Wagner Boss 'Had to be Removed,' Kremlin Official Said - The Friday AM Quickie 12/22/23

I've got another handful of BlueSky invites if readers want them, and some readers have offered to chip in and share their own codes to expand the "Left Is Best" presence on the platform. Simply email me at public@coreypein.net. Peace out, Jacob returns Monday! - Corey


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World Tour: Erupting Volcano Seems Fairly Chill

  • U.S. Diplomats Finally Approve of a U.N. Security Council Resolution on Gaza, and It's Very Weak A vote could happen today on a compromise resolution that drops "an earlier version's call for the suspension of hostilities, instead calling for 'urgent steps' to allow unhindered humanitarian access"; experts say Israel's Gaza campaign is already one of the most destructive conflicts in history. via the New York Times and the Associated Press.
  • Report: Putin Deputy Ordered Killing of Wagner Merc Boss Yevgeny Prigozhin "The assassination of the warlord was two months in the making and approved by [Aspiring Tsar] Vladimir Putin's oldest ally and confidant, an ex-spy named Nikolai Patrushev, according to Western intelligence officials and a former Russian intelligence officer." via the Wall Street Journal.
  • At Least 14 Dead, 25 Injured in University Shooting in Prague "The attack had one of the largest death tolls of any mass shooting by a lone gunman in Europe this century"; Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has declared Saturday a day of mourning. via BBC News and the Guardian.
  • 'Democracy is in Danger': Indian Opposition Lawmakers Protest Mass Suspension from Parliament By Modi's BJP "More than 140 opposition lawmakers were suspended from the two houses of Parliament over the past week for demanding a statement from Home Minister Amit Shah about a Dec. 13 security breach when two intruders stormed the chamber by jumping from the visitors' gallery and releasing yellow smoke canisters." via ABC News.
  • Fascist Dutch Fave Geert Wilders Is Having Trouble Forming a Governing Coalition A former Christian Democrat member of parliament, Pieter Omtzig, "who ran on a platform of far-reaching democratic reform and has pledged to 'do politics differently,' has also raised [an altternative] possibility: a technocratic government composed of expert and non-partisan ministers." via the Guardian.
  • Hong Kong Court Declines to Dismiss Sedition Case Against News Publisher Jimmy Lai "Lai, 76, is also charged with conspiring to collude with foreign forces under the sweeping national security law imposed on the city by Beijing in the wake of mass antigovernment protests in 2019." via the South China Morning Post and Al Jazeera.
  • Wildcat Strike Over Miserly Holiday Bonus Blocks Rail Traffic Between the U.K. and Continental Europe "Union representatives at Eurotunnel's French site had rejected a 1,000-euro ($1,100) end-of-year bonus, and went on strike to press a demand to have it tripled." via the AP.
  • 'It's a Bit Stressful,' Iceland Villager Says of Lava-Spewing Volcano That Forced His Evacuation "The new reality facing the 4,000 evacuees is a stark contrast with the experience of many tourists who can't believe their luck" at witnessing the natural light show from the spectacular eruption on the Reykjanes peninsula. via BBC News.

Trumpdates: Another Perfect Phone Call

  • Recording Shows Trump Personally Pressured Wayne County, Michigan Officials to Throw Out 2020 Election Results Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said at one point in the call "'We will get you attorneys.' To which Trump added: 'We'll take care of that.'" Which "may raise legal issues" for all involved. Attempted bribery, perhaps? via the Detroit News.
  • Michigan Voters Seeking to Bar Trump from Ballot Argue Colorado Ruling Bolsters Their Case The Colorado Supreme Court decision also bolstered efforts to disqualify Trump under the U.S. Constitution in Maine, California, and New York. via Politico and the Washington Post.
  • Jack Smith Asks Supreme Court to Reject Trump's Bid to Delay Jan. 6 Case "The charges here are of the utmost gravity," the Justice Department special counsel wrote in a filing yesterday. "The nation has a compelling interest in a decision on [Trump's] claim of immunity." via HuffPost and Politico.
  • Rudy Giuliani Files for Bankruptcy, Hoping It Will Help Him Deal with $148 Million Judgment, Lawyers' Bills, Unpaid Taxes, Bar Tabs, Etc. On Wednesday, the judge in the defamation case Giuliani lost to two Georgia election workers ordered the dangerously tipsy Trump adviser to start paying up immediately "out of concern that he might 'conceal his assets'." via the New York Times.

Biden Vows 'Serious Scrutiny' of U.S. Steel Sell-Off

The Associated Press reports that "days of silence" from the Biden administration on the planned sale of U.S. Steel to Japan's Nippon Steel drew "alarm from the steelworkers union." But the White House broke that silence yesterday:

"Lael Brainard, the director of the National Economic Council, indicated the deal would be reviewed by the secretive Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which she participates in and includes economic and national security agency representatives to investigate national security risks from foreign investments in American firms.
"She said in a statement that Biden 'believes the purchase of this iconic American-owned company by a foreign entity — even one from a close ally — appears to deserve serious scrutiny in terms of its potential impact on national security and supply chain reliability.'"

Both Democratic U.S. Senators from Pennsylvania, Bob Casey and John Fetterman, also object to the sale, with Fetterman calling it "outrageous" and Casey describing it as a "bad deal."


  • Jury Acquits 3 Tacoma, Washington Cops Who Jumped, Tased, Then Killed Black Passerby Witness videos showed 33-year-old Manuel Ellis "being struck by [two] officers, placed in a neck hold by [officer Matthew] Collins, stunned three times with a Taser by [officer Christopher] Burbank and then pinned in a prone position under the officers' weight," where he suffocated to death after pleading "can't breathe, sir." via the Seattle Times and the Washington Post.
  • 5 Mississippi Cops, Including a Lieutenant, Took Part in Arrest of Black 10-Year-Old Boy for Public Urination Third-grader Quantavious Eason's mother, Latonya, is refusing to sign a 90-day probation agreement for her child and plans to take the case to trial, in addition to suing the city and the Senatobia Police Department. via the New York Times.
  • California Will Appeal Bush-Appointed Judge's Ruling Blocking Gun Control Law "Defying common sense, this ruling outrageously calls California's data-backed gun safety efforts 'repugnant,'" Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom says. "What is repugnant is this ruling, which greenlights the proliferation of guns in our hospitals, libraries, and children's playgrounds." via the Los Angeles Times.
  • Wells Fargo Workers in New Mexico Win Historic Vote to Unionize It is "the first time that workers at a major U.S. bank have attempted to organize in the modern era," and "employees at other bank locations like Daytona Beach, Florida, have already filed for a vote to unionize." via the Associated Press.


5 percentage points

That's how much support for Donald Trump increased among voters under 45 years old, with and without student debt, from 2020 to this year, according to new polling analyzed in the Intercept by Ari Rabin-Havt, a former aide to Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. The numbers suggest President Joe Biden's failure to deliver on his promised student debt relief "has not yet driven a shift from Biden to Trump, but rather from Biden to undecided," he writes, adding that "the Biden campaign needs to do substantive work to bring these voters back into the fold."


12/22: It's Casual Friday and the LAST LIVE MAJORITY REPORT OF 2023! Sam and Emma are joined by Heather Digby Parton, contributing writer at Salon.com and proprietor of the blog Hullabaloo, to round up the week in news and to preview what's to come in 2024.


Fetterman's Pathetic Right-Wing Turn on Immigration

He's no Bernie, that's for sure.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor's Shocking TV Appearance Raises Questions

Yes, there are Christians in Gaza.


"They think that by harassing families like this, and generally making the state inhospitable, that two things will happen: People who are impacted will be more likely to move out of the state, and people who are not impacted but whose ideology is aligned with this [state-sponsored persecution] will be more likely to move to the state. It's all connected and an attempt to maintain power."

-- Austin, Texas attorney Ian Pittman, who represents families with transgender children who have sued state Attorney General Ken Paxton over the bigoted and baseless Child Protective Services investigations he ordered, speaking to the Washington Post about the political logic of Republican anti-trans laws. The Seattle Children's Hospital just sued Paxton to protect the patient information of Texan kids who sought gender-affirming care in Washington State after a demand from his office, which also sought "guidance on how to 'wean' a child off gender care."

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