Some of the hundreds of protesters arriving at a Phoenix mosque on Friday evening to demonstrate their first amendment protections carried firearms, American flags and shouted expletives.
As the protesters arrived, they were met by hundreds of members of various religious and community groups, who had already gathered along the sidewalk opposite the entrance to the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.
“I think this is the real story, not the bigotry,” said community center president Usama Shami, of those who offered support. “They’re standing against bigotry.”
Phoenix police had blocked off most streets in the residential area near the center, where the protest, its two sides separated by a two-way street lined with officers in riot gear, lasted nearly four hours…
“I understand the fears and I understand the hostility,” said pastor Bob Hake of the nearby Orangewood Nazarene Church, on Friday. “I think there’s a better way to resolve those fears than intimidation and weapons and fear.”
The hatred organizer, Jon Ritzheimer wore a bulletproof vest underneath a black T-shirt bearing the phrase “fuck Islam”…Hake said, Ritzheimer had chosen the wrong weapons when he encouraged his protesters to bring firearms on the event’s Facebook page.
“This is not a battlefield, this a neighborhood,” Hake said.
Yes, there also were the kind of Christians and non-Christians I wouldn’t mind as next-door neighbors. They came to stand up in opposition to bigotry.
Indiana passed a revised Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, but some are saying the “fix” is not enough.
Several communities plan to pass their own anti-discrimination ordinances, while others are calling for a RFRA repeal. Lawmakers rushed the changes through after a statewide and national backlash after Gov. Mike Pence signed the original bill. The bill that the governor signed last Thursday that clarified that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow businesses to withhold services from LGBT people. However, that only extends to communities that have an anti-discrimination ordinance in place.
On Monday, Rep. Ed DeLaney (R-Indianapolis) said in a statement, “In the wake of the statements from both proponents of the bill and the Governor himself, it is clear what the intent of the bill was. It was intended to be used to discriminate. When asked several times on Thursday, Speaker Bosma would not agree to hold a hearing to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a ‘protected class’ in Indiana.
Throughout this whole debate, the Republicans have stated either with their words or actions that members of the LGBT community are second-class citizens who do not deserve legal protection under the law. I see only one remedy that needs to be taken. First, we need to repeal the current law-then we must reform our civil rights law to add sexual orientation and gender identity. Finally, we need to rewrite the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to actually mirror that of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Only then will we be able to send a message to those living in the state and those watching that Indiana is open to all.”
The City Council in New Albany will consider a resolution Monday calling for the law to be repealed. The mayor has called for more changes to the RFRA. He says elected officials have a duty to create a welcoming environment for everyone.
In Lafayette, the Family Equality Council is partnering with “Citizens for Civil Rights” and “Indiana Equality Action” to host a town hall meeting. They hope to discuss the impact of the RFRA on gay, lesbian and transgender families. The meeting starts at 6 pm at the Columbia ballroom in Lafayette.
In Muncie, the City Council is expected to vote Monday night on a new human rights ordinance. Mayor Dennis Tyler says the resolution will make the city’s stance against the RFRA very clear and that the city does not want to discourage anyone from living or working in Muncie.
Look at the history of gerrymandering in the United States and once you get past racial bigotry, religious cultural bigotry stands next in line in opposition to democratic progress. The same motivation makes its unfortunate presence known in distorted laws like Indiana’s RFRA.
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff says he has canceled all his company’s events in the state of Indiana after its governor signed into law a bill that makes it legal for individuals to use religious grounds as a defense when they are sued by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
And in an interview with Re/code, Benioff threatened the state with a “slow rolling of economic sanctions” if the law is not thrown out.
“We’ve made significant investments in Indiana. We run major marketing events and conferences there. We’re a major source of income and revenue to the state of Indiana, but we simply cannot support this kind of legislation,” Benioff said…
Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill, called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act today, and said blah, blah, blah, God’s Will, blah, blah, screw civil rights, blah, blah, and the US Constitution!
Benioff said that Salesforce employs between 2,000 and 3,000 people in the state, owing largely to its 2013 acquisition of ExactTarget, an email marketing company based in Indianapolis. Salesforce paid $2.5 billion for it, and Benioff later described the acquisition as a “perfect fit.”
Since 2007, ExactTarget has hosted its most important customer event, called Connections, in Indianapolis. Last year it drew 10,000 people and about $8 million in spending to Indianapolis. Salesforce announced it would move the event to New York in September. Benioff says there are other events that will be canceled as well. “We can’t bring our customers or our employees into a situation where they might be discriminated against,” he said. “We have a large number of employees and customers who would be impacted dramatically by this legislation. … I’m really just advocating on their behalf.”
Bigots courting votes from idjits have no place in a democracy that recognizes the civil rights of all citizens.
After three months of working at Lam’s Seafood Market for $7.65 an hour as a cashier, Noemi Romero had finally saved the $465 it would take to apply for President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an initiative launched to shield from deportation young immigrants brought to the United States as children.
That was before the hard-line immigration policies of Maricopa County — made infamous in 2010 for its hostile attitude toward undocumented immigrants — torpedoed her dream of legalizing her status.
Romero, brought to the state by her parents when she was 3, did not even realize she was undocumented until she was 16, when her friends began getting driver’s licenses. Her parents told her she couldn’t. “You’re not from here,” they explained.
After graduating from high school, she found herself in limbo. She couldn’t afford to attend college in Arizona, one of a handful of states that explicitly bar undocumented students from receiving financial aid and paying in-state tuition rates. And without a Social Security number, she couldn’t work. She spent her days helping her mother babysit…
On Jan. 17, 2013, Romero was working the cash register at Lam’s Seafood Market, planning to take off from work the next week so she could meet with an immigration lawyer. She saw a man in a black collared shirt and dress pants walk in and present a badge to the manager.
Moments later, Romero and 21 others were rounded up, herded to the front of the store, searched, interrogated about their papers and handcuffed — swept up in one of Maricopa County’s trademark workplace raids, engineered by Sheriff Joe Arpaio to catch undocumented immigrants using fraudulent identities to work in the United States…
The prospects for undocumented immigrants in Maricopa County remain fragile, as Romero’s situation illustrates. But the crackdown in Arizona has not quite worked as intended. Even as the undocumented population in Arizona plummeted by 40 percent from 2009 to 2012, according to the Pew Hispanic Research Center, the efforts to drive out the immigrant community have prompted a backlash, inspiring a new attitude of defiance, according to immigrants interviewed this month in Phoenix…
Romero, now 23, is part of a class action lawsuit, led by civil rights group Puente Arizona, against the sheriff’s office, that has won an injunction to halt the workplace raids. If she and her fellow plaintiffs win their case, it’s possible that their criminal records will be expunged.
“There have been a lot of positive things that have occurred in Arizona that have pushed back against the passage of the bill,” said James Garcia, a Hispanic-American playwright and communications consultant in Phoenix.
He noted the recall of state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of the legislation, and the way in which the business and arts communities have worked to repair Arizona’s tarnished reputation.
RTFA for many individual stories of a dream deferred. Deferred by bigotry, the usual story in this land of liberty.
Business and arts communities working to repair Arizona’s tarnished reputation have decades to go. There are many reasons for Arizona being called the Mississippi of the west. Good will to all ain’t part of it.
Understand that if we had the same coppers in Selma, the same police chief, the same city government, the same members of the state legislature, the same people representing Alabama in Congress, in the House and Senate – that demonstration today, even headed by the President of the United States – would have been brutalized, again.
Racists don’t care who you are. They aren’t interested in anything but their fear and hatred. That our president now happens to be a Black man would make him more of a target. That’s all.
And many of the people filling all those positions, nowadays – from copper at the bottom of the police rung all the way up into Congress – are just as bigoted as their predecessors. Don’t kid yourself otherwise. On one hand they dare not act like the simple-minded lynch mob that set out to destroy everyone in that demonstration 50 years ago. Too much of society has changed. Much of law and justice has been changed. They couldn’t count on getting away with it. And that counts most – with cowards.
On the other hand, they will sit around and whine to each other tonight that at least they have over half the Supreme Court and the majority of Congress on their side. They are succeeding at reversing some of the successes at guaranteeing normal civil rights to all Americans – especially Americans who ain’t white.
This battle shall not end. We face the same challenges and, importantly, the same people, the same kind of people. They didn’t vanish along with the value system that backed them up. They have learned to tell the same lies their political representatives tell all the time.
Their lies don’t change a damned thing. Taking away their political power is what counts. Not changing their bigot minds.
Voting-rights advocates have asked Wisconsin’s attorney general to investigate a Facebook group that has been calling for armed individuals to confront voters at the polls in November…
The Politicususa.com site posted an article about the group’s focus on African American voters and included a screen shot of a Twitter conversation between Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia and a user identified as Patrick Murray.
The Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militias said: “We prefer our people be armed. Some will be heading to some of Milwaukee, Racine and Beloit’s worst areas. We will be armed with a list of people to look for at each location.”
Patrick Murray replied: “Just so you are aware, I will not report Republicans. Only Democrats”.
Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia said: “We will be targeting heavy Democrat districts, so it is doubtful this will even be an issue…”
Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, told the Guardian that such an exchange constitutes conspiracy to commit a felony – voter intimidation. “They call themselves a militia, although who knows, it could be two guys with nothing better to do sitting in their basement,” Kaminski stated in a phone interview. Still, she said, “whether anybody will go to the polls or not, they’re already committing a crime because conspiring to commit a crime is a felony.”
Idjits are alive and well in Wisconsin – apparently including the most backwards variety of White Citizens Council scum who can’t abide our constitutional right to vote.
Now, the shit-for-brains “independent” who setup the Facebook account says it was just a joke to fool journalists and bloggers. Andrea Kaminski – from the League of Women Voters – original response to the post was, “it could be two guys with nothing better to do sitting in their basement.”
Might turn out to be just one guy. Since he says he’s alone, I guess this is political masturbation he’s practicing.
As fighters affiliated with the self-declared Islamic State roll across the porous Turkish border into Syria, the United States has a problem: It has no ambassador to Turkey.
As the Ebola virus rages in Sierra Leone, the United States has no ambassador there. And as North Korea poses a nuclear threat, the United States has no ambassador in South Korea.
The same is true when Turkey demands an answer for US spying.
Nominations for the posts are among dozens languishing in the Senate, many for months. The would-be ambassador to Sierra Leone, for example, has been waiting more than 400 days for an up-or-down vote. Veteran diplomats say the Senate’s persistent gridlock over domestic matters is hurting the United States on the world stage.
The number of nominees awaiting confirmation now stands at 55 out of 226 positions, about one-fourth of all ambassador-ranked posts. For the vast majority of nominees who have been approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and are awaiting a full vote in the Senate, the average wait has been more than seven months, according to State Department statistics…
Unlike years past, when political clashes have held up small groups of nominees for brief periods, the current stand-off is more widespread and long-lasting, preventing all but a trickle of nominees from getting a vote.
“It really makes a joke of us abroad,” said Charles A. Ray, a former ambassador to Cambodia and Zimbabwe who spent 30 years in the foreign service. “Having the Senate literally block ambassadorial positions really sends a negative signal to countries we have relationships with. It makes them think that relationship doesn’t matter to us much.”
Cripes. I think half the backwater Neo-Confederate Republicans in Congress don’t even care about a relationship with the rest of the United States. As long as NASCAR keeps trundling around in a circle and state courts are allowed to enforce 19th Century rules about women – they’re as happy as can be.
Just keep those contributions coming in from coal companies and military-industrial gun-thugs.