Connect with us

NYC: Jewish Democrat Loses To Catholic Republican In Special Weiner Race

Published

on

In a hotly-fought battle by everyone — except the actual candidates — Jewish Democrat Assemblyman David Weprin lost to Roman Catholic retired media executive Robert Turner in a special election to fill the House seat vacated by now former Representative Anthony Weiner, who resigned amid a sex scandal. The AP called the vote just minutes before midnight Tuesday for Turner, 53%-47%. The New York City district, NY-9, is populated by a strong Jewish and Latino constituency.

The race was hotly contested, but both Weprin and Turner were lackluster and pawns in a game of homophobic, racist, and religious bigotry that had nothing to do with the issues the winner, now, Turner, will face as a Congressman.

In a surprising turn of events, fueled many say by Maggie Gallagher’s NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, a group of 40 Rabbis came out in support of Turner, claiming that a vote for Weprin violated Jewish law, as the Orthodox Democrat had voted in favor of New York’s same-sex marriage bill that became law earlier this summer. In point of fact, it appears the Rabbis act is a violation of IRS law, and should be investigated immediately.

READ: NY Same-Sex Marriage: Why NOM’s 10,000 Protesters Lie Is So Embarrassing

Pundits will look at this race and decide it represents the shape of things to come, and call it a referendum on:

  • President Obama
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Weiner’s sex scandal
  • The economy
  • Israel
  • The weather

Julie Bolcer at The Advocate put it best:

“Despite decades of Democratic control in the district, David Weprin lost a special congressional election in New York that hinged on the economy and dissatisfaction with national politics. The shocking result means that voters will continue to hear about same-sex marriage, even if evidence suggests the issue played no significant role in the race.”

“The upset appears likely to raise questions about the potential for marriage equality support to pose a political liability, and also about the willingness of opponents to press the issue even when polling shows a majority of voters preoccupied with other concerns. While some answers remain in flux just hours after the election, the initial analysis suggests that discussions about marriage equality will persist, so long as opponents have anything to do with it.”

“They have a microphone and a good loudspeaker and they will claim that they had an impact,” said Ken Sherrill, a political science professor at Hunter College, about the contribution of marriage equality opponents. “Absent any systemic exit polling, I think there will be no hard evidence to support that claim. It just flies in the face of everything we know about voting to think that views on marriage equality would trump votes on the issue of the economy when there is a high level of unemployment.”

Remember too that former New York City iconic mayor Ed Koch, also Jewish, also a Democrat, and, by many accounts — though neither acknowledged nor denied — gay, came out in support of Turner. So did the virulently homophobic New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz, who said he “thanks God” for giving him the opportunity to record robocalls for Turner, via his partners in hate, NOM, the National Organization For Marriage.

“In the robo-call, sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage and recorded in Spanish, Diaz denounces Weprin for his vote for same-sex marriage in June of this year,” reports The Weekly Standard.

“‘David Weprin betrayed New York families when he voted to impose same sex marriage’, Diaz says, according to a translation. ‘Weprin voted to impose gay marriage against the wishes of our community. Worse, he refused to allow the people of New York to decide this issue by allowing us to vote on marriage, as voters in 31 other states have been able to do. Our families face terrible consequences because of David Weprin. Join me, Democratic state senator Ruben Diaz, in supporting Bob Turner for Congress on September 13’.”

The Standard adds, “A poll released Sunday night by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling showed that a plurality of voters in the district oppose same-sex marriage–45% say it should be illegal, 41% say legal, and 14% aren’t sure. While 29% of all likely voters in the district said the issue of same-sex marriage is ‘very important’ in ‘deciding who to vote for for Congress,’ 38% of Hispanic voters said the issue is ‘very important’ to them.”

Village Voicewriter and Brooklyn resident Steven Thrasher — whose moniker is remarkably appropriate — writes, “Politicians who are on the fence about coming out for marriage equality will undoubtedly take note of NOM’s success with a seat which should have been a cakewalk for the Democrats.”Wiser heads than ours can probably argue that there were larger forces at play than simply marriage equality.”Still, judging from the stream in our (extremely) little slice of the twitterverse, NY-9 was all about gay marriage, Weprin’s vote, and NOM’s vow to take him on.”Lost on Thrasher is a highly-religious district who felt betrayed by one of their own members showing his own member on the Internet with six different women, and denying it for as long as he possibly could uphold the ruse.

Adam Lisberg writing in City Hall News says, “a low-profile campaign among Orthodox Jews aims to make it about same-sex marriage.

“The Family Research Council is raising money off Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin’s vote to legalize it. The National Organization for Marriage paid for 30,000 robocalls to Jewish homes supporting his opponent, Republican Bob Turner. And online, Weprin’s vote for same-sex marriage has been portrayed as a vote against God – even though Weprin is himself an Orthodox Jew.

“David Weprin defied Jewish law and betrayed our values,” said Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein in the robocall. “David Weprin abandoned Jewish teaching in New York State. It’s time for us to abandon David Weprin.”

“After the robocall went out, Wallerstein told Vos iz Neias that he hadn’t even met Turner, but saw an opportunity to push an anti-gay marriage message.

“Turner has not made New York’s gay nuptials a campaign issue, though he has benefited from those who have done so. Still, his most prominent early supporter – former mayor Ed Koch – supports same-sex marriage and says the race is about Israel and Obama, no matter what social conservatives say.”

Duncan Osborne in Gay City News added,

Three gay political groups, the Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club of Queens, the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, and the Stonewall Democrats, held a fundraiser for Weprin, and Lambda solicited volunteer support for the candidate. Erin Drinkwater, a Lambda vice president, told Gay City News, “Going into 2012, it would be a huge problem to give the GOP or Tea Party any momentum.”In an op ed published online at gaycitynews.com, titled “The Race in the 9th Is About The Economy –– Not Israel or Gay Marriage,” Matthew McMorrow, Lambda’s co-president, wrote that Koch’s focus on Israel and NOM’s effort to make Weprin’s marriage vote an issue were “red herrings.”“If Brooklyn and Queens voters want to use this race to send a real message, let it be a rebuke of the radical and reckless Republican members of Congress who have damaged our nation’s credit rating, refused to compromise, and advocated for the dismantling of our nation’s services… without entertaining even the most modest proposals to increase revenue or to implement fairness in the tax code,” McMorrow wrote, voicing familiar Democratic Party arguments.

NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, reportedly invested $75,000 in this election, while HRC invested a paltry $5,000, perhaps because NY-9 as a district will disappear due to redistricting.
The Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry just after noon Tuesday noted,

It’s not surprising that virulently anti-gay groups like the National Organization for Marriage are arguing that the freedom to marry has played some sort of noteworthy role in the Weprin-Turner race for New York’s Ninth Congressional District.  Whoever wins tonight, marriage equality did not play an influential, even modest, role in the outcome of this special election.  What people are focused on are jobs, jobs, and more jobs.

Here are some facts:

•           ‘Gay marriage’ doesn’t show up in the polling.  Siena’s poll conducted September 6-8 asked, which would you say was the single most important factor in your decision to vote for [candidate name]? The top concern, according to respondents, was the economy (32%), followed by entitlements like Social Security (28%), a candidate’s political party (18%), and position on Israel (7%).

•           Turner himself has consistently emphasized how marriage equality is not an issue in the race.  He told the New York Daily News, “The gay marriage issue is closed, [sic] it’s New York state law. I don’t see any reason to be using this as a campaign issue.”  Last week, the Turner camp issued this statement:  “Queens and Brooklyn voters of all political parties are sending a terse telegram to President Obama that they are unhappy with his economic agenda and his hostile stance toward Israel.”

•          Prior to this race, the pro-marriage equality incumbent continued to get re-elected. Anthony Weiner served his constituents for 12 years and was a much more outspoken advocate of marriage equality than Weprin has been.

•           Statewide, polls consistently and incontrovertibly show a majority of New Yorkers (58%) support marriage equality – even after the vote. NY1-YNN-Marist survey conducted in August—well after the law went into effect this summer—registered 63 percent of adults who don’t want the law overturned.

The National Organization for Marriage has aggressively tried to infuse its fringe agenda into the NY-9 race. NOM is a highly secretive organization thought to funnel money from a small group of extreme donors to anti-gay causes. It is still reeling from its big loss in the Empire State this summer. But no matter who wins tonight, tomorrow a strong and decisive majority of New Yorkers will continue to support the freedom to marry, just as a majority of the American public does.

So, it’s a win essentially in name only, but it’s certainly an emotional win for Maggie Gallagher and her band of merry hating homophobes.

Bring on Maggie and Brian’s fundraising emails! How long should we give them?
(Image: Bill O’Reilly)

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

Trump’s Scheme for Absolute Immunity From State Prosecutions Forever: Report

Published

on

Having successfully obtained delays in his federal trials and his state trial in Georgia, possibly until after the November election, Donald Trump is now seeking an “insurance policy” to protect him from any future state prosecutions if he again becomes president.

The indicted ex-president who turns 78 next month “seems convinced that if he wins another four years in the White House, state prosecutors will still be waiting for him on the other side of his term — ready to put him on trial, or even in prison, just as they are now,” Rolling Stone reports.

“To avoid such risks, the former and perhaps future president of the United States wants Congress to create a very specific insurance policy that would help keep him out of prison forever, two sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone. Trump vaguely alluded to this idea last week outside his New York criminal hush money trial, when he said he has urged Republican lawmakers to pass ‘laws to stop things like this.'”

Trump “has pressured” Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill to do so, describing it as imperative that he signs such a bill into law, if he again ascends to the Oval Office.”

READ MORE: Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

Rolling Stone also notes, “Trump appears fixated on the idea of passing a law to give former American presidents the option of moving state or local prosecutions into a federal court instead, the two sources add.”

Trump “has hinted at a legislative push to limit his exposure to such criminal charges. In an improvised press conference outside the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday, Trump said he’s been telling the Republican lawmakers who want to attend his trial and show solidarity to focus on legislation instead.”

“We have a lot of ’em. They want to come. I say, ‘Just stay back and pass lots of laws to stop things like this.’”

In 1973, while still President but under the cloud of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon said, “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook.”

If Trump is elected in November, he can have his Attorney General drop any federal prosecutions he is currently facing. That may call into question, for some legal experts, the actions of the far-right justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who have delayed ruling on his immunity claim, and U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

On May 7, Judge Cannon indefinitely suspended the Espionage Act case, also known as the classified documents case, against Donald Trump.

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf this week blasted the judge:

“Judge Cannon is not, as commentators and cartoonists would have it, just working on behalf of Trump. She is actively working on behalf of the enemies of the US who have and would benefit from the national security breaches she is effectively defending and making more likely.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) earlier this month declared, “The courts are deliberately delaying justice — and effectively denying it.”

This coming week Americans may get a verdict in the New York criminal case against the ex-president. If it comes, it may be “guilty” or “not guilty,” but it could also be a hung jury, forcing another trial which also would not likely come before the election.

If Trump is elected in November, and can get his “insurance policy” legislation passed, he could possibly avoid all criminal trials for the rest of his life.

Continue Reading

OPINION

Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

Published

on

Mike Pence is defending far-right U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, whose ethics and ability to serve on the nation’s highest court are being questioned after The New York Times revealed he had been flying a highly-controversial flag used by the January 6 insurrectionists, neo-Nazis, and a far-right neo-fascist hate group. Democrats are demanding the justice recuse himself from all cases involving Donald Trump and the 2020 presidential election, and some are also demanding his resignation or impeachment.

The former Trump Vice President, in defending Alito, may have made the situation even worse for the 74-year old jurist by highlighting the flag’s ties to revolution and the overthrow of government. In his defense Pence also encourages all Americans to fly the flag: “The ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag is part or our proud heritage of Faith and Freedom and every American should be proud to fly it,” he writes.

“The Appeal to Heaven Flag” dates back centuries, to the American Revolution, but in recent years was very clearly co-opted by the radical religious right and was seen being carried by the insurrectionists during the assault on the U.S. Capitol, some of whom who chanted, “hang Mike Pence,” as he and his family were being whisked away by Secret Service on January 6:

MSNBC columnist Sarah Posner, who for years has been writing about religion and politics, on Thursday noted, “the more one knows about the background of the flag, the more chilling its presence at [Alito’s] house becomes.”

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Posner says the flag is “an unmistakable emblem for an influential segment of Christian nationalists who claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, contrary to God’s will, and that believers’ spiritual warfare is essential to restoring God’s anointed leader to his rightful office.”

“It was one of numerous Christian nationalist flags and other iconography carried by Trump supporters Jan. 6 and at the Jericho March, a series of prayer rallies that were like jet fuel for the insurrection,” Posner explains. “The Jericho March featured right-wing evangelical and Catholic speakers alongside militants such as conspiracist Alex Jones, Trump’s disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rhodes, now serving an 18-year prison sentence for seditious conspiracy and other crimes.”

Posner adds the flag “originated in Revolutionary times as a call to take up arms against unjust rulers who ignored the pleas of their citizens.”

Pence also refers to the Revolutionary War in his defense of Justice Alito, ignoring that the Revolutionary War was won several hundred years ago, and ignoring that a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice promoting the very concept of taking up arms against rulers, unjust or otherwise, is, as constitutional scholar and University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Laurence Tribe wrote, “close to treason.”

Pence calls the “controversy” of Justice Alito’s flag-flying “absurd and anti-historical.” He quotes English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, promoting his idea of the right to revolution, to replace a government.

In its Bombshell report Wednesday announcing the existence of a second Alito flag tied to the insurrectionists, The New York Times explains the Locke tie to the “Appeal to Heaven” flag.

READ MORE: Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

“Since its creation during the American Revolution, the flag has carried a message of defiance: The phrase ‘appeal to heaven’ comes from the 17th-century philosopher John Locke, who wrote of a responsibility to rebel, even use violence, to overthrow unjust rule. ‘It’s a paraphrase for trial by arms,’ Anthony Grafton, a historian at Princeton University, said in an interview. ‘The main point is that there’s no appeal, there’s no one else you can ask for help or a judgment.'”

Coincidentally or not, Grafton’s “trial by arms” seems to echo Trump acolyte Rudy Giuliani’s January 6 speech in which he specifically called for “trial by combat.”

Religious studies scholar Matthew Taylor, quoted in The New York Times’ report on Alito’s “Appeal to Heaven” flag, told CBS News (video below) Christian nationalist leader Dutch Sheets “was given one of these flags and he believed that he received a prophecy when he received this flag, that it was a symbol of a revolution that would take place in America, a spiritual revolution that would reconstitute the United States as a truly Christian nation.”

He adds the “Appeal to Heaven” flag has become a “very potent symbol of Christian nationalism, Christian Trumpism, opposition to abortion, opposition to gay marriage, and the desire for a more Christian America.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump’s Bronx Rally Attendance Claim Fuels Mockery as Aerial Images Show a Different Story

Continue Reading

OPINION

‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Published

on

A senior U.S. district judge is denouncing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito‘s flying of two insurrection-related flags at his homes in Virginia and New Jersey, declaring the actions “improper. And dumb.”

Judge Michael Ponsor, 77, who has served on the federal bench since 1984, writes in a Friday New York Times op-ed that he has “known scores, possibly hundreds, of federal trial and appellate judges pretty well,” and “can’t think of a single one, no matter who appointed her or him, who has engaged or would engage in conduct like that.”

“You just don’t do that sort of thing, whether it may be considered over the line, or just edging up to the margin. Flying those flags was tantamount to sticking a ‘Stop the steal’ bumper sticker on your car. You just don’t do it.”

Justice Alito’s first flag scandal came late last week, when The New York Times reported an upside down U.S. flag had flown at his Virginia home jut days before Joe Biden was sworn in as President. That flag is associated with the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. As of January, more than 1200 who were there that day have been arrested and charged with crimes.

Alito blamed his wife, claiming she made the decision to fly the flag upside down, which according to the U.S. flag code should only be done to signal distress. Martha-Ann Alito, her husband claimed, had gotten into an argument with a neighbor and manifested her anger by flying the “Stop the Steal” flag.

READ MORE: ‘Investigate Now’: As Alito Scandal Grows Pressure Mounts on ‘MIA’ and ‘AWOL’ Judiciary Chair

The second flag scandal came on Wednesday, when The Times again revealed an Alito insurrection-related flag, this time at his New Jersey home, where the Alitos were flying the “Appeal to Heaven” flag which has ties both to the insurrectionists, and to extreme right Christian nationalists.

Justice Alito has not made any public comment defending his second flag.

Judge Ponsor offered up a hypothetical to counter Justice Alito’s claim his wife was to blame, in this case, an example of him presiding over a death penalty case.

“Let’s say my wife was strongly opposed to the death penalty and wished to speak out publicly against it. I’m not saying this is true, but let’s imagine it. The primary emotional current in our marriage is, of course, deep and passionate love, but right next to that is equally deep and passionate respect. We would have had a problem, and we would have needed to talk,” Ponsor explained.

“In this hypothetical situation, I hope that my wife would have held off making any public statements about capital punishment, and restrained herself from talking about the issue with me, while the trial unfolded. On the other hand, if my wife had felt strongly that she needed to espouse her viewpoint publicly, I would have had to recuse myself from presiding over the case, based on the appearance of partiality.”

READ MORE: ‘Going for the Jugular’: Legal Scholar Warns ‘Trumpers’ Want to End Major Civil Right

Note he mentions as a sitting federal judge he would have applied the same standards that jurors are expected to observe: to not discuss the case with anyone, including their spouses.

And should there have been a discussion, or if she were to air her views publicly, he would be forced to recuse himself from the case.

Justice Alito has not recused from any 2020 presidential election cases, any Trump-related cases, any insurrection-related cases.

That includes the Trump “absolute immunity” case the Supreme Court heard in April, for which they have yet to rule.

The Supreme Court “recently adopted an ethics code to ‘guide the conduct’ of the justices,” Ponsor observes. “One of its canons states that a justice should ‘act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.’ That’s all very well. But basic ethical behavior should not rely on laws or regulations. It should be folded into a judge’s DNA. That didn’t happen here.”

READ MORE: Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.