Matt Walsh exposes alleged gender transition approval ‘scam’ (video)

We cannot independently verify any of this, but if what he is saying and showing is true… yike.

This afternoon, Matt Walsh dropped a thread allegedly exposing gatekeeper organizations that are not actually gatekeepers:

Not a gatekeeper. Keep that in mind.

So, according to Walsh, they are supposed to be gatekeepers. They are supposed to be part of a long approval process that includes significant checks and balances to ensure that no one enters into this life-altering procedure lightly. But, according to Walsh, some people and companies have completely subverted this role:

Except they are supposed to be part of the process of ensuring it is necessary.

And that is the end of the thread. We will say that we suspect that in truth these people still rationalize it so that in their minds they are doing their patients a favor. The ideology of transgender is that you are whatever you say you are, at least when it comes to sex and gender. So, they probably rationalize their subversion of the process as necessary to get these people the help they think they need. That’s our guess, for what it is worth, but we believe that it is rare for a person to be consciously evil. And make no mistake, if what Walsh is reporting is true, this is evil.

And this even resulted in a tip:

Obviously, we don’t know if any of this is true, but we wouldn’t be surprised if someone does the gumshoe investigation needed to find out, one way or the other. So, with that caveat, the full text says:

Matt, if you send an investigative reporter over to @VUMChealth that is happening today.

A friend of a friend is a nurse who was placed involuntarily in gender reassignment surgical practice (@VanderbiltU has bullied/intimidated her when she asked to move). Based on high volume (VUMC runs one surgeon to 4-5 patients at the same time – Dr just flits around castrating in parallel) she asked how much informed consent/counseling they get. Surgeon laughed. He said he would do it through a drive-through window as long as they’re paying.

VU ramped up their surgical operations after the child mutilation ban in order to make up lost revenue – go look at how haphazard and frivolous they are about castrating/mutilating mentally ill adults. Transing the disturbed is BIG BUSINESS.

Indeed, it is not just the mentally ill. As ‘The Redheaded Libertarian’ pointed out with a meme, autistic people are disproportionately likely to be subjected to transitioning:

Since the picture cuts off the meme, here’s the full picture:

One person responded with ugliness:

That gave rise to a nice comeback:

And she has some cause to say what she said:

Still, while we think people rationalize this as not being just about the money, there is a lot of money in it:

And, of course, that means that anyone who buys health insurance is probably paying for this—not to mention the various types of government health care programs that are required to. It is past time for the term ‘need’ to be defined so it doesn’t just include when people just really, really want something. Indeed, the notion that this is necessary surgery leads to another potential problem:

That sounds like speculation to us. We would hope that the rational principle of ‘triage’ would keep hospitals from delaying cancer care for transitioning surgery, for instance. However, let’s just say our faith in the rationality of the medical profession has been shaken in the last few years. Most medical professionals are probably rational, but there are definite pockets of crazy—the pockets of crazy seem to be popping up in every profession, these days.

Lawyer Ted Frank points out that in a sane world this would at least result in criminal investigations:

Yeah, we aren’t holding our breath, and we are pretty sure Mr. Frank isn’t, either.

Anyway, one thing that occurred to us is that this might be the beginning of bigger plans. The other day we covered how the Daily Wire released Matt Walsh’s ‘What is a Woman?’ for free (for a limited time) on Twitter and how Twitter initially attempted to suppress the movie—contrary to the wishes of Elon Musk. In all of that, Walsh said something that we think might take on new meaning, now:

‘What a great way to ring in pride month.’

Is it possible that Walsh has multiple bombshell ‘events’ he is planning throughout pride month? First, he premiers his movie. Then one of his previously anonymous sources sheds her anonymity. And now this. Could it be his plan to basically carpet bomb the entire month with events like this?

Well, dear reader, we shall keep an eye on this for you and let you know. And if you can support this website in any way, we would appreciate it.


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The A.I. defamation cases are here: ChatGPT sued for spreading misinformation

A Georgia man is suing the makers of ChatGPT for defamation. In a new lawsuit filed in Gwinnett County, Georgia, Mark Walters alleges that OpenAI, the company behind the popular artificial intelligence (A.I.) chatbot ChatGPT, is guilty of publishing libelous information about him. The first-of-its-kind lawsuit brings up novel issues regarding A.I.’s liability for spreading misinformation.

The case stems from reporting that journalist Fred Riehl is doing about a Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) lawsuit against Bob Ferguson, Washington state’s attorney general. Alan Gottlieb is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Riehl linked to SAF’s complaint and asked ChatGPT to summarize. It allegedly responded that the complaint was “filed by Alan Gottlieb … against Mark Walters, who is accused of defrauding and embezzling funds from the SAF.” The ChatGPT summary continued by stating that Walters was the group’s treasurer and chief financial officer and that he had “misappropriated funds for personal expenses without authorization or reimbursement, manipulated financial records and bank statements to conceal his activities, and failed to provide accurate and timely financial reports and disclosures,” per Walters’ complaint.

ChatGPT was wrong across the board. Walters is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the lawsuit. He never served as SAF’s treasurer or chief financial officer. And he has not been legally accused of any crimes against SAF.

“ChatGPT’s allegations concerning Walters were false and malicious, expressed in
print, writing, pictures, or signs, tending to injure Walter’s reputation and exposing
him to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule,” states Walters’ complaint. “By sending the allegations to Riehl, OAI published libelous matter regarding Walters.”

Furthermore, Walters alleges that OpenAI is aware that ChatGPT “sometimes makes up facts” and therefore “knew or should have known its communication to Riehl regarding Walters was false, or recklessly disregarded the falsity of the communication.”

But there’s a difference between a company knowing that an artificial intelligence tool can make mistakes and a company knowing that the A.I. tool would make a specific mistake. OpenAI being aware that ChatGPT sometimes errs seems spurious grounds to claim that it knew or should have known ChatGPT would provide false information about Walters. And it seems even more dubious to allege that OpenAI acted with malicious intent here.

And Riehl, the journalist, didn’t end up publishing any of the false information about Walters, which makes it harder to argue that Walter was harmed by ChatGPT’s mistake.

So does Walters’ case have any legal merit?

Law professor and blogger Eugene Volokh suggests that “such libel claims are in principle legally viable. But this particular lawsuit should be hard to maintain.”

Volokh—who has an upcoming paper on libel and A.I. output (a draft of which can be read here)—notes that when it comes to speech about matters of public interest or concern, defamation liability generally arises only when one of two things can be shown: that a defendant knew a statement was untrue (or likely untrue) but recklessly disregarded this fact or that the person being defamed is a private figure who suffered actual damages (things like a loss of income or business opportunities) because of an untrue statement that the defendant was negligent in making.

In this case, “it doesn’t appear from the complaint that Walters put OpenAI on actual notice that ChatGPT was making false statements about him, and demanded that OpenAI stop that, so theory 1 is unavailable,” writes Volokh.

And there seem to be no allegations of actual damages—presumably Riehl figured out what was going on, and thus Walters lost nothing as a result—so theory 2 is unavailable. (Note that Mark Walters might be a public figure, because he’s a syndicated radio talk show host; but even if he is a private figure, that just potentially opens the door to recovery under theory 2 if he can show actual damages, and again that seems unlikely given the allegations in the complaint.)

Now I suppose that Walters could argue that OpenAI knows that ChatGPT often does publish false statements generally (it does, and indeed has acknowledged that), even if it didn’t know about the false statements about Walters in particular. But I don’t think this general knowledge is sufficient, just like you can’t show that a newspaper had knowledge or recklessness as to falsehood just because the newspaper knows that some of its writers sometimes make mistakes. For liability in such cases (again, absent actual damages to a private figure), there has to be a showing that the allegedly libelous “statement was made with ‘actual malice’—that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” And here no-one at OpenAI knew about those particular false statements, at least unless Walters had notified OpenAI about them.

Jess Miers, a lawyer with the business group Chamber of Progress, addresses some other potential concerns about the case, such as whether Section 230—the law protecting online platforms from some legal liability for content derived from third parties—will factor in. Because the underlying complaint doesn’t make a plausible case for defamation, Miers “can see the complaint failing without needing to even reach the 230 issues,” she tweeted yesterday.

Miers notes that when it comes to whether OpenAI should have known ChapGPT might make this mistake, we’re looking at a similar issue to that which we saw in the recent Supreme Court case Twitter v. Taamneh. The Court found Twitter was not guilty of aiding and abetting terrorists just because it hosted Islamic State content.

Just because a company has general knowledge that their products and services could be used to perform illegal uses doesn’t mean that the company is liable for any instance of those uses,” Miers summarized.

Far from being something that should subject OpenAI to legal liability, the fact that OpenAI knows ChatGPT has some issues is a good sign. It means the company can work on fixing those issues and/or work on making sure people who use ChatGPT know not to take its outputs as gospel.

We should also think carefully about what we want OpenAI to do here, suggests Miers. “Perhaps they could provide more disclosures that urge folks not to rely on anything ChatGPT says as fact. But that’s about it. It’s pretty much all or nothing with this kind of technology. In using it, we accept that there will be a lot of junk. But the alternative very well might be ripping the service off the market entirely. Is that the desired outcome?”


How age-verification laws threaten our First Amendment right to anonymity.Since the early history of the United States, Americans have enjoyed the right to anonymous speech,” notes Shoshana Weissmann of the R Street Institute. “The First Amendment protects this right, and the Supreme Court has long recognized it. The tradition dates back even farther than the anonymous signers of the Federalist Papers in the 1780s and includes a unanimous Supreme Court case decision in which it was ruled that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) did not have to disclose names on membership lists to Alabama officials in 1958.”

Laws that mandate age-verification schemes for social media and other online platforms are proliferating before Congress and in statehouses around the country. But these schemes seriously threaten anonymized speech online, points out Weissmann:

With currently proposed legislation and laws, age-verification methods from facial recognition to providing one’s government ID or home address threaten to destroy the possibility of remaining anonymous online (to the degree that is currently possible). And the technology used to verify age ends up verifying more than age. Facial scanning provides a picture or video. Government IDs verify more than just the age of the person logging in, and they cannot account for the possibility that the person logging in could be a child misusing their guardian’s ID. Furthermore, if a person has to verify that their child really is their child as part of parental consent verification, then that adult’s information will be disclosed, too. …

Age-verification mandates could also implicate the rights of individuals with the concept of the “chilling effect” in court. This effect occurs when people voluntarily filter their speech due to laws and can cause courts to overturn these laws that cause the “chilling effect.”

More here.


New York is considering setting minimum prices for nail services. In a crazy foray into state-managed economies, lawmakers behind the Nail Salon Minimum Standards Council Act would not only set new workplace standards and rules for nail salons but also “establish a minimum pricing model for nail services in the state,” notes The New Republic in a piece portraying the bill as a boon to nail salon workers and businesses.

But low prices are one way that new businesses, small businesses, those with lower marketing budgets, and those in less desirable locations can compete with more established, centrally located, or chain establishments. Taking away salon owners’ ability to set their own prices seems to only benefit currently flourishing or big corporate salons, and could be a net negative to workers at smaller and more independent places.

The bill could also seem to be a slippery slope. What makes nail salons unique here? Nothing. And if the state can set minimum prices for manicures and pedicures, it can set prices for haircuts, tomatoes, fitness classes, or just about anything else.

The Nail Salon Minimum Standards Council Act would start by simply creating a commission on minimum pricing to study the issue and make recommendations. But this recommendation process would pave the way for a proposed regulation that, if all goes according to the bill’s plan, would “have the force and effect of law.”


• “AI will not destroy the world, and in fact may save it,” writes venture capitalist Marc Andreessen.

• A Connecticut couple is challenging the warrantless surveillance of their property by camera-carrying bears.

• “After days of silence, officials in Florida confirmed on Tuesday that the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis had orchestrated two recent charter flights that carried groups of migrants from New Mexico to Sacramento,” reports The New York Times.

• A federal judge has halted Florida’s ban on gender transition treatments for minors:

• Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose admitted that he supports a measure to raise the threshold for amending the state constitution from a simple majority vote to 60 percent in order to make it harder for an abortion rights amendment to pass.

• A bill that just passed the Louisiana Senate and House with a veto-proof majority would require teachers and schools to get parental permission to refer to a student by any name that is not “the name, or a derivative thereof… that is listed on the student’s birth certificate.” The measure would also require school employees to “use the pronouns for a student that align with the student’s sex unless the student’s parent provides written permission to do otherwise.

• A Wisconsin bill would let people claim a $1,000 tax exemption for any “unborn children for whom a fetal heartbeat has been detected.”

• Tucker Carlson’s new Twitter show has launched.

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You may say this is an easy question to answer, that clearly Russia began it with its invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of February 2022. However, if so please hold that thought while we examine two historical and undisputed events.

The first is the carnage which took place on Kiev’s Maidan Square through the winter period of 2013-14. This period was marked by extreme savagery and although it is very likely that the more psychopathic members of Ukraine’s ‘Berkut’ special security force began it with unnecessary violence against the protesters of that time it soon developed into an all-out war where the preponderance of the violence was carried out by an influx of particularly violent extremists. At that point onward until the fall of both president and government anything that could be used as a weapon was, including the burning down of buildings, toxic sprays, heavy chains, clubs of all descriptions modified for maximum effect, Molotov Cocktails, hunting rifles and handguns.

While all this was going on various officials of the United States were on hand to lend support.

Ultimately, in a final outbreak of unconscionable violence a group from another nation (Georgia) arrived to effect a false flag event, shooting down scores of protesters. This was the most grievous first instance of the kind of violence which led us to where we are now in Ukraine.

The second outbreak followed soon after when the people of eastern Ukraine in the region known as the Donbass took matters into their own hands on seeing what had transpired in Kiev and began surrounding and taking over as many administration offices and functions as they could. You must understand that Ukraine is a nation divided in so many ways and in ethnic terms virtually divided in half, with one side speaking Ukrainian and looking west and the other speaking Russian and looking east. You may say the uprising in the Donbass was illegal. Those who did it would point to the recent insurrection which brought down the president and government ask you if what happened THERE was legal? (The president and government who had been overthrown by a West-approved and supported insurrection/coup/example of people power – however you wish to name it, were both democratically elected.) At any rate, no one died during the takeover of all administrative functions in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of the Donbass. A great many died in Kiev. Both among the ranks of protestors and among the police (17 officers died trying to maintain control).

So where does the violence which descended into carnage emerge from in this case? On Kiev’s Maidan Square we saw the arrival of violent militias who took over from the earlier, relatively peaceful protesters. After bringing down the president and government they turned their attention to the east, to the Russian-speaking Donbass region.

It was a week or two after the bringing down of the president and government that the response came from Kiev to the appeals of those who had taken over in Donetsk and Lugansk looking for the autonomy to run their own affairs. (The main areas of concern for them was to preserve their language (Russian), maintain their long-held affiliations and good relations with Russia (inter-marriage being very common among them) and to preserve also their entire culture which also included honouring the memory of the Soviet Red Army liberating the country from the Nazis.

The extremist minority in western Ukraine, many of whom were and still are within the Ukrainian military held an opposing view, that Hitler and the Nazis had been beneficial to the Ukrainian nationalist cause. This prompted an extremely violent urge among many of them who considered their fellow Ukrainians in the east to be Russians, traitors to Ukraine and they gave them the pejorative, generalised name, ‘Moskals’.

So, where did the violence emerge from? The next major event in this saga saw Kiev send a large military force, perhaps with the initial purpose to merely intimidate the leaders of the autonomy movement in the Donbass. However, with an incident or two of violence at the checkpoints they set up these sparks led to the fire of general violence which led to the mass shelling of the urban areas of Donetsk and Lugansk. The worst of this shelling took place in 2014 and 2015 when random mortar shells landed indiscriminately among the civilian population. It is estimated that approximately 12,000 civilians, innocent men, women and children died up to 2022, the majority of whom died in the first years of the conflict. Gradually, what was termed a self-defence force was formed, some of whom travelled from Russia and elsewhere round the world. They began to deter the extremes of random shelling of the villages, towns and cities of the Donbass they saw occurring.

Once the self-defence forces of Donetsk and Lugansk regions were fully formed and mounting a fierce resistance against the Ukrainian military and militias the heavy bombardments seen during 2014 and 2015 diminished greatly, though they have continued on a sporadic basis and continue to this day and presently to a greater extent somewhat mirroring the events of 2014/15.

So, in order to fairly judge who began the carnage in Ukraine please bring into consideration all the factors above when attempting to answer the question of who began all this that we see occurring in Ukraine today. Always keeping in mind the goals of the people of the Donbass and that of the Russian Federation that remained true from 2014 to 2022, to attain a level of autonomy to preserve a way of life and language. Violence was not seen by them as the way to achieve this but ultimately defending against violence proved a necessity.

Finally, there is the question of the threat of violence which was implicit in Kiev rejecting the Minsk Agreement peace and reconciliation process. Kiev essentially said Minsk was dead, that though they had promised to speak directly to the leaders of the two autonomy-seeking republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and, though they had promised these regions would receive special status where they would have a high degree of autonomy, they had decided they would do neither.

The Ukrainian army had been added to consistently since the year before Russia’s operation bringining it up to NATO standards, military vehicles and the most advanced weapons had been delivered in their hundreds and thousands right up to the borders of the Donbass republics seeking autonomy. And official statements from Kiev gave every indication that a military offensive against the two republics seeking that autonomy could not be far off. The amount of shelling by the Ukrainian military soared through the first weeks of February 2022 and an attack appeared imminent.

It was around this time also that President Zelensky of Ukraine talked of regaining nuclear status. All the signs were there that the Ukrainian regime had abandoned any thought of solving the situation in a peaceful way through dialogue leading to a compromise and stable agreement that would leave the republics within Ukraine but having the degree of autonomy they required to guarantee their way of life could continue.

In addition to the above, Russian military intelligence caught wind of an official plan to initiate such an offensive. Soon after, Russia recognised the republics and then in the days following mounted what it calls its ‘special military offensive’ on February 24th.

Scan back and forth from the winter of 2013 across the historic timeline, look into the kind of ultraviolence that took place on Kiev’s Maidan, attempt to imagine how those in eastern Ukraine felt when those they had democratically elected to power were removed and think too of the manner of their removal. Consider what the people of eastern Ukraine were facing as they heard of a law to downgrade their language and replace it and all else they were hearing from those they knew very well meant them no good and only harm. Consider also if military force and violence was appropriate in dealing with a bloodless revolution to establish right of autonomy in these extraordinary circumstances.

After reading all of the above and doing your own research to determine how true the facts as stated are it is to be hoped that you will then be in an excellent position to finally decide exactly who began the carnage in Ukraine.

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RFK Jr. And Elon Musk: Two Great Dicks That Taste Like Sh*t!

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sure has come a long way from 2014, when he angered fossil fuel lobbyists by saying that climate change deniers should be jailed. Or maybe not such a long way; by 2005 he was already spreading the anti-vax gospel and falsely claiming that childhood vaccines cause autism. And now he’s running for president and everyone is reminding you what a complete freakass whackaloon he is.

We’ll do our part. Hey, remember that long-ago time in 2022 when he said, of COVID vaccine mandates, that at least in Nazi Germany “you could cross the Alps into Switzerland, you could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did.”

Kennedy did his part to help out that educational endeavor Monday night by sitting down with chief Twitter troll Elon Musk, who seems to love conspiratorial bullshit nearly as much as Kennedy does. He started out by thanking Musk for ending all the terrible “censorship” on the platform — by making it a free-for all for COVID and vaccine disinformation, not to mention for Nazis, far-Right conspiracy theories, and rampant hatred of transgender people, but also by actually censoring people on behalf of authoritarian governments. Kennedy also explained that in 2021, “the government pressured Mark Zuckerberg” to ban him from Instagram, although now his account has been restored because he’s running for president. Talk about ineffective censorship!

Rolling Stone reports that for the first 40 minutes of the Twitter Spaces chat, Kennedy barely talked about his candidacy, because he and Musk were too busy telling each other how much they admired each other for being courageous and shit, which is honestly what free speech is for.

At one point, Kennedy asked where Musk got the courage to be like one of America’s Founders by being “willing to take this huge, massive, unspeakable economic hit on behalf of a principle for a country in which you weren’t even born?” Musk, who does kind of have US citizenship after all, replied, “I should say I do very much consider myself an American.” Musk also acknowledged that advertisers had deserted the platform because he was so very committed to democracy, at least for people who think he’s cool, so it’s been “frankly a struggle to break even” (he is not breaking even) and then everyone with an $8 blue checkmark felt very warm that they had done their part to save America and/or Twitter.

After they both agreed that free speech is the very best, and that they both really love free speech the most, Kennedy bemoaned the sad fact that “we’re no longer living in a democratic system,” because Big Pharma controls the government and silences brave advocates of medical disinformation, which would explain why we only hear from anti-vaxxers everywhere on social media but not yet in (most) doctors’ offices.

Among other great trolls, Musk and Kennedy were joined by Tulsi Gabbard and Michael Shellenberger, author of books about how environmentalism is bad for everyone and global warming is happening but is honestly no big deal, yeesh, calm down. UPDATE/CORRECTION: I initially had a brain fart and confused Shellenberger with a different “contrarian” dipshit, Alex Berenson, formerly of the New York Times. Wonkette regrets the error.

Kennedy and Musk agreed that America shouldn’t be supporting the Ukrainian government, since as Kennedy put it, the Ukrainian people are “almost equally” victimized by America as by Russians. Musk added that the war was kind of our fault anyway, since “We are sending the flower of Ukrainian youth and Russian youth to die in the trenches, and it’s morally reprehensible,” and when you think about it, we probably shouldn’t be ordering Russia’s youth flowers around like that, how would we like it huh?

The conversation got even more sane when Gabbard added that

the U.S. had turned Ukraine into a “slaughterhouse” and blamed the conflict on an “elitist cabal of war-mongers” who had seized control of the Democratic Party.

Those war-mongers, Kennedy warned, hadn’t just taken control of the Democratic party: They were in control of the Deep State as well.

He recalled being told by Donald Trump’s former CIA Director Mike Pompeo that the “top layer of that agency is made up almost entirely of people who do not believe in the American institutions of democracy,” which is pretty rich coming from a top guy in the Trump administration.

Kennedy also said he opposed an assault weapons ban, because the Second Amendment is pretty awesome, and anyway, the problem isn’t guns, it’s antidepressant meds, which turn people into mass shooters, explaining that

“prior to the introduction of Prozac, we had almost none of these events in our country. […] The one thing that we have, it’s different than anybody in the world, is the amount of psychiatric drugs our children are taking.” He then alleged that the National Institutes of Health won’t research the supposed link between these drugs and shootings “because they’re working with the pharmaceutical industry.”

It’s pretty convincing until you remember that antidepressants are prescribed worldwide, but in countries where there aren’t more guns than people, there aren’t a bunch of school shootings. Also, maybe someone could have pointed out that only about a quarter of mass shooters use antidepressants, while 100 percent of them use firearms, albeit not usually with a doctor’s prescription.

Along the way, Kennedy also insisted that COVID was a “bioweapon,” lied that after the passage of the Affordable Care Act the “Democrats were getting more money from pharma than Republicans” (it’s the other way around, according to STAT News, but then STAT News believes vaccines work), and promised to go to the US-Mexico border to “try to formulate policies that will seal the border permanently,” so he really sounds like the mainstream Democrat that everyone on the far Right has been looking for, the end and OPEN THREAD.

[Rolling Stone / Insider / NYT]

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The “BIG, BEAUTIFUL” Saudi golf deal is great news for Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene during the 3rd round of the LIV Golf Invitational Series Bedminster on July 31, 2022 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via AP Images

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Donald Trump has a reason to gloat. “GREAT NEWS FROM LIV GOLF,” he crowed on his Truth Social platform, referring to the Saudi-backed golf league that will be merging with the PGA Tour. A BIG, BEAUTIFUL, AND GLAMOROUS DEAL FOR THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF GOLF. CONGRATS TO ALL!!!”

For Trump, the blockbuster merger, announced Tuesday morning, is something of a personal victory. The world of professional golf has traditionally sought to avoid controversy, and Trump, a golf fanatic, represents a lot of controversy. Following his 2015 announcement that he was running for president, the PGA Tour began stepping back from Trump—shifting a tournament from his Miami course to Mexico. After the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the organizers of several of the major golf tournaments made it clear that Trump’s properties would never again host their prestigious events.

Trump fought back, quickly cozying up to LIV Golf, a renegade league launched last year. LIV, which is owned by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, was shunned by the mainstream professional golf community. It eagerly embraced Trump, who hosted several LIV events at his properties and used social media to promote the new organization—which focused on paying high-profile players exorbitant amounts and dumping some of golf’s more traditional rules (like the requirement that players wear pants).

LIV and the PGA Tour—the longstanding professional golf company that organizes most of the notable tournaments around the world—quickly began waging legal and financial warfare against each other. But now that they are joining forces, Trump is suddenly back in the main golf mix.

The details of the merger are not yet clear, but it does certainly seem like LIV is swallowing the PGA Tour. The Public Investment Fund—the Saudi entity that is essentially an arm of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s regime—will pour additional cash into the new joint venture. The fund’s governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, will become the chairman of the new combined golf organization, although the PGA Tour will appoint the majority of the board of directors. There may be more twists and turns in the saga—already some PGA Tour player dissent seems to be bubbling up, and more is likely to come. After all, during LIV’s campaign last year to lure away PGA players, a number of golfers turned down massive paydays and stuck with the PGA instead. Tiger Woods reportedly declined an $800 million LIV offer. These players might now feel burned.

Trump gleefully predicted this precise scenario last summer, when he warned that a merger was coming and that PGA Tour golfers like Woods would regret rejecting LIV’s offers: “All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year. If you don’t take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were.”

Trump may be enjoying the schadenfreude, but he has a lot to gain financially, as well. While there were objections to LIV Golf based on style and format—it did away with large fields of golfers of varying abilities and limited its competitions to rosters of high-profile players on teams trying to win massive paydays—there was also a great deal of concern in the professional golf world over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. Trump, of course, has never been bothered by associating with the Saudis—during his 2016 run, Trump bragged about his business dealings. “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them,” Trump said. “They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

While in office, Trump timidly side-stepped demands that he criticize the kingdom, even after the CIA concluded that MBS personally ordered the murder of dissident Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi.

So, it’s no surprise that when LIV Golf arrived on the scene, facing headwinds from the traditional professional golf world, Trump offered up his resorts as potential sites for LIV events. In the 2022 inaugural LIV season, two Trump properties—Doral, outside of Miami, and Bedminster, in New Jersey—hosted LIV tournaments. Trump’s Washington, DC-area resort hosted LIV just last weekend.

Trump has brushed aside complaints from families of 9/11 victims, who said his properties shouldn’t be hosting any tournaments with the Saudi-backed LIV. Last summer, Trump said that “nobody has gotten to the bottom of 9/11 unfortunately.” Last month, he said that he loved the 9/11 families, but he seemed to allude to his financial interests as a reason to continue partnering with LIV, telling reporters that “it’s tremendous economic development, tremendous number of jobs, just for an event like this—it’s a big event.”

LIV doesn’t disclose how much it paid Trump for the use of his properties (it will hold another tournament at Doral this year), but golf industry experts say it’s likely in the multi-million dollar range.

And any amount would more than zero, which is what the PGA Tour had been paying Trump in recent years. For 53 years, his Doral course—which Trump purchased in 2012—hosted a PGA event. That came to a screeching halt in 2015, following his presidential campaign announcement in which he labelled Mexican immigrants “rapists.” The PGA Tour acted swiftly, announcing, “Mr. Trump’s comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf.” The PGA Tour moved the event to a course in Mexico and has not returned to any Trump property since.

Similarly, the PGA Association—a related organization that spun off the PGA Tour decades ago—pulled the prestigious PGA Championship tournament from Trump’s Bedminster resort several days after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Trump, who has reportedly seethed about that snub, is said to be obsessed with hosting major tournaments at his properties. At the time, sports columnist Rick Reilly told Mother Jones that the sting of losing the opportunity to host a major was probably worse than the financial impact of losing out on the money:

“He’s got to be devastated,” says longtime sports columnist Rick Reilly, who has golfed with Trump and wrote a 2019 book entitled Commander In Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump. “This is going to be as bad as losing the election, which he did and he can’t deny any more than he can deny he no longer has a major.”

Now, however, having apparently chosen the winning side, Trump might see a path to getting his major back.

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#BIG #BEAUTIFUL #Saudi #golf #deal #great #news #Donald #Trump

Rishi Sunak has Suella Braverman right where he wants her –

The Home Office under Rishi Sunak is a curious department. 

Nominally, it is led by Suella Braverman, who appeared to have the brief surrendered to her during the October 2022 Conservative leadership contest. Of course, we are ignorant of the details of such a “deal” between Sunak and his soon-to-be home secretary, and it has not been confirmed that any formal arrangement was ever pulled together. But Braverman’s continued presence in government, after two ministerial code-related scandals, may well speak for itself. 

At a time of heightened political psychodrama, the much-purported “pact” was an act of relative elegance. With Conservative MPs fumbling for a replacement for Liz Truss, two former opponents agreed to put their differences aside in favour of mutually assured career development: it was the ultimate marriage of convenience. Whispers at the end of the Trussite interregnum suggested it would be a joined-up Sunak-Mordaunt plot that would topple the ailing PM. But commentators had not accounted for the continuing influence of Braverman, recently ushered out of the Home Office under the cloud of a scandal. Today we see it was Sunak and Braverman’s uneasy entente wot won it. 

Of course, for the junior partner of such a deal, the result tends to be the creation of a personal fiefdom in government — with total control over policy levers in the desired department. One relevant example may be Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s “Granita pact”, negotiated in an Islington restaurant ahead of the 1994 Labour leadership election. The analogy is not perfect; Brown and Blair’s relationship was defined as much by their personality mix as by their politics, and the tentacles of the Treasury naturally spread far wider than those of the Home Office. But recent history tells us that a senior cabinet minister — having secured their post via an agreement — should be secondus inter pares in government, wilfully subverting collective responsibility and distorting the distribution of power within the British executive.

The home secretary’s recent freelancing at the National Conservatism Conference may show she is succeeding in the former domain. But on the latter: rather than craft a semi-autonomous institutional power base in government, Braverman doesn’t even appear to be the most powerful person in the Home Office. 

Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister and key Sunak ally, has emerged in recent months as a crucial component of the PM’s political operation. He spent Sunday morning touring media studios for the government, trailing its six-month update on the PM’s “stop the boats” pledge. He told Sky News that “thousands” of illegal migrants were in the process of being returned to Albania; there was relatively little mention of the home secretary, his boss. 

Of course, the salience of the “small boats” issue right now — a consequence of the prime minister’s oath-swearing in January — has greatly raised Jenrick’s profile. In March, he notably and adeptly led the illegal migration bill at its commons committee stage as the legislation sailed through the House. In fact, since Rishi Sunak became prime minister, it has been Jenrick, not Braverman, who has been entrusted with the Home Office’s trickiest parliamentary assignments. (The home secretary’s commons contributions tend to have a rather more chaotic quality, a fact displayed yesterday as Braverman clashed with the Speaker and her opposite number Yvette Cooper).

Moreover, as immigration minister, Jenrick has not shied away from the discursive elements of the brief. His comments to a Policy Exchange event last month that migration threatened to “cannibalise” British compassion was an unsubtle confirmation that the minister would not operate, as had initially been assumed, as a moderating influence in the Home Office. The best way to quiet Braverman, so it seems, is simply to agree with her. 

Ultimately, Jenrick’s proximity to Braverman on both policy stances and rhetoric — coupled with his conspicuousness across the media and at the commons dispatch box — means he is no less than the de facto home secretary in Sunak’s government. Braverman’s personal fiefdom, the Home Office is not. 

Suella’s ‘soft power’?

Of course, one could say that in winning the “stop the boats” pledge for her department — one-fifth of PM’s pre-election offering — Braverman is exercising soft power in cabinet, slowly working her colleagues to the right on migration. And, in terms of policy, Sunak and Braverman’s political alliance appears to have yielded significant movement for the Conservative right’s favoured cause. The illegal migration bill, if passed, would see arrivals on “small boats” detained within the first 28 days without bail or judicial review. It would place a legal duty on the government to deport almost anyone who arrives “irregularly” in the UK. And it would introduce a cap on the number of refugees offered sanctuary through safe and legal routes.

But that the prime minister has marked himself out as an unapologetic “small boat”-stopping Conservative, even sharpening up the illegal migration on ECHR interventions at the commons committee stage, need not necessarily be credited to Braverman’s influence. Sunak’s tough talk, his tough rules, his bullishness, the desire to test the limits of international law and stare down the ECHR, must be viewed as much through the prism of electoral strategy than of party management. 

Small boats are central to Sunak’s political offering — with his highly presidential approach shaped on this area, as on others, by polling which shows he is far more popular than his party. So when the public was updated on the “small boats” situation yesterday, it was Sunak, freshly fitted with Timberland boots, stood at the helm. We have long passed the time when tough talk on migration was the exclusive privilege of a particular Conservative party clique. 

And then there’s the matter of the Home Office curse. The department is not what it once was as a platform for an ambitious minister and Braverman’s continued presence there may in time begin to erode her future leadership positioning. 

Through 2019-2022, then-home secretary Priti Patel was no less convinced on immigration policy than Braverman is now. But by the end of her tenure, the right-winger was much-derided by the Conservative grassroots. Patel discovered that the expectations raised by hardline rhetoric in the Home Office makes a perceived lack of delivery even more politically potent. ConservativeHome’s final cabinet “league table” of Boris Johnson’s premiership found Patel had a negative 13.4 per cent satisfaction among surveyed party members.

Gordon Brown once said that “There are only two types of chancellors; those that fail and those get out in time”. It is a saying which may be readily applied to the Home Office today. In the end, for a home secretary positioning for a future leadership run, small boats are much easier to talk about than to “stop” outright.

It means that on illegal immigration any forthcoming success will likely be attributed to the influence of the PM and his Timberland boots. But failure on Channel crossings, as the Priti Patel case study illustrates, may ultimately accost the ambitious home secretary. 

Rather than a model of dual governance, therefore, the Braverman-Sunak nexus has become a means by which the PM has furthered his party-political and policy goals. The losers in this equation, it would appear, are the home secretary and her leadership prospects. 

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#Rishi #Sunak #Suella #Braverman #Politicscouk

Court Blocks Florida Law Limiting “Puberty Blockers” and Cross-Sex Hormones for Minors

From Doe v. Ladapo, decided today by Judge Robert Hinkle (N.D. Fla.):

This action presents a constitutional challenge to a Florida statute and rules that (1) prohibit transgender minors from receiving specific kinds of widely accepted medical care and (2) prohibit doctors from providing it. The treatments at issue are GnRH agonists, colloquially known as “puberty blockers,” and cross-sex hormones. This order grants a preliminary injunction….

[II.] Gender identity is real

With extraordinarily rare exceptions not at issue here, every person is born with external sex characteristics, male or female, and chromosomes that match. As the person goes through life, the person also has a gender identity—a deeply felt internal sense of being male or female. For more than 99% of people, the external sex characteristics and chromosomes—the determinants of what this order calls the person’s natal sex—match the person’s gender identity.For less than 1%, the natal sex and gender identity are opposites: a natal male’s gender identity is female, or vice versa. This order refers to such a person who identifies as female as a transgender female and to such a person who identifies as male as a transgender male. This order refers to individuals whose gender identity matches their natal sex as cisgender.

The elephant in the room should be noted at the outset. Gender identity is real. The record makes this clear. The medical defendants, speaking through their attorneys, have admitted it. At least one defense expert also has admitted it. That expert is Dr. Stephen B. Levine, the only defense expert who has actually treated a significant number of transgender patients. He addressed the issues conscientiously, on the merits, rather than as a biased advocate.

Despite the defense admissions, there are those who believe that cisgender individuals properly adhere to their natal sex and that transgender individuals have inappropriately chosen a contrary gender identity, male or female, just as one might choose whether to read Shakespeare or Grisham. Many people with this view tend to disapprove all things transgender and so oppose medical care that supports a person’s transgender existence. In this litigation, the medical defendants have explicitly acknowledged that this view is wrong and that pushing individuals away from their transgender identity is not a legitimate state interest.

Still, an unspoken suggestion running just below the surface in some of the proceedings that led to adoption of the statute and rules at issue—and just below the surface in the testimony of some of the defense experts—is that transgender identity is not real, that it is made up. And so, for example, one of the defendants’ experts, Dr. Paul Hruz, joined an amicus brief in another proceeding asserting transgender individuals have only a “false belief” in their gender identity—that they are maintaining a “charade” or “delusion.” Another defense expert, Dr.

Patrick Lappert—a surgeon who has never performed gender-affirming surgery— said in a radio interview that gender-affirming care is a “lie,” a “moral violation,” a “huge evil,” and “diabolical.” State employees or consultants suggested treatment of transgender individuals is either a “woke idea” or profiteering by the pharmaceutical industry or doctors.

Any proponent of the challenged statute and rules should put up or shut up: do you acknowledge that there are individuals with actual gender identities opposite their natal sex, or do you not? Dog whistles ought not be tolerated.

[III.] The challenged statute and rules

The challenged parts of the statute and rules apply to patients under age 18. The statute prohibits the use of “puberty blockers” to “stop or delay normal puberty in order to affirm a person’s perception of his or her sex if that perception is inconsistent with the person’s [natal] sex.” And the statute prohibits the use of “hormones or hormone antagonists to affirm a person’s perception of his or her sex if that perception is inconsistent with the person’s [natal] sex.” The statute makes violation of these provisions a crime and grounds for terminating a healthcare practitioner’s license.

The statute has exceptions, including, for example, for use of these products during a transition away from them, but the exceptions are not relevant here. And the statute has other provisions, including a prohibition on transgender surgeries, but those provisions, too, are not at issue here.

The challenged rules were adopted by the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine. In identical language, the rules prohibit the Boards’ licensed practitioners from treating “gender dysphoria in minors” with “[p]uberty blocking, hormone, or hormone antagonist therapies.” …

[IV.] The standards of care

Transgender individuals suffer higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide than the population at large. Some suffer gender dysphoria, a mental-health condition recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (“DSM-5”). The diagnosis applies when specific criteria are met. Among other things, there must be a marked incongruence between one’s experienced gender identity and natal sex for at least six months, manifested in specified ways, and clinically significant distress or impairment.

There are well-established standards of care for treatment of gender dysphoria. These are set out in two publications: first, the Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria; and second, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (“WPATH”) Standards of Care, version 8. I credit the abundant testimony in this record that these standards are widely followed by well-trained clinicians. The standards are used by insurers and have been endorsed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Under the standards, gender-dysphoria treatment begins with a comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment. In addition to any appropriate mental-health therapy, there are three types of possible medical intervention, all available only to adolescents or adults, never younger children.

First, for patients at or near the onset of puberty, medications known as GnRH agonists can delay the onset or continuation of puberty and thus can reduce the development of secondary sex characteristics inconsistent with the patient’s gender identity—breasts for transgender males, whiskers for transgender females, changes in body shape, and other physical effects.

Second, cross-sex hormones—testosterone for transgender males, estrogen for transgender females—can promote the development and maintenance of characteristics consistent with the patient’s gender identity and can limit the development and maintenance of characteristics consistent with the patient’s natal sex. For patients treated with GnRH agonists, use of cross-sex hormones typically begins when use of GnRH agonists ends. Cross-sex hormones also can be used later in life, regardless of whether a patient was treated with GnRH agonists.

Third, for some patients, surgery can align physical characteristics with gender identity, to some extent. The most common example: mastectomy can remove a transgender male’s breasts. Perhaps 98% of all such surgeries are performed on adults, not minors.

The motions now before the court deal directly only with GnRH agonists.

The motions deal indirectly with cross-sex hormones, because to achieve their intended result, GnRH agonists are ordinarily followed by cross-sex hormones. The motions do not present any issue related to surgeries.

The court moves on to conclude that the standards of care are supported by “[t]he overwhelming weight of medical authority,” and cites the testimony of doctors in the case, concluding:

The clinical evidence would support, though certainly not mandate, a decision by a reasonable patient and parent, in consultation with properly trained practitioners, to use GnRH agonists at or near the onset of puberty and to use cross-sex hormones later, even when fully apprised of the current state of medical knowledge and all attendant risks. There is no rational basis for a state to categorically ban these treatments.

The record includes no evidence that these treatments have caused substantial adverse clinical results in properly screened and treated patients….

I find, based on the record now before the court, that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim that they have obtained appropriate medical care for their children to this point, that qualified professionals have properly evaluated the children’s medical conditions and needs in accordance with the well-established standards of care, and that the plaintiffs and their children, in consultation with their treating professionals, have determined that the benefits of treatment with GnRH agonists, and eventually with cross-sex hormones, will outweigh the risks. I find that the plaintiffs’ ability to evaluate the benefits and risks of treating their individual children this way far exceeds the ability of the State of Florida to do so. I find that the plaintiffs’ motivation is love for their children and the desire to achieve the best possible treatment for them. This is not the State’s motivation.

The court concludes that banning treatment with GnRH agonists and cross-sex hormones” likely “violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause” because it discriminates based on sex and gender nonconformity, citing and elaborating on Brandt ex rel. Brandt v. Rutledge (8th Cir. 2022), which held likewise:

Consider an adolescent, perhaps age 16, that a physician wishes to treat with testosterone. Under the challenged statute, is the treatment legal or illegal? To know the answer, one must know the adolescent’s sex. If the adolescent is a natal male, the treatment is legal. If the adolescent is a natal female, the treatment is illegal. This is a line drawn on the basis of sex, plain and simple.

In asserting the contrary, the defendants note that the reason for the treatment—the diagnosis—is different for the natal male and natal female. Indeed it is. But this does not change the fact that this is differential treatment based on sex. The reason for sex-based differential treatment is the purported justification for treating the natal male and natal female differently—the justification that must survive intermediate scrutiny. One can survive—but cannot avoid—intermediate scrutiny by saying there is a good reason for treating a male and female differently….

Drawing a line based on gender nonconformity—this includes transgender status—also triggers intermediate scrutiny….

The court concludes that Florida’s arguments for why intermediate scrutiny are “largely pretextual” and don’t justify the law. (The analysis is too long for me to quote here; see the opinion for the details.) And it also concludes that plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their parental rights claims:

The defendants say a parent’s right to control a child’s medical treatment does not give the parent a right to insist on treatment that is properly prohibited on other grounds. Quite so. If the state could properly prohibit the treatments at issue as unsafe, parents would have no right to override the state’s decision. But as set out above, there is no rational basis, let alone a basis that would survive heightened scrutiny, for prohibiting these treatments in appropriate circumstances.

The court closes with this:

Gender identity is real. Those whose gender identity does not match their natal sex often suffer gender dysphoria. The widely accepted standard of care calls for evaluation and treatment by a multidisciplinary team. Proper treatment begins with mental-health therapy and is followed in appropriate cases by GnRH agonists and cross-sex hormones. Florida has adopted a statute and rules that prohibit these treatments even when medically appropriate. The plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their claim that the prohibition is unconstitutional. And they have met the other prerequisites to a preliminary injunction.

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#Court #Blocks #Florida #Law #Limiting #Puberty #Blockers #CrossSex #Hormones #Minors

Eva Kaili is back with a new story: There’s a conspiracy

ATHENS — Eva Kaili is spinning up a new, eyebrow-raising narrative: Authorities might have targeted her because she knew too much about government spying.

After months of silence during her detention and house arrest, the most high-profile suspect in the cash-for-influence Qatargate scandal was suddenly everywhere over the weekend.

Across a trio of interviews in the European media, the Greek European Parliament member was keen to proclaim her innocence, saying she never took any of the alleged bribes that authorities say countries such as Qatar and Morocco used to sway the Brussels machinery.

But she also had a story to tell even darker than Qatargate, one involving insinuations of nefarious government spying and suggestions that maybe, just maybe, her jailing was politically motivated. Her work investigating the illegal use of Pegasus spyware in Europe, she argued, put her in the crosshairs of Europe’s own governments.

“From the court file, my lawyers have discovered that the Belgian secret services have allegedly been monitoring the activities of members of the Pegasus special committee,” she told the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.

“The fact that elected members of Parliament are being spied on by the secret services should raise more concerns about the health of our European democracy,” she added. “I think this is the ‘real scandal.’”

As Kaili reemerges and starts pointing the finger back at the government, the Belgian prosecutor’s office has decided to remain mum. A spokesperson on Monday said the prosecutor’s office was “not going to respond” to Kaili’s allegations.

“This would violate the confidentiality of the investigation and the presumption of innocence,” the spokesperson added. “The evidence will be presented in court in due course.”

But her PR blitz is nonetheless a likely preview of Qatargate’s next chapter: The battle to win the public narrative.

A European media tour

In addition to her interview with the Italian press, Kaili also appeared in the Spanish and French press, where she expanded on her spying theory.

In a video interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Kaili said her legal team has evidence the entire PEGA committee was being watched illegally, arguing she does not know how the police intercepted certain conversations between her and other politicians.

“I was not spied on with Pegasus, but for Pegasus,” she said. “We believe Morocco, Spain, France and Belgium spied on the European Parliament’s committee,” she told El Mundo.

Kaili’s assertions have not been backed up by public evidence. But she didn’t equivocate as she pointed the finger.

“The fact that security services surveilled elected members of Parliament should raise enormous concerns over the state of European democracy,” Kaili said. “This goes beyond the personal: We have to defend the European Parliament and the work of its members.”

Kaili was jailed in December as part of a deep corruption probe Belgian authorities were conducting into whether foreign countries were illegally influencing the European Parliament’s work. Her arrest came after the Belgian police recovered €150,000 in cash from her apartment — where she lived with her partner, Francesco Giorgi, who was also arrested — and a money-stuffed bag her father had.

The Greek politician flatly dismissed the charges across her interviews.

“No country has ever offered me money and I have never been bribed. Not even Russia, as has been alleged,” she told El Mundo. “My lawyers and I believe this was a police operation based on false evidence.”

According to her arrest warrant, Kaili was suspected of being “the primary organizer or co-organizer” of public corruption and money laundering.

“Eva Kaili told the journalist of ‘El Mundo’ not to publish her interview, until she gave them the final OK; unfortunately, the agreement was not honored,” her lawyer Michalis Dimitrakopoulos said on Monday.

Flying in on a Pegasus (committee)

The allegations — Kaili’s first major push to spin her arrest — prompted plenty of incredulity, including from those who worked with her on the Pegasus, or PEGA, committee. It especially befuddled those who recalled that Kaili had faced accusations of undermining the committee’s work.

“I have absolutely no reason to believe the Belgian intelligence services spied on PEGA,” said Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, who helped prepare the committee’s final report. “Everything we do is public anyway. And we have our phones checked regularly, it makes absolutely no sense.”

Kaili’s decision to invoke her PEGA Committee work is intriguing as it taps into a controversial period of her career.

While the panel was deep into its work in 2022, Greece was weathering its own persistent espionage scandal, which erupted after the government acknowledged it had wiretapped the leader of Kaili’s own party, Pasok.

Yet Kaili perplexed many when she started publicly arguing in response that surveillance was common and happens across Europe, echoing the talking points of the ruling conservative government instead of her own socialist party. She also encouraged the PEGA panel not to visit Greece as part of its investigation.

The arrest warrant for MEP Andrea Cozzolino also mentions the alleged influence ringleader, former Parliament member Pier Antonio Panzeri, discussed getting Kaili on the PEGA Committee to help advance Moroccan interests (Morocco has been accused of illegally using the spyware).

A war of words?

Kaili’s media tour raises questions about how the Qatargate probe will unfold in the coming months.

Eventually, Kaili and the other suspects will likely face trial, where authorities will have a chance to present their evidence. But until then, the suspects will have a chance to shape and push their preferred narrative — depending on what limits the court places on their public statements.

In recent weeks, Kaili has moved from jail to house arrest to an increasingly unrestricted life, allowing her more chances to opine on the case. Her lawyers also claim she will soon be back at work at the Parliament, although she is banned from leaving Belgium for Parliament’s sessions in Strasbourg.

Pieter Haeck, Eddy Wax, Antoaneta Roussi and Barbara Moens contributed reporting.

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#Eva #Kaili #story #conspiracy

Crime Guy’s Lawyers Go To Justice Department To Say Hey, Don’t Charge Crime Guy With Crimes

A couple weeks ago, we all laughed and laughed at the dumbstupid letter Donald Trump’s lawyers sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland, respectfully begging for a meeting so they could explain that Special Counsel Jack Smith was a witch hunter doing witch hunts, and that Hunter Biden exists. It was widely interpreted as a sign that indictments were very soon coming in Smith’s BOXES HOAX, which is what Trump calls the investigation into why he stole all those classified state secrets and placed them inside his bottom so the FBI wouldn’t find them when they came calling.

It sounds like that meeting happened this morning, though apparently not with anybody as important as Garland. This was their meeting to explain that the Justice Department has it all wrong and Donald Trump is the purest of good men with only the best intentions, blah blah blah, innocent until suck my balls, or however it goes. Also CNN says they brought with them allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, so that’s amusing.

The Washington Post reports it was John Rowley and James Trusty, the two lawyers on that letter, plus Lindsey Halligan, another one of the idiots.

Trump himself is doing fine:

Here is the text of that “truth” from Trump’s Truth Social, in case a drag queen wants to read it at today’s Story Hour:



That’s our favorite part.


Trump was glad to hear the other day that Mike Pence would not be charged for the classified documents they found in his house, but demanded to know when he would be “fully exonerated” just like Pence was.

And then last night, it appears he was just hallucinating:

Reports are the Marxist Special Prosecutor, DOJ, & FBI, want to Indict me on the BOXES HOAX, despite all of the wrongdoing that they have done for SEVEN YEARS, including SPYING ON MY CAMPAIGN. Biden Crimes go unpunished, including that he had Boxes in Chinatown, in his garage by the “Corvette,” & 1,850 Boxes in Delaware that he won’t allow anyone to see. That is real OBSTRUCTION! They seek retribution for Republicans looking into Biden’s CRIMES! I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG. ELECTION INTERFERENCE!


So he’s freaking the fuck out.

Meanwhile, this week the grand jury in the case is back and hearing more evidence, reports NBC News. And the New York Times has a story about how former Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran apparently made a long and detailed recording last year of his thoughts, feelings, recollections, and reflections on an entire month of the case. Prosecutors have this tape now, and it sounds pretty juicy:

In complete sentences and a narrative tone that sounded as if it had been ripped from a novel, Mr. Corcoran recounted in detail a nearly monthlong period of the documents investigation, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Corcoran’s narration of his recollections covered his initial meeting with Mr. Trump in May last year to discuss a subpoena from the Justice Department seeking the return of all classified materials in the former president’s possession, the people said.

It also encompassed a search that Mr. Corcoran undertook last June in response to the subpoena for any relevant records being kept at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida. He carried out the search in preparation for a visit by prosecutors, who were on their way to enforce the subpoena and collect any sensitive material found remaining there.

Uh yeah, we guess that sounds like it might be helpful evidence. Remember, in March, both DC District Court Judge Beryl Howell and an appeals court panel ruled that attorney-client privilege didn’t apply with Corcoran because of the crime-fraud exception, because of a reasonable belief Trump had lied to him about the location of certain classified documents. So that’s why Jack Smith has that. Boxes hoax, election interference, etc., and so forth.

The Times says Trump aides are scared of this one. “The level of detail in the recording is said to have angered and unnerved close aides to Mr. Trump, who are worried it contains direct quotes from sensitive conversations.”

Guess they’ll just have to keep worrying.

Appeals Court Agrees That Trump Too Crimey-Fraudy To Assert Privilege Over Lawyer’s Testimony

In the meantime, some very smart legal experts have put together a 186-page Model Prosecution Memo over at Just Security, taking all the publicly available evidence in BOXES HOAX and analyzing which crimes Trump could and should be indicted for. And to be clear, they think he’s going to be:

This model prosecution memorandum assesses potential charges federal prosecutors may bring against former President Donald Trump. It focuses on those emanating from his handling of classified documents and other government records since leaving office on January 20, 2021. It includes crimes related to the removal and retention of national security information and obstruction of the investigation into his handling of these documents. The authors have decades of experience as federal prosecutors and defense lawyers, as well as other legal expertise. Based upon this experience and the analysis that follows, we conclude that Trump should–and likely will–be charged.

Lock him up where we never have to listen to his face again.

[New York Times / Just Security]

Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter right here.

Just got to BlueSky!

I have profiles those other places but I think I forgot how to log on.

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Thread ‘lays down some hard truth’ on women and today’s cultural tug-of-war and it’s SPECTACULAR

It’s that time, dear reader when we post a kick-butt thread that doesn’t need much commentary from any of us ol’ Twitchy editors because it can absolutely stand on its own. This thread from ‘Elaine’ dropping some hard truth on women and today’s ‘cultural tugs-of-war’ is just so damn good.

She wrote this in response to Chloe Cole interviewing Layla Jane – the interview is pretty spectacular unto itself, but the thread it inspired?


Take a look:

Keep going.

Perfect articles, perfect tweets … we feel this.


We love this.

So much.

A blessing and an honor.

Not a caricature …

What if your body gives a little when hugged, and you smell like cookies AND Chanel No. 5?

Just sayin’.

Down with BARBIE!

And not a big circle put together by a bunch of adults who think that’s the way they can pretend they’re pushing diversity and equity to play politics.

We’re not crying, YOU’RE CRYING.

Women … let’s do this.



Someone’s SCARED: James Comey warns of ‘4 years of retribution’ with a Trump presidency and LOL (watch)

Ian Millhiser shows REAL commitment to public humiliation with ANOTHER whiny tweet on Electoral College

Local familiar with MuellerSheWrote shares MORE about ‘stolen valor’ claims and grifts in BRUTAL thread


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#Thread #lays #hard #truth #women #todays #cultural #tugofwar #SPECTACULAR