We are at a critical moment in Indiana’s history.
And much is at stake.
Our image. Our reputation as a state that embraces people of diverse backgrounds and makes them feel welcome. And our efforts over many years to retool our economy, to attract talented workers and thriving businesses, and to improve the quality of life for millions of Hoosiers.
All of this is at risk because of a new law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that no matter its original intent already has done enormous harm to our state and potentially our economic future.
The consequences will only get worse if our state leaders delay in fixing the deep mess created.
Half steps will not be enough. Half steps will not undo the damage.
Only bold action — action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens — will be enough to reverse the damage.
Gov. Mike Pence and the General Assembly need to enact a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Those protections and RFRA can co-exist. They do elsewhere.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has been all over the media yesterday and today, pretending the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” has nothing to do with discriminating against LGBT people, and today he announced that he’d push for a “clarification” of the bill, to show that it doesn’t do that thing everybody knows it does.
Pence has a problem, though; the anti-gay activists who helped ram this bill through the Indiana legislature are opposed to any such clarification, because of course they are.
Micah Clark of the American Family Association’s Indiana chapter, who stood right behind Pence, along with several other Religious Right leaders, when he signed the bill into law and has quite a record of anti-gay activism, said today that he opposes any such clarification.
He told AFA President Tim Wildmon today that conservatives should call Pence and other state officials and demand that they oppose any effort to clarify that the law does not legalize discrimination: “That could totally destroy this bill.” (In Georgia, supporters of a similar bill also opposed a push to ensure that the legislation will not permit discrimination in business.)
Wildmon agreed, adding that the Indiana law is necessary to protect anti-gay business owners from “persecution.” The law’s critics, Wildmon claimed, are waging “spiritual warfare” against state officials.
Here’s a photo originally posted proudly by Micah Clark, showing Clark and several other anti-gay activists standing with Pence when he signed the RFRA, with annotations added by GLAAD to make it very clear that Pence is simply lying about its intent.
Spoiler, for those not aware of how the GOP operates: they’re not really shocked. They knew exactly what they were doing. In some circles, this tactic is known as “lying.”
WASHINGTON — Indiana’s Republican leaders said they were shocked, confused and completely caught off-guard by the backlash to their new “religious freedom” law, telling reporters Monday that they had not expected criticism calling the measure anti-gay.
“I don’t think anyone anticipated that the characterization of the bill would be, this denies to services to a specific class to Hoosiers. It does just the opposite. It includes all Hoosiers in the religious freedom standard. And it’s a misperception that it denies services,” said Indiana state House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) during a Monday morning press conference with Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R).
Long acknowledged that the GOP-controlled legislature did not work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups on crafting the language of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because the lawmakers didn’t think the bill would affect that community.
It is to laugh.
I should point out that critics of this bill understand it’s designed to protect people who deny services to gays. Nobody has said the bill itself “denies services” to LGBT people. This is a classic GOP misdirection.
Bringing new meaning to the term “pandering,” here’s Ted Cruz explaining that he “didn’t like how rock music responded” to the 9/11 attacks, so he switched to country.
As if “rock music” is some monolithic thing that all “responds” the same way. But seriously, Cruz is making a blindingly obvious play for the Republican base here, and of course, the host of CBS This Morning, Gayle King, nods right along as if it’s just hunky dory with her. Gross.
In a 2013 speech to the right wing Heritage Foundation, newly announced presidential candidate Ted Cruz sang the praises of Jesse Helms, the notoriously racist Senator from North Carolina. Cruz said Helms was the first politician to whom he ever donated money, and ended his fond reminiscences with the statement, “We need a hundred more like Jesse Helms in the US Senate.”
Remember, though — Ted Cruz can’t be a racist because his best friend in college was black.
If Ted Cruz is so racist why is his best friend, debate partner, college roommate and “brother” black? pic.twitter.com/qHPQpFBDfW
One of the most dishonest, creepy, and fanatical Republicans in Washington, Ted Cruz, is going to be the first presidential candidate for the wacko wing of the GOP (which is pretty much the entire GOP now), and of course, he’s going to announce it in a speech at Jerry Falwell’s religious right diploma mill, Liberty University — where young Earth creationism is taught in biology class.
Cruz will launch a presidential bid outright rather than form an exploratory committee, said senior advisers with direct knowledge of his plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made yet. They say he is done exploring and is now ready to become the first Republican presidential candidate.
The senator is scheduled to speak Monday at a convocation ceremony at Liberty University in Virginia, where he is expected to declare his campaign for the presidency.
This is one of those media distortions that makes me nuts, as CNN pushes the absolutely false meme that President Obama said anything like, “Maybe it’s time for mandatory voting.” Notice that the CNN headline attributes these words directly to Obama — but he never said them.
Their own video clip shows what a ridiculous distortion this is; Obama is saying we should make voting easier, not make it “mandatory.” Yes, he mentions Australia where voting is mandatory, but only to make the point that it would be transformative if more people voted in the US. It’s a hypothetical statement. He didn’t advocate, call for, or even “suggest” making voting mandatory in the US.
But if the President was trolling the right with this statement, it worked. They’re all foaming at the mouth about this today.
Today’s Republican circular firing squad took place when presidential hopeful Scott Walker was forced to fire his new social media consultant Liz Mair (it was portrayed as a “resignation,” of course), who had been hired less than 24 hours before the debacle.
Mair ran afoul of the Republican Party’s far right loons when she made statements criticizing the Iowa caucuses, and supporting the “Gang of Eight’s” immigration bill. At Breitbart “News,” charming wingnut blogger Matthew Boyle labeled Mair an “open borders amnesty advocate,” because she simply isn’t insane enough for them.
This is just the first skirmish in what’s shaping up to be a wonderful internecine conflict, as the GOP’s crazy wing continues doing their level best to force any presidential contender as far to the right as possible.
Sen. Tom Cotton, fresh from his disturbing attempt to subvert President Obama’s negotiations with Iran, took to the Senate floor today and advocated immense defense spending increases.
The Republican Party really, really wants another war, because they know they and their corporate masters will be the ones to reap the profits from it, and they could not care less if it drives the country into even deeper debt and recession. The American public be damned.
And of course, Cotton invoked Hitler.
While Obama has proposed raising spending on defense to $534 billion and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) advocated a budget of $577 billion, Cotton said the U.S. needs north of $611 billion to manage a world he said had “grown gravely darker” since Obama took office.
Beginning his speech by quoting Winston Churchill’s remarks from 1933, Cotton drew parallels between the current world order and Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany: “[W]e alone are growing weaker while every other nation is growing stronger.”
In all the years I’ve followed US politics I’ve never seen such blatant disrespect for the office of the President. The Republican Party is so deranged by their hatred of Obama — who was elected twice by the American people — that they’re actively working to damage the standing of the United States in the world. Anything goes as long as they can subvert everything Obama does. It’s sickening, and wrong, and is taking the country to a very bad place.
WASHINGTON — The White House delivered a fresh warning to the Senate late Saturday to stay out of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, asserting that pending legislation would likely have a “profoundly negative impact” on the ongoing talks.
President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, told Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker in a letter that legislation sponsored by the Tennessee Republican would go far beyond ensuring a role for Congress in any deal with Iran.
“Instead, the legislation would potentially prevent any deal from succeeding by suggesting that Congress must vote to ‘approve’ any deal,” McDonough said. He criticized a provision that would eliminate Obama’s authority to lift some sanctions on Iran as part of any agreement.