voter repeal
Opinion | Our Fake Democracy
Remember when Republicans used to pretend to care about crafting the people’s business in sunlight?
By Timothy Egan

Timothy Egan at NYT:

On almost every single concern, Congress — whether it’s the misnamed People’s House, or the Senate, laughably mischaracterized as the world’s greatest deliberative body — is going against what most of the country wants. And Congress is doing this because there will be no consequences.

We have a fake democracy, growing less responsive and less representative by the day.

The biggest example of this is the monstrosity of a health care bill, which a cartel of Republicans finally allowed us to peek at on Thursday. The lobbyists have seen it; of course. But for the rest us, our first look at a radical overhaul of one-sixth of the economy, something that touches every American, comes too late to make our voices heard.

Crafted in total darkness, the bill may pass by a slim majority of people who have not read it. Inevitably, with something that deprives upward of 23 million Americans of health care, people will die because of this bill. States will be making life and death decisions as they drop the mandated benefits of Obamacare and cut vital care for the poor, the elderly, the sick and the drug-addicted through Medicaid. The sunset of Obamacare is the dawn of death panels.

It would be understandable if Republicans were doing this because it’s what most Americans want them to do. But it’s not. Only about 25 percent of Americans approved of a similar version of this bill, the one passed by the House. By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, people would prefer that the Affordable Care Act be kept in place and fixed, rather than junked for this cruel alternative.

The Senate bill is “by far, the most harmful piece of legislation I have seen in my lifetime,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. At age 75, he’s seen a lot.


Our fake democracy reveals itself daily. Less than a third of Americans support President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. In a truly representative government, you would see the other two-thirds, the common-sense majority, howling from the halls of Congress.

Most Americans are also against building a wall along the Mexican border. They would prefer putting taxpayers’ billions into roads, bridges, schools and airports. But the wall remains a key part of President Trump’s agenda.

Trump is president, of course, despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million people. Almost 60 percent of the public is against him now. In a parliamentary system, he’d be thrown out in a no-confidence vote. In our system, he’s primed to change life for every citizen, against the wishes of a majority of Americans. Try calling that a democracy while keeping a straight face.

The editorial from The New York Times’ Timothy Egan called “Our Fake Democracy” is a must-read, especially in regards to the GOP’s ramming of Trumpcare down the throats of the American people, the withdrawal of the Paris Climate Agreement, and other host of items unpopular with the majority of the American populace.
BREAKING: North Carolina Legislature Passes Bill To Allow LGBT Discrimination, Will Be Most Dangerous Anti-LGBTQ Law In America
By Dominic Holden
  • House Bill 2 would override local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances in the state and ban transgender people from certain restrooms.
  • It was designed to negate a law in Charlotte to protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing and public accommodations.
  • Lawmakers in the House voted 83-25 Wednesday to pass the bill.
  • The Senate committee approved the bill in a 32-0 vote after Democrats walked out.
  • The bill now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.

Republican leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday rushed through a bill that would repeal all local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances in the state and ban transgender people from certain restrooms.

Introduced and passed within 10 hours, the bill now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory desk. His spokesman, John Ellis, told BuzzFeed News that he plans to sign the bill Wednesday night.

The House voted 83-25 in the afternoon, and the Senate voted 32-0 Wednesday evening — a unanimous vote only because every Democratic senator walked out.

Republicans had unveiled the legislation Wednesday morning, arguing the measure was needed to protect women and portraying transgender people as sex predators.

They were attempting to nix an ordinance in Charlotte — which had been scheduled to take effect April 1 — that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing and public accommodations.

Critics claimed the public accommodations portion of the city ordinance would create a safety risk because it allows transgender women, who they called “men,” to prey on women and girls.

John Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, told senators the Charlotte ordinance “means men could enter women restrooms and locker rooms — placing the privacy, safety, and dignity of women and the elderly at great risk.”

House Bill 2 mandates that state law supersede all local ordinances concerning wages, employment, and public accommodations.

The state’s preemption bill, however, would do more than stymie Charlotte’s law.

House Bill 2 mandates that state law supersedes all local ordinances concerning wages, employment, and public accommodations. It would also restrict single-sex public restrooms and locker rooms in publicly run facilities to people of the same sex on their birth certificate.

It would also ban transgender students from school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity — teeing up a potential legal clash with the federal government, which has found civil rights laws ban transgender discrimination in schools.

Nine other jurisdictions in the state have ordinances similar to Charlotte’s.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who could veto the bill, previously said the Charlotte City Council overreached with its LGBT ordinance. But his office has not responded to BuzzFeed News’ request to comment on the specifics of HB 2.

Democrats and some businesses decried the bill as discriminatory on Wednesday.

Dow Chemical announced its opposition during a floor debate in the House:

As did the state’s attorney general, Roy Cooper, who called the bill “shameful.”

“That North Carolina is making discrimination part of the law is shameful,” said Cooper. “It will not only cause real harm to families, but to our economy as well.”

Democratic lawmakers had not been given a chance to read the bill Wednesday morning, introduced just an hour before its first committee vote. Democratic Rep. Bobby Richardson asked for five minutes to examine the bill before a hearing in the the House Judiciary IV Committee.

“I’m not really sure what is in this bill,” she said.

In testimony before the committee, Christian conservatives said they were furious that Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance would allow transgender women to use women’s restrooms, which they contend allows “men” to sexually prey on girls.

The specter of “men in women’s bathrooms” has been a common refrain among opponents of LGBT rights around the country.

Echoing those talking points, leaders of the House and Senate called the special session on Monday.

Lt. Governor Dan Forest and House Speaker Tim Moore, both Republicans, said in a statement they would address “a radical Charlotte City Council ordinance allowing men to share public bathrooms and locker rooms with young girls and women.”

However, there are no known instances in 17 states and 225 cities with laws banning LGBT discrimination of the policies being used to promote or defend predatory behavior in bathrooms or locker rooms.

“Repeating a lie over and over does not make it true,” said Reverend Mykal Slack, taking on the anti-transgender bathroom message.

“I am a transgender male, and I am not a threat to you,” he continued. “I go to work every day and go to church ever Sunday.”

But LGBT groups have been reticent to directly rebut the bathroom messages in Charlotte or before Wednesday’s legislative session, instead focusing on the broad protections of the city law for LGBT people. That strategy appears to recreate the same dynamics that led voters to repeal Houston’s LGBT ordinance last fall.

In contrast, transgender women have a well documented history of being the targets of hate-motivated assault and homicide. Alex McNeill, a transgender man who lives in North Carolina, told reporters on a phone call Tuesday, “A female friend of mine was punched in face exiting the women restroom by someone who thought she had been in the wrong bathroom.”

Trans women experience a greater risk of homicide than LGBT people as a whole, according to a June 2015 report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. The report found hate-motivated violence against transgender people rose 13% in 2014 compared with the year before.

The Charlotte ordinance would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in housing and places of public accommodation.

“If the state wanted to, they could come here to the government center, fire all of us, send us home, and run the city themselves,” said a member of the Charlotte City Council.

Charlotte City Councilmember John Autry supported the city’s measure, telling BuzzFeed News in February that it protects vulnerable citizens from discrimination. But if the state tried to override the city, he said, “We have no legal leg to contest it with.”

North Carolina law empowers the state with strong control over local jurisdictions, allowing it to “preempt our authority,” Autry said. “If the state wanted to, they could come here to the government center, fire all of us, send us home, and run the city themselves.”

In 2015, Arkansas lawmakers passed a law preventing cities from passing laws that protect classes of people not already named in state law. The same year in North Carolina, Republicans tried to pass a similar law but were thwarted by Democrats.

Under President Obama, federal agencies have interpreted Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 — which bans discrimination in publicly funded schools on the basis of sex — to also ban transgender discrimination as a form of sex discrimination.

Two bills that would ban transgender students from using certain school restrooms died in South Dakota and Tennessee this month after concerns rose about federal litigation and loss of federal education funding,

No state has passed a law banning transgender students from school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

Read the bill as it was introduced:
This Trump voter didn't think Trump was serious about repealing her health insurance
Debbie Mills appreciates the insurance she gets through Obamacare. But she voted for the candidate who wants to dismantle the program.
By Sarah Kliff

I don’t know, I guess I thought that, you know, he would not do this. That they would not do this, would not take the insurance away. Knowing that it’s affecting so many peoples lives. I mean, what are you to do then if you cannot… purchase, cannot pay for the insurance?

51.4 percent of Springfield, Missouri voters cast ballots to repeal the city’s LGBT protections, while 48.6 percent wanted to retain them. 15,347 people voted “yes” to repeal the anti-discrimination ordinance and 14,493 people voted “no” to keep it on the books.

Springfield’s population is just north of 159,000. That means that LESS THAN 10 PERCENT of the city’s population voted in favor of bigotry. They only won by 854 votes.

These are the battles we can and SHOULD win.

For the love of fuck, please get off your ass and vote.
Texas Supreme Court says Houston must either repeal LGBT rights ordinance or put it on the ballot
The vote would be in November 2015.
By Chris Geidner

LGBT activists in Texas rejoiced last year with the passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), an LGBT non-discrimination bill. That joy is officially gone. 

Not surprisingly, after the measure passed, anti-LGBT folks sought out signatures for a referendum. It was determined that many of the signatures were invalid, so they failed. But they also asked the state’s Supreme Court to weigh in – and the court sided with the referendum effort.

Then, with no oral arguments having been held in the case, the Texas Supreme Court found that the city secretary’s statements served as certification that sufficient valid signatures were gathered — the city attorney’s findings notwithstanding. As such, the court ruled in an unsigned opinion, City Council could not reject the petitions and had to do one of two things: repeal the ordinance or put it on the ballot.

“Once the City Council received the City Secretary’s certification, it had a ministerial duty to act,” the court stated. “If the City Council does not repeal the ordinance by August 24, 2015, then by that date the City Council must order that the ordinance be put to popular vote during the November 2015 election.”

The options are either to repeal the measure now or to put it on the ballot, where voters could repeal it. Really, Texas? Really?