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After Anti-Gay Activists Donate $842,387 To Pizzeria, Three LGBT Youth Orgs Ask For Help

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Three worthwhile organizations that work to help LGBT youth are asking for a bit of support in the wake of a nearly million-dollar fundraiser that helped an anti-gay marriage Indiana pizzeria.

Last week news of Indiana’s anti-gay “religious freedom” law consumed the nation, and a small town pizzeria whose owners shut down after announcing support for the discriminatory legislation walked away with $842,387 in proceeds donated by anti-gay conservatives whipped into a homophobic frenzy by Rush Limbaugh.

That GoFundMe campaign for Memories Pizza was started by a Glenn Beck Internet TV host, but it was Limbaugh’s direction to donate that escalated the funds to almost one million dollars.

“Just ram it down these people’s throats,” Limbaugh urged. 

“These people” being the LGBT community. Yes, Limbaugh told his listeners that it “takes a concerted effort rooted in lies and fraud and deceit sponsored by 10 people paid for by George Soros and Media Matters to gin something like” the attacks on Memories Pizza, “and to make you get dispirited and depressed, and think that you are vastly overwhelmed and outnumbered. You are not. We’re talking about a minority that’s not even 5% of the population here.”

And donate in the name of hate they did. 

But now, in the wake of all that, three worthwhile groups who work with LGBT youth are asking for a bit of help, a bit of the (pizza?) pie, if you can excuse the pun.

LGBT activist Scott Wooledge has been advocating for Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. He created the Pizza 4 Equality campaign to help.

There is much disgust and consternation in the LGBT community over a viral fundraiser effort, that has as of this writing, earned $842,387. Many have lamented, “If only our cause could raise that much money that fast.” I say, yes, we can.

So I looked and saw that Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund has set April 29 as the first national #40toNoneDay to end #LGBT youth homelessness! And I thought, would it not be totally awesome if we equality supporters (and pizza lovers) could match that #MemoriesPizza  “charity” by April 29?  Can we match their amount and help homeless youth get off the street, learn life skills and get an education and jobs?

Dan Savage agrees:

You can donate via their GoFundMe page.

If you’re feeling like you want to counter the anti-gay hate in Indiana directly, consider the Indiana Youth Group. They’ve started a GoFundMe campaign in response to the Memories Pizza campaign too.

“IYG has been around since 1987 providing safe spaces and support for LGBT youth,” their GoFundMe page reads. “They were founded ‘in response to the dismal suicide, homeless, and dropout rates of self-identified gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth in Indianapolis.'”

You can check out their webpage and Facebook page.

And last but not least, the good folks at Equality House and Planting Peace have an awesome challenge.

In an email they sent NCRM, they explain:

“In the spirit of Easter a donor has come forward and said he will give 100 rooms to LGBTQ youth and families if we hit our goal of raising $100,000 in our virtual pizza party that is countering the anti-gay pizza story.”

That’s a fantastic gift!

You remember Equality House is the rainbow painted house that sits directly across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church, as a daily reminder for them.

On their Facebook page, they write:

For a fraction of the money they raised for hate, you can literally change the lives of hundreds of our LGBTQ family facing homelessness. Let’s show the world that together, we can affect true positive change for a very worthy cause.

You can contribute via their CrowdRise fundraising campaign page.

If you can, give a little, or a lot. If you can’t, why not share this message with folks you know? Let’s start the week off on a good note and help make a difference for kids who really need our help!

 

Image by torbakhopper via Flickr and a CC license

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News

Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report

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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.”

READ MORE: George Santos Says Man Interviewed for Staff Position ‘Violated’ His Trust After Secretly Recording Conversation

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.

READ MORE: ‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories

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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.”

READ MORE: ‘Ran a Bribery Center Blocks From the White House’: Comer Mocked for Claiming No Evidence of Trump Influence Peddling

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.

READ MORE: Trump Spent 2020 Attacking Ballot Drop Boxes – but Now He’s Demanding They Be Deployed in Churches

“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.”

“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.”

READ MORE: ‘When Was Your Most Recent Period?’: Student Athletes in Florida May Be Required to Share Menstrual History

And yet another, wholly mocking Comer, who holds far-right anti-LGBTQ beliefs, said: “Or worse, what if it has woke trans undocumented drag queen athletes?”

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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COMMENTARY

Trump Spent 2020 Attacking Ballot Drop Boxes – but Now He’s Demanding They Be Deployed in Churches

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Donald Trump laid the groundwork early in the 2020 election for his possible defeat by attacking voting by mail and ballot drop boxes, insisting they should be illegal while making clear if he lost the White House those proven safe and effective means of voting would be to blame.

But now, with a flailing 2024 campaign the failed ex-president who is under multiple investigations is demanding ballot drop boxes be deployed – but only in churches.

“Some states use ‘drop boxes’ for the collection of Universal Mail-In Ballots,” Trump tweeted in August of 2020. “So who is going to ‘collect’ the Ballots, and what might be done to them prior to tabulation? A Rigged Election? So bad for our Country. Only Absentee Ballots acceptable!”

That was just one of his many attacks on drop boxes.

READ MORE: ‘Breathtaking’: Economists Stunned by Job Growth ‘Boom’ as Unemployment Drops to Level Not Seen Since 1969

“So now the Democrats are using Mail Drop Boxes, which are a voter security disaster,” Trump tweeted just days later.  “Among other things, they make it possible for a person to vote multiple times. Also, who controls them, are they placed in Republican or Democrat areas? They are not Covid sanitized. A big fraud!”

The tweet was so false Twitter appended a warning label to it that reads: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.”

Fast forward to now.

On his social media platform Trump reposted a “truth” (the word Truth Social uses instead of “tweet”) from far-right activist, conspiracy theorist, and provocateur Jack Posobiec. Posobiec was “one of the most prominent promoters of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, that held that the Washington D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong was really a front for a child sex dungeon run by Hillary Clinton. He even went to the restaurant to find out ‘what’s really going on’ there,” according to The Daily Beast.

“In 2017, BuzzFeed reported text messages suggesting that Posobiec held a ‘Rape Melania’ sign during an anti-Trump protest in an apparent attempt to discredit the protesters as insidious and deranged.”

READ MORE: ‘Firehose of Disinformation’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders Picked to Deliver State of the Union Response in Nod to Trump (Video)

Thursday, on Trump’s Truth Social platform, Posobiec wrote: “I don’t know who needs to hear this but Republicans should put ballot drop boxes in the back of churches in every state where it’s legal.”

Hours later Trump was all over the idea, demanding the Republican National Committee implement it.

“Best idea I’ve heard in a long time,” Trump wrote in all-caps, “put them all over the place. RNC, every Republican, get to work on this now!!!”

Democratic voting rights attorney Marc Elias’ Democracy Docket platform just last week reported that in 2020, “Trump first attacked mail-in voting itself, then tried to undermine the postal service’s ability to handle the volume of ballots. Soon after, he began to target drop boxes as well.”

As Trump learned, making it more difficult to vote is not a winning strategy, unless you’re highly unpopular and can block a significant number of your opponents’ votes while retaining your own, which he did not.

But the GOP sure tried.

“Republicans in many states soon followed Trump’s lead and began restricting the deployment of drop boxes even if the state had previously used them without controversy. [Ohio] Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) limited each county to a single drop box no matter how populous. Similarly, the Texas Supreme Court upheld Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) order limiting every county to a single ballot drop-off location — from Loving County (population of 64 people) to Harris County (population of 4.7 million people). In other states, Republicans moved to ban drop boxes entirely, and Missouri officials decided against deploying 80 boxes the state had already purchased,” Democrat Docket adds.

Meanwhile, Trump’s – or rather, Posobiec’s – strategy is clear: “Republicans should put ballot drop boxes in the back of churches,” because Trump thinks he still owns the Christian vote, despite attacking “disloyal” evangelical leaders just weeks ago.

But drop boxes are largely the purview of state election officials, and there would be a strong case to make again putting drop boxes only in churches. What about other houses of worship? And why just houses of worship – are they more secure than other areas?

Some might think it’s difficult to flip-flop on such a basic idea as drop boxes, especially if you went to court to void voters’ ballots that were deposited in them.

“In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign sued to invalidate the use of drop boxes in the primary election and prevent their use in the general election,” Democracy Docket adds. “Then after the election, Republicans pointed to drop boxes as a reason to question the results in a lawsuit filed in Michigan.”

Now that Trump has succeeded in ensuring Ronna McDaniel remains head of the RNC, this will be a test of his strength, or lack thereof.

 

 

 

 

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