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An Open Letter To Joe Solmonese About Teaparties, Taxes, Cabbages, And Kings

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Wrong Fight At The Wrong Time In The Wrong Place Surrounded By The Wrong People

Dear Joe,

For several months, Conservatives have been the willing butt of many “teaparty” jokes, by, pretty much most of the country. They’re really excited about playing dress-up and pretending to be Paul Revere, or 1773 pre-Revolutionary War Sons of Liberty left-overs. And for the past few days, my friends and I have had a blast, watching Rachel Maddow and Ana Marie Cox ridicule Conservatives and their teaparties. I’m sure you saw them last Thursday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC. Who hasn’t watched that clip of “Insanitea” over and over and over! It’s become such a joke that even Anderson Cooper last night on his show said, “It’s hard to talk when you’re tea bagging.” Yeah, it’s been good times!

So, imagine my anger when I got your “Stop unfair taxes on lesbian and gay families!” email, asking gays and lesbians to “head down to your local post office April 15 to talk to people in line and any members of the media who show up.” It’s the wrong fight, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, Joe. This is wrong on so many levels. I would say I can’t even begin to tell you, but I’m going to.

Today, April 15th, Conservatives will be holding “teaparties” on the steps of post offices around the country, hoping to rally support against what they perceive as an “oppressive Obama administration” and against what they see as unfair taxes. Taxes, I might add, that go to support the very programs that help our community, programs that Conservatives would cut first, given the chance, programs championed by those who support our cause the most.

Programs like 1-800-RUNAWAY, the federally-funded National Runaway Switchboard. Joe, as you know, while only a small percentage of all youths are gay, approximately 40% of all runaway youths are gay. 40%. Gay teens are up to four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. We learned just last week of an eleven year old boy who committed suicide because he suffered taunts and threats from other students who made fun of him, insulted the way he dressed and called him gay.

Even when money exists for LGBTQ programs, money from taxes, Conservatives want to take it away. In 2006, in Southeastern Nebraska, Conservatives rallied to deny a small grant that would go to help LGBTQ youth, “saying it was controversial and “causes grief” to use tax dollars to fund gay and lesbian issues.” Protesting against taxes is not the right fight for us right now.

Let the Conservatives rally against cabbages and kings. Let us not be seen railing against an administration that is reaching out to our community and is providing us with the best chance at true equality we have ever had. An administration that, albeit far too slowly, will act to repeal DOMA and DADT, and enact ENDA.

I love my country, Joe. I love our rich and activist history. I love the idea of the Boston Tea Party. Good for those guys! Without their courage, we might not be here today. But, like many things they touch, today’s Conservatives have corrupted the very essence, and purity of meaning that the original Tea Party represented.

These tea parties (teaparties that are being organized not at the grassroots, but behind the scenes by a group funded by Westinghouse Corporation, Prudential Insurance, and AETNA, among others,) are attended by the very people who hate our community the most. The people who hate “liberals” the most. The people who hate gays the most. People like Alan Keyes, and Newt Gingrich, and Michelle Malkin, and religious extremists and secessionists. To copy their inane rhetoric and actions puts us in the wrong game, on the wrong field, next to the wrong players.

What will we have gained, when the local TV station in Des Moines, in Boswell, in Fremont, in New Haven, shows ten-second clips of the LGBTQ community standing on the steps of their post office, next to rallying right-wing Conservatives who don’t believe Barack Obama is an American?

Putting us in the same venue as those who openly advocate against us, while letting the media mistake our presence as being part of the Conservative Teaparty is just a bad idea. What little exposure we might gain is not worth the risk of being accused of palling around with teaparty terrorists. Our presence merely will be taken as a show of support for those who hate us, our agenda, and our recent successes. What helps them hurts us. Contributing to their turnout hurts us. Via GayPatriot:

“The Tea Party movement is currently on track to be the largest genuine grassroots movement America has seen since the Sixties. We don’t know yet whether it will be such a grassroots movement, but it could be. We’ll have a better idea on Wednesday when reports from across the country start coming in. If on a weekday, these protests attract more than 224,000 people, we’ll know there really is something to it. A quarter-million participant would suggest it’s more than just a flash in the pan.”

Why risk credibility with a protest hastily-organized on the coattails of our detractors that will merely give them the ammunition they need to say of our fight, “It’s not about marriage, it’s about money.” Joe, with the possible exception of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said, “I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization”, no one enjoys paying taxes. That “same-sex couples pay an average of about $1000 more in taxes than their opposite-sex counterparts” no doubt is true. We are, as a friend wrote to me on Twitter, “paying *more* than straight people to a government that classifies us as second-class citizens.” This is entirely unacceptable.

I believe in, and fight for LGBTQ equality every day. I want equal rights for all Americans, regardless of gender, orientation, or race. But the fight we don’t need to have today is one of economics. It’s not a fight we can win right now. The Right knows this. They’ve been marketing to us for decades. And given all the challenges the Right has thrown at us over the years, parts of the LGBTQ community are desperately in need of the support of civilization these days.

We are coming off of an historic week. Our wins in Iowa, in Vermont, and in D.C. will go down in history. The world, literally, is watching. Watching as yet another American civil rights movement spreads its wings. Last week gave hope to millions of Americans. Hope that said, in the words of our president, “Yes we can.” Yes we can actually win the rights we so richly deserve. The civil rights. The “unalienable rights”. The moral rights. We need to let the world know that these are the rights we’re fighting for. Economic rights come with moral rights. Not vice-versa.

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Arrested Again: Ex-FBI Informant and GOP Former Star Witness Alexander Smirnov

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Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant who was arrested just eight days ago and charged with lying to the Bureau about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, has again been arrested, his lawyers state in an emergency court filing Thursday.

Smirnov allegedly used Russian intelligence to smear the Bidens, falsely claiming both Joe Biden and Hunter Biden had each accepted $5 million bribes. His claims were the basis of House Republicans’ impeachment investigation into President Biden.

But as NBC News’ Tom Winter reported, it’s a “mystery,” at least for now, why Smirnov was arrested again, his lawyers say, on the same charges as the first time.

Winter says earlier today at his attorneys’ offices in Las Vegas, Nevada, “Apparently agents showed up with a valid arrest warrant out of the Central District of California and took him into custody, but according to his attorneys, it was for the same exact indictment and the same exact charges that he had been previously hit with.”

RELATED: Smirnov Scandal: Experts Call for Investigations, Warn GOP of Possible Conspiracy Charges

CNN adds that the warrant “this time” was “signed by federal district Judge Otis Wright, who will oversee the criminal case out of California.”

The federal government asked for Smirnov to be detained but a magistrate judge allowed him to be released last week.

Winter reports that Smirnov’s attorneys say “they would like to know why” he was re-arrested, “and there’s no indication on the docket that the judge has granted some sort of emergency motion to remand him, basically to pull him off the streets because he’s violated his agreement.”

“So a bit of a mystery at this point,” Winter adds.

CNN notes that after his first arrest, “Smirnov was released by Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts in Nevada on Tuesday with several conditions, including GPS monitoring and the surrender of his two passports.”

READ MORE: Experts Ask if Trump Disclosed Classified Intel After Nuclear Weapons Talk at Town Hall

Politico’s Kyle Cheney posted the arrest warrant. See it below or at this link.

 

Image: Screenshot of Smirnov with his face hidden from camera view

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‘Reached His Limits’: Engoron ‘Brings the Hammer Down’ on Trump Attorney

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New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has refused a “last ditch effort” from Donald Trump’s attorney to delay imposing the $355 million judgment in Attorney General Letitia James’ civil business fraud case against the ex-president.

“Once the judgment is officially entered, it will start the 30-day clock for Trump to file an appeal. During that period, Trump will need to put up cash or post bond to cover the $355 million and roughly $100 million in interest he was ordered to pay the state,” CNN reports.

MSNBC legal correspondent Lisa Rubin pointed to an email Judge Engoron sent Trump’s attorney Clifford Robert that reads in part, “You have failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay.”

On social media Rubin notes, “Judge Engoron has reached his limits. It appears that he has signed the judgment and that all that needs to happen now is for the clerk to enter it.”

READ MORE: Smirnov Scandal: Experts Call for Investigations, Warn GOP of Possible Conspiracy Charges

On-air at MSNBC, Rubin explained that Trump’s attorney asked Engoron “to stay the judgment without Donald Trump having to post a bond.”

Robert, according to Rubin, tried to use “a technicality in New York Civil Practice saying they should have filed a motion and they didn’t file a motion, they should have given us notice. We should have been able to counter propose our own judgment.”

Engoron, she continues, asked, “‘What exactly are you objecting to?’ And when Trump’s lawyers couldn’t articulate beyond a small but meaningful error with respect to the calculation of interest for Allen Weisselberg, that was the only real error that they identified. They couldn’t come up with anything else.”

“That’s when Engoron sort of dropped the hammer on them and said, ‘look, enough is enough. You have given me no reason for a stay.”

Rubin notes that at this point, “We’re just waiting for the clerk to start that 30 day clock.”

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Nikki Haley Just Laid the Groundwork to Endorse Donald Trump

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Down in the polls by double digits, former Trump UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who recently took off the kid gloves and has been battering her Republican opponent Donald Trump, just laid the groundwork to endorse the man she calls “unstable and unhinged,” by labeling President Joe Biden “more dangerous.”

“I think what’s really important is to know that the majority of Americans dislike Donald Trump and Joe Biden,” Haley told NPR’s Steve Inskeep in remarks that aired Thursday (audio below). “So we think that there needs to be an alternative.”

“While critical of both men — who she called ‘too old’ to be president — she said ‘Biden is more dangerous’ due to his management of immigration and the economy,” NPR reports. “Haley hinted that, if Biden and Trump were to face a rematch, she would back Trump if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.”

Trump, despite facing 91 criminal felony charges and civil judgments totaling possibly more than a half-billion dollars (including accruing interest,) is beating Haley, the former South Carolina governor. FiveThirtyEight‘s national polling average puts Trump at 77.7% and Haley at 16.4%. Even in her home state, Donald Trump is trouncing Nikki Haley, 63% to 35% in one recent poll, and 63% to 34% in another.

READ MORE: Smirnov Scandal: Experts Call for Investigations, Warn GOP of Possible Conspiracy Charges

Haley did beat the one-term twice-impeached four-times indicted ex-president in January fundraising, a feat some strategists say will allow her to stay in the race longer.

Haley is going directly after Trump, and “launched her sharpest attack yet Tuesday, describing him as getting ‘more unstable and unhinged,'” AFP reported.

“He’s getting meaner and more offensive by the day,” she added. “He’s completely distracted, and everything is about him. He’s so obsessed with his demons in the past that he can’t focus on the future Americans deserve.”

She did not stop there.

“It’s not normal to spend $50 million dollars in campaign contributions on personal court cases,” Haley told supporters. “It’s not normal to threaten people who back your opponent, and it’s not normal to call on Russia to invade NATO countries.”

And yet, despite promising her base she will stay in the race even after South Carolina, and despite attacking Trump, Haley is now paving the way to endorse her former boss.

“I have a lot of concerns about Trump regaining the presidency. I have even more concerns about Joe Biden being president. I mean, you look at both of these men and all they have done is given us chaos, all they have given us is division,” Haley told NPR.  “We need to starting bringing normalcy back to America and that’s why I think we need to have a new generational leader that focuses on the solutions of the future instead of all the issues of the past.”

READ MORE: Experts Ask if Trump Disclosed Classified Intel After Nuclear Weapons Talk at Town Hall

Haley “compared the ex-president to a ‘bully,’ and stressed that he failed to obtain significant portions of the electorate in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“People don’t like when he goes off the teleprompter and says crazy things like he’d rather take Putin’s side over our allies,” she said. “People don’t like it when he mocks the military. People don’t like it when he calls people names.”

Some think an endorsement from Haley for Donald Trump won’t come.

“Haley endorsing Trump would be career ending for her. MAGA will never support her now. You can’t staddle this. You are either Trump or Never Trump. There is no middle ground between Liz Cheney and Donald Trump,” says former Washington State lawmaker and former state GOP chair Chris Vance, who opposes Donald Trump and describes himself as “a politically homeless Never Trump Conservative.”

Listen to Haley’s remarks to NPR below or at this link.

Image: Haley and Trump in 2020.

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