Florida Democrats Have Already Notched a Historic Election Win

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Florida Democrats Have Already Notched a Historic Election Win

Florida Democrats secured a candidate in every House and Senate district race in the state by the end of the electoral qualifying deadline Friday, a rare feat for any party but even rarer for one whose efforts in the Sunshine State were deemed to be a lost cause, following an abysmal performance in the 2022 midterms.

The achievement is actually historic: It’s the first time in the last 30 years that Democrats have fielded candidates in all 140 legislative seats up for election this year, reported the Tampa Bay Times.

Party leaders were quick to celebrate the “unprecedented” milestone.

“Democrats made history in Florida today,” party chair Nikki Fried said in a statement. “Since control of Florida flipped in the mid-90s, no party has contested every seat in both chambers of the legislature.”

Florida Democratic Party candidates and campaigns director Danielle Hawk underscored the significance of contesting every race, describing the unified, comprehensive effort as “critical.”

“By contesting every race and competing everywhere, Republicans will have to spend more defending their position and unpopular policies,” Hawk said. “We are not going to just let Republicans walk into office without being held accountable.”

Ten of those candidates ran unopposed in their districts, guaranteeing automatic wins in November. And while all of those districts were already blue, Democrats did flip a district in January, hinting at voter dissatisfaction with the reigning conservative party and foreshadowing Friday’s win.

“What actually clinched the win for Democrats was this massive margin with [nonpartisan voters] and perhaps some Republican moderates, as well,” Democratic elections analyst Matt Isbell told the Orlando Sentinel at the time. “If anything, this should be concerning for the GOP because it indicates a voter anger that maybe they have not understood.”

More about Florida Democrats:

Biden on Friday issued a strong condemnation of a series of “horrific acts of antisemitism” that occurred in New York City over the past week. There’s just one problem: None of the instances Biden cited were antisemitic, despite the media outrage.

Tweet Screenshot President Biden: The horrific acts of Antisemitism this week – including a demonstration celebrating the 10/7 attack, vandalism targeting Jewish homes, attacks on Jewish faculty at college campuses, and harassment of subway riders – are abhorrent. Antisemitism doesn't just threaten Jewish Americans. It threatens all Americans, and our fundamental democratic values.

Biden’s post references three events that occurred in New York City. The first was a “Day of Rage” protest by Palestinian liberation group Within Our Lifetime, in response to the killing of an estimated 274 Palestinians during a deadly operation by Israel that retrieved four hostages. The protest Monday began at Union Square before traveling to Wall Street, where the organizers criticized an exhibit recreating the wreckage of the Nova Music Festival, where on October 7, 2023, Hamas militants attacked festival goers, leaving 350 people dead. Prior to this protest, a person who had attended the exhibit described it as “a wretched and perverse experiment in grotesquery” and published widely circulated photos of notes left by other attendees rife with Islamophobic rhetoric and support for Israel’s devastation of Gaza.

Twitter screenshot @souljagoytellem: Went to an exhibit here in NYC about the Nova Festival Massacre that occurred on October 7th. The responses I found to the exhibit struck me quite strongly. With four photos of index cards reading things like

The protest organizers decried the exhibit as manufactured consent: a display intended to elicit support for Israel’s destruction of Gaza. As part of their condemnation, Within Our Lifetime described the festival itself as “like having a rave next to a concentration camp,” eliciting cheers of agreement, followed by some demonstrators lighting smoke bombs and flares. Soon after, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, who had previously attended the Nova exhibit and described it as “a moving, heart-wrenching remembrance of the Oct 7 massacre” condemned WOL’s protest, saying “viscous targeting of the exhibition is not pro-peace. It is repulsive and vile. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.” WOL followed up, explaining their protest against what they described as “one of the most egregious zionist propaganda projects in our city,” writing in part, “The Nova Exhibition serves only one purpose: to make this level of colonial violence acceptable to the US public.… A recent article in TimeOut states that ‘the Nova Music Festival Exhibition seems to urge viewers to focus on what happened on October 7 and not muse over the events that preceded or came after.’”

The second incident Biden condemned—“vandalism targeting Jewish homes”—stems from vandalism against leadership at the Brooklyn Museum. The origin of the claim appears to have come from New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, who in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday posted photos of one vandalized home, writing, “Last night vandals defaced the homes of the Jewish director & several Jewish board members of the @brooklynmuseum. The cowards who did this are way over the line into antisemitism.”

Media picked up Lander’s claim, and for roughly a day all reported that the vandalism intentionally targeted Jewish board members. As Arno Rosenfeld of The Forward noted, this was not true, and he pointed to a correction by The New York Times, which initially ran an article with the claim, only to later correct with a note that almost none of the targeted members were Jewish. The anonymous vandals released a statement explaining that their vandalism was in response to the museum calling the cops on protesters during a demonstration on May 31, and named four individuals in positions of leadership at the museum and on the museum’s board of trustees.

The third incident Biden describes, “attacks on Jewish faculty at college campuses,” appears to be tied to a recent congressional hearing where notoriously pro-Israel Columbia assistant professor Shai Davidai was invited by Republican representative Jason Smith to testify about “Antisemitism, Radical Faculty, and the Failure of University Leadership.” Davidai is well known at Columbia for falsely conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism, collaborating with student agitators against pro-Palestine protests, and having his Columbia ID card briefly suspended to keep him off campus after expressing intent to send more pro-Israel agitators to the middle of the school’s Gaza Solidarity Encampment to antagonize student protesters.

The fourth incident Biden references is perhaps the most disingenuous: Protesters filled subway cars while commuting from Union Square to Wall Street during Within Our Lifetime’s protest. As the car filled with pro-Palestine demonstrators, one protester jokingly remarked to the car, “Raise your hand if you’re a Zionist. This is your chance to get out,” a nod to the density of pro-Palestine protesters on the subway train. This remark was reinterpreted by the mayor as a threat, with calls to identify the protester and a spokesperson for the mayor stating, “Threatening New Yorkers based on their beliefs is not only vile, it’s illegal and will not be tolerated.”

Claims of antisemitism where there is little to no evidence of that being the case actively hinder the fight against antisemitism and prejudicial hate more broadly. As Rosenfeld notes, “The hair trigger tendency to take a maximalist interpretation of what is antisemitic, including glossing over some material facts, means that you can easily lose your demand for sympathy on a technicality.”

That Biden has elevated these claims speaks to either a corrupted game of outrage telephone, or intentionally disingenuous misframing to denigrate protests that rightfully criticize his policies on Gaza. Regardless, we will likely see people with an incentive to neutralize protests for Palestine leap on this opportunity, issuing a new round of policies to crack down on constitutionally protected First Amendment activity.

More on Biden and Palestine:

New York Mayor Eric Adams is advocating for a ban on wearing masks on public transit in New York City, jumping on the bandwagon of New York State’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul.

Hochul argued Thursday that face masks, once touted as lifesaving tools by the government, are now the illicit tools of protesters.

Hours later, during a radio interview on 77 WABC’s Cats & Cosby, host Rita Cosby reiterated Hochul’s comment that protesters might be using masks to hide their identities, and asked Adams what he thought about a mask ban on New York City’s subways.

“First of all, that’s what cowards do. Cowards hide their face. Dr. King did not hide his face when he marched and for the things he thought were wrong in the country. Those civil rights leaders did not hide their faces. They stood up. In contrast to that, the Klan hid their faces. Cowards hide their faces when they want to do something disgraceful,” said Adams. It’s probably worth noting that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated for his advocacy.

“In our transit system, people have hid under the guise of wearing a mask for Covid to commit criminal acts and vile acts. I think now is the time to go back to the way it was pre-Covid, where you should not be able to wear a mask at protests and our subway systems and other places,” Adams continued.

Prohibiting pro-Palestininan protesters from wearing masks on public transit will make it significantly easier for them to be targeted and tracked by the New York Police Department, which has shown a distinctly violent and outsize reaction to organizing efforts over the past few months.

What was once a mandated safety precaution has become a roadblock to police surveillance, and for that reason alone, it has to go—sending a clear message to the many immunocompromised New Yorkers who would be directly affected that their wellbeing is less important than a well-functioning police state. The NYPD and Adams have already moved to prohibit NYC residents from wearing masks in stores.

Hochul’s and Adams’s insistence on equating pro-Palestinian protesters, and their safety precautions, with violent antisemitic rhetoric could also have incredibly dangerous repercussions to those who wish to safely and peacefully oppose Israel’s U.S.-backed genocide in Gaza.

Read more about Kathy Hochul:

Donald Trump doesn’t think he is a racist, and the fact that he has Black friends (the classic denial) proves it.

In a Semafor profile, Trump was asked about his relationship with Black professional athletes like Daryl Strawberry, Lawrence Taylor, Mike Tyson, and boxing promoter Don King.

“I have so many Black friends that if I were a racist, they wouldn’t be friends, they would know better than anybody, and fast,” Trump said. “They would not be with me for two minutes if they thought I was racist—and I’m not racist!”

Trump has often used appearances with Black supporters to demonstrate that he isn’t a racist, both in the early days of his presidency and well before that, as the article shows. But even recently, his actions undercut his efforts, whether it’s his vow to fight “anti-white” racism, his pledge to “indemnify all police officers and law enforcement officials” if he’s reelected, or his attacks on Black prosecutors.

His record before becoming president doesn’t look so good, either, once one gets past his appearances with Black celebrities. When Trump was a casino owner, Black employees were ushered off the floors whenever he and his wife paid a visit. Trump has allegedly remarked that he prefers “short guys that wear yarmulkes” counting his money instead of Black people. In the 1970s he was sued, along with his father, by the federal government for housing discrimination. And his time helming The Apprentice was marked by racism behind the scenes, with Trump dropping the n-word and refusing to hire Kwame Jackson, the Black finalist on the show’s first season.

The Semafor profile shows that Trump has a very small following among older Black men, partially thanks to his relationships with Black celebrities in the 1980s and 1990s. He’ll need a lot more than that if he hopes to overcome his record and convince voters that his relationship with Black Americans isn’t transactional.

A federal judge ruled Friday that conspiracy theory—and supplement—hawker Alex Jones can liquidate his assets in order to pay the $1.5 billion he owes the families of the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Jones originally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2022, which would allow him to retain operations of his business and use reorganization to scrape together the cash. But it wasn’t enough to pay off what he owed.

Last week, Jones’s lawyers wrote in a filing that there was “no reasonable prospect for a successful reorganization,” and that filing for liquidation under Chapter 7 was the massacre denier’s only option.

On Friday, a bankruptcy judge ruled that Jones would be able to convert that Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing into a Chapter 7 liquidation, according to NBC News. Judge Christopher Lopez of the Southern District of Texas ordered that Jones be assigned an interim trustee to help him through the process and oversee the sale of Jones’s personal assets.

With this newest ruling, Jones inches closer to losing everything, including his stake in InfoWars, the pulpit from which the podcaster has continued to spew misinformation.

The ruling came as Lopez was weighing arguments to liquidate Jones’s media company, Free Speech Systems, in addition to his personal assets.

Ahead of Friday’s hearing, the families of Sandy Hook victims accused Jones of intentionally lowering the value of Free Speech Systems by attempting to siphon funds from the company to his father’s supplement business. They alleged that Jones was saving the money to go toward his future business operations instead of paying them what he owes.

But a unique detail of Jones’s case is that he can’t skirt payments even by declaring bankruptcy. When Lopez presided over Jones’s bankruptcy filing last year, the judge made his debt “non-dischargeable” through bankruptcy, meaning Jones has to continue paying the families until he has fully settled the $1.5 billion debt.

In a video posted to X, formerly Twitter, on Friday morning, the once Twitter-banned Jones warned that the decision to liquidate Free Speech Systems would be a “canary in the coal mine,” as he continued to whine that losing InfoWars as a result of lying about murdered children was a symbol that “the globalists are turning America into a giant prison.”

This story has been updated.

Read more about Alex Jones:

There are endless possibilities for the creative uses of artificial intelligence—but recreating the voice of a civil rights icon for your own political benefit is definitely not one of them.

Republican congressional candidate Anthony Hudson did just that, releasing possibly the most distasteful, cringe-worthy political ad of 2024 to date by using A.I. to resurrect Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice to urge people to vote for him in the House race for Michigan 8th district.

“I have another dream!” begins the skin-crawling video, which was posted to X (formerly Twitter) on Friday. “Yes, it is me, Martin Luther King. I came back from the dead to say something, as I was saying, I have another dream—that Anthony Hudson will be Michigan 8th district’s next congressman. Yes I have a dream, again.”

Then, in a nearly equally bizarre decision, Hudson’s campaign decided to force the voice to return to the dead.

“OK, now I am going back to where I came from,” King’s cheaply manipulated voice says. “Goodbye.”

At the end of the clip, Hudson can be heard approving the message. But whoever pitched the clip and told Hudson that fabricating the approval of a racial justice legend would make voters like him rather than be utterly repulsed by the vile postmortem should probably be fired.

They can’t be the only one to blame, though—everyone involved in the production of the ad must be completely removed from contemporary American culture for making such an unnerving gaffe, since just weeks earlier, multi-platinum pop singer Drake earned the ire of the entire West Coast for using A.I. sorcery to recreate Tupac Shakur in a diss track against rapper and poet laureate Kendrick Lamar.

Hudson deleted the video off of his TikTok account, and hours later, he claimed that he had nothing to do with the disturbing ad. Instead, he blamed a volunteer’s friend for making the post, though just how or why an unpaid staffer got Hudson’s social media credentials is still unclear.

“A volunteer gave my social media credentials to one of his friends who then posted an AI video without my knowledge. It appears that they not only used AI for MLKjr’s voice but also with my voice to make it appear more authentic,” Hudson wrote on X. “The volunteer has been released and all my social media credentials have been updated. I would have NEVER approved such a STUPID and DISRESPECTFUL video!”

“I sincerely apologize that all of you have seen this and I’m extremely furious about this situation. This could happen to any of us so please be cautious and aware of who has your person information,” he added.

Listen to Hudson’s ad below, if you dare.

GOP congressional candidate Anthony Hudson (MI-08) posts a TikTok featuring an AI-generated MLK Jr. voice:

“I have another dream! Yes, it is me, Martin Luther King. I came back from the dead to say something … Anthony Hudson will be Michigan 8th District’s next congressman.” pic.twitter.com/8BarOfXfI2

— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) June 14, 2024

This story has been updated with Hudson’s statement.

Read what else MAGA candidates are up to:

Trump met with at least 80 CEOs on Thursday to promise tax cuts and scaled-back business regulations if he’s elected president. Among those present were Apple CEO Tim Cook and the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America. Trump spoke for about an hour, during which he rambled nonsensically, throwing off those in the room, according to sources who shared details of the meeting with CNBC.

“I spoke to a number of CEOs who I would say walked into the meeting being Trump supporter-ish, or thinking that they might be leaning that direction,” said CNBC’s Ross Sorkin. “[CEOs] said that he was remarkably meandering, could not keep a straight thought, was all over the map.”

Trump promised the CEOs to cut taxes and bring the federal corporate tax rate down from 21 percent to 20 percent, a lackluster attempt to elicit excitement from the suits. One attendee summarized Trump’s message as, “We’re going to give you more of the same for the next four years,” according to CNBC.

“These were people who, I think, might have been actually predisposed to him,” said Sorkin. “And [they] actually walked out of the room less predisposed to him, actually predisposed to thinking ‘This is not necessarily—’ as one person said, ‘this may not be any different or better than a Biden thought, if you’re thinking that way.’”

Trump also excitedly detailed to the corporate juggernauts his promise to eliminate taxes on worker tips—a questionable offer he stole from a Republican nominee for Senate and which, darkly, provoked laughter from the room full of CEOs.

More on Trump rambling in meetings:

As a leading infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci was thrust into a leadership role during the Covid-19 pandemic and experienced volatile treatment from Donald Trump during his presidency, Fauci wrote in his new memoir.

Trump would “announce that he loved me and then scream at me on the phone,” Fauci wrote of the abusive behavior in On Call: A Doctor’s Journey in Public Service, due to be published next week.

“Let’s just say, I found this to be out of the ordinary,” Fauci wrote. According to the immunologist, Trump would drop f-bombs often in conversations, including one where the then-president claimed Fauci cost the U.S. economy “one trillion fucking dollars.”

In his new book, Fauci talks about how badly Trump wanted to reopen the country and his embrace of poorly qualified advisers pushing unproven treatments, according to The Daily Beast. Fauci also discussed Trump’s hospitalization with Covid and his outrageous claim that bleach could kill the virus.

In the early days of the pandemic, Trump was not in a good mood. Fauci wrote about his “first experience [of] the brunt of the president’s rage,” just a few months into the outbreak.

“On the evening of June 3 [2020], my cell phone rang,” Fauci writes, “and the caller—the president—started screaming at me,” angry that Fauci told a journalist that immunity to coronaviruses was “usually six months to a year.” This meant that when a vaccine for Covid was developed, it would probably need booster shots.

While Fauci said this was common for illnesses like the flu, his remark was “wrongly reported on Twitter and in some media outlets as the Covid vaccine protecting people only for a very short time,” and this drew Trump’s fury.

“It was quite a phone call,” Fauci writes. “The president was irate, saying that I could not keep doing this to him. He said he loved me, but the country was in trouble, and I was making it worse.”

“I have a pretty thick skin,” Fauci added, “but getting yelled at by the president of the United States, no matter how much he tells you that he loves you, is not fun.”

Fauci’s time as the public face of the government’s efforts during the pandemic, as well as Trump’s treatment of him, led to right-wing figures spouting conspiracy theories about him and attacking efforts such as lockdowns and masks. Conservatives still hate the immunologist, and Republican lawmakers attempted to wildly smear him on a recent visit to Capitol Hill and proposed getting hold of his personal emails. If he makes public appearances to promote his book, as authors usually do, he’s likely to get more vitriol and attacks, despite his career in public service.

Unfortunately more on Trump:

Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor torched her colleagues Friday in a dissenting opinion on the federal bump-stock ban.

In a 6-3 decision, the nation’s highest court tore up a Trump-era ban on bump stocks for semiautomatic rifles. All six conservative justices determined that although the attachments transform the guns into automatic rifles by allowing them to discharge hundreds of bullets a minute, the weapons do not qualify as machine guns and therefore do not face a legal precedent for a ban.

Joined in her opinion by the other liberal justices on the bench, Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, Sotomayor described how the court’s decision to uproot the ban—which was instituted after a mass shooter in Las Vegas shot thousands of rounds at a music festival and killed 60 people—would result in “deadly consequences.” She also slammed the court’s intense focus on trigger mechanics, rather than a shooter’s motions, as “myopic” and “contemporaneous,” noting that during oral arguments, the lawyer opposing the ban couldn’t point to a “single piece of evidence that supports the majority’s reading.”

“When I see a bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck,” she wrote.

“The majority’s logic simply does not overcome the overwhelming textual and contextual evidence that ‘single function of the trigger’ means a single action by the shooter to initiate a firing sequence, including pulling a trigger and pushing forward on a bump-stock-equipped semiautomatic rifle,” Sotomayor continued. “The majority’s artificially narrow definition hamstrings the Government’s efforts to keep machineguns from gunmen like the Las Vegas shooter. I respectfully dissent.”

And in a brutal move, Sotomayor cited each of her conservative colleagues in her dissent. She highlighted past arguments they had made in favor of respecting congressional intent, rather than imposing their own view on something—skewering their hypocrisy in Friday’s ruling.

Screenshot of a tweet
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The majority’s opinion hinged on a minute, hair-splitting distinction on the difference between assault rifles and machine guns, pitching that using a stock to “rapidly re-engage the trigger” did not constitute continuous shooting. Interestingly, Justice Samuel Alito threw the ball back into Congress’s court, arguing that the 2017 massacre demonstrated “that a semiautomatic rifle with a bump stock can have the same lethal effect as a machinegun,” and “strengthened” the case for amending the country’s gun laws.

It’s officially Martha-Ann Alito’s favorite holiday: Flag Day. And the internet won’t let her forget it.

When it was first officially signed into law in 1949, Flag Day was meant to serve as a reminder of a unified nation, which found common ground under one symbol. Cut to 75 years later, and the wife of a U.S. Supreme Court justice has gleefully subverted that edict, cheered on the destruction of Democracy, and fantasized about new ways to sow division and hate.

So it’s only right that users on X, formerly Twitter, are having a little fun with it.

Screenshot of a tweet
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Just last month, it was first reported that an upside-down flag was seen hanging at the home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in the weeks following the January 6 insurrection, a common symbol of Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” MAGA mob. Desperate to retain the illusion of neutrality, Alito blamed his wife for the flag, and thus her reputation as a virulent vexillologist began. Since then, it’s only gotten more apparent that Martha-Ann Alito sure does love her flags.

Shortly after the first flag came to light, it was reported that an Appeal to Heaven flag, a symbol favored by a Christian nationalist sect, was once flown outside their family’s beach home. House Speaker Mike Johnson flies this flag outside his office, and—desperate for some culture-war currency—MAGA Senator Tom Cotton now has one too.

Earlier this week, in a secret recording, Alito revealed that once her husband is no longer a pillar of the U.S. judiciary, she hopes to use flags to communicate every little political thought she has. Meanwhile, she whined about her neighbor’s flying a Pride flag.

“I’m gonna send them a message every day. Maybe every week I’ll be changing the flags. They’ll be all kinds,” she gushed. She revealed that she’d even designed a flag of her very own, displaying the Italian word for “shame,” that she dreamed of raising in an effort to antagonize those neighbors.

Instead of continuing to get dredged up in Alito’s drama, please enjoy this list of really cool flags.

More about Martha-Ann Alito:

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