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Anti-Gay Lawmakers Revive ‘Witch Hunt’ Against LGBTQ Youth Conference

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Allegations From Bob Vander Plaats’ Anti-Gay Group, The Family Leader, Sparked Legislative Inquiry

Iowa lawmakers are moving forward with an investigation into a statewide LGBTQ youth conference, in response to allegations from an anti-gay group that last year’s event included sexually explicit content. 

GOP Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, who chairs the House Government Oversight Committee, last week appointed two members of the panel, one Republican and one Democrat, to investigate the annual Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth, now in its 11th year. The Republican appointed by Kaufmann to investigate the conference is Rep. Greg Heartsill, who serves as vice chair of the oversight committee and has led a hateful legislative crusade against the conference in recent years. 

Organized by the nonprofit advocacy group Iowa Safe Schools, the educational conference is the largest of its kind in the nation, drawing more than 1,000 students, parents and teachers from across the Midwest to address issues like bullying, homelessness, suicide and sexual health among LGBT youth and teens. 

Posted by Iowa Safe Schools on Monday, April 20, 2015

Although the conference doesn’t directly receive any taxpayer funds, it has come under fire from some GOP lawmakers as well as the The Family Leader, the Iowa anti-LGBT group led by Bob Vander Plaats, which sent an undercover operative to the event last year. 

RELATED: Top Anti-Gay Activist Demands Schools Teach Gays They Can Never Have Sex

“There were only two sessions [among more than 20] that had anything to do with bullying,” the Family Leader’s anonymous spy later alleged in a rather salacious report. “It’s a conference teaching kids how to be confidently homosexual, how to pleasure their gay partners — one session even taught transsexual girls how to sew fake testicles into their underwear in order to pass themselves off as boys.”

The operative’s report went on to quote a father, also anonymous, who said his daughter left the conference early because she was “absolutely distraught.” 

“It was crude. One presenter told students who asked whether anal sex hurt that, as a lesbian, it really depended on how big the device is that their partner straps on,” the father said. “My daughter went to listen to the comedian, Sam Killermann, thinking it would at least be funny. But instead, Killermann explained how pleasurable it is for gay couples to eat each other’s behinds and how to use different flavors of [oils] to make it taste better.” 

Conference participants flatly denied the undercover operative’s allegations. Kerri Barnhouse, adviser for the Gay Straight Alliance at West High School in Iowa City, said the Family Leader “twisted and manipulated” the conference, while students who attended launched a letter-writing campaign to Vander Plaats.

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

Nate Monson, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, suggested that people like Vander Plaats, Kauffman and Heartsill are waging “a witch hunt” aimed at shutting down the event. 

“I have no words to describe the violation of civil liberties – and common human decency — it is to listen into the conversations of young people in settings where parents and youth are encouraged to have an open dialogue about tough issues,” Monson wrote, adding that the “campaign of pure hate” has led to Iowa Safe Schools representatives being called “child-molesting enablers, fags, dykes, queers, and homos.”

“If a supposedly responsible adult can unleash untruths and distort an event like our conference in such a way as to garner such hateful reaction directed at the LGBTQ community, can you imagine what our youth face when bullies hear those same messages?” Monson added.  

Posted by Iowa Safe Schools on Friday, March 20, 2015

Despite his fringe views, Vander Plaats enjoys considerable influence among the state’s Republicans, marked by his power player status in Iowa’s GOP presidential caucus, in which he’s endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz this year.

In response to the undercover operative’s report, Heartsill sent a letter to school superintendents — which Monson described as “creepy” — asking how many people from their districts attended the conference and whether they covered any of the costs, including transportation. Then, Kauffman scheduled a legislative hearing on the conference for October, but later postponed it before reviving the investigation last week. 

Heartsill also introduced an unsuccessful amendment last year that would have required students to obtain parental consent before attending the conference. During debate on the amendment on the House floor, Heartsill infamously acknowledged that he didn’t even know what “LGBTQ” stood for.

Monson told The New Civil Rights Movement that the other lawmaker appointed by Kaufmann to investigate the conference, Democratic Rep. Phyllis Thede, has been a strong advocate for safe schools. However, Monson said he believes Heartsill will attempt to use the investigation to leverage support for a similar amendment this year. 

“He’s going to use this spot to bully and harass Iowa Safe Schools to try and get that passed in addition to stopping kids from coming this year by distorting the event,” Monson said. “Most of our attendees are rural kids who come with teachers and their parents. Every year these youth get to meet a major figure in our community. … Homeless youth from one of our shelters come annually and for those kids rejected by their families to know everything is OK, that’s why we do this. Heartsill has no shame in wanting to hurt our most vulnerable youth.” 

This year’s conference is set for April 29 in Des Moines. To support the conference, which is funded entirely by donations, go here. 

 

Images via Iowa Safe Schools/Facebook

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News

Watch: McConnell Blasts GOP ‘Candidate Quality’ as He Admits Democrats Likely to Keep Senate

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Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a surprising admission Thursday: the GOP’s candidates running for Senate may not be good enough for Republicans to take control of the chamber he once led as Majority Leader.

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell responded when asked at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon about his projections for the upcoming November elections, as NBC News reported.

“Senate races are just different,” he explained. “Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”

READ MORE: Watch: MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Likens Mitch McConnell to Segregationists Like Strom Thurmond by Using His Own Words

“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” McConnell added, wrongly.

The country is not 50-50.

According to a Gallup poll conducted over a three week period in July, 28% of Americans identify as Republican, 29% as Democratic, and 41% as independent.

Thanks in large part to Donald Trump, “candidate quality” is definitely a challenge for the GOP.

There are 35 Senate seats up for (re)election in November, 14 are held by Democrats and 21 by Republicans. Possibly sensing the headwinds five GOP Senators and just one Democratic Senator are not running for reelection and are retiring.

Among the Republican candidates running, several likely will held Democrats keep control of the chamber, including Mehmet Oz (Pennsylvania) and Herschel Walker (Georgia).

The GOP pulling cash out of races it may think its candidates cannot win.

“As midterm election campaigns heat up in the Senate’s top battlegrounds, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling millions of dollars of ad spending, sending GOP campaigns and operatives into a panic and upending the committee’s initial spending plan,” Politico on Monday reported.

Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight currently shows Democrats have a 64 in 100 chance of retaining the Senate, a number that’s been growing: On July 22 it was 50-50.

Watch Leader McConnell below or at this link:

 

 

 

 

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News

Herschel Walker Raked in Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Giving Paid Speeches While a Candidate for Senate: Report

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Like nearly every candidate for elected office, entrepreneur and former NFL star Herschel Walker, the Republican Party’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia, has been giving speeches since he announced his run for office. Unlike nearly every candidate for public office, Walker has been charging for those speeches.

Not entrance fees for an audience to hear him speak, but actual speaking fees, paid by lobbying groups and even non-profits like a Boys & Girls Club in Georgia.

And he’s racked up big money doing it as a declared candidate for elected office.

The fees he says on his disclosure form he’s received range from $12,000 to $60,000.

After having served as a U.S. Senator and then as a U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was flogged by Republicans for giving paid speeches after leaving the Obama administration, during the time she was a private citizen and far from declaring any intention to run for office.

READ MORE: Herschel Walker’s Remarks Against Same-Sex Marriage Resurface: ‘Each State Can Just Stop All of That’

But Walker is making money as a candidate for elected office, according to The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberg.

A lot of money.

“Herschel Walker—who has so far only agreed to participate in the one debate that provides topics in advance—has earned $569,000 in speaking fees since Jan. 2021,” Sollenberger reports, citing Walker’s financial disclosure.

“More than half” of that $569,000 “came after he launched his Senate campaign last August.”

That means Walker has raked in well over a quarter million dollars while a declared candidate for public office.

NCRM examined Walker’s annual SEC filing, dated August 15, 2022. It lists his declaration of candidacy for office as August 24, 2021.

READ MORE: ‘Pathological Liar’: Herschel Walker’s Own Advisors Don’t Trust Him, Think He Isn’t Mentally Fit for the Job – Report

In February of this year Walker was paid $60,000 by the University of North Texas for its Kuehne Speaker Series. Last year, before officially declaring as a candidate for office Walker was paid $35,000 by the All Sports Association, and $25,000 by the Boys & Girls Club of Gainesville, Georgia.

These payments and many others – 21 in total – are listed under the section titled “Honoraria Payments or Payments to Charity in Lieu of Honoraria.” The filing asks, “Did any individual or organization pay you or your spouse more than $200, or donate any amount to a charity on your or your spouse’s behalf, for an article, speech, or appearance?”

Walker answered “Yes.”

The filing asks, “Who received payment?” For each of the 21 entries Walker indicated “Self.”

Under “Activity,” each response was “Speech.”

READ MORE: Herschel Walker Calls for Creation of Federal Agency to Spy on Americans’ Social Media Posts to Prevent Gun Violence

There are many others.

Three days after officially declaring himself a candidate Walker was paid $35,000 by the Texas Bankers Association. A few days later $20,000 by the Georgia Realtors Association. $35,000 in October by the Baldwin County Community Drug Foundation.

In December of last year the Atlana Journal-Constitution reported Walker is “the richest man in Georgia Senate race.”

“U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker is worth somewhere between $29 million and $65 million, and he pulled down about $4 million in income from late 2020 through late 2021, according to financial disclosures he filed late Wednesday,” the paper reported.

“About $400,000 of his earnings were from speeches he delivered to over a dozen groups, including charities such as the Boys and Girls Club that paid him as much as $27,000,” the Journal-Constitution confirmed at the time.

Walker, who was the subject of great controversy after The Daily Beast revealed in a series of reports that Walker, despite criticizing Black men for being absent fathers, has three secret children, and says he lied to his own campaign about their existence. In addition to his adult son, a popular social media influencer. One of the three is an adult but the other two and young children.

Walker has also taken money for speaking to anti-abortion organizations.

“He was paid $20,000 in October to speak to the Mid City Women’s Clinic in Hurst, Texas, and $27,000 in November to speak to the Pregnant Choice medical group in Augusta. Both are among a network of clinics that seek to deter abortions.”

 

Image: Screenshot via Facebook

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Listen: GOP Candidate for Congress Says Garland Should ‘Probably’ Be ‘Executed’ – Later Claims He Was Just Being ‘Facetious’

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New York Republican Carl Paladino, running for a U.S. House seat, said Attorney General Merrick Garland should probably be “executed” in a radio interview this past weekend, and later when pressed backtracked, claiming he was just being “facetious,” as The Buffalo News first reported.

“So we have a couple of unelected people who are running our government with an administration of people like Garland,” Paladino said in an attack on President Joe Biden in a Saturday interview with the far-right wing Breitbart media site.

Garland “should be not only impeached he should probably, should be executed, the guy is just lost,” Paladino said.

Paladino called Garland, a former U.S. Supreme Court nominee and former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, a “lost soul” who is “trying to get an image and his image, his methodology is just terrible.”

READ MORE: Stefanik-Endorsed Candidate Called Black People ‘Dumb and Hungry,’ Said Trump Sexual Assault Accuser ‘Probably Enjoyed’ It

“To raid the home of a former president is just, people are scratching their heads and they’re saying, ‘What is wrong with this guy?’ ”

Later in the interview Breitbart Radio host Matthew Boyle asked Paladino, “Carl, what you just said about Garland, you said you think ‘he should be impeached and probably executed.’ Can you explain that? What do you mean by that?”

“I’m just being facetious,” Paladino replied. “The man should be removed from office. He’s shows his incompetence. He wants to get his face in front of the people. And in short, he’s got some mettle to him, but his choice of issues and his choice of methodology is is is very sad. And then he wants to take full blame for it, you know he’ll he’ll stand there.”

Paladino, who is strongly endorsed by U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY),  the Chair of the House Republican Conference, has a long history of controversial remarks and actions.

RELATED: School Board Votes to Ask for Resignation of Racist Trump Official Who Hopes Michelle Obama Goes to Live With a Gorilla

Just last month the New York Post reported he “has a convicted sex offender on his company payroll who also now works as ‘assistant treasurer’ of his campaign.”

“Joel Sartori was controller of Ellicott Development when he was busted in 2013 for accessing child porn on a company computer,” The Post adds. “Sartori was convicted of two felonies — possessing and promoting kiddie porn — and sentenced to 10 years’ probation in 2017, court records show.”

As CNN has reported, Paladino has called Black people “dumb and hungry,” claimed they are “conditioned” to only vote for Democrats, while insisting he’s not “a racist.” He also said a woman who had accused Donald Trump of sexual assault “probably enjoyed” it.

Stefanik, the third most powerful House Republican, on June 3 praised Paladino as an “inspirational” leader, a “doer,” and “the kind of leader we need today.” That endorsement came just days before it was revealed Paladino in 2021 had called Adolf Hitler “inspirational,” and “the kind of leader we need today” (audio.)

Stefanik later doubled down on her endorsement despite Paladino’s praise for Hitler, a genocidal fascist responsible for the murders of approximately 17 million people.

As CNN also reported, in 2016, “Paladino had said he would like to see Michelle Obama ‘return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,’ and that he hoped Barack Obama would die of Mad Cow Disease after having sex with a cow.”

Listen to Paladino’s remarks about Attorney General Garland below or at this link:

Image: Screenshot via Facebook

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