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Gay Rights And Guns. Essential Liberties?

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Gun Rallies. Militias. Tea Party Patriots. Gun Rights. The Oklahoma City Bombing. The Second Amendment. Columbine. Waco. Gay rights.

Which of these doesn’t go with the others?

Actually, none of them. Because all of these are about what Americans perceive as “essential liberties.” The issue is not everyone agrees on all of them. Gay rights, I believe, mean greater equality, freedom, and liberty for all. Maybe you believe gun rights mean greater equality, freedom, and liberty for all.

Regardless of your position, these are the issues all Americans are talking about today, the seventeenth anniversary of the death of 81 Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, and the fifteenth anniversary of the death of 168 in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Tomorrow will be the eleventh anniversary of the Columbine massacre, in which fifteen, including the two high school students, died.

To “celebrate,” there are two gun rallies today, one in Washington, D.C., and one across the Potomac. The first, thankfully, isn’t “open-carry,” given D.C.’s gun laws. The one across the river, is. Guns will be loaded and openly carried in the nation’s first gun rally in a public, national park.

MSNBC this morning offered an “interview” (more like an open platform) with one of the gun rally organizers, who proudly proclaimed that the second amendment is the amendment that gives us the civil right to protect all our other civil rights. That claim went unchallenged. And it was bunk.

Let me be clear. I love our country. I love America and all the things I was taught growing up in the ’60s and 70s that America represented. Freedom. Liberty. Truth and justice for all. And equality. Which includes gay rights.

But let me also be clear. I grew up. And I saw what uncontrolled greed and hate can do. And Waco and Columbine and Oklahoma City happened after I formed my opinions.

While many believe the “right to bear arms” is enshrined in the Constitution, many others believe the right to marry is as well.

There can be, and should be, strong limits placed on acquiring guns, carrying guns, and using guns. I believe, and statistics confirm, that more guns mean more gun violence. (32 Americans die every day from gun violence. Eight of them are children.) And if the purpose of government is to protect its citizens, surely protection from gun violence should rank high on its list of priorities.

Liberty and freedom mean as much the protection to do what you want to do as they do the protection from others doing what they want to do to you.

Americans, all Americans, need government protections. “Small government” means less rules, and less rule-enforcement. “Small government” is not an idea that makes sense in a twenty-first century that has seen a global financial meltdown due entirely to unbridled greed and bad decisions. “Small government” is not an idea that makes sense when insurance companies and banks are bilking every dollar from every American they possibly can. But is “small government” an idea that makes sense when gay couples are separated by the government, despite legal protections already in place, have their belongings auctioned off, and placed in separate nursing homes, and die alone?

And to that I have to go back to the beginning and look at our Constitution. And ask this essential question:

Why is it the very people who claim to believe in small government, in limited government, are the very first to use government to deny gay and lesbian Americans our Constitutional right to marry, to serve openly in our military, to deny same-sex couples the right to adopt children, to legally marry and form legally-recognized families?

Government’s role is not to limit rights and freedoms, but to expand them. And, to protect those who need protection. I don’t see how carrying loaded weapons expands liberty or freedom. Perhaps you don’t see how my right to serve openly in the military, adopt children and raise a family, and marry the man I love expands liberty or freedom.

But the one thing I do see is this. Mine affects no one but me and the man I love. Surely, that is the essence of what should be protected in the name of freedom and liberty.

(Image: Caleb Eigsti)

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FASCISM

‘Just Shoot Them’: Trump Told Top US General to ‘Crack Skulls’ and ‘Beat the F’ Out of Civil Rights Protestors: New Book

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President Donald Trump told America’s highest-ranking general and top law enforcement officials to “shoot” civil rights protestors in Seattle and Portland, “crack their skulls,” and “beat the f–k” out of them, according to a new book by a Wall Street Journal reporter.

“The President would highlight videos that showed law enforcement getting physical with protesters and tell his administration he wanted to see more of that behavior,” CNN reports, citing excerpts from Michael Bender’s book, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost.”

“That’s how you’re supposed to handle these people,” Trump told his top law enforcement and military officials, according to Bender. “Crack their skulls!”

Trump also told his team that he wanted the military to go in and “beat the f–k out” of the civil rights protesters, Bender writes.

“Just shoot them,” Trump said on multiple occasions inside the Oval Office, according to the excerpts.

But Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley (photo, right) refused, Bender reveals, with Milley and Attorney General Bill Barr often finding themselves the only ones willing to push back against the president.

General Milley, who made headlines Wednesday after delivering a stunning lecture on critical race theory and “wokeness” to U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who was not pleased by it, also pushed back against Trump senior advisor, white supremacist Stephen Miller.

During one Oval Office debate, senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller chimed in, equating the scenes unfolding on his television to those in a third-world country and claiming major American cities had been turned into war zones.

“These cities are burning,” Miller warned, according to the excerpts.

The comment infuriated Milley, who viewed Miller as not only wrong but out of his lane, Bender writes, noting the Army general who had commanded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan spun around in his seat and pointed a finger directly at Miller.

“Shut the f–k up, Stephen,” Milley snapped, according to the excerpts.

Read the entire report at CNN.

 

Image of President Trump and General Milley: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO COMPETENCY?

‘No Time to Waste’: DeSantis Blasted for Going on Fox News as Biden and Miami Mayor Urge Him to Request State of Emergency

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Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis is taking time to pose for the cameras and talk to Fox News in the wake of the stunning partial building collapse that more than 12 hours later has left 99 people missing, and feared dead.

DeSantis reportedly added an interview with far right Fox News host Mark Levin to his calendar for Thursday.

President Joe Biden during a news conference announcing a bipartisan agreement on, appropriately, an infrastructure bill on-camera Thursday afternoon urged the Florida Republican governor to ask for a declaration of a state of emergency, but DeSantis has yet to do so – nor has he declared a state of emergency himself for the Surfside disaster. President Biden appears to have ordered FEMA to Florida to assess the situation, which is the most they are allowed to do until the governor acts.

Also urging DeSantis to request a state of emergency declaration is Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who says “there is no time to waste.”

Apparently DeSantis believes there is, and many are blasting the likely 2024 GOP presidential hopeful.

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NOT AN EXPERT

Watch: MSNBC’s Joy Reid Takes Down Architect of the Critical Race Theory Culture War in Epic Debate

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MSNBC host Joy Reid took on Christopher Rufo, the think-tank “scholar” who claimed to be an expert on race because he works as a “scholar” at a conservative think tank. Speaking Wednesday, Reid got him to confess that he’s neither an expert in race nor in law, which is where the idea of critical race theory is generally taught.

Rufo claimed that Reid was attacking him on air, which she corrected, saying that she was doing nothing more than reading the quote from his own documents.

Reid began by asking at what point “critical race theory” was invented, and he didn’t know, saying sometime in the 1980s or 1990s. Reid cited the Harvard University paper in which it was first mentioned in 1981 by Professor Derrick Bell, who died in 2011.

She cited Rufo’s “documentary” on critical race theory that cites professors or professorial types who he admits are academics who he claims are replacing equality with equity, which is a conservative charge Reid said she’s been hearing since she was in high school. “To ending individual property rights and even to committing reverse genocide or calling for reverse genocide.”

Rufo said that it wasn’t true, which is when Reid said she would play the clip if Rufo allowed her to do it, but he wouldn’t. He said that the term is counter genocide, a genocide perpetrated in retaliation to another genocide.

Rufo claims in his talking points that the father of critical race theory was Ibram X. Kendi, who told Reid that he wasn’t a critical race theorist.

“I admire critical race theory but I don’t identify as a critical race theorist. I’m not a legal scholar, so I wasn’t trained on critical race theory,” Kendi said. “I’m a historian and Chris would know that if he actually read my work or understood that critical race theory is taught in law schools. I didn’t attend law school.”

Rufo began to complain that Reid was citing things and not letting him answer, but she explained she wanted to go through her list of disputes.

Rufo claimed that he wasn’t a political operative, but Reid rolled a video of Rufo speaking at the Claremont Institute on May 18 in which he called critical race theory a political “cudgel,” meaning a giant political weapon. He went on to supplement his point by quoting Barbara Applebaum, who he said was a critical race theorist. She’s, in fact, listed as being trained in philosophy and education and “her research is heavily influenced by feminist ethics, feminist philosophy, and critical race theory.”

He also quoted American author Robin DiAngelo who did her thesis on whiteness in racial dialogues. She also is an education professor, not a critical theorist, according to her website.

“There are these very pathetic and very angry graduate students who try to fight me on these highly technical haggle interpretations,” said Rufo. “I don’t have time for this. Like I don’t give a sh*t.”

Reid noted that there again explains that critical race theory isn’t something being taught in kindergarten, it’s a graduate-level conversation among academics.

His argument fell apart from there.

See the videos below:

 

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