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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Michigan Civil Rights Laws Do Not Ban Anti-LGBT Discrimination Says Attorney General Seeking Higher Office

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Civil Rights Commission’s Interpretation of Law Is ‘Invalid’ Declares Anti-Gay Republican

The top law enforcement officer for the State of Michigan this past week issued a binding opinion that the state’s civil rights laws do not extend to LGBT people. Attorney General Bill Schuette, who has a long history of using his office to further his anti-LGBT agenda, is a Republican running to become Michigan’s next governor.

“The word ‘sex’ refers to the biological difference between males and females and not to the distinct concepts of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Schuette wrote in his opinion.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission voted in May that the state’s anti-discrimination law related to sex discrimination should include LGBT people, as federal courts and federal agencies have begun to do. That move protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification in areas including employment, education, housing, real estate, public accommodations, and public service.

Attorney General Schuette of Friday issued an opinion that is generally considered binding on state agencies that the Civil Rights Commission’s interpretation is “invalid.” He claims the original intent of state lawmakers when the passed the law in 1976 was not to protect LGBT people.

“This means LGBTQ Michiganders still can be fired from their job and denied housing and public services,” Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, told The Detroit Free Press.

Many generally consider “original intent” to be simply a tactic used by conservatives to limit civil rights advances as human understanding grows over time.

Schuette, a Trump-supporter endorsed by the president and the vice president, is running for governor. On his campaign website he boasts an A+ rating from the NRA, and proclaims, “I’m a fighter with the guts and the vision to write our next chapter.”

Schuette is the favorite in the August 7 GOP primary. But polling shows the Democratic favorite beating Schuette by about 5 points, according to Real Clear Politics.

In 2015 Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan’s GOP Republican Governor Rick Snyder waged war against two pediatric nurses who wanted to marry so they both could legally adopt their special needs children they were caring for, including one doctors thought would never survive but did. Schuette nd Snyder battled same-sex marriage all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, spending at least $1.9 million of taxpayers’ money.

One of Schuette’s expert witnesses, a professor who has ties to NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, told a federal court he believes gay people are going to hell.

Schuette also offered up Mark Regnerus, author of a massively discredited “study” that falsely claimed to find children raised by same-sex parents grow up with a host of problems not seen by their peers raised by different-sex couples. The judge tossed his testimony out.

Image via Facebook
Hat tip: Joe.My.God.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Conservative Candace Owens Says ‘Some People Will Die’ but Calls for ‘Business as Usual’ During Coronavirus Crisis

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“Life does not mean ‘you get to live forever.’”

Right-wing commentator Candace Owens has come out swinging against fellow Republicans who are ​advocating ​government policies that could ​soften the ​blow of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

With President Donald Trump’s acknowledgment of the severity of the pandemic Monday, ​Republicans’ response to the ​virus, formally known as COVID-19​, ​has shifted from dismissing the potential harm it could wreak to advocating federal measures ​such as cash handouts to low- and middle-income Americans and shutdowns of restaurants, bars, and public gatherings to dampen the disease’s negative impact.

In a Periscope live video Monday night​, Owens described the global pandemic as a “social experiment” in which some conservatives set aside their purported small-government values amid “mass hysteria.”

“Anyone telling you that we just need more government, more government, more government to fix this is completely out of touch with reality,” Owens said. “I watch the news because I’m on the news a lot. I know people that follow me probably consume the news. The majority of Americans do not consume the news. The majority of Americans are not reacting in a way that you think that they should be acting because you’re fearful. And if you believe in freedom, freedom doesn’t suddenly stop when you get scared.”

Owens said that people who think others needed to be compelled to practice social distancing ​are living in a “media reality​,” ​adding ​that even during World War II, people still gathered in bars while bombs were being dropped overhead.

“There’s nothing that Donald Trump can do, OK? He can make you feel better by showing you aerial images of New York City​, and no one’s walking in Times Square. He can make you feel better, but the majority of Americans are not changing their lifestyles, OK?” Owens said.

Owens’ broadcast had been viewed more than 430,000 times at the time of ​this article, according to Periscope.

​Owens continued her crusade against ​Republicans’ policy response​s to ​the coronavirus ​Tuesday. When someone responded to her Periscope stream that “Life comes before Liberty in the Declaration of Independence,” Owens wrote back​, “Life does not mean ‘you get to live forever’. It means you have a right to life. A virus is not taking away your right to life.”

When a self-described fan asked Owens in a tweet what she thought should be done in response to the coronavirus, Owens ​suggested business continue as usual: “I would recommend just accepting there is a new virus, & like all viruses, some people will die &like all viruses, if you are old, you need to be especially careful & are welcome to quarantine yourself. Otherwise— business as usual. 750 million infected from flu, every year.”

“Conservatives have really lost the thread with this one,” Owens wrote​ in response to the closure of businesses and large gathering places in major cities. “All the Left had to do was find something they were afraid of to prove that they too would give up all of their liberties for state control which is increasing every day. I continue to disagree with all of it.”

Owens got her start in conservative media as a fringe right-wing media figure​ calling herself “Red Pill Black.” She once co-hosted Infowars alongside conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ Brother Recruited Spies to Infiltrate Liberal Groups – Including a Top Teachers’ Union: Report

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The brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos teamed up with a conservative extremist group known for its deceptively-edited videos designed to take down liberal groups, and recruited former spies to infiltrate progressive and Democratic groups, including one of America’s largest teachers’ unions.

The New York Times on Saturday reported that DeVos’ brother, Erik Prince, “has in recent years helped recruit former American and British spies for secretive intelligence-gathering operations that included infiltrating Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations and other groups considered hostile to the Trump agenda, according to interviews and documents.”

Prince is an ex-Navy SEAL officer who founded the private personal mercenary armed services corporation once known as Blackwater.

Not only did Prince work to have operatives infiltrate liberal and Democratic groups, he worked with Project Veritas, the far right wing organization best known for creating deceptively-edited videos that took out the liberal group ACORN.

Related: DOJ Right Now Is Deciding Whether or Not to Charge Trump Ally Erik Prince

“One of the former spies, an ex-MI6 officer named Richard Seddon, helped run a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in a Michigan office of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the largest teachers’ unions in the nation,” the Times reports, noting that Seddon “directed an undercover operative to secretly tape the union’s local leaders and try to gather information that could be made public to damage the organization, documents show.”

That “undercover operative infiltrated the congressional campaign of Abigail Spanberger, then a former C.I.A. officer who went on to win an important House seat in Virginia as a Democrat. The campaign discovered the operative and fired her,” according to the newspaper, which states that both “operations were run by Project Veritas.”

Project Veritas and Prince “have ties to President Trump’s aides and family.”

NBC News National Security Contributor Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI Assistant Director, tweeted, “There are likely numerous criminal violations here, funded in part by Trump.”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Radical Right-Wing Paramilitary Group Recruiting Texas Cops for ‘Bloody Civil War’: Report

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According to a report from the Star-Telegram, a senior member of the rightwing paramilitary group Oath Keepers who moved to Texas in 2015 is actively recruiting local law enforcement employees while telling them a “bloody civil war” against the U.S. government is on the horizon.

The report states that John D. Shirley, the national director of the Las Vegas-based Oath Keepers finagled himself a job as a county constable in Hood County which provided him with access to other police officers and now he is using his position to recruit.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Oath Keepers organization is “one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today” with, reportedly, thousands of members made up of former law enforcement officials and military veterans.

The Star-Telegram reports that Shirley’s “Oath Keepers of Hood County” drive was scheduled at a local golf course earlier in the week before being canceled by the management because they felt the group had misrepresented itself when they booked the meeting place.

The report notes that Shirley has attempted to allay fears about the group’s intentions despite claims on their own website about a coming “New World order” and antisemitic rhetoric, that goes hand-in-hand with their unyielding  defense of gun ownership.

According to Shirley, in column for the online publication Hood County Today, the Oath Keepers are not “anti-government” because, as he wrote, “I am a public servant OF the government,” before adding, “The U.S. Constitution, the document this organization holds as sacrosanct, is the foundational document of our GOVERNMENT.”

The report notes that local law officials say there is no policy that bans police from joining the group which has one local running for sheriff extremely concerned.

According to Vance Keyes of Fort Worth, “I am absolutely concerned about militia groups infiltrating law enforcement. Their presence in policing undermines our obligation and ability to provide impartial justice … free from the thinly veiled, and often outright, racial bias that exist in such organizations.”

He added, “They destroy sincere efforts to strengthen police/community relations in minority communities. Their anti-government rhetoric is also an affront to police professionals that take seriously their obligation to public service and the rule of law.”

You can read more here.

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