against its critics. Rick Rosendall, a leader of a small, but politically connected, group in D.C., the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (full disclosure: Mr. Rosendall and I are frenemies; in the 80s I was a member of GLAA; and some years ago I received a bad rating from them when I ran for office as a Libertarian, even though I was the only gay candidate in my race, because of my "ideological distrust of government"), who is also a columnist for the gay Democratic Party establishment paper, the Washington Blade, writes: "...(T)he attack on D.C.’s Capital Pride by radicals whose insults are about as well-aimed as a drive-by shooting. Demands that Pride expel police and corporate sponsors, while extreme, are not the biggest problem the controversy reveals. In the name of queers, trans folk, and people of color, radicals employ an abusive tone that demands rather than engages. Even those who have long worked productively across lines of race, religion, and gender identity are treated as collaborators with the enemy if we object to unrepresentative zealots packing a meeting to take over a community-based organization."
Why have these "queer people of color" never spoken up before and advocated that the politically connected and powerful and those not so connected and empowered be randomly distributed in the Pride march? Is it because the cultural degeneration of the left into fascism, censorship, and victimology has simply reached their zenith? Or has the rise of new media (on the left) allowed actual leftists to realize how they've been played and duped by the Democratic Party establishment? Maybe both. Will the national anti-Trump Pride march fizzle as the intersectionality activists turn off the drunk naked boys and girls too poor to go to the beach in Provincetown or Rehoboth this coming weekend, who are the bulk of the sun worshippers who attend Capitol Pride? If they do manage to ban police from the event will we see Antifa style violence of the kind that was featured at earlier anti-Trump rallies in D.C.? Stay tuned.
Self-described "queer people of color" look hypocritical and like their goal is simply to silence political opinions.
For years - I've videotaped it in the past (
- the D.C. Pride march has the same pattern: first are local political incumbents from Evans to Norton to whomever is Mayor; second are corporate sponsors and bar floats with semi-naked boys; bringing up the rear are Asian transvestites and transsexuals and black gay church groups.
In the past I've asked about this and I was told by Pride organizers and volunteers that it had to be that way. If Eleanor Holmes Norton etc. are not allowed to be first, they won't show up.
Why have these "queer people of color" never spoken up before and advocated that the politically connected and powerful and those not so connected and empowered be randomly distributed in the Pride march?
One junior Congresswoman - a Democrat and Latina - California's Norma Torres, may be doing more to support Trump's campaign proposals to deport illegal immigrants than all the Obama appointed judges who have stayed President Trump's Executive Orders have done to undermine them.
But Congresswoman Torres is going to pick up his slack.
Torres asked the federal government to investigate a small but rapidly growing Virginia based company, Nexus, that facilitates bail bonding for people charged with crimes. Including people being detained because of their status as illegal immigrants or people who have overstayed their Visas.
Before Nexus, detained illegal immigrants had more difficulty posting bail than did American citizens. Bail bondsmen had no interest in taking a risk on them, since they often have no collateral and if deported back to their home countries would be beyond the reach of debt collection.
Nexus, or more specifically its division that provides legal and other services to illegal immigrants, Libre by Nexus, charges its clients over $400 a month. What they get for this is assistance in figuring out how to post their initial bail. Libre then also promises the court that it will monitor them by way of a GPS ankle bracelet, and make sure they find housing and employment. Libre has an interest in doing this since only if they are gainfully employed can they pay for the bundle of services including the ankle bracelet monitoring.
Congresswoman Torres thinks Nexus charges too much. There is of course an obvious solution to that - other companies could enter this market, helping illegal immigrants navigate our current immigration system, and charge them less and scoop up their clients. Nexus has grown rapidly in just a few years to a company making millions with thousands of clients. Which is probably why self-described "liberal" journalists at Mother Jones, BuzzFeed, and the Washington Post have attacked it.
Many of the new enterprises that have stepped in to provide services in the wake of failed government systems - ride sharing, charter schools, app based transportation - have slowly won over the millennial liberals who have moved back into cities in the past two decades. One often meets D.C. lawyers and lobbyists for left leaning causes who decry free market capitalism - except for their kid's charter school or their freedom to use Lyft. Washington City Paper dubbed these people Ubertarians. So far because of their own self-interest, the millennials are supporting the steady march of deregulation and choice in schools and taxis.
But until their lofts are dusty, their linens unwashed, and their Whole Food produce (even more) prohibitively costly, they may not care about what happens to illegal aliens. And the illegals don't vote. Or donate to Congresswomen's campaigns.
Congresswoman Torres, like almost every Democratic Congressperson, has among her major donors trade unions - whose carpenters and electricians and plumbers don't like competition from illegal immigrant labor - and government sector unions - who don't make money when an illegal immigrant is released from jail or prison to be monitored by an ankle bracelet. (Keeping a detained illegal in prison cost taxpayers $120 a day, sometimes for several years until they are deported; if a county jail picks up someone with a deportation order it can get up to $180 a day from federal coffers.)
A Washington Post reporter has written two rather one sided pieces on Nexus so far, and reportedly keeps calling their clients and others trying to get info for a third. Presumably this is motivated by his own off-the-shelf "liberalism" (and hopes of getting a journalism award) and not a Jeff Bezos scheme to enter the market and monitor illegal immigrants with drones while putting them to work in Amazon shipment centers as indentured servants.
Everything about the Nexus story violates someone's preconceptions and prejudices. Michael Donovan - a gay Unitarian pastor who in the past worked with prison populations after himself serving time for 6 felonies (the result, he says, of kiting two checks to cover a group of friends' hotel bills for a night, when he was in college) - reports that Libre gets over 60% of its clients out on bail when it goes with them to their initial deportation hearings. The other 30-40%? According to Donovan he can't help them because at their deportation hearing it turns out they have an arrest warrant for some other crime, including DUIs. But all through last year's election, American voters were constantly told that illegal immigrants were less likely to have committed a crime (other than being in the country illegally) than your average American.
Torres, like so many people in Congress (Schumer, Van Holland, ad nauseam) has no work experience outside of being in government, no knowledge of starting or growing a business. She was a government phone dispatcher before working her way up through local and state elective offices. So it's not surprising - though it does show a lack of imagination - that the Congresswoman thinks having government harass Nexus, thereby discouraging new competitors from entering this market, would make things better.
Currently illegal immigrants depend on immigration lawyers, one group of lawyers who can practice anywhere (including D.C., California, New York, Texas, Virginia) while passing the bar in any state, because all immigration law is federal law. Donovan claims that lawyers with criminal records and ethics violations are drawn to immigration law, since easy-bar states will allow them a law license, but they can then practice immigration law anywhere. He says traditional immigration lawyers outside of his network have been known to take tens of thousands of dollars up front from those detained immigrants who have it, then fail to represent them and allow them to be deported back to their home countries, with little practical recourse. His business model, he emphasizes, only makes money for Nexus if the immigrant stays in the country, gainfully employed, and without any criminal activity. (The Department of Homeland Security does maintain a web page for people to report fraud committed by immigration attorneys or people falsely claiming to be immigration attorneys.)
One might imagine a fellow entrepreneur like President Trump would be sympathetic to Mike Donavan, Libre by Nexus, and the illegal immigrants, under attack from liberal media and Democrats in Congress. But on this issue, probably not, given that enforcing immigration was Present Trump's signature campaign issue with his base. But perhaps someone else in the Trump family and administration might take up they cause? Ivanka? Jarrod?
Much coverage has been given to President Trump's insistence that NATO allies pay up and make good their long neglected commitments to fund their own defense, and to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders distress at having been called out. A similar calling to account of America's middle east allies seems to be in the offing.
A major conference held last week in Washington, D.C. seemed to signal a willingness to change the U.S. relationship with Qatar.
Qatar is a tiny petro-state with 300,000 Qataris - many from the same extended family - and a population of slightly over 2 million guest workers. A recent heavy investor in D.C. real estate, Qatar financed the City Center residential complex on the site of the old D.C. convention center, where Senator Claire McCaskill and former Attorney General Eric Holder purchased multi-million dollar condos, and where Kelly Anne Conway leased an apartment, while house shopping for a permanent residence. Yet most Americans barely know anything about Qatar - though the country and its wealthy, globe trotting, and politically active ruling class where the subject a couple of weeks ago of an episode of HBO's Veep, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus's character, former first female President Selina Meyer, having an affair with (and seeking funding for her foundation) from a wealthy Qatari.
Sponsored by the Hudson Institute and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, the invitation-only conference was heavily attended by officials from the Trump administration.
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other speakers noted that the U.S. could consider relocating its forces from the Al-Udeid Airbase in Qatar if the tiny emirate fails to keep its promises to end its financing of terrorism. The fate of Al-Udeid seemed to linger in the air throughout the conference. The United States has no irreplaceable bases, Secretary Gates made clear.
What was intriguing about the event was the bipartistan agreement of both Democrats and Republicans portraying Qatar as a duplicitous ally. Not quite Pakistan, but something close. And unlike Pakistan there are no nuclear weapons complicating the relationship. Ambassador Husain Haqqani, a former ambassador of Pakistan to the U.S., pointed out that the United States struggles diplomatically when dealing with countries where one part of the relationship is good and another part of the relationship is difficult.
Jake Sullivan, who resigned his position in the Obama administration to take the role of national security adviser to the Clinton Campaign was one of several Democrats to speak. Sullivan expressed genuine concern about Qatar’s behavior though his criticisms were more nuanced. Similarly Mary Beth Long, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, noted that Qatar needs to do more to work on terrorism. Long added a positive spin to her comments when she said that three of the last five individuals tied to terrorism financing in Qatar had been prosecuted. But under questioning she conceded that several of those convicted were only given house arrest.
House arrest for funding terror attacks on American soldiers, civilians, and our allies? As President Trump pointed out in Riyadh at least 95% of all victims of terrorism are Muslims.
By contrast consider the case of Mohammed al-Ajami. A Qatari poet who was arrested in 2011 on state security charges. At the time the Cairo University literature student was an obscure writer. He was charged with violating state security with a political poem he had written. Al-Ajami was charged with insulting Qatar's monarch - a crime that remains punishable in Qatar by death. He was given a life sentence and served nearly four years in prison before his release in March 2016. At least five months of his imprisonment were in solitary confinement.
If only Qatar was that tough on its terrorism financers.
Congressman Edward Royce (R-California) is preparing to introduce a bipartisan piece of legislation which will call out Qatar as a state-sponsor of terror due to its support for Hamas and other groups. So far he has 11 Congressmen and women from both parties ready to co-sponsor.
If it passes the hope is that in a future Qatar it won't just be poets behind bars in Doha.