Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback stripped away protections from tens of thousands of LGBT state employees with one whisk of his pen today.
In 2007, Democratic Governor of Kansas Kathleen Sebelius signed an executive order protecting about 25,000 state employeesÂ from anti-LGBT discrimination. Gov.Â Sebelius went on to become President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, and in 2011 conservative RepublicanÂ Sam Brownback was elected to his first term as governor. Last year in a close race, Brownback won re-election.
Today, after being on the books for about eight years, Gov.Â Sebelius’ executive order protecting 25,000 state employees was rescinded by Governor Brownback.
Brownback is a 58-year old Roman Catholic who has intertwined his faith with his job to such a great degree that in 2013, when signing an anti-abortion bill into law, he wrote,Â â€œJESUS + Mary.â€
Today, railing against what he called theÂ creation of additional “protected classes,” Brownback rescinded the 2007 executive order and replaced it with one that excludes mention of LGBT people entirely.Â
In short, if you are, for example, a professor at theÂ University of Kansas, and you are gay, this morning you woke up knowing you could not be fired for being gay. By the time you left for home this evening, you could be. It’s just that simple.
â€œThis Executive Order ensures that state employees enjoy the same civil rights as all Kansans without creating additional â€˜protected classesâ€™ as the previous order did,â€ Governor Brownback said in a statement. â€œAny such expansion of â€˜protected classesâ€™ should be done by the legislature and not through unilateral action. The order also reaffirms our commitment to hiring, mentoring and recognizing veterans and individuals with disabilities.â€
Equality Kansas calls Brownback’s move “an outrage,” noting that the Governor “has, by erasing their job protections, declared ‘open season’ on” every LGBT state employee.Â
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Court Slaps Down Trump’s Attempt to Intimidate Pennsylvania Voters
At a Friday night rally, Republican President Donald Trump talked about his attempts to have “poll watchers” in the swing state of Pennsylvania, an attempt that a local court recently ruled as illegal.
“I think we’re leading everywhere,” Trump said at the rally. “We think in Pennsylvania doing great. We got to be very careful Philadelphia. They play games in Philadelphia, and they won’t let us watch the count in Philadelphia… So we’re watching Philadelphia.”
Trump then told his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to “please watch Philadelphia … because I don’t like what I’m hearing about Philadelphia…. I don’t like what I see going on in terms of what’s gone on over the past, and probably what’s going on. Think of it. They fought like hell that we can’t watch them. Count the vote, what’s wrong with watching? why can’t we have poll watchers? And so we’re in court right now poll watches in Philadelphia. But we’re doing great in Pennsylvania, gotta watch Philadelphia.”
"Why can't we have poll watchers? And so we're in court trying to have poll watchers in Philadelphia." — Trump pic.twitter.com/E4xCSFJqEk
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 24, 2020
First off, the so-called poll watchers are needless seeing as there’s zero evidence of voter fraud at polling places, so Trump’s “watchers” are little more than intimidators meant to make Democratic voters nervous.
Second off, it’s not Meadows’ job to handle poll monitoring, election monitors or lawsuits. The White House Chief of staff serves as a “liaison among members of the President’s cabinet and the White House [and is] is responsible for directing, managing and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, and staff activities for the President.”
Third off, on Friday, local Judge Gary Glazer ruled that the Trump campaign’s attempt to have poll-watchers at the state polls isn’t allowed under state law. The Trump campaign had sent unauthorized poll watchers into satellite poll offices where local election officials register voters and help people fill out their mail-in ballots, but the officials kicked the watchers out.
Trump said his watcher should be allowed to monitor such offices, but a bipartisan Philadelphia City Commission said that the satellite locations don’t qualify as official polling stations and therefore don’t qualify as a place allowed by state law to have poll watchers. Judge Glazer agreed.
On September 27, Politico wrote that Trump had hired dozens of lawyers from three major law firms and recruited thousands of volunteer attorneys to contest election results in 17 key states considered vital to his re-election.
In response, Biden campaign spokesperson Michael Gwin told the publication, “The Biden campaign has assembled the biggest voter protection program in history to ensure the election runs smoothly and to combat any attempt by Donald Trump to create fear and confusion with our voting system, or interfere in the democratic process.”
This Democrat Is Beating His GOP Opponent, So the Right-Wing Is Lying About Him Dressing Up As Hitler
Arizona senatorial candidate Mark Kelly is currently beating his Republican challenger Martha McSally by about 5 percentage points. So a right-wing media outlet decided to try and take Kelly down by posting a photo and lying about him dressing up as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during his school days at the Merchant Marine Academy.
On Friday, the right-wing website the National File shared photographic “proof” that Kelley had dressed as Hitler, and the post quickly went viral. But Kelly’s former classmates Jennifer Boykin, Peter Lindsey, Mark Baden and Ed McDonald have all said that the image isn’t of Kelly.
Lindsey in particular said someone contacted him with the image via the professional social network LinkedIn asked “and asked if the person in the costume was Mark Kelly. I told them no, and want to say again, Mark is not in those photos. I have spoken to numerous classmates about this evening, and they concur that he is not in any of these pictures. The people spreading these lies should stop.”
“The person who reached out to Lindsey was identified by the campaign as a paid consultant for a super political action committee aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., that is spending millions of dollars to help defeat Kelly,” AZCentral.com reports.
Every Second Another American Gets COVID-19. 100,000 New Daily Cases Predicted by Election
On Friday, the U.S. reported its highest ever daily toll of new COVID-19 cases with 83,948 new cases, according to Reuters. Considering that there are 86,400 seconds in a day, that means that almost every second, a U.S. resident comes down with a new case of COVID-19, according to New York Times correspondent Mike Baker.
Meanwhile, Dr. Angela Rasumussen, a virologist at Columbia University, has predicted that the U.S. will likely have its highest-ever daily count of newly confirmed cases by Election Day with around 100,000 new cases in a single day.
We will have 100K cases per day by Election Day https://t.co/mFoJ2vmLx6
— Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) October 24, 2020
As of October 23, an average of 800 U.S. residents are dying of COVID-19 each week and nationwide there are currently 41,000 hospitalizations related to the ongoing pandemic, reports The Guardian.
At the third and final debate last Thursday, Republican President Donald Trump said we’re “rounding the corner” on the epidemic, meaning that we’re improving towards sustainable change. There are no indicators that is actually happening. In fact, at a rally on Friday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden quipped, “As many as 210,000 avoidable deaths, and there’s not much he would do differently? If this is a success, what’s a failure look like?”
In fact, multiple pandemic experts, including Dr. Anthont Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said cases are likely to rise even higher during the cold winter months as people cluster indoors and meet for fall and winter holidays.
As of October 23, the U.S. has had over 8,535,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 223,900 related deaths. The epidemic has now killed more Americans than were killed in the U.S. military conflicts in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and World War I combined.
While Trump has promised that a vaccine will appear in a few weeks, Dr. Fauci has said that a majority of Americans won’t have access to it until deep into 2021.
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