Gun Control Absolutely Positively Right Now

claytoonz

Cjones04192021

Another day in America, another mass shooting.

After a recent mass shooting when Democrats in the Senate said we need legislation to stop this insanity, and not JUST thoughts and prayers, Senator Ted Cruz, the most disingenuous sonofabitch who has ever hatched from an egg, was livid. How dare Democrats play “theatrics” by attacking thoughts and prayers and instead, suggesting solutions. Even saying we need more than thoughts and prayers is an assault on our Christian values.

If you had listened to Ted Cruz, you would have thought Democrats had left a flaming bag of turds on the steps of the Thoughts and Prayers Institute for Gun Violence and Other Things To Be Sad About.

Ted Cruz talked about how he believes in the power of prayer. But here’s the thing about believing in the power of prayer like Ted does: It’s not working.

Ted talked about the power of…

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Hard-right Republicans forming new caucus to protect ‘Anglo-Saxon political traditions’

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/hard-right-republicans-forming-new-caucus-protect-anglo-saxon-political-n1264338

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is said to be involved with the effort.
Image: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Feb. 5, 2021.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Feb. 5, 2021.Sarah Silbiger / Reuters file
 

A group of ultraconservative House Republicans, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., are discussing launching an “America First Caucus” that would protect “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, told reporters Friday that he’s “looking at” joining.

 

“There is an America First Caucus,” he said, confirming that Greene is involved.

The formation of a caucus could be another sign of an emboldened faction of House Republicans who are known for nativist ideas and have been criticized by Democrats as racist.

A seven-page organizing document that includes the group’s name and a logo, first reported by Punchbowl News, says: “America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”

It adds that “societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country, particularly without institutional support for assimilation and an expansive welfare state to bail them out should they fail to contribute positively to the country.”

The document also backs infrastructure projects — a topic currently being debated in Congress — as long as they befit “the progeny of European architecture, whereby public infrastructure must be utilitarian as well as stunningly, classically beautiful, befitting a world power and source of freedom.”

Greene’s spokesman Nick Dyer confirmed that a platform is being written but complained about “dirty backstabbing swamp creatures” who leaked the document, and did not confirm or deny its authenticity.

“Be on the look out for the release of the America First Caucus platform when it’s announced to the public very soon,” he said.

Gohmert said the group will focus on issues, “that will sustain us for the future,” but added that he hadn’t seen the platform language about Anglo-Saxon traditions.

“It’s not supposed to be about race at all. We’re stronger as diversified. But there are some things that help make us strong. Slavery nearly destroyed us,” he said.

He compared it to putting on one’s mask on an airplane before helping others: “If we let our country go without taking care of America and making sure we’re viable for the future, then we’re not going to be in a position to help the other countries.”

The term “America First” was used as a campaign slogan by former President Donald Trump, but received criticism because it was also used during World War II by those who opposed intervention in Europe to help stop German advances, even amid reports that Nazis were committing genocide against Jewish people.

Greene has advocated for extreme positions and dangerous conspiracy theories, including the QAnon conspiracy movement. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has condemned her for spreading “loony lies” and the Democratic-controlled House removed her from committees in February.

Punchbowl News reported that Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., is also involved with the group. His office didn’t return a request for comment.

Rep. Barry Moore, R-Ala., was reported as a potential recruit.

His office said Moore “will not agree to join any caucus until he’s had an opportunity to research their platform, which he has not had the chance to do so with the America First Caucus and therefore has not joined.”

The development received immediate pushback Friday, including from Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who encouraged people to ignore the caucus at risk of amplifying their message.

 

The term “America First” was used as a campaign slogan by former President Donald Trump, but received criticism because it was also used during World War II by those who opposed intervention in Europe to help stop German advances, even amid reports that Nazis were committing genocide against Jewish people.

Greene has advocated for extreme positions and dangerous conspiracy theories, including the QAnon conspiracy movement. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has condemned her for spreading “loony lies” and the Democratic-controlled House removed her from committees in February.

Punchbowl News reported that Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., is also involved with the group. His office didn’t return a request for comment.

Rep. Barry Moore, R-Ala., was reported as a potential recruit.

His office said Moore “will not agree to join any caucus until he’s had an opportunity to research their platform, which he has not had the chance to do so with the America First Caucus and therefore has not joined.”

The development received immediate pushback Friday, including from Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who encouraged people to ignore the caucus at risk of amplifying their message.

 
 
 

Fresh Terrorists

claytoonz

Cjones04182021

We don’t just need police reform in this nation. We need justice reform.

Last weekend, Saturday Night Live did a skit of a morning news show where the white hosts were certain Derek Chauvin would be convicted while the black hosts were like, “eh…we’re not so sure.” I’ll be honest, I will not be shocked if Chauvin walks. Sure, his defense has been ridiculous, but have you met white America? The jury is mostly white and they only need to convince one juror there’s doubt of Chauvin’s guilt…not even that he is innocent. They only need one juror to refuse to convict. Let me remind you, they’re in white Minnesota.

Last June, the National Guard used tear gas to clear protesters away from the White House for no reason other than a photo-op for Donald Trump. The attack from the government came before curfew in broad daylight. The protesters were…

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This is what white privilege looks like

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Kyle Rittenhouse had murdered two people and injured a third. Bystanders pointed him out. Kyle had on latex gloves to help prevent fingerprints or gun powder residue. Several officers passed by (while he was carrying the rifle) and talked to him, and he still lives.

Not only that, KPD advised him to lie to the court about his real address for “safety purposes.”

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The system is disgusting. You can’t reform this amount of systemic racism. You most abolish it.

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This is what white privilege looks like. Police bias makes sure these white people get a pass.

Anti-LGBT Activist Judith Reisman Dies At Age 86

From the magazine of the far-right John Birch Society:

Like Judith the Biblical heroine, Dr. Reisman was fearless and stood against the great powers of the world in our time. When her countrymen were ready to surrender to the mighty Assyrian army, the Biblical Judith, trusting in God, walked into the enemy camp — and walked out with the head of Holofernes, the Assyrian general, thus saving her people. Likewise, Judith Reisman repeatedly, over the past several decades, strode into many hostile enemy camps around the world — colleges, universities, legislative bodies, media outlets — to speak truth to power and to expose vile works of darkness.

Longtime JMG reader will recall Reisman’s anti-LGBT claims as a regular feature here going back a decade or so.

There was the time she appeared on the Liberty Counsel’s radio show to declare that all gays are inherent pedophiles:

We know that pedophilia, which was the original Greek they say it’s ‘love of’ but of course it isn’t, it’s ‘lust for’ boys. And there’s a strong, clear, cross-cultural, historical reality, people don’t want to do deal with, but the propaganda has been loud and strong to deny the fact, the aim of homosexual males and now increasingly females is not to have sex with other old guys and get married but to obtain sex with as many boys as possible. That’s the reality.

There was the time she called for a class action suit against groups that advocate for safer sex:

The reality is that condoms are manufactured and approved every day for natural, vaginal sex, not anal “sex.” They are not effectively designed to protect from disease those people who engage in sodomy. Such a lawsuit should target the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Planned Parenthood and a myriad of teachers and school systems, too many to count, that have taught that anal “sex” (traditionally termed “sodomy” or “buggery” under British-based legal codes) as not so different than natural coitus. Due to the lies that have told, people who practiced sodomy are under the tragically mistaken notion that a condom is effective protection from disease.

There was the time she went to Jamaica to advocate for keeping homosexuality criminalized:

American Religious Right leaders Mat Staver and Judith Reisman are scheduled to be featured speakers at a conference in Jamaica this weekend hosted by a group that has been working to preserve the country’s criminal ban on consensual gay sex. The annual conference, hosted by the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, will focus on how “[c]ontemporary society has become increasingly hostile to the traditional definitions of marriage and family” and Staver.

There was the time she blamed the demise of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on a rise in reported sexual assaults in the military:

Why is the best-kept military secret that most soldierly sexual assaults are now definitively homo, not heterosexual, male-on-male sexual exploitation? While men are statistically more loathe to report their sexual victimization than are women, 10,700 male soldiers, sailors and airmen in 2010 actually reported their sexual assaults. What this means is not totally clear, since men are cannot technically be raped, despite the term being regularly used in the recent hearings on the matter.

There was the time she compared activists against school bullying to Hitler Youth:

Both the GLSEN youth and the Hitler Youth were trained to be revolutionary leaders of the brave new world order. GLSEN school clubs and their teacher sponsor/trainers are now funded by major corporations and by some state funds. GLESN’s Day of Silence and “GAY ALLY!” pledge cards for kindergartners and other children (left) are direct assaults on traditional parental, American values. German children’s literature historians document Hitler’s pioneering ban of both the Ten Commandments and biblical stories from Nazi school texts in favor of coarse and violent tales that ridiculed religious believers and their values.

There was the time she was condemned by the Anti-Defamation League:

Holocaust analogies generate headlines and get attention, they do little in the service of truth, history or memory. When [Peter] LaBarbera and Reisman suggest that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are “demonizing [Christians] like the Nazis used to do to the Jews,” they undermine the historical truth of the Holocaust as a singular event in human history that led to the murder of six million Jews and millions of others. Holocaust comparisons are deeply offensive and trivialize and distort the history and meaning of the Holocaust.

And let’s close with this notation from Rational Wiki:

Reisman is a supporter of Scott Lively and his completely insane screed, The Pink Swastika. She has claimed that she believes that a homosexual movement in Germany gave rise to the Nazi Party and the Holocaust. She enthusiastically and unconditionally endorses criminalization of homosexuality, despite the fact that homosexuals were were one of the Nazis’ target groups for annihilation. Reisman has claimed that the homosexuals employ recruitment techniques that rival those of the United States Marine Corps to transform innocent children into raving homosexuals.

US police and public officials donated to Kyle Rittenhouse, data breach reveals

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/16/us-police-officers-public-officials-crowdfunding-website-data-breach

Officers and officials also donated to fundraisers for far-right activists and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans

A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website has revealed that serving police officers and public officials have donated money to fundraisers for accused vigilante murderers, far-right activists, and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans.

In many of these cases, the donations were attached to their official email addresses, raising questions about the use of public resources in supporting such campaigns.

 

 

The breach, shared with journalists by transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets, revealed the details of some donors who had previously attempted to conceal their identities using GiveSendGo’s anonymity feature, but whose identifying details the website preserved.

The beneficiaries of donations from public officials include Kyle Rittenhouse, who stands accused of murdering two leftwing protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August. Rittenhouse traveled from neighboring Illinois to, by his own account, offer armed protection to businesses during protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Rittenhouse, who became a cause célèbre across conservative media throughout late 2020, and was even supported by then president Donald Trump, held a fundraiser on GiveSendGo billed as a contribution to his legal defense. According to data from the site, he raised $586,940 between 27 August last year and 7 January .

Among the donors were several associated with email addresses traceable to police and other public officials.

One donation for $25, made on 3 September last year, was made anonymously, but associated with the official email address for Sgt William Kelly, who currently serves as the executive officer of internal affairs in the Norfolk police department in Virginia.

That donation also carried a comment, reading: “God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

The comment continued: “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

Another Rittenhouse donor using an official email address was Craig Shepherd, who public records show is a paramedic in Utah. This donor gave $10 to Rittenhouse on 30 August.

Donations also came to Rittenhouse associated with official email addresses for Keith Silvers, and employee of the city of Huntsville, Alabama, and another $100 was associated with the official address of Michael Crosley, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a body which is charged with maintaining the US’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

Meanwhile, several Wisconsin police officers donated to a fundraiser, “Support Rusten Sheskey”, held for the Kenosha police department officer whose shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, led to the protests that drew Rittenhouse to the city.

Two $20 donations to Sheskey’s fund were associated with email addresses of a pair of lieutenants in Green Bay, Wisconsin’s police department. One, given under the name, “GBPD Officer”, was tied to an address associated with Chad Ramos, a training lieutenant in the department; another anonymous donation was associated with Keith A Gehring, who is listed as a school resources officer lieutenant.

Another donation to Sheskey was associated with the official email address of officer Pat Gainer of the Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin police department. Given under the screen name “PPPD Motor 179”, the donation also carried the comment: “Stay strong brother.”

About 32 more donations, totaling more than $5,000, came to Sheskey from private email addresses associated with Kenosha officers, but under badge numbers rather than names.

More anonymous donations on the site came from city employees of Houston, Texas, who were objecting to the actions of the then police chief, Art Acevedo, who fired four Houston police officers after they shot and killed a man, Nicolas Chavez, who was on his knees, and in an apparent mental health crisis.

One anonymous donation of $100 was associated with the official address of that city’s fire chief, Samuel Peña, who has himself faced recent employee revolts over cost-cutting, but who has been publicly supportive of Acevedo, describing him in a tweet as a “brother & partner in Public Safety” in March, when Acevedo announced that he would be taking up an appointment as Miami’s chief of police.

Another anonymous donation of $400 was attributed in site data to an email linked to Chris Andersen and carried the comment: “I think that Chief Acevedo is part of the ‘unrecognized form of police corruption’ that Chris Anderson [sic] wrote about in his book’. Hang in there guys!!!”

Andersen’s book, The Sniper: Hunting A Serial Killer – A True Story, purports to tell the story of the hunt for a serial killer by Houston police at a time when “the United States was experiencing a wave of civil discontent regarding the unwarranted shootings (either true or perceived) of black men by law enforcement (the Black Lives Matter era)”.

In his Amazon bio, Andersen describes himself as a “39-year veteran of the Houston police department”, and as having worked in roles including homicide detective, supervising a Swat team and internal affairs.

In an email, the Green Bay police chief, Andrew Smith, wrote of the donations that “we are looking into the matter”, but added on Sheskey’s actions that his department “does not take a position on other agencies use of force”.

Lynda Seaver, director of public affairs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, wrote in an email that Michael Crosley had made “an honest mistake”, and had “never intended to use his Lab email on this matter”.

All other agencies and individuals who were included in the Guardian’s reporting did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Guardian previously reported on the use of the site for fundraising purposes for far-right groups like the Proud Boys, who have been banned from other crowdfunding platforms after violent incidents including the alleged participation of members of the group in an attack on the United States Capitol building on 6 January.

Conservatives propose revised sex ed rules in LGBTQ pushback

https://apnews.com/article/parental-rights-gay-rights-arizona-gender-identity-sex-education-1f19f7a1aad2d2be7de934aa9807e9c6

Two years after Arizona lawmakers repealed a ban on any HIV/AIDS instruction that “promotes a homosexual lifestyle” as they faced a lawsuit, they have approved revamping the state’s sex education laws to make them some of the strictest in the nation when it comes to teaching about LGBTQ issues.

The measure pushed by a powerful social conservative group is framed as a parental rights issue and would require schools to get parents’ permission for discussions about gender identity, sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS in sex education classes.

Schools also would need parents to sign off on their children learning about historical events involving sexual orientation, such as a discussion of the modern gay rights movement that sprang from the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled House on a party-line vote Wednesday, with Democrats saying it would harm LGBTQ children. It already passed the Senate and now goes to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.

Arizona is among several Republican-led states where lawmakers are considering similar changes to sex education. Moving to give parents more control over what their children may be taught about LGBTQ issues is new and comes amid other efforts pushing back on social changes, including legislation in some states to ban transgender athletes from competing on the school teams of their identified sex, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights group that tracks such legislation.

Arizona is one of five states that already require parents’ permission before a child can attend sex education classes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The new proposal would essentially require a double opt-in for HIV/AIDS instruction that addresses sexual orientation or gender identity. Additional permission would be needed for LGBTQ discussions in any other class.

Idaho legislation also requires notifications and opt-ins, including for discussion of sexual orientation outside of sex education classes. It has passed the House and awaits Senate action.

Lawmakers in Tennessee and Missouri are considering measures that would require parents to be notified before instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity but would exclude historical references.

In Montana, the Legislature passed a bill last week initially meant to require parents to opt in to sex education but was changed after pushback from education groups. It now allows parents to opt their children out of sex ed and awaits action by Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte.

Advocates for comprehensive sex education say such legislation can have far-reaching negative effects under the guise of parental rights by limiting fact-based education that young people need to stay safe.

“They continually call out a need to review curriculum — and any sex education curriculum is already being reviewed,” said Alison Macklin, a senior policy adviser at the progressive group SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change. “So these standards are decided by experts who are educators. And there’s always the opportunity for parents to review curriculum.”

The leader of the group backing Arizona’s proposal, the Center for Arizona Policy, said it is about ensuring parents have control over what their children are taught.

“The purpose of Senate Bill 1456 is to look out for parental rights, to ensure that parents have access to learning materials, that parents have the opportunity to opt their child in to classes dealing with human sexuality,” said Cathi Herrod, the group’s president.

She said the same is true whether the class is sex education or a discussion of the ancient Greeks, where homosexuality was common.

“It doesn’t stop those topics from being addressed, but again when we talk sex education, when we talk parental notification, parents deserve the opportunity to make that decision to opt their students in to classroom discussion,” Herrod said.

Macklin called the proposals an effort to reinforce barriers.

“In a way, it’s a subliminal way of trying to get anti-homosexual legislation put in, by saying you can’t speak or talk about it in schools,” she said. “We would never make that type of legislation around other historical movements.”

Opponents of the Arizona legislation pointed to the repealed 1991 law about HIV/AIDS instruction as a motivation for the new proposal. LGBTQ groups sued over the law nearly 30 years later.

The 2019 repeal came after the state’s top school official and attorney general refused to defend Arizona against the lawsuit alleging unconstitutional discrimination and restriction of educational opportunity for LGBTQ students.

Democrats warned during House debate Wednesday that the new proposal has similar constitutional issues.

The legislation has grabbed the attention of a group of college students who say Arizona’s sex education is already backward and the measure moves it even farther away from what young people need to know.

Lee Chiffelle, a junior studying astrophysics at Arizona State University, said she started promoting changes to sex ed policies as a high school student frustrated with the lack of factual, honest education. She said she got the most important lessons from her mom, but not all young people can rely on their parents.

“I was lucky, but a lot of my friends weren’t that lucky,” Chiffelle said. “A lot of parents seem to think that if you don’t talk about it, teenagers won’t have sex, which is definitely not true.”

Arizona’s measure would bar schools from providing sex education before fifth grade, require 60 days’ notice of curriculum changes and mandate public meetings about those revisions, even those required under the new law.

Chiffelle said she’s concerned about everything from parents not returning permission slips to the sex ed ban before fifth grade, which is focused on “good touch-bad touch” skills and how to tell if they’re being abused and how to get help.

The most dangerous aspect of the new proposal, she said, is favoring traditional gender roles and limiting discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We need this education to promote an inclusive environment, an accepting environment, because LGBTQ-plus teens, they have incredibly high rates of suicide,” Chiffelle said. “But when they are placed in an environment that’s accepting to them and inclusive to them, those suicide rates drop drastically.”

Dems urge Ducey veto Arizona bill requiring permission of LGBTQ lessons

 

Arizona Democrats, including the state’s schools chief, are urging Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to veto a bill that would require schools to get parents’ permission for discussions about gender identity, sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS in sex education classes.

Schools under the bill would also be forced to get parent permission for children to learn about historical events involving sexual orientation.

 

Arizona is one of five states already requiring parents’ permission before a child can attend sex education classes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the bill would make the state’s sex education laws some of the strictest in the nation when it comes to teaching about LGBTQ issues.

The new proposal essentially requires a double opt-in for HIV/AIDS instruction that addresses sexual orientation or gender identity and additional permission would be needed for LGBTQ discussions in any other class.

Senate Bill 1456, already passed by the Senate, passed the Republican-controlled House in a party-line vote on Wednesday and now heads to Ducey.

Democrats said the bill would harm LGBTQ children and comes after the state, facing a lawsuit, previously repealed a ban on any HIV/AIDS instruction that “promotes a homosexual lifestyle.”

“Two years ago, by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, the Legislature repealed the discriminatory so-called ‘No Promo Homo’ law that for decades led to stigmatization and bullying of LGBTQ students,” House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding said in a press release. “The passage of SB1456 effectively puts those restrictions on discussion of public health issues like HIV-AIDS – or even the history and contributions of the LGBTQ community – back into place.

 

“The same governor who repealed that stain on our state’s history should not sign this one.”

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman in a statement said the bill marks a giant step backward for the state.

“This legislation will once again silence and erase LGTBQ individuals and their history in our schools – and it will harm students and families,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman urged Ducey to veto the bill swiftly and affirm that Arizona “is a welcoming place for all, no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity or background.”

“This legislation is nothing short of state-codified bigotry and does not reflect where most Arizonans stand on these issues,” Hoffman said.

Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy that is backing the bill, said it is about ensuring parents have control over what their children are taught.

“The purpose of Senate Bill 1456 is to look out for parental rights, to ensure that parents have access to learning materials, that parents have the opportunity to opt their child in to classes dealing with human sexuality,” Herrod said, adding the same is true whether the class is sex education or a discussion of the ancient Greeks, where homosexuality was common.

 

“It doesn’t stop those topics from being addressed, but again when we talk sex education, when we talk parental notification, parents deserve the opportunity to make that decision to opt their students in to classroom discussion.”

The bill also bars schools from providing sex education before fifth grade.

“Age-appropriate comprehensive sex education helps children when they are most vulnerable to distinguish between – for example – a good touch and a bad touch and gives them the language to tell a responsible adult if they have been abused,” Bolding said. “Parents can already opt-out of this instruction if they choose, but if the legislature erects so many barriers that this instruction disappears altogether it will only allow and cause more harm.”

“If our Republican colleagues truly cared about preventing childhood sexual abuse – which they frequently profess – then they should have rejected this bill.”

Arizona is among several Republican-led states where lawmakers are considering similar changes to sex education.

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