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Tom of Temecula

Tom of Temecula's Journal
Tom of Temecula's Journal
February 21, 2024

Ex-CNN anchor John Avlon announces Congress run to defeat 'Maga minions'

The former Daily Beast editor and CNN anchor John Avlon announced his candidacy for US Congress in New York as a Democrat, seeking to flip a seat on Long Island, where Republicans saw surprising gains in the 2022 midterm elections. In a video announcement on Wednesday, Avlon said he was running to help Democrats win back the House from Donald Trump’s “Maga minions”.

“Our democracy is in danger,” he said. “This election is not a drill. It’s up to all of us to step up and get off the sidelines. “We need to build the broadest possible coalition to defeat Donald Trump, defend our democracy and win back the House from his Maga minions who don’t even seem interested in solving problems.”

Avlon included the incumbent congressman in the first district, the Republican Nick LaLota, among those “minions”. He charged LaLota and other Republicans with “doing whatever Trump wants, including blocking a bipartisan border security deal” – referring to a successful effort by Senate Republicans to sink a border and immigration deal earlier this month, while their House counterparts refuse to pass a foreign aid bill that does not also include a border element.

LaLota is one of a number of New York Republicans who won in 2022 in districts where Joe Biden won in the presidential race two years earlier. Those districts have become particular targets for Democrats who are seeking to take back the narrowly divided House in November.


February 21, 2024

Tax records reveal the lucrative world of covid misinformation

Four major nonprofits that rose to prominence during the coronavirus pandemic by capitalizing on the spread of medical misinformation collectively gained more than $118 million between 2020 and 2022, enabling the organizations to deepen their influence in statehouses, courtrooms and communities across the country, a Washington Post analysis of tax records shows.

Children’s Health Defense, an anti-vaccine group founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., received $23.5 million in contributions, grants and other revenue in 2022 alone — eight times what it collected the year before the pandemic began — allowing it to expand its state-based lobbying operations to cover half the country. Another influential anti-vaccine group, Informed Consent Action Network, nearly quadrupled its revenue during that time to about $13.4 million in 2022, giving it the resources to finance lawsuits seeking to roll back vaccine requirements as Americans’ faith in vaccines drops.

Two other groups, Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance and America’s Frontline Doctors, went from receiving $1 million combined when they formed in 2020 to collecting more than $21 million combined in 2022, according to the latest tax filings available for the groups.

The four groups routinely buck scientific consensus. Children’s Health Defense and Informed Consent Action Network raise doubts about the safety of vaccines despite assurances from federal regulators. “Vaccines have never been safer than they are today,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its webpage outlining vaccine safety.


February 21, 2024

'We can just tell this guy whatever': How Russian spies fed lies directly to GOP lawmakers

Prosecutors revealed that the so-called whistleblower in the Hunter Biden investigation was feeding disinformation directly from Russian spies to Republican lawmakers. Alexander Smirnov admitted that "officials associated with Russian intelligence" were involved with passing along a story about President Joe Biden's son that became the basis of allegations in the GOP impeachment inquiry, and prosecutors said the former FBI informant was “actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections.”

NBC News reporter Tom Winter told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday that revelations about the sources for Smirnov's claims were nothing short of stunning.

"I think when you look at this in the totality of what was in the detention memo, which was extraordinary – I mean, prosecutors use these to really put the hammer down and show a bit about what type of evidence they will bring forward," Winter said. "When you look at the filing [Tuesday], they went really deep and unclassifying information, information that was unclassified on Valentine's Day, when Smirnov was arrested, deep into his background, that he was a 10-year-plus source for the FBI."

"He had a handler that he talked to nearly every day, which is a lot, by the way, for somebody who is a confidential human source," Winter added. "[He was] somebody who had been run out of the Seattle field office, assigned to an agent who works in the criminal squad there, and the key line from this, and we'll show a portion of the document that was filed [Tuesday], is that it says during his custodial interview on Feb. 14, so it occurs after Smirnov is in handcuffs, he admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story about business person one who we've publicly identified is Hunter Biden. So he told the FBI after he is in handcuffs, 'Yes, I did this, and it came from individuals associated with Russian intelligence.'"


February 21, 2024

President Biden to hit Russia with 'major sanctions' in response to death of Navalny

The Biden administration will impose "major sanctions" on Russia, the White House said Tuesday, in response to the death of Alexei Navalny, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who died in prison last week under mysterious circumstances.

John Kirby, the White House's national security communications adviser, said the new sanctions are designed to "hold Russia accountable for what happened to Mr. Navalny" as well as "all its actions over the course of this vicious and brutal war" that has raged in Ukraine for two years.

President Joe Biden plans to unveil the sanctions package Friday. Kirby declined to elaborate on what the new sanctions could look like or explain how they might differ from previous U.S. sanctions targeting Russia.

Biden, before leaving Washington for a three-day campaign fundraising swing in California, told reporters he won't discuss the details of the sanctions until Friday.


February 21, 2024

People Shelling Out Thousands Of Dollars For Limited-Edition Donald Trump Gold Sneakers

Limited-edition gold sneakers from former President Donald Trump are already selling for thousands on eBay. A pair of “Never Surrender High-Tops,” which sold out within hours after being launched at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia over the weekend, fetched $7,500 on the shopping website. Other final bids of the shoes on eBay show buyers paying anywhere from $4,000 to nearly $6,000.

One seller is even asking over $45,000 for a pair. Completed auctions show the shoes also selling for $5,750, $5,250, $5,000, $4,999, $4,399.95, and $3,999.98. Only 1,000 pairs of these “Never Surrender” sneakers were made. The initial asking price on the Trump sneaker website was $399. According to the website, at least ten pairs were autographed randomly by Trump.

“They’re for the go-getters who don’t know the word quit. With a standout gold finish and the ‘T’ badge, these kicks are for true Patriots. Wrapped with an American flag on the collar, they shout out to the brave and the free. The Never Surrender sneakers are your rally cry in shoe form. Lace-up and step out ready to conquer,” the website reads.

The site also has two other pairs — T-Red Wave and POTUS 45 — for sale at $199. The sneakers launched a day after Trump was ordered to pay $354 million following a ruling in his New York civil fraud trial. Trump was accused of committing financial fraud over decades, including inflating how much his properties were worth.


February 21, 2024

If Biden Is So Unpopular, Why Do People Keep Giving Him Money?

Small-dollar donations are a pretty good indicator of grassroots support, so you'd think the journalists and pundits who keep saying Biden is unpopular would notice. Via NBCNews.com:

President Joe Biden raised a combined $42 million in January for committees supporting his re-election effort, fueled by seven-figure hauls from small-dollar donors in the days following Donald Trump’s victory in the leadoff Iowa GOP caucuses.

The Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee and other affiliated fundraising committees had $130 million in the bank at the end of the month, according to the Biden campaign, which says January was its best grassroots fundraising month since the start of the campaign.

“January’s fundraising haul — driven by a powerhouse grassroots fundraising program that continues to grow month by month — is an indisputable show of strength to start the election year,” campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement. “While Team Biden-Harris continues to build on its fundraising machine, Republicans are divided — either spending money fighting Donald Trump, or spending money in support of Donald Trump’s extreme and losing agenda.”


February 20, 2024

'Leave now': White House warns Americans in Russia as Biden prepares Navalny sanctions

White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby is reportedly telling Americans in Russia to leave as the Biden administration prepares to unveil strong sanctions in response to the death of Russian political prisoner Alexei Navalny.

Kirby also pressed House Republicans to pass critical foreign aid legislation to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia. His reinforcement of the existing Level 4 "Do Not Travel" Advisory also comes after last Friday's revelation that Russia may be preparing nuclear weapons for space.

"At President Biden's direction, we will be announcing a major sanctions package on Friday of this week to hold Russia accountable for what happened to Mr Navalny," Kirby told reporters Tuesday, AFP reports. "Whatever story the Russian government decides to tell the world, it's clear President Putin and his government are responsible for Mr Navalny's death."

"If the Ukrainians aren't better supplied," Kirby also said, "if they don't get a relief from the shortage of ammunition that they are suffering right now, this move on Avdiivka could actually have a larger effect on the fighting in the east and the amount of territory that the Russians might be able to get over time." Veteran foreign policy journalist Laura Rozen reports Kirby also said that standing up to Putin was the strongest action that the U.S. could take.


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