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Love And Marriage: Hate Groups, Racism, Anti-Semitism, And Lies

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It was a week that began with a yawn, thanks to one of the most boring, least gay, and least political Oscar shows in memory –then rapidly descended into ugly days rife with hate speech and hate groups, free speech and lies, racism and anti-semitism. And throughout it all, I kept having to remind myself that oddly, as a writer chronicling the politics of equality, this is supposed to be all about love and marriage.

In an historic first amendment free speech case, the Supreme Court this week ruled that the “God Hates Fags” folks — also known as the Westboro Baptist Church — have the right to picket at or near funerals and say anything they want, including “God hates fags,” “Thank God for 9/11,” “Thank God for AIDS,” and “U R going to hell.”

(The Westboro Baptist Church may have the right to say whatever they want, but since Anonymous took down their Internet sites almost two weeks ago, they’re having issues saying it online. But have no fear; they are promising to quadruple their anti-gay protesting.)

Just because no one likes what the “God Hates Fags” folks have to say, they have the right to say it. As do you. In America, we pay a steep but necessary price for free speech, even when it’s hate speech.

Compare that to Europe, where those who practice hate speech pay a steep price for it.

Especially anti-semitic speech.

The gay, now-former head designer for Christian Dior, John Galliano, was fired after saying in a bar last week, “I love Hitler” … “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be fucking gassed,” which was reportedly followed by, “Dirty Jewish face, you should be dead … Fucking Asian bastard, I will kill you.”

Mr. Galliano has apologized, but is facing possible jail time for his anti-semitic hate speech.

Back in America, not facing jail time, but reportedly facing a $10 million defamation lawsuit is anti-union, anti-left and anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller, and John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council. Geller is now wearing proudly a self-described “badge of honor” –the designation of her organization, Stop Islamization of America, as a hate group, thanks to the good folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

The lawsuit against Geller and Stemberger has motivated Stemberger to join forces with none other than (“exploratory”) GOP presidential candidate, the twice divorced, three-time married serial adulterer and anti-gay politician (and Pope film maker!) Newt Gingrich, along with Southern Baptist ordained minister and liar-about-anything-about-Obama, the devoutly anti-gay GOP presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee. If that weren’t enough theocrats for you, joining them is the intensely homophobic gay-bubble fearing GOP possible presidential aspirant Michele Bachmann.

Gingrich, Huckabee, Bachmann — along with Republican Governor Haley Barbour, and Tony Perkins, president of the certified hate group the Family Research Council (FRC), along with a cast of other extreme right-wing anti-gay conservatives — are hosting a church-based fundraiser for Stemberger that proclaims it will help you “Rediscover God in America.”

Curiously, (perhaps they’ve rediscovered God?), another anti-gay hate group this week actually acknowledged that DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, is unconstitutional!

Pat Vaughn, general counsel for the American Family Association — a certified hate group — who describes itself as “a Christian organization promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society with primary emphasis on TV and other media,” said, “the Defense of Marriage Act is probably unconstitutional, particularly … if you attempt to apply it so that to say that a marriage conducted in one state is not in effect in another. That clearly violates the Constitution.”

Hallelujah!

But guess who’s not saying DOMA is unconstitutional? That’s right, liar-about-anything-about-Obama, the devoutly anti-gay GOP presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee, and GOP possible presidential aspirant, the former reality TV show star, former Republican Vice Presidential candidate, former Alaska Governor, former chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, former Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, former “Miss Congeniality,” (seriously,) former sportscaster, and former head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sarah Palin.

Not only did Huckabee lie about Obama growing up in Kenya (he did not,) surrounded by Madrasas (he was not,) he, along with Sarah Palin, lied about then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s stance on DOMA.

Obama, who last month announced he will enforce — but no longer defend — DOMA in court, has been consistent (except for that 1996 letter in which he claimed to support marriage equality,) in his position on DOMA, including in August 2007, when Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said, “He supports the complete repeal of DOMA which is the same position he has held since early 2004.”

But Palin told NOM’s Maggie Gallagher this week, “It’s appalling, but not surprising that the President has flip-flopped on yet another issue from his stated position as a candidate to a seemingly opposite position once he was elected.”

And Huckabee last month said Obama “himself didn’t take this position [against DOMA] when he ran for president. I think if he had, he wouldn’t be president,” adding, ”I think he owes the people of America an explanation – was he being disingenuous and dishonest then, is he being dishonest now, or did he change his view and if he did, when and why?”

Um, no. Just no.

You know who else lied about Obama’s DOMA position? Pat Vaughn, general counsel for the American Family Association, who clearly said Obama “lied to people [about DOMA] when he ran.”

As I said in the beginning, this week has been filled with ugly days. And anti-semitism. And charges of it. (And don’t get me started on Charlie Sheen!)

Earlier this week, celebrated Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev came to America to discuss, all across the country, the state of the LGBT equality movement in Russia. Alekseev is best-known for suing for, and winning, the right to hold gay pride parades in Moscow. But a discredited detractor claimed that Alekseev made comments that could be seen as anti-semitic.

(You can see Alekseev deny the charges in a speech he made at Columbia University in New York City this week, and hear his interview with veteran writer and radio host Michelangelo Signorile.)

Anti-semitism, like racism, is ugly, and an ugly charge if not true, and all deserve to be examined and discussed.

But the folks on the west coast who were sponsoring Alekseev’s trip didn’t want much of a discussion, and canceled his appearances. Long story short, Alekseev denied the charges several times. And probably isn’t too keen on some of his American counterparts now.

Just when you thought the marriage equality debate in Maryland was over, and the House was ready to vote (the Senate already did, and this should be the final step,) one Maryland state delegate, Sam Arora, flip-flopped his position on marriage equality.

Arora ran on a platform of full equality, and took a lot of money from the LGBT community. Needless to say, they were non-too pleased, and this became a national event.

Fortunately, Arora at the last minute has changed his mind. A bit. He now says he will vote for the bill, but wants a public referendum on marriage equality in Maryland. (For the record, civil rights are inalienable. No one should ever be allowed to vote on your rights.)

But before Arora switched back, NOM’s Maggie Gallagher got into the mix. And played the race card. Maggie claims she did not mean anything racist. You’ll have to decide for yourself.

In response to an op-ed by veteran Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, Maggie wrote,

“I have two reactions to reading this WaPo columnist’s comments.

“First, if Sam Arora is wavering under this media firestorm, he must be hearing from hundreds of constitutents who do not want him to vote for gay marriage.

“Secondly, as someone married to an Indian-American, I find it interesting that the gay marriage machine appears to be re-focusing its attacks from Black Democrats who oppose gay marriage to an easier target: Indian-Americans.”

Now, who knew (I certainly hadn’t) but it seems that Arora is Indian-American. What difference that makes on anything is unbeknownst to me. Not did I know anyone was attacking Black Democrats. Nor did I know there was a “gay marriage machine.” (Where does one buy that?)

This entire situation came to light when well-known columnist, LGBT activist, and Media Matters guy Karl Frisch — who happens to be a friend of Arora — wrote an open letter demanding his campaign contribution back.

Evidently, a very effective tactic, especially when it’s that personal.

Others followed. Many others. And then word got out and comments on Arora’s Facebook page went into overdrive.

As I’ve said, it’s been an ugly week. But change is sometimes ugly. Battles can be ugly.

But it’s all for a good cause. Love, and marriage. And the civil right to have both. Whatever bumps we feel along the way, no other reward, no other success, will be as sweet.

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Republicans Kill Bill to Protect IVF After Claiming They Fully Support It

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After the Alabama Supreme Court ruled two weeks ago that frozen embryos are “children,” causing several medical facilities to pause their in-vitro fertilization services, Republicans rushed to get ahead of the growing national outrage.

Many Republicans insisted that although they oppose abortion and support the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, they did not think it would have effects this far-reaching. And they insisted, repeatedly, on-camera, they absolutely support in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

“Once you pass a law or accept the view that life begins at conception, IVF & some forms of birth control are at risk, along with abortion. It was never ‘just’ about abortion & women pay the price for all of it,” wrote professor of law and MSNBC legal contributor Joyce Vance on February 23. Three days later she added, “It’s pretty simple. If life begins at conception, IVF is off the table. If you make an exception for IVF then we’re just having a conversation about who you’re willing to make exceptions for.”

Republicans insisted they were willing to make an exception for IVF.

RELATED: Nikki Haley: Frozen Embryos Are ‘Babies’

For years, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who has given birth to two children with the help of IVF, has tried to pass legislation to protect IVF.

Republicans each time have killed the bills.

Her latest attempt was Wednesday.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) on Wednesday spoke against the bill.

Sen. Duckworth stamped out Hyde-Smith’s claims, saying, “She said at one point the bill would allow for chimeras — human-animal hybrids — it does nothing of the sort. All the bill says if you want to seek reproductive technology you can …”

Sen. Hyde-Smith then killed the bill by formally objecting to Duckworth’s bill on Wednesday, which the Illinois Democrat tried to pass via unanimous consent.

It was the second time in two years Sen. Hyde-Smith has killed that bill.

They’re hanging this on Hyde-Smith. But the entire senate gop has now united to block a federal law to keep ivf legal,” observed Talking Points Memo publisher Josh Marshall. “They’re all coming out saying that frozen embryos are equal to living children.”

READ MORE: Democrats Discredit GOP Claims on IVF as Republicans Try to Regain Ground After Fallout

Also on Wednesday, the lone House Republican supporting legislation to protect IVF withdrew her sponsorship of that bill.

The Biden campaign on Thursday blasted Republicans for claiming to support IVF then killing the bill that would have protected it.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

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‘Injustice’: Experts Condemn Supreme Court’s ‘Fundamentally Corrupt’ Trump Decision

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Legal and political experts were stunned by the Supreme Court announcing Wednesday it will take up Donald Trump’s claim of presidential immunity, despite there being no contradiction in the lower courts. Compounding experts’ surprise and concern over granting certiorari was the length of time it took to announce the decision, and that they will not hear arguments until April 22.

“The Supreme Court heard and decided Bush v. Gore in THREE DAYS. THAT was expediting a case of national importance,” noted Tristan Snell, the former New York State prosecutor who led the successful investigation and $25 million prosecution of Donald Trump’s Trump University. “The Supreme Court apparently now thinks expediting means THREE MONTHS. Clearest evidence yet that SCOTUS is corrupt and broken.”

Professor of law and MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann, the former FBI General Counsel who served at DOJ for decades, asked: “Why on god’s green earth did the S Ct [Supreme Court] not take the case earlier when the Special Counsel sought review directly from the District Court? They have really played into Trump’s hands.”

He adds: “The Supreme Court is going straight for the capillaries: an issue the DC criminal case does not raise, namely the outer bounds of a presidential immunity doctrine.”

READ MORE: Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

Weissman Thursday morning noted that the Supreme Court’s actions essentially make Trump “de facto immune.”

Foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and author David Rothkopf replied, “I think you have answered your own question. The only reason to handle this the way they did is to, at best, play Trump’s delay game and, at worst, set the stage for one of the most indefensible, corrupt decisions (or outcomes) in US history.”

“Those who did not understand the urgency of stopping the threat posed by Trump, MAGA and the dark money right, those who did not actively hold them accountable with every available institutional tool, may have been the undoing of American democracy…no matter their intentions,” he noted.

“Let’s not beat around the bush, decision by the Supreme Court to hear the Trump immunity case is outrageous and, at its heart, fundamentally corrupt,” Rothkopf also wrote. “The Appeals Court decision was bullet proof and there is no case Trump has any sort of immunity. The decision not to hear it until late April makes further significant trial delays likely. They are deliberately delaying the trial without any reasonable legal reason to do so. This is a political decision and, in my estimation, an ugly one.”

“If a special counsel had been appointed early in 2021,” Rothkopf also wrote, “if Trump obstruction of justice had be prosecuted, if Trump had not been granted special treatment on his theft of classified documents, if the classified documents case had been brought in DC as it should have been, Trump might very well be in jail now.”

READ MORE: Comer Announces Public Hearing After Hunter Biden Closed Door Testimony

He also pointed to this monologue from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, calling it “correct.”

University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University Laurence Tribe blasted “the SCOTUS decision to slow-walk Trump’s outrageous immunity claim — the claim everyone knows would be rejected 9-0 by any self-respecting court.”

Noting the Supreme Court could have taken up the case back in December, Tribe told CNN, “There’s nothing new under the sun” in this case. “It doesn’t make any sense to stretch this out this way.”

“We can be sure that they want to use this case to settle a whole broad range of issues, contrary to their supposed practice of deciding no more than you must decide. In fact, the Chief Justice once famously said, if we don’t have to decide something, that means we have to avoid deciding it. He’s obviously violated that mandate here and the struggle within the court results in injustice for the nation.”

Tribe also slammed the Court for choosing to announce it will decide “the broadest possible question.” He suggests they could stretch it out even more, by taking the case, hearing it, then sending it back to the lower courts again.

Daily Beast columnist and “recovering attorney” Wajahat Ali observed: “A thoroughly corrupt Supreme Court with right-wing justices bought out by conservative billionaires and beholden to Christian nationalism should not be expected to side with justice, the rule of law, or democracy. Elections matter.”

CNN Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic on Wednesday said, The fact that they delayed this order … suggests that they certainly did not embrace the urgency that Special Counsel Jack Smith tried to impose upon them, way back in December.”

“Former President Trump’s effort to run the clock has a partner in the Supreme Court at this point,” she notes.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘How Extremism Is Normalized’: Schlapp Furious as Critics Slam CPAC Over Report of Nazis

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Comer Announces Public Hearing After Hunter Biden Closed Door Testimony

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House Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer announced he will hold a public hearing with Hunter Biden after the president’s son testified behind closed doors for most of Wednesday.

“I think this was a great deposition for us, it proved several bits of our evidence, that we’ve been conducting throughout this investigation, but there are also some contradictory statements that I think need further review,” Comer told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

“So this impeachment inquiry will now go to the next phase, which will be a public hearing. And that’s something that I think everyone in the media has been asking a lot of questions about. Something that I know that Mr. Biden and his attorney both demanded, just as I said, when we said we were going to do the deposition first, we will have a public hearing next.”

It’s unclear what other witnesses Chairman Comer and Chairman Jordan will present.

Comer claimed that parts of Hunter Biden’s testimony contradicted some of their previous witness’ testimony, although he refused to elaborate.

READ MORE: Court Denies Trump Request to Pause $454M Bond Requirement Amid His Cash Liquidity Claim

Hunter Biden stated in the opening remarks he released publicly Wednesday morning that Chairman Comer and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan had built their “entire partisan house of cards on lies told by the likes of Gal Luft, Tony Bobulinski, Alexander Smirnov, and Jason Galanis.”

“Luft, who is a fugitive, has been indicted for his lies and other crimes; Smirnov, who has made you dupes in carrying out a Russian disinformation campaign waged against my father, has been indicted for his lies; Bobulinski, who has been exposed for the many false statements he has made, and Galanis, who is serving 14 years in prison for fraud.”

Politico described Hunter Biden’s opening statement as “blistering.”

“I am here today,” the President’s son began, “to provide the Committees with the one uncontestable fact that should end the false premise of this inquiry: I did not involve my father in my business. Not while I was a practicing lawyer, not in my investments or transactions domestic or international, not as a board member, and not as an artist. Never.”

Watch Comer below or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

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