Just as Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) claimed Matthew Shepard’s hate-crime murder was the by-product of a robbery, police in Kampala, Uganda, are calling LGBT activist David Kato’s brutal death-by-bludgeoning a so-called robbery-related death.
Kato’s murder on Wednesday can be described as being delivered by a classicallyÂ raging, homophobic murderer, who repeatedlyÂ delivered blows to Kato’s bodyÂ fromÂ the head of a steel hammer, and speaks more troublinglyÂ about America’s Christian right-wing hatred and intolerance of gays, than of the Ugandan peopleÂ themselves.
Val Kalende, a lesbian activist andÂ board chair of Â Freedom and Roam Uganda, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that fightsÂ violence againstÂ LGBT people in Uganda, issued a statementÂ Thursday asserting that “David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. Evangelicals in 2009.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement Thursday afternoon, calling for Ugandan authorities “to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act.” SheÂ recognized the rulings of the Uganda Human Rights Commission and its Supreme Court in support ofÂ Ugandan gays rights, and went on to make clear that LGBT rights are human rights by calling on the International Community to “[s]peak out against the discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community, and work together to ensure that all individuals are accorded the same rights and dignity to which each and every person is entitled.”
Proclaiming “LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights,”Â President Obama Thursday also released a statement saying, “David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate. He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom. The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to Davidâ€™s work.”
As I wrote in “UN Vote Allowing Gays To Be Executed Result Of Political, Religious Fundamentalism,” since the 1980s, massive numbers of Christian fundamentalist missionaries, many if not most from the United States,Â have flooded the African continent in search of new converts to their retrogressive and narrowÂ beliefs.
“The Family”–also known as “the Fellowhship”– is a powerful andÂ covert sect of American Christian evangelical politicians and ministersÂ who seek a decidedly anti-gay extreme Christian agenda both at home and abroad, and through its words put this hammer in the hands of all potentially intolerantÂ Ugandans.
Enabled by President Lt. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Musevani andÂ his wifeÂ Janet Kataha, Ugandan parlimentarian David Bahati, (who in 2009 said, â€œHomosexuality it is not a human right,”) last yearÂ introducedÂ a “kill the gays” bill which remainsÂ under active consideration. All are believed to be members of Ugandas’ Christian right wing “Family,” according to Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power,Â a tour de force exposÃ©Â of “The Fellowship,” published in 2008.
Sharlet has appeared onÂ MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, as well as on National Public Radio to discuss the shadowy “Family” sect that has included well-known evangelical minister Rick Warren, who delivered the invocational prayer at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, much to the chagrin of LGBT activists.
Sharlet has authored a second book on the Family, entitled C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, considered a deeper exploration of related sex scandals of Family-backed Republican politicians in Washington, D.C. It provides additional revelations about The Family’s role in the Ugandan government’s anti-gay reactions, which have brought rebukes from the Ugandan Supreme Court, but have also elicited a refusal by Rick Warren to condemn the UgandanÂ “kill the gays” proposed legislation, along with a dubious claim that Warren had “nothing to do” with the anti-gay bill.
New York Times best-selling authorÂ Frank Schaeffer writes in “Evangelicals Implicated When Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Was Beaten to Death,”Â that theÂ “story of the Ugandan legislation to kill gays for being gay was intertwined with the Family and also with representatives of the wider “respectable” American Evangelical community. According to many pressreports, the genesis of the antihomosexual Ugandan bill may be traced to a three-day seminar in Kampala in March 2009 called “Exposing the Truth Behind Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda.” This seminar was led by Evangelical leader and hero to the Religious Right Scott Lively. He is best known for his Holocaust revisionist bookÂ The Pink Swastika, which claims homosexuals founded the Nazi party and were responsible for death camp atrocities.”
“According to sources who attended the conference (and who were later widely quoted in the press), Lively told his Kampala audience, “I know more about this [homosexuality] than almost anyone in the world. The gay movement is an evil institution. The goal of the gay movement is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.” The results of the seminar were dramatic. “The community has become very hostile now,” Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, said in an interview. “We have to watch our backs very much more than before because the community thinks if the Ugandan government is not passing the law, they will deal with [gay] people on their own.”
Lesbian About To Be Deported — Back To Uganda — Says, “I’ll Be Tortured, Or Killed”
Meanwhile, Ugandan lesbian activist Brenda Namigadde awaits eminent deportation within the next 24 hoursÂ from London to Kampala because a BritishÂ immigration court claims it could not ascertain her lesbian status, despite affidavits submitted by three relatives attesting to her lesbian sexual orientation. Only 29 years old, Namigadde fledÂ Uganda when she was 19, after her romantic relationshipÂ with a Canadian woman wasÂ discovered. They were beaten and their house was subsequently burned down.
In light of Kato’s murder, according to The Guardian, NamigaddeÂ fears for her life, which she believes is over.
Let’s hope the British immigration system recognizes that sending Brenda Namigadde back to Uganda would surely be a death sentence. I leave you with the words of Freedom and Roam Uganda’sÂ Val Kallende, who posted these comments in July 2010.
The disturbing debate on gay rights has been estranged from the human rights struggle mostly by politicians and clergy people who prescribe to the archaic perception of human freedoms. The struggle certainly has it’s differences; for starters, one is about orientation and the other is about and whether it’s a choice. To pigeonhole the struggle to choice or orientation is to miss the significance of the struggle holistically. Furthermore, to assume the struggle will be over when the Bahati Bill dies is flawed–just ask the activists in Uganda who live in danger of losing their lives everyday.
We can no longer ask David Kato. So tonight let’s remember his courage and honor his life by confronting “The Family” and reminding ourÂ own government that even in theÂ name of religion, we can’t murder gays. Christ would be ashamed!
How can you help? All Out and Get EQUAL are asking people to join their campaign to and signing an urgent letter pressuring U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May to stop Brendaâ€™s deportation.
Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs atColumbia University, who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is aÂ Harriman Instituteaffiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.
(Image: Uganda’s Rolling Stone newspaper with David Kato’s photo on the front page, center left.)
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100 Minutes of Whining: Here Are the 7 Most Absurd Moments From Trump’s Arizona Grievance Festival
Donald Trump spoke for over 100 minutes during a long-winded speech at a “Rally to Protection Our Elections” in Phoenix.
Much of Trump’s speech was focused on repeating his debunked lies that he won the 2020 presidential election, when in reality he was defeated by Joe Biden.
But he also found time to bash much of America while praising the local extremists behind Arizona’s audit of the vote in Maricopa County and listing his many perceived grievances.
Trump attacked Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), all the Republicans who are “worse than Democrats,” Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), soccer’s United States Women’s National Team, and said his supporters have to “fight” against everyone who said he lost the election with language that echoed his speech that preceded the January 6th insurrection.
Trump said the exact same thing to the insurrectionists! And after hearing this, domestic terrorists immediately turned around, stormed the Capitol, murdered police officers and tried to murder members of Congress. https://t.co/So6KBOCC8L
— Erin Maye Quade (@ErinMayeQuade) July 24, 2021
Much of the speech was just bizarre due to the combination of Trump brazenly lying about things that happened while also pontificating on the delusions that populate right-wing media.
Here are the seven most ridiculous moments from the speech.
7. Trump is so out-of-touch you thinks Americans must show their papers to purchase groceries
Despite being ridiculed when Trump spoke of this delusion in the past, Trump falsely claimed Americans need to show identification to purchase groceries as he pushed voter I.D. laws.
Trump still thinks you need an ID to buy groceries pic.twitter.com/CDwXlSRmCb
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 25, 2021
6. Trump imagined what he would do if he were Native American
Trump complained about the Cleveland Guardians baseball team and praised the racist logo the team retired. “If I was an Indian, I’d sue. Sue them Indians,” he said.
Trump on the Cleveland Indians name change: “If I was an Indian, I’d sue. Sue them Indians.” pic.twitter.com/Joe2mf60gC
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) July 25, 2021
5. Trump argues America is becoming a communist country
“Like it or not, we are becoming a communist country. That’s what’s happening, that’s what’s happening,” Trump said without providing any evidence. “We are beyond socialism.”
— Newsmax (@newsmax) July 25, 2021
4. Trump explains how it hurts Republicans at the polls when his supporters believe his election lies
Trump repeatedly mentioned during his speech his belief that when his supporters believe his false claims of election fraud, it makes them less likely to turn out to vote. Trump said this is how Republicans lost control of the U.S. Senate.
Trump threatens that if Republicans don’t amplify his (false) claims about election fraud, Republican voters won’t want to vote for Republican candidates in future elections pic.twitter.com/PnL8e0xo6w
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 24, 2021
3. Trump explains how a politician repeating lies creates disinformation
During a speech that will keep fact-checkers busy, Trump explained disinformation in a way that seems to perfectly describe why he traveled to Arizona to repeat his “Big Lie” about election fraud.
He’s giving away his secret.
Trump has done this for getting on six decades. https://t.co/fEIWkjskhX
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) July 25, 2021
2. Trump describes his unconstitutional fantasy of being reinstated as president
Trump suggests he’ll be returned to office following state-level audits of the 2020 election (he won’t be returned to office) pic.twitter.com/K2hOpfvqr9
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 24, 2021
1. Trump gaslights America by lying about his attacks on democracy and voters
Of the many lies Trump told, one of the most absurd had to be his claim that, “I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy— I am the one trying to save American democracy.”
TRUMP: "I am not the one trying to undermine American democracy— I am the one trying to save American democracy." pic.twitter.com/alCmrZHZ3t
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) July 25, 2021
Republicans Boot Only Person With Elections Experience From AZ GOP’s $9 Million ‘Audit’ Fiasco: Report
Republicans once referred to Ken Bennett as the “director” of their widely-panned audit of votes in Maricopa County, but he has reportedly lost his privileges to even enter the building where the fiasco is taking place.
Bennett, who served as Arizona’s Secretary of State and president of the state Senate, was the one person associated with the recount with experience in elections. He was officially listed as the liaison to the state Senate, which paid $150,000 of the $9 million the audit is reportedly costing.
“Questions are mounting about who is in control of the long-running partisan review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election results — the Arizona Senate, which ordered it, or the outside firms that are running it,” The Arizona Republic reported Friday evening. “On Friday, Ken Bennett, the Senate liaison to the audit, was not allowed into the building at the state fairgrounds where the audit is taking place, a day after he shared data with outside critics from an ongoing ballot count.”
“While this work is supposedly being overseen by Senate representatives, many times that oversight is not there,” the newspaper noted. “The Cyber Ninjas have for weeks resisted getting outside checks of the audit, insiders say.”
Reporter Ryan Randazzo explained why the outside review is threatening.
“The data Bennett provided to outside analysts, Larry Moore and Benny White, showed the results of the ongoing machine count of the ballots tracks very closely with the the county’s tally,” the newspaper reported. “If that trend continues, it may call into question the results of Cyber Ninja’s count, because [Senate President Karen] Fann has said that the Cyber Ninjas’ count did not match the county’s.”
The newspaper reported Cyber Ninjas spokesperson said any decision to ban Bennett was made by Fann’s office.
The liaison for the Arizona election audit gave some data to outside experts who want to check the Cyber Ninjas’ work, and then he was locked out of the audit. Also it looks like the ninjas miscounted and the roof on the budget building is leaking https://t.co/hXfeCJ9hZE
— Ryan Randazzo (@utilityreporter) July 24, 2021
New Details Revealed in Florida Republican’s Plot to Disrupt the 2020 Election
New details have been released in the investigation of former Florida State Sen Frank Artiles (R) over his involvement in running “scam” campaigns in an attempt to disrupt the 2020 election.
With his trial expected to begin August 30, prosecutors are firming up their case against the former GOP lawmaker in a political corruption case the Tampa Bay Times reports, “has roped in prominent players across Florida over the last several months, including a GOP-linked research firm in Gainesville, a top not-for-profit Miami hospital network and a veteran Republican operative who leads a Tallahassee-based political organization.”
According to the Miami Herald, new revelations show that Florida political operative Alex Alvarado — linked to Artiles — was funneling money to sham campaign officials in an effort to disrupt key 2020 state Senate elections.
The report notes that “documents released late Friday, provide new details into the breadth of the criminal investigation into Artiles and his longtime acquaintance, Alexis Pedro Rodriguez.”
“Prosecutors say Rodriguez was recruited by Artiles and paid some $44,000 to change his party affiliation from Republican to no party to qualify on the ballot and attempt to sway the outcome of the Miami-Dade Senate District 37 election. GOP candidate Illeana Garcia won the race by 32 votes. Rodriguez, who shared the same surname as the Democratic incumbent, received more than 6,000 votes,” the Herald reports. “Between June 15 and November 15, 2020, Artiles was under contract to work for veteran Republican political operative Pat Bainter for $15,000 a month, court documents show. Bainter paid Artiles $90,000 and reimbursed him for his travel, a courier service and $4,000 for ‘research,’ according to those documents.”
As part of the scam, one woman who was pregnant and desperate for money agreed to take $1,500 to chair a political committee with no plans to have her do any work.
In testimony 25-year-old Hailey DeFilippis, explained to investigators she was listed as the chair of “The Truth, a dark-money-funded political committee that spent $180,000 on political mail advertisements promoting sham candidates in key 2020 state Senate elections — two in Miami-Dade and one in Central Florida.”
She was later paid $2,500 more for the “inconvenience” after reporters called up asking about the group.
“Artiles signed a contract with Bainter on June 9, 2020. The next day, Rodriguez met Artiles at Artiles’ Palmetto Bay residence to fill out campaign forms, according to investigators who noted in an arrest affidavit that Rodriguez had ‘no prior knowledge as to what forms needed to be completed to qualify as a candidate for elected office and relied on Artiles’ instructions.,'” the report adds. “Neither Bainter nor Gardner have responded to phone calls or emails seeking comment since the Herald learned they were served subpoenas. The powerful GOP-linked research firm, based in Gainesville, also served as a general consultant for Republican Senate campaigns during the 2020 election cycle.”
You can read more here.
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