“This ongoing, coordinated campaign to wage meritless, politicized lawsuits against a foundational American industry and its workers is nothing more than a distraction from important national conversations and an enormous waste of California taxpayer resources,” institute senior vice president Ryan Meyers said in a statement.
If big oil caused this, why not sue for damages? But the state wants the establishment of a fund to offset future costs from extreme weather events and climate mitigation efforts. In other words, it rains, or snows, big oil pays.
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White Progressives are at it again. They’re asking social media to lie for them again. The folks in the White House are again calling on their friends in Social media to attack the House Impeachment Inquiry.
Since Wednesday morning the MSM AND THE LEFT WING TALKING HEADS started the personal attacks and lies. Where were they when the fake January 6th commission based on lies and fake news impeached a President? This from CNN Business.
The letter was sent to executives helming the nation’s largest news organizations, including CNN, The New York Times, Fox News, the Associated Press, CBS News, and others, a White House official familiar with the matter said.
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Last week Noam Dworman of Comedy Cellar USA, on his Live at the Table podcast, interviewed Washington Post columnist Philip Bump. It was a debate, with Bump invited because he’s “most associated with pouring cold water on the Hunter Biden story,” as Noam put it.
The show went viral as Bump, semi-reprising the performance of Russiagate champion and Guardian reporter Luke Harding walking on an interview with Aaron Mate, left abruptly after conceding Hunter’s line, “unlike pop, I won’t make you give me half your salary” was evidence. To be fair the show had run long, but Bump insisted earlier that there was “no evidence” of wrongdoing on Joe Biden’s part, so it wasn’t a timely exit — not that I’m unfamiliar with interviews that go sideways.
I know Noam and my name got dragged into this somewhat absurdly (Bump said I had “an agenda,” as Noam brought up tapes between Petro Poroshenko and Joe Biden I’d referenced), but didn’t want to say anything. Then a subsequent show also went sideways, for much the same reason. More on that in a moment. Back to Bump v. Dworman:
Many exchanges in the podcast stand out, not in a good way. Bump repeatedly tells Noam his problem is that he’s not accepting his, Bump’s, versions of things. At about the 56-minute mark, Bump chides Noam for bringing up things that have been “debunked.” When Noam asks, “What’s been debunked?” Bump says, “I’ve written about this!” He adds, “It’s been debunked in the sense that I’ve already addressed this, and presented the counter-arguments to it.”
At about 1:05 in the video above, Noam brings up “the issue of the press. The press actually bothers me more than Joe Biden…” To which Bump interjects [emphasis mine]: “But you don’t listen to the press. I’m sitting here and telling you you’re wrong about these things and you don’t listen.” About five minutes later Noam again brings up media, and Bump says, “But again, you’re attacking the press, because you refuse to listen to what we’re saying.”
Nearly an hour into the show Bump began complaining he’d been set up, and I know what he was thinking, having of course also been in the position of being invited to an interview with someone who perhaps wants to make an ass of you. I actually don’t think that’s Noam’s game, but even if it were, the answer isn’t to keep repeating, “How can we talk when you keep insisting I get down from this high horse I’m on?”
Bump acts like he and his paper haven’t gotten all sorts of thingswrong in recent years, implicitly rejecting the notion that people like Noam have reason to question anything “already addressed” by papers like the Post. If you need an explanation for declining ratingsand circulation of mainstream press outlets, this vibe is it.
The other episode involved professor and frequent media commentator Dan Drezner, who laughs hysterically and at great length the instant it registers that Noam plans on countering a claim that Trump was a bad president. It’s at about the 52-minute mark:
Drezner is doing what Bump did, albeit with more humor: gagging in disbelief when a mainstream piety sent up the flagpole isn’t instantly saluted.
I think a lot of people in the world I once inhabited, in center-left media and academia, don’t realize they’ve slipped into a deeply unattractive habit of substituting checklists of unquestioned assumptions for thought. In the blue bubble Trump’s limitless evil is an idea with such awesome gravitational pull that it makes nuanced discussion about almost anything impossible. It’s why no one in media could suggest even the possibility he hadn’t colluded with Russia. He’s become an anti-God, of a faith that requires constant worship. When do we get to go back to being atheists?
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After all the COVID and Vaccine lies, will Americans comply to masking up? The majority will not. And if the MSM and their medical allies are truthful, they’ll report that those getting COVID, hospitalized, and dying will be the ones who got the eight jab.
I saw Tony the Fauch out spewing his bull again. But here is one of the few times he’s being truthful. Sort of. He states they really don’t work that well, but he says mask up anyway. A placebo effect?
“Masks are really for infected people to prevent them from spreading infection to people who are not infected rather than protecting uninfected people from acquiring infection. The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you,” Fauci wrote. “I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location. Your instincts are correct, money is best spent on medical countermeasures such as diagnostics and vaccines.”
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At first blush, the question posed in my title sounds overwrought, and will no doubt seem tendentious to some. Perhaps it is a little. But let’s think about it. Are there areas of human endeavor that would be more advanced without the resource-sucking, brain-draining, attention-diverting impacts of leftism? I think so.
First, consider the sheer monetary costs associated with leftism: big government, high taxes, redistribution from more to less productive and efficient endeavors, and so on. I have read estimates that human society would be 40 percent wealthier without this ongoing drain.* What could be done if all those extra resources remained in private hands?
Second, we have the regulatory costs. How much further along would human progress be without regulatory burdens and compliance costs? How many things weren’t invented because the barriers to entry were too high? How many startups ran afoul of Hillary Clinton’s “I can’t worry about every under-capitalized business” attitude?
Third, there is the brain-drain. The left killed between 100 and 240 million people in the 20th century alone (no one knows for sure how many). What brilliant minds were lost? What might they have done? What discoveries might their children have made, and their children’s children? We’ll never know.
Similarly, there are about 40 million abortions worldwide every year, and while that’s not the exclusive province of the left…it mostly is. Setting aside how you feel on the political issue of abortion, that is 40 million more minds and contributions that will never be. Every year.
Then there is the diversion of brilliant minds to pointless agenda items of the left, like trying to convince humanity that the next eco-pocalypse is right around the corner. Billions of dollars and thousands of minds are now being dumped into just one thing: the watermelon scheme of climate change. That money and those minds could be working to push a thousand different boundaries…any one of which might produce the next big advance. But scientists are human—they go where the money is, and the money is in climate change. Apologies to our ancestors who thought we’d be living in cities on the moon by now.
And it’s not just the geniuses—those diversions impact all of us. Think of all the energy we are putting into political fights: chasing nonexistent bugbears conjured up by the media, arguing online, defending ourselves from the predations of government, and otherwise wasting energy on politics and manufactured “causes.” How much more productive could each of us be with that precious time? The right shares responsibility for some of this diversion too…just not as much.
Diseases never cured. Boundaries never broken. How much further along would our space exploration be? How about longevity research?
We’ll never know.
Obviously I am engaged in counterfactual speculation here. I am sure people on the left will object, or even come up with counter-scenarios. I think they’d be wrong. We know their ideology has sky-high costs in treasure. We know it has cost us in blood, with its bottomless predilection for democide. We know how much time they spend trying to convince us of things that are not true. We’ll never know just how much all this has retarded human progress. I suspect it may be more than we realize.
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The list of topics on which the government and mass media feel called to protect us from ‘disinformation’ is very long.
Written By: Peter W. Wood for The Spectator Sept 2023 issue
Lying is the great American pastime. We’ve been at it ever since some of the Pilgrim fathers shined on some of the folks back home with tales of the Eden they had found on the barren coast of Massachusetts:
For fish and fowl, we have great abundance; fresh cod in the summer is but coarse meat with us; our bay is full of lobsters all the summer and affordeth variety of other fish; in September, we can take a hogshead of eels in a night, with small labor, and can dig them out of their beds all the winter; we have mussels; and …
As the American Socrates, P.T. Barnum, may once have said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Or he may not have said. The Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel in 1894 said he said it, but P.T. denied it. Whom are we going to believe: the lying liar of Fiji Mermaid fame or the dissembling deceivers of the Sentinel?
Relax. We don’t have to choose. Men were deceivers ever.
Combatting disinfo is one of the hottest trends on campus these days.
Time’s up. Stop relaxing. We’ve been summoned by our betters to purge America of the scourge of “disinformation.” Or at least the spreaders thereof. A whole new academic discipline has emerged for spotting and discrediting said disinformation. Professor Robert Beckman at the School of Media Studies at the New School, for example, teaches “Fighting Disinformation: A News Media Literacy Video Series.” Beckman is far from alone in this academic quest. “Syracuse University Professors Seek Solutions to the Plague of Disinformation,” declares one headline. Two profs at that institution scored a $600,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security for that little venture. In fact, combatting disinfo is one of the hottest trends on campus these days.
Of course, the academy is only one part of the battlefield. Ever since federal judge Terry Doughty filed an order in the Western District of Louisiana declaring that government officials couldn’t treat Twitter, Meta and other social media companies as their personal playthings, the progressive establishment has been aghast. If Judge Doughty’s order stands, it would mean the moral guardians who protect us from “disinformation” would have to let Americans decide for themselves whom and what to believe. They would no longer be able to set up shop in the offices of Elon Musk’s little enterprise, the New York Times or even the Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel.
People left to their own devices might fall prey to disinformation about China, Ukraine, or Iran. They might prove susceptible to the idea that America is not systemically racist. They might wonder if there are only two sexes. They might believe the legal availability of firearms drives the murder rate and prompts mass shootings.
When we stop to think about it, the list of topics on which the government and mass media feel called to protect us from “disinformation” is very long. Merely by printing some lists on which damnable forms of disinformation circulate, I may be triggering some readers. The only safe response is to avert your gaze and hum a Taylor Swift song. There is no doubt in bringing these matters up; however, I have already revealed myself as one who indulges in nefarious opinions. Not that I endorse all the heterodoxies hinted at above.
This is a glorious moment for us denialists. Not only has Judge Doughty flung open the windows to let the sunshine in, but Congress has also decided that the time has come to reveal the memos hidden away by the deep state censors, demand the testimony of the agency decepta-crats, and ask some really tough questions.
At the heart of the crusade against “disinformation” are lies and deception tenderly cultivated in our schools and urgently — often solemnly, sometimes indignantly — amplified by compliant news readers, sciencey-sounding researchers, and dignified officials.
What a wonder it is that many Americans take all this in — and just laugh. We know that the establishment is lying to us even if we can’t prove it. There’s just something about the preacher with his pants around his ankles that tips us off. That’s not to say that we so-called “conspiracists” lack solid evidence and compelling arguments. Often, that evidence is as naked as Hunter’s laptop, as heart-breaking as myocarditis among young, vaccinated athletes, and as conspicuous as Lia Thomas at a women’s swim meet.
But we also know that we will get into trouble if we press the point. Castigating us when we refuse to go along with the mandated delusions is the sport of our betters, but every time they do it, we grow more certain that those who guard against “disinformation” are really just guarding their own paychecks and privileges.
Finding new allies
We are, however, finding new allies. Journalist Michael Shellenberger testified to Congress recently about how the anti-disinformation crowd had come together to form what he calls the “Censorship Industrial Complex,” that combination of interest groups that seek to sanitize public life from all those gadfly opinions. Government agencies, social media, and university professors are the three legs of this complex. Shellenberger comes to this topic with the fame and credibility of being one of the journalists entrusted by Elon Musk to review the previously secret Twitter Files that exposed the deep involvement of the FBI and other government agencies in censoring public commentary.
Shellenberger’s fifty-three-page Congressional testimony isn’t the first serious effort to synthesize a picture of how the parts of the censorship regime mesh their gears. Before there was Shellenberger, we had Martin Gurri and Mattias Desmet — neither a household name, but both powerful interpreters of our current situation.
Gurri is a former CIA analyst, noted for his 2016 book, The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, in which he describes “the slow-motion collision of two modes of organizing life: one hierarchical, industrial and top-down, the other networked, egalitarian, bottom-up.” In a recent essay for City Journal, Gurri offers some observations on Shellenberger’s testimony. “The Republicans,” he writes, “are caught in a circular dilemma: they need the presidency to be heard above the censorship, yet the censorship radically diminishes their chances of getting to the White House.” He also observes that “the establishment Left… can’t survive politically without control of the web — and it dwells in a dim institutional bubble where self-interest is forever confused with the salvation of democracy.”
Mattias Desmet is a Belgian professor of clinical psychology and at first glance too offshore to be a likely source of wisdom on America’s censorial conflicts on disinformation. But his work, especially his book The Psychology of Totalitarianism, has found an eager audience in the States. He is an exponent of the idea of “mass formation” as a kind of collective hypnosis in which the public is manipulated via technology. Our fears become the lever by which government accrues more and more power.
Shellenberger’s testimony is richly detailed, but it is more than a heap of facts. He has his eye on the history of the government’s programs of disinformation-justified-as-combatting-disinformation going back to Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address, in which he warned of the converging self-interest of government contractors and the Department of Defense. In Shellenberger’s view, the new censorship has roots in the post-9/11 War on Terror, but what drove it over the edge into a kind of government insanity were the fateful events of 2016: Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. These were both popular revolts against the security state’s perceived self-interest.
I have said more than enough about Shellenberger’s remarks, which deserve to be read in full. But let me not leave the topic of prevarication in our national life without tipping my hat to some of the other spelunkers in the Great Mammoth Cave of Deceit. I’ve been reading up on the topic, and I will mention three recent works: Aja Raden’s The Truth About Lies, Robert W. Malone’s Lies My Gov’t Told Meand Rod Dreher’s Live Not by Lies. These are works which, apart from the titles, have little in common. Raden is a jeweler, who headed the auction division of an estate jeweler and became a respected jewelry designer as well as an accomplished writer. Her book attempts to explain how and why we deceive ourselves, and her background suggests that she knows a thing or two about how we assist others down that path.
Malone is the physician who invented the first mRNA vaccine in the 1980s but then argued vociferously against the use of mRNA vaccines during the COVID-19 epidemic. His warnings only succeeded in getting him targeted as one of the prime spreaders of dangerous “disinformation.” His book comes with a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; twelve of its thirty-six chapters are written by others, including one by Mattias Desmet.
Dreher’s Live Not by Lies, subtitled “A Manual for Christian Dissidents,” takes up the topic of progressive attempts “to marginalize conservatives.” Dreher sees the technology-enabled “surveillance state” as part of the new “soft totalitarianism.” His answer to this threat is pietist: stand firm. Refuse to affirm the lies. Learn to live under persecution because that’s what’s coming.
It would be nice if I could conclude with the cheery thought that the Rule of the Censors is itself about to be buffeted by the chilly winds of truth-telling. Perfect candor will never be our lot, but couldn’t we find our way a little north of the line — the one that lies beyond the boundaries of Washington, DC — that separates orchestrated deceit from Barnumesque rodomontade?
Alas, looking at a recent poll of college students, the answer is maybe no. We have raised a generation of students who believe (by a 74 percent plurality) that using official power to silence those with whom you disagree is just fine.
Let’s hope that some of them were lying to the pollsters.
Proofread for grammar by TPR
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Weaponization of Social Media. Google Censors Campaign Websites of Republicans, RFK Jr. What’s it tell you when President Joe Biden’s campaign website, of course, showed up as the second search result along with a Democratic Party challenger Marianne Williamson’s campaign website, which came up as the fifth result. But not one Republican website just before the debate last week?
This from The Media Research Center (MRC), which monitors bias in media and tech companies, discovered the biased search results when conducting searches on Google for “presidential campaign websites.”
And forget about trying to find Robert Kennedy Jr.
US 2024 Presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy, Jr. (R), speaks during an address to the New Hampshire Senate at the State House in Concord, New Hampshire, on June 1, 2023. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
Notably, 2024 Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., did not appear in Google’s search results even though he is, at present, the biggest threat to President Joe Biden’s nomination.
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Kelly was especially disgusted with Maddow, who acted more like a Hillary fangirl than a journalist. The video of Kelly’s rant is going viral on Twitter. Here’s a partial transcript via Real Clear Politics:
“That was a disgusting display by both women on the set. I would vote for Ron DeSantis over Joe Biden any day of the week, I made that clear. I tell you what my bias is.
When I sat across Ron DeSantis, I pressed him on the weaknesses of his arguments, things that he said were inconsistent, positions he had that would fall apart if you really drilled down. And he stood on his own. That’s what a journalist does. That’s your obligation is as a member of the media.
You failed Rachel Maddow, you failed, I don’t care how much they give you, 30 million dollars a year, you’re not worth thirty cents. That was an embarrassment. You fell down on the job, you embarrassed yourself and network, and you ceded the entire discussion to a dishonest broker who set us down this disgusting path that we now are on.
Sage Steele has broken her silence about what she says is “hypocrisy” at ESPN. Steele, now a former ESPN employee, was a guest on Megyn Kelly’s YouTube show Thursday, just days after leaving the network.
Steele provided the “life update” on X, formerly Twitter, saying her lawsuit against the company was settled, and she decided to leave so she can “exercise my first amendment rights more freely.
Before Steele spoke, Kelly showed a montage of ESPN broadcasters voicing political opinions on the air.
“All I ever wanted was consistency,” Steele told Kelly. “And if we are allowing my peers to go on social media, much less on our own airwaves, saying things that have nothing to do with sports, that are political … then I should be allowed on my personal time to give my opinion on my experiences personally, without telling others what to do or how to feel being biracial or being forced to take a vaccine.
“I think that’s just what breaks my heart. That there were different rules for me than everyone else.”
Steele reflected on the time she felt forced to apologize after another incident with ESPN brass.
ESPN’s Sage Steele also expressed support for Riley Gaines.(Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
“I did not want to apologize. I fought. I fought, and I begged and I screamed. And I was told that if I want to keep my job, I have to apologize. And I need my job,” she said. “And they knew that.”
However, Steele said, issues continued, and “there were events taken away as I’ve worked years to get.”
“It’s interesting. I think in anything in life, quite often, we say, ‘All right, one more time and it’s over, and I’m done …’ I knew that there was a line somewhere,” she explained.
That line was the Rose Bowl Parade. Steele had covered it previously but not this year.
“I knew that, mentally, I had checked out and was heartbroken again at the hypocrisy of the rules. A rule’s a rule for everybody or nobody. You can’t pick and choose, especially if it’s just one person. It’s just me.”
Sage Steele speaks onstage during The Players Tailgate Hosted By Bobby Flay for Super Bowl LVII Feb. 12, 2023, in Phoenix, Ariz.(Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Bullseye Event Group)
Steele’s lawsuit accused ESPN of selective enforcement of its policy that bars news employees from commenting on politics and social issues.
The suit alleged ESPN “violated Connecticut law and Steele’s rights to free speech based upon a faulty understanding of her comments and a nonexistent, unenforced workplace policy that serves as nothing more than pretext” and claimed the network relied on “inaccurate third-party accounts of Steele’s comments” and “did not immediately review the actual comments or the context in which they were made.”
She joined ESPN in 2007 after starting out at Comcast SportsNet. She became one of the mainstays on “SportsCenter” and made appearances on “NBA Countdown.”
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.
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The Georgia Indictment Was Triggered by Fake News.
The indictment against President Donald Trump and 18 lawyers, aides, and supporters has been widely criticized, but even many of the critics have missed the most important flaw: the fact that the entire grand jury investigation began with a bit of fake news.
The fake news was reporting that Trump had told Georgia officials, by telephone, to fabricate votes.
In early January 2020, for example, Trump was reported to have told Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes he needed to win.
Actually, what Trump said was: “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state” (emphasis added).
Trump was not giving an order. He was talking about his own feelings. And as Scott Adams noted this week, Trump was speaking in the context of believing he had already won the state. He believed the proof was out there; he didn’t need to make anything up.
As George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley has noted: “While others have portrayed the statement as a raw call for fabricating the votes, it seems more likely that Trump was swatting back claims that there was no value to a statewide recount by pointing out that he wouldn’t have to find a statistically high number of votes to change the outcome of the election. It is telling that many politicians and pundits refuse to even acknowledge that obvious alternate meaning.”
The term “find” is also used colloquially, and often, in the context of counting votes. Political analysts on television routinely say that a candidate needs to “find” votes in one area or another, having already been cast, as results are reported by local precincts.
A week later, there was a mistaken report in the Washington Post on Jan. 9, 2021, that Trump had urged a Georgia election investigator, later named as Frances Watson, to “find the fraud.” The original headline was: “‘Find the fraud’: Trump pressured a Georgia elections investigator in a separate call legal experts say could amount to obstruction.”
The Post later had to issue a correction: “Trump did not tell the investigator to ‘find the fraud’ or say she would be ‘a national hero’ if she did so. Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find ‘dishonesty’ there.” But the inaccurate version of the Post‘s original story was repeated throughout the mainstream media before the correction was made.
That does not mean Trump’s conduct was praiseworthy. But there was nothing in his conversations — properly reported, at least — to suggest that he had done anything illegal, especially given that he knew lawyers and skeptical officials were listening to him.
Nevertheless, these reports were partly what prompted Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to launch her investigation, starting with a “special grand jury” and leading to the current indictment.
CNN recently reported that the conversation with Brad Raffensperger were what “kicked off the local district attorney’s investigation.” That conversation, and others, were reported — and misquoted — in a highly partisan context, when Democrats were looking for any way to punish Trump and his supporters.
In Trump’s second impeachment trial, for example, which centered on the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021, the Democrats’ House impeachment managers presented the fake “find the fraud” quote as if it were real, effectively falsifying evidence in the Senate.
It was not the first time fake news had factored into an impeachment.
Trump’s first impeachment was prompted by misleading, second-hand, anonymous media reports about his telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The transcript, which Trump declassified and released, showed that there had been no “quid pro quo” for an investigation into (accurate, it turns out) suspicions of Joe Biden’s role in Ukraine. But Democrats stuck with the fake news, even making up a fake transcript.
The pattern in both cases was the same: incriminating media reports, based on leaks that likely came from anti-Trump sources, triggered an investigation that had too much political momentum to be stopped once the contrary, first-hand evidence emerged.
Another fake news story that helped launch an investigation was the claim that Trump asked Russia to hack into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump joked about Russia finding Clinton’s emails during a press conference in July 2017. His critics claimed that his rather obvious attempt at humor was, in fact, an invitation to a geopolitical rival to commit espionage.
That prompted then-CIA director John Brennan to start a counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. That investigation fed the “Russia collusion” hoax, which became an attempt to undo the results of the 2016 election. No major figure — not Clinton, nor her lawyers, nor the officials responsible for pushing the lie — was indicted, though Special Counsel John H. Durham convicted an FBI lawyer of falsifying an email (and lost two other cases, likely, in part, because of jury nullification).
It is unclear whether the “special grand jury” in Georgia heard about the calls to Raffensperger and Watson, though it reportedly heard recordings of another call, with Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston.
All three calls are referred to in the indictment approved by a formal, subsequent grand jury on Monday. But the indictment does not cite the falsely reported quotes from those calls, or even an accurate version of Trump’s statement to Raffensperger, which launched Willis’s investigation.
That is because the actual quotes from those calls are, arguably, exculpatory, just like the Ukraine transcript. But it is too late.
Once again, the partisan media, amplifying the political prejudices of anti-Trump officials, has brought the country to the brink.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
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