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[l] at 2/23/24 10:13am
Nikki Haley was elected governor of South Carolina with the backing of Tea Party conservatives, but those true believers have moved on to Donald Trump — and they say they're not coming back.The Tea Party movement was hugely influential in the state when Haley first got elected, but few of its organizations remain active and most of their activists drifted away from Haley during her time in office and were absorbed into the MAGA movement, reported the New York Times.“The kind of folks that were Tea Party in 2010 are part of the MAGA movement in 2024,” said Scott Huffmon, a political science professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. “We owe all this to the Tea Party.”Many conservatives soured on Haley after she refused to block a federal grant related to the Affordable Care Act and called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the State House. Tea Partiers gravitated to Trump in 2016 after he spread conspiracy theories about Barack Obama's birth certificate and the construction of an Islamic cultural center near the former site of the World Trade Center.ALSO READ: 11 ways Trump doesn't become president“There’s just a group of people in this country, they’re very angry at the direction of this country,” said Colen Lindell, the founder of a Tea Party group in Aiken and a co-chair of Trump's first two campaigns in his county. “They feel like the country they grew up in is going away.”The co-founder of another local Tea Party group who had hosted a Haley fundraiser during her gubernatorial campaign explained what she liked about the former president in comparison to his last remaining Republican rival.“Yes, he’s the crazy uncle at Thanksgiving,” said former Tea Party activist Jane Page Thompson. “But right now America needs the crazy uncle at Thanksgiving — not the snowflake niece.”
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[l] at 2/23/24 10:11am
A Florida journalist who accessed and made public unaired video footage of an interview that former Fox News host Tucker Carlson conducted with the rapper Ye was arrested Thursday and hit with more than a dozen federal charges stemming in part from the disclosure, raising immediate concerns from press freedom advocates.Timothy Burke, a Tampa-based media consultant and former Daily Beast staffer, obtained and disseminated clips of the 2022 Ye interview—during which the rapper formerly known as Kanye West made antisemitic remarks that were edited out of the final version—as well as behind-the-scenes footage of Carlson, who left Fox last year.The 26-page indictment against Burke accuses him of "utilizing compromised credentials to gain unauthorized access to protected computers" and "scouring those protected computers for electronic items and information," among other alleged crimes.Though the indictment doesn't explicitly mention Fox or Carlson, the Tampa Bay Timesreported that it says Burke "accessed a video stream of an interview featuring a show host for a 'multinational media company based in New York City' on Oct. 6, 2022—the same day Carlson's interview with West aired."Burke and his legal team have denied any wrongdoing and rejected claims that Fox was "hacked," maintaining that he accessed the video footage using information "publicly posted to the internet.""If a video is posted, public, unencrypted, and unprotected, then there's simply no crime committed when a journalist like Tim finds it, reviews it, and accurately reports on it, even where, and maybe especially where, the subjects wish it was suppressed," Mark Rasch, Burke's lawyer, toldThe Washington Post in an interview last year. "That's the essence of journalism in the digital age."The Justice Department is not pursuing charges against Vice or Media Matters—two outlets that published footage obtained by Burke."It's extremely dangerous for the government to appoint itself the judge of who is and isn't a journalist, especially in a world where journalism is rapidly evolving."Caitlin Vogus, deputy director of advocacy at the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF), said in a statement Thursday that "an investigative journalist's job is to find information that powerful people would prefer to be kept secret.""It's a safe bet that if journalists need to ask permission to publish information that casts public figures in a negative light, the answer will often be 'no,'" Vogus added. "Journalists should be encouraged to use the internet to find newsworthy information—not prosecuted for doing so."FPF called the Justice Department's indictment "disturbing" and noted that Burke's legal team says he obtained the Ye interview footage "from a livestreaming site where Fox uploaded unencrypted footage of the entire interview with Ye to a public URL.""They've contended that Burke obtained login credentials for an unrestricted 'demo account' for the site from a source, who found them publicly posted online. He was then able to locate a URL hosting the interview that can be accessed by anyone, without credentials," FPF observed. "The indictment against Burke does not accuse him and his source of hacking into any servers, or deceiving anyone, to get the outtakes or any of the other content he allegedly intercepted."After FBI agents raided Burke's Florida home and seized his computers last May, FPF and other major press freedom organizations demanded answers about the search and warned it could have a chilling effect on newsgathering.But in a court filing last August, the Justice Department attempted to argue that Burke is not, in fact, a journalist because his work has not been "regularly published under his own byline after January 1, 2021 as a salaried employee of, or independent contractor for, any newspaper" or other news outlet.The DOJ has similarly argued that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whom the U.S. is currently trying to extradite from the United Kingdom and prosecute for alleged espionage, is not a journalist.Journalist Kevin Gosztola argued that "by charging Burke, the U.S. Justice Department is sending a clear signal to the news media that prosecutors will not hesitate to aid a powerful or influential corporation in suppressing investigative journalism.""The Justice Department should not be in the business of deciding who and is not a reporter in order to further a criminal prosecution," Gosztola wrote. "And yet, they are doing so with this case (and in the case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange)."Stern said Thursday that "it's extremely dangerous for the government to appoint itself the judge of who is and isn't a journalist, especially in a world where journalism is rapidly evolving.""You don't have to be employed by a news outlet or write under your own byline to engage in journalism. But this isn't even a close case—Burke is a career journalist by any definition," Stern added. "It's disturbing that the indictment makes no mention of the fact that Burke's reason for accessing the outtakes was to share newsworthy information with the public, as he has been doing his entire career."
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[l] at 2/23/24 10:10am
The German parliament voted Friday to legalize the possession and controlled cultivation of cannabis starting in April, despite fierce objections from the opposition and medical associations.Under the new law, it will be possible to obtain up to 25 grams of the drug per day for personal use through regulated cannabis cultivation associations, as well as to have up to three plants at home.But possession and use of the drug will remain prohibited for anyone under 18.The changes will leave Germany with some of the most liberal cannabis laws in Europe, bringing it into line with Malta and Luxembourg, which legalised recreational use of the drug in 2021 and 2023 respectively.The Netherlands has also long been known for its liberal cannabis laws, but in recent years parts of the country have begun cracking down on sales to tourists and non-residents.Ahead of the vote, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach called on members of parliament to back the controversial law, arguing that "the situation we are in now is in no way acceptable".Germany has seen a sharp rise in the number of young people using cannabis obtained on the black market, said Lauterbach, a member of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats.'Ideology'According to the German Cannabis Association, substances that can end up in black-market weed include sand, hairspray, talcum powder, spices or even glass and lead.Experts also say marijuana can be contaminated with heroin or synthetic cannabinoids that are up to 100 times stronger than natural psychoactive cannabinoids.But Simone Borchardt of the opposition CDU party said the new law would only increase health risks for young people.She accused the three parties in Scholz's coalition government of "making policy for their ideology and not for the country".The law has also been widely criticized by medical associations and health groups.Some experts have warned that cannabis use among young people can affect the development of the central nervous system, leading to an increased risk of developing psychosis and schizophrenia.Sustained use has also been linked to respiratory diseases and testicular cancer.Thomas Fischbach, president of the German federation of doctors for children and adolescents, the BKVJ, said medical associations were broadly opposed to the plans."Cannabis use among young people will increase because such substances are always passed on to younger people," he told the newspaper Die Welt.This could have serious consequences for young people's physical and mental health, he said."Chronic cannabis use makes you stupid, to put it bluntly, and can also cause psychosis."'Cannabis social clubs'The cannabis law has also been the subject of bitter wrangling within the coalition of Scholz's Social Democrats, the Greens and the liberal FDP.In their coalition agreement, the three parties had pledged to go further and allow cannabis to be sold in shops, a move that was slapped down by the EU.They are now planning a second law to trial the drug's sale in shops in certain regions.Under the legislation passed on Friday, individuals will be able to obtain enough cannabis per day to make up to 75 joints, depending on how much is used.However, there is also a limit of 50 grams per month.The cannabis associations, known as "cannabis social clubs", are set to begin operating from July.Until now, German law has restricted personal use of cannabis to people with certain medical conditions.Private recreational use of the drug was banned, though police often turned a blind eye to possession of small amounts.The German public is divided on the new law: According to a YouGov poll published Friday, 47 percent are in favour of the plans and 42 percent are against.© 2024 AFP
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[l] at 2/23/24 10:03am
The Democrats's woes in the the state of Michigan when it comes to the 2024 election have got nothing on the Republican Party, an analyst wrote Friday. While it's true that President Joe Biden has an uphill battle in the state when it comes to the Arab-American vote, a columnist wrote it's nothing compared to the absolute implosion that's happening to the state's GOP.According to MSNBC host Alex Wagner, one advantage Biden has is the fact that the Michigan Republican Party is collapsing on itself, "like a souffle, or a hot air balloon rapidly losing helium. Something highly collapsible."Wagner contends that the Michigan GOP's problems began when it chose Kristina Karamo, a "vocal election denier," to be the new head of the party after she had just lost the race for Michigan Secretary of State but never conceded. After Michigan Republicans put her in charge of the party, they immediately began squabbling over the decision. Also read: ‘Insultingly stupid’: Trump’s move to toss out classified docs case torn apart by experts"After Karamo’s first year as chair, the state’s Republican Party was in dire financial straits, which led to accusations that Karamo misused party funds, Wagner wrote."In January, a faction of the party voted to oust Karamo and elected a new party chair. The only problem was that Karamo is an election denier — and election deniers do not admit defeat or concede power. That’s kind of their whole schtick. So began the Michigan Republican Party’s civil war." Thanks to that civil war which is still dragging on, the upcoming Republican primary is looking like it's going to be a mess. Thanks to "complicated calendar shenanigans," the state will be holding both a Republican primary and a Republican “caucus convention” this year. "So that means there will be one Republican Primary and two Republican caucus conventions this year. Which is a whole lot of nominating contests for one party in one state. But hey, why not?"Read the full op-ed at MSNBC.com.
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[l] at 2/23/24 9:55am
Do bacteria mutate randomly, or do they mutate for a purpose? Researchers have been puzzling over this conundrum for over a century.In 1943, microbiologist Salvador Luria and physicist turned biologist Max Delbrück invented an experiment to argue that bacteria mutated aimlessly. Using their test, other scientists showed that bacteria could acquire resistance to antibiotics they hadn’t encountered before.The Luria–Delbrück experiment has had a significant effect on science. The findings helped Luria and Delbruck win the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1969, and students today learn this experiment in biology classrooms. I have been studying this experiment in my work as a biostatistician for over 20 years.You can listen to more articles from The Conversation, narrated by Noa.Decades later, this experiment offers lessons still relevant today, because it implies that bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics that haven’t been developed yet.Slot machines and a eureka momentImagine a test tube containing bacteria living in nutrient broth. The broth is cloudy due to the high concentration of bacteria within it. Adding a virus that infects bacteria, also known as a phage, into the tube kills most of the bacteria and makes the broth clear. Bacteriophages are viruses that specifically infect bacteria. Kristina Dukart/iStock via Getty Images PlusHowever, keeping the test tube under conditions favorable for bacterial growth will turn the broth cloudy again over time. This indicates that the bacteria developed resistance against the phages and were able to proliferate.What role did the phages play in this change?Some scientists thought the phages incited the bacteria to mutate for survival. Others suggested that bacteria routinely mutate randomly, and the development of phage-resistant variants was simply a lucky outcome. Luria and Delbrück had been working together for months to solve this conundrum, but none of their experiments had been successful. On the night of Jan. 16, 1943, Luria got a hint about how to crack the mystery while watching a colleague hit the jackpot at a slot machine. The next morning, he hurried to his lab.Luria’s experiment consisted of a few tubes and dishes. Each tube contained nutrient broth that would help the bacteria E. coli multiply, while each dish contained material coated with phages. A few bacteria were placed into each tube and given two opportunities to generate phage-resistant variants. They could either mutate in the tubes in the absence of phages, or they could mutate in the dishes in the presence of phages. This diagram of the Luria-Delbrück experiment depicts colonies of phage-resistant variants of E. coli (red) developing in petri dishes. Qi Zheng, CC BY-SAThe next day, Luria transferred the bacteria in each tube into a dish filled with phages. The day after that, he counted the number of resistant bacterial colonies in each dish. If bacteria develop resistance against phages by interacting with them, none of the bacteria in the tubes should have mutations. On the other hand, only a few of the bacteria – say, 1 out of 10 million bacteria – should spawn resistant variants when they are transferred into a dish containing phages. Each phage-resistant variant would grow into a colony, but the remaining bacteria would die from infection.If bacteria develop resistance independently of interacting with phages, some of the bacteria in the tubes will have mutations. This is because each time a bacterium divides in a tube, it has a small probability of spawning a resistant variant. If the starting generation of bacteria is the first to mutate, at least half of the bacteria will be resistant in later generations. If a bacterium in the second generation is the first to mutate, at lest an eighth of the bacteria will be resistant in later generations. Mutations that confer resistance against phages (red) early on will spawn a large number of phage-resistant variants, while mutations that occur later on will spawn only a few resistant variants. Qi Zheng, CC BY-SALike small-prize cash-outs in slot machines, late-generation mutations occur more often but give fewer resistant variants. Like jackpots, early-generation mutations occur rarely but give large numbers of variants. Early-generation mutations are rare because early on there are only a small number of bacteria available to mutate.For example, in a 20-generation experiment, a mutation occurring at the 10th generation of bacteria would give 1,024 phage-resistant variants. A mutation occurring at the 17th generation would give only four phage-resistant variants. The number of resistant colonies in Luria’s experiments showed a similar pattern to that of slot machine cash-outs. Most dishes contained no or small numbers of mutant colonies, but several contained a large number of mutant colonies that Luria considered jackpots. This meant that the bacteria developed resistant variants before they interacted with the phages in the dishes.An experiment’s legacyLuria sent a note to Delbrück after his experiment was completed, asking him to check his work. The two scientists then worked together to write a classic paper describing the experimental protocol and a theoretical framework to measure bacterial mutation rates.Other scientists conducted similar experiments by replacing phages with penicillin and with tuberculosis drugs. Similarly, they found that bacteria did not need to encounter an antibiotic to acquire resistance to it.Bacteria have relied on random mutations to cope with harsh, constantly changing environments for millions of years. Their incessant, random mutations will lead them to inevitably develop variants that are resistant to the antibiotics of the future. Drug resistance is a reality of life we will have to accept and continue to fight against.Qi Zheng, Professor of Biostatistics, Texas A&M UniversityThis article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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[l] at 2/23/24 9:48am
House Republicans' impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, which was already on shaky ground, may have just suffered another blow.At issue is the testimony of Tony Bobulinski, a former business associate of Hunter Biden who has made allegations of corruption against President Joe Biden.While talking with House Republican investigators last week, Bobulinski accused former White House official Cassidy Hutchinson of lying about him after she claimed in her book that she saw him secretively talking to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in Rome, Georgia.According to Hutchinson's recollection, Bobulinski appeared to be wearing a "ski mask" and she said that she saw Meadows "hand Tony what appeared to be a folded sheet of paper or a small envelope."Bobulinski completely denied this account and labeled Hutchinson "an absolute liar and a fraud," adding that "[Meadows] didn't hand me a single thing."IN OTHER NEWS: ‘Leave the drama to them:’ Mother of Lauren Boebert’s grandson speaks outBut now ABC News reports that William H. Jordan, an attorney representing Hutchinson, has produced a photo of Meadows and Bobulinski in Rome, Georgia, in which Bobulinski is clearly wearing a mask covering his face.Additionally, the two men are talking while standing in between two cars, which matches Hutchinson's recollection that she "observed Mark and Tony Bobulinski's interaction through a gap in the vehicles.""Mr. Bobulinski claims under oath that he was not wearing a mask, that Mr. Meadows did not hand him anything, and that Ms. Hutchinson was 'fabricating facts,'" Jordan said in a letter defending his client. "Perhaps Mr. Bobulinski's memory is impaired about the meeting, and a picture would help refresh his recollection."The new questions about the veracity of Bobulinski's testimony comes as another "star" witness in the GOP impeachment inquiry, longtime FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, was indicted last week for allegedly lying to investigators about bribes received by President Joe Biden.
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[l] at 2/23/24 9:35am
At a gala on May 11, 2019, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was handed a thumb drive from a "foreign national" with "dirt" on Hunter Biden and the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, according to a new report.An exclusive report from Insider cited "two sources with direct knowledge of the incident, who explained that the thumb drive was given to Pompeo's aides by an FBI informant, and former KGB agent, with the code name "Rollie." Insider said it had decided not to print the informant's real name.When asked about it, "Rollie" first denied the claim and, when shown photos of him with Pompeo, he wrote over WhatsApp, "You can publish. It's advertising for me. I'm not interested in the past."He denied handing over the thumb drive. On the drive was the same information he gave months earlier to Justice Department officials in Los Angeles, Insider reported.The documents contain "poorly sourced allegations" from old news articles and links from Ukrainian and Russian websites saying Hunter Biden was laundering money. They frequently refer to President Joe Biden using his first name but misspelling it "Josef," Insider wrote.ALSO READ: 11 ways Trump doesn't become president"They contain no evidence of criminal activity," the report said. Rudy Giuliani is known to have given Pompeo a folder of documents containing unproven allegations he got while in Ukraine in March 2019. It's also when, as Insider characterized him, "right-wing investigative reporter John Solomon" also began writing about Burisma and the Bidens for The Hill. The attack on Biden began shortly before he went to Ukraine in Dec. 2015 for a meeting in which Biden said a prosecutor had to be fired for corruption. "Biden was carrying out a policy developed at the State Department and coordinated with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund," the Washington Post explained in 2019.Posting about it on social media, former Foreign Affairs Committee communications director Tim Mulvey explained that the allegations about Hunter Biden that first appeared online tracked back to a Russian website. — (@) FBI whistleblower Johnathan Buma, Rollie's handler, disclosed that the information was taken seriously and passed to FBI agents in Delaware who were already investigating Hunter Biden. Insider explained it was a "third channel" of disinformation that was making its way to the Trump administration in 2020: this informant, Giuliani and another FBI informant named Alexander Smirnov. It was broadly reported last week that Smirnov is being prosecuted for lying to the FBI about the matter. He was arrested for the second time on Thursday. "Prosecutors allege that Smirnov repeatedly lied to his FBI handler, whom he worked with for more than a decade, and should not be trusted," CNN reported. "He also has extensive contacts in Russia and elsewhere, prosecutors said, and lied to authorities about his 'access to over $6 million in liquid funds — more than enough money for him to live comfortably overseas for the rest of his life.'" For that reason, prosecutors are fighting to keep him in prison, alleging he's a flight risk. Smirnov hasn't entered his plea for the case yet. He alleges he got the information on the Bidens from Russian intelligence officials. Republicans have seized on the information about the Bidens, claiming that it proves a bribery scheme. They started an impeachment inquiry on the matter. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-M.D.) now accuses Republicans of promoting Russian propaganda to attack Biden.
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[l] at 2/23/24 9:19am
Lawyers for Donald Trump late Thursday night launched a multi-pronged effort to toss out of court Special Counsel Jack Smith's prosecution of the ex-president in the classified documents case, which includes charges under the Espionage Act. Many legal experts were stunned, not only by the move, but by the shallowness of the arguments.The motions will be decided by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by then-President Donald Trump during his last year in office."Mr. Trump’s lawyers made a barrage of legal arguments in seeking to circumvent a criminal case that many legal experts consider the most ironclad of the four against him," The New York Times reported just past midnight, observing that some of the claims presented by attorneys for the indicted ex-president "tested the bounds of credulity or clashed with prior court rulings.""They attacked the law he is accused of violating, questioned the legality of the special counsel prosecuting him and argued that he is shielded from prosecution by presidential immunity," the Times reported, adding that many of the arguments "appeared designed to delay the case from moving toward trial, a strategy that Mr. Trump has pursued in all of the criminal proceedings he is facing."READ MORE: ‘Reached His Limits’: Engoron ‘Brings the Hammer Down’ on Trump AttorneyPolitico late Friday morning added the seven different motions filed were "a grab bag of arguments that the charges are legally faulty, that prosecutors have targeted him for political reasons and that the special counsel spearheading the case had no legal authority to bring it."Nearly two weeks ago Trump, citing his claim of "presidential immunity," asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay proceedings in Special Counsel Smith's other court case against him, the election interference trial. The Court agreed to take up the case but has not released its decision.Now, citing the same or similar arguments, Trump is plowing forward."Trump claims that he designated the classified materials 'personal' and he took his 'personal records' to Mar-a-Lago with him," MSNBC legal contributor Katie Phang reported Thursday night.Phang points to this section, the opening of Trump's motion:"President Donald J. Trump respectfully submits this motion seeking dismissal of Counts 1 through 32 on the basis of presidential immunity, as these charges stem directly from official acts by President Trump while in office," it reads. "Specifically, President Trump is immune from prosecution on Counts 1 through 32 because the charges turn on his alleged decision to designate records as personal under the Presidential Records Act ('PRA') and to cause the records to be moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. As alleged in the Superseding Indictment, President Trump made this decision while he was still in office. The alleged decision was an official act, and as such is subject to presidential immunity."READ MORE: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Biden Campaign Blasts Trump Christian Nationalism PlansAfter the FBI executed a legal search warrant of Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence and resort in 2022, agents retrieved "11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities," The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.The federal government, in total, has recovered from Trump "more than 300 classified documents" with classified markings, totaling over 700 pages, The New York Times reported in August of 2022."Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said," The Washington Post also reported at the time. "Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligence road map to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said."Back in October, NBC News reported, Trump "allegedly shared sensitive information about U.S. nuclear submarines with an Australian billionaire who is a member of his Mar-a-Lago club."Meanwhile, legal experts were stunned by Trump's attorneys' overnight motion to toss the case."This motion is insultingly stupid," wrote national security attorney Brad Moss. "Trump is arguing he designated all these highly classified records as PERSONAL records, and that he therefore had the right to keep them. Even if that was a plausible argument, this is a motion to dismiss: he can’t introduce news facts."Former U.S. Ambassador and former Obama "Ethics Czar" Norm Eisen, an attorney and CNN legal analyst, Thursday night wrote, "I just finished reading Trump’s absolute immunity motion in the MAL [Mar-a-Lago] docs case.""If this were allowed, POTUS could declassify all of our most sensitive secrets when leaving office & sell them to Putin 5 minutes later," he noted, adding: "As bad as Seal Team 6 hypo[thesis] in 1/6 case."In a more in-depth examination, Moss explained, "If Trump's immunity arguments in the DC and FL cases actually succeed, Joe Biden can do the following: 1) declare Trump a threat to election integrity and have him imprisoned immediately, at a minimum, 2) declare the entire Trump Org a threat to national security and seize all of its assets."He continues: "3) cancel the election, 4) if, by some chance, he is forced out of office, he can walk out of the White House with 15 moving vans full of every classified secret he wants and sell them to the highest bidder. And no one could do anything to prosecute him for any of it. He can pardon anyone he wants while in office and who helped him commit any illegal act he could think of to do #1-#3, and he can then claim immunity for himself if he is later indicted."READ MORE: MAGA Is a ‘Russian Intel Op’: Experts Respond to Allegation GOP Using Kremlin Propaganda
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[l] at 2/23/24 9:17am
More than 4,000 pages of federal records turned over to Fix the Court and released by FTC on Thursday sparked fresh concerns about U.S. Supreme Court members' travel—particularly that of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas.FTC, which advocates for reforming the high court, submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Marshals Service for former and current members' activities covered by the USMS—which typically takes over security from Supreme Court Police when a justice leaves the Washington, D.C. area—from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2022."From SCOTUSMap, press reports, our research, and USMS documents, the justices appear to have taken part in 644 activities during the nearly five years covered by the FOIA," the nonprofit noted. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor's "name appears most often in the USMS documents, as the years of FTC's request coincided with a book tour that took her to a dozen states and several foreign countries.""There remain a ton of justices' activities that the public does not know about or only learns about years after the fact. What are they trying to hide?"The group put together a 38-page document detailing justices' activities, which included: "A trip to Bohemian Grove. A birthday party at Lincoln Center. Religious services at a Brooklyn theater. Annual vacations to Colorado. Dialing in to oral argument from Florida. 'Business meetings.' A meeting with a congressman."While the total figure includes over 200 activities new to FTC, the group highlighted that it is "most definitely an undercount given the lack of USMS coverage for two of them—one of whom travels to Maine each summer and the other we're certain took several up-until-recently-unreported trips.""Not one of the public or private engagements, vacations, or layovers described in the documents was a Justice Thomas event. None were Chief Justice Roberts events either," FTC explained. "It is unclear if the two justices' security details are being wholly provided by the exempt-from-FOIA Supreme Court Police... if they're employing private security; or if there's some combination thereof."Courthouse News Service reported that "the Supreme Court's public information office did not respond to questions about Roberts' and Thomas' use of alternative security services."Meanwhile, FTC executive director Gabe Roth sounded the alarm about the lack of information on the pair of conservatives."The two justices whose comings and goings are probably of the most interest to the general public appear to be shielding some of that travel by solely availing themselves of security resources not subject to open records requests," he said. "Maybe there's an innocuous explanation for this. But given the opacity we've seen from the court, especially when it comes to travel, maybe there's not."Reporting in the past several months has shown how justices have benefited from rich friends. For example, last June, ProPublicaexposed right-wing Justice Samuel Alito's undisclosed private jet flight to Alaska in 2008 with billionaire Paul Singer.ProPublica also revealed in August that over the past few decades, Thomas has enjoyed at least "38 destination vacations, including a previously unreported voyage on a yacht around the Bahamas; 26 private jet flights, plus an additional eight by helicopter; a dozen VIP passes to professional and college sporting events, typically perched in the skybox; two stays at luxury resorts in Florida and Jamaica; and one standing invitation to an uber-exclusive golf club overlooking the Atlantic coast."Recent exposés about the potential influence of wealthy individuals invested in the justices' decisions as well as low public trust in the high court—which has six right-wingers and three liberals—led to the creation of a voluntary Code of Conduct that critics called a "toothless PR stunt" and discussions of legislative reforms unlikely to advance in the divided Congress.FTC advocates for "fixes" including "greater media and public access, Supreme Court term limits, new and robust ethics rules, stronger recusal rules, comprehensive online disclosures, and public appearance notifications."As Roth said Thursday: "There remain a ton of justices' activities that the public does not know about or only learns about years after the fact. What are they trying to hide?""Some of them, like vacations or visiting family—have fun," he continued. "But when a justice is holding, per the marshals, an 'official event' or has seven consecutive protected nights of private 'dinner events,' it's understandable that the public would want more information."Responding to the FOIA revelations in a Thursday statement, Revolving Door Project executive director Jeff Hauser and senior researcher Vishal Shankar also stressed the need for reforms at the nation's highest court."These bombshell findings from Fix the Court underscore an increasingly undeniable fact: The Supreme Court's right-wing justices have compromised the integrity of a critical public institution by accepting expensive handouts to enjoy secretive, luxurious lifestyles," said Shankar. "These revelations come as the court is hearing radical arguments attacking a functioning administrative state in a series of cases backed by the justices' billionaire benefactors, including Charles Koch.""We cannot sit and wait for Justice Thomas and others to yet again gut the regulatory state in order to enrich their powerful friends," he added. "Any justice who has accepted luxury gifts or travel from these oligarchs must recuse from every case in which a party or amicus brief filer is connected to one or more of these oligarchs."Hauser asserted that "the pretense that we have a Supreme Court made up of nine above-reproach people doing their best free of corruption is utterly unsustainable," and called for action by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)."If right-wing members of Congress will block serious unpacking of the courts or even ethics reform, then the least we can expect of Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Durbin is that his committee belatedly issued last fall to Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo," Hauser said, referring to men with ties to Thomas.
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[l] at 2/23/24 9:14am
Despite Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis having dropped out of the race for the 2024 Republican Party presidential nomination a month ago, top aides to Donald Trump are once again on the warpath against him — and are issuing threats on social media.Even though DeSantis endorsed Trump, following a bid for the nomination that was moribund from the day he announced, Trump's team can't seem to let any slight from him slide by — and a report on a private call he made to supporters has led to a new round of recriminations and backbiting.According to the report from the New York Times' Shane Goldmacher, DeSantis recently told supporters that he was disinterested in being Trump's running mate in 2024, while also pointing out that the one-term Trump administration fell far short of its goals.Specifically, he reportedly complained about "all the baggage Trump has,” and later added, “I was in Congress the first two years when Trump was president. I mean, we didn’t really do what we said we would do. You didn’t see any major immigration, border or any type of legislation. You didn’t see anything with repealing and replacing Obamacare. You didn’t see anything about reining in the bureaucracy. I mean, it was pretty, pretty mundane stuff.”ALSO READ: 11 ways Trump doesn't become presidentAlerted to the NYT report, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung took to X and ranted, "SPECIAL KISS OF DEATH Ron tucked his tail between his legs and he should have scurried off into the shadows of obscurity. Now that he's dipped his high-heeled toes back in the water, he might just find out our shovel can dig a lot deeper."Senior Trump adviser Jason Miller echoed the threat, writing: "We looked past Rob’s half-hearted endorsement and the bulls--t trip to South Carolina to try to stay relevant, but if his popping off continues, Thor’s hammer will return."Trump re-election campaign official Chris LaCivita — who recently received the former president's endorsement to be made part of the Republican National Committee's leadership team — rebooted an old smear of DeSantis by posting to social media: "chicken fingers and pudding cups is what you will be remembered for you sad little man."When a supporter of LaCivita on X replied, "When you break the truce, the war is back on," the Trump official respodned, "you seem to be one of the few who understand that."
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[l] at 2/23/24 9:00am
Donald Trump was hit by Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski Friday who exclaimed "this behavior is grotesque" as she discussed a column that highlighted the former president's efforts to be the "victim king."Anand Giridharadas penned the column for The.Ink, writing how Trump compared himself this week to Alexei Navalny, the Russian freedom fighter and target of Vladimir Putin who mysteriously died in captivity.At the same time, Trump has spent the past several years championing Putin and convincing the once-anti-Soviet Republican Party to stand with the Russian leader."More importantly, Trump has done everything in his power to make the world safer for Putin, to make the world his oyster," wrote Giridharadas. "But when Navalny, Putin’s nemesis as leader of the Russian pro-democracy opposition, died in prison this week, Trump found himself stirred by the story of a great martyr — because Navalny reminded him of…him."Trump’s simultaneous identification with the Russian tyrant and the pro-democratic leader he muzzled and killed is less strange than it seems, because it is important to Trump’s project that he be both invulnerable strongman and persecuted martyr. He is a master at performing the Victim King," the piece explains. Discussing it on "Morning Joe," Brzezinski pointed to Trump's New York fraud trial and Judge Arthur Engoron, who described the ex-president by saying he simply can't control himself enough to become an honest man.He's "pathologically not capable of not being a fraud," Brzezinski characterized the Engoron comments. It's "similar here, this behavior is grotesque," she continued. "It's also pathological. He is so intent on creating pain and creating trouble that he can't help himself. I think your thesis is really a great description of how Donald Trump moves himself forward."Giridharadas agreed, describing Trump as a "very weak man. A man of great woundedness and weakness inside. He's a weak man who wants to be a strong man."He explained that Trump manages to convince his supporters that he is both a strong man and a victim. ALSO READ: 11 ways Trump doesn't become president"He's constantly showing this existential vulnerability to his supporters, which makes them want to save him instead of what's normally supposed to happen in a democracy, which is the leader worrying about you," Giridharadas said. "He's trying to turn that around and make his followers expect nothing from him but to actually save him, even sack the Capitol for him. That's half of the victim king equation. This guy plays the victim to try to be king."He explained that the tactic convinces people in the MAGA movement to have a "victimization complex.""It's really a remarkable thing, to see so many Americans who are living in a country that has done more for them than most places in the world would do for them, play this fantasy that they are victims and only he can save them," Giridharadas said. See the full conversation in the video below or at the link here. Trump is 'pathologically incapable of not being a fraud': Morning Mika youtu.be
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[l] at 2/23/24 8:43am
If donations continue at their current pace in a fundraiser set up to help Donald Trump pay off the $355 million in damages leveled against him in his recent civil fraud trial, it will take almost six years to reach its goal. The GoFundMe page titled "Stand with Trump; Fund the $355M Unjust Judgment" was set up by Elena Cardone last Friday, the same day Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that the former president must pay the damages after being found liable for inflating the value of his properties to secure favorable loans and insurance. The fundraiser had reached $1,058,227 from some 19,100 donations as of Friday. "If this trajectory remains the same, it will take 5.8 years for Trump to rake in the full $355 million he owes in fine, before interest," Newsweek reported.Also read: 'Far from full': Organizers removed hundreds of empty chairs at Nashville Trump eventEngoron also barred Trump from doing business in New York for three years.New York Attorney General Letitia James said that pre-judgment interest will bring the figure to over $450 million, "which will continue to increase every single day" until the judgment is paid. She has also said she plans to seize Trump's assets if he doesn't pay.Christopher Phelps, a modern American history professor at the U.K.'s University of Nottingham, said the fundraiser likely won't last."This GoFundMe campaign, like most such efforts, will see an initial boost of enthusiasm, but that is powered by the particular dynamics of this presidential year. It is highly improbable that it will have any staying power," he told Newsweek."Furthermore, $1 million hardly makes a dent in Trump's adverse judgments. Plus he's got bigger problems, like the 91 felony indictments that, if resulting in conviction, will almost surely mean jail time."
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[l] at 2/23/24 8:32am
Fearing that Democrats hold a crucial edge in ballots cast before Election Day, national Republicans are working to convince their voters to take advantage of mail and early voting this year. “We can’t play catch up. We can’t start from behind. We can’t let Dems get a big head start and think we’re going to win it all on Election Day,” Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said in November on a conference call aimed at promoting the group’s Bank Your Vote initiative to encourage early and mail voting. “Things happen on Election Day.” But the party’s army of lawyers is, more quietly, sending a very different message. The RNC is fighting in courtrooms and legal filings in key election battlegrounds across the country to make it harder to cast a mail ballot and to have it counted. On Feb. 20, attorneys for the RNC were in a federal courtroom in Philadelphia, in a bid to require that Pennsylvania throw out mail ballots with missing or incorrect dates. Eleven days earlier, they filed a lawsuit challenging several provisions of Arizona’s newly adopted election rules, including a rule allowing voters who have not shown proof of citizenship to cast a mail ballot. And that same day, they asked a court in Georgia to uphold a state law that imposes stricter rules on mail voting. Separately, in recent months the RNC has asked courts to let it join the defense of laws in Ohio, Wisconsin, and North Carolina that similarly impose tighter rules on mail voting (judges in the latter two states denied the requests, while the Ohio motion was approved). The party also has sued to block a New York law that lets people vote by mail without an excuse (the state’s Supreme Court this month dismissed the complaint). And it has formally weighed in against proposed changes to Nevada’s election rules, including one that makes it easier for election officials to prevent volunteer observers from disrupting the counting of mail ballots. In January, the RNC went further than ever, filing a lawsuit in Mississippi that it has said aims to obtain a nationwide ban on mail ballots that arrive after Election Day. RNC lawyers stated plainly in their complaint that Republicans’ interests are at stake because mail voting tends to favor Democrats. States with close races targeted Though it’s received relatively little attention, the RNC’s legal onslaught could have a major impact on the 2024 elections. Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Nevada are all set to be among the closest states in this year’s presidential race, while Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Nevada host pivotal U.S. Senate contests. New York, meanwhile, is home to several swing congressional districts that could determine control of the U.S. House. And the legal effort against mail voting has been matched by a legislative one. Thirteen states, including Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, and Ohio, have passed 16 bills to restrict mail voting since the start of 2023, according to a database run by the Voting Rights Lab. It all amounts to a multi-pronged effort to suppress voting by mail, voting advocates say — one that could threaten access to the ballot this fall, especially for Democrats, who are now more likely than Republicans to use mail voting. At its core are legal arguments aimed at persuading judges to interpret the law in ways that are explicitly adverse to voters. The push sits uneasily alongside an RNC campaign to encourage GOP voters to embrace mail and early voting. But it’s right in keeping with former President Donald Trump’s years-long, evidence-free campaign against voting by mail. “In courtrooms and state legislatures across the country, Republicans are doing everything in their power to restrict mail-in voting,” said Marc Elias, a prominent Democratic election lawyer, in a statement. “The RNC’s legal strategy is clear. The Republican Party no longer seeks to earn the support of a majority of the American electorate. Instead, they are launching a legal assault on our democracy.” A spokesman for the RNC did not respond to a request for comment. A muddled message on mail voting In 2020, many states loosened rules on mail voting in response to COVID-19. That year’s election saw record high turnout despite the pandemic, with nearly half of all voters casting a mail ballot — a huge increase from around 22% in 2016. Even with COVID-19 tamed, many states have kept their more liberal mail voting rules in place, or, like New York, have passed new laws expanding access to mail ballots. While leading Democrats have embraced mail voting, Trump has repeatedly denounced it, falsely claiming it opens the door to massive fraud. “MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES,” Trump tweeted in June 2020, adding that the result would be a “RIGGED” election. It’s true that several of the extremely rare instances of proven voter fraud have involved mail voting. But there’s no evidence of systematic mail voter fraud of the kind that Trump has claimed threatens the integrity of a presidential election. A voter fraud database run by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, lists 279 cases of “fraudulent use of absentee ballots,” going back to 1988 — since which time hundreds of millions of mail ballots have been cast. Meanwhile, GOP lawyers have gone to the mat to try to put the mail voting genie back in the bottle. “We’ve watched Democrats systematically try to codify those post-COVID changes that they made, and we’ve been in the courts trying to keep those pre-COVID protections in place for our elections,” RNC chair Ronna McDaniel explained in October. “There’s been a battle waged.” It’s not surprising, then, that Democrats have in recent elections used mail voting at significantly higher rates than Republicans. So pronounced is the split that in 2020, President Joe Biden won the mail vote in 14 out of 15 states analyzed by 538.com, while Trump likewise won the Election Day vote in 14 out of 15. That’s led the GOP to fret that it now often goes into Election Day already trailing by a significant margin. In response, the RNC last year launched the Bank Your Vote initiative to encourage Republicans to vote early or by mail. The effort includes websites in all 50 states, and even an ad recorded by Trump — albeit without much visible enthusiasm. “Sign up and commit to voting early,” Trump says. “We must defeat the far left at their own game.” But Trump has continued to muddy that message. “You know, we have these elections that last for 62 days,” Trump declared last month in his victory speech after the Iowa caucuses. “And if you need some more time, take as much time as you want. And so many bad things happen. We have to get rid of mail-in ballots because once you have mail-in ballots, you have crooked elections.” RNC court filings The RNC’s legal assault on mail voting suggests a similar view. In several court filings, RNC lawyers have suggested that tight safeguards are needed to ensure mail voting doesn’t allow for fraudulent votes. Ohio’s law that restricts who can return a mail ballot on behalf of a voter should be upheld, the RNC argued in one typical filing, because it guards against “an increased risk of voter fraud and other irregularities.” The Republican bid to restrict mail voting is part of a larger effort by the party since 2020 to devote more resources to “election integrity” — tighter election rules that prioritize anti-fraud measures over access. It includes a year-round election integrity legal department, which has said it worked with over 90 law firms and participated in nearly 100 lawsuits during the 2022 cycle. So far this cycle, the RNC has paid over $4 million to two top Republican law firms, Consovoy McCarthy and Wiley Rein, according to FEC records. Thomas McCarthy, a co-founder of Consovoy McCarthy, is listed on RNC motions in the Mississippi, Georgia and Wisconsin cases, among others. The focus on “election integrity” comes as McDaniel, the RNC chair, is reported to be stepping down at the end of the month. Trump’s choice to replace her, North Carolina GOP chair Michael Whatley, has stressed the importance of tight voting rules for Republican success, States Newsroom has reported. Chipping away at mail votes The most far-reaching of the RNC’s cases is the lawsuit it filed with other Republicans in January against a Mississippi law that allows mail ballots that arrive up to five days after an election to be counted, as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day. Federal law sets Election Day as the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the suit argues, so by extending the election past that day, Mississippi is violating federal law. The RNC has said the goal is to obtain a ruling from a judge that bars post-Election-Day ballots from being counted not just in Mississippi but nationwide. The 5th Circuit, which contains Mississippi, is known as perhaps the most conservative judicial circuit in the country. Election law experts have said it’s unlikely, but not impossible, that a court could accept the RNC’s argument. If the case were to reach the Supreme Court, at least one justice appears friendly. In 2020, when the court upheld Wisconsin’s ban on late-arriving ballots, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that states have the right to set election deadlines “to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue when thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election.” Mississippi is one of 18 states — including key battlegrounds like Ohio, Nevada, Virginia, Texas, and New York — plus the District of Columbia, that count ballots that arrive after Election Day. (North Carolina last year passed a law that restricts mail voting in several ways, including by banning ballots that arrive after Election Day. It’s that law that the RNC sought unsuccessfully to help defend from a court challenge by Democrats, which is ongoing.) The number of votes at issue could be significant. In 2020, the U.S. Postal Service said it processed nearly 190,000 ballots in the two days after the election. Most of those, it said, were in states that allow late-arriving ballots. The Mississippi lawsuit makes clear that, despite the Bank Your Vote campaign, Republicans want to curtail mail voting because they think it gives Democrats an edge. “Because voting by mail is starkly polarized by party, [allowing late-arriving ballots] directly harms Plaintiffs,” the RNC’s lawyers wrote in the complaint. “For example, according to the MIT Election Lab, 46% of Democratic voters in the 2022 General Election mailed in their ballots, compared to only 27% of Republicans. That means the late-arriving mail-in ballots that are counted for five additional days disproportionately break for Democrats.” Pennsylvania case also crucial The Pennsylvania case is another that could reverberate. In November 2022, the state Supreme Court ruled — in response to a suit filed by the RNC and other Republicans — that over 10,000 mail ballots on which the voter had neglected to write the date on the outer envelope, or had written an incorrect date, must be rejected. The state’s NAACP chapter filed its own suit in federal court in response. The RNC quickly intervened, arguing that the state Supreme Court’s ruling should be upheld. A district court ruled for the NAACP in November, finding that the Civil Rights Act bars states from rejecting votes based on immaterial paperwork errors. The RNC appealed, arguing for a narrower interpretation of the landmark civil rights law, setting up the Feb. 20 hearing. In a sign that the case could have an impact beyond Pennsylvania, 17 Republican-led states last month submitted an amicus brief in support of the RNC’s position. The other cases may not have the same reach as those two. But together, they broadly aim to tighten the rules around mail voting to a degree that could significantly chip away at mail votes. RNC lawyers have marshaled a range of arguments in these cases. They have claimed, unsuccessfully, that New York’s law expanding access to mail voting violates the state’s constitution, which bans no-excuse mail voting. They’ve said Georgia’s new deadline to apply for a mail ballot of seven days before Election Day doesn’t violate the federal law barring deadlines of fewer than 11 days, because the federal government lacks the authority to regulate these deadlines. No mail voting rule appears too small to escape the notice of RNC lawyers. This month’s lawsuit against Arizona targets a new rule that lets voters who registered without proof of citizenship — and therefore, under Arizona law, can vote in federal elections only — receive a mail ballot, arguing that state law bars these voters from voting by mail. And they’ve submitted comments to a Nevada commission, criticizing a proposed rule there that gives election officials more power to ensure the counting process for mail ballots isn’t disrupted. The new powers could let election officials infringe on the public’s right to witness the counting, the group’s lawyers assert. Meanwhile, supporters of mail voting say Republican fears about an influx of Democratic mail votes may be misplaced. “Americans have used mail ballots for over a hundred years because they provide a safe and convenient way to ensure the right to vote,” said Barbara Smith Warner, the executive director of the National Vote at Home Institute, which advocates for mail voting. “Research has demonstrated time and time again that voting at home increases voter participation and turnout for all, with no partisan advantage for any side.” “Attacks on mail ballots are red herrings to distract from their true intent — making it harder for citizens to vote, and sowing distrust in our elections,” Smith Warner said.
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[l] at 2/23/24 8:17am
Donald Trump's hometown newspaper laid into the former president and endorsed President Joe Biden months in advance of November's election.The Palm Beach Post also endorsed Biden in October 2020, with the editorial board members saying they were among the voters who "yearned so strongly to remove" Trump. They got an early start ahead of his year's election by saying the case against the quadruple-indicted Republican frontrunner was glaringly obvious.Palm Beach, Florida, is the location of Mar-a-Lago, which Trump now considers his primary home."It’s time for those who remain undecided to look with a set of fresh eyes at the evidence amassing before them," the editors wrote."As annoying as the acid taunts of pundits and penmen about the former President may strike you, cast that rhetoric aside for a minute and evaluate the evidence," they added. "And we use the word 'evidence' advisedly, because aside from candidate Trump’s own crowd-stirring lies about the elections and an abundance of audio and video recordings going back years, there’s now a growing record of court testimony and documentation, tested by argument and counterargument, that is laying itself out before us."Judges and juries have also found the evidence against Trump overwhelming and penalized him more than a half-billion dollars, with interest, in civil cases where he's been found liable for fraud, sexual abuse and defamation, and he faces criminal indictments alleging that he attempted to unlawfully overturn his election loss, improperly kept classified materials and illegally paid off a porn actress to cover up an extramarital affair."Trump has openly demonstrated why, even if you put character aside — which we can’t — the nation would have much to fear from his second term," the editors wrote.Also read: Trump's latest plan for the GOP is 'going to end in an implosion': Former RNC chairThe former president has openly admired autocratic leaders and mused about copying their tactics, threatened to walk away from NATO, privately endorsed a federal 16-week abortion ban, continually spewed hateful and bigoted rhetoric and shifted campaign donations to his pay his small army of lawyers."Sure, though it seems increasingly unlikely, he could win a round or two in the courts," the editors wrote. "And if he won a new term in office, he could erase any impact that the prosecutions might have had. But you’ll know what he did.""So, before that happens, as you consider your ballot, though you might prefer his tilt to the right to Biden’s tilt to the left, ask yourself if this is the quality of a man who should represent you, speak for you, act in your name, be the master of your universe," they added. "Don’t listen to the pundits. Just look at the evidence."
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[l] at 2/23/24 8:14am
Who doesn't want to wake up in the morning full of energy and feeling great? This is what makers of juice cleanses - or juice fasts - promise you: a "reset" for your body. Sounds enticing, especially at the start of a new year. There are pre-packaged juice plans with everything already mixed and instructions on when to drink what. Or if you're willing to put in the effort, you can save some money by switching on your juicer if you've got one. Are juice cleanses really beneficial to health? Two experts field some questions: How does a juice cleanse work? A simple juice cleanse - not to be confu...

[Category: Food, Trends]

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[l] at 2/23/24 8:01am
Whether it was because he was almost three hours late or due to lack of interest, event organizers in Nashville removed approximately 300 chairs from the hall where Donald Trump was slated to appear on Thursday night.Before the former president addressed the National Religious Broadcasters conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessean reporter Vivian Jones posted pictures to X that showed a before-and-after of the hall where rows and rows of seats seem to have disappeared.According to Jones, "More than two hours into the presidential forum, Donald Trump is not yet on stage. The room is far from full. About 20 mins ago, staff cleared out about 300 chairs from the far back corner. Photo on the left was taken just after 7pm, photo on the right was taken just now."Reporting on the event, she later wrote that the former president did receive an enthusiastic welcome from the attendees who did show up.ALSO READ: 11 ways Trump doesn't become president Her report adds that all eligible candidates were invited by NRB President Troy Miller, but only the former president accepted making it an exclusive Trump event.According to a recent report on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Trump's team has become concerned by low turnout at his rallies as well as a drastic fall-off in small-dollar donors contributing to his third bid for the Oval Office. — (@)
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[l] at 2/23/24 8:00am
GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) has her eye on serving in Donald Trump's Cabinet if he's elected in November — and she wants to be put in charge of the nation's security.“I’d be honored to serve President Trump in his next administration in any capacity that he asks me. But I’m certainly particularly interested in Homeland Security. I think it’s the top issue in the country,” she said.She spoke to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution while campaigning for presidential candidate Donald Trump in South Carolina. Greene was the "architect" of the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over what she said was his failure to secure the nation's southern border.Also read: Trump's latest plan for the GOP is 'going to end in an implosion': Former RNC chairIt was the first-ever impeachment resolution against a sitting Cabinet secretary, which accused Mayorkas of refusing to secure the U.S.-Mexico border amid a record surge of illegal border crossings. The impeachment, which passed the House earlier this month, will likely die in the Democratic-led Senate where even GOP lawmakers have said it's a political stunt. Greene says her political experience makes her far better suited for the job than Mayorkas. Homeland Security oversees the nation's borders, but is also in charge of counterterrorism and the U.S. Secret Service.“Coming from a background in an executive position, I feel very strongly about being capable for that role,” she told the AJC. Greene had owned a gym and worked in a construction business owned by her family before she entered politics, the AJC reported.She has been extremely vocal about immigration and what the Republicans call a crisis at the border, which has become a hot-button issue for conservatives.She recently threatened to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson if he didn't kill a bipartisan bill that would fund border security, a piece of legislation that included many items that Republicans supported. Reports claimed Trump wanted it killed because he saw the border problems as being a strong campaign issue.
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[l] at 2/23/24 7:46am
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is pushing the United States Department of Justice to launch an investigation into a former U.S. attorney who vouched for the veracity of claims made by Alexander Smirnov, the informant who was arrested last week on charges of lying to investigators about bribes purportedly paid to President Joe Biden.In a letter sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Nadler questioned how former U.S. Attorney Scott Brady could have vouched for Smirnov's claims when prosecutors found significant problems with his story that they unraveled in a criminal indictment against him."Given what we now know about Mr. Smirnov, it seems unlikely that Mr. Brady actually verified any of the information Mr. Smirnov provided to the FBI," Nadler wrote, in a letter flagged by Axios congressional reporter Andrew Solender. "Mr. Brady's testimony to the contrary does not appear to be a mere misstatement -- his comments were deliberative, repeated, and detailed."READ MORE: Mike Lindell wants to count ballots like he says he makes pillows — by handNadler also cited Smirnov's admission that he got his information about the Bidens from individuals associated with Russian intelligence as particularly damning, and he said that Brady "appears to have been part of a deliberate attempt to launder foreign disinformation through the Department of Justice."Nadler even linked Brady's actions to former Attorney General Bill Barr and former Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, whom he said directed Brady to investigate Hunter Biden's activities in Ukraine.
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[l] at 2/23/24 7:17am
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough warned that Donald Trump and his "radical right-wing" allies were planning to take away another right from women.The "Morning Joe" host said U.S. Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas has made clear that overturning Roe v. Wade was just the beginning of a rollback of women's rights, and he said that right-wing activists are infiltrating courts with the intent of taking away the right to contraception. "They're not going to end by taking away one right of women that has been constitutionally protected for 50 years," Scarborough said. "It goes from that to 10-year-old rape victims to IVF and, you watch, they're saying it, they're telling you, Thomas, Justice Thomas said it, they're coming for contraception next. They'll lie, but that's what their activists want to do. These radical, radical right-wing activists have infiltrated the Alabama Supreme Court. They will infiltrate another court, and you watch, Griswold v. Connecticut, and the right for women to have contraception, that's coming down the road if this continues, if Donald Trump supporters have their way."Reproductive rights – whether it's abortion, birth control or in vitro fertilization – are broadly popular, with at least 70 percent or 80 percent of Americans supporting each of those rights, and former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele said that taking away access to any of those health care measures would be political poison.READ MORE: Mike Lindell wants to count ballots like he says he makes pillows — by hand"They don't even understand fundamentally the downstream impacts and effects of Dobbs," Steele said. "State legislatures, courts, judges are acting with impunity against women. That's what this boils down to. They now have control of the issue. You know, the proverbial we caught the dog, right? The car has been caught by the dog, and now the dog don't know what the hell to do with the car. The reality of it is, the driver and the passengers in the car are, like, what the hell you doing, right? They don't recognize, they don't recognize exactly what this issue means to so many Americans out there, so you're going to see more scrambling.""They want to get off of this so fast it'd make your head swim," Steele added. "This issue is, like Dobbs, like Dobbs, it is equally poisonous to their political ambitions because they fundamentally don't understand the impact it is having on women and families."Watch the video below or at this link. 02 23 2024 07 14 07 youtu.be
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[l] at 2/23/24 7:01am
Donald Trump's plan to place his daughter-in-law in a leadership position in the Republican National Committee will put the entire party on the road to disaster claimed former RNC chair Michael Steele.With the former president endorsing the selection of Lara Trump as RNC co-chair, Steele believes that she will do irreparable harm to the other GOP candidates the RNC should be developing and promoting.In a column for MSNBC, Steele — now a co-host of MSNBC's "The Weekend" — colorfully predicted the RNC and the GOP are headed for "an implosion about as dramatic as his failed Atlantic City casino."After last weekend blasting Lara Trump on his show, telling her, "The number one responsibility is to elect every candidate on the ballot on behalf of the party. It is to raise money for those candidates who are on the ballot," Steele doubled down on Friday with a warning to the Republican Party that it is not too late to save itself.ALSO READ: 11 ways Trump doesn't become president"Since 2015, Trump’s rise has (predictably) led to a diminished Republican Party – financially, electorally, and in fidelity to conservative values," he argued before reminding the leadership that Trump has been the author of a string of GOP defeats including losing control of the Senate and the White House.Added to that, he wrote, the party's fundraising is disastrously bad and what money is coming in is going to pay the former president's massive legal bills."The RNC wrapped up 2023 with its lowest fundraising totals in a decade. Now, with Trump loyalists poised to take the helm, concerns are growing about how whatever money the party is able to raise will be used," he wrote. "The party paid out hundreds of thousands in Trump’s legal bills in 2021. So, the fact that Lara Trumprecently suggested Republican voters actually want the committee to bail Trump out for the millions in legal fees he currently owes is concerning to both donors and activists."Knowing Trump's history, he added this should not catch anyone by surprise."For nearly a decade, we’ve seen the chaos, the division, the grifters and the conspiracy theories Trump ushered in consume the Republican Party. And now it appears this once-great party wants more of the same," he wrote and then dryly added, "So much for winning."You can read more here.
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[l] at 2/23/24 6:49am
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski condemned Republicans for continuing to side with Russia in its invasion of Ukraine despite the death of dissident Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison.The White House has hammered House Republican leaders for taking a recess without approving aid for Ukraine, which they've shown little willingness to approve, and Donald Trump has stopped far short of condemning Vladimir Putin for Navalny's death and instead compared the dead activist to himself."It's so staggering that my former party, Ronald Reagan's former party," Scarborough said, "we would be the first people standing up and speaking out, shouting, because we believe then, I still believe now, and I know you do, as well, that America is a city that shines brightly on the hill for all the world to see. It really is, when we are at our best. That's what Republicans used to believe – no more.""They are about to elect a man in South Carolina and throughout the nation to represent them in the primary -- in the presidential election, Donald Trump, who has nothing bad to say about Vladimir Putin, who time and time again defends Vladimir Putin, calls his invasion brilliant, and won't even speak out on the murder of Navalny, won't even speak out," Scarborough added. "For young people here, explain how unimaginable it is that this republican party has become so twisted and so perverted in its foreign policy under Donald Trump."READ MORE: Trump supporters hope they can create enough chaos to fulfill this one fantasyBrzezinski suggested the former president and Republican lawmakers were under Russian influence."Connect the dots, see what's happening – see Russian aggression pervading our politics, and see how she is standing in the face of this," Brzezinski said. "Why shouldn't everybody else participate in protecting democracy and the lives who want freedom, who are murdered by dictators?"Watch the video below or at this link. - YouTube youtu.be

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