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GOP EXTREMISM

Lawmakers Want Teachers Who Strike for Better Wages and Supplies to Go to Jail – or Get Fired

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As schoolteachers in Colorado prepare to stage a walk out this Thursday to bring attention to their demands for wage increases and better school funding, two Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would punish them with fines and jail time.

The legislation, sponsored by State Rep. Paul Lundeen and State Sen. Bob Gardner, was introduced this past Friday. It would prohibit public school teacher strikes by authorizing school districts to seek an injunction from a district court. A failure to comply with the injunction would “constitute contempt of court” and teachers could face not only fines but up to six months in county jail.

The bill, SB18-264, also directs school districts to fire teachers on the spot without a proper hearing if they’re found in contempt of court and also bans public school teachers from getting paid “for any day which the public school teacher participates in a strike.”

In an email statement sent to Denver’s ABC7 News, a Democratic challenger in Colorado’s gubernatorial race, Mike Johnston, labeled the GOP bill a “tactic designed to distract from the challenges facing Colorado’s education system rather than solving them.”

“Teachers across the country, from West Virginia and Oklahoma to Arizona and here in Colorado, are speaking up for themselves and their students. We need to listen to teachers now more than ever. This legislation attempts to silence their voices rather than working to address their concerns. As Governor, I will make sure that teachers are heard, not thrown in jail for exercising their rights.”

According to a spokesperson for the Colorado Education Association, the state’s Colorado teachers spend $656 of their own money for school supplies for students each year. Citing data provided by the the National Education Association, the average wages of school teachers in Colorado places it at a ranking of 46th among U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

A report issued by the Center for American Progress nearly four years ago revealed that the average base salary for Colorado teachers with a bachelor’s degree and 10 years of experience is $36,700 with the national average salary hovering at around  $44,900.

The spokesperson for the Colorado Education Association noted that in four years there’s been little movement and changes to the facts of the CAP report.

Image via Colorado Education Association/Facebook

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GOP EXTREMISM

Old-School Republican on GOP: ‘A Complete Break from Reality’ Concerning Pelosi

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President-elect Donald J. Trump and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi smile for a photo during the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017. More than 5,000 military members from across all branches of the armed forces of the United States, including reserve and National Guard components, provided ceremonial support and Defense Support of Civil Authorities during the inaugural period. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

Kurt Bardella, a former press secretary for Republican Olympia Snowe, told MSNBC on Friday that when it came to Nancy Pelosi, the Republican Party had had “a complete break from reality.”

“The GOP talking point this morning is that Nancy Pelosi is peacocking for her colleagues, blocking negotiations to look strong, shore up support for her speakership,” said Ayman Mohyeldin, noting that Republicans have historically strongly disliked the incoming House Speaker. “Is that a smart strategic move to say that the left, or the Democrats have a left wing within their party that is making Nancy Pelosi take this hardened position?”

“They can try to say that, but it’s a complete break from what’s actually happening in reality, and I just don’t think anybody’s going to buy that anyway,” replied Bardella. “Nancy Pelosi’s position since the election has been strong. There is not a real severe legitimate challenger to her speakership.”

He added that the Republicans were deluding themselves about her position on the budget as well.

“The reality is that something that the Republicans can not escape from: they had a deal. The Senate passed it unanimously,” he pointed out. “This is all on the House Republicans.” He slammed Speaker Paul Ryan by name for refusing to bring the Senate bill to the floor, and said the party’s refusal to work with Pelosi put the president in an even more precarious position.

“When the Democrats take back the majority in six days, they’re going to put up a bill, they’re going to pass it, and once again Donald Trump is going to be in a position wheres he’s going have to veto a bill that could end the shutdown. He’ll own it twice,” Bardella said, scoffing at his own party. “It’s not going to work. the American people are not going to buy that it is some how all Nancy Pelosi’s fight, because the reality is this started before she was speaker.

Watch the video here.

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GOP EXTREMISM

Exposed: New GOP Nominee Ron DeSantis Manages Hate-Filled Facebook Group That Promotes Racism: Report

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Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is an administrator of a Facebook group that promotes racist and “deep state” conspiracy theories.

American Ledger — a corruption watchdog news site — reported Wednesday that DeSantis is one of 52 administrators and moderators for the “Tea Party” Facebook group that is also co-run by failed Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward.

The GOP candidate’s participation in the large administrator pool was first revealed on Tuesday by Media Matters extremism researcher Natalie Martinez, who posted screenshots of a string of DeSantis campaign posts in the group. She later learned that another administrator named the candidate as one of the group’s admins.

The “Tea Party” group has nearly 95,000 members, the Ledger reported. In the past, group members have posted about the “ghetto scum” that is Black Lives Matter and made fun of the Parkland massacre survivors.

“One member believed the violent far-right rally of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 was a hoax,” the report noted, “writing in a post liked by 1,600 users that the rally was ‘orchestrated by the left’ to ‘destroy America.’”

Ward and her husband Michael were revealed to be administrators of the group in early July by Media Matters. Michael Ward was known to share posts from the candidate’s (verified) Facebook page and once called John McCain a “strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

After winning the GOP gubernatorial primary a day prior, DeSantis made headlines Wednesday after saying people who voted for his Democratic opponent — Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum — would “monkey up” the state.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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GOP EXTREMISM

House Republicans Overwhelmingly Vote to Eliminate Billions in Funding for Children’s Health Insurance

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House Republicans voted overwhelmingly to eliminate funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, after approving a White House budget plan.

Representatives voted 210-206 — with 187 Democrats and 19 Republicans against — to rescind nearly $15 billion in unspent funding that had previously been approved, including $7 billion for CHIP, reported the New York Times.

Lawmakers had voted in January to reauthorize CHIP for another six years as part of a spending bill to reopen the government, after letting the program’s funding lapse for 114 days.

The Congressional Budget Office insisted the canceled funding would not change what the government spends on CHIP or affect the number of children with coverage.

The bill approved by House Republicans would reduce actual spending by a total of $1.1 billion from 2018 to 2028, according to the CBO.

Congress approved $1.5 trillion in tax cuts in December, and then a $1.3 trillion spending plan in March, as annual deficits reach nearly $1 trillion.

The rescissions package, which would pull back almost $15 billion in unspent funding, was pushed by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is considered a leading contender as the next House Speaker.

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