News This Week: Your Rights Are Being Stolen. What Are You Going To Do?
Only fifteen days into the new year, a year of promise that ushers in our first African American president, and yet, already our rights are being taken, no, stolen, away from us. But honestly, the fault is ours, for we haven’t done enough to stop the slow creep of hatred and bigotry that is the result of an organized effort by the Right to marginalize and permanently cement gays into second-class status once and for all.Â
Here’s an update:
âœªÂ Indiana: “Opponents of same-sex marriage said today that they would try again to amend Indianaâ€™s constitution to prohibit gay unions“. “The new proposed amendment states: â€œOnly a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.â€
âœªÂ Wyoming: “Some Wyoming lawmakers are pushing to amend the state constitution to specify that Wyoming won’t recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.“Â
What’s even more troubling is that all these statesÂ alreadyÂ hadÂ laws on the books discriminating against homosexuals or against gay marriage. The Indiana and Wyoming proposals are designed toÂ strengthenÂ the existing laws. How many nails in the coffin are needed?
âœª Michigan: “Six weeks after passing a gay rights law, the Kalamazoo City Commission has voted to rescind it.”
âœª New Jersey’s Governor has made it clear that he backs gay marriage, but, as The New York Times reports Governor Corzine saying, â€œWhile this administration is focused squarely on the economic crisis for the foreseeable future, itâ€™s clear that this issue of civil rights must be addressed sooner rather than later.â€ But concludes,
“Opponents of gay marriage have pledged to make it an issue in the 2009 election. Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, said his organization believed that some New Jerseyans might support same-sex marriage but that a majority do not want to see marriage redefined in the process. …Â â€œThere could be a backlash,â€ said Harold Hodes, a Democratic strategist. â€œThere are other issues that are more pressing at this time.â€
âœª File this one under, “Yup, we weren’t wrong”: Queerty says of The American News Project’s report,
“Video and audio of Mormon leaders discussing a ‘war plan’ to pass Prop 8 with specific references to costly video ads, mailers and websites the Church created has surfaced, lending new credence to the argument that LDS leaders illegally dipped into their own finances to fund the effort to outlaw gay marriage in California.”
âœª Fox News (unsurprisingly, but bottom-of-the-barrel-scrapingly) ran “Gay America Prepares To Party at Obama Inauguration”, complete with amazingly bigoted statements from extremists. Just so you don’t have to give them traffic, here are a few quotes:
“Jennifer Giroux, founder and president of Women Influencing the Nation, a group that focuses on restoring traditional family values, said, â€œI think (the) inauguration should be kept away from that. Christians may love the individual, but they are offended by the gay lifestyle. Itâ€™s unhealthy â€” spiritually, emotionally and physically.”
“Itâ€™s not a day where a group that feels like it has some payback coming should be putting its decadent lifestyle on display.â€
“Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, an organization that describes itself as “devoted exclusively to exposing and countering the homosexual activist agenda,” is worried less about what happens in public and more about what may go on behind closed doors.
â€œI think most Americans would be put off if they knew what went on at these parties,” LaBarbera said. “Every special interest group has a ball of some sort, but this is not just any special interest group. More than half the country considers their behavior immoral.â€
“But there is some lingering resentment toward the gay community for its reaction to the passing of Proposition 8 in California, when demonstrators protested outside some houses of worship. “We would never choose the route of bigotry or hatred,” Mahoney said, “as the gay community did when they lost Prop 8, by defacing and vandalizing churches and places of worship, and attacked people of faith because they did not share their beliefs.
“For all their cries of inclusion and openness, there are few groups out there more intolerant and hateful than the gay community.”
And the “article” closes with this tidbit:
“James T. Harris, a Christian conservative radio host who famously told John McCain to â€œgo afterâ€ Barack Obama at a rally in Wisconsin, said he thinks the inauguration will provide a chance for conservatives to showcase their tolerance.
â€œThe gayer inauguration, the better,” Harris said. “I hope that all of San Francisco turns out, and turns the inauguration into a gay pride festival. Then liberals can see how open and tolerant conservatives are.
“Let America see liberalism in all of its self-absorbed lunacy. Then maybe America will only have to tolerate four years of the madness.â€
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Troubling Questions’: Experts Slam Ginni Thomas’ Group That Waged Cultural War Against the Left via Web of Dark Money Orgs
Legal experts are responding to bombshell reporting from The Washington Post revealing Ginni Thomas, the spouse of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House and Oval Office, for years headed a secretive right-wing activist organization funded through a web of dark money groups, whose purpose was to wage a culture war against the left.
The Post reports the organization, Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, took in nearly $600,000 in anonymous funds to fuel its efforts to battle “cultural Marxism,” as Ginni Thomas, who headed the group, called their mission.
Thomas had stepped away from her previous non-profit right-wing activist group “amid concerns that it created potential conflicts for her husband on hot-button issues before the court,” The Post says, and yet, she led Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, which creates the same concerns. Where is the money coming from? What is the group doing with it? How much crossover is there between her activism and the group’s targets and efforts, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ work?
According to The Post, in tax filings of its think tank sponsor, Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty is described as an “informal, unincorporated nonprofit association which serves as an incubator for ideas across a network of conservative leaders, cultural entrepreneurs, and cultural influences.”
READ MORE: ‘Heist’: Ginni Thomas Tells J6 Committee Election Was Stolen, Says She Never Discussed Efforts to Overturn With Spouse
It appears great efforts were made to ensure the donors to Thomas’ Crowdsourcers group would not be able to be publicly identified.
“In 2019, anonymous donors gave the think tank Capital Research Center, or CRC, $596,000 that was designated for Crowdsourcers, according to tax filings and audits the think tank submitted to state regulators. The majority of that money, $400,000, was routed through yet another nonprofit, Donors Trust, according to that organization’s tax filings. Donors Trust is a fund that receives money from wealthy donors whose identities are not disclosed and steers it toward conservative causes,” The Post explains.
Thomas, who is reportedly active in another secretive far-right wing group, the Council for National Policy, brought two well-known far-right wing activists from CNP into Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty: former Trump attorney, ally, and advisor Cleta Mitchell, and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
The New York Times last year described the Council for National Policy as an organization that “brings together old-school Republican luminaries, Christian conservatives, Tea Party activists and MAGA operatives, with more than 400 members who include leaders of organizations like the Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association and the Family Research Council.”
But despite all the obvious red flags, an attorney for Ginni Thomas, Mark Paoletta, told The Washington Post she was “proud of the work she did with Crowdsourcers, which brought together conservative leaders to discuss amplifying conservative values with respect to the battle over culture.”
READ MORE: Ginni Thomas ‘Intertwined’ With ‘Vast’ Campaign Pressuring Supreme Court to Overturn Roe: Report
“She believes Crowdsourcers identified the Left’s dominance in most cultural lanes, while conservatives were mostly funding political organizations,” Paoletta also told The Post.
“There is no plausible conflict of interest issue with respect to Justice Thomas,” he claimed.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who is also an attorney, responded to The Post’s report by mocking Paoletta’s claim there is no conflict of interest.
“Donors Trust was central to the far-right Court-packing operation, and now they pass secret donor funds to a justice’s spouse, but ‘no plausible conflict of interest’? Please.”
Sen. Whitehouse went on to explain his additional concerns.
“Plus, remember that the secrecy conduits like Donors Trust keep the *public* from knowing what’s happening, but nothing prevents the secret donor from telling the spouse or the justice, ‘Hey, that money that secretly came through to you — that’s me.'”
Adam Smith, Vice President for Democracy Initiatives at the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), observed: “Seems like the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t be able to hide the source of huge donations that could be from people with business before the court.”
READ MORE: Ginni Thomas’ Attempts to Influence Overturn of Election Even Wider Than Previously Known
CREW’s President, Noah Bookbinder, a former federal corruption prosecutor, adds: “Hundreds of thousands in anonymous donations to an activist group led by Ginni Thomas, spouse of a Supreme Court justice, raises all kinds of troubling questions about who could be influencing decisions that affect all of us.”
Attorney and Slate Magazine senior writer covering courts and the law, Mark Joseph Stern, pushed back against any idea the nearly $600,000 funding came from small donations.
“Ginni Thomas’ various political ventures have never had any small/grassroots donors. They have ALWAYS been funded by a handful of ultra-wealthy individuals and organizations who are very obviously trying to curry favor with her husband,” Stern said.
Former White House aide and CNN commentator Keith Boykin, also an attorney, called for Justice Thomas to recuse from certain cases: “If Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson had to recuse herself from the Harvard affirmative action case, then Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from all the cases on right-wing issues in which his activist wife, Ginni Thomas, is involved.”
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Christian Nationalist Group Working to Get Its ‘Biblical Worldview Spread Across the Nation’
Last week, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation prohibiting transgender people from using public school facilities that match their gender identity. That legislation was crafted by the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, a right-wing organization that seeks to elect “godly leaders in our nation at every level” and then use them to “restore the Judeo-Christian foundation of our nation.”
Following the signing of this legislation into law, Jason Rapert, a longtime religious-right activist and ardent Christian nationalist who founded the NACL, took a victory lap, crediting his organization for the law and celebrating its success in pushing back “against the things of the devil in our country.”
As Rapert reported, this legislation had first been proposed by Arkansas school board member David Naylor during an annual NACL meeting and then brought to the Arkansas state legislature by state Rep. Mary Bentley, who serves on the board of the NACL.
On Friday, Rapert interviewed Bentley on his “Save The Nation” program, where she celebrated the NACL’s efforts “to get our biblical worldview spread across the nation.”
“Thank goodness we’ve got some common sense left here in Arkansas,” Bentley said. “[It was because of the NACL] that we were able to get that passed as model policy and bring it forth. I just love seeing grassroots come together and school board members coming to the capitol and going to the governor’s desk and just seeing it all work and flow just exactly how we want to. So, for the folks that are supporting NACL and what we’re doing, this is what we want to do across the country.”
“This is an example of the power of the NACL’s ability with model legislation,” Rapert replied. “This was brought by one of our members, and this policy actually could be immediately adopted by school boards in every school district across this country. If the school board wanted to adopt it, this is the model that they can utilize. And in addition to that, just like you did, go and pass it for the state so that this is going to apply to all the school boards in your state.”
Rapert and Bentley agreed that Arkansas has now blazed the trail on this issue, thereby making it easier for legislatures in other states to enact the same law.
“That’s what happens when you can be a leader,” Bentley asserted. “Once you make a trail, it’s a lot easier for people to follow once you get that trail made.”
“Thank you again for being a part of the NACL,” Bentley declared. “It’s just what we need in this nation right now to have it moving forward, to get our biblical worldview spread across the nation.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
Pence Ordered to Comply With Subpoena, Testify Before Special Counsel’s Grand Jury
Mike Pence, the ex-vice president, must testify before Dept. of Justice special counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection, a federal judge has ruled, rejecting his claims of executive privilege.
The judge is requiring Pence to answer questions about his conversations with Donald Trump leading up to the insurrection, and to answer any questions related to any possible illegal acts Donald Trump may have committed, according to ABC News’ senior investigative reporter Katherine Faulders and CNN’s Abby Phillip.
Judge James Boasberg, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, “outright rejected Trump’s executive privilege challenge, but ruled more narrowly on Pence speech and debate challenge,” Faulders adds.
The judge, apparently citing Pence’s “speech and debate clause” claim, said “that Pence can still decline to answer questions related to his actions on January 6 itself, when he was serving as president of the Senate for the certification of the 2020 presidential election,” CNN reports.
READ MORE: ‘We’re Not Gonna Fix It’: TN Republican Says Congress Can Do Nothing to Stop Gun Violence – Calls for Christian ‘Revival’
NBC News reports Judge Boasberg “did, however, grant Pence a partial victory as to his argument that he was shielded from having to testify about Jan. 6 because of his constitutional role as part of the legislative branch.”
In what some legal experts dismissed as a faulty argument, “Pence’s legal team had argued that the Constitution’s ‘speech and debate’ clause should prevent special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors from eliciting any testimony about communications or activity related to Pence’s role as president of the Senate in presiding over the certification of the election results.”
Overall CNN calls it “another win for special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating the Trump-aligned effort to subvert the 2020 election. Smith subpoenaed Pence for testimony and documents earlier this year.”
Pence can still appeal.
Watch MSNBC’s report below or at this link.
BREAKING: Former VP Pence has been ordered to testify in the special counsel’s investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. https://t.co/EuAAgB8ILO pic.twitter.com/wrYoKJcL0g
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 28, 2023
This is a breaking news and developing story.
This article has been updated to add video.
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