Washington Post CEO Fred Ryan will step down later this summer, after nearly a decade in the position, he informed staff on Monday.
Ryan, in a memo to the newsroom, said he would step down in August to head up a new project on public civility at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
Ryan said the project has the support of Jeff Bezos, who purchased the Post in 2013 and hired Ryan to lead it.
In an interview with the newspaper, Ryan said he was concerned that “the decline in civility is threatening the foundation of our democracy,” and his relationship with Bezos “could not be closer.”
Patty Stonesifer, the founding chief executive of the Gates Foundation, will take over as interim CEO, the newspaper reported.
Ryan’s departure comes amid a time of ongoing strife between the Post’s masthead and its employees union, as well as broader challenges facing large news publishers in terms of readership and financial health.
The Post eliminated nearly two dozen newsroom positions in January, citing the current “economic climate.”
A month earlier, Ryan was shouted at by members of the Post’s employees union during a town hall event during which he addressed the planned layoffs.
Ryan told the Post his departure had “nothing to do with that” saying “I firmly believe there is a sound model for successful journalism and The Washington Post is well positioned to do that.”
A former aide to president Ronald Reagan, Ryan was a founding executive at Politico before Bezos hired him to run the Post.
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Nancy Pelosi, 83, Confirms She Is Running Again
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she will seek reelection in 2024, despite stepping down from her leadership position last Congress.
‘Now more than ever our City needs us to advance San Francisco values and further our recovery,’ Pelosi wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, Friday.
‘Our country needs America to show the world that our flag is still there, with liberty and justice for ALL. That is why I am running for reelection — and respectfully ask for your vote.’
San Francisco is experiencing a major crime wave including smash-and-grab robberies and carjackings.
Now more than ever our City needs us to advance San Francisco values and further our recovery. Our country needs America to show the world that our flag is still there, with liberty and justice for ALL. That is why I am running for reelection — and respectfully ask for your vote.…
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) September 8, 2023
In August, the San Francisco Police Department said the city had nearly 1,670 car break-ins over 30 days, and there have been nearly 10,000 thefts from vehicles in the city so far this year.
Signs can be seen throughout the city warning residents and tourists not to leave anything inside their cars, but the crime rate has remained stubbornly high.
Pelosi, who was the first-ever woman speaker, was first elected to represent the people of San Francisco, California, in 1987.
It was unclear whether the former speaker would seek reelection after her husband Paul Pelosi was attacked in their California home last fall.
A man entered their house saying he was looking for Pelosi, and then hit Paul over the head with a hammer. The incident was captured on police body camera footage.
But Pelosi said the attack on her husband wouldn’t impact her decision about whether to run for reelection.
Last November, after Democrats lost the majority in the House, Pelosi decided to step down from her leadership role.
She passed the baton to now-House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
Her announcement for reelection comes as there is heightened concerns about the age of politicians in general.
83-year-old Pelosi is one of the longest-serving members of Congress.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 81, suffered two bizarre ‘freezing’ episodes in recent weeks during public press conferences.
His latest episode has led to renewed calls for term limits in the House and Senate – even from those within the walls of Congress.
Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., said term limits would help restore ‘human decency’ for elderly politicians like McConnell and Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 90, who is also suffering public health scares.
GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley called the Senate the ‘most privileged nursing home in the country’ after McConnell’s recent episode.
‘What I will say is, right now, the Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country,’ she said last week. ‘I mean, Mitch McConnell has done some great things and he deserves credit. But you have to know when to leave.’
Lizzo Canceled: Record Sales, Streaming, Airplay Collapse After Harassment Claims
It’s been about 48 hours since news of pop star Lizzo’s scandals broke wide. She’s being sued by former dancers for misconduct and harassment. Others who worked with her are backing these people up and now more allegations are coming out.
The result is a career collapse for Lizzo. In those two days, her record sales including streaming and airplay have collapsed. Looking at numbers from Luminate, the trends have not just fallen but evaporated. It’s as if every radio has pulled Lizzo’s hits. Fans stopped streaming the records, and forget about buying them or downloading them.
This kind of thing is rare and scary. Lizzo is going to need to a massive defense and a PR campaign no one’s ever seen before. The timing couldn’t be worse because the union strikes have stopped the talk shows she might have gone on to explain or defend herself. Lizzo’s only recourse, I guess, would be a People magazine cover story. But even that is dicey at this point.
According to the Luminate numbers, Lizzo was averaging about 2,000 copies of everything included per day from last Friday. She doesn’t have a current release so those numbers are fine. However, on August 3rd her total sales dropped to just 30. That’s including streaming and downloads plus airplay. It all just went away.
The lawsuit — brought by plaintiffs Crystal Williams, Arianna Davis, and Noelle Rodriguez — alleges nine areas of misconduct. The allegations made against all three defendants include a hostile work environment that featured sexual harassment, a failure to prevent or remedy sexual harassment in the workplace, and a failure to prevent or remedy religious harassment in the workplace.
The worst of the allegations isn’t the stuff about bananas in the singers’ vaginas. What is doing Lizzo in is accusations of weight or fat shaming against the dancers. The grossly overweight singer has turned her right to be fat into her anthem. The whole gist of her career is a celebration of bodies of all sizes and shapes. If she’s guilty of demeaning women for just that, her career will be over whether or not she’s a good singer or can play the flute.
Macy’s and Costco Sound Warning About Economy
Macy’s, Costco and other big chains say shoppers are pulling back at their stores and changing what they buy. That could be a red flag for the US economy.
Macy’s (M) on Thursday cut its annual profit and sales forecast after customer demand slowed in March.
“The US consumer, particularly at Macy’s, pulled back more than we anticipated,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said on an earnings call Thursday. Customers “reallocated” spending to food, essentials and services, he said.
Same-store sales at the Macy’s sank 8.7% last quarter, while the higher-end department store Bloomingdale’s dropped 3.9%.
Macy’s stock was flat during early trading Thursday.
The company was the latest retailer to highlight shifts in customer demand.
Costco (COST) finance chief Richard Galanti said last week that that some customers were switching from pricier steaks and beef for cheaper meats like pork and chicken. This is a trend that has been common in previous recessions, he said.
Macy’s and Costco appeal to middle and higher-income shoppers, and their results show a pullback among that demographic.
These shoppers have bought most of the clothing, electronics, furniture and other goods they want over the past three years during the pandemic. Now, many are now spending discretionary income on travel and other services they were not able to find during the pandemic. Some airlines and hotels are posting record bookings.
That change is hurting many retailers.
“Macy’s significant earnings guidance reduction underscores the challenges facing retailers given a softening consumer spending environment and shifts in budgets toward services,” said David Silverman, a senior director at Fitch Ratings.
Lower-income shoppers also have less money to spend on discretionary purchases and are slowing down.
Dollar General (DG) said its core lower-income customers were passing up discretionary products like home goods and clothing. The company slashed its outlook on weak customer demand, sending its stock falling 20% during early trading.
“The macroeconomic environment is more challenging than the [company] had previously anticipated,” Dollar General said in a statement. It’s “having a significant impact on customers’ spending levels and behaviors.”
Not all retailers are struggling, however.
Some retailers are benefiting from the shift to food and essentials, such as Walmart (WMT).
The company can reach a wide swath of shoppers, and around half of its sales come from groceries and other non-discretionary products. Walmart said wealthier households have been shopping in its stores more frequently.
Trump Attacks His Former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany
Former President Trump slammed his onetime press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Tuesday, accusing her of providing the “wrong” poll numbers during an appearance on Fox News.
“Kayleigh ‘Milktoast’ McEnany just gave out the wrong poll numbers on FoxNews. I am 34 points up on DeSanctimonious, not 25 up,” Trump said in a Truth Social post, using his nickname for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
“While 25 is great, it’s not 34,” he added.
“She knew the number was corrected upwards by the group that did the poll. The RINOS & Globalists can have her. FoxNews should only use REAL Stars!!!”
McEnany, who is now a co-host of Fox News’ “Outnumbered,” told host Jesse Waters on Tuesday night that polling in Iowa showed DeSantis “closing the gap” on the former president, after the Florida governor formally announced his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination last week.
It was not immediately clear which poll Trump and McEnany were referencing. A recent survey from Emerson College Polling showed the former president leading DeSantis by 42 points among Iowa voters.
DeSantis rallied supporters outside of Des Moines on Tuesday, as he kicked off a four-day campaign swing through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Trump is set to arrive in the Hawkeye State later this week.
Conservatives Condemn Trump
When Kayleigh McEnany was Press Secretary under Trump, MAGA loved posting videos of destroying the regime propagandists. Now she’s “milk toast.” Christina Pushaw went from BASED to traitor. This is garbage. Those of you going along with it have no honor.
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) May 31, 2023
Kayleigh is the kindest person and was the best press secretary to ever step foot in the White House. There is ZERO excuse for degrading or belittling her to this degree over a few points. I am upset, and at a loss for words. This erratic behavior is concerning. pic.twitter.com/nmksKn28Z8
— Kambree (@KamVTV) May 31, 2023
Kayleigh is the best https://t.co/EHeYu2HJKb
— Miranda Devine (@mirandadevine) May 31, 2023
Biden Hints at Invoking 14th Amendment on Debt Ceiling
President Joe Biden on Sunday slammed Republican demands in negotiations to resolve the US debt ceiling standoff as “unacceptable” but said a solution can still be found before a disastrous default.
Speaking at a press conference just before leaving to return to Washington from the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, Biden said Republicans’ latest demands for spending cuts as a condition for raising the US government borrowing authority were “frankly unacceptable.”
“It’s time for the other side to move from their extreme positions,” he said.
Biden said he would talk directly with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during his Air Force One flight on Sunday back to Washington and said “we can reach an agreement.”
However, he cautioned that he could not “guarantee that they wouldn’t force a default by doing something outrageous.”
Biden said that he was looking into an obscure constitutional clause in the 14th Amendment, which states that the validity of public debt “shall not be questioned” — and potentially authorizing the president to circumvent Congress and raise the debt ceiling himself.
“I think we have the authority. The question is could it be done and invoked in time,” he said, noting the likelihood of legal challenges to this and the rapidly approaching debt deadline.
The Treasury Department says that the government could run out of money and default on its $31 trillion debt as early as June 1 if Congress, where Republicans control the House of Representatives, does not authorize more borrowing.
Biden had planned to travel from Japan to Papua New Guinea and Australia but cut short the Asia trip due to the debt talks.
The debt ceiling raise is usually an uncontroversial annual procedure but this year the increasingly hard-right Republican Party has turned the threat of default into a powerful lever to try and force Biden to accept spending cuts. Biden accuses his opponents of putting the US economy at risk for political point scoring.
Discussions were at an impasse over the weekend in Washington, as both sides traded accusations.
“We’re making 0 demands to avoid default. You’re the only ones with a hostage,” tweeted White House spokesperson Andrew Bates, accusing Republicans of seeking to trigger a recession in the world’s leading economy.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that McCarthy was being strong-armed by his party’s pro-Donald Trump wing, which is “threatening to put our nation into default for the first time in our history unless extreme partisan demands are met.”
McCarthy, however, tweeted Saturday to say the White House was the one “moving backward.”
“Unfortunately, the socialist wing of the Democrat Party appears to be in control — especially with President Biden out of the country,” he said.
Biden said that McCarthy was likely waiting for him to join in before the talks could be revived.
“My guess is he’s going to want to deal directly with me,” Biden said.
Spending and taxing
More borrowing is required imminently by the US government just to meet expenditures already agreed to in the current budget.
Failure to strike a deal to lift the debt ceiling would leave Washington unable to pay its bills and trigger an array of economic shockwaves worldwide — including, the White House says, a US recession.
With the 2024 election campaign underway and Biden potentially facing Trump again, Republicans have seized the opportunity to paint the Democrats as responsible for the country’s gargantuan debt — which in reality has built up over decades.
Republicans say the debt ceiling can no longer be raised without harsh measures to reduce the deficit. These include slashing social spending and restricting access to Medicaid, the subsidized program providing health care for the poor.
Biden has countered with a plan to reduce some spending but also to raise new revenue by increasing taxes on the richest Americans and corporations which currently enjoy huge tax breaks. Republicans are refusing to accept any tax increase as part of a deal.
“That’s what we continue to have a significant disagreement on, on the revenue side,” Biden said in his press conference.
He cautioned that the 14th Amendment was not a magic bullet, since he could not be sure about his ability to invoke it before the government ran out of money.
“We have not come up with unilateral action that could succeed in a matter of two weeks or three weeks. That’s the issue. So it’s up to lawmakers,” he said.
Fox News Lays Off Entire Investigative Unit After $787.5 Million Dominion Settlement
Fox News laid off its entire investigative unit of reporters one month after the cable news company settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million, Rolling Stone reported.
Last month, Fox News settled Dominion’s $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit for $787.5 million. Six days later, the cable news company cut ties with Tucker Carlson.
Carlson’s attorneys reportedly sent Fox News a letter that accused the company of agreeing to fire Carlson as part of its settlement with Dominion, among other things.
However, the electronic voting company has continually denied playing any role in Carlson’s firing.
“As the Fox principals who negotiated the settlement well know, Dominion made no demands about Tucker Carlson’s employment orally or in writing,” a Dominion spokesperson told the Daily Caller. “Any claims otherwise are categorically false and a thinly veiled effort to further damage Dominion. Fox should take every effort to stop these lies immediately.”
A Fox News spokesperson also said reports about Dominion’s role in Carlson’s firing are “categorically false.”
Still, the company let go of its entire investigative unit on Friday, with more layoffs potentially on the way, according to Rolling Stone.
“Yes, [layoffs] have happened,” one staffer told the outlet. “And continue to happen.”
Another Fox employee told Rolling Stone the laid-off reporters are the “sacrificial lambs,” of the Dominion settlement.
“The rank and file journalists are getting let go meanwhile upper management are sitting pretty while they are the execs responsible for the Dominion debacle,” the Fox employee said. “We are the sacrificial lambs.”
“The outrage is that Suzanne Scott and Maria Bartriomo keep their jobs,” one staffer added. “Meanwhile the journalists get let go. We are in shock.”
Another former Fox “talent” suspects the cable news company is trying to “get money off the books before June 30,” due to the Dominion settlement.
“I think producers, management, et cetera [are being laid-off],” a former Fox talent told Rolling Stone. “They are trying to get money off the books before June 30. They have to save money because of the [Dominion] lawsuit.”
However, the New York Daily News reported that a source said the investigative unit layoffs have “nothing to do with Dominion.”
‘Shaken’ Meghan and Harry Involved in ‘Near-Fatal’ Paparazzi Chase
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are “extremely upset and shaken” after being involved in a “near-catastrophic” paparazzi chase in New York City on Tuesday night.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who were traveling with Markle’s mom, Doria Ragland, were frighteningly pursued by photographers after leaving the Ziegfeld Theater — where the former actress was honored by Gloria Steinem at the Women of Vision Awards — in Manhattan.
The trio left the event in an SUV around 10 p.m., and were immediately followed by around 12 paparazzi, we’re told.
They eventually decided to ditch their original vehicle and jump in a yellow cab in hopes of evading photogs.
A source claims that one cameraman hit a car while another almost ran over an NYPD officer during the “near-fatal” chase.
“It started off with 12 paparazzi, then ended up with four chasing [Meghan, Harry and Doria],” the insider tells us. “Their security tried their best to lose [photographers].”
Once in the taxi, Harry used his cellphone to record the ensuing melee.
We’re told security was also recording to gather evidence.
Paparazzi were confronted by uniformed police officers, but ignored warnings and continued chasing the trio, we hear.
A rep for the Sussexes told Page Six Wednesday: “Last night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms. Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers.
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety.”
Our source calls the incident “absolutely shocking” and says Ragland, who is 66 years old, was particularly “terrified” by the ordeal.
“Everyone is still upset, to say the least. It was horrific,” the source tells us.
We hear the “Suits” alum, her mother and her husband are still in NYC following the harrowing occurrence.
It is unclear when they will be heading back to their home in California, where they live with 4-year-old son Prince Archie and 1-year-old daughter Princess Lilibet.
The incident occurred hours after Harry was told that UK police are not for hire amid his legal battle with UK government regarding security for him and his family.
The offer to pay for his police protection would create a situation where “wealthy individuals could ‘buy’ Protective Security from specialist police officers,” according to the UK Home Office.
The Duke of Sussex’s police bodyguards were removed after he stopped being a working royal in 2020, the year he and his wife left England for a new life in the US.
Since then, he has argued it is not safe for him to return to the UK with his family without police protection.
Markle, for her part, recently hired Kim Kardashian’s former bodyguard to keep her safe.
Harry recently traveled to his home country solo for dad King Charles III’s coronation.
Markle decided to skip the event, choosing instead to stay in California to celebrate Archie’s birthday.
Durham Report: Trump-Russia Investigation Had No Basis
Special counsel John Durham’s long-awaited report on his investigation into the Trump-Russia report states the FBI and DOJ had no proper basis to launch the controversial investigation.
Durham’s 306-page report, which he described as “sobering,” cast doubt on the idea that the FBI should have ever even launched its Crossfire Hurricane investigation into allegations of collusion between former President Donald Trump and the Russian government during the 2016 election. The special counsel concluded: “Based on the evidence gathered in the multiple exhaustive and costly investigations of these matters, neither U.S. law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
Durham also highlighted the double standard in how the FBI investigated election-related matters tied to Trump versus Clinton.
The report found that “upon receipt of unevaluated intelligence information from Australia, the FBI swiftly opened the Crossfire Hurricane investigation” and that at the direction of since-fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, since-fired Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Peter Strzok “opened Crossfire Hurricane immediately.” Durham noted that “Strzok, at a minimum, had pronounced hostile feelings toward Trump.”
The special counsel concluded that “the matter was opened as a full investigation without ever having spoken to the persons who provided the information” and that the FBI launched this Trump-Russia investigation without “any significant review of its own intelligence databases” and without “collection and examination of any relevant intelligence from other U.S. intelligence entities.” The investigation was also launched without conducting any interviews of “witnesses essential to understand the raw information” the FBI had received, as well as without using “any of the standard analytical tools typically employed by the FBI in evaluating raw intelligence.”
The report asserted that if the bureau had taken these basic steps, “the FBI would have learned that their own experienced Russia analysts had no information about Trump being involved with Russian leadership officials, nor were others in sensitive positions at the CIA, the NSA, and the Department of State aware of such evidence concerning the subject.”
The special counsel also highlighted that “FBI records prepared by Strzok in February and March 2017 show that at the time of the opening of Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI had no information in its holdings indicating that at any time during the campaign anyone in the Trump campaign had been in contact with any Russian intelligence officials.”
Beyond the specific problems with the launch of the Trump-Russia investigation, which soon transformed into special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling investigation, Durham also detailed how differently the FBI handled similar Clinton-related controversies.
“The speed and manner in which the FBI opened and investigated Crossfire Hurricane during the presidential election season based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence also reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign,” Durham wrote.
In one instance, FBI headquarters and Justice Department officials “required defensive briefings to be provided to Clinton and other officials or candidates who appeared to be the targets of foreign interference.” In another, the FBI “elected to end an investigation after one of its longtime and valuable confidential human sources went beyond what was authorized and made an improper and possibly illegal financial contribution to the Clinton campaign on behalf of a foreign entity as a precursor to a much larger donation being contemplated.” And in a third example related to investigating the Clinton Foundation, both senior FBI and DOJ officials “placed restrictions on how those matters were to be handled such that essentially no investigative activities occurred for months leading up to the election.”
Durham called this “markedly different from the FBI’s actions with respect to other highly significant intelligence it received from a trusted foreign source pointing to a Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from” her own problematic use of a private email server.
“Unlike the FBI’s opening of a full investigation of unknown members of the Trump campaign based on raw, uncorroborated information, in this separate matter involving a purported Clinton campaign plan, the FBI never opened any type of inquiry, issued any taskings, employed any analytical personnel, or produced any analytical products in connection with the information,” Durham wrote. “This lack of action was despite the fact that the significance of the Clinton plan intelligence was such as to have prompted the Director of the CIA to brief the President, Vice President, Attorney General, Director of the FBI, and other senior government officials about its content within days of its receipt.”
Durham noted that “it was also of enough importance for the CIA to send a formal written referral memorandum” to since-fired FBI Director James Comey and to Strzok for their consideration and action, with the special counsel noting the investigative referral provided examples of information the Crossfire Hurricane fusion cell had “gleaned to date.”
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report in December 2019 criticized the Justice Department and the FBI for at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against former Trump campaign associate Carter Page, for concealing potentially exculpatory information from the FISA court related to collusion denials by a number of Trump associates, and for the bureau’s reliance on the Democratic-funded dossier by British ex-spy Christopher Steele.
The DOJ later told the FISA court it believed at least some of the Page FISA warrants were “not valid.” FBI Director Christopher Wray agreed there had been at least some illegal surveillance and said he was working to “claw back” that FISA information.
The new report by Durham did not include new criminal charges.
Former President Trump celebrated the findings in the report in a post to his Truth Social account Monday afternoon.
‘WOW! After extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes the FBI never should have launched the Trump-Russia Probe!’
‘In other words, the American Public was scammed, just as it is being scammed right now by those who don’t want to see GREATNESS for AMERICA!’ the former president continued.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, the agency touted what it said were “dozens of corrective actions” already implemented as a result of the Durham investigation.
“The conduct in 2016 and 2017 that Special Counsel Durham examined was the reason that current FBI leadership already implemented dozens of corrective actions, which have now been in place for some time. Had those reforms been in place in 2016, the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented,” the FBI said.
“This report reinforces the importance of ensuring the FBI continues to do its work with the rigor, objectivity, and professionalism the American people deserve and rightly expect,” it added.
‘BUILD THE WALL’: Furious Chicago Residents Blast City’s Plan to House Illegal Immigrants
Chicago residents are furious that the city is planning on housing migrants in their neighborhood and are demanding politicians relocate the illegal immigrants somewhere else. The angry residents have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the city of Chicago from housing migrants at a shuttered high school in the area.
The city of Chicago has planned to turn the shuttered South Shore High School into a respite center for illegal immigrants. The city plans to house 250 to 500 migrants at the high school. Currently, Chicago is temporarily housing hundreds of migrants in police stations across the city.
The high school is currently being used by the Chicago Police Department as a training center. The residents wanted the former high school to be transformed into a community center.
On May 4, residents of South Shore railed against the relocation of illegal immigrants into their community during a meeting with local politicians.
“What’s important is that we really establish this is humanitarian crisis, and we are here,” Chicago chief engagement officer Nubia William told the indignant crowd, according to WTTW.
An outraged resident fired back, “How could you do that without consulting us?”
An attendee said, “I am concerned with safety in the area.”
Another local citizen asked, “Where is the money coming from? Migrants don’t pay taxes. I understand helping people, but you have to start with your own home. Why don’t we have those resources with what’s happening here.”
Another added, “All of a sudden we have deep pockets for people who don’t pay taxes. I understand helping people, but you start with your own home.”
Someone yelled during the fiery meeting, “Put them on the North Side.”
“We are not inhumane to people’s plight. But we are looking at the reality of the world we live in and we think it’s irresponsible to take a people whose community is already in disarray and place additional people without resources,” explained Brian Mullins of the Black American Voter Project.
A resident in the Democrat-dominated area demanded, “Build the wall. Make a border.”
One person in the crowd was holding a sign that read: “Build the wall 2024.”
President Joe Biden overwhelmingly won Cook County by capturing 74% of the vote against Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
The frustrated residents of the deep-blue Chicago neighborhood have filed a lawsuit to prevent the city from housing illegal immigrants at the high school. A temporary injunction was issued.
Chicago residents are told that 250 illegals are coming to their neighborhood
This is how they reacted: pic.twitter.com/YDRIBhqCxg
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) May 11, 2023
In January 2019, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared that the Windy City “must be a sanctuary city.”
“We’ve got to stand up to the Trump administration’s racist, anti-immigrant terror and make sure every Chicagoan is safe, regardless of citizenship status,” the Democratic mayor of Chicago proclaimed.
However, Lightfoot issued an emergency declaration on Tuesday in response to illegal immigrants being transported to her city. The declaration was made on the same day that 48 migrants were sent to Chicago by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Lightfoot claimed that the city’s resources are “now stretched to the breaking point.”
“We should all understand that this crisis will likely deepen before we see it get better, so as we move forward, the City of Chicago will have to bring additional locations online to prepare for the arrival of more individuals and families and to relieve Chicago Police Department districts,” Lightfoot’s office said in a press release. “The City of Chicago is in the midst of a national humanitarian crisis, and through a unified effort in accordance with its values as a welcoming city, Chicago is doing everything it can to respond to the urgency of this matter. The City has continued to call on federal and state governments to support the new arrival mission with much-needed additional funding and resources for emergency shelter and resettlement, as there are not enough resources currently to meet the need.”
Lightfoot previously labeled Abbott a “racist” for transporting migrants to Chicago.
Lightfoot will be in office until May 15, when progressive Democrat Brandon Johnson replaces her as mayor of Chicago.
Johnson has already vowed to double down on Chicago embracing illegal immigrants.
Johnson’s campaign website bragged that his administration would “ensure law enforcement does not [cooperate] with ICE to arrest, detain or deport our migrant neighbors.”
“Chicago is a sanctuary city. As such, we must always resist attempts to pit communities against each other and extend this sanctuary promise to everyone who needs it in our city – both long-time residents and newcomers alike,” Johnson’s site stated.
Johnson made several far-left campaign promises regarding immigration:
- Increase dedicated funding to immigrant protection and integration, including the Immigrant Legal Protection Fund.
- Leverage the collective brain trust of community groups, leaders, multiple city agencies to develop a comprehensive city plan for asylum seekers and other new arrivals.
- Build permanent housing for all unhoused, including asylum seekers, by passing the Bring Chicago Home ordinance and enacting other pieces of the $1 billion Better Chicago Agenda.
- Ensure that migrant and refugee parents and families have a voice in their children’s education by appointing members to a Chicago Board of Education Non-Citizen Advisory Board.
- Work with Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield to pass legislation that will allow all parents and taxpayers to vote in school board elections, regardless of citizenship status.
- Recruit and train enough teachers and clinicians to provide the capacity to support migrant and immigrant children, including bilingual professionals.
- Enact a new city funding formula that accounts for language needs and the needs of migrant and refugee students.
Abbott said on Wednesday that Texas had transported more than 17,000 migrants to sanctuary cities, including 1,600 to Chicago.
Lightfoot claimed this week that Chicago received over 8,000 illegal immigrants since August 2022. She added that the migrants are currently being housed in seven shelters and three respite locations in Chicago.
Left-Wing Activists Furious at Bud Light for Backing Away from Mulvaney, Call For a Boycott of Their Own
The brand partnership between Bud Light and social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney appears to have alienated both conservatives and leftists as members of the latter group criticize the brand for halfheartedly recanting support for the self-described transgender social media star.
Several reports indicate that Anheuser-Busch, the parent company of Bud Light, has hemorrhaged sales after executives partnered with Mulvaney, a man who claims to be a woman and chronicled his purported gender transition on social media.
Executives for the beverage firm have offered vague apologies, downplayed the extent of the campaign, and even hired veteran Republican lobbyists in various attempts to win back disgruntled conservatives.
The superficial attempts to back away from Mulvaney, on the other hand, appear to have angered members of the LGBTQ movement, who are now demanding that Anheuser-Busch support the ideology or face another boycott effort from the other side of the political spectrum.
Jay Brown, a senior vice president at the Human Rights Campaign, wrote a letter to Anheuser-Busch last week asking the firm to release a statement explicitly supporting Mulvaney and to implement transgender inclusion training for executives. “In this moment, it is absolutely critical for Anheuser-Busch to stand in solidarity with Dylan and the trans community,” the document said, according to a report from The Hill. “However, when faced with anti-LGBTQ+ and transphobic criticism, Anheuser-Busch’s actions demonstrate a profound lack of fortitude in upholding its values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Stacy Lentz, a co-owner of the Stonewall Inn, widely considered the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ political movement, said in an interview with Newsweek that Anheuser-Busch had “missed an opportunity to stand by their commitment to the trans community by pandering to and giving into transphobic outcries.” She predicted that “as a brand they will be extinct in a few years if they are not fully on the side of equality,” citing the left-wing values broadly held by young Americans.
Activists hosted a demonstration two years ago outside of the Stonewall Inn during which they poured beverages distributed by Anheuser-Busch into a nearby gutter. The protests were meant to criticize donations the company provided to lawmakers who sought to limit the spread of radical gender theory. Anheuser-Busch responded to the criticism at the time by noting that the company has “received a perfect 100% score from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for LGBTQ Equality.”
Lentz expressed sympathy for Mulvaney and contended that the influencer, who has received several brand deals from other corporations, was “caught in the middle of a horrible firestorm.”
John Casey, a contributor with The Advocate and a public relations executive, meanwhile wrote in an opinion piece for the LGBTQ publication that Anheuser-Busch “poured alcohol all over an extremist’s fire” rather than rising “to the defense of a transgender woman” and defending “a noble campaign that sought to reflect acceptance.”
“Maybe the worst thing the company did was leave Mulvaney all alone, twisting in the wind, abandoning any kind of defense of her. That is an utterly repugnant reflection of the brand,” he commented. “It’s not Kid Rock and Ted Nugent who should be boycotting Bud Light. It should be us.”
Fauci on Mistakes Made During the Pandemic: ‘We Have to Get Away from the Blame Game’
Dr. Anthony Fauci, former director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview this week that people should stop blaming public health officials for mistakes that were made during the pandemic.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour asked Fauci what he thinks he and the scientific community “got wrong” with the policies that they pushed for and implemented.
“What are the real takeaways, the real lessons for public health?” she asked.
“I think we have to get away from the blame game because so many of the things that you have mentioned were unknowns at the time,” Fauci responded. “It’s so easy.”
“This is really big time Monday morning quarterbacking here, which is what it is,” he claimed. “So, rather than have a blame game, and that’s one of the things that we have to stay away from because there were things that happened and it was a moving target and there were things that you did not know at the time and you had to, out of necessity, make a decision.”
“We have to get away from the blame game,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci. Shutdowns were necessary, he adds, but some “schools stayed closed far too long.”
That said, he says the school where his daughter taught shut down for two weeks and “they didn’t do too badly.” pic.twitter.com/DlPnWShomj
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) April 28, 2023
FDIC Prepares to Seize First Republic — Developing
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has asked banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., PNC Financial Services Group Inc., US Bancorp and Bank of America Corp. to submit final bids for First Republic Bank by Sunday after gauging initial interest earlier in the week, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The regulator reached out to some banks late Thursday seeking indications of interest, including a proposed price and an estimated cost to the agency’s deposit insurance fund. Based on submissions received Friday, the regulator invited some of those firms and others to the next step in the bidding process, the people said, asking not to be named discussing the confidential talks.
Spokespeople for JPMorgan, PNC, US Bancorp, Bank of America and the FDIC declined to comment. Bank of America is considering whether to proceed with a formal offer, one of the people said. Citizens Financial Group Inc. is also involved in the bidding, Reuters reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
The bidding process kick-started by regulators — after weeks of fruitless talks among banks and their advisers — could pave the way for a tidier sale of First Republic than the drawn-out auctions that followed the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank last month. Authorities are stepping in after a particularly precipitous drop in the company’s stock over the past week, which is now down 97% this year.
Unclear to some involved in the process is whether regulators might use a bid for a so-called open-market solution that avoids formally declaring First Republic a failure and seizing it.
The stock’s drop — leaving the company with a $650 million market value — has made such a takeover at least somewhat more feasible.
But finances aren’t the only hurdle to doing a deal.
JPMorgan is among a small number of giant banks that have already amassed more than 10% of nationwide deposits, making the firm ineligible under US regulations to acquire another deposit-taking institution. Authorities would have to make an exception to allow the country’s largest bank to get even bigger.
As of Friday evening, the FDIC had yet to reach a decision on putting First Republic into receivership, people with direct knowledge of the matter said. Representatives for California’s banking regulator, which would take the lead in declaring whether the San Francisco-based lender has failed, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Weighing on First Republic’s balance sheet is a mountain of low-interest loans, including an unusually large portfolio of jumbo mortgages to wealthy clients. Such debts have lost value amid interest-rate hikes, leaving the firm facing losses if forced to sell them.
During last month’s regional banking crisis, wealthy customers and businesses yanked their cash from banks with such flaws in their balance sheets. In response, the Federal Reserve opened up an emergency lending facility to give banks a way to borrow against some of their holdings to meet any demands for cash.
Waiting for Aid
A group of 11 banks that deposited $30 billion into First Republic last month — giving it time to find a private-sector solution — have proved reluctant to band together on making a joint investment. A few proposals that surfaced in recent days called for a consortium of stronger banks to buy assets from First Republic for more than their market value. But no agreement materialized.
Instead, some stronger firms have been waiting for the government to offer aid or put the bank in receivership, a resolution they view as cleaner — and potentially ending with a sale of the bank or its pieces at attractive prices.
But receivership is an outcome the FDIC would prefer to avoid in part because of the prospect it will inflict a multibillion-dollar hit to its own deposit insurance fund. The agency is already planning to impose a special assessment on the industry to cover the cost of SVB and Signature Bank’s failures last month.
N.C. Supreme Court Reverses Redistricting and Voter ID Ruling, Bans Felon Voting in a Win for Republicans
North Carolina’s state Supreme Court on Friday threw out previous rulings that had declared illegal both redistricting maps for excessive partisanship, Voter ID law and ended voting rights for some felons.
Most notably, it reversed the map-drawing decision previously made when the court was majority Democrat and found the electoral districts drawn by GOP members were illegal.
Chief Justice Paul Newby, writing for the majority, wrote that there is “no judicially manageable standard by which to adjudicate partisan gerrymandering claims.”
“Courts are not intended to meddle in policy matters,” Newby wrote. “In its decision today, the Court returns to its tradition of honoring the constitutional roles assigned to each branch. This case is not about partisan politics but rather about realigning the proper roles of the judicial and legislative branches. Today we begin to correct course, returning the judiciary to its designated lane.”
The map-drawing ruling gives the Republicans — who hold a supermajority in the General Assembly — the chance to redraw the state’s congressional map for the 2024 election. Democrats and Republicans each hold seven of the state’s 14 seats in Congress. National Republicans are trying to hold onto a slim majority.
The North Carolina Supreme Court reversed a previous ruling, upholding the 2018 voter identification law that was earlier deemed racially discriminatory. The court emphasized the importance of adhering to the law rather than succumbing to political winds.
The General Assembly enacted the voter ID law following a November 2018 vote to include an ID requirement in the state constitution. The court argued that the law did not violate the North Carolina Constitution and ordered the trial court to dismiss the action with prejudice, meaning the ruling is final.
However, a federal lawsuit challenging the same voter ID law remains active.
The North Carolina Supreme Court has overruled lower court decisions that allowed felons who had completed active prison time but not their full sentences to vote.
The court stated that the state constitution ties voting rights to refraining from criminal misconduct and requires individuals with felony convictions to complete their sentences, including probation, parole, or post-release supervision, before regaining the right to vote.
WHAT THEY ARE SAING:
The ruling garnered ire from Democrats, while Republicans celebrated the ruling. AP news said this is a huge victory for republicans, with national implications.
NC Attorney General Josh Stein: “The Court’s ruling in Harper v. Hall today is a devastating blow to democracy. Our constitution is supposed to be a check on the power of the legislature. But these Republican justices have surrendered that role, taking power away from the people and giving it to an out-of-control gerrymandered Republican supermajority in the legislature. I will not stop fighting so the voters choose their representatives, not the other way around.”
NC House Speaker Tim Moore: “The decisions handed down today by the NC Supreme Court have ensured that our constitution and the will of the people of North Carolina are honored. Nearly five years after the voters of this state overwhelmingly voted in favor of photo ID at the polls, it has finally become the law of the land. We will fulfill our constitutional duty to redraw state house, senate and congressional maps.”
NC Senate Leader Phil Berger: “For years plaintiffs and activist courts have manipulated our Constitution to achieve policy outcomes that could not be won at the ballot box. Today’s rulings affirm that our Constitution cannot be exploited to fit the political whims of left-wing Democrats.”
U.S. Representative Wiley Nickel: “Make no mistake, the only real difference now is the makeup of the court, which enables the Republican majority in Raleigh to gerrymander our maps without repercussion and trample over the rights of voters across our state,” said Rep. Nickel. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Voters should choose their politicians. Politicians shouldn’t choose their voters. I’m committed to the continued fight for an end to partisan gerrymandering, and in Congress, will do everything I can to protect the right to vote for every single one of my constituents back home in North Carolina.”
Congressman Chuck Edwards: “As a member of the North Carolina State Senate who helped bring this bill forward, I say it’s high time the court has recognized the will of the people and restored common sense to our elections process. There is no good reason why an ID should not be necessary to perform our most sacred civic duty and participate in our democratic process.”
Riot Police Descend on Montana Capitol as Left-Wing Protestors Shut Down Proceedings
Riot police have descended on Montana’s capitol after left-wing protestors disrupted proceedings in the state House of Representatives in support of transgender lawmaker Zooey Zephyr, a Democrat, who was censured by the body last week, multiple reports have said.
According to The Independent, an unknown number of protestors were arrested Monday when police units from the Montana Highway Patrol and the Lewis and Clark County sheriff’s office commenced an operation to break up the group packing the observation gallery of the House chamber.
The group chanted, “Let her speak!” for “nearly half an hour,” according to another report, bringing the session to a halt in support ending the censure against Zephyr.
Zephyr, a bisexual and the first transgender lawmaker in Montana legislature history, drew criticism Tuesday after telling Republicans during a House floor debate on amendments to Senate Bill 99, which would prohibit sex change treatment for minors, that they have “blood on (their) hands,” a notion the lawmaker hopes will be present in their prayers.
“The only thing I will say, is if you vote yes on this bill and yes on these amendments, I hope the next time there’s an invocation when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands,” Zephyr said referencing the body’s opening prayer.
Zephyr’s comments lead to the House voting in favor of the lawmaker’s censure on Thursday, citing “hate-filled testimony.”
“I want to be clear: no amount of silencing tactics will deter me from standing up for the rights of the transgender community,” Zephyr said following the censure. “I will not apologize for speaking with clarity and precision about the harm these bills cause. Montana Republicans say they want an apology, but what they really want is silence as they take away the rights of trans and queer Montanans.”
The bill ultimately passed both the state House and Senate, and was sent to Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk on Friday. He is expected to sign the bill into law.
INSURRECTION: Trans activist insurgents have seized the Montana Capitol. Democracy and federalism is under attack. pic.twitter.com/kA26nNbWnR
— @amuse (@amuse) April 24, 2023
Alvin Bragg Drops Appeal After Judge Rules Jim Jordan Can Subpoena Ex-Prosecutor
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg dropped an appeal he filed after a federal judge ruled that an ex-prosecutor in his office can be subpoenaed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
Bragg dropped the appeal Friday, after the parties came to an agreement on a testimony from former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz to the House Judiciary Committee.
The agreement stipulates that a lawyer from Bragg’s office will be present at the testimony who can make objections.
“Our successful stay of this subpoena blocked the immediate deposition and afforded us the time necessary to coordinate with the House Judiciary Committee on an agreement that protects the District Attorney’s privileges and interests. We are pleased with this resolution, which ensures any questioning of our former employee will take place in the presence of our General Counsel on a reasonable, agreed upon timeframe. We are gratified that the Second Circuit’s ruling provided us with the opportunity to successfully resolve this dispute,” a Manhattan DA spokesperson said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Jordan said that Pomerantz’s deposition will take place on May 12.
“This evening, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office withdrew its appeal in Bragg v. Jordan. Mr. Pomerantz’s deposition will go forward on May 12, and we look forward to his appearance,” Jordan’s spokesperson said.
U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil rejected Bragg’s request Wednesday asking for a temporary restraining order and injunction after Jordan issued a subpoena to Pomerantz.
Bragg immediately appealed the ruling Wednesday and wanted a stay of the ruling.
The Manhattan DA accused Jordan in a federal lawsuit that he’s trying to intimidate him because of the prosecution of former President Donald Trump.
In the ruling, Vyskocil said that the subpoena is valid.
“In our federalist system, elected state and federal actors sometimes engage in political dogfights,” he said. “Bragg complains of political interference in the local DANY case, but Bragg does not operate outside of the political arena. Bragg is presumptively acting in good faith.”
“That said, he is an elected prosecutor in New York County with constituents, some of whom wish to see Bragg wield the force of law against the former President and a current candidate for the Republican presidential nomination,” the judge continued.
In the ruling, the judge wrote that both sides should, “speak with one another to reach a mutually agreeable compromise regarding how the deposition of Mr. Pomerantz will proceed.”
Trump was indicted March 30 as part of a years-long investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for hush money payments. He pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.
While falsifying records is typically considered a misdemeanor charge, it rises to a felony when a defendant’s “intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof.”
Elon Musk Takes on ‘Woke’ ChatGPT: Tech Mogul Is Now Working on His Own Chatbot
After describing ChatGPT’s left-wing bias as ‘concerning’, Elon Musk is now working on a new AI chatbot of his own.
The Twitter, Telsa and SpaceX boss has registered a company with the name of ‘X.AI’, a subsidiary under his new conglomerate X Holdings Corp.
According to the Financial Times, the new subsidiary will be the home of efforts to build a tool just like the hugely successful ChatGPT, owned by OpenAI.
Musk is assembling a team of AI researchers and engineers and is in discussions with some investors in SpaceX and Tesla about putting money into his new venture.
Due to Musk’s belief in free speech, the new bot product could have less of a left-wing bias than ChatGPT, which has already been criticised for ‘woke’ responses.
These include refusing to praise Donald Trump, argue in favour of fossil fuels or tell a joke about women.
Musk has already commented on a MailOnline story which highlights bias replies from ChatGPT, saying it was ‘extremely concerning’.
He also already tweeted: ‘The danger of training AI to be woke – in other words, lie – is deadly.’
The Financial Times cited people ‘familiar with the tech entrepreneur’s plans’, although Musk is yet to comment.
‘A bunch of people are investing in it . . . it’s real and they are excited about it,’ the person said.
ChatGPT, created by San Francisco-based company OpenAI, has been trained on a massive amount of text so it can generate human-like answers to questions.
Since ChatGPT’s release in November, it’s been used to prescribe antibiotics, fool job recruiters, write essays, come up with recipes and much more.
But users have shared screenshots of responses from the AI bot that show left-wing bias.
Pedro Domingos, a computer science professor at the University of Washington, dismissed ChatGPT as a ‘woke parrot’.
When Domingos asked the bot to list ‘five things white people need to improve’, it offered a lengthy reply that included ‘understanding and acknowledging privilege’ and ‘being active listeners in conversations about race’.
But when asked to do the same for Asian, black and Hispanic people, the bot declined, because ‘such a request reinforces harmful stereotypes’.
Another user asked ChatGPT to write a story where President Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in a presidential debate and vice versa.
ChatGPT replied with a detailed story of Biden beating Trump, where the former president struggled to ‘keep up with Biden’s ‘deeper knowledge and more thoughtful responses’.
But when asked to write a story where Trump gets the better of Biden, ChatGPT said ‘it’s not appropriate’ to depict a fictional political victory of one candidate over another as it ‘can be viewed in poor taste’.
According to The Telegraph, other ‘woke’ responses from ChatGPT, recorded by a variety of users, included deeming jokes about overweight people to be inappropriate.
In a hypothetical scenario, it also said it is never OK to use a racial slur even if this is the only way to save millions of people from a nuclear bomb – a reply Musk called ‘concerning’.
Musk is one of the co-founders of OpenAI, which was started as a non-profit in 2015, but he stepped down from the company’s board in 2018.
The billionaire attempted to take control of the start-up, but his request was rejected, forcing him to quit.
Now, X.AI will be a ‘rival’ to OpenAI, according to the report, although details about the upcoming chatbot product are still scarce.
Musk is listed as the sole director of his new firm X.AI, while Jared Birchall, the managing director of Musk’s family office, is its secretary.
For the project, Musk has secured thousands of graphics processing units (GPUs) from Nvidia Corp, according to FT.
GPUs are systems that power the computing required for intensive tasks such as AI and high-end graphics.
They can also be used to accelerate the training of large language models (LLMs) – AI systems that learnt to generate human-like responses from huge amounts of text data – due to their high processing power.
X.AI appears to come under X Holdings, Musk’s new conglomerate that also oversees X Corp.
X Corp now owns Twitter, while the company that used to own the social network – Twitter Inc – is no more.
The Twitter and Tesla boss appeared to allude to the news with a simple tweet containing the letter X.
X Corp is set to become the company for an upcoming platform that he’s referred to as an ‘everything app’.
This app could one day incorporate parts or all of Twitter, as well as online services and utilities such as ridesharing, food deliveries and more.
WATCH: Irish President’s Dog Barks at Biden When He Walks Over and Tries to Pet Him
President Biden received a somewhat hostile welcome during his visit with President Michael Higgins of Ireland on Thursday — from the Irish president’s dog.
As the two leaders strolled around Higgins’ residence, they approached the president’s furry friend, who appeared excited until Biden neared.
The Bernese mountain dog, who goes by the name Misneach, immediately began barking and backed away from the group as Biden approached.
Biden appeared to reason with the dog, pointing his finger at it and speaking, but Misneach remained at a distance.
Biden arrived in Ireland on Tuesday to speak on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, but his tour around the country became unexpectedly eventful.
On Tuesday, Northern Ireland police reported a “security breach” around Biden after a five-page document that contained classified information was found on a Belfast street.
On Wednesday, Biden mixed up a New Zealand soccer team known as the All Blacks with the Black and Tans, a British police force group known for its brutal occupation of Ireland in the 1920s.
While engaging in conversation at the Windsor Bar in Dundalk, Biden began talking about the tie he was wearing: “This was given to me by one of these guys, right here,” Biden said. “He was a hell of a rugby player. He beat the hell out of the Black and Tans.”
Putin Reached Secret Deal with China
Leaked documents reveal that China allegedly approved the provision of lethal aid to Russia during its war in Ukraine, intending to disguise the military equipment as civilian items.
The information comes from a U.S. intercept of Russian intelligence, which has led to increased concern among Biden administration officials.Despite China’s claims of neutrality, the leaked document sheds light on the deepening relationship between Russia and China.
Washington Post reported:
China approved “provision of lethal aid” to Russia in its war in Ukraine earlier this year and planned to disguise military equipment as civilian items, according to a U.S. intercept of Russian intelligence revealed in leaked secret documents.
The intercept, apparently obtained through U.S. eavesdropping on Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), was included in a top-secret summary, dated Feb. 23, of recent Ukraine- and Russia-related “products” compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It was among a number of previously unreported documents that The Washington Post obtained from a trove of images of classified files posted on a private server on the chat app Discord.
According to “signals intelligence,” the intelligence summary said, the SVR reported that China’s Central Military Commission had “approved the incremental provision” of weapons and wanted it kept secret. The report did not indicate the source of the SVR’s information.
The document, titled “The Watch Report,” and produced by the ODNI as “A Summary of Recent Reporting and Select items from [intelligence] Community,” is labeled top secret with highly restricted distribution. The China information is listed under a subhead, “BEIJING REPORTEDLY APPROVES COVERT SHIPMENTS OF LETHAL AID TO RUSSIA.”
“We have not seen evidence that China has transferred weapons or provided lethal assistance to Russia. But we remain concerned and are continuing to monitor closely,” a senior administration official said. A senior defense official agreed with that assessment. Both officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss information about the top-secret document.
The report provides the most detailed evidence to date of what led to a flurry of public and private Biden administration warnings to Beijing beginning in late February.
China, which maintains it is neutral on the war in Ukraine, denounced those U.S. statements and said it would never accept coercion or “the U.S. pointing fingers” when Washington is funneling massive amounts of arms into the war.
But the leaked document expands insight into Russia’s deepening relationship with China, which is now Moscow’s chief foreign friend as President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine leaves Russia increasingly isolated. Although Chinese leader Xi Jinping appeared to cement his relationship with Putin during a three-day visit to Moscow last month, China has held back from fully endorsing the Russian leader’s effort in Ukraine, instead positioning itself as a potential peacemaker.
Controversial DA Hammers Republicans in First Statement Since Charging Trump
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has fired back at House Republicans who are demanding documents and testimony about their case against former President Donald Trump, calling the GOP lawmakers’ demands “unlawful political interference” in an ongoing criminal case.
In a letter sent to three top House Republican chairmen Friday, Leslie B. Dubeck, the general counsel for Bragg’s office, slammed their “baseless and inflammatory allegations that our investigation is politically motivated.”
“The Committees’ attempted interference with an ongoing state criminal investigation — and now prosecution — is an unprecedented and illegal incursion on New York’s sovereign interests,” Dubeck writes.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has been investigating Trump’s alleged involvement in hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, to keep her quiet about claims she had an illicit affair with Trump years before while he was running for president. Trump has denied having sexual encounters with Daniels and denies falsifying business records to keep the payment concealed.
In a historic move, a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Trump on charges related to the case.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and the other top Republicans on the Administration and Oversight committees last week sent a letter to Bragg to demand that he turn over documents related to his Trump investigation and testify before Congress after reports said that Trump could face an indictment this week.
Responding, Bragg’s office said, “We will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process, nor will we let baseless accusations deter us from fairly applying the law.”
Disney Will Begin to Fire 7,000 of Its Global Staff This Week, CEO Bob Iger Announces
Walt Disney Company began 7,000 layoffs in a letter sent to employees Monday, as CEO Bob Iger works to save the company some $5.5 billion.
Several major divisions of the company – Disney Entertainment, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, and corporate – will be impacted, according to a person familiar with the matter. The layoffs will also affect Disney workers across the globe, and not just in the United States.
Iger had previously announced the layoffs throughout the company after he took back over as CEO in November.
The cuts come after the company reported profits of $23.51 billion, which exceeded analysts’ expectations of $23.44 billion. However, the company’s stock price has sunk over 30 percent in the past year, as it faces controversy over previous CEO Bob Chapek’s disastrous wading into the culture wars.
In addition, the House of Mouse took a huge publicity blow as Ron DeSantis officially took control of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement district in his war with the ‘corporate kingdom’, in a move that will give him the power to select the board and force them to pay $700 million in taxes and debts.
It comes as the governor and Florida’s first lady Casey DeSantis admitted the ‘irony’ that they got married at Disney in 2009 and now are in a battle with the ‘woke’ corporation.
DeSantis celebrated with the stroke of his pen marking the Disney ‘corporate kingdom coming to an end’ as he vowed to make the company pay its fair share of taxes.
The Sunshine State now has power over the formerly self-governing, special tax exempt district encompassing the entire Walt Disney World Resort, which was established in 1967.
‘Disney loses self-governing status, the State of Florida is the new sheriff in town,’ he said at a press briefing Monday. ‘Buckle up – there’s a lot to get done.’
The entertainment industry has undergone a retreat since its early euphoric embrace of video streaming, when established media companies lost billions as they launched competitors to Netflix.
They started to rein in spending when Netflix posted its first loss of subscribers in a decade in early 2022, and Wall Street began prioritizing profitability over subscriber growth.
Iger said Disney would begin notifying the first group of employees who are impacted by the workforce reductions over the next four days.
A second, larger round of job cuts will happen in April, ‘with several thousand more staff reductions.’ The final round will start before the beginning of the summer, the letter said.
ESPN is not touched by this week’s round of cuts, but is anticipated to be included in later rounds.
‘The difficult reality of many colleagues and friends leaving Disney is not something we take lightly,’ Iger wrote, noting that many ‘bring a lifelong passion for Disney’ to their work.
Details of the layoffs had been closely guarded by the company, though insiders anticipated reductions would happen before Disney’s annual shareholder meeting on April 3.
Anxiety has been building within Disney, as rumors swirled about areas of possible cuts.
‘It’s a dark, black box,’ said one Disney executive who spoke to Reuters last week.
Many had expected cuts to fall heavily on the Disney Media and Entertainment Division, which was eliminated in a corporate restructuring.
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“Miracle” 70-Year-Old Births Twins, Becoming One of World’s Oldest New Moms
Swing-State Muslim Leaders Launch Campaign to “Abandon” Biden in 2024
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Al Jazeera Posts Blurred Doll, Claims to Be Dead Baby
Young Chiefs Fan Speaks Out After “Blackface” Accusations
“Go F*** Yourself!”: Elon Musk Rips Advertisers Dropping from X Platform
VIDEO: Rapper’s Entourage Savagely Knocks Out Fan Who Asked for Photo
Elon Musk Visits Israel, Tours Kibbutz Massacred on Oct 7
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