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Fill The Void

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Sarah Palin got it right.

Well, just one thing: Palin knows how to fill a void. Who else was able to upstage two solid weeks of 24/7 Michael Jackson media coverage? From the moment she announced she was resigning as Governor of Alaska, she started making new headlines all over again, giving more interviews, releasing more statements, turning the weeks after Fourth of July into Palinpalooza.

From the moment John McCain introduced Sarah Palin as his running mate last year, she worked hard to dominate headlines every day. Lord knows every “You betcha” hit YouTube – and every mistake and mis-characterization hit Mainstream America. Palin’s antics polarized the nation, but we knew everything she said and did. For better or for worse, Palin was the story. And for better or for worse, Palin remains a story. Like the Michael Jackson story on Larry King, it seems Palin will be forever with us.

The year is more than half over. Summer is half over. Legislatures are winding down, or are done. The fun flurry of whack-a-mole marriage equality news is gone. And with it, our ability to move our agenda forward, at least in the hearts and minds of average, ordinary citizens. There’s a void in the media and only a crisis – or leadership – will grab it.

It’s time for us to take the lead and run with it.

We know that with heightened awareness of our issues comes heightened support for our issues. The American people are good people, many of whom simply don’t know us, and don’t know enough about us to care about us. That’s why we need to stay in the headlines: to keep our message clear and consistent.

Have no doubt: The Religious Right will take over the conversation through Labor Day, if we let them.

Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, in an apparent Vulcan mind-meld with GOP Chair Michael Steele, just announced the creation of the “Faith and Freedom Coalition,” that claims to be “younger, hipper, less strident and more inclusive.” Maggie Gallagher’s National Organization for Marriage is working hard with a new PAC in New York, and there’s an extended effort that’s making headway to repeal gay marriage in Maine. And the Values Voters Summit – an annual bigot fest, exactly two months away – is gearing up with a promise of a new assault on same-sex marriage.

In short, it’s the infamous “kinder, gentler bigotry” we’ve come to expect from the Religious Right and our opponents.

Despite a torrent of lies from Republican Congress members who labeled the Mathew Shepard Act, the “Thought Crimes Act,” and from groups like “Faith 2 Action,” which labeled it, “The Pedophile Protection Act,” the Senate late last night approved the bill. But the Religious Right may still get their way, as a threat looms by President Obama to veto the Military Appropriations bill the Shepard bill is attached to.

So let’s be honest: There will be little else happening in the LGBTQ rights arena until fall, and without a plan of action the chances of us keeping Mainstream America’s focus on gay rights through the summer are slim.

Let us not be deterred. We must take advantage of the opportunity this hazy lull provides!

Let’s look at some events that dominated headlines last August:

* The actor David Duchovny went into rehab for sex-addiction.
* Madonna and Michael Jackson celebrated their 50th birthdays.
* Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party nomination for President.
* Some Hallmark stores refused to sell same-sex greeting cards. The American Family Association also protested the free-market selling of those same-sex greeting cards.
* Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi wed in California – before Prop 8 passed in November.

Surely we can do more to get our message out this time around? The challenge is simple: Fill this media void with positive LGBTQ stories between now and Labor Day, until the regular political and legislative cycle resumes its natural course and we can move our message forward through political actions. Let’s keep the importance of our struggle in the eyes of our neighbors and fellow citizens. Let’s continue our national conversation on gay rights. Let’s help all Americans realize that we are their neighbors, their co-workers, their friends.

Politicians and pundits may take August off (remember George W. Bush’s extended August vacations?) but the American people – especially given this year’s economy – can’t afford to. Those who still have jobs can’t afford to go away. And we can’t afford to let our message slide – or our guard down.

The opportunity is ripe! Let’s fill the void of summer with positive messages that resonate with America. Let’s look to the Prop 8 lessons we learned too late. Let’s make it our mission to show America who we are. Lord knows Palin’s legacy of innanity will out-live her. And Lord knows we have a better message, a more honest message, a more important message than Sarah Palin did. Let’s spend the rest of summer working as hard as she did to help show America that the “real America” includes LGBTQ Americans, too.

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News

Raphael Warnock Beats Trump-Backed Herschel Walker – Democrats Increase Senate Majority

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Millions of Americans in Georgia voted to re-elect Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock and send him back to Washington D.C., NBC News projects. It is a clear mandate for the policies enacted by the Biden administration and a strong rebuke for the flailing former president, Donald Trump.

Senator Warnock faced a challenge from a Texas Republican who claimed to live in the Peach State, Trump-backed former NFL star Herschel Walker.

The New York Times, confirming Warnock is the projected winner, reports a huge number of Georgians, more than 3.3 million, voted in the runoff election.

An admitted Texas resident, Walker’s long list of hypocritical claims and actions, falsehoods, lies, and troubling business and tax dealings were only outweighed by the women who accused him of violent behavior, pressuring them and paying for them to get abortions, and revelations he had not one child but four, including a son he almost never sees.

READ MORE: ‘Everything Has Been a Lie’: Christian Walker Drops Damning New Video Blasting His Father’s ‘Lies’ Over Abortion

Warnock, who is also the Senior Pastor at the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church, Ebenezer Baptist, out-raised and out-campaigned Walker, especially in the last week.

Herschel Walker appeared at only two events this weekend, Politico reported, “a tailgate in Atlanta before a University of Georgia football game on Saturday, where he did not speak, and a Sunday rally in Loganville, where his stump speech touched on everything from complaints about pronouns and critical race theory to funding law enforcement.”

With 51 votes in the Senate, Democrats will not be forced into a power-sharing agreement with Republicans as they were two years ago. President Biden will be able to nominate and have confirmed even more judges, an area he has excelled. And Democrats will have full committee majorities, giving them power to issue subpoenas in investigations.

RELATED: ‘The Child Would Not Be Safe’: Woman Who Says Herschel Walker Pressured Her to Have Abortion Says She Felt ‘Threatened’

The Washington Post on Tuesday noted that Democrats having 51 votes is “an insurance policy against the unthinkable — the possibility that vacancies or party switches could flip the majority. That has happened before, most recently in 2001. The reason that it hasn’t happened more often is mostly because the Senate isn’t usually this closely divided. But vacancies and seat flips do happen — a lot. In fact, since World War II, about 70 percent of Congresses have featured some kind of shift in partisan balance of the Senate between elections.”

The unthinkable includes the possibility that a Democratic Senator in a state headed by a Republican governor could resign or die, allowing a Republican to be installed in their place. As The Post notes, there are 11 cases currently where that could happen.

Warnock unseated a GOP Senator in a 2020 special election, making this his first full elected six-year term.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain notes President Biden “becomes the first President since FDR 1934 to see every Senator in his party re-elected (who was seeking re-election.)”

 

 

 

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CRIME

Guilty on All Counts: Trump Organization Loses Big in Criminal Fraud Case

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A jury has found thew crown jewel of Donald Trump’s real estate empire, The Trump Organization, guilty on all counts in a state criminal tax fraud case.

Calling it “a remarkable rebuke of the former president’s company and what prosecutors described as its ‘culture of fraud and deception,'” The New York Times reports the details include “conviction on all 17 counts.”

Charges include tax fraud, a scheme to defraud, and conspiracy and falsifying business records, but The Times says it is “hardly a death sentence for the Trump Organization.”

The Times adds the conviction comes “after more than a day of jury deliberations in State Supreme Court in Manhattan,” which “resulted from a long-running scheme in which the Trump Organization doled out off-the-books luxury perks to some executives: They received fancy apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, even private school tuition for relatives, none of which they paid taxes on.”

Donald Trump was not a defendant in the case, but the case will be front and center during his presidential run.

According to a press release from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, The Trump Organization and the Trump Payroll Corp. were convicted of the following charges:

  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Criminal Tax Fraud in Third Degree, a class D felony, two counts
  • Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, three counts

The Trump Corporation was also convicted of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony.

MSNBC reported the verdict on-air:

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

Image via Shutterstock

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News

Watch: McConnell Refuses to Say He Will Not Support Trump for President Even After ‘Terminate the Constitution’ Demand

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Even after Donald Trump called for the “termination” of the U.S. Constitution this weekend and demanded he be put back into office or be given a do-over national presidential election, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to say he will not support the ex-president’s current run for the White House.

McConnell kicked off his weekly press conference Tuesday by mildly criticizing Trump, although not mentioning him by name.

“First, let me just say that anyone seeking the presidency who thinks that the Constitution could somehow be suspended or not followed, it seems to me would have a very hard time being sworn in as president of United States,” McConnell told reporters.

But when asked if he “categorically” would refuse to support Trump – personally or in his role as Senate Republican Minority Leader – McConnell refused to go that far.

READ MORE: Watch: McConnell and McCarthy Shunned as Congressional Gold Medal Recipients Refuse to Shake Their Hands

“This is the second week in a row you’ve come out to begin your press conference criticizing Donald Trump,” a reporter off-camera said. “Can you say categorically that you do not support him if he were the Republican nominee?”

McConnell could not.

“What I’m saying is it would be pretty hard to be sworn in, to the presidency, if you’re not willing to uphold the Constitution. That’s what I said, and I just said it again,” McConnell stated.

“How about your personal support?” the reporter shot back.

McConnell ignored the question.

During the 2016 campaign Trump also made clear he did not feel beholden to upholding the Constitution, so it’s unclear why McConnell would suggest he could not be sworn in again should he be elected in 2024.

READ MORE: Far Right Republican Slammed by Raskin for Trying to Derail Respect for Marriage Bill with Failed Religious Amendment

In fact, Trump’s concerning remarks surrounding the Constitution in 2016 led Brown University political science professor Corey Brettschneider to pen a piece for Politico: “Trump vs. the Constitution: A Guide.”

“It may be true that Donald Trump has read the Constitution. But it’s unclear if he understands it,” it begins.

McConnell is not only the second longest serving leader of a party’s caucus in the Senate, nor his he just the Senate Republican Minority Leader.

He wields massive power and influence via his ties to a Super PAC.

According to CNN, the Senate Leadership Fund is “a super PAC affiliated with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.”

This year alone, the Senate Leadership Fund has spent nearly $300 million to elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate. In 2020 it spent over $475 million.

Many have seen their ads, which are almost entirely, according to Open Secrets, against Democrats, not for Republicans.

Watch McConnell below or at this link.

 

 

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