House Speaker Joe Straus said the controversial bathroom bill felt “manufactured and unnecessary.”
Straus said the bill, which has drawn the ire of Texas businesses and been criticized as discriminatory against transgender people, felt “manufactured and unnecessary.”
“If we’ve gotten to the point in our civilization, in our society, that our politicians have to pass bills about bathroom stuff … I mean, we’ve gotten really out of control,” he said.
“For it to get this much attention in a legislative session is astounding to me,” he added.
The proposal would regulate bathroom use in public schools and government buildings on the basis of “biological sex,” prohibiting most transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The legislation would also nix local anti-discrimination laws meant to allow transgender residents to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity.
“I oppose it,” Straus said. “… I don’t feel a great deal of fervor to promote that bill in the House.”
In a wide-ranging interview with Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project and a Texas Tribune pollster, Straus downplayed tensions between the House and the Senate and distanced himself from recent comments made by Gov. Greg Abbott about city and county policies.
Asked about Abbott’s Tuesday remark that he wants the Legislature to pass a “broad-based law” that pre-empts local regulations, Straus said he didn’t know “exactly” what the governor had said but that Straus preferred a “step-by-step” approach to issues of local control.
“I don’t think a blanket policy on exerting power from Austin over locals is a particularly attractive idea, and I don’t think it’ll happen,” Straus said.
I suggest this special petal flower Snowflake suck it up.
The teen, known in the lawsuit as “Joel Doe,” claims that using the same locker room as a trans student has caused him “embarrassment and humiliation.” He is asking for damages and he wants the school district to rescind its current policy that allows trans students to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their authentic gender identity.
According to HuffPost’s Kim Bellware, Doe believes “unconsented exposure to persons of the opposite sex in various states of undress creates a sexually harassing, hostile environment,” which violates his rights under the federal Title IX law that prohibits sex discrimination.
In other words, the cis student believes he is being discriminated against.
I know. This is some next level “Twilight Zone” grade shit going on right here. But it’s not just twisted, it’s also diabolically brilliant.
Doe and his legal team are asserting that “people who oppose the equal participation of transgender people in society are the ones being victimized,” Harper Jean Tobin, director of policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality, told Bellware.
Essentially, this means that instead of claiming that trans people are (only?) a physical danger to cisgender (non-trans) people ― an argument proven baseless ― the lawsuit is positing sexual harassment and mental anguish as a possible side effect a cis student might experience upon seeing trans students being treated like human beings.
So now it’s not (just?) being raped or attacked in bathrooms that cis people are afraid of. Now it’s not (just?) the wives and daughters we’re trying to protect. Now we must look out for men and boys who are so terrified by the idea of maybe getting a glimpse of body parts that might not match their own that they can’t even function.
It’s a cunning move. Doe is taking the same tactics that trans people have used to argue and win equal rights and access to public facilities and turning them on their head for his own bigoted purposes.
The difference is that, when trans people are prevented from using public restrooms and locker rooms because of their identity, it’s due to discrimination based on their gender identity. Doe, on the other hand, is not being barred from any situation or location. Instead, he simply wants his discomfort with transgender people to be privileged over the discrimination that keeps trans people out of locker rooms and rest rooms in the first place.
Part of me isn’t convinced that Doe is a real boy with real concerns. I don’t doubt that he actually exists somewhere, but knowing that his case was filled by Alliance Defending Freedom ― an organization has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center ― makes me question who is really driving this crazy train and what the ultimate goal of this lawsuit really is.
So here’s what I think: If Doe can’t give this teen in his class the same respect he’d give any other person — and who I would bet both of my testicles just wants to get in and out of that locker room as quickly than Doe does ― Doe shouldn’t get to use the locker room. It’s time we start singling out those who want to make trouble and misery for others and forcing them to live their lives differently as a result instead of the other way around. If you don’t want to play nicely (a.k.a treat everyone equally no matter what they look like or how they identify), then you shouldn’t be allowed to play. See ya. Bye.
Lili Bayer and Larry Cohler-Esses
March 16, 2017
Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II, leaders of the organization have told the Forward.
The elite order, known as the Vitézi Rend, was established as a loyalist group by Admiral Miklos Horthy, who ruled Hungary as a staunch nationalist from 1920 to October 1944. A self-confessed anti-Semite, Horthy imposed restrictive Jewish laws prior to World War II and collaborated with Hitler during the conflict. His cooperation with the Nazi regime included the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews into Nazi hands.
Gorka’s membership in the organization — if these Vitézi Rend leaders are correct, and if Gorka did not disclose this when he entered the United States as an immigrant — could have implications for his immigration status. The State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual specifies that members of the Vitézi Rend “are presumed to be inadmissible” to the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Gorka — who Vitézi Rend leaders say took a lifelong oath of loyalty to their group — did not respond to multiple emails sent to his work and personal accounts, asking whether he is a member of the Vitézi Rend and, if so, whether he disclosed this on his immigration application and on his application to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2012. The White House also did not respond to a request for comment.
But Bruce Einhorn, a retired immigration judge who now teaches nationality law at Pepperdine University, said of this, “His silence speaks volumes.”
The group to which Gorka reportedly belongs is a reconstitution of the original group on the State Department list, which was banned in Hungary until the fall of Communism in 1989. There are now two organizations in Hungary that claim to be the heirs of the original Vitézi Rend, with Gorka, according to fellow members, belonging to the so-called “Historical Vitézi Rend.” Though it is not known to engage in violence, the Historical Vitézi Rend upholds all the nationalist and oftentimes racial principles of the original group as established by Horthy.
Einhorn said these nuances did not relieve Gorka of the obligation, if he’s a member, to disclose his affiliation when applying for his visa or his citizenship.
“This is a group that advocates racialist nativism,” said Einhorn. If Gorka did not disclose his affiliation with it, he said, this would constitute “failure to disclose a material fact,” which could undermine the validity of both his immigration status and claim to citizenship.
Republi-Nazis don’t give a shit about the citizens, or tax payers. All they give a damned about is pushing their hateful agenda.
From The News and Observer: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article140966868.html
By Emery P. Dalesio and Jonathan Drew
March 27, 2017
Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” isn’t hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis.
Over the past year, North Carolina has suffered financial hits ranging from scuttled plans for a PayPal facility that would have added an estimated $2.66 billion to the state’s economy to a canceled Ringo Starr concert that deprived a town’s amphitheater of about $33,000 in revenue. The blows have landed in the state’s biggest cities as well as towns surrounding its flagship university, and from the mountains to the coast.
North Carolina could lose hundreds of millions more because the NCAA is avoiding the state, usually a favored host. The group is set to announce sites for various championships through 2022, and North Carolina won’t be among them as long as the law is on the books. The NAACP also has initiated a national economic boycott.
The AP analysis (http://apne.ws/2n9GSjE ) — compiled through interviews and public records requests — represents the largest reckoning yet of how much the law, passed one year ago, could cost the state. The law excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections, and requires transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings.
Still, AP’s tally ( http://bit.ly/2o9Dzdd ) is likely an underestimation of the law’s true costs. The count includes only data obtained from businesses and state or local officials regarding projects that canceled or relocated because of HB2. A business project was counted only if AP determined through public records or interviews that HB2 was why it pulled out.
Some projects that left, such as a Lionsgate television production that backed out of plans in Charlotte, weren’t included because of a lack of data on their economic impact.
The AP also tallied the losses of dozens of conventions, sporting events and concerts through figures from local officials. The AP didn’t attempt to quantify anecdotal reports that lacked hard numbers, or to forecast the loss of future conventions.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan — who leads the largest company based in North Carolina — said he’s spoken privately to business leaders who went elsewhere with projects or events because of the controversy, and he fears more decisions like that are being made quietly.
By Ryan Smith
March 22, 2017
Perhaps Thomas Frank should have added an exclamation mark to the title of his latest book. As it was, Listen Liberal: Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of the People? largely fell on deaf ears when it was initially released in April 2016. Echoing arguments frequently made by Bernie Sanders during the primary campaign against Hillary Clinton, Frank’s pointed polemic attacked the Clintons, Rahm Emanuel, and the mainstream Democratic Party for abandoning America’s working people in favor of Wall Street and the professional classes. But the mainstream media and political commentators mostly shunned the book until after Election Day—when it suddenly looked prescient. On November 9, it was listed in the New York Times article “Six Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win.”
The liberals, in other words, are listening now—even if it’s too late to avoid the horrors of a Trump presidency. Back on the road promoting the paperback edition, Frank will appear for a reading at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park on March 27. But despite the recent attention his analysis is getting, the onetime Chicagoan and cofounder of the Baffler isn’t necessarily more hopeful about the Democratic Party than he was a year ago.
When we spoke last year, there was a media silence around your book. How much has that changed?
The book has sold well, lots of people have read it, I get a lot of e-mails, and people talk about it all the time. But the national American media is still not interested, by and large. It’s weird because in other countries I’m on TV and radio all the time. I just came back from Australia and Scandinavia, and both places were very interested in it. The same is true in Canada and in the UK.
How do you explain the greater interest abroad?
They’re very worried about Trump overseas. In Australia they’re worried he might get them into a war. The other thing is that a lot of these countries think they’re going to have their own Trump one of these days. If you look at what’s happening to these left parties in Europe—they’re getting slaughtered. It’s happening all over the place.
What do you think blinded the Democrats and liberals to your critique?
That’s a good question. The Democrats had all these postmortems and “What went wrong?” inquiries, but they refuse to admit they did anything wrong. For a long time, these people denied that the working class was walking away from the Democratic Party. Now they see it’s plain and then switch to a new line of thinking: “Well, there’s nothing we can do to win those people back, because the only possible appeal is to become a more racist party, and we’re not interested in that.”
So they’re determined not to adopt left populism, which is what the Democratic Party used to do. The problem is that for the Clinton wing of the party, it’s essential to their identity that they turn their backs on that kind of politics. That’s who they are. They can’t go back now.
It also seems like a lot of Democrats have used the Russian hacking scandal and the alleged Putin-Trump ties to paper over flaws with their own party. It was like, “Putin hacked the election so why should we change?”
Yes, they’ve made plenty of excuses. And as far as excuses go, it’s pretty lame. The Comey intervention had a much bigger impact. And you know what had a bigger impact still, which they never talk about? The big increase in Obamacare premiums a few weeks before the election. I couldn’t believe that Barack Obama didn’t move heaven and earth to keep it from happening. Secondly, the [Trans-Pacific Partnership]. What the hell was Obama thinking pushing it right up until the end while poor Hillary was out there trying to distance herself from it? When you talk about blunders, those were worse than Russia—if it was Russia—stealing John Podesta’s e-mail.
By Steven Rosenfeld
March 15, 2017
How close is President Donald Trump to following the path blazed by last century’s tyrants? Could American democracy be replaced with totalitarian rule? There’s enough resemblance that Yale historian Timothy Snyder, who studies fascist and communist regime change and totalitarian rule, has written a book warning about the threat and offering lessons for resistance and survival. The author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century talked to AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld.
Steven Rosenfeld: Three weeks ago, you said that the country has perhaps a year “to defend American democracy.” You said what happens in the next few weeks is crucial. Are you more concerned than ever that our political culture and institutions are evolving toward fascism, resembling key aspects of the early 20th-century European regimes you’ve studied?
Timothy Snyder: Let me answer you in three parts. The first thing is that the 20 lessons that I wrote, I wrote on Nov. 15. The book, On Tyranny, was done by Christmas. Which means if people read it now, and people are reading it, and it’s describing the world they are in, that means I’ve successfully made predictions based on history. We’re going to talk about what is going to come, but I want to point out that timeline — it was basically completely blind. But the book does describe what is going on now.
The year figure is there because we have to recognize that things move fast. Nazi Germany took about a year. Hungary took about two and a half years. Poland got rid of the top-level judiciary within a year. It’s a rough historical guess, but the point is because there is an outside limit, you therefore have to act now. You have to get started early. It’s just very practical advice. It’s the meta-advice of the past: That things slip out of reach for you, psychologically very quickly and then legally almost as quickly. It’s hard for people to act when they feel other people won’t act. It’s hard for people to act when they feel like they have to break the law to do so. So it is important to get out in front before people face those psychological and legal barriers.
Am I more worried now? I realize that was your question. No, I’m exactly as worried as I was before, in November. I think that the people who inhabit the White House inhabit a different ideological world in which they would like for the United States not to be the constitutional system that it now is. I was concerned about that in November. I’m concerned about it now. Nothing that has happened since has changed the way I see things.
SR: Let’s talk about how this evolution takes place. You’ve written about how “post-truth is pre-fascism.” You talk about leaders ignoring facts, law and history. How far along this progression are we? I’m wondering where you might see things going next.
TS: That’s tough because what history does is give you a whole bunch of cases where democratic republics become authoritarian regimes; sometimes fascist regimes, sometimes communist regimes. It doesn’t give you one storyline: A, B, C, D. It gives you a bunch of clusters of A, and a bunch of clusters of C. But factuality is really important and more important than people realize, because it’s the substructure of regime change.
We think about democracy, and that’s the word that Americans love to use, democracy, and that’s how we characterize our system. But if democracy just means going to vote, it’s pretty meaningless. Russia has democracy in that sense. Most authoritarian regimes have democracy in that sense. Nazi Germany had democracy in that sense, even after the system had fundamentally changed.
Democracy only has substance if there’s the rule of law. That is, if people believe that the votes are going to be counted and they are counted. If they believe that there’s a judiciary out there that will make sense of things if there’s some challenge. If there isn’t rule of law, people will be afraid to vote the way they want to vote. They’ll vote for their own safety as opposed to their convictions. So the thing we call democracy depends on the rule of law. And the things we call the rule of law depends upon trust. Law functions 99 percent of the time automatically. It functions because we think it’s out there. And that, in turn, depends on the sense of truth. So there’s a mechanism here. You can get right to heart of the matter if you can convince people that there is no truth. Which is why the stuff that we characterize as post-modern and might dismiss is actually really, really essential.
The second thing about “post-truth is pre-fascism” is I’m trying to get people’s attention, because that is actually how fascism works. Fascism says, disregard the evidence of your senses, disregard observation, embolden deeds that can’t be proven, don’t have faith in God but have faith in leaders, take part in collective myth of an organic national unity and so forth. Fascism was precisely about setting the whole Enlightenment aside and then selling what sort of myths emerged. Now those [national] myths are pretty unpredictable, and contingent on different nations and different leaders and so on, but to just set facts aside is actually the fastest catalyst. So that part concerns me a lot.
Continue reading at: http://billmoyers.com/story/dont-act-now-fascism-will-doorstep-says-yale-historian/
From Think Progress: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-greenlights-harassment-transgender-kids-7a2a1dd979ce
Mar 27, 2017
In the weeks since President Donald Trump’s administration revoked federal guidance aimed at protecting transgender students, school has been a nightmare for 17-year-old Lyle Howard.
“Ever since Trump rescinded the guidance, I’ve been harassed and bullied and yelled at in the halls,” said Howard, a sophomore at Ozark High School in southwest Missouri. “I have been declared not a person. I am an ‘it.’”
Howard, a transgender boy, says he had been using the boys’ bathroom at his public high school since the beginning of the school year without any problems. But that changed last month, when the Trump administration reversed Obama-era guidelines affirming transgender students’ right to use the bathroom in line with their gender identities. One day later, Howard says, he was chased into a bathroom stall by another boy, who banged on the door and yelled in the halls that there was a woman in the wrong bathroom. As he sees it, the timing of the incident was no coincidence.
“It’s definitely had a huge impact,” Howard said of the federal government’s reversal on transgender protections.
Trump’s decision to pull federal support for transgender students has already begun to significantly affect the lives of thousands of kids. Though the rescission itself did not change existing law, it did create a climate where schools could potentially feel safe rolling back trans-inclusive policies or ignoring cases of harassment. Many LGBTQ advocates, parents and students now say they’re concerned the administration’s action will embolden bullies and opponents of nondiscrimination protections, while exacerbating the already disproportionate rate of anxiety and depression among transgender youth.
Legally, the administration’s move also had a major impact. The Supreme Court was set to hear arguments this week in a case brought by 17-year-old Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy suing his Virginia school district for the right to use the bathroom matching his gender identity. By the end of the school year, that case could have settled once and for all the question of whether barring transgender students from the bathroom of their choice amounts to unlawful sex discrimination under Title IX, a statute prohibiting such discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. But after the Trump administration rescinded the guidance on transgender protections, the justices decided early this month to return the case to a lower court for reconsideration, delaying much-needed clarity on the issue.
Continue reading at: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-greenlights-harassment-transgender-kids-7a2a1dd979ce