[guest post by Dana]
Hello Weekend! I hope you’ve had a good week filled with love and good cheer. Here are a few news items to chew over. Feel free to share anything that you think would interest readers, and make sure to include links.
First news items
Stop attacking @IlhanMN. Stop attacking us.
I'm not surprised when Republicans attack Black women for standing up for human rights. But when it’s Democrats, it’s especially hurtful. We’re your colleagues. Talk to us directly.
Enough with the anti-Blackness and Islamophobia.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) June 10, 2021
Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, the progressive freshman Democratic congresswoman who has made many statements critical of Israel, is refusing to participate in an interview with the St. Louis Jewish Light, the leading Jewish newspaper in the city, according to its editors.
In a May 12 editorial, the paper’s editors said they have been ignored by the congresswoman’s staff in their efforts to interview Bush about her views on Israel and other topics. The lawmaker’s staff last communicated with the biweekly in an April 20 email.
Bush’s response to their interview requests “should trouble our readers,” the unsigned editorial said. The editorial did not clarify how long the Jewish Light had been trying to speak to Bush.
The Jewish Light said its goal is to clarify Bush’s views on the topic, as well as her social media posts comparing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to racial justice protests in the United States.
Related: Nancy tells Ilhan Omar to knock it off:
With a rare joint statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her entire leadership team on Thursday sought to quell a growing controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) remarks equating war crimes committed by the U.S. and Israel to those by the Taliban and Hamas terrorist groups.
The joint statement…came after Omar responded to a request from a dozen Jewish House Democrats to “clarify” what she meant in her original remarks.
“Legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate. And indeed, such criticism is essential to the strength and health of our democracies,” the Democratic leadership team said in its statement.
“But drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all,” the statement adds.
This is what got the ball rolling:
We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity.
We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 7, 2021
Second news item
OMG, CNN’s level of desperation is just stunning! Eight months after that unfortunate Zoom moment, Jeffrey Toobin returned to CNN as the network’s chief legal analyst. To welcome him back, the brain trust at CNN decided to have reporter Alisyn Camerota talk about what happened. She told Toobin that she would provide viewers with a recap. He laughed and suggested she ‘help herself’:
— Alisyn Camerota (@AlisynCamerota) June 10, 2021
Why, CNN? WHY??
Third news item
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that Texas will build a border wall along the state’s boundary with Mexico — but provided no details on where or when.
Abbott declared his plans during a press conference in Del Rio. He said he would discuss the plans next week. The Biden administration issued a proclamation that stopped border wall construction on his first day of office.
Abbott announced the news while discussing a slew of border initiatives, such as a $1 billion allocation for border security in the state budget lawmakers just passed and a plan to establish a Governor’s Task Force on Border and Homeland Security with public safety and state government officials.
Fourth news item
Former President Donald Trump will go on a tour with Bill O’Reilly to talk about his presidency, with a series of paid ticketed events planned for December in Florida and Texas.
O’Reilly, the former Fox News host who now hosts the podcast No Spin News, announced the tour on his website on Monday. It’s dubbed “The History Tour,” focused on highlights from the Trump presidency and “a never before heard inside view of his administration,” according to a release.
“These will be wonderful but hard-hitting sessions where we’ll talk about the real problems happening in the U.S., those that the Fake News Media never mention,” Trump said in a statement.
Fifth news item
As the Justice Department investigated who was behind leaks of classified information early in the Trump administration, it took a highly unusual step: Prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members. One was a minor.
All told, the records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early 2018, including those of Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, then the panel’s top Democrat and now its chairman, according to committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry. Representative Eric Swalwell of California said in an interview Thursday night that he had also been notified that his data had subpoenaed.
Prosecutors, under the beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, were hunting for the sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia. Ultimately, the data and other evidence did not tie the committee to the leaks, and investigators debated whether they had hit a dead end and some even discussed closing the inquiry.
But William P. Barr revived languishing leak investigations after he became attorney general a year later. He moved a trusted prosecutor from New Jersey with little relevant experience to the main Justice Department to work on the Schiff-related case and about a half-dozen others, according to three people with knowledge of his work who did not want to be identified discussing federal investigations.
Sixth news item
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to have the state mostly reopen and end pandemic restrictions on June 15 was dealt an unexpected blow last week when the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board decided to continue to require mask-wearing at factory and office workplaces if all workers had not been fully vaccinated.
This cautious position was not shared by federal authorities. Citing the extreme effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance on May 13 that said fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear face masks, including at most workplaces. The CDC’s recommendation helped prompt the Newsom administration to plan to end mask requirements next Tuesday, albeit with some fairly broad exceptions: at transit centers and on public transportation; at hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities; inside child-care centers and K-12 schools; at prisons and jails; and at emergency and homeless shelters.
Thankfully, Cal/OSHA realized that it was sowing confusion by having tougher standards than those of the administration it serves. It has acted to adopt mask rules in sync with those set by the state Department of Public Health and backed by Newsom — although they probably won’t take effect until June 28, unfortunately.
Seventh news item
A bipartisan group of 10 senators Thursday afternoon announced an agreement on a “compromise framework” to invest $1.2 trillion in infrastructure over the next eight years.
Sources familiar with the deal said it would provide $974 billion over five years. They also said the framework is focused on “core, physical infrastructure” and would not increase taxes, though it includes an option to index the gas tax to inflation.
Further, it would provide $579 billion in new funding over what would otherwise be spent without any new legislation.
“Our group — comprised of 10 senators, five from each party — has worked in good faith and reached a bipartisan agreement on a realistic, compromise framework to modernize our nation’s infrastructure and energy technologies,” members of the bipartisan group said in a joint statement.
“This investment would be fully paid for and not include tax increases,” they added.
Eighth news item
In a way only they can, supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory are bizarrely suggesting there was huge significance in the moment a cicada flew around the neck of President Joe Biden before he boarded Air Force One.
A clip of Biden swatting away an insect while he was on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews ahead of his visit to Cornwall, England, for the G7 summit was widely shared on social media on Wednesday.
“Watch out for the cicadas,” Biden told reporters shortly afterwards. “I just got one. It got me.”
The swarm of insects had already caused issues after filling up the plane’s engines, causing it to be grounded on Tuesday and delaying the president’s first overseas trip by several hours.
Rather than just seeing it as an example of the issues caused by the return of the large, loud insects after living underground for the past 17 years, some QAnon supporters claimed the reappearance of the Brood X cicadas is somehow a secret nod that justifies their radical movement.
We The Media, a collection of QAnon advocates with more than 225,000 subscribers on its Telegram account, believes Biden swatting at the cicadas is actually “comms,” a secret message that can be decoded by QAnon supporters.
“JOE BIDEN BITTEN BY A CICADA – COMMS? Just so happens that Cicada nymphs emerge after a 17-year childhood underground!!!” We The Media wrote.
For QAnon supporters, anything that can be linked to the number 17, no matter how tenuous, can be interpreted as “comms” for them as Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet.
“What? CHILD? UNDERGROUND? 17? Yes. Then after a short period above ground they molt, mate, lay eggs and die,” We The Media’s post added.
The “underground” comment is a reference to a long held belief from QAnon that there exists a network of secret underground tunnels where children are being trafficked and abused by the satanic pedophiles they claim they will one day expose.
The heat of June has arrived. Thus,Flaming June:
If humans acted like dogs:
— Tim Conway Jr Show (@ConwayShow) June 11, 2021
Have a good weekend.