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OPINION

Florida in Play? Biden and Strategists Say Yes as Court Puts Abortion, Marijuana on Ballot

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Could Democrats win Florida in November?

The Florida state Supreme Court on Monday approved two measures to appear on the ballot in the November presidential election: the right to abortion, and recreational marijuana, both strong pulls for Democrats.

Putting abortion on the ballot comes after Florida Republican lawmakers have made abortion practically illegal in the Sunshine State.

“The Florida Supreme Court simultaneously upholds the state’s 15-week abortion ban (which lets the six-week ban take effect, too)—but also approves a ballot initiative that would amend the FL constitution to protect abortion,” reports Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern.

“DeSantis’ six-week abortion ban is about to become law in Florida, and the GOP will need to spend the next seventh months defending it against a ballot initiative that would enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution,” Stern adds. “Florida’s 2024 election will be about abortion.”

The Washington Post concurs.

READ MORE: Thousands of Kids in Florida Lost Medicaid Coverage on Easter – Nearly Half a Million Last Year

“The ruling could give Democrats a boost in the polls in a state that used to be a toss-up in presidential elections. While many voters aren’t enthusiastic about a rematch between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, it could inspire more abortion rights advocates to cast a ballot. Trump won Florida four years ago.”

On the marijuana issue, the Post explains, “Voters will decide whether to allow companies that grow and sell medical marijuana to sell it to adults over 21 for any reason. The ballot measure also would make possession of marijuana for personal use legal.”

Each ballot measure requires 60 percent to pass.

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis won re-election in a landslide in 2022, with nearly 60 percent of the vote – but his failed 2024 presidential bid damaged his brand. DeSantis isn’t on the ballot this fall, but Donald Trump is. Florida certainly is Trump territory, but the ex-president’s four criminal indictments and his own behavior have also tarnished his brand. Two polls in March of Florida voters found Trump beating Biden, but both only by mid-single digits – and both with less than a majority of voters.

Also on the ballot, Florida U.S. Senator Rick Scott, who is barely beating his Democratic challenger in a March poll by just 3 points, according to FiveThirtyEight.

President Biden has been campaigning and fundraising in Florida. Last month the campaign launched Latinos con Biden-Harris in South Florida, and is launching TV ads aimed at the Hispanic community, Florida Politics reported.

Late Monday afternoon NBC News, citing the issue of abortion, reported: “Biden campaign says it sees Florida as ‘winnable’ in 2024.”

Some political commentators are reacting, suggesting Florida could be in play.

READ MORE: Trump Says Judge’s Daughter He Attacked Is Not Protected by Gag Order – DA Disagrees

“This is election-changing news. Florida should now be considered a toss-up, or better,” writes liberal commentator Bob Cesca.

Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch put it another way:

Former federal and state prosecutor, former Republican and former DeSantis administration official Ron Filipkowski says: “Florida Repubs are the dog who caught the car on the abortion issue. And the marijuana issue is going to turn out tons of people who have never voted before. These people won’t show up in polling either,” he observes.

Filipkowski, editor-in-chief of MeidasTouch.com adds, Florida Republicans “who aren’t in ultra safe districts all have their seats in play now.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or “D triple C,” immediately put out a statement calling the abortion ballot initiative a “political nightmare” for Republican U.S. Reps. Anna Paulina Luna and María Elvira Salazar.

“The ballot initiative’s petition got nearly one million certified signatures, with more than 150,000 of them from registered Republicans,” the DCCC said.

“Floridians know that Luna and Salazar can’t be trusted to defend their rights,” added DCCC Spokesperson Lauryn Fanguen. “While voters were mourning the loss of Roe v. Wade, Luna and Salazar were celebrating the decision that has now led to chaos and heartbreaking stories across the country. However, Luna and Salazar certainly aren’t celebrating today – they know they’ll be held accountable for their anti-abortion records in November.”

The Atlantic’s David Frum, a former Bush White House speech writer, observed: “Florida’s Supreme Court just added another proof point to my prediction in April 2023 that 2024 will be a bad GOP year up and down the ticket.”

“Republicans in Florida are going to be defending a six week abortion ban this November. It polls in the low 20s,” added political strategist Simon Rosenberg.

The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson, an advertising expert, noted: “Florida just got a lot more expensive for the GOP.”

MSNBC and NBC News political analyst Susan Del Percio, a Republican, says Florida will be in play.

And Democratic strategist Greg Pinelo says Florida is now in play.

Read the social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Anti-Woke Not Especially Lucrative’: Truth Social Lost Millions Last Year New Filing Reveals

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OPINION

‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was strongly criticized by two Democratic Congressmen after the Georgia Republican’s remarks about “Ukrainian Nazis” and her attempts to paint Ukrainians as Nazis.

“Stop bringing up Nazis and Hitler,” U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) urged, after Greene’s remarks suggesting there is a large Nazi problem in Ukraine, during a House Oversight Committee hearing. “The only people who know about Nazis and Hitler are the 10 million people and their families who lost their loved ones, generations of people who were wiped out. It is enough of this disgusting behavior, using Nazis as propaganda. You want to talk about Nazis, get yourself over to the Holocaust Museum. You go see what Nazis did. It’s despicable that we use that and we allow it and we sit here like somehow it’s regular.”

Moskowitz began by telling the Committee his “grandparents escaped the Holocaust.”

“So my grandmother was part of the Kindertransport out of Germany. Her parents were killed in Auschwitz. My grandfather, her husband escaped Poland, from the pogroms,” he continued.

READ MORE: ‘Used by the Russians’: Moskowitz Mocks Comer’s Biden Impeachment Failure

“There are no concentration camps in Ukraine. They’re not taking babies and shooting them in the air ’cause they’re Jewish. There’s no gas chambers. There’s no ovens. They’re not railing people in, they’re not ripping gold out of people’s mouth. They’re not taking stuff out of their home. They’re not trying to erase a people. They’re Ukrainians.”

Greene’s remarks over the weekend had caused anger.

“It’s antisemitic to make Israeli aid contingent on funding Ukrainian Nazis,” Congresswoman Greene declared Sunday from her official government social media account, as legislation to support Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan moved to the top of Speaker Mike Johnson’s priority list in the wake of Iran’s attack on Israel. Her implication appeared to be Ukrainians are Nazis – a Putin talking point.

Greene on Wednesday spent several minutes again implying there are many Nazis in Ukraine, as she was refuted by a top scholar, Yale professor of history Timothy Snyder. Dr. Snyder is the author of a dozen books, including two on Nazis and the Holocaust, and is an expert on the Holocaust, Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and serves on the Council on Foreign Relations.

Responding to Greene’s remarks, Snyder told the lawmakers, “no far-right party has ever crossed three percent” in a Ukrainian election.

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Greene was also criticized by U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL), who called her out for her “hypocrisy” and reminded her that in 2022 she “spoke at event led by white supremacists.”

That event was hosted by white supremacist Nick Fuentes:

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

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OPINION

‘Big Journalism Fail’: Mainstream Media Blasted Over Coverage of Historic Trump Trial

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The media’s ability to shape public opinion is well-documented, and by the end of the second day of the first criminal trial in history of a former U.S. president critics are slamming the content, framing, and focus of mainstream media organizations. The biggest concerns: refusing to cover the former president’s apparent inability to stay awake in court, too much identifying information of potential and chosen jurors, and even subtle descriptions that can be used to feed into false perceptions the trial is “unfair” or, as the ex-president likes to say, a “scam.”

Overnight, CNN’s Oliver Darcy’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter blasted mainstream media outlets that “strangely show little interest in reporting on Donald Trump’s courtroom naps.”

“Imagine, for a moment, if President Joe Biden were to be caught openly sleeping at an important hearing,” Darcy posits. Trump was caught “nodding” off repeatedly several times over the first two days of trial (there is not trial Wednesdays). “Then imagine it were to occur at another important hearing the next day. Not only would right-wing media outlets like Fox News run wild with coverage questioning his fitness for office, mainstream news organizations would no doubt also treat the snooze fest as a serious news story. But, for some unknown reason, Donald Trump falling asleep at his historic criminal trial in New York (as he apparently did, again, on Tuesday) has been met with a rather muted response.”

READ MORE: SCOTUS Justices Appear to Want to Toss Obstruction Charges Against Some J6 Defendants: Experts

Noting, “It’s important,” Darcy asks, “why has much of the press fallen asleep at the wheel?” and serves up some examples – or lack thereof.

“ABC News and NBC News didn’t even bother mentioning it on their evening newscasts and many major outlets haven’t even filed straight stories on it. To be frank, if not for The NYT’s Maggie Haberman reporting on the matter Tuesday, it’s unclear whether the public — which is relying on news organizations to be its eyes and ears in the courtroom, given cameras are barred — would know about it.”

“It’s all the more bizarre given that Trump has made attacking ‘sleepy Joe’ a central tenet of his campaign, framing the president as lacking the stamina to serve in the nation’s highest office. Which is to say, the fact that Trump is the one apparently unable to stay awake in his own criminal trial isn’t a trivial story.”

Jennifer Schulze, a media critic who was a Chicago Sun-Times executive producer, WGN news director, and adjunct college professor of journalism, pointing to Darcy’s criticism, calls it “a big journalism fail.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

The ex-president is facing 34 felony counts for falsification of business records when he paid hush money to an adult film actress then allegedly tried to cover it up, which some say is election interference.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan is overseeing the Trump trial, and ordered the identities of all jurors and prospective jurors to remain anonymous. Trump has a proven track record of alleged attempts to intimidate witnesses, judges, prosecutors, and others involved in his trials.

Some are concerned the media went too far in posting and publishing some possibly identifying information internet sleuths could use to piece together their names.

“There is seriously far, far too much identifying information about prospective jurors, several of whom are now empaneled, coming out in the press,” warned attorney and author Luppe B. Luppen.

Here’s how Fox News host Jesse Watters used that information to target one empaneled juror, while attempting to discredit the trial.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity went after “Juror Number One,” who is the foreperson.

It is not just Fox News targeting jurors.

Even The New York Times’ coverage of jurors drew the ire of critics.

READ MORE: ‘Your Client Is a Criminal Defendant’: Judge Denies Trump Request to Skip Trial for SCOTUS

Here’s how The Times’ Jonah Bromwich reported on the jury foreperson:

“The foreperson who was just selected — that’s juror one, the de facto leader of the group who will likely help steer deliberations — works in sales and enjoys the outdoors. He is originally from Ireland, but will help decide the former American president’s fate.”

University of Wisconsin—Madison professor of political science, who has a Ph.D. in Government, criticized the Times’ reporting.

“100% certain if the foreperson were native born, they would not have written this sentence and used the formulation of ‘former president’ subtly implying the foreperson from Ireland is somehow not a real American.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

 

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OPINION

SCOTUS Justices Appear to Want to Toss Obstruction Charges Against Some J6 Defendants: Experts

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Republican justices on the U.S. Supreme Court appeared skeptical of a law used to prosecute over 300 January 6 defendants, and Donald Trump, as they heard oral arguments Tuesday.

“A decision rejecting the government’s interpretation of the law could not only disrupt those prosecutions but also eliminate two of the federal charges against former President Donald J. Trump in the case accusing him of plotting to subvert the 2020 election,” The New York Times reports.

“January 6 insurrectionists had a great day in the Supreme Court today,” Vox‘s Ian Millhiser reported. “Most of the justices seem to want to make it harder to prosecute January 6 rioters.”

Millhiser on social media put it this way: “On Monday, the Supreme Court effectively eliminated the right to hold a Black Lives Matter protest in three US states. On Tuesday, the same justices were very, very afraid that January 6 insurrectionists are being treated unfairly.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Right-wing justices on the Supreme Court suggested the law, which makes it a crime to obstruct an official proceeding, could be used too broadly.

“Would a sit-in that disrupts a trial or access to a federal courthouse qualify?” Justice Neil Gorsuch asked, as NBC News reported. “Would a heckler in today’s audience qualify, or at the State of the Union address? Would pulling a fire alarm before a vote, qualify for 20 years in federal prison?”

Some legal experts appeared stunned and disappointed by the right-wing justices’ remarks.

“In oral argument today, Justice [Clarence] Thomas is minimizing the severity of the 1/6 insurrection at the Capitol. Perhaps that’s because his wife was part of the conspiracy. What a disgrace that he’s sitting on this case,” attorney and frequent CNN guest Jeffrey Toobin commented.

READ MORE: ‘I Have a Bucket of Water’: Dems to Save Johnson’s Job Over GOPer Who Wants ‘World to Burn

“The text of the obstruction law the Supreme Court is considering today pretty clearly applies to January 6 defendants. Will the purportedly textualist conservative majority, as in Trump v. Anderson, once again bypass text to avoid accountability for Trump and his supporters?” asked former federal corruption prosecutor Noah Bookbinder, who is now president of the government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

“Supreme Court expressed concern that Jan 6 prosecutions could chill violent insurrections against democracy,” wrote Scott Shapiro, a Yale Law School professor of law and professor of philosophy.

Elie Mystal, The Nation’s justice correspondent, did not hold back.

“The six conservative justices are absolutely trying to figure out how to throw out the obstruction charges against their cousins and wives and pledge brothers who attacked the Capitol on January 6,” he wrote.

Similar to Millhiser’s comparison, Mystal remarked, “If you think that trash you just heard from the Supreme Court about protecting J6 rioters will *ever* be applied to peaceful Black protesters, think again.”

READ MORE: ‘Something’s Fishy Here’: Trump’s Latest $175 Million Bond Filings Questioned by Experts

 

Image via Shutterstock

 

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