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Gay for Pay – Washington’s gay political class still supports Hillary Clinton

7 Sep
A different version of this was published yesterday at Breitbart.

Back when she was avoiding voters and the press even more than she is now, Hillary was going to gay and lesbian fundraisers soliciting money – what else would a Clinton do? – from LGBT Democrats who are among her most loyal supporters.

These people aren’t just average gay people or even average gay Democrats who have been fear mongered into believing that any and every other candidate, especially the GOP candidates, will strip them of every legal right they’ve recently acquired.  (Even though those rights are clearly more due to independent changes in public opinion, or court cases won by libertarian-leaning Republicans like Ted Olson, and not to anything done by the Democratic Party, which primarily views gays, in GOProud founder Chris Barron’s coinage, as a GayTM, whose donations can replace or supplement those of Jewish Democrats, Wall Street Democrats, and other donor groups the DNC might begin to alienate.)  Instead, the gays and lesbians going to Hillary fundraisers include a high percentage of cronies and job seekers who hope to get some “Clinton cash,” to enhance their careers and incomes by being in or having access to, a Hillary administration.

A report by Chris Johnson, the national politics reporter for the gay paper of record, the Washington Blade, confirms this. “Clinton’s LGBT backers unfazed by email controversy,” reads the headline.  And just who are these backers?

Attorney Richard Socarides (60), would no doubt be easily fear mongered, as the traumatized child of the late anti-gay psychiatrist Charles Socarides.  But he also gets his bread buttered by the Clintons, in his case voluntarily.  He served for 6 years in Bill Clinton’s administration, in a variety of positions, then bounced around through law and PR firms and law schools, with occasional talking head gigs on MSNBC in the Bush and early Obama years. Hillary lackey David Brock hired him to run Equality Matters, a Soros funded gay auxiliary to the Media Matters smear machine, in 2011, though he only stayed there a year, during which time he, Brock, and Equality Matters were criticized by the gay community generally, as an attempt to duplicate the work of older gay groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, whose ideologies are identical but which are not under the direct control of the Clintons (or of George Soros). Socarides,  said Mrs. Clinton “has my enthusiastic support” despite the ongoing controversy. “This in spite of unprecedented attacks from Republicans in Congress, false reports in the media, and a barrage of negativity from our Republican opponents.  I am confident she will weather the storm and any others that may come her way and that she will not only be an effective leader for LGBT Americans but for all Americans.”

Lobbyist Hilary Rosen (56), was part of the pre-eminent lesbian power couple of the first Clinton administration, when she ran the Recording Industry Association of America, and her partner Elizabeth Birch, a former Apple computer lawyer, ran the Democratic lobbying group that herds gay voters, the Human Rights Campaign (which claims to be nonpartisan).  Rosen told the Blade: “I am confident that Hillary Clinton will be a strong general election candidate.  Elections are about choices. Every one of those GOP candidates has significant flaws — most important of which is that they would set back LGBT progress. I think everyone needs to stop all this handwringing.” During  the first Clinton administration Birch and Rosen rented a house from a CNN journalist on hidden Highland Place NW, the same super-exclusive Cleveland Park block where Greg Craig, the Clinton administration lawyer who sent Elian Gonzales back to Cuban slavery, still lives.

Rosen and Birch separated after adopting two children, and lived (Birch sold her million dollar  plus house overlooking the Potomac River just this May) in exclusive, adjacent, lily white DC neighborhoods along the Potomac River near the Maryland border, where their neighbors included members of the Democratic media elite like Jay Carney, Andrea Mitchell, David Gregory, and Tammy Haddad.  Rosen’s solution to having a $2 million home with a huge mortgage during the first years of the Obama administration was to start a lobbying group, that sold “memberships” to companies that needed access to Obama for $75,000 a pop, and then work for several other lobbying firms and companies, including British Petroleum during the Gulf oil spill.  Rosen has since been linked romantically with Randi Weingarten, head of the anti-education choice American Federation of Teachers.

Besides badly chosen remarks about Ann Romney, Rosen is best known for being “denied” by then White House Press Secretary Jay Carney for her constant buying of papal indulgences for her clients in the Obama White House, leading to the following Jimmy Kimmel satire:  One of [White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s] jobs is to keep track of all the Hilary Rosens. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this story […]Hilary Rosen is the woman who said Ann Romney never worked a day in her life, even though Mrs. Romney raised five kids. And of course, the administration tries to distance itself from those comments. They said she’s not an adviser to the Obama campaign, even though, as we later found out, her name appeared on the White House visitor log 35 times.

So when reporters ask Jay, why her name showed up 35 times, this is where it gets hilarious. He said, he wasn’t sure it was the same HilaryRosen. He said, I personally know three Hilary Rosens.
You personally know three Hilary Rosens? Where did all these Hilary Rosen come from? Did you pick them from the Hilary Rosen garden?

I’d bet you $10,000 you don’t know three Hilary Rosens, but I’m not running for president though.

What Kimmel probably doesn’t know is that Rosen and Carney live about a 9 minute walk apart, on the same street, on different sides of DC’s MacArthur Boulevard.  And Rosen often attends the same social events as Carney’s wife, ABC’s Claire Schipman.

Lobbyist Steve Elmendorf (55), a former Dick Gephart staffer and long-time Democratic (and Monsanto) lobbyist, board member of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund (a junior partner to the massive Human Right Campaign Fund), and a 2004 John Kerry campaign staffer.   Elmendorf told the Blade he had “no fear” for Hillary:  “She continues to beat every Republican she’s running against.  Her favorables are better than any Republican in the race. Her favorables are better than any Democrat in the race. I think this a long campaign … There will be good moments and bad moments..  I think this story’s [about secret emails] completely manufactured by the news media.  I think it’s ridiculous.”  Elmendorf. started out as a Mondale field operative after college in 1982 and now owns his own lobbying firm.  Even if he didn’t take a job in a Hillary administration, having access to it would be very lucrative.  A non-Democrat in the White House would shut him out and lead his clients to drop him. And Elmendorf has bills to pay, with a million and a half dollar condo in DC’s gay-gentrified Logan Circle and a vacation home in Lewes, Delaware.

Lawyer Elizabeth Birch (58), Rosen’s former partner, directed litigation worldwide for Apple, before running two de facto Democratic Party gay lobbying groups and then doing consulting and running Rosie O’Donnell’s production company.  Though still a Hillary Clinton supporter, Birch is simultaneously the one of these four gay Democratic bigwigs the Blade interviewed with the most private sector experience and the least to gain from being a lobbyist with access to a future Clinton administration and the one most critical of Clinton’s email scandal,which she called  “an annoying distraction….If I was her general counsel, I would not have approved this.  I mean, she was secretary of state in a very challenging era and, you know, it seems to me it never should have happened… [Clinton’s handlers] have not done a good job…I think she’s completely clear of any wrong-doing, but I wish we didn’t have to deal with perception issues, and this is something that time and time again all candidates need to learn these lessons.  It’s not always about the black letter of the law; it’s about perception, and this feeds into a narrative that we did not need.”

Normally the Blade has uniformly pro-Hillary and pro-Democratic coverage and commentary, especially at the national level, with occasional pro-free market pieces by one columnist, Mark Lee, who covers local business issues, and some favorable or neutral coverage now and then of local Libertarian Party candidates who are vocal in support of gay issues.  Besides interviews with these four major Democratic Party supporters on how Hillary’s email crimes are not a significant problem, the current issue also features one op ed by a much less connected local Democrat supporting Senator Bernie Sanders.

The oldest and best known national gay news magazine, The Advocate, claims to find in Hilary‘s now released email trove a silver lining, proof that she is at least pro-gay.  But Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State who let a gay Ambassador, Chris Stephens, be murdered, and who shaped a foreign policy that armed ISIS, which is now systematically raping women and girls and using social media to track down and murder Syrian and Iraqi gays.

Along with potential fall girl Huma Abedin, can gay Americans afford this kind of “friend”?

(Full disclosure – I’ve met 3 if not 4 of these Hillary supporters, been to the same cocktail parties and fundraisers, and been a guest in events at some of their homes.)

DC corporate media censoring news coverage of Libertarian candidates

17 Sep
It does seem like there is going to be a local DC media blackout of the Libertarians, by

WMAL — where most of the on air talent claim to be libertarian-leaning, but never mention any DC or Virginia Libertarian candidates, except to attack them the day after the election, as they did Robert Sarvis when he ran for Governor in 2013.  WMAL seems to have orders from its corporate owners to push Cuccinelli, Gillespie and Catania and never mention or interview Libertarians.  Is it a Republican thing or do they just like Italians?
Washington City Paper – ran a long article when we only had three candidates recruited, perhaps mainly so they could say Libertarians are all nerdy white guys.  Now that we have 9 candidates, including black and brown and gay and female candidates, they don’t cover them much, especially any Libertarian candidate of color;
The Washington Post – where pretty much every reporter except Michael DeBonis reports that there are are only 3 candidates (including my friend Carol Schwartz who has little chance of being elected), and occasionally even mentions the Green Party candidate, but have stopped mentioning Libertarians especially me.
(The gay press, MetroWeekly and the Washington Blade, are covering us.  I believe the Washingtonian is going to as well.)

Of course, most local coverage is essentially sports coverage — who is up, who is down.  Or it’s just about who is white or black or gay or unmarried.  Nothing about ideas or policies.  These are the same people who never exposed any corruption in DC until Tim Day and other private citizens brought it to light.  Who have never looked at who donates hundreds of thousands to all our incumbents from Eleanor Holmes Norton down, and whether it correlates with committees they sit on and votes they take.

So, we have to raise money and bypass them.  We’ve distributed around 6,000 brochures and I just got another 4,000 door knockers on school choice that we will be going door to door with.  Our website goes live this week (if you don’t get a snail mail fundraising letter you can give there when it is up).
We will be campaigning mainly on 5 issue areas (vaguely in order of emphasis) :
1) radically expanded school choice to address DC’s failed schools.  DC currently budgets $29,000 per pupil for public school students, but only $17,000 for charter schools and even less for students who use an opportunity voucher to attend an independent school.  This is the subject of the door knocker we are distributing now.  We want voters to vote Libertarian to signal to the DC political class that they want unequal and discriminatory funding against charter schools to end.
2) refocusing criminal justice on real crime – people are being assaulted for appearing to be gay, for having an Iphone, etc. all over town – a libertarian just last week in NoMa – while DC prosecutes alleged prostitutes and other victimless crimes and sets up ticket trap surveillance cameras.  In addition DC residents who go to federal prison are shipped around the country where their relatives cannot find them (we have no local prison), and we have DC residents who cannot get jobs because of their criminal record for involvement in victimless crimes.
3) pointing out all the ways DC keeps people without law degrees from getting a job, starting a business, or becoming wealthy, by making it illegal for them to start a school, cook and sell food, braid hair, provide day care, etc. etc.
4) encouraging voters to vote for the marijuana legalization initiative, including people who are usually non-voters, and while they are at it voting Libertarian for candidates who would push that issue.
5) calling for an end to DC policies that restrict the supply of housing, driving up rents and causing homelessness, including limiting the height of buildings (so the city is filled up with 10 story buildings to meet our growing housing demand, since no once can build a 40 or 50 story one) and regulating owners of smaller multi-unit buildings with moderately priced apartments so that they sell out to condo and apartment developers and leave the DC market to invest in Virginia.
If we end up getting more donations this month we may do internet and radio ads, as well as more door knockers.  We will also be doing more substantial responses to and alternatives to the welcome platforms some of the other candidates have finally put out.
As always, the dollars per vote spent by Libertarians will be far less and far more efficient than the incumbent candidates.  They’ve already spent $4 million, which means they’ve already spent way over $10 per vote, which is even more than Democrats and Republicans usually spend (often around $3 per vote).  Libertarians typically spend less than $1 per vote, since we don’t receive corporate, union, or PAC donations.

Moratorium measure rallies residents for reform

2 Apr

As a result of pushing for a contentious business prohibition in D.C.’s most densely populated and rapidly growing center city neighborhoods, a small anti-development group has inadvertently illustrated the need for additional reform of city alcohol licensing regulations.
Not anticipating the widespread community opposition they would generate, it’s likely they now comprehend that their actions have energized and united hundreds calling for fundamental changes in city permitting protocols for popular local dining and socializing amenities.
For the first time and amid one of the District’s largest assemblages of vibrant commerce, residents have joined in large numbers to battle imposition of a liquor license moratorium. Five restricted licensing areas exist elsewhere, most for more than a decade with negative economic development impact, and not a single one has yet been terminated.
A total liquor license moratorium proposed by the tiny group of longtime hospitality business objectors for a nuclear-bomb-blast-sized zone encompassing multiple MidCity neighborhoods appears unlikely to be approved by either the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board or the D.C. Council. The regulatory request would prohibit the opening of any new restaurants or bars and restrict expansion or other changes at existing establishments for at least five years.
An outpouring of community opposition among residents of Logan Circle, Shaw, and the 14th and U streets areas to a regulatory petition filed in December by a controversial citizens association appears to have stunned those requesting the ban. Negative advisory recommendations to the ABC Board by all four affected Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) groups are also anticipated. The Shaw ANC already voted on Feb. 6 to urge rejection.
However, the real worry for the renegade cadre of business licensing opponents has undoubtedly expanded beyond merely defeat on the moratorium proposal.
Entrepreneurs seeking to open a restaurant or bar are quick to discover the obstacles in navigating unduly cumbersome licensing procedures affecting the city’s largest private sector industry. That’s the lesson learned by neighborhood resident Rose Previte while seeking a liquor license for an aptly named Compass Rose tavern adjacent to the corner of 14th and T streets. She now understands why local business owners had forewarned her that the regulatory experience would be protracted, extremely expensive for a small business enterprise and, perhaps worst of all, soul sucking.
Previte’s small eatery and low-key bar to feature global street foods in a comfortable neighborhood-scale environment is planned for a commercial property that until September was an alcohol-licensed café, situated next to the landmark Café Saint-Ex and across the street from recently opened Matchbox restaurant.
The dynamic young businesswoman, with Capitol Hill’s The Pour House tavern co-owner Mike Schuster partnering as an investor, has encountered license protests by both an ad hoc “Gang of 5 or more” and the “citizens group” behind the proposed moratorium. Yet the more numerous supportive neighbors surrounding the business-to-be below the residence of Previte and her husband and NPR “Morning Edition” host David Greene, are excluded from standard licensing review procedures.
Until the D.C. Council acts to eliminate the special “legal standing” of self-designated license protest groups to directly intervene, unrepresentative and unreasonable obstructionists will continue to plague the city’s business environment. While the Council imposed some restrictions on license protests late last year, it is clear that those measures are insufficient to ensure regulatory fairness.
Further reforms allowing all residents to weigh in utilizing the open forum provided by elected ANC members are needed. A remedy allowing all voices to be heard within the existing framework of ANC opportunity to offer the ABC Board an advisory opinion on licensing applications is the commonsense solution.
MidCity neighborhoods are the latest to demonstrate that resident tolerance for the shenanigans of license protest groups has expired. Failure by D.C. Council members and the mayor to enact regulatory reforms in response to this development will only imperil their own community standing as well.
Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at  This article was originally published at

DC GOP coup leads to first gay Executive Director

12 Jan
The Washington Blade reports a big shake up in the DC Republican Party.

According to one DC GOP Ron Paul activist this blogger interviewed in Ocober and November, a coalition of Ron Paul supporters, tea partiers, Log Cabin Republicans, and others, ousted the leadership of the DC GOP at their state convention, replacing its conventional, establishment leadership with a coalition of outsiders who don’t necessarily agree on anything other than ousting the old leadership.
So far one result is a switch in executive directors, with DC becoming the first state party with a gay person, Robert Turner (who is also African American) as a director.  (The DC GOP is also the only state GOP with support for gay marriage in its platform; the DC Democratic Party does not support gay marriage in itspatform.)  Interestingly, Turner has been cordial with outgoing executive director Nick Jeffers, who plans to return to his native Richmond, Virginia, probably to run for office there.  Both were supportive, unofficially, of Bruce Majors campaign as a Libertarian for Congress last year.
Turner hopes to re-register the 17% of DC voters who are currently registered as “other” as Republicans.  This is the same group of voters Libertarians are hoping to register now that the DC Libertarian Party has achieved permanent ballot status.
Robert Turner II, Log Cabin Republicans
Outgoing D.C. Log Cabin Republicans President Robert Turner II. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
Robert Turner, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Washington, D.C., is expected to step down from that post later this month to become executive director of the D.C. Republican Committee.
Turner was to be appointed to the executive director’s position by Ron Phillips, who was the strong favorite to win election on Jan. 10 as chair of the 126-member DCRC, which serves as the governing body of the city’s Republican Party.
Turner would replace Nick Jeffress, the executive director who resigned at the end of last year and was appointed by outgoing DCRC Chair Robert Kabel.
Kabel, who’s gay and is the former president of the board of the national group Log Cabin Republicans, won election last year as one of D.C.’s representatives on the Republican National Committee. He’s ineligible for another term as DCRC chair because of a term limit rule.
Turner is believed to be the first out gay to serve as executive director of a state or D.C. Republican Party committee.
A native of Austin, Texas, Turner moved to D.C. in 1995 to work as a congressional staff member before starting his own political consulting company, The Turner Group.
He also serves on the board of Capital Pride Alliance, the governing body in charge of running D.C.’s annual Capital Pride parade and festival.
Turner said voter outreach would be his top priority when he assumes the day-to-day operations of the DCRC.
Kenergy Solar

“Most people who live in D.C. either think the party doesn’t exist or it’s a joke,” he said of the city’s Republican Party.
“And we need to change that mentality,” he said. “We need to show that we are a viable alternative to the corruption in the Wilson Building. We need to talk to voters, first and foremost, and see what their ideas are and then show them how the Republican Party of D.C. can jell with their ideas.”
He said the DCRC’s top priority in the first part of this year is to help elect GOP candidate Patrick Mara, the current Ward 1 school board member, to the City Council in a special election in April to fill an at-large seat.
The seat became vacant when Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) won election as Council chair. The seat was filled last month on a temporary basis under city election rules when the D.C. Democratic State Committee appointed its chair, Anita Bonds, as interim Council member until the special election is held on April 23.
Mara is a longtime supporter of LGBT rights and testified before the Council in 2009 in support of the city’s same-sex marriage bill, which passed in the Council later that year.
Turner said he believes Mara has a shot at winning the special election if Republican and independent voters as well as a sizable number of gays who supported Mara in the past turn out in large numbers.
“There are 30,000 Republicans and 350,000 Democrats,” he said in pointing to the city’s voter registration rolls. “But there’s also about 80,000 registered independents that we can tap into, and a lot of those voters are disaffected voters.”
Turner was quick to reply when asked what he thinks the national Republican Party should do in the wake of President Obama’s defeat of GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney.
“Well, the first thing the party needs to do is talk to more people than straight, white men,” he said. “There are women, gays. There are minorities out there who believe in the principles of the Republican Party – of less government, less taxes, less regulations and a strong military. Let’s talk to those people and show them Republican Party ideals work in tandem with their principles as individuals.”