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Greg Kelly aired bizarre segment to prove Trump isn't racist — it didn't go well

Newsmax host Greg Kelly caused quite a stir when he attempted to mount a defense suggesting former President Donald Trump is not racist.

On Monday, May 23, Kelly dedicated part of his right-wing news segment to defending the former president amid liberal accusations of racism. “You may have heard him say, ‘I am the least racist person you’ll ever meet,'” Kelly said of Trump. “And it’s true.”

While Kelly claimed many Republican candidates do not “have much in the way of diversity in their background in terms of friends and associates until it’s time for the campaign,” he insisted that's not how it is with the former president.

Kelly added, “For years, many years, he’s had people, friends from all over the place."

As he continued, a slideshow flashed across the screen featuring photos of Trump with prominent African-Americans. Kelly went on to offer commentary for each photo opp saying: "Here he is with Muhammad Ali and Rosa Parks receiving a civil rights award. Now, isn’t that amazing? Right? A guy who was with Rosa Parks, they’re gonna say is a racist. Who else has he been with over the years before, way before he was interested in politics? Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton – supporting their causes and they supported him."

"Next," he continued. "Michael Jackson, who, by the way, he still speaks fondly of. And the allegations against Michael Jackson – I believe – are fake."

He added, "And well, is that Snoop Dogg?! Yes, it is Snoop Dogg. And of course, Oprah Winfrey. But everywhere Donald Trump went. 'Do you condemn White supremacy? Do you condemn White nationalism?' The question is insulting. It really is, as if we wouldn’t, as if we don’t. I don’t like the question."

Despite Kelly's arguments, Twitter users made it clear they strongly disagreed. In fact, some also offered insight into Trump's history with Black Americans as they noted that photos do not negate his rhetoric and actions that suggest he is, in fact, racist.


One Twitter user wrote, "You look pretty uneducated if you totally ignore the deeply racist roots of the United States, and the recent rise of white power movements in the wake of the Trump presidency, and the fact that a single, possible, hate crime by a black person is somehow just as bad as the 1/2."






Conservative Alice Stewart humiliated after trying to tell a Catholic how Catholicism works

Conservative Alice Stewart and Democrat Maria Cardona got into it over some Catholic bishops weaponizing communion. In the past, bishops have tried to threaten President Joe Biden because he doesn't believe in legislating abortion. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was also threatened because she too doesn't want the government to dictate individuals' lives.

Speaking about the issue, Stewart attempted to cite Catholic tenets cited by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone in his press release attacking Pelosi.

"This is a long time coming and should have happened," argued Stewart, who isn't a Catholic. "This is not a conservative archbishop. This is universal."

The archbishop she's citing is actually very conservative. He serves as the archbishop of San Francisco, a city known for being among the biggest LGBTQ cities. Yet, Cordileone opposes same-sex marriage, which is an issue approved by 70 percent of Americans. In 2013, 58 percent of California voters supported ballot measures legalizing same-sex marriage. That number has only ballooned in the nearly 10 years since.

Stewart said that because the Catholic Church believes that abortion is a sin, priests can deny someone absolution after confession, refusing them of having communion, but all any Catholic would have to do is find a priest who would give them absolution. This weekend, Pelosi went to church in Washington, D.C. where she was given communion.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. is not the kind of leader to weaponize communion. He announced last year that he wouldn't deny it of Biden, though Biden still attends his home church whenever possible. It's where his late wife, son and daughter are all buried.

"Pope Francids refers to abortion in extremely horrible terms calling it murder," said Stewart. "The Catholic Church needs to stand up. You can't pick and choose which tenets you believe in. It is part of the big picture of being a Catholic. This is universal catholic teaching."

Cardona, a practicing Catholic, explained to Stewart that Catholicism doesn't take one issue that negates the entirety of one's faith.

"Judge not lest ye be judged," Cardona quoted from Matthew 7:1. "The Holy Father, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, said that bishops should not be politicians. They should be pastors. This is incredibly misguided on behalf of the bishop. They represent not what the majority of Catholics believe but an extremely conservative political view that they are using their incredibly powerful perch to dispense of that view and I think it is completely wrong-headed of them."

She went on to say that it's one of the major reasons why the Catholic Church is seeing major losses in their U.S. churches. While the church might be gaining a following elsewhere in the world, in the US, where a lot of donations come from, the far-right domination of the U.S. Council of Bishops has been a problem for a more mainstream American audience.

"Those who have left Catholicism outnumber those who have joined the Catholic Church by nearly a four-to-one margin. Overall, one-in-ten American adults (10.1 percent) have left the Catholic Church after having been raised Catholic, while only 2.6 percent of adults have become Catholic after having been raised something other than Catholic," Pew wrote in 2009 before updating its numbers in 2011.

Millennials have been a large part of the rush away from organized religion, Pew data found last year. While the numbers saw huge losses between 2007 and 2014, after 2014 things remained steady. The thing that changed the most is that Pope Francis took over in 2013. Last year, one-third of the Catholics in Germany (221,000) left the church. It was the third year in a row such a large number fled the church. It makes sense for the pandemic, but for the numbers to continue dropping over the course of three years expands beyond COVID.

"Catholics aren’t disappointed—they’re exasperated," wrote Father Bryan Massingale last year. What Americans see is that the Pope does one thing while the US bishops do another. For example, the Council of Bishops was furious that Pope Francis met with President Joe Biden, a life-long Catholic and only the second president in history to be a dedicated follower of the faith. The Council voted that Biden should be denied communion, only to be shot down by the Pope.

America, the Jesuit Review, wrote in January from its editorial board that Catholic leaders must listen to those who have left the church if they mean to win anyone back. Last year, for example, the Michigan Catholic Conference was caught forking over hundreds of thousands of dollars not to help the poor, or children orphaned by COVID, but they gave almost $240,000 to fight a local group that was trying to expand LGBTQ protections.

This is a reason why people are leaving the Catholic church in droves and hoping that better minds within the Vatican prevail, said Cardona. The message coming from Pope Frances, by contrast, "is exactly what the Catholic church should be doing in reflecting the teachings of Jesus Christ. The bishop's weaponize that and I think it's completely wrong to do that."

She went on to tell Stewart that the most important part of being a Catholic is that an individual is responsible for their own morality and moral code.

"You have to act depending on the moral compass, it says. That is up to nobody else," said Cardona. "That is why this -- why you go to confession. If you believe you have sinned, you go to confession and how you are back into the grace of God and then able to take Holy Communion. That is no one's decision except for the person who decides to take Holy Communion. Interestingly enough that decision is as personal to whoever wants to decide to take Holy Communion as the decision to terminate a pregnancy is to a woman. It is that personal. It is no one else's decision. If those bishops believe whoever is taking communion that they are sinning because they believe in abortion rights, well you know what, that is up to that person and God and Jesus. If they believe that person will burn in Hell, well it is up to that person to make that decision. It is not up to the bishop. That is doctrine of the Catholic Church. You are responsible for your own morality and your own moral code. And that is how you should act. And so, I think, again, it is completely wrong-headed. They are weaponizing communion and a reason why the Catholic Church is losing people in droves."

Another point later argued is that Pope Francis is considered infallible in the church, so his thoughts reign supreme over any decision by a lowly bishop in San Francisco.

In the case of Biden, he's never had an abortion, so it isn't his "sin" that the fringe bishops purport to oppose. Their anger is over Biden's support of the legislation. So, weaponizing communion as a means of legislative lobbying could be a violation of tax laws, something that the Catholic Church deems a mortal sin.

"Next time I go to Church, I dare you to deny me Communion," U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) told his 1.6 million Twitter followers last year. As an XY gender, he doesn't appear to have had an abortion.

See the self-own below:

CNN panelists pounce on GOPer for trying to pin blame for baby formula shortage on Biden

Republican Party adviser Scott Jennings was on the receiving end of some major pushback on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday morning when he attempted to make the case that President Joe Biden was responsible for the baby formula shortage that is afflicting American families.

With Jennings lumping the formula shortage in with gas pricing and inflation for reasons for Biden's approval rating problems, he did mention a formula airlift coming from Germany arranged by the Biden administration which opened the door for co-panelist Bakari Sellers and former Biden speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum to fire back.

In a flurry of crosstalk, Jenning claimed, "When you're out driving from store to store paying $5 a gallon, it doesn't feel very good," to which Sellers replied, "Your point falls on deaf ears when you have 132 Republicans, I believe it was, who voted against [a baby formula bill--]," at which point conservative Alyssa Farah Griffin jumped in with, "This bill was a bailout for the FDA for the same people who failed to actually deal with the Abbott recall."

"At least we do understand it's a market failure, it's not a Joe Biden failure," Sellers parried.

"You want this to be about Donald Trump," Jenning exclaimed. "You want this to be the house is on fire and Joe Biden's out here with a tiny fire extinguisher. At the end of the day, you know midterms are about a referendum on the current state on the party in power. None of the people at this table can say the Democratic Party is doing anything about the problems of the American people when it comes to inflation, gas prices, baby formula and the idea that America is no longer the light of the --"

"Joe Biden is not in the back mixing baby formula," Sellers interrupted.

"Who shut down the factory?" Jenning insisted.

"It had to be shut down!" Seller shot back.

"What company had zero redundancy in their supply chain? They were buying back stocks" Nussbaum offered before continuing, "These are structural problems, right?. The president doesn't have a silver bullet but he is firing a ton of silver buck shots."

Watch below:

Judd Apatow explains why George Carlin had 'the best routine about almost every subject in modern political life'

Legendary comedian George Carlin passed away in 2008, but as you can watch firsthand in HBO Max's new two-part documentary series, "George Carlin's American Dream," his material on issues ranging from racism to gun violence to abortion resonate more today than ever.

I spoke to the co-director of the film, Judd Apatow, a comedy legend in his own right, on "Salon Talks" about his connection to Carlin and the making of the film. For starters, the title of the film is a line from Carlin's material that could've been written today: "The owners of this country known the truth that it's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it."

For Apatow, that line resonated because we are watching an effort by today's Republican Party to move our country backwards. Apatow and his co-director Michael Bonfiglio made an inspired choice with the film to include long chunks of Carlin's material — as opposed to cutting it down to simply a setup and a punchline. That allows you to enjoy Carlin's material in full comedian glory. For example, you can watch Carlin talk at length on abortion and the right's focus on forcing women to carry a fetus but not caring about the women or child that is born.

Apatow also shared that Carlin, who was a well-known advocate for freedom of speech, would understand why today's GOP is banning books. "They're banning books because if you read the books, you will question how the country is set up and the power dynamics that hold people down," Apatow sai. "The worst thing that could happen for certain interests in the country is that everyone was educated."

The two-part film charts Carlin's life from childhood through stardom — complete with a brutally honest look at Carlin the father and husband as shared by his daughter Kelly and his widow, Sally Wade. But as a comedian myself, it's Carlin's material that will not just make you laugh, but also make your jaw about how his observations on our country are still spot on today. Watch my "Salon Talks" episode with Apatow here, or read a Q&A of our talk below, to hear more about Carlin and more from Apatow, who opens up about his creative process and insecurities as a comic. "You're always terrified," he shared.

The following conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Judd, welcome back on "Salon Talks." You've been putting out a lot of work lately. You have great work ethic, and I'm not joking.

I tried to get through the pandemic with just very committed workaholism. That was my approach, and I didn't realize it at the time. I thought I was being normal, but I noticed when I was promoting "The Bubble" and then promoting "Sicker in the Head" and now the George Carlin documentary that maybe I was busy.

If I could find a common thread through your recent work it would be deconstructing both the art and the artist. Is that what interests you?

I think that I'm probably in just some massive existential funk that I'm always trying to deal with. I think for a lot of people, we create to try to understand life, to sort through things. It's also a way to feel like you exist and to be part of the conversation and to be acknowledged. So, there is a connection in a group of people who get through life by dissecting it and looking at what's working, and what's not working. And am I happy? Am I not happy? What happened to me that made me so neurotic that I feel the need to do all this? Am I evolving or am I falling apart?

"Sicker in the Head" is a follow-up to your first bestseller "Sick in the Head." As a reader, I was drawn less to the comedy people that you talked to because I come from a comedy world, but more to other performers like Lin-Manuel Miranda. He talks about being on stage during "Hamilton" and looking out in the audience and seeing celebrities and wanting to know before he goes on stage that they're there and these little things. It reminded me of my years as a stand-up comic and the idea that when you're on stage you're functioning at high levels of multitasking. Were you amazed by that type of creative process or more the people that you interviewed?

On one level I'm always trying to understand how people do it. The interviews for me as a creative person are about, how do you do it? When do you write? What are you thinking about? Why do you talk about the things you talk about? How do you figure out the medium in which to express it? When I think about someone like Lin-Manuel Miranda,

I want to understand that whole process of "Hamilton," but I also want to know how he's doing. Did the success slow you down or speed you up? Did it make you neurotic about being judged for the follow-ups? Obviously not, because he's been so productive since, but those issues of mental health and how we keep our s**t together in the face of our own insecurities, trying to be successful, trying to not run out of gas. All of those issues are interesting to me, in addition to how do you be funny? Why should we be funny? When the world is such a mess right now, what is the place for comedy in it?

Being that you are a director, is part of your unique skillset that you hear something and it has this innate quality that you're like, "Hey, that is special"?

That's part of why I direct because I want to create spaces where people are trusted and they're part of the collaboration in a big way. They're helping create their characters. They're letting them grow. Many of my favorite scenes suddenly blossomed. Maybe it was in a rehearsal. Maybe it was while we were shooting and someone said something. Maybe it was hilarious, maybe it was heartbreaking. I remember when Paul Rudd and my wife, Leslie Mann, were shooting a scene in "Knocked Up" and she's mad at him because he snuck out to watch "Spider-Man" with his friends without her and she's crying. And she goes, "I like 'Spider-Man,'" and that's an improvisation. It happens because you trust people and you're hoping that all these connections suddenly pay off.

When I used to do comedy full-time in New York, doing four spots a night was typical. I love trial and error. I love giving a chance to the audience and going up with four punch lines to a joke and trying it over a few days. Do you come from that kind of background in terms of when you were directing?

I come from stand-up. That's all I ever wanted to do. I didn't want to do anything but stand-up, I just started getting jobs in other areas and thought, "Oh, I guess I should follow where the world is pulling me." But, I do like the trial and error of jokes. It's fun. I just hosted the Directors Guild Awards. I had thought about it for months for my monologue. How do I entertain these people while making them feel happy and respected? And that process of working on the jokes and doing them at Largo and at comedy clubs and perfecting them is really fun. But I think it's more fun for me to allow something else to happen. I like when the train goes off the rails and something new suddenly reveals itself.

In your remarkable documentary on HBO, "George Carlin's American Dream," there's a line in it where the title comes from. And Carlin says, "The owners of this country know the truth that it's called, the American dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." When you hear that line, how does it resonate with you?

It is a country that's supposed to be evolving — that's what they tell us. That's why it's interesting because you have these people who are like, "No, we are only supposed to listen to the original documents." And, these originalists, it has to be exactly what they thought of in the 1700s, but that's not what the country was supposed to do. It was supposed to grow and evolve. In thought, we were supposed to get smarter and treat each other better and adjust it as we went along. But it was a country created by slave owners and land owners who were trying to prevent a lot of people from having a say in how the country was run.

Even though we were born a democracy, it was a democracy that kept a lot of people out of the democracy. And what are we seeing happening right now? There are a lot of people that are saying, "We'd like some of these people not to vote who might not allow us to hold power, and let's figure out ways to discourage them from voting." Because if we were a true democracy, then we would only be talking about having a national holiday where everyone can vote. And we make it as easy as possible for people to all legally vote. And we never have that conversation.

We would have automatic voter registration. They wouldn't have that extra game where we're going make it even harder to register to vote now.

It's illegal to give someone a glass of water if they've been on line for seven hours in some states.

During the second part of the Carlin documentary, you leave in his long comedy bits, which I think is so important. Those jokes are relevant and resonate, as if they were written by a comedian today. Carlin talks about banning toy guns, but not real guns. He talks about forced birth by the Republicans.

I think that the reason why people are interested in George Carlin is because every time something happens in the country, he trends on Twitter because he has the best routine about almost every subject in modern political life.

How do you think Carlin would react today? This GOP has gone further than talking about banning abortion. They're literally passing laws in Oklahoma that ban abortion at day one. It would force a woman who is raped to carry the fetus to term. They are banning books and banning subjects from school, like Black history or talking about the LGBTQ community.

He has routines about how they want you uneducated. They want you to know just enough to run the machines, but not enough to ask hard questions. That was the core of his beliefs. Of course they're banning books because if you read the books, you will question how the country is set up and the power dynamics that hold people down. It has to lead to burning books. The worst thing that could happen for certain interests in the country, is that everyone was educated. That people understood how screwed over so many communities have been and continue to be.

People will get a chance to hear the story of George Carlin's seven dirty words, the curse words that you cannot say on TV in America. It culminates with him getting arrested in Milwaukee for saying dirty words. And there was a case going to the Supreme Court about the Seven Dirty Words and indecency. How do you think Carlin would respond to what some people today call cancel culture, where comedians are actually compelled to apologize for jokes that offend some. If they're hateful, it's one thing, but some people take it the wrong way, and comedians are called out for it.

He came from another era. When he talked about a lot of this, he thought, "Well, just change a channel if you don't like it." That was what he said. He's like, "That's why you're allowed to change a channel." I think in a lot of culture now, though, things are pushed down your throat with algorithms. There's a lot that you wouldn't watch or you wouldn't hear or ever know about if an algorithm didn't force it in front of you.

He wasn't around in a time where algorithms could hypnotize people and change their minds. We understand the psychology of how your positions can be changed by the way you are fed information. So, we're not sure what his opinion would be. I know that he felt like, "You're allowed to be a bad comedian. You're allowed to have bad thoughts and that's OK."

There's a great clip that goes around a lot of him talking about Andrew Dice Clay. And he had a lot of, I think, compassion and respect for Andrew Dice Clay. But he also thought that some of the material at that time was punching down. But yet he said, I would definitely defend his right to do it, he should be allowed to do it. And that's what I've always felt. Comedians could be criticized; nobody should be canceled. Everyone should be allowed to work, but occasionally we make mistakes and not all comedy is for everybody.

Some people want really dark, intense, nasty stuff. And some people don't, and that's OK. There should be places for people to see different types of comedy, the same way you might want to go see heavy metal and someone else would rather go see a country band.

You show a clip of a young Richard Pryor and a young George Carlin on the set together with John Davidson. When you see the documentary, you'll see this, but the evolution of Carlin wasn't just about comedy. It was him as a person, he evolved several times. Do you get a sense he was searching for who he was? Or as he got older, he organically evolved, and then it manifested in the way he looked the way he talked?

He came from a post-war America. He had an abusive father. So, his mom took him and his older brother, Patrick, who sadly just passed away last week, upstate. He's amazing in the documentary. He's such a funny, wonderful person. And so, he was five years older than George. George was one or less than one. And their mom took them away because they thought they were in a dangerous situation.

He had this dream of being Danny Kaye, that was the original dream. He met people like Jack Burns and got more politically interested. As the '60s went on, he was kind of a corny comedian and he slowly realized he couldn't say the things he wanted to say and had to take this big leap to grow his hair and curse and grow a beard and say, I'm not going to be someone that goes down easy, that plays by the rules and is very vanilla.

He became a big star, but then he got vanilla again. He ran out of gas and he had a heart attack. And I think he just lost the sense of who he was. I think in the same way musicians do. People put up three or four great records, then like three or four terrible records and then suddenly they find it again.

He saw Sam Kinison at some point and thought to himself, "I don't want to be a corny comedian next to this guy. If this is the bar, I want to redefine who I am and go farther and get better." And it is funny that Sam Kinison was the person who lit a fire under his ass and he got competitive. And that was when he wrote those amazing specials at the end of his life.

What I've found with Carlin and in your book is that comedians are driven, but they're also fragile. There's insecurity underneath the surface when you're in this world.

That's the terrifying part about a creative life. You got to keep it going. If I have a hit movie, it doesn't mean the next one will be good. Every movie is an experiment. When I start something and I think, "Oh, I'm going to make a movie about the pandemic." When I made "The Bubble" for Netflix, I'm taking a huge leap and nothing I've done before, preps me for that. And then I go into the next one and that one will not succeed because of what works in "The Bubble."

You're always terrified. Will I have the next idea? Do I have anything left to say? Am I repeating myself? Am I becoming a bore? And some people do run out of gas. We've seen them where we go, "Oh, how come all the good steps in this eight-year period and nothing is good afterwards." And that's why I'm always impressed by people like George Carlin who fight through that and stay current and edgy and interesting. And it really is about being engaged and passionate about what you're doing.

The lesson from Carlin is to keep pushing yourself and you're going to reinvent yourself. Don't fear that, don't stay in your comfort zone because you've had success, if that's not true to who you want to be for the rest of your career.

Last thing, in your book, you interview some Muslim comedians who I've known for years, like Ramy Youssef, I know him since he was a 19-year-old kid, and Hasan Minhaj, who I know, not as well but I've interviewed him several times. What impresses me about them is they're like philosophers on some level. There's something very innately talented about them and their understanding of the world. And I think Carlin had that as well.

With the first book, it was a lot of people I interviewed when I was a kid and that was certainly a very white, mainly Jewish comedy world. I talked to all the people that I looked up to growing up, people like Paul Reiser and Jerry Seinfeld and Leno and Howard Stern. And for this book, I thought it really should reflect the world right now. People Ramy and Hasan, they're great storytellers. They are philosophers. They have to look at the world through this lens of their culture.

They're compassionate about their experience and they're looking at how they're navigating the world, but they're also looking how other people are looking at them and how people are relating to them. They're seeing everything in both directions. They just have a level of insight that other people don't have. They're very rare, special, important people at this moment. And riotously funny. I did a talk in New York with Ramy about the book and we have a project we're working on together and I couldn't be more impressed with his work and his approach to the work.

"George Carlin's American Dream" is now streaming on HBO Max. Watch a trailer for it below, via YouTube.

An end to neoliberalism? How Chile drafted a new constitution to rewrite Pinochet-era laws

In a historic milestone, Chile has finalized a draft of its first-ever democratically written constitution to replace the one created under the U.S.-backed neoliberal dictator Augusto Pinochet. The new constitution is expected to enshrine a wide range of human rights and social programs, including free universal access to healthcare, higher education, reproductive rights, as well as more robust environmental safeguards and policies to promote gender and racial equity. It will also for the first time recognize Chile’s Indigenous peoples and offer restitution for historically Indigenous lands, but does not include a measure to nationalize parts of the country’s mining industry. “It has been a demand of social movements, of the civil society in Chile for decades,” says Pablo Abufom, member of Chile’s “Solidaridad” movement.

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh, as we turn to history in the making in Chile, where the draft of a new constitution was presented this week that could replace the one implemented during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. The president of Chile’s Constitutional Convention, María Elisa Quinteros, presented the draft of Chile’s new constitution during a ceremony Monday.

MARÍA ELISA QUINTEROS: [translated] It should be noted that the text we have built together emphasizes the autonomy of territories outside the center of Chile and has been the yearning of millions of Chileans. … This draft captures the spirit of a new Chile, a Chile that, on the foundation of decades of efforts, is taking a step into the future. These are the wishes of millions of citizens who placed their dreams and hopes in this process. This text materializes a new way of treating one another, a new way of understanding life in our country, where everyone can feel protected.

AMY GOODMAN: The new constitution would recognize for the first time Chile’s Indigenous peoples, codify reproductive rights, make higher education free, require gender equality in the government, and require it to mitigate and adapt to the climate catastrophe. Not included in the draft were plans to nationalize parts of the country’s mining industry. Work on the final version of the draft is underway. Chileans are set to vote on it September 4th. Some recent polls show fewer than 40% currently say they would vote yes.

For more, we go to Santiago, Chile, and we’re joined by Pablo Abufom, member of Chile’s Solidaridad movement — in English, Solidarity movement — an anti-capitalist, feminist organization.

Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Pablo. Talk about the significance of what took place this week.

PABLO ABUFOM: Hi, Amy. Good to be here.

Well, the first thing to say is that this finally ends with the neoliberal constitution imposed by the dictatorship. This is very important. It has been a demand of social movements, of the civil society in Chile for decades. And this is probably a new step in a political crisis that began in October 2019, where we had a huge popular revolt in Santiago, but in other big cities, in urban and rural centers in Chile, when we had millions of people taking to the streets to demand the guarantee of social rights; an end to neoliberal policies like privatization of education, healthcare and pension systems; and also gender equality and recognition of Indigenous peoples’ rights. And so, this new constitution, the draft of the new constitution, it’s finally a place where all those aspirations have a space, are recognized.

And this is also very relevant, because it’s the first constitution that is democratically written. It was an elected body that is actually representative of a Chilean diversity, including gender parity, representatives of Indigenous peoples, of social movements, like environmentalist groups and feminist movements. And so we have a body that is actually democratic. That is a huge contrast with previous constitutions that were written, in the case of the dictatorship, by a small group of partisan followers of the dictatorship, but also in the past that was written by a group of — small group of experts, politicians, lawyers, etc. And so, this is a completely historical milestone for our recent history.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Pablo, could you talk about what you know of how much support the draft constitution has? We just mentioned that at the moment only 40% of people in Chile say that they would vote in favor of it.

PABLO ABUFOM: Yeah, we have to say that the same polls that say that are the polls that said that people were not approving the change of the constitution, or the people who said that the fascist — neofascist right-wing candidate, Kast, was going to win the election, and it was Gabriel Boric, a progressive, who won. So, there’s not too much to find in those polls but a lot of the aspirations of the great losers of this process, of this political crisis — the conservatives, nationalists and defenders of the neoliberal model.

So, the actual references that we have is, it’s not just the polls, but we have an 80% vote for a new constitution. We have a majority vote for representatives of social movements, of independents and leftist groups in the civil society to change a neoliberal constitution. And then we have a massive turnout to vote for Gabriel Boric as the president, as a progressive president, against the fascist right-wing candidate. So, those are the actual facts that we have. The rest are polls that, of course, tend to be — tend to talk more about the aspirations of the people who commission those polls than the actual opinion of the people.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Pablo, what about this, the fact that one of the provisions was excluded, Article 27, which would have nationalized the mining industry? If you could talk about the significance of that and, in particular, lithium and the significance, the importance of lithium to the economy in Chile, and what that had to do with this decision?

PABLO ABUFOM: Well, Chile is an economy that is based on the extraction of raw materials. And mining is the main activity in terms of extraction of copper, and now lithium has become the new thing. And so, the dispute around who can — whether the state can have an economic activity in terms of extraction of lithium or just private companies, mostly multinational corporations that are currently mining a lot of the Chilean minerals right now, that’s one of the main disputes. And it mobilized a lot of support. And it was actually a popular initiative bill for the Constitutional Convention that was proposing the nationalization of the mines and other natural resources.

And I think that we have to take into account that a constitution is not going to solve all the problems. There are still a lot of things that are going to be part of future struggles, and the constitution opens a new political period for those struggles. So it definitely is not — the constitution is not enshrining nationalization, but nationalization of natural resources as a way to solve an economic crisis that is ongoing and to pay for the social rights that are being enshrined in the constitution, it’s definitely on the table, and it’s going to be a part of a political struggle in the next decades probably.

AMY GOODMAN: And what are the plans to galvanize support? I mean, this is going to be a referendum all over the country in September for this constitution. And how much do you expect it will change?

PABLO ABUFOM: Well, the thing is that since the beginning of the Constitutional Convention, the right wing and the great losers of that election have been doing a dirty campaign of fake news and promoting rejection of the new constitution, even before it was written or even before we could see any of the articles. So, they have a lot of advantage in that sense. They’ve been doing it for a long time. And now popular social movements and civil society is mobilizing for an approval of the new constitution, and now we are seeing that, with the draft in our hands, we’re going to go to the streets to talk to people and communicate the actual changes. I think that those polls reflect the control that the mainstream media have on the political narrative in Chile. We’ve seen that they have been talking — most of the information that is on social media —

AMY GOODMAN: We have 10 seconds.

PABLO ABUFOM: — and mainstream media is fake news. And now we’re going to see what people think about the actual constitution, the enshrining of social rights, of reproductive rights, of gender parity, of a democratic process, etc.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we have to leave it there. We thank you so much, Pablo Abufom —

PABLO ABUFOM: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: — member of Chile’s Solidaridad movement, anti-capitalist, feminist group. We will post the Spanish conversation at democracynow.org.

Happy Birthday to Eli Putnam and Simin Farkhondeh! I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.


Pivoting 'away from policy and toward trolling': Damning supercut details the downward spiral of the GO​P

MSNBC News' Ari Melber has shared a montage of damning clips highlighting the downward spiral of the Republican Party and its "pivot away from policy and toward trolling.”

According to HuffPost, the latest supercut, which was tweeted by Melber via Twitter on Friday, May 20, features a string of well-known Republican figures including who have contributed to the party's downward spiral.

Remarks from Republican Party favorites like former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) were highlighted as they discussed their grievances, attempted "to settle scores" and failed to stay focused on policies the party advocates for.

Pulling multiple clips from Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) events, Melber also highlighted some of the party's bizarre arguments and beliefs.

The latest supercut comes as Republicans focus on the last leg of the CPAC which is currently taking place in Hungary; a European country under the leadership of Viktor Orbán, an authoritarian highly respected by members of the Republican Party.

Watch: Colorado news anchor torches Lauren Boebert's echoing of a conspiracy theory that influenced the Buffalo shooting

A Colorado news anchor recently reminded his viewers of Rep. Lauren Boebert's (R-Colo.) echoing of a disturbing conspiracy that is said to have influenced the mass shooter who murdered 10 Black victims at a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store last weekend.

On Friday, May 20, Denver 9News' Kyle Clark discussed Boebert's previously verbalized support of the bizarre "replacement theory."

“There are some conservative political figures that will hint about this theory or speak about it in code. And then there’s Colorado’s Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert,” Clark said this week.

Clark's segment shifted to a clip of Boebert speaking about the conspiracy theory last year. At the time, Boebert was circulating an echoed claim about Democratic lawmakers looking to replace white Americans with immigrants.

In the clip, she said: "They want to grant amnesty and a path to citizenship to 8 million illegal aliens. Yes, there is definitely a replacement theory that’s going on right now. We are killing American jobs and bringing in illegal aliens from all over the world to replace them if Americans will not comply."

Clark weighed in saying, “That was Colorado congresswoman Lauren Boebert openly espousing replacement theory by name in 2021.”

Boebert, like some other conservative lawmakers and public figures, have been echoing these disturbing claims for quite some time. However, now conservatives like Fox News' Tucker Carlson are now attempting to dissociate it from the mass shooting.

'Sordid, corrupt, lawless': Experts call new Ginni Thomas revelations ‘breathtaking’ and ask ‘What did her husband know?’

The latest revelations about the actions of Ginni Thomas, the far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House are leading experts to demand Clarence Thomas’ recusal while calling the combination of their actions “breathtaking corruption,” and noting the Justice’s extraordinary hypocrisy.

Later Friday morning The Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas pressed two Arizona lawmakers to overturn the will of Arizona’s voters in the 2020 presidential election by choosing a “clean” slate of electors, representing Donald Trump and not Joe Biden. The Post notes Thomas did not mention any candidate by name but reports “the context was clear."

Before you choose your state’s Electors … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead,” an email bearing Ginni Thomas’ name, sent to the Arizona lawmakers, reads.

It included a link to a video of a man delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to “put things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”

“You have only hours to act,” said the speaker, who is not identified in the video.

Thomas also pressed Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to work to overturn the election, as has been widely reported.

Her efforts, combined with Justice Thomas’ actions on the Supreme Court, amount to “breathtaking corruption,” writes Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern.

“The conflict of interest between Ginni and Clarence Thomas has never been greater. While Clarence was applying the ‘independent state legislature doctrine’ from the bench, Ginni was using the exact same theory to try to overturn the 2020 election. Just breathtaking corruption,” Stern says.

He adds:

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst and law professor, issued a strong warning.

Either Justice Thomas recuses in every case that comes to the Court where his wife is heavily involved in the action or the public’s confidence in the Court will be damaged beyond repair.”

Reuters reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court, Lawrence Hurley:

Former federal corruption prosecutor Noah Bookbinder, who is president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says it is “outrageous” Justice Thomas has refused to recuse:

"New evidence that Ginni Thomas’s participation in efforts to overturn the 2020 election was even greater than we knew; in this case pressure on AZ legislators to overturn that state’s vote. Makes it even more outrageous that Justice Thomas did not recuse.”

“Wow!” exclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona legislators to overturn Biden’s win and choose a ‘clean slate of electors.’ In other words, she supported a coup to overthrow an elected president. What did her husband know?”

Economist and frequent political commentator David Rothschild observes, “Ginni Thomas was conspiring with high ranking Republicans to overturn [the] republic, and her husband was either privy to or actively involved in this conspiracy before using his position to coverup his wife’s role.”

Former SDNY Asst. U.S. Attorney Richard Signorelli sums up:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greene offered no evidence to substantiate that hypothesis.

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

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

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

Watch below via Ron Filipkowski:

Watch: Dr. Oz says legalizing marijuana is ‘giving them pot so they stay home’

Dr. Mehmet Oz was asked about his position on marijuana and appeared to believe making it legal means everyone in the state of Pennsylvania would be given the drug, which would force workers to “stay home.”

Oz, endorsed by Donald Trump in the race for a seat in the U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania, is in an extremely tight primary race against Republican Dave McCormick. The “celebrity doctor” is barely ahead currently, as ballots from Tuesday’s vote are still being counted. The winner will face Democrat John Fetterman, currently Pennsylvania’s Lt. Governor.

Fetterman has won statewide in Pennsylvania,” Newsmax’s Greg Kelly told Oz. “He wants to legalize marijuana I believe."

"What is your stance on that by the way?” Kelly asked Oz.

“You know there are not enough Pennsylvanians to work in Pennsylvania,” Oz responded, twisting the question into a labor shortage issue.

"So giving them pot so they stay home is not an ideal move,” he said, as if making it legal would endanger the economy of the state.

“I also don’t want to breed addiction to marijuana,” he added. The CDC says one study has shown about a ten percent addiction rate in those who choose to use the drug.

“I don’t want young people to think they have to smoke a joint to get out of their house in the morning,” Oz added, which contradicts his claim that those who use marijuana will not go to work.

"We need to get Pennsylvanians back at work. You got to give them their mojo. I don’t want marijuana to be a hindrance to that,” he says, contradicting his earlier claim that there are not enough workers in the state.

Pennsylvania has a relatively low unemployment rate of 4.9%.

Watch:

Watch: MSNBC’s Ari Melber torches Tucker Carlson — and highlights the only case where he makes excuses for mass shooters

MSNBC News' Ari Melber offered a critical assessment of Fox News' Tucker Carlson and his reporting on mass shootings. On Wednesday, May 18, Melber noted the "double standard" in Carlson's broadcasts when it comes to crimes committed by white suspects as opposed to crimes committed against white victims.

The portion of Melber's segment on Carlson began with a brief series of clips highlighting the conservative prime time television host's reporting on the mass shootings — beginning with the recent one in Buffalo, N.Y. that claimed the lives of 10 victims and left an additional three wounded. The shooting took place at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Reports have even offered details about the shooter's manifesto and the reasoning behind his disturbing decision to open fire on grocery shoppers.

According to HuffPost, the shooter's 180-page document, which was uploaded online, included his intent to “kill as many Blacks as possible” as he referenced the unfounded “replacement theory” that had previously been circulated by Carlson.

However, while reporting on the shooting, Carlson made it a point to stop short of defining the document as what it really is: a "manifesto." “It is not a blueprint for a new extremist political movement,” Carlson said, adding, “Because a mentally ill teenager murdered strangers, you cannot be allowed to express your political views."

Melber noted the distinct difference in Carlson's reporting on the parade attack that took place in Waukesha, Wisconsin last year. A blog post published by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) explained how that tragic event was exploited by white supremacists who used the tragedy to ”[sow] racist and antisemitic conspiracy theories.”

“Waukesha has become yet another current event, as seen through the white supremacist lens, supporting unsubstantiated but perceived claims of escalating crimes targeting white victims,” the ADL stated.

Per HuffPost, Carlson took a similar approach as he attempted to link "Black nationalism and the Black Lives Matter movement to the 'slaughter' in Wisconsin."

DOJ transcript request shows criminal probe of Trump allies just moved into the open: legal expert

The Department of Justice has asked for transcripts of interviews conducted by the House select committee, and a legal expert explained how that shows the criminal investigation of Jan. 6 has moved out into the open.

The pace of the DOJ probe of the insurrection has reportedly frustrated the White House, but MSNBC legal analyst Barbara McQuade told "Morning Joe" the request for evidence collected by congressional investigators shows federal authorities have widened the scope of their criminal investigation.

"I think this is a very significant development," said McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney. "It tells us that the Justice Department is looking at more than just the physical attack that occurred on Jan. 6 at the Capitol, but the full scope of all of the things that the Jan. 6 committee has been investigating that includes aides to Mike Pence, we've talked about the pressure that Donald Trump put on him to stop the certification. It includes DOJ high-level officials who were pressured by Trump to say that there was fraud in the election."

McQuade doesn't believe their ongoing investigation has expanded, but she said the request does signal a new phase to the criminal probe.

"I don't think it means necessarily only now are they beginning that expansive investigation." she said. "I think they've just reached a point where they've decided it's okay to go overt. It's likely they've been doing covert investigations to get email, for example, is likely completed and now ready to proceed to this phase."

Trump 'unleashed something he cannot control' and it's thrown Pennsylvania GOP into chaos: NYT’s Haberman

Appearing on CNN's "New Day" to discuss pivotal Republican Party primaries in key states, each of which could have a major impact on the control of both the U.S House of Representatives and the Senate, the New York Times' Maggie Haberman focused on the race for the open Pennsylvania Senate seat being sought by multiple controversial candidates.

On primary day, any one of the three GOP hopefuls -- TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, businessman Dave McCormick and conservative gadfly Kathy Barnette could win -- although Oz and Barnette are making some Republicans cringe that they will make the cut to the November ballot and hand over a Republican seat to the Democrats.

Speaking with hosts John Berman and Kaitlan Collins, Haberman was asked what she expects to see happen on Tuesday.

"What are you watching in Pennsylvania tonight?" she was asked leading her to joke, "Who wins, is the main question?"

"But in all seriousness, I don't remember a race like this in a long time," she continued. "They're all bunched up, the top three. It's not clear who is going to win. Trump tried pushing Mehmet Oz over the top and he may still end up doing that. But there are strategists looking at this race who say they can see Oz finishing third. The big question is, Oz comes into this with ideological issues for the Republican base of his own, but it will absolutely be seen as a measure of the limits of Trump's appeal."

Addressing the possibility that controversial outsider Barnette could win, Haberman added that the Republican leadership, specifically Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), the GOP's Senate campaign chief, "don't want to cut her off if she's the nominee."

"I think he's trying to make it where she comes into the tent a little more," she elaborated. "I think he's trying to get her to sand down certain edges. and this is not unusual, when you see a contest like this. But again, what her whole message has been, essentially, is reminding us that Trump unleashed something that he can't really control anymore with this movement. I think that whether he's able to get his candidate over and turn this into a referendum on him is the big open question of the day. It's hard to overstate that."


Watch the video below or at this link.

CNN 05 17 2022 06 23 14 youtu.be

Lawrence O'Donnell torches Rupert Murdock for aiding white supremacists

MSNBC News' Lawrence O'Donnell is not pleased Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch's for allowing disturbing rhetoric to be syndicated on his network.

On Monday, May 15, O'Donnell was featured in a special news segment titled, “Fox News Has Blood On Its Hands,” where he expressed his concerns following the deadly mass shooting of Black victims at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y. The victims were killed by an armed white supremacist.

According to HuffPost, O'Donnell "highlighted Fox’s 'abject fealty to the National Rifle Association,' saying it was thanks to Murdoch 'as much as it is any Republican president that America’s mass murderers are still what they have always been, the very best equipped mass murderers in the world.'”

According to O'Donnell, Fox News' reporting is fueling the deadly actions of white supremacists. Fox News hosts, like far-right conservative Tucker Carlson, who has repeatedly pushed the "racist 'Great Replacement,'" have been particularly adamant about sharing dangerous, divisive rhetoric.

"No one should waste their breath on the men in makeup at Fox when Rupert Murdoch is responsible for everything that they say and do that helps shape the thinking of white supremacist mass murderers,” said O’Donnell.

Lawrence: ‘Fox News Has Blood On Its Hands’ youtu.be

He also emphasized the level of control Murdoch has as he highlighted that the network owner has the ability to put an immediate stop to such reporting.

Despite much scrutiny over the last couple of years with the rapid rise in right-wing extremism, Murdoch has not addressed the concerns about his anchors. Each night, Carlson continues to circulate misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Nebraska governor says rape and incest victims should be barred from seeking abortions

On CNN this morning, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts tossed aside the evasions his Republican Party used to rely on to assure American women that Republicans would not, in fact, force them to give birth to the babies of their rapists. No abortion exceptions for incest or rape, said Ricketts. None.

Under Republican government in Nebraska and elsewhere, a 12 year old girl raped by her father will carry that pregnancy to term.

It's a position that is almost required, if one truly believes in the "personhood" of a fertilized egg with no organs or nervous system. Pete Ricketts knows not a damn thing about medicine, but has strong religious convictions that he believes should override medical knowledge—not for him, but for every last American of every religion or no religion, in any circumstance, enforced by the powers of the state.

This is what is coming. Republicans have vowed they would do it ever since racist evangelical leaders of past decades latched onto abortion as a means of galvanizing support for a Christian nationalism-premised erasing of the last half-century of gained civil rights. The leaked news that the Supreme Court the Republican Party packed exclusively with theocrats is on the cusp of ending federal abortion rights means that Pete Ricketts and other Republicans like him will now use their power to implement whatever faux-religious rules their base demands of them.

Republicans are done being coy about what's coming next. They don't believe they need to play those games, now that they have a Supreme Court that will back their theocratic moves every step of the way.

‘Cry more’: OAN correspondent criticized for attack on ‘Psaki’s reign’ after final press briefing

By almost any measure Jen Psaki has been among the most successful and respected White House Press Secretaries in modern times. Unlike her predecessors in the Trump administration, she has held daily press briefings, her briefings have been thorough and open to a wide range of questions from a wide range of legitimate news outlets, and they have been exceptionally long – generally around an hour if not longer.

One Trump administration press secretary held no press briefings, at least three others were accused of lying to the press on a near-daily basis, as well as being exceptionally disrespectful and antagonistic to the press.

But One America News’ White House correspondent Chanel Rion was outraged with Psaki on Friday, the press secretary’s final briefing before exiting the administration next month.

At the end of the briefing a reporter for Today News Africa, Simon Ateba, “interrupted her and other reporters multiple times in an attempt to get a question in,” as Mediaite reports. “Ateba began shouting her name, asking repeatedly, ‘will you take a question from the back of the room?'”

He “tried interrupting Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller during a question and was ignored by the room and Psaki, but this did not deter Ateba.” He again tried, interrupting ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce, who in frustration responded, “Simon, please stop.”

One America News, which has been labeled a “Pro-Trump ‘propaganda’ channel,” earlier this week admitted there was “no widespread voter fraud,” apparently as part of a settlement with two Georgia election workers who filed a defamation suit against the far right-wing cable network.

Rion Friday afternoon voiced support for Ateba, suggesting without evidence that “80% of the briefing room” has felt Psaki “takes questions from [a] select few.”

Psaki has told reporters during briefings she tries to get to as many reporters as she can. She has called on correspondents from far right-wing outlets, including Fox News daily or almost daily, the Christian right channel Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN,) and Newsmax, to name a few.

Psaki’s parting words to the White House Press Corps: “I want to thank all of you in this room. You have challenged me, you have pushed me, you have debated me and at times we have disagreed. That is democracy in action. That is it working. Without accountability, without debate, government is not as strong.”

On Twitter many criticized Rion:

“Why would she take a question from you? You’re a joke from the circus of lies and conspiracy.”

“Maybe get a job in journalism? Worth lookin’ into.”

“Because OAN is admittedly not a news organization.”

“OAN is not a news organization.”

“Why is OAN even in the room?”

“I think she might be choosing NEWS organizations for questions not propagandists.”

“You are not real news just propaganda. She already calls on the doofus from Fox Entertainment way too often.”

“Cry more.”

Lindsey Graham grilled on Fox News about leaked audio praising Biden

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is at the center of controversy for his recent Fox News interview.

At the time, he was asked to offer an explanation for the leaked audio that was released to raise awareness about the new book, “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” which was co-written by New York Times' reporters, Jonathan Martin, and Alexander Burns.

Instead of standing by his words, where he praised President Joe Biden, he pivoted to criticizing him. Then, he moved on to sucking up to former President Donald Trump. The interview stemmed from the audio being featured on CNN on Tuesday, May 10. In the clip, the Republican lawmaker spoke with Martin amid the Capitol riots. At the time, he said, "the country would eventually move on from the incident and realize 'we’re better than this.'”

In the recording, he also admitted that he believed Biden would likely be the best presidential candidate to move the country in the right direction. “Yeah, totally, he’ll be maybe the best person to have, right? I mean, how mad can you get at Joe Biden?” he said.

Graham was confronted about those remarks. During his Thursday appearance on “Jesse Watters Primetime,”

“Joe Biden. The best person to have? Do you really believe that?” Watters asked him.

Graham said, “I was wrong.”

“I’ve known Joe for 30 years,” he said. “He’s a nice guy, but he’s been a disaster as president.”

He added:

After that, Graham echoed a common political theme among Republican voters: praising Trump. “They didn’t do this on Trump’s watch because they were afraid of him,” he said. “Nobody fears Joe Biden abroad, and at home his policies are failing.”

Watters refrained from pushing the issue but did criticize the South Carolina lawmaker for “speaking to New York Times reporters.”

“If I was a senator, I’d never do it,” Watters said.

Graham conceded that was "very good advice."

GOP senator ridiculed for comparing pregnant women to sea turtles

Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, a long-time opponent of abortion rights, has been hoping to see the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade — and it appears that he is going to get his wish. The Republican senator and hardcore social conservative reiterated his anti-abortion views during a May 10 speech on the Senate floor, arguing that if the eggs of sea turtles enjoy legal protection, there is no reason why abortion should be legal. And he is being brutally mocked on social media for his ridiculous analogy.

The 59-year-old Daines, during his speech, told his colleagues, “If you were to take or destroy the eggs of a sea turtle — now I said, the eggs…. The criminal penalties are severe: up to a $100,000 fine and a year in prison. Now, why do we have laws in place to protect the eggs of a sea turtle, or the eggs of eagles? Because, when you destroy an egg, you’re killing a pre-born baby sea turtle or a pre-born baby eagle. Yet when it comes to a pre-born human baby rather than a sea turtle, that baby will be stripped of all protections in all 50 states…. Is that the America the left wants?”

It didn’t take Twitter users long to point out how idiotic and horribly flawed Daines’ comparison was:




MSNBC's Katie Phang mocked Daines with dry humor:

Here are some more reactions to Daines’ speech:




Mike Flynn believes he's being 'persecuted' because he’s getting fined by the US Army for being on Russia’s payroll

Former Donald Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on Tuesday complained about the United States Army concluding he violated the Constitution by accepting payment from the Russian government.

"The Army has determined that in December 2015 you failed to obtain the necessary approval in accordance with Army Regulation (AR) 600-29 before accepting compensation from an entity substantially owned or controlled by a foreign government in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. Specifically, the Emoluments Clause prohibits the receipt of such compensation unless Congress consents," the Army wrote to Flynn.

The Army is seeking to recoup $38,557.06 from Flynn.

"The Army has determined that you did not obtain the necessary approvals before engaging in employment activities with Russia Today (RT), a foreign government controlled entity. Specifically, between December 10-13, 2015, you traveled to Russia and spoke at a conference hosted by the Russian news agency Russia Today (RT). RT requested your participation, had control over the event, and paid for your roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations, ground transportation, visa, and a speaker’s fee through Leading Authorities, Inc. (LAI). Between December 10-13, 2015, RT transferred $45,386 to LAI, from which you received $33,750 as compensation for your speaking services. In addition, you received $4,807.06 in in-kind compensation for roundtrip airfare, visa costs, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation to and from the airport in Moscow," the Army explained.

Flynn discussed the situation during an interview on the far-right Real America's Voice network.

Flynn, who was pardoned by Trump, said, "what I believe has occurred is the Department of Defense — underneath this administration, the Biden administration — they completed an investigation and they decided they are going to continue to persecute me by tagging my pay for what they call a violation of something called the Emoluments Clause."

Flynn has repeatedly pushed Trump's "Big Lie" about election fraud in the 2020 election.

"It's just another dig, another means to embarrass, they just want me to shut up," he said. "They're just going to reach into my retirement and take some money out."

Watch the clip below or at this link.

Watch: Psaki destroys reporter who claims Republicans are not supporting Rick Scott’s extremist theocracy roadmap

U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) put out a policy agenda so extreme it’s been called a “roadmap to theocracy.” If it were to become law it would be Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” on steroids. It would make Congress have to re-pass every law every five years – likely killing Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Obamacare, just for starters. It would ban trade with any country if it “takes away jobs or displaces American workers.” It would likely force the U.S. out of NATO.

Rick Scott’s 11-point plan would enable massive religion-based discrimination. It would ban abortion and government recognition of LGBTQ people. It would be the policy of the United States of America that two parents is the best and most desirable model. It would radically regulate pornography to make it less accessible. And it would dramatically restrict voting rights, and make voting even more difficult.

It would, according to WAMC, “raise taxes on low income Americans.”

That’s all just for starters.

Tuesday a reporter challenged White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, demanding she defend President Joe Biden’s claim that a majority of Republicans have signed on to Senator Scott’s program.

It did not go well for the reporter.

“So today the President said that a majority of Republicans have signed on to Senator Scott’s tax plan. That does not seem to be the case,” she claimed. “And there’s got said that today, Mitch McConnell has said that the party is not behind this. Are there any Republicans that you can think of or the President might be referencing that is currently behind this?”

“Do you count the chairman of the Republican Committee as an important Republican?” Psaki replied.

“He is the chairman of a committee but if no other –” the reporter began.

“She. It’s actually a she, the chairman of the Republican Party,” Psaki interjected. “Chairman Ronna McDaniel, Ronna McDaniel, praised Senator Scott’s proposal as a ‘clear plan’ for Republicans that offers ‘real solutions.’ She’s the chairwoman of the party. Rick Scott is not a random senator. He is literally in charge of winning back the Senate for Republicans,” Psaki reminded the reporter.

Sen. Scott is in fact the Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), in charge of getting Republicans elected to the Senate.

“He is the person who’s put forward this plan. Senator Ron Johnson has called the congressional GOP plan a ‘positive thing.’ Senator Mike Braun has said he was, ‘glad Rick did it.’ Senator Tommy Tuberville said he was ‘on board’ with the congressional GOP plan. Congressman Matt Gaetz said he was quote proud of Senator Rick Scott for providing this bold agenda. So not only that, which seems to be quite a range of Republicans, but there isn’t an alternative plan they’ve put forward so it’s either this, put together by the person who’s leading the effort to win back the Senate, or nothing. And the President this morning talked about what his plan is, if they have an alternative plan, we would welcome them putting it forward.”

Watch:

Watch: Director of National Intelligence appears dumbfounded over GOP senator from Alabama’s questions

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines appeared politely dumbfounded by questions from Alabama freshman U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville, as he seemed to suggest the United States Intelligence Community should not be assisting Ukraine in Russia’s unprovoked and illegal war.

“Good morning, Director Haines,” Tuberville, a former college football coach began in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday. “In your best assessment does Russian intelligence closely monitor our Secretary of Defense?”

“Russian intelligence tries very closely to monitor all of our senior leaders,” Haines patiently replied.

“Thank you,” Tuberville continued. “So you believe that noted that when he or ah, when he or said that Russia weakened and that the U.S. will move heaven and earth to arm Ukraine, do you believe that’s right he should say that?”

“Yes, I think Secretary of Defense should say –” Haines responded before being cut off.

“Do you believe Russia blames the U.S. intelligence community for helping Ukraine shoot down a Russian plane carrying hundreds of people?” Tuberville asked.

“I’m sorry, sir. Can you repeat the question?” Haines, not understanding what Tuberville was talking about, requested.

“Do you believe Russia blames us, our intelligence agency, for Ukraine shooting down a plane with hundreds of troops on board? Do you think Russia blames us for that?” he asked.

“Which plane are you thinking of?” Haines inquired.

“There was a plane recently that was shot down, a Russian plane that had 100 troops. Do you believe that they blame our intelligence agency for that?”

“I don’t know sir.”

“Okay. Do you believe that Russia blames our U.S. intelligence for sinkin ah their flagship, Moskova? Do you think they blame us for that?”

“I don’t know sir. We haven’t seen any direct reports –”

“To what extent you access [sic] that Russia believes it is at war with the west and United States? Do you think that they believe they’re at war with us?”

“Russia has historically believed that they are in a conflict, in effect, with NATO and the United States on variety of issues including in cyber and so on.”

“So you believe that they’re fighting us? That they’re they’re fighting us as well as they’re fighting Ukraine? Correct?”

“In a sense, their perception. Yeah.”

“Because we’re arming them and we’re talking. Okay.”

Tuberville’s apparent defense of Russia, his apparent implication that the U.S. Intelligence Community should not be assisting Ukraine is not only ill-founded and wrong, it lies in his tragic misconception of what is actually happening.

“As the Alabama Republican sees it,” MSNBC reported in February about Tuberville, “Russia invaded Ukraine because it’s a ‘communist country’ in need of ‘farmland.’ That’s not even close to being true.”

In October, before Alabama voters chose Tuberville over incumbent Democratic Senator Doug Jones, “the Alabama Media Group’s Kyle Whitmire noted, ‘Tuberville is in hiding,'” that same MSNBC report stated. ” The columnist added, ‘[I]f a campaign won’t let its candidate speak openly because he can’t do so without saying dumb things that hurt his chances of winning the election, what the heck is going to happen when he’s in the United States Senate?'”

Now we know.

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