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Pelosi vetoes Republican appointments of Banks, Jordan to House insurrection probe

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now rejecting the appointments of both Banks and Jordan. In a statement, she says she has spoken with McCarthy and “requested” that he recommend two other Republicans to fill those spots. Republican Reps. Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong, and Troy Nehls were not objected to—even though Nehls, like Banks and Jordan, was one of the House Republicans who voted to object to the election’s certification in the hours immediately after the Capitol had been cleared of violent Trump rioters.

While Pelosi did not explicitly specify the reasons for rejecting Banks and Jordan, the reasons are self-evident. Banks’ statement upon being nominated to the committee rejected the very purpose of the committee and vowed to unilaterally expand its scope by demanding the committee review Black Lives Matters-inspired protests while declaring that “Nancy Pelosi created this committee solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda.”

Having made it clear that he believed his primary task on the committee was to weaken its focus and discredit its results, it’s little wonder that Pelosi deemed him an unacceptably irresponsible choice.

The case against Jordan is also clear. After surviving revelations of complicity in the sexual assault of college athletes, largely through his own belligerence, Trump ally Jim Jordan became a go-to provocateur for disrupting Trump impeachment investigations, congressional oversight investigations, and any other probes of Trump administration malfeasance. He would be a natural Republican pick to attack and deflect any portion of the probe that touched upon the connections between the Trump White House, the organizers of the “March” to the Capitol, and the militia members who most engaged in violence during the attempt to block the transfer of presidential power. He has a history of rank dishonesty, intentional disruption, belligerent nonsense production, and general shitbaggery in past efforts to sabotage congressional probes, and his presence on this new, vital committee would immediately render it unserious. So he’s out.

In what was likely a pre-planned response, Rep. Kevin McCarthy immediately announced that he would be pulling all five Republican-recommended committee members in response to Pelosi’s rejection of the two saboteurs. This is consistent with all previous Republican strategies of blocking all congressionally backed probes of the Republican-backed insurrection.

The Pelosi response will likely be either to allow the committee to begin its business with no Republican-backed members or to appoint, as with her appointment of Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican members willing to buck their party’s attempted sabotage of the probe. That doesn’t mean she will be able to find such people; House Republicans have been thorough in retaliating against members who have gone against their fascist push to claim that the insurrection was not an insurrection, that it was not done by the Trump supporters who have now been arrested for doing it, and that the U.S. presidential election ought to have been overturned to begin with.


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Democrat Carl Levin, whose 36-year stint made him Michigan’s longest-serving senator, dies at 87

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Sandy Levin lost close races for governor in 1970 and 1974 to Republican William Milliken, but his brother had much more success when he ran statewide in 1978. Carl Levin campaigned for the Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Robert Griffin, who had announced his retirement the previous year, saying, “​​Twenty-two years is long enough.” National Republicans, though, successfully pressured Griffin to reverse course and seek re-election after all, a development that seemed like a huge blow to Democratic hopes for a pickup.

Before he could focus on Griffin, though, Levin had to get through a primary that included wealthy newspaper owner Phil Power; former Rep. Richard Vander Veen, who became nationally famous by winning the 1974 special election for Gerald Ford’s former House seat; and three state legislators. Levin’s strong base in Detroit helped establish him as the frontrunner, and he beat Power 39-20.

Levin spent the general election arguing that “new blood” was needed to replace Griffin, who had missed numerous votes in the Senate. The senator fought back by unconvincingly trying to distance himself from “that Washington crowd” and attacking Levin as “a free‐spending liberal,” but it wasn’t enough. Levin prevailed 52-48, a victory that made him Michigan’s first Jewish senator.

Levin was joined in Congress after the 1982 election by Sandy Levin, who would ultimately retire from the House in the 2018 cycle. (The two kept a “confusion file” listing people who mixed them up.) Two years later, the senator found himself locked in a tough battle to maintain his seat; Levin’s 1984 opponent was retired astronaut ​​Jack Lousma, a Republican who unsubtly touted his good looks in what Levin would describe as a contrast to his own “plump, balding, and disheveled look.” The incumbent, though, decided to play up the physical difference himself, joking, “Our pollsters tell us that it’s a winner because there are more of us than there are of them.”

Lousma stood a good chance in a year when President Ronald Reagan was poised to sweep 49 states, and the Republican made sure to tie himself to his party’s standard-bearer. Lousma, though, made some serious mistakes, especially when he claimed “An average high school boy could sit down and with three hours of briefings could know all you’d want him to know about issues in Michigan.”

Lousma’s biggest gaffe, though, came when he revealed that he owned a Toyota, a remark that went over especially badly in the state that was home to the American automotive industry. Then-Gov. Jim Blanchard would later recount that he had to convince Levin to use this material against his opponent, as the senator initially believed that Lousma’s honesty was hardly damaging. Blanchard was right, though: Reagan ended up carrying Michigan by a wide 59-40 margin, but Levin prevailed 52-47.

Levin would face a few other notable Republican opponents during his long career, but he was never truly close to losing any of them. In 1990, Levin turned back GOP Rep. Bill Schuette 57-41; Schuette would go on to revive his career in Michigan politics, which culminated in his 2018 defeat in the gubernatorial race. Levin’s opponent in 1996 was Ronna Romney, daughter-in-law of former Gov. George Romney and mother of current RNC chair Ronna McDaniel. Romney’s brother-in-law, Mitt Romney, had lost the Massachusetts Senate race two years before, and she fell to Levin 58-40.

The senator would win his final two races with more than 60% of the vote before retiring in the 2014 cycle.


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Matt Gaetz is poised to marry her sister, but Roxanne Luckey wants the world to know he’s ‘a creep’

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In some of the videos, Luckey even poses in front of The New York Times article that focuses on Gaetz’s investigation for alleged sex crimes, including trafficking a minor.

“When a creepy old man tries to hit on you at the bar, but your sister is engaged to a literal pedophile,” she said in the video’s onscreen text.

Luckey later apologized for using the term “pedophile” and instead switched to “ephebophile,” but her feelings for Gaetz are loud and clear.

According to Luckey, when she and her mother confronted Gaetz about his inappropriate behavior of attempting to set her up with an older man, “[h]e just immediately got so defensive and started yelling at me and my mom.”

“He called me a narcissist, just was a thousand percent gaslighting me—went full lawyer, ‘I don’t have to listen to you, I don’t have to answer your questions,'” she said. She added that while Gaetz never apologized, the friend later did and claimed that he only asked her out “to get Matt off my back.”

She added that her opinions of him go deeper than her own experiences. She claimed that during her time at the White House, Gaetz “had a reputation of prowling after college girls when he’s a grown man, and to me that’s just kind of weird.”

“There is so much more to the story and about what I know about Matt Gaetz,” she added. “It is definitely a serious situation,” Luckey noted that her opinion was partially based on hearsay from the “grapevine.”

Luckey explained the purpose of her sharing the stories in a video shared Monday: “While that little video I made was such a minuscule thing and I know does not properly bring to light the whole situation, if I can just bring some attention to it so people are aware of what is going on and people can be held accountable, that’s my goal.”

While the FBI and Department of Justice have not confirmed a probe into Gaetz, the congressman himself confirmed he was being investigated in April on allegations of trafficking a minor for sex. 

Lawyers familiar with the case shared that investigations are ongoing and whether or not the case will go to trial is still pending.

“The federal government doesn’t like to try out novel legal theories in court, especially against sitting members of Congress because it usually doesn’t work,” the lawyers told Politico. “Yes, there’s strict liability for someone who has sex with a 17-year-old even if she’s only a few months away from turning 18 and even if she becomes a hardcore porn star. But prosecuting a case like this would be highly unusual if there’s no hard evidence showing Gaetz has done this and the case rests on an admitted liar like Greenberg and the word of a hardcore porn star.”

Despite this and his former associate, ex-Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, pleading guilty in May to six federal charges including soliciting a minor for sex, Gaetz has refused to resign. 

In response to the comments made by her sister, Ginger Luckey defended her fiancé and said that her “estranged sister is mentally unwell.”

“Matt and I are enjoying our engagement and are deeply in love. My estranged sister is mentally unwell,” Ginger Luckey told The Daily Beast. “She has been in therapy for years and our family hopes that after receiving in-patient mental health treatment, she will overcome the tendency she has repeatedly shown to engage in destructive behavior.”

Watch the video series for yourself below:


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26 million workers have gotten a raise thanks to the Fight for $15, this week in the war on workers

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The Fight for $15 kicked off in November 2012, with a relatively small—yet also historically large—group of New York City fast food workers making what seemed an audacious demand: $15 an hour minimum pay and a union. The latter goal hasn’t advanced much since then, but $15? That has become solidly mainstream, and has brought big wins. A new report from the National Employment Law Project quantifies just how big.

The federal minimum wage remains just $7.25 an hour, the same as it was not just in 2012 but in 2009. But between state and local minimum wage increases, and executive action raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers, NELP estimates that 26 million workers have gotten a raise. Nearly 12 million of those workers are Black, Latino, or Asian American. The added pay they’ve gotten amounts to $150 billion, with $76 billion going to Black, Latino, and Asian American workers.

Organizing works.


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