'Big Spender' Santos and the Italian Connection - The Thursday AM Quickie 1/12/23
"Obviously Candace Owens has the capacity to kill a human. Duh!" Candace Owens said yesterday. Usually I save the killer quotes for the end of the newsletter but I thought you all might like to know about this totally sane and normal statement from a top rightwing influencer as soon as possible. - Corey
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THE BIG NEWS
Checking in on the New House Majority Clusterf*ck
The poster boy for the new GOP majority, the jaw-droppingly fabulist New York Rep. George Santos, has nowhere to go but down. Long Island Republicans including fellow Rep. Anthony D'Esposito and the Nassau County Republican committee yesterday called on Santos to resign immediately (he says he won't, but then he says a lot of things). House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told NBC News he won't place Santos on any "top" committees, such as those that deal with classified information, although another Republican member said it "would be fine" to put the pathological liar on the Small Business Committee.
For proof of his small business expertise, look no further than this Daily Beast story, which reveals that Santos "took an almost certainly illegal donation from an Italian national and confessed smuggler of undocumented immigrants – who also happens to be the blood relative of some of his closest local supporters and campaign vendors." The donor, Rocco Oppedisano, was expelled from the U.S. four years ago; his niece, Tina, chaired the "Small Businesses for Santos Coalition." The Santos campaign somehow managed to spend more than $44,000 at Tina and her family's restaurant Il Bacco in Queens, some of it in increments in $199.99 – "one penny short of the threshold that would have required the campaign to retain receipts of the transaction." A real friend of small business, this guy.
Elsewhere in MAGA-land, the House Oversight Committee, now led by GOP Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, sent a letter to the Treasury Department demanding information on the Biden family's finances, plus three more letters to former Twitter executives demanding they testify about "your role in suppressing Americans' access to information about the Biden family [read: nude photos of Hunter] on Twitter." If all goes to plan I won't be wasting more of your time with this going forward. Same goes for the GOP war on behalf of hazardous gas stoves, which they claim Democrats are about to ban, although – surprise! – that isn't true, either. As for the "fake outrage" over the discovery of classified documents in offices formerly used by President Joe Biden, I am a little concerned that this story will take the wind out of the sails of the Justice Department's investigation into the secret papers Donald Trump stole from the White House. Which would be a shame, but I always thought it was more important to prosecute Trump for his attempt to violently end democracy in America, as opposed enforcing arcane laws about the handling of classified information, which mean very little to most people. (Fortunately, as the Washington Post reminded everyone last night, the Justice Department's Jan. 6 investigation is active, and issued a subpoena to Trump campaign officials last month.)
Anyway, to recap, the new Republican agenda is: taking money from foreign criminals, yelling at social media moderators, and fighting for the right of Americans to poison themselves with fumes from obsolete home appliances. As tedious as all that may be, it's probably better that they waste their time with this nonsense than get it together and cut Social Security (see clips below).
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Oops! FAA Computer Glitch Grounds All Domestic Flights
It's looking like Secretary of Transportation may not be the resume-builder once-and-future presidential candidate "Mayor" Pete Buttigieg hoped for when he took the job. Just weeks after an especially miserable holiday travel season, yesterday some 7,000 flights – all domestic departures across the U.S. – were delayed or canceled due to a Federal Aviation Administration computer outage. The White House quickly ruled out a cyberattack, and Buttigieg later in the day blamed a "damaged database file," thought he admits it's still unclear went wrong. (Experts told NBC News a "bad software update" was likely to blame. This is why you never click the "update" button!) For what it's worth, the Senate Commerce Committee has failed to confirm Biden's nominee to head the FAA, Phillip A. Washington, leaving the agency without permanent leadership since last March.
Lula Government Issues Warrants for Top Insurrectionists
The Jan. 8 fascist mob assault on Brazil's Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace may be their version of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, but the response from the new government of leftist President Lula da Silva has been much swifter than anything the Biden administration or Congressional Democrats did in the wake of Donald Trump's coup attempt. The New York Times reports that Brazilian authorities have already "issued arrest warrants for two government security officials, zeroed in on people suspected of funding this week's violent protests and asked a federal court to freeze the assets of the far-right former president, Jair Bolsonaro." Two warrants went out for former Bolsonaro justice minister Anderson Torres, who took over security for the Federal District on Jan. 2 and stands accused of sabotage. Bolsonaro told reporters he might return to Brazil from Florida sooner than planned; his loyalists planned marches last night despite "a temporary suspension of the right to protest" requested by Lula's attorney general and approved by the supreme court.
- Alabama AG Vows to Prosecute Women for Medication Abortions Republican Attorney General Steve Marshall says he doesn't care about federal guidance allowing the delivery of abortion pills by mail regardless of state law. via the Washington Post.
- Ocean Heat Record Set for Fourth Year Running Rising seawater temperatures may have contributed to the California deluge, as "warmer water at the top levels of the ocean can help fuel more intense storms and the torrential rainfall that accompanies them." via the Washington Post.
- Rep. Barbara Lee Joins 2024 California Senate Race She told colleagues about her plans at a closed-door Congressional Black Caucus meeting yesterday. via Politico.
- Russia Replaces Ukraine Invasion Commander After 3 Months Valery Gerasimov replaces Sergei Surovikin, a.k.a. "General Armageddon," whose "tenure has been marked by the aerial bombardment of Ukraine's civilian infrastructure as well as Russia's retreat from the crucial southern city of Kherson." via NBC News and Sky News.
- Elon Musk Breaks World Record for Losing Money The Guinness Book of World Records recognized the obnoxious billionaire for losing at least $165 billion in a single year. via BBC News.
That's the unpaid balance for school meals in 847 districts surveyed by the School Nutrition Association, with one district alone reporting a $1.7 million in meal debt owed by kids' families. A federal program providing breakfast and lunch free of charge to all students regardless of income expired in September and, as the Washington Post reports, Congress has declined to make it permanent.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
1/12: Emma is back for her first Thursday show of 2023! She hosts Neil Vallelly, researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand, to discuss his book Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the Production of Uselessness.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
House Republicans Set Sights on Cutting Social Security
Governance as hostage-taking.
Diamond & Silk's Mysterious Death Conspiracy Plot Thickens
I'm gonna wait for a better source than the MyPillow guy on the cause of death.
"We reject the official hypothesis. These two young men were founders of the struggle to protect our natural resources from an illegal mine that is destroying rivers in the national park. For five years we've been threatened, criminalised and falsely imprisoned, the only thing left was murder."
-- Rey Domínguez, a community leader in northern Honduras and brother of Aly Domínguez, one of two environmental defenders shot dead in broad daylight over the weekend, speaking to the Guardian the crime. Local authorities say Aly and fellow activist Jairo Bonilla were killed in an attempted mugging, though "the assailants fled without taking the victims' moped, cellphones or money."
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