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Houston May Have A New HERO Before Mayor Annise Parker Leaves Office In January

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But She Vows Not To Support Any Transgender Exemptions

Houston could have a new Equal Rights Ordinance before the end of the year. 

Mayor Annise Parker, who’s term-limited after six years in office, said Wednesday it’s possible the City Council will approve an amended HERO before she steps down in January. 

The original version of HERO, approved by the council 11-6 in May 2014, was resoundingly repealed by voters on Tuesday following an 18-month legal battle. 

“Several council members have talked to me about bringing it back up, perhaps bringing it back up in segments, such as the nondiscrimination in employment and housing and public accommodations separately, so that we could directly deal with those aspects of the ordinance,” Parker said at her weekly press conference. “There may be other ideas.

“It’s possible for us to do something,” Parker added. “You may have noticed that I’m trying to clear as many things off my desk as possible. I don’t really want to leave a lot of contentious items for the next administration, and I’m going to try not to leave this one as well.” 

HERO would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and 13 other characteristics in employment, housing, public accommodations and city contracting. However, opponents built their entire campaign around one aspect of the ordinance — transgender protections in public accommodations — seizing on the debunked myth that it would lead to sexual predators preying on victims in women’s restrooms. 

Other Texas cities have passed nondiscrimination ordinances with exemptions for restroom use by transgender people, but Parker doesn’t intend to let that happen on her watch in Houston. 

NEW: Tweet Of The Day: Houston Mayor Annise Parker Responds To A Tea Party ‘Texan 4 Liberty’

“I cannot support anything that would remove any of the 15 protected categories,” she said. “They were in there because they need the protections that HERO has to offer. 

“What is more fundamental than trying to provide access to a public restroom that is appropriate to the gender of an individual, when all they want to do is use the facilities and go on about their business?” she added. “All of this about pedophiles going into women’s restrooms was an out and out and falsehood, they knew it was a falsehood, and they sold a bill of goods. That’s all I can say. Masterfully played.” 

Any consideration of a new HERO would include discussion of the negative economic impacts brought by voters’ decision to repeal the ordinance, Parker said. Although the NCAA and NFL announced Wednesday they have no plans to move the 2016 Men’s Final Four or the 2017 Super Bowl out of Houston, respectively, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin has requested an emergency meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the issue. 

Meanwhile, Houston business and tourism officials are already raising concerns about the impact of the vote on the city’s reputation and their ability to recruit young talent. 

“It’s the business community that has spoken loudly in Indiana and Arizona, and it’s the business community that’s going to speak here,” Parker said. “We will also of course evaluate what the national and international response from the business community is, because that certainly will make a difference.” 

Although HERO opponents seized upon the transgender bathroom myth, it’s clear this was merely a smokescreen for general opposition to LGBT rights, and they likely would oppose an amended ordinance even if it deals only with employment or housing. 

Jared Woodfill, a spokesman for the anti-HERO Campaign for Houston, told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday night that he doesn’t think gays and lesbians should be protected against discrimination.  

“I think they should be treated as everyone else,” Woodfill said. “I don’t think they should receive special protections. I don’t think homosexuality is an immutable characteristic.”

Game on. 

You can download Mayor Parker’s full November 4 press conference.

 

Image by The Bishop/Twitter

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News

No ‘Semblance of a Campaign’: Five of Trump’s Candidates for Governor Air Zero TV Ads Combined

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Former President Donald Trump’s picks for governor in five states are facing media scrutiny after failing to air a single television advertisement since winning their primaries.

In a report on Monday, The New York Times revealed that Pennsylvania candidate Doug Mastriano “is being heavily outspent by his Democratic rival, has had no television ads on the air since May.”

“There’s no sign of cavalry coming to his aid, either: The Republican Governors Association, which is helping the party’s nominees in Arizona, Michigan and six other states, has no current plans to assist Mr. Mastriano, according to people with knowledge of its deliberations,” the paper added.

Matt Brouillette, the president of a conservative advocacy group, slammed Mastriano in remarks to the Times.

“I can’t even assess things because I don’t see a campaign,” Brouillette said. “I’ve not seen anything that is even a semblance of a campaign.”

According to the report, Mastriano’s lackluster campaign is not unusual among Trump’s preferred candidates.

“Along with Mr. Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Trump-backed candidates for governor in five other states — Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan — have combined to air zero television advertisements since winning their primaries,” the report said.

Over the weekend, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) vowed to campaign against Mastriano and other Trump-endorsed candidates who push lies about the 2020 presidential election.

“I think we have to do everything we can in ’22 to make sure those people don’t get elected,” she told the Texas Tribune Festival. “We have to make sure [Doug] Mastriano doesn’t win.”

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘We Need to Go All the Way’: GOP Lawmaker Brags Her ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill ‘Goes Further’ Than Florida’s But Not Far Enough

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A far right Republican state lawmaker in Pennsylvania who has worked to get prayer into schools is pushing a “Don’t Say Gay” bill and bragging that it goes even “further” than Florida’s, but wants it to be even broader.

Republican state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz denies her legislation is a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but as PennLive reports it states public and charter schools “may not offer instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity to a student in kindergarten through fifth grade.”

Rep. Borowicz admits that although her bill expands on Florida’s which technically bans discussion of LGBTQ issues until after third grade, she wants it to be even more broad.

“It is patterned after the Florida bill, but mine goes further,” she said. “It really needs to be protected up through 12th grade, we need to go all the way.”

She does not state what “it” is.

READ MORE: Embattled Vladimir Putin Grants NSA Classified Document Leaker Edward Snowden Russian Citizenship

PennLive reports Borowicz supports similar legislation, Senate Bill 1278, “which would allow schools to be sued for material that is ‘not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate’ at any grade level.”

The Pennsylvania Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee, Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, also supports the “Don’t Say Gay” bills.

Like other state’s bills, the language is intentionally broad and undefined, which experts say is intentional to create fear among teachers to steer clear away from any issue that might come near to the ban.

“Asked what sort of communication would constitute ‘instruction’ under the bill, Borowicz said, ‘I’m not going to get into the details of all that.'”

Last week when announcing her new anti-LGBTQ bill, Rep. Borowicz called for the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education to resign, “because LGBTQ-inclusive curricula and other resources were featured on the Pennsylvania Department of Education site,” WITF reports.

READ MORE: Critics Blast Top US Conservative Think Tank President for Applauding Italy’s Election of ‘Neo-Fascist’ Prime Minister

“Everything from gender neutral days and classrooms, from 3rd to 12th grade to a tutorial on gender pronouns and instructions for teachers to ask before making false assumptions about someone’s gender identity,” Borowicz said.

Borowicz, who was first elected in 2018, she is the first woman and only the second Republican to hold that seat.

“The mission of keeping my word to the people of the 76th Legislative District starts immediately,” she said upon being sworn in.

Borowicz’s bio frequently mentions she was the “president of a nonprofit organization,” while rarely explaining what that nonprofit was.

In 2018 Borowicz “said it was for Make A Stand USA, an organization she and her sister created to get prayer gatherings at schools in 2010. She said it was her sister who paid for it and no money was made for the one event it sponsored. Two years later, she said, it was disbanded,” The Record Online reported.

Rep. Borowicz is a big fan of prayer, but the ways she has used it has caused outrage, even among her follow House colleagues.

Months after she was sworn in, an newly elected state representative, who is Muslim, was sworn in.

READ MORE: Watch: Nazis and Proud Boys Clash With Anti-Fascists Outside Texas Church Hosting Drag Queen Bingo

Borowicz delivered the House’s invocation that day, and by the time it was over she had mentioned “Jesus” thirteen times. She was accused of weaponizing pray and Islamophobia and antisemitism.

“God forgive us — Jesus — we’ve lost sight of you, we’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us, Jesus,”Borowicz said, as HuffPost reported.

“She also prayed for President Donald Trump and thanked the president for ‘unequivocally’ supporting Israel.”

“I claim all these things in the powerful, mighty name of Jesus, the one who, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, Jesus, that you are Lord, in Jesus’ name,” she also proclaimed.

Think Biblically reports she also said, “thank you for this honor, Jesus. God, for those who came before us like George Washington at Valley Forge and Abraham Lincoln who sought after you at Gettysburg, Jesus, and the founding fathers in Independence Hall, Jesus, that sought after you and fasted and prayed for this nation to be founded on your principles and your words and your truths.”

“Jesus, I thank you for this privilege, Lord, of letting me pray, God, that I Jesus am your ambassador here today. Standing here, representing you — the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great I Am, the one who is coming back again, the one who came died and rose again on the third day,” she prayed.

Watch Rep. Borowicz’s prayer below or at this link.

 

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS

Embattled Vladimir Putin Grants NSA Classified Document Leaker Edward Snowden Russian Citizenship

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Embattled and denounced around the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin granted NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who flew to Moscow in 2013, full citizenship.

Snowden is best-known for leaking classified intelligence documents which he gained access to as a contractor with the National Security Agency.

The Associated Press notes that in 2020 Snowden was granted permanent residency in Russia and applied for Russian citizenship.

READ MORE: Critics Blast Top US Conservative Think Tank President for Applauding Italy’s Election of ‘Neo-Fascist’ Prime Minister

Putin’s move comes just days after announcing at least 300,000 more Russians would be conscripted to fight his war in Ukraine, which has been condemned worldwide. Putin and his military are accused of war crimes including rape and summary execution, looting, and bombing civilian infrastructure.

“Ukrainian forces said they found mass graves and evidence that civilians had been killed after their feet and hands were bound,” the BBC reported in July.

“In March,” the BBC added, “a Russian strike on a theatre in Mariupol appeared to be the first confirmed location of a mass killing. The word ‘children’ was written in giant letters outside the building.”

Last week in his Substack newsletter Snowden launched an attack on President Joe Biden and the CIA.

READ MORE: Watch: Nazis and Proud Boys Clash With Anti-Fascists Outside Texas Church Hosting Drag Queen Bingo

“It hasn’t been a month since President Biden mounted the steps of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, declaring it his duty to ensure each of us understands the central faction of his political opposition are extremists that ‘threaten the very foundations of our Republic,'” Snowden wrote, blasting the American President for his speech warning that Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are dangers to democracy, a fact supported by the hundreds of prosecutions of January 6 insurrectionists and the numerous legal and civil cases being brought against the former president.

“Congratulations to Ed Snowden who — after a recent attack conflating CIA torture and Biden — has now earned his Russian citizenship,” commented National security and civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler.

Investigative journalist and fellow at the New America think tank, Dave Troy has been focusing on threats to democracy. On the news Snowden is now a Russian citizen, he writes: “It’s time for us to come to grips with the fact that the Snowden, [Glenn] Greenwald, [Julian] Assange ops were all part of a years-long Russia-supported effort to upend the West.”

Snowden handed the leaked intelligence documents to journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Troy goes on to suggest Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn belong in that category as well.

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