Trump’s Ex-Education Chief of Staff Won’t Vote for Him, Implores ‘All Patriotic Republicans’ to Join Him

The former Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Education in President Donald Trump’s administration published an op-ed on Thursday saying that he won’t vote for the Republican president and implored “all patriotic Republicans to join” him.



a clock on the front of a crowd: President Donald Trump gives a campaign speech just four days before Election Day outside of Raymond James Stadium on October 29, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.


© Octavio Jones/Getty
President Donald Trump gives a campaign speech just four days before Election Day outside of Raymond James Stadium on October 29, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.

Josh Venable, who worked under Education Secretary Betsy Devos, published the op-ed in The Detroit News with a title that read, “As a Republican, I’m tired of Trump’s division, discord, vitriol and hate.”

“I am a lifelong Republican. And I am exhausted. Nearly all my career, I have worked for Republican candidates and conservative causes, managing campaigns, organizing coalitions and raising money,” Venable wrote. “I served as U.S. Department of Education chief of staff in the Trump administration. But this is 2020, so of course this year is different. I cannot vote for the Republican nominee for president. For the good of the party I have supported my entire life, but more importantly, for the sake of the country I love, I implore all patriotic Republicans to join me.”

Former Department Of Homeland Security Staffer, Miles Taylor Revealed He Is “Anonymous”

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Venable went on to state that he believed the presidency is more important than a number of things such as advancing an individual policy, political appointment and “more important than ‘winning’.”

Venable accused Trump of thriving on “purposely sowing strife and discord” and said he “does so at the expense of the nation’s interests, the health and prosperity of our fellow citizens, alliances forged through generations of sacrifice, and the personal safety of public servants.”

Venable also commented on the recent report of a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Trump’s subsequent response.

“Instead of a prompt and unequivocal denouncement, the president responded with a chuckle to his supporters’ ‘Lock her up’!’ chants in Muskegon, then decreed: ‘Lock them all up!’,” he wrote.

Venable served as DeVos’ Chief of Staff from the beginning of Trump’s presidency until he resigned in 2018, and has since been named an adviser to the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform, a group that was created by Miles Taylor, a former official for the Department of Homeland Security.

The group is made up of a number of former Trump administration officials and Republican lawmakers, that oppose Trump.

Newsweek reached out to the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform for comment.

Taylor’s name recently made headlines after he revealed on Wednesday that he was the author of an anonymous op-ed published in the New York Times in 2018, criticizing Trump.

In Venable’s op-ed, he adds that he is tired “of the division, discord, chaos, vitriol and hate.”

“I am tired of your failure and refusal to lead,” Venable wrote. “Our party can — and must — do better. America deserves nothing less from us.”

Venable’s op-ed comes less than

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India Has Good Reason to Give Up Its No-First-Strike Nuclear Doctrine. But the State of Its Arsenal Suggests That It Won’t.

In a statement to the Conference on Disarmament on Oct. 14, Indian Ambassador Pankaj Sharma reiterated that—even as tensions with neighboring China heat up—his country remains committed to its doctrine that it will not use its nuclear weapons against an adversary unless first attacked with them.

India’s adherence to a no-first-use principle is long-standing. Ever since 1998, when the country went nuclear, New Delhi has rejected the idea of initiating the use of such weapons in any conflict scenario. Nukes, in Indian strategy, are purely retaliatory. And that stance has made good military and diplomatic sense. The relatively small size of India’s arsenal ruled out a first strike anyway, and the country’s commitment to restraint, meanwhile, built its image as a responsible nuclear stakeholder and helped ease New Delhi’s accommodation in the international nuclear order.

But India’s steadfast rhetorical adherence to its no-first-use principle has been facing challenges on multiple fronts.

First, there is a growing consensus in the Western nonproliferation community that, in practice, New Delhi has already nearly relinquished the policy. In fact, experts believe that should India and Pakistan go to war, India would ready its nuclear force for preemptive strikes. And it has acquired the capability—nuclear arsenal, delivery systems, and ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) systems—to do so. Moreover, having already been granted recognition of its right to a nuclear program through the 2005 Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, New Delhi has less incentive for caution.

Second, China and India are embroiled in military scuffling in the Western Himalayas, where the Chinese army has sliced off significant chunks of Indian territory. Given the disparity between New Delhi’s conventional military power and Beijing’s, publicly adopting a first-use doctrine would communicate both power and resolve on India’s part. In other words, this would be an opportune time for India to align its stated policy with its apparent intentions.

Sharma’s message, though, amounts to a categorical rejection of both facts. The essential puzzle in India’s nuclear policy, therefore, boils down to the following: If Indian intentions and capability to initiate first use of nuclear weapons have indeed shifted, why is New Delhi hesitant about leveraging this shift where it may matter most—against China?

States do have an incentive to hide new military capabilities; the no-first-use doctrine may simply be a public lie to hide private intentions. However, backing away from the principle would also signal strength and perhaps make it less likely that India would need to use its new military capabilities to begin with.

Another explanation is that India doesn’t think it needs the added deterrence. So far, New Delhi has opted for a conventional buildup along the border with China. But that has put enormous strain on its underequipped and overstretched armed forces, as well as its underperforming economy. Diplomatically, too, building up conventional deterrence has been costly. Measures such as inviting Australia to joint naval exercises in Malabar and initiating official trade talks with Taiwan rattle Beijing, but not much more. Meanwhile, they entrap New Delhi into expensive

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University of Texas band won’t play its alma mater because it was once performed at minstrel shows

Members of the University of Texas Longhorn band are refusing to play the university’s alma mater because of the song’s history of being performed at racist minstrel shows.



a group of people in front of a large crowd of people: The University of Texas band won't be playing at this weekend's game.


© Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The University of Texas band won’t be playing at this weekend’s game.

Earlier this month, the band’s director asked its members to fill out an internal survey asking whether they would be willing to play “The Eyes of Texas” at a football game this Saturday.

“Based on (survey responses), we do not have the necessary instrumentation, so we will not participate in Saturday’s game,” director Scott Hanna said in a message obtained by The Daily Texan. Band members told the student publication that the survey asked whether they were willing to play the song, and that their answer would not affect their ability to remain in the band.

While the band will not perform the song live, a recording of the song will still air this weekend.

“The Eyes of Texas will be played this weekend as it has been throughout this season — and it will continue to be played at future games and events,” Jay Hartzell, the university’s president, wrote in a statement. “While we would love the band to be with our fans at all our games, we never planned for them to perform live this Saturday.”

Hartzell wrote that he is “truly optimistic” that the university will be able to “find ways” to celebrate a song that “has been so positive for so many Longhorns over the past 120 years.”

What’s the history behind this song?

It’s an understatement to say that the song’s history is closely connected to the school. The song has been played before and after every single one of the university’s sporting events since it was written in 1903.

The song’s title is inspired by Robert E. Lee, who along with being a Confederate general in the Civil War was the president of what is now called Washington and Lee University in Virginia.

“Lee, as president, used to say to his assembled faculty and students, ‘The eyes of the South are upon you,'” Edmund T. Gordon, an associate professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, told the Austin American-Statesman’s publication, Hook ‘Em. “When [William Lambdin] Prather became president of the University of Texas, he began saying at the end of his talks to students and faculty that ‘The eyes of Texas are upon you.'”

The song was reportedly first performed at the Hancock Opera House by blackface White singers at a minstrel show fundraiser for the university’s athletics department in the 1900s.

“The Eyes of Texas” is also set to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” which was originally known as “Levee Song,” which parodied black railroad and levee camp workers.

Why is all of this coming up now?

Recent Black Lives Matter protests, which have led to monuments with racist pasts being taken down, may have renewed interest in the history of “The Eyes of

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Half-measures Won’t Save Nature, Scientists Warn

Bending the curve of nature’s rapid decline will require attacking the problem aggressively along several fronts at once, leading scientists warned Thursday.

From preventing the extinction of lions and polar bears to halting the destruction of life-sustaining primary forests, only a multi-pronged plan can stitch together a “safety net” for the natural world, they argued in a peer-reviewed commentary in Science.

“It will not be enough to have, for example, an ambitious goal for reducing species extinctions if goals for ecosystems and genetic diversity are not sufficiently ambitious too,” co-author Piero Visconti, a researcher at the International Institute for Applied System Analysis said in a statement.

The nature rescue plan from 60 experts worldwide is offered as a blueprint ahead of a biodiversity summit next year in China.

So far, efforts to protect and restore nature on a global scale have failed spectacularly So far, efforts to protect and restore nature on a global scale have failed spectacularly Photo: dpa / Martin Schutt

Originally scheduled for this month, the “COP15” negotiation of nearly 200 nations under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity — postponed due to the pandemic — is tasked with setting new goals.

So far, efforts to protect and restore nature on a global scale have failed spectacularly.

The planet is on the cusp of a mass extinction event in which species are disappearing at 100 to 1,000 times the normal “background” rate, most scientists agree.

Last month the WWF's biennial Living Planet Index showed that wild populations of animals, birds, fish and plants have plummeted nearly 70 percent since 1970 Last month the WWF’s biennial Living Planet Index showed that wild populations of animals, birds, fish and plants have plummeted nearly 70 percent since 1970 Photo: AFP / ROMEO GACAD

The UN’s science advisory panel for biodiversity warned in a landmark report last year that one million species face extinction, due mostly to habitat loss and over-exploitation.

Human activity, it concluded, had “severely degraded” three-quarters of ice-free land on the planet.

A score of 2020 targets set by the same UN body a decade ago — including a slowdown in habitat and species loss — have all been badly missed, according to a UN assessment last month.

Indeed environmental decline continues across a wide range of measures.

In 2019, a football pitch of primary, old-growth trees was destroyed every six seconds — about 38,000 square kilometres (14,500 square miles) in all, roughly the same as in previous years, according to satellite data.

Last month the WWF’s biennial Living Planet Index showed that wild populations of animals, birds, fish and plants have plummeted nearly 70 percent since 1970.

“We are utterly failing to protect the diversity of life on Earth,” Johan Rockstrom, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and co-chair of the international Earth Commission, said at the time.

“We are failing to protect the resilience of our global commons. And we are failing to ensure a stable planet for future generations,” he said.

Next year’s biodiversity summit is widely seen by experts as a make-or-break moment for halting and reversing nature’s destruction.

“All the evidence lines up to tell us that 2030 is a crucial deadline and that we must succeed in defining ambitious

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The Big Ten’s return won’t make this college football season seem normal

It could be fun. Definitely, it will be bizarre.

This season, FBS doesn’t stand for Football Bowl Subdivision. It is the Football By Any Means Subdivision. Okay, that’s FBAMS, but do not get carried away with particulars. Technically, this is Week 8 of the college football schedule, but it’s Week 5 for the SEC and Week 1 for the B1G and something between training camp and Week 8 everywhere else.

ESPN aired a Heisman Trophy preview special Wednesday night because it is supposed to be midseason right now, but the novel coronavirus continues to distort time. Even though Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is five games and 15 touchdown passes into a spectacular candidacy, there is no true Heisman race when two of the Power Five conferences have yet to play.

There is no accurate Top 25 poll at this point, either, but that thing keeps getting updated. Put the cozy autumnal routine of college football into the enormous pile of traditions that the coronavirus has ruined. Some things we ditch easily, but fans cling to college football because of the passion it stirs and the deep sense of connection it inspires. It is a sport on emotional autopay; our investment in it is debited monthly, mindlessly. And so, despite the irregularity, we keep anticipating that the obsession will take over.

It won’t. The sport can’t be fixed this season. It will keep stopping and starting into November, and even when all the major programs have returned, the season will struggle to find a rhythm. With winter looming and the nation already amid another major spike of coronavirus cases, it is likely that college football’s cumulative disruption will be greater than what any sports league has endured. And the lack of uniformity and centralized leadership will continue to make it that much harder to navigate the uncertainty.

It’s remarkable that college football has gotten this far with every league doing its own thing. It speaks more to the public demand for the sport than clear and strong leadership. College football has powered through — stubbornly and morally pliable — because some parts of the country might riot otherwise, and every other league feels pressure to follow the leader. When there’s not one accepted way of doing things, everything turns into an arms race. Everything is about competitive balance, keeping pace, playing the game beyond the game.

“We’ve tried to do everything we could possibly do to have a fall season,” Warren said on Aug. 11.

Thirty-six days later, it turned out Warren and the conference’s leaders figured out there was more they could do. Or rather, the Big Ten folded to intense public pressure and found a way through testing and medical protocols to justify the risk of playing pandemic football. The conference had to be in the national championship conversation. It had to listen to the complaints of its most influential football members, including Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. It had to alter its interpretation — or deepen its

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University of Michigan stay-in-place order won’t impact Wolverines athletics

The Washtenaw County Health Department issued a stay-in-place order Tuesday for University of Michigan undergraduate students beginning immediately because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, but the order will not impact athletic activity at this time.

The Michigan football team travels to Minnesota for its season opener Saturday. Despite the stay-in-place order running until Nov. 3, the health department said that any students who are associated with intercollegiate varsity sports may attend practices and competitions.

The order says that athletic medical staff must be present during the entire process and that a staff member “actively supervises the team’s COVID-19 mitigation activities during the practice, has the authority to suspend the practice if he or she believes COVID-19 mitigation practices require that result, and testing is conducted per governing athletic organizations’ (i.e. Big 10) policies.”

As of Monday, Washtenaw County — where the University of Michigan is located — has had 4,229 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there have been more than 1,000 confirmed cases among students at the Ann Arbor campus since the start of the fall semester.

The health department said there is evidence that the increased cases have been driven by social gatherings on campus. Before students moved on to Michigan’s campus, the university accounted for 2% of the total Washtenaw County cases. At the time of the order, university-related cases were 61% of the county’s cases.

The Michigan athletic department updated its testing numbers Friday, reporting that 1,559 tests were conducted on student-athletes, coaches and staff from Oct. 10 to Oct. 16 with 11 positive test results.

The athletic department has conducted a total of 11,889 tests and has had 104 positive results. Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters Monday that there are currently no players who will be held out Saturday because of COVID-19 protocols.

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Unlike KU, University of Missouri won’t switch to online classes after Thanksgiving

University of Missouri officials are so pleased with how the Columbia campus is managing the coronavirus that Thursday they announced that they will drop a previous proposal and continue with in-person and hybrid classes after Thanksgiving break.

They had originally said it was possible that after the break students would not return to campus and would finish out the semester with all classes online, as the University of Kansas and Kansas State University are planning.

“We’ve been very pleased with how our students, faculty and staff have responded to the new campus requirements,” said Mun Choi, UM System president and MU chancellor. “We have demonstrated that we can have in-person classes at Mizzou and do so safely.”

University officials said holding students to a promise to abide by safety rules — wear masks, avoid large groups and wash hands frequently — is working to keep infections low.

University officials boast COVID-19 case numbers there are trending down.

“MU’s active case load is down 91.5% since Sept. 5, when it peaked at 683 active cases,” Christian Basi, university spokesman, said on Monday.

On Aug. 24, when Mizzou started classes, the university reported 159 cases. Since then MU has had 1,761 cases, 1,691 have recovered and no students have been hospitalized. As of Thursday the university was reporting 70 active cases among students. Monday the university reported six new cases, seven new cases on Tuesday and 24 new cases Wednesday.

But only students who exhibit symptoms are tested, so, some observers say, there is no way to know the true number of cases at MU.

Both KU and K-State announced in June that they would conclude all in-person classes before Thanksgiving and that finals and a study week would be held remotely after the holiday. Officials said they wanted to limit the amount of back-and-forth travel between campus and students’ home to avoid spreading the coronavirus further.

Choi said several factors contributed to the MU decision, including, “We have no evidence that the virus has been transmitted in the classroom.”

In addition, he said, “Many students, including those from low-income households or those who live in rural areas, could face significant challenges for online classes and final exams if they do not have access to broadband internet.”

He said many students rely on jobs on campus and in Columbia to fund their studies.

The university is encouraging students to stay on campus over the break and will provide meals and a celebration of the holiday.

“We wanted to announce this now in order to give students and families an opportunity to make appropriate plans,” Basi said.

But he warned that depending on how the virus progresses, plans could still change.

“As always, we will continue to monitor the pandemic and its impact on the county, and we will make any necessary changes as quickly as possible,” said Latha Ramchand, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

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Former University of Utah officer who showed off explicit photos of Lauren McCluskey won’t face charges

A former University of Utah police officer will not face criminal charges for showing off explicit photos of student-athlete Lauren McCluskey to his co-workers.



a car parked in a parking lot: (Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Police cars sit in the parking lot of the University of Utah police department.


© Francisco Kjolseth
(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Police cars sit in the parking lot of the University of Utah police department.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Thursday that his office has declined to prosecute Miguel Deras. While he believes the officer’s actions were “definitely reckless,” Gill said there is no Utah law for addressing this type of police misconduct.

“We realized there was no real statute we could use for this case,” Gill said. “We’re incensed like everyone else by the behavior. It was inappropriate. But if there’s not a statute, there’s nothing we can do.”

The decision was announced after the last day Gill could have filed misdemeanor charges for abusing evidence. The statute of limitations has now expired.

Though the Utah Department of Public Safety found in August that Deras had inappropriately shown off the pictures of McCluskey to at least three of his male colleagues without a work-related reason, the actual display occurred two years ago in the days before McCluskey was killed on campus in October 2018.

“We just got it so late and were limited in what options we had,” Gill said.

Without many avenues for charges of officer misconduct, Gill’s office examined whether they could charge Deras under what’s called the “revenge porn law” in Utah. With that, sharing or displaying a compromising photo of someone without the person’s consent can be prosecuted. The statute, though, requires proof that the person in the images was harmed. McCluskey’s death, Gill said, made that impossible.

Members of the person’s family being hurt, such as McCluskey’s parents, doesn’t count.

Jill and Matt McCluskey said Thursday that they were disappointed in Gill for “not pursuing justice” in their daughter’s case.

“Instead of helping her, Deras showed her images to other male officers and bragged about it,” they said in an email. “A consequence of Gill’s decision is that women will hesitate to report extortion and harassment for fear that the private information they provide will be compromised, or even leered at, by officers for reasons unrelated to her case.”

Their attorney, Jim McConkie, doesn’t agree with Gill’s reading of the law.

For one thing, he said, Lauren McCluskey was harmed while she was alive by the officer choosing to show off her photos and not spending the time investigating her concerns. And he believes her reputation should be considered a part of her that lives on now.

“What Gill is saying to women with this decision is ‘We can’t help you. Don’t come to us,’” McConkie added.

Gill said he intends to lobby the Utah Legislature to update state law on officer misconduct, particularly as it applies to viewing or showing off sensitive victim photos. But that won’t change anything in Deras’ case.

“There’s genuine concern over what the officer was engaging in,” the district attorney said. “We

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