Daniel Villarreal

34% of America’s wealthiest corporations paid zero in income taxes, thanks to Trump

A newly released Government Accountability Office (GAO) office has revealed that 34% of large, profitable corporations paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2018, the same year that large tax cuts, passed by former President Donald Trump, went into effect.

The GAO report found that in 2017, the average tax rate for companies was 14.6 percent. In 2018, it dropped to 8.9 percent. A similar GAO report in 2016 found that 20% of corporations paid zero in federal income taxes. Comparatively, the average American tax rate is about 14.8%, according to the data site Statista.

While the recent GAO report doesn’t name the companies that paid zero in taxes, a 2022 report from the Center for American Progress found that the telecommunications company AT&T made $29.6 billion in 2021, but paid zero in federal income taxes that same year. Instead, AT&T received a $1.2 billion IRS refund, Common Dreams reported.

Similarly, in late December, the House House Ways and Means Committee released Trump’s tax returns from 2015 through 2020. In three of the six years, Trump’s taxable income was zero. This means he paid no income tax in three of the years, and just $750 in 2016.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who requested the report’s creation, responded by stating, “While House Republicans want to make huge cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid because of their ‘serious concern’ about the deficit, they voted to provide over a trillion dollars in tax breaks to large corporations and the top one percent…. We need to repeal the Trump tax breaks for the rich and demand that the largest corporations in America finally start paying their fair share of taxes.”

Democrats have suggested introducing a minimum corporate tax rate for the wealthiest individuals and corporations, but these groups and Republicans have both opposed them as hostile to “job creators.”

Meanwhile, 63 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and 9.2 percent don’t have health insurance, according to Lending Club and MoneyGeek respectively.

Watch: GOP Rep. George Santos used an entirely different alias just a few years ago

Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has not only been caught lying about massive amounts of his personal past, he also used an entirely different name just four years ago.

At a 2019 Q&A session for a “Walk Away LGBT” event in New York City, Santos introduced himself as Anthony Devolder. The event was held by supporters of former President Donald Trump (R) who wanted to convince voters to “walk away” from the Democratic Party and become Republicans.

At the event Santos asked a conservative transgender woman how she thinks other conservatives can educate other trans people not to believe “media narratives,” presumably about Republicans being anti-transgender (which they are).

Santos’s full name is George Anthony Devolder Santos. The same year that he appeared at the “Walk Away LGBT” event, Santos was also married to a woman named Uadla Santos Vieira Santos, who he married in 2012. He married her under the name George A. Devolder Santos.

While it’s not unheard of for people to use different parts of their full names, Santos’s use of a different name raises eyebrows considering that he has lied about so much of his past history.

In December, Santos admitted that he lied about graduating from Baruch College and New York University, working directly for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, and owning 13 properties.

It now seems that he also lied about being Jewish, his grandparents fleeing Nazi persecution in Ukraine (they were both born in Brazil), his mother becoming ‘the first female executive at a major financial institution’” (she worked as a cook and house cleaner), attending the Horace Mann preparatory school in the Bronx, having four previous employees who were killed in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, and his mother having died in connection to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Santos’s campaign paid a staffer nearly $100,000 to pretend to be McCarthy’s chief of staff and get money from donors. His campaign is also under investigation for possible campaign finance violations. Records show that he may have donated $700,000 to his own campaign without revealing the source, something that is forbidden by federal law.

Santos has said that he will not resign even though calls for his resignation have come from the Republican Party chairs of both New York and Nassau County (where Santos’s district lies), the New York Conservative Party, and four of Santos’s Republican House colleagues. U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said he won’t ask for Santos to resign either.

Santos is currently under investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly (R), Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz (D) and the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York.

Exxon knew its fuels cause climate change since 1977 and made no effort to do anything about it: report

Internal documents from Exxon’s own scientists, produced from 1977 and 2002, accurately predicted just how much the company’s fossil fuels would warm the planet.

But instead of changing their behaviors to meet this challenge, they hid it while paid lobbyists and “climate skeptics” sowed doubt about man-made global warming, a new study has shown.

The study, published in Science, looked at 32 internal documents and 72 scientific papers published by ExxonMobil scientists during the aforementioned years. The researchers found that 63 to 83% of the company’s projections about global warming were accurate.

Despite this, the company didn’t make meaningful investments in wind and solar energy. Instead, it continued to contribute to its business as usual (and to air pollution and global warming as a result).

“Our findings demonstrate that ExxonMobil didn’t just know ‘something’ about global warming decades ago—they knew as much as academic and government scientists knew,” the study’s authors wrote in a January 12 Science article sharing their findings.

ExxonMobil has long said that any media investigation about their knowledge of climate change was “bought and paid for” by political interests that oppose them. They also made public statements, saying that the science around fossil fuels and climate change remained “uncertain” and that predictive models of global warming — ones that matched their own accurate ones — were unreliable.

However, the study’s lead author Geoffrey Supran, wrote in the article, “Our analysis shows that ExxonMobil’s own data contradicted its public statements, which included exaggerating uncertainties; criticizing climate models; mythologizing global cooling; and feigning ignorance about when—or if—human-caused global warming would be measurable, all while staying silent on the threat of stranded fossil fuel assets.”

Exxon has recently tried to re-position itself as being “involved in the forefront of climate research, understanding and working with the world’s leading experts on climate,” according to its website. But critics have called this a form of “greenwashing” that does nothing to actually change the company’s environmental impact.

In 2022, The House Oversight and Reform Committee investigated climate disinformation pushed by ExxonMobil and other major gas companies. The company executives largely denied that they had ever pushed such disinformation.

Thanu Yakupitiyage, 350.org’s U.S. Communications-Digital Director, responded to the study, writing, “In the midst of deadly flooding in California and extreme weather across the world, we receive further proof that Exxon has known all along exactly how catastrophic their fossil fuel burning would be.”

“Exxon has deceived the public about the climate crisis for 50 years, and frontline communities are bearing the costs with hundreds of thousands of people losing their homes, lands, ability to grow food, and even their lives because of this treachery,” Yakupitiyage added. “Fossil fuel companies will continue trying to confuse and distract the public, but this fundamentally is a crime against humanity, and they must be held accountable.”

Unregulated facial ID tech leads to unjust arrests of Black men

Louisiana police used facial recognition technology to incorrectly identify a suspected thief, resulting in a Black man’s wrongful arrest and imprisonment for a week. It’s not the first time it has happened, and the U.S. has no laws to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

The legal enforcement agencies involved in the recent arrest have refused to answer media inquiries, raising concerns about the hidden governmental use of such technology, its racial biases, and other failings.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) secured a warrant for 28-year-old Randal Reid after it used face ID tech to wrongly identify him as one of three suspects wanted for the theft of over $10,000 in stolen Chanel and Louis Vuitton purses during the group’s three-day crime spree in June 2022.

Reid’s attorney Tommy Calogero said that the actual suspect, captured on security camera footage, was 40-pound heavier than Reid and lacked Reid’s facial mole. Nevertheless, police in Georgia apprehended him on JPSO’s warrant on November 25 while he was driving with his mother around the Thanksgiving holiday.

“They told me I had a warrant out of Jefferson Parish. I said, ‘What is Jefferson Parish?,’” Reid told NOLA.com. “I have never been to Louisiana a day in my life. Then they told me it was for theft. So not only have I not been to Louisiana, I also don’t steal.”

Reid remained in the DeKalb County jail until December 1, 2022, when JPSO detectives “tacitly” admitted the error and rescinded the July warrant.

“[I was] not eating, not sleeping,” Reid said of his time in jail. “I’m thinking about these charges. Not doing anything because I don’t know what’s really going on the whole time.”

Despite the mistake, the JPSO has been stonewalling journalists who want to look into their error.

“Sheriff Joe Lopinto’s office did not respond to several requests for information on Reid’s arrest and release, the agency’s use of facial recognition or any safeguards around it. That office also denied a formal request for the July 18 arrest warrant for Reid and copies of policies or purchases related to facial recognition, citing an ongoing investigation,” NOLA.com reported, adding that the warrant for Reid’s arrest doesn’t mention how he was identified.

Louisiana lacks a statewide law restricting the use of facial recognition technology in policing. A 2021 bill to regulate the technology died in the legislature after being opposed by members of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association and the Louisiana District Attorneys’ Association.

Requests for facial recognition analyses are directed through the state’s intelligence hub, the Louisiana State Analytic and Fusion Exchange in Baton Rouge. The hub reportedly uses two facial recognition providers: Clearview AI and Morphotrak.

Clearview AI uses “tens of billions of images … sourced from public-only web sources, including news media, mugshot websites, public social media, and many other open sources,” its website states.

Experts from the ACLU of Louisana and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) told the aforementioned publication that research shows a tendency for facial recognition technology to more frequently misidentify people of color, Common Dreams reported.

It’s unclear whether any facial matches are peer-reviewed by other facial recognition investigators. It’s also unclear how many police offices use the technology, though some say they only use it to generate “leads” in cases where suspects haven’t yet been identified.

“Cops are using facial recognition without disclosing the fact that they’re using it,” the digital rights organization Fight for the Future wrote about the arrest on Twitter. “Police can scan your face using your driver’s license photo, pics on social media, and more,” the group added. “You can be arrested, your life can be upended because of a machine’s mistake.”

Fight for the Future and allied groups have launched a “Ban Facial Recognition” campaign to track the technology’s use and state restrictions on it.

“Despite some progress in restricting or banning law enforcement’s use of such tools at the local and state levels, the United States still lacks federal law on the topic,” Common Dreams reported.

Nineteen House Republicans vote against Kevin McCarthy for speaker on first ballot

For the first time since 1923, no candidate for House Speaker won a majority in the chamber’s first vote.

Nineteen Republicans voted against Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) giving him only 203 votes for Speaker. Comparatively, Democratic Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) got 212 votes from Democratic representatives. However, since neither McCarthy nor Jeffries received a majority of votes from the 435-seat House, a second ballot will have to be conducted.

McCarthy served as the House Minority Leader and is presumed to be the most likely candidate to become Speaker since Republicans now control the chamber.

However, McCarthy has so far been unable to win over far-right candidates who oppose his speakership. Ten Republican representatives voted instead in favor of Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), six voted in favor of Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), one voted for Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.), one voted for Rep. Chip Roy (Texas), and one voted for Rep. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.) even though Zeldin is no longer a Congress member.

It’s entirely likely that McCarthy will still end up as the House speaker. In fact, he has already moved into the speaker’s office. However, to win over the far-right holdouts, he’ll likely need to make concessions to far-right GOP representatives like Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), and others who will want him to pursue far-right demands.

On Monday, an influential conservative organization called The Club for Growth issued a list of demands for the new speaker.

While it didn’t mention McCarthy by name, the group said that GOP representatives should not support any candidate for speaker unless the candidate agrees to pursue a constitutional amendment limiting House members to three terms and Senate members to two. The group also wanted the next speaker to guarantee that all party members to be able to bring their legislative amendments to a floor vote and to guarantee that all Republican Super political action committees (Super PACs) won’t campaign against a Republican incumbent.

On Sunday, McCarthy said he would agree to various new rules meant to win over his far-right colleagues. These rules include a way for them to easily vote him out of the Speaker seat and a promise to ensure that key House committees will “more closely reflect the ideological makeup of our conference” — a line which possibly means ensuring greater representation for far-fight hardliners.

“I think what he’s trying to do is the bare minimum that he needs to try and get to where he can get the votes. And that’s not indicative of somebody that really wants to embrace new ideas, reject the status quo and unify all members in the conference,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said, according to The Hill.

Subsequent votes for the House Speaker will happen imminently.

Louisiana adults must now show state IDs to access online porn

Louisiana residents who want to access adult web content and pornography online must now enter information from a valid driver’s license or state ID into a program called LA Wallet in order to prove they are 18 or older, according to Mashable.

This is thanks to House Bill 142, a new law that went into effect on January 1. The law says that any commercial website that contains 33.3 percent or more pornographic material must “perform reasonable age verification methods to verify the age of individuals attempting to access the material.”

While porn websites claim that they won’t collect any users’ personal information while conducting the age check, the bill requiring the check is a disturbing view of similar legislation to come.

“Pornography is creating a public health crisis and having a corroding influence on minors,” the bill states, blaming adult content for “the hypersexualization of teens and prepubescent children… low self-esteem, body image disorders, an increase in problematic sexual activity at younger ages, and increased desire among adolescents to engage in risky sexual behavior.”

“Pornography may also impact brain development and functioning, contribute to emotional and medical illnesses, shape deviant sexual arousal, and lead to difficulty in forming or maintaining positive, intimate relationships, as well as promoting problematic or harmful sexual behaviors and addiction,” the bill states.

The bill was introduced by anti-LGBTQ+ state Rep. Laurie Schlegel, a woman who has introduced legislation banning transgender youth from playing on school sports teams matching their gender identity. She also opposed legislation that would have banned so-called conversion therapy, a widely disavowed form of psychological torture that purports to change people’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

Louisiana’s law bears resemblance to similar legislation introduced last month by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). Lee’s bill would essentially criminalize any web users who view or share “obscene” images online.

While Lee’s bill has little chance of clearing the Democratically-controlled Senate, it’s just one of numerous bills seeking to restrict adult content and online sex work in the name of protecting children from porn and “sex trafficking.”

Police are convicting people for murder based on 'guilty sounding' 911 calls

Prosecutors are imprisoning people using their 911 emergency calls as evidence thanks to junk science that claims to detect murderers through their speech patterns.

Even scarier: Prosecutors continue to rely on this method even though there’s no scientific evidence backing it up, ProPublica reports.

This method has been pushed by Tracy Harpster, a deputy police chief from suburban Dayton, Ohio who has “no scientific background and next to no previous homicide investigation experience,” the publication wrote.

Harpster claims his training can teach 911 phone operators, investigators, and prosecutors how to detect if the caller is a murderer. His methods have been used in court cases to wrongly convict innocent people.

“I documented more than 100 cases in 26 states where Harpster’s methods played a pivotal role in arrests, prosecutions and convictions — likely a fraction of the actual figure,” investigative reporter Brett Murphy wrote. Some of these convictions have been overturned.

Harpster based his method on research he did for his graduate thesis in criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati. He analyzed 100 recordings of 911 calls, half of which were made by callers who were later found guilty of a crime, and listened for speech patterns that he thought indicated guilt.

Guilt, Harpster says, can be induced by people repeating “extraneous information,” being too polite, interrupting one’s self, or being confusing.

“Almost two-thirds of the calls came from Ohio and two-thirds of the callers were white,” the reporter noted. “Experts told me that’s nowhere near enough data to draw conclusions from because that sample fails to account for who a 911 caller is and how that might affect the way they speak: their race, upbringing, geography, dialect, education.”

The FBI promoted his research to police departments around the nation without labeling it as “exploratory,” meaning that it needed further inquiry.

Harpster and the FBI continued to push his method for 12 years until a 2020 study from the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit finally found that his methods resulted in “inconsistent” outcomes. The unit recommended against using his methods. A fall 2022 study by a separate group in the same FBI unit and three other studies from Villanova and James Madison universities have all found his methods to be unreliable, Murphy reported.

Nonetheless, his methods have been used to wrongly convict numerous people of murder, even when the victims died accidentally or through suicide. Some of these non-murderers have had their convictions overturned, but some become suicidal and experience PTSD after having their lives ruined.

Harpster offers his training to investigators and prosecutors who now push his methods in trials. Investigators, prosecutors, judges, and jury members increasingly consider his methods as “expert testimony” and meeting “law enforcement standards,” despite having no basis in peer-reviewed scientific research. Public defenders who may have never heard of Harpster’s technique can be caught unaware and find themselves unable to disprove its official-sounding methods, especially when police officers testify about its usefulness in getting convictions.

“[Harpster] claims that 1 in 3 people who call 911 to report a death are actually murderers,” Murphy wrote. “No law enforcement officials in the records I’ve seen have questioned this figure, and many departments repeat it when promoting the training internally.”

Harpster’s Facebook page expresses openly “misogynistic, transphobic, Islamophobic and anti-immigrant views” including posts flagged as false information and another post calling peaceful protesters “filthy scum,” Murphy reported.

Trump hints he may split from GOP, dooming their 2024 election chances

Former President Donald Trump has shared an article suggesting that he should run as a third-party candidate if the Republican Party doesn’t choose him as its nominee for the 2024 presidential election.

Trump shared the article, entitled “The Coming Split,” on his Truth Social page. The article asked, “What should we do when a majority of Republicans want Trump, but the Republican Party says we can’t have him?”

“The Republican machine has no intention of letting us choose Trump again,” the article stated. “He is not a uniparty team player. They’d rather lose an election to the Democrats, their brothers in crime, than win with Trump.”

The article said that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is likely to win the Republican presidential nomination, but it refers to DeSantis’ likely nomination as a “fake non-choice among candidates who are pre-selected for us.”

“Do I think Trump can win as a third-party candidate? No. Would I vote for him as a third-party candidate? Yes,” the article stated. “Because I’m not interested in propping up this corrupt gravy-train any longer.”

It’s estimated that Trump commands at least 20 to 30 percent of the Republican voting base. If he split the Republican vote in a general election, it would all but guarantee a Democratic victory, something that the article’s writer acknowledged.

However, the article praises Trump as an “American” president rather than a “Republican” one, and says he, unlike other past presidents, delivered on his campaign promises.

Trump’s announcement of his third presidential campaign in November 2022 was met with little fanfare. Numerous Republican leaders hinted that they would prefer another candidate rather than Trump, who has continually claimed (without evidence) that an unprecedented nationwide conspiracy of voter fraud “stole” the 2020 election from him.

Other Republicans noted that the candidates endorsed by Trump in the 2022 midterm elections largely failed, helping dry up the expected Republican “red wave” to overtake the U.S. Congress. Instead, Democrats now narrowly control the Senate while Republicans rule the House with a slim margin.

Trump also hinted in 2015 that he could run as a third-party candidate if he didn’t become the GOP’s presidential nominee.

Trump’s newly released tax returns reveal cheating & years of paying zero taxes, reporter says

Former President Donald Trump cheated on his taxes, according to investigative financial journalist David Cay Johnston.

Today, the House House Ways and Means Committee released Trump’s tax returns from 2015 through 2020. In three of the six years, Trump’s taxable income was zero. This means he paid no income tax in three of the years, and just $750 in 2016.

“Over the six years, he paid $776,126 in net federal income tax,” Johnston wrote. “That’s just half of one percent of his positive income,” he added, noting, “The typical tax rate for Trump’s income class is more than 25%.”

Johnston says that Trump lowered his income taxes by claiming “huge business expenses despite having zero revenue.” Put another way, Trump said his businesses spent a lot of money just to make no profit.

“Trump received more than $154.2 million in wages, interest, dividends, capital gains, and pensions over the six years when he ran for president or lived in the White House,” Johnston wrote. “Despite this huge revenue stream, Trump reported minus $53.2 million in Adjusted Gross Income, the last number on the front page of your Form 1040 income tax return.”

Trump also did this in his 1984 tax return, resulting in two judges ruling that he had committed civil tax fraud, Johnston added.

“That Trump persisted in using the same fraudulent technique in six years of recent tax returns is powerful evidence of mens rea or criminal intent,” the reporter wrote. “This device is not Trump’s most lucrative tax cheating technique, but it is the easiest for jurors to understand should Trump be indicted on tax charges.”

Johnston acknowledges that tax law regularly allows rich business people and landlords to pay little to no tax while requiring everyday workers and pensioners to pay higher rates. Wealthy people pay tax preparers to use every loophole possible to avoid paying.

However, greater scrutiny of Trump’s taxes could find that he committed other shady dealings “including charitable deductions that may be bogus or overstated; treating personal expenses as business expenses; loans to his three older children that may be to escape gift taxes; and reporting almost $5 million of capital contributions as tax-deductible business expenses,” Johnston noted.

Because there’s no statute of limitations on civil tax fraud, Trump could eventually be pursued for back-owed taxes even if he’s never indicted for fraud.

Far-right blasts Fox News’ Sean Hannity for saying he never believed Trump’s election lie

Far-right figures have turned against Fox News host Sean Hannity after he admitted in legal testimony that he never believed that the 2020 election had been “stolen” from former President Donald Trump.

When giving a deposition in Dominion Voting Systems’s defamation case against Fox News, Hannity said, “I did not believe it for one second,” referring to Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that an unprecedented nationwide conspiracy of voter fraud “stole” the election from him.

Dominion lawyer Stephen Shackelford told The New York Times that Hannity’s fellow Fox News host Tucker Carlson also didn’t believe Trump’s claims. But far-right figures have decided to blast Hannity for his comment.

Former Trump lawyer Lin Wood, who repeated Trump’s fraud claims, told The Daily Beastthat he is “very disappointed” and “unhappy” with Hannity, especially after Hannity allegedly told him in a text exchange that he believed Democrats had stolen the election.

MyPillow CEO and conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell told the publication, “[Hannity is] a terrible journalist…. He doesn’t seem to have any concern over any election problems in the country, and it’s disgusting.”

Stew Peters, a far-right broadcaster who regularly hosts anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theorists, called Hannity a “clown” for his disbelief in election fraud, stating, “He regularly washes and dries [former Republican National Committee Chair] Reince Priebus and [former Trump White House Press Secretary] Sean Spicer’s jock straps.”

Other Trump advisers badmouthed Hannity to the Beast. But it’s unlikely that their criticisms will do anything to remove Hannity from his perch at the right-wing Fox News network.

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation case against Fox News in 2021, alleging that the media outlet repeated Trump’s baseless claims about their machines helping Democrats steal the election. The negative press cost the voting machine manufacturer millions in lost business, Dominion’s lawsuit states.

Trans Republican Caitlyn Jenner is cozying to Fox News to boost her 'political career'

Conservative transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner has reportedly sent repeated compliments, gifts, and “special surprises for Christmas” to Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson in the hopes of boosting her so-called political career, Towleroad reported.

“Caitlyn loves her job as a contributor at FOX,” a source cited by Towleroad told Radar Online. “It’s given her the platform to say her spiel and she’s hoping it leads to bigger, better things!”

“Caitlyn really does look up to Sean and Tucker,” the source added. “They’re not afraid to speak up and neither is she, which puts them in the same league, in her opinion.”

But while Jenner has occasionally been invited to serve as a commentator on the Fox News network, she hardly has any “political career” to speak of.

The failed 73-year-old California gubernatorial candidate ran a lackluster and barely existent campaign in 2021 to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom. Her public statements in that campaign promised to reduce the number of visibly homeless people in the state and to ban transgender athletes from competing in sports, even though she herself is a trans athlete.

In the end, she received less than one percent of the vote, finishing in 13th place.

Previous to her gubernatorial run, she overestimated her influence in the administration of President Donald Trump (R). While she endorsed Trump during his campaign and early into his presidency, Trump quickly banned trans soldiers from serving in the military and took numerous other anti-LGBTQ actions, leading Jenner to admit that her hope in him had been misplaced.

Jenner, a former Olympian, came out as transgender in April 2015. After losing her 2021 race for California’s governor, Jenner was hired by Fox News as an on-air contributor. Jenner was also the subject of I Am Cait, a documentary series covering her transgender identity.

Nine states seeking to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth in 2023

In the coming year, nine states will introduce legislation to block transgender youth from seeking gender-affirming care, The Hill reports.

The states include Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Over 20 bills have been introduced in these states in an attempt to block the life-saving medical care.

Many of the bills would prohibit medical providers from providing puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or gender-affirming surgeries to minors under the age of 18. Gender-affirming surgeries are typically not performed on minors.

Medical professionals who provide gender-affirming care say that puberty blockers have been used for decades on trans children and children with certain cancers with neither harmful nor permanent side effects. Puberty blockers give trans kids time to explore their identities before the permanent effects of puberty occur.

Some of the bills would block taxpayer and healthcare funds from going to any organization that provides gender-affirming care. Others would revoke the medical licenses of professionals who provide such care or would report any parent or guardian who allows their minor child to receive such care to their state’s social services department for “child abuse.”

Arizona, Alabama, and Arkansas have already passed laws trying to restrict medical care for transgender youth, though some of the laws have been blocked by courts. State officials in Texas and Oklahoma have also tried to restrict such care, even though their legislatures haven’t passed laws forbidding it, the Movement Advancement Project reported.

The bills are just part of a national Republican-led campaign to demonize transgender people, LGBTQ allies, and gender-affirming medical professionals as “grooming” and “indoctrinating” children into “gender confusion” so that they can “mutilate” children’s bodies for profit. Such rhetoric has led to death threats and harassment of medical professionals, teachers, and other community members who support the LGBTQ community.

Such laws go against the best practices of trans-related pediatrics outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association. The organizations find that gender-affirming medical care is medically necessary and reduces suicide and depression among trans youth.

Numerous studies have shown that a lack of societal acceptance and access to gender-affirming care can contribute to high rates of suicide among trans youth.

George Santos may have lied about being half-Black

Rep.-elect George Santos (R-NY), who is under investigation for extensively lying to voters about his resume, may have also made possible false statements about being half-Black and his mother dying in connection to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Roger Sollenberger, a political reporter for The Daily Beast, uncovered tweets Santos published on July 3, 2020 from his official congressional campaign’s Twitter account in which he identified as bi-racial, writing, “[Martin Luther King Jr.] did not die for us to go back to segregation. As a biracial person I stand tall against segregation of any kind. This so-called ‘black anthem’ is the most divisive thing I’ve ever seen.”

Sidestepping the fact that the August 2017 Unite the Right white supremacist rally was likely the most divisive thing that most Americans have ever seen, Santos’ tweet likely refers to “Lift Every Voice”, an early 20th century song which has been recognized as a Black National Anthem. Following the nationwide protests against the May 2020 police murder of Black Minneapolis resident George Floyd, the NFL and NASCAR briefly incorporated the song into their pre-game musical performances.

When a Twitter user asked Santos to clarify what he meant by identifying as “biracial,” Santos responded, “Caucasian and Black.”

It’s unclear whether this claim is actually a falsehood. Robert Mackey, a reporter for The Intercept found a picture of Santos embracing a dark-skinned man along with the caption, “Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.” But it’s unclear whether the man in the photo is his father or someone else’s dad.

Also under scrutiny is Santos’ claims about his Jewish heritage. In a February 2020 interview, he claimed that his grandfather fled Nazi persecution in Ukraine, married a woman he met in Belgium, and then moved to Brazil.

“Santos said his mother’s family’s historical Jewish name was ‘Zabrovsky,’ and later appeared to operate a GoFundMe campaign for a pet charity (which he falsely claimed was a 501(c)(3) nonprofit) under that alias,” CNN reported. “Genealogists CNN previously spoke with found no evidence of Jewish or Ukrainian heritage in his family tree.”

Santos also previously said, “My mother fled socialism in Europe,” but genealogical records show that his mother was born in Brazil.

Regarding his mother, in a July 12, 2021 tweet, Santos wrote, “9/11 claimed my mother’s life.” He had previously said that his mother was working in the World Trade Center on the day of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The now-deleted bio on his campaign website said, “She survived the horrific events of that day, but unfortunately passed away a few years later.”Apparently, “a few years later” meant 15 years later, and it’s unclear if her death had any connection whatsoever to the attacks.

Santos also seemingly lied about having attended the Horace Mann preparatory school in the Bronx, New York.

“We’ve searched the records and there is no evidence that George Santos (or any alias) attended Horace Mann,” Ed Adler, a spokesman for the school, told CNN.

Nevada Republicans appoint failed GOP politician with no judicial experience to judgeship

Michele Fiore, a Republican politician, has been appointed to a Nevada judgeship even though she has no prior legal or judicial experience. She has also previously been accused of obstructing an investigation into her own business and once said it’s okay to point a gun at federal officers.

Fiore will fill a seat on the Pahrump Justice Court in Nye County, located about 65 miles west of Las Vegas, the Associated Press reported. County commissioners unanimously appointed her to the judgeship. She will serve on the court through 2024.

She told commissioners that she would oversee the judicial appointment with “integrity and honesty” because she has “been at the end of the political barrel.”

However, it seems she ended up at the end of that barrel largely due to her own fault.

In 2015, Nevada state regulators revoked the license of her home-health business after she refused to show financial records during an investigation of alleged Medicaid fraud, Wonkette noted. That same year, she made statements against transgender people using changing facilities matching their gender identities.

In 2016, she said it was okay to point a gun at law enforcement officers if they point a gun at you first.

“I would never, ever point my firearm at anyone, including an officer of the law. Unless they pointed their firearm at me,” she said in an interview with Las Vegas TV station KLAS. “Now, once you point your firearm at me, I’m sorry, then it becomes self-defense. So whether you’re a stranger, a bad guy, or an officer, and you point your gun at me and you’re gonna shoot me and I have to decide whether it’s my life or your life, I choose my life.”

The Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers called her statement “utterly irresponsible,” “an embarrassment,” and a demonstration of why she’s unfit to hold national office.

Though Fiore was a member of the Nevada Assembly from 2012 to 2016 and a member of the Las Vegas City Council from 2017 until her appointment into the judgeship, she launched a failed 2022 election bid to become the Nevada State Treasurer and a failed 2016 bid to become a state representative in the U.S. House.

GOP New York district attorney opens investigation into Republican Congressman-elect George Santos

Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly (R) has announced that she has opened an investigation into Rep.-Elect George Santos (R-NY) after Santos admitted lying about his past educational and work experiences to voters. The investigation comes amid reports that Santos may have made other past false statements about his prior schooling.

“The numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congressman-Elect Santos are nothing short of stunning,” Donnelly said in a statement on Wednesday. “The residents of Nassau County and other parts of the third district must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress. No one is above the law and if a crime was committed in this county, we will prosecute it.”

Santos recently admitted he lied when he told voters that he received degrees in finance and economics from Baruch College and New York University. He also admitted that he never worked directly for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, despite his bio saying that he did so. He also said that he never claimed to be Jewish, but rather “Jew-ish,” though the Republican Jewish Coalition said Santos “deceived” the group by saying that he identified as a Jew.

The right-wing watchdog Twitter account Patriot Takes has found that Santos may have also lied about attending the Horace Mann Prep School, a college preparatory school in the Bronx, New York.

The Twitter account noted that Santos’ biography on the website for his failed 2020 congressional bid listed the school by name. However, he later removed the name of the school from his bio. When asked about the school in an interview, he claimed that he attended the school but had to drop out in 2008, with only four months left until his graduation, because of his family’s financial difficulties.

When asked why the school didn’t offer him financial assistance, Santos said that the school couldn’t because there were “a couple hundred kids going through the same thing.”

Santos has also provided no additional proof to substantiate claims that he founded a charity called Friends of Pets, lost four employees in the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, that his grandparents escaped the Holocaust, and that his mother was in the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

More than 6,000 kids injured or killed by guns so far in 2022

With only three days remaining in 2022, the Gun Violence Archive has counted 6,054 gun-related injuries and deaths among U.S. children aged 17 and younger this year so far. The count includes gun assault deaths, suicide deaths by firearm, deaths due to accidental firearm discharge, legal intervention leading to firearm death, and firearm deaths from undetermined causes.

As of Wednesday, 307 children under age 12 were killed by guns and 670 were injured nationwide this year. Among children ages 12-17, 1,331 were killed and 3,734 were injured this year.

The 6,054 kids harmed in 2022 represent a 5.7 percent increase over the 2021 total (5,708) and a 14.7 percent increase over the 2020 total (5,160).

In 2020, firearms became the leading cause of death among children ages 19 and below, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) wrote in an October 2022 report. Firearm-related death rates were highest amongst Black and American Indian and Alaska Native youth, KFF found. While school shootings account for only a small number of child injuries and death, the number of firearm-related suicides among youth has increased steadily since 2011, the report added.

A 2019 report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security found that a majority of the guns used by young people come from the homes of parents or close relatives. Only 23 states and Washington, D.C., have laws requiring gun owners to lock their guns away, out of the reach of children.

It’s quite rare for parents to face criminal charges when their children harm themselves or others using their firearms. That’s because the laws aimed at preventing children from accessing guns aren’t always enforced by local prosecutors, legal experts told NPR.

President Joe Biden (D) signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in June 2022. The legislation strengthened background checks for young adults and reduced gun access for individuals with histories of domestic violence. The legislation also expanded school-based mental health services for providing trauma care to students in need.

However, it remains to be seen whether the Republican-led House will pass additional gun control measures when they take control of the lower congressional chamber in 2023.

New right-wing anti-LGBTQ+ dating app struggling to perform for its users

The Right Stuff, a conservative dating app funded by gay billionaire Peter Thiel, is showing signs of failure barely three months after its launch.

In October, the app had 40,000 downloads, according to data from Sensor Tower, an analytics firm cited by The Daily Beast. But between November 1 and December 20, the app had just 11,000 downloads.

“The Right Stuff is all about getting into the right dating pool with people who share the same values and beliefs as you,” an early promotional ad for the app proclaimed. The ad featured only white people, including Ryann McEnany, the younger sister of Donald Trump’s former White House secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

“Other dating apps have gone woke,” the app’s website says. “Quit swiping, scrolling, and trolling the wrong people. Connect with people who aren’t offended by everything.”

However, the app is only available on Apple iPhones (not Google Android phones), it doesn’t allow same-sex matches, it doesn’t allow transgender and non-binary users, and its current users are complaining about its invite-only verification process.

On December 19 review says, “I downloaded this app more than two months ago, even got sent a package from them to become an ambassador, and STILL have not been accepted onto the app. That’s ridiculous and unacceptable.”

“How can someone in a heavily liberal area get an invite… Most people around this area wouldn’t download this app, much less send an invite,” another reviewer wrote. “Rather dumb.”

The profile creation process also asks users to list their “favorite liberal lie” and thoughts about the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riots. Two reviewers claimed that FBI and police officers visited their homes after filling out their profiles.

One reviewer, Bradenwh wrote, “I answered the question about January 6th honestly and the next day I have two police officers at my door telling me that they got a call alleging that I was involved in domestic terrorism??? This app was clearly created by Democrats as a way to subvert our constitutional rights as conservative Americans. Do not use this app unless you want to be harassed by left-wing fascists.”

A Right Stuff spokesperson told Gizmodo, “The claims that users were contacted by the FBI or that we forwarded information to law enforcement are completely false.”

The app will likely follow a long line of little-known and failed right-wing dating apps like Righter, Donald Dater, TrumpSingles, Patrio, MAGA Mingle, and Conservatives Only.

Lauren Boebert's failed gun-themed eatery will be replaced by a Mexican restaurant

Shooters Grill, the gun-themed restaurant owned by far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), has closed down and will soon be replaced by Tapatios Family Mexican Restaurant.

The situation is especially delicious considering Boebert’s past comments against Mexican immigrants.

Boebert’s restaurant closed in July after the landlord refused to renew its lease, The New York Times reported. At the time, the landlord also refused to renew the lease for Boebert’s political office which was located next door to the restaurant.

In a statement about the restaurant’s closing, Boebert said the landlord’s decision “was purely a business decision with no political motivation.”

The restaurant sold dishes with gun-themed names and required its servers wore guns on their holsters. The restaurant also matched her ardent views on guns. She’s anti-gun control and has repeatedly claimed that firearm regulations are both unconstitutional and don’t stop violent gun-related crimes. She also allows her own son and his friends to play unsupervised around loaded weapons in her home.

Boebert has referred to Mexican immigrants at the southern border as “illegals… rapists, drug dealers, and criminals on the terrorist watch list.”

No matter her feelings about Mexicans, a Mexican family restaurant has placed a sign on her old place of business announcing that it will soon open where her eatery once stood.

'Fox News bankrolls' super-bigoted anti-LGBTQ interview with Libs Of TikTok founder Chaya Raichik

In her recently released interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Chaya Raichik, the bigot behind the Libs of TikTok social media account, accused LGBTQ people and their allies of grooming children for sexual abuse.

One activist called Carlson and Raichik’s conversation “one of the most bigoted interviews I’ve ever heard.”

“The LGBTQ community has become this cult and it’s so captivating, and it pulls people in so strongly, unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” Raichik told Carlson in the hour-long interview, released Tuesday on the Fox Nation streaming platform, which was developed by Fox News. “They brainwash people to join and they convince them of all of these things, and it’s really, really hard to get out of it.”

“They’re just evil,” she said of LGBTQ people at another point. “They’re bad people. They’re just evil people and they want to groom kids. They’re recruiting.”

During the interview, Raichik repeated her long-work talking points, accusing teachers, parents, activists, and doctors of “sexualizing” children through LGBTQ content in media, “anti-white racism,” and gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.

“There are a lot of parents who let their kids [express their gender identity]. And there are a lot of parents who are grooming their kids into doing this,” Raichik said. “There are a lot of parents who are told that either you have a dead kid or you have a trans kid, so it’s really coming from higher up than just the parents.”

She said “the hatred that the left has and their violent nature” required her to hide her face until now.

Harvard Law School instructor Alejandra Caraballo commented on the interview via Twitter, writing “This is one of the most bigoted interviews I’ve ever heard.”

Brandon Wolf, press secretary for Equality Florida and a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, wrote of the interview, “[Fox News] bankrolls it. Amplifies it. Then calls you a liar when violence ensues,” The Advocate reported.

Raichik worked with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to help push disinformation and public sentiment in favor of DeSantis’ infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill which bans any mention of LGBTQ identities in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.

Raichik’s tweets and videos targeting LGBTQ people have led to bombing and death threats against gender-affirming medical professionals and venues that host drag queen performances. She has claimed that her work isn’t responsible for the violence against these communities.

'Fox News bankrolls it': Network blasted for giving Libs of TikTok founder a platform to spew hate

In her recently released interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Chaya Raichik, the bigot behind the Libs of TikTok social media account, accused LGBTQ people and their allies of grooming children for sexual abuse.

One activist called Carlson and Raichik’s conversation “one of the most bigoted interviews I’ve ever heard.”

“The LGBTQ community has become this cult and it’s so captivating, and it pulls people in so strongly, unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” Raichik told Carlson in the hour-long interview, released Tuesday on the Fox Nation streaming platform, which was developed by Fox News. “They brainwash people to join and they convince them of all of these things, and it’s really, really hard to get out of it.”

“They’re just evil,” she said of LGBTQ people at another point. “They’re bad people. They’re just evil people and they want to groom kids. They’re recruiting.”

During the interview, Raichik repeated her long-work talking points, accusing teachers, parents, activists, and doctors of “sexualizing” children through LGBTQ content in media, “anti-white racism,” and gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.

“There are a lot of parents who let their kids [express their gender identity]. And there are a lot of parents who are grooming their kids into doing this,” Raichik said. “There are a lot of parents who are told that either you have a dead kid or you have a trans kid, so it’s really coming from higher up than just the parents.”

She said “the hatred that the left has and their violent nature” required her to hide her face until now.

Harvard Law School instructor Alejandra Caraballo commented on the interview via Twitter, writing “This is one of the most bigoted interviews I’ve ever heard.”

Brandon Wolf, press secretary for Equality Florida and a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, wrote of the interview, “[Fox News] bankrolls it. Amplifies it. Then calls you a liar when violence ensues,” The Advocate reported.

Raichik worked with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to help push disinformation and public sentiment in favor of DeSantis’ infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill which bans any mention of LGBTQ identities in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.

Raichik’s tweets and videos targeting LGBTQ people have led to bombing and death threats against gender-affirming medical professionals and venues that host drag queen performances. She has claimed that her work isn’t responsible for the violence against these communities.

Man arrested for racist and homophobic Christmas Eve attack on Asian-American fast food customers

Californian police arrested a 40-year-old man named Jordan Douglas Krah after he was allegedly filmed on Christmas Eve directing racist and homophobic comments toward Asian-American diners who were eating at an In-N-Out Burger fast-food restaurant.

“You guys filming yourself eating?” The man believed to be Krah told the diners, Arine Kim and Elliot Ha, in the video. “You’re weird homosexuals.”

While the diners express disbelief at his comments, the man later returns to ask if the diners are Japanese or Korean. When Ha answers “Korean,” the man accuses Ha of being “Kim Jung Un’s boyfriend,” referring to the Supreme Leader of North Korea, and asks whether the two have “had gay sex before.”

Ha humorously responds, “I wouldn’t go that far. We’re only on second base. He hasn’t taken me out to dinner yet.”

When Ha then comments about taking the stranger out, Kim asks him to stop. The stranger then says he could spit in Ha’s face.

The man later says, “I’m a slave master, you f*cking f*g,” and later adds, “See you outside in a minute… See you outside and what I can do to him,” meaning Ha.

In the video, Ha and Kim look startled at the seeming threat. Kim later said that the strange man then stood outside of the restaurant, staring at them through the window for nearly 10 minutes afterward.

The video of their interaction has been viewed over 13.8 million times on the video-sharing platform TikTok as of Tuesday, December 27. The video went viral and was shared on Twitter where it helped police identify and arrest the suspect.

In a follow-up video, Kim noted that the man had been arrested and that she and Ha are pressing hate crime charges against him for his insults and threats.

She noted that he was also charged by police in Danville, California for another incident involving him allegedly spitting and making racist remarks towards a Filipino family.

Kim said she didn’t expect anyone to take the incident very seriously because she grew up in a predominantly white community where she regularly experienced racist comments about Kim Jon Un and dog eating. She also said that, while she recorded her incident, tens of thousands of other people of color around the U.S. aren’t able to document or widely share their own experiences of racism and hostility from others.

Watch below or at this link.

Man accused of racist, homophobic rant on camera in San Ramon arrestedyoutu.be

Whoopi Goldberg criticized for repeating claim that Nazis didn't target Jews over 'race'

Actress and talk show hostess Whoopi Goldberg is facing renewed pushback over claims that the Nazi Holocaust wasn’t about race.

In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, she said the Holocaust “wasn’t originally” based on race.

“Remember who they were killing first. They were not killing racial; they were killing physical. They were killing people they considered to be mentally defective. And then they made this decision,” she said.

The interviewer Janice Turner mentioned that Nazis saw Jews as an inferior race. She’s correct. Nazis saw Jewish blood as dirty and targeted Jewish individuals and other races, like the Romani people, over racial physical characteristics that have since been depicted in racist and anti-Semitic illustrations.

Goldberg replied to Turner’s comment, stating, “Yes, but that’s the killer, isn’t it? The oppressor is telling you what you are. Why are you believing them? They’re Nazis. Why believe what they’re saying?… It doesn’t change the fact that you could not tell a Jew on a street. You could find me. You couldn’t find them.”

Goldberg made and apologized for similar comments she made about the Holocaust on her co-paneled talk show The View in early 2022. The comments resulted in her two-week suspension from the program.

She later apologized, stating, “The Jewish People around the world have always had my support and that will never waver. I’m sorry for the hurt I have caused.”

At the time, she criticized a Tennessee school board’s vote to removeMaus, a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, from an eighth-grade language arts curriculum, The Hill reported. Goldberg said that the book shouldn’t raise parent concerns about so-called Critical Race Theory because the book wasn’t about race, but rather “man’s inhumanity to man.”

She later apologized, saying that the Holocaust was both about race and inhumanity.

Her latest comments compelled social media commenters on Twitter to criticize her.

“Whoopi Goldberg – 1 million Jews were murdered in Auschwitz alone, so take a lesson from @AuschwitzMuseum,” Boundless Israel co-founder Aviva Klompas wrote. “Hitler targeted Jews for annihilation arguing that we are a distinct and inferior race. Stop distorting history. It’s offensive to every Jew murdered in the Holocaust.”

Video game designer Luc Bernard wrote, “This is one of the times where I think someone should force Whoopi Goldberg to go to a Holocaust museum and learn about the Nuremberg laws.”

Goldberg’s comments have a notable weight at this moment as rapper Ye and former President Donald Trump’s dinner guest Nick Fuentes have both uttered anti-Semitic comments that have mainstreamed anti-Jewish views while also drawing widespread public condemnation.

Tesla 'full self-driving' car caused 8-car highway accident, driver says

A driver said their Tesla car’s “full-self-driving” software braked unexpectedly on a highway, resulting in an eight-car accident on Thanksgiving morning, CNN reported.

The crash adds to the troubles of the company’s transphobic, right-leaning billionaire CEO Elon Musk. Musk has sold nearly $23 billion in his own Tesla shares since April when he began his chaotic takeover of the microblogging media platform Twitter.

Videos from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) showed the vehicle “changing lanes and slowing to a stop,” the news outlet said. The CHP couldn’t confirm whether the car’s “full self-driving” mode was active when the stop occurred.

“The crash occurred about lunchtime on Thanksgiving, snarling traffic on Interstate 80 east of the Bay Bridge as two lanes of traffic were closed for about 90 minutes as many people traveled to holiday events,” CNN wrote. “Nine people [were] treated for minor injuries including one juvenile who was hospitalized… Four ambulances were called to the scene.”

Before Thanksgiving, Musk announced that the beta version of “self-driving mode” would be available to all Tesla vehicle owners who had purchased the feature. The software, which has been added to over 100,000 cars in the United States, automatically accelerates, brakes, and steers on highways, Insider reported.

Tesla’s website says vehicles’ “Full Self-Driving Capability” is “intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment.”

However, the U.S. government has been investigating the software after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it received 758 reports from Tesla owners who said their software occasionally performs “phantom braking,” stopping unexpectedly, suddenly, and violently while in self-driving mode.

A Tesla vehicle owner named Marques Brownlee recently posted a 23-minute video demonstration of his car’s full self-driving mode. In the video, he called the software stressful. He turned off the software three times and said that he keeps his foot hovering above the brake to manually take over if the software acts oddly.

While Brownlee said he’s comfortable using the software on highways, other YouTubers have shared videos showing the software “failing to recognize pedestrians to attempting to turn into oncoming traffic,” the aforementioned publication noted.

Trump’s bigoted dinner guest Nick Fuentes favors burning women alive

Nick Fuentes, the 24-year-old white Christian nationalist who dined last month with former President Donald Trump (R) and anti-Semitic rapper Ye at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, is using misogyny to build a large “incel” following of angry men advocating violence women, Mother Jones reports.

“I’m a proud incel,” Fuentes declared in January on his nightly America First podcast. Incel means “involuntary celibate,” a group of men who blame overprivileged feminist women for disempowering them and denying them sex. Fuentes said he refrained from sex with women because, “I’m choosing instead to lead a historical right-wing movement.”

Right Wing Watch noted that in June, Fuentes said on his podcast, “We need to go back to burning women alive more” when they’re convicted of crimes. He lamented that “everything went all out of control” when women stopped being burned as witches during the medieval period. He said women are now casting spells, molesting children in schools, and falsely accusing men of rape while also raping men.

In January 2022, Fuentes launched Cozy.tv, a streaming platform that he said would be “anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Black, [and] antisemitic.” A month after launching the platform, he said women aren’t “as rational as men” and should be beaten by their partners. He added a racist twist by saying that Black men understand this.

Mother Jones said that rampant racists in the incel community celebrate when Black men abuse Black women because “it both actualizes their brutal fantasies and proves their false and bigoted belief that Black men are prone to aggression.” The publication noted that comments sections of Fuentes’ broadcasts are filled with racist comments.

Fuentes has also said that he thinks future politicians should take an incel “message to the men and say, ‘Hey men, hey men, vote for me, I’ll destroy feminism [and] … make it harder for women to become whores [and]… incentivize women to be in monogamous marriages for the long term and to have and raise kids.”

Fuentes called Mother Jones’ reporting “a hit piece” and blamed “Jews,” like the article’s reporter, for spreading “dishonest smears.”

Trump said he didn’t know who Fuentes was when he dined with him in November. Yet Trump has “failed to condemn him or his ideologies in multiplestatementsabout the dinner,” the aforementioned publication wrote.

In February, Fuentes held his third annual America First Political Action Conference. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga) spoke at the event and later claimed not to have known about Fuentes’ beliefs. Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, and Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin also sent video greetings.

“I’m worried about kids that would follow him. And that’s a shame,” Greene said, recently disavowing Fuentes after Trump dined with him. “But no, I don’t want to have anything to do with him. They showed me some [of Fuentes’] videos. I could not believe the stuff he says. I mean, it was shocking.”

In response, Fuentes described her as “weak” and attention-seeking.

“She’ll go and say something edgy to get attention, and when the pressure comes, she buckles,” he said. “She wants to be the face of Christian nationalism. She’s divorced, and she’s actively an adulterer. How are you going to be the face of Christian nationalism when you’re a divorced woman girlboss? It doesn’t even make any sense. I’m so glad I don’t have to pretend to support that anymore.”

Biden signs repeal of military vaccine mandate that GOP hated

President Joe Biden (D) has signed an $847 billion defense policy bill that repeals his administration’s requirement that all U.S. military members get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The National Defense Authorization Act, signed by Biden on Friday, states that the requirement will be repealed within 30 days of becoming law, Politico reported.

Congressional Democrats agreed to the repeal provision while crafting the legislation with Republicans. While Democrats initially argued that the vaccines were necessary to protect servicemembers from COVID-19, Republicans argued that the requirement violated bodily rights and would result in too many servicemembers being discharged for non-vaccination. They also said that sufficiently high numbers of military members were already getting vaccinated.

By April, 3,400 troops had been involuntarily separated from service for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. About 70 percent received general discharges, service personnel chiefs told Military Times.

It’s entirely possible that Biden’s Department of Defense could issue a new vaccine requirement after the old one is repealed, but such a move would likely be opposed by Republicans who will be in control of the U.S. House starting in January.

“Republicans are expected to continue to press the Pentagon over reinstating troops who were kicked out and giving them back pay,” Politico reported.

Initially, the military vaccine mandate required different full vaccination deadlines for active members in various military branches, most occurring during the final two months of 2021, though reservists in each branch had a bit longer to get vaccinated.

In late December 2021, a district judge in Oklahoma ruled against state Governor Kevin Stitt’s lawsuit objecting to the National Guard’s mandate. But the judge denied Stitt’s request for an injunction blocking the mandate, ruling that their claims were insufficient to stop the federal order.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott filed a similar case in his state. In early January 2022, a Texas judge found in favor of 35 Navy members who said they didn’t want to get vaccinated due to religious objections.

GOP Congressman-elect George Santos promises to explain all the seeming lies in his bio

Congressman-elect George Santos (R-NY) has promised to explain all the holes in his personal biography this coming week.

Shortly after making history as the first openly gay non-incumbent Republican candidate elected to Congress,
the New York Times reported the many gaps in his’ life story.

The publication could find nothing to support his claims that he graduated from Baruch College, attended New York University, worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, founded a charity called Friends of Pets, lost four employees in the June 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, that his Nazi grandparents escaped the Holocaust, that he lives at his registered address in New York City, and that his mother was in the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Documents obtained by The Daily Beast also suggest that he may have been married to a woman until 2019, even though he had previously told USA Today that he had never experienced problems over his gay sexual orientation for the last decade.

Initially, his lawyer blasted the Times‘ report, saying a “shotgun blast of attacks” were “attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations.”

“George Santos represents the kind of progress that the Left is so threatened by – a gay, Latino, first-generation American and republican who won a Biden district in overwhelming fashion by showing everyday voters that there is a better option than the broken promises and failed policies of the Democratic Party,” his lawyer’s statement said, without denying any of the Times‘ findings.

Now, Santos is saying he will explain all of the questions surrounding his life next week.

On Thursday, Santos published a tweet saying, “I have my story to tell and it will be told next week. I want to assure everyone that I will address your questions and that I remain committed to deliver the results I campaigned on.”

Ron DeSantis promotes judge whom voters rejected for denying teen student an abortion over grades

In November, Florida voters kicked out a judge who issued a controversial ruling denying an abortion to a 17-year-old girl because she had C-average grades in school.

Now, state Gov. Ron DeSantis has appointed him to an even higher court, the Sixth District Court of Appeals.

In January, Judge Jared Smith ruled that the unnamed teen couldn’t get an abortion because he doubted her “overall intelligence.” Florida law requires minors to get parental consent before getting an abortion, and the teen sought an exemption for that requirement.

“(While) she claimed that her grades were ‘Bs’ during her testimony,” Smith wrote in his ruling, “her GPA is currently 2.0. Clearly, a ‘B’ average would not equate to a 2.0 GPA.”

He denied her request, and an appeals court later overturned his ruling, finding that he abused his judicial discretion. In response to his ruling, several local conservatives retracted their endorsements of him. Then, in June, local voters kicked him off of the bench, preferring lawyer Nancy Jacobs by a 3.7-point margin.

However, DeSantis just appointed him to the Sixth District Court of Appeals. Now, he and eight other judges will hear appeals cases from several central Florida counties.

Smith and three other candidates for the court had their appointments challenged because they don’t live in the 6th District’s jurisdiction. However, Florida’s Supreme Court ruled last week that a residency requirement “attaches at the time of appointment,” meaning that judges can simply relocate to be in the jurisdiction whenever DeSantis appoints them.

Biden Administration investigating Texas schools for pulling LGBTQ+ books from libraries

The Biden Administration is investigating a Texas school district for removing 130 titles from library shelves, mostly books with LGBTQ+ content.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has opened an investigation into Granbury Independent School District in North Texas.

In March, numerous news outlets reported that school district superintendent Jeremy Glenn ordered school librarians to remove 130 titles dealing with sexual orientation and people who are transgender.

In an audio recording of Glenn’s January meeting with librarians, he said, “I acknowledge that there are men that think they’re women and there are women that think they’re men. I don’t have any issues with what people want to believe, but there’s no place for it in our libraries.”

In response to reports of the books’ removal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas filed a legal complaint. The complaint accused the district of breaking Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law that prohibits schools from discriminating on the basis of sex and gender. The books’ removal created a “pervasively hostile” environment for LGBTQ+ students, the ACLU’s complaint said.

Chloe Kempf, an ACLU attorney, told NBC News, “[Glenn’s] comments, combined with the book removals, really send a message to LGBTQ students in the districts that: ‘You don’t belong here. Your existence is shameful. It should be censored.’”

Republican politicians, conservative school boards, and so-called “parents’ rights” groups have dramatically escalated attempts to ban “controversial” books from school, according to a recent report from the free-speech organization PEN America. The DOE OCR’s investigation into the school district is reportedly the first such investigation tied to this troubling trend.

The bans have largely come from Republican politicians, conservative school boards, and so-called “parents’ rights” groups that have opposed such content as “woke” “indoctrination” that’s “inappropriate” for kids.

Moms for Liberty, one of the national conservative groups pushing to ban LGBTQ books, has started pressuring public school libraries across the country to “accept book donations from conservative publishing companies that promote white supremacist, homophobic, and transphobic ideologies,” Vice News reported.

'Go away': Right-wing pundits hammer Mike Lindell for questioning Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' reelection

Far-right figures are roasting Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO and election fraud conspiracy theorist, for claiming that election fraud occurred in the 2022 election victory of Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the presumed front-runner for the Republican presidential nominee.

Lindell, who has long claimed that voting machines helped “steal” the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump, recently said that he wants to audit DeSantis’ 11-point victory in Miami-Dade County.

“I don’t believe it,” Lindell said on his Frank Speech website Tuesday evening, according to The Daily Beast. “So it’s just going to show everybody— just like we always tell you about Democrats where they stole their elections…I’m going to find out if Dade County—what happened there.”

Lindell’s co-host called DeSantis’ victory in Miami-Dade County “historical”, noting that “normally Republicans don’t win that county.” Lindell told the aforementioned publication that conservative pundits “must have ownership in Dominion [Voting Systems],” the same voting machine manufacturers who, he claimed, helped steal votes from Trump in 2020.

Lindell said he and his team would need about “two weeks” to investigate possible voting “deviations” to help “get rid of these electronic voting machines.”

But, Lindell may find his efforts hampered considering that he has neither legal standing nor an official office to investigate.

Responding to Lindell’s quest, anti-LGBTQ conservative writer James Lindsay wrote, “Mike Lindell is a highly patriotic but extremely vulnerable man being used without his realizing it to discredit real election integrity efforts.”

Former Newsmax TV host John Cardillo wrote, “Lindell needs to go away. He’s being interviewed by a guy he funds, on his own network, spewing lunatic conspiracy theories. DeSantis did well in FL because he did an amazing job for FL. Lindell’s BS is pathetic, and he should stop listening to grifters using him for $$.”

An editor at the conservative blog RedState mocked Lindell, writing, “I mean, DeSantis’ victory margins are just as insane as THIS AMAZING NEW DEAL ON MYPILLOW IF YOU GO TO MYPILLOW DOT COM AND…”

After the 2020 election, Lindell has used his public platform to accuse various election officials of wrongdoing. His election claims have not only failed to materialize substantial evidence, but they’ve also made him the target of a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit.

Lindell hosted an August 2021 “cyber symposium” which, he claimed, would show that voting machines had been used for massive vote-rigging in the 2020 presidential election, but no such proof ever materialized during the event.

28 House Republicans vote against bill to protect child sex abuse victims

The bipartisan Respect for Child Survivors Act, a law that would aid victims of child sex abuse and their families, just passed the House in a 385-28 vote.

All 28 votes against the bill came from Republicans.

The bill would require the FBI to form multi-disciplinary teams to aid sex abuse victims and their families in order to prevent re-traumatization from investigation and any cases from being dropped. These teams would include “investigative personnel, mental health professionals, medical personnel, family advocacy workers, child advocacy workers, and prosecutors,” Newsweek reported.

U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the legislation.

“I applaud Senator Cornyn’s leadership on this issue to correct an egregious wrong committed by certain FBI agents regarding their treatment of victims of sexual abuse,”said Sen. Graham.“Requiring the FBI to use appropriate, tried and true methods to interview child victims will help ensure the FBI’s failure in the Nassar case doesn’t happen again. This legislation will make it clear that we expect better.”

However, not all Republicans expect better from the FBI, it seems.

The bill was opposed by the following GOP Representatives: Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar (Ariz.); Dan Bishop and Virginia Foxx (NC); Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Mo Brooks and Barry Moore (Ala.); Louie Gohmert, Ronny Jackson, Troy Nehls, Chip Roy, and Michael Cloud (Texas); Andrew Clyde, Jody Hice, Austin Scott, and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.); James Comer and Thomas Massie (Ky.); Rick Crawford (Ark.); Byron Donalds and John Rutherford (Fla.); Bob Good (Va.), Clay Higgins (La.), Tom McClintock (Calif.), Ralph Norman (SC), Scott Perry (Pa.), Matt Rosendale (Mont.), and Jeff Van Drew (NJ).

Despite this, the bill is supported by the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, the National District Attorneys Association, Army of Survivors, the National Children’s Alliance, Keep Kids Safe, Together for Girls, Darkness to Light, the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), and the Brave Movement.

Kyrsten Sinema's Democratic consultants abandon her after she switches parties

Powerful Democratic consultants have dropped Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) since she disaffiliated from the Democratic Party to register as an Independent. Their departure will make it more difficult for her to win re-election in her home state if she runs again in 2024.

“NGP VAN, which manages Democratic voter data, is set to cut off Sinema’s access at the end of January, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation,” The Huffington Post reported. “The ad makers who worked with her in 2018, Dixon/Davis Media Group, have split with her campaign. Two other Democratic sources said polling firm Impact Research made the same decision.”

The departures are notable because they’ll limit Sinema’s ability to tout her political accomplishments in advertising and to reach voters who supported her in past elections. Current polling also suggests that she’d face an uphill climb in a future election.

Although Sinema hasn’t yet announced a re-election bid, Arizona Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego and Greg Stanton, are both expected to run for the state’s U.S. Senate seat. If she runs, she’ll likely face a three-way contest against a Democrat and a Republican in the general election.

A recent poll from PPP showed Sinema getting only 13 percent of support from state voters in a three-way race against Gallego (who got 40 percent) and gubernatorial-election-loser Republican Kari Lake (who got 41 percent). While it’s unclear whether Lake would even run for Senate following her narrow 2022 election loss, Sinema’s Independent bid could act as a spoiler for either candidate.

Sinema crafted bipartisan deals on same-sex marriage, gun control, and infrastructure funding, The Huffington Post notes. But she also has a reputation for opposing other social reforms that Democratic voters support, like minimum wage hikes and filibuster reform. She also gained additional favor with Republicans by blocking President Joe Biden’s (D) proposed tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations.

The real challenge for Democrats, if Sinema runs, will be to distance her from their party in a way that will cause her to split the Republican vote rather than the Democratic one.

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