Julian Bond last night told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that gay rights are civil rights and all these rights are “exactly the same” and “universal.” Cooper was discussing with Bond this week’s shocking revelation that NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, published inÂ internal memosÂ its “strategic goal” is to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks, two key Democratic constituencies.” Â Calling that “scary,”Â Bond, the iconic former chairman of the NAACP, and now its Chairman Emeritus, was speaking about civil rights for the LGBT community in relation to civil rights for the African-American community, and said they are the same.
Dr. Bond, who also was a founder of the illustrious Southern Poverty Law Center, called the revelations of NOM’s strategy, “one of the most cynical things I’ve ever heard of or seen.” Bond added, “Now the idea that these people are just pawns that can be played with, the black people who oppose gay marriage, and the black people who support gay marriage, just can be moved around like pieces on a chessboard, it’s just scary.”
Here’s the transcript, via CNN:
COOPER: I want to read you from some of this internal memo from the National Organization for Marriage. They say, “The strategic goal of the project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks, two key Democratic constituencies.”
They go on to say that they should recruit African-Americans to oppose gay marriage, to serve as spokespeople, and then provoke the gay marriage base into calling those spokespeople bigots, which would then drive a wedge. What do you make of this?
JULIAN BOND, FORMER CHAIRMAN, NAACP: It’s the most — one of the most cynical things I’ve ever heard of or seen spelled out in this way. Now the idea that these people are just pawns that can be played with, the black people who oppose gay marriage, and the black people who support gay marriage, just can be moved around like pieces on a chessboard, it’s just scary.
COOPER: They released a statement that said, quote, “Gay marriage advocates have attempted to portray same-sex marriage as a civil right. Gay marriage is not a civil right.” You see the push for equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans as a civil rights movement?
BOND: Very much so.
COOPER: As an extension of the civil rights movement. BOND: Of course. It is exactly the same. It’s a right that all Americans have, and no reason why gay and lesbian people ought not to have these rights, too. These are universal rights.
COOPER: But to those who say, look, this has nothing to do with civil rights, and there are many African-Americans who actually get offended by the comparison to the civil rights movement, among African-Americans.
BOND: We ought to be happy that other people, including gays and lesbians, and many other people have imitated the black movement for human rights. They’ve adopted our songs; we ought to be happy. They’ve adopted our slogans; we ought to be happy. They’ve adopted the way in which we went about it, in a nonviolent way, generally speaking. We ought to be proud of that, that we served as examples to others.
And when the others imitate what we did to gain their rights, we ought to be first in line to say, “Can I help you. You helped me. Can I help you?”
COOPER: When this memo went out — it was 2009 — polling showed that, among African-Americans, only 32 percent of African-Americans were in favor of same-sex marriage.
There’s a recent NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll that showed 50 percent of African-Americans are now in favor of it. Do you feel like the tide of history is moving in this direction?
BOND: Absolutely. Absolutely. As more and more people think, “Gee, that guy who sits next to me in church, he’s gay, and he seems to be OK. The guy who works next to me on the job, I think he’s gay, and he seems to be OK. So I know all these people who are gay, and they’re all right with me.”
COOPER: Do you think some people who, African-Americans, who do not like the movement for equality being described as a civil rights movement, do you think they feel that that in — somehow takes away from the struggle that African-Americans…
BOND: Yes, I think there’s a — wrongly so. Wrongly so. But I — if they knew that Brian Ruskin (ph), a gay man, was the guy who put together the March on Washington, and it wouldn’t have been the success it was, had it not been for him, I think they’d feel differently about it.
If they knew that throughout the history of the black struggle for civil rights, black and white and Asian and Latino gay people and lesbians participated and sacrificed alongside their black brothers and sisters, I think they’d feel differently about it.
Because this is not — we don’t have a patent on rights in this country. Black people don’t have a patent on fighting for civil rights. This is something all Americans want to do and should do. And we ought to be proud that others have imitated us. COOPER: It’s interesting to me that in the past, you have not had a lot of straight people championing this cause, and yet you have, sometimes at great — you’ve received a lot of criticism for it.
BOND: Yes, I have. But I think, you know, I served in the civil right movements beside black people and white people, and gay people and lesbian people, and I often thought to myself, these people are helping me. Can I help them? Shouldn’t I help them?
And when the gay movement, which is an old movement in this country, became more and more prominent, and it became something that people like myself, straight people, could join in and participate, I was eager to play whatever part I could. Because this is something, I think, important to all of us. I don’t care if you’re gay or straight. This is something you ought to be concerned about.
COOPER: Just on another topic, I’d just like to get your thought on the shooting of Trayvon Martin. What is your impression of what happened and of the debate that’s…
BOND: I can only go by what I read in the papers or see on TV, that what seemed to happen is this police wannabe followed him, against the orders of the police, got out of his car, confronted him in some way. We don’t know what happened then.
But we do know that Martin is dead. He’s shot in the chest. He’s killed. And I can’t imagine what he might have done or could have done that would make that happen, that would prompt that. That would make that excusable.
COOPER: Julian Bond, thanks for being on.
BOND: Thank you.
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Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’
If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.
“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.
But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”
“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.
It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”
The allegations continue.
“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”
“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”
The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”
The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”
The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.
You can read The Beast’s full report here.
Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticket via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer is pushing baseless conspiracy theories about the Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon floating over the United States – currently, over Montana – that the Pentagon is tracking, and he’s being widely mocked for his unfounded fear-mongering.
Fox News host Harris Faulkner set the stage perfectly for the far-right Republican from Kentucky, declaring the balloon is “the size of three buses” and that “China says was taken by wind – wind that we can’t substantiate.”
The Kentucky congressman who has falsely described President Biden as “compromised,” and stated he is going to target and investigate him, told Faulkner, “I have concern this is going to be another example of the Biden administration’s weakness on the national scale.”
Comer, 50, a former agriculture commissioner, lamented about Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming it hurt the reputation of America’s military and Commander in Chief.
The balloon, he said, should “never have been allowed” to cross over into the United States.
“My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” he asked, pushing unfounded theories while echoing the far-right’s false claims the COVID-19 virus was developed as a bioweapon and escaped the lab in Wuhan, China.
After suggesting it might have bioweapons, he then said it was “very concerning” the balloon was not shot down before reaching the U.S. – which could have spread the alleged bioweapon.
Faulkner, seen by some as a propagandist, then jumped in to exhibit her surprise that “people on Capitol Hill were not briefed” about the balloon.
“Calling for the president to ‘shoot down’ the craft,” The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona adds, “some in the GOP called the president ‘Beijing Biden’ while claiming this is further proof that ‘Communist China’ doesn’t ‘fear or respect’ Biden.”
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer to Fox News: “My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” pic.twitter.com/0r9JmBl4zo
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 3, 2023
“Honestly,” communications strategist Doug Gordon noted, “just surprised he didn’t find a way to include Hunter’s laptop into that conspiracy theory.”
“Actually, he did later on,” Baragona replied.
National security expert Denver Riggleman, the Republican former U.S. Congressman from Virginia who assisted the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, tweeted: “Bioweapons? FFS”
Referring to Comer’s unfounded bioweapons claim, one Twitter user observed, “Isn’t that more reason not to shoot at it? I’m not saying I know what to do, but logic would dictate ‘don’t shoot at balloons full of bioweapons.’ Right?”
Another noted that the Oversight Chairman should have been listening to the Pentagon’s briefing “taking place now instead of running to get on Fox to talk about something he has no expertise in.”
Another, mocking Comer, noted: “If they were sending a bio weapon, why would they park it over sparsely populated Montana? *rolls eyes*”
Watch the video above or at this link.
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