CHICAGO — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders praised Starbucks and Amazon workers trying to unionize and railed against oil companies over high gas prices in a brief appearance in Chicago late Thursday. The marquee speaker at a “Fighting Back Against Corporate Greed Rally” hosted by Teamsters and flight attendants unions, Sanders noted that gas prices are higher in Illinois than in his home state, and also that oil, food, pharmaceutical and insurance companies have recorded soaring profits this year. “During this pandemic, during the breakdown of supply chains, during this terrible war in Ukraine, wh...
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Attorneys scramble to block subpoenas of Georgia lawmakers in investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn election
Attorneys are attempting to block subpoenas for Georgia state legislators from the Fulton County special grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results, 11Alive reports.
While it is not known exactly how many were subpoenaed, among the recipients are state Sen. William Ligon and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.
As 11Alive points out, attorneys claim the lawmakers cannot be questioned on anything relating to their legislative conduct, citing state constitutional privilege and immunity clauses, saying Georgia's constitution "grants unqualified legislative immunity to legislators and their staff for any conduct related to their activity as legislators."
"The alternative would require this court to evaluate all questions to all Members who have been subpoenaed throughout the course of each Members' testimony over the following weeks or months," a filing from the attorneys states. "Setting ground rules in advance... is the efficient method of evaluating the scope and breadth of the privileges and immunities enjoyed by the Members and staff."
They concede that "there are questions the District Attorney may pose to the witness that are entirely unrelated to his legislative duties," but that "there are undeniably numerous topics that are within the scope of the legislative immunity and legislative privilege and may not be the subject of any inquiry."
According to the attorneys, the existing subpoenas should immediately be "quashed."
Pro-Trump Arizona lawmaker refused to speak to Senate ethics panel after suggesting Buffalo shooting was a false flag
Flagstaff Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers refused to meet with the attorney for the Senate Ethics Committee, but her lawyer said in a letter to the panel that her tweet dismissing the racially motivated Buffalo grocery store mass shooting was a reference to a 2019 hip hop song and not a nod to white supremacist online culture.
The Arizona Senate launched an ethics investigation into Rogers for alluding on social media that the shooting in Buffalo was the work of federal law enforcement instead of the white supremacist accused of carrying out the attack.
Only minutes after a white teenager armed with an assault rifle and outfitted with body armor shot and killed 10 people — most of them Black — in a Buffalo grocery store on May 14, Rogers posted on several social media platforms that “fed boy summer has started in Buffalo.” She has previously used the term “feds” to describe white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, seeking to blame federal law enforcement for the actions of racists.
Rogers’ use of the phrase “fed boy summer” is similar to “white boy summer,” a viral meme used by neo-Nazis and white nationalists in 2021. White nationalist leader Nick Fuentes adopted the phrase for his summer road trip last year, including an alleged event with Prescott Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, who later denied it.
Rogers’ is a staunch supporter of Fuentes and attended Fuentes’ America First Political Action Conference earlier this year via video. She gave a speech in which she fantasized about hanging political enemies and called those in attendance “patriots,” speaking shortly after others who shared nakedly white nationalist views on stage.
However, in a report to the Senate Ethics Committee on June 17 prepared by panel’s lawyer, Chris Kleminich, Rogers’ attorney claims that the term is a reference to Megan Thee Stallion’s 2019 profanity-laced song “Hot Girl Summer” which became an internet meme.
Rogers regularly refers to herself as a devout Christian and “sweet grandma” in her social media postings, and has publicly denounced the use of profanity. Megan Thee Stallion’s song includes more than 60 curse words.
“Senator Rogers adapted this social media format to share her message by labeling the mishandling of the Buffalo shooting as ‘Fed Boy Summer,’” Rogers’ attorney, Timothy La Sota, wrote in a letter to the committee’s lawyer. “Senator Rogers’ statement served to critique how the Federal Government has handled known threats to this country and failed to intervene to prevent this tragedy. Senator Rogers is concerned similar instances will continue this summer if the Federal Government continues to be weak on crime.”
Kleminich was only able to communicate with Rogers via La Sota, as she refused to do an in-person interview for the investigation, a process which La Sota called “unnecessary and a waste of time.”
Kleminich wrote that he considered a subpoena to compel Rogers to have a sit-down interview, but he “concluded that the Senate was best served by timely completion and delivery of this report, based on Senator Rogers’ written statements, rather than to incur further delays by issuing a subpoena that would not necessarily elucidate any additional information.”
Some of the questions that Kleminich was hoping to get answered involved the disconnect between Rogers’ reasoning behind the post and how the post was interpreted online by her followers. While Rogers said she is concerned with the federal government’s approach to mass shooters, her fans saw that she was alluding to the attack being a false flag by the government itself.
Rogers also shared posts on the encrypted messaging chat Telegram alluding to the long defunct CIA program called MK Ultra as the cause of the Buffalo shooting, which has become a hotbed for conspiracy theorists.
“What is #MKUltra?” Rogers wrote. “A lot of things make sense when you understand that one.”
The CIA program that unsuccessfully attempted mind control has been at the forefront of conspiracy theories — some claim that celebrities are being controlled — and some conspiracy theorists have been claiming without evidence that the Buffalo shooter is a “victim” of the program. Users in Rogers’ comments quickly made the connection between her post and the shooting, as well.
The most-liked comment on Rogers’ Gab post mentions “MK Ultra,” and was noted in the Senate report.
“This reeks of the federal government!…Also ATF is trying to Recategorize certain AR pistols/rifles for a gun grab! It’s almost like that was their response, will give you white supremacy and will make it so that everybody knows about with 24/7 news coverage. Either it was staged or he was a product of MK Ultra,” the comment says.
The most-liked comment on her post on Telegram brings up long debunked claims about the shootings in Sandy Hook and Stoneman Douglas High School. Rogers’ Telegram has often been a hotbed of conspiracy theories and extremist rhetoric.
When asked about how others interpreted her comments, Rogers’ attorney said it was “unclear why you have asked a question about what someone else said or wrote.”
“The views of commenters cannot be attributed to Senator Rogers any more than can Bernie Sanders be blamed because one of his campaign volunteers shot GOP members of Congress at a baseball practice,” La Sota wrote, adding that the media was to blame for taking Rogers’ comments out of context.
The report marks the end of the Ethics Committee’s investigation to see if Rogers comments were “inappropriate of an elected official of this body.” It is unclear if any further action will be taken; the legislature ended its annual session on June 24 and is not expected to return until January 2023.
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