Patients From Other States Straining Pennsylvania Abortion Clinics

Patients From Other States Straining Pennsylvania Abortion Clinics

There are only 18 freestanding abortion care providers serving Pennsylvania, down from 145 before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022. Pennsylvania Department of Health reports that in 2021, 33,206 patients obtained abortion care in the state.

Abortion rights advocates and lawmakers in Pennsylvania are working hard to remove the existing barriers to care as more patients from abortion-restrictive states travel to the state seeking care.

“Throughout this fiscal year, there’s an estimated 74 percent increase in abortion patient volume, and that’s because as states continue to ban abortion, folks are looking for health care elsewhere, and they’re turning to states like Pennsylvania,” Signe Espinoza, executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, tells the American Independent Foundation.

Although abortion care is legal in Pennsylvania through the 23rd week of pregnancy, the state’s Abortion Control Act requires a patient to have state-mandated counseling that Planned Parenthood says “includes information designed to discourage [a person] from having an abortion,” and to submit to a 24-hour waiting period before having the procedure. Parental consent is required for a minor to obtain abortion care.

“I think a lot of folks would refer to Pennsylvania as some kind of safe haven state where abortion was not as restricted. But that’s actually not the case,” Espinoza says. “There are a lot of restrictions on abortion care in Pennsylvania.”

Such restrictions include limits on insurance coverage of the costs of abortion care. Pregnant patients who have Medicaid and plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act can only have their abortion care covered if their life is in danger, or in the case of rape or incest.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Hyde Amendment banned the use of federal funds for abortion care when Congress passed the fiscal 1977 Medicaid appropriation. The Amendment only allows for abortion care in cases where the pregnant person’s life is in danger.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, several states began restricting abortion care for those with private coverage obtained through the ACA, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Other states have elected to use their own Medicaid funding to cover the cost of abortion care for residents.

In April, Pennsylvania state Rep. Leanne Krueger introduced H.B. 1140, a bill that would amend the Insurance Company Law of 1921, which allows “employers to be exempt from Affordable Care Act mandates to provide birth control to employees if they object due to religious or moral values,” a summary of the bill reads.

“We’ve been in constant defense when it comes to abortion in Pennsylvania. And at the same time, when we’re talking about abortion gaps, there’s also other sexual reproductive health care gaps. We’re living in a Pennsylvania where there are contraceptive deserts, where a lot of women are living in areas where there’s no provider with a full range of methods for birth control,” Espinoza says.

Espinoza adds that lawmakers in the state are also working on a bill to increase access to abortion care by allowing more clinicians to provide it. Under current Pennsylvania law, only licensed physicians can prescribe or perform abortion care.

“This isn’t the case for many other states. This isn’t the case for our neighboring state, New Jersey. We know midwives and nurse practitioners that are duly certified, and they can’t provide abortions in Pennsylvania, but when they cross the bridge to go to New Jersey, they’re able to do that,” Espinoza says. “There’s no other reason why this doctor-only provision exists other than because abortion is stigmatized. It’s outdated, unnecessary.”

In July, Democratic state Sens. Amanda M. Cappelletti and Judith L. Schwank announced they would be introducing a package of bills intended to “protect individuals seeking and providing reproductive health services in the Commonwealth.”

“These measures will ensure that everybody within our borders is protected in their right to access an abortion and the doctors and nurses who provide it are freely able to provide health care,” Cappelletti and Schwank said in an official memorandum.

According to a Franklin & Marshall College poll taken in July 2023, 52 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania said abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, and 37 percent felt it should be legal under any circumstance.

“Ultimately, this is everybody’s fight,” Espinoza said. “This is a fight about having the control over your own body, and I think everybody should be on board with that.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Janet Protasiewicz

New Liberal Majority On Wisconsin's Top Court May Mean Big Changes

Judge Janet Protasiewicz was sworn in on Tuesday afternoon as the ninth justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, cementing a five–member liberal majority that could hear major cases on issues such as abortion and gerrymandering, potentially reshaping the legal landscape of the state.

Protasiewicz took the oath of office at the state Capitol rotunda in Madison, Wisconsin. The liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley administered the oath in front of hundreds of observers.

“We all want a Wisconsin where our freedoms are protected; we all want a Wisconsin with a fair and impartial Supreme Court; we all want to live in communities that are safe, and we all want a Wisconsin where everyone is afforded equal justice under the law,” Protasiewicz said. “That’s why I don’t take this responsibility lightly.”

Protasiewicz’s swearing-in marks the end of 15 years of conservative control of the court.

The new majority on the court is predicted to strike down the state’s abortion ban, which was passed in the mid-19th century but was rendered unenforceable for decades by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, and throw out the state’s legislative maps. Critically, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin’s liberal majority will be a bulwark against Republican attempts to limit voting access.

In an election held in April, Protasiewicz, formerly a prosecutor and a Milwaukee County judge, defeated conservative former Justice Daniel Kelly by an 11-point landslide. Protasiewicz’s campaign for the open seat centered on abortion — it said in one of her first campaign ads that she supported “a woman’s freedom to make her own decision on abortion” — and the state’s legislative maps, which she called rigged.

Interest groups and donors were aware of the stakes. During the election, powerful pro- and anti-abortion rights groups broke along ideological lines to support Protasiewicz and Kelly, while labor unions and business groups, political parties, and wealthy in-state and out-of-state donors spent heavily to back their favored candidate. The race between Kelly and Protasiewicz was by far the most expensive state supreme court election in modern history, costing at least $56 million. Even that figure, according to WisPolitics, is likely an undercount.

Voter turnout also broke records. Nearly 2 million Wisconsin residents voted in the election. In the last race for Supreme Court, in 2020, 1.5 million Wisconsinites cast a ballot.

“The election of Janet Protasiewicz changed the balance of power, breaking what has for years been an extreme conservative stranglehold on Wisconsin’s State Supreme Court,” state Rep. Lisa Subeck, a Democrat, said in an email sent to the American Independent Foundation. “This opens the door to a new era of fairness on the court, and this gives us great hope on a number of issues.”

“With a case challenging Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban already filed and expected to make its way to Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, flipping the conservative majority on the court was vital to ensuring our case is given fair consideration,” she added. “Protasiewicz’s presence on the court means abortion could again be available in Wisconsin in the not-so-distant future.”

On June 28, 2022, days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats, filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s abortion ban in the Dane County Circuit Court. In July of this year, Dane County Circuit Judge Diane Schlipper rejected arguments from state Republicans that the case should be thrown out and allowed the lawsuit to continue.

Also in play are Wisconsin’s legislative maps, which determine how voters are grouped into districts. By strategically creating electoral districts, Republican map drawers have divided voters so as to give the GOP an advantage in the state’s elections for the General Assembly and Senate, a strategy called gerrymandering. Under the current maps, Democrats would have to win by landslide margins to have a chance of securing even a narrow majority in the Assembly.

Right now, despite Democrats having won the last statewide election, Republicans in Wisconsin are two Assembly seats from a supermajority in the Legislature that would allow them to impeach elected state officials and override the governor’s veto.

“If the court were to rule our legislative maps — considered by experts to be the most politically gerrymandered in the nation — unconstitutional, voters could finally have their say in choosing their representatives,” Subeck said. “This comes after more than a decade of unfair maps drawn to ensure a large Republican majority and a decade later redrawn to expand and bake in that majority for another ten years, even as the voters of the state elect Democrats in nearly every statewide election.”

A challenge is already in the works. Subeck noted that Law Forward, a progressive nonprofit law firm, has announced that it plans to file a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s legislative maps later this year.

Law Forward declined to comment for this story.

“I think there’s general agreement that the legal action that will be filed will result in a reopening of the redistricting that occurred … in 2021, and a revisiting of the maps,” Jay Heck, the director of the nonpartisan good government group Common Cause Wisconsin, told the American Independent Foundation in an interview.

Originally, during the 2021 redistricting cycle, the conservative majority on the state Supreme Court selected maps drawn by Evers. However, after Republicans in the Legislature filed an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court, the six-justice conservative majority overturned the state court’s decision. Conservatives on the state Supreme Court then adopted gerrymandered maps that gave Republicans a significant advantage.

Heck said that in their dissent, the three progressive justices “said that those maps were too partisan, that they disenfranchised lots of voters who don’t really have the opportunity to be able to have their votes count as much as someone voting for a Republican because of the way some districts were drawn. And so I would assume that that would be the basis of the lawsuit.”

If the maps are ruled unconstitutional the court could take a variety of steps to replace them, as redistricting fights in other states show. For example, in 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out Republican-drawn congressional maps on the grounds that they were gerrymandered and asked the state to provide new, less partisan maps, but then-Gov. Tom Wolf and the state Legislature couldn’t come to an agreement. The court ultimately imposed maps of its own.

Heck said he doesn’t think that the court would draw its own maps, but that it would instead solicit maps from elected officials and make a selection from among them, as the conservative majority on the court did in 2021.

“Evers did a very good job of submitting maps that were less partisan and less Republican-leaning than the maps that the Republican Legislature gave to the Supreme Court, which they accepted and ultimately chose 4-3,” he said. “I think that would be the leading candidate as an alternative.

“Now they might decide to select other maps that are there,” Heck added. “Here’s the thing: Maps can be drawn relatively quickly by lots of different entities. And they may say, Well, we will, in the next month, look at some other maps. And so you can imagine the scrambling that I’m sure is already happening to do that.”

In the 2021 round of redistricting, Common Cause Wisconsin supported the maps drawn by Evers’ office. Heck said that, barring unforeseen circumstances, the group would do the same if the Republican maps were thrown out.

Looking ahead to 2024, Heck said, “I think the state Supreme Court majority will be more kindly towards voting, as opposed to the conservative majority that was less friendly.”

Heck pointed to two decisions handed down by the court’s conservatives: one last year to end the use of ballot drop-boxes and another barring election clerks from adding minor details, such as an omitted zip code, on ballots that would otherwise not be counted. Heck called the rulings “death by a thousand cuts to voting in Wisconsin.”

“Under 30,000 separat[ed] the winner and the loser in four of the six elections for president in Wisconsin since 2000, and that’s out of 3.5, 3.6 million votes cast. So it’s infinitesimal, the separation. So every vote literally does matter here,” Heck said.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

New Report Finds Sharp Increase In Violence Against Abortion Providers

New Report Finds Sharp Increase In Violence Against Abortion Providers

In the nine months since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, a new report shows violence directed at abortion clinics has increased, and most incidents have occurred in states where abortion rights remain protected.

According to the “2022 Violence & Disruption Statistics Report” published on May 11 by the National Abortion Federation, a professional association of abortion providers, there’s been a sharp rise in the numbers of “arsons, burglaries, death threats, and invasions” targeting abortion clinics. The report says that anti-abortion centers have been “ramping up efforts to deceive and obstruct patients seeking abortion care.”

“The data is proof of what we have known to be true: anti-abortion extremists have been emboldened by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the cascade of abortion bans that followed,” Melissa Fowler, chief program officer at the federation, said in a statement. “As clinics closed in states with bans, extremists have simply shifted their focus to the states where abortion remains legal and protected, where our members have reported major increases in assaults, stalking, and burglaries.”

The report found a 229 percent increase in stalking incidents in 2022, including stalking of both patients and abortion staff. Providers and patients reported being followed into and out of clinics.

The rate of burglaries rose 231 percent in 2022, and an Ohio clinic reported receiving “an envelope with a threatening note, white powder, and the word ‘Anthrax.'” The envelope did not contain anthrax, but the incident harkened back to one in October 1998 and another in 2011 in which facilities received similar envelopes, according to the report.

Death threats at abortion clinics increased by 20 percent in 2022, the report found, with extremists using hate speech via text messages, phone calls, and social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Telegram to post rhetoric that included “Me and the boys about to bomb a planned parenthood,” “This is 2022. Its[sic] time to take all the abortionists and burn them at the stake. They are witches,” and “Death to abortionists.”

The report refers to the case of a planned abortion clinic in Casper, Wyoming, that was set on fire in May 2022. Lorna Roxanne Green, 22, was arrested in the case in April of this year, Ms. Magazinereported, and admitted committing the arson. The Associated Press reported in April that despite extensive fire damage, the Wellspring Health Access clinic was able to open.

“In addition to an increase in major incidents, extremists are becoming more organized; for example, we’re seeing them target clinics on days when they know they will have more patients, are shorter staffed, or have less security,” Michelle Davidson, the National Abortion Federation’s director of security, said in the organization’s statement accompanying the release of its report.

The report also points to a rise in the use of what it calls “confusion and chaos” by anti-abortion centers, also known as “crisis pregnancy centers” or “pregnancy resource centers.”

These so-called clinics present themselves as legitimate reproductive health care facilities, offering ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, and testing for sexually transmitted infections. But in actuality, the facilities discourage people from obtaining contraception or abortion care.

“Despite experiencing one of the most devastating years in reproductive access, abortion providers persevere. Our members have remained steadfast in their duty to provide care by accommodating an increase in out-of-state patients, tracking local legislation, and traveling to different states to provide care—all while dealing with daily threats of violence,” Fowler said.

The National Abortion Federation says it is providing around-the-clock security support and safety training to its members.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Gavin Newsom

Democratic Governors Plan To Stockpile Abortion Medications

Following the unprecedented decision by a federal judge in Texas to stay the Food and Drug Administration's approval two decades ago of the abortion medication mifepristone, officials in Democratic-led states are now stockpiling both that medicine and a second one used in abortions, misoprostol, to ensure that they remain accessible to patients.

So far, Democratic officials in Washington, California, New York, and Massachusetts have announced measures to purchase and store large quantities of the drugs in their states.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday that the state would purchase 150,000 mifepristone pills.

During a Planned Parenthood conference, Hochul said: "I'm proud to announce that New York State will create a stockpile of misoprostol, another form of medication abortion. … Extremists, judges have made it clear that they won't stop at any one particular drug or service. So it's going to ensure that New Yorkers will continue to have access to medication abortion no matter what."

Connecticut has not yet begun storing mifepristone, but that state's Attorney General William Tong says his office has been proactively notifying pharmacies to confirm that the drug remains legal in the state and to offer support should a Republican attorney general in another state try to convince them otherwise.

On Monday Tong said: "(I'm) obviously deeply disappointed that my colleagues have taken that action. … We're pushing back on that. We're in communication with all the big pharmacy chains, advising them of their rights and obligations here in Connecticut."

According to Bloomberg, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey announced her state would reserve 15,000 doses of mifepristone. She also issued an executive order both to safeguard the availability of the medication and to protect physicians who perform abortion procedures in her state, the Guardian reports.

In early April, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced his state would invest in a three-year supply of mifepristone. In a statement, Inslee said that his office had "directed the state Department of Corrections, using its existing pharmacy license, to purchase the medication last month. The full shipment was delivered on March 31."

Inslee tweeted on Monday: "After we announced our actions last week to protect access to mifepristone, it's heartening to see other states doing the same. To be clear: no matter the outcome of the TX case, WA's laws ensure we will be able to sell and distribute this medication."

Mifepristone and misoprostol are used in a two-drug procedure to terminate a pregnancy through 10 weeks' gestation. The drugs are used in over half the abortions carried out in the U.S.

Misoprostol can be used on its own and is effective for abortions, but the two-drug combo has fewer side effects, and both drugs are commonly used in treating cases of miscarriage.

On Friday, after the ruling by Texas U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ordering a stay of the FDA's 23-year-old approval of mifepristone, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state has already collected 250,000 doses of misoprostol, with nearly two million more pills coming.

"In response to this extremist ban on a medication abortion drug, our state has secured a stockpile of an alternative medication abortion drug to ensure that Californians continue to have access to safe reproductive health treatments," Newsom said in a statement Monday. "We will not cave to extremists who are trying to outlaw these critical abortion services. Medication abortion remains legal in California."

The office of Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro has launched a new website offering facts and information on abortion care.

In a statement following Kacsmaryk's ruling, Shapiro said, "Your rights and freedoms here in Pennsylvania have not changed — you can get a safe, legal medication abortion using mifepristone in our Commonwealth." He added, "As your Governor, I believe decisions on reproductive care are to be made between women and their doctors, not extremist politicians or radical court rulings."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Gretchen Whitmer

Whitmer Signs Bill Erasing Michigan's Century-Old Abortion Ban

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill on Wednesday repealing a Michigan law that's been on the books since 1931 that had made it a felony to help a pregnant person get an abortion, with a penalty of up to four years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.

"I'm excited today to be signing a bill that will repeal our extreme 1931 law that bans abortion and criminalizes nurses and doctors for just doing their jobs," Whitmer said Wednesday." This is a long overdue step. No one is gonna restrict our reproductive rights and freedom in this state. No one."

Up until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, the state's 1931 law had been unenforced. Then last year, after the court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, it was blocked by a restraining order issued by Oakland County Judge Jacob Cunningham after a ballot proposal was introduced by a citizens group to add an amendment to codify abortion in the state's Constitution. According to NPR, 753,759 signatures were collected in favor of adding the amendment to the ballot.

The midterm elections in November 2022 saw a record turnout of voters who passed the measure, successfully amending the Michigan Constitution and effectively nullifying the 1931 law and enshrining abortion rights.

"To all the women and girls and our allies in states that don't value you or your rights, maybe you should come to Michigan," Whitmer said.

H.B. 4006, the bill repealing the abortion ban, passed in the Michigan House on March 2, then in the Senate a week later. It repealed both Section 750.14 of the Michigan Penal Code, the felony portion of the bill, as well as Section 750.15, which criminalizes selling or distributing abortion drugs.

Democratic state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, who introduced the bill in mid-January, said: "We cannot allow archaic laws to remain on our books under the assumption that they'll never be used again. … We don't know what the future will hold and we don't know what plans abortion opponents have."

Participants in the abortion justice movement called Whitmer's signing of the bill on Wednesday a triumph.

Laphonza Butler, the president of EMILYs List, a Democratic-leaning political action committee dedicated to electing pro-abortion rights women to office, said, "Who would have thought two years ago, three years ago, five years ago, that we would be as Democrats looking to Michigan, Kansas, Wisconsin, Montana, and Kentucky to be on the frontline of protecting reproductive freedom for women across this country."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

New York City Advertising Abortion Access On Billboards In Southern Cities

New York City Advertising Abortion Access On Billboards In Southern Cities

If you happened to be driving around the Atlanta, Georgia, area recently, you may have caught a glimpse of a huge, looming billboard stating, "Abortion. Safe + Legal for All in New York City." That billboard is just one of the 36 that began appearing in January in cities such as Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia, as well as in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, the Augusta Chronicle reports.

The signs are a campaign of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Abortion Access Hub, a confidential phone line connecting callers to abortion providers in the city's five boroughs. Its effort, which was rolled out in November, has allotted about $500,000 in total for the out-of-state signs in addition to online ads via Facebook, Google, and Snapchat, according to the Chronicle.

The health department paid outdoor advertising company Lamar $138,370 for the billboards and contracted OpAD Media Solutions in August for nearly $240,000 to provide what the city's OpenData website describes as "strategic media planning, buying, and placement" in digital, print, video, and social media and more.

In an email to the American Independent Foundation, a spokesperson from the health department said: "In New York City, access to abortion care is legal, protected, and a critical component of public health. … We want anyone who might be in need of reproductive healthcare to know that we're here to provide it."

Two pro-choice activists who spoke with the American Independent Foundation have mixed reactions about the billboards.

"It definitely does underline or underscore, again, the immense access problem that we have with abortion in this country that we've always had, but that clearly has been made exponentially worse by the Dobbs decision," Angela Vasquez-Giroux, vice president of communications and research at NARAL Pro-Choice America, said.

She added that this is an "all-hands-on-deck, new reality" and that the billboards "highlight a desperate need"; but, she said, "There's also a ton of people, the Atlanta mayor included, who are working really hard on the ground in Georgia to get pro-choice champions elected to do whatever they can to turn around those bad laws."

Roula AbiSamra, the state campaign director of Amplify Georgia, a nonprofit made up of seven reproductive health and justice organizations in the state, explained, "The same people most impacted by barriers to health care generally, and abortion access specifically, are the same people who can't easily hop on a flight to New York."

AbiSamra views the billboards as a "Band-Aid that we're putting on a huge problem, which is that people don't have access in their communities."

According to the Chronicle, the ads were placed by the health department specifically in Georgia, Florida, and Texas because abortion is severely restricted in those states.

In November, the Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the state's six-week abortion ban after a brief one-week block. Six weeks is a time before most people know they’re pregnant. Florida law bans abortion after 15 weeks' gestation, and patients are required to make at least two appointments — including one for in-person counseling — before terminating a pregnancy, the Guttmacher Institute reports.

Texas has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, with policies that include restrictions on medications necessary for an abortion, bans on the use of telehealth appointments in abortion care, and prohibitions against the use of Medicaid and private health insurance for abortion care except in extremely limited circumstances.

The budget of New York City includes $1 million for abortion care and “supports anyone who is unable to fully pay for an abortion and is living in or traveling to New York,” the New York City Council announced last September.

Amplify and its collaborators work to make sure that Georgia residents have access to funds to cover expenses associated with abortions, including travel, for those who need it. But AbiSamra says for many residents, traveling out of town for their reproductive health needs just isn't feasible.

"Who does medical tourism really work for? Even with abortion funds, the difficulties to leave your state and go somewhere else to get care are not solved simply by knowing that you can do it," she said.

To date, no state in the nation has passed a law outlawing people from traveling out of state for an abortion, but as Politico reported last year, Missouri lawmakers are trying.

Missouri Republican state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman added an amendment to a bill in March 2022 that was intended, Coleman said, to prevent a Planned Parenthood clinic in Illinois from offering abortion services to patients traveling from her home state.

The Washington Post reported that the measure would have allowed private citizens to sue anyone involved in a Missourian receiving abortion care, both inside the state and outside it, from the hotline staffer scheduling a visit to the clinic to doctors performing the procedure to anyone who transports abortion medication into the state.

To date, it remains legal for Missourians to leave the state for abortion services.

In an email to the American Independent Foundation, Drexel University law professor David Cohen referred to "The New Abortion Battleground," an article he co-authored, published in January by the Columbia Law Review, that discusses the legalities of patients traveling out of state to receive abortion services. Cohen and his co-authors write: "After Roe, state prosecutors and legislators will likely try to impose civil or criminal liability on their citizens who travel out of state to obtain an abortion, those who help them, and the providers who care for them. … Though targeting cross-border abortion provision has been almost nonexistent until this point, antiabortion states are likely to attempt it in the post-Roe future."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Dana Nessel

Heavily Armed Michigan Man Arrested After Death Threats To Jewish Officials

Antisemitic violence has been on the rise in the U.S. since 2021. The latest incident comes out of Michigan, where a man allegedly tweeted a threat to kill Jewish members of the state government. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel claims to be one of his targets.

According to reporting by CNN, on February 17, the FBI National Threat Operations Center notified the Detroit FBI office about a Twitter user with the handle @tempered_reason, who tweeted that he was “heading back to Michigan now threatening to carry out the punishment of death to anyone that is Jewish in the Michigan govt if they don’t leave, or confess.” The user added that any attempts to “subdue” him would “be met with deadly force in self-defense.”

The man, identified as Jack Eugene Carpenter III, has an arrest record and a protection order against him. He had three 9mm handguns registered to his name, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, CNN reports. One of the guns was “stolen” from a past partner.

Nessel tweeted Thursday morning that she was one of Carpenter’s targets.

“The FBI has confirmed I was a target of the heavily armed defendant in this matter. It is my sincere hope that the federal authorities take this offense just as seriously as my Hate Crimes & Domestic Terrorism Unit takes plots to murder elected officials.”

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Carpenter was a former employee of the University of Michigan. He claimed on Twitter that he “was fired for refusing to take experimental medication.” It is assumed he’s referring to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Carpenter’s Twitter feed was rife with conspiratorial rants.

He claimed that if he were arrested, he would “get the lawyer removed due to conflict of interest because they are Jewish.” He mentions by name Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Anthony Fauci, Chris Cuomo, and multiple University of Michigan personnel. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the only Jewish figure he mentions is Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Carpenter additionally claimed President Joe Biden was not democratically elected and that he would give “a brief reprieve to any Zionist Christian or Zionist Jew” who wanted “to return to the country to which you actually owe allegiance.”

Michigan has become a home base for violent and extremist groups of late, including the group put on trial for attempting to kidnap Gov. Whitmer, a Democrat. The head of that group was sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Florida is currently a bastion of antisemitism.

Just last week, a group of neo-Nazis from the Goyim Defense League (GDL) gathered outside of the Chabad of South Orlando and, for hours, harassed members of the Chabad as they drove onto the property, WESH in Orlando reports.

"Leave our country, go back to Israel. You know, where you bomb Palestinian kids?" a GDL protester can be heard screaming in a video widely posted to social media. The Jerusalem Post reports that the person screaming was GDL founder Jon Minadeo.

"It was very disturbing. People were traumatized by it," Rabbi Yosef Konikov said. "They were speaking to every individual that was entering and exiting the property. And saying things that you would expect. You know how Nazis in World War II spoke when they were talking to Jews in that era. That spoke with hatred and venom in their eyes."

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Elon Musk

Musk Says Media 'Is Racist Against Whites,' Defends Anti-Black 'Dilbert' Cartoonist

When Dilbert comic strip creator Scott Adams went on a racist rant last week about Black people being a “hate group” and urging white people to “get the fuck away” from them, it wasn’t a huge surprise. Just like it wasn’t a huge surprise that Twitter CEO Elon Musk would defend Adams and pivot away from the artist’s outrageous comments to a conversation about the alleged “racist” media.

By Saturday, Adams’ strip was pulled from multiple newspapers nationwide.

Sunday, Musk tweeted that the media “was against non-white people,” but now they’re “racist against whites & Asians.”

Musk added:

“Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America… Maybe they can try not being racist.”

Since Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, there’s been a surge of hateful rhetoric.

“Systemic racism requires not only widespread bigotry to be held within a group but also a structural component that allows discrimination and oppression to be imposed on a minority because of an advantage of access and power. A white billionaire from South Africa who recently lost a high-profile racial discrimination case may not be in the best position to offer counsel,” Brian Levin, a civil rights attorney and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, said about Musk’s comments, according to CNBC.

The Tesla owner is currently embroiled in a workplace discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) following complaints after the California Civil Rights Department, formerly known as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, sued Tesla with claims of widespread racist discrimination at Tesla factories and facilities across the state.

According to the lawsuit, thousands of Black workers at Tesla’s Fremont factory were segregated into the most physically demanding positions and forced into the lowest-level contract roles.

The segregated areas where they worked were called the “porch monkey station,” “the slave ship,” and “the plantation,” and that’s not the worst of it. When Black workers complained, they were retaliated against, ignored, and denied bonuses, promotions, and other opportunities, the lawsuit reads.

In addition to defending racists, Musk was busy this weekend laying off at least 50 employees, The Daily Beast reports. Not even sparing one of its most loyal employees, the head of Twitter payments, Esther Crawford, who, according to The Daily Beast, slept in her office to show her dedication.

Adams’ segregationist outburst, the one that caused his strip to be kicked to the curb, came out of his YouTube channel. A poll from the Rasmussen Reports, a conservative firm, found that nearly half of Black people surveyed disagreed with the statement, “It’s okay to be white.”

“Based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people. Just get the fuck away,” Adams said. “Wherever you have to go, just get away. Because there’s no fixing this. This can’t be fixed. So I don’t think it makes any sense as a white citizen of America to try to help Black citizens anymore. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no longer a rational impulse. So I’m going to back off on being helpful to Black America because it doesn’t seem like it pays off.”

This isn’t Adams’ first time at the racist rodeo.

In 2016, Hunter wrote extensively about the cartoonist’s support for then-candidate Donald Trump.

“If Trump gets elected, and he does anything that looks even slightly Hitler-ish in office, I will join the resistance movement and help kill him. That’s an easy promise to make, and I hope my fellow citizens would use their Second Amendment rights to rise up and help me kill any Hitler-type person who rose to the top job in this country, no matter who it is,” Adams said, according to Hunter.

On Saturday, Daily Kos’ Mark Sumner wrote that in past podcasts, Adams has said that the January 6 insurrectionists weren’t actually supporters of Trump, but the mob on the U.S. Capitol was a conspiracy—”a conspiracy he blamed on the racist and anti-Semitic ‘replacement theory.’”

In 2022, Variety reported that Adams introduced a Black character to his strip for the first time. “Dave the Black Engineer” was used to denigrate diversity and inclusion in the workplace and transgender identity. “I identify as white,” the character said in one strip.

According to Variety, Adams also claimed, in 2020, that after UPN canceled the Dilbert animated series, it was for “being white” and because “UPN decided it would focus on an African American audience,” alleging it was his “third job lost for being white.”

As Sumner wrote, Adams’ strip was once featured in over 2,000 newspapers but has since been dumped by hundreds of distributors in a list too long to mention.

Goodbye and good riddance.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Another Santos? Ana Paulina Luna Seems To Be Fabricating Her Life Story

Another Santos? Ana Paulina Luna Seems To Be Fabricating Her Life Story

Freshman Florida Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (born Anna Paulina Mayerhofer) is a lot of things—apparently a lot of conflicting things.

Although Luna is a MAGA conservative and the first Mexican American woman elected to Congress from the Sunshine State, friends who served with her at Whiteman Air Force Base in Warrensburg, Missouri, told The Washington Post she has described her cultural identity as everything from Middle Eastern to Jewish to Eastern European.

While Luna’s a staunch gun rights advocate who’s argued for the right of House members to carry firearms to committee meetings and boycotted an invite to a White House reception because of COVID-19 restrictions, friends say she supported President Barack Obama.

“She would really change who she was based on what fit the situation best at the time,” a roommate who lived with Luna for six years during her time in the military told the Post.

Born in 1989, Luna legally changed her name when she ran for Congress—an homage to her mother’s Mexican heritage, the Post reports.

According to her website, Luna was “[r]aised by a single mother in one of Southern California’s low-income neighborhoods,” and she has said repeatedly that her mother had “no family to rely on.” A cousin and several family members told the Post, however, that Luna was regularly at family gatherings and they had support from plenty of extended family.

“The whole family kind of raised her—my dad was a part of her life when she was younger, and we all kind of coddled her,” Nicole Mayerhofer, one of Luna’s first cousins, said.

According to Luna’s campaign website, her father, George Mayerhofer, who died last year in a traffic accident in Florida, suffered from drug addiction and “spent time in and out of incarceration,” and her “communication with him during these times was through letters to jail and collect calls.” The Post was unable to locate any public records of charges or prison sentences in California to verify that claim.

Also, on the website is a claim by Luna that “by age nine,” she “experienced an armed robbery and survived,” and as an adult, she “was the victim of a home invasion.”

According to the Post, a roommate at the time of the “home invasion” says she has no memory of it.

Luna has said that while she identifies as Christian, “she was raised as a Messianic Jew by her father.” “I am also a small fraction Ashkenazi,” she told Jewish Insider.

George Mayerhoffer’s father, Heinrich Mayerhofer (Luna’s grandfather), was a German immigrant to Canada who served in the Nazi German armed forces as a teenager in the 1940s, the Post reports.

Luna’s mother, Monica Luna, told the Post that she’d never known that Luna’s grandfather had Nazi ties. Several of Luna’s cousins say the lore about their Nazi grandfather was well-known in the family and that the man even talked openly about it.

“Yes, [my grandfather] did grow up that way, but when he decided to come to America and live here, even though he tried to remember where he came from, he was accepting of people of different races and religions — he was not antisemitic,” Nicole Mayerhofer told the Post.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Lackluster Trump Campaign Floats Possible Running Mates

Lackluster Trump Campaign Floats Possible Running Mates

Former President Donald Trump and his crew are throwing around names for his next running mate, according to sources who spoke with The Daily Beast. All are women so far, and all are folks most of us are loath to hear from on a regular basis.

The Trump campaign has yet to take off, and it’s still early in the game, but according to a couple of GOP insiders, the top three on the shortlist include: proud supporter of the January 6 insurrectionists Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene; Trump apologist and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik; and possible Russian asset and former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard. A madcap crew of chaos to be sure.

Eric Jackman, a friend of Gabbard’s, tells The Daily Beast he believes she’ll have the support of younger voters—specifically, “the 9/11 generation” who served in the military—adding that Gabbard “would be very hesitant to offer advice to a commander-in-chief to go invade or overthrow another country.”

“Me, speaking personally, I’d love to see her at the top of the ticket,” Jackman said. “But if it meant her at the top of the ticket with another Republican—yeah, you know, my experience is people who are Tulsi Gabbard supporters are very past partisan politics, they don’t like partisanship, they don’t like to be pinned down by a label.”

One GOP operative told The Daily Beast that a Greene vice presidency could overshadow Trump despite how close they are.

“She’s been characterized as Trump in heels,” the source said. “Her style is just like Trump,” the source added, but also that as MAGA as she is, the former president has already got that base covered.

“You don’t need MAGA—he’s MAGA,” the GOP strategist said. “You need someone who is loyal, someone who can fundraise, and someone who can help you win swing states.”

Of course, Stefanik is an excellent pick for Trump because she threw out all of her ethics some months back and became a staunch defender of the twice-impeached president, standing by her man during the January 6 insurrection investigations and proudly endorsing Trump for a 2024 run—even as other Republicans hesitated.

The Daily Beast reports that other potential names being tossed around are South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and losing Arizona gubernatorial candidate (with the best on-camera lighting) Kari Lake.

Politico reports that Trump’s first campaign stop for his run will happen in South Carolina in late January. An “intimate” event, his advisers say, which is always code for a small crowd. Apparently, they’ve realized half-empty rodeo arenas are a bad look.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Trump's 'Major Announcement' On Website Provokes Brutal Online Mockery

Trump's 'Major Announcement' On Website Provokes Brutal Online Mockery

Honestly, I was ready to get out my bowl of popcorn and relax when I learned that former President Donald Trump was making a “MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT.”

On Wednesday, he took to his social platform Truth Social and wrote (emphasis original): “AMERICA NEEDS A SUPERHERO!” And then there was a terrifying photo of him with a “T” on his chest and light beams bursting from his eyes—totally stealing the beloved “Dark Brandon” vibe.

So, Thursday morning, with bated breath, like a scant few Americans, I waited. Secretly hoping that the announcement would be that he was dropping out of the 2024 race. Then, drumroll, please … Trump announced he’s selling collectible NFT trading cards with a photo of himself dressed in a superhero, cowboy, football coach, or astronaut costume for a whopping $99 each. You have to see this announcement to believe it!

According to his post today on Truth Social, using a website called CollectTrumpCards.com, the 45th president is hawking a “Digital Trading Card collection.”

The description says that the cards “feature amazing ART of my Life & Career!” which can be collected like a “baseball card” but “much more exciting.” And if you’re wondering what to buy your least favorite friend or family member, the post suggests the cards “Would make a great Christmas gift.”

According to a video on the website, each card comes with a chance to win a sweepstake, where fans can win a dinner or Zoom calls with Trump, or a golf outing with friends, to name a few.

Of course, social media exploded in laughter at Trump’s latest grift.

Apparently, even Russian state TV propagandists can barely contain themselves seeing Trump dressed up in a Superman-like costume.

The thing is, you have to wonder who talked Trump into this idea. Is he suddenly desperate for money? Seems likely.

According to HuffPost, the twice-impeached former president barely gave any money to a super PAC he created to help Republican candidates in the midterm. Of the $147 million he raised in donations, he only gave $15 million to GOP Senate candidates and not a penny to the bumbling Heisman Trophy-winning candidate in Georgia.

So, what’s next? Selling reverse mortgages? Supplements? It’s all a mystery.

Well, that was an awesome way to finish out the 2022 election cycle! Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard revel in Raphael Warnock's runoff victory on this week's episode of The Downballot and take a deep dive into how it all came together. The Davids dig into the turnout shift between the first and second rounds of voting, what the demographic trends in the metro Atlanta area mean for Republicans, and why Democrats can trace their recent success in Georgia back to a race they lost: the famous Jon Ossoff special election in 2017.

We're also joined by one of our very favorite people, Daily Kos Elections alum Matt Booker, who shares his thoughts on the midterms and tells us about his work these days as a pollster. Matt explains some of the key ways in which private polling differs from public data; how the client surveys he was privy to did not foretell a red wave; and the mechanics of how researchers put together focus groups. Matt also reminisces about his time at "DKE University" and how his experience with us prepared him for the broader world of politics.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

When Chappelle Brings Musk Onstage, Massive Booing 'Withers' Mogul

When Chappelle Brings Musk Onstage, Massive Booing 'Withers' Mogul

Why Dave Chappelle thought it was a good idea to bring Elon Musk on stage Sunday night is anyone’s guess, but the audience was not having it. According to Gizmodo, the infamously anti-trans comedian invited the notoriously racist conspiracy theorist billionaire on at the end of his set, and the boos from around 18,000 present in the Chase Center stadium were brutal.

“Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise for the richest man in the world,” Chappelle said while Musk strutted back and forth, looking deeply uncomfortable.

Chappelle tried desperately to save the moment, but every time Musk opened his mouth, he was drowned by a cacophony of jeers.

“It sounds like some of the people you fired are in the audience,” Chappelle jabbed as Musk chuckled. “All these people who are booing, and I’m just pointing out the obvious, you have terrible seats,” Chappelle said, taking cheap shots at those in the audience who couldn’t afford more expensive tickets.

And it hasn’t simply been communications staffers, engineers, and executives Musk has discarded like trash since he purchased Twitter; it has also been employees such as Julio Alvarado, a 10-year employee at Twitter on the cleaning staff. Alvarado told the BBC, “I can only tell you, I don’t have money to pay the rent. I'm not going to have medical insurance. I don't know what I'm going to do."

Peppering his jokes with the N-word ironically, even calling Musk “this N-word,” Chappelle was obviously oblivious to the unleashed racism on Twitter following Musk’s $44 billion purchase of the platform.

“One analysis [found] the use of a racial slur spiking nearly 500 percent in the 12 hours after his deal was finalized, which is pretty shocking,” John Oliver said during his show, Last Week Tonight, in mid-November. “Even for a website where a regular trending topic is sometimes just ‘The Jews.’ That happens constantly. You’ll log in and see 30,000 people tweeting about ‘The Jews’ on a Tuesday afternoon, and you do not want to click to find out why.”

Chappelle tried everything he could think of Sunday night to save the failure of bringing Musk on stage and giving him a microphone, but all of his praise of Musk’s money and success couldn’t salvage the moment.

“Dave, what should I say?” Musk said, looking humiliated.

“Don’t say nothing. It’ll only spoil the moment,” Chappelle said. “Do you hear that sound, Elon? That’s the sound of pending civil unrest. I can’t wait to see what store you decimate next, motherfucker,” he added. Then he told a booing audience member to “shut the fuck up.”

Chappelle ended his set with, “I wish everyone in this auditorium peace and the joy of feeling free… And your pursuit of happiness. Amen.”

Elon Musk gets booed by the crowd at Dave Chappelle's San Francisco show (Part 1 of 4)youtu.be

Elon Musk gets booed by the crowd at Dave Chappelle's San Francisco show (Part 2 of 4)youtu.be

Just prior to his pathetic appearance with Chappelle, Musk spent his weekend cozying up to far-right conspiracists, attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, and taking a cheap shot at those who’ve asked their pronoun choices to be respected.

As Daily Kos’ Hunter writes, “Musk has dabbled in COVID-19 denialism from the beginning of the pandemic, but the notion of prosecuting public health officials for doing their damn jobs even when pandemic deniers would rather they didn't is, again, something scraped up from the deepest bowels of the fascist far-right.”

And as Hunter writes, Musk neglects to say anything about why Fauci should be prosecuted but then blows the racist Republican whistle about being “woke.”

Musk is a loathsome rich boy, the South African child of an apartheid-era emerald mine owner, clueless about real work, and he’s friends with folks like billionaire Republican MAGA donor, Peter Thiel. So, in some ways, it only makes sense that Chappelle, who in recent years has become as clueless about his biases as Musk has always been about his own.

There’s a point in celebrity when a person becomes so out of touch with reality that they really don’t see racism or homophobia or anti-trans prejudice, they only see wealth. That’s where Chappelle is today—indifferent and oblivious.

Why did Democrats do so surprisingly well in the midterms? It turns out they ran really good campaigns, as strategist Josh Wolf tells us on this week's episode of The Downballot. That means they defined their opponents aggressively, spent efficiently, and stayed the course despite endless second-guessing in the press. Wolf gives us an inside picture of how exactly these factors played out in the Arizona governor's race, one of the most important Democratic wins of the year. He also shines a light on an unsexy but crucial aspect of every campaign: how to manage a multi-million budget for an enterprise designed to spend down to zero by Election Day.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Same Difference: A Disturbing Mashup Of Nazi Fuentes And Fox News

Same Difference: A Disturbing Mashup Of Nazi Fuentes And Fox News

In just a few minutes of listening to white supremacist and notorious Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, anyone would begin to hear the echoed sentiments of Fox News and various members of the Republican Party. The same racist, xenophobic “great replacement” theory conspiracies, the same praise of fascism and white nationalism, and the same misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ hyperbole.

A brilliant new video from The Daily Show mashes together clips of Nick Fuentes alongside the likes of equally deplorable figures such as Tucker Carlson; former White House political affairs director under George W. Bush, Matt Schlapp; Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton: Fox’s Jesse Watters; former Iowa Rep. Steve King; and of course, former President Donald Trump.

The rhetoric is so strikingly similar one has to ask whether Fuentes is auditioning for a spot on Fox or if Fox News has asked a virulently racist white nationalist to write their copy.

A bit about Fuentes, in case you’re not familiar.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Fuentes attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. His podcast America First has been the genesis of the alt-right movement, and his supporters are known as “Groypers” or the “Groyper Army.”

“Groypers believe they are working to defend against demographic and cultural changes that are destroying the “true America”—a white, Christian nation. [...] To Groypers, ‘America First’ means that the U.S. should close its borders, bar immigrants, oppose globalism and promote ‘traditional’ values like Christianity and oppose ‘liberal’ values such as feminism and LGBTQ+ rights,” ADL writes.

Since its founding in 1996, Fox News has been a mouthpiece for not only the Republican Party but, in the last decade or so, for some of the most toxic and blatantly bigoted media outlets to ever exist. Tucker Carlson’s show, specifically, has been the most egregious.

A recent Pew Research Center analysis found that Democrats and Republicans have moved further apart in the last 50 years than ever before. The shift toward the extreme right began in the mid-1990s, which aligns with the launch of Fox News.

Nicholas Confessore, a political and investigative reporter for The New York Times and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, has written extensively about Carlson and his racist content on Fox. Confessore says Carlson has shaped the MAGA movement and the Trump wave, telling NPR in an interview that Carlson’s “is the most racist show in the history of cable news.”

“The elements that he [Carlson] borrows and sands down from the far right are not just, you know, kind of isolated incidents on the show or things he pops into here and there. They are a constant theme, a drumbeat spanning hundreds of episodes of the show, hundreds of segments,” Confessore said.

Confessore says when he and his team from the Times began watching segments of Carlson’s, they found rhetoric that wasn’t just similar to that of white supremacists but nearly indistinguishable from them—and it was particularly ubiquitous when it came to the “great replacement theory.”

“Now, that is a direct borrowing of language and concepts from white nationalists and not just conservatives. I'm talking about people who are neo-Nazis, open nativists, white nationalists, people who get together in dark corners of the internet, mostly, and propound theories about how a cabal of elites - sometimes Jews, sometimes broader - are trying to replace Americans. Now, that theme hadn't just popped up on the show last April. A version of it has been present in 400-plus episodes of the show,” Confessore said.

According to Media Matters, after the infamous dinner with Trump, Kanye “Ye” West, and Fuentes, the only folks more silent than House GOP members was Fox News.

”The network devoted a mere seven minutes to the dinner from the time the story broke on Friday through the weekend and ignored it altogether on Monday. Notably, influential prime-time hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham have not mentioned the story at all. Fox is signaling to the viewers who trust it above all other news sources that the story is not important,” Media Matters’ Matt Gertz writes.

That just about says it all.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Texas Resident Herschel Walker Could Face Voter Fraud Charges In Georgia

Texas Resident Herschel Walker Could Face Voter Fraud Charges In Georgia

While Georgians flock to the polls in the state’s Senate runoff between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and the Republican Party’s most incompetent candidate, Herschel Walker, one Georgia resident is on the attack—and Walker is in her crosshairs.

According to reporting by TheAtlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) , Ann Gregory Roberts has filed a complaint asking that the attorney general’s office and Georgia Bureau of Investigation “promptly investigate” Walker for an “apparent violation of Georgia law.”

Roberts alleges that the Heisman Trophy winner broke the law “by registering and voting in Georgia while knowingly maintaining his principal residence in Texas.” As Daily Kos reported last week, Walker received a homestead tax break on his $3 million home in 2021 and 2022—even after announcing his candidacy and then voting in Georgia’s 2022 Republican primary and the general elections.

CNN reports that even while he was out campaigning this year, Walker was heard talking about the U.S.-Mexico border during a speech to University of Georgia College Republicans, saying, “I live in Texas … I went down to the border off and on sometimes.”

Walker even added in that same speech, “Everyone asks me, why did I decide to run for a Senate seat? Because, to be honest with you, this is never something I ever, ever, ever thought in my life I’d ever do … And that’s the honest truth. As I was sitting in my home in Texas, I was sitting in my home in Texas, and I was seeing what was going on in this country. I was seeing what was going on in this country with how they were trying to divide people.”

CNN also reports that Walker even gave several interviews from his Texas manse.

AJC reports that, on Monday, Georgia Rep. Nikema Williams doubled down on calls for a probe into Walker to find out whether he “lied about being a Georgia resident.” Williams said, “Georgians deserve answers … and Walker must be held accountable for his pattern of lies and disturbing conduct.”

According to CNN, Walker filed for a homestead tax exemption in Texas in 2022, a break that gave him $1,500 off his property taxes. But then the former Dallas Cowboy registered and voted in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2021 and 2022.

Walker’s been living in Texas for decades, but according to The Daily Beast, has allegedly kept a home in Atlanta for 17 years.

“It’s weird. We’ve had this home here for about 17 years. We’ve had this home here in Atlanta about 17 years,” Walker told Rolling Out in a September interview.

The Constitution states that candidates don’t have to have a primary residence in the state where they’re running—at least until they actually win the seat.

The Daily Beast reports that the Trump-backed candidate’s wife, Julie Blanchard, has been receiving thousands in rental income on the Atlanta home, per the candidate’s 2021 financial disclosure filings. Walker used the Atlanta home as his official address when filing to run for Senate in August 2021. Additionally, Blanchard received $49,997 in COVID-19 relief loans at the Walkers’ Texas home in Dallas.

According to Roberts’ complaint, Walker committed a felony when he voted in the 2022 primary and general elections.

The complaint states:

“To be eligible to vote in Georgia, a voter must be “a resident of [Georgia] and of the county or municipality in which he or she seeks to vote. Georgia law proscribes a number of explicit and unambiguous criteria for determining a voter’s residence, including that ‘[t]he specific address in the county or municipality in which a person has declared a homestead exemption, if a homestead exemption has been claimed, shall be deemed the person’s residence address.’ In addition, Georgia law is clear that “[a] person shall not be considered to have gained a residence in any county or municipality of this state into which such person has come for temporary purposes only without the intention of making such county or municipality such person’s permanent place of abode.”

According to the Texas Tribune, Walker’s use of the homestead exemption tax break could be illegal according to Texas state law, which only allows homeowners to claim the break on their “principal residence.”

Georgia State University law professor Anthony Michael Kreis told CNN that Walker isn’t actually breaking the rules as a candidate, but it does make him look pretty shady politically.

“At the end of the day, this is more of a political problem than a legal one, in all likelihood … where Walker can be painted as a carpetbagger. It does call into question whether Walker’s change of residency was made in good faith,” Kreis said.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

After 2024 Announcement, Trump Inks $4 Billion Deal With Oman and Saudi

After 2024 Announcement, Trump Inks $4 Billion Deal With Oman and Saudi

The word hubris comes from Ancient Greece, meaning “exaggerated pride or self-confidence.” And no word seems more fitting to describe former President Donald Trump walking into Trump Tower in New York City with his son Eric Trump last week to sign a reported $4 billion deal with a Saudi Arabian real estate company to build a mammoth project in Oman.

The word hypocrite also comes from the Ancient Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor,” another word most fitting to describe the Republican Party, which, after winning the House by a razor-thin margin, is promising to spend every minute of its time impeaching President Joe Biden and investigating his son, Hunter Biden, amid unabashedly bogus allegations of conflict of interest.

Trump is no stranger to selling his brand, but the Saudi deal is a bold move considering that he’s just thrown his name in the hat for a third run at the presidency.

This particular deal puts him directly into murky waters. According to The New York Times, the project isn’t just some random real estate deal—it’s a deal with the government of Oman itself. Conflict of interest much?

Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, tells the Times, “This is yet another example of Trump getting a personal financial benefit in exchange for past or future political power. … The Saudis and Oman government may believe that giving Trump this licensing deal will benefit them in the future, should Trump become president again. This deal could be a way to ensure that they will be in Trump’s good graces.”

The behemoth AIDA project is led by the Saudi-based Dar-Al Arkan and is in conjunction with the government of Oman, which the Times reports owns the land. The concept includes 3,500 high-end villas, two hotels with around 450 rooms, a golf course (of course), and retail shops and restaurants.

This is just Trump’s most recent project with the Saudi government. Trump also hosted two Saudi-backed LIV Golf tournaments—including one in late July held just 50 miles from Ground Zero, a memorial on the location where the World Trade Center South Towers once stood. Trump stood on the sidelines and cheered despite the fact that the 9/11 families had pleaded with the former president to cancel the tournament.

According to Newsweek, when Trump was asked about the 9/11 families’ plans to protest the LIV Golf event, Trump told an ESPN reporter, “Nobody’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately.”

He added that the people who committed the attack on 9/11 were “maniacs” and that they did a “horrible thing to our city, to our country, to the world. … But I can tell you that there are a lot of really great people that are out here today, and we're gonna have a lot of fun, and we're going to celebrate. Money's going to charity—a lot of money's going to charity," he said.

But Trump hasn’t just been in deals with the Saudis when he wasn’t in office. During his time in the White House, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who worked for the administration, took in a $2 billion investment from the Saudi government to his private equity firm, Affinity Partners, per the Times.

Of course, let’s not forget the massive grifting Trump was involved in during his reign as he took in millions to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. According to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, between 2017 and 2020, Trump’s hotel received $3.75 million from foreign governments. The Times reports that, according to the Trump Organization, profits from all of the hotel stays were paid annually to the Treasury Department.

This new Trump-Saudi project hopes to build a more robust tourism sector for Oman and likely a better relationship with the U.S. The nation refused to sign the Abraham Accords while Trump was in office, a plan that had high hopes of thawing relations between Israel and the Middle East.

All of this was announced just as Trump declared his candidacy, and the Trump family and the Trump Organization are being investigated on charges of tax fraud.

Remember, according to a report from the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Trump is the same guy who committed 3,403 conflicts of interest during his presidency. So far, the Republicans have announced zero investigations into even one of those.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

MAGA Conspirators Swamp Election Offices With Bogus Record Requests

MAGA Conspirators Swamp Election Offices With Bogus Record Requests

Incited by MAGA conspiracy theorists like MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, Trump supporters are flooding elections offices nationwide with records requests from the 2020 presidential election—an election they lost handily according to all lawsuits and disputes but refuse to believe was fair and democratically won by President Joe Biden.

According to reporting from The Washington Post, dozens of states and a slew of counties across the country are being overwhelmed with what appear to be duplicate requests for “cast vote records,” as they’re called by Lindell.

In text exchanges with the Post, Carol Snow, a MAGA activist from Burke County, North Carolina, writes: “We believe those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. ... Their lack of transparency causes distrust of the electronic voting systems we are required to use to cast our ballots.”

As the Post reports, it seems as though the tsunami of requests started after a livestream from Lindell in mid-August, which was then pushed into wider viewership on Steve Bannon’s podcast. The profusion of public records requests, a tool used by journalists and the public, has effectively inundated offices—and that’s exactly the point.

The timing comes just weeks before early voting in October as election offices prepare to mail out ballots and decide on polling places. Claire Woodall-Vogg, the executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, tells the Post, “When you are asking for every single document under the sun, it becomes difficult for us to do our job.”

In Nevada County, California, clerk-recorder and registrar of voters Natalie Adona tells SFGATE that her office has been flooded with records requests for nearly two years, but in the last week, it’s been outrageous for her as well as offices around the state.

Shasta County Clerk Cathy Darling Allen says that most of the requests have similar wording, repeating the bogus allegations that the Dominion voting machines were somehow taken over by nefarious people or groups.

“I have staff requesting extensions and researching how to obtain the reports requested from our Dominion voting system,” Allen told SFGATE. “This cannot continue.”

According to Maine Public, election officials in the state report that one of the requests “closely mirrors language” used by Terpsichore “Tore” Maras-Lindeman. Maras-Lindeman was Sidney Powell’s “secret intelligence contractor” in the failed bid to have SCOTUS overturn the 2020 election, as well as a podcaster and mouthpiece for QAnon conspiracies.

Lindell recently boasted of donating at least $800,000 toward the legal defense of a “MAGA-supporting Mesa County, Colorado, elections clerk who, along with her deputy, Belinda Knisley, was recently indicted on charges connected to breaching election security, allowing the Dominion voting machines under their care be tampered with by a third party,” Daily Kos Walter Einenkel writes.

Election records are normally kept for 22 months, the Post reports, and Lindell has been desperate to retrieve as many of the records as possible before the Labor Day deadline.

“These machine companies have played out the clock, so to speak. ... But people can request them, and then obviously we can preserve them,” Lindell said.

Matt Crain, who leads the Colorado County Clerks Association, tells the Post the effort from Lindell to encourage the bombardment of election offices is absolutely intentional.

“The only way to look at it is as a denial-of-service attack on local government. ... The irony is, if Lindell wanted the cast vote records, he could have just put in a request to get them. They don’t do that. They put out this call to action for people to do it, and they know it’s going to inundate these offices, especially medium and small offices who are understaffed and overwhelmed already. They know exactly what they’re doing.”

Lindell was recently referred to as “white” Mike Lindell by Vincent James, a white nationalist and conspiracy theorist. James gave a shoutout to Lindell on this DailyVeracity.com livestream, for selling pillows with a discount via a coupon code.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Republicans Beg Trump To Cough Up Funds For Struggling Senate Campaigns

Republicans Beg Trump To Cough Up Funds For Struggling Senate Campaigns

Former President Donald Trump is only concerned about one person: former President Donald Trump. So even though he’s bilking his MAGA groupies for millions, he’s failing to support his endorsed Republican Senate nominees—with just weeks until the midterm elections.

According to Politico, Mitch McConnell has been quietly pushing the twice-impeached ex-president to start digging into the coffers of his leadership PAC and super PACs—a necessary move if the GOP wants any chance of winning back the Senate.

Trump is sitting on nearly $99 million in his PAC, and although he vocally endorses a few Senate candidates nationwide—J.D. Vance in Ohio and Blake Masters in Arizona—apparently, he has given them little more than scraps toward the financial support they desperately need.

Sen. Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota, tells Politico that Trump “should invest to win, and not just to finish second or tied. I think he ought to do it. I really do. I think he ought to get generous. [...] One thing Donald Trump doesn’t like to do is lose.”

In a July op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove mused about what Trump was doing with his treasure trove of campaign donations, writing that the former president “hasn’t shown much interest” in giving to Republican candidates. “If Mr. Trump doesn’t start actually deploying these funds to help candidates he’s backed for Congress, governor, and other statewide offices, donors might not keep giving to the former president’s causes. Trump-endorsed candidates might start to wonder how strong an ally the former president really is, beyond lending his name in a primary,” Rove wrote before millions in donations poured into Trump’s war chest following the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago in mid-August.

A GOP strategist working on House and Senate races tells Politico that Trump’s “a penny pincher. He’s not going to spend money on people when he can spend money on himself. In lieu of spending money, he can do events for you. [...] Everyone thought that, by Labor Day, he would be loosening up the purse strings a bit, and money would be flowing in.”

According to reporting from Politico, Trump’s Save America has given the legal maximum of $5,000 to a few vulnerable Senate candidates and a total of $150,000 in those same $5,000 increments to other RNC accounts, including those of incumbents running for safe seats. Republican political strategist Scott Jennings told The Washington Post, “We need all the help we can get.”

According to the Post, when interviewed about the ongoing money woes of the Senate GOP candidates, Mitt Romney said, “I would sure hope that President Trump would use some of that money he's got to get Republicans elected to the Senate. [...] It'll be good for the country and good for the people he's endorsed.”

In an interview with Politico, an unnamed Trump advisor said simply that the former president has no “moral obligation to spend millions on candidates,” but the advisor thinks “it would be a politically smart move for [Trump] to spend big,” adding that the former president still “doesn’t owe it to these people.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos