Mike Brest


Ohio Republican Josh Mandel announced his candidacy for the state’s open Senate seat on Wednesday as a rebuke to the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

The 43-year-old Marine Corps veteran and former Ohio treasurer cited the trial as the impetus for his decision to run for what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested Senate seats in the country.

“Watching this sham and unconstitutional impeachment has made my blood boil and motivated me to run for U.S. Senate. It’s sickening to see radical liberals and fake Republicans in Washington engage in this second assault on President Donald Trump and the millions of us who supported him,” he said. “I’m going to Washington to fight for President Trump’s America First Agenda and to pulverize the Uniparty – that cabal of Democrats and Republicans who sound the same, stand for nothing and are more interested in cocktail party invites than defending the Constitution.”

An ardent supporter of the former president, Mandel was the first statewide official in Ohio to back Trump in 2016, and he noted in his campaign announcement that he helped raise $500,000 for Trump’s reelection campaign as part of his involvement in “Trump 500.”

“For four years, President Trump fought tooth and nail to advance a conservative ideology and improve the lives of Ohioans,” he added. “My candidacy is about standing up for working people, economic freedom and individual liberty. I will wake up everyday scratching and clawing to stop Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi from their assault on American values.”

Mandel unsuccessfully challenged Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2012 and prematurely ended a 2018 campaign because of family health concerns.

Since incumbent Sen. Rob Portman announced that he would not run for reelection in 2022, several names have been floated as potential contenders for the soon-to-be-open seat. House Republican and Trump ally Rep. Jim Jordan has said he will not run for the open seat after fueling rumors that he might just days earlier. Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken announced last week that she would be leaving her role amid speculation that she’s set to enter the race as well.

On the Democrat side, Rep. Tim Ryan, who unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 and unsuccessfully challenged Nancy Pelosi with a bid to be House Speaker years prior, has teased the possibility of running for the open seat, even fundraising off the prospective candidacy.

Though traditionally considered a swing state, Ohio has been trending toward Republican candidates in recent years. Trump handily carried the Buckeye State in both of his presidential runs, and the GOP currently holds all six statewide executive offices. Still, Democrats, bolstered by Brown’s reelection in 2018, believe Portman’s open seat provides a prime pickup opportunity for the party, which will be defending a narrow majority in the upper chamber in 2022.

Author: Mike Brest

Source: Washington Examiner: Ohio Republican Josh Mandel announces run for open Senate seat due to ‘sham’ impeachment

The company revealed its branding Tuesday about eight months after saying it would change the name and image of Aunt Jemima over the racial stereotypes it said the name evokes. The updated name, Pearl Milling Company, might be new to customers, the company said in a statement but noted that the name has been associated with the company for over 130 years because it uses a pearl milling technique to make its product.

The previous imagery and name “do not reflect our core value,” the company said, noting that the product will remain the same.

The Aunt Jemima brand “updated its image over the years in a manner intended to remove racial stereotypes that dated back to the brand origins,” according to a statement from PepsiCo. “In June 2020, the company announced it was transitioning from the Aunt Jemima name and likeness on packaging and pledged a $5 million commitment to support the Black community.”

Pearl Milling Company is expected to announce the details of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift women of color, according to PepsiCo, and that pledge is separate from PepsiCo’s $400 million, five-year investment in the black community.

Several other companies, including Uncle Ben’s rice, and businesses have either renamed or scrapped emblems, logos, or branding deemed to be racially insensitive or glorifying stereotypes over the past year or so. The impetus behind the push coincided with the nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd.

Other groups or businesses that changed their name or branding include the Washington Football Team, formerly known as the Redskins, musical groups “The Chicks” and “Lady A.” Other food products such as Cream of Wheat, Mrs. Butterworth’s, and Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, which announced it was dropping the brand “Eskimo Pie,” did the same.

Author: Mike Brest

Source: Washington Examiner: Aunt Jemima reveals new name

Smartmatic is suing Fox News and pro-Trump attorneys over 2020 election fraud allegations directed at the voting technology company.

The firm filed the lawsuit in New York State Court in Manhattan on Thursday, seeking $2.7 billion for defamation and disparagement. Smartmatic accused Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, as well as Fox hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro, of waging a widespread “disinformation campaign” against the company.

Fox News said it plans to fight the lawsuit, calling it “meritless.”

In the lawsuit, Smartmatic argues the defendants “invented” new facts because the real ones “would not do for the defendants. In their story, Smartmatic was a Venezuelan company under the control of corrupt dictators from socialist countries. In their story, Smartmatic’s election technology and software were used in many of the states with close outcomes. And, in their story, Smartmatic was responsible for stealing the 2020 election by switching and altering votes to rig the election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

A spokesperson for the network told the Washington Examiner: “Fox News Media is committed to providing the full context of every story with in-depth reporting and clear opinion. We are proud of our 2020 election coverage and will vigorously defend this meritless lawsuit in court.”

“The Smartmatic lawsuit presents another golden opportunity for discovery. I look forward to litigating with them,” Rudy Giuliani said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.

In the aftermath of the presidential election, Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems, both companies that provide election technology in the United States, faced allegations that their software secretly flipped votes that were cast for then-President Donald Trump to then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The companies, as well as election officials, rejected these claims, as did the courts. Smartmatic also said that Los Angeles County, California, is the only location in the U.S. where its software was used in the 2020 election.

Giuliani, who is Trump’s personal lawyer, and Powell promoted both of those theories on a number of occasions, including on Fox News. Powell, who worked adjacent to the president’s campaign, alleged in her “Kraken” lawsuits and in television appearances that the voting machines are the same kind used in Venezuela during the Hugo Chavez regime, have the capability of switching votes secretly, and that there is an illicit vote-changing scheme in U.S. politics involving members of both parties.

Prior to the lawsuit, Fox aired fact-checking segments about election fraud allegations surrounding Smartmatic on Dobbs’s, Pirro’s, and Bartiromo’s shows, respectively. The segment, which none of the hosts conducted personally, was an interview with Eddie Perez, the global director of technology development and open standards for the Open Source Election Technology Institute, who answered questions about Smartmatic. This segment came after the threat of a lawsuit from Smartmatic.

“One of the biggest challenges in the Information Age is disinformation,” said Antonio Mugica, CEO of Smartmatic. “Fox is responsible for this disinformation campaign, which has damaged democracy worldwide and irreparably harmed Smartmatic and other stakeholders who contribute to modern elections.”

The lawsuit also claims that the conspiracy theories about Smartmatic contributed to the deadly riot at the Capitol on Jan 6.

“The story, of course, did more than just make Defendants’ money and jeopardize Smarmatic’s survival. The story undermined people’s belief in democracy. The story turned neighbor against neighbor. The story led a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol.”

Smartmatic has also threatened litigation against Newsmax and One America News Network, both smaller far-right television networks that promoted similar theories. The company said in a statement, “We are continuing to analyze our claims against OANN and Newsmax. We are taking a measured approach to pursuing our claims.”

Dominion has filed two defamation lawsuits against Trump-adjacent lawyers who promoted such theories — Powell and Giuliani — seeking $1.3 billion each, and the company has issued similar threats among more than 150 others whom the company alleges have promoted the unverified theory.

Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Author: Mike Brest

Source: Washington Examiner: Smartmatic files $2.7B lawsuit against Fox News, Giuliani, and Powell over election fraud claims

Twitter locked the account of China’s U.S. Embassy for a tweet defending the country’s treatment of the Uighur population.

The social media company ruled that the embassy’s account violated the platform’s policy against “dehumanizing” people for a tweet in which it said women in Xinjiang, a region where China allegedly imprisons Muslim minorities, were “emancipated” and that they are “no longer baby-making machines.”

“We’ve taken action on the Tweet you referenced for violating our policy against dehumanization, where it states: We prohibit the dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race, or ethnicity,” a Twitter spokesperson said on Thursday.

The tweet, citing a report from state-run newspaper China Daily, read, “In the process of eradicating extremism, the minds of [Uighur] women in Xinjiang were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted.”

The tweet has since been removed by Twitter and replaced with a message saying it’s no longer available. The platform also requires account owners to manually delete posts found to be in violation of their policy. The embassy’s account has not tweeted anything since Jan. 9.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson defended the embassy and questioned the social media giant’s decision.

“China is … a major victim. There are many false and ugly [pieces of] information about China on Xinjiang-related issues. Of course, the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. has responsibilities and obligations to clarify the facts and explain the truth,” Hua Chunying stated. “We hope Twitter can uphold the principle of objectivity and impartiality, not to show double standards on this issue, but to strengthen screening, and identify what is false information, what are rumors and lies, and what is fact and truth.”

The news came after the last full day of the Trump administration when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uighur people as “genocide.” U.S. officials reportedly decided to declare the abuse a genocide in light of China’s attempt to suppress birth rates among the beleaguered ethnicity.

Author: Mike Brest

Source: Washington Examiner: Twitter locks Chinese US Embassy account after tweet defending treatment of Uighurs

A handful of Republican Georgia state senators, who promoted claims that President-elect Joe Biden was not duly elected, were stripped of their committee chairmanships.

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who is a Republican, made the call on Tuesday, just days into the state legislature’s winter session. State Sen. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta was stripped of his role as the chairman of the Transportation Committee, while state Sen. Burn Jones of Jackson was removed as the head of the Insurance and Labor Committee.

Both were completely removed from their respective committees. Meanwhile, state Sen. Matt Brass of Newnan, who was removed as the chairman of the Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee, will instead serve as head of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described as a “lesser posting.”

“These committee chairs are uniquely qualified to develop real and lasting solutions aimed at building a better Georgia,” Duncan said in a statement announcing the committee changes. “The Senate will continue to prioritize diligent committee work and sound public policy, and I look forward to working closely with each one of our chairs, and their committee members, as we work to enact policies that advance both the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”

All three GOP state lawmakers promoted the president’s claims that the election was rigged in Georgia and in other battleground states that went for Biden. Not every senator who supported or backed such claims, which have been dismissed by federal and state officials as well as rejected by the courts, received committee demotions.

Author: Mike Brest

Source: Washington Examiner: Georgia state senators who denied Biden’s election victory stripped of chairmanships

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