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WATCH: Twitter Erupts After Press Secretary Defends Betsy DeVos as an ‘Educator.’ (She’s Not.)

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‘She Is an Unbelievably Qualified Educator and Advocate for Students, Teachers, Parents’ Says Sean Spicer, Falsely

Twitter has been abuzz after the White House Press Secretary defended embattled Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos as an “educator.” She’s not an educator, not by any definition or stretch of the word – revealing just how remarkably uninformed the administration is about its own nominees. Yes, people on Twitter know more about Betsy DeVos than the White House spokesperson. 

DeVos’ confirmation Wednesday afternoon became questionable after two Republican Senators announced they will be voting against her. Assuming all Democrats do, just one more “no” from Republicans will kill Devos’ chances.

When asked if the White House is concerned, here’s what Press Secretary Sean Spicer had to say during the daily press briefing.

I have 100 percent confidence she will be the next secretary of education,” Spicer insisted, facing the fact that just one more no vote derails her. “She is an unbelievably qualified educator and advocate for students, teachers, parents,” Spicer claimed.

In fact, DeVos is not an educator at all. She has no degree in education, she has never been a teacher or instructor, not at all. What DeVos is is a very, very rich person who come from and married into a wealthy family, and who has used that wealth to her advantage. 

I think that the games being played with Betsy DeVos are sad,” Spicer continued. “She is someone who has been a tireless advocate over the past couple of decades to really support reforms that benefit children.”

That’s not accurate. DeVos, who is from Michigan and turned that state’s schools into a study of how not to “reform” them, is an anti-public schools activist who opposes putting money into public schools but wants the government to put money into private voucher programs. That is her entire focus: voucher programs.

Here’s how the highly-regarded Michigan-based EclectaBlog put it last month:

Ms. DeVos never attended a public school, never sent her kids to a public school, never studied education, never applied for or received Michigan teacher certification, never taught anyone anything, and only spends time with children in order to sell her water. Just as Donald Trump spending a couple of years at a military school doesn’t mean that he “knows more than the generals,” Betsy DeVos hawking her boxed water to kids in Flint doesn’t give her “the heart of a teacher”.

No–Betsy doesn’t know how to “fix” the schools. Because #1: the schools are not “broken.” And if there are some schools, like those in our urban centers, that are in pretty bad shape in MI, it’s likely that Betsy had something to do with that. And #2: Betsy’s only school fixin’ tool is money. The same green stuff that she and her acolytes don’t want spent on public schools, but is somehow magic fairy dust when sprinkled on religious and private schools and baked into vouchers. A word of advice to Ms. DeVos: You can’t “fix” what has been “broken” by competition and choice…with even more competition and choice.

No–Betsy has not “passed reforms on literacy”. She paid millions in last minute political contributions to Republican legislators in Michigan to ram through a 3rd grade reading bill that every single reading teacher and professional education association in the state said was a form of educational malpractice, wouldn’t help any kids to read any better, and would lead to even more–mostly minority–kids dropping out of school.

And here’s how Twitter responded to Sean Spicer’s false characterization:

 

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THIS IS FASCISM

‘A Coup in the Making’: Voting and Civil Rights Expert Says ‘No Mandate’ for Nomination of Amy Coney Barrett

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Ari Berman, a civil and voting rights expert is speaking out against President Donald Trump’s nomination Saturday of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Berman is a Mother Jones senior reporter and a former senior contributing writer for The Nation magazine. He is seen as one of the country’s top voting rights experts.

He’s calling Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination a “coup in the making,” and a “farce,” and explains why there is “no mandate” for it.

“This is such a farce,” Berman tweeted just moments before President Trump stepped into the Rose Garden with Judge Barrett Saturday afternoon. “GOP blocked Merrick Garland 237 DAYS before election but rushing to confirm Barrett 38 days before Nov 3. Entire process is illegitimate. It’s a coup in the making & should be treated as such.”

“If Barrett is confirmed a majority of SCOTUS justices will have been appointed by GOP presidents who lost popular vote. Truly staggering,” Berman observes.

He goes on to say there is “Absolutely no mandate” for Barrett’s nomination or confirmation.

“866,000 people have already voted in 2020 elections,” Berman concludes. “Millions will have voted by the time Barrett hearings begin. Absolutely no reason to confirm her before election except for Trump to ensure she throws out enough votes to keep him in office.”

 

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'DEEP STATE'

Federal Agencies Tapped Phones of Portland’s Racial Justice Protestors to Prove They’re Terrorists

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Two current officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have confirmed that the DHS and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) teamed up with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) during this summer’s racial justice protests in Portland, Oregon for a covert operation focused on “extracting information from protester’s phones.”

The officials told The Nation that a DHS colleague with expertise in electronic surveillance was sent to Portland as part of “an interagency task force” using a classified cell phone cloning attack to “intercept protesters’ phone communications.”

“Cell phone cloning involves stealing a phone’s unique identifiers and copying them to another device in order to intercept the communications received by the original device,” The Nation explains. It’s a tactic conducted to better understand your target, their network and their planning. The DEA is believed to have had a “special key” to help carry out the surveillance.

While it’s unclear who specifically was targeted by the surveillance, “They were abusing people’s rights,” one official said. The DHS hasn’t responded to congressional calls to explain the program either.

The officials quoted in The Nation’s article say that colleagues from the DHS were asked to “volunteer” to participate in the program, something departments do to conduct operations outside of the department’s official and legal capacity.

The overall goal, the officials state, was to substantiate thin claims by Attorney General William Barr that Antifa (anti-fascist) activists are receiving foreign sponsorship, something that is a necessary criterion to formally designate the group as a terrorist organization, something Trump vowed to do as recently as yesterday.

Considering that the U.S. has a long history of surveilling, harassing and possibly even killing racial justice activists since before the Civil Rights era, this newest program is hardly surprising, albeit still frightening.

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'CAN'T WE END THIS ALREADY?'

“Armed Militias to Intimidate Voters”: Donald Trump Jr.’s New Ad Recruits GOP “Army” to “Secure” Election

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Donald Trump Jr.

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., appears in a social media video ad asking people to join an “army” to stop the “radical left” and their plan to “steal” the election. Nevermind, that Trump Sr. has already refused to ensure a peaceful transfer of power if he loses and has also said he can only lose if the vote is rigged.

Here’s the ad itself:

In the ad, Trump Jr. says:

“The radical left are laying the groundwork to steal this election from my father, President Donald Trump. They are planting stories that President Trump will have a landslide lead on election night but will lose when they finish counting the mail-in ballots. Their plan is to add millions of fraudulent ballots that can cancel your vote and overturn the election. We cannot let that happen.”

“We need every able-bodied man and woman to join Army for Trump’s election security operation at defendyourballot.com. We need you to help us watch them, not just on Election Day but also during early voting and at the counting boards. President Trump is going to win. Don’t let them steal it. Go to defendyourballot.com and enlist today.”

While the actual website DefendYourBallot.com is just a Trump campaign get out the vote effort that doesn’t actually instruct supporters to monitor polling places or post offices, one tech culture website said the “ads incite armed militias to intimidate voters.” Keep in mind, Trump Sr. has already promised to deploy thousands of law enforcement officials to polling places on Election Day, a move that will discourage voting by people with a distrust of police.

Considering the numerous armed protesters at anti-lockdown rallies during the start of the COVID-19 epidemic and Trump Sr.’s repeated lie that Democrats want to abolish the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, it’s easy to see how Donald Jr.’s appeal could inspire right-wing gun nuts to “monitor” polling places and post offices by scaring voters, poll workers, and postal delivery people by challenging anything that looks even remotely suspicious to them.

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