Calls Video Remarks ‘Poor Choice of Words’
Minutes before a scheduled press conference so-called “alt-right” figurehead and professional provocateurÂ MiloÂ Yiannopoulos released a statement announcing he has resigned from the far right wing website Breitbart, where he served as a senior editor.
“Breitbart News has stood by me when others caved,” the press release states. It calls the website “a significant factor” in his success.
“I would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues’ important reporting,” he write, explaining his resignation.
Yiannopoulos has been under fire after a video resurfaced showing him condoning and defendingÂ â€“ some have said advocating forÂ â€“ sexual relationships between adult men and teenaged boys as young as 13 or 14.Â Yiannopoulos has said he is not a pedophile and in a series of Facebook posts insisted his remarks were mischaracterized.
Breitbart’s editor-in-chief Tuesday morning called the release of the video an attack “by proxy” on PresidentÂ Donald Trump and his Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon, who served as Breitbart’s publisher.
Milo resigns from Breitbart. pic.twitter.com/gtSfTRIi1l
â€” Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 21, 2017
Monday evening Yiannopoulos lost his $250,000 book deal in a belated move by his publisher, Simon & Schuster, which said it took them “careful consideration” to reach the correct conclusion. He also lost a speaking invitation at CPAC, the annual conservative confab, over his remarks.
Breitbart issued this statement:
Breitbart statement on Milo pic.twitter.com/SgTAnhoqPs
â€” Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) February 21, 2017
Some responses via Twitter:
Note how he praises Breitbart for fully standing by him. Itâ€™s on record now hat Breitbart stands by Milo, even now. https://t.co/ctSAxGbyG2
â€” Robbie Medwed (@rjmedwed) February 21, 2017
Milo says his decision to resign from Breitbart is his alone, much like a 13-year-old who has sex with a 28-year-old. https://t.co/dP2L32Q2nN
â€” Josh Barro (@jbarro) February 21, 2017
Much of conservative activism these days is predicated upon just pissing off liberals. Speaks to their moral and intellectual bankruptcy. https://t.co/RQoCd53C6E
â€” Matt Ortega (@MattOrtega) February 21, 2017
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Ron DeSantis’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Goes Into Effect Today as Schools Scramble to Avoid Parental Lawsuits
Even before Republicans in Florida passed Governor Ron DeSantis‘ “Don’t Say Gay” bill some defenders of the anti-LGBTQ legislation insisted it applied only to kindergarten through third grade, and that anyone who opposed the bill – as the governor’s official spokesperson charged – was “probably a groomer.”
But LGBTQ advocates, activists, and supporters made clear the purposefully broad and vague language in the bill and the threat inserted into the legislation allowing parents to sue for perceived violations would have a chilling effect.
They were right.
The “Don’t Say Gay” law, officially the “Parental Rights in Education” law, goes into effect today, July 1, after DeSantis, at an event held at a charter school exempt from the legislation in March, surrounded by young children, talked about the bill and signed it into law.
Educators across the state’s 67 school districts are seeing just how extensive it is being interpreted and implemented, given the near-total lack of guidance from the DeSantis administration.
In March, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a warning to Florida, saying “The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported,” he said.
But aside from that broadside, the federal government appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach.
Meanwhile, reports from across Florida say districts’ legal counsel have warned that teachers should remove LGBTQ supportive materials, including rainbow and pride stickers, and even stickers denoting a particular classroom is a “safe space,” They have warned teachers should not wear anything with a rainbow and should remove any family photos if they include a same-sex spouse or partner. That same warning did not go to teachers with different-sex spouses or partners, leading some legal experts to warn of constitutional violations.
LGBTQ teachers, especially those who teach students in grades K-3, have also been warned to not discuss their family lives or even mention same-sex spouses or partners. And teachers and other school officials have been directed to look for anything LGBTQ-related, including books in school libraries.
But it hasn’t stopped there. Teachers have been told they are required to report – “out” – any student who comes out as LGBTQ.
Spectrum News reports Florida’s Orange County Public Schools “held a legal camp for 600 principals, vice-principals, and junior administrators,” specifically telling them, “Teachers must notify parents if a student comes out as gay to them.” Not an administrator, but a teacher.
ABC affiliate WFTV reports that Orange County Teachers’ Association (CTA) says “teachers will have to report to parents if a student ‘comes out’ to them and they must use pronouns assigned at birth, regardless of what the parents allow.”
Elsewhere in Florida, if there are questions about a student’s gender identity before or during overnight school trips that student will be outed not only to their own parents but to the parents of all the students in their class.
NBC News reports on Tuesday “the Leon County School Board unanimously approved its “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide,” which includes a provision to alert parents if a student who is ‘open about their gender identity’ is in their child’s physical education class or with them on an overnight school trip.”
“Upon notification or determination of a student who is open about their gender identity, parents of the affected students will be notified of reasonable accommodation options available,” NBC reports the guidelines read. “Parents or students who have concerns about rooming assignments for their student’s upcoming overnight event based on religious or privacy concerns may request an accommodation.”
NBC also reports that in late May, “the School District of Palm Beach County sent out a questionnaire asking its teachers to review all course material and flag any books with references to sexual orientation, gender identity or race, said a Palm Beach County high school special education teacher, Michael Woods. Several weeks previously, the district removed two books — ‘I Am Jazz’ and ‘Call Me Max’ — that touch upon gender identity, he said.”
‘Committee’s Definitely Got Something’: Legal Experts Claim Threat of Wire Fraud Charges Loom Over Trump and Aides
In conversations with the Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, two former officials in the Department of Justice suggested that specific evidence revealed in the Jan. 6th committee’s investigation of Donald Trump provides a roadmap that could lead to wire fraud charges against members of Donald Trump’s campaign officials and possibly the former president too.
At issue is the preponderance of evidence that Trump and his aides were well aware that he had lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden on election night and yet sent out a flood of requests for donations maintaining the election results were fraudulent.
As the report notes, “That same day, the Trump campaign sent a fundraising email claiming that ‘President Trump will easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with only legal votes cast.’ The solicitation called on supporters to donate any dollar amount and join something called the ‘Election Defense Task Force.’ The campaign, it said, was ‘counting on members to help [Trump] fight back and secure FOUR MORE YEARS.'”
Pointing out that legal experts believe that evidence contains the “ingredients for possible federal charges against officials with the campaign and the Republican National Committee—as well as Trump himself,” Sollenberger first spoke with former U.S. attorney Barb McQuade, who said wire fraud cases are a specialty of U.S. attorney’s offices.
“If it can be shown that Trump or others sent an email asking for money for one purpose, and then used it for another, that could constitute fraud, regardless of whether it can be proved that they knew the election had not been stolen,” she explained.
Her view was bolstered by Natalie Adams, who previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, who bluntly stated, “the committee’s definitely got something.”
Speaking with the Beast, she elaborated, “It’s not whether you know something absolutely for sure. It’s if it’s ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to you that people will believe promises and statements that you either know aren’t true, or are reckless or deceptive, which you are trying to use to get something of value.”
According to Adams, there is a wire fraud conspiracy case to be made — which could sweep up the former president as a co-conspirator.
“With conspiracy, you don’t necessarily have to commit an overt act. And jury instructions don’t require proof of a formal agreement, because criminal actors avoid doing that,” she explained. “But if people work together and profit from it, it’s helpful to show who had the access and opportunity to review those communications, and who would be likely to know by virtue of their job what is ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to occur, who are charged with vetting the truth of statements, and so on.”
You can read more here.
Image: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour
Texas Educators Want to Change ‘Slavery’ to ‘Involuntary Relocation’ After GOP Bans Topics Making Students ‘Feel Discomfort’
An advisory group of Texas educators has proposed changing the word “slavery” to “involuntary relocation” after the Texas State Board of Education directed them to examine how to implement a new law, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, banning the teaching of topics that would make students “feel discomfort.”
The group, comprised of nine educators, made the proposal for second-grade social studies instruction, but “board members have asked them to reconsider the phrasing, according to the state board’s chair,” The Texas Tribune reports.
State Board of Education Member Aicha Davis told the Tribune, that calling slavery “involuntary relocation” is “not going to be acceptable.”
“Part of the proposed social studies curriculum standards outlines that students should ‘compare journeys to America, including voluntary Irish immigration and involuntary relocation of African people during colonial times,'” the Tribune notes.
Last year in September Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law SB3, which “prohibits teaching certain concepts about race,” The Dallas Morning News reported at the time.
It also “develops a civics training program for teachers,” and “urges educators to teach only that slavery and racism are ‘deviations’ from the founding principles of the United States.”
SB3 “establishes that teachers can’t be forced to discuss current controversial topics in their classrooms,” The Washington Post reported last year.
Attorney Imani Gandy, a Senior Editor of Law and Policy for Rewire News Group, responded to the news via Twitter.
“This was always the point of the CRT hysteria— to teach white children that slavery was just ‘involuntary relocation’ so they don’t feel bad about what their ancestors did to Black people in this country,” she said. “Classic fascist move.”
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