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Religious Right Furious Fire Chief Fired After Publishing Book Comparing Gays To Pedophiles

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has fired his fire chief over publication of a controversial, anti-gay, religion-based book – without telling him first, and then for insisting he will continue to spread his faith in the firehouse.

For several months in 2009, Kelvin Cochran was FEMA’s Administrator for the United States Fire Administration. But Cochran returned quickly to Atlanta, and became the city’s new Fire Chief. Today, he’s not serving the people of Atlanta, he’s out of a job, fired after a one-month suspension, by Mayor Kasim Reed.

Last year, Cochran wrote and self-published an ugly book, Who Told You That You Were Naked?, that uses religion to support his anti-gay beliefs. Calling them “unclean,” the book compares gay people to pedophiles and people who have sex with animals. The book also has anti-Semitic and anti-women passages. Not only did he publish the book, he handed it out at the firehouse, and reportedly discussed its contents with his employees – something many might feel makes for an uncomfortable work environment.

In the book, Cochran writes that his “job description as a fire chief of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department” is to “cultivate its culture for the glory of God.”

Cochran also identified himself in the book as Atlanta’s Fire Chief, without clearing the book with the City. Mayor Reed reportedly was concerned some might think the City of Atlanta endorsed the book or its contents, which it does not.

During his suspension, Cochran reportedly made clear he would continue to make anti-gay statements upon his return.

“When you have more than 1,000 people working under your command, you can’t go around publicly suggesting that some of them are perverts on a par with those who indulge in bestiality or child sexual abuse, as Cochran did in a self-published book,” Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes today. “When you serve as a top manager in a government that has pledged not to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation, you can’t suggest to workers that such discrimination might be justified, as Cochran did by distributing copies of that book to his subordinates. (Apparently, Cochran had been advised by the city ethics office against publishing the book, but chose to do so anyway.)”

Mayor Reed held a press conference explaining his decision, and issued a statement saying that Cochran’s “actions and decision-making undermine his ability to effectively manage a large, diverse workforce.”

“Every single employee under the Fire Chief’s command deserves the certainty that he or she is a valued member of the team and that fairness and respect guide employment decisions. His actions and his statements during the investigation and his suspension have eroded my confidence in his ability to convey that message.

“Chief Cochran also failed to notify me, as Mayor and Chief Executive of the City of Atlanta and his employer, of his plans to publish the book and its inflammatory content. This demonstrates an irreconcilable lapse in judgment.”

At least one firefighters’ union supports the mayor.

“Atlanta Professional Firefighters Local 134 would like to commend Mayor Reed and his administration for their decision to terminate Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran.”

Of course, the radical religious right is furious.

The scandalized Ralph Reed, former executive director of the infamous Christian Coalition who now heads the Faith and Freedom Coalition, “urged members and supporters to email and call the mayor to reverse the suspension and to tell him to stop ‘infringing on religious freedom,'” the Georgia Voice reports.

And last year, virulently anti-gay Tea Party leader Erick Erickson of RedState.com and Fox News “encouraged his followers to purchase Cochran’s book,” the Washington Post reports, “writing that the fire chief was facing suspension for ‘publicly professing Christian beliefs.'”

Today, Erickson added more falsehoods to the flame:

And then there’s this:

The Christian right is doing what it always does: disseminate false facts and play the victim.

 

Image via Wikimedia

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Trump to Give Long-Delayed Court-Ordered Sworn Testimony to NY Attorney General in Real Estate Pricing Probe

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Donald Trump is scheduled to appear before lawyers in the Office of the New York Attorney General Letitia James Wednesday morning to give sworn testimony in her probe of his real estate pricing practices.

Trump’s long-awaited deposition was originally scheduled for January 7, according to the subpoena he received, Insider reports, but he has successfully managed to push it back more than seven months. Similarly two of his adult children had their depositions pushed back, and then pushed even further after the recent death of their mother, Ivana Trump.

“Trump allegedly misstated property values to win hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and bank loans,” Insider reports. The former president “is scheduled to be grilled in person in Manhattan on what James has alleged is a decade-long pattern of financial misstatements on documents used by the Trump Organization to win hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and bank loans.”

READ MORE: Experts Call on Trump to Release Search Warrant and Inventory List as His Supporters Talk of ‘Civil War’

Fox News adds: “It’s unclear at this time if the former president will be willing to answer all the questions that the lawyers pose him or if he could be asserting his Fifth Amendment right.”

Trump “has also called the investigation by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, a politically motivated witch hunt,” The New York Times reports.

“He repeated his criticism on his Truth Social account. ‘In New York City tonight. Seeing racist N.Y.S. Attorney General tomorrow, for a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history!’ he wrote. ‘My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!'”

READ MORE: ‘Incredibly Dumb’: Former Federal Prosecutor Mocks Eric Trump for Telling NY AG ‘We Are Prosecuting You’

Wednesday’s deposition marks the third harrowing day for the Republican politician, conspiracy theorist, white nationalist, and, some say, “con man” and “cult-like” figure.

Monday morning FBI agents executed a valid legal search warrant, signed by a federal judge, and confiscated ten cartons of documents which Trump’s press secretary acknowledged included confidential “paper.”

Tuesday a federal appeals court upheld a ruling made by a Trump-appointed lower court judge that allows the powerful House Ways and Means Committee to be granted access to his tax returns.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Experts Call on Trump to Release Search Warrant and Inventory List as His Supporters Talk of ‘Civil War’

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Legal experts and other experts are urging – or in some cases, daring – Donald Trump to publish a copy of the FBI’s search warrant and the inventory list of the ten cartons of classified documents removed from Mar-a-Lago’s basement Monday, as his supporters openly call for civil war in response to what the former president called a “raid.”

“After the search, the federal agents hauled away roughly 10 more boxes,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

That makes the total number of cartons the former president was storing at his Florida home approximately 25, based on reports that 15 cartons had to be retrieved by the National Archives earlier this year.

READ MORE: ‘He Was Going to Sacrifice You’: Pence Mocked for Rushing to Support Trump After FBI Mar-a-Lago Raid

Almost immediately upon news breaking that the FBI had executed a search warrant, Trump supporters went wild. They formed a convoy outside Mar-a-Lago, and online countless threats of violence and “civil war” have been made.

Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph, noting the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”

Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that call for civil war and other related threats of violence, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”

And Tuesday afternoon NBC News reported, “After Mar-a-Lago search, users on pro-Trump forums agitate for ‘civil war’ — including a Jan. 6 rioter.”

READ MORE: ‘God Anointed Him’: Christian Right Expert Explains Conservative Outrage After FBI Raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Legal experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president – and certainly not a political move, like Trump supporters are falsely claiming.

Former Dept. of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich, who is also a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York (SDNY) notes that “Trump has the search warrant, specifying the crimes being investigated, and the inventory of the items seized.”

READ MORE: ‘Sitting President Asking for Civil War’: Parscale Blames Trump for Insurrection – Says His ‘Rhetoric Killed Someone’

“He has chosen not to share those items publicly although he is free to do so,” Bromwich adds.

Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on MSNBC Tuesday morning:

“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.”

“By the way,” noted Richard Stengel, a former U.S. Under Secretary of State, “Trump now has the search warrant and the inventory of what was taken in his possession. If this raid was so egregious and unjustified, why not release them?”

“Trump can release the search warrant and the inventory of what the FBI took. Why hasn’t he?” asked Marc Elias, the DNC’s top attorney who successfully fought more than 60 cases of alleged election fraud brought by the Trump team and his supporters.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, responding to a Fox News tweet with video of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that reads, “‘WE DESERVE ANSWERS NOW'” wrote: “Some of those questions could be answered if Trump released the search warrant as well as the inventory of items seized, which his team presumably has.”

Politico’s Kyle Cheney tweeting his article titled, “Why the Trump search warrant is nothing like Hillary’s emails,” wrote: “One person who could clear most of it up? Trump. He has access to the inventory of records at Mar-a-Lago and likely received a copy of the search warrant. He would also know the nature of the classified documents at issue.”

 

 

 

 

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‘He Was Going to Sacrifice You’: Pence Mocked for Rushing to Support Trump After FBI Mar-a-Lago Raid

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Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was by Donald Trump‘s side constantly promoting and defending him when he was President, and who was subjected to Trump’s support of rioters and insurrectionists calling to “hang Mike Pence,” is being highly criticized and mocked for again rushing to defend Trump in the wake of the FBI’s raid at Mar-a-Lago.

Experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president.

But not according to Pence, who is strongly believed to be organizing a 2024 presidential run.

READ MORE: ‘God Anointed Him’: Christian Right Expert Explains Conservative Outrage After FBI Raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

“I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump. No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history,” he writes.

“After years where FBI agents were found to be acting on political motivation during our administration, the appearance of continued partisanship by the Justice Department must be addressed,” he claims, which is at best a twisting of facts. No FBI agent was found to have taken official action based on personal political beliefs.

“Yesterday’s action undermines public confidence in our system of justice and Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately,” Pence demanded.

READ MORE: ‘This Is a National Security Issue’: Former FBI Agents Note Key Details About ‘Raid’ on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Pence could have made the exact same demand of Donald Trump, who has a copy of the lawfully executed search warrant and inventory of the likely hundreds or thousands of documents that are the rightful property of the U.S. government, and recovered by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

Meanwhile, Pence was singing a very different tune int he weeks before he was elected Vice President.

We call on the FBI to immediately release all emails pertinent to their investigation,” he tweeted about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on October 28, 2016. “Americans have the right to know before Election Day.”

Trump “and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton’s personal email server because no one is above the law,” Pence added just hours later.

Responses to Pence’s remarks on Tuesday were strong.

“Mike he was going to sacrifice you,” tweeted Daily Kos staff writer Gabe Ortíz.

“No President has ever attempted to have an armed mob assassinate his Vice President either,” wrote journalist Marcy Wheeler.

Trump sent a “violent mob to murder you so he could end [the] republic,” tweeted economist David Rothschild. “Trump took boxes of classified documents from White House & is known to destroy documents.”

“Trump won in 2016 because FBI intervened on his behalf over ‘concern’ about Clinton’s document retention & security,” he continued. “Not investigating & prosecuting former president who flaunts breaking law, including leading coup against US, undermines rule-of-law for all of US.”

“You don’t know what the FBI’s warrant said or what evidence was presented to the judge who authorized it,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “Your suggestion that Trump should be beyond accountability to the law, like your silence when Trump called for imprisonment of his opponents as president, harms our country.”

Talking Points memo editor and founder Josh Marshall writes, “this is a good reminder of who Mike Pence is. None of this happened. The FBI never plotted against Trump. To the extent it has org bias it’s toward the right. Everyone knows this. Pence is just repeating anti-‘deep state’ propaganda invented to give Trump cover for his crimes.”

“The pervasive rightwing lie and conspiracy theory that the FBI is controlled by Biden for political purposes is based on the assumption that everyone in the Biden admin, the FBI, the department of justice, the media and secret service is corrupt and abusing power—and trump is not,” wrote Condé Nast legal affairs editor Luke Zaleski.

Vox’s legal expert, Ian Millhiser asks, “Is there anyone on earth more pathetic than Mike Pence? Donald Trump egged on a lynch mob that wanted Pence hanged, and Pence is still Trump’s toady.”

 

 

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