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GOP Governor About To Strip Due Process Rights From Teachers — LGBT Protections Most At-Risk

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Sam Brownback is the quintessential anti-gay Republican from what would seem to be the 1950’s. A one-term U.S. Congressman, and one-term U.S. Senator, Brownback won his home state’s gubernatorial election in 2010.

Last year, Governor Brownback signed into law a highly-controversial and likely unconstitutional anti-abortion bill, and at the top of the page wrote his reason: “JESUS + Mary.” In 2011, Brownback got into a small social media firestorm after demanding a teen who said she had tweeted her thoughts to him (“#heblowsalot”) write him an apology.

In 2010, a reporter asked Brownback, “Do you think it’s appropriate to criminalize homosexual conduct anymore?” His response? “I’m not going to comment.”

Brownback is believed to be a member of The Family, the group that has a Washington, D.C. boarding house for Christian Congressman and Senators on the famous C Street. From there they reportedly have been critical in helping to pass what was known as Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.

HRC gave Brownback four “zero” ratings. He is believed to have ties to or worked with the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, he believes homosexuality is immoral and he does not support LGBT protections at all — be it in hate crime laws or workplace discrimination laws.

Which brings us to the state of Kansas and their terribly underpaid teachers.

Teachers in Kansas are so underpaid, and the Kansas public school system is so underfunded, a federal judge was forced to demand the state cough up well-over $100 million more to teach their children. In return, state lawmakers gutted any semblance of protections — what some call workers’ rights, or tenure — for teachers.

The bill would make it “easier to fire teachers by eliminating their due-process rights,” the Kansas City Star bluntly notes.

So, if a principal or administrator doesn’t like gay people, and Gov. Brownback signs the bill into law, any LGBT teacher could be without a job, and not given a reason, or a chance to appeal. To be clear there are no specific protections for LGBT teachers, but this will make it easier to fire them.

MSNBC reports that over the weekend, “the Kansas legislature passed a bill that strips teachers of the right to challenge dismissals and ensures tax breaks for corporations that fund private school scholarships.”

Kansas’ teachers are among the lowest paid in the United States, with the state coming in 42nd in teacher pay. Educators fear that eliminating due process rights for teachers will make it even harder to retain talented teachers. “How do we get great teachers to come to Kansas when they’re already getting paid so little, and now they have no due process?” Aaron Estabrook, a school board member in the city of Manhattan asked msnbc. “How can we recruit them when they won’t be protected?”

The Wichita Eagle notes the bill, now headed to Gov. Brownback to sign, “strips teachers of a protection they have had since 1957.”

The bill would put $129 million toward addressing inequities to satisfy a March 7 Kansas Supreme Court ruling.

It also would eliminate public school teachers’ right to due process hearings that was established by a 1957 Supreme Court case. And it would provide tax breaks for corporations that donate to scholarships for private schools.

MSNBC adds “Tom Witt, the executive director of Equality Kansas, said that the bill will make it easier for homophobic administrators to fire teachers based on their sexual orientation.

“There are gay and lesbian teachers in this state who are perfectly good teachers, but the only reason they still have their jobs is, even though their administrators wanted to get rid of them because of their sexual orientation, they couldn’t,” Witt said. “You take away this protection. It’s not like people can go back in the closet.”

The Kansas branch of Americans for Prosperity, the group founded by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, had pushed for the change and lauded the elimination of due process for teachers. Jeff Glendening, AFP-Kansas’ state director, called the bill’s passage “a great win for Kansas students.”

On a Washington Post ranking of public high schools in the nation, the first Kansas school appears at number 339.

Image via Wikipedia

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

The ‘White Power Movement’ Is Ramping Up Its Attacks on Energy Infrastructure – Anti-Terrorism Expert Explains Why

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Professor, historian and author Kathleen Belew, one of the United States’ top experts on white supremacist and white nationalist terrorism, has often stressed that violent, racially motivated attacks shouldn’t be viewed as isolated incidents, but as part of a broader movement. And when Belew made a Monday night, February 6 appearance on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” she explained how a Maryland woman’s alleged role in a plot to attack five energy substations in the Baltimore area fits into the overall “white power” game plan.

Earlier in the day, law enforcement officials had announced the arrest of Maryland resident Sarah Beth Clendaniel, who, they allege, conspired with fellow white supremacist Brandon Russell in that plot. Clendaniel and Russell, according to officials, hoped to completely disable energy infrastructure in Baltimore and deprive the city of electricity for an extended period of time.

During her conversation with Maddow, Belew emphasized that this was not an isolated incident. White supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis, according to the professor, are targeting energy infrastructure in general — not just in Baltimore, Maryland.

READ MORE: Why the power grid is an ‘attractive target’ for domestic terrorists and white supremacists: report

Belew, author of the 2019 book, “Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America,” told Maddow, “The electrical part may be new, but infrastructure attacks by this movement are not new. This is a strategy that was pioneered by a group called The Order in 1983…. Infrastructure attacks are one kind of violence among several others that are all laid out in a strategy in common in order to bring about what the movement seeks, which is the overthrow of the United States and the creation of a white ethno-state — mass violence against communities of color and even genocide against non-white peoples.”

According to Belew — who teaches at Northwestern University in the Chicago suburbs — attacks on energy infrastructure and the January 6, 2021 insurrection are both part of the “white power” game plan.

Belew told Maddow, “Infrastructure attacks sit next to a show of forced violence like the January 6 attack on the Capitol and mass casualty violence like the Oklahoma City bombing. All of these exist together within one broad ideology in the white power movement.”

READ MORE: Terrorism expert explains why the Great Replacement theory is so central to white racist ideology

Watch the full video at this link.

Image via Wikimedia and a Creative Commons license

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COMMENTARY

Right-Wing Outraged Over Falsely Thinking White House Press Secretary Said National Security Council Is Using ‘TikTok’

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For decades White House press secretaries, military officers, and reporters have used the words “tick-tock” to denote an overview of a conversation, or a chronological telling of a series of events – and not the now-popular Chinese app “TikTok,” which some allege has major national security implications.

And yet, the far-right-wing website Daily Caller, a veteran Fox News host, and many others on the social media site Twitter attacked Karine Jean-Pierre Monday afternoon, after the White House Press Secretary told the press: “I know there was a tick-tock that went out to all of you from the National Security Council that was pretty detailed on how everything broke down for the past week.”

Inside Elections’ Jacob Rubashkin mocked The Daily Caller, (which was founded by Tucker Carlson,) for getting something so basic so wrong.

READ MORE: Morning Joe Reminds Viewers of the Last Time the Koch Network ‘Stopped the Craziness’ in GOP Primaries

Longtime journalist Keith Olberman blasted several people on Twitter who assumed the worst, including veteran Fox News reporter David Asman.

He didn’t stop there.

 

 

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News

House Ethics Committee Begins Questioning Santos Staffers

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The U.S. House Committee on Ethics has begun questioning staffers for embattled Rep. George Santos, who on Friday was accused of sexual harassment and improper hiring practice by a prospective aide the New York Republican interviewed and hired.

CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona, reporting the committee’s questioning, calls it “a sign that the committee is looking into some of the allegations against Santos, though it doesn’t necessarily mean a formal investigation has been launched yet.”

“It is unclear what exactly the committee asked these staffers about, but multiple ethics complaints have been filed against Santos,” Zanona adds.

READ MORE: Watch: Democrats File Ethics Complaint Against George Santos After GOP Leadership Calls It an ‘Internal’ Matter

Most recently, a prospective staffer filed a complaint that the congressman made an unwanted sexual advance.

Two New York Democrats last month also filed an ethics complaint against Santos over his financial disclosure reporting.

 

 

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