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Texas Lawmaker Working to Write Anti-LGBT Discrimination Into State Constitution

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Right-Wing Rep. Matt Krause is Undeterred by Economic Backlash in North Carolina

Despite economic backlash over House Bill 2 in North Carolina, one right-wing Texas lawmaker wants to write anti-LGBT discrimination into the state Constitution. 

And Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is signaling that he would sign the measure if it passes the House and Senate. 

Texas already has a strong Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which prohibits the government form substantially burdening a person’s free exercise of religion unless it has a compelling interest. 

GOP Rep. Matt Krause (shown above with Sen. Ted Cruz, whom he supports for president) is an attorney who previously worked for Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT hate group, and has compared gays to Nazis. Last year, Krause authored a proposal to remove the word “substantially” from the law, and enshrine it in the Constitution. Now, in the wake of overwhelming opposition from businesses to anti-LGBT bills in North Carolina and Georgia, Krause is vowing to introduce his proposed amendment to the state constitution when the Texas Legislature meets again in 2017. Only one other state in the nation, Alabama, has an RFRA in its Constitution. 

“Nobody should be forced to go against their conscience or religious beliefs,” Krause told The Austin Statesman. 

Gov. Abbott’s press secretary, John Wittman, told the Statesman: “To imply that religious liberty cannot be protected without hurting a business’ bottom line is inherently false and goes against the principles our country was founded on. Gov. Abbott has always sought to protect and expand religious liberty and economic freedom in Texas, and he looks forward to continuing that work in the 85th legislative session.”

In addition to sanctioning anti-LGBT discrimination, experts say Krause’s measure would open the door to a host of unintended consequences, such as domestic abusers using it as a defense to criminal charges; medical professionals refusing to provide life-saving treatments based on their beliefs; and workers being fired for violating the tenets of an employer’s faith. 

“A lot of lawyers would say that the word ‘substantial’ has some real meaning to it, and that dropping it means that you’re going to give any litigant the right to say, ‘I feel burdened,’ and that will be that with regard to forcing the state to show the compelling interest,” said Sanford Levinson, a law professor at the University of Texas. “If that’s not what you’re out to do, then I’m not sure what the point of the amendment would be, because the state RFRA seems to be quite strong, so why do we need this?” 

The Texas Association of Business, the state’s chamber of commerce, opposed Krause’s measure last year and is already speaking out against any potential anti-LGBT legislation in 2017. 

“We certainly don’t want Texas to appear to be unwelcoming for future talent, and that’s what I think we’ll get if something like North Carolina’s bill is taken up by our Legislature,” TAB President Chris Wallace told The Texas Observer. 

Seven hundred of the state’s employers, including 30 from the Fortune 500, have joined the pro-LGBT coalition Texas Competes. 

“In how many states does this have to happen before it becomes clear that legislation that goes this far, that extremist legislation that specifically targets LGBT people for discrimination, is something that has negative consequences from an economic and a business standpoint?” said Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas. 

 

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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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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Trump Endorsed Pro-Gun GOP Nominee Apologizes After Urging People to ‘Move On’ Hours After July 4 Mass Shooting

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The far-right pro-gun Republican nominee for governor of Illinois has apologized “if” his remarks, telling people to “move on” from the Highland Park Independence Day massacre that left six people dead and dozens wounded, “diminished the pain being felt across our state.”

Darren Bailey, a GOP state lawmaker who won his party’s nomination and is endorsed by Donald Trump, turned the horrific July 4 shooting into a campaign event.

Surrounded by supporters holding signs featuring his logo and others that said, “Fire Pritzker” – the current governor and his Democratic opponent – Bailey posted a Facebook live video saying, “we’re just going to take a moment and pray for the families [inaudible] pray for the law enforcement and even the organizers of this parade.”

“The shooter is still at large so let’s pray for justice to prevail, and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate the independence of this nation. We know the mission,” he said. “We have got to get corruption and evil out of our government.”

Insider adds that in Bailey’s video he also linked the Highland Park mass shooting to the “tough weekend in Chicago.” Highland Park is about 30 miles from Chicago. Fox News and right-wing media often focus on gun violence in that city, despite the fact that less than half the illegal guns used in crimes in Chicago come from Illinois.

“My intent was to pray for the victims and those affected by today’s tragedy and for the shooter to be caught and prosecuted without further loss,” Bailey said in a statement, Insider reports. “I apologize if in any way we diminished the pain being felt across our state today.”

In April Bailey held a fundraiser to “win one of these great guns” and “help fuel our movement to reform Springfield and restore Illinois.”

In December Bailey, who has called “guns and hunting” a “family tradition,” tweeted out an article in which he is quoted saying, “I will die on my porch before I give up my guns.”

 

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‘This Is a Business’: New Footage of Trump Family Emerges From Jan. 6 Investigation

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Newly revealed video footage shows how close British filmmaker Alex Holder got to the Trump family in the lead-up to the January 6th insurrection.

The family allowed Holder to gain exclusive access to them and the former president’s inner circle in the period between the 2020 election and the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and Politico obtained a new trailer for the upcoming documentary “Unprecedented,” which will stream on the Discovery+ network.

“Ivanka frets about a line on her dress, and jokes about covering it with a pet roaming about. ‘Can I borrow your dog?’ she asks her makeup artist,” Politico reported. “Jared nervously repositions his tie and asks, ‘Is that okay?’ Don Jr., seen at a rally, screams, ‘We will make liberals cry again!’ Eric is caught on a phone call, mysteriously saying, ‘For the sake of this country, we’re going to get these guys.'”

Those mundane moments build up to Jan. 6, and the film shows Donald Trump encouraging his supporters to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, and Holder’s photographer joins the throng.

READ MORE: Robert Crimo III’s family noticed nothing amiss, but social media posts painted a darker picture

“We’ve got to get the roaches out, all of them,” a Trump supporter yells to the photographer.

The documentary crew also recorded scenes from the ensuing attack, and Holder has turned over the raw footage to the House select committee investigating the riot.

“Gaining power is easy,” the narrator says in the trailer. “Surrendering it is not.”

Watch the video below or at this link.

 

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