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Tennessee Anti-Gay Law: Alcoa Only National Company To Say “No!”

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Alcoa can’t wait… to distance themselves from the part an Alcoa representative on the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce played in helping an awful anti-gay bill pass in that state.

In response to AmericaBlog initiated Netroots action, Alcoa has released a statement condemning the law and calling on Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee to veto it.

“Alcoa provides equal employment opportunity without discrimination and supports state and local legislation protecting the rights of all community members. We do not agree with the chamber on this issue and would ask that the governor veto the bill.”

Alcoa responded 100% to the ask of the petition action, ask the Governor to veto it. The text of the petition:

We demand that you issue an immediate statement withdrawing your support for HB 600/SB 632, and that you tell Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto this bill.

So we can be very grateful to Alcoa for this unequivocal show of support and penance. Alcoa is a publicly traded corporation with nearly 60,000 employees and reported over $21B in revenues in 2010. They produce aluminum. Other companies that control board seats include FedEx, AT&T, Comcast, DuPont, Pfizer, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Caterpillar, KPMG,Whirlpool, Embraer and United HealthCare.Three others have responded to the petition action, although, less impressively.

The Netroots call to action has put corporate America swiftly on the run to distance their involvement in lobbying for Tennessee’s anti-gay bill, HB600/SB 632, which would strip away local LGBT non-discrimination protection, such as was recently enacted in Nashville, and prohibit it anywhere else in the state of Tennessee. Last week I wrote about the Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act. The state law purports to assert the State’s ultimate sovereignty to define anti-discrimination protection only at the state level and enforce uniformity. But, it is really a naked attempt to strip away local and city level ordinances that protect LGBT residents of Tennessee from discrimination. It has passed both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature.

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce lobbied hard on behalf of the bill and as such, LGBT activists have called their board members and parent companies to do some explaining. Please tell us how stripping LGBT Americans from discrimination protection is good for business?

In just a few short days, this movement is already having a big impact. The petition has gained almost 10,000 signatures, it is here. It must be getting someone’s attention. No less than four of the 13 companies targeted have issued statements of response.

The other companies releasing statements are Nissan here, FedEx here and AT&T here. They are not nearly as forthright as Alcoa’s and contain a fair amount of spin.

The other statements seem more aimed at damage control than, you know, actually helping the LGBT citizens of Tennessee whose civil rights their companies representatives have thrown their weight behind stripping away.

None of the other three call on the Governor to Veto the bill.

FedEx’s statement says:

FedEx did not lobby for SB632/HB600 – it is our policy not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. While FedEx is a member of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, we do not support every position proposed by the Chamber.

This is disingenuous, and bordering on a lie.In fact, FedEx is more than a member, they’re on the board of directors. Which would place them in the position to, ahem, direct the Chamber’s actions. As such they cannot so easily wash their hands of this and say, “We didn’t know what the Chamber was up to!”

Nissan’s statement says:

HB600/SB632 has become more closely associated with eroding civil liberties than fostering a strong business climate and this we do not support.

And AT&T says:

However, the bill has become implicated in efforts to erode the rights of the gay community, which we do not support.

Actually, that was the whole point of the bill, to erode a hard-fought victory in Nashville. And a little due diligence on the parts of these companies before endorsing would have made that quite clear to them.Nissan, AT&T and FedEx seem more concerned about the bill being “perceived” as an attack on gays than making any actual penance or reparations for their company’s role in helping it pass.

And it isn’t just a perception, this bill is very clearly an outright attack on LGBT Americans, designed specifically to strip them of protection from discrimination. It is a direct response to the LGBT community’s hard-fought victory in getting LGBT non-discrimination protection in Nashville, Tennessee. Stripping those discrimination protections away was the impetus and the purpose of the law. And a cursory research before these companies’ proxies endorsed and worked for it would made that very clear.

It was made quite clear by main bill backer Family Action Council’s support for the bill, from their web site:

How will new legislation in Nashville affect family values across Tennessee?

Yes, “family values” because anything that is good for the LGBT is a threat to families. That’s always a given isn’t it? If a McDonald’s manager can’t fire the fry cook for being gay, you’re going to have to let Elton John babysit your son.The primary backer of the bill was the Family Action Council, a group with a very clear Christian right agenda:

Our Mission: To equip Tennesseans and their public officials to effectively promote and defend a culture that values the traditional family, for the sake of the common good.Our Goals: Engaged Citizens … Godly Officials … Strong Families

If Nissan and AT&T are now genuinely surprised this bill became “associated” or “implicated” to be anti-gay, they just weren’t paying attention. And just look at this TV advertisement Family Action Council produced in support of HB600/SB632. You’d have to be blind to miss the anti-gay animus and hateful demagoguery they were inciting to sell this bill to the public:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=7o2YGH8bacE%3Ffs%3D1%26hl%3Den_US

This is the most outrageously homophobic commercial I have ever had the misfortune of viewing. The message is simple: only passing HB600/SB632 can prevent your children from being molested in a public park by the gays. It’s also a tried and true tactic of these hate groups. The soundtrack of blood-curdling screams of the little ones was a particularly classy touch.One thing AT&T and Nissan might consider adding to their vetting process of deciding whether to endorse a piece of legislation, is seeing if it’s a pet project of known Hate Group, identified by The Southern Poverty Law Center. Among the groups sending out Action Alerts of support is The Family Research Council. Family Research Council has been named a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, adding them to the ranks of the KKK and Neo-Nazis, and with good reason.

One quote that earned them that spot was in criticizing American Airlines for providing LGBT partner benefits a spokesman, “What are you going to develop next? A pedophilia market?” Equating homosexuality with pedophilia is a constant refrain for these groups, as we see by the advertisement above. There is no scientific basis to suggest gays and lesbians are more or less inclined to molest children than heterosexuals, but the keep banging that drum because it works.

In the future, any group considering endorsing legislation might do well to cross-reference if a Hate Group is also strongly endorsing it (like the Klan or neo-Nazis, who also make SPLC’s lists). If they are, the chances are pretty good it’s not going end up being a bill you’d want your name associated with. And you can save yourself the trouble of walking back your support by issuing statements like this one from Nissan:

However, HB600/SB632 has become more closely associated with eroding civil liberties than fostering a strong business climate and this we do not support.

Nissan, AT&T and FedEx still need to step it up and do as Alcoa has done: Call on the Governor to veto this bill. That is, if they are sincere in their support of LGBT Rights.

Right click to Enlarge.

Here is the original target list of companies, all are Board Members of the Chamber of Commerce, (not mere members as FedEx tried to say they were). Numbers are their Human Rights Campaign score on the Corporate Equality Index rating their gay-friendliness out of 100. Cross-outs indication companies that have tried to explain their company’s involvement thus far.

AT&T: 100
DuPont: 100
Pfizer: 100
KPMG: 100
Whirlpool: 100
Alcoa: 100
Comcast: 95
Blue Cross Blue Shield : 90
Caterpillar: 75
FedEx: 70
Nissan: 50

Interestingly, Pfizer’s Diversity and Inclusion page includes the following quote:

“Pfizer is committed to sustaining and expanding a culture of Diversity and Inclusion in everything we do.”

“Everything” Pfizer? Including having your representatives lobby for a bill that strips LGBTs in Tennessee of discrimination protection? How does that track?When we’re experiencing impact this substantial it means it’s time to double down. That a company the size of Alcoa, with major operations in the state of Tennessee, has called on the Governor to veto the bill is major news. I am optimistic we’ll be seeing this story get national media coverage in the coming days. That four targets have felt the need to respond will provide pressure for the others to explain their representative’s support for this awful and regressive piece of legislation, which the business community cannot have any reasonable explanation to have a stake in.

Please help us send a message to corporate America: “Keep your hands off of LGBT Americans’ Civil Rights.” Please sign the open letter calling on all of these companies to tell the governor to veto the bill. If you have already please, post it on on your Facebook wall, tweet it or email it to a few friends.

Lt Dan Choi helped out last week, tweeting the link and added a timely and humorous aside:

Photobucket

Yes, time is running out! The Governor may sign this bill this week. Thanks to everyone who signed yesterday. Keep up the pressure.

 

Scott Wooledge also writes at Daily Kos under the handle Clarknt67.
Read Scott’s previous post at The New Civil Rights Movement, “142 Gay Veterans Not Worth $2.1 Million To Obama Administration.”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Trump Rambles for 108 Minutes in CPAC Speech Filled With ‘Unapologetic Fascism’: Report

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Former President Donald Trump spoke for nearly two hours in his closing address at the CPAC summit in Dallas.

In Trump’s view, America has been destroyed in the 18 months since he left office, with out-of-control crime, inflation, and oddly enough unemployment, which Trump estimates to be three times the official number.

Trump took the stage to the song “God Bless the USA” and began by thanking the “proud patriots” in attendance.

Trump said he was proud to be joined by Rep. Ronnie Jackson (R-TX), who was his White House surgeon.

“He was an admiral, a doctor, and now he’s a congressman,” Trump noted, saying he asked him which was the best.

“And he sort of indicated doctor, because he loved to look at my body. It was so strong and powerful,” Trump said.

Trump then introduced Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

“This is no time for complacency,” Trump warned. “We have to seize this opportunity to deal with the radical left socialist lunatic fascists. We have to hit them very, very hard. It has to be a crippling defeat.”

He went on to complain about Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for supporting the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed a procedural vote after Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote while Trump was speaking, resulting in harsh words for GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

“But McConnell is the most unpopular politician in the country, even more so than crazy Nancy Pelosi, and something has to be done,” Trump urged.

Trump said Biden “surrendered our strength and our everything [in Afghanistan], they surrendered our dignity.”

Michael Hardy, senior editor at the Texas Monthly, was one of the local journalists covering the speech. He said that line had “echoes of the Nazi ‘stab in the back theory’ of losing WW1.”

Trump then described crime in “Democrat-run (sic) cities” in very dark terms.

“The streets of our Democrat-run cities are drenched in the blood of innocent victims,” Trump claimed. “Bullets are killing little beautiful little children who never had a chance. Car jackers lay in wait like predators.”

Hardy described that as “some literal blood-and-soil rhetoric.”

And Trump went on saying “we need to courage to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done,” which Hardy said “is a rallying cry for street violence and worse.”

Trump went on to call for a military takeover of San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Portland.

“Trump’s rhetoric is significantly more extreme than even a few years ago,” Hardy said. “This might be most frightening speech I’ve ever heard. Full-on, unapologetic fascism. Trump has either been reading Mein Kampf or having someone read it to him.”

Trump repeated his lies about election fraud and teased a 2024 presidential comeback.

Former RNC official Tim Miller said, “I know everyone in the DC GOP is just hoping Trump will die but it’s impossible to watch this CPAC speech and not come to the conclusion that he’s going to run and be very hard to beat in a primary. Sorry to be the bearer of bad weekend news.”

After his speech, Trump danced on stage to the song “Hold On I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave.

“Don’t you ever feel sad; lean on me when times are bad,” Sam and Dave sang. “Then the day comes and you’re down; in a river of trouble and about to drown. Just hold on, I’m coming. Hold on, I’m coming.”

Watch below or at this link.

 

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Legal Expert Explains How Alex Jones’ Texts Could ‘Connect the Dots’ on Trump for the Jan. 6 Committee

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Appearing on CNN early Saturday morning, former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore stated that the history of texts accidentally released by attorneys representing Alex Jones may fill in the gaps for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Speaking with “New Day” host Phil Mattingly, the legal analyst was asked about reports that the texts may be headed to House investigators, with the CNN host stating, “We saw a dramatic moment in the courtroom, in the Alex Jones proceedings over the course of the last several days. He was informed that his defense team accidentally sent two years of his text records to him.”

“There are connections and overlap with what the January 6 committee is working on when it comes to that. There are discussions of the committee perhaps getting ahold of those,” he continued before asking, “What is the process? Do you see that as a potential thing that can occur?”

“The text messages and the phone records, at least in some part are now in a court record, they’ve been filed in court. That makes them a little bit easier to get,” Moore replied. “The concern I have is the issue of the phone was delivered in all accounts, it may have been delivered in error but they did nothing to correct that or fix that or file a protective order on the evidence. So that information may be subject to a challenge.”

READ: Eric Holder predicts how Donald Trump will be indicted

“The problem for Jones is that information is now known and it’s out there,” he continued. “It’s clear there was deceptive testimony during the course of discovery and I think that makes them a little easier to get.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see these subpoenas come down for the information on the phones and ultimately at the end of the day they will get it,” he elaborated. “It will be used to see if this connects any of the dots that the committee has been trying to do for the last many months. Is there a direction from Trump, is there some direction from other people in Jones’ circle that we find in the text messages there.”

Watch below or at this link.

 

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‘Performatively Protest’: Grassley Chastised for Tweeting Angry Complaint He Has to Stay in DC to ‘Fight’ Major Dem Bill

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U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Friday afternoon posted an angry tweet complaining he will be missing his annual family reunion this weekend after Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer scheduled a vote on the Inflation Reduction Act, major, historic legislation to combat inflation and climate change, lower Medicare prescription drug prices and the federal deficit, and increase the energy supply.

It’s not going well for the 88-year old Republican who is running for re-election this year.

Leader Schumer in the past two weeks has pulled out a series of delicately balanced yet absolutely massive wins, convincing both Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to support the bill which they previously poised to oppose in different forms. It is a huge win for President Joe Biden and his agenda, the Democrats, and the American people.

READ MORE: Grassley Slammed for Turning Photo With Iowa Family Who Drove 856 Miles to DC Into ‘Cheap Political Talking Point’

Senator Grassley apparently thinks otherwise.

First elected to Congress in 1974, Sen. Grassley has a well-known and unique style of tweeting.

“Each Dec Schumer puts out schedule for Senate I set Grassley family reunion based on schedule,” he wrote in his complaint. “For 2nd yr in row I won’t be at reunion I’m in DC to fight Dems irresponsible tax&spend bill. Need a Republican majority to hv schedule we can count on & A RESPONSIBLE FISCAL AGENDA.”

Not many were pleased with the Iowa Republican’s remarks.

“Sir, I could not care less about your vacation,” wrote Charlotte Clymer, a well-known writer, LGBTQ activist, and veteran. “Ask any service member who’s had leave approved for a family vacation and then had it cancelled at the last minute because of needs of the unit. If our military can be called on to do this, so can you. Stop whining and do your job.”

READ MORE: ‘Impossibly Boring Man of No Principles’: Grassley Slammed for Remarks in Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmation Hearing

Attorney Luppe Luppen unleashed his own anger: “Sorry kids grandpa can’t be here this weekend. He loves you very much, but, even though he’s 88 years old, he has no other options in his life but to remain in Washington to performatively protest any action on climate change and oppose Medicare negotiating lower drug prices.”

Benjamin Dreyer, the copy chief at Random House and the popular author of “Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style,” offered this suggestion: “So retire.”

“Sir, this highly coherent tweet will catch fire with middle America!” mocked Josh Marshall, the founder and editor of Talking Points Memo.

Brian Tyler Cohen, a popular political commentator and podcast host tweeted, “Nothing says ‘re-elect me’ quite like tweeting how your government position gets in the way of your vacations.”

“Oh no, you were inconvenienced,” mocked journalist Christopher Harress. “Welcome to the real world. It happens to regular people all the time.”

Award-winning journalist Steven Greenhouse offered the Senator no solace, mocking him to his grandchildren:

“Dear Grassley Grandchildren,” he wrote. “Sorry but Grandpa is missing the reunion so he can go to Washington to vote against the most important measures ever taken in the US to fight climate change. Sorry, grandkids, but Grandpa is battling to make the climate worse for your generation.”

 

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