How Many More Hate Crimes Will Be Committed Before Congress Passes The Matthew Shepard Act?
Take a look at Joe Holladay. He was gay-bashed over gay pride weekend on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. For those of you not familiar with New York City, the UES is where the people with a lot of money live. It’s Central Park and Bloomingdale’s. Art museums and consulates. And police. Lots of them. But not at 4:00 AM when Joe got so badly beaten he, well, look at the picture.
Joe is, sadly, just one of thousands of victims of hate crimes that will be reported this year. Thousands, as in, 9,527 victims. 7,624 incidents of hate crimes. 6,962 perpetrators. And that was just 2007. 2008 numbers haven’t been released yet. Indications are they will be more severe.
But get this: More than half of all hate crimes committed are not sexual-orientation bias crimes; they are racially-motivated crimes. And the Matthew Shepard Act would include those crimes as well – because chances are right now those victims aren’t protected under federal law. Right now, if a black woman were to become the victim of a racially-motivated violent crime while she was walking home from work, it would not legally be possible to investigate that crime as a federal hate crime. If that same crime were committed while she was, say, voting, then it would.
Current hate crimes law only protects people while they are “engaging in a federally protected activity.” The Matthew Shepard Act would remove the “engaging in a federally protected activity” stipulation.
So, it’s not just the LGBTQ community who should be spearheading and demanding this bill be passed. The black community, the asian community, the latino community, the Christian community, the Jewish community, people who have a disability, heck, every community, every person has a stake in seeing this bill passed. And yet, we’re the only group really fighting for it.
Sadly, there’s one less soldier able to fight for this bill. A gay, black, soldier, August Provost, was murdered – shot to death, his body possibly burned – early Tuesday morning at Camp Pendelton in Southern California.
Scary to think that a hate crime could happen to a U.S. soldier on a U.S. military base. Want to know how at risk members of the civilian LGBTQ community are? Well, very.
In the past twelve days there have been at least eight anti-gay hate crimes committed in this country.
Last year, gay-bias killings rose an astounding 28% – the highest in ten years.
Reports of physical abuse by police against LGBT citizens – like the one in Ft. Worth, Texas Saturday night – were up 150% across a dozen major cities last year.
To those who claim that every crime is a hate crime, because every crime is motivated by hate, I say this: listen to Kathleen Parker, a highly-respected conservative columnist. She says a hate crime, â€œis really two crimesâ€‰â€”â€‰one against the individual and another against the group to which he belongs. By that definition, [Matthew] Shepardâ€™s murder may be viewed as a terrorist act against all gays, who would have felt more fearful as a result.â€
Let’s do that again: “may be viewed as a terrorist act.” Heck, that should get conservatives to rally around the Hate Crimes bill. Sadly, it doesn’t. Why? Because those who oppose hate crimes legislation don’t often read Kathleen Parker.
On April 29th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Matthew Shepard Act. On Independence Day, 66 days will have gone by, without so much as a vote in the U.S. Senate. The bill, which was attached to a tourism bill, is now attached to a defense appropriations bill. President Obama, despite his recent promise to sign the Hate Crimes Bill, has threatened to veto the defense appropriations bill.
The Matthew Shepard Act will protect all Americans – not just the gay ones. Chances are, even if you’re not gay, the Matthew Shepard Act would protect you too. It’s time to make Congress do its job: protect all of America.
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‘I’m Broke’: One Day Before Shutdown and With No Plan McCarthy Says He Has ‘Nothing’ in His ‘Back Pocket’
Just 30 hours before his own Republican conference likely will have succeeded in shutting down the federal government of the United States, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy candidly admitted to reporters he’s run out of ideas.
Earlier Friday in an “embarrassing failure,” 21 House Republicans killed legislation from their own party, a short-term continuing resolution, that would have kept the federal government open.
Later on Friday afternoon, swarmed by reporters, McCarthy was asked if he was going to tell them what his plans are. He sarcastically replied, “No, I’m going to keep it all a secret.”
When pressed, he said he would “keep working, and make sure we solve this problem.”
“What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?” another reporter asked, pressing him for an answer.
“Nothing right now. I’m broke,” he admitted, apparently referring to options and ideas to avoid a shutdown.
But another reporter asked Speaker McCarthy the main question: Would he partner with House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to put the Senate’s bill before the House.
He refused to answer.
After Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) failed House vote to keep the federal government open…
Reporter: “What’s in your back pocket, Speaker?”
McCarthy: “Nothing right now. I’m broke.” pic.twitter.com/pB2SWhOSVr
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2023
Just before 5 PM CNN’s Manu Raju reported on the ongoing House Republicans’ closed-door meeting with the Speaker, a meeting where the 21 Republicans who will likely be effectively responsible for the shutdown reportedly did not attend.
“McCarthy is telling [Republicans] now there aren’t many options to avoid a shutdown, according to sources in room. He says they can approve GOP’s stop-gap plan that failed, accept Senate plan, put a ‘clean’ stop-gap on floor to dare Democrats to block it — or shut down the government.”
He adds, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) largely responsible for the impending likely shutdown and the impending possible ouster of McCarthy said: “We will not pass a continuing resolution on terms that continue America’s decline.”
At midnight Saturday Republicans will likely have succeeded in furloughing 3.5 million million federal workers – two million of them service members in the U.S. Armed Forces – and countless contractors, while financially harming untold thousands of businesses that rely on income from all those workers to keep running – unless Speaker McCarthy puts a bipartisan continuing resolution approved by at least 75 U.S. Senators on the floor, legislation every House Democrat is likely to vote for.
Should he do so, many believe he will have also signed his own pink slip.
But whether or not the government shuts down, and whether or not McCarthy puts the Senate’s CR on the floor, according to The Washington Post the far right extremists in his party are already moving to oust him “as early as next week.”
The Biden campaign is making certain Americans realize the blame for the impending shutdown sits at McCarthy’s feet.
Here is Kevin McCarthy a few months ago praising the deal he made with President Biden to avert a government shutdown, which he is now reneging on pic.twitter.com/B4rVNzNXkZ
— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) September 29, 2023
At 6:23 PM Friday evening, Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman wrote on social media: “HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE NO PLAN TO KEEP GOVERNMENT OPEN.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
‘Bad News’ for Sidney Powell as First Trump Co-Defendant in Georgia RICO Case Takes Plea Deal: Legal Expert
“Under the terms of an agreement with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office, Hall pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, conspiracy to commit computer trespass, conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy, and conspiracy to defraud the state,” NBC News reports. “Under the terms of the deal, he’s being sentenced to five years probation.”
CNN previously reported “Hall, a bail bondsman and pro-Trump poll-watcher in Atlanta, spent hours inside a restricted area of the Coffee County elections office when voting systems were breached in January 2021. The breach was connected to efforts by pro-Trump conspiracy theorists to find voter fraud. Hall was captured on surveillance video at the office, on the day of the breach. He testified before the grand jury in Fulton County case and acknowledged that he gained access to a voting machine.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a professor of law and frequent MSNBC contributor, says Hall “was in the thick of things with Sidney Powell on Jan 7 for the Coffee County scheme involving voting machines. If he’s cooperating, it’s a bad sign for her.”
Hall’s plea deal “spells bad news for, among others, Sidney Powell,” says former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman, an NYU Law professor of law. Goodman posted a graphic showing the overlap in charges against Hall and Powell, which he called “alleged joint actions.”
With breakthrough for Georgia DA (@TamarHallerman reporting: “SCOTT HALL has become the first co-defendant in the Fulton election interference case to take a plea deal with prosecutors.”)
That spells bad news for, among others, Sidney Powell.
Example of alleged joint actions.👇 pic.twitter.com/odMM5C7JtX
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) September 29, 2023
See the graphic above or at this link.
Far-Right Republicans Kill GOP Bill to Keep Government Running in ‘Embarrassing Failure’ for McCarthy: Report
With a shutdown less than 36 hours away, far-right Republicans in the House of Representatives Friday afternoon voted against their party’s own legislation to kept the federal government running. Democrats opposed the content of the bill and voted against it. Just 21 far-right members of the GOP conference were able to effectively force what appears to be an all but inevitable shutdown at midnight on Saturday.
“HARDLINE HOUSE RS take down stopgap funding bill. 21 GOP no votes. 232-198,” reported Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman just before 2 PM Friday.
NBC News reported that a “band of conservative rebels on Friday revolted and blocked House Republicans’ short-term funding bill to keep the government open, delivering a political blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and likely cementing the chances of a painful government shutdown that is less than 48 hours away.”
“Twenty-one rebels, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a conservative bomb-thrower and a top Donald Trump ally, voted Friday afternoon to scuttle the 30-day funding bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, leaving Republicans without a game plan to avert a shutdown. The vote failed,” NBC added. “The embarrassing failure of the GOP measure once again highlights the dilemma for McCarthy as his hard-liners strongly oppose a short-term bill even if it includes conservative priorities. It leaves Congress on a path to a shutdown, with no apparent offramp to avoiding it — or to quickly reopen the government.”
A bipartisan group of at least 75 U.S. Senators has passed two bills this week that would keep the government running. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has refused to allow it to come to the floor for a vote.
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