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Repeal, Replace, Reload: Indiana Lawmaker’s Bill Swaps RFRA For ‘Religious Liberty’ + Gun Rights Law

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GOP Lawmaker Wants ‘Concrete Guarantee‘ For ‘Right’ To Discriminate On Religious Grounds, Or Carry A Gun

Republican State Senator R. Michael Young (photo) has decided the international attention and outrage last year’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act earned lawmakers and the governor of Indiana was insufficient, so he wants a do-over. 

Sen. Young has authored SB 66, anti-gay legislation that would repeal the RFRA, including the legislative “fix” that had to state the law could not be used to discriminate against LGBT people. In its place, Sen. Young’s bill would codify into law the right to discriminate for any reason, including and especially for religious reasons, and the right to carry a gun.

Because Sen. Young used language so sweeping and broad, his bill is being described as the original RFRA “on steroids” by Freedom Indiana.

In addition to the already-protected First Amendment right to worship, Young wants the “right to free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions and the right of conscience,” offering no boundaries whatsoever. For some reason, Young believes the right to bear arms – the right to own and carry a gun – needs to be included under his legislation.

The bill defines “person” as an “individual, including a group or association of individuals,” and as any other “legal entity.” In other words, corporations, houses of worship, hospitals and schools owned by churches, stores, restaurants, etc., are people too my friend.

That means that you local neighborhood John’s Pizza, or Joan’s Garage, or even your cable company can deny you service on the grounds of “religious opinion” or “conscience,” period, and, further it means no Indiana governmental entity or official can stop them unless it is “in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest,” and – not or, but and – it “is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

Which means lawsuits. Lots of lawsuits.

Worse, it could mean that a government employee, say, a DMV worker, could refuse to give a teenager a driver’s test, if they perceive them to be LGBTQ. Or perhaps a police officer might decide to not respond to a domestic violence call because the couple is same-sex. Maybe an EMS worker would refuse to help a person they think is transgender because it goes against their religious beliefs.

How are these examples to be handled, in the moment, without the law being specific and explicit? And who is harmed while the courts battle it out?

Freedom Indiana today “condemned Senate Bill 66 as a dangerous piece of legislation that would thrust the state back into the national spotlight created by last year’s Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and bring about even more legal and reputational challenges for the state,” the LGBT civil rights group said today in a statement.

“Not only would it reopen the national and international wounds caused by last year’s discriminatory RFRA legislation,” Freedom Indiana campaign manager Chris Paulsen added, “it would make it easier to discriminate against any group currently or potentially protected under our civil rights law. Just when you thought lawmakers had learned a lesson from RFRA, a handful of them have decided to breathe life into a ‘Super RFRA.'”

Professor Robert Katz of the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law told the Indy Star Young’s bill “would effectively amend the Indiana Bill of Rights to create a two-tiered system of rights.”

Meanwhile, Professor Daniel O. Conkle of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington told the Indy Star the bill “goes well beyond religious freedom.”

Conkle “offered an example to illuminate how Senate Bill 66 could enhance protections for the right to bear arms. Under this legislation, if the government wanted to ban switchblades — as it did for decades — it would have to demonstrate a compelling interest for a statewide prohibition.”

The first question Sen. Young and other lawmakers should be forced to answer is, what’s happened all of a sudden that there’s a need for this legislation? 

And the first question Gov. Mike Pence needs to answer is, does he want to subject his state to another episode of international outrage, further damaging the Hoosier economy he wrecked last year, or will he send a message to lawmakers to place their attention on Hoosiers’ real needs?

 

Image: Screenshot via YouTube

 

 

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Herschel Walker Raked in Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Giving Paid Speeches While a Candidate for Senate: Report

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Like nearly every candidate for elected office, entrepreneur and former NFL star Herschel Walker, the Republican Party’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia, has been giving speeches since he announced his run for office. Unlike nearly every candidate for public office, Walker has been charging for those speeches.

Not entrance fees for an audience to hear him speak, but actual speaking fees, paid by lobbying groups and even non-profits like a Boys & Girls Club in Georgia.

And he’s racked up big money doing it as a declared candidate for elected office.

The fees he says on his disclosure form he’s received range from $12,000 to $60,000.

After having served as a U.S. Senator and then as a U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was flogged by Republicans for giving paid speeches after leaving the Obama administration, during the time she was a private citizen and far from declaring any intention to run for office.

READ MORE: Herschel Walker’s Remarks Against Same-Sex Marriage Resurface: ‘Each State Can Just Stop All of That’

But Walker is making money as a candidate for elected office, according to The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberg.

A lot of money.

“Herschel Walker—who has so far only agreed to participate in the one debate that provides topics in advance—has earned $569,000 in speaking fees since Jan. 2021,” Sollenberger reports, citing Walker’s financial disclosure.

“More than half” of that $569,000 “came after he launched his Senate campaign last August.”

That means Walker has raked in well over a quarter million dollars while a declared candidate for public office.

NCRM examined Walker’s annual SEC filing, dated August 15, 2022. It lists his declaration of candidacy for office as August 24, 2021.

READ MORE: ‘Pathological Liar’: Herschel Walker’s Own Advisors Don’t Trust Him, Think He Isn’t Mentally Fit for the Job – Report

In February of this year Walker was paid $60,000 by the University of North Texas for its Kuehne Speaker Series. Last year, before officially declaring as a candidate for office Walker was paid $35,000 by the All Sports Association, and $25,000 by the Boys & Girls Club of Gainesville, Georgia.

These payments and many others – 21 in total – are listed under the section titled “Honoraria Payments or Payments to Charity in Lieu of Honoraria.” The filing asks, “Did any individual or organization pay you or your spouse more than $200, or donate any amount to a charity on your or your spouse’s behalf, for an article, speech, or appearance?”

Walker answered “Yes.”

The filing asks, “Who received payment?” For each of the 21 entries Walker indicated “Self.”

Under “Activity,” each response was “Speech.”

READ MORE: Herschel Walker Calls for Creation of Federal Agency to Spy on Americans’ Social Media Posts to Prevent Gun Violence

There are many others.

Three days after officially declaring himself a candidate Walker was paid $35,000 by the Texas Bankers Association. A few days later $20,000 by the Georgia Realtors Association. $35,000 in October by the Baldwin County Community Drug Foundation.

In December of last year the Atlana Journal-Constitution reported Walker is “the richest man in Georgia Senate race.”

“U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker is worth somewhere between $29 million and $65 million, and he pulled down about $4 million in income from late 2020 through late 2021, according to financial disclosures he filed late Wednesday,” the paper reported.

“About $400,000 of his earnings were from speeches he delivered to over a dozen groups, including charities such as the Boys and Girls Club that paid him as much as $27,000,” the Journal-Constitution confirmed at the time.

Walker, who was the subject of great controversy after The Daily Beast revealed in a series of reports that Walker, despite criticizing Black men for being absent fathers, has three secret children, and says he lied to his own campaign about their existence. In addition to his adult son, a popular social media influencer. One of the three is an adult but the other two and young children.

Walker has also taken money for speaking to anti-abortion organizations.

“He was paid $20,000 in October to speak to the Mid City Women’s Clinic in Hurst, Texas, and $27,000 in November to speak to the Pregnant Choice medical group in Augusta. Both are among a network of clinics that seek to deter abortions.”

 

Image: Screenshot via Facebook

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Listen: GOP Candidate for Congress Says Garland Should ‘Probably’ Be ‘Executed’ – Later Claims He Was Just Being ‘Facetious’

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New York Republican Carl Paladino, running for a U.S. House seat, said Attorney General Merrick Garland should probably be “executed” in a radio interview this past weekend, and later when pressed backtracked, claiming he was just being “facetious,” as The Buffalo News first reported.

“So we have a couple of unelected people who are running our government with an administration of people like Garland,” Paladino said in an attack on President Joe Biden in a Saturday interview with the far-right wing Breitbart media site.

Garland “should be not only impeached he should probably, should be executed, the guy is just lost,” Paladino said.

Paladino called Garland, a former U.S. Supreme Court nominee and former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, a “lost soul” who is “trying to get an image and his image, his methodology is just terrible.”

READ MORE: Stefanik-Endorsed Candidate Called Black People ‘Dumb and Hungry,’ Said Trump Sexual Assault Accuser ‘Probably Enjoyed’ It

“To raid the home of a former president is just, people are scratching their heads and they’re saying, ‘What is wrong with this guy?’ ”

Later in the interview Breitbart Radio host Matthew Boyle asked Paladino, “Carl, what you just said about Garland, you said you think ‘he should be impeached and probably executed.’ Can you explain that? What do you mean by that?”

“I’m just being facetious,” Paladino replied. “The man should be removed from office. He’s shows his incompetence. He wants to get his face in front of the people. And in short, he’s got some mettle to him, but his choice of issues and his choice of methodology is is is very sad. And then he wants to take full blame for it, you know he’ll he’ll stand there.”

Paladino, who is strongly endorsed by U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY),  the Chair of the House Republican Conference, has a long history of controversial remarks and actions.

RELATED: School Board Votes to Ask for Resignation of Racist Trump Official Who Hopes Michelle Obama Goes to Live With a Gorilla

Just last month the New York Post reported he “has a convicted sex offender on his company payroll who also now works as ‘assistant treasurer’ of his campaign.”

“Joel Sartori was controller of Ellicott Development when he was busted in 2013 for accessing child porn on a company computer,” The Post adds. “Sartori was convicted of two felonies — possessing and promoting kiddie porn — and sentenced to 10 years’ probation in 2017, court records show.”

As CNN has reported, Paladino has called Black people “dumb and hungry,” claimed they are “conditioned” to only vote for Democrats, while insisting he’s not “a racist.” He also said a woman who had accused Donald Trump of sexual assault “probably enjoyed” it.

Stefanik, the third most powerful House Republican, on June 3 praised Paladino as an “inspirational” leader, a “doer,” and “the kind of leader we need today.” That endorsement came just days before it was revealed Paladino in 2021 had called Adolf Hitler “inspirational,” and “the kind of leader we need today” (audio.)

Stefanik later doubled down on her endorsement despite Paladino’s praise for Hitler, a genocidal fascist responsible for the murders of approximately 17 million people.

As CNN also reported, in 2016, “Paladino had said he would like to see Michelle Obama ‘return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,’ and that he hoped Barack Obama would die of Mad Cow Disease after having sex with a cow.”

Listen to Paladino’s remarks about Attorney General Garland below or at this link:

Image: Screenshot via Facebook

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Trump’s Fundraising Off Mar-a-Lago Raid Hit $1 Million a Day – and It’s Still Higher Than Usual

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When Donald Trump announced that the FBI was raiding Mar-a-Lago his fundraising operation went into high gear, and produced tremendous results: up to $1 million a day, and still trending higher than usual more than a week after federal agents removed 20 cartons including at least 11 sets of classified materials.

“Contributions to Trump’s political action committee topped $1 million on at least two days after the Aug. 8 search of his Palm Beach, Fla., estate, according to two people familiar with the figures,” The Washington Post reports, calling it a “cash bonanza.”

“The daily hauls jumped from a level of $200,000 to $300,000 that had been typical in recent months, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss nonpublic information,” The Post adds, noting more than 100 fundraising emails have been sent. “The donations stayed unusually high for several more days and are still above average, both of these people said, though they have leveled off in recent days. There are more contributors than usual, these people said, and the average donation has climbed.”

READ MORE: Weisselberg Expected to ‘Criminally Implicate’ Trump Organization in Plea Deal Admitting to 15 Felonies: Reports

Describing the Mar-a-Lago themed fundraising emails as a “firehose,” The Post offered some examples: “THEY BROKE INTO MY HOME,” “They’re coming after YOU,” and “THIS IS INSANE.”

“One message included a poll asking, ‘Do you agree that President Trump is being politically persecuted?’ Another promised ‘an exclusive 1300% MATCH today only!,’ a common tactic used to encourage people to respond immediately.”

The Daily Beast last week reported Trump’s “campaign wants to cash in on his Florida residence being raided by FBI agents. ‘My home, Mar-a-Lago, was raided by the FBI,’ an early Wednesday morning fundraising email stated. ‘These are dark times for our Nation,” the message continued. ‘WITCH HUNT,’ another email sent out by Trump’s Save America PAC declared, while soliciting donations.”

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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