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Never Enough: Now Republicans Want to Censure Jayapal for Israel Comments

Republicans are not done attacking the progressive lawmaker for calling Israel as it is.

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Representative Pramila Jayapal

After passing an unequivocal pledge of fealty to Israel, Republicans still are not satisfied. On Thursday, three Republicans introduced a resolution censuring Representative Pramila Jayapal for calling Israel a racist state.

Republicans Andy Ogles, Randy Weber, and Jeff Duncan filed the lengthy resolution claiming Jayapal “has promoted antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiment through her congressional career.” Not once in their resolution did the Republicans name an instance of Jayapal saying anything negative about Jewish people, effectively conflating criticisms of Israel with criticisms of Jewish people (which is antisemitic).

Note too, this comes from the party that has not taken any similar action toward one of its own, George Santos—a serial liar, a man who made up a fake charity for a veteran’s dying dog only to then steal all the money, and someone who has pretended to be Jewish. Nor has this party taken any action about its leading presidential candidate of eight years dining with one of the most vicious and loud antisemites in the country.

The resolution follows an ongoing drama displaying the American government’s resolute support for a state committing massive human rights violations, and its instinctive hostility toward anyone who questions it.

Last week, Jayapal called Israel—a state that has committed decades of human rights abuses, engaged in land dispossession and home demolition, upheld separate systems of law, and maintained a militarized police state against Palestinians—a “racist state.”

She made the comments at the progressive Netroots Nation conference in Chicago, ahead of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress on Wednesday. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representatives Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Raul Grijalva, and Nydia Velasquez all boycotted said address—in similar fashion to members boycotting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States for his record on minority rights.

Republicans went on a full-throated offensive against Jayapal and her progressive colleagues, while ignoring actual vile antisemitism among their ranks. But Democrats too (including Democratic leaders Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, Pete Aguilar, and Ted Lieu) jumped in on attacking one of their own for echoing what an array of human rights organizations have already said.

All the tone-policing of Jayapal’s comments—and the continued little to no concern for Palestinians—led to the House this week voting overwhelmingly in support of a resolution that declared, “The State of Israel is not a racist or apartheid state” and assured, “The United States will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel.”

While Jayapal later walked back her comments—even before the House resolution—she still maintained her position that Israel has an “extreme right-wing government” that “has engaged in discriminatory and outright racist policies.” Organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have come to a similar conclusion, describing Israel’s actions as racist, abusive, and part of an apartheid system.

Republicans’ resolution to punish Jayapal cites Israel’s “unwavering willingness to work in good faith.”

Just days after Congress laid out the red carpet for Israel’s president—who once called Jewish intermarriage “a plague”—Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy, bringing the 2023 Palestinian death count to over 150.

Such good faith.

Hunter Biden Slams Marjorie Taylor Greene With Ethics Complaint Over Nude Photos

“None of her actions or statements could possibly be deemed to be part of any legitimate legislative activity.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene walks down a hallway
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Marjorie Taylor Greene

Hunter Biden has hit back at Marjorie Taylor Greene for showing everyone his nude photos, as his lawyer filed an ethics complaint against the Georgia Republican on Friday.

The House Oversight Committee heard testimony on Wednesday from two IRS agents who say the Department of Justice dragged its feet on investigating the younger Biden for tax fraud. The hearing produced zero actual evidence, so instead, Greene tried to claim that Biden engaged in sex trafficking and listed payments to sex workers as a tax write-off. To support her argument, she held up poster-size prints of Biden’s nude photos, which she later also shared on her email newsletter.

Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell sent a letter to the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics asking that Greene be investigated and penalized for her “outrageous, undignified conduct.”

“None of her actions or statements could possibly be deemed to be part of any legitimate legislative activity, as is clear from both the content of her statements and her conduct and the forums she uses to spew her unhinged rhetoric,” Lowell wrote.

“Rather than evaluate the credibility of the IRS agents’ testimony or review our tax laws, Ms. Greene sought to use the power of her office to generate some clicks online, fundraise, and provide sensationalist clips for Fox News at the expense of harassing and embarrassing Mr. Biden.”

Lowell previously urged the OCE to take action on Greene in April, accusing her of defaming Biden, spreading false allegations and conspiracy theories about him, and publishing his private photos and data. “If the OCE takes its responsibilities seriously, it will promptly and decisively condemn and discipline Ms. Greene for her latest actions,” he said in Friday’s letter.

The OCE is an independent agency that reviews allegations of misconduct against lawmakers and their staff. If necessary, the OCE will refer matters to the Ethics Committee—which is where Greene’s case could end up (and where investigations into George Santos still continue, nearly two months after he was federally indicted).

This isn’t the first time Republicans have shared Hunter’s nudes, but blowing them up on a poster for a congressional hearing is a new low. Not only was Greene’s decision to wave Biden’s nudes around wildly inappropriate—Oversight Chair James Comer did not reprimand her, though—but she may also have violated D.C. revenge porn law. City law prohibits knowingly disclosing one or more sexual images of an identified or identifiable person when the person in the photo did not consent to the image being shared.

What’s more, Greene may have sent the nudes to minors when she included them in her email newsletter. There is no screening for age when signing up for her newsletter, so any minors who subscribe have now received nudes from their congresswoman. If that is the case, then Greene could have broken federal laws banning the distribution of obscene material to minors.

Barbie Breaks Box Office Records as Conservatives Keep Whining About It

Conservatives are complaining that the movie is Communist and “anti-man.” But the people want to see it.

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Barbie actress Margot Robbie

The Barbie movie opened Friday, and it’s already breaking box office records—despite conservatives’ best efforts to bad-mouth the film as woke propaganda.

Barbie stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, who leave Barbie Land to explore the real world. The film has already made $22.3 million at the domestic box office from Thursday previews, the biggest preview haul this summer, blowing the previous record of $17.5 million (made by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in May) out of the water.

Barbie is anticipated to make as much as $140 million in its opening weekend alone, largely due to its incessant and ingenious marketing campaign. And people on the right have not stopped complaining about it.

Conservatives keep coming up with stupid reasons to hate the movie. They say that the movie is too “woke” for casting Hari Nef, a transgender actress, as Doctor Barbie. They have also blasted Simu Liu, who plays a Ken, for saying the film put “the final nail in the coffin of that very heteronormative idea of what gender is.”

Men have taken to Twitter to insist that Robbie is ugly with no makeup on and they would never deign to have sex with her. Representative Matt Gaetz and his wife went to the movie premiere, after which Ginger Gaetz declared the film highly skippable because it “neglects to address any notion of faith or family” and features “disappointingly low [testosterone] from Ken.” Other film critics have branded Barbie “anti-man.”

Other Republican lawmakers also waded into the fray by insisting the movie is Chinese Communist propaganda. In one scene in Barbie Land, a rough, hand-drawn map of the world can be seen in the background. The map includes the so-called nine-dash line, a much-disputed division of territory in the South China Sea.

China has used the nine-dash line to mark its controversial territorial claims in the South China Sea. Over the years, Beijing has tried to claim sovereignty over 90 percent of the region. Even though The Hague ruled in 2016 that China has no legal basis for its claims, the country has pressed on, building military installations on otherwise uninhabited islands in the sea.

Republicans insisted that the shot was a clear indication that Hollywood is in the Chinese Communist Party’s pocket and Barbie is just Communist propaganda. For those wondering, this is the shot in question:

Vietnam has banned the movie over the map, but the Philippines has decided to show it because the “cartoonish map” actually only shows a “make-believe journey” in Barbie Land (half of Asia is missing!).

Michael Cohen Forces Deal on Trump Org to Avoid Lawsuit

Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and longtime fixer has cut a deal with the organization.

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Michael Cohen is settling his three-year-old lawsuit against the Trump Organization, avoiding yet another trial on the former president’s docket that was set to commence Monday.

Cohen is a former personal attorney and longtime fixer for the twice-impeached, twice-indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former president (apparently not much fixing was done). He filed a lawsuit against the Trump Organization in 2019, alleging that the company reneged on agreements that it would pay for any attorney fees and costs arising from his work on its behalf. Cohen argues that the organization refused to meet its end of the deal after he turned on Trump. He alleged that he is owed some $1.3 million in unpaid legal fees.

The exact terms of the settlement have not yet been announced, but the Monday trial is indeed off.

Meanwhile, Trump still has an active lawsuit against Cohen in a Florida federal court, while Cohen is expected to be a key witness against Trump in New York State Court next year on the former president making hush-money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

“As far as Cohen is concerned, he’s convicted. He’s a liar. He’s defrauded at a high level. He’s got a lot of problems,” Trump said in 2019, after Cohen testified to Congress about his experience working for the former president.

Trump also faces a likely third and fourth indictment—one from the Justice Department for his role in the January 6 riots and efforts to overturn the 2020 election and another in Georgia, also for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which includes charges of racketeering.

This story has been updated.

Oops! Fox News Host Accidentally Makes the Case for Roe v. Wade on Air

Jesse Watters apparently believes in your body, your choice.

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Fox News host Jesse Watters

Fox News host Jesse Watters accidentally made a great case for abortion rights while trying to humiliate one of his co-hosts over vaccines.

Watters and his co-hosts of The Five on Thursday discussed Robert Kennedy Jr.’s congressional testimony from earlier in the day. Republicans had invited Kennedy to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on censorship and free speech—a move that Democrats slammed as wildly irresponsible.

During the show, host Jessica Tarlov (rightly) warned that Kennedy’s anti-vaccine and conspiracy-theorist stances were “dangerous,” which set Watters off.

“If he believes certain vaccines are dangerous, so what, Jessica? So what?” Watters demanded, before admitting that he vaccinated his own children on the advice of his pediatrician.

“It’s actually kind of weird that you’re so upset about what one Democrat thinks about vaccines!” Watters continued. “You can do whatever you want with your body; you can do whatever you want with your kid’s body; your doctor can decide with you what to do with your body. What does it have to do with RFK Jr.?”

“Thanks for advocating for Roe!” Tarlov replied.

Tarlov was of course referring to Roe v. Wade, the seminal Supreme Court decision that legalized the nationwide right to abortion—and that the newly conservative high court rolled back last year. Since then, Republicans across the country have rushed to restrict access to the procedure, shredding bodily autonomy for millions of people.

Watters’s rant perfectly encapsulates the right wing’s approach to individual rights. It’s your body, your choice, until you try to do something they disagree with, such as get an abortion or give a transgender person gender-affirming care.

Ron DeSantis Wants to Sue Bud Light, As His Campaign Keeps Tanking

DeSantis’s campaign is tanking, and this is what he comes up with.

Ron DeSantis
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Ron DeSantis

On Thursday night, Ron DeSantis announced his brave move to launch a state-led inquiry into Bud Light, for … making a sponsored Instagram video.

“We believe that when you take your eye off the ball like that,” DeSantis said on Jesse Watters’s show on Fox, while appearing to perhaps be holding in a burp, “you’re not following your fiduciary duty to do the best you can for your shareholders. So we’re going to be launching an inquiry about Bud Light and InBev. And it could be something that leads to a derivative lawsuit filed on behalf of the shareholders of the Florida pension fund.”

And DeSantis has delivered, announcing in a letter Friday that he is calling for an investigation into AB InBev (the parent company of Bud Light) “regarding their Bud Light marketing campaign,” referring to the company’s single simple sponsored video with the massively famous actress and influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who is also trans.

The Florida governor and presidential candidate’s letter blames the company for falling stock prices, and potentially harming Florida pension fund shareholders, because of the 45-second sponsorship ad—a video that was perfectly fine and did no harm until DeSantis and his allies made it a problem. (So if anyone is to blame for shareholders’ financial loss, they could probably have just as meritable a case against DeSantis himself.)

“At the end of the day, there’s gotta be penalties for when you put business aside to focus on your social agenda at the expense of hardworking people,” DeSantis continued on Watters’s show, ignoring that his own radical agenda has so far targeted millions of hardworking people in Florida and America.

Speaking of poor prioritization, while DeSantis has spent his time attacking LGBTQ people, immigrants, and “woke” companies, he’s welcoming the phosphate industry to pave Florida’s roads with the industry’s toxic waste; his constituents are exposed to some of the hottest temperatures on record; and insurance companies are fleeing his state en masse, thanks to the climate risk that Republicans have expressed no interest in mitigating.

Even fellow Republican Representative Greg Stuebe chimed in, responding to Florida’s insurance premiums soaring 206 percent since DeSantis took office. “The result of the state’s top elected official failing to focus on (and be present in) Florida,” Steube tweeted Thursday. “This is a major crisis for Floridians.”

Georgia Prosecutor to Give Donald Trump the Label He’s Deserved for Years: Racketeer

Indictment number four is coming for Trump.

Donald Trump, who has been indicted twice and expects to be indicted a third time any day now, is already staring down the barrel of his fourth indictment. And the latest one could include racketeering charges.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been investigating Trump for nearly two years over his role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. She is expected to start seeking indictments in a matter of weeks.

And one of those indictments could be a “sprawling” racketeering indictment, The Guardian reported Friday, citing two anonymous sources who were briefed on the pending charges. Willis apparently has enough evidence to show Trump had created an “enterprise,” according to state law.

Georgia’s racketeering statute requires a pattern of activity based on at least two “qualifying” crimes. Willis’s indictment will reportedly be predicated on charges of influencing witnesses and computer trespass.

It’s not clear what exactly those charges relate to, but influencing witnesses could refer to Trump’s phone calls begging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes—the exact amount needed to flip the state’s election results to Trump.

Computer trespass could include the breach of voting machines in Coffee County, which is a few hours south of Fulton. A group of pro-Trump people, paid by Trump’s then-lawyer Sidney Powell, accessed voting machines at the county’s election office. They copied sensitive data and uploaded them to a site for election deniers to access and use to try to prove the election had been rigged.

Coffee County is not in Fulton’s jurisdiction, but the racketeering charge would let prosecutors point to the data breach as part of a pattern of behavior to corruptly keep Trump in office.

Trump is scrambling to fend off the growing pile of indictments. Last week, he sought a new court order to essentially have the Georgia case thrown out. His legal team also argued to postpone the trial for how he handled classified documents until after the election. That trial date was just set for May 2024.

Trump Classified Docs Trial Set for May 2024—Smack in the Middle of Primary Season

This election is going to be a bumpy one.

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Donald Trump is going to trial. All the way in May of 2024.

The twice-impeached, twice-indicted, and liable for sexual abuse presidential candidate faces 37 criminal counts trial for allegedly seizing and mishandling top secret government documents. The counts make him the first former president to now also be federally indicted.

And Friday, Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge, announced that Trump will face trial on May 20, 2024 in the classified documents case.

The trial will likely take two weeks, meaning it will overlap with the primaries in Kentucky and Oregon. Several primaries will also take place immediately after the trial, in Washington, D.C., Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. The Republican National Convention is set for July 15, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Trump is reportedly already prepping for the convention, in case his nomination is blocked.)

While Trump had gone to efforts to push his trial till after the election, the date set by Cannon still lands at a time when Trump may very well have clinched the GOP nomination.

Though his opponents could use the looming trial as campaign fodder, most of his opponents have hesitated to attack the former president directly on any number of weak points: being impeached twice, losing the popular vote twice, potentially racking up to four indictments, being held liable for sexual abuse and defamation—or any of his previous criminality related to swindling Trump University attendees or evading taxes.

This story has been updated.

Republicans Release FBI Doc at Heart of Biden Bribery Claims—And It Shows Nothing

The unverified document does nothing but quote a Rudy Giuliani conspiracy theory.

Senator Chuck Grassley
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Senator Chuck Grassley

Senator Chuck Grassley on Thursday released the FBI report that Republicans claim proves the Bidens accepted bribes from Ukraine. But there’s just one problem: There’s still no evidence.

House Republicans have accused the Biden family of corruption for months but have been unable to provide any actual evidence linking President Joe Biden or his son Hunter to any wrongdoing. The GOP has repeatedly insisted that the just-released FBI document, which House members were initially allowed to see in June, proves the two men accepted bribes.

But this is an unverified form, and it relies on a Rudy Giuliani conspiracy theory.

Donald Trump and Giuliani, his personal attorney at the time, first pushed the conspiracy that the Biden family accepted a $10 million bribe to remove former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2016 to stop a probe into Hunter Biden’s role at the oil company Burisma Holdings. Several Republican lawmakers have since said that not only does the FBI’s FD 10-23 form mention this bribe but a Burisma executive has audio recordings of Biden and Hunter Biden accepting the money. Both Anna Paulina Luna and Marjorie Taylor Greene said in June that the executive is Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky.

Grassley has now released the form, which does mention that Zlochevsky made the initial bribery allegations. Republicans are celebrating the move, insisting it proves that the Bidens are guilty of corruption.

But the thing is, FD 10-23s are used to record unverified information. All this document does is confirm that someone said that Zlochesvky made the accusation. It doesn’t actually provide concrete proof. This claim has been repeatedly debunked by multiple State Department officials and intelligence experts on Russia and Ukraine. This week, even former Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said the theory has no merit, calling it a “wild goose chase.”

What’s more, the confidential human source, or CHS, admits in the same document that the information might not be true. The source told the FBI that it’s common for Ukrainian businessmen to “brag or show-off,” according to the document.

“As such, CHS is not able to provide any further opinion as to the veracity of Zlochevsky’s aforementioned statements,” the document concludes.

Zlochevsky himself has also said he never received any help from the Bidens. When asked by Politico in 2020 whether Biden had ever assisted Burisma while he was vice president, he said simply, “No.” Zlochevsky also said that “no one from Burisma ever had any contacts with VP Biden or people working for him” while Hunter was on the company board.

But Republicans, led by Comer, have insisted that Biden is guilty of corruption, despite repeatedly admitting that they have no evidence, they don’t know if their information is legitimate, and they don’t even really care if the accusations are accurate. Their star witness was also just charged with acting as a foreign agent and arms trafficking.

While Grassley may have scored major brownie points with his party by releasing the form, he also likely just landed himself in hot water with the FBI. The bureau last month warned House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, who has spearheaded the Biden investigation, that he was being too lax with security restrictions on the FD 10-23.

“We are concerned that Members disregarded the Committee’s agreement that information from the document should not be further disclosed,” the FBI said in a letter. “Several Committee Members publicized specific details regarding their recollection of confidential source reporting purportedly referenced in the document.”

“The conduct of some Committee Members during the June 8 review flagrantly disregarded our agreement and has the potential to cause grave harm.”

Libertarian Party Thinks It’s OK to Tweet at Black People About Picking Crops

The Libertarian Party compared slavery to affordable health care in an attack on former Ohio state Senator Nina Turner.

Former Ohio state Senator Nina Turner speaks at a podium
Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for MoveOn & Debt Collective
Former Ohio state Senator Nina Turner

The Libertarian Party is arguing that calling for insulin—a life-sustaining medicine for millions of people—to be free is “equally offensive” as slavery. And who prompted them to make the comparison? Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, who is Black.

On Tuesday, Turner tweeted, “Insulin should be free. Medicine should be free.” Certainly not a radical demand for lifesaving drugs, nor more broadly in the context of 73 other countries having free or universal health care. Nor when recalling that the average cost of insulin in the United States is nearly $100; the next closest is Chile, at a little over $20; the cost in the following 31 countries ranges from $2.64 to $16.48.

But instead of even remotely engaging with any of those facts, the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire tried something different.

“Nina Turner picking crops should be free,” the state party tweeted.

“‘Insulin should be free’ is equally offensive as calling for someone to be compelled to pick crops,” the party later added, after facing an initial wave of backlash. “They are the same moral statement, and we should react to them with identical moral abhorrence,” it continued, displaying the same intellectual rigor as a 15-year-old who just found a thesaurus and Jordan Peterson’s YouTube channel for the first time.

But it wasn’t just a rogue social media employee pushing the line.

“None of the things you advocate for are ‘free’. They require labor and materials which need to be compensated for,” the national Libertarian Party added. “Otherwise you are advocating for slavery. Hope this helps.”

“Being black does not give you a free pass to advocate for modern slavery, just with more steps.  You are not virtuous. You are covetous and evil under a veneer of respectability that would cause untold human dystopian misery,” tweeted Libertarian National Convention Secretary Caryn Ann Harlos. “Spare me your outrage.”

Was there any dredge of an actual claim to be recovered beneath it all? Harlos, in another tweet, seemed to distill some of the argument that “coercively taking a portion of nearly everyone’s labor is just more respectable slavery.”

Libertarianism tends toward a disbelief in the notion of a society, in the idea of individuals coming together to support each other in their shared, inexplicable journey on earth. But unless one proposes that everyone lives entirely separate lives, with no common bonds guaranteeing some solid standard of living—water or electricity access or transportation, for easy examples—a reasonable person ought to be able to engage in imagining what else might be part of a baseline standard of living. Like essential health care.

But with such disregard not only for the reality we are a part of but for the one that we could help create, libertarians have deluded themselves enough to make the ridiculous comparison between enslaved people being kidnapped, raped, whipped, compelled to work in the heat for hours on end and … a society that believes taxpayer dollars going toward lifesaving medicine is a good thing.