Standing Up for LGBT People and Equality Is ‘Sabotage’ Speaker of the House Says
For a month now the U.S. House of Representatives have been embroiled in a battle over LGBT civil rights. It started when Rep. Steve Russell drafted and passed an amendment to the nation’s critical military spending bill that would gut and nullify President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive orders banning anti-LGBT discrimination by any federal contractor. The Russell Amendment would carve out special rights for anyone who could claim a deeply-held religious belief that LGBT people should be discriminated against. The Russell Amendment literally would provide taxpayer money to enable and support legalized discrimination.
Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York came up with a solution. His bill would nullify the Russell Amendment, by codifying the President’s executive orders into law. As the full House voted, and time ran out, Maloney’s legislation passed.
But that was unacceptable to the Republican-led House.
Top leaders, supported by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, held the clock and the votes open, and colluded with at least seven Republicans who had voted for Maloney’s bill, to change their votes. They did, and the measure went from passing to failing.
Usually, when the majority party bends the rules and allows vote changes, Representatives are required to walk up to the clerk to change their votes. It’s a bit of decorum and integrity. Even that was too much for Speaker Ryan’s thugs, who allowed the seven saboteursÂ to kill the bill anonymously, or so they thought, from their desks. Democrats dug into the record and identified the anti-LGBT lawmakers, later vowing to unseat them.
As the votes were being changed and equality was being thwarted, House Democrats shouted, “Shame!, Shame!, Shame!,” but to no avail.
“Shame! Shame! Shame!”
US House floor erupts over vote on an amendment to protect LGBT people from discrimination. https://t.co/dDprhGNoLF
â€” NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) May 23, 2016
The bill was dead.
Or so we thought.Â
Rep. Maloney introduced his bill and attached it Wednesday night to another spending bill, a water and energy infrastructure bill. It passed, and even the maleficentÂ seven voted in favor of the measure.
But Rep. Ryan’s House henchmen were not done.
Also on Wednesday, two anti-LGBT bills were attached to the infrastructure spending bill.
One effectively overrides the Maloney bill, creating religious carve outs and allowing federal contractors to, yes, you guessed it, discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, in Jesus’ name.
The other would ban the federal government from withholding previously dedicated funds from the State of North Carolina in response to its illegal and unconstitutional anti-LGBT law, HB2.
Both of those bills passed.
But the infrastructure bill,Â a massive umbrella under which the two anti-LGBT and the one pro-equality bills were nestled, did not.
Georgia Rep.Â Rick Allen Thursday morningÂ told his fellow Republicans if they vote for it — because of its pro-LGBT part — they would be “going to hell.” He also read from the Bible and quoted Scripture. Some called it a prayer.Â
Some of his fellow Republicans, a few who had voted for Rep. Maloney’s bill, according to reports, were so offended they walked out.
Later Thursday morning the spending bill failed — a bipartisan decision, you could say.
Which brings us to Speaker Paul Ryan’s ugly lie.
Holding his weekly press conference, Rep. Ryan warmed up the crowd by denouncingÂ the long lines at airports and announcing legislation to help fix the TSA backlog.
Then he went for the kill.
Speaking about the House’s $37.4 billion infrastructure bill, which included the three LGBT-related amendments, Speaker Ryan attacked the Democrats, claiming they would rather scuttle the bill, and compromise America’s infrastructure, than allow it to pass.
â€œI want to talk about the vote we just had on the energy and water appropriations bill,” Speaker Ryan told reporters, “this is a very good bill,” he said, despite it failingÂ 305-112.
“It improves our energy infrastructure. It enhances our national security. It uses the power of the purse to stop harmful regulations,” Ryan proclaimed.
“But what we learned today is that the Democrats were not looking to advance an issue but to sabotage the appropriations process,” he insisted. “The mere fact that they passed their amendment, then voted against the bill containing their amendment, proves this point.”
Now. let’s think about that last statement for a moment.
Voting for an amendment that protects LGBT people, but voting against the full bill because it harms LGBT people is “sabotage”?
Of course Democrats and even moderate Republicans would vote for a bill that advances equality, and of course they would vote against one that reverses it, even harms LGBT people. That’s not sabotage, that’s just common sense.Â
“The mere fact that they passed their amendment, then voted against the bill containing their amendment, proves this point.”
That’s so illogical, so easily disproven, so embarrassingly false, of course it’s a lie, and an ugly lie at that.
Welcome to Speaker Ryan’s Republican House.
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RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses
Embattled Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel is launching two advisory groups in an effort to expand the party’s appeal to voters and examine what went wrong in the wake of stunning, historic midterm election losses – and she’s turning to some of the right’s most extreme leaders to perform the investigations.
Political analysts on both sides of the aisle generally agree that Donald Trump, Trumpism, the party’s lurch to far right wing extremism including white nationalism, white supremacy, Christian nationalism, antisemitism, authoritarianism, fascism, and the “Big Lie” of stolen elections hurt, not helped candidates in the 2022 midterms.
McDaniel has now tapped some of the very purveyors of that failed extremism to lead the shrinking party’s efforts to broaden its outreach and correct its errors.
“The RNC is tapping nearly a dozen people to serve in what it’s calling a ‘Republican Party Advisory Council’ – a group that includes former Donald Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, evangelical leader Tony Perkins and a pair of Senate candidates who ran this year,” Politico reports.
Tony Perkins is a far right wing religious extremist and anti-LGBTQ activist who decades ago reportedly had ties to white supremacist groups, which he has denied. For decades he has been president of the Family Research Council, which appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
Deeply embedded in Republican theocratic politics, Perkins was appointed twice by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal government body that has a history of advancing the agenda of America’s Evangelical Christian movement.
He is also a past president of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).
CNP’s members are believed to include far right activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, whose attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results have been the subject of numerous reports. Also, Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, which has faced allegations of racism, and far right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi. Other members of the Council for National Policy include two other heads of organizations that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups: Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel; and Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association.
“The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who in the wake of his loss has called on the party to move on from ‘consultant one-size-fits-all strategies,'” Politico reports.
Masters is a “Big Lie” purveyor who has also promoted the white nationalist conspiracy theory of the “Great Replacement,” which falsely claims immigrants – people of color – are “replacing” white Americans.
Separately, Politico adds, the RNC is commissioning an investigation into what went wrong, commonly referred to as an “autopsy” to ensure in future elections the same decisions are not made. That work will be lead by current RNC members.
Questions Swirl Around Herschel Walker as New Report Shows His Georgia Residence Was Rented Out for Over a Decade
Where Herschel Walker lives has been a question since before he officially announced his candidacy as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Numerous reports have looked into claims he lives in Texas and not the Peach State, which some Georgia voters might find problematic, but new reporting exposes what could lead to tax or voting fraud investigations.
Walker’s Georgia home, according to reporting from The Daily Beast‘s Roger Sollenberger, is owned by his wife, who for years has rented it out.
When Walker announced his candidacy, after a strong push from Donald Trump, it “was widely known at the time that the Republican hopeful had been living in Texas for decades, though he has claimed to maintain a residence in Atlanta for ’17 years.’ Less widely known, however, was that Walker’s wife collected tens of thousands of dollars in rental income for that residence, according to his 2021 financial disclosure forms.”
While it is unclear if the home was rented out when Walker officially launched his Senate run, the “house doubled as the Walker campaign’s first official address when he launched his bid in August 2021. Fulton County tax and property records show the home is solely owned by Walker’s wife, Julie Blanchard, who also collected rental income from 2020 and 2021 ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, according to the disclosure—defining the asset as ‘Georgia residence.'”
CNN last week reported that “Republican Herschel Walker is getting a tax break intended only for a primary residence this year on his home in the Dallas, Texas, area, despite running for Senate in Georgia.”
“In Texas, homeowner regulations say you can only take the exemption on your ‘principal residence,'” CNN’s K-File reported. “Walker is listed to get a homestead tax exemption in Texas in 2022, saving the Senate candidate approximately $1,500 and potentially running afoul of both Texas tax rules and some Georgia rules on establishing residency for the purpose of voting or running for office.”
Even after he launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate Walker still filed for the Texas tax exemption.
The complaint alleges “Herschel Walker appears to have committed a felony in August 2021 when he registered to vote in Georgia,” and “Herschel Walker appears to have committed a felony when he voted in the 2022 Georgia primary and general elections.” These are allegations and have not been investigated by authorities.
When he announced is candidacy, “Walker’s main GOP rival challenged him to ‘move here, pay taxes here, register and vote in some elections’ before running,” The Journal-Constitution notes. “Warnock’s allies have taken a similar line of attack, framing the Republican as an out-of-state charlatan.”
Trumps Latest Tactic? Attacking Special Counsel’s Sister-in-Law
Donald Trump is going all-in on attacks against the family of special counsel Jack Smith. Instead of mounting a defense for his actions, Trump deployed one of his top tactics: attacking anyone trying to hold him accountable.
One of Trump’s right-wing allies posted a claim that Smith’s sister-in-law, who is allegedly a psychologist and whose patients were “crying” and “sobbing” over Trump’s 2016 election.
“And I’m supposed to get a fair shake from this person, who’s under tremendous pressure from his family, but he is actually worse than they are?” Trump rambled on his personal social media site. “Can Republicans, and fair-minded people, generally, allow this to happen? Jack Smith is nothing less than a hit man for Obama, his Attorney General Eric Holder, and Andrew Weissmann. Weaponization. Our Country is in big trouble, a real mess!”
Smith was hired by Trump’s administration to serve as an acting United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee during Trump’s first year in office, his biography states. During this same time, the new Trump Justice Department was firing most of the U.S. Attorneys hired under President Barack Obama’s administration. One of those biggest names was Preet Bharara, who helped Trump with the transition while serving as the U.S. Attorney Southern District of New York. He was fired the same month that Trump hired Smith in 2017.
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