Republicans Calling for Blinken to Resign Over Hunter Biden Laptop Story
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken should resign, some Republicans in Congress are beginning to say, after the bombshell revelation that the nation’s top diplomat may have been a driving force behind a bid to discredit reporting about Hunter Biden — in particular a laptop that allegedly contained information about his shady business dealings and personal life — weeks before the 2020 election.

Calls for Blinken to step down followed the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee releasing a small excerpt of a deposition with former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell during an interview with the judiciary panel and the House Intelligence Committee.

A portion of a transcript shows Morell said “yes” when asked if a call around mid-October 2020 from Blinken, who was then an adviser to President Joe Biden’s campaign at the time, triggered a statement signed by 51 intelligence veterans suggesting the Hunter Biden laptop story could be part of a Russian disinformation operation. Morell also testified that Steve Ricchetti, chairman of the Biden campaign, called Morell following a presidential debate to thank him for helping to put together the statement and admitted he wanted Biden to win the election.

“This, in my opinion, probably disqualifies him to serve as the secretary of state,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) told Just the News on Friday. “Tony Blinken, you should resign,” he also said in addition to floating the prospect of impeachment.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), a lead congressional investigator of the Biden family, said Blinken should resign if he is proven to be the “impetus” of the statement. “And if he doesn’t resign, he should be impeached,” Johnson told The Star News Network. “Again, so many members of the Biden administration have this level of deceit, dishonesty and corruption. This is a lawless administration.”

A more blunt assessment came from Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX). “Anthony Blinken is a disgrace,” he tweeted. “He has now lost ALL credibility. He’s damaged our country irreparably. He needs to RESIGN NOW!!”

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee say Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) released cherry-picking excerpts from the interview with Morell and released a different part of the transcript showing Morell said he could not remember Blinken asking or even suggesting that a statement about the laptop be put together.

“To be clear, no part of that interview demonstrates that Tony Blinken or any other Biden campaign official asked Mike Morell to write a letter about Hunter Biden’s laptop,” said a statement from a spokesperson for the Judiciary Democrats.

The October 19, 2020, statement signed by 51 retired intelligence officials said the laptop’s alleged contents have “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” After POLITICO, the news outlet that first reported the statement, published a headline that said the former intelligence officials were claiming the story was “Russian disinfo,” then-candidate Joe Biden, Hunter’s father, used the statement to cast doubt on the laptop story during one of his debates with then-President Donald Trump weeks before the election.

Over the past two years, many of the laptop’s contents have been analyzed and shown to be authentic. Hunter Biden’s lawyers recently began to send letters to state and federal officials demanding investigations into individuals involved in disseminating the contents of the laptop, including to the media. His attorney, Abbe Lowell, insisted the letters do not “confirm” the laptop was his client’s device.

One of the statement’s most prominent signees, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, recently accused POLITICO of “deliberately” misrepresenting its message. POLITICO defended its reporting about the statement.

Hunter Biden is separately under investigation by federal prosecutors looking into potential crimes related to his tax affairs, foreign business dealings, and a gun purchase. The president’s son has said he expects to be cleared of wrongdoing. A meeting with Justice Department officials is scheduled for next week.

In conducting an investigation into the laptop controversy, Jordan and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Michael Turner (R-OH) have sent letters seeking information from each of the 51 intelligence veterans who signed the October 2020 statement. Portions of Morell’s testimony appeared in a letter to Blinken seeking information and records tied to the Hunter Biden issue. A deadline of May 4 is listed.

Asked by a reporter if Blinken disputes the accuracy of what is written in the Republicans’ letter, a State Department spokesperson declined to engage. “That is not a State Department issue, so I don’t have a comment for you on that,” said Deputy Press Secretary Vedant Patel.

Read 22 Comments
  • david says:

    that scum sucking moron will never resign! it’s the only job he has due to the pervert in chief. and he could not even get a job at Mcdonalds, (not qualified)

  • T-Bilt says:

    How about retiring the entire O’biden administration including the inserted one post haste!

  • Bill Sears says:

    What laptop? LOL

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    Republicans Launch Contempt Process Against FBI Director After Viewing Biden ‘Bribery’ Document



    House Republicans are officially starting contempt of Congress charges against FBI Director Chris Wray for failing to turn over Biden ‘bribery’ document they claim shows then-Vice President Joe Biden was involved in a $5 million ‘criminal’ scheme with a foreign national.

    The escalation comes after the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Oversight Committee were granted access by the FBI Monday to view the FD-1023 form in a secure facility within the Capitol. The document apparently details an ‘arrangement’ for an exchange of money for policy decisions.

    The Republicans issued a subpoena for the FD-1023 form last month and FBI Director Chris Wray was given a hard deadline of May 30 to hand over the unclassified document, which he did not comply with.

    After reviewing the document Monday, Comer told reporters the accusations contained in the form ‘suggests a pattern of bribery’ consistent with findings the committee has put out publicly.

    It’s called ‘money laundering,’ he said, saying it fits within the pattern of over $1 million in Romanian-linked payments to the Biden family revealed last month.

    In early May, Republicans released a report digging in on over $10 million received by Biden family members from foreign actors, including previously undisclosed $1 million in Romanian-linked payments, and a ‘web’ of 20 companies created while President Joe Biden was vice president and pushing anti-corruption efforts abroad.

    He also said the FBI record was ‘not disproven’ and is currently being used in an ongoing investigation that is being conducted by the Department of Justice in Delaware into Hunter Biden’s finances.

    The ‘confidential human source’ is a ‘trusted, highly credible informant’ who has been used by the FBI for over 10 years and has been paid over six figures, continued Comer.

    The chairman added that contempt proceedings will begin this Thursday.

    ‘At the briefing, the FBI again refused to hand over the unclassified record to the custody of the House Oversight Committee, and we will now initiate contempt of Congress hearings this Thursday.’

    Last week, Comer and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, spoke with Wray by phone and the FBI director offered to let them and Ranking Member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., view the documents at the FBI headquarters in an attempt to stave off the contempt threat.

    The FBI confirmed to last week that it would allow committee leadership to view the document.

    ‘During today’s call, Director Wray offered to provide the Committee’s Chairman and Ranking Member an opportunity to review information responsive to the subpoena in a secure manner to accommodate the committee, while protecting the confidentiality and safety of sources and important investigative sensitivities,’ said the FBI in a statement.

    ‘The FBI has continually demonstrated its commitment to working with the Committee to accommodate its request, from scheduling briefings and calls to now allowing the Chair to review information in person. The FBI remains committed to cooperating with the Committee in good faith.’

    Comer also informed Wray that he was also narrowing the breadth of the subpoena for the document by providing two additional terms that may be referenced in the record: ‘June 30, 2020’ and ‘five million.’

    Raskin blasted the Republicans’ handling of the document in a reporter gaggle following Monday’s briefing, calling it ‘second-hand hearsay.’

    He said former U.S. Attorney Scott Brady for the Western District of Pennsylvania and then-Attorney General Bill Barr did not find any reason to escalate the investigation into all ‘allegations related to Ukraine’ based on the FD-1023 form.

    ‘I am just surprised that my colleagues want to try to litigate this in public, much less hold the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in contempt for complying with the request when there was a whole process that was undertaken, and that process came to its natural end as I understand it,’ Raskin said.

    He would not directly confirm that the foreign national alleged in the memo being sought by Republicans is from Ukraine.

    Raskin did agree with his Republican colleagues that the whistleblower is considered ‘credible.’

    The White House has also pushed back, calling the Republican-led investigation ‘unfounded’ and ‘politically motivated.’

    Last week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed up Comer’s contempt threat – saying he is ‘prepared’ to move forward with the charge.

    ‘We have jurisdiction over the FBI, which they seem to act like we do not,’ said McCarthy.

    The FBI’s latest stonewalling also comes after a second IRS whistleblower came forward, claiming he was sidelined from the Hunter Biden probe when he spoke up about the president’s son getting preferential treatment.

    The case agent, who has not been identified, says he was fired recently without any explanation after working on the Hunter Biden investigation since 2018, according to documents sent to congressional leaders obtained by

    This is the second whistleblower to come forward in recent days on the matter.

    According to documents, he informed Congress last week about backlash he suffered for acting as a whistleblower and alleged unfair retaliatory treatment.

    He sent an email in recent weeks to senior IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel and several other officials alleging that he was ousted for raising concerns that the Department of Justice was ‘acting inappropriately’ in its handling of the investigation into the president’s son.

    His complaint comes days after the Department of Justice removed the entire team probing Hunter Biden’s tax returns, according to attorneys representing an initial supervisory whistleblower – Gary Shapley.

    Shapley testified before the GOP-led Ways and Means Committee for six hours and answered all questions from both Republicans and Democrats, learned.

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    Whistleblowers ‘Worked on Secret Program to Rebuild Crashed UFOs’ — Craft of Non-Human Origin



    Four whistleblowers have testified to investigators they worked on a secret US Government program to rebuild crashed UFOs.

    The bombshell revelation came from one of America’s top former intelligence officials who has called on world leaders to finally come clean about unexplained recovered wreckage.

    Ex-US deputy assistant secretary of defence for intelligence Christopher Mellon, 65, who served under presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush, said he has received reports that the government has engaged in a “reverse engineering project” involving UFOs.

    He said he personally had referred four witnesses to the defence department’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office – aka AARO – which is probing 800 reported close encounters between military personnel and UFOs.

    Each claimed to have knowledge of a secret program “involving the analysis and exploitation of materials recovered from off-world craft”.

    Other sources had contacted him about an “alleged secret US Government reverse engineering program”, he told Politico.

    Mr Mellon urged the government to make records of the program public.

    He said the public “have a right to know the truth” about reverse-engineering of UFO debris and “can handle” information about extraterrestrial craft.

    Disclosure of such information could help global leaders “develop an effective deterrent” against an attack – though so far he said there had been no sign of “aggression”.

    Mr Mellon said coming clean with information about UFOs – aka Unidentified Aerial Phenomena – could lead to scientific benefits.

    “If we have recovered off-world technologies our best and brightest minds should be engaged in evaluating it,” he said.

    “Assuming UAP propulsion technology is distinct from anything known to the public a successful reverse engineering program might bring about a revolution in energy, transportation and materials technologies.

    “We might be able to accelerate a transition to clean and cheap energy, perhaps even develop super-conducting materials and propulsion technologies that are now the stuff of Hollywood movies.”

    Mr Mellon is the not the first to raise questions about the reverse engineering of UFOs.

    In March US Congressman Tim Burchett said he believed “we have recovered a craft at some point – and possible beings”.

    “I think that a lot of that’s being reverse-engineered right now, but we just don’t understand it,” he added.

    A fortnight ago Dr Garry Nolan, 62, a pathology pathology at Stanford University School of Medicine who has published more than 300 research articles and holds 40 US patents, told an international conference whistleblowers who had worked on “reverse-engineering downed craft” were stirring up a “hornet’s nest” at the heart of government.

    He drew gasps from the audience when he said he was ‘100%’ certain aliens are living on Earth.

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    ICE Director Announces Retirement



    Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Tae Johnson is announcing his retirement on Monday after 30 years with the agency, Axios has learned.

    Johnson is the second senior immigration official to announce their departure during the past week — less than a month after the long-anticipated end of pandemic-era restrictions on immigration that enabled rapid expulsions of many migrants who crossed the southwest border.

    That policy, known as Title 42, has been replaced by strict asylum rules imposed by the Biden administration, resulting in a dramatic decline in crossings during much of the past month.

    Johnson has been acting director of ICE since the start of the Biden presidency, leading an agency that has been at the center of controversy because of its role in arresting, detaining and deporting immigrants unlawfully present in the U.S.

    Mass migrations of people from Central America, South America and beyond arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico have further complicated ICE’s mission.

    “Leaders come and go, but ICE’s workforce has always remained steadfast, adaptable, and committed to keeping our homeland secure,” Johnson told colleagues in a prepared announcement of his retirement, viewed by Axios.

    Johnson’s retirement has long been in the works, sources say.

    ICE hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed director for more than 6 years.

    President Biden’s nominee for the position — Harris County (Texas) Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, whose jurisdiction includes Houston — withdrew from consideration nearly a year ago, after a long and tumultuous nomination process in which he failed to gain support even among Biden’s fellow Democrats in the Senate.

    The Government Accountability Office determined earlier this year that Johnson had been serving too long in his “acting” capacity — violating the Vacancies Reform Act.

    The Washington Examiner first reported in April that Johnson planned depart at a future date.

    Johnson’s retirement comes a week after Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz announced his retirement. It’s unclear who will fill either role, though Johnson plans to help with the transition during the next month.

    Immigration policy has become an increasingly hot political issue. Navigating outdated immigration laws, easily changed executive policies and frequent interference by courts is no simple ask for federal leadership.

    Under Johnson, ICE continued to be in the middle of political debates over whether the U.S. government was being too lenient on undocumented migrants — or too harsh on them.

    Republicans railed against historically low enforcement numbers, while the left has long been critical of the agency tasked with immigrant arrests, detention and deportation.

    ICE now faces a shortfall for the fiscal year in the hundreds of millions, as resources increasingly have been diverted to help its sister border agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), according to sources familiar with the situation.

    CBP is most directly tasked with enforcement at the border, but ICE handles the transportation, deportation, detention and tracking of migrants. ICE also handles “Alternative to Detention” programs, charging and providing court dates to migrants when the Border Patrol is overwhelmed.

    Under Biden, ICE ended detentions of migrants families in 2021 — but the administration then considered whether to restart such detentions.

    ICE made historic investments in tracking programs that are used as alternatives to detention, but funding limits have forced it to cut back.

    New guidelines on which immigrants ICE agents should prioritize for arrest have been at the center of court disputes.

    ICE and Homeland Security investigators have increased their efforts to target human and drug smuggling throughout the Western Hemisphere.

    Johnson “has been instrumental in advancing many of DHS’s critical missions,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement first provided to Axios. “He helped transform the organizational culture of ICE by focusing its resources on public safety and national security.”

    The political wrangling over immigration is already a key focus of 2024 election campaigns, with ICE’s actions at the center of the issue.

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    Mike Pence Files Paperwork to Enter 2024 Presidential Race



    Former Vice President Mike Pence has filed paperwork to jump into the 2024 presidential primary for the Republican nomination, setting up a clash with former President Donald Trump.

    Pence has long been expected to enter the race and is set to formally announce his candidacy on June 7.

    Pence, who served as governor of Indiana prior to becoming vice president, will enter a growing field of candidates competing for the nomination, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

    The former vice president has long sought to market himself as a “classical conservative,” pushing for a return to the pre-Trump Republican Party.

    As he mounts a bid to challenge his former running mate, Pence will likely seek to distinguish himself from Trump on socially conservative grounds. It’s thought that Trump placed Pence on the ticket in 2016 to draw in the support of social conservatives, as many on the right viewed the New Yorker as too socially liberal. The same strategy will likely characterize his 2024 bid.

    Pence has often described himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”

    Although he served as Trump’s vice president, the two increasingly grew apart in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. Pence has called it “a tragic day” and one for which he said that “history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”

    At the time, Trump tried to convince Pence to use a disputed power under the 12th Amendment to refuse certification of electoral slates from contested states where Trump said the results were plagued by widespread voter fraud.

    Pence refused repeated efforts by the former president to use this power and has characterized Trump’s efforts as a danger to American political norms. Pence argued that acceding to Trump’s request would have prompted a constitutional crisis.

    “President Trump was wrong,” Pence said of the matter.

    “I had no right to overturn the election. And [Trump’s] reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”

    On the other hand, he has resisted efforts from both the now-defunct House Jan. 6 panel and other inquiries for investigations into the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and has suggested that some “irregularities” characterized the 2020 election.

    In a March 2021 op-ed for the Heritage Foundation, Pence noted the existence of “significant voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law” during the 2020 election.

    Rejection of Populism

    Pence recently called on conservatives to reject the “siren song of populism.”

    “I believe we have to resist the politics of personality and the siren song of populism unmoored to timeless conservative principles, and we need to stand firm on the conservative agenda of life and liberty and a commitment to freedom that has always led us to victory,” he said on June 3 in Iowa.

    “Our movement cannot forsake the foundational commitment that we have to security, to limited government, to liberty, and to life. But nor can we allow our movement to be led astray by the siren song of unprincipled populism that’s unmoored from our oldest traditions and most cherished values.

    “There’s a healthy debate going on within our movement today. Some in our movement long for a simple return to the traditional conservative agenda of the Reagan era. Others say our movement should be swept along by a new and energetic sense of populism.”

    For most of the Trump administration, Pence played the role of a loyal subordinate to Trump, defending administration wins as Trump’s.

    He led the administration’s COVID-19 task force, overseeing Operation Warp Speed, which ultimately produced the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

    Since leaving the White House, Pence has joined the Heritage Foundation as a visiting fellow.

    Pence has expressed support for Ukraine in the Russo–Ukrainian conflict, acknowledging that it’s “not America’s war” but saying that the United States should nonetheless seek to back Ukraine to defend international freedom.

    “Make no mistake: This is not America’s war. But if we falter in our commitment to providing the support to the people of Ukraine to defend their freedom, our sons and daughters may soon be called upon to defend ours,” Pence told an audience at The University of Texas at Austin in February.

    “If we surrender to the siren song of those in this country who argue that America has no interest in freedom’s cause, history teaches we may soon send our own into harm’s way to defend our freedom and the freedom of nations in our alliance.”

    Despite the personal feud between Trump and Pence, Trump has focused much of his efforts on DeSantis, considered the runner-up for the nomination.

    Most polls have Pence well behind Trump, polling equally with figures such as Haley, but lagging when compared to the double-digit leads enjoyed by Trump and DeSantis.

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    Mystery Epidemic of Colon Cancer in Young People Surges



    Colon cancer deaths among young people are expected to double by 2030, experts warn.

    The cancer, which is especially hard to treat due to late diagnosis and broad symptoms, is also expected to become the number one cause of cancer deaths in people under 50 by the end of the decade.

    Doctors are still trying to determine what’s behind the unprecedented rise, but theories include modern diets, antibiotic use, and fungus.

    Dr Christopher Lieu, co-director of gastrointestinal medical oncology at the University of Colorado Medicine, said: ‘Colorectal cancer will be the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in [patients] 20 to 49.’

    Speaking at a cancer conference in Chicago on Saturday, he added: ‘This is a humongous issue.’

    Cancers of the colon and rectum are currently the third most common type in the US and the third leading cause of death of both men and women.

    Dr Lieu said that in young people, both diagnoses and death rates are climbing, even though rates in older populations are declining.

    The American Cancer Society estimates about 153,000 colorectal cancer cases will be detected this year, including 19,500 among those under 50 years old.

    Some 52,550 people are expected to die from the disease.

    In a March report from the ACS, scientists warned that the rate of colon cancer in people aged 50 to 54 nationwide was now nearly 60 per 100,000.

    For comparison, between 1975 to 1979, the rate was around 40 per 100,000 – indicating a 50 percent increase in around 45 years.

    About 43 percent of diagnoses were in people aged 45 to 49.

    The US is not the only country seeing these alarming rates. A 2023 review found that while the US had an early-onset colorectal cancer rate of 12.4 per 100,000 people, Australia had 13.5, Norway had 10.5, Korea had 10.1, and the United Kingdom had 9.3.

    ‘We don’t know why this trend is being seen in numerous countries that have different diets and exposures and environmental factors,’ Dr Lieu said.

    Dr Lieu said that based on data from JAMA Surgery, between 2010 and 2030, colon cancer will have increased by 90 percent in people ages 20 to 34. Rectal cancer will have spiked by 124 percent in the same age group.

    Experts have commonly blamed unhealthy diets, alcohol consumption, and sedentary lifestyles on this shift, though some research suggests otherwise.

    A 2021 study, for example, found that early-onset cancer patients were less likely to be obese or be smokers than their older counterparts.

    Dr Lieu pointed to health impacts and exposures that young-onset colorectal cancer patients have had as early as birth.

    A study published in April examined how being born via c-section influenced the chance of developing early-onset colorectal cancer. The researchers found that females born via c-section were more likely to develop colorectal cancer earlier in life than those born vaginally. There was no association among males.

    Additionally, antibiotic use has been shown to impact this risk. One study in the journal Gut found that prolonged antibiotic use increased risk of early-onset colon cancer. However, it was also associated with a lower risk of rectal cancer.

    And research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting this weekend showed that the fungus Cladosporium sp. was more common in the tumors of young patients than the older individuals.

    It’s still unclear how Cladosporium sp. could lead to this increase in cases, but the researchers think it could damage cell DNA. This could make them turn into cancerous cells.

    These environmental factors have a lasting impact on the gut microbiome, which experts think could increase the risk of colorectal cancer, even when exposure is limited to early life.

    ‘People are carrying this increased risk with them as they age,’ Dr Lieu said.

    Part of what makes colorectal cancer difficult to diagnose is its symptoms, which can often be attributed to other conditions. However, some stand out more than others.

    A study published last month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that the most reported symptoms were abdominal pain, blood in the stool, diarrhea, and iron-deficiency anemia.

    Additionally, in a 2020 survey by Colorectal Cancer Alliance, 68 percent of participants said they experienced blood in their stool. The average participant age was 42.

    ‘This is a concerning finding and something that should never be taken lightly, especially by primary care providers,’ Dr Lieu said.

    The same survey also found that many patients with colorectal cancer symptoms were initially misdiagnosed or dismissed.

    More than half of respondents said they were misdiagnosed with conditions such as hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, anemia, and mental health issues. And patients ages 19 to 39 were more likely to feel dismissed by their provider.

    In one study, with just one symptom took an average of 10 months to receive a colorectal cancer diagnosis. Those with at least three symptoms were diagnosed after five months on average.

    ‘Five months is still way too long to be diagnosed with obviously a very deadly disease,’ Dr Lieu said.

    Spending longer amounts of time without a diagnosis could allow colorectal cancer to advance to later stages, making it more difficult to treat.

    ‘Some of our stage IV patients were waiting more than a year to be diagnosed from the onset of their symptoms,’ Dr Lieu said. ‘We should not be surprised when they show up with later stages of disease.’

    Amid concerns over the rising rate among younger adults, in 2021, the US Preventive Services Taskforce lowered the screening age from 50 to 45 years old.

    This is usually a colonoscopy, where a camera is inserted into a person’s rectum, searching for growths or changes to their intestines.

    However, patients younger than 45 are less likely to get screened since they don’t fall within the recommended age range.

    A 2017 study in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that people under 50 tended to wait two months longer to seek medical attention after first noticing symptoms than those over 50.

    In a 2019 study, 63 percent of colorectal cancer patients didn’t even know that this type of cancer could occur in people under the age of 50.

    Dr Lieu said in a call to action that educating physicians and patients on what signs to look out for and expanding risk assessments and genetic testing could help researchers better understand what is causing this increase.

    ‘Awareness is key,’ he said.

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    Apple Unveils Vision Pro VR Headset; First Major Product in Decade



    Apple announced its mixed-reality headset, the Vision Pro, on Monday during its WWDC developer conference. The $3,499 headset is its first major new product since the Apple Watch in 2014.

    The Vision Pro will allow users to see apps in a new way, in the spaces around them. Users can use their eyes and hands to navigate through apps and search with their voices. The headset can be used to watch movies, including in 3-D, with spatial audio, view their own pictures or videos, and play video games. It can also be used for work with video conferencing apps, Microsoft Office tools or Adobe Lightroom.

    It will be available starting at $3,499 beginning early next year.

    Apple stock dropped about 1% after the company unveiled the headset, giving up gains from earlier in the day.

    With a feature called EyeSight, the headset can become transparent or opaque to signal to people around the headset user if they’re immersed in an experience or available to interact. Spatial audio will make it feel like the user is totally immersed in the experience, including by sensing other items in the room.

    The Vision Pro can also create a realistic-looking avatar of a user to use in the experience.

    The headset is made to fit different face shapes and sizes with adjustable and interchangeable parts.

    The company announced several partnerships for the Vision Pro on stage. Disney CEO Bob Iger appeared on stage to announce that Disney+ would be available on the Vision Pro from day one of its release. Unity stock spiked over 20% and trading was briefly halted after Apple announced a partnership with the game development platform.

    Here is a video from Apple’s presentation that shows how it works:

    Apple has worked on headset hardware and software since at least 2016 in a division called the Technology Development Group. Monday’s launch is the culmination of years of development — some in secret, and some as public-facing groundwork previously released for the iPhone, such as depth-sensing cameras and software.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken at length about the potential of augmented reality that overlays computer graphics onto the real world, saying that the tech could eventually be an everyday device for most people and that its impact could be similar to the invention of the internet.

    Apple’s VR headset debut comes during a time when the broader virtual reality industry has struggled to meet high expectations for the technology. For now, it’s considered to be “mixed reality,” or virtual reality that can access the outside world through cameras mounted on the headset.

    Monday’s launch also opens up a new era of open competition between Apple and Meta, which develops its own virtual reality headsets. Meta said last week that its latest headset model, Quest 3, would be released later this year.

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    ‘US Women’ Soccer Team Loses 12-0 to Men in Million-Dollar Tournament



    A team comprised of U.S. women’s soccer legends and some of the best female players in the world lost with an astounding 12-0 score to Wrexham AFC, a team from Wales made up of current, former, and guest players.

    CBS Sports reported on the game featured in “The Tournament,” a 7-on-7 soccer competition with a $1 million prize to the tournament winner.

    The “US Women” brought a team made up of “a roster full of some of the best women’s soccer players in the world,” which was “captained by legendary U.S. Women’s National Team player Heather O’Reilly. O’Reilly has been playing professional soccer since 2004.”

    The outcome was less than desirable for the women’s team however, as they gave up seven goals in the first 20 minutes of the game, which was played in two 20-minute halves. The game ended with a 12th and final goal, initiating a mercy rule just after the 40th minute in the overtime period.

    While the women’s goalkeeper, Lindsey Harris, was often pictured emotional and at times dejected, the women’s team made no excuses and had an extremely positive outlook on the game.

    “We’re super proud,” said O’Reilly, a World Cup Champion. “Hopefully we’ve proved to anybody, just go for it, just live. What’s the worst that could happen? We lose 16-0 to Wrexham?” she asked.

    “We don’t care because we’re living, we’re being bold and we’re being brave. Here we have two amazing products that American soccer fans are getting behind. It’s just a ton of fun and it’s brought all of us together,” she added.

    The team scored just one goal in their three games played, losing 5-0 to a team representing historically black colleges and universities and 7-1 to a second-tier professional Italian team. The aforementioned Wrexham AFC is a Welsh club owned by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, who have made a historic rise in the ranks of English soccer through the help of their celebrity ownership.

    The pleasant responses from the female players is indeed a change of tune when compared to the official U.S. Women’s National Team, which sued the U.S. Soccer Federation. Five women from the team filed a complaint claiming they did not receive pay equal to the men’s national team. The federation settled for $24 million.

    Included in that lawsuit was player Megan Rapinoe, who has made rounds in the political talk-show circuit speaking on the issue and recently joined a group to oppose the exclusion of female-identifying men in women’s sports.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Prince Harry Blasted for ‘Wasting Court Time’ as He Fails to Show Up at Own Trial



    Prince Harry was accused of wasting court time Monday after he failed to turn up at London’s High Court, as ordered by the judge, because he was celebrating his daughter Princess Lilibet’s birthday in California on Sunday.

    His lawyer David Sherborne kicked off proceedings by saying that Harry would not be available to the obvious frustration of the judge.

    Sherborne told the court: “The Duke of Sussex is attending tomorrow to give evidence. He flew yesterday evening from Los Angeles. He was attending his daughter’s birthday yesterday and he arrives…”

    The judge interrupted, saying: “I’m a little surprised that the first witness is not going to be available today?”

    Sherborne replied that Harry was in a “different category” to his co-claimants owing to travel and security arrangements, and claimed his presence on court was not important because, “It was never anticipated that the openings would not take the whole day.”

    However the BBC reported that the judge rebuked Sherborne, replying: “It was anticipated that they might—which is why I directed that the first witness [Harry] should be available.”

    A lawyer for the Mirror Group Newspapers, who deny Harry and his co-claimants’ allegations that phones were hacked to get stories for newspapers including the Mirror, said Prince Harry’s side were “wasting time” by not having him available to give evidence today.

    Andrew Green said it was “absolutely extraordinary… that he is not available for day one of his own trial.”

    Green added, “I have to cross-examine [Prince Harry] on 33 articles and that cannot be done in one day… I need one and a half days. That is not unreasonable.”

    The judge appeared to side with Green, saying: “I am not going to restrict you to a day,” suggesting that court hours could be extended Tuesday and Wednesday, if necessary.

    Harry is one of a large group of claimants who allege that the Mirror Group used information gathered illegally to publish a string of stories about them.

    Sherborne said in his opening statement that it was “obvious” that stories about Harry’s private life drove newspaper sales.

    He said Harry was “one of the most written about individuals in this period,” and said he was hacked on “multiple occasions.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Trump Lawyers Meet with DOJ



    Lawyers for former President Donald Trump — John Rowley, James Trusty, and Lindsey Halligan — were seen entering the Justice Department this Monday morning. This visit comes after allegations of classified documents from Trump’s tenure being discovered at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

    The attorneys, who have previously criticized the treatment of their client by the Special Counsel and his team, have requested a meeting to discuss their concerns and the status of the investigation. Charges related to the case are expected to be announced soon.

    CBS News reported:

    Attorneys representing former President Donald Trump — John Rowley, James Trusty and Lindsey Halligan — were seen arriving at the Justice Department around 10 a.m. Monday, weeks after Trump’s lawyers had requested a meeting with top federal law enforcement officials.

    CBS News saw Trump’s legal team walking into the Justice Department. They did not speak as they entered the building in Washington.

    Special counsel Jack Smith has been investigating the former president after documents with classified markings from his White House tenure were uncovered at Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, in August 2022. Prosecutors are also looking into whether there were efforts to obstruct attempts to recover the records, according to multiple sources close to the investigation.

    Several sources with knowledge of the investigation believe that a charging decision in the documents case is imminent, and Trump lawyers in recent days were expected to meet at some point with the Justice Department to talk through where things stand and to potentially lay out their concerns about the prosecutors’ efforts so far.

    Trump lawyers Rowley and Trusty had written a letter in May complaining that their client was being treated “unfairly” and asked to “discuss the ongoing injustice that is being perpetrated by your Special Counsel and his prosecutors.”

    Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝


    Alan Dershowitz Analyzes Classified Documents Criminal Charge Against Trump



    OPINION by Alan Dershowitz:

    It seems likely that former President Donald Trump will allege that he declassified the documents that he took to Mar-a-Lago before he left office.

    If that claim is presented to the courts, either by legal pleadings or testimony, it will raise several related issues. The first is a question of law, the second is an issue of evidence, and the third is one of procedure.

    Let’s begin with the law.

    There could be little dispute that a president, while in office, has the power to declassify any previously classified documents or material. As the head of the executive branch, he has the last word on what remains classified or declassified. It is possible, though not beyond dispute, that Congress could constrain that power if it enacted clear legislation.

    Some would argue that the Constitution precludes the legislative branch from limiting the power of the executive, but that is moot at the moment because Congress has not enacted statutes that specifically prevent the president from declassifying material.

    Some think they should, as a matter of policy, formalize the declassification process so as to make it transparent. But absent such legislation, it seems clear that the authority to classify and declassify is an executive function, and the president is the executive. So if Mr. Trump did declassify documents that were then moved to Mar-a-Lago, mere possession of such documents would not be a crime.

    The next question is, did Mr. Trump in fact declassify these documents? If he claims he did, it will be up to the government to challenge that assertion. It could do so in several ways. It could offer evidence designed to disprove Mr. Trump’s claim. But proving a negative — in this case, that he did not declassify the documents — is always difficult.

    Theoretically, there could be evidence that Mr. Trump told an associate that he was taking classified material with him, knowing it was still classified. It is extremely unlikely, however, that any such evidence exists.

    The government could also claim that absent any evidence either way, it must be presumed that a document once classified remains classified. But that ignores the fact that a statement by Mr. Trump to the contrary, if given under oath, would be evidence. And if Mr. Trump decides not to testify, there may be no admissible evidence either way.

    In addition, the government could argue that the circumstantial evidence, especially the failure to announce any declassification until the criminal investigation began, can be weighed against his allegation. This is a weak argument, especially if there is no requirement in the law that declassification be announced or recorded.

    These factual disputes would have to be resolved by 12 jurors if the government were to present sufficient evidence to warrant its submission to a jury.

    The third basic issue, and the one that could determine the outcome of any criminal case, is closely related to the second: Who has the burden of proof on the claim of declassification? That is an issue of legal procedure.

    In the usual criminal prosecution, the government has the heavy burden of proving every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The status of the documents as classified is an element of crimes that prohibit the unauthorized possession of classified material. The government may claim that the question of whether documents once classified have been declassified is a matter of law to be decided by the judge. That is a weak argument under the Fifth and Sixth amendments and their history.

    The bottom line is that if Mr. Trump or his lawyers allege — even without his testifying — that he declassified the documents, a criminal charge of unauthorized possession of classified documents would be difficult to prove. That doesn’t mean that a prosecutor could not get a grand jury to indict this particular ham sandwich. It does mean that it’s unlikely that a conviction against Mr. Trump would be sustainable.

    The government is certainly aware of these difficulties, so it may be seeking to indict Mr. Trump on some process crime, such as obstruction of justice. But it will be difficult to establish that Mr. Trump crossed the line from vigorously and lawfully defending his conduct to engaging in criminal obstruction.

    No citizen is required to cooperate in a Department of Justice criminal investigation, as President Biden and others have commendably done. Nor can he actively obstruct such an investigation by unlawful means. The government will have a hard time proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Trump willfully crossed this line.

    Based on what we know, we believe that there is no legitimate basis for a criminal indictment of Mr. Trump based on the material that was found at Mar-a-Lago.

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    UPDATE: Republican Donor Family Identified as Victims of Virginia Jet Crash



    A sonic boom was heard across the Washington, DC, area Sunday afternoon when military jets raced after an unresponsive private plane that crossed into restricted airspace and later crashed, killing all four people onboard.

    The deafening boom rang out when two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to investigate the aircraft that was not responding to radio transmissions shortly after 3 p.m., according to the Department of Defense.

    Residents around the capital and surrounding communities were left bewildered until more information came out.

    The F-16s were deployed after the private Cessna flew into restricted airspace over the capital before it crashed in southwest Virginia.

    The fighter jets saw that the pilot of the plane appeared to have passed out, a US official told ABC News.

    Rescuers were able to reach the site of the plane crash hours later on foot in a rural part of Shenandoah Valley, and no survivors were found, according to police.

    The aircraft departed Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee, heading for Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

    It had reached the New York area before making a nearly 180-degree turn and flying toward Virginia, according to the flight-tracking website Flight Aware.

    It’s not clear why the plane was nonresponsive or why it crashed.

    The jet dropped at a rapid rate, at one point falling more than 30,000 feet per minute before crashing.

    The Cessna appeared to be flying on autopilot, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

    The two F-16s were allowed to travel at supersonic speeds, causing the sonic boom that was heard across the region, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement, according to the New York Times.

    The owner of the company where the plane was registered told the Times Sunday that his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter and their nanny, as well as the pilot, were on the doomed plane on their way back to their East Hampton home.

    John Rumpel, of Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc., said they were returning to New York after visiting him in North Carolina.

    He told the newspaper he didn’t have much information but suggested the plane may have lost pressurization.

    The 75-year-old, who is a pilot himself, said he hoped his family didn’t suffer in the wreckage as his voice broke.

    He added that if the plane lost pressurization, “they all just would have gone to sleep and never woke up,” according to the publication.

    Rumpel’s wife, Barbara Weimer Rumpel, posted photos of their daughter and granddaughter on Facebook.

    “My family is gone, my daughter and granddaughter,” she wrote.

    Barbara Rumpel is known for her work advocating for gun rights and has been a member of the NRA’s Women’s Leadership Council since 2002 and an executive committee member of the council since 2012, according to LinkedIn.

    The couple is also politically active and together have donated to numerous Republicans running for federal office in the past few years — including $250,000 to the Trump Victory PAC in 2020, online records show.

    The sonic boom, which occurs after a vehicle breaks the sound barrier at 767 mph, could be heard throughout the capital, and cities in Maryland and northern Virginia, with many taking to Twitter to question the noise that rattled their homes.

    “It was loud enough to shake my f—king coffee table,” local Matt Cox tweeted following the boom. “Thank God there isn’t an infant in the house.”

    Washington’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency said earlier in the day the boom was heard across the National Capital Region, but that “there is no threat at this time.”

    Officials also made clear that the Cessna was not shot down by a military jet.

    The crash is under investigation by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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    Elon Musk Hosts Event with Robert F Kennedy Jr on Twitter; Instagram Reinstates



    Elon Musk announced Sunday that he will host Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on Twitter Spaces this week.

    The discussion titled “Reclaiming Democracy” is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. ET Monday.

    This comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis historically chose to announce his presidentially candidacy through Twitter Spaces last month, though the 2024 campaign launch was marred by technical difficulties and delays.

    “The truth was censored repeatedly, and now that Twitter is in the hands of a free speech advocate, that would not be able to happen again on this Twitter platform,” DeSantis said during the event.

    Musk, who purchased Twitter for $44 billion and took it over in October, responded as the event’s co-host, “Twitter was indeed expensive, but free speech is priceless.”

    The roughly hour-long live event drew a high of about 300,000 concurrent listeners while the audio failed and the stream glitched several times. Twitter numbers showed a day after the announcement that more than 3.4 million people had listened to the Space or a recording of it, the New York Times reported.

    Kennedy, an outspoken COVID-19 vaccine critic and environmental lawyer, traveled from his home state of California to Boston, once the helm of his family’s political dynasty, to announce his 2024 presidential bid in April.

    During his nearly two-hour long speech at the Park Plaza Hotel, he wielded criticism toward former President Donald Trump over pandemic-era lockdowns, as well as toward mainstream media and Big Tech, whom he accused of censorship.

    “This is what happens when you censor somebody for 18 years,” Kennedy said in April. “I got a lot to talk about. They shouldn’t have shut me up for that long because now I’m really going to let loose on them for the next 18 months. They’re going to hear a lot from me.”

    The son of the late senator, attorney general and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and the late longtime Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, RFK Jr. headed out on the campaign trail last week for the first time since announcing his bid for the White House in 2024. He noted how recent numbers show he’s polling in the double digits – though President Biden still maintains a competitive lead.

    For Democrats, Marianne Williamson is polling dead last in the primary fight. On the Republican side, DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., recently announced challenges to former President Donald Trump’s next White House bid.

    Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy were already in the race, while former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, are among those expected to further crowd the GOP primary fight in coming weeks.

    Instagram Reinstates Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

    Facebook-owned Instagram announced that it has lifted its suspension against the personal account of Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after previously being suspended over supposed misinformation about the coronavirus and vaccines.

    The Meta spokesman went on to claim that blocking Kennedy’s campaign from setting up its own account had been an error, saying: “We quickly fixed the issue that prevented the campaign Instagram account from being created.”

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    Biden UN Appointee Calls for ‘Mandatory Reparations’ of $5M Per Person — Without US Approval



    A group of African American academics is pushing for a UN ‘reparations tribunal’ to make Washington pay multimillion dollar sums to black citizens for slavery-era abuses, DailyMail reported.

    Justin Hansford, a professor at Howard University School of Law, led the charge for $5 million payouts to black Americans at the UN this week, flanked by colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University.

    The long-shot effort underscores how reparation payouts are unpopular among white American taxpayers and have little chance of becoming federal law, leaving advocates scrambling for a workaround.

    ‘I come to you today with a novel proposal, that we begin to think our own thoughts, propose our own vision of justice, and implement that justice,’ Hansford told UN racial justice talks in New York City this week.

    He called for a ‘process of apology, and reparation — not on their terms, but on our terms.’

    Hansford, a rising star of the critical race theory movement, spoke at the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, a group that was created in 2021.

    The ‘special tribunal’ was formally proposed by David Comissiong, representing Barbados, a Caribbean island state.

    Hansford quickly endorsed the plan. He later told that many African and Caribbean UN members were behind the scheme.

    The US mission to the UN, which is headed by ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a Biden administration appointee who is black, does not officially support the tribunal.

    But Hansford said US diplomats at the mission had been ‘supportive overall.’

    Thomas-Greenfield also spoke at the event, saying African-American families often lived in polluted neighborhoods. She grew up in Louisiana ‘near so-called cancer alley,’ she added.

    ‘Let us dismantle structural racism, brick by brick,’ said the career diplomat.

    ‘Let’s leave our children a cleaner, fairer, more just world.’

    The UN General Assembly in 2005 created a five-point legal framework for reparations for victims of slavery and other abuses, which can lead to payouts, apologies, and demand policy changes.

    But like much of the UN system, decisions are not legally binding, and it remains unclear whether a tribunal could do anything other than add some external pressure to buoy racial justice activists in the US.

    Neither the US mission to the UN nor the UN’s human rights team in Geneva, which oversees the permanent forum, immediately answered’s requests for comment.

    In an interview, Hansford said a UN reparation tribunal was only one route to push the US federal government, as well as state and city officials, to address racial inequalities dating back to the slavery era.

    Howard University gave legal advice to Evanston, Illinois, which in 2021 became the first US city to make reparations payments to black residents, with $25,000 grants to those affected by racist housing policies before 1969, he said.

    Payouts to black Americans should be assessed case-by-case, said Hansford, a descendant of slaves in Forsyth, Georgia.

    For families that have endured generations of ‘horrific’ oppression, sums of $5 million would be ‘on the low end of what’s appropriate,’ he said.

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    Six Key Takeaways from Nikki Haley Town Hall



    Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley laid out a slew of conservative policy solutions during her CNN town hall event on Sunday.

    “Nikki Haley is the only presidential candidate talking to real voters on the ground and taking their questions in multiple town halls,” Haley communications director Nachama Soloveichik said. “Nikki Haley won’t cave to the liberal talking heads, and that’s what voters love about her.”

    Here are six key takeaways from the town hall event, which took place in Iowa.

    Trump and DeSantis loom large

    Haley’s two main rivals in the GOP field, Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), cast a heavy shadow over the town hall. Haley has sought to chart her own path without dwelling on her rivals too much, but a few times during the town hall, Haley blasted them directly.

    For instance, she bashed DeSantis for his battle with the Walt Disney Company, accusing him of being “hypocritical” for accepting donations from it and then suing the company.

    “All this vendetta stuff? We’ve been down that road,” Haley quipped at one point.

    “Pick up the phone, deal with it,” Haley argued. “Settle it the way you should, and I just think he’s being hypocritical.”

    At one point, Haley condemned Trump’s take on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot while underscoring the importance of having “election integrity” and rebuilding trust with voters.

    “He thinks it was a beautiful day. I think it was a terrible day. I’ll always stand by that,” she said.

    Calm and collected

    Haley’s demeanor attracted some attention from commentators during her town hall event. Unlike Trump or DeSantis, who have been known to get testy when grilled on certain matters, Haley remained evenly tempered throughout the night.

    “One thing that really struck me was how folksy she was, how personable she was,” CNN’s Dana Bash said about Haley. “There were a lot of points where she brought back that humanity, and that’s no small thing.”

    Haley began the event with an emphasis on the need to ditch the negativity in politics and usher in generational change.


    Throughout the 2024 GOP primary cycle, abortion has emerged as something of an albatross matter. Haley has laid out her position on abortion numerous times and stuck to her principles while under scrutiny on it.

    “What the media have done is they’ve made you demonize the situation when it’s so personal that we have to humanize the situation,” Haley said. “Our goal should always be how do we save as many babies as we can and support as many mothers as we do it.”

    She emphasized that she’s pro-life and is keen on trying to find a national consensus on the matter. At one point, Haley dodged answering whether she would back a federal six-week abortion ban.


    Haley did not shy away from entitlement reform despite some of her rivals, such as Trump, warning Republicans not to touch Social Security and Medicare.

    “We can’t keep kicking this can down the road,” Haley argued at one point. “And I know that Trump and DeSantis have both said we’re not going to deal with entitlement reform — well, all you’re doing is leaving it for the next president, and that’s leaving a lot of Americans in trouble.”

    Previously, Haley floated some proposals to prevent Social Security and Medicare from facing their projected bankruptcy, which includes lifting the retirement age for people in their 20s and engaging in means testing — paring down benefits for wealthy recipients.

    Haley has also underscored the need to preserve benefits for those already retired and ensure that benefits will be available for the next generation.

    “I think they’re not being honest with the American people,” Haley said when discussing some of her rivals’ reluctance to take on the issue.

    Foreign policy

    Unlike most of her peers in the 2024 arena, aside from Trump, Haley brings considerable foreign policy experience to the table. Her approach to world affairs also differed from some of her top rivals.

    At one point, she implicitly rebuked Trump over his congratulating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un late last week for landing a role on the World Health Organization’s executive board. Haley called the WHO a “farce.”

    “Congratulate our friends. Don’t congratulate our enemies,” Haley said.

    On Ukraine, Haley contrasted herself with Trump and DeSantis, insisting that “a win for Ukraine is a win for all of us.” Trump and DeSantis have equivocated about what the extent of U.S. support for the war-torn nation should be.

    “This is bigger than Ukraine,” Haley explained. “This is a war about freedom, and it’s one we have to win.”


    Haley opened up about her position on gun rights, revealing she is opposed to red flag laws, which create an avenue for law enforcement to confiscate guns from people believed to be at high risk of engaging in nefarious activity.

    “I don’t trust the government to deal with red flag laws. I don’t trust that they won’t take them away from people who rightfully deserve to have them,” Haley contended. “Because you’ve got someone else judging whether someone else should have a gun or not.”

    She also emphasized the need to “end gun-free zones,” pinning blame on locations where guns are heavily restricted for shootings, because “nobody else is going to be able to protect themselves.”

    Haley’s town hall comes on the heels of one Trump conducted with the network last month. Former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to announce his 2024 intentions this week and is slated to attend a town hall hosted by the network this Wednesday.

    At the moment, Haley is polling in third place among the 2024 GOP field, per the latest RealClearPolitics aggregate.

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝


    Apple Set to Launch VR Headset, First Major Product in Decade — Stock Headed for Record High



    Apple is set to unveil its first major new product in nearly a decade on Monday at its annual developer conference, a headset meant to enable users to experience virtual reality and digital apps overlaid on the real world.

    The announcement is poised to overshadow the new software that Apple will unveil for iPhones and other devices at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which begins streaming at 1 p.m. EDT. The rest of the conference, which focuses on software providers making applications in the Apple ecosystem, will run through Friday.

    Apple has been working on the headset for seven years and has delayed the launch several times, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. The headset is expected to cost $3,000, far more expensive than headsets sold by rivals, such as Meta Platforms’ most expensive Quest Pro headset at $1,000.

    Apple is expected to show off many of the device’s capabilities with its own first-party apps, which could include a FaceTime-like communication app. But by announcing the launch at its developer conference, it is clear Apple is hoping third-party developers will figure out new and interesting uses for the device.

    Virtual-reality developers are hoping that Apple will reignite interest in the category after a recent slowdown.

    “When Apple drops something, VR developers will thrive,” said Todd Hooper, a venture partner at startup investor Acequia Capital and former chief executive of Vreal, a virtual-reality startup that shut down in 2019. “Apple’s got the best hardware, the most loyal customers and the most profitable App Store.”

    While the new headset is likely to steal most of the attention, the company is planning to refresh the software running on its various hardware platforms—iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. Apple’s new iPhone operating system, iOS 17, will include a number of new health and fitness features, including a journaling app that will help users keep a record of their daily activities to boost mental well being, the Journal reported.

    Apple is also expected to launch new Mac laptops, including a new 15-inch MacBook Air equipped with its M2 processor. Sales of Macs have fallen off recently following a surge during the pandemic after the company unveiled the M-series of chips, which it designed. In the company’s most recently reported earnings for the quarter ended April 1, the Mac business shrank 31% from the prior year.

    In the weeks leading up to the conference, many software-makers working on virtual reality and other similar applications have received invitations to the event held at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. Apple has booked in-person demonstrations for some developers following the Monday keynote.

    Along with the new hardware, Apple is expected to launch a new operating system for the headset and tools for developers to create the new applications. A large portion of the developer sessions for the week will be focused on developing for the headset, the Journal reported previously.

    The applications, which may run the gamut from games to workplace apps, are critical to the company’s strategy of drawing potential new users to the technology, which has yet to take off among a broad consumer base.

    Meta’s lineup of Quest virtual-reality headsets has mostly dominated the market to date. Headset sales grew at a fast clip during the pandemic, doubling to nearly 11 million units shipped in 2021. But they dropped 21% to 8.6 million units in 2022, according to market researcher International Data Corp. Meta has also struggled to keep existing users engaged, with more than half of the $400 entry-level Quest headsets not in use six months after they are purchased, the Journal has reported.

    The Apple headset is unlikely to be available right away. Mass production isn’t expected to start rolling until the fall. First-year shipments are forecast to be far lower than other new Apple launches, with estimates ranging from only 200,000 to 300,000 units, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously told the Journal.

    Apple hits record high

    Apple shares hit a record high Monday as the company prepares to launch a number of new updates and products, including its widely anticipated mixed-reality headset, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

    Shares of the company are up more than 1.5% Monday morning and trading above $182.01, the closing high it hit on Jan. 3, 2022, and above its intra-day high from the following day of $182.94. Apple’s stock is up more than 39% year to date, while the Nasdaq is up around 26.5% for the same period.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Transgender Inmate Set for Transfer to Women’s Prison, Awarded $495K Settlement and Surgery After Lawsuit



    A Minnesota transgender inmate is being moved to a women’s prison and will receive a vaginoplasty as well as $495,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections.

    Christina Lusk, 57, will be transferred to the women’s facility in Shakopee next week, which will mark the first time a Minnesota inmate is moved to a different prison based on gender identity, according to local affiliate FOX 9.

    As part of the settlement announced last week, the Minnesota DOC agreed to provide Lusk with a vaginoplasty as well as strengthen its policies regarding transgender inmates.

    Lusk, who was arrested in 2018 and is serving a sentence until 2024 for a felony drug offense, sued the Minnesota DOC last year in part because it deferred Lusk’s request for a vaginoplasty, or “bottom surgery.”

    After beginning cross-sex hormones in 2009, Lusk changed names in 2018 and was conferring with doctors about surgical options before getting arrested.

    The inmate had undergone “top surgery” before going to jail, and was “on the verge of scheduling” a vaginoplasty, according to the lawsuit.

    Lusk filed a grievance with the DOC after department medical director James Amsterdam reviewed Lusk’s case and determined that Lusk should not be allowed to receive genital surgery while incarcerated, but “could pursue that after release,” the lawsuit said.

    The lawsuit, which was filed on Lusk’s behalf by the St. Paul-based advocacy group Gender Justice, alleged that Lusk was sexually abused by the male inmates at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Moose Lake and demanded Lusk be treated as female and moved to a women’s facility.

    “Inmates would heckle her, heckle her roommates… call her ‘it,’ that sort of thing,” Gender Justice legal director Jess Braverman said, according to FOX 9. “And then there were staff who would say things to her, such as, ‘You know, you’re a man in a men’s prison. I’m not going to treat you like a woman. I’m not going to use your proper name and pronouns.’”

    Lusk praised the settlement in a statement released by Gender Justice, calling it “appropriate.”

    “Everybody needs to come together in unity, and embrace positive change. I believe we have made a big step toward allowing people to express who they truly are, and bring some sort of peace and happiness to their lives,” Lusk said.

    “This journey has brought extreme challenges, and I have endured so much. My hope is that nobody has to go through the same set of circumstances. I relied on my faith, and I never gave up hope. I can truly say that I am a strong, proud, transgender woman, and my name is Christina Lusk,” Lusk added.

    In January, the Minnesota DOC joined 10 other states and the District of Columbia in establishing a policy by which inmates can be transferred to facilities that match their gender identity.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Sonic Boom Rocks Washington DC as Fighter Jets React to Unresponsive Plane Before Crash



    An unresponsive private plane that flew over the nation’s capital Sunday afternoon caused the military to scramble a fighter jet before the plane crashed in Virginia, officials said. The fighter jet caused a loud sonic boom that was heard across the capital region.

    The Federal Aviation Administration says the Cessna Citation took off from Elizabethtown, Tennessee, on Sunday and was headed for Long Island’s MacArthur Airport. Inexplicably, the plane turned around over New York’s Long Island and flew a straight path down over D.C. before it crashed over mountainous terrain near Montebello, Virginia, around 3:30 p.m. Sources reported the Cessna was on autopilot when it crashed.

    It was not immediately clear why the plane was nonresponsive, why it crashed or how many people were on board. The plane flew directly over the nation’s capital, though it was technically flying above some of the most heavily restricted airspace in the nation.

    A U.S. official confirmed to The Associated Press that the military jet had scrambled to respond to the small plane, which wasn’t responding to radio transmissions and later crashed. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the military operation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Flight tracking sites showed the jet suffered a rapid spiraling descent, dropping at one point at a rate of more than 30,000 feet per minute before crashing in the St. Mary’s Wilderness.

    The North American Aerospace Defense Command later said in a statement that the F-16 was authorized to travel at supersonic speeds, which caused a sonic boom that was heard in Washington and parts of Virginia and Maryland.

    “During this event, the NORAD aircraft also used flares – which may have been visible to the public – in an attempt to draw attention from the pilot,” the statement said. “Flares are employed with highest regard for safety of the intercepted aircraft and people on the ground. Flares burn out quickly and completely and there is no danger to the people on the ground when dispensed.”

    Virginia State Police said officers were notified of the potential crash shortly before 4 p.m. Police were still working to find the plane on Sunday evening but hadn’t located it, police spokesperson Corinne Geller said.

    The plane that crashed was registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc, which is based in Florida. John Rumpel, who runs the company, told The New York Times that his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter, her nanny and the pilot were aboard the plane. They were returning to their home in East Hampton, on Long Island, after visiting his house in North Carolina, he said.

    Rumpel, a pilot, told the newspaper he didn’t have much information from authorities but hoped his family didn’t suffer and suggested the plane could’ve lost pressurization.

    “I don’t think they’ve found the wreckage yet,” Rumpel told the newspaper. “It descended at 20,000 feet a minute, and nobody could survive a crash from that speed.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    WATCH: Rachel Maddow Confronted Over ‘Russiagate’ Lies During Speech



    A video of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow being confronted by American blogger Max Blumenthal.

    Max Blumenthal took on the MSNBC host at Trucon 2023, a public event by the Truman Center held at the Marriott Marquis, Washington D.C. on Friday, June 2.

    Keynote speaker Maddow gave her speech to a room full of attendees when Blumenthal walked up to the stage to complain about her coverage of the Steele Dossier, a now-largely discredited document about supposed links between Donald Trump and the Kremlin.

    The alleged links between Trump and Russian officials to bolster his chances during the 2016 Presidential Election later became coined as “Russiagate.”

    Blumenthal also attacked Maddow over coverage of Russian bounties paid to Taliban leaders for dead American soldiers in Afghanistan. U.S. Intelligence said in 2021 it had found no conclusive evidence to support the claim.

    The American blogger has published articles on The Grayzone website which has promoted pro-Russian content. He has also appeared on Russian-state-owned news outlets RT and Sputnik.

    During the speech, Blumenthal said: “Rachel, this speech is boring and paranoid. Can you explain why you promoted the Steele Dossier which has been proven to be a lie?

    During the confrontation, Maddow could be seen looking at Blumenthal’s badge, while people could be heard complaining or booing his actions.

    He continued: “Why did you promote the lie of Russian bounties? Can you ever be held accountable for the lies you’ve told Americans for years and years?”

    The video has been seen an estimated 1.3 million times, and liked on more than 14,700 occasions since being shared on Friday, June 2.

    In a separate video at the event uploaded by Blumenthal, he asked a panel about how many bombs by Trucon sponsor Lockheed Martin were dropped on children in Palestine and Syria.

    He then asked whether any non-binary U.S. Navy divers blew up the Nord Stream pipeline, which supplies gas to other parts of Europe from Russia, off the coast of Denmark and Sweden.

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    Chuck Todd Out at NBC ‘Meet the Press’



    “Meet the Press” host and moderator Chuck Todd announced on Sunday that he will step down this year after nine years hosting the public affairs talk show. Kristen Welker, NBC News’ co-chief White House correspondent, will succeed him.

    “It’s been an amazing nearly decadelong run. I am really proud of what this team and I have built over the last decade,” Todd said during the broadcast Sunday. “I’ve loved so much of this job, helping to explain America to Washington and explain Washington to America.”

    He plans to remain at NBC in a new role as chief political analyst, where he will serve as a key voice both in the field and during coverage of major events. He will also focus on long-form journalism.

    “When I took over ‘Meet the Press,’ it was a Sunday show that had a lot of people questioning whether it still could have a place in the modern media space,” Todd added. “Well, I think we’ve answered that question and then some.”

    In a memo to staff members, NBC News’ president of editorial, Rebecca Blumenstein, and NBC News’ senior vice president of politics, Carrie Budoff Brown, hailed “Chuck’s thoughtful and passionate leadership.”

    “‘Meet the Press’ has sustained its historic role as the indispensable news program on Sunday mornings,” Blumenstein and Budoff Brown said. “Through his penetrating interviews with many of the most important newsmakers, the show has played an essential role in politics and policy, routinely made front-page news, and framed the thinking in Washington and beyond.”

    “Meet the Press” is the longest-running show on American television, celebrating its 75th anniversary last year. It has led its rival shows in total viewers for more than eight years and won its first Emmy during Todd’s tenure for a special report titled “Schools, America, and Race.”

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    Ad Agency That Introduced Dylan Mulvaney to Bud Light Is in ‘Serious Panic Mode’



    An eight-year-old marketing firm out of San Francisco was responsible for Bud Light’s partnership with Dylan Mulvaney – and the disastrous tie-up sent the firm into “serious panic mode,” The Post has learned.

    Captiv8, a San Mateo Calif.-based firm that pairs social-media influencers with major consumer brands, is the outfit that introduced Anheuser-Busch to the 26-year-old transgender actress — resulting in a viral TikTok video that has since become a textbook case of marketing gone wrong, sources close to the situation said.

    Nationwide backlash over the video — which unleashed a firestorm when it was posted April 1, showing Mulvaney holding a Bud Light can while taking a bubble bath — sparked anxiety and confusion inside Captiv8’s offices during the initial days of the controversy, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

    “There was a lot of chatter” among employees about what blowback the firm might face over the botched campaign, according to the source.

    “Internally, the company was in serious panic mode,” the source added.

    It couldn’t immediately be learned whether Captiv8 — which claims to have a database of more than 1 million influencers on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter — was also responsible for the now-infamous Bud Light beer can that bore Mulvaney’s image. It also wasn’t clear whether Captiv8 played a direct role in producing Mulvaney’s TikTok video.

    Co-founded in 2015 by Krishna Subramanian — a Silicon Valley investor who sold online ad network BlueLithium to Yahoo in 2007 for $300 million — Captiv8 has worked with Walmart, American Express, Twitter and KraftHeinz, according to its website.

    Subramanian has made himself available for media interviews as an expert on influencer marketing.

    In February, he spoke to The Wall Street Journal about the importance of viral videos around blockbuster ad events including the Super Bowl.

    “The best way to think about TikTok is that it’s a vehicle that takes a consumer to the checkout line,” Subramanian told the paper.

    A two-minute video on Captiv8’s website depicts a tour of a swanky office where influencers like Zion Clark, an athlete who was born without legs, is seen pumping iron and Olivia Sui, a Chinese-American actress, tells viewers that there are over “30 million creators” on Captiv8’s marketplace to “discover.”

    But that’s just a “staged advertisement,” according to a source, who said Capitv8’s real office is a small space in San Mateo that can accommodate about a dozen staffers. Most of the company’s 100-odd employees work remotely.

    Captiv8 appears to have returned to “business as usual” following the initial panic set off by the Mulvaney crisis, according to the source.

    Bud Light parent Anheuser-Busch InBev, which also didn’t respond to requests for comment, has been tight-lipped on the origins of the ill-fated Mulvaney campaign. The company placed two executives — Alissa Heinerscheid, the vice president of marketing, and her boss, Daniel Blake — on leave in April.

    After the firestorm erupted, the Belgian-based conglomerate told distributors that Mulvaney’s beer can was not produced by Anheuser-Busch or in any of its facilities, and that it had fired the “third-party” ad agency that was behind the Mulvaney video, several distributors told The Post.

    “Ad agencies send out hundreds of influencer kits a year, some of which have a customized can included. This was one of those situations,” a distributor based in Texas told The Post in April, relating one of Anheuser-Busch’s talking points.

    In August, Anheuser-Busch retained Anomaly — a New York ad firm that has produced Super Bowl ads — as the creative agency for the Bud Light brand. A spokesperson for Anomaly said it “was not involved in any way with the Dylan Mulvaney campaign for Bud Light.”

    A day before the Mulvaney partnership was revealed, former Anheuser-Busch executive Heinerscheid had said during a podcast the Bud Light brand had become “fratty” and “out of touch.”

    “I’m a businesswoman, I had a really clear job to do when I took over Bud Light, and it was ‘This brand is in decline, it’s been in a decline for a really long time, and if we do not attract young drinkers to come and drink this brand, there will be no future for Bud Light,‘” Heinerscheid said.

    Most recently, Bud Light sales suffered their worst week ever, falling 25.7% during the week ended May 20 — endangering its status as the US’s No. 1 beer brand. The plunge follows a 24.6% decline from the previous week and the sixth straight week sales have been hit , according to Bump Williams Consulting and Nielsen IQ data.

    The precipitous drop has narrowed the gap in sales between Bud Light and nearest rival Modelo Especial, which saw its sales surge 9.2% for the week ending May 20, according to the data.

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