Rand Paul just quietly released a video announcing his run for the presidency, but most of the clips of him speaking are from one of the most anti-gay conferences in America.
Ted Cruz chose to use a university founded by the virulently anti-gay Jerry Falwell as the backdrop for his 2016 presidential campaign announcement, and now his senatorial colleague, Rand Paul, has chosen something similar.
While the Republican U.S. Senator from Kentucky has yet to formally announce his candidacy for president, last week he announced that this Tuesday he would be making a major announcement, and late Sunday evening Rand Paul released a teaser video of the campaign.
But just like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul too is cozying up to anti-gay religious conservatives in his new “teaser” video.
In the video, Senator Paul, a 52-year old ophthalmologist wearing a Brooks Brothers’ dress shirt, positions himself as a different kind ofÂ RepublicanÂ leader. In fact, that’s the video’s title.
The video opens with clips of pundits supposedly heralding the Tea Party and libertarian hero, and then cuts to Sen. Paul stating, “to fix Washington we can’t have business as usual,” but it shows him speaking at this year’s the Conservative Political Action Convention.
CPAC is one of the nation’s most anti-gay political conventions. They won’t even allow the Log Cabin Republicans or, before they went under, GOProud, the former gay Tea Party group, to speak. The conference always attracts leaders from the far right, and Christian evangelicalÂ activists, likeÂ Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins orÂ American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, to name just a few.
Ironically, in another clip of Senator Paul speaking at CPAC, he can be heard saying “Congress should live under the laws they pass.” He calls for kicking out of Congress those who don’t.
But Senator Rand Paul’s presidential candidacy itself is technically illegal if he runs while also running for re-election.
How’s that for hypocrisy?
But wait, there’s more.
In another clip, Paul says, “Liberal policies have failed our inner cities.”
And by “inner cities,” you know he means Black peopleÂ â€“ the very people Sen. Paul thinks business owners should be allowed to discriminate against.
Rand Paul pretty much distanced himself from the “religious freedom” bills in Indiana and Arkansas last week, but he did tellÂ Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting network that AmericaÂ needs evangelical ChristianÂ “tent revivals” to heal the “moral crisis” created by same-sex marriage.
AÂ “different kind ofÂ RepublicanÂ leader”? Rand Paul just proved he’s the same old washed up anti-gay pro-discrimination religious zealotÂ â€“ and the same kind of Republican “leader” as all the rest.
The video closes with a kind of “Mad Men”-esque image, which, considering the GOP would like to take the country back a half-century or more, makes perfect sense.
One last note. On Twitter, Sen. Rand Paul is now Dr. Rand Paul. Kind of a slap in the face to all Kentuckians who voted for him.
It begins tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/exk26vFFKq
â€” Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 6, 2015
Stay tuned â€“ we’ll have Dr. Paul’s actual official announcement here tomorrow when it happens, live.
Image: Screenshot via YouTube
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MN Police Officer Sentenced 3.5 Years for Death of George Floyd
Former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Keung has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for aiding and abetting manslaughter in the death of Black city resident George Floyd.
Keung, age 29, had accepted a plea deal in order to avoid an additional charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder. His guilty plea acknowledged that the restraining holds used by police on Floyd were excessive and likely to cause serious harm.
Video of Floyd’s May 25, 2020 murder at the hands of city police captured footage of Keung kneeling on Floyd’s back while another officer knelt of the man’s neck. for over nine minutes, officers applied pressure to Floyd while he laid face down in the street, crying and telling officers that he couldn’t breathe while also calling out for his mother.
Video of Floyd’s murder sparked international outrage and inspired protests against institutional racism and police brutality.
Keung is the fourth and final police officer to receive prison time for his role in Floyd’s death. He will serve his new sentence and a federal sentence for Floyd’s death concurrently, serving a total of about 2 1/2 years for the killing.
Virginia Republican Files Bill Defining a Fertilized Egg as a Human
Virginia State Delegate Marie March (R) has pre-filed House Bill 1395, a law that would define life as beginning at fertilization.
“Life begins at conception and each person is accorded the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States,” the proposed bill states.
The proposed bill would effectively outlaw all abortions in the state and even endanger the use of Plan B (aka. “The morning-after pill”), a medication that prevents fertilized egg cells from attaching to a woman’s uterine wall.
The bill could also effectively criminalize in vitro fertilization, a method of inducing pregnancy that uses fertilized eggs and discards any unused ones.
Even though Republicans control the state’s House of Delegates, it’s unclear if the bill would have any chance of passing the state’s Democratic-led Senate. The legislature won’t reconvene until January 11, 2023.
Virginia currently allows a woman to get an abortion within roughly 26 weeks of pregnancy. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has proposed passing a law that would reduce that window to 15 weeks, a period of time in which most women may not even realize they’re pregnant.
In response to March’s bill the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance said in a statement, “In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and despite the vast majority of Virginians who oppose it, Virginia’s anti-abortion elected officials keep proving there are no limits to their extremism and true intentions to ban abortion for all Virginians.”
Georgia GOP Says Its Voting Restrictions “Backfired” & Helped Dems Win Senate Seat
When two Republicans lost Georgia’s special runoff senate elections in January 2021, state Republicans in the General Assembly re-wrote voting laws to restrict absentee ballots and give voters fewer days to vote in future runoff elections.
However, after Republicans lost yet another runoff election for Georgia’s Senate seat — with Herschel Walker losing to his Democratic competitor, Rev. Raphael Warnock, earlier this month — state Republicans want to re-re-write the rules, hopeful of a more favorable outcome.
Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), the official who oversees the state’s voting procedures, said he plans on giving three proposals to lawmakers when they return to the General Assembly in January.
“[The proposals] include forcing large counties to open more early-voting locations (in an attempt to reduce the hours-long lines some voters waited in) … lowering the threshold candidates must achieve to avoid a runoff from 50 percent to 45 percent; and instituting a ranked-choice instant-runoff system that would not require voters to come back to the polls again after the general election,” The New York Times reported.
To be clear, it’s unclear whether these changes would’ve helped Walker win. But they stand in contrast to the changes state Republicans made to voting laws following their failed January 2021 Senate runoff ambitions.
The changes after that time severely restricted the types of people eligible to receive an absentee ballot. While 24 percent of the January 2021 vote came via mail-in absentee ballots, the rule changes resulted in 5 percent of mail-in votes coming in for the January 2022 runoff.
Republicans also lowered the number of in-person early voting days to five (though the rule change allowed counties to add extra days.) The Times found that 28 of Georgia’s 159 counties opted to add extra in-person early voting days — 17 of the counties that did largely backed Warnock while 11 backed his challenger.
Before the recent run-off election, Raffensperger also tried to enforce a state law forbidding in-person early voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. However, Warnock successfully sued to prevent the law from going into effect.
Overall, the changes may have “backfired,” Republicans told The Times, actually encouraging Democratic voters to come out in greater numbers.
While Republicans point to the large turnout of runoff voters as “proof” that their changes didn’t discourage voting, Warnock’s campaign criticized the changes, saying that such restrictions shouldn’t make it harder for people to vote in the first place.
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