March 2023 News


Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative March 2023 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 


March 1

Top Headlines


A selection of photos showing Ethiopian civilians killed by Eritrean troops around the area of Mariam Shewito in the northern region of Tigray. (Family photos)


U.S. Courts, Crime, Immigration


U.S. Politics, Elections, Governance


Trump, Allies, GOP Probes, Prospects


More On Ukraine War


Hot U.S. Media Topics

scott adams via proof


Ohio Train Wreck Culture War

Norfolk Southern freight train derailment in Ohio (Detroit News photo by Andy Morrison via Associated Press).


Global News, Migration, Human Rights Issues

Turkish-Syrian Quake Disaster

Disasters, Energy, Climate, Environment

A crane, firefighters and rescuers operate after a collision in Tempe near Larissa city, Greece, Wednesday, March 1, 2023. A train carrying hundreds of passengers has collided with an oncoming freight train in northern Greece, killing and injuring dozens passengers (AP Photo by Vaggelis Kousioras).


U.S. Abortion, #MeToo, Stalking, Rape Laws, Politics


More On Pandemics, Public Health, Privacy


U.S. Media, Education, Sports, Religion


Top Stories


A selection of photos showing Ethiopian civilians killed by Eritrean troops around the area of Mariam Shewito in the northern region of Tigray. (Family photos)

A selection of photos showing Ethiopian civilians killed by Eritrean troops around the area of Mariam Shewito in the northern region of Tigray. (Family photos)

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Hundreds massacred in Ethiopia even as peace deal was being reached, Katharine Houreld and Meg Kelly, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Soldiers from neighboring Eritrea went house to house killing villagers in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, witnesses said.

Just days before a deal to end the war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, soldiers from neighboring Eritrea last fall massacred more than 300 villagers over the course of a week, according to witnesses and victims’ relatives.

Eritrean forces, allied with Ethiopian government troops, had been angered by a recent battlefield defeat and took their revenge in at least 10 villages east of the town of Adwa during the week before the Nov. 2 peace deal, witnesses said, providing accounts horrifying even by the standards of a conflict defined by mass killings of civilians.

The massacres, which have not been previously reported outside the Tigray region, were described in interviews with 22 relatives of the dead, including 15 who witnessed the killings or their immediate aftermath. They spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The survivors are only now willing to talk: As long as Eritrean troops remained close by, villagers were cowed into silence. Once the soldiers finally pulled back in late January from much of Tigray, witnesses and relatives began to give accounts like the following: A toddler killed with his 7-year-old brother and their mother. Elderly priests shot in their homes. A nursing mother shot dead in front of her young sons. Family members beaten back as they clung to fathers and sons being taken to their deaths.

The agreement between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan rebels brought about a cease fire in a two-year war that had made northern Ethiopia one of the deadliest places in the world. But the deal did not address the status of Eritrean troops and avoided some of the other thorniest issues, including who might investigate reports of multiple war crimes like the most recent one near Adwa and how perpetrators could be brought to justice.

The U.N. International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia has repeatedly documented and condemned atrocities carried out by all sides to the conflict. In January, the Ethiopian government asked the United States to support its bid to terminate the commission, calling its work “highly politicized.”

Eritrea, a heavily militarized one-party state often dubbed “the North Korea of Africa,” has consistently denied committing war crimes. On Feb. 9, President Isaias Afwerki told a news conference that such allegations were “fantasy … lies and fabrication.” Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel did not respond to requests for comment on the killings near Adwa.


Paul Vallas, left, former chief executive of Chicago public schools, and Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner, will face off in an April election, according to the Associated Press (Photos via WBEZ-TV).

Paul Vallas, left, former chief executive of Chicago public schools, and Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner, will face off in an April election (Photos via WBEZ-TV).

ny times logoNew York Times, Chicago’s Choice Points to a Democratic Divide the G.O.P. Hopes to Exploit, Jonathan Weisman and Michael C. Bender, March 1, 2023. Two mayoral candidates, both Democrats, are on opposite sides of the debate over crime and policing. Republicans will be watching closely.

The mayoral runoff pits two Democrats against each other, divided not only by ideology but also by race in a city where racial politics have been prominent since it elected its first Black mayor, Harold Washington, 40 years ago.

chicago skylineA Republican hasn’t controlled City Hall since William H. “Big Bill” Thompson left office in 1931, with an open alliance with Al Capone and three safe deposit boxes containing almost $1.6 million.

But this year’s Chicago’s election will be watched by Republicans intently. Crime has already emerged as a potent weapon for a G.O.P. eager to win back the suburbs and chip away at Democratic gains among urban professionals.

It has also highlighted the Democrats’ divide between a liberal left that coined the phrase “defund the police” and a resurgent center insisting the party does “back the blue.”

In New York City, a moderate Democrat, Eric Adams, harnessed the surge of violence that hit cities across the country, exacerbated by the pandemic, to win the mayoral race in 2021. A Republican-turned-Democrat, Rick Caruso, leaned on the issue of crime last year to force a runoff in the nation’s second largest city, Los Angeles, though he ultimately lost the mayoralty to the more liberal candidate, Karen Bass.

washington post logoWashington Post, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fails to advance to runoff, Colby Itkowitz, Kim Bellware and Sabrina Rodriguez, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for a second term here Tuesday, failing to amass enough support to advance to a runoff election after a difficult tenure as the leader of a city overwhelmed by gun violence. (Details below in U.S. Politics section.)


This week's new official portrait of the U.S. Supreme Court

The official portrait of the U.S. Supreme Court

washington post logoWashington Post, On student loan forgiveness, conservative justices skeptical of Biden plan, Robert Barnes, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel and Ann E. Marimow, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Roberts and others said Congress should be involved in such an expensive endeavor, and they questioned the plan’s fairness. 

Conservative Supreme Court justices on Tuesday seemed highly skeptical that President Biden has authority from Congress to provide more than $400 billion in student loan forgiveness to tens of millions of borrowers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

education department seal Custom 2During more than three hours of argument about one of the president’s most sweeping and expensive domestic initiatives, conservatives led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. questioned how what Roberts repeatedly called a “half-trillion dollar” program could be implemented without more direct involvement from Congress, which controls the purse of federal spending.

“We take very seriously the idea of separation of powers and that power should be divided to prevent its abuse,” Roberts said, adding that “this is a case that presents extraordinarily serious, important issues about the role of Congress and about the role that we should exercise in scrutinizing that.”

The justices on the right — six of the court’s nine members — seemed unsatisfied with assertions from their liberal colleagues and U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar that blocking the program would actually thwart the will of Congress, which in 2003 provided authority for the secretary of education to “waive or modify” student loan provisions in times of emergency.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan said Congress could not have been clearer about its intentions in the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act. “We deal with congressional statutes every day that are really confusing,” Kagan said. “This one is not.”

But the conservative justices asked a barrage of questions about the ability of the executive branch to make sweeping change without specific congressional authorization — the “major questions doctrine.” By the end of the day, the administration’s best hope seemed to be that the court might find that none of the plaintiffs in the two cases had legal standing to make the challenge.

Such a finding would mean the court would not decide the merits of the issue. Conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett had skeptical questions for lawyers representing six Republican-led states in one case, and two borrowers who did not receive the relief they wanted in the other. But it would require only five justices to find standing in one of the cases for a challenge to proceed.

Prelogar found little support among the conservatives for her contention that the administration was properly exercising the authority Congress had already bestowed.

ny times logoNew York Times, Scrounging for Tanks for Ukraine, Europe’s Armies Come Up Short, Erika Solomon, Steven Erlanger and Christopher F. Schuetze, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). The struggle to deliver on promises to provide Leopard 2 tanks for use against Russian forces has exposed just how unprepared European militaries are.

Nearly a month after Berlin gave European allies permission to send German-made tanks to Ukraine, the flow of tanks so many leaders vowed would follow seems more like a trickle.

Some nations have discovered that the tanks in their armory don’t actually work or lack spare parts. Political leaders have encountered unanticipated resistance within their own coalitions, and even from their defense ministries. And some armies had to pull trainers out of retirement to teach Ukrainian soldiers how to use old-model tanks.

The struggle to provide Leopard tanks to an embattled Ukraine is just the most glaring manifestation of a reality Europe has long ignored: Believing that large-scale land war was a thing of the past and basking in the thaw of the Cold War, nations chronically underfunded their militaries. When Russia launched the largest land war on the continent since World War II, they were woefully unprepared.

Hints of the problem have surfaced repeatedly since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago, through shortages of weapons and ammunition. But now, as Germany and its allies struggled for weeks to scrape together enough Leopard 2s to fill two battalions of tanks — 62 vehicles in total — the extent of their quandary has become even clearer.

ny times logoNew York Times, After Slashing Its Staff, Twitter Faces More Glitches and Outages, Ryan Mac, Mike Isaac and Kate Conger, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Elon Musk’s repeated trims to the company’s workforce are stoking new fears that there aren’t enough people to triage Twitter’s problems.

twitter bird CustomAfter Elon Musk bought Twitter last year and eliminated thousands of its employees, many users were so alarmed by the cuts that #RIPTwitter and #GoodbyeTwitter began trending.

The social media service remains operational today. But its outages, bugs and other glitches are increasingly piling up.

In February alone, Twitter experienced at least four widespread outages, compared with nine in all of 2022, according to NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet outages. That suggests the frequency of service failures is on the rise, NetBlocks said. And bugs that have made Twitter less usable — by preventing people from posting tweets, for instance — have been more noticeable, researchers and users said.

Twitter’s reliability has deteriorated as Mr. Musk has repeatedly slashed the company’s work force. After another round of layoffs on Saturday, Twitter has fewer than 2,000 employees, down from 7,500 when Mr. Musk took over in October. The latest cuts affected dozens of engineers responsible for keeping the site online, three current and former employees said.

ny times logoNew York Times, Eli Lilly Says It Will Cut the Price of Insulin, Rebecca Robbins and Christine Hauser, March 1, 2023. The company said it would cap the out-of-pocket cost of the diabetes drug.

The drug maker Eli Lilly and Company said on Wednesday that it would significantly reduce the prices of several of its lifesaving insulin products that are used by diabetes patients and whose prices Lilly has repeatedly increased in the past.

eli lilly logoLilly also said it would cap at $35 a month what patients pay out of pocket for the drugmaker’s insulin products.

Insulin, which is usually taken daily, has grown increasingly expensive in recent years despite the introduction of new competition. Many diabetes patients ration their medicines or discontinue them because of the cost. More than 30 million Americans live with diabetes, and more than seven million of them rely on insulin.

Lilly’s cuts to the products’ list prices, which will take effect over the course of this year, apply only to the company’s older insulin products.

Stacie Dusetzina, a professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said the changes would be helpful for diabetes patients who are uninsured or underinsured. But she noted that insurers already pay less than the sticker price for the insulin products because of a variety of discounts and rebates.

Lilly’s announcement follows years of mounting criticism from Americans who have said insulin should be more accessible and easier to afford. The criticism led to lawsuits and legislation.

Eli Lilly’s move to limit out-of-pocket costs expands on a change that went in to effect at the start of this year for patients on Medicare. Under last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, Congress imposed a $35 a month ceiling on insulin co-payments for Medicare patients.

Lilly said it planned in the last three months of this year to reduce the list price of its most commonly used insulin, Humalog, as well as another insulin product, Humulin, by 70 percent. Lilly said that its newer Tempo Pen version of its Humalog product, which comes as a prefilled insulin pen, would not be discounted.

Lilly said it would immediately reduce the price of its generic version of Humalog to $25 per vial, down from $82, a change that the company said would reduce the price to less than it was in 1999.


Leading Nigerian Presidential candidates in 2023 were Bola Tinubu, center, Peter Obi, left, and Atatiku Abubakar.

Leading Nigerian Presidential candidates in 2023 were Bola Tinubu, center, Peter Obi, left, and Atatiku Abubakar.

washington post logoWashington Post, Bola Tinubu of Nigeria’s ruling party wins presidential election, Rachel Chason and Ope Adetayo, March 1, 2023 (print ed.).  Former Lagos governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu has won Nigeria’s presidential election, officials said early Wednesday, marking a victory for the ruling party despite the unpopularity of its outgoing president, Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigerian FlagThe opposition, including the campaigns of both outsider candidate Peter Obi and former vice president Atiku Abubakar, has vowed to contest the results, saying that a new election should be held under a new elections chief.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, opposition figures alleged widespread technological problems, delays in poll openings on Election Day, violence and voter intimidation, and manipulation of results.

Pockets of protest, including in the capital, Abuja, emerged Tuesday, and political analysts warned it could spread. Leaders in the opposition and ruling parties urged calm.

bola tinubu 2011 wTinubu, 70, known as a kingmaker in Nigerian politics (and shown in a 2011 photo), received 36 percent of more than 24 million votes cast, according to results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He also received over 25 percent of the vote in more than two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states and Abuja, thus meeting both requirements to win Nigeria’s presidency.

As crises spiral, Nigerians are voting in tight presidential election

Tinubu, who had the support of Buhari and a massive get-out-the-vote effort behind him, ran on the slogan “It’s my turn.” He benefited because the opposition was divided between Obi, 61, a former governor popular among the youth, and Abubakar, 76, on his sixth bid for the presidency.

Now, Obi’s and Abubakar’s campaigns have joined forces to call for a fresh election, saying that INEC’s poor performance overseeing the election led to a loss of confidence in the results. “This election was not free and was far from being fair or transparent,” Julius Abure, the Labour Party chairman, said at the news conference.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opposition Parties in Nigeria Call for Election Rerun, Citing Fraud, Ruth Maclean and Elian Peltier, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Two parties say that the presidential vote was marred by vote rigging and violence. They also called for the head of the election commission to resign.

Nigerian FlagNigeria’s two major opposition parties on Tuesday called for the presidential election to be canceled and rerun, saying that it had been compromised by vote rigging and widespread violence.

The election over the weekend in the West African nation — the most populous on the continent, with 220 million people — was the most wide open in years, with a surprise third-party candidate putting up an assertive challenge.

On Tuesday, the chairmen of the two opposition parties — the People’s Democratic Party and the Labour Party — called for the head of the government’s electoral commission to resign, even as the commission continued to release results.

With about one-third of the 36 states reporting results, by Tuesday afternoon, Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress party appeared some distance ahead of his rivals in the count, with 44 percent of the vote. Some 87 million people were registered to vote, but results from the first tabulations suggested low turnout.

“We demand that this sham of an election be immediately canceled,” said Julius Abure, chairman of the Labour Party. “We have totally lost faith in the whole process.”

Many Nigerians had looked to the election to put the country back on track after eight years of rule by an ailing president, Muhammadu Buhari — a military dictator turned democrat. Mr. Buhari had reached his two-term limit and was not running for re-election.

Under his leadership, the Giant of Africa, as Nigeria is known, lurched from one economic shock to the next. Over 60 percent of people live in poverty, while security crises — including kidnapping, terrorism, militancy in oil-rich areas and clashes between herdsmen and farmers — have multiplied.


U.S. Courts, Crime, Immigration


ICE logo

ny times logoNew York Times, Many Undocumented Immigrants Are Departing After Decades in the U.S., Miriam Jordan, March 1, 2023. Crowded scenes at the border do not necessarily mean an increase in the undocumented population. Many other immigrants have been returning home.

In August 2021, more than three decades after sneaking across the southern border as young adults to work and support their families in Mexico, Irma and Javier Hernandez checked in at La Guardia Airport for a one-way flight from New York to Oaxaca. They were leaving behind four American children, stable jobs where they were valued employees and a country they had grown to love.

But after years of living in the United States without legal status, the couple had decided it was time to return to their homeland. Ms. Hernandez’s mother was 91, and they feared she might die — as Ms. Hernandez’s father and in-laws did — before they saw each other again. With dollar savings, they had built a little house, where they could live, and had invested in a tortilleria, which they could run. Their children, now young adults, could fend for themselves.

“Only God knows how hard we worked day after day in New York,” said Ms. Hernandez, 57. “We are still young enough that we could have kept going there, but ultimately we made the difficult choice to return.”

The Hernandezes are part of a wave of immigrants who have been leaving the United States and returning to their countries of origin in recent years, often after spending most of their lives toiling as undocumented workers. Some of them never intended to remain in the United States but said that the cost and danger of crossing the border kept them here once they had arrived — and they built lives. Now, middle-aged and still able-bodied, many are making a reverse migration.

Mexicans, who represent the largest and most transformative migration to the United States in modern history, started a gradual return more than a decade ago, with improvements in the Mexican economy and shrinking job opportunities in the United States during the last recession.

But departures have recently accelerated, beginning with crackdowns on immigrants under the Trump administration and continuing under President Biden as many older people decide they have realized their original goals for immigrating and can afford to trade the often-grueling work available to undocumented workers for a slower pace in their home country.

Their departures are one of many factors that have helped keep the total number of undocumented immigrants in the country relatively stable, despite a flood of migrant apprehensions at the southern border that reached two million last year.

washington post logoWashington Post, Garland faces Senate panel amid multiple controversies, including Mar-a-Lago search, John Wagner and Mariana Alfaro, March 1, 2023. Attorney General Merrick Garland is on Capitol Hill for his first appearance before the new Congress.

Justice Department log circularHe was prepared for questions by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on multiple controversies, including the Justice Department’s decision to conduct a surprise search at former president Donald Trump’s Florida property to try to recover classified documents. Garland has since named special counsels to look into the retention of documents by both Trump and President Biden.

merrick garlandGarland, right, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, said Mexico could do more to help the United States combat the illicit influx of fentanyl, which has become the No. 1 cause of death for American adults under 50.

“They are helping us, but they could do much more,” Garland said in a response to Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), the top Republican on the panel, who used much of his allotted questioning time to press the attorney general on the issue.

“Well, if this is helping, I would hate to see what not helping looks like,” Graham said. “So the bottom line for me is they’re not helping, and we need to up our game when it comes to fentanyl.”

ny times logoNew York Times, New York Will Pay Millions to Protesters Violently Corralled by Police, Maria Cramer, March 1, 2023. The police boxed in hundreds of racial justice demonstrators in the Bronx in 2020, a practice known as “kettling,” then hit them with batons and pepper spray.

New York City has agreed to pay $21,500 to each of hundreds of demonstrators who were penned in by the police in the Bronx during racial justice protests in 2020, then charged at or beaten with batons, according to a legal settlement.

If a judge approves the settlement filed in federal court late Tuesday, the amount would be one of the highest ever awarded per person in a class action case of mass arrests, and could cost the city between $4 million and $6 million.

The case concerned roughly 300 people who were arrested on June 4, 2020, in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx during protests against the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers the week before. His death set off protests across the country, including in New York, where thousands of people demonstrated in May and June.

On June 4, the police boxed in hundreds of protesters who had peacefully gathered on 136th Street and then prevented them from leaving, a practice known as “kettling,” according to the lawsuit.

ny times logoNew York Times, Abbe Lowell Built Ties to Trump World. Now He’s One of Hunter Biden’s Lawyers, Kenneth P. Vogel, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). The shift by Mr. Lowell, one of Washington’s best-known scandal lawyers, highlights the blurry lines between self-promotion, access to power and the right to legal representation.

abbe lowellEven by the flexible standards of Washington’s hired legal guns, Abbe Lowell’s most recent move was striking. After representing Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and developing close ties inside the Trump White House, Mr. Lowell, right, one of the capital’s best-known scandal lawyers, is now representing a favorite target of former President Donald J. Trump: Hunter Biden.

Mr. Lowell’s new role in helping steer Mr. Biden through Republican congressional investigations has stirred unease and dissent in the Biden camp, where some questioned his recent work for the Trump family and worried that his aggressive tactics could backfire.

It has also brought new attention to legal and ethics issues raised by the Justice Department and a client about Mr. Lowell in recent years. And his re-emergence in Democratic circles after a turn in Mr. Trump’s orbit highlights how Washington’s scandal-industrial complex can blur the lines between legal representation, access to power and self-promotion.

It is not unusual for top-tier Washington lawyers to represent clients on both sides of the aisle in high-profile Justice Department and congressional investigations, and Mr. Lowell has represented a long roster of prominent Democrats and Republicans. But Mr. Lowell’s proximity to the Oval Office of two successive — and irreconcilably hostile — White Houses from differing parties stands out.

washington post logoWashington Post, Vanessa Bryant settles dispute over helicopter crash photos for $28.85 million, Gus Garcia-Roberts, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, agreed to settle for $28.85 million her family’s potential court claims against Los Angeles County over the illicit circulation of photos of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, daughter and seven others.

The settlement, revealed in a court filing Tuesday, includes $15 million awarded to Bryant following a civil trial in August and precludes her surviving daughters from filing similar claims.

The agreement seemingly ends the bizarre, wrenching and — for multiple county agencies — deeply embarrassing saga that began in the wake of the January 2020 helicopter crash, when it emerged that fire officials and sheriff’s deputies were sharing photos from the crash of mutilated bodies.

A Los Angeles jury previously rejected the explanation of county attorneys and officials — including since-ousted sheriff Alex Villanueva — that deputies and firefighters were showing the photos to others, including at a bar and a gala, for official reasons.

washington post logoWashington Post, Ex-cardinal McCarrick tells Massachusetts court he’s incompetent for trial, Douglas Moser and Michelle Boorstein, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Five years after allegations of child sex abuse against then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick first surfaced and rocked the U.S. Catholic Church, attorneys for McCarrick, 92, said Monday that he’s no longer mentally competent to stand trial and that the charges should be dismissed.

theodore mccarrickMcCarrick, right, was for decades one of the country’s most connected and powerful Catholic leaders. Now, many Catholics view him as an emblem of a rotten old-boy network in which the people at the top never face justice for their role in crimes involving sexual abuse by clergy.

The three counts of indecent assault and battery, based on allegations that McCarrick molested a 16-year-old family friend at a Wellesley College wedding reception in 1974, are the only criminal charges he faces. Fourteen minors and at least five adults — clergy and seminarians — have accused the former D.C. archbishop of sexual misconduct, according to the abuse-tallying site The first one came in 2018, shocking the church. But because of statutes of limitation for alleged incidents, it was long assumed that McCarrick would never be criminally charged. The Wellesley case was able to be prosecuted because, in accordance with Massachusetts law, the statute of limitations was put on hold after McCarrick left the state decades ago.

Relevant Recent Headlines


U.S. Politics, Elections, Economy, Governance


President Jimmy Carter and his wife Roselyn Carter walk away from to the Inaguration in January 1977 (Photo via the Carter Center).

President Jimmy Carter, now in home hospice care in his native Georgia, and his wife Roselyn Carter walk away from to the Inaguration in January 1977 (Photo via the Carter Center).

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘Different From the Other Southerners’: Jimmy Carter and Black America, Maya King and Richard Fausset, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Here’s how a white politician from the South who once supported segregationist policies eventually won the enduring support of Black voters.

Without Black voters, there would have been no President Jimmy Carter.

georgia mapIn 1976, African Americans catapulted the underdog Democrat to the White House with 83 percent support. Four years later, they stuck by him, delivering nearly identical numbers even as many white voters abandoned him in favor of his victorious Republican challenger, Ronald Reagan.

democratic donkey logoThis enduring Black support for Mr. Carter illuminates two intertwined and epochal American stories, each of them powered by themes of pragmatism and redemption. One is the story of a white Georgia politician who began his quest for power in the Jim Crow South — a man who, as late as 1970, declared his respect for the arch-segregationist George Wallace in an effort to attract white votes, but whose personal convictions and political ambitions later pushed him to try to change the racist environment in which he had been raised.

The other is the story of a historically oppressed people flexing their growing electoral muscle after the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 removed obstacles to the ballot box. Certainly, for some Black voters, candidate Carter was simply the least bad option. But for others, the elections of 1976 and 1980 were an opportunity to take the measure of this changing white man, recognizing the opportunity he presented, and even his better angels.

“His example in Georgia as a representative of the New South, as one of the new governors from the South, was exciting, and it was appealing,” said Representative Sanford Bishop, a Democrat whose Georgia congressional district includes Mr. Carter’s home. “It carried the day in terms of people wanting a fresh moral face for the presidency.”


gop house chairs 2023

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP-led House steps up scrutiny of Biden’s military aid for Ukraine, Dan Lamothe, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Senior Pentagon officials closely involved with the administration’s Ukraine security assistance program appeared at two House hearings Tuesday.

U.S. House logoA senior Biden administration official told Congress on Tuesday that the Pentagon has not detected any weapons sent to Ukraine have fallen into the wrong hands, responding to a small but outspoken chorus of Republican critics seeking to limit U.S. military aid to Kyiv.

“We don’t see any evidence of diversion in in our reporting,” said Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy. “We think the Ukrainians are using properly what they’ve been given.”

Kahl’s comments to the House Armed Services Committee came in response to questions from lawmakers of both political parties who appear to agree on the need for tougher scrutiny of the tens of billions of dollars and U.S. arms that the administration has provided Ukraine to help fend off Russia’s invasion. After retaking the House majority in January, Republicans in particular have vowed vigorous oversight of the aid program, even as a split calcifies within the GOP over whether to scale back U.S. support.



state dept map logo Small

Politico, Almost out of La La Land: Garcetti nom hits a make or break moment, Marianne LeVine and Christopher Cadelago, March 1, 2023. Biden’s nominee for ambassador to India has been in limbo for nearly 600 days. Things are hitting a breaking point.

politico CustomEric Garcetti’s nomination to be ambassador to India has been anything but smooth. But soon, the drama may be over.

Nearly 600 days since the former mayor of Los Angeles was put forward for the critical diplomatic post, his confirmation prospects have hit a critical juncture in the Senate. He is expected to survive another vote in the Foreign Relations Committee. But that’s just step one. His fate on the floor is far more uncertain, with several senators declining to indicate how they’ll vote on his final confirmation.

india flag mapThe Biden administration is operating as if this is the final chance to see the confirmation through. Aides have intensified their push to seat a top diplomat in New Delhi in recent weeks, with the State Department deeply engaged in talks with senators.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was noncommittal when asked Tuesday about Garcetti. But the coming hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee has brought a sudden uptick in confidence among Garcetti allies inside and out of the administration who have spent more than a year trying to build support for him in the chamber.

“I think we have to take a vote, I think he has the votes. I think there will be senators that use all of their rights to delay the nomination but my sense is he’s going to get confirmed,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told POLITICO. “He’s been actively working, the White House and State Department have been working. We just had other priorities.”

Garcetti’s uncertain fate signals the beginning of a rare rough patch between Biden and the Democratic-run Senate chamber. So far, in his presidency, the White House has only seen a handful of nominees withdrawn. But other picks are sparking controversy, with some Democrats concerned over a current Biden circuit court pick due to his handling of a school sexual assault case. And the president’s pick to lead the Federal Aviation Administration is up in the air after Sen. Ted Cruz demanded that the chamber hold off on considering him.

None of those nominees, however, have been as high profile or gone on as long as Garcetti. He once seemed destined for a plum gig in the Biden administration after representing one of the 2020 campaign’s most prominent supporters. Allegations that he was aware of sexual assault and harassment accusations made by some on his staff against his former top political adviser, Rick Jacobs, have complicated that glide path.

While Garcetti has repeatedly denied knowledge of those allegations, some Republicans led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) concluded that he was aware — or should have been aware — of them. Meanwhile, Garcetti has spent considerable sums of money on lobbyists to rally support for his cause and push back against critics of his nomination who have been in touch frequently with senators urging them to reject him.

“Any support in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for this nominee is a bitter pill to swallow for all those who believe that enabling and covering up sexual harassment and abuse should be disqualifying for public office in America,” said Libby Liu, the chief executive of Whistleblower Aid. “The evidence is clear that he is unfit to represent our country anywhere in the world, and especially to the world’s largest democracy with a deeply troubled record on gender-based violence.”

Garcetti himself has been meeting with key officials and focusing on locking up support from Republican senators. His parents have hired a lobbyist to help shepherd the nomination. And the blitz seems to be making inroads with some in that audience.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she had “an excellent meeting” with Garcetti on Monday. “He clearly is very knowledgeable about India and we talked about the allegations that he was not sufficiently attentive to the sexual harassment allegations against one of his employees,” she said, adding that she wants to look at the Grassley report before making a final decision.


Paul Vallas, left, former chief executive of Chicago public schools, and Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner, will face off in an April election, according to the Associated Press (Photos via WBEZ-TV).

Paul Vallas, left, former chief executive of Chicago public schools, and Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner, will face off in an April election (Photos via WBEZ-TV).

washington post logoWashington Post, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fails to advance to runoff, Colby Itkowitz, Kim Bellware and Sabrina Rodriguez, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for a second term here Tuesday, failing to amass enough support to advance to a runoff election after a difficult tenure as the leader of a city overwhelmed by gun violence. (Details below in U.S. Politics section.)

chicago skylineInstead, Paul Vallas, former chief executive of Chicago public schools, and Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner, will face off in an April election, lori lightfoot twitter Customaccording to the Associated Press.

Lightfoot, right, is the first incumbent in 40 years to be ousted after just one term. She spoke to her supporters shortly before 9 pm Central time, after calling Vallas to concede.

“We know in life, in the end, you don’t always win the battle. But you never regret taking on the powerful, and bringing in the light,” she told the crowd gathered at her election night party at a union hall in downtown.

paul vallasWith 84 percent of the vote counted, Vallas, left, led the pack with 35 percent of the vote, followed by Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson (D) with 20 percent and Lightfoot trailing with 16 percent, according to the AP. U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) was running a distant fourth.

Vallas, who secured the endorsement of the police union, amassed a strong base of support, but did not receive the 50 percent needed to win outright.


djt ron desantis cnn collage

washington post logoWashington Post, From Palm Beach to Staten Island, DeSantis makes 2024 moves on Trump’s turf, Hannah Knowles and Josh Dawsey, Paul Farhi, Feb. 26, 2023 (print ed.). The Florida governor’s show of force was part of his increasingly open encroachments into Trump’s longtime support base and ideological terrain.

Four miles down an oceanfront highway from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, more than 100 influential Republicans gathered at a luxe resort this weekend for cigars, cocktails and plenty of face time with the former president’s chief GOP rival: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, shown above in a file photo. “WELCOME TO THE FREEDOM BLUEPRINT,” blared a sign welcoming donors, influencers and lawmakers.
Congressional districts have changed. Find yours for the 2022 midterm elections.

djt maga hatThey mingled Friday at the Four Seasons ahead of discussions hosted by DeSantis’s political committee on “election integrity,” border security and “medical authoritarianism,” according to an agenda reviewed by The Washington Post. It all unfolded a day after a much smaller candlelight dinner fundraiser held at Mar-a-Lago for the super PAC supporting Trump’s White House bid — a group with less cash than the DeSantis committee in its coffers at the end of last year.

DeSantis’s show of force in Trump’s backyard was part of his increasingly open encroachments into the former president’s longtime support base and ideological turf. The gathering marked the latest step by DeSantis toward launching a bid for president, as he avoids public conflict with Trump but cultivates Trump donors and supporters, visits Trump strongholds and seeks to make his mark on some issues closely associated with Trump.

Trump’s grip on the Republican base is slipping — even among his fans

DeSantis touted his record as governor extensively in remarks to a packed room Friday night, according to an attendee who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. The confab here was designed to showcase DeSantis’s record and show it could be applied nationally, people familiar with the event said. That’s an appealing prospect to many Republicans, including some who used to be staunch Trump supporters.

Politico, Jeb Bush: ‘I was praising, not endorsing’ DeSantis, Gary Fineout, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). It’s no big secret that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a fan of current Gov. Ron DeSantis. He wrote about DeSantis for Time Magazine. And Bush was the lone former governor to attend DeSantis’ inauguration in January.

politico CustomBush was also effusive with praise of the governor in a “Fox Nation” special released last week hosted by Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade jeb bush wcalled “Who is Ron DeSantis?” Bush, right, said DeSantis had been an “effective governor” and praised his response to Hurricane Ian as well as pushback to critical media coverage.

Bush’s comments have been viewed as an all-out endorsement of DeSantis and ricocheted online over the weekend, drawing some angry response from some diehard supporters for former President Donald Trump. Trump of course crushed Bush in the 2016 Republican primary for president.

But in an email to Playbook, Bush stated that “I was praising, not endorsing.” In that same email, he did not answer a question on who he wanted to see become the Republican nominee. But right after the inauguration, he said DeSantis would be a “great alternative” to Trump and that the governor has a “proven track record” and “great platform” to run on if he chose to jump into the race for president.

Florida Political Report, Blaise Ingoglia bill would ‘cancel’ Democratic Party, Mike Wright, Feb. 28, 2023. Sen. Blaise Ingoglia is sponsoring the “Ultimate Cancel Act,” which would eliminate all political parties that once used slavery as part of its platform.

While “Democratic Party” isn’t mentioned in the bill, Ingoglia said that’s his target.

“For years now, leftist activists have been trying to ‘cancel’ people and companies for things they have said or done in the past. This includes the removal of statues and memorials, and the renaming of buildings,” he said. “Using this standard, it would be hypocritical not to cancel the Democratic Party itself for the same reason.”

The measure (SB 1248) would switch Democratic voters to no-party voters or give them the option of choosing another party.

The Democratic Party adopted pro-slavery positions in their platforms during the conventions of 1840, 1844, 1856, 1860 and 1864, Ingoglia noted.

Indeed, the Democratic Party’s beginnings were rooted in states’ rights, including slavery. The party split during the Civil War, with Southern Democrats favoring slavery in all territories and Northern Democrats arguing it should go to a popular vote.

A century later, it was a Democratic president from the South, Lyndon Johnson, who signed the Civil Rights Act.

According to Ingoglia’s bill, the Division of Elections would decertify any political party that has “previously advocated for, or been in support of, slavery or involuntary servitude.”

Registered voters of that party would receive notices from the state that their party has been “canceled” and that they’re now no-party voters.

As for the canceled Democratic Party, it could re-register with the state so long as the name is “substantially different from the name of any other party previously registered.”

Ingoglia said Democrats should be called upon to face their past.

“Some people want to have ‘uncomfortable conversations’ about certain subjects,” he said. “Let’s have those conversations.”

washington post logoWashington Post, As CPAC’s head faces sexual assault claim, other leadership concerns emerge, Beth Reinhard and Isaac Arnsdorf, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Matt Schlapp, who runs the Conservative Political Action Conference, has been backed by prominent Republicans but some staffers complain of a ‘toxic’ culture.

For nearly a decade, Matt Schlapp has captained the blockbuster Conservative Political Action Conference, bringing together influential figures on the right and establishing himself as a key voice in former president Donald Trump’s movement.

Those powerful allies rushed to his defense when Schlapp was anonymously accused in early January of sexual misconduct by a GOP campaign aide.

Two days after the allegation was first reported, Trump shared a stage with Schlapp at a CPAC fundraiser at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. Officials from CPAC’s parent organization, the American Conservative Union, denounced the claim as a political missive. A prominent Republican lawyer representing Schlapp called the accusation “false” and cast it as a personal attack on his family.

But as Schlapp rebuffs the allegation by a former staffer from Herschel Walker’s Georgia Senate campaign, who says he groped him during an Atlanta trip last fall, dozens of current and former employees and board members interviewed by The Washington Post described a wider range of complaints about the longtime Republican power broker and CPAC’s culture under his leadership. A Post review of the Walker staffer’s claims also corroborated that he shared his story with friends and colleagues in the immediate aftermath.

ny times logoNew York Times, For Republicans’ Rising Stars, CPAC Is Losing Its Pull, Lisa Lerer and Maggie Haberman, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). At the annual conference this week, conservative celebrities like Mike Lindell and Kari Lake will attend, as will Donald Trump, but many possible 2024 rivals are skipping it.

republican elephant logoHouse Speaker Kevin McCarthy; Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee; all of the other Republican governors; and all of the members of the party’s leadership in the Senate are not listed on the agenda. The only other well-known presidential candidate attending is Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador who is considered a long shot for the White House. A lesser-known presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, is also speaking.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Our state is at war with our family’: Clergy with trans kids fight back, Ariana Eunjung Cha, Photos by Neeta Satam, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). They say their children’s lives and religious liberty are threatened by bills proposed in Missouri and elsewhere.

In Missouri, Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden (R) had promised “big stuff” regarding “the transgender issue” this session. At least 31 bills, one of the largest number in any U.S. state, have been introduced by the Republican supermajority, targeting youth participation in competitive school sports, the ability to revise gender on birth certificates, gender-affirming medical treatments and other rights of LGBTQ people. Similar bills have been introduced in at least 11 states.

The measures that frighten families the most would classify efforts to support children and teens seeking medical treatment to help them transition to their preferred gender as child abuse. The legislation would carry criminal penalties for providers and possibly parents, although such treatments are supported by the country’s major medical associations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology.

Mississippi last week became the fifth state after Alabama, Utah, South Dakota and Arkansas to pass legislation restricting minors seeking gender-affirming care. Governors in Utah and South Dakota have signed the measures into law. In Florida, the state’s board of medicine has imposed similar limits.

washington post logoWashington Post, Tenn. governor to restrict drag shows as photo appears to show him in drag, Annabelle Timsit, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said he intends to sign a controversial bill restricting where drag shows can take place in the state — the latest effort by Republican legislators across the country to target the performances amid broader backlash to expanded LGBTQ rights.

Tennessee’s House and Senate voted to make it illegal for anyone to engage in “adult cabaret” performances on public property or in a place where children might see them — claiming these practices may be harmful to children.

Lawmakers called out “topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators” who provide entertainment of an overly sexual nature. Broad language — restricting performances by these “or similar entertainers, regardless of whether or not performed for consideration” — has sparked fears in the LGBTQ community of a broad crackdown on drag performers, including in settings such as Pride parades.

Tennessee lawmakers also passed a separate bill earlier in February banning gender-affirming care for most trans minors.

“I intend to sign both of them,” Lee said, referring to the bills in a news conference on Monday.

The bill would be one of at least 26 introduced nationwide in the current legislative session by Republicans seeking to impose restrictions or conditions on drag events, as The Washington Post has reported.


julie su smile

Politico, Biden to tap Julie Su as next Labor secretary, Nick Niedzwiadek, Burgess Everett, Nicholas Wu and Sarah Ferris, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). The current deputy Labor secretary, shown above, will be nominated to replace Marty Walsh, according to two people familiar with the matter.

politico CustomPresident Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he would nominate Julie Su to be his next Labor secretary, moving swiftly to fill a coming vacancy within his cabinet.

joe biden black background resized serious file“It is my honor to nominate Julie Su to be our country’s next Secretary of Labor,” Biden, right, said in a statement. “Julie has spent her life fighting to make sure that everyone has a fair shot, that no community is overlooked, and that no worker is left behind. Over several decades, Julie has led the largest state labor department in the nation, cracked down on wage theft, fought to protect trafficked workers, increased the minimum wage, created good-paying, high-quality jobs, and established and enforced workplace safety standards.”

Su is currently the deputy Labor secretary and will be nominated to replace Marty Walsh, left, who is departing the administration to run the professional hockey marty walshplayers’ union. Su’s confirmation fight could be a tough one in the Senate; she was confirmed 50-47 to her slot in 2021 with no Republican support.

Asian American members of Congress had pushed hard for Su to lead the Labor Department at the beginning of the Biden administration before the us labor department logopresident picked Walsh, whose impending departure prompted the lawmakers to again lobby for Su.

Influential labor unions like SEIU had also rallied around Su. Others in organized labor were generally supportive of her becoming Labor secretary, even if they stopped short of a formal endorsement.

Though Su quickly emerged as the frontrunner to succeed Walsh, the Biden administration did explore several alternatives. Among those were Sara Nelson, the leader of Association of Flight Attendants-CWA who had the backing of Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose committee will handle Biden’s nomination.

Sanders said in an interview that he wasn’t sure when Walsh was leaving but he’d try to move Su’s nomination as soon as possible.

“She was not my first choice, but I’ve every confidence she’s going to do a great job,” said Sanders, who had pushed for Nelson.

Su is already in line to become acting Labor secretary once Walsh leaves mid-March, and she has taken on an increased presence in recent weeks as the agency prepares for the handoff.

The two were scheduled to appear together midday Tuesday in Houston for a tour of a local apprenticeship program, alongside the heads of the Teamsters union and United Airlines.

Until recently, Su rarely traveled outside of the capital while Walsh was a frequent presence for the Biden administration across the country and regularly appeared with the president at high-profile events, according to a POLITICO review of the pair’s public schedules.

washington post logoWashington Post, Obama launches leadership network focused on local civic engagement, Matthew Brown, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). The former president said he hopes the initiative ‘will develop, connect and elevate changemakers across the country.’

Allies of Barack Obama were amid months-long talks on how to advance one of the former president’s core goals — cultivating America’s next generation of leadership — when the water in Jackson, Miss., was turned off for more than a month last summer.

The local leaders who responded to that ongoing crisis displayed many of the traits that Obama, who began his career as a Chicago community organizer, wishes to cultivate across the country, according to those close to him. And they thought those leaders could have benefited from connecting with activists in other states who had faced similar challenges.

Now, Jackson will be among the first sites of a new leadership program Obama will soon launch to build a national network of young leaders from a range of regions, identities, backgrounds and political persuasions who are intent on improving their local communities at a time of intense polarization.

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Trump, Allies, GOP Probes, Prospects

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Showdown before the raid: FBI agents and prosecutors argued over Trump, Carol D. Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, Perry Stein and Aaron C. Davis, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). An exclusive look at behind-the-scenes deliberations highlights months of disputes between Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents as they wrestled with a national security case with potentially far-reaching consequences.

Months of disputes between Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents over how best to try to recover classified documents from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and residence led to a tense showdown near the end of July last year, according to four people familiar with the discussions.

FBI logoProsecutors argued that new evidence suggested Trump was knowingly concealing secret documents at his Palm Beach, Fla., home and urged the FBI to conduct a surprise raid at the property. But two senior FBI officials who would be in charge of leading the search resisted the plan as too combative and proposed instead to seek Trump’s permission to search his property, according to the four people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a sensitive investigation.

Prosecutors ultimately prevailed in that dispute, one of several previously unreported clashes in a tense tug of war between two arms of the Justice Department over how aggressively to pursue a criminal investigation of a former president. The FBI conducted an unprecedented raid on Aug. 8, recovering more than 100 classified items, among them a document describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities.

Starting in May, FBI agents in the Washington field office had sought to slow the probe, urging caution given its extraordinary sensitivity, the people said.

Some of those field agents wanted to shutter the criminal investigation altogether in early June, after Trump’s legal team asserted a diligent search had been conducted and all classified records had been turned over, according to some people with knowledge of the discussions.

The idea of closing the probe was not something that was discussed or considered by FBI leadership and would not have been approved, a senior law enforcement official said.

This account reveals for the first time the degree of tension among law enforcement officials and behind-the-scenes deliberations as they wrestled with a national security case that has potentially far-reaching political consequences.

washington post logoWashington Post, McCarthy defends giving Tucker Carlson access to Jan. 6 footage, calls media ‘jealous,’ Jacqueline Alemany, Marianna Sotomayor and Leigh Ann Caldwell, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). The House speaker has been scrutinized by Democrats and members of the media over the exclusive arrangement with the Fox News host.

kevin mccarthyHouse Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday defended his decision to give conservative TV host Tucker Carlson access to roughly 40,000 hours of security footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, telling reporters that the footage will soon be released broadly and that his office is taking measures to address concerns about security risks.

“It almost seems like the press is jealous,” McCarthy, right, said in a one-on-one interview with The Washington Post. “And that’s interesting because every person in the press works off exclusives on certain things.

“People like exclusives, and Tucker is someone that’s been asking for it,” said McCarthy, who characterized Carlson’s style of journalism as “opinion,” not news. “So I let him come in and see it, but everyone’s going to get it.”

McCarthy has avoided repeated questions from reporters about his agreement with Carlson since the Fox News host announced last week that his team had access to the security footage. Several media organizations, including The Washington Post, sent letters to McCarthy requesting the same access and raising concerns “that an ideologically based narrative of an already polarizing event will take hold in the public consciousness.”

Democrats have pilloried McCarthy’s decision to share the footage with Carlson, who has repeatedly downplayed the deadly violence that occurred during the Jan. 6 attack. They also have expressed concerns that broad access to the footage could raise security risks by revealing the locations of cameras on the Capitol complex.

McCarthy minimized those concerns Tuesday, saying Carlson specifically said he did not want to include footage documenting exit routes of the U.S. Capitol. McCarthy added that he has been in consultation with U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) on the release of the footage and dismissed concerns that Carlson will mislead viewers about the events of the day. A spokesperson for the USCP would not confirm McCarthy’s assertion that he or Carlson’s team is requesting security review of any footage that may be used on his show.

McCarthy instead condemned the House select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack for airing video showing part of the exit route from his office and a portion of Vice President Mike Pence’s escape from the Senate chamber as a mob invaded the Capitol. Other Republican lawmakers echoed McCarthy’s defense Tuesday, accusing Democrats who are now raising red flags of hypocrisy. They cited both the committee and Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of former House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who filmed and released footage that captured leaders in a secure military base after evacuating the Capitol that day.

“If you watch what the Jan. 6 committee did under Speaker Pelosi, they actually released a lot of video that was very sensitive,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said during a Tuesday news conference. “I didn’t hear a lot of concern about that back then. We were concerned about how selective they were.”

Tim Mulvey, a former senior staff member and spokesman for the Jan. 6 committee, previously said in a statement that when the panel obtained access to U.S. Capitol Police video footage, “it was treated with great sensitivity given concerns about the security of lawmakers, staff, and the Capitol complex. Access was limited to members and a small handful of investigators and senior staff, and the public use of any footage was coordinated in advance with Capitol Police. It’s hard to overstate the potential security risks if this material were used irresponsibly.”

Politico, House GOP moving to let Jan. 6 defendants access Capitol security footage, Kyle Cheney, Olivia Beavers and Sarah Ferris, March 1, 2023 (print ed.).  House Republicans are moving to provide defendants in Jan. 6-related cases access to thousands of hours of internal Capitol security footage, a move that could influence many of the ongoing prosecutions stemming from 2021’s violent attack.

politico CustomRep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who chairs the House Administration Committee’s oversight subpanel, said that the access for accused rioters and others — which Speaker Kevin McCarthy has greenlighted — would be granted on a “case-by-case basis.”

“Everyone accused of a crime in this country deserves due process, which includes access to evidence which may be used to prove their guilt or innocence,” Loudermilk told POLITICO in a statement. “It is our intention to make available any relevant documents or videos, on a case-by-case basis, as requested by attorneys representing defendants.”

Loudermilk will be leading the effort given his senior Administration panel post, according to a senior Republican congressional aide who addressed the evolving decision on condition of anonymity. The GOP aide added that the new House majority is working on a system that eventually will allow members of the media and the public to access some Jan. 6 records as well.

The footage access plan, described by three people familiar with the discussions, follows McCarthy’s move to grant exclusive access to the 41,000 hours of internal Capitol film from the day of the riot to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. McCarthy and his allies are also making clear that there will be limits on the extent of material permitted to leave the tightly controlled confines of the Capitol, where Carlson’s team has been reviewing the footage for days.

“What gets released is obviously going to be scrutinized to make sure you’re not exposing any sensitive information that hasn’t already been exposed,” said Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.).

McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that he ultimately envisions releasing nearly all of the Jan. 6 surveillance footage publicly, with exceptions for sensitive security information.

“I think putting it out all to the American public, you can see the truth, see exactly what transpired that day and everybody can have the exact same” access, McCarthy said. “My intention is to release it to everyone.”

McCarthy dismissed questions about his decision to share the footage with Carlson, who has downplayed the Jan. 6 attack, describing it as a typical media exclusive. He noted that he did not consult with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell about his decision.

Politico, Trump-allied group wants J6 committee staffers blacklisted, Hailey Fuchs and Kyle Cheney, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). The letter underscores the desire for retribution within Trump world for those who participated in the investigation.

politico CustomA conservative non-profit group allied with former President Donald Trump urged “Hill staffers and their colleagues” to cut off meetings with any former Jan. 6 committee staffers who have since joined firms that lobby.

In a letter sent to hundreds of recipients on the Hill, the dark money group American Accountability Foundation listed the names of the former committee staffers and their titles — along with their new employers and links to their firms’ clients — all of whom they urged to blacklist.

“AAF has put together a cheat-sheet below outlining their new firms and the firm’s clients so you can be sure you (and your staff) aren’t inadvertently taking a meeting with a company that hires staff that hates your boss,” says the memo sent by Thomas Jones, the group’s president and founder. In his letter, Jones noted recent reporting by POLITICO on the January 6 committee staffers being hired by law and lobbying shops.

“It is important to remember that even if one of these former J6 investigators is not listed as a lobbyist on this specific account, the billings brought in by the clients listed below benefit all staff at the J6 investigator’s new firm,” he added.

It remains to be seen how effective the gambit will be, as the letter was sent only this past Wednesday. K Street firms have a major presence on Capitol Hill and their hires include figures on all sides of the political spectrum. But the group’s play illustrates the intense desire that exists among some conservatives to exact political retribution for those staffers who helped unearth extraordinary evidence of Donald Trump’s bid to subvert the 2020 election.

Jones confirmed the authenticity of the memo in an email to POLITICO. He railed against the January 6 committee’s use of investigative power, claiming that the committee and the F.B.I. forced some to “spend tens — sometimes hundreds — of thousands of dollars defending themselves from an overreaching and weaponized government.” He argued that conservatives should not be taking meetings with these lobbyists’ clients.

“My email was just a short list of people and companies they should stop working with,” he said.

“Until conservatives are willing to fight back against the swamp — in this case cutting off the lifeblood of lobbyist access — the swamp will never be drained,” he contended.

Among those listed on the memo include Casey Lucier, former investigative counsel for the committee, who was hired at McGuireWoods, a firm that represents Hertz Global, Perdue Foods, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and others. Other names listed were Kevin Elliker, another former investigative counsel, who was hired by Hunton Andrews Kurth. That firm represents Koch Companies Public Sector, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, and Southern Company Services. Former committee staffers Marcus Childress, Heather Connelly, and Michelle Kallen had all been hired by Jenner & Block, the email noted, which represents T-Mobile and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

In his message, Jones also noted that the memo’s recipients were free to send over additional names.

Led by Jones, an alumnus of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.) presidential campaign, and Matt Buckham, a veteran of the Trump White House, the American Accountability Foundation has taken on controversial tactics to undermine Biden’s nominees. The New Yorker reported links between the American Accountability Foundation and the Conservative Partnership Institute, which has been affiliated with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and attorney Cleta Mitchell. Notably, Meadows’ attorney George Terwilliger works for McGuireWoods, one of the firms listed in the memo.

Politico, Judge rejects ‘terrorism’ sentencing enhancement for leader of Jan. 6 tunnel confrontation, Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, Feb. 28, 2023 (print ed.). On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden sentenced David Judd to 32 months in prison for his role in the attack — barely a third of the 90-month sentence prosecutors had sought.

Amid the most extreme violence on Jan. 6, 2021, David Judd launched a lit object — which appeared to be a firecracker — at a tightly packed politico Customtunnel full of police and members of the mob, an effort to clear a path so rioters could derail the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

trevor mcFadden CustomOn Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, right, sentenced Judd to 32 months in prison for his role in the attack — barely a third of the 90-month sentence prosecutors had sought, describing Judd as one of the most egregious offenders in the entire mob.

McFadden largely agreed with DOJ’s characterization, saying Judd was “part of some of the most violent and shocking confrontations with police officers that day,” which he called “a flagrant affront to our system of government.” But that’s where the agreement largely ended.

McFadden’s swept away efforts by prosecutors to apply several enhancements to Judd’s sentence, most notably the so-called “terrorism” enhancement, for what Justice Department lawyers said was his intent to disrupt government functions with force. McFadden discarded their recommendations, noting that Judd didn’t appear to preplan his attack the way terrorists like those in a 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, did.

Rather, the judge said, Judd was “in some ways there at the behest of the president,” who had just minutes earlier urged his supporters to march on Congress and protest the certification of the election results.

It’s the second time prosecutors have attempted to apply the terrorism enhancement to a Jan. 6 defendant — both times unsuccessfully — during the sentencing process. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Akers emphasized that the government viewed Judd’s crime as “domestic terrorism” worthy of the enhancement, which would add significant time on to Judd’s recommended sentence.

Invoking the terrorism enhancement can add about 15 years in prison to a defendant’s recommended sentence, set the minimum calculation at 17-and-a-half years, and also flip the person charged into the criminal-history category used for serial offenders.

However, prosecutors asked for only a modest adjustment in Judd’s case because the 2 offenses he pled guilty to — assault on a police officer and obstructing an official proceeding — are not on a list Congress has established of crimes of terrorism.

Still, McFadden declined to apply even that adjustment.

The judge noted that in the other case where prosecutors sought the more serious enhancement — against Texas’ Guy Reffitt — prosecutors assembled an extraordinary roster of evidence showing that Reffitt planned his actions on Jan. 6, carried a firearm, was a member of a right wing militia group and threatened a witness afterward. In that case, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Freidrich rejected the enhancement, sentencing Reffitt to 7.25 years in prison.

McFadden used Monday’s sentencing hearing to strike another blow in a long-running critique of the Justice Department, which he has accused of treating Jan. 6 cases more harshly than rioters charged alongside the social justice protests in the summer of 2020. He said DOJ’s charging decisions in some of those cases cast doubt on Attorney General Merrick Garland’s vow for there “not to be one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans. One rule for friends, one rule for foes.”

Prosecutors have rejected the claim, arguing that Jan. 6 and the concerted assault on the transfer of power stands in stark contrast to the summertime 2020 violence — and is often accompanied by far more compelling video evidence of the crimes. They also noted that in some of the 2020 violence — particularly in Portland, Oregon — federal prosecutors opted against charging defendants who were facing even harsher charges at the state level.

McFadden, however, homed in on cases like the New York Police Department attorneys who threw Molotov cocktails in an empty NYPD police cruiser, whose sentence he said was relatively light compared to the steep penalties DOJ is seeking for some Jan. 6 offenders.
Garland says he’s watching Jan. 6 hearings

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More On Ukraine War

ny times logoNew York Times, Russia Was Routed in an Epic Battle of Tanks, Repeating Earlier Mistakes, Andrew E. Kramer, March 1, 2023. A three-week fight in southern Ukraine produced what Ukrainian officials called the war’s biggest tank battle so far, and a stinging setback for Russia.

Before driving into battle in their mud-spattered war machine, a T-64 tank, the three-man Ukrainian crew performs a ritual.

The commander, Pvt. Dmytro Hrebenok, recites the Lord’s Prayer. Then, the men walk around the tank, patting its chunky green armor.

“We say, ‘Please, don’t let us down in battle,’” said Sgt. Artyom Knignitsky, the mechanic. “‘Bring us in and bring us out.’”

Their respect for their tank is understandable. Perhaps no weapon symbolizes the ferocious violence of war more than the main battle tank. Tanks have loomed over the conflict in Ukraine in recent months — militarily and diplomatically — as both sides prepared for offensives. Russia pulled reserves of tanks from Cold War-era storage, and Ukraine prodded Western governments to supply American Abrams and German Leopard II tanks.

The sophisticated Western tanks are expected on the battlefield in the next several months. The new Russian armor turned up earlier — and in its first wide-scale deployment was decimated.

A three-week battle on a plain near the coal-mining town of Vuhledar in southern Ukraine produced what Ukrainian officials say was the biggest tank battle of the war so far, and a stinging setback for the Russians.

In the extended battle, both sides sent tanks into the fray, rumbling over dirt roads and maneuvering around tree lines, with the Russians thrusting forward in columns and the Ukrainians maneuvering defensively, firing from a distance or from hiding places as Russian columns came into their sights.

When it was over, not only had Russia failed to capture Vuhledar, but it also had made the same mistake that cost Moscow hundreds of tanks earlier in the war: advancing columns into ambushes.

Blown up on mines, hit with artillery or obliterated by anti-tank missiles, the charred hulks of Russian armored vehicles now litter farm fields all about Vuhledar, according to Ukrainian military drone footage. Ukraine’s military said Russia had lost at least 130 tanks and armored personnel carriers in the battle. That figure could not be independently verified. Ukraine does not disclose how many weapons it loses.

Lack of expertise also bedeviled the Russians. Many of their most elite units had been left in shambles from earlier fighting. Their spots were filled with newly conscripted soldiers, unschooled in Ukraine’s tactics for ambushing columns. In one indication that Russia is running short of experienced tank commanders, Ukrainian soldiers said they captured a medic who had been reassigned to operate a tank.

The Russian army has focused on, and even mythologized, tank warfare for decades for its redolence of Russian victories over the Nazis in World War II. Factories in the Ural Mountains have churned out tanks by the thousands. In Vuhledar, by last week Russia had lost so many machines to sustain armored assaults that they had changed tactics and resorted only to infantry attacks, Ukrainian commanders said.

The depth of the Russian defeat was underscored by Russian military bloggers, who have emerged as an influential pro-war voice in the country. Often critical of the military, they have posted angry screeds about the failures of repeated tank assaults, blaming generals for misguided tactics with a storied Russian weapon.

washington post logoWashington Post, China, saying it can mediate on Ukraine, hosts Putin ally Lukashenko, Meaghan Tobin, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Even as China pushes to distance itself from the perception that it supports Russian hostilities in Ukraine — or at least benefits from economic ties with Russia amid strict Western sanctions — one of Moscow’s closest allies, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, is due to arrive in Beijing on Tuesday for a state visit.

Lukashenko, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is set to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping during the visit, and Xi is due to visit Putin in Moscow in the coming months.

While the Belarusian leader is in Beijing, the two sides are expected to sign agreements deepening cooperation in trade, education and technology.

The three-day meeting kicks off amid warnings in Washington that China is contemplating direct military aid to Russia, which Beijing vehemently denied Monday, accusing the United States of “blatant bullying and double standards.”


United Nations

washington post logoWashington Post, U.N. Human Rights Council kicks off with condemnation of Russian aggression, Kelly Kasulis Cho and Leo Sands, Feb. 28, 2023 (print ed.). World leaders and top-ranking officials are set to meet in Geneva for a new session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which began Monday and will run until April 4. The war in Ukraine will be among the topics discussed.

A delegation from Moscow, which was expelled from the main U.N. human rights body in April over violations in Ukraine, will participate as an observer, Reuters reported, in the first in-person appearance by a Russian official since the war started.

China defended its position on the Ukraine war as “consistent” after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to Beijing not to supply Russia with weapons and suggested a meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. When asked about Zelensky’s appeal, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said China “has maintained communication with all involved parties including Ukraine.”

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

1. Key developments

  • Russia’s invasion has unleashed “widespread death, destruction and displacement,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said during Monday’s session. Since the war began, U.N. officials have documented hundreds of violations, including the disappearance of civilians and acts of sexual violence against men, women and children, Guterres said.
  • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said China’s 12-point proposal to end the war deserves consideration. The plan, which was unveiled by Beijing Friday and immediately dismissed by Ukraine, calls on the West to ease pressure on Russia and end the use of unilateral sanctions — and does not make any explicit demands for a Russian withdrawal. “Any attempts to come up with plans that will help move the conflict into a peaceful direction deserve attention,” Peskov said Monday, referring to the proposal.
  • Russia has supplied Belarus with an Iskander short-range ballistic missile system and an S-400 air-defense missile system, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said. “It is a serious weapon,” Lukashenko said of the S-400 system at a meeting in Minsk on Monday, state-run media reported. Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to supply Belarus with the Iskander missile systems — which can be armed with nuclear warheads — in June, Reuters reported at the time.
  • “Crimea is Ukraine,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that marked the ninth anniversary of Russia’s 2014 seizure of the territory. But he demurred when asked whether the United States would support Ukraine in retaking Crimea. “What ultimately happens with Crimea in the context of this war and a settlement of this war is something for the Ukrainians to determine, with the support of the United States,” he said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Blinken Urges Ex-Soviet States to Keep Distance From Russia, Staff Reports, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is meeting with his counterparts from five Central Asian countries on a trip to the region.

The Biden administration took its push to isolate Russia into the heart of the former Soviet sphere of influence on Tuesday, with the top U.S. diplomat meeting with Central Asian leaders to urge them not to help Russia evade sanctions imposed by the West over its invasion of Ukraine.

The diplomat, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, opened a two-day visit to Central Asia by meeting with the president of Kazakhstan and the country’s foreign minister, both of whom expressed a willingness to work with the United States and a commitment to protecting their national sovereignty, an indication of wariness toward Russian aggression.

Here is what we’re covering:

  • A U.S. diplomatic push arrives in the heart of the former Soviet sphere.
  • Zelensky says the situation in Bakhmut is ‘getting more and more difficult.’
  • The leader of Belarus, a Kremlin ally, arrives in China.
  • Rescue workers in Ukraine risk their lives to respond to Russia’s strikes.
  • In Kyiv, Janet Yellen praises Ukraine’s ‘steady hand’ in managing foreign aid.

ny times logoNew York Times, Animal shelters in Ukraine are full of abandoned pets that can no longer find homes outside the country, Patricia Cohen, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Early in the war, thousands of pets were ferried out of danger, mostly to other European countries. But now adoptions are waning.

There was a brief period last spring, after the war began, when animal owners and rescuers were allowed to take animals across the border into other European countries without the usual requirements for things like vaccinations. Busloads of volunteers from Germany and Poland came and took dogs, rabbits and cats back with them. Nearly 5,500 pets were rescued and found new homes outside Ukraine; another 1,500 were adopted inside the country.

But now, adoptions have slowed. Anyone outside Ukraine who wants to liberate a pet from the misery of war has to pay about 200 euros and pick it up. When it comes to dogs, most people want puppies, Ms. Stasiv said, but most of the abandoned dogs are older and bigger. Some are injured.

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Hot U.S. Media Topics


scott adams book cover abramson photo

Proof, Investigative Commentary:The Scott Adams Scandal Is Worse Than You Think, Seth Abramson, left, Feb. 27-28, 2023. Introduction: By now, seth abramson graphicyou’ve surely heard about the cancellation of the Scott Adams comic strip Dilbert by hundreds of newspapers across the United States — a unified and rightly unambiguous response to a shocking racist rant by Adams (shown above with one of his creations) on his YouTube channel.

In that rant, Adams said a series of things about Black Americans he clearly had been waiting to say for a long time. But he did so using a sort seth abramson proof logoof literary conceit: he used a single poll by the far-right polling outfit Rasmussen as a MacGuffin to justify finally coming out as a full-blown racist, explicitly telling his audience that he wouldn’t be calling Black America “a hate group,” telling White Americans to “get the hell away from Black people,” opining that Black communities categorically have problems that all (or nearly all) White communities never have, and identifying what he claims is a unique level of disinterest in education in Black communities but for this “push poll.”

The problem? Adams is lying about the poll. Indeed, he’s lying about every part of it.

According to Adams, the provably far-right-biased Rasmussen polling outfit has now shown that “half” of Black Americans “think it’s not okay to be white.”

But the poll says nothing of the sort.

What Rasmussen did in its poll was present a group of Black Americans with a well-known, widely confirmed white supremacist meme called “It’s Okay to Be White”—a phrase first devised at 4chan, the neo-Nazi digital cesspool, in part with the aim of provoking a race war in America.

The explicit purpose of the meme is to have it be presented to left-leaning (or presumed left-leaning) individuals so that they’ll reject it.

The idea is that, once the phrase “It’s Okay to Be White” is rejected publicly by some group of leftists, that rejection can be broadcast all over social media to incite those in the MAGA “movement” to even greater violent radicalization than years of Trumpism have already generated (a violent radicalization particularly focused on racial violence).

In pursuit of their scheme, the neo-Nazis on 4chan made sure that their new phrase was widely enough known—that is, they made sure it was widely enough known that “It’s Okay to Be White” was a white supremacist meme—that even more left-leaning Americans than might otherwise have been the case rejected it, thereby launching a “vicious circle” in which the bad guys have already baked in their desired outcome.

So why was Rasmussen using a white supremacist meme to further white supremacist ends? Presumably this could be answered by its avowedly insurrectionist leadership cadre, but Proof will have much more on this in the Conclusion of this report.

washington post logoWashington Post, A poll cited by the creator of ‘Dilbert’ asked if it’s ‘OK to be white.’ Here’s why the phrase is loaded, Marisa Iati and Scott Clement, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Scholars raise questions about the Rasmussen poll that Scott Adams cited in the racist rant that led to his comic strip’s cancellation.


elon musk sideview

washington post logoWashington Post, Musk defends ‘Dilbert’ creator, says media is ‘racist against whites,’ Will Oremus, Feb. 28, 2023 (print ed.). The Tesla and Twitter chief (shown above in a file photo) blasted media outlets for dropping Scott Adams’s comic strip after the cartoonist’s rant against Black people.

Twitter and Tesla chief Elon Musk defended Scott Adams, the under-fire creator of “Dilbert,” in a series of tweets Sunday, blasting media organizations for dropping his comic strip after Adams said that White people should “get the hell away from Black people.”

Replying to tweets about the controversy, Musk said it is actually the media that is “racist against whites & Asians.” He offered no criticism of Adams’s comments, in which the cartoonist called Black people a “hate group” and said, “I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”

Musk previously tweeted, then later deleted, a reply to Adams’s tweet about media outlets pulling his comic strip, in which Musk asked, “What exactly are they complaining about?”

The billionaire’s comments continue a pattern of Musk expressing more concern about the “free speech” of people who make racist or antisemitic comments than about the comments themselves. Musk’s views on race have been the subject of scrutiny both at Twitter, where he has reinstated far-right accounts, including those of neo-Nazis and others previously banned for hate speech, and at Tesla, which has been the subject of multiple lawsuits alleging a culture of rampant racism and sexual harassment in the workplace.

washington post logoWashington Post, Comics industry uses tools of the trade to condemn ‘Dilbert’ creator’s racism, Michael Cavna, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). As the strip is dropped from newspapers, artists weigh in with condemning reactions, including their own satirical cartoons.


scott adams via proof

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Dilbert’ dropped by The Post, other papers, after cartoonist’s racist rant, Thomas Floyd and Michael Cavna, Feb. 26, 2023 (print ed.). Newspapers across the United States have pulled Scott Adams’s long-running “Dilbert” comic strip after the cartoonist called Black Americans a “hate group” and said White people should “get the hell away from” them.

The Washington Post, the USA Today network of hundreds of newspapers, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Los Angeles Times and other publications announced they would stop publishing “Dilbert” after Adams’s racist rant on YouTube on Wednesday. Asked on Saturday how many newspapers still carried the strip — a workplace satire he created in 1989 — Adams told The Post: “By Monday, around zero.”

The once widely celebrated cartoonist, who has been entertaining extreme-right ideologies and conspiracy theories for several years, was upset Wednesday by a Rasmussen poll that found a thin majority of Black Americans agreed with the statement “It’s okay to be White.”

“If nearly half of all Blacks are not okay with White people … that’s a hate group,” Adams said on his live-streaming YouTube show. “I don’t want to have anything to do with them. And I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to White people is to get the hell away from Black people … because there is no fixing this.”

Adams, 65, also blamed Black people for not “focusing on education” during the show and said, “I’m also really sick of seeing video after video of Black Americans beating up non-Black citizens.”


Fox News hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, shown left to right, each expressed contempt for the voting fraud allegations they were broadcasting to Fox audiences, according to newly released internal documents obtained as evidence in a forthcoming defamation trial against the network, its owners and personnel.

Fox News hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, shown left to right, each expressed contempt for the voting fraud allegations they were broadcasting to Fox audiences, according to newly released internal documents obtained as evidence in a forthcoming defamation trial against the network, its owners and personnel.

ny times logoNew York Times, Fox Leaders Wanted to Break From Trump but Struggled to Make It Happen, Jeremy W. Peters, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Executives and top hosts found themselves in a bind after Donald Trump began pushing unfounded claims about election fraud, court filings show.

fox news logo SmallFive days after a pro-Trump mob attacked the U.S. Capitol, a board member of the Fox Corporation, Anne Dias, reached out to Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch with an urgent plea.

“Considering how important Fox News has been as a megaphone for Donald Trump,” she said, it was time “to take a stance.” Ms. Dias, who sounded shaken by the riot, said she thought Fox News and the nation faced “an existential moment.”

As quickly as the two Murdochs began discussing how to respond, their bind became evident.

“Just tell her we have been talking internally and intensely,” Rupert Murdoch, whose family controls the company, wrote in an email. Fox News, he told his son, “is pivoting as fast as possible.” But he sounded a note of caution: “We have to lead our viewers, which is not as easy as it might seem.”

Ever since Donald J. Trump announced his presidential campaign in 2015, Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News Channel have struggled with how to handle the man and the movement they helped create.

washington post logoWashington Post, Murdoch admits some Fox hosts ‘were endorsing’ election falsehoods, Jeremy Barr, Sarah Ellison and Rachel Weiner, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). ‘I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it, in hindsight,’ the 91-year-old media mogul says in a deposition for a defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems.

dominion voting systemsRupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News’s parent company, acknowledged in a deposition that “some of our commentators were endorsing” the baseless narrative that the 2020 presidential election was stolen — and that he wishes the network did more to challenge those conspiracy theories.

“I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it, in hindsight,” Murdoch said in testimony made public on Monday as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the network.

Asked if Fox News host Jeanine Pirro endorsed the claims, Murdoch replied, “I think so.” He said that former host Lou Dobbs did so “a lot,” and that prime-time host Sean Hannity did so “a bit.”

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Ohio Train Wreck Culture War


Norfolk Southern freight train derailment in Ohio (Detroit News photo by Andy Morrison via Associated Press).

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Conspiracy Theorizing Goes Off the Rails, Paul Krugman, right, Feb. 28, 2023 (print ed.). On Feb. 3 a train carrying paul krugmanhazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. Some of the contents immediately caught fire. Three days later authorities released and burned off additional material from five tankers. These fires caused elevated levels of harmful chemicals in the local air, although the Environmental Protection Agency says that the pollution wasn’t severe enough to cause long-term health damage.

Train derailments are actually fairly common, but you can see how this one might become a political issue. After all, the Obama administration tried to improve rail safety, for example by requiring superior modern brakes on high-hazard trains, and then the Trump administration reversed these regulations. As it happens, these regulations probably wouldn’t have prevented the Ohio derailment, because they were too narrow to have covered this particular train. Still, the events in East Palestine would seem, on the face of it, to strengthen the progressive case for stronger regulation of industry and hurt the conservative case against regulation.

Instead, however, the right is on the attack, claiming that blame for the disaster in Ohio rests on the Biden administration, which it says doesn’t care about or is even actively hostile to white people.

This is vile. It’s also amazing. As far as I can tell, right-wing commentators have just invented a whole new class of conspiracy theory, one that doesn’t even try to explain how the alleged conspiracy is supposed to work.

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Global News, Migration, Human Rights Issues

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Netanyahu Is Leading Israel Into a Breakdown Like We’ve Never Seen, Thomas L. Friedman, right, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Israel tom friedman twittertoday is a boiler with way, way too much steam building up inside, and the bolts are about to fly off in all directions.

Lethal attacks by Palestinian youths against Israelis are coinciding with an expansion of Israeli settlements and the torching of Palestinian villages by settlers, as well as with a popular uprising against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial power grab. Together they are threatening a breakdown in governance the likes of which we’ve never seen before in Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu smile TwitterIt is a measure of how serious the situation has become that several former chiefs of the Mossad — some of the most respected public servants in the country — have denounced Netanyahu’s judicial putsch, most recently Danny Yatom. He told Israel Channel 13 News on Saturday night, according to Haaretz, that if Netanyahu, left, continues with his plans to effectively eliminate the independence of Israel’s high court, fighter pilots and special forces operatives will be able to legitimately disobey the orders that come from the government.

They “signed an agreement with a democratic country,” said Yatom. “But the moment that, God forbid, the country becomes a dictatorship,” and they receive “an order from an illegitimate government, then I believe it would be legitimate to disobey it.”

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U.S. Abortion, #MeToo, Stalking, Rape Laws

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Access to abortion is a unifying issue, Jennifer Rubin, right, Feb. 26, 2023. Who could have guessed that preserving jennifer rubin new headshotaccess to abortion would be such a unifying position?

Given how divided our country is, and how loud voices seeking to criminalize the procedure have become, one might not expect abortion bans to be so unpopular. Yet polling shows that support for abortion care is remarkably consistent.
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 Earthquake Disaster in Turkey, Syria


An aerial photo of a scene in the Turkish city of Hatay portrays earthquake damage on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023 (photo via SkyNews).

An aerial photo of a scene in the Turkish city of Hatay portrays earthquake damage on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023 (photo via SkyNews). Toll Is Rising as Rescuers Scour Rubble; Thousands of Buildings Are Down.

ny times logoNew York Times, New Earthquake Strikes Turkey, Rattling an Already Devastated Region, Ben Hubbard and Gulsin Harman, Feb. 28, 2023 (print ed.). The latest temblor, measuring 5.2 in magnitude, shook parts of the same area stricken by a far stronger quake on Feb. 6. The latest temblor, measuring 5.2 in magnitude, shook parts of the same area stricken by a far stronger quake on Feb. 6 that killed more than 50,000 people in the country and in neighboring Syria.

Flag of TurkeyA 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey on Monday, killing at least one person and trapping others in collapsed buildings three weeks after a devastating quake struck the same region, leaving more than 50,000 people dead in the country and in neighboring Syria.

The latest quake struck just after noon on Monday, south of the city of Malatya, according to the United States Geological Survey. Malatya is the capital of the province of the same name, one of 11 Turkish regions affected by the Feb. 6 tremor.

Yunus Sezer, the head of Turkey’s emergency response agency, said that at least one person had been killed and 69 injured in the latest quake. He urged people in the affected region not to enter damaged buildings for fear of aftershocks or further collapses. The agency said that 29 buildings in Malatya had collapsed and that five people had been rescued from the rubble. Rescuers were also searching for survivors from seven other buildings.

One previously damaged building collapsed, trapping in the rubble a father and daughter who had returned to their apartment to collect their belongings in the town of Yesilyurt, near the new quake’s epicenter, according to Haberturk TV, which was broadcasting from the scene. Both father and daughter were later rescued.

ny times logoNew York Times, Turkish Builders Are Under Intense Scrutiny Over Shoddy Construction, Ben Hubbard, Elif Ince and Safak Timur, Feb. 24, 2023 (print ed.). The deaths of more than 43,000 people in Turkey from an earthquake have raised painful and angry questions over building standards.

Two dozen student volleyball players, four teachers and 12 parents visiting Turkey for a competition this month checked into the Grand Isias Hotel in the southern city of Adiyaman. When a powerful earthquake struck on Feb. 6, the building collapsed and killed dozens of people including everyone in the entourage except for four adults.

A university engineer who examined the wreckage found indications of weak concrete and insufficient steel reinforcements, he and his colleagues wrote in a preliminary report, concluding that shoddy construction had left the building vulnerable, even to smaller quakes.

In the weeks since, the Turkish authorities have arrested three men connected to the hotel on unspecified charges as part of a wide-ranging dragnet targeting hundreds of building contractors and owners among others suspected of criminal negligence that contributed to deadly building collapses.

The suspects — some nabbed at the airport with stacks of cash or perp-walked on national television — have become the focus of public Flag of Turkeyrage, with many now questioning whether they padded their profits by flouting the codes put in place over the last two decades to make buildings more quake resistant.

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More On Media, Education, Sports, Religion, High Tech


Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and his wife, the NFL team's current CEO (Washington Post photo).

Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and his wife, Tanya Snyder, the NFL team’s current CEO (Washington Post photo).

washington post logoWashington Post, Dan Snyder’s proposed indemnity clause dubbed ‘ridiculous’ by other NFL owners, Mark Maske, Nicki Jhabvala and Liz Clarke, Feb. 28, 2023 (print ed.). Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and his attorneys have demanded that fellow NFL franchise owners and the league indemnify him against future legal liability and costs if he sells the team, two people with direct knowledge of the NFL’s inner workings and the owners’ attitudes said.

Snyder’s demands, which include a threat to sue if the indemnification condition is not met, have angered some owners and renewed discussion about the possibility of taking a vote to remove him from ownership of the Commanders if he does not sell the franchise, according The Washington Commanders roll out their team name and logo at media reveal from FedExField, Landover, Maryland, February 2nd, 2022 (Joe Glorioso | All-Pro Reels)to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic and the legal threat.

“He wants indemnification if he sells,” one of those people said, adding that the owners regard the demand as “ridiculous” and “absurd” and believe Snyder, 58, shown in a 2022 photo via Wikimedia, should provide indemnification to the other owners for any legal claims that may arise from his and the team’s actions.

The owners “definitely” would move toward a vote to remove Snyder from ownership of his team if he does not sell the franchise, that person said. Such a vote would require support by at least three-quarters of the owners. The other person who confirmed Snyder’s demands added that the dispute “could get messy.”

The Commanders denied the assertions in a statement Monday night: “The story posted tonight by the Washington Post regarding the transaction process involving the Washington Commanders is simply untrue.”

Snyder also is seeking for the NFL to keep confidential the findings of the ongoing investigation being conducted by attorney Mary Jo White, one of the people with knowledge of the situation said. The NFL has said the findings of White’s investigation will be released publicly. It is the league’s second investigation of the team’s workplace and Snyder.

 jonathan capehart msnbc

Axios, Scoop: Jonathan Capehart quits WaPo editorial board, leaving no people of color, Sara Fischer, Feb. 28, 2023. Jonathan Capehart (shown above) quit the Washington Post editorial board after a dispute over an editorial about 2024 politics, leaving the paper with an all-white editorial board, Axios has learned.

axios logoWhy it matters: Capehart left the board at a time when the Post — based in a city where nearly half the population is Black — is swirling in internal discontent over the paper’s leadership.

By comparison, the New York Times’ 14-person editorial board has five people of color.

State of play: Since joining the Post as a member of its editorial board in 2007, Capehart has become one of the paper’s most visible and influential faces.

Capehart — who remains a Post columnist, associate editor and podcaster — quit in December as a member of the board, which debates editorials that represent the views of the Post as an institution.

What happened: Capehart, a Black and gay Pulitzer winner, left the board in early December after a disagreement over a Dec. 6. editorial about the runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Herschel Walker.

He turned in his resignation to Post editorial page editor David Shipley shortly after the piece ran.

The big picture: The run-in between Capehart and the Post underscores the yearslong tensions at the paper over cultural issues.

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Disasters, Energy, Climate, Environment, Weather


A crane, firefighters and rescuers operate after a collision in Tempe near Larissa city, Greece, Wednesday, March 1, 2023. A train carrying hundreds of passengers has collided with an oncoming freight train in northern Greece, killing and injuring dozens passengers (AP Photo by Vaggelis Kousioras).

A crane, firefighters and rescuers operate after a collision in Tempe near Larissa city, Greece, Wednesday, March 1, 2023. A train carrying hundreds of passengers has collided with an oncoming freight train in northern Greece, killing and injuring dozens passengers (AP Photo by Vaggelis Kousioras).

ap logoAssociated Press, Head-on train crash in Greece kills 36, injures at least 85, Costas Kantouris and Derek Gatapoulos, March 1, 2023. A head-on collision between a passenger train and a freight train flattened carriages, killed at least 36 people and injured some 85, Greek officials said Wednesday, with the death toll expected to rise.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, but the stationmaster in the nearby city of Larissa was arrested Wednesday.

Before dawn the next day, rescuers searched through smoking wreckage for survivors. What appeared to be the third carriage lay atop the twisted remains of the first two.

It’s unclear at what speed the two trains were travelling when they ran into each other just before midnight Tuesday, but state broadcaster ERT quoted rescuers as saying that some victims’ bodies were found 30-40 meters (100-130 feet) from the impact site. Multiple cars derailed and at least three burst into flames in the crash near the town of Tempe, about 380 kilometers (235 miles) north of Athens.

Survivors said the impact threw several passengers through the windows of train cars. They said others fought to free themselves after the passenger train buckled, slamming into a field near a gorge.

Many of the 350 people aboard the passenger train were students returning from Greece’s raucous Carnival, officials said. This year was the first time the three-day festival, which precedes Lent, was celebrated in full since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

 climate change photo

washington post logoWashington Post, In India, ‘phase down’ of coal actually means rapid expansion of mining, Karishma Mehrotra, Feb. 27, 2023 (print ed.). / A tripling of size is planned at the fastest-growing coal mine in India.

Here in eastern India, the Bhubaneswari mine is a testament to India’s vast coal reserves, among the largest in the world. The mine’s rapid expansion also is vivid evidence that the world’s second-largest consumer of coal is not ready to give it up, despite urgent concerns about the toll its use is taking on the climate. If anything, India’s coal production is accelerating, according to Coal Ministry data.

washington post logoWashington Post, China’s coal plant approvals highest in seven years, research finds, Christian Shepherd, Feb. 27, 2023 (print ed.). China China Flaglast year approved the largest expansion of coal-fired power plants since 2015, a new report has found, showing how the world’s largest emitter still relies on a fossil fuel that scientists say must be quickly phased out to avoid the worst consequences of a warming atmosphere.

washington post logoWashington Post, The risk of damage from hurricane winds will shift in coming decades. See the U.S. impact by Zip code, John Muyskens, Andrew Ba Tran, Brady Dennis and Niko Kommenda, Feb. 28, 2023 (print ed.). Strong winds fueled by climate change are expected to reach further inland and northward, putting more Americans at risk. 1 in 3 Americans may face risk by mid-century as winds are projected to reach further inland, northward

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Pandemics, Public Health, Privacy

ny times logoNew York Times Magazine, This Stroke Treatment Will Save Millions of Lives. Eventually, Eva Holland, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). A procedure, endovascular thrombectomy, or EVT, is creating radically better outcomes for patients, but only if it’s performed quickly. For that, an entire system of care must be transformed.

Stroke kills about six and a half million people around the world annually. It’s the second most common cause of death worldwide, and it consistently ranks among the top five causes of death in Canada and the United States. Beyond the raw death toll, stroke is also a leading global cause of disability — too often, it leaves behind the kinds of severe deficits that force loved ones to become full-time caregivers. Even smaller, less severe strokes are associated with the onset of dementia and many other complications.

Given that toll, it’s no exaggeration to call the EVT one of the most important medical innovations of the past decade, with the potential to save millions of lives and livelihoods. Neurointerventionalists in the United States now complete roughly 60,000 EVTs per year. (Last year, one of them appears to have been done on John Fetterman while he was a Democratic candidate for senator, which means the procedure may have helped determine control of the U.S. Senate.) But the overall number of Americans who could have benefited from an EVT is at least twice that.

ny times logoNew York Times, China Moves to Erase the Vestiges of ‘Zero Covid’ to Deter Dissent, Nicole Hong and Zixu Wang, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). The government is waging an ambitious propaganda campaign to rewrite the public’s memory of its tough pandemic restrictions.

China FlagThis is how China’s ruling Communist Party wants people to remember how it handled the Covid-19 pandemic: It was a “miracle in human history.” Every measure the government imposed was rooted in science, supported by the masses — and, ultimately, “completely correct.”

The party is waging an ambitious propaganda campaign to rewrite the public’s memory of “zero Covid,” a signature policy of China’s leader, Xi Jinping, that helped contain the virus for almost three years — but went to such extreme lengths that it smothered the economy and set off widespread opposition. In a decree that was published after a recent meeting of top officials and championed by a barrage of state media editorials, a newly triumphant narrative has emerged, aimed at bolstering Mr. Xi’s authority and deterring dissent.

The party is pushing its message at a time of heightening tensions with the United States over China’s handling of the pandemic, including the secrecy it has shrouded over investigations into the virus’s origins. The U.S. Energy Department recently concluded with “low confidence” that the Covid-19 virus likely originated from an accidental lab leak in China, a hypothesis that Beijing has denied and called a smear campaign even as some right-wing American media outlets have embraced it as fact.

washington post logoWashington Post, Researchers collected data from studies on over 100,000 brains, found striking insights on aging, Caitlin Gilbert, March 1, 2023 (print ed.). Our brains are built to change over our lifetime, meeting the challenges set by every life stage.

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