Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative news and views in November 2022
- Washington Post, Supreme Court clears way for Sen. Graham to testify in Ga. election probe
- Washington Post, Brazilian President Bolsonaro doesn’t concede loss to Lula but will let transition begin
- Politico, Ringleader of Trump-aligned election officials nears Nevada takeover,
- New York Times, Biden Accuses Oil Companies of ‘War Profiteering’ and Threatens Windfall Tax
- New York Times, Saudi Aramco reported quarterly profits of $42 billion
- New York Times, Food Prices Soar, and So Do Companies’ Profits
- New York Times, The Pandemic Generation Goes to College. It Has Not Been Easy
- Washington Post, U.S. Elections Live Updates: GOP push to monitor voting in Texas’s Harris County spurs outcry
- Washington Post, Justice Dept. says ballot drop box monitoring in Ariz. is likely illegal
U.S. Courts, Immigration, Race, Bigotry, Regulation
- New York Times, Man Planned to Kidnap Nancy Pelosi and Break Her Kneecaps, Prosecutors Say
- New York Times, Republicans are continuing to spread baseless claims about the attack
- Washington Post, Supreme Court seems open to ending affirmative action in college admissions
- New York Times, Supreme Court Hears Affirmative Action Arguments
- Washington Post, Chicago drive-by among 9 U.S. mass shootings on Halloween weekend
- Washington Post, Kansas woman who led ISIS battalion gets 20 years in prison
- Associated Press via Politico, Men exonerated in Malcolm X killing to receive $36 million
More On Threats To U.S. Democracy, Rights, Security
- Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: A white Christian nationalist state produced Musk, Thiel, and other fascists among us, Wayne Madsen
- Washington Post, Elon Musk, right-wing figures push misinformation about Pelosi attack, Isaac Stanley-Becker
- Washington Post, Alleged assailant filled blog with delusional thoughts in days before Pelosi attack
- Politico, Top Republicans deny any link between GOP rhetoric and Paul Pelosi assault
- New York Times, Suit by Meadows Seeking to Block Jan. 6 Panel’s Subpoenas Is Dismissed
U.S. Politics, Elections, Economy, Governance
- Washington Post, Oz’s medical research was rejected in 2003, resulting in 2-year ban by association
- Washington Post, Opinion: If today’s GOP baffles you, consider what motivates its base, Jennifer Rubin
- Washington Post, Opinion: Before you throw the bums out, at least research the new bums first, Catherine Rampell
- Washington Post, Perspective: Never underestimate how much people hate Nancy Pelosi, Monica Hesse
- New York Times, In Close, Crucial Governor’s Races, Poll Finds Sharp Split on Election
- New York Times, Live U.S. Political Updates: President Biden will campaign in Florida with one week to go until the midterms
- TNew York Times, Opinion: The Truth About America’s Economic Recovery, Paul Krugman
- New York Times, Opinion: If Oregon Turns Red, Whose Fault Will That Be? Michelle Goldberg
- New York Times, Senate Control Hinges on Neck-and-Neck Races, Times/Siena Poll Finds
Trump-Related Trials, Probes, Election Deniers
- Washington Post, Jan. 6 panel interviews Secret Service spokesperson about Cassidy Hutchinson testimony
- Washington Post, Second Oath Keepers cooperator says he saw Jan. 6 as ‘Bastille-type’ moment
- Washington Post, Roberts temporarily delays release of Trump tax records
- Washington Post, Opening statements begin in Trump Organization’s criminal trial
- New York Times, Inquiry Scrutinizes Trump Allies’ False Claims About Election Worker
Top Global, Human Rights News
- Washington Post, Netanyahu clinches just enough votes to return to power, Israeli exit polls show
- New York Times, After Election Defeat, Bolsonaro Is Silent, and Brazil Braces for Turmoil
- Washington Post, Roads blocked, flights canceled as Bolsonaro still silent on Brazil election
- Washington Post, Seoul police got desperate calls hours before first deaths in Halloween crowd crush
- New York Times, Israel Holds Fifth Parliamentary Election in Less Than Four Years
- Politico, Kremlin accused of ‘weaponizing food’ in halt of Ukraine grain deal
- Washington Post, Iran charges female journalists who helped break Amini’s story with being CIA spies
- Washington Post, South Koreans confront the trauma of the Halloween crowd crush
More On Ukraine War
- New York Times, 2-Minute Showers and a Flotilla of Gas Shipments: Europe Braces for Winter
- Washington Post, Ukraine Live Updates: Zelensky accuses Russia of worsening food crisis as Kremlin warns it may block exports
- New York Times, Live Updates: More Grain Ships Set Sail Amid Questions About Their Safety
- New York Times, Opinion: Putin Says Ukraine Doesn’t Exist. That’s Why He’s Trying to Destroy It, Olesya Khromeychuk
- Washington Post, Ukraine Live Updates: Power, water outages in Kyiv, key cities after strikes on infrastructure
Media, Sports, Culture, Education
- New York Times, Christina Applegate Pours One Out for ‘Dead to Me,’ Alexis Soloski
- New York Times, Judge Blocks Merger of Top U.S. Book Publisher and a Main Rival
- New York Times, Company Backed by J.D. Vance Gives Platform for Russian Propaganda
- New York Times, Truth Social’s Influence Grows Despite Its Business Problems
- New York Times, Elon Musk, Plus a Circle of Confidants, Tightens Control Over Twitter
- New York Times, Can Elon Musk Make the Math Work on Owning Twitter? It’s Dicey
- Washington Post, Musk’s inner circle worked through the weekend to cement Twitter layoff plans
- Washington Post, Twitter wants to charge for verification. Here’s what you need to know
- Washington Post, Musk mulls Twitter verification charge, barters with Stephen King on fee
- Washington Post, Taylor Swift claims every spot in the Billboard Top 10, making music history
- Washington Post, Rapper Takeoff of the group Migos fatally shot in Houston, his representative confirms to AP
- Washington Post, It’s true, Martin Luther King Jr. paid the hospital bill when actress Julia Roberts was born
Climate, Hurricanes, Drought, Energy Issues
- New York Times, What Do America’s Middle Schools Teach About Climate Change? Not Much
- New York Times, Consumers spent $4 billion from 2019 to 2021 on furniture in the United States
Pandemic, Public Health, Abortion Bans, #MeToo
- New York Times, Hospitalizations Rise as Wave of Viruses Hits New York
- Washington Post, For those still trying to duck covid, the isolation is worse than ever
Washington Post, Supreme Court clears way for Sen. Graham to testify in Ga. election probe, Robert Barnes, Nov. 1, 2022. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) wants Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) to testify before a grand jury about calls he made to Georgia election officials as President Donald Trump was contesting the 2020 election results.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request from Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) to spare him from testifying before a Georgia grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the election defeat of former president Donald Trump.
There were no noted dissents to the court’s short order.
Graham had claimed that his actions were legitimate legislative activity protected by the Constitution’s “speech or debate clause” and that he was protected from disclosing them to a grand jury.
But Tuesday’s unsigned order said lower courts already had protected him from questioning that related to his official duties.
Washington Post, Brazilian President Bolsonaro doesn’t concede loss to Lula but will let transition begin, Anthony Faiola, Gabriela Sá Pessoa and Paulina Villegas, Nov. 1, 2022. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro emerged from his post-election silence to thank supporters and his chief of staff said he would begin a transition to President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro emerged from his post-election silence Tuesday to thank those who voted for him, and his chief of staff said the president had authorized him to begin a transition to President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro didn’t directly concede defeat in the election Sunday, or direct his supporters to stop blockading highways across the country. But the move eased fears he would follow the example of his ally, former president Donald Trump, refusing to accept the result and dragging his nation into a constitutional crisis.
Electoral authorities declared Lula, a two-time former president the winner of the election at around 8 p.m. Sunday. Bolsonaro’s brief statement Tuesday was his first in 44 hours, a period during which his supporters set up hundreds of roadblocks across the country, shutting down traffic and causing flights to be canceled and fuel prices to spike.
Politico, Ringleader of Trump-aligned election officials nears Nevada takeover, Elena Schneider and Zach Montellaro, Nov. 1, 2022. Republican Jim Marchant is locked in a close race for secretary of state in Nevada.
A leading proponent of the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen is on the verge of becoming the chief elections official in Nevada — which would put him in charge of running the vote in the critical swing state for the 2024 presidential election.
If Republican Jim Marchant wins his close secretary of state race, he could fundamentally reshape elections here, with enormous ramifications for how they are run in Nevada. He has called for eliminating mail voting, curtailing early voting and pushing for hand counts of ballots — despite evidence that the practice is more error-prone than using machines — and could generally make it more difficult to vote in the state. If he refused to certify accurate election results down the road, it could sow chaos in the state and nationally.
And Marchant is not alone: He is a leader of a group of hard-right, election-denying candidates in Michigan, Arizona and elsewhere who have similar beliefs. At a rally with former President Donald Trump last month, Marchant promised that his class of pro-Trump secretaries of state would “fix the whole country and President Trump is going to be president again in 2024.”
New York Times, Biden Accuses Oil Companies of ‘War Profiteering’ and Threatens Windfall Tax, Peter Baker and Clifford Krauss, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). President Biden has been eager to redirect public anger over gas prices as Democrats try to keep power in Congress.
President Biden threatened on Monday to seek a new windfall profits tax on major oil and gas companies unless they ramp up production to curb the price of gasoline at the pump, an escalation of his battle with the energy industry just a week before the midterm elections.
The president lashed out against the giant firms as several of them reported the latest surge in profits, which he called an “outrageous” bonanza stemming from Russia’s war on Ukraine. He warned them to use the money to expand oil supplies or return it to consumers in the form of price reductions.
“If they don’t, they’re going to pay a higher tax on their excess profits and face other restrictions,” Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House. “My team will work with Congress to look at these options that are available to us and others. It’s time for these companies to stop war profiteering, meet their responsibilities to this country, give the American people a break and still do very well.”
The president’s embrace of new taxes on the energy industry heartened liberals in his party who have been urging him to take action for months. But it was more of a way to pressure the oil firms than a realistic policy prescription for the short term given that Congress is not even in session and would be even less likely to approve such a measure if Republicans capture one or both houses in next week’s election.
New York Times, Saudi Aramco reported quarterly profits of $42 billion, Stanley Reed, Nov. 1, 2022. The bumper earnings from the world’s largest oil company were, nonetheless, a slight decline on the previous quarter.
New York Times, Food Prices Soar, and So Do Companies’ Profits, Isabella Simonetti and Julie Creswell, Nov. 1, 2022. Some companies and restaurants have continued to raise prices on consumers even after their own inflation-related costs have been covered.
A year ago, a bag of potato chips at the grocery store cost an average of $5.05. These days, that bag costs $6.05. A dozen eggs that could have been picked up for $1.83 now average $2.90. A two-liter bottle of soda that cost $1.78 will now set you back $2.17.
Something else is also much higher: corporate profits.
In mid-October, PepsiCo, whose prices for its drinks and chips were up 17 percent in the latest quarter from year-earlier levels, reported that its third-quarter profit grew more than 20 percent. Likewise, Coca-Cola reported profit up 14 percent from a year earlier, thanks in large part to price increases.
Restaurants keep getting more expensive, too. Chipotle Mexican Grill, which said prices by the end of the year would be nearly 15 percent higher than a year earlier, reported $257.1 million in profit in the latest quarter, up nearly 26 percent from a year earlier.
Washington Post, U.S. Elections Live Updates: GOP push to monitor voting in Texas’s Harris County spurs outcry, Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Amy Gardner, Nov. 1, 2022. The conflict is centered on Houston, where Republicans say more scrutiny of the process is needed. Democrats say GOP efforts could scare off voters.
With a week to go before Election Day, a showdown is emerging between state and local leaders here over how to protect the security of the vote without intimidating voters and election workers.
The clash is playing out in Harris County, Texas’s largest jurisdiction and home to Houston, where state and local Republicans are deploying monitors to oversee the handling of ballots in the Democratic enclave. Local Democratic officials have said the move is an effort to intimidate voters — and asked the Justice Department to send federal observers in response.
The result could be a partisan showdown, in which two different sets of monitors face off on Election Day in this giant metro region. That’s not including the thousands of partisan poll watchers who are expected to fan out at voting locations across Texas.
Washington Post, Justice Dept. says ballot drop box monitoring in Ariz. is likely illegal, Tom Hamburger and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Nov. 1, 2022. Intimidation, threats and coercion violate federal Voting Rights Act, the department wrote in a brief filed Monday.
The Justice Department stepped in to an ongoing Arizona election lawsuit Monday, supporting a claim by the League of Women Voters of Arizona that monitoring ballot drop boxes can amount to illegal voter intimidation.
The department said such “vigilante ballot security measures,” including filming voters at drop boxes, probably violates the federal Voting Rights Act.
“When private citizens form ‘ballot security forces’ and attempt to take over the State’s legitimate role of overseeing and policing elections, the risk of voter intimidation — and violating federal law — is significant,” the department said in a “statement of interest” filed in the case.
The League of Women Voters alleged that several organizations planned “widespread campaigns to surveil and intimidate Arizona voters at ballot drop boxes and baselessly accuse them” of voter fraud.
The drop boxes, intended to provide a secure, convenient place to submit ballots, have become a symbol of mistrust in elections among many supporters of former president Donald Trump.
Trump and his allies nationally and in Arizona have urged supporters to monitor outdoor drop boxes, an outgrowth of the discredited film “2000 Mules” that claims drop boxes were stuffed with fraudulent ballots during the 2020 election.
News of the Justice Department filing with its strong language about voter intimidation was welcomed by voting rights advocates, and Arizona officials who have been increasingly alarmed by outside groups congregating around drop boxes and recording videos of voters and their vehicles.
“To have folks standing outside of drop boxes, armed in tactical gear, with body armor, that is unprecedented,” said Bill Gates, the chair of the Republican-led Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. The filing, Gates said, showed “that there is a limit — there’s a balance between the First Amendment rights that people have and also the right that people have to not feel intimidated when voting. That point was made very strongly.”
New York Times, The Pandemic Generation Goes to College. It Has Not Been Easy, Eliza Fawcett, Nov. 1, 2022. Students missed a lot of high school instruction. Now many are behind, especially in math, and getting that degree could be harder.
Colleges are now educating their first waves of students who experienced pandemic learning loss in high school. What they are seeing is sobering, especially because the latest dismal results from the national exam of fourth and eighth graders suggest that they could face year after year of incoming students struggling to catch up. In almost all states, there were significant declines in eighth-grade math, and most states also showed a dip in reading for fourth and eighth graders.
U.S. Courts, Crime, Bigotry, Regulation
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and husband Paul Pelosi (New York Times photo by Doug Mills in 2019).
New York Times, Man Planned to Kidnap Nancy Pelosi and Break Her Kneecaps, Prosecutors Say, Glenn Thrush, Kellen Browning and Luke Vander Ploeg, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). Intruder Wanted to Break Speaker Pelosi’s Kneecaps, Federal Complaint Says.
Federal prosecutors filed charges on Monday against the man the police said broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and struck her husband with a hammer.
Federal prosecutors charged the man accused of breaking into the San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with attempting to kidnap Ms. Pelosi and with assaulting a relative of a federal official, according to charging documents filed on Monday.
The suspect, David DePape, 42, above, was apprehended by the police at the Pelosi home in the early morning hours on Friday. The police said he forcibly entered through the back door of the house, encountered Ms. Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, 82, and, following a struggle over a hammer, struck him with it.
Mr. DePape was looking for Ms. Pelosi, who was in Washington at the time, to interrogate the speaker on an unspecified political matter, according to the federal complaint. If she told the “truth,” he would let her go; if she “lied,” he intended to break her kneecaps because he saw her as “the ‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party” and wanted her to be wheeled into Congress as a lesson to other Democrats, Mr. DePape told police officers in an interview.
He had “a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, a pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and zip ties” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, which filed the charges.
The swift action by the Justice Department in bringing federal charges — on the same day the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office filed its own charges against Mr. DePape — reflects the department’s urgency in addressing what it sees as a politically motivated crime shortly before the 2022 midterm elections. There has been a surge in threats and attacks against figures of both political parties in recent years, and Ms. Pelosi, in particular, has long been the subject of vilification and threats.
Federal prosecutors filed charges on Monday against the man the police said broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and struck her husband with a hammer.
Later on Monday, Brooke Jenkins, the San Francisco district attorney, announced additional state charges. Mr. DePape was charged with six felonies: attempted murder, residential burglary, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment of an elder and threatening family members of public officials. Mr. DePape was expected to be arraigned in superior court on Tuesday.
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Mr. Pelosi, who alerted the police, underwent surgery on Friday after sustaining a fractured skull and serious injuries to his hands and right arm, according to a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi. Mr. Pelosi remains in the intensive care unit of a San Francisco hospital, surrounded by his family, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Law enforcement officials said that Mr. DePape sustained “minor injuries” and was treated at a hospital.
The affidavit from an F.B.I. agent that accompanied the charges provided the most complete, and chilling, narrative of the break-in to date. It detailed a groggy early-morning home invasion that culminated with a single, sudden hammer blow, delivered in the presence of shocked police officers.
Mr. DePape broke a glass door and entered the residence, awakening Mr. Pelosi, who confronted him and then ducked into a bathroom to call 911 at 2:23 a.m. Officers with the San Francisco Police Department arrived eight minutes later to find the two men struggling over a hammer.
When they asked what was going on, Mr. DePape “responded that everything was good,” the agent wrote. At that moment, Mr. DePape yanked the hammer from Mr. Pelosi’s grip and struck him once in the head, rendering him unconscious on the floor.
The officers quickly restrained Mr. DePape, who told them he had left his backpack near the smashed door window on the rear porch. When they examined its contents, they found another hammer, tape, rope, two pairs of gloves — rubber and cloth — and a journal.
The police recovered the zip ties in the bedroom. Mr. DePape later told officers he had intended to tie up Mr. Pelosi until the speaker arrived home.
New York Times, Republicans are continuing to spread baseless claims about the attack, Steven Lee Myers and Stuart A. Thompson, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). Some of the conspiracy theories have already seeped into the Republican mainstream.
Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son, continues to post jokes about it.
Dinesh D’Souza, the creator of a discredited film about the 2020 election called “2000 Mules,” accused the San Francisco Police Department on Monday of covering up the facts.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, wrote that the “same mainstream media democrat activists” who questioned former President Donald J. Trump’s ties to Russia were now silencing the new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk.
The reason: Mr. Musk deleted a post linking to a newspaper that once claimed Hillary Rodham Clinton was dead when she ran for president in 2016.
In the days since Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked by an intruder asking, “Where is Nancy?”, a litany of Republicans and conservatives have spread baseless conspiracy theories about the assault and its motives.
Although the police have not yet detailed all the circumstances of the crime, these theories have already seeped into the Republican mainstream. While many Republican officials have denounced the violence, others have at the very least tolerated, and in some cases cheered, a violent assault on the spouse of a political rival.
The disinformation “isn’t just political,” said Angelo Carusone, the president and chief executive of Media Matters for America, a progressive nonprofit. “It’s much bigger than that; it’s deeper. They’re really rethinking and reshaping a lot of our norms.”
The attack on Mr. Pelosi in the couple’s home in San Francisco early on Friday morning has raised fears about the rise of political violence against elected officials — increasingly, it seems, inspired by a toxic brew of extremism, hate and paranoia that is easily found online.
The assailant, identified by the police as David DePape, 42, posted a series of notes in the days before the attack suggesting that he had fallen under the sway of right-wing conspiracy theories and antisemitism online. Some of the flurry of posts by others questioning the circumstances of the attack appeared intended to deflect attention from Mr. DePape’s views.
No top Republican lawmakers joined in peddling unfounded claims about the attack, but few denounced them, either. Mrs. Clinton, the former first lady and senator who lost to Mr. Trump in 2016, pointedly blamed the party for spreading “hate and deranged conspiracy theories.”
The five most radical right Republican justices on the Supreme Court are shown above, with the sixth Republican, Chief Justice John Roberts, omitted in this photo array.
Washington Post, Supreme Court seems open to ending affirmative action in college admissions, Ann E. Marimow, Nick Anderson, Amy B Wang, Susan Svrluga and Perry Stein, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). Conservative Supreme Court justices on Monday seemed ready to end decades of precedent allowing race-conscious admission decisions at colleges and universities, expressing doubt that the institutions would ever concede an “endpoint” in their use of race to build diverse student bodies.
After nearly five hours of oral argument, the programs at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill seemed in doubt. The question is how broad such a decision by the court’s conservative majority might be, and what it would mean for other institutions of higher education.
Overturning the court’s precedents that race can be one factor of many in making admission decisions would have “profound consequences” for “the nation that we are and the nation that we aspire to be,” Solicitor General Elizabeth. B. Prelogar told the justices during arguments in the Harvard case. She said educating a diverse group of national leaders benefited the military, medical and scientific communities and corporate America.
Here’s what to know
- Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is often a moderating force and hesitant to overturn court precedent, has long questioned race-conscious government policies and been skeptical of what he has called the “sordid business” of dividing Americans by race.
- The three Trump nominees — along with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was nominated by President Biden — do not have extensive records on cases involving racial preferences from their tenures as appeals court judges.
- Recent public opinion polling shows most Americans support a ban on the consideration of race in college admissions, but an equally strong majority backs programs to boost racial diversity on campuses.
The Supreme Court has concluded nearly five hours of argument about the legality of using race as a factor in college admissions, with the justices appearing deeply divided along ideological lines.
In his final comments, attorney Cameron Norris, representing Students for Fair Admissions, emphasized what he called the harms of racial classifications.
“They stigmatize their intended beneficiaries. They increase racial consciousness, which delays the day in which we can move to true racial neutrality. And they cause resentment by treating people differently based on something they can’t change,” he said.
New York Times, Supreme Court Hears Affirmative Action Arguments, Adam Liptak, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). The court’s conservative supermajority may be skeptical of admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina that take account of race to foster educational diversity.
The future of affirmative action in higher education is on the line in a pair of cases being argued at the Supreme Court on Monday challenging race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.
The court has repeatedly upheld similar programs, most recently in 2016, saying that educational diversity is a compelling interest that justifies taking account of race as one factor among many in admissions decisions. But the court is now dominated by a six-member conservative supermajority, one that is very likely to view the challenged programs with skepticism, imperiling more than 40 years of precedents. In June, the justices overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had established a constitutional right to abortion.
- Washington Post, The most diverse Supreme Court ever confronts affirmative action
- New York Times, Commentary: On Affirmative Action, What Once Seemed Unthinkable Might Become Real, Linda Greenhouse
- Washington Post, Opinion: Colleges will racially discriminate no matter how the Supreme Court rules, George F. Will
Washington Post, Chicago drive-by among 9 U.S. mass shootings on Halloween weekend, Annabelle Timsit, Nov. 1, 2022. At least 14 people, including three children, were injured in a drive-by shooting in Chicago’s west side on Halloween, police said. The youngest victim, a 3-year-old girl, was in serious condition with gunshot wounds to both legs.
There were no immediate reports of fatalities, though police said that could change as victims received medical care in various Chicago hospitals. Law enforcement authorities have opened a preliminary investigation and are searching for suspects, Chicago Police Superintendent David O’Neal Brown said in a news conference.
The drive-by is one of nine mass shootings that have occurred across the United States over Halloween weekend spanning Florida to California.
These incidents meet the threshold for mass shootings as defined by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research organization that tracks casualties from police statements and news reports. GVA defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are shot or killed, not including the shooter.
Associated Press via Politico, Men exonerated in Malcolm X killing to receive $36 million, Staff Report, Oct. 31, 2022. Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam were exonerated last year in the 1965 assassination.
The city of New York is settling lawsuits filed on behalf of two men who were exonerated last year for the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, agreeing to pay $26 million for the wrongful convictions which led to both men spending decades behind bars.
The state of New York will pay an additional $10 million. David Shanies, an attorney representing the men, confirmed the settlements on Sunday.
“Muhammad Aziz, Khalil Islam, and their families suffered because of these unjust convictions for more than 50 years,” said Shanies said in an email. “The City recognized the grave injustices done here, and I commend the sincerity and speed with which the Comptroller’s Office and the Corporation Counsel moved to resolve the lawsuits.”
Shanies said the settlements send a message that “police and prosecutorial misconduct cause tremendous damage, and we must remain vigilant to identify and correct injustices.”
Last year, a Manhattan judge dismissed the convictions of Aziz, now 84, and Islam, who died in 2009, after prosecutors said new evidence of witness intimidation and suppression of exculpatory evidence had undermined the case against the men. Then-District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. apologized for law enforcement’s “serious, unacceptable violations of law and the public trust.”
- New York Times, Commentary: On Affirmative Action, What Once Seemed Unthinkable Might Become Real, Linda Greenhouse
- Washington Post, Twelve more coffins found in search for Tulsa Race Massacre graves’
- Associated Press via Denver Post, Colorado man found guilty in “We Build the Wall” fraud trial
- Washington Post, The most diverse Supreme Court ever confronts affirmative action
- Washington Post, Opinion: Colleges will racially discriminate no matter how the Supreme Court rules, George F. Will
- New York Times, Elon Musk Seems to Answer to No One. Except for a Judge in Delaware
- New York Times, Texas Goes Permitless on Guns, and Police Face an Armed Public
More On Threats To U.S. Democracy, Rights, Security
Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: A white Christian nationalist state produced Musk, Thiel, and other fascists among us, Wayne Madsen, left, author, commentator and former Navy intelligence officer, Nov. 1, 2022. We should remember that the two fascist billionaires, Elon Musk, right, and Peter Thiel, below left, are products of the white Christian nationalist and racist apartheid state of South Africa.
Musk’s ownership of Twitter, the world’s third-largest social media platform, and Thiel’s unveiled attempt to insert two of his hedge fund lackeys, J. D. Vance and Blake Masters into the U.S. Senate representing Ohio and Arizona, respectively, point to the export of apartheid fascism from the Boer veldt of South Africa to the shores of the United States.
Musk was born in South Africa in 1971. For two more decades, racial segregation was the law of the land and a fascist white nationalist surveillance state ensured compliance with that law.
It should be noted that several members of South Africa’s black, mixed race, and subcontinental Indian descent communities gladly participated in apartheid’s sham of a democracy.
New York Times, Suit by Meadows Seeking to Block Jan. 6 Panel’s Subpoenas Is Dismissed, Luke Broadwater, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). The decision does not necessarily mean the committee will get the information it is seeking.
A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit by Mark Meadows, the final chief of staff for President Donald J. Trump, that sought to block two subpoenas from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, including one to Verizon for Mr. Meadows’s phone and text data.
In throwing out the suit, Judge Carl J. Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that the committee’s subpoenas were covered under the Constitution’s speech or debate clause, which he said protected them from civil suits as legislative actions.
The decision is the latest chapter in a nearly yearlong legal battle between Mr. Meadows and the committee, but it is unlikely to be the final one that delivers investigators what they have been seeking.
Mr. Meadows can appeal. (His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.) And with the committee almost certain to shut down if Republicans win control of the House, as expected, in next week’s elections, the panel is most likely running out of time.
Despite his decision, the judge said a number of matters raised by Mr. Meadows remained unsettled, including whether a senior aide to a former president can be compelled to testify before Congress; whether a former president can validly assert executive privilege; and whether a sitting president may override a former president’s claim of privilege.
Mr. Meadows was deeply involved in planning efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election, repeatedly pushing the Justice Department to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories, strategizing with members of Congress and communicating with organizers of the rally on Jan. 6, 2021, that preceded the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
Mr. Meadows filed suit in December against Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the committee, accusing the panel of issuing “two overly broad and unduly burdensome subpoenas” for his records.
Before filing suit, Mr. Meadows turned over thousands of pages of documents to the committee, including more than 2,300 text messages that served as key evidence for jump-starting the panel’s investigation. But he refused the committee’s subpoena to sit for a deposition and withheld more than 1,000 documents he said were covered by executive privilege.
He also objected to the committee’s subpoena to Verizon, which sought metadata from one of his phones but not the content of any communications.
In response, the committee recommended that Mr. Meadows, a former congressman from North Carolina, be charged with contempt of Congress.
But after the House sent a referral against Mr. Meadows to the Justice Department, the agency declined to prosecute the case, making it all but certain Mr. Meadows would never testify.
In a related matter, Justice Elena Kagan last week temporarily blocked a similar subpoena from the committee for the phone records of Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party.
In Ms. Ward’s case, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, rejected a request to block a subpoena seeking metadata information about calls between November 2020 and January 2021.
The subpoena did not seek information about the content or location of the calls.
Ms. Ward argued that the subpoena infringed on her First Amendment right to freedom of association.
Inquiries into efforts to subvert the 2020 presidential election have given rise to a wide array of litigation, but only a few cases have reached the Supreme Court.
In January, the Supreme Court refused a request from Mr. Trump to block the release of White House records concerning the Jan. 6 attack, effectively rejecting Mr. Trump’s claim of executive privilege and clearing the way for the House committee to start receiving the documents hours later.
Recent Relevant Headlines
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- Washington Post, Opinion: American Jews start to think the unthinkable, Dana Milbank
- Washington Post, Analysis: Assault of Paul Pelosi was attack on democracy. The risks keep growing, Dan Balz
- Washington Post, Attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband follows years of GOP demonizing her
- New York Times, Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Is Seriously Injured in Hammer Attack by Intruder
- New York Times, Pelosi Attack Highlights Rising Fears of Political Violence
U.S. Politics, Economy, Governance
Washington Post, Oz’s medical research was rejected in 2003, resulting in 2-year ban by association, Lenny Bernstein and Colby Itkowitz, Nov. 1, 2022. At issue were questions about the strength of the data used by Oz to reach an important medical conclusion, according to several of those who recalled the events.
In May 2003, Mehmet Oz was the senior author on a study that explored a hot topic at the time: Whether heart bypass surgery conducted with the aid of a heart-lung machine impaired a patient’s cognitive function more than surgery conducted without the machine.
Oz’s research was scheduled to lead off the scientific session of the 83rd annual American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) conference, according to a program from the event, where physicians in that specialty convene to discuss developments in their field. But Oz was forced to withdraw his work and was banned from presenting research to the organization for the next two years, according to seven people familiar with the events, whose account of his ban was confirmed by the Oz campaign. Oz is now the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.
He was also prohibited from publishing his work in the society’s medical journal for the same period of time, according to the people familiar with the events, four of whom recalled details of the controversy on the record. Three others spoke on the condition of anonymity to more openly discuss a sensitive subject that reflects on Oz’s reputation. Some of Oz’s 15 co-authors on the abstract did not respond to requests for comment. The Oz campaign did not respond to questions about the journal.
Washington Post, Opinion: If today’s GOP baffles you, consider what motivates its base, Jennifer Rubin, right, Nov. 1, 2022. How can so many people buy into false election fraud claims, climate change denialism or panic over White people being “replaced”? How can they vote for manifestly unfit Republicans such as Georgia U.S. Senate nominee Herschel Walker or Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano?
For answers, turn to the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Survey, which provides insight into the beliefs of White evangelical Christians, who make up the core of the GOP. It reveals a lot about what they think and why they vote the way they do.
A striking 71 percent of these voters think the country has gone downhill since the 1950s (when women were excluded from most professions, Black Americans faced barriers to voting, 50 million Americans still used outhouses and only about 5 percent of Americans were college-educated). Because White Protestant evangelicals make up such a large share of the GOP, that means 66 percent of Republicans want to go back to the time of “Leave It to Beaver.”
Half of White evangelical Protestants also think God intended America to be the promised land. Nearly two-thirds say immigrants are a threat, and 61 percent say “society has become too soft and feminine.” And they are the only discrete religious group polled to support overturning Roe v. Wade.
Washington Post, Opinion: Before you throw the bums out, at least research the new bums first, Catherine Rampell, right, Nov. 1, 2022. Voters are mad about inflation and crime, which have both climbed on Democrats’ watch. Perhaps understandably, Americans appear tempted to try Republican leadership again.
Yet if voters do a little research, they’ll learn they’re still better off with the devil they know than the one they don’t.
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The signs are ominous: A recent CNN story featured an undecided voter in Arizona being aggressively courted by Republicans. “Biden promised many things, but I feel like he hasn’t delivered,” the woman, Maria Melgoza, said through a translator. “And the other party, I don’t know much about it.”
In just a few words, Melgoza summed up the 2022 campaign season: widespread discontent with the Democrats; little familiarity with what the GOP might do differently; a core willingness to believe that whatever Republicans have in store, it has to be better than today’s situation.
This is a very bad assumption.
Anger over current conditions is reasonable. Inflation remains painfully high, and Democrats played down its consequences for far too long. Democrats have been slow to deploy what few tools they have available to modestly reduce price pressures (e.g., tariff repeal; waiving restrictions that limit which ships can transport oil and other products; fixing backlogs in the legal immigration system, which contribute to worker shortages).
Instead, Democrats are preoccupied with strategies that will not lower prices: demagoguing about “corporate greed” (an apparent effort to shame companies into more altruistic pricing); demanding price controls; or haranguing the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates.
Likewise, Democrats have been too dismissive of concerns about crime, blaming the media for stoking citizens’ fears.
Washington Post, Perspective: Never underestimate how much people hate Nancy Pelosi, Monica Hesse, right, Nov. 1, 2022. If you’re surprised by the attack on Pelosi’s husband, or the right-wing smirking about it, you haven’t been paying attention.
I’m not talking about the man who allegedly attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband with hammer, but rather about the people who learned about the assault — a skull fracture requiring hospitalization — and whose reaction was to tweet (or, in the case of Donald Trump Jr., retweet) an image of a hammer and a pair of underwear with the text, “Got my Paul Pelosi Halloween costume ready.”
To fully appreciate the joke, you’d have to be up to speed on an insane conspiracy theory that — honestly, I’m not going to get into it here. You’d also have to appreciate that posts like this (and there were many like them) are not just jokes. They’re not rhetorical escalations. They’re not dirty politics, either, though it’s easy in this political climate to wish that they were simply that, and to hope that a fair-and-square election might simmer everything down.
It’s about this: people hate her. Specifically her. They hate this woman who is rich, and coastal, and powerful, and who was thankfully not at home with her husband in California because she was instead in Washington, working on legislation that they also hate. Nancy Pelosi gets devil horns on Etsy mugs, witch hats on posters. In memes, she’s a harpy, she’s a hag, she’s a prostitute for Barack Obama or Joe Biden.
After this traumatic and terrifying thing happened to Pelosi and her husband, the reaction of many on the right was to turn it into a punchline.
New York Times, Senate Control Hinges on Neck-and-Neck Races, Times/Siena Poll Finds, Lisa Lerer and Ruth Igielnik, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). The contests are close in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Many voters want Republicans to flip the Senate, but prefer the Democrat in their state.
Control of the Senate rests on a knife’s edge, according to new polls by The New York Times and Siena College, with Republican challengers in Nevada and Georgia neck-and-neck with Democratic incumbents, and the Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania clinging to what appears to be a tenuous advantage.
The bright spot for Democrats in the four key states polled was in Arizona, where Senator Mark Kelly is holding a small but steady lead over his Republican challenger, Blake Masters.
The results indicate a deeply volatile and unpredictable Senate contest: More people across three of the states surveyed said they wanted Republicans to gain control of the Senate, but they preferred the individual Democratic candidates in their states — a sign that Republicans may be hampered by the shortcomings of their nominees.
New York Times, In Close, Crucial Governor’s Races, Poll Finds Sharp Split on Elections, Reid J. Epstein and Ruth Igielnik, Nov. 1, 2022. In Arizona, voters are divided on whether to elect a Trump-backed election denier. In Pennsylvania, they appear likely to reject a similarly minded Republican.
Republicans are running dead even or slightly ahead in races for governor that could change the future of elections in Arizona and end Democrats’ hold on Nevada, according to new polling of four key battleground states from The New York Times and Siena College.
The stakes are highest in Arizona, where the Republican nominee for governor, Kari Lake, has relentlessly pushed the false notion that the 2020 election was stolen. She is locked in a tight race with Katie Hobbs, the Democratic secretary of state, who rose to national prominence for defending Arizona’s 2020 voting procedures.
In Nevada, Joe Lombardo, a Republican sheriff who has walked a line between his party’s moderate and Trump wings, holds a slim lead over Gov. Steve Sisolak in a contest that could push the state firmly to the right, if Republicans win control of the Legislature.
Pennsylvania voters, however, appear likely to reject Doug Mastriano, a struggling far-right Republican who has vowed to transform the state’s election system, preferring by a wide margin Josh Shapiro, the state’s Democratic attorney general.
New York Times, Live U.S. Political Updates: President Biden will campaign in Florida with one week to go until the midterms, Maggie Astor, Nov. 1, 2022. Candidates are making their final pitches in midterm contests that will set the balance of power in Congress and state capitols around the country.
It’s officially November, which means October surprises are no longer allowed and it’s all smooth sailing from here to Election Day.
Just kidding. The midterms are exactly one week away, which is plenty of time for, well, anything. We’re here to guide you through it all. Here’s what to know.
New York Times, Opinion: The Truth About America’s Economic Recovery, Paul Krugman, right, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). As we approach the midterm elections, most political coverage I see frames the contest as a struggle between Republicans taking advantage of a bad economy and Democrats trying to scare voters about the G.O.P.’s regressive social agenda. Voters do, indeed, perceive a bad economy. But perceptions don’t necessarily match reality.
In particular, while political reporting generally takes it for granted that the economy is in bad shape, the data tell a different story. Yes, we have troublingly high inflation. But other indicators paint a much more favorable picture. If inflation can be brought down without a severe recession — which seems like a real possibility — future historians will consider economic policy in the face of the pandemic a remarkable success story.
When assessing the state of the economy, what period should we use for comparison? I’ve noted before that Republicans like to compare the current economy with an imaginary version of January 2021, one in which gas was $2 a gallon but less pleasant realities, like sky-high deaths from Covid and deeply depressed employment, are airbrushed from the picture. A much better comparison is with February 2020, just before the pandemic hit with full force.
So how does the current economy compare with the eve of the pandemic?
First, we’ve had a more or less complete recovery in jobs and production. The unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent, is right back where it was before the virus struck. So is the percentage of prime-age adults employed. Gross domestic product is close to what the Congressional Budget Office was projecting prepandemic.
New York Times, Opinion: If Oregon Turns Red, Whose Fault Will That Be? Michelle Goldberg, right, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). An ad for one of the candidates for governor of Oregon begins with shots of trash and the tarp-covered tent encampments that line many of Portland’s streets.
“Nobody in Oregon would say, ‘Let’s keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing,’” says the candidate. She continues, “I called for a homelessness state of emergency nearly three years ago, while Kate Brown” — the current Democratic governor — “did nothing.”
It’s not a surprising message in a campaign in which homelessness and crime are central issues. What’s surprising is the messenger: Tina Kotek, the former Democratic speaker of the Oregon House, running to succeed Brown.
Kotek’s ad is a sign of the indefensibility of the status quo in one of the country’s most progressive cities, and of the unexpected political peril Oregon Democrats face as a result. Most polls show that her opponent, Christine Drazan, the former Republican minority leader in Oregon’s House, has a slight lead in the race. If Drazan wins, it will be a sign that no place is immune to the right’s message on public disorder, whose resonance is also making Gov. Kathy Hochul’s race to keep her post in New York uncomfortably close.
A Republican hasn’t won the Oregon governor’s race in 40 years. And while progressive states electing G.O.P. governors is nothing new, Drazan — like New York’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, Lee Zeldin — is far more conservative than the Rockefeller-style Republicans who lead Massachusetts and Vermont. She has an A rating from the N.R.A. and an endorsement from Oregon Right to Life, meaning that just months after the end of Roe v. Wade, Oregon could end up with an abortion opponent in charge.
Some Oregon Democrats argue that Drazan’s competitiveness is a fluke, a product of the well-funded spoiler campaign being run by Betsy Johnson, a centrist ex-Democrat who has received $3.75 million from the Nike co-founder Phil Knight.
But that doesn’t explain why so many Democrats are willing to defect to Johnson in the first place. (FiveThirtyEight’s polling average has her getting 13.8 percent of the vote.) Nor does it explain why Democrats are struggling in congressional districts neighboring Portland. The Cook Political Report rates Oregon’s Sixth District, which went for Joe Biden by 13 points, a tossup, even though the Republican nominee is, like Georgia’s Herschel Walker, an abortion opponent who reportedly paid for the abortion of a woman he dated.
“Four of our six House seats could end up in red territory,” Senator Jeff Merkley told me after a rally here with Kotek and Bernie Sanders. The fact that Sanders was in Oregon in the first place — Biden and Elizabeth Warren have also come through — is a sign of how shaky things are for Democrats in the formerly safely blue state.
Part of the story here is about the national political environment, but it’s also about the catastrophe of homelessness in Portland, which, as in other West Coast cities, looks very different than on the East Coast.New York has a higher rate of homelessness than Oregon, but a larger percentage of people sleeping in shelters than on the streets.
By contrast, in Multnomah County, which includes much of Portland, most people experiencing homelessness sleep either in tents or vehicles. The tents line streets and fill parking lots; they are a constant reminder that we’re living through a time of widespread social collapse.
There is no reason to believe that Drazan has a viable plan to fix a hellishly complex problem. Most of her proposals, aside from repealing Measure 110, the drug decriminalization ballot initiative Portland passed in 2020, are vague. But the manifest failure of Democrats to make things better has created a runway for her and others like her. “Instead of enabling homelessness, we must balance our approach with a mind-set of both compassion and accountability,” Drazan told Oregon Public Broadcasting. It’s not surprising that this message is resonating.
- New York Times, Biden’s Agenda Hangs in the Balance if Republicans Take Congress
- Washington Post, Opinion: Biden is making the most of good economic news, Jennifer Rubin
- Washington Post, Opinion: Meet the billionaire taking on L.A.’s progressive machine, Jason Willick
- CNN, See Obama’s response when heckler interrupts his speech
- Washington Post, Obama’s new role for Democrats: The closer
- Washington Post, How one small-town lawyer faced down the plans of election skeptics, Stephanie McCrummen
- Washington Post, Opinion: I’m sorry I said nice things about Glenn Youngkin, Karen Tumulty
- Washington Post, Obama, Biden, Harris all hit campaign trail as Election Day nears
- Politico, The ground game that flipped the Senate is kicking back into gear
- Texas Votebeat, Two leaders of True the Vote jailed by federal judge for contempt of court
- Washington Post, New boundaries, new dynamics have Democrats hopeful in Michigan swing distric
More On Trump-Related Trials, Probes, Election Deniers
Washington Post, Second Oath Keepers cooperator says he saw Jan. 6 as ‘Bastille-type’ moment, Spencer S. Hsu, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). Graydon P. Young testifies in Rhodes seditious conspiracy trial that he thought Capitol breach at time could start a revolution: “I was acting like a traitor, someone acting against my own government.”
A star government witness in the seditious conspiracy trial of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes testified that he believed the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol could start a new American revolution potentially led by the extremist group.
“I felt like it was a ‘Bastille-type’ moment in history, like in the French Revolution,” Florida Oath Keepers member Graydon Young testified.
“I guess I was acting like a traitor, someone acting against my own government,” he said in the trial of Rhodes and four others in federal court in Washington.
The testimony on Monday of Young, 57, of the Tampa area, is critical to the prosecution. He is one of three expected witnesses who have pleaded guilty to at least one of three overlapping conspiracies in which Rhodes and others are charged. Oath Keepers co-defendants are accused of being in military-style gear in a “stack” formation outside the Capitol and with staging firearms just outside Washington.
Washington Post, Roberts temporarily delays release of Trump tax records, Robert Barnes, Nov. 1, 2022. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., right, temporarily halted the release of former president Donald Trump’s tax records to a congressional committee, and called for more briefing in the case.
Without the Supreme Court’s intervention, the records could have been handed over to the House Ways and Means Committee as early as Thursday.
Last week, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined to review earlier rulings finding that lawmakers are entitled to the documents in the long-running legal battle. The court also said it would not put the release of the papers on hold.
Roberts, the justice designated to hear emergency orders from that court, put the release on hold and called for a response from the committee by noon on Thursday.
Washington Post, Opening statements begin in Trump Organization’s criminal trial, Shayna Jacobs, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). The criminal tax fraud trial against the Trump Organization is set for opening statements Monday, with prosecutors looking to prove allegations that the company for years provided untaxed compensation for executives.
The criminal tax fraud trial against the Trump Organization is set for opening statements Monday, with prosecutors looking to prove allegations that the company for years provided untaxed compensation for executives.
The trial is the result of a three-year probe of the Trump Organization’s business practices by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and former district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. Bragg has said he is still evaluating whether former president Donald Trump committed crimes when allegedly manipulating the value of his assets to get favorable loan and interest rates, or devaluing his assets to reduce his tax liability.
Trump and three of his adult children who have served as executives at the company have not been charged personally.
The Trump Organization and Trump Payroll Corp. proceedings in New York Supreme Court could last up to six weeks and are expected to involve witnesses who still work at the company, including longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who is on paid leave, and comptroller Jeffrey McConney. Both are alleged to have orchestrated a scheme to pad the compensation packages for company executives with perks that weren’t taxed during 15 years from 2005 to 2021.
Trump Organization’s criminal trial on fraud charges to start Monday
Weisselberg was the only individual indicted with the companies. He pleaded guilty in August and agreed to testify at the organization’s trial. In exchange for his testimony, he will receive a five-month jail sentence. He had been facing up to 15 years in prison.
McConney was a grand jury witness and has been given immunity from prosecution under New York state law.
In recent days, prosecutors warned prospective jurors that some witnesses may be hesitant to testify. Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger told jurors during voir dire Thursday that some witnesses in the case are still employed by the Trump Organization and its subsidiary, and they “may be reluctant at times to answer some questions.”
“It’s understandable … They are testifying against their employers,” Hoffinger said.
The selected panel of 18 jurors includes six alternates.
The tax fraud and conspiracy case was filed in July 2021 and alleges that Weisselberg and McConney, who ran the company’s finances, kept two sets of books to reflect actual compensation, with unreported executive perks such as cars and pricey apartments, and compensation figures that were reported to state and federal tax authorities. The company is based at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
Weisselberg personally saved over $900,000 in taxes through the false reporting, according to prosecutors. He is expected to testify about his own conduct and his plea agreement limits the scope of what he’s required to discuss.
The Trump Organization and the Trump Payroll Corp. could owe a combined maximum fine of $1.6 million, if convicted.
Politico, Despite Eastman appeal, Jan. 6 committee accesses 8 disputed emails, A federal judge had ruled they were evidence of a likely crime, Kyle Cheney, Oct. 31, 2022 (print ed.). Congressional investigators have obtained eight disputed emails that attorney John Eastman — a key architect of Donald Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election — had asked a federal appeals court to shield from lawmakers.
Eastman revealed in a Sunday court filing that he delivered a link to the Jan. 6 select committee providing access to the eight emails last week — an effort to comply with a federal district court judge’s order — but asked the committee to refrain from reviewing the records while he mounted an appeal.
Instead, the select committee rejected his request, questioning whether a formal appeal had been lodged, and downloaded the documents, Eastman indicated. He is now asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to demand that the select committee return or destroy the documents — and prevent the panel from making use of them until the appeals court takes action.
“While a stay barring the production is no longer available, an order directing the return or destruction of the documents and barring further use of them pending the appeal remains a viable remedy,” Eastman’s attorney Anthony Caso wrote.
But such an order by a court against Congress would be an extraordinary step by one coequal branch against another, and would be virtually impossible to enforce. A similar effort by Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich — who asked a judge to claw back financial records from the select committee after JP Morgan provided them in December — was met with extreme skepticism from a district court judge in Washington, D.C.
Politico, Democrats turn to Obama to rescue them from a midterm shellacking, Christopher Cadelago, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). With his approval ratings sagging, Joe Biden is largely on the sidelines. Into the void has stepped his former boss, by far the party’s top surrogate.
Barack Obama joked at a campaign rally in Milwaukee over the weekend that the state’s Democratic governor — Tony Evers, the bespectacled one-time science teacher mired in a neck-and-neck race for a second term — had “more of a Clark Kent” than a Superman vibe.
“But don’t let the glasses fool you,” Obama said, chuckling.
If anyone’s looking to be rescued in this final stretch before the midterms, it’s the Democratic Party. And it’s turning, yet again, to the 44th president to save them from freefall.
With Joe Biden’s poll numbers stuck in the low 40s, the sitting president has largely been absent from the trail in the final weeks of the campaign, opting for a mix of speeches from the Washington area and headlining fundraisers. Into the void stepped his former boss, who reminded crowds over the weekend that he remains — far and away — his party’s most effective surrogate.
- Politico, Despite Eastman appeal, Jan. 6 committee accesses 8 disputed emails
- Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: The Trump administration: the worst counterintelligence disaster in U.S. history, Wayne Madsen
- Washington Post, Key Proud Boys Jan. 6 co-conspirator pleads guilty, Tarrio lawyer says
- New York Times, Appeals Court Upholds House’s Effort to See Trump’s Tax Returns
- Washington Post, White House rejects promoting general involved in Capitol riot response
- Associated Press via Denver Post, Colorado man found guilty in “We Build the Wall” fraud trial
- Washington Post, A federal court on Thursday cleared the way for Donald Trump’s records to be handed over to Democratic lawmakers
- Washington Post, Trump chief of staff Meadows ordered to testify before Ga. grand jury
- Politico, ‘He was your prey’: Jan. 6 rioter who assaulted officer gets 90 months
- New York Times, Jan. 6 Rioter Gets 5 Years’ Probation as Judge Cites Autism Diagnosis
- New York Times, Justice Kagan Temporarily Blocks Subpoena From Jan. 6 Committee
- Washington Post, Top national-security prosecutor joins Trump Mar-a-Lago investigation
Top Global, Human Rights News
Supporters of Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva celebrate the election results Sunday in Rio de Janeiro (Associated Press photo by Bruna Prado).
Washington Post, Lula defeats Bolsonaro to win third term as Brazil’s president, Anthony Faiola, Paulina Villegas and Gabriela Sá Pessoa, Oct. 31, 2022 (print ed.). Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, left, reclaimed the office Sunday on pledges to defend democracy, save the Amazon rainforest and bring social justice to Latin America’s largest nation, defeating Brazil’s Trumpian incumbent in a remarkable political comeback some three years after he walked out of a prison cell.
The victory for Lula, who served two terms as president from 2003 to 2010 — returns a leftist titan of the Global South to the world stage, where his progressive voice will stand in sharp contrast to that of right-wing — and now one-term — President Jair Bolsonaro. For Latin America, Lula’s return to the Planalto Palace adds the regional giant to a streak of wins by the left: Lula joins a club of leaders who have now bested the political right in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Honduras, Argentina and Mexico.
His win, which followed a slugfest of a campaign in a deeply divided country awash in fake news and explosive rhetoric, came amid allegations of official suppression of the vote by Bolsonaro’s allies in the police. Overall, the race sounded strong echoes of the 2020 showdown in the United States between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
It pitted Bolsonaro, 67, right, a staunch Trump ally, against Lula, 77, a stalwart of the traditional left who moved to the center during the campaign. Lula’s strength lay in female and low-income voters — particularly the Northeast, heavily populated by people of color — but also in social progressives and power brokers disturbed by Bolsonaro’s authoritarian bent.
Lula has pledged a unity government to work on mending the breaches in Brazilian society of the kind that, in an era of toxic politics, have taken root in democracies across the globe. The margin — Lula won by less than two percentage points — was the closest in Brazilian history. It was the first time an incumbent ran for a second term and lost.
“We have reached the end of one of the most important elections in our history,” Lula told supporters in São Paulo. “An election that put face to face two opposing projects of the country and that today has only one winner: the Brazilian people.
Washington Post, Roads blocked, flights canceled as Bolsonaro still silent on Brazil election, Anthony Faiola and Gabriela Sá Pessoa, Nov. 1, 2022. Brazil remained on edge Tuesday waiting to see whether President Jair Bolsonaro would concede his election loss to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Scattered roadblocks by Brazilian truckers supporting defeated President Jair Bolsonaro grew to more than 200 actions in 22 states by Tuesday morning, forcing the cancellation of some flights in Brazil’s largest city as the incumbent’s silence after losing Sunday’s election spread uncertainty over his next move.
At one point, more than 300 roads were partly or totally blocked, leading the country’s top election authority to demand the Federal Highway Police use “all necessary measures” to unblock the highways. That authority, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, threatened the head of the police with imprisonment and fines of nearly $20,000 if he did not comply by midnight Tuesday.
Bolsonaro hasn’t conceded to Lula. Is he following the Trump playbook?
On Tuesday morning, Moraes said the Federal Highway Police was not responding and authorized state police to step in, beyond their jurisdiction, and authorized fines for truckers.
Washington Post, Seoul police got desperate calls hours before first deaths in Halloween crowd crush, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Nov. 1, 2022. Transcripts of 11 emergency call logs show mounting desperation and repeated warnings from partygoers for about four hours before Saturday’s crush turned deadly.
The desperate pleas for help came in as early as 6:34 p.m., several hours before unconscious bodies would be lined up along the main street in Seoul’s Itaewon district after a massive crowd surge.
“There are a lot of people going up and down this alley. I’m very nervous about it,” the caller said. “I think people might be crushed. I barely escaped, but there are too many people. I think you need to intervene.”
Over the next few hours, more people would arrive in that same alley, and partygoers would be packed to the point where they could not even move their fingers and toes. At least 156 people died and at least 157 were injured in the country’s deadliest incident in years.
Washington Post, Brazil chooses between Lula and Bolsonaro, Anthony Faiola, Paulina Villegas and Gabriela Sá Pessoa, Oct. 31, 2022 (print ed.). Bolsonaro enjoys the backing of ally Trump; The campaign deepened division in an already polarized Brazil; Lula and allies have cast the vote as a referendum on democracy.
In a country of 214 million stretching from the Amazon to the megacities of the Southeast, the outcome will affect the health of the world’s largest rainforest and the state of democracy in Latin America’s largest nation.
More than 500,000 police officers are being deployed after an ugly campaign that stoked Brazil’s culture wars and in which Bolsonaro’s backers have already laid the groundwork for thus far unsupported claims of fraud.
New York Times, After Election Defeat, Bolsonaro Is Silent, and Brazil Braces for Turmoil, Jack Nicas, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). President Jair Bolsonaro has not publicly recognized his loss to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. For months, he had warned that he might not accept defeat.
Brazil on Monday woke up to a moment that it had long been bracing for.
President Jair Bolsonaro narrowly lost the presidential election to his leftist challenger, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, but 12 hours later, he had yet to say anything publicly.
His silence was becoming increasingly worrying because Mr. Bolsonaro, a far-right leader often compared to former President Donald J. Trump, has been warning for months that he might not accept defeat, raising concerns about the stability of Latin America’s largest country and one of the world’s biggest democracies.
Mr. Bolsonaro has consistently claimed, without evidence, that Brazil’s electronic voting system is rife with fraud and that the left was planning to rig the vote. As a result, millions of his supporters have lost faith in the integrity of their nation’s elections, according to polls, and many said publicly that they were prepared to take to the streets at his command.
New York Times, Israel Holds Fifth Parliamentary Election in Less Than Four Years, Patrick Kingsley, Nov. 1, 2022. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to return to power, but polls predict another deadlock.
As Israelis vote on Tuesday in their fifth parliamentary election in less than four years, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to return to power, but polls are predicting another deadlock.
Once again, voters are choosing between a right-wing bloc led by Mr. Netanyahu, who is currently the opposition leader, and the governing alliance of right-wing, left-wing and centrist parties that share little beyond their opposition to the former prime minister.
Both blocs are projected to fall short of a majority in Israel’s 120-seat Parliament. That could force another early election in early 2023 — in what would be the sixth national vote since April 2019 — and keep Yair Lapid, the centrist prime minister, in charge as a caretaker leader.
“Vote wisely,” Mr. Lapid said as he voted at a school in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning. “Vote for the state of Israel, the future of our children and our future in general.”
Mr. Netanyahu voted later in the morning in Jerusalem, telling a television crew: “I say to all citizens of Israel: It is a great privilege to go and vote.”
He is currently on trial for corruption, and his fitness for office remains a central question of Israeli politics. For the fifth election in a row, Israelis are roughly evenly divided between Mr. Netanyahu’s critics, who feel that he should stay out of office until the end of his trial, and his supporters, who see his trial as a sham.
Beyond Mr. Netanyahu, the election is also a referendum on the kind of society Israelis seek to build.
Washington Post, Iran charges female journalists who helped break Amini’s story with being CIA spies, Miriam Berger, Oct. 31, 2022 (print ed.). The two female Iranian journalists who helped break the story of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman whose death in the custody of the so-called morality police last month sparked a nationwide uprising, were formally accused late Friday of being CIA spies and the “primary sources of news for foreign media” — the former a crime punishable by the death penalty in Iran.
Journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi have been held in Iran’s notorious Evin prison since late September as Iran’s clerical leaders have struggled to contain an outpouring of public anger and protests calling for their overthrow. Women and young Iranians have been at the forefront of the uprising, the longest running demonstrations in decades.
In the joint statement sent to Iranian media late Friday local time, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and the intelligence agency of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the highly-feared guardians of Iran’s security state, accused the CIA of orchestrating Hamedi and Mohammadi’s reporting, and said “allied spy services and fanatic proxies,” planned the nationwide, leaderless unrest.
As protests rock Iran, its most feared security force is lying in wait
The CIA, along with British, Israeli and Saudi spy agencies, “planned extensively to launch a nationwide riot in Iran with the aim of committing crimes against the great nation of Iran and its territorial integrity, as well as laying the groundwork for the intensification of external pressures,” the unsubstantiated statement charged. It also claimed without providing evidence that the two journalists were trained abroad and sent to provoke Amini’s family and spread disinformation.
Washington Post, South Koreans confront the trauma of the Halloween crowd crush, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Bryan Pietsch and Kelly Kasulis Cho, Updated Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). Soaring death tolls. Thousands of witnesses. Endless news and social media images of suffering. Large-scale mental health help is needed across the country.
As the names of those killed in Saturday’s crowd crush in Itaewon trickle out and residents pay their respects at mourning altars dedicated to the victims, South Korea’s collective trauma is only just beginning.
The soaring death tolls. Social media images and videos of the chaos and suffering. Endless news coverage. Thousands of witnesses and emergency personnel, and countless more people who have heard their accounts and grieved with them. South Korean residents are reeling from the horror that unfolded Saturday night, which killed at least 154 and injured 149 more.
Washington Post, Indian police file homicide charges, arrest 9, as bridge toll passes 134, Gerry Shih and Niha Masih, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). The contractor, Oreva, wrapped up a six-month renovation of the bridge and reopened it Friday but didn’t get government approval for its work.
Indian officials filed homicide charges Monday against the operators of a suspension bridge and arrested nine people after at least 134 people died when the recently renovated footbridge collapsed, sending tourists plunging into the Machchhu River in western Gujarat state.
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In addition to the dead, there are still a number of people missing as of midday Monday, Ashok Yadav, a Gujarat police official, told The Washington Post. Some outlets, citing unnamed officials, reported the death toll could be higher, exceeding 140. The accident took place in Morbi, a riverside town known for its Victorian-era bridge and old town, and came amid a holiday rush. Tourists have been celebrating Diwali as well as the Gujarati New Year, which fell this year on Oct. 26.
Videos from the scene showed a crowd snapping smartphone photos from the crowded bridge on Sunday evening when it began to sway violently before collapsing. Some officials estimated up to 400 people were packed onto the bridge — far more than the safe limit — when the suspension cables buckled and the 760-foot span gave away.
- Washington Post, Seoul crowd crush kills at least 153; American among 20 foreigners dead
- Washington Post, Indian police file homicide charges, arrest 9, as bridge toll passes 134
- Washington Post, Lula defeats Bolsonaro to win third term as Brazil’s president
- Washington Post, Brazil chooses between Lula and Bolsonaro
- New York Times, U.S. Releases Guantánamo’s Oldest Prisoner, Carol Rosenberg
- Associated Press via Washington Post, Somalia’s president says at least 100 killed in car bombings
- Washington Post, Suspension bridge collapses in India, killing at least 60, according to media reports
- New York Times, What Happened to Hu Jintao?
- Washington Post, Taiwan, missiles and spying set to be China’s priorities under new Xi term, Christian Shepherd and Pei-Lin Wu
- Washington Post, Iran charges female journalists who helped break Amini’s story with being CIA spies
- Washington Post, Iranian forces open fire on protesters as government buildings burn
- New York Times, A Rising Dollar Is Hurting Other Currencies. Central Banks Are Stepping In
- Washington Post, Top U.K. diplomat tells LGBT World Cup fans to ‘be respectful’ in Qatar
More On Ukraine War
Russian Leader Vladimir Putin, right, is shown in a 2017 photo with Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the recently appointed new commander of Russian forces in Ukraine (Pool photo by Alexei Druzhinin).
Politico, Kremlin accused of ‘weaponizing food’ in halt of Ukraine grain deal, Jones Hayden, Oct. 31, 2022 (print ed.). The U.S. accused Moscow of “weaponizing food” in suspending its participation in a U.N.-brokered deal allowing grain shipments to leave Ukraine’s ports.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is engaged in “intense contacts” aimed at bringing Russia back to the deal, the organization said on Sunday, after the Kremlin on Saturday said it was halting the agreement for an “indefinite period,” citing an attack on a base in occupied Crimea that Russia blamed on Ukraine.
The grain export deal, designed to make sure Ukrainian agricultural products can reach international markets, is considered critical to global food security given Ukraine’s role as a major producer of foodstuffs. state, have responded to the offensive by killing prominent clan leaders in an apparent effort to dissuade grassroots support.
Washington Post, Ukraine Live Updates: Zelensky accuses Russia of worsening food crisis as Kremlin warns it may block exports, Rachel Pannett, Erin Cunningham and Leo Sands, Nov. 1, 2022. Three more grain vessels departed Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Tuesday, the United Nations said, despite Russian warnings that the safe passage of ships traveling along the U.N.-brokered humanitarian lane, intended to facilitate agricultural exports to the world, could no longer be guaranteed.
Russia suspended its participation in the deal over the weekend, after a drone attack in Crimea that Russia blamed on Ukraine. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the attack.
Water and electricity supplies to Kyiv were restored Tuesday, the capital’s mayor announced, after Russia unleashed a fresh wave of infrastructure attacks across Ukraine on Monday, that it described as retaliation for the weekend’s drone attacks. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Monday that the infrastructure attacks were “not all we could have done.”
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
1. Key developments
- Seventeen vessels in total have now transited the Black Sea corridor since Russia suspended its participation in the agreement, the U.N. says, including three ships carrying corn, wheat, and sunflower meal that departed Ukrainian ports Tuesday. The U.N. says it’s continuing discussions with Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey to resume the deal in full. The latest boats will be boarded by Turkish and U.N. inspectors before making their way to Libya, Morocco, and Germany.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pledged to continue with the exports and accused Russia of exacerbating a global food crisis by threatening to block the vessels, during his Monday night address. Moscow’s U.N. representative, Vasily Nebenzya, accused Kyiv of using the grain corridor for “military and sabotage purposes,” and said drones had been used to attack Russian ships over the weekend “under the cover” of the deal. He did not provide evidence for the claim that Ukraine was responsible for the attack.
- BP, one of the world’s largest energy producers, reported massive profits on Tuesday, a day after President Biden lambasted oil companies whose profits have been buoyed by the war in Ukraine. BP reported third quarter profits of $8.2 billion — more than double its equivalent profit from a year earlier. Biden said companies could face higher taxes if they don’t pass on profits to consumers by lowering gas prices. The GOP criticized Biden’s idea as a political stunt.
- Norway’s prime minister said his country’s military will “increase its preparedness” starting Tuesday. Jonas Gahr Store said the change was not in response to any direct threat, but with the war in Ukraine, it is “necessary for all NATO countries to be increasingly on their guard.” Norway has become a crucial natural gas supplier for Europe, and has recently been spooked by a spate of drone sightings and people taking photos near sensitive areas.
2. Battleground updates
- Russian forces launched a rocket attack on the city of Mykolaiv in the early hours of Tuesday morning killing one person, Ukraine’s emergency services claimed. Rescuers removed a woman’s body from the rubble of one of the residential buildings that had been destroyed, officials said.
- Moscow may have stationed a KILLJOY long-range ballistic missile in Belarus for the first time, in an attempt to send a message to the West and draw Minsk further into the war, British officials said Tuesday. Satellite imagery from mid October shows what appears to be a large canister encased within a protective earth berm at Belarus’s Machulishchi Airfield, the officials said in their daily update.
- Russian forces are probably still moving troops and military equipment across the Dnieper River, in an apparent retreat from some locations ahead of expected Ukrainian advances toward Moscow-occupied Kherson, according to the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War think tank. Urban warfare is expected to soon take place in and around Kherson.
- Pro-Russia officials in Kherson are expanding civilian relocations by about 9 miles from the river, Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-appointed head of the region, said in a Telegram post Monday. He also made the unsupported accusation that Ukraine was plotting a massive missile attack on a nearby hydroelectric dam. ISW analysts said his goal is probably to drive people to flee the area, and to “explain away” a future withdrawal of Russian forces.. “There is no scenario in which Ukraine would benefit from destroying the dam,” they said.
New York Times, 2-Minute Showers and a Flotilla of Gas Shipments: Europe Braces for Winter, Liz Alderman and Patricia Cohen, Nov. 1, 2022. Countries have taken extraordinary steps to decrease energy use and ramp up supply, moving away from their longtime primary provider, Russia.
A flotilla of tankers carrying liquefied natural gas have been parked in a maritime traffic jam off the coast of Spain in recent days, waiting to unload their precious cargo for Europe’s power grid. In Finland, where sweltering sauna baths are a national pastime, the government is urging friends and families to take saunas together to save energy.
Both efforts are emblematic of the measures Europe is taking to increase energy supplies and conserve fuel before a winter without Russian gas.
The tactic by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to weaponize energy against countries supporting Ukraine has produced a startling transformation in how Europe generates and saves power. Countries are banding together to buy, borrow and build additional power supplies, while pushing out major conservation programs that recall the response to the 1970s oil crisis.
New York Times, Live Updates: More Grain Ships Set Sail Amid Questions About Their Safety, Dan Bilefsky, Anton Troianovski and Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Nov. 1, 2022. Three cargo vessels left Ukrainian ports, as President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia would no longer ensure the ships’ safety. Three more ships carrying grain departed from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Tuesday, a day after President Vladimir V. Putin signaled that Russia would no longer ensure the safety of the cargo vessels, a message that underscored the perils facing a watershed agreement meant to help alleviate the global food crisis.
The Russian authorities were notified of the departure of the ships on Tuesday, according to Ismini Palla, a U.N. spokeswoman for the entity overseeing the agreement, known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative. On Monday, 12 cargo vessels carrying grain set sail without incident from Ukraine’s ports. The departure of those vessels, and the ones that left Ukraine on Tuesday, had been authorized before the deal was suspended, Ms. Palla said.
Russia announced on Saturday that it was suspending its participation in the agreement after an attack over the weekend on its Black Sea naval fleet that it blamed on Ukraine. But Moscow’s decision has not completely stopped the movement of vessels, at least for now.
Ukraine is one of the world’s major exporters of wheat and other grains, and the July agreement, brokered with the help of Turkey and the United Nations, had offered hope for Ukraine’s shattered economy as well as the prospect of some relief for dozens of countries in Africa and beyond that are facing food shortages.
Speaking at a news conference late Monday night after a meeting with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Sochi, Russia, Mr. Putin reiterated that Russia was pausing its participation in the agreement, and insisted that the onus was on Ukraine to guarantee the safety of a corridor established for the safe export of grain out of Ukraine.
Mr. Putin did not rule out that Russia would honor the grain deal again. “We are not saying that we are stopping our participation in this operation,” Mr. Putin said. “We are saying that we are pausing it.”
Mr. Putin also delivered a curt and ominous response when asked by a state television journalist whether Monday’s missile strikes on Ukraine were a response to the attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet over the weekend. “This is, in part, the case,” Mr. Putin said. “But this is not all that we could do.”
Moscow’s decision has meant a halt to its participation in ship inspections in the port of Istanbul — and to guaranteeing security for any cargo vessels crossing the Black Sea, where its navy dominates.
Here’s what we know:
- Three cargo vessels carrying grain left Ukrainian ports on Tuesday, a day after President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia would no longer ensure the ships’ safety.
- Putin’s message underscores the perils facing a watershed grain deal.
- The water supply has been fully restored in Kyiv, officials said.
- The U.N.’s nuclear agency is investigating ‘dirty bomb’ claims at Ukraine’s request.
- Oleg Tinkov, a former banking tycoon, renounces his Russian citizenship.
- A sea drone attack on a Russian fleet puts the focus on expanded Ukrainian arms.
New York Times, Opinion: Putin Says Ukraine Doesn’t Exist. That’s Why He’s Trying to Destroy It, Olesya Khromeychuk, Nov. 1, 2022. How did people imagine Ukraine before Feb. 24, 2022? If pressed, some might have conjured mail-order brides and shaven-head gangsters roaming one big post-Soviet Chernobyl. But most probably didn’t think even that; instead, they didn’t imagine Ukraine at all. The country popped up on most people’s radar only in connection to Western political scandals and Russian war making. Few Westerners visited it, and those who did might have concluded — as one Western journalist confessed to me recently — that “Ukraine was just like Russia but without all the crap.”
How do people imagine Ukrainians today? As brave fighters who are standing up to a bully, perhaps, defiant modern-day Cossacks in their colorful embroidered shirts, a bit wild but still safely European. Ukrainians are the ultimate underdog, righteous warriors winning an unequal battle. Pretty much everyone now knows two things about Ukrainians: that there are lots of them, some 40-odd million, and that they are nothing like the Russians.
These before and after images of Ukraine have more in common than we might think. They are both caricatures based not on knowledge of the country or the people who inhabit it but on mythology. In Ukraine’s case, this mythology is shaped in relation to Russia. Whether people think of Ukraine as just like Russia or nothing like Russia, many still don’t know what Ukraine really is. After centuries of imperialist repression and decades of Soviet subjugation, Ukraine has a profound story to tell about the meaning of freedom.
According to Vladimir Putin, Ukraine doesn’t exist. Before he started his murderous full-scale invasion, he repeatedly denied the country’s existence in pseudohistorical essays and speeches. He is just the latest in a long line of Kremlin rulers who have tried to deprive Ukrainians of their subjectivity. For a man so obsessed with history, he should have worked out that centuries of unsuccessful attempts to destroy the Ukrainian nation show that Ukraine very much exists.
For more than a century before World War I, the Ukrainian lands were split between two empires. The western parts were controlled by the Austrians, and the rest were ruled by the Russians. The ruling powers took different approaches. While the Hapsburgs were less prepared to resort to outright repression, the czars experimented with a variety of ways of eliminating Ukrainian national self-expression, such as banning Ukrainian-language publications, prohibiting Ukrainian cultural societies and exiling or imprisoning insubordinate elites. Most important, they kept the vast majority of the population in poverty, depriving them of education and social mobility.
Nevertheless, this period was notable for efforts to forge Ukrainian identity. In the absence of an independent state, writers, poets and artists became the figures who shaped national identity, which was then deepened through consciousness-raising community organizing. Some of the greatest examples of Ukrainian literature were written in this period, including the fiery poetry of Taras Shevchenko, whose line “Fight and you shall prevail” is recited as a mantra by civilians and troops today.
In the wake of the collapse of the Russian Empire and before the Soviet Union took shape, Ukrainians got a brief taste of statehood, further strengthening their sense of national belonging. Once the Bolsheviks took hold of Ukrainian lands, they were forced to recognize Ukrainians as a separate nation and not a mere deviation of the Russian people, as the czars had seen them.
Ukrainian culture flourished in the 1920s. The Soviet policy of indigenization, encouraging the use of local languages, was a pragmatic step on the part of Moscow to better disseminate Soviet ideology to its multiethnic territories. Inadvertently, it facilitated the growth of local cultural expression that was socially challenging, aesthetically experimental and politically provocative. Ukraine’s unruly homegrown culture exposed the hypocrisy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, where all nations were equal but some were more equal than others.
In the 1930s, Ukrainians were subjected to a deliberate attempt to destroy them as a nation. While the elites were exiled or executed, millions of peasants were killed through the Holodomor, Stalin’s man-made famine. Like other non-Russian peoples who dared to demand autonomy, Ukrainians were systematically repressed, Russified and denied subjectivity. All the same, the urge for independence remained. During the decades of Soviet rule, sometimes this urge manifested simply in keeping the Ukrainian language and traditions in private use and at other times in an open and organized struggle against the Soviet regime.
Just as the previous empires collapsed, so did the Soviet variant. In 1991, a week before the Soviet Union ceased to exist, 92 percent of Ukrainian voters — just under 30 million people — supported the declaration of independence in a national referendum. Statehood, at long last, was restored. Since then, this supposedly nonhistorical nation has continued to defend its sovereignty against Russia’s interference and the authoritarian impulses it encourages. In three decades, Ukrainians have mounted several large protest movements and revolutions, testament to citizens’ deep civic consciousness.
This historical experience — of statelessness and struggle, repressive external rule and hard-won independence — has shaped Ukraine into the nation we see today: opposed to imperialism, united in the face of the enemy and determined to protect its freedom. For the people of Ukraine, freedom is not some lofty ideal. It is imperative for survival.
Even so, some commentators insist that Russia’s all-out war has somehow molded Ukrainians into a nation for the first time. This is a tired claim: Three decades ago, Ukrainians were perceived as an unexpected nation suddenly risen from the rubble of the Soviet Union. In this simplistic view, Ukraine is little more than a buffer zone with an identity far too complex to grasp that only tenuously amounts to a nation.
Yet for the people who live in Ukraine, that complexity is part of the country’s strength. Because of its history as a divided borderland between multiple states and empires, Ukraine has always been a melting pot of cultures, languages and traditions. The result of that intermingling is the modern Ukrainian political nation, members of which speak Crimean Tatar, Romanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian and many other languages in addition to Ukrainian. And as a viral meme from the start of the invasion showed, all of them can tell a Russian warship and its commander exactly where to go in fluent Russian.
Against those tempted to marvel at the apparent awakening of the Ukrainian nation, there are the words of Lesia Ukrainka, a pen name meaning “Ukrainian woman.” “To suffer in chains is a great humiliation,” she wrote in 1903, when the country had yet to taste self-rule. “But to forget those chains without having broken them is the worst kind of shame.” For much longer than Russia’s war, Ukrainians have fought for — and achieved — freedom and sovereignty.
Olesya Khromeychuk (@OKhromeychuk) is a historian, the director of the Ukrainian Institute London and the author of “The Death of a Soldier Told by His Sister.”
Washington Post, They escaped Russian occupation. Now they want to go back, Michael E. Miller and Anastacia Galouchka, Oct. 30, 2022 (print ed.). When Russian tanks rolled into the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson last spring, the young couple decided it was time to leave.
They fled to Kyiv, where Anton got a job driving a taxi and soon Nastya became pregnant. But she missed her mother, who had been left behind. So, last month, newly married Nastya did the unthinkable: She went back.
Almost 15 million Ukrainians — a third of the population — have been forced from their homes since Russia invaded in February, according to the United Nations, many leaving loved ones behind. Among the displaced are the Kherson residents now desperate to return home despite the danger and uncertainty of life under Russian occupation and the acute risk of being trapped in heavy fighting.
The seemingly crazy decision to go back, by Anton, Nastya and others like them, highlights the impossible choices that war throws at ordinary people, who are caught in a conflicting swirl of allegiances and emotions. Is it better to be safe while friends and relatives remain in harm’s way? Or should all be together in the line of fire?
Washington Post, Power, water outages in Kyiv, key cities after strikes on infrastructure, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Leo Sands, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). Kyiv strikes cause injuries, damage to critical infrastructure; Kremlin claims it’s too ‘dangerous’ to export grain through Black Sea; Newly mobilized Russian reservists are ‘poorly equipped,’ Britain says.
Russia unleashed a fresh wave of attacks across Ukraine on Monday, damaging more than a dozen critical infrastructure facilities and causing sustained power outages, Ukrainian officials said.
Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shymal, reported missile and drone strikes on 18 targets in 10 regions, the heaviest and most widespread strikes since a similar barrage two weeks ago.
The strikes come two days after drones damaged Russian warships in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, which Ukraine has not taken responsibility for. After that attack, Moscow withdrew from a U.N.-brokered deal to safeguard grain being exported out of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, triggering concerns for global food supplies.
Here’s what else to know
- Multiple districts in the capital, Kyiv, have been cut off from power, and 80 percent of the city is without water after strikes on nearby facilities, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
- Two strikes hit critical infrastructure in the city of Kharkiv, its mayor said on Telegram, leaving part of the region without power. In Zaporizhzhia, the governor accused Russian forces of damaging a critical infrastructure facility. No casualties have been reported there so far but officials warned of interruptions to infrastructure supplies.
- Ukraine said it resumed agricultural exports out of its Black Sea ports Monday despite Russia’s withdrawal from the U.N.-brokered grain deal safeguarding the passage of the cargo vessels. According to Reuters, Turkey and the U.N. also resumed their inspections of ships departing Ukraine.
- Washington Post, Missiles slam Ukraine as Russia strikes infrastructure in new air barrage, Francesca Ebel, Oct. 31, 2022.
- New York Times, With Western Weapons, Ukraine Is Turning the Tables in an Artillery War, Andrew E. Kramer
- Washington Post, Russia threatens commercial satellites that Pentagon sees as its future
- New York Times, Ukraine Live Updates: Russia Says It’s Suspending Participation in Grain Deal With Ukraine
- Washington Post, Ukraine Live Updates: Russia says Crimea drone attacks damaged warship, blames U.K. for Nord Stream blasts
- Washington Post, They escaped Russian occupation. Now they want to go back
Abortion Law, Pandemic, Public Health News
New York Times, OB-GYN Residency Programs Face Tough Choice on Abortion Training, Jan Hoffman, Oct. 27, 2022. Many residency programs for obstetricians and gynecologists are in a risky position, caught between state abortion bans and accreditation requirements.
Many medical residency programs that are educating the next generation of obstetricians and gynecologists are facing a treacherous choice.
If they continue to provide abortion training in states where the procedure is now outlawed, they could be prosecuted. If they don’t offer it, they risk losing their accreditation, which in turn would render their residents ineligible to receive specialty board certification and imperil recruitment of faculty and medical students.
The quandary became clear last month, when the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education formally reaffirmed its longstanding requirement that OB-GYN residency programs make abortion training available.
“You have a legal body, the state, saying abortion is a crime and an accrediting body saying it’s a crucial part of training,” said Mary Ziegler, a law professor at the University of California, Davis, who specializes in the history of abortion. “I can’t think of anything else like that.”
- New York Times, Hospitalizations Rise as Wave of Viruses Hits New York,
- Washington Post, Opinion: What Dr. Oz really said about abortion, Monica Hesse
- Washington Post, Judge tells NYC to rehire workers fired for refusing vaccination
- Washington Post, Opinion: Concussions are a bigger problem for kids’ football than the NFL, Dr. Leana S. Wen
- Washington Post, U.S. Politics Update: Biden pledges to push bill codifying abortion rights if Democrats expand ranks
Climate, Drought, Hurricanes, Energy
New York Times, What Do America’s Middle Schools Teach About Climate Change? Not Much, Winston Choi-Schagrin, Nov. 1, 2022. Around the U.S., science standards have minimal references to climate change and teachers on average spend just a few hours a year teaching it.
In mid-October, just two weeks after Hurricane Ian struck her state, Bertha Vazquez asked her class of 7th graders to go online and search for information about climate change. Specifically, she tasked them to find sites that cast doubt on its human causes and who paid for them.
It was a sophisticated exercise for the 12-year olds, Ms. Vazquez said, teaching them to discern climate facts from a mass of online disinformation. But she also thought it an important capstone to the end of two weeks she dedicates to teaching her Miami students about climate change, possible solutions and the barriers to progress.
“I’m really passionate about this issue,” she said. “I have to find a way to sneak it in.”
That’s because in Florida, where Ms. Vazquez has taught for more than 30 years, and where her students are already seeing the dramatic impacts of a warming planet, the words “climate change” do not appear in the state’s middle or elementary school education standards.
Climate change is set to transform where students can live and what jobs they’ll do as adults. And yet, despite being one of the most important issues for young people, it appears only minimally in many state middle school science standards nationwide. Florida does not include the topic and Texas dedicates three bullet points to climate change in its 27 pages of standards. More than 40 states have adopted standards that include just one explicit reference to climate change.
New York Times, Inquiry Scrutinizes Trump Allies’ False Claims About Election Worker, Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim, Nov. 1, 2022. Prosecutors are seeking testimony from three people who took part in the pressure campaign against the worker, Ruby Freeman, after the 2020 election.
One is a 69-year-old Lutheran pastor from Illinois. Another is a celebrity stylist who once described herself as a publicist for Kanye West. A third is a former mixed martial-arts fighter and self-described “polo addict” who once led a group called “Black Voices for Trump.”
All three individuals now find themselves entangled in the criminal investigation into election interference in Georgia after former President Donald J. Trump’s loss there, with prosecutors saying they participated in a bizarre plot to pressure a Fulton County, Ga., election worker to falsely admit that she committed fraud on Election Day in 2020.
The three — Trevian Kutti, the publicist; Stephen C. Lee, the pastor; and Willie Lewis Floyd III, the polo fan — have all been ordered to appear before a special grand jury in Atlanta, with a hearing for Mr. Lee scheduled for Tuesday morning at a courthouse near his home in Kendall County, Ill.
None have been named as targets of the investigation or charged with a crime. Yet the decision to seek their testimony suggests that prosecutors in Fulton County are increasingly interested in the story of how the part-time, rank-and-file election worker, Ruby Freeman, 63, was confronted by allies of Mr. Trump at her home in the Atlanta suburbs in the weeks after he was defeated by President Biden.
Ms. Freeman and her daughter were part of a team processing votes for the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections on election night. Soon after, video images of Ms. Freeman and her daughter handling ballots were posted online and shared widely among some Trump supporters, who claimed falsely that the video showed the two women entering bogus votes to skew the election in Mr. Biden’s favor.
Mr. Trump helped spread the fiction. During his now-famous telephone call to the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, on Jan. 2, 2021, when Mr. Trump implored Mr. Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to “find” the votes Mr. Trump needed to win the state, Mr. Trump referred several times to Ms. Freeman, calling her a “vote scammer” and “hustler.”
Ms. Kutti, 52, is a Trump supporter based in Chicago who was once registered as an Illinois lobbyist supporting the cannabis industry; she had also previously worked as a publicist for R. Kelly, the disgraced R&B singer. Prosecutors sought her testimony in a May court filing; it is unclear if she has appeared before the special grand jury, which meets behind closed doors.
But Ms. Kutti unquestionably met with Ms. Freeman on Jan. 4, 2021, after showing up in her neighborhood, cryptically claiming to work for “some of the biggest names in the industry.”
After persuading Ms. Freeman to meet her at a police station in Cobb County, outside Atlanta — the police had been summoned when Ms. Kutti came to her home, and an officer recommended that they talk at the station — Ms. Kutti warned her that an event would soon occur that would “disrupt your freedom,” according to police body-camera video of the meeting. Ms. Kutti also offered help, telling Ms. Freeman that she was going to call a man who had “authoritative powers to get you protection.”
New York Times, Consumers spent $4 billion from 2019 to 2021 on furniture in the United States. Debra Kamin, Nov. 31, 2022 (print ed.). Environmentalists say that a lot of the products sold during the pandemic weren’t built to last.
Americans bought piles of furniture during the pandemic, with sales on desks, chairs and patio equipment jumping by more than $4 billion from 2019 to 2021, according to a market data company. And a lot of it won’t survive the decade.
Fast furniture, which is mass-produced and relatively inexpensive, is easy to obtain and then abandon. Like fast fashion, in which retailers like Shein and Zara produce loads of cheap, trendy clothing that’s made to be discarded after only a few wears, fast furniture is for those looking to hookup but not settle down. It’s the one-season fling of furnishings.
Many of the Ikea beds and Wayfair desks bought during the Covid-19 lockdown were designed to last about five years, said Deana McDonagh, a professor of industrial design at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “I relate to fast furniture like I do to fast food,” Ms. McDonagh said. “It’s empty of culture, and it’s not carrying any history with it.”
Ikea of Sweden said in a statement that “life span estimation may vary” for its furniture, and customers are encouraged to repair, resell or return products they can no longer use. Wayfair said through a spokesperson that “we sell an extensive range of furniture products across all styles and price points,” adding that some are meant to “last for generations as well as furniture that meets customer needs for affordability.”
- Washington Post, Along a withered Mississippi, a mixture of frustration, hope and awe, Brady Dennis
- Washington Post, What it looks like as drought strangles the mighty Mississippi
- Washington Post, Analysis: The climate news is bad. The climate reality is worse, Ishaan Tharoor
- New York Times, Months After the Floods, Eastern Kentucky Families Take Measure of What Was Lost
- New York Times, As Climate Pledges Fall Short, a Chaotic Future Looks More Like Reality
- New York Times, War in Ukraine Likely to Speed Shift to Clean Energy, I.E.A. Says
- National Public Radio, Saltwater is moving up the Mississippi River. Here’s what’s being done to stop it
U.S. Media, Education, Space, Sports
Christina Applegate in the final season of “Dead to Me,” premiering Nov. 17 on Netflix. “This is the first time anyone’s going to see me the way I am,” she said (Photo by Saeed Adyani for Netflix).
New York Times, Christina Applegate Pours One Out for ‘Dead to Me,’ Alexis Soloski, Nov. 1, 2022. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during filming of the show’s final season, Applegate was determined to finish the story. She said it was the hardest thing she’s ever done. Christina Applegate in the final season of “Dead to Me,” premiering Nov. 17 on Netflix. “This is the first time anyone’s going to see me the way I am,” she said.
When Christina Applegate looks back, she can recognize the signs. Filming a dance sequence during the first season of the Netflix wine-mom dramedy “Dead to Me,” she found herself off balance. Later, her tennis game began to falter. At the time, Applegate, an actress with an aversion to special pleading, didn’t make excuses. She had to work harder, she told herself. She had to try again.
“I wish I had paid attention,” she said during a recent video call from her home in Los Angeles. “But who was I to know?”
Over several years, the tingling and numbness in her extremities grew worse. And in the summer of 2021, on set for the third and final season of “Dead to Me,” she received a diagnosis. She had multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that disrupts communication between the brain and body. Production shut down for about five months as she began treatment.
“There was the sense of, ‘Well, let’s get her some medicine so she can get better,’” Applegate, 50, recalled. “And there is no better. But it was good for me. I needed to process my loss of my life, my loss of that part of me. So I needed that time.”
“Although it’s not like I came on the other side of it, like, ‘Woohoo, I’m totally fine,’” she added. “Acceptance? No. I’m never going to accept this. I’m pissed.”
This was on a recent morning. Applegate was sitting up in bed — her happy place, where she watches reality television. (“That’s my meditation,” she said.) She had pulled her hair into a scrappy bun. Black glasses sat astride her nose. And her resting face did have a certain indignant quality.
But she wanted to do this interview, because the last season of “Dead to Me” arrives on Netflix later this month, on Nov. 17.
“This is the first time anyone’s going to see me the way I am,” she said. “I put on 40 pounds; I can’t walk without a cane. I want people to know that I am very aware of all of that.”
In truth, her illness is nearly invisible onscreen — a feat of savvy blocking and Applegate’s talent and resolve. Still, she wanted to offer context.
New York Times, Company Backed by J.D. Vance Gives Platform for Russian Propaganda, Danny Hakim, Updated Nov. 1, 2022. In June, two American veterans fighting as volunteers in Ukraine, Alex Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh (shown above), were captured by Russian forces. They were taken to a black site where they were beaten, run into walls with bags over their heads and hooked up to a car battery and “electrocuted,” the men said after being freed in late September.
Between beatings, they told The New York Times, they were interviewed on Russian media outlets, including RT, one of the Kremlin’s primary propaganda organs in the West.
“They stayed away from our faces because they knew that we were going to be on camera, that they were going to try and use this for propaganda.,” Mr. Drueke said. “So they wanted our faces to look OK. But they took care of our bodies pretty good.”
RT had been largely taken off the air in the United States and banned by the European Union in March after Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s armies invaded Ukraine. But in June, its version of the captives’ story appeared on Rumble, a video-sharing platform that stepped in this year and began carrying RT’s live feed, in addition to its clips. There, a glum-looking Mr. Huynh says they joined the fight in Ukraine after being duped by “propaganda from the West” that “Russian forces were indiscriminately killing civilians.”
Rumble has become a leading destination for conservative content by positioning itself as a platform for unfettered speech, an alternative to the content moderation — or “censorship,” to many on the right — of mainstream social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Last year, Rumble received a major investment from a venture capital firm co-founded by J.D. Vance, the Republican Senate candidate in Ohio. The firm, Narya Capital, got a seat on Rumble’s board, and its more than seven million shares place it among the company’s top 10 shareholders, according to securities filings.
Mr. Vance, shown at left in a Gage Skidmore photo also took a personal Rumble stake worth between $100,000 and $250,000, his financial disclosures show.
Narya is backed by the prime patron of Mr. Vance’s Senate campaign, the billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel. And it was Mr. Thiel who played a leading role in Narya’s Rumble investment last year, becoming what the platform’s chief executive described as its first outside investor.
The investment fits into an enduring narrative of Mr. Thiel, who has expressed skepticism of democracy and advocated keeping the airwaves open for hard-right voices since his student days at Stanford. It also helps illuminate the relationship between Mr. Vance and Mr. Thiel, left, who mentored the candidate in his Silicon Valley business empire and has contributed more than $15 million to his campaign and affiliated political action committees. (Mr. Thiel has contributed another $15 million to support the candidacy of another protégé, the Republican Senate candidate in Arizona, Blake Masters.)
Asked about Rumble’s hosting of RT, the Vance campaign issued a statement. “J.D. does not play an active role at Rumble, nor does he set Rumble’s content moderation policies,” the campaign said. “It’s a dishonest straw man to suggest that just because someone believes in free speech rights online that they also personally endorse that speech. It’s embarrassing that an industry like the media, which relies on the First Amendment, has so much trouble comprehending that.” Mr. Thiel’s spokesman did not comment.
Washington Post, Taylor Swift claims every spot in the Billboard Top 10, making music history, María Luisa Paúl, Nov. 1, 2022. Last month, Taylor Swift kept fans up with her 12 a.m. debut of “Midnights,” her tenth and latest album. Three hours later, the pop star — who has a penchant for surprising fans — dropped seven extra tracks in a deluxe version aptly titled “Midnights (3am Edition).”
The sleepless night — mirroring the ones she croons about on the record — paid off. “Midnights” turned Swift into the first artist to snag every one of the top 10 slots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, all with songs from the 13-song album.
It is a previously unheard-of, tremendous achievement for any artist, experts told The Washington Post. Amid the music industry’s changing ecosystem in the age of streaming, the feat could only be pulled off by someone who brings to the table exactly what Swift does: an established stardom, a loyal fan base, a savvy social media strategy and a relentless marketing machine.
New York Times, Judge Blocks Merger of Top U.S. Book Publisher and a Main Rival, Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). The government’s case blocked the merger of two of the United States’ largest publishers and reflected a more aggressive approach to curbing consolidation. It was closely watched by the publishing industry.
A federal judge blocked on Monday a bid by Penguin Random House, the biggest book publisher in the United States, to buy one of its main rivals, Simon & Schuster, in a significant victory for the Biden administration, which is trying to expand the boundaries of antitrust enforcement.
The judge, Florence Y. Pan, who heard the case in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, said in an order that the Justice Department had demonstrated that the merger might “substantially” harm competition in the market for U.S. publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books.
The full order laying out Judge Pan’s reasoning is temporarily under seal because it contains confidential information, and will be released later after both parties file redactions.
Penguin Random House and its parent company, Bertelsmann, said in response on Monday that they planned to appeal.
In a statement, Penguin Random House called the decision “an unfortunate setback for readers and authors” and argued that “the Department of Justice’s focus on advances to the world’s best-paid authors instead of consumers or the intense competitiveness in the publishing sector runs contrary to its mission to ensure fair competition.”
The victory is a notable one for the Justice Department. Judges have ruled against several of its previous challenges to corporate deals, including UnitedHealth Group’s purchase of a technology company. In a statement on Monday, the Justice Department hailed the ruling as a win for authors and readers.
“The proposed merger would have reduced competition, decreased author compensation, diminished the breadth, depth, and diversity of our stories and ideas, and ultimately impoverished our democracy,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the department’s antitrust division.
New York Times, Elon Musk, Plus a Circle of Confidants, Tightens Control Over Twitter, Mike Isaac, Ryan Mac and Kate Conger, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). The billionaire and a group of his advisers are working on layoff plans and how to swiftly change Twitter’s product, said people with knowledge of the matter.
Elon Musk, right, and a group of his advisers have tightened their grip over Twitter, meeting with company executives to work on layoffs, ordering up product changes, talking with advertisers and reviewing content moderation policies, according to more than a dozen current and former employees involved in the efforts.
The priorities for the world’s richest man and his advisers at Twitter are twofold, five of the people said: They are working on how to trim the company’s ranks while also exploring a slew of changes to Twitter’s mobile app.
For now, the timing and scope of layoffs remains fluid as lists of the top and lower performers at the company are finalized, the people said. Mr. Musk’s advisers have also assigned a team of Twitter’s engineers to work on its “verification” program, the system that doles out badges to high-profile or notable users to confirm their profiles’ authenticity. Twitter could charge users $20 a month to retain their verified status, two people with knowledge of the discussions said.
Mr. Musk, 51, flew to New York on Sunday after spending much of last week at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, according to one person familiar with his movements and a Twitter account that tracks the location of his private jet. Some of his trusted confidants remain in San Francisco, the people said, including David Sacks, a venture capitalist, and Sriram Krishnan, a former Twitter product leader and partner at the investment firm Andreessen Horowitz, which invested in Mr. Musk’s buyout of Twitter.
Washington Post, Musk’s inner circle worked through the weekend to cement Twitter layoff plans, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Faiz Siddiqui, Nov. 1, 2022 (print ed.). The first round of layoffs is expected to target 25 percent of Twitter’s workforce.
Members of billionaire Elon Musk’s inner circle huddled with Twitter’s remaining senior executives throughout the weekend, conducting detailed discussions regarding the site’s approach to content moderation, as well as plans to lay off 25 percent of the workforce to start.
Alex Spiro, a well-known celebrity lawyer who has represented Musk for several years, led those conversations. Spiro is taking an active role in managing several teams at Twitter, including legal, government relations, policy and marketing, according to four people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe them, as well as tweets from some of the people involved.
Longtime Musk associates David Sacks and Jason Calacanis appeared in a company directory over the weekend, according to photos obtained by The Washington Post. Both had official company emails and their titles were “staff software engineer.” Musk’s title in the directory was CEO, although that position has not been publicly announced. He refers to himself as “Chief Twit.”
Washington Post, Twitter wants to charge for verification. Here’s what you need to know, Heather Kelly and Gerrit De Vynck, Nov. 1, 2022. Whether you use Twitter or not, the change could have broader implications for everything from misinformation to elections. The coveted blue check mark could soon cost up to $20 a month.
The first big new Twitter feature under Elon Musk could cost you.
The company is considering charging users to get verified and display the signature blue check mark next to their account name. It’s something Twitter has offered to some accounts for free in the past, with mixed success.
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Over the weekend, Jason Calacanis, a longtime Musk associate who has been brought in to help run Twitter, posted a poll asking how much people would be willing to pay for the honor. The vast majority voted “wouldn’t pay.”
If undeterred, Twitter could charge as much as $20 a month for the privilege of having the blue check, according to a person familiar with the issue who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. Twitter’s existing paid version, called Twitter Blue, would be combined with the verification process, and some of its existing features may be cut, according to the person.
What apps to use if you leave Twitter
Whether you use Twitter or not, the change could have broader implications for everything from misinformation to elections. Here’s what you need to know.
Washington Post, Musk mulls Twitter verification charge, barters with Stephen King on fee, Adela Suliman, Nov. 1, 2022. Twitter’s new owner and CEO, Elon Musk, appeared to confirm reports that the platform is considering charging people $20 to maintain the coveted blue check mark of verification on their account in an exchange with the horror author Stephen King.
King lambasted the idea of requiring payment, tweeting to his almost 7 million followers on Monday: “They should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron,” he said, alluding to the energy company that collapsed in scandal and filed for bankruptcy.
In response, Musk suggested that charging for verification would help the site to make a profit and appeared to negotiate with King, tweeting: “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
“I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented. It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls,” Musk added. King did not reply.
Twitter wants to charge for verification. Here’s what you need to know.
The billionaire Tesla and SpaceX owner completed his purchase of Twitter for $44 billion last week after several months of negotiations and legal wrangling.
In the run-up to his Twitter acquisition, Musk made the issue of fake Twitter accounts run by “bots” a point of major contention as he demanded more internal data from the company to evaluate the number of fake users on the site.
He has since said that the “whole verification process is being revamped” without sharing more details, though he has yet to confirm whether any payment will be requested for verification.
The blue verification badge signifies that an account is “authentic, notable, and active,” according to Twitter, and is generally held by public figures in government, news and entertainment, among other limited fields.
Musk’s inner circle worked through weekend to cement Twitter layoff plans
Tech investor and longtime Musk associate Jason Calacanis, who since Musk’s acquisition has appeared in Twitter’s company directory, also solicited interest in various payment amounts for a blue check on Monday, administering a poll of prices ranging from $5 to $15 a month. While the poll remains open, an overwhelming 82 percent of respondents have so far indicated they wouldn’t pay. Musk responded to Calacanis’s poll, saying: “Interesting.”
Washington Post, It’s true, Martin Luther King Jr. paid the hospital bill when actress Julia Roberts was born, Sydney Page, Nov. 1, 2022. Before Julia Roberts’s birth, her parents had welcomed the King children into their theater school and became friends with Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King.
Washington Post, Rapper Takeoff of the group Migos fatally shot in Houston, his representative confirms to AP, Andrea Salcedo, Sonia Rao and Annabelle Timsit, Nov. 1, 2022. Rapper Takeoff, one third of the group Migos, was killed in a shooting at a private party early Tuesday in Houston, his representative confirmed to the Associated Press.
Houston police said they would not be identifying the person killed in the shooting “until his family is notified & ID verified by Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.” Police said the victim was a Black male in his 20s. The shooting took place at a bowling alley, at 2:40 a.m., local news outlet Click2Houston reported.
A reporter for Fox 26 in Houston shared a clip of a news conference, with a spokesperson confirming police “were informed” that members of the hip-hop trio Migos — Takeoff, 28, and Quavo — were at the scene. It is not known whether Offset, the third member of the group, was at the private gathering. All three members of Migos are related; Takeoff, whose real name is Kirshnik Khari Ball, is the nephew of Quavo, born Quavious Keyate Marshall. Offset, whose name is Kiari Kendrell Cephus, is Quavo’s cousin.
New York Times, Truth Social’s Influence Grows Despite Its Business Problems, Stuart A. Thompson and Matthew Goldstein, Nov. 1, 2022. The right-wing social network faces two federal investigations and an uncertain financial future. But it has still managed to outpace its rivals.
Truth Social, the right-wing social network, has faced one business calamity after the next since it launched in February. Two executives resigned after its app launch was mired with problems. Another executive was fired after filing a whistle-blower complaint, claiming that Truth’s parent company was relying on “fraudulent misrepresentations.” Two federal investigations are putting $1.3 billion in much-needed financing in jeopardy.
Yet users logging into Truth Social each day saw something quite different during that time: a vibrant right-wing ecosystem increasingly brimming with activity.
Truth Social’s long-term future remains in doubt, but experts say the app itself has only grown more influential in conservative circles ahead of the midterm election.
Much of that is owed to former President Donald J. Trump, one of the app’s founders and its star, who now uses Truth Social as his primary megaphone to the world. His posts on the site reach more than four million followers and regularly reverberate across mainstream news and social media sites.
The Nick Bryant Podcast, Speaking on the Media with investigative reporter Andrew Kreig, Nick Bryant (author or co-author of such investigative books as The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse, & Betrayal and Congressions of a DC Madam, and such articles as “Jeffrey Epstein’s Black Book” and “Obama’s Veiled Past,” Oct. 28-Nov. 3, 2022 (82:35 mins.).
Attorney Andrew Kreig directs the non-partisan Justice Integrity Project, which reports misconduct, primarily in the justice and political systems, that harms individuals, communities and democratic values.
When Andrew and the host discussed his book Presidential Puppetry, Nick Bryant cited similar findings in an article he wrote on Obama’s background for readers of his blog.
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