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Fire Virginia Foxx, But Not Because She Lied About Matthew Shepard

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Admits She Is Trying To “Scare You To Death”

 

 

“The hate crimes bill that’s called the Matthew Shepard Bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery.  It wasn’t because he was gay.  This – the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it’s really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.”

So said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R -NC) yesterday in a full session of the U.S. House of Representatives, in her bid to defeat the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009”, H.R. 1913, better known as the Matthew Shepard Act. There was one special guest in the House too: Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother. Ten years ago, Matthew Shepard, a gay, 21 year-old college student who stood 5′ 4″ tall, and weighed just one hundred pounds, was lured out of a bar by two men claiming to be gay. He was robbed, pistol whipped, brutally beaten and tortured, and tied to a fence and left for dead until someone came by and found him in a coma eighteen hours later. (At first they thought he was a scarecrow.) Matthew died six days later. The two assailants did this to Shepard because he was gay. They are now in jail. These are facts. They have been proven many times over.

Via Wikipedia:

“Shepard suffered a fracture from the back of his head to the front of his right ear. He had severe brain stem damage, which affected his body’s ability to regulate heart rate, body temperature and other vital signs. There were also about a dozen small lacerations around his head, face and neck. His injuries were deemed too severe for doctors to operate. Shepard never regained consciousness and remained on full life support. As he lay in intensive care, candlelight vigils were held by the people of Laramie.”

For an elected Representative of the U.S. Congress to stand in front of hundreds of her peers, reporters, network television cameras, essentially the world, look at Judy Shepard, who, for ten years has worked to make her son’s death at least have some meaning, for Virginia Foxx to stand up and lie is inexcusable. Our elected officials are supposed to stand for our highest ideals. They are supposed to stand for truth. They are supposed to make the world a better place for all people. For Virginia Foxx to lie to the world, and to Matthew’s mother, is not only unacceptable, it is unforgivable. And it is time for Virginia Foxx to resign.

The country saw Rep. Foxx on television over and over and over last night. There are far too many pundits to quote, but I’ll let share with you perhaps the best portraiture of Rep. Foxx:

Yes, Keith Olbermann called Rep. Foxx’s statement “The most despicable thing said on the floor of the House in decades.” He goes on to say, “She is at best callous, insensitive, criminally misinformed, at worst, she is a bald-faced liar… She is not worthy to represent this country… she is our shame.

But, you say, maybe she made a mistake? Maybe she’s not that bad? Well, the Virginia Foxx of Thursday doesn’t really disagree with the Virginia Foxx of Wednesday. She released a statement today saying,

“The term ‘hoax’ was a poor choice of words used in the discussion of the hate-crimes bill,” Foxx said in a statement. “Mr. Shepard’s death was nothing less than a tragedy, and those responsible for his death certainly deserved the punishment they received.”

She goes on to say she took the information from two news sources,

“Referencing these media accounts may have been a mistake, but if so, it was a mistake based on what I believed were reliable accounts.”

So, here’s what’s wrong:

The name “Matthew Shepard”, sadly, is synonymous with the term “hate crime”. The case is over ten years old. An Amazon book search yields over 1200 results. There is no way any competent staffer could not have come up with the correct facts of the case. A bill this important and this much in the public eye warranted more than a partisan Conservapedia search. Even that biased account admits Shepard’s killers “planned to pretend to be homosexuals so that they could rob Shepard.”

Yes, “hoax” was a poor choice of words. A terrible choice of words, and a lie. Supporters of the hate Crimes Bill are not perpetrating a hoax on anyone. Even if, even if Foxx believed Shepard’s killing was not a hate crime, even if she does not believe in the concept of the term “hate crime”, to stand before the world and Judy Shepard and use that language dishonors every one in that chamber, and the people of America. Be against this important legislation if you must, but never, never abuse he memory of a beloved victim and icon. To do so harms history, your office, and yourself.

Her “apology” wasn’t an apology. It wasn’t even one of those “If I offended anyone” apologies. And by releasing her statement saying only that she made a poor choice of words, she is saying she doesn not believe that Matthew Shepard’s murder was in fact a hate crime.

Well, if her egregious comments aren’t bad enough to warrant her resignation, her performance is. Let’s look at some other comments Rep. Foxx has made:

About the Hate Crimes Bill, she said,

“If this bill becomes law, it will have a chilling effect on many law-abiding Americans’ freedom of expression.”

It “will start us down the road towards a public square that is less robust, more restrictive, and that will squelch our cherished constitutional right to free speech. … We should not live and legislate in fear of bankrupt ideas.”

Is “there such a thing as non-hateful violent crime?”

Anyone who is concerned that their actions could be punishable under a hate-crimes bill should be closely monitoring their actions.

Let’s look at how Foxx represents America’s fallen heroes, our military:

Horrendous. Yet again, Rep. Foxx ignored the mother who lost her son, this time in service to his country. Has she no shame? Has she no caring? has she no heart?

Evidently, no American icon is sacred to Foxx. Last year, also on the House floor, in an attempt to shore up her state’s lumber industry, she claimed “the origins of baseball [have] been the subject of debate and controversy.”

And her pattern of truth-transforming emerges: Regarding the October, 2008 Bailout Bill, Foxx said, “I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say this may be the day America died.” (America hasn’t died. More people now than in the past five years feel America is on the right track.) During the presidential campaign, of Obama and Clinton, she remarked, “basically [they] are socialists, he more than she.”

An elected representative, as I said, should be a role model, an inspiration, someone who makes their people hopeful for the future, and delivers information that’s troubling with honesty and respect. On the eve of President Obama’s inauguration, in a campaign- fundraising letter, Rep. Foxx wrote, “for those of us who believe in limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, this is a scary time.” Scary? That’s not inspiring. That’s not good leadership. That’s fear-mongering. It gets worse.

In March, just two months after her “scary” comment, Foxx “told a Charlotte Chamber of Commerce group visiting Washington, “You should fear for your country.” The Democratic majority in Congress, she warned, has become “bolder and bolder” with tax dollars and the rules of the House. “I am trying to scare you to death.”

I watched the Hate Crimes Bill debate in the House yesterday on C-SPAN. I heard all the wonderful and all the hateful comments. Rep. Foxx’s comments were the worst, though there were others that came close. Then I wanted President Obama’s press conference last night. And I thought, we have a true leader in the White House. A man who has a grasp of all the issues. A man who looks objectively at problems and tackles them with thought and facts as he attempts to gather consensus. And then I thought more about Representative Foxx. She does none of those things. She is none of those things. She is not a leader, she is a fear-monger. She doesn’t deal in facts, nor does she take time to find out what the facts are. And she doesn’t take responsibility for her mistakes.

I don’t live in North Carolina. But I do live in the United States. And, unfortunately, Representative Foxx, therefore, also represents me. And I am not going to sit by and allow any member of Congress to lie to the world without challenging them on it. Nor should anyone else. The time to replace Virginia Foxx is now. Not only for her hateful and ignorant comments about Matthew Shepard’s murder, but for all the hateful and ignorant comments she has made as the Congresswoman of North Carolina. And for her poor performance in representing those she was elected to serve.

Please take some action.

You can:

  • Call Rep. Foxx and share your thoughts about her cooments and about her performance:

Washington, DC: (202) 225-2071
Clemmons, NC: (336) 778-0211
Boone, NC: (828) 265-0240

  • Write Rep. Foxx:
  • 1230 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20515

Finally, please share this article.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Principal Ordered Librarian to Take Down Holocaust Survivor’s Famous Quote Just Days Before Holocaust Remembrance Day

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A Pennsylvania principal drew criticism last week after telling a Bucks County school librarian to take down posters with a famous quote by Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winning human rights activist, professor, and Holocaust survivor, just days before Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Central Bucks School District reportedly has ties to an organization that appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

Despite being under investigation by the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office of Civil Rights after an ACLU complaint, the Central Bucks School District earlier this month voted 6-3 to pass “a contentious policy that bans teachers from engaging in ‘advocacy activities’ and displaying inclusive symbols like Pride flags in their classrooms,” WHYY reported earlier this month.

Citing that new rule, known as Policy 321, the school principal told Central Bucks High School South librarian Matt Pecic to take down four posters that displayed Wiesel’s famous quote from his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, WHYY reports.

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented,” Wiesel said.

READ MORE: $1 Billion Campaign From Group ‘Linked to Staunchly Conservative Causes’ Will Try to ‘Redeem Jesus’ Brand’ in Super Bowl Ads

The principal reportedly told Pecic if he did not comply human resources would have to get involved. Pecic, who has worked for the school district for three decades, met with the principal accompanied by his union representative.

“If I didn’t take it down, I knew there would be consequences that could impact me,” Pecic said. “It’s a horrible feeling. And you feel like you have to do something that you don’t agree with.”

Making the issue even more difficult, “Pecic’s ninth-grade daughter, a Central Bucks student at Holicong Middle School, originally emailed him the quote,” WHYY reports.

“This is where I get choked up,” Pecic said. “She said that ‘this quote reminds me of you.’”

Pecic describes himself as someone who often speaks up, “if I disagree with something, especially if I think it’s not for the benefit of students, I will say something.”

On Thursday, after uproar from the community, the district stepped in and allowed the posters with Wiesel’s quote to be put back up.

READ MORE: Trump-Aligned Christian Nationalist Group ‘Taps Into Unholy Well’ That Threatens Democracy

“We regret that the decision was made to remove it,” the district said in a statement, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported,  “and in a manner that promotes not only the importance of the novel, but continued awareness and education surrounding the Holocaust and its National Day of Remembrance this coming Friday. The district apologizes for any hurt or concerns this has caused, particularly for those in the Jewish community.”

The Central Bucks School District hired a public relations firm, Devine + Partners, at the cost of $15,000 a month, “in an attempt to repair strained public relations and improve the school district’s image,” The Buck’s County Herald reported last summer.

Devine + Partners was hired to help after “a series of executive decisions made by the Central Bucks School District, most of which appear targeted towards the LGBTQ+ student body.”

“This includes the removal of Pride Flags in the classroom, under the justification that they were political symbols, and as such, not fit for the classroom. It also includes only allowing students to attend Human Growth and Development classes that matched with their assigned genders at birth, and pausing said classes shortly after they began, effectively outing these students to their teachers and peers.”

READ MORE: McCarthy Sat for an Interview With Trump Jr. – One Bragged About an ‘Illegal’ Act, One Wished His Dad Would ‘Show Some’ Love

WHYY is a separate report notes on Monday that the Central Bucks School District has ties to an anti-LGBTQ hate group, the Family Research Council.

The district is currently reviewing five books after rolling out a new, harsh policy “which aims to keep books that a yet-to-be-determined group might deem ‘inappropriate’ for unspecified ‘sexualized content’ out of school libraries,” WHYY reported in July.

“Recent updates to the policy were reviewed by a conservative Christian law firm, Independence Law Center, as first reported by the Bucks County Courier Times,” WHYY adds. “The Independence Law Center is the legal arm of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which is a statewide branch of the national organization Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ Christian nationalist group designated as an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

Earlier this month NBC 10 Philadelphia reported on the passage of Policy 321 by the school board. Watch below or at this link.

 

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Criminal Charges Against Trump Possible as Manhattan DA Presents Grand Jury With Evidence in Hush Money Probe

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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has empaneled a special grand jury and prosecutors are now presenting evidence against Donald Trump in their revived investigation into hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and one other woman during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Calling it “a dramatic escalation of an inquiry that once appeared to have reached a dead end,” The New York Times reports the Manhattan DA is “laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months,” and says it “a clear signal” that Bragg “is nearing a decision about whether to charge Mr. Trump.”

Among the witnesses testifying is David Pecker, “the former publisher of The National Enquirer, the tabloid that helped broker the deal” with Daniels.

READ MORE: $1 Billion Campaign From Group ‘Linked to Staunchly Conservative Causes’ Will Try to ‘Redeem Jesus’ Brand’ in Super Bowl Ads

Prosecutors have also contacted members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and have subpoenaed phone records and other documents that could provide evidence.

But The Times notes that a “conviction is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory. The case would also rely on the testimony of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who made the payment and who himself pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the hush money in 2018.”

Cohen broke with Trump and in 2016, “made the extraordinary admission in court on Tuesday that Mr. Trump had directed him to arrange payments to two women during the 2016 campaign to keep them from speaking publicly about affairs they said they had with Mr. Trump,” The Times reported in 2018.

The payments were made “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016, Cohen testified.

He was sentenced to 36 months in prison.

“Days before then-President Donald Trump left the White House, federal prosecutors in New York discussed whether to potentially charge Trump with campaign finance crimes once he was out of office,” CNN reported on Friday, citing a new book from CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig.

But they “decided to not seek an indictment of Trump for several reasons, Honig writes, including the political ramifications and the fact that Trump’s other scandals, such as efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and the January 6, 2021, insurrection, ‘made the campaign finance violations seem somehow trivial and outdated by comparison.'”

Award-winning journalist and author Brian Karem tweeted: “As someone who worked extensively with [Michael Cohen] on the book ‘Revenge’ I can say this: Facts show that the MOST dangerous criminal case against Donald Trump could be made by the Manhattan D.A.”

Read The Times’ full report here.

This article has been updated to include Brian Karem’s tweet.

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$1 Billion Campaign From Group ‘Linked to Staunchly Conservative Causes’ Will Try to ‘Redeem Jesus’ Brand’ in Super Bowl Ads

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From electric vehicles to cosmetics, and even the word “mummy,” there is a lot of rebranding going on.

Bowing to anger from right-wingers and conservative commentators, M&M’s decided to rebrand the decades-old multi-colored candies after outrage over its latest addition, purple, and its new “spokescandy,” also named “Purple.”

“Roughly a year ago, Mars Wrigley updated the look of its M&M’s characters, announcing an initiative to make the mascots fit a ‘more dynamic, progressive world.’ As part of these changes, the company introduced new designs of some of M&M’s characters and wrote weirdly elaborate backstories for others. Most notably, the company made the green M&M less ‘sexy’ by shortening her legs and replacing her high-heeled boots with sneakers,” Vox Media’s Polygon reported last week.

Fox News personality Tucker Carlson infamously has waged war on the “woke” spokescandies, declaring at one point, “M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous.”

Fast forward to now: Actress and comedian Maya Rudolph is their new spokesperson, although the “spokescandies,” perhaps after some additional rebranding, will be returning in a new ad on Super Bowl Sunday.

Which brings us to the rebranding of another icon: Jesus Christ.

He too will be part of the Super Bowl Sunday ads.

READ MORE: Trump-Aligned Christian Nationalist Group ‘Taps Into Unholy Well’ That Threatens Democracy

Over the next three years a $1 billion mostly-dark-money campaign – which reportedly will include funds from billionaire right wing anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ funder David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby – will promote Jesus in ads, including during the Super Bowl on February 12. Those two Super Bowl ads to “to redeem Jesus’ brand” will cost $20 million, Religion News Service reports.

The campaign to promote Jesus includes $100 million in ads declaring “He Gets Us,” from “the Servant Foundation, an Overland Park, Kansas, nonprofit that does business as The Signatry,” RNS adds.

The “donors backing the campaign have until recently remained anonymous — in early 2022, organizers only told Religion News Service that funding came from ‘like-minded families who desire to see the Jesus of the Bible represented in today’s culture with the same relevance and impact He had 2000 years ago.'”

But the full list of donors remains unknown.

“Jason Vanderground, president of Haven, a branding firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan, that is working on the ‘He Gets Us’ campaign, confirmed that the Greens are one of the major funders, among a variety of donors and families who have gotten behind it.”

READ MORE: Pelosi Attack Video Release Leads to Criticism of Musk, Right Wingers Who ‘Trafficked in Homophobic Conspiracy Nonsense’

In a Washington Post interview last year, Vanderground “said Christians see their faith as the greatest love story, but those outside the faith see Christians as a hate group.”

But rather than try to convince self-identified followers of Christ to act as Jesus would want, right-wing interests are spending $1 billion to convince others of what Christianity is supposed to be about.

“Our research shows that many people’s only exposure to Jesus is through Christians who reflect him imperfectly, and too often in ways that create a distorted or incomplete picture of his radical compassion and love for others,” Vanderground told The Washington Post. “We believe it’s more important now than ever for the real, authentic Jesus to be represented in the public marketplace as he is in the Bible.”

Some are not impressed, and are more-or-less asking, “What would Jesus do?”

“They are latching on to this touchy-feely, conveniently vague, designer Jesus,” podcaster, author, and secular activist Seth Andrews told RNS. Andrews “poses the question of what Jesus would think of the amount of money spent on the ads. Would he prefer that the money be spent on ministering to people’s physical needs or making the world a better place?”

READ MORE: McCarthy Sat for an Interview With Trump Jr. – One Bragged About an ‘Illegal’ Act, One Wished His Dad Would ‘Show Some’ Love

“Or would he say, no, go ahead and spend $100 million to tell everybody how great I am?”

On-air, CNN said, “at first blush, it can all read like a stand against radical right-wing politics and related divisiveness,” but adds that “some are calling this a ‘right-wing stunt for politics.'”

“‘He Gets Us’ is funded by anonymous donors acting through a Kansas non-profit linked to staunchly conservative causes,” CNN’s report (video below) notes, saying it “raises alarms for some skeptics.”

Watch CNN’s report below or at this link.

Image: Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock

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