Alternet: “The Times of London’s David Charter, the newspaper’s U.S. editor, ‘writes that when he asked Mr. DeSantis how he would handle American relations with Ukraine, the governor referred ‘to Biden being ‘weak on the world stage’ and failing at deterrence.’
“Mr. Charter pressed for more detail: ‘How would a President DeSantis handle the conflict in Ukraine?’
“DeSantis, it appears, grew irritated.
“‘Perhaps you should cover some other ground?’ the governor replied. ‘I think I’ve said enough.’
Alternet: Right-wing activist and lobbyist Matt Schlapp, the embattled chairman of the political organization that hosts the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), avoided a reporter’s questions Thursday about a male Republican campaign operative’s sexual assault allegations against him, and ultimately was pulled away by his arm rather than face the questions.
The Independent’s Eric Michael Garcia tried to get Schlapp to respond to the claims by the man who at the time was an aide to the Herschel Walker campaign. He is reportedly suing Schlapp in a $9.4 million battery, defamation, and conspiracy lawsuit after the CPAC leader refused to admit to allegations he was “aggressively fondling” the man’s “genital area in a sustained fashion” while he was driving Schlapp to his hotel.
In the video (above), Garcia can be heard saying to Schlapp, ‘What’s your response to the allegation –’ but then a woman interjects, asking, ‘How’s your wife?’
“‘She’s great,’ Schlapp responds.
[Mercedes Schlapp was Trump’s director of strategic communications.]
“…At that point another man grabs Schlapp’s arm and pulls him away.”
Vice News: “If Ron DeSantis has his way, what his board did at New College will happen at every public university in Florida.
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handpicked board of trustees voted to shutter New College’s diversity, equity, and inclusion office on Tuesday, the latest step in its hostile takeover of the school and a harbinger of what Florida’s entire university system could look like in a few months.
“The board, which has a majority of DeSantis appointees, voted 9 to 3 to abolish the school’s Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence.
“Christopher Rufo, a rightwing education activist and one of DeSantis’ appointees to the board and [who singlehandedly made Critical Race Theory into fake issue], argued during the meeting that diversity efforts undermine fairness. ‘DEI goes against those principles because it restricts academic freedom, it degrades the rigor of scholarship, it treats people differently on the basis of skin color or other inborn identities,’ he said during the board meeting.
“DeSantis has sought to make an example of New College, a tiny liberal arts school with a mostly progressive student body that has a large LBGTQ community. Earlier this year he replaced most of the college’s board of trustees with right-wing loyalists who quickly moved to fire the college’s president, replace her with an ally, and push the liberal-leaning school hard to the right.”
Adam Serwer in The Atlantic: “A simple but obvious fact has been lost over the past few years, amid Trump’s direct attacks on the FBI, and liberal defenses of the FBI against those attacks: FBI agents are cops. Law-enforcement officers, including the FBI, have long been disproportionately conservative, but in the past few decades, like the rest of the nation, they have also become far more polarized by party, a reality reflected in the rhetoric and positioning of advocacy groups such as the Fraternal Order of Police. There are liberal and moderate cops, but they are not close to comprising a majority. Simply put, the FBI is full of people who would prefer not to investigate Donald Trump. He remains under federal investigation only because of his own inability to stop criming.”
New York Magazine: “’When you lose your way, you’ve got to have people that are going to tell you the truth,’ [Florida MAGA Gov. Ron] DeSantis proclaimed. ‘So we hope they can get back on. But I think all of these [Central Florida Tourism Oversight District] board members very much would like to see the type of entertainment that all families can appreciate.’
“It is worth pausing a moment to grasp the full breadth of what is going on here. First, DeSantis established the principle that he can and will use the power of the state to punish private firms that exercise their First Amendment right to criticize his positions. Now he is promising to continue exerting state power to pressure the firm to produce content that comports with his own ideological agenda.
“Whether he is successful remains to be seen. But a few things ought to be clear. First, DeSantis’s treatment of Disney is not a one-off but a centerpiece of his legacy in Florida. He has repeatedly invoked the episode in his speeches, and his allies have held it up as evidence of his strength and dominance. The Murdoch media empire, which is functionally an arm of the DeSantis campaign, highlighted the Disney conquest in a New York Post front page and a Fox & Friends segment and DeSantis touted his move in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Tallahassee Democrat: “Backed by a supermajority in the Legislature and led by a governor who restricted how racial history is taught in public schools with the declaration ‘Florida is where woke goes to die,’ the former chair of the state Republican Party filed a bill Tuesday to kill the Florida Democratic Party.
“Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, was 6 -1 in statewide races as party chair 2015-19, and now seeks to accomplish legislatively what he could not do at the ballot box – remove Democrats entirely from Florida politics.
“SB 1248 never mentions the word Democrat or Democratic, but “the Ultimate Cancel Act,” said Ingoglia in a prepared statement, would decertify any political party that ever included a plank to support slavery in its platform, something the Democratic Party did between 1844 – 1864.”
NPR: “Amid the hikers and snowmobilers in the park today, these are members of a group called Rainbow Reload, an LGBTQ gun club that offers experts and the gun-curious a chance to practice firearms skills in a supportive environment.
“Similar groups exist across the country, often under the name ‘Pink Pistols.’ Rainbow Reload members stress that their mission goes beyond mere hobby: The goal is to prepare and protect themselves from a rising chorus of threats against LGBTQ+ people, including those stemming from hate groups.
“’If the world is dangerous, then you have to be dangerous back,’ says [Fin Smith, Rainbow Reload organizer], who, like everyone interviewed, requested some level of anonymity citing concerns about their safety. ‘And that very much has pushed me to where I am now.’”
Pew Research Center accesses the demographic makeup of the newly elected Congress every two years. They consider lawmakers’ race and ethnicity, gender, age, educational background and religion. Pew also assesses how the demographic profile of Congress has changed over time and how it compares with the nation. Here’s some of what they found:
The 118th Congress achieved several demographic milestones when it was sworn in this past January. It is the most racially and ethnically diverse Congress to date, has more women lawmakers than any Congress before it, and reached a new high for lawmakers who are gay, lesbian or bisexual. Religiously, the 118th Congress remains overwhelmingly Christian, with 469 lawmakers identifying this way, but this is the lowest total since at least 2009.
These demographic changes in Congress reflect shifts that are happening in the broader nation. But as you might expect, Congress still looks quite different from the country it was elected to represent. Women account for 28% of all members of Congress, for example, but around half of the overall population. And only one member of Congress – independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – identifies as religiously unaffiliated, compared with 29% of U.S. adults who identify that way.
Pew Research Center studies the demographic composition of Congress for several reasons. One is that this research fits in with our long-term focus on demographic change in the United States. Another is that demographic shifts in Congress can have important consequences for politics and policy. New lawmakers often bring new perspectives, and their voices can be influential as Congress tackles the public’s long to-do list for the coming year and beyond.
Bookings: “Political scientists and forward-looking politicians have been debating the ultimate impact of the two youngest American generations — Plurals (Gen Z) and Millennials — on the nation’s partisan future for some time. With these two generations scheduled to become a majority of the American electorate later this decade, election results and a spate of recent data from Pew research are providing an increasingly persuasive answer. Younger voters should be a source of electoral strength for Democrats for some years to come.”
So Ron DeSantis skipped the CPAC wingnut confab,
Because he’s been so busy with his freedom grabs.
We can only hope his experiments
Are anything but permanent —
Dr. DeSantis has turned Florida into his own fascism lab.
“For all his unusual strengths, Trump is defined these days more by his weaknesses — personal and political deficiencies that have grown with time and now figure to undermine any attempt to exploit the criminal case against him. … His base of support is too small, his political imagination too depleted and his instinct for self-absorption too overwhelming for him to marshal a broad, lasting backlash. His determination to look inward and backward has been a problem for his campaign even without the indictment. It will be a bigger one if and when he’s indicted.”
“I don’t know what he’s trying to do or what the goal is. Obviously, he doesn’t deal with foreign policy every day as Governor. So I’m not sure. I can’t speak to that. I can’t compare that to something else he did or said over the last few years because he doesn’t deal with it every day.”
— Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, distancing himself from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ apparent flip-flop on the war in Ukraine, on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.
“One of the things we learned post-Trump presidency is that he had ordered a bombing of a couple of fentanyl labs, crystal meth labs, in Mexico, just across the border and for whatever reason, the military didn’t do it. … I think that was a mistake.”
— House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer (R-KY) told Fox & Friends that it was too bad that Donald Trump didn’t launch a military attack on Mexico to try to stop drug traffickers.
“Donald Trump asked his followers to sign a petition denouncing his potential arrest in New York,” Insider reports. “But signing this petition leads people straight to a page where they’re asked to give $3,300 or other suggested amounts of cash to his 2024 campaign.”
New York Times: “The report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations says that global average temperatures are estimated to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels sometime around ‘the first half of the 2030s,’ as humans continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas.”
“The National Republican Congressional Committee is plotting a sprawling battlefield in 2024, naming 37 Democrat-held House districts to its initial list of targets,” Axios reports. “It’s an ambitious strategy in a presidential year, when House results are often closely correlated with top-of-the-ticket margins. The last three presidential elections — all close by historical standards — saw flips of six to 14 seats in the House.”
Hate crimes in the US surged 11.6% in 2021, with the largest number motivated by bias against Black people, followed by crimes targeting victims for ethnicity, sexuality and religion, the FBI said in a report. The FBI reported hate crime incidents rose to 9,065 in 2021 from 8,120 in 2020.