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Watch: Lesbian Lawmaker Slams Anti-Gay Colleagues, Reminds Them, ‘We’re Not A Church’

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“My Jesus is different,” says State Rep. Celia Israel, who happens to be a lesbian, taking a swipe at her anti-gay colleagues in epic fashion in a new documentary about the role of religion in the Texas Legislature.

 

“Everyone in Texas is made in the image of God, and because everyone is made in the image of God, that is serious business, it’s almost like representing God, and who would want to blow that opportunity?” –GOP state Rep. James White

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God and Governing,” produced by The Texas Tribune, could just as easily be an episode of The Daily Show, featuring right-wing lawmakers discussing how their faith (read: conservative Christianity) influences their views on the issues of guns, abortion, gay marriage and education. 

But Israel, who’s Catholic herself and became the state’s first out lesbian lawmaker in 2014, rejects the notion that the Lone Star State should be a theocracy.  

“The way we get things done here is not by reading the Bible, it’s by reading the rules of the floor of the House of Representatives,” Israel says. “All of this is not of God. All of this is a manmade institution that’s designed to do good things. For me, this is a secular environment. We’re not a church. We’re in the Texas State Capitol trying to do good things.

“When someone is introducing anti-gay legislation and you happen to be gay, it’s hard not to take it personally,” Israel says later. “I’m doing the best I can to not let these issues be personal and respect their view, but I was raised a different way, and my Jesus is different.” 

The comments of Israel and other Democrats are presented in response to numerous Republicans who indicate their personal theologies are paramount when it comes to lawmaking. Although four percent of Texans are Jewish or Muslim, and one in five are nonbelievers, all but four of the state lawmakers who responded to the Tribune said they’re Christian. (Texas has 150 representatives and 31 senators).

And while only three percent of Texans believe guns, abortion or same-sex marriage are the most important issues facing the state, the Legislature spent much of this year’s session focused on those topics, with religion more prominent at the Capitol than at any other time in recent memory. 

“Everyone in Texas is made in the image of God, and because everyone is made in the image of God, that is serious business, it’s almost like representing God, and who would want to blow that opportunity?” GOP state Rep. James White declares. 

“A lot of times I look at as a fight for limited government, bringing government down so that God can be bigger, that there’s more of a role for the church,” says Rep. Jonathan Stickland, one of the state’s most prominent Tea Partiers.  

GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick indicates those views stretch to the highest levels of state government.    

“Despite what anyone would want to say in the media, or anyone in the outside world to try to spin for their own purpose, we are still a Christian nation, and there are some people who want us to deny that,” Patrick says. 

And to Patrick and others, “a Christian nation” clearly shouldn’t allow same-sex marriage. 

Texas lawmakers introduced more than 20 anti-LGBT bills in this year’s session, but all were defeated, largely due to opposition from the state’s chamber of commerce. And based on the Tribune‘s interviews with right-wing lawmakers, it wasn’t due to any lack of homophobic fervor on their part. 

“I don’t look at homosexuality any different than I would at an adulterer, a pornographer, those who are caught up in those lifestyles or bondage,” says Sen. Charles Perry, the author of a bill aimed at undermining the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell. “We all have our demons to slay, but to be in that lifestyle and say I’m a self-professing Christian with no expectation of turning away, that’s a direct violation of the Christian faith. This is a lifestyle and a choice and a decision, rather than an actual right that is granted to our pursuit of happiness.” 

Others told the Tribune they oppose same-sex marriage because they believe the institution was created by God, not government.  

“I do believe it’s revealed in the scripture that marriage is between one man and one women, but I also believe it’s revealed in nature, and so I don’t think it’s government’s right or responsibility to define marriage, but to recognize it,” says GOP Rep. David Simpson. 

Simpson delivers another gem when the subject turns to sex education. During this year’s session, lawmakers unsuccessfully attempted to divert $3 million from HIV/AIDS prevention to abstinence-only education, resulting in a hilarious exchange on the House floor.

“If you’re going to talk about sex and marriage and intercourse, it’s best done with one’s parents in the privacy of one’s home, not when your hormones are really growling and moving in the classroom,” Simpson says. “I remember that when I was in seventh grade, and you know, that’s just so unnatural.” 

Watch the full special below. 

 

Image: Screenshot via The Texas Tribune/YouTube

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News

Trump Could Face 20 Years Behind Bars for ‘Serious Felonies’ at Mar-a-Lago: Legal Analyst

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A legal analyst for ABC News pointed out that former President Donald Trump is potentially facing 20 years in prison for “serious felonies” after the search of his Mar-a-Lago home.

Dan Abrams told ABC host Jonathan Karl that the Department of Justice could indict Trump for multiple crimes after finding classified documents during the search.

“They’re very serious,” Abrams said of the charges. “And the one that’s being talked about most is this espionage act because it has the word espionage in it. But the truth is that when it comes to potential criminal sentences, the obstruction of justice statute is the one with the most potential prison time.”

“There you’re talking about up to 20 years behind bars,” he added. “So these are not sort of minor crimes we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the potential for serious felonies with regard to all three of the crimes being investigated.”

But Abrams threw cold water on the idea that a Trump prosecution would be easy.

“The fundamental question is going to be intentionality,” he opined. “How much do they believe that they did this on purpose? Were they intentionally ignoring subpoenas? Were they literally destroying documents?”

Watch the video below from ABC.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

New Analysis Breaks Down GOP’s Flawed Response to the Mar-a-Lago Search

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Republican lawmakers are reportedly at an impasse on whether or not they should be defending former President Donald Trump amid his latest flurry of legal woes. The party is also facing challenges with navigating some lawmakers’ critical assessments of law enforcement over the Trump investigation.

A new analysis is breaking down Republicans’ seemingly flawed response and how it underscores the cracks in the political party’s foundation.

According to Axios, the analysis comes shortly after documents released on Friday, August 12, offered details about the search which reportedly involved “highly classified materials believed stored in violation of the law at the ex-president’s private residence.”

Prior to the release of those documents, Republicans serving on the House Intelligence Committee participated in a press conference where they continued to criticize the investigation, describing it as being politically motivated.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) scrutinized the investigation deeming it a “complete abuse” of authority as she suggested it was being conducted because the former president is considered to be “Joe Biden’s most likeliest political opponent in 2024.”

However, some Republicans on the committee have offered a more leveled approach to the situation. Per The New York Times, “Trump allies have told top Republicans to tone down their criticism of the Justice Department ‘because it is possible that more damaging information related to the search will become public.'”

“It’s incumbent upon everybody to act in a way that’s becoming of the office they hold,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a former FBI agent, “And that’s not casting judgment on anything until you know all the facts.”

Others have attempted to defend the former president. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said, “You can say nuclear weapons, but there are things that are highly, highly classified, there are things that are not extremely classified.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is now selling merchandise on her website in support of a call to “defund the FBI” while Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted, “I will support a complete dismantling and elimination of the democrat brown shirts known as the FBI.”

 

Image: Elise Stefanik with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago via Facebook

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News

Trump Makes False Claims About Classified Documents – And Obama

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Donald Trump is responding to news reports he is under FBI investigation for actions covered by the Espionage Act by making apparently false claims about his mishandling of classified documents and about former President Barack Obama.

“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump says in a post on his Truth Social site, a claim legal experts say is incorrect. For any president to declassify documents, experts say, there is a process that involves actions being taken on each individual document. They also say the president does not have legal authority to declassify documents related to nuclear weapons.

“Number two,” Trump continues, “they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.”

READ MORE: FBI Agents Searched Mar-a-Lago for ‘Classified Documents Relating to Nuclear Weapons’: Report

Again, according to reports, that too is false. DOJ issued a subpoena after the National Archives tried to get all the documents back and Trump still did not comply.

“They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago,” he continues in a separate post on Truth Social. “ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.”

Again, multiple reports say they did, numerous times.

READ MORE: DOJ Served Trump With Grand Jury Subpoena for Classified Documents Months Before FBI Raid: Report

None of his responses explain why he had at Mar-a-Lago what we now know were at least 35 cartons – 20 retrieved on Monday and 15 earlier this year – of items including confidential, classified, and top secret documents that were required by law to have been handed over to the National Archives.

“The bigger problem is,” Trump says, “what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”

That is also false.

The National Archives on Friday issued a statement after Trump repeatedly spread the false claim that former President Barack Obama had 33 million documents in his possession.

“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” was one of Trump’s false attacks on his Truth Social site.

“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” the Archives said in a statement posted to its website Friday.

“NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA,” the Archives added. “Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.”

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