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“As Maine Goes, So Goes The Nation?” Bull. Part One.

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This is Part I. You can read Part II here.

There’s much to be said about the stunning – and it was stunning – defeat of Maine’s gay marriage law. There’s more to be said about its implications on the bigger picture of marriage equality and the overall picture of gay civil rights. And I’m going to say it all. It will take two parts. Come back for part two!

First and foremost, unlike California, Protect Maine Equality did an outstanding job. Regardless of the results, since 2005 these folks have been working towards equality the right way, by going door to door, sharing personal stories, forming coalitions, and even working with religious groups. They should hold their heads up high.

So, we lost marriage in Maine by a five point spread. Many of us had expected to win by just as much. The problem is, what do we do now?

The folks over at The Washington Blade’s offices asked out loud, “Is it time to set aside marriage and make the more pragmatic push for civil unions?” (More on this in Part II.)

In “You want pity because of Maine? You won’t be getting it from me,” Alvin McEwen writes today,

“There will be no deux ex machina descending from the sky making everything right. There will be no addendums or loopholes. It’s a job that will have to accomplished the hard way because there is no other way.”

Cody Daigle, in “The Lesson in Losing,” writes,

“[W]e need to start thinking and acting like a real community. This morning, I saw angry missives and comments online from friends of mine over the results of Maine. But those same people, in the weeks leading up to the vote, weren’t talking about it or thinking about it or caring about it. What happens to gay couples in Maine affects gay couples in Idaho affects single gay men in Mississippi affects gay people, coupled or not, everywhere. We’re a community, and until we really start caring about what happens to each and every one of us, nothing will change for any of us. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in marriage or don’t want to be married — act for those in your community who do. Because we’ll stand up for your freedoms when the time comes.”

As usual, I agree with Daigle (full disclosure, Cody is a good friend.) And personally, I am sick to death, as I wrote in “Start Acting Like It,” of our anger when things like losing marriage happen, yet we’re indifferent every other day of the year?

“[D]oes the majority of the gay community really want marriage equality? And if we do, are we going to start acting like it?”

So, one year after Prop 8, my question is this: Were you mad last year after election day? Are you mad today? 365 days in between, what did you do to support the gay marriage cause? Did you donate your time? Money? Did you email your state and federal representatives? Did you write your president? Did you talk to others about the importance of marriage?

What did you do?

Because here’s the deal.

We lost. And this one hurts a lot, because Maine had a gay marriage law that yesterday got repealed. It’s not like there was a bill and it got voted down in the state legislature. It got passed. And a governor who was against it, signed it. So, we lost big.

And we know who to blame. And who not to blame. Do not, do not blame the people of Maine. They were subject to outside forces beyond their control. And, listening to the debate in their Legislature on gay marriage, I think they are a good people who deserve better treatment than they got from the Church and from NOM.

So, blame Maggie Gallagher’s National Organization for Marriage, for starters. She, along with her Executive Director, Brian Brown, poured cash, and hate, and fear, and lies into Maine. As Brian wrote today,

“We are the single largest donor to Stand for Marriage Maine. We gave nearly $1.8 million, emptying our bank account because of the serious needs in Maine… Bishop Richard Malone of the Diocese of Portland provided invaluable leadership…”

Which brings me to my next point.

Blame the Roman Catholic Church. Separation of church and state, while the law in this country, is not enforced. The tax-free status religious organizations get is a trade-off, that requires them to not get involved in politics. Yet, time and again we see them thumb their noses at the U.S. government, and throw their cash at anti-gay measures around the country. It’s illegal, and it’s time something was done about it. America needs to revoke the tax-free status of any religious organization that gets involved in politics beyond the limits of the law.

The Roman Catholic Church’s Portland diocese sunk over $550,000 into this battle, yet is closing its own churches for lack of money. Go figure.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) supported the Maine effort with between $49,000 (reported here) and $200,000 (reported here.) HRC claims to have “made more than $280,000 in monetary and in-kind contributions.” All told, while the $200,000 figure is more likely the effective number, one has to ask, if THE leading LGBT organization spent only $200,000 in Maine, what did they think they were going to get? Maine, like California one year ago, should have been all-or-nothing. This Rumsfeldian battle-on-the-cheap didn’t work in Iraq, it didn’t work in California, and it didn’t work in Maine. When are we going to put everything we have into one issue and make damned sure we win?

Then there’s the DNC – the Democratic National Committee, who sent a blast email campaign to voters in Maine yesterday, asking them to come vote, but conveniently left off asking them to vote “No” on repealing gay marriage. Yes, that’s right. THE Democratic organization, in a Democratic state, with a Democratic Governor, and a Democratic Legislature which voted for and passed and signed an historic gay marriage bill didn’t ask its own members to support it.

Aside from the fact that tactically it’s just stupid – have your elected representatives stick their necks out for gay marriage, which they did – then don’t ask voters to support their decision, leaving them vulnerable? Yes, the DNC is stupid, arrogant, and hypocritical. Same sex marriage opponent, and DNC chairman Tim Kaine, I’m talking to you.

Which is why we need to stop blindly giving the DNC cash.

Now. President Obama. What to say about our “fierce advocate in chief?” (By the way, last night David Gergen said gays have a right to be upset with Obama. That was nice to hear, coming from him.) Well, while Obama is against gay marriage, he supports states rights on the subject. (More on that in Part II, too.) This was a state initiative. This was a Democratic initiative. Obama could have lent his support to this, but he chose not to. (I don’t know how much I can blame him. He’s taken a beating on healthcare, and I do want his attention there.)

But Obama could have mentioned Maine (and Washington) at the HRC dinner he graciously attended (no, that was not sarcastic) the night before the National Equality March. He didn’t. He also didn’t actively oppose Prop 8, so while no one’s surprised, he definitely loses the title of “fierce advocate.” I still support him overall, because he’s doing a better job than anyone else could have in these tough times, but he’s not in our corner. Not now, not then, not ever.

So, as I tweeted last night, “If we lose Maine tonight, what are you going to do about it tomorrow?”

What are YOU going to do about it?

More in Part II.


Editorial note: Originally, this piece included the paragraph below, which I still stand by, based on information reportedly given to the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.

Along with the Human Rights Campaign, who swooped in to support the No On 1 campaign with a whopping – ready for this? $49,000. Holy Cow! How’d they scrounge up that much dough? Why, that’s just 14% of Joe Solmonese’s $338,400 salary. Yet, the emails I get from them make it sound like they really supported the effort there. Not with your donations, they didn’t.

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OPINION

Speaker Johnson: Marjorie Taylor Greene Turned Me Into a ‘Mental Health Counselor’

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Mike Johnson, the Republican Speaker of the House, admitted to a local Louisiana radio station talk show that U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and some others in the GOP conference force him to spend “half” his day “as a mental health counselor.”

Appearing on KEEL’s “Mike & McCarthy” show, as Daily Mail reported, Speaker Johnson on Tuesday was asked if he and the far-right Christian nationalist congresswoman had “kissed and made up” after she tried to oust him in a dramatically failed “motion to vacate.”

“Oh good grief. You know me, I don’t I don’t carry grudges,” Johnson replied. “I don’t you know, you know, I don’t keep a record of wrongs. I went up to her right after her ridiculous tirade and said, ‘You know what, still gotta work together, Marjorie. … How about training some of that energy against the Democrats?'”

“Look. This is all gonna work out. I spend half my day as Speaker of the House and the other half as a mental health counselor,” getting everybody “through their issues.”

Daily Mail also reported that “in November, McCarthy had a piece of advice for his successor: ‘Bring in a psychiatrist for many of these members.'”

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In addition to his remarks about the Georgia Republican, Speaker Johnson went after President Joe Biden.

Asked about the southern border, Johnson defended House Republicans, insisting, “we’ve been fighting since Joe Biden walked into the Oval Office and started issuing executive orders to open it wide.

That’s false, there are no executive orders “to open it wide.”

He also ignored how in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans worked for months and came together to craft a tough immigration and border security bill that was supported by President Biden, Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and senators on both sides of the aisle – until Donald Trump killed it.

Johnson appeared uninterested in working with Democrats, whom he said he told Congresswoman Greene to fight.

He also insisted House Republicans have been “fighting tooth and nail” against Democrats.

“Here’s the problem. Everybody has to remember. We have the smallest majority and only one chamber of Congress and I have a one vote margin, right,” Johnson lamented. “So I can pass things in the House. But it doesn’t mean it’s gonna become law, because the progressive Democrats run the White House and the Senate and so we sit over our legislation, we pass resolutions. We impeached Secretary Mayorkas at Department of Homeland Security. First time a Cabinet Secretary has been impeached in the history of the United States.”

That too is false. In 1876 the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Secretary of War William Belknap.

Johnson also falsely claimed President Biden and the Democrats “wanted us to not fund the government and [to] shut it down. Because they know that [would be] blamed on Republicans, it would be very painful for the American people and then that would that would make sure that we lost the House majority, the narrow majority that we have, in November.”

During Speaker Johnson’s tenure and during his predecessor’s, Democrats joined with Republicans to keep the federal government open and running, while far-right extremists, including Rep. Greene, wanted to shut it down.

One fact Speaker Johnson neglected to mention: Democrats saved his job when Congresswoman Greene tried to oust him.

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

 

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‘Biggest Felony in American History’: Prosecutor’s Closing Argument Against Trump Praised

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A prosecutor in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s state prosecution of Donald Trump is being praised for his closing argument Tuesday by a top legal scholar who says the ex-president’s crime was “arguably the biggest felony in American history.”

Trump is on trial in lower Manhattan, facing 34 felony counts. Lawfare’s Anna Bower had summed up the case earlier on Tuesday: “Prosecutors allege that Trump falsified business records in order to commit or cover-up a conspiracy to promote his election to the Presidency by ‘unlawful means.'”

Calling his closing argument “devastating,” Harvard University Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe, a professor of law and top constitutional scholar, quoted New York prosecutor Josh Steinglass.

READ MORE: ‘Wildly Lawless’: Judge Cannon’s Removal Predicted by Top Legal Scholar

“This scheme could very well be what got President Trump elected,” Steinglass told the jury.

Professor Tribe then remarked: “Think this was a minor crime? Think again! It was arguably the biggest felony in American history. Certainly the most harmful.”

MSNBC legal contributor Katie Phang offered some background.

Referring to AMI, then the parent company of the National Enquirer, she writes:

“STEINGLASS: Once AMI purchased stories on a candidate’s behalf and in coordination with the campaign, those purchases became unlawful campaign contributions. I suggest to you that the value of this corrupt bargain at the Trump Tower meeting cannot be overstated. It turned out to be one of the most valuable contributions ever made…. ‘This scheme, cooked up by these men…could very well be what got President Trump elected…'”

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

 

 

 

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‘Wildly Lawless’: Judge Cannon’s Removal Predicted by Top Legal Scholar

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U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will be removed from overseeing the trial in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Espionage Act case against Donald Trump, predicts a top constitutional scholar who is calling her rejection of an urgent request from federal prosecutors to place additional restrictions on the ex-president “wildly lawless,” and a “smoking gun.”

Last week Donald Trump, his campaign, and almost immediately his supporters, falsely claimed President Joe Biden had tried to assassinate the ex-president in 2022 when FBI agents executed a legal and lawful search warrant on Mar-a-Lago. Trump had been storing well over 1000 White House items he had taken, including hundreds of classified documents, at his Florida residence and resort. Among those were some of the nation’s top nuclear secrets.

In a fundraising email one week ago Trump’s campaign claimed, “Joe Biden was locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.” Trump was out of state when the FBI entered Mar-a-Lago. Federal agents had conferred with Secret Service, and had planned for the search warrant to be executed when the ex-president was not at the club.

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“Cannon’s wildly lawless rejection of Special Counsel Smith’s clearly correct request for a gag order against fake and dangerous claims that the FBI was ordered to assassinate him is good news,” declared University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Laurence Tribe, a professor of law and top constitutional scholar who wrote a major textbook on the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s the smoking gun that will finally lead to her removal from the stolen secrets case,” Professor Tribe added.

Not responding to the substance of the Special Counsel’s request to order the ex-president to not make any statements that could be dangerous to law enforcement, Judge Cannon instead rejected the motion on the grounds Smith’s attorneys should have conferred with Trump’s attorneys before making the request, as ABC News reports.

“The Government moves to modify defendant Donald J. Trump’s conditions of release, to make clear that he may not make statements that pose a significant, imminent, and foreseeable danger to law enforcement agents participating in the investigation and prosecution of this case,” federal prosecutors wrote in the filing that Judge Cannon rejected.

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While the Special Counsel’s prosecutors did confer with Trump’s attorney, Judge Cannon claimed their efforts were “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy,” according to ABC News. “Trump’s lawyers argued that the special counsel violated Local Rule 88.9, which says both parties must ‘meet and confer’ before flings motions so the court and the parties’ time is used efficiently. In a filing Monday, Trump’s lawyers asked Cannon to strike the special counsel’s request and impose sanctions on any prosecutors involved in filing their motion.”

Trump’s attorney had wanted to delay any meeting to confer over the issue until Monday, but federal prosecutors, concerned about Trump’s recent remarks, said they could not wait.

“As we also tried to explain earlier, our judgment was that the situation your client has created necessitated a prompt request for relief that could not wait the weekend to file,” Special Counsel prosecutor David Harbach told Trump’s lawyers via email, according to ABC News. “We understand your position and represented to the court that you do not believe the government has engaged in adequate conferral here.”

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