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Monday, December 09, 2019

Deposition Looms For Lachlan Murdoch In Dominion Defamation Lawsuit

Lachlan Murdoch, the executive chairman and CEO of Fox News‘ parent company, Fox Corporation, is set to be deposed next week in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. Dominion Voting Systems, which manufactures voting machines, claims the eldest Murdoch son and his father, Rupert Murdoch, bear responsibility for Fox News promoting pro-Trump false election fraud claims it says has caused its company harm.

The younger Murdoch is “scheduled to face questions from Dominion’s lawyers on Monday in Los Angeles, according to multiplereports, and will be the highest-ranking official at Fox to be deposed by Dominion,” The Hillreports.

Fox News propagandists Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have already faced Dominion’s attorneys.

After a federal judge in June ruled the case could move forward, Law & Crime explained, “Dominion’s lawsuit contends that Rupert and his son Lachlan Murdoch personally caused Fox News to broadcast false claims about their role in the 2020 election, even though the Murdochs knew former President Donald Trump’s election fraud narrative was false.”

Rupert Murdoch reportedly spoke with Donald Trump just days after the 2020 presidential election to tell him he had lost.

Judge Eric M. Davis ruled there is “a reasonable inference that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch either knew Dominion had not manipulated the election or at least recklessly disregarded the truth when they allegedly caused Fox News to propagate its claims about Dominion.”

“Dominion has successfully brought home actual malice to the individuals at Fox Corporation who it claims to be responsible for the broadcasts,” Judge Davis added, according to Law & Crime.

A federal judge has rejected Fox News’ First Amendment defense. The case is expected to reach a jury trial early next year.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Outrage Erupts As Kanye West Praises Hitler And Nazism On Infowars (VIDEO)

Disgraced rapper and antisemite Kanye West on Thursday praised Adolf Hitler while in an interview with far-right extremist and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Many have expressed outrage online.

“I see good things about Hitler,” West told Jones, as Consequence reports. “Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.”

In between those two remarks West launched into a plethora of lies about all the good things Hitler has done, including investing the microphone (false) and highways (also false.)

West doubled down, exclaiming, “I like Hitler,” and said, “the Jewish media has made us feel like Nazis and Hitler have never offered us anything of value to the world.”

West, who brought a white supremacist with him to dine with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago last week, today also claimed he loves everyone but injected antisemitic tropes about contracts and pornography.

“I think most Jews are great people,” Jones said, while claiming, “I agree there’s a Jewish mafia.”

West, who goes by “Ye,” astonishingly “took credit for popularizing antisemitism,” Consequence reports, “saying, ‘No one in high school knew what antisemitic meant until Ye made it popular.'”

That, too, is a lie.

The outrage online is palpable.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) tweeted, “JUST NOW: ‘I see good things about Hitler, also. The Jews… Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.’
— Kanye West on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ InfoWars show.”

“This is Nazism,” he added. “When are we going to say ENOUGH?”

Many pointed to a wildly offensive tweet posted by GOP Congressman Jim Jordan, who heads the House Judiciary Republicans. After nearly two months it was removed within minutes of West praising Hitler.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) blasted Jordan, saying: “for 2 months you were cool with Jew-bashing.”

Sam Stein of Politico and MSNBC took a wider view.

“We’re all gawking at Kanye saying he sees ‘good things about Hitler’ but i can’t escape the absolute dread that people who know no better and look up to this man and stumble upon this interview will be moved, even on the margins, by him,” he tweeted. “This is not a clown show. It’s dangerous.”

As did actor Josh Gad:

“It’s not what Kanye West says that scares me. It’s that he has 30 million followers who listen to his insanity on top of a cheerleader in the form of the current owner of this platform. No one who says “I love Hitler” should be allowed any oxygen on any social platform (period).”

Ye praises Hitler, Nazis in livestream

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Treasury Delivers Trump Tax Returns To Congressional Committee

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has finally handed over six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, after the U.S, Supreme Court denied the ex-president’s request to block the document transfer. The powerful House Ways and Means Committee is now in receipt of all six years, according to a Wednesday afternoon report from CNN.

The returns are primarily from Trump’s time as president.

The committee will need to work quickly, as Republicans will take over the House majority early next year, and the current chairman, Richard Neal, will no longer serve in that role.

Republicans are expected to end any investigations into Donald Trump, including his tax returns, as they begin investigations into top GOP priorities: Hunter Biden’s laptop, the origin of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Trump: 'I Knew Nothing' About Neo-Nazi He Hosted At Dinner With Kanye

Donald Trump and Kanye West had dinner at Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night and the disgraced artist who goes by “Ye” brought a guest, the white supremacist, antisemite and “America First” and “Big Lie” purveyor Nick Fuentes. Now the former president is claiming Fuentes was a guest of West, and he knows “nothing” about him.

“Trump’s direct engagement with a man labeled a ‘white supremacist’ by the Justice Department, one week after declaring his 2024 candidacy, is likely to draw renewed outrage over the former president’s embrace of extremists,” Axios’ Jonathan Swan and Zachary Basu report.

Axios notes that in a video West posted to his recently restored Twitter account, he says, “Trump was ‘really impressed’ with Fuentes because ‘unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist.'”

“Ye, who has lost major sponsorships over his anti-Semitism and recent far-right associations, has said he wants to run for president in 2024,” Axios adds. “The rapper claims Trump started ‘screaming’ at him at the dinner and told him he would lose — ‘most perturbed’ by Ye asking Trump to be his running mate.”

Swan says Trump issued a statement in response to his reporting, claiming he does not know Fuentes.

“Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago,” Trump’s statement says, an apparent attempt to minimize his dining with two racists and antisemites. “Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman observes that Trump’s “statement does nothing to denounce that background, including Holocaust denialism, or even acknowledge it.”

Trump first claiming West just wanted to see Mar-a-Lago, but immediately after calling it a “meeting” is notable, given that West has since suggested he is running for president.

Axios importantly adds that “Fuentes first gained notoriety after attending the white supremacist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville in 2017,” and, “Trump was heavily criticized at the time for his response to the racist violence.”

Journalist Jeff Sharlet is the executive producer of Netflix’s The Family, based on his books that exposed the secretive Christian right organization of the same name. The Family, also called The Fellowship, hosts the annual National Prayer Breakfast. Its members were involved in Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.

Sharlet warns this is an “inflection point.”

“Trump dinner with Ye, at this point, is a major story,” Sharlet tweeted. “But with Nick Fuentes? That’s an inflection point even for a former president already committed to fascism.”

Journalist and activist Elad Nehorai tweeted: “Never let a single right winger or Republican claim they care about Jews after this. Fuentes openly praises Hitler. He is a Holocaust denier. He is one of the US’s most dangerous white nationalists. Trump hosted him & not one Republican had said a word.”

Attorney and former Republican Ron Filipkowski, who tracks and reports on right wing extremism, says Trump’s statement “reminds me of the time when Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was in the WH in Dec 2020 and said he was just there to check out the Christmas decorations.”

Tarrio told ABC News last year he “got invited to the White House Christmas decorations tour through ‘Latinos For Trump.'”

Top national security attorney Brad Moss mocked Trump’s claim about the Mar-a-Lago dinner.

“Trump legal team: MAL is a totally secure place where we can be trusted to store classified records,” he tweeted. “Trump PR team: Security at MAL is so lax that a raving white supremacist can just crash Trump’s dinner party with Ye.”

Indeed, Haberman commented, “It’s not the central issue with meeting with Fuentes, but the fact that people can show up unvetted and meet with Trump at his club is part of what alarmed the DOJ about his retention of government records, including classified material, when he left office.”

She also posted a screenshot from her recent book, relevant to Trump’s embrace of the two racists and antisemites. She quotes him saying, “A lot of these people vote,” in relation to “Trump’s refusal to condemn David Duke’s support forcefully in early 2016.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in a 2021 report wrote, “Nicholas Fuentes is a white supremacist leader and organizer and podcaster who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP.”

Some of Fuentes’ antisemitism has been documented by ADL.

“Fuentes has made a number of racist and antisemitic comments under the guise of being provocative and ironic,” ADLs report states. “For example, he has referred to Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh as ‘shabbos goy race traitor’ because he works for Jews (Ben Shapiro, a Jewish conservative, runs the Daily Wire). On a livestream episode, Fuentes ‘jokingly’ denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven. On May 24, 2021, Fuentes participated in a debate on right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones’ InfoWars with Robert Barnes, a man described as a ‘constitutional lawyer’ who has legally defended both Jones and Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. During the debate, Fuentes made numerous antisemitic remarks, including, ‘I don’t see Jews as Europeans and I don’t see them as part of Western civilization, particularly because they are not Christians.'”

Fuentes is strongly pro-Trump, as West indicated.

“Fuentes promoted election fraud narratives and encouraged his adherents to participate in nationwide ‘Stop the Steal’ protests,” according to ADL.

'Denied': Supreme Court Rejects Trump Plea To Hide His Taxes

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon rejected a request from Donald Trump, asking that it block a lower court ruling ordering that six years of the former president’s tax returns be given to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Trump has been battling the committee over his tax returns for three years.

The order says Chief Justice John Roberts referred Trump’s request to the full Court. It does not say whether any justices agreed with Trump.

“The application for stay of the mandate presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is denied. The order heretofore entered by The Chief Justice is vacated,” the ruling reads.

But Democrats need to move quickly.

“The decision by the court in a brief order noting no dissenting votes means the committee can try to access the documents ahead of the Republican take-over of the House in January,” NBC News notes. “The committee, however, has not said how quickly it expects to get the documents. Upon taking control, Republicans are expected to withdraw the request.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

McConnell And Scott Locked In Nasty Leadership Struggle

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell andSen. Rick Scott are now engaged in a battle to lead the Republican caucus in the Senate as the Florida lawmaker directly challenges the Kentucky Republican who has held the job for the past 15 years.

“Sen. Rick Scott and GOP Leader Mitch McConnell engaged in a tense back-and-forth where they criticized each other as the two men addressed Senate Republicans in a tense three-hour meeting,” CNN’s Manu Raju reports, citing “multiple senators” including Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri.

“The open hostility between Rick Scott’s and McConnell’s teams is just off the charts,” The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake adds.

Sen. Rick Scott has been highly criticized this year, first for his 60-page far-right extremist agenda that would effectively end social security, Medicare, increase taxes on low income workers, requiring every federal law to be passed again every five years. Later, in his role as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Scott was also highly criticized. Many still question where millions of donations to the NRSC went as some GOP Senate candidates struggled.

Still, Scott officially announced his candidacy to become the next Senate GOP Leader, challenging McConnell.

“Senator Scott disagrees with the approach that Mitch has taken in this election and for the last couple of years, and he made that clear and Senator McConnell criticized Senator Scott’s management of the NRSC,” Sen. Hawley told CNN.

McConnell is confident he will be re-elected Senate Republican Leader.

“I think the outcome is pretty clear. I want to repeat again, I have the votes, I will be elected. The only issue is whether we do it sooner or later,” McConnell said.

CNN reports it appears McConnell does.

Politico on Monday reminded readers that before the election one week ago, Scott had said “that Republicans had ‘great candidates’ and that those candidates had a ‘great message’ and the ‘energy on our side is unbelievable.’ He also said that ‘we defined the Democrats early and it paid off,’ an apparent reference to the National Republican Senatorial Committee spending money early on television ads.”

“Scott’s decision to release his own ‘Rescue America’ plan also did not go over well with some of his colleagues, especially after President Joe Biden used it to hammer Republicans,” Politico added.

In an apparent attack on Scott’s pre-Election Day claims, McConnell told CNN’s Raju, “So we learned some lessons about this, and I think the lesson’s pretty clear – Senate races are different, candidate quality, you recall I said in August is important. In most of our states we met that test, in a few of them we did not.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Ginni Headlines Far-Right Crew Seeking To Delay GOP Leadership Races

Political experts are warning about a group of nearly 60 far-right wing politicos including Ginni Thomas, Matt Schlapp, and Cleta Mitchell who reportedly will issue a letter calling for the House and Senate to delay votes on leadership positions including Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader.

Axios’ Jonathan first reported the news, posting at least part of the letter and the list of signatories (below).

Some of the other more recognizable names on the letter include Mark Meadows, the former Trump White House chief of staff; Cleta Mitchell, the attorney who The New York Times calls the “architect of Donald J. Trump’s failed efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election”; former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis; former U.S. Senator and former Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint (R-SC); former Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie, the right wing activist and head of the organization responsible for the Citizens United Supreme Court lawsuit that made countless billions of dark money in political elections legal.

Also, white supremacist and disgraced former Rep. Steve King (R-IA); convicted felon and disgraced former Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), right-wing religious extremist Kenneth Blackwell of the Family Research Council, which is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups, and others.

“The Republican Party needs leaders who will confidently and skillfully present a persuasive coherent vision of who we are, what we stand for, and what we will do,” the letter reads. “Many current elections are still undecided. There should be no rushed leadership elections.”

“Conservative Members of the House and Senate have called for the leadership elections to be delayed,” it adds, not naming which ones. “We strongly urge both Houses of Congress to postpone the formal Leadership elections until after the December 6 runoff in Georgia and all election results are fully decided.”

Experts are weighing in and issuing warnings.

“Note at least 3 people on this letter–Mark Meadows, Jenna Ellis, and Cleta Mitchell–are almost certainly subjects of the Jan6 investigation,” observed civil rights and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler. “So this is partly a crime-protection racket, signed by Clarence Thomas’ spouse.”

HuffPost’s White House correspondent S.V. Dáte, who once in a press conference asked Donald Trump if he regretted “all the lying,” likened the list to “a coup-plotters reunion.”

Politico Senior legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney, who has done extensive reporting on the January 6 insurrection, commented, “some of these people are experts at seeking delays of elections.”

Investigative journalist and columnist Dave Troy, who has done extensive reporting on Vladimir Putin, noted: “All this makes me ask is what these clowns (Ginni Thomas, Cleta Mitchell, Mark Meadows et al) are planning between now and December 6, and how to stop whatever it is. Are they planning to poison someone? What is it this time?”

“Why aren’t these people in jail, anyway?” he also asked.

The American Independent’s senior political reporter Emily C. Singer simply called it a “who’s who of insurrection supporting Republicans.”

“So you’re telling me that Ginni Thomas, Mark Meadows, and Matt Schlapp want to interfere in ANOTHER election,” wrote Attorney Adam Cohen of Lawyers for Good Government. “Folks, even if the Democrats retain the House, we cannot rest. Because these people won’t.”

Read the letter below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

January 6 Committee Warns 'Hiding' Trump On 'Defiance' Of Its Subpoena

The House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack Monday evening issued a warning on Donald Trump‘s “defiance” of its subpoena, which he has ignored even after they granted him an extension. Trump was due to appear before the Committee to testify today.

“Former President Trump has failed to comply with the Select Committee’s subpoena requiring him to appear for a deposition today. Even though the former President initially suggested that he would testify before the committee, he has since filed a lawsuit asking the courts to protect him from giving testimony,” the Committee’s Chair and Vice Chair, Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, said in a statement.

Trump’s “attorneys have made no attempt to negotiate an appearance of any sort, and his lawsuit parades out many of the same arguments that courts have rejected repeatedly over the last year.”

“The truth is that Donald Trump, like several of his closest allies, is hiding from the Select Committee’s investigation and refusing to do what more than a thousand other witnesses have done,” they charge.

“Donald Trump orchestrated a scheme to overturn a presidential election and block the transfer of power,” the statement concludes. “He is obligated to provide answers to the American people. In the days ahead, the committee will evaluate next steps in the litigation and regarding the former President’s noncompliance.”

The statement comes just 24 hours before Donald Trump is expected to announce his third run for the White House.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Knives Are Out In Republican Caucus For Would-Be Speaker McCarthy

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has launched his bid to become Speaker of the House in a letter on his official government website, but his plans to take the gavel from Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been massively hampered after it quickly became clear that no “red wave” would appear Tuesday night, and it remains uncertain which party will have the majority in the House.

The first warning, of course, came after McCarthy’s prediction one year ago this week, as MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted today, that Republicans would flip more than 60 seats on Election Day did not happen — not even close. And in McCarthy’s usual style, he not only had bragged they would, he made it personal.

“If you’re a Democrat and President Biden won your seat by 16 points, you’re in a competitive race next year. You are no longer safe,” McCarthy told reporters last week, as The Hillhad reported.

“It’ll be more than 70 [Democratic seats] that will be competitive. There’s many that are going to lose their races based upon walking off a cliff from [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] pushing them,” McCarthy said nastily. “She may not care if she lose. She lost 63 the last time she was Speaker moving policy that the country didn’t care for.”

“Many believe she won’t stay around” in Congress, McCarthy added, telling House Democrats: “So she’s not going to be there to defend you.”

That turned out to be massively false. At best, if Republicans do take the House majority, MSNBC has been projecting about 225 GOP seats, so a majority of around seven or so.

The second sign was McCarthy’s disastrous “Take Back the House” party during which he apparently expected to announce he would run for Speaker.

It was conspicuously delayed. By hours.

This was the scene at midnight for his expected announcement, via CBS News’ Caitlin Huey-Burns.

1:50 AM:

2:00 AM:

And yet, despite the lengthy delay of several hours, McCarthy remained cocky and apparently unaware of how things work.

Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich at 1:47 AM tweeted, “GOP source tells me ‘if it wasn’t clear before it should be now. We have a Trump problem.'”

Remember, that’s from a Fox News reporter.

She continued, saying, if there’s a slim GOP majority, the “Knives are out for Kevin McCarthy.”

Late Tuesday night The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta noted, “Folks, if you’re wondering how Speaker Kevin McCarthy would handle a 6- or 7-seat majority, it’s worth considering there may never be a Speaker Kevin McCarthy at all.”

In other words, McCarthy does not appear to have a lock on the Speaker’s gavel, even if the Republicans take the majority.

Indeed, just past midnight, CBS News Chief Election and Campaign Correspondent Robert Costa reported: “Several House GOP sources tell CBS after midnight tonight that they are now increasingly worried that if GOP wins a narrow House majority, it’ll be utter chaos for McCarthy/leadership team. Rep. [Marjorie Taylor Greene] & her allies would have much more sway in a tight GOP House, the sources predict.”

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes summed up what some appeared to be thinking.

“One of the possibilities currently on the table is Speaker Kevin McCarthy presiding over, like, a 10-vote R majority in the house, which will be a *spectacular* s-show.”

To which former Biden White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki replied, “If he can get elected speaker with that narrow of a majority…”

A reporter for the far right Newsmax adds, “Despite the talk of Trump today, a lot of the blame in GOP circles is being allocated to Rep. Kevin McCarthy who insiders say may not have the votes to be Speaker in the likely event Republicans take House control.”

It’s not looking like an “easy ascension” to the Speakership for Leader McCarthy.

“House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy is moving swiftly to lock down the votes to claim the speaker’s gavel as a hard-right faction of his conference discusses whether to mount a long-shot challenge to complicate his bid and force concessions in the process, according to multiple GOP sources,” CNN reports Wednesday at 1:45 PM ET.

“McCarthy privately spoke to his closest advisers and confidantes in a Wednesday morning phone call just hours after his party appeared on track to take the House but fell short of their bullish expectations of a massive GOP landslide. The California Republican tapped a group of members to be on his whip team that will help him secure the 218 votes in order to win the speakership in January, with GOP lawmakers on the call promising to ‘work hard to get him elected,’ according to a source familiar with the matter.”

“But McCarthy’s easy ascension to the speakership will be determined in large part by the size of a potential GOP majority. If McCarthy maintains a narrow majority, then the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus could stand in the way of his leadership ambitions. CNN has not yet projected a Republican takeover of the chamber.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Democrats Shatter Midterm Forecasts With Victories Across Country

Control of the House and Senate have not yet been determined but many political experts are now saying that supposed “red wave” Republicans have been projecting does not look like it will happen.

The New York Times’ chief political analyst Nate Cohn at 9:51 PM ET election night, tweeted: “So far, Democrats are running about a point ahead of our expectations outside of Florida, with the GOP lead in the House starting to come down a bit.”

“Not many signs of a red wave at this point,” Cohn said.

Historically the President’s party almost always loses seats in the House. In the last midterm elections, 2018, Donald Trump lost 40 House seats.

“Bill Clinton lost 54 House seats in 1994, Barack Obama lost 63 in 2010, and both went on to win re-election,” Jen Psaki, former Biden White House Press Secretary tweeted earlier Tuesday.

Just before 11 PM on MSNBC Psaki observed, “This was supposed to be an election where it would be embarrassing for Joe Biden to wake up in the morning. And it’s not going to be.”

Indeed, it does not currently appear Democrats will lose anywhere close to the number of seats that Trump, Clinton, or Obama lost in their first (or only) terms. The New York Timespredicted that Republicans are likely to take the House, but control of the Senate is still a tossup.

At 10:45 PM ET on Tuesday night, MSNBC analyst Steve Kornacki said it was still “conceivable” Democrats could keep control of the House, although he stressed he was not making a prediction.

NBC News Senior Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake pointed to a Democratic House seat that should have been won by the GOP had there been a “red wave,” but was held, as Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) kept her seat. Her Virginia Democratic colleague Rep. Abigail Spanberger also won her bellwether race.

Gen Z now has its first U.S. Congressman. And out of Florida, a state that appeared to be turning rapidly red on election night 2022 as GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis romped to an overwhelming victory in his re-election race.

Florida Democrat Maxwell Alejandro Frost, 25-years-old, has beaten the GOP candidate to take the House seat being vacated by Rep. Val Demings, PBS reports. Demings lost her bid to unseat Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

PBS calls Frost “a 25-year-old gun reform and social justice activist,” and reports he is “a former March For Our Lives organizer seeking stricter gun control laws and has stressed opposition to restrictions on abortion rights. Generation Z generally refers to those born between the late 1990s to early 2010s. To become a member of Congress, candidates must be at least 25 years old.”

In Vermont, Rep. Peter Welch will become U.S. Senator Peter Welch, replacing the retiring Democratic Senator Pat Leahy, the Associated Press reported. Also in Vermont, that state elected Democrat Becca Balint to the House of Representatives, NPR reported. She will become the state’s first out lesbian member of Congress.

“Good news for Democrats in flipping two governor races in Maryland and Massachusetts,” Bloomberg News tweets. “Republican moderates had held those seats, though neither was running for re-election. Democrats, taking on new challengers, won easily.”

Massachusetts has elected Democrat Maura Healey governor, NBC News reports. Healy, the current Attorney General, becomes the first out lesbian governor ever elected in the U.S., Massachusetts’ first woman governor, and move the state from Republican to Democratic control.

.In Maryland, Democrat Wes Moore becomes the state’s first Black governor and only the third Black governor in U.S. history. Like Healy in Massachusetts, Moore takes the state out of Republican hands after that states' GOP governor retired. he beat a far-right MAGA Republican endorsed by Donald Trump, NPR reports.

And in another bellwether race, incumbent Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan was reportedly re-elected. Last night MSNBC and NBC News projected Hassan will keep her seat.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

DeSantis Accused Of 'Blasphemy' In Campaign Ad Stolen From Radio  Icon (VIDEO)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is pulling out all the stops, sending his wife in to submit his closing argument for re-election: God endorses me. DeSantis is running to keep his seat from former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, a Democrat.

It's a not uncommon endorsement Republicans are making – or rather, making up. God isn't going to issue a statement of denial or a cease and desist order. Anyone, even embattled GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker, can do it – and they are. Walker this week told Georgians, "I'm a warrior for God."

DeSantis' campaign is a bit more polished.

Many may not be old enough to remember Paul Harvey, but many Florida voters are.

The DeSantis campaign, via DeSantis' wife Casey, just released a two-minute black-and-white ad, ripping off a wonderful ode the late ABC News Radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, who died in 2009 at the age of 90, once recorded.

If you have two minutes it's worth listening to the beautiful, original recording by Harvey, "So God Made a Farmer."

DeSantis' ode to himself is less poetic, but it does enshrine his legacy as a Christian nationalist.

"On the eighth day, God looked down on his plant in paradise and said, 'I need to protect her.' So God made a fighter," the DeSantis ad begins, clearly taking from the Paul Harvey classic.

"God said, 'I need somebody willing to get up before dawn and kiss his family goodbye. travel thousands of miles for no other reason than to serve the people, to save their jobs, their livelihoods, their liberty, their happiness.' So God made a fighter."

"God said, 'I need someone to be strong advocate for truth in the midst of hysteria. Someone who challenges conventional wisdom and isn't afraid to defend what he knows to be right and just,' so God made a fighter."

"God said, 'I need somebody who will take the arrows, stand firm in the wake of unrelenting attacks, look a mother in the eyes and tell her that her child will be in school. She can keep her job, go to church, eat dinner with friends and hold the hand of an aging parents taking their breath for the last time.' So God made a fighter."

"God said, 'I need a family man. A man who would laugh and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his daughter says she wants to spend her life doing what dad does.' So God made a fighter."

In 2013 Ram Trucks used the Paul Harvey ode to farmers in an elegant Super Bowl ad, but at least they credited the author. DeSantis did not.

DeSantis is getting highly criticized for this last-ditch closing argument, just four days before the November 8 election.

"New DeSantis ad says DeSantis was created by God on the 8th day to protect freedom," observed Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall.

Economist and frequent political commentator David Rothschild slammed DeSantis by responding with a quote from Exodus.

""You shall have no other gods beside Me. You shall not make for yourself any graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is heaven above ... You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them, for I, the Lord Your God, am a jealous God ..."

Florida Attorney Daniel Uhlfelder, who closely tracked DeSantis' possibly unlawful shipping of migrants to Martha's Vineyard, was less eloquent but more specific in his response.

"God created this asshole on 8th day?" he asked.

"If Barack Obama had made an ad like this, evangelicals would have burnt down the country in a ragegasm," wrote Lee Papa, better known as The Rude Pundit.

VICE News' Paul Curst said, "I'm not an expert on Christian theology but I did go to Catholic school for a while and I don't remember reading 'God created the governor of Florida in order to save America from the libs' in the Old Testament."

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but is it not kinda heretical/blasphemous to suggest DeSantis is some kind of prophet sent specifically by God to save us?" asked MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan. "Is it also not weird that Republicans seem to need to create cults of personality around all their leaders? Idolatrous even?"

Rev. Ben Crosby, an Episcopal Church priest, asked: "Under the imaginary Christian nationalist republic that exists in the minds of some of these Twitter guys, would the creators and approvers of this ad be punished with jail time for blasphemy?"

Many others are labeling it "blasphemy."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Obsessed With Hitler For Years, Kanye West Praised Nazi Dictator's 'Power'

Kanye West had an “obsession” with Adolf Hitler, praised the genocidal fascist dictator responsible for 17 million deaths for all he was able to achieve and for the power he was able accumulate, and even wanted to name his 2018 album “Hitler,” according to a CNN report.

“He would praise Hitler by saying how incredible it was that he was able to accumulate so much power and would talk about all the great things he and the Nazi Party achieved for the German people,” a business executive who worked for West, now known officially as “Ye,” told CNN.

That executive also “told CNN that the artist created a hostile work environment, in part through his ‘obsession’ with Hitler.” He “reached a settlement with West and some of his companies over workplace complaints, including harassment, which CNN has reviewed.”

He also said “that West spoke openly about reading Mein Kampf, Hitler’s 1925 autobiographical manifesto, and expressed his ‘admiration’ for the Nazis and Hitler for their use of propaganda.”

CNN adds that Van Lathan Jr., a former TMZ employee, confirmed he has heard West make antisemitic remarks.

“’I already heard him say that stuff before at TMZ,’” Lathan said during an episode of the ‘Higher Learning’ podcast earlier this month,” CNN reported.

“I mean, I was taken aback because that type of antisemitic talk is disgusting. It’s like, I’m taken aback any time anyone does that, right? But as far as [West], I knew that that was in him because when he came to TMZ, he said that stuff and they took it out of the interview. … He said something like, ‘I love Hitler, I love Nazis.’ Something to that effect when he was there. And they took it out of the interview for whatever reason. It wasn’t my decision.”

West’s antisemitism, which can be traced back nearly a decade, has made top headlines in the past few weeks after VICE reported on leaked antisemitic and other remarks he made to Fox News that were not included in his interview with Tucker Carlson.

West ran for president as an independent in 2020 but reportedly had “regular” conversations with Jared Kushner.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Second Woman Says Walker 'Pressured' Her To Get Abortion (VIDEO)

Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker “pressured” his extramarital girlfriend of six years to have an abortion when she accidentally became pregnant, and when she left the clinic unable to go through with the procedure he drove her the next day, gave her cash, and waited outside for hours to ensure she got the abortion he wanted, according to attorney Gloria Allred.

“Herschel Walker says he is against women having abortions, but he pressured me to have one,” the woman, identified only as “Jane Doe,” says in audio Allred released.

Allred held a press conference Wednesday afternoon featuring the woman she says was the former NFL star’s girlfriend.

“I am coming forward now, because I saw Herschel deny the allegations by another woman who claimed that he had paid for her abortion, and particularly I saw him state that the woman’s claims were not true, because he never signed any cards using the letter ‘H’,'” says “Jane Doe” in the audio. “I knew that was not true because he had often signed letters to me using ‘H.'”

“Jane Doe” says she voted for Trump, is a registered independent, and is urging voters to not elect Herschel Walker.

“I am a registered independent and I voted for Donald Trump in both elections. I do not believe that Herschel is morally fit to be a U.S. senator,” she says. “And that is the reason why I am speaking up and providing proof.”

“In April of 1993, our client learned that she was pregnant,” Allred told reporters. “She was surprised. She had been on birth control throughout their entire relationship. When she told Mr. Walker that she was pregnant, he seemed shocked. She didn’t know what to do. Mr. Walker clearly wanted her to have an abortion and convinced her to do so. Our client alleges that Mr. Walker gave her cash to pay for the abortion and that she went to a clinic in Dallas, Texas. However, while she was at the clinic, she became overwhelmed with emotion. She could not go through with it, and she left the clinic in tears when Mr. Walker called that pressured her to go back to the clinic with him the next day to go through with the abortion. The following day, Mr. Walker drove her to the clinic and waited in the parking lot for hours until the abortion was completed,” Allred says.

“At the time,” of Walker’s girlfriend’s abortion, “Herschel Walker was married and having an ongoing affair with the woman,” says former federal prosecutor Ron Filipowski, who tracks the far right.

Allred also held up what she said was a photo of Herschel Walker in her client’s Minnesota hotel room, “on the bed.”

In that press conference she also played audio of a voicemail she alleges is from Herschel Walker, who is now the Republican Senate nominee from Georgia, running against Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

'Denied':  Lindsay Graham Loses Appeal To Avoid Georgia Grand Jury Appearance

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has lost in federal appeals court and will have to give a deposition under oath in District Attorney Fani Willis’ special grand jury investigation into Donald Trump’s and his allies’ alleged election interference.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals late Thursday afternoon rejected Graham’s emergency motion to delay his testimony before the Fulton County, Georgia panel, for which he has been subpoenaed, CNBC reports.Two of the three judges were appointed by Donald Trump.

“Senator Graham has failed to demonstrate that he is likely to succeed on the merits of his appeal,” the Court ruled, citing Supreme Court ruling, which may signal to Graham he should not try to appeal.

Graham was in Georgia just two days ago.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Federal Judge Finds Trump Knowingly Signed False 'Election Fraud' Documents

A federal district court judge says Donald Trump, the former president, signed court documents that he knew contained false information on voter fraud. The judge says emails former Trump attorney John Eastman is refusing to hand over to the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack “are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Under certain circumstances it can be a federal crime to make false statements to the federal government.

In his 18-page opinion on Wednesday Judge David O. Carter, ordered the “coup memo” author, disgraced former law professor John Eastman, to hand over emails to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

Politico reports Judge Carter wrote that the emails “show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public.”

Eastman, citing attorney-client privilege, has refused to hand over the emails. But on Wednesday Judge Carter pointed to the crime-fraud exception which, according to the ACLU states the can be no privilege “if you are using the attorney-client relationship to perpetrate a crime.”

According to Politico, in one of the emails Eastman admitted Trump had already signed a statement that contained false information, and warned Trump’s other attorneys it “would not be accurate” for him to do so again, as “he has since been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate.”

“However,” Politico adds, “Trump and his lawyers opted to file the federal complaint using the same numbers that Eastman conceded were inaccurate.”

Judge Carter said that Trump “signed a verification swearing under oath that the incorporated, inaccurate numbers ‘are true and correct’ or ‘believed to be true and correct’ to the best of his knowledge and belief.”

Journalist Marcy Wheeler posted a screenshot from Judge Carter’s ruling.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Margie Greene Says 'Evil' Rev. Warnock Isn't Really A Christian (VIDEO)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) expanded her white Christian nationalist attacks on Monday, barely one week after again promoting the racist “Great Replacement” theory at a Trump rally.

Speaking with Charlie Kirk, a far right wing radio host, founder of Turning Point USA, and member of the highly-secretive Christian organization Council for National Policy, Greene repeatedly attacked Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church in Atlanta.

Greene has publicly embraced the “Christian nationalist” label for herself and has repeatedly made racist, antisemitic, and anti-LGBTQ remarks while also promoting Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election, COVID and vaccine misinformation, and Vladimir Putin’s falsehoods.

Less than two weeks ago Greene posted to Twitter that President Joe Biden “is Hitler.” Democrats are seeking to censure her for those remarks.

“I truly feel that Herschel’s going to win” the U.S. Senate race in Georgia against Sen. Raphael Warnock, Greene told Kirk.

She said Rev. Warnock “calls himself a Christian, calls himself a pastor, but preaches abortion from the pulpit.”

We could find no evidence that Rev. Warnock “preaches abortion from the pulpit,” but being a pro-choice Christian is actually the norm in America.

Kirk interjected into Greene’s rant, “it’s so sick.”

“It’s such an abomination,” Greene continued, to which Kirk agreed.

“It’s completely wrong and evil,” she concluded.

Americans United, which calls itself “the only organization dedicated solely to defending the separation of church and state,” last year called the Council For National Policy the “scariest Christian nationalist group you’ve never heard of,” and “probably the most dangerous group you’ve never heard of.”

“Formed in 1981, in part by Religious Right activist and author Tim LaHaye, the CNP is an umbrella organization of religious and secular far-right groups whose leaders meet regularly to plot strategy and share information. They’ve been quietly pulling the strings of ultra-conservative politics for four decades.”

Watch Greene below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Unanimous Jury Orders Alex Jones To Cough Up $965 Million

Conspiracy theorist, falsehoods promoter for profit, and Infowars founder Alex Jones will have to pay families of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting at least $965 million in damages after a jury returned a unanimous verdict in a consolidated case. Jones for years had falsely claimed the 20 young children and six adults slaughtered while in their elementary school were “crisis actors.”

The Associated Press reported the total damages, which include amounts for emotional distress and slander. He will also have to pay attorneys fees, which will be awarded by the judge later.

Attorney Paul Butler said on MSNBC the punitive damages are about sending a message about the depravity here, and try to measure in dollars the depravity in such that anybody else who’s thinking about spreading lies like this can’t hide behind the First Amendment.”

MSNBC also reports Jones has gone back to denying the fact that Sandy Hook was a mass shooting, reporting he has recently said it is “synthetic as hell.”

CNN reports the “decision marks the culmination of a years-long process that began in 2018 when the families took legal action against Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, the parent of the fringe media organization Infowars.”

“Jones baselessly said again and again after the 2012 mass shooting, in which 26 people were killed, that the incident was staged, and that the families and first responders were ‘crisis actors.’ The plaintiffs throughout the trial described in poignant terms how the lies had prompted unrelenting harassment against them and compounded the emotional agony of losing their loved ones.”

Jones has reportedly made millions off his false claims.

Earlier at trial Jones told the court he was “done” apologizing, and claimed that he believed the false “crisis actor” claims he had made.

Jones was not in the courtroom as the damages were being read, but NBC’s Ben Collins reports on his radio show he said, “This must be what Hell’s like, they just read out the damages. Even though you don’t got the money.”

Jones also vowed, said, according to Collins, “We’re not going away, we’re not going to stop.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.