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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Abortion, Diversity, Drag Shows, EVs, and Trans People: Tennessee AG Waging Massive Multi-State Culture War

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State attorneys general are charged with ensuring laws within their borders are enforced. Occasionally they may join together, for example, to sue a manufacturer who has violated multiple state laws, or even join an amicus brief laying out their positions on matters before the U.S. Supreme Court.

But increasing Republican state attorneys general are working across their own state lines in attempts to impose their own state laws and more on residents of other states – or the entire nation.

Tennessee’s Republican attorney general, Jonathan Skrmetti, was appointed in September of 2022 by the state Supreme Court.

Since then, Skrmetti has been actively attacking abortion rights, transgender children’s health care, drag shows, firearms regulations, corporate diversity programs, a Florida school’s policy on a transgender student’s privacy, and the decision by credit card companies to separately classify gun purchases, to name a few issues.

READ MORE: GOP Senators and Right-Wingers Freak Out Over Biden Ordering 3000 Reservists to Ready for Possible Deployment to Europe

He or his office have also accessed the medical records of transgender people,

Earlier this week anchor Rachel Maddow took a look into Skrmetti “demanding and obtaining the private medical records of trans people in Tennessee as Republicans look for ways to make the lives of trans people miserable,” MSNBC reported.

Just yesterday, Skrmetti headed a coalition of 13 Republican state attorneys general “warning the nation’s largest companies — many of which have diversity and equity programs — they could face legal action for using race-based policies,” Tennessee Lookout reported. The sharply-worded letter “put Fortune 100 companies on notice they could be hit with legal action for violating the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, which put an end to using race as a basis for admitting students to college.”

“If your company previously resorted to racial preferences or naked quotas to offset its bigotry, that discriminatory path is now definitively closed,” the letter states. “Your company must overcome its underlying bias and treat all employees, all applicants, and all contractors equally, without regard for race.”

READ MORE: ‘Restore the Sanctity of Life’: Pence Supports Forcing Women to Carry Non-Viable Fetuses to Term

But even before that, Skrmetti has been exceptionally active in waging his culture war battles, inside and across state lines.

In January, “Skrmetti and 17 other attorneys general filed their amicus brief in the Western District of Texas in the case of Carter v. McDonough in support of the plaintiff, Stephanie Carter, a Veterans Administration nurse who opposes” a rule “allowing taxpayer-funded abortions and abortion counseling for veterans and beneficiaries,” Tennessee Lookout reported.

In February, Skrmetti joined with nearly two dozen other states in “backing a lawsuit that would remove the abortion pill from throughout the United States after more than two decades, eliminating the option even in states where abortion access remains legal.” In other words, a nationwide ban on a popular form of medical abortion. That case, Tennessee Lookout reported, was filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal group that recently won the highly-controversial Supreme Court case last month involving a web designer who said Colorado’s non-discrimination law blocked her from being able to design wedding websites only for different-sex couples.

The following month, “Skrmetti sent letters to Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid seeking confirmation that they will not sell or dispense mifepristone, an abortion-inducing drug, in Tennessee,” Chattanoogan.com reported.

Also in March, Skrmetti joined 20 other Republican state attorneys general in a letter sent  to asset managers, “suggesting they are breaching their fiduciary duties in their handling of environmental or social issues,” Reuters reported, namely, taking into consideration “ESG” – environmental, social, and governance factors in financial decisions. That was followed in June when Skrmetti “demanded ten major asset managers provide information over how they seek to tackle climate change, as part of an investigation into potential breaches of consumer law.”

READ MORE: Inflation Is Plummeting Across America – But Not in Ron DeSantis’ Florida

Last week in a press release Skrmetti bragged that he was joining 24 other states to challenge new EPA regulations on gasoline-powered automobile emissions. He is claiming the regulations are “unlawful” and “threaten national security.” Skrmetti also claims the regulations “would forcibly phase out gas-powered vehicles and restructure the automobile industry around electric vehicles (EVs) at a breakneck pace.”

Late last month Skrmetti appealed a federal court ruling that found Tennessee’s ban on drag shows violated the U.S. Constitution, ABC24 reported. In a statement Skrmetti suggested the language of the Tennessee law was similar to that of laws that prevent “grooming kids with pornography.”

Even before many of these actions, some voiced concerns.

Attorney and former Democratic county chairman Michael Lottman in an op-ed asked, “How do nationwide lawsuits Attorney General Skrmetti joined help Tennessee?”

Noting that “Skrmetti’s predecessor, Herbert Slatery, had frequently taken advantage of his position to impose his personal political opinions upon lawsuits and people in other jurisdictions,” Lottman criticized Skrmetti’s decision to sign on to the brief supporting a Veterans Administration nurse trying to prevent abortion services at her Texas hospital, “for both religious and medical reasons,” Lottman noted.

He also pointed out that “in January, The Tennessean reported that Skrmetti had joined three other non-Tennessee court cases, including a nakedly political, challenge to President Biden’s plan for unscrambling the disastrous situation at the U.S.’s southern border.”

“More recently, Skrmetti teamed up with two dozen other A.G.’s  in a letter to Yelp,” Lottman continued, “challenging Yelp’s decision to warn consumers that the so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ around the country ‘may provide limited medical services and may not have licensed medical professionals onsite.'”

In May, the GOP-majority Tennessee state legislature added millions of dollars to Attorney General Skrmetti’s budget to help him continue this work.

Watch the video above or at this link.

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BIGOTRY

Rep. Tim Walberg Tells Uganda to ‘Stand Firm’ on ‘Kill The Gays’ Law Ted Cruz Called ‘Horrific’

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Tim Walberg Uganda Kill The Gays Law

Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) delivered a speech in Uganda to defend the country’s President Yoweri Museveni and the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, better known as the “Kill the Gays” law.

Walberg traveled to Uganda in October to attend a national prayer breakfast organized by the Fellowship Foundation, also known as The Family, which also covered the cost of his trip, according to TYT. In the speech, transcribed by the blog Take Care Tim, he told the attendees to “stand firm” in the face of criticism.

“Whose side do we want to be on? God’s side. Not the World Bank, not the United States of America necessarily, not the UN. God’s side,” Walberg said. “I think as we go on here, it says, ‘So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.’ – Who’s gonna do that? God is gonna do that. Your esteemed President, his excellency, President Museveni needs a nation that stands with him and says, though the rest of the world is pushing back on you, though there are other major countries that are trying to get into you and ultimately change you, stand firm. Stand firm.”

READ MORE: Mike Johnson Once Agreed to Speak at ‘Kill the Gays’ Pastor’s Conference – Until an NCRM Report

Walberg made it clear he knew his view would be unpopular in the United States.

“Now, this will probably get back to the national media in the United States, and I expect some pushback, but I’m not gonna give in to them. … I know that your President is a warrior. I like that about him. We’re in a battle, folks. We are in a battle,” he said.

Though Uganda has had homophobia enshrined in its legal code since it was a British protectorate, the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 is a drastic escalation. Previously, homosexuality was punished with life in prison, according to the Advocate. The new law allows the death penalty for those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.” It also bans “promotion of homosexuality,” much like Russia bans queer “propaganda”.

The law is so draconian that Republican Senator Ted Cruz—no ally to the queer communitycondemned it. In May, shortly after Museveni signed the law, Cruz called the law “horrific” on X, formerly Twitter.

This Uganda law is horrific & wrong. Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is grotesque & an abomination. ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse. #LGBTQ,” Cruz tweeted.

Attempts to pass a similar bill to the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 started in 2014, with a bill also called the “Kill the Gays” law. That form of the bill was built by anti-LGBTQ activist Scott Lively, who previously claimed then-President Barack Obama was secretly gay.

While it didn’t go into effect then, the bill and ones like it kept popping up on Uganda’s parliamentary agenda. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden threatened to cut nearly $1 billion in annual aid to Uganda if the bill passed.

A previous version of this story credited Salon with the initial reporting; Salon had republished the article from TYT. The sourcing has been corrected; NCRM regrets the error.

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Federal Judge Issues Injunction on Idaho Anti-Trans Law Days Before It Takes Effect

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A federal judge issued an injunction Tuesday against an Idaho anti-trans law that would bar prescribing puberty blockers to transgender youth.

The Idaho anti-trans law, House Bill 71, was signed into law by Republican Governor Brad Little last April, according to the Idaho Statesman. It was scheduled take effect on January 1, 2024. Providing gender-affirming care to minors, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries would become a felony under the law. This is even though it is exceedingly rare for a person under 18 to be offered these type of surgeries, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday, stopping the Idaho anti-trans law from taking effect in less than a week. Winmill said that the pending lawsuit filed by two trans minors and their parents will most likely succeed, citing the 14th Amendment, according to the Statesman.

READ MORE: ‘I’m Suing’: Montana Democrat Silenced by Republicans in Battle Over Transgender Health Care Files Lawsuit

“Time and again, these cases illustrate that the 14th Amendment’s primary role is to protect disfavored minorities and preserve our fundamental rights from legislative overreach,” he wrote. “That was true for newly freed slaves following the Civil War. It was true in the 20th century for women, people of color, interracial couples and individuals seeking access to contraception. And it is no less true for transgender children and their parents in the 21st century.”

Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador told the paper he will appeal the injunction. Labrador claims “Winmill’s ruling places children at risk of irreversible harm.” The use of the phrase “irreversible harm” echoes the anti-trans book Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier. Shrier’s book endorses the since-debunked theory of “rapid-onset gender dysphoria.” The theory claims girls will declare themselves to be transgender as part of a “social contagion”—basically comparing transitioning to a fad.

Winmill, appointed to the Idaho district court in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, has recently ruled in other pivotal culture-war cases. This August, Winmill blocked Labrador from prosecuting doctors who send patients out-of-state for an abortion, KMVT-TV reported.

In August 2022, he also issued an injunction stopping Labrador from prosecuting ER doctors who provide an abortion in attempts to stabilize a patient, according to the Idaho Capital Sun, while a suit against the law.works its way through the court system. The injunction was overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in September of this year, according to the Capital Sun, though the lawsuit itself is still pending.

 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Mike Johnson Likens Himself to Moses, Tells Christian Nationalists God Charted His Path to Speaker

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Mike Johnson, delivering the keynote address to a far-right Christian nationalist group Tuesday, likened himself to Moses and declared God had charted his path to become the Republican Speaker of the House, after telling him in his prayers to prepare.

Speaker Johnson, a Christian nationalist who falsely claims the Constitution’s separation of church and state is a “misnomer” and has declared the United States is not democracy but a “biblical” republic, is an attorney who once worked for a far-right organization that has since been designated an anti-LGBTQ extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Johnson was the lead sponsor last year of a federal “Don’t Say Gay” bill and has bragged that he and his teenaged son are accountability partners in a no-porn pledge that includes installation of monitoring software on all their devices.

“I’ll tell you a secret since the media is not here,” Speaker Johnson said at the National Association of Christian Lawmakers (NACL) Gala (video below), where he was honored with their American Patriot Award for Christian Honor and Courage, as Right Wing Watch reported.

“Thank you for not allowing the media in, I’ll tell you a secret because they wanted to come because they wanted to, you know, take my comments out of context as they’ve been doing with with great joy for the last few weeks,” Johnson charged, not specifying which of his remarks he believes have been taken out of context.

READ MORE: Jim Comer Decimated by NBC Reporter in ‘Under Two Minutes’

“The Lord impressed upon my heart a few weeks before this happened, that something was going to occur,” Johnson continued. “And the Lord very specifically told me in my prayers to prepare, but to wait. ‘Prepare for what?’ I said to the Lord. You know, I had this sense that we were going to come to a Red Sea moment in our Republican conference and the country at large.”

“And look, I’m a Southern Baptist, I don’t want to get too spooky on you. Okay, but you know, you know okay,” he continued. “All right. But you know, the Lord speaks to your heart. And He had been speaking to me about this and the Lord told me very clearly to prepare and be ready. Be ready for what? Okay, I don’t know. We’re coming to a Red Sea moment. ‘What does that mean, Lord?’ And then when the Speaker’s race happened.”

He said, “the Lord began to wake me up through this three-week process we’re in in the middle of night and to speak to me and to write things down plans and procedures and ideas on how we could pull the conference together.”

“Now at the time I assumed the Lord is going to choose a new Moses. And oh, thank you the Lord. Lord, you’re gonna allow me to be Aaron to Moses,” Johnson told the attendees.

Johnson reminded his audience of the Speaker’s debacle, going down the line of friends who he tried to help become Speaker, acknowledging that all of them failed.

READ MORE: ‘Does America Need More God?’: Mike Johnson Laments LGBTQ High School Kids

He continued, explaining that “at the end, when it came to the end, the Lord said, ‘Now step forward.’ ‘Me? I’m supposed to be Aaron.’ Now the Lord said, ‘Step forward.’ Psalm 77 speaks of the Exodus in the 14th chapter of Exodus and it says, ‘Only God saw the path through the roiling sea, we could not see it, men could not see it.’ And I believe deep in my heart, is my core conviction, that God wants us to seek Him for the path through the roiling sea.”

As Right Wing Watch reports, after Johnson’s speech, “NACL founder Jason Rapert presented Johnson with the Honor and Courage award, along with a piece of a destroyed Ten Commandments monument that Rapert had placed in front of the Arkansas state capitol in 2017.”

“’It’s very obvious to see, you’re one of us,’ Rapert told Johnson.”

Rolling Stone adds that Johnson’s speech Tuesday is “just the latest evidence that the politician who is now second in line for the presidency views himself as on a divine mission.”

Watch the video of Speaker Johnson below or at this link.

READ MORE: Mike Johnson Once Fought to Block a Married Same-Sex Family’s Adoption: Report

 

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