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Breaking: Hawaii House Passes Same-Sex Marriage, To Become 16th Equality State

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Same-sex marriage has been all but totally secured in the Aloha State. In a 30-19 vote late Friday night in Honolulu — Saturday morning on the mainland’s East coast — the Hawaii House passed marriage equality, becoming the 16th state in the nation to extend the institution to same-sex couples. All that remains is for the Hawaii Senate to approve the changes the House made to the legislation, and for Governor Neil Abercrombie to sign it — which he has promised to do. The bill, once signed, would go into effect December 2.

Debate on the actual marriage bill Friday began after more than seven hours of debate on amendments attempting to derail the bill.

In announcing his support for SB-1, the same-sex marriage bill, Democratic Rep. Tom Brower, a Christian, told his colleagues, “I urge Christians to be more concerned with the actions of people calling themselves ‘Christians’ than with gay people calling themselves ‘married.'”

Rep. Nicole Lowen took a few minutes to officially correct those who made false statements in their testimony. She reminded the chamber that “gay is not a lifestyle,” and that HIV/AIDS is not caused by homosexuality, “it is a virus.”

Rep. Chris Lee, who received a death threat last month over his support for marriage equality, also spoke eloquently in support of the bill. “It’s time we move forward,” Lee said, “once more.” He compared marriage equality to women’s suffrage, racial equality and to interracial marriage. “I choose to err on the side of fairness, on the side of freedom, on the side of aloha, on the side of love.”

Rep. Kaniela Ing, who just two days ago delivered a heart-warming and heart-wrenching speech, explained how he came to embrace equality. Ing told the stories of Matthew Shepard, and of others, more recent, who have, or are struggling under inequality. He was close to tears at one point, and had to grab his speech off his desk for support. “How many more gay people must God create until we realize he wants them here?,” Ing asked repeatedly.

But of course the bill was not supported unanimously.

Rep. Jo Jordan, who on Wednesday became the first openly-gay elected official to vote against same-sex marriage, cemented that legacy Friday night when, in tears, she declared she had to vote against the final bill. Jordan decried those in the LGBT community who, she said, did not show her support, while she embraced members of the faith community who supported her and offered her love.

And even the state house itself was physically divided, separating marriage equality supporters and marriage equality opponents.

The path to equality is never easy, and this state’s battle was possibly one of the hardest fought of all those obtained through a state legislature.

Opponents attempted a “people’s veto,” which extended testimony in the House alone into almost 60 hours, across five days, which followed a week of testimony and proceedings in the Senate.

All told, the process itself, which ran for two weeks, was packed solid with hearings, debates, hopes, drama, lines, love, frustration, vitriol, amendments, presidential urgings, death threats, NOM testimony, verbal attacks, “mob rule” protests, heart-warming speeches, rallies, cheating scandals, “you would have to kill me” threats, prayer, Mormon Church interventions, charges of NOM violating election law, fake NOM ads, chanting, threats to “to shut this whole thing down,” a flashmob dance, and even, yes, finally, votes.

While same-sex marriage protestors continued their week-long chants of “let the people vote!,” House Representatives in solidarity with the equality opponents made almost 30 attempts to scuttle the marriage bill.

Those attempts, totaling 29 this week, were in the form of poison-pill amendments, attempts to extend religious “conscientious objector” status to any person in Hawaii who opposed same-sex marriage — effectively offering a license to discriminate on demand — and many other amendments crafted to both delay the vote and to “protect” those opposed. All 29 throughout the week, most of them on Friday, were voted down.

Often, anti-gay lawmakers kept pointing to the “momma bear” mothers, and their “keiki” — their children — as if, somehow, as one lawmaker claimed earlier in the week, they needed to be “inoculated” against same-sex marriage.

Lawmakers claimed passing same-sex marriage would force teachers to teach gay sex, and some, primarily Representative Ward, falsely claimed Massachusetts taught children that heterosexual relationships were unhealthy. One astute colleague pointed out the sheer inaccuracy of Ward’s claim.

Other failed amendments would have allowed businesses or people to deny same-sex couples housing or lodging, allowed parents to “opt-out” from having their children learn about same-sex marriage, to allow teachers to “opt-out” of teaching about sme-sex marriage, and to allow businesses or people to claim religious objection and not provide spousal benefits despite public accommodations laws.

The most active lawmakers to oppose the marriage legislation seemed to include Rep. Sharon Har, Rep. Gene Ward, Rep. Marcus Oshiro,and Rep. Bob McDermott, who has a lawsuit that will go into affect as soon as the governor signs the bill into law, possibly scuttling the entire effort.

Rep. Har, who offered a great many of what she called were “friendly amendments” at one point claimed the same-sex marriage bill was an “attempt to regulate thought.”

Lawmakers in the chamber on Friday opposed to the bill dug deep into the language of the legislation, drawing and dissecting every nuance, attempting to divine every “unintended consequence” — and pretending to care what those effects on same-sex couples would be.

Once all the amendments were offered, debated, and voted down — a seven-hour process — debate on the actual bill began.

In the end, with more than 12 hours of debate in the final day, the vote was called and same-sex couples and their families were given a much brighter future in the Aloha State.

Mahalo.

Image, top, by MichelleBVD via Instagram

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Republican Wrongly Tells Constituents ‘Of Course’ Inflation Is 40% in Ad Shopping, Complaining About Prices

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A sitting U.S. Congresswoman who may have violated a federal conflict of interest law by incorrectly reporting receipt of $500,000 in stocks took a page out of Dr. Oz’s playbook Wednesday, cutting an ad showing her shopping – not for crudité, but for back-to-school supplies as she complains about prices while falsely claiming U.S. inflation is 40%.

Rep. María Elvira Salazar, Republican of Florida, who voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, recorded the ad (below) in Spanish with English subtitles inside a Target and posted it to her personal Twitter account.

In it she falsely states the rate of inflation. Current U.S. inflation is 8.5% annually. For the month of July it was at zero percent, which caused the annual rate to drop from 9.1% in June to 8.5%.

Many other countries have much higher inflation. The UK’s annual rate just jumped to 10.1%, a quarter of what she claimed the U.S. inflation rate is. Inflation is highest in Venezuela at 1198%. Sudan is at 340%. Argentina is at 51.2%, and Turkey is at 36.1%.

Congresswoman Salazar voted against the Inflation Reduction Act, as did every House and Senate Republican. Defensively, after she posted her video, on Twitter she wrote: “Let me be clear: the Inflation Reduction Act will do NOTHING to reduce inflation. Instead, it’s going to raise your taxes, send American jobs overseas, and weaponize the IRS to come for your hard-earned dollars.” All of which is false for the vast majority of Americans.

In a press release targeting Rep. Salazar the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced the House passed “the Inflation Reduction Act, broadly popular legislation that will lower the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance, and everyday energy costs — all while reducing the deficit and carbon emissions, by making the wealthiest corporations finally pay their fair share.”

“Despite Americans supporting every component of this bill, María Elvira Salazar chose to play politics, lie to voters, and vote against legislation that will benefit American families.”

According to reported Insider, Salazar “appears to have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law by improperly disclosing a 6-figure stock trade.”

“On June 10, Salazar disclosed in a congressional financial filing that, on February 14, she had received up to $500,000 worth of publicly traded stock in Cano Health Inc., a company that provides health care services for seniors.”

Watch Rep. Salazar’s video below or at this link:

 

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BREAKING NEWS

Weisselberg Expected to ‘Criminally Implicate’ Trump Organization in Plea Deal Admitting to 15 Felonies: Reports

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Allen Weisselberg, the ex-Trump Organization CFO who has worked for the former president’s family since 1970, is expected to plead guilty to 15 felonies and “criminally implicate” the real estate empire.

“The Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer will admit to conspiring with the Trump Organization and Trump Payroll Corporation in a 15-year tax fraud scheme while head of the company’s finances at a Manhattan Supreme Court hearing on Thursday,” the Daily News reports. “Allen Weisselberg is expected to criminally implicate Trump’s family real estate business when he pleads guilty to criminal tax fraud charges, a source familiar with the matter told The News on Wednesday.”

READ MORE: Trump Jr. Whines for 13 Minutes About 15 Felony Count Indictment Against Family Company: ‘This Is What Russia Does’

Weisselberg is also expected to agree to testify against the Trump companies, and agree to a five-month sentence at Rikers Island, the horrific New York City jail that is slated to be shut down by 2026.

Rolling Stone adds that Weiselberg “will say in Manhattan court Thursday that he conspired with several of the ex-president’s companies when he pleads guilty to state tax crimes,

The New York Times calls the impending plea deal “a serious blow to the company that could imperil its chances in an upcoming trial.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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News

Dr. Oz Trounced in Newsmax Interview as Host Demands Explanation for ‘Wegner’s’ and ‘Crudité’ Ad

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Republican Mehmet Oz is having a tough time in his entrance to Pennsylvania politics. The multi-millionaire celebrity TV doctor, running for a U.S. Senate seat, released a video which this week went viral with liberals – and his Democratic opponent, Lt. Governor John Fetterman – picking it apart.

In the video, an attack ad on President Joe Biden, who he is not running against, Dr. Oz says he’s shopping at “Wegner’s,” a grocery store that does not exist. Internet sleuths deduced he was shopping at Redner’s, although some believe he was at Wegmans — including a Newsmax TV host, who Oz did not correct.

Why did he get something as simple as the name of a beloved Pennsylvania grocery store wrong?

“I was exhausted,” Oz told Newsmax, after “campaigning 18 hours a day.”

RELATED: ‘Gone Dark’: GOP Nominee Dr. Oz Has Disappeared From TV in Critical Senate Race – Report

He also admitted he gets the names of his children wrong.

Curiously, the 39-second video Oz recorded is from April, and it got criticized then, but he left it up – only for the Fetterman campaign to go after it again. Back in April it led to questions about his tremendous wealth, put at around $400 million, and calls of being a “carpetbagger,” as many say he actually lives in New Jersey, not Pennsylvania.

Politico reports the Fetterman campaign “said it had raised more than $500,000 from the crudité video alone — including a sticker of the non-existent ‘Wegners.’ ‘Oz clearly has never been in a grocery store before. That’s why this is resonating with supporters across Pennsylvania,’ said Brendan McPhillips, Fetterman’s campaign manager.”

The Fetterman campaign appears to have created a “Wegner’s Groceries” account on Twitter, and is pounding Oz with snark.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania voters do not appear to be impressed with Oz.

One Republican poll shows Fetterman beating Oz by 18 points.

“New poll conducted by GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies for Pittsburgh Works Together shows big leads for Dems in the PA Senate and governors races. Fetterman up 18 points over Oz,” reports Politico’s Alex Isenstadt. The Democratic nominee for governor, Josh Shapiro is up 15 points over Republican Doug Mastriano, he adds.

READ MORE: Watch: Dr. Oz Says Legalizing Marijuana Is ‘Giving Them Pot So They Stay Home’

Back over at Newsmax, here was host Shaun Kraisman hammering Oz:

“As you know, this video went viral,” Kraisman says, as Mediate reports. “You were at Wegmans going through the veggie aisle, essentially hitting on inflation and how things cost more, putting together a plate of crudité would cost you more than 20 bucks. You said that you were at Wegner’s – this is a very popular local grocery in this region called Wegmans.”

Kraisman later says, “I don’t mean to fixate on it, but just for those watching in Pennsylvania, you know how particular many people are about their groceries, what happened with Wegmans and Wegner’s? Can you explain that to them?”

“Yeah. I was exhausted. Well, you’re campaigning 18 hours a day. I’ve gotten my kids’ names wrong as well. I don’t think that’s a measure of someone’s ability to lead the Commonwealth.”

Kraisman also says, “it does get to the factor: Is Dr. Oz relatable to the everyday, hardworking American there in Pennsylvania?”

“We’ll do whatever we need to do to make sure the people of Pennsylvania respect what we’re about,” Oz replies, “and that we’re going to work as hard as we can to fix their problems. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. It’s what I’ll continue to do. I challenged my opponent. What have you done? Rolling your sleeves up in your own life to make life better for the people of Pennsylvania?”

Before he was elected Lt. Governor, Fetterman was elected mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, four times, and served for 13 years.

Oz concludes, “I’m the person who put us on the right track and addressed many of the challenges. Cost of living, crime, and our schools that afflict so many Pennsylvanians.”

Some have also questioned if Oz understands what job he’s running for.

U.S. Senators don’t have tremendous responsibility over their state’s cost of living, crime, and school issues. Nor do they “lead the Commonwealth,” as he said to the Newsmax host.

 

 

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