Exclusive: Senior Trump Aide Forged Key Ties To Anti-Semitic Groups In Hungary

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/news/national/364085/sebastian-gorka-trump-aide-forged-key-ties-to-anti-semitic-groups-in-hunga/

When photographs recently emerged showing Sebastian Gorka, President Donald Trump’s high-profile deputy assistant, wearing a medal associated with the Nazi collaborationist regime that ruled Hungary during World War II, the controversial security strategist was unapologetic.

“I’m a proud American now and I wear that medal now and again,” Gorka told Breitbart News. Gorka, 46, who was born in Britain to Hungarian parents and is now an American citizen, asked rhetorically, “Why? To remind myself of where I came from, what my parents suffered under both the Nazis and the Communists, and to help me in my work today.”

But an investigation by the Forward into Gorka’s activities from 2002 to 2007, while he was active in Hungarian politics and journalism, found that he had close ties then to Hungarian far-right circles, and has in the past chosen to work with openly racist and anti-Semitic groups and public figures.

Gorka’s involvement with the far right includes co-founding a political party with former prominent members of Jobbik, a political party with a well-known history of anti-Semitism; repeatedly publishing articles in a newspaper known for its anti-Semitic and racist content; and attending events with some of Hungary’s most notorious extreme-right figures.

When Gorka was asked — in an email exchange with the Forward — about the anti-Semitic records of some of the groups and individuals he has worked with, he instead pivoted to talk about his family’s history.

“My parents, as children, lived through the nightmare of WWII and the horrors of the Nyilas puppet fascist regime,” he said, referring to the Arrow Cross regime that took over Hungary near the very end of World War II and murdered thousands of Jews.

 In the United States, Gorka, who was appointed deputy assistant to the president on January 20, is known as a television commentator, a professor and an “alt-right” writer who describes himself as a counterterrorism expert. A close associate of Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, Gorka is now part of Bannon’s key in-house White House think tank, the Strategic Initiatives Group.
The newly formed group consists of figures close to Trump and is seen by some as a rival to the National Security Council in formulating policies for the president.

President Trump Breaks a Promise on Transgender Rights

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/opinion/president-trump-breaks-a-promise-on-transgender-rights.html?ref=opinion

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump broke with Republican Party orthodoxy by vowing to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans from violence and oppression. Soon after taking office, President Trump announced that he intended to continue enforcing an executive order his predecessor issued to protect L.G.B.T. people from workplace discrimination.

“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the L.G.B.T.Q. community,” the White House said in a statement on Jan. 31. Then along came Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

During his first week in office, Mr. Sessions halted the Justice Department’s efforts to defend in court the legality of the Obama administration’s guidance to school districts on how to provide a safe and inclusive environment for transgender students. A key part of that guidance advised school officials to allow transgender students to use restrooms based on their gender identity.

This week, Mr. Sessions and the Department of Education rescinded the guidance entirely. His baffling rationale was that it added to the confusion around an issue that has prompted spirited debates and legal fights around the country.

In fact, it did the opposite. Next month, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who has been fighting his Virginia school district for the right to use the boys’ restroom on campus. Under the Obama administration, the Department of Justice took the position that existing federal law already confers that right. Mr. Sessions has reversed the government’s course.

Of all the matters of consequence before the new attorney general, it is curious that Mr. Sessions made repealing this guidance, and abandoning its defense, priorities. He clashed earlier in the week with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who reportedly felt uneasy about rescinding the guidelines, a move that will make students vulnerable. After the two made their case to the president, Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general.

This is unsurprising. Mr. Trump has demonstrated time and again that his stated personal convictions are malleable. A genuine champion of gay and transgender rights would have steered clear of politicians like Mr. Sessions and Vice President Mike Pence, who have gone to great lengths to vilify and oppress gay and transgender Americans.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/opinion/president-trump-breaks-a-promise-on-transgender-rights.html?ref=opinion

Hey! Transgender Kids

Liberal Redneck – Trump and Trans

Yes, liberals are planning town hall protests. It’s called democracy

From  The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/23/town-hall-protests-donald-trump-angry-crowds

Donald Trump sneered at ‘angry crowds’ holding politicians to account. That’s exactly what we’re doing – and we’re only just getting started


Feb. 23, 2017

Americans are flooding into town halls across the country. Fearful that their country is being torn apart, they are turning out to protest their representatives in record numbers. Clearly, the furious crowds have gotten under Donald Trump’s skin. In a sneering tweet, the president dismissed the “so-called angry crowds” at town hall events as “planned by liberal activists.” We’ll take that as a compliment.

More than two dozen progressive activist groups are using ResistanceRecess.com, a site posted just last week by MoveOn.org, to search among more than 500 local congressional events around the country. Anyone can RSVP for an event and get a reminder email. So yes, that’s evidence of planning – apparently more planning than goes into a typical executive order issued by this White House.

But here’s the thing: the crowds are unmistakably real, and the anger runs deep.

Many of those showing up at town hall events have never done anything like that in their lives. Just like the participants in the millions-strong Women’s March and the spontaneous airport protests, the people filling these town hall events are acting with moral urgency – and with a deeply responsible sense of civic duty. Now it’s up to members of Congress to decide how to respond.

They can listen to their constituents, do their jobs and pull the country back from the precipice that Trump seems so determined to drive it off of. Or they can fail to heed the voices of their own voters – and face the consequences at the ballot box.

But one thing’s for sure: even after Congress returns from recess, the resistance isn’t going anywhere. We voters are watching.

The intensity at the town halls is so high that more than 200 elected officials have reportedly abandoned public forums in February entirely. But they’re in for the worst of it. Where politicians are cowering in fear of their constituents, citizens are forging ahead with town hall events of their own – with an empty seat at the front reserved for their member of Congress.

If their invited representatives don’t show up, the absence will speak volumes to the local news cameras and Facebook Live feeds streaming from their constituents’ mobile phones. And to make sure nobody forgets that their officials have gone AWOL, they’re buying local newspaper ads calling them out and plastering milk cartons with “MISSING” stickers in their local supermarkets.

Resistance Recess is blowing the Republicans’ momentum out to sea. But it’s not just Republicans facing energized crowds. In blue states and congressional districts, citizens are thronging to public events as well, demanding full-throated, no-fear resistance from Democratic lawmakers.

Their message: when fundamental principles, and our very constitution, is at stake, there is no room for compromise. Democrats who get the message and pledge to fight are greeted by cheers. Those who still haven’t realized that these aren’t normal times – and that their role now is to resist, not appease – are engulfed by fierce chanting: “Do your job!”

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/23/town-hall-protests-donald-trump-angry-crowds

Trump Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/us/politics/devos-sessions-transgender-students-rights.html

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind.

In a joint letter, the top civil rights officials from the Justice Department and the Education Department rejected the Obama administration’s position that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.

That directive, they said, was improperly and arbitrarily devised, “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

The question of how to address the “bathroom debate,” as it has become known, opened a rift inside the Trump administration, pitting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Mr. Sessions, who had been expected to move quickly to roll back the civil rights expansions put in place under his Democratic predecessors, wanted to act decisively because of two pending court cases that could have upheld the protections and pushed the government into further litigation.

But Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off and told Mr. Trump that she was uncomfortable because of the potential harm that rescinding the protections could cause transgender students, according to three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions.

Mr. Sessions, who has opposed expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, pushed Ms. DeVos to relent. After getting nowhere, he took his objections to the White House because he could not go forward without her consent. Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general, the Republicans said, and told Ms. DeVos in a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he wanted her to drop her opposition. And Ms. DeVos, faced with the alternative of resigning or defying the president, agreed to go along.

Ms. DeVos’s unease was evident in a strongly worded statement she released on Wednesday night, in which she said she considered it a “moral obligation” for every school in America to protect all students from discrimination, bullying and harassment.

She said she had directed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate all claims of such treatment “against those who are most vulnerable in our schools,” but also argued that bathroom access was not a federal matter.

Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/us/politics/devos-sessions-transgender-students-rights.html

Milo and the Moral Corruption of the Conservative Movement

From The American Prospect:  http://prospect.org/article/milo-and-moral-corruption-conservative-movement

He may not be an ideological conservative, but the movement created him. Now it must own him and the hatred he spews.

Since the early days of its ascendance in the Republican Party, the conservative movement’s leaders have advanced their cause on two major claims that have shaped conservatism’s identity: moral rectitude and love of the Constitution. As it turns out, that was quite a sell job.

The hatred espoused by Trump and the cretins he’s defended, such as Breitbart News phenomenon Milo Yiannopoulos, initially found its voice, often in more polite language, in the conservative movement. Milo and the Donald may not be ideological conservatives, but they are nonetheless creations of the conservative movement. As I’ve noted before, these are players savvy enough to understand that conservatism never was fueled by ideology; it was always fueled by contempt for everyone other than non-Jewish white men.

Take the recent flap over the scheduled appearance of Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos to keynote the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which will take place later this week at a resort near Washington, D.C. After consternation reached a fever pitch over a video, long available online, showing Yiannopoulos saying that sex between men and pubescent boys could be a good thing for the boys, CPAC rescinded its invitation to the right’s favorite bad boy.

But CPAC’s addition of Yiannopoulos to its schedule came the day after an appearance on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, in which the self-styled flamboyant bomb-thrower revealed his hatred toward everybody but white men. It wasn’t until video went viral on Monday from an appearance last year on a radio show called The Drunken Peasants, in which Yiannopoulos made his now-infamous pedophilia endorsement—courtesy of a tweet from a right-wing outfit called the Reagan Batallion—that CPAC rescinded its invitation.

Responding via his personal account on Twitter, Brendan Karet of Media Matters for America, put it succinctly:

Continue reading at:  http://prospect.org/article/milo-and-moral-corruption-conservative-movement