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National Organization For Marriage Wants Starbucks To Pay ‘Price’ In Middle East

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In post-election call NOM president says, ‘These are not countries that look kindly on same-sex marriage”

 

The National Organization for Marriage is pledging to continue its efforts to ensure that companies that back same-sex marriage pay a “price” in Middle Eastern countries that are hostile to gay rights.

The statements came during a NOM conference call Thursday evening, which the organization billed to its supporters as a discussion of the 2012 elections — which resulted in the legalization of gay marriage in three states and the defeat of a gay-marriage ban in a fourth — and of “what’s next in the fight to defend marriage.”

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During the call, NOM’s top leaders said they needed to greatly expand their fundraising efforts. They argued that Mitt Romney should have focused more on the same-sex marriage issue, and they blamed Karl Rove for allegedly pushing Republicans and outside groups to focus solely on economic issues.

NOM also suggested that opponents of same-sex marriage would argue in court that Tuesday’s election results were evidence that gays and lesbians do not constitute a “suspect class” and that the Defense of Marriage Act should therefore not be overturned.

The American Independent obtained an invitation to the conference call and dialed in.

During the call, one participant cited Starbucks, which endorsed gay marriage legalization in Washington, and General Mills, which spoke out against the proposed gay marriage ban in Minnesota. The participant asked what could be done “to stop the wave of corporate sponsorship of gay marriage.”

NOM President Brian Brown responded by saying that NOM was targeting the international business of companies that support same-sex marriage such as Starbucks, which NOM also hit with a national boycott effort this year. Brown said the aim is to make these companies’ political stances known in countries in the Middle East and elsewhere that generally do not support same-sex marriage, or homosexuality in general.

“Their international outreach is where we can have the most effect,” Brown said. “So for example, in Qatar, in the Middle East, we’ve begun working to make sure that there’s some price to be paid for this. These are not countries that look kindly on same-sex marriage. And this is where Starbucks wants to expand, as well as India. So we have done some of this; we’ve got to do a lot more.”

“It takes money to go up against someone like Starbucks,” Brown continued, noting that NOM’s resources had been spread thin. “I mean, we’ve got 50,000 people who’ve said, ‘We’re no longer going to purchase Starbucks products,’ but that’s the tip of the iceberg. Has it had some effect? I think so, but it’s nowhere near enough. An example has to be made of some of these companies if we’re going to get this sort of tidal wave of support for same-sex marriage to stop.”

Listen to the audio

Earlier this year, NOM announced that it was taking “Dump Starbucks” campaign “international.” In a statement at the time, Brown said that “DumpStarbucks.com online ads will also start running in Egypt, Beijing, Hong Kong, the Yunnan region of China, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.”

“What happens in Seattle won’t to stay in Seattle,” Brown said at the time. “By making gay marriage core to his brand, Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz [sic] is telling millions of customers and partners who support traditional marriage in the Middle East, China, South America and North America that they aren’t truly part of the Starbucks community.”

The theme of the call Thursday was that the fight is not over, which is something NOM has been stressing in the media since Tuesday’s election. Both Brown and NOM national political director Frank Schubert waved away the notion that the marriage equality wins signal that Americas now favor same-sex marriage — they said these were simply liberal states where gay marriage advocates drastically outspent gay marriage foes and won by slim margins.

“The most important, you know, reality is that our work has gotten harder, but we are not defeated,” Brown said. “These are, as I said, four difficult states. We will have more fights, we will have more wins, but we’re going to need to be able to match the other side. We’re not going to be able to win in these sort of states being outspent in the way that we were.”

Looking to the future, Brown warned supporters of upcoming marriage fights in Delaware, Illinois, and Rhode Island, and of potential Supreme Court decisions concerning the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, and the fate of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Brown said he believes the marriage equality wins will actually hurt gay-marriage advocates’ arguments in cases involving DOMA “because one of the arguments of the other side is that gays and lesbians are a suspect class, and that means that there’s some level of political powerlessness. That clearly is not the case.”

“I think that on one level, the fact that we lost in these states may actually help us win in the Supreme Court,” Brown said. “Also, for someone like Justice [Anthony] Kennedy — who has said in the past, has not wanted the court to be too far ahead of public opinion — the reality that the majority of states have voted with us, but recently some states have voted to redefine marriage underscores the idea that the federal government doesn’t need to act here, that the states are dealing with this on their own, and the federal government shouldn’t bypass the democratic process right in the middle.”

Schubert repeatedly said that “marriage remains a winning issue” and blamed Mitt Romney’s campaign and the larger GOP campaign for failing to talk enough about same-sex marriage. He suggested that if the whole country had voted on the issue Tuesday, same-sex marriage would have been opposed by “65 percent of the vote.”

He said this assumption was based on the fact that on average “marriage outpaced the GOP tickets” and also based on a national Election Day survey NOM released Friday. That survey, which was conducted by conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway’s Polling Group, found that “60% of Americans who voted in the election favor marriage being the union of one man and one woman.”

By contrast, national exit polls from this year’s election found that 49 percent of polled voters said same-sex marriage should be legal in their states, compared to 46 of polled voters who said it should be illegal.

NOM: Karl Rove’s economic issues strategy was a ‘false bill of goods’

Both Brown and Schubert made it clear that NOM’s immediate goal is to raise more money. They attributed their recent losses to the fact that they were outspent by gay marriage supporters.

“[W]e’re spread thin, and part of the story of this election is, you know, we tried to fight four fights all at once right after putting all our money into North Carolina, and the other side spread us out,” Brown said.

In a press release Wednesday, Brown said that NOM had contributed “over $5.5 million” but that the organization was outspent “by a margin of at least four-to-one.” On Thursday’s call, Schubert said NOM had raised a little more than $10 million and that marriage equality supporters had spent about $33 million.

“We’ve got to attract the support of economic conservatives, who are primarily interested in issues other than marriage, and have them see how it’s important that we operate as a coalition, as our opponents do,” Schubert said. “We’ve got to take their model and apply it to ourselves. We’ve got to do a better job at raising major gifts; we’ve got to do a better job at raising smaller-dollar gifts.”

Brown agreed that the conservatives focused too closely on economic issues during this election. He called out political strategist Karl Rove, whose Crossroads groups were reportedly the largest outside spending organizations of the 2012 election.

“I think that the Republican Party in general was sold a false bill of goods this election, and the notion that we should only talk about economic issues gained the day,” Brown said. “This was really sort of Karl Rove’s strategy. There was hundreds of millions of dollars raised for outside groups, and they wanted everyone to stay on message on jobs. … Clearly it was a mistake, because it didn’t work.”

Listen to the audio

Brown also said NOM wants to keep attacking, through advertising, conservatives that come out in support of same-sex marriage, like the group did with Republican state senators from New York who voted to legalize same-sex marriage in 2011.

“If anything comes out of this election, we need to have what Rove had, which is the ability to have a super PAC-like structure, where there is money that is being used as a help, a sort of carrot, and that there are also sticks,” he said.

Brown also said that voter turnout among NOM’s constituency was low.

“The other side … their get-out-the-vote machine — Obama, and the Democratic Party — was just unbelievable for an election of this type,” he said. “And our people did stay at home. There was actually less Evangelical voters in many of these states. … It was an absolute disaster for us.”

‘We are sort of a baby organization’

NOM has long been criticized for portraying itself as a grassroots organization when so much of its major financial support has come from a few wealthy donors and conservative foundations.

But to the group’s supporters, Brown and Schubert talked about the need for more genuine grassroots support.

“We think that we need to look closely at how we organize at the grassroots level.” Schubert said. “We have a lot of superficial support, particularly in the Protestant community, but we’ve had a very difficult time in operationalizing that support into actual grassroots activities, getting people walking precincts, making phone calls, doing the day-to-day hard work of being grassroots allies for us.”

Brown said the organization is now trying to figure out ways to attract more grassroots supporters.

“Just looking at the battlefield, we are not the Human Rights Campaign,” he said. “They’ve got 40 million dollars; they’ve got multiple grassroots directors. We are sort of a baby organization that’s had to grow very quickly, and we are going to be focusing a lot more on the grassroots.”

 

This article and the accompanying image originally appeared at The American Independent and are gratefully republished here by permission.

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News

Buttigieg Top Choice for Harris VP Among Available Candidates: Poll

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, the former Indiana mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate now raising a family in his husband’s home state of Michigan, is Democrats’ top choice to become Kamala Harris’ vice presidential running mate among available candidates, according to a new poll.

An NPR/PBS News/Marist National Poll taken Monday asked Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, “who would you most like to see selected as the Democratic nominee for Vice President?” among a list of eight top contenders.

The eight included in the poll are: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, and Maryland Governor Wes Moore.

Governors Whitmer and Moore have since clearly stated they are not interested in the role, but reports state Gov. Whitmer is being vetted.

Of those eight Democrats, Governor Whitmer and Secretary Buttigieg are tied, at 21%, in the Marist poll.

READ MORE: ‘Super Creepy’: Vance and Masters’ Belief Politicians Have to Have Kids Called ‘Repugnant’

Gov. Shapiro comes in third at 17%, followed by Sen. Kelly (13%), Gov. Cooper (8%), Gov. Pritzker (7%), and Governors Beshear and Moore (8%).

The poll breaks down across demographics including geography, household income, education level, race/ethnicity, race and education, age, gender, and size of home town/city. It also breaks out Small city/Suburban Men, and Small city/Suburban Women.

Across all candidates and demographics, the highest percent is 28%, which is owned by Buttigieg under the “Region” category: 28% of Democrats in the West support Buttigieg to be Harris’s vice presidential running mate.

Whitmer has the strongest polling in several categories, but removing her from the equation, assuming she refuses to join the ticket, Buttigieg is the clear top choice among those polled.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday four candidates appear to be getting the most attention, although the campaign is looking at about a dozen potential candidates:

“While much of the political conversation has centered on four names — Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper — Harris’ team has requested information from about a dozen officials, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential process.”

Of course, presidential candidates look at a wide variety of factors when choosing their running mates.

READ MORE: Buttigieg Praises Harris’s Focus on ‘People’s Families’ – Slams Vance’s ‘Childless’ Attack

In 2020, then-de-facto nominee Joe Biden said, “You have to be intellectually simpatico. You have to be on the same wavelength. Now, Barack and I never disagreed on the strategy. We sometimes disagreed on tactic.”

NPR White House correspondent Asma Khalid at the time noted, “Biden says he is also looking for someone who has strengths that he does not have, which is fairly common. In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who had no experience on Capitol Hill at the time, chose Paul Ryan, who was a leading Republican member of the House. In 2008, John McCain made a competitive calculation when he was running against Barack Obama.”

“The conventional rule is that a running mate should do no harm,” she added.

Vice President Harris may be thinking about that in particular amid reports Donald Trump and the GOP appear to be regretting his choice of U.S. Senator JD Vance (R-OH).

Harris is expected to announce her choice of running mate by August 7, according to The Associated Press.  The Democratic National Convention starts August 19.

READ MORE: US Strong Economic Growth ‘Continues to Defy Expectations,’ Expert Credits Biden Policies

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‘Super Creepy’: Vance and Masters’ Belief Politicians Have to Have Kids Called ‘Repugnant’

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Resurfaced video from 2021 shows Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate, U.S. Senator JD Vance (R-OH) sharing his belief that children should be given the “right” to vote – but those rights should go to their parents, so parents have more votes than non-parents. In remarks more widely distributed, Vance also said that the country is run by the Democratic Party, which he called “a bunch of childless cat ladies.”

Republican congressional candidate Blake Masters weighed in, sharing his belief that having children should be a pre-requisite for being elected as a political leader.

The pushback from critics has been palpable.

“Let’s give votes to all children in this country. But let’s give control over those votes to the parents of those children. When you go to the polls in this country, as a parent, you should have more power. You should have more of an ability to speak your voice in our democratic republic than people who don’t have kids,” Vance declared in 2021 (video below) while delivering a speech to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a right-wing college organization which is now on the Project 2025 Advisory Board. “Let’s face the consequences and the reality if you don’t have as much of an investment in the future of this country, maybe you shouldn’t get nearly the same voice.”

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“Doesn’t this mean that non-parents don’t have as much of a voice as parents? Doesn’t this mean that parents get a bigger say in how our democracy functions?” Vance asked. “Yes. Absolutely.”

Vance’s remarks on parents getting more votes was overshadowed by his now-infamous comment that Democrats are “a bunch of childless cat ladies.”

“We’re effectively run in this country via the Democrats, via, via our corporate oligarchs by a bunch of childless cat ladies who are miserable at their own lives and the choices that they’ve made,” Vance told Tucker Carlson, the now-former Fox News host.

READ MORE: Eight Years Ago JD Vance Wondered How Many Americans Donald Trump Had ‘Sexually Assaulted’

“And so they want to make the rest of the country miserable too. And it’s just a basic fact… Kamala Harris. Pete Buttigieg. AOC. The entire future of the Democrats is controlled by people without children. And how does it make any sense that we’ve turned our country over to people who don’t really have a direct stake in it?”

Vance is already seeing great pushback for his remarks.

“JD Vance is apparently unaware that George Washington had no children,” wrote Billy Binion, a reporter for the libertarian magazine Reason. “Was the founder of this country just a ~childless cat lady~ with no stake in America? This stuff is embarrassing and incoherent, and people in the Republican Party should be willing to say so.”

Astonishing parallels below between slave owners who counted 3/5 of their slaves in the census to inflate their political power and @JDVance promoting extra voting power for parents. As the father of 8, I find his views repugnant,” wrote professor of law and journalism David Cay Johnston.

Despite the pushback, Vance’s remarks and beliefs were propped up Wednesday night by Republican candidate Blake Masters, who wrote: “Political leaders should have children. Certainly they should at least be married. If you aren’t running or can’t run a household of your own, how can you relate to a constituency of families, or govern wisely with respect to future generations? Skin in the game matters.”

Now Masters is getting pushback as well.

“According to @bgmasters, echoing the sentiment of @JDVance and the Trump campaign, if you’ve miscarried, you have no skin in the game. If you’re Lindsey Graham or Tim Scott, you’re not eligible to govern. If you’re a widow or widower, you can’t run a household,” wrote Travis Akers, a retired Naval Intelligence Officer, veterans’ advocate, and activist.

Political commentator and former Obama spokesperson Tommy Vietor responded with a personal story:

“My wife and I had multiple, soul-crushing miscarriages, and one still born daughter before we were able to have children. Millions of parents are desperate to have kids but simply can’t. Treating people without children like they are lesser human beings is unbelievably cruel.”

Marcy Wheeler, a noted civil rights and national security journalist also shared her personal story, writing: “A year after marrying my beloved spouse of 20+ years, I started 6 years of cancer treatment, which largely closed window we would have had children. Sh*thole men who can’t understand those kinds of questions simply can’t relate to choices families face everyday.”

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) responded by saying, “This is all so super creepy and disturbing.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Anti-Harris Propaganda Begins, Expert Cites Kellyanne Conway as Example

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US Strong Economic Growth ‘Continues to Defy Expectations,’ Expert Credits Biden Policies

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America’s economy grew at a “robust” but “not too hot” rate over the last quarter, leading experts to declare it “continues to defy expectations,” as inflation subsides. Economists point to sustained levels of purchasing by American consumers, with one expert crediting President Joe Biden’s economic policies as achieving better results than most countries around the world have seen.

“The economy picked up sharply in the second quarter as a rise in consumer and business spending offset a drop in housing construction and a widening trade gap,” USA Today reports. “The nation’s gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S., expanded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.8% in the April-to-June period, the Commerce Department said Thursday.”

“Forecasters surveyed by Bloomberg had projected a 1.9% increase.”

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Michael Linden, a Senior Policy Fellow at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth explains: “At this point after the Great Recession [a global recession that technically ended in 2009], the economy was about 6% smaller than what had been expected. That’s millions of people out of work. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars not in pockets. It matters a lot that we are above projections!”

He adds, “the overall size of the US economy is BIGGER today than what was expected even before the pandemic struck.”

Fitch Ratings’ head of economic research Olu Sonola told ABC News, “This is a perfect report for the Fed,” referring to the Federal Reserve, which is widely expected to cut interest rates in September. “Growth during the first half of the year is not too hot, inflation continues to cool and the elusive soft landing scenario looks within reach.”

ABC News also notes that “inflation has slowed sharply, to 3% from 9.1% in 2022,” and explains: “The Fed’s rate hikes — 11 of them in 2022 and 2023 — were a response to the flare-up in inflation that began in the spring of 2021 as the economy rebounded with unexpected speed from the COVID-19 recession, causing severe supply shortages. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 made things worse by inflating prices for the energy and grains the world depends on. Prices spiked across the country and the world.”

Former National Economic Council Deputy Director Bharat Ramamurti praised the Biden-Harris administration’s polices for returning economic results that have been among the best around the world.

READ MORE: Under Consideration for VP, Buttigieg Refuses to Speculate on Being Harris’ Running Mate

“The Biden-Harris economy continues to defy expectations and lap its global competitors. And it reflects decisions the Admin[istration] made: to prioritize a quick return to a strong job market and to promote private investment in clean energy and manufacturing,” he wrote.

Ramamurti, who served as Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s senior counsel for banking and economic policy, and as her 2020 presidential campaign’s economic policy director, also issued a strong warning:

“The biggest threat to our sustained progress is the Trump economic agenda, which would reignite inflation and stifle growth — all in the service of delivering massive tax cuts to the rich and creating a de facto national sales tax via 10% across-the-board tariffs.”

Washington Post columnist and editorial board member Heather Long called it “a great GDP report,” and concluded: “The economy keeps powering on.”

See the charts above or at this link.

READ MORE: Eight Years Ago JD Vance Wondered How Many Americans Donald Trump Had ‘Sexually Assaulted’

 

 

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