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Greg Abbott Wants More Texans to Be Mauled by Vicious Dogs

Gov’s veto spree included a bill that would have increased penalties for owners of attack dogs.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Texas Governor Greg Abbott

We already know that Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants people to be able to make citizens’ arrests of anyone who aids and abets the act of seeking an abortion. You can’t do that in Texas. But if you own a pit bull that tears into a human being’s flesh, all is cool.

According to the San Antonio Report, the GOP governor went on a veto spree last weekend, in part because he was miffed that a property tax relief bill he was pushing failed to pass. He vetoed 77 bills—among them, the Ramon Najera Act, named after an 81-year-old man who was mauled to death in San Antonio in February by two pit bull mixes. Evidently, according to the Report, people letting their vicious dogs roam neighborhoods unleashed is kind of a thing in San Antone.

The bill was sponsored by Democrats, so it probably never had much of a chance. Abbott argued that existing local laws were sufficient, and to be fair, the owners of the killer dogs in question were jailed. Still, it’s funny to hear a very conservative Republican governor complain about the “overcriminalization” of any illegal activity. Proponents of the law argue that the loose dogs are a genuine menace and a stronger message needs to be sent to the owners.

People killed by violent dogs aren’t the only humans who were on the business end of Abbott’s version of compassion in the last few days. He also rescinded two local laws in Austin and Dallas that provided outside workers a right to a certain amount of shade and water breaks.

He did so in the midst of a massive heat wave.

Oh—and a few days after Abbott acted, a 35-year-old lineman in the town of Marshall died after experiencing symptoms of heat illness. The heat index was 100 degrees while the man was working.

These moves come two weeks after Abbott sent a busload of migrants to Los Angeles in his latest let’s-use-human-beings-as-props stunt.

So now we know what you really don’t want to be in Greg Abbott’s paradise: an undocumented immigrant who works outside and who attracts the attention of an unleashed pit bull.

Florida Judge Strikes Down State’s Egregious Anti-Drag Law

The judge shut down the law as nothing more than an attempt “to suppress the speech of drag queen performers.”

Jason Koerner/Getty Images
Drag Queen Athena Dion performs onstage at the 2023 National LGBTQ Task Force Gala Kick-Off Event in Miami.

A Florida judge has struck down the state’s extreme anti-drag law, calling it “specifically designed to suppress the speech of drag queen performers.” And with his ruling, public drag is again legal in Florida.

District Judge Gregory Presnell issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, stopping the state from enforcing the law just as Pride Month comes to a close.

Supporters of the extreme legislation claimed that it would protect children, and Presnell directly shut down those arguments in his ruling. “Existing obscenity laws provide … the necessary authority to protect children from any constitutionally unprotected obscene exhibitions or shows,” he wrote. He also called out the “appetite for finding obscenity in drag performances, even where undercover state agents have reportedly concluded none exists.”

Florida’s law, which took effect last month, was so vaguely worded and so broad in scope that experts were worried about how it would be applied.

The legislation sought to ban people under the age of 18 from attending drag shows, but used the term “adult live performance” instead. Republican lawmakers admitted that the unclear language could be used to prevent high school students from attending plays like The Rocky Horror Picture Show or the musical Hair.

The law attempted to enforce the ban by targeting businesses: Any establishment that violated the law could have its license suspended or revoked, in addition to being fined or charged with a misdemeanor. One violation would incur a $5,000 fine, and each incident after that would mean a $10,000 fine.

The bill also targeted Pride celebrations specifically by preventing a government entity from issuing permits to an organization that may host an “adult live performance.” If a violation occurred, the text said, the person who issued the permit could be charged with a misdemeanor—effectively targeting all LGBTQ people by scaring government employees from issuing permits for Pride.

Republican lawmakers, again, did not seem to have a big problem with that; targeting Pride celebrations, rather, seemed to be a feature of the bill as opposed to a bug. One politician admitted on the floor in April that the bill was needed even “if it means erasing an entire community.”

The legislation had its intended effect: LGBTQ organizers in Florida began canceling Pride celebrations even before the bill was signed into law, citing fear of the state’s new political climate.

Presnell’s ruling on Friday is yet another blow for the Republicans and far-right activists nationwide who have made drag performers their new favorite target. Earlier this month, a judge also struck down Tennessee’s anti-drag law, deeming it unconstitutional. The defendant in that case has vowed to appeal the ruling, and a lengthy legal battle may also be in store for Florida.

Marjorie Taylor Greene May Not Be Crazy Enough for the Freedom Caucus

Some members of the hardline group reportedly want to dump her for the heinous crime of getting along with leadership.


Some members of the House Freedom Caucus would reportedly like to liberate themselves from Marjorie Taylor Greene.

At least two legislators in the hardline group have floated the idea of ousting members for insufficient ideological purity, Politico’s Olivia Beavers reported Friday. “While the members suggesting a purge did not specify the people they want to remove, they are signaling that [Greene is] one target of any ejection push,” Beavers writes.

Greene, of course, is a representative from Georgia by way of QAnon. She has embraced and spread lunatic conspiracy theories, including that various mass shootings have been hoaxes, that there’s no evidence a plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, and that Jewish space lasers started the 2018 California wildfires. House Democrats, along with 11 Republicans, voted to remove her committee assignments almost as soon as she arrived in Congress for her threats of violence against Democratic lawmakers. Just this week, she made headlines for calling fellow QAnon devotee Lauren Boebert a “little bitch” while on the floor of the House, apparently the result of a disagreement over who might get the credit for forcing a pointless vote on impeaching President Joe Biden.

So what transgression prompted some of her fellow Freedom Caucusers to finally conclude that Greene is beyond the pale and not deserving of membership in their band of bothers?

“Some in the Freedom Caucus have focused on Greene, who’s become a close ally of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, to illustrate their fears that certain group members are too aligned with GOP leaders and too outwardly critical of the group when it splits on certain issues,” Beavers reports.

The Freedom Caucus comes from the knee-jerk-no, poseur wing of the Republican Party, perpetually more interested in policing political purity than in governing or actually advancing conservative causes. They’re more likely to primary wayward Republicans than actually flip Democratic seats—and in fact their favored issues tend to give swing-district GOPers the politically toxic choice of angering primary voters or general election voters. In 2021, its members wanted then-Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger tossed out of the Republican Conference for daring to sit on the January 6 committee.

But if they’re able to expel Greene it would mark a new level of conservative cannibalism. Hey, maybe QAnon, from whom Greene finally distanced herself earlier this year, will take her back. As for her hardline colleagues, their conception of freedom increasingly evokes Thomas Hobbes. Maybe they should change their name to the Solitary, Poor, Nasty, Brutish, and Short Caucus.

“Embarrassing Spectacle”: Progressive Dems Boycott Modi’s Congress Speech

“When it comes to standing up for human rights, actions speak louder than words,” the representatives said.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Progressive Democrats boycotted Narendra Modi’s speech to Congress Thursday, citing the Indian prime minister’s terrible human rights record.

Modi met with President Joe Biden earlier in the day to discuss strengthening the relationship between their two countries. Democrats in both the House and Senate had urged Biden to press Modi on human rights issues. In a letter to the president on Tuesday, 75 lawmakers cited “the shrinking of political space, the rise of religious intolerance, the targeting of civil society organizations and journalists, and growing restrictions on press freedoms and internet access.”

Modi’s speech to Congress, though, was widely attended—minus several prominent progressive Democrats. Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar had said Wednesday that they would boycott the address. They were joined a few hours later by Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

Tlaib, Omar, Cori Bush, and Jamaal Bowman released a joint statement ahead of the speech Thursday explaining their intention to boycott the address, which they called an “embarrassing spectacle.”

“When it comes to standing up for human rights, actions speak louder than words,” the statement said. “By bestowing Prime Minister Modi with the rare honor of a joint address, Congress undermines its ability to be a credible advocate for the rights of religious minorities and journalists around the world.”

The group called Modi “complicit” in the 2002 Gujarat riots that killed more than 1,000 people. They noted that his government has targeted Muslims and other religious minorities, journalists, and dissidents; suppressed criticism through internet shutdowns and censorship; and enabled Hindu nationalist violence.

“It is shameful to honor these abuses by allowing Modi to address a joint session of Congress,” the statement said. “We must never sacrifice human rights at the altar of political expediency and we urge all Members of Congress who profess to stand for freedom and democracy to join us in boycotting this embarrassing spectacle.”

The authoritarian tendencies that progressive Democrats spoke out against are coming to bear against Indian Americans. U.S.-based Modi critics told HuffPost that they are experiencing government intimidation, online trolling, and legal harassment, as well as essentially being banned from traveling to India.

The activists said it might be tricky for Indian American lawmakers to speak out against Modi’s visit, lest they face the same kind of pushback.

Moms for Liberty Chapter Defends Quoting Hitler in Newsletter

If you needed more proof of how this is an extremist group

A woman rests her hands on stacks of books.

A Moms for Liberty chapter has apologized after receiving blowback for quoting Hitler in its newsletter, but they still justified using the quotation.

Moms for Liberty was recently branded an “extremist” group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC says Moms for Liberty is “a far-right organization that engages in anti-student inclusion activities.”

The Hamilton County, Indiana, chapter of the organization posted its newsletter, “Parent Brigade,” on Facebook Wednesday morning. On the front page was the quote, “He alone, who OWNS the youth, GAINS the future.” The group didn’t even try to hide that it was a Hitler quotation, citing the Nazi leader just under the text.

The newsletter sparked swift backlash, with both the local Democratic and Republican parties condemning the use of the quote. By Wednesday night, the Moms for Liberty chapter had updated the newsletter to include “context” under the quotation.

“The quote from a horrific leader should put parents on alert,” the update read. “If the government has control over our children today, they control our country’s future. We The People must be vigilant and protect children from an overreaching government.”

By Thursday morning, as outcry grew, the quote had been removed entirely from the group’s newsletter. The chapter chairwoman also released a statement apologizing for quoting Hitler in the first place.

In place of Hitler’s words, the chapter moved up a message from the Moms for Liberty national founders Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich. Their message was headlined “Moms for Liberty will not be intimidated by hate groups,” an apparent response to the SPLC extremist label.

Moms for Liberty is enjoying newfound influence within the Republican Party. The group has backed bills banning transgender women and girls from playing women’s sports, and encouraged book bans. Their annual summit this year will feature multiple 2024 presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

We Officially Know Who Bailed Out Serial Liar George Santos

The Republican representative tried to keep the identities of his guarantors sealed, but a judge denied his request.

George Santos
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
George Santos

After a weeks-long legal battle, a federal judge on Thursday officially revealed who put up $500,000 to bail out serial liar George Santos from jail.

ABC and MSNBC journalists reported Thursday that Santos’s father and aunt guaranteed the bond to release the New York representative from federal custody.

Santos’s father, Gercino dos Santos Jr., previously worked as a house painter, according to campaign contribution records reviewed by The New York Times. His aunt, Elma Santos Preven, said she worked as a mail handler for the U.S. Postal Service when she also contributed to Santos’s campaign.

They did not have to pay the $500,000, but agreed to be “personally responsible” for ensuring that Santos followed the conditions of his bond.

Santos and his legal team did everything they could to stop the names from being released, at one point even arguing that Santos would rather go to jail. It’s not clear why, if they were just his family members. Santos also argued that if their names were released, they would withdraw their bond.

Santos claimed to have made millions in a short amount of time before being elected, and the fact that others had to pay his bond raises further questions about his actual financial standing.

During his short time in Congress, Santos has made headlines for a series of fabrications, some innocuous and others not so much. He has lied about his educational background and his career history, about having Jewish ancestry, about his mom dying because of 9/11 (she wasn’t even in the country), about losing his employees in the Pulse shooting, and about raising money for a homeless veteran’s dying dog (Santos kept the money).

Last month, Santos was officially charged with 13 counts related to money laundering, wire fraud, lying to Congress, and theft of public funds. Prosecutors allege Santos scammed his supporters and used their donations to pay for designer clothes and credit card bills. He was also charged with fraudulently claiming $24,000 in Covid-19 unemployment benefits, while making a $120,000 salary. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

House Republicans have, for their part, avoided censuring Santos, though he did resign from his committee assignments in late January. Only a handful have called for him to resign or be expelled.

Republicans Are Approaching an Absurd Number of 2024 Candidates

The 2024 Republican field is getting more crowded by the day.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former Texas Representative Will Hurd announced Thursday that he is running for president, bringing the Republican primary ticket to an insane high.

Hurd is the fourteenth candidate to join the field, which is still overwhelmingly dominated by Donald Trump, despite the former president’s recent federal indictment. For comparison, 17 Republicans ran in 2016, although several dropped out before the primaries.

Some people warn that a crowded field will benefit Trump, as it did in 2016, because no one will be able to unify behind one other candidate. But this time around, Trump has already been indicted twice, with two more potentially on the way, which could finally turn people against him.

Here is the list of every Republican currently running for president:

Republicans Resurrect National Abortion Ban in Time for Dobbs Anniversary

Republicans seem to no longer care about the “states’ rights” argument.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Representative Elise Stefanik

Almost exactly a year after celebrating abortion law being returned to the states, Republicans are once again embracing the idea of a national ban on abortion.

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, Republicans hailed the decision as a step in the right direction. Many GOP lawmakers argued that abortion rights are a state issue, not a federal one.

But on Tuesday, Representative Elise Stefanik indicated that she and her colleagues will introduce a bill banning abortion nationwide after 15 weeks. “The people are the most important voices” on abortion, Stefanik said, apparently not seeing the irony of her words.

Speaking at an event to mark the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, hosted by the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, Stefanik argued that the federal government does have a role in abortion legislation, particularly in “building consensus” nationally on the topic.

“We should embrace this debate,” Stefanik said.

Stefanik’s announcement takes Republicans’ war on abortion rights to the next level. Last year, when Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a federal 15-week abortion ban just before the midterms, many of his colleagues slammed the move. The bill never made it to the Senate floor. But Stefanik is signaling that more Republicans are ready to embrace a national ban.

Except there is already a national consensus on abortion rights. An overwhelming majority of Americans—62 percent, to be exact—still think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to the Pew Research Center. What’s more, people consistently vote in favor of increasing abortion rights protections.

And yet Republicans have the gall not only to consistently override the will of the people but also to pretend that a 15- or 20-week ban is somehow a compromise.

Abortion saves lives, and abortion wins elections. The GOP may be about to find that out the hard way.

House Republicans Censure Adam Schiff in Complete Waste of Everyone’s Time

Republicans decided that this bill, which has no chance of moving forward, should be a priority.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

House Republicans voted Wednesday to censure Adam Schiff for accusing Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign of colluding with Russia, in a massive waste of time for everyone.

The House had already voted last week to table a similar measure, with 20 Republicans joining Democrats to vote it down. Both resolutions, sponsored by Florida Representative Anna Paulina Luna, allege that Schiff “spread false accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia” and abused his access to classified information. The measures also accuse Schiff of acting “dishonestly and dishonorably on many other occasions.”

The resolution last week also sought to fine Schiff $16 million. That penalty has been removed from the current measure.

The final vote on Wednesday was 213–209. The measure has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Luna, a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, had said that most of the Republicans who previously broke ranks would change their vote this time around. Her accusations stem from Schiff’s criticisms of Trump over the special investigation by Robert Mueller. Mueller found that Russians had contacted officials for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and that the officials were willing to accept Moscow’s help to win.

Schiff, who is running to replace Dianne Feinstein in the Senate, sarcastically thanked Republicans just before the vote. “You honor me with your enmity. You flatter me with this falsehood,” Schiff said. “You who are the authors of a big lie about the last election must condemn the truth tellers, and I stand proudly before you.”

Last week, he slammed Republicans for using the vote as a way to distract people from Trump’s federal indictment. “The fact that Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy would take up this MAGA resolution when we have so many pressing challenges before the country is really a terrible abuse of House resources,” Schiff told CNN.

Voting to censure Schiff is also a bold, and potentially disastrous, move for certain Republicans, 18 of whom go up for reelection next year in districts that went for President Joe Biden. The resolution against Schiff is pointless and could cost them their seats. The fact that Republicans forged ahead with the censure vote is a sign of how willing they are to eat their own in order to accomplish petty goals.

MTG Is So Pissed at Lauren Boebert She Called Her a Bitch on the House Floor

The two Republican representatives are in the absolute pettiest of fights.

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Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert

Republicans are not happy with Representative Lauren Boebert, who moved to force a vote this week to impeach President Joe Biden. But her former work bestie Marjorie Taylor Greene is absolutely livid.

Boebert introduced articles of impeachment Tuesday under a privileged resolution, meaning there has to be a vote on the measure within two days. The move surprised and frustrated many of her colleagues. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the measure was premature and urged Republicans to oppose it. He also warned it could hurt their bogus investigation into Biden. Representative Don Bacon called Boebert’s resolution “frivolous” and said she had made the impeachment into “playground games.”

Greene, on the other hand, was upset for a very different playground explanation. She tore into Boebert on the House floor Wednesday afternoon for copying her articles of impeachment.

Greene introduced articles of impeachment against Biden in May, over his handling of immigration at the southern border. Those articles have yet to go anywhere.

I’ve donated to you, I’ve defended you. But you’ve been nothing but a little bitch to me,” Greene told Boebert in the middle of the House floor, according to The Daily Beast, citing an anonymous source who witnessed the exchange. “And you copied my articles of impeachment after I asked you to cosponsor them.”

Boebert, who claimed she had never read her colleague’s articles, replied, “OK, Marjorie, we’re through.”

“We were never together,” Greene shot back.

Earlier Wednesday, Greene had publicly shaded Boebert for copying her work and then skipping steps to get all the attention. I had already introduced articles of impeachment on Joe Biden for the border, asked her to co-sponsor mine, she didn’t,” Greene said. “She basically copied my articles and then introduced them and then changed them to a privileged resolution.”

The Georgia Republican told The Hill Wednesday that she would convert her articles, and others she has drawn up against other members of the Biden administration, to privileged resolutions she can introduce whenever she feels like.

When asked if she would support Boebert’s resolution, Greene replied, “Of course I support ’em because they’re identical to mine.

“They’re basically a copycat,” she added.

Greene and Boebert seemed to be good friends when they both first arrived on Capitol Hill, but they have since ruptured pretty spectacularly. They first began to diverge over continuing aid for Ukraine: Boebert supported it, while Greene was opposed.

Greene has also ingratiated herself with establishment Republicans, although both women still embrace far-right beliefs. Things came to a head during the interminable vote for speaker of the House in January. The pair reportedly got into a massive argument in a Capitol bathroom, when Greene accused Boebert of taking money from McCarthy for her reelection campaign but then refusing to vote for him for speaker.

The Daily Beast, citing an anonymous source, said Boebert replied, “Don’t be ugly” and then “ran out like a little schoolgirl.”

So safe to say, the fact that Boebert swooped in and got to impeach Biden first is not going down well.

This article has been updated.