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Lauren Boebert's Shooters Grill Is Out Of Business

I have to warn you up front: If schadenfreude moves you emotionally, you might want to grab a few boxes of tissues. What were once unconfirmed reports are now confirmed: Colorado gun fetishist and dubious campaign finance garbage fire Lauren Boebert’s Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, is out of business. The congresswoman has been on the forever MAGA campaign trail of late, promoting openly racist gun fetishists who pretend they are pro life.

On the one hand, this is not a surprise, as it was only a couple of weeks ago that Boebert told The Daily Beast that Shooters Grill’s lease had not been renewed. Boebert’s campaign finances have also seemed to have crossed potentially illegal paths with the business after one of her many wild campaign finance reports showed thousands of dollars being sent to the Grill’s address for unclear reasons.

On the other hand, most people not interested in eating around a bunch of crucifixes and guns didn’t enjoy Shooters Grill. And subsequently ratings on Yelp were disabled after “increased public attention” and a slew of reviews you never want to see associated with any place where food is served.

Boebert’s personal finances and her campaign finances have been a big question mark as her Federal Election Commission filings have been filled with pretty wild expenditure claims. One such claim, reported on last year, was that she reimbursed herself on her campaign travel costs to the tune of circumnavigating the earth.

Colorado’s Post Independent reports that while Shooters Grill is gone, Boebert still likes the idea of having a place to launder money plaster the “Shooters” moniker on. “We would just dramatically scale it back, because, obviously, we’re not in our building,” Boebert told the Independent. “It may look like a Shooters coffee shop with pastries and some easy breakfast sandwiches and merchandise.”

Like all things Boebert, the legend of Shooters Grill’s origin story is a lie:

The gun-theme came when someone was allegedly beaten to death in front of Shooters and Boebert’s employees started asking if they could open carry. It later turned out the man ostensibly beaten to death in fact died of methamphetamine overdose.

In fact, the man that Boebert claimed had been beaten to death in front of her establishment wasn’t even found dead anywhere near Shooters.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Former Oath Keeper Describes Group's Extremism And Holocaust Denial

During Tuesday’s House Select Committee hearing, former high-ranking Oath Keeper Jason Van Tatenhove testified to his experience with the extremist group. Headed by Elmer Rhodes, the Oath Keepers got their hooks into Tatenhove back when he was working as a freelance independent “journalist,” and met the group as he covered other extremist federal land occupiers, the Cliven Bundy clan.

The Oath Keepers have been tied to Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election as a sort of satellite mercenary group, willing to do some military work on the cheap if needed, and to hopefully take advantage of the riots being created by Trump-world rhetoric. Tatenhove was brought out to testify to the true nature of the Oath Keepers, their use of misinformation to organize and incite, and the underpinnings of militia violence and authoritarianism that Rhodes relied on.

Tatenhove became the Oath Keeper’s spokesman and media propagandist shortly after he began working with them in 2014. He told the Denver Post that “I had these grand intentions that I was going to write my break-out novel, but what wound up happening is I just became a propagandist for them. I failed that internal mission pretty fantastically.” Tatenhove worked for the group for a year-and-a-half between 2015 and 2016—and during that time he watched the group become more and more extreme.

Tatenhove has said, as hard as it is to believe, that he thought that Rhodes’ public rhetoric that the Oath Keepers weren’t racist or homophobic was true. But he watched as it became more and more clear to him that it didn’t really matter what Rhodes said he believed: “The man is really just driven by money and a sense of power at this point.”

On Tuesday, when asked by the Jan. 6 committee what led to his leaving the group, Tatenhove told the world that ”there were many red flags,” and he should have clearly left earlier than he did:

But the straw that broke the camel's back really came when I walked into a grocery store and we were living up in the very remote town of Eureka, Montana, and there was a group of core members of the group, the Oath Keepers and some associates and they were having a conversation at that public area where they were talking about how the Holocaust was not real.

It worked for the Nazis, and it has been working on disenfranchised Americans for decades. One important thing to remember here is that Nazism and antisemitism has also been working on many of the wealthiest Americans for decades as well, which is why they continue to fund it.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Select Panel Member Suggests New Evidence Of Witness Tampering

On Tuesday, the House Select Committee hearing featured testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ aide. It was damning. Hutchinson went on the record reiterating what she had told investigators previously, detailing the many things she saw and heard before and during January 6, 2021. Her testimony touched on Trump’s insistence that he join the riot at the Capitol, his knowledge of armed MAGA audience members, the bizarre disappearing act Meadows performed, and the fact that leading up to the “Stop the Steal” rally, Trump’s own lawyer knew that crimes were most likely being committed.

One of the more explosive moments in Hutchinson’s testimony concerned her recounting of what Trump’s former lead Secret Service agent turned political adviser Anthony Ornato told her about Donald Trump’s actions, alleging he attacked his chief security official, Robert “Bobby” Engel, when Engel would not allow him to lead the rioters at the Capitol grounds. This reportedly took place after Trump left the Stop of Steal rally on January 6, 2021.

Since that time, the right-wing media and traditional news outlets have put out not-exactly-verified rumors that Ornato denies ever recounting these events to Meadow’s top aide. Of course, Ornato and Engel have also not appeared under oath to put their money where their mouths are. Whether these two come forward and say Hutchinson has perjured herself or simply say they do not recall remains to be seen.

On Thursday, Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who is on the House Select Committee, suggested that Trump’s fundraising may be connected not simply to crimes of scam artistry, but crimes of coercion of witnesses. It seems that Ornato and Engel may be hiding in the shadows finding out where exactly that money is before they go on the record.

The fact of the matter is that Ornato’s move from a senior Secret Service official to a political adviser was seen as a betrayal of the Secret Service’s nonpartisan position in our government.

It has led to the speculations around Vice President Mike Pence’s reticence to get into a car with Secret Service during the January 6. attack on the Capitol.

On Thursday, Lofgren explained to Anderson Cooper on CNN that Donald Trump’s intense fundraising off of the Big Lie is a paper trail with many angles. While it is obvious to most people who have ever followed even a little bit of Donald Trump’s history as a corrupt dirtbag (dating all the way back to the 1970s in New York City), there is a high probability that much of his fundraising has gone into people’s pockets. Lofgren spoke to the fact that money can help buy testimony and offer the promise of legal protections for people who may otherwise be forced to tell the truth about Donald Trump.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN: Let's just say, we're concerned. As you know, in a prior hearing, we talked about the hundreds of millions of dollars that the former president raised. Some of that money is being used to pay for lawyers, for witnesses. and it's not clear that that arrangement is one that is without coercion potential for some of those witnesses. So, let's just say this: It's a concern. And anyone who is trying to dissuade or tamper with a witness should be on notice that that's a crime. And we are perfectly prepared to provide any evidence we have to the proper authorities.

This goes along with the Hutchinson’s own testimony that she had been contacted by “someone attempting to influence her testimony.” It also follows Rep. Liz Cheney’s assertion at Tuesday’s hearing that two witnesses had also told the committee they were being intimidated by people connected to Donald Trump’s circle of conspirators.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Grace And Integrity: Jen Psaki's Last Day At White House Podium

Today was White House Secretary Jen Psaki’s final day. Karine Jean-Pierre will be taking Psaki’s place in front of the press during the daily briefings. Jen Psaki has been a steady and welcome fixture in an administration that has been tasked with cleaning up the catastrophic destruction of the previous administration. It was a sad day in some respects, as Psaki has been a highlight for many, offering up witty and solid rebuttals to the steady fact-free propaganda of the right-wing media sphere.

Psaki began her final briefing by thanking the Biden administration, the Biden family, the press, and her husband, saying that anyone with children knows that they cannot execute any of their professional work without the support of a spouse. It was an emotional thank you that Psaki handled with the same level of grace that she has been able to apply to her daily press briefings over the past 16 months. Psaki opened the floor to questions and answered questions about abortion, inflation, supply shortages, and COVID-19, and then she signed off.

Here is Psaki’s opening statement on her last day.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki delivers her final press briefing

After covering all kinds of questions about subjects domestic and global, Psaki showed some of the flair that made her a hero to many Americans. A reporter asked a leading question about how President Biden’s Department of the Interior had recently canceled three oil and gas leases, and how this might be a sign that the Biden administration wasn’t doing what was needed to be done to lower oil prices (forget about the fact that fossil fuel companies are very clearly gouging consumers), Psaki gave a fact-filled extravaganza of an answer, detailing how oil and gas companies are sitting on fallow leases already, doing nothing but asking for more cheap public land leases.

At one point someone in the press asked Jen what wisdom she has gained in her position over the last year and a half. She reiterated what the nature of her job was, that she needed to make sure she spoke as frequently as possible with President Biden to understand what he wanted to say and what his policy ideas were. She also gave an important note to the press that learning about the policies being talked about, knowing exactly what are in any given policy, what it is trying to accomplish, and how, is fundamental in being able to ask meaningful questions or even criticizing those policies (I’m looking at you, Peter Doocy).

She said she was confident that Karine Jean-Pierre had also internalized many of those lessons as Deputy Press Secretary and that in the weeks ahead, she “will bring her own magic,” and style of communication to the position. Karine also assuaged many in the press by saying the plan was to continue holding daily press briefings, as being a fascistic dictatorial propaganda machine like the last administration is not an option.

Jen Psaki talks about her advice to others after having been WH Press Sec. for over a year

Finally, Jen Psaki said her very quick good bye.

Jen Psaki leaves the White House Press Briefing podium for the last time

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Former Trump White House Doc Spent Campaign Funds On Country Club

Earlier in April news came out that the former White house doctor for Donald Trump—the guy who said Trump had “good genes”—Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) was under investigation by the House Ethics Committee. Why? It still isn’t clear. What is clear is that the new congressman who has spread lies like In 2022, illegal immigrants will have MORE FREEDOMS and easier access to healthcare and ballot boxes than most Americans,” is likely being investigated for the kinds of things that racist, dubious, opportunist, craven doctors-turned-politicians can be investigated for: Anything and everything.

On Monday, Roll Call reported that Jackson seems to have spent “more than $2,300 in costs associated with membership at a private social club in Texas.” The campaign money Jackson spent was at the Amarillo Club in Texas. According to Federal Election Commission filings, Jackson seems to have broken the Federal Election Commission Act (FECA). That’s illegal, as in against the law. Here are a couple of things you aren’t allowed to spend campaign funds on:

  • “Country club memberships”
  • “Dues and fees for health clubs or recreational facilities”

You need only a third-grade reading level to understand that Jackson’s FEC filings seem to reek.

The Representative from the 13th District of Texas, best known as “Candy Man” for his willingness as a doctor to sign off prescriptions on anything and saying that Donald Trump was in amazing health, joins other fiscally irresponsible GOP candidates like North Carolina’s Madison Cawthorn in his willingness to spend other people’s money on his good time. A Jackson spokesperson told Roll Call that the membership costs to the this Texan country club “are strictly associated with campaign and fundraising events.” Of course, this is only legal if the costs were incurred during an event for fundraising. Having a year-round membership, unless all of your fundraising is done at this country club year-round, is not legal.

When charges solely listed as being for food and drink are included, the congressman's main campaign campaign committee, Texans for Ronny Jackson, reported spending more than over $6,400 at the Amarillo Club since 2020

Here’s the FEC’s explanation of fees that they consider “Automatic personal use.”

Campaign funds may not be used to pay for dues to country clubs, health clubs, recreational facilities or other nonpolitical organizations unless the payments are made in connection with a specific fundraising event that takes place on the organization’s premises.

The looseness with which MAGA monsters like Jackson are willing to dip into their campaign tills to pay for their own recreation and entertainment is pretty astonishing. Even more so when you consider that such a large part of the GOP platform is stifling any and all legislation that would help their constituents by arguing for “fiscal responsibility.”

In the scheme of things, $2,300 isn’t a lot of money for a campaign powered by GOP hate and Trumpian butt-kissing, but it does show how cavalier the Republican Party’s candidates have become with run-of-the-mill corruption.

All of this comes just a few days after revelations that Oath Keeper insurrectionists were exchanging private texts about Jackson’s need for militia protections during the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol building by people like the Oath Keepers. Jackson denies knowing any of the faktriots who were burning up their text threads worrying about him on Jan. 6, 2021.

Printed with permission from Alternet.

Watch Marjorie Taylor Greene Get Busted For Lying In Court (VIDEO)

On Friday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene took the stand to give a foggy recollection’s worth of testimony in an Atlanta court hearing over whether she should be disqualified under the 14th Amendment from running for re-election this fall.

If you have been hiding from the news for a while, Marjorie Taylor Greene is a fake business person who earned her money the old-fashioned way—her parents had a successful business that she inherited and then was bought out of. Since cherry-picking a blood-red enclave of Georgia to lay down her carpetbag, she has risen in the MAGA GOP, in no small part due to her shameless use of invective and fascist oratory.

The case against MTG is a simple one: Is she qualified, according to the Constitution, to hold public office? Today’s hearing is in response to a challenge from Free Speech For People, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to “reclaim our democracy” in the wake of Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that allows corporate influence of policy through campaign donations.

Free Speech for People are attempting to establish Greene’s disqualification from holding office in this hearing through Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which stipulates:

“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

It’s compelling stuff. Rep. Greene is a mediocre liar, at best. In one exchange, Greene attempted to lie before realizing evidence was about to directly refute that lie. She retreats immediately, but the exchange is typical of interactions with Greene, and a clear window into how easily prosecutable people like Greene are.

After affirming that Greene and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi do not agree on a lot of things, the prosecutor gets to the point.

Lawyer: In fact you think that Speaker Pelosi is a “traitor” to the country, right?

Greene looked off toward her lawyer, presumably, before attempting to evade the question by saying, “I’m not answering that question. It is speculation.” The lawyer for Free Speech For People tries to jog Greene’s memory, “You have said that, Ms. Greene. That she’s a traitor to the country, haven't you?” To which Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene lies:

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE: No. No, I haven’t said that.

At this moment, the lawyer, without words, reminds Greene that she is in a court of law and this isn’t an appearance on some right-wing white supremacist softball news show. Greene shifts in a way that can only be described as “aggressively agitated” as the lawyer asks for a presentation of “plaintiff’s Exhibit 5, please.”

Before we can watch the video below, where Greene says Speaker Pelosi is “guilty of treason” and that her guilt is “punishable by death,” Ms. Greene says, “Oh, no, wait.” That’s the moment in the screenshot atop this story. She then says something about how she did maybe say that when she said Pelosi had violated her oath of office regarding immigration.

How? Who the fuck knows?

Marjorie Taylor Greene busted in lie during hearing over whether to disqualify her from election

The entire exercise we are watching is whether or not our country can enforce our most fundamental laws of democracy.

Printed with permission from Dailykos.

Teacher’s Satirical Note On 'Don’t Say Gay' Enrages Right-Wing Outfit

The American conservative “advocates for parental rights in schools,” known as Moms for Liberty, have been busy working on making sure your children are protected from things like critical race theory (CRT), and any talk about gender identities (and LGBTQ+ stuff). Florida’s transphobic and homophobic and childhood-phobic conservatives scored a big legislative victory in March when state legislators were able to pass the “Don’t Say Gay” bill through into law. Its official name is the “Parental Rights in Education” bill and while it technically never mentions the word “gay,” the bill is a pretty obvious overreach into the rights of entire swathes of the American public. As such, lawsuits are already being filed against the Sunshine state.

Moms for Liberty’s Twitter account posted what they are calling a letter template for rebellious teachers to send home in regard to the new legal guidelines they are now forced to deal with as a result of the general pig-headed phobias of people like Moms for Liberty. Writing “A teacher in Palm Beach County, FL shared this template with us. It is being shared among teachers to use for grades K-3. How do you feel about this? What will you do when this arrives home in your child’s backpack? Time to take a Stand,” the letter is a little slice of genius, and the responses to this conservative freakout have been [takes a meditative breath] beautiful.

The letter serves to point out how, in its vague language, the bill’s authors have attempted to veil their bigotries and fears under the guise of parental rights. It does this by using the law’s truly banal purposes against the very parents who are pretending that this law isn’t very specifically about being homophobic and transphobic and queerphobic.

First the letter:

Dear Florida parent/caretaker:
The Florida house of Representatives has recently ruled that “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

To be in accordance with this policy, I will no longer be referring to your student with gendered pronouns. All students will be referred to as “The” or “them.” I will no longer use a gendered title such as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or make any references to my husband/wife in the classroom. From now on I will be using the non-gendered title “Mx.”

Furthermore, I will be removing all books or instruction which refer to a person being a “mother,” “Father,” “husband” or “wife” as these are gender identities that also may allude to sexual orientation. Needless to say, all books which refer to a character as “he” or “She” will also be removed from the classroom. If you have any concerns about this policy, please feel free to contact your local congressperson.Thank you, Mx. XXXXXXXXXX

Whether this is a real “template” being handed out to teachers who see the don’t say gay bill for what it really is or if this is just one of those great memes that has truly pressed these “Moms for Liberty’s” buttons does not matter. Bridget Ziegler, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, Fox News talking face, and precinct committeewoman for the Republican Party of Sarasota County retweeted the letter, writing, “Once again, it’s unfortunate our students and their education are being hijacked by the Left’s culture wars. Thank goodness more educators, many whom are parents of young children, are speaking up and pushing back!”

The responses have been wonderful:

And here’s a new one to me—but maybe it’s been around for a while.

Alex Jones Earns $25K Daily Contempt Fine For Evading Sandy Hook Deposition

Ever since many of the families who lost loved ones in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in 2012 sued InfoWars misinformation giant Alex Jones, he’s been running scared. He has dragged his heels, he has attempted to walk back the many hours of lies he told, and he has stalled. His attempts to play vile legal games in court against the Sandy Hook families he called “crisis actors” who he said helped perpetrate a “false flag” hoax on Americans have not fooled the judges presiding over his cases. In fact, his attempts to draw out what is already an unconscionable process for the families still grieving led a Connecticut judge to rule that Jones was liable to the families of eight of the victims killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Along with other similar rulings, Jones faces liability to the families of 10 people killed that terrible day in total. Jones and his legal team have continued their defense strategy of running and hiding and dragging their feet. In the most recent defamation case against Jones, Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis has had to watch as Jones produced a dubious doctor’s note saying he could not come to court to sit for a deposition and watch as Jones proceeded to tape a four-hour episode of his InfoWars show at home.

After missing a second deposition and multiple orders from Bellis to appear, Jones is now being slapped with a contempt of court charge from the bench.

During a hearing on Wednesday, Bellis told the court she is holding the conspiracy theory snake oil salesman in contempt of court as Jones has "intentionally failed to comply with orders of the court" and his excuses have not held up. "The court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant Alex Jones willfully and in bad faith violated without justification several clear court orders requiring his attendance at his depositions on March 23 and March 24,” Bellis said, but she did not go as far as issuing a bench warrant for Jones’ arrest, though the plaintiffs in the case asked the judge to issue that arrest warrant.

In arguing for Jones to spend time in jail, the attorney representing the Sandy Hook families in this case, Christopher Mattei, told the court: "It seems to us that Mr. Jones has made a deliberate decision that he would rather suffer the contempt of court rather than expose himself to deposition.” Mattei did not comment on the judge’s contempt decision.

Bellis put Jones’ contempt punishment at $25,000 a day, beginning on April 1. According to reports, Jones will be fined for every business day he misses in court until he sits for two days of depositions before April 15. If Jones does comply before April 15, his contempt charge “will be purged,” at which point he would be able to apply for a reimbursement of any fines he accumulates. Jones’ attorney asked Bellis to belay the fine until April 11, saying there was “a scheduling conflict.” There is no word yet on whether or not Bellis will alter her contempt ruling.

Jones and his legal team’s strategy is the kind of time-wasting that big business does in the hopes of winning a war of attrition against overwhelming odds of being found liable or guilty. On Tuesday, just one day before this contempt charge against Jones, the families rejected an attempt by Jones to settle the case for $125,000 per family. The families released a statement saying that this pittance of a settlement offer was a “transparent and desperate attempt by Alex Jones to escape a public reckoning under oath with his deceitful, profit-driven campaign against the plaintiffs and the memory of their loved ones lost at Sandy Hook.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Texas Librarian Fired For Defying Abbott’s Book Purge

On March 9, the Kingsland Branch Library in Llano County, Texas, lost a librarian. Suzette Baker told KXAN that she was fired for not complying with top-down directives to remove books from the library’s shelves. The termination letter sited Baker “for creating a disturbance, insubordination, violation of policies and failure to follow instructions.”

“The books in my library in Kingsland were not taken off the shelves, we did not move them, I told my boss that was censorship,” Baker told KXAN. One of the books that was deemed “inappropriate” and/or “pornographic” was a biography depicting the life of a woman “growing up as a transgendered teenager and obviously this group thought that was too much for their children to read.” Of course, as Baker and others have pointed out, no one is making your kids read anything. More importantly, public libraries are all about the freedom of information.

This is not the first time the Llano County library is in the news. Back in December, the library was closed for three days after a handful of harmful challenges to the library’s catalogue made by concerned racists, homophobes, and transphobes led a conservative judge to order a review of the materials in question. The Texas Library Association’s Wendy Woodland explained the historic push for censorship to the Texas Tribune back in December. “A library may get one or two [book challenges] in two years, or some librarians have never had challenges,” Woodland said. “So this is very rare and very unusual and different from the way challenges have been brought forth in the past.”Leila Green Little is incensed by the Kingsland Library’s firing of Becker, telling the local news that something has been rotten in Llano for some time now.

A patron of the library upset about the firing named Leila Green Little told KXAN changes at the county library have happened without transparency, pointing to library advisory board meetings being closed to the public. The library system's online reading service was also recently changed without notice, she said.
"I have now counted 12 books that I know have been removed from Llano County Library, and I can't get clarification from the library system on why," Little told KXAN. "There are very clear rules that should be followed with regards to censorship to books in the public library, those rules were not followed."

Suzette Baker, however, has become one of the first people to have her right to work taken away because of true governmental censorship. Not unlike our public schools, public libraries are some of the most important institutions for nurturing a healthy, democratic society. I can and will argue that the public library system is the single most important institution in our democracy in that anyone, of any background, of any economic situation, can access any and all information—both analog and digital—for free at their public library. It is no coincidence that the more conservative and fascistic elements our country have tried to crush public libraries for many years.

Texas’ censorship drive was accelerated by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s November push to have tons of books banned—especially ones that speak at all about race or have any LGBTQ content. The movement is supported by right-wing and conservative Christian think tanks trying to sanitize our country into something of an ethno-white theocracy; real dark-days kind of thinking. The general lists of books these groups are trying to ban from schools and now libraries are preoccupied with LGBTQ sexuality and the false-flag fear that children are turned gay by literature. Because these groups’ version of Christianity is also a white supremacist one, the banned titles tightly orbit the anti-racism “CRT” (critical race theory) books that conservatives are also trying to get banned.

All of these things come on the heels of challenges not seen since World War II-era Nazi Germany to books and the educational content available to American children. A Tennessee school board’s January banning of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, by Art Spiegelman, from its eighth-grade Holocaust curriculum was symbolic of this march toward fascism.

Suzette Baker explained to KXAN the foundational tenets of the freedom of information and the freedom of ideas. “It may not be my book, it may not be your book, but it could be someone else’s book and we have no right to take that book away from them,” she said. Conservative “free speech warriors” and “cancel culture” aficionados like Joe Rogan, Glenn Greenwald, and others have been too busy feeling like Hunter Biden’s laptop is proof that Fox News isn’t bad or something to worry about actual attacks on the freedom of ideas and speech, and how those affect the most important resource we have: our youth.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

‘Peoples Convoy’ D.C. Demo Permit Is Rejected By National Park Service

Truckers! Freedom! The open road! Something something vaccines and mandates and masks mean that truckers need to protest the indignity of public health measures that have been proven to mitigate the dangerous impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. What was an astro-turfed Canadian protest has now turned into a manufactured domestic one. Think Fox News’ immigrant caravans, but with mostly white people and actually dangerous.

On Wednesday news came out that the “People’s Convoy” had hit a hurdle in its movement as the National Park Service partially denied the overblown group’s request for a permit to turn the D.C. National Mall into a trucker encampment. Why they “partially denied” the request may have been due to some of the convoy’s lead organizer Brian Brase answers to their questions. The Daily Beast reports that when the Park Service asked Brase, “Do you have any reason to believe or any information indicating that any individual, group, or organization might seek to disrupt the activity for which this application is submitted?” Brase’s response of “Antifa” was not sufficient.

Oh, wait. There’s a lot more from these freedom fighters.

Brase also may have shot himself in the foot by overselling the convoy’s size, telling the Park Service he expects somewhere between “10,000 to 100,000” supporters to show up. Considering how small the trucker convoys have been thus far, even with media vampires like Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas trying to get attention for the make-it-up-while-we-go freedom statement thing, it’s hard to believe they would be able to muster half of the low end of that range. However, as NBC News’ Terry Bouton reported a few days ago, the success of the convoy is in the right-wing optics. Maybe Brase is thinking “10,000 to 100,000” hours of right-wing news coverage?

The far-right was well represented at the convoy. Members of white supremacist and anti-government groups that were at the center of the Capitol insurrection have been heavily involved in its planning. Erik Rohde, a national leader of Three Percenters, was a “consultant” to the "People’s Convoy." (In return the "People’s Convoy" official Telegram account urged supporters to donate to a protest march on the Washington state capitol that Rohde was organizing). Three Percenter and Proud Boy Telegram channels have organized support and raised money for the "People’s Convoy." In Wisconsin, convoy organizers called on the Oath Keepers to provide security.

Maybe it’s something else that they’re working on? The Daily Beast reports that while being denied a permit didn’t figure into a Tuesday night meeting, talking about the vagaries of what the hell they’re trying to accomplish did come up. In fact, here’s how The Daily Beast explained it: “organizer Mike Landis said that while the prospect of ‘tear[ing] the fence down at the White House and hang[ing] politicians’ was ‘extremely enticing,’ he added that isn’t ‘why we are here.’” Why are they there again?

No word on that yet.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Kinzinger Blasts Trump As ‘Worst President Ever’ In Wide-Ranging Interview

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois has already said he will not seek another term in the House—though he has left open the possibility of returning to political office at some point in the future. A big part of this play is that Kinzinger, along with neo-conservatives like Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), are battling to regain control over a political party now inundated with more flagrantly corrupt, more flagrantly authoritarian, and more flagrantly incompetent officials like Sen. Josh Hawley and Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) ascending to prominence. There was a time when people who acted and spoke like Louie Gohmert weren’t the majority.

As a result, Kinzinger and Cheney have been censured by the Republican Party for their participation in the single most important investigation of an attempted coup d’etat in recent memory. Kinzinger has hit the media circuit to make the case for democracy. Speaking on CNN and MSNBC in interviews on Monday, Kinzinger slammed everyone from Donald Trump to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Unlike other anti-MAGA, anti-Big Lie conservatives, Kinzinger isn’t running for office and has decided he is going to hit his fellow Republicans where it hurts: with the truth.

On CNN, Kinzinger spoke about having a newborn son at home and the world he hopes his son grows up in, and whether or not his son would be proud of his decisions in the past year. Asked what he will tell his son about Donald Trump when he’s older, Kinzinger was simple but to the point: ”I will tell him he is the worst president the United States ever had. He was a liar and a charlatan, and he was the most fragile ego I ever met.“ The truth meter is pretty high on that statement. Whether or not Trump is the worst president in U.S. history is definitely debatable, but he is easily one of the worst presidents in our country’s history.

But Kinzinger’s continued appeal to the decency of his fellow Republicans has fallen on deaf ears, it seems. Kinzinger lamented this while also trying to remind everyone of how important a moment in our history as a country this all is. As such, Kinzinger hopes and believes there will be a reckoning. “I want them to know how they voted on January 6. In five or 10 years, it will be hard to explain if you're not on the side of the truth.”

On Sunday Morning Joe over at MSNBC, Kinzinger was asked about his off-the-record conversations with Republicans who claim to agree with him that Trump and others pushing the Big Lie are wrong. Kinzinger’s response was telling. He first said that the GOP officials he imagined he was being asked about weren’t the people he’s spoken to in his party that are “crazy.”

From there he said he hears a lot of rationalizing over campaign fears. “I just have to win my primary because trust me, the guy I'm running against is really bad.” Kinzinger points out that this isn’t much of an excuse, saying: “At some point you have to stand up.” Kinzinger says he sometimes receives pushback from officials telling him that they know how to do their job and that they’re more of “the local person,” whatever that bit of BS is supposed to mean to them. Kinzinger says when he hears this kind of thing, he realizes that his “friends” don’t have a “red line they won’t cross,” and that this isn’t sufficient in a fight for our democracy. “Silence is complicity.”

When McCarthy and his censure of Cheney and Kinzinger is brought up, the Illinois representative is withering in his description of the minority leader: “He is the weakest leader, frankly, that has ever existed in that position.”

After taking a shot at the Donald’s fragility, Kinzinger goes on: "I don't get the hurt feelings that Donald Trump gets on a daily basis.” He then made one of his most important points: The January 6 committee is nonpartisan by nature of what it is investigating, and any attack on the committee as simply partisan is disrespectful to what a working democracy should look like.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER: This is not the left wing against the right wing. This is authoritarianism—you can call it even moments of fascism—against democracy. And even as bad as the violence was over the summer during the riots, that at no point threatened the self-governance of the United States like the self-governance of the United States was threatened on January 6. There is no false equivalence, no matter how much the victim and hurt feelings king Donald Trump likes to say.

On the one hand, Cheney and Kinzinger are 100 percent right in the pursuit of the truth of what happened, who knew what, and who was planning what on that day. Rightly, Cheney and Kinzinger have pointed to the need for the Republican Party writ large to take a stance against the tyranny people like Donald Trump represent. On the other hand, considering their moves against things like voting rights, it is hard not to look at some of their animosity towards their fellow Republicans with a healthy amount of cynicism. But the stakes are so high at this point it is a good thing that they are on the side of punishing January 6 conspirators.

Kinzinger's statement to Republican voters and Republican officials is something I think everyone can support: “This is a defining moment in American politics and the RNC’s future. Are you for authoritarianism, are you against democracy, or are you going to wake up to that slide and come back to actual democracy again?”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Fox News' Lara Logan Gets Dropped By Agent After Disgusting Attack On Dr. Fauci

Former CBS war correspondent Lara Logan continues her descent into MAGAness. Recently, Logan has been creating a “documentary” series for Fox News’ streaming service Fox Nation, called “Lara Logan Has No Agenda.” She has also been appearing on Fox News over the past couple of months, promoting the show’s agenda (while lacking any sense of the inherent irony) to make sure that everyone knows Lara Logan can stick her foot in her mouth at will.

On Tuesday, Mediaite reported that Logan was dropped by the entertainment agency UTA. In fact, UTA seems to have released Logan “several weeks ago,” according to their chief communications officer Seth Oster. This has led most internet sleuths to speculate that Lara Logan’s assertion On Fox News back in November 2021—that Dr. Anthony Fauci “represents Joseph Mengele,” the infamous Nazi torturer—may mark the starting date for the end of UTA’s relationship with the former journalist.

Of course, maybe UTA stuck with Logan for the 48 hours following this abhorrent comparison, where she first blocked the Auschwitz Museum, tweeted out a conspiracy theory that HIV didn’t cause AIDS, and reiterated that people around the world believe Dr. Fauci is comparable to “Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who did experiments on Jews during the Second World War and in the concentration camps.”

The ‘HIV does not lead to AIDS’ conspiracy theory is one that began a long time ago and, like similar anti-vaxxer misinformation, concludes that the drugs that were first used to treat HIV in patients is really what killed everybody who had HIV.

Which was accompanied by this:

Why are we only hearing about this now? Probably because UTA, having weathered Logan’s bad-faith “reporting” for at least a year already, didn’t want anyone to know they ever had a working relationship with her.

Logan’s fall from grace began after CBS’s 60 Minutes first suspended her and subsequently parted ways with the reporter over a false investigative story concerning the failures of the U.S. government regarding the incident in Benghazi. Having been proven to actually be one of those reporters promoting “fake news,” the ultra-right wing of the country has now welcomed Logan into their arms as a “no-agenda” journo, telling it like it is.

As Variety points out, Logan did an interview in 2019 where she claimed the world news media was mostly liberal, while also preemptively saying, “This interview is professional suicide for me.” Of course it wasn’t, and in less than a year, Logan was on Fox News telling the frightened audiences about how China, Iran, and maybe even Russia were funding the antifa protesters that were coming for white people’s suburban homes.

Sadly, saying Dr. Fauci is the same as Nazi Josef Mengele, filing false investigative reports, and promoting easily debunked and well-documented lies will not end her career as a pretend legitimate right-wing “news” source. Fox News has yet to respond to news outlets’ queries over the matter, and no disciplinary action has been taken to date.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos

Trump’s European Golf Courses Have Lost Over $100 Million

Here’s a feel-good story for the beginning of 2022! Forbes reports that even though the golf industry has seen a boom during the pandemic, Donald Trump’s European golf interests have tanked to the tune of $100-plus million. It’s almost like the guy who has reportedly squandered hundreds of millions of unearned capitol numerous times over the last five decades continues to be terrible at everything he does.

It is almost a talent to be as bad at business as Donald Trump is. You could probably run an organization better by making binary decisions using a goldfish’s location in a fishbowl. According to Forbes, the issue for Trump is that his golf courses in Europe are tied to large-scale resorts, and so while tee times increased at golf courses all over the world, people booking “resort” time decreased sharply—you know, global pandemic and all that.

One of the shiniest objects on the list is Trump’s money pit investment in the Turnberry golf resort in Scotland. Turnberry was reportedly purchased for more than $60 million back in 2014. Trump then poured upwards of 200 million into the place and has only taken one loss after another. Turnberry under Trump has yet to do anything but bleed money, and the pandemic—and even “a $3.2 million Covid-related grant through the British government,” did not stop them from losing $4.7 million in the last year and a half. Since taking over the resort, Turnberry has lost almost $70 million.

In fact, all of Trump’s golf resorts throughout Europe have consistently taken losses every year leading up to the pandemic. The pandemic doesn’t seemed to have done much of anything to change the trajectory of what was clearly a bad investment by a bad business man. That, of course, is if Trump’s plan was to actually do business in the first place.

The most money Trump’s gold resorts seem to have made over the past few years were directly connected to Trump spending about a third of his entire presidency playing golf. Secret Service, diplomats, and dignitaries have to sleep somewhere—and ride around in golf carts.

Back in 2018, The New Yorker ran a story by Adam Davidson that asked a lot of questions about Donald Trump’s move of borrowing large loans and flipping places to spending tons of “his” own “cash” on real estate projects like Turnberry. As Davidson writes, organized crime and other criminal entities like to launder money by way of throwing down cash on real estate. Golf courses offer up large laundering options. Are the losses Trump’s European properties taking Trump’s losses, or just a part of doing the business of being the single most obviously corrupt elected official of the last few years? Hard to say.

Maybe Trump’s previous bankruptcy judge secretly left the Trump organization with a treasure map into the dragon Smaug’s Lonely Mountain?

Article reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Texas Gov. Abbott Begs Biden For Covid Bailout After Making Pandemic Worse

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Republicans across the board have done everything they can to not work productively on a course of action that might succeed in protecting the public and controlling the spread of the virus. The first step, led by the incompetent Trump administration, was to deny the serious nature of the pandemic. The second step was to blame China for the pandemic while both denying the seriousness of the event and not doing anything about it. The third step was to maintain that the virus, which has taken almost 1 million American lives—and claimed the lives of countless others due to the stresses on our health care infrastructure—was not serious, and any attempts at mitigating its spread through public policy were an affront to Americans’ constitutional rights.

Some of the guiltiest purveyors of misinformation and deadly public policy are the Republican officials in Texas. Whether it is Sen. Ted Cruz and his blindingly sociopathic hypocrisy, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s alternate race-baiting and declaration that grandparents should sacrifice their lives for capitalism, or Gov. Greg Abbott suing the Biden administration to stop the enactment of mask mandates, Texas Republicans have invited the fourth COVID surge in the form of the omicron variant into their state. Of course, people like Abbott are utterly shameless. He has alternated between telling the federal government to stop overreaching, and using his office to completely overreach on behalf of spreading COVID-19.

Guess who wants big government to step in and bail him out now? You get one guess.

On New Year’s Eve, Abbott asked the Biden administration to help open more COVID-19 testing sites in the Lone Star State, as well as more shipments of monoclonal antibody treatments. He needs these because, as in many other areas of the country, the virus is surging once again. Places like Texas are in more serious need of these treatments as hospitalizations and severe cases are also surging in the state. Abbott, who has rarely promoted vaccinations but was an early booster receiver, tested positive for the virus this past August.

You would think this might change a person’s mind. You would be wrong. The second most populated state in the union only has a 56.9 percent rate of full vaccination. That low rate is in no small part due to Texas leadership. In October, instead of working on getting testing facilities up and running and vaccines into arms, Abbott and other state GOP officials were maskless and down at the border creating racist, anti-immigrant political theater. The anti-science public policy politics played by the GOP in the state have led to sad examples of what happens when elected officials do not care about their constituents.

The news that Texas was in COVID-related trouble came around the same time that Patrick, who has also attacked mask mandates and stay-at-home policies, began having symptoms [that] were mild.” Patrick announced on Monday that he recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Abbott, who is now begging for a bail-out, is trying to make it sound like the Biden administration is to blame for his bad policies and the previous administration’s incompetence. You might remember that in June 2020, the Trump administration stopped funding seven coronavirus testing sites even as both Democratic and Republican representatives asked that the sites continue being funded. You know which Republican didn’t fight the Trump administration’s decision? You guessed it.

"The good news is there is a strategy that will supplant and actually be superior to that strategy [that] we will be announcing soon," Abbott told KTVT-TV in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Pressed for a timeline, Abbott said the announcement would come "hopefully within a week."

Abbott’s New Year's Eve declaration thatThe State of Texas is urging the federal government to step up in this fight and provide the resources necessary to help protect Texans” rings a tad hollow.

Here’s a link to Abbott’s executive order “prohibiting vaccine mandates.” That was in October.

Article reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Emails: Tucker Carlson Asked Hunter Biden To Get His Son Into College

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

During the run-up to the November election between President Joe Biden and the former guy, Fox News and other conservative propaganda machines went back to the only playbook the Republican party has used for decades—scandal mud-slinging. Having not spent the last 30-plus years building a boogieman out of Joe Biden (as they had with Hillary Clinton), the Hail-Mary attempt at tilting public opinion away from Biden was to push a scandal surrounding the reported finding of a laptop belonging to the soon-to-be President’s son.

Hunter Biden, who has had a long and well documented history of addiction issues and a complicated divorce, gave the right wing rags the promise of just enough seediness to mix with the implication of some vague whiff of impropriety on the part of Joe Biden during his tenure as Vice President next to Barack Obama.

It was all hot garbage, and most of what was leaked showed a man with a lot of problems and messiness, guilty and shame, recovery and stumbling. One of the most vociferous sounds to rise out of the right wing cacophony machine was Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. It wasn’t a surprise as Carlson has shown himself to be willing to do and say anything in the service of libertarian and right wing nihilism, as long as he maintains power and financial support.

Guess what? Weird story: According to Vice and the Daily Mail, wacky former Trump conspiracy theorist, Lin Wood—who has been attacking everybody and everything not named Lin Wood—claims to have access to and has posted all kinds of screen-grabs. Those screen-grabs purport to be correspondence between Hunter Biden and Tucker Carlson. If real, and they have not yet been verified, they show a very close buddy buddy-type relationship between two pretty wealthy guys. In fact, Tucker seems to have asked Hunter to write a college recommendation letter for his son, Buckley.

The correspondence seems to cover a period of their friendship between 2014 and 2016. Here’s the exchange where Tucker “can't thank you enough for writing that letter to Georgetown on Buckley's behalf. So nice of you. I know it'll help. Hope you're great and we can all get dinner soon.” Buckley ended up going to another college and graduating about a year before Tucker made the baseless claim that Hunter Biden had ‘kiddie porn’ on his computer? No good deed and all.

Another email exchange surrounds the sad period of the dissolution of Hunter Biden’s marriage. At one point the DailyMail itself wrote up in its most scandalous prose, about the possibility that Hunter Biden was involved in an extra-marital affair. Biden contacted Tucker. Tucker seems to have attempted to intervene on Biden’s behalf, writing “This whole thing is disgusting and awful and it breaks my heart that you all have to go through it. I'm really sorry. Let me know if there's anything [Carlson's wife] Susie and I can do to help.”

In the final days before the election, Tucker Carlson teased out a long-awaited explosive interview, where he would produce all kinds of proofs revealed through the Hunter Biden laptop showing that Joe Biden had used his office as Vice President in an inappropriate manner. Then Carlson shockingly (not shockingly) claimed his treasure trove of Hunter Biden secrets had mysteriously disappeared. Maybe it was the deep state? Maybe he read the fine print and saw that the treasure trove of secrets he was sitting on were mostly about how close a buddy he was with the man whom he now smeared in the name of Donald Trump.

Sandy Hook Families Win Lawsuit Against Alex Jones In Default Ruling

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On Monday, after months of hemming and hawing and delays generated by Infowars snake oil salesman Alex Jones, a judge in Waterbury, Connecticut, has ruled that Jones is liable to the families of eight people killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school mass shooting. In a "sweeping victory," Jones and his Infowars company will be liable for knowingly spreading misinformation in order to profit from it at the expense of the families of dead children.

With Monday's ruling, in addition to rulings in Texas courts over the past year, Jones is now on the hook to the families of ten people killed that terrible 2012 day in Newtown, Connecticut. After weeks of obstruction by way of delays on the part of Jones and his legal team, Judge Barbara Bellis defaulted Jones for a "failure to produce critical material information that the plaintiffs needed to prove their claims." The next hearing Jones will face will be to discuss what he owes these families in restitution.

The defamation lawsuits were filed in 2018 after years and years of Jones' profiting off the promotion of evidence-free conspiracy theories, including the grotesque delusion that the families and others seen on the press forced to speak to the public about the endless agony of losing loved ones were "crisis actors," not real parents. As a result of these heinous misinformation campaigns to generate conspiracy-theory dollars, the families of dead children have been subjected to death threats and the like over the years since the mass shooting.

Jones has tried to walk back his hours and hours of comments and false speculation. He has also attempted to obstruct discovery attempts by the families to reveal just how much money he made profiting off of their misery. It is the latter delays that led Bellis to default Jones' case. Jones' defense has called Bellis biased, but then again Bellis isn't the only judge to say the exact same thing about Jones and his attempts to obfuscate the issues being litigated in these civil trials.

The families will now bring their victories to a jury that will decide on the damages. Showing the jury video of Jones terrorizing kids and their mothers in service of immigration xenophobia will likely not be permissible in court, but you can remind yourself of the craven theater lows Jones and his conmen ilk peddle in here.

Having a judge default your case is not common and will most likely lead to an appeal on those grounds by Jones, Infowars, and their legal team. Like most things ultra conservative these days, the whining that many on the right have traditionally done about how our legal system is being abused is a projection of their own decrepitude.

Capitol Police Officer Arrested For Aiding January 6 Rioter

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On Friday, U.S. Capitol Police officer Michael A. Riley was arrested and indicted on obstruction of justice charges connected to the January 6 insurrection. The Associated Press reports that the 50-year-old Riley is accused of "tipping off someone who participated in the riot by telling them to remove posts from Facebook that had showed the person inside the Capitol."

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