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Houston Equal Rights Supporters Raise Over $3 Million – Five Times More Than Anti-LGBT Activists

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HRC, ACLU, Gill Action Fund Kick in Hundreds of Thousands Each

Groups supporting Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance have raised more than $3 million, almost five times as much as opponents, according to the latest campaign finance reports. 

The pro-HERO haul includes hundreds of thousands each from the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU of Texas, the Gill Action Fund and the American Unity Fund, underscoring the perceived national significance of the Nov. 3 vote on LGBT protections in the nation’s fourth-largest city.

However, the main PAC supporting the ordinance, Houston Unites, reported that more than 85 percent of its 1,500 donors were from Texas, more than two-thirds were from Houston, and that more than $100,000 was raised online from more than 1,000 donors. 

By contrast, HERO opponents had raised a total of only about $660,000. One anti-HERO PAC’s latest campaign finance report had not yet been posted online, but the estimate is based on a report from The Houston Chronicle. 

“Compared to the handful of wealthy opponents funding the rollback of needed protections for African-Americans, Latinos, women and veterans, we have put together a massive, diverse grassroots coalition backing Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance,” Richard Carlbom, campaign manager of Houston Unites, said in a statement. “We anticipate this to be the closest of races, so these final days are critical for HERO supporters to keep investing in the campaign.”

Indeed, despite the lopsided fundraising totals, polls indicate the HERO vote may be tight. One recent survey from KPRC 2 News found that 45 percent of respondents backed HERO (or Proposition 1), 36 percent opposed it, and 20 percent were undecided.

With one week to go before Election Day, the main anti-HERO PAC, Campaign for Houston, listed only $2,700 in cash on hand, and has a $50,000 outstanding loan. Houston Unites reported $267,000 in cash on hand.  

Out lesbian Mayor Annise Parker, who’s championed the ordinance, contributed $90,000 from her campaign account to Houston Unites. Parker has also pledged to match donations to Houston Unites through Thursday up to $50,000.

Separately, the Human Rights Campaign’s Houston PAC raised more than $400,000, and the Business Coalition for Prop 1 raised $87,000, including $72,000 from the Greater Houston Partnership, which is the local chamber of commerce.

The largest anti-HERO donor is believed to be longtime anti-gay activist Dr. Steve Hotze, who reportedly has kicked in hundreds of thousands. GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick spent $70,000 from a campaign account on an anti-HERO TV ad. 

The Chronicle notes that a large chunk of the money raised by the two sides, more than $1 million, has been spent on TV ads. Opponents have flooded the airwaves with ads promoting the debunked transgender bathroom myth.

In an amusing side note, Texas Outhouse Inc., which provides portable toilets, contributed $5,000 to the anti-HERO campaign. (Last we checked, portable toilets are unisex.)

The latest pro-HERO ad, released Tuesday, features former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who now serves as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Castro supported a similar ordinance that passed in San Antonio in 2013. 

“Texas is a great place to live and raise a family, but we can always make it even better. Sadly, too many Texans still face discrimination,” Castro says in the ad. “In Houston, 56 percent of discrimination reports filed in the last year were based on race, and 14 percent were based on gender or pregnancy. That’s why Houston needs Proposition 1, the Equal Rights Ordinance. It’s a local tool that helps protect everyone; regardless of race, religion, gender, military status and more. Without local protections against discrimination, people can’t get the legal help they need when it happens. It’s wrong and it hurts families and our whole community.”

HERO would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and 13 other characteristics in employment, housing and public accommodations. 

After the City Council approved the ordinance in May 2014, officials rejected a petition seeking to repeal it, saying it didn’t have enough valid signatures. Anti-LGBT activists filed a lawsuit, but a district judge upheld the city’s decision, saying the petition contained widespread forgery. However, HERO opponents eventually obtained a decision from the elected, all-Republican Texas Supreme Court, ordering the city to repeal the ordinance or place it on the ballot. 

Watch the ad featuring Castro below. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABvv2RDZ55M&feature=youtu.be

 

Image via Houston Unites/Facebook

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CRIME

Giuliani, Graham, Eastman, Others Tied to Trump Subpoenaed by Grand Jury in Georgia Criminal Election Investigation

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Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, and several others including Cleta Mitchell have been subpoenaed by a Fulton County special grand jury convened to investigate possible criminal actions or interference in Georgia’s 2020 elections.

Giuliani, Eastman, Ellis, and Mitchell, along with Kenneth Chesbro, are all members of Donald Trump’s legal team or advised the former president “on strategies for overturning Democrat Joe Biden’s wins in Georgia and other swing states,” and are now being subpoenaed, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Senator Graham (R-SC) has publicly admitted to contacting the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Also subpoenaed is attorney and podcast host Jacki Pick Deason.

“The 23-person special grand jury has heard testimony in recent weeks from a parade of witnesses, including some who had direct contact with Trump and his associates. But Tuesday’s subpoenas are the closest jurors have gotten to the inner circle of the former president,” the Journal-Constitution adds.

Eastman, the infamous author of the “coup memo,” is a former law professor and the current chairman of the anti-LGBTQ group National Organization For Marriage (NOM), which has never disavowed his actions.

“A federal judge in March,” the AJC adds, “argued that ‘it is more likely than not that President Trump and Dr. Eastman dishonestly conspired to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.'”

In the days after the November 2020 election, The Washington Post reported, Sen. Graham “questioned Raffensperger about the state’s signature-matching law and whether political bias could have prompted poll workers to accept ballots with nonmatching signatures, according to Raffensperger. Graham also asked whether Raffensperger had the power to toss all mail ballots in counties found to have higher rates of nonmatching signatures, Raffensperger said.”

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BREAKING NEWS

‘Planned for Weeks’: Highland Park Massacre Suspect Purchased Weapons Legally, Walked to Mother’s House After Shooting

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The 21-year-old man suspected of being the shooter in Monday’s Highland Park, Illinois massacre planned the attack for weeks, purchased his weapons legally, disguised himself by wearing women’s attire to “conceal his facial tattoos and  his identity,” and to “help him during the escape.” He then walked to his mother’s house after the shooting, police said in a Tuesday press conference.

Six people died and over thirty others were wounded.

The “high-powered rifle” Robert Crimo used is “similar to an AR-15,” Christopher Covelli, a spokesperson for the Lake County major crimes task force told reporters. He used it to “fire more than 70 rounds into the crowd.”

RELATED: Who Is the Highland Park July 4th Mass Shooting Person of Interest? ‘Obsession With Mass Death and Nihilism’

Crimo later borrowed his mother’s car.

Police say there was no one else involved. They add they were aware of him through previous interactions but those were not violent.


 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Putin’s ‘Iron Doll’ Says Russia ‘Will Have to Think Whether to Re-Install’ Trump ‘Again’: Report

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A political commentator and television host on Russian state TV appears to have suggested Russia installed Donald Trump as president in 2016, attempted to do so in 2020, and has yet to decide whether or not to do so again.

Russia “will have to think whether to re-install him again as the American president. We haven’t decided yet,” declared Olga Skabeyeva, known as the “Iron Doll of Putin TV” due to her criticism of the Russian president’s opponents.

The Daily Beast’s Julia Davis, who is the creator of the Russian Media Monitor, posted the video to Twitter, as Mediaite reported.

RELATED: Five Years Ago Trump Secretly Celebrated Firing FBI Director, Gave Russians Classified Intel Inside the Oval Office

“The other day, Trump promised to destroy the Russian Federation,” Skabeyeva says, according to subtitles in the video Davis posted. “To destroy Putin’s hegemony, as he put it.” Skabeyeva suggested Trump might lose Putin’s support as a result.

Citing her “recent remarks about the onset of ‘World War III,'” that “raised eyebrows across the world,” Insider in April called Skabeyeva “one of Russian state media’s most prominent propagandists.”

A 158-page bipartisan and unanimous report published by the Republican majority Senate Intelligence Committee in 2020 revealed that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election to help Donald Trump win the White House.

 

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