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Arkansas Committee Defeats Religious License To Discriminate Against Gays – For Now

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Arkansas lawmakers defeated a bill – for now – that would allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds.

Lawmakers on the Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee late Wednesday voted against a bill that would have provided individuals and businesses a license to discriminate against LGBT people without fear of legal retribution. The legislation, similar to many bills working their way through state legislatures, is one of a growing number of “conscience protection” bills based on a federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The bill, had it passed into law, would have allowed anyone to refuse service to anyone else, by merely citing deeply held religious beliefs.

Wal-Mart, after remaining silent about an anti-LGBT bill that Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson allowed to become law this week, voiced opposition to the measure, HB 1228. The governor also voiced reservations about the legislation, the AP reports.

But supporters of the bill promised it will return, and given that the vote was 4-3 in favor of the bill – five “yes” votes were needed for it to advance – Arkansas will likely see it again, soon. 

The Arkansas Times explains how easy that could be.

The bill could be pulled from committee to the Senate floor, a maneuver that requires only a simple majority of the overwhelmingly Republican chamber. Republicans as a party here and nationally are opposed to equal treatment of gay people.

And the Washington Blade reports that “John Reed, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Senate, said the ‘bill is not dead’ and there are ‘several ways to keep plugging’ away at it, including winning more support in committee for a successful vote at a later time.”

“It’s not a hard and fast death for the bill,” Reed said, noting there’s still “plenty of time” in the legislative session to move forward with the measure.

The Human Rights Campaign has unveiled a $25,000 campaign to defeat it.

It was a rare, albeit possibly short-lived legislative victory for the LGBT community in the South, where anti-gay bills have been mounting. Arkansas lawmakers last week rammed through an anti-gay bill that claimed to be a commerce protection act, but in reality stripped local cities and towns from enforcing non-discrimination ordinances. That bill, which became law on Tuesday, has already been duplicated in Texas and West Virginia.

Some conservatives were outraged over the bill’s defeat.

While equality supporters celebrated.

At least, for now.

 

Image by Cody Davis via Flickr and a CC license

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Dominion Lawsuit: Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell and Rudy Giuliani Pushed Trump Lies for Fame, Glory — and Pillows

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Attorneys for Dominion Voting Systems accused Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell of spreading lies about Donald Trump’s election loss for fame and glory.

The voting technology company’s lawyers argued Thursday in a court hearing that Trump’s former campaign lawyers and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell believed they could attain power and influence by helping the former president remain in office by overturning his election loss with baseless claims of fraud and tampering, reported CNN.

“That’s the place they could get in-person audiences,” said Dominion attorney Megan Meier. “[Washington was] the place where Powell could become a household name.”

Attorneys for Giuliani, Powell and Lindell — who have been sued for $1.3 billion in the defamation suit — at times attempted to re-litigate the election during the four-hour hearing, which began a few hours after a New York court suspended Giuliani’s law license over his election fraud lies.

The former New York City mayor did not attend the hearing, but Powell and Lindell did.

Another attorney for Dominion argued that the case can remain alive in court, even if jurors find the defendants’ claims “improbable,” because the case isn’t about “the marketplace of ideas,” as Lindell’s attorney has argued.

“There is a quantum of information available to [Lindell] by the time he made these statements,” Clare said. “He made the preconceived notion that the election was stolen.”

The lawsuit accuses Lindell of using election lies and Qanon conspiracy theories to promote his pillow company.

“[He] sells the lie to this day because the lie sells pillows,” the suit alleges.

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FASCISM

‘Just Shoot Them’: Trump Told Top US General to ‘Crack Skulls’ and ‘Beat the F’ Out of Civil Rights Protestors: New Book

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President Donald Trump told America’s highest-ranking general and top law enforcement officials to “shoot” civil rights protestors in Seattle and Portland, “crack their skulls,” and “beat the f–k” out of them, according to a new book by a Wall Street Journal reporter.

“The President would highlight videos that showed law enforcement getting physical with protesters and tell his administration he wanted to see more of that behavior,” CNN reports, citing excerpts from Michael Bender’s book, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost.”

“That’s how you’re supposed to handle these people,” Trump told his top law enforcement and military officials, according to Bender. “Crack their skulls!”

Trump also told his team that he wanted the military to go in and “beat the f–k out” of the civil rights protesters, Bender writes.

“Just shoot them,” Trump said on multiple occasions inside the Oval Office, according to the excerpts.

But Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley (photo, right) refused, Bender reveals, with Milley and Attorney General Bill Barr often finding themselves the only ones willing to push back against the president.

General Milley, who made headlines Wednesday after delivering a stunning lecture on critical race theory and “wokeness” to U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who was not pleased by it, also pushed back against Trump senior advisor, white supremacist Stephen Miller.

During one Oval Office debate, senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller chimed in, equating the scenes unfolding on his television to those in a third-world country and claiming major American cities had been turned into war zones.

“These cities are burning,” Miller warned, according to the excerpts.

The comment infuriated Milley, who viewed Miller as not only wrong but out of his lane, Bender writes, noting the Army general who had commanded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan spun around in his seat and pointed a finger directly at Miller.

“Shut the f–k up, Stephen,” Milley snapped, according to the excerpts.

Read the entire report at CNN.

 

Image of President Trump and General Milley: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO COMPETENCY?

‘No Time to Waste’: DeSantis Blasted for Going on Fox News as Biden and Miami Mayor Urge Him to Request State of Emergency

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Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis is taking time to pose for the cameras and talk to Fox News in the wake of the stunning partial building collapse that more than 12 hours later has left 99 people missing, and feared dead.

DeSantis reportedly added an interview with far right Fox News host Mark Levin to his calendar for Thursday.

President Joe Biden during a news conference announcing a bipartisan agreement on, appropriately, an infrastructure bill on-camera Thursday afternoon urged the Florida Republican governor to ask for a declaration of a state of emergency, but DeSantis has yet to do so – nor has he declared a state of emergency himself for the Surfside disaster. President Biden appears to have ordered FEMA to Florida to assess the situation, which is the most they are allowed to do until the governor acts.

Also urging DeSantis to request a state of emergency declaration is Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who says “there is no time to waste.”

Apparently DeSantis believes there is, and many are blasting the likely 2024 GOP presidential hopeful.

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