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Anti-Trans Bill Contributed to $51 Million in Bad Publicity for Oklahoma

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Even When They Don’t Pass, Anti-LGBT Bills Are Costing States Millions

From canceled concerts to corporate consequences, economic backlash over North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 has been widely publicized. 

However, a new study out of Oklahoma suggests that even when anti-LGBT legislation doesn’t pass, its mere consideration can have significant negative economic impacts for states.

The study, commissioned by the Tulsa Regional Chamber, found that anti-transgender legislation contributed to nearly $51 million worth of bad publicity for Oklahoma during this year’s legislative session. 

The Oklahoma Legislature made national headlines for its consideration of a bill that, like HB2, would have barred trans students  from using restrooms based on their gender identity in public schools. Although the Oklahoma bill died in a House committee, the chamber’s senior vice president for education and workforce, Brian Paschal, said that makes almost no difference in terms of public perception. 

“Lawmakers think, ‘It didn’t go anywhere, so we’re fine,’ ” Paschal told The Tulsa World. “We have (chamber) members who need skilled workers. There has to be some recognition of the … perception of the state outside of Oklahoma.”

“For Oklahoma to be successful, we have to have a skilled workforce,” he added. “Being an attractive place to live is a piece of that success.”

(It’s worth noting that although the anti-trans bill died, the Oklahoma Legislature passed a symbolic resolution calling for the impeachment of President Barack Obama over his directive requiring public school to allow trans students to use the restrooms of their choice.)

The chamber’s study is based on what is known as advertising value equivalency, which has long been used to measure the impact of positive media coverage. The study found that national stories about the anti-trans bill — along with unflattering coverage related to two other issues, education funding and the state budget — resulted in the equivalent of $50.9 million in negative advertising value for Oklahoma. 

“This is important because we’ve never been able to measure these impacts before,” Nick Doctor, the chamber’s senior vice president of government affairs, told the newspaper. 

On Friday, during the chamber’s annual recap of the session, Chairman Jeff Dunn blamed the problem on “nut jobs on the periphery” — right-wing lawmakers who wield too much influence over the legislative process. 

“We value our relationship with legislators,” Dunn said. “(But) I would submit we need some counseling.”

“When we go off on tangents, we look like North Carolina,” he added. “And when we look like North Carolina, it’s bad for business.”

 

 Image: The New Civil Rights Movement

 

 

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'ANGRY AND APPALLED'

Former Trump Defense Secretary Mattis Breaks Silence – Scorches Ex-Boss – Stands Up for Protestors in Scathing Statement

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Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general who served in the military from 1969 to 2013, has finally broken his long silence. In a scathing rebuke far more devastating than any delivered by any former Trump official (except his resignation letter), Mattis denounces Trump for violating the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens, and stands up for the protestors.

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try,” Mattis says, as The Atlantic reports.

“Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis writes. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

He goes on to contrast the American ethos of unity with Nazi ideology. “Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was “Divide and Conquer.” Our American answer is “In Union there is Strength.”’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.”

Mattis makes clear he is disgusted with how Trump has handled the protests across the nation – and that he supports the protestors.

“I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

He doesn’t stop there.

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis writes. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.” He goes on, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”

Read The Atlantic’s full report, or Mattis’ full statement at CNN.

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WHAT LEADERSHIP LOOKS LIKE

‘Showing Off With These Complete Sentences’: Internet Rejoices as ‘Real President’ Obama Speaks – ‘I Miss Him’

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Former President Barack Obama delivered forward-looking, encouraging remarks in response to the police killing of George Floyd and the ongoing nationwide protests, and the Internet rejoiced. President Obama’s comments, part of a town hall organized by his My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, were focused for his younger audience, and were short and seemingly off-the-cuff, yet inspired a nation thirsting for caring, intelligence, and leadership.

Take a look.

 

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FASCISM

The Pentagon Announced It Was Pulling Hundreds of Troops Out of DC. The Defense Secretary Just Canceled That Order.

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It took Secretary of Defense Mark Esper just two hours to countermand a decision the Pentagon had announced, that it was pulling hundreds of active-duty troops out of Washington, D.C.

“Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press that the reversal came after Esper attended a meeting at the White House, and after other internal Pentagon discussions,” the AP reports. “It is unclear if Esper met with President Donald Trump. McCarthy said he believes the change was based on ensuring there is enough military support in the region to respond to any protest problems if needed.”

Secretary Esper surprised many Wednesday morning when he announced at a hastily-called press conference he disagrees with invoking The Insurrection Act to deploy U.S. troops to cities across the nation to, as President Donald Trump has said, “quell” protestors. President Trump fully supports invoking the law, and has already heavily militarized D.C.

In more than 140 cities Americans have been protesting the police killing of an unarmed, handcuffed Black man, George Floyd, now for nine days and nights.

President Donald Trump has demanded mayors and governors “dominate” the protestors, and has posted threatening tweets advocating his position against the protestors.

About one hour ago several large military vehicles were deployed to the area in front of St. John’s Church, where President Trump held his Bible photo-op on Monday.

Image: DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class James K. Lee
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