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Anti-Gay Iowa Republican Partners With Anti-Gay Christian Group To Bully Anti-Bullying LGBTQ Group

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A young rising star with a troubled past is taking allegations from a highly controversial Iowa “pro-family” Christian group to conduct a “witch hunt” against an anti-bullying LGBTQ organization – on the eve of that group’s annual fundraising dinner.

Bob Vander Plaats heads a vociferously anti-gay “pro-family” group in Iowa, the Family Leader. He’s managed to gain power and influence by attacking everything LGBTQ, from same-sex marriage to pro-equality presidential candidates, and now, a respected group that works to end anti-LGBTQ student bullying and LGBTQ youth and teen suicide.

Back in April, Vander Plaats published a long list of allegations supposedly detailing some of the events that took place at the Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth, including speakers highlighting “horror stories of how outcast they felt as kids.”

“They told stories of ‘coming out’ and finding homosexual relationships. They reinforced the narrative that the world ‘hates,’ but the homosexual community accepts. They repeatedly affirmed that it’s OK to be gay.”

Shocking.

But Vander Plaats also charges “a drag performer named Coco Peru… delivered an expletive-laden presentation,” and this:

  • One speaker wore a dress made of condoms, so they could be easily detached and “used as needed.”

  • Another told a rousing story of how he used social media to find friends and accidentally stumbled into an orgy.

Student attendees and advisors fought back, with one writing an open letter to Vander Plaats refuting his allegations and generally making mincemeat from them.

Enter GOP rising star Bobby Kaufmann, whose father is the Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa and a former Republican House Speaker Pro Tem. Despite being just 29 and just a two-term State Representative holding the very seat his father once did, Bobby Kaufmann is already chairman of the powerful Government Oversight Committee.

Kaufmann has received financial support from GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul, who even came to Iowa to headline a fundraiser for Kaufmann, although Kaufmann recently endorsed Marco Rubio for president. He does not support same-sex marriage although in 2012 actually said, “I believe the voters should have an opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage. That being said, one of my best friends is gay and my aunt is a lesbian.”

Now, Kaufmann has partnered with Vander Plaats and announced this week he will hold an investigation into the Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth, despite the fact that the group is not associated with the governor’s office and does not receive state funds. His basis for the investigation? Bob Vander Plaats and the allegations he made after sending someone undercover to spy on the conference’s activities.

His in?

A claim some public schools used school busses to transport students to the group’s event back in April.

As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern writes, “Republicans want to shut it down… alleging the most recent gathering contained ‘obscene material.'”

What “obscene material” is Kaufmann describing? A breakout session at which social justice advocate Sam Killermann and adolescent sexuality expert Dr. Karen Rayne discussed sexual health. In 2015, extremist anti-gay fringe group the FAMiLY LEADER sent an undercover operative to monitor the session and reported that, during the Q&A, Rayne actually answered students’ questions about sex. Her session is hardly the focus on the conference. But Kaufmann has seized upon it as a justification to investigate and possibly terminate the conference, now in its 11th year. (Students who attended vigorously deny Kaufmann’s claims.) 

Raw Story notes “Iowa Safe Schools executive director Nate Monson said Kaufmann’s investigation, which will include a Nov. 18 committee hearing, amounted to a ‘witch hunt’ that the legislator has organized solely to shut the conference down.”

What’s equally disgusting is the timing of Kaufmann’s attack this week, and the announcement he will next month hold hearings into the Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth, which is organized and hosted by Iowa Safe Schools.

Tonight, Iowa Safe Schools holds their annual fundraising dinner, the Iowa Spirit Awards in Des Moines, featuring keynote speaker former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a current Democratic presidential candidate.

Here’s a report from local news station KCCI:

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
Hat tip: Raw Story

 

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AMERICAN IDIOT

GOP Governor Faceplants on CNN: Ending Mask Mandates Is ‘Following the Data’

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CNN host Jake Tapper grilled Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Sunday over his decision to lift mask mandates and COVID-19 related restrictions on businesses in his state.

“The governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” the Republican governor announced on March 2.

Tapper started off his interview this weekend by telling Reeves that health experts were warning that “people will get sick and die” because of his decision. But Reeves insisted he was just “following the data.”

“We know more people are likely to get sick and die without mask mandates and that is what the science says,” Tapper said. “Why is this a tradeoff you’re willing to make?”

But Reeves insisted his state was in good shape. He also lashed out President Joe Biden, who last week accused Reeves and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of “Neanderthal thinking” for their decisions to end mask mandates and other measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Let’s talk a little bit more about the data,” Reeves told Tapper. “The fact is that at our peak, we had 1,450 Mississippians in hospital beds because of the virus. Today, that number is below 400. At our peak, we had 360 Mississippians in ICU beds. At this point that number is below 120. The fact is we have seen significantly reduced levels. and, oh, by the way, unlike President Biden who wants to insult Americans and insult Mississippians, I actually trust Mississippians to make good decisions.”

Tapper then asked Reeves if he thought it was a good idea for the residents of his state to continue wearing masks, to which Reeves replied that he did.

“If you have not received the vaccination and you’re going into a large crowd or if you’re going out to dinner, I strongly encourage Mississippians and people across the country to wear a mask because I believe that it does, in fact, reduce the ability of individuals to spread the virus. No question about that,” Reeves said.

“Only about 9% of Mississippi residents have been fully vaccinated – 9%,” Tapper noted. “The governor of neighboring Alabama, Republican Kay Ivey, is extending her mask mandate another month. Why not do the same thing so you can get more of your constituents vaccinated before relaxing your measures? We all want to go back to normal. The fear is if you do this, it will take longer to actually get back to normal.”

“Well, I should start by saying I love and appreciate Governor Ivey over in Alabama,” Reeves replied. “She is a great friend of mine and has been for many, many years. But when you look at the numbers in Mississippi, it doesn’t justify government intervention. It just simply does not. It doesn’t justify statewide mask mandates. You’ve made a very valid point earlier that statewide mask mandates have been in effect in our state over the last six months and we are not going back to that.”

Watch video below:

Related: ‘It Is Time’: Mississippi Joins Texas in Lifting All COVID Restrictions Despite Doing Terrible Job Controlling Virus

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ANTI-SCIENCE EXTREMISM

Protestors in Idaho Bring Their Kids to Mask-Burnings Promoted by Far Right Extremist Lawmakers

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Two far right Republican state lawmakers in Idaho recorded a video promoting coronavirus mask burnings, which subsequently took place across the state Saturday, including on the steps of the state capitol in Boise.

Despite what the two lawmakers say, Republican Governor Brad Little has instituted no statewide mask mandate, businesses are mostly open, and there are no stay-at-home orders, according to The New York Times.

The two GOP lawmakers are Rep. Dorothy Moon, whose husband belongs to the antigovernment extremist group the John Birch Society, and Rep. Heather Scott who reportedly supports white nationalism and according to a report is a leader in a group known as COWS, or the Coalition of Western States. Its founder was removed from the GOP caucus after a report stated he had engaged in domestic terrorism.

In April of 2020 Scott “compared Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) to Adolf Hitler because she said that stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic are akin to Nazi extermination camps.”

In the video the two lawmakers, Moon and Scott, say they “fully support” the mask burnings.

“People are gonna be lining up [at] burn barrels to throw masks in, mandates, or emergency orders or replications there have, because I think everyone’s ready for this emergency order to be lifted,” Moon says. “And now we’re almost one year into this COVID lockdown and mandates and orders that it’s time to end the numbers aren’t there.”

Given that Idaho ranks 43rd in per capita coronavirus testing, it’s impossible to say accurately “the numbers aren’t there.”

Scott chimes in to say the mask-burnings will be “pretty fun,” and Moon adds that there will be “50 burn barrels set up around the state.”

And indeed, people did come out to burn masks, and brought their children with them. One speaker referred to Idaho residents as “political refugees,” apparently for living under mask requirements in Boise.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Sergio Olmos posted these photos and videos of the mask-burning at the Idaho capitol. Law enforcement officers asked the anti-science extremists, who are promoting the mask-burnings and including their children in them, to put out the fire.

 

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ANALYSIS

Expert Explains How Dems Just Brilliantly Forced Trump to Respond Under Oath for the Capitol Riot

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On MSNBC Saturday, former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance outlined the legal problems that the new civil suits against former President Donald Trump will create for him.

“These civil cases are a very interesting aspect of the search for accountability,” said Vance. “We’ve seen the flawed impeachment procedure, which failed to hold him accountable despite evidence. We’re looking at the criminal process and criminal investigations ongoing, too early to conclude whether that would ultimately reach former President Trump and his inner circle. These civil cases are a direct and potentially more quick route for the American people to gain the truth.”

“Representative [Eric] Swalwell’s complaint is particularly interesting because it raises claims under the Ku Klux Klan Act, which talks about interference with Congress’ performance of official duties, and files suit in his individual capacity, arguing interference and interference with his well-being and the well-being of others,” said Vance. “Only one of the claims in this complaint have to survive a motion to dismiss, an early preliminary motion that the defendants will file in order to begin the discovery process, and that’s part of the legal proceedings in the civil case where a litigant like Representative Swalwell has the ability to take depositions to ask for documents where there’s actually an obligation that the defendants respond under oath.”

“This could get interesting relatively quickly,” concluded Vance, although she added, “It’s too early, I think, to assess whether the suit has a chance of success on the merits.”

“At the end of the day you serve at the pleasure of the president,” saidformer EEOC general council David Lopez. “I think the norm that was violated was that she decided to stay. I’ve never heard of that happening before.”

Watch below:

Image via Shutterstock

 

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