#ILGov: Bruce Rauner's bullying tactics on display by interfering with Sun-Times reporter McKinney's job
A Chicago Sun-Times reporter hired former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins to investigate whether the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner tried to interfere with his employment after the newspaper ran a story unfavorable to the politician.
Mr. Collins said in an interview with Crain’s that the Rauner campaign attempted to retaliate against Sun-Times political reporter Dave McKinney after the paper ran the story about Mr. Rauner allegedly verbally threatening a top executive of a company controlled by Mr. Rauner’s onetime investment firm. Mr. Rauner denied that report through a spokesman.
Mr. Collins, who represented the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of former Republican Gov. George Ryan, declined to comment on exactly what the retaliation against Mr. McKinney may have entailed.
Mr. McKinney declined to comment and the Sun-Times didn’t respond to requests for comment. Mr. Rauner and a spokesman for his campaign didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, either.
The Rauner campaign attempted to have the Sun-Times take action against Mr. McKinney because of what it alleged were conflicts of interest stemming from Mr. McKinney’s marriage to Democratic media consultant Ann Liston, Mr. Collins said.
Mr. McKinney and Ms. Liston were married in April, but Mr. Collins said the couple made arrangements earlier in the year at each of their jobs to create barriers within their work so that their relationship wouldn’t present conflicts of interest for Mr. McKinney, who is the paper’s bureau chief in Springfield.
“Dave McKinney has a body of work as a dogged, but fair and impartial reporter and what happened recently was an attempt to unfairly besmirch Dave’s reputation and he has asked me to evaluate whether there was an improper interference with Dave’s employment relationship with the Sun-Times,” Mr. Collins said in an interview.
Mr. Collins, who is an attorney in Chicago at the law firm of Perkins Coie, declined to comment on any “legal strategy” for his client.
Mr. McKinney’s Oct. 6 story, which he co-wrote with Sun-Times and NBC5 News reporter Carol Marin and Sun-Times reporter Don Moseley, said Mr. Rauner threatened Christine Kirk, who served as CEO of a Tempe, Arizona-based business-outsourcing company called LeapSource that was owned by Mr. Rauner’s former firm, GTCR LLC. The threat was disclosed as part of litigation in which Ms. Kirk sued Mr. Rauner and GTCR, but agreed to a settlement in 2008. The ‘R’ in GTCR stands for Rauner and Mr. Rauner led that firm until 2012.
The Quinn campaign has been using the story in its advertising.
Just hours before the Sun-Times story went to press, the Rauner campaign attempted to quash the piece by bringing up Ms. Liston’s political work with Sun-Times management even though Mr. McKinney has been covering the campaign for months, according to Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins didn’t have details on who in the Rauner campaign contacted the Sun-Times and who at the newspaper was contacted.
Mr. McKinney has also written stories that were critical of incumbent Democratic candidate Gov. Pat Quinn, specifically his involvement with the troubled state-funded Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.
In recent days, Mr. McKinney was inexplicably absent from his statehouse beat for five days despite one of the hottest gubernatorial races in recent memory.
SUN-TIMES EDITOR’S TAKE
When asked last week whether the newspaper company had taken action against Mr. McKinney, Chicago Sun-Times Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk said it had not, and he reiterated that response in a statement emailed to Crain’s on Oct. 18.
"Dave McKinney remains on his beat as Springfield Bureau Chief and continues to be one of our best political reporters on our talented team," said Mr. Kirk, a former Crain’s editor.
"Mr. Rauner’s campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf did level allegations with me that proved inaccurate and spurious," Mr. Kirk wrote. "Out of an abundance of caution, we did review this matter and we are convinced Dave’s wife Ann Liston receives no financial benefit from any Illinois political campaign because of the extraordinary steps they’ve taken to establish business safeguards. Dave’s body of work during this campaign, including the ground-breaking stories on the investigation involving Gov. Pat Quinn and the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, demonstrates the hard-nosed reporting he has done on both campaigns. Both Dave and Ann are conscientious, ethical and among the best at their professions."
Arizona School District Fires Teacher For Not Letting Racist Kids Bully A Black Student (VIDEO) [TW: Racism, Bullying, Hate Speech, White Privilege]
When Aister arrived on the scene, the group had surrounded their victim. So, like any good teacher should do, she stepped in to protect the student from the bullies.
“He was called the n-word, ‘monkey,’ and ‘coon,’” Aister said during an interview with KNXV. And then she made it clear to the bullies that she wouldn’t let their actions continue.
If you’re picking on him, you’re picking on me. It’s not five against one, it’s five against two, and there will be no more taunting, teasing or racial names.
However, in what seems to be a plot to get revenge against Aister for getting their racist kids in trouble, parents accused her of threatening their poor innocent children and calling them names. In the end, Aister got fired and the racist kids apparently got off scot free.
The Fountain Hills Unified School District board voted to terminate Aister during a hearing on Monday and then quickly scattered like a bunch of rats having a spotlight shined on them as the petty parents cheered.
Here’s the video via Raw Story.
All Pam Aister did is defend a black student against a group of racist bullies who clearly intended to harm him, and rather than punish the students, school officials punished the teacher instead. Of course, this is Arizona we’re talking about, after all. You know, the state that once refused to recognize Martin Luther King Day and recently passed a law legalizing racial profiling? Yeah, that state.
The parents of these racist students claim that Aister told the bullies to “shut up” and made a comment about a student’s “ugly face.” That’s what they’re actually complaining about. That’s why they got Aister fired.
As a person who worked as an educator for a period of time, I can say that I’ve heard teachers tell kids to shut up. Even as a student, I can recall teachers doing the same thing. It happens. But none of them ever lost their job for it, nor should they have. As for the alleged “ugly face” comment, if these parents and school officials have a bigger problem with that than they do with the vicious racist names the bullies were hurling at a black student, they have seriously screwed up priorities.
Pam Aister should be back in the classroom teaching. Instead, she represents a reason why people will stay away from the education profession. What’s the point of being a teacher if you will be fired for trying to stop racism and bullying? It’s as if the school district actually wanted Aister to let the poor black kid get pummeled and verbally assaulted. Maybe that’s exactly what they expected her to do, and that is a truly frightening thought.
Another day, another instance of conservative infighting over petty, childish issues:
After engaging in a heated discussion with Chris Loesch on Twitter about the Central American child refugee border crisis, Ohio State Representative Andrew Brenner decided to give Chris and his wife Dana Loesch a call to discuss things further. The only problem? He wasn’t supposed to have their number. Worse, the couple were actually on vacation at the time Brenner called them - prompting national attention for both couples. As a result, Andrew Brenner’s wife Sara Marie - who we’ve covered here frequently - wrote a lengthy column lashing out at the Loeschs and the Tea Party in general as she proclaimed she was leaving politics (for now at least). It’s worth noting that Andrew Brenner obtained the Loeschs’ phone number from his wife - something neither Loesch appreciated.The entire debacle began when Andrew Brenner took issue with Chris Loesch’s take on Glenn Beck’s position on the refugee children flooding across our borders. Beck recently announced he would deliver trucks of supplies and toys to the refugees to which Loesch agreed since it’s a private charitable effort (and humanitarian aid). Brenner took issue with this arguing that offering food, water and aid to those children encourages additional people to cross the border (basically equating offering humanitarian aid with amnesty)."No but he is helping the illegals out, how is that different than giving their parents jobs here?" Brenner asked referring to Beck’s aid. “Why not pass out the food and water in northern Mexico?” he suggested. Finally, after becoming exasperated by people wanting to help refugee children, Brenner commented, “U dont c the correlation, more illegals will now see they will get help so more will come.” Brenner’s entire argument against providing private humanitarian aid to refugee children hinged on the fact that providing basic necessities is no different than giving undocumented immigrants jobs.From there he obtained the Loeschs’ private number from his wife Sara Marie, called the couple, and all hell broke loose.This follows Sara Marie’s business registration debacle earlier this year in which she failed to register and/or license her online news site (Brenner Brief) despite it being a profit-generating business with employees. That mini-scandal resulted in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office receiving information to begin an investigation.It came as no surprise then, given the culmination of these two events, that Sara Marie announced today on her Brenner Brief site that she’s leaving politics and pursuing a new career selling jewelry online. “I have decided as a result that, over the next few months at least, I will not have a radio show nor will I personally be writing about politics. I am turning over the reigns of Brenner Brief News and Brenner Brief Radio Network – more on that in the days to come,” Brenner stated midway through her lengthy screed spent mostly bashing the current incarnation of the Tea Party.That Sara Marie calls out “phonies” only looking to capitalize on friendships and conservative partnerships is perhaps the most amusing - and most ironic - part of her essay. She said:"There are also some who have become quite popular among conservatives who are complete phonies, and have even attacked me. I have been told by close friends that the exposure of these individuals for who they really are comes out of their own jealousy. I have found that people in our movement are not supportive of one another. There are no partnerships that exists because you support one-another’s work. Either one person or group is getting something out of it, or there is something to be cashed in in the near future. And, rumors flies quickly, especially ones that are false, and your supposed friends turns on you very quickly without so much as a moment to hear your side of the story. I’ll not stoop to their level by stating the names of those I’m referencing, but if you have watched my social media over the last year you have seen these examples play out in real time. If I could offer one piece of advice to those who have not been aged and cured yet among the amateur and semi-professional punditry world: be careful, very careful – as many of your “friends” are attached to you only for what you can potentially bring to them."Anyone who’s read our previous articles on Brenner knows her M.O. when dealing with other conservative individuals and organizations. That is to say, Brenner has a treasure trove of broken professional and personal relationships in which she committed the very crime she’s now accusing the Loeschs of committing.For instance, Brenner once started another business called the ‘PolitiGal Network’ she based almost identically on a non-profit she was terminated from. She was also removed from a conservative radio network after attempting to cheat in order to win a contest the radio network hosted. And those two examples speak nothing to the trouble she’s had being civil with other conservatives.Is this finally Sara Marie’s political swan song? Much like the villains in b-horror movies, I suspect she’ll return at some point when we all least suspect it. For now though, it seems, she and her husband are political pariahs - especially since the more popular and more politically powerful Dana Loesch has deemed her (and her husband Andrew) damaged political goods.
All four of these morons are bad for society.
HB 5707, a bill aimed at curbing school bullying in the state, is now waiting for Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature.
The legislation, sponsored by lesbian state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, passed the Senate May 29 with 37 votes in favor after being amended, and proceeded to pass the house with 75 votes in favor of concurrence.
"Bullying in our schools has dramatic impacts on the victims and disrupts the educational process as a whole" Cassidy said in a statement. "The effects are devastating and well documented: victims have reduced academic achievement, lower involvement and are often forced out of school. Our schools must be safe and welcoming for all students, and this bill is a significant step towards that goal."
The bill lays out a clear bullying policy for schools as well as responsive measures. It also directs that schools compile and report data on bullying incidents.
"What I hear from [families of bullied children] so often, when they speak with schools or police, is that they are often told, ‘You are the first ones this has happened to’—that opens the door to blaming the victim," Cassidy told Windy City Times shortly after the bill passed out of committee in March. "With this, you can go back and verify that something else happened on a particular date."
An anti-bullying measure failed in the Senate in 2012 by just one vote. Cassidy has said the new measure is stronger and includes some facets that had to be deleted before.
"A comprehensive approach is needed to solve this issue," Cassidy said in the May 29 statement. "By giving school districts the tools to combat bullying, with an emphasis on restorative practices and accountability through data, we can help ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for children and schools."
Vicious liar Dana Loesch caught fibbing yet again: No, the Spitting Attack on a Paralyzed Mom Was Not a Hoax
Last week, Mother Jones published an in-depth report exposing vicious, degrading tactics used by gun-rights activists against women, from Arizona to Texas to Indiana. In response, right-wing pundit Dana Loesch and others have claimed that an assault on Jennifer Longdon—a mom, gun owner, and gun violence survivor paralyzed by a bullet—is a hoax. Their attack on Longdon (and Mother Jones) is as stupefyingly inane and illogical as it is wrong.
As I reported in detail last week, a man who recognized Longdon as a gun-reform advocate from a television broadcast approached her in the Indianapolis airport on April 25 and spat in her face. Loesch says that because no video evidence of the attack was presented with the story, it simply could not have happened. “I was in the same airport on April 25th and it was quite busy,” she wrote. “Should be easy to obtain security footage.” Beyond Loesch’s faith in the 24/7 surveillance state as the new standard of fact-finding—nothing is true unless you roll tape!—her comrades say that further proof of a conspiracy rests with CNN supposedly monopolizing all TVs in the Indy airport and having “no record” of the Longdon footage. Got it.
Longdon spoke to me in detail, in multiple interviews, about what she went through in Indianapolis. It was one of many such incidents of harassment and bullying she has endured over several years as an outspoken woman and advocate of gun reform. I confirmed her account of the spitting attack in the airport with other people who she spoke to about it at the time of the incident. The additional harassment and stalking she endured in Phoenix last year, also detailed in my report, was corroborated by a Phoenix police official directly involved in the case.
Each person I spoke with about Longdon in the course of my reporting conveyed that she is a person of integrity and fortitude, qualities you might not be surprised to hear attributed to a person who travels around the country in a wheelchair, in constant physical pain, to advocate for greater public safety. Nobody I spoke with relied on bizarre conjecture and a quick google search, keyword “CNN,” to insinuate she was a liar.
The tactics deployed by Loesch and others to try to discredit our report are nothing new. If they have one shred of evidence that the spitting assault on Longdon didn’t take place, we are all ears. Betcha a nickel—or heck, why not just make it a hundred bucks—that none will be forthcoming.
You can read the full Mother Jones investigation, and the pattern of bullying and harassment it documents in detail, here. You can also watch my discussion of what’s behind this troubling issue with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, below. Hayes, who also reported on this subject recently, describes the phenomenon this way: “What you’re getting is a gun movement that is dominated by a very small, very hardcore group of people, with very fringe views, who can be very aggressive. And we’ve seen this play out time and time again…in which you’re not just getting arguments about policy, you’re getting rank, pure intimidation.”
From the 05.15.2014 edition of MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes:
Not a real surprise, as Dana Loesch gets caught lying yet again.
AS JENNIFER LONGDON STEERED her wheelchair through the Indianapolis airport on April 25, she thought the roughest part of her trip was over. Earlier that day she’d participated in an emotional press conference with the new group Everytown for Gun Safety, against the backdrop of the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting. A mom, gun owner, and Second Amendment supporter, Longdon was paralyzed in 2004 after being shot in her car by unknown assailants, and has since been a vocal advocate for comprehensive background checks and other gun reforms.
As Longdon sat waiting for her flight, a screen in the concourse showed footage of the press conference. A tall, thin man standing nearby stared at Longdon, then back at the screen. Then he walked up to Longdon and spat in her face. No one else blinked.
Longdon was shocked and embarrassed, she told me, but she didn’t falter. “Wow, aren’t you a big man,” she said as he turned and walked away. Instead of calling for security, she wheeled herself to a restroom to clean herself off. She was tired—she lives with constant physical pain—and didn’t want to miss her flight.
"Should I have done something more? Quite honestly, in the scheme of things it was a little man and a little moment," she said. "He felt to me like a coward and a bully."
What happened to Longdon in Indianapolis is part of a disturbing pattern. Ever since the Sandy Hook massacre, a small but vocal faction of the gun rights movement has been targeting women who speak up on the issue—whether to propose tighter regulations, educate about the dangers to children, or simply to sell guns with innovative security features. The vicious and often sexually degrading attacks have evolved far beyond online trolling, culminating in severe bullying, harassment, invasion of privacy, and physical aggression. Though vitriol flows from both sides in the gun debate, these menacing tactics have begun to alarm even some entrenched pro-gun conservatives.
"It Was Like a Mock Execution"
Longdon is no stranger to such attacks. Last May in her hometown of Phoenix, she helped coordinate a gun buyback program with local police over three weekends. On the first Saturday, a group of men assembled across the street from the church parking lot where Longdon was set up. They shouted about constitutional rights and tyranny, and called people arriving to trade in their guns “sellouts.” (The program netted nearly 2,000 firearms with more than $200,000 in reimbursements.)
Some of them approached Longdon. “You know what was wrong with your shooting?” one said. “They didn’t aim better.” Another man came up, looked Longdon up and down and said, “I know who you are.” Then he recited her home address. The harassment continued, and the men showed up throughout the program, a Phoenix police official involved confirmed to me.
After a fundraiser one night during the program, Longdon returned home around 10 p.m., parked her ramp-equipped van and began unloading herself. As she wheeled up to her house, a man stepped out of the shadows. He was dressed in black and had a rifle, “like something out of a commando movie,” Longdon told me. He took aim at her and pulled the trigger. Longdon was hit with a stream of water. “Don’t you wish you had a gun now, bitch?” he scoffed before taking off.
"It was like a mock execution," Longdon says, recalling the intense surge of adrenaline and how the incident triggered her PTSD from the 2004 attack that nearly killed her and her fiancé. She called the police, but they were unable to track down the perpetrator. By the following Saturday, Longdon was back at her post helping run the buyback.
"I’ve been about as broken as I can be by gun violence," she says, "so I’m just not going to be afraid of it again."
The majority of gun owners in America are good people, she adds. “I wish that more responsible gun owners would step into this conversation and say ‘Look, those guys don’t speak for us.’”
A Schoolteacher in the Crosshairs
A top target for gun extremists has been the women of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the grassroots group that began after Sandy Hook and has since merged with Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns under the Everytown banner. The battle has grown particularly ugly in Texas, where gun groups such as Open Carry Texas have conducted demonstrations showcasing their right under state law to openly carry rifles in public. The sight of groups of (mostly) men carrying semi-automatic rifles along a busy road or inside the local Jack in the Box has prompted bystanders to call police. In response, Open Carry Texas has begun making open-records requests, identifying callers and threatening to publicize their personal information.Callers told her she was a “stupid bitch” and “motherfucking whore.” One threatened to come after her with a gun.
On April 10, Brett Sanders, a member of Open Carry Texas in Plano, a midsize city in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, posted a video on YouTube highlighting the name and cellphone number of a woman who’d called the police after seeing heavily armed men on her way to a shopping mall. The post drew condemnation not only for outing the woman but also because it was misleading: It claimed that the woman had called 911, though she’d called the nonemergency line of the Plano PD. And the footage it used came from friendly-looking demonstrations elsewhere—not from the one that the woman encountered. (“Feel free to contact me when you work for a real news organization,” Sanders replied to my request for comment.)
The woman—a high school teacher who asked not to be identified—quickly got pummeled with text messages and voicemails, copies of which she provided to Mother Jones. Callers told her she was a “stupid bitch” and “motherfucking whore.”
"They fought for their right to carry guns," said another. "You’re a piece of shit." One caller threatened to come after her with a gun.
Over the next four days she received nearly two dozen such calls and text messages. Someone put her information into a phony profile on a large e-commerce site, and she got a barrage of calls about agricultural products and security systems.
"I really felt strongly about not changing my cellphone number—I’m not going to be intimidated," she told me. "But it just got to the point where it’s not worth it."
[Editor’s note: The teacher since changed her number; Mother Jones has redacted her name.]
A fifth-generation Texan from a small town, the teacher in Plano grew up hunting. She is not, as her antagonists claimed, a member of Moms Demand Action (though she now plans to join). But given the rapid rise of Moms, gun extremists tend to view any woman who lands in their crosshairs as part of what has become, as one state leader for Moms puts it, “kind of the new black helicopters for these guys.”
According to Plano police records, two other people called in with concerns about the demonstration that day—both men. No member of Open Carry Texas publicized their information.
The attack left the teacher worried for the safety of her family: “I felt that if I walked out someone was going to be standing there.” But in hindsight, she says, “I think they are very weak men. They use their guns because that’s all they have. If you know what I mean.”
Open Carry Texas has insisted that it plans to continue exposing people who call police about its armed demonstrations. “Gun control bullies are all up in arms over this video published by one of our members,” the group stated in a Facebook post on April 13, since deleted from its page. “If you don’t want your name publicized, simply don’t make a false 911 call against law abiding gun owners.”
Sanders “didn’t do anything wrong” by posting the video, nor is it relevant that he misidentified the type of call or used footage from a different demonstration, CJ Grisham, the founder of Open Carry Texas, told me. “Our point in doing that is to expose the kinds of people that are complaining about our rallies.”
"I would’ve personally done it differently," Grisham added, "even though the personal contact information is public information." He said that his organization has collected records from three dozen calls but is "judicious" about deciding which to release, and that going forward they "will protect the identity of the caller."
Just three days before Open Carry Texas outed the teacher, a state Senate committee held a hearing to consider further loosening gun carrying laws, and Grisham was invited to give official testimony alongside NRA lobbyists. “Open Carry Texas was given a seat at the table,” says Stephanie Lundy of the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “It’s serious. You can’t write them off.”
The Female Mannequin Firing Squad
Open Carry Texas takes pains to convey a clean, friendly image in the press. Last November, the group made national news after some 40 members armed with assault rifles showed up outside an Arlington, Texas, restaurant where four women from Moms Demand Action were having lunch. The group released a statement saying it was being misunderstood: “In reality, the peaceful gun owners were posing for a photo.” After a rally outside Austin City Hall this April, Grisham told the Texas Tribune, “We’re not out there to bait police officers or to scare the community. We wave, we smile, we hand out fliers. If we see someone who seems really nervous, we’ll talk to them.”
What the group hasn’t publicized are some of its members’ more degrading antics. In March, a group of them held a “mad minute” at a firing range, pulverizing a female mannequin with a hail of bullets. They positioned the figure with her hands raised in surrender, naked from the waist up. Afterward, they posed with the bullet-riddled mannequin, her arms blown off and her pants down at her ankles. “Mad minute” is a military expression referring to a burst of rapid fire, and Open Carry Texas members have often referred to Moms Demand Action as “mad moms.”
Four of the men who shot up the mannequin were present at the Arlington restaurant, including one listed by Open Carry Texas as a board member and the group’s Director of Operations.
Grisham said he was not part of the group at the gun range, but when the mannequin video was posted on Facebook, he commented: “Warms the cockles of my heart.” Recently he called women from Moms Demand Action “ignorant, retarded people,” and last fall he referred to them as “thugs with jugs.”
"My purpose with language like that was to draw attention to the hypocrisy," Grisham says, noting that opponents have used similar invective. "A lot of times when I make these statements, I’m making them in jest, based on language that’s being used against us. I’ve since decided that it’s petty, it’s childish, I’m not going to play those childish games anymore, so you wont catch me using ‘thugs with jugs’. I’ve moved on."
"Listen, I Don’t Want to Beat an Old Guy Up"
Last October, hundreds of armed people gathered for a rally at the Alamo in San Antonio, where Open Carry Texas had invited Alex Jones, the fringe radio host known for whipping up fans with squalls of anti-government paranoia. At the podium, an assault rifle strapped across his back, Jones got into such a lather about Hitler and Mao and the Obama administration preparing to “enslave” Americans that he blew out his voice in less than five minutes. “These scumbags are all the same!” he shouted. He described a worldwide conspiracy to take away everyone’s guns, whose perpetrators included “the few dozen Democratic Party operatives they’re gonna have marching here in a little while, the so-called moms.”
At the end of his speech, Jones had one last thing to say to the cheering crowd: “Don’t be mean to the million mom march, all five of ‘em. These are pathetic zombies. Just realize they’re stupid victims that want us to live like they do, slaves.”Jones soon headed to a Moms event for kids, to “confront the victim disarmament crew.”
Jones then hugged CJ Grisham before heading out to, as he would later put it on his show, “confront the victim disarmament crew.” He went to a local taco bar about a mile away, where Moms Demand Action was holding a midday kids’ event with crafts and family activities. Jones and his camera crew began cornering members of the group. The women told him they weren’t interested in talking on camera, but he kept at it.
An older couple walked over to intervene, the man telling Jones, “A gun grab is something that nobody in this country wants.” Jones got in the man’s face, hands gesticulating, chest puffed out. “Well sir, all I can say is you’re really gettin’ in my space!”
"Well, why don’t you back up?" the man said.
"No, I’m not gonna back up." Jones retorted, inching in closer. "You’re the one got in my space." He glanced over to his camera crew. "Look at this, look at this guy."
The woman tried to pull her husband away. “All right, go ahead,” Jones continued. “Listen, I don’t want to beat an old guy up,” he added, poking the man’s chest. “So don’t touch me.”
As Jones went on, Stephanie Lundy of Moms Demand Action approached his sidekick, Anthony Gucciardi, to tell him who the couple was: Lonnie and Sandy Philips, whose 24-year-old daughter Jessica was murdered in the 2012 gun massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Gucciardi ignored her, according to Lundy.
Jones kept up the baiting. “Did you know assault rifles are used in 2 percent of crimes?”
Lonnie Phillips had enough. “I know an assault rifle was used to murder my daughter in Aurora,” he snapped back, his voice rising. “I know that.” Jones appeared taken off guard for a second. “Well, I’m sorry that…”
"Yeah, you’re sorry," Phillips said.
"I didn’t hurt your daughter," Jones said.
Jones posted a video about the altercation on his site, Infowars.com, closing the segment with him turning to the camera: “I mean that’s the big issue,” he says. “There’s five people here against the guns, and they’re claiming—it’s probably true, there’s a guy whose got a lot of sadness in his eyes—that it’s his loved one that was lost at Aurora, and that that’s basically our fault.”
Jones could have known easily enough that the Phillips would be there. Sandy Phillips, who works for the Brady Campaign, had posted on Facebook that they’d be attending the Moms event, and the director of operations for Open Carry Texas had called her out. “Sandy, nice banner pic of you eating at In ‘n’ Out burger,” he replied. “I open carry there all the time. Very gun friendly place.”
PROVOCATIVE TACTICS IN THE NAME OF the Second Amendment are by no means confined to Texas. Recently, public displays of guns have caused alarm in Wisconsin, and gun rights activists have menaced a businesswoman in California and a gun dealer in Maryland for trying to sell firearms equipped with high-tech safety features.
Last Thursday, a firearms instructor in Florida posted a video on the Facebook page of Moms Demand Action, in which he filmed himself at a gun range blasting a paper target bearing the Moms logo. “Happy Mother’s Day,” he says with a grin, displaying the cluster of bullet holes.
The group responded by sharing the video on the Facebook page of his local church, and with disapproving comments soon piling up—”I don’t get how that’s very Christian, or even sane for that matter”—by Friday the video disappeared from public view on YouTube. (The firearms instructor did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, has faced a continuous barrage. “For me, the question is always, ‘Why does this person want to kill or rape or silence me?’” she says. “I think the answer is that this issue touches a cultural nerve based on gender, geography, and other politics. There are pundits who make a good deal of money encouraging this type of anger.”
Some staunch advocates of expansive gun rights recognize that this kind of bullying is bad for the movement. In March, a talk radio host and self-described gun enthusiast in Wisconsin called the “in your face open-carry playbook” tactics “perfectly legal, and perfectly stupid." After the Arlington restaurant incident, the editor of BearingArms.com wrote that Open Carry Texas had achieved “a public relations disaster.”
The cumulative threats and harassment have at times felt exhausting for women working at the state and local level. “It’s one thing to think about it and see images of it online,” one of the Texas moms told me. “It’s another thing entirely to see this kind of thing out of your car window when you’re driving your kid to soccer practice.”
But they say they have no intention of backing down and are in it for the long haul. "Yes, the threats, slurs, and bullying are shameful and concerning," says Watts. "But they’re also emboldening. No fight for cultural change comes without this kind of resistance. The reality is that a majority of NRA members and gun owners support the reforms we’re fighting for."
BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill designed to build on the state’s 2010 anti-bullying law by strengthening protections for LGBT students and students with disabilities.
Patrick called the new law “an important step toward ensuring that all young people are able to learn and thrive” in schools.
Patrick signed the bill during a Statehouse ceremony Thursday. The law also creates new reporting measures for schools and recognizes certain populations as more vulnerable to bullying,
The 2010 law was designed to crack down on bullying and cyber-bullying and require schools to establish anti-bullying programs.
The new law creates a data collection and reporting mechanism designed to help educators, administrators and legislators identify trends and respond to them.
Schools will also be required to report bullying data annually to education officials.
Although the anti-bullying “Day of Silence” was more than a week ago, it’s still being attacked in the right-wing media. Writing in BarbWire today, anti-gay activist Linda Harvey warns that the Day of Silence, sponsored by the gay-rights group GLSEN, is “a test from our Creator” asking parents to “draw a line in the sand about child corruption.”
Harvey writes that the “radical child-targeting group GLSEN” is pushing “perversion” and “brainwashing” kids by teaching them “false ideas, like ‘gay’ is always good.”
We guess this means that Harvey isn’t actually that tired of talking about gay rights issues.
“This is a test. This is only a test. Had this been a real child-endangering emergency, where children are taught to hate Christians, embrace sodomy and praise sexual anarchy, you would be alerted through the Emergency Broadcast System for Responsible Parents. Then you could act to save your kids!”
And of course, America’s conservative parents would do that…wouldn’t they?
Well, these atrocities are already happening, perhaps indeed as a test from our Creator, and it looks like a grade of “F” looms as a strong possibility. What’s it going to take for the grown-ups in our nation to draw a line in the sand about child corruption?
Recent developments should have every Mom and Dad on high alert. Not only are openly homosexual boys are now welcomed into the Boy Scouts of America and “gay” adult men will probably soon be embraced as troop leaders, but we just observed another year of one staged homosexual school event after another. And the school term is not over yet.
Only the most obtuse will miss what homosexual advocates are doing: aggressively defying all the usual child protection boundaries and daring parents to stop them.
The takeover of youth culture in schools is led by advocate teachers, principals and outside allies who claim “LGBTQ” identities are churning within the hearts of closeted adolescents. “Please understand my reason for not speaking today,“ reads the placard of student participants in the “ Day of Silence,“ a supposedly student-led annual event in April (held on April 11 this year) which protests the silencing and bullying of “LGBT” people. Thousands of students nationwide now participate, claims the event sponsor, the radical child-targeting group GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).
But these claims strain credulity. It’s not “student-led,” but driven by adults manipulating kids to become cheerleaders for the homosexual cause. Kids are impressionable and can be misled through persistent indoctrination. And the “Day of Silence” is not about bullying, which school officials can punish without endorsing these lifestyles. No, it’s about victim-posturing, propaganda and the willingness of schools to go along with the end result, which is the endorsement of perversion.
The anti-bullying fervor is deployed to launch pro-homosexual programs in schools that convey false ideas, like “gay” is always good; it’s an inborn identity; it’s a civil right like race; there’s no elevated health risk compared to heterosexuality; the “religious right” hates all homosexuals; their beliefs cause bullying; and those who object to any of this want “gay” kids to commit suicide.
They only have one childhood, and brainwashing lasts a long time.
h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW
It’s finally here: Today is the Day of Silence! Reblog to show your support for everyone who’s participating.
Conservative groups including the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and Liberty Counsel are urging parents to keep their children at home on April 11, the annual anti-bullying Day of Silence, in order to avoid exposing them to protests against anti-LGBT bullying.
Mission America’s Linda Harvey and Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, an AFA affiliate, discussed the boycott plans on Harvey’s weekend radio show, where Harvey claimed that the Day of Silence actually represents “medical malpractice.”
“This is educational malpractice, it really is, and it really should be medical malpractice,” she said of gay rights advocacy, “especially when you have HIV rates and the other hazards we know that are out there for kids.”
Higgins added that public school educators “censor” anti-gay activists by citing concerns about “safety, or whatever that is,” and said that their curriculum “violates any kind of principles of sound pedagogy.”
Harvey warned that the Day of Silence helps LGBT and allied students feel “empowered in very inappropriate ways,” to intimidate others: “The Day of Silence, the real silencing going on is not the so-called LGBT students, the real silencing going on is conservative and Christian thought.”
“What’s dishonest about this movement is they don’t acknowledge that their end goal is not ending bullying, they’re using that; their end goal is to eradicate conservative moral beliefs or to make it socially, politically impossible to repeat them,” Higgins said. “This is dishonest to say this is just about bullying, this is really and truly about silencing conservatives.”
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
Writing today in BarbWire, Mission America head Linda Harvey claims that LGBT rights groups and “vicious homosexual bloggers” are the real bullies, while Christian students are increasingly the victims of “troubled ‘gay’ adolescents whose destructive actions went unpunished.”
Instead of disciplining these gay bullies, Harvey says, schools are instead embracing bullying prevention programs from the “gay-stapo” who are “corrupting children with misinformation and hyperbole about bullying, all laced with explicit ‘gay’ sexual messages” in their “mandated ‘LGBT’ indoctrination” courses.
“The real tragedy is that these groups in reality exploit vulnerable and fragile kids, all the while espousing great compassion and, disingenuously, ‘tolerance’ as a motive,” she writes. “And let’s just be frank: there’s one type of bully in the current climate almost never held accountable: the verbally combative homosexual, lesbian or cross-dresser who taunts and insults others.”
Harvey says anti-bullying efforts are part of the left’s “war” on religion: “But if anyone thinks these desperately discontented people will stop their assault at Christians, think again. First, they came for the Christians and the children….”The Human Rights Campaign now says RFRA bills are a “license to discriminate.” That’s their take on the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for millions of Americans.
It’s essentially a declaration of war.
First Amendment rights shouldn’t be controversial. What’s astounding is the notion that “gay” behavior must be honored by force if necessary, even as marriage.
Or as respectable identities for children. But “anti-bullying” policies are now perceived as essential in public schools nationwide and are often a cover for mandated “LGBT” indoctrination and suppression of any objections.
Activists both inside and outside America’s schools are pushing kids toward homosexuality and gender change while demonizing conservative values that would steer them elsewhere. The teacher’s unions are on board, and the gay-stapo hopes no concerned parent or astute student recognizes that hand grenades are being thrown into the school environment. Critics of current religious freedom bills might want to take a look at the behavior of activists at the schoolhouse before they dismiss those measures as “unnecessary.”
Using disruptive, anti-child advocacy, the Human Rights Campaign (promoters of the grade school gender confusion program, “Welcoming Schools”) and GLSEN (sponsor of the victim-posturing “Day of Silence,” held in April in public schools) are busy corrupting children with misinformation and hyperbole about bullying, all laced with explicit “gay” sexual messages.
The real tragedy is that these groups in reality exploit vulnerable and fragile kids, all the while espousing great compassion and, disingenuously, “tolerance” as a motive. And let’s just be frank: there’s one type of bully in the current climate almost never held accountable: the verbally combative homosexual, lesbian or cross-dresser who taunts and insults others. In the adult world, this is personified by vicious homosexual bloggers who spread lies, distortions, and have called me and others vulgarities I’d never attribute to my worst enemy, but to them, it’s their daily bread. How these people have gotten any traction is beyond unbelievable. They’d never last two weeks in the corporate environment.
Then there are students who fall into this category. I know of several situations where life was made a living hell for peers by troubled “gay” adolescents whose destructive actions went unpunished.
But if anyone thinks these desperately discontented people will stop their assault at Christians, think again. First, they came for the Christians and the children…
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
Religious conservatives are at it again. Tennessee governor Bill Haslam just received and will likely sign a bill that not only allows but actually helps organize anti-gay bullying in the name of “religious freedom.”
The Tennessee “Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act” allows students to use religion in any manner they choose, and mandates that their use of religion be protected.
At a basic level, a student could merely write “God” on a chemistry test as the answer to a question asking to where water comes from. A student could also stand in class and say their religion says that gay people are sinners and going to hell, and that speech would be legally protected. The bill states “a student may express beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. A student would not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of the student’s work.”
Creationists of course will love the bill.
But the more sinister part of the bill forces all students to be subjected to the religious beliefs of the popular kids.
The ACLU warns that the bill, SB 1793/HB 1547, “crosses the line from protecting religious freedom into creating systematic imposition of some students’ personal religious viewpoints on other students.”
Tennessee’s “Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act” actually mandates that schools allow students the use of public school facilities — including the school’s public address system, classrooms and school assemblies — and makes schools “[p]rovide the forum in a manner that does not discriminate against a student’s voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint.”
An evangelical student, or example, could preach the gospel during a science class, or “witness” during English. Attacks on LGBT people and same-sex marriage are automatically protected under this bill, offering anti-gay students a state-sposored license to bully. And of course, a student could claim they worship Satan and subject their classmates to that “religious viewpoint” as well.
The bill, of course, likely violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, but that rarely stops conservative lawmakers on a religious mission.
“Should this pass, students with a range of religious beliefs, as well as non-believers, would likely routinely be required to listen to religious messages or participate in religious exercises that conflict with their own beliefs,” the ACLU warns. “Conversely, if a student of a minority religious faith (e.g., a Buddhist, a Wiccan, etc.) or a non-believer were to obtain a ‘position of honor,’ as defined under this bill, that student would be permitted to subject all classmates to prayer and proselytizing specific to his or her faith tradition in connection with school events. In both cases, parents would have no recourse to ensure that their children were not coerced into such religious exercise.”
Republican governor Bill Haslam hopefully will show moral courage and veto this bill. If he signs it, he’ll be forcing all Tennessee students to be subjected to the religious beliefs of their classmates, and forcing Tennessee into a costly battle in court.
But given that the Tennessee senate passed the bill yesterday on a 32-0 vote, and the House passed it 90-2, any veto Haslam considers likely will be overridden.
Tennessee is not alone. Oklahoma is in the process of passing its own ”Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act,” and Texas, of course, already has one.
Over a decade after 9/11, Sikh children are regularly tormented because of their turbans, told to “Go back to their country” and called insult like “terrorist” and “Bin Laden.”
Over 50% of Sikh Children Are Bullied in School, Simply Because of Their FaithImage Credit: AP
Children who wear traditional religious garb are twice as likely to be bullied than their less conspicuous peers, a new report shows.
Over 50% of Sikh children endure school bullying, according to a study from the Sikh Coalition of more than 700 Sikh students in Massachusetts, Indiana, Washington and California. It’s even worse for Sikhs who wear a turban, a staggering 67% of whom report being bullied.
That’s a significant jump from the estimated rates of bullying in the U.S. The National Center for Education Statistics states that around 32% of all teenage students report being bullied in school, while the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has an even lower estimation of around 20%.
Sikh children are being tormented by other students who make fun of and rip off their turbans, hurl names such as “terrorist” and “Bin Laden” at them, and tell them to “Go back to their country.”
Image Credit: The Sikh Coalition
One student, known as L Singh in the report, recounts his experience being, along with his brother, the only Sikh in a California school. He wore his hair uncut in a topknot, and used to leave school in tears every day after being picked on by classmates. After two years, his mother visited the school, but that made no difference. “Teachers were racist out there,” he said.
Eventually, his parents took him to the barber shop, where he took off his turban and cut his hair. Sing remembers his mother and father were crying. But again it made little difference. He was still bullied so badly that the family had to relocate to Indiana.
For a Sikh, cutting the hair is seen as “the most grievous injury,” the director of the Sikh Coalition, Amardeep Singh, told Al Jazeera. “It’s like cutting your arm off, or a leg. Sikh history is replete with stories of Sikhs literally choosing death over having a haircut.”
There are more than 25 million Sikhs in the world, making Sikhism the fifth-largest religion. It’s tricky to determine the size of the U.S. Sikh population, because the census does not enquire about religion, but the Pew Research Center estimates that there are 200,000 American Sikhs, while the World Religion Database at Boston University has this number at 280,000.
Sikhs have lived in the U.S. for more than a century, according to the report, but have faced extra antagonism in the last decade, since 9/11 shook America.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
"Brown skin and turbans have popularly become associated with terror," the study explains. "Crude popular culture stereotypes of terrorists and damaging media images outside the classroom have made their way into the classroom, to the detriment of young Sikhs."
It’s also not just a school problem, as Sikh adults face hate crimes, workplace discriminationand mistreatment at airports. Last August — one year after a gunman killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. — the U.S. Department of Justice said it would begin tracking hate crimes against Sikh-Americans for the first time in history.
But the classroom is an important place to start. The report calls on Congress to prioritize the passage of the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would require public schools to implement anti-harassment codes of conduct and report data on bullying to the Department of Education. It also wants to see inaccurate and inflammatory information about Sikhs — including “extraneous references to Sikh terrorists’” — removed from school text books.
That seems like a reasonable request, when more than half of Sikh children are being bullied.
Source: Lauren Davidson for Policy Mic
In a rare interview, the Dalai Lama has said that he thinks same-sex marriage is “OK”, and voiced his disapproval at the bullying of LGBT people.
In a rare interview, the Dalai Lama has said that he thinks same-sex marriage is “OK”, and voiced his disapproval at the bullying of LGBT people.
Speaking to Larry King, in an interview which will air on 10 March, the Tibetan spiritual leader said he thought that it was “OK” for same-sex couples to marry, but went on to say that it was “an individual’s business”.
On whether same-sex marriage should be universally accepted, he said: ”That’s up to the country’s law,” he told King. “I think [it’s] OK! I think that’s an individual’s business. If two people… really feel that way, it’s more practical, satisfaction, and both sides fully agree, then OK!”
When pressed by King on the issue of Russia’s anti-gay law, compared to the increasing number of US states with same-sex marriage, the Dalai Lama said he thought “traditions” should be protected.
He said: ”That I think [is] a personal matter,” he said. “People who have belief or who have special traditions, then you should follow according to your own tradition. Like Buddhism, there are different kinds of sexual misconduct, so you should follow properly.”
On anti-LGBT bullying, he said: “That is wrong,” he said. “That’s a violation of human rights.”
The full interview airs March 10 on Ora.tv, and a clip is available to view below.
Rush: NFL's Incognito Can Fix Bully Reputation By Saying He Has "Some Questions About His Sexual Orientation" | Video | Media Matters for America
From the 02.19.2014 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:
Grow up, Rush, and retire for good!