Widow of Obama Family Chef Speaks Out After Husband Found Dead
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Citizen Frank



The widow of former President Barack Obama’s personal chef sent out a tribute to her late husband after he was found dead on Monday in a pond near the Obama family estate in Martha’s Vineyard.

Authorities said divers recovered the body of Tafari Campbell, 45, from the Edgartown Great Pond after a paddle boarding incident in which he was seen getting into the water, struggling to stay on the surface, and submerging without resurfacing.

“My heart is broken,” Sherise Campbell, Tafari’s wife, said in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “My life and our family’s life is forever changed. Please pray for me and our families as I deal with the loss of my husband.”

The message came from an account for Sweet Sage, a Washington, D.C., metropolitan-area baking and catering business owned by Sherise Campbell.

A joint statement from Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama called Tafari Campbell a “beloved part of our family” and a “talented sous chef at the White House” whom they invited to continue working for them upon leaving the Executive Residence in early 2017.

“He’s been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he’s gone,” their statement said. “Today we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari – especially his wife Sherise and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin – in grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man.”

The Massachusetts State Police (MSP) said a joint-agency search operation got underway after Martha’s Vineyard Police and firefighters responded to a call at 7:46 p.m. on Sunday about a male paddle boarder who disappeared in the pond. An initial statement from the agency said another paddle boarder was with Campbell and witnessed him go under the water.

With the help of side-scan sonar from a boat, divers were able to recover the body approximately 100 feet from the shore at a depth of about 8 feet on Monday morning, MSP said in a second statement. The agency also said an investigation into the fatality was being conducted by the State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District and Edgartown Police.

A third release from MSP identified Campbell as the deceased paddle boarder and described the drowning as an “accident.” The agency additionally noted that Barack and Michelle Obama were not “present” at the residence at the time of the incident.

Read 17 Comments
  • Avatar Margaret says:

    Hmmmmm……turns out the Obamination’s WERE HOME.

    Who goes paddleboarding at DUSK?

    Victim was a STRONG SWIMMER.

    Sounds extremely fishy.

  • Avatar Rita says:

    Is Obama following in Clinton’s footsteps? SAD.

  • Avatar American Patriot says:

    Must have bitten Micheal while giving a blow.

  • Avatar Jim Feely says:

    Hopefully Obama will share some of his many $$$ with his family?

  • Avatar William da original panty wearer says:

    Obama just had this guy “clinton-ized” in order to cover up something. Too much crap with these “elites”. All bullsheidt !!

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    Biden’s Ghostwriter Deleted Audio Tapes, Transcript Confirms

    Citizen Frank



    President Joe Biden’s ghostwriter deleted audio recordings from his interviews because he was concerned that he would be hacked and the audio would be widely circulated, according to a newly released transcript.

    “I was very concerned about the possibility of being hacked. I was very concerned about the possibility of this audio spread all over the place,” Mark Zwonitzer, the ghostwriter, told special counsel Robert Hur’s team on July 31, 2023.

    Mr. Zwonitzer said his primary concern centered on “a lot of personal and emotional stuff about Beau,” President Biden’s deceased son, according to the heavily redacted transcript, which was obtained and released by The Heritage Foundation.

    Mr. Hur, who was appointed to probe President Biden’s handling of classified documents, said in his final report that Mr. Zwonitzer deleted the recordings of discussions for the book “Promise Me, Dad,” even though the recordings “had significant evidentiary value.”

    Prosecutors considered charging Mr. Zwonitzer but ultimately decided not to, in part because he handed over his computer and hard drive to investigators, who were able to recover the deleted recordings.

    The transcript provides more details on how Mr. Zwonitzer handled the recordings, as well as what he told investigators about President Biden broaching the topic of classified materials.

    Mr. Zwonitzer said that it’s his practice to delete all tapes he records after making transcripts of them. But he also said that he still has files from projects he carried out in 2018 and 2020 that he still had not deleted.

    “I don’t have a set policy or anything” with regards to how long he takes before deleting files, Mr. Zwonitzer said.

    He said he deleted the tapes of his interviews with President Biden in 2023 between the end of January and the end of February. Attorney General Merrick Garland, an appointee of President Biden, appointed Mr. Hur in January 2023.

    Mr. Zwonitzer said he was aware of Mr. Hur’s investigation when he deleted the recordings.

    “I’m not going to say how much of the percentage it was of my motivation,” he told members of Mr. Hur’s team and FBI special agents.

    Mr. Zwonitzer said he received “vaguely threatening emails” after President Biden was nominated and that he learned some of the interviews he conducted with other people had been placed on the internet without his permission. That stoked fears of being hacked, and prompted him to take the files and slide them into the trash on his computer.

    Mr. Hur’s team said prosecutors declined to prosecute Mr. Zwonitzer because the ghostwriter was forthright and the available evidence would not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Zwonitzer committed any crimes. Even if evidence supported prosecution, according to prosecutors, they would not have charged the writer because of the “significant cooperation” he provided.

    Biden Discusses Classified Documents

    Mr. Hur was appointed to probe the classified materials case, after the former vice president acknowledged keeping documents marked classified beyond his vice presidency.

    In one Feb. 16, 2017, interview, Mr. Zwonitzer said the then-former Vice President Biden was reading from one of his journals when he said he needed to be careful “because he was worried that there was a possibility that some of this stuff could be classified,.”

    President Biden would often read verbatim from his journals during the interviews, the writer said. When Mr. Zwonitzer asked to make photocopies of certain pages, President Biden refused.

    “He declined that offer diplomatically but adamantly. It was clear these were personal journals and he didn’t want them out of his possession,” Mr. Zwonitzer said.

    During the same interview, President Biden also said, “I think I found something downstairs,” the writer said. That document “had classified markings on it,” Mr. Zwonitzer said.

    Mr. Hur said in his report that President Biden in 2017 said he had “found all the classified stuff downstairs” in Virginia, where the interview with Mr. Zwonitzer took place, and that the classified materials contained information about Afghanistan. Agents found those same documents in President Biden’s garage in Delaware in 2022.

    President Biden never showed Mr. Zwonitzer any classified materials, according to the ghostwriter.

    While Mr. Hur concluded that President Biden retained and disclosed classified documents after exiting the White House, Mr. Hur also opted not to charge President Biden because jurors might not convict him if the case was taken to trial.

    “Several defenses are likely to create reasonable doubt as to such charges. For example, Mr. Biden could have found the classified Afghanistan documents at his Virginia home in 2017 and then forgotten about them soon after,” Mr. Hur said. “This could convince some reasonable jurors that he did not retain them willfully.”

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    Tucker Carlson Live Tour: Map, Guest List, Ticket Prices, More

    Citizen Frank



    Former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson has announced his first live tour, which will see him travel across the country for 15 different shows.

    Carlson is a political commentator who hosted the talk show Tucker Carlson Tonight weeknights on Fox News until 2023. After his contract with the channel was terminated, he started hosting his show Tucker on X, formerly known as Twitter.

    Now he is taking his live speaking tour nationwide, where he has invited various guests to join him on stage, including prominent conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

    “Hey, it’s Tucker Carlson. The one thing we know for certain is the United States is going to be one intense place this fall moving into this presidential election. So we thought, what better time to hit the road and see the country, and we are going to this fall,” Carlson said in a video uploaded to X on June 10.

    “We are pleased—in fact, thrilled—to announce Tucker Carlson Live which is what it sounds like: a nationwide tour and at every show will be joined by a friend, a special guest. Megyn Kelly, Glenn Beck, Tulsi Gabbard, Vivek Ramaswamy, Russell Brand and many others.”

    It also reads on the official tour website: “It’s going to be interesting and fun as hell.”

    Full List of Tucker Carlson Tour Dates and Guests

    • Sept. 4, with Russell Brand – Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
    • Sept. 5, with Vivek Ramaswamy – Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
    • Sept. 6, with Tulsi Gabbard – Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
    • Sept. 7, with Glenn Beck – Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
    • Sept. 11, with Dan Bongino – BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
    • Sept. 12, with Megyn Kelly – T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
    • Sept. 13, with Charlie Kirk – INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas.
    • Sept. 16, with Alex Jones – Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
    • Sept. 18, special guest TBA – Fort Bend Epicenter in Rosenberg, Texas.
    • Sept. 20, with Kid Rock – Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
    • Sept. 21, special guest TBA – Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
    • Sept. 24, with Roseanne Barr – Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.
    • Sept. 26, with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene – Bon Secours Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
    • Sept. 27, special guest TBA – Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida.
    • Sept. 28, with Donald Trump Jr. – VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

    Ticket Release Dates and Prices

    At the time of writing presale tickets were being sold on Ticketmaster for the event in Phoenix, Anaheim, Tulsa, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Hershey, Fort Worth, Greenville and Jacksonville.

    To access them, people have to “join team Tucker,” meaning paying a $6 monthly subscription to Carlson’s website.

    “We’re building an alternative to legacy media. Team Tucker empowers us to do our job without fear. It’s time they stopped hiding the truth from you. We’ll expose them together,” it states.

    General sale tickets for Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City, Wichita, Rosenberg and Sunrise will go on sale at 10 am EDT on June 14.

    The ticket prices have not yet been announced.

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    Biden Watched His Dog Bite Secret Service Agents Multiple Times: Docs

    Citizen Frank



    President Biden repeatedly watched his German shepherd Commander attack Secret Service members, who wished each other a “safe shift” as the number of incidents mounted — with one exasperated workplace safety professional urging the use of a muzzle, agency records show.

    The number of dog attacks involving Commander, who the White House said in February was given away after more than two years of terrorizing professionals assigned to protect Biden; and former first dog Major, who was rehomed in 2021 after also attacking personnel; could top three dozen, the newly surfaced records suggest.

    The 81-year-old president reportedly accused a Secret Service member of lying about being attacked by Major during his first year in office, but was present for at least three separate attacks involving Commander, files released to Judicial Watch under Freedom of Information Act litigation show.

    A previously unreported incident on Sept. 12, 2023, featured a pair of bites in which Commander tore holes in a Secret Service member’s suit as Biden took him for a walk in the Kennedy Garden along the South Lawn of the White House.

    The president “took Commander (on a leash) to the Kennedy Garden this evening for a walk,” the special agent assigned to the Presidential Protective Division wrote in a report.

    “While [Biden] and Commander were in the Kennedy Garden I was standing half way from the Book-Sellers [lobby] and the Family Theater,” the agent wrote, referring to the area where the main White House connects to the East Wing.

    “[Biden] opened the Book-Seller door and said [redacted]. As I started to walk toward him to see if he needed help, Commander ran through his legs and bit my left arm through the front of my jacket. I pulled my arm away and yelled no,” the victim wrote.

    “[President Biden] also yelled [redacted] to Commander. [Biden] then [redacted]. I obliged and Commander let me pet him.”

    “When turning to close the door,” the special agent went on, “Commander jumped again and bit my left arm for the second time. [Biden] again yelled at Commander and attached the leash to him. My suit coat has 3 holes, 1 being all the way through. No skin was broken.”

    Photos included in the report show damage to the agent’s suit and dress shirt, for which they sought reimbursement.

    The latest batch of internal agency records show mounting frustration over the handling of the animals.

    On Sept. 25, 2023, following yet another attack involving Commander, a sergeant in the Secret Service’s uniformed division wrote an colleague: “FYI- there was a dog bite and the Officer may need to go to the hospital … Have a safe shift!” It’s unclear if Biden was present for that incident.

    Two days later, an official in the agency’s Safety, Health & Environmental Division wrote: “Can we please find a way to get this dog muzzled.”

    Biden’s personal presence during attacks was known in two prior instances.

    On Oct. 2, 2022, Biden was there when Commander attacked an agent who was holding the door for the president as he approached the entryway near the Rose Garden that connects the West Wing to the rest of the White House.

    “I was bit/grabbed on the left forearm,” the agent wrote in records made public in February.

    “Commander came in first circled back and grabbed my left arm. He then stood up and back down. He is literally my height standing. [President Biden] entered shortly after since he was trailin [sic] behind him. [Biden] entered the Palm Room and said, ‘[redacted quote]’.”

    Biden also was present on Dec. 11, 2022, when the president “requested to take Commander (on the leash) to the Kennedy Garden,” records show.

    “Once at the KG, [Biden] took Commander off the leash to run free. I was present to observe [redacted] departing from the Kennedy Garden to move behind [redacted] toward the south ground drive via the internal garden gate when [the attack] occurred,” the victim wrote, describing a 1.5cm (half-inch) cut and bruising on his arm and a 1cm (0.4-inch) cut from a second bite on his hand and thumb.

    Documents do not place President Biden on scene for the most severe attacks, including a Nov. 3, 2022, incident that sent a uniformed Secret Service officer to a DC hospital for treatment after Commander clamped down on their arm and thigh at the base of a stairwell at the White House.

    At least one other Secret Service member was seen at a hospital, according to previously reported documents, when on July 29, 2023, Commander tore into a female agent’s arm at the president’s Rehoboth Beach, Del., vacation home, causing a “severe deep open wound” with loss of “a significant amount of blood,” requiring at least six stitches.

    In yet another bloody attack, on June 15, 2023, Commander took an agent “to the ground” outside the East Wing, taking a “deep bite” to their arm, requiring an unspecified number of stitches.

    In that case, “East Wing Tours were stopped for approximately 20 minutes due to blood from the incident being on the floors in the area of the [lobby connecting the East Wing to the White House].”

    Commander’s biting spree was first reported by The Post last July, but was initially downplayed by the White House.

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    AI Candidate Running for Parliament in UK

    Citizen Frank



    An artificial intelligence candidate is on the ballot for the United Kingdom’s general election next month.

    “AI Steve,” represented by Sussex businessman Steve Endacott, will appear on the ballot alongside non-AI candidates running to represent constituents in the Brighton Pavilion area of Brighton and Hove, a city on England’s southern coast.

    “AI Steve is the AI co-pilot,” Endacott said in an interview. “I’m the real politician going into Parliament, but I’m controlled by my co-pilot.”

    Endacott is the chairman of Neural Voice, a company that creates personalized voice assistants for businesses in the form of an AI avatar. Neural Voice’s technology is behind AI Steve, one of the seven characters the company created to showcase its technology.

    He said the idea is to use AI to create a politician who is always around to talk with constituents and who can take their views into consideration.

    People can ask AI Steve questions or share their opinions on Endacott’s policies on its website, during which a large language model will give answers in voice and text based on a database of information about his party’s policies.

    If he doesn’t have a policy for a particular issue raised, the AI will conduct some internet research before engaging the voter and pushing them to suggest a policy.

    AI Steve, which is open to the public to try, told NBC News in response to a question about its stance on Brexit: “As a democracy, the UK voted to leave, and it’s my responsibility to implement and optimize this decision regardless of my personal views on the matter.”

    “Do you have any thoughts on how Brexit should be managed in the future?” it added.

    Endacott said he is also seeking thousands of whom he calls “validators,” or people he is targeting because he believes they represent the common man — in particular Brighton locals who have a long daily commute.

    “We’re asking them once a week to score our policies from 1 to 10. And if a policy gets more than 50%, it gets passed. And that’s the official party policy,” he said, adding, “Every single policy, I will say that my decision is my voters’ decision. And I’m connected to my voters at any time on a weekly basis via electronic means.”

    In 2022, Endacott unsuccessfully ran in a local election under the Conservative Party. He received less than 500 votes. This time, the unusual nature of his candidacy stirred some conversation on X over the weekend, when news of AI Steve’s launch leaked online and prompted around 1,000 calls to the AI proxy in one night.

    Voters’ top issues so far, according to those calls, were (in order of importance): Concerns about the safety of Palestinians, trash bins, bicycle lanes, immigration and abortion. Endacott noted that having an AI representative enables him to respond, in a sense, to thousands of potential constituents a day.

    “I don’t have to go knock on their door, get them out of bed when they don’t want to talk to me,” Endacott said. He said that was “the old form of politics,” whereas people can now choose to contact AI Steve on their own volition and at their convenience.

    Endacott describes himself as a “centralist” who aligns most closely, but not quite, with the Green Party. His own party, Smarter U.K., was not registered in time for this year’s election.

    He said he is not using the AI avatar to propel his own business interests, as he says he holds less than a 10% share in Neural River, the platform behind AI Steve. His primary motivation, he said, is to push the government to enact changes to cut carbon emissions — whether that means running for office or, “worst case,” becoming a political influencer.

    If elected, AI Steve would be the first AI legislator to make it into public office — but he’s not the first to experiment with leveraging the emerging technology in elections. In Wyoming, a Cheyenne mayoral candidate reportedly says he would use an AI bot to make decisions for him. And two years ago, a political party in Denmark was founded on an AI-derived platform.

    Though the concept of an AI politician may seem silly to some and disturbing to others, Endacott said he wants to make clear that his platform is “not a joke.” He rejects the premise that the AI is replacing a human politician — instead insisting that the aim is to bring “more humans” into politics.

    “​​It’s not AI taking over the world. It’s AI being used as a technical way of connecting to our constituents and reinventing democracy by saying, ‘You don’t just vote for somebody every four years; you actually control the vote on an ongoing basis,’” he said. “Which is very, very radical in the U.K. Probably even more radical in America.”

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    G7 Leaders Reach Deal to Unlock Frozen Russian Assets for Ukraine

    Citizen Frank



    Group of Seven (G7) leaders reached an agreement on June 13 to utilize frozen Russian assets in their continued support of the war in Ukraine.

    The G7 will provide Ukraine with a loan using frozen Russian assets as collateral. The total sum is unclear at this time, but the United States has committed $50 billion alone. The risk will be shared among the other G7 nations.

    Senior Biden administration officials told reporters that the loan will begin this year, and emphasized that this effectively makes Russia pay for the loan rather than the taxpayers in the United States and G7 countries.

    “Russia pays,” said one senior administration official. “The income comes from the interest stream on the immobilized assets, and that’s the only fair way to be repaid. The principle is untouched for now. But we have full optionality to seize the principal later if the political will is there.”

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a post on X, had expressed hope that the asset deal would be finalized on June 13.

    “The entire Ukrainian people, including our warriors, see that the G7 will always support Ukraine,” he wrote. “I am grateful to our partners for their belief in us and our victory.”

    In the run-up to the crucial summit, the G7 finance ministers held discussions about the legality of using some $300 billion worth of frozen assets kept in European accounts as collateral for providing a loan to Ukraine for reconstruction. France was believed to be the main holdout on the plan.

    President Joe Biden mentioned before leaving France last week that he had reached an agreement with Mr. Macron on a plan to use the frozen Russian assets.

    Concerns lingered over the payout of the loan and whether or not Russian assets would remain immobilized, especially considering the European Union’s need to renew the sanctions every six months to do so.

    The senior administration official clarified that the payout of the loan would be dependent on “the pace at which Ukraine can absorb the money effectively.”

    He also exuded confidence in European leaders’ commitment to maintain the sanctions.

    “When you have commitment at the highest political levels, you know, that is what gives us confidence that these assets are going to remain immobilized,” he said. “The income will continue to flow, and we will be repaid either from the income itself or through reparations with Russia.”

    The senior administration official also said that the funds would be used in multiple ways in Ukraine, including humanitarian support and reconstruction support. However, he also said that there were “certain jurisdictions” that preferred to have their money earmarked for military support.

    The agreement was reached a day after the United States announced expanded sanctions on more than 300 entities and individuals designed to “ratchet up the risks that foreign financial institutions take by dealing with Russia’s war economy,” according to national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

    Following his meetings with G7 leaders on June 13, President Biden will sign a 10-year bilateral security agreement with Mr. Zelenskyy, signifying a continuing U.S. commitment to support the war-torn country against Russian aggression.

    This is the 50th summit meeting of the leaders of the United States, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, and Canada—the seven most advanced economies in the world—and, along with the war in Ukraine and Russian assets, discussions are also expected to cover the war in Gaza, economic security, AI, migration, climate change, and food security.

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    WSJ Gershkovich to Be Tried for ‘Espionage’ in Russia

    Citizen Frank



    U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich, who has been jailed for over a year in Russia on espionage charges, will stand trial in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg, where he was detained, authorities said Thursday.

    An indictment of The Wall Street Journal reporter has been finalized and his case was filed to the Sverdlovsky Regional Court in the city about 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) east of Moscow, according to Russia’s Prosecutor General’s office. There was no word on when the trial would begin.

    Gershkovich, 32, is accused of “gathering secret information” on orders from the CIA about Uralvagonzavod, a facility in the Sverdlovsk region that produces and repairs military equipment, the Prosecutor General’s office said in a statement, revealing for the first time the details of the accusations against him.

    Gershkovich was detained while on a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg in March 2023 and accused of spying for the United States. The reporter, his employer and the U.S. government denied the allegations, and Washington designated him as wrongfully detained.

    Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, alleged after arresting Gershkovich that he was acting on U.S. orders to collect state secrets but provided no evidence to back up the accusations.

    The U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller slammed the development, saying there was “absolutely zero credibility to those charges” and adding that the U.S. government would continue to work to bring Gershkovich home.

    “Evan has done nothing wrong. He should never have been arrested in the first place. Journalism is not a crime,” Miller said. “The charges against him are false. And the Russian government knows that they’re false. He should be released immediately.”

    The Biden administration has sought to negotiate his release, but Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow would consider a prisoner swap only after a verdict in his trial.

    “Russia’s latest move toward a sham trial is, while expected, deeply disappointing and still no less outrageous,” a statement by Almar Latour, Dow Jones CEO and publisher of the Journal, and Emma Tucker, the Journal’s editor in chief, said.

    They added that the charges against Gershkovich were “false and baseless.”

    “The Russian regime’s smearing of Evan is repugnant, disgusting and based on calculated and transparent lies. Journalism is not a crime. Evan’s case is an assault on free press,” the statement said. “We had hoped to avoid this moment and now expect the U.S. government to redouble efforts to get Evan released.”

    Roger Carstens, the Biden administration’s special presidential envoy who serves as the U.S. government’s top hostage negotiator, said that though he had been hopeful about striking a deal to get Gershkovich home before this point, the latest development “doesn’t slow or stop us down.”

    “The bottom line is, this was not unexpected,” he said.

    Uralvagonzavod, a state tank and railroad car factory in the city of Nizhny Tagil, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Yekaterinburg, became known in 2011-12 as a bedrock of support for President Vladimir Putin.

    Plant foreman Igor Kholmanskih appeared on Putin’s annual phone-in program in December 2011 and denounced mass protests occurring in Moscow at the time as a threat to “stability,” proposing that he and his colleagues travel to the Russian capital to help suppress the unrest. A week later, Putin appointed Kholmanskikh to be his envoy in the region.

    Putin has said he believed a deal could be reached to free Gershkovich, hinting he would be open to swapping him for a Russian national imprisoned in Germany, which appeared to be Vadim Krasikov, who is serving a life sentence for the 2019 killing in Berlin of a Georgian citizen of Chechen descent.

    Asked last week by The Associated Press about Gershkovich, Putin said the U.S. is “taking energetic steps” to secure his release. He told international news agencies in St. Petersburg that any such releases “aren’t decided via mass media” but through a “discreet, calm and professional approach.”

    “And they certainly should be decided only on the basis of reciprocity,” he added in an allusion to a potential prisoner swap.

    Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

    He was the first U.S. journalist taken into custody on espionage charges since Nicholas Daniloff in 1986 at the height of the Cold War. Gershkovich’s arrest shocked foreign journalists in Russia, even though the country had enacted increasingly repressive laws on freedom of speech after sending troops into Ukraine.

    The son of Soviet emigres who settled in New Jersey, Gershkovich was fluent in Russian and moved to the country in 2017 to work for The Moscow Times newspaper before being hired by the Journal in 2022.

    Since his arrest, Gershkovich has been held at Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison, a notorious czarist-era prison used during Josef Stalin’s purges, when executions were carried out in its basement.

    U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy, who regularly visited Gershkovich in prison and attended his court hearings, has called the charges against him “fiction” and said that Russia is “using American citizens as pawns to achieve political ends.”

    Since sending troops to Ukraine, Russian authorities have detained several U.S. nationals and other Westerners, seemingly bolstering that idea.

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    WNBA Expected to Lose $50 Million — League Is ‘Hard-Pressed to Exist Without the NBA,’ Executive Says

    Citizen Frank



    Areport citing WNBA sources, including an executive from one of the teams, revealed that despite the league’s wall-to-wall coverage, it will still lose $50 million for the 2024 season.

    With the basketball association reportedly taking in between $180-$200 million the previous season, it is still just a fraction of the $10 billion+ earned by the NBA.

    Given that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in 2018 that the WNBA loses about $10 million per year, that would amount to at least $200 million and upwards of $260 million in losses since the league’s inception in 1997.

    The report by the Washington Post detailed that the WNBA is expected to lose $50 million from the current season, citing two unnamed sources who are aware of the financial figures. The sources told the outlet that they did not have permission to publicly discuss the league’s financial status.

    WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said publicly that the NBA provides a “huge advantage” for the women’s league in terms of marketing, “especially with streaming services who rely on a 12-month subscription model.”

    “If we’re only there for 4½ months … how attractive is that? But we and the NBA are maybe the only sports properties that can give 330 days of live programming — almost the entire year. That’s hugely valuable to a subscription platform.”

    Despite this, another anonymous WNBA team executive admitted in the report that WNBA likely would cease to exist without the financial backing of the NBA, an idea that has been the theory of sports fans for some time.

    “The truth is, this league would be hard-pressed to exist without the NBA.”

    Even with all the apparent success, it doesn’t seem like the league can be pushed into the black simply by the existence of star Caitlin Clark, who has been a marketing sensation for the WNBA.

    Recent attendance reports noted that as of June 11, 2024, Clark sparked an 87% increase in attendance in away games compared to her opponent’s average home attendance.

    Her presence also accounts for 33.5% of the WNBA’s total attendance in 2024, according to Sportscasting.

    Average attendance of Clark’s games are double the league average, as well. The league brings in 7,645 fans on average, but that number increases by 105% for Clark, to 15,142 at her games. These latest figures confirm a recent sample size, where Clark’s games saw twice the attendance of other games that were played the same weekend.

    The Clark bump also equates to more eyes on screens. Through the first weekend of June 2024, WNBA games that featured Clark had an average of 1.099 million viewers. Games without her averaged only 414,000 viewers.

    Given all this information, WNBA players may want to be cautious when making complaints about Clark’s favoritism, as the league is seemingly a long way from profit.

    Complaints about charter planes not being luxurious enough could easily result in that expense being axed, which reportedly costs around $25 million per year.

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    Wells Fargo Fires Employees Over “Mouse Jigglers”

    Citizen Frank



    In the era of hybrid work, with employees splitting their time between two days in the office and three days working remotely, employers have ramped up using productivity monitoring software. However, employees have outsmarted some of these surveillance programs with gadgets like mouse movers, otherwise known as ‘mouse jigglers.’

    The popularity of mouse jigglers has exploded on TikTok in the last several years. Firms have been cracking down on these devices following a surge in fake work activity, which has weighed on productivity.

    Wells Fargo, in a new disclosure with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, first reported by Bloomberg, had terminated over a dozen employees in its wealth- and investment-management unit for their use of mouse jigglers.

    They were “discharged after review of allegations involving simulation of keyboard activity creating the impression of active work,” according to the disclosures.

    On Amazon, some of the top-ranking mouse jigglers sold have thousands of reviews and range in price between $6 and $25.

    Google Trends shows a massive search spike for these devices in 2022.

    The bank’s Finra disclosure does not indicate whether the employees were fired for faking work at home or in the office.

    It’s unclear how the employees were caught, and if the bank opted to use other forms of surveillance to catch the employees faking work.

    Major banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, were among the most aggressive institutions in ordering workers back to the office after the government enforced lockdowns.

    The jiggler is just proof of the unintended consequences of remote working.

    Instead of employers micromanaging their workforce with mass surveillance, perhaps implementing baseline objectives for them…

    Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝


    House Committee Subpoenas Biden Cabinet Secretaries Over Voter Access ‘Scheme’

    Citizen Frank



    The House Administration Committee issued subpoenas to 15 members of President Biden’s Cabinet related to an executive order on voting access.

    The executive order, Promoting Access to Voting, was signed in March 2021 and says that “executive departments and agencies should partner with state, local, tribal and territorial election officials to protect and promote the exercise of the right to vote, eliminate discrimination and other barriers to voting, and expand access to voter registration and accurate election information.”

    Rep. Bryan Steil, chairman of the committee, suggested the executive order lets officials from the Biden administration “flood election administration sites, [which] threatens election integrity and reduces Americans’ confidence.”

    “Elections are partisan, but our election administration should never be partisan,” Mr. Steil, Wisconsin Republican, said in the statement.

    “This executive order is another attempt by the Biden administration to tilt the scales ahead of 2024. I will continue working to provide transparency and accountability on this administration’s latest scheme, as Congress did not appropriate taxpayer funds for partisan activities.”

    The subpoenas request information from the Cabinet officials on how they plan to implement the orders five months ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

    “The committee has concerns about the implementation of E.O. 14019, particularly regarding its compatibility with provisions of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993,” Mr. Steil said in a letter to the Cabinet secretaries dated Wednesday.

    “Congress delegates to federal agencies specific functions and missions, which by law they are required to follow. Congress’ delegation of authority to [the Housing and Urban Development Department] does not include using funds and resources to provide Americans with voter registration materials,” Mr. Steil said.

    He said the executive order requires federal agencies to submit their plans on “how the agency can promote voter registration and voter participation” and that some agencies, like the Education Department and the Small Business Administration, have already begun taking action.

    In the letter, Mr. Steil said he had requested the documents, but didn’t receive any documents or replies. He also said the committee is considering legislation to repeal the executive order and require the agencies’ plans to be submitted to Congress.

    The agencies subpoenaed were requested to respond by June 26. The letter was sent to the Departments of Transportation, Agriculture, Interior, Treasury, State, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Energy, Education, Defense, Commerce, Justice, Office of Management and Budget, Labor and HUD.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    WATCH: Biden Appears to Wander Off at G7 Summit Before Being Pulled Back by Italian PM

    Citizen Frank



    President Biden appeared to wander off at the G7 summit in Italy, with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni needing to pull him back to focus.

    As world leaders applauded a parachuting presentation, Biden could be seen trailing off and stepping away from the group, appearing to talk to an officer packing a parachute.

    Meloni, who is hosting the Group of Seven meeting of world leaders, then pulled back the US president to get his attention so he could rejoin the group.

    The rest of the leaders then awkwardly moved to center themselves around Biden for a photo op.

    Biden, 81, slowly slipped on his signature sunglasses for the picture.

    Afterward, he walked toward one of the parachutists, shook his hand and saluted him, video shows. Then other leaders joined him in shaking the hands of the other jumpers.

    Hours earlier, Biden had a strange introduction to Meloni, saluting her as he arrived at the venue in southern Puglia.

    The president shuffled in and the two embraced and talked for a moment. Meloni directed him to his place on the stage, at which point he raised his right hand in a salute to her and walked away.

    The G7 summit is an annual informal economic and security forum attended by leaders of the some of the world’s biggest industrialized democratic nations: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union also has status in the group, but is not a full member.

    This year’s summit, which lasts through Saturday, is focusing on global conflicts, impact of artificial intelligence, migration issues and climate change.

    Earlier, Biden appeared to be looking in a completely different direction as a parachuter landed right in front of him, video from the moment shows.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Supreme Court Keeps Abortion Pill Legal

    Citizen Frank



    The Supreme Court unanimously rejected a bid Thursday to restrict access to mifepristone, part of a two-drug regimen used to induce medical abortions.

    The high court concluded a group of anti-abortion doctors that brought the case forward lacked standing to challenge the Food and Drug Administration’s prior regulatory approval of the pill.

    “The plaintiffs have sincere legal, moral, ideological, and policy objections to elective abortion and to FDA’s relaxed regulation of mifepristone. But under Article III of the Constitution, those kinds of objections alone do not establish a justiciable case or controversy in federal court,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in the opinion.

    “A plaintiff’s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue,” he went on, noting that the group could still take their concerns to the executive and legislative branches.

    As a result of the ruling, women may continue to access mifepristone via online prescriptions and receive shipments of the drug through the mail.

    However, the high court’s rejection based on standing does leave the door open for future challenges to the FDA’s approval of the drug.

    “Today’s decision does not change the fact that the fight for reproductive freedom continues. It does not change the fact that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade two years ago, and women lost a fundamental freedom,” President Biden said in a statement.

    “It does not change the fact that the right for a woman to get the treatment she needs is imperiled if not impossible in many states,” the 81-year-old added. “It does mean that mifepristone, or medication abortion, remains available and approved. Women can continue to access this medication – approved by the FDA as safe and effective more than 20 years ago.

    “But let’s be clear: attacks on medication abortion are part of Republican elected officials’ extreme and dangerous agenda to ban abortion nationwide.”

    Back in March when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the matter, justices sounded deeply skeptical about upending the FDA’s approval of mifepristone.

    The agency initially approved the drug in 2000 before relaxing the rules to expand access in 2016 and 2021.

    The plaintiffs argued that the FDA flouted standards set in federal law for making regulatory decisions, and did not sufficiently examine mifepristone when giving the go-ahead for expanded access.

    Mifepristone is typically used alongside misoprostol to induce abortions and was responsible for an estimated two-thirds of all abortions in the country last year.

    In April of 2023, after a challenge backed by the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Texas federal judge issued a preliminary ruling overturning the FDA’s initial 2000 approval of mifepristone.

    Then, in August, the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals imposed a stay on the FDA’s 2016 rule changes that made the drug more easily accessible.

    The ADF raised concerns about doctors who had ethical qualms about prescribing the drug and argued that federal policies making allowances for such objections were too weak — but the court found they hadn’t shown that to be the case.

    “In short, given the broad and comprehensive conscience protections guaranteed by federal law, the plaintiffs have not shown – and cannot show – that FDA’s actions will cause them to suffer any conscience injury,” Kavanaugh wrote.

    “EPA rolls back emissions standards for power plants—does a doctor have standing to sue because she may need to spend more time treating asthma patients?” he asked.

    “The government repeals certain restrictions on guns — does a surgeon have standing to sue because he might have to operate on more gunshot victims?”

    Justice Clarence Thomas penned a concurring opinion in which he addressed the plaintiffs’ pitch for associational standing — in which organizations can sue over injuries caused to its membership.

    “The Alliance and other plaintiff associations claim that they have associational standing to sue for their members’ injuries,” he wrote. “I am particularly doubtful of associational-standing doctrine because the Court has never attempted to reconcile it with the traditional understanding of the judicial power.

    FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine marks the high court’s most consequential decision on abortion since the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

    The Supreme Court is also weighing a separate abortion case out of Idaho.

    That case examines whether doctors have federal protection to provide abortions in emergency situations, even in states with strict bans on the procedure.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Judge in Fani Willis Case Faces Calls for His Removal

    Citizen Frank



    The judge presiding over Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ sweeping RICO case against alleged Young Slime Life gang members is facing calls for his recusal after a stunning clash between him and one of the defense attorneys in the case.

    Judge Ural Glanville is facing calls to step aside in the YSL trial after he held attorney Brian Steel, who is representing Grammy-winning rapper Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffrey Williams, in the case, in criminal contempt for refusing to reveal how he learned of a private meeting that took place in the judge’s chambers.

    Glanville sentenced Steel to 20 days behind bars on Monday after Steel sought to file for a mistrial based on his knowledge of the ex parte meeting between the judge, prosecutors, state witness Kenneth Copeland—otherwise known as Lil Woody—and Copeland’s attorney. Steel accused Glanville and Willis’ office of witness tampering during the meeting, but the judge was more focused on how the attorney learned about what was said in the meeting rather than what was discussed. The Georgia Supreme Court has since stayed the motion, meaning Steel will not have to serve the sentence while he appeals.

    On Wednesday, Doug Weinstein, another defense attorney in the YSL trial representing Deamonte Kendrick, otherwise known as Yak Gotti, sought Glanville’s recusal and asked that the trial be halted until the motion was heard by another judge.

    “Defendants were not provided notice of the hearing either before, during, or after, and, regardless, Defendants should have been afforded an opportunity to attend any hearing where a ‘sworn witness in a critical stage* of the trial is being coerced to testify,” the motion reads. “The only logical conclusion to be drawn by the willful exclusion of all defense counsel from the meeting among Chief Judge Glanville, the State, and sworn witness Copeland was to harass and intimidate the sworn witness into testifying.”

    Glanville denied the motion in court on Wednesday, saying that Weinstein couldn’t “file a motion to recuse for a ruling that a trial judge makes” and that it would require Glanville to do something “extrajudicial” in order for such an action. Weinstein said he disagreed with the judge’s characterization and asked Glanville, “Aren’t you interested in removing the cloud that’s hanging over the case right now?”

    “Sir, I’d be real careful about what you’re pleading at this point in time and what you’re stating to the court,” Glanville warned Weinstein in response. “I’d be very careful if I were you.”

    Atlanta-based appellate attorney Andrew Fleischman, criticized Glanville’s remarks, saying that his words were another reason for him to step down from the YSL case.

    “THREATENING SOMEONE WHO HAS MOVED TO RECUSE YOU IS RECUSABLE,” Fleischman said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

    Glanville also refused to issue a certificate of immediate review for another judge to consider whether he should step aside—a move that Weinstein called “an error.”

    “Okay, thank you sir,” the judge replied.

    Willis’ office indicted Williams, Kendrick and 26 others in 2022 on gang-related crimes. Prosecutors have claimed that Willams is one of the founders of Young Slime Life, an alleged violent street gang in Atlanta. Williams’ attorneys argue that YSL stands for his record label Young Stoner Life.

    At the center of the trial is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a federal law that allows for harsher punishments for people who commit illegal acts in connection with a criminal organization. Willis has become known for her use of the state’s RICO law, having used it to successfully prosecute a group of Atlanta public school teachers who cheated on standardized tests and to bring the election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his allies.

    Legal commentator Pam Keith argued on X that Glanville should recuse himself not only for holding an “improper” ex parte meeting, but also because he “made himself a witness to a crime” by holding Steel in criminal contempt.

    “The judge CANNOT decide the criminal contempt issue because he is a material witness to the underlying event,” Keith said. “And…he should recuse himself because the ex parte hearing was WAY improper to begin with. It is NOT the role of a judge to help the prosecution manage its witnesses.”

    “The judge was obviously furious that he got caught doing something he had no business doing, but trying to strong arm counsel to reveal their sources is not the answer,” she added.

    Attorney Ashleigh Merchant had called on Glanville to recuse himself for just that reason earlier this week. Merchant, who rose to national prominence for leading the efforts to disqualify Willis from the Trump election interference case, is representing Steel in the contempt matter.

    “Mr. Steel is entitled to all the same due process rights that Mr. Williams and every other defendant in this courtroom is entitled to. He’s entitled to those. One of those is to have a fair and neutral judge decide his case,” Merchant told Glanville on Monday. Her request was also denied.

    Georgia State University law professor Anthony Michael Kreis agreed that Glanville’s actions against Steel warranted recusal, writing that “Judge Glanville is correct that evidence of extrajudicial bias is the bar for removal of a judge, not just rulings adverse to a party, because of an appearance of impropriety. But the thing here is that he’s alleged to have created an actual conflict by his actions— not a ruling.”

    “Judges cannot respond by unduly taking their feelings out against an attorney like Judge Glanville did yesterday,” Kreis told the Atlanta Constitution Journal on Tuesday. “Frankly, I was surprised that Judge Glanville didn’t take a step back all day to reconsider what he was doing or at least pump the brakes.”

    Conservative legal analyst Phil Holloway had anticipated that someone in the case would file a motion to recuse, tweeting Monday that he did not see any ways for Glanville to continue as the judge in this case.

    “A motion to recuse in Georgia MUST be heard by a different judge I don’t see how the #YoungThug #YSLTrial is not irreparably tainted,” Holloway said.

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝


    Lunden Roberts: Hunter Biden Kept Drug Gear at Joe’s Va. Home and Slept with Members of ‘Amoeba’ Group

    Citizen Frank



    Hunter Biden was so strung out on crack cocaine a few years ago that he brought both his girlfriend and his brother’s widow — both of whom he was sleeping with — to President Biden’s Virginia home. There, the first son kept his drug paraphernalia “locked up” in his own wing of the house, according to the now-ex-girlfriend.

    Lunden Roberts, whose bombshell memoir, “Out of the Shadows: My Life Inside the Wild World of Hunter Biden,” is out August 20, told The Post that Hallie Biden did not appear “very street smart” when the two spent time with an often-high Hunter at Joe Biden’s rented house in McLean, Va.

    “You need to meet Hallie. You’ll love her. And she’ll love you. Let’s all get together!” she writes that Hunter told her not long after they met in 2017.

    “Am I really spending time with someone who’s in a seemingly open relationship with his sister-in-law?” Roberts, 33, muses in the book.

    But hanging out with the now-president’s son and his brother’s widow is almost a footnote in Roberts’ rollicking, nearly 400-page tale of being a fly on the wall in Hunter’s chaotic life.

    Contrary to what’s been reported, Roberts told The Post, and writes in her book, that she did not meet Hunter at a strip club — but at a small party at the offices of his investment firm, Rosemont Seneca, which was then located at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, DC. She was invited by a friend.

    At the time, Biden, who was found guilty of felony gun charges Tuesday, was going through a divorce from his first wife, Kathleen Buhle, with whom he has three children. He had begun an affair with Hallie Biden, the widow of his brother, Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.

    Hunter was in an office away from the party when Roberts first spotted him, she writes, wearing brightly colored boxer briefs “with parrots all over them” and meticulously arranging his drug paraphernalia — a series of small glass tubes and copper strands on the desk in front of him.

    “He turns in his chair and catches me in his stare, his gaze intense with furrowed brows and the most beautiful blue-gray eyes I have ever seen … He is complex, but how? He has my full attention.”

    Once they began hanging out and hooking up, Roberts witnessed Hunter lighting up a crack pipe and twerking on a pole at the Mpire Club, the high-end “gentlemen’s club” in DC where she also worked.

    She also write of his run-ins with colorful drug dealers with names like Bicycles, a mysterious bodyguard of Hunter’s named Big Country who may also be a hitman, wild trips on Amtrak to New York City when Hunter would abruptly get off the train to “buy pants” — and at least one life-threatening overdose.

    Roberts describes how Hunter kept multiple cellphones at any given time and was constantly losing or misplacing them, along with his other possessions.

    She writes, too, of his “kindness” and desire to help others — once giving a homeless man his jacket, but forgetting that he had left his cellphone, his dead brother’s dog tags and several rocks of cocaine in the pockets. (He eventually tracked the man down and got the dog tags back.)

    Roberts writes that she got used to Hunter compulsively showering up to six or seven times a day to “get the demons” off him. He was, the book says, never far from a bottle of his favorite Tito’s vodka.

    According to the book, Roberts introduced several of her younger single girlfriends — a group she dubbed the “Amoeba” — to Hunter. She was on call to drive him around and obey his frequent demands, like getting “baby powder” for him from the strip club. Except Roberts bought actual talcum powder, and was mocked by Hunter for not knowing it was code for cocaine.

    She worked at the Mpire Club, but declines to say in what capacity, and also as one of Hunter’s two personal assistants.

    The fun and games briefly came to a halt one night when Hunter showed up at the presidential suite of the five-star Rosewood Hotel in DC, one of the many luxe hotel rooms he often booked for himself and the “Amoeba,” looking more drugged out than usual.

    “We have never seen Hunter as messed up as he is in this moment,” Roberts writes. “His words are jumbled, and his face seems distorted on one side. I glance at my anxious friends, trying not to show concern on my own face. It’s terrifying. Then suddenly, Hunter goes limp, slumping to the floor between the couch and the marble coffee table.

    “I drop to my hands and knees. ‘Hunt, are you okay?’”

    She recounts a frightening night spent alongside the first son in bed, monitoring his breathing and being torn about calling paramedics, fearing word would get out about it and would create a scandal.

    In the end, Biden survived the night and jumped up the next morning “as if nothing had happened,” Roberts writes.

    But their relationship came to an abrupt halt when she told him she was pregnant in 2018.

    Roberts told The Post that Hunter was initially supportive of the pregnancy, but later proclaimed that they had only met at a strip club once and never had sex.

    She writes that he then had sex with one of her “Amoeba” friends, who tearfully apologized to Roberts afterward.

    Their daughter, Navy Joan Roberts, was born in August 2018. Roberts filed a paternity suit in 2019 and Hunter was forced to take a DNA test that proved he was the girl’s father.

    In late 2020 and throughout 2021, Roberts — who has lived in her native Arkansas since giving birth to Navy — claims, her house was mysteriously broken into about 10 times, sometimes when she was there.

    She said she still sleeps with a gun under her pillow and another in a nightstand and has guns hidden throughout her house.

    Once, a friend who was staying the night with her woke her up to tell her all the doors and windows of the house were wide open and the front-door deadlock was laid neatly on the floor.

    “Sometimes the barstools would be moved into the living room or other furniture would be rearranged,” Roberts told The Post. “My security system would be disconnected from my Wi-Fi each time. Almost every time the person left big bootprints throughout the house. It was obvious they were trying to intimidate or scare me. They never took anything.”

    One year ago, after years of what Roberts calls “toxic litigation,” Biden agreed to pay Roberts monthly child support for Navy and turn over several of his paintings to her. Some of his artworks have listed for as much as $500,000 each.

    President Biden finally acknowledged Navy Joan as his seventh grandchild at around the same time.

    When asked by The Post why she still seemed sympathetic to and forgiving of Hunter, Roberts admitted it was because they share a child. She said Hunter and Navy are forging a relationship on Zoom, but none of the Bidens have yet met the 5-year-old girl in person.

    “But that’s always on the table,” Roberts said about Navy eventually meeting her dad as well as her grandfather. “I think Hunter really wants to step up and do the right thing.”

    Go deeper ( 5 min. read ) ➝


    NATO Says Over 300,000 Troops Now on High Readiness

    Citizen Frank



    NATO countries have “comfortably exceeded” a target of placing 300,000 troops on high-readiness as the alliance grapples with the threat from Russia, a senior alliance official said Thursday.

    NATO leaders agreed in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 to massively ramp up the number of forces that alliance commanders can deploy within 30 days.

    “The offers on the table from allies comfortably exceed the 300,000 that we set,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

    “Those are forces which allies have said to us, ‘They are available to you as of now at that level of readiness’.”

    The push to have more troops ready to respond quickly is part of a broader overhaul of NATO’s plans to stave off any potential Russian attack that was signed off at a summit last year.

    Those plans laid out for the first time since the end of the Cold War what each member of the US-led alliance would be expected to do in case of an invasion by Moscow.

    NATO commanders are currently trying to make sure they have the capabilities to execute those plans if needed.

    But the alliance faces shortfalls in key weaponry such as air defences and longer-range missiles.

    “There are capability gaps. There are things that we don’t have enough of as an alliance at the moment and we need to tackle,” the official said.

    Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝


    IDF Uses Medieval Siege Weapon to Fling Fireballs at Lebanon

    Citizen Frank



    A video has emerged on social media on Thursday that appears to show IDF soldiers firing a trebuchet at the Lebanese border, igniting plantations across the border.

    A ‘local initiative’

    The military responded, stating, “This is a local initiative and not a tool that is widely used,” Israeli state broadcaster KAN News reported.

    “The area on the Lebanese border is characterized by boulders, thickets, and dense thorn vegetation, which poses a challenge to the IDF troops deployed in defense.”

    Maariv quoted the IDF as saying that the tool was built by reservists serving at an outpost on the northern border, and another military source said that the video was filmed over a month ago.

    A trebuchet is an artillery weapon used primarily for siege purposes. They were used primarily in the medieval period.

    The incident follows recent heightened tensions in northern Israel.

    On Tuesday, the IDF killed Sami Taleb Abdullah, the most senior Hezbollah commander to be eliminated since October 7.

    On Wednesday, Hezbollah fired a heavy barrage of some 250 rockets onto Israel’s North. This constituted the largest amount of rockets fired at the area since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war. In addition, this was the first time rockets were fired as far south as the area of Tiberias.

    Earlier on Thursday, the military stated Israel Air Force (IAF) jets had struck Hezbollah military structures in the Ayta ash Shab area and terror infrastructure in the Aynata area of southern Lebanon.

    Israel and Hezbollah have been engaged in intensifying cross-border conflicts since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war.

    Hezbollah has targeted northern Israel with numerous rocket and UAV barrages, which has seen the evacuation of communities near the border and the outbreak of several fires as a result of rockets and shrapnel.

    In retaliation, the IAF has frequently struck strategic Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, including terror infrastructure and terrorists.

    Policy experts have predicted immense destruction should Israel and Hezbollah engage in all-out war. According to researchers at the Alma Institute, Hezbollah has 150,000 mortars, 65,000 rockets with a range of up to 80 km, 5,000 rockets, and missiles with a range of 80-200 km, 5,000 missiles with a range of 200 km or more, 2,500 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – and hundreds of advanced missiles, such as anti-aircraft missiles or cruise missiles.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Air Force Celebrates Pride Month with CEO of Organization Advocating for Child Gender Transitions

    Citizen Frank



    The Department of the Air Force hosted a two-day pride month celebration that featured the CEO of an organization that advocates for children to undergo irreversible medical sex change procedures and pushes sexually explicit LGBT books onto children, The Daily Wire has learned.

    A promotional Air Force poster advertising the “DAF Pride Celebration,” exclusively obtained by The Daily Wire, reveals how the military branch celebrated pride month, showing that the CEO of the pro-transgender organization PFLAG, Brian Bond, was a keynote speaker at the event.

    PFLAG is one of the nation’s most prominent pro-transgender organizations. Under Bond’s leadership, it has fervently opposed legislation that seeks to protect children from cross-sex hormone treatments and sex change procedures.

    The event is being promoted on posters inside the Pentagon office space, according to images obtained by The Daily Wire. It was scheduled to take place in the Pentagon courtyard.

    Bond’s radical organization has a “transgender reading list for children” which includes “I Am Jazz,” which it described as a story about “a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings.” There’s also the “Gender Now Coloring Book,” which is “meant to provide reflection and support unity by showing multiple genders standing together.”

    Another book on the list, called “What Makes a Baby,” is said to be a “children’s book that takes gender out of making a baby.” The book’s author, Cory Silverberg, is one of the founders of what has been referred to as a “beginner’s sex store” in Toronto. He has also authored “Sex is a Funny Word,” a children’s book that discusses “transgender identity, intersex conditions, and masturbation.”

    A Pentagon source told The Daily Wire that the event is indicative of “misplaced” focus in the military, which is losing sight of its main purpose: fighting wars.

    “We are bombarded with emails, memos, official messages, meetings, and gatherings for special interest groups and social issues, but nary a word is issued about our warfighting heritage,” the source said. “This is indicative of a much larger problem in the Pentagon: more time and effort is spent on social programs and issues than preparing for war. The focus is misplaced, and taxpayers should know what they are paying for.”

    PFLAG has taken legal action against Texas, Missouri, and North Carolina after the states sought to protect children from medical interventions like cross-sex hormone therapy injections and sex-change surgeries.

    “Families need to be free to access care that is in their child’s best interest,” the organization argued in a statement that also said, “‘medical bans’ criminalize treating a transgender child under the age of 18, imposing penalties on parents and health care providers.”

    The military branch hosted a range of different activities and speakers for Pride Month beyond just the PFLAG CEO. The event schedule included “queer trivia,” as well as speaker sessions on “LGBTQ+ & Organizational Culture” and the “LGBTQ+ Civilian and Service Experience.”

    Opening comments on the second day of the event were offered by Lieutenant Colonel Bree Fram, an engineer with the United States Space Force and activist for pro-transgender policies in the military. The Daily Wire previously discovered that the Air Force Academy hosted Fram for a symposium where he spoke to cadets about transgender inclusion.

    Fram, a man who identifies as a woman, also addressed a Pride celebration where he called for those in the military to “initiate difficult conversations about racial and gender barriers.”

    Another session appears to advertise a pro-transgender activist group within the military called “SPARTA,” which calls itself “a beacon for transgender individuals who currently serve or have served in the U.S. military.”

    Another one of the speakers was Technical Sergeant Evelyn Lee, a member of SPARTA, who the organization described as “the first United States Air Force airman to begin a successful gender transition while stationed on the Korean Peninsula.” Lee is also credited with “shaping Department of the Air Force policies to better accommodate transgender service members.”

    Lt. Gen. Leah Lauderback, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations in the Air Force, is listed as another speaker. Lauderback was one of the cofounders of the LGBTQ Initiative Team, a “barriers analysis working group” that “focuses on the LGBTQ community and identifies and works to resolve the issues that disproportionately impede the success of LGBTQ Airmen and Guardians.”

    An Air Force Spokeswoman told The Daily Wire that the June 6 event was hosted by volunteers associated with the LGBTQ Initiative Team and that “appropriated funds were not expended for the speaker and attendance was strictly voluntary.”

    “The Department of Defense encourages special observances to recognize the continuous achievements of all Americans and to increase awareness, mutual respect, and understanding,” the spokeswoman went on to add. “They are designed to enhance cross-cultural competencies and promote harmony among all military members, their families, and the DoD civilian workforce.”

    This DAF celebration is far from the first time that the military and other agencies tasked with preserving our national security have pushed the LGBT Pride agenda. Even the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center is hosting its own Pride Month event, called the “LGBTQ+ Cross-Cultural Mentoring Panel.”

    The Pentagon has worked to institutionalize leftwing gender ideology and the broader diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) agenda, even requesting $114 million in taxpayer funding to support “unconscious bias diversity training” and “training programs and diversity and inclusion initiatives.”

    The leftwing ideology appears to have trickled down throughout the entire federal bureaucracy and military, with a recent Daily Wire investigation revealing that a summer camp exclusively for children of military families asked about the gender identities of six-year-olds, including the options transgender and non-binary on its sign-up form.

    Former President Donald Trump has pledged to use executive orders to fire leftwing bureaucrats who might otherwise obstruct his policy agenda. “We will pass critical reforms making every executive branch employee fireable by the President of the United States,” Trump said at a rally, touting his plan, adding that the deep state “must be brought to heel.”

    The Biden administration recently moved to strengthen job protections for bureaucrats in what appears to be a preemptive response to Trump’s plan.

    In the event that Trump is able to fire leftwing bureaucrats, however, his supporters may have an opportunity to join executive agencies en masse. Allies of the former president are preparing to fill the void left by outgoing bureaucrats, with the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 assembling a personnel database that could step into the administration in the event that Trump beats Biden in November.

    Go deeper ( 5 min. read ) ➝


    House Votes to Hold AG Merrick Garland in Contempt

    Citizen Frank



    The House voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview in his classified documents case, Republicans’ latest and strongest rebuke of the Justice Department as partisan conflict over the rule of law animates the 2024 presidential campaign.

    The 216-207 vote fell along party lines, with Republicans coalescing behind the contempt effort despite reservations among some of the party’s more centrist members. Only one Republican — Rep. David Joyce of Ohio — voted against it.

    Garland said in a statement late Wednesday, “It is deeply disappointing that this House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon. Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees.”

    He added, “I will always stand up for this Department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

    Garland is now the third attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress. Yet it is unlikely that the Justice Department — which Garland oversees — will prosecute him. The White House’s decision to exert executive privilege over the audio recording, shielding it from Congress, would make it exceedingly difficult to make a criminal case against Garland.

    Nonetheless, Speaker Mike Johnson defended the decision to push ahead with what is now a mostly symbolic effort.

    “Look, we did our job on the contempt, and I think it sends an important message,” the Louisiana Republican said following the vote. “We’ll see what happens next, but, I mean, the House has to do its work and I’m pleased with the outcome today.”

    The White House and congressional Democrats have slammed Republicans’ motives for pursuing contempt and dismissed their efforts to obtain the audio as purely political. They also pointed out that Rep. Jim Jordan, the GOP chair of the House Judiciary Committee, defied his own congressional subpoena last session.

    “This contempt resolution will do very little, other than smear the reputation of Merrick Garland, who will remain a good and decent public servant no matter what Republicans say about him today,” New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on Judiciary Committee, said during floor debate.

    Garland has defended the Justice Department, saying officials have gone to extraordinary lengths to provide information to the committees about Special Counsel Robert Hur’s classified documents investigation, including a transcript of Biden’s interview with him.

    “There have been a series of unprecedented and frankly unfounded attacks on the Justice Department,” Garland said in a press conference last month. “This request, this effort to use contempt as a method of obtaining our sensitive law enforcement files is just most recent.”

    Republicans were incensed when Hur declined to prosecute Biden over his handling of classified documents and quickly opened an investigation. GOP lawmakers — led by Jordan and Rep. James Comer — sent a subpoena for audio of Hur’s interviews with Biden during the spring. But the Justice Department only turned over some of the records, leaving out audio of the interview with the president.

    On the last day to comply with the Republicans’ subpoena for the audio, the White House blocked the release by invoking executive privilege. It said that Republicans in Congress only wanted the recordings “to chop them up” and use them for political purposes.

    Executive privilege gives presidents the right to keep information from the courts, Congress and the public to protect the confidentiality of decision-making, though it can be challenged in court.

    Administrations of both political parties have long held the position that officials who assert a president’s claim of executive privilege can’t be prosecuted for contempt of Congress, a Justice Department official told Republicans last month.

    Assistant Attorney General Carlos Felipe Uriarte cited a committee’s decision in 2008 to back down from a contempt effort after President George W. Bush asserted executive privilege to keep Congress from getting records involving Vice President Dick Cheney.

    Before Garland, the last attorney general held in contempt was Bill Barr in 2019. That was when the Democratically controlled House voted to issue a referral against Barr after he refused to turn over documents related to a special counsel investigation into Trump.

    Years before that, then-Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt related to the gun-running operation known as Operation Fast and Furious. In each of those instances, the Justice Department took no action against the attorney general.

    The special counsel in Biden’s case, Hur, spent a year investigating the president’s improper retention of classified documents, from his time as a senator and as vice president. The result was a 345-page report that questioned Biden’s age and mental competence but recommended no criminal charges for the 81-year-old. Hur said he found insufficient evidence to successfully prosecute a case in court.

    In March, Hur stood by his no-prosecution assessment in testimony before the Judiciary Committee, where he was grilled for more than four hours by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

    His defense did not satisfy Republicans, who insist that there is a politically motivated double standard at the Justice Department, which is prosecuting former President Donald Trump over his retention of classified documents at his Florida club after he left the White House.

    But there are major differences between the two probes. Biden’s team returned the documents after they were discovered, and the president cooperated with the investigation by voluntarily sitting for an interview and consenting to searches of his homes.

    Trump, by contrast, is accused of enlisting the help of aides and lawyers to conceal the documents from the government and of seeking to have potentially incriminating evidence destroyed.

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    Musk Says His $56 Billion Pay at Tesla Is Passing by ‘Wide Margins’

    Citizen Frank



    Elon Musk said late Wednesday in the US that resolutions to re-ratify his pay package and move Tesla Inc.’s legal home to Texas from Delaware are currently passing by “wide margins.”

    The preliminary results are great news for Musk and for Tesla, which has been rallying support for both measures for weeks among large institutional investors and the company’s army of retail shareholders.

    Tesla’s annual meeting is on June 13 and investors have been voting on the same $56 billion compensation package for Chief Executive Officer Musk that was voided by a Delaware court earlier this year.

    The hotly contested pay package easily passed back in 2018 but was struck down in January by a judge in Delaware, who said investors weren’t fully informed of key details.

    Under the plan, Musk is eligible for as much as $55.8 billion in stock options if Tesla hit certain milestones, which the company has reached.

    Those in support include Scottish asset manager Baillie Gifford & Co., Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management LLC and Ron Baron, who runs Baron Funds.

    Baron, a longtime Tesla investor, said in an open letter backing Musk’s package that the will of the shareholders who voted in 2018 should be favored. Without Musk, there would “be no Tesla,” and this vote might determine whether he stays at the company, he said.

    Those against include Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, Norges Bank, and California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

    Tesla Chair Robyn Denholm has been engaging with large institutional investors and Tesla has posted several ads on X, which Musk owns.

    In the final days of the campaign, several Tesla engineers and current and former executives posted on X in support of Musk’s leadership.

    The deadline for investors to vote is 10:59 p.m. central time on June 12.

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    Boston Airport Sheltering Over 100 illegal Migrants: ‘They Arrive at All Hours’

    Citizen Frank



    More than 100 migrants are sleeping on the floors of Boston’s Logan International Airport as more continue to stream in and use the facility as a shelter.

    A police source confirmed to Fox News that the hundreds of people pictured lining the floors of Boston’s main air hub with makeshift beds and air mattresses are migrants that have been using the facility as a shelter.

    The number of migrants being housed at the airport has increased in recent weeks, according to a report from the New York Post, increasing from only a few dozen who were at the facility a few months ago.

    “We continue to see migrants at the airport. They come to Logan a number of ways. They also arrive at Logan at all hours,” a representative from MassPort said of the situation, according to the report.

    Compounding the issue is a lack of staff and resources at surrounding facilities, the representative said, causing migrants to be bussed to state welcome centers during the day, only to be transported back to the airport at night.

    Migrants staying at the airport have been living in poor conditions, the report notes, sleeping on hard and cold floors, facing up at lights that are always on, and being constantly awakened by airport announcements.

    The migrants have been forced to stay at the airport after state shelters reached their maximum capacity of 7,500 families in November, with those at the airport sitting on a wait list for shelter room to open.

    While Massachusetts does not have any laws making the state a sanctuary jurisdiction, many local cities, including Boston, have some form of sanctuary laws on the books.

    Nevertheless, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has attempted to address the lack of room in state shelters, announcing in May that a former prison south of Boston would be converted into a shelter that could host 400 homeless families, including 150 migrant families.

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    Inside Trump’s Veepstakes: Top Contender Falls Down Shortlist

    Citizen Frank



    South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott long seen as the odds-on favorite to be Donald Trump’s running mate this year is slipping in the VP race and is now widely seen by people close to the presumptive Republican nominee as “extremely unlikely” to be chosen, The Post has learned.

    Scott, 58, was considered the leading choice for much of the past year due to his passionate support for Trump, 77, and the possibility that he could help draw black voters into the Republican fold, a trend that polls indicate already is underway.

    The mercurial Trump is expected to announce his pick sometime in the next month and could still choose Scott — but sources familiar with the situation say the chances are becoming more remote.

    “I think it is extremely unlikely he will be picked,” said one insider. “You go down the list of reasons to choose a VP, and he isn’t a standout or game-changer in any category.”

    “His star has become less bright, for sure,” said a second well-connected source. “Still a top five pick — but not the strongest.”

    This person also warned that Scott, who has repped South Carolina in the Senate since 2013, “might not resonate with the black community in a way that’s worth putting him on the ticket.

    “There are stronger options, and Tim has the potential to serve in the Cabinet, so I think he’ll still play an important role.”

    A third insider indicated that Scott was “still in the mix, but I suspect his biggest issue is that he’s just not very good on TV.”

    A fourth told The Post that the former president “doesn’t believe that the VP matters electorally” — meaning that Scott and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whose parents are Cuban, wouldn’t have an advantage over other contenders such as North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Ohio Sen. JD Vance based on demographics alone.

    In addition to the widely cited “top four” of Burgum, Rubio, Scott and Vance, there are a host of dark horse contenders — including Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a former White House press secretary under Trump; Texas Gov. Greg Abbott; Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY); Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.); and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

    “Trump is looking for three things,” the fourth source said. “He’s looking for who can raise money, he’s looking for who is an effective surrogate on TV with adversarial media, and he’s looking at who will do the best job debating Kamala Harris.

    “Tim Scott is in contention, but probably the least likely of the four. There hasn’t been any data or evidence pointing to either Tim Scott or Marco Rubio adding to Trump’s margins with minorities.”

    Two additional sources said they shared the impression that the 45th president’s interest in Scott as a potential No. 2 was waning.

    Other Trump advisers pointed out that the candidate “could go in any direction at any time” and that the contenders have already started jockeying for position, leading to potential biases among sources pulling for different names.

    A source close to Trump who spoke positively of Scott stressed to The Post that the former president was “raving” about the senator “campaigning on his behalf” in closed-door meetings as recently as Tuesday, “saying how great of a job Tim Scott had been doing for him.”

    A pro-Scott source said he and Trump speak weekly and noted both men are expected to attend a Detroit rally on Saturday. This person added that Scott has been linked in recent reporting to billionaires Ken Griffin and Bill Ackman, potentially boosting his standing with Trump.

    Scott is known in Washington for having an occasionally aloof demeanor and for rarely chumming it up with the Capitol press corps.

    His personality was mentioned as a possible issue in the decision-making process by some — but not all — of The Post’s sources.

    The senator toured his home state in the 1990s as a promoter of abstinence until marriage, and only got engaged this past January.

    Trump became known for cultivating dramatic character arcs on his long-running former NBC hit show “The Apprentice” and is widely expected to do the same in picking his latest VP candidate — with operatives and journalists long prepared for him to encourage leaks to generate suspense.

    Burgum, 67, is widely believed to have risen in Trump’s estimation.

    The North Dakota governor is one of America’s wealthiest officeholders and was a successful self-made businessman before his 2016 election to lead the country’s fourth-least-populous state.

    Burgum’s perceived advantages include his fresh persona, lack of controversy and the fact that he’s unlikely to snag the media spotlight from Trump.

    Rubio also is seen as a strong contender, in part due to the large number of Florida politicos in Trump’s campaign.

    However, skeptics note that Democrats are likely to dredge up Rubio and Trump’s history as rivals in the 2016 presidential campaign — during which Rubio claimed the real estate mogul couldn’t be trusted because he had “small hands,” implying that Trump was lacking in other physical attributes.

    Vance, who also had unflattering words for Trump in the past, benefits from his close relationship with Donald Trump Jr. and is touted by allies as having views consistent with the ex-president’s populist messaging.

    Trump senior adviser Brian Hughes told The Post that only Trump knows who he will pick, making all horserace reporting on the matter “inaccurate.”

    “Senator Scott is a respected leader and very strong supporter of President Trump,” Hughes said. “Any speculation of the likelihood of the Senator or any other possible choice is inaccurate because anyone claiming to know who or when President Trump will choose his VP is lying, unless the person is named Donald J. Trump.”

    Scott spokesman Nathan Brand said that Scott believes “this election is about creating opportunity, growing the party and saving the American dream, regardless of who is on the ticket.”

    “[Scott] and President Donald Trump partnered on significant legislative victories like tax cuts, HBCU funding and Opportunity Zones,” Brand said. “The senator has never though of adding value in terms of race, but in terms of actually passing good policy and reaching new voters. And he plans to do everything he can on the campaign trail and during the next Trump administration to continue protecting the American dream.”

    Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝

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