Twitter Suspensions Called Unfair

The Twitter accounts of CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell and others were abruptly suspended by Elon Musk this week. “To be thrown off the platform with no warning or explanation is the worst kind of censorship,” O’Sullivan complained. “This never would have happened under the previous ownership.”

Musk challenged the assertion that the suspensions were unfair and unexplained. “The reason these individuals had their accounts temporarily suspended is that they were using Twitter to dox me,” Musk tweeted. “Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended because it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info. The notion that so-called journalists have a special privilege of helping would-be assaillants and assassins find their targets is pernicious.”

O’Sullivan called the suspension “chilling. Freedom of speech is a fundamental principle of an open society. Censoring it as Musk has done is a significant step on the road to totalitarianism.”

Musk replied, saying “I am encouraged that O’Sullivan expresses support for freedom of speech. It would have impressed me more if he had spoken out against the rampant censorship that Twitter practiced before I bought the company.”

O’Sullivan defended the prior censorship, saying that “freedom of speech doesn’t protect disinformation or misinformation. All who speak have an obligation to be honest. There was nothing dishonest about the posting of the precise locations of Musk and his family. If the FBI had objections to doxxing they would have contacted me directly. Their hand-in-glove cooperation with the previous owners of Twitter to ferret out misleading tweets was crucial to the government’s vaccination program and played a significant role in thwarting the election machinations of the enemies of democracy. Criticizing it is unpatriotic.”

The European Union has threatened to levy sanctions against Twitter for the suspension of these journalists. Commissioner Vera Jourova said that “the suspensions violate our new Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA requires respect of media freedom. The arbitrary suspension of journalists for linking to a site that tracked Musk’s private airplane is worrying. Sanctions are coming if Musk fails to reverse course. The DSA authorizes us to impose fines of up to 6% of Twitter’s annual gross revenue.”

US & Russia Exchange Prisoners

This week President Biden announced that he had reached a deal with Russia to exchange Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Brittney Griner. He touted the deal as “a victory for American diplomacy” and “something former president Trump could never have achieved.”

Trump wasted no time in confirming that “I would never have freed one of the biggest arms dealers in the world. He was responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and horrific injuries.” John Bolton, former national security adviser during the Trump Administration and now a dedicated ‘never-Trumper,’ agreed with his old boss’ assessment, saying “there’s a lot of very understandable human emotions here in getting Griner released, but this is a very bad mistake by the Biden administration.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark) predicted that “more people will die now that the ‘Merchant of Death’ is no longer behind bars. More terrorists will get more weapons as Bout goes back to work for the Russian government. I also think that more Americans will be unjustly detained in the future because they realize that Joe Biden will give anything in return for any American citizen.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala) Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Ok), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) made similar remarks about the prisoner exchange.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said “the news of Brittney Griner’s release is a welcomed development toward our collective efforts to secure the return of all those wrongfully detained in Russia. Ms. Griner should have been released unconditionally a long time ago. But this swap of prisoners will encourage dictatorial and rogue regimes to take more Americans hostage as bargaining chips.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tx) called the opposition to releasing Bout “harsh. Viktor hasn’t been proven to have killed a single American. All we can say is that the guns he sold to terrorists might have been used to kill Americans. Likewise, the hash that Brittany brought into Russia might have been used to harm Russians. So, in my mind the swap was a fair deal.”

Presidential Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended her boss by pointing out “millions of Americans know and love Brittany. She is a WNBA megastar and an icon for the LGBTQ and BLM communities. Hardly anyone knows who either Paul Whelan or Viktor Bout is. If we had taken Whelan in exchange for Bout no one would’ve cared. Besides, Whelan is a MAGA Republican. We don’t need anymore of those kind in our country. Our only regret is that this trade was not completed before November 8th when it might’ve enabled Democrats to win control of the House.”

Russian media called the deal “a steal. We gave up a basketball player who was stupid enough to bring vape pens with hashish oil into Russia for a tournament, despite the country’s reputation for having some of the strictest drug laws on Earth. We got back one of our nation’s most successful international businessmen. And Saudi Arabia got the US federal lawsuit against Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for his involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi dropped.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin speculated “I think more prisoner exchanges are possible between the two countries. Plenty of American tourists arrive in our country every year. Who knows how many of these people are American spies? We will redouble our efforts to find and arrest them.”

By John Semmens

Jim O’Connor turned his back on the very GOP grassroots, Arizona voters who put him in office in the first place

Arizona Republicans will breathe a sigh of relief when Kevin Thompson and Nick Myers join the ranks of the Corporation Commission in January, expanding the GOP majority to 4-1. 

Why? Because Republican Commissioner Jim O’Connor has consistently voted with Democrats to push California-style, Green New Deal energy policy and drive up costs for Arizonans. For the past two years, since Mr. O’Connor joined the commission, he has bucked the grassroots and turned his back on Arizonans by supporting the very policies he promised to oppose.

Before diving into Mr. O’Connor’s record, let’s remember how he came to power. 

In 2020, Jim O’Connor became the success story of the year for the Arizona Republican Party after winning a write-in campaign, and subsequently being elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission. 

No small feat, of course. But behind every successful campaign is a team of dedicated volunteers and activists. Mr. O’Connor needed 6,600 write-in votes to make the general election ballot — he received more than 20,000 in Maricopa County alone. Without the rapid mobilization of the party’s base, it might have been nearly impossible for Mr. O’Connor to gather the number of signatures he needed.

What someone says on the campaign trail doesn’t always translate into what they do as an elected official. In the case of Mr. O’Connor, there was no follow-through on the promises he made to the GOP grassroots and Arizona voters. 

If you browse his campaign website, Mr. O’Connor told Arizonans he would fight “job-killing green energy mandates” and work “tirelessly to save you money.” Mr. O’Connor ran on a platform of cutting government red tape and protecting Arizona citizens from higher utility rates. 

Actions speak louder than words. Look no further than Mr. O’Connor’s voting record. 

Despite claiming to be an advocate for ratepayers, Mr. O’Connor joined Democratic Commissioners Sandra Kennedy and Anna Tovar to deny ratepayers a refund for their bill. Instead, he approved an amendment to the plan from Tuscon Electric Power Company to use over-collected funds — approximately $12.4 million — to fund the Commission’s energy efficiency programs.

Dollars taken right out of the pockets of hardworking Arizonans to fund government programs. 

Remember when Mr. O’Connor said he would also fight green energy mandates? 

In 2021, Mr. O’Connor rubber-stamped Arizona Public Service Company’s (APS) Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) Plan, which forced APS to invest up to $15 million annually in solar installations. Ultimately, ratepayers — hardworking Arizonans — will foot the bill for that investment.

Following the closure of the Navajo Generating Station, and the future closures of the Cholla Generating Station and Four Corners Power Plant, the Navajo Nation has asked the Corporation Commission for nearly $145 million to be paid out to the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, and surrounding communities. Dubbed the ‘Just Transition Agreement’, the reality is that there is nothing just about using ratepayer dollars to subsidize one group over another. 

Unfortunately, Mr. O’Connor has signaled support for the agreement, so if you see your utility bill go up in the future, you know who to blame.

With Republicans like Mr. O’Connor, who needs Democrats to usher in Green New Deal policy and turn Arizona into California? The success story of the Republican Party has turned out to be the proponent of the Democratic agenda on the Arizona Corporation Commission. 

GOP Leadership Wants to Aid Dems in Lame-Duck Session

With Republicans set to be the majority in the House in January, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex) is severely disappointed in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken) who seems intent on giving Democrats everything they want during the “lame-duck” period between the elections and the start of the next session.

“Rather than wait until a Republican-led House can serve as a counterweight to the Democrats’ spending spree, McConnell seems determined to help them pass another gargantuan appropriation that can only worsen the inflation the nation is currently experiencing,” Cruz complained.

McConnell defended the accommodation, saying that “we cannot risk the possibility that government programs might suffer from insufficient funding. Granted, a large portion of the money will be wasted on outlays of little or no value to the American people, but if we don’t fund this waste Democrats will short-change essential programs like national defense. As for inflation, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has assured us that consumer spending is the chief culprit.”

Yellen confirmed McConnell’s perception by pointing out that “too many people are buying stuff they don’t need. For example, despite the fact that the majority of our population is overweight they aren’t cutting back their spending on food. They continue to buy expensive meat instead of lower-priced beans as their main source of protein. Another example is driving around in a personal vehicle instead of riding public transit. This kind of undisciplined self-indulgence takes resources away from vital government programs. I commend Sen. McConnell for having the courage to join with Democrats to divert more resources to government use.”

In related news, New York Mayor Eric Adams is planning to hire a “rat czar” to help reduce the city’s population of these destructive rodents. “I think we can accomplish two objectives,” he said. “First, we can decimate disease-carrying vermin. Then by converting these animals into food we will be able to provide a less expensive source of protein for consumers struggling with high food prices. Eating rats is routine in many parts of the world. Rat-on-a-stick is very popular in Vietnam and Cambodia. And the British eat rat pie.”

Biden Wants to Revise Nominating Process

By John Semmens

From his perch as the head of the Democrat Party, President Biden is urging the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to revise the timing of the 2024 primaries. Traditionally, Iowa has been first with its caucus method of selecting delegates. New Hampshire has been second.

“Too often over the past fifty years, candidates have dropped out or had their candidacies marginalized by the press and pundits because of poor performances in small states early in the process before voters of color cast a vote,” Biden observed. “As we saw in the 2020 cycle, allowing these white states to lead nearly torpedoed my nomination. I did so poorly in in Iowa and New Hampshire that many were saying I ought to drop out. It was only when the venue shifted to South Carolina that my dominant showing convinced all my opponents to drop out of the race. Someone should not be the Democratic nominee and win a general election unless they show they have overwhelming support from voters of color.”

“Look how the country has prospered under my leadership.” the President said. “All of these achievements would’ve been lost if I hadn’t been able to overcome the handicap of a bad sequence of primaries. Going forward, South Carolina should be first, then Nevada and New Hampshire on the same day, then Georgia and finally Michigan.”

Biden also called for an end to the caucus option, saying “caucuses require voters to go vote in public and spend significant amounts of time to cast a vote. This disadvantages anyone who does not have the flexibility to go to a voting location at a set time. They also negate the opportunity for the ballot harvesting that has proved so vital in securing victory for the forces of democracy in both the 2020 and 2022 elections.”

A potential snag for the changes Biden wants is that state legislatures determine the timing and procedures that are used to select delegates for the Parties’ conventions. Getting them all to cooperate on a revised process won’t be easy. Claiming that the changes he proposes for the primary process are “just as essential for democracy to triumph over its right wing enemies as vaccines are to triumph over covid. If the states can’t get there acts together I will mandate the necessary reforms.”

In related news, during the White House Tribal Nations Summit, President Biden declared himself the greatest president in America’s history, saying “I tell you what, no one’s ever done as much as president as this administration’s doing. Period. I got more spending approved by Congress than any of my predecessors. I’ve enabled three million new citizens to enter through our southern border. I ended the war in Afghanistan. I got more covid vaccine jabs into more arms than any other world leader. I led the successful fight against the enemies of democracy in the recently completed elections. I wouldn’t be surprised if I am reelected more times than FDR was.”