Tag Archives: bigotry

The Arizona GOP has a white nationalist problem

Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona’s most embarrassing congressman, has endorsed former state legislator Kelli “Chemtrails” Ward for the U.S. Senate over his colleague Rep. Martha McSally. Paul Gosar endorses Kelli Ward for Senate, attacks Martha McSally’s GOP credentials. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

The real story here is Paul Gosar’s white nationalism and Kelli “Chemtrails” Ward’s embrace of the same. (Here they are together hobnobbing with Cliven Bundy during his standoff with the government. Republican Legislators Caravan To The Bundy Ranch). Their connection runs through white nationalist Steve Bannon and his wealthy benefactors, Robert and Rebekkah Mercer.

Earlier this year, white nationalist Steve Bannon endorsed Ward as well. Bannon endorses Ward. After doing campaign events together, Ward subsequently publicly distanced herself from Bannon after the former Breitbart chief fell out of favor with the White House and many Republicans after he criticized members of President Donald Trump’s family in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury.” Kelli Ward distances herself from Bannon and Arpaio.

Bannon is gone, but Ward’s embrace of his white nationalist politics remains the same.

Just last week, Bannon’s former wealthy benefactor at Breitbart, Robert Mercer cut a $500,000 check to a super PAC backing Arizona Senate hopeful Kelli “Chemtrails” Ward. Megadonor boosts Ward in Arizona Senate race:

Mercer, a reclusive billionaire and a former hedge fund executive, has emerged as a major Ward benefactor. With his latest contribution, he has given KelliPAC a total of $800,000 in support of Ward this election cycle.

Mercer also funded Ward during the 2016 election season, when she waged an unsuccessful primary challenge against Sen. John McCain.

Mercer and his daughter, Bekah, have been major funders of conservative, anti-establishment causes, including Trump’s 2016 campaign and Breitbart News.

Last weekend during Trump’s disastrous trip to Great Britain, Rep. Paul Gosar was also there, at a London rally in support of a jailed anti-Muslim, ant-immigrant activist, Tommy Robinson. GOP lawmaker speaks at rally for jailed anti-Muslim activist in UK:

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) spoke at a London rally in support of a jailed anti-Muslim activist, invoking the First Amendment and arguing for free speech.

Gosar spoke at a “Free Tommy Robinson” rally on Sunday.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is a founder of the anti-Muslim English Defense League, which has organized violent protests against Muslim immigrants.

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SCOTUS conservatives uphold Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban

David Horsey’s dystopian vision of life in America under Donald Trump (right) has become a shocking reality. With Trump’s Deportation Force rounding up immigrant familiess from Latin America and jailing them in internment camps, and Trump asserting dictatorial powers over the courts and constitutional due process, today the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban in a 5-4 decision in Trump v. Hawaii(.pdf).

This is what creeping fascism looks like.

The conservative majority on the Court demonstrates exceeding deference to executive authority, and exceeding indifference for individual liberties. Chief Justice John Roberts, delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch joined. Kennedy and Thomas filed concurring opinions.

Effectively the conservative majority holds that as long as there is a minimally rational neutral (pretextual) reason for the action taken under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, the Court will accept that reason as reasonable and disregard other evidence of the president’s numerous and repeated discriminatory public statements exhibiting a discriminatory animus. So Trump can be a raging racist religious bigot against Muslims to his heart’s content, and it does not affect the validity of this immigration order so long as the government can provide a minimally rational (pretextual) reason for the order.

One has to pose the hypothetical question whether this decision would be the same if this was a travel ban on Christians from predominantly Christian countries, instead of Muslims from predominantly Muslim countries. Sadly, I think we all know that we can presume the answer is no, and that is why this is a suspect opinion.

To their shame, all of the justices ruling in favor of the Muslim Travel Ban are Catholics. Given the past history of the Church, I’m sure Pope Francis is most displeased with the bad optics.

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The Religious Right’s ‘blitz’ on American democracy

Last week Ireland, long a Roman Catholic country, held a vote to repeal a constitutional provision criminalizing abortion.  Ex-pat Irish citizens from around the world flew home to cast their votes. It wasn’t even close. Ireland votes overwhelmingly to overturn abortion ban:

The Irish have swept aside one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the developed world in a landslide vote that reflects Ireland’s emergence as a socially liberal country no longer obedient to Catholic dictates.

With all ballots counted and turnout at a near-historic high, election officials reported Saturday that 66.4 percent voted to overturn Ireland’s abortion prohibition and 33.6 percent opposed the measure.

The outcome of the referendum Friday was a decisive win for the campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. The 1983 amendment enshrined an “equal right to life” for mothers and “the unborn” and outlawed almost all abortions — even in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormality or non-life-threatening risk to maternal health.

“What we have seen today is a culmination of a quiet revolution that has been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years,” Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

The United States, however, is now moving in the exact opposite direction. Religious Right extremists have taken Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale not as a dystopian vision of a totalitarian Christian theonomy that has overthrown the United States government, but as a handbook on how to actually make it a reality.

In March, GOP-run Mississippi enacted the strictest abortion law in the nation, for the intended purpose of a legal challenge that may get in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to directly challenge Roe v. Wade (which permits abortions in the first 24 weeks). Mississippi gov signs nation’s toughest abortion restrictions:

Mississippi’s governor signed a law Monday banning most abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, the tightest restrictions in the nation.

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The bill was drafted with the assistance of conservative groups including the Mississippi Center for Public Policy and the Alliance Defending Freedom [based in Scottsdale, Arizona].

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Breaking: Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rules Trump Muslim travel ban is unconstitutional

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, ruled on Thursday in a 9-4 decision that the latest iteration of President Trump’s travel ban is unconstitutional, citing that it unlawfully discriminates against Muslims. Opinion (.pdf).

The Hill reports, Appeals court rules latest Trump travel ban is unconstitutional:

A Virginia-based federal court of appeals on Thursday ruled the latest version of President Trump’s travel ban unconstitutional, citing that it unlawfully discriminates against Muslims.

In a 9-4 decision, a majority of the judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said it examined official statements from Trump and other executive branch officials, along with the proclamation itself, and found it “unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam.”

The court is the second federal appeals court to rule against the travel ban.

The most recent iteration of the ban bars people from eight countries — six of which are predominantly Muslim — from coming to the U.S.

The Supreme Court had decided in December that it would allow the latest travel ban to take effect while litigation ran its course [in this case].

It has now run its course. You can rest assured that Confederate Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III will file an appeal back to the U.S. Supreme Court from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision.

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Do Arizonans believe in equal rights for all Arizonans, or not? Give HB 2586 a vote

Since at least 1994, to the best of my recollection, a bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature to amend the Arizona Civil Rights Act to include protections for the LGBTQ community. (Many Arizonans falsely believe that such protections already exist). As I recall, there may have been one year the bill actually got a committee vote — and was defeated — but almost every year the bill does not even get a hearing in the GOP-controlled Arizona legislature.

This remains true even after the U.S. Supreme Court and the Arizona Supreme Court have recognized equal protection for same-sex marriages, and same-sex spouses have the same parental rights as opposite-sex spouses under Arizona law.  Another lawsuit enjoined a 2009 statute that made domestic partners of state employees ineligible for health benefits.

Too many Arizona Republicans resist “the arc of the moral universe [that] bends towards justice,” under “a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a Union that could be and should be perfected over time.”

To paraphrase Joseph Welch, “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, GOP legislators, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

The GOP-controlled Arizona legislature is, once again, kowtowing to the hateful lobbyist for religious bigots, Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, whose undue influence over the Arizona legislature makes her “Arizona’s 31st Senator.” It’s time to revoke her status.

The Arizona Republic reports, Bill to bar discrimination against LGBT people can’t get a hearing:

For the first time ever, a proposal to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in Arizona has gained support from a Republican in the Legislature, along with GOP municipal leaders.

But that doesn’t appear to be enough to get a hearing at the Capitol.

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The time has come to amend the Arizona Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity

The Arizona legislature is about to be consumed by the sexual harassment ethics complaint filed by Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita against Rep. Don Shooter. Unbelievably, there was no formal, written policy in the House of Representatives available to legislators detailing how to respond to sexual harassment claims. Rules, enforcement lacking to prevent sexual harassment among lawmakers.

So the House has now drafted its first sexual harassment policy ex post facto to address the sexual harassment ethics complaint against Rep. Don Shooter. But that draft policy does not go far enough. No LGBT protections in Arizona Legislature’s new harassment rules:

When Arizona House Speaker J.D. Mesnard released a new harassment policy this week, members of the Legislature’s LGBT caucus felt something was missing.

The policy prohibits workplace discrimination in the Arizona House of Representatives based on someone’s race, age, national origin, religion, sex, disability or veteran status, among others.

Not included in that lengthy list: protections for House members or their staffers who might face discrimination for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

NOTE: The Arizona Civil Rights Act does not provide for express protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. A bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature every year since at least 1994 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Arizona Civil Rights Act but only once, to the best of my recollection, has a bill ever received a committee hearing. It has always been opposed by GOP leadership, because it is opposed by the religious right Center for Arizona Policy.

State Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson, said he and other members of the recently formed LGBT caucus are going to push to change that.

Hernandez said while the policy allows anyone to report instances of sexual harassment, the portion dealing with discrimination should be amended to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

“I would like to see that it gets spelled out,” he said, “just so there isn’t confusion or issues later on.”

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