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Texas GOP Lawmakers Vow to Pass North Carolina-Style Anti-LGBT Legislation Next Year

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Rabidly Anti-LGBT State Rep. Matt Shaheen: ‘If a Company Like Target Wants to Leave, I’ll Help Them Pack and Leave’

Despite severe economic backlash over North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2, Republican Texas state lawmakers are vowing to pass similar legislation when they convene in January. 

GOP state Rep. Matt Shaheen told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, for a story published Sunday, that he plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit cities, counties and school districts from allowing transgender people to use restrooms based on their gender identity.

“We’re taking that ability away,” Shaheen said. “We should leave that power where it should reside, at the state and federal level. I think this is such a silly topic. At the end of the day, this is about common sense and decency.”

Shaheen told the Star-Telegram he’s unconcerned about potential economic backlash over such a hateful, discriminatory bill. HB2, of course, has cost North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars, including the loss of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. 

“We are the 12th-largest economy in the world,” Shaheen said of Texas. “If a company like Target wants to leave, I’ll help them pack and leave. But the Texas economy is going to do fine.”

Such rhetoric is hardly surprising from Shaheen, who serves as a deacon at the notoriously anti-LGBT Prestonwood Baptist Church, and who first got elected to public office by attacking his opponent for voting to hire a gay man. On a side note, I contacted Shaheen about anti-LGBT legislation a few weeks ago, but he refused comment: 

It’s unclear just how far Shaheen’s bill will go, but his suggestion that it would drive Target out of Texas indicates it could even extend to private businesses, which would amount to an extreme example of the type of government overreach that Republicans so frequently rail against. Shaheen has also previously said he supports the removal of race- and sex-based protections from local nondiscrimination ordinances: 

But Shaheen is hardly alone in his zeal to pander to his right-wing base by persecuting marginalized communities. GOP Rep. Bill Zedler, who once tried to ban LGBT resource centers on state university campuses, told the Star-Telegram that the issue of trans restroom use “raises concerns mainly because anytime you want to make it where someone who self-identifies as a man … can now go into the woman’s restroom, I believe it puts small children at risk as well as … inconveniencing 99, 98 percent of the population so a very small percent of the population can supposedly feel comfortable.”

And GOP state Rep. Matt Krause, who once worked as an attorney for the Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT hate group, reportedly plans to introduce “religious freedom” legislation along the lines of Mississippi’s House Bill 1523, which was recently struck down as unconstitutional. This is despite the fact that Krause’s district includes Arlington’s AT&T Stadium, a perennial contender to host major sporting events whose organizers would undoubtedly look elsewhere if a such a bill were to pass. 

Texas lawmakers, who meet only every two years, filed the most anti-LGBT legislation in the history of any state in 2015, only to have the mark shattered by Oklahoma this year. Based on early indications, it wouldn’t be out of the question for the Texas Legislature to recapture the dubious record in 2017, when it gathers in Austin for the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell.  

EARLIER:

Second Texas City Responds to Target by Targeting Transgender People With Hateful ‘Bathroom Bill’

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WAR CRIMES

‘One Minute to Live, Sir’: Trump Shared Details of Soleimani Assassination With Top Dollar Donors at Mar-a-Lago Fundraiser

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President Donald Trump shared moment-by-moment details of his assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani with top high-dollar donors at  Friday night’s fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. The Commander-in-Chief also revealed he authorized the killing, not because of any supposed “imminent threat,” as he has previously asserted, but because intelligence reports, he said, found Solemiani was “talking about bad stuff.”

Killing Solemani as an act of retribution instead of as a preventative measure against imminent attack could be a war crime, legal experts have said.

The Washington Post reports Trump “spoke broadly about Soleimani as ‘the father of the road side bomb’ responsible for ‘every young, beautiful man or woman who see walking around with no legs, no arms.'”

Soleimani “was saying bad things about our country, like we’re going to attack, we’re going to kill your people. I said, ‘listen, how much of this shit do we have to listen to, right?’” Trump said, to applause.

The president also gave a blow-by-blow account of Soleimani’s killing.

“‘Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds.’ No emotion. ‘two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 …’ Then all of a sudden, boom,” Trump told the group of donors, according to audio recordings the Post received.

The Post also revealed that at Friday’s fundraiser, “Trump is heard boasting about increasing the defense budget by $2.5 trillion. To those who criticized his spending and the growing national debt, Trump said, ‘Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country.'”

 

 

 

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CORRUPTION

Lev Parnas Details ‘Intimate’ Cannabis Industry Dinner With Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

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In an extensive interview with the Daily Beast, Lev Parnas — the associate of Rudy Giuliani who is at the center of more allegations of corruption against Donald Trump — revealed details of a meeting he had with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner that the White House has tried to dismiss.

Speaking with the Beast’s Betsy Swan, Parnas stated that we was a participant at a private dinner at the Trump Hotel, with Swan writing, “In October 2018, he attended a dinner in a private suite at Trump Hotel hosted by the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. The dinner, with around a dozen people, connected Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump with leaders in the cannabis industry. Parnas said he was invited because he “was a Trump loyalist,” and because the super PAC’s Director of Development Joey Ahearn knew he was pro-cannabis.”

According to Parnas, cannabis entrepreneurs were hoping to influence Kushner in the hope he could influence the White House’s stance on weed.

“They wanted Jared to be more involved, maybe help push the agenda with the president because they felt that that was something he needed to be more lenient on,” Parnas explained.

As for a picture taken with the couple that went viral, Parnas sais the White House was lying about the circumstances under which is was taken.

“The White House has claimed that a picture of Parnas with Kushner and Ivanka Trump was ‘taken at an event in a photo line.’” the report states. “Parnas, however, said it was taken at the intimate dinner with cannabis industry insiders. Two sources with knowledge of the dinner confirmed that it happened in October 2018 and that Parnas attended. The decor in the background of the picture–as Zack Everson, author of a newsletter on Trump properties noted–indicates the photo was taken in the pricey Trump Hotel suite where the dinner was hosted.”

You can read more here.

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GOP DISINFORMATION MACHINE

Rod Rosenstein Admits He Authorized Release of Strzok-Page Texts That Spawned Preposterous GOP Conspiracy Theories

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In a court filing released on Friday, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein admitted that he authorized the release of the text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

Strzok and Page, who were involved in the Russia investigation prior to dismissal by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and whose extramarital affair inflamed Fox News’ outrage for months, revealed a dislike of President Donald Trump in their text messages, which formed the basis of GOP conspiracy theories that the FBI had been secretly working to bring down the president with the Russia investigation.

Subsequent investigations have failed to find any evidence that Strzok, Page, or any other FBI officials tried to politically target Trump with the power of the agency. However, a recent inspector general report suggests some of their surveillance practices may have been improper and require reform.

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