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First Betsy DeVos Came for Transgender Students, Then for the Disabled, Now She’s Targeting Minority Children

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‘It Seems Betsy DeVos Is on a Mission to Decimate Basic Protections for Students at All Levels’

Just weeks into her tenure as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos infamously rescinded guidance from the Obama administration detailing how schools could and should protect the civil rights of transgender students. At a far right wing conference one day later, the charter schools advocate who had never stepped into s public school until this year told supporters the guidance was an example of “huge overreach” by the Obama administration. 

DeVos then targeted children with disabilities, rescinding 72 documents designed to help explain to administrators how to protect the civil rights of those students. They also served to help parents and other laypeople understand what their children’s rights actually are. That move was made in early October, but not announced until last Friday.

Of course, DeVos attacking the civil rights of transgender students and students with disabilities should surprise no one. During her confirmation hearing DeVos refused to say children with disabilities deserve equal protection in schools, and in fact admitted she was “confused” by the federal laws.

In June she told the Senate she would not work to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ students.

And now, DeVos has a new target: Black and Native American students.

The Education Secretary has been mulling over an Obama-era rule that is scheduled to go into effect next year, designed to ensure minority students are not place in special education classes at a disproportional rate to other students. Historically, Black and Native American students have been put into special education classes at much higher rates, and the Obama administration rule is designed to address that.

The rule is also designed to ensure that schools are funding special education classes appropriately.

The Obama Dept. of Education in 2016, as Politico reports Thursday, “noted that minority students — ‘particularly African-American and American Indian youth — are identified as students with disabilities at substantially higher rates than their peers.’ Minority students with disabilities are more likely than white students to be disciplined and pushed out of regular classrooms, the agency stressed. The rule sought to ensure that states are using a uniform approach to ensure minority students aren’t overrepresented in special education. It was supposed to take effect in July 2018.”

DeVos, according to Politico, is debating whether to delay the rule, change it, or scrap it, as Politico’s Caitlin Emma first reported Wednesday afternoon:

Some responses by Democrats to the news:

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News

Two Longtime Republican Operatives Indicted — and There’s a Russia Connection: Report

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Reuters legal reporter Jan Wolfe revealed Monday evening that two Republican Party operatives have been indicted after helping Russians donate to political campaigns in 2016.

The Justice Department revealed in a statement that Kentucky’s Jesse Benton and Florida’s Roy Douglas “Doug” Wead were “charged with one count of conspiracy to solicit and cause an illegal campaign contribution by a foreign national, effect a conduit contribution, and cause false records to be filed with the FEC, one count of contribution by a foreign national, one count of contribution in the name of another and three counts of making false entries in an official record.”

Benton was just pardoned by former President Donald Trump for a bribery scandal while working for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in Iowa in 2012. In that scheme, Benton and colleague John Tate bribed state officials to change their endorsements to Paul for the Iowa Caucus.

After being pardoned for that, Benton is now being indicted again along with Wead for arranging for a Russian National who wanted to donate to a 2016 presidential campaign to be able to meet with the candidate.

“Benton reached out to individuals at Political Committee B, the national party committee for Political Candidate 1’s political party,” the indictment explains. “He then arranged for Foreign National 1 to attend a political fundraising event and get a photograph with Political Candidate 1, in exchange for a political contribution to Political Committee C, a joint fundraising committee comprised of the campaign committee for Political Candidate 1, Political Committee B, and related state committees. Foreign National 1 ultimately wired $100,000 to Company A, a political consulting firm owned by Benton.”

He then tried to disguise the wire transfer by labeling it “consulting services” and crafted a “cover story.”

Wead went to the fundraiser with the foreign national Sept. 22, 2016 with a translator (Foreign National 2). They all three had their photos taken with the candidate.

“Following the event, Benton repeatedly represented to a consultant working for Political Committee B and Political Committee C that he had already sent the promised contribution for the event, but in actuality he delayed sending the contribution,” said the DOJ. “Benton ultimately filled out a contributor form, indicated that he was the contributor, and used a personal credit card to make a $25,000 contribution. Benton retained the remaining $75,000 of Foreign National 1’s money. Because Benton falsely claimed to have given the contribution himself, three different political committees unwittingly filed reports with the FEC that inaccurately reported Benton, rather than Foreign National 1, as the source of the funds.”

Read the full report at the DOJ.

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Texas AG Ken Paxton Sues Biden Admin Over LGBTQ Policies He Falsely Claims Put ‘Women and Children at Risk’

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Teas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, running for re-election, on Monday sued the Biden administration in litigation falsely attacking LGBTQ people.

Paxton  filed a lawsuit in a federal court seen as a friendly pipeline to the Supreme Court, over LGBTQ-related Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  (EEOC) guidance, and even used the litigation to prop up a far right wing conspiracy theorist, who is also running for re-election. EEOC Commissioner Charlotte Burrows and Attorney General Merrick Garland are named as defendants.

The EEOC “guidance misstates the law, increasing the scope of liability for the State in its capacity as an employer,” Paxton claims in the lawsuit, as Bloomberg Law reports.

But as Courthouse News’ David Lee reports, the Paxton lawsuit also relies on old, false, and bigoted tropes about transgender people, saying allowing them to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity, “puts many women and children at risk.”

A June 2020 landmark Supreme Court found that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination is sex discrimination. The Biden Equal Employment Opportunity Commission used that ruling to form policy that mandates workplace guidance, including on who can use which restrooms.

Curiously, and for no discernible reason, Paxton’s lawsuit also promotes the Texas Dept. of Agriculture (TDA), which is headed by conspiracy theorist Sid Miller.

“TDA has both unisex single-occupancy bathrooms and bathrooms that are designated by sex. It interprets ‘sex’ as referring to biological sex rather than gender identity,” the lawsuit says. “If any employee wanted to use the bathrooms designated for the opposite sex, TDA would reject such a request.”

Paxton has a long and ugly history of attacking transgender people.

Newsweek adds that Paxton’s lawsuit “says that the TDA interprets sex to mean biological sex, rather than gender identity. The complaint says, ‘If any employee dressed as a member of the opposite sex, TDA would consider such conduct to be a violation of its standards.'”

It also says the TDA would reject requests for “any employee wanted to use the bathrooms designated for the opposite sex” or any employee who “wanted TDA to require other employees to use pronouns based on gender identity.”

 

 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Marjorie Taylor Greene Threatens ‘God Will No Longer Provide Protection Over America’

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) served up an unholy threat against America, warning that if Congress passes a bill protecting a woman’s right to abortion God will remove his “protection” from America.

Greene is not a theologian, biblical scholar, or other learned expert in religious studies. Abortion in the United States is already legal, but the legislation would protect that right and battle states actively seeking to change the law.

She called the bill, “the most evil and disgusting thing that is going to happen” in this session of Congress. The legislation will be voted on today, and is expected to pass the House, but would need 60 votes currently to pass the Senate, and is expected to fail there.

The Republican Congresswoman from Georgia also falsely claimed the legislation “makes it a federal law to allow abortion up until the day of birth.”

The U.S. Supreme Court since 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision has made it the law of the land that abortions are legal but only up until around 24 weeks, not “until the day of birth.”

“This wall says, ‘In God We Trust.’ And if that is the case,” Greene declared, “then this Congress will reject this evil bill and protect the innocent unborn. If this nation becomes a nation where we have such a federal law that can kill a baby, up until the day of birth, the God will no longer provide protection in His grace over America.”

She began her speech by promoting her legislation to impeach President Joe Biden, and on the floor of the House of Representatives accused him of “treason.” After she gave her speech she was admonished.

Watch:

 

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