DML Morning Briefing Thurs. Mar 4: Biden gets censored, a chilling new bill.
By Team DML
The New York Times reports: President Biden agreed on Wednesday to place stricter income limits on the next round of stimulus payments, making the latest in a series of crucial concessions to moderates as Democrats worked to hold their fragile coalition together to push his $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package through a divided Senate.
The decision to scale back the direct checks — a popular centerpiece of Mr. Biden’s economic relief initiative — was the second time in a week that Democrats had moved to curtail the sweeping stimulus plan by limiting or removing progressive priorities. The moves have underscored the narrow path Mr. Biden must navigate as he seeks to steer his first major legislative initiative through the 50-50 Senate, where he cannot afford to lose a single Democrat in the face of what is likely to be united Republican opposition.
The legislation, which Democrats hope to push through the Senate by the weekend, remains among the largest federal relief packages in modern American history. It would deliver hundreds of billions of dollars for vaccine distribution, hospitals, state and local governments and families struggling to recover from the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
DML: I’ll talk about this on my podcast today.
2 – White House suddenly cuts virtual event feed after Biden says
Fox News reports: The White House raised eyebrows on Wednesday when it suddenly cut the feed of a virtual event after President Biden said he was “happy to take questions” from Democratic lawmakers.
Accompanied by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. and the House Democratic Caucus, Biden addressed lawmakers on the topics of COVID relief and the ongoing vaccine rollout. He closed his remarks by calling on Democrats to help “restore faith” in government.
Biden then announced, “I’d be happy to take questions if that’s what I’m supposed to do, Nance. Whatever you want me to do.”
Biden sits there for an awkward moment, then the video is suddenly gone… poof!
DML: Wow, even the president gets censored.
3 – Colorado Democrats are targeting free speech rights on social media
A Democrat state senator in Colorado has introduced a bill that would require all social media or media sharing platforms offering services to Colorado residents to register with the state for a “reasonable fee”, or be fined up to $5,000 per day for violating the rules.
State Sen. Kerry Donavan is the primary sponsor of the bill, SB21-132, titled, “Digital Communications Regulation.” (Donovan recently announced she’s running for U.S. Congress in an effort to unseat Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert.)
The bill would create a digital communications division and a digital communications commission within the department of regulatory agencies. It would allow the state to monitor and criminalize any content on the social media platforms that they deem as unacceptable.
The division shall investigate and the commission may hold hearings on claims filed with the division alleging that a digital communications platform has allowed a person to engage in one or more unfair or discriminatory digital communications practices on the platform, which practices:
- Include practices that promote hate speech; undermine election integrity; disseminate intentional disinformation, conspiracy theories, or fake news; or authorize, encourage, or carry out violations of users’ privacy; and
- May include business, political, or social practices that are conducted in a manner that a person aggrieved by the practices can demonstrate are unfair or discriminatory to the aggrieved person. Such practices, if done in an unfair or discriminatory manner, might include:
- Practices that target users for purposes of collecting and disseminating users’ personal data, including users’ sensitive data;
- Profiling users based on their personal data collected;
- Selling or authorizing others to use users’ personal data to provide location-based advertising or targeted advertising; or
- Using facial recognition software and other tracking technology.
If a person who files a complaint with the division exhausts all administrative remedies and proceedings, the person may file a civil action in district court alleging an unfair or discriminatory digital communications practice.
DML: This is chilling!
4 – Alec Baldwin deactivates Twitter, posts 10-minute long rant on Instagram
Actor Alec Baldwin announced Wednesday that he’s DONE with Twitter.
Then Baldwin, 62, jumped on Instagram with a 10-minute video while driving home, to explain why he’s leaving Twitter.
Baldwin said, “I wanted to post a quick video to say that I deactivated my Twitter account today. I found myself writing a little mention — I don’t want to drag other people into my debates or what have you — but I noticed that someone said that this actress, who I won’t mention, had switched accents during the press for her show.”
Baldwin said that “you can’t do any irony on Twitter” or “in the United States anymore because the United States is such an uptight, stressed out place.”
DML: I’ll be discussing this on my podcast today.
5 – Ferguson activists demand $20 million from Black Lives Matter
Fox News reports: Michael Brown Sr. and Ferguson, Mo., activist Tory Russell, the founder of the International Black Freedom Alliance, demanded $20 million from Black Lives Matter after revelations that the organization brought in $90 million last year.
Brown’s son, Michael Brown Jr., an 18-year-old Black teen, was killed in a police-involved shooting in the city in 2014, prompting a wave of Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Despite the protest movement’s massive haul, Brown said he received just $500.
“His son’s death and the unrest that followed brought global attention to the police brutality issue that has plagued the U.S. for over a century,” the IBFA said in a statement Tuesday. “[Brown Sr.] was left with more questions than answers about the group’s funding.”
The International Black Freedom Alliance claimed that local activists have not been properly funded amid the surge of donations to Black Lives Matter.
“They believe the momentum from the 2014 unrest and the subsequent protest that local activists organized for several months after were the catalyst for the group being propelled into the position to receive the $90 million,” the International Black Freedom Alliance wrote in a press release Tuesday. “Now they demand funding from the group to the tune of $20 million in order to continue the work they started.”
Russell said the $20 million would go toward annual commemorations of Michael Brown Jr.’s life, mutual aid programs, Black Panther-style services, as well as fellowships and stipends to fight White supremacy.
DML: $20 MILLION?
6 – Gov. Cuomo says he hugs and kisses everyone
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to the growing number of allegations of sexual harassment against him in a press briefing on Wednesday.
Cuomo declared he has never touched anyone inappropriately, and said kissing and hugging people is just his customary way of greeting people.
“You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. Women. Men. Children. It is my usual and customary way of greeting,” he said, adding that it was also his father’s way of greeting people.
“As the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable.”
DML: Can’t make this stuff up!
7 – Biden administration locks ICE ALERTS Twitter account
Fox Business reports: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) locked one of its Twitter accounts Tuesday, halting all public safety alerts on illegal migrants in the U.S. with criminal backgrounds.
The account, created in 2013 and bolstered under the Trump administration, was used to post details about known “fugitives,” including their name, nationality, criminal history and the U.S. jurisdiction where they were released.
“It seems the Biden Admin locked [ICE Alerts] because if you were to report the location of one of these dangerous aliens to ICE, it would become too obvious that these assaulters, drug dealers, thieves, and drunk drivers are now allowed to go free under Biden’s policies,” former senior advisor to ICE, Jon Feere, wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
“ICE also used to post “Most Wanted Wednesday” tweets aimed at getting the public’s help in locating public safety threats. The Biden Admin is apparently not too interested in public safety,” Feere continued.
According to the report, an ICE spokesperson said the current administration was not using the account, noting, “ICE continues to use its main twitter account, @ICEgov, and our regional twitter accounts to communicate with the public about our national security, border security, and public safety mission.”
8 – Four states have rolled back mask mandates… but local leaders and major retailers are ignoring it
USA Today reports: Four states have announced rolling back mask mandates in major recalls of COVID-19 safety measures over the last month — leaving many to wonder whether additional states will join the tide and alter how the country is dealing with COVID-19 at a crucial moment in the fight against the disease.
But like so much with the pandemic, the path ahead is unclear. Cities, businesses, and families are often making their own choices of whether to wear masks or go to restaurants, despite governors in Mississippi, Texas, Montana and Iowa urging their residents to go back to a virus carefree life.
Major American retail chains across the country, such as Kroger, Best Buy Co., Kohl’s and Ulta are sticking to their policies to require masks in stores. Some local mayors are telling residents to ignore the words of their state governors.
Governors in Texas and Mississippi announced Tuesday they would halt mask mandates and reopen their states, allowing businesses to operate at full capacity.
Earlier this month, governors in Iowa and Montana announced they, too, were rescinding mandates on wearing masks. The four states join 11 others that either never had mask mandates or have since rescinded such policies.
DML: I’m not wearing one!