→ Dominion Voting vs. Fox News vs. Trump: Dominion Voting Systems is suing Fox News for defamation—and they have a pretty good case that the network smeared them as being part of a shady plot to steal the 2020 election. Hundreds of pages of testimony, private text messages, and emails unsealed by a judge have revealed that Fox hosts didn’t actually believe it, but they said so anyway because they knew their viewers wanted to hear it. And they put all of it in writing!
This week brought some wild new exhibits featuring a little tension between Tucker Carlson and President Trump. Here are texts Carlson sent in January 2021, and I’ll leave it to readers to tease out the nuance of the emotions: “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights,” Carlson wrote. “I truly can’t wait.” Tucker on Trump again: “I hate him passionately.” Also Tucker on Trump: “He’s a demonic force, a destroyer.”
→ Biden’s big tax increase: The White House spent a lot of money keeping the economy alive during endless lockdowns. Anyway, the debt collector is calling. And yesterday, Biden came out with a new tax plan. In short: way more taxes on the rich. Specifically: $2 trillion in tax hikes. He already, last year, proposed a 20 percent annual tax on the super-rich of their unrealized gains on assets like unsold stocks, collectibles, and real estate. His new plan would raise the capital gains rate to nearly 40 percent for wealthy Americans.
In principle, I’m all for sticking it to the ultra-rich. In practice, it would be easier to stomach these ideas if we hadn’t recently seen quite so much egregious government waste.
Estimates are hard to come by but according to our own Department of Labor, some $163 billion out of $873 billion was stolen from the unemployment insurance program. From the Paycheck Protection Program? An estimated $120 billion stolen. That is a lot of billions! So, I don’t know, I’m just wary of this administration’s spending plans. On the other hand, I recently had a work lunch at the Polo Lounge where I accidentally ordered an omelet and coffee that turned out to cost, swear to god, close to $100. Burn it all down.
→ My wife’s fidelity questioned by Congress: Here is Rep. Sylvia Garcia, a Texas Democrat, asking Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger some uncomfortable questions about my dear, devoted wife.
Asked if they had formed “a threesome” with my spouse as they reported from Twitter HQ, my former friend Michael Shellenberger responded: “There are many more people involved than that.” Disgusting. Appalling. My father watches C-SPAN.
The Intellectual Dark Web has become nothing but a polycule, and I’m its jilted lover! A woman scorned.
I hear other things were revealed during the hearings. Politicians apparently have never heard of Substack. Also, one Democrat—a ranking member of the House Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government—accused Taibbi and Shellenberger of endangering Twitter employees by reporting on Twitter at all. Land of the free, indeed. (Now I’m just bitter.)
→ Elon, why are you spending your days like this? Elon Musk, the sometimes-richest man in the world, who has a very well-deserved reputation as the real-life Iron Man, now seems to spend more and more of his time online being petty and randomly mean. This week, he decided to publicly attack his own employee, who is disabled. I recommend just reading through the exchange. Suffice it to say it ends with Musk apologizing to the man, who has muscular dystrophy. If you want to see how the insatiable need for digital validation can consume even one of the greatest minds of our lifetimes, there’s no better case study.
His antics are not exactly luring advertisers to the platform. Late last week, Twitter reported a decline of about 40 percent in both revenue and adjusted earnings for December 2022. Not surprisingly, the Biden administration is going after its CEO. The FTC this week asked for Musk’s internal Twitter communications and a list of the names of every journalist who had access to company records.
I hope that on the top of the list is: me! I was there! Everyone talks about Matt Taibbi and Bari but what about TGIF? Biden, just call, I’ll talk. Let me take an oath and then tell you how Elon Musk ate some of my sushi.
→ A ban on TikTok is getting closer: A bipartisan group of senators rolled out a new bill that would allow for a ban on TikTok in the U.S., and the White House endorsed the effort this week. Given how many journalists and nonprofit leaders see the Chinese Communist Party as a beautiful ally and their bestest friend, expect shrieks and rending of garments. And since there is no justice in this cruel world, expect at least one senator doing a dance meant for teenagers.
And now, a mental health break from The Free Press’s resident cartoonist, David Mamet:
→ Portland loses its last Walmart: This week Walmart announced that, as retail theft continues, they will close their last two Portland locations, which employ about 600 people. Shoplifting in the city has been out of control for years now. But, you see, it’s a mindset problem: there’s no theft if there’s no private property. And in Portland, that dream is close to becoming a reality. For baby wipes and chicken thighs, Portland residents should reach out to their leadership, Rose City Antifa, the oldest and most effective anti-fascist group in America. Which brings me to my next item.
→ America’s hottest terrorists: In Atlanta, 23 people were arrested and are being charged with domestic terrorism after trying to stop the construction of a new police and firefighter training center. Axios describes them holding “a peaceful vigil” that “ended in arrests after some threw rocks at a downtown building and lit a police car on fire.” Very, very peaceful. So peaceful that if you get too close, your eyebrows will melt.
But you don’t need my take on antifa’s politics or how the media lies to cover them up, such as the obsessive way they never write antifa or domestic terrorists. You don’t need me to tell you that a lawyer for the Southern Poverty Law Center was among those arrested, since that’s a given. What you need to know is something far more disturbing: the Atlanta antifa are gorgeous.
I’m not saying I endorse them, but I’m saying that the men of January 6 could take some lessons from Antifa’s Finest. I’m saying the self-care and therapy and hot yoga are paying off. And so I have no choice. TGIF salutes America’s hottest terrorists. If Bari runs off with Shellenberger (yow!), I’ll be heading to an Atlanta forest with some pipe bombs in my purse.
→ Sy Hersh’s reporting gets a boost: Sy Hersh reported last month that the U.S. Navy had been behind the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline, a crucial natural gas pipeline between Russia and Europe. Hersh argued that the pipeline gave Putin a major source of income and made Western Europe reliant on low-cost natural gas supplied by Russia, which is why we bombed it.
I didn’t know what to make of it, given that my foreign policy knowledge extends only to a (life-changing) bachelorette party in Cabo. Now, The New York Times is bolstering those Hersh sources, reporting that U.S. officials are admitting the bombing was done by “a pro-Ukrainian group” and involved “more than 1,000 pounds of ‘military grade’ explosives.” It’s very hard to believe that a pro-Ukrainian group . . . with more than 1,000 pounds of military-grade explosives . . . would be operating without the U.S. Army’s knowledge.
→ D.C. to carjackers: We’re being too hard on you, kiddos! Washington, D.C., which is experiencing a historic rise in carjackings, really wanted to soften the punishment for those thieves. Carjacking has become a sort of classic, exciting part of being in the city. So D.C. had done a very nice total criminal code overhaul that would make unarmed carjacking punishable with just four years of prison time, versus the seven-year mandatory minimum that exists today. The maximum sentence for armed robbery would drop from 45 years to 20 years. Then, last week, Biden mucked it all up and rejected the bill.
→ Okay, actually, take your mask off: Eric Adams, the mayor of New York City, is sharply reversing course on masks. Now, not only are they not required in your shop—you shouldn’t let anyone wearing a mask inside at all. In a twist everyone saw coming, the mayor acknowledged that masks are really helpful for criminals. “We are putting out a clear call to all of our shops, do not allow people to enter the store without taking off their face mask,” the mayor said. The pro-masking community is an unholy alliance of hypochondriac Resistance Dems; post-op plastic surgery patients; the genuinely immunocompromised; and shoplifters. Blue city mayors got themselves into this mess by demanding a nonsensical measure (flimsy face covers) that served only to show political allegiance and now serve to aid criminals. Can’t help but root for the maskers at this point.
→ In news for moms: A bipartisan bill proposed by Florida’s Marco Rubio and California’s Ro Khanna would create a new government program to solve a problem that government programs started in the first place: the shortage of baby formula. The shortage, caused by the supply chain crisis and the FDA ban on foreign-made baby formula imports into the U.S., is a self-made problem that nobody in Congress seems willing to fix.
As the Cato Institute’s Scott Lincicome put it:
→ DEI-cession: As layoffs have rocked tech companies and impacted highly paid white-collar workers, America has entered a DEI-cession. Okay, the coinage doesn’t quite work, but it’s a recession of DEI jobs, which are drying up.
When DEI finally DIEs, it will be hard to describe their jobs to the next generation. “There were thousands of them, but no one knew why. These were the teams whose main job was ensuring that Asians are coded as lily white and any openly Jewish person is asked just a few questions about Israel. It was a different time.”
But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. The school district of Fairfax County, Virginia, announced a new “College Partnership Program” that is open to Latino and black students but not to Asian students, who, again, are very much a minority in America. The only reason we hear about Fairfax County so much is because there are pissed-off local moms who keep leaking these emails. I look forward to bringing daily international attention to our local pre-K soon enough.
→ A Bill and Bernie break:
→ The bar exam is not a bar: The state of Delaware has lowered the score to pass the bar exam, the test all lawyers have to pass in order to practice law. Explaining why, Delaware Supreme Court Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. said: “The bar exam is not supposed to be a barrier to entering the profession.” Absolutely no notes there.
→ In chaotic gender news: On the left this week: USA Powerlifting will allow trans women to compete in the women’s division. On the right: Daily Wire host Michael Knowles says at CPAC that “Transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.”
If you are someone empathetic and kind and reality-based, you have nowhere to go. Your two options are bleak. On one side is the argument that biological males who went through male puberty should be able to compete against biological females in the sport of . . . powerlifting. On the other side is the sort of panicked and vicious talk of “eradicating” whatever “transgenderism” might be to Michael Knowles, which, for all I know, might include me wearing pants. Basically, for the moderate, things remain bad.
→ There’s never good news on the abortion debate: Speaking of issues where moderates have no place, South Carolina lawmakers are looking to employ the death penalty for women who get an abortion—and the bill offers no exceptions for the health of the woman, rape, or fetal anomaly (women would have to argue in court that it was self-defense). Also this week, five women are suing Texas, saying they were denied abortions even when the pregnancy endangered their lives, and they are asking that the law be made clearer. Basically, doctors in Texas are so nervous about being charged with murder in these situations that they now err on the side of waiting till a woman is truly at death’s door before performing the abortion.
→ Wait, they censored my book? Goosebumps, the classic scary story series for younger children, is being reissued as e-books. And of course it’s censored. Which the author, R. L. Stine, didn’t even know. When a fan expressed disappointment about the censorship, Stine wrote to her: “Lindsey, the stories aren’t true. I’ve never changed a word in Goosebumps. Any changes were never shown to me.” Well, more than 100 little edits were made to over a dozen books, changing words like “plump” to “cheerful” and carefully removing reference to a character’s six chins.