Daily Kos

Why do videos keep emerging of Russian soldiers acting like zombies in Ukraine?

When people hear the term “hypothermia,” they tend to picture travelers trapped in endless snowdrifts, or huddling on some high ridge of a mountain whipped by raging gales. But it doesn’t take extreme conditions to put people into extreme duress.

Last Tuesday, what should have been a relatively simple hike at Zion National Park by a healthy couple in their early 30’s, turned into tragedy when temperatures dropped and both were incapacitated by hypothermia. One of them died.

A few years ago, three hikers—a father and his two young sons—died within a few miles of my home when they took a wrong turn hiking in the Ozarks and got caught out in a cold rain. It was 65°F (18°C) when they started out, before falling into the 40s. Hypothermia can set in at temperatures well above freezing when conditions are bad. Add wind. Add rain. Add prolonged exposure. Many cases of hypothermia occur at temperatures where people might not even think to reach for a jacket.

But death is only the final act of hypothermia. Well before that last act there is a classic suite of symptoms: exhaustion, confusion, loss of coordination, loss of memory, slurred speech, extreme drowsiness. Put all this together, and it could explain what’s happening with Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.

One of the subjects we’ve returned to over and over since Vladimir Putin launched his illegal invasion of Ukraine is how Russia’s culture of thievery and corruption has left their army short at every point. Whether it’s supposedly amphibious vehicles sinking into rivers because their seals haven’t been serviced, or rows of trucks left idle by rotting tires, funds that were supposed to go to maintaining Russian equipment went into the pocket of some colonel, general, or oligarch. Electronics, and even engines, have been stripped out of tanks.

Many of Russia’s supposed wonder weapons including the Su-57 jet, have been barely present in the fight because Russia has so few operational systems that it doesn’t dare risk them. The T-14 Armata tank, which first rolled out for a Victory Day Parade in 2014, has yet to take the field. Only a handful of T-90 tanks, which started production in 1992, have been seen in Ukraine. T-62 tanks dating from the 1960s, and even T-55 tanks from the 1950s, have been far more common.

That’s all just the big equipment. But the more obvious shortfall of the Russian supply chain isn’t the seen in the aging hardware rolling slowly down the roads. It’s the people standing in the mud.

It’s not just outdated helmets and summer-weight uniforms that are the issue. Russian forces have been told they need to bring their own sleeping bags. They’ve been making tents out of plastic wrap.

There’s absolutely no doubt that both Russian and Ukrainian forces are existing in miserable conditions, especially on the long established front lines where trench warfare has become unspeakable during the fall mud season. As temperatures in Ukraine drift ever lower, forces on both sides are left dealing with a half-frozen muddy slush, saturated clothing, and days of spitting snow and icy rain.

However, Ukrainian forces seem to be doing an infinitely better job at obtaining what they need to fight under these conditions, as well as creating conditions where people can at least temporarily get out of the freezing mud, to warm up and have a hot meal.

On the other hand, Russia seems to be doing little to assure decent conditions for its troops on the front lines, especially in the area around Bakhmut, where Russia has resorting to throwing a near constant set of human waves at the entrenched Ukrainian positions. (Which is why the Ukrainian military continues to report over 500 Russian deaths a day.)

But in the last couple of weeks, there has been something just … weird. Video after video in which Russian forces barely seem to react to imminent threats. In general, Daily Kos avoids posting images or videos in which people are clearly being killed or severely injured. This is an exception, because it’s not just genuinely odd, it’s an example of a whole class of similar videos.

Ukraine correspondent Tom Warner has the same conclusion after showing this video that we’ve been walking through here—these men are freezing to death. Their body temperatures have lowered to the point where they are so incapable of motion that even a bomb landing in their midst isn’t a reason to stir.

And it’s still November.

Russia keeps making statements about how armies have always made the mistake of attacking Russia in winter as if, somehow, this is a portable defense. But now it’s Russia that is away from home, trying to occupy an area in bitter conditions at the end of overstrained supply lines. They are going to lose so, so many men this winter.

This doesn’t mean that every foolish action by Russians in Ukraine at this point is fueled by hypothermia. They are not. Russia took plenty of boneheaded actions when the weather was warm, and there have even been videos of Russians behaving not too dissimilar to the group above over many months. But there does seem to be a special cluster of WTF going on along the eastern front at the moment, and a bad case of chilled down brains seems as good an explanation as any.

RUSSIA’S DESPERATE MISSILE GAMBLE

As of late November, Russia seems even more fixed on destroying Ukrainian infrastructure. Those attacks, waged with both missiles and drones, have done billions of dollars in damage and left cities from Kyiv to Lviv in the dark for many hours of the day. However, Ukraine’s other army — the one composed of electricians, carpenters, and construction crews, remains on the job. Many of the damaged substations around Kyiv have now been repaired and the government is expecting increased hours of power over the next week.

Electricity has even been restored to Kherson, where on Saturday the lights went back on in some hospitals and other critical infrastructure. Crews are now working on restoring power to individual homes. Ukraine is even getting assistance from what may be an unexpected source — a member of Russia’s crumbling CSTO alliance.

Destroying Ukrainian civilian infrastructure for the express purpose of attempting to freeze the populace into accepting Russian occupation is a war crime. However, that’s not Russia’s biggest problem with this strategy. The biggest problem is that it’s becoming increasingly ineffective.

Even as Russia releases more and more drones / missiles at a time, Ukraine is getting better at shooting them down. Some of that is made possible by new air defense systems that have appeared in Ukrainian cities. Some of it is simply more experience in using existing weapons against the ubiquitous Shahed-136 drone. All of which is leading Russia into what seems like an incredibly desperate measure. That measure can be found in this update from the British MOD.

Go read that again. Russia is taking AS-15 missiles, removing the nuclear warhead, and sticking on a block of something to act as a counterweight to keep the missile flying as designed. Then its throwing this dead weight at Ukraine. It would definitely be unpleasant to be in a house or apartment building hit by one of these things, as that weight on the end is about 410kg (900lbs).

But the biggest reason Russia is launching these is just to put something else in the air. They’re just decoys sent in the hopes that they’ll allow another missile to get through against Ukraine’s constantly improving rate of shoot-downs.

Russia is cannibalizing it’s nuclear arsenal to provide decoys in hopes of taking out electrical substations in Ukraine. That’s pretty amazing.

THESE TANKS ARE NOT ABOUT TO SAVE RUSSIA IS SVATOVE

This video of a column of roughly 40 Russian T-80U tanks has been posted multiple times in the last few days with claims that it is moving “in the direction of Svatove.” However, there’s no reason to think this image is from that area, or even from this year. None of the tanks seems to be marked with a “Z” or any of the other identifying symbols that have been used in this war. The cars that are mingled in the mix either have no plate, or the very wide plate characteristic of the Russian federation. In any case, Russia has already lost at least 89 documented T-80U and another 176 T-80BV tanks since the invasion began.

GOP civil war in House, Senate escalates as factions splinter

The would-be leaders of the Republican House and Senate conferences are in for some wild times as recriminations and power struggles take precedence in both chambers. In the House, the tiny majority Republicans has every faction plotting how they’ll control Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. In the Senate, leader Mitch McConnell is under pretty much daily attack from Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the guy who blew all of the National Republican Senate Committee’s money and is still blaming McConnell for not winning the majority.

There are still five uncalled House races, but it’s looking like McCarthy will have a 222-213 majority. He needs 218 to become speaker and to pass anything, and right now, that’s in jeopardy. Two Republicans—Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Andy Biggs of Arizona—have said flat out they won’t vote for him as speaker. Two more, Reps. Matt Rosendale of Montana and Bob Good of Virginia, have signaled that they are opposed to McCarthy, but haven’t definitively said they’ll vote against him. Biggs challenged McCarthy in last week’s vote and got 31 votes.

McCarthy is clearly chasing those votes. He’s already all but promised Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia MAGA maniac, that she’ll get a coveted Oversight Committee post. He’s also vowed that he’ll kick Democrats off of committees in retaliation for the Democrats stripping Greene and Paul Gosar of committee assignments. He’ll oust Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the Select Committee on Intelligence (which he can do because it’s not a standing committee) and Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs, which is subject to a vote of the full House. All of this is to court the maniacs.

Which leaves a fairly large group of moderate Republicans (and calling a bunch of people who didn’t agree to birth control as a right “moderate” means we need better political descriptors) feeling like they can exert some pressure of their own.

“Kevin’s not stupid,” said Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio, leader of the Republican Governance Group. “He’s trying to add to his numbers, not destroy his base. And so I count on his political acumen to know what’s acceptable to the rank and file inside the conference.” Joyce is clearly in flattery mode with McCarthy, because he’s rarely characterized by his smarts, political or otherwise.

Two other groups, the Main Street Caucus and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, are strategizing about how to influence him as well. The latter group has about 50 members, and while they’ve never solved any problems, they could definitely trip McCarthy up, if those 50 members can remain unified. “We just want to make the group more accountable … I mean, the whole point of our group is to stick together on the floor when we endorse bills,” Republican Brian Fitzpatrick said. He also told Politico that even Freedom Caucus members have approached him about potential alliances. Which kind of shoots the whole “problem solving” moniker to hell since the maniacs are the problem.

The Main Street Caucus of Republicans, Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska says, has nearly 90 members and is sick of the maniacs. “It’s time we flex our muscles,” he said. Last week Bacon floated the possibility that his group would work with Democrats to find a candidate for speaker, later saying the the report “mischaracterized his remarks” and that he was pro-McCarthy. So how effective his group will be in blocking the maniacs is questionable.

While McCarthy is trying to wrangle all that, McConnell has his own group of nihilists to fend off. He retained his leadership position in a secret ballot last week, with 10 members voting against him and one voting present, with Scott challenging. It’s been open warfare between McConnell and Scott and their allies for months now, each blaming the other for the fact that Republicans had such a poor showing in Senate races.

To be fair to McConnell (which tells you just how odious Scott is), there’s the fact that Scott has used his position at the NRSC for grift and is still doing it. His NRSC team just sent out another email ostensibly raising money for Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff, but with 98% of the money going to the NRSC, 2% to “Team Rick Scott” and 2% to Walker. If the past is any guidance, a good portion of that NRSC money is going to go to Scott as well.

That fight is still on thanks to Tucker Carlson and Blake Masters, the failed Arizona GOP Senate candidate (who was viewed less favorably by voters than Roy Moore was in his failed race for the Senate in Alabama—after all the news reports that he creeped on teenaged girls when he was in his 30s). Masters blasted McConnell for his loss.

“You know what else is incompetent, Tucker? The establishment. The people who control the purse strings,” Masters said. “Had he chosen to spend money in Arizona, this race would be over. We’d be celebrating a Senate majority right now.”

As that charge results in even more national stories about the Republican civil war, more right-wing pundits take sides, raising the temperature even more.

With the Senate majority secured, Democrats are working hard to increase it by one and return Sen. Raphael Warnock in the Georgia runoff. They’re also enjoying the show. “My advice is to keep on doing what they are doing,” said Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, who led Senate Democrats’ campaign committee to victory this cycle.

'If Willy Wonka benefited from apartheid': John Oliver rips Twitter’s Elon Musk as advertisers jump ship

John Oliver ripped Musk’s recent $44 billion purchase of Twitter, opening his Sunday night segment of Last Week Tonight with, “It has now been three weeks since it was taken over by Elon Musk, a man who answers the question, ‘What if Willy Wonka benefited from apartheid?’”

Oliver began by slamming Musk’s initial entrance into the company headquarters when the Tesla CEO walked in carrying a sink, and then tweeted, “Let that sink in.” As Daily Kos reported, it didn’t take long after Musk’s late October takeover for the racist floodgates to open and the use of the N-word to proliferate.

“One analysis [found] the use of a racial slur spiking nearly 500% in the 12 hours after his deal was finalized, which is pretty shocking,” Oliver said, adding, “even for a website where a regular trending topic is sometimes just ‘The Jews.’ That happens constantly. You’ll log in and see 30,000 people tweeting about ‘The Jews’ on a Tuesday afternoon, and you do not want to click to find out why.”

Oliver said that Musk had initially tried to lower the bar, explaining that his newly bought company would “do lots of dumb things in coming months.” At which point Oliver talked about Musk’s infamous attempt at charging users $8 a month to verify their accounts.

Twitter initially used blue checkmarks to verify that notable people and companies were who they said they were. Musk’s new pay-to-play “Twitter Blue” program, which removed verification processes and instead sells a blue check to anyone with $8, led to a slew of counterfeit accounts



But the list of Musk misfires continues to grow. After sacking a massive number of Twitter executives and other employees in the first days after acquiring the company, Musk also removed explainer tags for trending topics, “a feature that previously helped add greater context and combated misinformation,” Oliver said, adding that #RIPJimmyFallon was recently trending without any further information.

Oliver went on to say that all of Musk’s shenanigans have taken a toll on the platform, explaining that advertisers have begun pulling revenue, “General Mills, GM [General Motors], United Airlines and Pfizer,” Oliver noted.

Essence Magazine reports that Balenciaga, Eli Lilly, Playbill, Audi, and Volkswagen have all left the platform. Additionally, a long list of celebrities have also walked away from Twitter: Whoopi Goldberg, Toni Braxton, Shonda Rhimes, Micky Foley, Gigi Hadid, Brian Koppelman, and Téa Leoni, to name a few.

A director of a “medium sized b2b tech company” tweeted Monday an explanation of why they were “pausing” their Twitter ads, citing “serious brand safety issues,” with ads “next to awful content” and “replies to our posts with hardcore antisemitism and adult spam,” even after it was flagged.

Another monumentally “dumb thing” Musk recently did was to allow former President Donald Trump’s account to be reinstated on the platform.

Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League weighed in: “For @elonmusk to allow Donald Trump back on Twitter, ostensibly after a brief poll, shows he is not remotely serious about safeguarding the platform from hate, harassment and misinformation.”

Oliver commented that Musk’s online persona has been a “fun troll,” but according to a recent appearance, it seems as if “the fun may have worn off for him.”

Oliver then showed a video of Musk speaking at the B20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, where Musk appeared virtually. He talked about working day and night on the platform, to which Oliver screamed, “Holy shit,” adding, “That man is in every possible sense, in a very dark place. The entire vibe of that video is ‘Wizard of Oz’ suicide note.”

Oliver ended his Twitter segment by concluding that Musk seems clueless about the platform’s direction and, and as others have said, doubtful it will survive. “He paid roughly $44 billion for a company that he is now demolishing at every turn,” The New Republic’s Matt Ford wrote.

Oliver said:

“He’s decimated his staff and degraded his product, and sure, he could try and sell what’s left of Twitter, or it can continue functioning worse than before as his free-for-all digital clown town … And while the potential collapse of this site has been sad for the workers and for those who have relied on it, there is undeniably something a little satisfying about a guy who was so desperate to be perceived as cool and funny on the internet that he paid $44 billion to make it happen, only to discover that he still somehow couldn’t afford it.

It took House GOP just one day to show why Democrats need to bomb-proof everything while they can

It’s going exactly how Republicans promised it would if they took the House: vengeance. Nothing but vengeance. Policy agenda? As if.

The first press conference of their majority Thursday, was from the Oversight and Judiciary Committee chairs laying out the number one target for their vendetta. It was all Hunter Biden’s laptop, all the time. A thing that is entirely not real.

On the second day of their majority, Rep. Jim Jordan’s Judiciary committee sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain demanding the testimony of White House staff about the administration’s “misuse of federal criminal and counterterrorism resources to target concerned parents at school board meetings.” Another thing that never happened. All four of the people they are demanding testimony from are women, and some are women of color.

That was just the start. Jordan also sent letters to Justice, the FBI, Departments of Education, and Homeland Security telling them to “anticipate requiring testimony, either in hearings or transcribed interviews” from dozens more officials, many again of whom are people of color and women.

What about inflation? What about gas prices? What about fentanyl? What about violent crime? What about immigration? What about making sure everyone can afford to go to Disneyland?

As if.

They are not interested in making government work. They won’t try to make government work. Which is why it is imperative that Democrats do all the stuff while they have the majority. That includes figuring out how to put the debt ceiling out of their reach, just for a start. That one’s a necessity.

So is doing the least they can on protecting the next presidential election by pushing the electoral count reforms through. We have some breathing room on that with the great results in some swing state elections, but fixing this is important, particularly now that larger election reforms can’t get done.

It would also be super smart to revive the child tax credit monthly payments from the 2021 COVID-19 relief bill Democrats passed, and generally do do everything they possibly can to help regular people and to make a very big deal out of it—the Democrats’ Christmas Gift to America—to start making the case for 2024.

Which will have to happen the week after next, because they’re already gone until after Thanksgiving. Oh, well. In the meantime, enjoy the Washington Post showing us what a fool Kevin McCarthy is, and relish how his red wave became a pink dribble.

How McCarthy wrongly predicted a House 'red wave' youtu.be

Appointment of highly regarded special counsel Jack Smith viewed as sign Trump is in legal jeopardy

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday named longtime federal prosecutor Jack Smith special counsel to oversee two Justice Department probes of Donald Trump and determine whether he should be indicted.

Smith will now oversee two ongoing federal investigations into Trump's involvement in the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and his storage of highly sensitive materials at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

Smith, who is anything but a household name, is well-known within legal circles as a "scrappy... no-nonsense, hard-charger," as former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade told MSNBC shortly after the announcement.

Smith also appears to be a veteran of navigating highly charged situations. He has overseen war crimes investigations at the International Criminal Court, led the Justice Department's public integrity unit, been appointed the first assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, and, most recently, served as a war crimes prosecutor at The Hague. In fact, Garland said Smith was flying back from that post to accept his appointment as special counsel.

McQuade took his appointment as a sign the department's investigations into Trump have taken a serious turn.

"The one thing I find most significant," she said, "is you don't need to appoint a special counsel just to decline a case. You don't call in a Jack Smith, someone with incredible credentials, incredible reputation, pull him out of The Hague to do this work, unless you think there is a very high likelihood that one of these cases is going to result in charges. So that's my read."

McQuade's take was shared by some other legal observers. Former federal prosecutor and legal analyst Renato Mariotti tweeted, “If Merrick Garland didn’t think there was a serious possibility that Trump would be indicted, he wouldn’t have appointed a special counsel.”

Mariotti added that Garland “didn’t appoint Jack Smith to wind down these investigations.”

While some legal observers wished Garland had simply made the call himself, Smith was generally embraced as a good choice for the job. Notably, he has not been charged with recreating the work already undertaken by Justice Department prosecutors.

"Jack Smith is a solid pick," tweeted Joyce Vance White, a law school professor and MSNBC legal analyst. "His experience as specialist prosecutor for Kosovo suggests he can move into a serious, difficult ongoing investigation, run with it, & indict cases that should be indicted."

Highly regarded constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe said he could think of "no one better suited" for the job, and former member of the Mueller team Andrew Weissmann added that Smith is a "very aggressive prosecutor who represents the best of the Department."

If the Justice Department ultimately does indict Trump, it will be ugly no matter who pulls the trigger. No amount of separation between a Biden-appointed attorney general and the career prosecutor who made the call will assuage Trump supporters.

That said, there's a case to be made that by virtue of not being a political appointee, Smith will be better situated to make a decision based on the evidence alone. His appointment could also add an extra layer of transparency. If Smith recommends indicting Trump, and Garland then rejects that determination, Garland will be required to explain that decision to the public.

Here's a quick explainer of what happened with crypto giant FTX — and how the GOP is lying about it

If you are online or have paid a little bit of attention over the past week, you’ve probably heard about FTX (short for “Futures Exchange”) and its various connected companies crashing and burning in the marketplace. What does it all mean? To be completely honest, it is mostly crypto Ponzi scheme magic unfolding in real time. On Nov. 11, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (who is also known by the moniker “SBF”) announced he was stepping down and his crypto exchange was filing for bankruptcy. On Wednesday, FTX Digital Markets, based in the Bahamas, filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protections in New York. Chapter 15 is what you do when you want U.S. protections for a company that is “based” offshore.

FTX had been touted as, The New York Times puts it, the most stable and responsible companies in the freewheeling, loosely regulated crypto industry.” In January it was valued at an estimated $32 billion. It turns out that this reputation was based on … nothing. It was based on magic. It has very quickly unfolded that the unregulated crypto exchange, with “digital assets” in a range between $10 billion and $50 billion,* was giving out billions in loans using customers’ money and just doing all sorts of (alleged) securities fraud, regular fraud, banking fraud, and wire fraud behavior.

However, conservatives (and Elon Musk) are seizing on the connections the Democratic Party had with SBF. Bankman-Fried was a big Democratic donator this past cycle. The now 30-year-old Bankman-Fried, who went from being worth about $17 billion to nothing in about a week, wasn’t the only person at the top of the FTX food chain giving money to politicians. His co-CEO, Ryan Salame, was donating at a pace that was neck and neck with SBF, except his donations went to conservatives.

*For comparison, Enron had $60 billion in assets when it filed for bankruptcy in 2006.

In the beginning, FTX said that the company’s sudden plunge in stock numbers were the result of an old time-y run on the bank. Then the full extent of this rose-colored glasses “run on the bank” began to unfold. A timeline:

The largest U.S. crypto exchange, CoinDesk, published a report on Alameda Research (Bankman-Fried’s original FTX crypto trading firm) and its leaked balance sheet. This revealed that Alameda Research was wildly overleveraged by the FTT token issued by FTX itself. This is the equivalent of me telling you that I have tons of money in the bank and when you look at my vault, you see that the “money” I have are pictures of my cats with word bubbles saying “I.O.U purrr.”

FTX customers began trading off their digital assets and hitting FTX with a reported $5 billion in withdrawal requests, forcing the firm to pause customer withdrawals. FTX quickly realized it needed to find big investors.

Then the other crypto trade and exchange giant, Binance, announced that it would be getting out of the FTX token business. This led FTT token prices to beginning to drop exchange value of over $26 a coin to a lot less over the next few hours. FTT sits at $1.56 as of the writing of this story.

The following day, Binance announced it had reached a deal with its rival to buy out FTX. Twenty-four hours after that, Binance walked away from this deal, stating that “as a result of corporate due diligence, as well as the latest news reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged US agency investigations, we have decided that we will not pursue the potential acquisition of FTX.com.”

Two days later, Alameda Research filed for bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal reported that Bankman-Fried was telling his investors that Alameda Research owed FTX about $10 billion. By then, SBF had also resigned his position. Why did his one company owe this other company more than half of the other company’s supposed customers’ money? You don’t have to be a finance wizard to understand.

Bankman-Fried seems to have used most of his customers’ money (FTX) in order to cover loans his trading firm (Alameda Research) had received to gamble with but had lost.

The following day, reports came out that “between $1 billion and $2 billion in client money is unaccounted.”

Politico reports that some of that money being spread around Congress is being given back symbolically right now:

Campaigns for Reps. Chuy García (D-Ill.) and Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) have given local charities money equal to the amount they received from FTX leaders, according to their spokespeople.

But I thought this was a big Democratic Party money-laundering scam? Bankman-Fried reportedly funneled almost $40 million into Democratic Party hands through direct contributions and super PACs.

What has been lost in all of this is that is Salame served as co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets Ltd., hanging in the Bahamas with Bankman-Fried. Instead of showering Dems with money like SBF, Salame donated around $24 million to Republicans. Between the two men, their bases were covered. Anyway, as The Berkshire Eagle points out, Salame, just like Bankman-Fried, has some dubious finance questions to answer. One of the FTX units, FTV Trading Ltd., seems to have an outstanding loan with Salame of (checks notes) $55 million. Yeeghaaaad, man!

As of right now, Forbes reports that lawyers for the “liquidators” of FTX are battling between whether to allow the Chapter 15 filing for the Bahamas-based business to take place in Delaware or New York. FTX has turned over control of the bankruptcy of the company to John J. Ray III. If you remember that name, it’s because he was the same “restructuring specialist” who handled Enron’s collapse.

Is this the last you and I will speak about FTX?

Probably not. Throw it on the Hunter Biden pile of investigations.

The sad part here is that there really is something here to investigate, and there is a very good chance that lots of elected politicians with red and blue badges have some skin in the game. Unfortunately, Marjorie Taylor Greene isn’t the kind of broken clock that tells the time right twice a day—she’s special in that way. The crypto world is made up of a lot of Ponzi schemes. Some might argue there is no crypto market that isn’t a Ponzi scheme.

Nicholas Weaver is a senior staff researcher at the International Computer Science Institute and lecturer in the computer science department at UC Berkeley. He has been very critical of cryptocurrencies. During an interview in May, he said the last decade with unregulated cryptocurrency markets open to the world has been like speed-running 500 years of financial history” with booms and busts and every example of why regulatory markets were adopted in our financial market in the first place.

The fact of the matter is that there is a good chance more crypto exchanges and trading firms will go down in flames with the failure of FTX. How deep FTX’s penetration is into the market on the whole remains to be seen, and what will come of this in regards to oversight also remains to be seen. It is a big fish going down, and there will be all kinds of waves.

And how about this.

And this is also interesting.

'This is kind of a big deal, we think': GOP implores media to 'keep it about Hunter Biden' during first press conference

Guess who may have made up to $640 million from ‘outside income’ while in the White House? It has been less than 24 hours since the Republican Party became the official majority party in the coming term. And while this majority is slim and restricts their abilities, while leaving open the possibilities of some legislative actions for Democrats to continue pursuing, what it does allow them to do is investigate stuff using congressional committee oversight powers.

Guess what the new House Oversight Committee said it would be investigating.

Jan. 6? No.

The billions (with a “B”) Jared Kushner and the Trump family have seemingly been able to secure from countries like China and Saudi Arabia? No.

Literally any pressing matter of national security or growing domestic threat? Nope.

What Americans need, the GOP seems to believe, is a thorough fact-finding mission into Hunter Biden’s laptop! Hillary’s emails and Benghazi are all worn out from the previous time the Republican Party controlled the House, and according to the press conference that the GOP held today, this Biden laptop thing will allow them to investigate and investigate and investigate until they can hopefully take control of the government again and forget about their baseless investigations.

First House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member Republican James Comer of Kentucky stood in front of the press, flanked by Rep. Jim I-should-be-being-investigated-for-complicity-in-the-sexual-molestation-of-athletes-under-my-charge Jordan. Here are some of the things they did not want to talk about concerning the first order of business for the Republican majority:

  • Inflation
  • Civil rights
  • Abortion
  • Policy
  • Policy
  • Policy

After talking about how Hunter Biden was a drug addict who may or may not have paid sex workers for sex, Comer explained that Hunter Biden may have also used his name to try and get lucrative jobs. Now, you may be asking yourself, how is this something for a Congressional oversight committee to waste time and resources over? Because Comer promises this will be about Joe Biden. Comer then proceeded to say they had secret sources, while not being able to provide a single shred of evidence not already publicly available. None of which implicate President Joe Biden in corruption.

After Comer spoke, Jim I-stayed-quiet-while-young-man-after-young-man-after-young-man-pleaded-with-me-for-help Jordan spoke some more about Hunter Biden and how the FBI needed to also be investigated over this Hunter Biden matter of extreme importance, Comer came back to tell everyone that he only wanted questions about … Hunter Biden.

To be clear, this “investigation” is going to be spent attacking the Department of Justice, the FBI, Hunter Biden, his super “real” laptop, a lot of hyped-up bs about national security, and President Joe Biden, and it is going to stretch for as long as they can possibly stand to talk about it—and that will be a while—on Fox News and OAN, 24/7, with live coverage all the way up to next Election Day.

It will serve a couple of purposes for the GOP. It will allow them to have some conspiracy theory scandal to promote to MAGA-world. It will potentially degrade trust in real criminal and federal investigations into Jan. 6 and the other many and various crimes of the previous administration. It will give the GOP something to do while they don’t create any policy or offer up anything to help Americans who need help. And if they get lucky, milk and/or gas will cost less someday, and they can say they did that, too.

Three football players killed in fatal University of Virginia shooting, suspect in custody

A suspect has been captured in relation to a fatal shooting at the University of Virginia on Sunday. Police took 22-year-old Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. in custody and charged him with murder on Monday after three members of the University of Virginia football team were fatally shot at a parking garage on campus; two others were injured.

According to The Washington Post, Jones was a freshman on the football team in 2018 but allegedly did not appear at any games. Officials noted that the students shot at were all on the same bus “full of students” returning from a field trip, and while the motive has not yet been determined, the students were all once teammates.

The deceased students were identified as Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D'Sean Perry, UVA President Jim Ryan said during a press conference. The two others who were injured were not identified.

“This is a sad, shocking and tragic day for our UVA community,” Ryan said at a press conference Monday. “Let me say how deeply sorry I am for the victims and for their family and friends.”

“This is a message any leader hopes never to have to send, and I am devastated that this violence has visited the University of Virginia,” Ryan wrote in an open letter shared on social media. “This is a traumatic incident for everyone in our community.”

Prior to taking Jones into custody, the university's emergency management issued an alert on Twitter of an "active attacker firearm."

"People have been locked down in libraries all night. Everyone (is) definitely shaken up," Luke, a student who preferred that his last name be withheld for privacy reasons, told USA TODAY in an email. "We are in deep prayer for the victims and for their families right now."

Late Monday morning, the shelter-in-place order was lifted after a "thorough search" on and around the campus, police said.

"There has been a shooting on Culbreth Road and the suspect is at large and considered armed and dangerous," Ryan said in a tweet.

According to USA TODAY, Jones faces three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun to commit a felony, UVA Police Chief Tim Longo said. This incident was also not the first time Jones caught the attention of the police: He attracted attention in September as well after someone reported he commented about having a gun, but no reports were made as no one actually saw him with a weapon.

Several elected officials in Virginia also spoke about the shooting on social media.

"This morning, Suzanne and I are praying for the UVA community," Gov. Glenn Youngkin said on Twitter, referring to his wife, Suzanne Youngkin.

"Heartbroken to hear of another Virginia community devastated by gun violence," Sen. Tim Kaine said in a tweet. "Praying for the UVA community and closely monitoring the situation."



Across the country, mass shootings have increased amid debates on gun control and legislation. According to CNN, at least 68 shootings have occurred nationwide including on 15 college campuses. To this day, the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history remains the 2007 attack at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, where a 23-year-old student killed 32 people before dying by suicide.

Ukraine update: 'Organized withdrawal of troops of the first line is impossible' in Kherson

Those days when a Russian position is clearly crumbling? Those are the best days.

On Saturday evening in Ukraine, Russia has once again targeted electrical production and transmission facilities with missile and drone attacks, causing blackouts that involve a large percentage of the population, including the majority of Kyiv. However, this appears to be about the only “good news” on Russian state media and Telegram channels. Because the situation in Kherson appears to be coming to a head sooner than expected.

On Saturday morning, Russian officials called for “immediate evacuation” of the city of Kherson. Officials seem to have followed this order by swiftly hopping on a boat and departing. There have also been reports that over the last two weeks Russia has been subbing in freshly mobilized troops for experienced fighters, while getting the forces who know which end of a rifle to hold across the river. There are also efforts reportedly underway to evacuate Russian personnel from the filtration camp at Beryslav.

Over the course of the day, these withdrawals appear to have become evident on the front lines. There are multiple reports of abandoned Russian positions, some of which have even been confirmed by the Ukrainian general staff (which is usually reluctant to report anything happening near the actual front line). It’s possible that the front line in Kherson is simply collapsing. That may be particularly true if those reports that the line has been replaced by inexperienced and recently mobilized troops. As soon as those guys no longer had someone holding a gun to their back, running away likely seemed like a Real Good Thing.

Ferries are reportedly doing frequent and rapid trips across the river on Saturday night in Ukraine, with Russians hoping to get as much across they can, while keeping an eye out for incoming HIMARS fire.

As Wagner Group Telegram channel GrayZone puts it: “The situation is even worse than in the Kharkiv region after the breakthrough to Balakliya. In fact, the implementation of an organized withdrawal of troops of the first line is impossible.”

GrayZone worked this into a lengthy post that included such stirring phrases as “a tale of the city of the Scythian sun has not yet sounded in our ears, but the air has already been saturated with a familiar unpleasant aftertaste that leaves a lump in the throat.” That could be Google Translate straining at the seams. Or a lot of vodka. In any case, they also took this opportunity to complain about Russian leadership wasting drones on civilian targets, and to metaphorically roll their eyes at the scheme to blow the Nova Kakhovka dam then blame it on Ukraine. Because nobody, not even pro-Russian military bloggers, would buy that story.

Every single source now seems to expect that the end of Russian occupation in Kherson isn’t going to be measured in weeks or months. It’s a matter of days. How many days is the only question. And it’s not going to be an orderly withdrawal with Russian tanks all neatly ferried across the Dnipro. It’s going to end with Russian forces clawing, or maybe shooting, to get that last spot on board.

What’s especially interesting, is that these Russian sources can see where things are going next, and understand well enough what caused them to lose the largest city they had managed to occupy in this invasion.

The enemy has absolutely no motive to blow up the hydroelectric power station. The Armed Forces of Ukraine plan to take Melitopol in the spring. It plans to open a battlefront in the Zaporizhzhia region, and also to attack from Kherson. So I subjectively believe that the enemy has no goals to destroy the already abandoned city [Kherson], which we simply do not have the opportunity to defend, not so much due to the smallness of forces and means, but in broken logistics.

Right now, there are a lot of reports of Russian positions being abandoned, but little visual confirmation that Ukraine has moved into these locations. In part, that may be because it’s currently 11PM in Kyiv. When the sun comes up, expect to see some images and videos from locations that have been on the red side of the line for months.

Reports that Russia’s front line in the north is collapsing. (open in another tab for a closer look)

Right now, there are reports that Chkalove and Charivne have been abandoned. The Chkalove claim has been supported by the Ukrainian general staff. It seems unlikely that these locations would be reported unless this also means that Ukrainian forces were currently there on the ground, but that still needs confirmation. Those locations cut deep into the formerly Russian-occupied area and make it possible for Ukraine to encircle any Russian forces that may remain in the area of Bruskynske. But there may be no one, as there were unconfirmed reports on Friday that this town was back on the Ukraine side of the divide. On Saturday, there are unconfirmed reports that Ukrainian forces have entered Mylove on the east, and have moved as far down as Chervomnyi Yar near the center of the line, several kilometers behind what has been the front over the last three weeks.

If all of this is confirmed, it seems that Russia’s northern line in Kherson is gone, and it’s not clear where, of if, Russian forces will form up again.

At Snihurivka, local sources report a large explosion at midday. Reports are that this was not a matter of Ukraine hitting the location with artillery or HIMARS, but Russian forces in the town blowing up remaining ammo as they prepare to withdraw. Departing Russian troops reportedly didn’t have time to take ammunition, because they were busy loading up TVs, refrigerators, and (of course) washing machines. Again, let’s hope these reports are accurate.

Honestly, while everyone on the front lines over the last months deserves praise, the real heroes of Kherson could be the guys in the backroom; the intelligence officers who (with help from the U.S. and others) correctly identified the weakness of the Russian’s supply situation in the west and what steps could be taken to exploit that weakness. Ukraine has been fighting to liberate Kherson since just days after the city was taken. In April, Ukraine’s dilemma in the area became clear—how to retake the city without resorting to the kind of tactics that Russia had used in taking Mariupol or would use at Severodonetsk. Ukraine wanted to liberate Kherson and, as much as possible, preserve the city and protect its people. How could it do that if Russia set up artillery in the middle of town and shelled Ukrainian positions with a quarter million human shields all around them? And how could they get there at all with Russia creating a set of nested fortresses along each highway?

Dammit if Ukraine didn’t find a way.

It’s still a long way to Kherson. In fact, Ukrainian forces have been closer to the city at least three times over the last nine eight months. But this time it’s not just momentum and hope that are propelling Ukraine forward.

Meanwhile, near Bakhmut…

There are reports that Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the area is extensive enough that it can’t be measured by looking at what specific stores are held. Ukraine may have taken back the town of Zaitseve, thought this is still awaiting confirmation.

How is Buhkmut going? Not well if you’re Russian.

As Vladimir Putin weakens, so does the integrity of the Russian Federation

Who knew? A “woke” army, one in which people understand the differences that make all of us unique, and build unit cohesion by respecting those differences, is a good thing. Over the weekend, three Muslim Russians opened fire at a mobilization site, killing at least 30 soldiers of Sen. Ted Cruz’s favorite anti-woke Russian army. They responded after being bullied about their religion.

The following is a translated interview of a Russian service member who witnessed the attack:

It all started when some of our soldiers - a Dagestani, an Azerbaijani and an Adyghe - said that 'this is not our war' and tried to write a report saying that they did not want to serve anymore. Lieutenant Colonel Andrei Lapin, when he learned this through the company commander, gathered everyone and started to say that 'this is a holy war.' Everything happened in the morning at the parade ground, where the formation takes place, the anthem is sung. A conflict broke out, people started pushing each other, including a few from my company. The Tajiks told Lapin that a holy war meant [only] a war between Muslims and infidels. Lapin said that "Allah must be a coward if he does not allow you to fight for the country to which you took an oath". I personally think that's what hurt the most, the phrase that 'Allah is a coward.' The phrase shocked a lot of people - those who were standing there on the parade ground. Because we also have Muslims among our officers, both Bashkirs and Tatars. After the formation, the Russians and Muslims continued the conflict, after which everyone dispersed and, it seems, calmed down. And an hour and a half later, around lunchtime, they sent us all to the firing ranges, and three of the Tajiks, who were on contract service, brought their automatic rifles, they had live ammunition, and shot our commander, Lieutenant Colonel Lapin, he died on the spot. And they started shooting indiscriminately. At the range, there were both contract servicemen and mobilized. I saw only the dead, of whom there were 29 people. The 30th is Lieutenant Colonel Lapin. This does not include two of the Tajiks; counting them too, there were 32 killed. I do not know exactly how many are wounded, some of them have already been taken by helicopter to Belgorod, and some of them are in Valuyki now with me.

This ethnic Russian soldier got off easy after threatening ethnic Kazakhs. Warning, guy gets pummeled in the video:

Ethnic, racial, and religious fissures are increasingly out in the open, as Russians in the hinterlands realize they are being sucked dry by the Moscow elites, doing most of the dying, and sacrificing most of their men. Many are doing the previously unimaginable and speaking out against the injustices. Here is the governor of the Islamic region of Dagestan:

We’ve already seen Russia’s neighbors more aggressively stand up to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, telling him off to his face. Given the sorry state of Russia’s crumbling army, there is little reason to fear reprisal. No VDV airborne troops are landing in another foreign country anytime soon. The remnants of those units are currently stuck in Kherson, and there aren’t many guys left.

But that might not be Putin’s worst nightmare. Russia’s official name is the “Russian Federation,” and that conglomeration of regions presents massive potential for unrest.

1123px-Russian_Regions-EN.svg.png

(A bigger version of the map below can be found here.)

There are 83 federal subjects in the Russian Federation—oblasts, republics, okrugs, federal cities, and the “Jewish autonomous oblast” created by Stalin to entice Russian Jews to settle the empty region. (Only 0.2% of the oblast remains Jewish.)

Oblast are like provinces or American states, same as in Ukraine. Okrugs are similar, but populated by indigenous people. There are two federal cities—Moscow and St. Petersburg, because of course the elite will make sure to set themselves apart from everything around them.

And then there are the Republics—these are areas populated by non-ethnic Russians, with the supposed right to their own official language, constitution, and legislature. It is here that Russia’s control has depended on Rosgvardia thugs (Putin’s national guard) to maintain order and control. Those guys have been decimated in Ukraine.

I have only rudimentary knowledge of these regions and their individual allegiances (or lack thereof) to Moscow, but Dagestan is particularly restive right now, Chechnya has a proven history of rebellion, and we just saw Tajik Russians wipe out 30 mobilized ethnic Russians in that one attack (Muslim mobilized were warned ahead of time to steer clear of the kill zone).

The weaker Moscow becomes, the greater the chance that many of these “republics” and other regions demand greater autonomy or independence from Moscow, and there are plenty of regional powers who might happily support such activities, either out of regional power plays (Turkey, Iran, and China) or ethnic/religious allegiance (Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and other Central Asia republics). Western powers might find it hard to steer clear, particularly given the presence of nuclear weapons in many of these regions. It could get ugly and bloody. Sometimes the only thing keeping internal conflict at bay is repression and autocracy, like we saw in Iraq and Libya.

A shattered Russian Federation is such a fearful scenario, it’s likely a factor in Western Europe’s repeated desire to offer Putin an “off-ramp.” The Putin we know might be far better than an ethno-religious conflict spanning the entire length of today’s Russia. Heck, if Russian scholar Kamil Galeev is right, a Federation breakup might not even need the ethnic or religious spark

HIs long-running thesis is simple: Moscow and St. Petersburg have sucked the rest of the country dry. We see it in the yachts and Italian villas, and the missing 1.5 million winter coats that were supposed to keep their own soldiers warm this winter. As such, even ethnically Russian regions have a valid grudge against a Russian ruling elite who have intentionally kept them economically destitute. There’s a reason Russian soldiers are carting off washing machines.

With the mobilized already dying just two weeks after getting drafted, Putin may face his own winter of discontent, as the historically passive Russian people finally reach their breaking point. And wouldn’t it be ironic if the man who invaded Ukraine out of fury at the dissolution of the Soviet Union, then created the conditions for the final collapse of the Russia state?

We supposedly have the first video of the Russian side of a GMLRS strike.

I do wonder if they’re really using $100,000+ rockets against dirt trenches. These could be Soviet-era MLRS, as Ukraine has plenty. Also, what kind of dumbass would rather record the incoming rockets than duck?

Can you imagine being Russian, seeing your army get mauled, and then thinking it has anything to do with American domestic politics?

Ukrainian advances are utterly irrelevant to people’s voting decisions November 8, but it’s a fascinating insight into the Russian mind—everything is a conspiracy involving nefarious American and NATO actors. God forbid they confront the truth, that they’re getting their asses handed to them by a Ukrainian nation they assumed inferior.

GreyZone is the Telegram channel run by Wagner mercenaries, one of those rumored to be under investigation by authorities in Moscow for sometimes spilling the truth. While other targeted Telegram channels have mostly fallen in line this past week, GreyZone appears less interested in doing so. In addition to casting shade against Russian proxies in Luhansk and Donetsk, they are now praising their Ukrainian opponents:

Wagner almost always fights alone, it’s more reliable. The situation near Bakhmut is stably difficult, the Ukrainian troops are putting up decent resistance and the legend of the fleeing Ukrainian is just a legend. Ukrainians are guys with the same steel balls as us … and that’s not bad. We Slavs should be proud of it.

Given that Wagner has been beating their head against Ukraine’s Bakhmut defenses for over two months now, it goes without saying that Ukrainian troops aren’t doing any fleeing.

This is so painfully cringe:

HIMARS doesn’t stand a chance against their, uh, choreography.

Someone gave the video better music.

If you’re wondering what’s happening down in Kherson, join the club. Strict operational silence has put a lid on any information.

Ukraine isn’t waiting to rebuild.

Relating to the picture at the top of this update:

That’s how old I was living in the middle of a civil war in El Salvador. I’ve carried it my entire life.

Click here to donate to help those escaping Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Georgia GOP has challenged 65,000 voter registrations this year: analysis

One of the most significant reasons gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is encouraging Georgians to vote early is that Republicans are doing everything they can to disrupt this election, aka stop Democrats from being able to vote.

This year, Republicans have attempted to purge thousands upon thousands of voter registrations, all in the name of alleged voter fraud. They’re using SB 202, a bill signed into law by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp after the loss of former President Donald Trump in 2020, to “police Georgia’s voter list,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution's (AJC) Mark Niesse writes.

Nsé Ufot, chief executive of the New Georgia Project Action Fund, told The Guardian, “There’s no doubt that the senate bill 202 push, much like the January 6 insurrection, was a response to the sort of multiracial rising American electorate. Full stop … I see a straight line between those two dots. No curve.”

In early October, the Gwinnett County Board of Elections voted to dismiss all voter registration challenges filed by Republicans—22,000 that were alleged to be invalid. Gwinnett is a suburb of Atlanta with a 58.4% Democratic voting block.

The terrifying thing is that Gwinnett is just one county in Georgia where election officials are being forced to contend with voter registration purging issues. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports 15,000 challenges made in Forsyth and 1,350 in Cobb County just this month. This year, about 65,000 challenges were filed, with about 3,000 upheld, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The challenges have been filed mainly by VoterGA, a group that receives its backing from The America Project, a group founded by Michael Flynn and Patrick Byrne, founder of Overstock—both of whom have consistently refuted Trump’s legitimate loss to Biden.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 63% of Cobb County, Georgia, challenges to voter registration were fixed on people of color whose applications lacked apartment numbers or had listed their addresses as Kennesaw State University.

“Death by a thousand cuts is how I’m thinking about it now,” Ufot said. “This is really like playing Whac-a-Mole at a time where we don’t have the resources to fight back this kind of voter suppression,” Ufot told The Guardian.

Vasu Abhiraman of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “Local elections officials should be devoting their precious resources to ensuring voters can register, access the ballot and have their ballots counted … These mass voter challenges are designed to disenfranchise, and we will continue to demand they be swiftly dismissed under the law.”

'It is now my turn to speak': Drag performer targeted by right-wing activist files defamation suit

Defenders of the Libs of TikTok social media account try to distance themselves from the real-world consequences of their hate campaigns by claiming that all the anti-LGBTQ harassment account does is share content made by others. But that’s simply a lie. The account singles out to its 1.5 million followers individuals who have done nothing except be openly or pro-LGBTQ.

The account also spreads blatant lies, one of which is now at the center of litigation. While the Libs of TikTok didn’t originate the lie that a drag performer at an Idaho Pride event this past summer had exposed himself to children in the audience, the account picked it up from right-wing blogger Summer Bushnell and spread it even after it had been debunked. It resulted in harassment, which is the goal of these right-wing actors.

That drag performer, Eric Posey, is now suing Bushnell. The Libs of TikTok account, meanwhile, is currently on yet another temporary suspension due to hateful conduct, raising questions about how it continues to violate Twitter’s policies but never seems to get permanently suspended.

“In June 2022, Summer Bushnell falsely stated that Eric Posey exposed his genitals to the public, including children, at Pride in the Park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,” the complaint stated. “Bushnell also doctored a video of Posey’s performance to make it look like he had in fact exposed himself. Bushnell knew that Posey did not expose himself, but she lied anyway to gain popularity on social media.

“Her plan worked: her false statements and doctored video received nearly 19 times more views than each of her prior 10 videos,” the complaint continued. “But Bushnell’s publicity was not free; it came at the expense of Posey’s reputation. He now sues her for defamation.”

“The video, which was debunked by local news two days after the event was held, led to harassment against Posey after it went viral on social media,” Media Matters said. But even after it was debunked, Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik shared a tweet from Bushnell that outrageously and falsely labeled the performer a “pedophile.”

Media Matters said Posey was then bombarded by the anti-LGBTQ “groomer” slur popularized by Libs of TikTok and GOP operatives like Christina Pushaw, an aide to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. While Bushnell’s tweet was eventually removed, Media Matters said Libs of TikTok’s wasn’t. “Now Posey is suing Bushnell, claiming she defamed him in an effort to gain popularity as part of the nationwide effort to malign LGBTQ people and Pride Month events.”

And while Bushnell had based the tweet on an outright lie and called on her supporters to report Posey to police, “[a] subsequent police investigation cleared Posey of wrongdoing, and a city prosecutor said an unedited copy of the video showed no evidence of indecent exposure,” NBC News reports. “The allegations of indecent exposure, or other crimes cannot be supported by the evidence,” the prosecutor’s office said. “Therefore, prosecution is declined."

Of course, the goal was never to seek accountability, as nothing wrong had happened. The goal was to unleash a steady stream of harassment against an openly LGBTQ person living their life.

“When there are outlandish lies that are made public and recirculated and take on a life of their own, the person who the lie was about is harmed,” Posey’s attorney Wendy Olson told NBC News. “It has an impact on every single aspect of their life, every day. This disinformation is not true—it just needs to be stopped.”

Posey, who is known by the stage name of Mona Liza Million, said in a statement released by law firm Stoel Rives that “[a]fter three months of silence, it is now my turn to speak.”

“Despite being cleared of all wrongdoing, provocateurs have continued to spread the doctored video of my performance, not only defaming me, but also inciting a backlash towards the LGBTQIA+ community statewide. I have no choice but to take legal action to hold those responsible for the lies accountable for their actions. My hope is that this civil suit puts a stop to the hateful disinformation campaigns being waged in Idaho.”

”The suit seeks monetary damages from Bushnell for defamation and defamation by implication in an amount of more than $10,000,” Stoel Rives said. “Compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and legal costs are requested, as is a jury trial.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene accuses Democrats of violence and wanting to make Republicans 'disappear'

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia got on stage at former president Donald Trump's "Save America" rally on Saturday and spewed out offensive comment after offensive comment, many of them dangerous when considering the underlying call to action.

"I’m not going to mince words with you all,” Greene told a Michigan crowd. “Democrats want Republicans dead, and they've already started the killings."

It’s not Democrats, though, who have both stood in the way of gun reform and framed Black and brown people as enemies for demanding that racists not be allowed to hunt them down and kill them.

Ahmaud Arbery, a Black former high school football standout, was accused of breaking into a home under construction when a three-person mob convicted of hate crimes chased, trapped, and murdered him in a South Georgia community.

Another white man was accused of intentionally targeting a grocery store in a majority Black community then killing 10 people at that store in Buffalo, New York.

Their names were Roberta A. Drury, Margus D. Morrison, Andre Mackneil, Aaron Salter, Geraldine Talley, Celestine Chaney, Heyward Patterson, Katherine Massey, Pearl Young, and Ruth Whitfield.

Greene didn’t mention any of them in her list of those slain because of their differences.

She listed only white Republican victims. One was 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson, who was hit and killed in North Dakota when another man accused of driving while intoxicated got into a political argument Ellingson. Next in Greene’s speech was 84-year-old "Right-to-Life" volunteer Joan Jacobson, who was shot while canvassing on September 20 in Michigan.

On the point that killing people for their beliefs is wrong, there is no debate. Using isolated incidents, however, to assert a wild accusation as fact should be beneath any sitting member of Congress.

Very little is beneath Greene. She went on to equate allegations of murder with President Joe Biden’s leadership. “Joe Biden has declared every freedom loving American an enemy of the state,” she said, “but under Republicans, we will take back our country from the communists who have stolen it and want us to disappear.”

Greene nominated Kyle Rittenhouse for a Congressional Gold Medal after he shot and killed two men and wounded a third person, meeting protesters with a semi-automatic rifle in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Greene’s interpretation was that Rittenhouse “protected the community of Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) riot on August 25, 2020.”

Those protesters were demanding justice after Rusten Sheskey, a white Kenosha cop, fired into the back of Jacob Blake, a Black security guard, seven times, paralyzing him. When protesters took to the streets for Blake, they were met with threats from armed men including Rittenhouse, who flew from Antioch, Illinois to respond to an alleged militia’s call to protect local businesses, according to USA Today.

“We appreciate you guys. We really do,” an officer could be seen telling Rittenhouse and others at the protest. This was about 15 minutes before the gunfire, after which Rittenhouse followed with a publicity tour. Though "serenaded" with a Proud Boys anthem; though acquitted of guilt; though spotlighted by Greene and other Republicans—Rittenhouse is no hero. He is a living, breathing example of just how dangerous the Republican party is when following the leadership of those like Greene.

Watch: House Republican told to 'search your heart' during contentious climate change hearing

Consider the hearings held on Wednesday and Thursday by two House committees as a flashpoint laying bare the blatant desperation with which conservatives are clinging to Big Oil’s success instead of caring about their constituents or the planet. On Wednesday, the House Natural Resource Committee held a hearing about how fossil fuel companies rely on blatantly misleading language and images to boost their profiles. As I’ve reported before, polluters employ a dangerous playbook designed to oppress frontline communities and those concerned with the climate crisis.

The Natural Resource Committee even released a study logging these tactics ahead of the hearing. But critics claim that supporting “the energy sector” amounts to using free speech and securing the country’s energy resources, worsening crisis be damned. Publicists painted Big Oil as having moved on from denying climate change, equating doing the bare minimum with somehow being leaders in the movement. Republicans like Rep. Lauren Boebert bashed a witness who was harassed and stalked for an anti-fracking campaign she participated in in Colorado. If y’all think lawmakers behaved any better the next day, just wait for Clay Higgins to speak up during Thursday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on Big Oil’s role in the climate crisis.

Higgins, a noted white supremacist, spent his five minutes talking down to an expert witness wholly more qualified to speak on the topic of the hearing’s subject, which was “Examining Big Oil’s Prices, Profits, and Pledges.” Higgins continually called Raya Salter, Esq. “young lady” and outright screamed at her for standing up to people like him on behalf of frontline communities he’s so blatantly ignored. Salter, who is the Founder and Executive Director of the Energy Justice Law and Policy Center and a member of the New York State Climate Action Council, implored Higgins to instead reckon with his own actions.

At best, Higgins is a climate change skeptic. He’s also entirely bought and paid for by the oil and gas sector—which is the top industry he receives campaign donations from—and was the lone dissenting House vote who wanted fossil fuel imports from Russia to remain despite the country’s invasion of Ukraine. “I want you to search your heart and ask your God what you are doing to the Black and poor people in Louisiana,” Salter pushed back against Higgins.

Higgins had his supporters, such as fellow monster Jim Jordan and Yvette Herrell, and Salter received support from Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who slammed Higgins’ conduct. “For the gentleman from Louisiana and the comfort he felt in yelling at you like that, there’s more than one way to get a point across,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And, frankly, men who treat women like that in public, I fear how they treat women in private.” To add insult to injury, Michael Shellenberger mispronounced Ocasio-Cortez’s name without caring to correct it.

Shellenberger was considered by some Republicans to be the only “minority witness” who thinks climate change actually isn’t that bad and that mass casualty events simply won’t happen. He’s the comfort blanket to Republicans who call environmental concern a “war on gas” and think climate activists are dehumanizing. Once a Democrat in name, he’s now simply a traitor to the human race who finds more comfort in Fox News appearances than in acknowledging reality. Many GOP lawmakers only spoke to Shellenberger when they did have a chance to address the panel.

What’s revealing about these hearings isn’t the information we already know about how bad Big Oil is or the quite literal Black and white divisions between fossil fuel worshippers and those who believe that any higher power wouldn’t want us destroying the planet. It’s that, at the core of this issue, white comfort is one of the biggest hindrances to addressing the climate crisis. I want Higgins to feel uncomfortable when Roishetta Ozane began her moving testimony on her experience surviving multiple disasters in Southwest Louisiana by calling the lawmaker out. Addressing white supremacy is a key component in dismantling it and foundational to creating a truly just transition.

Fueling the Climate Crisis: Examining Big Oil’s Prices, Profits, and Pledges youtu.be

Black family gets home appraisal $300,000 lower than white stand-ins

A Black Baltimore couple looking to refinance their home at a lower interest rate were told that their house was worth $472,000. But that couldn't be right, Dr. Nathan Connolly and his wife, Dr. Shani Mott, told The New York Times. They’d purchased the house in 2017 for $450,000, and spent $5,000 for a new tankless water heater and $35,000 for other upgrades.

So the family ordered another appraisal months later, removing personal photos and having a white colleague stand in for them as the homeowner. Boom! Their house was suddenly valued at $750,000, they told the Times.

Drs. Mott and Connolly, a history professor at John Hopkins University with an expertise in redlining, filed a lawsuit against the company they used, the California-based loanDepot.

“We were clearly aware of appraisal discrimination,” Dr. Connolly, 44, told ABC News. “But to be told in so many words that our presence and the life we’ve built in our home brings the property value down? It’s an absolute gut punch.”

Unfortunately, as Dr. Connolly notes, this isn’t a unique scenario.

Tenisha Tate-Austin and Paul Austin, a Black couple in the San Francisco Bay area, sued their appraisal company when it valued their significantly renovated home at $995,000 instead of the $1.48 million value received from another appraiser.

The Department of Justice issued a statement of interest in the Austins' case in February, noting that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 "broadly prohibits discrimination in housing."

“Combatting housing discrimination, including bias in appraisals, is a high priority across the federal government,” the DOJ wrote in the statement. “Last year, the President ordered agencies to take ‘a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.’”

The Austin case is set for mediation, but if both sides can't resolve the matter, they have a court hearing scheduled in September, The New York Times reported.

Paul Austin told the newspaper it's huge that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris intervened. “But I do believe it is going to take quite a few more lawsuits in order for appraisers to stop devaluing Black and brown properties,” Austin said. “It’s a historical aspect of how people value Black and brown lives.”

'We will not stand by and we will not stand down': Armed Trump supporters protest at Phoenix FBI office

Video captured by the independent media site News2Share shows supporters of former President Donald Trump armed with guns, waving confederate and American flags outside of the FBI office in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday.

"We're here in support of Trump, for what happened to him, the unlawful search with the FBI at his Mar-a-Lago home," someone at the demonstration told News2Share. "We are sick and tired of this tyrannical government called the Biden regime. We will not stand by and we will not stand down.

"We're gonna take the fight to the FBI if need be."

The latest in a string of Republican rantings, the demonstration is in response to the FBI executing a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday—an act that has led to the seizure of 11 sets of classified documents, including those related to nuclear weapons, according to The Washington Post.

Somehow though, Trump apologists still maintain the former president’s rights were violated while they go about the business of threatening the federal judge who signed the warrant and any other official they see fit to accuse without a shred of evidence of widespread election fraud.

In Gillespie County, Texas, a county about 80 miles west of Austin, elections administrator Anissa Herrera said she resigned from her work due in large part to threats she faced, according to the Fredericksburg Standard.

“After the 2020 (election), I was threatened, I’ve been stalked, I’ve been called out on social media,” Herrera told the newspaper. “And it’s just dangerous misinformation.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray condemned such threats in a statement on Thursday. “Unfounded attacks on the integrity of the FBI erode respect for the rule of law and are a grave disservice to the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect others,” he said. “Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans.

They are to Democrats. Many tweeted their outrage at the double standard propagated when a group of white men and women were allowed to threaten federal officials while armed.

Warning: This video contains disturbing footage of violence that may be triggering to viewers.


A social media user who goes by Jason V. tweeted on Sunday, that the "armed domestic terrorists" probably haven't been taken down yet "because they're not black or brown."

Shannon Watts, founder of the grassroots movement for public safety Moms Demand Action, pointed to a trend of recent violence following GOP reaction to the search of Trump’s home.

The most recent of which is a Capitol Police report that a man started firing in the air then drove his car into a vehicle barricade in a fiery crash early Sunday at East Capitol Street and Second Street.

”When our officers heard the sound of gunfire, they immediately responded and were approaching the man when he shot himself,” Capitol Police said in a news release. “Nobody else was hurt.

“At this time, it does not appear the man was targeting any Members of Congress, who are on recess, and it does not appear officers fired their weapons.”

No other injuries were reported in the incident, and investigators are still looking into the man’s background. But for many, the incident is an example of violence spiraling out of control as Republicans instigate a greater divide between Trump supporters and the rest of the country.

Regarding the protest outside of the Phoenix FBI building, Democrat Eric Smith tweeted congressional candidates of North Carolina:

“This is a Declaration of War & as such the Federal Government will be well within its rights to use all the firepower at its disposal to put these traitors down & down for good”

Majid Padellan, a blogger and influencer who goes by "Brooklyn Dad" on social media, tweeted on Sunday:

"Not a single Republican leader has called upon the armed trumpers at the Phoenix FBI to stand down. Any blood will be on their hands."

In another tweet, Padellan laid out a series of actions and statements by Trump that created the kind of climate in which his supporters would feel emboldened to threaten federal officials. "First he told domestic terrorists to ‘Stand back and stand by,’” Padellan said. “Then he refused to call the National Guard on January 6th.

“Then he wouldn't call off his armed supporters outside the Phoenix FBI. Donald trump is a pathetic, cowardly traitor."

Read the full redacted search warrant obtained for Trump’s Mara Lago home:



Here’s the complete guide to every excuse Republicans have made for Trump’s theft of classified documents

My oh my. It’s been less than a week since federal agents raided Donald Trump’s Florida beachhouse in search of classified documents that Trump stole from the White House, but Republicans have come up with a truly dizzying number of excuses and smokescreens trying to cover up his wrongdoing—often several each day. Honestly, it’s been somewhat hard to keep track of them all, especially as many contradict one another, but we’re here to help. Below, please find our day-by-day catalog of every b.s. pretext Trump’s defenders have tossed out there.

Monday

Excuse: Everyone is corrupt except Trump—says Trump himself.

In fairness, if anyone can recognize vintage caudillo behavior, it would be Donald Trump.

Excuse: This warrant and raid business was uncalled for. Trump would have turned over everything had the government simply asked politely.

Oh, wait, they did subpoena him? Nevermind!

Tuesday

Excuse: It’s totally fine that Trump took all of those documents. The only issue is that he racked up some library fines for failing to return overdue government secrets.

Since Trump has never borrowed a library book in his life, he probably doesn’t know the penalty for returning one after the due date, so he can probably be convinced it’s very serious, like they take away one of your golf courses.

Excuse: The FBI put it there!

Trump watched the raid of one country club on closed-circuit television from his other country club, so of course he’ll be releasing the tapes of all this planted evidence (“P. Tapes” for short) immediately.

Wednesday

Excuse: This is all the fault of the Deep State FBI, headed up by ultra-liberal Christopher Wray.

Reminder: Christopher Wray is a member of the Federalist Society and was appointed to his post by Donald Trump.

Thursday

Excuse: #Whatabout Obama? Obama did it, too. He did it worse, in fact. Also, he’s a secret Muslim.

So true. As the National Archives explained, they maintain Obama’s classified materials “in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area” and noted that Obama “has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.” You can think of this facility as Obama’s version of Mar-a-Lago, albeit with a vibe that’s a bit more Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Excuse: LOL, like, the only thing that would justify this would be, I dunno, nuclear secrets.

Narrator: It was nuclear secrets.

Excuse: They didn’t raid Trump quickly enough!

Warrant was issued on a Friday, the seizure took place Monday. Everyone knows that most unlawful sharing of nuclear secrets happens on the weekend.

Excuse: Trump declassified all of this stuff with the power of his OWN MIND.

Just call him President Kreskin.

Friday

Excuse: Maybe it was aliens.

Maybe it was aliens.

Excuse: But her emails!

Damn, where was that frenzy?

Excuse: Oh, please, all you need is a smartphone to find the same nuclear secrets Trump took.

Even, like, an iPhone 6 will do!

Excuse: Trump only took a tiny bit of super-duper-classified stuff, and don’t worry about all the other documents.

A standard bankers box holds some 2,500 pages, or around 1.2 million words. It’s a well-known fact that even the smallest nuclear secret needs at least 1.3 million words to describe it.

Excuse: My fellow Americans, when you are busy fomenting a violent coup to overturn the results of an election you’ve lost, it is quite simply inevitable that you will also steal classified secrets in the confusion of it all.

In fact, it should be noted, one crime simply cancels out the other. That’s how it works.

Excuse: They’re only investigating Trump because he might run for president again.

This is definitely how it works. And if Trump follows this advice but changes his mind and does decide to run after all, that’s just tough noogies for the feds.

Excuse: Trump was just trying to prevent World War III. I think this was more or less the plot of Sneakers: Too many secrets!

After all, Donald the Dove, Hillary the Hawk, right, MoDo?

Excuse: Trump installed an Autodeclassifierbot 3000™ at the threshold of the Oval Office.

This is obviously why his attorneys signed a sworn statement telling the feds in June that all classified materials had been given back to the government—because there were none to return!

Excuse: Trump didn’t take those documents intentionally—the General Services Administration just stashed them in boxes that got moved to Mar-a-Lago when Trump exited D.C.

Guess these guys never heard that warning at the airport about accepting items from strangers.

Saturday

Excuse: This has happened to you: Your landlord gives you three months’ notice that you’ve got to move out, but you just don’t really believe them. Every week they keep telling you until, at long last, you finally realize they mean it, so of course your departure turns into a haphazard mess.

Also, in this case, you live in the White House and your landlord is the people of the United States of America. Very relatable!

What excuses will the coming week bring? Stay tuned! The bullshit never ends.

P.S. We miss any? Lets us know in comments!

Note: This post has been updated with even more nonsense excuses!

Biden Administration has reunited more than 400 separated migrant families

The Biden administration’s Family Reunification Task Force says that nearly 400 children cruelly ripped from their parents by the previous administration have now been reunited, marking a significant milestone in attempting to right the wrongs of one of the darkest moments in modern U.S. history.

Michelle Brané, a leading immigrant rights advocate who was appointed by the administration to head the task force, said that most of the parents who’ve been reunited with their children had been deported, NBC News’ Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff reported. Soboroff tweeted that more than 2,000 families members affected by the policy have been allowed to temporarily live in the U.S.

“More than 5,000 families were separated under Trump’s 2018 ‘zero tolerance’ policy and a 2017 pilot program and advocates estimate over 1,000 remain separated,” the report said. “Because the Trump administration did not keep records of which children were separated and where they were sent, the task force and lawyers working on behalf of separated families have had a difficult time identifying families to offer them the chance of reunification.”

Soboroff tweeted that the parents of 168 known children ripped away by the previous administration have still not been located. The parents of most of these kids have likely been deported. Soboroff said that officials have no contact information for three of these children. Remember that officials with the previous administration had claimed they had “a central database" that could quickly link children and parents, but that turned out to be a giant lie.

“We are thrilled for the hundreds of children who will finally be with their parents after all these years, but we are not even halfway through reuniting all the families that remain separated by the Trump administration,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt told NBC News. "And indeed, we still haven’t located nearly 200 families. I think the Biden administration would agree that there’s a lot of work yet to be done.”

Deported parents have been returned to the U.S. by the administration under a process known as humanitarian parole, which allows them to live here for period of three years. The president has said he supports permanent legal status for separated families, but that’ll only be possible through the backlogged asylum system, or congressional action. Lawmakers including Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro have previously introduced legislation that would accomplish that, but it has failed to advance.

“While we applaud the Biden admin's efforts to reunite families separated by the cruel Zero Tolerance policy, Congress must provide the resources necessary to facilitate future reunions and help families heal from the trauma of their separation,” tweeted Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). Brané told NBC News that “many of the families have suffered from profound mental health issues after their separation and counseling is often needed before they reunify.”

Both “M.S.E.” and “J.M.,” the mother and son from the recent lawsuit, were traumatized by the policy. M.S.E., as she’s identified in court documents, said her son appeared “withdrawn” and “very sad for a long time. He even began cutting himself,” documents said.

“J.M. still hurts from the separation. He still remembers it vividly and viscerally: he feels great pain in his chest and throat when he thinks about it. Now 19 years old, J.M. continues to struggle with the damage the separation caused, stating, ‘I’m big now, so I try to be strong. But I still feel broken inside.’”

Wisconsin school district forbids teachers from wearing rainbows or displaying Pride flags

There is nothing inherently political about identity, but conservatives absolutely love to make any identity that isn’t their own a political statement or choice. It’s a demeaning and dangerous perspective, as once something is framed as a choice, it’s a logical conclusion that people can simply choose to change, hide, or conceal themselves in order to avoid discrimination or find acceptance. One major example of this logic in action is the archaic and harmful practice of conversion “therapy,” where folks try to force queer people into being straight and cisgender. In a word, it’s evil.

With this in mind, let’s talk about the latest sad situation out in a public school district in Wisconsin. As reported by local outlet WISN, teachers in the Kettle Moraine School District are now banned from including pronouns in email signatures as well as from displaying LGBTQ+ Pride flags in their classrooms. They’re even banned from wearing rainbow apparel, which sounds like satire but isn’t, per The Advocate.

At a recent school board meeting, Superintendent Stephen Plum categorized Pride flags and Black Lives Matter flags as a means of expressing political identity that could lead to folks being uncomfortable.

“The expectation is that teachers and administration will not have political flags or religious messaging in their classroom or on their person,” Plum said at the meeting. He noted that Back the Badge and Make America Great Again displays are also banned. It makes sense to ban MAGA flags and related items because they’re linked directly to a political campaign. But BLM and Pride flags aren’t tied to a political party or candidate.

This is an important distinction in schools and even when it comes to voting—you might remember we covered an instance of a poll worker in Tennessee being fired after turning someone away for wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt to vote, incorrectly believing it counted as political attire.

“We’re in a world where politics are highlighted,” Plum stated at the July 26 meeting, adding that it puts people in “uncomfortable” positions. He also stated the district isn’t as concerned about students finding this political as it is about their parents.

Someone at the meeting asked if this policy would include religious jewelry, such as wearing a cross necklace, and he said it was fine provided it is discrete.

Board member Jim Romanowski argued against the policy barring political expression, saying students are “fully capable” of using their critical thinking skills to “sort through the noise of partisan politics” and make their own choices, per LGBTQ Nation.

Sadly, this district is far from alone in trying to stomp down on identities and expressions. For example, one teacher in Missouri resigned after he says his school district ordered him to take the Pride flag down from his classroom. An openly bisexual teacher in Michigan quit for the same reason. An openly queer art teacher was fired after allowing students to paint LGBTQ+ Pride flags. Other districts, like one in Utah, are pushing to ban Pride flags in public school classrooms, too.

As of now, the policy in this Wisconsin school district is set to go into effect at the start of the upcoming school year.

22 Republican state AGs sue Biden administration for pushing schools to follow anti-discrimination practices

More than 20 Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s administration Tuesday over a Department of Agriculture school meal program rule. According to the Associated Press, the rule prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result, schools that do not implement LGBTQ-friendly policies will face potential cuts in federal meal funding.

Led by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery and Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, the lawsuit claims that the federal government is attempting to force states and schools to follow anti-discrimination requirements that “misconstrue the law.”

The rule is a result of a May announcement in which the USDA said it would include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as a violation of Title IX. Title IX is a 1972 law that guarantees equity between the sexes in “any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Per the new rule, states are required to review allegations of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as update their policies and signage.

“Whether you are grocery shopping, standing in line at the school cafeteria, or picking up food from a food bank, you should be able to do so without fear of discrimination,” said Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Deputy Under-Secretary Stacy Dean in a May 5 statement announcing the USDA’s effort.

While the agency emphasized volunteer compliance, it also noted that states and schools that receive federal funds have agreed to comply with federal civil rights laws.

According to the AP, the directive followed a landmark civil rights decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020 that found that Title VII, protects gay, lesbian, and transgender people from discrimination in the workplace.

The attorneys general involved in the lawsuit believe the new directive has not only misread the SCOTUS ruling, but has also failed to provide states and other groups the opportunity to provide public comment.

“We all know the Biden administration is dead-set on imposing an extreme left-wing agenda on Americans nationwide. But they’ve reached a new level of shamelessness with this ploy of holding up food assistance for low-income kids unless schools do the Left’s bidding,” Rokita said in a press release Tuesday.

Rokita made news this week for opening an investigation into the doctor who provided a medication abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio who was forced to travel to Indiana to receive care.

By filing the lawsuit, the attorneys general are hoping to get a similar result as to a separate challenge from earlier this month, when a Tenessee judge temporarily barred two federal agencies from enforcing directives issued by Biden’s administration. Those directives also extended protections for LGBTQ+ people in schools and workplaces.

In that case, the judge sided with the attorneys general, and ruled that the directives infringed on states’ right to enact laws, the AP reported. The laws in question included the ability to ban students from participating in sports based on their gender identity or requiring schools and businesses to provide bathrooms and showers to accommodate transgender people; the judge believed policies involving such actions should be enacted by the state.

“This case is, yet again, about a federal agency trying to change law, which is Congress’ exclusive prerogative,” Slatery said in a statement. “The USDA simply does not have that authority. We have successfully challenged the Biden Administration’s other attempts to rewrite law, and we will challenge this as well.”

As of this report, the following 22 state attorneys general are involved in the lawsuit: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Methane emissions underscore the need for stricter regulations

In mere weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to unveil a supplemental draft rule aimed at cracking down on the oil and gas industry’s rampant methane emissions. This rule, which sidesteps the Supreme Court’s West Virginia v. EPA ruling, provides a necessary advancement to 2016 rules that were rolled out similarly regulating methane emissions as part of the Obama administration’s ambitious climate goals. New rules could not come at a better time, given recent findings of rampant methane emissions in the oil-rich Permian Basin, where some fossil fuel companies are relentlessly polluting the region with nonstop methane emissions.

Taking data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab project known as Carbon Mapper, the Associated Press found dozens of so-called “super emitters” located in the area, of which just 10 companies owned 164 sites responsible for major methane emissions. The Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute Director, Kassie Siegel, provided an eye-opening analogy to the methane issue: “If carbon dioxide is the fossil-fuel broiler of our heating planet, methane is a blowtorch,” Siegel told the Associated Press. It’s long been understood that methane is more than 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Yet polluters freely emit methane with little to no consequence because, at this juncture, it is ultimately a company’s responsibility to account for its own bad actions. This has been a massive issue throughout the Gulf South and beyond. In Colorado, local air quality monitoring found that company reports of reduced methane emissions were an outright lie. Officials in towns and counties near Boulder were alarmed that claims of methane emissions being reduced by half weren’t even close to what on-the-ground air quality monitors had found. Colorado is considered a leader in methane emission regulation, yet there is still much work to be done to ensure that fossil fuel companies aren’t continuing to do their worst.

The Associated Press cites years of inaction and the difficulty of tracking methane emissions that are intermittent as major culprits, along with the oil and gas industry’s own practices of simply flaring and venting its methane because companies are overwhelmed by their own output. Regional oversight has all but signaled its support of such actions. An environmental consultant told the outlet that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rarely, if ever, inspects oil and gas sites. And the primary agency overseeing onshore oil and gas projects in the state—the Texas Railroad Commission—itself benefits from a lack of oversight, allowing oil-loving commissioners to continue sitting on their hands in favor of constant fossil fuel development and production. If states like Colorado can’t even seem to get things right, it feels like Texas doesn’t even stand a chance to do right by its citizens.

Sovereign-citizen members bolster their audiences by adding QAnon beliefs to their mix

The “sovereign citizen” movement—comprising scam artists and their gullible followers who claim that, by filling reams of documents full of pseudo-legal babble, ordinary citizens can declare themselves free of government rule at any level, thus becoming the law unto themselves—seems to have figured out how, after a couple of decades of mostly lurking on the fringes of the extreme right, to expand its reach and revive (if not entirely rebrand) itself: Go full QAnon.

Last weekend, onetime Pennsylvania Republican candidate Bobby Lawrence boasted that he and his “American State Nationals” operation filled a room in Keene, Texas, with 650 people who paid $120 each to take their special “training”—which teaches that birth certificates are satanic documents that enslave people by subsuming them under a corporation, but they can free themselves by filing their prescribed “redemption” documents. They also ardently promote Qanon conspiracy theories, including the claim that John F. Kennedy Jr. was secretly Trump’s real vice president.

The Anti-Defamation League has been warning about this coalescence since January, with Lawrence and his cohort David Straight, who have been holding these seminars around the country and, thanks to the fresh appeal of absorbing QAnon beliefs into the similarly conspiracy-fueled worldview of sovereign citizens, have increasingly been packing them in.

As their backgrounder explained:

Lawrence teaches sovereignty with a QAnon bent, urging his followers to become “American State Nationals” before Trump is reinstated as president. “American State National” is one of many terms that sovereign citizens use to distinguish themselves from citizens under the jurisdiction of the illegitimate, de facto government. “Trump is working on the ‘Fall of the Cabal’ which will allow our Constitutional Republic to Rise again, however the newly partially restored Constitutional Republic will need We The People of restored status via ‘The Great Awakening’ to fill and function in the newly partially restored Constitutional Republic,” Lawrence posted to Telegram in October 2021. “This will only be accomplished via We The People reclaiming our Birthright by becoming American State Nationals... As the number of American State Nationals and one of the People increases, so will the Function of the [sic] our Constitutional Republic. It will start at the absolute local level (you and your neighbors) and then grow and grow and grow.”

Sovereign-citizen and QAnon beliefs meld together almost seamlessly, as the ADL explains, because their fundamental worldviews involving a massive global cabal nefariously conspiring to enslave mankind are so similar. The sovereign movement’s belief that the current U.S. government is illegitimate serves to support their view of the Biden presidency as fraudulent, as well as the means for “freeing” themselves from such “tyranny.”

Lawrence primarily promotes a version of sovereign-citizen beliefs called “Redemption Theory,” which deals with the core concept that everyone who is an American citizen is designated a “strawman” corporate entity at birth, making them subsidiary properties of America Inc. “Redemption” is the process by which they split the strawman from the flesh-and-blood human, and its purpose is two-fold. As the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) explains:

Once separated from the corporate shell, the newly freed man is now outside of the jurisdiction of all admiralty laws. More importantly, by filing a series of complex, legal-sounding documents, the sovereign can tap into that secret Treasury account for his own purposes. Over the last 30 years, there have been hundreds of sovereign promoters packaging different combinations of forms and paperwork, attempting to perfect the process. While no one has ever succeeded, of course, they know with the religious certainty of a true cult believer that they’re close. All it will take is the right combination of words, say the promoters of the redemption scam.

Lawrence regularly regales his audiences with his version of the “redemption” scam, but with a powerful QAnon flavor. At an April 21 “Patriots Arise” event in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—where he shared the stage with Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano—Lawrence launched to into a rant that manifested that commingling two conspiracist universes produces twice the crackpottery.

He explained how modern births and the birth-certificate process are actually satanic rituals:

Fred read a quote from [Woodrow Wilson adviser] Edward Mandell House where they talk about this construct, where they’re gonna make slaves of us all, through a system of pledging, where we pledge our children as surety through something called a birth certificate, and a satanic ritual that takes place. …

So I’m gonna walk you through a satanic ritual that takes place, and it started with the birth certificate, which was actually chartered under the Department of Transportation. And everything is Admiralty. We all live under the water, and what is law, and where does law come from? Where does the word “law” come from? Land, air, and water. And where the founders of this nation thought about what law was, was the Bible, the Geneva Bible, the King James Version 1611 edition, where we got the word law from. And land, air, and water was in Genesis Chapter 1, verse 24 through 28, “and God created the heaven and the earth.” And God giveth man dominion over the earth, and God giveth man dominion over the land, and all the creatures that walk and creepeth. And God giveth man dominion over the air, and all the birds that fly, and God giveth man dominion over the water, and all the fish that swimmeth. And this is law.

Lawrence then repeated stock sovereign-citizen beliefs (all every bit as risibly false as his etymology for the word “law”) that there are three tiers of law: Canon law, common law, and Admiralty law, each reflecting rule over air, land, and water respectively. Then he went on:

So how do they get you to pledge your child, and how did our parents and our grandparents pledge us as property, as surety, in our personification, all capital names? It was through an evil, satanic ritual called the birth of a child.
You see, a mother goes into a foundling center, and she goes to see the doc—tor; a tor is a bill of lading when a ship arrives at the dock—and the mother puts her feet up on the stirrups and the mother’s water breaks, and the child comes out of the water through the birth canal, like you berth a ship, into the air, into the hands of the dock—tor. And then, historically speaking, a satanic ritual would take place—a child was smacked on the butt, turned upside down, cried out in fear and pain. And then before the child could put their feet on the land and take the breath of God as a free creation of God, a legal bond document came out. It’s on bond paper because it’s a banking instrument, it’s a surety bond.

And the child’s soul was taken on the back of that document. It was called the soul print. And then the umbilical cord and the afterbirth was thereby dead and abandoned by the mother, because that was part of your birth, part of your being born. The construct, the evil says that now that is dead, a part of you died and now you are a dead vessel, you are an all-capital legal fiction. They called you a person. If you look at your driver’s license, if you look at every document that government or any business sends you, it’s in your all-capital name. Your personification. Now the Bible tells us not to take on the persona, not to take on the person.

Lawrence also harkened to the stock radicalization belief in “red-pilling”: “We are living in Babylon right now,” he said. “It’s a corporate construct. It’s a Matrix. Keanu Reeves has said publicly that The Matrix is a documentary of how we are living our lives. Your money’s not real, you don’t own anything.”

And near the end, he wrapped it all up with a classic QAnon-style claim that Donald Trump is secretly One Of Them:

Yes, President Trump has done many things for us. And I won’t go into a lot of them, because quite frankly a lot of folks aren’t ready for it. And it’s hard to verify. But Donald Trump has told you all, if you go back to his speeches, he’s told you that when he comes back, he’s gonna be little letters, lower case. Look to his speech in 2021 at CPAC in Texas. He said when we go back to the White House this time it’s going to be in little letters. He told you at another rally that people are sovereign. He told you at another rally that you’re all millionaires. He told you in another rally that you’re the elite. And they’re the scoundrels. He told you at another rally that the Bar Association is corrupt. He tells you on and on—he might talk for two hours, but only four sentences are for those who are awake. And there’s a huge difference between being woke and awake, is it not?

Lawrence has formed close associations with leading QAnon influencers such as Ann Vandersteel, Allen and Francine Fosdick, the Pennsylvania-based hosts of the QAnon show Up Front in the Prophetic, and David Straight.

Vandersteel posted proudly announced on Gab that she was “officially an American State National,” meaning she no longer was beholden to the U.S. government. She touted the supposed benefits of becoming an “American state national,” such as freedom from paying federal taxes to getting to “vote as a delegate, which has the power of four votes,” in an appearance on “The Conservative Daily Podcast,” hosted by Joe Oltmann and Max McGuire.

She said she had been introduced to these ideas by Lawrence, who ran for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania in 2018. Vandersteel indicated that Lawrence was radicalized afterward through his contacts with David Straight, a sovereign citizen activist who also promoted QAnon theories. Vandersteel claimed that Straight was a “commissioner on President Trump’s child sex-trafficking commission.”

ADL analyst Mark Pitcavage explained Lawrence’s rant on Twitter, noting that “redemption theory” originated with a sovereign-citizen guru named Roger Elvick back in 1999, and it became widespread within the movement.

“Basic redemption theory is something like this: In 1933, the US went off the gold standard and could therefore no longer pay its debts to the international bankers. To get around this, the government turned humans into collateral by converting birth certificates into stock,” he wrote. “They did this in part by creating fictional duplicates of every person (dubbed ‘strawmen’). You can tell when a document refers to the straw man instead of the flesh and blood person because the name will be in all caps, not upper and lower case.”

He also noted that much of the talk is devoted to explaining the sovereign-citizen belief that the conspiracy which infiltrated and subverted and replaced the original, legitimate government with a de facto tyrannical government had done so by replacing constitutional law with inferior “maritime” or “admiralty” law.

“Finally,” he noted, “the Satanic references thrown in there are derived from QAnon and presumably designed to make these theories more palatable to QAnoners.”

Given the size of Lawrence’s audiences now, and the regularity and breadth of “American State Nationalist” training sessions, the ADL’s January warning—“Given the flexibility of the sovereign citizen movement and its pseudo-legal tactics, it is quite possible that increasing numbers of QAnon adherents will find sovereign citizen ideas attractive in the future”—seems more than prescient. It may, in fact, prove to be understated.

Republicans delay everything in order to destroy Democratic agenda ⁠— with an assist from Manchin

Senate Republicans have been playing a transparent game for months now, using their willing tool of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to drag out negotiations on any number of issues to keep him away from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Joe Biden. To prevent Democrats from moving any significant policies that can help the American people and give Democrats a win.

They’ve done it on voting rights and election reforms. They’ve done it on climate and energy. It’s just one tactic—and a very successful one—Republicans are using to keep the Democratic majority tied up and unable to accomplish anything.

Case in point: additional funding for the federal COVID-19 effort. Manchin’s good friend and frequent negotiating partner Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) all but killed it this week when he alleged that the Biden administration lied about the government’s ability to secure additional vaccines, treatments, and supplies. That’s because the White House recently announced it was taking money from other priorities to pay for the most pressing needs.

“Washington operates on a relationship of trust between the respective parties,” Romney said Thursday,. “I hope that there’s an appreciation that for the administration to say they could not purchase these things, and then after several months, divert some funds and then purchase them is unacceptable, and makes our ability to work together … very much shaken to the core.” The pearls are tightly clutched.

The White House, not surprisingly, has a different interpretation on how discussions have been going. “We’ve tried to meet Republicans on their requests, and they keep moving the goal posts,” one official told the Washington Post. Another, spokesperson Kevin Munoz, went on the record. “Going back to January, we’ve been working with members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, on the funding needs for the covid response,” he said in a statement. “We’ve also been crystal clear about the consequences of a lack of funding … including the very real possibility that we would have to reevaluate the planned uses of existing funds.”

There’s one more potential win for the White House—not to mention all the people at risk of catching COVID-19 in the coming weeks and months—Republicans are cynically blocking. It’s nearly as egregious as what they’ve been doing on guns.

All of that puts this in a “we’ll believe when we sit it” mood. “Senate Democrats are preparing for possible summer action on their still-elusive climate, tax reform and prescription drugs bill, grinding behind the scenes on a new version during high-profile gun safety talks.” Because it’s Manchin, once again, that all this is hinging on and Republicans are on the verge of declaring that partisan Democrats have destroyed any hope of gun safety regulation with their unreasonable demands that guns be kept out of the hands of people who have been convicted of violence.

That sets up Manchin to declare that the Democrats have been horrible partisans and he just can’t continue to work with them. He’s used far flimsier excuses before, like the fact that the White House included his name in a statement about Build Back Better. That’s what blew up the whole package last December, supposedly. It likely wouldn’t take anything more for Manchin to do it again.

Republicans are counting on that.

Sen. Ron Johnson says he can't stand it when he's 'challenged by medical experts'

It’s difficult to fully articulate how much the state of Wisconsin and the nation as a whole lost when Ron Johnson took Russ Feingold’s seat in the U.S. Senate. It was such a significant downgrade that it’s hard to come up with anything remotely comparable. Classic Coke switching to New Coke doesn’t quite capture it. It would be more like if Coke had replaced its original formula with a jar of pureed lungfish or the battery acid from an abandoned El Camino.

Johnson was elected … [the author has taken a 15-minute vomit break; please stand by] … during the tea party wave election of 2010, when a partially eaten tube of braunschweiger could have succeeded in most purple states and districts simply by running as a Republican. Having lived in Wisconsin for much of RoJo the Clown’s tenure, I’ve always told anyone who’d listen that my state dumping Feingold for Johnson felt a little like your mom divorcing your dad so she could date Carrot Top.

And true to form, Johnson’s quaggy rat brain has followed his Fried-Pie Piper down every dank conspiracy burrow imaginable. But it’s the COVID holes he’s slithered down that are the most off-putting.

On Thursday’s episode of the podcast The Highwire With Del Bigtree, Johnson let everyone know how little respect he has for medical experts who paid all that dough to get degrees from ivory-tower institutions like Harvard and Johns Hopkins when they could have learned everything worth knowing for free on Facebook. Watch:

JOHNSON: “What drives me nuts is when I’m challenged by medical experts. [Laughs] Okay, show me the data. The one that’s driving me nuts right now is this sudden adult death syndrome.”

BIGTREE: “Oh, my God. Yeah.”

JOHNSON: “I’m reading articles written about that, and the doctors are baffled. The medical experts are baffled. What could possibly be causing the death of adults just dropping dead? What could it be? And I’m going, ‘Isn’t it pretty obvious?’ I mean, you look at the VAERS report, we’re up to 28,714 deaths on the VAERS system. Did anything change in 2021? Did we do something different in medicine that just might be a possible reason for SADS? But again, the COVID cartel is completely oblivious to it.”

First of all, Johnson has been distorting the VAERS data for months, and God only knows how many people have actually died as a result of his and others’ constant drumbeat of disinformation. VAERS—which stands for “Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System”—is a database consisting of raw, unvetted reports of alleged vaccine side effects, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which hosts the database, takes pains to explain that a death reported to VAERS can’t be assumed to have been caused by vaccines.

Anyone, including Healthcare providers, vaccine manufacturers, and the public can submit reports to the system. While very important in monitoring vaccine safety, VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness. Vaccine providers are encouraged to report any clinically significant health problem following vaccination to VAERS even if they are not sure if the vaccine was the cause. In some situations, reporting to VAERS is required of healthcare providers and vaccine manufacturers.

VAERS reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable. Reports to VAERS can also be biased. As a result, there are limitations on how the data can be used scientifically. Data from VAERS reports should always be interpreted with these limitations in mind.

This disclaimer is printed right on the VAERS website, and so you’d think a U.S. senator who keeps citing these data might have stumbled across it sometime over the past year—but apparently not.

But that’s not all! Johnson, who for some reason still goes out of his way to dissuade people from taking full advantage of lifesaving vaccinations, is also distorting information about SADS.

From a Verify fact check on sudden adult death syndrome:

SADS has existed long before the COVID-19 outbreak, and subsequent vaccines were available.

In an email to VERIFY, the SADS Foundation said the first documented case of SADS was described in Germany in 1856 and had been researched in the U.S. since the early 1970s. The SADS Foundation is an organization that provides services to educate the public about SADS.

“Over two years into the pandemic, there’s been no indication in the largest [vaccine] programs in the world of an increase in death from these conditions,” Michael J. Ackerman, MD, Ph.D., with the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine told VERIFY via the SADS Foundation.

Hmm. Whom to trust? A doctor who works at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine or the dean of the UW Clown College? We don't want to drive Ron Johnson to drink, but I think most of us are inclined to go with the guy who actually studied medicine. Weird how that works, huh?

If you’re a glutton for harsh, soul-crushing punishment, you can listen to (and view) the entire podcast here.

Lindsey Graham explains the difference between Republicans and Democrats in just two sentences

There are few reasons to admire Sen. Lindsey Graham. Actually, that’s not quite right. There are no reasons to admire Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Still, every now and then, just by accident, Graham gets something exactly right, and at the “Faith and Freedom Coalition” meeting held this week in Nashville, Graham managed to do something that might even seem amazing. In just two sentences, Graham deftly defined the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

He did it without mentioning a single policy. He did it without talking about the price of gas, or attacking LGBTQ people, or suggesting there should be a law allowing officials to peek under the skirts of teenage girls. He didn’t even mention “faith” or “freedom,” which was supposed to be the theme of the day. But he did it very effectively, and in a way that everyone can understand.

At the podium, Graham made it clear what he really missed about Trump — the bullying. “You know what I like about Trump?” Graham asks the audience, before providing the answer. “Everybody was afraid of him.” He then waits for — and collects — applause for this insight before jumping in to express how terrified he was of his own leader.

It’s true. Everyone was afraid of Trump. I woke up every morning concerned that he might launch a military attack to distract from his latest scandal, or destroy a diplomatic alliance to fit some twisted narrative, or finger some group of Americans as the source of all the nation’s ills, or ruin he environment just because he could. There were good reasons to fear all those things. Because they all happened.

Trump was, and is, an erratic, logic-free id storm whose tantrums often call for his followers to rain down abuse on anyone he deems a critic. He’s a guy who thinks his ability to hate powerfully, is his best quality. He may even be right.

The difference is … Republicans like it. They like being afraid. They want that bully at the bully pulpit. They want a “strong man” to tell them what to do, to yell at anyone who strays from the course, and to threaten everyone who refuses to go along with the fascistic flow. They don’t want to have to deal with facts and reason, much less justice and fairness.

Republicans like being afraid of Trump. It’s no wonder that they are always making paintings and posters in which Trump is some muscle-bound action hero. Because admitting they enjoy being bullied by the actual Trump … is simply pathetic.

Watch the Patriot Front boys at the moment they were apprehended by Coeur d’Alene Police

This remarkable video shows the moment the 31 Patriot Front thugs (and would be terrorists) were apprehended by the Coeur d’Alene Police.


This coming in the middle of Select Committee hearings help drive home that we’re facing a Radical Right whose knee-jerk response to a lot of cultural and demographic outrage is violence. Evidently these homophobic bigots were intent on beating a lot of people.

It's time for the federal Government to list the Patriot Front, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers as domestic terrorist groups.

Republicans just booked $52 million in TV time — but they left off a key district in North Carolina

The NRCC announced its first batch of fall TV ad reservations on Wednesday, making it the last of the "big four" outside groups that spend by far the most on House races to do so. We've added the bookings, which total $52 million across 28 different media markets, to our tracker, which also includes reservations from the committee's allies at the Congressional Leadership Fund, as well as their Democratic counterparts: the DCCC and the House Majority PAC.

Unusually, the NRCC also listed the specific districts it says these reservations will be used for; typically, only media markets are included, and we're left to figure out which districts are the likely targets. The listed districts differ very little from our previous guesses for the same markets booked by the other three groups, though, and reservations such as these can be used for any applicable races, regardless of whether they're mentioned in a June press release.

Some may be aspirational. For instance, the addition of the Democratic-held 1st and 3rd Districts in New Mexico alongside the vulnerable, GOP-held 2nd, might fall into that category, since Republicans lack notable challengers in both. (All three are covered by the Albuquerque market.) But of course, an election that turns into a wave can bring along all sorts of flotsam.

There is, however, one absence that is telling. Following far-right extremist Sandy Smith's win in the GOP primary for North Carolina's open 1st District last month, the NRCC has pointedly refused to acknowledge her, despite the fact that Republicans would very much like to flip this potentially vulnerable Democratic seat. The reason for this silence? It’s almost certainly not because of Smith's politics but rather because two of her ex-husbands have accused her of physical abuse.

That cold shoulder has now extended further, since the committee reserved TV time in the Raleigh market, which makes up more than half of the 1st District, but only listed the swingy 13th District as the reason for the booking. The NRCC sent out a press release on Thursday outlining its latest nationwide target list and did include the 1st, but money, it hardly needs saying, speaks louder than words. Again, Republicans could always change their minds, but it would have cost them nothing to simply add "(NC01)" to their reservations announcement. The fact that they didn't is noteworthy.

'He personally asked us to come to DC': Insurrectionists explain why they were there on Jan. 6

Thursday night, the Jan. 6 committee laid the foundations of a case against Donald Trump for inciting the bloody attack on the U.S. Capitol. One key piece of that came toward the end of the two-hour hearing, in a brief video showing a series of insurrectionists explaining why they were at the Capitol that day: Because Donald Trump asked them to be.

www.youtube.com

“We were invited by the president of the United States,” a member of the mob screams, in footage from the attack, as the video opens.

Next, Robert Schornack, who a chyron tells us was sentenced to 36 months probation, says in a committee interview, “What really made me want to come was the fact that, you know, I had supported Trump all that time. I did believe, you know, that the election was being stolen, and Trump asked us to come.”

“He personally asked us to come to D.C. that day,” Eric Barber, charged with theft and unlawful demonstration in the Capitol, says in another interview. “And I thought, for everything he’s done for us, if this is the only thing he’s going to ask from me, I’ll do it.”

Trump appears next, speaking at the rally that day. “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.”

A voice asks Barber, “Do you recall President Trump mentioning going to the Capitol during his speech?”

“Oh, yes. So that’s one of my disappointments. He said he was going to go—go with us, that he was going to be there.”

Several more insurrectionists follow, including Proud Boy George Meza, saying, “But I remember Donald Trump telling people to be there.”

“You know, Trump has only asked me for two things. He asked me for my vote, and he asked me to come on Jan. 6,” Schornack says at the close of the video.

Donald Trump called them to Washington, D.C., and then he told them to march on the Capitol, saying he would be with them. That’s the crux of it.

Rep. Gohmert: 'If you're a Republican, you can't even lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent'

On Friday, a federal grand jury indicted Peter Navarro for his failure to cooperate with a congressional subpoena issued to him by the Jan. 6 committee back in February. Navarro was disgraced former President Trump’s trade adviser, and while he made some money shilling for his memoir—in which he boasted about all of the conspiratorial work he did in service of thwarting our country’s democracy—he did not want to have to go on the record, so to speak.

Navarro faces two charges stemming from his refusal to both provide the records asked for by the committee as well as his refusal to appear in front of the committee to answer some questions. Fellow suspected conspirator Rep. Louie Gohmert, best known for being even less intelligent than toothpaste found at the bottom of a trash bag filled with used kitty litter, went on one of the right-wing propaganda networks to promote everything from doing nothing to protect children from gun violence and to lament how the Trump administration isn’t being allowed to break the law.

That’s 100% what he did.

After talking about how everybody was being mean to the GOP, who have repeatedly thwarted the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans, to work to end gun violence, Rep. Gohmert explained that there is a “two-tier justice system.” One tier seems to be not sending Hillary Clinton to jail for making Donald Trump’s entire administration involve itself with dubious Russian contacts and foreign banks, and the other justice system seems to want to force Republicans to obey the laws of the land. This is not an exaggeration. Here is the full quote, followed by a video of him saying the quote. Asked about the indictment of Navarro, Gohmert responded—verbatim:

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT: It actually puts an exclamation point on the fact that we have a two-tier justice system. If you're a Republican, you can't even lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent or they're coming after you. Or they’re going to bury you. They’re gonna put you in the D.C. jail and terrorize and torture you, and not live up to the Constitution there.

Gohmert goes on to say that the fact that William Barr appointed, Trump-attack dog Special counsel John Durham’s farce of an investigation—that wasted around $40 million in taxpayer dollars—and ended in the acquittal of Michael Sussman was the result of the jury being filled with “Hillary Clinton lovers.”

Let’s put this together: The Trump administration very obviously makes an attempt to use the U.S. Attorney General’s office to run legal interference and discredit an investigation into his administration’s corruption and possible treasonous and corrupt foreign influence, that farce is investigated for years, and the weak-ass case they come up with is basically laughed out of court. Republicans unwilling to tell the truth, under oath, which is the law of the land, is an affront to … justice?

If you want to watch even more of the interview, just to see how fully in context this story is you can watch below. The question and its answer begin around the 6:30 mark. Warning: It’s even more time spent with Rep. Louie Gohmert talking, which may result in lowered IQ for viewers.

Trump fumes as his revenge play against Georgia Gov. Kemp turns into epic failure

Among Donald Trump's list of political enemies, Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp ranks right up there with Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

Whereas Cheney sought to impeach Trump and end his political career, Kemp certified an election in his state that ultimately contributed to Trump's ousting from the White House.

Trump has arguably gunned with equal fervor to banish both from the Republican Party and end their careers. Cheney still has a tough row to hoe despite the fact that she has been raising historic sums in her bid to beat back her Trump-endorsed primary challenger, among other GOP candidates.

But Kemp currently appears poised to soundly defeat the candidate Trump recruited to challenge the sitting GOP governor—former Sen. David Perdue.

In fact, Perdue—who arguably had the stature and name recognition to compete with Kemp—appears to have entirely cratered, to the point where Trump is now washing his hands of the race.

In the final days of the campaign, Trump plans to make no public appearances with Perdue and has groused to aides about his lackluster performance, according to reporting from NBC News. It's quite the turnaround given that Perdue's race was one of the only contests for which Trump actually parted ways with real money, investing some $400,000 of his own campaign war chest just last month. Perdue also not-so-subtly dangled the prospect of cheating to elect Trump in 2024, if necessary, as a sweetener for his MAGA base.

Lot of good that's done. After loaning himself $500,000, Perdue had raised just $3.5 million in the campaign compared to Kemp's $22 million haul, though Kemp had a head start.

The Kemp campaign promised to sprint through the finish line with roughly $4 million in ad buys in the final month of the race, while Perdue has scheduled $0 in ads for the last week of the contest. The Atlanta Constitution-Journal ran a piece this week titled, “Where in the world is David Perdue?

“It’s hard to see how this race isn’t over,” GOP pollster Matt Towery told NBC. “It’s almost impossible to win a major race when a popular governor is bombarding you on TV and you’re dark.”

In a Fox News poll released Wednesday, Kemp led Perdue 60% to 28%.

Perdue's last big hurrah leading up to Tuesday's primary is (drumroll, please) a Friday event with she's-seen-better-days Republican Sarah Palin.

Trump is predictably bitter about the whole thing.

“Donald Trump has worked harder to elect David Perdue than David Perdue,” a Trump adviser said, noting that Trump held rallies, coughed up cash, and fundraised for him. Trump also cleared the field for a two-way race with Kemp by convincing another candidate, former state Rep. Vernon Jones, to run for Congress instead.

The only question now seems to be whether Trump will take his lumps and move on, or whether he will double down on trying to tar and feather Kemp throughout the rest of the general election. One way or the other, Trump will still be playing in the Peach State with his handpicked candidate for Senate, former Georgia football star and alleged wife beater Herschel Walker—who is likely still Senate Republicans' best bet for a pick up this cycle.

Stunning.

Republican Sen. Rick Scott continues to distance himself from his own tax hike plan

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, chair of the Senate Republican Senatorial Committee, wants a do-over on the 11-point plan he released in February that seeks to raise taxes on tens of millions of Americans.

So where did he go Friday to lie about his mess and do a little clean up? Fox.

Fox Business host Stuart Varney helpfully explained that Scott wouldn't be "raising taxes" on 75 million Americans.

"What you're trying to do is put more Americans back to work who then pay taxes, is that correct?" asked Varney.

"I will never vote for a tax or fee increase," responded Scott, offering that he routinely cut taxes as governor of Florida.

Then Scott sought to paint all the increases he recommended in platform as a byproduct of putting people back to work who would then pay the attendant taxes on payroll, income, sales, and property.

The problem is, Scott's explanation doesn't even remotely resemble what he wrote in the so-called "Rescue America" platform:

"All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax."

Nothing there suggests the taxes are levied only on people who have found gainful employment after being out of the workforce. Far from it. The suggestion is actually that Republicans would raise taxes on the tens of millions of Americans who are actively employed but make too little to pay federal income taxes.

The real problem for Scott is that he revealed what Republicans actually stand for, and the American people think it stinks. In fact, it's never a good idea for Republicans to talk policy and agenda ahead of a general election because their entire platform is so fringe and out of step. That's exactly why GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to say what Republicans plan to do if they regain the Senate majority in November.

Scott has been playing clean up for months now, penning op-eds, tweeting, and making Fox appearances.

But as Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, told CNN: “Scott has the plan he published, then he has tweets and op-eds where he says he didn’t say what the plan says in plain English.”

Scott’s latest walk back comes a couple weeks after President Joe Biden devoted an economic speech to contrasting his economic agenda with the one proposed by Scott—the Senate GOP's de facto policy agenda.

"Their plan is to raise taxes on 75 million American families, over 95% of whom make less than $100,000 a year, total income," Biden said. "They’ve got it backwards, in my view."

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