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Betsy DeVos Has a Few Words to Say to Her Protestors

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New Education Secretary Says Protests Were Not ‘Spontaneous’ or ‘Genuine’

Betsy DeVos has been busy since making history last week by becoming the first cabinet nominee to ever have so few Senators supporting her she needed a tie-breaking vote cast by the vice president. The remarkably unqualified yet newly-confirmed anti-public schools Secretary of Education was temporarily prevented from entering a Washington, D.C. area public school last week – possibly the first time she had ever been in one – by parents, teachers, and activists protesting her visit. She responded by saying she will not be deterred.

But DeVos now has a few words to share with her opponents.

In an interview published Thursday at Town Hall with the far right wing political commentator Cal Thomas, DeVos calls the protests that surrounded her nomination not “spontaneous” or “genuine,” but instead insists they were “sponsored and very carefully planned.”

Some of the most important protests this nation has ever seen were not spontaneous and were carefully planned (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom comes to mind) but that certainly does not make them not genuine. (Do these photos from an anti-DeVos rally in DC last month look like the protestors are not genuine?)

DeVos also says protestors “want to make my life a living hell.”

Well, given that’s what her policies will do to this nation’s children’s futures, can you blame them?

She adds, “They also don’t know what stock I come from. I will not be deterred from my mission in helping kids in this country.”

Unless those kids own stock in for-profit education companies, she’s not going to be “helping kids in this country.”

How do we know?

In a separate interview published Friday with Axios, the new right-leaning news site founded by Politico’s co-founders, DeVos revealed she sees higher education as vocational training, something people do in order to get a job, rather than embracing education and learning for their own sake. There’s no mention of teaching people to think or analyze.

“She and Trump believe many students aren’t well served by four-year college degrees, and they want to promote vocational training as a means of preparing them for work and reducing student debt,” Axios says. There’s nothing wrong with vocational training, just with many of the for-profit “schools,” like, say, Trump University, that defraud students who often are poor and find themselves robbed of their life savings, or run up credit card balances thinking they’re investing in their futures.

DeVos also says that during her tenure on the job, “I expect there will be more public charter schools. I expect there will be more private schools. I expect there will be more virtual schools. I expect there will be more schools of any kind that haven’t even been invented yet.”

The Washington Post notes, “The one thing she said she didn’t expect more of was traditional public schools.”

And she says she would be fine if some day the Dept. of Education was entirely dismantled, if it no longer existed. 

Does she think the federal government should have any role in education?

“I think in some of the areas around protecting students and ensuring safe environments for them, there is a role to play,” she told Axios. “I mean, when we had segregated schools and when we had a time when, you know, girls weren’t allowed to have the same kind of sports teams — I mean, there have been important inflection points for the federal government to get involved.”

But are there any remaining issues like that where the federal government should intervene? “I can’t think of any now,” she replied.

So, LGBTQ students and families should expect no help from DeVos’ Education Dept., not that that is any surprise.

And no other minority students or families should expect help from DeVos either. Apparently, as far as protecting children and ensuring they are in safe environments that help ensure learning, all the work the federal government needs to do has been done. 

Including defending the Obama administration’s guidance to help protect transgender students, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to do last week.

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Image by Ted Eytan via Flickr and a CC license 

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‘We’re Not Gonna Fix It’: TN Republican Says Congress Can Do Nothing to Stop Gun Violence – Calls for Christian ‘Revival’

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U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) says there’s nothing the 535 elected officials in the House and Senate can do to reduce gun violence and gun deaths.

“We’re not gonna fix it,” Congressman Burchett said on the steps of the Capitol.

“I don’t see any role that we could do other than mess things up, honestly,” he said in response to Monday’s school mass shooting in Nashville, where three nine-year olds and three adults were shot to death by a shooter with two AR-15 style assault rifles and a handgun.

READ MORE: Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting

Instead of Congress enacting stricter gun laws, background checks, and a ban on assault weapons, Congressman Burchett said, “you’ve got to change people’s hearts,” as he called for a Christian revival.

“As a Christian, we talk about the church. I’ve said this many times, I think we really need a revival in this country.”

Monday’s shooting at the Covenant Presbyterian Elementary School was the 130th mass shooting this year in America, bringing the death toll from all gun violence across all causes to 9989, including 403 children 17 or younger, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Congressman Burchett is a member of the far-right Republican Study Committee, which has strong ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

READ MORE: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting

On Monday, Burchett released a statement saying, “Kelly and I are praying for everyone at The Covenant School, especially the families of the shooting victims. No one should have to go through that kind of horrific event or lose a loved one like that. I’m so thankful to those brave folks who brought down the shooter and took care of the students and their families.”

Earlier this month Rep. Burchett was one of 26 House Republicans on the Oversight Committee who refused to sign a simple two-sentence statement denouncing white supremacy.

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Trump Trying to ‘Pollute the Jury Pool’ With ‘Gibberish and Obstruction’: Analysis

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Donald Trump has been hurling ominous warnings and racist insults against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg ahead of a possible indictment, and legal experts fear those threats could provoke violence in the same way his rhetoric fueled the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The former president has attacked state and federal prosecutors “thugs,” claimed two Black district attorneys are “racist” and used anti-Semitic tropes to suggests he’s the victim of a “globalist” conspiracy and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the prosecutors who are investigating him, reported The Guardian.

“Trump cannot stop the judicial process, although he can try to slow it,” said Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor. “But he can undermine its credibility through his charges and by mobilizing his supporters. I see what he’s doing now as aimed at them, just as he tried to discredit the election returns in their eyes and anger them with baseless charges over the ‘steal.'”

Trump’s legal defenses have recently weakened after federal courts required some of his top aides, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, to testify in the Jan. 6 grand jury investigation, and compelled the testimony of his current lawyer Evan Corcoran in the classified documents case, and prosecutions in Manhattan and Georgia also appear to be nearing conclusion.

READ MORE: David Pecker is a ‘critical witness’ who could get Trump charged with a ‘second crime’: former prosecutor

“If I were on the prosecution teams in Manhattan or Georgia, I would expect Trump to assert every defense he can think of, including accusing the prosecutors of misconduct,” said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Michigan.

“None of these accusations about the motives of prosecutors, however, will negate the evidence of Trump’s own crimes,” McQuade added. “A jury will focus on the facts and the law, and not any of this name calling. The Trump strategy may work in the court of public opinion, but not in a court of law.”

Trump’s lawyers are using his trusted stalling tactic by raising “specious” objections in Georgia, according to former Watergate prosecutor Phlip Lacovara, and Trump is “trying to pollute the jury pool” with attacks on Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.

“All he needs is one juror who believes this is all a concocted plot,” Lacovara said.

Trump used many of the same tactics in his attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss, which ultimately led to the deadly U.S. Capitol attack.

“This is more of what we saw during the election,” said Donald Ayer, who served as deputy attorney general in the George H. W. Bush administration. “He throws up gibberish and obstruction.”

 

Image: Hunter Crenian/Shutterstock

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Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting

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Governor Bill Lee quickly drew tremendous outrage in the wake of a school mass shooting where six people including three young children were shot to death. Social media users criticized the Tennessee Republican, who had signed a permit-less gun carry law, for declaring he was “praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community,” without posting any mention of the mass shooting.

Tweeting he was “closely monitoring the tragic situation at Covenant,” Gov. Lee said, “As we continue to respond, please join us in praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community.”

There was no mention of any loss of life, and, as Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts passionately noted, the “situation” was a mass shooting.

“If thoughts and prayers alone worked to stop gun violence, there wouldn’t have been a shooting at a Christian elementary school. It’s your actions – including weakening the state’s gun laws – that’s killing kids in Tennessee,” Watts also tweeted. “SHAME ON YOU.”

Gov. Lee signed a permit-less carry bill into law in 2021, at a Beretta gun manufacturing plant.

According to the CDC, as of 2020 – one year before the permit-less carry bill was signed into law – Tennessee ranked tenth in the nation in per-capita firearm mortality.

READ MORE: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting

Meanwhile, others took notice of the gun culture Gov. Lee has fostered in “The Volunteer State.”

MSNBC analyst and Bulwark writer Tim Miller commented, “Tennessee governor Bill Lee issued a statement recently about how the drag ban in Tennessee ‘protects children.’ If only he would have instead focused on laws that might have prevented the mass murder of children in his state today.”

Historian Kevin Kruse pointed to an article from last year, after the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, titled: “Rep. Clemmons Seeks Renewed Gun Laws, Gov. Lee Requests Prayer.”

“You chose prayer over gun reforms last year after the Uvalde massacre,” Kruse wrote. “And now here we are.”

The progressive website Tennessee Holler pointed out that Gov. Lee, along with GOP lawmakers, “just appointed Jordan Mollenhour to the [state] board of education— whose company was sued for selling ammo to an underage mass killer (SANTA FE) and sold ammo to at least one more (AURORA) He has ZERO education experience.”

Let’s Give a Damn founder Nick Laparra tweeted, “We are 86 days into 2023. So far, 9859 people have died by gun violence and there have been 128 mass shootings. Meanwhile, @GovBillLee spends his days being outraged over drag queens and CRT and book bans. This is Bill Lee’s and the GOP’s fault.”

See the tweets and video above or at this link.

READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies

 

 

 

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