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Vivek Ramaswamy Calls to Take Away Young People’s Right to Vote

The Republican presidential candidate made the suggestion while saying he wants to outright ban birthright citizenship.

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy

Vivek Ramaswamy wants to end birthright citizenship—a longstanding American policy codified in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution—and take away young people’s right to vote, all in one fell swoop.

The presidential candidate made the call Thursday night on CNN, after being asked about his opponents, Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump, vowing to end birthright citizenship. “For a period of time, I think it’s going to be necessary,” Ramaswamy said.

But the young gun was not satisfied just being in agreement with the leading duo in the Republican race-to-the-repressive-bottom.

“I’ll actually go one step further on this, Abby, is that I don’t think someone just because they’re born in this country, even if they’re a sixth generation American should automatically enjoy all the privileges of citizenship until they’ve actually earned it,” Ramaswamy told CNN’s Abby Phillip. “So one of the things I’ve said is that every high school student who graduates from high school should have to pass the same civics test that every immigrant has to pass in order to become a citizen of this country.”

Surveys in the past have shown that most people would likely fail a basic multiple choice citizenship test; one survey found just 36 percent of respondents actually passing such a test. And given Republicans’ all-out assault on public school education, it’s unclear what their plan would be to up those numbers.

After publishing, Ramaswamy senior adviser Tricia McLaughlin said the proposal refers “to civic duty voting via constitutional amendment.” According to Ramaswamy’s website, this would mean raising the voting age to 25, while still generously “allowing all Americans to vote at age 18” only if they serve at least six months in the military or as a first responder, or pass the citizenship test.

Yet another successful pair of Republican talking points: seizing the right to vote from young people, and forcing people to join a military that has used trillions of American dollars to wreak carnage across the world, and leave its foot soldiers out to dry upon their return.

Anyhow, Ramaswamy’s brilliant proposal to seemingly strip citizenship from so many Americans came after Phillip noted that both of Ramaswamy’s parents are immigrants, and so birthright citizenship “was in play” for him when he became a citizen.

Yet, instead of making the citizenship process easier to navigate, Ramaswamy instead wants to make it harder for anyone to be a citizen. More than that, the presidential candidate’s formulation lays out tiers of citizenship—a matrix in which, until one passes this test, they would be a second-class citizen. While this country already treats scores of people—immigrants, LGBTQ people, laborers, the homeless, and young people—as such, Ramaswamy thinks that unfair treatment should be legally bound.

Oklahoma Superintendent Brazenly Claims Tulsa Race Massacre Was Not About Race

The teaching of Black history in public schools is under serious threat.

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Reverend Jesse Jackson views a Black Wall Street poster board alongside community residents during commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre on May 31, 2021, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma’s far-right superintendent of public instruction thinks that schools should teach students about the Tulsa race massacre, so long as teachers don’t actually acknowledge that the white supremacist attack was about race.

Ryan Walters took office in January, and prior to that, he served as the state’s secretary of education. Walters is anti–“critical race theory,” a Republican bogeyman used to attack critical thought about racial justice. Last month, he called for schools to promote Christianity in the classroom—including by displaying the Ten Commandments—as well as “Western heritage,” which many scholars recognize as coded language for white supremacist ideology.

Walters held a public forum Thursday night, during which someone asked him how teaching about the Tulsa race massacre doesn’t violate his ban on CRT. “I would never tell a kid that because of your race, because of the color of your skin, or your gender or anything like that, you are less of a person or are inherently racist,” Walters said.

“That doesn’t mean you don’t judge the actions of individuals. Oh, you can. Absolutely, historically, you should. ‘This was right. This was wrong. They did this for this reason.’ But to say it was inherent in that because of their skin is where I say that is critical race theory. You’re saying that race defines a person.”

In case it wasn’t obvious by the event name alone, the Tulsa race massacre was unequivocally about race. In 1921, mobs of armed white vigilantes razed the Greenwood District in Tulsa, a thriving Black neighborhood known as Black Wall Street.

The attackers, some of whom had been deputized and armed by city officials, murdered Black residents and destroyed homes and businesses over the course of two days. The massacre is considered one of the worst incidents of racially motivated violence in U.S. history.

The rest of the forum went pretty terribly for Walters. Attendees loudly mocked him and his policies. One pointed out the irony of holding the forum in a public library after pushing book bans. He was also called out for his opposition to teachers unions.

The Bidenomics Winning Streak Continues: 209,000 Jobs Added

The economy is proving harder to push into recession than the Fed thought.

Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Bidenomics continued its underacknowledged winning streak in June by creating 209,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported this morning, led by hiring by government, health care, “social assistance” (childcare workers, social workers, home eldercare aides, etc.), and construction. Unemployment ticked down from 3.7 to 3.6 percent (although seasonally adjusted, it’s the same as May).

The job-creation number was somewhat less robust than the 240,000 predicted by a team of experts surveyed by Dow Jones. But even that was a sort of triumph, because by the insane rules of economics reporting too much job creation constitutes a catastrophically tempting invitation for the Federal Reserve to jack up interest rates. Even so, stock futures fell this morning in response to the good news.

Everybody should calm the hell down. Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s June meeting, released earlier this week, showed, to absolutely nobody’s surprise, that the Fed intends to keep raising rates. What today’s job numbers show is that the Biden economy is proving much harder to push into recession than the Fed reckoned on. I’d like to tell you why, but I don’t know. Nobody does. But the bottom-line reality check: That is very good news.

Did Jamaal Bowman Just Do the Greatest RFK Jr. Subtweet?

The New York representative seems to have called out Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on his pathetic weight lifting video.

Representive Jamaal Bowman
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Representive Jamaal Bowman

The House of Reps caucus continues to grow.

On Thursday morning, Representative Jamaal Bowman posted a video to Twitter bench-pressing 405 pounds for three repetitions.

“Be sure to always center your health and well-being as we fight to save democracy and humanity,” the New York representative tweeted. The caption seemed to be a reference to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s interesting video posted last week, in which the presidential candidate squeezed out non–fully extended pushups and 115 pound incline bench presses while donning only a pair of blue jeans.

While Bowman has not shied away from posting videos of himself lifting weights in the past, the most recent video seemed directed at Kennedy and any individuals who view the anti-vaxxer’s muscles as reason to trust him as an authority on health and wellness. The presidential candidate has projected himself as being health-centered in a way that other politicians are not (though Kennedy and his fans readily compare him to Biden, but not to Trump or DeSantis, curiously).

Bowman’s video gestures toward what is obvious: Being physically active is not tied to one strain of politics. You can lift weights and be needlessly contrarian against vaccines, like RFK Jr. You could also lift heavier weights and embrace the rigorous scientific method that helped create such world-changing vaccines in the first place.

A fair chunk of people hailing Kennedy’s candidacy do so on the grounds of his big muscles, or his apparent willingness to stand up against the establishment. He looks healthier than other politicians. He questions their authority. He’s against the grain. He’s a free-thinking, anti-establishment maverick. In “manosphere” terms, Kennedy is perceived as an “alpha.”

No politician warrants unconditional praise or fandom. But if anyone does warrant intrigue or admiration for being a maverick who also happens to lift a lot of weight, perhaps RFK Jr. fans could mull things over. After all, Bowman—a school principal who ousted a 32-year career politician and has bothered conservative and liberal power interests alike while advocating for anti-war, pro-worker, and pro–green energy policies—might be higher up on the list than a guy whose main character trait is spreading flimsy arguments against giving people medicine for life-threatening diseases.

Elon Musk’s Twitter Threatens to Sue Meta as Rival Threads App Takes Off

Elon Musk vs. Mark Zuckerberg: Round 1

Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk split-screen
Drew Angerer/Getty Images Chesnot/Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk

Months after Musk laid off most of Twitter’s staff, he is now suing Meta, accusing the competing social media giant of poaching former Twitter employees so it could create a “copycat” site.

On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta launched Threads—a companion app to Instagram that is indeed similar to Twitter and many other competitor apps like Bluesky, Mastodon, and Post. But while the others have launched with little fanfare, Meta’s Threads has not, with more than 30 million users having already registered. And thus Twitter took immediate action.

Hours after Threads’ launch, Twitter lawyer Alex Spiro issued a letter to Zuckerberg threatening to sue, accusing Meta of “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and intellectual property.”

Spiro accused Meta of hiring former Twitter employees who have access to “highly confidential” Twitter information and trade secrets, as well as company documents and electronic devices, and who apparently have ongoing obligations to Twitter. Meta “deliberately assigned these employers to develop, in a matter of months, Meta’s copycat ‘Threads’ app,” the letter claimed.

Twitter demanded Meta stop the apparent poaching and trade-secret exploitation operation or face legal action.

“Competition is fine, cheating is not,” Musk tweeted about the legal threat Thursday.

Meta’s response to the letter was curt: “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee—that’s just not a thing.”

The legal action comes after Musk repeatedly expressed nonchalance and snideness toward the competing app.

It’s unclear what “ongoing obligations” former Twitter employees would have to the company, especially if they were among the thousands victim to Musk’s mass layoffs.

“I would like to apologize for firing these geniuses,” Musk tweeted in November, in response to a report about him firing employees who were critical of him. “Their immense talent will no doubt be of great use elsewhere.”

Beyond competing in the digital world, the bumbling billionaires are said to also be gearing up to duke it out in a cage match.

MTG Has Been Officially Kicked Out of the Right-Wing Freedom Caucus

Marjorie Taylor Greene and her conspiracy theories are apparently no longer radical enough for the Freedom Caucus.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) holds up a poster of a Twitter announcement of suspending her account during a congressional hearing.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has officially been booted from the House Freedom Caucus for not being far-right enough.

The House of Representatives’ furthest right contingent was seriously considering ejecting her for some time, and the caucus finally voted last Friday on whether or not Greene could stay. But it was not clear at the time what the vote result was.

Well, it’s official: the QAnon-loving, conspiracy theory-spouting, potentially sedition-encouraging congresswoman is out of the Freedom Caucus, Politico’s Olivia Beavers reported Thursday. Maryland Republican Andy Harris described the vote to Beavers as an “appropriate action.”

This is the first time the Freedom Caucus has kicked out one of its own. Harris said the reason for Greene’s ouster was primarily because “the way she referred to a fellow member was probably not the way we expect our members to refer to other fellow, especially female, members.”

He was likely referring to when Greene called her former work bestie Lauren Boebert a “little bitch” on the House floor. Greene accused her colleague of copying her articles of impeachment against Joe Biden—and then introducing them first.

But Harris also said that another factor in voting Greene out was her decision to diverge from the Freedom Caucus on supporting House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Greene seemed unbothered by the vote result, insisting in a statement, “My America First credentials, guided by my Christian faith, are forged in steel, seared into my character, and will never change.”

“I fight every single day in the halls of congress against the hate-America Democrats, who are trying to destroy this country,” she said, contradictorily adding, “I will work with ANYONE who wants to secure our border, protect our children inside the womb and after they are born, end the forever foreign wars, and do the work to save this country.”

The first signs of a rift began after Republicans took control of the House, following the 2022 midterms. Greene was vocal in backing McCarthy’s bid for speakership. She remained a staunch ally during the agonizing 15 votes for the gavel in January, despite her fellow Freedom Caucus members nominating seemingly any- and everyone to oppose McCarthy. At one point, Greene even called Donald Trump, handing the phone to other Republicans on the House floor to try to convince them to back McCarthy.

Since then, Greene has been welcomed by more establishment Republicans, receiving a seat on key committees including Oversight and Homeland Security. She also backed the debt ceiling deal, which Freedom Caucus members vehemently opposed. So while she may not need the Freedom Caucus anymore, the vote is still a stunning example of how Republicans are all too willing to eat their own.

This article has been updated.

You Just Lived Through the Three Hottest Days on Earth—and More Is Coming

Experts predict things will only get worse from here.

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
A passenger plane is landing during sunset in San Francisco as a heat wave overtook California on June 30, 2023.

What’s difficult about living through history is you often don’t know the magnitude of it all until it’s over. But at this rate, things being “over” might mean us not being around to look back at it at all.

In this particular case of living through history, Earth just logged the hottest global temperature ever recorded three days in a row—and perhaps the hottest it’s been in some 125,000 years. The earliest-known human use of symbols dates to around the same time.

On Monday, the average global temperature reached 62.62 degrees Fahrenheit (17.01 degrees Celsius). On Tuesday, it went even higher, reaching 62.94 degrees Fahrenheit. And that number continued to climb into Wednesday.

Those numbers come after June was already the hottest month on record—and experts predict things will only get worse.

The temperatures recorded over the last week, from the University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer, are the highest in the tool’s 44-year history. The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service has since confirmed that Monday and Tuesday’s temperature readings broke the records in its own data, which spans back even further, to 1940.

Data collected from tree rings, ice cores, coral reefs, and other sources strongly suggests that the temperatures are indeed the hottest in more than 100 millennia.

“These data tell us that it hasn’t been this warm since at least 125,000 years ago,” Paulo Ceppi, climate scientist at London’s Grantham Institute, told The Washington Post.

Jennifer Francis, senior scientist at Woodwell Climate Research Center, affirmed Ceppi’s claim, saying the records were likely the warmest in “at least 100,00 years.”

The heat is part of an ongoing and increasing threat. Copernicus said Thursday that last month was the hottest June since its records begun. “The month was the warmest June globally … exceeding June 2019—the previous record—by a substantial margin,” the organization said.

This extreme heat is partially caused by a regular El Niño weather pattern, which is helping temperatures to surge across the globe. But the skyrocketing temperatures are also thanks to human fossil fuel use and excess carbon emissions. Measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere averaged a whopping 424 parts per million in May—yet another historic peak in a steady climb scientists have recorded for decades.

It cannot be overstated how very real the misery of climate change is. The impacts are being felt worldwide; if you haven’t felt them, you can just ask a longtime resident of virtually any city what the weather was like years ago versus today. But the effects, of course, are much more than people needing to tug at their collar a bit more than before.

Seminole County, Florida, has already exceeded last year in the number of days it had to activate an emergency weather plan—something only initiated when the heat index is 108 degrees or higher. Texas and other Southern states have reached such dangerous levels repeatedly. On Tuesday, at least 57 million Americans were exposed to dangerous levels of heat.

In China, historic weeklong heat waves have scorched millions of residents; days inching toward 110 degrees have halted outdoor work, and initiated heatstroke and even crop-protection measures.

Parts of North Africa peaked up to 122 degrees, while Antarctica’s temperatures inched toward 50 degrees. Chari Vijayaraghavan, a polar explorer and educator who has visited the Arctic and Antarctic regularly for the past 10 years, told the Associated Press that global warming is obvious at both poles, existentially threatening the lives of wildlife like penguins.

By mid-June, at least 96 people in India had died from heat-related conditions—in just two of India’s 28 states.

With all that being said, the heat may only dial up, unless we make dramatic changes to how society runs and who gets to run it.

Robert Rohde, lead scientist at environmental data science organization Berkeley Earth, urges us to consider what it means for a record to break, and break again, and continue to stay at that record-breaking level. “We may well see a few even warmer days over the next six weeks.”

“We’re Ready to Fight”: January 6 Defendants Say Trump Called Them to Riot

A new report finds that many of those charged with attacking the Capitol on January 6 said they were just listening to Donald Trump’s orders.

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Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 200 people from across the country who were charged for participating in the January 6 riot have said they were responding to a callout by former President Donald Trump.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested for taking part in the insurrection. Thousands of people went to Washington, D.C., after Trump tweeted there would be a “big protest” and told people, “Be there.” On January 6, 2021, he spoke to the rally, which quickly turned into a deadly mob that swarmed the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results.

An investigation by the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, has found that 174 defendants explicitly said they were responding to Trump’s tweet when they descended on Washington. Of those people, 94 specifically said Trump’s speech to the crowd was what prompted them to storm the Capitol. These numbers could be even higher because they do not include people who participated in the riot but have not yet been arrested.

On December 19, 2020, Trump tweeted, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” Many of his supporters apparently interpreted the post as marching orders.

One defendant, Nicholas Languerand, tweeted a video of himself a few days later saying, “We’re picking up your messages, and we’re listening. We’re ready to do this thing. We’re ready to fight to defend our republic against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Trump’s fans also included members of the extremist groups the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.

Oath Keepers Florida leader Kelly Meggs said in a Facebook message, “He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild !!! Sir Yes Sir !!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your shit !!”

The group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, repeatedly called for the “violent overthrow” of the government. Rhodes was ultimately sentenced in May to 18 years in prison for seditious conspiracy, the longest sentence yet handed down in connection to January 6. Meggs was sentenced to 12.

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio coordinated with Trump ally Roger Stone and members of the pro-Trump Stop the Steal campaign to have members of his group attend the January 6 rally. He also worked with Rhodes on a “proposal to storm Congress.” Tarrio was convicted of seditious conspiracy in May, but he has not yet been sentenced.

When Trump addressed the crowd, he urged them to “walk down to the Capitol” and “fight like hell.” Soon after, the angry mob stormed the building. One rioter, Douglas Austin Jensen, later told investigators that Trump “got us all fired up to go to [the Capitol].”

Another defendant, Stephen Ayres, told the House committee investigating the insurrection that the only thing that got the crowd to finally disperse was Trump’s tweet telling them to “go home.”

The House January 6 committee has laid the blame for the riot squarely at Trump’s feet, recommending the Justice Department pursue him on four criminal charges. Special counsel Jack Smith is also currently investigating Trump for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election, including whether he incited the insurrection. But Trump seems to have no regrets.

You can read CREW’s full report here.

Eric Adams’s Staff Used Coffee to Create Fake Photo of Fallen Cop: Report

The mayor told the media about a cherished photo in his wallet, then made his staff create one to cover his tracks, according to The New York Times.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Congressman George Santos has gotten all the attention for being the liar extraordinaire of New York’s political scene, but Mayor Eric Adams is giving him a run for his money.

The New York Times reports that Adams has misled the media about a photo of a fallen police officer that the mayor suggested he’s been carrying in his wallet for decades. In fact, Adams allegedly instructed his staff to print the image after he first alluded to it last year, as a way of covering his tracks.

The deception began in January 2022, after two NYC cops were killed in action. Adams told reporters of another officer who had faced a similar fate in 1987: his friend Robert Venable. “I still think about Robert,” Adams said at a City Hall press conference. “I keep a picture of Robert in my wallet.”

A week later, Adams posed for a photograph for the Times, holding said photo. And he has repeated the story over and over since, even showing his apparently long-held photo of Venable at a Police Academy ceremony last year.

“I carry around a picture of Robert Venable, my close friend, that was shot several years ago during my early days of police, and I always have Robert’s picture,” Adams said on News 12 last April. “The pain never dissipates.”  

And apparently it’s all just a sham, the Times reports. According to close sources, Adams’s staffers were directed to produce the photo after the mayor’s news conference. They printed a black-and-white photo of Venable off of Google, and then made it look worn—even apparently splashing some coffee on it, to get that nice aged look.

“The Times’ efforts to attack the mayor here would be laughable if it were not so utterly offensive,” Adams spokesman Fabien Levy said in a statement on Wednesday, criticizing the newspaper’s reporting as part of a “campaign to paint the mayor as a liar.”

Levy did not, however, respond to any questions from the Times regarding the authenticity of the photo, or about whether it was manipulated to look older.

The tale adds to the long list of “contradictions,” as Politico calls them, or downright lies from Mayor Adams. He’s a self-proclaimed strict vegan who apparently also eats fish at high-end New York City restaurants. It wasn’t clear he actually lived in New York City when he running for mayor. He has said New York City schoolchildren “start their day going to the corner bodega buying cannabis and fentanyl,” and recently said that nearly half of the city’s hotel rooms were occupied by migrants, implying that asylum-seekers were hurting tourism.

And that’s just a taste of all the hyperbole or downright lies Adams has peddled—often for no apparent reason. “Stretching the truth in this context does question an elected official’s credibility, and that might be a problem for voters,” Betsy Gotbaum, executive director of Citizen Union, told the Times. “I don’t see why he does it. He doesn’t need to do it, so why does he do it?”

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Conservatives’ White House Cocaine Theories Are Getting More Absurd by the Day

Trump, Fox News, and other right-wingers are suspiciously motormouthed about the news.

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It’s Hunter’s. It’s Jack Smith’s. It’s laced with fentanyl. It’s something else entirely.

Republicans are pushing theory after theory about the cocaine found in the White House earlier this week—and each idea is more bananas than the last.

A small amount of a white, powdery substance—first feared to be anthrax and later identified as cocaine—was found over the weekend in a busy area of the West Wing that both staff and visitors have access to. The Secret Service is investigating, but an anonymous law enforcement official told Politico that it’s unlikely the drug’s owner will ever be identified, given how highly trafficked that area is.

That hasn’t stopped right-wingers from speculating. Many have sought to pin the cocaine on President Biden’s son Hunter. Biden “continues to have somebody with a history of drug addiction in the White House,” Republican California Representative Darrell Issa told Fox News on Wednesday. “It is not a small problem that we find cocaine after Hunter Biden has been in the White House.”

Many right-wing activists have also shared an undated video of Hunter Biden scratching his nose while standing on the White House balcony. They either rhetorically ask who the cocaine might belong to, or they claim the clip shows Hunter actively snorting cocaine.

Some people are casting a slightly wider net. Conservative commentator Dan Bongino did not try to explicitly blame Hunter, but he did insist that a member of the Biden family brought in the cocaine. “There’s absolutely ZERO chance anyone other than a family member brought that cocaine inside the White House complex. No chance that would make it past the mag/security checkpoints. Family bypasses those,” he tweeted Wednesday night.

Former President Donald Trump had a different theory: “Has Deranged Jack Smith, the crazy, Trump hating Special Prosecutor, been seen in the area of the COCAINE?” he demanded Wednesday on Truth Social. “He looks like a crackhead to me!”

Trump has repeatedly tried to smear Smith since he was appointed to investigate Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents and for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Fox News joined the reckless speculation race on Thursday, positing that the cocaine may have been laced with something more deadly. “We don’t know if there’s fentanyl in that cocaine too, that’s the problem,” Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade said Thursday morning, citing zero evidence.

“It’s scary!” former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany agreed. “This is a huge national security threat, and the press, well, they’re just laughing it off. But what would you expect?”

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