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Chechnya Forms Concentration Camps for Gays

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Demonstration at Place des Nations against Chechen persecution of LGBT people

Chechnya has begun the torture of LGBTQ people, creating the first concentration camps in Europe since World War II.

According to a report in The Week, 100 gay men were detained — and three killed — in concentration camps in the last week. Those detained in the camps are forced to agree to leave Chechnya.

Chechneyan President Razman Kadyrov, who has long been staunchly anti-gay, is said to have ordered the creation of these camps. He has previously been accused of being behind extrajudicial killings and torture of gay men in the country.

Kadyrov claims that such incidents are false, saying, “So-called human rights activists make up all sorts of nonsense for money.” in a BBC report from January.

He claimed that the killings were more likely done by the families of the deceased instead. In some cases, gay prisoners have been let out of prison only to face an “honor killing” from their family, but this is above and beyond actions taken under Kadyrov.

He has also claimed that there are no gay men in Chechnya, which would seem contradictory.

Reports of concentration camps come from Novoya Gazeta, a Russian paper with a critical eye on Russian political and social affairs. According to the publication, many gay men have been beaten and electrocuted by official in the camps.

Those held are also being forced to reveal other LGBTQ people in the country.

Image by Rama via Wikimedia Commons and a CC license

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‘Neck Snapping’: Speaker Johnson’s Latest ‘Flip Flop’ Could Kick Shutdown Down the Road

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Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, opposed to a government shutdown but appearing willing to allow it to happen, during Tuesday’s White House meeting offered President Joe Biden and top congressional leaders to kick the can down the road in his latest policy “switch.” His reputation for flip-flopping is so strong it’s being described by the D.C. press as “neck snapping.”

“Johnson has offered to shift existing government funding deadlines from March 1 and March 8 to March 8 and March 22,” Punchbowl News reports, calling it “Johnson’s Latest Shift.” Johnson had chosen the March 1 and March 8 dates and the concept of a “laddered” government shutdown, which other stakeholders opposed but accepted.

Johnson has made clear he opposes stop-gap funding, or continuing resolutions, known as CR’s, which this would be.

“After saying late last year he was done with any more short-term stop-gaps to avoid a shutdown, Mike Johnson had to do one in January and may have to do one again. Facing a partial shutdown Friday, he’s bowing to reality and floating another CR,” notes CNN’s Manu Raju. “Negotiators say they’re making progress to complete at least some of the annual funding bills (that they were supposed to get done by last October.)”

READ MORE: House Republicans Move to Upstage SOTU With New Hur Investigation Subpoena and Hearing

The Speaker is now offering up a continuing resolution, but with strings attached.

“Any CR would be part of a larger agreement to finish a number of appropriations bills, ensuring adequate time for drafting text and for members to review prior to casting votes,” Johnson Press Secretary Athina Lawson said in a statement, Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan report.

“In this offer, Johnson also is making an explicit threat – if the Louisiana Republican doesn’t have a bipartisan agreement in hand by Friday, he’s not willing to pass a short-term CR to avert a shutdown. Johnson will let government funding lapse starting at midnight Friday. Four bills expire at that point.”

Punchbowl reports this is the “first time” that “Johnson is making explicit to Democrats and the White House that he’s willing to shut down federal agencies unless he has a global agreement – of sorts – on all 12 FY 2024 appropriations bills.”

“These kinds of course changes have become a hallmark of Johnson’s speakership. Plans shift drastically without much notice. Lawmakers are often settling into one strategy when the entire scheme changes. It’s neck snapping,” declare Punchbowl’s Sherman and Bresnaahan.

READ MORE: Republican Furious No ‘Real Wins,’ Like on ‘Transgender Surgeries’ as Shutdown Looms

The House has been on vacation for the past two weeks, and is not scheduled to be back in session until Wednesday evening, giving them just over 48 hours to craft legislation, pass it, have the Senate pass it, and the President sign it into law, all before the 12:01 AM Saturday shutdown deadline.

As Axios reported Tuesday night: “More than a year after Republicans took back the House, the sum result of their work on government spending so far is to extend the budget passed under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).” Axios added, “What comes next in the shutdown drama is solely up to House Speaker Mike Johnson.”

 

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House Republicans Move to Upstage SOTU With New Hur Investigation Subpoena and Hearing

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While continuing to defend their impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden, despite the testimony or credibility of numerous star witnesses collapsing, Republican House Chairs Jim Jordan and Jim Comer on Tuesday announced they have issued a subpoena to Attorney General Merrick Garland for “records, including transcripts, notes, video, and audio files, related to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation” of President Biden’s mishandling of classified information.

Hur cleared the President of any criminal wrongdoing, while deviating from DOJ guidelines by making partisan attacks on the President’s memory.

Despite the entire “Burisma” conspiracy again imploding, Chairman Comer and Chairman Jordan have continued to promote false claims surrounding President Biden.

Comer on Tuesday claimed now-indicted former FBI source Alexander Smirnov, who reportedly got the Burisma falsehoods from Putin’s Russian intelligence, “never was a key part” of his investigation into the President.

READ MORE: At the White House Johnson Says Biden Must Use Executive Orders After Calling Them ‘Gimmicks’

Jordan’s and Comer’s remarks have drawn the scrutiny of several former federal prosecutors, including U.S. Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY), who last week warned they could be opening themselves up to conspiracy charges. Monday night Rep. Goldman made his allegations clear: “Jordan is now conspiring with Putin to interfere in the Nov election.”

The deadline Comer and Jordan gave the Attorney General is March 7, the date President Biden is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union Address, as NewsNation Washington Correspondent Joe Khalil noted.

Republicans, along with Fox News, have been concerned over reports President Biden’s team wants to use the State of the Union as a “reset.” Far-right Fox News Business host Maria Bartiromo expressed great concern about the State of the Union Address as she noted Republicans have legislation that would block President Biden from delivering the annual address, at least from inside Congress.

As Axios reported last week, Republicans have been planning ways to take the “spotlight” away from President Biden’s control, and turn it back onto him.

READ MORE: Democratic Senators Now ‘Daring’ Republicans to Block IVF Protections: Report

“Biden’s ownership of the national spotlight will be brief. Just five days after his speech, House Republicans will hold a hearing with special counsel Robert Hur, whose report cleared the president of mishandling documents but called him a ‘well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,'” reported Axios’ Mike Allen and Alex Thompson. “Republicans tell Axios they hope to make the hearing a blockbuster, including pressing Hur about Biden’s fitness.”

CBS News adds that Comers and Jordan’s “committees have been trying to show for months that Mr. Biden was enriched by his family’s foreign business dealings and accepted bribes, but have so far uncovered no wrongdoing by the president. Their impeachment inquiry took a hit when one of their key witnesses was recently charged with lying about the first family’s business dealings.”

See the video above or at this link.

Image of Jim Jordan via Shutterstock

 

 

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At the White House Johnson Says Biden Must Use Executive Orders After Calling Them ‘Gimmicks’

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Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson says President Joe Biden must issue executive orders to address the southern border, just days after scoffing at claims the President was considering using his executive authority, calling those orders “election year gimmicks.”

Republicans, with the assistance of – and some say, at the direction of – Donald Trump derailed a bipartisan  border bill several weeks ago.

Although the House is still on vacation, Speaker Johnson attended his first White House meeting with President Biden on Tuesday, along with Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

The President’s goal in gathering the congressional leaders together was to find a way to avoid a government shutdown, which will come after midnight Friday if the House and Senate cannot agree and pass legislation to fund the government.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the meeting “one of the most intense” of his career.

READ MORE: Democratic Senators Now ‘Daring’ Republicans to Block IVF Protections: Report

Schumer, McConnell, and Jeffries are all united in the need to pass legislation to help Ukraine battle Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal war.

Often after these meetings participants will hold a joint press conference outside the White House but Johnson opted to speak to reporters alone.

Defiant, and in opposition to the President, Leaders Schumer, McConnell, and Jeffries, Johnson declared that the southern border must be fixed before he could support funding critical military aid to Ukraine.

Pointing to “discussion about the supplemental spending package,” referring to the military aid bill, Johnson told reporters (video below): “I was very clear with the President and all those in the room that the House is actively pursuing and investigating all the various options on that, and we will address that in a timely manner.”

READ MORE: ‘How Extremism Is Normalized’: Schlapp Furious as Critics Slam CPAC Over Report of Nazis

“But again, the first priority of the country is our border and making sure it’s secure. I believe the President can take executive authority right now today to change that. And I told him that again today in person, as I’ve said to him many times, publicly and privately over the last several weeks, it’s time for action. It is a catastrophe, and it must stop and we will get the government funded and we’ll keep working on that.”

Last week, Politico reported Johnson, in addition to his “election year gimmicks” remarks, said: “The president suddenly seems interested in trying to make a change using the legal authority that he claimed until recently didn’t exist.”

Watch Johnson below or at this link:

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

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