Medium

Biden Lowers Cost of Prescription Drugs

An open bottle of pills, that are orange and white, spilling on a table by Christina Victoria on Unsplash

President Biden announced, in a statement on the White House website, about new actions to lower health care and prescription drug costs. The statement was posted on December 7, 2023. Here are some key parts of it:

President Biden believes that health care should be a right, not a privilege. For too long, corporate special interest and trickle-down economics have allowed Big Pharma to make record profits, while millions of Americans struggle to afford health care and prescription drugs to treat common and chronic conditions.

As part of the President’s Bidenomics agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration is cracking down on price gouging and taking on special interests to lower costs for consumers and ensure every American has access to high-quality, affordable, health care.

Specifically, the Biden-Harris Administration will release a proposed framework for agencies on the exercise of “march-in-rights” on taxpayer-funded drugs and other inventions, which specifies that price can be a factor in considering whether a drug is accessible to the public.

What does “march-in-rights” mean? According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “march-in-rights” is a tool to help agencies evaluate when it might be appropriate to require licensing of a patent developed with federal funding. The draft guidance will help agencies work through a range of policy considerations relevant to a potential march-in-decision, including price.

This comes after previous actions by the Administration that lowered the cost of insulin at $35 per product per month for seniors, finally allowing Medicare negotiate to lower prescription drug prices, requiring drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if they raise prices faster than inflation, and locking in $800 per year in health insurance savings for 15 million Americans under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Here is the short version of what the Biden-Harris Administration is doing:

  • Promoting equitable access to lower-priced taxpayer-funded drugs.

…The Biden-Harris Administration believes taxpayer-funded drugs and other taxpayer-funded inventions should be available and affordable to the public. When an invention is made using taxpayer funds, under certain circumstances march-in authority under Bayh-Dole Act enables the federal government to license the invention to another party…

  • Launching a cross-government public inquiry into corporate greed in health care.

The Biden-Harris Administration believes that the health care system should serve patients, not corporate profiteers. The Administration is concerned that our health care system is increasingly being financialized, with corporate owners like private-equity firms and others maximizing their profits at the expense of patients’ health and safety, while increasing costs for patients and taxpayers alike.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and HHS will issue a joint Request for Information to seek input about how private equity and other corporations’ increasing power and control of our health care is affecting Americans…

  • Increasing ownership transparency.

HHS, through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has taken unprecedented action to shed light on ownership trends in health care. The Biden-Harris Administration is the first to make ownership data on hospitals, nursing homes, hospice providers, and home health agencies publicly available, and today, CMS is releasing, for the first time, ownership data on Federal Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics on data.cms.gov…

  • Increasing Medicare Advantage transparency.

Currently, about 50% of Medicare enrollment is in Medicare Advantage and the government is expected to spend over $7 trillion on Medicare Advantage over the next decade. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ensuring Medicare Advantage insurance plans best meet the need of people with Medicare, there is timely access to care, and the market has healthy competition…

  • Negotiating and lowering drug prices.

Thanks to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the Administration has announced 10 prescription drugs for which Medicare will negotiate prices directly with participating manufacturers. These drugs cost people with Medicare $3.4 billion out of pocket in 2022. This builds on other progress to lower prescription drug costs.

Individuals with Medicare can now receive certain vaccines for free under the President’s lower cost prescription drug law, which previously would have a cost of an average of $70 in out-of-pocket costs…

  • Stopping Big Pharma tactics that raise prices for working families.

In September, the FTC issued an enforcement policy statement explaining that Big Pharma companies may face legal action if they delay entry of generic competitors with improper patent listings in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) publication “Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations,” commonly known as the “Orange Book.”

When a brand pharmaceutical company improperly lists a patent in the Orange Book, it may lead to a 30-month statutory stay that blocks the approval of competing drug products, including lower-cost generic alternatives. Some improper listings may delay competition and raise prices for live-saving products like asthma inhalers…

In addition, the Biden-Harris Administration is cracking down on anticompetitive and anti-consumer practices in Medicare Advantage, making hearing aides available over the counter, and cracking down on nursing homes that endanger resident safety.

President Biden also recently signed a bipartisan law, the Securing the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Act, to break up the monopoly that has controlled the organ transplant system for its entire nearly four decade history.

Medium

McDonald’s Introduces CosMc’s

A drawing of a sign that says CosMc's. It has one of the McDonald's arches over the sign. The sign is pinned somewhere in the United States. White stars surround the planet. Most of this art is yellow.

CosMc’s logo from its website

Are you tired of deciding whether you want a drink from Starbucks or Jamba Juice? Soon, you might have the opportunity to get both from CosMc’s. It is a new creation that is part of McDonald’s.

The name CosMc comes from McDonald’s little-known alien mascot of the same name, pronounced “cosmic”,Forbes reported. It is part of a “small-format, beverage-led concept that McDonalds said is inspired by nostalgia and “truly out of this world.”

There is also a pared-down food menu that will include McDonald’s staples like McFlurry ice creams and egg McMuffin sandwiches, as well as hash brown bits, cookies, new sandwiches, donuts and pretzel bites.

According to Forbes, McDonald’s plans to open another nine CosMc’s restaurants by the end of next year, all of which will be based in locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio metro areas.

There’s also a CosMc’s in Illinois (possibly in Bollingbrook), BBC reported. The location is drive-through only, and on the second day of a rather well-publicized “soft” launch, customers waited in their cars for an hour or more in an orderly queue that snaked through a shopping center along a busy road in suburban Chicago.

The CosMc’s menu shows photos of brightly colored drinks which include lemonade, various kinds of tea, slushies, frappes, cappuchino, tumeric spiced latte, chai tea latte, and a regular latte. You can also order a mocha, brewed coffee, black tea, green tea, peppermint tea, hot chocolate, iced turmeric spiced latte, S’mores cold brew, regular cold brew, and a variety of iced lattes.

There are also some food options, including breakfast items like Egg McMuffin, Sausage McMuffin with Egg, or Bacon McMuffin with Egg. McFlurry drinks include Oreo or M&M. Or, you can get a milk shake. CosMc’s also has little hash browns, pretzel bites, cookie butter McPops and a snack box.

Put all of that together, and it feels like CosMc’s is creating its own version of what can currently be offered at Starbucks or Jamba Juice. My best guess is that this is McDonald’s attempt to attract people who would typically go to Starbucks, Jamba Juice, or their favorite local coffee shop.

People who, like me, have food allergies should be extremely careful when ordering drinks or food from CosMc’s. Fortunately, CosMc’s has posted its Nutrition Information on its items. In addition, there is a list of questions that CosMc’s answered.

Do you have vegetarian options?

Most items on our menu are vegetarian with the exception of our sandwiches and snack box.

Do you have any gluten free options?

Yes, all beverages are gluten free, and snack options such as savory hash brown bites, hot fudge or caramel sundaes, M&M’s McFlurry, and vanilla or chocolate soft serve without the cone.

Do you have any non-dairy options?

The following items on the menu are dairy-free. Most non-blended coffee and espresso beverages can be prepared with almond milk at customer request. (A list of beverages and food items follows.)

As someone who is allergic to way too many foods, I think it’s good that CosMc’s is offering some advice for people who cannot have milk or gluten. Some of the foods include eggs, which some people are allergic to. Some of the drinks include berries, that can also be an allergen for some people. That’s not clearly spelled out in CosMc’s “Frequently Asked Questions”.

If you have absolutely zero food allergies, you probably will be fine ordering drinks and food from CosMc’s. Those with food allergies need to keep in mind that there is plenty of room for cross-contamination to happen, not only inside CosMc’s, but also in pretty much every fast-food place.

Medium 0 comments on George Santos Has Been Expelled

George Santos Has Been Expelled

Photo of a U.S. Government building by Patrick Morris on Pexels

Photo by Patrick Morris on Pexels

As you may have heard, Representative George Santos (Republican) has been expelled from the House. Here is a timeline of what happened:

November 17, 2023: House Ethics Chairman Michael Guest, a Mississippi Republican, introduced a resolution Friday to expel GOP Rep. George Santos of New York from Congress, one day after the Ethics Committee released a damning report on its investigation into Santos. (CNN)

Lawmakers are expected to address the resolution at the end of the month once they return from the Thanksgiving holiday.

…Expulsion is exceedingly rare and requires a two-thirds majority vote in the House to succeed. So far, 13 GOP lawmakers have come out in support of expelling Santos since the report was released, and that number is expected to grow in the days ahead…

…Santos, who has only been in Congress since January, announced that he will not seek reelection following the release of the committee’s report, though he remained defiant and denounced the investigation, calling it a “biased report.”…

November 25, 2023: Republican George Santos has said he expects to be expelled from Congress following a scathing report by the House ethics committee that found substantial evidence of lawbreaking by the lying New York Representative. (The Guardian)

In a defiant speech on Friday sprinkled with taunts and obscenities aimed at his congressional colleagues, Santos insisted he was “not going anywhere.” But he acknowledged that his time as a member of Congress may soon be coming to an end.

“I know I’m going to get expelled when this expulsion resolution goes to the floor,” he said on Friday night during a conversation on X Spaces. “I’ve done the math over and over, and it doesn’t look really good.”…

…While Santos has survived two expulsion votes, many of his colleagues who formerly opposed the effort now say they support it, citing the findings of the committee’s months-long investigation into a wide range of alleged misconduct committed by Santos…

…The report found Santos used campaign funds for personal purposes, such as purchases at luxury retailers and adult content websites, then caused the campaign to file false or incomplete reports.

“Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit,” investigators wrote. They noted that he did not cooperate with the report and repeatedly “evaded” straightforward requests for information.

On Friday, Santos said he did not want to address the specifics of the report, which he claimed was “slanderous” and “designed to force me out of my seat.” Any defense of his conduct, he said, could be used against him in the ongoing criminal case brought by federal prosecutors…

November 29, 2023: Speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday expressed “real reservations” about expelling Rep. George Santos from the House since the New York Republican has yet to be convicted of a crime – even as GOP support grows to make him just the sixth member of the chamber ever to be formerly ousted from his seat in the face of damning allegations about his conduct. (CNN)

Santos has survived previous attempts to remove him from the House, but momentum is building for the latest effort after the release of a scathing report from the House Ethics Committee earlier this month, which concluded that he “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

According to CNN, if he were to be expelled, Santos would be the first House member to be ousted without having been convicted or having supported the confederacy. House Republicans also control a very narrow majority, and expulsion would shrink it even further.

Santos announced that he would not seek reelection following the release of the ethics report, but he has said he will not resign and has denounced the congressional investigation and its report as “a disgusting politicized smear.”

December 1, 2023: Rep. Max Miller, a GOP freshman from Ohio, accused Rep. George Santos of stealing money from him and his mother, and attacked Speaker Mike Johnson for opposing Santos’ expulsion. (CNN)

“I think leadership – this is just another example of Republicans who can’t lead. And that’s a really shameful. You know, the speaker and everyone in leadership knows this man is a crook,” Miller said.

He accused the New York Republican of using his and his mother’s credit card information to steal $5,000 from each of them, and marking them as an over donation.

“In January, I got an FEC Complaint because of an over donation to George Santos, and I’ll explain why. I’m Jewish. My family’s Jewish and they were donors and they like to give money to people who are Jewish, who are Republicans, because that’s who we are.”

“And Mr. Santos took, not only my credit card personally, he took my mother’s credit card personally and he swiped them both for an additional $5,000, marking it as an over donation. And I have it by the FEC, and I have the document in my office. And what I can tell you is within that document – I won’t disclose other names – but he defrauded over 350 people for hundreds of 1000s of dollars under undisclosed amounts, and I had to hire an attorney to fight it by the FEC that I think cost me 15 or $20,000. Altogether, this man has cost my family $30,000.”

December 1, 2023: The House has voted to expel New York Rep. George Santos over ethics violations, making him only the sixth lawmaker ever to be kicked out of the chamber. (CNN)

The resolution requires a two-thirds majority vote to succeed. House Speaker Mike Johnson announced that 311 members of the House voted to expel Santos, which included 105 Republicans. Another 114 voted against the expulsion, with two members recording them selves “present.”

All four top House GOP leaders, including Johnson, voted to keep Santos in Congress.

Santos is the first member of Congress to be expelled since the Civil War who wasn’t first convicted of a felony…

December 1, 2023: GOP Rep. George Santos told CNN after the House voted to expel him that “it’s over.” (CNN)

“The House spoke, that’s their vote. They just set new dangerous precedent for themselves,” he added.

When asked if he would still stay and use nonmember privileges because he is not convicted, Santos said, “Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place.”

Pressed if he knew this was how it was going to go, Santos said, “I had no skin in the game.”

And then he said, “You know what? As unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer your questions.”

December 1, 2023: GOP. Rep. George Santos of New York was expelled from the House in a bipartisan vote Friday, with dozens of his Republican colleagues joining Democrats in ousting him from Congress. (CBS News)

Santos has been the center of overlapping scandals since he won election last year, and he faces a slew of federal charges related to alleged fraud and campaign finance violations. The explosive allegations were detailed in a pair of federal indictments handed down earlier this year, and the House Ethics Committee issued its own scathing report earlier this month.

Santos refused repeated calls for his resignation and survived two major prior attempts to remove him from office. The first attempt was led by Democrats in May after he was originally indicted by the Justice Department. Republicans renewed the expulsion effort in October following a superseding indictment. But Friday’s vote of 311 to 114 made clear that his support among many of his Republican colleagues had eroded…

…In total, Santos is charged with:

one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States

two counts of wire fraud

two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission

two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC

Two counts of aggravated identity theft

one count of access device fraud

seven counts of wire fraud

three counts of money laundering

one count of theft of public funds

two counts of making materially false statements to the United States House of Representatives

December 1, 2023: Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took aim at ousted Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) after he exited the House chamber Friday before his expulsion vote had come to an end, calling him a “coward” for doing so. (The Hill)

Pelosi said that while the historic 311-114-2 vote to boot Santos was “heartbreaking,” it was “necessary.”

“This is not a casual vote for us. It’s something you take very seriously, and and he should have taken it seriously,” Pelosi told reporters following the vote, adding that he “should have been a man about it.”

“This is a very serious matter to uphold the dignity and respect of the House of Representatives,” she continued. “He has not, and he didn’t today … by not even showing up and being a coward.”…

December 1, 2023: The expulsion of George Santos from Congress Friday has ramifications beyond the New York Republican’s career prospects (The Guardian)

The historic vote has sparked a scramble among Democrats and Republicans to elect a replacement for Santos, who was found by an ethics committee to have used campaign funds for purchases. A special election is likely to take place early next year.

Given Santos’s troubles – the now former congressman also faces 23 federal charges including fraud and conspiracy – several candidates have already announced they would run for his seat in New York’s third congressional district.

While New York legally requires to hold a special election in less than 90 days, the race for Santos’s Long Island district, which voted for Joe Biden in 2020, was represented by Democrats for 10 years before swinging Republican last year, has dramatically accelerated.

There will be no primary in the special election. Instead, local Democratic and Republican Party leaders will choose the parties’ nominees to replace Santos in a finely balanced House of Representatives – Santos’s expulsion reduced Republicans’ advantage over Democrats in the House of Representatives by eight seats: 221-213. Democrats are expected to announce their nominee on Tuesday, with Republicans also likely to reveal their candidate soon…

December 1, 2023: Sticky Fingers Diner posted the following on Instagram:

“Adios Santos! We’re serving up a Santos sendoff cocktail for disgraced Republican House member, George Santos. To celebrate, we’ve mixed up an “Adios Santos” Grapefruit Margarita & will be offering it all weekend for $10.

To help turn the grift into a gift, $1 of each cocktail will go to CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.”

This is what the “Adios Santos” drink looks like:

A round glass with ice inside and a lime wedge on the side of the glass. The content of the glass is an orange color.

December 1, 2023: Former Rep. George Santos’s (R.N.Y.) name plaque was removed from his former office Friday, hours after he was expelled from Congress. (The Hill)

Surrounded by reporters, a House employee unscrewed the plaque from the wall and removed Santos’s name at about 3:30 p.m. It was replaced by a temporary sign stating “Office of the Third Congressional District of New York.”…

…In political terms, the expulsion leaves Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) with one fewer vote for an already slim GOP majority. The vacancy is expected to be filled in a special election in Spring 2024.

The 3rd District is expected to be tightly contested in 2024. It is considered a “Toss Up,” according to the Cook Political Report.

December 2, 2023: The House on Friday took the remarkable step of expelling George Santos (R-N.Y.), shrinking the GOP’s already thin majority and depriving Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) of a precious vote as the chamber charges toward a series of legislative landmines. (The Hill)…

…Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) is headed for the exits to lead Youngstown State University early next year, and there’s swirling speculation that former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will quit Congress early after the House deposed him in historic and embarrassing fashion after just nine months with the gavel.

…Santos’s removal has immediately trimmed the Republicans’ four-seat advantage down to three – a wafer-thin cushion that leaves Johnson, just weeks into his Speakership, with little room for error as he attempts to steer the party’s conservative agenda through the second half of the 118th Congress with a deeply divided conference…

…Then, there’s the special election to fill Santos’s seat, which could either permanently deprive Republicans of the ousted lawmaker’s vote or keep the district red. Political headwinds are trending in Democrats’ direction: President Biden carried New York’s 3rd Congressional District by roughly 8 percentage points in 2020, and the Cook Political Report rates the area a “Republican toss up” for 2024.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will call a special election within 10 days of Santos’s expulsion, and the election is required to take place between 70 and 80 days later, according to state law, teeing up a February or March election day…

December 2, 2023: Former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) in late-night posts on social media pledged to file ethics complaints against several of his House colleagues after he was expelled from office Friday. (The Hill)

His threats were levied against Reps. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.), Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.), and Rob Menendez (D-N.J.), over campaign finance violations and other ethics claims. The embattled former lawmaker said he will file official complaints Monday…

…Santos said the complaint against Malliotakis will focus on “her questionable stock trading since joining the Ways and Means committee this Congress.”…

…The Lawler claims center on allegations that he funneled campaign expenses through a company he has a stake in…

…Against LaLota, Santos raised assertions that the fellow Long Island congressman was a “no-show: at his local board of elections job while attending law school…

Santos also demanded the Ethics Committee look into Menendez’s relationship with his father, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) who has been charged with multiple federal crimes in a bribery scheme…

Medium 0 comments on How Black Friday Sales Stress Out Workers

How Black Friday Sales Stress Out Workers

Black Friday Sale sign by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

In what now feels like a long time ago, I was working in a big-chain bookstore. I worked the early morning shift, and typically ended my day in the afternoon. The place was super quiet as the early-morning workers arrived, and we actually had time to put books on the shelves and dust things before the store opened.

Continue Reading “How Black Friday Sales Stress Out Workers”
Medium 0 comments on President Biden Spoke About Transgender Day of Remembrance

President Biden Spoke About Transgender Day of Remembrance

The transgender flag has the colors light blue, light pink, white, light pink, and light blue. By Alexander Grey on Unsplash

trans flag by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

On November 20, 2023, President Joe Biden wrote a statement that was posted on the WhiteHouse.gov website.

“There is no place for hate in America and no one should be discriminated against simply for being themselves. Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance we are reminded that there is more to do meet that promise, as we grieve the 26 transgender Americans whose lives were taken this year. While each one of these deaths is a tragedy — the true toll of those victimized is likely even higher, with the majority of those targeted being women of color.

“It’s unacceptable and it’s why my Administration has taken action to strengthen the rights, and protect the safety of transgender and all LGBTQI+ Americans. My Administration ended the ban on transgender Americans serving our country and I signed historic executive action to strengthen civil rights protections for all LGBTQI+ Americans.

“The Department of Homeland Security, with the support from the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, have launched the LGBTQI+ Community Safety Partnership that works hand-in-hand with LGBTQI+ community organizations to provide critical safety resources.

“We must never be silent in the face of hate. As we mourn the loss of transgender Americans taken too soon this year, we must also recommit ourselves to never stop fighting until all Americans can live free from discrimination.”

The Hill reported that Biden’s statement comes as Republican-led states have rolled back transgender rights over the past few years, and Republican presidential candidates have vowed to restrict support for gender-affirming care and lashed out against the inclusion of transgender women and girls in sports.

According to The Hill, President Biden touted his administration has taken to strengthen rights for the LGBTQ community, citing the reversal of the Trump White House’s decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military and an executive order to bolster civil rights for all LGBTQ Americans.

Personally, I believe that it is extremely important that we as a nation protect the rights of transgender people. It is unacceptable to allow bullies to force transgender people away from the gender-affirming health care they need, and to make their lives harder due to discrimination and hate.

The ACLU reported that Republican members of the House of Representatives have inserted anti-LGBTQ provisions into all 12 of the must-pass appropriation bills. These riders include restrictions on gender-affirming care, allowances for discrimination against same-sex couples, prohibitions against drag performances, banning of pride flag displays, and restrictions on diversity and inclusion programs.

According to the ACLU, out of all the appropriations bills, the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for FY 2024 is arguably the most nefarious and dangerous bill for the transgender community.

The anti-LGBTQ riders in this bill seek to prohibit funds from being used for implementing anti-discrimination and equity programs, taking discriminatory action against anyone that speaks or acts in accordance with the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, or displaying pride flags. Section 534 of this bill would also prohibit funds from being used for gender-affirming surgical procedures or hormone therapies. If this passed, this would have extensive, damaging effects.

That’s why it was so important for President Biden to affirm that no one should be discriminated against for simply being themselves. He is the only President to be outspoken about protecting transgender adults and children.

I am writing this as a non-binary person who is part of the LGBTQIA+ community. We cannot allow a mean-spirited group of bullies, who happen to be in Congress, to terrorize people who are transgender. President Joe Biden’s message appears to target nasty republicans who refuse to acknowledge that trans people have the right to exist.

Medium

Big Brands Suspend Advertising On Twitter/X

A white smartphone with a blue screen that has the Twitter logo on it - from Unsplash

Back in the day, Twitter was an interesting and fun social media platform. It helped people find new friends, to learn about things happening in the news, and — sometimes — also encouraged people to hold “Twitter Meetups”.

Twitter wasn’t perfect. Few social media sites are. After Jack Dorsey abandoned Twitter, the platform got much worse. Elon Musk begrudgingly purchased Twitter, fired a lot of employees, and changed the name to “X”.

Media Matters reported that IBM announced yesterday that it is suspending its advertising on X (formerly Twitter) after Media Matters reported that the platform placed its ads next to content promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

IBM isn’t alone in having issues when advertising on the platform: following our report yesterday, (Media Matters wrote) we additionally found ads for Amazon, NBA Mexico, NBCUniversal Catalyst, Action Network, and Club for Growth next to white nationalist hashtags like “KeepEuropeWhite,” “white pride,” and “WLM” (“White Lives Matter”).

According to Media Matters: “X’s problem with advertising comes as owner Elon Musk praised the pernicious antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jewish communities were supporting ‘hordes of minorities’ who are ‘flooding’ the country to replace white people. Musk’s endorsement is just the latest example of him embracing rhetoric and conspiracy theories from the far-right fringes.”

In short, Elon Musk appears to be embracing and glorifying Nazis on his social media platform. Media Matters posted a list that points out that X’s remaining advertisers are especially affected by hateful rhetoric that seems to be in the form of advertisement purchased by Nazis.

Here is a list of what Media Matters found:

  • Pro-Hitler account: X placed ads for brands including The New York Times Co.’s The Athletic, Major League Baseball, the Atlanta Falcons, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Amazon and Office Depot on a verified pro-Hitler account that encourages antisemitic harassment.
  • Holocaust deniers: X placed ads for brands such as The Wall Street Journal, Nokia, FanDuel, and Thermo Fisher on the accounts of antisemites who have denied the Holocaust.
  • Leading white nationalist group: X placed ads for Dish, Samsung, and The Wall Street Journal on the verified Twitter account of Dare, a leading white nationalist group.
  • Pro-killing of LGBTQ advocates and politicians: X placed ads for MLB, Bayer, Tyson Foods, and eBay on the account of Stew Peters, a white nationalist streamer who uses the social platform to endorse the killings of politicians and LGBTQ advocates.
  • Neo-Nazi group: X placed ads for Honeywell, Discovery, National Women’s Soccer League, the Pittsburg Steelers, USA Today, and Manchester City on the verified account of the Nationalist Socialist Network, a leading neo-Nazi group.
  • Pro-Hitler and Holocaust denier account: X placed ads for major sportsbooks BETMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel on the verified account that has drawn millions of views for posts that lionize Hitler and deny the Holocaust. The account has also said it’s been paid $3,000 this year by X.
  • Antisemitic conspiracy theories about 9/11: X placed ads for the NFL, MLB, T-Mobile, and eBay alongside content pushing unhinged conspiracy theories about Jewish people orchestrating 9/11 attacks.

October 11: NeimanReports posted: “Six Months Ago NPR Left Twitter. The Effects Have Been Negligible”

A lot of people threaten to leave Twitter. Not many of them have actually done it.

This was true even before Elon Musk’s purchase of the platform a year ago. But the parade of calamities since — cutting back on moderation, unplugging severs, reinstating banned accounts, replacing verified check marks with paid subscriptions badges, throttling access to news sites, blaming the Anti-Defamation League for a decline in advertising — has made stepping away more appealing, either because the timeline is toxic or because the site simply doesn’t function the way it used to.

Last April, the company gave NPR a reason to quit — it labeled the network as “U.S. state-affiliated media,” a designation that was at odds with Twitter’s own definition of the term. NPR stopped posting from its account on April 4. A week later, it posted its last update — a series of tweets directing users to NPR’s newsletters, app, and other social media accounts. Many member station across the country, including KUOW in Seattle, LAist in Los Angeles, and Minnesota Public Radio, followed suit.

Six months later, we can see that the effects of leaving Twitter have been neligible. A memo circulated to NPR staff says traffic has dropped by only a single percentage point as a result of leaving Twitter, now officially renamed X, through traffic from the platform was small already and accounted for just under two percent of traffic before the posting stopped…

November 11: The Hollywood Reporter posted: “Disney joins Advertisers In Pausing Spend On X Amid Reported Rise in Antisemitic Speech”

Major advertisers are pausing their ad campaigns on Elon Musk’s social media platform X, including Disney, which has a Wish in the works on its release calendar for Nov. 22. Lionsgate also said it would be pulling ads from the platform, just as its Hunger Games prequel is hitting movie theaters.

Warner Bros. Discovery said Friday evening that it would be pausing its campaigns on the platform. Paramount and Sony Pictures also followed suit in halting spending.

Comcast NBCUniversal was the latest company to pause advertising on the site, which is particularly significant as X CEO Linda Yaccarino left the company to join X…

November 16: FT (Financial Times) Technology News posted on X: “IBM pulls adverts from X after report finding they ran next to Nazi content.”

From FT: IBM said it has pulled its global advertising from Elon Musk’s X following a report that the social media platform ran the tech company’s adverts alongside pro-Nazi material, in a fresh blow to the company’s efforts to bring back sales revenues…

“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,” the company said in a statement.

Comcast said it was looking into the matter. Apple and Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to FT, Musk relaxed moderation policies and cut many staff involved with safety on the platform when his $44bn acquisition closed last year. Many brands, wary of being placed next to toxic content, pulled their advertising. Ad revenues fell about 50 per cent, Musk said in July…

November 17: The New York Times posted on X: “Breaking News: Disney, Apple and Lionsgate halted ads on X as Elon Musk faced a furor over his endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory on the social media app, formerly known as Twitter.”

November 17: Axios posted “EXCLUSIVE: Apple to pause advertising on X after Musk backs antisemitic post.”

Axios wrote: Apple is pausing all advertising on X, the Elon Musk-owned social network, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: The move follows Musk’s endorsement of antisemitic conspiracy theories as well as Apple ads reportedly being placed alongside far-right content. Apple has been a major advertiser on the social media site and its pause follows a similar move by IBM…

…Musk posted to X on Wednesday “[you] have the actual truth” in response to an X post that claimed Jewish communities support “dialectical hatred against whites.”

That drew widespread condemnation from the White House. “It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of Antisemitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement.

November 17: CNBC posted: “Apple, Disney, other media companies pause advertising on X after Elon Musk boosted antisemitic tweet”

According to CNBC: Apple and Disney have paused online advertising campaigns on X, formerly Twitter, after Elon Musk said he agreed with a social media post accusing “Jewish communities” of pushing “hatred against whites,” according to sources familiar with both companies moves.

Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount Global, and Lions Gate Entertainment are also suspending campaigns on the social media service, spokespeople for the company confirmed. Additionally, a spokesperson for Comcast, which owns Bravo and Xfinity and is also the parent company of CNBC, said Friday that it is pausing its online advertising campaigns on the real-time messaging service…

In my opinion, it appears that Elon Musk’s decision to host content from Nazis on his platform is making his life much harder. Social media websites typically need to have a way to monetize their users so the platform can stay alive, offer interesting new features, and attract new users.

The most interesting thing about various well-known companies pausing advertising right is that they are sending a message. They don’t want to be connected to Nazi content or accounts, and they shouldn’t have to. The result is that some of the largest companies are, effectively, shutting off cash flow to X in what might be a protest to Elon Musk’s terrible choices.

Medium 0 comments on What’s Going On With George Santos?

What’s Going On With George Santos?

A green road sign that says "Congress Ave 400" by Mark Konig on Unsplash

George Santos (Republican) is one of the strangest people to have ended up in the U.S. Congress. He makes some questionable decisions that most lawmakers wouldn’t do.

Here are some examples:

December 22, 2022: Swooping in during the final stretch of 2022 is a brazen new entry for scammer of the year: Rep.-elect George Santos, a 34-year-old Republican from Long Island who seems to have completely made up key parts of his work, education, and personal background.

Santos would be the first Brazilian American and the first openly gay nonincumbent Republican elected to Congress. While campaigning for office, he referenced his Jewish roots and touted his experience on Wall Street and philanthropic work. But a New York Times article on Monday revealed glaring holes in his résumé, casting serious doubt on his claims.

…Santos has claimed that his mother is Jewish and that his maternal grandparents “fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine” during World War II…

…A distant relative of Santos on his father’s side who researched the family tree told Forward that there were no Ukrainian or Jewish roots on that side of the family.

…Santos has said that he graduated from Baruch College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance. But, the university told the New York Times that it had no record of anyone with Santos’s name, or variation of his name, graduating in 2010 as he claimed.

…The National Republican Congressional Committee said in Santos’s biography that “he attended Baruch College and NYU where he got degrees in finance and economics.”

NYU told the Times that there were no attendance records under Santos’s name. (BuzzFeed News)

January 1, 2023: …The surfacing of the Wiki biography is another twist in a weeks-long saga of lies and embelishments. The New York Republican has been caught fabricating his own resume on everything from his business career, educational achievements and the nature of his mother’s death. He has admitted that he misled about critical parts of his biography, but has also insisted that other politicians have done the same.

…In a 2011 Wiki bio, the user “Anthony Devolder” sprinkles show business credits that ring similarly untrue. He describes his Hollywood career as taking off after a meeting with a producer of the 1996 “Independence Day.” He name drops the director Steven Spielberg (he misspelled his last name as “Spilberg”), and claims to have stared in “a few T.V. shows and DISNEY Channel shows such as “the suite life of Zack and Cody” and the hit “Hanna[h] Montana.” (Politico)

January 10, 2023: The House of Representatives on Monday passed a new set of rules that weaken the ability of the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate ethics-related complaints about members of Congress.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., told Insider in an interview on Monday. (Salon)

January 11, 2023: Virtually the entire Republican leadership of New York’s Nassau County called on Rep. George Santos to resign from Congress, saying he was “disgraced” and needed to step aside.

Santos represents New York’s 3rd District, which includes most of the county and the call Wednesday from the leadership of his own party is the strongest yet against the embattled freshman…

…“His lies were not mere fibs,” (Nassau County GOP Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo Jr.) “He disgraced the House of Representatives. In particular, his fabrications went too far, many groups were hurt — specifically, I look at those families who were touched by the horrors of the Holocaust.”

…Republican donors say they were “duped” by Santos; Democrats have already filed ethics complaints against him, and a campaign finance watchdog has also lodged a complaint with the Federal Election Commission regarding fundraising irregularities…(NBC New York)

January 11, 2023: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday that embattled freshman GOP Rep. George Santos of New York, who is facing growing calls to resign after he admitted having fabricated much of his personal biography, should not be seated on any top committiees.

“No,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said emphatically as he headed into a GOP Steering Committee meeting where members were deciding which colleagues should serve on certain committees.

Although Democrats and some Republicans have said Santos should not get any committee assignments at all, McCarthy confirmed later in the day that he would serve on at least one… (NBC News)

January 13, 2023: There are mounting calls from both politicians and voters to force the newly elected apparent fabulist U.S. Rep. George Santos from Congress following revelations he fabricated his background and other details of his life.

But New York’s 3rd Congressional District voters, who elected Santos as their representative in November 2022, cannot directly force him out of office until the next election, in November 2024.

It appears that Santos, who beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman during the 2022 midterm election, has woven a web of lies about his personal and professional background, some of them touching in major historical and tragic events. Santos falsely claimed, for example, to have Jewish ancestry and said that his maternal grandparents fled to Brazil during the Holocaust. He also said that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks seemingly “claimed” the life of his mother — who actually died in 2016 (The Conversation via Y! News)

January 17, 2023: The House Steering Committee on Tuesday recommended that embattled George Santos (R-N.Y.) sit on the House Small Business Committee and House Science, Space and Technology Committee, according to sources familiar with the assignments.

Santos’s assignment to the panels comes after multiple members of his own party have called on him to resign over his admitted fabrications about his work history and education, questions about his campaign finances, misleading claims of Jewish heritage and reported charges in Brazil related to checkbook fraud (which Santos has denied), among other issues… (The Hill — via Y! News)

January 20, 2023: Among the few allies George Santos has sought to maintain during his brief time in the political spotlight is a group of young Republicans with connections to white nationalists, conservative conspiracy theorists and far-right European parties…

…Santos, who has been a regular member of The New York Young Republican Club since at least 2019, donated $3,750 to it through his campaign committee between 2020 and 2021, according to FEC filings. He hired the group’s executive secretary, Viswant Burra, as the congressman’s operations director — a senior role in the congressman’s Washington D.C. office…

…A spokesperson for Santos, who is under investigation over his finances amid questions about how he was wealthy enough to lend his campaign $700,000, did not return a message for comment. (Politico)

January 26, 2023: A set of updated campaign finance reports are deepening the mystery surrounding the source of high-dollar loans that Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) made to his campaign last year.

Santos’s campaign previously reported that a pair of six-figure loans from the candidate — one for $500,000 that was made last March and another for $125,000 in October — came from his personal funds.

But in an amended filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Tuesday, Santos’s campaign unchecked a box indicating that the $500,000 loan came from personal funds. Similarly, a separate updated report left the same box unchecked for the $125,000 loan.

…Further complicating the matter is the fact that filings from later in 2022 still mark the $500,000 loan as coming from personal funds, leaving the source of the money unclear. Campaign finance experts are struggling to unpack the latest disclosures from Santos’s campaign, which they say are riddled with potential errors and descrepancies…(The Hill — via Y! News)

January 27, 2023: In September 2020, George Santos’s congressional campaign reported that Victoria and Jonathan Regor had each contributed $2,800 — the maximum amount — to his first bid for a House seat. Their address was 45 New Mexico Street in Jackson Township, New Jersey.

A search of various databases reveals no one in the United States named Victoria or Jonathan Regor. Moreover, there is nobody by any name living at 45 New Mexico Street in Jackson. That address doesn’t exist. There is a New Mexico Street in Jackson, but the numbers end in the 20s according to Google Maps and a resident of the street.

Santos’s 2020 campaign finance reports also list a donor named Stephen Berger as a $2,500 donor and said he was a retiree who lived on Brant Road in Brawley, California. But a spokesperson for William Brandt, a prominent rancher and Republican donor, tells Mother Jones that Brandt has lived at that address for at least 20 years and “neither he or his wife (the only other occupant [at the Brandt Road home]) have made any donations to George Santos. He does not know Stephen Berger nor has Stephen Berger ever lived at… Brandt Road.” (Mother Jones)

January 31, 2023: Embattled New York Republican Rep. George Santos is voluntarily stepping down from his committee assignments amid outcry over his fabricated biography and ongoing questions about his personal campaign finances.

“With the ongoing attention surrounding both my personal and campaign financial investigations, I have submitted a request to Speaker McCarthy that I be temporarily recused from my committee assignments until I am cleared,” Santos said in a statement.

Santos later told reporters he was confident he would be cleared “because I have nothing to hide.” (NPR)

February 1, 2023: The FBI has contacted a Navy veteran, Richard Osthoff, as part of an investigation into embattled Rep. George Santos and a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Osthoff’s sick service dog.

Osthoff confirmed the call from the FBI, and sources familiar with the matter confirmed the nature of the investigation — which adds to the growing list of controversies Santos, R.N.Y., is facing.

…According to previous ABC News reporting, a source familiar said Santos, using the name Anthony Devolder, ran a GoFundMe account in 2016 under the auspices of a charity, Friends of Pets United, and raised some $3,000 to ostensibly help Osthoff pay for surgery to remove a tumor from his dog.

Osthoff told ABC News that Santos did not come through with the money and ignored text messages about it. Osthoff says his dog, Sapphire, ultimately died from her condition. (ABC News)

February 9, 2023: Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is once again dogged by controversy and, once again, that controversy concerns dogs.

According to Politico, Santos was charged with theft by deception in 2017 in Pennsylvania’s Amish County after a series of bad checks totaling $15,125 were written in his name to dog breeders in the area.

But while the truth-challenged congressman was charged with the crimes, it was later expunged from Santos’ record after he claimed his checkbook had been stolen. (HuffPost)

February 15, 2023: One of Rep. Santos’ first-known forays into politics was an attempt to raise $20,000 for a pro-Trump rally in 2019 in Buffalo, N.Y. that never happened.

The five-figure fundraising goal drew questions from members of the small New York state-based group United For Trump. Santos — who was the group’s president at the time — claimed he needed $750 to hire an accountant, $2,500 to keep a lawyer on retainer and thousands more for a keynote speaker.

The plans were “over-the-top,” group member Lisa Bennet Joseph said in an interview. Santos wanted to raise too much money, she said. “You have to start small and local.” (Politico)

February 16, 2023: George Santos hid inside his district office as constituents attempted to deliver a petition calling for his resignation on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

…A staffer told the group that Santos was in the building but added that he refused to meet with a “mob”, according to the UK newspaper The Independent.

A group of around 25 constituents chanted as they attempted to hand over the petition, which they said had more than 1,000 signatures, per the paper.

George Santos tweeted: “Let me be very clear, I’m not leaving, I’m not hiding I am NOT backing down…”

The group confronting him is known as the Concerned Citizens of NY-03. Last week, they traveled to Capitol Hill to call for the expulsion of their congressman… Their Facebook group boasts more than 700 members…(Business Insider — via Y! News)

February 16, 2023: The campaign of scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) is not short on problems, including a reported federal investigation. But it is short on one critical thing: money.

As Santos reported weighs whether to run again in 2024, that spells real trouble — because the campaign hasn’t been legally allowed to raise or spend money for nearly two weeks, according to campaign finance experts who have reviewed recent Federal Election Commission filings.

…News reports this week suggested that the FEC’s letter was a warning, giving Santos 10 days to comply or shut down financial activity.

But the letter itself doesn’t say that, and legal experts told The Daily Beast that the 10-day window appears to have closed on Feb. 4…

…But when it comes to what consequences Santos’ campaign might face if it raises or spends money when it’s not legally allowed to, the situation was so bizarre that it left experts stumped. (The Daily Beast via Y! News)

March 2, 2023: Rep George Santos (R-NY) introduced his first piece of legislation in Congress.

The SALT Relief Act, which aims to increase the limitation on deductions for state and local taxes, is intended to help with the growing cost-of-living crisis, he said in a statement.

“Long Island residents specifically in Nassau County are paying some of the highest property taxes in the country. In 2018 for Nassau County, the average SALT amount (property tax liability income or sales tax liability) reported among itemizing filers was $30,227.21, but due to the $10,000 cap, the average SALT deduction claimed was $9,023.79,” Santos said. (Washington Examiner)

March 15, 2023: Federal and state investigators are probing Rep. George Santos’ role in the sale of a $19 million yacht involving two of his wealthy donors, according to a law enforcement official.

The law enforcement interest in the sale first reported by The New York Times, underscores the far reaches of the investigations into the embattled congressman’s finances. Santos previously told Semafor he collected referral fees by brokering these sorts of deals.

…Santos has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. On Wednesday, his attorney, Joe Murray, said he could not comment on the substance of any allegations against his client, but said: “I’m getting a little tired of all these investigations being leaked into the public.

…The New York Times reported that prosecutors and federal agents have recently tried to question the owner of the yacht — Raymond Tantillo, a New York auto dealer — about the purchase and his interactions with Santos, including political donations.

Tantillo purchased the boat from Mayra Ruiz, a GOP donor for Miami, with Santos negotiating the payment and helping arrange the logistics, the Times reported.

Both Ruiz and Tantillo donated to Santos’ congressional campaign, federal records show. There is no suggestion that either has acted improperly.

…In an interview last December with Semafor, Santos sought to explain the source of his newfound wealth, describing Devolder as serving in the capital introduction business. He said that included “deal building” and “specialty consulting” for “high net worth individuals.” (CNN)

May 9, 2023: Justice Department prosecutors have charged George Santos, R. N.Y., with federal offenses, four sources familiar with the matter told NBC New, the most significant escalation in a growing pile of investigations that have plagued him since before he even took office.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to NBC News that Santos, who was spotted in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, is expected to appear at the Long Island Federal Courthouse in the Central Islip, N.Y., on Wednesday.

…In December, two federal law enforcement sources confirmed that federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York had opened an investigation into Santos and were examining his finances, including irregularities involving financial disclosures and loans he made to his congressional campaign. (NBC News)

May 10, 2023: George Santos has pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges, including allegations of fraud related to Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misusing campaign funds and lying about his personal finances on House disclosure reports.

Santos was released on a $500,000 bond, according to the US Attorney’s Office in New York. He was ordered to surrender his passport and will need permission to travel outside of Washington DC, New York City, and Long Island.

…The charges inject fresh uncertainty into the political future of Santos, a freshman congressman whose astonishing pattern of lies and fabrications stunned even hardened politicos who led top Democrats and some New York Republicans to call for his resignation earlier this year.

The congressman said on Wednesday that he will not resign from his seat and that he still plans to seek reelection next year… (CNN)

May 10, 2023: The Independent posted an article titled: “George Santos: Every lie disgraced Republican Congressman has been accused of making”

He went to college: Mr. Santos’s claim that he obtained degrees from NYU and Baruch College, another New York City-based school.

As it turns out, not only did he not graduate from either school, officials at both said there was no record of him attending under any alias. Mr. Santos has now admitted this, chalking it up to the effort to make his resume more impressive.

He went to prep school: Mr. Santos claimed in a campaign biography during his failed 2020 bid for Congress (in the same district) that he had briefly attended a prestigious prep school in New York.

“He began at Horace Mann preparatory school in the Bronx, however, did not graduate from Horace Mann due to financial difficulties for his family,” read the biography.

As you might expect, Horace Mann officials said there was no record of him ever attending. Mr. Santos has not responded to discovery of this apparent fabrication.

He worked at banks: Mr. Santos did not, as it turns out, work at either Citigroup or Goldman Sachs. He has now admitted that this too was a fiction: Instead, he claims to have worked for two banks through a third company, though he has provided no evidence to back that claim up.

He ran a charity: Mr. Santos previously claimed to have founded a charity group called Friends of Pets United, taking credit for supposedly saving thousands of dogs and cats. But no IRS records of the group could be found, and Mr. Santos himself even backed away from the claim that he founded the group, later telling reporters that he only campaigned for the group and tried to find foster homes for some animals.

He knew victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting: Among many other claims, Mr. Santos told WNYC last year that he personally had “lost” four of his employees at the tragedy at Pulse nightclub in 2016.

It was later determined by news reports that no one on the list of those killed in the mass shooting were identifiable as being employees of any business owned by Mr. Santos.

May 11, 2023: GOP Rep. George Santos on Thursday voted for a bill he co-sponsored that would crack down on a crime he is accused of — unemployment fraud.

The measure, the “Protecting Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud Act,” passed 230–200, would provide incentives to help states recover money lost to COVID unemployment fraud.

Under the bill, states would retain 25% of recovered fraudulent overpayments and the statute of limitations for federal criminal charges or civil enforcement actions related to unemployment insurance fraud would be extended from five to 10 years.

On Wednesday, Santos was indicted on 13 criminal counts, including allegedly fraudulently applying for and receiving unemployment benefits during the COVID pandemic when he had a $120,000 salary working as a regional director of an investment firm, according to the charging documents (ABC News)

July 15, 2023: Embattled freshman U.S. Rep. George Santos, a Republican from New York charged with a host of financial crimes, including embezzling money from his campaign, withdrew $85,000 from his campaign to help repay hundreds of thousands of dollars he loaned himself to get elected in 2022.

Congressional campaign records released Friday show Santos raised a relatively paltry $138,000 during the last three months for a reelection bid that is expected to be one of the country’s most-watched and hotly contested races in 2024.

The records show he spent nearly $118,000, the bulk of it to begin repaying the more than $700,000 he loaned himself for his successful but surprising victory last year.

…Santos pleaded not guilty in May to a 13-count federal indictment charging him with looting campaign coffers, fradulently receiving unemployment and lying to Congress about being a millionaire. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

A day later, he signed an agreement with Brazilian officials that allowed him to avoid prosecution for forging two stolen checks in 2008. (ABC News)

August 16, 2023: A campaign fundraiser for indicted US Rep George Santos has been charged for allegedly impersonating a high-ranking congressional aide to solicit contributions for the New York Republican’s campaign in 2021, according to court documents.

A federal grand jury in Brooklyn indicted Samuel Miele, who worked for the Santos campaign during the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, on four counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in the alleged scheme to defraud prospective donors, according to the indictment unsealed Wednesday.

…Miele surrendered Wednesday morning and pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in Brooklyn federal court later in the day.

He was released on a $150,000 bond…(CNN)

October 6, 2023: The ex-treasurer for US congressman George Santos pleaded guilty Thursday to a fraud conspiracy charge and implicated the indicted New York Republican in a scheme to embellish his campaign finance reports with a fake loan and fake donors.

Nancy Marks, who was a close aide to Santos during his two congressional bids, entered the plea at the federal courthouse on Long Island, where she was a longtime political operative and bookkeeper for multiple candidates.

Speaking to the judge, Marks said that among other things, she and Santos had submitted bogus campaign finance reports falsely saying he had loaned his campaign $500,000 — even though in reality he did not have that kind of money and that the loan did not exist. She said the purpose of the fake loan was to make it look as if he was richer than he really was, which might attract other donors, including a Republican committee…(The Guardian)

October 10, 2023: The U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York has added an additional ten counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, false statements, identity theft and other charges against Congressman George Santos.

The New York Republican was already facing 13-counts from a May indictment. In this latest court filing, federal prosecutors allege Santos made false statements to the Federal Election Commission and then falsified records to obstruct the FEC.

The 23-count superseding indictment also accuses the first-term Congressman of identify theft, device fraud, and wire fraud.

In the scene, prosecutors accuse Santos of running a credit card fraud scheme using his political donors’ credit cards, while also allegedly attempting to scam the national Republican Party.

“Santos is charged with stealing people’s identities and making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without their authorization,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace in a statement Thursday. (NPR)November 16, 2023: Republican Rep. George Santos announced he will not seek reelection to the House next year, following the Ethics Committee’s release of a long-awaited report on Thursday, which concluded that there is “substantial evidence” that the New York Congressman used campaign funds for personal purposes.

The committee said it uncovered additional “uncharged and unlawful conduct” by Santos that go beyond the criminal allegations already pending against him, and would immediately refer the allegations to the Justice Department for further investigation.

Santos engaged in “knowing and willful violations” with regard to financial disclosure statements filed with the House, according to the panel, and “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission.”

The committee concluded that Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

Following the release of the report, Santos announced that he will not seek reelection, though he remained defiant and denounced the investigation, calling it a “biased report.”

“It is a disgusting politicized smear that shows the depths of how low our federal government has sunk. Everyone who participated in this grave miscarriage of Justice should all be ashamed of themselves,” Santos wrote on X. He went on to say, “I will however NOT be seeking re-election for a second term in 2024 an my family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time.”

The New York Republican later said that he will hold a press conference outside the Capitol on November 30 — the week Congress returns from Thanksgiving recess, and likely after the House votes on whether to expel him. Expulsion is exceedingly rare and requires the high bar of a two-thirds majority vote in the House to succeed. (CNN)

October 13, 2023: New York Intelligencer posted: “George Santos Has Meltdown While Holding Mystery Baby”

…So, here’s what happened. We’ve all had an extremely long week, as you’re likely aware. On Friday afternoon, George Santos, the New York representative whose tally of alleged federal crimes is now up to 23, was spotted screaming in the hallway of the Longworth House Office Building. It appears Santos — who famously suggested his family was Jewish then revised it to “Jew-ish” — was accosted by pro-Palestinian protesters.

Normally, neither a small protest on Capitol Hill nor George Santos shouting in front of a gaggle of reporters would be all that notable. But there’s the twist: Santos was holding a 2-month-old baby when this all went down.

…Matt Rice posted on Twitter: George Santos just left Tim Burchett’s office with a baby in his arms. When asked if it was his baby, he said “not yet.”

November 9, 2023: The House of Representatives Committee on Ethicsposted “In the matter of allegations relating to Representative George Santos”. Here is the Introduction:

A fundamental tenet of government service is that public office is a public trust. As noted in extensive detail below, the evidence uncovered by the Investigative Subcommittee (USC) revealed that Representative George Santos cannot be trusted. At nearly every opportunity, he placed his desire for private gain above his duty to uphold the Constitution, federal law, and ethical principles.

On February 28, 2023, the Committee on Ethics (Committee) unanimously voted to impanel an ISC to review whether Representative Santos may have: engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conduct of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.

In May 2023, the ISC expanded its jurisdiction to review additional allegations that were the subject of a federal indictment filed against Representative Santos in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY). A superseding indictment was filed on October 10, 2023, charging Representative Santos with a total of 23 counts of criminal activity. The ISC reviewed the allegations underlying those charges, as well as a broader range of alleged misconduct beyond the scope of the indictments.

Representative Santos has been the subject of significant public reporting about his many alleged fabrications, including allegations that he has lied about his degrees, his religion, his work experience his family, and numerous other aspects of his biography. But Representative Santos’ lies go beyond inaccuracies on a resume.

The ISC’s investigation revealed a complex web of unlawful activity involving Representative Santos’ campaign, personal, and business finances. Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.

He blatantly stole from his campaign. He decieved donors for his personal benefit. He reported fictitious loans to his political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign — and then diverted more campaign money to himself as purported “repayments” of those fictitious loans. He used his connections to high value donors and other political campaigns to obtain additional funds for himself through fradulent or otherwise questionable business dealings. And he sustained all of this through a constant series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience…

November 16, 2023: The New York Republican congressman, fabulist and criminal defendant George Santos said he would not seek re-election next year, after the US House ethics committee issued a report detailing “grave and pervasive campaign finance violations and fraudulent activity” and recommended action against him.

…But after the report detailed his conduct, moves for a new expulsion resolution began.

“Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit,” the committee said.

“He blatantly stole from his campaign. He deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were in fact payments for his personal benefit.

“He reported fictitious loans to political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign — and then diverted more campaign money to himself as purported ‘repayments” of those fictitious loans.

“He used his connections to high-value donors and other political campaigns to obtain additional funds for himself through fraudulent or otherwise questionable business dealings. And he sustained all of this through a constant series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience.”

…On Thursday, the New York Democrat Dan Goldman said: “More than 10 months after Congressman [Ritchie] Torres and I filed a complaint… the committee has… concluded that George Santos defrauded his donors, filed false Federal Commission reports, and repeatedly broke the law in order to fraudulent win his election last November.”

Promising to “file a motion to expel Santos from Congress once and for all” after the Thanksgiving break, Goldman said Republicans “no longer have any fictional excuse to protect Santos in order to preserve their narrow majority.” (The Guardian)

November 16, 2023: The House Ethics Committee in a scathing report Thursday said it has amassed “overwhelming evidence” of lawbreaking by Republican Rep. George Santos of New York that has been sent to the Justice Department, concluding flatly that he “cannot be trusted” after a months-long investigation into his conduct.

Shortly after the panel’s report was released, Santos blasted it in a tweet on X as a “disgusting politicized smear” but said he would not be seeking reelection to a second term. He gave no indication, however, that he would step aside before his term ends next year, vowing to pursue his “congressional values in my remaining time in Congress.”

But a renewed effort to expel him from the House was quickly launched. The House could vote on his expulsion as soon as it returns from the Thanksgiving holiday later this month.

…The investigation also looked into at least $200,000 that was transferred from a Florida-based company, RedStone Strategies LLC, to Santos’ personal bank accounts. The report said at least three people transferred money to RedStone after being told the money would be used for political purposes but the funds were transferred to Santos’ personal accounts.

…If Santos were to be expelled, it would narrow the GOP’s already thin majority in the House, which now stands at 221–213. But many of his Republican colleagues from New York support booting Santos from the House as they seek to distance themselves from his actions. (The Hill)

Medium 0 comments on Unfortunately, I Have Coronavirus

Unfortunately, I Have Coronavirus

An image of a coronavirus from the CDC on Unsplash

Despite being extremely careful about preventing my immunocompromised self from catching everybody’s least favorite virus, it found me. I am writing this post with “brain fog”, so there may be typos.

My best guess is that I caught coronavirus at the dentist’s office. I was due for a checkup and cleaning. NO ONE in the office was wearing a mask. I decided not to wear one that day because I knew I’d have to remove it.

Continue Reading “Unfortunately, I Have Coronavirus”