Editor’s note: For the most up-to-date news on Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill, visit our Uganda section.
The Uganda Kill The Gays Bill, aka the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) may be quickly on its way to becoming law, as the Uganda lame duck parliament’s session comes to a fast close, possibly on May 11 — just days from now. The bill, infamous around the world for its provision mandating the death penalty for anyone convicted of the â€œcrimeâ€ of homosexuality,Â anyone convicted of same-sex rape, anyone who is classified as a â€œserial offender,â€ even anyone with HIV, may or may not include the death penalty provision, according to author of the bill, David Bahati, who claimed last week he would “concede” the provision if it would move the bill into law. Many believe that concession to be a ruse. Contrary toÂ a published AP report, the death penalty provision has not been dropped.
â€œI know that the process of legislation is moving forward,” said Bahati, according to a report from Warren Throckmorton, who writes, “Today, public hearings onÂ Ugandaâ€™s Anti-Homosexuality Bill took place before the Parliamentary and Legal Affairs Committee, according to the bill author, David Bahati. In an interview,Â BahatiÂ said that the Uganda Reform Commission and several religious leaders were on the list of those slated to provide testimony.”
“Bahati declined to say that the bill would be voted on next week, saying that the actual end of Parliament is not until May 18 when theÂ 9th Parliament also begins. According toÂ Charles Tuhaise, a researcherÂ for parliamentâ€™s research office, most of the business will be concluded by the end of next week. He told me that the hearings for the Marriage and Divorce Bill have concluded and those for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill began today. Tuhaise said the antigay bill hearings will probably conclude on Monday.”
No word yet from Uganda PresidentÂ Museveni, who recently stated he wanted theÂ Kill The Gays BillÂ dropped, on whether he would sign it.
According to trusted reports, including Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, the AHB’s chances may be growing, as Uganda is currently experiencing great citizen unrest, and parliament sees passage of the bill as an opportunity to create a “diversion.”
“Uganda has been rocked in recent weeks with rioting and demonstrations against rising gas prices,” Burroway writes. “The government has been responding with extraordinarily violent crackdown on dissent. One opposition leader was seriously injured and fled to neighboring Kenya for treatment. The disturbances even spilled onto the floor of Parliament, which had to suspend its session temporarily on Tuesday.”
Relying on information from GayUganda, Burroway addsÂ “that forces behind the bill see as an opportunistic diversion for the violence that is racking the country,” but adds that the “diversion also can work both ways. With most of the mediaâ€™s attention focus on the ongoing violence and protests, it could also be that the billâ€™s supporters see an opening for it to be passed when nobodyâ€™s paying attention.”
The Kill The Gays Bill also mandates jail time for those who know of homosexuals but do not report them to authorities within 24 hours andÂ offers a maximum of seven years prison time for even renting a room to someone who is homosexual. Any assistance to a gay man or lesbian would be considered criminal.
The bill reportedly was shelved in March, but Bahati â€” who has said he wants to â€œkill every last gay personâ€ â€” appeared defiant, stating at the time, â€œI think that the government is aware that 95 percent of Ugandans do not condone homosexuality.â€
One week later, supporters of the bill, lead by right-wing zealot Pastor Martin Ssempa, presented to Speaker of the Uganda Parliament, Edward Ssekandi, a petition reportedly carrying two million signatures, demanding the â€œKill The Gaysâ€ bill â€” also known as the â€œAnti-Homosexuality Billâ€ â€” become law.
The â€œKill The Gaysâ€ bill, which has also become known as the â€œBahati bill,â€ is necessary — according to the team of PastorÂ Ssempa and David Bahati — because homosexuals are supposedly â€œrecruiting childrenâ€ in Uganda, and, the two claim, paying them large sums of money to have same-gender sex or to become homosexual. The petition reportedly came with a list of nineteen organizations that they claim are â€œpromotingâ€ homosexuality in Uganda.
But no one has ever provided actual proof.Â Bahati, who has a Cardiff University MBA,Â has been repeatedly asked in this country by MSNBCâ€™s Rachel Maddow for any proof of these allegations. Bahati promised to provide it but never has.
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Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’
If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.
“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.
But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”
“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.
It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”
The allegations continue.
“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”
“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”
The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”
The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”
The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.
You can read The Beast’s full report here.
Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report
When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.
The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.
Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”
It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticket via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”
“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”
CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”
Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.
‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer is pushing baseless conspiracy theories about the Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon floating over the United States – currently, over Montana – that the Pentagon is tracking, and he’s being widely mocked for his unfounded fear-mongering.
Fox News host Harris Faulkner set the stage perfectly for the far-right Republican from Kentucky, declaring the balloon is “the size of three buses” and that “China says was taken by wind – wind that we can’t substantiate.”
The Kentucky congressman who has falsely described President Biden as “compromised,” and stated he is going to target and investigate him, told Faulkner, “I have concern this is going to be another example of the Biden administration’s weakness on the national scale.”
Comer, 50, a former agriculture commissioner, lamented about Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming it hurt the reputation of America’s military and Commander in Chief.
The balloon, he said, should “never have been allowed” to cross over into the United States.
“My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” he asked, pushing unfounded theories while echoing the far-right’s false claims the COVID-19 virus was developed as a bioweapon and escaped the lab in Wuhan, China.
After suggesting it might have bioweapons, he then said it was “very concerning” the balloon was not shot down before reaching the U.S. – which could have spread the alleged bioweapon.
Faulkner, seen by some as a propagandist, then jumped in to exhibit her surprise that “people on Capitol Hill were not briefed” about the balloon.
“Calling for the president to ‘shoot down’ the craft,” The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona adds, “some in the GOP called the president ‘Beijing Biden’ while claiming this is further proof that ‘Communist China’ doesn’t ‘fear or respect’ Biden.”
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer to Fox News: “My concern is that the federal government doesn’t know what’s in that balloon. Is that bioweapons in that balloon? Did that balloon take off from Wuhan?” pic.twitter.com/0r9JmBl4zo
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 3, 2023
“Honestly,” communications strategist Doug Gordon noted, “just surprised he didn’t find a way to include Hunter’s laptop into that conspiracy theory.”
“Actually, he did later on,” Baragona replied.
National security expert Denver Riggleman, the Republican former U.S. Congressman from Virginia who assisted the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, tweeted: “Bioweapons? FFS”
Referring to Comer’s unfounded bioweapons claim, one Twitter user observed, “Isn’t that more reason not to shoot at it? I’m not saying I know what to do, but logic would dictate ‘don’t shoot at balloons full of bioweapons.’ Right?”
Another noted that the Oversight Chairman should have been listening to the Pentagon’s briefing “taking place now instead of running to get on Fox to talk about something he has no expertise in.”
Another, mocking Comer, noted: “If they were sending a bio weapon, why would they park it over sparsely populated Montana? *rolls eyes*”
Watch the video above or at this link.
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