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Why I Won’t Be At The National Equality March

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Friends,

I was looking forward to being with many of you over this holiday weekend at the National Equality March in D.C., where many of you are today. I want to explain why I won’t be with you.

Friday morning, my aunt, would would have been eighty-nine years old next month, died.

I was fortunate to have called my aunt the night before she died. I confess it was late, I was tired, and almost didn’t make the call, thinking I would call her the following day. But, thankfully, I did call her.

She always asked, “Am I your favorite aunt?” And I always asked, “Am I your favorite nephew?” The answer from us both was always, “Yes!” The irony being I had no other aunt, and she, no other nephew. It was a little secret we shared, one that somehow bound us together. We were, in many ways, kindred spirits.

There are so many lessons from her death, but the one that seems so clear at this moment is that even at 89, life is short, and every chance you get to tell someone you love them, or to make a difference in someone’s life, or in the world, is a gift, a responsibility, and a right.

I’m grateful I was able to tell my aunt I loved her before she died, although I had no idea “I love you,” would literally be my last words to her. I’m thankful they were.

If you’re at the March, or somehow participating in the fight for our equality, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to remember that what we’re fighting for is, indeed, our right to live and to love. It’s the very same message we shared when we created The Great Nationwide Kiss-In. Repeal of DOMA and DADT, and signing into law the Hate Crimes Bill and ENDA are crucial, and will help us get there, but even those great acts are only a small part of the solution.

I was lucky to be able to tell my aunt, “I love you,” just hours before she died. I hope you’ll take a moment out of your day, maybe right this minute, to tell someone, and show someone, you love them. And continue fighting for that very right. Because telling someone, “I love you,” and proving to them that you do, is the greatest gift, the greatest responsibility, and the greatest right of all.

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News

Two Longtime Republican Operatives Indicted — and There’s a Russia Connection: Report

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Reuters legal reporter Jan Wolfe revealed Monday evening that two Republican Party operatives have been indicted after helping Russians donate to political campaigns in 2016.

The Justice Department revealed in a statement that Kentucky’s Jesse Benton and Florida’s Roy Douglas “Doug” Wead were “charged with one count of conspiracy to solicit and cause an illegal campaign contribution by a foreign national, effect a conduit contribution, and cause false records to be filed with the FEC, one count of contribution by a foreign national, one count of contribution in the name of another and three counts of making false entries in an official record.”

Benton was just pardoned by former President Donald Trump for a bribery scandal while working for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in Iowa in 2012. In that scheme, Benton and colleague John Tate bribed state officials to change their endorsements to Paul for the Iowa Caucus.

After being pardoned for that, Benton is now being indicted again along with Wead for arranging for a Russian National who wanted to donate to a 2016 presidential campaign to be able to meet with the candidate.

“Benton reached out to individuals at Political Committee B, the national party committee for Political Candidate 1’s political party,” the indictment explains. “He then arranged for Foreign National 1 to attend a political fundraising event and get a photograph with Political Candidate 1, in exchange for a political contribution to Political Committee C, a joint fundraising committee comprised of the campaign committee for Political Candidate 1, Political Committee B, and related state committees. Foreign National 1 ultimately wired $100,000 to Company A, a political consulting firm owned by Benton.”

He then tried to disguise the wire transfer by labeling it “consulting services” and crafted a “cover story.”

Wead went to the fundraiser with the foreign national Sept. 22, 2016 with a translator (Foreign National 2). They all three had their photos taken with the candidate.

“Following the event, Benton repeatedly represented to a consultant working for Political Committee B and Political Committee C that he had already sent the promised contribution for the event, but in actuality he delayed sending the contribution,” said the DOJ. “Benton ultimately filled out a contributor form, indicated that he was the contributor, and used a personal credit card to make a $25,000 contribution. Benton retained the remaining $75,000 of Foreign National 1’s money. Because Benton falsely claimed to have given the contribution himself, three different political committees unwittingly filed reports with the FEC that inaccurately reported Benton, rather than Foreign National 1, as the source of the funds.”

Read the full report at the DOJ.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Texas AG Ken Paxton Sues Biden Admin Over LGBTQ Policies He Falsely Claims Put ‘Women and Children at Risk’

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Teas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, running for re-election, on Monday sued the Biden administration in litigation falsely attacking LGBTQ people.

Paxton  filed a lawsuit in a federal court seen as a friendly pipeline to the Supreme Court, over LGBTQ-related Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC) guidance, and even used the litigation to prop up a far right wing conspiracy theorist, who is also running for re-election. EEOC Commissioner Charlotte Burrows and Attorney General Merrick Garland are named as defendants.

The EEOC “guidance misstates the law, increasing the scope of liability for the State in its capacity as an employer,” Paxton claims in the lawsuit, as Bloomberg Law reports.

But as Courthouse News’ David Lee reports, the Paxton lawsuit also relies on old, false, and bigoted tropes about transgender people, saying allowing them to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity, “puts many women and children at risk.”

A June 2020 landmark Supreme Court found that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination is sex discrimination. The Biden Equal Employment Opportunity Commission used that ruling to form policy that mandates workplace guidance, including on who can use which restrooms.

Curiously, and for no discernible reason, Paxton’s lawsuit also promotes the Texas Dept. of Agriculture (TDA), which is headed by conspiracy theorist Sid Miller.

“TDA has both unisex single-occupancy bathrooms and bathrooms that are designated by sex. It interprets ‘sex’ as referring to biological sex rather than gender identity,” the lawsuit says. “If any employee wanted to use the bathrooms designated for the opposite sex, TDA would reject such a request.”

Paxton has a long and ugly history of attacking transgender people.

Newsweek adds that Paxton’s lawsuit “says that the TDA interprets sex to mean biological sex, rather than gender identity. The complaint says, ‘If any employee dressed as a member of the opposite sex, TDA would consider such conduct to be a violation of its standards.'”

It also says the TDA would reject requests for “any employee wanted to use the bathrooms designated for the opposite sex” or any employee who “wanted TDA to require other employees to use pronouns based on gender identity.”

 

 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Marjorie Taylor Greene Threatens ‘God Will No Longer Provide Protection Over America’

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) served up an unholy threat against America, warning that if Congress passes a bill protecting a woman’s right to abortion God will remove his “protection” from America.

Greene is not a theologian, biblical scholar, or other learned expert in religious studies. Abortion in the United States is already legal, but the legislation would protect that right and battle states actively seeking to change the law.

She called the bill, “the most evil and disgusting thing that is going to happen” in this session of Congress. The legislation will be voted on today, and is expected to pass the House, but would need 60 votes currently to pass the Senate, and is expected to fail there.

The Republican Congresswoman from Georgia also falsely claimed the legislation “makes it a federal law to allow abortion up until the day of birth.”

The U.S. Supreme Court since 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision has made it the law of the land that abortions are legal but only up until around 24 weeks, not “until the day of birth.”

“This wall says, ‘In God We Trust.’ And if that is the case,” Greene declared, “then this Congress will reject this evil bill and protect the innocent unborn. If this nation becomes a nation where we have such a federal law that can kill a baby, up until the day of birth, the God will no longer provide protection in His grace over America.”

She began her speech by promoting her legislation to impeach President Joe Biden, and on the floor of the House of Representatives accused him of “treason.” After she gave her speech she was admonished.

Watch:

 

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