National Prayer Breakfast: Despite Protests, Obama Attended. Why?
President Obama spoke at this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast — a massive, annual meeting attended by over 3000 Congressmen, international dignitaries, and of course religious leaders and followers of the Christian faith — but why did he? And why did progressive Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mark Pryor (D-AK),Â Kay Hagan (D-NC),Â and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, U.S. Secretary of AgricultureÂ Tom Vilsack, and Vice President Biden, among other Democrats, attend?
The National Prayer Breakfast is infamously sponsored by “The Family,” the Christianist, extremist group headquartered at C-Street, made famous by author Jeff Sharlet. The Family is directly tied to Uganda’s David Bahati and his “Kill The Gays” bill that is making its way through Uganda’s legislature.
Read: “UN Vote Allowing Gays To Be Executed Result Of Political, Religious Fundamentalism“
The downright ugly and evil work associated with The Family, also known as “The Foundation,” demands everyone ask why any public servant would attend this event. If you listen to today’s Prayer Breakfast, you’ll hear the absolute shocking intermix of religion and politics, surely a flagrant violation of our founders’ belief in separation of church and state.
In a press release, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) announced it had “called on President Obama and all members of Congress not to attend this year’s National Prayer Breakfast.”
“The breakfast, while designed to appear as a government-sanctioned event, in reality serves as a meeting and recruiting event for the shadowy Fellowship Foundation.
“The National Prayer Breakfast uses the attendance of elected leaders to give the Fellowship greater credibility and facilitate its networking and fundraising,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “President Obama and members of Congress should not legitimatize this shadowy group with ties to scandal-ridden politicians and hateful and discriminatory positions against gays.”Â Sloan continued, “It is all the more important that American political leaders avoid this event in light of the murder of prominent Ugandan gay activist David Kato.”
“The Fellowship, also known as “The Foundation” and “The Family,” is run by Doug Coe, a spiritual advisor to some government officials, who uses the organization to push his brand of Christianity. The Fellowship owns and operates the infamous C Street House, a congressional residence and meeting place on Capitol Hill that has been a frequent haunt of some ethically-challenged elected officials identified by CREW, including Sen. John Ensign (R-NV).
“The organization operates under an intense veil of secrecy, stays largely out of the public eye and hides its donors’ identities. The Fellowship has used its government clout to facilitate backdoor meetings between U.S. and foreign officials, improperly claimed tax exempt status for the C Street House, and has persuaded members of Congress, including Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) to conduct Fellowship-sanctioned evangelizing while traveling at taxpayer expense.
“Members of the Fellowship pushed for anti-gay legislation in Uganda that made homosexuality a capital offense. Just last month, prominent activist David Kato was murdered in Uganda. Much of the wave of anti-gay sentiment can be linked to the promotion of anti-gay policies by American evangelicals.”
Read: â€œDavid Katoâ€™s Death Result Of Hatred Planted By U.S. Evangelicalsâ€
Other protestoring organizations include GetEQUAL, which was instrumental in the fight for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. GetEQUAL lined up at 6:00 AM this morning, two hours ahead of the start of the Breakfast, with a reported sixty protestors, according to AmericaBlog’s Joe Sudbay, who was in attendance, to witness the attendees entering the Hilton, where the Breakfast was held. They named their protest the “Breakfast Without Bigotry.”
On the Facebook event for their Breakfast Without Bigotry protest,Â GetEQUAL writes,
“In the wake of the murder of Ugandan gay activist, David Kato, and the pending deportation of Brenda Namigadde from the UK back to Uganda, we believe it is imperative that â€œThe Familyâ€ be exposed not only for their role as organizer of the National Prayer Breakfast, but for their relationship with many of our legislators and their influence on world affairs, including the annihilation of LGBT people worldwide.
“While its organizers would have you believe the National Prayer Breakfast is an ecumenical gathering absent a policy agenda, it is in fact the tentpole event of the year for the clandestine operation â€œThe Familyâ€. This fringe group uses the visibility and support from the National Prayer Breakfast (attended by many politicians and business leaders) and other events to further its world-wide campaign against gay folk. Associates of â€œThe Familyâ€ continue to promote a proposed law that would imprison for life and murder LGBT peopleâ€”just for being who they areâ€”while also criminalizing knowing an LGBT person without reporting them.”
Michael Lavers, reporting from the protest, spoke with gay philanthropist Mitchell Gold, who said,Â “Iâ€™m here because two many of the people who are inside the National Prayer Breakfast donâ€™t understand the harm they are doing by trafficking their religion-based bigotry.” Lavers says Gold “held a sign reading â€™End the harm from religion based bigotry,’ and also said, “David Katoâ€™s death shows the slippery slope of people who claim to interpret the Bible literally.”
So, why did Obama and other elected leaders attend?
First, tradition. And second, given the fact that “A Quarter Of Republicans Believe Obama Is The Anti-Christ,” and 20% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim, Obama cannot afford to skip such a large religious gathering.
Rubbing elbows with religious bigots, haters, and those directly tied to the anti-gay hate in Africa, evidently, is just part of the job of a politician. And a president who the right believes is a Muslim, cannot afford to skip Breakfast with Jesus.
If Obama’s attendance did one thing, it allowed the media and social media, to produce vast quantities of articles, reports, blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates that tie Obama to Christian religion and prayer.
Next year, perhaps we can at least make it politically less-advantageous to let our elected representatives attend this particular gathering of people who support anti-gay hate, and even, anti-gay murder.
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Debt Ceiling: McCarthy Faces ‘Lingering Anger’ and a Possible Revolt as Far-Right House Members Start Issuing Threats
As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to negotiate a deal to avoid a debt crisis, members of the far-right Freedom Caucus are growing furious with him over broken promises he made to them.
According to MSNBC political analyst Steve Benen, with a slim GOP majority in the House, McCarthy is walking a tightrope to get a budget deal passed and may need help from House Democrats if members of his caucus refuse to go along with him.
As Benen points out, in order to win the speakership McCarthy agreed to an easier path for a motion to “vacate the chair” which could end his tenure as Speaker. That could come into play if the Freedom Caucus stages a revolt.
“… as the negotiations approach an apparent finish line, the House Republicans’ most radical faction is learning that it isn’t likely to get everything its members demanded — and for the Freedom Caucus, that’s not going to work,” he wrote in his MSNBC column.
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Citing a Washington Times report that stated, “[Freedom Caucus members] want everything from the debt limit bill passed by the House last month plus several new concessions from the White House,” Benen suggested far-right House Republicans are now issuing veiled threats.
In an interview, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) stated, “I am going to have to go have some blunt conversations with my colleagues and the leadership team. I don’t like the direction they are headed.”
With Politico reporting, “The [House Freedom Caucus] was already unlikely to support a final bipartisan deal, but lingering anger with Kevin McCarthy could have lasting implications on his speakership,” Benen added, “If this is simply a matter of lingering ill-will from members who come to believe that GOP leaders ‘caved,’ the practical consequences might be limited. But let’s also not forget that McCarthy, while begging his own members for their support during his protracted fight for the speaker’s gavel, agreed to tweak the motion-to-vacate-the-chair rules, which at least in theory, would make it easier for angry House Republicans to try to oust McCarthy from his leadership position.”
Adding the caveat that he is not predicting an imminent McCarthy ouster he added, “But if the scope of the Freedom Caucus’ discontent reaches a fever pitch, a hypothetical deal clears thanks to significant Democratic support, don’t be surprised if we all start hearing the phrase ‘vacate the chair” a lot more frequently.”
Prosecutors Tell Trump They Have a Recording of Him and a Witness: Report
Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial have notified the ex-president’s attorneys they have a recording of him and a witness. The notification comes in the form of an automatic discovery form, CBS News reports, which “describes the nature of the charges against a defendant and a broad overview of the evidence that prosecutors will present at Trump’s preliminary hearing or at trial.”
CBS reports prosecutors have handed the recording over to Trump’s legal team.
It’s not known who the witness is, nor are any details known publicly about what the conversation entails, or even if it is just audio or if it includes video.
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According to the article’s author, CBS News’ Graham Kates, via Twitter, prosecutors say they also have recordings between two witnesses, a recording between a witness and a third party, and various recordings saved on a witness’s cell phones.
Manhattan prosecutors disclosed to Trump a recording of him and a witness in his criminal case. pic.twitter.com/EIz3bvpEkj
— Graham Kates (@GrahamKates) May 26, 2023
Trump is facing 34 felony counts in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case related to his allegedly unlawful attempt to hide hush money payoffs to a well-known porn star by falsifying business records to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.
See the discovery form above or at this link.
Image via Shutterstock
‘Likely to Be Indicted Soon’: Trump Might Face Seven Different Felonies, Government Watchdog Says
It’s no secret the U.S. Dept. of Justice is investigating Donald Trump for his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and for his likely unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of documents with classified and top secret markings.
Earlier this week Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal reported, “Special counsel Jack Smith has all but finished obtaining testimony and other evidence in his criminal investigation into whether former President Donald Trump mishandled classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.”
And while it’s unknown if or when Trump will be indicted, a government watchdog says the ex-president who is once again staging a White House run is “likely to be indicted soon.” The organization is offering details on what it claims could be seven felony charges he might face.
“The next criminal charges former President Donald Trump may face could well come from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s possession of nearly 300 classified documents — including some marked as top secret — at his Mar-a-Lago residence and business in the year and a half after he left office,” Betsy Schick and Debra Perlin of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) state in a lengthy report published Friday.
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“While Fani Willis’ Fulton County, Georgia investigation into election interference continues, as does a federal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and Alvin Bragg has already indicted Trump in New York for his role in false statements connected to hush money payments to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) during the 2016 presidential campaign, an indictment by Smith in the Mar-a-Lago investigation would yield the first federal charges against the former president,” CREW notes.
“Trump may face charges ranging from obstruction of justice and criminal contempt to conversion of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material.”
Here is a list of “possible crimes” Trump might be charged with, according to CREW:
Obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C. § 1519)
Criminal contempt (18 U.S.C. § 402)
False statements to federal authorities (18 U.S.C. § 1001)
Conversion of government property (18 U.S.C. § 641)
Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material (18 U.S.C. § 1924)
Removing and concealing government records (18 U.S.C. § 2071)
Gathering national defense information (18 U.S.C. § 793(e))
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CREW also offers that Trump’s attorneys may try to argue several different defenses, including:
No “knowing” removal
Deference to the intelligence community
Challenging the constitutionality of the Special Counsel regulations
Additionally, several reports this week also appear to suggest an indictment might be coming, and soon.
Citing a Washington Post report published Thursday, several top legal experts are predicting DOJ will charge Donald Trump, and those charges will include obstruction and violations of the Espionage Act.
Earlier this week NYU School of Law professor of law Ryan Goodman said Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith had struck “gold” after obtaining the contemporaneous notes of a Trump attorney who counseled the ex-president on his possibly unlawful handling of classified documents.
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