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DOMA: Maggie Gallagher Needs To Actually Read The First Amendment



Maggie Gallagher, Chuck Grassley, heck, maybe all conservatives (including Sarah Palin!) 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,”

then 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  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, stated 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  — 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 — a key American value — 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 Americans “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 Grassley’s remarkable opening statement in today’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 church’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 —  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 — and acts — on the view that marriage is the union of husband and wife.”

New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz 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,” 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 Rubén Díaz 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 been 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.

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Reporters Reveal Some Republicans Don’t Understand What a Default Means – and Don’t Believe the Debt Ceiling Is Real



CNN’s Jim Acosta and John Avlon compared notes on Republicans speaking on raising the debt ceiling over the weekend only to realize that the far-right members refuse to support the deal between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden.

Acosta cited an interview he conducted Saturday with Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), who said he’s voted for shutdowns and would vote again this week.

After ranting about cutting spending, Acosta said, “Well, you can have the argument about cutting spending during the budget and appropriations process, but as you know, Congressman, the U.S. has never missed making payments on its bills before. In the last 45 years, Congress has raised the debt ceiling 65 times. So, again, I go back to the question: is it responsible — I understand what you’re saying about how much your daughter spends, but we’re not talking about $15. We’re talking about the American economy. Is it responsible to be the deciding vote to send the country into default?”

Burchett claimed that the country wasn’t going to be sent into default. He crafted a conspiracy that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen kept changing the date the U.S. default would happen.

“Nobody is, as the young people say, nobody has provided the receipts. Nobody has called her into Washington and said, ‘Show us the math on this,'” he said.

Yellen works at the Treasury Department, which is in Washington.

Burchett also had his own math, saying that if they cut the budget spending to the 2022 levels, the country would be in a surplus. The House passed a massive defense spending package that would have required cuts from other places.

“All they’re doin’ right now is scarin’ people,” Burchett claimed. “They’re talkin’ about cutting programs that have no need other than political cronyism, we’re tellin’ our seniors — and the Democrats will, and I get it — they’re tellin’ the seniors they’re gonna be cut. Veterans are gonna be cut. And nothing can be farther (sic) from the truth. And that’s just the reality of politics.”

The reason Democrats were citing cuts to seniors and veterans goes back to the Republican Party budget bill that required cuts to seniors and veterans. That’s because returning to the 2022 budget levels means making cuts to increases already passed by Congress.

Acosta turned back to Burchett to ask if he believed the debt ceiling wasn’t real.

“I think the debt ceiling is — it’s just a creative thing to hold us into responsible — into check,” said Burchett.

Avlon cited Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), who claimed he refused to sign a bill that would bankrupt the economy.

“Well, hold it right there,” said Avlon. “I mean, if you let the country default on its debt, that’s functionally the same thing.”

An annoyed Avlon was frustrated the process was even something allowed to happen.

“It’s a fact, Congress has to control the pursestrings. So, frankly, someone should figure out the 14th Amendment side of this because I think this is not the way we’re supposed to play ball, the greatest nation in the world constantly every couple of years when there’s a Democratic president flirting with defaulting on our debt because it’s fiscal policy by extortion,” said Avlon. “This is a win to the extent that we came up to a bipartisan agreement, but this is not the way the greatest nation in the world should conduct its fiscal policy. It’s ridiculous. And it didn’t happen when Donald Trump was president because Democrats worked with Republicans to ensure the debt ceiling was raised three times.”

See the discussion below or at the link here.

Image: GOP Rep. Tim Burchett


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‘Start the Kevin McCarthy Death-Clock’ After Biden Wins Debt Ceiling Battle: Rick Wilson



Appearing late Saturday night on MSNBC after it was announced that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had reached an agreement “in principle’ on a budget deal, former GOP strategist Rick Wilson claimed this could be the beginning of the end for McCathy’s speakership.

Sitting in on a panel with guest host Michael Steele, Wilson suggested that McCarthy’s decision to compromise with the president to avoid a default that would spin the economy into chaos will not go over well with far-right members of his House caucus who could make a motion to “vacate the chair” to express their displeasure.

Asked by host Steel about what comes next, Wilson stated it was a win for the White House which will not make conservatives happy.

RELATED: ‘Crazy cuckoo MAGA people’ could sink debt ceiling deal: Dem strategist

“Great night for Joe Biden, great night for the White House even though I think their messaging has been kind of tentative the past few weeks” the Lincoln Project founder began. “I think though we are now going to start the Kevin McCarthy death-clock. He has certainly got a very angry part of his caucus tonight who probably burning up his phone no matter how good it is for the country not to default.”

“It’s not going to please the chaos caucus in the GOP,” he added.

Watch below or at the link:


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Debt Ceiling: McCarthy Faces ‘Lingering Anger’ and a Possible Revolt as Far-Right House Members Start Issuing Threats



As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to negotiate a deal to avoid a debt crisis, members of the far-right Freedom Caucus are growing furious with him over broken promises he made to them.

According to MSNBC political analyst Steve Benen, with a slim GOP majority in the House, McCarthy is walking a tightrope to get a budget deal passed and may need help from House Democrats if members of his caucus refuse to go along with him.

As Benen points out, in order to win the speakership McCarthy agreed to an easier path for a motion to “vacate the chair” which could end his tenure as Speaker. That could come into play if the Freedom Caucus stages a revolt.

“… as the negotiations approach an apparent finish line, the House Republicans’ most radical faction is learning that it isn’t likely to get everything its members demanded — and for the Freedom Caucus, that’s not going to work,” he wrote in his MSNBC column.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump in danger of heightened espionage charges after bombshell report: legal expert

Citing a Washington Times report that stated, “[Freedom Caucus members] want everything from the debt limit bill passed by the House last month plus several new concessions from the White House,” Benen suggested far-right House Republicans are now issuing veiled threats.

In an interview, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) stated, “I am going to have to go have some blunt conversations with my colleagues and the leadership team. I don’t like the direction they are headed.”

With Politico reporting, “The [House Freedom Caucus] was already unlikely to support a final bipartisan deal, but lingering anger with Kevin McCarthy could have lasting implications on his speakership,” Benen added, “If this is simply a matter of lingering ill-will from members who come to believe that GOP leaders ‘caved,’ the practical consequences might be limited. But let’s also not forget that McCarthy, while begging his own members for their support during his protracted fight for the speaker’s gavel, agreed to tweak the motion-to-vacate-the-chair rules, which at least in theory, would make it easier for angry House Republicans to try to oust McCarthy from his leadership position.”

Adding the caveat that he is not predicting an imminent McCarthy ouster he added, “But if the scope of the Freedom Caucus’ discontent reaches a fever pitch, a hypothetical deal clears thanks to significant Democratic support, don’t be surprised if we all start hearing the phrase ‘vacate the chair” a lot more frequently.”

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