Florida Goes Full McCarthy With Proposed Change to Kindergarten Curriculum

Florida Goes Full McCarthy With Proposed Change to Kindergarten Curriculum

In Florida, alongside lessons in reading, writing, and arithmetic, kindergarteners may also soon be required to learn about the “threat of communism in the United States.”

Republicans’ House Bill 1349 would require that public students in grades K-12 learn about the history of communism. Specifically, that includes the “increasing threat of communism in the United States and our allies through the 20th Century.” Under current state law, kids don’t receive lessons about communism until the seventh grade.

Should the bill pass, students as young as 5 could soon be forced to learn about “the history of domestic communist movements and their tactics within the United States, the philosophy and lineages of communist thought, including Marxism, [and] foreign communist movements of the 20th century, the atrocities committed by such movements, and the threat they posed to the United States and its allies.”

The bill would also create a “Communism Education Task Force,” with members appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis, to shape curriculum and standards for instruction on the history of communism.

This isn’t just some crazy proposal. After all, Republicans have a trifecta hold over the state’s government, with majorities in the state House and Senate as well as a Republican governor who, having lost a shot at the White House, now has renewed vigor in his personal crusade against all things woke.

A parallel bill, Senate Bill 1264, is moving forward in the Senate, increasing the chances that it could land on DeSantis’s desk before the end of the legislative session on March 8.

The House version is more extreme, however, also requiring kids to learn about the threats of “cultural Marxism.” Many Democrats pushed back on the inclusion, including Representative Susan Valdes.

“Cultural Marxism, isn’t that a very politically charged terminology that’s being used?” Valdes asked. “I don’t know, is it?” James Buchanan, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, replied.

If it passes, the curriculum change would take effect in the 2026–2027 school year.

As The Miami Herald noted in its coverage of the bill, starting this year, Florida high school students in U.S. government classes must receive at least 45 minutes of instruction on “Victims of Communism Day” before they can graduate.

Unfortunately More on Florida Republicans:

Legal analysts blasted special counsel Robert Hur’s report on President Joe Biden on Friday, deriding the Department of Justice investigation as a “partisan hit job.”

“Special Counsel Hur report on Biden classified documents issues contains way too many gratuitous remarks and is flatly inconsistent with long standing DOJ traditions,” former Attorney General Eric Holder said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Had this report been subject to a normal DOJ review these remarks would undoubtedly have been excised.”

Andew Weissman, former lead prosecutor in Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation, called the report “entirely inappropriate.”

“It is also exactly what you’re not supposed to do, which is putting your thumb on the scale that could have political repercussions,” said Weissman. “You either decide to go forward, that there is proof here, or you don’t say anything at all with respect to your opinions about the case.”

A top Biden campaign official described Hur’s report as a “Comey moment,” while former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer dubbed the report a “partisan hit job.”

And Vice President Kamala Harris offered her own aggressive defense of the president Friday, calling for the special counsel to have a “higher level of integrity” after the report accused the 81-year-old president of having a memory with “significant limitations.”

“What I saw in that report last night, I believe, is—as a former prosecutor—the comments that were made by that prosecutor [are] gratuitous, inaccurate, and inappropriate,” Harris told reporters on Friday.

“October 7, Israel experienced a horrific attack, and I will tell you we got the calls, the president and myself, in the hours after that occurred,” Harris continued. “It was an intense moment for the commander in chief of the United States of America, and I was in almost every meeting with the president in the hours and days that followed.”

“The president was in front of and on top of it all,” she added.

“So, the way that the president’s demeanor in that report was characterized, could not be more wrong on the facts, and [is] clearly politically motivated.”

The report, which claimed Biden struggled to remember basic details like what year his vice presidency under Obama ended and what year his son Beau died, during an interview just days after October 7, challenged the president on an already crumbling front. Polling indicates that three-quarters of Americans think that Biden is too old for a second term.

More on the Biden report:

Special Counsel Jack Smith on Thursday night warned that the judge in Donald Trump’s classified documents case has made a “clear error” that could put witnesses at risk.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, ruled that some unredacted discovery documents should be made available to Trump’s legal team. Those documents could expose sensitive information, including the names of potential witnesses.

It’s hardly surprising that Smith has spoken out about the ways in which Cannon’s decision could end very badly. In a court filing on Thursday, the special counsel urged the judge to reconsider.

“That discovery material, if publicly docketed in unredacted form as the Court has ordered, would disclose the identities of numerous potential witnesses, along with the substance of the statements they made to the FBI or the grand jury, exposing them to significant and immediate risks of threats, intimidation, and harassment, as has already happened to witnesses, law enforcement agents, judicial officers, and Department of Justice employees whose identities have been disclosed in cases in which defendant Trump is involved,” he wrote.

Smith also reminded Cannon of an Eleventh Circuit decision that goes against her recent decision.

“The Eleventh Circuit has held that the compelling-interest standard applied by the Court does not apply to ‘documents filed in connection with motions to compel discovery,’ which instead may be sealed or redacted simply upon a showing of ‘good cause,’” he wrote.

The Eleventh Circuit, coincidentally, is the same court that once struck down Cannon’s decision to grant Trump’s request to appoint a special master in the classified documents case.

It won’t be hard for Smith to demonstrate the “good cause” for not releasing those documents. Throughout his legal trials, Trump has made a habit out of harassing courtroom staff, plaintiffs, and witnesses.

The threats that Trump can bring to bear against his perceived enemies are so well documented that legal experts have raised the alarm about the safety of witnesses and jurors in his future trials—and jurists have acted on their advice. In the E. Jean Carroll trial that wrapped up last month, the jury was partially sequestered and fully anonymous. Jurors were warned not to share their names even with each other, using numbers instead. Judge Lewis Kaplan took those steps precisely because he was worried about Trump’s behavior.

Moments after the jury delivered its massive $83.3 million verdict against Trump, Kaplan gave them an ominous warning: “My advice to you is that you never disclose that you were on this jury.”

Trump is facing 40 counts for keeping classified documents long after he left the White House. His aide, Walt Nauta, and a Mar-a-Lago employee, Carlos De Oliveira, are also facing charges.

New York Representative Elise Stefanik is ready and willing to put Donald Trump before country and state.

On Thursday, the MAGA lawmaker all but admitted she would definitely have done a coup and not certified the 2020 presidential election results on January 6 if she were in former Vice President Mike Pence’s shoes.

“Had you been vice president on January 6, 2021, what would you have done?” asked CNN’s Kaitlin Collins.

“I would not have done what Mike Pence did, I don’t think that was the right approach. I specifically stand by what I said on the House floor, and I stand by my statement, which was that there was unconstitutional overreach, there was unconstitutional overreach in states like Pennsylvania,” Stefanik responded.

“I think it’s very important that we continue to stand up for the Constitution and have legal and secure elections, which we did not have in 2020, and tens of millions of Americans agree with me, Katy,” she added.

Collins: Had you been vice president on January 6th, 2021, what would you have done?

Stefenik: I would not have done what Mike Pence did. pic.twitter.com/jvba5Hfa04

— Acyn (@Acyn) February 9, 2024

Stefanik is seen as a leading contender for Trump’s vice presidential pick, and it’s clear this interview was meant for his eyes.

Her throwaway line of claiming to stand for the protection of the U.S. Constitution directly contradicts Pence’s own defense of his decision to certify the votes, effectively making Joe Biden the next president.

“By God’s grace, I did my duty that day,” he told the Des Moines Register in August. “I had no right to overturn the election. And the American people deserve to know that the president asked me to choose him over keeping my oath to the Constitution, but I chose the Constitution. And I always will.”

Somehow, it’s the second time this week that one of Trump’s top contenders in his veepstakes said they’d do a coup. On Sunday, Senator J.D. Vance gave a shockingly similar answer, effectively arguing for American autocracy rather than democracy.

“If I had been vice president, I would have told the states, like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and so many others, that we needed to have multiple slates of electors, and I think the U.S. Congress should have fought over it from there,” Vance said, referring to the fake pro-Trump electors that some states’ Republicans tried to send to Washington.

“That is the legitimate way to deal with an election that a lot of folks, including me, think had a lot of problems in 2020. I think that’s what we should have done.”

More on House Republicans:

Tucker Carlson lost complete control of his softball interview of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as pretty much everyone expected.

After spending roughly 30 minutes ranting about world history via Kremlin talking points, Putin suddenly flipped the script, mocking Carlson directly for applying—and failing—to join the CIA.

While on a tangent about how the ousting of former pro-Moscow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych during the Maidan revolution was really the CIA’s fault, Putin took a pause to troll the conservative talk show host.

“The organization you wanted to join back in the day as I understand. We should thank God they didn’t let you in. Although it is a serious organization I understand,” the former KGB agent said through a translator.

46 minutes into his history lesson, Putin stops to mock Tucker for applying to the CIA when he was younger and getting rejected. pic.twitter.com/oyoADwytpI

— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) February 9, 2024

Carlson attempted to join the intelligence agency after leaving Trinity College in Connecticut, but was rejected on the basis that “the real-life agency, unlike its fictional counterparts, prefers not to hire young men who are gabby and insubordinate,” according to a 2017 profile of Carlson by The New Yorker.

The whole setup was an embarrassing twist for the former Fox News anchor, who spent years sucking up to the de facto dictator, advocating against U.S. support for Ukraine, and calling for Americans to revisit their prejudices against Putin and the Russian government—even after Russian military officials were caught interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election—helping the commentator gain airtime in Russian state-run media outlets.

Carlson spent the better part of the much-hyped interview, which aired Thursday evening, sitting and listening while Putin ranted and raved, failing to press the indicted war criminal on any legitimate or worthwhile topics. Instead, the conversation sprawled across the concept of God, the Russian soul, and what Putin thought of U.S. President Joe Biden. It was the first time Putin had sat down for an interview with Western media since Russia launched its full scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Putin also mentioned that his country would be open to a prisoner exchange to release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained for almost a year on espionage charges for reporting on the nation.

Ahead of the interview’s release, White House officials attempted to dampen the messaging.

“Remember, you’re listening to Vladimir Putin. And you shouldn’t take at face value anything he has to say,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby.

Meanwhile, another American journalist, Alsu Kurmasheva, has been jailed in the country since October 18 for allegedly failing to register as a foreign agent, despite the fact that she also holds Russian citizenship.

But Putin—who effortlessly navigated the propaganda spot—clearly intended to use the segment as leverage over Americans and Russians. On Friday, Russian school students were spotted watching the interview in history classes.

The Department of Justice investigation on President Joe Biden’s classified documents scandal concluded Thursday with no charges for the commander in chief, but the subsequent report may pose bigger problems for his reelection campaign.

The 388-page report, which followed a year-long investigation by special counsel Robert Hur, effectively condemned the 81-year-old president as having a memory with “significant limitations,” noting that if Biden were to face trial he “would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Over the course of the report, Hur painted a picture of a man who could not remember with precision when his vice presidency under President Barack Obama began or when it ended. His memory “appeared hazy” when recalling his stance over the war in Afghanistan, and he mistook one of his former key allies, General Karl Eikenberry, for someone he had a “real difference” of opinion with. But political minutiae were not the only topics Biden had trouble recalling, apparently also failing to remember, “even within several years,” when his son Beau died.

“It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him—by then a former president well into his eighties—of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness,” the report noted.

A letter from Biden’s legal team, included in the report, simultaneously applauds the decision not to charge Biden while condemning the report as an inaccurate assessment of Biden’s mental clarity, citing the questionable timing of Hur’s interviews.

“We do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate. The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events,” the attorneys wrote.

“In fact there is ample evidence from your interview that the President did well in answering your questions about years-old events over the course of hours. This is especially true under the circumstances, which you do not mention in your report … that his interview began the day after the October 7 attacks on Israel,” they added.

In his own statement, the president reaffirmed that narrative, claiming his eagerness to satisfy the needs of the investigation came at the expense of multihour interviews in the wake of Hamas’s attack on Israel.

“I was so determined to give the Special Counsel what they needed that I went forward with five hours of in-person interviews over two days on October 8th and 9th of last year, even though Israel had just been attacked on October 7th and I was in the middle of handling an international crisis,” Biden said.

Hur, a Trump appointee, was chosen by Attorney General Merrick Garland to conduct the investigation in an effort to avoid any naysaying over presumed political bias.

And while it may be tempting to brush off the unsettling descriptions as a contrived effort to make the Democratic incumbent look bad, Biden has only continued to make critical, memory-related gaffes. At a campaign event on Wednesday, Biden twice confused German Chancellor Angela Merkel with her dead predecessor, former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. And just days before, Biden made a similar flub, also confusing French President Emmanuel Macron with his dead predecessor, former French President François Mitterrand.

Louisiana Senator John Kennedy resurrected the Red Scare on Thursday, reminding everyone that McCarthyism never really died—just fell into a bit of a coma.

Republican lawmakers spent the better part of a Senate Judiciary hearing grilling Biden judicial nominee Melissa Dubose, but few more than Kennedy, who outright demanded to know if she was “still a Marxist.”

“I am not, nor have ever been, a Marxist,” replied DuBose.

But Kennedy wasn’t satisfied with that, instead citing a 2000 interview she gave to the “feminist press” Women’s Studies Quarterly, in which she told the interviewer that shortly after graduating Providence College, she began working at Little Connie’s, a local coffee shop, where she said students from a private, progressive high school had her “in a Marxist phase.”

Here’s Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) repeatedly asking Biden judicial nominee Melissa Dubose, “Are you still a Marxist?”

Dubose tells Kennedy she’s never been a Marxist, prompting him to bring up a 2000 interview she gave to the “feminist press.” pic.twitter.com/FlXhYqOr0C

— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 8, 2024

“I had no idea that that interview was something that was going to be published,” DuBose said. “When I graduated from college, I immersed myself in a ton of political theory. I read Hobbes, I read Locke, I read Rousseau, I read Marx. I went through a phase where I was into Eastern religion—where I read the Tao Te Ching and The Analects of Confucius.”

“So I suspect, and I don’t know that the quote in the article, I don’t know if she was referring to what I was studying at the time, but as a political science major and as a theorist, and as someone who was considering teaching a course in political theory, I had immersed myself,” she continued.

But Kennedy persisted.

“You didn’t say ‘I’m in my Hobbesian phase,’” he continued. “You didn’t say ‘I’m in my Rousseau phase,’ you said, ‘I was in my Marxist phase.’”

Senator Dick Durbin, however, was nonplussed by the line of attack, brushing it off as a routine element of judiciary hearings.

“That is a frequent question,” the Judiciary Committee chair said to reporters after the hearing, according to Courthouse News Service. “If someone said something in college, or even high school, that mentioned Marx in any context—or even alluded to Marxism —they are bound to be questioned by this committee.”

A Michigan lawmaker posted an overtly racist image on Tuesday, using his office’s official account to elevate a white supremacist conspiracy theory on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The image, which depicts Black silhouettes covering much of the world, with white silhouettes straddling small portions of Canada, Northern Europe, and Australia, was captioned, “The great replacement!” referring to a white nationalist far-right conspiracy theory that baselessly purports that nonwhite people, especially from Arab countries, are demographically replacing white populations.

Right-wing pundit Jack Posobiec initially posted the image, but Michigan state Representative Josh Schriver quickly reshared it, adding an emoji of a chart in decline.

Michigan Rep Josh Schriver, who stated that the endgame around gender affirming care bans was to “ban this care for everyone,” just endorsed a great replacement image showing black people taking over the world. https://t.co/eNFw6zbxKw pic.twitter.com/WM12BIm1xj

— Erin Reed (@ErinInTheMorn) February 8, 2024

Groups within his district weren’t happy about the apparent endorsement.

An independent support group of the Detroit City Football Club declared that Schriver was “not welcome” at their clubs.

“Absolutely go fuck yourself, Josh,” posted the account for the Northern Guard Supporters. “Your wife plays for our club with players from all ethnic backgrounds in a high minority population city and you’re pushing white supremacist propaganda.”

“We want to be extremely clear on this: you are not welcome at Keyworth or in DCFC,” they added.

Schriver continued to make questionable posts into Wednesday, claiming that he doesn’t “believe God is a racist but He does love the races.”

The freshman lawmaker took office in 2022, winning Michigan’s 66th House district—which has voted red since 1993—by a margin of nearly 30 percent over Democratic candidate Emily Busch.

Two different chapters of Moms for Liberty faced stinging losses this week in two strongholds, the latest events in the once powerful organization’s steady decline.

Moms for Liberty experienced a meteoric rise at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, as local chapters sprang up to push back against coronavirus restrictions in schools. The organization soon expanded to pushing book bans and opposing discussion of LGBTQ issues and race and diversity in classrooms, prompting the Southern Poverty Law Center to categorize Moms for Liberty as an extremist hate group.

But on Tuesday, the local chapter in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, shut down due to lack of interest. The chapter had 200 members when it first formed in 2021, but just three showed up at a diner in Allentown to vote to dissolve the group, The Daily Beast reported.

Members had begun drifting away after Covid-19 mandates were lifted nationwide, but the biggest blow came in November when the chapter’s preferred candidate in a school district board election lost badly. Attendance at chapter events nose-dived, with just 20 people showing up to the holiday party.

I guess there wasn’t as much willingness to do the work that’s required to propel the movement forward,” the chapter founder, Janine Vicalvi, told the Beast in a story published Wednesday.

Participation also appears to be flagging for a key Moms for Liberty chapter in Florida. The Brevard County chapter was the national organization’s first chapter. A local group was already in action against Covid-19 regulations in schools when Tina Descovich, Tiffany Justice, and Bridget Ziegler founded Moms for Liberty in Florida. Descovich approached the Brevard County group about merging with Moms for Liberty, and the local group agreed.

But on Wednesday, the Brevard County school board held a meeting, in part to discuss a challenge to the books The Kite Runner and Slaughterhouse-Five. Only one Moms for Liberty member showed up.

All the other attendees spoke in favor of keeping the books on the shelves—and heavily criticized the parental rights organization. One attendee compared “the growth of the Taliban and its repressive autocracy in the name of religious nationalism” in The Kite Runner to “the rise of parental rights groups that want to limit what students learn.”

The Moms for Liberty member did not speak and eventually snuck out of the room. The books were not banned.

The national Moms for Liberty organization still holds a lot of influence among politicians, with many Republican primary candidates speaking at the group’s annual summit last year. But Moms for Liberty has started to see its power wane in the past year, as the group was rocked by a sexual assault scandal.

Moms for Liberty endorsed 130 candidates for school boards nationwide during the 2023 elections. The vast majority of them lost. Meanwhile, Ziegler was ousted from the organization after she and her husband admitted they had had a consensual sexual relationship with another woman.

That woman accused Ziegler’s husband, Christian Ziegler, of assaulting her on a separate occasion. Christian Ziegler was voted out as Florida Republican Party chairman in January over the allegations.

Steps away from where a Donald Trump–backed mob attempted to thwart the 2020 presidential election results, in Washington, D.C., fans of the former president set up chairs and stood by in anticipation of a U.S. Supreme Court hearing that would decide whether Colorado could ban Trump from appearing on the state’s presidential primary ticket.

Crowds grew from a couple dozen people to more than 100 overnight, with protesters braving frigid temperatures in order to show up, even though Trump himself was not expected to make an appearance.

Some mega pro-Trump fans drove from hundreds of miles away in order to attend, like Aranda Maher and her husband, who “left their children with grandparents and drove about 350 miles to Washington,” reported The New York Times.

“It was kind of spur of the moment,” Maher, 24, told the outlet, dressed in Ugg boots and pajamas.

Others made the trek more deliberately.

“My hope is that the Supreme Court has the courage to read the Constitution as it’s written, and not torture the text in defense of Trump,” Richard Zipper, a retired software engineer from Crofton, Maryland, told Politico.

People are already lining up outside the Supreme Court a day before arguments in the Trump ballot case.

The first two people in line, a pair of Trump supporters, have been waiting since 4 pm on Tuesday – meaning they’ll have waited for 42 hours by the time the arguments begin. pic.twitter.com/7JEIGQmMAm

— Bloomberg Law (@BLaw) February 7, 2024

Historic day at the Supreme Court in Washington. This is the line of people who slept outside for the chance to be inside the high court for the oral arguments involving Mr. Trump’s eligibility to be on the ballot. Section 3 of the 14th amendment in the spotlight today. pic.twitter.com/U8tzWpRpOk

— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) February 8, 2024

Counterprotesters also made their mark outside the halls of the country’s highest judiciary, insisting that Trump be held accountable for his role in the January 6 riot.

“We’d like to see the Supreme Court uphold justice and read the law,” Jennifer Hobbs, a lawyer who drove down from New York, told Politico.

Trump, meanwhile, appeared optimistic about the proceedings, in an appearance outside his Florida estate.

“I thought the presentation today was a very good one. I think it was well received—I hope it was well received,” Trump told a gaggle of reporters outside Mar-a-Lago.

In December, Colorado’s Supreme Court issued a historic ruling removing Trump from the ballot on the basis that Trump had been involved in an “insurrection,” thereby violating the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.

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