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Former Vice President Joe Biden stumbled through a CNN interview Thursday night while criticizing President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee suggested that Trump should start a “Pandemic Production Board” similar to the War Production Board that President Franklin Roosevelt began at the start of America’s involvement in World War II.
“You know, there’s — during World War II, you know, where Roosevelt came up with a thing that, you know, was totally different than a — than — he called it the — you know, World War II, he had the War Production Board,” Biden said, looking down at his notes .”I don’t know why we don’t set up something like a pandemic production board.”
Donald Trump Jr. responded to the video on Twitter, saying he was excited to see his father debate Biden this fall.
Biden has had a number of verbal blunders in recent weeks and months.
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Former Republican Congressman Arrested in Ongoing Venezuela Oil Investigation
Former Miami Republican congressman David Rivera was arrested on Monday in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation that possibly includes failing to register as a foreign agent in the U.S. for consulting with Venezuela’s socialist government-run oil company.
Rivera, who served one term in office from 2011 to 2013, has been allegedly under investigation after signing a $50 million consulting contract from a U.S. affiliate of Venezuela’s socialist government-run oil company under President Nicolas Maduro.
Marlene Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami, told The Associated Press that authorities arrested Rivera at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Monday. However, Rodriguez could not discuss the charges for Rivera due to a sealed indictment by a Miami grand jury last month, which included other defendants.
Rivera, 57, appeared in an Atlanta federal court following his arrest but bailed out of jail later in the afternoon, according to the U.S. Marshal’s Service reported by local media.
Jeffrey Feldman, an attorney for Rivera, declined to comment to The Associated Press, adding via text message that he had “not seen the indictment.”
PDV USA, a Delaware-based affiliate of Venezeluan-owned oil company Citgo, sued Rivera’s Interamerican Consulting company in 2020 on allegations the former congressman failed to hold up his end of the contract he signed three years before the lawsuit, which was reportedly said to improve the image of the Venezuelan firm in the United States.
Venezuela’s U.S. affiliate reportedly accused Rivera of doing little work after the businesses collected $20 million from a subsidiary.
“The written record is bereft of any evidence that Interamerican performed any of the contracted services,” PDV USA argues in the new filings, according to The Associated Press. “There is not a single email, a single PowerPoint presentation, a single outline, a single memorandum, a single calendar entry, or anything else suggesting that Interamerican ever performed any of the services.”
Court documents reported by The Miami Herald show that Rivera allegedly diverted at least $13 million of that money to three subcontractors in Miami who supposedly gave “international strategic consulting services” to the Venezuelan firm.
Such subcontractors allegedly included Miami real estate developer Hugo Perera, who authorities convicted in one of South Florida’s biggest drug-trafficking cases.
PDV USA is seeking to recover the $20 million in payments from Rivera’s company.
Rivera’s firm has filed a counterclaim seeking full payment of the contract.
Rivera also reportedly orchestrated an unknown Democratic candidate to run against his main rival in a South Florida congressional race, hid a $1 million contract with a gambling company, and misused campaign funds to pay for state House activities that the State had already refunded.
Before Rivera entered Congress, he served as a Florida legislator from 2003 to 2010 in the state House. He shared a home in Tallahassee with former Flordia House Speaker and current U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
READ IT: Fauci’s Deposition in Big Tech Censorship Case Released
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s deposition, taken as part of a lawsuit alleging collusion between the U.S. government and Big Tech to censor people, was released on Dec. 5.
The 446-page document shows the questioning of Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser. Fauci was under oath on Nov. 23.
Here are some takeaways:
Fauci Relied on Others to Dismiss Lab Leak Theory
Fauci said he did not have the expertise to determine whether COVID-19 came from nature or a laboratory, despite repeatedly dismissing the theory that it originated in a Chinese lab.
“I am not qualified since I am not an evolutionary virologist to make any kind of definitive determination about whether a genome could or could not be a laboratory construct or experimentally manipulative,” Fauci said at one point. “I have relied, as anyone would, with highly qualified, respected evolutionary virologists to come to that conclusion or not.”
Portions of the deposition dealt with a paper released in early 2020 as a preprint and later published following peer review by Nature Medicine.
Kristian Andersen and other scientists claimed that they analyzed genomic data and that “our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”
Fauci held a secret phone call with all of the authors of the paper just weeks before it was published—some of the authors before the call expressed in since-released emails that they thought the virus did not come from nature—and has since acknowledged receiving multiple drafts of the document prior to its publication. Kristian Andersen, the lead author, told Fauci at one point, “Thank you again for your advice and leadership.”
Fauci said in the deposition that he had “very little” to do with the paper and that he did not recall making any “substantive comments” to the authors regarding the paper.
Confronted About Press Conference
Despite having communicated repeatedly with the authors, Fauci said he couldn’t recall their names during a White House press conference in April 2020.
“There was a study recently that we can make available to you where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there and the sequences in bats as they evolved. And the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with a jump of a species from an animal to a human,” Fauci said at the time, at the prompting of then-President Donald Trump.
“So the paper will be available. I don’t have the authors right now, but we can make that available to you,” he added.
Fauci said he did not make the paper available to any reporters after the press conference but was then presented with an email showing that he did.
“I don’t recall it,” Fauci said, after reading the email.
Says He Didn’t Advocate for Censorship
Shortly after Fauci’s comments, Big Tech companies began censoring people who suggested COVID-19 came from a lab, including an Epoch Times reporter.
Facebook and other Big Tech firms also later cracked down on the Great Barrington Declaration, a document offering an alternative way to approach the pandemic, after Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the time, spoke out against it. Internal emails showed Fauci and Collins conspiring to rebut the declaration. The NIH has directed people questioning the opposition to Wikipedia.
Fauci noted that he does not have social media accounts and insisted that he did not call for censorship.
“No, I have not,” Fauci said when asked whether he’d asked a social media company to remove misinformation. He also said that, to his knowledge, none of his staffers had.
According to emails produced in the case, the government communicated with Big Tech concerning the removal of multiple accounts they said were pretending to be Fauci. Twitter removed an account and company officials said it would “freeze” similar handles to try to prevent impersonation, while Facebook removed accounts on both Facebook and Instagram.
“I was not aware that they were flagging many accounts, but from looking at this, they are trying to get rid of fake accounts because fake accounts are bad things, I believe,” Fauci said. “To my knowledge, they don’t get involved in trying to influence social media in any way. But when someone impersonates me, I think it’s totally appropriate for them to be concerned about that.”
Fauci was later shown an email that showed NIAID officials were trying to connect to Google “on vaccine communications, specifically misinformation,” and that a meeting was planned. He said he wasn’t sure whether the meeting ever took place.
Concerned About Misinformation
Fauci said that he was concerned about misinformation and disinformation, and believed that such information could lead to the loss of life.
“I think in any situation where egregious misinformation such as some of the ones I referred to before, such as information that would discourage people from getting vaccinated, that in my mind, would be a way that life that could otherwise have been saved would be lost, if people were persuaded not to pursue a life-saving intervention,” Fauci said.
Asked if he thinks steps should be taken to curb misinformation and disinformation, he demurred.
“That’s not my area. I’m very well aware of the concept of freedom of speech. The area of the curtailment of that is something that is not in my area of expertise. Those are legal and other things. And I really don’t have any opinion on that,” he said.
Fauci said he favors open debate and, generally, the best way to combat misleading and false information is to “flood the system with correct information.” But he also said: “I think honest debate is important, but when it goes beyond debate and leads people who are unwitting about these things to do things that are clearly detrimental to their life and their safety, I find that disturbing. How you mitigate against that, I would leave to other people.”
Daughter Worked for Twitter
Fauci has been in touch with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and appeared several times in Facebook Live videos with Zuckerberg.
Fauci said that his discussions with Zuckerberg “were very clearly directed at getting me on some Facebook podcast to encourage people to get vaccinated” and that they went no further.
Fauci was asked whether he knows anyone who works for a social media company, besides Zuckerberg.
“Like, do you have acquaintances, people that you know, who work at social media platforms?” John Sauer, Missouri’s solicitor general, asked Fauci.
“Well, a person who used to work as a software engineer for Twitter was my daughter,” Fauci said.
Fauci said he never discussed with his daughter the content posted on social media or the origins of COVID-19.
Fauci said his daughter stopped working at Twitter over a year ago and that he does not know anyone else who works at a social media platform.
Jesse Watters Announces He And His Wife Are Expecting a Baby
Fox News anchor Jesse Watters announced Monday that he and his wife, Emma DiGiovine, are expecting a baby girl.
Watters announced on “The Five” that his wife is currently five months into her pregnancy and are expecting the child in April 2023. He and his wife are the parents of a son, Jesse Bailey Watters Jr., who his wife delivered Apr. 2, 2021.
“My wife, Emma, is pregnant with a girl. So, we’re having a girl and she’s five months along which I think is halfway through,” Watters said, followed by a celebratory reaction from his fellow co-hosts. “And she looks fantastic, you can’t even tell that she’s pregnant.”
The former “Watters World” host has twin daughters from his previous marriage to Noelle Inguagiato, Market Realist reported.
“The Five” panel celebrated their colleague’s big news with applause and a slew of jokes from co-host Greg Gutfeld, who immediately asked why the couple would not allow their child to decide the gender.
“There’s no gender until the child decides,” Gutfeld joked.
“No, we assign the gender at birth in our family and we usually get it right,” Watters replied.
Watters added that the couple is currently struggling with names, but revealed that the process is a “collateral effort.” Co-host Dana Perino suggested that Watters should allow Twitter CEO Elon Musk to name the baby, to which he replied that Musk gives his children “very strange” names.
The host concluded the life changing segment by receiving his co-hosts’ advice on taking paternity leave. After the birth of his son, the anchor took a hiatus from “The Five” and expressed his newfound support for paternity leave, Market Realist reported.
“I used to mock people for taking paternity, I used to think it was a big ruse, but now, ya know, I wish I could take six weeks,” he said during an April 2021 segment.
His co-hosts advised him to take between six to four months of paternity, leading Gutfeld to jokingly call for a “class action suit” for Fox News employees without children.
John Bolton Says He May Run Against Trump in 2024
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton revealed Monday he may run for president in 2024 to spoil Donald Trump’s reelection bid.
Setting the stage for the entry of Trump’s first rival in the Republican primary contest, Bolton took aim at his former boss for suggesting over the weekend that parts of the U.S. Constitution should be terminated to overturn his 2020 election defeat during an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
If no other potential Republican candidates make “Shermanesque statements” in response to what Trump said, Bolton declared, “I’m going to seriously consider getting in.”
BREAKING: Fmr. Nat’l Security Adviser John Bolton is considering a 2024 presidential run if it would prevent fmr. President Trump from taking office again.
Bolton: “You can’t simply say, ‘I support the Constitution.’ You have to say, ‘I would oppose people who undercut it.’” pic.twitter.com/Twy8pluMYT
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 5, 2022
Bolton, known for his hawkish foreign policy views, served roles in the Reagan administration and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush. He later worked as Trump’s national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019, when Trump forced Bolton out amid foreign policy disputes.
During the summer before the 2020 contest, Bolton told ABC News he would not vote for Trump, claiming Trump was not fit for office, and stated he would “figure out a conservative Republican to write in.” Trump has been harsh on Bolton too, saying Bolton was “one of the dumbest people in Washington” after Bolton criticized Trump for reportedly considering martial law to overturn the 2020 election results.
Trump, who formally announced his 2024 campaign last month, is facing widespread backlash for his post on Truth Social on Saturday, reacting to the release of “The Twitter Files” by saying, “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.” He later denied making the suggestion, but as of press time has not deleted the initial post.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) told reporters on Monday he disagrees with Trump’s statement and said the comments present a “golden opportunity” for potential challengers, according to The Hill.
At least one Republican who has entertained a 2024 run, former Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), has spoken out against Trump for the suggestion. “It should not be hard to say that the 2020 election is over,” he said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
“I think to be a presidential candidate you can’t just say, ‘I support the Constitution.’ You have to say, ‘I would oppose people who would undercut it,’” Bolton said in his interview with NBC.
Catholic Bishop Responds to Clinton’s Remarks About Abortion in U.S.
A Catholic bishop in Texas slammed Democrat Hillary Clinton on Friday after the twice-failed presidential candidate compared the abortion debate in the U.S. to Russian soldiers raping women in Ukraine.
At the Women’s Voice Summit held at the Clinton Presidential Center in Arkansas on Friday, Clinton went on to say America was like Sudan and Afghanistan with regard to abortion.
“We have come a long way on so many fronts but we are also in a period of time where there is a lot of pushback and much of the progress that has been taken for granted by too many people is under attack: literally under attack in places like Iran or Afghanistan or Ukraine — where rape is a tactic of war — or under attack by political and cultural forces in a country like our own when it comes to women’s healthcare and bodily autonomy,” Clinton said. “It’s so shocking to think that in any way we’re related to poor Afghanistan and Sudan, but as an advanced economy as we allegedly are, on this measure, we unfortunately are rightly put with them.”
“This struggle is between autocracy and democracy from our country to places we can’t even believe we’re being compared to,” she added.
Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, responded to Clinton’s remarks by encouraging people to ignore her.
“Please, please don’t listen to this evil woman,” Strickland tweeted. “Her lies and immorality need to be silenced for the good of humanity.”
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the monumental Roe v. Wade case back in June that legalized abortion across America in 1973.
The 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization followed the early May leak of a draft opinion indicating which way the justices would likely rule. That leak prompted protests across the nation, particularly in Washington, D.C., and acts of vandalism at pro-life organizations, centers, and churches.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote that Roe and a subsequent case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe, both must be overturned, and the right to allow, deny, or restrict the right to an abortion must reside with states.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” Alito wrote in his majority opinion, which was strikingly similar to the earlier leaked draft. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Teachers College Issues Review of Ontario Teacher Who Wears Huge Fake Breasts as Parents Ponder Lawsuit
A teacher in Oakville, Ontario, has been the subject of protests, bomb threats, a College of Teachers review—and now, potentially, a lawsuit.
The teacher at Oakville Trafalgar High School wears oversized prosthetic breasts with protruding nipples, under tight-fitting shirts. Pictures of the teacher posted on social media by students have received international attention.
The school had four bomb threats from September through November targeting the teacher. One demanded, for example, that the teacher be fired. No explosives were found at the school, and no arrests were made.
Parents of students at the school have formed a group called Students First Ontario and say their concerns have not been adequately addressed.
“We have retained legal counsel and are in the process of moving forward with a legal strategy,” the group told The Epoch Times via email on Dec. 5. This announcement follows up on a recent review of the case by the Ontario College of Teachers.
Professional Conduct Review
The controversy around the Oakville teacher came to the attention of Education Minister Stephen Lecce, who asked the Ontario College of Teachers in September to “consider strengthening” professional standards.
“In this province, in our schools, we celebrate our differences,” he told reporters at Queen’s Park on Sept. 23. “We also believe there must be the highest standards of professionalism for our kids, and on that basis, I’ve asked the Ontario College of Teachers to review and to consider strengthening those provisions.”
The college completed the requested review on Oct. 14, and its contents were first made public on Dec. 5 by the National Post. The Epoch Times has obtained a copy of the review.
It concludes that no strengthening of professional standards is needed. It said the standards of conduct already in place for teachers should be sufficient to address the situation at the Oakville school.
“Following our review, Council has concluded that the standards, governing legislation and supporting resources appropriately address professionalism in today’s modern learning environment,” the review said. “All Ontario Certified Teachers, in their position of trust, are expected to demonstrate responsibility and sound judgement in their relationships with students.”
It suggested that the teacher in question should review the standards already in place. It said there is a “critical need for teachers to adhere to government and employer policies and protocols, as part of their commitment to teacher professionalism. For example, the College’s Essential Advice for the Teaching Profession advises that ‘OCTs should consult their employers’ policies to ensure that they know and follow the expectations and obligations in their particular workplaces and communities.’”
College spokesperson Andrew Fairfield told The Epoch Times Dec. 5 that the college cannot discuss any complaints or concerns filed against teachers. A search of the teacher’s name in the college database shows the teacher is in “good standing.”
‘A Safe Environment’
At a protest outside the school in September, parent Dave Kvesic told The Epoch Times, “Kids should have a safe environment to learn free of ridiculous distractions.” He said the protest wasn’t about “transphobia.” It was “just about my kids.”
Since that time, some parents have expressed continued frustration with the Halton District School Board (HDSB).
In a Nov. 21 statement, the Students First parent group said, “parents have been largely silenced by HDSB administrators and there has been little desire for open inquiry, transparency, and accountability.”
It continued: “Many parents/students have significant questions that need to be addressed given the HDSB’s insistence that there are effectively ‘no boundaries’ when it comes to the ‘expression’ of adults in the company of minors in a publicly-funded school system. It appears our children are part of a social experiment—one that is testing the limits of ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.’”
HDSB spokesperson Heather Francey did not respond specifically to questions about the parents’ concerns regarding the teacher as of publication. But she said via email on Dec. 5, “We have every confidence in the security measures and safety procedures in place at all Halton District School Board (HDSB) schools. …. The HDSB and police work together to investigate threats.”
Board Chair Margo Shuttleworth told The Epoch Times in September that HDSB supports the teacher “as prescribed by the Ontario Charter of Human Rights.”
Moral Codes, Dress Codes
The parent group criticized Shuttleworth for requesting a change to the Education Act that would remove section 264 (1)(c), related to religion and morals. Shuttleworth made the request in an Oct. 20 letter to Education Minister Lecce.
The section in question says that a teacher’s duties include, “to inculcate by precept and example respect for religion and the principles of Judaeo-Christian morality and the highest regard for truth, justice, loyalty, love of country, humanity, benevolence, sobriety, industry, frugality, purity, temperance and all other virtues.”
Shuttleworth requested that it be replaced with a clause that reflects “contemporary and current diversity, equity and inclusion policy and practices, and to reflect the Calls to Action 62 and 63s brought forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
HDSB recently considered a proposal to implement a dress code for staff. The proposal was made by board trustees. On Nov. 9, HDSB Superintendent of Human Resources, Sari Taha, said at a board meeting that a dress code for teachers would likely be found discriminatory and should not be implemented.
He said as an employer, the board has the right to implement a dress code or rule for employees as any business does. But, if a dress code places additional burdens on one gender over another, that’s a problem.
A dress code that results in “deferential treatment—that’s key to really pay attention to this word, deferential treatment—will generally be found to be discriminatory,” Taha said.
“Arbitrators will often engage in a balancing of the employer’s legitimate business interest with employees’ interest in personal expression. The employer bears the burden in these cases to establish that the employee’s appearances pose a real threat to its business that is more important than the rights of the employee,” Taha said. “And that is the burden of proof on us if we are to establish a dress code.”
WATCH: Woke California Teacher Teaches Kids Grammar Is Part of White Supremacy
A self-identified “cringey” California English teacher claimed she combats “white supremacy” “B.S.” in her classroom by teaching students about the overemphasized importance of grammar usage and writing rules.
Marta Shaffer, a tenured English teacher at Oroville High School, began the 2022-2023 academic year by teaching parts of linguistics as a way of “fighting white supremacy in my classes,” according to her posts on TikTok. The goal was to be “inclusive of all kinds of ways we use the language.”
According to Shaffer, expectations for students to use proper grammar and syntax is part of White supremacy culture that “runs deep.”
“I try to undermine that B.S. in my classroom as much as I can,” she said.
She said, “We study linguistics and the rules that we actually use to communicate instead of the made-up rules that White supremacy created for when we write papers and stuff, which is what scholars call the ‘language of power.'”
The teacher raised praised student’s academic essays for including “AAVE” language – African-American Vernacular English.
“As an educator I am constantly worry if I’m the problem. What do I mean by that? Well public education is an institution that upholds lots of problematic systems in our society like white supremacy, and misogyny and colonization, etc,” she continued. “Well, let’s look at how we write essays [where we] start with an introduction that includes a thesis, always cite your sources, use transition words like ‘however’ and ‘therefore.’ These are all made-up rules. They were created by Westerners in power. Which got me thinking, what if I started my school year with a unit honoring how we talk rather than teaching students how to write properly.”
Another included a prompt which said that a student’s “codes” – how they speak at home or with friends – is “just as important, if not more than important,” than a boss’s expectations on how their employee communicates.
She said, “Just because your teachers, your professors, and your boss may expect you to write and speak in a certain way that may not be natural to you, does not mean that your more natural… languages are not important. They are just as important, if not more important than the ‘language of respectability.’”
The English teacher added that she feels like a “cringe white lady” when “teaching students of color” about linguistics.
“Did I worry I was being a White savior? Absolutely. Was it uncomfortable? Definitely. But a lot my students come here, and they’re uncomfortable with the white mainstream culture of public school life. So I think it’s good for them to see their teacher deal with linguistic discomfort, too,” she said.
The California teacher also claimed that the IQ bell curve and the SAT are “racist.”
“The writers of these tests were made up almost entirely of White people… and they still are,” she said.
English teacher says that grammar and writing rules are based in white supremacy so she tries to undermine it in her classroom pic.twitter.com/uKVs3MO1ih
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) December 4, 2022
Kirstie Alley Dies at 71 After Battle with Cancer
Actress Kirstie Alley, who starred in “Cheers,” “Veronica’s Closet,” and “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” has died. She was 71 years old.
Kirstie Alley died of cancer, which her family confirmed was a recently found health issue for the actress.
“We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered,” the statement said. “She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead.”
“As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother,” the statement continued. “We are grateful to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at the Moffitt Cancer Center for their care.”
“Our mother’s zest and passion for life, her children, grandchildren and her many animals, not to mention her eternal joy of creating, were unparalleled and leave us inspired to live life to the fullest just as she did,” the statement concluded. “We thank you for your love and prayers and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) December 6, 2022
Born January 12, 1951, in Wichita, Kansas, Alley’s career as an actress took off after she was cast in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”
After other small roles, Alley struck it big by starring in the sitcom “Cheers,” a show for which she earned a Golden Globe and Emmy award.
She also had key roles in “Veronica’s Closet,” “Look Who’s Talking,” “It Takes Two,” “Village of the Damned,” and “Drop Dead Gorgeous.”
Some notable responses to her death online included:
- John Luke, featured auctioneer on A&E’s hit show Storage Wars: “Thoughts & Prayers 🙏🙏🙏 To The Family, Friends & Fans Of @kirstiealley May She Rest In Peace 🙏 #GodBless 🙏🙏 Heaven Has Another Angel.”
- Raymond Arroyo, Fox News: “Rest In Peace. Very sad.”
- Danny Pellegrino, author: “She was so formative for ‘90s girls and gays.”
- Josh Gad, actor: “My heart breaks for Kirstie and her family. Whether it was her brilliance in ‘Cheers’ or her magnetic performance in the ‘Look Who’s Talking’ franchise, her smile was always infectious, her laugh was always contagious and her charisma was always iconic. RIP”
- Robert Patrick, actor: “So very sad. Kirstie Alley R.I.P. My condolences to her family.”
- Travis Tritt, singer: “Shocked and saddened by the news of Kirstie Alley.”
WH Responds to Twitter Document Dump on Hunter Biden Story Censorship
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday dismissed Elon Musk’s release of the so-called “Twitter Files” as a “distraction” at a time when she says the platform is facing a rise in hate speech.
The exchange came days after Musk, who acquired Twitter in late October, released bombshell revelations about what led the tech giant to suppress a New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop in the final weeks of the 2020 election.
Musk outsourced his findings to Substack journalist Matt Taibbi who published a lengthy thread detailing the platform’s censorship and the internal decisions that were made. At the time, Twitter Safety alleged that the articles were in violation of its “hacked materials policy.”
Asked by Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich whether the White House believed Twitter’s decision was made appropriately in light of what has come out, Jean-Pierre instead raised questions about the timing of the release.
“We see this as an interesting coincidence, if I may, that [Musk] would so haphazardly … push this distraction that is full of old news if you think about it,” she said. “And at the same time, Twitter is facing very real and very serious questions about the rising volume of anger, hate, and antisemitism on their platform and how they’re letting it happen.”
Critics of Musk’s Twitter acquisition say his stewardship has led to a significant rise in hate speech. Musk, who has described himself as “free speech absolutist,” has said that hate speech impressions, i.e., the number of times a tweet was viewed, has declined “despite significant user growth.”
Hate speech impressions (# of times tweet was viewed) continue to decline, despite significant user growth!@TwitterSafety will publish data weekly.
Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of reach. Negativity should & will get less reach than positivity. pic.twitter.com/36zl29rCSM
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2022
“Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of reach,” Musk said earlier this month. “Negativity should & will get less reach than positivity.”
Meanwhile, Andrea Stroppa, a data analyst who has worked as an independent researcher alongside Twitter’s Trust and Safety team, tweeted Saturday that the daily suspension rate for accounts engaging in child sexual abuse/exploitation material has “almost doubled over the past few days.”
Michael Avenatti Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Stealing Millions from Clients
Disgraced lawyer Michael Avenatti has been sentenced to 168 months in prison for four counts of wire fraud.
This 14 year sentence is in addition to the five years he is currently serving for other charges, including stealing almost $300,000 in book-advance money from his then-client Stormy Daniels.
In June, Avenatti plead guilty to four counts of wire fraud and a single count of tax fraud, and admitted to misappropriating funds from clients totaling around $10 million.
During his sentencing on Monday, Avenatti appeared solemn, often keeping his head down and hands in front if him while hearing statements from two of his victims, according to Law and Crime News’ senior reporter Meghann Cuniff, who was documenting the proceedings.
Judge Selna goes over the restitution orders first, and it sounds like they match what prosecutors asked for for each victim. Avenatti is standing and so are his standby counsel Courtney Cummings and Dean Steward.
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) December 5, 2022
“You honor, I am deeply sorry and remorseful for my criminal conduct,” he told U.S. District Judge James Selna. “I caused harm and damage to four individuals who relied on me, who needed me and were not only my clients, but my friends.”
He goes on, “I cared about them, helped them and fiercely advocated for them. Yet inexplicably, I later took from them. I will not stand here and attempt to offer any excuses for my conduct because there are none.”
Judge Selna told the courtroom that Avenatti has done “great evil for which he must answer” and that he’s shown “an abandonment of some of the most basic principles of fairness.”
“It is now time to pay his debts to the victims, the government and society,” the Judge said, right before sentencing him.
Avenatti became widely known across the country as the lawyer representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her failed lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, after it was revealed that she was paid $130,000 in hush money before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump years earlier
Dubbed the “creepy porn lawyer” by Tucker Carlson, Avenatti was the darling of the mainstream media for a time, seen as a hero “David” for going after “Goliath” Trump, before Avenatti’s fall from grace.
In July of 2021, he was also convicted of extortion after trying to get Nike to pay him $25 million that he claimed he was owed on behalf of a Los Angeles youth basketball team. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and wept hysterically in response.
On top of the numerous fraud charges against him, he also admitted to blocking IRS efforts to collect unpaid payroll taxes of an estimated $5 million, include payroll taxes that had been withheld from employee paychecks of a Tully’s Coffee operated by an Avenatti-owned company.
Biden Admin Launches Investigation Into Elon Musk’s Company Neuralink
The Biden administration has reportedly launched a federal investigation into one of Elon Musk’s companies over allegations that the company may have violated animal-welfare laws.
The investigation into Neuralink, where Musk serves as CEO, was launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General at the request of a federal prosecutor, Reuters reported.
The neurotechnology company is developing “ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers,” according to its website.
The report said that the investigation centers around potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which “regulates the treatment of animals in research, teaching, testing, exhibition, transport, and by dealers,” according to the agency.
The report admits that “Neuralink treats animals quite well compared to other research facilities,” according to interviews with employees. Executives at the company have talked of building a “Monkey Disneyland” at one testing facility while wanting the animals to live in a “monkey Taj Mahal” at another location.
A small number of employees at the company have reportedly claimed that Musk’s insistence on pushing for faster times in getting products to the point where they can be tested on humans has led to mistakes in the tests that have been conducted on various animals, including monkeys and pigs.
The employees allege that the mistakes have led to more animals having to be killed because of botched surgeries and because the experiments have to be conducted again. The animals are often killed at the end of the experiments because post mortem analysis is often needed to determine the effectiveness of the experiment.
Some of the mistakes that have reportedly plagued the experiments are simple in nature, like implanting the wrong device or implanting a device in on the wrong vertebra of animals.
The news comes after Musk said last week that he expects a the company’s wireless brain chips to enter human clinical trials within the next six months. The goal of the implants is to help disabled people be able to move and communicate.
“We want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work well before putting a device into a human,” Musk said. “The progress at first, particularly as it applies to humans, will seem perhaps agonizingly slow, but we are doing all of the things to bring it to scale in parallel. So, in theory, progress should be exponential.”
Meta Threatens to Remove News from Facebook if Congress Passes Bipartisan Bill
Facebook’s parent company, Meta, said Monday that it could be forced to remove news content from the social media platform if Democrat-controlled Congress passes a controversial bill known as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which gives media companies more power to negotiate collectively to take on companies like Google and Meta.
Opponents of the bill, like the CATO Institute, say that it would create “a one-sided carve-out from antitrust law – and only to a specific industry” and that it is fundamentally “incompatible with free markets and voluntary, mutually beneficial negotiation.”
“If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions,” Meta said in a statement. “The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act fails to recognize the key fact: publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves because it benefits their bottom line – not the other way around.”
“No company should be forced to pay for content users don’t want to see and that’s not a meaningful source of revenue,” the statement continued. “Put simply: the government creating a cartel-like entity which requires one private company to subsidize other private entities is a terrible precedent for all American businesses.”
Meta statement on the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act: pic.twitter.com/kyFqKQw7xs
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) December 5, 2022
Reuters reported that a similar law was passed in Australia in 2021, which led to a temporary shutdown of news content on Facebook.
Tech companies like Meta and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, have since signed deals with dozens of media companies to pay them for their content, the report said.
Mike Pompeo, who previously served as secretary of state and director of the CIA, encouraged Congress to not vote for the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act.
“Giving the media cartel power to censor conservatives would be a mistake,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter. “Congress should vote down the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act.”
The response from Meta to the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act comes as the company has been forced in recent weeks to make massive cuts to its workforce.
The social media firm’s performance has worsened significantly over the past year as executives began pouring resources into developing the metaverse, an immersive virtual reality that Zuckerberg believes will serve as the next phase of digital communication. Beyond excessive funds devoted toward the project, analysts had criticized Zuckerberg for more than tripling payrolls from 25,000 people to 85,000 people over the past four years.
In a letter to employees, Zuckerberg announced that he would lay off more than 11,000 staff members and extend the company’s hiring freeze. “In this new environment, we need to become more capital efficient,” he remarked. “We’ve cut costs across our business, including scaling back budgets, reducing perks, and shrinking our real estate footprint. We’re restructuring teams to increase our efficiency. But these measures alone won’t bring our expenses in line with our revenue growth, so I’ve also made the hard decision to let people go.”
Disney Closes Iconic 33-Year-Old Theme Park Ride that it Now Calls Racist
Fans of the iconic Disney theme park ride Splash Mountain have a little over a month to take one last ride. Disney will close Splash Mountain permanently on January 23 because, the company says, it promotes “racial stereotypes.”
The ride, which opened in 1989, is based on the 1946 Disney film “Song of the South.” The film has fallen out of favor in recent years because, critics say, it offers a racially insensitive depiction of Reconstruction in the American South just after the end of the Civil War.
“I’ve felt, as long as I’ve been CEO, that ‘Song of the South’ was – even with a disclaimer – was just not appropriate in today’s world,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said at a shareholders’ meeting in March 2020, when the ride closure was first announced.
For years, activists have attempted to cancel “Song of the South” permanently. In 2019, a Change.org petition gathered over 21,000 signatures denouncing the film and demanding that Disney close Splash Mountain as well.
However, fans of the ride created their own counter-petition, which gathered nearly 100,000 signatures.
“Splash Mountain has never included depictions of slaves or any racist elements and is based solely on historical African folktales that families of all ethnicities have been enjoying for nearly a century,” the petition read in part.
The petition creators also questioned the motives of those trying to cancel Splash Mountain.
“It is absurd to pander to a small group of ‘Disney haters’ that dont (sic) understand the story,” the petition stated.
“Modifying Splash Mountain will not change history and will only encourage the ‘easily offended’ to continue making desperate attempts at finding offence in additional attractions,” the petition concluded. “To change them would be to remove a bit of our art history from the world and to be ashamed of it.”
Those pleas ultimately fell on deaf ears, and Disney moved forward with the plan to end Splash Mountain and replace it with a new ride based on “The Princess and the Frog,” which features a black heroine named Tiana from New Orleans.
The new ride, entitled Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, will be in better keeping with Disney’s commitment to “diversity” than Splash Mountain, the company stated.
“With this longstanding history of updating attractions and adding new magic, the re-theming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today,” a company statement said. “The new concept is inclusive – one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.”
Carmen Smith, Disney’s senior vice president of, among other things, “inclusive strategies,” is anxiously awaiting the new ride, especially its unique music, zydeco, which Smith described as “a special blend of rhythm and blues that was born in Louisiana.”
“Like so many musical genres, zydeco brings together the sounds and styles of many cultures,” Smith wrote.
“We wanted that spirit reflected in this scene (and throughout the attraction) so that all our guests feel welcome to join in the celebration. It’s emblematic of what we’re always striving for with our attractions – bringing people of different backgrounds together through timeless Disney stories.”
Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes Taken Off Air By ABC News Chiefs After Affair Scandal
“GMA3” anchors Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes have been taken off the air amid their bombshell affair scandal.
ABC News president Kim Godwin announced Monday during an internal call that the pair would not host their daily 1 p.m. show.
Godwin told staffers on the call that the alleged affair had become too much of an “internal and external distraction.”
She said, “After a lot of thought, I am taking Amy and T.J. off the air as we figure this out.”
Godwin added that while their alleged affair was “not a violation of company policy,” the decision to take them out of their anchor chairs was necessary for the “GMA” brand.
Stephanie Ramos and Gio Benitez will host “GMA3” on Monday while further internal meetings take place at the network about how to handle the scandal. The anchors for the rest of the week are still to be decided.
Multiple sources told Page Six that the alleged affair has not gone down well with top “GMA” anchor Robin Roberts, who is “not only very religious, but also doesn’t like this kind of scandal tainting the show.”
Page Six reported that Roberts, 62, had confronted Robach, 49, and Holmes, 45, about the affair. An insider told us Roberts “pulled them both aside and basically said, ‘Stop it.’”
Robach and Holmes’ relationship was outed last week after the pair was spotted meeting at bars near ABC’s Midtown studios.
It is believed Holmes and Robach’s romance could have begun as early as the spring — though other sources close to the anchors insist the affair began in August when they separated from their respective spouses, Marilee Fiebig and Andrew Shue.
Supreme Court Set to Hear ‘Single Most Important Case’ on American Elections
The Supreme Court is about to confront a new elections case, a Republican-led challenge asking the justices for a novel ruling that could significantly increase the power of state lawmakers over elections for Congress and the presidency.
The court is set to hear arguments Wednesday in a case from North Carolina, where Republican efforts to draw congressional districts heavily in their favor were blocked by a Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court because the GOP map violated the state constitution.
A court-drawn map produced seven seats for each party in last month’s midterm elections in highly competitive North Carolina.
The question for the justices is whether the U.S. Constitution’s provision giving state legislatures the power to make the rules about the “times, places and manner” of congressional elections cuts state courts out of the process.
“This is the single most important case on American democracy — and for American democracy — in the nation’s history,” said former federal judge Michael Luttig, a prominent conservative who has joined the legal team defending the North Carolina court decision.
The Republican leaders of North Carolina’s legislature told the Supreme Court that the Constitution’s “carefully drawn lines place the regulation of federal elections in the hands of state legislatures, Congress and no one else.”
Three conservative justices already have voiced some support for the idea that the state court had improperly taken powers given by the Constitution when it comes to federal elections. A fourth has written approvingly about limiting the power of state courts in this area.
But the Supreme Court has never invoked what is known as the independent state legislature theory. It was, though, mentioned in a separate opinion by three conservatives in the Bush v. Gore case that settled the 2000 presidential election.
If the court were to recognize it now, opponents of the concept argue, the effects could be much broader than just redistricting.
The most robust ruling for North Carolina Republicans could undermine more than 170 state constitutional provisions, over 650 state laws delegating authority to make election policies to state and local officials, and thousands of regulations down to the location of polling places, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.
Luttig, who advised former Vice President Mike Pence that he had no authority to reject electoral votes following the 2020 election, is among several prominent conservatives and Republicans who have lined up against the broad assertion that legislatures can’t be challenged in state courts when they make decisions about federal elections, including congressional redistricting.
That group includes former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; law professor Steven Calabresi, a founder of the conservative Federalist Society; and Benjamin Ginsberg, a longtime lawyer for Republican candidates and the party.
“Unfortunately, because of ongoing and widespread efforts to sow distrust and spread disinformation, confidence in our elections is at a low ebb,” Ginsberg wrote in a Supreme Court filing. “The version of the independent state legislature theory advanced by Petitioners in this case threatens to make a bad situation much worse, exacerbating the current moment of political polarization and further undermining confidence in our elections.”
The arguments are taking place a day after the final contest of the 2022 midterms, the Georgia Senate runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
In that contest, state courts ruled in favor of Democrats to allow for voting on the Saturday before the election, over the objections of Republicans.
Jason Snead, of the conservative Honest Elections Project, said the case is an opportunity for the high court to rein in out-of-control state courts which are being pushed by Democratic attorneys to effectively create new rules governing voting, including the Georgia example.
“We’ve seen a fairly pervasive attempt to use courts to rewrite election laws if those laws don’t suit partisan agendas,” Snead said in a call with reporters. “That’s not something we want to see when it flies in the face of the Constitution.”
He is among proponents of the high court’s intervention who argue the case doesn’t represent “a threat to democracy.”
The justices can instead write a narrow opinion that places limits on state courts without upsetting the choices New York and other states have made to restrict partisan redistricting, a group of New York voters wrote in a court filing.
The New Yorkers implicitly recognize that if the court gives more power to state legislatures over drawing congressional lines, Republicans may not necessarily benefit.
During the last redistricting cycle, states that used independent redistricting commissions rather than legislatures were largely Democratic-dominated ones. Commissions drew 95 House seats in states with Democratic legislatures and governors, as opposed to only 12 in states with GOP control. A ruling that grants legislatures ultimate power over redistricting could eradicate those commissions and let Democrats redraw a major chunk of the House map.
“The bottom line is the impact of this fringe theory would be terrible,” said former Attorney General Eric Holder, chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. “It could unleash a wave of gerrymandering from both parties.”
Even less dramatic changes may not necessarily tilt the GOP’s way on a national redistricting map that was essentially fought to a draw.
The Supreme Court refused to step into the North Carolina case in March, allowing the court-drawn districts to be used this year.
Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissented. Writing for the three, Alito said “there must be some limit on the authority of state courts to countermand actions taken by state legislatures when they are prescribing rules for the conduct of federal elections. I think it is likely that the applicants would succeed in showing that the North Carolina Supreme Court exceeded those limits.”
Justice Brett Kavanaugh has separately written about the need for federal courts to police the actions of state courts when it comes to federal elections.
Chief Justice John Roberts’ record on this question gives both sides some hope. In 2015, he wrote a strong dissent from the court’s decision upholding an independent redistricting commission in Arizona.
Roberts wrote that the Constitution does not permit “a state to wholly exclude ‘the Legislature’ from redistricting. ”
But in 2019, Roberts wrote the court’s majority opinion that closed federal courts to claims of partisan gerrymandering but noted state courts remained open. “Provisions in state statutes and state constitutions can provide standards and guidance for state courts to apply,” he wrote, in an opinion joined by Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Thomas.
The court’s other conservative justice, Amy Coney Barrett, has no track record in this area.
In North Carolina, a new round of redistricting is expected to go forward next year and produce a map with more Republican districts, whatever the outcome of the high-court case.
In last month’s elections, voters flipped the majority on the state Supreme Court, electing two new Republican justices that give the GOP a 5-2 edge and make it probable, though not certain, that the court would uphold a map with more Republican districts.
Idaho Student Murders: Haunting Theory About Vicious Killings Revealed By Father of Victim
The father of one of the University of Idaho students murdered in their home last month shared his theory about the murderer’s target based on their movements once they got in the house.
Steven Goncalves, who is the father of the late Kaylee Goncalves, noted that the murderer’s entry point on the middle floor and only going upstairs leads him to believe it may have been intentional.
“I’m not a professional, so I want to specify that, but they’ve said the entry point was the slider or the window. It was the middle floor. So to me, he doesn’t have to go upstairs. His entry and exit are available without having to go upstairs or downstairs. Looks like he probably may have not gone downstairs. We don’t know that for sure, but he obviously went upstairs. So I’m using logic that he chose to go up there when he didn’t have to,” Goncalves said on Fox News’s Fox and Friends on Sunday.
Goncalves would not definitely say if he believes his daughter or any roommates were directly targeted in the attack. He also said he has confidence that law enforcement are doing all they can to solve the murders despite closely guarding details of the investigation.
Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Goncalves, 21, were slain in their beds in Moscow, Idaho, on Nov. 13. The four roommates, who lived on the middle and upper floors, were all stabbed with a large knife in the chest and upper body, per local authorities.
The two surviving roommates who lived on the lower floor, Dylan Mortensen, 19, and Bethany Funke, 19, recently spoke out for the first time, saying how much they missed their roommates and detailed the difficult time they were having processing the murders they slept through.
No suspect or motive has been named in the case yet, and other details about the murders have been sparse as police continue to investigate the deaths of the four students.
‘It’s About Hatred and Race’ — Meghan Markle Breaks Down in Tears in Latest Netflix Documentary
Harry and Meghan’s incendiary Netflix series is ‘an amazing act of revenge’ that will ‘widen the rift’ with Prince William and weaken the very institution he will inherit when he becomes King, royal experts told MailOnline today after the US streaming giant released a second trailer for the Sussexes’ documentary.
In a new-one minute preview, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex lash out at the ‘hierarchy of the family’, claim insiders ‘leaked and planted’ stories about them, describe royal life as a ‘dirty game’, then – after footage of Princess Diana and Kate being hounded by photographers – talk about ‘the pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution’.
The teaser will no doubt horrify courtiers bracing for further allegations that are likely to widen the rift between the Sussexes and the Waleses.
Speaking to MailOnline, royal author Richard Fitzwilliams speculated that the effects of the Netflix docuseries will be felt for years to come. ‘This is a full frontal, extremely destructive attack on the Royal Family – the institution as well as members of those households,’ he said.
He said: ‘I think this will widen the rift between the brothers. There is no doubt that this Netflix series is an amazing act of revenge designed to weaken the very institution that William will inherit as future King. Of course everyone will be asking how King Charles will react to this in the short-term, but the effects of this will be felt in years to come. That’s the whole point.
‘This is a full frontal, extremely destructive attack on the Royal Family – the institution as well as individual households and members of those households. This series I suspect will greatly weaken the royals in the eyes of the world, especially among young people.’
The late Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter called the series ‘one long whinge’, adding: ‘I think that William and Kate will watch this trailer and think to themselves, ”oh God, here we go again”.
‘This is just one long whinge, and for what? Harry says he’s doing this to protect his family – protect them from what? Meghan says if we only knew what happened behind closed doors – why should we? What exactly is it that they have to say which we haven’t heard before?’.
During the teaser, a friend is heard claiming that the couple’s experience has been ‘about hatred, about race’ as a strikingly intimate and previously unseen clip flashes up of an exasperated Harry holding a hand to his face as Meghan passes behind him while heavily pregnant with their daughter, Lili.
After a series of clips of photographers and newspapers being printed, Meghan says, ‘I realised, they’re never going to protect you’ before she is seen once again crying. Harry then adds, ‘I was terrified, I didn’t want history to repeat itself.’
Today the streaming giant confirmed volume one will launch on December 8 – exactly three months after the death of Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II – while the second volume will be released on December 15 – clashing with the Princess of Wales’ carol service.
The teaser opens with a scene of Harry and Meghan in a car, seemingly in America, as the duke says: ‘It’s really hard to look back on it now and go ”what on earth happened?”
As videos play of the couple announcing their engagement and their wedding in 2018, a news clip voiceover by Piers Morgan says: ‘She’s becoming a royal rock star’.
Another scene plays of the Sussexes on a royal walkabout as a member of the public shouts ‘Meghan, we love you!’
It cuts to Meghan saying ‘and then’ before snapping her fingers with Harry adding: ‘Everything changed’.
A photo of the Royal Family at the Trooping the Colour in 2019 is shown – including William, Catherine, Charles and Camilla – while Harry narrates: ‘There’s a hierarchy of the family, you know, there’s leaking, but there’s also planting of stories. It’s a dirty game.’
The couple’s lawyer, Jenny Afia, tells the camera: ‘There was a war against Meghan to support other people’s agendas’ before Christopher Bouzy, a tech entrepreneur and a longtime supporter of the couple, says, ‘it’s about hatred, it’s about race’.
Harry & Meghan. A Netflix Global Event.
Volume I: December 8
Volume II: December 15 pic.twitter.com/WpFzVEC7Yx
— Netflix (@netflix) December 5, 2022
Ukraine Hit by New Round of Missile Attacks — Russian Air Bases Report Explosions
Russia launched a new round of missile strikes against multiple cities across Ukraine on Monday as Russian state media also reported explosions at two airfields in the country.
Ukrainian officials urged residents to not ignore air raid sirens, which blared in the capital of Kyiv and elsewhere, as missiles landed in multiple areas across the country.
The extent of the damage caused by the latest strikes remains unclear, but Kyiv for weeks has indicated Russia is targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as winter sets in.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on Telegram that a “large number” of residents poured into the city’s subway stations, which for months have been used as shelters.
“Do not ignore the ‘Air alarm’ signal! Stay in shelters!” Ukraine’s state emergency service urged residents early Monday afternoon local time.
In the southern city of Mykolaiv, the city’s mayor indicated that power was promptly cut in the area following the strikes to avoid the possibility of fires.
Oleksandr Starukh, the governor of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region, said a rocket attack killed two people and injured three others in the village of Novosofiivka, damaging civilian homes. Starukh said one of the victims was a child born last year.
“Eternal memory! We pray for the recovery of the wounded!” he wrote on Telegram, warning residents that there is a high risk of repeated attacks as he urged them to stay in shelters.
The latest barrage of strikes also came as Russian state media reported explosions at two air fields in Russia.
State-owned news agency TASS reported an explosion in an aircraft parking lot at an airfield near Ryazan, a city located about 115 miles southeast of Moscow.
Citing emergency services, TASS said the explosion killed three people and wounded five others.
State-owned outlet RIA Novosti reported that as many as nine people were injured, also indicating a fuel truck caught fire and a plane was damaged because of the explosion.
Roman Busargin, the governor of Russia’s Saratov Oblast, indicated an apparent explosion at Engels Air Force Base, which is located near the Volga River north of Volgograd.
“Information about a loud bang and an outbreak in Engels in the early morning is spreading on social networks and the media,” he wrote on Telegram. “I want to assure you that no emergencies occurred in the residential areas of the city. There are no reasons for concern. No civilian infrastructure was damaged.”
Elon Musk Reacts to Trump’s Call For ‘Termination’ of Parts of the Constitution
Twitter CEO Elon Musk turned to the social media platform he owns on Sunday night to say the U.S. Constitution was greater than any president.
Musk’s tweet was in response to a story on FoxNews.com published earlier in the day, about President Biden’s administration saying former President Trump deserved to be “universally condemned” for saying parts of the U.S. Constitution should be terminated.
Trump’s comments were made last week in response to the release of the “Twitter Files” on Friday.
He argued the files showed evidence of “fraud and deception” in the 2020 election and eliminating parts of the constitution would address it.
“So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION?” Trump said on social media.
“A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” he continued. “Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”
The White House responded to Trump, saying the Constitution is a “sacrosanct document” that has guaranteed that freedom and the rule of law has prevailed for the past 200 years.
On Sunday, Musk chimed in on the matter.
The Constitution is greater than any President. End of story.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 5, 2022
“The Constitution is greater than any President,” he said. “End of story.”
The new owner of Twitter has been vocal lately on the importance of free speech.
Woke Dem Recalls Child ‘Waking Up With Nightmares’ Over Climate Change
Incoming House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark of Massachusetts on Sunday recalled one of her children “waking up with nightmares” due to concerns about climate change.
Clark made the comment when asked by NBC News anchor Chuck Todd what she and incoming House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries intended to do differently than their leadership predecessors, Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer.
The 59-year-old Clark argued that her “generation” could bring a fresh perspective to Congress because her kids grew up being tormented by the threats of climate change and gun violence.
“One of the biggest changes is going to be that we’re coming into this in the minority, but the commitment that we have had to the people of this country, to workers, to women, to the climate is going to continue on,” Clark said.
“And let me tell you what it means to me coming in as a different generation,” she continued. “I remember my middle child waking up with nightmares over concern around climate change. I’ve had my family at a movie theater, when the movie stopped, my children immediately felt there must be a shooter in the theater with us.”
“These are the type of experiences that we are going to bring as we continue to push to meet this moment of challenge for the American people with progress,” she added.
A clip of Clark’s comment received mockery on Twitter with GOP consultant Michael Duncan tweeting, “would snitch to CPS if someone told me this,” referring to child protective services.
Former Trump White House senior adviser Stephen Miller responded to the tweet by saying, “The only way this could happen to a child is if the parents made it so.”
Jeffries, D-N.Y., has been elected as minority leader, Clark as minority whip and Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., as caucus chair after Pelosi, Hoyer and Majority Whip James Clyburn announced they’re turning over the reins.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who was nominated as speaker by House Republicans last month, hopes he can eke out a win when the entire House votes in January. He can’t lose more than four Republican votes, and at least five Republicans have spoken out that they will not support him for speaker.
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