The Merced Sun-Star is reporting that a close aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and his lawyer have been sanctioned over their continuing efforts to sue CNN.
The report notes that Nunes' senior aide Derek Harvey and his attorney Steven S. Biss -- who also took part in representing the GOP lawmaker in his suits against CNN, the Washington Post and Twitter -- have been told by Judge Richard Bennett of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland that they must pay the "legal fees in a lawsuit they filed against CNN regarding a news story about the California congressman."
"Judge Richard Bennett of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed Harvey's lawsuit in February, finding Harvey had failed to prove any statements were 'materially false,'" the report states. "Bennett handed down sanctions against Harvey and Biss after they filed an amended complaint seeking to have him reconsider his dismissal of the lawsuit."
According to the judge, the amended complaint didn't pass legal muster.
"This Court finds that Plaintiff Harvey's filing of the Amended Complaint unreasonably multiplied the proceedings in this case, and this Court is satisfied that it is appropriate to impose a sanction as to the Plaintiff and his counsel under this court's inherent authority and (federal law)," the judge ruled, adding, "In fact, this Court was hard pressed to see how several of the allegedly defamatory statements cited in Harvey's original Complaint had much to do with the Plaintiff at all, as they focused almost entirely on the actions of Congressman Nunes."
In summary, the judge ruled that Harvey and Biss are to pay CNN's court costs and legal fees, saying the amended complaint was filed in "bad faith."
Read more here.
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‘Find a spine’: State Farm criticized after celebrating Pride then dropping program supporting LGBTQ books in schools
Over the past year, insurance giant State Farm has posted ten tweets supporting LGBTQ people, programs, and organizations, as recently as last week:
When we talk about mental health, we take away the stigma. For #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth, learn about challenges faced by LGBTQ+ youth in the new 2022 national survey on LGBTQ+ youth mental health from @TrevorProject: https://t.co/KQ74fWPDvx
— State Farm (@StateFarm) May 19, 2022
The $79 billion company will turn 100 years old next month, which coincidentally is LGBTQ Pride Month. It has made strong statements in support of LGBTQ equality and diversity. Just last June they tweeted: "We believe no one should be afraid to celebrate who they are. Let’s support our LGBTQ+ neighbors and show our Pride together!" They even tagged the tweet with their own corporate branding, using #GoodNeighbor and #PrideMonth hastags.
We believe no one should be afraid to celebrate who they are. Let’s support our LGBTQ+ neighbors and show our Pride together! #GoodNeighbor #PrideMonth pic.twitter.com/yRB5QcVXm0
— State Farm (@StateFarm) June 8, 2021
So many were left stunned when the Illinois-based corporation's chief diversity officer sent an email to employees and agents, as The Daily Beast reports, stating it was dropping its "support of a philanthropic program, GenderCool," saying it "has been the subject of news and customer inquiries."
The program helps put LGBTQ-inclusive books into libraries and schools.
"This program that included books about gender identity was intended to promote inclusivity,” Victor Terry continued. “We will no longer support that program.”
And in an apparent bowing down to rising far right-wing extremism and anti-LGBTQ hate, the diversity expert declared, “conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents.”
The right-wing outlet Washington Examiner on Monday, as part of a series titled "Restoring America" published a report on State Farm's support of LGBTQ students: "Backlash prompts State Farm to end program donating trans books to schools." That article was a follow-up to one the very same day titled, "State Farm donating transgender books for 5-year-olds to schools in Florida."
Here's what those two pieces look like:
Outrage over State Farm's "180" was immediate.
Well-known LGBTQ Activist and writer Charlotte Clymer explained via her Substack platform:
Last night, State Farm, the insurance company, gave up on LGBTQ rights after being pressured by hateful extremists.
So much for being a good neighbor. I wrote about it here.https://t.co/m5VD6Nu2qA — Charlotte Clymer 🏳️⚧️🇺🇦 (@cmclymer) May 24, 2022
Parker Molloy, also a well-known LGBTQ activist and writer, blasted State Farm.
Since the company is so clearly and easily moved by public backlash, State Farm customers should call their agent and cancel their policies.
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) May 24, 2022
She adds: "One of the reasons this is getting to me so much has to do with the fact that my dad (who is great and accepting, etc.) is a State Farm agent. That company has been a part of my life for as long as I’ve been alive."
Bobby Lewis, who writes for Media Matters, tweeted, "something as anodyne as a fucking insurance company buying kids books turned into another fascist outrage campaign, and the corporate cowards caved in a second. it's pathetic."
He wasn't finished, adding: "corporate pride is all window dressing that will never save anyone, but goddamn find a spine you sniveling cowards."
Veteran journalist Michelangelo Signorile, host of the SiriusXM Progress' "Signorile Show" and writer of The Signorile Report newsletter calls State Farm's actions "grotesque as LGBTQ rights are backsliding across the country. Now companies joining Ron DeSantis, MAGA and the 'don’t say gay' purge."
i’ll be canceling the State Farm insurance, switching to another company. You should too.
— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) May 24, 2022
Shame on you @StateFarm . https://t.co/kFKxUFjpvk
— Colleen •WearAMask• Barry 🇺🇦🌻 (@Cbeary1608) May 24, 2022
.@StateFarm is a horrible neighbor to LGBTQ families.
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) May 24, 2022
Like your bigoted, racist neighbor, State Farm is there. https://t.co/KbHbFGH6yX
— Lesley Abravanel (@lesleyabravanel) May 24, 2022
So @StateFarm = cowards. Teaching kids about different identities is suicide prevention. Comprehensive sex education prevents *actual* grooming. Don't listen to right-wing pundits and bitter transphobes. State Farm should double down, not back off. GenderCool does important work.
— Finley Daniels ☭🇵🇸 (he/him) (@FinleyDaniels1) May 24, 2022
State Farm is caving to the bigots and bullies and helping them erase LGBTQ children.https://t.co/pzZXZ8oqAE
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) May 24, 2022
.@StateFarm Do us all a favor and skip your #Pride tweet this year.
There is no greater cowardice than giving into hate out of financial convenience. When you appease homophobes, you empower homophobia and put LGBTQ families at risk. https://t.co/Nfcm5gZv1v — Melanie D'Arrigo for NY03 (@DarrigoMelanie) May 24, 2022
Grow a backbone @StateFarm https://t.co/IuW8sXIM4o
— Erica French Csapo (@EricaCsapo) May 24, 2022
New Texas voting laws are causing a lot of problems for Republican voters, according to a Newsy report ahead of the primary run-off elections Tuesday.
As the report notes, several new rules passed by Texas Republicans in the wake of the 2020 elections put more stringent requirements on mail-in ballots.
One rule passed by Republican lawmakers is mandates that voters must put either their drivers license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number on the envelope containing their ballot.
This has led to a higher number of rejected ballots: Ballot rejections in 2020 ran about 0.8 percent, but in 2022 they're at 12 percent. The number might seem low, but that's equal to at least 7,000 people in one Texas county.
Republicans had a higher rate of error than Democrats, meaning there are thousands more Republicans in the state whose ballots aren't being counted in the primary election.
In March, during the initial primary elections, just 16 of the state’s largest counties had more than 18,000 mail-in ballots that were rejected because they missed the tiny fine print.
One elderly Republican voter noted that the question about the driver's license or social security number was printed so small she couldn't read it. Newsy said they calculated it was seven-point font. National election standards that benefit visually impaired people require nothing can be smaller ten-point font.
The first time Texas voted with the new ballot was March 1, so when the state passed the law in December, they had very little time to print the ballots and get them out to voters. But, two months later, for the run-off elections, the ballots are still a mess, the report said.
See the full report below or at this link.
Hershel Walker, the leading Republican Senate candidate in Georgia, insisted that former President Donald Trump has never said that the 2020 election was rigged or stolen.
In a video that was shared on Twitter this week, Walker speaks to a reporter who questions him about Trump's false election claims.
"I think you -- I think reporters said that," Walker insists. "I don't know whether President Trump ever said that because he never said that to me."
"He says it over and over," the reporter notes.
"No, no, no, no," Walker replies. "I've never heard President Trump ever say that."
Watch the video below.