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Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:14 pm

Kathy Griffin.


You have strong opinions. Voice them!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Texas: Altercation On House Floor Over Sanctuary City Bill

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:57 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It wasn’t just raucous protesters in the Texas House gallery making the news yesterday. After quelling the protesters, who chanted and blew whistles in disapproval of Senate Bill 4 (addressing sanctuary cities), which compels officials to enforce federal immigration laws and impose penalties on sanctuary cities, a scuffle unfolded on the floor.

Apparently, when Texas Republican Rep. Matt Rinaldi called ICE to report the protesters in the gallery wearing signs that claimed illegal status, and let Democrats on the floor know, it didn’t go over too well. Especially with Hispanic lawmakers:

Rinaldi and his Democratic colleagues traded accusations of death threats on the last day of the 85th Legislature’s regular session after he said he called federal immigration authorities on people in the gallery protesting the state’s new “sanctuary cities” law. Rinaldi said state Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, “threatened my life on the House floor,” in a statement Monday. Nevárez said Rinaldi was lying, and state Rep. Justin Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, said Rinaldi had threatened to “put a bullet in one of my colleagues’ heads.”


The normally ceremonial last day of the legislative session briefly descended into chaos on Monday, as proceedings in the House were disrupted by large protests and at least one Republican lawmaker called immigration authorities on the protesters.

State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, said he called U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement while hundreds of people dressed in red T-shirts unfurled banners and chanted in opposition to the state’s new sanctuary cities law. His action enraged Hispanic legislators nearby, leading to a tussle in which each side accused the other of threats and violence.

Rinaldi published a statement on Facebook yesterday, defending himself, and explaining the alleged threat of gun violence:

Today, Representative Poncho Nevarez threatened my life on the House floor after I called ICE on several illegal immigrants who held signs in the gallery which said “I am illegal and here to stay.” Several Democrats encouraged the protestors to disobey law enforcement. When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues. During that time Poncho told me that he would “get me on the way to my car.” He later approached me and reiterated that “I had to leave at some point, and he would get me.” I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, “get me,” I would shoot him in self defense. I am currently under DPS protection. Several of my colleagues heard the threats made and witnessed Ramon assaulting me.

Romero’s account* of the event was posted on his Facebook page. He made it very personal:

The true intentions of SB4 came to light today on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives. Matt Rinaldi looked into a House gallery full of Americans exercising their first amendment rights against SB4 — Americans of all ages and all ethnicities — and he only saw “illegals.”

As Reps. Cesar Blanco, Phil Cortez, and myself celebrated the enthusiasm for civic engagement being shown, Rep. Rinaldi felt the need to break up our appreciation by telling us he had called ICE to deport the protestors in the gallery. Our reactions were honest. Our reactions were of disgust. His use of profanity to emphasize his point that all he saw was a bunch of “illegals” that deserve to be deported had the intention of anger.

Let me be clear, this was a personal attack on me as a son of Mexican immigrants. I voiced my feelings, as did Reps. Blanco and Cortez, and Rep. Rinaldi replied by saying the people in the gallery did not love this country. Members of his own party came to pull him away, making his accusation of being assaulted completely baseless. Countless members witnessed “the scuffle,” and they will all tell you no assault occurred.

Nevarez responded to Rinaldi’s claims in a tweet yesterday:

He’s a liar and hateful man. Got no use for him. God bless him.

The same Nevarez, however, admitted today that he had in fact laid hands on the Republican:

“I did shove him around a little bit, I pushed him, because he needed to get out of there,” Nevarez said.

“I got in his face and I put my hands on the guy,” he also said. “In another exchange, I said, ‘we need to take this outside because it shouldn’t get resolved here in front of all these people.’”

Nevarez justified his actions thusly:

“He’s a racist. He’s a bad person,” Nevarez asserted. “We’re not going to allow people like that to get away with saying comments like that because they think nothing’s gonna happen to ’em.”

(Video of Nevarez’s statement at the link.) Seriously??

As of today, there has not been a report of any charges filed in the matter.

[Oh, FFS! I guess assault is now considered okay, if it’s your side that felt provoked. Like, Oh, we didn’t have a choice, we had to shove, hit, grab by the neck, whatever. WE HAD NO CHOICE! Whether it’s an annoying reporter provoking a politician, or a politician provoking a colleagues on the other side of the aisle, it’s unacceptable to react in this manner. Can we just dispense with making excuses for any of them: Gianforte’s assault on Ben Jacobs was simply how Montanans settle things. Nevarez shoving Rinaldi is just how Texans (or Hispanic males) settle things. We should be irate as hell that our elected officials in the seats of power believe the rules don’t apply to them, and condeming their noxious weasel-like rationalizations. As if those should smooth over very bad decision making. No one looks noble, just pathetic. And for Godsake, let’s stop assessing whether the story fits our particular point of political view before condemning it. That sort of thinking only widens the Left/Right chasm, and further exacerbates an already contentious situation. Somebody must be the grown up. Yet, amusingly, here I am condemning the laying on of hands by anyone without a personal invitation, and CNN is correcting me: What happened on the Texas House floor yesterday was simply “democracy in action”. Got it.]

Here is a video of yesterday’s “democracy in action”:

Here are photos of Rinaldi and Nevarez and Romero to help identify them in the video:

(Poncho Nevarez)

(Matt Rinaldi)

(Ramon Romero Jr.)

*In the Dallas Morning News, there is an interesting op-ed about the scuffle and the politics involved. Writer Mark Davis observes:

Rinaldi says Rep. Ramon Romero of Fort Worth “physically assaulted” him, which Romero denies, admitting only to “honest” reactions filled with “disgust.” He is entitled to describe his own feelings however he wishes.

But in his own post, he is not permitted to falsely characterize the views of others. His claim that Rinaldi took in the spectacle of chaos in the gallery and “saw only illegals” is part of the campaign of lies so often deployed against conservatives amid policy differences on immigration.

Seeking to concoct a personal affront, Romero called this “a personal attack on me as a son of Mexican immigrants.” It was, of course, nothing of the kind. Rinaldi’s focus, which is the same as mine and the same as President Donald Trump’s, is on immigrants who are breaking our laws.
But since admitting to siding with lawbreakers can be a tricky pursuit, the familiar liberal attack is to demonize opponents with the baseless suggestion that they are motivated by racism. This shameful charge is leveled on TV news segments, in slanderous op-eds, and in various legislative chambers.

A mightily offended chorus of Hispanic lawmakers gathered quickly to publicly malign Rinaldi’s well-earned good name. Their hate speech toward him is the product of one thing: he dares to fight for strong immigration laws.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Mayor Of Portland: Speech For Me, But Not For Thee

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:21 am

[guest post by Dana]

In the aftermath of Friday’s horrific knife attack on a Portland train that left two courageous men dead and a third hospitalized after heroically attempting to defend two young women from a deranged individual, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler is requesting the federal government shut down the scheduled “Trump Free Speech Rally,” or in the words of Mayor Wheeler, the “alt-right rally,” in his city on June 4. There is also another not-yet-approved “March Against Sharia” rally on June 10, for which the mayor also wants permits denied. From Mayor Wheeler’s Facebook page:

1) I have reached out to all of the victims and their families, including the two women who were terrorized and subjected to such hatred and bigotry. I have offered my unconditional assistance and support, day or night.

2) I have confirmed that the City of Portland has NOT and will not issue any permits for the alt right events scheduled on June 4th or June 10th. The Federal government controls permitting for Shrunk Plaza, and it is my understanding that they have issued a permit for the event on June 4th.

3) I am calling on the federal government to IMMEDIATELY REVOKE the permit(s) they have issued for the June 4th event and to not issue a permit for June 10th. Our City is in mourning, our community’s anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already difficult situation.

4) I am appealing to the organizers of the alt-right demonstrations to CANCEL the events they have scheduled on June 4th and June 10th. I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland. There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now.

5) I am calling on every elected leader in Oregon, every legal agency, every level of law enforcement to stand with me in preventing another tragedy.

Mayor Wheeler is openly advocating that protected speech by Americans be quashed because he disagrees with what they believe. This same mayor seeks to use the power of the federal government to deny a group their right to exercise speech, hateful or not. Shame on an elected official believing this is justified. And shame on the mayor of Portland for willfully ignoring the Oregon State Constitution:

Freedom of speech and press. No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever; but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right.

But mostly, shame on the residents of Portland for not calling out their mayor on such a significant misstep. For truly, if the mayor is that concerned about a rally supporting the president increasing tensions in an already tense situation, why not just provide a greater presence of law enforcement and more security? One might be inclined to ask, exactly why has it become increasingly difficult for law enforcement to effectively do their jobs when faced with protests these days?

The Washington Post, in a report incredibly and ironically titled,”Portland mayor asks feds to bar free-speech and anti-sharia rallies after stabbings,” notes that the Oregon ACLU opposes the mayor’s request:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon criticized the mayor’s attempts to shut down both rallies, saying the government can’t revoke or deny a permit based on the demonstrators’ views.

“It may be tempting to shut down speech we disagree with,” the ACLU tweeted, “but once we allow the government to decide what we can say, see, or hear, or who we can gather with, history shows us that the most marginalized will be disproportionately censored and punished for unpopular speech.”

“If we allow the government to shut down speech for some, we all will pay the price down the line,” the organization added.

According to the Washington Post’s go-to guy for clarification, Tom Hastings, “a longtime activist and professor in the Portland State University conflict resolution program,”:

[T]he mayor was on solid footing. The looming threat of violence at the rallies justified a shutdown while the city worked out a long-term solution, he said.

“I know these lines are perceived as pretty fuzzy when we’re dealing with constitutional First Amendment rights,” Hastings told The Washington Post. “But there’s no long fuse anymore. Everybody’s fuse seems to be quite short.”

The mayor’s spokesman, Michael Cox rationalized the mayor’s position this way:

“The mayor is not seeking to limit the content of speech. “He is seeking to prevent violence.”

Further, the Mayor Wheeler gave this statement to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB):

“The current political climate allows far too much room for those who spread bigotry”

Indeed it does.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


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