The New York Times newspaper are displayed for sale at a news stand in Hong Kong, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The New York Times said Tuesday it will transfer some of its staff out of Hong Kong because of the uncertainties about practicing journalism in the Chinese territory under its newly imposed national security law. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) NYT Whitewatering Very Strongly Prime Badge

For those of you who remember the embarrassment of the Times coverage of the “Whitewater” scandal, it must seem like déjà vu all over again. It does to me. The paper’s editors are trying, and I mean really trying, to make the Biden classified documents issue a thing. And I mean a grave thing. The stage was ably set by the subject line of the email I received blasting out their latest deep dive on the story: “Inside Biden’s 68 days of silence.” It’s this like a Gabriel García Márquez homage? I mean good lord. Are we really doing this again? Of course we are. It’s how they roll.

I took the liberty of a short set of annotations.

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Out of Patience Prime Badge

Is the federal judiciary running out of patience with Donald Trump? Or, at least, one federal judge? Yesterday, as David noted this morning, federal judge Donald Middlebrooks hit Trump and his lawyers with almost $1 million in sanctions for their meritless and absurd lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and others. Trump has been notorious for decades for constantly threatening and sometimes filing predatory, frivolous and abusive lawsuits. But he’s mostly gotten away with it. That seemed to come to end with Judge Middlebrooks’ hefty sanctions.

Then this morning, Trump withdrew his case against New York Attorney General Tish James. What do the two cases have in common? They’re both before Judge Middlebrooks, a federal judge in Florida.

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Requiem For An Agent Of The Ukrainian State Prime Badge
Were The Supreme Court Justices Investigated In The Dobbs Leak Probe? Prime Badge
We Need a Better Understanding of ‘Fake News’ Prime Badge

Recently I was reading an article on the January 8 insurrection in Brazil. The writer noted Jan. 8 along with Jan. 6 in the U.S. as examples of what can result from the maelstrom of global authoritarianism, “fake news” and pervasive misinformation. Brazil has also witnessed its own version of the “Big Lie” claiming fraud was behind the ouster of Jair Bolsonaro, and there are various scare stories about the new President Lula da Silva freezing bank accounts or forcing middle class homeowners and renters to house poor people in their homes. You can imagine the kind of stuff I’m talking about and how it can create hysteria in segments of the population in both countries.

But it’s a reminder of something I’ve thought a lot about and written some about over the last few years. We simply don’t have a good theory or understanding of what we’re talking about when we talk about “fake news” and “misinformation.” In most cases we know it when we see it: Jan. 6 was an Antifa operation, millions of “illegals” voting in 2020 gave the election to Joe Biden, young people around the world dropping dead because of COVID vaccines, mass shootings conducted by crisis actors to justify gun confiscation.

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George Santos BREAKING: Santos a Citizen! Maybe? Prime Badge

As Nicole notes below, The Forward has a new article out based on the immigration files of George Santos’s mother, Fatima A.C.H. Devolder, who died in 2016. A researcher apparently got the file under a FOIA request and shared the documents with the reporter. The key point of the article, unsurprisingly, is that Santos is a huge ass liar. In this case, a big fat liar about 9/11.

His story about his mother dying as the result attack on the Twin Towers broke down somewhat when it turned out she died in 2016. He then claimed that she had been in the Towers on 9/11 and at Ground Zero on subsequent days. She developed cancer because of her exposure to the toxic fumes circulating in the air at the time. That is a very real issue. Numerous first responders and others who spent time at Ground Zero in the days and weeks after 9/11 later developed cancers and other illnesses. Since it’s hard to prove a negative, it’s been difficult for people to definitively state that Devolder was not working at the Towers on 9/11.

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Trump’s Disappearing and He Knows It Prime Badge

I say all the following not for a moment discounting the threat Donald Trump continues to be to the American republic. But since the announcement of his reelection bid, immediately after a discrediting electoral defeat more than two months ago, he’s seemed less a swaggering warlord planning his return than a diminishing voice less and less relevant to the political happenings of the day. His claims and attacks become more vitriolic as his volume gets turned lower and lower.

Just this week he launched a broadside against white evangelicals, the most loyal and militant portion of his political base. They were “disloyal,” he said, and he blamed some of the 2022 reverses on them: “I thought they could’ve fought much harder during the election, the ’22 election.” This after an earlier interview where he blamed no-exceptions abortion bans for the 2022 defeats. This is angry desperation, not any ability to read the room.

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Sinema Hails Filibuster At Davos Prime Badge

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) told Davos attendees yesterday that she and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) had been vindicated in their decision to protect the filibuster last year, even going so far as to share an onstage high five about it.

Sinema also argued that while the January 6 attack was a source of “concern and fear for every patriotic American,” Democrats had overreacted to it and politicized it.

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George Santos Santos Raised Money for a Dog’s Surgery and then Pocketed the Money Prime Badge

There’s now no shortage of George Santos stories — his various criminal exploits, scams, secret identities, non-existent jobs. But I read a story this evening that made me wonder if I’m living in a simulation and whether any of this can be true. The latest expose reveals that Santos once used his sham pet charity — Friends of Pets United — to set up a GoFundMe for a dog who had a tumor and needed expensive surgery. The dog’s owner, a disabled vet, didn’t have the money for the surgery for his service dog, Sapphire. A veterinarian pointed Osthoff toward Santos’s charity figuring they might be able to help with the costs. So Santos sets up a GoFundMe for Sapphire’s surgery. It raises $3,000 for the charity. Then Santos disappears with the money and the dog dies.

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Get a Spine; Trump’s a Crook, Biden’s Not Prime Badge

Over the last couple days I’ve read a dozen or more articles and newsletter briefs which describe the purported political disaster that is the Biden classified documents issue, then explain how it bears no comparison to the ongoing Mar-a-Lago scandal and then note that the difference and lack of comparison actually don’t matter because that’s how it is. Punchbowl runs through a list of Democratic lawmakers who are barely willing to make the distinction in public, let alone defend the President from the adverse comparisons. The headline of this Dan Balz column perhaps sums it up most nicely: Biden, Trump cases aren’t alike. The political system doesn’t care.

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