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OpEd: A Gay Dad Sounds Off on Donald Trump and Transgender Student Segregation

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In the trans teen suicides to come, we will know that you were worse than the man who did not save kids. You, and your administration were the ones who pulled their triggers.

An heiress and a ghost had it right.  

Since the egomaniac and reality TV show star Donald Trump announced his “long shot” candidacy for President, we have been “treated” to constant absurdities, deceptions, upheavals, dramas, skullduggeries and melodramas that have thrown public discourse into unprecedented upheaval.

Through it all, mixed messages and deceptions have ruled any given day. This has been particularly true on the subject of LGBTQI rights. While making claim to be the most LGBT-friendly Republican to grace a presidential ticket, maybe ever, Trump filled his docket with supporting players who were, and are, easily characterized as LGBTQI philosophical enemies. They do not seem to be unfettered, however. Rumors of a particular pending anti-LGBTQ executive order filtered out via social media, followed by news that the non-homophobic Ivanka and her husband had squashed it through internal efforts.

Then there was billionaire Betsy Devos, nominated for Secretary of Education. As a dad, I was worried about her credentials and the conservative reputation of her family. She would be a disaster, I feared, for the plight of LGBTQI youth in the public school system.

I was wrong. In the first battle on her plate, the question on whether to rescind the Obama administration guidance on transgender student public facilities protections, she reportedly came down squarely on the right side. She lost the fight. But she, the heiress, a big campaign donor, was right.

Also right was the ghost of civil rights pioneer Coretta Scott King. A letter from her hand decried the credentials of the new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. It pointed to his small mindedness and inadequacies standing for the civil rights of people not privileged with mainstream power. Her outreach from the past was as relevant now as it was then. He is the proponent of stamping out the students’ protective guidelines, and the Attorney General who chose to abandon trans students nationwide. He won the fight.

He, and the President he serves, are both wrong.

I know they are wrong on this issue because, being a parent in California, I have been through this battle before. In the summer of 2013, California led the nation in transgender teen protections in its schools. California Democratic Assembly member Tom Ammiano, along with his co-author, Democratic State Senator Mark Leno introduced, and successfully lobbied to pass the School Success and Opportunity Act. The law stated that, “a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”

At the time, not everyone liked the idea. California dad, then Republican Assemblyman, Tim Donnelly, not only voted against the law, but announced that he would pull at least one of his sons out of the public school system because of its enactment. In an editorial he wrote, “My 13- and 16-year-old boys were horrified at the idea of sharing a bathroom and locker room with a member of the opposite sex, after having discussed AB 1266 with them.” 

I had addressed Mr. Donnelly in one of my ‘Gay Dad’ editorial letters. I told him that as he was taking his sons out of public school, in turn I would remove my two boys out of private school and putting them into a public school (which is what I actually did). Net for the school system… no loss. Don’t let the door hit you on the fanny on the way out, Buddy. 

Since then, there have been exactly zero issues related to the law’s enactment. Months after the law’s enactment, anti-transgender activists hit California streets in an attempt remove it. Their initiative was a non-starter failing to even get it ballot qualification.

The retraction of President Obama’s guidelines should also have been a non-starter. It wasn’t, and it puts precious LGBTQI lives at risk. Here is my new letter to President Donald Trump:

Dear President Trump,

Your administration has rolled back the guidance on the treatment of transgender kids in schools. You believe that guidance is legally unclear, that decisions on the dignity of these kids should rest in the determinations of the individual states, that the original directive had been done “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

I have one question.

Why the hell does that matter? 

When you championed yourself as an LGBTQ hero, you declared that the devastation in an Orlando Nightclub was one that you personally could have prevented. In your mind, the lives of those young people were yours to save. In holding to your current principles, it is odd you did not declare that the circumstances around that tragedy to have been subject to the determination of the local government.

Let’s be clear, these directives are not really about bathrooms. They are about visibility or disappearance. They are about life or death. Actress Laverne Cox made the point beautifully in comparing the oppression of transgender kids with Jim Crow bathroom oppression of African American people in the south.

The intent was not about privacy—bathrooms are all private. We are each contained in our own, hidden from view, stalls.

The intent is to erase a group from public view.

“What people should know about these bathroom bills that criminalize trans people… is that these bills are not about bathrooms.They’re about whether trans people have the right to exist in public space. If we can’t access public bathrooms, we can’t go to school, we can’t work, we can’t go to healthcare facilities ― this is about public accommodations and public accommodations are always key to civil rights. I can’t help but think about that moment from ‘Hidden Figures’ when Taraji P. Henson’s character has to walk 45 minutes to the bathroom ― Gavin (the transgender teen with a case pending before the Supreme Court) had to go to a special ‘gender neutral’ bathroom, a nurses bathroom that was way out of the way.” Cox observed. 

The message is clear. “We want you erased. We want to pretend you do not exist.”

That is the issue. Mr. President, the kids this is targeting hear that message, and what is worse, they act on it.

Studies show that between 45 and 51 percent of transgender students attempt suicide. That is a far greater rate than any other category of student. 78 percent of transgender students report abuse. That statistic goes down significantly in schools with transgender-supportive programs. Most transgender students do not pursue continued education after experiencing the harassment of high school.

In short, Mr. President, as the result of this action by your administration, like in Orlando, young people… children… will die.

This time, someone’s child, their teen, will die not because of an extremist. They will die because of you. Statistically, it is certain this will happen somewhere, somehow, in one of those less progressive states that you “left it up to.”

A child will die.

I am a dad. You are a dad. Would you not seethe at the leader who allowed that to happen to your precious son or daughter?

A child will die, and you could have kept it from happening.

A study had shown that by the state embracing marriage equality, less LGBT teens have died. Can you imagine the effect of a law that was not just tangential to their current life, but one that gave them dignity and support in the present? Pure logic shows it would have an even greater effect. You are taking that life affirming support away.

For what purpose does this action accomplish sir? You would be over-riding a mistake misguided homophobes want to make that has protected exactly no one. California has had these protections for our transgender kids statewide for four years and in the Los Angeles area for thirteen. How many crimes, how many incidents have these permissive laws inspired? Exactly none. 

Through these actions of your administration, a child will die. When he or she does, please do not think we will look away. We will look to Orlando, and we will look at you. We will know despite your claims, that in Florida, you were not in fact the potential savior. Those young people would have died no matter what you did.

In the trans teen suicides to come, we will know that you were worse than the man who did not save kids. You, and your administration were the ones who pulled their triggers.

Twitter won’t save you. Crying “fake news” won’t save you. You will have grieving parents and a vast grieving community. We will not fall from your view with the next news cycle. We will never forget this moment, and we won’t let you forget it either.

It will have been the moment that you could have done something life saving and important.

But you didn’t.

Once upon a time there was a teen who called herself Leelah. She could not tolerate the rejection and invisibility of trying to live being transgender. She committed suicide but begged the world to let “her life matter.”

Her life and the lives of all trans kids matter to me. They matter to a lot of people.

Their lives, and their visibility, should matter to you.

If they don’t, you will demonstrate that you are merely an “Apprentice” President, and you should be done. You work for us, as a nation, and it is our mandate to turn to you, and feed you back your own trademark reality-TV line:

“You’re fired.”

 

If you are a transgender person thinking about suicide, or if someone you know is, find worldwide resources at http://www.stop-homophobia.com/suicideprevention.htm. You can also reach the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. LGBT youth thinking about suicide can also reach out to the Trevor Project Lifeline (ages 24 or younger) at 866-488-7386.

 

Picture: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

 

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Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

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An unnamed witness, reportedly an adviser to Donald Trump, scanned the contents of a box that had contained classified documents, and saved those digital files to her laptop, which belongs to a political action committee which pays Donald Trump’s legal expenses.

The stunning revelation was tucked away in the footnote of an 87-page court document unsealed by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell on Tuesday, in response to a separate filing in which Trump’s attorneys are claiming prosecutorial misconduct, according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney who reported the details.

The filing revealed that at least four more classified documents had been found at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and resort, in his bedroom, even after FBI agents executed and completed a search warrant months earlier, in August of 2022.

Judge Howell, Politico reports, “noted that [a] Trump adviser connected to his Save America PAC had acknowledged scanning the contents of the box that contained the classified materials in 2021 and storing them on a personal laptop provided by the PAC.”

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In the footnote Judge Howell writes, “on January 6, 2023, the former president’s counsel informed the government that, in 2021, WITNESS scanned the contents of the box—produced on January 5, 2023, and previously containing classified documents—onto a laptop in her possession owned by the Save America Political Action Committee (‘PAC’), a PAC formed by the former president in 2020. … The former president’s counsel saved those scans onto a thumb drive and provided the thumb drive to the government that day.”

Axios adds: “A witness scanned the contents of the box containing the classified materials and stored them on a laptop in her possession owned by Trump’s Save America PAC, according to a footnote in the opinion.”

The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell, pointing to the Politico report, adds: “This was the incident where Trump aide Chamberlain Harris — known as ROTUS, short for Receptionist of the United States — scanned and uploaded classified docs onto her laptop … Guardian reported this contemporaneously last year, as did CNN.”

Lowell also pointed to The Guardian’s report.

The Save America PAC according to Open Secrets, raised well over $108 million in the 2021-2022 cycle, and spent over $121 million. In the 2023-2024 cycle, the PAC has raised over $76 million, and spent well over $85 million.

“Since leaving office, former president Trump has been involved in an array of criminal and civil litigation — some that relates to his campaigns and presidency and some that does not. To cover the enormous legal bills, estimated at more than $100 million, he has turned to his political action committees (PACs), essentially having campaign donors pay costs for which he would otherwise be on the hook personally,” the Brennan Center for Justice reported earlier this month.

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“Following his 2020 election loss, Trump received more than $250 million in donations from supporters to fuel an ‘election defense fund.’ He divided that money between two campaign entities: his 2020 presidential campaign committee, which he subsequently converted into a freestanding PAC called Make America Great Again (MAGA) PAC, and a second entity called Save America PAC, which is a so-called ‘leadership PAC‘ (a type of PAC that a federal candidate can establish for the ostensible purpose of supporting other candidates).”

National security attorney Brad Moss on Tuesday, commenting on Politico’s report of the additional classified documents at Mar-a-Lago wrote: “Reminder that the MAL docs case was and will always have been the cleanest, most straightforward criminal prosecution of the four against the former president. That the public won’t see it brought to fruition before they go to the voting booth is a stain on the judicial system.”

This article has been updated with the details from The Guardian’s Lowell.

 

 

 

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‘Incomprehensible’: More Classified Docs Were Found at Mar-a-Lago, Unsealed Court Filing Reveals

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Donald Trump had more classified documents at Mar-a-Lago that were not originally found when the FBI completed its execution of a search warrant, according to a recently unsealed 87-page court document in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of Donald Trump in the Espionage Act case. Trump faces 40 felony charges in the case, including 32 directly related to classified documents..

“No excuse is provided as to how the former president could miss the classified-marked documents found in his own bedroom at Mar-a-Lago,” U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell wrote, according to Forbes. Judge Howell “notes the government forced Trump’s attorneys to search Trump’s properties even after FBI investigators searched Mar-a-Lago in August 2022.”

Trump’s attorneys conducted searches of some of his other properties after the FBI “raid,” including his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump Tower in Manhattan, and other storage units and offices.

More classified documents were located at “an off-site office, a storage unit and at Mar-a-Lago, Howell wrote, noting Trump’s lawyers found a box with four documents that included classified materials in a Mar-a-Lago closet.”

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Politico added, “The FBI’s August 2022 search of Mar-a-Lago confirmed that dozens of other classified documents remained on the property — but as Howell notes, there were at least two more rounds of classified materials found on Trump’s property following additional searches.”

In a damning portion of the filing, Forbes also reports, Judge Howell “asserts Trump purposely obstructed the government’s investigation after it subpoenaed him to turn over all the remaining classified documents in his possession, saying the government ‘sufficiently demonstrated’ Trump violated the obstruction statute by showing he ‘intentionally concealed the existence of additional documents bearing classification markings’ from his attorneys.”

Professor of law, MSNBC/NBC News legal contributor, and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance remarked, “This makes Judge Cannon’s foot dragging on this case even more incomprehensible. Not like it involves serious matters, or anything.”

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has ground the trial to a halt, most recently putting an indefinite suspension in place.

ABC News adds that Special Counsel Jack Smith believed Trump “instructed aides to return several boxes they had previously removed from a storage room in the [Mar-a-Lago] club’s basement — without being caught on camera.”

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Judge Howell wrote that after Trump attorney Evan Corcoran “informed Trump of the subpoena for video footage on June 24, 2022, it set into motion a scramble by [co-defendant Walt] Nauta to change his travel plans and fly from Bedminster, New Jersey, to Palm Beach, Florida.”

“The government urged that this scramble to Mar-a-Lago in the wake of the June 24, 2022 phone call reflects the former president’s realization that the removal of the boxes from the storage room before [redacted] search was captured on camera — and his attempts to ensure that any subsequent movement of the boxes back to the storage room could occur off camera,” Judge Howell wrote. She added: “This theory draws support from the curious absence of any video footage showing the return of the remaining boxes to the storage room, which necessarily occurred at some point between June 3, 2022 — when the room had approximately [redacted] boxes, according to FBI agents and [redacted] — and the execution of the search warrant on August 8, 2022 — when agents counted 73 boxes.”

 

 

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Republican Calls for Economic ‘Shut Down’ While Accusing Biden of Marxist Agenda

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U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) is calling on Congress to “shut down” the U.S. economy over the southern border, while accusing President Joe Biden of Marxist policies and denouncing his border legislation that Donald Trump ordered killed months ago.

Congresswoman Spartz on Tuesday spoke to Fox News Business host Maria Bartiromo in a rambling interview on the Senate bipartisan border bill that Donald Trump ordered killed. Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is one again trying to pass it.

Rep. Spartz said, “we need to get them back, you know, to really put pressure to control the border. So I just don’t see anything else left there because no one wants to shut down the economy, unfortunately. We should really for such a serious issue, but Republicans are not gonna do it. And, and you know, and we’re not just going to let Democrats have messagings bill with lots of loopholes. There are way more loopholes in that bill than people even realized.”

The economy is a top issue for 2024 presidential election voters.

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After calling to shut down the economy, which economists for months have shown is doing extremely well, she then falsely accused President Joe Biden of socialism and enacting “socialist policies by Karl Marx.”

“I think we need to have a serious discussion what really Bidenomics is and how it resembles socialist policies by Karl Marx where it’s not just, you know, Biden administration had failed policy in a lot of fronts with its supply chain, whether we’re dealing with energy, but also they’ve been subsidizing corporations very close to the government in trying to control financial markets, in order in essence control the means of production and financial markets. That’s what socialism really is.”

The Biden administration fixed the supply chain crisis created during the Trump administration, improved the supply chain, and continues to massively invest in it.

“And now they are trying to use you know, the government power to pick losers and winners and you know, this, winners are going to be people who can pay, give campaign contribution to Biden’s reelection campaign, and losers are going to be all of us. And this is a serious discussion we need to have because this level of spending and subsidy cannot continue, it’s destructive and inflation is going to destroy the middle class and people low income.”

Donald Trump recently asked top oil and gas executives to donate $1 billion to his campaign in exchange for lower taxes and a rollback of President Biden’s climate and environmental protections.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Wack Pack’: Questions Swirl Over ‘Trump Uniforms’ and Who’s Funding ‘Weird’ Trial Surrogates

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