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Texas GOP Leaders’ Anti-Trans Rhetoric Already Hurting State Economically, Expert Says



With Bizarre Tweets Texas Governor Shoots for the Moon, Lt. Governor ‘Shoots’ at Restrooms

Anti-transgender rhetoric from Texas GOP leaders, like that of Gov. Greg Abbott (above), is already hurting the state economically, according to Jessica Shortall, managing director of Texas Competes, a pro-LGBT coalition of employers. 

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Abbott have been outspoken in their opposition to last week’s directive from the Obama administration requiring public schools to allow trans students to use the restrooms of their choice. 


Shortfall said their incendiary comments on the issue, picked up widely by national media, could impact Texas employers’ ability to recruit talent from out of state, especially among the millennials who’ll make up 75 percent of the workforce 2030. 

“Even just the rhetoric is a problem,” Shortfall said, adding that effects on recruiting don’t get as much attention as cancelled concerts or conventions. “When you lose talent, that’s not like a big announcement. It flies much more under the radar.” 

Lt. Gov. Patrick posted the strange tweet above, literally turning a public restroom logo, and thus, the “debate,” into a fight for Texas independence:

Patrick, who leads the state Senate, is vowing to pass anti-trans legislation next year similar to North Carolina’s HB2, which has cost the Tarheel State an estimated $87 million, according to media reports. (One estimate puts the annual cost at $5 billion, including federal funding losses.) But Patrick has dismissed potential economic backlash over anti-LGBT legislation as “bluff” and “bluster.” 

“It’s nonsense,” Patrick said during a press conference at the Texas GOP convention last week. “It’s part of the propaganda of the political left. So big deal, some artist doesn’t want to come to some arena, they’ll fill the day with an artist who does. You know, greed works for the entertainment industry. If there’s an open date in a concert hall, someone will book it.” 

Later, I asked Patrick whether he’s prepared to stand up to the Texas Association of Business, the state’s chamber of commerce which came out against anti-LGBT legislation last year, as well as the 900-plus employers who’ve joined Texas Competes, including more than 30 from the Fortune 500. 

“Yes I am, and so are the people of Texas, so are their employees,” Patrick said. “The Texas Association of Business, which I usually agree with. .. their association is wrong on this. This is not about equal rights. No one’s denying anyone their rights.” 

In a post responding to Patrick this week, one business leader disagreed. 

David Wyatt, co-founder of Wyatt Brands, an Austin-based public relations firm, wrote in the post titled “Bigotry has no business in Texas,” that he has “nothing to gain from the State government endorsing discrimination and a lot to lose.” 

“First there is the human rights issue,” Wyatt wrote. “If people are being oppressed and denied, then I must think of our team, our clients, and our vendors. … Then there’s the lost business from brands, events, and companies cancelling their Texas plans to make their own statement of support for the LGBT community. As a service business, I miss out on serving their marketing needs. 

Wyatt added that the statements from Patrick, Paxton and Abbott are inconsistent with messages from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. On a website called Texas Wide Open for Business, the economic development office claims the state “combines its wide horizons and accommodating climate, its diverse population and healthy markets and a stubborn pursuit to create an excellent environment for business.” 

“With one hand, Texas is waving in businesses to set up shop in the state with a promise of diversity and an excellent environment while with the other hand we’ve got our fingers crossed,” Wyatt wrote. “Either that or this is a good-old-boy secret handshake that implies ‘we’ll let you do business here the old, straight, white guy way.’ I believe that our responsibility as Texans, as taxpayers, and as business owners is to use our influence to fight for equity so that when fear and tradition unjustly persecute a quiet majority, that we can give them all a fair shot at making Texas great.

“So I say to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, the people at ‘Wide Open for Business,’ and anyone else that would use bigotry (believed or just projected for political leverage): Don’t let the bathroom door hit you where the good Lord split you!“ 



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‘Denied’: Trump Loses Latest Gag Order Effort



A New York State appellate judge has denied Donald Trump’s latest attempt to have his very narrow gag order loosened, ruling his request must be heard by a panel of judges, and will not be taken up until at least the day he is scheduled to testify in the $250 million civil business fraud case.

“The application for interim relief seeking an expedited grant of leave to the Court of Appeals is denied, as such motion must be decided by a full panel of this Court. Further, the movant seeks an interim application for a preference is likewise denied, as such determination must be made by a full panel of this Court,” the judge ruled.

MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin reported, “Trump will not be free from the gag order any sooner than late 12/11, the same day he is scheduled to testify” in the State of New York’s civil business fraud case against the ex-president.

READ MORE: Comer Says Biden’s Bank Records ‘Don’t Lie’ but His Claims Are Quickly Debunked

Katie Phang, MSNBC anchor and legal contributor, added, “the fact that the highest court in New York told Trump it wouldn’t let him say whatever he wants to say in the meantime is noteworthy.”

The Messenger‘s Adam Klasfeld suggests the gag order “likely” will not be lifted “during the defense case” either.

The gag order bans Trump and his attorneys from publicly commenting on Judge Arthur Engoron’s court staff, including his principle law clerk.

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Comer Says Biden’s Bank Records ‘Don’t Lie’ but His Claims Are Quickly Debunked



Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer has been ramping up his media campaign attacking President Joe Biden as GOP Speaker Mike Johnson signals he is readying a vote for a formal impeachment inquiry. On Monday, Chairman Comer released a two-minute video alleging President Biden has been lying and alleging “corruption” related to payments the President’s son, Hunter Biden, sent his father, claiming it is evidence of foreign money flowing to the President.

Reporters were quick to punch holes in the Kentucky Republican’s allegations.

“Today the House Oversight Committee is releasing subpoenaed bank records that show Hunter Biden’s business entity, a Owasco PC, made direct monthly payments to Joe Biden. This wasn’t a payment from Hunter Biden’s personal account, but an account for his corporation that received payments from China and other shady corners of the world,” Comer says in his latest video (below.)

But journalists are calling out Comer, and debunking his claims.

READ MORE: ‘Authoritarianism’: Florida Says Its Public Schools Exist to ‘Convey Government’s Message’

Pointing to Comer’s video, Public Notice founder Aaron Rupar writes, “this is a bold claim for which absolutely 0 evidence is presented in the video.”

“So, these three payments of $1,380 each (totaling $4,140) appear to be Hunter Biden paying his dad back for truck loan/lease payments that his dad paid on his son’s behalf when Hunter was low on cash,” explains journalist Yashar Ali, noting his “source is an NY Post article about Hunter’s finances and emails from the Hunter Biden email archive.”

Responding to Ali’s post, Rupar adds, “James Comer said these payments were linked to China. James Comer is lying. Don’t be like James Comer.”

“These appear to be monthly payments (already reported in the media) of $1,380 for a truck,” writes Mother Jones’ D.C. Bureau Chief David Corn. “I don’t think fronting a son money for a truck is an impeachable offense. Another swing and a miss.”

Even the right-wing Washington Examiner on Monday reported, “An email found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop suggests Hunter Biden had listed the $1,380 payments to his father as reimbursements for a Ford Raptor truck.”

READ MORE: ‘Given My Experience’: Gaetz Waiting to ‘Render Judgment’ on Florida GOP Chair Accused of Rape

Watch Chairman Comer’s video below or at this link.







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‘Authoritarianism’: Florida Says Its Public Schools Exist to ‘Convey Government’s Message’



GOP Governor Ron DeSantis often talks about what he calls “the free state of Florida” but Florida Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody has declared the Sunshine State’s public schools, including its libraries, do not exist to promote the free exchange of ideas, but rather, to “convey the government’s message.”

In a legal brief, the State of Florida argues it has a First Amendment right to remove LGBTQ books, or any book, from public schools and libraries, USA Today’s Tallahassee Democrat reports.

“It’s a contention that First Amendment experts and advocates call extreme and chilling. But the state maintains the books on school shelves represent protected government speech. Public school libraries are ‘a forum for government speech,’ it says, not a ‘forum for free expression.'”

READ MORE: ‘Given My Experience’: Gaetz Waiting to ‘Render Judgment’ on Florida GOP Chair Accused of Rape

“Public-school systems, including their libraries, convey the government’s message,” Attorney General Moody (photo) also wrote in the legal brief.

“Like the selection of monuments,,” Moody writes, quoting a legal case: “the government speaks through its selection of which books to put on the shelves and which books to exclude.”

She also argues that the “purpose” of public school libraries “is to support the government’s educational mission.”

Moody also cites the very narrow recent anti-LGBTQ Supreme Court ruling in 303 Creative that was riddled with falsehoods.

Florida’s First Amendment stance has experts calling the State’s claims “authoritarianism.”

READ MORE: ‘Chutzpah’: Biden Blasts Johnson ‘Taking Credit’ for $30 Million Project He Voted Against

“There’s considerable irony in that those who seek to limit access to books in school libraries often say they’re fighting for parental rights,” Ken Paulson, the director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University, told the Tallahassee Democrat. “If government speech determines what books can be in the library, the government is essentially saying your children can only see the ideas that the government has approved.”

“That’s not parental rights,” he added. “That’s authoritarianism.”

NYU professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat, the well-known scholar on fascism and authoritarian leaders, called it “straight-up authoritarianism.”

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