Chip Roy

Republicans Sink Defense Spending Bill As Shutdown Deadline Approaches

Republicans in the United States House of Representatives on Wednesday "failed to move forward on a procedural vote advancing a bill to fund the Defense Department after it became clear they did not have enough votes to secure its passage," adding to concerns that Congress will miss the September 30th deadline to fund the federal government and prevent a shutdown, The Washington Post's Mariama Sotomayor reports.

The latest impasse "offered an example of just how difficult it will be for [House Speaker Kevin] McCarthy (R-CA) and the ideologically fractured Republican majority to find consensus, keep the government open, and avert blame if a shutdown is triggered," Sotomayor explains.

"A handful of staunchly conservative lawmakers announced they would not vote to move the defense funding bill forward because of an unmet demand they made of leadership months ago," Sotomayor writes. "Several members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus said they have yet to receive a top-line number for how much all 12 appropriations bills would cost once passed, and where offsets to curtail spending would be made across the 11 proposals the House has yet to consider on the floor."

Sotomayor continues, "The House Appropriations Committee already has not been able to overcome competing demands between moderate and far-right Republicans on the labor and justice appropriation bills, which have historically been the most controversial proposals to complete. As a result, fulfilling the Freedom Caucus' demands — including passing all 12 appropriation bills individually — may be impossible."

Sotomayor notes that "it remains unclear when the House will consider the defense funding bill — or any appropriation bill. Given the myriad requests and leadership's inability thus far to provide a top-line budget number, lawmakers had little insight into how Republicans break themselves from the logjam before the House leaves Washington for the weekend Thursday."

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), a member of the right-wing Freedom Caucus, said that "there currently is not an appetite to just, I would call it, blindly move forward with any one piece of the puzzle until we can actually look at the picture of the puzzle that we’re actually trying to assemble. I have no interest in grabbing a piece and just sticking it on a board and hoping."

Sotomayor adds that "several absences within the conference — including Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is battling cancer — are making the math tricky for Republicans. Complicating it further is the expected retirement of Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) later this week, which will bring the Republicans' already razor-thin majority down to four. His replacement, generally expected to be a Republican, would not arrive in the House until late November."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Lauren Boebert

Unruly Lauren Boebert Booted From Denver Theatre Performance

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) was kicked out of a theater last weekend, The Denver Post's John Aguilar reports.

Boebert was "escorted out of a Sunday night performance" of Beetlejuice after she was caught "vaping, singing, recording, and 'causing a disturbance,'" Aguilar writes.

"In an incident report shared with The Denver Post on Tuesday afternoon, officials with Denver Arts & Venues wrote that two patrons were asked to leave the city-owned Buell Theatre during the performance of the touring Broadway show," Aguilar reveals. "They previously were issued a warning during the intermission regarding behavior that prompted three complaints from other theatergoers, the report says."

Aguilar continues, "The report does not name Boebert as one of the patrons or identify the other person. But her campaign office — while disputing the behavior alleged — confirmed that she was escorted from the Buell on Sunday night during the Beetlejuice show. The incident report states that after receiving the intermission warning, about five minutes into the second act security officials received 'another complaint about the patrons being loud and at the time (they) were recording.' Taking pictures or recording is not permitted at shows."

One usher recalled to the Post, per Aguilar, "They told me they would not leave. I told them that they need to leave the theater and if they do not, they will be trespassing. The patrons said they would not leave. I told them I would (be) going to get Denver Police. They said go get them."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Far-Right Pastor Enrages Parents With 'Autism Is Demonic' Sermon

Far-Right Pastor Enrages Parents With 'Autism Is Demonic' Sermon

Last Wednesday, Pastor Rick Morrow of Beulah Church in Richland, Missouri ignited fury when he asserted in a sermon that autism was the result of demonic forces corrupting children's minds.

"I know a minister who has seen lots of kids that are autistic, that he cast that demon out, and they were healed, and then he had to pray and their brain was rewired and they were fixed," Morrow said. "Yeah, I just went there. I mean, you can get online and see lots of examples of it. If it's not demonic, then we have to say God made them that way. Like, that's the only other explanation."

Morrow continued, 'Why [does] my kid have autism?' Well, either the devil's attacked them, he's brought this infirmity upon them, he's got them where he wants them, and/or God just doesn't like 'em very much and he made 'em that way. Well, my God doesn't make junk. God doesn't make mess-ups. God doesn't make people that way."

According to Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist, who helped Morrow's remarks receive public attention, "infuriated people in the community, some of whom have children with autism and have no trouble reconciling it with their faith." Mehta pointed out that the "sentiment was shared by many people who commented under the church's video on Facebook, with responses ranging from 'This whole congregation needs to run away' to 'I'm embarrassed this is in our community.'"

Mehta noted at the time that "one Missouri mother was so upset about his sermon that she reached out to Morrow personally to tell him how her son, who has autism, is a blessing. She explained that he doesn’t have an 'illness.' Rather, he's a 'brilliant child' who simply communicates differently. She also asked Morrow if he felt the same way about children with Down syndrome. He said that, too, was Satan's fault."

Mehta stressed that "Morrow isn't merely some random ignorant pastor. He's also a school board member for the Stoutland R-II School District. This guy oversees education for public school students, at least some of whom we have to assume are on the autism spectrum. That would mean he believes the devil has attacked all of them and the only way to handle those students is with prayer instead of therapy or academic intervention."

On Sunday, September 10th, Mehta updated that Morrow finally responded to the criticism that his beliefs received. But instead of making amends, Morrow doubled down.

"I made a statement Wednesday night talking about demons, and we're going to keep talking about them on Wednesday night. And I made a statement. I said, 'Let's talk about something demonic.' And I said, 'autism.' And then I said, 'God doesn't make junk,'" Morrow recalled. "Those of you that know me know that I love people and I would never say that people are junk. It has been perceived that I'm evil, that I am full of the devil, that I am possessed myself because I said kids with autism are junk. That's what has been perceived. What was intended was autism is junk. People that have it are loved by God and loved by me."

Mehta rejected Morrow's defense.

"Let me remind everyone that Morrow claimed kids with autism could be 'healed' with prayer," Mehta wrote. "That's a lie. He said that the only alternative to believing autism is caused by demons is saying, of children, 'God just doesn't like 'em very much and he made 'em that way.'"

Mehta added, "Oh. And he’s still on the local public school board."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Will Blake Masters Risk 'Cage Match' Senate Primary Against Kari Lake?

Will Blake Masters Risk 'Cage Match' Senate Primary Against Kari Lake?

Two failed Republican candidates in Arizona whose campaigns were buttressed by former President Donald Trump may not be heading for the "cage fight" that observers expected in next year's United States Senate contest, The Daily Beast's Zachary Petrizzo and Sam Brodey report.

Kari Lake and Blake Masters were thought to be "squaring off against each other" to challenge Arizona's incumbent Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema, according to the Beast. But now, experts have their doubts.

"Lake, the Trump-obsessed failed gubernatorial candidate who continues to deny the 2020 election and her own 2022 defeat, is all but certain to launch a Senate campaign this fall," Petrizzo and Brodey write. "Masters, a hard-right Peter Thiel acolyte who lost his 2022 Senate bid after running a dark and dystopian campaign, is gearing up to launch his bid for the GOP nomination, according to a Wall Street Journal story last week. But the 37-year-old Masters was known to be itching for another shot at the Senate, and the Journal's report—which included the detail he had already taped his campaign video—suggested he'd be willing to take on his old friend in order to get there. Suddenly, however, sources close to Masters are doubting whether he will go through with a campaign that would entail a brutal cage fight of a primary match against his former ally."

One Republican insider told the Beast, “Look, I don't think he's running. I always thought this was a trial balloon. Quite frankly, he's never publicly acknowledged that he wants to get into the race. There is not one comment."Other "operatives" shared similar sentiments, the Beast notes.

Petrizzo and Brodey continue, "On Saturday, The New York Times reported that Masters and Trump had a 'blunt' phone call last Sunday when the former president laced into Masters for not promoting claims of election fraud. 'Look at Kari—Kari's winning with very little money,' Trump said to Masters, according to The Times. 'And if they say, ‘How is your family?’ She says, ‘The election was rigged and stolen.' You'll lose if you go soft. You’re going to lose that base.'"

Masters' people have also been "questioning behind the scenes whether or not Lake will actually run," the Beast adds, which prompted a stinging rebuke from Team Lake.

"Blake Masters was outspent by $70 million dollars and completely reliant on a single Big Tech benefactor," Lake adviser Caroline Wren told the Beast. "If he believes that the party needs someone with a proven ability to fund-raise, then he's not the guy."

Nonetheless, the Beast explains, "Why exactly Masters might reconsider a run is unclear. Within Trump's orbit, there is a sense that it would be highly difficult for him to defeat Lake in a primary—and that it would be difficult for him to win the former president's endorsement over her. Notably, Trump endorsed both Lake and Masters in their respective primaries last year, adding complexity to the dynamics if they were to both enter the race."

The Beast further points out, "Beyond that, it's not inevitable that Masters' biggest benefactor, Thiel, would help him in 2024 as much as he did in 2022, when he spent $17 million to support his campaign. His five-point defeat to Sen. Mark Kelly (D) was one of the GOP's biggest disappointments of last year's midterm election, and his campaign attracted national attention for its gloomy tone and the candidate's own far-right beliefs."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Chris Christie

Chris Christie Questions His  Former Friend Trump's Mental Health (VIDEO)

Former New Jersey governor and 2024 Republican presidential primary contender Chris Christie rebuffed one of ex-President Donald Trump's attack lines during a Wednesday night appearance on The Balance.

Newsmax anchor Eric Bolling recalled that Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday morning that "Chris Christie and maybe deranged Jack Smith should get together for dinner" because "he's just a crazed lunatic," in reference to Christie.

"You wanna respond to it?" Bolling asked.

Christie replied with follow-up questions for Trump.

Yeah, well, look. I feel bad for Donald. I really do. You know, he's on there saying that I'm not very smart, that I'm very deranged. Look, he didn't think that, Eric, in 2018 when he offered me White House chief of staff. He didn't think that in 2016 when he offered– when he made me chairman of his transition. He didn't think that in 2017 when he made me chairman of his opioid commission. He didn't think of that when he offered me secretary of Homeland Security twice, and secretary of Labor.

You know, so, look. I disagree with the things that Donald Trump did in the 2020 election. I disagree with the way he's conducted himself after the fact. I think it's bad for the country. I think it's beneath the office he held. But when he says stuff like that about somebody who you know, supported him in 2016, prepared him for the debates with Hillary Clinton, supported him in 2020, and prepared him for the debates with Joe Biden, if I was so useless and dumb and deranged, how did all that stuff happen? It's sad. He's under a lot of stress and a lot of pressure, and saying these things makes me really concerned for his mental health.

Watch below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Kyrsten Sinema

Pentagon Rejects Sinema Proposal To 'Negotiate' With Tuberville Over Abortion

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) wants President Joe Biden and Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) to negotiate a "middle ground" to settle ex-college football "Coach" Tuberville's one-man blockade on military appointments, stemming from his personal opposition to the Pentagon's healthcare policies on abortion, NBC News correspondents Allan Smith and Sahil Kapur exclusively report.

NBC obtained a recording of Sinema telling the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce last week that "she has 'offered' to help both sides come to a consensus," Smith and Kapur explain.

"I know that Coach does not want to undermine the readiness of our United States military. And I know that the United States military and the administration does not want to undermine the authority and the right of any United States senator. What we need are for folks to step off a little bit from their positions and find that middle ground to solve the challenge that we're facing," Sinema reportedly said, adding that "I've volunteered to help do that" and that "we'll see if they take me up on the offer."

Smith and Kapur recall that "Tuberville has blocked promotions for more than 250 high-ranking military officers" and that despite Sinema's "long record of voting in favor of reproductive rights as a senator," she "didn't specifically discuss abortion or detail what shifts she wants to see from the Pentagon or Tuberville," with whom she "disagrees" while nonetheless maintains "respect" for Tuberville's flex.

"What we're in is a position of pain — we're in a pinch point right now," Sinema said, per NBC. "Coach wants something the military and the administration is not willing to give him. But it would be a mistake to take away that tool from a United States senator because it is an important tool to address unmet needs."

Sinema added that "what I'm encouraging both Coach and the administration to do is to be flexible in finding a solution," insisting that "there is always a solution to be had. It may not be everything the Coach wants. And it may not be everything that the United States military or the administration wants. But there is a solution to be found. And so what I have offered to both Coach and to the administration is to help in any way that I can to help find that solution, because it does exist. It always exists."

Meanwhile, Department of Defense spokesperson Sabrina Singh declared that the Pentagon is not going to acquiesce to Tuberville's demands.

"No, we're not going to change our policy on ensuring that every single service member has equitable access to reproductive healthcare," Singh told reporters on Tuesday. "If you are a service member stationed in a state that has rolled back or restricted healthcare access, you are often stationed there because you were assigned there. It is not that you chose to go there. And so a service member in Alabama deserves to have the same access to healthcare as a service member in California, as a service member stationed in Korea."

Singh continued, "And so that's what that policy does. It's not an abortion policy. We have a travel policy that allows for our service members to take advantage of healthcare that should be accessible to them."

Sahil and Smith further note that "a person close to the Alabama senator said he 'has not spoken to Sinema' about the matter."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Donald Trump

Trump Drops Promise To Provide 'Irrefutable Proof' Of 2020 Election Fraud

Former President Donald Trump proclaimed on Thursday that he is canceling the "news conference" that he had intended to hold next Monday, where he planned to respond to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' Monday, August 14th indictment of Trump and eighteen of his associates for allegedly trying to steal Georgia's sixteen Electoral College votes following his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

ABC News correspondents Katherine Faulders and Jonathan Karl reported on Thursday morning that "Trump's legal advisers have told him that holding such a press conference with dubious claims of voter fraud will only complicate his legal problems and some of his attorneys have advised him to cancel it."

Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp had also blasted Trump after he made his Monday announcement, stating that "the 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen. For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward -- under oath -- and prove anything in a court of law."

Trump instead claimed on his Truth Social app at 8:01 p.m. on Thursday that he and his lawyers decided upon an alternate tactic:

Rather than releasing the Report on the Rigged & Stolen Georgia 2020 Presidential Election on Monday, my lawyers would prefer putting this, I believe, Irrefutable & Overwhelming evidence of Election Fraud & Irregularities in formal Legal Filings as we fight to dismiss this disgraceful Indictment by a publicity & campaign finance seeking D.A., who sadly presides over a record-breaking Murder & Violent Crime area, Atlanta. Therefore, the News Conference is no longer necessary!

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Roger Stone

MSNBC Fresh Proof Of Roger Stone Pushing Fake Elector Scheme (VIDEO)

MSNBC host Ari Melber on Wednesday's edition of The Beat released previously unseen footage of Republican operative Roger Stone purportedly dictating a memo that outlined the allegedly criminal scheme to send fraudulent electors to Washington as part of the plot by former President Donald Trump and his associates to steal the 2020 election.

Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis and Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith cited that plot in their respective indictments of Trump and his allies.

"Although state officials in all fifty states must ultimately certify the results of the voting in their state, the final decision as to who the state legislatures authorize be sent to the Electoral College is a decision made solely by the legislature," Stone said in the clip that was recorded by documentarian Christoffer Guldbrandesen. "Any legislative body may decide on the basis of overwhelming evidence of fraud to send electors to the electoral college who accurately reflect the president's legitimate victory in their state, which was illegally denied him through fraud. We must be prepared to lobby our Republican legislatures by personal contact and by demonstrating the overwhelming will of the people in their state in each state that this may need to happen."

Melber noted that Stone's representative "declined to comment."

Watch below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Trump Lawyers Busted In Michigan For Tampering With Voting Machines

Trump Lawyers Busted In Michigan For Tampering With Voting Machines

Stefanie Lambert, a Michigan attorney connected to former President Donald Trump, has been indicted for "accessing and tampering with voting machines" as part of the effort to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, the Associated Press' Joey Cappelletti reported on Thursday.

"The charges against Stefanie Lambert come days after Matthew DePerno, a Republican lawyer whom Trump endorsed in an unsuccessful run for Michigan attorney general last year, and former GOP state Rep. Daire Rendon were arraigned in connection with the case," Cappelletti recalled. "Lambert, DePerno, and Rendon were named by Attorney General Dana Nessel's office last year as having 'orchestrated a coordinated plan to gain access to voting tabulators.'"

Michigan, Colorado, and Georgia are all states in which "people breached election systems while embracing and spreading Trump's lie that the 2020 election was stolen," Cappelletti said.

Cappelletti noted that in Michigan, "Five vote tabulators were illegally taken from three counties and brought to a hotel room, according to documents released last year by Nessel's office. The tabulators were then broken into and 'tests' were performed on the equipment."

Nine people overall were named "in connection with the scheme," Cappelletti added, "which ends the charging decisions in this investigation.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Jason Miller

CNN Names Trump's Co-Conspirators In 2020 Coup Attempt

Not long after Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith indicted former President Donald Trump on four counts for trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election, CNN's Katelyn Polantz confirmed the identities of five of the unnamed co-conspirators that were included in Smith's criminal complaint.

Those people are Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Jeffrey Clark, and Kenneth Chesebro — all of whom were attorneys advising Defendant Trump at the time.

Then, on Tuesday's edition of Out Front with Erin Burnett, Polantz reported that "we are now learning that the senior campaign adviser who is signified in this indictment as one of the people who was giving Trump the harshest assessment that there was no fraud after the election that would overturn the vote, that person is Jason Miller."

Polantz continued, "I have been able to confirm that I've reached out to a representative of his and received no comment back, but I have been able to confirm that that is indeed Jason Miller. And this episode is just one of the highlights of how the special council's office was using information that the close advisors to Donald Trump on the campaign, people who even stuck with him after the 2020 election, may Miller continued to work with Donald Trump, continues to work with him. These are people who were telling him that there wasn't fraud and that Donald Trump and the alleged co-conspirators or the co-conspirators in this indictment who are not charged at this time that those people were doing something anomalous with what the campaign knew that there wasn't fraud and this."

According to the federal filing, Miller warned Trump that "when our research and campaign legal team can't back up any of the claims made by our Elite Strike Force Legal Team, you can see why we are 0-32 on our cases. I'll obviously hustle to help on all fronts, but it's tough to own any of this when it's all just conspiracy sh*t beamed down from the mothership."

Watch below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

How Trump Profiteered From Mideast Ties In The White House

How Trump Profiteered From Mideast Ties In The White House

The government watchdog group Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) published a bombshell report on Thursday that former President Donald Trump raked in millions of dollars from five Middle East nations while he was in the White House.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Kuwait were all identified as having deep monied ties to Trumpworld, which CREW uncovered from the indicted ex-commander-in-chief's income disclosures.

CREW's discovery comes amid investigations into allegations made by Trump and congressional Republicans that President Joe Biden and his family engaged in corruption in Ukraine and China.

"Trump made at least $9.6 million from countries in the Middle East during his presidency, according to years of reporting and a CREW analysis of his tax returns," CREW found. "That means Trump pulled in at least six times his official presidential salary in side income from the Middle East alone during his time in office. The total is likely much higher, but public reporting only sheds light on the most high-profile instances of profiteering, and he is only required to report certain types of income on his tax returns."

Trump's refusal to divest, or separate, himself from his family's financial entanglements sparked "an endless number of conflicts of interest by blurring the lines between the government and his businesses," CREW explained. "The profiteering paid off, and Trump raked in tens of millions from international business interests during his time in office."

Trump and his friends on Capitol Hill "frequently visited and held events at his clubs, hotels and golf courses, advertising to those looking to influence the government that Trump properties were open for business. Foreign governments and officials in particular took advantage of the open opportunity to ingratiate themselves with the president," CREW revealed.

"The $9.6 million that we know Trump made from Middle Eastern countries during his presidency is likely just the tip of the iceberg. CREW tracked conflicts of interest involving multiple countries that are not even present on his tax returns. For example, officials from Iraq, Oman and Yemen made visits to Trump properties while he was president. Because we don't know the total cost for these visits, we did not include them in the tally," wrote Crew. "What we do know is that becoming president was Trump's best business decision, and his tax returns show how great the office was for his bottom line. As the 2024 election creeps closer, foreign interests including those in the Middle East are already buying access to Trump and pouring money into his pockets."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

McCarthy Screens Antisemitic Qanon-Themed Movie For House Members (VIDEO)

McCarthy Screens Antisemitic Qanon-Themed Movie For House Members (VIDEO)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) invited lawmakers to a Tuesday night screening of a film that reviews described as antisemitic to help improve workplace morale on Capitol Hill.

Since he obtained the gavel in January, McCarthy has struggled to herd fringe Republicans in the House whose constituencies are often populated by QAnon fans. A sizeable number of these congresspersons are staunch defenders of indicted former President Donald Trump and his debunked lies about the 2020 election. In addition to intra-GOP squabbling, deep partisan gullies between the two major parties regarding an exhaustive host of issues reliably lead to drama inside the chamber.

McCarthy's olive branch is a presentation of Sound of Freedom starring Jim Caviezel, whom National Public Radio noted last week has "been a prominent promoter of the false, violent QAnon conspiracy theory — specifically, the baseless claim that an international cabal of elites is abusing and killing children to extract a substance called adrenochrome."

Although the production avoids that one topic and was released prior to QAnon's spread, it contains other ideas that resonate with QAnon's believers.

Sound of Freedom "draws from a conspiratorial well that includes a number of anti-Jewish canards, including the 'blood libel' accusation," The Times of Israel explained.

"The adrenochrome theory has roots in a blood libel canard leveled at Jews since the Middle Ages," QAnon researcher Mike Rothschild told the outlet. "The myth that Jews use the blood of Christian children in rituals was used to justify the torture, imprisonment, and murder of Jews for centuries, even taking a role in Nazi propaganda, before it was adopted by QAnon."

McCarthy asserted at a press conference that Sound of Freedom's theme can unite political adversaries behind a common cause.

"One of my goals is to open up the house and get members working together again. We've made some great progress in that where, where bills actually come through, committees where members are now showing up for work. And so tonight I'm gonna have another movie night," McCarthy said. "I'm hoping Republicans and Democrats can come together, see a movie about human trafficking. We could actually find ways to stop the human trafficking that's continuing to move throughout the world."

Watch below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.


Deadly Outbreak: When RFK Jr's Vaccine Lies Killed Samoan Kids (VIDEO)

Hours after anti-vax Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. testified before the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on Thursday afternoon, one of the nation's foremost experts on vaccinations reminded PBS News Hour's audience that Kennedy was at least partially responsible for a 2018 measles outbreak in American Samoa that left two infants dead.

Host Geoff Bennet kicked off the segment by introducing his guest — Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee — and giving a brief synopsis of Kennedy's fringe beliefs.

"So RFK Jr. is widely known as an anti-vaccine activist. He has a much larger platform now as he runs for president, he says that many of his views are misunderstood; they're taken out of context. Help us understand what he's been promoting and what the science tells us about it," Bennet began.

Offit elaborated on why Kennedy's contrarianism is so dangerous.

"Well, he's been promoting false information about vaccines," Offit replied. "He's been promoting the notion that vaccines cause autism, which is clearly not true, or cause a variety of other chronic diseases like diabetes or multiple sclerosis, or attention deficit disorder, and that's all not true. So what he does is by putting misinformation out there, he causes people to make bad decisions that put themselves and their their family at risk."

Bennet asked, "You also point to one episode where he spoke out against the measles vaccine. What was the impact of that?"

Offit recalled, "In Samoa, there were two children that died immediately following receipt of a measles vaccine. And the way it works in Samoa is they have an MMR vaccine in powdered form. It needs to be diluted in water. Two nurses made a mistake instead of diluting it in water, they diluted it in a muscle relaxant. Those children stopped breathing and died immediately. Now, very quickly, within two weeks, it was realized what that mistake was."

Offit then highlighted how Kennedy's conspiracy theories led to a precipitous plummet in the percentage of the Samoan population receiving inoculations to the highly contagious virus.

"It was a nursing error, but nonetheless, RFK Jr. seized on that. He flooded Facebook with the information that the measles vaccine is killing children in Samoa. He went to Samoa. He met with anti-vaccine activists. He met with senior officials in Samoa and kept the drumbeat alive that the measles vaccine was killing children in Samoa as a consequence," Offit continued. "Vaccination rates fell from 70 percent to 30 percent, and between September and December of 2019, there was a massive measles epidemic in this island nation of 200,000 people. There were 57,000 cases of measles and 83 deaths. Most of those deaths were in children less than four years of age. And Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had everything to do with that. And that shows you how disinformation can kill."

Kennedy's connection to the Samoan measles crisis was previously chronicled in 2019 by The Washington Post:

[Kennedy] visited the country in June, appearing next to officials at Samoan independence celebrations. His visit was 'for a program that is not government-related,' an official in the prime minister’s department told Samoan news media at the time.

Kennedy has asserted that vaccines cause autism, a claim disproved by extensive research. Members of the Kennedy family have publicly criticized him for helping 'spread dangerous misinformation.'

The World Health Organization estimated that in 2018, only 31 percent of infants in Samoa received the measles vaccine, a drop from 60 to 70 percent in previous years. The WHO attributed the extremely low rate in part to a public health scandal: Last year, two infants in Samoa died within hours of receiving the MMR vaccine. The country temporarily halted its vaccine program, but the vaccine did not cause the deaths. Two nurses improperly mixed the vaccines with a liquid muscle relaxant instead of water. The pair were sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter.

What happened in Samoa was not a unique occurrence, either. A measles outbreak there in April 2023 forced Governor Lemanu PS Maug to issue an emergency declaration that lasted through the end of May of that year.

ABC News reported at the time that more than 32 people had been infected. The outlet referenced the events of 2019, when "in American Samoa, there were 12 measles cases and no deaths reported. However, in the nation of Samoa, there were more than 5,700 cases and 83 deaths reported, most occurring in children under five years old."

MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan also dedicated a segment of one of his shows in June to this very topic.

Watch Offit's remarks below via Decoding Fox News or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

James Comer

With No Evidence, Comer Says Biden 'Sold Access To Enemies For Decades' (VIDEO)

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) baselessly accused President Joe Biden of what could be considered treason while discussing Hunter Biden on Friday's edition of Senator Ted Cruz's (R-TX) Verdict podcast.

"I think that Joe Biden has been selling access to our enemies for decades," Comer alleged. "I think that..."

Cruz interrupted, "So long before Hunter was involved?"

Comer confirmed, "Long before."

Cruz followed up.

"So let me stop you on that," Cruz said. "You said he is been selling access to our enemies for decades. That — that on the face of it is an extraordinary statement. What's your basis for that?" he asked Comer.

"Basis is, you know, if you study Joe Biden, like I have, he's always been cash-strapped. He's never had a successful career in investing or anything like that," Comer asserted.

"Then you look at the assets he's accumulated on a Senate salary, it's pretty impressive. And you look at the upkeep to those assets. I, I believe that. If we, you know..." Comer continued.

Cruz quipped, "So you're saying a classic Corvette doesn't buy itself?"

Comer replied, "No."

Watch below via The Recount or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

New Polls Shows Growing Voter Distrust Of 'Nutjob' Robert F. Kennedy Jr

Robert F. Kennedy Jr's 2024 White House bid was always a long shot. But the more voters get to know the anti-vax conspiracy theorist, the less they like him, The Washington Post's Aaron Blake reports.

The Kennedy conundrum came to a head on Thursday when, despite warnings that it would backfire, the sixty-nine-year-old environmental lawyer accepted Republicans' invitation to testify before the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

The spectacle, Blake notes, was "impossible to separate from conservative media's own effort to play up Kennedy's campaign. Fox News has devoted extensive attention to Kennedy on the air and its website, publishing more than 80 articles and videos about him since his campaign launch in April."

The impacts of Kennedy's fringe platform, explains Blake, are evident in the latest rounds of polling, including those that were conducted prior to Kennedy's congressional appearance.

"Quinnipiac University released a poll Wednesday showing Republicans continue to like Kennedy — by more than a 2-to-1 margin, in fact. But among Democrats, Kennedy's image was more than 2-to-1 negative. While 21 percent had a favorable opinion, 47 percent had an unfavorable one. That’s 26 points 'underwater,' up from 15 points underwater a month ago," Blake writes.

"A new poll out of New Hampshire is even worse for Kennedy," Blake continues. "The University of New Hampshire Survey Center in April showed him 22 points underwater among likely Democratic primary voters; its latest poll now shows him 60 points underwater." UNH found that "just 9 percent had a favorable opinion of Kennedy, compared with 69 percent who had an unfavorable one. The survey also asked people to use one word to describe Kennedy, and the most popular words were 'crazy,' 'dangerous,' 'insane,' 'nutjob,' 'conspiracy,' and 'crackpot.'"

Blake concludes that "these are not the numbers of someone who is seriously competing for the nomination."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Vladimir Putin

Fearing War Crimes Arrest, Putin Will Avoid BRICS Summit In South Africa

Russian President Vladimir Putin is skipping next month's BRICS summit in South Africa due to concerns that he could be arrested by the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed in Ukraine, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

BRICS is the economic alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa that was established in 2009 to compete with the G7, to which Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States belong.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced after a "number of consultations" with Moscow that "Russia has made it clear that arresting its sitting president would be a declaration of war. It would be inconsistent with our constitution to risk engaging in war with Russia."

Ramaphosa's opposition followed the Democratic Alliance's demands that Putin be taken into custody. Instead, Putin will appear virtually, The Guardian noted.

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov "denied Moscow had told South Africa that arresting its president would mean an act of war, but said it was 'clear to everyone what [that kind of] infringement against the head of the Russian state would mean."

The ICC accused Putin in March of orchestrating a pattern of atrocities throughout Ukraine, including conducting forced locations, the "unlawful deportation" of children to Russia, and executions of civilians.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Trump In 2016: Electing Indicted President Would Create Crippling 'Crisis'

Trump In 2016: Electing Indicted President Would Create Crippling 'Crisis'

Former President Donald Trump hopes to reclaim the White House in 2024 while facing dozens of criminal indictments. But shortly before the 2016 presidential election, Trump declared that candidates under those circumstances should be disqualified from serving as commander-in-chief.

On Monday, CNN's KFile dug up several instances in which Trump insisted that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton should be barred from seeking the presidency due to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's contemporaneous probe into her controversial use of a personal email server during her tenure as United States secretary of state.

For example, Trump proclaimed at a November 3rd, 2016 event in Concord, North Carolina that if Clinton "were to win, it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis that would cripple the operations of our government."

Clinton, Trump continued, "is likely to be under investigation for many years, and also it will probably end up – in my opinion – in a criminal trial. I mean, you take a look. Who knows? But it certainly looks that way."

Two days later at a November 5th, 2016 rally in Reno, Nevada, Trump said that "we could very well have a sitting president under felony indictment and ultimately a criminal trial" and that "It would grind government to a halt."

Several hours later in Denver, Colorado, Trump called Clinton — whom the FBI eventually exonerated — "the prime suspect in a far-reaching criminal investigation" which would make it "virtually impossible for her to govern."

CNN noted that "Trump, the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, will not be disqualified from the presidency even if convicted, and he told Politico in June that he won't leave the presidential race if he is convicted of the charges."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.