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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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News

Trump Could Face 20 Years Behind Bars for ‘Serious Felonies’ at Mar-a-Lago: Legal Analyst

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A legal analyst for ABC News pointed out that former President Donald Trump is potentially facing 20 years in prison for “serious felonies” after the search of his Mar-a-Lago home.

Dan Abrams told ABC host Jonathan Karl that the Department of Justice could indict Trump for multiple crimes after finding classified documents during the search.

“They’re very serious,” Abrams said of the charges. “And the one that’s being talked about most is this espionage act because it has the word espionage in it. But the truth is that when it comes to potential criminal sentences, the obstruction of justice statute is the one with the most potential prison time.”

“There you’re talking about up to 20 years behind bars,” he added. “So these are not sort of minor crimes we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the potential for serious felonies with regard to all three of the crimes being investigated.”

But Abrams threw cold water on the idea that a Trump prosecution would be easy.

“The fundamental question is going to be intentionality,” he opined. “How much do they believe that they did this on purpose? Were they intentionally ignoring subpoenas? Were they literally destroying documents?”

Watch the video below from ABC.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

New Analysis Breaks Down GOP’s Flawed Response to the Mar-a-Lago Search

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Republican lawmakers are reportedly at an impasse on whether or not they should be defending former President Donald Trump amid his latest flurry of legal woes. The party is also facing challenges with navigating some lawmakers’ critical assessments of law enforcement over the Trump investigation.

A new analysis is breaking down Republicans’ seemingly flawed response and how it underscores the cracks in the political party’s foundation.

According to Axios, the analysis comes shortly after documents released on Friday, August 12, offered details about the search which reportedly involved “highly classified materials believed stored in violation of the law at the ex-president’s private residence.”

Prior to the release of those documents, Republicans serving on the House Intelligence Committee participated in a press conference where they continued to criticize the investigation, describing it as being politically motivated.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) scrutinized the investigation deeming it a “complete abuse” of authority as she suggested it was being conducted because the former president is considered to be “Joe Biden’s most likeliest political opponent in 2024.”

However, some Republicans on the committee have offered a more leveled approach to the situation. Per The New York Times, “Trump allies have told top Republicans to tone down their criticism of the Justice Department ‘because it is possible that more damaging information related to the search will become public.'”

“It’s incumbent upon everybody to act in a way that’s becoming of the office they hold,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a former FBI agent, “And that’s not casting judgment on anything until you know all the facts.”

Others have attempted to defend the former president. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said, “You can say nuclear weapons, but there are things that are highly, highly classified, there are things that are not extremely classified.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is now selling merchandise on her website in support of a call to “defund the FBI” while Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted, “I will support a complete dismantling and elimination of the democrat brown shirts known as the FBI.”

 

Image: Elise Stefanik with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago via Facebook

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News

Trump Makes False Claims About Classified Documents – And Obama

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Donald Trump is responding to news reports he is under FBI investigation for actions covered by the Espionage Act by making apparently false claims about his mishandling of classified documents and about former President Barack Obama.

“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump says in a post on his Truth Social site, a claim legal experts say is incorrect. For any president to declassify documents, experts say, there is a process that involves actions being taken on each individual document. They also say the president does not have legal authority to declassify documents related to nuclear weapons.

“Number two,” Trump continues, “they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.”

READ MORE: FBI Agents Searched Mar-a-Lago for ‘Classified Documents Relating to Nuclear Weapons’: Report

Again, according to reports, that too is false. DOJ issued a subpoena after the National Archives tried to get all the documents back and Trump still did not comply.

“They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago,” he continues in a separate post on Truth Social. “ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.”

Again, multiple reports say they did, numerous times.

READ MORE: DOJ Served Trump With Grand Jury Subpoena for Classified Documents Months Before FBI Raid: Report

None of his responses explain why he had at Mar-a-Lago what we now know were at least 35 cartons – 20 retrieved on Monday and 15 earlier this year – of items including confidential, classified, and top secret documents that were required by law to have been handed over to the National Archives.

“The bigger problem is,” Trump says, “what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”

That is also false.

The National Archives on Friday issued a statement after Trump repeatedly spread the false claim that former President Barack Obama had 33 million documents in his possession.

“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” was one of Trump’s false attacks on his Truth Social site.

“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” the Archives said in a statement posted to its website Friday.

“NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA,” the Archives added. “Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.”

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