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Thomas Roberts And Trevor Project Talk Anti-Gay Bullying, Teen Suicide

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David McFarland, acting Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project joins MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts to discuss the spike in anti-gay bullying, teen suicides, “no promo homo” policies, and Michele Bachmann.

READ: Michele Bachmann’s Top Ten Anti-Gay Quotes

McFarland says that yes, he absolutely believes that the anti-gay policies — known as “no promo homo” –  at the Anoka-​Hennepin school district, which is Michele Bachmann’s alma mater, and in others around the nation are to blame for the spike in teen suicides, and thinks Michele Bachmann “has not made change in that district.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

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Transcript via MSNBC:

>>> blaming the school’s policies.
>>> and the tragedy in oslo. is the man a terrorist?
>>> welcome back. it is a mental health crisis. it is now under federal investigation in minnesota. nine teens openly gay or perceived as take in as we talk about the one district. the district is denying any role in the bullying or the suicides. when we look at it from the aspect of parents and the people that are living through this, i want you to take a listen to what one mom whose son committed suicide said this week.
>> teachers don’t speak one way or the other. often times bullying gets overlooked. staff know about it. they don’t intervene. when things are reported, there is no follow through on it. i found out after justin died that according to one of his friends, he, according to a counselor in the school, he was at the top of her worry list. i never got a phone call.
>> david, do you believe the school district’s policies and the one that is referred to as “no homo promo” and that is the cause for the spike in the suicides there?
>> absolutely, thomas. it is an unfortunate situation we are seeing in the country and certainly needs to be addressed.
>> david, it is important to point out there are eight other states limited to instruction on homosexuality. this is a map that limits instruction on homosexuality. alabama and arizona and also in louisiana and mississippi, south carolina, utah. when we think about this and see what is going on in these states, what are you hearing from your colleagues about similar rises in bullying and suicides in those areas?
>> it is an issue that needs to be addressed in the country. there are individuals addressing this topic. it needs to change. youth in our schools should be able to be provided with a safe place. if they are feeling isolated or alone or in crisis, they should be able to have the resources in those schools to reach out and to be able to have those conversations whether it is with a counselor or teacher or administration.
>> david, critics say minnesota school policy on homosexuality has been pushed by conservative religious groups. one letter was, ” open your eyes, people, parents, do you really want your children attending a gsa where homosexual behavior is affirmed?” david, i can only imagine what it is like for an lgbt youth to hear that. what can a trevor project do for students and parents in the district?
>> thomas, it is a great question. this is a harmful message for the youth to be hearing. particularly in our schools. you know, we at the trevor project are there around the clock with a number of programs. the trevor lifeline is a 24/7 lifeline that youth can reach out. if they are feeling alone or isolated, they can speak to someone on the other end that is a trained counselor. we, at the trevor project, have workshops like our lifeguard workshop that addresses suicide prevention which is being presented and discussed across the country in many school districts. in fact, in the school district area in the county that you are talking about, we made numerous attempts to make ourselves available to the superintendent to the district to put those workshops into the schools. we have been denied that conversation. we have been in that area with other schools whether it be public or private instituting the workshops to help the teachers and help educate the school systems that are really in need to provide services for your youth and families.
>> this is congresswoman michele bachmann’s district. she hasn’t commented on these cases that have been happening at her alma mater high school. do you think politics is playing too much a risk here when it comes to saving at-risk youth?
>> politics plays a role, but at the end of the day, we are all human beings. michele bachmann has a voice. she can use that voice with a powerful message. how she chooses to use that voice to this point has not made change in the school district. there are many great voices to help create that change. michele is one individual that can make that happen. you know, we talk on a consistent basis with many politicians across the country and walk the halls of the congress and senate. we talked to both sides of the aisle. democrat and republican. everyone wants our youth to feel safe and have the educational programs to help school systems across this country. why this school system doesn’t want that is a big question. that needs to change.
>> david mcfarland from the trevor project. thanks for your time. i want to pass along to everyone out there, if you or someone is feeling bullied or at risk of suicide for anyone across the board. it doesn’t matter if you are part of the lgbt community. you can call the trevor project lifeline at 866-488-7386. this lifeline is free and confidential.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Thinly-Veiled Incitement to Violence and Overt Racism’: Trump’s Truth Social Post Sparks Outrage

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Donald Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” but on Friday night took his social media approach to his Truth Social website.

Trump accused Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of having a “death wish” after a government shutdown was averted.

“Must immediately seek help and advise (sic) from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!” he said of Elaine Chao, who served in his cabinet for four years as Secretary of Transportation.

Trump’s post generated outrage online.

“Nothing to see here,” conservative lawyer George Conway tweeted. “Just a former president of the United States seeking to incite violence against the minority leader of the United States Senate and launching a racist verbal attack on the leader’s wife.”

Former federal prosecutor Shanlon Wu wrote, “Donald Trump using blatant racist tactics in his desperate attacks on McConnell by trying to ridicule Asian American former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s name calling her ‘Coco Chow’ — [McConnell] and [GOP] should call him out and reject his racist hate — will they do it?”

“Hardly shocking that Trump would threaten Mitch McConnell by capitalizing the words ‘death wish’ — dog whistle invitation to Trump’s extremist supporters — same Trump who believed his own VP Pence deserved to be lynched by the angry Jan. 6 mob Trump incited to violence,” Wu added.

Janai Nelson, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, wrote, “I double dare all major media outlets to call this what it is: thinly-veiled incitement to violence and overt racism.”

Podcaster Fred Wellman said, “Elaine Chao was Trump’s Secretary of Transportation for 4 years and he just called her the ridiculously racist nickname ‘Coco Chow.’ Yes…you are a racist if you still support this broken *sshole.”

Jonah Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Dispatch, wrote, “Look, I think the gross bigotry, stupidity, dishonesty, and demagoguery of this is obvious on so many levels and I’m embarrassed for the country. But, because no one else will, I feel I have to point out he also misspelled advice.”

 

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News

Republicans suggest defunding Veteran Affairs even though it helps 9 million vets

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Republican legislators are starting to suggest defunding the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the office founded in 1989 to assist with veteran needs. The VA assists with getting veterans mental and physical healthcare, educational opportunities, community support, and other everyday housing and living needs.

An Arizona legislator, captured on video participating in a mock congressional hearing, said he supported shutting down the department.

“That’s sort of what I’m thinking because … I hear no good stories. I had zero in my district,” the legislator said in a video posted by the far-right watchdog group Patriot Takes. “So I guess it’s a matter of us leading the fight to defund it.”

A second video, posted by the same account, showed Republican Florida Representative Matt Gaetz advocating for defunding the VA while speaking at an event held by FreedomWorks, a conservative and libertarian advocacy group.

“This is my question to the group. Is it savable? Why not abolish the VA, take all of the money that we are otherwise spending and go to an any willing provider system inside of our communities?” Gaetz says in the video. “And then, if people get bad care, they can vote with their feet and you don’t have a two-tier system of healthcare in this country with our veterans and then with everyone else.”

Generally speaking, Republican policies favor the privatization of all government functions, thinking that a “small government,” “free-market,” “for-profit” privatization provided by a corporation can solve any market ill.

In reality, if entire communities are deprived of VA access, U.S. military veterans will be left largely on their own to get their life needs met after military service. Those who lack money or transportation won’t be able to “vote with their feet” and find a local care provider to handle their specific issues… they’ll either have to spend massive amounts to get such essential care or just go without.

In late July, 41 Senate Republicans voted against a bill aimed at protecting veterans exposed to toxic materials during their military service. The legislation would have expanded care to 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. It would have also added 23 toxic and burn pit exposure-related illnesses to the VA database, Newsweek reported.

After massive blowback, Senate Republicans re-voted on the bill and helped it pass.

Patriot Takes posted the video hoping that it would encourage veterans and military members to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections.

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'PRIORITIES'

Red states are lining up to stop Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

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Six red states — Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina — are suing the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden over Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for individuals making less than $125,000 a year.

The Biden administration based its plan on a 2003 law. According to the Justice Department, the law, initially meant to help military members, says that Biden can reduce or erase student loan debts during times of national emergency.

The red states’ lawsuit, filed Thursday in Missouri, said that Biden’s plan was “not remotely tailored to address the effects of the pandemic on federal student loan borrowers.” The lawsuit adds that, since Biden recently declared the COVID-19 pandemic as over, he can’t use it as a justification for his wide-scale debt relief plan, ABC News reported.

“It’s patently unfair to saddle hard-working Americans with the loan debt of those who chose to go to college,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said of her state’s lawsuit. “The Department of Education is required, under the law, to collect the balance due on loans. And President Biden does not have the authority to override that.”

The states argued that Biden’s plan inflicted a “number of ongoing financial harms” to student loan providers and also “will ultimately disrupt revenue to state coffers.” They also argued that Biden’s plan violates the Administrative Procedure Act, a law regulating how federal agencies ensure that presidential policies are well-reasoned and explained, the aforementioned publication reported.

Despite these claims, the White House has said it will continue with its plan, confident it can survive a court challenge.

“Republican officials from these six states are standing with special interests, and fighting to stop relief for borrowers buried under mountains of debt,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said Thursday. “The president and his administration are lawfully giving working and middle class families breathing room as they recover from the pandemic and prepare to resume loan payments in January.”

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