Brandon Gage

Bill Gates wants to control people with monkeypox & force them to drink 'poop water': MTG

United States Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) drummed up a new conspiracy theory on Friday that Microsoft founder Bill Gates is behind the growing monkeypox outbreak and that he wants to control the population by forcing people to drink "poop water."

Greene's infamy is rooted in her claim that wildfires are triggered by Jewish space lasers, her opposition to COVID-19 inoculations, in voting against a bill to help American families access baby formula amidst a supply shortage brought on by contaminations at processing plants, and her participation in the January 6th, 2021 Capitol insurrection. Misspelled text messages that she sent following the attack have earned her the nickname "Marshall Law Marge."

Greene has cultivated a concurrent reputation for being sympathetic to Russian President Vladimir Putin, having voted against authorizing critical military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, whom she has encouraged to surrender to Putin's genocidal occupying forces.

Never shy about upping her game, Greene went all-in on Gates, whose post-corporate career has been dedicated to fighting diseases and expanding human rights around the globe. Gates has also been a leader in vaccine development and has issued numerous warnings about future pandemics arising from humanity's relentless assaults on Earth's biosphere.

But for Greene, and many within the right-wing, Gates is a liberal boogeyman lusting after power.

"Why is Bill Gates running everything?" Greene wondered.

"Bill Gates, I want to remind everyone, wants to grow fake meat in a Petri dish and he wants us to drink poop water," she said. "So I don't know why we're letting him control our health decisions," the government-mandated forced birth advocate complained.

Gates "is very concerned about monkeypox, because this is something apparently he can make a lot of money off of and him and his other buddies," she alleged, adding that she believes that the first patient in Massachusetts who contracted the virus became infected in Canada (two cases have been confirmed there and in the US).

Greene offered no evidence to substantiate that hypothesis.

Continuing on, Greene said that the unexplained worldwide flare-up is "terrifying" because of the "nasty, horrible, big bubbles of pus on your skin" that are caused by the pathogen. That statement is actually true. Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headaches, fatigue, aches, rash, and, eventually, large squishy blisters.

"I mean, clearly, nobody wants this," she said of the disease. She complained that the media is showing images of afflicted children covered in postules, and then rambled about masks and individuals clinging to pillows embroidered with images of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Gates.

"You should have a body pillow of Bill Gates and you can cuddle with it every night," Greene added, "because Bill Gates is gonna save the day."

Watch below via Ron Filipkowski:

Donald Trump finally pays a bill

Former President Donald Trump has temporarily broken away from his lifelong habit of refusing to pay his obligations. On Friday, the twice-impeached ex-commander in chief wrote a check to the state of New York to satisfy financial penalties that had racked up from a contempt of court citation that was issued last month.

The fees added up to $110,000 and were levied by New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron in April after Trump refused to comply with subpoenas issued by New York Attorney General Letitia James in her ongoing civil fraud probe into the Trump Organization.

James has amassed substantial evidence that Trump and his associates manipulated the values of his real estate holdings in order to secure loans and evade taxes. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is conducting a parallel criminal investigation.

On May 6th, Engoron suspended the contempt charge as long as Trump paid his bill and cooperated with James' investigation. The deadline arrived today.

"Engoron gave Trump until May 20 to file a long list of additional affidavits detailing his attorneys' search for records and electronic devices, and explanations of the Trump Organization's document retention and destruction policies. Trump and his company were also required to cooperate with a long-delayed court-mandated discovery effort by a third party company tasked with sorting through years of corporate records. The firm completed its discovery on Thursday, the same day Trump's payment was delivered," CBS News noted on Friday. "After Trump's team submits the affidavits, Engoron will decide if they satisfy the terms of the subpoena for which Trump was held in contempt. If they are not satisfactory, the contempt finding can be reinstated retroactive to May 7, meaning Trump would owe an additional $130,000."

Russian propagandist absurdly calls war in Ukraine a 'learning experience for our future conflict' with NATO

Russian state television propaganda puppets are now claiming that President Vladimir Putin's fledgling "special military operation" in Ukraine is a trial run for a direct confrontation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which Russia would surely lose, as it is in Ukraine.

"For us, the war in Ukraine is a rehearsal for a possible bigger conflict in the future," Alexei Fenenko, an associate professor of world politics at Moscow State University, boasted on Russia 1. "We'll test and compare NATO weapons to our own. We'll find out on the battlefield how much stronger our weapons are than theirs. This may be a learning experience for our future conflict."

Watch below courtesy of The Daily Beast's Julia Davis, who provided the translation:

Fenenko's declaration is absurd. For starters, it completely contradicts the reality of what is happening on the ground.

The Atlantic Council estimated on Tuesday that in just 84 days, "one-third of the 190,000-strong invasion force" has been captured, injured, or killed. The organization calculated that "based on the current rate of attrition, the Russian army will suffer 50,000 combat deaths by September."

Met with valiant resistance by the Western-equipped Ukrainians from the moment that they crossed the border into Ukraine's sovereign territory, Putin's men are exhausted, demoralized, and have determined that the casualty toll and absence of necessary materials are unsustainable.

That became undeniable on Thursday when the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate posted an intercepted telephone conversation to its Facebook page in which an aggrieved Russian soldier revealed that he and his comrades plan to quit.

The situation is so untenable, the individual said, that "even the Chechen forces fighting alongside them mock them as 'meat,'" noted The Daily Beast.

Furthermore, in a second seized exchange that was shared on Facebook, two Russian fighters were heard contemplating how to quickly escape the carnage.

One of them encouraged his mate to "take someone else’s weapon, a Ukrainian one, and shoot yourself in the legs."

Fenenko's cheap bluster also demonstrated that the Kremlin and its minions are obviously unsettled by Finland and Sweden submitting applications to join NATO, which is a seismic geopolitical move that Putin has long-dreaded and has desperately sought to prevent. There are even some who suspect that their admission could be a pretext for granting member status to Ukraine, which would upend Putin's calculus about using nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction.

Perhaps that explains why Fenenko's female colleague justifiably exclaimed that his prediction was a "scary experiment."

Russian troops are over Vladimir Putin's war and are telling each other to 'shoot yourself in the legs': report

Russian President Vladimir Putin's troops are deserting their leader's illegal and ill-fated war in Ukraine, which commenced on Thursday, February 24th.

The Atlantic Council estimated on Tuesday that in just 84 days, "one-third of the 190,000-strong invasion force" has been captured, injured, or killed. The organization calculated that "based on the current rate of attrition, the Russian army will suffer 50,000 combat deaths by September."

Although Putin has haplessly attempted to downplay the scale of the depletion of his units, the magnitude of the losses is weighing heavily on the occupiers who are stuck in his pointless, genocidal "special military operation."

Met with valiant resistance by the Western-equipped Ukrainians from the moment that they crossed the border into Ukraine's sovereign territory, Putin's men are exhausted, demoralized, and have determined that the casualty toll and absence of necessary materials are unsustainable.

The abysmal conditions on the ground are purportedly triggering a mass mutiny among the disenchanted ranks.

On Thursday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate posted an intercepted telephone conversation to its Facebook page in which an aggrieved Russian soldier revealed that he and his comrades plan to quit.

According to translations provided byThe Daily Beast, the “mobilized” men are fed up with Putin's incompetent leadership as well as the Kremlin's lack of battlefield support.

The situation is so untenable, the individual said, that "even the Chechen forces fighting alongside them mock them as 'meat,'" noted The Daily Beast.

He predicted to a personal contact back in Russia:

Everyone who is here … I’m telling you … everyone is planning to take off on the 26th.

Who in turn replied:

Isn’t that stupid?

Which was countered with:

Isn’t it stupid that we’re here?

The infantryman then disclosed that Putin's forces intend to ditch their assignments “on the basis of the fact" that Moscow "put us on the front with absolutely nothing.”

The continued back-and-forth was remarkable.

“I want to tell you even more... a battalion commander is leaving with us and even a staff colonel," he told his friend. “They don’t provide us with any [equipment],” he said, complaining that certain weapons are outdated relics leftover “from 1945.”

I “look at them and go, ‘holy shit, what would you need those for?’ They laugh at us. You know what they call us? Blessed. We ask, ‘Why blessed?’ They say because we are walking around with no equipment, no helmets, without anything. … The Chechens call us meat," he said.

“It’s not desertion, because we shouldn’t be on this territory. … We crossed the border as 200s,” he added, which is Russian slang for slain personnel. “We’re not actually here. So if they say I’m a deserter, fuck off, I’m not here. Prove otherwise.”

Amazingly, in a second seized exchange that was shared on Facebook, two Russian fighters were heard contemplating how to quickly escape the carnage.

One of them apparently encouraged his mate to "take someone else’s weapon, a Ukrainian one, and shoot yourself in the legs."

The story continues here (subscription required).

How 4chan fantasies and Republican rhetoric molded the Buffalo mass murderer: report

The self-identified white supremacist who slaughtered 10 Black people inside of a Buffalo, New York supermarket last week was a known risk to local law enforcement and even published a 180-page manifesto in which he outlined his hateful ideations.

According to an analysis published in The Guardian on Wednesday, however, the ideas that the mass shooter espoused – enhanced by his aridly creepy selection of words – were not his original thoughts. Instead, the outlet found that the gunman copied and pasted his text from various posts that he read on the dark web right-wing hub known as 4chan.

The document "allegedly released by the accused along with a video of the attack, is rife with pseudo-scientific racism, antisemitic conspiracy theories and a call for others to mimic his violence," the investigation revealed, adding that "the screed is mostly plagiarized from other extremists" on 4chan.

Peppered throughout the viciously bigoted musings were references to the Great Replacement Theory, a fringe belief that immigrants with higher levels of epidermal melanin are invading the United States and committing genocide against White Americans.

The hateful treatise "details the baseless racism that underpins the philosophy, including the idea that Jewish people secretly control the world, and that the genetic differences between the races make them incompatible. One particular image, sourced from 4chan, claims to show 'the truth about race' – compiling a handful of debunked, misunderstood, or cherrypicked studies to assert the claim that certain races are inferior to whites," wrote The Guardian, noting that it "even seeks to back up its claims with the long-abandoned pseudoscience of phrenology, which studies the sizes and shapes of craniums."

Excerpts of missives authored by the indicted domestic terrorist on the instant messaging app Discord that The Guardian obtained indicate that he felt as if he had found a community in which he belonged. The Guardian also pointed out that he viewed 4chan as a dependable source of information, noting that "he confessed to browsing 4chan daily" and admitted that he “barely interacts with regular people."

The perpetrator stated in one exchange that “I only really turned racist when 4chan started giving me facts." In another instance, he claimed that “White genocide is real when you look at data, but is not talked about on popular media outlets."

While 4chan certainly had a profound influence on his worldview, it is not fully to blame for poisoning the assailant's impressionable mind, which at 18 years of age, significant scientific research has determined, is still developing.

The foundation of those repugnant conspiracy theories has been promoted by prominent conservative figures like Fox News propagandist Tucker Carlson and his colleague Laura Ingraham; misogynist podcasters Nick Fuentes, Charlie Kirk, and Ben Shapiro; Republican Ohio Senate candidate JD Vance (whom former President Donald Trump endorsed), and, most notably, Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, who chairs the GOP Conference in the House of Representatives and is the only Jewish Republican currently serving in Congress.

Stefanik in particular has been under heavy fire in the wake of the Buffalo massacre over her cache of anti-immigrant talking points as well as her championing of Great Replacement during conversations with journalists and appearances on mainstream news networks.

The danger they pose is immediate and substantial. But it is not unforeseen.

Last September, The Times Union Editorial Board warned that the "undeniable echo of Nazi Germany" has been "resonating ever since in the right-wing, repackaged lately in what’s known as ‘replacement theory,’ espoused by conservative media figures like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. And it has seeped into the mainstream political discourse in the Capital Region, where Rep. Elise Stefanik has adapted this despicable tactic for campaign ads."

Stefanik, the newspaper's editors continued, "isn’t so brazen as to use the slogans themselves; rather, she couches the hate in alarmist anti-immigrant rhetoric that’s become standard fare for the party of Donald Trump. And she doesn’t quite attack immigrants directly; instead, she alleges that Democrats are looking to grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants in order to gain a permanent liberal majority, or, as she calls it, a ‘permanent election insurrection.’ Quite a choice of words, of course, considering that the country is still suffering the aftershocks of the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington by supporters of Mr. Trump who tried to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election."

Queen’s University Assistant Professor of Religion Amarnath Amarasingam expanded on these points to The Guardian.

“We have seen (the great replacement myth) playing a greater role in mobilizing individuals to violence because it has a somewhat unique ability to foster a sense of emergency,” she explained. “You can hear it all over the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto – a deep sense of urgency that there is an imminent collapse of white people and white culture. Combine all this with the furious nihilism, racism, and angst of 4chan and it all becomes deeply worrying.”

So how did a seemingly unsuspecting teenager become helplessly enraptured by online hate? The answer provided by The Guardian was as bewilderingly simple as it was unnerving.

The culprit whose name was not mentioned in this article out of respect for his victims – "including Aaron Salter, a security guard who tried to stop the shooting; local activist Katherine Massey; and substitute teacher Pearl Young" – reportedly joined 4chan out of "extreme boredom" during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020.

He has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.

The Guardian's full article is available here.

Why reversing Roe versus Wade would be 'disastrous' for women serving in the military: Navy veteran

With the United States Supreme Court poised to undo fifty years of judicial precedent by reversing its landmark 1973 Roe versus Wade ruling, which guaranteed access to abortion as a constitutional right, anxiety is surging among Americans who may lose their bodily autonomy at the whim of the Court's right-wing majority.

But the impact of the Court's forthcoming decision will not just be felt on Main Street. Women enlisted in the American Armed Forces, who are often the victims of unprosecuted sexual assault, now face a future in which their very ability to serve is under imminent threat.

Former Navy veteran Allison Gill, who hosts the podcasts Mueller, She Wrote and The Daily Beans, published an editorial in The Washington Post on Wednesday chronicling her own harrowing experience and spelling out the dangers awaiting female military personnel.

Gill revealed that she was one of the thousands of women who were subject to abuse by their superior officers and were not only denied justice but were punished for reporting the crime.

"When I was 21, I was drugged and raped violently while serving in the military, a crime that resulted in pregnancy," she began. "Had I not had access to abortion, the assault would have ended my career and derailed my life. Should Roe be overturned and access to abortion restricted for female service members across the United States, military readiness would be directly affected."

The data does not lie – the problem is enormous.

"Rape in the military is prevalent: In 2018, the Defense Department reported that roughly 20,500 service members experienced sexual assault, up from 14,900 two years before," Gill noted.

The scheme by Republicans in many states to enact so-called "trigger laws" that would criminalize abortion upon the termination of Roe, coupled with the taboo surrounding holding the perpetrators accountable, means that options for rape survivors in uniform would largely evaporate.

"This will immediately affect active-duty service members, who don’t exactly get to choose what state they serve in, and who don’t have the freedom to travel to other states without a leave 'chit' approved up the chain of command — a command that is notoriously bad at dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault. Of the 20,500 service members sexually assaulted in 2018, only one-third reported the assault, and 43 percent of those who did said it was a negative experience," Gill explained.

Gill expanded upon her story, which underscored her point:

Potential workarounds such as mail-order abortion medication would most likely be unfeasible. When I served, mail went through the chain of command, and there were inspections to prevent the receipt of contraband. Although I don’t know whether abortion pills received through the mail today would be confiscated, I do know I never would have ordered them, for fear of being caught and disciplined.
When I tried to report my rapist, I was asked the same questions so many victims have heard before: What were you wearing? Were you flirting? Are you in a fight with your boyfriend? A higher-ranking officer told me I could lose my prestigious nuclear position. He said I’d be dishonorably discharged for filing a false report and court-martialed for adultery because my rapist was married.

'Let’s just chalk this up to what it was,' he said. 'Bad judgment on your part.'

I left believing it was my fault — a lie that took over a decade of therapy to undo — and I was terrified to mention it to anyone.

Gill was able to have an abortion and access counseling services because the procedure was legal. But in a country without Roe, victims will be left to suffer and potentially die.

"Service members without ready access to abortion care would be trapped," Gill continued. "A service member who is raped and becomes pregnant could essentially be forced by the government to carry their pregnancy to term and give birth to their rapist’s baby."

Gill then urged President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Congress to pass into law the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA), which would "create policy granting leave for reproductive-health travel" and "proposes taking the decision to prosecute rape and assault out of the chain of command, which would give active-duty service members a safe space to report."

Unfortunately, the bill is currently stalled in the broken Senate. That, to Gill, is an affront to the government's sacred obligation to the welfare of women in the military.

"This lack of protections is unacceptable. Forcing service members with unwanted pregnancies to covertly seek abortion care — or to carry a pregnancy to term — would be inhumane," Gill concluded. "If the United States values women’s military service, it must find a way to ensure they have a choice."

Thankfully, however, there is new movement toward accomplishing this.

Last week, Senator Angus King (I-Maine) and seven Democrats wrote a letter to Austin asking him to "consider implementing policy changes to allow servicemembers to obtain [special permission] in order to travel out of state for reproductive healthcare and abortions if they are stationed in a jurisdiction that curtails these rights."

The lawmakers added that "the men and women who join the military sacrifice an incredible amount in order to serve their country. We owe it to these servicemembers to look after them and ensure they have the ability to continue accessing safe reproductive healthcare no matter where in the nation their military service sends them.”

Democrats in the House of Representatives have also pressed the Army about pursuing similar guidelines.

Gill's full column is available here (subscription required).

The sneaky way that despotic Mississippi Republicans are eyeing a ban on contraceptives: report

The Republican Party's crusade against abortion rights may be approaching its zenith with this summer's anticipated reversal of Roe versus Wade by the United State Supreme Court's right-wing majority. But in Mississippi, another sinister battle to subjugate women and girls to the whims of men has been brewing for at least the last decade.

Reporter Ashton Pittman revealed in the Mississippi Free Press on Monday that the GOP's staunchest forced birth advocates may be concocting an underhanded scheme to strip away access to contraception from vulnerable Magnolia State residents.

Back in 2011, when the Democratic Party controlled the Mississippi State House of Representatives, future Speaker Philip Gunn (R-56th District) along with 15 fellow Republicans (one of whom is former State Representative and current United States Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith) and four Democrats endorsed Initiative 26, or the Personhood Amendment, which legally defined life as "beginning at fertilization or 'the functional equivalent thereof.'"

In other words, a "person" is created at the moment in which a sperm cell enters an egg.

That language, Pittman noted, would have automatically made abortions illegal, including in cases of rape or incest, “from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof."

Additionally, Pittman pointed out, Initiative 26 "would have also banned several types of contraception, including IUDs and Plan B and made in-vitro fertilization practically impossible."

The push to grant zygotes individual legal status was backed by the most extreme factions within the Southern anti-choice caucus. And they employed tricky syntax to obscure their broader efforts to deny pregnant people the power to execute choices over their own bodies.

"The Personhood Amendment’s supporters said they did not take a position on birth-control methods 'which are contraceptive rather than abortive in their actions,' but were 'opposed to those birth control methods which act as abortifacients,' including 'forms of the pill which act to prevent implantation of the newly formed human into the lining of the womb; forms of the IUD, which can act the same; and prostaglandin suppository drugs, which act to cause delivery of whatever size baby the uterus contains," Pittman ascertained, based on the Yes On 26 website's text.

Characterizing what followed as outside of the mainstream would be a colossal understatement.

The homepage "described that the morning-after pill acts as a 'human pesticide' and explained that the Personhood Amendment included no rape or incest exceptions because 'abortions for rape victims does not solve a woman’s problems, it only creates more,'" Pittman continued. "While Yes On 26 claimed the amendment would not ban abortions in cases where they are necessary to save a pregnant person’s life, the amendment did not specify any exceptions, including to save a woman’s life."

Mississippi voters overwhelmingly rejected the ballot measure in November of 2011.

Fast-forwarding to today, with the Supreme Court's precedent-shattering ruling in Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health versus Jackson Women’s Health Organization lurking in the wings, fears are resurfacing that lawmakers like Gunn are itching to resuscitate Initiative 26.

That case was filed on December 1st, 2020, as a constitutional challenge to Mississippi's controversial and draconian 15-week abortion ban.

On Sunday, May 8th's edition of CNN's Meet the Press, Republican Governor Tate Reeves told host Jake Tapper that prohibiting access to birth control “is not what we are focused on at this time" no matter what the Supreme Court ultimately decides.

The next day, Gunn issued a parallel proclamation on Twitter.

"Reeves’ recent interviews caused confusion on the future of contraceptives in MS after a ruling on Dobbs," he tweeted. "The scaremongering on the left intended to make pro-life states look extreme won’t work. Rest assured, the Mississippi House of Representatives won't move legislation banning contraceptives."

Reproductive rights activists, however, are unconvinced, because the issue is moot if fetal personhood becomes legally enshrined.

“They wouldn’t need to do this whole tap-dancing around answering questions about contraception if they weren’t in line with fetal personhood," Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund co-founder and Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama Executive Director Laurie Bertram Roberts said in an interview with Pittman. “They’re telling on themselves because if you don’t believe in this very warped view of fetal personhood from the moment the egg is fertilized, then you wouldn’t be worried about IUDs or Plan B or IVF at all."

Roberts believes that fringe conservatives such as Gunn have crafted a sneaky face-saving workaround grounded in the objectives of Initiative 26. In fact, its digital archive still maintains that "abortion will be outlawed in our state; cloning and other forms of medical cannibalism will be effectively stopped; and a challenge will be set up to Roe v Wade."

To Roberts, that is an explicit warning.

“You always have to listen to what they say and what they don’t say,” she said. “He didn’t say we won’t move to do fetal personhood. He didn’t say we won’t put forth any bills that would endanger contraception. He said we would not be doing any bills targeting contraception, right? We have a lot of attorneys in our Legislature and they are very smart at wordsmithing. Oh, you wouldn’t? Ok. Well, you haven’t. But it doesn’t mean y’all won’t.”

Roberts added that she wants Gunn and his confederates to make a more dependable pledge.

“Because they would say, ‘This is a bill defining life.’ … The same way they’ve done with abortion over and over again: ‘This isn’t about women and their bodies, this is about babies,'" she said to Pittman while elaborating on numerous frightening hypotheticals.

“If the fetus you’re carrying is equal to you, your doctors can go, ‘Oh, well, the fetus needs this,’ and force you to have surgery. They can force you not to have a home birth because they say it’s too risky. If your home birth goes wrong, who says you won’t be charged with murder because of ‘child endangerment’?” Roberts posited.

“For people who don’t even feel like they are attached to the abortion issue, it will impact everything that has to do with pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and find out you have cancer, are you going to be able to get treatment or not? Who gets to decide? You, a judge or the doctor? …That’s what fetal personhood means," she continued. "Your body is no longer your own while you are pregnant. You are no longer an autonomous being.”

Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, have drafted a federal fraternal twin of Mississippi's failed Personhood Amendment, which is equally as medieval as its predecessor.

Pittman provided the who and what behind the proposal, which has not garnered sufficient attention in the national media:

Three U.S. House Representatives from Mississippi are among 150 Republicans who are currently sponsoring H.R. 1011, The Life At Conception Act, a piece of legislation similar to Mississippi’s Personhood Amendment. It would grant 14th Amendment protections 'for the right to life of each born and preborn human person' nationwide and define 'human person' as 'each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.'
The 150 Republicans who support the bill make up 72% of the House GOP caucus. The legislation currently has no path forward in the Democratic-led House, but that could change if voters give Republicans the majority in November’s congressional elections. The Mississippi sponsors are: Reps. Trent Kelly, Michael Guest and Steven Palazzo.
A Senate version of the Life At Conception Act authored by Sen. Rand Paul has 18 sponsors, or more than half the Senate’s GOP membership, including U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi. Democrats currently control the U.S. Senate, which is split 50-50 between the two parties, thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.

And as Republicans in dozens of states promulgate similar restrictions, Pittman foresees a bleak outcome if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Dobbs.

"If Roe v. Wade is overturned, Mississippi would immediately ban almost all abortions at any point due to a 2007 trigger law, passed under a Democratic-led House and Senate, that would take effect, with exceptions only to save the life of the pregnant person and in some cases of rape if the victim reported the assault to police and sought an abortion early in the pregnancy," he concluded. "Earlier this month, though, Mississippi Sen. Joey Fillingane, a Sumrall Republican who authored the 2007 law, said he would like the Legislature to repeal all rape exceptions."

Pittman's full report is available here.

How a plot to bomb California's Democratic Party headquarters exposed a right-wing netherworld

Last year, two men from the San Francisco Bay area were arrested and charged with plotting to blow up the California Democratic Party's headquarters in Sacramento shortly after President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris won the 2020 election.

Suspect Ian Rogers and his workout partner Jarrod Copeland were arraigned in federal court for "conspiracy to destroy by fire or explosive a building used in interstate commerce, with Copeland facing an additional destruction of records in official proceedings charge for allegedly destroying evidence of his communication with Rogers," according to a report published on Monday by KQED.

"The Napa County District Attorney’s Office is also prosecuting Rogers for 28 felony counts over the numerous pipe bombs, and unregistered assault rifles authorities allegedly discovered inside his business, home and RV. He is also being charged with converting firearms into machine guns," correspondents Alexandria Hall and Julie Small gleaned from court documents. "If the case goes to trial, Rogers faces a statutory maximum of 45 years in prison. Copeland faces a statutory maximum of 25 years, if convicted on all charges."

Although the attorneys representing Rogers and Copeland declined KQED's requests to interview their clients, the reporters did successfully gain access to various public records as well as individuals that knew the would-be bombers, from which their profiles could be assessed.

"What emerged is a portrait of friends united by rage who found community within an obscure anti-government militia," wrote Hall and Small. "But one kept his affiliation quiet, while the other proudly displayed his allegiance."

Rogers and Copeland were members of lesser-known appendages of neo-fascist fringe organizations, Hall and Small uncovered, noting that "at the time of his arrest, Rogers told law enforcement he was a member of a 'prepper group' called 3UP, a California offshoot of the Three Percenters, court filings show. Detectives also found a bumper sticker on one of Rogers’ vehicles of the III% symbol: three lines encircled by 13 stars."

Threats levied by right-wing zealots against their perceived political adversaries are nothing new in the modern-day United States. But Hall and Small revealed in their analysis that what took the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice by surprise as they dug deeper into the foiled attack was the prevalence of "violent extremist activity" throughout Northern California, and the predominant lowest common denominator was the January 6th, 2021 Capitol insurrection.

"Since the spring of 2020, the FBI’s investigations of suspected domestic extremists have more than doubled, according to the U.S. Department of Justice," they wrote. "And just over a year after hundreds of people stormed the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to stop the certification of the presidential election, the DOJ announced it was creating a special unit to address 'the threat posed by domestic extremism.'"

The statistics are alarming.

"The Justice Department arrested and charged more than 725 people for their alleged involvement in the insurrection. KQED found that at least 40 were from California," Hall and Small explained, "including Evan Neumann, a Mill Valley resident charged with 14 counts, including assaulting Capitol police. Neumann fled to Europe, crossing through pre-war Ukraine and successfully claiming asylum in Belarus, according to The Washington Post."

That was far from an isolated case.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Jon Blair of the agency's San Francisco field office told KQED that "it's not just the number of incidents that has gone up in California, but also the number of people involved and the severity of violence."

For example, Hall and Small obtained data from the Southern Poverty Law Center indicating that 45 white nationalist gangs "including four militias" – such as the "III% United Patriots, III% Defense Militia, California Three Percenters, the original Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, and West Coast Patriots" – have had long-confirmed presences in the Golden State.

“There are actors who are predisposed towards these acts of violence, who are violating federal law and who are adhering to ideology,” Blair said. “They didn’t just come into existence after 2020, right? I do think they were a little more emboldened now because the rhetoric has become so pervasive and so loud in our culture.”

The challenge in tracking and dispersing those groups, however, is that kanoodling with them even while they casually muse about overthrowing the government is constitutionally protected free speech. Their followers' pursuits of weapons and ammunition are also shielded by the Second Amendment. Only when someone breaks the law can action be taken.

“We don’t care what you believe, because we’re not allowed to care what you believe, no matter how reprehensible those beliefs may be,” said Blair. “It’s only if your beliefs or your ideology are motivating you to commit an act of violence — that’s when you would suddenly become of concern to us.”

Tips from eyewitnesses are therefore critical in curtailing potentially dangerous behavior before it manifests.

“There are people who are looking left and right and realizing that this is not necessarily the world we want to live in,” Blair contended. “I think we are getting more reports from individuals who happen to be near people who are spewing the ideology and taking steps towards those violent acts, saying, ‘No, not here, not on my turf, not around me.’”

The full story continues here.

Robert Reich explains how 'shady investors' in private equity are 'rigging the economy' and jacking up costs

Former United States Secretary of Labor Robert Reich blasted private equity firms for their corrupt manipulation of the tax code in a new video posted to YouTube on Monday.

"Private equity firms are privately owned financial organizations. Here’s how they make money: they buy struggling companies with borrowed money, often using the companies’ assets as collateral for the loans. They then make the purchased company profitable by cutting wages, outsourcing jobs, and stripping assets. Then they resell what’s left of the company, often laden with debt, and pocket the returns," Reich explained.

The consequences of the financial industry's monied bonds to lawmakers have caused the costs of two critical commodities to skyrocket.

Housing is the first.

"Private equity has a hand in today’s skyrocketing housing costs. Private equity-backed real estate corporations are buying up both single-family homes and apartment buildings at record rates. In 2021, private equity investors bought nearly one in seven homes in the country’s top metro areas, and private equity-backed corporations now own at least 260,000 homes across the country," Reich said, noting that this, in turn, leads to "higher rent. Faster evictions. Punitive fees. Shoddier repairs and services, if anyone even shows up at all."

The second is healthcare.

"Over the past two decades, private equity in healthcare has exploded from $5 billion to over $100 billion a year, from buying hospitals to staffing emergency rooms to taking over nursing homes," Reich pointed out, citing a particularly egregious example.

"TeamHealth, a staffing agency owned by Blackstone, charges about six times what Medicare charges in emergency rooms. TeamHealth and Envision, another private equity-owned physician staffing firm, are notorious for their use of surprise medical bills. Don’t you just love surprise bills? TeamHealth and Envision doctors aren’t covered by insurance, so when a patient goes to an in-network hospital but is seen by a private equity doctor, the patient gets stuck with a surprise out-of-network bill," he said.

"Beyond eye-popping costs and surprise bills, patients can also expect lower-quality care," Reich continued. "A sweeping study examined private equity-owned nursing homes and found dire effects: staff hours were slashed, jobs disappeared, and the use of antipsychotic medications – which have a host of dangerous side effects – skyrocketed. All this contributed to a 10 percent increase in patient mortality. That’s more than 1,000 lives lost every year on average."

Although he added that the issue does not get the attention that it deserves in the media, Reich did offer a simple solution.

"So what can be done? First and foremost, close the industry’s favorite tax loophole that enables private equity managers to keep their taxes low. The carried interest loophole treats their personal income as capital gains, taxed at a top rate of just 20 percent, instead of the personal income it actually is, with a top tax rate of 37 percent. It’s yet another way private equity is looting America," he said.

"The pattern is clear," Reich concluded. "When private equity gets involved, costs get higher and quality gets lower – while the rich get richer. It’s past time for Congress to rein in this predatory industry."

Watch below:

How Private Equity is Making Your Life More Expensive | Robert Reich

Ron DeSantis signs bill criminalizing peaceful protests in residential neighborhoods

Florida's right-wing Republican Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a bill into law that criminalizes peaceful protests in residential neighborhoods.

The draconian restrictions on free speech were levied in response to the nationwide explosion of demonstrations directed at the United States Supreme Court's anticipated overturning of abortion rights that were established in Roe versus Wade.

But when pro-choice activists began picketing outside the homes of the five Associate Justices who were named in the draft majority opinion that was leaked last month, advocates for forced birth like DeSantis decided that the Constitution's First Amendment right to petition the government should be suspended.

None of the Court's nine jurists, however, live in Florida.

“Sending unruly mobs to private residences, like we have seen with the angry crowds in front of the homes of Supreme Court justices, is inappropriate,” DeSantis said in a press release. “This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.”

DeSantis' statement added that "once this law takes effect, law enforcement officers will provide a warning to any person picketing or protesting outside of a dwelling and will make arrests for residential picketing only if the person does not peaceably disperse after the warning. Residential picketing will be punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor."

House Bill 1571 "prohibits a person from picketing or protesting before or about the dwelling of a person with specified intent" and "requires a specified warning before arrest." It takes effect on October 1st, months after the Court is expected to upend a half-century of legal precedent.

Those who violate the new statute are subject to criminal prosecution for a second-degree misdemeanor, the penalties for which include a $500 fine, six months of probation, and a sentence of up to 60 days in jail.

'The best fascists you'll ever see': Comedian trolls male anti-choice activists demanding their civil rights

A group of anti-abortion demonstrators protesting in Washington, DC over the weekend were brilliantly heckled by a trio of comedians led by Walter Masterson.

Masterson, Maximillian Clark, and the Jolly Good Ginger had approached two cisgendered white males who were earnestly questioning when they would be granted their constitutional rights.

"Oh my God! Yes! I want to get a picture!" Masterson exclaimed upon finding his unbeknownst subjects, who unsuspectingly engaged.

"Oh my God, these are like, I love them. They're like the best fascists you'll ever see," he said.

One of the men, donning a red USA cap, asked Masterson, "when does life begin?"

Masterson was fully armed with a response.

"Life begins at ejaculation!" he proclaimed.

"No! Life begins at erection!" Clark interjected, which Masterson began blasting into his megaphone.

"When do we get rights?" the hat-wearing, budding misogynist asked, although he was drowned out by Clark's next argument.

"Life begins when you first find a letter from your true love in the sixth grade and you think, maybe, maybe she is the one, and you may never actually touch this woman but a life has begun in your heart. And we have to protect that life," he quipped.

The unamused albeit undeterred forced birther pressed Masterson a second time.

"When does life begin? When do we get rights?" he asked.

"Yes, yeah... straight white Christian men are the most oppressed people in America," Masterson replied. "Oh my God, if you see a straight white man please give them a hug."

Bro denied being religious while insisting that he has no civil liberties, asking a third time when he will get his rights.

Masterson's reply was on-point.

"Yes, that is a great question. When do straight white men get rights? When do we do it? When does it end?" he joked. He then threw himself onto the ground screaming, "the oppression, oh, oh, oh my God... did you see what Antifa just did?"

Watch below via Walter Masterson:

'She definitely elevated the position': Peter Doocy praises Jen Psaki after her final White House briefing

Friday was White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki's final day and one of her most frequent sparring opponents is singing her praises.

Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy's relationship with Psaki has been contentious since the early days of President Joe Biden's administration. Doocy and Psaki traded barbs on almost a daily basis on issues ranging from the war in Ukraine to COVID-19 to gas prices and to how Biden has handled public protests over the impending loss of abortion rights.

Biden even once referred to Doocy as a "dumb son of a bitch."

But after Psaki concluded her final briefing on Friday afternoon, Doocy expressed gratitude for having had the chance to work with her.

"Those things live on for a long time, and because she was such a good sport when I, me and the rest of the people in the briefing room would challenge her – especially when we would go in with topics that maybe anybody else was not covering – a lot more people who maybe just get their news on Twitter or on TikTok or in Instagram have a chance to see that something is an issue that is being talked about at the briefing," Doocy said.

"And usually the way that she and I would go back and forth, you can learn a lot in a minute with three questions and three answers about a topic maybe you otherwise never would have seen," he continued. "And so she definitely elevated the position and I think reached a lot of people in a news environment where sometimes you only have a minute to tell somebody about something."

Watch below via Mike Sington:

Junior throws a bizarre hissy fit at POTUS over baby formula shortages and American aid to 'the Ukraine'

Donald Trump Jr. published a video on his Rumble channel on Thursday in which he rants and raves about President Joe Biden's sympathy toward Americans who are struggling to feed their families amid global supply chain disruptions.

Biden gave a speech on Wednesday at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 40th Annual Conference in which he touted the benefits of his American Rescue Plan while blasting Republicans for trying to block it:

The American Rescue Plan provided eviction relief, funding for states and cities to allocate to landlords and renters — help them keep a roof over the heads — 5 million households.
Remember those long lines you’d see on the television and people lining up in all kinds of vehicles just to get a box of food in their trunk? How quickly we forget people were hurting.
And what did the MAGA crowd want to do? Forget it. Forget it.
God, this is the United States of America. The idea that people would have to wait in line an hour or hour and a half to get a box of food in their trunk — it’s just unbelievable.

Watch Biden's full address below:

President Biden Addresses the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 40th Annual Conference

Biden's concern for the well-being of his citizenry threw Junior into a tizzy. The eldest son and lesser namesake of former President Donald Trump proceeded to blame Biden for shortages of staples like baby formula.

It was Junior's father, however, who in 2019 signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – which replaced the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement enacted in 1998 by then-President Bill Clinton – that restricted baby formula's import from our Northern neighbor. Product recalls by the Food and Drug Administration have also led to sparse grocery story shelves.

But in Junior's universe, all consumer woes are the president's fault and only he has the power to fix them (unless his dad is in office, in which case whatever goes wrong is because of the Democrats).

In his three-minute rant, Junior suggested that Biden has no idea that he is "actually" the commander in chief and that he needs to be reminded of that fact.

After showing a clip of Biden's quote mentioned above, Junior wondered by Biden needs to "yell about things" (a very rich accusation coming from Junior, who regularly rage-posts), given that he is "supposedly" the leader of the free world.

Junior falsely associated the $40 billion aid package to Ukraine with the scarcity of baby formula.

"Joe Biden will be outraged when he finds out. He will probably be more outraged when he finds out that he's the president of the United States. I'm not sure he knows these things," Junior said.

Next, Junior declared that the cancelation of oil and gas exploration in Alaska is fueling inflation, which it is not, before circling back to disparaging the president's mental faculties and predicting that the United States will run out of food.

"Um, ya think he knows he's in charge? Does he have any idea? Um, I wonder how long it's gonna take to find any kind of food in Joe Biden's America," Junior rambled, "because it feels like we're getting there really quickly, guys"

The Trumps are not suffering from hunger or a lack of money, and the lavish parties that are periodically thrown at the family's numerous estates appear to be smashing successes.

Junior then failed to comprehend why Biden is so popular and urged his fans to vote for Republicans in the midterms so that all of America's problems can be solved.

"What a joke. Total clown show," Junior groaned, adding that Biden "didn't do anything" as a Senator, that "nothing has changed" since he took office, and that the federal government is wasting resources by sending money to "the Ukraine."

Watch below:

'Astounding': Astronomers photograph the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way

Astronomers at the United States National Science Foundation and the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration announced on Thursday that they have successfully photographed the supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

Thursday's mindblowing breakthrough will be published in a forthcoming special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The colossal object, known as Sagittarius A*, is located 27,000 light-years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. It was first discovered in 1974 by Bruce Balick of the Astronomy Department at the University of Washington in Seattle and Cornell University's Robert Brown.

Sagittarius A*'s properties were later confirmed in the 1990s by a world-renowned group of researchers – Andrea Ghez, an astrophysicist and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles, Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, and the University of California Berkeley, and Oxford University's Sir Roger Penrose.

Using radio telescopes to peer through the haze of interstellar dust that absorbs visible light, Ghez, Genzel, and Penrose observed stars deep inside the galactic core whipping around an invisible central volume at millions of miles per hour. Based on the stars' phenomenal velocities and the distances that they were traveling, Ghez, Genzel, and Penrose calculated the mass of whatever it was that the stars were orbiting. The math led to the inescapable conclusion that the only possibility was a supermassive black hole weighing in at four million times the mass of our Sun.

Ghez and her colleagues were awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery.

Today, humanity was rewarded with its first mesmerizing glimpse into the Stygian soul of our swirling island universe.

"The breakthrough follows the EHT collaboration’s 2019 release of the first image of a black hole, called M87*, at the center of the more distant Messier 87 galaxy," the organizations said in their press release.

They explained:

Although we cannot see the black hole itself, because it is completely dark, glowing gas around it reveals a telltale signature: a dark central region (called a 'shadow') surrounded by a bright ring-like structure. The new view captures light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole, which is four million times more massive than our Sun.
Because the black hole is about 27,000 light-years away from Earth, it appears to us to have about the same size in the sky as a donut on the Moon. To image it, the team created the powerful EHT, which linked together eight existing radio observatories across the planet to form a single 'Earth-sized' virtual telescope [1]. The EHT observed Sgr A* on multiple nights, collecting data for many hours in a row, similar to using a long exposure time on a camera.

Quoted in The Washington Post, University of Arizona astronomer Feryal Özel, who introduced the picture, said it was “the first direct image of the gentle giant in the center of our galaxy.”

In it, Özel continued, "we find a bright ring surrounding the black hole shadow. It seems that black holes like doughnuts," she joked.

"Getting to this image wasn't an easy journey," Özel added. "It took several years to refine the image and confirm what he had."

The global scientific community is ecstatic.

“We were stunned by how well the size of the ring agreed with predictions from Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity," said EHT Project Scientist Geoffrey Bower from the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica in Taipei, Japan. "These unprecedented observations have greatly improved our understanding of what happens at the very center of our galaxy and offer new insights on how these giant black holes interact with their surroundings.”

The team also noted how similar Sagittarius A* and M87* appear despite the enormous disparity in their respective sizes.

"We have two completely different types of galaxies and two very different black hole masses, but close to the edge of these black holes they look amazingly similar,” says Sera Markoff, Co-Chair of the EHT Science Council and a professor of theoretical astrophysics at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. "This tells us that General Relativity governs these objects up close, and any differences we see further away must be due to differences in the material that surrounds the black holes.”

Ryan Hickox, an astrophysicist at Dartmouth College, told that "this is an astounding achievement" and that "I think I speak for a large number of my astronomy colleagues when I say how remarkably grateful we are."

View it below:

Read the National Science Foundation's full press release here.

Black holes, the densest regions of space and time, are gravitationally infinite maelstroms so powerful that neither matter nor light can escape. These innumerable interstellar vagabonds rotate through the void, feeding on wayward elemental material. Black holes do not discriminate when it comes to what they will consume. Anything that crosses into their path and breaches the event horizon is lost forever in the relativistic abyss of cosmic singularity.

There are three classifications, however, individuals are distinguishable by only two fundamental quantum properties: mass and spin. Somewhat counterintuitively, black holes are the simplest cosmological macro objects proven to exist.

Stellar-mass black holes occur when the cores of dying giant stars collapse while their outer layers are blasted away in spectacular supernova explosions. They range in mass from three to <100 times that of our Sun.

Intermediate-mass black holes contain 100 to >100,000 solar masses and are the products of collisions between stellar-mass black holes and other massive bodies, such as one of their countless cousins, neutron stars, or unfortunate planetary systems. Their presence was confirmed earlier this year when astronomers at the University of Utah spotted one more than two million light-years away within a stellar cluster in the Andromeda galaxy. Some physicists have theorized that intermediate-mass black holes could be primordial black holes, which are some of the oldest objects in the Universe, having been born in the Big Bang.

Supermassive black holes are the unseeable sums of untold stellar-mass and intermediate-mass black hole cannibalism. They are believed to spin at the heart of every galaxy in the Universe. The smallest specimens are at least 100,000 times as massive as our Sun. There is no limit to how big supermassive black holes can become. The largest known supermassive black hole, Ton 618, has 66 billion times the mass of our Sun.

The Trump Administration 'collaborated' with meat giants to evade COVID regulations and coverup deaths: report

Former President Donald Trump's administration colluded with top-level meatpacking industry executives to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic in order to drive up prices and downplay the severity of the emergency, according to an exhaustive investigation released on Thursday by the United States House Select Oversight Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

Representative Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the House Majority Whip and chairman of the Subcommittee, said in a statement that "the shameful conduct of corporate executives pursuing profit at any cost during a crisis and government officials eager to do their bidding regardless of resulting harm to the public must never be repeated."

The probe began last year and uncovered a spider web of corruption and flagrant disregard for human life involving American corporate titans and individuals in the highest ranks of the federal government.

Officials at the Department of Agriculture – including Secretary Sonny Purdue and Under Secretary for Food Safety Mindy Brashears – "collaborated" with corporate bigwigs to prioritize profits and production over the safety of employees and the public despite being fully aware of the hazards.

"Infections and deaths among workers for five of the largest meatpacking companies—Tyson Foods, Inc. (Tyson), JBS USA Holdings, Inc. (JBS), Smithfield Foods (Smithfield), Cargill, Inc. (Cargill), and National Beef Packing Company LLC (National Beef)—were significantly higher than previously estimated, with over 59,000 workers for these companies being infected with the coronavirus and at least 269 dying," the report states.

The powerful cadre also "engaged in a concerted effort with Trump Administration political officials to insulate themselves from coronavirus-related oversight," it explains.

In one instance, the chief executive officers of the conglomerates told Purdue on a phone call that their workers “should not be entitled to unemployment benefits if they are otherwise able to work through the pandemic” and cautioned against “creat[ing] an incentive, much less a path, for food industry workers to choose unemployment overproducing food.”

In that same conversation, they "implicitly acknowledged how dangerous plants were, asking for liability protection against lawsuits if workers were infected on the job."

There was also an aggressive campaign to skirt "pesky" local, state, and federal regulations that would have kept workers and their products safe and healthy.

"Companies lobbied the White House to make clear that—despite concerns by state and local health departments—meatpacking companies should not have to address coronavirus risks if it would impact productivity," the investigation revealed.

Alarmingly, the CEOs managed to successfully lobby Trump to draft and sign an executive order in April of 2020 that "would insulate meatpacking companies from oversight by state and local health departments and provide legal protection against lawsuits for worker illnesses and deaths."

The edict led to Trump "invoking the Defense Production Act to ensure meatpacking plants 'continue operations.'"

Shortly thereafter, records handed over to the Subcommittee show that "meatpacking industry representatives and companies—Smithfield and Tyson in particular—engaged in constant communications with Trump appointees at USDA, the National Economic Council, and the White House, including calls between Smithfield CEO Ken Sullivan and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows; a joint call with Sullivan, Meadows, and Tyson CEO Noel White; a call between White and Vice President Pence’s Chief of Staff Marc Short; and a call from Meadows to White asking if White would be willing to meet with President Trump."

Trump subsequently "held a call with officers of the meatpacking companies who had lobbied for it on the morning the order was issued."

After Trump granted their wish, an effort was undertaken between the administration and the industry to "coordinate closely on messaging concerning the order and its effects, apparently hoping to generate positive press coverage" for the ex-commander in chief.

Worker fatalities, meanwhile, were swept under the rug.

In a particularly egregious example, an outbreak at Foster Farms in Livingston, California that infected "at least" 392 workers and killed eight in August of 2020 prompted the company to "intimidate" the Merced County Department of Public Health from shutting down the plant.

"Foster Farms attempts to obfuscate the death count by labeling fatalities as 'resolutions,'" investigators learned. "MCPH officials told the Select Subcommittee that an unidentified person on the call from either Foster Farms or USDA said these cases could be considered 'toe tag resolutions,' referring to the toe tag that is often put on a corpse at the morgue. MCPH said that Brashears asked this individual to 'stop' and said they would 'talk about this separately.'"

Operations at Foster Farms in Livingston were eventually temporarily suspended on August 31st.

Read the full report here.

WATCH: Cessna passenger with no flight experience makes 'absolutely' incredible' landing at major airport

A passenger onboard a single-engine Cessna Caravan 208 successfully landed the plane at Florida's Palm Beach International Airport on Tuesday afternoon despite having no experience operating an aircraft.

WPBF News reported on Wednesday that the unnamed individual had contacted Air Traffic Controllers in Fort Pierce and informed them that the pilot had unexpectedly blacked out.

“I’ve got a serious situation here,” the man told ground control. “My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”

A conversation then ensued to locate the plane, which the passenger was unable to do because the navigation system was down.

“Roger. What’s your position?” Air Traffic Control asked.

“I have no idea. I can see the coast of Florida in front of me. And I have no idea," the man replied. “I can’t even get my nav screen to turn on. It has all the information on it. You guys have any ideas on that?”

The Washington Post noted that the plane was cruising at an altitude of about 9,000 feet based on recordings that it obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The paper also shared the prop plane's basic specifications:

The Cessna 208 is a single-engine propeller plane measuring nearly 38 feet long and 15 feet tall, with a 52-foot wingspan, according to its manufacturer. It can be used to transport passengers and cargo. It can also be outfitted to land on water.

Over the next several minutes, ATC walked the passenger through maintaining a steady heading.

“Maintain wings level and just try to follow the coast, either north or southbound. We’re trying to locate you," control said.

“Have you guys located me yet?” the man followed up.

He was eventually picked up on radar near Boca Raton, at which point Palm Beach ATC took over.

“Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me,” the controller said. “Push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate.”

The passenger remained calm and alert, the news outlets pointed out, although he did express concern over the next steps.

“I have no idea how to stop the airplane," he said. "I don’t know how to do anything.”

ATC watched as the plane drifted toward the ground and landed safely. Chatter quickly erupted over the comms about what the passenger had just accomplished.

“You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane,” one controller said.

“Did you say the passengers landed the plane?” another asked.

“That’s correct," the first confirmed.

“Oh, my gosh," the second exclaimed. "Great job.”

JetBlue pilot Justin Dalmolin told WPBF that his landing was delayed as the Cessna descended into Palm Beach and that he was amazed at what had just happened.

“The level of difficulty that this person had to deal with in terms of having zero flight time to fly and land a single-engine turbine aircraft is absolutely incredible,” Dalmolin said: “I remember ... when I first started flight training I was white-knuckled and sweating.”

Aviation expert John Nance, meanwhile, told WPBF that “this is the first time I’ve ever heard of one of these being landed by somebody that has no aeronautical experience." He added that an inexperienced passenger successfully landing a Cessna Caravan is unheard of.

“The person on the airplane who had no aeronautical experience listened very carefully and obviously followed instructions with great calm,” Nance said. “That’s what made the difference.”

A spokesperson for the FAA told the Post that there was a “possible pilot medical issue" and that the FAA "will investigate."

Watch the extraordinary landing below:

Passenger lands plane safely at PBIA

Utah's GOP governor vows to 'hold men responsible' for unplanned pregnancies and childcare

Utah's Republican Governor Spencer Cox promised in a news conference late on Tuesday that he would not enact additional restrictions on women seeking abortions in the Beehive State if the United States Supreme Court strikes down Roe versus Wade, The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Wednesday.

Cox also said that men should be held equally accountable for prenatal care and parenting.

“It takes two to make a baby, and too often, that burden falls disproportionately on the mother and not on the father. We need to hold men responsible,” Cox said.

But that does not mean that access to abortion will get any easier for Utah residents.

Abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy were banned in Utah in 2019, transforming it into one of the toughest states in the country in which to end a pregnancy.

“I’m very pleased with the law that’s on the books," Cox told reporters. But that was in reference to even more draconian limitations that GOP lawmakers adopted in 2020 that prohibit elective abortions except in instances of rape or incest or if the life of the mother is endangered, the Tribune noted.

Although that so-called "trigger law" is currently on hold, it likely would take effect if Roe is reversed, forcing patients to obtain abortions in other states with greater reproductive liberty.

Numerous Republican-dominated state legislatures have proposed making it illegal for pregnant persons to cross state lines to obtain an abortion, with some going as far as seeking to charge doctors and patients with murder for terminating a pregnancy.

Cox, however, pledged that he has no intention of going that far.

“I don’t think we should penalize women at all for anything,” he said.

Instead, the governor envisions a "pro-life" stratagem centered on "improving the lives of women in our state," he explained, adding that "if you care about life, that means all life, not just life in the womb."

Cox's approach would include "more opportunities for mothers and children, increasing support for adoption and foster families and working to prevent unwanted pregnancies," according to the Tribune.

Based on that, Cox said, "if we get to the point where a woman needs an abortion, then something has failed along the way."

New York judge lifts contempt citation against Donald Trump and orders him to pay accumulated fines

A federal judge has lifted a contempt order that he imposed upon former President Donald Trump on April 25th, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

New York Supreme Court 1st Judicial District Judge Arthur Engoron told the ex-commander in chief on Monday that he has until May 20th to pay $110,000 in fines and comply with a subpoena for documents issued in December by Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has been conducting a civil bank and tax fraud investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices for nearly three years.

James has amassed troves of evidence that Trump and his associates engaged in "fraudulent and misleading" behavior by manipulating property values in order to secure loans and skirt taxes. Her probe is running concurrently with a criminal inquiry being led by Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg along the same avenues of interest.

Trump and his attorneys maintain that he is a victim of a political "witch hunt" and that James is engaging in racist attacks against him. They have also denied that Trump has acted in bad faith and intentionally withheld the requested materials from James and her team of prosecutors.

“All documents responsive to the subpoena were produced to the attorney general months ago,” Alina Habba, one of Trump's lawyers, told Engoron. “This does not even come close to meeting the standard on a motion for contempt.”

If Trump fails to pay or comply, the contempt charge will be reinstated, Engoron said.

James, meanwhile, lauded Engoron's decision as a long-overdue victory for justice and the rule of law.

“For years, Donald Trump has tried to evade the law and stop our lawful investigation into him and his company’s financial dealings," she said in a statement. “Today’s ruling makes clear: No one is above the law.”

Ninety-one percent of Australia's Great Barrier Reef whitened in sixth mass bleaching event: study

Australia's Great Barrier Reef has suffered through its sixth mass bleaching event and it was caused entirely by warming ocean waters due to anthropomorphic climate change.

A study published on Tuesday night by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Reef Snapshot: summer 2021-22, discovered that last year's La Niña pattern, which typically lowers sea surface temperatures in the Pacific, did not diminish the damage inflicted upon the world's largest reef.

"The Great Barrier Reef’s waters warmed early in December 2021, the hottest December on record since 1900, exceeding historical summer maximums that typically occur in the hottest summer months," the agencies, which monitor the Reef's conditions from May to November, say in their study. "Ocean temperatures continued to accumulate heat throughout the summer until early April 2022. This prolonged heat exposure prompted Reef-wide aerial surveys in the second half of March 2022 - specifically to assess the extent of coral bleaching on shallow-water coral communities."

The destruction observed by the Marine Park Authority and Institute of Marine Science through their aerial surveys was devastating. Almost all of the Reef's coral communities – an intricate network of 2,900 small reefs spanning 2,300 kilometers – experienced bleaching over the past year:

  • A total of 719 reefs were surveyed from the air between the Torres Strait and the Capricorn Bunker Group in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
  • Of these, 654 reefs (91 percent) exhibited some bleaching. Coral bleaching observed from the air was largely consistent with the spatial distribution of heat stress accumulation, with a greater proportion of coral cover bleached on reefs that were exposed to the highest accumulated heat stress this summer.
Watch the footage below:

Reef snapshot: summer 2021-22

While corals can recover from bleaching episodes under the right environmental circumstances, those have not been reliably present, and the overall health of the Great Barrier Reef has rapidly deteriorated since the end of the 20th century. Between 1995 and 2020, the uniquely biodiverse natural wonder lost half of its coral populations. A study released in early 2021 noted that 98 percent of the Reef has been affected by bleaching since 1998.

Reefs are home to countless species of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth, and they are threatened with extinction as the planet's reefs face the possibility of collapse.

Human activity – specifically the relentless burning of fossil fuels – is the unequivocal culprit behind the Reef's hastening ruination.

"This is the fourth mass bleaching event since 2016 and the sixth to occur on the Great Barrier Reef since 1998," the study explains. "Climate change is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Only the strongest and fastest possible actions to decrease global greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the risks and limit the impacts of climate change on the Reef. Further impacts can be minimized by limiting global temperature increase to the maximum extent possible and fast-tracking actions to build Reef resilience."

Ted Cruz gaslights the country - and himself - about the Capitol insurrection and Supreme Court protests

United States Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) reinforced his reputation as an elected chameleon on Monday evening when he accused demonstrators peacefully protesting the Supreme Court's leaked majority opinion abolishing reproductive liberty of stirring up violence.

Speaking to Fox News pawn Sean Hannity, Cruz said:

It's all politics for them. The ends justify the means and it's complete hypocrisy. You see this in the corporate media, you see this among Democrats. On January 6th, 2021 you had tens of thousands of people peacefully protesting and yet the corporate media and Democrats slander them with the made-up term 'insurrectionist.' And yet in this instance, they are not willing to call off their goons even now, even now as this has the potential to escalate and escalate further.

Cruz's statement was nothing less than cosmic-scale gaslighting of the American people and, incredibly, himself.

For one thing, the people picketing outside the homes of the Supreme Court Justices poised to delete a constitutional right have not caused trouble, damaged property, or harmed anyone. But the crux of Cruz's shapeshifting was his defense of the murderous mob that former President Donald Trump sicced on the Capitol while Congress was certifying President Joe Biden's landslide Electoral College victory in the 2020 election.

Recall that the noose-wielding horde's primary objective was to assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and then-Vice President Mike Pence. Cruz also supported Trump's failed effort to steal the election as it unfolded.

Secondly, Cruz's rewriting of recent history completely contradicted what he declared shortly after the attack. Back then, Cruz had no problem referring to Trump's rabid jingoists as "terrorists assaulting police officers, tragically murdering a police officer."

He added:

We see a violent assault on the Capitol. We see terrorists breaking onto the floor of the Senate chamber and the floor of the House and all of us are horrified.

A year later, Cruz was still singing the same tune:

We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week and it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol.

Progressive Political Action Committee MeidasTouch posted a supercut of Cruz's conflicting remarks to Twitter:

Watch below:

So what changed? Cruz's condemnation of the insurrection on its first anniversary sparked the ire of Russia's favorite superstar propagandist Tucker Carlson, who proclaimed that Cruz's assessment of the events that the Senator personally experienced "doesn't make any sense."

Comrade Carlson's rebuke spooked Cruz into giving an on-air apology in which he besmirched his own words as “sloppy” and “dumb.” Clearly, the damage was done.

Watch below via CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy:

Marsha Blackburn schooled on 'legitimate political discourse' after condemning peaceful SCOTUS protests

A new day brings another incident involving United States Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and her notoriously vacuous Twitter takes. The source of today's manufactured kerfuffle was the ongoing protests over the leaked draft Supreme Court ruling stripping Americans of their reproductive liberty.

"The safety and security of Supreme Court Justices are under threat for attempting to uphold their constitutional duty," Blackburn tweeted.

Blackburn is an anti-choice, anti-contraception, anti-LGBTQ+ right-wing extremist who opposes the existence of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol and intended to vote against certifying President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. She changed her mind after former President Donald Trump's violent mob stormed the seat of federal power on a mission to assassinate Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and then-Vice President Mike Pence. Yet she still routinely peddles Trump's Big Lie about the 2020 election as if nothing significant took place on January 6th, 2021.

That final tidbit is why her Tuesday morning snit is so remarkable; it demonstrates either a complete lack of self-awareness or a total absence of critical thought. Or maybe hypocrisy is simply the play of the day.

Whatever her motives were, Blackburn's feigned concern that people pleading for their rights to not be taken away pose a danger to the Justices' lives was a lot for the Twitterverse to process before noon.

The public has also not forgotten that the Republican National Committee unanimously passed a resolution declaring that the events of January 6th were "legitimate political discourse" (that, amazingly, Pence endorsed). Which begs the question – what exactly is the issue here?

And then we have this.

Twitter explodes after the Senate unanimously approves security for Supreme Court Justices' families

The United States Senate on Monday passed a resolution by unanimous consent to provide enhanced security protection for the immediate family members of Supreme Court Justices.

The legislation "would formally allow the Supreme Court of the United States Police to provide around-the-clock protection to family members, in line with the security some executive and congressional officials get," The Hill reported. It now lies with the House of Representatives.

The bill was speedily drafted on Thursday by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware) following the leak of a draft opinion reversing Roe versus Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southern Pennsylvania versus Casey, the landmark decisions that codified the constitutional right to have an abortion.

Peaceful protests coalesced outside of the Supreme Court almost instantaneously after Politico published the potentially forthcoming ruling last Monday.

Conservative Associate Justice Samuel Alito was the author of the document. His fellow right-wing Associate Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas were named by Politico's source as the concurring majority.

Over the weekend, additional peaceful demonstrations popped up outside of the homes of Alito, Kavanaugh, and Chief Justice John Roberts, who has distanced himself from the explosive 98-page dismantling of half a century of precedent.

But anti-choice abortion rights foe Cornyn framed the situation as though there was violence.

“Threats to the physical safety of Supreme Court Justices and their families are disgraceful, and attempts to intimidate and influence the independence of our judiciary cannot be tolerated,” he said in a statement, according to The Hill. "I’m glad the Senate quickly approved this measure to extend Supreme Court police protection to family members, and the House must take up and pass it immediately."

Coons added that he was “glad to see this bipartisan bill unanimously pass the Senate in order to extend security protection to the families of Supreme Court members.”

Pro-choice Americans, already terrified by the contents of the Court's majority, are furious. The Senate's scramble to shield the Justices from public scrutiny while they prepare to strip millions of citizens of their reproductive liberties is profoundly poor optics. And the fifty-year failure of congressional Democrats to draft and pass laws to bolster legal protections for reproductive rights adds insult to injury.

That anger was on full display on Twitter throughout Monday evening and continued into Tuesday morning.

There was also outrage directed at Alito, Barrett, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh for appearing to have lied under oath about their intentions toward Roe and Casey during their respective Senate confirmation hearings.

A David Attenborough parody video about how Russian tanks 'end their lives' goes viral on Twitter

A parody video was posted to Twitter on Monday morning in which a man uncannily impersonating renowned naturalist David Attenborough walks viewers through the end-of-life cycles of wayward Russian tanks meeting their demise in Ukraine.

Since it first appeared, the clip has gotten more than 10,000 shares and upwards of 34,000 likes.

The 45-second spot was a poignant swipe at Russia's annual May 9th Victory Day celebrations commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. In a speech riddled with lies and easily dismantled propaganda, President Vladimir Putin desperately attempted to sell his people on why his illegal war must continue.

Putin's forces have been decimated by Ukrainian resistance fighters armed with weapons supplied by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Thousands – possibly tens of thousands – of Russian troops have been captured, injured, killed, or simply ghosted their mission. The destinies of those who survived or fled are still being written.

The fates of the mobile artillery units left behind, however, were sealed at the moment that they crossed Russia's Western border into Ukraine.

"This is a Russian tank. Like the Pacific salmon, Russian tanks migrate long distances from the abyss of Russia to end their lives in Ukraine's beautiful fields. Driven by an evolutionary desire to end their life somewhere better, after reaching Ukraine, all species of Russian tank die," the narrator states to footage of blown up, smoldering tanks.

"The 2022 run was a major event for predators, such as Ukrainian special forces teams (Bayraktar TB2 drones) and local farmers on tractors," he continues. "Most tank species pop their turrets to celebrate the end of their life cycles.”

Watch the original below via Tetyana Denford, who commissioned the project for Saint Javelin, a company that sells pro-Ukraine merchandise for charity:

The viral version is here:

The Republican agenda 'centers on taking away freedom' and seeks only 'power': Robert Reich

Former United States Labor Secretary Robert Reich laid out in no uncertain terms the danger posed by the Republican Party's assaults on civil liberties in a new YouTube video released on Monday.

"Republicans love to claim they’re the party of freedom. Bulls**t," Reich began. "In reality, the Republican agenda centers on taking away freedom."

Over the next two minutes, Reich fired off the laundry list of freedoms that the GOP is tirelessly scheming to abolish, from the rights of women to have control over their own bodies, to equal protection and dignity for LGBTQ+ citizens, to gutting public education, and disenfranchising voters that tend to cast ballots for Democrats.

Reich argued that a society in which people are saddled with crippling student loans and medical debt and are forced to work for poverty-level wages cannot call itself free.

"A living wage, the right to join a union, guaranteed healthcare, the right to vote – these are the foundations of real freedom. Yet Republicans oppose all of these," Reich said.

Reich noted that the right-wing's endgame is completely transparent.

"What Republicans want to preserve isn’t freedom, it’s power," Reich concluded. "The power to impose their narrow ideology on everyone else, no matter who suffers. Don’t let their propaganda convince you otherwise."

Watch below:

Why Republicans are NOT the Party of Freedom | Robert Reich

Michael Flynn endorses 'insane' COVID-19 conspiracy theory that claims vaccines turn people into zombies

Retired Army Lieutenant General and disgraced ex-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is a notorious peddler of outlandish conspiracy theories, especially those that originate inside QAnon or spew from the pouty lips of former President Donald Trump.

In particular, Flynn, a Trump-pardoned convicted felon, has focused much of his paranoia on ginning up opposition to COVID-19 vaccines and sowing doubts about the nature of SARS-COV-2. For example, Flynn has claimed that the inoculations were covertly added to salad dressings by the "Deep State" to secretly poison unsuspecting Americans. Flynn has also stated that a “global elite type of people” engineered the coronavirus pandemic to prepare the world for their next artificially-concocted outbreak, which Flynn believes "is potentially another type of virus that’s imposed on the public."

Part of that scheme, Flynn maintained, was that a shadowy cabal of international powerbrokers intended to exploit the crisis as a means of stealing the 2020 election away from Trump.

But on Sunday, Flynn endorsed yet another fringe – and absolutely looney – conservative delusion about COVID-19 vaccinations during an appearance on right-wing radio host Clay Clark's ReAwaken America Tour.

This latest ill-begotten contention was put forth on May 1st by disinformation podcaster Jeffrey Prather. Here are the basics:

  • Vaccines contain inactive "lipid nanoparticles" embedded with deadly "chimeric pathogens" which were genetically programmed to animate when properly triggered.
  • The germs supposedly lying dormant include E. Coli, Ebola, Marburg – a highly fatal viral hemorrhagic fever, and brewers yeast – an ingredient added to ferment beer and bake bread.
  • The "pathogens" will be activated when 5G towers thrice broadcast an 18 gigahertz signal for one minute.
  • The specified frequency subsequently causes "1P36 gene deletion," turning vaccine recipients into zombies. More on that one in a moment.
Clark summarized Prather's assertions and then asked Flynn to share his thoughts.

"This pathogen that you just talked about; I think that there's been some great articles written about how it relates to the 5G technology that is being input basically globally," Flynn said of thoroughly debunked "alterative" research. "But my statement is that because this is a good versus evil time. It is actually one of the most consequential periods in history to be alive."

Next, Clark aired a brief clip of Prather discussing his unfounded ideas, which disturbed him greatly.

"That would cause you to begin to have seizures, begin to bite people, and to have problems with your frontal lobe," he declared. "It's a lot. It's heavy."

Watch below via PatriotTakes:

A lot? Obviously. Heavy? Sure. Accurate? Not in the least.

While 1P36 gene deletion is listed as a possible side effect of the Pfizer jab, it is a congenital disorder affecting the cognitive development of roughly one out of every 5000 fetuses. It is not something that spontaneously occurs in adults, nor does it turn newborns into cannibalistic mutants. To date, no reports of vaccinated undead corpses terrorizing the country have emerged.

On September 6th, 2021, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study on the safety of getting the Pfizer shot during pregnancy.

The agency concluded:

Accumulating data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy from the v-safe pregnancy registry adds to the growing body of evidence of the safety of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy.

  • No evidence of any increase in spontaneous abortion rate
  • No evidence of any disproportionate infant outcomes

The Twitterverse had a grand time mocking Flynn's misguided medical mania.

It takes some impressive careening off the rails to make Soviet-style propaganda seem legit. By golly, though, Flynn and his comrades are charging ahead at full speed. Perhaps somewhere down the line, a collapsed bridge awaits this hot mess express.

How Flynn managed to weasel his way into the uppermost echelons of American political power ignited some unsettling bewliderment.

Speaking of zombies...

'Where's the asteroid?': GOP House candidate mocked for saying rain at Donald Trump's rally is 'God's tears'

Former President Donald Trump's rally in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania for Republican United States Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz on Friday was met with a cold soppy rain that one of the keynote speakers proclaimed was a signal from heaven that the Almighty is displeased with the state of the union.

The event was produced by Trump's Save America Political Action Committee. According to on-the-scene reporting by The Philadelphia Inquirer, it was "striking how little support" there was for Oz among the dozens of attendees.

Regardless, several Trumpworld figures – MyPillow Chief Executive Officer Mike Lindell, right-wing conspiracy theorist Dinesh D'Souza, Congressman Alex Mooney (R-West Virginia) among them – gave brief addresses as the skies began to open up.

After they concluded their riffs, Jim Bognet, whom Trump endorsed for the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District in the House of Representatives, giddily took the stage and lavished his Mount Sinai moment.

"You know what this rain is? This is God’s tears that [President] Joe Biden is in the White House," Bognet beamed.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Biden doesn't belong in the White House," he shouted. "He belongs in a nursing home and [Vice President] Kamala Harris belongs in a nuthouse!"

Watch below via Acyn:

Twitter users who were watching cozily from home interpreted the weather differently.

They also shared some observations, not the least of which was that rain occurred during Trump's presidency.

'I'm not a moron': Ted Cruz implodes when reporters challenge his unfounded Supreme Court leak theories

United States Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) got into an argument with reporters on Capitol Hill on Friday over who was behind Monday's leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion reversing the landmark Roe versus Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania versus Casey decisions, which codified the constitutional right to have an abortion.

Cruz first shared his theory in a Tuesday morning Fox Business appearance, postulating to host Jim Varney that "some left-wing presumably law clerk wanted to put political pressure on the five Justices" who were named in the document's majority. "They wanted to put heat and they wanted to invoke politics to try to get them to change their vote. And by the way," Cruz continued, "if that left-wing law clerk succeeds, it would be the most grotesque politicization of the Supreme Court in the history of our nation."

Despite admitting that there is no evidence to support his suspicion, Cruz doubled down on his allegation throughout the week. But on Friday, when confronted by media correspondents from outlets other than Fox News who dared to ask questions, Cruz got mean.

"Senator, why do you think you know this was a liberal clerk who leaked this? Do you have information that suggests that?" an off-camera reporter asked Cruz.

He was unable to offer anything of substance.

"Because I'm not a moron. Because I live on planet earth," Cruz snapped, adding, "because this is obviously an attempt from someone who is unhappy about the direction the Court is going, to put political pressure on the Justices to change their outcome. That is the only reason this gets leaked, and you know that. Come on, you're a reporter in Washington DC."

The gentleman then proposed an alternative possibility – that a conservative inside the Court leaked the opinion because "they supported the original [Roe] decision and wants to lock them [the Justices] back in. That's a completely reasonable scenario, isn't it?" he posited.

Cruz did not take kindly to having his unsubstantiated conjecture challenged.

"You know what, I, I, I, find that ludicrous. But if it's the case, maybe you'll win a Pulitzer for that," he sniveled.

The reporter pressed Cruz further.

"Well you're saying you have no evidence," he said, spurring an abrupt interruption by Cruz.

"I think it's obvious what's going on here. And, and, and, we've all seen leaks often enough in this town, just not at the Supreme Court. This has never happened in any case ever, and it is truly horrifying," the Senator said.

That is false. The original 1973 Roe ruling was leaked ahead of time.

Cruz then said as he has in previous interviews that he hopes that the person responsible for Monday's dump is held criminally accountable and quickly arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"I've heard reports that the FBI is going to investigate this," Cruz said. That too is untrue, regardless of what Cruz said that he "heard."

Chief Justice John Roberts did order an internal probe, however, the specifics on how it will be conducted and by whom have not been fully established. And there is no proof that any federal laws were broken.

Nevertheless, Cruz – who opposes the bipartisan congressional panel investigating the January 6th, 2021 Capitol insurrection (which he supported) – maintained that the leaker should be locked up and forgotten.

"Whoever did this leak should be prosecuted and should go to jail for a very long time," Cruz stated. "This has shaken the independence and the ability of the judiciary to function."

Watch below via The Hill:

'Pendejo' Donald Trump Jr. pilloried for lamenting that his father's plan to bomb Mexico never happened

Former President Donald Trump during his final year in the White House wanted to “shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs" and then deny that the United States was behind the attacks, according to a new book authored by then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Esper recounted in A Sacred Oath that Trump's idea left him "all but speechless."

Esper – whom Trump fired following his landslide 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden because Esper refused to participate in his burgeoning, foredoomed coup – recalled that Trump complained that “they don’t have control of their own country,” referring to the Mexican government.

It was then that Trump made his proposal. Twice.

“We could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly,” Trump mused to Esper, adding that “no one would know it was us.”

Esper "would have thought it was a joke had he not been staring Mr. Trump in the face," the Times gleaned from the book.

Trump's assault never happened. But on Friday, Trump's eldest son and smarmy namesake Donald Jr. admitted that he wishes that it had and expressed confusion about why it did not.

"I’m still trying to figure out the recent media outrage about my father possibly wanting to target Mexican drug cartel manufacturing facilities in Mexico… Is that supposed to be a bad thing???" Junior tweeted with regret over his father's failed fantasy.

Junior's lament was poorly received and heavily derided.

"Firing a missile into Mexico and trying to pretend it wasn’t us is insane," one Twitter user fired back.

"The son of the former president of the United States is confused why his dad wanting to send the US military to bomb Mexico and cover it up is a bad thing," podcaster Brian Tyler Cohen replied.

Rex Huppke of USAToday quipped:

BOOK: Trump wanted to fire missiles into Mexico to destroy drug labs. TRUMP SUPPORTERS: More fake news, we know he never said anything of the sort. DONALD TRUMP JR.: WHAT'S WRONG WITH FIRING MISSILES INTO MEXICO, AMIRITE??? DAD WAS SPOT ON WHEN HE SAID THAT. I LOVE YOU DAD!!

Public social media figures dumped on Junior Trump too.

So did individuals struggling to comprehend Junior's thought processes.

It was also pointed out by several astute observers that Patriot missiles are for surface-to-air attacks, so they would have been useless in the ex-commander in chief's conceptualized carnage.

Russian lawmaker urges Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons because 'no one will step in to defend Ukraine'

A panel of Russian President Vladimir Putin's propaganda puppets on state television erupted into a disagreement this week over what the consequences would be if Putin uses one or more nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Putin placed his nuclear arsenal on high alert on February 27th, but to date, there is no evidence that a nuclear launch is imminent.

Aleksey Zhuravlyov, a member of the Duma and chairman of the Rodina political party, has been a boisterous proponent of deploying Moscow's new Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile in a preemptive strike against North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations. The Sarmat or Satan II is a hypersonic ICBM capable of carrying 10 to 15 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), each of which contains a nuclear warhead, as far as 11,000 miles at speeds in excess of 15,000 miles per hour.

During Thursday's discussion, Zhuravlyov asserted that neither NATO nor the United States would respond in kind to a tactical nuclear attack on Ukraine.

Keep in mind that all of this talk about nuking Ukraine, the US, and its NATO allies is a direct result of how badly Putin's illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is going for the Russian military.

"We demonstrated the Sarmat. There was a reason we showed it to the whole world because all decisions have been made and we're ready," Zhuravlyov bellowed.

The Sarmat ICBM is not engineered for local tactical nuclear assaults. Those bombs have short ranges and lower yields and are intended primarily for battlefield use.

"A tactical nuclear strike is very possible," Zhuravlyov continued. "I don't even doubt it. A tactical nuclear strike..."

Host Evgeny Popov interrupted.

"That is the very last argument," he said. But Zhuravlyov's ballistic bluster was undeterred.

"And no one will step in to defend Ukraine, no matter what kind of weapons are used there. They're afraid of tactical nuclear weapons," he said of NATO.

Regardless, Popov checked Zhuravlyov again, stressing the dangers of unleashing thermonuclear hell.

"I'm certain that our Armed Forces are capable of achieving all the goals set before them without using such things capable of destroying the entire planet. God willing. No need for that," he said, adding that "it's alright that you're scaring foreigners, but you're scaring our people, citizens of Russia."

But Zhuravlyov disagreed and pressed forward anyway.

"We're not scaring our people," he insisted, because, "we have systems that can intercept hypersonics."

Popov then reminded Zhuravlyov that Russia's "oil depot and military units in Belgorod are being hit every day," meaning that Russia's defenses are "not intercepting everything."

Watch below via Julia Davis, the resident expert Russia analyst at The Daily Beast and founder of the Russian Media Monitor:

Thursday's back and forth was not the first time that the Kremlin's spokespeople have sparred in recent days over Putin's potential snapping of the global atomic taboo. Last Friday, Popov broke ranks with his on-air colleagues' excitement over the destructive power of the Sarmat.

When "you propose the strike with the Sarmat, no one will survive in this war. Do you understand that no one will survive? No one on the planet," Popov said in response to Zhuravlyov, who advocated for obliterating Great Britain and other NATO states with the Sarmat.

'Is he okay?': Questions emerge about Donald Trump Jr.'s wellbeing following ballistic video tantrum

Donald Trump Jr. is not coping well with Monday's leak of the United States Supreme Court's draft majority opinion ending abortion rights – but not because millions of his fellow citizens will lose their fundamental liberties.

On Wednesday morning, Junior posted a video to Rumble in which he completely freaked out over the fact that a forthcoming Supreme Court ruling was prematurely made public.

The three-minute video began with an overly stimulated Junior flailing around, shouting about privacy, and demanding a "criminal investigation" into the leak (there is no evidence so far that any laws were broken):

Well guys, you saw the leak from the Supreme Court, an unprecedented thing. This kind of stuff doesn't happen. I don't know that I'm ever aware of a leak. This is not like Congress where everything leaks, and trust me I've done enough testimony. Things are leaking during, uh, closed-door hearings. I get it. The Supreme Court doesn't have leaks. If there's not a thorough criminal investigation into who leaked privileged documents about a draft decision from the United States Supreme Court – where a small, small, tiny handful of people have access to it – then we live in a clown show state. We live in a clown show state, folks.

Junior said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation should spearhead his desired probe because it once looked into a suspected noose that was hanging from a garage door belonging to NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, which turned out to be nothing.

There is no connection between the Wallace incident and the Supreme Court leak.

"If they don't send people to investigate this, then again, we live in a clown show state," he reiterated.

Next, Junior alleged without presenting any proof that a "pissed off leftist" for whom "the media will run cover" was behind the breach. He equated the leak to a "general coordinating with communist China, giving Chinese generals examples of what our response would be."

Junior then boasted that "this may be the first time in history that a Supreme Court opinion has leaked. I'm not aware of another time and I dunno that any of you are either."

This is incorrect, as the Court's original Roe versus Wade decision was leaked ahead of time.

Junior then thundered over the following 90 seconds that the leak was part of a coordinated effort by "the left" to manipulate the November midterm elections. Here, again, he did not offer anything to support his manic assumption.

Watch below:

What captured the attention of observers of social media, however, was Junior's ballistic behavior. The Twitterverse suspected that Junior's rapid-fire rant was indicative of substance abuse.

Junior's hypothesis was also shot down.

So was his apparent lack of self-awareness.

Twitter clobbers abortion rights nemesis Marsha Blackburn for kvetching about personal privacy

Less than 48 hours after the leak of a United States Supreme Court majority opinion reversing Roe versus Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania versus Casey, a right-wing congressional lawmaker is bellyaching about privacy concerns. Roe was decided in 1973 on the basis of constitutional privacy.

On Wednesday afternoon, anti-abortion Senator Marsha Blackburn – the Tennessee Republican who in 2010 earned a spot on the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)'s "most corrupt list" – shared her disdain for COVID-19 contact tracing on cell phones.

The program was introduced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the peak of the pandemic (when Donald Trump was president) as a means of anonymously tracking individuals' exposure to the coronavirus. Alerts would be sent to subscribed users –who could opt out – notifying them that they may be at risk of contracting SARS-COV-2, based on their proximity to known infected people. It was a handy tool in the days before vaccines were widely available, especially in densely-populated urban areas like New York City. The feature's availability continued into President Joe Biden's administration as inoculations increased and new variants emerged.

But Blackburn, as she so often does, grossly distorted reality and inculpated Biden in a non-existent plot to engineer a mass invasion of Americans' privacy.

"Biden’s CDC tracked millions of phones to monitor how Americans were following their COVID mandates," wrote Blackburn. "This is a blatant invasion of privacy, and it seems to be an unfortunate reoccurring theme with this administration."

Blackburn's hypocrisy, meanwhile, stemmed from two posts she made a few hours prior in which she carped about how the leaked Supreme Court document prevented the Justices from deliberating – in secret.

"Let the Supreme Court do their job, and let them do it without an activist working to micromanage the outcome," Blackburn said.

"I have no doubt that the Chief Justice [John Roberts] will work to root out the radical activist that betrayed the sacred tradition of the court. The leaker must be immediately removed from their position and exiled from the legal community," Blackburn whinged before dawn.

Users were not fooled. Blackburn's sanctimoniousness is part of an established pattern of behavior.

Moreover, on Tuesday, night, Blackburn also accused Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) of "attempting to silence, threaten and intimidate the Supreme Court."

Not only is that false, but it is precisely what conservatives are working tirelessly to do to women throughout this country.

Last month, Blackburn further entrenched herself in her own nonsense when she tweeted, "Reminder: the word abortion does not appear in the Constitution."

Twitter offered some reminders of its own.

Blackburn is also a stalwart parroter of Trump's Big Lie about the 2020 election, rendering her complaints about anything as moot.