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Jeb Bush: Florists Must Sell Flowers To Gay Couples, Unless They’re Wedding Flowers

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Jeb Bush is wading into the wedding flowers and cakes wars, trying to appease all, and failing.

Back in April, during the middle of Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s self-created implosion over a discriminatory “religious freedom” law designed to marginalize LGBT people, Jeb Bush headed to California to try to woo high-value Silicon Valley donors. It didn’t end well, after Bush offered support for Pence’s anti-gay discrimination.

Salon’s Joan Walsh had written it was “all such bad timing – as he headed to Silicon Valley to raise megabucks for his Right to Rise PAC. Bay Area businesses like Twitter, Yelp and Salesforce, plus valley titan Apple, had all blasted the law.”

Campaigning in San Francisco on Thursday, Jeb Bush’s timing also could not have been worse.

The Republican presidential candidate, second now to Donald Trump, made a big media deal of stepping into an Uber car Thursday morning, which turned out to be the same day a judge ruled Uber should be forced to pay the State of California $7.3 million for its failure to follow state regulations.

Riding “shotgun,” Bush pulled up to a San Francisco startup, Thumbtack, where he shared his views on the third rail of politics – not “entitlements,” although he spoke to those too – but whether or not a Christian florist should have to sell flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding, along with other wage discrimination and LGBT civil rights issues.

TIME reports that a Thumbtack employee “who identified himself to Bush as being gay asked about Bush’s position on legislation to ban discrimination of LGBT Americans. ‘I don’t think you should be discriminated because of your sexual orientation. Period. Over and out,’ he replied.”

“The fact that there wasn’t a law doesn’t necessarily mean you would have been discriminated against,” Bush told the gay employee. Small comfort to the millions of LGBT Americans who have been discriminated against, no doubt, and ignoring the fact that in more than half the states across the nation, LGBT employees have had access to no legal protections and have been fired just for being LGBT.

Bush “added that in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, the country must work to carefully balance the rights of those seeking to marry and the religious beliefs of those who oppose those unions.”

Citing the frequently-used example by religious freedom advocates, Bush said that in the case of a florist approached by a gay couple, “you should be obligated to sell them flowers, doing otherwise would be discriminatory.” But he said that the objecting florist should not be required to participate in the wedding, a fine line that he hopes will appeal to all sides of the debate.

In other words, a florist, Bush believes, cannot discriminate against gay people for being gay, but they can if the very same gay people are getting married. 

CBS News quoted Bush’s comment a bit more fully:

“If you’re a florist and you have that deeply felt belief, you should if a gay couple comes in and says I want to buy flowers you should be obligated to sell them flowers. Doing otherwise would be discrimination. But if that couple asks you to participate in the wedding, and you said, based on my conscience I shouldn’t or I won’t, you should not be fined, you should not have to close your business down.”

The religious right over the past year or more has been using the phrase “participate in” to include even the act of, say, merely arranging flowers or baking a cake for the wedding of a same-sex couple.

And Bush’s words are wholly consistent with what he told Pat Robertson’s CBN News in May, telling reporter David Brody that he supports the concept that wedding-related vendors – bakers, florists, photographers – should be given the legal right to discriminate against same-sex couples getting married, based on their professed religious or moral beliefs.

Brody asked the former Florida governor if he is “OK” if wedding vendors don’t provide their services to same-sex couples.

“Yes, absolutely if it’s based on a religious belief,” Bush had responded.

TIME goes on to note that when the gay employee “followed up to ask specifically whether he would support anti-discrimination laws for LGBT Americans for their housing and employment—the next target for gay rights marriage advocates—Bush said he would at the state level.”

“I think this should be done state-by-state, I totally agree with that,” Bush said.

Again, timing is everything.

Later in the day yesterday, the EEOC released an historic and groundbreaking ruling, stating that gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees are covered by and included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it comes to employment discrimination. In other words, at the federal level, nationally, not “state-by-state,” as Bush prefers.

Bush also agreed that wages should be equal between men and women, but insisted “there are laws to make it so, and they should be enforced,” not added to.

As for “entitlements,” what many Americans call government programs like Social Security and Medicare, CNN’s Ashley Killough tweeted what Bush had to say:

So how did Bush fare at the six-year old San Francisco startup?

International Business Times reports that the “gay employee” who asked Bush about discrimination is Jake Poses, Thumbtack’s vice president of product. 

“I appreciate him saying I shouldn’t be discriminated against, but I do believe that if he had more conviction about it, he should [handle it at the federal level],” Poses told IBTimes.

“I give him credit for understanding that startups in San Francisco are having a real and measurable impact on the lives of many Americans,” Poses said. “I probably will not vote for him, but that is because I put a premium on views on social issues. I think that actually is the pervailing view of most people in the Silicon Valley community. That’s part of the ethos of what’s out here.” 

Not the first time Bush has failed when visiting Silicon Valley. 

All in all, not a great day, some might think.

 

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Top image by  via Twitter

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News

‘Train Wreck’: Herschel Walker Criticized for New Ad Claiming God Helped Him ‘Overcome’ His Mental Illness

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After a damning article claiming he paid for one of his girlfriend’s abortions, Republican U.S. Senate nominee for Georgia, Herschel Walker, is out with a new ad that claims he has “overcome” his mental illness thanks to God, while he attacks his incumbent opponent, Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, who he baselessly says “doesn’t even believe in redemption.”

Walker’s own campaign compared the Daily Beast’s report – that says Walker even signed a card mentioning the abortion he reportedly paid for – to Donald Trump’s 2016 “Access Hollywood” video, which almost cost him the election.

Back then, Republicans denounced Trump for a few days before immediately coming back to support him. The Walker revelations are arguably worse, given the GOP’s attempts to ban all abortion, calling fetuses “unborn babies” that deserve all legal protections of born human beings, while declaring abortion murder.

READ MORE: Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’

And yet, not one Republican has denounced Walker. Donald Trump even rushed out a statement supporting him.

“Reverend Warnock’s running a nasty, dishonest campaign,” Walker says in his new ad, not mentioning – not even denying – that he paid for his girlfriend to have an abortion.

“The Reverend doesn’t even tell my full story,” Walker cries, as if that’s his political opponent’s job.

“As everyone knows, I had a real battle with mental health. Even wrote a book about it. And by the grace of God, I’ve overcome it,” he claims.

READ MORE: ‘Everything Has Been a Lie’: Christian Walker Drops Damning New Video Blasting His Father’s ‘Lies’ Over Abortion

“Warnock’s a preacher doesn’t tell the truth, he doesn’t even believe in redemption,” Walker says, a claim he has repeatedly made despite offering nothing to support the claim. Warnock has even written about redemption.

The ad was posted online by Walker’s deputy campaign manager.

It was immediately panned.

CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, the head of its fact-checking unit, says the new ad, “presumably in response to [the] Daily Beast story, mentions his book ‘Breaking Free’ being about [a] redemption story — it is worth noting the alleged abortion took place a year after the book was released.”

Speaking of redemption, Walker’s repeated attack that Warnock does not believe in redemption appears wholly false.

Warnock, who is also the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church until his assassination, criticized then-President Donald Trump in 2018 after the president called certain African nations “shithole countries.”

Trump signed a proclamation honoring Dr. King, in hopes of not losing more support.

“To sign a proclamation honoring Dr. King hours after this kind of hate-filled speech makes a mockery of Dr. King,” Rev. Warnock said on CNN. “I would argue that a proclamation without an apology is hypocrisy.”

“There is no redemption without repentance and the president of the United States needs to repent,” Warnock said, belying Walker’s recent claims.

Attorney Luppe B. Luppen expands on Kaczynski’s reporting.

“Walker published his book “Breaking Free” on April 1, 2008, approximately a year and a half before he reportedly wrote a check to reimburse a woman he had been dating for an abortion on September 17, 2009.”

Walker has stated he was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, which was once known as “multiple personality disorder” or “split personality disorder.”

Political consultant and former Republican, Tim Miller, now an independent and a well-known guest on cable news shows, panned Walker’s ad.

“The end of this ad is absolutely sick,” he observed.

Talking Points Memo founder and publisher Josh Marshall summarizes Walker’s ad:

“So the ad actually says warnocks a liar and then references mental health battle to I guess imply some or all of the stuff is true. Still I used to be violent and crazy but I’m totally better now is a tough closing message.”

Constitutional law professor Anthony Michael Kreis, referring to the infamous “I am not a witch,” campaign ads, tweeted, “Did Christine O’Donnell direct this?”

University of Florida professor Michael McDonald took that one step further, commenting, “I am not a witch.”

Baptist minister Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor & President and author of four books on religion and politics blasts Walker.

“Ad is theological & political train wreck. He claims without evidence Warnock (Baptist pastor) doesn’t believe in redemption. And why is he asking voters to decide state of his soul. ‘Saved by Grace’ as political slogan? He’s acting like there should be religious test for office.”

Watch Walker’s new ad above or at this link.

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'HORRIBLE THINGS'

‘What I Saw Was Abuse’: Allegations of Dr. Oz’s Experiments Killing Hundreds of Animals Fact-Checked by Whistleblower

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Over the course of two decades Mehmet Oz, the “celebrity doctor” known as “Dr. Oz,” now the Republican Party of Pennsylvania’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat, was the “principle investigator” at a Columbia University research laboratory with “full scientific, administrative, and fiscal responsibility for the conduct” of his studies.

According to the website Jezebel, “a review of 75 studies published by Mehmet Oz between 1989 and 2010 reveals the Republican Senate candidate’s research killed over 300 dogs and inflicted significant suffering on them and the other animals used in experiments.”

It was far more than 300 dogs, too, according to Jezebel.

“Over the course of 75 studies published in academic journals reviewed by Jezebel, Oz’s team conducted experiments on at least 1,027 live animal subjects that included dogs, pigs, calves, rabbits, and small rodents. Thirty-four of these experiments resulted in the deaths of at least 329 dogs, while two of his experiments killed 31 pigs, and 38 experiments killed 661 rabbits and rodents,” Jezebel reported.

READ MORE: Dr. Oz Trounced in Newsmax Interview as Host Demands Explanation for ‘Wegner’s’ and ‘Crudité’ Ad

A whistleblower, veterinarian Catherine Dell’Orto provided testimony “about Oz’s research” and “detailed extensive suffering inflicted on his team’s canine test subjects, including multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which sets minimum standards of care for dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, and other animals in the possession of animal dealers and laboratories. The law specifically requires researchers and breeders to use pain-relieving drugs or euthanasia on the animals, and not use paralytics without anesthesia, or experiment multiple times on the same animal.”

Jezebel also reports “Dell’Orto testified that a dog experimented on by Oz’s team experienced lethargy, vomiting, paralysis, and kidney failure, but wasn’t euthanized for a full two days.”

“She alleged other truly horrifying examples of gratuitously cruel treatment of dogs, including at least one dog who was kept alive for a month for continued experimentation despite her unstable, painful condition, despite how data from her continued experimentation was deemed unusable. According to Dell’Orto, one Oz-led study resulted in a litter of puppies being killed by intracardiac injection with syringes of expired drugs inserted in their hearts without any sedation. Upon being killed, the puppies were allegedly left in a garbage bag with living puppies who were their littermates.”

READ MORE: Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’

That particular detail was so shocking U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), commented, “WTF.”

“Dell’Orto also noted that while Oz wasn’t the one who euthanized the dogs and puppies himself, ‘When your name is on the experiment, and the way the experiment is designed inflicts such cruelty to these animals, by design, there’s a problem.'”

Oz’s Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman summed up the allegations, tweeting, “Dr. Oz is a puppy killer.”

PEOPLE magazine followed up with Dell’Orto to fact check the Jezebel report.

It did not get any better for Dr. Oz.

“Dell’Orto tells PEOPLE she witnessed the inhumane treatment of dogs in lab experiments investigating aspects of heart function over which Oz served in the role of ‘principal investigator’ — including leaving dogs in pain and paralyzed for weeks, with no discernible research benefit, before they were euthanized or died,” People reports.

While others in the same role as Oz involved themselves personally in experiments to “ensure minimal suffering,” People reports, Dell’Orto says with Dr. Oz, “What I saw was abuse.”

“‘The puppies killed in the bag were killed by a vet tech,’ not by Oz, Dell’Orto tells PEOPLE.”

In another experiment one dog “was kept alive for 29 days post-operatively despite being paralyzed and with no clear research benefit, says Dell’Orto.”

“Horrible things that went on,” Dell’Orto said.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Kellyanne Conway Is Now a Religious Right Crusader Using Christianity to Attack Democrats as a Paid Fox News Contributor

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Former Trump 2016 campaign manager and Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway has remade herself multiple times. A pollster who once had as a client Todd Akin – the GOP lawmaker who made the phrase, “if it’s a legitimate rape” infamous – Conway also did polling for Donald Trump when he was considering a run for New York governor.

Once inside the White House Conway was one of the newsiest officials, often appearing before the Fox News cameras almost daily.

Fox News viewers will once again get to see the former top Trump aide almost daily – this time as a paid Fox News contributor who is using her Christian faith as a sword to attack Democrats.

Conway is the latest Trump White House official to be hired by Fox News, and while she’s not Trump’s spokesperson any longer, she may wrangle the gig into getting her old one back. Puck reports she is being considered to helm Trump’s expected 2024 presidential run.

READ MORE: Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’

In fact, the two have something in common.

“I will tell you why he wants to run for president,” Conways told CBS News on Friday. “Donald Trump wants his old job back.”

Conway joins a long list of her former colleagues at what has become a far right wing media outlet catering to promoting anything Trump, while downplaying any negative news about the former president who is currently being investigated by prosecutors in Georgia and the U.S. Dept. of Justice for an array of possible felonies, reportedly including ones under the Espionage Act.

Conway will be right at home working alongside Kayleigh McEnany, Mike Pompeo, Larry Kudlow, and Trump’s daughter-in-law and former Trump campaign official Lara Trump.

READ MORE: ‘Everything Has Been a Lie’: Christian Walker Drops Damning New Video Blasting His Father’s ‘Lies’ Over Abortion

In April Vox reported that “while he hasn’t been hired by Fox, former Trump adviser Stephen Miller — known for helping to develop Trump’s nativist immigration policy — has become a fixture as a guest on Sean Hannity’s and Laura Ingraham’s shows.”

“Since the start of President Joe Biden’s term,” Media Matters reported in February, “Fox News has hired at least nine editors who previously worked for former President Donald Trump’s administration, Republican campaign offices, or Republican politicians. Many of those editors now cover politics for FoxNews.com.”

On Tuesday Conway appeared on Fox News and attacked Democrats, saying Hispanic voters “see a Democratic Party that’s openly hostile to religion. They can’t even give their thoughts and prayers when there’s a tragedy. It’s only thoughts now.”

The Washington Post‘s Philip Bump calls Conway’s analysis “overly simple and, in part, … explicitly dishonest.”

“Kellyanne Conway claimed that Democrats are hostile religion, something that will surprise the vast majority of Democrats, who are religious,” he adds on Twitter. “There’s a reason that ‘religious’ doesn’t automatically mean ‘Republican.'”

One day earlier, in a segment with a chyron that reads, “The Importance of Religion,” Conway told her former and now current colleague, Larry Kudlow on Fox Business, “People are afraid to make the sign of a cross before a meal in public, they’re afraid to express their — they actually think their religion could get them canceled now, not just their politics, and think about that.”

Conway, perhaps best known for her “alternative facts” flub, offered no proof of her claim.

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