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Betsy DeVos Quietly Eliminates 72 Documents on Civil Rights Protections for Children With Disabilities

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DeVos Has Refused to State Children With Disabilities Deserve Equal Protection in Schools

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos early in October quietly rescinded 72 guidance documents, some in place for many years, that detailed the protections children with disabilities are supposed to receive. 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.

Rather than make an official announcement, the Education Dept.’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services said in a newsletter Friday – nearly three weeks after taking action – that “a total of 72 guidance documents … have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective – 63 from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and 9 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA),” according to The Chicago Tribune.

These documents don’t change laws, but they aided education officials and experts, teachers and administrators, in how to implement existing laws. The documents also helped translate often confusing legal jargon into terms laypeople can understand and use. By eliminating the documents she has effectively helped ensure children with disabilities will not see the same level of protection that they had with the documents available.

This is yet another attack on children, students, and families of minorities made by DeVos. Just weeks after being sworn in, DeVos, in partnership with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, rescinded an Obama-era guidance letter detailing the protections of civil rights transgender students are entitled to, which included examples of how to implement them. She later told a conservative political conference the guidance was an example of “huge overreach” by the Obama administration.

While officially denouncing discrimination, DeVos has said discrimination against transgender students is acceptable because it allows parents to make different school choices for their children.

DeVos is not an education expert. She holds only a bachelor’s degree from a small Christian college, and is a charter schools activist who has called public schools a “dead end.”

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‘Shaping Policies’: Trump Official in Charge of Personnel at HHS Has Been a College Senior – Report

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The Trump administration put a college senior in charge of personnel at the Dept. of Health and Human Services, Catherine Granito. She appears to have graduated this spring.

A Politico report Monday afternoon, “Trump administration shakes up HHS personnel office after tumultuous hires,” revealed the stunning placement – including that she has been “playing a role in shaping policies in the middle of a pandemic.”

HHS has an annual budget of $1.286 trillion. As of 2015 it had 79,540 employees.

“White House Liaison Emily Newman and her deputy Catherine Granito will be shifting full-time to the Voice of America’s parent organization, the United States Agency for Global Media, HHS chief of staff Brian Harrison told senior staff on Monday,” the Politico article states.

It adds that “Granito — an undergraduate at the University of Michigan as recently as this spring — had been in charge of the health department’s personnel while playing a role in shaping policies in the middle of a pandemic.”

Granito’s LinkedIn page says she attended the University of Michigan until May as a student athlete playing lacrosse and notes she majored in English language and literature. A Google search shows that page listed her as an “advisor” at HHS.

Her Facebook page says she “Works at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”

The recent Michael Caputo scandal appears to have involved Granito.

“Granito, who was in the class of 2020 at the University of Michigan, was involved in political appointees’ recent scrutiny of CDC Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, a career civil servant. Caputo and his team raised concerns about Schuchat this spring after she publicly acknowledged missed opportunities in the nation’s response to the coronavirus.”

 

Image: Official White House Photo of HHS Sec. Alex Azar and President Donald Trump by Tia Dufour via Flickr

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‘Streets Will Run Red With Blood’: Trump-Loving Senator Mocked for Ad Bragging She’s ‘More Conservative Than Attila the Hun’

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A Republican U.S. Senator is being mocked and disparaged for her new TV ad which touts her “100% Trump voting record” and positions her as “more conservative than Attila the Hun.”

Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who was appointed in January, is running to keep her seat. Her main opponent is Republican Congressman Doug Collins.

The ad says she’s “the most conservative Senator in America.”

The ad “jokes” about murdering journalists and political opponents.

Loeffler is no stranger to controversy.

The Dept. of Justice closed its investigation into Loeffler’s coronavirus stock trading scandal in May. She is the owner of the Atlanta Dream professional basketball team and has been criticized for opposing the Black Lives Matter movement.

Now her new ad is drawing criticism, too.

 

Image via Facebook

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'GOVERNMENT OF CHAOS'

Whistleblower Outs Kushner for COVID Task Force Failures: ‘Organized Crime Melded With Lord of the Flies’

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A former member of the White House coronavirus task force explained why he blew the whistle on what he saw as deadly incompetence within the group.

Max Kennedy, Jr. — the 26-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy — told The New Yorker that he initially agreed to join the task force that was being put together by White House adviser Jared Kushner because of the serious nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But it was such an unprecedented time,” he explained to The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. “It didn’t seem political—it seemed larger than the Administration.”

Kennedy recalled being shocked because a skeleton crew of unpaid task force volunteers were forced to use their personal laptops and email accounts to track down medical supplies.

“It was the number of people who show up to an after-school event, not to run the greatest crisis in a hundred years,” he observed. “It was such a mismatch of personnel. It was one of the largest mobilization problems ever. It was so unbelievably colossal and gargantuan. The fact that they didn’t want to get any more people was so upsetting.”

Kennedy said that one political appointee on the task force, Brad Smith, urged him to create a model that predicted a maximum of 100,000 deaths because existing scientific models were “too severe.”

“I don’t know the first thing about disease modeling,” Kennedy told Smith before declining the task.

Volunteers were also urged to pay close attention to Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and to ship medical supplies to her favored hospitals, Kennedy said.

Kennedy remembered Kushner stopping by the office with “an air of self-importance” on several occasions and promising to fix problems.

“But I never saw a single thing that Kushner promised change,” he said.

After quitting the position in April, Kennedy decided to defy a non-disclosure agreement by blowing the whistle in a complaint to Congress.

“I just couldn’t sleep,” he remarked. “I was so distressed and disturbed by what I’d seen.”

Kennedy said that the task force “was like a family office meets organized crime, melded with ‘Lord of the Flies.’ It was a government of chaos.”

“If you see something that might be illegal, and cause thousands of civilian lives to be lost, a person has to speak out,” he insisted.

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