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Your daily news from Morning Brew.
Illustration: Morning Brew, Photo: Getty
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Illustration: Morning Brew, Photos: Getty
Hannah Peters—FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump hands out Make America Great Again hats to McDonalds employees in East Palestine, Ohio. (Jabin Botsford via Getty Images)
TGIF: Dignity for Oompa Loompas
Robots replace academics. Another Dolezal. The censors come for Roald Dahl. Buttigieg blows it in Ohio. Plus: David Mamet on cowboys.
By Nellie Bowles
February 24, 2023
→ Home sales fall for 12 straight months: It’s the longest streak since 1999. Mortgage rates are still too high. See I only care about politics that directly impact me financially, and this does because it means when I look at my house on Zillow I see the number going down. Not allowed! Meanwhile, office landlords are beginning to default as those 10-year leases end.
→ Georgia grand jury foreperson gone wild: The head juror for the special grand jury looking into Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results has gone rogue. She is Emily Kohrs, 30, a private citizen, a grand jury foreperson tasked with protecting elections, and as of this week a chatty new media darling.
To MSNBC: “I kind of wanted to subpoena the former president because I got to swear everybody in. And so I thought it’d be really cool to get 60 seconds with President Trump, of me looking at him and being like, ‘Do you solemnly swear?’ And me getting to swear him in.”
To CNN: “There may be some names on that list that you wouldn’t expect. But the big name that everyone keeps asking me about—I don’t think you will be shocked.”
Emily’s having fun! (And of course she’s into witchcraft.) Honestly, the grand jury foreperson’s main bias seems to be toward drama and chaos, and in that we salute her.
“This was a horrible idea and I I guarantee you prosecutors are wincing”
Thank you, Emily Kohrs 😂
— Clayton Keirns (@CKeirns) February 22, 2023
As an aside, you know why Trump hasn’t been caught for anything big? The man never writes anything down. Not an email, not a text. The resistance, run by chaos Wiccans like Emily, will simply never catch him.
→ Roald Dahl meets 2023: The long-dead British children’s books author—Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, and, who could forget, The Witches—has not escaped our moment, and now his books are getting a modern makeover to remove offensive bits. I forget, were those books racist? Sexist? Not exactly, no, but lots of people might be offended, for example, by the fact that Dahl describes witches as bald. And so now there is a new line in the book right after his description of a witch’s hairless head: “There are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.” (I’m dead serious.)
Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was described as “fat.” That’s gone (now he’s just “enormous”). And did anyone ask the Oompa-Loompas whether they self-identified as “small men?” Now they are “small people,” which of course gives these characters, who are called Oompa. Loompas. All their dignity back. In one story, a character Dahl described as “ugly and beastly” is now just “beastly,” a concession, I guess, to sensitive ugly people. But what about the beastly?!
Now the next lines from James and the Giant Peach are so offensive, I want you to be very careful who sees your screen. These were traditionally sung by the Centipede: “Aunt Sponge was terrifically fat / And tremendously flabby at that.” And: “Aunt Spiker was thin as a wire / And dry as a bone, only drier.”
Those are gone now, replaced with new and worse rhymes coughed up by the very nice censors at Inclusive Minds.
Now, Dahl was also famously an antisemite, which he occasionally cloaked as simple anti-Zionism. Actually, that didn’t need a modern progressive update at all. Now excuse me while I go track down my original copy of The Twits before a sensitivity reader with red pens shows up at my door.
→ Ancestry is complex: One-time Black Panther Angela Davis went onto the PBS show Finding Your Roots, where Henry Louis Gates Jr. does a deep dive into your ancestry. But then something strange happened: It turns out her ancestors arrived on the Mayflower. Now the gotcha here from the right is something like “Oh she’s a descendant of the Mayflower! Not so victimized, eh?” But actually it’s sort of a vindication of the 1619-mindset, in that the history of America and slavery is entwined from the start. It’s worth watching the clip just to see Davis’s face and the gravity of being tied genetically back to that ship. “No, my ancestors did not come here on the Mayflower. No, no no. That’s a little bit too much to deal with right now.”
→ Selling unused Covid gear on the cheap: New York City is auctioning off $200 million in Covid supplies for just $500,000. This comes from local news blog The City, who got the scoop. Among some of the details from the story: A junk dealer from Long Island picked up $12 million in ventilators for just $24,600. “It took the dealer 28 truckloads to cart the stuff away, auction records state.” It’s a great story that also includes emails showing city officials fretting that people might find out how much they overspent. It’s like Storage Wars but so, so sad.
Congratulations to the junk dealer who got 500,000 pounds of ventilators.
→ Jimmy Carter, 98, in hospice: The former president is now in hospice in his Plains, Georgia, home. I recommend this 2018 feature about his sweet and simple life in retirement with Rosalynn, where every Sunday he taught a lesson at the Maranatha Baptist Church. TGIF salutes Jimmy Carter, a model of decency.
Speaking of gentle souls with good intentions, humble dreams, and devoted marriages, let’s see what Bill Clinton and Donald Trump are up to this week. . .
→ Trump gets to East Palestine before the White House: Trump visited the site of the toxic train derailment, spoke to residents, and brought pallets of water (Trump-branded, of course). He stopped at McDonalds, telling workers quite believably: “I know this menu better than you do.”
Meanwhile, local officials in East Palestine are getting on camera to show themselves drinking tap water. Like, see, it’s totally safe! The fish are dead and your dog is dying, but we’re cool! Don’t be so uptight about “vinyl chloride” and “phosgene,” which are just fancy words for totally not-toxic water.
One thing that makes Trump successful is he says that things are shitty when they’re shitty, and I’m sorry, but the water in East Palestine is shitty right now.
Racing there after Trump was Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, the man who is proving single-handedly that Rhodes Scholars are overhyped. Buttigieg whiffed when he arrived: he ran away from reporters, leaving his press secretary begging those reporters to turn off their cameras before she would talk to them. When he did finally speak, he said he “lost his train of thought.” Oh god:
PETE BUTTIGIEG: "Sorry, I lost my train of thought." pic.twitter.com/ynz6RD0buv
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 23, 2023
Is there something I’m missing here? Why did the train derailment get coded as so conservative that no one could talk about it? Why do the cameras have to be off? Why isn’t Michael Moore there? To me, this whole thing is a gimme for Democrats: use it to argue for more and smarter government infrastructure spending. But for some reason, acknowledging the crash and its environmental impact is verboten. If you can answer this political mystery, please do in the comments.
→ I really don’t like this item: Mark Middleton, a one-time advisor to Bill Clinton, who seemed to be involved with handling his Jeffrey Epstein relationship, is dead by apparent suicide. Details came out this week: Middleton was found hanged with an electrical cord—and with a gunshot wound to his chest. When it comes to Epstein-related shadiness and the extended cover-up of that scandal, at this point, I’m willing to believe just about anything. On the other hand, people who have done bad things do generally want to avoid facing their own souls. So I’d say I’m Epstein-related-murder-conspiracy-open but not sold. But let’s give it a week.
→ James O’Keefe is out: Project Veritas, the right-wing undercover investigations outlet, has ousted its leader and star, James O’Keefe. He spoke to staff before leaving and you can watch that strange, rambling speech here. The board accused him of spending “an excessive amount of donor funds in the last three years on personal luxuries.” Items and amounts that the Veritas board lists: “$14,000 on a charter flight to meet someone to fix his boat under the guise of meeting with a donor” and “over $150,000 in Black Cars in the last 18 months.”
Now, to be clear, James O’Keefe’s job is setting up shady stings of his enemies. One of my friends who got stung was on his third date with a woman who turned out to be an undercover Veritas operative. It was on that date that she recorded him. To me, there’s no one better to run an operation like that than a dude who spends $14,000 to meet someone about a boat. Over $150,000 on limos is basically the minimum spend for a guy like this.
→ Ozy Media founder arrested: It’s not only right-wing media that’s losing a star this week. On Thursday we learned that Carlos Watson, founder of progressive media company Ozy, had been arrested on charges of fraud. The United States of America v. Carlos Watson and Ozy Media, Inc. is pretty fun reading. Among other things, Watson allegedly had a subordinate— Samir Rao, Ozy’s COO—pretend to be a YouTube executive on a call with Goldman Sachs, to say how great Ozy Media was doing on YouTube.
This whole thing was first broken open by scoop hound Ben Smith, now of Semafor. An idea: maybe Carlos Watson and James O’Keefe can start something new together?
And now, a word from resident cartoonist David Mamet . . .
→ University DEI admins come up with their perfect replacement: Vanderbilt University’s office of diversity issued a statement consoling students about a recent mass shooting at Michigan State. But apparently they are so very busy that they used AI to write it.
Let me back up: last week, 43-year-old Anthony Dwayne McRae—who had previously pleaded down a felony charge that would have prevented him from possessing a gun—slaughtered three students, seemingly at random, on Michigan State’s campus.
In response, Vanderbilt’s equity workers released a touching statement about how everyone needs to be kind and inclusive to, I guess, prevent mass shootings by nearby career criminals: “Another important aspect of creating an inclusive environment is to promote a culture of respect and understanding.” And: “[L]et us come together as a community to reaffirm our commitment to caring for one another and promoting a culture of inclusivity on our campus.” And: “Finally, we must recognize that creating a safe and inclusive environment is an ongoing process that requires ongoing effort and commitment.” It’s the same nonsensical but warm sentiment said over and over—inclusive (7 times), community (5 times), safe (3)—and it kinda worked!
Except at the bottom of the statement was this sentence: Paraphrase from OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI language model, personal communication, February 15, 2023.
People were upset. The university apologized. And yes, you could ask what exactly these bureaucrats are doing all day. But their laziness might also be their genius: replace all university bureaucrats with ChatGPT. Like the discovery of penicillin, sometimes accidents make genius.
→ NPR cutting 10 percent of its staff: The public radio station—that is, in part, taxpayer funded—is losing money and needs to cut staff. I can’t point to an institution that has more fully failed its mission than NPR, which went from fulfilling a genuine public service with news and great stories (I’m thinking of early This American Life) to just another hyper-partisan maker of mush. Tote bags and mush.
→ NYT union versus NYT workers: The New York Times’ labor union is a funny thing because reporters pay into it every two weeks and, in turn, the union’s main project is getting some of those reporters fired. It’s a bit like musical chairs: If you’re too slow putting the fist in your Twitter profile picture, you’re it. See, the union is pretty bad at achieving boring stuff like raises, but it shines at gathering groups of reporters to get a deskmate ousted. Who needs money when you can draw blood?
The latest: the union stepped in to help ax a couple Times writers who reported on trans issues with anything close to an objective lens. Here’s what union head Susan DeCarava wrote to Times staff in a note about how to organize: “[E]mployees are protected in collectively raising concerns that conditions of their employment constitute a hostile working environment.” Oh yes, reporting on trans issues makes a hostile work environment. Perfect. We got the language, now let’s march on Katie, that very bad Times reporter! Let’s picket the awful Emily! The people united will get Katie fired!
Except finally, finally, the union this week is seeing some organized pushback, and a group of Times people wrote their own letter asking the union to just please stop. “We ask that our union work to advance, not erode, our journalistic independence.”
If media union bosses can’t wake up and get Katies and Emilys fired, what exactly are they supposed to do all day?
This post is for paying s
When it comes to politics all we ever hear is MSM news or Right wing news. Today I’m changing that. Some may be upset with my Right Wing category.
I’m adding Conservative and Left Wing news. MSM is now FOX, WSJ, USA Today, The Hill, Politico, and most of your business publications. Left Wing I’ve added ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, NPR, CNN and your regulars like VOX, AXIO, Etc. I’ve put Progressive and Liberal media with Left Wing.
Right wing was a tough call for me. I’m sure many who read my articles may be upset with me. But here goes anyway. Gateway, NewsMax, NY Post, Washington Times and Examiner are a few right wing. They do have great articles and most of the time are very factual. I also have in the past, and will use them in the future.
This brings me to Breitbart. Six months ago I would have placed them in the right wing. Today I’m calling them Conservative. Right now I’ll leave out others that I find Conservative.
What say you?
Our former President put out an awesome add about what is and what we can expect if he runs again. No 2020 election talk or fake to do about nothing hearing. Just the facts.
More great videos from a man who’s really good and a Trump fanatic.
Trump responds to The FBI Raid #FBIRaid #MarALargoFBIRaid #SadDayForAmerica #CaptainDeplorable #CaptainDeplorable45 pic.twitter.com/4fQZyAr1mV
— Captain Deplorable (@CaptnDeplorable) August 9, 2022
A reprint from the Wall Street Journal.
An Associated Press investigation published Wednesday found Russia’s March 16 bombing of the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater in Mariupol actually killed closer to 600 civilians, about double the number of casualties originally reported. The United Nations’ Human Rights Office has confirmed 3,238 civilian deaths and 3,397 civilian injuries since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began—but it continues to believe the actual figures are “considerably higher.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday outlined the bloc’s sixth Russian sanctions package, proposing an EU-wide ban on imports of Russian crude oil within six months and a ban on more refined oil products by the end of 2022. The package—which will require sign off from all 27 member states—would also remove three major Russian banks from the SWIFT financial-messaging system, ban several Russian state-owned broadcasters from the EU, and impose sanctions on Russian military officials accused of war crimes in Bucha and elsewhere. Hungary and Slovakia have signaled they won’t support a broader ban on Russian energy.
Several thousand Finnish troops are conducting a two-week military exercise alongside American, British, Estonian, and Latvian soldiers in anticipation of Finland’s forthcoming NATO application. Major General Joe Hartman—head of U.S. Cyber National Mission Force—told reporters yesterday the United States sent cyber forces to Lithuania to help defend against Russian cyber threats.
North Korea conducted another ballistic missile test on Wednesday, according to Japanese and South Korean military officials. The projectile reportedly traveled about 310 miles before landing in the sea, and the launch comes just days before South Korea is set to inaugurate its new, more hard-line president.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order and issued a national security memorandum aiming to advance the United States’ development of quantum computing technologies, establishing a National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee and directing federal agencies to “pursue a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach” toward harnessing the economic and scientific benefits of quantum information science. The memorandum also directs government agencies to update their cybersecurity capabilities by transitioning to quantum-resistant cryptographic standards.
The Census Bureau reported yesterday the United States’ international trade deficit in goods and services hit a record high in March, increasing 22.3 percent month-over-month to $109.8 billion. Imports increased more than 10 percent in March, with clothing, computers, and cars driving much of the surge.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell had some shocking news yesterday: “Inflation is much too high.”
In fairness, Powell wasn’t trying to break new ground. He was emphasizing the Fed’s shift from months of “don’t worry, this inflation is transitory” to the more recent “OK, yikes, inflation is eating Americans’ wallets and we should do something.”
“We understand the hardship it is causing, and we’re moving expeditiously to bring it back down,” Powell said. “We have both the tools we need and the resolve it will take to restore price stability.” And so, as previously telegraphed, the Fed hiked interest rates on Wednesday by 50 basis points, or half a percent—the highest jump since 2000.
The Fed had already raised rates a quarter percent in March, its first hike since 2018. But it’ll take much more than that to bring inflation under control. The central bank’s favored price index reported 6.6 percent year-over-year inflation in March, more than triple the Fed’s goal of 2 percent. Powell said continued strong employment numbers—U.S. job openings reached a record-high 11.5 million in March—give him confidence the Fed has room to cool the market and slow hiring without triggering mass unemployment.
Sen. Mitt Romney had some choice words for the Federal Reserve on Wednesday. “The Federal Reserve is primarily responsible for maintaining the integrity of our monetary system,” he told Steve on yesterday’s Dispatch Podcast. “They were far too loose, far too long.” Here are some additional highlights from the conversation:
On the Biden administration’s contributions to today’s inflationary environment.
My guess is that would not have been the problem it was but for the fact that COVID threw off the supply chain in ways that were far more extreme than any would’ve anticipated. But then added to that, you had the president do a couple of things that really added fuel to the fire. One was the $1.9 trillion that went out in March, and that was just after the $900 billion that had gone out in January. So just a couple of months after $900 billion went out, he sent out $1.9 trillion.
I was speaking yesterday with the Secretary of Health and Human Services in one state, not my state, but another state. She said that her state’s budget for childcare for the indigent was $55 million a year. She received a check on the American Rescue Plan for $500 million for that program. She said, “What are we supposed to do with all this money?” And that happened in state after state.
I don’t think the White House anticipated the impact of what they had done, what the Fed had done, and the supply chain would be as great as it is. And the American people are suffering as a result of that.
It may seem like everything’s coming up Republican ahead of November’s midterms, but Noah Rothman argues in Commentary the GOP could very well still blow it. “Despite the many advantages Republicans enjoy today, a bad candidate can still lose a winnable race,” he writes. Robert Regan—GOP candidate for a Michigan House seat—pushed to decertify the 2020 election, suggested Ukraine deserved to be invaded by Russia, pushed antivaxx rhetoric, dabbled in anti-Semitism, and “joked” about telling his daughters to “lie back and enjoy it” if they are raped. And this week, he lost a special election in a +26 Republican district that had never elected a Democrat. “The GOP’s primary voters got what they wanted: not a lasting political victory at the polls but a thumb in the eye of those who dared warn against touching that hot stove. This cautionary tale could have broader relevance with primary season now fully upon us.”
In a piece for National Review, Kevin Williamson does his best to answer pro-choice critiques of overturning Roe v. Wade. “The Constitution says what it says even if 70 percent of Americans wish it said something else. The Constitution says what it says even if 99 percent of Americans wish it said something else,” he writes. “If 95 percent of Americans don’t like the First Amendment or 100 percent want to reinstitute slavery, that doesn’t change what the Constitution says. It means that the majority can go jump in a lake—which is what constitutions are there to do. That being said, if it really were the case that overwhelming majorities of Americans wanted the same abortion rules that Planned Parenthood wants (meaning, essentially, none) then having the elected representatives of the people take up the question in the legislatures and vote on it seems like it would be a winning outcome for the pro-abortion side. The fact that the pro-abortion side is terrified of working out the question democratically tells you that they know they do not have the support they claim to have.”
yu darvish and his little ducklings
May 2nd 2022
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KENNEDY: “When the department picked [Nina Jankowicz], was the department aware of her Tik Tok videos? They’re really quite precocious.” MAYORKAS: “I was not aware of those videos.”
May 4th 2022
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NEW: A photograph of Oz casting a ballot in Turkey’s 2018 presidential election is rankling national security experts — particularly after recently saying he has “never been politically involved in Turkey in any capacity.” Dr. Oz’s vote in 2018 Turkish election renews criticismU.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz cast a ballot in Turkey’s 2018 presidential election.abcnews.go.com
May 4th 2022
5,112 Retweets11,219 Likes
In this week’s Capitolism (), Scott is starting to wonder if the Biden administration is actively trying to boost inflation. “Inflation may be the nation’s top economic challenge and may be top of mind for most American voters, but it plays second fiddle to the narrow interests of certain groups—unions, environmentalists, college grads, etc.—that the White House sees as essential for political success this fall and beyond,” he writes. “So those squeaky wheels will continue to get the oil, regardless of the insular decisions’ broader economic effects.”
President Biden publicly said the word ‘abortion’ out loud this week for the first time in his presidency. “I think the reason for this is pretty obvious. Most people don’t like abortion,” Jonah writes in Wednesday’s G-File (). “[Biden] may be locked in, as a political matter, to abortion rights maximalism, irrespective of his personal views. But the White House has decided that this is not the way it wants to frame the issue. Democrats want to say that if ‘they’ come for abortion tomorrow, ‘they’ll’ also come for privacy, gay marriage, etc., tomorrow. … And because Biden can’t say ‘safe, legal, and rare,’ he’s blocked off from a popular position on abortion.”
What can J.D. Vance’s victory in Ohio tell us about Trump and the 2022 midterms? “Based on my read of the available data, Trump’s endorsement was worth about 3-5 percentage points in terms of people who immediately switched their vote,” Sarah writes in this week’s Sweep (). “But the real value was with undecided voters.” Plus: The electoral effects of overturning Roe, 2024 GOP primary “lanes,” Evan McMullin and Mike Lee in Utah, and which political coalition has shifted more in recent years.
In a bonus Wednesday Uphill, Haley uncovers another House Democrat abusing proxy voting to campaign for higher office back home. “[New York Rep. Tom Suozzi] has voted in person only five times since the start of the year, over the course of three days in January,” she writes. “Suozzi voted in person once on January 18, once on January 19, and three times on January 20. Beyond those three days, Suozzi has had colleagues cast votes on his behalf under the House’s proxy rules 134 times out of 141 roll call votes in 2022 thus far.”
This is a reprint from Newsweek.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene used MLK Day to claim there is a “new segregation” for people who are unvaccinated against the coronavirus. Politicians across the United States honored the work of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday. But Greene, a Georgia Republican, appeared to equate the segregation faced by Black Americans to vaccine requirements in a Gettr post.
“Thanks to the hard work of Rev MLK Jr. and others, growing up in Georgia, I’ve seen the beautiful fruit that blossomed from the Civil Rights Era, where segregation ended & equality began,” she wrote. “Today, I believe we are seeing a new segregation and discrimination beginning, wrongfully forced upon unvaccinated Americans by the tyrants of the Democrat Party.” She added: “Our freedoms come from our Almighty God, and we must not let any man take them away.”
Some cities across the United States have implemented vaccine requirements to enter some public places, including restaurants and gyms, in an attempt to convince people to take the vaccine, which has proven to prevent serious illness from the virus. The Biden administration also implemented a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. But the Supreme Court last week blocked a further-reaching federal requirement for large companies to mandate vaccines.
Reprinted from the Jewish Voice.
President Trump Joins Call Urging State Legislators to Review Evidence and Consider Decertifying ‘Unlawful’ Election Results.
President Trump spoke to 300 state legislators from the battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia on Saturday in a Zoom conference call hosted by Got Freedom? in which the 501 (c) (4) non-profit election integrity watchdog group urged those lawmakers to review evidence that the election process in their states was unlawful and consider decertifying the results of the November 3 presidential election.
President Trump addressed the call for 15 minutes at the invitation of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Other featured speakers included Chapman Law School Professor John Eastman, Dr. Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing (appearing in his personal capacity), John Lott, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Justice (also appearing in his personal capacity), and Liberty University Law School Professor Phill Kline.
Trump Speaks to State Legislators on Call About Decertifying Election https://t.co/z6BgCAe3zX via @BreitbartNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2021
Then on Saturday, as Breitbart News reported, 11 Republican senators said they would vote not to certify on Wednesday and would instead recommend the establishment of a commission to review the lawfulness of the election process in the disputed states in a full election audit. That commission would have ten days to review the evidence and report back to the joint session of Congress.
“This information should serve as an important resource for state legislators as they make calls for state legislatures to meet to investigate the election and consider decertifying their state election results,” Kline, who hosted the call on behalf of Got Freedom? said.