May 2021 News

 

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative May 2021 news and views

 

May 2

Top Headlines  

 

U.S. Election Rigging, Capitol Riot, Domestic Terror 

 

 Virus Victims, Responses

 

More U.S. Politics, Governance   

 

Media News

  

World News

 

U.S. Crime, Courts, Race

 

Top Stories

Indian leader Narendra Modi (File photo)

Indian leader Narendra Modi (File photo)

washington post logoWashington Post, India sets pandemic record with more than 400,000 new cases, Joanna Slater, May 2, 2021 (print ed.). Experts believe that number will climb even higher, an unimaginable burden for a health system already under siege with hospitals pleading for oxygen. The powerful resurgence in India is a reminder that the coronavirus is far from controlled around the world, even with vaccination rates up in many places.

india flag mapAfter a devastating week of soaring infections, India reported more than 400,000 new cases Saturday, a global record. Experts believe that number will climb even higher in the coming days, an unimaginable burden for a health system already under siege with hospitals issuing pleas for oxygen.

India’s experience underscores a sobering paradox: Even as the United States and Europe move away from the darkest days of the pandemic, other countries are engaged in a desperate struggle against the virus.

The powerful resurgence of infections in India — a country where cases had ebbed just months earlier — is also a reminder that the coronavirus is far from controlled around the world, even with vaccination rates climbing in many countries.

It remains unclear how large a role coronavirus variants are playing in the pandemic’s grip on India. But the staggering numbers themselves are leaving the country increasingly isolated.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats House majority threatened by retirements, Michael Scherer, May 2, 2021. Retirements add yet another concern for a party facing an uphill fight to maintain control of Congress next year.

A growing list of House Democrats from competitive districts are headed for the exits, adding yet another concern for a party facing an uphill fight to maintain control of Congress next year.

cheri bustos hThe latest to announce her departure is Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), right, the former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who proclaimed her coming retirement Friday after narrowly winning reelection in a rural district along the Mississippi River that supported Donald Trump.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), who has been exploring another possible gubernatorial run, put out word Saturday that he would be making a “major announcement” this week, potentially putting at risk his St. Petersburg seat, where he ran ahead of President Biden in 2020.

democratic donkey logoTwo other accomplished battleground incumbents — Reps. Filemon Vela Jr. (D-Texas) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) — announced their plans to leave earlier this year, joining Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is giving up a closely-contested seat to run for the U.S. Senate. Several more in competitive areas, including Democratic stars like Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) are also seriously considering runs for higher office later this year.

The exodus comes as the party struggles to maintain or extend the narrowest congressional majority in decades — currently six seats, which will grow to seven in coming days as a newly-elected Democrat, Troy Carter from Louisiana, is sworn in.

Democrats have little margin for error to keep control, even as they simultaneously will be working against a redistricting cycle that is likely to favor Republican officeholders.

The Democratic departures are likely to make it easier for sometimes-partisan mapmakers to draw maps that favor Republican pickups. They also mean that Democrats will not fully take advantage of incumbency, with its fundraising and name recognition benefits. In 2018, the last midterm shake-up, 91 percent of incumbents won reelection, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

This time, Democrats will be the ones fighting historical head winds that tend to punish the president’s party in midterm elections. Since 1910, the party in the White House has gained House seats in a midterm only twice: in 1934, after the election of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and in 2002, when President George W. Bush was leading a response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. President Bill Clinton lost 54 seats in his first midterm. Barack Obama lost 64. Donald Trump gave up about 40.

Amid these grim odds, retirements have long been viewed by party strategists as a key early metric of just how challenging an election cycle will be. bane for Republicans in recent midterms, playing a major role in the 2018 Democratic takeover of the House, which followed an exodus of 33 GOP members — nearly twice as many as Democrats.

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats signal they’re open to concessions on infrastructure, Matt Viser, Annie Linskey and Seung Min Kim, May 2, 2021 (print ed.). The move to approach Republicans, a sharp shift from Democrats’ strategy on the covid-19 relief package, reflects President Biden’s desire to head into 2022 with a bipartisan achievement.

President Biden and top Democrats are signaling privately they are willing to make concessions over Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, or break it into chunks, if that will attract even a handful of Republican votes and allow them to notch a bipartisan win, people familiar with the strategy say.

The president spoke recently with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and suggested he was contemplating her counteroffer of roughly $568 billion more seriously than he viewed the Republican response to his covid-19 relief legislation, which he dismissed quickly as inadequate.

Top Senate Democrats are regularly meeting with their Republican counterparts, and some have adopted a mantra — “slow, steady and piecemeal” — to signal their willingness to seek bipartisanship on smaller-scale bills, even if that doesn’t square neatly with Biden’s initial vision of immediate transformational chang

 

U.S. Election Rigging, Capitol Riot, Domestic Terror 

 

capitol noose shay horse nurphoto via getty

A crowd of Trump supporters surrounded a newly erected set of wooden gallows outside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. “Hang Mike Pence!” members of the crowd shouted at times about the Republican Vice President who had announced that he could not comply with the president’s call to block election certification that day. The wooden gallows near the Capitol Reflecting Pool was just one example of the racist and anti-Semitic imagery on display at the riot. The noose is a racist symbol of the lynching of Black Americans. (Photo by Shay Horse  via NurPhoto / Getty).

 

Proof via Substack, Investigation & Commentary: Trump’s Insurrection Is in Arizona Now, Seth Abramson, May 2, 2021. This exposé on the aftermath of the January 6 Capitol attack in Arizona reveals that seth abramson headshotthe newest battleground for Trump’s domestic insurgency is the Grand Canyon State. Will it turn violent there, too?

The Washington Post has called Kelli Ward, the chair of the Arizona GOP, a “leading voice” in the Stop the Steal “movement” orchestrated by Ali Alexander, Alex Jones, and Roger Stone. But seth abramson proof logoper the Post, days after Ward’s January 2021 reelection as chair of the Arizona GOP—an election Ward won by just 42 votes—she faced calls for an audit of her victory by defeated challenger Sergio Arellano.

Those familiar with Ward won’t be surprised to learn that, despite being the chief proponent of post-election audits in the presidential race, Ward quickly rejected calls for an audit of her election, insisting, per the Arizona Republic, there is “no procedure, process or rule that allows for that.”

seth abramson resized4 proof of collusionBut rules had never stopped Ward before. And they’re certainly not stopping her now, as she coordinates the movement of Trump’s insurgency from Washington to Arizona.

Seth Abramson, shown above left and at right, is founder of Proof and is a former criminal defense attorney and criminal investigator who teaches digital journalism,legal advocacy, and cultural theory at the University of New Hampshire. A regular political and legal analyst on CNN and the BBC during the Trump presidency, he is a best-selling author who has published eight books and edited five anthologies.

ny times logoNew York Times, G.O.P. Seeks to Empower Poll Watchers, Raising Intimidation Worries, Nick Corasaniti, May 2, 2021 (print ed.). As Republican lawmakers seek to make voting harder and more confusing, they are simultaneously making a push to grant more autonomy to partisan poll watchers.

This effort has raised alarm: In the past, poll watchers have been used to intimidate voters and harass workers, often in ways that target people of color.

washington post logoWashington Post, Rejection of 2020 election results becomes defining GOP loyalty test, Ashley Parker and Marianna Sotomayor, May 2, 2021. Republicans have embraced the baseless claims that President Biden did not defeat Donald Trump, with potential ramifications for the midterms and the 2024 election.

washington post logoWashington Post, Perspective: The politicians who tried to overturn an election — and the local news team that won’t let anyone forget it, Margaret Sullivan, right, May 2, 2021. While Sunday shows keep margaret sullivan 2015 photobooking the lawmakers who undermined democracy, one public radio station decided it wouldn’t shrug off the damaging lies of election denialism.

The journalists at WITF, an all-news public radio station in Harrisburg, Pa., made a perfectly reasonable decision a few months ago.

They decided they wouldn’t shrug off the damaging lies of election denialism.

They wouldn’t do what too many in Big Journalism have done in recent months: shove into the memory hole the undemocratic efforts by some Republican elected officials to delegitimize or overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Too many Sunday news shows repeatedly book the likes of Kevin McCarthy, Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson without reminding viewers how these members of Congress tried to undo the results of the election — and encouraged the Trumpian lies about election fraud that led to the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol less than four months ago. A rare exception is CNN’s “State of the Union,” which hasn’t booked a single member of the so-called Sedition Caucus since January.

“There’s a kind of clubby atmosphere on these shows, part of the Beltway Bubble mentality, in which it’s become almost impolite to raise the topic of the insurrection,” Princeton University history professor Kevin Kruse told me.

“CBS This Morning,” for example, sent out an email alert last week touting its exclusive interview with Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), one of the seven senators who voted against certifying the election results in Pennsylvania. Scott blasted President Biden for “spending us into oblivion” and mocked him for not achieving bipartisanship — yet interviewer Anthony Mason never mentioned that Scott had literally tried to overturn Biden’s election.

“109 days after Jan. 6, ‘history will remember’ is a complete joke,” Matt Negrin of “The Daily Show” tweeted last week. He added: “These media outlets want you to forget.”

But Harrisburg’s WITF has gone a different route: They want you to remember.

washington post logoWashington Post, Newsmax apologizes to Dominion employee for falsely alleging he manipulated votes against Trump, Amy B Wang, May 2, 2021 (print ed.). The conservative news network Newsmax has apologized to an employee of Dominion Voting Systems for baselessly alleging he had rigged the company’s voting machines and vote counts against President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

dominion voting systemsIn a statement Friday, Newsmax said it wanted to “clarify” its coverage of Eric Coomer, the director of product strategy and security at Dominion, who filed a defamation lawsuit against the right-wing network in December. After the election, misinformation about Coomer’s supposed role in manipulating the vote proliferated on right-wing sites, including Newsmax. Coomer said he had been forced into hiding after receiving death threats from Trump supporters, who believed Trump’s false assertion that the election had been stolen from him and that Coomer had played a role.

On Friday, Newsmax said there was no evidence such allegations were true.

“There are several facts that our viewers should be aware of,” Newsmax’s statement read. “Newsmax has found no evidence that Dr. Coomer interfered with Dominion voting machines or voting software in any way, nor that Dr. Coomer ever claimed to have done so. Nor has Newsmax found any evidence that Dr. Coomer ever participated in any conversation with members of ‘Antifa,’ nor that he was directly involved with any partisan political organization.”

  • Washington Post, Analysis: Half of Republicans incorrectly think there’s evidence Biden didn’t win legitimately

Newsmax also noted that “many of the states whose results were contested by the Trump campaign after the November 2020 election have conducted extensive recounts and audits, and each of these states certified the results as legal and final.” The statement ended with an apology for any harm caused to Coomer and his family.

In exchange, Coomer has dropped Newsmax from his defamation lawsuit, the Associated Press reported. Representatives for Coomer did not respond immediately Saturday to requests for comment. NPR and Forbes reported that Coomer had reached a settlement with Newsmax, but his attorneys did not disclose the details.

In his lawsuit, Coomer alleged that Newsmax, along with other right-wing news outlets and public figures, had “elevated Dr. Coomer into the national spotlight, invaded his privacy, threatened his security, and fundamentally defamed his reputation across this country.” Other defendants include the Trump campaign, former Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani, conservative podcast host Joseph Oltmann, conservative political commentator Michelle Malkin and the right-wing One America News.

Palmer Report, Opinion: This is a huge gift, Bill Palmer, right, May 2, 2021. Newsmax just formally confessed that the “Big Lie” about the 2020 election is indeed a big lie, and that there was no conspiracy to rig bill palmerthe election against Donald Trump. It now seems likely that other major right wing propaganda outlets will end up having to issue similar confessions.

We can sit back and lament about how the “damage” has already been done. We can lament about how extreme right wingers still aren’t going to believe it, even now that their favorite propaganda outlets are confessing they made it up. But none of that helps us in any way, shape, or form.

bill palmer report logo headerInstead, we can recognize that Newsmax just handed us a huge gift, and we can use it to our advantage. While the extreme right wingers who bathe themselves in these lies may not ever change their minds, we can use the Newsmax confession to make sure that voters in the middle don’t fall prey to the lies being told by extreme right wingers.

Modern elections tend to be decided by whether or not voters in the middle fall for whatever big lie the right wingers (and the worst of major media outlets) are pushing in any given news cycle. In 2016, voters in the middle fell for the lies about Clinton’s emails. In 2020, voters in the middle didn’t fall for the lies about Hunter Biden. It’s a big part of why those two elections had such different results.

So as we head into the 2022 and 2024 elections, let’s put this huge gift from Newsmax (and presumably other upcoming right wing propaganda outlets) to good use. We can use it to educate voters in the middle, so they end up voting wisely. This is how elections are won and progress is delivered – not by lamenting about “damage.”

 

Virus Victims, Responses 

ny times logoindia flag mapNew York Times, Global Virus Cases Reach New Peak, Driven by India and South America, Lazaro Gamio and Alexandria Symonds, May 2, 2021 (print ed.).  Led by surges in the two hotspots and Eastern Europe, the average number of new daily cases has exceeded 800,000 for more than a week.

India now accounts for more than 40 percent of the world’s new cases. The country’s death rate has followed the same dramatic curve, with more than 3,000 people now dying every day. Analysts say even those grim numbers may be undercounted.

washington post logoWashington Post, 144.9 million vaccinated, as of May 2, 2021, the number of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, covering 54.2 % of the eligible population,16 and older and 43.6 % of the total population. See about your state.

washington post logoWashington Post, Police officers’ hesitancy to get coronavirus vaccine poses safety risks, Isaac Stanley-Becker, May 2, 2021. Low immunization levels among police officers threatens not just their own health, but also the safety of people they’re responsible for guarding, monitoring and patrolling, experts say.

Police officers were among the first front-line workers to gain priority access to coronavirus vaccines. But their vaccination rates are lower than or about the same as those of the general public, according to data made available by some of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies.

The reluctance of police to get the shots threatens not just their own health, but also the safety of people they’re responsible for guarding, monitoring and patrolling, experts say.

At the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, just 39 percent of employees have gotten at least one dose, officials said, compared to more than 50 percent of eligible adults nationwide. In Atlanta, 36 percent of sworn officers have been vaccinated. And a mere 28 percent of those employed by the Columbus Division of Police — Ohio’s largest police department — report having received a shot.

washington post logo

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated: May 2, 2021, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than the totals here):

World Cases: 152,907,113, Deaths: 3,208,543
U.S. Cases:     33,146,015, Deaths:    590,707
India Cases:    19,557,457, Deaths:    215,542
Brazil Cases:   14,725,975, Deaths:    406,565

 ny times logoNew York Times, How Can the Olympics Protect 78,000 Volunteers From the Coronavirus? Motoko Rich, May 2, 2021. Volunteers for the Tokyo Games are being offered little more than some masks, hand sanitizer and social-distancing guidance that may be hard to abide by.

Japan FlagFor Olympic host cities, one of the keys to a successful Games is the army of volunteers who cheerfully perform a range of duties, like fetching water, driving Olympic vehicles, interpreting for athletes or carrying medals to ceremonies.

If the rescheduled Tokyo Games go ahead as planned this summer, roughly 78,000 volunteers will have another responsibility: preventing the spread of the coronavirus, both among participants and themselves.

For protection, the volunteers are being offered little more than a couple of cloth masks, a bottle of sanitizer and mantras about social distancing. Unless they qualify for vaccination through Japan’s slow age-based rollout, they will not be inoculated against the coronavirus.

“I don’t know how we’re going to be able to do this,” said Akiko Kariya, 40, a paralegal in Tokyo who signed up to volunteer as an interpreter. The Olympic committee “hasn’t told us exactly what they will do to keep us safe.”

 

U.S. Politics, Governance

 

ICE logo

washington post logoWashington Post, Harris-led effort to stem migration relies on tactics that experts say have flaws, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Kevin Sieff, May 2, 2021 (print ed.). Vice President Harris has kicked off U.S. efforts to deter people from leaving Central America’s “Northern Triangle” countries through programs designed to create more economic and political stability in the region.

Facing a surge of illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Biden administration has said it is seeking to demonstrate a commitment to improving conditions in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras as part of an effort to reduce the flow.

kamala harris portraitBut similar campaigns under previous administrations have failed to make meaningful progress, leading to cyclical spikes at the border since 2014. And high-level corruption among government officials has complicated U.S. efforts to negotiate with leaders who have little political will for reform.

“The overarching challenge is, they [the Biden administration] really want to change the conditions on the ground that are pushing people to leave, and some of that requires really fundamental changes to how governance and institutions work in these countries,” said Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. “And that’s a hard thing for the U.S. government to do.”

Harris, right, is tasked with leading U.S. negotiations on migration, taking on a role that Biden had under President Barack Obama and one that carries significant political perils. This week, she met virtually with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and community leaders. She is scheduled to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador virtually on May 7 and is expected to travel to the region as early as June.

The White House has yet to release a detailed plan for her diplomatic efforts, but Harris has pointed to Biden’s efforts under Obama as a model, focusing on the “root causes” of migration, including corruption, poverty and violence.

  • Washington Post, Biden cancels border wall projects Trump paid for with diverted military funds, May 1, 2021

ny times logoNew York Times, From the Past, a Warning About Today’s Extremists, Neil MacFarquhar, May 2, 2021 (print ed.). Almost four decades after officials dismantled the Order, a violent far-right group, experts see chilling echoes of the present.

ny times logoNew York Times, With 23 Candidates, Special Election in Texas Is Headed for Runoff, David Montgomery and Edgar Sandoval, May 2, 2021 (print ed.). The front-runner was Susan Wright, who was endorsed by Donald J. Trump and is the widow of Representative Ron Wright, who died of Covid-19 in February.

Susan Wright, the Republican widow of a congressman who died of Covid-19, emerged on Saturday evening as the front-runner in a tight race to replace her husband in Washington.

republican elephant logotexas mapStill, Ms. Wright, whose husband, Ron Wright, died in February, could not avoid a runoff for the state’s Sixth Congressional District, which includes mostly rural areas in three Northern Texas counties and a sliver of the nation’s fourth-largest metropolitan region around Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington.

Ms. Wright, who was assisted by a last-minute endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump, captured about 19 percent of the vote, far below the 50 percent required to avoid a runoff. It appeared she was headed to another contest with Jake Ellzey, a fellow Republican. Jana Lynne Sanchez, a Democrat, followed closely behind in third place.

The results disappointed Democrats, who had hoped to tap a reservoir of shifting demographics and Hispanic and African-American growth in a district where Mr. Trump won by only three percentage points in November.

Ms. Sanchez, who ran a tight race against Mr. Wright in 2018, held an election gathering at her home in Fort Worth and vowed to keep fighting for progressive values. The Sixth District was once a Democratic stronghold, until Phil Gramm switched party affiliations in 1983, turning the district into a reliable bastion of Republican strength for decades.

In February, Mr. Wright, who had lung cancer, died after he contracted the coronavirus. His wife was an early front-runner to replace him, but her chances of outright victory narrowed after the field grew to 23 candidates, including 11 Republicans, 10 Democrats, a Libertarian and an independent.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Why Kristi Noem Is Rising Quickly as a Republican Prospect for 2024, Jonathan Martin, May 2, 2021. Ms. Noem, right, the governor of South Dakota, has fused Trumpism with a down-home-conservatism spin, both stirring support and prompting eye rolls within the G.O.P.With Republicans hungry to cultivate their next generation of national leaders, it is not a Capitol Hill comer or a veteran battleground-state politician who is stirring kristi noeminterest by fusing Trumpism with a down-home conservatism spin. It is the first-term governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, a rancher who delights in sharing images of herself shooting pheasants and riding horses.

republican elephant logoMs. Noem began drawing wider attention last year for cozying up to President Donald J. Trump — so much so that she inspired suspicion that she was angling to replace Mike Pence on the 2020 ticket — and hosting him at a July 4 Mount Rushmore event where she gave him a model of the monument with his face included. Her defiance of coronavirus restrictions and her eagerness to project a rugged Great Plainswoman image helped her come in second in a 2024 straw poll of far-right conservatives looking for candidates if Mr. Trump doesn’t run again.

But her approach to politics has sometimes made for rocky relations with her base. Late last month, she got herself into a showdown with the Republican-controlled State Legislature over her veto of a bill barring transgender girls from school sports. And as some party leaders were pressing her to resolve that fight, she prompted eye-rolling at home by inserting herself in an unrelated skirmish — over Lil Nas X’s “Satan Shoes.”

 

Media News

ny times logoNew York Times, Verizon Near Deal to Sell Yahoo and AOL, Edmund Lee and Lauren Hirsch, May 2, 2021. In making the deal with the private equity firm Apollo, Verizon is acknowledging that it couldn’t compete with Google and Facebook for digital ads. Instead, it will concentrate on building a 5G network.

Verizon once saw media as the future, the linchpin of a strategy to give customers something they couldn’t get elsewhere at a time when all mobile offerings were essentially the same. It has a different vision for the future now.The phone giant, signaling that it has given up on its media business, is near a deal to sell Yahoo and AOL to the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Sunday.

The transaction would be the latest turn in the history of two of the internet’s earliest pioneers. Yahoo used to be the front page of the internet, cataloging the furious pace of new websites that sprang up in the late 1990s. AOL was once the service that most people used to get online.

But both were ultimately supplanted by nimbler start-ups, like Google and Facebook, though Yahoo and AOL still publish highly trafficked websites like Yahoo Sports and TechCrunch.

washington post logoWashington Post, Apple and Epic Games meet in court on Monday. Here’s everything you need to know, Shannon Liao, Reed Albergotti and Mikhail Klimentov, May 2, 2021. Court battle could forever change how apps work at 9:00 a.m. EDT

apple logo rainbowThe tech battle between Apple and “Fortnite”-maker Epic Games is headed to court. On Monday, a judge will begin hearing arguments over whether Apple is running a monopoly in its App Store and whether it should be allowed to take a 30 percent cut of revenue from purchases made using its in-app purchase system. The case could change the way we use our smartphones.
When and where is the trial taking place?

The trial is due to start Monday and last about three weeks. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is overseeing the case. It’s being held in federal court in Oakland, just across the bay from San Francisco.

The general public can listen to the trial via teleconference. Details on how to listen in will be posted on the court’s website. Evidence entered into the trial will be viewable at this Box link. 

WMR’s Hollywood, Show Business Commentary: Hollywood’s good, the WMR’s Hollywood, bad, and the ugly, courtesy of John Barbour’s entertaining memoir, Wayne Madsen, left, May 2, 2021. Comedian, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallactor, comedy writer, film critic, and documentarian John Barbour has led the consummate Hollywood full life and experience. And this editor was excited to have had dinner with John in Las Vegas during WMR’s recent jaunt to Hollywood and back.

John’s iife and times as a Canadian emigré to the United States (legal and undocumented) and a successful Emmy Award-winning television pioneer are laid out in Your Mother’s Not a Virgin: The Bumpy Life and Times of the Canadian Dropout Who Changed the Face of American TV!  Each chapter of this 700-plus page book is a time machine-like snapshot into a bygone era of film and TV.

In “Hollywood PoliTrivia” and our re-vamped column, “WMR’s Hollywood,” this editor was only able to imagine what life was like during the Golden Age of Hollywood. John actually lived and breathed it. Barbour found himself in an acting class with Jack Nicholson, who walked out of it saying to the instructor, “I don’t think this is for me.”

Barbour was the creator and co-host of America’s first reality TV program, “Real People,” which aired on NBC from 1979 to 1984. The format, which featured ordinary people, not actors, paved the way for other reality shows, eventually including NBC’s fateful “The Apprentice,” which propelled Donald Trump from sleazy real estate and casino celebrity to sleazy politician and president of the United States.

 

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, Taliban warns of counterattacks as original May 1 deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal passes, Susannah George and Sharif Hassan, May 2, 2021 (print ed.).The Taliban issued a warning to U.S. and NATO forces of possible counterattacks as the original May 1 deadline for the complete withdrawal of foreign troops passed, stoking fears of increased violence in response to President Biden’s extension of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan to Sept. 11.

Taliban fighters are prepared to “take every counteraction” that the movement “deems appropriate against the occupying forces,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, in a statement Saturday. Mujahid said the group’s leadership had not yet made a decision on how to respond to the delayed pullout, and he said its fighters would not act before a consensus is reached.

Afghans are bracing for an increase in violence as foreign forces withdraw from the country, and the Pentagon has warned that U.S. forces may be at risk of attack with the May 1 deadline’s passage.

 

U.S. Crime, Police, Race, Courts

washington post logoWashington Post, Chauvin’s ‘particular cruelty’ should mean harsher sentence, AG argues, Timothy Bella, May 2, 2021 (print ed.). Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder and manslaughter charges, deserved a more severe sentence after he inflicted “gratuitous pain” on George Floyd last year, said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D).

The Minnesota attorney general is seeking a harsher prison sentence for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin due to the “particular cruelty” he showed in the murder of George Floyd last keith ellison o smallyear, according to court documents filed Friday.

Keith Ellison (D), left, argued in a legal briefing that Chauvin, who was convicted on murder and manslaughter charges last week, deserved a more severe sentence after the officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes and showed a lack of remorse for the 46-year-old Black man as he yelled out for his mother while detained.

“Mr. Floyd was treated with particular cruelty,” Ellison wrote in the 26-page briefing to Hennepin County District Court. He added, “Defendant continued to maintain his position atop Mr. Floyd even as Mr. Floyd cried out that he was in pain, even as Mr. Floyd exclaimed 27 times that he could not breathe, and even as Mr. Floyd said that Defendant’s actions were killing him.”
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Chauvin, who is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25, faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree unintentional murder. Judge Peter Cahill would have to find there were “aggravating factors” in Floyd’s death to go above the 12½-year sentence recommended under state sentencing guidelines for the murder charge of someone without a previous record. Prosecutors did not say in the filing how much time they are seeking Chauvin to serve.

 

May 1

Top Headlines  

 

Virus Victims, Responses

 

U.S. Politics, Governance  

  

World News

 

U.S. Crime, Courts, Race

 

Top Stories 

washington post logoWashington Post, Elizabeth Warren, in new book, muses on why she didn’t win, Annie Linskey, May 1, 2021. In late 2019, Elizabeth Warren had skyrocketed to the top of the Democratic primary pack, and late one evening, after a town hall and lengthy photo line, she ducked into a bar for a hamburger with her husband, Bruce Mann. “Babe, you could actually do this,” Mann told her. “You could be president.”

elizabeth warren 2020 button croppedWarren allowed herself to imagine what her inauguration would look like: photos lines instead of balls, “pinkie promises” for the country’s little girls, all 81 of her policy plans ready to become law. But the moment faded; Warren’s poll numbers plummeted, and she withdrew in March 2020, never finishing above third in any primary contest.

democratic donkey logoNow, in a new book, Warren is reflecting on why she failed — in an unusually public way. “In this moment, against this president, in this field of candidates, maybe I just wasn’t good enough to reassure the voters, to bring along the doubters, to embolden the hopeful,” Warren concedes. Known for her steely confidence, Warren admits that possibility is “painful.”

She offers this rare glimpse of dashed hopes in Persist, to be published in early May, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. The book, and an expected round of accompanying interviews, will mark a reemergence of sorts for Warren, whose profile has been relatively low during the Biden administration after a campaign in which she was a major, sometimes electrifying figure.

Warren attributes her loss in large part to her fumbling effort to explain how she would pay for her sweeping health plan. And she says that “I had to run against the shadows of Martha and Hillary,” referring to the failed candidacies of Martha Coakley for Senate and Hillary Clinton for president, suggesting that Democrats were wary of nominating another woman they feared might lose to Donald Trump.

he book is coming out as Warren, like the left wing of the Democratic Party in general, is at a crossroads. Some in the party blame liberals for the party’s disappointing defeats in House and Senate races, even as some of their ideas are being championed by Biden.

World Crisis Radio, Commentary: Corrupt media still covering up for GOP’s fake infrastructure offer, which represents just $189 billion or only 8% of Biden’s $2.3 trillion planned investment, Webster G. webster tarpley 2007Tarpley, Ph.D., host, right, May 1, 2021. Media sacrifice truth and national interest to their imbecilic cult of bipartisan cooperation with the criminals of January 6.

Increased taxes on wealthy must include levies for solvency of Medicare, which will begin to run out of cash in 2024; Four additional years of free public education will help make US competitive with world; productivity depends chiefly on quality of education and infrastructure, but GOP is committed to destroying public education; Biden marks 50 years of Amtrak in Delaware.

Barr Justice Department blocked search warrant for Giuliani last year, but charges now appear imminent; 100 million Americans now immunized for Covid

Law&Crime, Republican State Rep. and Substitute Teacher Arrested for Allegedly Kneeing Boy in Crotch During Religious Rant: ‘Check His Nuts for Him, Please?’ Colin Kalmbacher, May 1, 2021. A Republican state legislator in Kansas was arrested on Thursday after allegedly kneeing a boy in the crotch while substitute teaching amidst a series of religious-based rants directed at his students.

mark samsel mug 2According to The Kansas City Star, Rep. Mark Samsel, 36, right, who represents the City of Wellsville in the Sunflower State’s legislature, was charged with misdemeanor battery and booked into the Franklin County Adult Detention Center. He has since posted $1,000 bond and issued a series of social media posts to defend himself.

republican elephant logoThe incident occurred on Wednesday when Samsel was substitute teaching at the Wellsville High School, about 45 minutes southwest of Kansas City. Students reportedly filmed numerous videos of the Republican opining on a variety of topics including suicide, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, sex, masturbation, and religion.

The Star reviewed many of those videos — some of which are being shared on social media. In one such video, Samsel tells the class about “a sophomore who’s tried killing himself three times” allegedly because “he has two parents and they’re both females.”

 

Virus Victims, Responses 

ny times logoNew York Times, Global Virus Cases Reach New Peak, Driven by India and South America, Lazaro Gamio and Alexandria Symonds, May 1, 2021. Led by surges in the two hotspots and Eastern Europe, the average number of new daily cases has exceeded 800,000 for more than a week.

India now accounts for more than 40 percent of the world’s new cases. The country’s death rate has followed the same dramatic curve, with more than 3,000 people now dying every day. Analysts say even those grim numbers may be undercounted

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. aid arrives in India as vaccine shortages hinder response, Erin Cunningham, May 1, 2021 (print ed.).  Emergency medical aid from the United States and other nations began arriving in India on Friday as the South Asian country’s crushing coronavirus outbreak continued to spiral and vaccinations in multiple regions ground to a halt because of dwindling supplies.

india flag mapA U.S. Air Force transport plane carrying oxygen cylinders, N95 masks and rapid diagnostic tests landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi on Friday morning, the first of several shipments that the White House pledged to help India combat the pandemic.

Chinese state media said the first batch of 25,000 oxygen concentrators pledged by Beijing to India also arrived Friday, the Associated Press reported.

“Just as India came to our aid early in the pandemic, the U.S. is committed to working urgently to provide assistance to India in its time of need,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday on Twitter.

India’s Health Ministry on Friday reported another record number of new cases, logging 386,452 infections over the previous 24 hours.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Announces Restrictions on Travel From India, Live Updates, Staff Reports, May 1, 2021 (print ed.). The Biden administration said the restrictions, which came on the advice of the C.D.C., would go into effect next week.

India is facing a devastating virus outbreak that claims over 3,000 lives daily, with hospitals short on beds and people desperate for oxygen. Here’s the latest.

washington post logoWashington Post, 144.9 million vaccinated, as of May 1, 2021, the number of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, covering 54.2 % of the eligible population,16 and older and 43.6 % of the total population. See about your state.

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated: May 1, 2021, with some governments reporting slightly lower numbers than the totals here):

World Cases: 152,660,508, Deaths:3,202,247
U.S. Cases:     33,132,439, Deaths:   590,523
India Cases:       9,549,656, Deaths:  215,523
Brazil Cases:    14,665,962, Deaths:  404,287

Riding Back Into Recession, Staff Reports, April 30, 2021. The eurozone economy contracted by 0.6 percent over the first three months of the year as the still-raging pandemic prompted more lockdowns. However, recent signs suggest that its fortunes are already improving. Here’s the latest on the economy.

  • Europe’s economy shrank by 0.6 percent in first quarter.
  • Volkswagen’s gag falls flat as the S.E.C. begins an inquiry.
  • The labor secretary suggests that most gig workers should be classified as employees.
  • AstraZeneca’s vaccine has brought in $275 million in sales so far this year.

 

U.S. Politics, Governance

ny times logoNew York Times, See How Few People It Takes for a State to Lose or Gain a House Seat, Denise Lu, May 1, 2021.  States can lose a House seat over a small number of people. In New York’s case, the number would fit in one subway car. Take a look at other record margins.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosNew York would have kept its 27th congressional seat had the state counted 89 more residents in the 2020 census. In other words, if 89 more people filled out the census form last year — enough to fill a single New York City subway car during off-peak hours — the state would have stopped its eight-decade streak of declining congressional representation.

That’s an extremely small margin for a state that counted more than 20 million people last year.

Every 10 years, a state’s population determines how many seats it gets in Congress, and sometimes, a small number of people can make a big difference. Here’s a look at just how many people it can take to change — or almost change — representation in Washington.

Associated Press via U.S. News, Alabama Debates Removing Confederate Flag From Coat of Arms, Kim Chandler, May 1, 2021. Rep. Laura Hall has introduced legislation to redesign Alabama’s coat of ap logoarms and remove the Confederate battle flag.

Every day that Keith Jackson put on his Alabama state trooper’s uniform, on the sleeve was a reminder of the state’s racist and painful past: The Confederate battle flag, which is part of Alabama’s coat of arms.The African American law enforcement officer, who is now retired, said for nearly 30 years he wore on his uniform the flag of the Confederacy. It was the same flag that flew when the state fought to keep his parents in segregated schools and the flag that white students would carry during fights at his older brother’s high school.

“It was a painful symbol for my parents. It turned into a painful symbol for me when I realized what it meant,” Jackson, 57, said, recalling his childhood and learning about the flag.

Jackson spoke at a public hearing this week in favor of a proposal by Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, to redesign Alabama’s coat of arms. The bill is not moving forward this legislative session, but House State Government Committee Chairman Chris Pringle said they want to study the idea and work on possible alternatives.

“The battle flag brings with it so many negative connotations. Alabama is always struggling with its image in that respect. If we want to move forward and have a more positive image, I think that it’s a beginning, a small beginning,” Hall said.

Daily Beast, Commentary: Guys Like Gaetz ‘Don’t Think They’re Paying for Sex,’Prostitution, sugaring, or being a trophy wife may be a matter of degree, Jessie Sage, Updated May 1, 2021.  Likewise with paying for time, paying for attention, paying for fantasy fulfillment, or paying for sex.

daily beast logoA lot of men like to think that they’re paying for something else, but women who have done the work say there’s no question that sex is part of the package—along with emotional labor.

While Matt Gaetz denies purchasing sex, he admits to having paid for hotel rooms and flights for lovers: “I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner.”

His scandal has been free advertising for the sugar daddy site Seeking Arrangements, which claims to match beautiful young women (sugar babies) and successful older men (sugar daddies) in “mutually beneficial relationships.”

While the direct exchange of sex for money (i.e., prostitution) is against the site’s terms of service, Seeking Arrangements doesn’t shy away from asserting on its front page that the benefit for sugar babies is being pampered.

“Indulge in shopping sprees, expensive dinners, and exotic travel vacations,” the site promises. You can guess what the benefit is for the daddies, including Gaetz, who is alleged to have used Apple Pay and Cash App to pay multiple women from the site for sex—and also a 17-year-old girl—with payments funneled through his close associate Joel Greenberg, who the Beast reported this week drafted a confession letter, while trying to purchase a presidential pardon from Roger Stone, admitting to those payments he made for himself and his friend Matt.

ny times logoNew York Times, An Oregon lawmaker who let protesters into the State Capitol was charged in the breach, Maria Cramer, May 1, 2021. Surveillance footage shows State Representative Mike Nearman opening a door to let protesters into the Capitol, in Salem, last year.

A Republican state legislator from Oregon who was captured on surveillance video allowing demonstrators to enter the State Capitol in December was charged on Friday in connection with the breach of the building, which led to a conflict between officers and protesters.

The lawmaker, Representative Mike Nearman, 57, was charged with official misconduct in the first degree and trespassing in the second degree, according to court documents.

Marion County prosecutors said in court documents that Mr. Nearman, “being a public servant, did unlawfully and knowingly perform an act which constituted an unauthorized exercise of his official duties, with intent to obtain a benefit or to harm another.”

On Dec. 21, while legislators were in session, Mr. Nearman calmly walked out a side door, allowing several demonstrators, many of them unmasked and holding American flags or pro-Trump signs, inside the State Capitol, in Salem. The moment was captured by widely circulated video surveillance of the breach.

Mr. Nearman kept walking as the protesters went inside and were quickly confronted by local and state police officers, who were shoved by some of the demonstrators as they struggled to get into the building.

The footage showed protesters knocking off the hats of police officials and striking at officers, some of whom wore riot gear.

At least five people were arrested during the breach, according to The Associated Press. One man was charged after he blasted police officers with bear spray.

ny times logoNew York Times, Why a $10,000 Tax Deduction Could Hold Up Trillions in Stimulus Funds, Conor Dougherty, May 1, 2021. The fight over a tax break known as SALT is a case study in the age-old conflict between constituent politics and national policy.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump’s Secret Rules for Drone Strikes Outside War Zones Are Disclosed, Charlie Savage, May 1, 2021. The release of the 2017 policy — with redactions — stemmed from open-records lawsuits by The Times and the A.C.L.U.

The Biden administration has disclosed a set of rules secretly issued by President Donald J. Trump in 2017 for counterterrorism “direct action” operations — like drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional war zones — which the White House has suspended as it weighs whether and how to tighten the guidelines.

While the Biden administration censored some passages, the visible portions show that in the Trump era, commanders in the field were given latitude to make decisions about attacks so long as they fit within broad sets of “operating principles,” including that there should be “near certainty” that civilians “will not be injured or killed in the course of operations.”

At the same time, however, the Trump-era rules were flexible about permitting exceptions to that and other standards, saying that “variations” could be made “where necessary” so long as certain bureaucratic procedures were followed in approving them.

washington post logoWashington Post, Texas voters cast ballots with House vacancy in the balance, David Weigel, May 1, 2021 (print ed.). Voters in north Texas will start to fill a congressional vacancy Saturday, after a scrambled 23-candidate contest, the last-minute intervention of former president Donald Trump and a gruesome, false robocall condemned by multiple campaigns.

Strategists with both parties considered it highly unlikely that any candidate would win more than 50 percent of the vote Saturday, making a runoff likely — potentially a contest between two Republicans, if their turnout is high and the Democratic vote splinters.

The ex-president initially stayed out of the race, which pitted Wright against several Republicans claiming the MAGA mantle.

Brian Harrison, the former chief of staff at Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services, ran on a return to Trump’s policies with the slogan “Always America First.” Dan Rodimer, a former wrestler who lost a 2020 House bid in Nevada, touted his Trump endorsement in that race to argue that he was the only candidate ever supported by the former president, and he campaigned outside early-vote centers alongside a cardboard cutout of Trump.

The race got nastier Friday, when Wright’s campaign flagged the FBI about a robocall, with no identification, that told voters she had murdered her husband to get his life insurance payout. Ellzey and other rivals immediately condemned the call, which also recited Wright’s home address.

Republicans, Democrats and minor-party candidates are competing in a single primary across the 6th Congressional District, a seat that has been empty since the Feb. 8 death of Republican Rep. Ron Wright after a battle with covid-19. Wright’s widow, Susan, an experienced party activist, secured Trump’s endorsement this week, with the former president briefly participating in a Thursday night call on her behalf organized by the Club for Growth.

“You will be very happy with this vote,” Trump said, adding that Wright’s husband “is looking down, and he is so proud of Susan.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: The Matt Gaetz scandal takes a strange new turn, Aaron Blake, May 1, 2021 (print ed.). While seeking a pardon, Gaetz’s ally wrote a letter in which he admitted to having sex with a 17-year-old girl and implicated Gaetz in the same conduct. The question is: Why?

 washington post logoWashington Post, Tracking Biden appointees, Harry Stevens and Madison Walls, May 1, 2021. President Biden’s transition has been slower than previous ones. We are tracking 789 government positions among about 1,200 that require Senate confirmation.

  • omb logo management and budget seal Custom372 positions have no Biden nominee.
  • 48 picks are awaiting formal nomination.
  • 86 nominees are being considered by the Senate.
  • 38 have been confirmed by the Senate.
  • Additionally, we have identified 245 appointees so far who are serving in termed positions or who were held over from previous administrations.

 

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, Taliban warns of counterattacks as original May 1 deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal passes, Susannah George and Sharif Hassan, May 1, 2021.The Taliban issued a warning to U.S. and NATO forces of possible counterattacks as the original May 1 deadline for the complete withdrawal of foreign troops passed, stoking fears of increased violence in response to President Biden’s extension of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan to Sept. 11.

Taliban fighters are prepared to “take every counteraction” that the movement “deems appropriate against the occupying forces,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, in a statement Saturday. Mujahid said the group’s leadership had not yet made a decision on how to respond to the delayed pullout, and he said its fighters would not act before a consensus is reached.

Afghans are bracing for an increase in violence as foreign forces withdraw from the country, and the Pentagon has warned that U.S. forces may be at risk of attack with the May 1 deadline’s passage.

ny times logoNew York Times, Apple Is Violating Antitrust Laws With Its App Store, E.U. Says, Adam Satariano, May 1, 2021 (print ed.). By forcing app developers to use its payment system and comply with other rules, Apple broke European Union competition laws, regulators said.

European Union regulators on Friday accused Apple of violating antitrust laws by imposing unfair rules and fees on rival music-streaming services that depend on the App Store to reach customers.

Amid growing scrutiny of the tech industry worldwide, the case will be an important test of a government’s ability to force one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful companies to change its behavior. Europe is seen as a global bellwether on tech policy, but Apple has vowed to fight the charges.

apple logo rainbowWith its ability to make or break the business of app developers, Apple is one of the digital economy’s most important gatekeepers. Any app downloaded to an iPhone or iPad — from Tinder to Instagram to Candy Crush — must comply with the company’s rules and guidelines, including using Apple’s payment system and sharing up to 30 percent on any sales. If not, a company risks losing access to millions of Apple customers.

Apple says tight oversight of the App Store ensures customers download high-quality apps, protecting users from viruses, fraud and buggy software. But companies including Spotify, the music streaming service that filed a complaint two years ago that set off the European Union’s investigation, have grown frustrated with its powerful position. They argue it allows Apple to undercut competitors to services like Apple Music and charge an unfair tax on developers.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Bolsonaro has insulted many other countries. Now Brazil needs their help, Terrence McCoy, May 1, 2021 (print ed.). Global leaders’ reaction to Brazil’s devastating coronavirus outbreak has been muted, compared to the rush of support given to India.

brazil flag wavingTwo developing countries, enormous in population and geography, in the grip of devastating coronavirus outbreaks. Hospitals running out of supplies. Patients turned away. A new jair bolsonaro brazilvariant everywhere. Outside help desperately needed.

For India, upended by record infection rates, the world has responded. The White House this week touted the delivery of more than $100 million in supplies. Singapore and Thailand sent oxygen. Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the United Kingdom would do “all it can.”

But for Brazil, which has buried some 140,000 coronavirus victims in the past two months, the international response has been more muted. President Jair Bolsonaro in March called on international organizations to help. A group of state governors asked the United Nations for “humanitarian aid.” The Brazilian ambassador to the European Union begged two weeks ago for help: “It’s a race against time to save many lives in Brazil.”

 

U.S. Crime, Police, Race, Courts

josh duggar mug

Josh Duggar is seen in this booking photo following his arrest in Arkansas on Thursday, April 29, 2021.

CNNCNN, Josh Duggar arrested, indicted on child pornography charges, Dakin Andone and Gregory Lemos, May 1, 2021 (print ed.). Former reality TV star Joshua Duggar has been arrested on federal charges related to the possession of child pornography, according to the US Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Arkansas.

Duggar allegedly downloaded material that depicted the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12, the US attorney’s office said in a statement. Duggar allegedly possessed the material in May 2019.

Duggar, the oldest son of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, whose family was the subject of the TLC show “19 Kids and Counting,” faces two charges, the indictment shows — one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 if convicted, the statement said.

Duggar was arrested in Arkansas Thursday, according to the statement. He appeared in federal court Friday via video conference and pleaded not guilty to both charges.

“We intend to defend this case aggressively and thoroughly. In this country, no one can stop prosecutors from charging a crime. But when you’re accused, you can fight back in the courtroom — and that is exactly what Josh intends to do,” Duggar’s attorneys Justin Gelfand, Travis W. Story and Greg Payne said in an email to CNN Friday.

Duggar is set to appear in court again on May 5 for a detention hearing. The trial is currently scheduled for July 6, Judge Erin Wiedemann said.

This is not Duggar’s first time making headlines.

TLC canceled the reality television show in 2015 after reports surfaced that Duggar allegedly molested girls when he was a teenager. Duggar was never charged in relation to those allegations.
That same year, Duggar admitted that he had used Ashley Madison, a website designed to help married people cheat on their spouses, after his name was released when the website was hacked.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar posted a statement on their family website about the “very serious accusations” Duggar is facing.

“We appreciate your continued prayers for our family at this time. The accusations brought against Joshua today are very serious. It is our prayer that the truth, no matter what it is, will come to light, and that this will all be resolved in a timely manner. We love Josh and Anna and continue to pray for their family,” they said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Chauvin’s ‘particular cruelty’ should mean harsher sentence, AG argues, Timothy Bella, May 1, 2021 Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder and manslaughter charges, deserved a more severe sentence after he inflicted “gratuitous pain” on George Floyd last year, said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D).

The Minnesota attorney general is seeking a harsher prison sentence for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin due to the “particular cruelty” he showed in the murder of George Floyd last year, according to court documents filed Friday.

Keith Ellison (D) argued in a legal briefing that Chauvin, who was convicted on murder and manslaughter charges last week, deserved a more severe sentence after the officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes and showed a lack of remorse for the 46-year-old Black man as he yelled out for his mother while detained.

“Mr. Floyd was treated with particular cruelty,” Ellison wrote in the 26-page briefing to Hennepin County District Court. He added, “Defendant continued to maintain his position atop Mr. Floyd even as Mr. Floyd cried out that he was in pain, even as Mr. Floyd exclaimed 27 times that he could not breathe, and even as Mr. Floyd said that Defendant’s actions were killing him.”
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Chauvin, who is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25, faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree unintentional murder. Judge Peter Cahill would have to find there were “aggravating factors” in Floyd’s death to go above the 12½-year sentence recommended under state sentencing guidelines for the murder charge of someone without a previous record. Prosecutors did not say in the filing how much time they are seeking Chauvin to serve.

 djt looking up

Palmer Report, Opinion: No, Trump and his people aren’t going to magically “get away with it all,” Bill Palmer, May 1, 2021 The DOJ just raided the homes of Rudy Giuliani and Victoria Toensing in relation bill palmerto their roles in the Trump-Ukraine scandal. The DOJ also just filed a multimillion dollar suit against Roger Stone. And the DOJ has a cooperating witness in Joel Greenberg who has stated in writing that Matt Gaetz is guilty of everything. This past week has finally shattered the defeatist “they’re going to get away with it all” narrative, right?

You’d think. But the most defeatist of liberal pundits are already trying to find ways to spin all of these developments as somehow either bad or pointless. Some of them are insisting that because Bill Barr paused the probe into Rudy, it gave Rudy time to destroy the evidence against himself, which means Rudy is magically getting away with it all!

bill palmer report logo headerNothing comes within a million miles of working that way, of course. The Feds have typically obtained someone’s electronic communications from their service providers before a raid even occurs, and it was reported this week that the Feds have had his electronic communications since 2019. If Rudy did destroy any of his phones, then not only was that evidence not actually destroyed, it means the Feds can tack on obstruction of justice charges on top of everything else.

You can go down the line and poke holes in every one of the doomsday deflections being floated by the most defeatist of pundits. They say that Joel Greenberg won’t be viewed as reliable witness by a jury. And they’re right. But if Greenberg’s claims about Matt Gaetz are true, then Greenberg can surely point the Feds to receipts, paperwork, and other more reliable witnesses who can corroborate it all.

The bottom line is still the same thing that it was back in November. If Trump had won the election, or if he had come close enough to convince the courts to give him the election, then he and his people would indeed have gotten away with it all. But the minute Trump was declared the loser of the 2020 election, it was a guarantee that he and his guilty associates would all go down. It’s just how things work. You’d have to be lost in a total haze of defeatism to somehow convince yourself otherwise.

Yet we still have a segment of liberal pundits who decided a long time ago that defeatism is their brand, because doomsday proclamations are always good for getting attention. Liberal political punditry is such a perversely upside down industry, the liberal pundits who feed you the doomsday stuff are actually lauded for supposedly telling it like it is, whereas liberal pundits who factually point out that not everything is on fire are accused of just telling you what you want to hear.

washington post logoWashington Post, FBI was aware prominent Americans, including Giuliani, were targeted by Russian influence operation, Ellen Nakashima, Shane Harris and Tom Hamburger, May 1, 2021. The FBI became aware in late 2019 that Rudolph W. Giuliani was the target of a Russian influence operation aimed at circulating falsehoods intended to damage President Biden politically ahead of last year’s election, according to people familiar with the matter.

Officials planned to warn Giuliani as part of an extensive effort by the bureau to alert members of Congress and at least one conservative media outlet, One America News, that they faced a risk of being used to further Russia’s attempt to influence the election’s outcome, said several current and former U.S. officials. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains highly sensitive.

Correction: An earlier version of this story, published Thursday, incorrectly reported that One America News was warned by the FBI that it was the target of a Russian influence operation. That version also said the FBI had provided a similar warning to Rudolph W. Giuliani, which he has since disputed. This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings.

Law&Crime, Three Cops from Two Law Enforcement Agencies Accused of Firing Guns During Booze-Fueled Night; Two Have Since Been Fired, Colin Kalmbacher, May 1, 2021. Three off-duty members of two North Carolina law enforcement agencies stand accused of firing their weapons within the city limits of a small town during an alcohol-infused night in early April.

According to Raleigh-Durham-based ABC affiliate WTVD, two off-duty Chatham County deputies and one Siler City police sergeant were discovered by members of the Pittsboro Police Department after callers reported shots fired near several civic buildings. 

 

 

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