Conservatives -- some of them carrying signs promoting right-wing militia groups -- quickly derailed a Kentucky school board meeting with complaints about anti-racism lessons.
A Jefferson County school board meeting descended into shouting matches and unruliness, just as dozens of similarly chaotic scenes have played out in recent weeks over so-called "critical race theory" lessons in the classroom, reported the Courier Journal.
"Kids aren't born racist," read several protesters' signs.
"Critical race theory and Project 1619 are just fads du jour," read one woman's unintentionally ironic sign outside. "Stop ramming lies down our throat."
The academic theory, which seeks to untangle historic racism embedded in the nation's laws and institutions, is rarely taught below the college level, although some parents believe the district's now-shelved proposal for a Black studies elective course is the same thing Fox News has been hyping for months.
"I think what we saw this evening is the outgrowth of pervasive misinformation," board member Corrie Shull told reporters after the meeting broke up, saying that some parents see equity "as a threat to their existence, as a threat to their flourishing."
Shull asked the district's chief data officer to define equity at the start of the meeting, and protesters began shouting, "All kids matter!
Board chairwoman Diane Porter attempted to regain control of the meeting but was shouted down, causing her to call a five-minute recess less than 30 minutes into the session.
"I do not want to hear your comments," Porter told the shouting protesters.
About 20 protesters stormed out of the meeting muttering about "white kids."
"Enough is enough," one demonstrator said.
The rest of the meeting continued without incident, while protesters carrying various signs, some alluding to the anti-government "3 Percent" militia whose members took part in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and others protesting against coronavirus vaccines.
Extremist groups have long used social upheaval -- including, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election and nationwide protests over racist police violence -- as recruitment tools, and the conservative movement has for decades pushed moral panics about education for the same reason.
"We don't see color of skin," said one demonstrator, who insisted she was not racist before asking a Black reporter unprompted whether he believed he deserved reparations.
Another white woman took to the microphone to tell her fellow protesters she'd traveled to Africa four times, which she said was probably more than most Black Americans.
"I am amazed by the Africans," she said.
Judge releases Capitol rioter to go on vacation after she makes ‘divine special appearance’ in court
U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui released an accused insurrectionist to go on vacation after she spent and night in jail and then verbally agreed to the court's conditions.
The news of Pauline Bauer's release was first reported by Matthew Russell Lee on Inner City Press.
According to the report, Faruqui ordered Bauer to be held in jail after finding her in contempt of court on June 21.
A court document filed on Tuesday recounted Bauer's Monday appearance before Faruqui. The document noted that Bauer claimed that she was making a "divine special appearance" before the court.
At the hearing on June 21, 2021, Ms. Bauer stated that she was making a “divine special appearance" as a “free living soul" and “a woman."2 Ms. Bauer also cited several passages from religious scripture as the basis for her statements. Ms. Bauer also sought to read a document into the record. The Court accepted the document, indicating that it would enter it into the record but rejected Ms. Bauer's request that she be allowed to read the 37- page document during the hearing. Upon information and belief, that document sets out various references to God, citations to Bible passages, and Constitutional Amendments as the basis for Ms. Bauer's statements to the Court.
After spending a night in jail, Bauer again appeared before Faruqui on Tuesday. The judge ruled that Bauer could be released on personal recognizance after she verbally agreed to the court's conditions, which included turning firearms over to her sister.
Faruqui also said that Bauer would be allowed to drive to Mount Rushmore on July 4 for a family vacation.
The FBI has said that Bauer called for the hanging of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Read some of the reports and responses to Faruqui's ruling below.
Judge Faruqui: The conditions would be to turn in your firearms, until your court case is over. You have 2d Amendment rights. If you will say you will comply, I will release you.
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) June 22, 2021
Pauline Bauer: I am one of God's creations...
Judge Faruqui: You cannot travel outside the country without permission. Do you frequently travel outside of the Western District of Pennsylvania?
Pauline Bauer: Yes, sir.
Judge Faruqui: So, the state of Pennsylvania
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) June 22, 2021
Judge Faruqui: Can you give your firearm to, say, your sister? While it's pending. It may not be long. Could you promise me? More than one?
Pauline Bauer: I have no firearms in my business at the moment.
Judge Faruqui: If one if found later, you'll be back here.
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) June 22, 2021
Judge Faruqui is reallllly going out of his way to help self-avowed sovereign citizen Pauline Bauer sign her conditions of release.
She's repping herself and he's now joined her in a virtual "break out" room off-air to assist her w/an interview with pretrial services.
— Alan Feuer (@alanfeuer) June 22, 2021
Update: In DC January 6 Case Pauline Bauer Is Now Ordered Released, After 1 Night, So Will Drive to Mt Rushmore July 4 after appearing before DDC District Judge McFadden June 28 - Inner City Press story: https://t.co/9kV5PGiYge @SubstackInc https://t.co/SgFnY4Cr00
— Matthew Russell Lee (@MatthewLeeICP) June 22, 2021
What a farce. Judge Faruqui accomplished nothing.
So this sovereign citizen agreed, in the moment, to abide by conditions of release? Who thinks she'll ACTUALLY abide by them?
She thinks she's above the law. Particularly with regard to her guns, she poses a danger to us all.
— 🌲Jay E Crawford🌲 (@JayECrawford) June 22, 2021
FWIW, a lot of people are complaining about the deference that Magistrate Judge Faruqui showed to Pauline Bauer, who invoked sovereign citizen rights. But remember--he has to treat her as innocent and has to respect both her right to counsel and her right to defend herself. https://t.co/q6xkJvA51g
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) June 22, 2021
Whistleblowers say Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is distorting testimony to get their lawsuit dismissed
A group of former top aides to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton reiterated in a court filing this week that they believe Paxton committed crimes while in office, and suggested that Paxton is intentionally mischaracterizing witness testimony in their whistleblower case against him for political reasons.
The aides are taking issue with a brief and a press release issued on June 2 where Paxton's lawyers asked the 3rd Court of Appeals to throw out the case four aides filed against the state's top lawyer in which they allege he fired them for reporting his alleged illegal behavior to federal and state authorities. Paxton, who has denied the charges, said he fired aides last year because they had gone "rogue" and made "unsubstantiated claims" against him.
Paxton's lawyer said in June that in a trial court hearing on March 1, former First Assistant Attorney General Jeff Mateer would not say he specifically saw Paxton commit a crime, but only that he had "potential concerns" about Paxton's dealings with real estate developer Nate Paul. Paul is a political donor and friend of Paxton who the whistleblowers allege Paxton helped with his legal issues in exchange for personal favors.
Paxton's lawyers argued that the appeals court should overturn a trial court decision denying the Office of the Attorney General's plea to dismiss because the court doesn't have the jurisdiction to hear the case.
But in a new brief filed on Monday by the whistleblowers' lawyers, they argue Paxton's lawyers took the exchange they cited out of context to argue Mateer never saw Paxton commit a crime. They said Mateer's comment was in response to a specific question about whether any employees raised concerns about Paxton's behavior in June 2020, three months before former employees reported Paxton's behavior to law enforcement.
"This claim distorts Mateer's testimony," the brief states. "In fact, Mateer testified unequivocally that he believed at the time of Appellees' FBI report—and still believes today—that Paxton committed crimes, including abuse of office and bribery." They also point out that Mateer signed a letter on Oct. 1, 2020 that alerted the attorney general's office that the whistleblowers had reported Paxton's behavior to the FBI, further proving Mateer believed Paxton had violated the law.
Mateer, who is not a plaintiff in the case, did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Paxton's lawyer.
The whistleblowers' attorneys say the AG's office did not accurately explain to the appeals court that Mateer's potential concerns were specifically in response to a question about Paxton and Paul's relationship in June 2020.
"OAG took even greater license in its [June] press release, predicting victory because its brief shows that Mateer "swore under oath that Paxton committed no actual crimes," the lawyers wrote in a footnote in the brief. "Given the … OAG's mischaracterization of what Mateer 'swore under oath,' perhaps this portion of OAG's brief was written for an audience other than the justices of this Court."
A lawyer in the case told The Texas Tribune they believed the press release was written for Paxton's supporters and Texas voters, rather than to make a legal argument.
Paxton issued the press release hours before Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced he is running against Paxton for attorney general in the 2022 Republican primary. Since then, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman has also announced her candidacy for the position.
Paxton will likely face sharp criticism for this lawsuit during the primary campaign, as well as the six-year-old felony fraud case in which prosecutors claim Paxton persuaded investors to buy stock in a technology firm without disclosing he would be compensated for it while he was in the Texas House of Representatives.
The lawyers asked the 3rd Court of Appeals to consider this appeal without hearing oral arguments. If the court decides to hear arguments, the aides requested it happen as quickly as possible.
The four former aides also laid out in detail in the filing the specific instances where they believe Paxton broke the law.
In February, they alleged in a court filing that Paul helped Paxton remodel his house and gave a job to a woman with whom Paxton allegedly had an affair. In return, the aides allege, Paxton used his office to help Paul's business interests, investigate Paul's adversaries and help settle a lawsuit. The filing in February was the most detailed explanation as to what the former aides believe Paxton's motivations were in what they describe as a "bizarre, obsessive use of power."
They also alleged Paxton improperly intervened in multiple open records requests to help Paul gain access to government documents after his company had been raided by the FBI.
"Paxton personally spoke to Paul about the subject matter; told [whistleblower Ryan M.] Vassar that he did not want to assist the FBI or DPS; took personal possession for several days of files that OAG could not officially release to Paul; and specifically directed the release of the FBI's unredacted brief to Paul," the brief states.
The whistleblowers also allege Paxton used AG resources to help Paul in a lawsuit filed against him by an Austin charity and pressured staffers to issue a legal opinion that would help Paul, despite the fact the ruling was inconsistent with previous opinions. The whistleblowers say in the court filing that they reported their concerns to multiple authorities and "spent several hours with two FBI agents telling what they had observed, answering questions, and discussing reasonable inferences they could draw."
The brief also rejects Paxton's repeated argument that he cannot be sued under the Whistleblower Act because he is not a public employee.
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