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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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‘Poisonous’: Former Advisor Says Republicans Have ‘Just Switched Trump Off in Their Brain’

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In an interview with The Guardian, one of Donald Trump’s former senior advisers stated that the word he is getting from people he has spoken to is that they want the former president to be put out to pasture after the poor midterm election results for Republicans weeks ago.

According to John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser, it’s time for the GOP to move on from the former president if the party wants to reclaim the Oval Office in 2024.

Bolton, whose tenure serving under Trump ended acrimoniously, told the Guardian’s David Smith that there are a multitude of reasons to put Trump in the rearview mirror, but the impact that the former president had on GOP fortunes in the midterms seems to be the final straw with many conservatives.

“There are a lot of reasons to be against Trump being the nominee but the one I’m hearing now as I call around the country, talking to my supporters and others about what happened on 8 November, is the number of people who have just switched Trump off in their brain,” Bolton explained.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump’s new Mar-a-Lago scandal proves why aides want him to stick to a teleprompter

Elaborating, he continued, “Even if they loved his style, loved his approach, loved his policies, loved everything about him, they don’t want to lose and the fear is, given the results on 8 November, that if he got the nomination, not only would he lose the general election, but he would take an awful lot of Republican candidates down with him.”

“There’s no doubt Trump’s endorsement in the primary can be very valuable to a candidate in the Republican party. But relying on that endorsement or trumpeting yourself as the Trump-endorsed candidate is poisonous in the general election. So if you actually want to win elections, Trump is not the answer,” Bolton continued. “William F Buckley [the conservative author] once had a rule that in Republican primaries he supported the most conservative candidate capable of winning the general election and, under that theory, Trump loses.”

The Guardian’s Smith notes that Bolton “… joins Trump’s vice-president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, attorney general William Barr, UN ambassador Nikki Haley, chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and onetime ally Chris Christie in a growing rebellion among alumni making the case – overtly or subtly – that Trump has become an electoral liability.”

You can read more here.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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Trump’s Dinner With Kanye Also Included a Former Aide Accused in Pay-for-Pardon Play, and White Supremacist Fuentes

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Donald Trump‘s dinner earlier this week with antisemite Kanye West and holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes may also have included two other right-wingers, hinted at by the former president himself.

After Axios‘ reporting confirmed that Fuentes had in fact had dinner with Trump, Trump issued a statement saying, “Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”

But later, on Friday afternoon via his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote a defense of the dinner with an expanded guest list.

READ MORE: Trump Claims He ‘Knew Nothing About’ the White Supremacist Antisemite Who He and Kanye West Dined With at Mar-a-Lago

“This past week, Kanye West called me to have dinner at Mar-a-Lago,” Trump wrote. “Shortly thereafter, he unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about. We had dinner on Tuesday evening with many members present on the back patio. The dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.”

As The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman noted, Trump did not denounce his guest’s extremist beliefs.

“Three of his friends,” according to the far-right wing website Breitbart, apparently includes Fuentes, far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and former Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno.

Breitbart states, “two people who say they were at the dinner on Tuesday evening–Yiannopoulos and onetime Trump aide Karen Giorno–have publicly stated that Fuentes was in fact at the dinner with West and Trump.”

“’Nick attended the dinner and sat across from the president. I sat to the president’s right and Ye to his left,’ Giorno said in a statement to podcaster Tim Poole’s website Timcast,” Breitbart reports. “‘The president was by himself for dinner but invited Ye to meet some people on the patio.'”

Politico reports Giorno “confirmed to Politico that she was also at the dinner with Trump, West and Fuentes,” but does not mention Yiannopoulos as a dinner guest.

READ MORE: Watch: Chasten Buttigieg Says Tucker Carlson Is Focusing on ‘Hate’ After Host’s Latest Anti-Gay Attack on His Husband

Referring to Kanye West by his new name, VICE News adds: “Ye, who has been been on an antisemitic spiral in recent months, announced he is going to be running for president in 2024, and Yiannopoulos is his campaign manager. He claimed that he asked the former president to run with him as his vice-president. According to Ye, the dinner involving the billionaire, the rapper, and the white nationalist devolved into screaming and derogatory epithets.”

Yiannopoulos is the former Breitbart editor who became disgraced after saying, “I think in the gay world some of the most important, enriching and incredibly life-affirming, important shaping relationships very often between younger boys and older men.” Earlier this year U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene came under fire for hiring, as an intern, Yiannopoulos, even after he appeared to support sexual “relationships” between boys as young as 13 and older men.

Karen Giorno, The New York Times reported early last year, “had access to people around the president, having run Mr. Trump’s campaign in Florida during the 2016 primary and remaining on board as a senior political adviser during the general election.”

“In July 2018, Ms. Giorno signed an agreement with Mr. Kiriakou, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, ‘to seek a full pardon from President Donald Trump of his conviction’ for $50,000 and promised another $50,000 as a bonus if she secured a pardon,” The Times reports.

Kiriakou is John Kiriakou, who The Times identifies as “a former C.I.A. officer convicted of illegally disclosing classified information.”

On what appears to be her Instagram page, Giorno has photos of herself with numerous Republicans, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mike Flynn, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida attorney general Ashley Moody and several other top Florida elected officials, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, and Sarah Palin, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trump Claims He ‘Knew Nothing About’ the White Supremacist Antisemite Who He and Kanye West Dined With at Mar-a-Lago

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Donald Trump and Kanye West had dinner at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night and the disgraced artist who goes by “Ye” brought a guest, the white supremacist, antisemite and “America First” and “Big Lie” purveyor Nick Fuentes. Now the former president is claiming Fuentes was a guest of West, and he knows “nothing” about him.

“Trump’s direct engagement with a man labeled a ‘white supremacist’ by the Justice Department, one week after declaring his 2024 candidacy, is likely to draw renewed outrage over the former president’s embrace of extremists,” Axios’ Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu report.

Axios notes that in a video West posted to his recently restored Twitter account, he says, “Trump was ‘really impressed’ with Fuentes because ‘unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist.'”

“Ye, who has lost major sponsorships over his anti-Semitism and recent far-right associations, has said he wants to run for president in 2024,” Axios adds. “The rapper claims Trump started ‘screaming’ at him at the dinner and told him he would lose — ‘most perturbed’ by Ye asking Trump to be his running mate.”

READ MORE: Watch: Chasten Buttigieg Says Tucker Carlson Is Focusing on ‘Hate’ After Host’s Latest Anti-Gay Attack on His Husband

Swan says Trump issued a statement in response to his reporting, claiming he does not know Fuentes.

“Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago,” Trump’s statement says, an apparent attempt to minimize his dining with two racists and antisemites. “Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman observes that Trump’s “statement does nothing to denounce that background, including Holocaust denialism, or even acknowledge it.”

Trump first claiming West just wanted to see Mar-a-Lago, but immediately after calling it a “meeting” is notable, given that West has since suggested he is running for president.

Axios importantly adds that “Fuentes first gained notoriety after attending the white supremacist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville in 2017,” and, “Trump was heavily criticized at the time for his response to the racist violence.”

Journalist Jeff Sharlet is the executive producer of Netflix’s “The Family,” based on his books that exposed the secretive Christian right organization of the same name. The Family, also called The Fellowship, hosts the annual National Prayer Breakfast. Its members were involved in Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.

Sharlet warns this is an “inflection point.”

“Trump dinner with Ye, at this point, is a major story,” Sharlet tweeted. “But with Nick Fuentes? That’s an inflection point even for a former president already committed to fascism.”

Journalist and activist Elad Nehorai tweeted: “Never let a single right winger or Republican claim they care about Jews after this. Fuentes openly praises Hitler. He is a Holocaust denier. He is one of the US’s most dangerous white nationalists. Trump hosted him & not one Republican had said a word.”

Attorney and former Republican Ron Filipkowski, who tracks and reports on right wing extremism, says Trump’s statement “reminds me of the time when Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was in the WH in Dec 2020 and said he was just there to check out the Christmas decorations.”

Tarrio told ABC News last year he “got invited to the White House Christmas decorations tour through ‘Latinos For Trump.'”

READ MORE: ‘Standard Bearer of Trumpism’ Marjorie Taylor Greene Bridges White Nationalism and the GOP

Top national security attorney Brad Moss mocked Trump’s claim about the Mar-a-Lago dinner.

“Trump legal team: MAL is a totally secure place where we can be trusted to store classified records,” he tweeted. “Trump PR team: Security at MAL is so lax that a raving white supremacist can just crash Trump’s dinner party with Ye.”

Indeed, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman commented, “It’s not the central issue with meeting with Fuentes, but the fact that people can show up unvetted and meet with Trump at his club is part of what alarmed the DOJ about his retention of government records, including classified material, when he left office.”

She also posted a screenshot from her book, relevant to Trump’s embrace of the two racists and antisemites. She quotes him saying, “A lot of these people vote,” in relation to “Trump’s refusal to condemn David Duke’s support forcefully in early 2016.”

The AntiDefamation League (ADL) in a 2021 report wrote, “Nicholas Fuentes is a white supremacist leader and organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.”

Some of Fuentes’ antisemitism has been documented by ADL.

READ MORE: House GOP Whip Denies ‘Knowing Anything About’ Republican Congressman Fundraising With Antisemitic White Nationalist

“Fuentes has made a number of racist and antisemitic comments under the guise of being provocative and ironic,” ADLs report states. “For example, he has referred to Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh as ‘shabbos goy race traitor’ because he works for Jews (Ben Shapiro, a Jewish conservative, runs the Daily Wire). On a livestream episode, Fuentes ‘jokingly’ denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven. On May 24, 2021, Fuentes participated in a debate on right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones’ InfoWars with Robert Barnes, a man described as a ‘constitutional lawyer’ who has legally defended both Jones and Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. During the debate, Fuentes made numerous antisemitic remarks, including, ‘I don’t see Jews as Europeans and I don’t see them as part of Western civilization, particularly because they are not Christians.'”

Fuentes is strongly pro-Trump, as West alluded to.

“Fuentes promoted election fraud narratives and encouraged his adherents to participate in nationwide ‘Stop the Steal’ protests,” according to ADL.

 

This article has been updated to include Jeff Sharlet’s remarks.

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