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.
McFarland says that yes, he absolutely believes that the anti-gay policies — known as “no promo homo” –Â Â at theÂ Anoka-â€‹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.”
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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Another Santos Financial Concern: GOP Lawmaker Claims Campaign Paid WinRed Triple the Fees It Should Have
WinRed, the right-wing fundraising processor platform created to compete with Democrats’ ActBlue, has asked the Santos campaign to correct a financial report that claims the New York GOP lawmaker paid them more than triple what it should have – suggesting the entry on his Federal Election Commission (FEC) report is erroneous.
“Santos reported paying WinRed more than $206,000 to process donations to his 2022 campaign, records show. But that amount doesn’t match up with how much money Santos actually raised,” NBC News reports.
“WinRed charges candidates a 3.94% fee for contributions made online by credit card. At that rate, Santos would have had to have raised more than $5.2 million through WinRed to warrant a $206,000 payment to the firm,” NBC explains. “Through November, however, his campaign reported total contributions of $1.7 million, including donations that didn’t come through WinRed.”
WinRed would not tell NBC News how much the Santos campaign actually paid them, with the news network offering that it could be “sloppy accounting.”
But one campaign finance expert, attorney Brett Kappel, warns, “nothing that appears on Rep. Santos’s FEC reports can be taken at face value.”
This follows reports that the Santos campaign amended two filings to indicate that a $500,000 personal loan and a $125,000 personal loan, claimed to have been from the candidate’s own personal funds, was not from his personal funds. There is no information indicating what entity loaned the Santos campaign the money, or if it actually even existed.
That bombshell was followed up this week with yet another one: the FEC reports were allegedly signed by a “treasurer” who does not and never has worked for the Santos campaign. One expert called that a “big no-no,” and “completely illegal.”
‘Deliberately Deceived the Nation’: Legal Experts Stunned by ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Report on How Barr and Durham Protected Trump
Legal experts are now weighing in on Thursday’s bombshell, massive and months-long reporting from The New York Times that reveals, among several previously unknown allegations, that then-Attorney General Bill Barr and his special counsel, John Durham were handed apparent evidence of suspicious financial acts by Donald Trump, and proceeded to create a false public narrative that Durham’s investigation found evidence of “suspicious financial dealings” related to Trump, suggesting it was on the part of the FBI, not the president, in order to protect the president.
“On one of Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham’s trips to Europe,” The Times reveals, “according to people familiar with the matter, Italian officials — while denying any role in setting off the Russia investigation — unexpectedly offered a potentially explosive tip linking Mr. Trump to certain suspected financial crimes.”
The Times adds that “Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham never disclosed that their inquiry expanded in the fall of 2019, based on a tip from Italian officials, to include a criminal investigation into suspicious financial dealings related to Mr. Trump.”
“Mr. Durham never filed charges, and it remains unclear what level of an investigation it was, what steps he took, what he learned and whether anyone at the White House ever found out. The extraordinary fact that Mr. Durham opened a criminal investigation that included scrutinizing Mr. Trump has remained secret.”
Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law expert who literally wrote the book on the U.S. Constitution, calls the Times’ report “jaw-dropping.”
“When Durham unexpectedly found evidence of crimes committed BY rather than AGAINST Trump, he and Barr deliberately deceived the nation into thinking the opposite! This deep dive by the NYT is as jaw-dropping as anything I’ve read in the past decade,” Tribe says.
Law professor and former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) Sherrilyn Ifill, one of TIME’s 2021 most influential people in the world, accused Barr of “gaslighting” the public.
“Every line of this article must be read,” Ifill implored. “Horrifying breaches of professional ethics, misuse of DOJ investigative resources, and deliberate lies to, and gaslighting of the public. A grotesque perversion of the appropriate role of Attorney General.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, the well-known MSNBC legal contributor and professor of law, also calls it “jaw dropping.”
“Jaw dropping reporting. Lots here including an explanation of why Durham’s colleague resigned: under pressure from Barr to release an ‘interim’ report damaging Clinton & the FBI as the election drew near, Durham had a draft prepared that wasn’t factual,” she says.
Andrew Weissman, the former General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who spent 20 years at DOJ, including working under Special Counsel Robert Mueller, calls Barr “corrupt.”
“Can anyone really be surprised by this?” he asks. “Barr was just so corrupt and so corrupted the DOJ.”
MSNBC legal analyst Jill Wine-Banks, a former Watergate prosecutor and the first woman to serve as US General Counsel of the Army was troubled by the picture The Times painted of how close Barr and Durham were, when special counsels are supposed to have great autonomy and not be shaded by any Attorney General interference.
“Even more troubling than Barr and Durham frequently having drinks and discussing the investigation is the fact that the only crime they discovered on their foreign trip was Italian intel about crimes by Trump,” she says via Twitter. “I want to know the status of that investigation!”
Some legal experts lament that despite the bombshells in The Times’ report, it appears nothing will come of it – certainly nothing from the House Republicans.
Former Associate White House Counsel Ian Bassin sardonically asks, “Surely McCarthy and Jim Jordan’s new Select Committee on ‘the Weaponization of the Federal Government’ will focus on this story and the actions of Bill Barr, John Durham and Donald Trump. Surely, right? Right?”
Wine-Banks also points to House Republicans’ new committee investigating what they claim is “weaponization” of the federal government.
“Barr’s relationship with Durham, his pressure on him to reach a certain result and their failure to follow up on Trump’s crime revealed during the investigation is what weaponization of the DOJ looks like — not what Republicans want to investigate now.”
Pete Strzok, who spent 26 years at the FBI including as Deputy Assistant Director of the Bureau’s Counterintelligence Division, and led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States election, speaks from experience.
“I can see Barr allowing the stunning amount of craziness (a gentle choice of word) described in this article,” he writes. “But does anyone in the current OAG or ODAG care about this? Durham has reported to AG Garland for twenty two (22) months now.”
“This,” Weissman adds separately, pointing to The Times article, “is all about the Trump weaponization of the DOJ – but we know that the House Rs won’t give a damn about it.”
Questions Raised About Another Freshman Republican’s Finances After He Refuses to Comply With Federal Law
Rep. George Santos (R-NY) isn’t the only freshman Republican facing questions about his personal finances.
An investigation conducted by News Channel 5 in Nashville has found that freshman Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN) never complied with federal laws requiring that he make disclosures about his personal finances.
In fact, notes News Channel 5, “not only did Andy Ogles ignore that law during the campaign, he continues to ignore it today.”
The law in question requires that Ogles and all candidates for elected office to disclose their assets and unearned income, their liabilities, and sources of income paid by one source that exceed $5,000.
Ogles’ office hasn’t responded to News Channel 5’s questions even though the Tennessee lawmaker’s refusal to comply with the law could result in up to a year in prison.
Ogles’ defeated Democratic opponent, Heidi Campbell, told News Channel that it was “frustrating” to see Ogles flout the law, which she complied with last year by releasing her personal finance information all the way back in April of 2022.
“We, as Tennesseans, deserve to have representatives who are following the rules,” she said.
Ogles was also regularly late in filing campaign finance reports, which also contained so many discrepancies that Ogles has received four different letters from the Federal Election Commission demanding that they be explained.
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