The great Republican fear campaign has struck again.

Last night, voters in Houston, Texas went to the polls and rejected their city’s new anti-discrimination law.

The vote wasn’t even close, with a full 63 percent of voters opposing the measure.

This is a big loss for Houstonians of all backgrounds.

Passed by the city council earlier last year, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, gave 15 different classes of people protection from discrimination in public places, at their jobs, and in housing.

It was a common sense piece of legislation, the kind of thing all Americans who believe in giving everyone access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should support.

But because HERO also protected LGBT people from discrimination, conservatives had a freak-out.

They latched onto the part of the law that protected transgender people from being discriminated against in public places like bathrooms and started screaming about how it gave sexual predators a license to creep on their kids.

The usual suspects then lobbied to get the law on the ballot and pumped out fear-mongering ads.

Let’s be clear: there was nothing in Houston’s anti-discrimination law that would have allowed sexual predators to threaten anyone’s kids, full-stop, end of story.

This was the voter-fraud myth all over again, a fake and frankly bigoted story aimed solely at bringing the base out to vote for Republicans while they're in the voting booth trying to stop "evil" from happening.

The really ridiculous thing, though, is that the bathroom issue was just one tiny part of a law that also protected people like veterans from being discriminated again when they applied for jobs or public housing.

In other words, thanks to Republicans, employers in Houston can now refuse to hire someone just because they fought in the Iraq War.

So much for supporting our troops, right?

This whole bathroom controversy brilliantly highlights the long con that Republicans are pulling on the American people.

Since the Republican Party doesn’t actually represent anyone or anything other than the billionaire class and its interests, it has to use wedge issues to get people to come out and vote.

And all these wedge issues are based on fear: fear that the government’s coming to take away your guns, fear that that gay marriage is somehow going to destroy your marriage, and fear that man in woman’s clothing is going to start sharing a bathroom stall with your young daughter.

There’s no reason anyone should worry about any of those things, but the Republican fear machine is great at making the irrational sound rational, and so it works.

And who comes out on top?

The same people who always do.

The billionaires, oligarchs, and plutocrats -- they’re the ones who benefit from Republicans using wedge issue after wedge issue to get people out to vote.

That’s because when people are worried about the government taking their guns away, or the destruction of marriage, or a man in a dress attacking their daughter - all irrational fears - they’re not worried about the things they should be worried about: how corporations have hijacked our democracy, how we have third world levels of wealth inequality, and how Reaganomics has sold the middle class down the river.

It’s all part of one big con, and the really sad thing is that when Republicans use this long con on the American people, it stokes bigotry, hate, and fear - all things are are actually harmful to a functioning democratic republic.

The fear they make people feel is the kind of fear that produces hatred, and in the case of Houston’s anti-discrimination law, it’s going to put transgender people in danger.

These folks are already threatened with violence on a daily basis, but now that Republicans have got it in people’s heads that they’re out to attack little kids in restrooms, they’re going to be in even more danger.

This is what Republicans do.

They drum up hatred to get the rubes to vote Republican, which then keeps the rich rich and the powerful powerful.

Until Republican voters wake up and realize they’re being scammed, Republican politicians will continue to use fear to win elections - the consequences for public safety, public health, and democracy be damned.


stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 7 years 20 weeks ago

The religious right has been promoting so much sexual paranoia, people are afraid to even touch each other.

How does a group that is so paranoid about sex manage to reproduce in such prodigious numbers? I know! They RECRUIT and corrupt minors and children, starting at a very early age. Hmmm. So who are the REAL child abusers?

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 7 years 20 weeks ago

On a subject covered in today's show;


With all due respect, as a fairly well off person who lives inside the beltway bubble, you may need to come around to what Kshama Sawant is saying about the Democratic Party. Many of us outside the beltway have considered them irrelevant for years. I agreed initially that Bernie should run as a Democrat for obvious reasons, but now that I see how completely corrupt the DNC establishment is with regard to the debates & super delegates in particular, I wish he would run as an Independent. If HE can’t change the Dem. party from within, who can? He’d clean up in the general against both parties. Electronic election fraud would probably still throw it for the Repug/Dem establishment, but it's our best and only chance. We must right him in w/ party affiliation, even if he is on the ballot, so our votes can't get flipped.

Watching the state of affairs with regard to illegal wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, ongoing in Afghanistan, the aide to Israel enabling the slaughter of Palestinians, the weaponization of Isis backing, civilian killing S’Audi Arabia, I fear another Corp. Dem. administration will do us in..especially one run by the same person who’s State Dept. contributed massively to the weaponization and destabilization of those regions, saying, “We came, we saw, he died”. The Supreme court will not be staffed, if need be, with progressive enough justices to stop global war, the TPP, TPIP, to save civil liberties, stop climate disaster. Bernie is our only chance to start this revolution.

Bad trade deals and the coming crash may just bring civilization as we know it to it’s knees. With plutocrats, whether, Dem. or Repub., total dystopia may well be in our future. That being said, despair is not an option! As Chris Hedges says, “We don’t fight fascists because we will win, we fight them because we must”. I think it’s time to start a campaign to write Bernie in as an Independent in the General, even if he supports Hillary out of loyalty. I am glad for his integrity, but he is not being treated with the same respect by the DNC establishment. His supporters should fight back on his behalf. It’s high time we stop fearing the ultimate evil so much that we cling to the lessor of the two. It’s time we fearlessly put principal over party and hold Democrats’ feet to the same fire to which we hold Republican’s.

jaredfromdowningtown's picture
jaredfromdowningtown 7 years 20 weeks ago

The far right wing in this country won't stop till they repeal all anti-discirmation laws for LGBT people, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, women, etc.

Maybe we should pass a law banning all Republicans from restrooms?

cccccttttt 7 years 20 weeks ago

Do not understand why descrimation laws are needed?

Either someone breaks a law of the land or they do not.

Why should their movtivations change the penalty?


Telede22's picture
Telede22 7 years 20 weeks ago

Or maybe the voters of Houston spoke.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 7 years 20 weeks ago
Quote cccccttttt:Do not understand why descrimation laws are needed?

Because in this country, you can be denied a job, or a home, or otherwise discriminated against for any "traits" not specifically prohibited by law.

"WORKERS NEEDED. 9-toed people need not apply"


"HOMES FOR SALE - But only to people with hairy arms."

"APARTMENT FOR RENT - 'Flat-Earthers' will get first month rent FREE!"

These are ridiculus examples, but all perfectly legal.

Yes, you, too, can be refused service in a resteraunt because your eyes are the wrong color, your clothing is made of the wrong fabric, you have too many moles (or not enough), or for almost any reason.

Isn't America just a wonderful country?

ChicagoMatt 7 years 20 weeks ago
fear that man in woman’s clothing is going to start sharing a bathroom stall with your young daughter.

Whoa. Wait. In order to be transgendered, you have to wear a dress? I thought anyone could just self-identify as "gender questioning" on the spot. How are you going to test someone's true intentions? How are you going to enforce this, "You have to be really, really transgendered, not just transgendered because you saw an attractive person walk into the bathroom and wanted to follow them."

and the really sad thing is that when Republicans use this long con on the American people, it stokes bigotry, hate, and fear - all things are are actually harmful to a functioning democratic republic.

Just as sad is that the Democrats, in their effort to have the "big tent", keep giving the Republicans these opportunities. Did the Democrats not anticipate this kind of push-back in Houston? Did they ever think that maybe they should leave the transgendered part of the bill off? Even if it's morally right to leave it on, look at where it got them.

Social wedge issues work. And they will always work. It's human nature. It's not about rightness or wrongness - it's about practicality. It's going to take generations to get the kind of social changes Democrats want. You literally have to wait for the opposition to die off. But by then, will it be too late to "save" the economy, the way Democrats want to do?

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 7 years 20 weeks ago

I cannot agree with you more ! The Left in this country went off the rails in the early nineties when the George Soros backed Democrat Leadership Council, a collection of Neo-Liberals that had ambitions that included the total occupation and control of the DNC. They made the Clinton's their charter members and backed them as an alternative to the Republic domination that had gone on throughout the entirety of the nineteen eighties and early nineties. It didn't take long for a minority of Progressive Democrats to detect Clinton's love affair with various powerful individuals on the Right but most Democrat voters could only see him as a long awaited resurgence of New Deal America, a political era that had been permanently put out of it's misery in the late sixties !

The current rise in support for Socialists policies among younger Americans marks a return to an era eighty years ago when the population of that period experienced the devastating effects of unregulated runaway Capitalism and stood up to demand substantial changes. As you previously pointed out, both majority political parties have essentially become what Ralph Nader defined a decade ago, a two party duopoly - two sides of the same coin. I agree with you that we can forget about expecting any real change in 2016 if Sanders doesn't jump to a third party, a long shot at best given the total control of information by the current privately owned media in this country. Some of the bought and paid for media analysts admit that a large segment of both Republican and Democrat voters are not happy with the current direction taken by their respective political parties ! Hopefully political patriots on both sides of the isle will use this to their advantage !

mathboy's picture
mathboy 7 years 20 weeks ago

cccccttttt, you're confusing anti-discrimination laws with hate crime laws. Anti-discrimination laws outlaw acts that would not otherwise be illegal. Hate crime laws allow higher penalties for violent crimes based on the motivation of the perpetrator.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Screwed:
"Once again, Thom Hartmann hits the bull’s eye with a much needed exposé of the so-called ‘free market.’ Anyone concerned about the future of our nation needs to read Screwed now."
Michael Toms, Founding President, New Dimensions World Broadcasting Network and author of A Time For Choices: Deep Dialogues for Deep Democracy
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"In an age rife with media-inspired confusion and political cowardice, we yearn for a decent, caring, deeply human soul whose grasp of the problems confronting us provides a light by which we can make our way through the quagmire of lies, distortions, pandering, and hollow self-puffery that strips the American Dream of its promise. How lucky we are, then, to have access to the wit, wisdom, and willingness of Thom Hartmann, who shares with us here that very light, grown out of his own life experience."
Mike Farrell, actor, political activist, and author of Just Call Me Mike and Of Mule and Man
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he uncovered them or they selected him."
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, producer, and environmental activist