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Supreme Court Clears Way for Mountain Valley Pipeline, as Earth Reaches Hottest Temp

This is a blow to environmental groups everywhere.

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A Stop Mount Valley Pipeline rally in front of the White House on June 8

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that construction on the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline could continue, a huge win for Senator Joe Manchin and a blow to environmental groups.

Manchin had demanded that permits for the pipeline be included in the debt ceiling deal in exchange for his supporting the bill. Democrats agreed, infuriating environmental activists and politicians alike. Two separate appeals courts issued stays on the pipeline earlier this month, one of which determined that the pipeline would violate the Endangered Species Act.

But the Supreme Court agreed to lift the lower court orders and allow construction to continue. There were no public dissents, even from liberal justices, a rare occurrence on the politically divided bench.

The pipeline will run more than 300 miles from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia, possibly even into Northern California. It will carry fracked gas, which is proven to be the cause of surging global methane emissions—a major contributor to climate change.

But President Joe Biden has backed the pipeline, despite opposition from other Democrats. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who represents one of the regions that will be most affected by construction, was particularly furious that the pipeline was included in the debt bill instead of moving through the standard process.

The ruling also comes as states from coast to coast struggle with triple-digit temperatures. July is set to be the world’s hottest month on record.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers are not just burying their heads in the sand over the heat wave but actively plotting to undermine Biden’s environmental policy plans.

The GOP is blocking Biden from declaring a national emergency over climate change, introducing a bill that bars him from directing resources to address the life-threatening crisis. The House and Senate sponsors of the bill have received about $5 million from fossil fuel interests just over the past five years.

This story has been updated.

Raskin Demands Comer “Publicly Reprimand” Greene for Waving Around Hunter Biden Nudes

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s actions are turning the committee into “a 1970s-era dime store peep show,” the Democratic congressman warned.

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Representative Jamie Raskin is accusing House Oversight Chair James Comer of undermining the committee’s credibility by allowing Marjorie Taylor Greene to show Hunter Biden’s nude photos, saying the committee is being “reduced to the level of a 1970s-era dime store peep show.”

The House Oversight Committee heard testimony last week 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 posted on Twitter and shared in her email newsletter.

In a letter sent to Comer Wednesday evening, Raskin tore into his colleague for refusing to stop Greene during the hearing. Raskin asked Comer to publicly reprimand Greene and to establish new committee rules banning the display of “pornographic images” unless they are actually relevant to the case at hand.

“If Rep. Greene’s completely gratuitous and irrelevant display of pornographic images at our televised hearing does not violate the Congressional rules of decorum, then we have no rules of Congressional decorum,” Raskin said in the letter, which was obtained by The New Republic. “This type of display is a violation of House rules, and, as you yourself have recognized, also ‘counter to a credible investigation.’”

Raskin also called Comer out for repeatedly declining to condemn Greene’s actions. Instead, the official Oversight Republicans’ Twitter account shared Greene’s tweet, which included a video clip of her holding up the nude photos.

“These pictures were displayed across America for purely voyeuristic, sensationalistic, and sadistic purposes,” Raskin said in his letter. “Our Committee, which was once chaired by heroes of the public interest like Henry Waxman and Elijah Cummings, is rapidly being reduced to the level of a 1970s-era dime store peep show.”

“Your failure to halt Rep. Greene’s display of pornographic photography during Committee proceedings undermines the integrity of this Committee and the House of Representatives.”

Democrats moved earlier this week to censure Greene for a variety of offenses, including showing Biden’s nudes. The resolution also condemns Greene for calling Muslim members of Congress part of the “Jihad Squad” and for appearing at a white nationalist event.

“For me, censuring Rep. Taylor Greene is about the health of our democracy and faith in government. Her antisemitic, racist, transphobic rhetoric has no place in the House of Representatives,” said Representative Becca Balint, who introduced the measure Tuesday.

Biden has also hit back at Greene: His lawyer, Abbe Lowell, filed an ethics complaint against her on Friday, sending a letter to the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics asking that Greene be investigated and penalized for her “outrageous, undignified conduct.”

Republican Rep Torches McCarthy for Biden “Impeachment Theater”

The hard-line Republican had some choice words for Kevin McCarthy.

Representative Ken Buck speaks with a mic in front of him
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Representative Ken Buck

Republican Representative Ken Buck on Wednesday accused Kevin McCarthy of raising the idea of impeaching Joe Biden to distract the public.

McCarthy said this week that the Republicans’ (bogus) investigation of Biden was “rising to the level of impeachment inquiry,” despite previously calling attempts to impeach the president immature. The House Freedom Caucus, the GOP’s farthest-right wing, and other hard-line Republicans have been pushing the idea of impeachment proceedings for some time now.

But Buck, a member of the Freedom Caucus, is calling out McCarthy, saying that talking about impeachment right now is irresponsible. “This is impeachment theater,” the Colorado Republican told CNN’s Dana Bash. “We right now are starting the appropriations process, and there is not consensus on the Republican side about what the numbers should be.”

Buck pointed out that when McCarthy became House speaker, he had promised not to raise the debt ceiling. But he later struck a deal with Biden to do just that (after a Republican-manufactured crisis that brought the United States to the brink of default).

“What he’s doing is he’s saying, ‘There’s a shiny object over here, and we’re really going to focus on that. We just need to get all these things done so that we can focus on the shiny object,’” Buck said. “Most of us are concerned about spending.”

“I don’t think it’s responsible for us to talk about impeachment.”

Buck did say he supported the House Republicans’ (so far evidenceless) probe into the Biden family’s alleged wrongdoing, but he warned that talking about impeachment already could give Americans the wrong impression.

McCarthy escalated the investigation to a new level on Monday when he put impeachment on the table. Other Republicans have tried to impeach Biden before. Both Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert introduced articles of impeachment over Biden’s handling of immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border—a sore point that led to Greene calling Boebert a “little bitch” on the House floor.

When Boebert introduced her articles in June, McCarthy called the move premature and urged his fellow Republicans to oppose it. He reportedly told lawmakers that impeachment “strengthens Biden and weakens us.”

The Iconic Moment Sinéad O’Connor Was Banned From SNL for Calling Out the Pope

The Irish singer-songwriter has died at the age of 56, but she leaves behind a legacy of political activism.

Sinead O'Connor performs on stage
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Sinead O'Connor performs in 2014 in Dublin.

Sinéad O’Connor, the world-renowned Irish singer and songwriter, has died at the age of 56.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad,” her family said in a statement Wednesday. “Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”

No cause of death was disclosed. The news of her passing has set off a wave of tributes for the artist known not just for her rebellious anthems but for her political activism.

Perhaps her most iconic moment was in 1992, on Saturday Night Live. O’Connor, who was raised Catholic, was performing a version of Bob Marley’s “War.” She changed some of the lyrics to reference child abuse and then held up a picture of Pope John Paul II as she reached the final line: “We have confidence in the victory of good over evil.”

Then she ripped up the photo and said, simply, “Fight the real enemy.”

She later explained that she was criticizing pedophilia in the Catholic Church. SNL banned her.

“I’m not sorry I did it. It was brilliant,” she told The New York Times in 2021. “But it was very traumatizing. It was open season on treating me like a crazy bitch.”

“It seems to me that being a pop star is almost like being in a type of prison,” she added. “You have to be a good girl.”

O’Connor was vocal on many other issues. She refused to attend the 1991 Grammy Awards or even accept her win for Best Alternative Music Performance. Instead, she wrote an open letter to the Recording Academy in which she criticized the awards for being based on “false and destructive materialistic values” rather than actual artistic merit.

Two years before that, during a performance at the Grammys, she painted Public Enemy’s target logo on her head, in solidarity with the hip-hop group and other Black artists who were being ignored by the Recording Academy.

O’Connor’s debut album, 1987’s The Lion and the Cobra, was an  international success. But her next album in 1990, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, which featured the hit song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” turned her into a global sensation.

O’Connor’s teenage son Shane died by suicide last year. She is survived by her three other children: Jake, Roisin, and Yeshua.

What the Hell Just Happened to Mitch McConnell in This Press Conference?

The Senate minority leader appears to have just shut down.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was escorted away from the cameras during a news conference Wednesday, after he froze and appeared unable to continue speaking.

McConnell began the press conference but soon trailed off mid-sentence and stood frozen at the podium. Eventually, Senator Joni Ernst put her hand on McConnell’s shoulder and asked, “Are you good? Mitch?”

Senator John Barrasso also approached and quietly asked, “Are you OK, Mitch? Anything else you want to say, or should we just go back to your office?”

McConnell did not respond verbally, only turning and walking off to the side. Senator John Thune then stepped up to the podium to continue the briefing.

When McConnell returned to the podium a little later, CNN reporter Manu Raju asked him if his freezing up was “related to your injury from earlier this year, when you suffered a concussion?”

“No, I’m fine,” McConnell replied.

Raju was referring to March 8, when McConnell tripped and fell after an event in Washington. He was hospitalized with a concussion and discharged on March 13. McConnell then spent more than a week in a physical rehabilitation facility.

If his freezing up is related to that injury, then that’s perfectly normal. McConnell is 81 years old and suffered terrible physical harm—and his injury is common for many older Americans. It’s understandable that he might still be dealing with negative effects.

What is not understandable is his apparent decision to cling to power after suffering incapacitating physical harm. When asked during the press conference by The New Republic’s Pablo Manríquez whether he had someone in mind to replace him if (let’s be real, when) he steps down as Republican leader, McConnell glared, then smiled and walked away.

The situation is starting to look like that of Dianne Feinstein, who has refused to step down despite growing concerns that she is no longer mentally capable of governing. Both politicians are looking less and less able to keep up with the demands of their job—again, understandable!—but simply cannot bring themselves to walk away.

Republicans Eagerly Celebrate Hunter Biden’s Tax Plea Deal Falling Apart

Republicans’ obsession with Hunter Biden continues.

Hunter Biden
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Hunter Biden

Republicans on Wednesday are eagerly celebrating the last-minute collapse of Hunter Biden’s plea deal on tax evasion.

Biden agreed in June with Delaware federal prosecutors that he would plead guilty to two misdemeanors of tax evasion and admit to a gun violation. Under the terms, he would likely avoid jail if he stayed drug-free for two years. Since the announcement of the plea agreement, Republicans have complained that the deal is too soft.

Biden arrived at the Wilmington, Delaware, courthouse Wednesday to formally plead guilty, but Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika refused to accept the plea deal, saying that she would not “just rubber-stamp the agreement.”

As a result, Hunter Biden is pleading not guilty for the time being to the two tax misdemeanor charges.

The plea deal has not been outright rejected, but Noreika asked both sides to file additional briefs to further explain the agreement’s legal structure.

Still, Republicans have been quick to celebrate Biden’s downfall. “His attorneys shouldn’t have lied to the clerk of the court,” tweeted Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is so desperate to prove Biden committed tax fraud that she waved his nude photos around a congressional hearing.

Representative Mayra Flores tweeted simply:

Others on the right accused the entire Biden family of acting as foreign agents and failing to register as such under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. “The Biden Family cannot take CASH & DIAMONDS from China, Russia, and Ukraine without registering as foreign agents under FARA!” tweeted Representative Mary Miller.

Right-wing influencers like Jack Posobiec, Ian Miles Cheong, and Catturd all also celebrated the collapse of the deal.

This story has been updated.

Tommy Tuberville Takes Time Out From Wrecking the Military to Lie About Dad’s Military Record

The Republican senator threatening the military’s readiness has regularly lied about his father’s service during World War II.

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Senator Tommy Tuberville

When he’s not working to endanger national security, Tommy Tuberville is apparently lying about details of his dad’s military record.

The Alabama Republican has long praised his father’s record serving in World War II. But a new analysis by The Washington Post shows that the Senator may have made false claims about the extent of his father’s service.

Tuberville says his father lied about his birthday to enlist at age 16 and then went on to become a tank commander who earned five Bronze Stars, landed at Normandy Beach on D-Day, and drove a tank through Paris when U.S. forces freed the city from Nazi control. While there is no question that Tuberville’s father served in WWII, it is unlikely—and in some cases impossible—that he achieved everything else Tuberville brags about.

Charles Tuberville was born on July 16, 1925. His draft registration card shows he submitted it on July 16, 1943—his eighteenth birthday. His tombstone lists his highest rank as technician fifth grade (TEC 5). This rank indicates technical skills, not combat leadership. He reportedly was only a corporal, not a sergeant (the minimum rank to be a tank commander). While it is possible he could have filled in for a tank commander, it is unlikely that he was regularly in that position.

Charles Tuberville also did not earn five Bronze Stars. No after-action reports mention that he earned the award given for “heroic or meritorious achievement or service” in combat, nor is it mentioned on his tombstone or in his widow’s obituary. A photo of him shows that he earned five Bronze Service Stars, which show that a soldier was physically present during a particular military campaign.

It is also impossible for Charles Tuberville to have driven a tank through Paris on the day it was liberated. After-action reports for his tank battalion show they were about 90 miles away from the city at the time.

While it is possible that Charles Tuberville participated in D-Day, it’s unclear whether he actually did. He is only reported to have been overseas starting the day after D-Day, something that Tommy Tuberville has said himself.

It’s not surprising that Tommy Tuberville misrepresented parts of his father’s service record, because it makes the senator look more heroic by association. It also helps distract from his ongoing efforts to wreck the military’s readiness.

Tuberville has blocked hundreds of military promotions since March, in objection to the Defense Department’s policy of reimbursing travel costs for service members who need to travel for an abortion. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has warned that Tuberville’s blockade “harms America’s national security” and poses a “clear risk” to the military’s readiness.

Tuberville has actually done very little to support the military, despite his purported passion for the institution. During his campaign for Senate, Tuberville promised to donate “every dime I make when I’m in Washington, D.C.” to veterans in his home state. He has yet to do so.

He has also said that white nationalists are not racist and should be allowed to serve in the military, despite the fact that the very definition of white nationalism involves being racist and the Department of Defense has made great efforts to eradicate extremism from the ranks.

Vivek Ramaswamy Was Once a Libertarian Rapper

Here’s the (very embarrassing) footage.

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Before Vivek Ramaswamy wanted to become president of the United States, he wanted to become … a libertarian rapper.

Politico reported Wednesday that Ramaswamy, while an undergrad student at Harvard, had a side gig as “a libertarian-minded rap artist who went by the stage name ‘Da Vek.’”

The “anti-woke” candidate was especially inspired by Eminem, whose hit song “Lose Yourself” came out in 2002, just before Ramaswamy started at Harvard.

A friend provided footage of Ramaswamy’s performance of the song—and it is almost as bad as his presidential campaign.

Ramaswamy appears out of breath and raps offbeat for much of the cringey clip, which you can watch for yourself here, if you dare:

Ramaswamy regularly performed at Harvard open mics, and frequently chose to sing “Lose Yourself.” He also often tried out lyrics with “libertarian themes” in his performances.

“I saw myself, honestly, making it big through American capitalism, and that’s why the Eminem story spoke to me,” Ramaswamy told Politico.

He described finding inspiration in Eminem’s success, given his background.

“He’s growing up in the trailers, with a single mom, and he wants to make it. He’s going to use the moment to do it. He feels like he’s going to use the moment to do it, he seizes it and then he makes it happen, and I thought it was a pretty cool story,” said Ramaswamy, who is of Indian descent.

“I didn’t grow up in a trailer,” he added, “but I also didn’t grow up in the same circumstances that most of my peers at Harvard did, either. I aspired to achieve what many of their parents did. It kind of spoke to me, I would say.”

Ramaswamy conveniently ignored that Eminem has railed against Donald Trump’s politics, racism, and general morals. In a 2017 freestyle rap, Eminem made his views quite clear:

The rest of America stand up,

We love our military, and we love our country,

But we f---ing hate Trump.

Ramaswamy instead has gone in the opposite direction from his role model, sucking up to Trump every chance he gets, even while running against him. Ramaswamy has promised to pardon his 2024 rival and dismissed Trump’s encouragement of the January 6 attack as “not a crime.”

Giuliani Admits to Spewing Lies About Georgia Election Workers

The workers were targeted as part of a larger scheme to overthrow the presidential election.

Rudy Giuliani
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Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani has finally conceded to making “false” statements about two Georgia election workers, part of efforts to overturn the state’s presidential election results in 2020.

Giuliani, then acting as former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, for months accused election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss of election fraud. The man once known as “America’s mayor” insisted that security footage of the pair proved that thousands of ballots in Georgia were mishandled or sabotaged.

His claims have been widely and repeatedly disproven by both state and federal investigators, but Trump and his allies have held up Giuliani’s statements as evidence the 2020 election was rigged. Freeman and Moss sued Giuliani for defamation and told the House January 6 investigative committee that they have faced threats and experienced damage to their livelihoods as a result of Trump and Giuliani’s actions.

But in a Tuesday night court filing in the defamation case, Giuliani at long last conceded that his claims were “false”—although he worded his admission in a way to meet the barest minimum level of accountability.

“Defendant Giuliani made the statements of and concerning Plaintiffs … and he does not dispute for the purposes of this litigation, that the statements carry meaning that is defamatory,” the filing said.

“Defendant Giuliani, for the purposes of this litigation only, does not contest that, to the extent the statements were statements of fact and other wise actionable, such actionable factual statements were false.”

Giuliani seems to be slipping in his stance on the 2020 election. In addition to this concession, he also met in June with special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating Trump for mishandling classified documents and trying to overturn the election. The fact that the slavishly loyal Giuliani agreed to meet with Smith could be a sign he is about to—or has already—flipped on Trump. (Giuliani has denied flipping thus far.)

But Giuliani insisted in Tuesday’s filing that he only made the concession to move the lawsuit along and that he believes he still has legal defenses in the case that he intends to pursue. His adviser Ted Goodman said in a statement, “This is a legal issue, not a factual issue. Those out to smear the mayor are ignoring the fact that this stipulation is designed to get to the legal issues of the case.”

Giuliani is already under fire on multiple fronts, including in this defamation case. The presiding judge, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, threatened to sanction him over claims that he failed to preserve evidence related to the case.

Separately, Giuliani has been accused of promising to pay a woman a $1 million annual salary to be his aide but instead raping and abusing her for years. His accuser also alleges that Giuliani plotted to sell pardons to criminals. And earlier this month, a court panel called for Giuliani to be disbarred for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Right-Wingers ID Newest Biden Crime Family Member: His Dog

Here’s who’s behind the right’s latest obsession with the Biden family dog.

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Commander, President Joe Biden’s German shepherd

Hunter Biden will plead guilty today to tax evasion charges in a federal courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware. The right wing will go through its usual convulsions, but in the meantime, the intrepid Clouseaus of the American right have identified a new and even more feral member of “the Biden crime family”: their dog.

Here’s the cover of today’s New York Post:

Let’s give them half a style point for the cover language. It’s … funny. Sort of. But let’s also go over the backstory on why we know this isn’t.

First, the facts. Commander, Joe Biden’s 2-year-old German shepherd, has bitten several Secret Service agents since he took up residence at 1600 in December 2021. According to Politico: “Six incidents were significant bites that sometimes resulted in medical attention, two were aggressive incidents that did not result in a bite and another two were described as ‘playful’ or ‘friendly’ bites that did not require medical attention.”

That’s … troubling, we guess. And it is sort of weird that Commander is the second Biden German shepherd who has proven to be overly snappish: The first one, Major, bit enough people that he had to be shipped out of the White House to another residence.

So, as “news” is defined these days—sure, this is news. It involves the president of the United States.

But let’s ask: Why do we know this? We know it because of a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch. A FOIA request—about a dog! 

If you don’t know Judicial Watch, it’s the organization that, going back to the 1990s, FOIA’d every aspect of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s lives and filed lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit. Just before the  2016 election, The New York Times reported that Judicial Watch had 20 suits pending against Hillary Clinton. “The vast majority” of the group’s suits, wrote the Times, had been dismissed. The group’s founder, Larry Klayman, once sued his mother.

And now Judicial Watch has gone to the dogs. Maybe Commander should be transferred to the more capacious and less stressful atmosphere of Camp David or someplace. But at least Biden has a dog. Donald Trump, it is well known, hates them. No doubt Judicial Watch and its ideological brethren will turn that into a plus.