Sidney Powell, one of the attorneys who led former President Donald Trump's post-election legal battle in 2020, did not appear to testify before a special purpose grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia.
According to WSB-TV, Powell was set to appear on Thursday, September 22 as part of the county's investigation of potential criminal interference following the state's 2020 election.
Per the news outlet, court records indicate that Powell was asked about "her involvement in an incident that happened in South Georgia in January 2021."
At the time, footage captured several individuals gaining access to the County Elections Office to "download elections data from voting machines and an elections server."
According to state investigators, the act is being purported as “criminal behavior.” Powell is accused of covering the cost for the effort.
Powell was thrust into the public eye as one of Trump's allies following his 2020 presidential election loss. Like many of his other allies, Powell echoed the former president's unfounded conspiracy theories of widespread voter fraud as she and his legal team filed numerous of lawsuits in battleground states where he lost.
Following the 2020 election, Powell made headlines when she appeared for Republican National Committee (RNC) news conference. “President Trump won by a landslide,” she said. “We are going to prove it.”
“I’m going to release the Kraken,” she said around the same time.
At this point, it remains unclear if Powell will face legal consequences for her failure to appear at the recent hearing. As of Friday, September 23, it is also unclear whether or not the hearing will be rescheduled.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
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New Hampshire Senate Republican nominee Don Bolduc is trying soften his pitch to voters while still saying he would privatize Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
On Friday, Bolduc — a far-right candidate and retired Army brigadier general — told New Hampshire Today that he is "not promoting privatization," but he does want to replace Social Security and Medicare with programs that are privately run.
"First of all, our seniors have nothing to worry about with me," Bolduc said on Friday. "I want Granite Staters to know that I will invest in a solid Medicare program that puts them in charge of their health care, not the government, and as far as Social Security goes, we are going to put that money back, we are going to give people the money that they put into it."
At an Aug. 2 town hall event in Pembroke, New Hampshire, Bolduc said he backed the end of the social safety net programs that provide health insurance for millions of older and low-income Americans.
"The privatization is hugely important," Bolduc said at the event, according to Politico. "Getting government out of it, getting government money with strings attached out of it."
At a May 2020 Hillsboro Republican Party meeting, Bolduc said "experts" at the Heritage Foundation — a right-wing think tank that for decades has pushed for privatizing Social Security — had been helping to inform his fiscal policies.
"I've been spending a lot of time on research, and I've been getting a lot of support from the experts at the Heritage Foundation, and I have developed some ideas, and — to go into a plan that will reduce our spending by $10.8 trillion over the next ten years," Bolduc said at the meeting.
He went on to suggest that the United States could reduce the federal deficit by cutting $2 trillion from Social Security, $1.2 trillion from Medicare, and $4 trillion from Medicaid.
At a Republican primary debate in August, Bolduc said he opposes letting Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices because "anything that the government's involved in is not good and doesn't work, period."
At another GOP debate in September, he again urged the replacement of Social Security with "a different system" for future generations.
But now, as a recent Emerson College-WHDH poll shows him trailing Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in the November general election race, Bolduc's campaign is claiming he has changed his position on privatization.
"Having served 10 tours of combat in Afghanistan, General Bolduc relies on his health care from the VA," spokesperson Jimmy Thompson told Politico. "He knows first-hand how important its services are to veterans, and he believes that every American who is eligible should be able to rely on the benefits they have paid into it, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security."
Thompson said Bolduc now "will oppose any effort to privatize these programs."
Bolduc's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for this story.
Hassan responded to the Politico story on Thursday by noting that 370,000 people in New Hampshire rely on Medicare for their health insurance. In a press release, she said:
Don Bolduc is so extreme that he would end Medicare as we know it and take away care from hundreds of thousands of Granite State seniors. While I have a record of fighting to lower costs for seniors, Don Bolduc has actually said that he would end Social Security and Medicare as we know it. New Hampshire seniors have spent their lives paying into Social Security and Medicare, and Don Bolduc would create immeasurable harm by taking away these critical programs.”
Since winning the GOP nomination, Bolduc has walked back his position on a federal abortion ban and has abandoned the conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election.
Other prominent Republicans have also been caught in recent months endorsing the end of the popular public entitlement programs.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has proposed a "Rescue America" plan which calls for a five-year sunset on every single federal program, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
This means that Congress would need to re-pass each of those programs every five years or they would cease to exist.
Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters said at a June 23 forum hosted by the right-wing advocacy group FreedomWorks, "Maybe we should privatize Social Security, right? Private retirement accounts, get the government out of it."
And on August 2, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told a Wisconsin radio station that Social Security and Medicare should not be mandatory spending.
"What we ought to be doing is we ought to turn everything into discretionary spending, so it's all evaluated so that we can fix problems or fix programs that are broken, that are going to be going bankrupt," he said.
Reprinted with permission from American Independent.
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Right-wing media are expressing outrage that President Joe Biden mentioned climate change during his September 21 speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
Biden’s nearly-30 minute speech, which focused mainly on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, also included calls for global cooperation on important issues including food insecurity, human rights, and climate change. The climate part of his speech lasted roughly 3 minutes and included celebrating the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. He also touched on recent climate disasters and the need for global emissions reductions, as well as promising billions of dollars in international climate finance.
Despite the relatively modest amount of time he spent on climate change, many in right-wing media were outraged that he even mentioned climate at all. Their comments included climate denial and falsehoods about the importance of climate change to the global community.
Right-wing media falsely claimed that the global population doesn’t care about climate change
Climate change is a serious concern around the world. For example, a January 2021 survey found that a majority of people around the globe want greater climate action. And a September 2021 Pew poll found that the world’s population increasingly views climate change as a personal threat. In August of this year, another Pew survey found that a “median of 75% across 19 countries in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region label global climate change as a major threat.”
Additionally, people from the global south — those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis but disproportionately suffer its effects — are often some of the loudest voices for climate action. Around the same time that Biden gave his UN speech, indigenous peoples from around the world were protesting in New York for climate justice. The president of Kenya made climate change a key part of his UN speech, and the prime minister of Pakistan, a country that has seen over 30 million displaced due to climate-fueled monsoon flooding, thanked Biden for “highlighting the plight of the flood victims.”
Climate change and poverty, meanwhile, are inextricably linked, as are climate change and global hunger. These facts, however, were still not enough to convince right-wing commentators in the U.S. that climate change is a significant threat to the global population.
For example, on the September 22 edition of Newsmax’s Wake Up America, host Rob Finnerty stated that “there's 193 sovereign nations in that room right there. … And nobody cared about that part of the speech. They needed a lot more from the American president, with everything going on in the world right now, and they get climate change.”
On Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy insinuated that people living in poverty don’t care about climate change, stating, “Suddenly he’s talking about climate change. And, you know, there are 675 million people living in poverty around the world. And for the president of the United States to be talking about climate change rather than trying to figure out a way to feed them.”
Doocy also entirely missed the fact that Biden did discuss food in his speech; he mentioned the term “food insecurity” 6 times, while also mentioning “feeding the world.”
The editorial board of the right-wing New York Post also claimed that the world's poor don’t care about climate change. They referred to climate change as part of a “laundry list of left-liberal shout-outs,” before writing that the speech focused “on climate change, which Biden claimed lists first among the ‘challenges that matter most to people’s lives.’ The planet’s 674 million people living in abject poverty don’t agree, Joe.”
Right-wing media also dipped into one of their favorite overused talking points when it comes to climate change: U.S. action is worthless because China is the biggest polluter
There were also criticisms claiming China does not care about climate change. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade remarked about Biden’s climate comments that “climate change is unbelievable. The fact is that China could not care less.” On Wake Up America, The Daily Caller’s Briana Lyman took this China criticism a step further, stating that if “you want to talk about climate change, then you need to talk about China because China is responsible for more than double the emissions of the United States. … I think it's a dereliction of duty when he doesn't tie China and climate change together.”
Kilmeade’s comments ignore the fact that China is by far the largest market for clean energy in the world, and that its pledge to become carbon neutral by 2060 came about a year before the U.S. passed major climate legislation. Yes, its coal plants (and emissions) are a huge problem, but to say that the country doesn’t care about climate change (especially when an unprecedented heat wave just hit the country) is absurd.
Regarding Lyman’s comments, Biden did mention that the United States “will work with every nation, including our competitors, to solve global problems like climate change.” Immediately after this, he referenced China and said the U.S. will not seek out conflict with them.
Lyman also touched on a longtime right-wing trope about climate change: that countries like China are the problem because they currently emit the most carbon, and because of this, it’s foolish to think that the U.S. should act on climate change. But the United States is the largest historical emitter; per capita emissions in the U.S. vastly outweigh those of China; and many of our products are manufactured in China.
Solely blaming China while absolving the U.S. for its own pollution problems and its outsized role in spreading climate denial does nothing for solving climate change in the long run.
Right-wing media also exaggerated the time Biden spent talking about climate change, and they threw in some good-old-fashioned climate denial
Three minutes out of 30 is arguably not enough time to devote to a problem that has led to a summer of destructive extreme weather across the globe. But it was still enough to annoy right-wing media figures.
Again on Wake Up America, host Rob Finnerty stated that “the president spent a lot of time talking about climate change during his speech. … This, of course, coming at a crucially important time. We’re seven months into the worst war in Europe that we've seen since World War II, and the president took the opportunity to campaign for Democrats and talk about climate change.” On the September 21 edition of Kudlow, guest Steve Moore falsely claimed that “he spent half the time talking about climate change.”
Perhaps the worst reaction came from Newsmax host Eric Bolling, who went on a climate denial rant on the September 21 edition of Eric Bolling The Balance. He called climate change “another made-up crisis lurking just around the corner,” adding, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” He then blamed Al Gore for supposedly inaccurate predictions about climate change and chastised former President Barack Obama for buying a house near the sea despite being concerned about rising sea levels.
The right-wing blow-up over Biden’s climate comments is not surprising. To these figures and outlets, any action on climate, big or small, is akin to a radical socialist takeover of the U.S. economy. In particular, the right has increased its climate denial and criticism of climate policies in recent months. As climate change worsens and global citizens come together to clamor for climate action, right-wing media will continue to double down on denial and lies to protect their polluting interests.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.
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