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Comment: Harold Ford’s Treatment No Better Than Tea Party Protests

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Harold Ford’s reception tonight at New York City’s LGBT Center, which hosted the Stonewall Democrats’ event at which Ford was invited to speak about his stance on issues affecting the LGBTQ community, was little short of a mob scene. Protesters, organized by “The Power,” an LGBTQ advocacy group that has worked tirelessly — albeit with tactics at times well-intentioned yet ill-advised –  to further the civil rights cause for all LGBTQ Americans, turned this event into Tea Party style politics.

Protesters brandished bold signs labeling Ford, “Liar,” “Anti-gay Liar,” and “Snakeoil Harold.” But it wasn’t their brandishing of signs, it was their bellicose voices, shouting, interrupting — all of which were criticized by the Stonewall Democrats leadership, to no avail. At every opportunity, protesters shouted down Ford, who clearly wasn’t capable of withstanding the half-hour verbal abuse in a hot, stuffy, small meeting room.

It was demeaning and disrespectful to Mr. Ford, it was demeaning and disrespectful to the Stonewall Democrats, it was demeaning and disrespectful to the LGBTQ community, and worse of all, it was demeaning and disrespectful to our national political debate.

One could argue that Ford’s stance and “flip-flopping” on gay rights are just as demeaning, and to that I would agree.

Make no mistake. I am fully on record as being adamantly opposed to Harold Ford, period, whether he chooses to run for New York’s U.S. Senate seat, or for any other office. I’ve written close to a dozen pieces against him. And his poor performance and clear lack of understanding of basic issues tonight merely proves my point.

Ford is bad for New York. Not because of his poor understanding of LGBTQ issues, but because of his poor understanding of all the issues, including his poor understanding of his own record — which is, needless to say, also poor.

However, the man was a guest in our home, and he was treated as a despot, a tyrant to be overthrown and burned at the stake. There was no way Ford was intellectually capable of changing any heart or mind in that room — even before he arrived. His poor commentary made that clear from the outset. His lack of preparation merely reinforced the obvious fact that he’s not capable of serving the people of the state of New York. The protesters should have merely given him the opportunity to speak, knowing he would do himself more damage than they ever could.

Ford, if anything, may have gained slight political advantage tonight, if only by garnering the sympathy of the less-informed and the anti-gay voting bloc. They, too, won’t believe he’s changed. They’ll see he’s no “fierce advocate,” and they already know Gillibrand is. And they’ll see how he was treated and actually feel sorry for him.

Michael Crawford, who was instrumental in helping Washington, D.C. gain marriage equality, tonight wrote,

“The shouting down of Harold Ford is another example of gays acting out rather than acting smart.”

I agree.

Even Queerty, itself famous for poor manners, had this to say,

“The event wasn’t just unfriendly to Ford; it was rude.

So, allow us to take a moment to address that: Shouting over the invited guest? Demanding he “go home,” when you’re the ones who bothered showing up to an event you knew he’d appear at? If you want to protest him, fine, but at least let him speak. We’d expect the same for our own. This was uncalled for and makes New York’s gay community look intolerant and juvenile — the same things we accuse others of being.”

The only ones who looked worse than Ford tonight were the members of the unruly, angry, rude, nasty mob that interrupted Ford’s speech with cries reminiscent of Joe Wilson’s “You lie!,” followed by, “You’re a liar,” “Go back home to Tennessee!” and “Anti-choice! Anti-gay! Snake Oil Harry, go away!”

Seriously. Joe Wilson, Dick Armey, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin would have been proud tonight. Michelle Malkin, especially, I’m sure is thrilled. Another “Gay marriage mob” story for her pen to twist.

But I, for one, am not proud.

This “protest” wasn’t “civil disobedience.” There was nothing civil about it at all.

I’ve spent the past year and a half working twelve to eighteen hour days, sometimes seven days a week, trying to educate, communicate, and illustrate why equality for the LGBTQ community is the right thing for America. I’ve immersed myself and invested my life in this movement. No one can say I’m anything if not a dedicated activist to this movement and a tireless supporter of LGBTQ rights and of our community.

But I do not support the ranting and raving tactics and tantrums of an angry mob who put their anger and, yes, their hatred, above the larger picture of public perception and optics, and civil discourse and debate.

Wrestle Ford on the facts, in a civil debate, and we gain the upper hand. Wrestle him to the ground, and we look like schoolyard bullies.

Ironically, today in a piece I wrote for Bilerico, I said,

“There are many roads to reach our success. I will not fight anyone for trying. I will for not.”

While I won’t fight these protesters, I will voice my opinion.

Tonight, these protesters made us look bad and Harold Ford look, well, better than he deserved to. Tonight, these protesters hurt our efforts. Tonight, I, for one, was embarrassed.

When we’ve sunk to the level of those we despise, like the Tea Partiers who disrupted the health care debates all summer, or like Congressman Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst during President Obama’s joint session of Congress, when we’ve sunk so low that we emulate their tactics, we’ve lost the upper hand, our integrity, the support of the public, and we’ve given the opposition a win.

Next time, folks, let’s be the bigger party. Not the Tea Party.

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News

Fox News Host Suggests Trump ‘Force’ Court to Throw Him in Jail – by Quoting Him

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The Fox News host who targeted a juror serving on Donald Trump’s criminal New York trial is now suggesting the ex-president should violate his gag order and “force” the court to throw him in jail, by quoting the Fox News host.

Jesse Watters came under fire earlier this week for profiling juror number two, sharing possibly identifying information published by a myriad of reporters but then using that information to pass judgment on her ability to serve.

“I’m not so sure about juror number two,” Watters concluded on Fox News.

Jurors, at the judge’s direction, were to remain anonymous, for their protection and the protection of the trial.

The judge excused her, after she said she felt she was not able to be impartial because friends and family were calling her asking if she had been chosen to serve on the Trump trial, after the media blitz.

New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan admonished the press for reporting the information, but some news outlets appeared to ignore his warning.

Watters on Wednesday “did a segment with a jury consultant, revealing details about people who had been seated on the jury and questioning whether some were ‘stealth liberals’ who would be out to convict Trump,” the Associated Press reported.

READ MORE: Gaetz: ‘Corrupt’ Republicans Could ‘Take a Bribe’ and Throw House to Dems, Blocking Trump Run

Trump later posted Watters’ quote on his Truth Social platform, leading some, including New York prosecutors, to ask the judge to cite him for allegedly breaking his gag order.

Judge Merchan ordered Trump to not mention witnesses, jurors, prosecutors, court staff, or the family members of prosecutors and court staff, CNN has reported.

New York prosecutors told Juge Merchan Trump has violated the gag order at least ten times.

“Prosecutor Christopher Conroy described the ‘most disturbing’ example as a social media message Trump posted on Wednesday evening quoting a Fox News host as saying, ‘They are catching undercover Liberal Activists lying to the Judge in order to get on the Trump Jury,'” Politico reports.

That host was Jesse Watters.

RELATED: ‘Afraid and Intimidated’: Trump Trial Juror Targeted by Fox News Dismissed

Friday afternoon, Watters appeared to egg Trump on, urging the ex-president to violate the gag order.

“I would make them put me in jail,” Watters said on Fox News. “I would have a tweet about something perhaps I said on ‘The Five’ or ‘Jesse Watters Primetime,’ and I would force them to throw me in jail.”

Watch Watters’ remark below or at this link.

 

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News

Gaetz: ‘Corrupt’ Republicans Could ‘Take a Bribe’ and Throw House to Dems, Blocking Trump Run

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U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) says some of his fellow House Republicans would “take a bribe” to throw the razor-thin GOP majority to the Democrats if a far-right faction calls up a motion to oust Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, allowing Democrats to hand the gavel to the Minority Leader, Hakeem Jeffries. he warned if that happens, Democrats would immediately declare Trump ineligible to be President, pack the U.S. Supreme Court, and pass numerous laws like the American Rescue Plan.

“I do believe in a one seat majority there could be one or two or three of my colleagues who would take a bribe in one form or another in order to deprive the Republicans of a majority at all,” Gaetz said Friday on his podcast (video below.)

He added, “the risk that one or two of my corrupt Republican colleagues might take a bribe, take a walk, feign an ailment and flip this thing to the Democrats is a risk that is too high for me at this time.”

Gaetz’s fellow far-right Florida Republican member of Congress, Anna Paulina Luna, told listeners, “I heard that when, if and when the motion vacate is introduced, that there will be immediate resignations of a couple of more moderate members of Congress. And in the event that that happens, that ultimately means it does go to a Democrat speaker.”

RELATED: Jeffries Vows Democrats Will Ensure Ukraine Aid Passes as Johnson Defectors Grow

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) last month filed a “motion to vacate,” which she can use at any time to force a vote to oust the GOP Speaker, Mike Johnson. U.S. Rep. Tim Massie (R-KY) and just today, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has signed on as co-sponsors.

Congressman Gaetz told listeners if Democrats do take the House through a force vote to remove Johnson, Democrats would “be declaring Donald Trump an insurrectionist and setting up a barrier to him being able to become the president United States.”

“That’ll be their leadoff hitter, and then the chaser to that shot will be a massive spending package that looks a lot more like the American Rescue Plan. They will blow past every concept of every cap ever imagined. You’ll be looking at Universal Basic Income, you could be looking at packing the Supreme Court.”

Watch a short clip of Gaetz’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

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Jeffries Vows Democrats Will Ensure Ukraine Aid Passes as Johnson Defectors Grow

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Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries vowed Friday the majority of Democrats will support Republicans’ Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and Gaza foreign aid legislation as Republican Speaker Mike Johnson lost support of another member of his conference to a faction determined to oust him.

“Democrats will provide a majority of our majority as it relates to funding Israel, humanitarian assistance, Ukraine, and our allies in the Indo Pacific,” Minority Leader Jeffries said. “It remains to be seen what Republicans will do in terms of meeting the national security needs of the American people, but it was important for House Democrats to ensure that the national security bills are going to be considered.”

Despite Republicans having a one-vote majority, more Democrats on Friday voted to move the critical and long-awaited foreign aid bills forward than did Republicans.

READ MORE: ‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

The 316-94 vote included 165 Democrats and 151 Republicans voting yes, and 55 Republicans and 39 Democrats voting no.

Axios’ Juliegrace Brufke posted the list of Republicans voting against their party’s legislation.

Calling it a “rare” moment in modern congressional history to have to rely on opposition party votes to pass legislation, BBC News reports Speaker Johnson’s “hold on power is tenuous, and the legislators who oppose him – and his bid to provide aid to Ukraine – occupy some key positions within the House’s power structure.”

Amid the procedural vote to move the foreign aid funding bills forward, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, a far-right Republican of Arizona, announced he is joining Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Congressman Tim Massie (R-KY) in formally announcing their will vote to oust Speaker Johnson.

Gosar, like Greene, is reportedly a Christian nationalist. In 2022 CNN reported his “lengthy ties to White nationalists, [a] pro-Nazi blogger and far-right fringe received little pushback for years.”

RELATED: ‘Repercussions’: Democrats and Republicans Stand Against ‘Pro-Putin’ House GOP Faction

“We’ve been very honest in our assessment of the situation from the beginning,” Jeffries on Friday also declared. “At the appropriate time as House Democrats, we will have a conversation about how to deal with any hypothetical motion to vacate.”

“Moscow Marjorie Taylor Greene, Massie, and Gosar are quite a group. But central to our conversation is to make sure that the national security legislation in totality is passed by the House of Representatives.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

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