Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Last Call For Ron's Gone Wrong, Con't

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is planning to expand the state's "Don't Say Gay" laws to high schools, which would mean banning all Florida school classes from discussing or even mentioning sexual orientation or gender in any way.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ′ administration is moving to forbid classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the controversial law critics call “Don’t Say Gay” as the Republican governor continues a focus on cultural issues ahead of his expected presidential run.

The proposal, which would not require legislative approval, is scheduled for a vote next month before the state Board of Education and has been put forth by state Education Department, both of which are led by appointees of the governor.

The rule change would ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from grades 4 to 12, unless required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take. The initial law that DeSantis championed last spring bans those lessons in kindergarten through the third grade. The change was first reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

DeSantis has leaned heavily into cultural divides on his path to an anticipated White House bid, with the Republican aggressively pursuing a conservative agenda that targets what he calls the insertion of inappropriate subjects in schools.

Spokespeople for the governor’s office and the Education Department did not immediately return an emailed request for comment.

Last year’s Parental Rights in Education Act drew widespread backlash nationally, with critics saying it marginalizes LGBTQ people and their presence in society.

DeSantis and other Republicans have repeatedly said the measure is reasonable and that parents, not teachers, should be broaching subjects of sexual orientation and gender identity with their children.

Critics of the law say its language — “classroom instruction,” “age appropriate” and “developmentally appropriate” — is overly broad and subject to interpretation. Consequently, teachers might opt to avoid the subjects entirely for fear of being sued, they say.
Consequently, banning all Florida school classes from mentioning sexual orientation at any grade level is exactly what critics said would happen when the law was passed originally banning K through 3rd grade classes. 

Of course it means that teachers, principals, guidance counselors, school nurses and coaches can't talk about this either with students for fear of retribution, which means LGBTQ+ kids are on their own in Florida unless their parents are understanding and supportive, and not all parents are.

So yeah, this is going to end up getting LGBTQ+ kids hurt and killed, which I guess is the point of the law.

Putin On The Blitz, Con't

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken is helpfully reminding our European allies that if you see that Vladimir Putin guy, you should give him a free ride to the Hague.

European countries should detain Vladimir Putin and turn him over to the International Criminal Court if the Russian president visits their countries, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers Wednesday.

Blinken’s remarks, made in response to a line of questioning, follow the court’s decision last week to issue an arrest warrant for Putin that accuses him of being personally responsible for the abductions of children from Ukraine — the first time the global court has issued a warrant against a leader of one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

“Would you encourage our European allies to turn him over?” Republican Sen. Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina asked Blinken during a budget hearing.

“Anyone who is a party to the court and has obligations should fulfill their obligations,” Blinken said.

Putin is unlikely to visit hostile European countries any time soon, especially in light of the ICC arrest warrant — a decision that received both praise for standing up against Putin and criticism for potentially closing diplomatic pathways for reaching a political resolution that ends the fighting.

During the hearing, Blinken defended the Biden administration’s $6.8 trillion budget proposal to Congress, saying it was necessary in order for the United States to confront the “acute threat” posed by Russia and the “long-term challenge” from China while also addressing climate change and migration.

President Biden defied Republican demands to reduce the size of government earlier this month with a budget that proposes increasing spending on the Pentagon and social programs while raising taxes on higher earners and corporations.

“The post-Cold War world is over, and there is an intense competition underway to determine what comes next,” Blinken told a Senate panel on appropriations. “This budget will help us advance that vision, and deliver on the issues that matter most to the American people.”
Frankly Blinken is doing a hell of a job, given the challenges. I'm not worried about the State Department doing something stupid as with Rex Tillerson or Mike Pompeo.

Having said that, the odds of any non-Russian country besides the US delivering Putin to the ICC is precisely zero, and everyone knows it.  That's diplomacy!

Orange Meltdown, Finally, Maybe Edition

Alvin Bragg's grand jury is meeting today, and word is that they will make a final decision on charging Donald Trump. Rupert Murdoch's squad is reporting that the indictment could come as soon as today's grand jury meeting, with arraignment next week.
Donald Trump will likely be indicted on Wednesday but won't appear before a judge in New York until next week, has learned.

'There will be no arraignment this week,' a source familiar with the proceedings told exclusively on Tuesday.

The former president, who is currently in Florida, is expected to be formally charged tomorrow, after which the Manhattan District Attorney's office will reach out to Trump and his Secret Service detail to make arrangements for his surrender, according to the insider.

He will then fly to New York where he will be arraigned, finger printed, and pose for his mug shot.

Meanwhile, it's all-hands-on-deck for the New York Police Department and Metro Police Department as all officers on Tuesday are expected to be in uniform, ready for anything in the wake of the potential indictment.

Officials in New York City and Washington, D.C., are preparing for possible unrest and demonstrations following the former president's plea to his supporters to 'protest, protest, protest' in response to a potential indictment handed down by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump, 76, said last week that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday, but a law enforcement official told that an indictment would likely happen on Wednesday at the earliest.

An NYPD internal memo obtained by CNN shows that all officers are to be in uniform and prepared for deployment on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Daniels' is also beefing up her security after her attorney said she received concerning messages, including some threatening her life.

Law enforcement officials tell CNN there are currently no credible threats in New York even though Tuesday is a 'high alert day.'

Washington Metro police are also preparing for protests, but the U.S. Capitol Police 'is not currently tracking any direct or credible threats to the US Capitol,' a department intelligence assessment obtained by CNN notes.
Republicans are still mostly huddling in wait and see mode, because they are cowards for the most part. They don't want to be held responsible for another January 6th stochastic terrorism event. At the same time, none of them can turn their backs on Trump or their careers will end in days. They have to defend him now, no matter how things get.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the Manhattan district attorney leading the investigation into former President Donald Trump's alleged hush-money payments should "be put in jail."

Paul's comments came in a tweet Tuesday and follows the former president's prediction that he would be indicted for his alleged role in making a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election to silence her about a previous affair.

"A Trump indictment would be a disgusting abuse of power," Paul said in the tweet.

Regardless of the Manhattan proceedings and this "law-enforcement insider", the federal investigations into Trump under Special Counsel Jack Smith are grinding on...

Prosecutors in the special counsel's office have presented compelling preliminary evidence that former President Donald Trump knowingly and deliberately misled his own attorneys about his retention of classified materials after leaving office, a former top federal judge wrote Friday in a sealed filing, according to sources who described its contents to ABC News.

U.S. Judge Beryl Howell, who on Friday stepped down as the D.C. district court's chief judge, wrote last week that prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith's office had made a "prima facie showing that the former president had committed criminal violations," according to the sources, and that attorney-client privileges invoked by two of his lawyers could therefore be pierced.

Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in his handling of classified documents.

MORE: Trump lawyer ordered to testify in classified documents case in landmark ruling, sources say

In her sealed filing, Howell ordered that Evan Corcoran, an attorney for Trump, should comply with a grand jury subpoena for testimony on six separate lines of inquiry over which he had previously asserted attorney-client privilege.

Sources added that Howell also ordered Corcoran to hand over a number of records tied to what Howell described as Trump's alleged "criminal scheme," echoing prosecutors. Those records include handwritten notes, invoices, and transcriptions of personal audio recordings.

In reaching the so-called prima facie standard to pierce Corcoran's privilege, Howell agreed prosecutors made a sufficient showing that on its face would appear to show Trump committed crimes. The judge made it clear that prosecutors would still need to meet a higher standard of evidence in order to seek charges against Trump, and more still to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"It is a lower hurdle, but it is an indication that the government had presented some evidence and allegation that they had evidence that met the elements of a crime," Brandon Van Grack, a former top national security official in the Justice Department who is now in private practice, told ABC News.
Maybe it's nothing but more smoke and mirrors...or maybe Bragg bringing charges will open the floodgates in the weeks ahead.  If this is true, if Smith and the DoJ have enough evidence to convince a federal judge that Trump committed crimes and that his legal team was misled, then Trump is going to find out that Alvin Bragg is the least of his problems. If it's really criminal intent with his classified document theft, well, we're in a very dangerous game here.

We'll see where history takes us, but things will get deadly serious from here on out.
Be careful, folks.

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