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New Orleans City Council Votes To Remove Racist Confederacy Statues, Some On Facebook Outraged

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#‎whitestatuesmatter. Really?

In a sweeping 6-1 vote this week the New Orleans City Council voted to remove four monuments that were erected after reconstruction and in a time of the flourishing Jim Crow era.

The most prominent of those statues is the one of General Robert E. Lee, Civil War General, and Confederate darling, which stands at a prominent New Orleans circle bearing the same name. Among other statues to be removed are those of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard at the entrance of New Orleans City Park, and Confederate president Jefferson Davis. One monument, erected in 1874 to commemorate the uprising against reconstruction, the obelisk dedicated to the Battle of Liberty Place, has also been slated to be removed. 

There has been heated debate on both sides of the argument since the summer of 2015 when New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu originally announce a plan, under the local nuisance ordinance, to have them removed. Over the last 6 months, people from all over the country have weighed in on the subject via social media, written commentaries, and even attending local area meetings. Now, all those sparring matches have come to an end.

#TakeEmDownNOLA #MyMoneyMyMonumentsWhy do YOU want New Orleans' Confederate monuments removed?

Posted by Take 'Em Down NOLA on Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Latoya Lewis, local community organizer for the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, stated, “These monuments are of people that reigned down over not just New Orleans but also the South and kept people enslaved.” Multiple groups including Latoya’s, joined by, Stand with Dignity, and Take ‘Em Down Nola, have partnered in advocating for the removal.

Proponents haven’t been the only side advocating in this debate, opponents have also offered up their criticism of what they are dubbing as the removal of history.  A project called Save Our Circle was formed on the day that Landrieu announced his intent. According to their website, “We believe that not only is this action by the mayor an attempt to ‘hide’ history from plain site, but a divisive move that will and has already divided the entire community. But most importantly, the mayor’s focus should be on more pressing issues affecting the city.”

Let New Orleans City Council know that these white supremacist monuments must go! Sign our petition via the link in our bio if you haven't already #takeemdownnola

Posted by Take 'Em Down NOLA on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

This week the mayor addressed the city council and stated, “The Confederacy, you see, was on the wrong side of history and humanity.”

No matter where you fall in the debate, this is a matter that has brought feelings to the surface on both sides. Unfortunately, my news feed has been full of many disingenuous posts from the LGBT community. One would think that with all the battles that our community has had, and continue to have, that some people would be more sympathetic to an entire group of people who still feel ostracized in this country.

Will the removal of these monuments, fix our problems in this country with race relations? Absolutely not. But as a community, we must stand by other groups who are still being singled out by a majority of people based on the color of their skin and not the content of their character.  

#TakeEmDownNOLA #MyMoneyMyMonuments #BlackLivesMatterWhat's the message these monuments send to Black New Orleanians?

Posted by Take 'Em Down NOLA on Friday, September 11, 2015

I’m reminded of a post I made back in June, that read,

We cannot as a commUNITY – continuously fight and push for LGBTQ equality without pushing for and speaking up for rights of all Americans. We cannot be silent, we MUST speak up for the continued rights of women, for the inequalities in race relations, and continued hate crimes, to only name a few. To remain silent is to turn a blind eye on your brothers and sisters that are struggling as you have.

All rights go hand in hand and it starts with us. Only then can we truly have equality across this nation. Let us come together and push for the righting of all inequalities and make this a better place for everyone. We should settle for nothing less. Today as we mourn the loss of those in Charleston, let us not only pray for justice and peace, but for understanding and guidance.

But not everyone in our community agreed with the city council and the vote. Some took to Facebook to voice their opinion, “This a bunch of bullshit! What are we gonna call Lee Circle now? #‎historyisimportant #‎whitestatuesmatter.”

Other members of the local LGBT community joined in and took to Facebook to voice their disapproval as well. Another local business owner and community member wrote on his timeline,

“The city council voted to remove the statues today erasing my families [sic] history from the city. My family came here 300 years ago and now we have been erased. I am calling for any buildings built by slave labor to be torn down and replaced with stucco condo’s. Also, the white house will need to go, as it is a monument to the slaves that built it. One thing I loved about New Orleans is our history, but now we will just become another Houston or Dallas. Start building the condos!! Or we could just erect a monument to the young gang members that are killing everyone on a daily basis.”

#takeemdownnola

Posted by Take 'Em Down NOLA on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

There were some more positive ones on the other side. Anita Daniel, wrote,

“I’m seeing a lot of posts on my newsfeed in reference to the City Council decision to remove the Confederate statues. If these statues represented the oppression of women, or the oppression of the LGBT community, or the oppression of a certain religion, there would be no discussion…if fact, we would have never allowed them to be erected in the first place. The removal of them will not erase history or rewrite the text books. The removal of them will not solve the horrible civil rights problems that African Americans are still facing, today. But, I would argue that their removal will send a needed message, that we as a Nation have failed one another, many times, in many ways, but we learn. We learn from our weakest points in history, in order to create our strongest future. No one is free until we are all free. And, lastly, just because a symbol holds no power over you, does not mean that it holds no power at all. #‎BlackLivesMatter.”

Another pointed out in their post, “If you need a statue to remind you not to enslave people or to tell you not to try to rip our country apart… You need to stop talking to statues.”

#TakeEmDownNOLA #MyMoneyMyMonumentsThere's no sitting on the sidelines of institutionalized racism.

Posted by Take 'Em Down NOLA on Sunday, September 13, 2015

Some were looking to cut the celebration in city government short. Just hours after the signing of the controversial ordinance was signed by Mayor Landrieu, a group of preservationists filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to stop monument removal. The group of preservationists made up of the Monumental Task Committee, the Louisiana Landmarks Society, Foundation for Historical Louisiana, and Beauregard Camp No. 130; argue that removing the monuments violate the constitution, stating it maintains “the right for people to preserve foster and promote their respective historic linguistic and cultural origins.” 

Legal experts weighed in right away, “The research has been done. He (Landrieu) knows what he needs to do legally,” Foret said. “The only question is are the preservationists going to be able to file a lawsuit … and get any relief? My legal opinion is I think not.”

This week showed us in many ways how much further we have to go, and how much more work has to be done not only in our city, and our community, but across the country. We must work to put our differences aside and stand together, so that our division across communities can heal and help to mend those hearts who oppose us. 

 

Image, top, by kda0312 via Instagram
Embedded images via Take ‘Em Down NOLA/Facebook

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Charlie Kirk, Purveyor of ‘Rigged’ Election Lie, Complains GOP Lost ‘Because a Lot of People Do Not Trust the System’

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Far right wing activist Charlie Kirk complained on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show Tuesday that many Republicans in Arizona lost their elections earlier this month because they “do not trust” the election system. Kirk is a purveyor of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” and has repeatedly promoted the false claim that U.S. elections are “rigged.”

“400,000 people that showed up for Donald Trump or voted for Donald Trump in 2020 did not show up or vote for the midterm election,” Kirk told his audience. (NCRM has not verified these numbers and could find nothing to support the claim.)

“Now, I believe it’s because a lot of people do not trust the system,” Kirk claimed.

Why does Charlie Kirk believe “a lot of people do not trust the system”?

Because he told them not to. Over and over and over again.

READ MORE: Separation of Church and State Is a ‘Fabrication’ Says Far Right Activist Charlie Kirk: They Should Be ‘Mixed Together’

In January on his show Kirk hosted Mollie Hemingway, the editor in chief of The Federalist, a right wing website founded by Ben Domenech and Sean Davis. The Federalist has been a purveyor of false election claims, according to Reuters, which reports the claims “are presented inaccurately.” Twitter had to append a “cautionary label” to a Federalist tweet after The Federalist wrongly stated, “Yes, Democrats Are Trying To Steal The Election In Michigan, Wisconsin, And Pennsylvania,” according to The Daily Beast.

Hemingway is also the author of the book, “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.”

The title of that episode of The Charlie Kirk Show? “Why Conservatives Can’t Turn Our Backs on Rigged Elections with Mollie Hemingway.”

(The Federalist was also cited by The New England Journal of Medicine for belong create a “superspreader” event of false information about the effectiveness of masks in the fight against COVID-19.)

In April Kirk hosted right wing activist David Bossie, president of the political lobbying group Citizens United, and a former Trump 2016 campaign official.

READ MORE: Watch: Charlie Kirk Calls for Texans to Be ‘Deputized’ to Protect ‘White Demographics in America’

The title of that episode?

‘RIGGED’ — An In-Depth Examination of the 2020 Election with David Bossie

Kirk likes the word “rigged.” On Twitter he’s used it a lot to suggest that the U.S. elections are “rigged.”

“The same people who spent the last 4 years falsely saying Russians rigged our elections are now saying there’s no way an election could be rigged by illegal ballots and voter fraud. How does that work?” (Nov 6, 2020)

“BREAKING: A mail carrier was just charged with attempted election fraud after changing party affiliations on mail-in ballots Still think there aren’t any issues with rigged elections due to mail-in voting? RT so the media has to report on the DANGERS of mail-in voter FRAUD!” (Apr 16, 2020)

READ MORE: ‘When Do We Get to Use the Guns?’: TP USA Audience Member Asks Charlie Kirk When Can ‘We Kill’ Democrats? (Video)

“Democrats should be livid. This is a rigged game to protect the ruling class Thank goodness the GOP is a true grassroots party where ANY voice or person can win Democrats corruption will not allow fair or free elections” (Feb 4, 2020)

Or this tweet from 2019.

On November 9, this was the opening of a New York Times article.

“On the morning of Election Day, Charlie Kirk, the conservative talk show host from Arizona, shared a video on Twitter about broken voting machines in Maricopa County, followed by a series of posts suggesting that the problems were intentional,” The Times’ Sheera Frenkel and Steven Lee Myers wrote. “’This is manufactured chaos,’ he wrote, calling for those responsible to be arrested.”

“The video was shared nearly 20,000 times and liked by more than 30,000 users, including many prominent accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers. The post and others like it on a dozen online platforms kindled a false narrative of widespread voting shenanigans among those predisposed to believe that the country’s elections are rigged.”

READ MORE: RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses

In addition to hosting his talk show, Kirk is also the founder of right wing student activist group Turning Point USA, and he is a member of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).

Fast forward to Tuesday.

Here’s Kirk complaining to Steve Bannon that Republicans didn’t vote in the November, 2022 election several weeks ago, “because a lot of people do not trust the system.”

Watch Kirk’s video above or at this link.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Marco Rubio Lashes Out Against Passage of Same-Sex Marriage Bill After His Attempt to Create Special Religious Rights Fails

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U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) lashed out with a Bible verse Wednesday morning, after the Senate passed legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage, while rejecting his attempt to infuse special religious rights through an amendment that even some Republicans refused to support.

The Respect for Marriage Act, which passed in a 61-36 vote Tuesday evening, will return to the House for a final vote before heading to President Joe Biden, who promised to sign it into law. Not included in the bill the Senate passed is Senator Rubio’s amendment, which he claimed was necessary despite the clear religious protections included in the legislation.

The bill goes to great lengths to state it will have no impact on current religious liberty protections. Section 6 is actually titled, “No Impact on Religious Liberty and Conscience.”

READ MORE: Republican Attempts to Create Special Religious Rights Fail as Bipartisan Historic Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate

It states: “Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to diminish or abrogate a religious liberty or conscience protection otherwise available to an individual or organization under the Constitution of the United States or Federal law.”

It goes even further.

“Consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, nonprofit religious organizations, including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, mission organizations, faith-based social agencies, religious educational institutions, and nonprofit entities whose principal purpose is the study, practice, or advancement of religion, and any employee of such an organization, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage,” it reads. “Any refusal under this subsection to provide such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.”

READ MORE: Marco Rubio Recorded an ‘Emergency Video’ After Pete Buttigieg Responded to His Anti-LGBTQ Attack. It Didn’t Go Well.

Senator Rubio has been actively opposed to the bill from the start. In July he called it a “stupid waste of time,” suggesting he does not think the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the 2015 Obergefell ruling that made same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional – despite actively calling for the court to do so.

In addition to the video above, Florida Democrats this summer tweeted a video of a local news report showing Rubio preaching to campaign supporters that same-sex marriage is “sinful.”

Last week in a press release Sen. Rubio called the bill “the insanity,” and falsely claimed the Respect for Marriage Act does not have religious protections.

“This bill does not protect religious liberty,” Rubio said in a statement last week. “Nuns running orphanages will find themselves in court if it becomes law. That’s outrageous. No faith-based organization will be immune from the insanity. Christian. Jewish. Muslim. Everyone. Removing this private right of action is the only way to truly protect people and organizations of faith.”

His amendment to create additional, special religious protections failed Tuesday evening, as did amendments from Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), and Senator James Lankford (R-OK).

READ MORE: ‘Punditry, Not Leadership’: McConnell Slammed for Refusing to Say if He Would Support Trump in 2024

Sen. Rubio, a frequently vocal opponent of LGBTQ people and their civil rights, has attacked people who opposed Florida Governor DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” legislation as “ridiculous.”

During his failed 2016 White House run Sen. Rubio repeatedly promised he would not run for re-election. He used the Pulse Massacre, one of the worst and deadliest anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, to declare that the LGBTQ community needed him and launched a re-election campaign on the back of those massacred LGBTQ people.

Rubio, who is known for posting passages from the Bible on many mornings, on Wednesday used Christian verse to lash out at the Respect for Marriage Act.

“The law of the LORD is perfect,refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,giving wisdom to the simple,” he tweeted.

His tweet did not go over well. While some responded with a simple, “Amen,” others explained to the Senator who took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” that the Christian Bible is not the law of the land.

“The ‘law of the lord’ was deliberately excluded from the US Constitution,” wrote one social media user. “There is only one law in the US and it’s not the law of the lord, it’s the law of the people.”

READ MORE: RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses

History professor and author Douglas M. Charles noted Rubio’s tweet had a small typo, and accused him of having a staffer do his work.

“More empty-suitness from the epitome of empty suit senators,” Charles wrote. “These copy-paste BS tweets of his always have a spacing typo, which is how you know a staffer copy-pasted it rather than his being serious about it.”

 

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Five Engines of Secret Service Rental Vehicles for the President’s Thanksgiving Break Catch Fire

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The Nantucket Current reported that five of the vehicles rented by the U.S. Secret Service caught fire at the local airport during President Joe Biden’s Thanksgiving break. Biden’s family has met in Nantucket for Thanksgiving for decades but this is the first time a cache of vehicles looked like their engines exploded.

The report identified that the five vehicles were all different types, a Chevy Suburban, Ford Explorer, Infiniti QX80, Ford Expedition and Jeep Gladiator. The Ford Expedition did have a recall on it for the connections to the battery, indicating that fires have been caused by the problem. The car had not been taken in for repairs, sources told the Current. It’s unclear if that single car caused the fire or if each of the cars simultaneously caught fire.

The front of the white Ford Expedition and the one across from it looks to be considerably more damaged than the other cars.

“At approximately 5:22 am Airport shift staff observed an active fire in the rental car overflow area through the Airport’s Closed Circuit Television System,” the airport said in a statement. “Staff activated the Alert system and responded to the fire in Airport-3, where they were met by responding units from Nantucket Fire Department and Nantucket Police Department. Combined fire resources responded and contained the fire. Several vehicles were damaged. The Airport is currently coordinating with rental car agencies and agency partners to ensure scene safety. There is no longer an active fire at this time: the Airport is open, and aeronautical operations are not affected.”

See the video from the Current below:

 

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