George Santos Singled Out for Innovative Fundraising - The Wednesday AM Quickie 10/11/23

I've learned there are wild boar and small leopards in my neighborhood, which makes grocery runs more exciting. - Corey

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Charlie Kirk Makes George Santos Look Amateurish

How about some comic relief? George Santos, the fabulist and formerly fabulous New York Republican Rep., now faces 10 additional felony charges on top of his previous indictment on 13 counts of "wire fraud, money laundering, stealing public funds and lying on federal disclosure forms." The New York Times likens the latest revelations about Santos' one-man crime spree to "those of a run-of-the-mill grifter":

Among other things, prosecutors say that Mr. Santos stole a donor's credit card number to transfer more than $11,000 to his own bank account, and swindled $50,000 from two other donors using a fake nonprofit — using the money to buy designer goods and settle personal debts. They say he faked being wealthy to impress Republican leaders, reported a fictitious $500,000 campaign loan to get their financial support and made up tens of thousands in donations to give the impression of runaway political success.

By every indication, Santos is still at the top of his game. He declined comment on the new charges, telling reporters he couldn't check his phone because he was in an important GOP conference meeting. Santos insists he will "fight the witch hunt," clear his name, and run for reelection, although yesterday he picked up another challenger: former Democratic Rep. (and CPA) Tom Suozzi.

Speaking of conservative grifters and fake nonprofits, the Associated Press dropped an investigation yesterday into Charlie Kirk's campus propaganda outfit, Turning Point. The tax-exempt organization has been directing a growing share of gullible donors' money to insiders; Kirk's own compensation rose from $27,000 in 2016 to more than $407,000 by 2021, enough for him to purchase three luxury properties including a "$4.75 million Spanish-style estate" in a gated Arizona country club that "boasts a guest casita, a 'resort-style' pool and striking views of the Sonoran Desert." Turning Point also paid for Kirk's wedding reception, "which was also billed as a ninth anniversary celebration and fundraiser for the organization." Aw, how romantic!

"Other expenditures," the AP deadpans, "defy easy explanation." Turning Point paid Donald Trump Jr. $333,000 to buy copies of his book, and paid former Trump bodyman John McEntee $107,500 for "consulting work." Trump fake elector and Arizona state Sen. Jake Hoffman "has been paid at least $6.6 million" by Turning Point for spreading lies online. Disgraced journalist Benny Johnson and a company he co-founded have collected nearly $1.2 million from Kirk's ginormous slush fund, payments experts say "could potentially pose a problem under federal tax regulations." Potentially is the key word there, as the Internal Revenue Service seems willfully oblivious when it comes to misconduct by political nonprofits. Surely an upstanding outfit like Turning Point could find a use for a promising talent like George Santos... assuming, you know, that he'll be looking for work once he's out of prison?

At Least 1,900 Now Dead in Israel and Gaza

  • Hospitals, Mosques and 'Whole Neighborhoods in Ruins' in Gaza "'The imposition of sieges that endanger the lives of civilians by depriving them of goods essential for their survival is prohibited under international humanitarian law,' [United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker] Turk said in a statement, adding that any restrictions that cannot be justified by military necessity may amount to collective punishment." via the Washington Post and the New York Times.
  • White House Confirms Hamas Has American Hostages, But Doesn't Know How Many U.S. officials also "worry that Hezbollah, a militant group based in Lebanon, could launch its own attacks." via the Post.
  • Internet Flooded with False Propaganda "Even [obnoxious billionaire Elon] Musk himself took part, recommending to X users that they follow two accounts for war coverage that, actually, were notorious sources of bad information." via the Associated Press, HuffPost and the Guardian.
  • AOC Decries 'Bigotry and Callousness' at NYC Pro-Palestine Rally "It should not be hard to shut down hatred and antisemitism where we see it," New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said of a Sunday rally in Times Square organized by the ANSWER Coalition. via Politico.

St. Louis Cops Threw Cases to Spite Prosecutor

You know how conservatives threw a fit over progressive prosecutors, blaming them for a supposed crime wave? Well, here's the kind of thing that was actually going on behind the scenes: ProPublica delivers an appalling story about how at least 11 St. Louis cops sabotaged their own cases to undermine former Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Black Democrat elected in 2016 after the police killed Michael Brown in Ferguson. One definitely not-racist white detective, Roger Murphey, bore such a grudge against Gardner, who he referred to as "Kimmy G," that he "refused to testify in at least nine murder cases in which he served as lead detective." Murphey's dereliction of duty forced prosecutors to drop charges entirely in one case and cut plea deals in four others. Meanwhile in Atlanta, a cop who killed a 62-year-old church deacon with a stun gun during a traffic stop in August lost his job, but plans to appeal. And in Tacoma, Washington, eyewitness testimony at the murder and manslaughter trial of three cops accused of choking Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man, to death three years ago contradicted the police story; the state's witness says Ellis posed "no threat at all, none" and that police essentially jumped him from their cruiser.


  • Jim Jordan's Former Student Wrestlers Say He's a Liar Who Has No Business Being House Speaker Neither Rep. Jordan nor his rival Rep. Steve Scalise (nor the just-ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy) appeared to have enough votes to win the leadership position following a House GOP meeting last night. via NBC News and HuffPost.
  • Another Undersea Intrigue: Finland Suspects Sabotage Damaged Baltic Sea Pipeline Finnish President Sauli Niinisto says "external activity" likely caused damage to an undersea communications cable and the Balticconnector gas pipeline on Sunday. via the Washington Post.
  • Jack Smith, Fani Willis Poke Holes in Trump's 'Advice-of-Counsel' Defense Fresh arguments from the Justice Department Special Counsel and the Fulton County District Attorney in their criminal cases against the former crook-in-chief and his flunkies could force discovery of items Trump wants protected under attorney-client privilege. via the New York Times and Politico.
  • Victory in 7 Hours: Canadian Autoworkers Win Deal After Declaring Strike Unifor president Lana Payne says the union's tentative agreement with General Motors includes "all items that the company had initially fought us on such as pensions, retiree income supports and converting full-time temporary workers into permanent employees." via the Associated Press.



That's how many guns are reported confiscated on U.S. K-12 campuses every day, on average. However, as the Washington Post reports, some 58 percent of school gun confiscations never make the news, so "the true number is almost certainly far higher."


10/11: It's Hump Day, and Sam is LIVE from the Mass Torts Conference in Las Vegas.


Rubio Wants Gaza 'Eradicated' to Punish Hamas

Just a little genocidal language on CNN, nothing to worry about.

GOP Chaos Has McCarthy Plotting Return to Speaker Role

It's always inspiring to see a humble public servant putting duty first.


"I guess, mostly I wanna say, like, I'm sorry. This really sucks."

-- Cryptocurrency conwoman Caroline Ellison offering "a tearful explanation" to employees of her collapsing hedge fund, Alameda, as the epic fraud at its parent company, FTX, began to unravel. Federal prosecutors played a recording of the Ellison's confessional meeting yesterday at the criminal trial of her ex-boyfriend and boss, Sam Bankman-Fried. Ellison also testified that the "very ambitious" FTX founder believed he had a "5 percent chance" of becoming president of the United States one day. Dare to dream!

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