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Jose Garcia

Jose Garcia's Journal
Jose Garcia's Journal
December 28, 2023

Federal judge OKs new GOP-drawn congressional map in Georgia

Source: CBS News

Washington — A federal judge in Georgia on Thursday approved a congressional map redrawn by the state's GOP-led legislature after its original voting lines were found to be crafted in violation of federal voting rights law.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones said in a 15-page order that the General Assembly "fully complied" with his October order that required the creation of a majority-Black congressional district in the western part of metro Atlanta. His acceptance of the new map, which maintains Republicans' 9-5 edge for its congressional delegation, sets up the new bounds to be used in the 2024 election.

Jones also approved new legislative maps for state Senate and House districts, which he found were originally crafted in a racially discriminatory manner. The judge said in his earlier order that state lawmakers had to redraw two new Black-majority districts in Georgia's state Senate and five new Black-majority districts in its state House.

Jones had given the Republican-led General Assembly and governor until Dec. 8 to adopt redistricting plans that remedied the violations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. State lawmakers convened for a special session in late November and passed the new congressional and legislative district lines, which were signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp earlier this month.

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/georgia-congressional-map-republicans-federal-voting-rights-law/

December 16, 2023

Cardin staffer linked to sex tape leaves Senate

Source: Politico

A junior aide to Sen. Ben Cardin is no longer employed by the Senate, the Maryland Democrat’s office said Saturday, following news reports linking the staffer to a sex tape filmed in a Capitol Hill hearing room.

Portions of the tape were published by the Daily Caller on Friday showing two men having sex in the cavernous Hart Senate Office Building hearing room that has played host to Supreme Court nominees, 9/11 Commission meetings and former FBI Director James Comey’s blockbuster 2017 testimony on Donald Trump. The American Spectator previously reported that a Cardin staffer was involved.

Neither report named the staffer, but other conservative outlets identified one person seen in the video as Aidan Maese-Czeropski, a legislative aide to Cardin.

Cardin’s office, after not commenting yesterday on what it called a “personnel matter,” said in a statement first provided to POLITICO on Saturday morning that “Aidan Maese-Czeropski is no longer employed by the U.S. Senate.”

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2023/12/16/cardin-staffer-linked-to-sex-tape-leaves-senate-00132147

December 8, 2023

White House open to new asylum limits for Ukraine aid, source says

Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Biden administration is considering getting behind new restrictions on who can seek asylum and an expanded deportation process to secure new aid for Ukraine and Israel in a supplemental funding bill, a source familiar with discussions said.

The White House and U.S. Congress are racing to strike a deal that would deliver military aid to the two allied nations while discouraging illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border with only a week until lawmakers depart for a Christmas break.

Republicans have refused to approve more Ukraine funding without additional measures to reduce the record number of migrants attempting to cross the U.S. border illegally, leading to a complex negotiation pairing the largely unrelated issues.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat seeking reelection in 2024, said on Wednesday that he would be willing to make significant concessions on border security as Senate Republicans rejected a Democratic aid package with $20 billion in border funding.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/white-house-open-new-asylum-limits-ukraine-aid-source-2023-12-07/

December 8, 2023

US Muslim leader: I was happy to see Gazans breaking the siege on Oct. 7

Source: Times of Israel

The founder and executive director of the Council on American–Islamic Relations said last month that he was “happy” to see Gazans “break the siege” on October 7, when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists burst through the enclave’s border with Israel, massacred 1,200 people and took some 240 hostage.

“The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege — the walls of the concentration camp — on October 7,” Nihad Awad said in a speech during the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) convention in Chicago, in footage published Thursday by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“And yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land, and walk free into their land, which they were not allowed to walk in,” he added, referring to the blockade Israel and Egypt enforced after Hamas took control of the strip in 2007, to prevent the terror group from importing weapons, materials and equipment for attacks.

The October 7 massacre, which came under cover of a massive barrage of rockets fired at Israel, saw terrorists overrun communities and slaughter those they found. Families were murdered as they huddled together in their homes or were burned to death. Victims, including children, were raped, tortured or mutilated. At an outdoor music festival, over 360 people were mowed down.

Read more: https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-muslim-leader-i-was-happy-to-see-gazans-breaking-the-siege-on-oct-7/

December 2, 2023

Susan Sarandon sorry for saying US Jews 'getting taste of what it feels to be Muslim'

Source: Times of Israel

Actress Susan Sarandon issues an apology for saying at a recent pro-Palestinian rally that US Jews fearing for their safety amid a spike in antisemitism “are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country.”

“This phrasing was a terrible mistake, as it implies that until recently Jews have been strangers to persecution when the opposite is true,” she says in a statement.

“I deeply regret diminishing this reality and hurting people with this comment. It was my intent to show solidarity to the struggle against bigotry of all kinds, and I am sorry I failed to do so,” says Sarandon.

The actress was dropped by Hollywood talent agency UTA after her initial remarks.

Read more: https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/susan-sarandon-sorry-for-saying-us-jews-getting-taste-of-what-it-feels-to-be-muslim/

December 1, 2023

Court denies Jussie Smollett's request to toss conviction

Source: WGN

CHICAGO — The Appellate Court of Illinois has denied Jussie Smollett’s request to toss his conviction on disorderly conduct counts.

In 2021, Smollett was found guilty of five felony counts of disorderly conduct. The former ‘Empire’ actor was accused of paying two brothers to stage a racist and homophobic attack on him in January 2019 so that he could gain notoriety.

A panel of three judges issued the 2-1 decision.

A Cook County judge sentenced Smollett to 150 days in jail, 30 months of probation, $120,106 in restitution to the City of Chicago and a $25,000 fine. He spent six nights in jail and was freed on March 16, 2022 pending this appeal.

Read more: https://wgntv.com/news/chicago-news/decision-expected-in-jussie-smolletts-appeal-on-friday/

November 30, 2023

Report: Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler accused of sexual battery

Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune

The Sarasota Police Department is investigating an allegation of sexual battery against Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler, according to a report by the Florida Center for Government Accountability.

Citing anonymous sources close to the investigation, the government watchdog group says police seized Ziegler's cell phone and "investigators continue to conduct a forensic examination of the electronic device."

Multiple GOP sources with knowledge of the investigation confirmed the sexual battery investigation and said the probe also involves allegations of illegally taping sex acts.

The USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida has requested documents from the Sarasota Police Department but has yet to receive them.

Read more: https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/politics/2023/11/30/florida-republican-chair-christian-ziegler-accused-of-sexual-battery/71754031007/

November 30, 2023

Senator: White House not seeking conditions on military aid to Israel, despite earlier Biden comment

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — National security adviser Jake Sullivan told lawmakers this week that the White House is not seeking to place conditions on U.S. military assistance to Israel, days after President Joe Biden signaled openness to the notion that was being pushed by some Democrats as the civilian death toll in Gaza from Israel’s war against Hamas climbed.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who was among the senators who met privately with Sullivan on Tuesday, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Sullivan “made it clear that the White House is not asking for any conditionality in aid. So I want to leave that very clear.” A second person directly familiar with the meeting confirmed the account.

Sullivan met with about a dozen Democratic senators to discuss their questions about how the administration would ensure that any U.S. weapons provided to Israel are used in accord with U.S. law. The meeting was held via a teleconference in which Sullivan was at the White House and senators were in a classified room on Capitol Hill. It came as some progressive lawmakers concerned about the civilian toll have suggested that the U.S. place conditions on the types of military assistance and how it could be used by Israeli forces against Hamas targets.

Last week, Biden told reporters that conditioning military aid to Israel was a “worthwhile thought.” But he suggested that had he done so earlier, it would have been more difficult to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Read more: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/2023/11/29/senator-white-house-not-seeking-conditions-on-military-aid-to-israel-despite-earlier-biden-comment/

November 19, 2023

Ohio Man Arrested for Faking Anti-Palestinian Hate Crime: Police

Source: Newsweek

An Ohio man is facing charges after lying about how he suffered injuries, baselessly claiming he was the victim of an anti-Palestinian hate crime, local police said.

Hesham A. Ayyad, 20, of North Olmsted, Ohio, is charged with making false alarms, falsification, obstructing official business, domestic violence and assault, according to records from the Lorain County Jail, which show he was released on bond on Wednesday.

Ayyad was taken to the hospital on October 22 after telling officers he had been hit by a vehicle in a "racially motivated" attack, claiming that he was struck on Cook Road in Olmsted Township near the North Ridgeville border, North Ridgeville police told local media.

Ayyad's claims sparked a Muslim civil rights group to demand that police investigate the alleged attack, according to an October 23 statement by the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cleveland)

Read more: https://www.newsweek.com/ohio-man-arrested-faking-anti-palestinian-hate-crime-police-1845000

November 16, 2023

Capitol Police working to 'keep back' crowd 'violently' protesting outside DNC

Source: ABC News

Capitol Police said they are working to "keep back" 150 people who are "illegally and violently" protesting outside of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C.

They said they were making arrests but didn't say how many. It appears, based on social media postings, that protesters are calling for a ceasefire in the Middle East.

"Right now our officers are working to keep back approximately 150 people who are illegally and violently protesting in the area of Canal Street and Ivy Street, SE. Officers are making arrests. All Members have been evacuated from the area. Please stay away from the area," Capitol Police said in a statement.

Read more: https://www.google.com/amp/s/abcnews.go.com/amp/Politics/capitol-police-working-back-150-people-protesting-dnc/story%3fid=104930336

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