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Ohio Republicans Sneak in Sinister Change to Abortion Ballot Language

Republicans are betting their fearmongering will work when people read the new ballot language at the polls.

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Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose

Ohio Republicans are trying once more to thwart an amendment that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution, this time by amending the ballot initiative language to be more extreme.

The Ohio Ballot Board voted 32, along party lines, on Thursday to reject using the full text of the proposed amendment on the ballot in November. Instead, the ballot will have a summary of the proposal written by Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, using language such as “unborn child” instead of “fetus.” The summary also removes all mention that the amendment would protect non-abortion forms of reproductive health.

The full text of the amendment has not changed. The amendment would allow people to decide for themselves about all reproductive health, including abortion, contraception, fertility treatments, and miscarriage treatment. The state could only restrict abortion access after a doctor determines the fetus is viable or could survive outside the uterus. Even then, abortions can be performed if the patient’s health or life is at risk. The text also explicitly states that the state cannot “burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against” someone exercising their reproductive rights.

Still, the summary language is sure to sway some people at the polls. In addition to replacing the word “fetus” with “unborn child,” the summary also uses the phrase “pregnant person” instead of “pregnant woman” and refers to the procedures as “medical treatment” instead of a “decision.”

The new text makes two other crucial changes: First, it says that “citizens of the State of Ohio” cannot infringe upon reproductive rights, instead of the state, making it appear as if state officials could still intervene. The summary also says the amendment will “always allow an unborn child to be aborted at any stage of pregnancy, regardless of viability if, in the treating physician’s determination, the abortion is necessary to protect the pregnant woman’s life or health.” In doing so, the summary invokes the right-wing bogeyman of “late-term abortions,” a term designed to make it seem that pro-choice policies border on infanticide.

These changes are a clear attempt to make the amendment seem far more extreme and dangerous than it actually is. LaRose said the full amendment text will still be available at election boards and on posters at voting stations, but people will need to know to look or ask for this extra information. All they’ll have in the actual voting booth is LaRose’s summary.

Lauren Blauvelt, co-chair of Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, slammed the summary as “propaganda.” Even one of the Republican Ballot Board members, anti-abortion Senator Theresa Garavone, warned that the amendment’s true nature would now be “hidden behind overly broad language.”

But Blauvelt was confident that the pro-choice side would prevail in November. She may well be right. Republicans have already tried once—and failed spectacularly—to block the abortion amendment. Ohio voters in early August overwhelmingly rejected an amendment to raise the threshold for ballot initiatives to 60 percent of votes, which would have paved the way for minority rule in the state. What’s more, A USA Today Network/Suffolk University poll released in July found that 58 percent of Ohioans support enshrining abortion rights, while just 32 percent oppose it.

Poll: Most Americans Want Trump to Stand Trial Before Election

Most people—including independents—want a trial before November 2024. That’s just more bad news for Trump.

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An overwhelming majority of Americans believe Donald Trump should stand trial before the 2024 election, according to a new Politico Magazine/Ipsos poll published Friday.

Roughly three in five people, or 61 percent of poll respondents, think the federal trial on Trump’s attempt to overthrow the 2020 election should take place before the general election in November 2024.

The poll, which surveyed 1,032 Democratic, Republican, and independent adults, is more bad news for the Republican Party’s front-runner. Trump has thus far spun his indictments as a “witch hunt” and painted himself a victim, not a perpetrator. 

In the new poll, nearly 90 percent of Democrats want an early trial date for Trump, while a third of Republicans agree. But what’s really damning are the responses from independents, a group Trump sorely needs to secure the presidency.

Sixty-three percent of independents said Trump should stand trial before the general election, a sharp increase from the 48 percent who responded to a similar question Politico/Ipsos asked in June, following Trump’s indictment in the classified documents case. This shows that independent voters are taking Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election quite seriously.

There are other damning numbers for Trump as well. The poll found that a majority of Americans believe that the federal 2020 election subversion case was based on a fair evaluation of the evidence, including 64 percent of independents. Additionally, roughly one-third of independents said that a conviction in the Department of Justice’s election case would make them less likely to support Trump.

The poll also showed that about half of the country (51 percent) believes Trump is guilty in both the Justice Department’s case on the 2020 election and the case out of Fulton County, Georgia, on overturning that state’s election results. A slightly higher 52 percent of respondents believe Trump is guilty in the Justice Department’s classified documents case.

Sarah Palin Warns Civil War “Is Going to Happen” After Trump Arrest

This kind of rhetoric is beyond dangerous in a time of rising political violence.

Sarah Palin
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Sarah Palin has called for people to “rise up” and potentially start a civil war over Donald Trump’s arrest in Georgia.

Trump surrendered to authorities in the Peach State Thursday evening, marking the fourth time he has been indicted and arrested this year. He is charged with felony racketeering for trying to overthrow the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

Palin expressed her outraged (and outrageous) opinion during an interview with Newsmax Thursday night.

“Those who are conducting this travesty and creating this two-tiered system of justice, and I want to ask them, ‘What the heck? Do you want us to be in civil war?’ Because that’s what’s going to happen. We’re not going to keep putting up with this,” Palin told host Eric Bolling.

“And Eric, I like that you suggested that we need to get angry. We do need to rise up and take our country back.”

Palin is now at least the second prominent right-wing figure to casually throw the concept of civil war around this week. Trump opted to release an interview with Tucker Carlson on Wednesday instead of participating in the first Republican presidential debate. At one point, Carlson asked Trump if he believed the United States is headed for “civil war.”

Trump began reminiscing about the January 6 riot, saying there was “tremendous passion, and … tremendous love” in the crowd, as well as “such hatred of what they’ve done to our country.”

Republicans’ tacit condoning of violent attacks is dangerous. Political violence has been steadily increasing in recent years, and it can be directly traced back to this kind of rhetoric.

Donald Trump Becomes the First President Ever to Pose for a Mug Shot

Trump has been arrested four times, is facing 91 charges, and finally, we have a mug shot.

Fulton County Sheriff's Office/Getty Images

Donald Trump surrendered to authorities in Georgia on Thursday evening, marking the fourth time he has been indicted and arrested this year.

This time, he was treated like other criminal defendants.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office booked him as inmate number P01135809. He was also registered as being 6’3”,  215 pounds, and with “blond or strawberry” hair color.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s office also released a photo of Trump’s mug shot. Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat had promised earlier this month that the former president would get no special treatment and would have his mug shot taken.

And the list of alleged crimes is long: Trump has been charged with 13 criminal counts for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. He has also pleaded not guilty to dozens of other charges related to making hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate, and trying multiple times to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Here is a list of all 91 official charges he faces.

Georgia: 13 counts

1 count of racketeering

3 counts of solicitation of violation of oath by public officer

2 counts of false statements and writings

1 count of conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer

2 counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree

2 counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings

1 count of conspiracy to commit filing false documents

1 count of filing false documents

Washington: 4 counts

1 count of conspiracy to defraud the United States

1 count of conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding

1 count of obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding

1 count of conspiracy against the right to vote

Florida: 40 counts

32 counts of willful retention of national defense information

1 count of conspiracy to obstruct justice

1 count of withholding a document or record

1 count of corruptly concealing a document or record

1 count of concealing a document in a federal investigation

1 count of scheme to conceal

1 count of false statements and representations

1 count of altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object

1 count of corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating. or concealing a document, record, or other object

New York: 34 counts

34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree

Vivek Ramaswamy Is Trying to Use His Campaign to Dodge a Legal Battle

Sound familiar?

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Vivek Ramaswamy is trying to use his presidential campaign as an excuse to wiggle out of legal proceedings against him.

Ramaswamy was a board member of both Roivant Sciences, which he founded in 2014, and Sumitovant Biopharma until earlier this year. Sumitovant successfully negotiated to acquire Roivant subsidiary Myovant in October 2022. Under the deal, which was completed in March, Sumitovant agreed to pay $27 per share for all outstanding Myovant shares.

But soon after, the investment management firm Alpine Partners, a now-former Myovant shareholder, launched an appraisal rights lawsuit to determine that it and other shareholders had been fairly compensated for their stock. Alpine requested that Ramaswamy testify and provide materials about “how Sumitovant valued Myovant at the time of the merger and the negotiating process that led to the merger.” Alpine’s subpoena set Ramaswamy’s testimony for June 30; the filing also gave him a 30-day grace period to comply.

Ramaswamy responded on July 27, saying that he couldn’t possibly testify because he is too busy running for president.

“As a candidate for President of the United States, I must frequently travel across the United States to campaign, make speeches, give media interviews, and meet with voters,” he said in a court filing. “Consequently, I am often away from home, and when I am home it is often not until late in the evening after a full campaign day.”

“The subpoena request and resulting discovery would therefore constitute an undue burden and will materially affect my ability to run for higher office.”

Ramaswamy also insisted that he does not have “any material knowledge of the transaction that is the basis of the underlying Appraisal Proceeding.”

The judge has yet to rule on Ramaswamy’s motion. But Ramaswamy clearly thinks that he is above the law now that he is running for president.

Ramaswamy isn’t the only person using his campaign to avoid legal trouble. It seems he has taken the cue from Donald Trump, who is facing a mountain of lawsuits. He has repeatedly tried to set trial dates for well after the election, hoping that he will win and thus be immune from multiple cases.

DOJ Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against SpaceX, Cites Elon’s Own Tweet As Proof

The Justice Department is suing SpaceX for discriminating against refugees and asylees—and using the CEO’s own words as proof.

Nathan Laine/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Elon Musk’s reckless tweeting has once again come back to bite him.

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against SpaceX on Wednesday, alleging that the company discriminated against refugees and asylees. And it cited one of Musk’s own tweets as proof.

In June 2020, Musk tweeted that “US law requires at least a green card to be hired at SpaceX, as rockets are considered advanced weapons technology.”

The lawsuit lists this tweet as just one of a few public discriminatory statements that SpaceX’s CEO has made over the years. The lawsuit alleges that these public statements were intended to discourage refugees and asylees from applying to SpaceX. Those who did end up applying were not fairly considered, according to the lawsuit.

According to the suit, SpaceX repeatedly wrongly stated in job postings and public statements that the company could “only hire U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents” from at least September 2018 to May 2022.

The lawsuit also alleges that SpaceX “wrongly claimed” that U.S. export laws prevented it from hiring refugees and asylees. “Export control laws and regulations do not prohibit or restrict employers from hiring asylees and refugees; those laws treat asylees and refugees just like U.S. citizens,” the lawsuit says.

The investigation into discrimination was launched in May 2020 by the Department of Justice’s Immigrant and Employee Rights section, but was stalled significantly by SpaceX’s unwillingness to cooperate. SpaceX tried to slow down the DOJ’s investigation and only provided requested documents a full year after they were first requested.

Raffensperger Was Just Ordered to Testify Against Mark Meadows in Georgia

Donald Trump’s former chief of staff is facing a tough upcoming hearing.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Mark Meadows

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, one of the few Republicans to stand firm against Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud, was subpoenaed Thursday to testify in a hearing for one of Trump’s co-conspirators indicted in the Peach State.

Mark Meadows served as White House chief of staff at the end of Trump’s presidency. He was charged alongside Trump and 17 other co-defendants with felony racketeering for trying to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results. Meadows has requested to move his case to federal court, arguing that his job as a federal employee makes him immune to state charges. A district court judge will hear Meadows’s request on Monday.

The prosecuting attorney, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, issued a subpoena Thursday for Raffensperger to testify at the hearing. She also subpoenaed Frances Watson, the chief investigator into whether Georgia’s election results were fraudulent. They were not.

Potential testimony from Raffensperger and Watson does not bode well for Meadows. Meadows organized and participated in the now-infamous phone call during which Trump begged Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes—the exact amount needed to flip the state’s election results to Trump.

But Raffensperger refused to cave then, and he has since resolutely maintained that his state’s election results are legitimate. “The most basic principles of a strong democracy are accountability and respect for the Constitution and rule of law,” he said after Willis issued the indictment. “You either have it, or you don’t.”

Meadows also traveled to Georgia in December 2020 and tried to watch ballots being audited for potential fraud. Watson was one of multiple people to whom Meadows spoke and who stopped him from entering the place where the audit was being carried out.

The indictment says that Meadows arranged a call between Trump and Watson, during which Trump insisted he had won the election and told Watson, “When the right answer comes out you’ll be praised.” The document also alleges that Meadows texted Watson asking her if it was possible to “speed up” the audit so that it would be completed before Congress certified the election results.

A Top Israeli Official Finally Admitted the Truth About Justice in Israel

Finally, the truth about Israel’s two-tiered system of justice

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir

A top Israeli official has admitted that Israeli rights take priority over the rights of Palestinians.

Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir confessed on Wednesday that he believes his family’s rights are more important than the freedom of movement for Palestinians in the West Bank—exposing the truth of the two-tiered system of justice.

“Sorry Mohammad, but that’s just the reality,” Ben-Gvir told journalist Mohammad Magadli on Channel 12 News. “My right, the right of my wife and my children to move around Judea and Samaria is more important than freedom of movement for the Arabs,” he added, using another name for the occupied West Bank.

Ben-Gvir’s entitled statement came after Magadli asked him about violent crime and terrorism and the Israeli government’s failure to address it.

This isn’t the first time Ben-Givir has expressed anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab views: He has been convicted of eight charges for inciting racism and supporting Kach, a right-wing anti-Palestinian terrorist organization in Israel.

Donald Trump Spent the Republican Debate Musing About Civil War

Asked about civil war in an interview with Tucker Carlson, Trump began to fondly recall the January 6 insurrection.

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Rather than debate his fellow Republican presidential candidates, Donald Trump appeared to condone civil war during an interview with Tucker Carlson.

Trump did not attend the first Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night. Instead, he released a pretaped interview with Carlson designed to steal the spotlight from the other candidates (and Fox News). At one point, Carlson asked Trump if he believed the United States is headed for “civil war.”

“There’s tremendous passion, and there’s tremendous love,” Trump said, before launching into praise for the people who rioted on January 6. He also lied that he had told the mob to go “peacefully and patriotically.”

“People in that crowd said it was the most beautiful day they’ve ever experienced. There was love in that crowd, there was love and unity. I have never seen such spirit, and such passion, and such love. And I’ve also never seen simultaneously and from the same people such hatred of what they’ve done to our country.”

Trump has now tacitly condoned civil war by portraying his supporters’ feelings as “passion” instead of “sedition.” This isn’t the first time that Trump appears to have encouraged violence among his followers. He notoriously told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during the September 2020 presidential debate. And many of the people who participated in the January 6 insurrection said they did so because Trump had issued a call to arms.

Trump spent the rest of the interview attacking his Republican opponents, whining about all of the indictments against him, and warning people about the dangers of mosquitos.

Trump Crowns Vivek Ramaswamy the Debate Winner … for Praising Him

Vivek Ramaswamy loves lavishing praise on Donald Trump, who he’s supposedly running against.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Vivek Ramaswamy went out of his way to suck up to Donald Trump during the first Republican presidential debate, and it seems to have worked.

Trump praised Ramaswamy’s performance in a Truth Social post early Thursday morning and included a clip of Ramaswamy calling Trump, “the best president of the twenty-first century.”   

In the post, Trump expressed his pleasure with Ramaswamy. “This answer gave Vivek Ramaswamy a big WIN in the debate because of a thing called TRUTH. Thank you Vivek!” Trump wrote.

Ramaswamy snagging the Trump-bestowed title of winner has only fanned the flames of speculation around whether Ramaswamy is only running to secure a spot as Trump’s running mate in 2024.

During the debate, when the candidates were asked whether they would support Trump as a nominee even if he were convicted, Ramaswamy was the first to shoot his hand in the air, while other candidates seemed a little more hesitant. Still, seven of the eight Republican candidates ultimately raised their hands, showing just how much power Trump still has over the Republican Party.  

Trump has of course not yet made any formal indication of whom he would consider as his pick for vice president if he does snag the nomination, which it currently seems like he will. If Ramaswamy isn’t tapped by Trump, all of his cringy flattery, 9/11 denying, and conspiracy-theory spreading may have been for nothing.

Either way, how do Trump’s boots taste, Vivek?