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OPINION: How Many Lies Did the Sponsor of North Carolina’s Anti-LGBT Bill HB2 Just Tell on MSNBC?…

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…And How Many Did Chuck Todd Let Him Get Away With?

I think I just saw one of the worst interviews “Meet the Press” has ever conducted. Host Chuck Todd just interviewed the Republican lawmaker who was the primary sponsor of North Carolina‘s anti-LGBT law, HB2. Rep. Dan Bishop showed up with a huge smile on his face, as if he just won a huge prize. And he had – Bishop and his GOP colleagues rammed through both sides of the General Assembly what some have called the most anti-LGBT bill in the nation. And he managed to get it done, from “debate” to signing by the governor, in well-under 12 hours.

But back to “Meet the Press.”

Chuck Todd was extraordinarily, and visibly, uncomfortable with the issue of LGBT civil rights. I’m pretty sure (feel free to tell me I’m wrong) he said “transgendered,” a few times, and had to carefully pronounce “sexual orientation and gender identity,” and even “LGBT.”

Nope, I’m right:

Worse than his discomfort was his obvious lack of knowledge of the subject.

This is an issue with broad implications for the LGBT community, and sure, it’s a national debate where many people have differing opinions. But what’s never up for debate is asking an important question and allowing the person you’re interviewing to wriggle and slither out of an answer – yet Todd did that repeatedly.

I’m not the only one who’s furious:

Bishop’s first words were literally, “It’s funny how misimpressions get started, Chuck.” That’s a heads-up, a gift, actually, to any journalist worth their salt that their guest intends to, and is prepared to, obfuscate and try to twist the facts. Apparently, Chuck Todd didn’t get that memo.

Bishop began his lies by claiming that HB2 is a “business regulation” bill. It is not, and it’s extremely clear what its intention was, since Republican lawmakers, especially House Speaker Tim Moore and Gov. Pat McCrory made numerous public statements about their intentions.

Bishop went on to claim, “what we did was restore common sense,” and Todd totally let that pass. It’s not common sense to force a transgender woman into the men’s room, or to force a transgender man into the women’s room.

He also gave the usual sexist trope about concern for women’s privacy. Why not concern for men’s privacy too? Two words: misogyny and paternalism.

Then there was this.

“Do you believe your bill prevents discrimination against gays and lesbians in North Carolina?,” Todd asked, ignoring the fact that HB2 really targets transgender citizens. “You don’t feel like you’ve rescinded protections?,” Todd continued. (Why would Rep. Bishop’s feelings have any journalistic rationale in this interview?)

“Absolutely not,” Bishop claimed, because Todd let him when he said “feel.”

“We worked very hard to preserve every piece of protection that North Carolina law, or Charlotte law, provided before the City Council went off the cliff and opened up women’s bathrooms to men,” Bishop claimed. That’s untrue, as best as I can see – maybe legal experts can weigh in.

Chuck Todd did not even try to push back on that. “Rep. Bishop, transgender women are not men,” was all he had to say. He did not.

And notice how Bishop wholly ignores the nine locales in North Carolina whose nondiscrimination protections he and his compatriots literally voided with the stroke of Gov. McCrory’s pen?

And there’s more.

“Let’s take Caitlyn Jenner. Which bathroom would she legally be allowed to use in North Carolina,?” Todd later asked. 

To this day, no one who listened to Rep. Bishop knows, because he never answered the question. Bishop responded by saying that HB2 only covers restrooms in public buildings. 

And, stunningly, he said, “the notion that [HB2] undermines discrimination protections is absurd.” 

Of course it is because there aren’t any. North Carolina has no statewide protections for LGBT people!

Todd asked the Jenner question again, and Bishop again obfuscated. Since he doesn’t know what’s on her birth certificate, he can’t answer the question. Which was a goldmine that Todd was incapable of mining.

When asked, “How do you check to see if somebody’s following the law?,” Todd actually let Bishop get away with, “The question is one of custom.” 

Seriously?

Because just a few decades ago, in North Carolina, it was “custom” to not allow Blacks use the same restrooms as whites.

Later, calling LGBT activists and supporters of Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance “dishonest,” Bishop says those people “can point to no protection that’s been rolled back.”

Rep. Bishop can tell that to the residents of Buncombe, Mecklenburg, and Orange counties, and resident of cities like Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh, and towns including Boone, Carrboro, and Chapel Hill.

Rep. Dan Bishop did not actually answer most of Todd’s questions– or he just flat-out lied, or both. I’ll let legal minds dig into that more. And again, NBC News’ preeminent journalist enabled him. Todd literally handed the anti-LGBT community a blank check to twist truth and tell lies and have the platform of what is supposed to be a liberal network on which to do it. 

Memo to MSNBC: You have actual, and excellent, journalists on staff. One of your two best, Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow, should have been asked to interview Rep. Bishop, not Chuck Todd. What a shame.

 

EARLIER:

North Carolina Gov. McCrory in Hot Seat as Apple, Google, NBA, Many Others Denounce Anti-LGBT Law

Pat McCrory Says He Signed the Broadest Anti-LGBT Bill in the Nation to Prevent Government Overreach

NC GOP Governor, Lawmakers Race to Rescind Charlotte’s LGBT Nondiscrimination Bill

 

Image: Screenshot via MSNBC

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Thinly-Veiled Incitement to Violence and Overt Racism’: Trump’s Truth Social Post Sparks Outrage

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Donald Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” but on Friday night took his social media approach to his Truth Social website.

Trump accused Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of having a “death wish” after a government shutdown was averted.

“Must immediately seek help and advise (sic) from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!” he said of Elaine Chao, who served in his cabinet for four years as Secretary of Transportation.

Trump’s post generated outrage online.

“Nothing to see here,” conservative lawyer George Conway tweeted. “Just a former president of the United States seeking to incite violence against the minority leader of the United States Senate and launching a racist verbal attack on the leader’s wife.”

Former federal prosecutor Shanlon Wu wrote, “Donald Trump using blatant racist tactics in his desperate attacks on McConnell by trying to ridicule Asian American former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s name calling her ‘Coco Chow’ — [McConnell] and [GOP] should call him out and reject his racist hate — will they do it?”

“Hardly shocking that Trump would threaten Mitch McConnell by capitalizing the words ‘death wish’ — dog whistle invitation to Trump’s extremist supporters — same Trump who believed his own VP Pence deserved to be lynched by the angry Jan. 6 mob Trump incited to violence,” Wu added.

Janai Nelson, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, wrote, “I double dare all major media outlets to call this what it is: thinly-veiled incitement to violence and overt racism.”

Podcaster Fred Wellman said, “Elaine Chao was Trump’s Secretary of Transportation for 4 years and he just called her the ridiculously racist nickname ‘Coco Chow.’ Yes…you are a racist if you still support this broken *sshole.”

Jonah Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Dispatch, wrote, “Look, I think the gross bigotry, stupidity, dishonesty, and demagoguery of this is obvious on so many levels and I’m embarrassed for the country. But, because no one else will, I feel I have to point out he also misspelled advice.”

 

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News

Republicans suggest defunding Veteran Affairs even though it helps 9 million vets

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Republican legislators are starting to suggest defunding the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the office founded in 1989 to assist with veteran needs. The VA assists with getting veterans mental and physical healthcare, educational opportunities, community support, and other everyday housing and living needs.

An Arizona legislator, captured on video participating in a mock congressional hearing, said he supported shutting down the department.

“That’s sort of what I’m thinking because … I hear no good stories. I had zero in my district,” the legislator said in a video posted by the far-right watchdog group Patriot Takes. “So I guess it’s a matter of us leading the fight to defund it.”

A second video, posted by the same account, showed Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz advocating for defunding the VA while speaking at an event held by FreedomWorks, a conservative and libertarian advocacy group.

“This is my question to the group. Is it savable? Why not abolish the VA, take all of the money that we are otherwise spending and go to an any willing provider system inside of our communities?” Gaetz says in the video. “And then, if people get bad care, they can vote with their feet and you don’t have a two-tier system of healthcare in this country with our veterans and then with everyone else.”

Generally speaking, Republican policies favor the privatization of all government functions, thinking that a “small government,” “free-market,” “for-profit” privatization provided by a corporation can solve any market ill.

In reality, if entire communities are deprived of VA access, U.S. military veterans will be left largely on their own to get their life needs met after military service. Those who lack money or transportation won’t be able to “vote with their feet” and find a local care provider to handle their specific issues… they’ll either have to spend massive amounts to get such essential care or just go without.

In late July, 41 Senate Republicans voted against a bill aimed at protecting veterans exposed to toxic materials during their military service. The legislation would have expanded care to 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. It would have also added 23 toxic and burn pit exposure-related illnesses to the VA database, Newsweek reported.

After massive blowback, Senate Republicans re-voted on the bill and helped it pass.

Patriot Takes posted the video hoping that it would encourage veterans and military members to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections.

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'PRIORITIES'

Red states are lining up to stop Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

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Six red states — Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina — are suing the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden over Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for individuals making less than $125,000 a year.

The Biden administration based its plan on a 2003 law. According to the Justice Department, the law, initially meant to help military members, says that Biden can reduce or erase student loan debts during times of national emergency.

The red states’ lawsuit, filed Thursday in Missouri, said that Biden’s plan was “not remotely tailored to address the effects of the pandemic on federal student loan borrowers.” The lawsuit adds that, since Biden recently declared the COVID-19 pandemic as over, he can’t use it as a justification for his wide-scale debt relief plan, ABC News reported.

“It’s patently unfair to saddle hard-working Americans with the loan debt of those who chose to go to college,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said of her state’s lawsuit. “The Department of Education is required, under the law, to collect the balance due on loans. And President Biden does not have the authority to override that.”

The states argued that Biden’s plan inflicted a “number of ongoing financial harms” to student loan providers and also “will ultimately disrupt revenue to state coffers.” They also argued that Biden’s plan violates the Administrative Procedure Act, a law regulating how federal agencies ensure that presidential policies are well-reasoned and explained, the aforementioned publication reported.

Despite these claims, the White House has said it will continue with its plan, confident it can survive a court challenge.

“Republican officials from these six states are standing with special interests, and fighting to stop relief for borrowers buried under mountains of debt,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said Thursday. “The president and his administration are lawfully giving working and middle class families breathing room as they recover from the pandemic and prepare to resume loan payments in January.”

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