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Someone Called the Cops to a Massachusetts School … Over a Book

Police received a complaint over the book, so an officer went to hunt it down.

A child stands in front of a bookcase in the library
Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images

Free speech advocates are slamming a police officer going to a Massachusetts middle school to search for a single book.

On December 8, an anonymous caller contacted the police department in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, to complain that an obscene book was available to eighth grade students at the W.E.B. Du Bois Regional Middle School. An officer was sent to investigate.

The book in question is Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. The memoir does contain sexually explicit illustrations and language, but more importantly, it discusses the writer’s confusion about and understanding of gender.

The police alerted the school district superintendent and the Du Bois principal, but no one told the teacher accused of having the book. The principal escorted the police officer to the English teacher’s classroom after school let out, catching the teacher by surprise. The book was nowhere to be found.

The American Civil Liberties Union condemned the fact that a police officer was sent to look for a book. The organization said it could not remember this happening before.

“That’s partly what is so concerning,” Ruth A. Bourquin, the senior and managing attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts, told The Berkshire Eagle. “Police going into schools and searching for books is the sort of thing you hear about in communist China and Russia. What are we doing?”

Justin Silverman, the executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, was worried that this won’t be the last time the police are asked to get involved in school literature. “While it might be rare now, it doesn’t mean that it will be rare in the future,” he said.

More than 100 students and teachers in the state organized a walkout last Friday to protest the police involvement in the incident. Some students said they suspected the larger issue was the LGBTQ themes in the book, not the sexual images.

Gender Queer is generally recommended for ages 14 and up, but it really depends on the maturity level of each individual reader. The teacher who had it in her classroom has remained anonymous, but she did initially write about the investigation on social media.

She noted that she has many years of experience as an English teacher. “How on earth is a cop more qualified to decide what books are OK to be in an educational setting for teens?” she wrote.

The Du Bois school librarian, Jennifer Guerin, pointed out that the point of having such a book around is “not about forcing a book into students’ hands” but making sure that such a resource is accessible.

“It’s about the freedom to read,” she said. “It’s about providing voluntary access to a well-written, highly acclaimed resource in a safe place for a teenager who might want or need it.”

Broke Giuliani Files for Bankruptcy, Lists Every Person He Owes Money To

Rudy Giuliani has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, days after being hit with a $148 million judgment in a defamation lawsuit.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, faced with insurmountable debt after he was found liable for defaming two Georgia state election workers.

The bankruptcy filing shows that Giuliani owes as much as $500 million in debt but has only up to $10 million in assets. The documents also include a list of people that Giuliani owes money.

The man once affectionately known as “America’s mayor” owes money to multiple law firms for unpaid legal fees. Several of Giuliani’s former lawyers, including his longtime attorney Robert Costello, have sued Giuliani for failing to pay their legal fees.

Giuliani also owes money to an accounting firm after he failed to pay them for helping in his most recent divorce. Giuliani’s ex-wife says he owes her more than $260,000 for her country club memberships, condominium fees, and health care as part of their divorce settlement, but she is not mentioned in the bankruptcy filing.

Electronic voting machine companies Smartmatic and Dominion are listed, though. Giuliani helped spread lies in the wake of the 2020 elections that the companies’ voting machines were used to rig the election results.

What’s more, Giuliani owes money to Dominion employee Eric Coomer. A right-wing conspiracy claims that Coomer participated in an “antifa conference call” ahead of the 2020 election, during which he said he “made f-----g sure” that Donald Trump wouldn’t win.

Giuliani owes money to Daniel Gill, a man who was charged with assault after he approached Giuliani last year in a Staten Island grocery store, slapped him on the back, and said, “What’s up scumbag?” The charges against Gill were ultimately dropped, and he then sued Giuliani for pressing baseless charges against him.

Another of Giuliani’s listed creditors is Noelle Dunphy, one of his former associates. Dunphy sued Giuliani in May, accusing him of promising to pay her a $1 million annual salary but instead sexually harassing and abusing her over two years.

Giuliani owes money to Hunter Biden, too. Although the filing only says it is for a “lawsuit” and does not provide further details, Biden sued Giuliani in September for allegedly trying to hack his laptop.

And of course, Giuliani owes money to Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, the two election workers. Giuliani was found liable in August for defaming the women, after he accused the pair of manipulating ballots in Georgia during the 2020 election. The women have been subjected to months of harassment and death threats.

A judge ordered Giuliani on Friday to pay Freeman and Moss $148 million in damages. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and prompted Giuliani to file for bankruptcy. But he has been struggling for cash for a while now.

Giuliani listed his Manhattan apartment for sale in July and began representing himself in court to save on legal fees. In August, after he was indicted in Georgia, Giuliani asked his social media followers to donate to his defense fund.

He also flew to Mar-a-Lago to beg Trump to pay him for working as Trump’s personal attorney. That didn’t work, but Trump did agree to host a fundraiser dinner for Giuliani. Entry cost $100,000 a plate.

California Lieutenant Governor Calls for Trump to Be Kicked Off Ballot

A top official in California is calling for Donald Trump’s removal from the ballot, citing the Colorado Supreme Court’s recent decision.

Donald Trump
Scott Olson/Getty Images

A Colorado court’s decision to remove Donald Trump from the 2024 Republican primary ballot may have unfurling implications across the nation.

On Thursday, California’s Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis called on the secretary of state to “explore every legal option to remove former President Donald Trump from California’s 2024 presidential primary ballot,” leveraging the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision as a precedent.

“This decision is about honoring the rule of law in our country and protecting the fundamental pillars of our democracy,” Kounalakis wrote in the letter. “California must stand on the right side of history. California is obligated to determine if Trump is ineligible for the California ballot.”

“There will be the inevitable political punditry about a decision to remove Trump from the ballot, but it is not a matter of political gamesmanship. This is a dire matter that puts at stake the sanctity of our constitution and our democracy,” she concluded.

Kounalakis’s call will likely incense some of the state’s voters, more than 34 percent of whom supported Trump in the last presidential election. Still, California could soon become a part of a growing movement of states that have formally tried to kick Trump’s name out of their voting booths, including Arizona, Rhode Island, Michigan, Maine, and Minnesota. The GOP front-runner’s hold at the top of the primary ballot is also facing legal challenges in more than a dozen states, including Alaska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Vermont, and Virginia.

The Colorado court’s 3–4 ruling dually determined that Trump participated in insurrection on January 6, 2021, and that his bid for the Oval Office violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, which bans insurrectionists from holding public office.

And while Colorado’s decision is the first of its kind, its challenge is also likely to be appealed up to the overwhelmingly conservative U.S. Supreme Court, stacked with three Trump-appointed judges. That will pin the nation’s highest court as an even more integral component of the 2024 presidential election than it had already primed itself for following the decision to hear several high-profile reproductive rights cases.

Republicans, meanwhile, have balked at the nation’s turn on their favorite, ironically slamming state’s decisions to decide for themselves what they consider to be constitutional despite their traditional, states-rights party philosophy.

More on Colorado’s decision:

Marjorie Taylor Greene Calls for National Divorce, Then Accuses Biden of Treason

The Republican lawmaker isn’t interested in just impeaching Biden anymore.

Marjorie Taylor Greene
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Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene accused President Joe Biden of treason, just hours after appearing to commit sedition herself.

Greene first raised the allegation during a Tuesday podcast interview, when she said Republicans should expand their Biden impeachment efforts to include undocumented immigration.

I’m starting to think impeachment is not enough. I think these people should be held accountable for treason over what is happening at our southern border,” Greene said.

Treason is defined as “the betrayal of one’s own country by attempting to overthrow the government through waging war against the state or materially aiding its enemies.” Allowing migrants over the border doesn’t really seem to qualify.

Nonetheless, Greene doubled down on her treason accusation Wednesday, writing on X (formerly Twitter), “Joe Biden is guilty of treason and the Democrat Party has opened a door they should have NEVER opened.”

“They should be forced to live by their own rules,” she wrote.

Except the leg she’s standing on was weakened somewhat by the fact that, just six hours earlier, Greene had called for a “national divorce” on X.

This isn’t the first time Greene has called for a national divorce. She first spewed the far-right rhetoric in February, saying the United States needs to “separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government.”

Just a few days later, she went even further. During an interview on Fox News, Greene claimed America was heading toward a civil war.

Guess Who Hasn’t Said a Single Word on Colorado’s Trump Ballot Decision?

Top Senate Republicans don’t seem all that outraged by Colorado’s decision to kick Donald Trump off the 2024 ballot.

Mitch McConnell stands behind Donald Trump, who speaks at a lecturn
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A pair of Republican leaders have stayed noticeably mum on the Colorado Supreme Court’s Tuesday decision to keep Donald Trump off the 2024 election ballot.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator John Thune—the number two Republican in the upper chamber—haven’t made a peep about the state judiciary’s historic decision that would effectively prevent the GOP front-runner from winning a single Colorado vote, on the basis that Trump violated the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment when he spawned an insurrection on January 6, 2021.

The pair’s silence suggests that the Republican anti-Trumpers foresee a better Republican Party without the wannabe despot, who is currently leading the GOP primaries by more than 50 points above his runner-up, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, according to aggregated polling data by FiveThirtyEight.

When the Senate voted to acquit Trump of his impeachment charges, McConnell only agreed to do so on a technicality, arguing that Trump had already left office by the time they were arguing its merits in the Senate in February 2021.

“There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day,” McConnell said at the time.

Thune, meanwhile, has argued that when Trump wins, Republicans lose.

But others have taken note of the pair’s recent silence—including Trump’s family.

“Mitch McConnell, John Thune and John Cornyn remain silent. Of the 4 most senior members of Senate Republican leadership, Barrasso is the only one with the courage to weigh in against what the radical left is trying to do to my father,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote on X, referring to the Senate GOP conference chairman.

The Colorado court’s decision is the first in U.S. history to keep a candidate, let alone a presidential one, off the ballot. Its ruling has now put immense pressure on the federal Supreme Court, which, after taking on several high-profile abortion cases, has already primed itself to play a pivotal role in the 2024 election cycle.

Despite that, the Colorado ruling could also prove majorly influential to courts and election officials considering similar measures in other states, potentially narrowing the ability for Trump to win a majority in the first place.

Laura Ingraham Pushes Wild New Conspiracy on Colorado Trump Ballot Ruling

The Fox News host is so mad about all of Donald Trump’s legal issues she has a new theory about what’s really going on.

Laura Ingraham speaks at a podium
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Fox News host Laura Ingraham has started a wild new conspiracy about why Donald Trump is facing so many legal trials.

In a Wednesday night segment, Ingraham addressed Trump’s disqualification from the Colorado state presidential ballot, his multiple trials for fraud and trying to overturn the 2020 election, and his recent comments paraphrasing Adolf Hitler.

“Given what we are seeing in the courts, at the DOJ, and even in state AG offices, and given Democrats’ ‘Trump is Hitler’ rhetoric—is it not logical, at least to consider, maybe even to assume, that some on the left are hoping to spark some type of civil unrest here?” Ingraham said.

“Which would be followed, of course, by a mass crackdown on civil liberties, or the declaration of maybe a nationwide emergency? All as a way—a protectual way—to usher in, I don’t know, nationwide mail-in voting?”

Ingraham is the latest Trump backer to insist there is some sort of deep state conspiracy against him. In reality, Trump has promised to be a “dictator” on the first day of his presidency if he is reelected. How is that not a “mass crackdown on civil liberties”?

Ingraham’s comments sound a lot like her former colleague Tucker Carlson, who—despite admitting privately that he hates Trump “passionately”—never missed a chance to gin up fear on Trump’s behalf.

What’s more, Carlson, Trump, and many others in the former president’s inner circle regularly tried to spark civil unrest as a way of achieving their goals.

Trump Asks Supreme Court Not to Consider That Thing He Said, Please

The former president has an argument, and he would like the justices not to rule on it.

Trump speaks at a podium.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a campaign rally in Nevada on December 17

Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to reject special counsel Jack Smith’s request for the justices to decide whether the former president is immune to prosecution for trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that he is immune to criminal proceedings because he was president at the time of his alleged crimes. Smith, who is investigating Trump for both trying to overturn the election and mishandling classified documents, filed an accelerated motion asking the Supreme Court directly to weigh in, jumping over a lower appeals court.

Trump’s legal team had until Wednesday to respond, and when they did, it was to beg the high court to stay out of it. His lawyers argued that Smith wanted the justices to “rush to decide the issues with reckless abandon.”

In reality, if the Supreme Court waits to rule until after a lower appeals court issues a decision, then the whole process could delay Trump’s trial. This is presumably what Trump and his lawyers want, since the trial is currently set to begin on March 4, the day before Super Tuesday. If the Supreme Court instead takes the case and rejects Trump’s argument, the trial will likely proceed on schedule.

Smith indicted Trump in August for the former president’s role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection and other attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Trump faces one count each of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and has insisted the case should be dismissed altogether. He argues that former presidents can’t be criminally charged for actions related to their official responsibilities. He did not explain how overturning an election was related to official presidential duties.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the trial, rejected Trump’s immunity claim. Trump appealed her decision to a Washington federal appellate court, while Smith asked the Supreme Court to weigh in.

The Supreme Court justices, who will have to decide this matter one way or another, have given no indication of how they will rule. Trump appointed three members of the conservative-leaning bench, but the majority of the justices are also sticklers for the Constitution.

Kellyanne Conway Exposes Democrats’ (Daily) Agenda

Get up, have coffee, drive your Prius to the culture wars!

Kellyanne Conway sits at a pundits' table.
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Kellyanne Conway on Fox News on election night, 2022

Kellyanne Conway explained the Democratic agenda on Wednesday—no, not the party’s policy platform, but the way individual Democrats spend each day.

Conway appeared on Fox News to criticize the historic Colorado Supreme Court decision disqualifying her former boss Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 presidential ballot. During her segment, Conway turned her ire to Democrats in general.

“I just think that Democrats wake up every morning … and they look at the calendar on the iPhone, and it says January 6, 2021. The date never changes,” she said as the hosts laughed.

“And then they get into an electric vehicle and go get an abortion.”

Conway was obviously trying to mock Democrats. But it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing for people to be able to drive a vehicle of their choice and go get a health care procedure without any issues.

What’s more, people probably should think regularly about January 6. The attack on the Capitol was and continues to be incredibly dangerous for democracy.

Some Democratic lawmakers couldn’t resist poking a little fun back.

Texas Lt. Gov. Makes a Wild Threat Against Biden

We get it: He’s angry about the Colorado court ruling. But this is just ridiculous.

Lieutenant Governor of Texas Dan Patrick
Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick at a “Save America” rally in 2022

Texas’s lieutenant governor has threatened to take President Biden off his state’s ballot in retribution for the Colorado Supreme Court ruling disqualifying Donald Trump from that state’s 2024 ballot.

In a historic decision, the Colorado justices ruled 4–3 late Tuesday that Trump had engaged in the January 6 insurrection and was therefore disqualified from running for office again. A few hours later, Lone Star State official Dan Patrick fired back.

“Seeing what happened in Colorado tonight, Laura, makes me think—except we believe in democracy in Texas—maybe we should take Joe Biden off the ballot in Texas for allowing eight million people to cross the border since he’s been president, disrupting our state,” Patrick told Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

Threatening to take someone off the ballot just because you disagree with them makes it kind of hard to believe you “believe in democracy.”

Biden has infuriated immigration advocates for continuing many of Trump’s draconian policies, but Patrick apparently prefers even harsher measures. Just this week, Texas passed a law that gives local judges the authority to deport undocumented immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Stephen Miller Uses Textbook Definition of Immigration to Call for “Massive” Deportations

Trump’s white-nationalist sidekick wants to kick out millions of people simply because they’re “coming in from different cultures.”

Stephen Miller
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Stephen Miller leaves the U.S. District Courthouse on April 11 after a grand jury interview about Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Stephen Miller claimed Wednesday that the United States is being overrun by immigrants and can only be saved by “massive” deportations.

The white nationalist and former Trump White House adviser was backing up chilling comments from his old boss, who over the weekend echoed Adolf Hitler by accusing immigrants of “poisoning the blood of our country.”

“We are being conquered,” Miller said to Fox News’s Jesse Watters. “This is a complete resettlement of America in real time. It took hundreds of years, going back long even before our founding, going back all the way to the earliest days of the colonies in America to slowly build everything that we have.

“And now we have millions of people coming in from different cultures and different ways of living and different belief systems. They’re going to take those belief systems with them to America,” he continued. “So, a generation from now, I am telling you Jesse, people will not know the country that they are living in. These consequences are permanent. Unless there’s massive large-scale deportations by the millions, it will be irrevocable.”

Stripped of the incendiary rhetoric, this is really just a definition of how immigration works: People move to another country, bringing the culture of their homeland. In fact, Miller implicitly acknowledges that America was colonized by white people who emigrated from England—with “belief systems” that were, needless to say, different from those of the people already living in North America.

Of course, countless millions of others have since come to America “from different cultures and different ways of living and different belief systems,” but Miller isn’t one to let a few basic historical facts get in the way of his narrative. He’s simply opposed to the nonwhite people immigrating to America today.

Miller is reportedly on the short list for attorney general if Trump is elected in 2024. If Miller returns to power, he could help implement those “massive large-scale deportations” he called for. He was already the mastermind behind some of Trump’s worst immigration policies, including separating families at the southern border and banning Muslims from entering the country.

And Trump is likely to go along with Miller’s suggestions. The former president appears to be making the Hitler parallels a major part of his 2024 campaign persona.

Miller also claimed Wednesday that the Colorado Supreme Court banning Trump from the state presidential ballot was part of the “great replacement theory,” the far-right theory that white people are being replaced by nonwhite immigrants. This conspiracy theory is growing increasingly popular among Republicans.

“You see a two-front attack on democracy,” he said. “They are saying to American citizens, ‘You can’t vote. You don’t have a voice. You can’t be heard.’ And they’re also saying, ‘We’re bringing in new people that we think will agree with us and support us, and their families will vote for us, and they are going to be the new base of power in this country.’”

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