Maggie Gallagher, Chuck Grassley, heck, maybe all conservatives (including Sarah Palin!)Â and anti-equality fear-mongers need to actually read the First Amendment. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you have, but since Gallagher has been known to stop by here, I’ll post it here for her to see:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
See? It’s short — only 45 words. Not hard to read, right? How long did it just take you?
So why is it that Maggie Gallagher — certainly a learned woman — felt the need yesterday to pen, “The Chilling of Our First Amendment Rights,” over at the National Review, in response to Senator Chuck Grassley’s mistaken testimony? (A great deal of the senior Senator from Iowa’s testimony Wednesday at the DOMA hearing was mistaken.)
“I’d like to note that one of our witnesses describes the serious threats that were made against ordinary citizens who exercise their First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances when California judges forced that state to adopt same-sex marriage,” Grassley said at Wednesday’s DOMA hearing. “The minority very much hoped to call a witness today, at this hearing, to testify in support of DOMA. I’m sure she would have done an excellent job. She declined, however, citing as one reason the threats and intimidation that have been leveled against not only her but her family as a result of her support of DOMA. She will continue to write on the subject but will no longer speak publicly. This chilling of the First Amendment rights is unacceptable.”
Clever how Grassley sticks First Amendment in there, first plausibly, since it states, as you well know now, that,
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,”
thenÂ totally incorrectly.
If someone is invited by Congress to testify in front of Congress, are their First Amendment rights violated if they choose to not testify, for whatever reason — be Â it fear, perceived threats or perceived intimidation? No.
Is it wrong — possibly a crime — if someone is threatened to not speak in front of Congress? Of course!
But is this a “chilling of their First Amendment rights?” No.
Gallagher, and Grassley, should know better, just as should Sarah Palin, who infamous claimed in 2008,
“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”
And just as Palin was sadly mistaken in 2010, when she defended Dr. Laura’s right to be a hate monger, saying, via Twitter, “Dr.Laura:don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”)”
(Dr. Laura herself needs to read the First Amendment. The embattled conservative radio show host, explaining her resignation, statedÂ she was quitting to “regain my First Amendment rights.” She never lost them — just the good sense to treat people well, and to tell the truth. Sadly, those two attributes make for popular conservative talk show hosts.)
But Maggie Gallagher, the Chairman of NOM Â — the National Organization for Marriage that works hard not to save or protect marriage, but to ensure same-sex couples are unable to be included in the institution — gets around all this, (just as she gets around anything she doesn’t like, by creating a false narrative,) stating,
“The First Amendment is more than a legal guarantee. It is a culture â€” a key American value â€” which holds that in a decent and free society, law-abiding citizens should not face reprisals for speaking up with civility for the moral good as they see it.”
See, just like Grassley sneaks the First Amendment reference into his comments, Gallagher likes to redefine the meaning — when it suits her purpose.
(Why is it conservatives, who generally claim to be strict Constitutionalists when it comes to the Constitution — and the Bible — like to interpret when it’s convenient? Redefine the First Amendment? Go ahead! “Redefine” marriage? Hell no!)
I certainly agree that AmericansÂ “should not face reprisals for speaking up with civility for the moral good as they see it,” as long as their “speaking up” doesn’t incite violence, or create a culture of fear and hate — which is what Gallagher’s pals like Bryan Fischer do, almost daily.
And yes, I’m aware courts disagree, most recently in fact, stating it’s OK to level a death threat on a presidential candidate under the guise of “free speech.”
“Sen. Chuck Grassleyâ€™s remarkable opening statement in todayâ€™s Senate hearing on a bill to repeal DOMA called attention to a very serious and growing intolerance directed at Americans who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife,” Gallagher claimed yesterday.
Is there “a very serious and growing intolerance directed at Americans who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife?”
There certainly is a growing embrace of same-sex marriage — now that we have six major nationwide polls over the past twelve months that find that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage.
Is it intolerant to be intolerant of the Right’s intolerance?
(Speaking of tolerance and intolerance, I’ll take a moment to direct your attention to “I Do Not Deserve Your Tolerance,” my post years back on the very subject.)
“An unfortunate aspect of the churchâ€™s opposition to same-sex marriage in the civil forum is that it carries aspects of intolerance,” writes Roman Catholic canon lawyer and professor Nicholas P. Cafardi in the National Catholic Reporter. “Yes, I realize that the opposite is true. The church could say that those pushing same-sex civil marriage on those of us who, because of our faith, are unalterably opposed to it are also intolerant of our religious beliefs. But in the scales of intolerance, the weight will always go against those who would prevent rather than those who would permit.”
And make no mistake. Gallagher’s NOM may downplay its religious roots, but they’re deep — in culture and in finance. NOM states it is “a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.” Those faith communities — Â widely-believed to be both the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church — have sustained NOM, financially.
Gallagher has the audacity to state,
“The death threats and hateful mail New York state senator Rev. Ruben Diaz says he has received are not unusual. Whole professions are in the process of being closed to anyone who espouses â€” and acts â€” on the view that marriage is the union of husband and wife.”
New York State Senator and Reverend RubÃ©n DÃaz is the man who stood idly by while Maggie Gallagher’s NOM-sponsored anti-gay hate rally — prior to the New York State marriage equality win last month — featured a preacher who actually advocated for the genocide of the LGBT community.
“Gays are worthy of death,”Â Reverend Ariel Torres Ortega preached, in Spanish, back in May.
Gallagher, whose organization sponsored the event, said little more than, “I whole-heartedly and unreservedly denounce any suggestion of violence against gay people, or anyone in the gay marriage debate,” — on my site, in the comments section, not in a press release — far the the eyes of most.
New York State Senator and Reverend RubÃ©n DÃaz refused to even acknowledge the genocidal raving, much less denounce it.
Like so many conservatives, Gallagher sees what she wants to see, ignorant of the concept of cause and effect.
Have there been incidents of angry verbal and written attacks on those who voted for Prop 8? Of course. Have there beenÂ incidents of angry verbal and written attacks on those who speak for or against equslity? Of course.
In a nation that embraces the right of a man to suggest he will put a .50 calibre bullet into the head of the nation’s first African-American president, and chalk it up to free speech, surely no one should be surprised if those on both sides of any question get verbally hostile. (Let me make perfectly clear, I find disgusting and morally offensive both someone threatening violence, and a ruling that says it’s OK to do so.)
But no one is “chilling” the First Amendment rights of anyone in the battle for marriage equality. To say so is just another of the right’s orchestrated campaign of falsehoods.
The bottom line is simple. You probably figured this out by now. Gallagher and Grassley and Palin, and Dr. Laura, and all the others, all claim First Amendment rights are being compromised, because they don’t like what their critics have to say — or because there are fewer people who are saying what they want to hear.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
Watchdog Reports Trump ‘Credibly Accused’ of ‘Staggering’ List of 55 Criminal Offenses – Urges DOJ to Prosecute
A nonpartisan federal government watchdog has updated its list of “uncharged” criminal offenses it says Donald Trump stands “credibly accused” of committing, and is urging the Dept. of Justice to prosecute them, warning that “the rule of law is not self-enforcing.”
“As of September 2022, Donald Trump has been credibly accused of committing at least 55 criminal offenses since he launched his campaign for president in 2015,” reports Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, better known as CREW. “That total only reflects allegations relating to his time in or running for office and omits, for instance, Trump’s criminal exposure for fraudulent business dealings.”
The lengthy list includes numerous allegations of campaign finance crimes and coverup, destruction of presidential records, obstruction of the Russia and Special Counsel Investigations, attempts to steal the 2020 election, false public financial disclosure reports, attempts to get Ukraine to interfere in 2020 election, profiting off of post-election lies, and unlawful post-presidency possession of government records.
CREW says its update includes “seven offenses we have added since we published the first version of this table in March 2022,” including “three criminal offenses relating to the investigation of election fraud and related crimes in Fulton County, Georgia; one offense relating to potential wire fraud stemming from fraudulent representations made to solicit PAC contributions after the 2020 election; and three offenses relating to Trump’s unlawful possession of government records at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.”
“The updated tracker likely understates Trump’s legal exposure because the high volume of sensitive records discovered at Mar-A-Lago suggests that he could be indicted for multiple counts of willfully retaining without authorization government records containing national defense information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e)), even though it is only listed once on CREW’s tracker.”
CREW is not the only one keeping track of Trump’s misdeeds, criminal civil, or ethical.
McSweeney’s published a list of 1056 “atrocities,” it calls “horrors,” titled: “A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes.” It stopped updating on Jan. 20, 2021.
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler on Wednesday published her “Trump Document Theft Resources,” a timeline of events surrounding the former president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return classified documents, complete with numerous links.
For those who’ve missed it: I have put together a post with links to all MY posts on the Trump Espionage case, as well as the public docs, statutes, and some other key reports. Not entirely up-to-date and a work in progress, though. https://t.co/1xpy6I5ine
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) September 28, 2022
Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Doug Mastriano Calling for ‘40 Days of Fasting and Prayer’ to Help Campaign
The far-right Christian nationalist and state lawmaker who is the Republican Party’s nominee to become governor of Pennsylvania is so extreme and has been performing so poorly in the polls it took the media two days to learn of his latest plan to win election: 40 days of fasting and prayer.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who led a Zoom meeting days before the January 6 insurrection praying his fellow Trump supporters would “rise up” and overthrow the government, on Monday posted to Facebook a call for “40 Days of Fasting and Prayer.”
To date it has received little attention, a mere 10 comments, 46 shares, and 156 various likes. That’a after one news outlet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, published an article on Mastriano Wednesday afternoon.
“The Republican gubernatorial candidate is losing some support among GOP allies as his cash-strapped campaign turns to Twitter memes and, apparently, divine intervention,” the Inquirer reports.
A mere “few dozen supporters joined the Republican state senator on the steps of the Capitol building in Harrisburg — some of them members of a local militia group,” for campaign rally last weekend, adding that “Mastriano hasn’t run or booked any TV ads in response. He doesn’t do interviews with most media outlets, and won’t agree to a standard format debate.”
Mastriano recently made headlines over previously unreported remarks showing he supports criminal murder charges for women who violate a 6-week abortion ban.
It seems likely Mastriano will lose the election. FiveThirtyEight gives the far right Republican state lawmaker just seven chances in 100 to win the governorship. His opponent, Democrat Josh Shapiro, has spent millions more that Mastriano, who the Inquirer notes has spent just $6300 on TV ads.
Some are highlighting bigger, more longterm concerns, noting that Mastriano is helping to expand the Christian nationalism and fascism his ideologies represent.
Media Matters for America’s Eric Hananoki on Wednesday reveals: “Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate.”
Doug Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate, as the @splcenter has documented. https://t.co/V4xQeohozl
— Eric Hananoki (@ehananoki) September 28, 2022
“Mastriano is a QAnon conspiracy theorist and a January 6 insurrectionist,” Media Matters report adds. “He has also shared toxic commentaries about Muslims; abortion; and gun safety; along with making other inflammatory remarks.”
“He has surrounded himself with numerous extremist media figures in his campaign for Pennsylvania governor. They include: antisemitic Gab CEO Andrew Torba; QAnon and antisemitic conspiracy theorists Allen and Francine Fosdick; “prophet” Julie Green, who has promoted an antisemitic conspiracy theory; and QAnon supporter and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Toni Shuppe. Mastriano also recruited Jenna Ellis, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ remarks and election denialism, as a senior adviser.”
The New York Times last month reported Mastriano “speaks almost exclusively to far-right podcasters like Stephen K. Bannon, conservative talk radio hosts and Fox News. On a recent swing through northwest Pennsylvania, he brushed off a Pittsburgh TV station that sought to interview him, and even the small-circulation Meadville Tribune.“
Don’t Call Us ‘Fascists’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasts News Media After Criticism Over Her Feral Hog Hunting Stunt
U. S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is furious at the entire news industry, and especially HuffPost, after it published a report highlighting her latest stunt: a video portraying her as some kind of lighting-powered superhero with a helicopter and an AR-15 shooting a feral pig and criticizing Democrats.
In the video, posted to Facebook, she claims there is “skyrocketing inflation, high diesel fuel, and America last policies.”
“Democrats aren’t the only ones destroying farmers’ ability to put food on the table. We’ve got wild hogs destroying farmers’ fields,” says Greene, who has nearly no responsibilities as a Member of Congress. “So we decided to go hog hunting.”
Greene takes a large AR-15-styled assault weapon into a helicopter so she can shoot and kill a feral hog from the air. She later poses with the dead carcass on the ground.
Her stunt does nothing to help farmers, but it does help her image with the pro-gun right and serves as a fundraising stunt — she uses the video to announce a contest for supporters to join her in a helicopter hog-shooting trip.
Wednesday morning HuffPost published a story titled, “Marjorie Taylor Greene Likens Dems To Hogs, Wants Help Shooting Them Dead.”
The report notes Greene had “been stripped of her House committee assignments over her use of violent rhetoric, including toward Democrats,” and says the “extremist Republican’s announcement of a competition to hunt feral pigs did not go over well.”
Greene was outraged.
In a seven-part Twitter thread directed at HuffPost she writes, “I demand you change this headline and your lies about me immediately. Your freedom of press is not freedom to lie about me. I NEVER said anything like this and did NOT call for violence on Democrats.”
She calls for the reporter and editor to be fired, and then goes off on the entire news media.
“You don’t get to lie about me and many of my colleagues calling us Nazis, fascists, and any other nasty label you type up and get away with it,” she tweeted.
“There is not one single Republican that has ever aligned with Nazism, fascism, Marxism, socialism, communism, or any other awful political ideology,” she says in carefully-chosen rhetoric.
There are Republicans today exhibiting fascistic behaviors and promoting fascistic ideology. President Joe Biden has clearly criticized the ideology of “MAGA Republicans” as “semi-fascism.”
In late August the White House singled out Greene to defend President Biden’s “semi-fascism” criticism, saying: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green has publicly expressed support for shooting prominent democratic elected officials and suggesting physically assaulting transgender school officials.”
Greene this week celebrated Italy’s election of a new neo-fascist prime minister.
On Wednesday, in her indictment of the entire news media, across all points of view including the right, she asks: “Does America have any journalist of such high character and moral ethics that can resist the powerful temptation to lie, abusing their power of freedom of the press, in order to serve their political party?”
“Tragically, we do not,” she concludes.
Watch Greene’s video below or at this link:
- News1 day ago
Embattled Trump-Appointed DHS Inspector Was Given Phones of Secret Service Agents in July, Raising ‘New Questions’: Report
- News2 days ago
‘We Have Incredible Things’: Trump Surprised NYT Reporter Last Year by Boasting He Kept White House Documents
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
Critics Blast Top US Conservative Think Tank President for Applauding Italy’s Election of ‘Neo-Fascist’ Prime Minister
- RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM2 days ago
‘We Need to Go All the Way’: GOP Lawmaker Brags Her ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill ‘Goes Further’ Than Florida’s But Not Far Enough
- CRIME1 day ago
Trump Mocked for ‘Sidelining’ His New $3 Million Attorney: ‘Must Have Given Him Actual Legal Advice’
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
Fox News Host Claims ‘Whites Are a Minority in California’ So Dems Want ‘On-Ramp’ for Undocumented Immigrants to Vote
- News23 hours ago
Watch: Cruz Only ‘No’ Vote After Railing Against Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Another Coup
- News2 days ago
No ‘Semblance of a Campaign’: Five of Trump’s Candidates for Governor Air Zero TV Ads Combined