No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Supreme Court will soon release a potentially pivotal decision for LGBT rights
The Supreme Court is expected to release a decision in the coming days that could provide the first glimpses of how its 6-3 conservative majority will shape the future of LGBT rights.

The case, known as Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, No. 19-123, is a fight over a city policy that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation. Citing the policy, Philadelphia dropped a contract with a Roman Catholic foster agency that said its beliefs didn't allow it to certify same-sex couples for adoption. The agency, Catholic Social Services, brought a lawsuit alleging that Philadelphia violated its First Amendment religious rights.

The dispute was argued in November and a decision is expected before the court's term wraps up at the end of June, which also happens to be Pride Month, a historic time of celebration in the LGBT community. The Supreme Court is expected to release its next opinions on Tuesday, though it does not say in advance which ones are coming.

The coming decision could have broad ramifications that stretch beyond the approximately 6,000 children in foster care in Philadelphia. Lawyers who specialize in LGBT rights have argued that a broad ruling in favor of the adoption agency could also open the door to legalizing discrimination in other spheres where governments hire private contractors to provide public services.

More broadly, the case could provide significant clues about the direction the court will take in future LGBT rights cases. Since the mid-1990s, the nation's top court has gradually expanded protections for gays and lesbians, largely under the leadership of former Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired in 2018.

The nine-judge court currently has six Republican appointees, including three nominated by former President Donald Trump.

"This will be a bellwether for how the court, as it's currently comprised, will view these LGBT civil rights cases," said Marques Richeson, a partner at the law firm Squire Patton Boggs who worked on a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on behalf of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders.

"I definitely think that it's going to set a precedent that in the future either will work to our benefit, or potentially to our detriment, within LGBT communities," Richeson said.

Legal experts emphasize that Supreme Court decisions are often unpredictable, and that there are a range of possible outcomes with more nuance than which side wins or loses.
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Trump is telling people he thinks he'll be 'reinstated' as president in August, according to report
  • Former President Trump is reportedly floating another idea on unlawfully taking power.
  • Speaking with confidants, Trump has echoed a far-right conspiracy that he'll be "reinstated."
  • Pro-Trump personalities such as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell have pushed the baseless claim for months.
Former President Donald Trump has reportedly been telling people that he thinks he'll somehow return to the White House as sitting president by August, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.

Haberman, who broke some of the biggest stories from the Trump administration and has been covering him for decades, added that Trump has been "laser focused" on voting audits in states whose results he is still trying to overturn.

The anti-democratic conspiracy theory has been bubbling up in fringe conservative media for several months.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is one of the most prominent proponents of the theory, which has no basis under the Constitution or any legitimate legal framework.

Former Trump attorney Sydney Powell also floated the idea at a recent QAnon conference.

The anticipation of such an event among the most dedicated Trump supporters is similar to the buildup ahead of the January 6 insurrection, which began to gain steam during a nationwide pro-Trump bus tour calling for the 2020 election results to be overturned.

Out of dozens of lawsuits filed by Trump lawyers and other Republicans, none have resulted in a victory affirming any of their voter fraud claims.

In Lindell's telling, August would be when he would go to the Supreme Court to present evidence the pillow tycoon claims he acquired on January 9. Lindell says the evidence will be so convincing that the justices will be forced to reject the 2020 election results.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon's podcast has amplified the conspiracy theory, with Lindell and others going on the show to promote it with minimal pushback.

The Bannon podcast remains influential among GOP lawmakers hoping to avoid a primary challenge while seeking reelection.
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Republicans are putting America's democracy in mortal danger, more than 100 scholars warn
  • Over 100 democracy scholars warned the GOP is putting US democracy in mortal danger.
  • The scholars excoriated Republicans for rejecting the 2020 election results.
  • They also ripped into GOP-led efforts across the country to restrict voting access.
Republican efforts to restrict voting across the US are posing an existential threat to democracy in the US, over 100 scholars of democracy warned in a new statement released by the New America think tank on Tuesday.

"We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy who have watched the recent deterioration of US elections and liberal democracy with growing alarm," the statement said. "Specifically, we have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election."

The scholars said that the GOP-led initiatives "are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections."

"Our entire democracy is now at risk," the scholars warned. "History will judge what we do at this moment."

The professors, deans, and other scholars who signed the statement come from a range of universities across the US, including Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Duke, Stanford, and more.

Over the past several years and particularly since the fatal insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, top scholars have repeatedly stated that the GOP has morphed into a fundamentally anti-democratic party determined to win elections by any means.

Republican efforts to whitewash the events of January 6 and shield former President Donald Trump from blame for the riot have increased alarm in this regard. Trump provoked the deadly insurrection and was impeached as a result, but Republican leaders have continued to kowtow to the former president.

"Elected Republican leaders have had numerous opportunities to repudiate Trump and his 'Stop the Steal' crusade, which led to the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6," the scholars said in the new statement. "Each time, they have sidestepped the truth and enabled the lie to spread."

... The democracy scholars in the new statement on Tuesday condemned Republicans for rejecting the 2020 election results and for continuing to push for anti-democratic laws.

"These actions call into question whether the United States will remain a democracy," they said, referring to these recent actions as "a betrayal of our precious democratic heritage."

The scholars urged Congress to suspend the filibuster — and do whatever else is necessary — to pass national voting and election administration standards that would guarantee "the vote to all Americans equally, and prevent state legislatures from manipulating the rules in order to manufacture the result they want."
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Biden formally recognizes LGBTQ Pride Month, restarting a tradition that Trump abandoned
  • Biden officially recognized June as Pride Month on Tuesday.
  • The Trump administration neglected to officially declare Pride Month for the past four years.
  • Pride Month celebrates and support the LGBTQ+ community.
LGBTQ+ White House
President Joe Biden on Tuesday formally declared June as Pride Month and reiterated his pledge to defend the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in the US.

"This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice," Biden said in a presidential proclamation marking the beginning of Pride, a month commemorated with parades and festivities across the country in support of LGBTQ+ rights.

Biden's executive action on Tuesday marks a return to a president who officially recognizes Pride Month. For eight years, former President Barack Obama issued presidential proclamations for Pride. But former President Donald Trump halted the tradition when he took office.

The White House weighed in on the difference, saying in a statement that "after four years of relentless attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic actions to accelerate the march toward full LGBTQ+ equality."

Trump once recognized Pride Month in a tweet in 2019, yet he neglected to issue a presidential proclamation for Pride during his four years as commander-in-chief.

On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order calling on federal agencies to re-enforce protections for LGBTQ+ individuals and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in education, employment, healthcare, housing, and other areas.

A few days later, Biden reversed a Trump-era policy that largely banned transgender people from serving in the US military. "It's simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride," Biden said at the time.

The Biden administration last month also authorized US embassies to fly the Pride flag, repealing another Trump administration decision.

On Tuesday, Biden touted his administration's efforts to fight for the LGBTQ+ community and said he "will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law."

He called on Congress to approve the Equality Act, a bill that aims to expand civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. The House passed the legislation in February, but the Senate has yet to take it up.

Biden also acknowledged the "tragic levels of violence against transgender people, especially transgender women of color" and how several states have introduced "discriminatory" bills targeting trans athletes in schools.
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Pentagon reviewing policy that could open door to Pride flags being displayed at bases
The review comes as Pride Month is being celebrated throughout June. If changes are made to the current policy it could open the door to allowing the rainbow Pride flag to be displayed. But a senior defense official strongly cautioned no decisions have been made because any change could result in any number of cause-related flags and symbols being displayed on military installations. "This goes beyond the issue of the Pride flag," the official said.

"The truth is we haven't resolved it yet," the official said about any potential changes. The discussions involve Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's legal staff. Austin is aware of the matter, the official said.

The current policy, put in place last July by former Trump appointed Defense Secretary Mark Esper, was part of an effort to ban the display of the Confederate flag and other potential hate symbols on bases in the midst of last summer's racial tension.

But rescinding the limit could also lead to a host of other problems for the Pentagon, with defense officials privately cautioning that changing the policy could allow for other flags and depictions being displayed.

One potential way around that could be tailoring any policy change to apply specifically to the rainbow flag, a move the State Department made in April, when Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a blanket authorization for US diplomatic outposts to fly the rainbow flag on the same flagpole as the US flag at their embassy or consulate.

It's unclear whether any policy review by the Pentagon would address questions of whether Black Lives Matters flags would be allowed to be publicly displayed on bases.
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The Secret Service is reportedly spending nearly $35,000 to rent portable toilets at Trump's Bedminster golf club
  • Secret Service agents are reportedly spending nearly $35,000 to rent toilets at Trump's golf club.
  • Trump is spending the summer at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, Insider previously reported.
  • He previously charged Secret Service agents to use a room at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
The Secret Service is spending $34,140 to rent portable toilets in Bedminster, New Jersey, where former President Donald Trump is staying over the summer, according to federal data obtained by The Daily Beast.

The expense report reviewed by the news outlet says the rental bathroom trailers are from Imperial Restrooms of Saugerties, New York, cost about $8,500 a month, and will remain in Bedminster through September.

Trump, who spent his first few months out of the White House at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, plans to stay at his Bedminster golf club until the fall, Trump advisors told Insider in April.

The Washington Post reported in January that Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner did not allow their Secret Service detail to use any of the six bathrooms at the couple's home in the wealthy Kalorama neighborhood in Washington, DC.

The report said that since September 2017, taxpayers spent about $140,000 to rent a nearby basement studio apartment so the agents could use the bathroom.

While former US presidents enjoy Secret Service protections for the rest of their lives, it's uncommon for them to charge rent to their security details.

Since he left office, Trump has charged the US government at least $40,000 for Secret Service agents to use a single room at his Mar-a-Lago resort, The Washington Post reported.
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Arizona audit: Pennsylvania senator who bused protesters to US Capitol insurrection will receive tour of controversial GOP-led ballot-counting operation
  • Pennsylvania lawmakers who backed false claims of election fraud are visiting Arizona this week.
  • The delegation will tour the site of a controversial, partisan audit of the vote in Maricopa County.
A Pennsylvania lawmaker who spent thousands of dollars to bus protesters to the US Capitol on January 6 will be in Arizona this week to tour the site of a GOP-backed "audit" of the 2020 election.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano is part of a three-person "delegation" from Pennsylvania that will be meeting with fellow Republicans and those counting ballots in Maricopa County, which President Joe Biden won by more than 45,000 votes, a victory certified by local GOP elections officials who oppose the current audit.

As WHYY reported, Mastriano spent more than $3,300 in campaign funds to charter buses from Pennsylvania to Washington, DC, on the day of the insurrection at the US Capitol. Recently uncovered video shows Mastriano, a potential candidate for governor who has boasted of support from the former president, "breaching a police barricade" and walking on the lawn outside the building, according to Pennsylvania Spotlight.

Mastriano's visit was announced by the official Twitter account of the "Maricopa Arizona Audit," which was commissioned by Arizona Republicans in the state Senate and is being conducted by a private firm, Cyber Ninjas, whose founder last fall shared pro-Trump conspiracy theories about election fraud. The visit will include a tour and getting "a brief from the forensic audit team," according to the account.

The lawmaker will be accompanied by two other Pennsylvania Republicans: state Sen. Cris Dush and state Rep. Rob Kauffman. All three signed letters in January asking Congress to not certify Pennsylvania's election results.

The lawmakers' visit comes after the US Department of Justice expressed "concerns" that the partisan audit may be in breach of federal law. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, also recently urged local officials not to reuse any election equipment that has been in the hands of Cyber Ninjas, saying the integrity of the machines has been compromised — advice echoed by the US Department of Homeland Security.
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Trump Organization making a second attempt to sell its Washington, DC hotel lease, The Washington Post reports
  • The Trump Org. is trying to sell its DC hotel lease for a second time, according to The Washington Post.
  • The company first tried to unload the property in fall 2019 but took it off the market when COVID-19 hit.
  • The move comes as a New York investigation into Trump and his business heats up.
For a second time, the Trump Organization has hired a broker to sell the Pennsylvania Avenue hotel, after the pandemic hindered the first effort in fall 2019. The company took the property off the market after COVID-19 hit.

The Trump Organization has hired real estate advisory firm Newmark Group to market the property, which the company leases from the General Services Administration, according to The Post.

... When the company first tried to unload the lease, rooms were running almost half empty, The Post reported, and the property's revenue last year fell by more than 60%. The hotel continued to face financial setbacks, including the pandemic's impact on the luxury hospitality industry and ongoing damage to the former president's brand following the 2020 election and January 6 insurrection.
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Trump escapes FEC punishment for Karen McDougal hush money, but National Enquirer publisher pays settlement
  • The Federal Election Commission will let former President Donald Trump avoid any punishment for directing hush money payments to his alleged ex-mistress Karen McDougal.
  • But the publisher of The National Enquirer agreed to pay more than $187,500 for its role in the scandal.
  • The FEC likewise failed recently to approve a recommendation from staff that it sanction Trump for directing a $130,000 hush money payout to former porn star Stormy Daniels.
The company’s payment to the FEC came in response to a finding by the commission that AMI and Pecker had knowingly and willfully violated campaign finance law by making “prohibited corporate in-kind contributions” to Trump’s campaign with the payoff to McDougal.

Federal prosecutors have said, without actually naming Trump, that he directed Cohen to facilitate the payments to both women. Trump was never criminally prosecuted in the case.

“Trump masterminded this whole thing, and so far he’s walked,” Common Cause vice president of policy and litigation Paul Ryan said.

“Everyone who carried out his dirty work here, Cohen and AMI, paid penalties and did prison time.”

“It’s good news that the Federal Election Commission is holding the tabloid company AMI accountable for its illegal actions in the 2016 election,” Ryan added. “But it’s head-scratching that the mastermind of this criminal enterprise, Donald Trump, has still not been held accountable.”

Trump has denied having sex with either McDougal or Daniels. But he and his company reimbursed Cohen for his payment to Daniels.
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A Capitol Riot attendee is auctioning off signed photos of himself in Pelosi's office on January 6 to fundraise for his legal defense
  • Richard "Bigo" Barnett was photographed in Speaker Pelosi's office during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
  • Now, the Capitol riot attendee is sending supporters a signed version of the infamous photo to raise money.
  • A fundraising website in Barnett's name details is asking "patriotic" supporters to help fund his legal defense.
An Arkansas man arrested and charged in connection with the Capitol attack is offering a unique "token of his appreciation" to supporters who help financially support his legal defense fund.

Richard "Bigo" Barnett, a self-described white nationalist who posed for a now-infamous photo in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the January 6 insurrection, is offering an autographed version of the notorious photo in exchange for contributions of $100 or more, according to a "bigobarnett" fundraising website.

The site is called "Richard 'Bigo' Barnett Legal Defense Fund" and details "The Trial of Richard Barnett," and "The Fight for America's Soul." A section on the website dedicated to "Learn about the Man" says more information is coming soon.

Barnett was arrested in January and indicted on several federal charges, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building without lawful authority; and theft of public money, property, or records.
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Florida governor banned transgender girls from competing in girls' sports on first day of LGBTQ+ Pride Month
  • FL Gov. DeSantis signed a bill banning transgender girls from participating in girls' school sports.
  • The Fairness in Women's Sports Act designates teams "on the basis of students' biological sex at birth."
  • DeSantis signed the bill on the first day of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which celebrates the LGBTQ+ community.
The "Fairness in Women's Sports Act," which was introduced by GOP state Sen. Travis Hutson in February, designates teams "on the basis of students' biological sex at birth," meaning transgender girls whose birth certificate says "male" as their biological sex are not allowed to participate in girls' sports teams.

The law also expressly prohibits those whose "biological sex" on their birth certificate denotes male from participating in girls' sports, but those whose "biological sex" is noted as female can play in boys' sports.

... "Excluding transgender children from sports will exacerbate feelings of discrimination and severely impact their mental and physical health," Laura Stargel wrote in an op-ed published in the Orlando Sentinel.

"I played sports all throughout middle, high school and college," she added. "Not once did I stop to consider what gender my teammates were assigned at birth."

... "This is yet another hate-driven attack from the governor and Republican legislators, and it's insulting that they've staged this morning's photo-op on the first day of Pride Month," state Sen. Shevrin Jones said. "At the end of the day, transgender kids are just kids."

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who became Florida's first openly gay Latinx legislator, tweeted in response: "Appalling. First day of LGBTQ Pride Month and @GovRonDeSantis signs SB 1028 which bans trans kids from school sports."

"FHSAA has allowed trans kids to participate in FL since 2013 with ZERO problems," Smith continued. "This fuels transphobia and puts vulnerable kids at risk for no good reason."

The Senate passed the anti-transgender sports bill in April, and it initially had a deadline to be signed into law by DeSantis on June 12 — the same day as the five-year anniversary of the shooting at the Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, that left 49 people dead.
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Observers of the Arizona audit say they were mocked over shirt color and witnessed software malfunctions, security violations, and personnel issues with the controversial GOP-led ballot count
  • Observers of the ongoing Arizona election audit have alleged several security and equipment concerns.
  • Secretary of State Katie Hobbs shared a summary of incidents witnesses have noted in the past week.
  • Witnesses said they saw three non-residents rifling through thousands of ballots last week.
Observers of the ongoing audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona have alleged several problematic incidents last week during the controversial recount.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs published a summary of "new and ongoing" incidents that were noted by observers during the audit beginning on May 24. Among the observations are security concerns, equipment concerns, communication concerns, and policy or press changes.

On Tuesday, she tweeted a link to the summary, saying: "Since the start of the Senate's so-called audit, my office has had concerns over the lack of transparency and even took legal action to ensure we had election experts on the ground."

... Since the start of the audit, Hobbes, who is a Democrat, has positioned herself as an outspoken critic of the recount, citing concerns over a lack of transparency and even taking legal action to ensure elections experts are on the ground during the process.

In the past week, those experts said they have reportedly witnessed security gates left open and unattended, confidential materials being left in the open, prohibited pens near the ballots multiple times, unauthorized cell phones on the counting floor, and confirmation that concealed firearms are allowed on the counting floor.

Observers noted Cyber Ninjas software malfunctions that forced the company to roll back an update in the middle of the day. Witnesses also allege Senate Liaison Ken Bennett confirmed that copies of the voting system data were sent to an unspecified lab in Montana, with no mention of what they intend to do with copies of the data or for how long they will keep the data.

... One observer alleges that Audit Co-chair Randy Pullen told one observer that the shirt he was required to wear on the floor "made him look like a transgender," due to the pink color. Witnesses said audit organizers refer to them as "pinkies" or "pinkos," implying that they are communists.

Throughout the week, witnesses said they noted "general confusion" among organizers and a lack of quality control practices in place meant to ensure data is entered correctly.

On May 29, witnesses said they saw at least three people who are not Maricopa County residents "rifling through" thousands of military and overseas ballots.

Cyber Ninjas has no previous election experience and is spearheaded by a Trump supporter who promoted false conspiracy claims last fall. The recount decision was made in spite of the county's Republican-controlled board of supervisors objecting to it, saying the election had already been audited more than once by credible firms.
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Groups representing Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google are suing Florida over Gov. DeSantis' new bill banning online 'deplatforming'
  • Two tech industry groups filed a lawsuit against a new bill signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
  • The lawsuit calls the bill — which bans "deplatforming" — a "smorgasbord of constitutional violations."
  • The groups that filed the suit count Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon as members.
Two industry groups that represent tech companies including Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon have filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida, claiming a new law that targets online speech violates the First Amendment.

The lawsuit was filed by Netchoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), and is aimed at a new bill signed last week by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The bill was signed on May 24, and was framed by DeSantis as protecting citizens from online censorship. The bill states it's designed to prohibit social media platforms from "willfully deplatforming" political candidates, and lets Florida fine a company $250,000 per day if it does "deplatform" someone.

The lawsuit describes DeSantis' bill as a "smorgasbord of constitutional violations" and argues it would make it impossible for tech companies to exercise their First Amendment rights by moderating their platforms for objectionable and harmful content.

The bill also lets Florida citizens sue tech companies for up to $100,000 if they believe companies are breaking the law.

The bill is set to go into effect on July 1, but the tech groups' lawsuit was filed on May 27, and seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions that would prevent the bill from coming into force.

"These unprecedented restrictions are a blatant attack on a wide range of content-moderation choices that these private companies have to make on a daily basis to protect their services, users, advertisers, and the public at large from a variety of harmful, offensive, or unlawful material," the lawsuit argues.

It also pointed to a bizarre loophole Florida included in the new bill, exempting companies that own Florida-based theme parks such as Disney from the law. The suit argued this was evidence that the bill unfairly targets specific companies.

Legal experts have also described the bill as unconstitutional. "This is so obviously unconstitutional, you wouldn't even put it on an exam," A. Michael Froomkin, a law professor at the University of Miami, told Wired.
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Nevada GOP consultant tried to recruit the Proud Boys to fill out a pro-Trump election rally: report
  • A Nevada GOP consultant last year tried to recruit the far-right Proud Boys to attend the event, according to The Washington Post.
  • Woodrow Johnston was tasked with organizing a post-election rally for Trump at a Las Vegas election department.
A Nevada GOP consultant tasked with organizing a post-election rally in support of former President Donald Trump last year tried to recruit the far-right Proud Boys to attend the event, according to a report from the Washington Post.

Woodrow Johnston, the vice president of McShane LLC who had been hired by the Republican Party to investigate election fraud, tried to recruit the Proud Boys for a November rally held at the Clark County Election Department in North Las Vegas, The Post reported.

In doing so, he contacted Sarah Ashton-Cirillo — a liberal activist who was working closely with people on the far-right under a fake identity — saying that they would "need to get the Proud Boys out" to Nevada, according to The Post.

The Proud Boys is a far-right group that has played a role in violent political incidents in recent years. Court documents describing the events around the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol said members of the group had been planning for the siege months in advance and prepared tactical resources for the attack.
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Fox News isn't even pretending to be a news network anymore — it's time for consumers to force cable providers and advertisers to drop the network
  • Fox News has given up all pretense of acting as a news network.
  • It's time advertisers and cable companies stop funding the deception Fox beams into American homes.
  • The more people let cable providers know that they are done funding Fox News, the less leverage the network has going into renegotiations.
After a year spent undermining public health and safety, eroding confidence in our democracy, and mainstreaming white nationalism, it's become even clearer that Fox News is a threat to the American public. Now, the network wants more money.

Per multiple industry publications, Fox News made a preemptive pitch to advertisers on May 11 in advance of the advertising industry "upfront" presentations scheduled to begin the following week. Major television networks, including Fox News, have traditionally used those presentations to sell the majority of their advertising space "upfront" for the year ahead.

Reports suggest that in that pitch, Fox News touted its daytime programming and streaming service and did not mention its prime-time lineup, presenting it's day-side and online programming as a subdued and safe investment for buyers.

The move is understandable. Tucker Carlson and his fellow prime-time hosts, including Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, have made the channel a toxic swamp for advertisers, who've fled in droves.

Those of us who watch Fox News daily know that there is very little news reporting left on the network's "news side." Watch a single night of the network's "reporting" and it becomes abundantly clear that Fox has dropped all pretenses of operating as a journalistic operation. The network has used the cover of its "opinion" side to truncate coverage of the mundane trappings of real world news events in favor of culture war narratives like "the war on beef," the apocalyptic threat of "cancel culture," obsessive, fear mongering about transgender individuals, or a network-wide fixation on critical race theory.

And while conjuring controversy out of thin air is a staple at the network, executives have steadily transitioned resources away from "news side" operations in favor of buttressing the antics of their opinion hosts — antics that have landed the network in multiple multibillion-dollar defamation lawsuits and forced Fox to argue in court that its most popular anchor, Tucker Carlson, shouldn't actually be taken seriously by viewers.

Fox is expecting an uphill battle in convincing potential advertisers and cable companies that they won't face public backlash for being the financial backer the next time a Fox host endorses a white nationalist conspiracy theory, casts doubts on the results of a fair and free election, or contributes to the consistent stream of virulent rhetoric that plagues the network.

In fact, a broad and diverse coalition of more than 40 organizations sent an open letter to media buyers during the television industry's upfront period, urging them not to buy advertisements on Fox News, warning that any ad spend on the network will fund the promotion of COVID conspiracy theories, bigotry, and lies.

... It's time to defund Fox News. The network has forfeit any right to claim to special treatment by advertisers and cable providers. By continuing to support the network's outsized cash grab under consumers' noses, advertising agencies and cable companies are safeguarding the slush fund that enables Fox to dodge any form of accountability, no matter the detrimental effect it has on the American public.
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Trump blog page shuts down for good
  • Former President Donald Trump’s blog has been permanently shut down.
  • The page, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” has been scrubbed from Trump’s website and “will not be returning,” his senior aide Jason Miller told CNBC.
  • “It was just auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on,” Miller said in email correspondence.
Former President Donald Trump’s blog — a webpage where he shared statements after larger social media companies banned him from their platforms — has been permanently shut down, his spokesman said Wednesday.

The page, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” has been scrubbed from Trump’s website after going live less than a month earlier.

... Trump and his allies have long accused social media giants of being tainted by political bias and prone to censoring conservatives. The former president has teased the rollout of an alternative platform.

But the blog, unveiled last month and originally billed as a new “communications platform,” seemed ill-equipped to take on largest social media companies.

Miller clarified at the time — on Twitter — that the “Desk” page was “a great resource” to find Trump’s statements, “but this is not a new social media platform.”

At the time of his de-platforming in January, Trump boasted tens of millions of followers on Twitter and millions more on Facebook.

Trump’s blog, in contrast, struggled to amass even a fraction of that engagement, NBC News reported a week after its launch, citing data compiled with BuzzSumo.

Since leaving office on Jan. 20, the former president, who has strongly hinted he may run for president again in 2024, has made just a handful of in-person appearances and has participated in interviews with only friendly media outlets.
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A Texas Republican said proposed restrictions on Sunday voting were meant to let people go to church. Another claimed the whole thing was a typo.
  • A Texas lawmaker claimed a provision of a proposed bill that limits Sunday voting was a typo.
  • Rep. Travis Clardy told NPR the bill was supposed to allow Sunday voting to begin at 11 am, not 1 pm.
  • The bill's sponsor, however, said the 1pm start time allowed election workers to go to church.
A Texas state lawmaker claimed that a proposal to limit Sunday voting hours from 1 pm to 9 pm in a major GOP-backed voting bill, Senate Bill 7, was a typo after the bill's sponsor defended the provision.

"Call it a scrivener's error, whatever you want to," Rep. Travis Clardy told NPR's Steve Inskeep in a Tuesday interview. "I talked to our team yesterday, kind of regrouping of what happened. That was not intended to be reduced. I think there was a — you know, call it a mistake if you want to. What should have been 11 was actually printed up as one."

Democrats and civil rights groups decried that provision of Senate Bill 7 as a blatant attack on "Souls to the Polls" get-out-the-vote drives popular in Black churches. But none of the Republicans who had a hand in drafting it raised the issue of a typo during debate on the bill over Memorial Day weekend.

Indeed, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Bryan Hughes, defended that specific provision, claiming that permitting Sunday voting after 1 pm was necessary to allow election workers to go to church before heading out to work the polls.

"Those election workers want to go to church, too," Hughes said during debate over the bill late on Saturday night, according to the Texas Tribune. "And so that's why it says 1 p.m. [and] no later than 9 p.m. You can make Sunday service and go after that."

Hughes also told Sen. Royce West, "You can correct me, but souls to the polls — I thought we went to church and ate lunch and then voted."

Both Hughes and Rep. Briscoe Cain, the chair of the House Elections Committee, now say that the goal of the bill is to expand Sunday voting across the board, and that they plan to change that provision when the legislature takes up the bill next, the Tribune reported.
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or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.