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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Calls for School Superintendent to Resign Over Pro-Trans Policy

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Supporters, Opponents of New Guidelines to Gather in Fort Worth on Tuesday

Texas Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is calling for the superintendent of Fort Worth schools to resign for following federal law by enacting a progressive new policy for dealing with transgender students.

According to the policy unveiled by Superintendent Kent Scribner last month, trans students are generally allowed to use restrooms and participate in athletics according to their gender identity. The policy also requires teachers to use preferred names and pronouns, and bars staff from disclosing students’ gender identity, including to parents, except on a need-to-know basis.

But not surprisingly, it’s the restroom provision that caught Patrick’s attention. In a statement, Patrick accused Scribner of putting “his own personal agenda ahead of more than 86,000 students attending 146 schools.”

“Without any discussion with parents, board members, principals, and other community leaders, Dr. Scribner’s unilateral action, underscores this lack of fitness to hold his position as superintendent,” Patrick said. “Campus safety should be of paramount concern for anyone in his position. Every parent, especially those of young girls, should be outraged.”

In an interview with WFAA-TV, Patrick said he’s also calling for three members of Scribner’s executive staff to resign. And if they refuse to do so, he’s asking the school board to suspend them at its regular meeting Tuesday night, where supporters and opponents of the policy are expected to turn out in droves.

“This is uncalled for,” Patrick said. “So we want a 15-year-old boy full of vim and vigor that every 15-year-old boy has, walking into the girls’ bathroom. They’re just creating trouble. For what? This superintendent, he’s so irresponsible for doing this, that he needs to step down.”

As we reported the other day, the Fort Worth district’s new policy has also prompted calls for stonings from some critics, including a former GOP legislative candidate. 

As for Patrick, his opposition to trans rights is nothing new. He spent more than $50,000 on a TV ad opposing Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance — in which he railed against “Men in Women’s Bathrooms” — and he recently called for a statewide anti-trans “bathroom” bill.

Also Monday, GOP Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who last week sent a threatening letter to Target over the retailer’s support for trans rights, applauded GOP North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory for filing a lawsuit against the Department of Justice in defense of the anti-LGBT House Bill 2.

Equality Texas issued the following statement responding to Patrick and Paxton:

“The Lt. Governor and Attorney General demonstrated today that they are blinded by transphobia. Federal education guidelines define the rights of every public school student, including transgender students, and we commend the Fort Worth School District and its superintendent for issuing guidelines which are consistent with federal law. By fueling hysteria and creating panic where none need exist, the Lt. Governor appeals to the worst chapters of our history, in which discrimination runs rampant and understanding and compassion are absent. Transgender students, like transgender adults, don’t want to cause any problems;   they simply want to use the bathroom when the need arises. Ignoring federal law, as the Lt. Governor urges the Fort Worth school district to do, would put at risk significant federal educational funds on which our state depends and would ultimately cause for our state the significant economic chaos now faced by North Carolina. The demands by the Lt. Governor and the Attorney General that we should ignore federal law are not only dangerous and economically risky, but also demonize transgender students, many of whom are forced to drop out of school because of the constant bullying and aggression they face. Equality Texas calls upon our state leaders to expend our state’s resources on improving public schools, rather than putting their funding at risk in a cruel and futile attempt to deny equality to all.” 

I’ll be live-tweeting from Tuesday’s Fort Worth school board meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Central time. Follow me @LSQnews. 

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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Kremlin Using GOP in Plot to ‘Tear Down’ Biden is ‘Scandal of Historic Proportions’: Miller

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Special Counsel David Weiss’ allegation that a former FBI informant was fed anti-Biden propaganda from the Kremlin and laundered it to congressional Republicans who then used it to launch an impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden is a “scandal of historic proportions” says former Republican political strategist Tim Miller.

Reminding MSNBC viewers that the bombshell news is really a story about election interference, Alicia Menendez on Wednesday’s “Deadline: White House” turned to Miller.

“This is now coming from inside the House of Representatives, inside the Republican conference within the House of Representatives,” said Miller, a former Jeb Bush communications director who now writes for The Bulwark.

Calling it “an unprecedented and really historic kind of moment,” Miller explained, “what we have here is an impeachment inquiry – we’ve not had that many of those, an impeachment investigation going against the President of the United States, premised on totally false information that allegedly was sourced from Russian intelligence, that was sourced from our foe.”

READ MORE: MAGA Is a ‘Russian Intel Op’: Experts Respond to Allegation GOP Using Kremlin Propaganda

The premise of the House Republicans’ impeachment investigation was based on “frankly, kind of preposterous information,” Miller observed, “like this notion that Joe Biden took $5 million and had some web of bank accounts that were, that was so complex that it would take 10 years to unravel, that was one of Smirnov’s claims.”

Alexander Smirnov, Politico reported Tuesday evening, is the “former FBI informant charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company.” Smirnov “had contacts with officials affiliated with Russian intelligence, prosecutors said in a court paper Tuesday.”

“Like it’s kind of laughable at the face,” Miller continued, “right, like this notion that the American CIA could not have uncovered this but that [Republican U.S. Reps.] Elise Stefanik and Byron Donalds could. you know, it was a preposterous accusation.”

READ MORE: Kremlin Infiltration of Congress Alleged by Ex-Trump Prosecutor: Republicans ‘Duped or in on It’

Miller blasted “Republicans in the House” for pushing “this false information about the sitting president, and become tools in a foreign power, in a foe’s effort to interfere in our elections, to tear down the sitting President of the United States, to prop up his rival, and it is you know … this is a scandal of historic proportions.”

“I’d just like to put it in context: It’s akin to, you know, imagine if during the Cold War in the 80s, the Soviets had trumped up some fake information about Ronald Reagan being on the take and [Democratic Speaker] Tip O’Neill and the Democratic House had opened up an inquiry and investigation into it, that would be something that would be echoing and, you know, it would be talked about in conservative media 40, 50 years later. And so the fact that this is happening now, that there’s one party that is complicit in this, I don’t think the significance can be understated.”

Watch below or at this link (segment starts at 14:25).

 

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Nikki Haley: Frozen Embryos Are ‘Babies’

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Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is siding with a first-of-its-kind ruling that decrees frozen embryos are human beings.

On Tuesday the Alabama Supreme Court decreed that frozen embryos, used for in-vitro fertilization (IVF), are people.

“‘Unborn children are ‘children’ … without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics,’ Justice Jay Mitchell wrote in Friday’s majority ruling by the all-Republican court,” The Associated Press reported. “Justices, citing anti-abortion language in the Alabama Constitution, ruled that an 1872 state law allowing parents to sue over the death of a minor child ‘applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location.'”

Haley, the former Trump administration UN Ambassador and former Governor of South Carolina, made her remarks ahead of the South Carolina presidential primary, where she is behind in a recent poll by about 28 points.

“I mean, embryos to me are babies,” Haley told NBC News.

READ MORE: MAGA Is a ‘Russian Intel Op’: Experts Respond to Allegation GOP Using Kremlin Propaganda

Asked if that includes “those created through IVF,” Haley replied, “I mean, I had artificial insemination. That’s how I had my son. So when you look at you know, one thing is to save sperm or to save eggs. But when you talk about an embryo you are talking about, to me, that’s a life, and so I do see where that’s coming from.”

When asked about the practical implications of declaring embryos human beings, Haley appeared to not want to go into the legal aspects, or discuss how it would affect women who need the embryos to conceive. She instead focused her remarks on her own artificial insemination experience, saying these decisions are very personal.

When pressed by NBC News’ Ali Vitali (video below), Haley said she had not seen any legislation on the topic.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruling quickly threw into question the right and ability of women and couples to use IVF to conceive.

One Alabama university quickly paused its IVF program. The Guardian reports it “says [the] state’s supreme court ruling could expose doctors and patients to criminal charges.”

READ MORE: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Biden Campaign Blasts Trump Christian Nationalism Plans

“On Wednesday, spokesperson Savannah Koplon told the Guardian on behalf of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a research university and academic medical center that is also the largest healthcare provider in the state, that the institution was ‘saddened that this will impact our patients’ attempt to have a baby through IVF, but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments.'”

The Biden campaign immediately jumped on Ambassador Haley’s remarks, posting a short clip to social media, and writing: “Haley says she supports the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling threatening IVF access for women, made possible by Trump ending Roe: Embryos, to me, are babies.”

Watch the full NBC News video below or at this link.

 

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MAGA Is a ‘Russian Intel Op’: Experts Respond to Allegation GOP Using Kremlin Propaganda

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Legal and political experts are responding to Special Counsel David Weiss’ allegations that a former top FBI informant, now under federal indictment, had, as one reporter explained, “high-level contact with Russian intelligence operatives,” and fed Republicans falsehoods from the Kremlin which they used to attack the Biden family and to try to build a case to impeach President Joe Biden.

“How many intel and legal findings and counter-espionage cases before people are willing to accept that the entire MAGA movement is a Russian intel op?” asks David Rothkopf, the noted foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and author.

The bombshell allegations from the Special Counsel, a U.S. Attorney nominated by then-President Donald Trump, were published in his legal memo asking a judge to detain Alexander Smirnov, the defendant and former FBI confidential human source.

“Russia has fully infiltrated the Republican party. Nice going traitors,” alleged Richard Signorelli, a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York office. He added: “Trump & @SpeakerJohnson et al are Putin’s ‘useful idiots.'”

READ MORE: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Biden Campaign Blasts Trump Christian Nationalism Plans

U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY), an attorney who served as the lead counsel for the first Trump impeachment, wrote: “The Comer/Jordan impeachment sham appears to have been a Russian intelligence operation from the start. The only remaining question is whether Rs were witting or unwitting agents of Putin in their desperate quest to get Trump reelected. Will the GOP continue to work for Putin?”

Former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman, a frequent MSNBC commentator, points to a passage from the DOJ’s memo: “More from DOJ motion re Smirnov: ‘the misinformation he is spreading is not confined to 2020 …He is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in Nov.'”

“This guy made be the sole reason for R’s Burisma obsessions,” Litman says.

Litman continues: “DOJ to court: ‘Smirnov transformed his routine & unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against [Joe Biden] and [Hunter Biden], after expressing bias against Joe Biden.’ Was the entire R Burisma obsession based on phony intel?”

He adds: “And the big plot point to the Smirnov revelations from [Special Counsel David Weiss] is that the misinformation that Republicans have gone running — in fact galloping with –originates with, you guessed it, Russian intelligence. i.e part of overall Putin misinformation campaign that so distorted 2016.”

Attorney Blake Rutherford, in a social media post “retweeted” by attorney George Conway, wrote: “At what point will the broader American press, and I mean producers, editors, and publishers, wake up to very real fact that Russian propaganda is being normalized in today’s @GOP. They are all useful idiots. Putin knows it.”

Republican turned independent Tim Miller, a political strategist and author at The Bulwark, takes a look at recent events:

“To sum up: RUS/Putin have invaded their neighbor, assassinated the biggest domestic political threat, coopted one of the right’s biggest media stars, and seeded a fabricated story about the US President that was echoed by GOP congressional leadership & rightwing media en masse.”

But even before the Special Counsel’s allegations against the indicted former FBI informant, some were growning increasingly aware of Russia’s alleged penetration into the GOP.

RELATED: Kremlin Infiltration of Congress Alleged by Ex-Trump Prosecutor: Republicans ‘Duped or in on It’

Former Trump White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah Griffin, now a co-host on “The View,” last week wrote: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that Russia is winning the information war within the US. GOP politicians – who know better – are amplifying Kremlin garbage. We are in deep, deep trouble.”

Watch the video above or at this link.

Image via Mike Johnson/X

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