Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Last Call For The Paxton Plan

Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is declaring gender-affirming health care procedures for children as abuse, and he says his office will prosecute parents, doctors, and caregivers to see the procedures "halted".

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said in a statement that gender-affirming health care for transgender youth, including hormone therapy, puberty blockers and sex reassignment procedures, are abuse.

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R) wrote to Paxton to inquire about whether treatment for transgender youth could be considered child abuse.

In an opinion released Monday, Paxton said, "There is no doubt that these procedures are 'abuse' under Texas law, and thus must be halted."

"The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a responsibility to act accordingly. I'll do everything I can to protect against those who take advantage of and harm young Texans."

"While you refer to these procedures as 'sex changes,' it is important to note that it remains medically impossible to truly change the sex of an individual because this is determined biologically at conception," he wrote.

Paxton added that "the prevalence of gender dysphoria in children and adolescents has never been estimated, and there is no scientific consensus that these sterilizing procedures and treatments even serve to benefit minor children dealing with gender dysphoria."

The United States has seen an increase in Republican-led efforts to ban gender-affirming health care for transgender youth. There have also been efforts to prohibit transgender children, specifically transgender girls, from participating on a sports team that corresponds with their gender identity.

Medical professionals, the LGBT community and transgender advocates have stated that if transgender children don't receive gender-affirming health care, they are at higher risk to suffer negative mental health consequences and even suicide.

Some studies have shown access to puberty blockers can decrease the risk of suicide in transgender teens, who are already at higher risk for suicide than their cisgender peers.

A spokespeople for the state Department of Family and Protective Services and Texas Health and Human Services told The Dallas Morning News that the agencies would be reviewing the opinion.
So yes, Paxton believes the full power of the state should be brought to bear in order to "save" kids from gender transitioning.
Meanwhile, Paxton remains under a federal bribery and corruption investigation, and he's apparently trying to defect attention away from this story this week.

Four former aides who reported Attorney General Ken Paxton to the FBI for alleged bribery are now accusing him of lying about his legal troubles while facing a tough reelection bid.

In a rare public statement on Monday, the ex-employees said “their preference was to remain silent while the wheels of justice turned.”

“However, in recent weeks, Paxton has made numerous false and misleading public statements that we feel obligated to correct,” said the former deputy attorneys general James “Blake” Brickman, J. Mark Penley, and Ryan Vassar and the agency’s former law enforcement director David Maxwell.

As Paxton seeks a third term as the state’s top lawyer, he faces three GOP challengers who are hammering him over the FBI corruption probe spurred by his former staffers.

Paxton has denied any wrongdoing. No federal charges have been filed.

In recent interviews with conservative media, Paxton said he doesn’t know the specific allegations against him and threw the blame back on his former aides, saying they are the ones who broke the law. The Republican also accused the FBI of infiltrating his office.

The former staffers say none of that is true.

“We confronted Ken Paxton about his and his agency’s corrupt and criminal conduct, and, when he would not abide by the law, we reported him to the FBI,” they said. “Paxton is under criminal investigation, not the whistleblowers
Paxton is trying to dodge bribery charges and wants to stay in office, seeing the governor's mansion in his future. If that road leads over the corpses of young Texan teens who thought it was better to take their own lives than the seek the care they needed because Paxton deemed it illegal, that's okay with this asshole.
Remember, Republicans do not care who their policies kill, because dead people can't vote for them anyway.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

The three Georgia men convicted by the state in November for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery faced a federal trial this month on hate crime, civil rights violation and kidnapping charges, and all three men were convicted on all counts today by a jury.

A federal jury has found three White men guilty of committing a hate crime and other violations when they chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery two years ago, determining they were motivated by racial animus because he was Black.

The trial focused on a history of racist and offensive statements from Gregory McMichael, 66, Travis McMichael, 36, and William “Roddie” Bryan, 52.

Tuesday’s conviction, after just a couple of hours of jury deliberation, represents a victory for the U.S. Department of Justice, which has vowed to more aggressively prosecute hate crimes, and for civil rights groups that have demanded greater accountability in racially motivated attacks against Blacks and other minorities.

The killings of Arbery, George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, all of whom were Black, prompted mass demonstrations across the country two years ago. The charges against the McMichaels and Bryan marked the first time prosecutors charged anyone with a hate crime in connection with one of those slayings.

The jury began deliberating Monday afternoon, and adjourned after about two hours. Soon after reconvening Tuesday morning, jurors sent word they had a verdict. The found the men guilty of all charges: hate crimes and attempted kidnapping for all three defendants, and a weapons violation for the McMichaels.

All three men already had been convicted of state murder charges and sentenced to life in prison, with Bryan eligible for parole after 30 years. U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood will determine their federal sentences.

In a case that hinged on proving the defendants’ state of mind, prosecutors argued that the men’s prejudice helped explain why they erroneously viewed Arbery, 25, as a potential criminal when they cut him off in pickup trucks and threatened him with guns in a Georgia neighborhood on Feb. 23, 2020.

The government presented evidence from 20 witnesses, many of whom testified about racially derogatory text messages, social media posts and remarks from the three men in which they disparaged Black people.

“All three defendants told you loud and clear, in their own words, how they feel about African Americans,” prosecutor Tara Lyons told the jury, made up of eight White people, three Black people and one Hispanic person. “Yes, race, racism, racial discrimination — those can all be very difficult topics to discuss. But the facts of this case are not difficult.”

Defense lawyers maintained that the men were trying to stop and question Arbery not because of his race, but because the McMichaels suspected him of trespassing at a neighbor’s property in their coastal Georgia subdivision.

Neighbors, including the McMichaels, had seen surveillance videos of a man, later identified as Arbery, exploring the property several times in the weeks leading up to the shooting. Gregory McMichael recognized Arbery as the man in the video as he jogged past McMichael’s house, defense lawyers said, prompting the former police officer and his son to chase Arbery in a pickup truck.

Bryan, a neighbor, joined the chase in his own truck after witnessing the commotion.

“The government hasn’t proved beyond a reasonable doubt that race was a motivating factor,” Amy Lee Copeland, a lawyer for Travis McMichael, said during her closing argument.
The jury disagreed and rang all three of these bastards up.

Multiple life sentences with hopefully no hope of parole is alright with me, showing people there is a ruinous cost for taking a Black life because we matter.

Justice cannot be served here, justice would be Ahmaud Arbery still alive. Accountability and punishment is the best we can do here, and it was done.

Black Lives Matter.

The Batboy Manifesto

Since Senate GOP minority leader Mitch McConnell is smart enough to realize that telling the voters all that they stand to lose under a Republican-controlled Senate comes after they bamboozle the bozos at the ballot box, Florida Sen. Rick Scott is there to clue everybody in on the GOP crypto-fascist agenda as head of the Senate GOP re-election campaign, and I can hear Mitch's teeth grinding from here.

Senate Republican leaders have no plans to release an alternative agenda as they try to win back the majority this fall. So Rick Scott is pursuing his own plan.

The Florida Republican senator is devising a conservative blueprint for Republicans to enact should they win Senate and House majorities this fall. Among Scott’s priorities: completing the border wall and naming it after former President Donald Trump, declaring “there are two genders,” ending any reference to ethnicity on government forms and limiting most federal government workers — including members of Congress — to 12 years of service.

It’s a bold move for the first-term senator and National Republican Senatorial Committee chair. But Scott said the 31-page GOP agenda he’s crafted is separate from his work chairing the party’s campaign arm, adding that it’s “important to tell people what we’re gonna do.” It’s a clear break from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has declined to release a GOP agenda heading into the midterms.

“Hopefully, by doing this, we’ll have more of a conversation about what Republicans are going to get done. Because when we get the majority, I want to get something done,” Scott said in an interview. “There’s things that people would rather not talk about. I’m willing to say exactly what I’m going to do. I think it’s fair to the voter.”

The 11-point plan is a mix of longtime Republican positions, such as enacting a national voter ID law and shrinking the federal government, combined with culture war politics that define many GOP voters in the pro-Trump wing of the party. Scott said no one should be surprised that he’s devising his own plans, given his past record.

And the plans carry some risk. It’s not at all clear that the GOP would unify around Scott’s proposals, which include many ideas that would struggle to attract Democratic support, could alienate some independent voters and could even split the GOP. Scott acknowledged as much in introducing his priorities, arguing they may “strike fear in the heart of some Republicans.”

Perhaps even more notable than the plans themselves is that Scott is taking a big gamble just as he enters the most high-profile stretch of his political career. It’s not every day the NRSC chair introduces a policy platform.

Though he comes across as soft-spoken and low-key in person, Scott has thrown himself with zeal into GOP controversy. Most notably, Scott objected last year to certification of President Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania. And last week he stymied quick consideration of an overwhelmingly bipartisan postal reform bill.

Scott will be one of the most visible Republicans as he leads the push to take back the majority, and he’s offering a marked contrast from McConnell. When asked in January what the party’s agenda was, McConnell responded: “I’ll let you know when we take it back.”

“There’s things that people would rather not talk about. I’m willing to say exactly what I’m going to do. I think it’s fair to the voter.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), chair of the National Republic Senatorial Committee

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also plans to release his own agenda in the coming weeks. And while Scott did not criticize McConnell and said he maintains “a very good working relationship” with the GOP leader, he clearly believes there is a void to fill in the battle for the upper chamber.

“As a general rule, you know, probably this year’s election is going to be a lot about the Biden agenda. But I do believe we’re going to win,” Scott said. “We ought to have a plan and what we’re trying to get done when we get the majority.”
The plan is basically the heart of MAGA white supremacy, literally eliminating race from government forms, declaring that there are "only two genders", finishing the border wall and naming it after Trump, declaring that Americans should "welcome God into all aspects of our lives" and the big one, "eliminate all federal programs that can be done locally, and enact term limits for federal bureaucrats and Congress." 
It's a ludicrous platform that  screams white supremacist fascism, an America where anyone who isn't white, "Judeo-Christian", and cisgender literally has no place in the MAGA future of Rick Scott's America. Non-white folk and non-gender conforming folk simply vanish.

And yet the notion that this will split Republicans in any way is laughable. This presentation was designed for one man, Donald Trump, and it's Rick Scott's opening bid to replace McConnell as Senate GOP leader in January with Trump's support. 

For anyone else, the threat is clear: get on our side now, because eventually we'll win and enact this as law...
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