The gunman who opened fire at the Capitol yesterday called himself “a prophet of God,” plus wingnuts in North Carolina and Georgia demand religious ‘liberty’ to abuse LGBTs … and Clinton’s voters are more enthusiastic than Sanders’ voters. (More)

“I am not under the Law!”

Those who say only Muslims can be religious terrorists must now reckon with the gunman who opened fire at the Capitol yesterday:

A man who authorities said took out a gun and pointed it at officers as he tried to enter the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on Monday was shot by police, prompting a scramble by law enforcement amid heightened security after terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris.

Authorities identified the wounded suspect as Larry Russell Dawson, a minister from Tennessee. The 66-year-old Dawson previously was arrested in October in the District after he allegedly disrupted Congress by shouting that he was a “prophet of God.”
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It was not clear why Dawson was at the visitor center Monday, but Verderosa said the suspect was known to authorities in the District. On Oct. 22, police said in an arrest affidavit, Dawson stood in the House chamber gallery, “where he began shouting Bible verses which disrupted the normal flow of Congress.”
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Dawson was charged with assaulting and resisting police and disorderly conduct in the October incident. A judge freed him pending his next court hearing and ordered him to stay away from the Capitol and surrounding streets.

After failing to show up for a hearing in November, he wrote the court in January, saying: “I have been called chosen and sent unto You this day. I am not under the Law! … Therefore, I will not comply with the court order, nor will I surrender myself unto your office.”

That sounds like a Christian terrorist to me. And conservatives can agree … because the gunman is both an African-American and a liberal.

“Where it’s practically illegal to even think about guns”

Over at The Resurgent, Steve Berman squatted over his keyboard and pooped this:

[U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew] Verderosa added that the screening process at the Capitol complex “works the way it’s supposed to.” I’m glad of that, because I’d hate to think that Washington, D.C., where it’s practically illegal to even think about guns, should be the safest city on earth.

If Dawson did in fact pull a weapon, he likely violated at least one of several laws in D.C. There’s no open carry, and D.C. police don’t issue concealed carry permits, so the fact he had the weapon, either open or concealed, is criminal. If he bought the gun from anyone other than a licensed gun dealer, that’s another criminal act.

If he bought the pistol from a licensed dealer but didn’t register it with D.C. police, there’s another law broken. If he fell into any of these categories, he’s going to have the book thrown at him for even having a firearm.
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The obvious answer is to build a big (ugly) wall stretching from the Potomac along Independence Ave east to Lincoln Park, north to Union Station, then running along Massachusetts Ave past Dupont Circle and Rock Creek Park. Just cut off every metro station, road, and bridge up to the Lincoln Memorial.
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Sure, it’s dystopian, ugly, and very Soviet, but at least Washingtonians and our political leaders would know they’re safe from barbarians and NRA members.

I’m not sure what point Berman is making. Apparently stopping a would-be assassin in the Capitol security line is a slippery slope on the way to a Soviet-style dystopia. Better to let the assassins inside the Capitol so they can water the proverbial tree of liberty. Or something.

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“Rather than standing up and protecting the 1st Amendment….”

Speaking of ‘liberty,’ wingnuts are furious that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed their new God-Given Right To Hate The Gayz law:

Minutes after Gov. Nathan Deal said he would veto the ‘religious liberty’ bill that reached his desk less than two weeks ago, state Sen. Mike Crane called on his fellow lawmakers to overturn the governor’s decision.

Crane, a Newnan Republican running for Congress, said Deal’s announcement Monday “is another example of how the political class is bought and paid for by corporations and lobbyists. Rather than standing up and protecting the 1st Amendment, the political class would rather sacrifice those rights to keep the money flowing.”

Coz you’re not really ‘free’ unless you can use your religion as an excuse to ignore discrimination laws. Fortunately, Georgians who hate LGBTs can find their utopia in North Carolina:

Last week’s broadside against L.G.B.T. rights in North Carolina started out as a bill that targeted transgender people’s use of public restrooms. Scapegoating the less assimilated transgender community has become a main tactic in anti-gay activists’ playbook, now that they have lost the marriage battle. It is what we saw in Houston, last November, when voters failed to confirm a broad civil-rights measure after opponents launched an advertising blitz with the slogan “Keep men out of women’s bathrooms.”

The North Carolina law goes much further, forbidding municipalities from enacting L.G.B.T.-civil-rights protections that are inconsistent with state protections, of which there are none. Such a law flies in the face of the Supreme Court ruling in Romer v. Evans, which twenty years ago overturned a similar effort in Colorado. (The Romer majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, famously admonished, “A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws.” Kennedy went on to write the subsequent Supreme Court majority opinions for Lawrence v. Texas, United States v. Windsor, and Obergefell v. Hodges, all of which upheld gay rights.)

Proponents of the vetoed Georgia law said that it would merely provide protection from adverse state action against a person for the exercise of a religious belief, but the clear intention was to create a religion-based exemption for marriage-equality opponents. (“Religious liberty” and “religious freedom” have become code on the campaign trail for opposition to gay marriage.) In most similar instances, the federal courts have ruled against allowing religious beliefs to be used as a justification for discrimination, as evidenced in the Kentucky case involving Kim Davis, the county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on ostensibly religious grounds.

New York City has banned city employees from “non-essential” travel to North Carolina and LGBT activists have already filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the statute on Equal Protection grounds. But Gov. Pat McCrory said that’s all “political theater,” “part of “an organized smear campaign,” and “political correctness run amok.”

As Gov. McCrory sees it, objecting to state-sanctioned, police-enforced discrimination is “political correctness run amok.” So who are “the PC police,” exactly?

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“People’s enthusiasm for voting in the election could reflect a combination of factors”

And for those who say Democrats need to Feel The Bern or face a wave of voter apathy, a new Gallup poll found Hillary Clinton’s voters are more enthusiastic than Bernie Sanders’ voters:

As the 2016 primaries continue, with neither party’s nominee yet decided, Gallup finds sharp differences in the enthusiasm expressed by supporters of the various candidates.[…]

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s supporters are more enthusiastic than Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters, 54% vs. 44%.

Of course Gallup followed the media rule of Never Reporting Good News About Clinton Without A Caveat:

In both parties, people’s enthusiasm for voting in the election could reflect a combination of factors – including excitement about their preferred candidate’s presence in the race as well as confidence that the candidate will succeed in winning either the nomination or the general election. The latter could be particularly relevant on the Democratic side, where Clinton is widely seen as the likely nominee and is poised to be the first female major-party nominee. That contrasts with the Republican nomination, which remains unclear given the real likelihood that no candidate will garner the necessary number of delegates to secure the nomination before the convention.

In other words, it “could be” that Clinton’s voters are only more enthusiastic because she’s winning. Uh-huh.

“Fundamentally honest and trustworthy”

Or it “could be” that her voters are genuinely excited about a candidate who is both exceptionally qualified and also “fundamentally honest and trustworthy,” according to former New York Times reporter and editor Jill Abramson:

For decades she’s been portrayed as a Lady Macbeth involved in nefarious plots, branded as “a congenital liar” and accused of covering up her husband’s misconduct, from Arkansas to Monica Lewinsky. Some of this is sexist caricature. Some is stoked by the “Hillary is a liar” videos that flood Facebook feeds. Some of it she brings on herself by insisting on a perimeter or “zone of privacy” that she protects too fiercely. It’s a natural impulse, given the level of scrutiny she’s attracted, more than any male politician I can think of.

I would be “dead rich”, to adapt an infamous Clinton phrase, if I could bill for all the hours I’ve spent covering just about every “scandal” that has enveloped the Clintons. As an editor I’ve launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I’m not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising.

Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.

Abramson makes a compelling case for Clinton’s basic honesty, and that article is worth reading in full.

“The right wing’s big lie”

And Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum thinks millennials’ distrust of her is the bitter fruit of over two decades of wingnut propaganda:

But there’s one issue where I suspect that age really does trip up millennials: the widespread belief that Hillary isn’t trustworthy. It’s easy to understand why they might think this. After all, Hillary has been surrounded by a miasma of scandal for decades – and even if you vaguely know that a lot of the allegations against her weren’t fair, well, where there’s smoke there’s fire. So if you’re familiar with the buzzwords – Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, the Rose law firm, Troopergate, Ken Starr, Benghazi, Emailgate – but not much else, it’s only human to figure that maybe there really is something fishy in Hillary’s past.

But many of us who lived through this stuff have exactly the opposite view. Not only do we know there’s almost literally nothing to any of these “scandals,” we also know exactly how they were deliberately and cynically manufactured at every step along the way. We were there, watching it happen in real time. So not only do we believe Hillary is basically honest, but the buzzwords actively piss us off. Every time we hear a young progressive kinda sorta suggest that Hillary can’t be trusted, we want to strangle someone. It’s the ultimate proof of how the right wing’s big lie about the Clintons has successfully poisoned not just the electorate in general, but even the progressive movement itself.

It’s a case study in Guilt By Sheer Volume. Apart from Bill Clinton’s infidelity – for which Hillary should not be held accountable – not one of the so-called ‘Clinton Scandals’ is backed by evidence. But pile up enough groundless accusations … and there must be something.

Except there isn’t. Most Clinton voters know that, and her pressing on in the face of Sheer Volume is one reason they’re so enthusiastic. Or maybe it’s just because she’s winning….

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Photo Credit: The Daily Beast

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Good day and good nuts