JOIN FOR $1

George Takei sets the GOP straight on the question of 'unity' -- and history

After every single Republican voted against Joe Biden's coronavirus relief legislation, some Republicans complained the bill was an affront to "unity" because of the united GOP opposition.

Despite polls showing the majority of Republican Party voters supporting the legislation, GOP lawmakers have argued that unity among the American people is irrelevant if members of Congress don't care.

Following the vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) complained that voters had "picked a president who promised unity and bipartisanship."

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said, "it's clear whatever [Biden] meant when he promised unity, he's failed miserably."

Legendary actor and civil rights activist George Takei disagreed.

"Unity must continue to mean that government leaders agree to rally around the things the vast majority of Americans want. It can't ever mean we rally around those things and they thumb their noses at it. That's not unity. That's just spite," he explained on Twitter.

He went on to lecture Republicans on Trump's "Big Lie" about election fraud, which resulted in the fatal January 6th insurrection and hundreds of bills in state legislatures to suppress the vote.


'Complete bonkers': Lauren Boebert says it is Democrats who are obsessed with conspiracy theories

Gun-toting Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) complained on Fox News on Saturday about security at the U.S. Capitol following the fatal January 6th insurrection by supporters of Donald Trump.

During the riot, Boebert live-tweeted on Speaker Nancy Pelosi's location. Following the riot, Boebert sided with the insurrectionists and voted to overturn election results.

"No one on the outside can get into the Capitol," Boebert complained to Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro. "It is only staffers and members of Congress who are allowed at the people's house -- at our nation's Capitol."

"Judge Jeanine, this is complete bonkers that we are keeping people out the United States Capitol," she argued. "There is clearly not a threat, there was nothing that happened on March 4th, the Democrats are obsessed with conspiracy theories -- and they won't let them go!"

Despite her accusations against Democrats, it is Boebert who has voiced support for the QAnon conspiracy theory.

She then went on to push the latest version of Trump's "Big Lie" about Democrats' election protection bill, the For the People Act.

Trump supporters' lawsuit against grocery clerk over insurrection may backfire: report

Katheryn Cagle and her mother Thelma Cagle were allegedly in Washington, DC for the January 6th insurrection of Trump supporters after organizing busloads of attendees from Georgia.

Now the Cagles are reported suing grocery store clerk Rayven Goolsby for social media posts criticizing the insurrection, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

"In late February, the exchange jumped from social media to a Pickens County Superior Court when the Cagles sued Goolsby for defamation and libel. Goolsby's attorney, Andrew Fleischman, characterized the Cagles' suit as an example of a prominent family active in local politics using the heft of the courts to intimidate his client, who works at a local grocery store, into silence," the newspaper reported. "The social media posts at the heart of the dispute, including deleted ones referring to the Jan. 6 protest, are preserved as screenshots in legal filings. None of the parties deny making the remarks cited in the dueling lawsuits."

However, the lawsuit may backfire on the Cagles.

The newspaper noted, "The anti-SLAPP suit notes that Katheryn Cagle deleted all of her social media history pertaining to Jan. 6. If the matter goes into discovery, both sides could be compelled to produce troves of personal data, such as GPS location history and message logs — 'all kinds of stuff even a police officer would have trouble getting,' Fleischman said."

"You should not file defamation suits if you're worried about criminal liability," he added.

Read the full report.


Andrew Cuomo now facing allegations by male former aides: report

Embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is faces new allegations of misconduct by former staff in a new report by The Washington Post.

"A former press aide of Andrew M. Cuomo says he summoned her to his dimly lit hotel room and embraced her after a work event in 2000, when Cuomo led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and she was a consultant for the agency. The woman, Karen Hinton, says she pulled away from Cuomo, but he pulled her back toward his body, holding her before she backed away and left the room," the Post reported.

Hinton is the third female former staffer to come forward with allegations.

The newspaper also reported, "Two male aides who worked for Cuomo in the New York governor's office say he routinely berated them with explicit language, making comments such as calling them 'pussies' and saying, 'You have no balls.'"

"The newest accounts of Cuomo's workplace behavior by former aides in interviews with The Washington Post come after several women have publicly accused the New York governor of inappropriate personal comments or unwelcome physical contact. The allegations have engulfed one of the country's top Democratic officials in crisis and put a sharp focus on the workplace culture he has fostered during his three decades in public office," the newspaper reported. "The Post reached out to more than 150 former and current Cuomo staffers, stretching back to his time at HUD in Washington. Most did not respond. Among those who did, the majority spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they said they still fear his wrath and his power to destroy careers."

That dynamic was on display as Peter Ajemian, Cuomo's director of communications, lashed out at Hinton for her allegation.

"This did not happen," he said. "Karen Hinton is a known antagonist of the Governor's who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made up allegations from 21 years ago. All women have the right to come forward and tell their story — however, it's also the responsibility of the press to consider self-motivation. This is reckless."


Progressives seize control of the Nevada Democratic Party: report

Organizing by progressives in Nevada paid off on Saturday during elections that determined control of the state's Democratic Party.

"Clark County Democratic Party Chair Judith Whitmer defeated Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Saturday to assume control of the Nevada State Democratic Party, ushering a dramatic shakeup of the state party's power structure by its most liberal wing," the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. "Three other progressives running alongside Whitmer captured four of the other officer positions during the election, which was held during a virtual meeting of the state party's central committee. Whitmer received 248 votes to Segerblom's 216 for the chair position."

"Jacob Allen (first vice-chair), Dr. Zaffar Iqbal (second vice-chair) and Ahmed Ade (secretary) were also elected on Whitmer's "progressive" slate. Lance Arberry (treasurer) was the lone winner for Segerblom's "progressive unity" slate, defeating Howard Beckerman by just two votes," the newspaper explained.

The newspaper offered insight into how Whitmer pulled off her victory, which may be viewed as a loss for Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).

"While Segerblom enjoyed support from prominent local, state and federal elected officials, Whitmer has spent years organizing and encouraging young progressives to serve on the very state central committee that elected her," the newspaper noted. "According to both candidates, the race drew the direct intervention of some of the state's top elected officials, including Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who will lead the Democratic ticket along with Gov. Steve Sisolak in 2022. Nevada's senior senator reportedly approached Segerblom, who had not been considering a bid for the seat he once held in the early '90s, about joining the race and questioned Whitmer on her candidacy."

Read the full report.

Jared Kushner has 'checked out of politics' amid feud with his father-in-law: report

Former White House advisor Jared Kushner has ended his career in politics after a few years as he is locked in a feud with his father-in-law, the Daily Mail reports.

"Donald Trump is set to make his first trip to New York since leaving the White House amid an apparent rift with Jared Kushner who the ex-president is said to be angry with over his election loss," the Mail reported. "News of his visit comes amid reports of escalating tensions between Trump and his son-in-law and former White House Senior Adviser Jared in the days since they both left DC."

The two "appeared to actively avoid" seeing each other at Trump National Doral golf course on Wednesday.

Jared, 40, was also absent from Trump's team ahead of his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference Sunday and the ex-president is telling his inner circle he blames Jared for his failed second run at office, reported CNN. However sources close to Jared say Kushner has 'checked out of politics' because he is 'done' with Trump's false rhetoric of widespread election fraud," the Daily Mail reported.

Prosecutor probing Trump hires expert who wrote the book on racketeering cases: report

The District Attorney in Atlanta has hired an expert on state racketeering cases in an escalation into the investigation into Donald Trump attempting to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election results.

"The district attorney investigating whether former U.S. President Donald Trump illegally interfered with Georgia's 2020 election has hired an outside lawyer who is a national authority on racketeering," Reuters reported Saturday, citing "a source familiar with the matter."

"Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has enlisted the help of Atlanta lawyer John Floyd, who wrote a national guide on prosecuting state racketeering cases. Floyd was hired recently to 'provide help as needed' on matters involving racketeering, including the Trump investigation and other cases, said the source, who has direct knowledge of the situation. The move bolsters the team investigating Trump as Willis prepares to issue subpoenas for evidence on whether the former president and his allies broke the law in their campaign to pressure state officials to reverse his Georgia election loss. Willis has said that her office would examine potential charges including 'solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering' among other possible violations," Reuters reported.

Before Reuters reported on the personnel addition, former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said Trump was already in big trouble because of his hour-long, recorded phone call pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" an extra 11,000 votes.

Watch Moore's analysis:

Former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore on potential Trump election fraud case youtu.be

Oral treatment for COVID yields promising data showing reduced viral load: report

Sat, March 6, 2021, 3:52 PM·2 min read

German pharmaceutical giant Merck and a US partner reported promising results Saturday in trials of a drug administered orally to fight Covid-19, saying it helps reduce patients' viral load.

"At a time where there is unmet need for antiviral treatments against SARS-CoV-2, we are encouraged by these preliminary data," said Wendy Painter, chief medical officer of the US firm, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

In January, Merck halted work on two Covid vaccine candidates but has pressed on with research into two products to treat the disease, including a pill-based one called molnupiravir, which it has developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

This drug caused a significant drop in patients' viral load after five days of treatment with it, Merck said at a meeting with infectious disease experts.

This Phase 2a test -- drug trials have three stages before a product can be approved -- was carried out among 202 non-hospitalized people with symptoms of Covid-19.

There was no alert in terms of safety, and of four serious adverse events that were reported, none were considered to be related to taking this drug, Ridgeback said.

Anti-viral oral drugs such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are sometimes prescribed for seasonal flu but researchers have yet to come up with something similar to fight the coronavirus.

The findings of this study -- a quicker decrease in viral load among individuals with early-stage Covid-19 who are treated with molnupiravir -- are promising, said William Fischer, lead investigator of the study and a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina.

"If supported by additional studies, (they) could have important public health implications, particularly as the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to spread and evolve globally," Fischer added.

Merck is also working on another oral Covid treatment called MK-711.

Preliminary results from clinical trials with it show a more than 50 percent reduction in risk of death or respiratory trouble in patients hospitalized with moderate to severe Covid-19, the company said in January.

Donald Trump Jr is outraged someone found out on Twitter they were fired: 'This is insanity, guys'

During his one-term in office, Donald Trump was notorious for firing people on Twitter.

Now his eldest son is blasting such a managerial practice for lacking decency.

"What we found out this week, is that the Washington Redskins (sic) just got rid of their cheerleaders," Donald Trump, Jr. complained in a video posted online on Saturday.

"Apparently they didn't have the decency to tell them face-to-face. The cheerleading squad was disbanded, but apparently they read about it on Twitter. "This is insanity guys."

The list of officials who learned on Twitter they had been fired by Trump, Sr. includes chief of staff Reince Priebus, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, White House counsel Don McGahn and DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Christopher Krebs.

Former FBI Director James Comey saw on TV that he had been fired.

Watch:

Joe Biden's big bet could define his presidency

The choices President Joe Biden has made during his first 46 days in office could define his term as president.

Biden placed a big bet on who government needed to focus on help and The Washington Post reports his stimulus passage "represents one of the most generous expansions of aid to the poor in recent history."

"The roughly $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which only Democrats supported, spends most of the money on low-income and middle-class Americans and state and local governments, with very little funding going toward companies, a contrast to the bipartisan aid bills that passed last year under President Donald Trump," The Post reported. "This round of aid enjoys wide support across the country, polls show, and it is likely to be felt quickly by low- and moderate-income Americans who stand to receive not just larger checks than before, but money from expanded tax credits, particularly geared toward parents; enhanced unemployment; rental assistance; food aid and health insurance subsidies."

The New York Times also focused the efforts to help the least fortunate under the headline, "To Juice the Economy, Biden Bets on the Poor."

"To jump-start the ailing economy, President Biden is turning to the lowest-paid workers in America, and to the people who are currently unable to work at all. Mr. Biden's $1.9 trillion economic relief package, which cleared the Senate on Saturday and could be headed for the president's signature in a matter of days, would overwhelmingly help low earners and the middle class, with little direct aid for the high earners who have largely kept their jobs and padded their savings over the past year," The Times reported.

Biden's focus marks a major shift from Donald Trump's administration.

"For the president, the plan is more than just a stimulus proposal. It is a declaration of his economic policy — one that captures the principle Democrats and liberal economists have espoused over the past decade: that the best way to stoke faster economic growth is from the bottom up. Mr. Biden's approach in his first major economic legislation is in stark contrast to President Donald J. Trump's, whose initial effort in Congress was a tax-cut package in 2017 that largely benefited corporations and wealthier Americans," The Times noted.

Following Senate passage, Biden released a video praising the vote.

Company says $4.3 million 'payment' worked to influence state policy in Ohio GOP scandal

The scandal that made the Republican former Speaker of the Ohio state House one of the most unpopular politicians in American history expanded after a reporter noticed a fascinating admission in a regulatory filing.

"A previously unnoticed disclosure by FirstEnergy Corp. says the millions of dollars the company says it paid to someone shortly before they were hired as a top state utility regulator led to that person taking actions on the company's behalf in their new state job," Andrew Tobias reported for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "In densely-worded legal disclosures filed in November, the Akron-based company said the $4.3 million payment the company made in January 2019 led to 'conduct corresponding to such payment,' and to that person 'acting at the request or for the benefit of FirstEnergy as a consequence of receiving such payment.'"

"The company said the payment was a 'noncompliance' event that violated its terms with banks that lend it money, as was conduct by FirstEnergy officials 'during the time period after such payment during which the Individual was acting in any governmental or regulatory capacity.' The filings document updates to FirstEnergy's agreements with its lenders, including new language describing the company's compliance with anti-corruption laws," the newspaper reported. "FirstEnergy updated its terms with its lenders to account for the $4.3 million payment on Nov. 17, according to the documents. The day before, the FBI raided then-Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo's home in Columbus. Randazzo quit on Nov. 20, the day after FirstEnergy disclosed the payment in its quarterly report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission."

It is all part of the scandal that toppled the powerful speaker of the Ohio state House.

"The FBI searched Randazzo's home amid a federal investigation into the passage of House Bill 6, a nuclear bailout bill prosecutors say FirstEnergy helped secure thanks to $60 million in bribes the company paid to former House Speaker Larry Householder and his associates. FirstEnergy has said its discovery of the $4 million payment, uncovered during a review launched in response to the federal probe, prompted it to fire then-CEO Chuck Jones and two other top company executives in late October," the newspaper reported.

The topic was covered by Cleveland.com's morning podcast:


GOP senators melt down after Democrats roll over them and pass the COVID aid bill

Republican senators on Saturday voiced their dismay that Democrats passed coronavirus relief without letting the GOP water it down to make Joe Biden's re-election less likely.

Learning from the mistakes from the Obama administration, the Biden administration focused on the policy outcomes of the legislation instead of focusing on the optics of attempting bipartisanship.

"The Senate approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan on Saturday, as Democrats muscled through a marathon debate — and overcame dissent from moderates within their own ranks — to move one step closer to delivering President Biden his first legislative victory. Democrats voted to adopt the bill without any Republican support after a more than 24-hour, around-the-clock session," The Washington Post reported Saturday. "It will now fall to the House to consider the sweeping package once again before it can become law and any of the aid can be dispersed."

"The Senate's passage of the measure marked an early win for Biden and his congressional Democratic allies, who had promised in the wake of the 2020 presidential election to authorize a robust package of new coronavirus aid –- including another round of one-time checks for families -– as one of their first acts," the newspaper explained. "The relief measure includes a new round of up-to $1,400 stimulus checks for millions of Americans, $350 billion for cash-strapped cities and states, $130 billion for schools, and other sizable sums for a wide array of programs including food assistance, rental relief and coronavirus vaccine distribution. The bill also authorizes an additional $300-per-week in unemployment payments until early September, trimming the amount that House Democrats initially had approved earlier in the month."

Upon passage, Republicans issued statements complaining about the vote that will allow Democrats to take all the credit for the legislation. Many Republicans complained about the bill lacking GOP support, even though the package has the support of the majority of Republican voters.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) complained that the bill was not passed "honestly" because it did not allow a minority of Republicans to block the legislation.

McConnell argued, "Democrats decided their top priority wasn't pandemic relief. It was their Washington wish-list. It was jamming through unrelated policy changes they couldn't pass honestly."

Sen. Rob Portman complained that "neither the president nor congressional Democrats took any of our ideas on how to tailor it to those most in need. As a result, not a single Republican voted for the partisan bill in the House or Senate."

"With Democrats rushing this horribly flawed bill through Congress using a process designed to ensure they do not need any input from Republicans, it is clear whatever President Biden meant when he promised unity, he has failed miserably," Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said. "When this proposed legislation came before the Senate, Republicans used the tools at their disposal to push back, offering a series of amendments to hold Democrats accountable and expose their extreme agenda."

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) also criticized Democrats for not watering-down the bill.

"Republican, in good faith, sought to negotiate a compromise bill that would have targeted COVID assistance to those who really need it," Romney claimed.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) complained, "This is the first COVID bill to be entirely partisan because it isn't designed to help end the pandemic – it's a blatant attempt from Dems to jam through a partisan wish list."

Senate Republicans even put out a video complaining that Republicans were basically irrelevant in the passing of coronavirus relief.

Trump is ‘likely going to lose’ new insurrection lawsuit: legal experts

The latest lawsuit against Donald Trump under the Reconstruction era "Ku Klux Klan Act" is likely to succeed, legal experts have explained.

"When Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) filed a suit against former president Donald Trump on Friday, he took a smart approach. Namely, Swalwell's suit is broader, and therefore would appear more winnable, than one that merely asserts that Trump incited the attacks on the Capitol," Loyola Law Prof. Jessica Levinson explained in an analysis for MSNBC published on Saturday.

The lawsuit also includes Donald Trump, Jr. and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

"In Swalwell's suit, more than half of the nine causes of action the congressman sued under relate to negligence. This is significant because under a negligence standard, Swalwell will have to prove something less than that the defendants intended for the Capitol riots to occur," Levinson explained. "But as with so many suits against Trump, a 'win' for either of these suits may be to survive long enough to take Trump's deposition and obtain discovery. This could bring new evidence — potentially damning evidence — to light."

Harvard Law Prof. Laurence Tribe said the lawsuit "is one Trump won't easily escape."

"Its legal basis is solid and its factual predicates are overwhelming," Tribe explained.

MSNBC legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner went even further and predicted Swalwell is likely to win.

Watch:

Rep. Eric Swalwell Sues Trump, Don Jr., Giuliani and Rep. Brooks for 1/6 Attack on the US Capitol www.youtube.com


Arrested Trump appointee complains about ‘cockroaches crawling over me’ in first hearing: report

Donald Trump appointee Federico Klein complained about jail conditions during his first hearing after being arrested on charges related to the fatal January 6th insurrection seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

"Magistrate Judge Faruqui is reading Klein the charges now. Notes that obstruction of Congress charge carries a 20-year max, assaulting police [with] dangerous weapon also 20-year max," Politico's Josh Gerstein reported Friday.

Klein went on to complain about the conditions in the jail.

"I'm wondering if there's a place I could stay in detention where I don't have cockroaches crawling over me while I'm trying to sleep," Klein told the judge.

Klein was caught as part of the FBI's efforts to spread photos of the insurrectionists on social media and hope for tips.

"An FBI lookout bulletin issued two weeks after the Capitol assault included a photo of Klein, prompting two tipsters to contact the FBI and finger him as the man in that picture, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Washington," Politico reported. "The affidavit says video from police body-worn cameras on Jan. 6 shows Klein jamming a riot shield into doors at the Capitol as police were trying to secure them to keep the mob out. Klein was also heard on video trying to encourage others to clash with the police, the complaint says."

Klein was wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat.

"Klein is charged with several felonies, including assault on police officers, interfering with police during civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, as well as lesser offenses," Politico reported. "Before joining the 2016 Trump campaign, Klein worked as a researcher for the conservative Family Research Council and served as a Republican state convention delegate in Virginia, according to his LinkedIn page. He graduated from George Mason University in 2002."

How did the White House know the plan for the night of the insurrection?

New reporting may shed some light on the thinking of federal agents investigating the fatal January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

"A member of the far-right nationalist Proud Boys was in communication with a person associated with the White House in the days just before the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. Location, cellular and call record data revealed a call tying a Proud Boys member to the Trump White House, the official said. The F.B.I. has not determined what they discussed, and the official would not reveal the names of either party," The New York Times reported Friday evening.

Attorney Luppe B. Luppen, the author of the popular @nycsouthpaw account on Twitter, was reminded by the story of a tweet sent by CNN's Jim Acosta on the day of the insurrection.

"A source close to the White House who is in touch with some of the rioters at the Capitol said it's the goal of those involved to stay inside the Capitol through the night," Acosta tweeted.

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy Raw Story this year? Join us! We're offering RawStory ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.