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Listen: Mike Pence Can’t Name A Single Case Warranting Indiana Anti-Gay ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

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This is not the first time Mike Pence has admitted there is no real justification for the anti-gay bill he just signed into law.

There are many reasons lawmakers pass bills and many reasons governors sign them into law. Some good, some bad. Often, legislation is in response to an unfortunate event, or a series of events that show a demonstrable pattern of harm from which citizens, the State, or the environment need to be protected. Think bans on smoking in public, or repeal of conscience protections that allowed hundreds of children to become infected with the measles.

Sometimes the only reason to pass a bill, or to sign one into law, is because it helps your re-election campaign, or your campaign for higher office.

On Monday, a few days before Republican Governor Mike Pence signed Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act – note the “restoration” part in the title – into law Thursday morning, in a private event closed to the press and the public, he tweeted that he was “looking forward” to signing the bill.

It’s about “reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact.”

In other words, it’s a law that serves no purpose, other than a political one. He even admitted it on Twitter.

In between that message he tweeted on Monday, to his signing the bill on Thursday, the public became aware of not only the viciousness of the bill, that it was the fruit of a deep anti-gay animus, but that several major corporations important to Indiana’s economy had denounced it.

LOOK: Tweet Of The Day: Hillary Clinton On Indiana Anti-Gay ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

The $4 billion software firm Salesforce is extremely opposed, along with Gen Con, a $50 million annual gaming convention, Fortune 500 member Cummins, Eskenazi Health, Eli Lilly and Co., George Takei, Pat McAfee, Jason Collins, the mayor of Indianapolis, and the State of Indiana’s tourism board, among many others.

Right after he signed the bill on Thursday, Pence looked for cover, doing an interview with conservative radio host Greg Garrison, the “Voice of the Heartland.” 

Pressed to answer “whether religious freedom has been threatened in Indiana,” thus offering a valid reason for the law, Governor Pence drew a blank, offering a non-answer.

LOOK: Broadway’s Audra McDonald Just Took Down Indiana Gov. Mike Pence In A Glorious Twitter Rant

“I’m not aware of cases and controversies,” Gov. Pence responded. “I mean as I travel around the state one thing I know for sure —Hoosier hospitality is the greatest in the nation. Hoosiers are loving, caring, generous to a fault. People that have strong hearts, strong values. But this isn’t about any present controversy as much as some in the media want to make it about. It’s about making sure that Hoosiers have the same protections in our state courts as they have in federal courts and as 30 other states have.”

In other words, the answer is “no.”

No real justification for imposing pro-religious discrimination upon Hoosiers, but heck, maybe he thought it would look good on his presidential résumé.

(Of course, it won’t.)

Listen:

 

Related: 

George Takei Calls For A Boycott Of Indiana

$4 Billion Corp. To Indiana: We Warned You About RFRA, Now We’re ‘Forced To Dramatically Reduce Our Investment’

Breaking: Indiana Governor Mike Pence Has Signed ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill Into Law

 

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr and a CC license
Hat tip: Talking Points Memo

 

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News

‘Taking Us All for Fools’: Critics Decimate Greg Abbott’s Claims and Defense of His Actions in Wake of School Shooting

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Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott in a press conference that left reporters frustrated defended his actions and insisted his earlier praise for law enforcement’s widely criticized response to the Uvalde school massacre was the result of being “misled.”

“I am livid about what happened,” Abbott declared, blaming others for his “recitation of what people in that room told me.”

Critics aren’t buying his claims.

Abbott, who’s in the middle of a heated re-election campaign, appeared extremely defensive when reporters asked him questions.

“Let’s be clear about one thing. None of the laws I signed this past session had any intersection with this crime at all,” Abbott told reporters when asked if he would call the legislature back for a special session, as The Texas Tribune’s Sewell Chan noted.

“No law that I signed allowed him to get a gun,” Abbott insisted.

“The answers fell pretty flat,” opined MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, who noted the press event lasted just 36 minutes, less time than the police officers “stood outside and did nothing,” which was 47 minutes.

Abbott ended the press conference with many reporters almost begging him to take more questions. As the governor got up and left one frustrated reporter was caught on a hot mic saying “unbelievable.”

Chan, who is the editor in chief of the Tribune, added on Twitter: “Abbott rejects background checks as a simplistic and ineffective fix. Wouldn’t have prevented Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe shootings, he says. Tries to turn focus to broken mental health system.”

Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi on MSNBC delivered a strong rebuke to Governor Abbott’s remarks.

“No amount of free flights, no amount of free caskets, no amount of mental health counseling is going to bring back any one of those murdered children,” Figliuzzi said, referring to Abbott’s announcement an anonymous donor is putting up  $175,000 for funeral expenses of those who were murdered in the shooting and said the state will pay for mental health treatment.

Abbott also insisted that since Texas became a state it’s been legal for 18-year-olds to buy long guns.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, blasted Abbott:

And long guns of today, as Figliuzzi noted, are often semi-automatic “killing machines.”

“The governor seems completely unable to understand that he can easily make a distinction when you’re talking about whether an 18-year-old should buy an assault rifle or not. And all he cares about is a century of history in Texas on long guns. We didn’t have the AR-15 style assault weapons back then.  He can easily make a distinction and say, ‘you can go hunting, here are the rifles you can do, you can buy, you can possess – and here’s an assault-style rifle.'”

“If he thinks that people are stupid and unable to understand that there is a clear distinction between a killing machine and a hunting rifle, that he’s taking us all for fools.”

 

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‘I Apologize for Interrupting Your Press Conference’: Tearful Texas Democrat Urges Greg Abbott to ‘Do Something’ on Guns

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The Texas Democratic State Senator who represents Uvalde stood up during Greg Abbott’s Friday afternoon press conference and almost begged the Republican Governor to “do something” about gun violence after Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School that took 21 lives.

Abbott was trying to place the blame for the school shooting on mental health despite the gunman having no documented issues, and told attendees, “we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”

That was not good enough for Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who politely introduced himself and said, “I’m not making a political speech.”

“My colleagues are asking for a special session, you’re getting a letter tomorrow,” from the Senate Democratic Caucus.

“We’ve asked for gun control changes – I’m asking you now, bring us back in three weeks.”

Gutierrez grew emotional, sounding as if he was choking up, and added, “I apologize for interrupting your press conference about the needs of this community. I’ve been here for three days with all of these elected officials – this county judge has been working his ass off,” he continued.

“I don’t know how to express the loss of the families that I’ve talked to,” he added.

“You have to do something, man,” Gutierrez said, all but begging the governor to take action, and saying his “own colleagues are calling me and telling me this is enough.”

Watch:

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Right Wing Host at NRA Convention Likens 18 Year Olds Buying Guns to 3rd Graders Deciding Gender

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A host from a right-wing streaming service covering the NRA convention in Houston decided to compare conservatives’ growing active opposition to the rights and existence of transgender people, to the majority of Americans demanding expanded gun control legislation.

“We are being told by the left that a third-grader has the knowledge to determine if they were born a boy or they were born a girl, whether or not they want to stay that gender that they were born with,” said Brian Glenn, Right Side Broadcasting’s director of programming and correspondent.

“And if we feel like at a third grade you can make decisions on your gender, then I think by the time you’re 18 you should have enough maturity – assuming you’re not a complete psychopath – to buy a handgun and exercise your Second Amendment.”

Of course, that hypothetical third-grader is harming exactly no one and later can reverse that decision if they choose, which the vast majority do not.

That hypothetical 18-year old, or, in the case of this week’s horrific tragedy, an actual 18-year old, buying two AR-15 style assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition within three days of their 18th birthday, gunning down 21 people including 19 elementary school children, cannot reverse any of those decisions.

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